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


The Coal Miner’s Cry Book

Normally I would not post anything for sale on here, but it is so rare to find one of these books of our coal mining history for sale on Ebay.  Or anywhere for that matter.  I have one and if you are interested in Pike County Coal Mining History and do not have one, now’s your chance.  The students at Pike Central High School put it together and published it in 1999.  I highly recommend it.


The Coal Miner's Cry

The Coal Miner’s Cry

Just Some More Winslow Grocery Store History

I purchased my second calendar plate from one of the many grocery stores that Winslow had nearly a hundred years ago.

There seemed to be a store every block or two.  Usually in someone’s home.

This one is a 1918 Calendar plate from S. Tary Cash Grocery in Winslow.  I think it is really gorgeous.  I do not know where this store was.

S. Tary Grocery, 1919 Calendar Plate, Winslow, Indiana

S. Tary Grocery, 1918 Calendar Plate, Winslow, Indiana

Also check out this blog for a little of the Richardson family history.


This is a photo of Ira Richardson’s store in Winslow.

Ira Richardson's Store in Winslow.

Ira Richardson’s Store in Winslow.

Old Massey or Loveless Cemetery: A Guest Post

My friend Amber Ball and I met almost two years ago.  We have wandered all over this area taking photos and seeking stories.  The Patoka River Wildlife Refuge is our favorite haunt.  Amber also writes a blog and posts the most amazing photos.  You should check her out here, and links are always posted to the right of my blog.

Last weekend amid our busy lives we found time to visit a local field of sunflowers and enjoy the waves of yellow that attract butterflies and birds.

Sunflower field

Sunflower field

My July was so hectic and Amber has graciously offered a guest post for my blog.  Last fall we went in search of the Old Massey Cemetery, sometimes known as Loveless Cemetery.  Here is her blog post about that day.


An Anniversary, And An Interesting Find
In the summer of 2012, I came across a beautifully written blog about the history of our area (you can find it HERE), and struck up what has become a great friendship with the writer.  On our first outing together was just over a year ago; we struck out to try and find a small cemetery that didn’t exist on any maps; the historical websites listed a couple of interments, but no coordinates on how to find it, so we set off with only a general suggestion of the area from someone who claimed to have come across the stones years before.  Needless to say we were unsuccessful; but that trip has opened the door to dozens of other excursions and finds that I otherwise would never have viewed, so I am extremely thankful for it :).



Last weekend at the Columbia Mine ceremony, I noticed two lakes on the map named Loveless Lake and Old Massey Lake that were not too far from the area we were originally searching, so I asked refuge manager Bill McCoy if he knew how the lakes had gotten their names, and that we were searching for a cemetery with a similar name.  To my surprise, he said he knew exactly where it was!  He pointed out the location on the map I had and I immediately pulled out my phone and sent Rose a text so we could set up another excursion.  Inexplicably, the area is next to a lake named Indian Hill Lake (because of an indian burial mound in the area), and NOT next to Loveless or Old Massey Lakes, but we were determined to find it for once and for all.


So today, despite the falling temperature and the gusty winds, we set out for parts unknown.  Down the road to Indian Hill Lake and around, we were excited to see lots of deer, coyote, and even bobcat tracks!  There were several dead fish in the water, and lots of spots around the edge where large fish had been hauled out, scaled, and eaten.  Every ten feet or so, we came across turtle shells, crawfish shells, catfish heads, and all manner of carnivore leftovers.  We followed some animal paths for a ways around the lake but had to forge our own for quite some distance, and I can tell you with great certainty that the briars are alive and well around there!  But finally, we got around the point of the lake to the area we were looking for, and we entered the woods.


We trudged around the ridge for ten minutes or so with no luck and were starting to think we’d never find it, when I looked down and noticed…vinca, everywhere!  Vinca vine, sometimes called periwinkles because of the pretty blue flowers it has in the spring.  Vinca is often a clue that you’re near an old cemetery; I’ve read that it was planted as a groundcover, to mark the graves of infants, because it has a religious significance, or several other reasons depending on who you’re talking to…but we knew when we saw it that we were close!  After our excitement renewed and we searched just a little farther…


…and WE FOUND IT!!!   This is the stone of James S. Loveless, b 9-9-1865 d 1-1-1901.  It’s the only stone we found, but we think perhaps we’ll revisit in early spring once the winter weather has mashed down all of the now freshly-fallen leaves, maybe we’ll see others then.  Of last report, there were three stones remaining; but it was so cool to finally find this!  I signed up for an account on newspaperarchive.com to see if there were any mentions of James or how he passed but have not yet been able to locate anything; but I’m thinking I might use some excerpts from those old papers here from time to time because they’re just plain interesting.



If you happen to be searching for it yourself, here’s a map of about where you’ll find it; it’s on the very edge of Sycamore land, and when you’re standing at James’ stone, you can see the edge of the field that is on the private land just to the west.  The large lake in the center of the photo is Indian Hill Lake on the Sycamore maps.  Once we get a warmer day, I believe we’ll be heading back to see if we can get a glimpse of the deer, coyotes, and bobcats we saw such evidence of on the lake edge…but until then, have a great weekend!!

Edit: If you’re heading out that way and GPS coordinates would help, this should get you close: 38.376707,-87.311335.  Be sure to wear some orange, because the private land immediately adjacent is a hunting camp and they have blinds/stands set up on the edge of the field just feet away from the stone(s).  And be prepared for briars!!!!


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




There are a few things going on recently that I want to share with you.

More than just the news that it appears Spring has FINALLY made an appearance in Pike County!

John Dedman, who authors the Winslow Eskimo alumni site at http://www.jddedman.com/  has asked me to help him out.  Someday I will follow in his footsteps and keep the website going.   I am honored that he chose me to carry on the tradition.  He wants to start adding some history of Pike Central, because Eskimos do become Chargers.  Can you believe in 2015 Pike Central will be 40 years old?  We may start adding some Winslow Elementary Eskimo photos.  We are playing around with ideas to keep it active and alive.  We will always, always have the hallowed halls of Winslow High School and the beloved Winslow Eskimo teams front and foremost.   I miss those nights when you looked forward to filling that little gym to the brim and cheering on the Eskimos!!!  Nothing can replace those glory days of small town basketball.

The project that has been so near and dear to me and many others with an interest in genealogy and the history of Pike County…..hearts and minds have been changed.  The Pike County Genealogy and History Center will be happening in the old Barrett Memorial Library building.  I am sure Mrs. Barrett would be pleased with this turn of events.

The future is looking bright!!!

The future is looking bright!!!


The Genealogical Society is now accepting pledges of monetary support.  I know many of you in the past have offered support if the project would move forward.   There are some upgrades to the building that need to be completed to make it compliant.  If you would like to make a pledge, email me your name, address and the amount you wish to pledge.  Don’t do it on here in the comments.  Don’t send a check yet.  Contact me at rosebeyke@gmail.com and I will get your name on the list.