Alley was born August 22, 1851
November 4, 1937
One of the old
citizens of Scott County 86 years old. He was living during the
Civil War. His profession in life was teaching school and farming.
He taught 35 years of his life.
He attended the
summer Normals and kept refreshed with his school work. He was
converted at the age of 18 years, and joined the Baptist Church.
He lived a consecrated Christian life. Active in the services of
the Lord. Teaching
Sunday School and giving religious talks.
He was always ready to give advice and help when needed.
He was a kind
synpathetic father and so interested in all of his friends and
those that were in sin were continually on his heart. Now he
expressed the desire so many times that they might accept Christ
and live for him. If he should speak, his message would be prepare
to meet thy God, where we can live in a never ending eternity.
In his last hours he was calling for his loved ones to meet
him around God's great white throne where they could join with the
holy angels. His last discourse in the Bible was John 3:16. For
God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting
life. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Ernestine and 3 living
children; one son Joseph Patton Alley of Gate City Va. Route #7
and two daughters; Mrs. E. B. Cox of Bristol Va. and Mrs. W. F.
Alley of Gate City Va. Route #1 and three (deceased) children who
died in infancy; Mollie Hester Alley and Clara Alley and Rhea
Oscar Alley. He is survived by a brother and two sisters; Mr. J.
J. Alley of Bristol Va. and Mrs. Polly McConnell of Gate City,
Va.. Mrs. Nancy Tillman, Columbus, Ohio.
1872 taught for 36 years. Went one session to Nickelsville Va. to
Bill Patton. Paid your own tuition. First Certificate was received
from Smith A. Morrison. He was acting George A Kendrick was first
County Supt. Taught school under the R. E. Wolfe. He married
Kilgore in Rye Cove and finally buried at Blountville. He served
as County Supt. 8 years. He was my Supt . that long. Third Supt.
Dr. J. B. Wolfe for 4 years. teaching under Prof. W. D. Smith.
I went to summer
Normal under direction of R. E. Wolfe. I went to Several County
Normals under the direction of W. D. Smith.
I went to one State Normal here in Bristol, two in the town
of Abingdon. Several
State Normals at Big Stone Gap.
Places Taught First Session At Strong’s.
two sessions at Ft. Blackmore, two at Pendleton’s School house,
two at Union, three at Hammond school house. Templeton’s Valley,
one at Nickelesville. One at Greenwood. Taught several sessions in
Valley. Dr. John P. McConnell President of East Radford went to
school to me. Rev. Jim Craft, Baptist Preacher of Gate City
learned his A. B. C'S. Lawyer Wright Cox also went to me. Nelson
Horton at Gate City President of First National Bank, also went to
school to me. Tommy Horton a Merchant at Gate City was a pupil of
mine. John Cox was also a pupil of mine who was also a Teacher.
Dr. Charlie Cox, Logan Coxes boy who is out West now was a pupil
of mine. Emmett Nichols brother of P. H. Nichols was a pupil also
of mine. Riley and Milligan went to school ~o me. Rev. Charles
Pendelton went to school to me and many others who have made
useful citizens. Educated
mostly at Kingsley Seminary.
Uncle Jim Alley
gave her picture to papa with the request that they would take
care of it. Grandmother Strong was Robert Kilgore’s daughter, 25
years at Nickelsville 1799 July 5th.
I asked my first
wife would she marry me? She got two hearts and never answered me.
On one was marked to the one I love best. Could I make you
happy. Kept the Hearts till they almost perished away. Uncle Joe
Addington suggested he get his next wife at
Geo. Addingtons, And I married Lizzie Addington April 6, 1888.
A SHORT NOTATION OF SOME OF
THE EVENTS AND OCCURANCES OF ABIGAH ALLEY
And he is the son
of John Alley and Mariah Jane Alley. I was born in DeKalb District
Scott County Va. At a large spring at the head of' the hollow
North of Sill Harris's residence. I was born August 22, 1851 on
the farm owned by Uncle Thomas Alley and my father.
They bought the farm from Mr. Thomas Horton and both were
farmers and stock raisers.
There was a great
deal of forest lands at that time so father raised corn mainly and
fed it to hogs when it matured afterwards, driving his hogs. to an
Eastern market on foot, as Norfork and Western Railroad was not
built. Father kept
his hogs on the mast in the ridge North of his home. Mother said
father would get up early load his cap and ball rifle, take it and
a basket of corn and go on the ridge North of his home to feed his
hogs to keep them gentle and to kill as many gray squirrels as he
needed for meat during the day and get in early with his basket
half full of squirrels. The squirrels had gathered very early
where father fed his hogs. Mother said the first word she heard me
speak was "Pee-Wack", trying to mock some of her guineas
which had gathered under the floor on the sunny side of
the house, I peeped through a hole in the floor at them.
(This was in the log house above the Elbert Alley Home).
My father swapped
his interest in the Thomas Alley farm for the farm where I have
lived most of my life, I was about 3 1/2 or 4 years old when my
father moved there. I do not remember much about my life till I
was 6 or 7 years old, only a few things like hauling board sleds
father made me, crying for a dumb watch which sister Sarah found;
and accidentally hitting Sarah on the head with a hoe one day when
we were burying small stones; I was digging the graves for them
and she was gathering them as if they were dead. She was anxious
to place them in the grave and I to cover them up. Uncle David J.
Alley was my first teacher and I became offended when the larger
boys turned him out at Christmas time to make him treat the school
which was the custom at that day.
residence was my first school house.
My father sent me tolerably regular from 7 to 10 when the
"Civil War" broke out between the states of the Union,
from 10 to 14 my school attendance was much hindered, I had to
work on the farm to make corn and vegetables to live on so my
father was away from home most of the time making salt peter for
the Confederate Government. My mother and I had a hard time trying
to make something to live on. We had to plow up our corn ground
with an old fashioned "bull
drawn by a single horse. We made many curves and left some land
not broken. I will now tax your patience with some of the
occurrences, of the Civil War, as I remember them.
MY WAR. EXPERIENCE
I was about 10
years old when' the war of 61 to 65 began, father as I stated
before engaged to make saltpeter for the Confederate Government.
My father after making the amount of saltpeter would come home
occasionally to help us some but not often. Sister Sarah and
Brother John were old enough to hoe some in the garden and field.
So by industry we made enough to subsist on, but were sometimes
robed of the tenth as the soldiers said to support the Confederate
Army. So you see we had to hide some of our meat and corn, and
wheat so as to live from one year to the next. I will tell you
here of a few we stored our meat between the ceiling and
weatherboarding of our dwelling. We filled barrels and boxes and
hid them; one time in a thick patch of old field cedars then
covered with boards. We once filled the trunk of a hollow oak tree
with corn, but the squirrels soon found it and we had to move it.
We stored some things in caves. There came a company of
Prentises's men and camped near Hiram Alley's residence pretending
to be regular soldiers but were only robbers and pilferers of the
Country. The regular soldiers hated them worse than they did
rattle snakes, as they took the hard earnings of the wives and
children of the regular soldiers. We had our corn mainly in our
old house loft when Prentises's foraging officers came down and
took about it one fourth of what we had.
I remember I had about two bushels of walnuts hulled and
put up in the old loft near our corn and one of the men picked up
an old hammer with a sharp edge and began cracking my walnuts. He
mashed his finger, I was glad of it as I was about 11 or 12 years
old. I thought more of my walnuts than I did of our corn. Just
after Prentises's men left Colonel Jones brought a Company of his
men through and camped one or two days on Obeys Creek at the foot
of the hill below Pat Addington’s, Jones ordered his men to stay
in Camp and not molest any thing the people had. Father was away
working for the Confederacy. After dark some of Jones's men
stepped out of camp and came over to our house, some stealing bee
hives and others taking chickens from an old log stable loft
situated about the South West Corner of my yard. They were
climbing down the back side of the old stable loft with his
chickens when mother shot as near as she could toward the noise.
It must have frightened the chicken rogue and he fell into a hog
pen with hogs in it. We children were small so mother said be
still and she loaded her gun again saying if
they disturb us in our home I will defend you the best I
can. Some took bee gums with honey in them from near my little
barn. I was going to feed next morning and found the gums uncaped
and bees flying about. Father came home next day, mother told him
what happened; he put on his hat and went over where Jones's men
were camping and called for Col. Jones, I have come over to see
you and to learn if any of your men are wounded "Why? said
Jones. Father said "I am in the Confederate service making
salt peter and was away from home. Some one of your men were over
to our home stealing chickens and my wife shot at them: She heard
some one fall into a hog pen which I had built for her. I was
afraid she had crippled one. Jones replied "Mr. Alley I wish
she had shot his head off. I gave my men strict orders to stay in
camp". I as a
small boy tried to act the soldier I found one and old Confederate
musket which some soldier got tired of and threw away. It shot
balls about the size of the end of my thumb and had a strong lock
which I could hardly work. I
also had me a belt with C. S. A. (Confederate States of America)
stamped on the buckle. I also had a leather cap box and a large
cartridge box which I strung on my belt by loops on the back parts
of the boxes. I also had a small dirk knife an scabbard for it
which I also strung on my belt. I would buckle on my belt with
dirk knife, cap and cartridge box attachments and go to feed at an
old log barn at which I tried to carry out. I would sometimes
imagine I was being trained for the army so I would place the old
musket by my side and try to stand as straight as my old musket
barrel, saying stack arms, then raising my gun I would say present
arms, take aim, fire then I would pull the old musket trigger till
I had beat the tube of the old gun nearly flat. My mother had a
little cap and ball gun which carried buck shot which she used in
killing squirrels. When I was between 12 and 14 mother would let
me go squirrel hunting with her little gun. I remember getting a
squirrel up a large oak tree and it kept jumping from one tree to
another, it jumped from tree to tree till it must have been 60 to
75 yards away. I as a
boy was anxious to shoot mothers little gun, the squirrel had
gotten so far away that I did not take sight but took aim and
accidentally killed it. Brother John on another hunting trip one
evening were coming home in an old land between our farm and the
Uncle John Quillen farm when a squad of Prentises men met us. They
made a charge on us with some of their guns cocked ordering us to
halt. I remember well to this day that I stood in my tracks till
they came up feeling sure that if I attempted to run they would
be sure to chase
me down and kill me. Brother John and me when they came up they
took mother's little gun out of my hands and at the same time
asked me what I was doing there. I told them I was out hunting.
They asked me a great many questions which I answered the best I
could. One was if I knew of any men hiding out that should be in
the army? Another was whether I would swap my little gun when I
told them it was my mother's little gun and I did not want to let
it go they gave it back to me saying, do not be scared we will not
hurt you. I have often thought that I caught the sympathy of these
men by obeying their orders and not attempting to run from them.
I have spent many
happy hours fishing in the branch flowing by my home as well as in
Copper Creek and Clinch River. When a little boy I would watch in
spring time for the little horny heads to seek some gravel for
where the water flowed shallow over it, a hundred or more would
gather there. I would
rake up the gravels around the shoal, place flat rocks in shoals,
leave an entrance at the end leading to the deck water. Then the
little horney heads gathered in their shoaling places I would slip
up to the entrance which I had left for their entrance and shut
them up with a plant or a bunch of green cedar brush. The excited
horney heads would then run under the flat rocks or green bush
placed in the borders of their shoals. It was great fun for me
besides I furnished mother many messes of little fish by catching
them in their hiding places.
It was also much fun for us boys to go fishing in late
spring and summer with our pants legs rolled up catching slick
bitches and branch suckers. My father allowed me to have my bow
and arrows with sockets or iron spikes made in the black smith
shop to place on the ends of our arrows similar to handles on
gigs. I went fishing one day and got up on a big rock hanging over
a deep place in the branch. I
had my bow and arrows and saw a red mouth sucker swim out from
under the big rock I was on. I took aim and shot and a fish just
back of its head; in my excitement I jumped into water nearly
waist deep to get the fish. My father built a wooden dam across
the branch about nine feet high, he would raise the flood gate
once or twice a year to empty the mill pond; then shut down the
flood gate to let the pond fill up; this would leave the branch
practically dry below except small pockets of water below the mill
in which sometime many branch suckers small and large were found,
I enjoyed catching them. I
have caught my red eyes, perch and suckers in Cooper Creek. I
fished with hand hook and baited mainly with red worms. We have no
fish in our branch like when I was a little boy. Holston River
seigners catch the minnows for baits. I used to go fishing with my
brother when a boy. My father had an interest in two fish traps
one in the river below Hill Station, the other in the Miles
Craft's down near Hill Station.
I would go with him and get in the lower trap, the river
was swift and we would paddle to an eddy below the trap then go up
to the trap catching fish of many kinds. The other was so situated
in Mr. Craft's dam that one could walk from his mill to trap. I
enjoyed going with him and watch for fishes to float over the fall
board on to the trap which was slatted length wise so as to let
the water through yet close enough to hold the larger fish. One
night a big jack fish came on the trap weighing about thirty
pounds. Father took me with him sometimes he went fishing with
trot line and hooks. His line was small yet strong which he would
stretch across the river by securing some man's canoe and then
took fish hooks on short lines around his trot line and then bait
his hooks with suitable bait. We would go in time to put our line
and bait the hook before sundown then gather drift wood and build
us a fire before dusky eve. We would take our rations with us and
broil our streaked bacon over the fire. Then after dark we would
trace our line and at intervals through the night.
I often sat in the lower end of the canoe or boat with a
paddle to keep it straight up and down the river. Father generally
let his trot line pass over the upper end so as to lift the fish
on the hook straight up into the boat. He could tell when he was
approaching a cat fish by the way it would pull the hook while in
the water. One night
he wanted to trace his trot line to take the fish off the line. I
was fast asleep and on the palate by our fire on the bank of the
river. He did not want to awake me and take me with him for fear I
would fall asleep and fall out of the canoe, so he tied me fast to
a stake with strings and left me asleep so I could not get into
the river if I woke up.
EXPERIENCES FROM THE AGE OF 14 to 21 YEARS OF AGE
I had much fun
shooting my bow and arrows at the little birds which gathered in
the fruit trees around our home. I did not know then that it was
wrong to kill little birds. I had board slide and plank wagons
with box beds with which to haul bark and ships for mother. The
Civil War having closed and my father returned home, he provided
many amusements as well as work for me. He bought me a small wagon
with bed and every thing complete with shaft in which I worked a
small gentle mule I hauled wood, bark, cobs, small rocks off the
meadow. You nay be sure I thought a great deal of my little mule
and wagon. My father bought a yoke of oxen with brake and gentle.
When I wanted to haul anything I would go to the field drive the
oxen up side by side where their yoke was picked it up put it on
them and haul or plow them as I wished. We had another yoke of
oxen not so gentle; One day when I was driving them the off steer
shoved the lead steer and made him step on my foot. I was bare
footed and it hurt me so bad that I cursed the steer, that was the
first oath I ever swore.
I had a colts
pistol silver mounted with a squrille barrel, cap and ball which I
delighted to take out on the farm and shoot ground squirrels. I
will now give you a part of my experience in the old time blab
school. The Civil War being over I had lost some time and my
father sent me to our neighborhood school house which was the
Hiram Alley residence. It
had four 8 by 10 windows, two doors no ceiling on side walls or
overhead with a large stone chimney. The cracks in the walls were
chinked with pieces of split wood and daubed with clay mud when
cold days came. Our old time schools generally began about the
first of August and ended about the last of December. They were
subscription schools. The Public free school system was organized
in the year 1871. School teachers under the old system would draw
up school articles for them to sign allowing parents who signed
two scholars for at one dollar per month to send three scholars.
The days being warm in the beginning of the schools the
mischevious boys would punch the dobbing out of the walls of the
house so as to give them plenty of air and light. So you see we
had to make up mud and redaub it toward cold weather. Some of the
scholars were assigned to carry water, some to dig up clay, some
to make up mud and others to daub up the cracks which the boys
punched out in the early part of the school, sometime the boys
would throw mud at the cracks and have the walls outside sprinkled
with mud. Our school house had two doors, four windows, no ceiling
on the walls or over head a large old fashioned stone chimney in
which we kept a hot fire during the cold days of late fall and
winter. The teachers would order the boys to
get each one a
shoulder load of wood at each noon hour then play. We had plenty
of wood near on the west of the school house and some boys would
get rotten wood so as to get back to play. We had a few plank benches and other seats were peg leg
benches made of poplar or chestnut saplings split open in middle
two auger holes bored in each end and peg legs driven in the
holes. A few boys
made them old fashioned school desk to use and to put their books
in. Some of our old
time teachers were cruel task masters, making no allowance for
home environments or advancements, ruling strictly with a switch
three of four feet long which they come to the door, thrash the
side of the house calling out book at which notice we hurried into
the house, especially if we were small boys. I had one of those
teachers once who whipped one pretty hard for no just cause and in
a few minutes after I told some school mate that I was going home
at the noon hour to take a sledge hammer to father that boy went
up to Mr. Merrit the teacher and told him that I said I was going
home. Merrit came with his big switch and whipped me a second
time. The old time
teacher had various ways of punishments, to wit, standing on one
foot before the school, to toe a crack in the floor, wear a tall
dunce cap made of paper carrying an extra load of wood at noon
etc. We played cat, straight town, round town bull pen, marbles,
roly hole and mumble peg at noon. Sometimes one boy would be a fox
and the other boys who liked to run would be the hounds giving the
fox boy 100 to 200 yards the start.
Some of our
teachers were kind and would let the good boys out during the
early warm days of the school to get one lesson in the shade of
the trees near by. We did our ciphering on the slates as tablets
and lead pencils were not in use at that time. We boys would go to
some Slate bank and shave out soft pencils to write and cipher out
problems in our arithmetic. It was an insult to the old time
school for a fellow to pass by and hollow "School
Butter". One day
John Harris of Ft. Blackmore, came over on the hill above Billy
Spencers and hollowed “school butter” at a number of us boys
out under the trees working out our arithmetic lessons. One of our
number went into the school house to tell our teacher and to get
permission of him to chase John Harris and duck him in water
somewhere. We chased him to his father's home where his brother
Ben now lives, John got his horse out of the stable and fled as
our boys came up, we chased him to our waiting place. We turned
back tired and disappointed.
Uncle Ben Harris, John's father gave us all the apples we
could eat on our return home, telling us he wished we could have
caught John and ducked him. When
we returned our school had closed for the day late in the
When I was about
16 years old we had an old time exhibition in our school.
We built a little speaking stand about 4 feet square.
I spoke a piece in McGuffey’s fifth reader on the
subject. "We Must Educate".
I remember I had a Janes suit on with brass buttons on my
best and coat bound with black tape. I won a little blue black
book that day and felt as important as Webster or Henry Clay. I
attended these old time schools till I was about 20 years old.
Then I attended school under Professor Will Patton one session at
Nicklesville. In our old time schools we were expected to spell
and read our lessons out, and the last lessons of the day were
spelling lessons of the day in which all were required to engage
in the classes. We made so much noise one could scarcely hear any
thing, except the great noise. We would stand in line and spell,
if one missed spelling a word it was passed on down the line till
one would spell it correctly, then turn all down who missed it.
One standing head from the beginning to the close of the evening
spelling lesson would get a head mark, then go foot of the class
to come up again, as these above would miss spelling words. We had
spelling matches about every two weeks, two acting as captains and
dividing the advanced students two would stand and spell till one
missed a word then he or she would sit down and the next choice
one stand and spell till all had spelled then the side having the
most not spelled down would win the match. The scholars would
insist on their teacher to treat them at Christmas. Our
schoolhouses served as church houses in the rural districts and
many circuit riders preached once a month to the teachers and
scholars and patrons of the school.
Many revivals broke out in schools which gave way from 11
A. M. to 2 P. M. for the meetings. I professed religion at one of
those meetings at our school house, conducted by Elder David
Jessee, when I was about 17 years old. Many professed at that
meeting. My father gave me my freedom when I was 18 years old
telling me that I was at liberty to work for myself.
I began to approach early manhood and felt that I ought to
prepare for life work.
TEACHING LIFE FROM 1872 TO 1913
When I was about
21 years old I secured a certificate to teach school from Mr.
Smith H. Morrison who was acting for Mr. George H. Kendrick who
was the first Scott County Superintendent of Public free schools.
Kendrick had gone to Richmond City to marry.
My certificate gave me $17.50 per month and I taught my
first school in a little log school house on Uncle W. C. R.
Strong's land just on the opposite side of the road from the
present school house. The people cooperated with me and I spent
happy days with them and their children. At the close of my school
I was approaching the age of 22 years.
I saw I was not
prepared for teaching in the Public Schools so I entered school at
Arcadia, Tennessee, under the instruction of Prof. Joseph Ketron
that great teacher of teachers. I boarded with James T.
McConnell's father-in-law, Henry Hicks. We were required to
declaim on Friday and write a composition on some subject the
next. I was timid at that age and my knees sometimes trembled
under me for a while. I soon got over my bashfulness and was glad
for Friday exercises to come.
I attended school two years at Arcadia then taught one
winter then I attended two years at Kingsley Seminary under the
training of Prof. Ketron who had moved his school I boarded with
Prof. Ketron's father.
A noble Christian
gentleman Prof. R. E. Wolfe became second Superintendent and
taught his own County Normals. He was a good scholar, stern in his
manners but had his pets of which I was one and pranked much with
him. He conducted his Normals at the old brick church in Rye Cove.
I boarded at Dr. Horton’s, but Wolfe would have me to go
home with him often at which time he arranged to have a social
gathering. I attended
a Normal at Greenwood on Big Moccasin taught by Wolfe and we
boarded at Uncle Isaac Bevins's, the father of Doc Bevins Sr. The
girls being full of fun sprinkled black pepper on our pillows and
had us coughing. We studied how to get even with them, so we took
a walk one evening, found the skull of a calf well bleached, we
slipped it in the foot of their bed, when they got in bed their
feet fell on the cafe skull and they made a leap for the floor.
I have not time
in this sketch of my experience to write of many pranks. Prof.
Wolfe was a warm friend of mine I learn he died in or near
Blountville, Tennessee and his body sleeps there. He was succeeded
by Dr. J. B. Wolfe who lived near Nicklesville who served 4 years
as Superintendent of the Public schools. I taught every year of
his term of office. He was an excellent scholar, peculiar in his
habits, and had a good deal of self will.
He reared a respectable family and was buried at
Nicklesville in the Missionary Baptist Cemetery.
Prof. W. D. Smith
succeeded Dr. J. B. Wolfe, when quite a young man. I went down to
Joseph Tate’s where Prof. Smith was boarding to secure my first
certificate from him. I
spent the night at Mr. Tate's and Prof. Smith and I talked over
the many duties of teachers in the Public schools and discussed
the qualifications of the true teacher. He wrote me a school.
certificate next morning and I came back home to teach. I have
taught many sessions of 5 to 9 months under his efficient
supervision. We have been friends since our earliest acquaintance.
I wrote him at the death of his wife asking him to be
reconciled to the departure of his companion of life.
Places Where I Taught School
My First School August to December 1872
I taught at
Strong's. At home
school, Peter's Chapel Ft. Blackmore, Union and Cedar Point, in
DeKalb District. At Nicklesville in John District;
At Greenwood in
Estilleville District; At Hammond's and at Liberty in Taylor
District. I taught my last schools at home in what was then known
as the Valley High School I taught five successive terms of eight
and nine months and went on the teacher's retired list in 1913.
AMUSEMENTS AND EXPERIENCES WITHIN MY TEACHING LIFE
In my first
school of 1872 I had two girls of courting size fell out over
their religion and tried their muscular strength in pulling each
the others hair. I
had gone to dinner and on my return it was reported to me.
I told the girls that they ought to love rather than to
fight; one said I ought to whip them. I said no girls, I love you
as school girls, too well. Now just shake hands, make friends and
let your preachers decide modes of baptism etc.
At home schools
----- One cold evening of December we located a small owl in a
hollow beech. We cut it down, located and killed it the schoolboys
took it and the next morning when I got in sight of the school
house I saw the owl is hanging over the door; on approaching I
found the door bared and the boys inside said, Mr. Alley we want
you to treat us to 10 pounds, of candy; I said let me in we will
not disagree. I wish to state here that I always treated my schools as long
as it was a custom among the schools.
I feel that I have been amply paid watching the little
children talk about and eat their apples and striped candy.
At Peters : -----
I boarded most of the time at home, went through the Caleb Hobbs
farm and up by the Robert Frasier rolling mill and to the chapel.
Most all of my students were good and cooperated with me in
getting good lessons. There was one boy about 14 or 15 years old
who did not try to do any good. I talked to him a great deal.
Telling him that he ought to study well as he was a poor boy and
would be a man in age before long and would have to make his own
living. I could not reform him so one day I told him I would have
to whip him or expel him. He said he would rather leave school
than to be whipped. I said move out then. He went to the
At Ft. Blackmore
----- Nearly all of the people were strong friends of the Public
schools. I boarded
with Mr. Emory Cox who was clerk of the DeKalb school board. I
taught about all his children. I had a little trouble with one who
was a good citizen when sober; but disagreeable when drunk. I
taught in the old Methodist church on which church lot there were
several graves. The above citizen came up me one afternoon and
accused me of letting the school children play on the graves. I
thanked him for his information telling him I would make strong
efforts to keep them off the graves. The students said he lied and
wanted a row.
At Pendleton or
Cedar Point. ----- I taught two sessions of 5 months each; one in
the old log house and the other in the new frame building boarding
with Samuel Penley. I was in bed early one morning and heard his
wife tell him he must get some wheat and go to mill as she told
him I had been used to biscuits for breakfast.
I told Mrs. Penly at the breakfast table that I had been
use to plain living, had a good appetite and enjoyed any thing she
prepared for her family to eat. She was a good cook and very kind
I sprained my
ankle one noon hour playing baseball with the school boys and
could not walk. The boys carried me two days to school.
At Union: ----- I
taught one session at Union, boarded with Mr. James Harris who had
three children in school. He had a large field in corn and walking
path through it to the school house yard. There was a report
circulated in the neighborhood that there was a bear traveling
through Copper Ridge so Mr. James Harris thought he would have
some fun at my expense and took his large dog out in his corn
field by the path leading to the school house, tied a calf skin
over his book and turned him loose as I passed through to his
house one afternoon. The dog came walking along after me . When I
saw him it scared me a little then I soon thought it is just a
trick. Brother Harris said it made me run.
At Hammond: -----
I taught three sessions of five months each in the years
1875-76-77, and boarded with Amos Templeton, one mile from the
school, Amos was my playmate when a little boy, he married Uncle
Thomas Alley's Mary. I
spent many happy hours with Amos during those three years. The
people were plain in dress, pious and lived their religion.
the school house served also as a preaching place mainly
used by the M. E. Church and revivals were held once each year I
taught. I hurried my
lessons through by 11 A. M. gave way till the meetings of the day
closed then finish the lessons of the day, then hurry to my
boarding place for 'supper 'and get ready and return for night
services. The meeting would continue at times till late hours at
night; sometimes a number would get very happy experiences, men
holding happy brothers, ladies holding happy sisters. one night a
gentleman friend by the name of Una Belomy a preacher and friend
of mine became happy and I thought was liable to hurt some one
waving his long arms in the air; as he passed by me I aimed to
catch him around the waist, but he jumped high and I caught him
just above his knees; he fell backwards and the back of his head
struck one of those old time benches. He did not get up at once so
I sat down and nursed his head till he got up. I don't remember
that he shouted any more that night. I will tell you of a funeral
occasion conducted by Rev. James Adams who preached a funeral in a
clump of shade trees, near the school house .
As it was warm weather, the neighbors made seats out of
poles and rails some of which was made of rails with sharp edges.
They were very uncomfortable.
When the time arrived for services, Parson James Adams
before announcing his text said he would narrate a little bit of
history which he had neither read in the Bible or modern history.
It was said that when God created Adam, he created a great
many others and stood them up in a row and Adam at the head of the
column and began to breathe into their nostrils the breath of life
that they might become living souls, but before he got half down
the line some at the lower end became impatient and ran off
without any souls. Now brethren if there are any descendants of
those lower-end fellows, you will see them going in and out from
the out-skirts of this large congregation to show their fine
boots. But few showed their fine boots.
MY EXPERIENCE AT STATE NORMALS
I attended my
first state Norrna1at Bristol Va. in the year 1896 and boarded
with Kinser who married in the family of John D. Quillen, of
Antioc, Big Moccasin Va. The
Normal was taught in the old high school building which was used
for a graded school in the year of 1896, next was held at Martha
Washington College at Abingdon Va. I boarded with a Mr. Deadmore
near the old courthouse. One night Mrs. Moses A. Riggs took a walk
down the street at Abingdon Va. and discovered a Masonic light. In
a upper room of a Masonic hall Mr. Riggs being a Mason himself
said some particular event had happened.
impressed me very much. We boarded near Abingdon Jail. The Jailor
showed us how an inmate made his escape.
The Nuns were
located in an adjoining room, with white bonnets and all seemed as
solem as death. The priest pronounced his mass from an elevated
First Normal Big
Stone Gap conducted by Prof. Sheppe and he assigned us a home.
They went to Mr.
Kelly’s and they didn't want to keep boarders. We prevailed with
them to keep us over that night. Next morning they gave us a lunch
I found Bounds a
Gentleman I boarded with him three other Normals afterwards
pranks, one of which Mr. G. W. Williams former president, of
Shoemaker he was (C. W. W.) sleeping sound; some unknown boarder
friend. Slipped along to Mr. Williams bedroom and finding top sash
dropped down, poured half gal. of water on Williams. And then
slipped quietly back to their bedroom.
Mr. Williams bounced up and everyone else sound asleep.
I made my fathers
home my headquarters till I was 33 years old. I was married first
in May 1884 to Maggie Addington a sister to Honorable J. G.
Addington. Maggie was
a devoted wife, a Christian woman, a loving devoted mother. But
was not allowed to stay with me by a little while over one year.
When a dreadful pestilence of flux killed her and the baby Clara.
Had two good physicians with her. God called her away. I buried
her body in the family graveyard.
I was left
lonesome, so I went to Nicklesville to teach and visited my first
wife’s grave on Saturdays. I remained single about three years.
APRIL 1 6, 1888
After three years
decided to marry Elizabeth Ernestine Addington. To this union was
born four children. Mollie Hester Alley (Died April 11. 1889.
Twins Joe Patton, February 8, 1889. Rhea Oscar Alley, July 14,
1896 (Died October 18, 1896).
Maude Alley, Born October 1890
Alley, August 22, 1851
Abigah Alley April 11. 1869
I taught 35 years
of my life and then retired. I taught in my home school the last
I was converted
at the age of 18 then joined the Baptist Church. His first
teaching was at Strong’s school house then went to school about
four years. I taught about five months session in the Valley.
I taught at Peters Chapel one session 5 months. Next at Ft.
Blackmore at the old Methodist Church. Two sessions at
Pendleton’s. A new building was built at the last. Next up at Union. Three sessions down North of Manville High
School. Taught three
months at Greenwood, substituted for Vicars.
I taught about
ten years in the Valley. Mirah
Jane Alley daughter of Thomas Quillen. His father was Trige
Quillen. Jane Alley's mother was a Strong before marriage. Thomas
Strong was her father. The children were: Ira R. Quillen, John
Quillen, Christopher Quillen, Thomas Quillen,
W. B. Quillen, Moved West.
Peggy Ann Quillen, ReBechie Quillen, Thomas Alley's wife.
Sallie Quillen, Jim Alley's wife. Caroline Quillen, Jim Brickey.
married three brothers
Thomas Alley to
Rebecca Quillin, James Alley to Sallie Quillin, John Alley to Jane
father was David Alley. Twins Robert and Tom. Jim, John, David.
Mary Alley, Tom