122 History of Wake Forest College
ablest young men of the Institute, among them Mr. J. C. Dockery,
who went with him on his two-year trip to Europe. Professor Mills
says that he was a very "handsome man," and very popular in the
State.12 He was, according to Prof. J. T. Alderman at one time Grand
Master of the Freemasons of the State.
His engaging personal and social qualities may be inferred from the
fact that on his trip to Europe he enjoyed the companionship of Dr. E.
G. Robinson, later President of Brown University, and of John J.
Audubon, the great naturalist .13
And yet there was some opposition to Armstrong when in 1834 he
was first elected to a place on the faculty of the Institute; after the
lapse of years it is difficult to determine just what it was. We only
know that he offered his resignation to the Board a few months after
his election and that the Board promptly reappointed him.14
After he had taught at the Institute two years and a half, in July,
1837, the Trustees voted that "Professor Armstrong be permitted by
this Board to take passage to England, at his own expenses for the
purpose of improving himself and that he have leave to remain abroad
two years, except his services be sooner required."15
Sikes16 mentions a tradition which seems to be authentic that a
further purpose of Armstrong's going abroad was to study the
educational systems of Europe with the purpose of introducing them
in the college which the Trustees were already planning, and of which
it was expected Armstrong himself would ultimately become
The departure of Armstrong for Europe and the resignation before
the end of the year 1837 of Tutor Graves made it necessary to find
other men for their places, at least temporarily.
12 Wake Forest Student, III, 269.
13 Cathcart. Baptist Encyclopedia.
14 Proceedings, November 3-4, 1834, p. 5.
15 Proceedings, p. 28.
16 “The Genesis of Wake Forest College."