By Stephen D. Bowling
Through the years, thousands of teachers in Breathitt County have shaped our children’s lives. Each of us owes what we are and what we hope to become to the hard work and dedication of elementary, middle school, and high school teachers. College instructors also help us fulfill our teams and hopes. We should always be willing to say “Thank You” for their positive and encouraging influence on us.
On May 30, 1940, The Jackson Times published a list of every teacher selected to teach for the school year of 1940-1941 in the Breathitt County School System’s 96 elementary schools and the high school. We reprint this article to ensure that these teachers are never forgotten. How many did you know or have in school? Do you recognize any of these teachers?
Breathitt Teachers For 1940-1941 Selected By County School Board Wolverine- Ruth Hays and Roger Taulbee Elkatawa- Geneva Miller and Levi Collins Stray Branch- Geraldine Noble Big Rock- D. J. Moore, Irene Hoge, and Blanche Adkins Panbowl- Nancy Melton and Eunice Turner Sugar Camp- Beatrice Eversole Smith Branch- Arlie Noble and Dove B. Combs Blanton- Calla Hounshell Strong Fork- Hazel Holbrook and Mollie Joseph Clear Fork- Matt Smith Rock Lick- Jewell Taulbee Negro Branch- Ollie J. Taulbee Davis- Elzie Halsey Morgue- A. E. Mullins and Maycel Fugate Vancleve- Mrs. Nathan Pelfrey and Bernice Turner Hampton- Wilton Spicer and Noka Craft Johnson Fork- Zeke Jett Five Mile- Caesar Joseph and Pauline Hensley War Creek 1- Harold Hurst War Creek 2- Alma Miller and Wilton Johnson Mill Creek- Naomi Lawson White Oak- Gertrude Hester Camp Christy- Herbert Holbrook Cedar- Marvin Johnson Little Frozen- Shirley Taulbee Puckett Bend- Mary Alice Bush Lower Twin- Cirius Noble Beginning Branch- Hazel McIntosh Oakdale- Harlan Johnson and Henry B. Noble Chenowee- Callie Miller Bryants Creek- Miriam Brewer Highland- Malinda Deaton and Selena Haddix Jetts Creek- Mitchell Little Four Mile- Daily Turner Houston- Langley Turner Turkey- Louise Terry Shoulderblade- Martha Anderson Rock Lick- Russell Reynolds Spencer Bend- William Griffith Spring Fork- Boyd Griffith Old Buck- Woodrow Grffith Morris Fork- Elmer Cornett Sandlin- Stella Baker Burton- Alex Holliday Crockettsville- Beckham Deaton Elsome- Alfred Griffith Canoe- Roy G. Turner and Mary Sebastian Arrowood- William Turner Lick Branch- Cale Raleigh Turners Creek- Johnny R. Herald and Zelia Herald Bowlings Creek- Coy Turner Altro- Ed Deaton, Sr. Wolf Coal- Jesse E. Turner Cane Creek- Mahala and Dosha Leone Bach Beech Grove- Esther Davidson Deaton and Walter R. Deeaton Raleigh- Sarah Herald and Elizaberth Raleigh Strongs Branch- Wilson Sebastian and Kash Herald Stamper- Mabel Stamper Lost Creek- Edith Haddix, Allie Watkins, and Kash Herald Howard's Creek- Carl Cope Caney- William G. Deaton and Elliott Raleigh Caney Consolidated- Clyde Landrum, Carrie Hunt, Margaret Lewis, Mabel Davidson, Alma Rhea Lutes, and Clarence Wood Lewis Fork- Ina Noble Leatherwood- Ora Watts Cockrell Fork- Charles Smith and Pearl Watts McIntosh- William Mullins Upper Leatherwood- Von Watts Big Branch- Luther Gambill Lower Big Branch- Mae Landrum and Kash Turner Sulphur Gap- Bill Davidson and Beatrice N. Deaton Whick- William S. Deaton John Little Creek- Bertie Russell Fugate- James C. Neace Wolfe- Roy Roark Williams- Letha Landrum Rousseau- Curt Sebastian, Ollie Allen, and Marjorie Lovely Fletcher Fork- Steve Crawford Miller- Margaret Wells Holbrook Mudlick- Gordon Combs Little Caney- Imogene Clemons and Ranie Bach Caney- Graydon Taulbee and Neil Cope Winnie Branch- Mary Jane Thorpe Howard- Blenn Mann Haws Fork 1- A. D. Carpenter Haws Fork 2- Virgil Barker Altro- Silas Deaton Kates Branch- Dora Richie Press- Beatrice Thorpe Laurel- Robert Gregory Keith- James Gabbard Miller Branch- Sam P. Deaton Washington- Bertha Campbell Big Caney- George Noble Quicksand- J. Wise Deaton, Pearl Childers, and Mae Turner Macadonina- Rachel Deaton Breathitt County High Principal and Coach- Robert M. Van Horne Agriculture- James R. Deaton Home Economics- Monte La Verne Holt Teachers- Heleh Litle, Lucinda Landrum, Margaret Edwards, Jethro Amburgey, Teddy Curtis, Douglas Brewer, Nancy H. Bach, David Donoho, Robert Bills, and Juliette Lodter.
There are far fewer schools today than there were in 1940, and the power of the local school trustee has been removed since they no longer negotiate contracts for firewood and maintenance. Many changes will happen in education in the coming years, but we will never see employment numbers like this again in Breathitt County.
Read this list and remember those teachers who changed your life or who might have taught and influenced your teachers. Then whisper a “Thank You.”
© 2022 Stephen D. Bowling