Blanton, William Spencer(born: 1878 - died: April 6, 1945)
Reverend William Spencer Blanton was a Baptist minister, educator, and educational leader. Born in Woodford County, KY, he was the oldest of eight children born to John and Eliza Woodley Blanton; according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the family lived in Versailles. William 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); he also was working on 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, vol. 17, no. 1, p. 12].
Blanton had been a teacher in the Kentucky colored schools in Kentucky in Henderson, Columbus, Shelbyville, Newport, and Frankfort, where he was also principal of the Mayo-Underwood High School that was in a building that resulted from Blanton's campaign efforts for a new school. He upgraded the school to an accredited high school that 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 secured funding for a new playground in Newport.
Blanton taught during the summers at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], also serving as a dean at the school. 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, vol. 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 chaired 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.
Blanton was a short man, standing 5' 4 1/4" when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Versailles 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 24th infantry. Blanton received an Honorable Discharge January 31, 1899 at Fort Douglas, UT. He was a private, receiving 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 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death, State File No. 9802]. He was the husband of Etta R. Banks Blanton, who was also a school teacher in Kentucky. The couple lived at 200 Blanton Street in Frankfort. Blanton Street was in the "Craw" area of Frankfort [source: "A petition of numerous citizens of "Craw" was presented...," The Weekly Roundabout, 7/17/1880, p. 4].