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These two sources of revenue, together with small amounts which I was able to earn proved quite sufficient to furnish me enough money to meet my regular college expenses. They gave me, also, more pleasure than I should have been able to obtain had I been forced to earn my living by means of unskilled toil.

My summer vacations I employed on the farm. I had many rosy opportunities presented to me by solicitors who came to the University to earn possibly fabulous sums of money during the vacation by retailing their wares, but I preferred to work on the farm for two reasons: such work offered me a definite sum for my summer’s work, small though it might be, and I was in such a position that I felt that I should know what I could rely on. It gave me in addition three months strenuous exercise in the open air, and thus prepared me for the months of hard study that came through the college year.

As I look back now at the manner in which I earned my way through college, it seems to me in the light of the many years of experience which I have had since, a very good way. As I have watched the hundreds of self-supporting students at the University of Illinois, I am led to the conclusion that it 11 is seldom a good plan to start upon a college course without money, even if one has to postpone going until that is earned. Unskilled labor is unprofitable, and anyone who would succeed must have or must develop skill or training in some special work. Lastly, it seems to me that the average man will find it very much better to employ his vacations in work that will bring him a definite and assured income, even though that be small, than to risk earning ten times as much, as a book agent, for example, where he is quite likely to fail.

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Urbana, Ill.



I was born in Harlan County, Kentucky, which is one of the remote southeastern mountain counties of that State, on the twentieth of December, 1877. I was one of eight boys. After my mother died my father married a second time. He had six boys and two daughters by his second marriage. We lived on a rough mountain farm. Our income was meager and our educational and cultural advantages even more meager. Our public schools were of the poorest kind and lasted only three months in the year. We did not attend them even consecutively through these three months. I always was ambitious, however, after I had learned to read, to get what I could from school, and from books.

My mother died when I was fourteen years of age. It was about this time that I began to try to attend public schools regularly although ours were poor. At the age of seventeen I had my first five consecutive months of school. This gave me a taste for more knowledge, since here we were studying geography and history and those branches 13 which gave us some knowledge of a larger world than we mountain boys knew.

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At eighteen I entered the Presbyterian School at Harlan Town. I graduated from this little academy when I was twenty. All of this time I had taken great delight in working odd hours outside of school and on Saturdays and holidays, to pay my way. By this time I found it possible to teach in the country schools. This I did two terms. There was finally an opening at college where I had a chance to pay my way by taking care of the fires, milking cows, running errands, etc., for a gentleman who lived near the college and who had to be away from home most of the time.

I entered Tusculum College at Greeneville, Tenn., in September, 1897. I worked for Mr. L. L. Lawrence, an attorney, who lived near the college campus. My work was not very hard, but took a great many hours each day. By diligent application to my studies I found it possible to make up the branches in which I was deficient in the preparatory department, and to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree on the 1st of June, 1901. Having to do the manual labor that I did and at regular hours, established in me regular habits, both in meeting engagements and in preparation for classes, which I have found in later life invaluable. As I look back over my experience in college, I cannot remember the time when I was not perfectly delighted with the opportunity of work and study, even though I went many weeks destitute of “spending money.” 14

After I had finished college I entered upon a course of theological study which I pursued for four years graduating from McCormick Seminary in the spring of 1907. Meantime, however, I gave two years to teaching and to the work of the Y. M. C. A. as student secretary in Tennessee. This I found necessary in order to earn money to purchase books and carry on my courses of study without running too heavily in debt.

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Since I have been regularly in the ministry, I have many times given thanks for the Providence that made it necessary for me to get what little I did get in the way of education through this long course of labor, manual and mental. Many encouragements came along the way. There were many kind friends who, without my solicitation, have helped me at various times. I believe that the man who tries will always find much encouragement.

New York City.



By way of introduction, I will say that when I was in school I never had any inclination whatever to attend a higher institution of learning. But upon graduation from the ninth grade I was influenced to attend the academy. I was at that time living in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. I attended the academy there two years, and then finished my preparatory course at Vermont Academy, Saxton’s River, Vermont. As time drew near for graduation there, I finally became quite interested in agriculture and I decided to enter the Agricultural Department of the University of Vermont at Burlington. The next question was, “How am I to bear the expense?” My father was perfectly willing to help me and desirous of helping me through, but he was financially unable to send me through on his own resources. Since I was desirous of learning, I agreed to find some method of helping him out. It was finally decided that I should enter that fall (1908) and my application was sent and accepted.

My father, who aided me to the extent of $50 the first year, went to Burlington a short while before College was to open and held an interview with 16 Professor J. S. Hills, the Dean of the Agricultural Department. It ended in my securing the work of “sampler” at the Experimental Farm. The work included getting up at five o’clock every morning and going out to the barn and “sampling” and “weighing” the milk from fifty odd cows. There were two of us that did this work. When there was nothing ahead we would help in the milking. This required about two hours in the morning. At five o’clock in the afternoon the same work had to be done. If any of the readers have ever done this kind of work they can well appreciate my circumstances. For remuneration, I received fifteen cents an hour and was able to earn an average of twelve dollars a month, from which I paid my board. This consisted of one meal in a boarding house and two in my room. Although the work was rather undesirable in many respects, I have, nevertheless, many times thanked fortune for it. On Saturdays, I had a job emptying ashes and carrying coal for a woman down town, and in the winter I kept her roof and walks clean. In this way I picked up a neat sum. I did this work all the first year of college. During the summer I was very fortunate in securing a position at the Experiment Station under Professor Washburn (the head of the Dairy Division) for $40 a month, working nine hours a day. Along with this I kept my work at the farm so I managed to get $55 or more a month. Most of this I saved to help me in my sophomore year. 17

When the three months’ summer vacation was over, I still retained my work at the farm and kept it during the whole year. My father occasionally sent me a little money, and I got along as well as I could. During my sophomore year my uncle died and left me a small sum of money, but I used only $50 of it during my sophomore year. During my summer recess in that year I again worked for Professor Washburn on his books and experiment work. I received the immense wage of $45 a month, and still worked at the Farm, so I managed to obtain about $60 per month. I worked the whole three months, and then I decided to change my work.