Tag Archives: dairy


Pine Mountain Settlement School



Ayrshire herd at Grapevine Knoll, Pine Mountain Settlement. [nace_1_052a.jpg]


In the collection of the archive at Pine Mountain there is a curious and fanciful scrapbook of everything “cow”. Collected by Elizabeth Hench a member of the Pine Mountain Board of Trustees, the body of material celebrates the ruminating bovine. It is rich in images and quotables, as well as cartoons and paintings that capture moments all too familiar to those who share or have shared their lives with cows. Hench calls her scrapbook, “Joy Made History” and it features the Ayrshires that made up the large herd that became the pride of Pine Mountain Settlement School’s farm. But, that’s a later story. However, one particular fragment in the scrapbook collection caught my eye. It was a chapter removed from a little book of rural reminiscences called Bucolic Beatitudes by the author “Rusticus”. Published in 1925 by the Atlantic Monthly Press of Boston, the little book’s cow chapter was pasted inside the scrapbook. It was titled “Blessed Be the Cow.”


This one bucolic fragment by Rusticus calls up memories of the many cows I have known. The chapter charmed my imagination. It describes a chance communion of Rusticus with his milk cow, “Dolly” which changes his day of discontent to one of joy. Because I grew up with cows, it is not surprising to me that the mood change occurred when Rusticus made an unexpected bond with his “contented cow.”

Rusticus, as the author calls himself, had escaped a family gathering and small irritations on his farm by taking a walk. In the hot summer sun, he found a tree in his pasture and languished under its shade. Soon he was joined by the family milk cow, “Dolly” who also relished the shade of the tree. Dolly had ambled to the tree, and begun to chew her cud while curiously eyeing her owner. Both man and cow were soon prone on the grass not far from each other. Dolly chewed slowly on her cud and Rusticus ruminated on the relationship of man to animal as he stared at the contented cow. The following is Rusticus’ short description of their subtle communion

There being nothing else to look at, I looked at Dolly. She was chewing her cud. The slow rhythmic precision of her technique fascinated me. I particularly admired the sideways movement of the lower jaw. She stopped; a gentle genuflection of the neck was noticeable; and she resumed. I had never had a chance to observe a cow before and I made the most of it. I felt that I was seeing for the first time the noble dignity of her head, her broad fine brow, and above all the eyes, serene and beautiful.

Rusticus. Bucolic Beatitudes, Boston: the Atlantic Monthly Press, 1925, pp 58-9

Rusticus continues his observations until the cow stirred, got to her feet and started the path to the barn. It was milk time and a cow feels milk-time calling her. Man and cow ambled slowly to the barn where Dolly is the be milked by a farm hand whom Rusticus calls, “The Incomparable One”. The process of milking that Rusticus so carefully described in this little book is also documented in photographs taken at Pine Mountain in the early years of the School before the Ayrshire herd was begun. Though, I doubt that “The Incomparable One” would have ever shown up barefoot. ‘

Milking the cow in the barnyard at Pine Mountain Settlement School, c. 1918. mccullough_IV_135b

Dolly now in place … With hands and arms glistening from recent soapy ablutions, he [The Incomparable One] takes the pail and holds it to the sun. He examines every inch of it critically and with deliberate care … His examination complete, we go where Dolly waits. He takes his place on gently tilted stool; we stand to one side. He pulls his rolled-back sleeves an inch higher, his great firm hands are rubbed together and then the fingers flex in smooth preparatory exercises. He leans forward and gently touches each teat in turn. From each he pulls a tiny lactic stream and lets it fall upon the clean rye straw beneath his feet. This is not done because — as held by some — the first milk contains more impurities than the rest; it is a libation, a propitiatory offering to whatever god there be who presides over the destines of cattle and impecunious rural sentimentalists.

And now the upward glance. A little figure, each in daily turn, takes its place and Dolly’s swinging tail is gently held at rest. The pail is raised to its position between extended knees, and all is ready. I notice that the milker adheres to the proper school. I do not hold, myself, for a position with the forehead of the milker pressed against the bovine flank; rather I like to see the left knee gently touching the off hind leg. It is a satisfaction to see things done with a nice attention to detail.

An now we hear the first streams strike the bottom of the empty pail. The shrill staccato of their impact is the overture, soon muffled by the increasing flood. The cadence slows; we are in the full orchestral swing by now. The milker’s bowed head is slowly raised, and, as the white foam nears the top he looks aloft. He sways a bit on his tilted stool; his head moves gently back and forth like some inspired conductor carrying his musician through the difficult passages of a mighty symphony. And now the beat quickens, the little streams leap into the rising tide of foam with soft lisping sounds. A final volley; then a few soft notes, long-drawn, and it is done.

… ‘Half quart off to-night — the grass is getting dry,” he says.’

Rusticus. Bucolic Beatitudes. Boston:The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1925, p.64-66

The ritual described in this short passage from Bucolic Beatitudes, was repeated over and again on early small Appalachian farms of those lucky enough to own such a gentle bovine ruminator. But the chore of milking was most often accomplished by the woman of the household, not a man.

A humorous mountain ballad captures the load the Appalachian woman often endures in house and on farm. It also calls out the relationships that cows often make with the milker. Cows, like people come with attitude and some cows are not quite so cooperative or bucolic as Dolly. The following brief stanza from “The Old Man in the Wood,” that I sang as a child, describes what happens when the man of the household brags that he can “… do more work in a day, than his wife can do in three…”


There was an old man who lived in the woods
As you can plainly see
Who said he could do more work in a day
Than his wife could do in three

“If that be true,” the old woman said,
“Why this you must allow:
You must do my work for one day
While I go drive the plow.”

“Now you must milk the tiny cow
For fear she shall go dry
And you must feed the three little pigs
That are within the stye
And you must watch the speckled hen
For fear she’ll go astray
And you must wind the reel of yarn
That I spun yesterday.

The woman she took the staff in her hand
And went to drive the plow
The old man took the pail in his hand
And went to milk the cow.
Tiny hitched, and Tiny switched
And Tiny cocked her nose
Tiny gave the old man such a kick
That the blood ran down to his toes….etc

After failing to complete all the other tasks he said of his wife

Yes, he swore by all the leaves on the trees
And all the stars in heaven
That his wife could do more work in one day
Than he could do in seven.

Jean Ritchie. The Swapping Song Book, Lexington: Univ. Press of KY, and collected by Pine Mountain Settlement School in the PMSS Song Ballads and Other Songs printed and published by Pine Mountain Settlement School.

Many of the nine Ritchie Family children attended Pine Mountain Settlement School and also nearby Hindman Settlement. Jean attended public school and the University of Kentucky later becoming a well known folk singer. See PMSS records for May Ritchie, Truman Ritchie, Patty Ritchie, Una Ritchie, Kitty Ritchie.

A happy ‘Dolly” cow being milked and fed. Where is the bucket? mccullough_III_096b

Cow tales abound in the Pine Mountain literature. And cow tails figure in many of the tales. When Tiny “twitched and Tiny switched” that was in reference to the switching tail used to dispense the many flies that often troubled the summer milk cow as well as troubling the milker. When Rusticus described the “little figure” coming to help the “Incomparable one,” he was, no doubt referring to some child assigned to this task. The photograph below, demonstrates the firm grasp of the tail which keeps it under control for the milker to progress.

Child tending cow to keep tail from switching on the woman milking. c. 1930s [nace_II_album_017.jpg]


Not only is milking a challenge, first, in the early years, one had to find the cow. Before range laws were in place, cows roamed freely in Appalachia and in other places in the Country. The cows were generally fitted with cow bells to more easily locate them. The bells were not just auditory ornaments, they were a GPS system that children could use to correlate cow and sound. Before the cow could be milked it had to be found and brought in for milking and be secured for the night. The following story by a Pine Mountain School student (unnamed) describes the task of finding the cow — a chore often assigned —- like tail holding — to children.


Oh, how I dreaded to see the time come just at sun set to hunt the cows, call up the dog and start up the hollow! How far it took, for the old belled cow was way up in the weeds and briars as far as she could get. I can still pant from climbing that steep hill knowing I would have to hunt for two hours maybe before I found them all. When I started from the house to get them, old Pide’s bell could be heard very distinctly but when she heard me coming not a tap of the bell would she make. Finally the dogs would find them all and down the hillside they would come with clouds of dust behind them, for they feared the sharp incisors that would clinch their legs. There was a reason why he never bit their tails; they were always too high in the air. Oh! how I dreaded to get ton the gate with those cows for there were those pigs making their way like a terrific storm and we knew if they got out it would be another trip to the pasture field.

But sometimes we climbed up the cow pasture on our way to the Pine Knobb cliffs. There in the valley the house stands where the creek forks like a turkey’s foot. My mother and father are still living in it. Although on the cliffs we were a mile away, all that stirred around our house could be seen. Far, far away in other directions we looked into yet other valleys. At our feet were lovely tree tops where birds hopped from limb ton limb and from one tree to another. When the sun hid behind the hills we started homeward. When we reached the big rock we would have to stop to satisfy our hunger from the store of walnuts we had gathered there. I’m sure our cracking stones are still in place. It was those times of fun we had cracking walnuts that made the thought of getting the cows, that never came by themselves, a little softer in my mind.

Anonymous. The Pine Cone 1937 Pine Mountain Settlement School newsletter.

And, that brings us back to Elizabeth C. Hench and her Joy Stock Company Limited Letters 1927-33. The following is the last letter in her series of letters to those who so loyally supported the Ayrshire herd at Pine Mountain for many years. It is a fitting letter as it returns to the emotional contributions of the cow to the world. Written near the end of the Great Depression, the letter is edgy with humor and anxiety.

The grand Ayrshire herd at Pine Mountain Settlement would last only a few years after the closure of the boarding school. When the expense and the labor to support the program and the new regulations regarding milk production came into play, the dairy herd was no longer viable. When the last of the herd was sold the cow bells had been silent for many years and the gentle communions with our ruminating neighbors were infrequent. Cows in Appalachia have now been replaced by the deer and by the elk that roam freely. But, none of those will summer nap with you under the same tree or will share their milk, or mellow your mood …


Dear Stock-Holder:
Ordinarily I am as restless as a short-tailed bull in fly-time until I get the autumn cow letter off. But during the summer just past, to those of us in this section of the world, autumn, with its many days or rain, brought no terrors. As we oozed and mopped, we looked in vain to cows for relief. For, do you know, cows are weatherwise? Here are some of the signs:

1 — If a bull goes first to pasture, it will rain.
2 — If cattle lie down at once when they reach pasture, they want a dry bed before rain starts.
3 — If a cow licks a brick wall, rain will fall.
4 — If a cow lies down on her right side, rain will come soon.

But cows went placidly and contentedly on their way. What matter to them if springs went dry and creeks fell? The cow with the iron tail would supply them!

Contentment is so often spoken of as a characteristic of cows, that a quatrain I found does not ring true:

“The Worry Cow would have lived till now
If she had only saved her breath,
But she feared the hay wouldn’t last all day,
So she choked herself to death.”

Nevertheless, if the Joy Stock Company, Limited, and REJOICE, our cow, don’t have checks, we’ll be ready to sing The Tune The Old Cow Died On —

“There was an old man, and he had an old cow,
And he had no fodder to give her,
So he took up his fiddle and played her this tune:
‘Consider, good cow, consider,
This isn’t the time for grass to grow,
Consider, good cow, consider.'”

Those of us who have ridden along the main highways have been enjoined by huge posters to roll our own, but how can REJOICE roll her cud without food?

If there be (notice the conditional tense) any of us whose incomes have not been slashed, and if there are any of us who can squeeze out a little money, let us send our checks soon.

From one who tries to keep the Milky Way
always visible at Pine Mountain,

[Signed] Elizabeth Hench

P.S. Did you realize that Amelia Earhart Putnam’s landing in Ireland was witnessed only by a herd of frightened cows?



ELIZABETH C. HENCH Joy Stock Company Limited Letters 1927-33




ALICE COBB STORIES Howard Burdine Tail of Old Red


Pine Mountain Settlement School


Katherine Pettit imagined that one of the most beneficial programs at the school would be to establish a herd of cows to supply milk, cream and butter for the school.

Barn. View of flank.

Barn. View of flank. Constructed in 1915.

With the assistance of Philip Roettinger, a Trustee from Cincinnati, who raised $500 dollars, a barn was constructed in 1915 and some so-called “mountain-scrub” cows were purchased as a starter herd.  These were largely Guernsey’s.  But, in 1916 an attempt was made to be more selective regarding the breed of cow and four cows and a bull were purchased for the school.


Mrs. Burns, farm manager and friend (?) and one of the “scrub” cows first milked at the School. New barn, behind.

This early breed was not satisfactory in the environment and by 1920 the school had shifted to two Holsteins and a bull.  This breed also proved to not be satisfactory and Pettit then consulted with the Kentucky Experimental Station at Quicksand and with the Harlan County Extension agent,  Mr. Robert Harrison.  They both believed the Ayrshire breed might be best suited to the mountainous area and to the school needs.   While the school sorted out the cow problems, they maintained a mixed herd of Jerseys Holsteins and Ayrshires.

Miss Elizabeth C. Hench, also a Board member,  was the leader in the campaign for the development of the Ayrshire herd and her correspondence and fund-raising efforts comprise some of the most amusing and creative fund-raising campaigns the school has ever mounted.

Ayrshire cows in field, Office in background. [nace_II_album_043.jpg]

Some of the Hench correspondence and her witty story of Ayrshires at Pine Mountain follow:


The Joy Stock Company, Limited, came to Pine Mountain in 1921 with two heifers, Joy and Delight.  The third heifer, Joyce, arrived in August 1927.  While the backside of this cow may not look so joyful, the arrival of Joyce on August 9, 1927, was both a joyous and a be-deviling occasion.  The bovines did not come in mass, but in increments as they could be afforded.  The Joy Stock Company and Ruth Hench, secretary of the Board of Trustees, were the force behind the practice of dairying at the School. For years Miss Hench maintained a lively correspondence with donors to grow the herd and to keep the herd fed.

The arrival of the third Ayrshire, Cavalier’s Ruth III, familiarly known as “Joyce”,  is described by Miss Hench and by  the Assistant Director, Mrs. Zande in a series of delightful exchanges.

“JOYCE, THE NEW AYRSHIRE HEIFER, arrived at Pine Mountain on the afternoon of August 9.  She was purchased at the Spring City Stock farm of Waukesha, Wisconsin. She is a registered heifer due to calf about October 10. The sire of this heifer is among the best of the breed, and her dam produced 12,007

pounds of milk in 300 days, milking as high as 82 pounds per day. Her registered name is, Cavalier’s Ruth III, but her nickname at Pine Mountain is’ Joyce’.”

Mrs. Zande responded to Miss Hench’s new purchase:

“Your letter reminds me of a phrase Dr. Osler used over and over in his life —— ‘The angel troubling the pool”. 

Miss Hench continued,

“Joyce has temperament and horns. She didn’t enjoy her train trip from Wisconsin (and she came EXPRESS),  “refused to be led over the mountain peacefully from Putney, six men could do nothing with her, and she was finally crated up again and brought over in the log train. Brit Wilder, Uncle William’s grandson, and Mr. Browning, the farmer, were both in attendance. A large reception committee awaited her Tuesday but like all famous people she disappointed us and arrived later than she was scheduled.”

Miss Hench replied to Mrs. Zande’s concerns that not enough study had been given to the raising of cows:


” So, one week-end at Berea, I borrowed four text books from the professor of cowology and immersed myself in the subject. I learned that the Ayrshire cow hails from Bobbie Burns’ shire, which lies two thousand feet above sea—level where the winters are cold. In 1800 the farmers began to improve their wild stock by cross—breeding. Now, whether for hillside climbing or nibbling short grass, the Ayrshire leads all breeds of dairy cows. They are largely white, brindled with color from deep red, seal brown, to a clear cherry red. Like the Scotch owners they are sometimes headstrong, forceful, and willing to assert themselves. But they have long graceful horns and they are stylish in appearance. The milk is not as abundant as that of the Holstein, nor as rich in butterfat as that of the Jersey arid Guernsey, but they are suited to conditions at Pine Mountain. So, if I have troubled the pool, I hope I have quieted the wavelets.”

Miss Pettit responded in her typical diplomatic style:

“We are so grateful to the Joy Stock Company….   I have always wanted you to know how thankful I am for the intelligent interest of all of you in this most important department…When Mrs. Burns, the dairy woman, returns, she will win Joyce’s heart by her gentleness, kindness, and care.”

The Ayrshires stayed and multiplied.

The Ayrshire herd grazing at the knoll. Arthur W. Dodd Album. [dodd_A_009_mod.jpg]

Miss Hench reports in 1929:

“Dear Milk-Givers:

     54 thrills were what I had in 1928 from the gifts to the Joy Stock Company, Limited.

1928  .   .  .   ….    $320.10

Grand total  ….   $2474.00

     Joyce had 1098 meals, three extra ones on February 29. She, being a cow, ruminated but did not thrill.  

     There are no marathons in our barn yard. So this is a fitting time to reproduce a letter used 6 years ago, a letter often asked for. It is a bona fida production of a Kentucky mountaineer:

‘Dear sir

I got your letter asken for a list of my assets and liabilities now i told you wen i sent in that order that i was keeping a restarent and not a general store and i dont keep such things as assets and liabilities on hand and besides if i did it aint none of your dam bisiness how much monie have i got no how.  They was a feller noseing around here yesterday wot said as how his name was r g dun & companie and he asked me how much money did i have and i kicked him clear into the middle of next Sunday.  i tell you i wont have no meddlin in my business i am as good as any man and a dam site bettern som if you dont want to sell me them goods wy go to hell. please answer by next mail.

Your fren,  jake’

Miss Hench writes:

“My books are open to your inspection. Joyce’s board is paid knee-deep in June. Her new calf is named Rejoice.  As our cow is doing her best, I know we shall match her endeavor.

     From one who is no coward,


The herd continued to grow and  when Joyce’s third calf was born it was named ‘Overjoy’ to which Hench replied, “When that series of names is exhausted, what next?”  

Even during the Great Depression of the 30s the supporters of the Joy Stock Co.  were generous.  Miss Hench’s appeal to donors while clever and light, was not without reflection on the serious economic conditions in the country.


From Miss Hench to her donors:

Financial Center January, 1931

Dear Heirs and Assigns of the Original Cow Company:

     44 stockholders during 1930 A.D. (Acute Depression) contributed $275.00 to the support of Joyce at the Pine Mountain Settlement School. That brings the grand total since 1920 up to $3027. I thank you all, the —whole company of 124 strong.

     … Some of you have received notice that your contributions would be applied to a new Milk Boom at the Barn,  I have $189.05 for that fund. When winter comes and the boys cannot work out of doors, then, under the direction of the Woodworking teacher (a former Pine Mountain boy) and the new Danish farmer, we shall enlarge one room of the Barn, install a stove, a hot water tank, and a sink in which to scald the buckets and pans.  We shall have also a cooling machine to make our milk bacteria free by dropping it to 34 degrees within an hour after milking it.

     A happy New Year to all of you and the wish that 1931 may mean the return of the good old times.


Barn. Ayrshire cow. [II_7_barn_285.jpg]

The times did not change and as the Depression deepened. Miss Hench ruminates:

January, 1932

Dear Partner in our kine undertakings:

 During the year 1931 people became acquainted with a new phrase – new low level. But this was not true of the Joy Stock Company, Limited. We received $200, better by several dollars than our early holdings.

 Since we are in the cow business, we must look to cows for our theme. It is quiet contentment.  In the past, our ancestors, always cow owners, evolved two proverbs:

(l) Contented is the heart that thinks like a cow.
(2) It is a bawling cow that misses its calf the least.”   

In a recent novel by a popular Scotch author there is this significant passage:

“No, I am not a pessimist. But I haven’t been through bad enough times to justify me in being an optimist. . . To declare oneself an optimist, without having been down into the pit and out on the other side, looks rather like bragging.”

 So it becomes us to be quiet, even if we cannot be contented.

 I saw our cows in October when I went to the Pine Mountain Settlement School for the biennial meeting of the Board of Trustees. You will be sorry to learn that we have heard the last bellow of Joyce. I gave a check to cover her board through December 31, 1931. After that we shall forget her and feed our new cow,      REJOICE, whom we bought October 26th for $150, plus hauling $25. =$175. She is a fine big Ayrshire and I am certain you would love her too. It is now up to you and to me to see that she has daily food. As all four of her stomachs are larger than those of Joy, Delight, and Joyce, she will therefore require more food and hay.

Your friend who usually has a cow in tow,


Another addition to the farm came in 1928 when the school was able to purchase a second-hand truck.  With funding secured by Darwin D. Martin,  Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1928 the school was now able to be more efficient with many tasks.  Ethel de Long Zande wrote to Martin to thank him for the gift and said:

[IMAGE:  Copy of letter  ]  Left: Letter from Ethel de Long Zande to Darwin D. Martin, (March 6, 1928) thanking him for his help in securing a much-needed truck for the farm.]

Darwin D. Martin was a Vice President of Larkin & Co., a catalog order company centered in Buffalo, New York.  Martin served on the Pine Mountain Board of Trustees through most of the late 1920s  and was an active supporter of the School and its programs, contributing consultation and many items of critical importance for operation.

Martin was one of the wealthiest executives in the country in the 1920s, and the primary benefactor for the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Personally responsible for financial support of nearly 15 of Wright’s building projects, mainly Taliesin, he had Wright design his own Martin family complex in Buffalo in 1902-1909. A difficult childhood prompted him to gather his family around him in a series of homes.  The complex is one of the most outstanding examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Prairie Style” architecture.

While there is no evidence that Martin had his hand in the architectural planning of Pine Mountain, his connections were available to Mary Rockwell Hook, Pine Mountain’s architect.  As his health deteriorated in the late 1920s Martin resigned the Board.  He died in 1935 following the loss of his fortune in the Crash of 1932.

March 6, 1926

[Ethel de Long Zande writes to Miss Frances Lavender, a former worker, living in Pasadena, California. and provides further details on the truck.]

“We have a Ford truck! It has been about the only topic of conversation since its arrival last Thursday, and mouths still drop open when it heaves in sight. And Luigi comes home every noon and tells me how much more it has gotten done in the mornlng, with the pride of a parent  whose child has just proven to be a brilliant success. He says it has already paid for itself.  We got it  through Harlan, a second-hand one. The new models were heavier than we wanted. This one had been

in use only six months, and seemed to be exactly what we wanted. It was  $65O.OO when new, and we paid for it with extra repair parts and tires,  $357.OO. We think it may be well to spend another hundred on it some time soon and install double gears for our hills. The price for the time of the mechanic who came with it to show Luigi how to take care of it, we have not yet received. , ,”

As indicated in the letter, this truck was a critical piece of equipment for the school allowing the farm to operate without mules and horses for many operations.  Further, it allowed for the transport of materials across the new Laden Trail road from the near-by town of Harlan.

Ford Truck donated by Darwin D. Martin. cobb_alice_012

[IMAGE:  Truck and workers in front of the Tool Shed, c. 1926]

Ethel de Long Zande only lived two years beyond 1926.  By April of 1928 she was dead after a courageous battle with breast cancer.  True to her character, she worked until the last weeks of her illness.

[IMAGE: Ethel de Long Zande and her companion dog.]

In the obituary notice prepared by Evelyn Wells  that appeared in the New York Times, April 5, 1928, the following is excerpted:

“…On the day of Mrs. Zande’s funeral, daffodils she had planted were in bloom in the Pine Mountain valley, but snow on the heights did not keep her friends, old and young, some with babes in arms, from crossing steep trails to honor her.  …. She was laid to rest on a little rise of ground where the view encompasses the valley she loved.

In this day, when so many of those who have had large opportunities are increasingly crowding into the great urban centers to use their gifts, it is well that we pause and pay tribute to this woman of rare talents, who rejoiced in devoting them to an under-privileged people in a remote mountain section.”

The following tribute from Philippians 4:8, is on an engraved plaque in the Pine Mountain chapel.

“… whatever things are true, 
whatever things are honest, 
whatever things are just, 
whatever things are pure, 
whatever things are lovely, 
whatever things are of good report; 
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, 
think on these things.”

Following the death of Ethel de Long, Miss Angela Melville was appointed interim Co-Director with Katherine Pettit. Meville served from 1928 to 1930.  Like her predecessors, she was a strong supporter of the dairy farm but unlike Katherine Pettit she rarely engaged the day-to-day,  Her expertise resided not in her humor or her hands-on, but in her understanding of farming and economics.

On July 20, 1928, a printed notice from the Pine Mountain Settlement School announced that the School’s board of trustees had, on April 29 of that year,

” … invited Miss Angela Melville to become associate director of Pine Mountain Settlement School, beginning August 1, assuming sole charge of the academic department and of the office and fiscal promotion of the school, all of which had the devoted care of the late Mrs. Ethel deLong Zande.”

Miss Melville was equal in authority with then director, Katherine Pettit (1913 – 1930), but with the specific areas of responsibility listed in the announcement.

Miss Melville had come from the Cooperative Bureau for Women Teachers in New York, where she had been director for the previous three years. Before that, she worked for two years with the National Credit Union Extension Bureau, organizing both industrial and rural credit unions in many U.S. states.

She had also worked a short time with the Brasstown Savings and Loan Association in North Carolina, and came highly recommended by Marguerite Butler who wrote of her in her article “The Brasstown Savings and Loan Association” in the July 1926 issue of Mountain Life & Work (vol. 2, no. 2, page 42).

She believed in the credit union, and having lived as a member of our community for several months, believed in the success of one here. Not only were every one of us filled with her enthusiasm and interest, but also made to realize the duties, responsibilities and detail of work involved in such an association.

Before Miss Melville’s appointment as associate director of PMSS, she had an earlier connection with the School. From 1916 to 1920, she organized the office and as a speaker raised funds for the School’s endowment which supported the School programs, including the farm and the Line Fork Settlement and Big Laurel Medical Settlement.

According to Darwin D. Martin, President of the Board, in the same announcement:

“Her admiration for Uncle William Creech, the founder of the school, her intimacy with its ideals, her acquaintance with you, our friends outside the mountains, and her knowledge and love of the mountains themselves, have all helped to fit her for her work here and make her the unanimous choice of the Board of Trustees.”

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