xt7tdz031403_8 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7tdz031403/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7tdz031403/data/65m2.dao.xml unknown 0.23 Cubic Feet 1 box archival material 65m2 English University of Kentucky Property rights reside with the University of Kentucky.  The University of Kentucky holds the copyright for materials created in the course of business by University of Kentucky employees. Copyright for all other materials has not been assigned to the University of Kentucky.  For information about permission to reproduce or publish, please contact Special Collections.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. J.J. Glenn papers Then and Now, delivered in Frankfort before the State Superintendent's Association text Then and Now, delivered in Frankfort before the State Superintendent's Association 2024 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7tdz031403/data/65m2/Box_1/Folder_8/Multipage54.pdf 1913 April 12 1913 1913 April 12 section false xt7tdz031403_8 xt7tdz031403 Ladies and gentlemen:

The subject, THEN and NOW, on which I am to telk_at this

time is of my own choosing. So far as I ugh now remember or—eallnto‘
“untnd there is no other subject that wresents a larger field for thought

than this one. THEN. may refer to the creation of the world, while NOW
of course refers to the present time. However, I do not want you to
come to the conclusion that I propose to discuss every question that
has come before the peOple of earth from the days of Adam until the

The woryd then, may refer to things of only recent date as
well as to Ancient history. Speaking of things two months ago, we can
say, then, Mr. Taft was Fresident of the United E‘tates hut now, re say

’jfi\that Mr. Wilson occupies that reaponsihle position. Six months ago we

‘_§\Dsay that Col. 40 evelt occipi ed the first column of tie iir t .age of

almost every newspaper in the civilized world, but now his no me, if
mentioned at all, is in small letters and apt to he on next to the last
page of the papers that then blazoned his name to the world.

At one time not very remotely, I was on the program for a
talk before a teachers' meeting. The wise or otherwise superintendent,
or the intelligent or otherwise unintelligent printer changed the word—
ing of the caption and made it read that my subject would be Now and
THEN, instead of THEN and 3‘ , which egélfé/be construed that I would
talk now and then. Now and then, I may do and say things which I af—

vxt>terward very much regret. There are some persons who are now and then
termed just a little cranky. In fact,the1e area a great many of us who

are more or less cranky on many of the subjects whséh which we have to
§Dg$ deal. If it were not for the cranks the world would make but very lit-

tle progress. I prefer a crank to a "stand-patter". This last remark

does not refer to matters political.

In my talk at this time, I want as briefly as Iossible to
review the progress of education in the state of Kentucky during the

last fifty years. In this I shall have frequently to refer to mys 11v


something I should like to omit and shall try at all times to avoid
seeming egotism. It was fifty years ago next fall that I taught my
first school. In speaking of that school and others that followed, in
talking of the early struggles of the country teacher a half century
ago, and comparing the THEN with the NOW, I hepe that I may say some-
thing that shall be in the may of encouragnment to those who are young~
er than myself.

It was my misfortune, or rather my good fortune, to have
been born in the country, something of which I am not ashamed, but rath«
er a something of which I am decidedly proud. While most of my life
has been spent in the towns and cities, yet I feel that it was while
teaching in the country schools that I got inSpiration that qualifies£jj
me for the larger duties of life.

I wonder how many of those present today were either horn

and reared in the country, or who if they did not have that privilege
f)w/( '5- ,u.

accorded them, have spent at least somékof their lives in the rural

districts. I want every one of you who were at one time, or who are

now country peeple to hold up your hands. From the show of hands,
this really seems to be a country audience I am addressing. Such be—
ing the case, I shall feel the greater liberty to Speak to you in the
way of a heart to heart talk. We at once understand each other.

My Opportunities for an education were exceedingly limited.
I was the oldest, the first born of a family of chidren, children born
in poverty and bbscurity, of humble but christian parents. Of this,I
am not ashamed. My father was an honest and God fearing man, while
my mother was a christian woman seven days in the week, every month of
the year and every year that I eVCr knew her. To her I owe everything
that I am that has any good in me.

At that time the schools lasted but three months in the
year, they Were taught in the fall, during which time the fammer boy
had to help strip tobacco, pull fodder, gather corn, go to mill and

assist in dozens of other matters of importance. Lucky was the boy or

girl who managed to get more than two months schooling during any one


 When I was 14 years old I boarded out and went to school
7 weeks and when twenty years old went 8 weeks to another school.
Circumstances were such that it was not my privilege to ever again en—
ter a school house of any kind until about one year later when I was

called upon to undertake the arduous and reaponsible duty of teaching

the boys and girls in a little school house about 4 milelfrom the home

of my parents.

One Sunday the latter part of August, 1865, while attending
church and before the services commenced, I was approached by a man by
the name of Evans} He engaged me in conversation and soon asked me if
I would not take charge of their school at POplar Creek. I was almost
as much surprised and frightened as I would be now if president Wilson
should iiwfiflrask me to accept a place in his cabinet.

As the preachers say when called to another and better field
of Operation than the one they now hold, I could have said, "I will
/ pray over the matter". I did not as I remember pray over it, but I
told Mr. Evans that I would think over it. And I did thin? about it
all the time the man of God was preaching. I went homg::tgld my par~
ents what offer had been made for my services and asked their advice.

I think my mother and father were just about as much sur-
prised as I had been. They suggested that as the term of sentence was
for only three months that I might try my hand at teaching and in the
event I did not like the profession I might then turn my attention to
some other calling.

In a few days, I went to see the man who had enough confi—
dence in me to risk my teaching his children and the children of his
neighbors. It is well enough to remember here that this7chool was not
a public school, but that it was a private affair that must be paid
for by subscription of those who wanted to educate their boys and girls.
The per capita at that time was so small and insignificant that the
trustees, that is if there were such persons in that district, did not
deem it worth while to report the children of school age.

Mr. Evans went with me to see the peOple and ascertain how


much they would contribute toward having a shcool taught at Peplar
Creek, for the next three months. He was a good man and recommend—
ed me very highly to those with whom I wagtggauainted. After riding
over the neighborhood we got $43.00 pledged for the whole term. I ac—
cepted the subscription paper and announced that on the next Monday
week I would be on hand to begin my career as a teacher.

On that bright Monday morning in September, I mounted my
horse and rode to the school house where I was to teach. There were
about a dozen boys and girls present to greet me on my arrival. The
building stood on the bank of Poplar Creek, from which the school dew
rived its name, a name which still holds good until this day. The
house was built on pillars three or four feet from the ground, under

which was afforded a most excellent place for the assembling of the ‘u;

hogs which collected there to sleep and raise hog rackets. Of course, g

there was as a result of the collection of these animals a very large V
and active a£¥3y of fleas that at times kept both teacher and pupils/2L3"LJ
quite busy in the way of scratching,,c¢u3‘{Saiu157rwwf £2ft¢4o &”4 5
Notwithstanding these little difficulties/and annoyances,
it was not long before the school was organized and was in good running
order. And by the way it was a business school. I at once became in—
terested in the work and while I taught many years and many terms in
after years, yet I believe I taught as earnestly in this school, though
with but little salary attached, as I ever did in any school of a later
data where the surroundings were more favorable and the pay much larger.
While teaching this school, I was not annoyed by the ringing
of the telephone over whose wires some fond parent was finding an ex-
cuse for some tardy pupil, nor were therevany threats against the teach-
er for some supposed neglect of duty, orrthreshing of obstreporous younga
stern. Neither did the children study their lessons by electric light,
but by a tallow dip, or by the blaze from a pile of hickory chunks.
The boys had not learned the use of the deadly cigarette, nor did the
girls dress in hobble skirts that prevented the free use of their low-

er limbs, as there were some of those girls who were about as swift of


foot when it came to playing town ball, bull pen, or chasing the f6x
as were any of the boys.

There was no fear entertained by the parents that the child—
ren while away from school and on the road to or from home would be
run over by an automobile, or mashed to death under the wheels of a
locomotive, as the nearest railroad was 100 miles away and the fast—
est moving vehicle then was an ox cart or a log wagon which any boy
or girl could evade or out-run.

Like every other thing earthly, that school had an end. The
three months were soon numbered with the things that were and then only
lingered in the memory of those who were most directly interested. At
the close of the session teacher and children bade each other a kind
and affectionate adieu.

Of course, after the school closed, I naturally wanted my
money. While we may not be teachers in the sense that we are out for the

money there is in it, yet we must all have some of the "long green" in

order to keep souhi'and body together. The next day after the close of

the school, I mounted the faithful horse that had carried me back and
forth from my scene of duty and went among-my patrons to collect what
might be due me for my work. My patrons responded most nobly. 0f the
$45 that was due me, I collected $40, all in five dollar bills. I later
received $1.50 more making $41.50 in all, with $1.50 due me which is yet

As I rode home, I felt very uneasy, fearing that some of the
money might jolt out of my pocket and thus be lost to me and my heirs
forever, When I arrived at home, after putting my horse in the stable,
not forgetting to give him a good feed of hay and corn for his service,
I went into my bedr00m, which was on one end of the front porch. I
closed the door behind me, put my foot against it for fear of intrusion
took out my wealth, counted it over carefully, Spread the eight five
dollar bills on the bed, stepped back, gazed at that pile of greenbacks
right there that afternoon, while looking at that money, I felt that I

was one of the wealthy men of the nation.



Right then, I felt richer than I had ever been before and
in fact such was the case. I had never before in my life owned or had I
in my possession such an accumulation of wealth. Only once previously
had I been the possessdr of more than five dollars at any one time. Of
course, I was rich. The money was all mine. I had made it, I had earn—
ed it, I owed no man anything.

While this incident occurred a half century ago, yet I now
call to mind those eight bills. My recollection is they were at least
six inches wide and about a foot and a half long. In fact, the bills
completely covered the whole bed so that I cannot now remember the color
of the quilts that were used for COVering when the nights were cool. I
can say with Whittier, with a slight addition:

"Ah! memories gt/sweet summer eves

0f moonlit w ve and willowy way,
Of stars and flowers, and dewy leaves,
And smiles and tones more dear than they"
And of those five dollar bills which were soon Spent for either pleasure
or profit.

For some time after this eventful period in my life I felt that
I had so much of this world's weahh that it would not be necessary for
me to eVer again go out to earn more money. But before a great while,
one of the bills was broken and that was soon spent, then another and
another until at last I was again reduced to the necessity of going to
work, go to the poor house, be a charge upon my parents and the neigh—
borhood. or starve. Thus I sought another school that would pay me a
better salary than my first one.

The next fall I secured the school at Do-me—good. my p0p«
ularity at EOPlar Creek had made it easy to secure this position which
paid me $20 per month for three months. Idboarded out among the siélars?
The per capita was 83 cents to the child. As this was not sufficient
to pay the teacher, the remainder was made up by pepular subscription.

It was while teaching this school that I became imbued with the idea that
I should make this my profession.

I must say however, that my education was somewhat limited

and I felt the necessity of better qualifying myself for the duties of



thetschool room, but the Opportunity never presented itself for at—
tending any college or higher school. My only show for that education
which I wanted was to apply myself at night and at other odd times.
Thus I became a graduate of the hard school of e7perience and will say
without egotism that I stood at the head of my class.

Year after year I secured schools that paid better than the
ones before and each school requiring more shholarship than the pre-
ceding. It mattered not to me how difficult the tast might be. from
some cause I was willing to undertake the job and as it haprcned I
always managed to make good. Before I quit the work, I have no doubt
that had I been called to take charge of Vanderbilt University that I
was fool enough to have undertaken the job. "Where there is a will
there is a way."

It would perhans not be out of place to say something of *he
examinations required a half century ago in order to secure a Certif—
icate to teach in the public schools. With my first school I did not
have to have a certificate to tecch as the school was a private one.
But my second school required that I should undergo that trying ordeal.
At that time instead of County Superintendents, there was a man at the
head of the schools who was called a Commissioner.

I went to Vddyville, the County Seat to get my certificate.
The Commissioner held his office up stairs over a grocery in a little
back room that was about ten feet square. Certificates were of two

classes; first and second. First class certificates were good for three

years, and second class ones for one year. Of course, it was with fear

and trembling that I went into the presence of the Commissioner, but
he was kind and obliging. He seemed to regret the fact that the biw made
it imrerative that he should examine me.

I was asked to spell a few words in the blue back spelling
book. Idid not miss a single word. In geography I was asked the number
of zones, the longest river in the world, to name the two oceans that
bound the United States, the name of the Capital of Kentucky and the

river that ran through my county. I solved an -- tuner”


hers, read a few lines in the fourth reader, stumbled on a question in
grammar and after suffering from fright and exhaustion for about twenty
minutes, the examination was declared closed and I was granted a first
class certificate. For this I paid 50 cents. I am sorry that I have
lost or misrlaced that valuable document,

I howeVer have a certificate that Was issued three years
later and this one with several others received since that time, are
kept as souvenirs of the old time teacher. The following is an exact
COpy of a certificate received July 17th. 1867;

"This certifies that James J. Glenn, possessing the other
necessary qualifications, and having this day appeared before me end
passed an examination as to his ability to teach the elements of a
plain English Education to—wit: Spelling, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic,
Geography, English Grammar and History, I find him well qualified
therein, and is entitled to a first class certificate as a teacher for
this county.

July 17th. 1867.
James C. Church,
00mmissioner for Lyon County."

For the next few years, I taught school in various districts,
rall these places so neer my home that it reguiredbut a few hours ride
or walk to get back to the parental roof. It had come into my mind
that I should really like to take a trip from home to learn something
of the ways and manners of the outside world. Although more than thirty
years of age, I had rarely been so far away that I could not hear the
dinner horn when it blew at noon.

In January 1876, I made my arrangements to visit Frankfoit,
the capital of my state. This was 37 years ago. I had seen a railroad,
but had neVer been inside a coach. Up to this time, my traveling had

been astride a horse, on a wagon drawn by oxen, or on foot, all of which

ways are 4 tolerably safe wayiof locomotion, but rather slow for this

day and time.

In order to catch the train that was to take me from home and

loved ones, it was necessary to ride 20 miles to the station, where I



was compelled to stay all night at a hotel, the first time in life

where I had ev r registered as a guest at a hostelry. The train was

due the next morning awhile before day light. Of course I did not

sleep much that night. I was afaid the train would get in ahead of time
and leave me.

I was up and dressed long before any of the guests thought it
necessary to get out of bed. I was at the depot long before time for
the train to arrive, knowing that if I missed getting aboard that I
would have to wait another 24 hours for the next one. I bought my tick~
et and with bated breath listened for the whistle to blow announcing the
coming engine down the road, saw the mighty moving mass of matter com—
ing in my direction and at first it seemed as if the train would mount
the platform and smash the life out of the whole bunch of us.

I know I appeared green.and in fact that color mas written
all over my face and my ever :ction. We are all green when it comes to
things of which we know nothing. Country boys and girls are however
no greener in the cities than the city boys and girls are when they
visit the country.

A few years ago, soon after moving pictures made their appear—
ance, a woman and her daughter from the rural districts were in my town
one day. After they had done their trading they had an hour or two to
spare before returning home. As they walked down the street they were
attracted by one of these shows. They'went in and took a front seat so
as to be able to see the thing as clearly as Possible.

In a short time the room was darkened, the machine began to
buzz, a light was thrown on the canvas and soon the show commenced. The
picture represented a streetiggégééfin a city. men, women and children,
with wagons, buggies, and traffic were moving in every direction. An
automobile whizzed by and caused the woman to dodge. She looked up the
street of the moving show and saw a number of automobiles coming tear-

ing down toward the front. She jumped up, grabbed her daughter and

said, "Sallief its time to get away from this place. One of them things

a minute ago missed us not mo;e than three feet and here comes a whole_


gang of them and somebody is going to get killed."

That woman was not to blame for her ignorance. She thought
there was danger. I was not to blame for having some uneasiness in
regard to the safety of railroads. I however stuck to the thing, feel-
ing that it would be rank cowardice to back out, especially after I
had secured my ticket. I watched others get into the coach and fol~
lowed my leader. He took a seat and I took another. I well remember
when the train pulled out that I grabbed hold of the arms of the seat
that I occupied, held my breath and braced myself, feeling almost cer~
tain that the thing was liable to slip from under me. I soon got used
to the new condition of things, enjoyed the situation and before I ar-

rived at my destination.regarded myself as a great traveller.

On my arrival at the capital, I found tm ‘ legislature in

W i {€fi H
session the very thing I had wanted to see. For £i£§een years I had

been voting for the men who were making our lava. I wanted to look up—
on the assembled wisdom of our supposedly great men. My representative
introduced me to a number of our law makers. I mixed with these men
and in a very short time I learned that the average legislator was noth—
ing but a man and the great majority of them very little men at that.

But enough of this. By this time the schools of the state
were very much improved. Time after time the legislature of the state
had passed measures submitting to the people of the Commonwealth pr0p0~
sitions to vote upon themselves taxes for the purpose of a betterment
of the public school system. It was on the 16th day of February. 1838,
now 75 years ago that an act of the legislature established a system of
public schools gethflwhieh‘to(makeeitleffectivg The only money avail—
able was the interest on $850.000 a remnant of a fund that had been re—
ceived_ from the Federal government a few years before.

An act of the legislature was approved February 26, 1849, to
submit a proposition to the voters of the state to levy upon themselves
a tax of 2 Cents on each $100.00 worth of property for school purposes.
At the following August election the preposition carried by a majority
of more than 2 to 1. In March 1854, another act of the legislature

authorized the people to vote on themselves 3 cents additional for school


purposes. At the following August election this carried by a majority
of nearly 3 to 1.

This 5 cent tax, with the interest on the bond of $850,000
gave a per capita of only 83 cents to each child of school age. The
war between the North and the South came on and during that period
very little attention was given to the schools of the state. But on
January 26,'1869, an act of the legislature was approved permitting the
peeple to vote an additional tax of 15 cents. At the following August
election this was ratified by an overwhelming majority. This gate a
new impetus to the cause of public schools in the State of Kentucky.

0n the 24th of April, 1882, an act of the legislature author—
ized the people to vote an additional tax of 2 cents with the understand-
ing that the school fund should be equally distributed to every child
of school age without regard to race, color or previous 00ndition of
servitude. The people also ratified this act and thus was established

the system, which whilenot what we might like it to be is still a sys—

tem that affords every boy and girl of the Commonvealth an Opportunity

to at least secure a good common school education.

Fifty years after the system of public schools had been estab—
lished by the legislature, or in July 1888, which is now 25 years ago,
the educators of the state celebrated the semi~centennial of this event
by holding a 00nvention in Frankfort. The meeting was held in the cap~
itol building. I had the honor of delivering the address or +hat occa—
sion. And now 25 years later it is my privilege to appear before this
body of earnest men and women, educators of our beloved state.

The public school system of the state is but four years old-
er than your speaker. Ӵ< your of his birth 1he amount paid 011 fig r11
the teachers of the yublic schools of the State amounted to only
$7,554.20, not as much money rs is now paid for teaching one school in
a town of the fourth class. When I commenced my career as a teacher, the
per capita was 85 cents, Egg it is 500 per cent greater than then, while
for the present year the sum paid to the public schools of the state is

approximately three million dollars. I look back over the past, dur-



ing the years I was engaged in teaching, the ten years spent as sup~
erintendent of my county, and the many years that I have sefved as a
member of the Board of Education of my town, a position I have held
since the organization of our city schools, and thank God for the won—
deriul progress that has been made during that time.

The past fifty years have been crowded with events, one upon
the other have they come with such rapidity, that we fail to remember
them all and recognize the fact that during that half century there has
been more progress in education, in religion, in the arts, in sdience
and discovery than in all the ages pest. Notwithstanding the whines,
the growls and the fault findin;s of the grouchy pessimist, the world

is growing better as the days go by. This year is going to be better

than the last, but the next one will be getter than any other that has

come and gone. 5%;

In thisrevening of my life I come before this association of
educators who are younger and wiser than myself. While I am possessed
of more or less vigor, while I am as strong in my likes and dislikes
as when in my younger days, while my steps may be somewhat infirm, my
days of usefulness pretty well spent, yet I have as much at heart. the
welfare of the boys and girls of my state as I did when I first started
out a half century ago a country teacher. I am still strong in the
faith and want to see no backward step in the onward march for higher
and better things.

I have been the old log school house with its backlese ben~
ches torn down and Split into kindling wood, and in place thereof the
modern building with its up—to—date itrniture, inviting the children of
a great state to enter therein and prepare themselves for the duties
and reaponsibilities of life. I have seen the old blue back Spelling
book, (peace to its memory) banished from the school room and in its
place installed, what some term a wonderful improvement. I have seen
the old teacher fall out of the ranks because he was either not able to

keep up with the procession, or was unwilling to adapt himself to the
new condition of things. I have watched all these forward movements



with a keen interest and am able to thank my creator that I have never

as yet thrown one obstacle in the way of the wheels of progress.

(/UL/r/w LuCe‘/,‘,<-

I have witnessedrthe growth of the Kentucky Educational

Association and other Educational Movements for mor[e than a quarter
of a century. There are bright spots in my memor3 what-I call to

mind the fact that I was [presenj(at the organization of the first County
‘ ‘ ‘3‘}; z! i (1‘
Superintendents Assoc19tionfandrthat I was the first president of

that meeting, and that I was re~eleeted to a second term. I was the
first president of the Kentucky Reading Circle and was twice its pres—
ident. The teachers of the state have twice made me the presiding of~
ficer of the Kentucky Educational -Association.

While it may be and is perhaps the case that my days of
usefulness are pretty well passed, it may be in the future that I shall
not be able to add much to either the pleasure or the profit of these
meetings, it may be that I shall simply be a "hanger—on" of the educa-
tional gatherings of the state, yet mith all this I do most humbly crave
that I shall have the good will and the prayers of the good men and
women of the state who have done and are still doing so much for the up—
build and uplift of the boys and girls of Kentucky.

While I may not be able to go in the lead, may not be able
to stand where the battle rages the hottest and the fiercest, still I
want to be regarded as a member of the old guard that never surrenders.
May the next fifty years he brighter, happier and better and fuller of
good things than all the years that have past.

I am done.