Biography of Wallace Washington Dawkins (1871-1939)
Published in The St. Louis Chronicle (St. Louis, MO) Sat. eve., 8 Oct. 1898, p. 1, cols. 3-4, when Dawkins (age 27) submitted the winning theme idea for the 1903 Exposition.
Wallace W. Dawkins, victor of the marvelous 1903 idea contest, is entitled to a formal introdution to 500,000 readers of The Chronicle.
The winner deserves his triumph, and those who have keenly watched the ingenious race for the honors are naturally interested in the new personality that has been made.
For one who has so suddenly come into public notice, the hero wears the distinction modestly.
Mr. Dawkins is a live type of that American quality recognized and admired as "stickitiveness." [sic]
He is a son of the new generation, born in Argentville, a farming hamlet, off the railroad, in Lincoln County, Mo., where he was reared and educated, where he conceived the idea that will be a great feature of the World's Exposition, and where he now resides with his parents.
Great is Argentville if she produces such sons. Argentville will be a point of interest on the map to thousands who are getting acquainted with her gifted citizen.
Mr. Dawkins is only 27 years old.
Away back on August 14, 1871, when the town was nothing but a collection of a few dwellings, the future winner of the big contest came into the healthy, growing atmosphere of imperial Missouri. Unlike many other boys, he did not forsake his family to win fortune in the big cities, but worked on a farm until 18 years of age. Then he started out to get a little worldly experience. In Colorado Springs, Colo., he secured employment in a grocery store until the mining fever of Cripple Creek possessed him. A few months of the hardest sort of labor in a Cripple Creek mine followed. Home fascinations were stronger than a miner's career. He forsook the dreams of golden wealth and came back home, where he has since mastered the mechanics of blacksmithing in Argentville under his brother's direction, and where he is industriously employed at present.
He is a hard-working, studious young American, and like all of that ilk has plenty of ideas, but the result of the contest came to him in the nature of a shock. He did not expect to win the prize after the outpouring of great suggestions appearing day after day in The Chronicle. Like most contributors to a public competition he had misgivings as to his own talents. The decision of the Committee of Award was consequently a surprise to him, but his success will doubtless encourage the use of those faculties which have helped him to come out on top. It may prove a turning point in the career of the young Argentville blacksmith. Mr. Dawkins is proud of the fact that his parents came from Kentucky.
(See also Diary of Wallace Washington Dawkins and Family of Wallace Washington Dawkins.)
File submitted to HERITAGE PAGES of LINCOLN COUNTY, MISSOURI by Patricia SummersSmith, 3 August 1998.
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