Echoes From The Past

By JUDY MAUPIN *- Echoes From the Past
(A Column of historical and genealogical anecdotes, stories and family notes.)
Calloway County, Ky.

The Romance of Stone School

May 30, 1981
Today I am reprinting something which was in the Ledger many years ago. It was written by L. C. Winchester, principal of Hardinsburg, Kentucky school, and an alumnus of the Stone School about which he writes.

"The early settlers of southeast Calloway County, Kentucky were of the sturdy, pure Anglo-Saxonpioneers that followed Daniel Boone from West Virginia and North Carolina through Cumberland Gap into Central Kentucky and later pushed farther west into the Purchase part of the state.

"The particular area around which this story centers has long been known as the "Flatwoods." It is a level upland containing some eight or ten thousand acres of similar topography and characteristics.

"Here, during the period from the War of 1812 to the Civil War, settled the families of Callahans, Cannons, Grogans, Hendons, Henrys, Houstons, Hutons, Hunts, Mitchells, Perrys, Stones, Wells, Winchesters, Williams, and others. These people were a conservative, law-abiding, and God-fearing community who believed the best and surest way to build a citizenry was through hard work, conscientious religious worship, and good schools. These three ideas have prevailed unto the present day.

"These ideas have produced three far-reaching results. Tenantry is almost unknown in this area. Most all families own and farm their own small farms of from 40 to 80 acres. Modern farm practices have not been adopted in this community as in some of the more progressive sections, and farm conveniences are not as numerous here as elsewhere, but by hard work the people have always o managed to live and educate their youth, most of whom have gone to other sections where financial remuneration is apparently greater. "Religiously, they early established themselves.

There are five Protestant churches of three different denominations, all of which are easily accessible to the people and were in the days of horseback and ox-cart transportation. So conscientious and law-abiding are these people that to the writer's knowledge no one of them has been tried in court on a felony charge.

"Realizing the value of the three 'R's' they early established the 'district' school. We do not know just when the first schoolhouse was built; we think it must have been just before the Civil War. Earliest history obtainable shows that Major Cutchin taught there just after the war and Bart Hudspeth in 1868.

"The first schoolhouse was torn down in 1876. It was made of logs with a stick and dirt chimney in the west end. Alog was cut out of the north side for a window; slab seats were used. There was no bell but children were called to 'books.'

When this house was torn down, a new log house was built, but it had glass windows and homemade desks.

"Roll was called the last thing in the afternoon. Students who had not talked without permission answered 'Perfect;' others answered 'Imperfect." A favorite pastime of the boys was to lock the teacher out until he promised to treat with candy on the last day.

"On Friday afternoons they had debates, spelling bees, and other exhibitions; sometimes .they were held at night.

"Jonathan Grogan, Mrs. Sallie Allen Holt, Billie Hendon, Tom Pool and wife, Mrs. Hattie Hunt Pool still love and own their homes in the community where they went to school more than 60 years ago.

"Few rural schools in Kentucky have sent more people into the world to take their part in civilization than has Stone School. More than 60 teachers, teaching from one to five years each, have directed the elementary education of the pupils of Stone School. About 150 of her alumni have entered the teaching profession or have entered other professions. Several have entered the ministry.

"Some of them are Alfred Wells Lassiter, presiding elder and noted evangelist; Bryan Rains; Freeman Harris and Rollins Winchester, pastor of the East Chester Baptist Church, Jackson, Tenn. She has her physicians, Dr. Billie Stone, Benton, and Dr. E. B. Houston, Murray. A college president Dr. Rainey T. Wells, once president of Murray State College and now chief claim attorney for the WOW.

One Dr. J.B. Hutson, chief of Tobacco Division of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, Washington, D.C.; and a Registrar, E.H. Cannon at Western State Teachers College, Bowling Green. Besides there are more than a hundred rural teachers and high school principals.

The second log house burned down in 1883 and the third house was built of sawed lumber. It had a blackboard. This house was placed a little south and west of the others and the name of the school changed from Hunt to Stone after the men who had donated the land for the school. A fourth schoolhouse was build in 1909. It is the one used at present. Another room was added in 1915.

"The log houses were not only used for schools but for 'side shows' and preaching of all denominations. The whole community gathered at these occasions. Many noted ministers of that day preached there, such as Billie Brush, Merideth Henry, and Doctor Osborne.

"The boys and girls did not play together as they do today. Sometimes a furrow was plowed across the playground to separate them and no boy dared go on the girls' side except to recover a ball. But even with the furrow there were boy and girl sweethearts the same as today. However, the boys usually amused themselves at recess by playing town ball, prison base, bull pen, stealing goods, and 'eucre,' a game played with marbles.

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