From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Lytle, Mary Elizabeth Ecton

(born: 1869  -  died: 1941) 

Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Ecton Lytle was the second African American teacher in Gary, IN. She was said to have been born July 3, 1973 in Clark County, KY, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census and her Indiana death certificate [Local no.462-127, Registered no.18962]. She was hired to teach in 1910, two years after Everett Simpson had been hired to head the 12th Street Avenue school for Negro children. The school system had a policy that married women could not be school teachers, but special consideration was given to Mrs. Lytle, who taught grades 1-3. There was not a large number of Negroes from Kentucky living in Gary in 1910, and Lytle was the only one who was a school teacher. Others who migrated to Gary were employed by the mines, mills, and industries. The school for Negro children was developed as a result of the growing Negro population. By 1930, there were 825 Negroes from Kentucky living in Gary, and 21 of them had graduated from Roosevelt School by 1936, the same year that 39 students from Kentucky were enrolled in Gary Schools [kindergarten through senior class]. All of the 21 graduates had entered the school in 1929 and all of their fathers' were truck drivers. Lytle was retired from the Gary Schools by 1936. In 1940, she lived with her sister Anna Meadows and brother James Ecton, both were from Kentucky [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Mrs. Mary Elizaeth Ecton Lytle died in Gary, IN on June 7, 1941. She was the daughter of Samuel and Gabriella Ramsey Ecton. For more see A History of the Growth of the Negro Population of Gary Indiana (thesis) by J. F. Potts; Children of the Mill by R. D. Cohen; and Gary's Central Business Community by D. Millender.

*Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Ectorn Lytle was probably born around 1869; she is listed as a one year old in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. The family lived in Blue Ball, Clark County, Kentucky.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Clark County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Blue Ball, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: A history of the growth of the Negro population of Gary, Indiana (thesis)
NKAA Source: Children of the mill : schooling and society in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1960
NKAA Source: Gary's central business community

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Lytle, Mary Elizabeth Ecton,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed August 9, 2020,

Last modified: 2018-08-09 15:36:46