422 History of Wake Forest College
reluctantly accepted the presidency of the College, and though early
licensed to preach he did not accept ordination until his election to the
presidency of the College made it almost necessary. Another
indication of this modesty is that in his early communications to the
Biblical Recorder, which were rare, he used the pseudonym
"Amicus." He had the welfare of the College at heart and worked for
it most unselfishly, at one time surrendering more than a third of his
salary that the Trustees might employ a professor of the Ancient
Languages. It was White who by one afternoon's canvass raised
several hundred dollars to relieve Matthew T. Yates from the debt that
stood in the way of his taking up the work of missionary, to which
amount White himself was doubtless the largest contributor. There is
a suggestion that he sometimes had to bear with the impertinences of
students who shared their fathers' prejudices against him as a
Northern man, but he seems to have borne all patiently. Some of his
most able and discriminating students, such as S. M. Ingram, already
quoted, and Dr. S. S. Satchwell, speak of his goodness, the latter
calling him "the pure and scientific White," and saying further: "A
talented and high-toned gentleman, he was an honor to the College
and a blessing to the
The statement of David Rice Creecy, a student of 1839-41, is
interesting as giving something more personal. He says:
I am under the impression that Dr. John B. White was not so large a man as the
President (Wait) and not so tall. He had light hair, fair complexion, blue eyes, no
beard. He was very much like the President in manner. He never joked and hardly
ever smiled, but the boys liked him, for he was ever ready to help them and instruct
them in their
Dr. David R. Wallace, who was a student under him in 1847-50, is
severe in his estimate of his ability, saying:
"He was a man of poor, even mean ability, and less learning. He
occupied the chair but knew nothing of mathematics, the main thing
15See Satchwell's address before the Literary Societies in 1858,
pamphlet in College Library.
Wake Forest Student, XXVIII, 316.
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