46 History of Wake Forest College
that about $1,500 of this amount was pledged during the Convention.
Several questions remained to be answered. What had brought
about the crystalization of sentiment for the founding of a college
since the last meeting of the Convention? Who was the prime mover
in it? Why was the farm at Wake Forest rather than any other place
selected as a proper site for the college?
In a modified way all these questions may be answered by naming
one man, Rev. John Purefoy. His home was within two miles of
where the College stands. He owned a large farm on Richland Creek,
now known as the Fort farm. He had long been prominent in the work
of the Baptist denomination. He was a member of the church at
Rogers' Cross Roads. He was a member of the Convention when it
met with that church in 1831 and also of that at Rives's Chapel in
1832. He had long been interested in educational work and was one of
the founders of the original Wake Forest Academy at Forestville. He
was a near neighbor to Dr. Calvin Jones, who owned the farm that
was recommended to the Convention at Rives's Chapel. According to
the statement of his son, Rev. James S. Purefoy, in an address15
delivered at the College on the occasion of the celebration of the
semi-centennial in February, 1884,
Dr. Jones held his farm of 615 acres at $2,500, but for the cause of education he
proposed to Elder Purefoy to give the Convention $500 and sell the farm for $2,000.
Elder Purefoy recommended the farm to the committee, and it was purchased by the
Convention for $2,000.
We are not told by what argument Elder Purefoy led the Committee
of the Convention to believe that the farm at Wake Forest was a
proper place for the College, except that we know from the report of
the Committee that it was urged that the price was very reasonable,
the farm fertile, and suitable for a manual labor institution such as was
proposed. The report also states
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15 “Wake Forest College-Its Birth," originally published in the Biblical Recorder
and republished in the Wake Forest Student of February, 1886.
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