Biographical Sketches 499
forded. He gave good proof of this by sending him to schools better
than his neighborhood afforded and presided over by eminent
teachers. Each of the three academies which he attended, . . . was
under the management of cultured and scholarly Presbyterian divines.
At the last mentioned (Carthage) he was thoroughly prepared for
college. Indeed, in the classics and in mathematics he had very little
fresh ground to travel over during the first year of his course at Wake
Forest College, although he entered the Sophomore class half
advanced. The date of his matriculation was August, 1849.
So extended was his reading in Latin and Greek, so familiar had he
become with the vocabularies of these incomparable languages, that,
to the last, notwithstanding that his line of teaching seldom lay in that
direction, he could read them with ease.... While a student, and
afterwards tutor, at Wake Forest, largely on account of his good
preparation at the academies, he found and made opportunity for
extensive reading.
The place of valedictorian in the class of 1852, when he graduated
fell by lot to him, Dr. John Mitchell and he being equally matched in
grade. In September, 1852, he became Tutor in the College and held
that position for but one scholastic year, for during the year he had
fully decided to adopt the law as his profession.
In the following year he married Miss Mary E. Foote, of Warren
County, N. C.―a helpmeet indeed, one whose devotion to their
common interests and to him through all the vicissitudes of a married
life of thirty-six years was so marked as to have elicited favorable
comment from all who witnessed it. . . . In bodily weakness a never-
failing aid, in sickness first and last a tender companion and an
untiring nurse, his death alone put an end to her solicitious
While at college he had read a few law books, and now that he had
decided to engage on the practice of law he determined to put himself
under the training of experts in that profession and went for that
purpose to the State University at Chapel Hill. He received his license
to practice law in January, 1855.
Soon after this he was urged by the authorities of Wake Forest
College to accept the Chair of Natural Science-chemistry being then
the leading feature in that department. In the fall of 1855 he consented
to accept it temporarily, expecting to return to the law eventually. But
soon thereafter there were indications of that weakness of the eyes
which constituted throughout life the great drawback upon his ability
to do literary work without the aid of a reader. Thinking properly that
this infirmity would materially interfere with the practice of his
chosen profession and duly considering all the circumstances of the
Previous Page Next Page