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Scott County, Virginia

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Abigah Alley
Aug. 22, 1851 -- Nov. 4, 1937

The following is a transcription of an interview with Aigah Alley.  It is presented as spoken and no attempt to correct spelling or punctuation has been made.

Contributed by Ron Pendleton



Abigah Alley was born August 22, 1851

Died 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.

APRIL 13, 1936

Began teaching 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.

Peters Chapel, 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.


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.

Hiram Alley's 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

tongue" plow 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.


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.


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 afternoon.

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.


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.


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 penitentiary later.

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 to me.

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.


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.


Free Masons 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 pulpit.


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 before dinner.


I found Bounds a Gentleman I boarded with him three other Normals afterwards


Played many 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

Birth, Abigah Alley, August 22, 1851

Born Mrs. Abigah Alley April 11. 1869

I taught 35 years of my life and then retired. I taught in my home school the last five years.

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.

Three Sisters married three brothers

Thomas Alley to Rebecca Quillin, James Alley to Sallie Quillin, John Alley to Jane Quillin.

John Alley's father was David Alley. Twins Robert and Tom. Jim, John, David.

Mary Alley, Tom Templeton’s mother.



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