Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Krit Keen, November 9, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Introduction and personal background

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Mr. Krit Keen for the Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project by Dale Deaton at approximately 10:30 a.m. on November 29, 1978 at Buckhorn, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Keen introduces himself, talks about his early family life and education, tells the story of how be became a teacher, and finally speaks about moving to Buckhorn with his family and children. He states that while in Buckhorn he served as a postmaster and managed a retail store, which he ran for 40 years.

Keywords: Buckhorn (Ky.); Businesses; Family; Postmasters; Retail; Schools; Teachers; Thousandsticks School; examinations

Subjects: Breathitt County (Ky.); Education; Hyden (Ky.); Leslie County (Ky.); Perry County (Ky.)

GPS: Buckhorn (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.3458, -83.4711
00:06:21 - Hyden, Kentucky in the 1910s

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Partial Transcript: Could you describe Hyden for me? Tell me what it looked like, and the, and the businesses that were there, about 1910 and '11?

Segment Synopsis: Keen describes the town of Hyden, Ky., in 1910 or 1911, recalling the businesses there, including banks, churches, stores, courts, barbershops, drugstores and doctors. He then describes John Hyden, whom the town was named for, and knowing his sons, Will and Tom.

Keywords: Banks; Businesses; Churches; Courthouses; Doctors; Drugstores; John Hyden; Newspapers; Roads; Stores; Tom Hyden; Will Hyden

Subjects: Hyden (Ky.); London (Ky.); Thousandsticks (Ky.)

GPS: Hyden (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.1633, -83.3750
00:12:32 - General store at Dryhill, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: And, and you came to Buckhorn in what year?

Segment Synopsis: Keen describes running his general store and post office in Dryhill, Kentucky in 1916. He talks about selling common goods like vegetables, sugar, spices, horseshoes, ginger, pepper, gunpowder, rifles, lard, and bacon. He describes how it is much easier to run a store today because everything is pre-packaged; back then they had to weigh everything. He also relays how people gathered at the post office to talk to one another during the day.

Keywords: Bacon; Dryhill (Ky.); Freight; Ginger; Gunpowder; Horseshoes; Lard; Merchandise; Pepper; Postmasters; Railroads; Retail; Rifles; Spices; Sugar; Vegetables

Subjects: General stores; Leslie County (Ky.)

GPS: Dryhill (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.2220372, -83.3774041
00:20:03 - Healthcare in Leslie County, Kentucky in 1921

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Partial Transcript: There was a, a, a Presbyterian Church built there at Dryhill. Do you recall what year that was built?

Segment Synopsis: Keen talks about the healthcare available in Leslie County in 1921 and 1922, which consisted of a few doctors, nurses, and mountain midwives. He speaks fondly of the nurses who took care of his children, as well as himself. He dismisses the rumor that mountain midwives were unclean.

Keywords: Churches; Dirty; Doctors; Dryhill (Ky.); Mountain midwives; Nola Pease Vandermeer; Nurses

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Leslie County (Ky.); Medical care--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Wendover (Ky.)

GPS: Leslie County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.0900, -83.3800
00:28:27 - World War I and Leslie County

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Partial Transcript: When you were running the store there at Dryhill, uh, during the period that World War I was going on and, and the Unites States' involvement in that...

Segment Synopsis: Keen discusses how Leslie County reacted to World War I, and how he narrowly missed going to war. He felt conflicted because his son was close to being born. Instead, another man was told to go and Keen stayed home.

Keywords: Military service; Peace; Special Service; Volunteers; WWI; Wars; World War I; World War One

Subjects: Leslie County (Ky.); World War, 1914-1918

GPS: Leslie County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.0900, -83.3800
00:32:19 - Elections, Republicans, slaves, and the Civil War in Leslie County

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Partial Transcript: Well now--(coughs)--When political elections came up in the county, uh, county--for County Judge, Sheriff and so forth, did those elections cause more excitement--

Segment Synopsis: Keen speaks of the popular nature of local elections in Leslie County, as well as the reason most citizens are Republican. He also speaks of stories of his family dealing with rebel soldiers during the Civil War.

Keywords: Confederacy; Democrats; Guns; Hyden Hospital; Races; Rebels; Republicans; Sheriffs; Slaves; Soldiers; Southern; Union

Subjects: Kentucky--Elections; Leslie County (Ky.); Republican Party (Ky.); United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

GPS: Leslie County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.0900, -83.3800
00:38:25 - Nursing clinic at Bowlingtown

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Partial Transcript: Coming down the, the river this way, Bowlingtown was located between Buckhorn and Dryhill on the--

Segment Synopsis: Keen talks of the forgotten community of Bowlingtown, between Buckhorn and Dryhill, where there was a Frontier Nursing Service clinic. Keen gives some of the names of the families in Bowlingtown and talks about whether Mary Breckenridge and the nurses were accepted by the people in the area.

Keywords: Acceptance; Bowlingtown (Ky.); Buckhorn Dam (Ky.); Buckhorn Lodge; Couch; Dams; David Bowling; Ford Barker; Ford Bowling; John Bowling; Sam Bowling; William Barker

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Leslie County (Ky.); Perry County (Ky.)

GPS: Bowlingtown, (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.30645, -83.44606
00:44:16 - Great Depression and the Presbyterian Church Organization

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Partial Transcript: Well n--n--in 1930 and ‘31, along in that period, there was a drought th--throughout about all of Eastern Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Keen talks about making it through the Depression, and how he was able to help out some families by giving them store credit, which they all paid back. He also talks of the Presbyterian Church Organization, which was received with open arms in the area, and how the wealth of people like John T. Underwood (an inventor and founder of a typewriter company) provided financial help for the area.

Keywords: Banks; Debt; Great Depression; John T. Underwood; Money; Presbyterian Church Organization; Ruth Huston; Tobacco

Subjects: Depressions--1929; Presbyterian Church--Kentucky

00:50:41 - Elected officials in Leslie County

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Partial Transcript: Run over the people, uh, that held political offices that you can recall, in Leslie County while you lived there.

Segment Synopsis: Keen is asked to recall all the elected officials he can, and he reports several offices and names, including Judge Bill Dixon. He also recalls how most of his family probably hailed from North Carolina.

Keywords: Circuit judges; County judges; Jailers; Judge Bill Dixon; North Carolina; Sheriffs; Superintendents

Subjects: Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government.; Leslie County (Ky.)

00:56:45 - Ancestry / interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Well, when my mother grew up, as I told you, there was, uh, seven boys and four girls...

Segment Synopsis: Keen is asked to name more of his relatives, dating as far back as he can remember, and he provides several names, as well as where they settled. The Davidson family, the Woods family, and the Sizemore families are prominent names. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Ancestry; Arkansas; Davidson family; Leslie County (Ky.); McCreary County (Ky.); North Carolina; Sizemore family; Woods family

Subjects: Families.; Family histories; Genealogy--Appalachian Region