Manual Labor Days 83
o'clock in the afternoon and worked for three hours. In the first year
General Alfred Dockery, one of the Trustees, gave the Institute a set
of blacksmith tools. Major Ingram tells us that he liked to blow the
bellows because they came from Richmond County, and that he was
always glad to get out of the schoolroom to work. He also says that
W. D. Ussery, a mechanical genius, made plows and everything that
was needed of iron or wood, and had so much of that work that he did
not work in the
field.45
The following letter written after the Institute had been running a
year shows the enthusiasm of the students at this time for the work of
the college including manual labor. It was signed, "G. W.," initials of
George Washington, a student from Craven. It was published in the
Biblical Recorder, April 1, 1835.
BROTHER MEREDITH: Taking it for granted that you would be pleased to
learn some of the particulars of our operations here, I have taken it upon myself to
give you a brief detail of our internal movements, and I might say, external
movements; for never was a set of fellows kept so constantly on the go. I will begin
at the dawn of day, when the loud peals of the bell arouse us from our sweet repose.
We are allowed about fifteen minutes to dress ourselves and wash, when the bell
summons us to prayers. At this second sound of the bell, the whole plantation seems
alive with moving bodies; a stream of students is seen pouring in from every
direction-some, while on the way, adjusting the deficiencies in their dress, which
they had not time fully to arrange while in their rooms-some with vests wrong side
out-some with eyes half open-and all in haste to reach the chapel in time to answer
to their names. Prayers being over, just as the sun raises his head from behind the
distant forest the Virgil class to which I belong, commences recitation. Other classes
are reciting at the same time. At half past seven, the bell rings for breakfast; a few
minutes after which, study hours commence. Every one is now kept at the top of his
speed; some in recitation, and others preparing for recitation, until 12 o'clock, when
the bell announces the dinner hour; and almost immediately after this we start on the
same mental race. This is kept up through all the classes until three o'clock, when
the bell rings long and loud for the toils of the field. While the bell is ringing the
students assemble in the grove in the front of the dwelling house;– some with axes,
some with grubbing hoes, some with weeding hoes and
―――――――
45 Wake Forest Student, XIII,
195.
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