Ayrshire Schools

This is the story of the condemnation of the Ayrshire Schools taken from the 1910 Annual Report of the State Board of Health. The books are full of schools being condemned.  I think they had to be condemned in order to get the money from the state to rebuild or remodel?  

 Also I have included a few photos shared by Jackie Willis Houchins of early Ayrshire Schools in the 1930s.   These are in the “new” brick building that is still standing in Ayrshire as a home.  I wrote the information down somewhere that Jackie had given me of a few names in the pictures, but I am too organized and cannot find it 🙂  Maybe Jackie, her brother and others will read this and add a comment of who some of the kids are.  

New Note:  I am so organized I actually had the names listed on the jpeg 🙂  So I will add those and any other names as people let me know.

Annual Report of the Indiana State Board of Health 1910  Pg 62

Petition:  Ayrshire, Ind., September 16, 1908

This is to certify that we, the undersigned patrons of schools at Ayrshire, Pike County, Ind., do hereby request that the State Board of Health investigate the sanitary conditions of our schoolhouse.

Signed as follows:  A.J. Hedges, H.S. Hughes, U.G. Wiley, George Pickle, Alfred Adams, George Vanlaningham, James A. Spyers, F.B. Browder, Gus Harier, A. Sermerskeim, Samuel Tisdol, F.O. Woodrey,  Edward E. Woolsey, Geo. Benedict, I.H. Eanes, A. Lanzo Dean, John Barlow, Isaac Coffa (these are the spellings in the book)

Report of inspection of Ayrshire Schools, Pike County, January 5, 1909 by John Owens:

Buildings:  Three one room, frame:  two shingle roof, one iron, the latter the colored school.  Two of the buildings, the white schools, occupy the same lot, one half-acre, high, dry, clay soil.  Building in which upper grades are held, should be condemned outright.  The other white school building could be repainted and enlarged to accommodate the upper grades and the colored school should be repainted.  The whole town is dirty and derelict.  Mining is the industry.

White Schools:

Grades 1,2, and 3:  Seats single and double, all sizes:  badly scarred.  Ceiling and walls wood, unpainted.  Pupils face south; blackboard on south; Nine foot ceiling.  Vestibule 10 x 8 feet.  Forty five pupils in room.  Each pupil has 13 feet of floor space.  Light space one-ninth of floor space.  Open well, typhoid fever in schools a year ago.  Blackboards on north and south sides.

Grades 4,5,6,7, and 8:  Pupils:  30; face north.  Seats double, bad.  Ceiled with wood, not painted.  Floor bad.  Flue smoky.  Buildings one to two feet from ground, no foundations.  Outhouses bad.  All doors 3 x 7 feet.  Each pupil has 20 square feet of floor space.  Light area one-ninth of floor area.  General conditions bad.

Colored Schools, Ayrshire:

Pupils, 15.  Face west.  Board on west.  Tin roof.  No foundation; props; two feet from ground.  No well.  Closets bad.  Ceiling and walls plain boards, unpainted.  Each pupil has 24 square feet floor space.   Light area one-fifth of floor area.  Seats all sizes, single and double, badly scarred.

These buildings are in keeping with the town.

Proclamation of Condemnation

Whereas, it has been shown to satisfaction of the State Board of Health, that the schoolhouse at Ayrshire, Pike County, Indiana, is unsanitary and consequently threatens the health and life of the pupils, and also interferes with their efficiency, therefore, it is ordered that said schoolhouse at Ayrshire, Pike county, Indiana is condemned for school purposes and shall not be used for said school purposes after June 1, 1909 and if any school trustee, or trustees, any teacher or any person uses said schoolhouse for school purposes, or teaches therein, after the date above mentioned, he or she or they shall be prosecuted.  Any person mutilating or tearing down this proclamation shall be prosecuted.


1937 – 38 Ayrshire Grade School.  2nd Row:  third girl, Jackie Willis.  3rd Row:  last boy, Fred Willis.

Ayrshire School 1937-38 Upper Classes

Ayrshire School 1937-38 Upper Classes


Ayrshire Grade School Early 1930s.  The teacher is Lucille Amos Donham.  2nd Row:  5th girl, dark hair, Jackie Willis, boy on end Fred Willis.

boydies boydrowns


Sled Riding On Pine Needles in the Summertime

Having a tinkerer for a Daddy was fun most times.  He liked junk and liked to make things out of junk.   Which is why I love junk I guess.

He made us things.

I can faintly remember a merry go round he put together for us when I was probably around four years old circa 1964.  My seat was an old tricycle mounted and my little brother’s was an old high chair or a baby walker.  I  can remember him pushing us on that go round one day until we were crying and about to puke.  Me looking over at my baby brother who was screaming and me screaming.

I am sure mostly fun times were had on that merry go round but you remember what you remember from when you were that age.

Flash forward to about 1973.  Now this is summertime fun.  No crying or puking going on.

We had some land.  Daddy had a bulldozer.

He had an old car that he had bought from a guy who was hard up for some cash one week.  It was a big blue boat of a car,  worth nothing but scrap money or to use as a demolition derby car.

Why not let the kids have it for some driving lessons?

Let’s see, I was 12 or 13 at the most.  That would make my brothers about 11 and 9.

Daddy made a racetrack (or that’s what we called it).  He bulldozed a dirt track around trees in the field and woods and packed it down.

Then he put a block of wood under the gas pedal (he wasn’t a stupid man) so we didn’t get to race.  We had something we sat on to raise us up so that we could see over the dashboard.   If I remember correctly Momma strapped a throw pillow over the steering wheel, her version of an airbag.   We had to wear a motorcycle helmet.  Safety first.

I was scared to drive.  Daddy rode with me the first round or two.  But then he talked me into going on my own.  Of course, my brothers were just about to pee their pants with the anticipation of their turn.  They were not scaredy cats like me.

We hit some trees.  It was thrilling to bounce back and  not be hurt.  It didn’t  matter if we hit a tree because that old car was not worth anything but fun.

I dreamed about it not too long ago.   That race track through the woods.

It was one of those rare fun afternoons with the entire family.   The kind you smile about when you remember them.

Like the day we all went sled riding on the pine needles in the summertime.

Our house was surrounded by stripper pits and steep spoil banks.  Huge giant pine trees grew on the banks and shed needles.  The slopes were deep with dead pine needles.

I don’t know how we discovered you could slide down the banks on a piece of cardboard but we did.  One of us probably slid on our butt, saw it was fun and grabbed a box to try out.  We were summertime sledding.

Being kids someone remembered our Christmas sleds.

We had all three gotten plastic sleds for Christmas.  The kind that rolled up.  Just a 3 foot long piece of blue plastic with a red handle on the end.  One of us ran home to get them.   curiosity got the better of  Daddy and Momma who had to check out where we were going with our plastic sleds in the summertime.   They followed out into the woods.

We were laughing and having so much fun that Momma and Daddy actually tried it and sledded with us.  Sledding in the summertime.

The best times are the time spent together.   Remember that carefree joy of being a kid.  Enjoy the summer!

Ayrshire Patoka Collieries Mine



Joan Woodhull was kind enough to share her photo of Ayrshire Collieries.  It is from a postcard that Ruth Hammond had let her copy years back.

I believe this was originally Ingle Mine #8.

Read more about the Ayrshire Collieries at:

Chapter 18: Ayrshire Collieries Corporation – Dane Starbuck, The Goodriches: An American Family [2001]         Click here

Family, Farming and Freedom:  Fifty Five Years of Writings:  (start on page 6)  Click here. 


Hosmer History

I have had some requests to do the history of Hosmer after the post I had written on Littles.   Littles and Hosmer pretty much share backyards.  Hosmer is now called Glezen, but a lot of us including myself  still tend to call it Hosmer.

Art Miley shared an article with me from the Pike County Dispatch on the history of Hosmer, dated Oct 7, 1954.   Mike Pierce offered to share his pictures of Hosmer from the Pike County Indiana genweb site for this post.  There is not much left there in Hosmer, but it was once a thriving coal mine community.

The Press Dispatch, October 7, 1954


Formal observance of the 100th anniversary of Hosmer’s founding has not been planned but one can pick up plenty of historical background about the community  “now called Glezen” by paying a visit to Moses Howard’s barber shop and listening in on general conversation.

Howard displays a copy of the original plat of Hosmer on the wall of his shop.  Survey was made for Stephen R. Hosmer, owner of the land and according to the record the village was laid out February 28, 1854 on the banks of the Wabash and Erie Canal.  Provision was made for nine 66 foot wide streets and 75 foot lots.  A mill on the canal bank was operating in that year and a canal lock made the site a terminus for canal traffic until competition from railroads put it out of business.


In 1882, according to Howard, the Evansville railway was established and built a right of way through Hosmer.  Howard’s grandparents, Calvin and Elizabeth Howard, gave the railway land rights through their land near the village.

Dello Coleman and John Stephens, both oldtimers in Glezen, joined Moses Howard in reminiscing about the boom days in Glezen when 400 of the residents were employed by the S. W. Littles Coal Company which operated an 85 foot shaft mine on the I & E railway at what is now the village of Littles.


In those days the barber shop had three chairs which were busy until 10 o’clock at night on Friday and Saturday.  One saloon operated in the place until the county when dry several years before Prohibition.

The Littles Mine was termed the safest in Indiana because it had a good steelband (hard slate) top.  In 41 years of operation, which was a hand loading proposition, only four men lost their lives in “Old Littles”.  The shaft mine was purchased by Indian Creek Coal Company and finally became the Ben Neal Coal Company.  In 1927 its operation was suspended and a year later it’s tipple, a familiar landmark, was destroyed by fire during a lightening and rain storm.

The Littles Mine was the most independent coal shaft in the state Howard said.  The company had its own farm and provided as many as 22 mules each day to pull cars from the rooms below the shaft.  The mine also owned timber land and produced timbers at it’s own sawmill located near the shaft.


An important date remembered by oldtimers is 1898 when a United Mine Workers Local was formed at Old Littles.  Prior to the Union, workers went to work never knowing how many hours they would be needed.  After the Union came, housewives could plan supper because quitting time was regular each day.

With the closing of the Old Littles Operation, about two thirds of the populace around Glezen moved out to seek other employment.  Many of those who remained found employment in a new shaft, the Engles  Mine which operated for 12 years as  a machine loading operation a mile southwest of the Littles Mine.

An effort to remove coal pillars from the Old Littles Mine proved too hazardous to continue, one old timer said.  “It’s hard to rob a steelband top because it won’t fall one room at a time.  Pressure builds up between you and the shaft.”

Besides the barbershop, Glezen is served by two general stores.  One operated for the last 10 years by Blythe Carr, brother to the postmaster, and the other for the past 14 years by Heber Battles.  The other business, a service station is operated by Odey Pierce.  There are about 75 dwellings in and around Glezen, a school serving grades one through eight, and a church.

The Glezen Community is a place where the old folks do a lot of thinking about years gone by while younger folks hurry back and forth  from their jobs in Evansville and other points outside the area.  Glezen is a friendly place and about the biggest excitement there in recent weeks was a 10 pound carp brought to the village in a washtub from White River by Lawrence Brock.

Mike Pierce has a history of Hosmer and Glezen on the Pike County Genweb.  In it he says that two churches, General Baptist and Presbyterian were established.  A lady by the name of Miss Mary Glezen of Petersburg drove to Hosmer every Sunday to teach Sunday School.  Miss Glezen had, in her youth, become a successful business woman in the late 1800s,  long before women’s lib.  She had established a successful insurance business in Petersburg and was Notary Public.  She so endeared herself in her spiritual service of the Hosmer community, that in 1939 the name of the town was officially changed to Glezen in her honor.

For more Hosmer pictures visit at:   http://www.ingenweb.org/inpike/Pikepik.htm

Odey's 66 Station in the 1930s.

Odey’s 66 Station in the 1930s.


Odey's Station

Odey’s Station


The Curtis Store

The Curtis Store


The Hosmer School

The Hosmer School


The Glezen Baptist Church int he 1950s.

The Glezen Baptist Church int he 1950s.


The Littles School

The Littles School


The Littles Mine

The Littles Mine


The Littles Mine

The Littles Mine



The Town of Littles

It is  going to be another frigid January night of subzero temperatures.  Our house is insulated.  We have good replacement windows and a good furnace.  I sleep under an electric blanket.  Tonight I am thinking about another house in the 1920s coal mining town of Littles, up in the far northwest corner of Patoka Township here in Pike County.

Joyce DeJarnett Truitt is a regular commentor on my blog.  She has shared fascinating memories of the area, such as her Grandmother seeing ghosts in the old Ingle house.  We have become friends through email.  Joyce has a book in the Pike County Library genealogy department, “The Ford DeJarnett Family”.  I just saw an out of print copy of it for sale on the internet at Abe Books for $135.00!!  One story is that her great grandfather Ford DeJarnett built two buildings facing each other, in case one caught fire the family could just move into the other one.   Joyce was born in 1927 to Lowell and Golda Christmas DeJarnett at Littles in one of the coal mine company houses.  This past week she sent me this photo of when she was a little girl growing up in there.

l to r:  Joyce Dejarnett; John Beard, her cousin; and her sister Ruth.

l to r: Joyce DeJarnett; John Beard, her cousin; and her sister Ruth.  John was the son of Leonard Beard and lived in another company house.

They lived in the 4 Row Houses, the house on the end.  It was a company house owned by the Littles man. I look at the pictures of these old clapboard houses and wonder how they stayed warm in the winters.   I guess you slept by the stove, shared a bed and piled on the quilts.  My Grandma grew up in such houses in Muren.  She  said they “built walls” out of cardboard and newspaper and whatever they could find to help insulate.

There is not much there when you drive through Littles now.  If you don’t know where Littles is, you would never know you were driving through it.  Don’t confuse it with Glezen, formerly known as Hosmer.

Geological Survey map 1902.

Geological Survey map 1902.

Littles was named after the man who formed the Littles Coal Company, S. W.  Littles of Evansville.  The Littles Coal Company worked here from 1887 to 1928.  It was a deep mine, complete with a tipple and mule barns.  The Company houses were built in rows.  Four Row was east by the two room school building.  Yellow Row was on both sides of the road through town.  Nine Row was south along the ridge above the mine.  Littles had a general store, a post office, a barber shop, a doctor’s office, and a hotel and depot.  A board walk ran between these buildings at the foot of the hill because of flooding in the low lying area the town was built on.  The church to the east still stands, rebuilt after a fire.  A few of the old houses still stand.

Stay warm tonight my friends.