82 History of Wake Forest College
Our labor was performed, pays he, quite late in the evening. By this
arrangement we escaped the heat of the day. This exercise produced a
good effect. I speak from my own experience, having invariably taken
part in this service with the students. There was no time in the whole
day when I felt more like giving myself entirely to my studies than I
did at night, after the performance of our usual task. This feature of
the Institution was continued five years. To show in what light this
matter was viewed by the students, I will mention one circumstance.
About three or four years after the Institute went into operation a
meeting of the Board of Trustees was held at the Institute. It was
reported among the students, that the Trustees were deliberating upon
the expediency of discontinuing the manual labor of the Institution. A
consultation was at once held by them, the result of which was that a
committee was forthwith appointed to draw up a memorial to present
to the Trustees, assuring them, in the most respectful manner, that
they had no wish for a change, but that they desired the present state
of things to
continue.41
Though it proved irksome to some,42 and others "played sick"
occasionally,43 in general during the first years the students fell in
heartily with the manual labor
requirements.44
Nearly all were in one
or another of the three squads that went out at three
―――――――
41
Wait, Wake Forest Student, II, 57.
42
“The most objectionable feature connected with this school was its manual
labor department." Delke, Wake Forest Student, X, 324.
43
“At that time Wake Forest was a Manual Labor School, and it was pretty hard
to go out to work on hot afternoons, therefore we had a great deal of afternoon
sickness, I remember so well being called before the President for failure to attend
some agricultural duty; my excuse was that I was sick; he inquired if I ate my
dinner, and I had to say, `Yes sir,' for I had eaten, and while I was not feeling well,
my sickness was not serious enough to have prevented me from joining in
something more pleasant than work. And after that when I wished to be excused I
did not eat dinner." Ileaden, Wake Forest Student, XXI, 86.
"The utter distaste which many of the students had to the system was but too
evident when the bell rang for labor. When the roll was called some were taken
suddenly ill (?)-unable to work. But when supper hour arrived it was very apparent
that their sickness was not unto death." W. T. Brooks, Alumni Address, 1859.
44
"I was put to plowing Old Tom. I had learned at home to run a straight row,
and this work suited me very well, for I could do as good plowing as any of the
boys. One morning I went to the stable to get my horse, and lo! some mischievous
boy had cut off his mane and the hair of his tail. I could not find out who did it, or
there would have been a fight or a foot-race." Ingram, Wake Forest Student, XIII,
192. Dr. Sikes tells us that Major J. M. Crenshaw told him that he was "water boy"
and enjoyed the work.
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