Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oliver's Diary: The Schools 1870 - 1905

This week I received an e-mail from a fellow Rockcastle Co., Kentucky researcher who had started corresponding with me last year when he found this blog. His ancestors were from the same area of the county as mine and he still lives in the area today. He and I are familiar with many of the same family groups that lived in the same community. We have exchanged information, documents and photos.

(photo just for illustration)
In this latest e-mail he said he knew my paternal great grandfather, Oliver M. Wallen, was a teacher and he wanted to know if Oliver had ever taught at the "Rocksprings" school, which is still standing today. I was pretty sure the answer was "no" and, since I was busy, it would have been easy just to tell him so and be done with it. I knew that many of the names Oliver used for these schools were probably names of the current teacher at the time, or the name of the teacher that first taught there. However, it was an honest question and deserved a little more than a quick dismissal, so I decided to run a search for the term "school" in the transcription of the diary on my computer. I was surprised with what I found. Again I learn to "never say never".

(photo just for illustration)
First of all "school" is probably one of the most common words throughout Oliver's diary. There were "Select" schools, "Common" schools, "Subscription" schools, and of course "Public" schools. I finally had a list of 17 to 19 different schools to send off to this researcher, not that it was any help to him, but it was certainly worth it to me to save the list in case I ever needed to refer to it. Some of these were schools that Oliver attended as a boy, others are where he taught. I have included the teachers where named, and some of the general locations.

These are the schools mentioned, from the years 1870 through 1905, in Oliver's diary:

1) The Public school at Maretsburg (teachers Harvy Vanhook, M. B. Debord, Miss Ada Hunt)
2) Silas Martin's Select school (Maretsburg)
3) Miss Lucy Martin's Select school
4) The Old Tyree school (teachers William Bloomer, Jo Vanhook, T. J. Cress, W. A .B. Davis)
5) Unnamed Public school (teachers Mr. J C. Watson, Mr. S. D. Lewis, Miss Lucile Joplin, Miss Alice Lewis) (May be the same as #1)
6) The Mount Vernon (Public) school (teachers: Mrs. Rosalind Nesbitt, Miss Ella Joplin)
7) The Kirby school, "near Blue Springs on the Dry Fork of Skaggs Creek".
8) J. N. Brown's Normal school at Level Green (Jasper Newton Brown)
9) The school at Sand Hill
10) Sayer's school house
11) The Copper Creek school
12) The Caloway school (Caloway District)
13) The Estes school house (Pulaski Co.)
14) The Thompson school house
15) Mat Colson's school
16) Miss Ida May Adam's school
17) The Brown school house (may be the same as #8)
18) Milton Wheeldon's school
19) The Norton school house

After I made this list, I went back to recheck words in and around the word "school", and that's when I found it, just what my researcher friend was looking for: "the trustees in Rock Spring Dist (No. 71) gave me their school." This was the school year starting in the fall of 1894. I had missed it during the first search.

So, we have another school, making it 18 to 20 schools mentioned in Oliver's diary. 

20) Rock Springs school

And no, the photos are not of Rockcastle county schools. They are photos from the time period that are no longer under copyright and are just for illustration....because I like illustrations!


1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful story of finding something good you hadn't intended to look for. You're excused for including "similar" illustrations. I'm always sad when I post something that has NO picture to go along with it.