96 History of Wake Forest College
It may be well to take a somewhat closer view of the men who
assumed the burden of caring for the Institute during its early days.
Among them were such laymen as William Crenshaw, William Roles,
Alfred Dockery, and Charles W. Skinner, and such preachers as John
Culpepper, Sr., Amos J. Battle, David W. Thompson, and Aaron J.
In the autumn of 1833 William Crenshaw had helped toward
starting the Institute by giving the "sowing and plowing in" of ten
acres of wheat. As Treasurer of the Institute he put his wealth to its
credit and at times advanced thousands of dollars to pay its accounts.
His son, the late John M. Crenshaw, a lad of eleven years in 1834,
was the first student to matriculate in the school. It is fitting that his
portrait hangs in the College Library.
William Roles, who gave his name to the village of Rolesville,
proved a very efficient Secretary of the Board. In 1835 he was elected
Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention but did not accept, probably
because he was making ready to leave the
General Alfred Dockery was a man of distinction in the social
religious and political life of the State. He represented his district in
Congress and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of
1835. He was a member of the committee which secured the original
charter of the Institute from the Legislature of 1833-34, and also of
the committee that got the revised charter in 1838-39 by which the
Institute became a college. The records of the Board of Trustees are
full of evidence that he put his fine business talents unstintedly to the
service of the Institute. But for him the farm would have proved a
failure from the first. He not only outlined the general plan but looked
closely after the details of its operation. He was a member of the
committee on the farm and of many other important committees of the
Board. He also served the Institute by gaining it favor with the
Baptists of the State. This he was able to do the better because his
brethren honored him with places of distinction in their organ-
Minutes of the N. C. State Convention for 1835.