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JIM: Declaimants in 1916 LWTS contest later successful in life

100 Years ago the Lindsey Wilson Training School was, as now, already deeply impacting,in a positive way, Columbia and South Central Kentucky. Dr. A.P. Lyon Declaimatory Contest participation was predictive of future leaders: The winner in May 100 years ago, was Oscar Capshaw. Four of the five lads who didn't win went on to even greater success than the top medalist. (There's little information one debater.) They were: Messrs. Owen Lee, Howard Garner, The Faulkner, Ralph Garnett, and Wallace Carter.
Click on headline for their fascinating mini-bios

By JIM
This brief article appeared in the May 17, 1916 Adair County News:

The Debate

"Last Friday evening [May 12th] the chapel at Lindsey-Wilson was well filled with friends and patrons who had come out to hear six young men contest for the medal given yearly by Dr. A.P. Lyon for the best declamation.

"Each speaker did himself proud but the judges finally decided in favor of Mr. Oscar Capshaw.


"The other five young men, all of whom gave splendid declamations, were Messrs. Owen Lee, Howard Garner, The Faulkner, Ralph Garnett, and Wallace Carter."

(Rev. A.P. Lyon, long associated with the educational endeavors of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, sponsored an annual declamatory contest for young men attending the LWTS.)

The winner, Oscar Capshaw, either was a minister already or became one soon after, likely the former. He stayed around Adair County for a few years before joining the US Navy Reserve in 1918, shortly before the end of the Great War; he remained therein for close to three years. Somewhere along the way, either Oscar gave up the ministry or it became an avocation rather than a calling, as both the 1930 and 1940 US census records noted his occupation as salesman for a wholesale shoe company.

But what of the other five lads, the ones who didn't take home the coveted medal?

Owen Thomas Lee, then in his early 30s and a native of Taylor County, was a minister or minister in training. The 1910 census gave his occupation as painter; by 1920 he resided in Cane Valley, and was an active preacher; and in 1930, he lived in Christian County, Ky. By 1942 he lived in Campbellsville but gave his place of employment as Louisville. The last mention found of him in the newspaper appeared in the summer of 1921 in a community letter from Pellyton, stating that a protracted meeting led by him and a Rev. Yancy had opened the Sunday night just past.

Raymond Tye Faulkner, a native of Campbellsville, successfully completed the Lindsey Wilson Training School curriculum in 1917 and went on to became a successful land owner and farmer in Taylor County and he was long associated with the C.E. Buckley tobacco buying firm of Lexington. Tye resided in Campbellsville when he passed in 1954. (His son, R.T. Jr., served as medic in the USAAF during the second world war; he passed just last year, 2015, age 92.)

William Howard Garner, then in his 22nd year and a native of Pulaski County, was graduated from the LWTS in 1917. By early June 1917, he resided in his native Pulaski County where he was teaching and serving as the assistant postmaster at Faubush. At some point, he attended medical school and thereafter had a long career as a highly successful surgeon in the New Albany, Indiana, area. In early 1925, then a resident of New Albany, he was commissioned as 1st Lieutenant in the Officers' Reserve Corps. Howard, a close cousin of Fred Rainwater of LWC Rainwater Oak fame, lived into his 90th year.

Adair Countian Ralph Taylor Garnett won the A.P. Lyon oratorical contest in 1917, edging out six worthy contestants, and in1918, he was graduated from the Columbia High School. Ralph served in the armed forces during World War I and later attended the Bowling Green Business University (the forerunner the business college of Western Kentucky University). By 1922, he worked in the office of a coal mining operation in West Virginia and in 1930, he and his family lived in Campbellsville where he practiced general law. The following year, he "agreed to serve as chairman for the Lindsey Wilson Junior College alumni campaign." In April 1940, the family lived in Louisville, where he worked for the IRS. Ralph died later that year, less than a week before his 42nd birthday.

For Wallace Carter information is so scant as to preclude farther mention, as no other reference to him was found in the newspaper 1900-1922.

Compiled by JIM


This story was posted on 2016-05-29 12:26:35
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