Submitted by Descendant: Marabeth BLANTON
William Lee Blanton Sr. was born 1 May 1892 in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida where he lived with his mother and sisters and brother. His father, Luther Lloyd Blanton, died just a few weeks before his birth. It is a family story that William dropped out of school in his 8th grade though it is not sure whether this was because he did not like school or needed to work to help support his mother and sisters. After a year of working, he decided he did not need an education. He went back to high school and graduated in three years instead of the usual four. In 1913, he applied to Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API), now Auburn University. He was not accepted because he did not have Latin. So, he went back to his high school teacher who gave him books to read and told him if he could pass the test she gave her students, she would give him credit for Latin. He studied, passed, borrowed $20 and headed off to school at Alabama Polytechnic Institute. Years later in the 1950’s near Clearwater, FL., returning home from the beach with his son, McAllister Blanton and daughter-in-law, Margaret Elizabeth Gerhardt, stopped for lunch and he saw the man who gave him the $20. He tried to repay him but the man would not accept.
In April 1917, with World War I starting, the seniors at API were immediately released to enter strategic industry and office training camp. William returned to school to receive his diploma in Jun 1917 with highest honors and joined the United States Army as 2nd Lieutenant. William served his country well, being stationed all over the US and serving overseas in both World Wars.
William married Mary Mitchell McAllister, daughter of Rev. James Dawson and Buena Moore McAllister on 2 March 1922. William and Mary had three boys all born in different places due to their travels with the US Army. When William retired 31 May 1952 at the rank of Colonel, they moved to Tampa, Florida to be near their second son and daughter-in-law, McAllister Blanton and Margaret Elizabeth Gerhardt and their first child with three more to come.
William died 21 November 1984 in Tampa, Florida and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery along with his wife and oldest son, William Lee Blanton, Jr.
William Lee Blanton Sr. was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2004