Wednesday, September 19, 2018

In the 1890s, Sunday Evenings Meant Going Back to Church; For Young People, Sundays Also Meant Courting

In the previous post, Sarah Eva Howe described the typical Sunday morning service at the Methodist Episcopal Church South in Carrollton in the early 1890s. She continued with stories about Sunday afternoons and evenings, a time when teens of all faiths found excuses and opportunities to "court."

I left off in the other book with Sunday afternoon. At this time we didn’t have “Young People’s Meeting,” as we called it, on Sunday night but on Tuesday night, so when the various meetings were over, we had two or three hours of lovely Sunday afternoon left, to spend in the Sabbath calm, the absolute stillness, broken only by a few buggies going by in the soft flaky dust. (Papa1 didn’t quite think these Sunday buggy rides were a good thing, but he didn’t condemn them too much, having had a fine horse himself when he was a boy.) 

We had a supper of salt rising bread made by Mama,2 apple sauce, jelly and “cold sliced meat” with good country butter, sometimes tea, and at 7:45 were on our way back to church, where the fearful and wonderful “central chandelier” was lighted. (If you saw "The Phantom of the Opera House," it was very much like the one that fell, and we were always afraid this one would.) It was beautiful — with a big glass reflector and about twenty small lamps and many crystals hanging from it. Its one drawback was the multitude of light bugs that came and buzzed around it all the time the service was going on — pretty bad, too, for those who sat under it! We still had that chandelier until almost 1903, when the church was again thoroughly remodeled and electric chandeliers were installed. I believe we had electric lights in the church before that, but the chandelier was still there — perhaps it was wired for lights, now I think of it. I don’t know what became of it finally.

The night service was about the same as the morning, almost but not quite all of the same members present. ... A lot of the boys and girls came together to church at night, as in
Off to Church 
Papa’s day, tho they sat rather far back. Still other boys waited at the back of the church, in bunches, and sat in chairs at the back, and stood at the side to “pick off the girls” as they came in and “escort them home.” I remember Juanita Coltrane ... was visiting then. She was the first “Southern girl” I suppose I ever saw — dark, and in lovely clothes, with a picture hat and plumes; she was at church with Pierce Winslow,3 and I thought I’d never seen anyone so pretty; when they said her name was Juanita I was entranced, it just fitted her. (She is now Mrs. Garrison and is about 70!)

[Sarah inserts some comments about the young people who attended the Catholic church.] The young mill girls and domestic workers, almost all of them Catholics, used to dress in their best, go to Young People’s service at their church at 3 o’clock, and then pair off (many of the marriages were thus arranged) and go down to see the mail boats come in. This was a breathtaking scene, about four on Sunday, and sometimes the up and down boats came in close together. 

Let me tell you that the young girls and boys of “Society” did little more of an exciting nature on Sundays; most of the marriages were fostered by long happy summer evenings either on one’s own porch or in the yard, in porch chairs under the trees, or in the newly fashionable “lawn swings” beginning to be seen — I believe about ’92 or ’93.

Of course a buggy on certain occasions was a must. Many young men had their own or used their father’s, or hired one for other occasions, “going in together,” two boys taking two girls, and dividing the cost.

The Rest of the Week
After Sunday with its many and varied activities, the week was well started. ... Tuesday night was “Young People’s Meeting” attended and enjoyed by everyone under forty (and even over if they wanted to attend, and they often did). Up to 1892, it was a branch of the Christian Endeavor, ... but when Papa found out about the Epworth League, he was one of the pioneers (with C.C. Stoll of Louisville) in getting it started in Kentucky and was state Vice President (in 1895 I think it was), going to all the district and state meetings and to the “international” meeting in Chattanooga in 1895. ... The young people, especially young married people, enjoyed it so much in the early days. ...

Our prayer meeting was Thursday night, and we were all there, Mama playing, as usual.  ... It was very interesting and a wonderful “break” in the week, an inspiration to those who came, and there was a pretty good crowd who did, even a good many young people — mostly those whose parents brought them!

In the meantime, there were day meetings at the church — the first Monday of the month,
Styles worn by women and girls cira 1892
the Ladies Missionary Society, with Miss Sue Browinski as president, and on another day in the month the Parsonage and Home Missionary Society, of which Aunt Lou Howe3 was president and ruling spirit. (Aunt Sallie Goslee Howe4 was secretary of this society). The W.C.T.U. met on still another day. ...

There were no Women’s Clubs [in Carrollton], but about 1891, I suppose, Mrs. Henry Winslow5 insisted on forming a very serious Chautauqua circle, which really studied the course assigned. Mrs. Atha Gullion,6 co-editor of the Democrat, with her husband, had a bookstore on “upper Main” near Fifth, and just under the Winslow & Winslow law offices and next to the Carrollton National Bank. Miss Hallie Masterson and her sister Miss Emma were two other interested members, and Mrs. John Cox.

In Ghent, though, there was a Woman’s Club being formed by Miss Caby Froman,7 Uncle Mack’s oldest sister. She was distressed by the rather sketchy morals of the young wives, at least of some of them, around Ghent (for they were considered a rather gay act!) and thought that if they had more to occupy their thoughts with than dress and food (they had so many negro servants living in the town, no white lady ever did much housework). There was not much travel, except on the boats, and not much community life in such a place; so she formed a literary society called the “H. & P. Literary Society." 


1 Robert James Howe (1855-1910)
2 Alice Ada Cost (1859-1939)
3 Pierce Godbey Winslow (1873-1948), brother of Louisiana Winslow, who married Sarah's uncle William Ficklin Howe in 1873
4 Sallie Goslee (1858-1934), who married Sarah's uncle Joseph Brown Howe in 1889
5 Lucy Ann Cooper (1863-1950), wife of Henry Moore Winslow (1850-1932)
6 Nancy Atha Hanks (1844-1932), wife of Edmund Asbury Gullion (1853-1923)
7 Caby M. Froman (1892-1974), daughter of state senator Hiram McMakin "Mac" Froman and Sarah's aunt Sarah Varena "Sallie Howe Froman.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A 'Soft Sunday Hush, the Distant Humming of Bees, the Sleepy Twitter of Birds' — Sunday Mornings at Church, 1892

Sarah Eva Howe recalls the beauty of the recently renovated Carrollton Methodist Episcopal Church South (1891-1892), where her parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents contributed much time and considerable resources over the years. Her description of a typical Sunday service includes words and rituals still in use today at Methodist churches today.

The church was all done over around this time ... This is as good a place as any to tell about how beautiful it looked. The organ, that first year we were there ... was in the back part of the church up against the window, where the entry is now. There
was a door on each side, and through those doors decorously passed the members, divided into two groups, those who went up to the left side and those who went up the right side. That is where that cleavage started, which continued with us children even when both doors emptied into the same entry. Still, like the lemmings in Norway, we turned to the two staircases, just the same, tho we couldn’t go thru the wall, where the doors had been bricked up.

If the doors as they are now are typical ... the other way was also typical of the intense
One of the windows installed in 1891-1892
sectarianism of the time, for “never the twain should meet.” Many of the members upstairs had not been on the other side of the auditorium from theirs for many a day. The Howes always sat on the side next to our house, the east, and were rather peeved when this window1 was placed on the west side (tho they said nothing, but I used to sit and look at it and wonder about it). 

There is a beautiful window in the tower that no one ever sees now; it is never lighted from the inside at night, and of course no one looks at it from inside by day. In those days, tho, the tower door was open more often than not, so we could see it. I have stood by the bell rope (which went on downstairs when Frank Whitehead, the colored sexton — you remember him — rang the bell at 8:30, at 9:00, at 10:30, at 10:45 and a few daps at 10:55 and so on for all services on Sunday. ... The [wall]paper was brown (so as not to show dirt I imagine) and it worried me because there was a false alcove on the flat wall behind the pulpit; that is, there was the shaded appearance of one in the pattern of the plain paper. I have traced that alcove hundreds of times with my eyes, wishing that just once I could step inside it. I have now, for the organ and the rooms behind it have been put there, so that when I go in, I have a sort of “Back of the North Wind” feeling.

Before the organ was moved up there, the church was very square and flat, with rows of seats on each side making the “Amen Corner” where older people, slightly deaf or extra devout, would sit. When the organ was put there after the revolutionary door closing at the rear, all that was changed was that instead of two amen corners, there was just one — the choir sat facing the preacher sideways, on a slightly raised platform, on three or four benches set one behind the other. (No one ever sat on the front one unless there was a revival and an extra big choir.) 
Carrollton Methodist Episcopal Church circa 1895

You don’t remember the organ, which is now in the Ghent church, but it was a Pilcher organ and had a lovely tone when Mama played it! Mr. Pilcher supervised its “moving up,” and Mama became acquainted with him, as she was just taking over the organ then. (I am pretty sure now this was in 1891.) He showed Mama a little about the pedals, which so thrilled her; she was always trying them out after that — but always afraid she would step on the wrong one!

The floor was bare, but there was a strip of Brussels carpet up each aisle. One pew, I forget whose, had a strip of red carpet under it and a cushion on it; the lady there had said she was cold! We regarded this as the height of effeminacy, tho we didn’t consciously call it that. As to kneeling benches, of course, we had none; all except the sick, the hardened, strangers, or the fashionable (or perhaps infirm or old) knelt facing the pew. There was carpet on the double platform (one smaller, on a larger one) in which the pulpit stood, surrounded by the altar rail, at which we knelt for communion, and for prayers at different meetings. Tho there was no outward altar, I know that in the hearts of people like my father and many others there was surely an invisible one, before which they knelt at this rail. ...

However, the drabness of the church was transformed and glorified by the sunlight pouring thru the lovely windows, eight of them, and three at the back of the church. I’m inclined to think those were there always, tho the other windows were frosted white glass when we came. ...

I can close my eyes now and go back to that summer Sunday morning of 1892, with the lovely windows opened to let in the soft air (also bees and an occasional bird) and the scents from the flowers (at our house and yard) and the grass of the old, sweet churchyard, and the wild roses. There was a soft Sunday hush over everything, just the distant humming of bees (there was probably always a swarm in the tower, along with the pigeon’s nests) and the sleepy twitter of birds, then the soft drone of the preacher’s voice, or the organ music in the “voluntary,” “offertory” or “processional.” We had probably sung “Welcome, Delightful Morn” and meant it with our whole hearts. 

Then the “opening hymn” standing and the second hymn sitting (or the other way about, perhaps), then the prayer (ten minutes at least, and were those who came in and had to be seated after the prayer looked on with critical eyes!). Then the anthem, the lesson read by the preacher, the announcements, sometimes made by Uncle Will,2 a second hymn (sitting), the collection, while Mama played an “offertory,” then the sermon. The Gloria Patri was only sung on special occasions, generally to take the place of the Doxology which otherwise closed the service (plus the benediction). However, a good many ministers called for a final hymn, in which they “opened the doors of the church,” sometimes they sang one verse after another of this if it looked like more were coming, and some ministers had another prayer after the sermon, which could last another ten minutes. 

We never recited the Apostle’s Creed — it was just something on the back of the Sunday school magazines and in the back of the songbooks; it was just as well, for if anyone had mentioned The Holy Catholic Church3 at that time in our pews, half the congregation would have wailed in horror.

The “lesson” was generally quite lengthy, for they read the old and new testament lessons both, often from Deuteronomy and Romans, or Leviticus and Hebrews, and therefore hard for an eight-year-old to follow, tho I made a polite attempt, generally, but fell over against Mama’s shoulder midway.

Afterwards, we met ... in the back of the church, and then went home to such a good tho easily prepared dinner — sometimes taking company, or perhaps a whole family would eat at a brother’s or sister’s house and “spend the day,” or if the Presiding Elder was there, all would vie in inviting him home. He was “Brother” Vaughn for four years. (They told me afterwards to call him “Dr.” It was the first time I had known you could call a preacher that!) We almost always had a beef roast for dinner. Papa was felt to be extravagant in paying 40 cents for his, but we used it in “sliced cold roast beef” for three meals at least afterwards. ... He could slice it right across in such thin, lovely slices — he was an artistic carver. 


1Possibly the new stained glass window contributed by brothers William Ficklin Howe, Joseph Brown Howe, and Robert James Howe. William was married to Louisiana "Lou" Winslow, sister of William Beverly Winslow, who with his brother George Bohrum Winslow was instrumental in organizing the purchase and installation of new windows for the church in 1891-1892. (Source: Our Church: A History of the Carrollton United Methodist Church by Hallie Masterson)
2William Ficklin Howe, brother of Sarah's father
3In the Apostle's Creed,"catholic" is not capitalized; it means "universal."

Images courtesy Carrollton United Methodist Church, Carrollton, Kentucky.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Howes Travel to Middlesboro for the Christian Endeavor Convention of 1892

The Howe Family went to many church- and faith-related meetings and conventions. In today's post, Sarah describes their trip from Carrollton to Middlesboro, Kentucky. The trip involved travel by boat and train, and it didn't go smoothly. Still, it was pure adventure to 9-year-old Sarah Eva Howe. She wrote this memoir in the mid-1940s.

Undated Postcard, Middlesboro, Kentucky
I am not sure now which year we went to Middlesborough (as it was spelled then) and which to Louisville, to the Christian Endeavor Conventions; but I believe the Middlesboro trip was in June of ’92. Papa loved to go to these conventions in those days before he went to New York;1 they were such a break in the monotony of his life. He was never intended to be a businessman, tho he was a good one! He wanted to follow a profession and to have been a professor in a college. That would have been ideal for him. He was devoted to church work, too, and had many forward-looking ideas that were far ahead of his contemporaries.

So here I will put the trip to Middlesboro, even if I have it wrong by a year or two one way or the other. The main thing I remember about the trip was that it took all day to get started!

We must have gone to Louisville on the boat to take the train out of there for Middlesboro, but there had been a wreck on the line, and our train — which should have started at 8 a.m. — didn’t go till 5 p.m. ... We waited around all day. It certainly was tedious, and there was really no place to buy things to eat except a small country store; Papa bought bananas and such, and I remember his taking me for walks up and down the track and around. They didn’t get the wreck cleared away for seven or eight hours. When we finally started, the train went so fast it really must have gone a mile a minute, considered almost the limit at that time. How I remember the dark falling and the black landscape rushing by with the speed of the wind, it seemed to me. 

Finally I fell asleep and hardly knew when we got off and went to register at the big fine Cumberland Hotel, I believe it was called. This was a real boom town put up by coal
Postcard, Cumberland Hotel, Middlesboro, early 1920s
operators and speculators who hoped to make a city of the size of Covington at least, perhaps Louisville. Harrogate too, over in Tennessee, was built up. English money built a lot of the property, and much of it was lost when the bubble burst not so long before the time we went there. There had been a big fire, too, that swept much of the town and burned the shiny but un-outstanding frame buildings and also many of the little ones. Mr. Jim Fisher and his wife lived there, also Uncle Will and Aunt Sue Salyers2 and their family (tho Ida Ruth and Charles were all that were living by that time, perhaps not even Charles). There were several more fires after we left, and finally I think the beautiful hotel, then rather in disrepair, has burned too. But it was certainly pretty when we were there, tho not too full of guests until the “convention” came. 

I wore a jacket of Roman striped French flannel “pinked” on the edges and my favorite little dark red velvet round hat; my hair was in plaits but looked short from the front, so the hotel man said “Mr. Howe,3 the room is so-and-so, meals included, but we don’t charge for your boy.” That amused Papa, I know.

Characteristically, the thing that remains with me of the trip is the “outside” rather than anything about the convention. The trip up the pinnacle, Mama4 holding my hand firmly, oh so firmly, as I looked at the city of Harrogate so far below like a toy village from the overhanging rock, of the place where you could stand in two states at once “and spit in the other,” as someone said — Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.
Modern-day Middlesboro viewed from the Pinnacle

But the most vivid memory is of Solomon’s Cave — my first “underground” experience. The formations are said to be more beautiful than many of those in Mammoth Cave, and there is a long narrow way where you have to crawl along, worse than the “fat man’s misery” at Mammoth Cave. There was very cold water dripping and flowing through it, which has caused the cave to be closed to visitors in later years, as the water supply of Lincoln Memorial College comes from these cold springs. There were wooden staircases that we went up and down, rocks we clambered over, and altogether it was very strenuous exercise. Going up the Pinnacle was easy, for it was not done on foot but in a big carriage with, I believe, four horses pulling about eight people in the carriage.

We came out into Cumberland Gap, the only time I ever set foot there, tho many times I’ve thought I’d visit there! — and the only thing I remember was a large white rat in a cage, which interested me, for it was the first white one I ever saw, and I did wish to have it! 

We took the train back home; on the way we met many friends. (I’ve heard Mama tell of them but don’t personally remember them.) I believe Uncle John Smith was aboard the train — perhaps he went down with us. There was a very tall slim young preacher with heavy black hair whose name was U.V.W. Darlington, who talked to us part of the time.

For days after our return, Mama was so stiff and sore from the unaccustomed climbing that she could hardly go up and down stairs and had to take the steps sideways, but I don’t remember it affected my short stocky legs in any way.


1 Robert James Howe and his brother Joseph Brown Howe traveled to New York City (and other large cities) to buy fashions to sell at the family's Howe Brothers Department Store in Carrollton, Kentucky.
2 William Levi Salyers (1860-1922), uncle of Sarah's husband of the same name; and his wife Susie Giltner Salyers
3 Sarah's "Papa," Robert James Howe (1855-1910) 
4 Sarah's "Mama," Alice Ada Cost Howe (1859-1939)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Don't Tell Papa! Sarah Plays Her First 'Kissing Game'

At the tender age of 7, Sarah Eva Howe gets an invitation to a party in her Carrollton, Kentucky neighborhood. Most of the children in attendance are a bit older than Sarah, but most are no older than 10.

Imagine Sarah's surprise when a kissing game begins! She joins in, though, and feels the flutter of young (very young!) love for the first time. Who knows how this budding relationship might have developed had Sarah not fallen ill and recovered only after the object of her affection had moved to New York.


I’ve omitted a very important interlude, which probably occurred between the spell of grippe and my fall; indeed I believe it celebrated Valentines Day. Miss Moreland, the
indomitable teacher, had a brother, Houston, and a sister, Hattie, a very pretty, slim, dark girl about two years older than I. The Morelands gave a party for her, and most of the second and third grades and the fourth, her grade, ... were invited. I don’t know how I, only 7 years old, got in, but it must have been because of Mildred [Goslee] — she lived across the street from her, on Main Street, just below the Richland Hotel; they had a “floor” in the big plastered building across from that.

I don’t believe Jenne [Howe, one of Sarah's cousins] was there, and I don’t know how Mama came to let me go. Certainly she had no idea of the type of party it would be where kissing games would be played! I had heard so much said ... about “sweethearts” but never expected to have one myself, being a most unromantic looking type, plump (not to say fat) with straight hair in tight braids ... and most of my costumes were of the square, mannish type guimpe (“gamp” we called it) and dresses of gingham or sailor type blouses of plaid — tho spring marked a little change, and Papa had Mrs. Alice Smith Conn (Uncle John’s sister) make me a really lovely hat, and I had two dresses of a much more feminine cast, made by Mrs. Losey herself, who had a small frame “office” at the side of the old store.

Then we played “Love in the Dark.” (Papa would have died at that idea!) The girls had to choose a boy and stand in the dark room as each successive boy in a wave grabbed at one and took her to a chair in the light. If you were the wrong one, you soon got up and left. I heard the girls disputing about the boys, and to my own astonishment I "put in my oar." “Let me take Henry Caldwell!” quoth I. He belonged to that sad, tragic Caldwell family who lived in the little house on Main Street near the Conn grocery (too near!), and his younger brother Hugh, a small round-faced secretive looking boy, was in my grade. But Henry was different from all of them — he had red hair; he — well, he was just different. 

So he found me in the dark and I didn’t have to leave him, and he and I joked (imagine!) about the old maids who had to get out. (I remember that, and I was 7 1/2! and so well raised!) and he chose me for all the games after that, and next day at school Hattie searched me out at recess and said, “Sallie, Henry says he’s in love with you!” Well, it is just a different, queer feeling that swells you up, different from anything else. I began watching to see him go in the room ... to his 3rd grade exalted seat, and one never-to-be- forgotten day he waved at me with a sly grin, his red hair flaring as he jumped from desk to desk before school opened, by putting his hands down and springing forward. I waved back, and I think that was the end. Soon after that I started on that long road that led through the dark, and when I came out, Henry was gone. By some miracle he escaped the fate of the rest of his family. Some relative took him to raise; he went to New York, and I believe did well, that red head (and that must be why I’ve always admired red hair!) has always moved proudly through life. I’ve read about him in the Democrat several times since but have never seen him again. A good thing that my eyes had all that trouble — maybe.

I am not clear even as to the dress worn to this party, but it may have been the serviceable brown cloth “best” dress Mrs. Losey made me which I wore to Naomi’s wedding (it was that winter, I think, late 1890 at Grandpa Arnet’s house) which had a “lay down collar” edged with ... ribbon and a bunch of the same ribbon at one side of the waist, in a sort of “loveknot”(!). The shirt was edged with it, too.

Anyway, the party was a new experience for me; we played a game where we sang:
“I wouldn’t have none of your wheat,
Wouldn’t have none of your barley,
wouldn’t have none of your oats or rye
To make a cake for Charlie.
Charlie he’s a nice young man
Oh Charlie he’s a dandy
Charlie he’s a nice young man
He gave the girls all candy

(Nice standard of niceness!)

We also played “Skip to my Lou,” my first experience, but how I loved it! But at first it seemed no one skipped with me, for so many of the girls were older and more glamorous (tho I’d never heard that word).

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Influenza Comes to America and Finds Sarah Eva Howe, 1892

A year wasted. That's how Sarah Eva Howe recalled 1892. In that year, multiple illnesses struck, one after the other, keeping her in bed or inside for months, sometimes with her eyes bandaged shut. We can only imagine the challenge of keeping that gregarious, inquisitive 8-year-old girl quiet long enough to heal.

Sarah wrote the following memoir in the 1940s, remembering that trying time and attributing some of the ailments of her adult years to that barrage of illnesses that plagued her some 50 years before.

The winter after Christmas [of 1891] was one long series of mishaps, physically. A brand new disease was sweeping the country (new in name if not in action). La Grippe [an old word for influenza] was its French cognomen, and this was its first introduction to America. (“The la grippe,” as many called it.) Mama1 had a very bad attack of it, and I took it before she recovered and was put in bed with her. Dr. Goslee was run to death, poor man, and a young doctor about 28 named Dr. Holmes, a tall, silent, rather grim, dark young fellow said to be quite a brilliant student and practitioner, had to be his assistant and took over our cases. I think this was in January, and we were in bed at least two or three weeks. 
Illustration by Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944)

With my case, erysipelas set up, my cheek was puffed up in a blister, I was painted with brown ointment (probably fish scale preparation, for it smelled terrible!) and with the grease used around my neck, my hair on end and all, I remember looking in the hand glass and deciding I looked exactly like an Indian. That kept me from school about a month. When I went back about the first of March, I had a queer accident. The family had a dining at Grandma Howe’s2 house, down on Main, and I was allowed to come home to eat with them, but (as I had missed so many days) was to my sorrow not allowed to stay from afternoon school. As I hurried out to go, I fell, the day being misty on the damp concrete pavement, and I made a brush burn — with no one knows what germs burned in — on the left side of my face. I went on to school after washing up, and by night it felt like it was afire. 

All might have gone very well, tho, if almost immediately, while my face was still sore, around late March ... I came down with a particularly bad case of the measles! (Very hard cases, that year.) Weakened by first the grippe, and erysipelas, then the infection in my cheek, which was so slow healing, then the measles, something had to give way, so my eyes did. How long I was in the dark room or, if I went out, had a bandage over my eyes, I don’t know — most of April and part of May, I suppose. I remember Jenne3 and the other children bringing me violets and plum blossoms, and smelling them. 

Finally it was decided to take me to Cincinnati to see an eye specialist, Dr. MacDermott. I don’t know how we picked on him, but he was good — and well I can remember getting on
Example of steamboats used for river travel in the 1890s
the boat with my eyes bandaged — I could see just a gleam of the boat lights on the grass at my feet — and being taken away for a stay at Grandma Cost’s4 and daily trips to the doctor. It seems there were already two ulcers on the left eye, which when healed left scars that always made me see a little less well with that eye; when many years later I had an ulcer on the right eye, I believe it was because so much work had been put throughout the years on that which I considered my good eye, but which, alas, is now pretty well played out from hard labor while the lame left is the main eye “left” me to see with!

Anyway, there were two scars left on the eyeball at that time. I have told this in more detail than it needed, perhaps, because of the eye trouble I have now, for which this is perhaps the explanation — certainly the start of it. But the loving, constant care given me by Mama, who gave up everything to read to me by the crack of light at one window of my room (we didn’t have "masks" [eyemasks] then!) brought me through, and by summer I could play outdoors again, but wearing, during June, dark glasses, and later pale blue ones. I was allowed, I think, to go back for the last day of school, tho I don’t remember it, and may have been at Cincinnati at the time, as it was about the middle of May.

At the time my eyes were being treated and we spent so much time in Cincinnati again, still a place of joy to me, Aunt Lee,5 who was then in high school and studying Mythology (also reading in literature the Tanglewood Tales and Wonder Book ...)6 opened the great 
Cover page of first edition (1853)
vista of Greek and Roman Tales to my astonished and enraptured vision. ...  My favorite was Perseus and the Gorgon’s Head. Mama had studied Mythology at school too but had not read the Hawthorne fuller version, so she was interested in the stories I could tell her that Aunt Lee had just recounted to me. She was giving me a bath as I glowingly told her about Perseus and his disappearance from view: "for Mama, he had on the Helmet of Invisibility.” She was so astonished at the fluent use of this new big word she remembers the time vividly. I do wish we had the “old readers — probably priceless early McGuffey’s Mama used to read to me from — given her by the aunts and uncles from early school days. “Meddlesome Matty” was in them — also “Everything in its Right Place," not the Hans Anderson story but the story about the little girl who never put anything away, and the angry fairy who commanded that each part of her should go to the portion of her attire [that was] in the wrong place in the room! So her head went under her plumed hat on the water pitcher, her foot into a shoe under the bed, another into one under a chair; her hands into gloves thrown far and wide . . . her dress being backbreakingly across the foot of the bed, etc. Horrific pictures accompanied this supposed-to-be-lively farce for little minds of 8 year olds.

Much better was the story of "Frisk," the dear little dog whom Harry his master had teased and tormented till his mother made him spend the afternoon in bed, while all the other children were having fun gathering pears. As he lay there, he heard pat, pat coming up the stairs, and there came Frisk, carrying a pear by the stem and leaves! Harry cried and petted him and of course vowed never to worry him again.


1 Alice Ada Cost Howe (1859-1939)
2 Jane Hopkins Howe, second wife of Sarah's paternal grandfather John Howe (1823-1890)
3 Jenn Winslow Howe (1883-1957), Sarah's first cousin
4 Sara Evaline Arnet Cost (1836-1917)
5 Ida Lenora Cost (abt 1874-1921); sister of Sarah's mother
6 Books for children by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Tanglewood Tales – Another Wonder Book is a sequel to Wonder Book.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

8-Year-Old Sarah Does Her Part to Abolish Alcohol and Tobacco

Sarah Eva Howe of Carrollton, Kentucky grew up in a family of teetotalers. Her father was a card-carrying member of the national  temperance movement. Her mother (and later Sarah herself) was a life-long member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
Sarah's father's temperance card

Little wonder, then, that Sarah at a young age was involved in anti-drinking activities sponsored by her church, her school, and her community. She wrote a lot about Prohibition in her scrapbooks. In today's post, I offer some excerpts, written in the 1940s, starting with Sarah's memories of a musical production (probably sponsored by the Carrollton Methodist Episcopal church or an affiliated prohibition group) about the evils of drink.

Again, ellipses indicate missing or omitted words, and brackets enclose my own clarifications. In this memoir, which she wrote to her daughter Mary Alice Salyers Hays in the 1940s, Sarah is not kind to certain tavern keepers of 1890s Carrollton. I ask descendants of those men to remember that Sarah speaks from an ingrained prohibitionist stance.


[Sarah's cousins] Beverly Howe and Cooper Winslow (both seven, and I nearly nine), whose parents were known Prohibitionists, were chosen for the trio, to the music of “A Pirate Ship’s in Sight” (either from Pinafore or Penzance, but I think Pinafore. Oh, I know! It is the song “Attentive to our duty” that the sailors sing). ... The last lines, I think:
We’re going to hang “Old Alky”
He was a cruel king.
From the “Temperance Gibbet
The wretch must surely swing.

They were so cute; they stood on each side of me. ...  Bev was the soldier (in blue) and Cooper the sailor, also in blue, I think, but with the white cap. I wore a white sailor dress and a regular white sailor cap with “gold” braid, with black hose and high shoes, in the Navy tradition. ...  I was called Prohibition Polly and should have been delighted with the special part, but the truth is I secretly longed to be glamorous even then and felt cheated as I looked at Mildred and Jenne Howe1 and my new friend Lisa Hafford, all of whom were fairies coming in during the last number for the dance and song. Jenne and Mildred, in white with silver dots, were water sprites and sang (with a dozen others) “The Waters that flow from the Spring, tra la, gleam bright in the merry sunshine, As gaily they dance and they sing, tra la, We welcome the joy that they bring, tra la, and hail them a beverage divine!”

... A pretty, tiny girl of five, with yellow hair and a pink dress, was called Baby Bunting, but I forget her speech; she was Gertie Lawrence, the flowerlike little sister of Burgess and Ernest and others. While she was speaking, a near tragedy occurred. The house was overcrowded, people standing up around the sides. Of course there was no electricity, and one of the boys who was helping put up “Old Alky’s” gibbet, or perhaps taking it down, someone knocked one of the oil lamps, still lighted, out of its socket to the stage. As it smoked there, people began to murmur and start to rise. Gertie stopped in alarm (the lamp was near her). Several rushed out from the wings and grabbed the lamp, which went out right away. Lisa rushed forward, executed a “free dance” and shouted “Listen to this child!” Everyone laughed and relaxed, and Gertie went on with her little speech. ...  I suppose it was one of the most elaborate and interesting things seen in Carrollton for many years.

Dad2 [referring to her daughter's father] was not in this entertainment, but his brother Bob3 was one of the boys (I think Cousin John4 was one of these, too) who “buried Nick-O-Teen.” At that time the fight against tobacco was very strong, too, and of course cigarettes were pretty bad in those days — but I believe if the temperance people had concentrated on whiskey they would have done better sooner. But these boys carried in a pole, from which hung a twist of tobacco, pipes, etc., and buried “him” in a grave on the stage (with shovels, etc.) and sang a minor adaptation of the Marines song:
We’ve come to bury Nick-O-Teen.
He is a filthy poisonous wretch.
He is the brother of King Alcohol
And many victims does he “ketch.”
He takes away their health and money
The morals of his prisoners, too,
And so we’ve come to bury him
For we hate him, yes we do!

It was one of the best songs and best scenes and should have had a more terrible enemy as its object, as I see it now.

I want to say right now that the Prohibition party in those days was one predominantly of members not “in the lunatic fringe” but was made up for the most part of earnest, forward looking citizens, mostly good church people, who could see no other way than a clean cut to rid the country of the horrible menace which the liquor traffic certainly was in those days if not now, as both political parties were almost completely controlled by it, and all the headquarters were in such places as Tammany Hall, the “Tenderloin,” the Barbary Coast, and in other cities. As Bryan afterwards said about the Conservatives and Liberals, perhaps the Prohibitionists, unchecked, would have gone too far, but without them the reforms that have been imposed, not selling to minors, Sunday closing, and finally, regular sawdust open saloons abolished, would never have been accomplished. So I am proud that my people had a part in this.

... There was an important trip Papa and Mama5 took in the spring of 1892, and that was to the Prohibition Party Convention, which was held in Cincinnati when John P. St. John [the Prohibition candidate] was nominated for President to run against Harrison (the Republican “incumbent”).  ... I remember the “buttons” Jenne and her family wore; Mildred was for Harrison, of course. Uncle Joe was still a Prohibitionist at the time (he voted the national ticket before Papa did), but he afterwards succumbed to the Goslee Republican pressure, as Mr. George Winslow, also a Prohibitionist from his first vote as was Mr. Henry6, his brother, fell to the Hafford7 intense partisanism. These four, with Mr. Will Winslow,8 who attended the convention with Papa and Mama (I think Uncle Joe, Mr. Henry & Mrs. George came up for part of the time) were well known to be real temperance men who “voted as they prayed,” as the saying went then. Uncle Will,9 tho with much pressure both from brothers and brothers-in-law, still remained a Democrat, not quite willing to leave the party which as a real born-in-Ireland man he felt to be the true one.  ...

Crowd at the National Prohibition Convention at Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1892
I have heard Mama tell so much about this convention, held at Music Hall, and about the Demorest Diamond Medal Contest held at one of the sessions, about Miss [Frances] Willard’s address and the songs of the Silver Lake Quartet (which afterwards sang at Carrollton) that it seems I was there, but of course I wasn’t, I stayed at Grandma’s with my doting aunts and my young, interesting uncles. ...

I believe [William] Jennings Demorest (not Bryan) was a prominent “Probi,” as some

called them, and his estate provided for these contests — I think they are still going on — wherein girls and boys gave these fine temperance readings as addresses in elimination contests, getting (a) a silver medal, (b) a larger silver medal), (c) a gold medal and finally, every four years at the National Convention, (d) a large gold medal set with a diamond was given the best of all contestants among the sectional gold medal winners, about a dozen, I think. I had been with Mama to the Christian Church at home where a silver medal was given, about the summer of 1891, I suppose; Hallie Whitehead (Earl’s sister), Mary Whitehead (Mrs. “Dr.” Donald), Jennie Hanks (George McFarland’s aunt), Lille Howe,10 Jennie Stringfellow and several other girls of that age — Nell Hafford, too, I think, and Lillie Roberts ... all took part. Lille was very hoarse but went on and spoke anyway; Jennie Stringfellow got the medal, but we all thought Jenne Howe and one other girl were better than she was (I forget which one), but there was a good crowd out to see them, and I remember Aunt Katie telling how proud Jennie was of her medal. Anyway, Mama got to hear the Diamond Medal contest. ...

Frances Willard addressed the convention at night. Mama said she remarked right at the first what a fine, clean looking lot of people were at this convention, and Mama said this was true. Music Hall was packed, but with such intelligent, serious looking people and of course no drunks or disorderly persons. The Silver Lake Quartet was from Hornellsville, New York. We entertained them afterwards (in 1894, I think) and they were delightful people and very fine singers. Mr. Chambers, a plump man, played the piano and sang soprano, but the bass baritone did the comedy singing, and they had wonderful parodies and arrangements of many songs, and also led convention singing. It was this quartet that sang the famous “It was built by Levi (P. Morton), oh no! He will be known as the Vice President." He was [Benjamin] Harrison’s V.P., you know. The thing he had done was to build a big bar in some hotel. The chorus of the song about Levi was like this:
There is a hotel, they call it the Shoreham
They catch young men with liquor and floor em
And then upstairs in the rooms they store em
In this beautiful new hotel.
And 'twas built by Levi.
Not Levi?
Yes, Levi
Oh No! (bases)
Oh yes, say I, (tenor)
Oh Levi, Levi, what made you do it?
Oh Levi, Levi you surely will rue it!
For dealing out vice may help pay the rent
But you will be known as the vice president.”

(He wasn’t re-elected that year, either!)

I believe it was also this quartet who introduced “The Brewer’s Big Horses can’t roll over me!” Very pertinent then, as the big brewery wagons were pulled by enormous gray dappled horses, sort of Percherons, with big tails doubled up in a club. Everyone knew
Dappled Percherons
about these horses, and in Cincinnati, which was even more German then than now, in proportion, the smell of beer hung like a heavy cloud over everything. I tell you, I can remember with horror the many many saloons even in Carrollton, especially down 5th Street between High and Main, where Bob Booker and Mr. Vest (Ding’s grandfather) kept about as disorderly places as you could find far or near. It was in Vests, I think, that Jerome [last name not legible] was killed a few years after this (about ’98). When they were rebuilding that block and digging a new cellar, they dug up the skeleton of a man under Booker's — and it was supposed he was put out of the way there hastily at some time, but no one could be found who knew anything about it, and alas Conan Doyle was just thinking of the first “Sherlock” stories at that time. The smell of these places was indescribable. I can recall them tho all the years, even from across the street on the Courthouse pavement as we went hastily by. Jim Jett did try, I think, to keep a better place; at least it was considered a good deal more “respectable.” But to all the Howes, these places (and their owners) were indeed anathema.

Of course, Dad2 and Grandad11 couldn’t understand this exactly, for Grandad had grown up with the Jett boys, who lived near the Salyers boys on Main Street; also the Bookers lived across from them on Sixth Street for about ten years, and Oscar Vest (much different from his father) was always a good friend of Dad’s, tho a little older, of course. It always makes a difference if you really know people; you can’t condemn them so much, I suppose. But I have heard no one speak more conducively of the Booker and Vest “hell holes” than Dad and Grandad.

So perhaps these places may help explain the enthusiasm of the Carrollton women for their children to be in the Temperance Societies and for the church men to tend to be Prohibitionists. Uncle Tom Salyers,12 who moved to Harriman [Tennessee] about this time (or some time earlier) was always a firm “Probi” — the only one of the brothers. I think Harriman was quite a center [of prohibition], and I guess Mr. Will Winslow was in the midst of it.

1 Mildred Goslee was Sarah's friend and eventually distantly related through the marriage of her uncle Joseph Brown Howe (1857-1929) and Sallie Goslee (1858-1934). Jenne Winslow Howe (1883-1957) was Sarah's cousin, the daughter of her uncle William F. Howe (1846-1916) and Louisiana Winslow Howe (1852-1944).
2 Sarah's husband William Levi Salyers (18788-1944), father of her daughter Mary Alice Salyers Hays (1910-1998), to whom she writes this memoir.
3 Robert King Salyers (1880-1897), brother of William Levi Salyers
4 Probably John Junior Howe (1879-1939), brother of Jenn Winslow Howe
5 Sarah's parents Robert James Howe (1855-1910) and Alice Ada Cost Howe (1859-1939)
6 George B. Winslow (dates unknown) and Henry M. Winslow (1850-1931) were sons of William Beverly Winslow (1814-1883) and Martha Jane Woolfork Winslow (1826-1905). Their siblings included Louisiana "Lou" Winslow (see Endnote 1)
7 The family of Lucy Hafford Winslow, who married George B. Winslow in 1894 in Carrollton
8 Probably William Beverly Winslow (1862-?) another sibling (see Endnote 6)
9 Probably Sarah's paternal uncle William Ficklin Howe (see Endnote 1)
10 Lille/Lillie M. Howe (1877-1942), Sarah's cousin; another daughter of William F. and Louisiana Winslow Howe
11 Charles D. Salyers (1849-1926), Sarah's father-in-law (father of William Levi Salyers)
12 Thomas D. Salyers (abt 1858-?), brother of Charles D. Salyers and uncle of Sarah's husband

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sarah Visits The White City: Chicago World's Fair 1893

In the loose pages I discovered Sarah's description of her trip to the World's Fair, the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Sarah had just turned 10 years old and was as full of adventure and curiosity as ever.

Typical of Sarah, her mind wanders from her topic to the subject of books, so we learn more about her reading material than about the fair. Still, it's fun to know that she went there. I'm sure she wrote more about the Howe family's visit to "The White City," but this is all I've found so far. As you read, you can "visit" the buildings and exhibits Sarah saw in an online virtual tour of the Chicago World's Fair.

As before, ellipses indicate lost or omitted words (these pages are badly torn), and brackets enclose my own comments or clarifications.

Now the last day of school, in the 3rd grade, drew near, and I was certainly glad of it! We had passed all the exams and had also gotten display papers ready to be sent to the Kentucky display of the Educational Exhibit at the World’s Fair (in the Liberal Arts building, I think). I had one in Geography and in Grammar — diagramming sentences also one in arithmetic! We also had papers in Kentucky history, tho I believe the book was not studied that year but in the 4th grade; we were just given questions to answer about Boone, Harrod, the date of settlement, names, date of statehood, products of Kentucky, first governor and so forth.

Now I come to the crowning event, the unforgettable one of 1893 for us, our two weeks at the World’s Fair in September. I know it must have been, because the fair was nearing its close and the nights on the lake were getting quite cool. (I remember us sitting in “the Peristyle” restaurant and of my wanting to order “chilled watermelon” because I saw it on the menu! And how Mama shuddered at the thought, with those cold breezes blowing, through I think we probably went up there about the last of August. Papa1 was already there — he had to go ahead, as he had to combine a business trip for buying millinery, I imagine (he always did that for the store).  
Bird's-eye view of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 | Library of Congress

Grandpa Cost,2 being rather influential in the city and "in charge” as a commission merchant and broker at the Chamber of Commerce building in Cincinnati, was able to get passes on the railroad quite often as there was no rule against them at that time. He therefore got a round trip pass for Mama3 and myself, and we went to Cincinnati and left from there; Grandma4 put us up a good lunch. I’ve heard Mama often speak of how delicious the cold beef steak sandwiches were — sliced thin on French bread — as we ate them on the train on that long trip, of which I remember little except the never ending fields of ripe corn. 

Papa met us at Evanston and took us to the place he had rented for us, at a Mrs. Baker’s, such a nice lady and a nice home. Like many other Chicago ladies, she had opened her home to “paying guests” for the duration of the Fair. Several other friends of ours stayed there, both before and afterwards.

The main thing I remember about this room was the change in what I had to read — magazines on the table, provided for Mama and Papa but giving me a taste of these adult publications I would not otherwise have had. I imagine they were Harpers and Atlantic.    ... the artist [Rudolph Dirks] who drew [starting in 1897] the Katzenjammer Kids, in fact. I imagine he may have been the inspiration for those gentlemen(?). The end of the rhyme stays with me — the bad boys had fallen into the sausage grinder at the close of one of their worst pranks and were ground out in small pieces which fell on the ground in the outline (shown vividly) of themselves. Said the rhyme, “Chickens, leaving other seed, gobble up the coarse grained feed,” a truly German “finis.”

Midway, Columbian Exposition
Now to the real business, that of describing the Fair. Mama that year was not yet 34, Papa was about 38 1/2 when we were in Chicago, and I of course was 10. The Fair came back to me so much more vividly when, this spring, I visited at Bob’s5 home and Loretta6 took me to the site of the Fair, Jackson Park, which with Hyde Park was the center of activities. The University of Chicago now stands where the great midway was, first and largest of carnival Fair sites, imitated at other fairs but I imagine hardly surpassed. 

... I loved them all. I remember the lady modeling in butter,7 I remember of course — she was making busts of Columbus and Isabella — and there was a butter replica of the "Vanderbilt family" which was
also there in marble — it was only about 3 feet high but was said to be one of the best pieces there. What I loved best, though, was “Jesus and the Child,” the face of Christ so calm and lovely, the
Butter sculptor with bas-relief of Christopher Columbus
child with his pretty hands and feet, his curls, the dimple in his elbow. It was life-size, in white marble. 

Mama kept looking for two “portrait heads” made by her cousin Al White (Aunt Milly’s son) but we couldn’t find them — they were there, tho. I may come back to this building as I think of more things, forgotten so long — one picture comes back, whether here or in another building, a ruby-throated hummingbird poised on a flower.

... The Iowa building was fascinating — its pictures and decorations were done in corn mosaics, red, yellow, black and white, the effect was beautiful in the extreme.

The New Mexico building I liked so much (it was still a territory, you know, and so was Arizona) (or maybe just made into a state, I know Oklahoma was quite new — we still had “Indian Territory” on our maps in the little geography). One exhibit of opals; Mama was so interested in the Indian relics, beadwork and all, I liked it very much. Grandma Cost had bought me a beaded show (an ornament to hang up) from Columbus when I was a little girl; it was red cambric with red & white beadwork. ... 

 [The beginning of the next paragraph is missing. Sarah apparently refers here to books she read at the house in Chicago where they were the paying guests of Mrs. Baker. Huckleberry Finn had been published in the U.S. only eight years before.]  ... but it was that part of Huckleberry Finn where he describes the  ... killing of his friends. I never forgot the vivid scene, but it was many years later when I found its place in literature. From another (as yet unidentified) serial, which I’m sure was much too advanced for me, all I retained was a new way to eat an orange, which I therewith adopted and kept up for years. We had always peeled off the skin and eaten them by sections, but in this story it described the sultry heroine as “sinking her white teeth into the skin and then sucking the juice as tho she were a tiger sucking the blood of her prey.” Now our hostess, not knowing what the solemn child was gleaning from these choice bits, brought her some children’s books! One of them had nursery (!) rhymes, one of which was so harrowing and unpleasant that I have never forgotten it. It was about two “characters” named Max and Maurice [Moritz], and by its brutal and violent nature so reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm, I am pretty sure it was translated from the German.

11 Robert James Howe (1855-1910).
2 Richard Henry Cost of Cincinnati (1831-1910)
3 Alice Ada Cost Howe (1859-1939)
4 Sarah Evaline Arnet (1836-1917)
5 Sarah's son Robert King Salyers (1907-1977)
6 Loretta Smith Salyers, wife of Robert King Salyers
7 Caroline Shawk Brooks, whose talent in butter sculpting made her a favorite attraction at many fairs and expositions. Also see

So ends the only writing I have found about Sarah's trip to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Here are some links to websites that offer details that help us imagine more about the Howe family's time there. The first link goes to a beautiful, full-color, 31-page "program" or portfolio, digitized from an original. I'm surprised not to find one in Sarah's scrapbooks.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

1890-1893: Sarah's First Years at School Prove to be No Match for Her Precocious, Inquisitive Nature

Perfect timing! In the jumble of loose pages I'm transcribing, I've come across Sarah Eva Howe's story of her first days at Carrollton School in 1890, plus a few episodes from Grades 2 and 3 as well.

Names are in bold to help family historians find them. As always, ellipses indicate missing or omitted words, and brackets enclose my own comments or clarifications.


School Year 1890-91 — Memories of Carrollton Classmates
I started to school in September of 1890, in Miss Sue Foster’s room. She had two grades,
Sarah before starting school, age 5
the “card class,” beginners who learned a word at a time from cards held up before them, and the First Reader, into which I was put. So I suppose I could read some and spell and “figger” tho it is hazy in my mind, for Mama read aloud so much to me I can’t remember just when I “flowered into reading” for myself. But I do know that she was already reading fairly advanced children’s books to me and that Mother Goose was so far behind that it seemed a memory.

Jenne Howe1 was in my grade, and Mildred Goslee, with whom I had already become acquainted. I believe Jenne had started after Christmas [1889?] when she became seven, but a spell of illness either of herself or in the family prevented her from going full time, so she began again with me. The same was true of Mildred, who was a full year older than I (except for ten months). It wasn’t long before we three started walking to and from school most of the time together, and thus began our long friendship, into which Lida Hafford, whose sister married Jenne’s Uncle George2 about that time, came a year or so later, tho she was at least two years ahead of us in school. 

Mildred was “kin” too, of course, being Aunt Sallie Goslee Howe’s3 half sister, and around there most of the time; we lived with Uncle Joe4 and Aunt Sallie for the first year and a half of our stay in Carrollton. I used to go around to Mildred’s to play, of course; I remember staying to supper one night, when they had a Polish dish pirogues — I suppose you would spell it, tho we called it Pi-rog-ees. Since then I have learned that a pirogue is a boat, and as these were baked meat dumplings I suppose the submersible idea was there, but I didn’t know for sure. Anyway, they were delicious and probably indigestible, highly so, but I ate two or three of them, being away from the watchful parental eyes that even counted hot biscuits on me, and I don’t remember any ill effects. 

I also remember playing church upstairs in Mildred’s room; we refrained from actually playing “communion,” as we felt that wouldn’t be right; but we did play “love feast” and passed bread and water. Mildred was never a great hand to play dolls, her mother having had a succession of live babies, all of whom died young, for her to play with. Mildred still talked about Hugh, her brother who had died at about the same time and same age as Chandler — the twin boys she could remember, too, dying when they were a year old and she was about three or four. Roman Alexander Goslee, her older brother, lived there and went to school (he was in a much older grade than we, as he was about five or six years older and was in W. L.’s5 grade) and Levi Goslee (who was still a small child, about a year old when his father Dr. Goslee married Miss Mary Browinski a year from the death of Aunt Sallie’s and Levi’s mother) lived there too; also Mr. Charlie and Mr. Jim and “Sis Nan,” Aunt Sallie’s younger sister about twenty five or -six when I used to go there in 1890. Mr. Jim married Mamie Lindsay, of Ghent, “Aunt Puss” Gaines’s niece, that winter; she only lived a year. Charlie was much younger, he and Levi (he was the youngest) were about 15 and 18 when I first knew them, and Roman 13. Charlie Kipping6, tho I didn’t remember him till later, was in the grade with Roman and Levi (who had failed to pass a couple of times because of inattention to study) and 12-year-old Will Salyers5, who was really a year ahead of the other boys because his Aunt Ruth7 had taught him to read at home before starting to school. At this time they were probably in the 7th grade, as he graduated 5 years later in 1894, and there were only three years of high school — tho the 8th grade was really a high school year, as they began Latin and Algebra in it. It was taught by Miss Moreland and was a “humdinger.” Levi never went any further than this grade. Roman and Will went on and graduated together, and Charlie K., who took an extra year, graduated with John Howe8, who in ’90-’91 was in the 6th grade. I’m not sure which year Lille9 went to Science Hill, but she graduated in 1896, so I imagine she was still going to Carrollton Pubic School (then in the “New Building” out on 6th St., now torn down). 

I don’t remember that first year so very well, except that going was very irksome to me. I so much preferred the “literary pursuits” and conversation of home, the pleasant sunny room and hall of Grandfather’s house, and the lovely yard where that fall I found the grave of Aunt Sallie Froman’s10 little dog Trip and began decorating it with little pieces of marble picked up behind the tombstone cutters in the alley. I think it was that fall, too, that Aunt Sallie gave us the squirrel, which used to run about the room a good deal and up onto Papa’s shoulder. He got to be a good deal of trouble, tho, so I think we finally gave him back. I still wanted what I couldn’t have, a dog. Cats were out of the question except a staid old Tom who lived around the cellar and stable, a black-with-white-feet cat who was certainly no good as a pet. Aunt Sallie only tolerated him because he kept down the mouse population; all her family disliked cats — in the case of Mr. Jim, Roman and Mildred, it was really “Cat-Fear.” They turned pale and sick and had to leave the room when a cat came in.

School Year 1891-92 — McGuffey's Reader and Ray's Arithmetic
There was a school entertainment that winter of ’91-’92. I keep trying to remember things from it; Marie Butler sang again “The Loveliest Doll in the World.” I remember the tune well; and a boy and girl sang “The Little Green Peach” — “hard trials for them, too, Johnny Jones and his sister Sue and the peach of emerald hue, boo hoo, boo hoo!”  One of the hits was the “Ten Little Sunflowers” song. The children had caps of leaves around their faces, and as each one disappeared like the ten little Indians, the others carried on till only one was left. A little boy in my grade named Walter Meeks, such a cute, pesky little boy, and he brought down the house when he piped up in a treble that carried to the last rows, “One little sunflower blooming all alone. It had to go to bed, and then there was none!" Perhaps later more things may swim up from the “lost seas” about this show, which was given by the whole school, tho I don’t remember many high school students in it.
Carrollton School circa 1890. Sarah marked with an X the door used by students in the upper grades.

It is strange that I don’t remember more about my second year of school. Miss Ella Giltner11 was my teacher, both in the 2nd and 3rd grades, but it doesn’t seem that anything special comes up out of that nine months, except it seems there were several spelling matches, my first experience with the “gentle artifices.” 

I remember feeling superior to strange little girls who were only starting; one child, Carrie Garriott, whose people had just moved to town from the country, was so agonizingly shy, was afraid to ask anything, even where the outdoor toilet was! She wore such big heavy shoes, and some of the little girls were laughing at her, tho her father owned a big farm and had just bought a big house. I wish I could say that I rushed up to her and befriended her against the world, but I’m afraid I did nothing of the sort, but I did feel sorry for her and I think spoke to her as soon as anyone did. I met her the next Sunday at Sunday school, as they were devoted Methodists, and she was soon one of us, tho as long as I knew her she never quite knew how to dress, as to style or color. She is quite well to do now, lives in Princeton, Ky., and her son attended the University of Kentucky, tho I never knew which boy he was. 

Stella Carrico (Paul’s aunt, I feel sure) came to school that year, and a pale slim shy little girl with a long plait named Pearl Delane. Jim Webster was in my grade and used to come by and walk to school (and sometimes from school) with me. He was a slim pale person too, very studious, in fact perfection in his studies, tho he had adenoids and couldn’t read aloud as I could (that was my strong point, with spelling). 

Hugh Caldwell, brother of Henry but without his charm or red hair, was in the class, Jenne and Mildred (Lida, about two years older, was already in the fifth grade), Albert Whitehead, and, I think, John Dufour from Prestonsville. . . . Oh yes, I believe Henry “my turn”Darling  was there and probably Carroll Gullion, for they were with me later, I know. One little girl from Locust, I believe, when asked her name, piped up “Dinky O’Banion.” I’ve never forgotten that; and I also remember a softened little girl named
Maud LeClere who was probably kin to Cousin Ruth Salyers’ grandmother of that name in Vevay. We used McGuffey’s Reader (and I wish I had it now!) and speller, and Ray's Arithmetic book one (all of them of detested memory). 

Miss Ella had two grades. She had too many children, it was hard to control them, and this year was not very interesting — no drawing, no handwork[?] games, no stories as the children have them now. We sang some songs, mostly patriotic ones, and learned one or two portions of Scripture to recite in unison. 

Truth compels me to admit, I stayed home on every pretext — bad weather, a slight cold, etc. — where the warmth and light and Mama’s devoted companionship, as well as the current cat (we always had one), plenty to eat, and books to look at, handle and read, were always on tap. Also let truth compel me to add that I led my class, nevertheless, in the report cards, only Jim Webster rivaling mine, with all his studious and faithful ways. What a pity, it seems now, not to have spared me that year, for I could easily have taken the third grade work. It might have changed my life, for I’d have been in the class with Effie, Velma, and Will Rowland, and at Mr. English’s for two years instead of one in High School, but then I would have missed the wonderful year with Lille Howe9, which really did a lot for me.

School Year 1892-93 —  Art and Poetry Get Sarah in Trouble!
About this time I had whooping cough, but it was a light case and I was able to make a good start in the 3rd grade with the same teacher, Miss Ella Giltner, who as I said had both grades in the same room. 

Now began the study of geography, much less interesting than is now given to small learners. But it was something I could “get my teeth in.” Also by this time I had flowered into reading. I was beginning to draw, too, and tho after the first poem about the “Two Little Mice” I didn’t attempt further effusions for a time, the germ was still there. 

I got into trouble, too, drawing in school. I made two cartoons (not knowing them by that name) which I considered quite brilliant, playing on the names of Jenne and Mildred; a little red goose, with a girl’s head, labeled “Mildred Red Goose” and a blue bovine, with a girl’s head also, labeled Jenn Cow — no offense was intended, just a pun on their names, for Papa and Mama often made quite a game of puns on all sorts of names, both of people and household objects. Mildred, having a fine sense of humor, giggled and enjoyed it, but Jenne saw no joke in it and got mad. She took the pictures to Miss Ella (also very deficient in humor) who chose to consider them defamatory and reprimanded me — yet, not so much for maligning my subjects as for drawing pictures in school hours instead of studying (and I was making straight A’s!). 

In all my attendance at school, I was never tardy, yet on a few occasions I did hear the second bell at 20 minutes after eight, but I was in my seat when the tardy bell sounded (imagine the rushing that entailed on small fat legs). ...

Books! They were the joy of my secret life, away from school (which I only tolerated), happily curled up in the hammock in summer, which they gave me for my ninth birthday, or before the fire in the winter. Mrs. Harry Winslow had a fine literary taste and bought all the fine children’s books, and was generous in lending them to me. I was nervous that year tho, probably from trying to gorge down too many ideas, and some stories would make me stay awake at night. Strangely enough, one of these was Alice in Wonderland, that classic, with its Blue Caterpillar, Lizard, Frog footman, cross duchesses, and queens, frightened instead of amusing me (the myths of the gorgon and other creatures never did — I wonder why?), and one night when I woke up and almost saw the baby turning into a pig I had such a spell that Mama said indignantly I had no business reading such a book! But I persevered, until the fright passed away, and the charm stole in and has remained ever after.

A great help in this was that on Christmas one of the books Grandma Cost sent me was

John Tenniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Nursery Alice (with a foreward, which Grandma didn’t read, saying it was for tots from nought to five, in words of one syllable! This to me, who knew all about “the helmet of invisibility”!). What Grandma had bought it for was the large colored pictures, and indeed they were wonderful, authentic “Tenniels” in color, just like the little black and white ones in the real book. After looking at them and hearing me explain in a vastly superior manner the real scenes so coyly dehydrated to one syllable for “0 to 5,” Mama actually began to enjoy the Mad Tea Party, the croquet match, the Eat Me & Drink Me sequences, and became quite a convert to Alice herself. Mama loved to read aloud (never got over it!) and together we enjoyed the Alcott books about this time, the more advanced ones, tho I never got over loving the “Under the Lilacs,” but now we read Little Women and Little Men, Jo’s Boys, Rose in Bloom, and Eight Cousins — then oh joy! Mrs. Winslow lent me Jack and Jill, which should really have come along about Under the Lilacs, but I loved it just the same.

So the last day of school came, and with it another damper to my artistic zeal — or poetic, rather. It was a perfect morning, so sunny, so full of promise that I was filled with “the spirit” in all directions. I got to school early and had brought some roses and other flowers, so arranged them on Miss Ella’s desk. (I even felt a surge of affection for her, tho I never liked her at all till years after, when I found she was a shy, fine person, really) (she is Lyter Donaldson’s cousin, you know, and Giltner Salyers’ own aunt). I made what I considered a really tricky arrangement, a bunch at each corner and roses carelessly scattered between as if just dropped there. And then I felt a poem coming on and wrote on the board:
“The sun is shining brightly
And sweetly sings the bird
To make the sweetest music
That ever we have heard
And merrily are leaping
The fishes in the pool
All things are trying their best to make
A happy day of school.”

(Not a masterpiece, but not bad either for a child of nine in the 3rd grade, on the spur of the moment.)

I imagined Miss Ella coming in and saying “Why, who has done all this?” But no, with her usual nervous intensity she immediately swept the flowers from the desk into the wastebasket, and taking an eraser, cleaned the board — she never even saw the poem! But the desk and board were now neat for the rest of the day. Then I realized the truth (dimly) that between the neat and the artistic temperaments there was “a great gulf fixed.”

1 Sarah's first cousin, daughter of her father's brother William Ficklin Howe (1846-1916) and Louisiana Winslow Howe (1852-1944)
2 George B. Winslow, brother of Jenn's father William F. Howe; grandson of William Beverly Winslow (1814-1883) and Martha Jane Woolfork (1826-1905)
3 Sallie Goslee (1858-1934), likely a daughter of Levin E. Goslee and Elizabeth Welles
4 Sarah's paternal uncle Joseph Brown Howe (1857-1929); husband of Sallie Goslee
5 William Levi Salyers (1878-1944), who became Sarah's husband in 1905
6 Charles Kipping would later marry Sarah's sister, Leonora Alice Howe (1896-1967)
7 Ruth Salyers, older sister of Sarah's paternal grandfather Charles David Salyers (abt 1812-1874)
8 Sarah's first cousin John Junior Howe (1879-1939), son of William Ficklin Howe and Louisiana Winslow Howe
9 Lille M. Howe, daughter of William Ficklin Howe and Louisiana Winslow Howe
10 Sarah Varena "Sallie" Howe Froman (1862-1950), sister of Sarah's father Robert James Howe (1855-1910); wife of Carrollton businessman Herman M. "Mack" Froman (dates unknown)
11 Likely a relative of Susie Giltner, who in 1886 in Carrollton married the first William Levi Salyers, son of Charles D. Salyers and paternal uncle of Sarah's husband of the same name