Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Students
Series 19: Students
Published 2021 June 04 hw/aae

WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Students 1928-1929

TAGS: William Brown, Lena Rose Brown, students, Green Hill school, Lejunior Coal Camp, Gano Moore Coal Mining Company, Katherine Pettit, Langdon Memorial, W. Taylor Brown, Berea College Normal School, Brock School, Berea Academy, Sue Bennett College

In the spring of 1928, Katherine Pettit, the co-director of the Pine Mountain Settlement School, received the following letter:

June 15, 1928
Berea, Ky.

My dear Miss Pettit:

I have a half brother and sister, fifteen and seventeen, living in Laurel County, who find it necessary to go away from home to attend school. They would like to come to Pine Mountain for next year.

Rose, the girl, attended Langdon Memorial last year where she finished the grades and made a good record. She wishes to change to Pine Mountain this year in order to be with her brother, Bill. He is ready for the 7th grade. 

They are both willing and strong enough to do hard work.
Please let me know as soon as possible if you can accept them. ….

(signed) Taylor Brown

June 15, 1928. Letter to Katherine Pettit from Taylor Brown, Berea, KY.

WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Students: About W. Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown studied teaching in the Normal School at Berea (Kentucky) College. He had followed the work of Katherine Pettit and the two were familiar with one another’s work, sharing many educational reform goals.

A narrative of Taylor’s years at Green Hill (1922 to 1926), a rural school in eastern Kentucky’s Harlan County, describes his experiences, difficulties, and accomplishments while teaching in a one-room rural schoolhouse. 

By 1929, he was a teacher at Shields school in Lejunior, Kentucky, in Harlan County. Lejunior, which is also known as Gano Coal Camp, was one of many early coal camps of Eastern Kentucky.  

(In the 1920s the camp was owned by Gano Moore Coal Mining Company, headquartered in Delaware. It is situated on the Cumberland River approximately 4 miles north of Evarts. In 1928 Gano Moore Coal Mining Company was implicated in an international maritime scandal that was litigated and the company manipulated its stocks in order to avoid prosecution. The result was a failure of the Gano Company and the eventual re-naming of the coal camp to Lejunior. This transition time was very difficult for those living in Gano.)

WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Students: At Pine Mountain

William Brown's handwritten letter to Miss Pettit, June 25, 1928.
June 25, 1928. Page 1 of two-page letter to Miss Katherine Pettit from William Brown.

William (“Bill”) Brown and Lena Rose Brown arrived at Pine Mountain at the beginning of the school year of 1928-1929. William was 15 years old, ready for the seventh grade after attending Brock School in Laurel County. In a letter to Miss Pettit dated June 25, 1928, he stated his desire to attend PMSS and expressed, in particular, his interest in woodworking. Also, he offered to arrive at PMSS a few months early to do summer work that would be applied toward his tuition.

William’s sister, Rose Brown, age 16, had completed 8th grade at Langdon Memorial School in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky.  

Bills for William and Rose’s tuition and book rentals were regularly sent to W. Taylor Brown, who promptly paid them. In return, Miss Pettit kept him informed of the siblings’ progress. She wrote on May 20, 1929, at the end of their first school year at PMSS, that she would like to see them return next year. 

[Rose] has done so well and we find girls do so much better the second year. And then she is a girl of fine character and spirit and is such a fine influence with the other girls. You see she is doing as you are doing, helping others to be better just as you do. [Bill is trying to improve his behavior and] perhaps we could do him more good next year than if he went some other place….

May 20, 1929. Excerpt from Katherine Pettit’s letter to W.Taylor Brown. [brown_william_rose_021]

In June of 1929, Taylor Brown wrote to Miss Pettit, answering her inquiry about his future plans for William and Rose. He told about Rose’s time at Berea (possibly Berea Academy) having taken units in music and education. As for his thought concerning Rose’s future,

Next year I want her to continue here for a certificate so she can go out on her own expense as soon as possible. I have been helping others so long that now I feel that I should begin to help myself more. As for Bill, I will agree to pay his expenses there if he wants to go back and do well. 

June 16, 1929. Excerpt from Katherine Pettit’s two-page letter to W.Taylor Brown. [brown_william_rose_023.jpg and brown_william_rose_024.jpg]

In a postscript, Taylor wrote about his appreciation for the School’s “interest in Rose and Bill and I am grateful for what Pine Mountain has meant to so many boys and girls.

WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Students: After Pine Mountain

There is no evidence in the PMSS Collections that William returned to Pine Mountain Settlement School after his first year as a boarding student. In June and September of 1929, PMSS received requests for transcripts of Rose’s high school credits from two institutions: Berea College and Sue Bennett College in London, Kentucky. It is not known whether she eventually attended either of the schools.


William Brown was born on March 4, 1913, and his sister, Lena Rose Brown, in November 1911. Both were born in Kettle Island (Bell County), Kentucky. Their father was Henry B. Brown of Brock, (Laurel County), Kentucky. The 1930 U.S. Census records Henry Brown’s occupation as a farmer and the mother’s name as Julia Brown. It further indicates that, in 1930, they had four daughters and two sons at home, including “Rosa,” the oldest child and “Willie,” the second oldest child.

See Also:
WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Correspondence (1928-1929)
W. TAYLOR BROWN Narrative (1922-1926)

WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Student Records (password-protected)
NOTE: Images of the full set of student records are considered private material and are not generally publicly displayed.
Their access may be provided on request, pending approval of Pine Mountain Settlement School and the archivist of the PMSS Collections. Contact the main PMSS Office for information.


William and Rose Brown

Alt. Title

William Brown ; Rose Brown ; Willie B. Brown ; Bill Brown ; Lena Rose Brown ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

William Brown ; Rose Brown ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Students ; Lejunior Coal Camp ; Gano Moore Coal Mining Company ; Katherine Pettit ; Langdon Memorial ; W. Taylor Brown ; Berea College Normal School ; Brock School ; Berea Academy ; Sue Bennett College ;

Subject LCSH

Brown, William, — b. 1913 .
Brown, Lena Rose, — b.1911.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


2021-06-04 hw/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 – Students ; Series 19: Students.




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: Biography – Students and Series 19: Students.

Coverage Temporal

1911 – 1929

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Brock, KY ; Kettle Island, KY ; Bell County, KY ; London, KY ; Laurel County, KY ; Berea, KY ; Mt. Vernon, KY : Lejunior (Gano Coal Camp), KY ; Everts, 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 William Brown and Rose Brown ; clippings, photographs, books by or about William Brown and Rose Brown;




“[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

2021-06-   aae;  2021-06-05 hhw; 



“United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9R4X-SM6?cc=1810731&wc=QZF9-TVF%3A648805301%2C650750101%2C649097503%2C1589282343 : accessed 4 June 2021), Kentucky > Laurel > District 6 > ED 13 > image 1 of 22; citing NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002). Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89M1-7H7H?cc=2000219&wc=QZXY-BS3%3A790105801%2C798758901%2C790111701%2C952688701 : accessed 4 June 2021), Kentucky > Laurel > Magisterial District 2 > 63-5 Magisterial District 2 bounded by (N) Magisterial District Line, State Highway 80; (E) Brock-Robinson Creek Church Rd; (S) State Highway 229, Boreing-Lily Rd; (W) U.S. Highway 25; also Fariston (part) > image 22 of 44; citing Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012. Internet resource.

WILLIAM AND ROSE BROWN Correspondence. Series 09: Biography – Students and Series 19: Students. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

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