Clarence Crittenden Calhoun

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Clarence Crittenden Calhoun, principal of the Lexington Business College, was born in Daviess County, Kentucky, September 13, 1863, being a descendant of a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian family, who on their arrival in America first settled in Pennsylvania but subsequently moved to Virginia. From this family John C. Calhoun, the immortal statesman of South Carolina, was descended.

Clarence C. Calhoun was the eldest of a large family, and the duty of looking after his father’s business devolved upon him at an early age, so that he had neither time nor opportunity to acquire an education, although he endeavored to improve every opportunity which presented itself. He usually had a book with him studying while his team and the other workmen rested. In this way, while plowing, he mastered the subject of fractions so thoroughly and so well as to enable him to take a college course without again going over the subject. When twenty-one years old, he left the parental roof fully determined to obtain an education, although his capital, which he had saved up, amounted to the modest sum of $15.00. With a resolution to do or die, he went to work building patent fences, digging ditches, working in the harvest field or at anything else that was honorable until he had accumulated about $100. January 24, 1886, he entered the State A. &. M. College at Lexington, Kentucky, and was there three and one half years, taking a scientific and classical course. While taking his course the trustees of the college placed him in charge of the commercial department of that institution now known as the Lexington Business College. While attending college, or rather during vacations, he made the money to defray his expenses at manual labor or by selling books, making as much as $200 in one month.

He had been a student in this institution less than a year when he was called upon by the faculty to deliver an address on Commencement Day. This effort was made in the presence of Senator James B. Beck, Governor Proctor Knott and many of the most distinguished men of the state. At the conclusion Senator Beck arose to his feet and complimented the address in a most enthusiastic manner, which was heartily entered into by the other distinguished gentlemen present.

The Lexington Business College has had a wonderful growth under his able management. When it started, less than seven years ago, the school was located in an old dwelling, almost entirely without equipment and with less than one dozen students. Since then thousands of young men and women have been given a business training, and placed in positions in which they are able to make comfortable livings. Through his influence and work a new building has been erected, especially adapted to the business college. This is situated on East Main street, near the Phoenix Hotel, and its magnificent and imposing front constructed of stone is the chief attraction in that part of the city. It is unequaled in the arrangement and equipment of its several departments, the planning and furnishing of which was done under the direction of Mr. Calhoun, whose management of the school has made it possible for this fine building to be erected. Thus by his energy and business tact he has built up an institution which is destined to stand among the most renowned business colleges on this continent. He is a hard worker himself, and expects all work done under him to be faithful and conscientious and based upon the highest principles of honesty and integrity.

When Mr. Calhoun was at home, occasionally attending the country common schools, they were so poor and the results of their work so unsatisfactory, he determined if ever in his power to do something for the improvement of the system and the advancement of the cause of education in Kentucky. Accordingly in January, 1892, in connection with Hon. A. L. Peterman, he began the publication of an educational journal known as “The Southern School,” which has developed into the largest and most popular periodical of the kind west of the Allegheny Mountains. In a little more than two years it has gained a subscription list of over six thousand, and its weekly visits are hailed with delight by teachers in every state in the South. When it was projected its publishers did not expect it to be a success from a financial point of view, but in this they have been happily disappointed, while they have seen it grow and flourish until it has done more for the public school system in Kentucky than any other instrumentality. In conclusion it may be said of Mr. Calhoun that he has accomplished, within ten years, a work which few men have equaled in a lifetime.

“C. C. Calhoun, when a boy at home with his father, was noted for his stability of character, fixedness of purpose and close application to business. What he did was thoroughly done; he lost no time; when not engaged in physical labor his time was occupied in reading. He was ever trusty, faithful and punctual in attendance upon his father’s business and immovable in his moral character.” Written by his father as a just tribute.

Source: Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. John M. Gresham Company, Chicago, Philadelphia, 1896. Courtesy of the Daviess County Bicentennial Committee