ROBERT B. TEMPLETON
is one of the leading educators in Southern Illinois, not only working with all his forces for the advance of educational work in his own town and county, but also through the various educational associations is actively interested in the advance of the work all over the state. In addition to his professional ability he is a practical man of affairs, who is able to cope with the problems that arise in a business like fashion. This is perhaps due to the early age at which he began his life work, and the many types of people that he has had under his management during his years of executive work.
Robert B. Templeton was born in Perry county, Illinois, on the 12th of September, 1877. He is the son of a remarkable man, who had a varied and interesting career. This man was the late Rev. William H. Templeton, who spent more than half a century in missionary and pastoral work in tbe Presbyterian church. He was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, on the 13th of October, 1824. His forefathers were Scotch and the American branch of the family was early founded in the New England colonies. His great-grandfather on his mother's side was a chaplain in the army of General Washington, and had the nerve-straining task of bringing cheer and comfort to the suffering soldiers in the ice bound camp at Valley Forge through the winter of 1777 and '78. Some of this ancestor's courage and fortitude must have passed into the soul of his descendant, for after having finished his college education he went to the Indian Territory as a commissioner to the Indian tribes, and spent seven years of his life in missionary work among the Choctaws, Chickasaws and Seminoles. He had prepared himself for this work in Washington and Jefferson College in his native state, where he was a classmate of James G. Blaine, and it was in the late forties that he went out into the wilderness. On his return to civilization he took up his residence in Perry county, Illinois, and here the years of his ministry passed until at the end of the nineteenth century he was forced to retire from active work on account of failing health. He died on the 27th of March, 1910, and in his death the Presbyterian church lost one of its strongest forces for good in Perry county, for not only was the strength of his character a dominating influence in the life of his people,
but the beauty and nobility of his long life of service was an ever present reminder of the ideals they all were reaching towards.
Rev. Templeton married Elizabeth M. Craig, a daughter of John M. Craig a farmer of Perry county, who had settled there on his removal from Kentucky. Mrs. Templeton is still alive, keeping the old house open for any of her children who may chose to come home, for most of them are scattered from the old place in Pin[c]kneyville. The children are the Rev. William C., pastor of the Presbyterian church in Kirksville; Jeanie E., who is lovingly carrying on the work which her father began among the Chickasaws in Oklahoma; Emma, of Pin[c]kneyville; John F., a farmer of Perry county; Dr. James S., of Pin[c]kneyville; Mary M., the wife of C. E. Malan, of the same city; Thomas, who has a farm not far from here; and Robert B., the principal of the John B. Ward school in DuQuoin.
After the completion of his preparatory work in the public schools, Robert B. Templeton attended first the Southern Illinois Normal University at Carbondale and then the Normal School at Kirksville, Missouri. When he reached the age of nineteen he began teaching in the country schools of his native county, and after two years of this sort of work he entered the grades of the Pin[c]kneyville schools. In just a year he was elected principal of the high school, and served in this position for three years, when he was elected city superintendent of schools. He remained at the head of the educational department of the city until January, 1911, when he took office as county superintendent of schools. He had been elected to this position in November of the previous year to succeed Walter R. Kinzey. This post he filled for four years, when he was elected to his present position, as principal of the John B. Ward school in DuQuoin.
In his professional connections he is a member of the Illinois State Teachers Association, in which he served as director for one year. He is also a member of the Southern Illinois Teachers' Association, of which he has acted as president. He is unmarried and is actively identified with church work. He is particularly interested in the work of the Sunday-schools and represented his church in the state Sunday-school convention in Bloomington in 1903.
The success with which Mr. Templeton organized his work as a teacher was prophetic of the success he was to meet in his official capacity as principal and superintendent. He has been, in all cases, able to unite warring factions and by the use of a strong will and firm determination not to let the cause of education suffer has been able to keep peace between those two hereditary enemies, the school-boy and his teacher. His popularity is great, for with the understanding of the little man and woman that he has gained through his years of teaching has come an understanding of the older man and woman, therefore his circle of friends has grown with the years, until now it includes every one who has been brought into friendly contact with him.