306 History of Wake Forest College
During the long years in which the Trustees of the College were
strenuously engaged in the effort to free the College from debt and
provide it with an endowment several auxiliary agencies were created
to help in the work.
First to be named is the Fair which the ladies of Wake Forest
conducted for a few years at the time of the College Commencement,
beginning with that of
More important was the North Carolina Baptist Education Society.
This also was formed at the Commencement of 1844. It owed its
origin to the resourceful energy of Mr. N. J. Palmer, who was ever
fertile in expedients to increase interest in education and promote the
welfare of Wake Forest College. Finding a vacant hour on Wednesday
evening of Commencement week, he got together the members of the
College community and the Trustees and other visitors, and organized
this Society. There were speeches by President Wait, Professor White,
General Alfred Dockery, and Mr. N. J. Palmer. The object of the
Society was declared to be "to raise funds to support a professorship
from the interest of the amount, and thereby reduce the price of
tuition." Two meetings were to be held every year, one at the time of
the Commencement, the other at the time and place of the meeting of
the Baptist State
From the Constitution of the
been its unfaltering friend. For many years he was its treasurer without salary. He
secured for it since the war, and at a critical period of its history, ten thousand
dollars from the Baptists of the North, and to him mainly is due the credit of
rescuing the College from ruin in 1848-49; by his energy and liberality the Wingate
Memorial Hall was erected in 1879-80, and when he died he left the College one
thousand dollars. His own hard battles in pursuit of knowledge made him the
unfaltering friend of education-especially of ministerial education-and there are
many of our pastors who gratefully cherish his memory, because of the special
kindness they have received at his hand while studying to prepare themselves for
the work of the ministry. Of the three brothers, George W., N. A., and James S.
Purefoy, George, perhaps, possessed the most native vigor of intellect; N. A. was
the best educated; but all were wise, good and useful men. James had the soundest
judgment and the greatest force of character, and was the most useful. He died
March 30, 1889, and lies buried near the College he loved so well.
Biblical Recorder, June 15, 1844; May 30, 1846. At these fairs the ladies
served meals, and perhaps sold other articles, keeping open during the day and part
of the night. They devoted the proceeds to the relief of the College.
Biblical Recorder, July 6, 1844 (an account reprinted from Palmer's paper, the
Milton Chronicle), and June 28, 1845.