140 History o f Wake Forest College
the students learned of this by a "letter from the eastern part of the
State" they met in mass meeting and passed resolutions denouncing
the stories as slanders and declaring that they were satisfied with their
situation, that the food though plain was wholesome and abundant,
with occasional delicacies, and while they were always glad to see
their parents they were at the Institute of their own free will with the
purpose of getting an education, "a happy family, all reports to the
contrary notwithstanding," and determined that no one, whether
student or not, should slander them or the Institute with
There is evidence, however, that the students of the Institute liked
to supplement the table fare with clandestine collations in their own
rooms, a thing not so very easy in the midst of a six hundred acre
farm and only five dollars a year to spend. The following story from
will indicate how it was done the first year when the
boys lived in log cabins
I remember that there was a shrewd old negro who came to the Institute every
Saturday night. Peter did a lively business in the way of chicken pies, which he sold
to the boys. On one occasion we thought he had made a mistake, for he brought
some pies whose material revealed an anatomy quite unlike that of a chicken. The
boys tackled Peter for selling them puppy pies. Peter said, "Dar aint no dog in 'em a
'tall. When olde hen aint handy, old har'll do jus' as well." As no one was hurt by the
pies Peter came off clear. But this put an end to night suppers. Peter frequently
brought in bags of watermelons. Robert Steele (afterwards an eminent physician in
Richmond County) and I made a contract with Peter to bring us a bag full, and to
whistle when he came in hearing of the house. In a few nights we heard him whistle,
and went out to find him and bought his load in the dark. When we got them into
the house, lo! they were all pumpkins. We had Peter up about it. His excuse was
The account of the students' meeting and resolutions is in the Biblical Recorder
of May 27, 1835. It is accompanied by an editorial expression in which it is said that
"The reasonable and dignified proceedings on the part of the students will not only
be regarded as an unanswerable refutation of the ridiculous charges against the
concern, but will be apt to prevent the recurrence of similar conduct in the future."
The chief offender of the absconding students was expelled from his Society and his
name published in the same paper.
Wake Forest Student, XIII, 199.
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