Celebrating a 100-year old love story
This year the descendants of Dolph Barker and Lois Link are celebrating their lives and the love story that began 100 years ago in Holland, Georgia.
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The Holland School
1908 | Holland, Chattooga County, Georgia, USA
In 1908 Lois Link left her home in Thomasville, Tennessee, to accept a teaching position at the Holland School in rural northwest Georgia. She only taught there one year, but Holland would become her home and the center of her family.
Her daughter, Mary, wrote an article for The Chattooga County Historical Society Quarterly (September 20, 1993) describing the Holland School:
One of the county's oldest schools was built in the Holland-Chattoogaville community just south of New Hope South Baptist Church in the early 1890s. The names of some of the teachers who worked in this first Holland school were: Miss Hugh Lee Knox, Miss Mary Hemphill, Miss Sarah Meroney, Miss Lula Worsham, Miss Daisy Davidson and Miss Maude Sewell.
On August 10, 1896, Mr. John Pinkney (Pink) Holland, father of Mary, Bertha, Housch and Foster Holland, gave the land for the second Holland school. It was a one room school located southeast of the third and last school built in Holland.
Mr. Pink Holland put an ad in a Methodist magazine for a teacher. Lois Link of Cheatham County, Tennessee, near Nashville answered his ad and was hired to teach in 1908. She was 21 years old. Mr. Pink Holland paid her salary for teaching that year. Miss Link later married Mr. A. M. Barker and taught in Holland following his death.
The attached photo shows the second Holland School during the 1908-09 session with Miss Link in the center of the back row of students.
1908 | Holland, Chattooga County, Georgia
Lois Link (1887-1968) was the daughter of Professor Samuel Albert Link and grew up in the education business where she had assisted her father with his own school in Tennessee. She was 21 years old when she arrived in Holland to accept her first paid teaching position.
Because the Holland community was so small and the Barker farm not far from the school, it's easy to assume that Lois met Adolphus (Dolph) Barker shortly after her arrival. We don't know much about her time at the Holland School, but at the end of the term she returned home to Tennessee and the letters from Dolph began. From then until February 12, 1913 they wrote each other at least once a week. During this period, she continued to teach at other schools in Georgia.
UPDATE January 6, 2008. Nancy Duke Murphy wrote about Lois' teaching career in her family history [The Links of Our Family and Connected Kin, Nancy Duke Murphy & Josephine Duke McMahan, March 2002]:
Soon after high school graduation at age nineteen, Lois started her own teaching career. It began in Holland, GA, a small town in the northern part of that state. At the time, a few weeks stint of institutional training was all that was required of a beginning elementary teacher. With little training and in a school a long way from home, Lois Link started a teaching career. She was a very young woman.
There were several years spent by Lois teaching in the Georgia schools. She was at McDonough south of Atlanta, then at Albany, and back to Holland, Ga. An interest in one Adolphus Montgomery Barker, who lived in nearby Lyerly, GA, probably decided the last move.
While Lois was 19 when she graduated, she was 21 when she accepted the position in Holland.
Adolphus Montgomery Barker (Dolph)
1908 | Holland, Chattooga County, Georgia
Adolphus Montgomery Barker (1872-1921) was the only son of John Thomas Barker and Linnia Blake. He was 36 when he and Lois Link first met. He owned a store in Lyerly, Georgia, while also managing the family farm on Kincaid Mountain near Holland.
Dolph's letters to Lois are full of local news and gossip, giving us a unique picture of this small rural community.
9 Jun 1909 | Lyerly, Chattooga County, Georgia
Summer 1909 | Holland, Chattooga County, Georgia
In the early 20th century, peaches were a major crop in the Holland community. Lois Link's niece, Nancy Duke Murphy, recalls visiting the Barkers after they were married:
Summer times for the Barkers were spent in the rural area near Lyerly operating a peach farm. A visit by some of us, who were Tennessee relatives, to one of these orchard camps was a remembered occasion. The efforts of the family in this endeavor was an impressive one. The ripened peaches were picked, sorted, and crated for sale. Some were dried, placed in large flats and carefully attended during the drying process. They would be sold at a later market. A mule cart was used for delivery to a railway station. For the visiting cousins, there was the excitement of riding the mule, several of us at one time. Uncle Will of the Thomasville Links was there to help. He seems to have had some sort of partnership in the peach farming business.
For Lois and her Barker family this mode of living continued through the next several years. Winters were spent in Lyerly and summers on the peach farm.
This set of letters discusses getting peaches off to market and the celebrating done once the work is complete.
Camping on Lookout Mountain
11 Aug 1909 | Mentone, Alabama
Several of Dolph's early letters mention a camping trip on Lookout Mountain. Lookout Mountain is actually a broad plateau that runs down the Georgia/Alabama line from Chattanooga, Tennessee. On the mountain you'll find the Rock City attraction famous for painting barn roofs throughout the south as billboards to "See Rock City". You'll also find Cloudland Canyon on the Georgia side and Little River Canyon and DeSoto Falls on the Alabama side.
These three postcards were included with the collection of letters. Each has only the date - August 11, 1909 - written in Dolph Barker's handwriting on the back of the cards.
2 Aug 1909 | Chattooga County, Georgia