Dr. LLEWELLA MERROW Correspondence I

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
Series 14: Medical, Health & Hygiene

Dr. LLEWELLA MERROW Correspondence I, 1926

TAGS: Dr. Llewella Merrow Correspondence I; Llewella Merrow; Llewella Maria Merrow; Dr. Merrow; physicians; Pine Mountain Settlement School; Ethel de Long Zande; Line Fork Settlement; medical work; Line Fork Settlement; Gilley, KY; Katherine Pettit; train travel; Dr. Alfreda Withington; eyeglasses; trachoma; medical supplies; horses; Playville; maternity cases; adenoids cases;

GALLERY: Dr. Llewella Merrow Correspondence I
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TRANSCRIPTION: Dr.Llewella Merrow Correspondence I
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[Some of the handwritten words are indecipherable. These are indicated by question marks or periods: ….]

[merrow_llewella_corr_001.jpg] – Handwritten letter.

Smith[?] Community Center
Smith[?], Ky.

Dear Mrs. Zande: Your letter has just come to me from Berea and I have just finished one to you a half hour before asking you to send me more definite information about Line Fork. You write of first deciding if the two nurses would do and I somehow thought of it only as nurses work. If there is need for a doctor I think I would like to try but I must have something to live on. It is not right to undervalue a doctor’s service too much. My opinion here is that a Thespian[?] will gain very little hearing or respect of the people by giving too much to them. They will call the man from Harlan or Pineville who charges $25 –! I would like very much to go to Pine Mt. on Sat of this week. If weather permits I shall try to do this. It sounds very  …?… and cold tonight so I may have to postpone the trip until next week but I shall try to make it very soon. I hope you will not need to decide before then, but if you are in a hurry will you please write me fully about[?] salary and why outfit?… for a physician is there.

Very sincerely
Lewella Merrow
Friday 10th [1926]

[merrow_llewella_corr_002.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

January 15, 1926

Dear Dr. Merrow:

Miss [Katherine] Pettit has just sent your note on to Pine Mountain. I suppose she is in New York by this time, and I want you to know that we will be ever so glad to have you come riding in on us, any time you want to.

Miss McCord is at Wooton, thirty miles away from us, and you would reach her, I believe, from Typo on the L. and R. branch of the L. and N. Then you would have a thirty-mile trip to come up to us. I would like you to be thinking about the possibility of staying at Line Fork until the first of September. A preacher and his wife, who is a physician, are coming then for that work, and a couple of nurses are under consideration for the intervening time, but neither of them may be the sort of person who ought to take over that work. It would be wonderful to have you over there for a few months if you would consider it.

I suppose we will know very soon about these nurses, certainly by the time you get here. The work would only be temporary, and the salary would, of course, be small, but there must be medical work going on over there. The other resident in the family would be Miss Bingham whose specialty is domestic science.

It does seem to me that there must be a place for you somewhere in the mountains. Our Dr. [Alfreda] Withington, who is by no means young, is able to do a tremendous amount of work. I am inclined to think there must be just the sort of place you would like to fit into if you are in good robust condition. It seems fairer to you to stop by Wooton first, for something permanent might open up there and the Line Fork work would be only temporary.

It will be good to see you again.

Very sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: Ethel de Long Zande]

[merrow_llewella_corr_003] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

February 3, 1926

Dear Dr. Merrow:

I am most anxious to know how you feel about the temporary work at Line Fork, as another probable worker has come onto the near horizon for that work, Could you drop me a line?

Very sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: Ethel de Long Zande]

[merrow_llewella_corr_004.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

February 10, 1926

Dear Miss Merrow:

I am wondering if your sister has gotten the two letters I have sent to her in your care. I have rather taken for granted that if she were not at Berea, you would forward them.

Of course, it is quite possible that she has not written me because she is not especially interested in the matter I took up with her but I should so much like to know whether she has received the letters before I go on with anyone else.

Very sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: Ethel de Long Zande]

Miss Abigail S. Merrow
Country Home of the Foundation School,
Berea College, Berea, Kentucky

[merrow_llewella_corr_005.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 1 of 2.

Berea, KY, Feb. 13, ’26

My Dear Mrs. Zandi [sic]:
I can’t understand why my sister has not replied to your letters. I know that she has received one of them  — both have been sent her on the next mail out after–

[merrow_llewella_corr_005a.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 2 of 2.

–receiving them here. I am sure she spoke of replying — thinking she would not undertake the work at Line Fork. I am not sure, however. I hope that she has answered you before this.

Very sincerely
Abbie S. Merrow

[merrow_llewella_corr_006.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

March 11, 1926

My dear Dr, Merrow:

It was a relief to have Dr. Withington come in last night, with all the news of you. I do hope that the worst is over for you, as far as pain goes, by this time. Of course, you have a long recovery to make and we hope things will go smoothly. Now I shall be eager to hear what Dr. Todd thinks about the length of time it will take you to get back on your feet again, and what he thinks about your being able to do work on horseback again. Is there anything we can do for you? Have you plenty to read and what can we send you? I don’t like to start anything on the way till I know how long you are to be at Lynch, but we would love to shorten those hospital days for you if possible.

Very sincerely yours,
[Unsigned; Ethel Zande]

Dr. Llewella Merrow
Lynch Hospital
Lynch, Kentucky

[merrow_llewella_corr_007.jpg] – Handwritten letter.

[Header: Line Fork Settlement, Gilley, Letcher County, Kentucky]

Dear Mrs. Zande: I have had the misfortune to fall off a log and crack my small bone of right  ‘laig.’ This happened yesterday afternoon late and I think I could ride in to Lynch today. (this morning) and have an X Ray …is against us. If Dr. Withington is able …anything to work … I would like to have her come down. If not, perhaps Miss Heeley[?] will help me to see that it is as … as we–


–can make it and I’ll go to Lynch as soon as I can — I think).

Can ride a mule safely and more easily than …

Yours in misery
L.M. Merrow

Don’t tell any new[?] people there about this than really must know. I don’t want my sister to hear of it now.

[merrow_llewella_corr_008.jpg]  – Handwritten letter, page 1 of 2.


Mch 13 [1926]

Dear Mrs. Zande: Dr. Todd has just informed that I will need a plaster cast for about a month … and probably no stiffness of joint. So you see I will soon be riding horseback again! He said I could have my choice of treatment a fracture bed[?] here in the hosp. for 6 months or a cast & go back, with end result the same as far as he could tell. So I am choosing to go back — if I may. I can get about on crutches for a mo. and do a lot of things for the folks there. And if the children can come by me from the Sch[ool]. I can get them all refracted and … —

[merrow_llewella_corr_008a.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 2 of 2.

–treated too as I had planned to do. Any extra help I need a little mt. [mountain] girl can easily give me. Well, I think Miss Brigham can arrange to have the wagon come for me on Tuesday or Wednesday. I can sit up with the cast on so this … will be much easier getting back. I will write her about it.

Llewella Merrow

[merrow_llewella_corr_009.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

March 17, 1926

Dear Dr. Merrow:

Perhaps you are already at Line Fork. Isn’t it fine that you will probably have no stiffness of joint after that plaster cast is off! Will you have any maternity cases coming before you are off your crutches, and can you do any neighborhood work, or just office work, before you are rid of them? I know you would hate to miss a baby case.

Miss Heeley[?] will bring over a group of children to you some day, and we will try to get the refracting lenses to you, as soon as possible. I hope you won’t have to pay that awful price to get back; I was much upset to think that the Line Fork people did not have a more neighborly spirit. Several people from this side have been carried over the mountain, and nobody has ever had to pay a cent. Indeed, one of our workers, who was accompanied by about thirty men who took turns carrying her, had a dollar given her by one of them, who said he was sure she would need it!

Very sincerely yours,
[Unsigned; Ethel Zande]

Dr. Llewella Merrow
Lynch Hospital
Lynch, Ky.

[merrow_llewella_corr_0010.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 1 of 3.

Line Fork Settlement  March 24 [1926]

Dear Mrs. Zande: A big role of black oilcloth came here while I was away. I did not order it and am wondering if this order was mixed again. My check from boy going to Pine Mt: and your oilcloth here. It is from Kaufman Strauss, Louisville. Of course, I can make a dandy bag out of it, but it is much better than anything I thought of for that. If someone comes down Saturday could Miss [Ruth B.] Gaines spare us a hundred paper napkins? The Xmas candy recently arrived. Dr. Knight may come … at Easter and having no bags, …. paper napkins would be cheap as anything. We are getting on all–

[merrow_llewella_corr_010a.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 2 of 3.


–right. If you will I wish you would write Dr. Todd a note of appreciation. The hospital bill was very modest: ($21) – for ten days. They were all very nice to me. No doubt you have been told of this breakdown coming home. Joe Creech charged a dollar for use of his cart and Thomas Shephard his broken axle … for two guns before he left it this night: If I had not been there I think there would have been some gun display there. There is a very bad feeling toward the Smiths[?] … very obliging to … and I have paid them well for it. Creech’s cart was shot through 4 times that night & bolts taken. It was thought to be Smiths. We are in a very bad … everywhere here. I wish it were possible for you or some one to visit … here–

[merrow_llewella_corr_010b.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 3 of 3.


–[?] was not to blame for my accident. Don’t let anyone malign her!

–a little and have a better understanding of why a doctor is here. They impress me as feeling very much imposed upon if I charge them for anything. But they do not hesitate to pay a doctor $25 if he comes in from outside & my own care of this case for $5 would be with much more to … for I should see them 3 times probably and be able to do much more for them. The men down here have no use for a woman doctor apparently.

Sincerely yours
Llewella Merrow

[merrow_llewella_corr_011.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

March 29, 1926

Dear Dr. Merrow:
That black oilcloth is what we got for you, When the samples of canvas came they were inadequate, so we got this. Go ahead and make your saddlebags out of it.

I have written a little note to Dr. Todd, Wasn’t it nice that he was so very considerate? Yes, I heard about your trip home and think the swapping of a wagon for two guns was most interesting. You can really write an epic on that whole trip, it seems to me. I have had only good news of Queen’s [horse] behavior, — that she behaved as she always does in time of need, and showed her good senses and intelligence. Miss Butler, her owner, is trying to sell her. You must ask anyone who need you to come with a horse for you.

Work with the people over at Line Fork is going to be “slowly, slowly, little by little,” as they say in Albania, and it is too bad there has to be the education in financial matters going on at the same time.

Miss Heney [Heeley?] is going over to see you with a few children whose eyes have trachoma symptoms. You know we had arranged to send our worst cases to our friend Dr. Stucky in Lexington and the few others Miss Heney is not certain about. We hope before school closes, you will be able to come over here on a horse and examine the eyes of the children. It is more than we can manage to get them over to you, and we would like to be intelligent on the whole group before school breaks up for the summer.

Everyone who comes back brings us tales of your energy and “pep,” and how you refuse to be limited by this disability. I am sure you won’t do too much, will you? I hope I can get over to see you this spring. We are putting up a new building at the Medical Settlement and I have to get down there several times.

Very sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: Ethel Zande]

[merrow_llewella_corr_012.jpg] – Typewritten letter.

[Header: Pine Mountain Settlement School, Inc., Pine Mountain, Harlan County, Kentucky, with names of Executive Committee, Secretary and Treasurer]

March 31, 1926.

My Dear Dr. Merrow:

I am so glad that you have been able to take the cast off and that you are able to get about so quickly. I do hope that you will take good care of yourself.

I feel that I must return to you the Robinson-Pettet bill and let you take care of this out of your collections. The Tafel bill is a little less than ten dollars of the amount which we agreed upon to start the work at Line Fork, and so we will take care of that. We really are very poor and simply do not have the money at this time to tie up $84 in medicine. I wish that we did. You see, our bills payable today are over $6,000, with very little ready money to take care of them.

May I suggest that it probably will be well for you to allow as little credit as possible. It seems to be a strange thing, but I am told that when the people must pay cash that they seem to have it. This may help save you some labor later on.

Cordially yours,
[Signed] Ethel Zande

Dr. L. Merrow,
Gilley, Ky.

I am sending a few baby things which I have. A little later we may be able to send you more.

I have decided to enclose [notation: “to you”] a check for the difference between the Tafel bill and the $50 we agreed upon [notation: “to help out … the Robison-Pettet bill.”]

[merrow_llewella_corr_013.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 1 of 4.

Line Fork Settlement
Gilley, Letcher Co., Ky

April 1st [1926]

Dear Mrs. Zande: I am returning the Robinson Pettit [sic] bill to you with check. It is not fair to them nor just to me to keep this waiting as long as they will have to, until I collect enough to pay it. The one who owes me this work is in jail. They have enough to pay promptly. I would think on his return, it is Dick Smith’s oldest son, but I can’t tell yet who will pay & who will not. If I get a good run of baby–

[merrow_llewella_corr_013a.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 2 of 4.

–cases — cash on delivery — this bill or this school will not have to wait many months.

I ordered those drugs, an entire … charges to them by …this was a …  work of Pine Mt. Settlement School and gave your name as reference. They will think me a bounder if you do not take this up with them.

If you remember, I told you I could not tell what the bills would be as I had no price list of drugs or instruments; but I would make this order as small as I could and I have — I want the people to get the habit of buying–

[merrow_llewella_corr_013b.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 3 of 4.

–their drugs of me — and try to do away with patent medicine use so I ordered ten lbs. Of Epsom Salts and a few cathartic[?] pills and ointments in excess. That should all come back in money[?] in the course of a year — but the bill cannot wait that long and I will have to order a few  … drugs as occasion arises. For instance I had to send a man to Lynch …because I had no suitable local anesthetic. Supposing an arm is broken. I must have a proper splint to set it & … or else I cannot hold … these people. I don’t want to send every case of surgery or especially sick person–

[merrow_llewella_corr_013c.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 4 of 4.

–to Lynch — it is detrimental to my thinking as a doctor.

You see … most treat me a little … I have this work at heart. Personally, I think there should be a fund for a work like this. A checking account where as needs arise I could check from it and deposit collections — with gratuity[?] statements so … you know and I am not hampered by unwise economy. There is a bad feeling all through this section — toward the school and toward some of the workers. I…all has to be lived down — and a kindlier feeling generated.

Most sincerely —
Llewella Merrow

[merrow_llewella_corr_014.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

April 5, 1926

Dear Dr. Merrow:

Of course I shall have to take up the matter of the bill with Robinson Pettet. It will not be possible for us to pay it for some time, as there are bills of much longer standing that will claim our money first. This is a very difficult time of the year for us.

You know it is the school’s policy that anything which is paid for from this office, is ordered from this office, and when we talked about the necessity of your having supplies immediately, you asked if you could order directly, so as to save time, saying that you were sure that you wouldn’t need more than $50.00 worth. We therefore took a special gift of money that came in at the time, to provide for your supplies.

Of course we want to do all we possibly can to give you the right kind of start, but perhaps by the time we should be able to send Robinson Pettet some money, you will have made some collections and be able to send us something to apply on this bill. We shall find it a great lift if you can. Ultimately, that work at Line Fork ought to be paying for itself, as it does at the Medical Settlement. It would be inadvisable to try to create a special account for it now, on a temporary basis, with Miss Pettit away.

We are eager to see what you can do to combat the spirit at Line Fork, which was one of our reasons for placing the settlement there. It is naturally hard for you just now, because of the many changes in the personnel recently. Indeed I do know that you have the work at heart.

Sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: Ethel Zande]

Dr. Llewella Merrow
Line Fork, Ky.

[merrow_llewella_corr_015.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

May 3, 1926

Dear Dr. Merrow:

Mrs. Zande went up to see Miss Gaines at Lynch yesterday, and reports that Dr. Todd will be away from Friday evening of this week to Monday morning of next week, and you will of course not want to plan to go over then.

Sincerely yours,

Miss Gaines is doing very well, and we are much relieved. We were much afraid of infection, but the danger of that is now over.

[merrow_llewella_corr_016.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

May 10, 1926

Dear Dr. Merrow:

I know you will be glad that perhaps some of the State Board of Health people can come over to help you out next week.

We will have to send you word later about your two tonsils cases. We must limit our cases to twenty, and are still waiting to hear about some of our children. I wish you would send me all information about them, – who they are and in just what circumstances.

I believe you or Miss Bingham ought to get the people over there who would use the playground, to put it in order, as they have at Big Laurel and Divide and Incline. Even a poor little school at the head of Cutshin, last fall, got a basket-ball field, improvising with all sorts of clever ideas. It is part of the general policy of all our extension work that people make the effort themselves, to get their improvements.

I think you must have misunderstood Miss [Evelyn] Wells when she said that you would be saving a feed bill without a horse, even if you weren’t collecting as many fees. She certainly did not mean that “the work was not worth the feed.” Don’t worry about the horse; I have various plans in my mind to get you through the summer with the aid of horseflesh most of the time.

Very sincerely yours,

Dr. Llewella Merrow
Gilley, Ky.

[merrow_llewella_corr_017.jpg] – Handwritten letter, page 1 of 2.

Dear Mr.[?] Zande: I am sending this note by the man who … us … from Pine Mt. this A.M.

Please may we know at once if we may say that this doctor will be here on Sat. or any other day?

  1. The things I asked Mrs. Zande to ask you for on Sunday I will pay for if we may have them and the swing we would very much like to have for Sun or Monday as our Playville begins then. I should have thought of this sooner.
  2. My I send two and possibly three children for op if I can get them there? One for adenoids. And I believe the other 2 are for …  I doubt if two can pay anything but the work is badly needed. One is Mary Begley’s sister.
  3. I will send for the mirror. We are vain people here!

[merrow_llewella_corr_017a.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 2 of 2.

(5) If you [truncated] baby toys, teething rings and a baby comb & brush — I would much like to get them before Sat.

(6) A cordial and urgent invitation to you and all workers to visit us during next week (15 to 22) and as many children as will & can come. They will get a little & help me a lot.

Llewella Merrow

[merrow_llewella_corr_018.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter.

May 12, 1926

Dear. Dr. Merrow:

Dr. Duke was to take your word that probably some of the doctors would be able to come over to you on Tuesday. We want very much to get all our operations over on Monday, and have them free to go to you the next đay. I wonder why he didn’t mention it.

Probably by this time you have gotten my note in regard to playgrounds at extension centers. Because it is wet, however, and Mr. Browning cannot do much in the garđen, he is sparing Virgil [Smith] to bring this note and some rope over, and perhaps he can help you fix up a swing for the little children. He will be able to stay about an hour and a half, and he will do all he can.

I will look up what I can in the way of baby amusements. I fear I haven’t very much. I hope I can get over next week sometime, but am very busy making plans for the new building to be started at Big Laurel. Most of the workers who are staying after the close of school on Friday will be supervising the children who are cleaning house, so that all of them who would like to go may not be able to do so. But we shall be awfully interested to drop in, if we possibly can, and hope it is going to be a gorgeous success. It sounds like a lovely plan.

Sincerely yours,

[merrow_llewella_corr_019.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter, page 1 of 2.

June 1, 1926

Dear Dr. Merrow:

When Dr. Withington was here, a few hours after you had left last week, she said she was not going to Hyden in hot weather. She had given up the trip.

I think it would be too uncertain for us to risk holding Queen [horse], inasmuch as you may be held by baby cases, and she may not go. I have had two letters from the Stoddards asking that the horse be gotten to them at the first possible moment. Henry Creech thought she would be able to make the trip by Thursday. I am hoping that the person who takes this note to you will bring you over another horse. It has a good reputation and is well known to us. Uncle Gib paid $175.00 for it when he bought lt, and it is only seven or eight years old. I hope you will like it.

Sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: Ethel Zande]

[merrow_llewella_corr_019a.jpg] – Carbon copy of typewritten letter, page 2 of 2.

P.S. Will you send the oldest bridle on Queen. We will get the Stoddards to ship the saddle back to us.

I have someone in search for a horse we could buy for something less than fifty dollars. While there will be an interval that you are without one, it is the best that I can do.


See Also: LLEWELLA MERROW Biography