You are browsing the archive for Kentucky Female Orphan School.


January 24, 2013 in 1920s-30s, Historical Decades

Citizenship by Emma Guy Cromwell is a pamphlet describing what it means to be a citizen of the United States and an overview of how our government works on local, state, and federal levels.  Cromwell stresses the importance of understanding the system to be better involved in the system.  The pamphlet is a guide to being a responsible citizen.


Cromwell strongly believes in the responsibility of voting.  She even writes

“Every citizen should study the ethics of his government, think for himself, and form his own opinion.

A person with no public opinion on public affairs is a coward and unpatriotic.”

Women have earned the right to vote and if they don’t utilize their right there is no point in having it.  As a responsible citizen, everyone should vote to express their opinion so the political leaders that are chosen represent the entire population.


Cromwell’s primary audience are new voters and since the 19th amendment was newly ratified, women were her main targets.  Cromwell believed that women should be rational when making political and public decisions, but should also consider their past experiences in the home.  Cromwell writes that

“…the chief end of all good government is to improve and protect the home, the church, and the community…”

With that idea, women would be perfect voters because they have the greatest experience in the home.  Approximately 27 million women were eligible to vote so the vote of women should greatly propel the nation.


Cromwell stresses that the United States Constitution is the supreme law.  On several occurrences she explains that the federal laws are above state laws.  Many states tried to keep women and African Americans from voting and this pamphlet taught new voters that the do in fact have the right to vote, regardless of what their state says.


The pamphlet has a four part call to action.  This call to action is directed primarily at women but includes all voters.  The first part is that everyone with the right to vote should.  Second, citizens should help manage public affairs and if they are elected, they should be ready to hold that office.  Her third point is that citizens should understand public questions so they can vote intelligently and criticize justly.  Finally, all citizens should pay their taxes.


Emma Guy Cromwell’s pamphlet was important at the time of publication to guide the new voters and citizens of the United States.  The information found in the pamphlet is still pertinent.  Some of the information is dated, however, chapters that give overviews of the government systems, particularly federal government, is still useful and many current citizens could learn a great deal about our system of government.

The Town Historian

October 29, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Genealogy, Oral history, Social history

I truly am amazed by the connections a community like Midway, KY has; all I had to do was open my eyes and ask a neighbor! My story starts with a friend who informed me that his friend had passed away. I offer condolence, we chat, and I go on walking my dog. The next day I stop at the local market on my way home to buy some milk. I believe in supporting local businesses, so it’s a ritual. At the register I throw in at the last moment a Woodford Sun newspaper. On the cover is an article about the newest building being constructed at Midway College and I’m interested. As usual, too much to do and not enough time to do it; I set the paper aside, temporarily forgotten. Back to my history research! A day passes and I am reminded of my friend’s grief when I see the funeral hearse parked outside of the church. The bells toll and can be heard through out the town, naturally I take a minute to reflect. My thoughts have been trying to turn over just about every leaf available to find my next blog muse for our Service Learning Project. By the way, that paper set on my kitchen table until my mother came to visit 3 weeks later. Reading it was the the first thing she did that afternoon, so at dinner our conversation revolved around a Midway woman who had passed on Friday, October 1, 2010 in her home at the age of 91. I soon made the connection that she was the one who my friend was grieving for. So I took the time to read the article, which was a modest tribute aside from an obituary. What I read was about a life full of achievements, local pride, and an amazing family history. I am left feeling ‘a day late, and a dollar short’! May you rest in peace.

Her name is Margaret Ware Parrish.  She was a physical education teacher and coach of all sports at Midway College until 1979.  The local Midway residents knew her as Midway’s historian.  She had served as a past president of the Woodford County Historical Society, and co-authored Woodford County, Kentucky: The First Two Hundred Years.  In addition, she wrote Outstanding Kentucky Women in Sports 1900-1968.  She is named as a pioneer in Kentucky women’s sports,  writing about expanding opportunities for women in sports. Midway College’s most prestigious athletic award is named “Margaret Ware Parrish Athletic Award” (“Margaret ware parrish,” 2010).

Aside from her bio, I find it important to mention her family history. She is the great-grand daughter of James Ware Parrish, the co-founder of the Kentucky Female Orphan School, now Midway College. Miss Parrish is also a direct descendent of Judge Caleb Wallace who was instrumental in establishing the State of Kentucky in 1792 (“Margaret ware parrish,” 2010).

Margaret ware parrish dies at 91. (2010, October 07). The Woodford Sun, pp. A1, A13.

What is Your Perspective?

October 15, 2010 in 1920s-30s, 1940s-1950s, Primary source

If asked to define Women’s Civil Right’s Era, what would you say? My head is instantly flooded by multiple subjects and ideas that are complex and dynamic. What if your assignment was to describe Women’s Civil Right’s Era through the perspective of a particular person. How does one go about this? I’m trying to figure this out for myself, but what I’ve got so far is: what is this persons life philosophy? How did they contribute to their community?

My perspective choice is Lucy Peterson. Her most known and prominent years span 1930 to 1942. During this time she was Superintendent of the Kentucky Female Orphan School. Lucy attended the University of Kentucky where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was also made a member of the Kappa Delta Pi, an honorary fraternity in the field of Education. Her Master’s Degree in High School Administration was received from Columbia University.

My first question to ask is what was her philosophy? In the Master Thesis “ A Study of the Female Orphan School” written by Alberta Luanna Balmer, University of Kentucky 1942, she mentions Lucy’s regard toward character education as her philosophy in her school work. During the years of 1931-1933, Lucy was a member of the Kentucky White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, working with the committee on Character Education. Reports are published in the Bulletin of the Bureau of School Services, College of Education, University of Kentucky.

The next question is how did they contribute to their community? Lucy Peterson served 35 years at the K.F.O.S. Twenty-two as a mathematics teacher, one as Principal, and twelve as Superintendent. In an article upon her retirement, The Lexington Leader (August 20, 1942) said:

“During Miss Peterson’s term of service at Midway, the school activities and plant have been materially expanded. She has contacted and advised with hundreds of girl students. Miss Peterson is a member of the Altrusa Club of Lexington and was instrumental in that club’s contribution of the Altrusa Bridge on the school campus. The club also contributes a scholarship fund which finances a girl through each school year. Under Miss Peterson’s direction, a guidance program has been instituted at the school which has gained national recognition in educational circles.” (page 1).

Since I’ve answered both my questions, what is my definition of Women’s Civil Rights through the perspective of Miss Lucy Peterson? Well, I’ll let her tell you! She writes, in Miss Lucy’s Story: As She Saw It, “With the well planned course of study and grades from seven through four-teen given, a girl receives a wonderful background to help tackle life from any angle”. Even more descriptive, she continues:

“In the class of 1919 there were twenty-four out of twenty-six graduates who went to Versailles for the examinations (teacher certification). After 1900, many fields began to be opened to girls and they ‘gathered their skirts about them, jumped the broom-stick and became emancipated.’ The pendulum swung toward the business course rather than teaching and our students were sought as stenographers and bookkeepers as well as teachers. As the years went by and other fields broadened, courses of study became fuller. In 1943 two years of college were added. Our girls then entered almost every line of work open to them. There are artists, writers, musicians, teachers, secretaries, doctors, engineers, nurses, and all types of business.” (page 4-5).

Balmer, Alberta Luanna. A Study of the Kentucky Female Orphan School. Master Thesis, University of Kentucky, 1942.

Lexington Leader, Lexington, Kentucky, August 20, 1942.

Peterson, Lucy. Miss Lucy’s Story: As She Saw It. K.F.O.S., 1960.

by bmwexl2

Lewis A. Piper

October 15, 2010 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Religious history, Social history

Following Dr. L.L Pinkerton’s (the founder of the Kentucky Female Orphan School) lead, Lewis A. Piper became the president in 1945 until 1965. Piper was the key that opened the door for the Orphan School. In his first year as president, “he presented an administrative organizational chart to the board of trustees changing the academic name of the school to: “Midway Junior College” and “Pinkerton High School.” Piper worked to advance the school and the learning that the students were doing at this time.
“In the curriculum there were four areas of emphasis: teacher training; home economics, including cooking and serving; business training; and liberal arts, including music and religious instruction.” At this point Midway was regarded as a fine institute of learning in the areas of study it offered. It was a four- year school with a lot of students coming out as teachers.
From the evidence made available by the school board at Midway during Piper’s presidency we see that his successes were many, and that he did a lot to help the school. It is also evident that the church was still a big part of the school’s successes. The church played a major role in the schools beginning as the Orphan school. The student’s were required to attend church each Sunday and study scripture. This gives Midway College a strong bond between the school, church, and town itself.

McDonald, William Harold. “Ripples: A History of the Midway Christian Church, Midway, Kentucky”. Masters Research Project: Lexington Theological Seminary. Lexington, Kentucky 1985.

Opportunity and the KY Female Orphan School

October 1, 2010 in 1920s-30s, Primary source, Religious history, Social history

I’m ready to refine my research to people and organizations that are associated with my service learning project. The list is growing. A few off the top are Kentucky Female Orphan School, Midway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Dr. L. L. Pinkerton, and Lucy Peterson.

Lucy was a mathematics instructor who went on to be a principal and then superintendent. She was administrative head till 1941. Lucy wrote the schools Alma Mater and in 1960 she wrote a manuscript: “MISS LUCY’S STORY: AS SHE SAW IT.” It was published by the Kentucky Female Orphan School. This publication is not in circulation, so I will be taking a walk over to Midway College‘s Library: Little Memorial Library to take a look.

I am not surprised by the vast amount of material which is online about Dr. L. L. Pinkerton. A medical doctor who abandoned his medical practice to follow his calling as a theologian. He became the minister of Midway Christian Church from 1844-1860. For his time, he was very controversial. He introduced instrumental accompaniment to congressional worship singing. A controversy in itself spanning to present day worship among various churches, for example the Church of Christ holds firm with their acappella form of worship singing. Pinkerton is also a liberal who believed in equality; civil rights and education for women, blacks, and black women. What is thought to be the first “Negro” Christian Church in the United States, gathered for worship at the Kentucky Female Orphan School.

As I process all this information and search for ideas and details to discuss with my group regarding our service learning project mission, my distinct feeling is of opportunity. For who? Women, blacks, black women, minority, the under-privileged and for those willing to make a difference in their life: internal, external, or both. The mission statement at Midway College expounds on this opportunity.

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