CHARLES F. NESBITT Correspondence 1922-1925

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Charles F. Nesbitt Correspondence
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CHARLES F. NESBITT Correspondence, Aug.1922 – Feb.1925
Teacher at Big Laurel School, 1923 – 1924

TAGS: Charles F. Nesbitt, correspondence, YMCA of the Citadel, Military College of South Carolina, Katherine Pettit, Ethel de Long Zande, rural schools, Medical Settlement at Big Laurel, Emory University, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Creech, teacher prospects, theological seminary, A.C. Jones, Harlan County Superintendent of Schools, Aileen Lewis

CONTENTS: Charles F. Nesbitt Correspondence

[Note: Letters from PMSS staff in the PMSS Collections are carbon copies, typewritten, unsigned, and meant for the Office files. The original signed copies were sent to the correspondents. The initials at the bottom left of most PMSS letters indicate the writer (along with initials of the secretary). For example, “EZ” are the initials for Ethel de Long Zande, “KP” refers to Katherine Pettit. Letters from Charles F. Nesbitt are handwritten unless indicated otherwise.] 


[001] August 10, 1922. To “Mr. Nesbitt, School Teacher, Daley, Leslie County, Kentucky,” from EZ (Ethel de Long Zande). Following a recent visit Nesbitt made to the School, Zande asks if he would teach until the end of the term (May 1), as a replacement; at $60 a month plus living expenses. Encloses questionnaire.

[002] December 19, 1922. Two-page typewritten letter to Katherine Pettit from Charles F. Nesbitt on letterhead for “The Young Men’s Christian Association of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.” at which he is the General Secretary. He regrets that Boyd Williams did not attend PMSS; follows the progress of PMSS; plans to attend the Seminary in fall or winter 1922 and has time beforehand when he “could teach somewhere in the mountains.” He cites financial reasons for not attending the Seminary this year. Mentions another young man who is also interested in PMSS.


[003] January 5, 1923. To Nesbitt from KP (Pettit), who mentions needing a teacher at the Coil Branch school at Line Fork but one is needed for 6 months; also suggests a 3-month position at the school at Hurricane Gap. 

[004] March 9, 1923. To Pettit from Nesbitt, telling her about several young men and women who are asking about summer teaching at Kentucky schools, particularly some June graduates who are interested in PMSS. He is interested in the 6-month school (Coil Branch at Line Fork); offers to help Pettit with securing teachers.

[005] March 26, 1923. To Nesbitt from KP (Pettit). Encloses questionnaires for those interested in applying; describes plans to “start a new settlement at the Head of Leatherwood, about ten miles away.” She is asking the Perry County Superintendent of Schools “whether they want us to supply teachers for [their four] schools” and will let Nesbitt know the answer. Pettit tells him there are no PMSS openings; Zande asks about his interest in applying for the Divide School.

[006] April 19, 1923. To Nesbitt from KP (Pettit) reporting that the Perry County superintendent “is expecting us to furnish teachers for the schools on Leatherwood.” She asks Nesbitt to have those who are interested to send in their applications.

[007] April 23, 1923. To Pettit from Nesbitt. The people looking for teaching jobs have other plans. He thinks he will attend the Seminary in the fall. He and four others are still looking for summer work. 

[008] April 27, 1923. To Nesbitt from KP (Pettit), who does not need summer workers; suggests writing to Superintendent Napier at Hazard, KY.

[009] May 23, 1923. To Zande from Nesbitt, who is still undecided what to do for summer but will enter Emory University in Atlanta, GA next September or January. Asks about summer teaching at the Hurricane Gap or Divide schools. Tells about his correspondence with Pettit. “In addition to my teaching in the mountains last summer, I had taught some previously in night schools during my college course.”

[010] May 26, 1923. To Nesbitt from EZ (Zande). Suggests he write to A.C. Jones, Harlan County Superintendent of Schools, which she is also doing. Divide School’s house has burned down but there is a need for a teacher at Incline; also asks if he’s interested in teaching at Big Laurel and living in the community. 

[011] May 26, 1923. To Mr. A.C. Jones, County Supt., Harlan, Kentucky, from EZ (Zande), who recommends Nesbitt: “He is a splendid young man, who taught last summer on Cutshin, and hopes next winter to enter a theological seminary. He has visited us twice.”

[012] June 2, 1923. To Zande from Nesbitt, who is writing to Jones; accepts the offer to teach at Incline or Big Laurel school for 6 1/2 months, beginning in July. He is leaving Charleston and provides his home address in Greenville, SC.

[013] June 5, 1923. To Nesbitt in Greenville, SC, from EZ (Zande), Jones has found a teacher for Incline School and Divide School will not be open “much before September 1st.”; asks if he is willing to live with one of the neighborhood families. “…I would like…to have the play house free for the Industrial worker, who ought to keep the place open for the children. That means that I could not put a man in there. I believe you would be an acceptable teacher to them at Big Laurel. Miss Dunbar has done splendid preliminary work.” She also asks if he would work the full seven months “in case the people at Big Laurel could manage to get their corn in so that School could begin the first week of July?” She will consult the trustee about this.

[014] June 5, 1923. To Miss Peters, Medical Settlement, from EZ (Zande), asking if Peters would talk with Mr. Boggs and the neighbors about opening the BIg Laurel school the first week of July; asks about where Nesbitt could board.

[015] June 20, 1923. To Nesbitt from EZ (Zande). “The Big Laurel people find that they cannot open School until the third week in July. Crops are rather late this year.” Asks Nesbitt if he can rearrange his plans.

[016] June 21, 1923. To Zande from Nesbitt, who encloses the contract to begin the first week in July., signed to Mr. Jones; hopes to arrive no later than June 29; agrees to live in “a native home” but ask for his own room and “most important of all good food.”

[017] June 25, 1923. To Nesbitt from EZ (Zande), who is “delighted” he accepted the Big Laurel teaching job but asks if he can begin July 16. Mentions a possible living place with the “young Mrs. Henry Creeches” with her nearby mother to provide food. Miss Peters will ask about this.

[018] July 20, 1923. To Nesbitt at Pine Mountain, KY, from EZ (Zande), who apologizes for not visiting his school yet. “Until Miss [Marguerite] Butler comes back I will do what I can to do the supervisory work that Mr. Jones asks the School to do.” Asks Nesbit to emphasize writing, “intelligent reading” and “busy work for the beginners.” Regrets that whooping cough is affecting attendance “but in a way a smaller school will give you an opportunity to do fine, intensive work with the one you have.”

[019] August 1, 1923. To Zande from Nesbitt, who asks that Zande arrange the “means of payment for my noon meal on School days down at the Medical Settlement. … The school work goes well but I am awfully crowded.”

[020] August 2, 1923. To Nesbitt from EZ (Zande), stating that she and Miss Peters decided that “thirty cents a dinner would cover expenses.”

[021] August 13, 1923. To Nesbitt from KP (Pettit), who encloses a list of words for the spelling contest at the Fair. She asks him to see that his pupils and the neighbors will attend. “We are to have fine speaking, and ice cream, as well as things for people to buy for dinner.” 

[022] October 16, 1923. To Nesbitt at Big Laurel from EZ (Zande), who thanks him for his note about Miss Hynes’ helpful work and hopes that Miss Lewis will also be helpful. Regrets she cannot supply a substitute for Nesbitt for the week of October 29 and suggests that “Miss Lewis teach her first two grades just as she is doing. The younger children are the ones who drop out first when bad weather begins.” Zande is planning a teachers’ conference and will invite Nesbitt, Mr. Brown, Mr. Llewellyn, Mr. Green, and Grant Creech. Asks how many prizes her girls should get together.

[023] December 1, 1923. A bill from PMSS to Nesbitt for “hauling trunk, $1.56.”

[024] December 17, 1923. To Nesbitt from EZ (Zande), who thanks him for his check.”We hate to have you go, and to feel that you are not coming back to us next year.


[025] [date? PAGE 1 IS MISSING.] Page 2 of a letter to [?] from Nesbitt. “I hope things are going well at Pine Mountain and have been thinking much of the place and the many people thereabouts whom I call ‘friends.’ My sincerest wishes are for you all the time.”

[026a], [026b] [date? PAGE 1 IS MISSING.] Pages 2 and 3 of a letter to [?] from Nesbitt, who has sent names of prospects for PMSS teaching positions. He is indecisive about returning to Big Laurel for financial reasons or continue his studies. Suggests the best prospects on the list. Asks for Pine Mountain Notes.

[027], [027a] [date? PAGE 1 IS MISSING.] Pages 2 and 3 of list of prospects for PMSS teaching positions with their addresses, education and experiences.

[028] March 11, 1924. To Nesbitt at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, from [unsigned, likely EZ], who is impressed with the prospect list and is writing to each one on the list. She hopes Nesbitt will return to Big Laurel next year; mentions needing nurses to return to fill in for Miss Vallette who wants several months’ vacation. Mentions Marguerite Butler’s talks about the Danish Folk Schools.

[029] April 16, 1924. To Nesbitt from EZ (Zande), asking if he will return to Big Laurel next year; some of the prospects on his list are sending information about themselves.

[030] May 1, 1924. Typewritten letter to Zande from Nesbitt. His finances are in doubt because of a necessity of an operation. “The temptation to come back has never lessened, and I don’t think I should be sorry if I were compelled to come back.” 

[031] May 6, 1924. To Nesbitt from EZ (Zande), wishing him well and expressing hope that he will return to Big Laurel. “Big Laurel is to be a two-teacher school, and we shall try first of all to have the primary teacher a Berea graduate, for we think they ought to have preference. If we cannot find the right person at Berea, we will draw on your reserves.”

[032] May 19, 1924. Typewritten letter to Zande from Nesbitt, who asks if Big Laurel school could begin in the first week in September. He will be at Emory summer school until the end of August, “completing my first year of Theology….” He is also asking Mr. Jones.

[033] May 23, 1924. To Mr. A.C. Jones, Superintendent of Schools, Harlan, KY, from EZ (Zande), asking his opinion of Nesbitt’s request; also asking if it was legal for her to select the second teacher for Big Laurel.

[034] May 26, 1924. To Zande from A.C. Jones, who declined Nesbitt’s request to delay in opening Big Laurel school “as the roads in winter are so bad….I want so bad to have him back there for work and I am hoping that he can so arrange” to begin in the middle of July. Explains how the “teacher situation” can be handled before the new law takes effect.

[035] May 31, 1924. Typewritten letter to Zande from Nesbitt, who writes that he cannot arrive in July and suggests to Zande and Jones a compromise by cutting his summer school short, arriving in August and staying for seven months.

[036] June 5, 1924. To Zande from Nesbitt on Emory University letterhead. Jones accepted his arrival on August 4 and Nesbitt is sending him a contract for Big Laurel school. Tells Zande his preferences from the list he sent her to be hired as assistant. He has written Daniel Turner and Henry Creech that he is returning.

[037] June 17, 1924. To Nesbitt from EZ (Zande), who is glad he is returning and describes his assistant who will be Miss Holladay from Berea. 

[038] November 10, 1924. To Nesbitt from [unsigned, likely Zande], who is glad for the “satisfactory outcome of the trial…I believe you will be able to win back your old interest in the big Laurel problem, for I think those people are as needy as any mission field you could possibly find. You have struck some of the snags that all missionaries meet on the field, haven’t you? And if that community isn’t helped forward, it seems to me it will be a menace some day.” She hopes that he preach “some other Sunday morning this month….”


[039] February 9, 1925. To Nesbitt, ℅ Miss Aileene Lewis, Louisville, KY, from EZ (Zande), who regrets having missed him before he left and to express “great appreciation of the work you have done at Big Laurel in the last two years. Of course it is a pity to have had things end as they have, but I think it was the right way considering all the circumstances.” Mentions Daniel Turner who praised Nesbitt’s teaching. Invites him to return for a visit at Big Laurel, “for I know this will be a memorable two years in your life and that you will really prize the relationships you established.” Sends her good wishes to Nesbitt and Miss Lewis.

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See Also CHARLES F. NESBITT Staff – Biography