Washington Manly Wingate was perhaps the greatest Baptist
preacher who has been connected with the College and the denomi-
nation in the State. Such is the unanimous testimony of many of the
ablest of his brethren who knew him and heard him.16 Beginning his
pastorate in August, 1854, from the first he exercised a wonderful
influence over the young men of the College who were greatly
attracted by his preaching and his life and conversation and his work
in the classroom, and were thus won to a higher and more spiritual
ordering of their lives. Some conception of the character of his
preaching and influence at this period may be gained from the
testimony of students of those days. Dr. J. D. Hufham, who had been
at the College two years when Wingate became president, says :17
In the beginning of 1854 I heard Wingate for the first time and made his
acquaintance. The preaching of President White, Dr. Walters and Dr. Brooks had
not interested or benefited me. Here was a preacher of a different type. From the
first sentence of that first sermon he held me to the end. After that I never missed a
chance to hear him. In June, 1854, he became President of the College and took
charge of the Chair of Philosophy. The recitations of those years, including moral
and intellectual philosophy, logic and rhetoric, political economy and the
Constitution of the United States, are among the most delightful memories of the
three and a half years now so far away. I have met no other man who seemed to me
so great in so many departments of life and thought.
of the faculty and Board of Trustees of the College and others had been prompt to
do when he was severely attacked in a long article by Rev. P. W. Dowd in the
Biblical Recorder of July 1, 1853. The occasion of Dowd's article was a letter of
Brooks in the Biblical Recorder of February 23, 1853, which was part of the bitter
controversy that raged over Dowd's fitness to retain his place in his church and in
the denominational councils. For defence of Brooks, see Owen's letter, Biblical
Recorder, July 8, 1853, in which he says: "Of the many able and excellent men with
whom I have been associated, or whom I have known as instructors of youth, I have
known no one who tried harder to teach his pupils `whatsoever things are true,' etc.
In the same paper of August 5, 1853, was published a list of resolutions one of
which read: "That we have undimished confidence on Prof. Brooks." This was
signed by several Trustees of the College-Samuel Wait, President of the Board, N.
J. Palmer, A. McDowell, Peyton A. Dunn, Sec. of Trustees, and John B. White.
16 Biblical Recorder of March 5, 1879-obituary article by T. H. Pritchard, and
many statements in succeeding issues.
17 Wake Forest Student, XXVIII, 341.