114 History of Wake Forest College
success, and early in 1874 the committee decided to send an agent to
the North. Probably this was done at the suggestion of Purefoy, since
as a merchant of Forestville and Wake Forest he regularly twice a
year "went North" to buy goods, and he had some business
acquaintances there. And, as was fitting, he was asked to go on the
mission. He was now in his sixty-first year but in the full possession
of his physical and mental powers.
It was a very modest amount that Purefoy proposed to raise―only
ten thousand dollars, but doubtless the committee believed then, as
many did afterwards, that the life of the College depended on the
success of his mission. That Purefoy himself was of the same
conviction is shown by his statement made soon after he began his
work, "The great crisis of the College is now-right now."
With the great import of his mission in mind, even before he left
home for his field of labor he was much in prayer, while the Baptist
churches at Raleigh, Brassfields and Wake Forest covenanted together
to pray for God's help and direction for him in the work. It was a great
work, he said, and he went about it and continued in it with a strong
determination that brought it to completion.
Leaving home on April 16, 1874, he arrived the next morning in
Baltimore and looked in with cheerful face on Dr. T. H. Pritchard who
was there assisting Rev. G. W. Sanderlin, pastor of the Franklin
Square Church, in a series of meetings. The next day, Saturday, April
18, he reached New York and wrote the first of the letters with which
from week to week during his agency he kept the readers of the
Biblical Recorder informed of the progress of his work and all that
concerned it―the means of transportation, hotels, climate and
weather, occupations and industries of the sections he visited with
much statistical detail---education in schools and colleges, business
houses, important buildings and bridges and railroad tunnels, the
churches and in particular the Baptist churches with their pastors, with
outlines of such sermons as he heard them preach, ministers'
3 Biblical Recorder, April 29, 1874.