This Day in History — July 2

William Goodell Frost, Kentucky educator, was born July 2, 1854. He received his degree from Oberlin College in 1876 and taught Greek there until he accepted the Presidency of Berea College in 1892. Frost changed the course of the institution’s mission from that of the coeducation of blacks and whites to the education of Appalachian Americans. His effort was the first major attempt to map Appalachia as a distinctive cultural region. Berea’s constitution was amended in 1911 to make Appalachia the special field for the school. During Frost’s tenure, the school’s endowment and enrollment significantly increased. He retired in 1920 and in 1937 wrote his autobiography For the Mountains. Frost died on September 11, 1938, and was buried in Berea.

President James A. Garfield, who before he became President was a  colonel of the Union army in the Civil War, was shot by an on July 2, 1881. Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, was born on November 19, 1831 in Orange, Ohio. He received commission as lietenant colonel of the Union army’s 42nd Ohio Regiment and was promoted to colonel in November 1861. General Don Carlos Buell, commander of the Amry of the Ohio, ordered Garfield to take command of the 18th Infantry Brigade in Eastern Kentucky. In December 1861, he departed Catlettsburg, Kentucky, with the 40th and 42nd Ohio and the 14th and 22nd Kentucky infantry regiments, as well as the 2nd (West) Virginia Cavalry and McLoughlin’s Squadron of Cavalry.

Garfield and his men, totaling of 3,000 men and some cavalry, confronted the Confederates along Middle Creek between Paintsville and Prestonsburg in Eastern Kentucky on January 10, 1862. The Battle of Middle Creek was a day-long skirmish, in which Garfield’s force suffered twenty-one casualties, including three killed. The battled proved to be a strategic success for the Union as Confederate Brigadier General Humphrey Marshall’s troops were forced to retreat into Virginia. The victory helped the Union to secure Eastern Kentucky and would ultimately allow the entirety of Kentucky to stay in the Union when coupled with the tactical victories that the United States army would see later in 1862. Garfield established his headquarters in Prestonsburg and remained in Kentucky for two months and was promoted to Brigadier General.

Blanton Long Collier, football coach for both the University of Kentucky and Cleveland Browns, was born July 2, 1906 in Millersburg. He played basketball and football at Paris (Kentucky) High School and received a bachelor of arts degree in 1927 from Georgetown College. He taught mathematics and coached basketball at Paris High School when he enlisted in the Navy in 1943. He was assigned to Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois as a swimming instructor. There he joined the staff of Paul Brown, who was coaching the navy’s football team. When Paul Brown formed the Cleveland Browns in the American Football League in 1945, Collier joined Brown’s coaching staff as a backfield coach.

Collier earned his Master of Arts degree at the University of Kentucky in 1947 and became head football coach of the school in 1954. During his eight years at UK he compiled a 41-36-1 record and was Southeastern Conference coach of the year in 1956. He returned to Cleveland in 1961 and the next year became Paul Brown’s successor as head coach of the Browns. Collier’s record at Cleveland was 74-36-2, and he won the National Football League championship in 1964. He retired in 1970. Collier died on March 22, 1983, in Houston, Texas, and was buried in the Paris Cemetery.

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