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The Quare Women: A Story of the Kentucky Mountains by Lucy Furman

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The title of this novel comes from a quote that indicates how local people viewed the missionaries who descended upon Eastern Kentucky at the turn of the nineteenth century. It is the local pronunciation of the word “queer,” which then simply meant different. For three summers beginning in 1899 Katherine Pettit (1868-1936) and May Stone camped at Hindman, Kentucky, the county seat of little Knott County to appraise how they could help meet the needs of the local mountain people. Pettit was from Lexington, Kentucky, and Stone from nearby Owingsville. In 1902 they established the Hindman Settlement School, and in 1907, Lucy Furman (1870-1958), who was from Henderson County, Kentucky, came to work for the school. In 1912, Stone and Furman remained and Pettit established Pine Mountain Settlement School in a very rural corner of Harlan County, Kentucky, some fifty miles to the south. Although neither institution still functions as a traditional school, both have survived and offer a variety of programs, mostly for visitors.  This novel provides a perspective on the clash of cultures between mountain youths and female do-gooders.

Lexington, Kentucky: Fireside Industries/University Press of Kentucky, a 2019 edition of a 1923 release. 140 pages with a Foreword by Rebecca Gayle Howell. Trade paperback.