Samuel Wait II 389
Trustees in June, 1843, chose William Hayes Owen, a native of Ox-
ford, North Carolina, and an honor graduate of the University of
North Carolina in the class of 1833, who had obtained his degree of
Master of Arts from the same institution in 1838. From 1835 to 1843
he was Tutor in the University, and from 1836 to 1843, Librarian,
according to Battle, "the most active of the early
Of his
ability Battle speaks somewhat disparingly, though he does say of him
that, "He was a good man and fully deserved his elevation to a
Professorship in Wake Forest College."3 He did not take up his work
at Wake Forest until January,
In their estimate of Owen, Wake Forest students who were under
him agreed with Battle, that his natural ability was limited but that he
was a master of his subject, a good teacher and a good man. "A fine
old gentleman," says a student of 1847-50, "of little natural ability,
but profound knowledge of the Greek and Latin
Foote calls him "a fine linguist," while Hufham says that he "was a
man of much learning, and for a student who was well prepared, a
good teacher."6
Before he left Chapel Hill his dignity of manner had won him the
name, "Judge," which followed him to Wake Forest, where he was
always spoken of as Judge Owen, but not spoken to so much out of
While at the University he had also begun to use those great words
which gave so much amusement.8 For many years some of
History of the University of North Carolina, I, 408.
3 Ibid., 550.
Letter of "Amicus," Biblical Recorder, December 15, 1843.
5 D. R. Wallace, Wake Forest Student, XXVIII, 325.
Ibid., 335, 340.
7" The boys called him ‘Judge' by nickname. One day, as we passed him on the
way from the post-office at Forestville, one of the Students said, ‘here comes Judge
Owen,' when he ran at us, raising his gold-headed cane, and exclaimed, ‘How dare
you use my sobriquet in my presence?' Ibid., 335.
8 Battle gives the following as a traditional specimen of one of his reports: "I was
aroused from my slumber by the untimely ringing of the bell and forthwith
vigorously pursued the perpetrator in cloudy and moonless darkness. Suddenly with
painful violence I struck my pedal extremity on an excressence of a gigantic oak
and fell supine on mother earth." He was unmarried, and the story was current
among the students at Wake Forest that the reason was that
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