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JIM: Sam Randall Duvall: a man of words, a man of war

Lives of Notable Adair Countians: Sam Randall Duvall was a native of Clinton County, lived awhile in Cumberland, attended Lindsey Wilson College, and was a teacher in Adair County. He was a great orator, and was a valiant soldier in 15 battles in the worst of WWI. This biographical sketch rendered as it only can be done by JIM, gives pause to remember another life which left an indelible mark on the history of Adair County. - EW
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Sam Randall Duvall: a man of words, a man of war.

In March, 1914, Clinton County native Sam Duvall, then 25, drew mention in the News as a member of the Lindsey Wilson Training School's (Y.M.C.A.) Gospel Team. In May of that year, he and C.F. Allen, representing Lindsey's Columbia Debating Society, cleaned the collective clock of the Frogge Literary Society, represented by Marvin Perryman and Earl Williams, arguing the negative in a two-hour debate, "Resolved, That the United States would be justified, morally and politically, in abolishing the Monroe Doctrine." The following spring, the CDS, this time represented by Guy Stevenson and Messr. Duvall, again carried the day against the FLS, this time arguing the negative of the issue, "Resolved, That foreign immigration should be further restricted by an educational test."

In September, 1914, the Beck's Store (Cumberland County) newsletter stated that Sam, "who has been at this place for the past few months, has returned to Columbia to school." Not too long afterwards, the News of Wednesday, October 7, 1914, reported that on the previous Friday evening, the nine senior class members (including Sam), Prof. Paul Chandler, faculty members Misses Elizabeth Hewitt, Mary Chandler, and Katie Murrell, along with Mrs. Lynnie Moss (wife of Prof.R.R. Moss), "had put aside all cares and worries of the school room and enjoyed together a delightful picnic in the beautiful woodland just beyond the school ground."

The article went on to state that in addition to the foodstuffs, the group enjoyed "coffee boiled in real Gypsy fashion which much added to the enjoyment of all," and that they "sat around the glowing campfire until about 8 o'clock when they journeyed home in the light of the 'hunter's moon,' wishing these good times might come more often."

Sam was a member of the LWTS class of 1915 and come graduation day, the activities included his delivery of "an excellent oration, 'Women in Politics.'" (Four young ladies and five young gentlemen comprised the diploma cadre that year, while two other young ladies received certificates for completing the music course.)

The fall of 1915 found Sam teaching at Crocus, and he was the president of the 3rd educational division of Adair County for the county-wide school rally, held on October 8th. Shortly after the end of that term, the January 6, 1916 Crocus newsletter mentioned him twice, to-wit:
"Quite a spirited debate took place at New Liberty school house on the night of December 24th on the question of the Woman (sic) Suffrage question, Sam R. Duvall and Azro Hadley representing the affirmative and Rev. Roy Hadley and J.V. Dudley the negative." [It's quite possible that J.V. (Jan Vetter) Dudley was the Crocus correspondent for the News at the time.--Jim]

"Prof Sam R. Duvall will teach in Georgia during the ensuing winter and spring. We understand that he will again engage as principal of our school in 1916. We are glad to have him with us again for a finer gentleman or better teacher than Prof. Duvall cannot be found."
The Crocus newsletter of July 19, 1916 informed readers that Prof. Duvall, "of Glasgow," had arrived and would open school on August 10th.

Although he had intended to teach in Cumberland County in the fall of 1917, Sam was drafted in that summer, passed the physical in late August or early September, and was "called to the colors" (inducted) in September. In early June, he had filled out his draft card in Toledo, Ohio, but stated he was a resident of Columbia, Ky. (The card also noted he was tall and of medium build, with blue eyes and dark brown hair.) Just a few months later, in December, 1917, he married Miss Carrie Vaughan, a native of Glenville who had also attended LWTS "for a term or two."

Come early June, 1918, the News announced that six young men, including Sam and four other former Lindseyites (Jo Hurt, Jo M. Rosenfield, Bryan Royse, and Felix Royse) had recently sailed for France, almost exactly two months before his 30th birthday.

That was the last mention found of Sam in the newspaper until May 7, 1919, when this lengthy article appeared:
"Tells an Interesting Story

Mr. Sam Duvall, who received his education at the Lindsey-Wilson, and also taught in the institution a year [I found no other reference to him teaching at the LWTS--Jim], returned from overseas last week, having spent eleven months in France.

He was in fifteen battles, went over the top, and escaped without being wounded. At one time he escaped getting hurt, a heavy pair of gloves and his woolen cap protected him. In entering a battle he removed his gloves and cap, putting them in a pocket at his side. He had not been fighting long before a piece of shell struck the pocket, going through his cap and gloves and his clothing, stopping when it reached his body. He is satisfied that the gloves and cap saved him from either being killed or wounded. ["Over the top" was an expression used when soldiers scrambled out of the trenches -- literally, went over the top -- to charge the enemy.--Jim]

The army was so busy fighting, he says, he often went a day and night without eating, and when he did eat, it had to be done hurriedly while the fighting proceeded. He says the day they broke the Hindenburg line, the fighting commenced early in the morning, the sky being clear and bright, but in a few hours perfect darkness reigned, the smoke from the big guns and smaller arms creating it, and they fought without seeing until the line was broken.

He was also in Belgium and he says the horrible stories told of how Germans treated women and children was not overdrawn; that he saw a number of little boys without hands and feet, they having been chopped off by the cruel Huns.

He stated that quite a number of little Belgium boys were brought across by American soldiers who would adopt them.

Mr. Duvall is now with his wife at Glenville, this county."
By early 1929 Mr. and Mrs. were in (or near) Winslow, Arizona. The 1930 federal census indicated Mr. & Mrs. Duvall resided on a Hopi Indian reservation near Winslow, where he taught and she was a matron at the school. By 1946, they were living in Jefferson County, Ky.; they still resided there when Sam died in early 1960.


Some of the other gentlemen mentioned above, particularly Guy Stevenson and Bryan Royse, deserve their own stories, but those are for another day. - JIM

This story was posted on 2013-07-02 04:11:24
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