88 History of Wake Forest College
from the requirement of three hours a day of every student without
exception. He urges raising cotton because the picking would furnish
labor for the students in the fall of the year. The Trustees insisted that
no student should be admitted who would not conform to the manual
labor requirements, and that three hours of labor a day for every day
in the week except Sunday should be required of all. But it seems to
have been found impossible to enforce these requirements. The Board
on December 25, 1836, modified them so as to require no work on
Saturdays, and when the faculty should consider that amount
sufficient only two hours a day. In actual practice the students worked
not more than one hour a day on the
There were other minor troubles; one was the matter of employing
colored help on the farm. At first the Board prohibited it; later the
farmer was given permission to employ "three black boys to follow
the plough." At first also students did not object to any kind of work,
"that an honest farmer is not ashamed to do," but after two years we
find the friends of the system insisting that the students were called
upon to do no "dirty work"52
Soon the Institute began to receive students of a different type from
those of the first year, that is boys who had proved failures at other
schools and were sent to Wake Forest for
These men
were reluctant to work either in their classes or in the field.
It was a matter of disappointment to many that the amounts
received by the students for their labor were too small to make any
great reduction in the cost of their education. Skilled mechanics like
William Ussery, J. L. Prichard, and W. H. Walthal were allowed eight
and one-third cents an hour, but the highest farm wage for students, as
we have seen, was three cents an hour. After the first year provision
was made for four or five "laboring students" who probably did very
little literary work, and earned their way by doing extra time on the
farm. But the regular stu-
"Amicus," Biblical Recorder, November 2, 1836.
W. T. Brooks, Alumni Address,
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