Excerpted from Judge H.C. Baker's Sketches of Adair County, No. 36: "Reminiscences of Col. Wolford," as published in the October 9, 1918 edition of the Adair County News.
*Original spelling and punctuation maintained.
Wolford was full of resources on the stump, and was always composed and self poised. If he lost his balance or felt "shaky" no one could detect it. He could not be turned down upon a question of fact, and he never needed a fact to sustain his position.
In war a soldier sometimes pushes his cap in view to draw the fire of the enemy. Wolford practiced the same tactics in debate. He presented a harmless issue to try his adversary and amuse the audience' or in other words used a mis-statement as a decoy. This scheme he practiced on Gen. Speed S. Frye.
The General was sent down to Casey county to fill some appointments and he and Wolford met in joint debate. Fry spoke first and Wolford followed him, and, in describing the outrage and cruelty practiced by the carpet baggers at the close of the war he was especially severe on the authorities for hanging Jefferson Davis and Robt. F. Lee.
Fry listened for a while in amazement, and finally unable to restrain himself longer, he arose to his feet, interrupted Wolford, and denied that Davis and Lee had been hanged, but insisted that they were living in the enjoyment of their freedom. Wolford let him conclude his statement, and then addressing the audience again said it was not the first time he had heard this denial. It was the way of Republican speakers to deny all the cruelty of which they had been guilty in the South. He was not in the habit of making statements that could not be substantiated, and fortunately he had proof at hand to establish what he had said about the treatment of Davis and Lee. There were men present under the sound of his voice who were present and eye witnesses to the facts, and, as his veracity had been questioned by the denial of Gen. Fry, he would ask them to stand up and say whether or not it was true.
"You, Jim were a soldier, state whether or not you were present at the time.?' Jim arose promptly and testified that "He was thar and it was a fact.' "And what do you know about it, John?" inquired Wolford of another, "It is the God's truth. Colonel, I was there when they tied the rope." One and another arose in the crowd and gave testimony to the same effect.
Fry was a Presbyterian elder, and it was a little more than he could stand and hear in silence. He mounted his horse , and in righteous indignation turned his back upon the crowd, and left the county declaring that he would never again be guilty of the folly of engaging in debate with Frank Wolfrod.