CELIA CATHCART 1920 Road Correspondence I

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY Staff
CELIA CATHCART 1920 Road Correspondence I
Published 2022-01-05 hw / aae

CELIA CATHCART 1920 Road Correspondence I
(Set I: January 2 – March 2, 1920)

CELIA CATHCART 1920 Road Correspondence I

377 Road crew including African American convict labor. Columbus Creech, standing far right. “337” [creech_columbus_3_377.jpg]

TAGS: Celia Cathcart, 1920 road correspondence I, Ethel de Long Zande, Laden Trail road, Pine Mountain Road Fund, Kentucky Department of Public Roads, Laden switch, convict labor, Louisville & Nashville Railroad, contributions, Kentucky Board of Control, Harlan-to-Hindman road, Angela Melville

CONTENTS: CELIA CATHCART 1920 Road Correspondence I

[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. Letters to PMSS staff are typewritten originals unless indicated otherwise.]


Joe S. Boggs – Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Public Roads, Frankfort, Ky. a
A. Headley Card Jr. and A. Headley Card, Sr. – Kentucky Hardwoods and Wasioto Lumber Company, Pineville, Ky.
Edward W. Hines – Chairman of the State Board of Control, Frankfort, Ky.
O.B. Hollingsworth – Superintendent, Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Cumberland Valley Division, United States Railroad Administration, Middlesborough, Ky.
Mrs. Celia Cathcart Holton – Former PMSS worker and representative of the School concerning Road construction.
J.R. Johnson – Division Engineer, Convict Labor Fund for Bell County, Kentucky Department of Public Roads, Pineville, Ky; College of Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington.
Chad F. C. Lewis – Dillon General Store, Dillon, Ky.
F.G. Lewis – County Treasurer, Harlan, Ky.
Angela Melville – PMSS fundraiser 1916–1920.
Katherine Pettit PMSS Co-Founder and Co-Director, 1913-1930.
Mrs. Lafon Riker – Member of the Board of Control of the State of Kentucky, Harrodsburg.
J.S. Watkins – J.R. Johnson’s successor as Division Engineer, Convict Labor Fund for Bell County, Kentucky Department of Public Roads, London, Ky.
Captain Theodore Williams – Superintendent in Charge, Kentucky Department of Public Roads, Dillon, Ky.
aptain F.H. Winfrey – In charge of convict labor, Columbia, Ky.
Ethel de Long Zande – PMSS Co-Founder and Co-Director, 1913-1928.

January 1920

01 January 2, 1920. Handwritten note to Ethel de Long Zande from F.G. Lewis, Treasurer, Harlan, Ky., enclosing a check for $1220.60 which he “placed to the Pine Mountain Road Fund as you requested.”

02 January 5, 1920. To Zande from J.S. Watkins, Division Manager, Kentucky Department of Public Roads, London, Ky., who asks to meet with Zande in Harlan or Dillon to discuss the “switch” situation. He describes his background and assures her of his experience with this type of work. 

03 January 10, 1920. To Zande from A. Headley Card, Kentucky Hardwoods, Pineville, Ky., stating that Mr. Williams is correct that “our prices for matched switch ties are $40.000 per M. loaded on cars. We invoice these to the railroad at $36.00 on our year.” He refers Zande to Card concerning the prison camp.

04 – 07 January 10, 1920. Four-page handwritten letter to Zande from J.R. Johnson, College of Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, [04] who gives his opinion concerning Captain Winfrey’s complaints about Mr. Williams, calling him “honorable and honest.” [05] He describes Mr. Williams’ powder work in the quarry; advises that Zande report the matter to the state department. [06 – 07] He also advises Zande “to call Mr. Watkins over early and keep after the department constantly.”

08 09 January 13, 1920. Two-page letter to Johnson from EZ (Zande), [08] asking his opinion of Mr. Watkins, “who has seven years experience on roads [and] who strikes me as intelligent about the work and also as having a pretty good grasp of detail.” She lists several points that Watkins made in a recent interview with her about prison labor in the summer, when to begin work, the friction between Capt. Winfrey and Mr. Williams, [09] the cost of grading per mile, and the need for detailed estimates. She asks his opinion on these issues.

10 January 19, 1920. To Zande from F.H. Winfrey, asking for an update from her and Katherine Pettit on “what has been done on the road this winter, if anything…” and her plans for spring, particularly about convict labor.

11 January 19, 1920. To Zande from Watkins, Division Engineer, Kentucky Department of Public Roads, London, Ky. Mr. Joe S. Boggs, Commissioner, told him about possible passing of legislation “to remedy Convict work.” He will send Zande the cost statements when they are ready.

12 January 20, 1920. To Watkins from EZ (Zande), asking her for information about the road, convict labor for the summer, the amount spent so far, and drainage plans. Requested material on the “affair with the L. and N. Railroad.”

13 January 20, 1920. To Card Sr., Nolansburg, Ky., from EZ (Zande). “I am very happy to know of the contribution you are going to make to our expenses in rebuilding the prison camp.” She will send a check to his nephew soon.

14 January 23, 1920. To Zande from O.B. Hollingsworth, Superintendent, U.S. Railroad Administration, Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Middlesborough, Ky. Asks for “a corrected statement of the amount due the school” for the construction of track at Laden, Ky.

15 – 16 January 24, 1920. Two-page handwritten letter to Zande from C.F. C. Lewis, Dillon General Store, Dillon, Ky., [15] reporting that water is pouring onto the “Pike Road.” He offers to “get some men and cut some ditches and save the road. The water is ruining the road.” [16] He states the cost and number of cross ties turned in by Mr. Williams so that Zande knows what to charge L&N Railroad.

17 January 27, 1920. To Watkins from EZ (Zande) asking for the material for L&N; and number of convicts to request from the Board of Control. Tells about Chad Lewis’s report of rain damage and the need to dig ditches. “…[I]t is almost a disgrace that the matter of drainage was not attended to. I cannot understand it.”

18 January 27, 1920. To Card from EZ (Zande), asking him to send a check for the ties which the railroad had paid him for. Then she will be able to pay his nephew for the prison camp flooring. “I am glad you are finding the switch at Laden a convenience, and that you are wanting to cooperate with us in appreciation of that convenience.”

19 January 27, 1920. To Lewis from (unsigned, likely Zande), who assures him that Mr. Williams quoted a fair price. She asks Lewis to get men to dig ditches for the road at $2.50 a day.

20 January 27, 1920. To Hollingsworth from EZ (Zande), about bills for the Laden switch grading and cross ties. She feels that more had been paid to Card for ties than necessary. She asks Hollingsworth to send a payment to Lewis for the ties he furnished at $1.10 each..

21 January 30, 1920. To Winfrey, Columbia, Ky., from EZ (Zande) who refers Winfrey to Watkins concerning convict labor for the road.

22 – 26 January 30, 1920. Five-page handwritten letter to Zande from Johnson, replying to her letter. [22] Explains that the cost of convict labor using state funds is in excess of convict labor by contract (when the county/school’s share is reimbursed by the state). [23] “Prison labor is costly simply because it is managed by the state and not by an individual (contractor) who makes or loses according to the efficiency of the management.” [24] He agrees with Watkins’ estimate of Williams. There is not enough money to surface the road, but the road can be useful with a hard surface. He explains why the estimate and drainage plans were delayed; [25] He assures Zande that with or without contract labor, she will get more that 50% aid and explains how this is assessed. Regrets that the county is not cooperative with Zande. [26] He mentions plans for a Harlan-Hindman road. Suggests she use “friends with political influence.” He feels that “Whatever service you render for the success of this road is a service for the state.”

27 January 31, 1920. Handwritten letter to Zande from Lewis, who cannot get men to work for $2.50 a day, when they can get $3.50 to $4.00.

28 January 31, 1920. To Zande from Hollingsworth, who feels that the charge to Card for the Laden switch was improper. Also, he asks her to “get the grading proposition straightened up….” He doesn’t agree with Zande’s engineer concerning the amount of dirt that was removed.

February 1920

29 February 2, 1920. A statement for PMSS’s purchase of “mdse” on October 15, from Wasioto Lumber Co., Inc., Pineville, Ky.

30 February 3, 1920. To Zande from Watkins, telling her the application for convicts should be made to the Commissioner of Public Roads. He will be sending her the cost data.

31 February 3, 1920. To “Celia” (Cathcart/Mrs. Caryl Holton), London, Ohio, from EZ (Zande), who is leaving for a “six days’ speaking campaign in Chicago.” Asks about the ton of dynamite. If the “state will not agree to suspend the enormous overhead charges (for convict labor….Watkins) will contract the job.” Gives updates about the school: Mrs. (Katherine) Wright’s writing classes; Miss Barber’s departure at Christmas; Miss Alice Butler (Miss Brewster’s half-sister), was interim housemother, now teaching Miss Barber’s classes.

32 February 4, 1920. To Lewis, Dillon, Ky., from (unsigned), Secretary. Mrs. Zande is away but Mr. (Luigi) Zande advises Lewis to hire the men at $3.50 per day to dig the ditches; it would be better to wait until Mrs. Zande returns.

33 February 4, 1920. To Watkins from (unsigned), Secretary to Mrs. Zande, asking him for the cost of grading for the Laden switch and the amount of dirt removed to put in the switch. Hollingsworth of L&N is anxious to get the bill paid. Mrs. Zande wants an answer to her January 27th letter.

34 February 4, 1920. To Hollingsworth from (unsigned), Secretary to Mrs. Zande, questioning the cost of the ties allowed to Card which was more than allowed to Lewis. The Secretary has written to Watkins about the grading.

35 February 5, 1920. To Joe S. Boggs, Commissioner of Public Roads, Frankfort, Ky, from EZ (Zande), applying for 40 convicts “to work on the road across Pine Mountain.”

36 February 5, 1920. To Card from EZ (Zande), concerning a bill from Wasioto Lumber Co.: “We are running our school under great financial difficulties and really depending on you for your contribution before we can pay this bill.”

37 February 9, 1920. To Zande from Watkins. He plans to meet with Hollingsworth to “explain every detail of the cost to him.”

38 February 9, 1920. To Boggs from EZ (Zande), who asks to change her application to 75 men, since the convict camp at Laden can accommodate that number.

39 February 9, 1920. To Mrs. Lafon Riker, Board of Control of the State of Kentucky, Harrodsburg, from EZ (Zande), applying for 75 convicts to work on the road over Pine Mountain.

40 February 17, 1920. To Zande from Boggs, who has received her application for convicts but doubts that the State Board of Control will allot 75 of them.

41 February 18, 1920. To County Engineer of Harlan County from EZ (Zande). Zande would like to hear more about the Harlan-to-Hindman road, which she feels is “a very extravagant duplication of labor and money, since the road we are building at present could be used for the same inter-county-seat purpose….”

42 – 43 February 21, 1920. To Johnson from EZ (Zande), asking him to speak (in her place) about the need for convicts to build the road at a Board of Control meeting. (Zande must stay home with her baby.) She will also ask the board to “give a few minutes to Miss Angela Melville….who knows practically everything about the collection of money for the road.” Mentions that she will fight against another road across Pine Mountain.

44 February 21, 1920. To Edward W. Hines, Chairman of the State Board of Control, Frankfort, from EZ (Zande), asking him to allow Johnson and Melville to speak before the Board of Control on the need of convicts for the Pine Mountain Road.

45 February 21, 1920. To Mrs. Riker from EZ (Zande), telling Riker that she is arranging with Hines to have Johnson and Melville to speak at the Board of Control meeting. She explains why she cannot be present, mentioning her 11-month-old baby and that influenza and smallpox are “rampant.” 

46 February 23, 1920. To Zande from Watkins. It will be another week or 10 days until he can send information concerning the construction of the switch to L & N Railroad Co.

47 February 24, 1920. To Zande from Hines, explaining that the Board welcomes her if she wishes to meet them in Frankfort, but “there was no intention (in our February 17 letter) to solicit a conference.”

48 February 25, 1920. To Zande from Hines, responding to her request that Johnson and Melville be permitted to talk before the Board about the Pine Mountain Road. The Board welcomes them, but “this is a matter which should be taken up with the Department of Public Roads, rather than with the Board of Control….” The Board is only responsible for the convicts’ supervision and welfare. He clarifies his letter of February 24.

March 1 – 2, 1920

49 – 50 March 1, 1920. To Katherine Pettit from W.E. Morrow, Secretary, Louisville Board of Trade, asking for information about the Pine Mountain Road and the School to publish in the next issue of the Board or Trade Journal. March 8, 1920. Handwritten message at end of the letter, possibly from Pettit, with directions on how to answer; suggests that the recipient of this message or Celia (Cathcart) write an article and “send to all the papers in the towns that helped with the road.” Also, send a leaflet to “all who gave to the road fund.”

51 March 1, 1920. To Boggs from EZ (Zande), asking him to see that the survey of the Pine Mountain Road on the north side is completed ‘before the leaves come out.” Asks for specifications for draining the road.

52 March 1, 1920. To Watkins from EZ (Zande), asking how he plans to complete the survey and whether the drainage specifications are completed.

53 March 1, 1920. To Hines from EZ (Zande), who explains why she had requested that someone make a plea before the Board for securing convicts. Zande refers to the “great waste” that she had seen last year, stating, “…[T]he most necessary thing for good management was that the Keepers must insist most decidedly that they must cooperate with the Superintendent of the work; that was a difficulty from the very beginning with our Pine Mountain bit of road….” She hopes he will grant the 75 convicts she had requested.

54 – 59 March 2, 1920. Six-page handwritten letter to Zande from (signature is truncated, apparently Angela Melville), YWCA Home, Lexington, Ky., [54] reporting on her visit with the Board of Control Frankfort to tell them about “our great need of the convicts.” Members of the Board were Mrs. Riker, Mr. Hines, Mr. Garfield, the Secretary Mr. Brewer, and another man. She was told that “the Board had not the power to appropriate the number of convicts — this matter being in the hands of Mr. Boggs, the Road Commissioner.” Also, the Board would look into PMSS’s dissatisfaction “with the way the County was dispensing [55] the funds….” Surprised that the Board knew about this, Cathcart [56] explains how they found out (via Pettit to Riker). Cathcart suggests that Zande write to them and “clear it up.” Later, Boggs told Cathcart that the Board of Control “did have the power to veto or approve the number of convicts sent.” [57] He explained that it was a “new Board, just appointed, & they probably just didn’t know their own powers!” He assured Cathcart that he will get the 75 convicts for the road. Cathcart lists her own feelings concerning the situation: [58] She feels Zande should meet with the Board. The rumor about poor spending of the funds has “got under [their] skin” and may hurt the chances of getting cooperation from them. [59] 

Next: CELIA CATHCART 1920 Road Correspondence II
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See Also:
CELIA CATHCART 1916 Road Correspondence
CELIA CATHCART 1917 Road Correspondence
CELIA CATHCART 1918 Road Correspondence
CELIA CATHCART 1919 Road Correspondence I

CELIA CATHCART Staff Biography

ETHEL De LONG ZANDE 1917 Correspondence

LADEN TRAIL or THE ROAD – Prospectus and History

GALLERY: CELIA CATHCART 1920 Road Correspondence I
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