ZENAS CARROLL CARSON.
Noteworthy among the successful educators of Southern Illinois is Zenas Carroll Carson, superintendent of the schools at New Baden, who is doing much towards advancing the efficiency and scope of the public school system of this section of the state, heartily agreeing with Charles William Eliot, LL. D., president emeritus of Harvard University, who says “The standard of education should not be set at the now attained or the now attainable. It is the privilege of public education to press toward a mark remote.” Mr. Carson was born June 2, 1878, in Washington county, Illinois, on the farm of his father, William Kendrick Carson. His grandfather, Samuel Carson, a Kentucky frontiersman, lived on a small farm in the backwoods, partly supporting himself and family by cultivating small patches of land. He had a better education than the most of his neighbors, and spent a part of his time each year in teaching school, and occasionally added somewhat to the family exchequer by working at the cobbler's trade.
A native of Kentucky, William Kendrick Carson was born December 12, 1832, in New Lexington. He grew to manhood beneath the parental roof-tree, being brought up amid primitive scenes and in true pioneer style, never even having a pair of shoes until he made them himself. At the age of twenty-five years he came to Southern Illinois, locating in Washington county, where he began farming on forty acres of land, splitting the rails with which to enclose his small estate. He was successful in his undertakings, and subsequently bought one hundred and forty acres of land from the Government, and on the homestead which he there improved is still living, a venerable and esteemed citizen. He is a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Methodist church.
William K. Carson has been four times married. He married first, in 1858, Mary Anne Ragland, of Washington county, Illinois, who died in 1876, having borne him nine children, five of whom survive. He married in 1877 a cousin of his first wife, Amanda Ragland, who bore him four children, two of whom are living, Zenas Carroll and Benjamin W. She passed to the life beyond in 1884, and in the ensuing year, 1885, he married her sister, Viana Ragland, who died in 1898, leaving three children, all of whom are living. In 1899 he married for his fourth wife Mrs. Polly Carson, widow of his brother, Robert Carson, and they are enjoying life on the old home farm.
Spending his earlier years on the home farm in Washington county,
Zenas Carroll Carson attended the country schools until sixteen years of age, when he entered the Nashville High School, where he fitted himself for a professional career. An ambitious student, however, enterprising and progressive, he has since kept apace with the times by close study, and has taken post graduate work at the Southern Illinois Normal School, in Carbondale. Immediately after leaving the high school Mr. Carson began teaching in the rural districts, and has since taught at Hoyleton, Illinois, New Minden and Smithton, and at New Baden, where he is now superintendent of the schools. He is an indefatigable laborer, and it is largely through his influence that the present school building is now, in 1912, being enlarged to such an extent that when it is completed it will be one of the best buildings of the kind in Clinton county.
Mr. Carson married, December 24, 1901, Lulu D. Smith, and into their pleasant home four children have been born, namely: Herbert M., George Saint Clair, Dean M., and Cyril W. In his political affiliations Mr. Carson is a Democrat. Fraternally he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and to the Modern Woodmen of America. Religiously both Mr. and Mrs. Carson are members of the Methodist church.