224 History of Wake Forest College
of President Poteat's intended resignation, "Doctor, I hears that you are going to
make an assignment this year" "Nothing don't succeed Wake Forest"; "I have had a
permanent reversion with the cook, and she made her assignment that she could not
come"―that is, he had had a final interview with the cook and she told him flatly
she would not come. Such expressions gave to his talk a piquancy which greatly
amused and pleased his hearers.
Sometimes when he saw, with his watery eye, that it would be in order, he would
shyly turn his wit on a student. One day a freshman of more than ordinary verdure
and pompousness was rallying Tom for raking leaves when it would have been so
much easier to burn them. Tom listened until lie saw that a reply by him would be
well received by some upperclassmen ranged around, when he said, "Well, Mister, I
don't knows you, but I judges by your remarks that you must be a newish," with
rising emphasis on the last syllable of "newish." The upperclassmen burst into
laughter while Tom kept repeating the word "newish" much to the discomfiture of
the freshman. On another occasion while Tom was burning some grass, a freshman
remarked. "It is almost as black as you are, Tom." Tom immediately replied,
"Yassir, yassir, and next spring it'll be mos ez green as you is."
Tom was not pert or too wise for comfort, being just a sensible servant. Once
many years ago President Taylor, one might say, trapped Tom into a confession.
"Tom, did you make that wine yourself that you let the young men have, or did you
buy it?" "Yassir, Dr. Taylor, yassir, I made it myself, Sir, I made it myself, Sir."
"That is all Tom." And Dr. Taylor could tell the surprised students just where they
got their wine when he had them before him.
Finally Tom kept himself provided with a wife to the end, having married three.
When the students would serenade him and his new bride he would pass the hat for
a collection and get hack to the door with it heavy. Like a great many richer men he
gave his last wives a weekly allowance, and insisted that they should keep the house
and the step-children going on it-and he died with money, not in his pocket, but in a
secret place at the College.
His death was noticed by our State newspapers and the Dearborn Independent.
A few years after his death, at a commencement season, a bronze
bust of him, provided with funds raised by Mr. J. H. Rich, was un-
veiled on the Campus with fitting ceremonies. It was first placed near
the Church, but has been moved to the north wall of the Campus near
the Lea Laboratory.