LEWIS LYTTLE Rev.

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 01: Planning for PMSS / Correspondence
Series 22: Community, Guests and Visitors

LEWIS LYTTLE Rev.
Assisted in the Planning of PMSS


TAGS: Lewis Lyttle ; Rev. Lewis Lyttle ; The Reverend Lewis F. Lyttle ; Baptist missionaries ; mountain preachers ; Katherine Pettit ; May Stone ; Ethel de Long ; WCTU Settlement School ; Hindman Settlement School ; donors ; mountain people ; Creech Family ; Uncle William Creech ; Dear Friend letters ; city judges :


“Judge Lewis Lyttle, 1948” and “Columbus Creech.” [nace_II_album_075.jpg]

The Reverend Lewis Lyttle, an itinerant Baptist missionary, was one of the earliest notable figures in the long history of the Pine Mountain Settlement School. He was among others who pushed mission work with the “mountain whites” of the southern Appalachians at the end of the nineteenth century. One of the earliest crusaders was William Owings Guerrant, a Presbyterian minister and close friend of Katherine Pettit’s family. However, Reverend Lyttle follows the path of the many “home-grown” itinerant preachers in the Baptist tradition, such as Uncle Ira Combs, and others.

The Reverend Lewis Lyttle’s story begins with several letters, written in early May 1911, to Katherine Pettit, who was operating the WCTU Settlement School in Hindman, Kentucky, (which in 1915 became known as the Hindman Settlement School) with May Stone and Ethel de Long.

On May 1, 1911, Lyttle wrote of his support for the school that Pettit and de Long wished for the mountain children, describing the need for one, and offering his assistance. He included a list of interested neighbors and possible donors and stated that there were about 125 children in the area ready to attend.

In one of three letters dated May 9, 1911, Rev. Lyttle wrote three pages to Pettit in which he praised Miss Pettit and May Stone, both of whom he had known for 10 years while living in Hindman, Kentucky. He praised their good work at the Hindman school and the consequent improvement of its local ways of life. He urged the women to visit the place he had in mind for another school in the Pine Mountain area and urged them to learn more about the community and its educational needs. His descriptions of the mountain people indicated his respect for them and their needs as well as for the work of Pettit:

I think you will find a kind and responsive people but they are not cultured. They will not do you a wrong by any means. They will be as kind as they know how to be. I am satisfied you will like the field and it is the very place to make a model school for you have the material to begin with… [The place has] pure air, pure water and plenty of children to enjoy it. Invest something in their character of these boys and girls and some day you will reap a good harvest if not in this world it will be in heaven where there is now many stars in your crown for what you have already done.

Acting as a go-between, Rev. Lyttle paid a visit to the Creech Family in the Pine Mountain valley. As he sat at the kitchen table with “Uncle William” and two of his sons, Henry and Columbus, he mentioned that there were several women, currently working at a school in Hindman, Kentucky, who were interested in starting a new school near Pine Mountain. For years “Uncle William” Creech had felt strongly that a better education for mountain children would improve their lives and that of the country. Upon hearing about the women’s dream of such a school, he offered whatever help he could provide.

Rev. Lewis Lyttle soon delivered this good news to the women who then wasted no time pursuing this opportunity. When Miss Pettit responded with interest in his offer of assistance, Rev. Lyttle sent her another letter on May 9, 1911, with information and directions to the proposed Creech site and to his home at the head of Leatherwood Creek. In further exchanges of letters and meetings, Rev. Lyttle continued to act as a liaison between the women and the community, promoting William Creech’s land as, in his estimation, the preferred location for a school.

The several visits to the Pine Mountain area that were made by both Miss Pettit and Miss Ethel de Long, guided by Rev. Lyttle and accompanied by friends and local neighbors who supported their ambitions, were described in letters addressed to “My Dear Friend,” written by the enthusiastic women. These letters not only reflected the women’s enthusiasm for the potential of the region for a school campus but also shine a light on the large personality of Rev. Lewis Lyttle.

REV. LEWIS LYTTLE: Ethel de Long Correspondence, Early 1911

Ethel de Long, who was also on the staff at Hindman, was also encouraged by Rev. Lyttle’s letters to visit the Pine Mountain area. After doing so, she wrote a letter in 1911 (no month or day is specified) also addressed to “My Dear Friend” in which she describes her own trip to the headwaters of Greasy Creek in great detail. She describes, much like Pettit, the people she met along the way and the evidence of the need for a school.

At first, de Long was skeptical of the site’s suitability, fearing it may be too small for a large group of children. When she saw the proposed location she soon realized that Rev. Lyttle was correct in his choice, though the initial location appears at first to be confining. On page 7 of her “Dear Friend” letter, she wrote;

We were all the more eager to go on to the headwaters of Greasy and see the site originally chosen for us by Mr. Lyttle, though we hardly thought we would find it a suitable place. Yet we wanted to leave no stone unturned, and besides, the day was so beautiful that we were glad to be abroad. We scarcely hoped to find land enough for our purpose, for we thought that no one appreciated the size of our plans, and indeed when Mrs. Henry Creech, [Delia Creech] who went with us for company, showed us the proposed spot, she pointed out land enough for only one or two buildings.

In fact, de Long found the general site so appropriate and so beautiful that she imagined with the others in her group about how its various features could be used. As the day ended, the travelers stopped at

…the quaint old-fashioned home of Mr. and Mrs. William Creech [approximately a mile from the proposed location on Isaac’s Creek], whose simple goodness and kindly courtesy were like an evening benediction. It was here as we sat around the fire that the fairy-tale came true — for little by little we discovered that “Uncle William” had been planning, since he first heard of our coming, to secure for us one hundred and ten acres of land and help us build our school.

Rev, Lyttle caught up with de Long and her entourage at Mrs. Gib Lewis’  home [near the home of William Creech] in order to guide them over the mountain the next day. De Long’s letter describes on page 10 the evening the group spent together with the preacher:

We sat around the fire where the enormous logs were burning, rings of yellow pumpkins drying for winter above our heads — till late that night; and Mr. Lyttle sang old hymns for us, “If you love your mother — meet her in the skies,” or joined Mrs. Lewis’ [Arwilly Lewis] beautiful, shy, little granddaughter in some more modern hymns such as “Jesus is a Rock.” This was a household inclined to disapprove of “song ballets (sic),” though it hardly considered them “devil’s ditties,” as do many of the old-time Baptists.

De Long continues to describe Rev. Lyttle, delighting in his antics as the little group continued on their journey after the overnight at Mrs. Lewis’:

The next day was a rare one, for our guide was an inimitable story-teller, and could take off the mannerisms and the sing-song chant of the old-fashioned mountain preacher to perfection. We shall never forget his tales, or the unanswerable argument of the old preacher who declared a child of God could not fall from grace, “for what if the enemy does say, brethring, ‘if ye fall from grace,’ — you all know, bothring, that it is an impossible verb an’ in the everlasting tense.”

Just at the point where three counties, Harlan, Leslie and Perry, meet, Mr. Lyttle dropped his character of entertainer and told us he wanted to have a little service right there where we could see the blue line of Pine and Black [mountains] and all the gorgeous colorings of the interlying hills. He took out his little pocket Testament, read us the Sermon on the Mount, and then sang for us the old sweet songster hymn, “I’m Dwelling on the Mountain.” Then we followed the trail straight along the top of the ridge for five miles before we descended to the waters of Leatherwood.

Leatherwood, in Perry County, was then the home of Rev. Lyttle and his family. They had taken up residence in a small cottage on a farm at the head of Leatherwood. This site Lyttle used as his base of operations, serving some 5 churches he maintained in the region of Perry and Harlan counties.

REV. LEWIS LYTTLE: Pettit Correspondence, May 27, 1911

Later that month, Miss Katherine Pettit and Miss Harriet Butler journeyed to the Pine Mountain to view the site and visit with the Creech Family. Pettit described the experience in a letter to “My Dear Friend,” dated May 27, 1911. Like Ethel de Long, she too includes her impressions of Rev. Lyttle, whom she grew to admire for his generosity, pragmatism, and his cheerful and optimistic outlook on life despite his many odds.

[EXCERPTS FROM 5/27/1911 PETTIT LETTER TO BE ADDED]

REV. LEWIS LYTTLE: His Later Years

An article beginning on page one of the January 1946 issue of Notes from Pine Mountain School tells of the School’s celebration of the 100th birthdays of Uncle William and Aunt Sal Creech. A memorial program was held at the School House in the afternoon and attended by trustees, staff, friends and the community. It was a “simple folksy meeting with speaking and singing in the spirit of the old time gatherings….” The legacy of The Reverend Lewis Lyttle’s efforts to bring about the School was not forgotten:

We missed Reverend Lewis Lyttle who was the mountain circuit rider in the early 1900’s and carried messages from Uncle William to thequare women” at Hindman, and who helped to select the site for Pine Mountain School. Mr. Lyttle was ill, but sent his message by his children, the son a fine young soldier, the daughter a marine, both delightful representatives of that old man whose spirit is so much with us here at all times….

A review of Rev. Lyttle’s data in the U.S. Census from 1910 to 1940 suggests that he was hardworking most of his life, supporting a family that grew in number over several decades.

According to the 1910 U.S. Census, Re. Lewis Lyttle was a minister at the Baptist Church in Hazard (Perry County), Kentucky. Neura Belle Lyttle, age 26, was his second wife of nine years. The household included three children (2 of which were borne by Belle): Shirley, age 9, Horace, 7, and Cecil, 1.

By the time of the 1920 U.S. Census, rev. Lyttle, still a clergyman, was living in TeJay (Bell County), Kentucky, with his family that now included another daughter, age 5, and Ruby Logan, and a granddaughter, age 2. Lewis Lyttle himself was the enumerator of the census.

In 1930, the U.S. Census records show the Lyttle Family as living in Wallins Creek (Harlan County), Kentucky. At age 61, Lyttle was working as a “city judge at police court.” The household included Belle, Cecil, Larue, a new son, Boyce, age 9, and a daughter-in-law, Ethel Lyttle. As of 1940, Lyttle, now age 71, continued to serve as “police judge” in Wallins Creek. Boyce, now 19, was the only child now living at home.

By 1944, Rev. Lyttle was the only one of the early founders still living, according to the 1944 Pine Mountain Family Album, a booklet about PMSS staff, students and community printed by the School. He continued to walk across the mountain to tell the story of the School’s “brave beginnings” to the students. He was asked to write his story for the Album, which is transcribed here.

Rev. Lewis F. Lyttle was born on February 17, 1868, in Clay County, Kentucky, to Elick Lyttle and Abbie (Faimer) Lyttle. He died on February 3, 1950, at the age of 81.


Title

Rev. Lewis Lyttle

Alt. Title

Lewis Lyttle ; The Reverend Lewis F. Lyttle ;

Identifier

https://pinemountainsettlement.net/?page_id=39901

Creator

Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Lewis Lyttle ; Rev. Lewis Lyttle ; The Reverend Lewis F. Lyttle ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Baptist missionaries ; mountain preachers ; Katherine Pettit ; May Stone ; Ethel de Long ; WCTU Settlement School ; Hindman Settlement School ; donors ; mountain people ; Creech Family ; Uncle William Creech ; Dear Friend letters ; city judges :

Subject LCSH

Lyttle, Lewis F., — 17 February 1868 – 03 February 1950.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.

Date

06-Jan-2017

Publisher

Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Contributor

n/a

Type

Collections ; text ; image ;

Format

Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet

Source

Series 01: Planning for PMSS / Correspondence ; Series 22: Community, Guests and Visitors ;

Language

English

Relation

Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 01: Planning for PMSS / Correspondence and Series 22: Community, Guests and Visitors ;

Coverage Temporal

1868 – 1950

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Hindman, KY ; Leatherwood Creek, KY ; Greasy Creek, KY ; Hazard (Perry County), KY ; TeJay (Bell County), KY ; Wallins Creek (Harlan County), KY ; Clay County, KY ;

Rights

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.

Donor

n/a

Description

Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Rev. Lewis F. Lyttle; clippings, photographs, books by or about Rev. Lewis F. Lyttle ;

Acquisition

n/d

Citation

“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2017-01-06 aae ; 2017-01-19 hhw ; 2017-03-23 aae ;

Bibliography

Sources

Lyttle, Lewis F. Series 01: Planning for PMSS / Correspondence and Series 22: Community, Guests and Visitors. 1943 PINE MOUNTAIN FAMILY ALBUM, page 5 ; DEAR FRIEND LETTER 1911 [Hindman]NOTES – 1946 ;  PETTIT CORRESPONDENCE 1911 ; Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X6BL-7BD : 8 December 2014), Lewis F Lyttle, 03 Feb 1950; citing, reference certificate; FHL microfilm 2,372,557. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M26R-ZWG : accessed 7 January.) Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MH2X-XPD : accessed 7 January 2017.) Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XM6T-971 : accessed 7 January 2017.) Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K7T4-XMJ : accessed 7 January 2017.) Internet resource.

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