Col. Sam Marshall's

KMI Summer School Camp

Sam’s Camp
photographs by Karen Schroeing.

View from the big open meadow.  I believe that's snow shoe mountain in the back ground.

View going down the driveway to the ranch.

Col. Marshall's home. Built around 1940. Two prior houses were rebuilt around those fireplaces but burnt down.

Karen Schroering - photograph


Col. Marshall's big cabin burned down in November 2010 (now, the 3rd cabin to burn down around these fireplaces) and sadly, was a total loss.  The cause isn't known but we suspect it was due to something electrical in the basement.  Lyle was sleeping in the cabin at the time, woke up from the heat and escaped with only the clothes he was wearing.  We do not plan to rebuild, but perhaps Lyle's son will someday.  We're now working on the cadet's small cabin and the small cabin to the right of Col. Marshall's cabin as a place to stay when we visit the ranch. 
Karen Schroering
Karen Schroering - photograph

Karen Schroering - photograph

This fireplace is in the side yard of Col. Marshall's home.
It was
a gathering place and has been there for probably 100 years.

Corner of the old school house.
[Her son is on the horse.]

Bunk House

One of the student  Bunk Houses at Circle-O-Ranch
Ben Daniels
Ben Daniels
B. Laida
B. Laida
Dave Stephens
Dave Stephens - 1954
Joe DeBella
Joe DiBella

September 21, 2006
Good Afternoon,
I'm writing to you because I thought you might find this interesting.
I live on a farm in Mingo, West Virginia that is owned by Lyle C. Smith Jr.  He inherited this property from his Grandfather, Col. Sam Marshall who taught for many years at KMI. During the summer months KMI students would come here to be tutored in classes that they were failing.  Needless to say, Col. Marshall must have gotten a lot of farm work done around here in the summer.
There are  2 small cabins still here on the property that the students slept in.  They're not in the same shape as they were back then but they do still stand.  I've always been fascinated with the carvings of the boys initials that are still in the interior logs.  We keep talking about renovating them but it hasn't happened yet.  Never the less, you still get a strange feeling of a presence when you walk in to them.  The school house also still stands and is rented to a couple year round, as well as another house, that we call the Hill Top cabin that was used as dorms.  The Hill Top cabin wasn't built here but moved here by Col. Marshall. Supposedly that cabin was once slept in by Robert E. Lee. The cabin that was once the bath house for cadets, regretfully we now use for storage. 

I have only lived here for a year but Lyle has been fortunate enough to have lived here for about 30 years. In the short time that I've been here I've been fascinated by the history of this home. Lyle has told me many things about his summers spent here as a child with his Grandparents and KMI cadets.  I wonder if the cadets liked it here or if they dreaded having to be here.  In either case I'm sure it was an unforgettable experience.  It was a far cry from KMI in Venice (where Lyle grew up) or from KMI in Louisville (where I grew up).
Also, in cleaning recently, I came across a diary of Col. Marshall's that he wrote when he attended college at Davis and Elkins, here in West Virginia.  He wrote of his daily life and much about playing basketball.  His writings were from the time before he was married and before he taught at KMI.  I'd love to know if there are any KMI alumni out there that might have gone to summer school here.  I thought that they might especially find it interesting that the KMI memory continues to live on up here in the mountains at Circle O Ranch.
Feel free to email me at  or  Lyle's email
I'd love to hear back from you.

Karen Schroeing


I happened to take a look at the KMI Alumni web page and stumbled upon an article on Major Sam Marshall’s summer camp, in Mingo, West Virginia.


At the end of the 1953-1954 school year, four cadets came from Guatemala: Jose Murga, Charles Gumpel, Julio Vila, Benny Tenenbaum and myself. Josť, Charlie and myself graduated with the class of 1955 . The other two are, I believe, of the 1956 and 1957 classes.


As Commencement approached in May, 1954 our country started to make headlines in the U.S. as the regime of President Arbenz nationalized the United Fruit Holdings and all kinds of rumors ensued to the effect that a civil war was in the making. As history now tells us, the CIA within the realm of the US –Soviet Union conflicts of those Eisenhower – John Dulles & Co. days prompted all this.  The Murga, Vila and Gumpel families decided that it was best if we stayed in the U.S…and my parents also agreed. On the day after commencement we traveled to Major Marshall’s farm for a stay that would probably extend until the beginning of the next school year in September, which did not make us happy at all.


Just as well, however, as in June Guatemala was being invaded from its east border and Guatemala City was subject of daily air bombardment incursions. The Arbenz regime fell in late June and by the beginning of July things quieted down under a new ruling military Junta…and my Dad cabled me that I should fly to Guatemala as soon as possible. As I had overextended my stay in the U.S., I had to mail my passport to Washington for a visa extension and there was some sort of complication in the sense that, if I recall well, it had been mailed back either to the KMI campus, which was closed, or back to Guatemala. I can’t recall if my other buddies had the same problem, but I was forced to travel to New Orleans to the Guatemalan Consulate to receive a special permit so that I could return without my passport. Remember that we are talking of an era that had no Internet, no courier services, etc.


Once back home and about a week later I witnessed an insurrection from the Military Academy and part of the Guatemala Army that ensued into heavy artillery and ground fire, not too far from where my home was then. Armed civilians also were involved and I was prompted by some friends to join the fray. I was given an M-2 carbine, which I knew how to use thanks to my training at KMI and sent on patrols, without my parents’ knowledge and the consequent dressing down on my return. All this quickly ended after the OAS intervened and cease-fire treaties were signed. In September we were all back in Lyndon for our last year at KMI….and a well lived perspective of what is now world history.


I am sure Sam’s camp had never and would never again be used for such purposes. Now to our stay there. Major Marshall, geometry teacher and best known by all as Hose Nose   -I still remember the yell: Who knows??!!….Hose Knows!!-  owned an extensive property in the lovely West Virginia mountains. We were told that bears still roamed the country side and, yes, we stayed in a log cabin and enjoyed the good food prepared by Mrs. Marshall. Some other KMI cadets who had failed courses were also there…I can only recall one whose last name was Clark. There were horses and I foolishly decided to saddle and ride one of them..a mare..and entered a fenced area where a stallion was pasturing.  He chased us across a meadow with the clear intention of mounting the mare…with me on top!, but I somehow managed to fall off, with no consequence…at least to me. The Major had to go get the mare and brought back it with the saddle slipped off and some bites on her neck…and was he ever mad at me!!  That was the definite end of my equestrian capabilities.  I do a lot of field work in Guatemala in my consulting business and whenever I am offered a horse to ride I decline and walk. My answer always is that I prefer to have blisters on my feet and not somewhere else. This is all the fault of Sam’s Camp.


We were allowed to go to beautiful downtown Mingo occasionally. It was a miner’s town full of taverns, which we assiduously visited.  The way to go was hitchhiking and on the road we invented all kinds of pranks, like placing a cardboard box upside down in the middle of the road…with a brick inside and delighting ourselves when some truck ran over the box, believing it was empty. One of our group of “Guatemaltecos” had a well earned reputation of latin lover, so he very quickly established a romantic liaison with the wife of a miner in Mingo. We had to get out quick when the cuckolded husband went searching for us with a loaded shotgun.


All this happened more than fifty years ago, so I am recalling things that might not be exactly as they happened. The photos of the farm that I saw on the KMI webpage brought back memories..altered or not.



Kurt J. Glaesel

Class of 1955



One memory that I still have of the good times there is when he and his wife wanted to dig under his house for a basement, he hired the bunch of us to do the digging.  While doing the task, we ran into a supply of buried bottles and they were full of the sweetest wine that you ever tasted.  Of course that did not last long because he took it away from us. 

To this day I still do not remember if he ever paid us for the labor.  
Another memory is the dinners we had on his back screened porch.  The sweetest and coldest fresh milk ever and biscuits fresh baked, man oh man it makes my mouth water to think about it.
I forget the boy's names that was there with me but after a few years, one tends to forget those things.  Well thanks for letting me sit around the old cracker barrel and rag chew with you.  I hope this will help keep the memories of Sam Marshall alive.

Jack F. Francis
KMI 1951-1956

Contributed by Jack F. Francis '57x
Please share with us your special memories of your "Summer Vacations" at Col. Marshall's summer school.  I know that we all have special memories of the man and his dedication to KMI.    Send e-mail to:  or
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