Barbourville (KY) Republican County Committee, Colored MembersBefore adjourning the August 1908 County Committee meeting held in the Barbourville courthouse, William B. Dizney offered a resolution to admit two African Americans to the committee with full power to vote and act upon all subjects. Judge T. T. Wyatt opposed the resolution, but since he was not a member of the committee, the resolution was accepted.
The two men, William Beard (1849-1945) and Clay Patton (1854-1944), became the first African American members of the Barbourville Republican County Committee.
William Beard is listed in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census as a 60-year old mulatto who lived in Poplar Creek, KY. A farmer, he was the husband of Martha Beard and the son of Tom and Lila Coffman Beard, according to his death certificate.
Clay Patton, also a farmer, lived in Flat Lick, KY, according to his death certificate. He was the son of Arthur Patton and Elizabeth Arthur Patton.
For more see "County Committee," Mountain Advocate, 8/07/1908, p. 1.