Born in a log cabin in Caines Creek, Ky., in 1911, Cratis D. Williams, who died in 1985, was the first person from the town to attend and graduate from the county high school. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky, teaching in one-room schoolhouses to support himself. He later earned a Ph.D. from New York University. In 1942, Williams accepted a teaching position at the Appalachian State Teacher’s College, now known as Appalachian State University. He held various positions from teacher to dean of the graduate school (which was ultimately named for him) to acting chancellor. His field was English, but he also taught courses in speech, drama, folklore and Appalachian culture.