Each month, The Kentucky
Explorer magazine receives literally scores of letters from
our faithful readers. Whenever possible, we try to publish as
many of them as possible in the 12 pages we have set aside for
"Letters to the Editor."
Here are actual letters from our February
Ballardsville Grade School
Class Photo Confirmed
The picture on page 20 of the October Explorer was indeed taken
in the schoolyard of the Ballardsville Grade School. It was a
four-room school, with two grades taught in each room. Hot meals
were served in the lunchroom upstairs. I attended school there
from about the third through the seventh grade. The white house
that is seen in the background was the residence for the school
principal who, when I attended there in the late '40s and early
'50s, was Russell Brown. On summer evenings a sheet was hung
on the side of the school and movies were shown. Attendance was
free, but passing the hat encouraged donations. The usual fare
was movies such as Frankenstein or Frankenstein Meets The Werewolf.
This was pretty scary stuff, especially as we were headed home
down a lonely and unlit country road.
Shown in the picture is my uncle, Hubert Crum. His parents owned
Ted's Place, which was on the corner across from the school.
It was a garage, gas station, and grocery store where his mother,
known to all as Mrs. T., dispensed many free pieces of candy
and ice cream cones to the kids. My uncle still lives nearby
on his farm, while his daughter, Kelly, and son-in-law, J. R.,
live just down the road from the old school building.
Dallas, TX 75206
Words To Songs Wanted
If any of your readers know where I can get the words to these
songs, I would appreciate it. They are Wait A Little Longer Please
Jesus, Mother Left Me Her Bible, and I'm Using My Bible For A
P. O. Box 1146
Summerfield, FL 34492
Word Of Thanks
This is a word of thanks to the nice helpful people at The Kentucky
My October issue of The Explorer was lost. I received the cover,
but the magazine was missing.
I called the post office and also spoke to the mail carrier.
No one had seen my magazine! It was a sad day at our house. We
love The Explorer and look forward to receiving it each month.
I called The Explorer office and asked how I could get the October
2002 issue and told the nice person who answered the phone I
would gladly pay for it. She told me no problem, they would send
me one at no charge. The issue arrived a few days later and everyone's
happy again at our house.
Hazel C. Norris
909 E Minnezona Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85014-3825
Regarding the identification of a photo on page 11 in the October
2002 issue, pictured in the front row, l-r: Manuel Cornett; and
next to him is Charles Cornett, his brother, the Sheriff of Perry
County. Charles was my brother-in-law.
545 Thurman Drive
Lexington, KY 40505
Lee County Native
Thank you so much for printing The Kentucky Explorer. My dad
grew up in Lee County and now lives with me. He brings in the
mail every day and keeps The Explorer to read first. We truly
enjoy reading the magazine.
54995 Eleven Mile Road
New Hudson, MI 48165
Eight Counties Represented
In Educational Improvement League in 1912
I feel sure many of your readers can provide source material
that better explains and describes the early educational system
of Kentucky, especially in the Big Sandy Valley. The state's
approach to providing a public education to the children of its
citizens has changed many times over the past 200 years. Governance
was once by state appointed commissioners and later changed to
elected local school boards and hired superintendent of schools.
Other efforts to improve the quality of education were "in-service
days" to improve teaching skills.
In the book Kentucky's Last Frontier by Henry P. Scalf published
in 1966, Mr. Scalf writes that Education Commissioner William
J. Martin "held a Teachers Institute at the mouth of Beaver
(Floyd County) in October 1874 attended by the entire teaching
faculty of the county and a great number of patrons as well."
Evidence of one such effort is shown by the copy of the "Programme"
of the Big Sandy Educational Improvement League scheduled to
take place October 18 and 19, 1912, in Prestonsburg, Kentucky.
There were eight counties represented in the League, all within
the watershed of the Big Sandy River and its tributaries, except
Magoffin County and a part of Knott County. The program included
many well-known and distinguished educators from the area, including
Professor A. C. Harlowe and Walter M. Byington. Mr. F. A. Hopkins
of Prestonsburg, a well-known attorney and the first superintendent
of the Floyd County school system, provided the opening welcome
address. Apparently, over the years these teacher's institutes
were continuing to meet as a league 38 years later and had grown
to include educators from a large geographic area of Eastern
A sponsor of the League's program was The First National Bank
of Prestonsburg which started business in Floyd County in 1904,
and continues in business today as The First Commonwealth Bank
of Prestonsburg. I mention this for two reasons: My great uncle,
Beriah Magoffin Spurlock, was one of the original founders of
the bank, and a Spurlock has been involved as an owner and manager
ever since; and to point out that business was involved in education
90 years ago and the need for business to be involved in the
public system of education today is even greater.
I want to join with many of your contributors and readers in
acknowledging the good service provided by your publication.
This forum helps all of us better understand and communicate
the unique history of Kentucky.
Burl Wells Spurlock
311 N. Arnold Avenue
Prestonsburg, KY 41653
About Our Great State
I look forward to receiving The Explorer each month. There are
so many places in Kentucky that I didn't even know about. It
is also so interesting to read and know about our great state.
You do a wonderful job covering most all of it. Keep up the good
5659 E. HWY 80
Russell Springs, KY 42642