Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Community
Series 05: Administration – Board of Directors
Henry C. Creech (1879 – 1960)


TAGS: Henry C. Creech, community residents, Henry Creech, Henry Clay Creech, William Creech Sr., Sally (Dixon) Creech, fundraising, donations, PMSS Advisory Board, community health association, REA, threshing machine, X-ray unit, sorghum stir-offs, maple sugaring, Delia (Blanton) Creech, Dr. Oma (Creech) Fiske, Evelyn K. Wells, Dr. Alfreda Withington, UNRRA, Henry and Delia Creech Fund, scholarships, diphtheria

HENRY C. CREECH Community: Pine Mountain Settlement School


Friends & Family: Portrait photograph of Henry Creech as a young boy. [Vl_37_1194.jpg]

Henry C. Creech was the sixth of nine children born to two of the most prominent citizens in the Pine Mountain community. His father, William Creech, Sr. was highly respected for his character, wisdom and initiative and his many practical skills that benefited the community. Sally (Dixon) Creech, Henry’s mother, was loved by her friends and neighbors for her kindness, pioneer skills and common sense. Most important, both fervently wished for better schools for mountain children. Accordingly, they supported Miss Katherine Pettit and Miss Ethel de Long in the founding of Pine Mountain Settlement School by making a crucial donation: 136 acres of land for its campus. Many members of the Creech family and subsequent generations honored the legacy of Uncle William and Aunt Sal through their generous donations of assistance, funds, land, and supplies to the School. No more so than Uncle William and Aunt Sal’s son, Henry Clay Creech.

The list of Henry’s contributions to Pine Mountain Settlement School is long and varied. According to the 1943 Pine Mountain Family Album, he was present at the earliest stages of the School’s formation:

…Henry as a very young man was present at the table when Rev. [Lewis] Lyttle, itinerant mountain missionary, brought Uncle William the good news that the “quare women” would come to start a school on Greasy creek. Ever since then Henry has kept the interests of the school close to his heart.

Throughout the process of establishing the School, Henry escorted visitors over the mountain to see for themselves the possibilities for building a new school in the Pine Mountain valley. He offered some of his own land and furnished lumber for the buildings which he also helped construct, including Big Log and the Creech Cottage (for his son, James Charles and wife, Ruth). He also assisted his father in writing letters to the co-founders. In a letter dated as early as 1912, he urged the future co-founders, “We want you to hurry and come and build that school.”

Ethel de Long’s correspondence during The Road construction indicates that, as of March 1921, Henry Creech was in charge of the camp for the prisoners who worked on The Road, also known as The Laden Trail. However, he resigned as camp supervisor in June 1921 because, as Mrs. de Long explained in a letter, “he did not feel that he had the backing of the prison authorities.”

Henry was active in raising money for the first PMSS buildings. Evelyn K. Wells, former PMSS secretary (1916-1931) and acting director (1930), wrote in her “Record of Pine Mountain Settlement School 1913-1928,” that Henry Creech and Bennett F. Lewis, a son-in-law of Uncle William, canvassed the community for pledges for the School. They were successful in getting about $400 worth of pledges, as well as promises of timber and labor.

Henry’s keen interest in the School did not end once it was established and in operation. In fact, his involvement with the School was lifelong. He was often called upon by the School staff to assist with maintenance, provide advice and to participate in special events. All his activities with the School were in addition to raising, along with his wife, their eight children and farming the land given to him by his father. The following are examples of the efforts Henry made to carry on the work and spirit of Uncle William and Aunt Sal.

Henry was a member of the PMSS Advisory Board at its beginning in 1913 and continued to serve, along with his brother Columbus, as late as 1943. According to the 1997 issue of Notes from the Pine Mountain Settlement School, he was the “first Creech to be elected a Pine Mountain Trustee….”

When a community health cooperative, known as the “Good Health Association,” was organized in 1934, Henry Creech was elected president. it began with fifty-three families paying ten dollars a year, which ensured them of the doctor’s services whenever they were needed.

As a board member of the Cumberland Valley Rural Electrical Cooperative Corporation in the early 1940s, Henry gave the School’s Co-op students “first-hand information concerning the organization, business, and progress of our REA cooperative.” He also supervised a crew of approximately 14 men who cleared timber from the rights-of-way for the project. A “Dear Friend” fundraising letter of 1948, signed by then Director H.R.S. Benjamin, credited him for bringing the REA to the valley.

When the School needed farming or medical equipment, Henry was there to help. November 1946 Notes reported:

…[W]e have the new distinction of part ownership of the county’s only threshing machine. with our good neighbor, Henry Creech, we have purchased a small, second-hand thresher which has already proven its versatility by threshing with equal ease dried seed beans and timothy hay.

November 1949 Notes told of Henry’s assistance with neighborhood fundraising for the shipping and installation of a large X-ray unit that was donated to Pine Mountain by a Louisville doctor.

Also in 1949, Henry worked with Harlan County officials, PMSS staff, and educators at Berea College to facilitate the transition of the boarding high school program to the Pine Mountain elementary school. (Notes – 1997)

HENRY C. CREECH Community: Sorghum Stir-Offs & Maple Sugaring


The school attends a stir-off [Sorghum/Molasses] at Henry Creech’s, 1946. [nace_1_046c.jpg]

One of the delightful events of the fall season at Pine Mountain was the gathering of community and School at a “sorghum stir-off.” The visitors stood in line at a huge vat containing juice extracted from sorghum that was boiled into a sticky sweet molasses-like treat. This process and event took place annually at Henry and Delia Creech’s place. PMSS Notes 1944 states, “When sorghum is plentiful, and the weather is right it is Henry’s good custom to invite the whole school for an evening “stirring off.” Notes 1948 recalls: “The syrup was just right and some of us kept on dipping our cane stalks into the vat until we had a little more than was good for us!”

Later in the spring, Henry Creech furnished a different kind of syrup to another annual outdoor event. “…a Dogwood Breakfast became an integral part of the Spring meeting of the Board of Trustees. For the Board breakfasts, Henry Creech furnished maple syrup, “made at Uncle William’s sugar camp. William Creech, having discovered the grove of mature sugar maple trees on Pine Mountain’s north side, started the tradition of maple sugaring and Henry carried it on for another generation.”

HENRY C. CREECH Community: The Creech Family

Henry Creech, at age 28, married 18-year-old Delia Blanton in approximately 1906. Over a period of more than 20 years, they had 8 children. The 1930 U.S. Census lists their names and ages as Elsie 22, Oma 21, Wilmer (Wilma?) 13, James Charles 11, Everlin (Evelyn?) 7, Robert 7, Rosa Lee (Rosalie?) 5, and Angela, who was born that year. Two additional children died before adulthood: Crystal in a fire at age 3 1/2 and an infant of diphtheria.

Many of Uncle William and Aunt Sal’s grandchildren attended Pine Mountain Settlement School and some returned as staff members. All eight of Delia and Henry’s children were PMSS students.

In later years, Elsie married Malcolm Leach, Evelyn married Bill Johnson, Charles married Ruth Smith and Angela married Keith Morgan. This update on the brothers was included in the 1944 Pine Mountain Family Album, page 10:

Charles is Uncle William’s grandson, Henry Creech’s oldest boy. He and his brother Bob are both in the service, Bob in the Pacific, and Charles somewhere in England. He is an alumnus of Pine Mountain, and a graduate of Berea Academy and Moorehead College. A recent letter to his father says he is well enough but “wouldn’t exchange one acre of Kentucky land for everything east of the Atlantic.”

Sadly, Robert Creech died in the South Pacific in 1944.

Henry and Delia’s daughter, Oma Creech, attended Pine Mountain Settlement School, where she learned to weave. In her history of PMSS, Evelyn Wells tells of Oma using her grandmother Aunt Sal’s old loom to copy a family heirloom blanket. Oma went on to Berea College, then furthered her studies at Louisville Medical School, graduating in 1934. She was mentored by Dr. Alfreda Withington, a PMSS doctor (1924–1931), according to a letter Dr. Withington wrote to Delia. The “1943 Pine Mountain Family Album” proudly describes Oma’s accomplishments:

Dr. Oma Creech is the daughter of Henry Creech, a granddaughter of Uncle William, and one of our alumni of whom we are most proud. She graduated from Berea, took her medical training at Louisville, and her internship at the New England Hospital for Women in Boston. She is now back in Kentucky, as doctor and health supervisor, helping to realize many of her hopes for her home state.

By 1944 Oma was serving overseas as a major in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), an international relief agency. At PMSS’s 1986 Homecoming, “a moment of silent prayer was held in memory of Dr. Oma Creech Fiske.”


Friends & Neighbors: Delia and Henry Creech. [VI_51_friends_neighbors_1689x_mod.jpg]

Henry Clay Creech was born on April 17, 1879. He continued his support of the School and community until his death on December 2, 1960. His death was reported in a letter from PMSS secretary, Mildred Mahoney, to Edith Cold, a former worker:

I wonder if you know of the death of Mr. Henry Creech, on December 2. He had suffered a stroke last spring, from which he eventually made quite a good recovery. He had another stroke about 15 days before his death, and wasn’t conscious after that time. Delia is remaining at their home for the time being, and meeting the difficult situation with great courage.

Miss Cold responded to this news in her subsequent letter to PMSS, “How the roadsides, their cabins, and the meadows and hills will miss him!”

Delia (‘Delie”) Blanton Creech was born on October 19, 1888, to William and China Blanton. As of the 1900 U.S. Census, she was the youngest of four children, Delia, Calvin, Susan and Jessie. She died on August 22, 1975.

HENRY C. CREECH Community: The Henry and Delia Creech Fund

The 1999 fall issue of NOTES published the following announcement of the Henry and Delia Creech Fund.

 The family of Henry and Delia Creech established a memorial fund this summer. Income from the fund is to provide scholarship assistance for qualified local student to participate in educational programs here at the School. Henry Creech, a son of Uncle William and Aunt Sal, was active in the formation and development of the School and served on its Board. Henry and Delia met when she came into the valley as a teacher several years before the School was founded in 1913. both of them were lifelong loyal supports of the School. The Henry and Delia Creech Fund replaces an earlier, now depleted, fund which was established after Henry’s death in 1960 to assist young people from the valley to attend high school and college.

Gallery: HENRY C. CREECH Community

See Also:

DELIA CREECH Photograph Album
JAMES CHARLES CREECH Oral Interview Transcription
JAMES COLUMBUS CREECH Family Collections Guide

EDUCATION Community and Children’s Writing I
EDUCATION Community Writing (13) Henry C. Creech

OMA CREECH Biography
VI 37 FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS – Creech Family Photographs


Henry C. Creech

Alt. Title

Henry Creech ; Henry Clay Creech ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Henry C. Creech ; Henry Creech ; Henry Clay Creech ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; William Creech, Sr. ; Sally (Dixon) Creech ; fundraising ; donations ; PMSS Advisory Board ; community health association ; Cumberland Valley Rural Electrical Cooperative Corporation ; threshing machine ; X-ray unit ; sorghum stir-offs ; maple sugaring ; Delia (Blanton) Creech ; Dr. Oma (Creech) Fiske ; Evelyn K. Wells ; Dr. Alfreda Withington ; United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) ; Henry and Delia Creech Fund ; scholarships ;

Subject LCSH

Creech, Henry Clay, — 1879 April 17 – 1960 December 02
Creech, Delia Blanton, — 1888 October 19 – 1975 August 22
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


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


Series 22: Community, Guests and Visitors ; Series 09: Students ; Series 05: Administration – Board of Directors ;




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 22: Community, Guests and Visitors ; Series 09: Students ; Series 05: Administration – Board of Directors ;

Coverage Temporal


Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ;


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 Henry Clay Creech ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Henry Clay Creech ;




“Creech, Henry.” [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

2017-02-22 aae ; 2017-03-21 aae ; 2017-11-24 aae ; 2018-08-18 aae ; 2021-06-21 aae



“Creech, Henry.” Series 22: Community, Guests and Visitors ; Series 09: Biography ; Series 05: Administration – Board of Directors ; Series 17: PMSS Publications. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVLM-2Z5Q : 13 December 2015), William Creech, 1918; Burial, Pine Mountain, Harlan, Kentucky, United States of America, Creech Cemetery; citing record ID 82208786, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com. Internet resource.

“Kentucky Death Records, 1911-1962,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVJ5-FHWX : 20 October 2016), Henry C Creech, 02 Dec 1960; citing Harlan, Harlan, Kentucky, United States, Office of Vital Statistics, Frankfort; FHL microfilm 1,973,328. Internet resource.

“Kentucky, Vital Record Indexes, 1911-1999,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKH1-6BK3 : 1 July 2015), Delia B Creech, 22 Aug 1975; citing Death, Hardin, Kentucky, United States, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XM6Y-NP9 : accessed 19 February 2017), Henry Creech, District 4, Harlan, Kentucky, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 24, sheet 16A, line 31, family 288, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 749; FHL microfilm 2,340,484. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M948-TRJ : accessed 19 February 2017), William Creech, Magisterial Districts 3-4, Upper Poor Fork, Lower Poor Fork, Harlan, Kentucky, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 51, sheet 12B, family , NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,525. Internet resource.

“United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKC4-L31B : 9 April 2016), Henry C Creech, 27 Apr 1942; citing NARA microfilm publication M1936, M1937, M1939, M1951, M1962, M1964, M1986, M2090, and M2097 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Internet resource.

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