Scandal Sidetrack

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For the past week, I’ve been working on the section of the book about Emmett’s graduation ceremony from Stetson University, and searching for Emmett’s valedictory speech.

While the archive has a few things from 1904, such as Emmett’s commencement program, Emmett’s speech isn’t there — and unless his Elusive Scrapbooks turn up, I doubt I’ll find it.

Emmett's law school commencement program. Source: Stetson University Archives

Emmett’s law school commencement program. Source: Stetson University Archives

I had a feeling that there was some media coverage of this event, as Stetson’s law school was the first of its kind in Florida — and, Stetson was considered a big deal in Deland/Volusia County. So, I next examined the local papers for May 23-24,1904, for any coverage of the Stetson commencement, and bingo! Two lengthy articles about the commencement by two different newspapers!

The first article, from the DeLand Weekly News provided only a complimentary overview of the entire week’s commencement celebrations. There was only general praise for Emmett, but no particulars, no transcript about his speech.

The second article was something else entirely.

The commencement coverage from The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904 -- but the lead is about an unnamed 'scandal'. Source: The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904

The commencement coverage from The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904 — but the lead is about an unnamed ‘scandal’. Source: The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904

Stetson’s graduation — the subject — is buried several inches down in the next column. What scandal does the writer mean?

Of course, I had to track this one down, and temporarily sidetrack Emmett’s graduation, especially if it was big enough to push a different subject out of its own news article!

The President and the Kindergarten Teacher

If you were a student on the Stetson campus, and you observed the married president of Stetson University climbing out of the women’s dorm window well past calling hours, you’d think it suspicious too. Right?

So did students and faculty members who witnessed this event (and others like it) during the summer of 1901. It was unseemly. It was scandalous, and students and faculty were outraged.

The scandal mentioned in the clip, above, is the story of a summertime hookup between Stetson President John Forbes and normal school instructor Lena B. Mathes, who lived in Chaudoin Hall, along with other women students and faculty members. See page 15 in the Ryan essay, at the link here, for one version of what happened. The Rupert Longstreet essay, which includes more details (including reported evidence of a botched abortion or a miscarriage), is particularly interesting. See page 18 for that version. Also, there’s Olga Bowen’s oral history of Stetson University, which includes a section on the Forbes-Mathes scandal. The transcript can be found here, beginning on page 50.

Additionally, the Stetson University Archive has the a collection of the documents related to the scandal available online. (The transcripts from the hearing are in the collection, but not online.) As Longstreet stated in his essay, “…it was naturally assumed that where there was so much smoke, there must at least be a small bonfire” (p. 18). It was clear, from the numerous witnesses’ testimony (which was graphic and corroborated), that there was something illicit between Forbes and Mathes. What was amazing was that many of the trustees still didn’t think Forbes was guilty despite the large amount of testimony.

From The Minneapolis Journal, January 30, 1903

From The Minneapolis Journal, January 30, 1903. Source: GenealogyBank.com

A hearing was held to remove Forbes. Forbes submitted his resignation in September, 1903; the board accepted it at their annual meeting in February 1904.

The trustees decided to ‘exonerate’ both Forbes and Mathes, to silence the gossip and to put the issue to rest as best they could.

Exonerated, but the damage was done. Source: The DeLand Weekly News, 1904.

Exonerated, but the damage was done. Source: The DeLand Weekly News, 1904.

The reputation of Stetson was in trouble at the start of 1904; the new president, Lincoln Hulley, had to dig the university out of a major economic hole, and to rebuild a relationship with John B. Stetson.

According to Ryan, Forbes left for New York, and, with colleagues, purchased the Rochester Business Institute, and spent the rest of his life at that institution.

Mathes had already left the university to ‘recover from an illness.’ She wouldn’t return.

Convalescent from what? Source: Stetson University Archives, March 1902

Convalescent from what? Source: Stetson Weekly Collegiate, Stetson University Archives, March 1902

Out of curiosity, I looked into her background, briefly. She was married to George McCown Mathes, who lived in Turkey Creek, Florida. The U.S. Census for 1900 lists George Mathes as a farmer. Lena, on the other hand, appears to have lived separately from George for quite some time, as she’s listed as faculty member at Stetson as of 1900, according to the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Florida, 1903 (the report includes faculty disbursements from 1900 up to 1903). In thinking about why she lived separately from her husband and family (it would be unusual in 1900), consider the fact that George was 62, and Lena was 38. The big age difference might have been a factor; that, plus she was considered a talented teacher who was active in her professional association. She probably liked teaching better than farm life, but I’m only guessing.

From The School Journal, January 26, 1901. Source: Google Books

From The School Journal, January 26, 1901. Lena was active in her professional societies. Source: Google Books

After the publicity in 1903, Lena didn’t return to Stetson; she went back to teach in Turkey Creek, but not without difficulty.

From the Tampa Tribune, September 29, 1905. Source: GenealogyBank.com

From the Tampa Tribune, September 29, 1905. Source: GenealogyBank.com

Life in Florida with this cloud of the scandal following her must have been difficult.

George Mathes died in 1906, in Turkey Creek, Florida.

Eventually, Lena moved to North Carolina, as she is listed in 1909 as the principal of Spencer High School in Spencer N.C.

The 1910 U.S. Census reports that she moved to Chicago and was listed as having her own income.

Lena Mathes died in 1951, in Baltimore, Maryland.


So, what did Emmett think about all of this as it unfolded?

Emmett signed the petition in support of Forbes and against John B. Stetson's attempts to denigrate Forbes. Source: Deland Weekly News 1903.

Emmett signed the petition in support of Forbes and against John B. Stetson’s attempts to denigrate Forbes. Forbes tendered his resignation in September, 1903, but left in February, 1904. Source: Deland Weekly News 1903.

Emmett sided with President Forbes against John B. Stetson and his attempts to denigrate Forbes. There’s mention of a pamphlet that John B. Stetson had published that outlined the details behind Forbes’ ousting; I wonder if Emmett read it, or, had a chance to read ALL of the testimony, or to hear ALL sides of the issue? He was a lawyer-in-training. Surely he and his fellow law students (and the law professors) were discussing this case.

Given what we know as we look at this case, 100 years later, it seems hard for me to believe that Emmett would have given Forbes a pass on what happened. It’s clear that Forbes acted dishonorably not only to his wife and family, but in his capacity as president.

But, Emmett and his colleagues who signed the petition may not have been privy to all of the testimony. I can see how, also, how Lena Mathes could have been made the fall person for this whole situation. We don’t know.


I should be back to posting more regularly — and back to writing Emmett’s chapters, now that summer is in full swing, and I’ve had a chance to step back from a few other projects that I was closing out at the start of June.

The Earls of East Hall, Part III

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Emmett's dorm, East Hall, is in the upper right hand corner. Hamilton is right below it. Source: Stetson University Archives

Emmett’s dorm, East Hall, is in the upper right hand corner. Hamilton is right below it. Source: Stetson University Archives

Continuing our study of Emmett’s junior year dorm mates at Stetson University, we now come to Emmett’s name on the list:

The "Earls of East Hall": Anthony, Carter, Fulgham, Pelot, Calmes, "Happy" Merryday, Wilson, DeCottes, "Berry" Sturgeon, Worley, and Fee. Emmett is noted as the authority on "Hamilton Hall," which was a cottage women's dormitory. Source: Stetson University Archives

The “Earls of East Hall”: Anthony, Carter, Fulgham, Pelot, Calmes, “Happy” Merryday, Wilson, DeCottes, “Berry” Sturgeon, Worley, and Fee. Emmett is noted as the authority on “Hamilton Hall,” which was a cottage women’s dormitory. Source: Stetson University Archives

Hamilton Hall, or, Hamilton House, was a women’s cottage dorm. Here’s what the 1902 Stetson University bulletin said about the dorm:

Hamilton House. From the 1902 Stetson University bulletin. Source: Stetson University Archives

Hamilton House. From the 1902 Stetson University bulletin. Source: Stetson University Archives

Some ‘club’ where you have to provide your own cot.

Emmett’s dorm, East House, had what they deemed ‘substantial furniture’ provided already; they were two to a room (as opposed to three for this dorm) and, East Hall cost less that $10 a month.

The student newspaper was gossipy and into everyone’s business, especially the love lives of SU coeds. So, I tracked down the women who were in this dorm during the time Emmett was said to be the dorm’s ‘expert,’ to see if anyone stood out in particular, or was from his home town.

Nothing. Nada. And, Emmett is not mentioned at all in any romantic or social event, or even hinted at in the 1903 newspapers related to these gals, or anyone else.

So what?

Well, I mention all of this because the difference between him and his roommates in all of the society reporting is noticeable. Seriously. I can find a romantic story or tease about every one of his roommates in the 1903 papers, but nothing about him, other than the item from the essay, above. If there was someone special, it would have been reported, because he ran in the top society circle at Stetson, and all of the ‘top names’ got press, if you see what I mean. So, it isn’t certain what they meant by ‘expert.’ Maybe it was a lot of wishful thinking on Emmett’s part, and that was the point.

Whatever ‘expert’ meant in the article, if Emmett was interested on one or more of the women in Hamilton Hall, it wasn’t serious.

  • George A. DeCottes. Source: Find-a-grave.com

    George “Anonymous” DeCottes. He was hardly that. Source: Find-a-grave.com

    George Augustus DeCottes.

Of all of the individuals in the Earls of East Hall project, DeCottes was a character; his friends called him “Anonymous”, but he was hardly that. DeCottes liked to argue for arguing’s sake. That could be considered an asset, especially if you are going to be a lawyer.

He came from a prosperous, well known family; he was clearly a leader on campus, and was also the captain of Stetson’s football team in 1902-03. I have an article that describes how Emmett, Paul Carter and DeCottes took a road trip to Daytona to see automobile races at Ormond Beach.  I can see why Emmett hung out with DeCottes — he had a magnetism about him, and people paid attention when DeCottes was in the room.

There was quite a bit of information about DeCottes across several archives, and with good reason: He was county solicitor for Orange County, city attorney for Sanford, and involved in several local civic organizations. After graduation, it does not seem that Emmett and DeCottes saw each other in the courtroom, or otherwise: Sanford was quite a distance from Emmett’s practice in Marianna and Pensacola.

What stands out about DeCottes in this side research project was his persistence. He refused to let ‘no’ be the last word for anything that he truly wanted. Here’s one example:

When the local military board said he couldn't join up, DeCottes goes to Washington D.C. and joins anyway. In your face, Sanford recruitment chumps. Source: Genealogybank.Com

When the local military board said he couldn’t join up, DeCottes goes to Washington D.C. and joins anyway. In your face, Sanford recruitment board chumps. Source: Genealogybank.Com

  • Berry Sturgeon as a child. Source: Ancestry.com

    Berry Sturgeon as a child. Source: Ancestry.com

    Berry Albert Sturgeon. Berry was a Latin-Scientific curriculum major at Stetson in 1903, an interesting cross-curriculum program. He was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania.

I was unsure how he made it all the way down to DeLand to attend Stetson, except I found a mention in an old Delta Upsilon fraternity magazine, Pennsylvania Chapter, stating that Sturgeon’s health wasn’t good, and he was in Florida — likely, he was in Florida to recuperate from whatever was ailing him — and attending Stetson University.

Interestingly, there’s no indication that he graduated from Stetson; however, he took the bar exam anyway, and passed it in both Pennsylvania and California.

Berry Albert Sturgeon. Source: History of the Bar and Bench of Southern California, 1901. Ancestry.com

Berry Albert Sturgeon. Source: History of the Bar and Bench of Southern California, 1901. Ancestry.com

Something interesting about Berry: He married in 1910 when he was 29 and the young woman was 15. Sure, a lot of women got married young back then, but when you consider we are talking about a mature man, a lawyer, with life and work experience marrying a child just out of middle school (if she finished middle school, by the way), it does seem odd, even for 1910.

It seems that must have dawned on Sturgeon (or someone), because that marriage didn’t last long. The next source on Berry was his World War I registration card, dated September 12, 1918. He’s still an attorney, but now has another wife. Interestingly, she has a different last name than Berry, and, Berry wrote “wife” next to her name, as if he needed to clarify it. This seems really unusual, given the time. Married women took their husband’s name in 1918. Anyway.

The legal practice was gone soon, too. Something big between 1918 and 1924, because there’s a major change in vocation:

By 1924, Berry is listed as a third assistant engineer on a ship called the ‘Victorious,’ which was part of the Tampa Interocean Steamship Company. At the bottom of the ship’s manifest was this:

They had hospitals specific to the disease? Source: New Orleans Passenger Lists; www.Ancestry.com

They had hospitals specific to the disease? Source: New Orleans Passenger Lists; www.Ancestry.com

He moves up the ranks to second assistant engineer in 1927, according to the manifest for the Grace Lines, Inc. (New York Passenger Lists), eventually to first assistant engineer by the time he is 41.

The last record I have of Berry is a Pasadena, Texas death certificate. He is listed as a resident of New York City; perhaps he was visiting or on shore leave. Here is the text from the death certificate:

Cause of death: "Natural causes possibly due to alcoholic poisoning." Source: Ancestry.com

Cause of death: “Natural causes possibly due to alcoholic poisoning.” Source: Ancestry.com`

It seems like Berry left Florida sometime after 1903, and he probably did not stay in touch with Emmett.

Interesting how they have the alcoholism in common.


Stay tuned for the last installment of the “Earls of East Hall,” featuring John Nelson Worley and Fred Free.

The Earls of East Hall, Part II

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Yesterday, I introduced you to some of Emmett’s dorm mates from when he was a student at Stetson University in 1903.

A map of Stetson University's campus in Deland, in 1903. Emmett's dorm, East Hall, is the blue oval at the top of the map. Hamilton Hall is the blue square at the bottom of the map. Chaudoin Hall is in the red oval, and is where a large dining hall was located on the campus. Chaudoin Hall was also a women's dormitory. Source: Stetson University Archives.

A map of Stetson University’s campus in Deland, in 1903. Emmett’s dorm, East Hall, is the blue oval at the top of the map. Hamilton Hall is the blue square at the bottom of the map. Chaudoin Hall is in the red oval, and is where a large dining hall was located on the campus. Chaudoin Hall was also a women’s dormitory. Source: Stetson University Archives.

Here’s the snippet from the essay in the Stetson Collegiate that I’m using as the basis of my article:

The "Earls of East Hall": Anthony, Carter, Fulgham, Pelot, Calmes, "Happy" Merryday, Wilson, DeCottes, "Berry" Sturgeon, Worley, and Fee. Emmett is noted as the authority on "Hamilton Hall," which was a cottage women's dormitory. Source: Stetson University Archives

The “Earls of East Hall”: Anthony, Carter, Fulgham, Pelot, Calmes, “Happy” Merryday, Wilson, DeCottes, “Berry” Sturgeon, Worley, and Fee. Emmett is noted as the authority on “Hamilton Hall,” which was a cottage women’s dormitory. Source: Stetson University Archives

I left off with a discussion of Charles E. Pelot, and there was mention of his tennis expertise. Today, I found a mention of a game featuring Pelot, who also went by “Pluto.”

Pelot playing tennis as 'Pluto.' Source: Stetson University Archives

Pelot playing tennis as ‘Pluto.’ Source: Stetson University Archives

Today, we’ll get to know two more of the Earls of East Hall:

  • Thomas C. Calmes. Thomas was also called “Calamity” among his friends. He was the 1903 class president, reported to be a perpetual talker, and ‘hardly ever in a position from which he could not extricate himself.’ I suppose it is fitting that he became a successful lawyer, practicing in Plant City, Florida. It is possible that he and Emmett remained in contact during their careers, but I don’t know that they saw each other often, because Emmett’s practice was mainly in the then-third congressional district.

Regardless, here is an amusing anecdote about Emmett’s roommate, ‘Calamity’ Calmes:

Calmes thinks he's gotten himself out of a jam. Maybe he did; his worldview was common in 1903. Source: Stetson University Archives

Calmes thinks he’s gotten himself out of a jam. Maybe he did; his worldview was common in 1903. Source: Stetson University Archives

  • Harold “Happy” E. Merryday. “Happy” Merryday appears to have been busy during his days at Stetson: Law student, football hero. Merryday played fullback for Stetson.
TampaTrib_Nov1_03A

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(Article source: Tampa Tribune, November 1, 1903, p. 1. http://www.Genealogybank.com)

Merryday was the hero of the game, scoring the only touchdown, despite the fact the Stetson team was unpracticed and sloppy.

Merryday’s law practice was in Palatka; there was also a grocery business in that city. It doesn’t seem likely that Emmett had much interaction with Merryday after they graduated; Palatka and Putnam County were out of Emmett’s circuit in 1903, so, he wouldn’t have seen Merryday regularly.

Here’s an interesting article that features both Merryday and Calmes: They received ‘half-century diplomas’ from Stetson in 1955, in honor of their exemplary character and citizenship qualities.

From the St. Petersburg Times, May 25, 1955. Source: Google News Archive

From the St. Petersburg Times, May 25, 1955. Source: Google News Archive

Looking back at the names of the Earls of East Hall, Charles Pelot would have been alive in 1955 and might have been invited to attend (he died in 1956), as would have John Worley (who also died in 1956), and Emile Anthony, who died in 1965. The rest of the list died years earlier: Emmett in 1918; Berry Sturgeon in 1932; Fred Fee in 1939; George Decottes  in 1949; and Walter Fulghum and Paul Carter in 1951.

To be continued…

Emmettus Wilsonius

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If you recall, last month I had a question for Angela the Archivist at Stetson University about Emmett’s law school diploma; specifically: Was Emmett’s law school diploma in Latin?

She said she’d get back to me after she and another archivist over at the law school dug around a bit more. Angela got back to me yesterday with an update.

The answer: Most likely.

Angela said that in the digital archive, there are several actual diplomas (Bachelor of Law degrees) from the 1920s and 1930s, but they are in English. Although there are some Bachelor of Arts diplomas from the 20s and 30s in Latin, there are no diplomas from Emmett’s time.

However, the law school archivist found something very interesting from the Stetson Weekly Collegiate for April 30, 1904:

The diplomas appear to have been in Latin. Why Latinize a graduate's name and not the entire document?

The diplomas appear to have been in Latin. Why Latinize a graduate’s name and not the entire document?

With this information, I believe the diplomas WERE in Latin. Why go to the trouble to Latinize just the names and not the whole document? It wouldn’t look right. So, I’m going with the idea that Emmett’s diploma was, in fact, in Latin.

The professors identified in this article, by the way, are Edwin G. Baldwin, A.M., professor of Latin (and an avid beekeeper), and Mrs. G. Prentice Carson, instructor in domestic science. They were not Emmett’s professors. I take it these faculty members were drafted to the task.

Mrs. G. Prentice Carson is the first on the left, doing something 'domestic' in the Domestic Science Lab, basement of Flagler Hall, Stetson U. Image source: Florida Memory.com

Mrs. G. Prentice Carson is the first on the left, doing something ‘domestic’ in the Domestic Science Lab, basement of Flagler Hall, Stetson U. Image source: Florida Memory.com

I wondered what name Professors Carson and Baldwin ‘quibbled’ over? Who was the scholasticus ab difficile nomen?

Of course, the professors could have been wrestling with the name of a student graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, but just for the heck of it (and for lack of infinite free time), I focused only on Emmett’s law school graduating class. To start with, I ran the law school graduation class names through the University of Notre Dame’s English to Latin Translator.

Here’s the list of the students that graduated in 1904.

Eight students in Emmett's graduating class. Source: Stetson University Archives.

Eight students in Emmett’s graduating class. Source: Stetson University Archives.

The Latinizer’s results:

J. Hall Brumsey = J. Atrium Brumsey
James Turner Butler = James Turner Promus
William Bloxham Crawford = William Bloxham Crawford
Harold Ernest Merryday = Harold Ernest Merryday
Edward Lee Powe = Edward Faecula Powe
Nicholas G. VanSant = Nicholas G. VanSant
Emmett Wilson = Emmett Wilson
Augustus Spencer Wingood = Augustus Spencer Wingood

As you can see, the translator doesn’t work with proper nouns, unless the names were also regular words, such as ‘butler’ or ‘hall’, which has a Latin equivalent.

So, I went to a second source on translation of proper names into Latin at this site, which clarified how proper names can be translated into Latin.

For example, if you had a name that was commonly used during Roman times, such as John or Mark, your translation is relatively simple: Iohannes and Marcus.

But one of the points made in the discussion is something I’m sure Professors Carson and Baldwin were wrestling over: What if you have an unusual name like “DeShawn”? How would you translate that into Latin?

In general (according to the experts in the Latin discussion thread), the proper noun should fit into a standard Latin declension, and it is best to keep the name as close to the original language as possible (i.e., John Cusack = Iohannes Cusaccus). One of the most common treatments of this is to add -us or -ius to the end of names ending in consonants; but, there are variations to this rule. Oy. Dan Nicholson, author of Orthography of Names and Epithets: Latinization of Personal Names, explains it more at this link.

After this little research side trip into what Emmett’s law school diploma probably looked like, all I have to say is that I can see why there was some quibbling. Latinizing a proper name wasn’t always about slapping a -ius at the end; the rules could vary. This was not an easy task for Professors Baldwin and Carson. I hope they were at least compensated for the effort.

Based on this information, I believe each student’s name was Latinized, and not left alone. For instance, the Latinization of William Bloxham Crawford’s name on his diploma would have been “Willelmus Bloxhamius Crawfordius”.

For Emmett, it was likely Emmettus Wilsonius.

I would love to find Emmett’s diploma. I was secretly hoping it would turn up in Stetson’s archive. 🙂 Maybe it will still turn up.

Thanks very much to Angela and her archival colleagues duPont-Ball Library and Hand Law Library at Stetson University for their help with this question.

PS: I think the student name that Carson and Baldwin had the problem Latinizing was that of Margaretha Elisabeth Duvinage Remmers (Bachelor of Philosophy). It was not only the longest name on the diplomas given that  year, but her third name, “Duvinage,” was unique.

The Class Prophet

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A few days ago, I was reading through archived copies of Stetson University’s student newspaper, the Stetson Weekly Collegiate, and I noticed that in some of the issues printed either before or right after graduation, some of those papers printed the graduating class’ ‘Prophecy.’

Writeup of Emmett's graduation ceremony from The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904, page 3. Note: There was a report on the past and future of the Class of 1904. Where is that document?

Writeup of Emmett’s graduation ceremony from The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904, page 3. Note: There was a report on the past and future of the Class of 1904. Where is that document?

This is a old tradition for graduating seniors, and mostly it is all done in fun. I don’t know about you, but I know of examples where high school class prophecies, ironically, turned out true.

Did Emmett Wilson’s graduating class at Stetson University write a class prophecy? And, if so, was there a class prophet?

The answer is yes. I was able to find the class prophet; the actual prophecy, not yet. Meet the class prophet:

Nicholas Van Sant, 50-something, Class Prophet for the law class of 1904, and Emmett's classmate. Image source: www.ancestry.com

Nicholas Van Sant, 50-something, Class Prophet for the law class of 1904, and Emmett’s classmate. Image source: http://www.ancestry.com

Nicholas G. Van Sant was born in Illinois in 1846. The fact that Van Sant enrolled in Stetson to start a whole other career at midlife is not a big deal nowadays. As Carl Jung once said, “Life really does begin at 40. Up until then, you are just doing research.” Back in 1902, though, Van Sant was past the average life expectancy for someone of his generation. Many of his peers were either retiring or dead already; Van Sant wasn’t the retiring type, and he managed to elude death for several more decades.

Stetson's University Bulletin for 1905. Image Source: www.archives.stetson.edu

Stetson’s University Bulletin for 1905. Image Source: http://www.archives.stetson.edu

When Van Sant was enrolled at Stetson, his brother, S.R. Van Sant, was the Governor of Minnesota. His father, John Wesley Van Sant, had a very successful shipping business. Nicholas Van Sant was a banker and had a successful lumber business. Then one day, he sold that business and decided to study law — in his mid-50s. He studied at Stetson, and according to the 1905 University Bulletin, he graduated in 1904. However, it appears that he got another law credential at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1905. One wasn’t enough, maybe? This is a guy who liked to keep busy, to keep reinventing himself. It makes sense.

I’m curious about this fellow, who was Emmett’s colleague, and who was beaten out by Emmett for the position of valedictorian. I mean, I’d think a fellow with a lot of life experience and knowledge, who built up several successful businesses on his own, would have easily edged out the youngsters who were in law school for the top position in the class. I think he was a close second or third.

Van Sant did not live in the dormitories with these young men; he was a married man, and he lived with his wife in a house in DeLand not far from the campus.

I don’t see Emmett and Van Sant as close buddies; the age difference and their life experience/status difference might have made things awkward. I wonder what Emmett thought about having a classmate who was his fathers’ peer — or not. Van Sant did serve in the Grand Army of the Republic whereas Dr. Francis C. Wilson was on the other team.

Van Sant celebrating his 92nd birthday. Image source: www.ancestry.com

Van Sant celebrating his 90th birthday. Image source: http://www.ancestry.com

Back to the original question — where is the 1904 prophecy? Well, the Stetson Weekly Collegiate did not print it in the final edition for the 1903-04 school year. Stetson didn’t have a yearbook until about 1908, so that option is out. I’ve been in contact with my friends and colleagues at Stetson a few other times this year, and I’m pretty certain that if that document existed, they would have sent it to me.

However, I can’t assume that.

Of course, you know what this means: I have a new research quest for the 1904 Stetson Law School Class Prophecy. I’m dying to know what was said in there about Emmett, and if their prediction was way off, or, right on target.

It will be interesting, either way! Wish me luck as I reach out to colleagues and archivists in Minnesota this week, and my friends at the Stetson archive to see, hopefully, if they have a folder in some dusty, forlorn bin with the words “Stetson Class of 1904 Prophecy” on it. Wouldn’t that be great?