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My first position was in a lumber camp in the Smoky Mountains at $1.40 per day of eleven hours. Next I took work with a gang engaged in grading 139 at $1.25 per day. It was in July and slightly “warm around the edges,” but I was getting along fairly well when I was offered the position of “devil” on the other local paper at $4 per week. I accepted.

I worked for this paper for over two years and my wages were steadily raised. Our week consisted of fifty-four hours, but I frequently worked from ten to twenty hours a week overtime, in addition to walking back and forth from my country home and doing the chores night and morning. I frequently spent only my pay for overtime, and deposited all of my regular salary in the bank.

I well remember the fall of 1908, when, in a big rush the other two printers got on a big drunk and quit, thus leaving the whole burden on me. The strain was heavy, but I stood it and as a result got the foreman’s place long before I had served a four years’ apprenticeship. By the summer of 1909 I had saved $575. I had never commanded a large salary, as I quit just when I was becoming efficient enough to hold down a position in a bigger office. I was offered a chance to learn the linotype, but refused and entered college in September.

I did no outside work until the following spring when I started to working in a local printing office at odd times. I picked up $25 in this way. During my sophomore year I made $50, and started with the same work in my junior year, but was offered work correcting English papers and made $60 140 in this way during the year. The first summer out of college I worked at my trade and saved about $100. The next summer I took an agency with the Aluminum Cooking Utensil Co., which has, I suppose, helped more boys through college than any other one company. I was absolutely inexperienced as a salesman, but worked hard and cleared $200. The next summer I took the same work, but as I had secured an instructorship which would pay the expenses of my senior year, I “loafed on the job” and saved only $75. I have since sincerely regretted this wasted summer.

By these financial means, without any assistance whatsoever, I completed my college course, and on the day of graduation I could have paid all of my debts and railway fare home, and still have had $25 to my credit, or $20 more than I had when I finished high school.

When I landed in my college town I knew absolutely no one and, although I had very little money to spend and the college has the reputation of being somewhat aristocratic, I haven’t made such a bad record. In my freshman year I won the English scholarship; in my sophomore year the history scholarship; and in my junior year the endowed scholarship, under which I took the instructorship. I have served as president of the literary society and have twice represented it on public celebrations. I have been on the intercollegiate debate, and was elected to the position of valedictorian by the senior class. 141 I was also elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Sigma Rho (both honorary). I mention these facts merely to show that a fellow without money need not be denied an active part in college life and activities.

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In looking back over the past six years I attribute my ability to do what I have done to perseverance and good health. Too much emphasis cannot be laid upon the latter. Any young American with determination, good health and reasonably good sense, who has no one else dependent upon him, can get a college education to-day.—“ZANK REIN.”

Lexington, Va.

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FROM GOOD TO BETTER

REV. W. E. SWAIN, D.D.

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I was born and reared on a little farm in Washington County, N. C., near the present site of Creswell. My father was poor. Four years of service and suffering in the Confederate army so wrecked his health that he was able to do but little after it was all over.

There were no schools of any consequences near, and had there been, they were barred to me, for my father was not able to pay tuition, and there were no public schools in that section.

When I was nearly fifteen years old a gentleman living near by employed me to grub new ground. This work had to be done at night after my day’s work at home. By piling the brush and firing them two hours’ work could be done before the light was entirely gone. It took about eight nights to do a “task” which was a piece of ground sixty feet square. After having finished three tasks, the gentleman paid me. With the money so earned a bottle of ink, six pen points, half quire of paper, a pen staff and a “blue-back speller” were purchased. The speller was necessary that the script letters might be learned. Having made a small rough table 143 in which a drawer was placed to hold writing material, the task of learning to write was begun. To me this was much more difficult than grubbing. Even after I had learned to make the script letters I did not know how to spell. As a substitute for this lack more than half the speller was copied. By the time this was done some of the simpler words had been learned and so I began to write. About the same time I undertook to work “sums” in Greenlief’s Arithmetic. This was painfully slow. Ben. Spruill, now Capt. Spruill, of Creswell, N. C., taught me to reduce a fraction to a common denominator. This was done with the sharp point of a cotton burr, the figures being made in the sand between the rows of cotton.

On August 12, 1880, I arrived at Yadkin College, now Yadkin College Institute, engaged board, matriculated and began to cast about for some work. Mr. James Benson, long since dead, was a large merchant of the place and employed me to make drawers to place under the shelves in the store. I made the first one the best I could and tried to make every drawer better than the preceding one. This work was done on Saturdays, and when it was finished he employed me to stay in the store on Saturdays and paid me really more than I was worth. Soon his health failed and I was out of a job. On March 24, 1881, I began work at house carpentry and tried to keep up my studies by sitting up late at night preparing the lessons for the next day. At 144 commencement I had my speech prepared and stood my examinations, passing on all but one study. During the vacation of 1881 taught school and saved a few dollars to begin the next term.

When school opened this was soon gone and something had to be done. A small unused room was secured, a pair of scissors, two razors, a comb and brush and a barber shop was opened. The boys were kind and long suffering, so the business prospered. Thus another term was finished,—and no debt. Again during the vacation of 1882 I taught. At the close of this vacation I was elected town constable. This was by no means to my liking, but something had to be done, or quit. This business frequently broke into my school work and made it hard to keep abreast of the class. However, in this way I managed to pay expenses for the term and saved a few dollars besides. During the vacation of 1883 I taught school near Denver, N. C., and in the meantime served as pastor of Fairfeld Church. Both together made it possible for me to have more money than I ever had at one time before.