Agency of Thompson, McNabb, and Jordan 251
At this critical juncture some of the former friends of the College
stimulated by the election of Hooper to the presidency, renewed their
friendship and again manifested their zeal in its welfare. One of these
was Rev. George W. Hufham of Duplin, the father of J. D. Hufham.
Since the loss of Armstrong he had shown little interest in the
institution. Now, however, he came forward with a plan for paying
the College debt, which was informally accepted. The plan was very
simple: ask one hundred and fifty men to give or be responsible for
the payment of one hundred dollars each, payable as soon as the
whole number of names should be announced. Several could join in
making up a subscription of a hundred dollars, but it had to be
guaranteed by the signature of one responsible and solvent person. By
this means Hufham hoped to pay off the entire debt, which he
reckoned at $15,000, in the year. This money was to be raised without
an agent. Though the plan did not bring it about that the entire debt
was paid in the year, it did furnish a basis for a new campaign, which
in a few years resulted in relieving the College of its financial
The campaign for the purpose of meeting Hufham's challenge was
powerfully promoted by an address to the Baptist of North Carolina
by J. S. Purefoy, then a young man, and just beginning his useful
career and great services to the College; this was published in three
successive issues of the Biblical Recorder, those of August, 15, 22,
and 29, 1846. After speaking of the usefulness of the College in the
past and its promise for the future, Mr. Purefoy came squarely to the
matter of the debt and the plan of paying it, in these words:
We have no wish to conceal the indebtedness of the Trustees, or their prospects
of release therefrom; but rather you should know the
whole matter. There are two debts of importance ; one to the Literary
Board of North Carolina, for ten thousand dollars, on which the interest is paid
annually, and is secured by thirty-four securities, eleven of whom are ministers of
the gospel. The other debt is to a private individual and is about ten thousand
dollars. For this debt the College is not bound; but it has fallen on some eight
brethren, by giving their notes for the money. These brethren, who thus stepped
forward so nobly, to sustain the College, are now being sued for the
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