“Pa bought a mountain farm of about eighty acres that was located about five miles up Coon Creek from where the state road went from Pikeville, Kentucky to Williamson, W. Va. This farm had a framed four-room house on it, but Pa was never satisfied with it, as it was all hillside except maybe two acres.
“Pa and Ma both worked hard and were good managers. They raked and scraped and saved all they could, and didn’t waste anything. Pa was a great hand to set out fruit trees, so naturally he had an apple orchard. They canned apples in fruit jars, dried apples over a kiln, and made apple butter. Of course there were other fruit trees on the place, such as a cherry tree, several peach trees and some pear trees. They made use of all the fruit. When apples were ripe, they would peel a couple of bushels at night by kerosene lamplight, then they would work them up the next day.
“Pa was intelligent and he had about fifth grade education at three or four months per school term. Women in those days rarely attended school as it was considered useless as a woman’s place was in the home. So naturally Ma could neither read nor write. Pa taught her to read, write and count. He used a blue-backed speller as a textbook. Ma would practice writing or printing the words from the speller, and soon she could read her bible and the mail order catalog.
“Ma was an intelligent woman and had great pride in her manners, cleanliness and character. She always had a smile for every one and never downed people. They seemed to prosper right along, and they vowed they would send their children to school and educate them. This they did.
“Bertha completed eighth grade, took six weeks of high school, took a Normal Course Examination and received her certificate to teach school. She taught school for three years on Brushy Fork of John’s Creek. Orrison completed high school at Pikeville, and went to the University Of Kentucky at Lexington, where he graduated with a Law degree. He was admitted to the Bar in Kentucky, and set up his practice in Pikeville. John completed high school in Pikeville, and was an outstanding basketball player. After high school, he went into business with Garfield Blackburn, selling White Sewing Machines.”
TELLING IT LIKE IT WAS
By Ireland Everett Layne
Coon Creek, KY