2017 MAY AT PMSS a Celebration in Photographs

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series: Photography
Photos by HHW ; ACS ; AAE

2017 MAY AT PMSS a Celebration in Photographs and Quotes


2017 Photographs by visitors and Ann Angel Eberhardt, Helen Wykle, and Anna Smith, and others.



Singing Willie may be taken as a sort of symbol of the best in folksong and singers of that period and that region Pine Mountain]. Since his Nolan ancestors had, in the words of another Nolan, “populated the wilderness a right-smart,” and there were other Willies now among them, he was known up and down the valleys as “Singing Willie,” and so he still signs his letters to me. Un-scholarly though we were, we recognized his special quality, and celebrated it once a year. We counted that springtime lost that did not include a day’s pilgrimage to him. This involved our arranging for substitutes for our work at the school, and finding nags to ride (in a season when every animal was needed in the fields). There was then a seven-mile ride down the valley, a steep clamber up a path that wound around boulders and fallen trees and crossed and recrossed the tumbling brook; and then a tiny farm set in a clearing, where in winter the sun rose at 10 and set at 3, so close were the mountain tops. Now, however, there was the bloom of laurel and fruit trees, freshly turned earth for the crop, and long hours of sunshine. On such days we knew why so many of our songs started off with the conventional

As I was walking one morning in May,
In sweet recreation I careless did stray,

and why a favorite ending was,

“If ever I return, it will be in the spring
 To see the waters a gliding,
    hear the nightingale sing.”

July 21,1955 Harvard University
Appalachian Folksongs]


“You would have gloried in our wonderful tulips in the border on the East side of the Cabin as our neighbors did who came to Mother’s Day celebration yesterday. None of the neighbors have tulips in their garden so they were particularly admired. A blue vase held one of each color and the children learned the word GLORIOUS to describe them. A few giant pansies merited the same description.” ……


“One day while I was there, little Milburn slipped away down the hill to where Swallow was tied and where some little cousins were waiting to present the Dr. with a “flower-pot”. His grandmother tried to get him back but he would not come so I said, “Let him stay until I go down”. He was determined not to go back so was hiding in a fence corner. Little Lena said “We tried to stir him”. I bribed him with a pretty card to show his “Maw”. He started on the run. The “flower-pot” was a flour poke that had been turned in and filled with “fearns” and violets. As it was impossible to carry it on the mare I asked Grace who was presenting it to carry it up to Alta.”

” Bradley the father stayed away from his work four days and helped but he had to get back as soon as possible to keep the bread basket supplied. When returning from the other side of the mountain he found a patch of bear lettuce and picked a bucketful in no time. It was better in taste than garden lettuce said Sary. Aunt Jane, too, had labored to get a mess of thistle greens for old Gran.”

“Alfred had been out picking a mess of greens – wild mustard, thistle, and dandelion. He had stopped and gathered some violets which he presented with a blush……..

[Stapleton Reports, April-May 1933]

“We are all so happy with this awakening season and growing things. …”

“Neely came to the cabin grounds to pick salat greens on Monday and Finley had been in a vile mood ..I am always interested in the salat greens she finds on our lot. Plantin leaves seem the favorite as they give body to the softer greens such as old field lettuce, ground-hog’s ears, lady’s thumb, wild mustard, duck and lamb’s quarters.”

“Three miles through the forest. It was so quiet with only the sound of the Branch far below keeping me company Yet never do I feel alone when thus riding thru the forest with my mind full of thoughts of these people asking so little of life and yet that denied.”

“Every Sunday I make the rounds of the Cabin grounds and now it is quite a game to see which one names the flower or plant most quickly. Tulips, hyacinths, iris, wallflower, pansies, and columbine. One Sunday there were enough pansies for each to take a small “flower-pot” home with them. No one ever has pansies tho they have shrubs of some kind that the chickens can not scratch out. Each child craves a little garden so the seeds of a few of the easier grown annuals have been given to each child.”

[Stapleton Report, May 1933]


Though not a Pine Mountain resident or writer connected with the School, Margaret Morley, a Western North Carolina writer, wrote eloquently of Spring in the mountains in 19.  She lived in Tryon, NC and knew several Pine Mountain women, particularly Helen Wilmer Stone who moved to the Tryon area of North Carolina after leaving Pine Mountain.


SEE:  https://archive.org/stream/carolinamountain00morliala?ref=ol#page/36/mode/2up