154 History of Wake Forest College
be so sweet with me!" After a while all left the room except Mrs. Wingate, Mrs.
Walters and me. He looked me in the face and said,
"Mills, old fellow, how are you?" In a few minutes I saw his face light up as I had
so often seen it do when he was getting ready to preach, and then, struggling for
breath, he took his text: "For I was alive without the law once; but the
commandment came, sin revived and I died," and began to preach his last sermon.
At first he would leave out one or two words in a sentence, and then three or four,
and then more and more, and when he ceased to preach he was dead. Then I recalled
to mind a couplet which he used to sing so often:
I'll speak the honors of Thy name
With my last laboring breath.
His funeral services on the following Saturday were largely
attended. The sermon was by Dr. W. B. Royall, from the text: "Mark
the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is
peace." Psalm 37:37. Others who had part in the services were Dr. T.
H. Pritchard, Dr. F. H. Ivey, Dr. W. R. Gwaltney, and Dr. W. T.
Brooks. His body was buried in the Wake Forest graveyard, and the
grave is now marked by a marble shaft. At the following
Commencement an elaborate eulogy of the dead president was
delivered by Dr. F. H. Ivey, and later published.
Wingate at his death was nearly fifty-one years old, having been
born on March 22, 1828. He had been the chief executive of the
College since August, 1854, a period of nearly twenty-five years,
longer than any other has served in that capacity. Though for more
than three and a half years, May 5, 1862, to January 15, 1866, regular
instruction was suspended at the College, and though Wingate himself
did not reassume his duties as teacher and administrator, until
January, 1867, the responsibility was his during all this time. Since he
so powerfully and for so long a period influenced the progress of the
College a rather full appraisal of him and his work in the presidency
In the first place, Wingate was a man of first class mental ability, a
fact that has sometimes been forgotten in consideration of his exalted
piety. But those who knew him best and themselves were competent
to speak have not forgotten to say that in intellectual powers he was
the equal of any man of his generation,