One of my heroes from the Shoals Area would be Miss Maud Lindsay. She was known internationally as a philanthropist, author, teacher and story-teller. Miss Lindsay was a devoted daughter of Robert Burns and Sarah Miller Winston Lindsay, and most importantly “Miss Maud” was a selfless educator that established the first Free-Kindergarten in Florence, Alabama. Maud was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1874. Her father served the Confederacy and became the first non-Reconstruction Governor of Alabama. She and her family are buried in the Winston Cemetery in southwest Sheffield, not far from my great-grandfather’s (Robert Duncan Peebles) old house.
Much can be written of Miss Lindsay, my focus is on the Free-Kindergarten named in her honor. This little school stands on the hill near the former Brandon School. (I believe my aunt told me that it had been moved from its original position.) My great-aunts (Pauline Kerby and Irene Kerby) attended the kindergarten around 1915. Both are now deceased, but they passed fond memories of “Miss Maud” and her storytelling abilities to younger generations. Aunt Irene said the children would be mesmerized when Miss Maud told stories. Many of her stories were published in school readers during the early 1900s. Aunt Irene told about Miss Maud getting off of the train every morning at the Florence Depot in East Florence, meeting children in that area, then walking up the hill to the Kindergarten with “her” children. The things I most admire about Miss Maud were her willingness to make sacrifices and the way she influenced “her children”; she was a humble servant of her community. She passed up many lucrative offers to speak and teach around the world in order to stay in Alabama helping the little children of factory and mill workers in Sweetwater.
My family has a long line of teachers, including me! written by Kim Ricketts