The Teachers of the Institute 129
Recited Cicero to Mr. Hart; found him quite particular in giving a precise
translation. No doubt but that he is a first rate scholar, but I am not so well pleased
with him as I am with Mr. Armstrong. Regretted very much when he gave us to Mr.
Hart.
Only Henry Lea Graves of the instructors of the time of the Institute
was a born North Carolinian. He belonged to the famous Graves
family of Caswell County. He was born in Yanceyville on February
27, 1810, and was a graduate of the State University in the class of
1835. He was licensed to preach by the Wake Forest Church and
ordained in November,
1837.31
Brooks in his diary speaks in
appreciative terms of his sermons and work in the Institute. Geometry
was among the subjects he taught. After leaving Wake Forest he went
to Georgia, where he established a manual labor school. Afterwards
he made his home in Texas, where in 1846, he became the first
president of the Baylor University. He was the first president also of
the Texas Baptist State Convention, which place he held for sixteen
years.32
Some, have been disposed to find fault with Wait for surrounding
himself with New Englanders. In all probability these New
Englanders failed to understand the character of Southern boys and in
the time of growing sectional bitterness they were doubtless looked
upon with suspicion by many of our people. Perhaps Wilcox and
Richardson were pedantic and assumed superior airs which made
them unpopular with the students. But in general these teachers were
able men and well equipped in scholarship for their work, three of
them being graduates of Brown University with the degree of Master
of Arts. There is a further consideration that will go far towards
excusing Wait for getting them on the Wake Forest faculty. They
were about the only educated Baptists available. In a letter to the
Biblical Recorder of June 10, 1853, Wait says that not one Southern
teacher could
―――――――
31
Wake Forest Baptist Church Record Book, Oct. 11, 1837.
32
Cathcart. Baptist Encyclopaedia, Supplement. Dr. Graves lived a long and
useful life, both as an educator and a minister of the Gospel. Dr. J. M. Carroll,
History of Texas Baptists, 233, says of him: "Dr. Graves, who was known well and
intimately by the author, was a princely gentleman, a ripe scholar, a strong and
dignified convention presiding officer, and a splendid school man.
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