The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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in spite of a century's storms and the fierce assault of the thunderbolt, still rears its majestic head above the neighboring oaks, the Davie Poplar.

        In 1852 the Trustees did tardy honor to the first benefactors of the University. T e charter was granted in 1789. The first meeting of the Board was held in 1790 at the flourishing town of Fayetteville. The President of the Board was a King's Mountain hero, Gen. Wm. Lenoir who has given his name to a county and town of our State-the last survivor of this illustrious forty-dying in 1839 at the age of 88. Gen. Benjamin Smith, of Brunswick, then a member, made the first donation for the cause of higher education in North Carolina. He gladened the hearts of all present by the gift of 20,000 acres of land in Tennessee It is true they were not immediately available. They were afterwards surrendered to the Chickasaws and subsequently repurchased by the Government. It was forty years before they were made available. They were ultimately sold for $14,000, after being shaken up by the greatest earthquake, which has afflicted America since its discovery, into lakes and hills The proceeds went into the endowment and were swallowed up by the great civil war, which with more terrible voracity than a hundred earthquakes engulped so much of the wealth and population of the Southern Country.

        Benjamin Smith was a man of mark. He was in youth an aide-de-camp of Washington in the disastrous defeat on Long Island. He was conspicuous for his gallantry under Moultrie. By his fiery eloquence the militia of Brunswick volunteered to serve under him in the threatened war against France. He was fifteen times Senator from Brunswick. He was chosen Governor in 1810. His county called its capital, Smithville, in his honor. His name survives too in the bleak and stormy island at the mouth of the Cape Fear. The land he gave us, as was also the land of Gerrard, was won by valor and blood in the war for freedom. Their sacrifices were not useless. Their monuments are far more enduring than brass or marble. Centuries will come and go. Families will grow great and be extinguished. Fortunes will be made and lost. Offices will be struggled for and ambitious hopes realized, but the names of the contestants will vanish as if written on the sea shore. Reputations blazing in pulpit, or forum, and senate chamber will fade as rapidly as the meteor's path. But the blessings of the gifts of Person, Gerrard and Smith will never cease. For nearly a century they have planted learning and sound principles in the minds of men over all our Southern land. In all the ages to come their work will go on. The thousand young men, who will have their mental panoply supplied from the University armory to engage in life's varied conflicts, will hold their names in honor. As long as the University lasts they will never be forgotten, and the University will last forever!

        I will say only a few words of the New West buildings. Prior to 1850 the highest number of students was 170. After the discovery of the California gold mines, and consequent increase in the supply of the circulating medium, there ensued wonderfully prosperous times for all the world, and especially for our Southern States. The old North Carolina families who had carried their lares and penates into the fertile regions of the Southwest sent back their sons to their native State for education. Students swarmed into the University. They overflowed the old building and were camped in little cottages all over the town from Couchtown to Craig's. In 1858 there were as many as 456, of whom 178 were from other States than North Carolina. The New East and New West were built for their accommodation, and finished in 1859. The two
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