Wayland family joins students for chapel

Release Date: January 17, 2008


PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University kicked off the spring semester with an official preview of its upcoming centennial celebration Wednesday morning as nearly 30 descendants of Dr. James. H. Wayland, the school’s founding father, joined students, faculty and staff in the weekly chapel service.

              One special Wayland family member received a standing ovation for her attendance. Beulah McInnish, granddaughter of James H. Wayland, is the oldest living descendant. McInnish’s mother died in childbirth and she was raised by Dr. and Mrs. Wayland. McInnish will celebrate her 100th birthday in November, three months after the school officially turns 100 years old.

              Seated in the front middle section of Harral Auditorium, the family was treated to the premiere of “The Wayland Story,” a DVD that gives a brief look at the history and mission of the school. In kind, Bob Wayland of Albuquerque, grandson of Dr. Wayland and son of former Plainview mayor James Robert Wayland, presented the school with Dr. Wayland’s double barrel shotgun.

              “At the first of the video you saw granddad get into his buggy and drive off. When’s the last time you had a doctor make a house call,” Wayland said as he addressed the group. “As you can imagine he always had a long way to go and he had to take along a little protection.”

              The shotgun, well more than 100 years old, is the shotgun that Dr. Wayland carried with him.

              As he addressed the crowd, Wayland reminisced about the family.

              “All the Wayland children were rebellious,” he said. “And many of those episodes have become family lore.”

              Wayland said that at one point while growing up, his father, James Robert, decided to brew some beer. Not well versed in the brewing process, however, he corked the bottle too soon. As the family was sitting down to eat dinner, the bottles started popping. James immediately started to get up to take care of the problem, but a stern look from his father kept him in his seat where Dr. Wayland told him he would remain until the family had finished eating dinner.

              “Dad had to sit there and listen to every one of his bottles of beer explode,” Bob said.

              Bill Lees of Lubbock, son of Mary Wayland Lees and grandson of Dr. Wayland, also addressed the crowd and spoke of the Wayland children’s rebellion.

              “There were many times mom had to come to chapel to apologize for something she had done,” he said.

              Bill recalled a story told to him by his grandfather about medical school practices in the late 1800s. Dr. Wayland attended medical school in Kentucky and in one class the professor was explaining how they test for diabetes. The professor held up a little jar of liquid and explained that it was urine. He then dipped his finger in the urine and proceeded to taste his finger.

              The professor had each of the students do the same thing. Once the students had taken their turn, the professor explained that not only was that a test for diabetes, but also it was a test in observation. The professor had dipped one finger in the jar and tasted another, much to the chagrin of the students in the class.

              As university president Dr. Paul Armes addressed the family, he thanked them for their support and their family’s contributions to the school. He closed by saying Wayland is a special place where the faculty and staff seek to fulfill the dream of Dr. Wayland and the calling of God, a mission that has withstood difficult times.

              “If this school was not within the confines of the plan of God,” Armes said. “She would not exist today.”