Friday, June 8, 2012

Go east, Wabash grads!

In 1850, two Wabash seniors wrote a letter to the Reverend Samuel Riddel from the Andover Theological Seminary in Boston, hoping to pursue their studies at this institution after graduation. Students F. A. Wilbur and William McCorkle reported that Wabash was "prospering" but that they were more than ready to make "an acquaintance with eastern habits." Of course, like any most students of today, Wilbur and McCorkle were going to graduate "in debt."

Read the original letter (.pdf)

Postmarked: Crawfordsville May 6

Written on envelope:
Letters from April 10 to July 11 1850
F. A. Wilbur &
Wm. A. McCorkle
Students in Wabash College
In. inquiring the cost
Education in Andover
Theological Seminary

May 3

Rev. Samuel H. Riddel
(Education Rooms 15 Cornhill)

Rec’d May 13-
Ans’d- 17-with particulars obtained from Prof. Edwards for which see his letter on file.

Crawfordsville May 3 1850

Rev. SH. Riddel:

Dear Sir,

Remembering the interest you manifested while here, in the beneficiaries of the Education Society. We feel free to apply to you for some information. You will recognize us both as beneficiaries of your Society. And also as members of the Senior Class of Wabash College. We wish to commence a course of theological study immediately after graduating; and the information we wish is relating to the expense incurred in attending upon Andover; and the assistance which indigent young men can obtain.

Our minds have been led to Andover from the following considerations.

The advantages at Lane -- always inferior to those at Andover -- we think are decidedly impaired by the loss of Prof. Stowe. True one or two new profs. Are to be obtained; but there is a strong probability that they will not be secured in time to enter upon their duties at the commencement of next term. Should they be, however, they will be new professors, although they may be talented men.

Another strong reason for going East is that our connection and education have been wholly western, and we think an acquaintance with eastern habits, eastern men, and eastern minds will be a decided advantage.

True we expect to labor in the West; but we think the western element will be sufficiently predominant in our combinations, even after it has been modified by a portion of New-Englandism, to qualify us for laboring in the Mississippi Valley. These are the most important reasons for going East. There are two obstacles in our way, the climate, and want of funds. We will graduate in debt; our age forbids our delaying to earn funds, consequently we are shut up to the necessity of studying theology where we can, not where we would. Will you be kind enough to reply to the following questions? What is board at Andover? How much will fuel, light, washing, and room rent, each cost? How much furniture is provided for each room? How much assistance can be obtained from the Education Society? If it does not furnish sufficient, can any, in addition, be obtained? What facilities will a young man meet with, by which to assist himself, by his pen or otherwise? This last question refers principally to vacations. Any information respecting Union or New-Haven will be thankfully received. We think the probability is that we will be obliged to remain in the West, yet we feel like knowing whether or not it is possible for us to go east.

Our college is prospering. The health is good, and all things move quietly forward.

By replying to this, as soon as convenient, you will confer a favor on your friends.

F A Wilbur

William A. McCorkle

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