When the Old Bell Rang

From the backwoods of North Carolina to the wild west towns of Arkansas along the Indian Territory border during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Lingurn (“Lingie”) March Redwine knew what it meant to pursue a dream. His insatiable love of learning from a young age set his feet on the path of teaching and kept him going through even the hardest of trials.

Along the way, L.M. marries the love of his life, and together they make a name for themselves as pioneer, one-room schoolhouse teachers in Choctaw country, coal-mining towns, and farming communities, including the tough frontier town of Fort Smith with its infamous saloons, outlaws, and hangings.

W.D. Redwine beautifully captures the flavor of the times with inspired tales and transports readers back to a picturesque era of America’s past, filled with both joyous moments and setbacks told through the story of the struggles and triumphs of Professor Redwine and his wife.

We are continuing to compile historical photos, records, and other “extras” pertaining to the characters, events, and locations mentioned in “When the Old Bell Rang.”  Visit again soon for updates and additions.

Characters from the Book

Schoolhouses from the Book

Recitations from Students

“The Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Never Touch Mine”
by Harriet A. Glazebrook, recited by Doll Wier at Jenny Lind, April 4, 1905

Alice Lee stood awaiting her lover one night,
Her cheeks flushed and glowing, her eyes full of light.
She had placed a sweet rose ‘mid her wild flowing hair;
No flower of the forest e’er looked half so fair
As she did that night, as she stood by the door
Of the cot where she dwelt by the side of the moor.

She heard a quick step coming over the moor,
And a merry voice which she had oft heard before;
And ere she could speak a strong arm held her fast,
And a manly voice whispered, ” I’ve come, love, at last.
I’m sorry that I’ve kept you waiting like this,
But I know you’ll forgive me, then give me a kiss. “

But she shook the bright curls on her beautiful head,
And she drew herself up while quite proudly she said,
” Now, William, I’ll prove if you really are true,
For you say that you love me — I don’t think you do;
If really you love me you must give up the wine,
For the lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine. “

He looked quite amazed. ” Why, Alice, ’tis clear
You really are getting quite jealous, my dear. “
” In that you are right, ” she replied; ” for, you see,
You’ll soon love the liquor far better than me.
I’m jealous, I own, of the poisonous wine,
For the lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine. “

He turned, then, quite angry. ” Confound it! ” he said,
” What nonsense you’ve got in your dear little head;
But I’ll see if I cannot remove it from hence. “
She said, ” ‘Tis not nonsense, ’tis plain common-sense:
And I mean what I say, and this you will find,
I don’t often change when I’ve made up my mind. “

He stood all irresolute, angry, perplexed:
She never before saw him look half so vexed;
But she said, ” If he talks all his life I won’t flinch ” ;
And he talked, but he never could move her an inch.
He then bitterly cried, with a look and a groan,
” O Alice, your heart is as hard as a stone. “

But though her heart beat in his favour quite loud,
She still firmly kept to the vow she had vowed;
And at last, without even a tear or a sigh,
She said, ” I am going, so, William, goodbye. “
” Nay, stay, ” he then said, ” I’ll choose one of the two —
I’ll give up the liquor in favour of you. “

Now, William had often great cause to rejoice
For the hour he had made sweet Alice his choice;
And he blessed through the whole of a long, useful life,
The fate that had given him his dear little wife.
And she, by her firmness, won to us that night
One who in our cause is an ornament bright.

Oh! that each fair girl in our abstinence band
Would say: ” I’ll ne’er give my heart or my hand
Unto one who I ever had reason to think
Would taste one small drop of the vile, cursed drink ” ;
But say, when you are wooed, ” I’m a foe to the wine,
And the lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine. “

“The Old Forsaken Schoolhouse”
by John H. Yates, recited by Celia Thomas at Fidelity, May 10, 1912

They’ve left the schoolhouse, Charley,
where years ago we sat,
And shot our paper bullets
at the master’s time- worn hat;
The hook is gone on which it hung,
and the master sleepeth now
Where school-boy tricks can never cast
a shadow o’er his brow.

They’ve built a new, imposing one —
the pride of all the town,
And laughing lads and lasses
go its broad steps up and down;
A tower crowns its summit
with a new, a monster bell,
That youthful ears, in distant homes,
may hear its music swell.

I’m sitting in the old one,
with its battered, hingeless door;
The windows are all broken,
and the stones lie on the floor;
I, alone, of all the boys,
Who romped and studied here,
Remain to see it battered up
and left so lone and drear.

I’m sitting on the same old bench
where we sat side by side
And carved our names upon the desk,
when not by master eyed;
Since then a dozen boys
have sought their great skill to display,
And, like the foot-prints on the sand,
our names have passed away.

‘Twas here we learned to conjugate
“amo, amas, amat,”
While glances from the lasses
made our hearts go pit-a-pat;
‘Twas here we fell in love, you know,
with girls who looked us
Yours with her piercing eyes of black,
and mine with eyes of blue.

Our sweethearts—pretty girls were they—
to us how very dear.
Bow down your head with me, my boy,
and shed for them a tear;
With them the earthly school is out;
each lovely maid now stands
Before the one Great Master,
in the “house not made with hands.”

You tell me you are far out West;
a lawyer deep in laws,
With Joe, who sat behind us here,
and tickled us with straws;
Look out for number one, my boys;
may wealth come at your
But with your long, strong legal straws
don’t tickle men too much.

Here, to the right, sat Jimmy Jones—
you must remember Jim—
He’s teaching now, and punishing,
as master punished him;
What an unlucky lad he was!
his sky was dark with woes;
Whoever did the sinning
it was Jim who got the blows.

Those days are all gone by, my boys;
life’s hill we’re going down,
With here and there a silver hair
amid the school-boy brown;
But memory can never die,
so we’ll talk o’er the joys
We shared together, in this house,
when you and I were boys.

Though ruthless hands may tear it down—
this old house lone and
They’ll not destroy the characters
that started out from here;
Time’s angry waves may sweep the shore
and wash out all beside:
Bright as the stars that shine above,
they shall for aye abide.

I’ve seen the new house, Charley:
’tis the pride of all the town,
And laughing lads and lasses
go its broad steps up and down;
But you or I, my dear old friend,
can’t love it half as well
As this condemned, forsaken one,
with cracked and tongueless bell.

“Rock Me to Sleep”
by Elizabeth Akers Allen, often recited at Redwine school-closing entertainments

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!

Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears,—
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,—
Take them, and give me my childhood again!
I have grown weary of dust and decay,—
Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away;
Weary of sowing for others to reap;—
Rock me to sleep, mother – rock me to sleep!

Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,
Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you!
Many a summer the grass has grown green,
Blossomed and faded, our faces between:
Yet, with strong yearning and passionate pain,
Long I tonight for your presence again.
Come from the silence so long and so deep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!

Over my heart, in the days that are flown,
No love like mother-love ever has shone;
No other worship abides and endures,—
Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours:
None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.
Slumber’s soft calms o’er my heavy lids creep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!

Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold,
Fall on your shoulders again as of old;
Let it drop over my forehead tonight,
Shading my faint eyes away from the light;
For with its sunny-edged shadows once more
Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore;
Lovingly, softly, its bright billows sweep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!

Mother, dear mother, the years have been long
Since I last listened your lullaby song:
Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem
Womanhood’s years have been only a dream.
Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace,
With your light lashes just sweeping my face,
Never hereafter to wake or to weep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!


Other Locations from the Book

Records and Documentation

Court Opinion Delivered in Case "New v. State," May 8, 1911

Legal proceedings involving L.M. Redwine in Sebastian Circuit Court, Greenwood District

At Cavanaugh, Arkansas May 6, 1896, after an illness of ten days, little Lingurn, only child of Professor and Mrs. L.M. Redwine, died.  He was an unusually bright and intelligent little fellow, and none, save the heart-broken parents, can ever know all the fond hopes and aspirations that perished with him.  As we stood by the flower-strewn form which rested the little white casket, we thought we had never seen death in a lovelier guise. He lay among the roses as if, tired from an hour’s play, he had thrown himself down to rest and with a lily clasped in his sweet, baby hands, was just dropping off to slumberland.  Although in this hour of your great affliction, when the very sunlight seems dim and strange, and words of consolation are well-nigh meaningless, still, dear friends, we would humbly whisper of one who said, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.”

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