Samuel Wait II 393
than they would have at village boarding schools. He saw "numerous
advantages of having sons and daughters educated at the same place
and to a considerable degree together," and he promised to give the
student of the Seminary an education that should resemble in kind and
approximate in quality that offered in the
The school seems to have been discontinued, after the spring
session of 1848, since Mr. and Mrs. McDowell left to become
principals of the Chowan Female Institute, which opened on October
11, 1848.13
As Owen taught in the College for a longer period than any other
full professor before the Civil War, so he also had a part second to
none in training the students. In the curriculum of that day the
department of Ancient Languages was the chief instrument in literary
training. Full one-third of the time was given to Latin and Greek;
there was no English department and no professor of English. French
was added before 1848-49, and the teaching of that subject fell also to
the department of Ancient Languages. Owen had as helper Adjunct
Professor W. T. Brooks, and at times a tutor, but there was sufficient
work in the preparatory classes to keep these men busy, while the
work in the college classes naturally fell to Owen himself. It was his
responsibility to train the students in language and composition and in
literary appreciation. There was indeed a course in Belles Lettres
taught sometimes as a secondary work of the President, but by far the
greater part of literary training in this period was gained in the classes
in the Ancient Classics. It was in them that the students engaged day
after day in studying comparative grammar, sentence structure and the
niceties of literary expression. It was here that they got practically
their only classroom training in English composition, as they enlarged
their vocabulary by seeking proper words to translate the Greek and
Latin masterpieces and sought to reproduce their thoughts in English.
12 Biblical Recorder, January 20, 1844; July 10, 1847.
Ibid., October 28, 1848. A statement signed by Dr. G. C. Moore, Chairman,
under date of August 12, 1848.
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