Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography
Series 19: Students
FLORA PATSY HALL, Student 1939 – 1944 & President of the PMSS Alumni Association 1980s
TAGS: Flora Patsy Hall ; Wheaton College; David Martin; Fern Hall Hayes; Enoch Hall, Jr.; Glyn Morris; Ball State; Pine Mountain Settlement School Alumni Association; student government; Hall family; Ritchie Family; Brashear Family; farming
Flora Patsy Hall attended Pine Mountain Settlement School from 1939 until 1944. She was a student who seemed to always hit the high marks and challenged others to do the same. She led by example. In 1944, as a Senior, she wrote the following poem for the student literary journal Conifer:
Always when some part of our life has come to a close.—Patsy Hall (Wife of David Martin)
There is the silent recalling of the past—
Old acquaintances, books, classmates, laughter, sorrow—
All blending to make life;
Some find a joy in seeking out these treasured stores,
Viewing them with soft eyes and glowing faces;
Others dare not look over these fragments of yesterday,
For there is a sadness in knowing
These happy days Will not be lived again.
But I have thought today about the time
When I shall be looking back
At my days spent at Pine Mountain,
Pondering and weighing each part with care,
large and small
Friendships, disappointments, peace, love.
I used to think it would hurt;
Now I know it never will,
For I have had a fleeting look today—
At the path that lies ahead.
Published in the PMSS Conifer 1944
It was a path that was, indeed, filled with friendships, peace and love all liberally sprinkled with the lessons she learned at Pine Mountain and felt compelled to share. As President of the PMSS Alumni Association in the 1980s Pat Hall Martin continued to engage alumni of the School and to bring alumni back to Pine Mountain for reunions. Her years at the School stretched across some of the most important transitional years for the School.
Under Director Glyn Morris, the School moved into a very progressive educational direction. Not only were students mapped to their abilities, but were encouraged to reach far beyond their expectations. Every student was charged with their own progress and for reporting that progress in writing for their families and for the staff at the Settlement School.
Patsy, as she was often called by family, many times wrote vividly of her work and love of Pine Mountain School and her work and comments are scattered across the literature of the institution during the time she was at the School and later as she became active in the Alumni Association. She was a regular attendee of the annual alumni events and helped to organize many of them as a Chair of the Alumni Association. Her school record, her alumni activity and various correspondence are found in FLORA PATSY HALL Correspondence.
Following her graduation from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, a small private liberal arts college just outside Chicago, IL, and additional work for a Master’s in Education, Pat taught school in rural Indiana for her remaining career years. She always had a preference for the primary grades. Her skills and dedication were recognized by many and carried over into her large extended family. Her five children all had remarkable lives and careers and their children all aimed for the high mark their mothers and grandmother pulled from that early educational nudge that came from deep in the Kentucky mountains.
Further, she never lost her skill to turn out the best chicken and dumplings in her family and to pass that skill along.
Remarkably, her record was recently updated with an autobiographical account of her life that provides a very personal window on her early life through the present that sheds more light on the impact that Pine Mountain Settlement School had on her life and on her progeny. That record is transcribed here.
Patsy Flora Hall: AN ETHICAL WILL
April 16, 2018
To My Children, Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren,
I want to share some memories over my lifetime that I feel were a positive influence on me. My
earliest memory was when I was two years old standing at the gate looking at the Hotel lot that
belonged to my Great Aunt Vesta Singleton, Grandpa Hall’s sister, and her husband. There was
a concrete walk alongside our home in Viper, KY that went around the back of the house to the
gate. While I was away at college we moved to Haddix’s house and my brother Butch moved
into the house where I grew up.
Haddix was a very close family friend, and was like a Grandmother to me and my Dad was like a
son to her, she had no children. She lived in a house next to the School and always watched out
her window for me. She was a strong influence on my life; she gave me my basis in religion.
Haddix provided my first introduction to the Bible. She had a picture book of Bible stories that
she would read to me. I remember especially the pictures of the flood which made a strong
impression on me as to why God would allow that to happen and hurt so many people and
destroy so much all at one time. When I was six years old we went to Lexington in Haddix’s car,
a Buick. I rode with Mother and Daddy laying on a pillow in the backseat. We had to stop
several times along the way because of flat tires. We went to visit a family friend in Lexington
who had come to Viper to make staves. They had a grand house near Winchester and their
daughter lived in a fancy brick house in Lexington. They had a maid who served us cinnamon
rolls. We visited historical places and airplanes. I remember getting to sit in the cockpit of a
little red Cub airplane.
My Dad had a Department Store with Uncle George Maggard, Aunt Cora’s husband. My
Grandpa gave them the money to set up the shop. There was a big set of steps on rollers to
reach the things on the higher shelves. There was a second floor that had an apartment and
storage area. Daddy was also a barber and he had it set up at the store. He used to put me in
the barber chair to cut my hair; my haircut was a shingle bob. Daddy was fascinated with clocks
and would take them apart and repair them. Dad lost the store during the Depression but he
would still help people out when they didn’t have food or needed something.
When I was at home my parents were very protective of me. I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere
unless I was with the Ritchie’s or Boots. I couldn’t go to other children’s homes. Otherwise, my
parents weren’t strict. I was alone a lot and that is how I learned to entertain myself and be
comfortable being by myself as an adult. Our living room and Dad’s bedroom had big picture
windows and I could sit and watch all of Viper from the window. I didn’t have any chores to do,
I guess I was spoiled. Mother had a cow that she took care of and milked, but I never learned
to milk a cow until I was an adult. I had a playhouse out back of the house, it had a window, a stove, dishes, my doll bed that I still have, and other toys. I enjoyed playing in it. I always liked
to read. The first book I read all the way through was a Western titled “Desert Flower”. We
only had 2-3 books of our own at home but we had “Little Big Books” which was a big book of
short stories, which I liked. We also had the “Hounds of Baskerville”, which didn’t interest me.
My cousin was a teacher and would give me books. We always had a newspaper, “The
Cincinnati Post” and we listened to the radio. I remember that people would gather at our house on the porch to listen to the Boxing Matches because we had a radio and there weren’t many around.
My brother was five years older than me and he was my idol. He would ride me around on his
bicycle, which was special because there weren’t many bicycles around at that time. He told me
about a song he liked called Stardust he told me all about what it meant. My Mother always
told the story about finding Uncle Butch and yelling at him for taking me out of my bassinet
when I was a baby and carrying me to the fireplace and holding me. His response was, “What’s
the use in having a baby if you can’t play with it”.
Susan was my baby, I loved her so much. I was so thrilled to take care of her. While I was home
I doted on her. She was only three when I went to Pine Mountain. Fern was always so perfect to
me, and I didn’t want to be like that with Susan.
Fern was eleven years older than me and went to Strayer Business College when I was in grade
school. She said she almost starved to death during that time. She lived with a friend. Then she
went to Pine Mountain. I always thought that Fern didn’t like me, that I was just a nuisance to
her, but she told me that wasn’t true. I do remember going to Fern and Bill’s wedding. Fern
brought a friend home from Pine Mountain who was a Counselor to talk to people in the area
about sending their children to school at Pine Mountain. I wanted to go there because of Fern.
I was thrilled about going to Pine Mountain and I loved it from the moment I arrived. I had to
do well because I didn’t want to do anything to disappoint Fern.
I didn’t do much work at home except the dishes so I had to learn how to work at Pine
Mountain and that’s where I developed a good work ethic. Everyone had to work. I worked at
all kinds of different jobs. I remember sweeping down the stairs and I didn’t do it right and had
to do it all over again. I cleaned house for the Director and the first time I ever had lemon
chiffon pie was there. The Director gave me a Bible. I also worked in the office and was involved
in student government on the Citizenship Committee. I was an ideal student, unlike my brother
who got expelled before I came for not doing his work and flunking grades.
My Mom and Dad did not attend church but Mom always sent me to Sunday school. I
remember the preacher would speak the words in a phrase of “Amazing Grace” and then the
congregation would all sing the phrase. A minister came to Viper from Illinois who had a strong influence on my life. I decided after hearing him that I wouldn’t smoke or drink and that is why I
chose to go to Wheaton College. My parents wanted me to go to Berea. Wheaton was very
strict, you weren’t allowed to dance drink or smoke. My Mother didn’t want me to go to
Chicago because of the crime and the gangsters but I was never afraid. I majored in Sociology.
Jean Ritchie worked at a Settlement House in New York and that was what I always planned to
do. I always wanted to go to the big city of Chicago and this was my chance. I only took 12
hours of class so I could get a job to pay for school so my Dad wouldn’t have to pay for it. I
talked my roommate Marie into going to Wheaton with me, and we took the streamline train
from Viper to Wheaton. Marie and I also worked at a restaurant in Warsaw, IN, for the minister
that married David and me.
I always thought David was a smart-aleck and I wouldn’t have much to do with him. I already
had a boyfriend, but David started carrying my books and then he would go tell my boyfriend
what he did to try to aggravate him. When he went away to the Navy I wrote to him. When he
was on his way back from San Francisco he had a stop in Chicago and he called me on the
phone while I was working in the dining hall at Wheaton. I ran all the way across campus to
take the call, and he asked if I would meet him in Chicago. My girlfriends dressed me up with
their clothes because I didn’t have anything very dressy. I was really anxious about traveling
into Chicago alone and worried about getting off at the right stop, but I found him. We went
out for dinner, he ended up staying in Chicago longer than he planned and his family was
waiting for him to come home. He took the train to Virginia and then got a ride on the back of a
pick-up truck across Black Mountain to get home.
I was pretty crazy back then, I thought I could do anything and I just did it. I figured as long as I
had trust in God, He would look out for me. I had some pretty strong beliefs and I thought I
knew all the answers and was pretty set in my narrow way of thinking. I didn’t realize how
naïve I was until I was older.
I wasn’t going to marry David unless he converted to my religion. I had worked with a minister
in the dining hall and I talked to him about David and that I wasn’t sure I should marry him
unless he converted and he told me not to worry about it and that things would work out and
I liked living in Ames, Iowa, and I was unhappy about leaving. I wanted Dad to finish school but
he didn’t want to. The first house where we lived in Indiana was primitive; there was no
running water and no bathroom. I thought Indiana was a backward place. My Mother and Dad
gave us a cow and that was the first time I ever milked a cow. When David worked at Warner
Gear he would stay there all week and come home on the weekends, so I took care of Alfred
myself. I would have to leave him alone in his playpen to go milk the cow.
After I had my children I decided to go back to school to become a teacher. David changed jobs
so much that I felt if I became a teacher it would be a steady source of income to be able to
raise a family. I told my Dad that I was going to borrow money to go to school and get my
degree, but Dad said he would lend me the money instead. I filled out an IOU and always
intended to pay it back. Dad kept my IOU but he never asked me for the money and I never did
pay him back. Mary was in Kindergarten when I started back to school. David decided I should
just go fulltime and get finished sooner. I ended up taking 20 hours at Ball State. I found it
difficult to find time to study and keep up with the house. My mother-in-law was displeased
that I was not keeping up my housework. She came and stayed to help out some. I flunked
Math and it was the first time I had ever flunked anything. Alfred ended up with the same Math
teacher when he went to Ball State for his Master’s Degree.
I always put my kids first and whenever things got tough I knew I had to keep going to be sure
my children were taken care of no matter what. I made sure my children went to church even
though David wouldn’t go with me. It wasn’t easy getting five kids ready for church and taking
them by myself, but it was part of my belief that you should go to church every Sunday. After
the children were older I decided that if David wouldn’t go with me then I wouldn’t go either
but I never stopped believing in God and my faith remains important to me.
I was always very shy but David taught me how to get over that. With all our travels I met a lot
of different people with different customs and thinking so I learned to broaden my thinking. I
learned to be comfortable around different people and made a lot of very good friends along
My outlook on life is when you make a commitment to do something you have to stick with it,
see it through and make the best of it, to never give up because you can always make it
through. To love each person as they are. When you are young, you think you know all the
answers, but when you are older you realize you didn’t know much. The values that are most
important in my life are being a good person, being honest and truthful, and believing in God. I
hope that you will carry these values forward in your lives too. I love each of you.
F. Patsy Martin
Patsy Flora Hall: GALLERY
FERN HALL HAYES Biography
FLORA PATSY HALL Correspondence
FLORA PATSY HALL School Record (password protected)
GLYN MORRIS Biography
RITCHIE FAMILY – May Ritchie
WILLIAM HAYES Biography
WILLIAM DAVID MARTIN Biography
Flora Patsy Hall
Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;
Flora Patsy Hall ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Viper, Kentucky; boarding schools ; Appalachian settlement schools : Progressive education ; Pine Mountain Settlement School Alumni Association ; poetry ; Glyn Morris ; Wheaton College ; Vesta (Hall) Singleton ; Haddix ; George Maggard ; Ritchie Family ; Boots Family ; Fern Hall Hayes ; religion ; David Martin ; Ball State ;
Hall, Flora Patsy.
1942 – present
Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Collections ; text ; image ;
Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in Student Records, Series 19 (West Wind files)
Series 19: Students
Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series19: Students. Biography, Series 09: David Martin; Fern Hall Hayes;
Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Viper, KY ; Wheaton, IL ; Lexington, KY ; Chicago, IL ; Warsaw, IL ; Ames, IA ;
Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Flora Patsy Hall ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Flora Patsy Hall ;
“Flora Patsy Hall”, Series 19: Student Files Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;
2018-03-29 hhw ; 2018-07-16 hhw ; 2019-02-06 hhw ; 2019-06-18 hhw ; 2019-06-21 aae ;
Ethical Will supplied by the family of F. Patsy Martin. Permission for publication granted.
“Flora Patsy Hall”, Series 19: Student Files Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Archival resource.
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