Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
WOMAN TEACHES "MOONSHINERS" THEIR A B C'S
Rowan county is a little moun
tainous section in eastern Ken
tucky, for years rnuch given to
shoots and booze; whererinost of
the leading citizens distilled ille
gal corn juice for a living and
shot federal sleuths and feudal
enemies for recreation.
Some of the "poor whites" in
the mountains had heard of such
a thing as the alphabet, but most
of 'em couldn't have spelled
C-A-T for a million dollars.
Some years ago Mrs. Cora Wil
son Stewart was given charge of
educational matters in Rowan
county. A little trip through the
mountains convinced the new su
perintendent that liberal doss of
the A B C's would do more to
ward taking shoots and booze qut
of the county than all the officers
combined and at the same -time
place boots and shoes on the feet
of the little children who came to
She started her moonlight
school. At first she had to go out
in the woods and drag the men
and women to school, which she
held at night .when the children
were not using the building and
when the parents were not work-
One of her early pupils was a
grandmother, '86" years old. The
old woman had never" been, to
school a day before.
Soon the moonlight school be
gan to draw men away from the
moonshine distillery product and
other schools were started in
Rowan countv. for Mrs. Stewart
had persuaded other teachers to
onen their school houses at nierht.
Now there are several counties in
eastern Kentucky teaching grown
men atid women in moonlight
Big, rough, gun-toting moun
taineers now start to school when
their children are being put to
bed and bend over the first reader
and spellmg'boqk-with a painful
These men who a .few years
ago Were noted for their utter
lack of regard lor" human life if
that .life happened to be on the
other $ide of the -feud, are now
studying side by side with their
one-time bitterest enemies, each
hoping to outstrip the other in
readin, 'ritin', 'n 'rithmetic.
The little woman who has
transformed Rowan cdunty is a
mere child, physically, when
compared fo her moonlight pu
pils, and" although she is 35, she is
younger than her pupils.
Mrs. Stewart is one of the most
prominent of Blue Grass women.
Her a.ricestryincludes some of the
most 'famous of Kentucky fami
lies. She has. "blue blood" and
money, but she is far prouder of
her moonlight schools in the
moonshine mountains, she says.
. i o o I
, A Hhlt- . '
Mistress-yThat was a very nice
letter of Patrick's offering you
marriage, Mary. What shall I
say in reply for yotf?
Mary Tell him, mum, if you
plaze, that when I get my wages
raised next month, mum, I'll be
gin to save for the weddin' things.