Manual Labor Days 81
than the system used in his native New England in the early days,
under which the hillsides were denuded of their soil. The farmer who
succeeded Mr. Merriam did not do much better. The students were
never asked to do anything beyond humdrum farm work; they could
maul rails, build rail fences after conveying the heavy rails from the
woods on their shoulders; they could plow and use a hoe. Bounteous
crops of vegetables were grown, and ordinary crops of corn and
But there seems to have been little planning or prevision, and
in the first and second years not more than half the crops was planted
that the studentss could easily have cultivated. There were no trial or
demonstration patches on which could be tested the value of certain
methods of cultivation, varieties of grain, fertilizing, and such things.
There seems to have been no effort to improve the soil, or to prevent
its washing into gullies. The poorer land was abandoned to weeds and
briars.40 It remained for Mr. Priestly Mangum to invent the Mangum
terrace which keeps even the light rolling land of this section from
washing, and retains its fertility. Such things as proper building of
barns and stables, dairying, feeding of horses, cattle and swine, their
breeding and raising, were unheard of. The Institute did not seize its
opportunity by which it might have greatly promoted improved
agricultural methods in North Carolina and at the same time have
made for itself a name and place comparable to the school of
Fellenberg at Hofwyl. But had it done this is would perhaps have
remained an institute and never have developed into a college.
A much more modest aim was before President Wait. According to
him the main object of the manual labor feature "was to promote the
health of the students and contribute somewhat towards the
establishment of habits of industry." In this respect it was a success as
is well attested both by President Wait and the students.
"Amicus" in Biblical Recorder, June 27, 1838.
Ingram, Wake Forest Student, XIII, 192. To the same purport "Amicus,"
Biblical Recorder, June 27, 1838, and letter of J. C. Dockery to S. M. Ingram, Wake
Forest Student, XIII, 15.