William Fosdick Chamberlin.

The history of Phi gamma delta online

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The diploma is inscribed as follows:


Has Literas Lecturis


Nos Primarfus et Professores Collegii Jeffersonensis
Testatum Volumus ingenuum juvenum Ellis B. Gregg
hujus academias alumnum, studiis bonarum literarum


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Bogus Program, 185 i


operam dedisse, eumque post varia examina approbatum,
consensu Curatorum, gradum Baccalaurei in artibus lib-
eralfbus consecutum esse, et omnia jura privilegia im-
munitatesque ad hunc gradum pertinentia. Cujus rei in
testimonium, nos, publico sigillo appenso, nomina apposui-
mus DATUM CANONSBURGI Quart. Kal. Octob.
Anno Domini Millesimo, Octingentesimo Quadragesimo

A. B. Brown President, etc.

Wm. Smith Prof, of Greek

Henry Smyth Prof. Math.

S. R. Williams Prof. Nat. Philos. & Chem.

R. W. Orr Prof, of Latin

Mention has already been made of the bogus pro-
gram or lampoon which appeared simultaneously with
the Washington Commencement September 27, 1848,
and which was occasioned by an incident related in a let-
ter of a contemporary, John Scott Colmery, who on the
60th anniversary of his initiation into Phi Gamma Delta
in 1848 sent us greetings from Varden, Mississippi:

After senior examinations which occurred six weeks be-
fore commencement, we all put on our pins. Honors had
all been conferred, speakers chosen, etc. All the honor
men, all speakers had pins. Then there was a regular
fury. Rebellion in the class, charges of conspiracy, and
everything imaginable, charged against the secret organ-
ization. Honors were bestowed by the faculty. Speakers
were elected by the two societies, six from each, hence
twelve in all were wearing the diamond. The rebels ap-
pealed to the faculty, so they agreed to appoint speakers
according to scholarship. The faculty appointed the same
twelve. This ended it until commencement day, when a
bogus program was issued by the rebels. Can't remember
all the caricatures, but this one: They had the question
for debate, "Who struck Billy Patterson?" Affirm, Little
Billy Fleming; deny, Call Mary J. Scott. We seniors


got our A.B. all right, but the incoming seniors and
juniors had a hard time the next session. The faculty
declared war against all secret societies. Some Delta stu-
dents went to Jefferson and graduated.

The "Grand Exhibition" boldly gives names.

"Red-head Jemes Black" became a professor of
Greek, Washington College, '59-'68; vice-president of
Washington and Jefferson, '68; president State Uni-
versity of lov^^a, '68-'7o; president Female College,
Pittsburgh ^yo-^jc^\ professor of Greek, Wooster, '75,
until his death in 1890. In 1883 Princeton honored
Dr. Black with its LL.D.

"H. D. McCann, pregnant w^ith Satanic ambition,"
became an attorney of some prominence in New Or-
leans, and died of consumption in Philadelphia, Penn-
sylvania, December 12, 1855.

"Pumpkin-head Johnny Marquis" was a Presbyter-
ian minister, and at one time was principal of Jefferson

"Red-head Bombasticus Stewart" was John B. Stew-
art, who became a Presbyterian minister, occupying
large churches in Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Des Moines,
and Riverside, California.

"Leather-lip maw-mouthed Forsythe:" There were
two men named Forsythe in the old Washington
chapter, both graduating in 1848. It is not known
which was entitled to be called "leather-lip." James
C. Forsythe became a preacher of the Dutch Reformed
church and afterwards was a Presbyterian minister. He
died December 29, 1897. James H. Forsythe entered
upon a business career, and died in St. Louis on Sep-
tember 6, 1867.

"Black David, the Hog Drover" in all probability


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was David Edmiston, the only David in the class of '48.
Edmiston was a captain of U. S. Artillery from '61 to
'64. He was superintendent of schools in Olney, Illi-
nois, and later resided in Harper, Kansas.

"Eli-ass Dodd" served during the Civil War as Cap-
tain of a band in Pennsylvania militia. He studied med-
icine and practiced for many years in Van Buren,

"Little Fleming" was William A, Fleming. He be-
came a Presbyterian minister, and is now deceased.

"Innocent Johnny Craig" was John H. Craig. He
studied law with Hon. T. M. T. McKenna, of Wash-
ington, and practiced law in Keokuk, Iowa, where he

The non-appearance of a bogus in 1849 and the use of
pseudonyms in 1850 may have been the result of faculty
interference and opposition to the libel of 1848, though
no doubt the depleted membership of Delta in '49 had
something to do with it.

The second "Grand Conversazione" of the Phi Gam-
ma Delta Society appeared September 25, 1850, and
though the lampooned men undoubtedly recognized
themselves even under disguise, it is a hopeless task for
us to attempt to identify "Carrot Head" and "Traitor

The third and last "Grand Conversazione" came out
in 1 85 1. "Mellifluous Frank" was probably Francis
H. Power, who became a Presbyterian minister, entered
the army, and died at Nashville, October 16, 1863.
"Bombasticus Braydy" may have been Freeman Brady
who practiced law in the courts of Washington, Penn-
sylvania, until his death. "Donkey John" may refer to
one of two Johns in the class of '51, John Ewing who


entered the army in '62 and became successively captain,
major, and brevet colonel; later served in the Pennsyl-
vania legislature from '66 to '67 and became judge of
county courts; or John Kelly, who entered the ministry
of the Presbyterian church.

These specimens of student activity in the early hist-
ory of the Fraternity were preserved by William McK.
Smith, Washington, '53, and upon his death were given
to Walter B. Anderson, Washington and Jefferson, '05,
who framed them and hung them on the walls of the
Washington and Jefferson chapter house.

A copy of the 1848 program is also in the possession
of the Rev. Maurice E. Wilson D.D., Phi Kappa
Sigma, Washington and Jefferson, '78.


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THE Jefferson catalogues of 1847, 1848, and 1849,
found by me in the old Jefferson College library
and now in the fraternity archives, contain records
of considerable interest. In its number of students,
old Jefferson held third place among its contempor-
aries in 1848, the year of the founding of Phi Gamma
Delta; Harvard leading with 273 men and 11 pro-
fessors, Princeton second with 257 students and 14
professors, and Jefferson with 207 students and 10 pro-
fessors. The previous year's catalogue showed 241
students. The University of Michigan had at this time
only 89 students and 7 professors ; Williams College, 179
students and 9 professors; Dartmouth, 193 students and
13 professors; Columbia, 126 students and 6 professors.
The faculty of Jefferson College in the catalogue of
1848 is named under the title of "The College Faculty
of Arts." The president of the institution at this time
was the Rev. Alexander B. Brown, D. D., who held the
chair of Mental and Moral Philosophy and Political
Economy. The other chairs were Greek Language and
Literature, Hebrew Language, Belles Lettres, Logic,
Rhetoric and General History, Mathematics, Natural
Philosophy, Astronomy, Chemistry and Geology, Latin
Language and Literature and Roman History, Arch-
aeology and Evidences of Natural and Revealed Re-
ligion, Physiolog}^, and Comparative Anatomy.



The course of study pursued by the "Delta Associa-
tion" as given in the catalogue of 1848 was as follows:

Freshman Class
First Term
Cicero's Orations, Roman Antiquities (Fiske), Herod-
otus begun (Leipzig Edition), Algebra through simple
equations (Davies' Bourbon).

Second Term
Livy, Roman Antiquities, Herodotus continued. Al-
gebra through quadratics.

Third Term
Horace's Odes, first and second books, Latin ProsoHy,
Roman Antiquities completed, Herodotus completed, Ge-
ometry, first five books (Davies' Legendre).
Sophomore Class
First Term
Horace's Odes completed and first book of Satires,
Latin Composition, Thucydides, Greek Exercises, Grecian
Antiquities, Algebra completed.

Second Term
Tacitus' History, Latin Composition, Thucydides con-
tinued, Greek Exercises, Greek Antiquities, Geometry
completed, Plane Trigonometry (Young's) begun. Phys-
ical Geography begun.

Third Term
Tacitus continued, Latin Composition, Xenophon's
Hellenica, Greek Exercises, Grecian Antiquities, Plane
Trigonometry completed, Surveying and Navigation,
Spherical Trigonometry, Physical Geography completed.
Junior Class
First Term
Horace completed, Demosthenes' Orations, Conic Sec-
tions (Bridges'), Analytical Geometry (Davies') begun,
Natural Philosophy (Olmsted's), Natural History

Second Term
Cicero de Oratore, Demosthenes' Orations, Analytical



Seal of Jeffersox College


Geometry completed, Natural Philosophy completed,
Chemistry (Kane's) begun.

Third Term
Homer's Iliad, Differential and Integral Calculus (by
lectures), Chemistry completed. Rhetoric begun, History
and Classical Literature (by lectures).
Senior Class
First Term
Tacitus, Germania and Agricola, Homer's Iliad, As-
tronomy, Rhetoric completed. Logic (Whately), Butler's'

Second Term
Juvenal, Longinus, Astronomy completed. Meteorol-
ogy, Mental Philosophy (Upham's), Paley's Natural

Third Term
Longinus completed, Geology and Agricultural Chem-
istry, Moral Philosophy, Political Economy (Wayland's),
Physiology (by lectures), Evidences of Christianity (by
The qualifications for admission to Jefferson in 1848
were these :

The public may rest assured that the course of study
published is actually accomplished in this institution ; and,
although it may be impossible to teach the idle, the dull,
or the imperfectly prepared student as we w^ould wish,
yet the advantages which we profess to afford, are really
furnished to every student, a fact of some consequence,
and far from being universal in similar cases.

Candidates for admission into the freshman class must
produce testimonials of their good character, and must
have a competent English education, including arithmetic,
geography, English grammar and the elements of history.
In Latin and Greek, besides the elementary authors, they
must have read Caesar, Sallust and Virgil, and the usual
portions of the Greek Testament, Greek Reader, or the
Graeca Minora, or an amount of Latin and Greek equiv-
alent thereto.


Students are admitted at any season of the year, and to
any class for which they are qualified. But it is important
that they be admitted at the beginning of the college year.
And in order to reap the proper advantages of a college
course they ought, ordinarily, to begin with the freshman
class and go regularly through. Much loss of time, great
additional expense, and serious disappointment of the
hopes, both of students and their friends, frequently result
from attempts to pursue large portions of the course be-
fore coming to college. In all cases of application for
advanced standing in a class the candidate is examined on
all previous studies of the course ; and in such cases, it is
important to the student to have followed exactly the pre-
scribed course of study, even, where it is possible, to the
very text-books.

Students from other colleges, whose course of study is
as ample as that of this institution, are admitted, ad
eundem, upon a regular dismission; but students under
discipline in other colleges are not received into this.

Young gentlemen wishing to pursue particular branches
of study, or to take an irregular course, are permitted to
recite with any of the college classes, and to enjoy all the
advantages offered by the institution in the particular de-
partments of study to which they desire to devote them-
selves ; and, in point of fact, there is a considerable num-
ber of them always connected with the college.

The college expenses were exploited as follows:

One important object contemplated in the whole
arrangement of this institution is, to make superior educa-
tion as cheap as is consistent with its being thorough and
complete. The location of the institution in the midst of
a bountiful country, inhabited by a plain, moral and eco-
nomical population, and removed as it is from all extra-
ordinary sources of temptation to expense, or even means
of extravagance, greatly facilitates this design.

The charge for tuition in the college course is $I0 per
term, payable in advance, a condition indispensable to the
success of an institution whose dependence is almost

Reproduced from Jefferson Academy Catalogue of 1909
Jefferson College Buildings
The building on the left, erected in 1813, was razed in igi2.
The building on the right, erected in 1833, containing Provi-
dence Hall and the rooms of the Franklin Literary Society, is
standing, 1920


exclusively on its tuition fees, and therefore to be carefully
noted by students and their friends.

Each student is also required to pay 50 cents every term
for fuel, servants' wages and repairs in the public halls.

The graduating fee paid to the college treasurer is $6
to each Bachelor of Arts, upon the payment of which he
receives his diploma and becomes entitled to all the honors
and immunities of the first degree in the Arts.

The price of board and lodging varies from $1 to
$2.50 per week. The college provides accommodations at
$1.62^ per week; and it affords facilities to students,
which enable them to obtain board and lodging at $i per
week. A small number have boarded and lodged them-
selves for about 50 cents a week. The majority of the
students board in private families in the village and
neighborhood, at an expense varying from $1.25 to $2.50
per week.

Upon an average, the necessary expense of a student,
including tuition, board, lodging, fuel, washing, lights,
etc., ought not to exceed $130, and need not exceed $i(X)
for the period of forty weeks annually, during which the
college is in session. Of this sum, the average yearly pay-
ment to the college by a student who takes a full course
and graduates, is $32.25, which includes tuition, con-
tingent expenses and cost of diploma.

This sum, of course, does not embrace the cost of
clothes, books, pocket money, traveling expenses, board
during vacation, etc., in regard to which everything de-
pends on the habits of the student and the indulgence of
his friends.

Parents and guardians are earnestly advised, on the one
hand, to restrict the youth sent to this college to such an
amount of money as is necessary for their comfortable and
respectable support; and, on the other hand, to see that
they receive the amount that is really proper with absolute
punctuality, so that the temptation to extravagance and
that of running into debt — both of them amongst the
greatest evils of college life — may be avoided.


This is the statement in regard to the moral and re-
ligious instructions of the students:

The friends and patrons of this institution consider it
the chief glory of it that it was founded in prayer and
faith ; and that God has as signally owned the efforts made
here to promote true religion as those to advance sound
learning. All the officers of it consider it one of the high-
est duties to promote the moral and religious improvement
of the pupils. An inspection of the course of studies will
show that from the beginning to the end of their college
life the students are all required to pursue a systematic
course of religious studies, embracing the Evidences of
Natural and Revealed Religion, the analogy between
them, and the Holy Scriptures, a course distinct from and
additional to the ordinary one of Moral Philosophy.

No effort is made — none will be made — to teach the
peculiarities of any sect; and even the prejudices, much
more the conscientious scruples of those who entertain
any, will always be respected. But the Christian religion
and the Protestant and evangelical faith are fully em-
braced and distinctly taught in the college as a portion of
its course of instruction.

The principal of the college is pastor of the village
church, and the religious instruction of the students, espe-
cially on the Sabbath-day, devolves, by the regulations of
the college, particularly on him. The students are all re-
quired to be present at the daily public religious exercises,
and to attend preaching, either in the college chapel or on
such other ministrations as their parents or guardians pre-
fer, twice every Sabbath-day.

It is confidently expected that this strong infusion of
religious principle into the whole course of discipline and
instruction, and the unusually large proportion of pious
young men who have always resorted to this college, are
chief reasons why so great a number of youths congregated
here for so many years have been found capable of being
taught and managed with a remarkable exemption from
public and degrading punishments.










Under the heading of "Miscellaneous Information,"
these statements are made:

Gratuitous Instruction

In cases of extreme indigence, or of great and praise-
worthy efforts, the faculty of the college are authorized to
bestow gratuitous instructions, and are in the habit of do-
ing it. By the laws of the college they are also empow-
ered to remit all charges for instruction as a suitable mark
of their great respect for distinguished merit in a student.
Teachers of Common Schools

A limited number of young men, who are sons of citi-
zens of Pennsylvania, and who are preparing themselves to
be teachers of common schools, are, by statute, entitled to
gratuitous instruction in whatever will fit them for that

The Literary Societies

These are in a flourishing condition and are probably
unsurpassed by any similar associations. They are orna-
ments to the college and valuable auxiliaries in the mental
training of the students. Their halls are commodious and
handsomely furnished and their libraries extensive and
well selected.


An association for the advancement of knowledge in the
various branches of natural science has long been estab-
lished in this institution and has made valuable collections
of minerals, fossils, shells, coins, medals, Indian antiquities,
quadrupeds, birds, reptiles, insects, etc.

Donations to this cabinet are respectfully solicited from
the friends of natural science.

Library and Apparatus

The college library is not large, but contains a consider-
able number of rare and valuable books. Important ad-
ditions have recently been made to it and efficient measures
for its enlargement.

The philosophical and chemical apparatus has been
greatly increased during the present year. The college is
now furnished with facilities for illustrations in the vari-


ous branches of Natural Science to an extent probably not
surpassed by any literary institution in the West.

New Buildings, etc.

The board of trustees have recently extended the college
grounds and have contracted for the erection of a large
three-story building for the accommodation of such stu-
dents as may desire cheap boarding.

This building, it is confidently expected, will be ready
for occupancy by the first of next November. About
forty students may thus be furnished with board and lodg-
ing at a cost of about $i per week.

Location of the College
The village of Canonsburg is situated on the Chartiers,
in Washington county, Pa. It is seventeen miles from
Pittsburg, forty miles from Wheeling, Va., and seven
from the borough of Washington, which is on the Nation-
al Road, leading from Wheeling, Va., to Cumberland.
Daily lines of stage pass through it, connecting it with all
the places just named, and more remotely with the Atlan-
tic sea-board, by means of turnpikes, canals and railroads
— and with the south and the great west, by means of the
Ohio, near the head of the immense valley of which river
it stands. The country around it is elevated, beautiful,
fertile and healthful — one of the finest regions of the
American continent. It is confidently believed that few
places can be found where the health and habits of youth
would be more likely to be safe, or where they would
more likely escape the evils and dangers incident to the
loss of parental supervision, and to a college life, than in
this retired and peaceful village, planted in the heart of a
population remarkable for its religious character.

Reference is made, as will be noted, to the Lyceum,
founded August lo, 183 1. The Curator's Book of the
Lyceum of Jefferson College is now in the archives of
the Fraternity. It was found by me in the old building,
where possibly it had been hidden with hundreds of

Badge of Defunct
Jefferson Fraternity


other books and documents at the time of the removal
of the college classes to Washington, Pennsylvania.

In the list of members given are the names of all the
members of the "Delta Association."

Three Greek letter societies own old Jefferson Col-
lege, before its union with Washington, as a common
mother: Phi Gamma Delta, founded 1848; Phi Kappa
Psi, founded 1852; and a defunct fraternity, Kappa Phi
Lambda, founded 1859. The last named society is
known to have had chapters at Mt. Union, University
of Michigan, Monmouth, Northwestern, Moore's
Hill, Ohio Wesleyan, University of Virginia, Denison,
and the Western University of Pennsylvania; yet with
all this growth and strength and with mentes multae
consilium ununi it became extinct in 1874.

About the time when Dr. M'Millan founded his
classical school, two others were started within ten miles
of Washington, the county seat, by the Rev. Thaddeus
Dodd and the Rev. Joseph Smith. In 1787 these Pres-
byterian clergymen united with others in the founding
of an academy at Washington, which was chartered
September 24, 1787, and put into operation two years
later under the principalship of Rev. Thaddeus Dodd.
The library of this institution owed its origin to a gift
of £50 from Benjamin Franklin. The courthouse, in
the upper rooms of which the academy was conducted,
burnt down about 1790, and as the friends of the sus-
pended academy met with little encouragement in seek-
ing a new home, another academy was organized at
Canonsburg, seven miles distant. The successful open-
ing of this new institution stimulated the re-opening of
Washington Academy, and thus the friends and patrons
of higher education throughout the county became


divided. The Canonsburg academy, chartered by the
Supreme Court of the state in 1794, obtained a charter
as Jefferson College January 15, 1802. Washington
Academy was chartered as Washington College, March

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Online LibraryWilliam Fosdick ChamberlinThe history of Phi gamma delta → online text (page 4 of 22)