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.

ayrshireschool1

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

ayrshireschool3

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

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Museum of The Coal Industry

We will travel hundreds of miles and use up those hard earned vacation hours to explore places, when we tend to ignore the places to explore in our own backyards.

The Museum of the Coal Industry  in Lynnville, Indiana is one such place for me.  For years people kept telling me I had to go there.  I always said, I will, I will.  Because it’s just right there I will do that someday.  Then more months would go by before I would even think of it again.

My friend Amber and I were out rambling around on backroads one day and I asked her if she would like to see it.  We made the plan, emailed Aja Mason and set it up.  We had about 3 hours to spend there.

I did not realize I would need the entire day to see everything I wanted to see and to hear everything I wanted to hear.

I am for sure going back and it won’t be months from now.

If you are interested in coal mine history you must visit there.  You might see your Grandpa’s name in a ledger showing what he made and what he owed the company store.  You might find your dad’s hard hat hanging on the wall.  You might see pictures of your ancestors or old home places that no longer are around.  You might see gadgets that open your eyes to how hard the work was for a coal miner in the old days.

Aja knew my interest was in the Muren area and he had this photo for me.  It was from an album titled “Bad Hair Days”.   And believe me, some of them were!

A coal bucket flooded in at the Muren Mine Pit.  1940

A coal shovel flooded in at the Muren Mine Pit. 1940.  I bet there was some cussing this day.

When you have one of these lovely spring or summer days open and feel like doing something close to home I suggest you check it out.

http://www.lynnvillecoalmuseum.org/

I bet if you emailed Aja ahead of time and told him when you would be there, who and what you were interested in, he would have something picked out to show you when you got there.

He knows the history of everything there and he can tell a story to go along with it.

It’s well worth the visit.

Annual Antique Tractor Drive

This year on Saturday, September 22, the 5th Annual Antique Tractor Drive meandered through a lot of Patoka Township and my old stomping grounds.  For those of you not familiar with the group, each year they take their old tractors and do a drive through some historic parts of Pike County.  This year about thirty six drivers participated and three wagon loads of  onlookers rode along after meeting up at The Trading Post about 10 am.  I had to work and was unable to ride so Sherry Lamey shared the information and Terenda Wyant shared her photos with me for this post.

For this blog, I’m not going to use the road numbers now assigned but the names we always called them (and still do most times!).

Meeting up at the Trading Post.

The group started out down Hathaway Station Road to wind up at Ashby Cemetery as their first stop.  Ashby Cemetery sitting out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by land that is now coal mined was once a thriving little community.

Ashby was named after the family members of Benjamin and Margaret (Burdett) Ashby from Hampshire County, Virginia who settled there soon after they were married in 1813 after temporarily residing at White Oak Springs.  Their graves are located in Ashby Cemetery.  Benjamin died in 1881, Margaret in 1860.   Thomas English, a native of Vermont, taught in the pay schools  of Pike County.  His first school of this kind was in the Ashby neighborhood in the year of 1844.  Benjamin’s sons and grandsons became large landowners in the area and successful businessmen.  If I remember correctly the little Ashby Church was burned during an act of vandalism several years ago.  

Tractor drive

They then drove over to Scottsburg Road to wind up at New Liberty Church and Cemetery near Coe.

 Coe used to be called Arcadia and was laid off in 1869 by Simeon LeMasters.  I don’t know much about the history of this church and cemetery.  If anyone does, tell me about it in the comment section below.

Old Barns on the drive

Next they went across the road through the old South Fork areas and wound up on the Line Road.

 It is the Meridian used for old grid mapping systems that divided the county into the North and South sections, now it’s called Meridian instead of the Line Road.  Division Road divided the East and West.  Many of Pike County’s early settlers settled along the Line Road.  It runs through what is now the Patoka National Wildlife Refuge.

Wetlands

Patoka Grove Church was their next stop.    Other friends and neighbors joined them there for a dutch treat lunch by the Pike County Young Farmers in the churchyard.  Some guitar music, singing and fiddling was provided by Norb Wehr and Freddie Hopf from Dubois County and enjoyed by all.   You can read more about the history of Patoka Grove Church on this past blog post.

Patoka Grove Church and Williams Cemetery

Stopping at Patoka Grove Church and Williams Cemetery on the route.

Pike County Young Farmers lunch in the churchyard.

Picking and fiddling at Patoka Grove Church.

The group left Patoka Grove Church and wound their way down to Snakey Point.  You can read more about the history of Snakey Point on this past blog post.

Snakey Point and the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge

The group then wound around on the old Winslow Oakland City Road, the one used before the Highway 64 was built and where the old community of Ingleton was located.  Like other old areas named for the families that lived there, some may have heard it called Whitman and Wiggs.  We’ll just say they wound around and came back up H Pit Road and stopped at the church again for a pit stop before heading back down # 7 Road to Muren Road and the old coal mining community of Muren.

In Muren they went past the old coal mine houses, one of which is featured at the top of my blog.  For more about Muren read these past blog posts.

A Winslow Auction and A Muren Reunion

My Grandma and the Early Years at Muren and Turkey Hill

Muren 2010 and 1965

Then they turned onto Ayrshire Road and went through the bottoms and around Kitchen Corners to the old Ingle Barn where only the silo stands today.  The Meyers family owns it now and has done a wonderful job of keeping it cleaned up and retaining some of it’s history.  They had their dad, Ab Meyers old tractor sitting there for the drive.  The house across the road is the one that David Ingle gave to his black butler and family and they became caretakers of the barns and property.

The silo of the old Ingle Barn remains.

They then turned into Logtown and rode past the remains of the old coke ovens down by the railroad tracks across from where the old Ayrshire store was.  The old beehive ovens are built in a row, double with ovens on the front and back.  For more history of Logtown see this blog post.

Logtown

After leaving Logtown they drove back down Ayrshire Road and over to where they started at the Trading Post.

Jim Capozella followed along in his truck to serve as aid if needed by anyone.

Ms. Burns of the Pike Central Digital Design and Visual Communications department came out and did the interviews with the drivers.  Their group helps put together the dvds.

DVDs are for sale of the historic tractor drives.  Not only is it the scenery, but inserted are interviews with folks telling of the history of these places.   If interested, let me know and I will try to put you in touch with the right person to order a copy.

1795 Indian Story

Hill at Martin Cemetery

Pioneer History of Indiana by William Monroe Cockrum  1907

Pages 177 through 180 of 638 pages

Data of the recapture of three Kentucky women from the Indians in what is now Pike County, Indiana, was furnished the author in 1855 by William Leathers, son-in-law of John Severns. The story is as follows:

In 1795 John Severns was on White river hunting, when he met two Indian trappers one of whom he had known intimately during his captivity among the Indians. They had been in the employ of the Hudson Bay Company, of Canada, for several years but had come south to do a little trapping on their own account and had a large number of traps with them, mostly for beaver. Severns told them of the many beaver and beaver dams along the Patoka river and its tributaries.*

After talking the matter over the Indians agreed that they would hunt bear for awhile and put in the late fall and winter trapping for beaver, all of which was carried out. From the start the three men bad all they could do to keep their traps set and care for their peltry. The intention of the trappers was to stay a few days in the neighborhood, catch all they could and then go on farther. In this way they thought they could go over the best trapping territory during the winter. The weather had become pretty cool and the trappers had made their camp against a bluff bank of the river where a thick vein of coal was cropping out. They built their fires against the coal and had a good one. This camp as the river runs was from 35 to 40 miles from Mr. Severns’ home. They had been there several days and had become pretty well acquainted with the surrounding country when one morning as they lay in their comfortable quarters a little before day they were startled by the firing of several guns not far away. They would have thought it was Indians shooting at a bear or a gang of wolves prowling around their camp had it not been for the loud hallooing and the screaming of a child or a woman, that continued for some time. The trappers hastily put out the fire and got into a position to defend themselves. In a short time daylight came and Severns and one of the Indians determined to reconnoiter near their camp. On going up the river some distance they heard talking and were satisfied that it was white people. The Indians slipped away and went back to camp while Severns went in the direction of the talking and soon saw several men and women sitting around a fire. One man, who was on the lookout, saw Severns and seeing that he was a white man, called to him and when he got to the party he saw seven of the hardiest type of Kentucky backwoodsmen and three women. One of the men was wounded by a ball through the top of the shoulder. The women’s clothing was badly torn and their feet almost bare. They looked weary and careworn and the stop had been made to make some covering for their feet so they could travel, but they were very short of suitable material. Severns told them that if they would wait until he could go to his camp, less than a mile away, he would provide them with all the material they needed. The proposition was gladly accepted and he soon returned with the saddle of a deer and a dressed buck skin. While he was at camp he advised the Indians to keep close as he did not know much about the people, only that they had recaptured three white women from the Indians and had killed several of the latter and that he might go a little way with them to find out what he could. The moccasins were soon mended and the party started on the long return trip. Severns went with them for a few miles and learned that they lived in central Kentucky and that nearly all of the men of their settlement had gone to a salt spring to make salt. While they were absent six Indians attacked two houses and captured the three women. A boy not far from one of the houses saw the Indians and ran to two men building a cabin and gave the alarm and then all the other families ran to the fort not far away. A runner was sent after the men at the salt spring but it was nearly two days before they could get back and start after the Indians. After that they followed them on the run as they knew the Indians would make haste to get back over the Ohio river. When the Kentuckians had crossed the river they had no trouble in following the trail because most of the way they were on a trace that crossed at the ford where Severns found them. “Last night about eleven o’clock,” one of the men told Severns “our out runner came back to the party just after we had retired for the night and told us that he had seen a little glimmer of fire about a half mile ahead. Two of our men went back with him and in about an hour one of them came back and said they had located the Indians and that they were all asleep except one who was guarding the prisoners and that as well as they could count them as they lay, there were six Indians and the three women, and that their camp was at the foot of a bluff. He left the other two on a hill about a hundred yards from the Indians. There was a small valley between them and they had a clear view of the camp. The rest of us went to the hill and after a whispered council decided to deploy out so as to reach the camp from the south and east sides and as soon as we could get near enough, to charge the Indians and kill them before they could defend themselves. The men who are husbands of two of the women were to look after them. In creeping up we found the little valley covered an inch or two deep with water from a gushing spring near the Indians’ camp which greatly delayed our attack and it was nearly five o’clock when we rushed on them, killing four before they could use their guns. The one left on guard shot one of our men in the shoulder and he and another one got away, the guard with a broken arm.”

After hearing his story, Mr. Severns wished them a safe journey and returned to camp. That afternoon the three trappers went to the battle ground and found four dead Indians which they placed in a large hole made by the uprooting of a tree that had blown down, piling brush, dirt and rocks on them. The Indians were greatly alarmed and Mr. Severns could not induce them to stay longer, so they went down the river to Severns’ home and then took their traps and went north.

The only certain location of this battle ground is the Patoka river and Severns’ home but the distance and outcropping of the coal makes it certain to my mind that it was Massey’s Bridge where the trappers’ camp was and that the Kentuckians crossed at Martin’s Ford about a mile up the river from the bridge and the place where the battle was fought and the women rescued was at Martin Springs. The hill the men laid on when planning to charge on the Indians, was I believe, where the Martin cemetery is now located.

Author’s Note. I have heard hunters say that there was no place in the western country where there had been more beaver than on the Patoka river and that many had been caught as late as 1835. To this day the signs of their industry are to be seen in many places.

Valley at Martin Cemetery

Another view of hill at Martin Cemetery

Evans and Keeton Squabble

    No one told a good story like my Pappa John Evans.  Maybe you knew him, most knew him as “Redneck”.  That was way before Redneck had come to mean what it does today, thanks to Jeff Foxworthy.  I would say he earned the nickname due to being a union coal miner or most likely by being a diehard Democrat.   My Pappa, born in 1910, would have been 101 years old this past June if he were still living.  But I met someone in the late 1970s that rivaled him in the art of storytelling and of course, there was a story between the two of them. 

    That someone was Kitty Keeton.  Kitty was the great great uncle to my children through their father’s side.  Kitty was born in 1897 and grew up in the same areas as my grandparents, Muren, Aberdeen, and Turkey Hill.  He was a coal miner and later on in life a barber.  When I first met him I was just a teenager still.  He asked who my family was and he knew them all.  He told me a story about how when he was at the Ayrshire Mines one day a bunch of kids were playing around on the tipple and dropped a chunk of coal that hit him on the head and just about killed him.  If I remember the story correctly it took a chunk of Kitty’s ear off.   One of those kids was my Pappa John.  According to Kitty anyway.

    Not according to my Pappa!!!  I naively told him that I had met someone who knew him.  He said who and I told him Kitty Keeton and that Kitty had told me the story about Pappa dropping the chunk of coal on his head when he was a kid.  In my effort to keep this blog clean, I won’t tell you the exact words my Pappa had to say about this.  But if you knew him, you can only imagine.  It amounted to “That g___ s_____.  He’s still telling that story and it ain’t true.  It wasn’t me.”  He ranted and raved and denied it.  He said Kitty always swore it was him and it wasn’t.  This back and forth went on for years.  Whenever we wanted to hear a good story and get Pappa stirred up we would ask him about it. 

    Kitty wrote about it in his memoirs, not naming my Pappa.

In September 1920, I was out of the mine early and washed, again smoking my cigar and wearing rabbit fur hat, creased, while waiting for a friend from Turkey Hill vicinity—who I had got a job at the mine for him. He said if I would get him a job I had a free buggy ride. I was waiting to ride home, he wasn’t out of the mine at that hour. Two friends of mine, one of them living NW corner of Oakland City now, was wrestling near the tippler while coal was hoisted to the top and dumped on screens, and went in several bins,  3 to 4 inch lumps and large lumps. I saw a little board close, picked it up and was going to go up and when one was bent over give him a hot seat. I got to them and had chance to do the job but saw coal falling all around them and instead of giving one the paddle I slapped both of them on the shoulder and said, “You are in danger, coal is falling. Lets get back to a safe place”. We got back to the front of commissary and it seemed as if I was floating in the air. I knew where I was but wasn’t talking. They picked me up and put me on a cot under the wood water tank,  that held water for our wash house. In the September afternoon it was hot and they lay me in the shade.

It was 3½ miles to Dads house at the foot of Turkey Hill. My Uncle Charlie had a car and he went for my dad. I saw both of them. I also saw two doctors named Deter and Winslow. They was there and friends told me later when I saw those two I frowned. Later I saw the white hair of Dr. John McGowan of Oakland City, our family doctor who doctored me for influenza in 1927 when so many died.  Friends say when I saw him I smiled. Also I saw the ambulance stop and back up to pick me up. I was hit about 2 PM. After loading in the ambulance, a Wood spoke, one from Lambs, Oakland City. The next thing I remember was John Porter coming out to the ambulance and said to his Van Dyke beard father, “What in the hell have you been doing, looked like you took all afternoon”. His father said ‘The three doctors said the roads are very rough, drive careful as he can’t live anyway”.

He said “Get from under the wheel and hold a rag on his bleeding head and let me drive to the Princeton Hospital before he dies on our hands”. I heard all this and they started to Princeton on an old rocky, narrow road. No black top then. Near Frisco a woman was in the road, I see her, but I heard young Lamb tell her that she stopped in the road and stopped an emergency ambulance and he was going to see that she was fined. She said, ‘Mister I ran out of gas and the car stopped and I couldn’t move it”, He took the license number and I remember there were 7s and in her number.

I know they put me on an elevator to take me to the operating room. Then I can remember that a doctor walked up to where I was lying and said, “he can’t live through the operation”. Dr. McGowan, my old friend, wiped a tear from his eyes and said, “Not a chance”.

About that time, McGowan’s wife came towards me with an ether cone and the first words I had said, “Let me get my breath, you came too fast and took my breath. Come slower”. They were amazed. She stepped up and it seemed like I was falling fast.

Next I remember looking in the room of Blonde D. Haired, And the three doctors, Ziliak, Brazelton, & McGowan, and I said “Get me chamber–they possibly were, but I knew I needed it. The nurse fell out of the room when I said “I said I told you S of B to get the S—pot and I meant it. I mean get it”. It came and they found out that I was recovered and had my senses. Later I heard from Brazelton and Ziliak that they were surprised to hear me tell how to give ether and also that I knew what I needed and that my mind was OK. The three doctors and surgeons and Mrs. McGowan are all deceased for a long time now.
I was there two weeks to the day and 60 years this next September 20th.

 Gail was brought down there at 7 PM and McGowan told her to stay the night and that I would not live through the night, Next morning my father and mother came in to see me and asked how I felt. I told them that I would he home in a couple of weeks, Later I heard from them that just after seeing me that McGowan said I couldnt make it. They said, “why a little while ago we were up to see him and he said he was feeling OK and would he home in a couple of weeks”.  Just as we went in, he drank a glass of water and threw it up across the room. Then they started running away and said, “Now I know he will die”.

The nurse sure got a tongue lashing because she left water on the table where I could get it. I would have paid $100.00 for a glass if I could have it. Only a swallow was all I could take. My Aunt Bertha got to the door that morning and waved at me, they wouldnt let her in.


Shortly after, a man who hauled from the mines came thru the door and said “Boy oh Boy, I never thought I would see you again when you was hit. It was a chunk of coal like your two fists closed, and I hid on the pond bank”.   I said, “Is that right” and rang the bell. When the nurse came I said ‘Escort this gentleman out, if my aunt can’t come in, he shouldnt be here”. She really unloaded on him as there was a sign on the door saying Absolutely No Admittance. Anyway, I came home in two weeks as I said I would.

    My Pappa John died in 1994 at the age of 84.  Kitty died in 1982 at the age of 84.   Each still swearing by their own version of the story.