Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff 
JOHN HOWARD YOUNG Antioch Co-op Teacher 1929-1930
and PMSS Teacher, 1937-1939
John Howard Young (c. 1905 – ?)

Antioch College Co-op at PMSS ; JOHN HOWARD YOUNG Staff

PMSS student teachers from Antioch College Cooperative Education program, 1930. John Howard Young, Glenn Argetsinger, Harold Gough standing behind Farm House. [X_100_workers_2577_mod.jpg]

TAGS: John Howard Young, Antioch College Cooperative Education, student teaching, mathematics, housefathers, Episcopal Theological School, The Blue Ridge Industrial School (BRIS), Staunton Military Academy Grace Young, Burton Rogers


Antioch Co-op Student Teacher, May 1929 – May 1930
Housefather, Teacher, Supervisor of Activities, September 1937 – June 1939

JOHN HOWARD YOUNG came to Pine Mountain In 1929, as an eager and impressive young intern who left no intellectual stone un-turned. Trained as a mathematician, he measured all his decisions and often believed there was a formula to be followed. As an Ethics instructor, he learned otherwise. As a dorm counselor, teacher, and energetic participant in the School’s programs, he soon found there were no formulas.

Although he wrote in one of his letters that he related the meaning of life to mathematics, he could also be passionate about certain things. He was once cautioned to dampen his enthusiasm for his new-found joy of relative motion — dancing. In a memo from the Director, he was warned there was “too much dancing. “

While John left his mark on many students with his enthusiasm, often catching, he did not fail to instill a measure of temperance and exploration in his students.

JOHN HOWARD YOUNG: As an Antioch Co-op Teacher, 1929-1930

The story of John Howard Young’s interaction with Pine Mountain Settlement School (PMSS) begins with a letter dated February 13, 1929, from the Supervisor of Student Teaching at Antioch College. She was sending John Howard Young to PMSS to serve as a student teacher for ten weeks, replacing Bennett Gale. Young was 24 years old and, as she describes: 

“more mature than most of our students. He worked for four years before coming to college…attended Speyer’s, a progressive school….in New York City for five years, and then later went to the George Washington High School, from which he was graduated. Since coming to Antioch, he has been employed most of the time by the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, though he has been looking forward to teaching. He has had numerous education courses and this semester is observing in the high school in Yellow Springs [Ohio]. Mrs. Everdell, whom he has been assisting this year, speaks very highly of his ability as a teacher. … is a student member of our Religious Activities Committee…his character and conduct [is] beyond reproach….[H]e has a good tenor voice.”  

The Antioch College Cooperative Education Program, begun at Antioch over 90 years ago, supplied a steady stream of practice teachers for the Pine Mountain Settlement School in the 1920s and 1930s and continues to be a signature part of the college’s curriculum today. It is a program in which students alternate between on-campus study and off-campus work, which blended well with the work/study program of Pine Mountain’s early days.

The student teachers in 1929 were supervised by Pine Mountain staff member, Margaret Motter, the school principal and teacher at Pine Mountain (1928-1938) and later head of the English department (1946-1949). In an evaluation of the Antioch program, Motter mentioned John Howard Young:

We had a good relationship with the co-ops. Some were better than others, but I think they helped us and, of course, we helped them with their practice-teaching. Occasionally we had one who was rather special in adapting himself to the entire school program. John Howard Young, I recall, was extremely helpful to me in directing simple dramatizations and in ballad singing. He also loved the folk dancing and was an enthusiastic participant. His part in this was contagious!

In his initial year at the School, John faced a life-threatening situation while visiting the satellite clinic and schooI at Line Fork Settlement, just east of the main campus of Pine Mountain. In an April 1929 report, Dr. Ida S. Stapleton described John Howard Young’s assistance with fighting a fire at the clinic and school headquarters where she was doctor and co-administrator:

And now I must tell you what has happened just a week after our return. There was just a small fire on the hearth and having emptied a sodium [?] bimed [?] carton I put it on the fire to burn. It blazed up quickly, setting the ceiling on fire. … Mr. S[tapleton] went outside and gave the alarm by a great shout to our next-door neighbors a quarter of a mile away and he and his wife came running to help. 

Two of the workers from Pine Mt. had just come for the week-end and Mr. Young [John Howard Young] was immediately on the roof. Mr. S. began hauling up water from the shallow well at the back porch and Carter handed it up to Mr. Young as fast as he could pour it on. Miss Anderson carried it from the kitchen faucet that I attended. It did not seem possible that we could not put out that fire. But it was in between the dry shingles and the inner ceiling. After twenty-five pails of water the well went dry. Mr. S. and some others who had come to help started carrying out the contents of the house into the yard. Mr. Young stayed on the roof and the water kept running from the faucet so that Carter kept handing it up but it was a losing fight and at last Mr. Young had to leave the roof.

We all drew to a safe distance and watched it burn. Such agony! The wind blew the flames into the forest on the East. The fire soon caught the fence but by pulling down some twenty panels of it that danger was past. The trees around the Cabin and the leaves on the rocky hillside below it carried the fire so that it spread thru the forest to the top of the ridge and over on the other side.

The farmers on that side soon got to work and with a fire break removed the danger from their fences and the rain on the following Monday put out the last vestige of the fire.

…Mr. Young who had his first experience at a fire here carried the news over to Pine Mt. taking his first horseback ride at this time at night and thru the forest….

Young had struck a chord with many staff who were looking for models of behavior and life adaptability. John’s enthusiasm and easy ability to adapt to life in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky were assets useful to both sides of the educational models.

“M. K. [Marian Kingman] & John Howard Young.” [kingman_093d.jpg]

JOHN HOWARD YOUNG: After Co-op Teaching, 1930-1937

Young’s first stay at Pine Mountain, from May 1929 to May 1930, was short but the pleasant experience left such an impression on him that, for many years, he longed to return. In a letter to Glyn Morris on January 14, 1936, while studying at Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Young began wondering if he should teach in a Christian school instead of joining the ministry. Then, in a May 12, 1936, letter to Morris, he asked if he could teach at PMSS again, stating that

…I believe the life and work could be a great source of happiness, worthfulness, and peace of mind.” The development of the mind in the academic fashion has its rightful place but education that leaves out the hand and the heart is the destruction of the soul. Every phase of human development should come under the school’s guiding hand and I believe Pine Mountain Settlement is trying to accomplish that idea. Therefore, I wish I could be of some service at the School once more.

Consequently, Morris interviewed Young in New York and offered a year-long housefather position at Boys House and possibly some teaching. To Young, this was a very exciting opportunity, but he soon wrote that he decided to “stick to it [his ministry studies] now that I have begun, and especially since I am thirty-two.” Morris was understanding of Young’s attempts to find his place in life, but he did suggest to him that the PMSS work could be viewed as “applied religion.”

Since then, the two kept in touch through correspondence with each other, Young often asking Morris for his counsel. While attending the seminary, Young worked summers supervising boys at Soo-Nipi Park in New Hampshire, regularly sent a contribution to PMSS, and gave talks to various groups about the history and work of  Pine Mountain Settlement School.

In March 1937, Morris again offered PMSS employment, this time for a counselor position that would be vacated the following year by Everett Wilson, a former Antioch student. Young enthusiastically accepted the position, writing that “it is nothing short of a ministry to individuals,” only to receive Morris’s regrets that he had to give the job to Miss Esther Weller (also from Antioch), due to the discontinuation of the Little School where she was teaching.

JOHN HOWARD YOUNG: Second Stay at Pine Mountain, 1937-1939

It wasn’t until May 1937 that circumstances at Pine Mountain and with Young’s life were conducive for him to finally return as a worker, this time as a housefather at $50 a month and maintenance. In preparation for Young’s arrival, Morris gathered references from Young’s former associates. The personnel director at Antioch College confirmed that Young graduated from Antioch in 1931 where he had majored in Education and that his scholastic record was excellent. 

The headmaster of Derby Academy in Hingham, Massachusetts, confirmed that Young was at Derby during the school years 1932-1935, teaching mathematics to grades 6 to 12 and English to grade 6, and in charge of boys in afternoon play three times a week. He stated that Young would do best with teaching “more serious older boys and girls. He did well with those who were responsive….” and was interested in folk dancing and singing.

Young was employed by PMSS as housefather and teacher from September 1937 until June 1939. He continued his summer job at Soo-Nipi Park in New Hampshire, at least in 1938. 

JOHN HOWARD YOUNG: After Pine Mountain, 1939-1961

By July 1939, Young was working at The Blue Ridge Industrial School (BRIS) in Virginia, a school for rural mountain students. However, Young became dissatisfied with the work he was doing at BRIS, stating that “My academic work here gives me no pleasure because it is all 8th grade level.” Young began expressing in letters to Morris that he regretted leaving PMSS and would return if the School needed him. He also was becoming more convinced that he should finish his seminary work at a theological school, and again asked for Morris’s counsel. 

Young left BRIS and in the summer of 1940 was attending Harvard Summer School of Education. In December, Morris was informed by Young that he was teaching math at the Staunton Military Academy (SMA) in Virginia. Still missing Pine Mountain, he wrote on December 12, 1940, “I agree more than ever with Mrs. [Mary Rockwell] Hook that no place celebrates Christmas with a finer spirit or in a finer way than Pine Mt. I do wish I could drop in for a fortnight.” 

Young was happy at SMA, stating “This [teaching] is my vocation. At last I can revel in the field I love — mathematics. Next to that, as you might know, comes Theology. Together they go hand in hand and are the keys to the Universe and the meaning of life. …” Explaining why he was teaching in a military school, he wrote, “Because the forces of evil never surrender. …” 

After Morris left PMSS, Young continued writing to the directors who followed Morris, occasionally visiting the School, and sending a contribution each year.

Evidently, Young could never quite settle at one institution. According to his letters, he was teaching at Darrow School, New Lebanon, New York, in 1944; at Asheville School in North Carolina (1945); Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA, (1948); and USMA Prep School, Newburgh, New York (1949). By 1954, he was teaching at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, New York, and had married Grace Young in August 1954. 

The latest letters in Young’s file in the PMSS Collections were written to then-director Burton Rogers from 1959 through 1961, while Young and his wife were living in Alexandria, Virginia. Burton wrote in January 1959, “It is gratifying to know that you are comfortably settled in your new home, and with obvious happiness both there and in your work and other activities.” The last letter was written by Rogers in January 1961, expressing that “the regularity and faithfulness which you have shown is certainly appreciated.”

See Also:
JOHN HOWARD YOUNG Correspondence I, 1929-1937
JOHN HOWARD YOUNG Correspondence II, 1938-1961

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EDUCATION Antioch College Cooperative Education at PMSS


John Howard Young

Alt. Title

J. Howard Young ;  J.H. Young ; John Young ; 




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

John Howard Young ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ;  J. H. Young l; Antioch College Cooperative Education ; student teaching ;  Glyn Morris ; mathematics ; housefathers ; Episcopal Theological School ; The Blue Ridge Industrial School (BRIS) ; Staunton Military Academy (SMA) ; Grace Young ; Burton Rogers

Subject LCSH

Young, John Howard, — c. 1905 – ?
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


2021-JAN-21 aae


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


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


Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff.

Coverage Temporal

c. 1905 – 1961

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Yellow Springs, OH ; New York NY ; Detroit, MI ; Cambridge, MA ; Soo-Nipi Park, NH ; Hingham, MA ; Bris, VA ; Staunton, VA ; New Lebanon, NY ; Asheville, NC ; Front Royal, VA ; Newburgh, NY ; Pawling, NY ;  Alexandria, VA ; 


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 John Howard Young ; clippings, photographs, books by or about John Howard Young ;




“[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

2023-AUG-20 aae ; 



“John Howard Young Correspondence,” Part I and Part II. Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

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