“John Thomas Scopes, according to Berry Craig, landed a teaching job in Dayton, TN. He told his sister, “I’m going there because it’s a small town with a small school where I won’t get in any deep water.” The skinny, freckle-faced Paducahan made headlines worldwide in 1925 when he was convicted of teaching evolution. “Brother didn’t think there was all that much to what he had done,” said sister Lela Scopes. (Paducahans, Famous and Not So Famous, by Allan Rhodes, Sr. & John E. L. Robertson, Sr., pages 40-42)
The famous Scopes Monkey Trial was held in Dayton, TN and ended with the conviction of Scopes and the imposition of a fine of $100. The decision was appealed and overturned by the higher court because of a technicality (fine imposed by judge instead of jury). Scopes wrote Center of the Storm, a book about the trial, but said little else publicly about it.
After the trial, Scopes did graduate study in geology at the University of Chicago and did geological field work in Venezuela for Gulf Oil of South America. In 1930 he did further graduate study and later took a position as a geologist with the United Gas Company studying oil reserves. He worked in Houston, Texas and Shreveport, Louisiana until retirement in 1963.
Scopes was born in Paducah on August 3, 1900 and died there in 1970. He and his wife, Mildred, are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Paducah, KY, where his tombstone carries the epitaph, A MAN OF COURAGE.
John’s older sister, Lela V. Scopes, was a teacher, in 1925, in Paducah. When she returned after the trial, Miss Lela learned that she was no longer employed as a teacher. She didn’t like to talk about it, but felt the trial also cost her her teaching job in Paducah. Miss Lela was born in 1987 and died in 1989.
(This posting created from the following resources: Paducahans, Famous and Not so Famous by Allan Rhodes, Sr. & John E. L. Robertson, Sr.; Internet at www.findagrave.com and Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_T._Scopes)