Their happy future was blighted by illness. In the summer of , Tony went with friends to Spain. He returned home, after a fateful sea-swim, to a life changing diagnosis of Polio. Convalescence was long; his sports-playing days were over, and polio became a permanent fact of life.
Tony and Diane were engaged in April , but illness had again intervened. Diane had been unwell in , and her condition worsened during their engagement. In fear of death from ulcerative colitis, she endured many long months in hospital, numerous operations and debilitating uncertainty.
The marriage took place in November , but hospital treatment continued until As the sixties wore on, the anticipated family life took shape with the arrival of Heidi in January and Magnus eighteen months later. Garish, perhaps, but it was a happy home. At its heart was a rock-solid marriage of mutual respect, mutual reliance. This was not always the case.
Leonard Bernstein - Wikipedia
In the dark days, early in our marriage, he was my carer: a wonderful one, who inspired me to battle on. Being the gentleman that he was, he never once mentioned or reproached me for the limitations my frailties placed upon our lives. I never made a decision without consulting Tony first.
His level-headed judgement was invaluable throughout the years. Ours was a marriage of equals, but in truth, he was the Leader of the Williamson Pack. His humour shines through in so many of the messages the family were privileged to receive after he died. He relished pratfalls and pranks, and he got into a fair few scrapes. He lived life with a glint in his eye.
Tony was steadfast. Self-effacing, almost to a fault, he lived a life of dashed hopes with exemplary good grace. Ever polite and good company, he made and kept friendships. One of his very rare boasts that he never lost a friend. Tony was a courageous man. He exemplified the virtues of a generation in control of their emotions, who did their duty without fuss, who scorned self-indulgence or showing-off. Always kind; generous in thought, word and deed; a man who kept a promise. He was indeed a man of real character. In September , aged just 23, he was appointed Head of Classics at Wellingborough, a position he would hold for the next 40 years — a record without precedent in any other public school.
In Headmaster Humphrey Bashford appointed him housemaster, a position he held until In the classroom Peter helped bring the Ancient World alive, and he proved the perfect foil to his close friend Gordon Flex — Drama had been a passion since Oxford days, and at Wellingborough he produced eight school plays. He was blessed with a deep, rich, fruity voice, which served him well both on stage and at the blackboard, and in the Eighties he made for an unforgettable Lady Bracknell in one staff play.
Peter was also blessed with a deep religious faith; he served as a Lay Reader in the Chapel from to , and became a mainstay of life in the School Chapel. Countless generations of pupils will remember his patience and forbearance as they stumbled over the fourth declension or the ablative absolute. Others will recall his extraordinary lemoncoloured suit, a sure sign each year that summer had arrived. And his former Sixth Form classicists will never forget his generosity with the sherry bottle before lunch: imbibing two glasses of Croft Particular in ten minutes was almost enough to make school lunch bearable.
In Peter married his beloved Rosalie, and their children Martin and Helen were pupils at the School in the Eighties. Neil Lyon 80—85, W , School Archivist. He was born in October in Blandford, and in he gained a scholarship to Weymouth Junior School. The family moved to Ramsey in Huntingdonshire in and in Christopher transferred from Weymouth to Wellingborough. He went on to become head boy at Wellingborough in before winning a place to read Maths at Jesus College Cambridge. He was appointed as a Flying Officer in , and his passion for flying later translated into gliding as a hobby and he would travel over much of southern England for gliding competitions.
He was also a keen pianist and organist — and played the organ at Jesus College. After Cambridge Christopher worked as an aeronautical engineer at De Havilland, where he helped to design the Blue Streak missile, and then Hawker Siddeley. He was also a member of the Association of Project Managers, and wrote a book on Project Management in In he joined Compunet Ltd as a director and continued to develop his knowledge and skills in computing, being at the forefront of the computer industry for many years.
Christopher was a keen beekeeper, and also a keen sailor: he started an association with Arun yacht club that continued for 50 years, serving as treasurer. Other hobbies included bird watching, astronomy and crosswords. Christopher served as President of the Club in — 71 and as Hon Treasurer from until his death. In recent years, and particularly after the death of Charles Boldero in , it was Christopher who kept the Club going. He was determined to see the Club mark its 75 th anniversary in style, and organised a splendid final luncheon at the RAF Club last November.
In this he was supported always by his wife Heather whom he married in He leaves a widow, Heather, and three sons, as well as his elder brother Sam. When he was 2 years old his dad joined the Royal Armoured Corps at the outbreak of war, where he remained until discharge in when his little brother Doug was born. In , Peter was sent away to Westerleigh, a prep school in Sussex, and from there to Wellingborough School in Northamptonshire, where he remained until Peter had always been very interested in mechanics and all types of machinery, so it was only a matter of time before he found work in a local motorcycle repair shop where he stayed until he was called up to do his National Service in the Royal Navy.
For the remaining 18 months of his service he toured the Mediterranean and Black Seas, making several lasting friendships along the way. After National Service, Peter went to work for a large firm of insurance brokers called Price, Forbes in London, on the understanding that he could transfer to an overseas position after a year. So it was that Peter found himself on a slow boat to Cape Town and was sent to the Johannesburg branch to learn the ropes.
I t later became Zambia of course. The rest, as they say, is history. Throughout all these years, Peter and I were like ships that passed in the night. He was eight years older than me, so in the early years we were both away at boarding schools in different parts of the country. We were together in the holidays of course, where my brief was to be a pain in the neck and get in the way of everything! Whilst I was still at Wellingborough, Peter did his National Service and our paths seldom crossed, and no sooner was he demobbed, then he pushed off to South Africa, only coming back to the UK twice in 52 years.
His last visit to the UK was to help our Mother celebrate her th birthday. Peter sadly died on the 5 th March aged 77 years following a brief battle with cancer. We are indebted to his brother, Doug Hitchman Pl for supplying us with this text. He was born on 13 December in India, where his father was serving with the Army, the family later returned to England, and he was educated at Weymouth for a year before joining the contingent at Wellingborough in His valete record on leaving school in December records appearances in his House rugger, soccer and cricket teams. At the age of 18, although keen to join the Tank Regiment like his father before him, he was allocated to the Royal Engineers, and after spells of training at the School of Military Engineering at Ripon, Brighton Technical College and Officer Training at Sandhurst, he was posted to Germany in to help with the post-war clear up operation.
He continued his studies and soon qualified as a Chartered Mechanical and Electrical Engineer. Denis married Jay in , and was immediately posted to an Army quarter which turned out to be a croft with turf on the roof on the remote island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, where the Royal Engineers were setting up radar stations. Their next posting was Malaya, which they found rather more comfortable. The family moved to Sussex, where Denis continued to live for the next fifty years.
Daughter Penny emigrated, and Denis and Jay enjoyed marvellous holidays to visit Penny and her family in Australia. Because of his training and military career, Denis was a wizard at mending all things mechanical — cars, lawnmowers, washing machines, you name it, he could fix it. His wife Jay passed away in , and Denis immersed himself in the life of the local church, the Probus Club and British Legion. Denis was immensely proud of his grandchildren and their achievements. When great grandchildren Alfie, Ellie, Isabella and Georgia came along he was doubly proud.
Special thanks to daughter Sue for providing this information. Bryan G. Following graduation, he joined the RAF as a dentist and served in Libya. His son, Charles, is also a dentist and now practices in Cornwall. With a love of travelling, Bryan and his wife, Diana, whom he married in , enjoyed keeping in touch with relatives spread far and wide. Fellow Lincolnshire OW, James Browne W , who clearly still indulges himself in following local affairs in the Grimsby Telegraph, having spotted the article from which the above is derived, added his own typically wry observations about his former dentist.
Like me, he came from Grimsby. He was a lovely man and very good with kids, though I was pretty scared of going to visit him. When he told me that he had been there as well I almost fell off the dental chair! We worked out that he had been taught by Flogger senior, whereas I was being taught by Flogger junior!
John C. Wood , Pa Died: 10th October , Aged 85 John C Wood , Pa passed away on 10th October , having seen the passing in recent years of many Wellingburian friends of his generation. He was born in Wellingborough on 11th October , the only child of Charles Wood who attended the School up until and Phyllis. He was Head Boy at the School in and represented the School in tennis and the Colts cricket team.
Like his father, John was a keen member of Wellingborough Golf Club and he played chess and table tennis competitively until very late in life. He married Elizabeth nee Pack in and they had children Charles Pa , Rachel, and Hugh , Pa. John and Elizabeth moved a year ago to communal accommodation for retired priests and their spouses in Kibworth, Leicestershire.
Though increasingly frail, John's mind was as sharp as ever and he was very much enjoying an active life going for short walks, attending history society lectures, reading, listening to music and making new friends at the Kibworth accommodation. On Thursday 8th October he went bowling, attended a poetry reading and made correspondence chess moves.
He became suddenly ill on the 9th October and was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary that afternoon where his family were able to comfort him before he passed away with only brief discomfort in the early hours of the following morning, the day before his 85th birthday. He died on 3rd September , aged 66 years, after battling cancer, and leaves a wife, six children and ten grandchildren.
He will be sadly missed by all his friends and family. We are grateful to his brother Rod Pl for providing us with much of this information. Edwards took part in the Normandy campaign, initially in the construction of Bailey bridges and later, as the need for natural German speakers was identified, as a member of the Military Government looking for Nazis in newly taken German towns and villages. He had numerous narrow escapes from death during the fierce fighting and, as the advance continued into Germany, personally witnessed the liberation of Belsen and Fallingbostel Concentration Camps.
Subsequently he was transferred temporarily to the US army at Bremerhaven and was in charge of repatriating people of many nationalities, many of whom had been used as slave labour. It was only after his release from the army in September that he was granted British Nationality. His parents were Katya and Wilhelm Meyer. His comfortable middle class upbringing darkened after Hitler came to power in and life generally became increasingly difficult for Jews in Germany. His parents were able to join him from Germany in and they purchased the family home in North London where Edwards was to live for the rest of his life.
Happily this did not last long and at the age of 18, Edwards joined up in October After the War, in common with many demobbed soldiers, he found and this was a tale which he would recount with wry humour that his wartime experience counted for little in the world of commerce. This, for a cultured, experienced and accomplished young man of. It was not long, however, before he set up in the City on his own as an export and import agent and remained successfully in that business for the remainder of his working life.
Few who knew him would have known of his experiences during the War but he was delighted on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Normandy landings in to be invited by the Royal British Legion to take part in the commemorative events and sailed with the Legion on board the SS Canberra. It was a memorable trip and, as he related afterwards, he was one of the few or possibly the only German present who had served in the British Army. The commemorations also brought to mind his time building Bailey bridges in Normandy when the work was assisted by numerous German prisoners who were surprised to be confronted by fully armed British soldiers speaking in German with Berlin, Viennese and Rhineland accents.
The prisoners imagined them to be deserters but of course that was far from the truth. Nonetheless Fritz Ludwig Meyer had become Frederick Hugh Edwards before the Normandy campaign began, after advice from the War Office that Germans fighting in the British Army should Anglicise their names for, if captured, and their true identity uncovered, it is very likely that they would have been shown little mercy by their German captors.
After the death of his mother in Freddie remained in the family home in North London but enjoyed many trips abroad, particularly to Germany, Switzerland and Austria where he would climb with pleasure the hills and mountains which he had loved with his parents as a boy.
As he grew increasingly frail he was unable to continue living at home and spent the last 16 months of his life at Glebelands Care Home in Wokingham. The obituary which follows was constructed from a timeline which Richard himself sent through to the Foundation Office a couple of years ago. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge beckoned, but, after nearly two years working on the construction of the aerodrome base in East Anglia for the US Flying Fortress, he chose to enlist in the Army, ostensibly, he told us, to avoid the draft to the coal mines! Time was spent at Edinburgh University on an Army Engineering short course before Sandhurst and then a commission in the Royal Engineers.
Service followed in Egypt and Kenya before demobilisation in and a job with the new Kenya Survey Department in Nairobi. After numerous projects across the length and breadth of the country, Richard joined the new survey training school at Thika, where he made lifelong friendships. In he emigrated to Canada and first worked in the Alberta oilfields, moving to Vancouver to work for McElhanney and Associates Land Surveyors; five years later he set up his own business in Penticton, one of his proudest achievements being the development of Pine Hills Golf Course.
A committed family man, Richard was proud to have been a long term member of the Penticton Downtown Rotary Club and supporter of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, the Penticton Art Gallery and many other local groups. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Kathie, three daughters and son, plus four grandchildren. The School's Foundation wishes to record its grateful thanks to Richard for his contribution to its Bursary Fund. Along with his brother J. Tick Mules being their housemaster.
Particular friends of Edward in those days were H. Wallington, R. Sanders and G. Fondly remembered masters were Murray Witham, who gave an excellent grounding in Geography and imparted a pretty good knowledge of the air war on the Western Front, Bill Richmond, who encouraged a lifelong interest in Literature, and L. Cooke, who inculcated a keen interest in History. Edward left Wellingborough in and was articled to a well-known firm of Manchester Solicitors. His articles were interrupted by the outbreak of war and he served with distinction in the Cameronians Scottish Rifles.
He was trained in mountain warfare, so it was ironic that when he saw action he was sent to Holland! Returning after the war, Edward resumed his legal career and qualified as a Solicitor in July He took up an appointment as Assistant Solicitor with a firm in Macclesfield of which he eventually became senior partner. He retired in , but continued to work part-time as a consultant with the same firm until February Throughout his life he remained a proud patriot, believing that his country continued to be a force for good in the world.
Edward was a great lover of the outdoors and enjoyed walking on the fells of the Lake District in particular. He climbed Helvellyn, after he turned eighty and carried on walking in the Peak District in his eighties and even after a couple of major operations. He was an avid reader and continued to pursue his great love of history and current affairs until the end. He enjoyed a debate and his keen intellect, knowledge and retention of information made him a formidable opponent!
Edward is survived by his wife Beryl, three children Anne, Richard and Sally; and four grandchildren Sam, Joe, Hannah and Alice and we are very grateful to son, Rick, for the majority of the above text. George A. He enjoyed operating as a stage technician and had a part in the production of HMS Pinafore. His career was in hotel and pub restaurant management. He spent 12 years with Thistle Hotels Ltd, working as assistant manager and deputy manager at various locations within the subsidiary of Scottish and Newcastle Breweries. A past president of Diss Rugby Club, rugby and swimming were his hobbies, as were wines of the world.
George leaves his third wife, Eunice, two sons and a daughter by his first marriage, one grandson, two brothers and a sister. He will be remembered for his business acumen, his sense of fun and a positive outlook on life, even when his health was deteriorating. Commands during the Second World War. He was in the Battle of Malta in early , and then spent the rest of the war as a navigation instructor in South Africa. After the war he instructed at Air Services Training at Hamble, before moving to Rhodesia now Zimbabwe in to join the national airline.
In he retired and moved to Shrewsbury. His wife Irma died in He leaves one son and one grandson. Philip Harold Miles , G Died: 11th January , Aged 84 Philip was born the eldest of three brothers in Raunds, Northamptonshire, on 25th March, , and died peacefully on 11th January after a short illness. He entered the Junior School as a boarder in and was encouraged in his early love of music by Robert Britten, his headmaster. He moved to the Senior School where his organ playing was developed in the school chapel. He broadened his musical knowledge and love of teaching under the inspiration of Murray Witham.
Miles an irreplaceable person was lost. Being an organist of great distinction, he was also a competent singer, and a genius for general organisation. In he married Elizabeth, a fellow graduate piano student and they were invited back to Wellingborough where Philip became the temporary Director of Music in place of Maurice Pettitt, who was on a two year secondment for the Ministry. On his return, Philip spent a brief period teaching in the Junior School before his next appointment as Director of Music at Ripon Grammar School in He established a very strong musical tradition there for 17 years before becoming a Senior Lecturer at the Leeds College of Music until After retirement, he examined for Trinity College, travelling extensively in the UK and abroad.
In Philip became the Conductor and trainer of Ripon Choral Society, and during the next eighteen years performed many of the great choral masterpieces in Ripon Cathedral, most notably Elgar's "The Dream of Gerontius", which was again performed there on March 21st this year. This performance was dedicated to Philip's memory with many of his former friends and colleagues attending the packed Cathedral, together with his beloved family. It was a fine tribute to a dedicated musician and teacher, and a much loved man. Many thanks to Mrs Miles for providing much of the above.
At the time of his birth, his father was away with the Northamptonshire regiment on the Western Front. During his formative years he resided in Gordon Road adjacent to the family business. In March , he married Gladys, who worked in the Municipal Offices, and they celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary in They have one son, Ian, to whom we are most grateful for providing this information, and two grandchildren, Carrie and Stephen.
Ken was also interested in computers, photography, oil painting and travel, especially in the Bible lands of Israel where he was baptised in the Sea of Galilee. Despite failing health in later years he still retained a sharp mind and never lost his sense of humour. From the outset he set out to raise academic standards, and was rewarded with a steady flow of Oxbridge entrants. By instinct a strong disciplinarian, Mr Sugden faced the challenge of leading Wellingborough through the age of Flower Power and the permissive society.
A tangible sign of this came in with the abolition of straw boaters. In Mr Sugden retired to the south coast with his wife Jane, and pursued his longstanding interests in music and the arts. They retained a keen interest in the School, and came back in for the 50th wedding anniversary celebrations of his former Second Master Jack Blake and his wife Peggy. Mr Sugden held the reins at a time of enormous social change.
He had the conviction to do what he believed to be right, even at the risk of unpopularity in some quarters. History has judged his reign kindly, as an era when the School was significantly modernised. We offer our condolences to Mrs Sugden and to their two sons, Christopher and Charles. Neil Lyon , W , School Archivist.
Mike C. Mike, who came from a long established West Kirby family and was the son of a Doctor there, arrived at Wellingborough in , transferring from a Wirral Grammar School. He successfully completed his School Certificate, enjoyed the host of sports and societies, especially tennis and athletics available to boarders in those days.
National Service in the army followed school before he went to Bangor University to study agriculture. Whilst there, he represented the University of Wales at athletics, tennis and rugby. A career in animal feeding stuffs led him to be a Crop Inspector for the National institute of Agricultural Botany at Cambridge.
Along the way, further academic recognition followed in the awards of Chartered Biologist, Membership of the Institute of Biology and Licentiateship of the Royal Institute of Chemistry. For many years he lectured on natural history and ornithology and was a vice president of the West Kirby Lecture Society. She progressed, via Tresham College, to the University of Central Lancashire where ill health prevented her from completing a Psychology degree. Nevertheless, on her return to the county, she did gain qualifications in social care and counselling.
After taking time out to travel through the Far East to Australia during and , she returned home and took up a post with Northamptonshire Carers, where she became skilled in many aspects of Child Protection and the safeguarding of vulnerable adults. Surgery in to try to alleviate back pain from a road accident some years earlier, was not successful and left her unfit for work. He served in Lloyds Bank for 44 years starting in Wellingborough in and retiring in as Manager of the Birmingham Computer Centre.
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He was a very active Freemason and member of the Rotary Club in Birmingham, where he was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship for his outstanding contribution both within and outside Rotary. He leaves a widow, Mrs Diana Tilley, two daughters, a granddaughter and a grandson. It is very much a privilege for me to have been asked by Mollie to say a few words about Bill, his life and the friendship that Anita and I have enjoyed with both of them over so many years. Bill said that several boys from Higham and Rushden used this train and that various pranks took place and was not unknown, for example, for a junior, with a bit of cheek to finish his journey in the luggage rack!
Bill noticed an attractive young lady looking for a seat and that three were empty so he had worked out that if he sat in the middle one, she would have to sit next to him, which was the case and from there on romance flourished. He had hoped to be posted to somewhere like Cardington as he had volunteered for aircrew but at that time the RAF were not looking for aircrew and Bill found himself posted somewhat further away to Japan. It proved an eventful journey lasting over a week by rather elderly aircraft which broke down at various places en route but Bill was able to see the devastation in Hiroshima at first hand from the atomic bomb and they were only just beginning the first efforts at rebuilding.
He was able to continue his love of sport in Japan and was pleased to be in a Royal Air Force basketball team that defeated their Australian counterparts. His journey home was by sea and took six weeks. The past October saw them celebrate 65 years of marriage. Bill was with Hawkes for over 25 years until it was taken over and,. After a stressful period of inactivity he was able to purchase a small business in Northampton selling components and materials to the shoe repair trade which lasted until the premises were compulsorily acquired for road widening and he sold the business to a competitor as a going concern enabling him to retire.
Bill had always shown a keen desire to serve the local community and help those less fortunate than himself. His interest in sport gave him many happy years of tennis and badminton locally and he was President of Higham Tennis Club at one time. Perhaps his greatest involvement in the community came with his membership of the Rotary Club of Rushden which found him involved in all aspects of club activity — on international projects which saw him go to Hungary with Rotary friends and a lorry load of goods and clothing when that country came out from behind the Iron Curtain.
He entered wholeheartedly into projects within the local community on behalf of the club and his hand was usually the first to be raised for any active involvement. Bill had served as President and chaired all the committees within the club at various times as well as serving at the Rotary District level which included other local clubs. He and Mollie had a particular delight in their involvement with the launch of the Pre-Prep part of the school some years ago and they both attended virtually all activities there as honoured guests right up to the present time.
At this time of the year Bill and Mollie would be found very involved with work for the British Legion in selling poppies to schools and local factories and the community. It was also a major task for them to count up all the money after from the various tins with other Rotarians and their input will be sorely missed. Last Christmas they jointly received the Susan Hollowell Annual Award for service to the Rushden community — a richly deserved recognition of their involvement. He was also involved with the local Conservative Party and again had served a spell as President of the Wellingborough branch.
On a purely personal level our two families go back many years. Bill and I spent many happy hours on the golf course with other friends also and for some years had a regular Thursday morning Rotary Club four and I know Bill was hoping that with the introduction of buggies on the Rushden course it would mean he could enjoy a f ew holes with me after his recent foot operation.
Sadly, that is not to be. I know that I speak for everyone here today who knew Bill in saying what a great example of service to others his life has been and I know he would have wished me to say how much of a rock Mollie has been in all his activities and how much his family meant to him. In so many ways Bill will be sorely missed within our Community but all of us can reflect on a life well lived and be grateful to have known him. A rthur Wright F. One of the group of girls to join the Fourth Form of the Junior School in when girls were accepted for the first time below the Sixth Form, Alexi threw herself into school life from the outset, a trait of positivity which we learnt had stayed with her throughout her adult years.
After Higher Education in Portsmouth, she took herself off to Europe where she was soon to meet her future husband from Germany, Andreas. They moved to Geneva and then back to Dusseldorf. Alexia, after a most courageous fight against illness, is survived by Andreas, Nicolas, daughter, Florence, mother, Anne and brother Chris Pl. David Hawkes , G Died: 15th July , Aged 76 David Hawkes died peacefully on 15th July , aged 76, after a short period of deteriorating health. He was born on 28th April , the only son of W. Hawkes of Higham Ferrers, fittingly into a world of shoes following his Uncle's patenting of a process that was used by shoe manufacturers around the world.
Among his many interests were the school band, the debating society, the jazz club, the library and the Chapel prefect. Posted to Blandford Forum he was attached to R. Balliol meant a lot to David. These were heady times to be at the College. This trio dispensed liberal hospitality at Woodstock Road. Today it would probably be worth over a million! The professor was awarded the Rutherford Medal in for theoretical nuclear physics and his contributions to our understanding of nuclear structure and nuclear reactions.
He was the first to demonstrate how electric dipole photo-excitation of nuclei could be coherent, leading to giant resonances. David remembered his tutor with appropriate awe and remorse. Precision would be a hallmark of his management style in his later career. Unexpectedly, he obtained 3rd Class honours. This may have been due to his third year addiction to swimming and water polo at which he excelled and to the attentions of Miss Emma Naish, daughter of Richard Naish,one-time Ruskin Master of Drawing and Fine Art.
After I had been at the Hampton Institute a day or two I saw General Armstrong, the Principal, and he made the impression upon me of being the most perfect specimen of man, physically, mentally and spiritually, that I had ever seen; and I have never had occasion to change my first impression. In fact, as the years went by and as I came to know him better, the feeling grew. I have never seen a man in whom I had such confidence. It never occurred to me that it was possible Page 38 for him to fail in anything that he undertook to accomplish. I have sometimes thought that the best part of my education at Hampton was obtained by being permitted to look upon General Armstrong day by day.
He was a man who could not endure for a minute hypocrisy or want of truth in any one. This moral lesson he impressed upon every one who came in contact with him. After I had succeeded in passing my "sweeping examination," I was assigned by Miss Mackie to the position of assistant janitor. This position, with the exception of working on the farm for awhile, I held during the time I was a student at Hampton. I took care of four or five class rooms; that is, I swept and dusted them and built the fires when needed. A great portion of the time I had to rise at four o'clock in the morning in order to do my work and find time to prepare my lessons.
Everything was very crude at Hampton when I first went there. There were about two hundred students. There was but one substantial building, together with some old government barracks. There were no table cloths on the meal tables, and that which was called tea or coffee was served to us in yellow bowls. Corn bread was our chief food. Once a week we got a taste of white bread. While taking the regular literary and industrial courses at Hampton, next to my regular studies I was most fond of the debating societies, of which there were two or three.
The first subject that I debated in public was whether or not the execution of Maj. Andre was justifiable. These meetings were a constant source of delight, and were most valuable in preparing us for public speaking. While at Hampton my best friends did not know how badly off I was for clothing during a large part of the time, but I did not fret about that. I always had the feeling that if I could get knowledge in my head, the matter of clothing would take care of itself afterwards. At one time I was reduced to a single ragged pair of cheap socks.
These socks I had to wash over night and put them on the next morning. After I had remained at Hampton for two years I went back to West Virginia to spend my four months of vacation. Soon after my return to Malden my mother, who was never strong, Page 40 died. I do not remember how old I was at this time, but I do remember that it was during my vacation from Hampton. I had been without work for some time, and had been off several miles looking for work. On returning home at night I was very tired, and stopped in the boiler-room of one of the engines used to pump salt water into the salt furnace near my home.
I was so tired that I soon fell asleep. About two or three o'clock in the morning some one, my brother John, I think, found me and told me that our mother was dead. It has always been a source of indescribable pain to me that I was not present when she passed away, but the lessons of truth, honor and thrift which she implanted in me while she lived have remained with me, and I consider them among my most precious possessions.
She seemed never to tire of planning ways for me and the other children to get an education and to make true men and women of us, although she herself was without education. This was the severest trial I had ever experienced, because she always sympathized with me deeply in every effort that I made to get on in the world.
My sister Amanda was too young to know how to take care of the house, and my step-father was too poor to hire anyone. Sometimes we had food cooked for our meals and sometimes we did not. During the whole of the summer, after the death Page 41 of my mother, I do not think there was a time when the whole family sat down to a meal together. By working for Mrs. Ruffner and others, and by the aid of my brother John, I obtained money enough to return to Hampton in the fall, and graduated in the regular course in the summer of Aside from Gen. Armstrong, Gen. I am especially indebted to these two for being helped in my spiritual life and led to love and understand the Bible.
Largely by reason of their teaching, I find that a day rarely, if ever, passes when I am at home, that I do not read the Bible. Miss Lord was the teacher of reading, and she kindly consented to give me many extra lessons in elocution. These lessons I have since found most valuable to me. Life at Hampton was a constant revelation to me, it was constantly taking me into a new world. The matter of having meals at regular hours, of eating on a tablecloth, using a napkin, the use of the bath-tub and of the tooth-brush, as well as the use of sheets upon the bed, were all now to me.
I sometimes feel that the most valuable lesson Page 42 I learned at the Hampton Institute was the use of the bath. I learned there for the first time some of its value, not only in keeping the body healthy, but in inspiring self-respect and promoting virtue. In all my travels in the South and elsewhere, since leaving Hampton, I have always in some way sought my daily bath.
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To get it sometimes when I have been the guest of my own people in a single-roomed cabin has not always been easy to do, except by slipping away to some stream in the woods. I have always tried to teach my people that some pro- vision for bathing should be a part of every house. After finishing the course at Hampton, I went to Saratoga Springs, in New York, and was a waiter during the summer at the United States Hotel, the same hotel at which I have several times since been a guest upon the invitation of friends. In the fall of I returned to Malden and was elected as the teacher in the school at Malden, the first school that I ever attended.
I taught this school for three years. The thing that I recall most pleasantly in connection with my teaching was the fact that I induced several of my pupils to go to Hampton and that most of them have become strong and useful men. One of them, Dr. Samuel E. Courtney, is now a successful physician in Boston and has been a member of the Boston Board of Education.
While teaching I insisted that each pupil should come to school clean, should have his or her hands and face washed and hair combed, and should keep the buttons on his or her clothing. I not only taught school in the day, but for a great portion of the time taught night school. In addition to this I had two Sunday schools, one at a place called Snow Hill, about two miles from Malden, in the morning, and another in Malden in the afternoon. The average attendance in my day school, was, I think, between eighty and Page 44 ninety. As I had no assistant teacher it was a very difficult task to keep all the pupils interested and to see that they made progress in their studies.
I had few unpleasant experiences, however, in connection with my teaching. Most of the parents, notwithstanding the fact that they and many of the children knew me as a boy, seemed to have the greatest confidence in me and respect for me, and did everything in their power to make the work pleasant and agreeable. One thing that gave me a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure in teaching this school was the conducting of a debating society which met weekly and was largely attended both by the young and older people.
It was in this debating society and the societies of a similar character at Hampton that I began to cultivate whatever talent I may have for public speaking. While in Malden, our debating society would very often arrange for debates with other similar organizations in Charleston and elsewhere. He had been good enough to work for the family while I was being educated, and besides had helped me in all the ways he could, by working in the coal mines while I had been away.
Within a few months he started for Hampton and by his own efforts and my aid he went Page 45 through the institution. After both of us had gotten through Hampton we sent our adopted brother James there, and had the satisfaction of having him educated under Gen. In I went to Wayland Seminary, in Washington, and spent a year in study there.
King, D. Notwithstanding I was there but a short time, the high Christian character of Dr. King made a lasting impression upon me. The deep religious spirit which pervaded the atmosphere at Wayland made an impression upon me which I trust will always remain. Soon after my year at Wayland was completed, I was invited by a committee of gentlemen in Charleston, West Virginia, to stump the state of West Virginia in the interest of having the capital of the state moved from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Charleston.
For some time there had been quite an agitation in the state on the question of the permanent location of the capital. A law was passed by the legislature providing that three cities might be voted for; these were, I think, Charleston, Parkersburg and Martinsburg. It was a three-cornered contest and great energy was shown by each city. After about three months of campaigning the voters declared in favor of Charleston as the permanent capital, by Page 46 a large majority. I went into a large number of the counties of West Virginia, and had the satisfaction of feeling that my efforts counted for something in winning success for Charleston, which is only five miles from my old home, Malden.
The speaking in connection with the removal of the capital rather fired the slumbering ambition which I had had for some time to become a lawyer, and after this campaign was over I began in earnest to study law, in fact read Blackstone and several elementary law books preparatory to the profession of the law.
A good deal of my reading of the law was done under the kind direction of the Hon. Romes H. Freer, a white man who was then a prosperous lawyer in Charleston and who has since become a member of Congress. But notwithstanding my ambition to become a lawyer, I always had an unexplainable feeling that I was to do something else, and that I never would have the opportunity to practice law. As I analyze at the present time the feeling that seemed to possess me then, I was impressed with the idea that to confine myself to the practice of law would be going contrary to my teaching at Hampton, and would limit me to a much smaller sphere of usefulness than was open to me if I followed the work of educating my people after the manner in which I had been.
Washington's Private Secretary. The course of events, however, very soon placed me where I found an opportunity to begin my life's work. My work in connection with the removal of the capital had not been completed long when I received an invitation from Gen. Armstrong, much to my surprise, to return to Hampton and deliver the graduates' address at the next commencement. I chose as the subject of this address, "The Force that Wins. After the address I was further surprised by being asked by Gen.
Armstrong to return to the Hampton Institute and take a position, partly as a teacher and partly as a post-graduate student. This I gladly consented to do. Armstrong had decided to start a night class at Hampton for students who wanted to work all day and study for two hours at night. He asked me to organize and teach this class. At first there were only about a half dozen students, but the number soon grew to about thirty. The night class at Hampton has since grown to the point where it now numbers six or seven hundred.
It seems to me that the teaching of this class was almost the most satisfactory work I ever did. The students who composed the class worked during the day for ten hours in the saw mill, on the farm, or in the laundry. They were a most earnest set. I soon Page 48 gave them the name of the "Plucky Class. While I was teaching I was given lessons in advanced subjects, among those who assisted me in that way being Dr. Frissell, who was then chaplain, but who is now the honored and successful successor of Gen. About the time the night class was organized at Hampton, Indians for the first time were permitted to enter the institution.
The second year that I worked at Hampton, in connection with other duties I was placed in charge of the Indian boys, who at that time numbered about seventy-five, I think. I lived in their cottage with them and looked after all their wants. I grew to like the Indians very much, and placed great faith in them. My daily experience with them convinced me that the main thing that any oppressed people needed was a chance of the right kind, and they would cease to be savages.
I have often wondered if there is a white institution in this country whose students would have welcomed the incoming of more than a hundred companions of another race in the cordial way that the black students at Hampton welcomed the red ones. How often have I wanted to say to white students that they lift themselves up in proportion as they help to lift others, and that Page 49 the more unfortunate the race and the lower in the scale of civilization, the more does one raise one's self by giving the assistance.
This reminds me of a conversation which I once had with the Hon. At one time Mr. Douglass was traveling in the state of Pennsylvania, and was forced, on account of his color, to ride in the baggage-car, in spite of the fact that he had paid the same fare as the other passengers. When some of the white passengers went to the baggage. Douglass, and one of them said to him, "I am sorry, Mr. Douglass, that you have been degraded in this manner," Mr.
Douglass straightened himself up on the box upon which he was sitting, and replied: "They cannot degrade Frederick Douglass. The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are inflicting it upon me. My experience has been, that the time to test a true gentleman is to observe him when he is in contact with individuals of a race that is less fortunate than his own. This is illustrated in no better way than by observing the conduct of the old-school type of Southern gentleman when he is in contact with his former slaves or their descendants.
An example of what I mean is shown in a story told of George Washington, who, meeting a colored man in the road once, who politely lifted his hat, lifted his own in return. Some of his white friends who saw the incident, criticised Washington for his action. In reply to their criticism, George Washington said: "Do you suppose that I am going to permit a poor, ignorant colored man to be more polite than I am? At the end of my second year at Hampton as a teacher, in , there came a call from the little town of Tuskegee, Alabama, to Gen.
Armstrong for some one to organize and become the Principal of a Normal School, which the people wanted to start in that town. The letter to Gen. Armstrong was written on behalf of the colored people of the town of Tuskegee by Mr. Campbell, one of the foremost white citizens of Tuskegee.
Campbell is still the president of the Board of Trustees of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, and has from the first been one of its warmest and most steadfast friends. When Mr. Campbell wrote to Gen. Armstrong, he had in mind the securing of a white man to take the principalship of the school. Armstrong replied that he knew of no suitable white man for the position, but that he could recommend a colored man.
Campbell wrote in reply that a competent colored man would be Page 51 acceptable. Armstrong asked me to give up my work at Hampton and go to Tuskegee in answer to this call. I decided to undertake the work, and after spending a few days at my old home in Malden, West Virginia, I proceeded to the town of Tuskegee, Alabama. I wish to add here that, in later years, I do not envy the white boy as I once did. I have learned that success is to be measured, not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.
Looked at from this standpoint, I almost reach the conclusion that often the Negro boy's birth and connection with an unpopular race are an advantage, so far as real life is concerned. With few exceptions, the Negro youth must work harder and perform his tasks even better than a white youth in order to secure recognition.
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But out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass, he gets a strength, a confidence that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race. From any point of view, I had rather be what I am, a member of the Negro race, than to be able to claim membership with the most favored of any other race. I have always been made sad when I have heard members of my race claiming rights and privileges, or certain badges of distinction, Page 52 on the ground simply that they were members of this or that race, regardless of their own individual worth or attainments.
Before starting for Tuskegee I found it almost impossible to find the town on any map, and had difficulty in learning its exact location. I reached Tuskegee about the middle of June, I found it to be a town of some 2, inhabitants, about half of whom were Negroes, and located in what is commonly called the "Black Belt," that is, the section of the South where the Negro race largely outnumbers the white population. The county in which Tuskegee is located is named Macon.
Screws, the editor of the "Montgomery Alabama Daily Advertiser," who visited Tuskegee in , seventeen years after the Tuskegee Institute was founded. Screws says:. It has always possessed merits which brought it conspicuously before Alabamians, for in every locality in this and many Southern Page 54 States are noble men and women who received their educational training here. Woodward was one of the earliest white settlers in Macon County, and was one of the commissioners appointed to lay off the site for the court house.
He built the first house in the new town, which they called Tuskegee, a corruption of the old Indian name, Tuskigi, which is said by Dr. Gatschet to be a contraction of Taskialgi warriors. The old Indian town stood in the fork of the Coosa and was the home, part of the time, of the famous half-breed statesman, Alexander McGillivray.
The name passed in its present form to the county seat of the new county. They owned rich lands on the creeks and streams and in the prairie section of the county. This point is on a high, dry ridge, and from time immemorial has been noted for its healthfulness. Here came those who wished to build homes for their families, to have congenial company and to give their children educational advantages. They did not desire the projectors of the Montgomery and West Point, Railroad to put the town on its route, because of the interruption it was feared would be occasioned to the schools.
From the very beginning of its existence, education has Page 55 been the main feature of Tuskegee, and through its schools and colleges a population gathered here which has never been excelled in point of refinement, politeness and all the gentle amenities which tend to make life comfortable.
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James Dent built the first house. The town was first laid out in Campbell came to the county with his father from Montgomery in , and at that time perhaps people were in and about what now comprises Tuskegee's territorial limits. There was no court house building, and court sessions were held in a small log house with a dirt floor. When court was not in session the building was used as a school house.
The Creek Indians were in great numbers in the neighborhood, but they were friendly and peaceful, and in commenced to move to their far Western home, going overland to Montgomery, where they took steamer for New Orleans. Tuskegee is one of the model towns in the way of good order. Gautier, and Messrs. Campbell, J. Bilbro, J. Adams and W. They have a perfect wealth of interesting reminiscence connected with the early days of all East Alabama. Although they have passed the three score years, they are hale, healthy men, engaged in Page 56 business, and set a splendid example of energy and active life to the younger generation.
It was a tiresome, troublesome and expensive method. This difficulty has been overcome through the Tuskegee Railroad which now connects the two points. They suffered immensely by the results of the war from disorganized labor, and reverses stripped them of much of their property. The county is almost exclusively agricultural, and the average yield year by year, of corn, cotton, peas, potatoes and other things grown on well regulated farms, is fairly good.
When I reached Tuskegee, I found that Mr. Lewis Adams, a colored man of great intelligence and thrift, who was born a slave near Tuskegee, had first started the movement to have some kind of Normal School in Tuskegee for the education of colored youth. At the time he conceived this Page 57 idea Hon. Foster and Hon.
Brooks, both white Democrats, were members of the Alabama Legislature, and Mr. Foster and Mr. Brooks were successful in their efforts to secure the appropriation, which was limited in its use to helping to pay teachers. When the school was first started this board consisted of Mr. Campbell, Mr. Swanson and Mr. Lewis Adams. After the death of Mr. Swanson, Mr. Hare was elected in his stead. There was no land, building, or apparatus. I opened the school, however, on the 4th of July, , in an old church and a little shanty that was almost ready to fall down from decay.
On the first day there was an attendance of thirty students, mainly those who had been engaged in teaching in the Public schools of that vicinity. But these little buildings, inadequate as they were, were most Page 58 gladly furnished by the colored people, who from the first day that I went to Tuskegee to the present time have done everything within their power to further the interests of the school. One curious thing that happened in connection with the students was, as additional pupils began to come in, that some of them had been attending schools taught by some of those who came to the Tuskegee school, and, in several cases, it happened that former pupils entered higher classes than their former teachers.
After the school had been in session in the old church and little shanty for several months, I began to see the necessity of having a permanent location for the institution, where we could have the students not only in their class rooms, but get hold of them in their home life, and teach them how to take care of their bodies in the matter of bathing, care of the teeth, and in general cleanliness. We also felt that we must not only teach the students how to prepare their food, but how to serve and eat it properly.
So long as we had the students only a few hours in the class room during the day, we could give attention to none of these important matters, which our students had not had an opportunity of learning before leaving their homes. Few of the students who came during the first year were able to remain during the nine months' session, for lack of money, so we felt the necessity of having industries where the students could pay a part of their board in cash.
It was rather noticeable that, notwithstanding the poverty of most of the students who came to us in the earlier months of the institution, Page 60 most of them had the idea of getting an education in order that they might find some method of living without manual labor; that is, they had the feeling that to work with the hands was not conducive to the development of the highest type of lady or gentleman. This feeling we wanted to change as fast as possible, by teaching students the dignity, beauty and civilizing power of intelligent labor.
After a few months had passed, I wrote Gen. Marshall, at that time treasurer of the Hampton Institute, and put our condition before him, telling him that there was an abandoned farm about a mile from the town of Tuskegee in the market which I could secure at a very cheap price for our institution. As I had absolutely no money with which to make the first payment on the farm, I summoned the courage to ask Gen. A contract was made for the purchase of the farm, which at that time consisted of acres.
Subsequent purchases and gifts of adjacent lands have increased the number of acres at this place to , and this is the present site of the Tuskegee Institute. This has again been enlarged from time to time by purchases and gifts of land not adjacent until at present Page 61 the school owns farm lands to the number of about 2, acres. After the school had been in session three months, Miss Olivia A. Davidson, a graduate of the Hampton Institute and later a graduate of the Framingham, Mass.
Miss Davidson was teaching among her people near Memphis, Tennessee, in , when the yellow fever drove her away.
She went to Hampton, entered the senior class and graduated the following spring. She did not go to Hampton, however, until her application to return to Memphis to help nurse the yellow fever patients had been refused by the authorities there. Through friends she was able to enter the Normal School at Framingham, Massachusetts, and graduated in the summer of ; and, when an assistant at Tuskegee was called for, she accepted the work. Her enthusiasm had won the admiration of her schoolmates, and from them she received much assistance for the school at Tuskegee in after years.
The success of the school, especially during the first half dozen years of its existence, was due more to Miss Davidson than any one else. During the organization of the school and in all matters of discipline she was the one to bring order out of every difficulty.
When the last effort had Page 62 apparently been exhausted and it seemed that things must stop, she was the one to find a way out. Not only was this true at the school, but when a campaign for money had ended unsuccessfully, she would start for the North, and money was sure to be found. Our hardest struggle began after we had made the first payment on the farm. We not only had to secure the money within a few months with which to repay Gen. Marshall's loan, but had to get the means with which to meet future payments, and also to erect a building on the farm.
Miss Davidson went among the white and colored families in Tuskegee and told them our plans and needs, and there were few of either race who did not contribute either something in cash or something that could be turned into cash at the many festivals and fairs which were held for the purpose of raising money to help the school.
In many cases the white ladies in Tuskegee contributed chickens or cakes that were sold for the benefit of our new enterprise. I do not believe there was a single Negro family or scarcely an individual in Tuskegee or its vicinity that did not contribute something in money or in kind to the school. These contributions were most gladly made, and often at a great sacrifice. Perhaps I might as well say right here that one of the principal things which made it easy to start.
I have been into a good many Southern towns, but I think I have never seen one where the general average of culture and intelligence is so high as that of the people of Tuskegee. We have in this town and the surrounding country a good example of the friendly relations that exist between the two races when both races are enlightened and educated.
Not only are the white people above the average, but the same is true of the general intelligence and acquirements of the colored people. The leading colored citizen in Tuskegee is Mr. Lewis Adams, to whom should largely be given the honor for securing the location of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in the town. Adams is not only an intelligent and successful business man, but is one who combines with his business enterprise rare common sense and discretion. In the most trying periods of the growth of the Tuskegee Institute I have always found Mr.
Adams a man on whom I could rely for the wisest advice. He enjoys the highest respect and confidence of the citizens of both races, and it is largely through his power and influence that the two races live together in harmony and peace in the town. After we had raised all the money we could in Tuskegee for the purpose of paying for the farm and putting up the new building, Miss Davidson went to Boston, where she had many friends and acquaintances, and after some months of hard work she secured enough money to complete the payment on the farm and return Gen. Marshall's loan.
In addition she secured means to complete the payment on our first building, Porter Hall. This building was named after Mr. Porter, of Brooklyn, N. All the while the farm was being paid for we were holding school daily in the old church and shanty. The latter at least was well ventilated. There was one thickness of boards above and around us, and this was full of large cracks. Part of the windows had no sashes and were closed with rough wooden shutters that opened upward by leather hinges.
Other windows had sashes, but with little glass in them. Through all these openings the hot sun or cold wind and rain came pouring in upon us. Many a time a storm would leave scarcely a dry spot in either of the two rooms into which the shanty was divided to make room for separate classes. These rooms were small, but into them large classes of thirty or forty had to be crowded for recitations. More Page 65 than once, I remember, when Miss Davidson and I were hearing recitations, and the rain would begin pouring down, one of the larger pupils would very kindly cease his lessons and come and hold an umbrella over us so that we could continue our work.
I also remember that at our boarding place, on several occasions when it rained while we were eating our meals, our good landlady would kindly get an umbrella and hold it over us while we were eating. During the summer of , at the end of our first year's work, I was married to Miss Fannie N. Smith, of Malden, West Virginia, and we began housekeeping in Tuskegee early in the fall. This made a home for our teachers, who had now been increased to four in number.
My wife was also a graduate of the Hampton Institute. After earnest and constant work in the interest of the school, together with her housekeeping duties, she passed away in May, One child, Portia M. Washington, was born during our marriage. From the first my wife most earnestly devoted her thought and time to the work of the school, and was completely one with me in every interest and ambition.
She died, however, before she had an opportunity of seeing what the school was destined to be. The following account of her death is taken Page 66 from the Alumni Journal, published at the time at Hampton:. Washington will be pained to learn of the death of his beloved wife, Mrs. Washington, whose acquaintance and regard for the deceased had begun in their childhood. Their happy union had done much to lighten the arduous duties devolving upon him in the management of his school. To his friends he had several times expressed the great comfort his family life was to him.
Soon after securing possession of the farm we set about putting it into a condition so that a crop of some kind might be secured from it during the next year. At the close of school hours each afternoon, I would call for volunteers to take their axes and go into the woods to assist in clearing up the grounds. The students were most anxious to give their service in this way, and very soon a large acreage was put into condition for cultivation.
We had no horse or mule with which to begin the cultivation of the farm. George W. Campbell, however, the president of the Board of Trustees, very kindly gave us a horse. This was the first animal that the school ever possessed. On the farm there was an old building that had formerly been used as a stable, another that had been used as a chicken coop, and still a third that had been used as a kitchen during ante-bellum days.
All of these three buildings or shanties were duly repaired and made to do service as class-rooms and dormitories. We had our first services in Porter Hall on Thanksgiving Day, Bedford, who was then pastor of the Congregational Church in Montgomery, and who has since been one of our trustees and warmest friends, preached the Thanksgiving sermon. This was the first Thanksgiving service, I think, that was ever held in the town of Tuskegee, and a joyous one it was to the people. By the middle of the second year's work the existence of the school had begun to be advertised pretty thoroughly through the state of Alabama and even in some of the adjoining states.
This brought to us an increasing number of students, and the problem as to what to do with them was becoming a serious one. We put the girls who did not live in town on the third floor of Porter Hall to sleep. The boys we scattered around in whatever places we were able to secure. In order to provide a dining room, kitchen and laundry, to be used by the boarding department, our young men volunteered to dig out the basement under Porter Hall, which was soon bricked up and made to answer its purpose very well.
Old students, however, who to-day return to Tuskegee and see the large new dining room, kitchen, and laundry run by steam, are very much interested in noting the change and contrast.
Sometimes during the winter of the second year of the school, we were compelled to put large numbers of young men in shanties or huts to sleep, where there was almost no protection from rain and cold weather. Often during the very cold nights I have gone into the rooms of these students at midnight to see how they were getting along, and have found them sitting up by the fire, with blankets wrapped about them, as the only method of keeping warm. One morning, when I asked at the opening exercises how many had been frost-bitten during the cold weather, not less than ten hands went up.
The teachers were not surprised at this. Still, notwithstanding these inconveniences and hardships, I think I never heard a complaint from the lips of a single student. They always seemed filled with gratitude for the opportunity to go to school under any circumstances. Very early in the history of the school we made it a rule that no student, however well off he might be, was to be permitted to remain unless he did some work, in addition to taking studies in the academic department.
At first quite a number of students and a large number of parents did not like this rule; in fact, during the first three or four years, a large proportion of the students brought either verbal or written messages from their parents that they wanted their Page 70 children taught books, but did not want them taught work. Notwithstanding these protests, we still stuck to our rule.
As the years went on and as the students and parents began to see and appreciate the value of our industrial teaching, these protests grew less frequent and less strong. It is a sufficient explanation to say in regard to this matter, that it has been ten years since a single objection has been raised by parents or students against anyone's taking part in our industrial work. In fact, there is a positive enthusiasm among parents and students over our industrial work, and we are compelled to refuse admission to hundreds every year who wish to prepare themselves to take up industrial pursuits.
If we had the room and the means we could give industrial training to a much larger number of students than are now receiving it. The main burden of the letters which now come from parents is that each wants his daughter or son taught some industry or trade in connection with the academic branches. I also remember, during the early history of this institution, that students coming here who had to pass through the larger cities, or pass in the vicinity of other institutions, had the finger of scorn pointed at them because they were going to a school where it was understood that one had to labor.
At the present time, however, this feeling is so completely changed that Page 71 there is almost no portion of the South where there is any objection brought against industrial education of the Negro on the part of the colored people themselves. On the other hand, the feeling in favor of it is strong and most enthusiastic. Almost from the first I determined to have the students do practically all the work of putting up the buildings and carrying on the various departments of the institution.
Many of our best friends, however, doubted the practicability of this, but I insisted that it could be done. I held that while the students at first might make very poor bricks and do poor brick-masonry, the lesson of self-help would be more valuable to them in the long run than if they were put into a building which had been wholly the creation of the generosity of some one else. By the end of the third year the number of students had increased from 30, with which we began, to ; most of them, however, coming from nearby counties and other sections of Alabama.
In February, , the State Legislature of Alabama increased the state appropriation for the school from two to three thousand dollars annually, on recommendation of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Hon. Clay Armstrong. The Committee on Education reported the bill unanimously to the House, and the Governor recommended its passage. As some Page 72 of the members were not acquainted with the character of the school, they raised objection to this increase at a time when, by defalcation of the state treasurer, reported only the day before, the state had lost a quarter of a million dollars.
The Speaker of the House, Hon. Foster, a member from Tuskegee, and an ex-Confederate soldier, left the chair, and in an eloquent and effective speech in praise of the work of the school at Tuskegee, urged the passage of the bill. On conclusion of Col. Foster's speech the bill passed by a large majority vote. Foster not only interested himself in the passage of the first bill which gave support from the state to this institution, but has been one of the warmest and most helpful friends from that time until the present. In reference to the passage of the bill for an increased appropriation for the school, Rev.
Bedford, at that time residing in Montgomery as pastor of the Congregational Church, wrote to Gen. Armstrong as follows:. I attended the session of the Page 73 school for two days and was exceedingly pleased with the enthusiastic spirit of both teachers and pupils. One of the encouraging features of the school is the warm interest it has inspired in many of the leading white citizens of Tuskegee.
Campbell and Mr. Swanson are among the oldest and most respected citizens of Macon County. They with Mr. Lewis Adams, a prominent colored man, constitute the State Board of Commissioners for the school. Bowen, Mr. Varner, and Col. Foster, speaker of the present Legislature, all citizens of Tuskegee and familiar with the school, are among its warmest friends. A short time ago, in conversation with Hon. I was present during the debate on the bill. So interested was Col. Foster in its passage that he left the speaker's chair, and upon the floor of the House, in an eloquent and effective speech, urged that it pass.
He sat down, and by a vote of 59 to 18, the bill was passed; and it is now a law. Washington and his associates, they will take hold to win. In April, , the school enjoyed a pleasant visit from Gen. Marshall's visit gave us the greatest hope and encouragement.
He wrote, while at the school, to the Southern Workman, a paper published at Hampton Institute, as follows, concerning his visit:.
The Divided Prince
They also raise cotton, sweet potatoes, peaches, etc. To enable them to train the students properly they must have them board at the school. A building is very much needed for the accommodation of young men. For this purpose he proposes to build of brick made on the farm, which has excellent clay. The young men are impatient to set to work on their building. I was glad to find a very strong temperance sentiment here.
No better location could have been chosen. Washington's work, and speak of him in high terms. He has evidently won the esteem and confidence of all. Foster, the present speaker of the House, in the State Legislature, lives here, and rendered valuable aid in getting the increased appropriation of the state for Mr.
Washington, of whom he spoke to me in high praise. I found on my arrival at the school, which is about a mile from the village center, a handsome frame building of two stories with a mansard roof. Though not yet finished it is occupied as a school building and is very conveniently planned, for the purpose, reminding me of the Academic Hall at Hampton. The primary school on the Normal School grounds bears the same relation to it as a practice school that the Butler does to the Hampton Institute.
It has on the roll. They are Page 76 stored away in what was the stable, close as crayons in a Waltham box. Let us hope they will all make their mark. Washington and Miss Davidson, have contributed. It is vital to the success of this school that the students should all be brought under the training and supervision of the teachers by being boarded and lodged on the premises. Our experience at Hampton has shown us the necessity of this.
I know of no more worthy object, or one conducive to more important results, than this school enterprise, and I trust the friends of Negro advancement and education will not suffer it to languish or be hampered for funds. They may rest assured that these may be wisely expended and most worthily bestowed. The next event in the history of the school was Page 77 the celebration of its second anniversary, combined with the dedication of Porter Hall, cornerstone of which had been laid the year before.
The dedication address was delivered by Rev. Chaney, of Atlanta, now of Boston, one of the Trustees of the school; and eloquent speeches were also made by Rev. Morgan Calloway, the associate in Emory College of its president, Dr. Atticus G. Haygood, author of "Our Brother in Black. Owens, of Mobile, also made an interesting address. During the following summer a small frame cottage with four rooms was put up to hold sixteen young men, and three board shanties near the grounds were rented, affording accommodations for about thirty-six additional students.
In September a boarding department was opened for both sexes, and as many young men as could be provided for gladly availed themselves of the privilege of working out about half of their board at the school. In Mr. Warren Logan, a graduate of the Hampton Institute, who had received special training in book-keeping under Gen. Marshall at Hampton, came to Tuskegee as a teacher. He had not been here long, however, before it was clearly seen that he could serve the school effectively in another capacity, as well as a class room teacher, and he was soon given the position Page 78 of Treasurer and book-keeper, in addition to his duties as an instructor.
Logan has now been connected with the school sixteen years, and has been its Treasurer during thirteen years of this time. In addition to the position of treasurer, he fills the position of Acting Principal in the absence of the Principal. All of these various and delicate, as well as responsible, duties he has performed with great ability and satisfaction. Washington, my brother, came to the school from West Virginia in and took the position of Business Agent. He was after- wards made Superintendent of Industries and has held that position ever since. In the meantime the school has grown, and his duties as well as those of Mr.
Logan, have broadened and increased in responsibility. Both he and Mr. Logan, during the absence of the Principal, are in a large measure the mainstay and dependence of the institution for counsel and wise direction. These two men, Mr. Logan and my brother John, have been from the beginning very important forces in the school management. As Treasurer and Superintendent of Industries respectively their responsibilities are heavy, and how much credit they deserve will never be fully known till the necessity arises some day to fill their places.
They, with James N. Calloway, a graduate of Fisk University, who is the manager of. Marshall Farm, Mr. Carver, Director of the Agricultural Department, and Mr. Bedford from the Trustees of the Slater Fund. I might add right here, that the interest of the Trustees of the Slater Fund, now under the control of Dr.
With this impetus, a carpenter shop was built and started, a windmill set up to pump water into the school building, a sewing machine bought for the girls' industrial room, mules and wagons for the farm, and the farm manager's salary was also paid for nine months. All during the summer, as was true of the previous one, Miss Davidson and myself had been earnestly presenting our cause at the North with so much encouragement that the work on the new building, called Alabama Hall, was vigorously pushed during the fall and winter. In March, , Gen. Armstrong did one of those generous things which he was noted for all through his life.
In fact, from the beginning of Tuskegee's life until Gen. Armstrong's death, he seemed to take as much interest in the work of Tuskegee as in the Hampton Institute, and I am glad to say the same generous spirit is constantly shown by the successor of Gen. Armstrong, Dr. I received a letter from Gen. Armstrong stating that he had decided to hold a number of public meetings in such cities as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, and wished me to accompany him and speak in the interest of Tuskegee.
These meetings were advertised to be in the interest of Hampton and Tuskegee jointly, but in reality they turned out to be meetings in the interest of Tuskegee, so generous was Gen. Armstrong in his words and actions at these meetings. The special object aimed at in these meetings was to secure money with which to complete Alabama Hall. I quote from an address made at one of these meetings by myself: "Our young men have already made two kilns of bricks, and will make all required for the needed building, Alabama Hall.
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From the first we have carried out the plan at Tuskegee of asking help for nothing that we Page 81 could do for ourselves. Nothing has been bought that the students can produce. The boys have done the painting, made the bricks, the chairs, tables and desks, have built a stable, and are now moving the carpenter shop. The girls do the entire housekeeping, including the washing, ironing and mending of the boys' clothing.
Besides, they make garments to sell, and give some attention to flower gardening. Mackie, who was the first one to receive me when I went to Hampton as a student. I will say here that, from the visit of Gen. Marshall up to the present time, we have received constant visits and encouragement from the officers and teachers of the Hampton Institute. Miss Mackie, writing to a friend at Hampton, said:. I am sure you would feel, as I do, that the dial of time must have Page 82 turned back twelve years in its course. In many respects it is more like the Hampton I first knew than the one of today is; I was particularly struck with the plantation melodies which Mr.
Washington called for at the close of the evening prayers; there is more of the real wail in their music than I ever heard elsewhere. The teachers here laugh over their exact imitation of the alma mater; even the night school feature has sprouted; to be sure it only numbers two students, but it is on the same plan as ours. Do you know that Mr.