From Miss Kate’s Autograph Book

an autograph to Miss Kate

From Miss Kate’s Autograph Book

Mary Katherine Link, the oldest daughter of William Booker Link and Amanda Randolph Link, was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, 6 August 1850 but most of her life was spent in the vicinity of Thomasville, Cheatham County, Tennessee. As the oldest daughter in a rural farming family, she had many responsibilities. She accepted her role with grace and was both practical and thrifty. She began teaching at a young age, a career that spanned forty years. She taught at Cheatham County schools and offered subscription tutoring when needed. After her brother, Samuel Albert Link, opened the Link School in 1900, Kate taught there.

A member of Mallorys Church, she was involved in both Sunday school classes and programs for the Missionary Society. She was also a successful business woman who used her earnings to build a small house on the Link property.

Miss Kate passed away on July 27, 1917 in Thomasville, Tennessee. She is buried at Mallorys Cemetery in Cheatham County where you will find a monument listing most of the Link family, including her.

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Mrs. Lois Remembered

Holland School

Lois Link (center back) began her teaching career in Georgia at the Holland School in 1908.

In 1975, our uncle, Thomas Barker, sent a request to the Cheatham County, Tennessee, Register for a certified copy of his discharge papers so he could receive medical treatment at a VA hospital. Although Tom, his sisters and his mother lived in Cheatham County during the war, they had returned to Georgia in the late 1950s after their mother, Lois, retired from teaching.

The transmittal letter attached to Tom’s discharge papers included this lovely tribute to Lois.

I was one of Mrs. Lois’ pupils when I was in elementary school and I still feel that I owe her a debt of gratitude. She was one of the old dedicated teachers who saw a pupil from conditions at home to response at school. I had to be out of school a good bit because of my mother’s illness. At nine, during the depression, I was taught to work and still get my school work. Mrs. Lois came by my house and brought lessons and tests and allowed me to make my grade that year. Today’s teachers couldn’t care less – if a child is absent as much as I was, failure would result, but Mrs. Lois helped me the next year to come out of it and I still feel a special love for her and her consideration and help.

With good wishes to you and the sisters who live there, I am,

Sincerely yours,
(Mrs.) Betty J. Ross

Miss Kate’s Autograph Book

Mary Katherine Link – Miss Kate – was Lois Link’s aunt. Lois was my maternal grandmother. I inherited grandmother’s archive and one of the items in that collection is a beautiful, but crumbling, autograph book that belonged to Miss Kate. It became one of my first digitizing projects – and one of my favorites. Many of the pages were loose and could be scanned while others had to be photographed. Once the digitizing was complete I decided to reconstruct it as a little booklet which could be shared. I added a short biography written by a cousin who knew Miss Kate and the only photograph I could find. Using Lulu.com, I ordered several print copies which were sent to a couple of elderly Link cousins. I also posted it on Scribd where others could find and download a digital copy if they were interested.

When I first found this beautiful gem in grandmother’s things, Mary Katherine Link was little more than an entry in my genealogy database with a few vital records. My research discovered that not only did she spend her life teaching, but she also was a surrogate mother to my grandmother and her siblings after their mother died. Grandmother was only 5 when her mother died so Miss Kate was obviously a great influence in her life. It also explains why this little autograph book was one of Lois’s treasured keepsakes. And, by looking at the entries in the book, Miss Kate had many admirers.