Page images
PDF
EPUB

Louis Railway, which in turn was leasing the state road. To grant the proposed charter would practically mean to authorize a line paralleling the state's magnificent property. So vitally was the state's welfare involved in the proposed deal that Governor Slaton, when the matter came before him, had fully resolved upon calling the Legislature together in extra session to consider this momentous problem and to determine what course should be taken in the premises, but the necessity for such a step was obviated by an agreement with counsel for the proposed road who consented to make no demand for a charter until after the Legislature of 1915 had been given an opportunity to canvass the situation and to authorize appropriate action.

But let us go back for a few months to review other developments. On May 23, 1914, the home of Joel Chandler Harris, beloved and honored throughout the world as the creator of “Uncle Remus”, was dedicated as a national memorial to the great interpreter of negro dialect and character. Governor Slaton delivered the principal address on this occasion. To the Uncle Remus Memorial Association, headed by Mrs. A. McD. Wilson, is due the lasting gratitude of the state for its patriotic work in raising funds with which to purchase this literary shrine. Ex-President Roosevelt's lecture for the benefit of this memorial netted approximately $5,000, and Mr. Andrew Carnegie, who had agreed to give a sum equal to what was realized from the Roosevelt lecture, gave the ladies his check for a like amount. Altogether a sum in excess of $20,000 was raised.

On August 6, 1914, the Angel of Death entered the White House in Washington, District of Columbia, taking therefrom in the midst of her manifold activities of charity, patriotism and religion, the firsi lady of the land. Mrs. Wilson was brought to Georgia for burial, in the home of her girlhood. On Myrtle Hill, a beautiful necropolis, overlooking the City of Rome, and occupying a lofty eminence at the foot of which two majestic rivers, the Etowah and the Oostanaula, mingle their waters in a perpetual requiem for the dead, Mrs. Wilson was gently lowered to her last resting place, while above the new-made grave was heaped a fragrant mountain of flowers. To the President's weight of official responsibility, in the midst of a grave international crisis, was thus added the pang of a sore bereavement; and doubtless, in hours of loneliness, his thoughts often turned southward to the hills which enshrined his lost companion ; but throughout his night of anguish he maintained a serene poise of mind, and all was well with the republic. The Ellen Wilson Memorial Association, a movement launched by Georgia women, will perpetuate her spirit in a great educational fund designed to uplift the poor boys and girls of the Southern mountains.

There was a most pathetic but beautiful incident connected with Mrs. Wilson's funeral. The first week in October, 1914, was to have been a gala week in Rome, one long to be remembered for its brilliant social gaieties. Mrs. Wilson, in a letter from the White House, had promised to be the city's guest of honor, and invitations had been issued by the tens of hundreds. The Southern Railway, in preparation for this joyous season of reunion, had planted near its depot a bed of shrubbery whose fresh young colors were just beginning to spell the words “Welcome Home.” But little did any one anticipate the unfathomed pathos with

which this symbol of greeting was soon to be applied. As the days went by, the busy hum of preparation grew apace. But even while these plans were under way there came with appalling suddenness a message from Washington: Mrs. Wilson was coming home, not in October, but in August, and she was coming home to stay!

Beautiful for situation is the lofty burial ground of Rome. Overlooking the city's domes and spires, it forms at this meeting-place of the waters a majestic citadel of silence, a marble-crowned Acropolis. Beneath a giant oak on this towering hill-top the first lady of the land was committed on this August day to the keeping of mother earth. No fairer spot ever charmed an artist. Home at last, she slept on Myrtle Hill, around her a silent ring of Roman hearts, and in her ear the sweet music of the Etowah.

CHAPTER XXXII

IN

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION IN GEORGIA GIVEN AN IMPETUS—MR. ASA G.

CANDLER'S MUNIFICENT GIFT OF $1,000,000 to EMORY UNIVERSITY, AN INSTITUTION FOUNDED IN 1914-BISHOP WARREN A. CANDLER BECOMES ITS CHANCELLOR–SPLENDID WORK OF DR. THORNWELL JACOBS

THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF OGLETHORPE UNIVERSITY, SIDNEY LANIER'S ALMA MATER—GEORGIA SECURES ONE OF THE REGIONAL BANKS UNDER THE New CURRENCY SYSTEM-LOCATED IN ATLANTASENATOR Smith HELPS TO Win This VICTORY FOR THE STATE—THE Smith-LEVER BILL-REFUNDING THE STATE DEBT-BONDS FOR $3, 679,000 ISSUED—MR. ASA G. CANDLER'S BID FOR THE ENTIRE ISSUE IS ACCEPTED—GOVERNOR SLATON COMMENDS THE PATRIOTIC ENTERPRISE OF AN INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN—THE SENATORIAL RACE—CONGRESSMAN HARDWICK AND ATTORNEY-GENERAL FELDER CANDIDATES FOR THE SHORT TERM TO SUCCEED SENATOR BACON-GOVERNOR SLATON Also TAKES THE FIELD—Is HANDICAPPED BY THE GOVERNORSHIP_SENATOR SMITH A CANDIDATE TO SUCCEED HIMSELF FOR THE LONG TERM-ExGOVERNOR BROWN DELIBERATES—His LONG SILENCE CREATES A LOT OF SPECULATION—HE FINALLY DECIDES TO OPPOSE SENATOR SMITHBURIED HATCHETS RESURRECTED—THE GOVERNOR'S RACE-FOUR CANDIDATES ENTER THE LISTS-JUDGE NAT E. HARRIS—DIRECTOR OF THE CENSUS W. J. HARRIS—DR. L. G. HARDMAN—PRES. J. RANDOLPH ANDERSON OF THE STATE SENATE—AFTER A FEW WEEKS Hon. W. J. HARRIS, IN THE INTEREST OF HARMONY, RETIRES-AN Exciting CamPAIGN TO BE DECIDED ON AUGUST 20, 1914.

During the second year of Governor Slaton's administration, the cause of Christian education in Georgia received a powerful stimulus. Early in the spring of 1914 Mr. Asa G. Candler, of Atlanta, thrilled and electrified the country by making a gift of $1,000,000, to this end, through the great religious denomination with which he was affiliated. The M. E. Church, South, having relinquished Vanderbilt University, at Nashville, Tennessee, as a denominational asset, under the control of the college of bishops, there was a movement started at the general conference of 1914 to establish two great Methodist universities in the South, one of these to be located east, the other west, of the Mississippi River. Mr. Candler's magnificent gift insured the immediate success of the former. It also settled the question of its location, and on a spacious campus, luxuriantly wooded with forest oaks, near Druid Hills, on the outskirts of Atlanta, stately buildings have already commenced to ascend. The school of theology began its existence in the fall of 1914, occupying the Wesley Memorial properties. Bishop Warren A. Candler, by a unanimous vote, was called to the chancellorship of the

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

new institution and entered at once upon his stupendous task of molding a great university for Methodism. There was a distinct preference manifested for naming it Candler University, in honor of the two distinguished men who were jointly, in large part at least, its creators; but the modesty of these men discouraged such a movement, and it was then christened Emory University, for the great school at Oxford, Georgia, which was to be one of its component colleges. The plans for Emory University contemplate an investment of $5,000,000 within the next five years.

Simultaneously with the establishment of this plant, there was launched in Atlanta a movement to revive Oglethorpe University, an institution founded by the Presbyterians at Midway, near Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1835. Two of Georgia's most illustrious sons, afterwards clothed with the ermine of the Supreme Court, were conspicuous figures in the founding of this institution : Chief Justice Joseph Henry Lumpkin and Associate Justice Eugenius A. Nisbet. Oglethorpe University perished amid the wreckage entailed by the Civil war, but not until its list of graduates included Georgia's master-minstrel, Sidney Lanier, a poet of the rarest genius; Joseph M. Brown, a future governor of the state; and scores of men distinguished in every profession. Almost without an exception the students of Oglethorpe University entered the Confederate army; its doors were closed early in the struggle; and so identified was this school with the fortunes of the South that, like the Confederacy itself, it was said to have received its death wound at Gettysburg. At the close of the war, what remained of the institution, after Sherman's destructive march to the sea, was transferred to Atlanta, but in this particular region of the state there was not a sufficiency of surplus wealth for a decade at least after the war, to feed an enterprise of this character and eventually it perished. Its expiring breath was drawn in 1871. The movement to revive Oglethorpe University found its inception in the brain of Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, a brilliant, resourceful and tireless young editor and minister who blended the persistence of a Roman Cato with the fiery zeal of a Peter the Hermit. On January 21, 1915, the cornerstone of the administration building, a splendid edifice of granite, was laid on the spacious campus just to the west of Peachtree Road, near Silver Lake. The moderator of the Southern General Assembly was present at this time in his official capacity to participate in these impressive exercises; there was also a reunion of all the living alumni of Oglethorpe University; ten of the South's foremost poets contributed odes specially prepared for this occasion; and Dr. James I. Vance, of Nashville, Tennessee, the most eloquent man in the Southern pulpit, delivered the address of the day, taking for his theme Oglethorpe's Resurrection. Doctor Jacobs, who had hitherto been secretary to the board of trustees, was at this time by a unanimous vote made president of the institution, a just recognition of his commanding leadership. This great enterprise will eventually develop into a $5,000,000 institution, if indeed it does not represent an even greater investment. It is a most significant fact, in connection with this extraordinary crusade, that no congregation before which Doctor Jacobs has brought the claims of Oglethorpe University has failed to subscribe at least $1,000 to its resurrection fund and to place at least

« PreviousContinue »