Dr. William Cooke Boone, pastor of the First Baptist Church at Roanoke, VA, accepted the presidency of OBU on June 27, 1930. He was set to fill the post vacated in June by Dr. W.W. Phelan, president for the past three years. His removal was voted by the Board of Trustees during the past August.

OBU NAMES NEW PRESIDENT

Dr. William Cooke Boone, pastor of the First Baptist Church at Roanoke, VA, accepted the presidency of OBU on June 27, 1930. He was set to fill the post vacated in June by Dr. W.W. Phelan, president for the past three years. His removal was voted by the Board of Trustees during the past August.

Dr. Phelan, who remained silent since the board’s action became public, said on June 27, that he had no future plans. He refused to discuss the matter further. It was understood that he had received several offers from other universities and would accept one of them before the fall term opened.

The offer of the presidency was made to Dr. Boone by the faculty committee after Dr. Edgar Godbolt of Kansas City declined the position because he was unable to leave his work at the time as secretary of the Baptist organization in Missouri. His selection had the unanimous approval of the Board of Trustees, according to Dr. George S. Baxter of Shawnee, a member of the board.

Dr. Boone was widely known throughout the states for his work in pastorates in Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Virginia. He was employed at an annual salary of $7,500. This was an increase of $1,000 and was voted by the board to obtain a highly qualified man for the position as president.

Pending Dr. Boone’s assumption of the presidency on October 1, Dr. Robert E. Crump, acting president would remain at the helm. When Dr. Boone took over his active duties, Dr. Crump would return to his former position as Dean of the school of Liberal Arts. Considered in every way an orthodox churchman, Dr. Boone was not expected to meet opposition in his new work from any of the factions which brought strife in university affairs in the past.

“Dr. Boone comes to his new position with no strings tied to his work,” said a member of the board. “We are happy to get a young, forceful, successful pastor whose ambition is to devote an active period of his life to educational work.”

Born in Bowling Green, KY, in 1892, Dr. Boone was the son of Rev. A.U. Boone, currently in his 32nd year as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Memphis, TN. He was a descendant of Daniel Boone’s brother, Samuel Boone. He was educated in the public schools of Memphis and received his A.B. degree in 1912, and his A.M. degree in 1913, from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. He attended the Student Southern Baptist Theological seminary at Louisville, KY in 1914. He returned to summer school at Columbia University in New York City in 1923 and received his D.D. degree from Georgetown College in 1928.

He built successive pastorates in Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky and Roanoke, VA. He built the largest church in Virginia, costing $440,000, while at Roanoke.

SKELETON MYSTERY SOLVED

Out of the many theories that were advanced over the finding of a baby skeleton in the 900 block of north Kickapoo Street recently, the most probable explanation was that of an Indian ceremonial burial, put forth by W.L. Ducker, reporter of the Superior Court in June.

As soon as the skeleton was found and turned over to the sheriff’s office, Ducker started an investigation into the incident in the hope a solution could be found. The infant bones were dug up by workmen buried about two feet under the surface in a crude box. A physician’s report said the bones had been buried for 25 to 30 years.

An unusual circumstance with the finding of the skeleton was that the infant’s hands were bound with wire before the burial. In place of the usual method of wrapping the wire about the wrists, the hands were clutched together and the wire bound around the backs of the hands. It was this circumstance that caused Ducker to dismiss the theory of foul play.

He sought out reasons why the hands were bound across the backs, and finally drew the conclusion that the knees had been drawn up against the infant’s chest, and the arms put around the knees, leaving only enough room to bind the back of the hands.

This he concluded, would force the infant into a sitting posture, like the method of incarcerating Peruvian mummies. Two foreign bones found in the box, Ducker decided, were the remains of meat that were placed in the grave to provide for the dead infant, an old Indian custom.

Working toward the conclusion that the skeleton was the remains of an Indian burial, Ducker set out to find which tribes buried their dead in a sitting posture. Here he met the first indication that his theory was wrong.

He found that the Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Sac and Fox, Seminole, and other Indians in this vicinity buried their dead prone. However, Ducker pursued the course he had been following and found it was a custom of the Osage Nation to bury in a sitting posture.

Here another difficulty was met, in that the dead Osage, although buried in a sitting posture with his hands bound about his knees, was usually placed on a platform several feet above ground. This obstacle was easily overcome, however, on the theory that the Indians had feared to leave the dead infant above the ground because of the nearness of Shawnee.

Usual Osage funeral services called for several days of ceremony and elaborate preparations for the burial of the dead. That, coupled with the fact that the Osage Nation was rarely in this part of the state, caused Ducker to draw the conclusion that the burial of the infant here was hurried. The Indians were probably in a hurry to leave this section of the state but refused to do so without the proper respect for the dead baby.

(These stories and hundreds more appear in the six-volume history of Shawnee, entitled “REDBUD CITY.” They could normally be purchased at the Pottawatomie County Historical Society. However, due to the current health crisis in the United States, they are closed. If you cannot obtain a copy, you may call me at (918) 470-3728, and I will mail you a copy. The first three volumes are currently available, and hopefully, the fourth is coming out this fall. The price is $30 per volume. Because of the current closing of research centers, I am stuck at 1981 in volume four, (1970-89).

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.