James H. Carlisle Jr., Memories of Wofford College
To most alumni these memories would apply to the four to six years spent at this institution. But to me, it is interwoven into all stages of my life, from infancy to childhood, from childhood to youth, from youth to young manhood, and from young manhood to middle age.
To me, Wofford was more than merely an institution of learning, it was the source from which, through the labors of my father, I obtained all that was worth living for: a home, food, clothing, and all the elements that go into the forming of character.
[James Henry Carlisle, Jr. was born on August 22, 1863 in the Carlisle home on the Wofford campus. He grew up on the campus, where his father was a professor and later the college's third president, and he graduated from Wofford in 1885. He was a teacher in Spartanburg, and was involved in the real estate business. A lifetime member of Central United Methodist Church, he was married to Emma May Hellams Carlisle. They had one son, James Henry Carlisle III, who graduated from Wofford in 1940. Carlisle wrote these Memories of Wofford College at some point during the 1920s. James Carlisle Jr. died on February 27, 1940.
There are at least two handwritten versions of the memories, and the transcriber and editor have used portions of both in creating this digital edition. This collection includes 87 of the entries in the manuscript, a few others have been omitted or have not yet been transcribed. ]
The Main Building
This building has changed very little in outward appearance since my childhood, the only changes being rock steps in front where there were no steps, and planted sides and front. It is unlike any other building I have ever seen, except the old Saint John's School, which stood where Converse College now stands, but it was different from Wofford, in that the towers were not so well proportioned.
The Main Building is 226 feet in length by 42 feet in width, 54 feet in height, with a chapel in the center 80 feet from front to rear, and 48 feet broad, flanked by two towers each 100 feet high
The city should be proud of Wofford. The city of Spartanburg may well boast of her numerous factories whose chimneys besmirch the sky with their smoke, but of for more importance are those two square towers, of Wofford College, which have overlooked the city for 78 years. For a while, the factories could only churn out cloth, the college turns out the men who make the factories possible.
The “campus” as it was then called, was nothing but an old field, grown up in second growth pines. I well remember how the “boys” of those days, the late Capt. W.E. Burnett, then “Buck”, Rev. Arthur Walker, then just Arthur, Dr. J.G. Clinkscales, then just “Clink” or John used to play ball in front of the College, the Home Base being under that old Post Oak, that I heard an old graduate of the class of '75 say was the some now as then. A $50,000 dollar athletic field was an unheard of proposition.
Main Approach to the Campus
This approach to the campus was a road running from Charles Street, near where the Southern Railroad now crosses to Wofford College in front of the house of the late Capt. John W. Carlisle, a long bridge spanning the branch, where now runs the Southern Rail Road and C.C. and G.R.R.
I remember the last time we crossed over the bridge, it was then being torn down by an old colored man, Paul Simmons, who was for years quite a character about the campus.
When this present road was being built around the campus, I remember that my mother went out and begged the woodman to spare the large oak and hickory nut trees that stand to this day in front of Dr. D. D. Wallace's residence.
In the rear of the campus on what is now Cleveland St. there were no houses, save one or two Negro houses, that stood near where “Snyder Park” is now situated. Behind the college there was nothing but woods. On the campus there were but five professor's houses and the Main Building.
[Charles Street is now Daniel Morgan Avenue. The Home that was D. D. Wallace's home had been the Carlisle home on the campus.]
Founding of Wofford College
Men might and would differ as to who was the greatest man Wofford ever turned out or as to the greatest event in the long and brilliant record, but there can be no difference of opinion as to what is the most important document ever penned, both as it reflects Wofford and the State, and also the South Carolina Methodist Episcopal Church. The manuscript is written on 12 pages of large letter paper, somewhat yellowed by age, and 1/3 of it has reference to Wofford College. It is the will of the late Rev. Benjamin Wofford, and can be found by anyone interested, in the probate judge's office of Spartanburg County and is known as box 19 pkg 40. The part relating to Wofford College is as follows:
[Benjamin Wofford's will is now part of the collection of the State Archives in Columbia.]
The Will of Benjamin Wofford
In the name of God, amen. I, Benj. Wofford of Spartanburg, minister of the Gospel being of sound and disposing mind and memory, being mindful of the uncertainty of life do make and publish and declare this my last will and Testament, hereby canceling or revoking all former wills and testaments by me therefore made.
Item No. 1 For the purpose of establishing and endowing a college for literary, classical, and scientific education to be located in my native district of Spartanburg and to have under the control and management of the Methodist Episcopal Church of my native state, South Carolina. I order and direct my executions herein after named to pay over, transfer and deliver, Fifty thousand dollors to W. M. Wightman, H. Bass, W. A. Gamewell, J.H. Wheeler, W. Barringer, Rev. H. A. C. Walker, John A. Paler, David Derrick, May Harvey Wofford, H. H. Thompson and J.W. Tucker, Clough Beard, and Dr. Berry Wofford, or to the survivors and successors of them, in whom I vest the fifty thousand dollars with none other than a fiduciary estate in trust, never the less, to for and upon, the uses interests and purposes herein after the expressed and directed of and concerning the same. In trust to purchase a tract of land in the district of Spartanburg and State of South Carolina, which they or their survivors or survivor of them shall deem a suitable situation for a College Building, professor's houses, and other offices or buildings as they or their survivors or survivor of them deemed expedient, that they purchase the land and erect the said buildings as soon as the same can be done with proper economy.
2nd That after the purchase of such land and the erection of such buildings as the said Rev. W.M. Wightman, H. Bass, W.A. Gamewell, J.H. Wheeler, W. Barringer, H.A.C. Walker, John Pater, and David Derrick, Maj. Harvey Wofford, H.H. Durant, J.W. Tucker, Clough Beard and Dr. Benj. Wofford, they or their survivors or survivor of them shall transfer and convey the whole of said estate of land and buildings hereto for especially instructed and invested in them, in trust aforesaid, to a Board of Trustees consisting of thirteen persons to be appointed once every two years, by the Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, of the State of South Carolina, and their successors, in trust always for the uses and purposes of a College free from all debts and contracts of all kinds by and Board of Trustees to appointed or aforesaid, and free from all power and disposing and conveying away the same by the said trustees.
After the land and the buildings are erected by the said men mentioned above, or their survivors or survivor above specified and Conference of the Methodist E. Church of the State of South Carolina has appointed the thirteen trustees as above directed, and the men mentioned above or their or their survivors or survivor have conveyed and transferred the College land and buildings in trust to the said Trustees as aforesaid, then I will order and direct my executors to my Will to pay over/transfer and divide, fifty thousand dollars unto the Trustees appointed by the aforesaid Conference in whom and in their successors I vest the said property and estate, with none other than an fiduciary estate and upon the uses, interests, and purposes herein after expressed and concerning the same: in trust always to appropriate only the annual interest as dividends thereof to establishing, endowing, and sustaining said College.
And the said trustees when appointed as herein directed are hereby vested with all the rights and powers necessary for the government control, management, and discipline of said college, for the election of such Professors, President, and officers for such periods as they shall deem proper, provided they shall not elect any officer for a longer term than four years, also they are hereby vested with full power for the appropriation of the funds at their disposal as above specified, allowing such salaries and expenditures as may be required and expedient, and itemized account of which shall be annually transmitted the aforesaid Conference for inspection and examination, also they are invested with full power for establishing of such bylaws, rules, and regulations as the welfare and interests of the institution may require.
I hereby nominate, constitute, and appoint my nephew Maj. Harvey Wofford and Dr. Benj. Wofford my executors of this my last will and testament.
In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal 1st day of February 1850, witnesses W.W. Harris, J. Waddy Thomson, J.B. Cleveland, Benj. Wofford
Meeting which brought Wofford here
The following from the Carolina Spartan of April 23rd, 1851, given an account of a very important meeting that was held relating to the establishing of the college here-
[see the Spartanburg Herald of June 8, 1924]
First Meeting of the Board of Trustees
This meeting of the Trustees was a momentous one in the early history of Spartanburg. The board elected permanent organization by electing Rev. W. M. Wightman, D.D., president, Rev. John A. Porter, secretary, and J. W. Tucker, treasurer.
As a result of these several days deliberation, Spartanburg was selected, and the following committee appointed, which in modern days would be termed the “building committee.” Col. H. H. Thomas, Rev. C. S. Beard, Maj. H. Wofford, and J. W. Tucker.
[The Building Committee was responsible for the selection of an architect and supervising construction of the campus. William Wightman, as president of the board, joined the building committee/]
Strictly a town institution
Having decided to locate in the village of Spartanburg, the trustees adopted the “non-resident system” for the college, that is, the students were neither to eat or sleep in the college building, but were to be accommodated in private families, it being contended that in this manner the boys would continue to enjoy the refining and restraining influences of home. The idea paramount was there should not be established a distinctive community and that the students should not feel that they had any interest separate from and apart from that of the town itself.
First Financial Agent
Rev. H. A. C. Walker was named by the board [of trustees] the financial agent of the College.
[Rev. Hugh Andrew Crawford Walker himself was a member of the board of trustees and an acquaintance of Benjamin Wofford. His wife was William Wightman's sister.]
Trustees Buy Tract of Land
The trustees bought a tract of 40 acres, more or less, being in the northern section of the city, from Jesse Cleveland, the grandfather of Dr. Jesse and J. B. [John Bomar] Cleveland. See Deed Book 2 G page 96
Deed from Jesse Cleveland
“Know all men by these presents, that I Jesse Cleveland, of the town of Spartanburg, in the county and state aforesaid, for the consideration of $1,835 dollars to me in hand paid by the trustees of Wofford College, located in the town of Spartanburg, in the county and state aforesaid, have granted, sold, and released unto the said trustees of Wofford College, namely W. M. Wightman (and the rest] all that parcel of land lying and being in the town of Spartanburg, beginning on the Rutherford Road near North Church Street stone corner running thence … [difficult to interpret], containing 40 acres, more or less, bounded on all sides by a street 60 feet wide, which I have given to the public in this grant. Witness my hand and seal this 21st day of June, 1851. Jesse Cleveland.”
Laying the Corner Stone
The account of the laying of the corner stone is taken from the Carolina Spartan of July 10, 1851, omitted from the digital edition
The Charter of Wofford College
[omitted from the digital edition]
The Faculty Elected
“Trustees held their first meeting to organize under the Charter at Newberry, SC, 24th of November, 1853 when the following resolutions were adopted:
Resolved, that the faculty of the College consist of a President, who shall be Professor of Moral and Mental Science, a Professor of English Literature, a Professor of the Latin and Greek Languages, a Professor of Mathematics, and a Professor of Natural Science.
Resolved, further, that the services of the President, and the Professor of Ancient Languages, and the Professor of Mathematics only be out in requisition during the first scholastic term.
The Rev. W.M. Wightman, D.D., was that the same time elected President; Rev. Albert M. Shipp, A.M. Professor of English Literature; David Duncan, A.M. Professor of Ancient Languages; James H. Carlisle, A.M. Professor of Mathematics; and Warren DuPre, A.M. Professor of Natural Science.
Professor Shipp declined his appointment and continued in the duties of his professorship in the University of North Carolina. Professor DuPre was authorized to visit institutions of learning at discretion, to purchase apparatus, and to make all needed provision for his department of instruction, and did not therefore, enter upon the duties of his chair until the 1st of August, 1855. The Rev. Whitefoord Smith, D.D. was elected to fill the vacancy of Professor of English Literature Dec 1st.
[Five years later, Shipp answered the call of the trustees and became the college's second president.]
The New Professors Arrive
The following notice is from the Spartan of Saturday morning, July 29th, 1854. Since our last issue, the Rev. Wightman, President of Wofford College (accompanied by his wife and family, and Professor J. H. Carlisle and family have arrived in Spartanburg all in good health, we are pleased to state, and ready for the duties before them.
Professor Duncan and Family arrived several days ago and we doubt not, are ere this, have regarded themselves at home.
The President and the two professors are now among us and we welcome them ornaments to society and examples to the young generation.
Wofford College Begins its Career of Usefulness.
On Thursday August the 4th, 1854, Wofford College began with sophomore and freshman class. We have not been able to learn the number of applicants admitted, but we understand it was reasonably large. The present duties of the college not requiring the presence of all the professors, they were discharged except professor David Duncan and James H. Carlisle. To the young gentlemen, who have connected themselves this early with the institution, we would say, you will exercise no insignificant agency in stamping the character of this institution for years to come.
There may be abler professors and complete philosophical apparatus but the only way that we would judge the institution is by its fruits. But particularly is the moral character of this institution, which is destined to hold the treasure of many fond hearts in your keeping. We trust that the President of the College may live to see it occupy a position in every way worthy of the magnificence of the founder, worthy of the able faculty, who are to preside over its destinies and worth of the Methodist Conference of South Carolina.
These remarks “to the young gents” in the light of the history of the college seem prophetic. For the President Dr. Wightman watched it grow from this small beginning until his death in the early [eighteen] eighties, Prof. David Duncan was connected with it for 25 years, till his death in 1881, while my father was connected with it for 55 years until his death in 1909. The use of the phrases “by its fruits” and “the moral character” of the institution are very striking when we remember how often these truths were stressed by him throughout his life. This last address was made to the teacher of the State in the chapel at Wofford the summer before he died, and in this last speech to the teachers of the State for whom he had done so much and loved so well, he said, “Let it be our constant aim, that every day we spend in the school room may tend to furnish those results, which the Persian General demanded of the University “Fruits gentlemen, fruits in the soundness of men.”
Often when we were sitting on our western piazza watching the summer sun, setting broad and low, he would say as musing over his life, “Buddie, if I have made any mistake, it has been that I stressed character instead of scholarship.” He did not mean that he thought he had made a mistake, but just raised the question, “If I have.”
The Early Commencements of Wofford College
There were three commencements in the early history of Wofford each claiming to be the first.
This confusing of Commencements arose from the following reasons; there was the first commencement in 1855.
At this commencement there were no graduating exercises, as the college had not been in existence long enough to have a graduating class. This first commencement is described by the Southern Christian Advocate in its issue of 1855 as follows:
“Mr. Editor- We have had a lovely day and a day of deep and thrilling interest to the friends of religious education. We have just passed through the first commencement of Wofford College, and as there was no graduating class, the president and Professors, Duncan and Carlisle, in compliance with the requests of the Board of Trustees delivered inaugural addresses in the College Chapel. At nine o'clock a procession- and a very respectable one for the first- formed in front of the Palmetto House and marched to the college where already a deeply interested assembly was in waiting. The exercises were opened with prayer to which succeeded the addresses, and the whole was closed with the benediction. The three addresses varied but little from fifty minutes each in delivery, and were listened to with marked attention, and cannot have failed to produce a fine effect in the right direction.
In the first the orator sketched the condition and circumstances of the new institution of learning, giving prominence as it does of great usefulness, and paid a passing tribute to the memory of the late Benjamin Wofford. College life- its advantages, the manner of embracing and improving them- was dwelt upon. Then the blessings to the church and the country likely to flow from the fountain of learning, besides other interesting topics engaged the audience to the close.
In concluding, the speaker took occasion to say that the Methodist Church had no representation in either faculty or board in the South Carolina College. If this resulted from any of proper educational qualifications, it was time to wipe out this defect, and here, on these henceforth classic grounds, was the remedy; but if, on the other hand, the claim of this Church in its members, its taxpaying wealth, and its educated men had been ignored by those controlling the state institution, then it was high time that a decent self-respect should lead to a marked disapproval of such an odious caste and to the education of the young where it did not exist: and so without denouncing the state college, or injuring, for it has ignored our existence, let Wofford be nobly sustained. The above is from the President, Dr. W.M. Wightman's address.
Professor Duncan followed in a chased noble plea for the study of the classics. This address was marked with the profound scholarship and forceful elegant direction of the veteran teacher who delivered it.
Prof. Carlisle succeeded: and to those who know him, it will be enough to say that the speech was one of Prof. Carlisle's own happy efforts, at once profound, delightful.
In closing, he extended a fraternal hand to all similar institutions and paying a tribute to the South Carolina College “in some part a mother of us all” said the orator- and hoping that when Wofford College should be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, as the state College is doing this year, that institution still flourishing and vigorous, might be celebrating its own one-hundredth.”
Another commencement held in July 1856 was called the first because it was the first where a diploma was given. Their Diploma was given to Hon. Samuel Dibble, who came to Wofford College from the Charleston College and carried on his work partly alone, and partly in connection with the Junior class.
He became a lawyer of note and a capitalist. He was honored by being sent to Congress five times.
I remember his alumni address he delivered. He was a very striking looking man, of medium height and well-built, clean shaven, except for a black mustache.
Dr. Newton T. Walker, for so long head of the school for the Deaf and the Blind at Cedar Springs, remembers this Commencement, and given his impressions of it as follows, “When Samuel Dibble, the first graduate of Wofford received his diploma, at the commencement of 1856, I was a little child and went with my father Rev. Newton P. Walker to see the commencement exercises, and I recall distinctly seeing the ceremony of Wofford's first diploma being given to its winner Samuel Dibble, that was 68 years ago and since that date it would be difficult to estimate the numerous numbers of diplomas given by that historic institution.”
The other Commencement is called the first because it was the first at which diplomas were given to those who had completed the course at Wofford and was held on Wednesday 8th of July 1857- The following is taken from an old newspaper.
“On Wednesday morning the 8th there assembled in the a chapel a large and interesting audience composed of youth, beauty and old age, to witness the Commencement Exercises at Wofford College. The hall was filled to overflowing, and contained perhaps the largest number of persons that has ever been collected together [in the] annals of the town. There were representatives of beauty and intelligence from all parts of the state and from adjourning counties in North Carolina. It was the second Commencement and we might say the first regular graduating class of the Institution there having been only one graduate at the previous commencement who came from Charleston College and carried on his studies partly alone and partly in connection with the junior class. The class numbered six as follows:
De Lingua Latin by George Cofield
Cicero by Robert Bowie
History by J. N. Carlisle
Law and Dignity by S. M. Dawkins
The Calico Flag by W. M. Martin
The Dangers and duties of educated men by Charles Petty
The Baccalaureate address was delivered by the President, Dr. W. M. Wightman. The Commencement, that was to have been delivered by Bishop Geo. F. Pierce but who was prevented from coming was preached by his father [The Reverend] Lovick Pierce, who came all the way from Georgia on horseback. He preached from the Text “One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell what thou hast and give to the poor.” He preached a great sermon that day.
Rev. Benjamin Wofford
My father said “the only time I ever saw Rev. Benjamin Wofford was at church one night in Columbia, SC in 1850. He was pointed out to me as a rich local Methodist Preacher. The thing that struck me most about him was the fact that he was called a rich Methodist preacher, two words not commonly associated together.” My father never dreamed that he was looking at a man that was to endow an institution of which he was to become professor and then President, nor did Rev. Wofford know that there was a young man in that audience who was going to make, along with other Professors of like character, the college that he had in mind a success.
My father said Rev. Wofford came near buying the Limestone Springs property, now in Gaffney Cherokee County. A map of this property is on record in this county at the court house, as it was at one time in this county. The price, location, and every thing suited, but the owner and Rev. Wofford differed on the amount of interest that Rev. Wofford was to pay, which of course was a small amount. Thus it was a small amount that made the difference between Wofford College being placed here instead of at Gaffney. Who would be bold enough to say what would have been the difference should Rev. Wofford have chosen Gaffney instead of Spartanburg in the size of these two cities today. To illustrate the farsightedness of Mr. Wofford he purchased the corner lot between what is now West Main and Wall St. where the Carolina National Bank was located. Seeing Mr. John B. Archer and knowing him to be a young man of striking worth, he said to him, “John that is going to be a valuable corner someday. You had better buy it.” Mr. Archer replied “I have no money with which to purchase it.” “I will sell the lot to you and wait on you for the money,” said Mr. Wofford. Accordingly, Mr. Archer bought the lot, paying $1300 for it. He ran a harness shop there for years.
A kinsman of Rev. Wofford is responsible for the following incident, relative to this trade. Mr. Archer saved up enough money to pay Mr. Wofford all he owed him except three cents. He goes to Rev. Wofford and says, “Here is all I have to pay you except three cents.” Mr. Wofford replied “That's alright about you giving me the three cents, but John do not forget the interest on it.”
Rev. Wofford at one time owned that was afterward known as the Old Hinneman House. This lot lay between shorter Wofford Street and the Cleveland saw range. It was owing to this fact that Wofford Street was so named.
Rev. Wofford died in this house on December the 1st, 1850.
He bought in all 6000 acres of land in this county, thus showing what a strong faith he had in growth of the county as well as the city.
In the Carolina Spartan of December 3rd 1850 is the following:
“This man and venerable minister departed this life on Monday at half past 6 o'clock. He has been a minister of the Gospel of the Methodist Episcopal Church for nearly fifty years. By industry, economy, and much care thru life he has accumulated a very large fortune, the greater part of which he has devised for the erection of a college in Spartanburg, SC to be under the direction of the South Carolina Conference of the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church. When the facts are all known as we are informed, it will be found that this venerable gentleman has made one of the largest and most magnificent bequests ever made in
My father said that this was the largest gift ever South Carolina given up to this time, to the cause of Education south of the Mason and Dixon Line.
His remains have since been brought to Spartanburg and buried in front of the Main College Building, and over there the Authorities have erected a granite monument, on which is inscribed the year of his birth Oct. 19th 1780 and the date of his death Dec. 2nd 1850 and this appropriate epitaph, in Latin “si monumentum queriaer circumspice.” If you seek a monument, look around you.
[The remains of Benjamin Wofford and Anna Todd Wofford were moved to campus on Founder's Day, October 19, 1920, by the college.]
President William M. Wightman
The first President Dr. W. M. Wightman was afterward made Bishop. Any description of Wofford College that left out its first President would be very incomplete. He resigned from the faculty many years before his death, yet he was connected with it in some way until his death in the early [eighteen] eighties.
In appearance he was very much as shown in that fine portrait of him in the Calhoun Literary Society. It represents him as black hair, large, dark, very expressive eyes, the large and sensitive mouth of the born orator- a very handsome man. In figure he was short, but well proportioned.
In one of his sermons that he preached in the old church that stood where Central M. E. Church now stands, speaking of the useless lives led by those who danced, he cried out “They out dance the last pale star of the morning, and so go to bed early in the morning to dream of pleasures.”
Another time I remember him was in the early eighties, when he was beginning to show in his face and bearing signs of that sickness that was to usher him into that heaven he had so long preached. It was at Austen, SC, well known to the traveling public of that day, as one of the most uninteresting stations to wait for trains in the state. But we young people on this train did not find it a bit tiresome that day as Bishop Wightman gathered us around him and told us interesting incidents in his own life, with an occasional story from Uncle Remus.
[Wightman was president from 1853 to 1859, when he left to become chancellor of Southern University, now Birmingham-Southern College. He was elected bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1866.]
The first faculty, that I remember, consisted of Dr. Warren DuPre, Professor of Chemistry, who lived in the house so long occupied by his son Prof. D. A. DuPre, who took his father's place when he left to take the Presidency of a Ladies College at Abingdon, VA. [Martha Washington College]; Dr. Whitefoord Smith, Professor of English, who lived in the house now occupied by Dr. Henry N. Snyder [Now Snyder House, home of the business office]; Dr. J. H. Carlisle, Professor of Mathematics, who lived where Dr. D. D. Wallace now resides [now the Carlisle-Wallace House, home of Dean of Students Roberta Hurley]; Prof. David Duncan, Professor of Greek, who lived in the house where Professor A. M. DuPre now lives; and A. M. Shipp, President of the college, and who was also Professor of Moral Sciences. This also constituted the original faculty except Dr. W. M. Wightman took the place of Dr. A. M. Shipp as Professor of Moral Sciences. There was one more professor, Rev. A. H. Lester who lived on North Church St.
Professor Warren DuPre
Professor DuPre was a tall, portly, fine looking man. He was very fond of children and we in turn gave him our heart's best affections. He used to call me Jim “Crack Corn” and would often sing in that fine voice of his, “Jim Crack Corn, I don't care” very much to my embarrassment.
The meeting held in old Central Church when Prof. DuPre arose in his seat, which was near the center and made the announcement, that he was going to leave to take the Presidency of the Young Ladies College at Abingdon, Va. [Martha Washington College] was a memorable one. The large audience burst into tears, as though it was a funeral. Dr. DuPre held meetings for the young ladies of the town on Sunday afternoons similar to those held by my father for young men. Many of the older ladies of the city remember with pleasure and profit the lessons they learned at these meetings.
Dr. Whitefoord Smith
Was in his day, considered one of the most eloquent preachers in the Southern Methodist [Episcopal] Church. While his reading of the Bible or hymns or the psalms was a revelation to the average layman, I can still seem to hear his truly marvelous voice after all these years, when ever the communion services are read.
What old student does not recall how, when he had in a sing-song fashion recited “On London when the rum was low, all bloodless lay the untrodden snow.” Dr. Smith would say “stop young man”. Then running his finger around inside of his large collar and drawing his head down until his beard almost disappeared, he would roll out these same lines in a voice that was as sweet as a bugle.
Dr. Smith had an old gray horse named “Lee”, who was noted for two things: his great age, and the slowness of his movements.
The following anecdote will illustrate this: one of the boys of the campus was seen to have driven a stick into the ground and was sighting behind it at Dr. Smith and his old gray horse. Someone said to him, “What are you doing?” He replied, “I am sighting to see if Dr. Smith and his horse are moving.”
Once, when Dr. Smith was driving to town in his buggy, and overtook Prof. Duncan, who was walking like the gentleman he was, Dr. Smith said to him, “Prof. Duncan will you ride with me?” Prof. Duncan replied, “No, thank you, I am in a hurry.”
Professor David Duncan
Prof. David Duncan was a small man, and always well dressed, with large well-proportioned head.
One of my earliest recollections is that of being put up on the gate post to watch Prof. Duncan go to and from college.
He used to have a small box, about 4 inches by 4 inches, in which he was in the habit of placing the names of the class, and when he wished to call on any member of the class, he would pick up the box, shake it, and then take out the name of the man who he wished to recite or read the Greek text. It is said that some of the boys would take their names out of the box and thus escape reciting.
It is said that one of his standing jokes was the first time he gave a class a lesson in the New Greek Testament to remark “Well young gentlemen you will not have to send off for a translation!”
Dr. A. M. Shipp
Dr. Shipp was President of the College at this time. He was a very dignified Christian gentleman. I remember him as he is pictured in that fine portrait of him in the Calhoun Literary Society.
There was one thing about him that impressed me very much and that was that when he gave the graduating class the farewell address, at commencement, he did it in Latin.
[Rev. Albert Micajah Shipp was president from 1859 to 1875.]
Rev. A. H. Lester
He was a fine Christian gentleman. In summing up, in regard to those who were called the original five, with Rev. A. H. Lester making six, I wish to say that the consensus of opinion among those boys who came under their direct influence, as well as those who while not under their direct influence, yet were in college near enough to know and feel their influence, is that those six men have never had their equals, much less their superiors, in all that goes to the making of Christian manhood. In the sweep of their intellectual attainments, in the breadth of their love for their fellow men, in the moral grandeur of their character, in their influence on the Community in which they lived, in the high and noble ideals they instilled into the young men that came under their influence they have never been equaled in the long ling of brilliant men who have been connected with this institution from that day to this.
[Archibald H. Lester was a member of the faculty from 1866 to 1873, teaching history and Biblical literature. He was a Methodist minister in the South Carolina conference.]
Decade between 1875-1880
This decade was a very trying one for the college for several reasons.
Of the old faculty only Dr. Whitefoord Smith, Prof. David Duncan and my father Dr. James H. Carlisle were left.
Of these my father was the only one who could be counted on for anything other than their regular work for Prof. Duncan was too old as he graduated from the University of Dublin in 1809. Dr. Smith was in feeble health. The college was in a bad financial way as we extract from the Catalogue. “The aggregate amount contributed and pledged by subscription, largely exceeded the minimum endowment of $200,000 which the Board of Trustees had adjudged to be necessary and had resolved to raise. This comfortable endowment (except a few thousand dollars) was entirely lost by the war.”
“The members of the South Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South with the large hearted laymen, whose fidelity and zeal in the cause of Christian education have been attested, constitute the only remaining pillars on which the college must in future lean for support: but these, it is believed will prove under God all sufficient to sustain the growing fabric of her usefulness.” This was a time that required extra hard work, for Wofford was changing from the small college set among the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, “Land lock” into a college in a growing city with the Southern R.R., giving both it and the College connection with the great intellectual and business life that was throbbing in the north and west. It was during this period of its history that three Professors were chosen, who by their intellectual training, did as much, if not more than anyone else to bring the college through this crisis. These three were W. W. Duncan, afterwards Bishop, Dr. Charles Forster Smith and Dr. W. M. Baskerville.
Bishop W. W. Duncan
He was connected with Wofford in more ways than any one else in its entire history. He entered college soon after he came here, he graduated, thus was an alumnus, in 1875 he was elected to the Chair of Mental and Moral Philosophy, and became Financial Agent for the college. Thus became a Professor. His son T. C. Duncan graduated in the class of 1881 thus making him a patron of the institution. After his election to the Episcopacy in 1886 he was chairman of the Board of Trustees, which office he held to the day of his death.
It was owing to his financial and business ability that the college was able to weather the financial storm as well as it did.
[William Wallace Duncan was the son of original faculty member David Duncan, so in addition to being a student, alumnus, faculty member and administrator, trustee, and parent, he was also a faculty child. He lived in the president's home on campus because President James Carlisle chose not to live there. In 1886, when elected bishop, he built a large home on North Church Street between downtown and the campus, and made his seat as a bishop in Spartanburg. The house was moved to a lot near Magnolia Cemetery in 1999.]
Dr. Charles Forster Smith
He was an old Wofford man, who had taken a Post graduate course in some of the finest universities of Europe. He along with Dr. W. M. Baskerville[+] who afterwards became Professor in Vanderbilt University holding the Chair of English, substituted the written examination for the oral. They also instituted a more accurate and modern interpretation of their various studies. But of more importance, they were endowed with high ideals of what a student should be. This spirit the brightest men of the period caught.
The most brilliant of all these young men, who came under their influence was Dr. James H. Kirkland, who I remember was a student who stayed out of college because he was too young to enter.
[Actually spelled Baskervill]
[Smith was in the Wofford class of 1872]
Dr. James H. Kirkland
He caught the spirit of Dr. Smith and Dr. Baskerville, and like them went over to Europe and took his [doctoral] degree. He was elected to fill the Chair of Latin at Vanderbilt University. This was his third choice, as he preferred either Greek or English, but he filled the Chair so successfully that at the death of Dr. Garland he was elected Chancellor of the University, a position he has continued to fill for all these years with distinguished ability.
I heard my father say of him in this connection, that “I would let Dr. Kirkland teach any branch that he would consent to teach.” He also taught at Wofford College several years before he went to Europe.
[James Hampton Kirkland graduated from Wofford in 1877]
Dr. Charles Forster Smith and Dr. James H. Kirkland
I wish to say that these two Professors above all the alumni Wofford has turned out, come the nearest to being my idea of an ideal Professor. In their intellectual grasp of their particular lines of study, in their general culture and in the influence on their day and generation, they stand out preeminent among their associates. Even as young Professors they were noted for their ability to impart their knowledge to others.
Prof. Frank C. Woodward
During this period Wofford had a very remarkable man as one of its professors, Dr. Frank C. Woodward, of whom my father said “He has one of the brightest minds I have ever met.” He was of medium height, with broad almost athletic shoulders, head round and well-formed, clean shaven except for a small light mustache. He had fine blue eyes and a very expressive face. In dress he was immaculate. He was one of the finest conversationalists I have ever met, while in repartee, few if any equals.
He was called back from the South Carolina University, to which he had been called to act as President, to deliver the literary address. While here he was asked to deliver a medal, and while making his speech, the young man to whom he was to deliver the medal suddenly came forward on the rostrum unasked. Dr. Woodward, turning to face the young man said, “You go and sit down, for I am like the old farmer who was driving his two horse team with a great load of hay very fast in order to get the hay into the stable before the rain, when the wagon was overturned, covering the farmer with hay just in front of his wife, to whom he said, 'Wife, will you go in as I have something to say that I do not wish you to hear.'” The following incident occurred in his classroom. Judge J.L. Gentry, then just “Joe” wrote a hand that it seems was at that time very hard to read, so one day when Mr. Gentry had given in a peculiarly badly written exercise, Prof. Woodward wrote at the bottom of his paper, “Mr. Gentry, you must write more clearly and distinctly.” Joe after looking at this writing for some time as though he could not read the writing, went up to the him before the class and asked the Professor what he had written. Prof. Woodward read out to the great amusement of the class, “You must write clearly and distinctly.”
The United States Coast Survey
Few people know that Wofford College is one of the angles in the network of triangles that the United States Coast Survey threw over North and South Carolina, but such is the case.
About 1875 they established a station here, consisting of a wooden tower, situated on the roof of the main building just back of the towers and just about the same height. This tower was approached by going up one of the towers, and from there by a flight of wooden steps to the top of the wooden tower.
From this tower a magnificent view was presented. Far to the west could be seen Parris Mountain, to the north-west, Glassy, Hog-back, and Tryon, and the long range of Blue Ridge rising tier on tier, until they lose themselves in the blue of the sky. While far to the east could be seen the majestic head of King's Mountain, as it lifts itself above the surrounding plain. AS far as the eye can see to the South there spreads the panorama of hill, plains, and rolling hills.
Mr. L. E. Caston, at that time a student at Wofford had charge of the station. It was his duty to catch the light as it was reflected through a telescope, located on Hogback Mountain, and send it on to a similar station on King's Mountain.
During this period Wofford was at its lowest ebb, but not intellectually for during this time it turned out that those who have written their names high in the educational and business would. Among those were Dr. John Bell Henneman, who while he was not a graduate, Wofford was always glad to claim him as one of her sons, who at the time of his untimely death was one of the South's most noted English scholars. Dr. J. Perrin Smith of Leland Stanford University, an acknowledged authority in his line of work, graduated in the class of 1884. This class also contained another who has made his mark as a Wofford man in South Carolina, Dr. A. G. Rembert. While Prof. Blake, so long and favorable known in connection with our high schools graduated in the class of 1883.
Nor was it at its lowest ebb during this period from a business point, as during this time it turned out Mr. William A. Law, who without a doubt has written his name higher in the business world than any other graduate, being the President of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., one of the strongest companies in Pennsylvania.
But the college was lowest in point of the number of graduates it turned out, graduating only three [two] in the class of 1881, Col. T. C. Duncan and James W. Kilgo. While C. H. Carlisle kept up his course until his senior year, when he quit to accept a position with the Clifton Manufacturing Company. The next lowest was in the year 1885, when five were graduated.
The School System
During the years from 1879-83 the college went from the old class system to what was called the school system. In the catalogue of 1879-80 there appears an introduction by Dr. Whitefoord Smith giving the reason for the change, in part as follows: “The faculty, in adopting the School System, have first of all in mind the wants of their patrons. The time has passed when the four year's course, as heretofore taught in the colleges could meet the wishes of young men seeking for practical education. In their life-work, French and German may become a more important factor then Latin and Greek; while English is now, by all thinking men, deemed an absolute requirement. In the old college curriculum certain studies had found a lodgement, which, indeed, are necessary, but not the only necessary studies; and while it is not the intention of the faculty to expel these from the course of study, since they believe them to be absolutely indispensable to every thoroughly educated man; yet they desire to put other studies on the same footing with them. Now, if the regular four year's course be kept up, this could not be done. For by right of prescription and time honored usage, every one that enters the freshman class feels that he is entitles to go on with his class to the end of the course. This is fatal to good and thorough scholarship, and the times it forces upon a professor the necessity of signing a Diploma whose bearer he knows to be ignorant of everything in his department.”
After trying the school system for about three or four years they have this to say in the catalogue of 1883-84, “The elementary character of its matriculates and the limited number of the instructors have constrained Wofford College to abandon the school system. It now offers its students two parallel courses of study both leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts.”
Time Was Changed
During the period a very striking thing occurred. All the clocks throughout the entire nation were set forward about 30 minutes. Before this, each town and city had its own time. This time was ascertained by finding out the exact time by the sun and then adding the number of minutes necessary to make it “mean time”. This was very confusing to the railroads, so in 1883 it was determined to make four grand divisions of the United States, and to have the same time in each of these divisions, and the differences in time of each division to be one hour. These divisions are Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. Thus when it is 12 o'clock in the eastern division, it is 11 o'clock in central, 10 o'clock in the Mountain and 9 O'clock in the Pacific. Thus the clocks of the North and South were made to beat together in a united Country.
The College Bell
My mother said that all the members of the faculty and their wives went to see the “Bell” before it was placed in the left hand tower as you approach the building. This bell has always been noted for the purity and clearness of its tone. Farmers living four and five from the city tell me they tell the time of day by the ringing of the bell.
My father became unconscious several times before he passed away. After one of these unconscious periods, he suddenly looked up and said to me as I stood at the foot of his bed, “The old Bell is still doing business at the same old stand.” My sister and I thought that he was still out of his head, and gave him an evasive answer. But we afterwards found out that the Bell had been out of order for several days, and was then ringing for the first time. Thus though the spirit of my father was hovering on the borderland of the other world, his mind took note of the sound of that old bell that for 55 years had given him the signal that his day's work had begun.
Any old student going from the Science Hall toward the Main Building will pass on his left just before he crosses the road the old Dial, on a marble pedestal. This is the one the used to be on the right of the path that led to my father's house. It occupies this new and more suitable position, owing to the thoughtfulness of one of Wofford's most loyal sons, Mr. John B. Cleveland, who suggested it to me.
The dial was bought by my father in Charleston, S.C. during war times [during the Civil War], and set up so that it would give the correct time for the longitude and latitude of this city. Many is the times I have seen the late Mr. J. A. Henneman, leading Jeweler of our city, come and consult this dial to get the correct time, to set his clock and watch by.
My father, then Professor of Astronomy, felt keenly the need of a telescope, but the college had not enough money to pay the professors what was promised them, much less buy any instruments.
He had only his salary to live on; so of course he could not afford to buy one. It occurred to him that he might make a series of lectures on the subject of astronomy, charge a small entrance fee, and thus secure the amount necessary for the purchase of the instrument. He accordingly prepared several lectures and gave them in the nearby towns such as Union, etc. Then he secured the sum of money necessary for the buying of the telescope. I have the original bill posted in one of his Young Astronomer, showing that it was bought of Bery Pike's sons, opticians, No. 5-18 Broadway New York, and that it cost one hundred and fifty dollars on April 16th, 1869.
[From 1854 to 1875, James H. Carlisle was professor of mathematics and astronomy. In 1993, James H. Carlisle III presented the telescope to the college, and it is displayed in the Carlisle-Wallace House.]
The Calhoun Literary Society
This is the oldest Society, having been organized in 1854. Among the valuable papers in its archives is an autographed letter from General Robert Lee; this unfortunately has been lost. On its walls there hangs a remarkable portrait of the man from whom the Society gets its name, John C. Calhoun. This was painted by Albert Guerry. The portrait represents him as in the prime of life, the cape of his coat thrown back, a roll in his hand, with very large nose, firm mouth, his long hair brushed straight back form his broad forehead. The portrait of a very striking looking man.
[The Calhoun Literary Society records are in the college archives, and Lee's letter is in one of the albums. The societies ceased to exist after World War II.]
The Preston Literary Society
The first I remember of this Society was as a small boy, seated on the dais that surrounds the President's chair, I watched the “Beauty and the Chivalry” of the state as they walked around the hall. The women beautiful gowned.
This literary was organized in 1858, several years after the Calhoun Society. Some members of the latter society assisted in the new organization. One of the most prominent of those who assisted was Dr. A. J. Stokes. As soon it was thoroughly organized these helpers returned to their own society. One name stands out prominently in the long line of brilliant men who have been members of this society, and that is Mr. Charles Walker, afterwards Judge, who for one year, during the war, kept the Preston Society hall open every Friday night and Saturday morning.
This society was named for Col. William C. Preston. For many years there hung and I hope still hangs on the walls of the hall an autographic letter from Col. Preston, thanking the boys for naming the society for him. Those letters cut in marble on the wall, “God bless those dear boys at Spartanburg” were heard by those who watched by his bedside as his great spirit took its flight.
There stood and I hope still stands on one of the mantelpieces a small bust of Patrick Henry, the great-grand Uncle of Col. Preston, given to the society by the Colonel who wished to present it in person, but was prevented by sickness.
Between the two fireplaces there hung up to a few years ago when it was placed in the College Chapel, the finest portrait of my father extant. This portrait was also painted by Albert Guerry, who said “I will make this portrait my masterpiece” which he certainly did. He thought so much of my father and this portrait that he and his wife came over from Atlanta, Ga. to see that the painting was properly hung. Mr. and Mrs. Guerry and I accordingly went to the Preston Hall to select the best place to place it. After trying various places the one between the fireplaces was chosen.
Mr. Guerry said “I mean for this portrait to represent him, Dr. Carlisle, in his favorite position, his hand to his head, with his long forefinger pressed against his temple, at the sunset of his life, looking at Wofford College in the distance and thinking of her.”
[The Preston quote is on display in the college archivist's office. The Patrick Henry bust is in the college archives. Preston was a U. S. Senator and president of South Carolina College. The Albert Capers Guerry portrait of James H. Carlisle hangs in Leonard Auditorium, in Main Building.]
This was the first building to be built after they had erected the five professors' houses and the Main Building.
Mr. W. E. Burnett, always interested in athletics, and the President of the Alumni Association, was mainly responsible for its being built. As he gave freely both of his money and time. It was because of his interest in it that they called it the W. E. Burnett Gymnasium.
[Burnett was in the class of 1876.]
The Science Hall
My father told me the following incident in connection with the building of the Science Hall, “I said to Professor D. A. DuPre, if you will write the reasons why Wofford needs a Science Hall, I will write Mr. John B. Cleveland why he should give it.” These letters were accordingly written. They received a characteristic letter from Mr. Cleveland, telling them he would give the amount necessary to build it, then added, “When you want anything ask for it.”
In connection with the Science Hall the following incident will illustrate Mr. Cleveland's readiness at repartee. Prof. DuPre, Mr. Cleveland, and my father were inspecting the new Science Hall, when father said “It would be very appropriate for the name of Mr. Cleveland to be placed in the Science Hall.” Mr. Cleveland with the innate modesty that characterized him said “No.” Prof. DuPre replied, “Well when you are dead, we will place your name there.” “How do you know you will outlive me?” Mr. Cleveland retorted.
Now in this connection it is interesting to note as you enter the science hall two inscriptions that read as follows: On one, “This building was built and presented to Wofford College by John B. Cleveland Class of 1869-”
On the other “1848 Daniel Allston DuPre 1930 Class of 1869-Prof-Natural Sciences 1875-1930.”
[John B. Cleveland graduated from Wofford in 1869, and was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1899 to 1914.]
The College Library
The libraries in my day were the Calhoun and Preston. These Societies both had fine collections of books. It was in the Preston Society Library that I was able to secure the books I needed, and many are the days I have spent in the library, reading the great English and American authors. It was due largely to my father's influence that these libraries were combined with the college library, and formed the nucleus about which the present magnificent library grew.
[The literary societies maintained libraries for the use of their members. Eventually they gave their libraries to the college, where they were merged into the college collection.]
Whitefoord Smith Library
Miss Julia Smith, daughter of Dr. Whitefoord Smith, left in her will the ten thousand dollars was to be used in building the Whitefoord Smith Library. This of course was not sufficient to build the fine building that now stands in front of Dr. Snyder's residence, the old home of Dr. Smith. But the College Authorities induced Andrew Carnegie to give a large sum of money towards its erection.
[The building was constructed in 1910 and served, with one expansion, as the college library until 1969. Today the building is called the Charles E. Daniel Building, and houses several academic departments.]
The Mess Hall
A very interesting personality was Munro Whitesides, better known as “Mun” who lived in a little cabin on Trotty St. for forty or fifty years, in the rear of Wofford College.
He was a tall loose-jointed colored man, standing about six and a half feet, very black, with large mouth, when he laughed, which was nearly all the time, he displaced all of his teeth.
He came down from the mountain with two young men, his former masters Zeb and Zach Whitesides, one of whom became famous as the hero of “How Zach Came to College” by Dr. John G. Clinkscales. “Mun” drove the wagon on which the wood was brought to the various professors' houses. I know this to be a fact for I remember, as a very small boy riding on the wagon with him. “Mun” said his young master with one other young man were the first of the students to do their own cooking in the main building of the college, thus forming the first mess.
Several years after this, about 1878-9, six other young men started doing the same thing. The names of three of these I remember, one was Rev. T. C. O'Dell, the others Major and Wood. This plan worked so well that others joined, until it became so large that they had to appoint one of their number to look after it. There was at first a fixed charge, but at the end of the month all the expenses would be added up and divided among the members of the mess, all sharing alike. It was so economically run that at one time the cost was about 5 or 6 dollars per week. This was not directly under the control of the College Authorities; but proved so successful that it was finally taken over by them. From this small beginning has grown the Carlisle Memorial Hall, with its hundreds of students, who eat and sleep there.
[The college catalogue shows Z. T. Whiteside and A. S. Whiteside as graduates of the class of 1877. Dr. John G. Clinkscales, a member of the class of 1876 and a longtime math professor at the college, tells a somewhat fictionalized account of their story in How Zach Came to College, published in 1904.]
It was due more to the efforts of my father than to the efforts of any other man that the Kennedy Library was built.
Mrs. Kennedy said “I wish the site where Doctor Kennedy had his little wooden office, where any poor boy could come and get a free examination, as to his health, should also be the place where any poor boy could go and get that which would strengthen his mind free.” So she gave the citizens a certain length of time in which to raise the necessary funds for the erection of a library building, on this site, but should they fail to do this in the time specified, then this ground would be turned over to the Episcopal Church for school purposes.
This time limit being very nearly out my father headed subscription with a subscription of one hundred dollars and by his personal efforts secured enough funds for erecting of the building, just across the alley-way from the Andrews Building.
[The Kennedy Free Library was the city library. The name continues in the name of the special collections department of the Spartanburg County Public Library.]
My first day at “Prep.”
Well do I remember the first day I attended “Prep” as the [Wofford] Preparatory Department was called.
This department was in charge of Prof. D. A. DuPre, called Prof. “Dan”, and Prof. John Shipp, called Prof. John.
Prof. Dan looked very much then as he did later in life, so there is no use in my giving a description of him for he is well known to every generation of students since then.
He had the same characteristics then that he kept throughout his long teaching career. A strict disciplinarian, with no patience for the boy who does not give close attention to what he is explaining to the class, nor for the youth who talks during recitation. He kept the best of order in his class room without resorting to the whip, while his colleague Prof. John kept poor order but he used the rod on every and all occasions.
I can see in my mind's eye to this day, Prof. John, as he would come up the path from his father's (Dr. A.M. Shipp, President of the College), into the grounds that surround the College, at what is now the library entrance, and passing under the old hickory tree (still standing), straighten himself, pull out his cuffs, and then march into the door in the right wing, as you approach the college. Soon he would come out ringing his bell to let us boys know school was “Tuck” in.
The first day at school I was introduced into the mysteries of Prepdom through the interesting ceremony of being “bumped.” This consisted of the very simple process of four boys, two taking a foot and hand each, then swinging the boy to be initiated between heaven and earth an older boy bending down or a convenient tree supplying the rest of the paraphernalia. The number of bumps depending on the resistance offered by the boy being bumped. I, having been posted by a friend made no resistance, therefore came off light. The tree in my case was the old elm that stands second from the rock steps as you go from the college to Dr. Snyder's house.
I was soon followed by other boys who lived on the campus, until we numbered three who were called by Prof. Dan his barefoot class, for very obvious reasons. Later, another boy joined this class.
One incident I recall very vividly was as follows. I was trying to make my deportment one hundred per cent, and had succeeded very well until I was put on the bench in the rear, that had a brick wall for its back, when one of the boys took my head and gave it a hard blow against the wall. This was more than I could stand, and I cried out, and the noise attracted the attention of Prof. “Dan” who asked, “What is the matter with you boys?” I replied that a boy had hit my head against the wall. That closed the incident so far as I was concerned.
[James H. Carlisle Jr. enrolled in what was then called the “sub-introductory” class in the fall of 1876. As the son of the president, it is unlikely he would have enrolled anywhere else. He became a college freshman in the fall of 1881 and graduated in 1885. D. A. DuPre and John Wesley Shipp were sons of faculty members. Shipp left shortly after his father, President A. M. Shipp, left in 1875, which caused a rift between Presidents Shipp and Carlisle.]
A Geography Lesson
I remember the first day the youngest of the barefoot class came to school. He and I had an engagement, probably baseball, which his having to come back in the afternoon and recite a geographical lesson to Prof. John interfered with. So I went into the hallway from which you entered Prof. John's room, to the door next to the Professor's Chair or desk, and putting my ear to the keyhole, listened to what was going on. I was delighted when I heard the last question asked and answered; for I knew then we could keep our engagement, which was far more important than any geography lesson.
The young people of this generation might like to know what kind of amusements the boys and girls used to have before the day of joy rides, trolley rides, and the automobile. One of these games was called “Tournament,” and consisted of poles about four or five feet tall set in a row, with a cross piece about two feet marked on or near the top. To these cross pieces were attached rings about 4 to 5 inches in diameter, in such a manner that they could easily be detached. The boys or “knights” as they were called would procure some straight sticks about 4 or 5 feet long, sharpened at one end, which were called “lances.” These they would place under their arms in horizontal position and running at full speed see how many rings they could take from the cross pieces.
The one taking the most rings was adjudged the victor, and was given the honor of crowning the young lady he thought the prettiest, as Queen of the May. I recall one of these Queens was a Miss Free Love Farrow. [That's what the handwriting appears to say - maybe we want to take this line out until we can be sure.]
There were when I was a boy five or six posts about a foot and a half square set firmly in the ground nearly on a line with the large oak tree that stands near the walk, as you approach Dr. Snyder's residence from the College. The tradition is that the commander of the Porter Cadets from Charleston, S.C. who come here for a few months during the Civil War put them there. The idea being that should the cadets misbehave he could punish them by making the boys stand first on one foot and then on the other on top of the posts.
But whether this was the case or not, these posts will always remain in my memory as the place where, when the setting sun had gilded for the last time the towers of Old Wofford, and the dusk of evening had begun to gather around its eaves and piazzas and passageways, and the lights were beginning to shine brightly through the gathering gloom, we children would gather to bid each other “good bye” until we meet again in the morning. So they have become symbolic to me of the trysting places I have had along life's journey, with loved ones, who's short feverish day we call life was well nigh over, where we did not bid each other “farewell” but said “Good bye, God be with you until we meet again.”
Someone said “you let me write the songs of a country and I care not who makes its laws.” There is no one who does not have songs connected with different events of his life, from those that his mother sang, when she rocked him to sleep, as an infant, to those of mature years.
Thus there is no old student, who can hear sung without peculiar emotions that grand old missionary hymn, which has been sung at every commencement since the college was founded: “From all that dwell below the skies, Let the Creator's praise arise.”
I can never hear this, but the moment the congregation starts to sing, time and place vanish away. I am a student again, sitting on the old high black benches, I see Dr. Thos. H. Law, tall and straight, with his fan in his hand, who had attended every commencement for 55 years leading the singing. In the center of the platform stands my father, Dr. Whitefoord Smith, Bishop Duncan and Professors DuPre and J. A. Gamewell among the faculty. I see the expressive faces of Dr. Bear, Dr. S. A. Weber, Mr. Geo. W. Williams and other distinguished men. I hear the rustle of the dresses of the young ladies as the audience arises, the following of the fans moved to and fro by pretty young ladies dressed in white. I smell again that odor that comes from the commingling of the various perfumes, and the beautiful flowers awaiting to be presented to the graduating class.
[The hymn “From All That Dwells Below the Skies” is still sung at Wofford commencement.”
The Commencement of 1876
This is the first commencement that I remember distinctly. It was the first Commencement at which father gave diplomas to the class.
The class that graduated that summer was distinguished in several ways. It was up to that time the largest class to graduate, the number being 22. It was as before noted the first to receive diplomas form my father. It was the beginning of a new era in the life of the college, that of the presidency of my father, that was to last for 26 [actually, 27] years, up to his voluntary resigning in 1902. This was the first class to whom the baccalaureate address was made in English by my father. I sat a bare footed boy on the steps that led from the old rostrum to a platform in the rear. This class was so large that the faculty had to limit the graduating class to 3 minutes. [for their addresses.]
I remember especially the appearance of Mr. W. E. Burnett, always my ideal of a man physically and otherwise- the easy grace of his walk as he came out to address the audience on “what can a man say in three minutes.”
Mr. Burnett was given a gold watch after the conclusion of his address by Dr. Warren DuPre, the watch having been sent to him by his father.
Mr. J. G. Clinkscales, also a member of this class, afterward Dr. Clinkscales, had been promised a gold watch by his mother when he reached 21 years of age, provided he had never touched intoxicating drinks or used tobacco. But she died during his sophomore year, then knowing there was no gold watch for him, at the end of his speech he cried out, “If I should speak for an hour there would be no watch for me.” Then he sat down very nearly overcome, while the audience was deeply moved.
Commencement of 1902
“A very touching and dramatic incident occurred during the delivery of the diplomas to the class, by Wofford's honored President. Dr. Carlisle says, “that just 26 years ago the first class to which I delivered a diploma, as President of the college. I delivered a diploma to Hon. Geo. E. Prince, a member of that class. This morning, with the other graduates, and for the last time, I will deliver diplomas as President of this institution, I will present one to Mr. Norman Prince, a member of the class of 1902, and son of Hon. G. E. Prince.” “On the rostrum sat Dr. Samuel Lander, the grandfather of Mr. Norman Prince, who fifty years ago to the day, received his diploma from Randolph-Macon College of Virginia.” From Daily Herald.
“Dr. Carlisle then called up the ladies of the audience to rise for a moment in token of and respect for the noble and far reaching work and labors of Dr. S. Lander as a Christian Educator of young women. The response was unanimous and eloquent in its silence, and deeply touched Dr. Lander.
[Samuel Lander was president of Williamston Female College, a Methodist-related institution in Anderson County that moved to Greenwood and became Lander College. It remained a Methodist institution until the late 1940s, when control was transferred to Greenwood County. Today it is part of the state university system.]
Commencement of 1884
This was the most remarkable commencement ever held, so far as the sermon was concerned. This sermon was preached by Bishop George F. Pierce. He was to have preached the first commencement sermon but having been unable to attend in 1855 he sent his father Lovick Pierce to take his place.
Thus it was after nearly thirty years had passed, that Bishop Pierce then an old man, was able to fulfill the engagement.
On the rostrum for this commencement there was an old time pulpit, a boxed up affair, about four feet around. Into this pulpit the Bishop entered, and from there he addressed the graduating class, and the large audience that filled the chapel.
He was a tall, striking looking man, with very large brown eyes, dark hair, fine nose and firm mouth. He took as his text “He that walketh uprightly walketh surely.” After speaking for some time, he became so exhausted that he had to lean on the pulpit, but he soon became so weak that when this support was not sufficient, and he had to stop before his sermon was completed. He afterward sent for the graduating class and finished his sermon, lying on a sofa in Dr. Smith Library.
The college authorities were able to secure the original manuscript in the handwriting of the Bishop, which showed that it was prepared specifically for the occasion. This manuscript is now in the Wofford College Library.
My father was so struck with the sermon and the text that he had the text painted on a black canvas about 4 feet square in large white letter, “He that walketh upright, walketh surely,” and placed it on the rostrum where it remained for years the silent monitor, advising the students that they must walk uprightly if they wish to walk surely.
My first debate
I was late for society on the night of my first debate, in the Preston Literary Society, the bell ringing before I entered the main building. I ran up the two flights of steps, reaching the hall just in time for the roll call. I had been appointed second monitor, therefore my seat was as old Prestons will remember on the left as you enter the Hall, with a table in front.
I had many debates either written out in full or with very full notes.
I remember when I stood up with perspiration, either from nervousness or exercise, running down my face, everything becoming dim and blurred, I could see nothing distinctly, but went on with my remarks. When I finished, and had sat down, the young man next to me and asked “what side was I on.” “The negative.” I replied.
The young professors at Wofford, as I have before mentioned, substituted written examinations for oral.
Now these examinations were the bane of my college life, from my first written examination of the verb to “have” in “Prep” to my final examination in my senior year.
These examinations were held either at the Professor's residence, recitation room or the library. This Library was a room on the right hand side of the chapel at the top of the stairs coming up from the first story. While this room was called the library the only books it contained were the Congressional Records, and some old valuable books, Bibles, etc.
During my entire college course, no one, not even the English professor, referred me to any book in the library, nor did I see a student reading any book while in the library.
With very little imagination I can again be in the library, standing my examinations. I can smell the musty smell of a room little aired, that contains many old volumes, see again the blackboards with the Greek phrases, underscored that Prof. Kirkland wished us to turn into English.
After the examination is over I can feel with what fear trembling I go to the Professor's home to find out if I “passed” or not.
The professors carried their examinations to such an extent that on one occasion one of the brightest students in College went to a Professor's house about 7 o'clock in the morning of a summer day and worked all day on one examination, finally having to bring in a lamp to finish his paper. To stop these long examinations, the faculty passed a law limiting them to three hours.
The first young ladies to attend Wofford dates far back in the history. Prof. David Duncan had two granddaughters who lived with him after their mother Mrs. Lomax died. They were Misses Alice and Tilla Lomax. These young ladies attended the classes, especially those in Latin and Greek, these being the ones taught by Professor David Duncan. The young ladies were never recognized as students by the college authorities, nor did they take any degrees.
Miss Alice Lomax married Mr. W. H. Wallace, for years she was known Editor of the Newberry Observer, and became the mother of Dr. D. D. Wallace of the Chair of History at Wofford, while Miss Tilla married Mr. Lewis James.
Trustees mis-judge the sentiment in regard to “co-ed”
A striking illustration of how trustees can misjudge the wishes of their patrons is given in the following account of their admitting young ladies into the institution. I asked one of the trustees, “Why did you admit young ladies into Wofford College?” He replied, “There was such a great demand from all over the state for us to admit them that we could not refuse.” The next fall, when only a few took advantage of the opportunity thus afforded them, I asked the same trustee, “If there was such a universal demand, as you trustees thought, why did not more young ladies take advantage of your offer?” He laughed and said “We were mistaken. The demand was not as great as we thought.”
Several young ladies graduated, taking A.B. degrees, and Miss Puella Littlejohn took A.M. degree, but like the “school system” it was not a success, and after a few years, it was thought best, as [my] father would say, to quietly let the matter of admitting the young ladies drop.
[The college began to admit women students in the fall of 1897. In all, eight women earned bachelor's degrees between 1901 and 1904, two in each class.]
My Father's Family
My father was the meeting point of two great families that have been famous in Irish and Scottish history for centuries, his father being William Carlisle and his mother before her marriage was Mary Ann Buchanan. Every great man has as a rule an extraordinary mother. My father was no exception to this rule, as his mother was in many respects a remarkable woman. It was from her he inherited that solemn almost stoical way of taking everything, either joy or sorrow. When someone told her “your son James has been elected to the chair of Mathematics at Wofford College,” her only comment was “Well, I know James will do his duty.”
Another incident illustrating this same characteristic is the following: my father and his brother John, when they were small boys, coming home one day, came to a rail fence, my father being older than his brother John, jumped over the fence, but John was not so fortunate, fell and broke his arm, my father ran to his mother and told her “Brother Johnnie is hurt.” She came out examined his arm and without any trace of nervousness said “Johnny your arm is broke.” She then proceeded to bind up the arm, sending James on the old horse Bill for the doctor, who lived some four or five miles distant.
When the doctor came, he examined the arm and said, “It is so well done, I will not reset it.”
She was very religious though unemotional, and it was probably from her that he inherited that strong deeply religious character, for which he was noted. He also inherited from her a certain dignity of courage and deep respect for his fellow man. To such an extent did he and his brother John carry this, that though they loved each other deeply, and as truly for as long a time as is given to most men, yet to the last they always called each other Brother Johnnie and Brother James, never Jim and John.
[Dr. Carlisle was born in 1825 and grew up in Winnsboro, SC, just north of Columbia. Both of his parents were born in northern Ireland, in County Antrim. The house where he lived is still standing.]
His Mother joins the Presbyterian Church
My father's mother joined the Presbyterian Church very early in life before she came to this country, with her mother from Ireland. They brought their church letter with them. I have the original, which reads as follows:
“Testify that Nancy R. Buchanan, widow and family of four children, are regular members of the Presbyterian Congregation of Ahojhill and that they conduct themselves in a sober, just and religious manner, so far as known to me. Signed George McClelland, Presbyterian Minister of Ahojhill; William Hamilton, Thos. McCline, Robert Craig, James Carson, Elders. What is stated in the above certificate, I believe to be sincerely correct, signed William Whanhope, Minister of Ballymena Ireland.”
His mother after she came to this country joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. A large picture of her hangs on my walls, just one look at her strong face, especially the expression of her mouth and you can be sure that she was a very firm mother and that when she said “Jimmie you do this or that” she was obeyed immediately. So much was my father impressed by his mother and such an influence did she exert over him that all womanhood became sacred in his sight. I have never known any one that had as fine an idea of woman and could express that idea as well as he could.
Dr. Wallace has well said, “But Commonest appeal with him to the boys' conscience was in the name of 'Mother.' Every mother was to him holy by her office, her sacrifice, her service, and if women could be anything other in his mind than what she is in the best meaning, he never spoiled the ideals of young men by revealing it.”
His father William Carlisle
His father was also born in Ireland and came to this country in the early part of 1800.
From his father he probably inherited that force and fluency in speaking; that was one of his strong characteristics. Someone who had heard his father make a speech at a rally held at a mustering ground, said that he made a fine speech, and Mr. McDuffie who was present complimented his father on it.
His father was a graduate of a medical college in Georgia and practiced his profession.
My father James Henry Carlisle
Of my father's influence on Wofford College, it would be improper for me to write, for I would not be, as he often told me, when I expressed approval of what he did, a disinterested witness, but a few incidents in his life might be of interest.
Father as a hunter
An incident of his youth might be of interest, as it shows him in an entirely new light, namely as a hunter. As far as I remember, he never owned, nor did he ever handle a gun. But when he lived in the country, he had a gun, and he loved to hunt. He went out one day with a young Negro boy named Moses, who was several years older than his young master to hunt squirrels. They found one up a tall tree. My father tried to shoot him, but the gun wobbled so he could not get his “sights” on him. Finally Moses said, “Master Jim, you rest your gun on my shoulder. Then you can hold your gun steady.” So father took his advice, placed his gun on his shoulder, took aim, pulled the trigger, and down came his first victim.
A Turning Point in his life
Very often there is an incident that occurs, that changes the whole course of a boy's life, such a one is the following that occurred in my father's life.
This occurred at Camden, S.C. when he was about 12 years old. He was going to the school at this place, and had stopped school and went to clerk in a grocery store. He had been there only a short time, when his teacher Dr. Leland, a noted teacher, came into the store, and having taken him outside on the sunny side of the store for it was autumn, said “James, is it for financial reasons that you are quitting school, if so, we can manage that for you are too bright a boy to stop your education at this stage.” My father answered, “Yes sir, that is the cause of my stopping.” Father immediately gave up his clerkship and went back to school, and from there to the South Carolina College as it was then called, and joined the sophomore class half advanced.
He said the Professors tested him and found him unprepared to enter but said, “We will give you a trial.”
Father would smile when telling this and say “I must have made good as they never mentioned the subject any more.” He must have more than made good for though he entered to sophomore class half advanced and poorly prepared yet he graduated with second honor, in Class of '44.
There are two incidents in connection with his school life that show very early in life, he was noted for memory and truthfulness, two traits that followed him throughout his entire life.
I think it was in connection with the with the translation of his Latin that he did not come up to the standard his teacher Prof. Hudson thought he should, and he reprimanded him and said “You have a Herculean memory, therefore there is no excuse for you to make such a mistake.” Father said, “I had no idea at the time what the word Herculean meant.”
This incident also occurred under Prof. Hudson who taught the small academy at Winnsboro S.C., of whose original trustees my father's granduncle Robert Buchanan was one.
Father did something the teacher disliked, so he said “James come here.” He accordingly went up to the desk. “Now James you write on your slate, 'I am a goose.' and show it to the girls.” Father said, “I will not.” “Why will you not write this?” “Because it is a lie.”
Lover of books
The following letter was written by my father to the Winnsboro News.
Mr. Editor: many years ago about the middle of the [eighteen] thirties, in the last century, a boy ten years old lived six miles north of Winnsboro S.C. Books were as plentiful in the family as they were in the neighboring homes. Still a new one was a treat. An old Irish woman with an elderly bachelor son lived near by. On a visit to her home one day this boy in looking over a few books on her corner shelf found to his delight an old copy of Columbian Orators. Sampling it hurriedly he saw some pieces of prose and poetry which were new to him. He returned to ask that he might take the treasure home with him, and leave was kindly given. He was happy, an hour or two may have elapsed when he was to leave. The old lady when telling him goodbye said “James you can't take that book. 'D' says that it is all he had to sharpen his razor on.” The visitor went slowly home an unhappy boy. The disappointment of that hour was keen and it was long remembered. Perhaps the recollection of it has helped me sometimes to put reading matter in the hands of the boys. Now books are more abundant in town and country homes. Perhaps few boys now know the thrill we felt when a new books by Peter Parley or a copy of the Penney Magazine fell into our hands. Ruskin says, “When I am reading a good book the only person on earth I envy is the man that is reading a better book.”
Father as a Fiddler
If there was anything my father could not do it was play on a fiddle or carry a tune. It was on account of this lack of music that made him enjoy the following anecdote.
In his college days he had a very dear friend and classmate Mr. John H. Logan, who afterwards wrote the “History of Upper South Carolina.” He was very fond of playing on the violin or fiddle as it was then called. This he did in season and out of season, whether father wished it or not. I will tell this in my father's own words. “I was sitting in our room which was on the second story, one afternoon, when I heard a rap on the door. I said 'Come in,' when to my surprise in walked the pastor. After shaking hands he said, 'Well James, I am very sorry, but I have heard you've gone back to worldly amusements, since you have joined the church.' I looked my surprise and he continued 'I learn that you are actually learning to play on the fiddle. Now James you should know that this will never do for a member of the church.' I explained to him that I had never played a fiddle in my life. So he left feeling much relieved as to my standing in the Church.”
He is called an aristocrat of Brains.
Another incident occurred in his college course that made a deep impression on him and showed how he was thought of by those who were not in his class. He said “I was approached by a student who said, “Carlisle there two kinds of aristocracies in South Carolina, one of money, the other of brains, I belong to the moneyed aristocracy you to the one of brains.”
How father starts his career as teacher
He often said with some degree of justifiable pride, “I have never asked for any position either in public or private that I have ever held.” Nor did he ever seek either directly or indirectly any honors either in Church or State.
He and his great friend J. H. Logan were in the Silversmith Shop or jewelry store, in the latter part of their senior part, talking to the Proprietor Mr. J. Veal, when he asked them “What do you intend to do after graduation?” They replied “We have not thought much about that, but thought we might teach.” “Why not apply for the positions of teachers in the school the Odd Fellows are going to organize?” They answered “we had not thought about that, nor any particular school.” Mr. Veal secured the position of principal for my father and assistant for Mr. Logan. My father modestly said, “I do not know why they chose me as Principal as Logan was the older, unless it was because I took second honor.”
The amount appropriated for their salaries was $1,400- This amount my father told the Trustees, they would divide equally between them.” They replied “we do not care how you divide the money, but we will look to you as Principal and hold you responsible for the conduct of the boys.” This school he taught for four years, until he was elected to the Columbia Male Academy. He conducted this school until he was elected to the chair of Mathematics at Wofford College in the fall of 1853.
Father finds a boy
This boy afterwards became Capt. Green, General Manager of the Southern R.R.
It was while father was teaching one of these schools that the following incident took place. In the words of my father: “A man came to the school one day bringing two boys with him, William and Henry Green, and said “I wish these two boys to go to your school, that they may have a better chance in life than I have had. I learned to read from hearing the passengers call out their names and threw their trunks off my wagon.”
These two boys went to school to my father for some time. Father was very much interested in them. Finally their father died. Years afterward when the little boy had become Captain William Green and general manager of the great Southern R.R. System with headquarters at Washington D.C. he sent my father every year a ticket or free pass over all the lines of R.R. of which he was manager, until his death.
After Capt. Green's death, his friend Mr. Hardwick, gave the following as Mr. Green's account of how father cared for him and his brother after his father died: “Dr. Carlisle and Capt. Green were great friends, until the day of Capt. Green's death, which occurred several years ago.
Dr. Carlisle began his career as a teacher after his graduation from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and going to and from his school every day, he passed by a little fruit stand, in the suburbs of Columbia, kept by an old lady from the Sand Hills Mrs. Green. Occasionally, when she was not at the front of the store, her little son William would wait on the young teacher. The teacher discovered that the boy was unusually bright and intelligent and became much interested in him. The two became great friends, and he confided to the teacher his desire to get into a larger field. His mechanical tastes had been discovered by the teacher and a position was secured for the boy in the shops of the R.R. of Newberry. His wages were 50 cents a week. Of course this was not enough to pay his expenses, but both he and his teacher were looking into the future and some means were provided by which he could remain in the shops. His duties at first consisted in carrying water for the men employed in the shops. Continuing in the shops, he became an apprentice, then foreman, then locomotive engineer, then superintendent, general superintendent and finally Manager of the system he had served as a boy carrying water in the shops.
His service covered a period of 42 years. Every step of his upward climb was masked by great diligence and efficiency. He was faithful to his work and always attributed his success largely to Dr. Carlisle's interest and assistance.
We hear the boys these days talk about the honor of discovering a great baseball player. Dr. Carlisle discovered a great man in the little boy tending the fruit stand, and was always proud of Capt. Green's success. And Capt. Green whenever he found it convenient would stop off in Spartanburg and go over to the college campus to call on his friend. After he had attained success in the Rail Road world so that he always traveled in his private car, Capt. Green frequently invited Dr. Carlisle to be his guest on the Car and to travel with him, but was never successful in getting his friend to go with him.”
Another water boy remembers father.
The following incident will illustrate how forcefully father impressed himself even upon passing acquaintances. It occurred at Cheraw, S.C. at the time of the death of my father. I sent my cousin Mr. R. T. Caston a telegram saying “Dr. Carlisle is dead.” It was handed to him by a gray headed man who asked “Was that Dr. Carlisle a tall man and did he wear a long tailed coat?” When my cousin replied “yes,” he said “Well 50 to 60 years ago, I was a little water boy, who carried the water for the laborers, who were working on the Rail Road form Camden to Columbia S.C. and I remember seeing a tall man with long tailed coat standing by the track.” Who can doubt that my father also saw the little water boy, and gave him some good advice, that stayed with him through the years or he never would have remembered him.
A Manly Boy
An incident that touched father very much happened about this time. Father was a great admirer of manliness and truthfulness among his students.
This was strikingly illustrated in the following incident that occurred when he was teaching in Columbia, S.C.
Two boys, after school had been dismissed, fought on the school grounds, so father called tem back into the school house and was about to give them a whipping, when up came a fine looking little fellow and said, “Professor, if there is any whipping to be done, I will take my share, as I led McGrave into this fight.” This young man became the famous Dr. Taylor of Columbia. Father would end up by saying “there was no whipping done that day.”
It was about this time father came in contact with a very remarkable Negro man, the slave of Dr. [Thomas] Cooper, the famous President of the South Carolina College. But let my father tell it in his own words as he wrote them years ago for The State about this remarkable man.
“The State in its issue of July 1st has an interesting account of Dr. Thomas Cooper, that contains matter new to the readers of today. It may be appropriate to give a few items connecting him with a faithful old servant who had his master's confidence.
Sanco Cooper was an original African perhaps 20 years younger than his master. One of his early owners was severe and cruel. Dr. Cooper was not so. Sanco told me this incident as characteristic of his kindness to him. AS class leader, he held a meeting once a week for religious exercises with his own people. On some evenings, when there was company, the Doctor would remind him, “Sanco, this is Tuesday evening. Go to your class meeting.” He would say “Master, you have company, I'll stay and wait on the table.” The Doctor would say “No Sanco, never mind my company, go to your class meeting.”
Dr. Whitefoord Smith graduated in the class of 1830, under President Cooper and heard him say, “My father was a Wesleyan class leader. John Wesley visited our house and took me in his lap when I was a child.” Sanco modestly told another incident which may interest some readers. In his last illness the Doctor sent for his servant and said to him “Sanco, lock the door. Now kneel down and pray for me.” Sanco said “O Master, I am an ignorant Negro and you a learned man, I do not know how to pray before you.” The feeble old man answered “Sanco, I want you to pray for me.” His request was granted.
This little boy in London on Wesley's knee and the old man on his death bed in another continent, were separated by a long series of very eventful years, perhaps in that prayer at his bedside of his faithful servant to their common Father the dying old man found a comfort, which the favorite volume in his library could not give in that trying hour. A few years after the opening of Wofford College, I went to Sanco's home in Columbia. He showed me a large Bible, on the first blank page these words were written, “To my faithful servant Sanco,” Thomas Cooper. The old man said in his great mellow tone of voice, “When I die, I want our college to have this book.” But the flames kindled at the invasion of Columbia (1865) did not spare the Sacred book that linked together the names of the faithful Christian servant and his kind master.”
[The papers of H. A. C. Walker contain a letter discussing the conversion of Sancho, a slave who was born in Africa, who was converted to Methodism by Francis Asbury.]
Father's election to Wofford College
The account of his election as given by himself is as follows: “Your mother and I had come up to Newberry S.C. to attend the South Carolina Methodist Conference held in December 1853 and I had just registered at the hotel and had started up the stairs when I met several men coming down. One of them Rev. Stacy said to me “I congratulate you. Wofford College has been organized and you have been elected Professor of Mathematics.” I was greatly surprised as I had never been an applicant for the place. Upon inquiry I found that my name had probably been presented by Rev. H.A.C. Walker.” He told me afterwards he would have preferred either Greek or Latin.
[The Wofford College Board of Trustees met in Newberry in November 1853 to elect the first president and faculty. Most of the board members were Methodist ministers, so having a meeting during the session of Annual Conference would not have been unusual. This was the first meeting of the permanent board, the provisional board having been charged with the construction of the campus. The Rev. James Stacy was a member of the Wofford board of trustees from 1851-53. The Rev. H. A. C. Walker was a trustee from 1850 to 1866, and was chairman of the board after President William Wightman left the board to become president.]
Father as a candidate
In 1860 father's friends urged him to come out for the legislature from this county. He said, “I will consent to run on the following conditions: I will make no public speeches. I will not ask a man to vote for me, not will I travel over the county kissing the babies etc. If you will consent to let me run on the above conditions, I will consent to serve you should I be elected.” My mother said my father did not only not make speeches, but actually stayed at home more than usual, before the election, because he was afraid it would look like electioneering, should he go on the streets. He was elected, and contrary to what most people think, was able to accomplish something for his state during his first term.
A bill came up in the House appropriating $4,000.00 for a state superintendent of Education.
My father made a speech in its favor of such eloquence and power that he swept the members of the House off their feet, even moving some of them to tears.
The House passed the Bill and a senator rushed into the Senate Chambers and said “We must do something to stop the extravagance of the House for its members have been carried away by the eloquence of a young school teacher from the upcountry.”
The Senate killed the Bill
Prof. Means Davis, for years Professor of History at the University of South Carolina said, “I remember as a boy what an impression the speech made at the time it was delivered.”
The Secession Convention, and how he came back into the Union
He was elected to the secession convention in 1860 along with the following gentlemen, J.G. Landrum, B.B. Foster, Benjamin K. Kilgore, Simpson Bobo and William Antis.
The circumstances under which my father, along with the other delegates, separated themselves along with their state, from the Union were quite different from those under which he signed his allegiance to it again after four years of Civil War. When the members signed the Secession Ordinance, there by taking South Carolina along with themselves out of the Union, there was great rejoicing, men and women standing upon the benches, throwing their hats in the air, etc.
One subject on which my father rarely talked and never wrote, though he was offered an attractive financial inducement to do so was the Secession Convention.
I have mentioned the conditions under which he left the Union let him tell how he came back to remain true to it to the day of his death.
How he came back into the Union
“In the spring of 1865 darkness had settled over the Land. One by one group by group, the war worn Confederates were returning to their desolate homes. A company of Federal Soldiers had taken charge of Spartanburg and opened a sort of an office where men might take the oath of allegiance. I was standing on the street talking with Capt. John H. Evins, who had his arm in a sling, and the great gravity of the occasion was overwhelming.
The court house had long been unused except by spiders, the semblance of authority and majesty of the Law appeared no where. I said, “Well Captain, I can stand tyranny and even despotism, but I can not stand anarchy, I propose to step across the street and take the oath of allegiance. If you have no objections I would like for you to go along with me. There we took that oath. How well he kept it to the end his noble work in Washington as our chosen representative will testify. I propose to keep it while life lasts.
His tribute to the State Flag, and National
It was about this period of his life that he made an address at Cokesbury Academy in July 1854 in which he paid a tribute to the state flag of which tribute the Editor of the Piedmont published in Greenville had this to say, “To give the visiting brethren of the Rebs as well as the members of subscribers to his paper an example of “Purest English Undefiled” the Editor last week ran the following extract from an address delivered by Dr. James H. Carlisle at Cokesbury Academy:
I saw not long since on one sheet the flags of all nations of the earth. It was a beautiful sight and very instructive. My eye ran restless over them all, turned but for a moment on the Lion, the crescent, and the cross, but rested we pride upon one. It was the flag that floats over the land of Washington, I felt in that hour that I loved everything that is the growth of her dear soil, from the fire on her green mountains, the wild flowers and her Pacific coast. In her magnificent there is one tree not fairer in itself, it may be but fairer in our partial eye than all the rest. May heaven send perpetual youth, greenness and beauty on the Palmetto and all the sister trees. May the sun of rightness bath it in a flood of light, and then whether in peaceful or in tempestuous seasons it shall, as a tree planted by the rivers of water, bring forth its fruit in season its leaf also shall not weather.”
For lofty utterance in brief, chose eloquent words, this tribute to “old glory” and to the palmetto tree is unsurpassed.”
About this time he also wrote the following about the Washington Monument, that showed how he felt towards the Union. He was especially interested in this as his father Dr. William Carlisle took up subscription for it years before.
Washington Monument, South Carolina block- The readers of the telegraph, who will visit the marble yard of Mason, Boyne, and Sprowl, will not regret the time and trouble. Our State contribution to the “Washington Monument,” is nearly ready, and surely no one will willingly deprive himself of the pleasure of seeing it.
The block of marble, it will be recollected was presented by the public-spirit-proprietors of Limestone Springs, Misses Lurtis and Sow. It weighs perhaps a ton and will compare favorably with that from other parts of our country. As to the workmanship, we are willing to let that speak for itself. That block of native marble will carry on its face, “Proof's Patent” of the skill of the artists to whom it was committed.
His excellency, Governor Seabrook, has examined it, and expressed himself highly gratified with its appearance. We have of course, no fault to find with the inscriptions which have been ordered by the States which selected for this block simple the name, motto and coat of arms of the State.
Father as soldier
The following incident was told me by the late Dr. Jesse Cleveland, a lifelong friend of my father's.
He says, “Word came that a body of 'Bushwhackers' from the Mountains of North Carolina were on their way to Spartanburg. A hurried call was sent out for the “Home Guard,” to assemble at a certain place. They came promptly and we started for the North Carolina line.
I and the boys of my age on our fine spirited horses were enjoying the fun of it to the full. But I noticed Professor Carlisle all drawn up on his old horse, was not enjoying the ride, but seemed deeply buried in thought, as though it were a very serious business we were on instead of the frolic we young men thought it was. After we had proceeded several miles, on our journey we learned it was a false alarm, very much to the chagrin of us younger men.”
The old horse referred to above was named “Ball,” and took upon himself the responsibility of dying before the “Yankees came to town, and thus saved his master the sad fate of seeing his horse led off by the Yankees.
Dr. A. M. Shipp's horse was taken from him and he was given in exchange an old soarbacked horse that was afterwards called “Old Yank.”
Father Visits his brother at the battle front
Father went to see his brother Capt. John W. Carlisle, who was fighting in the army of Northern Virginia. He made most of the way on foot. After reaching the battlefield, he found it very difficult to locate his brother, owing to the fact that the private soldier knew so little of the position of the different commands. He finally found him and stayed with him several days. This was just before the second battle of Manassas. One day hearing shouting and hurrahs, he asked “It is either a Mollie Cotton Tail or General Jackson.” Sure enough in a few minutes “Stonewall Jackson” and his five chargers with his order came galloping up. Gen. Jackson acknowledged in his usual way with a military salute the cheering of his men.
Father seeing the men tearing up their letters and papers, asked “why do you do this.” And they replied “We do not wish these letters and papers to fall into the hands of the enemy, should we be killed.” Under these depressing circumstances he bade farewell to the brother he loved so well, and turning his back on him, started on his way home, not knowing that he had looked for the last time upon his brother whom he loved so well, and form whom he had never been separated for any length of time.
He walked a great art of the way home, and it so exhausted him, that when he finally reached home, my mother says that one day when he was shaving, he collapsed, and for months he suffered with nervous prostration. And I think it probable he never regained completely his former health and strength.
As my father was one of the signers of the Secession Ordinance, some of his friends feared that the Yankees when they came to the city would do him some bodily harm or take him prisoner. So they said “Professor would it not be a good thing for you to hide out until the Yankees leave the town?” Father replied “No I will not leave, if they take me they will take me upon my own fireside, and from the bosom of my family, not from some gully or cave in the woods.”
The Company that did finally come were under the command of Gen. Palmer. He placed a guard at our house lest there should be trouble. Mother said that the only time that any thing that looked like that there might be trouble, was when two men came to the gate about 8 o'clock at night and asked for some milk. The guard called out “what are you doing away from camp at this time at night?” The men on hearing this immediately ran away.
Another incident that touched my father very much occurred about this time. There came a rumor that Yankees were coming to town, my father, who was teaching in the Preparatory Department at this time (there being no college classes, owing to the fact that the older boys had left to join the army) dismissed his classes. All except one had left the room and made for home, but this one, a fine looking manly young fellow named Waddy Thomason came up to father and said “Professor, if the Yankees take you I hope they will be kind to you.”
Father was walking up North Churchone day about this time and heard some men who were passing, they being “Bushwhackers” from the North Carolina mountain say “There is one of the men that got us into this trouble, he ought to be hung.” Thus referring to my father signing the Secession Ordinance.
Father as a Speaker
The first speech I remember my father delivering was at Cherokee Springs. The springs are situated about eight miles north of the city. Just after the Civil War the Wofford professors had cottages built near the springs, and used to spend part of their summers there, so that it became, somewhat of a literary center. I do not remember what the occasion was, at which my father spoke, but there was a very large crowd. The meeting took place out in the open. The subject must have been temperance for I remember one of my father's sentences that struck me as a child. He said talking of a certain brilliant man who drank, “If I had his brains, I might have made a man of myself.” I thought even as a small boy that, that man must have had a very remarkable brain for father to have thus spoken of him.
He also quoted the following line, “And stamp on childhood's brow so mild/The withering blight of a drunkard's child.”
The National Teacher's Association
My father went to the meeting of this association which was held in Saratoga Springs N.Y. in July 1882. He made an address before this body on Prize System in Colleges. But all remember was his lifting his hands above his head, a favorite gesture of his, he exclaimed “Coming up the Hudson River several days ago, I saw,
“Touched by a light has no name,
A glory never sung,
Aloft on sky and mountain wall
Are God's great pictures hung.”
Though I do not remember the speech it seems to have made a very remarkable impression on Mrs. E. D. Kellogg, a correspondent of the Boston Herald. I quote part of her letter to that paper. Referring to father she says, “His subject on this occasion, was the Prize System in colleges. Perhaps that would be no one to whom it would be any harder to sink all past bitterness (That between the north and south) than for me, for in all human probability, had not it have been alive today. This has made me almost shudder when reconciliation has been talked and never till I met the southern gentlemen at Saratoga, N.Y., did I fully surrender all antagonistic feelings.” Then follows the description of the meeting of the association. Dr. Gustavus J. Orr, LL.D. of Atlanta Ga. President of the Institution being introduced, in turn introduced Dr. James H. Carlisle of South Carolina, who responded for that body,
in one of the most graceful, winning, and brotherly addresses that ever fell from the life of a warm hearted southerner. It was enough to stir all the fraternal spirits which sleep underneath the once broken bands, that could be so easily reunited and doubly strengthened if each could take the hand of the other with the warmth with which Dr. Carlisle extended the southern clasp.
Dr. Carlisle read a paper on “The Prize System as an incentive to College students” of which every word ought to be written in fire to arrest the attention of the country, to the wills of over stimulation.
As one gem glows brighter than another, so this paper stands out in brilliant light from the many shining essays of the convention.
Dr. Carlisle was cheered continuously from beginning to end, and if any of the Herald readers ever have an opportunity to listen to him, let them do it and enjoy the peculiar charm of his manners, which cannot be described. His paper was full of thoughtful arguments against prize systems and numerical markings of all school tests. “You cannot offer a prize to the most generous, the most truthful, the most unselfish or the most humble. You offer them only for accomplishments and achievements which sink to a subordinate rank, when we take a wide and generous view of life, in all its manifold relations.
He who begins life with the selfish maxim, “I will not be second,” prepares the way for chronic restless and final defeat. It cannot be the will of our creator that each one of us should try to be first.” As a result of this great meeting “Old bitternesses” have fallen away like worn out garments, and our hearts could not tell which of our new made friends of this week, received the warmest goodly, whether northern or southern of western.
Father was sent as a fraternal delegate to the Northern Methodist Episcopal Church General Conference.
In 1880 father along with Dr. Atticus G. Haygood, afterwards Bishop, went as the first fraternal delegates to the General Conference of the Northern Methodist Episcopal Church, held at Cincinnati Ohio, since the Civil War. While there father made an address to the northern general conference in which occurred this following passage:
“North and South. These short words have gathered strange power to move the swiftest instincts of our nature. They have turned the coward's heart to steel and sluggards blood to flame.”
“Must they forever be the watch word of an undying struggle? Must they represent a gulf across which no love or sympathy can reach? Is there no one high relation which can adjust and subordinate them, no one overpowering sentiment which can unite them? Will not all Christians of all names in all parts of this great country of ours, surprised and saddened, but made humble and wise by painful failure, carry this distracted land, the common mother of us all, to Him who can give peace and quiet?
Brothers, we solemnly pledge to you the sympathy and the prayers of many thousands of earnest Christian men and faithful women, who will join you and your people in urging to heaven an appeal which may satisfy all the purest longing for patriotism and piety. “The north and the south.” Thou hast created them; Possess them thou who has the right, as Lord and Master of the Whole.”
He attends the Ecumenical Conference
This Conference was held at Washington D.C. in October of 1891.
Another of his speeches that attracted marked attention was delivered before this conference. The following description was given me by his life long friend Dr. S. A. Weber, who said, “I was sitting among the delegates when it was announced that your father would speak on “Numbers.” I saw the members of the conference all around me assume various attitudes, as if they were preparing to be bored by the recital of uninteresting figures.” But my father had not more than gotten good started before he saw looking round that these same delegates were beginning to sit up and take notice. One of them finally, unable to contain himself any longer turned round and asked him, “Who is that gentleman that is speaking?” He replied “Dr. James H. Carlisle, President of Wofford College Spartanburg S.C.” He continued with “where have you been keeping him all this time, that we have not heard of him before?”
He delivered the Literary Address before the two Literary Societies of the South Carolina University in about 1884 or 85, one of them being his old society to which he belonged when a student there. Of this someone wrote, “I have heard Webster, Clay, Calhoun, Preston, and other great orators of this country, but never anything equal to it.”
At Cedar Springs
The last talk my father made away from home was before… the Cedar Springs Institute. This was appropriate, for he has a young man in Columbia, SC in the late ]eighteen] forties, he loaned his blackboards to Prof. N. P. Walker, the founder of the Institute, so that he could illustrate to the members of the Legislature what his blind and deaf pupils could do. Thus he was able to get an appropriation for his school. Thus for over fifty years he had been a friend of that institution. He had seen it grow from very small beginnings under Prof. N. P. Walker to its present magnificent proportion under Prof. Walker's distinguished son Prof. N. F. Walker, assisted by his son Laurens Walker.
Dr. Charles Elliott's Visit
One of the most dramatic events of my father's life occurred on the visit to our city of Dr. Charles Elliott, for many years the illustrious President of Harvard College (University).
The Chapel at Wofford was packed with a large representative audience to hear this distinguished educator. He was introduced by Dr. Henry M. Snyder, in an appropriate talk. Father, though suffering a sickness, from which he afterwards died, determined to make the effort to hear the distinguished speaker. So, he was on the rostrum on this occasion. My sister, who always watched father very closely, and was doing so especially at this time, noticing that a while before Doctor Elliott closed his address, that father stopped listening, something very unusual for him as he was always a good listener, thought he was sick. But it turned out afterwards that he was preparing a speech. So when Dr. Elliott stopped and turned to take his seat, father arose and said, “Dr. Elliott.” The doctor turned and looked at him. Imagine the scene: there stood the most distinguished educator of New England, representing the very last word in the educational thought of the north, brisk, quick, almost business-like in dress and manners, whose five foot book shelf had no room for the Bible, looking into the face of one of the greatest educators of the South, representing in his person all that was best in southern education, with a firm belief in the Bible as the word of God, whose westerning sun had already touched the heaven's rim, but no clouds of doubt or fear obscured its beams, what would the apostle of Southern thought way to that distinguished son of New England? Listen: “If figures do not lie, I must have been a sturdy lad, who had made his way through the labyrinth of the Alphabet and was in the dismal swamp of the multiplication table when our distinguished guest was a baby in his mother's arms. Therefore I feel like saying to you in all brotherly sincerity 'Rejoice O young man in thy youth, and may you still bring forth fruit in old age and at evening time may there be light.'”
When he had thus finished one of his briefest and most beautiful speeches Dr. Elliott bowed his acknowledgements, and the audience broke all bounds and gave vent to their appreciation of the man and what he had to say in such a demonstration as the old chapel, the scenes of many of his famous triumphs, never saw the like before.
From floor to ceiling the shout went up, “Dr. Carlisle Dr. Carlisle” while the applause was deafening.”
The next day, the papers, when reporting the occasion of Dr. Elliot's visit, gave twice as much space to father's short impromptu speech as they did to the more elaborate address of Harvard's president. There did Spartanburg appreciate her own citizen who had spoken here for over fifty-four years on all kinds of occasions, whether it was the building of a Masonic hall or the passing of an eulogy upon one of our most distinguished citizens. Dr. Elliott turned and asked Dr. Snyder where father secured his quotations from. The joke is on Dr. Snyder, as it was from the Bible, and it is not recorded that Dr. Snyder could satisfy his curiosity.
His last talk
My sister and I had been watching by his bedside during his last sickness, when suddenly he began to recite in a natural tone of voice a talk he had made years ago in his classroom. This it was his last, it was not from any of his great speeches or addresses, nor anything he had ever written he quoted but from one of his every day talks.
His voice stopped as suddenly as it had started, and we knew that his voice would no more be heard by any earthly audience. But as sure as right is right, and God is God, I will hear that voice again, with more than its old time sweetness and power, “Where congregations never break up, and Sabbaths have no end, telling the “old old story of Jesus and his love that he had loved so long.”
A Host of Witnesses
As I write this last paragraph, I seem to see all around me a great cloud of witnesses, composed of all the Presidents, Professors, their wives, and all the students that have been connected with Wofford since its foundation, with all those who will read these random sketches, and to one and all, I would say in the words of the old Quaker poet, Whittier:
“Dear comrades, scattered wide and far,
send from their homes their kindly word,
and dearer ones, unseen unheard,
smile on us from some heavenly star.
For life and death with God are one,
Unchanged by seeming change his care.
And love all round us here and there,
He breaks no thread His hand has spun.
Soul touches soul, the Must Roll,
Of life eternal has no gaps;
And after half a century's lapse,
Our school-day ranks are closed and whole.
Hail and farewell; we go our way.
Where shadows end, we trust in light,
The star that ushers in the night,
Is herald also of the day.”
James H. Carlisle
son of Dr. James H. Carlisle
May 21, 1927,
Jan. 12, 1935