Hardy County One Room Schools
Two Stories

Submitted by:
Michael M. Foreman

My grandfather, Marcellus Alexander Evans, a teacher in the one room schools of Hardy County for 40 years, shared these stories with me. He was born in 1875, the 4th of 8 children born to Benjamin F. Evans and his wife, Frances Kessel Evans. "MA" died in April, 1954. He taught at Frosty Hollow, Kessel, Thrasher Springs, Powers, Bethel and Powder Lick. He was a master of the written and spoken word and could quote poetry by the hour. He would wager that any poem mentioned, he could quote at least one verse, if not the entire poem. He never lost his bet.

Love and crime...

During Prohibition, a young, first year teacher,was employed to teach at Powder Lick School at Flats, WV. One day, several of the girls complained that the ceiling was leaking. The teacher told the oldest boy in class to go to the loft to see the problem. He came down quickly and told the teacher they must call the sheriff. The sheriff arrived and found a complete, operating still in the loft. Left unattended, the mash had boiled over over and this was the source of the leak.

The sheriff found a letter in the loft from the oldest boy to the teacher, professing young love. (The boy had the key in order to arrive early and build the fires.) Both the boy and the teacher were charged, and, despite their denials, both convicted in Federal Court. MA always claimed that one and maybe two of his sons were involved as for weeks after the discovery of the still, both manufactured every reason not to go to school, both exhibited great anxiety when any stranger came to the house, and both were on the best behavior they ever possessed.

The young teacher learns from the old Master...

M. A. Evans' son, Quentin, became a teacher like his father. In those depression era days, every school had to have a spring social. Quentin, teaching at Mathias, held his social and went home for the summer to see his father.

His father asked how much money he had made off the social and Quentin proudly claimed $25.00. He asked his father how much he had made and MA showed a profit of almost $100.00.

Astounded, Quentin asked for the secret. His father showed his ledger sheets and pointed out one expense item, labelled miscellaneous with a figure of $5.00 inserted. Futher query by the young teacher brought a confession from the master teacher- he had paid a man $5.00 for some "moonshine" and he made certain most of the men attending the social had sampled the wares before the pies and cakes went up for auction.

I don't know if uncle Quentin ever used the lesson he learned from his father, but I can still see the twinkle in granddad's eye as he told me the story. And I learned another reason that M. A. Evans was a master teacher.

Michael M. Foreman April 5, 1998

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