Samuel Wait and the Convention 31
further work of preparation and in his labors in North Carolina. With
the aid of his wife, who had a kind of millinery establishment, Wait
soon entered a school in Philadelphia, and afterwards went to
Columbian College, now George Washington University in
Washington, at that time a Baptist institution.2
On October 8, 1822, Wait became a tutor in Columbian College and
continued as such until the summer of 1826, when he resigned
because of the financial embarrassment of the institution. It is
interesting to note that he had already shown the traits that afterwards
distinguished him. A letter of the faculty relative to his resignation
He has distinguished himself as a faithful, able, and assiduous
officer. His manners have been uniformly amiable, and his conduct as
a Christian professor and as a preacher of the glorious gospel of the
Blessed God highly exemplary. It is with sincere regret that the
faculty of the College have learned that he intends retiring from a
station which with so much honor to himself and so much
advantageto the pupils he has filled .3
The financial straits of Columbian College were to have a
determining influence on the future career of Wait. For when on
October 23, 1826, Dr. William Staughton was elected "an agent of the
Board to obtain subscriptions for the relief of the institution," he
chose Wait as his assistant. Leaving Washington on December 27,
1826, they visited Richmond, Petersburg and Norfolk, where they
were on January 15. At this last place,
2 Brewer, "Life of Samuel Wait, D.D.," North Carolina Baptist Historical
Papers, Vol. I. Mr. Brewer, a grandson, gives the following statement about Mrs.
Wait: "She was indeed a wife from the Lord, for the success of his work in after
years was very largely due to her support and assistance.... When he first went to
Philadelphia to school he was greatly encouraged and assisted by his wife. If he
thought he needed more education, she determined that, so far as she could, she
would help him. She kept, in a small way, what would now be called a millinery
establishment, and occasionally would send him the profits of it. Once she sent him
fifty dollars, which was lost on the way and never recovered. Of course this was a
trying loss to them. Traveling was then very expensive, and they had to deny
themselves the pleasure of occasional visits. As a fact, they were separated two
years and seven months without seeing each other."
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