North Carolina Newspapers

    A Balanced Account
The Late John Henry Mclntosh,
A ‘Boost’ To Area Education
Raprittad Iran Tilt Spi adult Saa
By W. B. Robertson
It was June 6, 1900, in the Bee
Log Community of Yancey Coun
ty, North Carolina, that John
Henry Mclntosh was born, the
youngest of eight children born
to Jane Phillips Mclntosh and
Gilbert E. Mclntosh. There were
no bright lights, for there was no
electricity. There were no distur
bances from traffic, for there
were no automobiles. No flowers
arrived, for there were no flo
rists.
Twenty miles away in Burns
ville, the county seat, there was
• doctor, a dentist, and a tele
phone. But nowhere in Yancey
county was there a pound of ice
to be bought, or a foot of pave
ment to be traveled, or a super
market in which to buy fresh
meat.
Grief came to him early. In six
months his father was dead. A
few months later his home, so
carefully built by his father’s
hands, was destroyed by fire. His
older brother, desperately ill from
typhoid fever, was rescued by
neighbors; but the fever and the
flames were too much for him.
Standing beside the ashes of
her home, deprived of her hus
band and her eldest son, Jane
Phillips Mclntosh gathered her
seven children about her and re
solved that they should never be
seperated, they never were. They
planted the rocky hillside without
bitterness. They gathered nuts and
berries from field and forest; and
the boys roamed the uplands in
Search of game.
She read to her children from
the Bible, and ‘taught them to
worship and to pray. Necessity
simplifies all things, including
family creeds. Their creed was
simple , but strong: work hard;
speak the truth; pay your debts;
and worship God. Game was to be
killed only for food. Neighbors
were to be helped, but never
maligned.
John Henry, the youngest, ac
cepted his share of responsibility
without complaint. He sowed and
gathered and toiled, not measur
ing his tasks by tiours, but by
strength, courage, and endurance.
The day began when one awoke,
and ended when one was exhaus
ted. It was a hard life; yet all
life in the mountains was hard
and demanding and filled with
challenge. There was nothing
unique about the struggle for sur
vival, the uniqueness lay in the
hunger for learning.
Education, at its best, was an
uncertain thing. The county at
tomped to provide a minimum of
seven years of schooling in each
community, but it was not un
usual for funds to be lacking or
inadequate. There were no atten
dance laws, no school buses,. no
free texts, and no cafeterias.
Some schools operated for four
months; some for six months;
and some for the length of time
agreed upon by the teacher and
the local parents. When the
money, from tax or subscription,
was exhausted, the teacher re
gretfully packed his bags and de
parted. But his place of departure
was also uncertain, for he often
lived on a rotation basis, in the
various homes of his students.
Roatation was, however, not
confined to teachers alone. In an
era of large families and hard
times, the parents were forced to
decide which children should at
tend school, and which should re
main at home and work. John
Henry cheerfully remained at
home and worked while his brot
her Monroe, attended Yancey
Colleg'ate Institute located in
BurnsvUic. Yd was a Baptist In
stitution, and offered about the
same opportunities as those pro
\ided by today’s senior high
THE YANCEY RECORD
schools.
Monroe soon returned to begin
teaching in his home community,
serving as principal of the two
teacher Bee Log elementary
school that had an enrollment of
110 pupils in grades one-through
seven. John Henry eagerly re
*■ turned to the classroom; and Mon*
.roe happily contributed to his
brother’s education, first as his
teacher and later by providing
the finances for his continued
education In Bald Creek High
School, YCI, and Appalachian
State Teachers College.
At YCI John Henry Mclntosh’s
golden dreams came ture. The
hard days on the rocky farm hsd
now opened the magic door to
educational opportunity. He im
mediately decided to enroll in all
that the school had to offer! In
addition to the traditional sub
jects, he became a varsity player
in every sport the school offered;
baseball, basketball, and tennis.
He joined the literary society and
the debating club. He sang in the
glee club and took violin lessons
fTn ciSiTl
I 11 xl4 Wan PortnN j
I FREE j
jj (All You Pay U 50c Handling Charge)
I Tuesday July, 11 |
I
| H**n 9:SO A.M. TIH S:00 P M •
ADULTS and CHILDREN'S PHOTOGRAPHS
i 1
g Limit °* one ree portrait p«r family, additional I
S BUbjects “ me tt.oo each, groups f 100 I
per person. WESTERN AUTO
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from a private instructor. He fil
led each hour of the day, and
much of the night, with the
wonderful things that lay before
b !ry l. /
Tive days each week he lived
- :he school, sleeping in the boys’
aormi'ory, and paying for his
.ue? , y firing the furnances,
sweeping the rooms, and ringing
the school bell-a task that had to
be done by hand! During summer
vacations John Henry accepted
any job that would help to pay
for another year of schooling. He
cut timber, floated logs, mined
coal, and made furniture. Stripp
ed to the waist, under a blazing
summer sun, he drove steel thr
ough solid rock to make the holes
for the dynamite charges that
turned mountain ravines and rid
ges into highways.
During the school term, weat
her and roads permitting, John
Henry spent week ends at home,
thanks to the transportation that
Monroe had been able to purchase
from his meager salary as a teac
her. But twenty miles of impass
able mud could not keep John
Henry from school on Monday.
Carrying his books and hia vio
lin, which were never far from
his person, he faced the twenty
miles to YCI as a shipwrecked
sailor returns to his home. Often
he arrived, muddy and weary,
after all eating establishments had
closed, no matter, a supperless
night was not a novelty to him
If there was a basketbaU game
scheduled for that particular
night, John Henry conveniently
failed to inform the coach of the
twenty miles of hard walking and
the lack of food since noon. He
merely rushed into his uniform
«nd gave his best for his team
and his school
In three years he completed
the regular four-year high school
courses and enrolled at ASTC in
Boone. Four years later he re
ceived his degree and his teach
ing certificate.
In 1927 he married his college
sweetheart, Irene Hendricks, a
petite, vivacious, brunette from
Cherryville. Their home was bles
sed by the arrival of three lovely
danghters, Christine (Mrs. Don
ald W. Moore) now a nurse; Nel
lie Grace (Mrs. Robert E. Smith)
now a teacher; and Patricia Ellen
(wife of Rev Andrew P. Grose)
now a secretary.
/ Nothing was never more im
portant to John Henry Mclntosh
than education, except his wife
and children. In 1922 he faced
his first teaching assignment:
sixty-five students, seven grades,
and a salary of thirty-five dollars
per month. After teaching for
twenty years in the schools of
Yancey County, he accepted the
principalship of Shiloh elemen
tary school in Rutherford county.
He remained an elementary prin
cipal for the next eighteen years,
serving at: Shiloh, Avondale,
Green Hill, Gilkey, and Ruth, all
in Rutherford county. After ele
ven years as principal of the Ruth
elementary school, he retired
from his beloved profession in
1968.
In 1960 the Mclntosh family
was honored by being selected as
“The Teaching Family of the
Year” for Rutherford county in
a program sponsored by the Nat
ional Education Association, and
conducted by the locel chapter of
the NCEA. It was a well-deserved
recognition; for at the time of
their retirement he hsd taught
for thirty-eight years, his wife
ESSO
SUMMER PRICES ARE NOW IN EFFECT
ON NO. 2 FUEL OIL , KEROSENE, aid DIESEL
FUEL.
PRICES ARE GUARANTEED AGAINST
DECLINE AFTER YOU ACCEPT DELIVERY, UNTIL
AUGUST 31, mr.
WE Will DILL YOUR OIL TO YOU
AUGUST 31,1967
SI H GREEN STAMPS GIVEN IF ACCOUNT IS
PAID IN FULL IY AUGUST 31,1967
Oil TANKS, STANDS, FITTINGS
AND MOTOR Oil IN STOCR
WE ARE EQUIPPED TO DELIVER IN ALL KIND
OF WEATHEK WITH 4-WHEEt DRIVE TRUCKS.
LET US FILL YOUR TANK
FOR YOU
DAILEY FUEL COMPANY
Staiky Dailey
Daratvllla. Pfcqqi 6D2-247S
*,«?suAY, JULY 6, 1967
for thirty-seven years, making a
total of seventy-five years! Nellie
Grace is still teaching.
Hundreds of students remem
ber John Henry Mclntosh as a
quiet, serious, and dedicated
teacher who stressed character
and fair play in all things. Others
recall him as a fine sportsman
who shared his game with the
aged and infirm who could no
longer enjoy the fields and fore-,
sts. {
The delicious fruits and vege
tables from his garden regularly
found their way into the homes
of his friends and neighbors,
particularly if the homes were
afficted by misfortune. In many
homes owners proudly point to
some cherished piece of fine
furniture, and recall that it was
created by his skillful hands.
Mr. Mclntosh was always a
leader in his church and his pro
- session, and held many positions
of responsibility in each. He led
with a quiet diplomacy that never
subscribed to criticism or dis
cord. On October 6, 1966, his
heart and his leadership ended,
quietly and peacefully.
His life could be summarized
by the personal creed that he car
ried in his billfold at all times:
“When it comes to the last ac
counting, his books will balance
who has added to the world love,
subtracted wrong, multiplied
good, and divided not man’:
heart from God.”
John Henry Mclntosh will b
remembered as a man whos
books were always in balance.
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