|24 July, 1925 - The Pilot (?) date earlier than death date on memorial|
The sudden death of William J. Bryan at Dayton, Tenn., where he was a guest of a friend during the Scopes trial last Sunday afternoon, was a great shock to many friends and admirers all over the country. The first news came to us from Chss. Ross, who had just driven up from Omaha where an extra edition of the Omaha papers had been issued because of the importance of the event. The news was then telephoned about among friends, just as though someone locally had passed on. The editor was intimately associated with Col. Bryan while serving for about a year in the 3rd Nebraska Vol. Inf. as captain of Co. E. from this city, and we had entertained him in our home while he was in the city on one of his many speaking tours. Governor Adam McMullen called the writer by phone yesterday afternoon, and invited us to attend the funeral at Washington, D. C. Friday, with Judge Harry Dungeon of Hastings, and Dr. A. G. Fitzsimmons of Tecumseh, two former officers of Col. Bryan’s regiment. We would very much like to have gone, never having visited the capitol city, but it seemed impossible on so short a notice. He is to be buried in Arlington cemetery, the resting place of all the soldiers of the nation who wish to take their last long sleep in this beautiful spot at the national capital. His death was, no doubt, hastened by the strenuousness of the Scopes trial at Dayton, which occurred during the recent hot spell, and was a severe tax on younger and more vigorous men. The fight he made for his religious faith at Dayton was typical of the many fights of his life. However people differed with him, all recognized his ability and sincerity in any cause he championed. He was a zealous man, a hard fighter for what he believed was right, and had probably the largest personal following of any man who has ever been before the public eye in America. His death came so soon after the now famous Scopes evolution trial, it will likely stir his friends and followers to increased effort to stem the ever growing tide of modernism, however futile we believe that to be. A fundamentalist university at Dayton is even being talked of as a memorial monument to the now dead champion of the cause. Much as we have admired Mr. Bryan, and we have probably as often disagreed with his views as agreed with them, we regret very much to see the Christian world divided so sharply over this question. It is divided too much already. The question of evolution isn’t a vital one to Christianity, and its teaching in no way destroys the value of the Bible to those who have been educated in modern times and thought. Millions of people have accepted the theory of evolution in recent years and has gone right on living just as good Christian lives as those who disbelieve the theory. It is only a matter of education, we believe, and time will take care of that. There can be no permanent division of churches along the lines of youth and old age, for the old pass over and the use die with them. Truth is what we are all looking for and it will triumph in the end, however mighty or sincere its opponents.
~~~Obituary courtesy of the Nebraska Washington County Genealogical Society. News clippings on file in the Blair, Nebraska Public Library~~~