The Life of JTA

A Wish
James Taylor Adams

I’d like to be the sort of man my son could think about,
Without a throe of mental shame, or any cause for doubt,
That I had any duty shirked, or quit a task began,
Or failed to fight with all my might, to aid my fellow man.

I’d like to know that when I’m gone across the foaming tide,
My boy could say: “Dad did this thing,” with just a bit of pride.
I’d hate to have him hesitate, his face in anguish hid,
Or hem and haw and faltering say: “I guess my father did.”

I’d like to have my folks say of me “He was an honest man,
He stood the test, he did his best, he knew no creed or clan.”
But most of all I’d like to live a life devoid of shame,
And that my child will never blush when people speak my name.

The Journal of Education
Vol. 99, No. 9 (2469) (FEBRUARY 28, 1924), p. 233.


James Taylor Adams was a man of many talents. Adams served as a newspaper editor, writer, historian, Post Master, and a merchant of Wise County. Through the James Taylor Adams Special Collection¬†of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise¬†Ashley and I were able to learn more about the remarkable life and times of James Adams Taylor. To learn more about our discoveries about this Jack of all trades, follow the Timeline JS presentation below. Throughout the presentation, there will be songs added into the information. These are all of the songs in the collection that were performed by Adams himself.