Manual Labor Days 75
overcrowded his accommodations with more than forty
an assistant in looking after the students and serving as matron,
Principal Wait had secured Miss Betsy Parker of Montgomery
County, whose acquaintance the Waits had formed while he was
traveling as agent of the Convention.27
These students had also to be fed. The equipment for preparing and
serving was also very inadequate. The kitchen and cooking fixtures
were such as were sufficient only for an average family. The kitchen
stood apart from the house and near it was "the poorest sort of an
apology for a brick oven." And here meals had to be prepared for
seventy students, students with the appetites peculiar to the adolescent
age and whetted by farm labor. The cook was a negro man. (Ingram).
The dining room of the house was far too small, about eighteen feet
square. It was not possible for more than one-third of the students to
take their meals at one time. Accordingly, Principal Wait divided the
students into three divisions in alphabetical order: "The several
companies took their meals in rotation. The first division at first in the
morning and last at noon, and so on in regular rotation. Nine times a
day, therefore, our table was obliged to be set, and such care taken in
dividing the meals as would be most likely to give satisfaction. At
length, this plan being so laborious, we constructed a cloth tent nearly
70 feet long; and here, for the first time, we took our meals
As the supply of servants was short of the need and no more could
be procured, the Principal found it necessary often to throw aside his
dignity, and take a hand in getting the table ready. Many a time when
he had ended his teaching about noon, he would hasten to the tent and
assist in setting the table or doing anything needful to hasten on the
dinner.29 Only a few notes
26 Wait, Wake Forest Student, Vol. II.
27 Ingram, Wake Forest Student, XIII, 196.
28 'Wake Forest Student, XXI, 86. "Our dining-hall was a tent minus the sides
covered with canvas which was very pleasant when the weather was warm and
bright but when it rained was rather rough. Many happy frolics we had under that
tent at meal time." Headen, "Early Days at Wake Forest."
29 Wait, Wake Forest Student, Vol. II.