He was the most famous of all the College's servants, and served a longer time
than any other. On that account, I am giving here with slight changes a sketch of
him which I wrote soon after his death and which appeared in the Wake Forest
Student for October, 1927.
"Doctor" Tom Jeffries, the well-known College servant, died at his home in
Wake Forest on July 4, 1927, after an illness of four weeks. His funeral was in the
College chapel on July 6, with the members of the College faculty acting as
honorary pall-bearers. Talks were made by Dr. W. R. Cullom, who directed the
service, by Dr. N. Y. Gulley, Dr. J. H. Gorrell, and by Pastor Ransom of the Negro
Baptist Church of Wake Forest.
The following sketch of him is based on information furnished by Tom himself
and copied by the writer in September, 1926, and confirmed by Dr. W. B. Royall
and by Willis Johnson, Tom's colored friend who had known him from boyhood.
Tom was born about 1850, and hence at the time of his death was about seventy-
seven years old. His mother was the slave of Mr. Billy Lofman of Mecklenburg
County, Virginia, who had six sons in the Civil War, in which three of them lost
their lives. After the surrender Tom took the family name of his father who had
belonged to a man named Jeffries. Tom remained in Virginia until 1879 or 1880,
where he married his first wife, Jennie Hayes, by whom he had eight children.
While in Virginia he was a tenant farmer. When he reached Wake Forest he found
Dr. Pritchard president of the College. Tom worked as a day laborer for several
years. In 1883 he worked for Dr. W. B. Royall.
From 1884 to 1927, for 43 years, he worked continuously for Wake Forest
College, the periods of his service coinciding almost exactly with that of the
administration of Dr. Charles E. Taylor and Dr. William Louis Poteat. According to
Tom, he was "lected to take charge of the grounds, the setting of trees and cutting of
walks" by Dr. Taylor. He also had the main part in building the wall around the
eastern half of the campus.
When Tom began to work for the College, John Lewis was already here,
"cleaning buildings and ringing the bell," a work which he kept up "until he failed,"
when this work was taken up by Len Crenshaw, who entered the service of the
College about a year later than Tom;
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