The College and Reconstruction 55
How earnest they were, how patient in the face of felt injustices, how
careful not to offend and yet how determined, and though their faces
were towards the future, how loyal to the traditions of the old South.
There were not many men of great ability among them but all had
hearts of pure gold.
In the month of the reopening of the College, January, 1866, the
Societies had their first meetings, the Euzelians on the 19th and the
Philomathesians on the 27th. In the meeting of the Euzelians three
former members, W. B. Royall, A. F. Purefoy, and J. B. Brewer, were
present, of whom only the last was at the time a student. Six other
new men were present and were added by initiation. They organized
by electing W. H. Pace president, J. B. Brewer vice president, and W.
O. Allen recording secretary. At the meeting of the Philomathesians
only two former members were present; one of these was probably
Professor J. H. Foote, the other H. M. Cates, a former student who
had now returned after valiant service as a soldier to complete his
college work. Cates was elected president, H. A. Foote vice president,
A. H. Hicks recording secretary. Just how many were present is not
told in the minutes. In these first meetings the emotions of the young
men were of mingled joy and sorrow-joy to be thought worthy of
becoming members of those time-honored societies, and joy in the
beauty and splendor of the Halls, which were more magnificent than
they had ever seen before, and joy in the stories told by the old
members of the honorable stations in life even then occupied by
former members; sorrow as they thought of those who had given their
lives for the cause of the South.10
Soon both Societies were smoothly carrying on all their work.
―――――――
10
Phi. Soc. Records. "January 27, 1866. Saturday. On that day after an interval of
three years and a half, the Philomathesian Society was established under most
favorable auspices. What a blessing it is that we are permitted to meet in this
magnificent Hall and become members of this time-honored society. Only two old
members were again assembled and it is heart-rending that many noble founders
and perpetuators of this association are, some of them, filling honorable graves on
Virginia's soil. While we are proud to know that many of them are now filling those
honorable stations in life which the Almighty has so wisely ordained, we can but
lament the untimely fate of the honored braves who have fallen for their country's
sake."
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