Sarah Cole letter

Sarah Cole letter

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Cole, Sarah, fl. 1829
Title: Sarah Cole letter
Dates: 1829
Quantity: 0.1 Linear feet (1 portfolio)
Abstract:The collection consists of a letter written by Sarah Cole, dated 3 October 1829. Sarah Cole wrote this letter on behalf of her friend from Nashville, who traveled with her family from there to an area near Athens, Georgia, where her husband became ill and died. The letter is addressed to the brother of Sarah Cole's friend. Sarah Cole states that she sent "the son of Dr. Waddel, a young man of skill" to treat the ill man, but that "the disease had made such rapid progress that it was impossible for medicine to arrest it." Ms. Cole also states that "tomorrow we expect Dr. Waddel the late president of Franklin College to preach the funeral of our deceased friend."
Coll. Number: ms2381

Biographical/Historical Note

Moses Waddel achieved his fame as a schoolmaster around 1794, when he opened Carmel Academy in Appling, Georgia. William H. Crawford, later a U.S. senator from Georgia, was a student at the school, as was Waddel's brother-in-law John C. Calhoun. President Andrew Jackson always gave Waddel credit for his education, although Waddel never mentioned that Jackson had been one of his students. Both Crawford and Jackson were presidential contenders in the controversial campaign of 1824, a fact that cemented Waddel's reputation as the teacher of famous men. Waddel moved his academy in 1804 to a small Huguenot settlement in the Abbeville District of South Carolina known as Willington settlement. Willington Academy, a log cabin school composed of recitation halls and individual study cabins, soon became one of the most famous preparatory schools in the United States. Many of Waddel's students secured leadership positions in state and federal government, as well as in industry, education, and the church. A rigid classical curriculum demanded that students translate and then memorize long passages from Greek and Roman history and literature. George Gilmer, who later became governor of Georgia, wrote that "the school fills my notion of what a boy's school ought to be, plain living, plain eating, hard working, close studying, and when needful good whipping... the best school in the United States." Waddel continued to preach and founded two churches in his lifetime, one in Athens, Georgia, and one in Willington, South Carolina. He never took compensation for his ministerial duties, however, preferring to support his family strictly on his income from teaching and farming. In 1819 Crawford and Gilmer induced Waddel to accept the presidency of the nearly defunct Franklin College in Athens, Georgia. During Waddel's ten years as president he embarked on a building campaign, and the enrollment greatly increased. It became known as the University of Georgia in 1819. He maintained the classical curriculum that was then in vogue among the nation's colleges. Waddel's sons continued the operation of Willington Academy until 1860, when the school closed because of low enrollment. Waddel never set out to train the common man in his academies or at the University of Georgia, and his mission was to train leaders from every walk of life. In Waddel's recitation halls, wealthy and poor boys labored side by side; sometimes all they had in common was their ambition to succeed. With its emphasis on foreign language skills, the classical curriculum was never intended as education for the masses. Waddel's rigid moral tone was often challenged by his students, many of whom hailed from the secular Tidewater regions. Waddel was not a scholar or intellectual. His one book, Memoirs of the Life of Miss Caroline Elizabeth Smelt (1818), is a sentimental expose� of a young girl's faith as she lies on her death bed; the book went into three editions. Boys educated by Waddel learned classical literature, but they also learned precision, self-discipline, attention to detail, and biblical injunctions. Waddel is also credited with instituting the first form of student government in the United States. Waddel's academy existed solely to prepare boys for university work, but the stern yet charismatic Waddel was one of the most respected educators in the early days of the Republic. Waddel died in Athens, Georgia. American National Biography Online. ( Retrieved 5/14/2009.

Index Terms

Cole, Sarah, fl. 1829 -- Correspondence
University of Georgia. -- Presidents
Waddel, Moses, 1770-1840
Women travelers--Georgia.
Women travelers--Tennessee.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Sarah Cole letter. MS 2381. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

1Letter, 1829