Carroll County News

The Closing of Sanders School 1946
By John S. Forsee (1946)

Contributed By: Geneva Petit


An early history of Sanders, Kentucky

Sanders High School 1927

School 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 attendance officer.
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 the position.)
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  other
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 this:
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 date."
Ed. note:I recall that Anna Mae and Elwin Deatheridge owned and operated it.)