Closing of Sanders School 1946
By John S. Forsee (1946)
early history of Sanders, Kentucky
High School 1927
Lists from Sanders 1916 - 1940
The links above will take you to the
web site of Jim Pallas. Please visit him and enjoy his wonderful collection of
photos from the Sanders area.
"In this, the last year of its existence, Sanders High School will have seven graduates...."
reads a report from the Sanders correspondent in the News-Democrat. We who are
interested in Sanders school have known for some time that Sanders High was to
be discontinued but the statement appearing in print brings a sudden
sadness and a tide of memories sweeping over us. A year
ago a group of outstanding citizens appeared before a sympathetic Carroll county
school board in an effort to have their high school continued for one more year.
This reporter "covered" the meeting and became so interested
that when the meeting was over, Dick Cartmell, county school
superintendent, threatened to have him prosecuted for practicing law with out a
license. The group did win their point however and I hoped that in
another year conditions would change to such a
favorable extent that the school would not be lost. They didn't change.
To one who has been associated with the Sanders community as long as the writer,
that is for the past 27 years, the idea of the closing of the high school there
Is Indeed sorrowful we almost said repulsive. When I
went there in 1919 as principal it was my first venture In
high school teaching except in private classes. Those were the
days of community isolationism as far as public education went. Each
independent school district was exactly that - independent. The Board of
Trustees thought that so long as they were elected by
the vote of the people of that district, that school officials at Frankfort or
Washington or any other central office had no business poking their
respective noses in community affairs. How money was spent and how many pupils
attended school was the community's business. They even employed their own
The school board then was composed of G. W.
Shirley, chairman; F. A. Mattick, secretary; W. J. Tanner, Wm. McDermott
and Marshall Baker, members. R. H. Towles was treasurer; Mrs.
H. J. Seppenfield attendance officer, later succeeded by
Hugh Sandford was principal with Miss Lorilla Spencer later Mrs.Frank Ison; Lurena
Hall was primary teacher but suffered a nervous breakdown and had to resign
at the end of the first month How shall I tell who succeeded her and has been
there ever since? It hardly seems right that I should but to
complete the story I must; it was Mrs.
H. K. Ford, better known to all who love her as Miss Clyde. During the three
years that I was there other trustees were H. H. Towles and Emmet Johnson.
Other teachers were Miss Josie Fothergill, now Mrs. Schenck; Mrs. Lula
Hutchinson and Mrs. Ocie Glenn.
Of course there had been graduating classes before
I went to Sanders High. Of these I remember little for I knew little about them.
I do recall some of the graduates and hope that if they are so
minded they take advantage of my column to tell something about the school
prior to my incumbency. (I use the word advisedly as Webster defines it as one
holding a benefice and says further that a benefice is a favor; It
must have been that the people liked me, for I had no special qualifications for
But of the graduating class I recall plenty. Three girls and one boy made
up that, my first, graduating class. I was
inordinately proud of them, still am. They were Mary
Virginia Baker, Roberta Jacobs, Gladys Hall
and Courtland Weldon'. Others to graduate two years later were
Lucille and Ruby Sanders. I am proud of them too. Sad to relate I have
lost contact with all but Mary Virginia, Roberta and Lucille.
I could go on and tell about school days for page after page but I must tell
about the town as well. In those days the town was built largely around the
school, churches and the stores, of course. The stores were the principal
gathering places of all classes regardless of education or religion. The two
principal stores were owned by Fred Mattick and Marshall Baker. Mr. Baker lived
only a short time 1 after I moved to Sanders and I do not recall anything
especially about happenings in his store. But I do recall a few things about
Mattick's store because I worked for him on Saturdays and during vacation and
had more opportunity to observe little things that happened. One Saturday
afternoon in early spring, Mr. Mattick decided to rebuild a
fire in the stove that stood about the center of the room in the old store on
the corner. The day had been warm but with night coming on the air
was growing cooler so Mr. Fred, as most people called him,
chopped some kindling. If he had split it before cutting it in two the stick
would not have flown up and hit him on the shank, but it did and by the
time he could get his pants and long underwear rolled up, a pump knot as big as
a walnut was showing. We were both a little alarmed over the quick swelling but
"uncle" John Smart just laughed at us. he said it would
soon go down and it did. Another time Bob Martin, a deaf mute, had lived
in Carroll county for a season cropping and, according to custom, had run
a year's bill with Mr. Mattick. When Martin sold his tobacco, he came to
settle. After the account was totaled and paid Mr. Mattick wrote Mr.
Martin that he ought to select some present from stock of goods in the store as
a token of his (Mattick's) appreciation. Martin selected a pair of gloves, not
too fine, and the two shook hands cordially That was the
way they did things in those days.
Then there was the time when I almost got whipped when I mistakenly called John
Chambers by the surname of another John. There was John Baker, with his
ice-cooled melons in the summer and his papers both summer and winter. Dr. R. N.
Williams and Dr. J. H. Darbro with their daily games of pool. No matter how many
games either won, they never paid by games but treated each other alternately.
Both practicing physicians they had the warmest friendship for each
and no trace of rivalry or jealously existed between
them. Their spirit of goodwill was an example to those of smaller mental
caliber. If such they were, or are, in Sanders. Buck Sanders
(Chilton) who corresponded for one of the Carrollton weeklies~ was
another character. The first time I ever heard the squirrel story, it was
told on Buck. In case it is so old that you may have forgotten it went like
Buck was squirrel hunting along the road between Sanders and Eagle
one fine Summer day when a stranger came driving along the road. The
stranger asked Buck if he was on the right way to Eagle. Buck was extremely hard
of hearing but prided himself on his lip reading. With acquaintances he could do
a good job but with strangers it wasn't so easy, so Buck answered, "Yep,
shore is a fine day." Again the stranger tried, "How far is it to
Eagle?" "Oh, about two hours," Buck said, thinking that the stranger
wanted to know how long he had been hunting. In another vain attempt the
stranger asked, "Where is Eagle Station?" Buck, thinking that he
wanted to know about the squirrel, said pointing,
"Up there in that hole in that big beech." Exasperated the
stranger commented as he clucked to his horse and started off,
"You must be a damn fool." And Buck, still thinking of squirrels
answered, "Yes, the woods are full of 'em." Whether true or not,
it was, as I said, the first time I ever heard it.
There were so many characters around Sanders that to recall all of them would
take hours. Earn Shirley and I were sitting in Fred Mattick's store one day just
talking about nothing in particular. We were enjoying the warmth of
the fire in the big stove that stood in the new store, that is where Baker had
previously been. A supporting post stood near the stove and on it hung a
horse collar. While we were talking, an old fellow noted for his curiosity came
in and almost poked his head between us. He got quite close to Mr. Earn.
Without looking up, Mr. Shirley turned to me and said
"John, I've got the biggest sorest corn on my foot that a poor
devil ever had, and any so-and-so should happen t tramp on it, I'd ring
that horse collar around his neck." It tickled me
so much I had to get outside and laugh. Whether or not Earn had to carry or his
threat I never knew.
I could go on and on naming them: Zack Coleman, Jim Hall, Jim Sanders, Bob Ford, George Hussong,
Snowden Shirley, Emmet Darbro, Sam Sanders, John Jackson, Bob Garvey, Pud
Bradley, Henry Plum, Joe McDonald, Ed Williams, Frank Ransdell, Tom Baker.
Tom Groves, A.C. Devore, John Alsup, all the Armstrongs, and so many
others. Those were my friends during the days when I was principal of the
Sanders high School and I could tell a story about every one
of them I think.
And now the school is closing its last term. Ray Edens is the last principal.
Strangely enough when we moved to Sanders we moved to the old Blue Lick Springs
Hotel and the rooms we wanted were occupied by Mr and Mrs. H. S.
Garvey. They were going to move to property they had recently purchased as soon
as Mrs. Garvey was able. She had lately welcomed a little visitor, a daughter
Helen, the present Mrs. Ray Edens.
I don't know how the rest of the former teachers feel about their
days spent in Sanders. As for myself, I keep, and I expect to keep always, a
spot in my heart reserved for the people and places of that community. I have
seen some of the happiest and proudest of my days there and I have seen some of
the saddest of them there too. But now I hold only fond memories and shed
a tear perhaps, for days and institutions that are no more.
Note from Contributor: (The above (Carrollton News?) newspaper article was sent to me in 1999
by Newt Sanders who added this note;
"All children have been bused to Carroll County schools for a number of
years. The Sanders School became a nursing home - I do not know the
Ed. note:I recall that Anna Mae and Elwin Deatheridge owned and operated it.)