President McReynolds remembered the farmer lad who could handle the saw and the ax so well. He wrote me that if I would come to Defiance he would give the position of janitor at a salary of seven dollars per month and that I could room in the College building and board myself. I thought that I would be able to earn something in addition, so I sat down and answered the letter at once, stating the train on which I would arrive.

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When I reached Defiance I thought it the most beautiful spot in all the earth. I felt like the prodigal son when he came in sight of his father’s house. President McReynolds met me about two blocks from the campus and with suit-case in hand we went to the College. In less time than it takes to write it we had gone over the work and I was employed as janitor of the College, a position which I held for two long school years. My arm was weak and tender, but the work was not slighted. At the close of each month I received a check for seven dollars. The smile that played over the President’s face was worth more than the check. He simply wouldn’t let a fellow get discouraged or give up. 58

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Of course, it was impossible to get along on seven dollars a month, even if one had no room-rent to pay and boarded himself, so I was compelled to earn something besides. I undertook the laundry agency, which the first week netted me the snug sum of ten cents. But by the following June my commissions amounted to from two and a half to three and a half dollars each week. It was a good business indeed for a student. At the same time I was college librarian and in this way earned a part of my tuition. My work was very heavy, indeed, but I had never failed to make the grade; so I felt that the only honorable way out was to go straight ahead.

In the fall of 1903 I applied to the Northwestern Ohio Conference for a license to preach, which was granted. I began by supplying wherever opportunity afforded. I did not drop any of the work I had been doing, but during the remaining college course I supplied the pulpits of over forty different churches. Sometimes they more than paid my expenses, and again I bore my own expenses. In the fall of 1904 I accepted the pastorate of two churches in connection with my college work. All the time I was compelled to do at least a part of the work at the College. In January of 1905 when I engaged in special meetings with my churches it was impossible for me to carry the work at the College. I then left school and accepted the pastorate of the third church. In July of 1905 I married and moved to Wakarusa as pastor of the Christian Church there. 59 I served that church for a period of two years, after which I resigned to complete my course at the College. I moved to Defiance and served two churches during the school year of 1907-8, and graduated in June of 1908. I am proud of my Alma Mater, and since my graduation I have had the honor of being president of our Alumni Association.

In September of 1908 I was called to serve the Christian Church at Lima, Ohio, as pastor. I continued for just four years. I then received and accepted a call to the pastorate of the First Christian Church of Columbus, Ohio.

These have been years of toil and sacrifice and joy. Though much of the way seemed dark, I have been conscious of the guidance of an unseen hand all the way.

Columbus, Ohio.

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I was born January 19, 1888, on a small farm near Ladora, Iowa County, Iowa. My first nine years were care free, with no responsibility except school and play. In the spring of my tenth year my mother died, and there being a large family it was difficult for father to keep the children together thereafter. In the following fall I, with two younger brothers and a sister, was placed in the care of the Iowa Children’s Home at Des Moines, Iowa. In the following February I was “bound out” to a big ranchman in South Dakota.

Tagged as a sack of sugar, stating my name, from whence I came, and my destination, I was ushered aboard a Milwaukee train, only too soon to reach my new home on the Dakota prairie. Very soon after my arrival upon the ranch, I was informed that the purpose of my presence there was not for ornament but for work. I also very early realized that my portion of the work was not imaginary. During the second summer, my assignment was to milk ten cows twice daily and to spend the rest of the eighteen hours of the working day in the harvest 61 field. I did not, however, complain about the amount of work that I had to do, but I did object to the kind of treatment that was accorded to me. Being but eleven years of age, I did not have the judgment of a man, and I suffered for it. I shall carry through life scars of that old raw-hide whip,—and they did not come by chance. Believing that I was not adapted to ranch life, I decided to take an extended leave of absence. On the 5th of August, 1899, before daybreak, unknown to anybody, I started on my journey. All day under a scorching sun I tramped the dusty road westward across the prairie. Tired, penniless, and half starved, I begged food and lodging of a family late in the evening. I told them my story, and winning their sympathy I remained with them several weeks.

After an absence of about two years, I returned to Iowa County, only to find that my old home was no more. My father, older brother, and sisters were each supporting themselves, and I must do likewise. For seven years I made my home with an old soldier, who lived near Ladora. I worked during each summer, and very profitably spent the short winters at the yellow schoolhouse located in the woods. In the fall of my eighteenth year I entered the high school at Ladora. The school was small, not accredited, hence the advantages offered were much inferior to those of larger schools. Believing that I could make better progress elsewhere, I entered the Iowa Wesleyan Academy in the fall of 1907. It 62 was here that I first came in contact with the real struggle for an education. I had often dreamed of college life and its opportunities. Now my visions were beginning to be realized, but not without effort. I entered the Iowa Wesleyan Academy with three hundred dollars and an ambition; after graduating from the Academy, I had only an ambition. My money was gone, and there were four years of college life yet before me; but my ambition was only bigger. My willingness to work and my good health were the factors which made my education possible.

Upon my arrival at Wesleyan I had a very cordial introduction to a Hershey Hall dishpan and we very soon became intimate. In addition to the dishwashing, I mowed lawns, tended furnaces, swept houses, and even did family washing. I was there for an education and determined to get it at any cost. During my first summer vacation I followed the worn trail of the canvasser, to return with some valuable experience and little profit. During my second summer I was given employment with a Chautauqua system as tent hand. I am now serving my fifth consecutive season, having been promoted to advance diplomat. The Chautauqua affords employment for about ten weeks during the summer and an opportunity to hear the very best talent on the American platform. The experience in Chautauqua work has been worth as much to me as two years or more in college. I value very highly indeed the privilege 63 of coming into personal contact with such men as Senator Gore, and Hon. W. J. Bryan.

While listening to these masters of the platform, I conceived the idea of lecturing on my own account. Realizing my lack of ability to compile an original lecture, I secured a note-book, wrote down everything I heard. After collecting for two summers I arranged my stories in series under the caption of “Chips and Whittlings.” I had printed a lot of advertising material, and posing as a humorist, I began my platform career. Some of my friends laughed at my undertaking, while others commended my nerve; but it was easier bread and butter than sawing wood. I had to do one or the other, so I stuck to the platform. Without serious neglect to my college work, I had by the end of that school year realized a profit of three hundred dollars above expenses. After another summer I compiled another lecture entitled “Scrap Iron.” My people did not fall over each other to hear my lectures, yet I usually made good and have even filled a number of return dates.

I cannot remember when or how I received the inspiration to attain a college education. I entered with a determination to win; to win not only a degree, but every experience possible. In many ways I have won, but not because of my ability; only by hard and persistent work. Three times I represented Iowa Wesleyan in debate; twenty-two times I fought for her laurels upon the gridiron; and, last 64 year, representing Wesleyan in the Iowa State Oratorical Contest, I carried the purple and white to victory. I served as president of the Hamline Literary Society; was for three years a member of the Y. M. C. A. Cabinet, one year as president; a member of a Gospel team; and a student member of the Forensic League. In my sophomore year I won the debating medal. In my senior year I was awarded the national degree in the Pi Kappa Delta, an honorary forensic fraternity. I was charter member of the Sigma Kappa Zeta fraternity, which, during my senior year, was granted a charter by the national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. My activities were not, however, confined to college alone.

My college life at Iowa Wesleyan has truly been full of many and varied experiences. Believing that old motto, “We are rewarded according to our efforts,” I resolved always to do my best, and the results have not been disappointing. While studying constitutes a big part of college, yet I am convinced that books alone are by no means all of an education. In college I have ever striven for the practical. I now possess two degrees, one from the college of Liberal Arts, the other from the college of “Hard Knocks.” I know what I have; but more than that, I know the price that it cost. I pride myself as being one of the fortunates who has worked his entire way through college.

Batavia, Iowa.