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But the darkest day will have its dawning and the longest lane its turning, and that fall again the way opened and I entered the Old Waterford Academy at Waterford, Pa. Here I did janitor work the first year, in the Academy, and earned what extra money I could around the town by splitting wood and doing odd jobs during my leisure hours. The second year I obtained the janitorship of the graded school. By dint of hard work, carrying seven studies each term, I completed the three years’ course in two years, graduating in 1889. Then I felt that on account of my mother and sisters I could not remain longer in school, but must look after them, which I did until the death of my mother and the marriage of my sisters. During these years I had varied experience, working at shoveling dirt on the streets of Erie, unloading lumber barges at the docks, as attendant in the State Hospital for the Insane, teaching school, driving a team in the lumber woods as a lumber jack, working three years at printing, two years in a general agency of fire insurance, as secretary of Young Men’s Christian Association and physical director of same, and finally, entering the ministry.

After the death of my mother and after someone else had relieved me of responsibility for the care of my sisters, I felt the need of further preparation for the work to which I had been called. I felt that I was too old to attempt a college course, and decided that if it were possible I would like to take 73 a course in the Moody Bible School at Chicago. I did not have the money to do this, but felt that some way would open. God almost miraculously opened a way, and I became director of the religious and club work for men and boys in a social settlement in Chicago where the salary was sufficient to aid me in doing this very well. Thus I was able to graduate from the Moody Bible Institute, the best school I know of for the training of Christian workers.

I would like to say to any young man or woman, anywhere, I can think of but two things that need stand in your way of getting a thorough school training. One is, health so poor that you cannot attain it, or the care of others which may demand your time and energies to such an extent that you cannot devote either to the pursuit of knowledge. To such let me say that there are lessons to be learned under these circumstances of equal value with the training of the schools, and the curriculum of no school, college or university can furnish them. Your loss will not be without its compensation. If you meet the disappointments cheerily, bravely, and strive to make the most of life and learn your lessons from the school in which you are ever being trained, the great school of life, you will grow into a broader, deeper, tenderer, nobler man or woman.

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It is not so much poverty and environment that will keep boys and girls from an education as it is lack of vision, desire, determination, perseverance.

I am not at all anxious about the boy or girl who 74 has these qualities. They will succeed in the great race of life, if upheld by a strong moral purpose at the back of it all. It is the boy or girl who, having the advantages, the opportunity, the means for an education, has not the vision, the desire, the purpose, that needs our sympathy and anxious thought.

Burlington, N. C.


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Early in September, 1890, I arrived at Elon College about a week after the opening of the first session of the College. I had in money and other resources that I could turn into money less than $100. My purpose was to stay until my money gave out—perhaps I could get on by supplementing it with odd jobs until well on into the spring. It was my ambition to be a teacher in an academy or high school. I felt that to rub my elbows against college walls a few months, at least, would eminently satisfy my ideal of preparation.

Well, that was a wonderful $100. It opened doors, revealed vistas, heightened ideals, increased the tension of life until since the day I entered college I have lived in a different world. The College was young—had no traditions, casts or cliques among its membership. As a subfreshman I was allowed to possess my soul in peace and live my life as leisurely or as diligently as I pleased. I chose soon after getting into the college current to live as diligently as possible. I meant to make the freshman 76 year and the substudies also while my money lasted. I succeeded. By the time my money was gone—about the first of April, 1891—a long vista of a complete college course had burst invitingly before me with “graduation” in letters of fire at the end. What should I do? I was penniless, and knew no one from whom I could borrow. I had been reared, the son of a country minister, in a back section, sometimes called “backwoods,” where life was pure but simple and easy-going. Everybody was poor, and a college bred man a curiosity. Having grown to manhood under such conditions, I felt keenly the struggle now going on between poverty and the newly awakened ambitions in my life. But there was nothing to do but to accept the inevitable. The situation, I kept to myself. I felt it a disgrace to be penniless amongst many who seemed to have abundance; so I kept my troubles to myself until I was about to leave, when to my surprise, Mr. Tom Strowd, with whom and his excellent family I had boarded, offered to credit my board account until the end of the session. Another gentleman, Mr. P. A. Long, offered to give me a job of carpenter work during vacation. The results were, I finished the session on the strength of credit with people, all of whom were strangers to me when I came to the college.

The carpenter work in the summer and of afternoons and Saturdays until late in the fall, together with more credit on college expenses in the spring, 77 got me through the sophomore year. The severe strain of working my way and keeping up my studies threw me into a fever in the late fall, which lasted several weeks, and it was with difficulty that I passed my work in college. At commencement, however, I had put the sophomore year behind me with a fair record, and the burning letters “graduation” were perceptibly nearer than a year ago, yet I was almost as near out of debt as then.

This summer I taught school at Cedar Falls, a little manufacturing town in Randolph County, N. C. While here I fell under the kindly interest of the wealthiest man of the town, Mr. O. R. Cox, who, after learning something of how I had made my way thus far, offered to lend me such sums of money as I should need to get through the next two years. The remaining two years went smoothly along. I was in good health and supplemented the loans from Mr. Cox with what I could earn by various kinds of self-help; for I borrowed as little as possible.