William Taylor Stott was a native Hoosier and an 1861 graduate of Franklin College, who later became the president and took the college from virtual bankruptcy in 1872 to its place as a leading liberal arts institution in Indiana by the turn of the century. The story of Franklin College is the story of W.T. Stott, yet his influence was not confined to the school’s parameters.
Stott’s diary reveals a soldier who was also a scholar in camp and on the march, one who took every available moment to read theology, philosophy, great literary works, the classics of ancient Greece and Rome, and a few novels. He was as familiar with Burns and Byron as he was with ramrods and knapsacks. While amazingly ecumenical for that era, he was nonetheless a Baptist through and through, insisting on baptism only by immersion and displaying a hatred of alcohol and its effects on his cohorts. A scion of Baptist preachers, Stott championed temperance in the army and inherited an antislavery fervor that prompted his belief that, in God’s eyes, there were no walls erected between the races.
Lloyd A. Hunter is Professor Emeritus of History and American Studies at Franklin College, where he founded and directed the American Studies Program and occupied the Roger D. Branigin Chair of History. Hunter received recognition by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) as the 2003 Outstanding Indiana Professor of the Year.
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The Filson Historical Society