BEGINNINGS OF THE LITERARY SOCIETIES
We now come to consider the Literary Societies. For the first three
quarters of a century they exerted a greater influence than any other
student activity. In the first year of the Institute the students had
organized a debating society which they called "The Polemic
Society,"1 with C. R. Merriam as President. They had interesting
debates, the first being on the query "Does Washington deserve more
credit and honor for defending his country than Columbus for
discovering it?" 2
Soon after the opening of the second session of the Institute in
February, 1835, came the organization of the two Literary Societies.
On the fourteenth of this month a meeting of the students was
addressed by Professor Armstrong, who was just beginning his work
in the Institute, on "The Value of Polemic Societies." At the close of
his address two students, J. C. Dockery of Richmond County and
Hiram K. Person of Chatham County, were appointed to divide the
students into two groups equal in talents and numbers, and to report to
a meeting one week later. When they assembled at the next meeting,
Mr. Dockery withdrew with his group to another room in the same
building, leaving Mr. Person and those whom he had chosen. Both
groups then proceeded to temporary organization and appointed each
a committee to draft constitution and by-laws, a work in which they
doubtless had assistance of some member of the faculty, as the plan of
organization and the constitution were practically identical for both.3
Sikes thinks that the names of the Societies, Euzelian and
Philomathesian, were probably suggested by Professor Armstrong.
The Euzelians seem to have taken their name from the first, but
1 Pritchard, "Brief History of the Literary Societies of Wake Forest College."
Wake Forest Student, I, 60 ff.
2 Ingram, Wake Forest Student, XIII, 195.
3 The above information is found in the first record book of the Euzelian Society.