Sallie Dingus and Her World
Sweet Sixteen in 1919 Prestonsburg
In 1919, Prestonsburg was a much different town than it is today. It was much smaller, for one thing, and it had lots of white picket fences. None of its streets were paved, and people traveled by saddle horse, horse and  buggy, or shank's mare. Here is what Court Street looked like in 1919. The brick building on the left is the Methodist Church.
Court Street, Summer of 1919. Click here.
Here is another photo of Court Street, looking in the other direction. The stone building in the middle distance is the Harkins Law Office. Also visible is the General Store owned by Thomas May and Hiram Fitzpatrick:
Court Street, Summer of 1919.  Click here.
Front Street,
Summer of 1919.
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Here's a view of Front Street, looking north. The Richmond Department Store and Bank Josephine are visible in the distance. On the near right are Miranda Marrs' Millinery Shop and the residence of Uncle Tom and Aunt Kate Burchett. Uncle Tom Burchett was the owner of Burchett's Livery Stable. Notice the condition of the  street.
Living in Prestonsburg in 1919 was a girl named Sally Dingus. She was the youngest daughter of William and Pocahontas Layne Dingus. William was a Prestonsburg attorney, and the family lived in a modest bungalow on Front Street. Here is a picture of Sally and her sister Grace. Sallie is the girl on the right.
Peaches--Don't You Think?
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Bug and Spider,
Bygone Days.
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For her birthday in 1920, Grace gave Sallie an album of photographs showing Sallie and her friends posing in front of their favorite Prestonsburg haunts. The album is now the property of  Margaret Collins, niece of Sallie Dingus and retired  Prestonsburg Elementary School Teacher. With Margaret's permission, I have copied some of the photos in the album and reproduced them here. I have also reproduced Grace's witty and ironic captions. Thanks, Margaret, for sharing these photographs with us!
Grace and Sallie called each other familiar nicknames. Grace was known as Bug and Sallie was known as Spider. Here is a picture of Bug and Spider sitting on their front porch.
Here is a picture of Sallie's House, the modest bungalow on Front Street owned by William and Pocahontas Dingus:
Here's Sallie at the gate of the Dingus House:
Home Sweet Home. Click here.
Sallie At The Gate. Click here.
Here is a picture of Sallie's father, William Dingus.
Like most country lawyers of his day, William Dingus had many irons in the fire. In the lot below his house along the Big Sandy River, he had a hog pen and a chicken house. He also raised fruits and vegetables in his large garden and  periodically collected the honey in his bee-hives. His store stood on the  lot now occupied by the Floyd County Chamber of Commerce. Below is a picture of Mr. Dingus standing next to his bee-hives.
Senator William Dingus.
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In 1919 William Dingus was Floyd County's leading Republican  politician. During the 1890s, when he was younger, he had served several  terms in the Kentucky Senate. In 1917, two years before these pictures were taken, he was elected Floyd County Attorney, an  office which he held until the mid-1920s. 
Dad and the Bees.
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Here's a picture of William Dingus raking leaves:
Dad At Work Click here.
Here is a picture of Sallie's mother, Pocahontas Layne Dingus, with Winnie Johns, another long-time resident of Prestonsburg. Pocahontas is the lady on the right. The caption tells us that the two ladies were on their way to hear Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt make a speech. This means that the picture was probably taken in 1916, when Roosevelt was campaigning for Charles Evans Hughes, the Republican candidate for president. Evidently Roosevelt made a whistle-stop railroad journey up the Big Sandy Valley.
Off to hear
Teddy R.
make a speech!
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In 1919, many Prestonsburg residents raised hogs. Below is a picture of Bill Buck Dingus's  sow and piglets, which he kept in a pen behind his house on Front Street. Bill Buck Dingus was Senator Dingus's son, William Alexander Dingus. The little boy in this photo is Bill Buck's grandson, who was also named William Dingus.
At left is a photo of Pocahontas Dingus with her granddaughter, Margaret Dingus, the girl who grew up to become Margaret Collins.
Warm Meals
at All Hours.
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Mother and Granddaughter. 
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Like most teenagers, Sallie had her own circle of friends. Here is a picture of Sallie's Gang in front of the Harkins Law Office. The girl in the middle is Effie Patrick, who married a man named  Milby. The girl on Effie's right is Minnie Grace Harris,  who later became an English teacher at Prestonsburg High School:
Here's a picture of some of her male friends. The boy on the right is Alec Spradlin. The boy on the left holding the camera is Greenville Spradlin. The boys are standing in front of a building on Front Street. The Richmond Department Store is visible in the background on the left.
Prestonsburg Sports and Rounders.
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The Gang is all here. Click here.
The next two pictures in the album are intentionally paired. The one on the right shows Sallie and Grace standing by one of the brick pillars fronting the First National Bank on Front Street. 
The one on the left shows Sallie, Grace, and another girl in front of the Dingus home on Front Street. Notice Sallie's beautiful plaid skirt and Grace's beautiful satin dress. The other girl is wearing a dress called a Middie.
Click here.
Dog-Gone Blues. Click here.
Here's a picture of Sallie and her friends on their way to  classes at the Prestonsburg Baptist Institute. Visible in the background is the hill above Highland Avenue.
Here's a picture of four of Sallie's friends on the Prestonsburg Toll Bridge. The First National Bank is visible in the distance:
School Days. Click here.
What A Cross Bunch!
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What a face! Click here.
Here's the best picture in the album, in my opinion. I love the way   the photographer has positioned Sallie's face against the curve of the hill. The picture perfectly expresses who she is and where she lives:
Did Sallie have a boyfriend? You bet. His name was Virgil and this is how he looked. The caption indicates that Sallie's nickname for Virgil was Teddy. The house in the background belonged to Miranda Marrs, who operated a millinery shop in downtown Prestonsburg:
Sallie may also have had other suitors. Here's Harmon Baldridge posing in front of the Harkins Law Office:
Harmon Baldridge. Click here.
Teddy Waiting. Click here.
Sallie's Album also contains pictures of other young men. Here is a  picture of Emory. The Prestonsburg Baptist Institute is visible  in the upper left-hand corner of the picture.
Here's Sallie in front of the Harkins Law Office:
In Front of Harkins
Law Office.
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Emory. Click here.
Here is a picture of a young man named Allen.
Here is a picture of a young man named Ernest. Margaret Collins says that this young man's name was Ernest Goble:
Ernest. Click Here.
Allen. Click here.
Here is a picture of Sallie and a somewhat older man named Roscoe Howard. Was Roscoe one of her suitors? We will probably never know. Margaret Collins says that Roscoe had two brothers, Bill Buck Howard and Harvey Howard, father of the late Wesley Howard. 
Here's Roscoe, Sallie, and Virgil in front of the Dingus home on Front Street:
What's The Matter With You All?
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No Place To Go.
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What ever happened to Sallie Dingus? Margaret Collins says that she lived a long and happy life. She married twice, first to a man named Humphries and second to a man named Newman. She is buried beside her first husband in the cemetery in St. Cloud, Florida.
Here's a picture of Sallie in front of the Front Street Soda Fountain, which was located where the Country At Heart Gift Store stands today. This photo was taken several years after the other pictures in the album. Notice that the hemline of Sallie's dress is several inches higher than the dresses in the earlier photos. In other words, the fashions of the Roaring Twenties had finally penetrated Prestonsburg:
Going For A Soda.
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Back to Archive Main Page Go to Wheelwright Exhibit
Go to Steamboat Photos
Go to Oldest House in the Valley
Go to Seed-Planting Exhibit
Go to Jack May's War
Thanks again to Margaret Collins of Prestonsburg for sharing these wonderful photographs. If you have some historic photos which you would like to share, contact
Robert  Perry at 606-886-3863 x290. 
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