Contributions-Wait Agent 229
parts of the State. The people raised no crops which they could sell
for money. It was only in the few counties that produced tobacco and
cotton largely, and in the few other counties where other industries
such as fisheries and turpentine-making were pursued profitably, that
any substantial gifts for education or other benevolences could
reasonably be expected. Accordingly, the reader should be surprised
not that the agents of Wake Forest College had to labor so long and in
some years with little result before they attained their goal, but that
they succeeded so well in their undertaking.
Another thing that rendered arduous an agency such as Wait was
now undertaking-nothing less than a canvass of the entire State-was
the poor means of travel, which hardly improved at all before the
Civil War, and continued very bad for many years thereafter. In 1839
the Raleigh and Gaston and the Wilmington and Weldon railroads
were just coming to completion. These. were the only railroads until
the decade 1850-60 when the completion of the North Carolina
Railroad gave rail connection between New Bern and Charlotte by
way of Raleigh and Greensboro; at this time also the Western North
Carolina Railroad had been extended to Morganton, and a few others
were under construction. But as most of the Baptist churches were in
the country remote from towns travel by rail was not to be thought of
by one who undertook to reach them. He was under the necessity of
journeying over the dirt roads with such conveyance as he himself
could provide. Although Raleigh and many of the various county
towns were connected by roads known as "stage roads" and kept in
tolerable repair, and before 1860 numerous plank roads, most of them
terminating in Fayetteville, had been constructed, yet the roads in
North Carolina during all the nineteenth century were inexpressibly
bad. In the rainy season many of them were impassable on account of
the mud. Traveling was a weary process, whether one was "creeping
over the red hills of Orange" County at the rate of three miles an hour,
driving a fretting horse through the deep sand of Harnett County
roads, with the monotonous noise of the grinding wheels for mile
after mile and with no break in
Previous Page Next Page