Arthur Bunyan Caldwell.

History of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) online

. (page 35 of 48)
Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 35 of 48)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

for intelligence and the forces which make for character.
For want of a better term we call it Christian education
and that is the thing for which Dr. McCrorey stands. Un-

fcobj-tm^ /Jsf


der his administration, Biddle University has reached the
high water mark of its history.

Dr. McCrorey has been married twice. His first mar-
riage was on Dec. 27 1,897, to Miss Karie Novella Hughes.
She was a daughter of John and Mary Hughes. She bore
him four children: Henry L., Jr., Novella E., Madaline D.
and Muriel H. McCrorey. Some years later Mrs. McCrory
passed to her reward.

On Sept. 19, 1916, Dr. McCrorey was married a second
time to Miss Mary C. Jackson of Georgia, a sketch of whom
appears in this volume.

Dr. McCrorey has not sought primarily to make money,
and yet he has handled his investments in such a way as
to indicate that had he decided to devote himself to busi-
ness his energy and capacity would have carried him far in
that direction. He owns property in and around Charlotte
amounting to at least seventy-five thousand dollars. Dr.
McCrorey also edits the denominational paper. He is first
vice president of the National Association of Colored

Mary Jackson McCrorey

"He is of stature somewhat low;

Your hero should be always tall you know."
Such, in the main, is the sentiment of mankind. Yet I
dare say there is something misleading in it. Not infre-
quently it has caused us to overlook those noble souls whose
lot is to trail in obscurity for the good of others. By far
the greater part of this world's heroism is never seen. It
is not of the tall kind, although fully as real, and often-
times more permanently effective. Without it this poor-
world would be immeasurably poor.

In every community, could we discover them, are lives
of epic grandeur — men and women lofty in their aims, un-
selfish in their efforts. Among these I class her whose


name stands at the head of this sketch, and whose friend-
ship for many a year it has been my rare good fortune to
enjoy. Born in Athens, Ga., seat of the State University,
and of reputable parents who were acquainted with both
slavery and freedom, she attributes whatever success has
been hers to the life and example of a sainted mother,
for whom to the last she cherished the warmest filial affec-
tion. To both parents, indeed, the advent of this daughter
was regarded as auspicious and made an occasion of un-
usual rejoicing; because she was their first free born child,
the other seven, with the exception of her youngest sister,
having been born in slavery.

That our friend is a lover of books, a woman of literary
taste, and interested in education, will not seem strange,
perhaps, when the reader is informed that her mother's mas-
ter was a professor in the State University, that he required
his daughter to teach that mother to read and write in or-
der that she might be of service to him in handling his books
and papers to and from the library. As usual, however,
to teach a slave to read and write is a dangerous thing.
In this case it resulted in teaching many more who came to
her for instruction. Nothing, of course, could be more
natural than for these parents, under freedom, to strain
every nerve, as verily they did, for the education of their
children. They themselves had but tasted and found that
"for the soul to be without knowledge is not good."

Graduated from Atlanta University at an early age,
the subject of our sketch began her life work in the public
school of her native city, under the superintendence of
Prof. E. C. Branson, one of the best superintendents in the
whole South. Under him the Athens system of schools
gained the reputation of being the best in the State. The
examination for teachers was most rigid, both white and
colored being subjected to the same test. At the expira-
tion of the first term of school, when teachers were to be
examined again, the announcement was made that those
teachers who reached a certain per cent in the first or any
subsequent examination should be exempt from further ex-


amination as long as they taught in the system. Bu1 one
of the whole corps of teachers, white and colored, made that
per cent, and that was Mary C. Jackson. It is not one of
the revenges of the time, that among the white teachers,
who were not exempt, was a daughter of the very man
who had owned Miss Jackson's mother? Later she studied
at Harvard University and at the University of Chicago.

After four years in the schools of Athens and five
as principal of a large public school in Orlando, Fla., where
she had seven assistant teachers, and three times her Ath-
ens salary, she accepted work in her alma mater, from which
place she was induced by Miss Lucy C. Laney, whom she
greatly loves and admires, to be associate principal of Haines
Normal and Industrial Institute, Augusta, Ga., a position
that with honor and efficiency she filled for more than
twenty years. An indefatigable worker, no figure is more
familiar than hers to the summer institutes of the State
and county, where she has instructed large bodies of teach-
ers. As a speaker for the Freedmen's Board of Missions
of the Northern Presbyterian church, she has presented
most acceptably, in almost every city of importance in
the_ North and West, the educational work of the Board.
Some years ago when duties were perhaps less exacting,
it was not uncommon to find in the New York Independent
a contribution from her pen. It is safe to say that in the
great effort to enlighten and uplift a needy people but few,
very few, have rendered service more efficient, more con-
scientious, and more continuous than she whose life and

acter this hasty sketch but inadequately portrays


Since the above splendid sketch of Miss
written by Dr. Crogman, she was married on Sep
to Dr. H. L. McCrorey, Pres .of Biddle Univ<
lotte. N. C. Immediately she took her place among the
leaders in the Old North State, where she was already well
Known. Needless to say that she enters heartily and sym-
pathetically into the work of her distinguish and at
Biddle University and into the general v irment


outside of the institution. During the world war she was
in demand far and near and devoted herself to arousing and
leading her people in every patriotic endeavor.

Doctor Edward Caldwell

A man who, as a citizen and profesional man of Dur-
ham, N. C, stands high in the esteem of both races, is
Doctor Edward Caldwell, M. D. The men of the Negro
race who have entered the medical profession as a rule have
been men of the highest type both in point of character
and ability. This is true of Dr. Caldwell.

The story of his antecedents and his early surroundings
is an interesting one. His father, Wilson Caldwell, was for
forty years janitor of the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill. The son whose history is recorded here was
born at Chapel Hill, August 12, 1867. The parents be-
stowed upon him the name of "Doctor," an unconscious
prophecy of the profesison which the boy was later to adopt.
His mother's maiden name was Susan Kirby.

His grandfather, "Doctor November," was the body
servant of Dr. Joseph Caldwell, the first president of the
University. His grandparents on the mother's side, Rob-
ert Warren and wife, both died at Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Perhaps it was the scholarly atmosphere of the Uni-
versity which engendered in the youth the ambition to be a
scholar himself. Be that as it may, the ambition was awak-
ened and in the face of difficulties he pressed forward until
ne had attained his end. Studies in the free schools of
North Carolina were supplemented by private lessons given
by students of the University, among them Hon. Lock
Craig, who later became governor of the State. From here
he made his way to Shaw University from the Medical de-
partment of which he was graduated in 1890. He began the
practice of medicine at Charlotte in 1890. He practiced for
seventeen years in Osceola, Ark., having passed the exami-



■at. •


nation of the Ark. State Medical Board in 1892. From Os-
ceola he came to Durham, N. C, where he now resides.
He was elected in 1914 a member of the American Associa-
tion of Progressive Medicine and the Medical Society of the
United States.

Dr. Caldwell remained unmarried until rather late in
life. In November, 1918, he was married to the widow of
E. B. Caldwell, whose maiden name was Miss Minnie Stroud.
They have one child, Julia Elizabeth Caldwell. His wife
has seven children by her former marriage.

To the influence of his wife, whom he declares to be a
most exceptional woman, Dr. Caldwell attributes much of
the present happines sand success of his life. He has also
found a new epoch in his life, dating from his discovery of
a cure for Pellagra.

He is a member of the Congregationalist church and a
Pythian. Besides medical works, he has read extensively
and thoughtfully in the Bible, in the great classical writers
of Greece and Rome and in the works of Shakespeare. He
has given much thoughtful study to the interest of his own
people, and he considers Booker Washington and Tuskegee
Institute to represent the true ideals for the race. Liberal
education and the removal of unjust restrictions, he believes,
will solve most of the negro's problem.

In 1914 Dr. Caldwell read before the Third Annual
Convention of the Am. Asso. of Progressive Medicine a
paper on Pellagra, and has been on each succeeding pro-
gram. He has been unusually successful in his practice
with Pellagra. At the Kansas City meeting he advanced
the theory that Pellagra was caused by silica in drinking

Dr. Caldwell enjoys the confidence and esteem of all
classes of people. Having attained pecuniary independence
and professional eminence, he has every reason to contem-
plate with gratification the record which he has made.

John Winston Hairston

A truly remarkable career is that of the subject of this
sketch. To be graduated from college, married and licensed
to preach all on the same year and that when one is but
sixteen years of age is a record which gives promise of
unusual things to follow, and this promise was abundantly
realized in the case of our subject.

John Winston Hairston is the son of Winston Hairston,
a laborer, and Letitia (Coolsby) Hairston. His grandpar-
ents on his mother's side, John and Theny Goolsby* came
from Virginia to North Carolina.

His father had attained that measure of success in life
which saved the son from the difficulties which many poor
boys experience in their efforts to secure an education. He
attended the public schools of Stokes and Davie Counties,
N. C, going later to Shiloh Institute, Warrenton, N. C. He
then attended Livingstone College, Salisbury, from which he
was graduated in 1904.

On May 2nd of the same year he was married to Miss
Mary Chambers, daughter of Moses and Julia Chambers of
Salisbury. They are the parents of three children, Roy
Charles Hairston, John Goolsby Hairston and James Edwin
Hairston. Mrs. Hairston was educated at the State Nor-
mal and is herself an accomplished teacher.

When only 16 years of age, Mr. Hairston was licensed
to preach by the Cedar Grove Baptist church, and three
years later, when just nineteen, was ordained to the full
work of the ministry by the same church. Following his
ordination, he was called to the pastorate of the First Bap-
tist church, Lexington, N. C. He was pastor of that church
for nine years, at the same time serving his home church,
Cedar Grove seven years of the time. Later he pastored
the same church for a period of four years. In 1909 he
accepted a call to Shady Grove church, Salisbury, and he
still holds this pastorate (1920). For eleven years he has



had charge of the graded schools of Salisbury. The degree
of Doctor of Divinity has been conferred on him by Liv-
ingstone;' College, his alma mater. Houses of worship have
been erected on every pastorate which Dr. Hairston has held
and, whal is equally as important, have been paid for. ;

Dr. Hairston has visited the principal cities of the
United States and has been a constant reader of the world's
best literature. He is familiar with the writings of most
of the authors who hold a recognized place in the realm of
letters. This has enabled him to impart the charm of a
finished literary style to his preaching and to give to his
work as a teacher a completeness and finish which have
contributed greatly to its effectiveness.

He has availed himself of all means for getting in closer
touch with other men. He is a member of such fraternal
orders as the Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias,
Royal Knights of K. D. and several others. He is secretary
of the Rowan Baptist Association and treasurer of the Sun-
day School Convention of North Carolina.

The fact that two organizations to which he belongs
have selected him to be the custodian of their funds is a
tribute to that rugged honesty, which is a distinguishing
trait of his character. This quality, joined with industry
and good business judgment, has made him successful in
financial matters and he has accumulated a handsome estate.

Just a little over forty years of age, with a record of
unusually successful achievements behind him, and beliving
in education ,thrift and godly living as the best hope for his
race, he gives every promise of great future usefulness
as a teacher and leader.

Dr. Hairston is a member of the State Teachers Asso.
and was active in his community as leader in war work.

James Washington Watkins

Dr. James Washington Watkins, of Reidsville, is a na-
tive of Henry Co., Va., where he was born July 9, 1877. He
is an active, progressive, hard working professional man,
who has succeeded in a large way where no other colored
physician has succeeded before. . By wise investment and
the exercise of good business judgment he has also come
to be regarded by the leaders of both races in his community
as a sound business man. Dr. Watkins' parents were Surry
Watkins, a harness maker and his wife, Louisa (Brown)
Watkins. His paternal grandparents were Hairstons and
his maternal grandparents were James Blythe and Laura
Brown. The apparent confusion in names is due to the
fact that prior to emancipation the names of slaves usually
followed those of their owners. In 1910 Dr. Watkins was
married, but later divorced.

As a boy he went to the public schools in Virginia, bur
when ready for college was confronted by the necessity of
working his own way, or securing the means from some
other source. He decided that the best education was none
too good, and so matriculated at Howard University at
Washington, graduating in 1896 with the A. B. degree.
He took his medical course at Leonard Medical College at
Raleigh, which he completed in 1901," then spent two years
at the Polyclinic at Philadelphia and the Children's Sea-
shore Hospital, Atlantic City. In helping himself through
college he worked for a while in the tobacco factories at Dan-
ville, Va., and later did summer work at the Northern sea-
side resorts. Dr. Watkins was also fortunate in that he had
some maternal aunts who believed in his ability and who
were anxious for him to do well and helped him in his strug-
gle for an education. In 1904 he located at Reidsville, where
he has built up an extensive general practice. He is a
member of the State and National Medical Societies.

Soon after locating in Reidsville he began the purchase


of town property and later invested in nearby farm prop-
erty, all of which have had good enhancement. He is now
one of the well-to-do men of the town. He is a member
of the Presbyterian church and is fully identified with the
Pythians, but is not otherwise active in the secret or benev-
olent orders.

Of course he gives right of way to the literature of
his profession, but next after that finds pleasure and profit
in the reading of history. Naturally Dr. Watkins has had
an unusual opportunity of studying his people as he has
come into close contact" with them and believes that the
greatest need of the race today is competent leadership
along all lines. After that, he thinks the next most impor-
tant thing is that members of the race learn to live within
their means. Dr. Watkins is a representative of the type of
young colored men who are doing much for the race and
who are incidentally themselves succeeding most gratify-
ingly. The medical profession has attracted to itself within
the last two decades some of the brightest minds of the
race, and it is pleasing to know that in the face of long
established white supremacy they have not only made good
among their own people, but are cordially received by the
white members of the profession.

Brachelor Kelly Mason

Among the younger men who are doing excellent work
the Rev. Brachelor Kelly Mason, now of Charlotte, N. C,
is making a great record of accomplishment in his
chosen vocat'on, the ministry. He is in bis early prime,
born near Fork Church, Davie Co., N. C, Sept. 2, 1881, son
of Colwell and Lucinda Mason. His father was son of
G. G. Mason, and his mother was a daughter of Burwell and
Phyllis Mason, all of them having been brought from Vir-
ginia to Carolina in old slave days.

Colwell Mason was a farmer and his son had the usual



rearing of a farmer's boy. At the age of 13 he was con-
verted and joined the Cedar Grove Baptist church. Mr.
Mason received his elementary training from the country
school at Fork Church, and arriving at manhood, feeling
the call to the ministry, he was licensed by his home
church and ordained to the ministry.

His first call was to the First Baptist church, West
Raleigh, N. C, serving next the Mt. Zion Baptist church of
Reidsville, N. C. Coincidentally with these early pastorates
he pursued his college studies first at Livingstone College,
Salisbury, N. C, and then at Shaw University, Raleigh, N. C.
He graduated in Theology in 1911, and in the college degrees
in 1914, holding the degrees of Bachelor of Theology and
Bachelor of Arts, both from Shaw University. After four
years of service at Reidsville, N. C, he was called to the
White Rock Baptist church of Lynchburg, Va. This Lynch-
burg pastorate began in 1914 and terminated in the summer
of 1920.

Those six years were years of splendid success. He se-
cured the building of a new church at a cost of $35,000, with
modern equipment and conveniences, and far greater than
his material success he added six hundred members to his
church. In September, 1920, he accepted a call to the
Friendship Baptist church, at Charlotte, N. C, thus coming
again in close touch with his home state and home people.
While in Virginia he served as a member of the Educational
Board of Virginia Baptist State Convention.

Mr. Mason had the usual difficulties to overcome in se-
curing an education, which seems to be the lot of the small
farmer's boy. He attended college without a month's tui-
tion ahead and made himself a mail boy for other students
and professors, then his early pastorates helped him out.

He credits as the most potent factors in shaping his
life his faith in God, and the prayers of a godly and sainted

He has been a man of one work, a pastor, and the re-
sults so far achieved appear to fully justify his concentra-
tion on and consecration to his work. With the Bible and


religious literature as the foundation of his reading he has
added such a range of secular reading as well serve to keep
him in close touch with current events and modern topics.

He is a Republican in politics and holds membership in
the Odd Fellows and Masons. ,',.., f ff}lp

Mr. Mason is of the opinion that the best interest of the
race is best promoted by racial confidence and self help,
which is mighty good doctrine.

He has accumulated some property, now valued at over
$30,000, which proves that he is not lacking business quah-

^^Mr 8 Mason was married Oct. 9, 1913, to Miss Antoinette
Alston daughter of Jacob and Olivia Alston, of Weldon,
NC and they have one son, William T. Mason Mrs.
Mason was educated at Hartshorn College, Richmond, Va.,
and prior to her marriage was an accomplished teacher

With 14 years experience in the pastorate, with fine
natural ability, with a good educational equipment, with
large success already won and not yet forty years old,
Brachelor Kelly Mason bids fair to do a great work if he is
spared to length of days.

Charlotte Hawkins Brown

Mrs Charlotte Hawkins Brown, although born in North
Carolina, has been more intimately associated in Massachu-
setts, having grown up there and is a product of its schools
At a very early age she showed a marked degree ot
scholarship and musical ability. Before the age of four-
teen she had accompanied in public concert such artists as
Flora Batson Bergen and others of equal importance It
was thought in her early years that her time would be
mostly devoted to music and writing. Letters, poems and
stories were published in magazines and leading papers ot
Boston while she was a pupil in the grammar school. She
early developed religious traits which drew her more

' '■■■'■<■- 1 ; '



closely to the work of the Baptist ehureh in her home city
of Cambridge and she often refers to those years of «ta£
ish service as the preparation for the larger work m reh-
gious education that has characterized her life and work.

Mrs Brown, familiarly known as Charlotte Hawkins,
received' her special inspiration to take up the work of
founding a school for the training of boys and girls ,n he
ural districts, from an address delivered by Dr Washing on
in Boston in the early part of her 'teens. She felt that he
opportunities afforded her in the New England school could
not be better used than to give out to those of her race who
made their homes in the backwoods districts

It was in 1900, fresh from one of the State Normal
Schools of Massachusetts, still a girl, she found her way to
a little rural village in the state of North Carolina, undei
the auspices of the American Missionary Association; flnd-
„g there the district country church and warm hearted
country folk. Further encouraged and inspired by her
friend Mrs. Alice Freeman Palmer, a Cambridge woman
who had served as president of Wellesley College she set
out to build a community settlement. Long before the
Jeanes Fund had been created, before North Carolina or
any of the Southern States had the awakening for rural
education, this young woman was planning a model school
in the heart of a farming district. Withdrawing from the
Association after the first year because of its -willingness
to invest funds, it was necessary for her to labor without
salary, beginning with a log cabin as a dormitory and with
the church as a school house. The following clippings from
editorials appearing in the leading daily in Greensbo o,
North Carolina, describe better than anything else the out-
come of the persistent work, courage and faith of this young


■It is a fascinating story, that of the long years of a-
bor upon the most unpromising beginnings, made by a slip
of a girl, coming all alone from the satisfying atmosphere
of Cambridge culture. What would you expect of a black
girl reared in New England, with both manners and man-


ner, a cultivated speaking voice and certainly the substan-
tial beginnings of a liberal education, refined tastes, thus
introduced in a North Carolina community? Whatever it
would be reasonable to expect, it is to be said that in this
particular case the girl was further endowed with the great
riches of sound common sense. Moreover she was deeply
and intensely devout. One hears her speak in convincing
way of entire nights spent upon her knees in the poor hut
in which she first lived and worked."

"The real worth of Palmer Memorial Institute is doubt-
less already well known to most Greensboro people, in help-
ing to solve many of the larger problems of the race prob-
lems that are of vital interest to county, state and nation.
It took a distinguished lead in war activities, and the insti-
tution has twenty-one men in the service. It is a really vi-
tal factor in our community life, and the leading white peo-

Online LibraryArthur Bunyan CaldwellHistory of the American Negro and his institutions; (Volume 4) → online text (page 35 of 48)