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JIM: The Lindsey Wilson Closing Exercises, 1912

100 years ago, as today, end-of-school activities at Lindsey Wilson were among the top events of the community calendar. The closing exercises at the school properly consumed the attention of the Adair County News as the events at Lindsey Wilson May 12, 2012 dominate today's Columbia, KY, media.


"Lindsey Wilson has just closed the most successful year in its history."

Thus began a three-column article in the May 22nd, 1912 News about the end-of-school-year activities on the Lindsey Wilson hill, activities that began on Friday, May 10th and concluded on the afternoon of Monday, May 20th.

The annual Field Day was held on the 10th, "an ideal warm, sunshiny day." Along with any number of foot races, pole vaulting, and hammer throw contests for the young men, the young ladies participated in such events as an egg race (won by Ammor Story), ball throwing (Lula Moss), candy eating (Alva Knight, who some years later became the sister-in-law of one Edgar Allen Diddle), girls relay race (Ad Astra Society), and the hoop race (Mary Lee Smith).

The article also noted that "About the prettiest thing on the programme was an umbrella parade by seven girls. They were all charmingly dressed and their umbrellas beautifully decorated to harmonize. The judges found it hard to decide which looked best." (Apparently, so did the News, as the winner's name wasn't given.)Pulaski Countain Fred Rainwater, who had Adair County roots through his maternal grandmother, a member of the Green River Watson family, dominated the men's contests, winning seven events and finishing second in two others. "He also got the medal awarded by Bro. Kasey, as the best all around athlete, scoring 48 points." A fellow named Holt (first name not given) finished second with 18 points and Jim Guthrie third with 16 points.

The next several days were devoted to studies and examinations, but come the evening of Thursday, May 16th, Adair County's own Miss Alice Walker gave her graduating recital in music, assisted by Miss Ruth Milliken, vocalist, and Miss Ethel Crockett, instructor. Said the News, "The pieces were well selected and skillfully rendered. Miss Walker showed the highest possible finish in all of her work."

The following evening, Saturday, May 18th, Miss Crockett's music class gave a general recital -- but what a recital it was: eleven selections, ranging from a bass solo by Paul W. Moss to piano & vocal quartettes. Some of the Adair Countians featured were Miss Cary Rosenfield, Miss Alice Walker, Nell Hindman, and Mabel Hindman.

Next evening, Miss Louise McGavock's students of expression put on no fewer than four plays, the first three of which were "Maids of All Nations," by the primary students; "A Horse of a Different Color" (a farce in which a wife accidentally calls a veterinarian to attend to her sick husband); and "Per Telephone" (a rather different sort of mistaken identity).

The News stated that the fourth play (unnamed in the article but a stage adaptation of H.C. Bunner's short story "The Tenor,") represented "a case of a very forceful disillusionment, quite true to life" and starred Miss Jimmie Curd, Miss Ruth Milliken, and Mr. Luther Gadberry, the latter playing the title role. The News gave a rather brilliant one-sentence summation: "How often would the glamour vanish from our infatuations if we could but see more closely into the life of the object of our infatuation."

The morning of Sunday, May 19th, Rev. S.G. Shelley, using John 12:32 as his text, preached the commencement sermon "to a large and appreciative audience...It was a masterful address and showed the universal power and influence of the gospel."

Closing exercises began at 10 o'clock sharp, Monday morning, May 20th. Eld. Z.T. Williams of the Columbia Christian Church led the opening prayer, and Miss Ruth Ruth Milliken and Miss Ollie Crockett lent their sweet voices in a duet, "I Would That My Love." Immediately following, the Messrs William Adair Weldon and William Cain Campbell gave their graduating speeches, "Trusts" and "A Plea for Universal Peace," respectively. "These speeches were very fine and did great credit to the young gentlemen who delivered them."

After a brief recess, Rev. Shelley then delivered the Commencement address, speaking eloquently on "the development of character, and the finding of a more perfect life by sacrifice." Rev. Shelley was followed by Prof. Neilson of Lindsey Wilson, who "made a few remarks about the school; what its purposes were, what it had accomplished, and what it hoped ever to continue accomplishing."

He then, with appropriate words, awarded diplomas of graduation to William A. Weldon and William C. Campbell; certificates of graduation from the Department of Expression to Misses Ruth Milliken, Loretta Dunbar, and Jimmie Curd; and a certificate of graduation from the Department of Music to Miss Alice Walker.

The day was closed by the quartette of Miss Ruth Milliken, Elsie Coy, Gertrude Gabbert, and Ollie Crockett singing "Goodbye Sweet Day," and as the strains of the sentimental song passed into history, the crowd Rev. Howerton dismissed the crowd

A most successful year, indeed!

(Four years later, Hart County native William Adair Weldon was graduated from Vanderbilt University with an MD degree. He served in the Medical Corp in France during World War One.)

Compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2012-05-12 09:35:38
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