JP Blanton was born in
Cumberland, VA January 29, 1849. His father, Rev Joseph
Blanton, died soon after he was born and his mother, Susan (Walker)
Blanton, only seven years later. He was raised by his older
brother, Lindsey Hughes Blanton, a Presbyterian minister who would
later serve as Chancellor of Central University, Richmond, KY,
1881-1901, and Vice-President of its successor institution, Centre
Blanton received his early education in Kentucky then enrolled at Hampden-Sidney
College in Virginia in the fall of 1864. At this time, all students in
Virginia colleges were required to enlist in the Confederate Army and in the
Spring of 1865 he was called to active duty, just in time for the final retreat
and surrender. He then returned to the college to earn his Bachelor of
Arts in 1869. Hampden-Sidney later gave him an honorary Master of Arts and
his brother’s school, Central University, a Doctor of Laws.
After graduation, Blanton taught two years in Kentucky rural schools then came
to Missouri where he taught at Watson Seminary in Ashley and was Principal at
Parker Seminary and the public schools of Troy, before becoming Superintendent
of Schools at Mexico in 1877. He was elected President of the First
District Normal School in 1882 and remained in that position until 1891 when he
joined the faculty of the University of Missouri as Professor and Dean of the
newly formed Department of Education. In 1898 he became President of the
University of Idaho, but remained there only two years. He retired from
education in 1900.
Blanton married Anna Craig Bell of Pike County, MO, on June 25, 1872.
Their children were Martha (Mrs JL Stephens), David A, Harry B, Charles I, and
Fred W. He was a Presbyterian, a Democrat and a Mason, serving as
Worshipful Master of Kirksville Lodge No 105, AF&AM, 1886-87.
died in St Louis October 23, 1909 and was buried in Columbia Cemetery, Columbia,
MO. Memorials to him on the campus at Kirksville include a residence hall
named Blanton Hall in his honor and his portrait in the Presidents Gallery.