Blanton, William Spencer(born: 1878 - died: 1945)
Reverend William Spencer Blanton was a Baptist minister, an educator, and an education leader. He was born in Woodford County, KY, the oldest of eight children born to John and Eliza Woodley Blanton, and according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the family lived in Versailles, KY. William S. Blanton attended the colored school in Versailles and was a teacher at the school while studying at Kentucky State Normal School [a teacher training school, now Kentucky State University]. He was a 1906 graduate of Kentucky State Normal and also a graduate of Simmons University (Kentucky), and he was earning his master's degree at the University of Cincinnati when he died in 1945 [source: "The Late W. S. Blanton," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, October-November 1945, v.17, no.1, p.12]. Blanton had been a teacher in the Kentucky colored schools in Henderson, Columbus, Shelbyville, Newport, and in Frankfort where he was also principal of the Mayo-Underwood High School, a building that was the result of Blanton's campaign efforts for a new school. He upgraded the school to an accredited high school and it was listed with the Southern Association, an accrediting body for high schools. He also led the campaign for the new school building in Shelbyville, and he secured funding for a new playground in Newport. Blanton taught during the summers at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], he also served as a dean at the school, and at the time of his death, he was a teacher at the Oliver Street School in Winchester, KY [source: "Professor W. S. Blanton Passes," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, April-May, 1925, v.16, no.2-3, p.25; and Caron's Directory of the City of Frankfort, Ky for 1914, 1915, and 1916, p.49]. Blanton had twice served as president of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, 1935-1936 and 1936-1937, and he was chairman of the College and High School Department in the mid-1920s. He was a member of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Board of Directors as early as 1916 [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 25-28, 1916, p.1]. Blanton was also a Mason. He was a short man, standing 5 feet 4 1/4 inches when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Versailles, KY, on October 7, 1898 [source: U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914]. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, having served with the 24 Infantry. Blanton received an Honorable Discharge on January 31, 1899, at Fort Douglas, Utah. Blanton was a private and received the remarks of "Very Good" in reference to his military service. William Spencer Blanton died April 6, 1945 at the W. A. Scott Memorial Hospital in Frankfort, KY [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death, State File No. 9802]. He was the husband of Etta R. Banks Blanton, she was also a school teacher in Kentucky. The couple lived at 200 Blanton Street in Frankfort, KY. Blanton Street was in the "Craw" area of Frankfort [source: "A petition of numerous citizens of "Craw" was presented...," The Weekly Roundabout, 07/17/1880, p.4].