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JIM -Adair County writers: Dr. J.T. Jones

JIM plans to send reviews of the works of Adair County writers. from time-to-time, until and maybe past This is the first in a series of reviews of the works of Adair County writes, from time-to-time, until and maybe past the 2012 First Annual Adair Genealogy & History Book Fair Saturday, June 2, 2012 10am-3pm (CT), at the Historic Adair County Courthouse, 500 Public Square, Columbia, KY. Admission and parking are free, and the event is open to the public


The poetry of Dr. J.T. Jones frequently appeared in the News in the late 1890s and the first several years of the new century, particularly after he removed from Russell County to Adair shortly before the new century dawned. His rhymes ranged from the silly to the near-sublime but were always pointed and frequently poked tongue-in-cheek fun at the people (and their shenanigans) who inhabited the state and national stage.

One example of his acerbic poetic wit appeared in the May 29, 1912 edition, the near-classic "Sick Abed" (below) in which many of the contenders in the hotly contested presidential election of 1912 appear.

For the gentle CM readers not quite as long of tooth as I am, a brief primer of the dramatis personae (in order of appearance):
- The unnamed "patient"--the United States.

- Dr. Taft--Republican incumbent William Howard Taft, elected in 1908 and running for re-election in 1912.

- Dr. Clark--Speaker of the House Champ Clark, a strong contender for the Democratic nomination. (He should have kept "William J". on his side!)

- William J.--William Jennings Bryan, who had been the (unsuccessful) Democratic candidate in 1896, 1900, and 1908. Although not a presidential hopeful in 1912, his speech at the nominating convention (held about a month after "Sick Abed" appeared in print) played an instrumental role in Woodrow Wilson's nomination on the 46th ballot.

- Dr. Ted--former Republican President Theodore J. Roosevelt who dared to defy tradition by seeking the nomination in 1912 for a third term.

- The Bosses--the political bosses who pretty much ran the parties, determined the candidates, etc.
Sick Abed
The wise ones said she's sick abed
with no one to relieve her.
For Dr. Taft is almost dead
With Presidential fever.

Good Dr. Clark did then remark
"The patient's growing weaker,
Her prospects now are very dark,
Unless they call the Speaker."

Our William J. was heard to say
"I'm always in position
To heed the call by night or day
And I'm a fine physician."

Then Doctor Ted looked wise and said
"I've made a diagnosis,
For I'm a doctor, born and bred,
Well skilled in Hocus-Pocus.

"To understand the case in hand
When doctors disagree,
Should leave it all to my command,
For I'm a great M.D.

"To take the case is no disgrace
As all can plainly see,
There's none prepared to fill the place
Except the Lord and me."

Then Doctor Taft replied and laughed,
"Gee, Doc, we're running hosses,
While I am death on greed and graft,
You crucify the Bosses."
Historical footnote: Roosevelt, disgusted with the machinations which handed Taft the nomination in June, 1912, broke with the Republican party and soon thereafter won the nomination as the presidential candidate for the Progressive (also known as the Bull Moose) Party. Come November, Democrat Woodrow Wilson won a plurality of the common vote (just under 42%) but carried the Electoral College by a crushing landslide with 435 votes. Teddy R. got 88 electoral votes, while the incumbent Taft carried only two states, came in third in the popular vote count, and received but eight electoral votes. - JIM

This story was posted on 2012-05-19 05:43:52
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