A pageant in four acts
College Sesquicentennial 2002-2003
Lee L. Morgan Professor
of History and International Studies
Introduction: PI PHI’s and Kappas
Act I: the Academy
Scene One: parsonage at Cedar Creek 1852 (Olmstead Mill area, north of Monmouth)
Scene Two: South Henderson Church 1852 (just south of US 34 on the way to Oquawka)
Scene Three: Warren County Courthouse 1853
Act II: the College
Scene One: South Henderson Church October1856
Scene Two: Courthouse October 1856
Scene Three: Courthouse 1858
Act III: the War of the Rebellion (which later generations will call the Civil War)
Scene One: Courthouse, early 1862
Scene Two: Courthouse, flashback to April 1861.
Scene Seven: Courthouse 1865
Act IV: the Monmouth Duo
Scene One: Old Main early 1870
Scene Two: Old Main, later.
At the conclusion, all stand for singing of A Flame of White and Crimson
James C. Porter, pastor of Cedar Creek church, who in 1853 became pastor of the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Monmouth. Member of Board of Trustees 1857-1863.
Sarah Porter, his wife.
Robert Ross, pastor of South Henderson Church. Member of Board of Trustees 1857-1877.
John McClanahan, Farmer, Board of Trustees 1857-1863.
James G. Madden, Monmouth attorney, member of Board of Trustees 1857-1878
Maria Susan Madden, his sister, a teacher.
Ivory Quinby, Monmouth lawyer and judge, member of Board of Trustees 1859-1869. His descendants donated Quinby House to the College.
Abner C. Harding, Monmouth lawyer, railroad builder and politician, Board of Trustees 1857-1858, 1869-1874. His family established the Harding Chair of English.
David Wallace, President of Monmouth College 1856-1878
Marion Morrison, professor of mathematics, great-uncle and namesake of John Wayne. Board of Trustees 1862-1878.
Jacob Holt, Mayor of Monmouth 1858. Pi Phi was founded in his home in 1867.
James Stewart, States Attorney of Warren County, living in Oquawka until 1861. Kappa Kappa Gamma was founded in his home in 1870.
Kate Beach, Student in 1861
Founders of Phi Beta Phi and Kappa Kappa Gamma
PI PHI’s and KAPPAS file onto the stage from opposite sides, wearing their sorority sweaters, singing a verse from each of their sorority songs. The presidents come forward to address the audience.
PI PHI: This is the story of our college.
KKG: This is the story of your college.
PI PHI: It began long ago.
KKG: A hundred and fifty years ago.
PI PHI: In two small congregations of the Associate Presbyterian Church.
KKG: South Henderson and Cedar Creek.
PI PHI: Only a few minutes by car.
KKG (draw it out, with humor): Only.... they had to travel by buggy. (More serious)A trip in bad weather could take hours.
PI PHI: It also began in the small town of Monmouth.
KKG: Which then had fewer people than today’s college has students.
PI PHI: The story is about people now long dead.
KKG: But their spirit lives on.
PI PHI: It began in the kitchen of the Reverend James Porter and his wife Sarah:
(they file off as the curtain opens)
Parsonage. 1852 Cedar Creek. James C. Porter standing and Sarah Porter sitting at kitchen table, sewing. Appropriate furnishing of the room: table and chairs, fishing gear.
JAMES PORTER (pacing back and forth slowly): I’m very concerned about the children of our congregation. Some of John’s friends are almost adults. They are fourteen or even fifteen years old, and they don’t know what they will do once the harvest is in.
SARAH PORTER (looking up): That has been bothering me, too. The Cedar Creek congregation is just too small. Especially for the girls. Our Nancy is almost eleven. Several of her friends have finished all the schooling that’s available, and that wasn’t all that much.
JAMES PORTER (sitting down and picking up the newspaper): Eight grades, if one is generous enough to count several that were hardly worth mentioning.
SARAH PORTER Those who tutor their children at home have done well enough.
JAMES PORTER (absent-mindedly as he starts to read): So far.
SARAH PORTER (resuming sewing): It’s a blessing that farmers have the long winter days. Carpenters don’t have the time to read and study like farmers do, much less take the time to instruct their children. They barely have time to pray. And God knows, some of them need to.
JAMES PORTER (reading the paper, hence paying less attention): If the teachers would stay longer, it would help.
SARAH PORTER: (Stops sewing in order to concentrate on what she is saying) Teaching is a noble profession, but it doesn’t pay. A man can’t support a family from teaching in the countryside; and he can hardly do better in a small town. I hear that Mr. Gray, over in Monmouth, has once again threatened to quit his position in the public grammar school. He says, “It don’t pay.” (Exasperated) That’s not even good grammar.
JAMES PORTER (plegmatically, paying little attention): Yes, you are right. As always, mother.
SARAH PORTER (with a bit of temper): Yes, in this case, I am. What do we do about it?
JAMES PORTER (lowering the paper and giving the conversation real attention): I give him one, maybe two more years. A well organized private school might have a chance, but only as a boarding school. But starting one would not be easy. Parents would miss the children.
SARAH PORTER: Perhaps less than you think. They already hire their daughters out as maids to families with young children. We are crowded here, and we have only three children.
JAMES PORTER (going back to the paper): We grew up in big families. We survived.
SARAH PORTER: I would think that it would be awfully nice for a girl to have a room of her own and to get to see a bit of the world.
JAMES PORTER (suddenly excited): A bit of the world! Not one girl has gone over fifteen miles from home yet. And none would be allowed to go to that hell-hole Oquawka, with its rough river-men. Monmouth is much safer. Almost eight hundred people there now, and it is only a few miles away.
SARAH PORTER: I hear that James Madden wants to start a college there.
JAMES PORTER: Yes, I have heard that, too. But what use is a college to us? Our young people are not prepared for college work. What we need is an academy. The preparatory work has to come first. Then a college (Pause) perhaps. (Pause) One puts down firm foundations before starting on the walls and roof.
SARAH PORTER: Boys say, “I’m fourteen and I want to get a job.”
JAMES PORTER: They will do just about anything, too, as long as it pays twenty-five cents a day.
SARAH PORTER (exasperated): They think that such employment is good enough! No thought for the future! They can see that the lawyers around here all make money, they can see that the ministers of the Gospel are respected, but their sole ambition is to inherit a farm, or marry one.
JAMES PORTER: Yes, marrying an attractive heiress is a quick way to wealth. But in the long run, it is hard-earned money. As for inheriting! Men are living to be sixty, even seventy years old now. It’s not like the old days on the frontier.
SARAH PORTER: Life is so much better now. I can remember back when we could not afford whale oil for the lamps. Now we can read whenever we want, we can have friends over to talk, to sing, to read the Bible to one another; to play games with the children.
JAMES PORTER: We have song books now. I am not altogether certain, however, that having more song books is a good thing. John and Nancy already sing too many secular songs, and not all of them are good for the soul.
SARAH PORTER: I do like some of Stephen Foster’s songs. (Sings a stanza from Come where my love lies dreaming, 1855)
Dreaming the happy hours, Dreaming the happy hours
JAMES PORTER: If only all his songs were so tasteful. The young people would rather sing his songs about racing and gambling, banjo playing and river boats! (Preacher voice) Stephen Foster spends too much time on man’s lower appetites, not caring what kind of influence he has on young people. (growing choleric): With such temptations, how do we teach our community’s children to read, to meditate on the meaning of life, on the dignity of work, on the joys of religious service? To appreciate helping children grow up to be good people! (with more spirit, and a flourish in the direction of his fishing gear): To appreciate the skill involved in catching a fine fish! (Realizes he has gone too far.)
(A pause while he paces back and forth.)
SARAH PORTER: They need a good minister like you and the Reverend Ross over at South Henderson.
JAMES PORTER (resigned): Perhaps... Perhaps.... But when the boys become fourteen, they want to cut up a bit, even to try alcohol. Church isn’t for them, they say, much less reading the Bible or other good literature. They are off to Oquawka or Gulfport at every opportunity.
SARAH PORTER: It is difficult even for our girls to hold onto the principles of the Associate Reformed Church when they go out with Methodists! (Pause) I even heard one of Nancy’s friends say that slavery wasn’t so bad.
JAMES PORTER: Not so bad! More of that Oquawka talk! Too many Democrats down there, none of whom has read Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Most of them can’t read! That’s another reason we need an academy. We have to educate our youth in the issues of the day. Even the Whig party can’t make up its mind about slavery, the greatest evil of our times, or about alcoholic beverages. Both leave a wave of destruction in their wake whenever they sail through a community.
SARAH PORTER: Perhaps you should talk to Robert Ross about an academy. If he feels as strongly about the problem as you do, it might be possible to organize a boarding school.
JAMES PORTER (after short reflection): Yes. There will be a meeting of the Second Presbytery at South Henderson in October. If Robert agrees, we can present a proposal to the pastors at that time; they could take the matter to their elders. (Pause) If we could get but two or three pupils from each congregation, it could be done.
SARAH PORTER: If God wills it, it will be done. Curtain.
South Henderson Church, October 11, 1852. Pastors and laymen of the Second Presbytery gathered and singing first stanza (http://tch.simplenet.com/htm/b/b/bbtttb.htm, or Golden Book of Favorite Songs). Chairs or benches for the listeners, a podium for the speakers. The speaker should be facing the audience, so it might be possible to set the stage as if the audience were in the rear seats of the church. Ross and Porter are both hell-fire and damnation preachers when they choose to be; in all cases, they tend to speak as though delivering a sermon.
Blest be the
tie that binds
Before our Father’s throne
We share each other’’s woes,
When we asunder part,
This glorious hope revives
From sorrow, toil and pain,
ROSS: Friends. We have an important topic to discuss tonight. That subject is the education of our young folks. I am certain that you have heard the exhortations of the Synod of Illinois to establish grammar schools in every Presbytery; also that some Presbyteries are contemplating establishing academies and colleges. (Remains standing)
JAMES PORTER (rising, facing Ross): Thank you, Robert. Let me come straight to the point. The congregation at Sparta has proposed establishing an academy, a boarding school, in their city. It would provide a solid religious education for the future members of the church in the Second Presbytery, with the additional goal of preparing young men for training in the ministry. (Pointing to Stewart): Yes, Mrs. Stewart.
STEWART (from his seat, rising during his question): Sparta? That’s too far away. The young people could travel by steamboat to Alton, but that is expensive, and they are still far from there. How would they visit home on weekends or when farm work is necessary? Who would be responsible for them?
ROSS: Good questions. But Sparta makes sense. It’s a large enough town, with a sufficient number of Associate Reformed Presbyterian families to take in studious, moral boarders at a reasonable cost. They have a teacher in mind, a building selected, and an oversight committee. My father-in-law, David McDill, has committed himself to the project, and he is a very thorough and persuasive man.
STEWART: Isn’t there any place closer? Oquawka is talking about starting a college.
PORTER: South Henderson and Cedar Creek, large as the congregations are, are too small to support a college. Oquawka is big enough, but it is a port city. The people there look to the river traffic to make a living. Their awareness of religion is almost non-existent and their politics reflect the Southern market. “Yellow Banks” is not a place for impressionable young men and women.
STEWART (with some rhetorical flourishes, while standing): I must speak in defense of my fellow citizens. Oquawka, (ironically) “Yellow Banks” if you please, (more seriously) offers many advantages to a college. And I resent the implication that its people are pro-slavery. The city is a bulwark of the Democratic party, of course, but of the Democratic party that allows the states to make their own laws and practices, even if we disagree with what others do.
MADDEN (from his seat, with disdain): Slave-owning Democrats!
STEWART (heatedly): James Madden! That’s not why I’m a Democrat. I am a Democrat because I don’t want my community dominated by the immorality of the big cities and big government, but by the healthy customs of independent farmers and artisans, who make their own laws without looking to Congress for canals and roads. I want to be free to express my belief that slavery is wrong and that most Protestants are too lax.
MADDEN (sufficiently forcefully to make Stewart a bit angry, and rising from his seat): That is why most of us are Whigs. This has got to be one country, with one set of laws for all of us. The Democrats want that law to permit slavery everywhere, starting with the territories, and they are against the kinds of internal improvements that can bind our nation together.
ROSS (loudly, cutting off Stewart before he can respond): Let’s not talk politics tonight! We all agree on the general principles, even though we do not always see alike the road along which we can lead those principles into practice. (A pause as everyone calms down. All sit except Ross and Porter.) We are in unity as to the importance of education and on the establishment of an academy as the best means to reach it.
(Murmurs of agreement. All but Porter sit down)
PORTER: Let us look at the nearest options. Galesburg has academies founded by the Congregationalists and Universalists; in Abington there is talk of an academy. There is no point in entering into competition at either place. Oquawka is convenient, but is otherwise unsuitable. Nauvoo is a river town, and it has seen too much religious turmoil. I am not a Know-Nothing, but our children are at an impressionable age. If they are going to board with local families, even with church members, I want to know that the community is a safe and moral one.
(Murmurs of agreement)
Also, we have to think ahead. There are already two colleges in Galesburg—Knox Manual Labor College and Lombard College. Knox College, as they call it now, has been in operation for a decade now, and although Lombard is only a year old, it already has a fine three story building. I heard that President Blanchard of Knox College tried to stop the trains from running on Sunday. That is good morality, and surely the noise was a distraction during the morning services, but train schedules are not among the most pressing issues of the hour. The drunken riff-raff that you find hanging around the train yards—that is another matter. Alcohol, my friends, is at the heart of our political and social problems. You will not find a man who refrains from alcohol who will abuse a wife, children, a horse, or own a slave....(breaks off when Stewart rises)
STEWART: (interrupting) Yes, that is true, (stronger here) but we need to talk about education now.
PORTER (a bit pompously): An education is more than learning facts and theories. It involves understanding the proper use of knowledge. Knowledge is useless, or even dangerous, unless built upon a solid religious foundation and roofed over by proper morals and laws.
ROSS (rising, speaking strongly): James Madden is right. Knowledge without morality is the road to eternal damnation
STEWART: I agree. (Pause) A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Drink deeply or drink not at all. (Pause) All the more reason to insist on a first-class education for our children. (Pause) If classes are taught by instructors of sound education and solid morals, moral principles will not be neglected. Moreover, the Board of Trustees will provide responsible oversight.
PORTER (conciliatory): Absolutely true.... There is no point to further debate. I think we are in agreement on all essentials. (Pause) So...the elimination of these cities brings us to Monmouth. It’s not a large town yet, not quite a thousand residents, but the railroad will be coming soon. At least, so I am informed by Ivory Quinby, who together with Abner Harding and Chauncey Hardin, has organized a construction company to lay tracks from Peoria to Burlington.
ROSS: Yes, Oquawka declined to contribute money to the project, otherwise South Henderson would lie close to the proposed line.
STEWART (strongly): Oquawka does not need a railroad. The future of the country is in its waterways, and Oquawka is a major port.
ROSS (quietly): Perhaps, perhaps... There are those who say the same for the railroads. However, in Monmouth there is more support for a college than elsewhere, mainly through James Madden, who you all know as a prominent attorney and civic leader. (Madden rises and bows slightly in response to the flattery.) Already there are two primary schools, that of William Jenks and that of Maria Madden, who, you know, is James Madden’s sister.
PORTER (as Ross sits and begins writing hurriedly): I have spoken personally with James Madden about this.
PORTER I persuaded him that no college can be founded without an academy to provide properly prepared students. He has subsequently talked with Judge Quinby, who, though a Baptist, has agreed to support the project.
MADDEN: Yes. Enthusiastically.
ROSS (rising again, with the paper in his hand): Of course, no academy can survive without proper grammar schools. Therefore, we should start with expanding the number of grammar schools, then establish an academy as quickly as possible. With a site to be determined later, depending on which community is willing to support a school with hard cash.
PORTER: It won’t be Oquawka then!
STEWART: It might not be Monmouth, either. Presbyterians aren’t Scotch for nothing.
ROSS: I move the following resolution (reads): “That this Presbytery take measures to establish such a school.”
[The full text reads:
Whereas the demand of the church for an increase of the ministry is urgent, especially in our Western field and whereas facilities for obtaining an education in a neighborhood is one of the means of meeting this demand and whereas it is the duty of the church to see to the education of her children and whereas it has been recommended by the higher judicatures of our church that the representative presbyteries should establish Grammar Schools in their respective bounds, Therefore resolved:
That this Presbytery take measures to establish such a school and further Resolved that the Rev. R. Ross, Rev. J.C. Porter and Rev. W. R. Erskine be a committee to report on the subject of establishing such a Presbyterial school in all its parts and that all other members of the Presbytery be requested to communicate to said committee any information they may obtain on the subject.]
(All voice approval)
PORTER: Further that I send this proposal to the Presbytery meeting in Clayton, to meet April 18 next year, to be placed on the agenda for discussion and action.
(All voice approval)
Hymn appropriate here.
Judge Quinby’s courtroom in Monmouth, April 12, 1853
Court in recess.
In the background the judge’s bench. Perhaps a portrait of George Washington on the wall, period American and Illinois flags on either side of the bench.
Harding, Quinby and others on stage. Porter enters, moves forward to shake Madden’s hand)
PORTER: James, how good to see you again.
MADDEN: James, how good to see you, too. Or is there an echo in here?
PORTER: When good men share one good name, one hears it more often.
(Madden laughs, other lawyers starting listening in.)
MADDEN: It is good to see you again. (To the others)You all know James Porter, the pastor of Cedar Creek church. James, you know Judge Quinby and Abner Harding?
PORTER: Oh yes, Judge Quinby has stopped by often on his travels; and everybody knows Abner Harding.
QUINBY (be careful to avoid sounding pompous; make this a bare statement of facts): Yes, my business has taken me all over western Illinois. I am not alone in such experience, and I am but a young man still, only thirty-five, but there is hardly a piece of real estate that people in my business haven’t looked at, or a person of consequence we haven’t met.
MADDEN: You are good at sizing up both, I know. The law and real estate go together well.
QUINBY: Thank you for the flattery, but the early comers here who had it easiest were those who had an education. I say that because my years at Waterville College were far more important to me than the $125 I brought west. I want others to have that same chance, and it is not important to me what denomination provides it. I understand that you (indicating Porter) are interested in establishing an academy. Monmouth desperately need instruction past grammar school.
PORTER: Yes, indeed. II am on my way to Clayton. In six days time the Presbytery will vote on establishing an academy somewhere in the Second Presbytery.
MADDEN: I hope that the Presbytery will favor Monmouth. The Reverend James Brown is willing to serve as principal for a salary of $800, and my sister would be assistant principal.
MARIA MADDEN (steps onto a corner of the stage, set darkens, spot on her. Speaks heatedly): That’s me he’s talking about. His sister, Maria Madden. Yes, assistant principal! But you know who will do all the work! (Resigned sigh, then quietly) But I shouldn’t complain. There aren’t many jobs for women anyway, and almost none in teaching. I am tired of sewing for other people! If I could have gone to college like my brother, everything would be different. As it is, teaching at the new public grammar school is something, and there is some hope of becoming assistant principal at the academy. Though who knows whether I’ll ever be paid a good salary!
(Lights back up, Maria Madden remains in a corner of the stage, unseen by the others)
MADDEN: James Brown is a graduate of Miami University, a fact that will impress the Second Presbytery.
MARIA MADDEN (in a loud aside that the actors cannot hear) Rub it in! Rub it in!
QUINBY: I’m a Baptist and a little unfamiliar with your references. What exactly is a Presbytery?
MARIA MADDEN (in a loud aside that the actors cannot hear): Doesn’t that man know anything! He lives in a very small town, with nothing to talk about except politics and religion, a town filled with Presbyterians, and he doesn’t know what a Presbytery is. (With a gesture of disgust she leaves)
QUINBY: What exactly is a Presbytery?
PORTER: A Presbytery is a formal gathering of pastors and laymen who represent the congregations in the district. The Second Presbytery runs north from Alton to include the entire state of Wisconsin. South Henderson and Cedar Creek are its largest congregations. Each presbytery elects representatives to attend synods, which in this case is the Synod of Illinois; the synod oversees all the churches in the presbyteries. Almost three hundred churches.
QUINBY: I see, much like the organization of the state and national government.
MADDEN: Our form of representative government was based on it. It is, fundamentally, government by the people; representative government.
QUINBY: And how is the Associate Reformed Church different from other Presbyterians?
PORTER: The Church split during the Revolution. The Associate Reformed Presbyterians took the patriot cause. Many members of the local churches were born in South Carolina, but their parents moved to Ohio when their anti-slavery views were no longer tolerated.
QUINBY: How do you think the pastors and laymen will respond to your call?
PORTER: I hope that the pastors will lean toward Monmouth. I have many friends among them. I have been ministering to the Cedar Creek congregation for twelve years now and was among those who, in 1842, organized the First Presbytery of Illinois. Also, since I have accepted the call to minister to the First Church in Monmouth, I will be in a position to assist the academy in many small ways. But they are practical men who understand that a school has to have a building and to pay the instructors. If Sparta or Oquawka make an appropriate offer, they may choose to establish the academy there.
(The group starts to break up, but Quinby, Madden and Harding remain)
QUINBY: Congratulations on the appointment to the church in Monmouth. It will be a pleasure to have you join the growing community. We expect to have perhaps two thousand citizens once the tracks arrive...in about two years. We are already incorporating the city. (Pause) An Academy would bring... (pause) how many pupils to town as boarders?
PORTER: Certainly as many as twenty, and counting the local children who would attend, we estimate hundred or more in the primary and secondary levels together.
QUINBY: We can’t count the non-boarders as much of a business asset, but twenty or more boarders would bring some hard cash into the community. What would the tuition bring?
PORTER: We plan to ask $4 tuition for each session for primary school, and $8 for secondary, with most of the payment being cash, the rest in kind. There would be two sessions a year—from harvest to Christmas and from New Years to planting.
QUINBY: That should be adequate to cover two salaries. If... (pause) as many enroll as are anticipated, ...and if they all pay their bills.... An unlikely event in both cases. Still, if Brown is willing to take the risk, I will not stand in his way. Where would you hold classes?
MADDEN: The Christian Church has indicated a willingness to share its building during the week.
QUINBY: The Christians are very generous, but that structure could fall down any day!
MADDEN: I think we can prop it up safely. Perhaps someone will donate lumber.
PORTER: You can count on me for that. There are some good trees on my land. As soon as the Presbyterian Church is completed, we can hold classes in the basement.
HARDING: Who would represent the Monmouth petition in Clayton? You, Madden?
MADDEN: No, I have not the time at this moment.
PORTER: I would be pleased to do so, if I had official power and written promises of financial support.
MADDEN: That we can provide. (Goes to desk and writes a note) There is your first $100.
HARDING: A good start. I think that I and my friends can add to that. (He writes his name and a sum to the note, then passes it to Quinby, who signs and passes it on). If the school makes it through the first year, I’ll donate land and materials for a proper brick building.
QUINBY: Very generous of you, Abner! I suppose that you have invested in a brick factory, too.
HARDING: As a matter of fact, I was contemplating exactly that. The soil here contains some excellent clay deposits.
QUINBY: As any look at the streets on a rainy day will confirm!
HARDING: More likely I’ll start a bank and loan the money to someone who has the time and experience to start a pottery industry. That may the business of the future locally.
MADDEN: That and an academy would demonstrate that our town is truly ready to grow. We may have clay-covered feet, but our hearts are iron, and our pastors’ tongues are gold. There is already talk of a second newspaper. Having people who could read it would make it more likely.
QUINBY: Yes, a Democratic newspaper would be valuable. The Atlas is too Whig for my taste, but the editor has the right views on alcohol and education. Here, James, read this.
PORTER (astounded): $1150 to start the academy! That’s a fortune. (Reads): James Madden, James Thompson, John Young, Abner Harding, E.C. Babcock, Samuel Claycomb, Ivory Quinby and a dozen others. ....
MADDEN: I am certain I can persuade a few more to add their names.
PORTER: Excellent. With this piece of paper, Monmouth is guaranteed to be the site of the new academy!
HARDING: Once that is well-started, I can persuade the legislature to give us a charter for a real college. If you can do your part with the collection plate here, I’ll do mine in Springfield.
QUINBY: (patting him on the back) Anybody who can organize a railroad company in spite of the corporations’ influence in Springfield won’t have any trouble getting a college charter! You had better put Thompson, Madden and Harding on your first Board of Trustees.
HARDING: And perhaps Rankin and E.C. Babcock, too.
QUINBY: (To Porter) You know, without Harding’s energy and vision, we wouldn’t be building any railroad, much less subscribing to an academy; and the future of Monmouth would be, well, it would be what Monmouth is now–a crossroads with a courthouse and a jail that can’t keep a prisoner confined.
HARDING: Hardly big enough to support a bar. But that will change. A railroad and a college! That’s Monmouth’s ticket to growth, to prosperity, to a greater future!
PORTER: Well..., well and good. But first let’s get the academy going.
HARDING and QUINBY: Agreed. First things first!
(A male quartet steps out of the group of lawyers to sing the first verse of the Monmouth College hymn, written by Charles Gourlay Goodrich in 1923. “Daddy” Goodrich was Professor of French. (Songs of Monmouth College, 8. Use the original lyrics. Only a non-poet can stand the present verses.)
Straight from the heart of every man
Who here his college life began,
Comes sounding through the balmy air,
This fervent wish, this heartfelt prayer.
O God, Thy blessing we implore
On Monmouth College evermore.
May all her effort ever be to honor Thee.
South Henderson Church October 1856
As lights dim the Pi Phi and Kappa presidents (or representatives) come out in front of the curtain.
PI PHI: Four years have passed. Much has changed.
KAPPA: The nation is in turmoil.
PI PHI: States are divided over the slavery issue.
KAPPA: Communities are divided over temperance.
PI PHI: Families are divided over women’s rights.
KAPPA: The Whig Party is dying, the Democratic Party split into Northern and Southern blocs.
PI PHI: A new party, the Republican Party, has arisen.
KAPPA: And a new college has been founded in Monmouth, Illinois.
(They leave the stage as the lights dim and the curtain opens. Cast takes its seats)
Congregation seated as before (the men and women who will be soldiers and sorority founders in Acts III and IV.) Porter standing at pulpit, Wallace and Morrison seated next to him. Porter and Wallace will be delivering what are essentially sermons, and it was the custom to write out sermons; hence, each man could hold a paper on which these long monologues are written out as an aid to the memory, but the delivery should not seem to be read—there should be appropriate passion in the right places.
PORTER: On behalf of the congregation, Dr. Wallace, I wish to welcome you to South Henderson. And to those of you who have not yet met Dr. David Wallace, I wish to present the first president of Monmouth College. (Wallace rises, bows, and sits down again) Dr. Wallace is newly of Boston, but born and reared in Ohio, a true sprout of our common Scotch-Irish roots. He is a graduate of Miami University, where he came to know his friend and colleague, Marion Morrison, who (indicating Morrison to rise and be acknowledged) will be the college’s professor of mathematics. Dr. Wallace is a very unusual man, as you will learn. At the age of twelve he matriculated at Madison College, but since his family could not afford to continue the tuition, he taught school until he had saved the money necessary to resume his formal education. Even before his graduation from Miami University in1846, the trustees of Muskingum College had selected him to be their president! When he heard the call to the ministry, he studied at the seminaries in Oxford, Ohio, and Allegheny, Pennsylvania, after which he was ordained by the Presbytery of New York in 1851. Since marrying Martha Findley of New Concord, Ohio, he has been pastor of the church in Fall River, Massachusetts. Within a year of accepting the Fall River church he transformed a disorganized and debt-ridden congregation into a flourishing church. He is as eloquent as he is indefatigable. We pray that he may be equally as successful in his efforts at Monmouth College. (He sits and Wallace goes to the podium.)
WALLACE (dim lighting somewhat, slowly, have spot on Wallace): Thank you, Rev. Porter, for the generous introduction. I hope that the rest of you will be as kind to the college I hope to introduce to you today. Monmouth College is not yet even a paper institution. It exists, of course. Once the scaffolding comes down, you will see several streets north of the city square, a brick building 40 by 80 feet, one of the finest structures in the city, with a chapel seating 300 and eight classrooms. (Glancing at notes) Thanks are to be offered, I am told, to Robert Ross and James Thompson, who chaired the successful effort to raise $5000 for its construction. The belfry has yet to be constructed, and sidewalks, and fences to keep the cows off the lawn, but everything else is in place...except the charter. (Pause) Which our good friend and benefactor, Abner Harding (indicating him with his hand), is applying for in Springfield. (Louder, to the congregation) Then, it will be up to you, my fellow Associate Reformed Presbyterians and the good Christians of other denominations. God and the State of Illinois will have given us a good start. (Quieter) The Rev. James Brown, who served as principal of the Academy from 1854 until the spring of this year has provided us with a facility, a proud record of academic accomplishment, a student body, and even a dollar or two. You, better than I, know how classes were begun in a shack held up by two poles on the downmost side; since then you have built an academic structure the equal of any in the state. Are there any questions?
SARAH PORTER: James said that you were young. But I didn’t expect you to be so young! How old are you, anyway?
WALLACE: I am thirty, ma’m. (Pause) It is young. (Pause) But they tell me that a few years as college president will change me considerably. (Audience laughs)
PARISHIONER #1 (may be male or female): How many students do you expect to attend? And where will they live?
WALLACE: Your sons and daughters will make up the majority of the seventy-five students we expect this fall; and it is you who we hope will assume the care and oversight of those from out of town.
PARISHIONER #2: What will you do for books?
WALLACE: James Madden has arranged for the Warren County Circulating Library to be transferred to Monmouth College, and Judge Quinby has volunteered to give a room in his building for library use. (He indicates each with his hand, at which they stand for a bow and a small round of applause.) Books will be available to the public as before. Having the library on the square will be very convenient to the students, since most them will live within a short walking distance.
PARISHIONER #1: Who are the faculty?
WALLACE: My old college friend, Marion Morrison, (motioning him to be recognized, mild applause) has already begun holding classes for twenty-one students in mathematics and science. (With humor) We used to talk about founding a college in Texas, for they certainly need a good college there. Instead, we end up in western Illinois, where no one with an interest in law enforcement or cowboys has any future (chuckles from audience). (More seriously) I will be teaching Latin and Greek, necessary languages for any young man who wishes to make his way into a learned ministry. We anticipate having a certified Scotsman, Alexander Young, currently at the seminary in Oxford, Ohio, to teach theology and moral philosophy. J.R. Brown will teach Ancient Languages. We can count of the support of the head of the academy and the lady principal, with whom we share the academic building. They will supply us with additional courses and an annual crop of freshmen, to which we can also add such sub-freshmen as are qualified for advanced work. (Questioning murmurs). I see that the term is new. We have chosen the definition, sub-freshmen, for pupils, to remind ourselves of the intimate connection between the Academy and the College. So we have made a good beginning! (Continues to stand at the podium)
(Return to full lighting)
MORRISON (standing): In every sense we have made a good beginning. But it will require more cents to continue. I mean dollars and cents. The Academy building will soon be too small for the college we envision, much less for a college and an academy. The building is almost surrounded by homes, so that there is little room for the stables needed to shelter the horses of students who must drive their buggies to classes, and hardly sufficient space for the outbuildings.
WALLACE: I have my eye on a piece of land.... A rather large piece of land east of town that the Grahams are willing to donate if an appropriate building can be constructed upon it.
JAMES PORTER (phlegmatically, rising from the audience): That they are. They say that they are good for the ground.
SARAH PORTER (enthusiastically, jumping up). God bless the Grahams!
HARDING (standing): And I will contribute a substantial sum for the structure... if you and other good friends of education and the church will shoulder the wheel, too, and push the effort along.
WALLACE: We are already deeply indebted to Abner Harding for the land upon which the Academy stands, and now we have an additional friend in Russell Graham. (To the audience) So you have it. A vision of the Monmouth College of the future. (Lights dim slowly, with spot on Wallace) But bricks and mortar alone do not make a college. (Glances at notes)What I envision is a good college. Not a second-rate high school that preposterously calls itself a college. Nor a replication of a public university, which, as you know, does not exist yet in the state. And even when one is founded, a public school cannot do what a private college can, nor should a private college attempt to rival the public schools in their proper sphere of activities. I envision a Christian college, whose fame will spread far beyond the confines of Warren County, even the state of Illinois. There are great tasks that God has set before us. (With passion) There is the scourge of bond slavery, the curse of alcoholic beverages that enslave men’s soul, the foolish bondage of women, held in ignorance by denying them access to education, the spiritual impoverishment of those who have not heard the message of Jesus. The Monmouth College I envision will strive to strike off the heads of the hydra-headed monster composed of slavery, drunkenness, the debasement of females and the neglect of children, and that formidable combination of paganism, heresy, and agnosticism which rules so much of the world. Public schools cannot take up such moral causes, because there is always someone who would object to public moneys being spent in ways adverse to their secular interests. (Pause, then resumes more quietly.) Thus, it is the exalted mission of the Christian colleges of America to vivify and ennoble the popular education. If the time ever comes when folly, or moral madness or atheism should destroy our colleges, the public schools will not long survive. The Monmouth College I envision will combine high ideals, high standards of scholarship, and a concern for the practical employment of the knowledge imparted within its walls. Monmouth College students will exit her doors prepared for a life of work and prayer. (Passion builds from here to the conclusion of the sermon) Hard work is necessary and (slight pause) good, for the dawn comes quietly and is soon past, and no hour can ever be recovered before the dusk is on us, followed ever so swiftly by the night of death. (Pause, to look over the audience, then with fervor) The agony of our Lord and Savior must be repaid by giving freely of our lives and worldly wealth, in the expectation that we, like Him, will attain the Resurrection He has promised us. (More quietly) We do this not of our own labors entirely, for Salvation is in God’s hands. But only those who have prepared themselves dutifully, who have filled the lamps with oil and await the summons, will be ready when the bridegroom cometh. The lamp of learning is now ready to be lit. “Lux Sit”, (slight pause and emphasis) let there be light, is our college’s motto. Just as God created the universe with those words, so now we create a new college.
(Lights return, Applause) curtain as group comes on to sing The Monmouth College hymn verse 2 (Songs of Monmouth College, 8. Again original text).
Sturdy the band of pioneers
Who planted for the coming years;
Sturdy the sons who here are met,
To reach the goals their fathers set.
O God, Thy blessing we implore
On Monmouth College evermore.
My all her effort ever be
To honor Thee.
The courtroom, October 1856
Stage set as before.
Harding, Wallace, Quinby standing toward front of stage, conversing together.
HARDING: David, Judge Quinby and I have a concern. The judge, as treasurer of the college, is worried about the financial situation.
QUINBY: It is the matter of enrolling young women in the college classes. There is little precedent for it. Neither you, nor I, nor Abner had females in our college classes, nor does anyone we know have experience in this. The pupils in the academies are young. Students, in contrast, are, well, (embarrassed) older. (Pause) Also, will they take our college seriously if we admit women? (Pause) We have been asked if co-education were indeed the Lord’s intent or if it is at all practical and desirable. Knox does not admit women. President Blanchard says that his Ladies Seminary is much like the college at Mount Holyoke, and he is building a separate five story structure for their use; but his three year program is little more than an advanced high school.
WALLACE: Lombard College admits females.
QUINBY: That college is overseen by the Universalists, and some question whether they are Christians.
WALLACE: Non-sectarian, they call themselves. More accurately out of the Emerson school of Unitarians. There were many of them in Boston.
QUINBY: In any event, they are struggling to recover from the fire that destroyed their building last year.
WALLACE: The very matter of having females study in the same classrooms as the young men had bothered me, too, when I was approached about assuming the presidency of the college, and I still have divided feelings on the subject. You, however, persuaded me, first and foremost, that it was an economic necessity—we cannot afford to double the number of classes, as would be necessary to offer separate instruction—but also that it is a Christian duty. (Pause) I wrestled with this issue, like Jacob with the angel, until I concluded that women have the same right to an education that men have.
QUINBY: That was the trustees’ original thought, too. There are a number of fine women’s colleges. But Harvard keeps its female equivalent, Radcliffe, separate. Princeton is the model for Presbyterians, and they do not even admit females. (Pause) Women are different, as both the eye and my wife, Mary, will tell you.
HARDING: Better than men, she says.
QUINBY: Yes, and she’s probably right. She usually is. She’s a Methodist, and she doesn’t dither around in deciding what is right and wrong.
WALLACE: My concerns are now purely practical. How, for example, to provide for women’s clothing. We shall have to see that there is appropriate seating. The boys always cope, somehow, but women’s dresses! We shall have to construct elevated sidewalks so that the hems do not smell like horse apples. Dresses, even the most simple ones, take up more space in the classrooms, and the toilet facilities are a special problem in themselves.
(Note to the actors: James Madden addressed the alumni gathering of June 1896, together with Marion Morrison, speaking about these problems.)
HARDING: That’s an issue which is brought up often. Women need more space than horses, they object to crowded or dirty outhouses, and they are a good deal more vocal in complaining about any and all shortcomings.
WALLACE: Exactly why on my way west I visited the few colleges that admit women on an absolutely equal basis. Not to look into the theory of the thing, but to see how they handle practical problems. The sort of questions that don’t get answered in writing.
QUINBY: Much that concerns women does not get written down. Yet they have tremendous influence.
WALLACE: That was certainly the case in my coming to Monmouth College.
WALLACE: We had declined the first offer tendered by the Board of Trustees, but in the winter and spring of ‘56 it became clear that Martha’s health was not equal to the New England climate. Our physician persuaded her that the warmth of Illinois would be better for her lungs.
HARDING: Fortunately for us, your physician knew little about Illinois’ winters.
QUINBY: And so you accepted the trustees’ second offer. They would have preferred that you had come solely out of a determination to make the college a success, but God moves each of us in His own way.
WALLACE: I am persuaded that it shall be a success. And I hope that I can persuade you to join the Board of Trustees.
QUINBY (avoiding a direct answer): You are persuaded, then, that you can take care of anything that arises.
WALLACE: As far as humanly possible, I believe; and with God’s help, and the trustees’ support, we can meet any other emergency that might arise. We are already making arrangements for a formal inauguration at John Brown Grove.
HARDING: Down by the rail yards. It is a fine place for such gatherings, though I am happy that we did not build the college there.
QUINBY: What do you have planned?
WALLACE: Porter will give a history of the foundation of the college, and President Blanchard will speak on “The Benefits and Advantages of College and a Collegiate Course.”
QUINBY: I am pleased that Knox is welcoming Monmouth College into existence. I understand that Gale’s Presbyterians do not exactly agree with Blanchard’s Congregationalist views.
WALLACE: Congregationalists and Presbyterians have much in common. I am certain that the prairie college and we have much to share and much to learn from one another.
QUINBY: And you will speak, too?
WALLACE: On “The Claims of the Bible.” Its wisdom and revealed truths must be intertwined with all that we undertake. We can worship in different ways, with varying forms of church organization, and in sundry languages, but the Bible, as understood by modern hearts and minds, is the foundation stone of everything we build.
Curtain as Male students come out and sing “Coeducation” (Songs of Monmouth College, 30)
Come students, come students, we pour you a glass
The mildest and sweetest libation
Old Monmouth will drink to the health of the lass
The Goddess of Co-ed-u-cation.
Chorus: O wonder-ful Co-ed-u-cation, O wonder-ful Co-ed-u-cation.
For it can make music of “Angles” and “Sines”, the magic of Co-ed-u-cation.
I asked the lone student who bade him to drudge
Far from Professor’s location,
I read in his dreamy and far-away look,
The answer was Coeducation.
When shadows fall eastward, and Oh! Will they not?
When life is a care and vexation.
Then “classics” and “ologies” all are forgot
Excepting our Coeducation.
(James and Maria Madden enter opposite the departing students)
MARIA MADDEN: James Madden! Monmouth College is going to admit women. I want to become a student. I don’t want to remain a spinster living in my mother’s house forever.
JAMES MADDEN: Maria! Mother is glad to have you, and Martha and I truly appreciate what you do at our place. Martha is not well, and she needs your help. There are the children to consider. Moreover, you have a good job. The academy is a fine place to teach.
MARIA: Yes, it’s a fine position if you have no ambition. But I’ll never get to be Lady Principal without a degree.
JAMES: The money is not bad.
MARIA (heatedly): Ninety dollars a year! After all your years as school commissioner, you think that is a good salary!
JAMES: That’s all the community will pay. As for your going to college, we just can’t afford it right now.
MARIA: You have money to give to the college.
JAMES: (reluctantly) Yes, but that’s different.
MARIA: How different!?
JAMES: I’m a trustee. (Exasperated) Besides, I’ve got a family to support. Martha and I have five children in school, and four who will be attending soon. What will she say if I announce that I have to hire more household help and pay my sister’s tuition, too.
MARIA: (with fire) Martha will support me. Women have to stick together!
JAMES (with irony): Women stick together after their children are provided for.
MARIA: You’re enrolling your daughter Elizabeth.
JAMES (reluctantly agreeing, knowing he has been caught in an inconsistency): Well, yes. Elizabeth did so well at the academy that she should be able to graduate in three years, probably in the spring of 1859.
MARIA (with ire): If I’m good enough to teach your children to finish college in three years, I ought to be good enough to go to college myself!
JAMES (somewhat exasperated now): Maria. You’ve been teaching the pupils who will be entering the college. Moreover, you’ve not been studying Latin. You’d have to master that first. Besides, how would you feel greeting your former pupils as fellow students? You are, after all, thirty-two.
MARIA: I’d adjust! I can learn Latin, too.
JAMES: We just can’t do it this year.
MARIA: This year! What about next year?
JAMES: We’ll see, we’ll see. Save up what you can.
MARIA: I will! And you can count on hearing from me at every breakfast! In Latin! (Curtain)
Pi Phi and Kappa presidents come out before the curtain is raised.
PI PHI: In 1858 the national debate over slavery became even more heated.
KAPPA: The Senatorial campaign between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln attracted national attention.
PI PHI: Lincoln would lose, but his ideas won in the end.
KAPPA: There had been bloodshed in Kansas.
PI PHI: Two years earlier, in 1856, pro-slavery Missourians had invaded Kansas territory and burned the city of Lawrence.
KAPPA: In 1857 the Supreme Court ruled that slaveholders could take their slaves into any territory, and presumably into any state.
PI PHI: The Missouri Compromise was dead.
KAPPA: Those were the issues that concerned Lincoln and Douglas.
PI PHI: Those men were good friends and staunch patriots.
KAPPA: But they differed on how the nation might be saved.
PI PHI: On how to avoid a civil war.
KAPPA: These issues were on everyone’s mind, Dr. Wallace’s, the faculty, the students and their parents.
PI PHI: On townspeople’s.
KAPPA: Lincoln and Douglas agreed to hold a series of debates, one in each congressional district.
PI PHI: In 1858 they stayed overnight in Monmouth and addressed large crowds.
KAPPA: Douglas spoke in the square.
PI PHI: Lincoln spoke several blocks to the south, near the little collection of stores at the depot.
KAPPA: In the public mind slavery was the central issue of the campaign. Every other matter receded in importance.
PI PHI: Well, almost every other issue.
KAPPA: Yes, the question of alcohol consumption was still important.
PI PHI: That was the one question that people of different parties could agree upon.
KAPPA: Meaning that they all thought whiskey was bad.
PI PHI: Beer was, surprisingly, rarely mentioned.
KAPPA: Perhaps because it was so difficult to keep cool.
PI PHI: One other issue that crossed party lines was
KAPPA: how to give a new college financial stability.
PI PHI: Crucial to this was the man in whose home Pi Phi was founded–Mayor Holt.
KAPPA: And the man in whose home KKG was founded–James Stewart.
(The lights dim, the presidents file off, and the curtain opens. Stage set as before.
Wallace, Morrison, Harding, Quinby, Madden, Holt, Stewart standing toward front of stage.)
HARDING: We are fairly in a pickle.
QUINBY (shaking his head): Yes, yes. (Pause) The politics of the land are moving rapidly to a crisis.
WALLACE: That’s no surprise. When the college was founded, Kansas-Nebraska was mentioned in every issue of the Atlas.
QUINBY: Which is why the Review was started, to give the Democratic side of the matter.
HARDING: Only it is now much worse. The slavery forces’ efforts to impose their evil system on Kansas almost made it impossible to manage the affairs of the city right here in Monmouth.
MADDEN: If we hadn’t created the artificial parties, the Union and People’s parties, all we would have talked about was Kansas and Nebraska!
HARDING: Then came the Dred Scott decision. If the Supreme Court’s ruling is enforced, the slaveholders can bring their bondsmen right to Monmouth! That’s a violation of the principles of the Democratic Party, which I have adhered to strongly all my life, that communities have the right to govern themselves.
MADDEN: Well, your candidate, Judge Douglas, says that there is no danger of that, because slavery cannot exist wherever a community will not approve of it.
QUINBY: That’s the problem. None of us want politics to become mere mob rule. We have to be a government of laws. But that’s also the reason I asked you to come here today. Judge Douglas is essentially correct: a community has to approve of any institution for it to flourish. The political opinions of the students are well-known. To a man and woman they are supporters of the Republican candidate for the Senate, Abraham Lincoln. The Democrats are not happy about that.
HARDING: I know Lincoln well. He, like Douglas, is a sound man. One of the best lawyers in the state, and perhaps the richest. He and Douglas are good friends. They courted the same woman, in fact, and I hope, in spite of my Democratic leanings, that the voters are as wise as she was in making a choice.
WALLACE: Each will be making a speech in Monmouth. Our city is not an official debate site, but they are traveling together and will give separate talks in Oquawka and Monmouth. The students have agreed to have a delegation meet Lincoln at the train and escort him to the Baldwin House. I assume that townspeople will do the same for Judge Douglas.
QUINBY: What will be the position of the college in this election?
WALLACE: The position of the college is that it has no position. The college is here to educate. If we educate properly, the students will be prepared to exercise good judgment. But we are mortals, and no mortal is capable of dictating another’s political opinion. Therefore, officially, we are neutral on this matter.
HOLT: But there are other issues you are not neutral on.
STEWART (emphatically): We mean Temperance. Drinking alcohol!
WALLACE (calmly): Assuredly. That the college takes no public position doesn’t mean that I and the other members of the faculty must refrain from speaking our private beliefs. Moreover, temperance is an issue that directly affects our students. (With more passion) Every day our charges have to walk past those so-called drug stores where idlers can buy their liquor, make foul jokes and even gamble.
HOLT: We’re trying to clean all that up. We have some new laws, and I was elected mayor on a platform of cleaning up the city.
STEWART (to Wallace): Mayor Holt plans to enlarge the city boundaries so that the liquor element cannot build dives right on the edge of town, as they did down by the stockyard.
WALLACE: That will do little to stop the drug store traffic on the square.
HOLT: It’s difficult to stop that trade, when anyone who declares himself a doctor can write a prescription.
WALLACE: It’s even more difficult, when two constables deliver the liquor right to customers’ homes.
STEWART: We have plans for dealing with the last of the Earp brothers.
HOLT: One has already left town, and, as for the other, not even his relatives support him. His brothers and sisters are good Methodists. Teetotalers all, except for those two. The city council is in firm support of enforcing the temperance laws.
WALLACE: Yet Nicholas Earp claims to be a churchman, too, and he was re-elected, even after being arrested and convicted of selling liquor.
STEWART: You will see him in court again before the fall is out. As state’s attorney, I can guarantee a determined prosecution of his case.
HARDING: So, that matter is being handled properly. It will not be necessary to set Monmouth College at the forefront of this matter again.
WALLACE: Just as well, I suppose. I’ve offended a few people by my outspokenness already, and we can hardly afford to lose any more public support. I will not put money ahead of good morals, but I must also give prayerful consideration to the poor state of our finances.
QUINBY: Has the deficit gotten even worse?
WALLACE: Difficult as it is to imagine, yes. We have, to put it simply, nothing in reserve. The crop failure in ‘56 was a hard blow—it crushed the newly founded academy in Sparta, and the crash of ‘57 almost put us under as well. Not only did banks and railroads fail, but rain and summer floods ruined the crops.
MORRISON: The faculty has agreed to forego salary. That is our Christian duty, and we accept the burden gladly. But my wife reminds me that we will be unable to live from our savings forever. Not with children to feed and clothe.
WALLACE: Colleges are closing their doors one after the other.
MORRISON: It seems that it is a poor community that does not have a poor college.
WALLACE: And we do not intend for either Monmouth College or the city of Monmouth to be poor.
HOLT: Amen! (Short pause)
QUINBY: Listen! (Hears shouting) Outside. The students are rallying to the Republican cause. They like Lincoln.
WALLACE: He made a good impression on them. They want to stage a mock debate here, but they cannot find anyone to play the part of Douglas; and I have discouraged them from being less than fair to his cause.
(They listen to the cheers)
Quinby: How inspiring!
Wallace: What eagerness to change the world for the better. We cannot disappoint them. Somehow we must find ways to keep Monmouth College afloat until the days of prosperity return.
Curtain as group sings verse three of The Monmouth College Hymn (Songs of Monmouth College, 8).
Loyal to God and native land
For Monmouth College we will stand.
Stand for the College ever dear.
And for the right we all revere.
O God, Thy blessing we implore
On Monmouth College evermore.
My all her effort ever be
To honor Thee
Courtroom Early 1862
Wallace, Harding, Quinby, Morrison toward front of stage, conversing. Stage set as before, but with portrait of Lincoln next to Washington’s.
WALLACE: Abner, we are in a difficult situation. When the war began, Monmouth College was the largest college in Illinois. Now, a year later, almost all our young men have joined the Cause. All to the good, of course, but there is no coin that does not have two sides. The head of the coin promises the end of bond slavery and the preservation of the Union. The tail threatens the bankruptcy of Monmouth College.
MORRISON: And this coin has landed both sides up.
WALLACE: When the Grahams donated the land, then you so generously provided the funds necessary to start construction, we thought the heavens had opened up. (Gestures, hand toward the heavens. Rhetorical flourish) A three story brick building with eighteen rooms. In ‘56 who would have dared think of spending $18,500 on a building and equipment. (More quietly) But now it does not look so promising. The heavens have opened up, but with more rain than light. (Despairingly)We are to take possession in May, and I have no idea where to find the final $3300.
QUINBY: Are the supporters of the college not living up to their promises?
WALLACE: That’s not it. At least, not entirely. The scholarship scheme was our fault, not the supporters, and you all have been more than generous.(Pause) The problem is, simply put, we do not have many students left. So many men have volunteered for the army that the classrooms now contain only a handful of girls and young boys.
MORRISON: They left with such enthusiasm. Remember how Josiah Moore, the class president, had organized the recruitment rally for the 17th Illinois Volunteer Infantry last April? April 19th I believe, right after President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops. Moore told his friends that when 99 men had volunteered for company C, that no one else was to raise his hand.
QUINBY: Aye. That occurred right in this very room. The recruiter was saying, “I need one man more. I need one man more.”
MORRISON: And Josiah Moore stood up and said, in his deepest voice, “I am that one man Moore.”
WALLACE: That was well done, but it took away a goodly part of those who pay tuition. We cannot pay our debts.
MORRISON: The faculty has already volunteered again to not claim a significant part of our meager salaries. I am personally putting more into the college than I am getting out of it. Were I rich, I should continue that forever, but the reality is that the grocer must eventually be paid.
WALLACE: The grocer, unlike the Lord, can be escaped by dying. (Pause) But we do not wish to grasp at such extreme measures yet.
MORRISON: We only want to measure up to the minimum our creditors demand.
HARDING: What about Washington College in Iowa. I hear that it has closed its doors and sent its students to Monmouth.
WALLACE: Yes, that was at the request of the Synod of Iowa, shortly after the churches merged to create the United Presbyterian Church. (Pause) When the Board of Trustees said to take in Washington College’s students and faculty, that is what we did.
HARDING: Of course.
WALLACE: Just before that union, you remember, the theological seminary had moved from Oxford, Ohio, to Monmouth. (Pause) Alexander Young was a magnificent addition to the faculty, but we could not have paid him, or me, if the congregation of the First Church had not grown so large that it seemed wise to establish a Second Church. That new congregation has invited Alexander and me to be the pastors.
HARDING: That should provide you with some income.
MORRISON: You know what pastors earn. The college has little to pay Calvin Hutchinson, who teaches natural science, or Johnny Willson, who will be instructing mathematics, much less the three tutors or Mrs Charlton, who teaches our young women the piano forte.
HARDING: In time the Iowa connection will benefit the college greatly.
WALLACE: Their young men, like ours, have volunteered in great numbers for the Union cause, and others are working in the fields. With so many men in service, wages are good.
MORRISON: The chance that we will have a substantial enrollment before the conflict ceases is slim. Meanwhile, unless we eat, we, too, will get slimmer.
HARDING: You will have my support, though I’m not a trustee now, and I know my support will be insufficient alone. I will speak to my cousin, Chauncey Hardin, who is a trustee. He can be a stalwart man in challenging times. But I cannot lead the campaign personally. I am contemplating organizing a volunteer infantry unit. That means that I may lead away more of your finest. (Pause for reflection) My first suggestion is to auction off some of the land that the Grahams donated. I offer this suggestion reluctantly, but the town is expanding and you should be able to get reasonable prices for those lots. (pause) My second recommendation, is to ask people for money. Times are good. Farm prices are high. That might restore a small flow of income until the days come when it will turn into a torrent.
MORRISON (ironically): Scots are not easily parted from their money. Their promises are best when most vague.
HARDING: Touché.... My own promises were not well defined. Here is what I will do personally. If Susan will agree, and I think she will, I will endow a chair in literature. The interest from $10,000 will certainly take care of the salary of one of your new faculty, and as the prices go up—as this war will certainly cause to happen—so will my support. (With a chuckle): I have no doubt that you will be visiting me again. When the soldiers return from the war, you will need more classrooms that you have available now. And more faculty.
QUINBY: I, too, will do my part. Let me consult with my finances first, but I believe that Mary and I can contribute substantially to a plan that will encourage the friends of Monmouth College to dig deep into their pockets and come up with the new folding money that the Lincoln administration is spreading around so freely. We must be ready for the future that lies beyond the immediate crisis.
WALLACE: Excellent! My most profound thanks to your answers to my most heartfelt prayers. I will see that a notice gets into the next issues of the Atlas and the Review, that Monmouth College will open in the fall as scheduled: We must educate whether there be war or peace.
(Students enter as curtain falls behind them, singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic, written by Julia Ward Howe, 1861. First stanza)
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming
of the Lord;
grapes of wrath are stored;
terrible swift sword;
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a
hundred circling camps;
and flaring lamps,
I have read His fiery gospel
writ in rows of burnished steel!
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall
never call retreat;
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born
across the sea,
make men free!
Pi Phi and Kappa Presidents come out before the curtain:
PI PHI: The Farewell to the Soldiers on April 20, 1861, was one of the most moving moments
in the college history.
KKG: It took place almost a year earlier than the conversation between David Wallace, Abner Harding and Marion Morrison.
PI PHI: That conversation reflected a sober awareness of the state of the nation, and the college.
KKG: The national mood in April of 1861 was very different.
PI PHI: There was tremendous excitement. The Northern public gathered to send their boys off to war, to heroic deeds, and to resolve the questions that had long divided the nation.
KKG: To keep the nation together.
PI PHI: To put an end to slavery.
KKG: We are fortunate to have some of the speeches delivered in the ceremony conducted by the Monmouth College students.
PI PHI: We won’t give you all of them.
KKG: We won’t even require you to sing.
PI PHI: Yet!
KKG: Let us imagine the drama of the moment. (The curtain begins to open) April 1861.
PI PHI: Only the courthouse had a room large enough for the crowd.
KKG: And it was filled to overflowing:
(the presidents slip off)
Courtroom. Judge Quinby is presiding.
Beach, McClanahan, Wallace, Morrison, Harding, Quinby, Madden, Holt, Stewart, Pollock, Sarah Porter. Music, perhaps choir behind the speakers. (These are Beach’s exact words.)
WALLACE: And so I conclude by calling upon the God of battles to be with you, to protect and assist you in the campaign you are about to enter upon. Miss Maria Madden will now present you with your colors.(Sits) (It was actually Miss Linda Madden who made the presentation)
(Maria stands and carries a furled flag to the side of the stage, where two uniformed students come to accept it.
MARIA MADDEN: Do your country’s flag honor!
STUDENTS: We shall!
(Maria then moves behind Kate Beach and is joined by Caroline Pollock; the students unfurl the flag, to the audience’s applause; then they stand at attention.)
BEACH (stands up, spot focuses on her as she reads): Citizens and students, the terrible, the long looked for and long dreaded crisis on which hangs the fate of millions, is now at hand. The fearful war-cry is echoing along the mountaintops, and down the beautiful valleys of our beloved America.
And with the awful notes of preparation that come to us on every breeze, comes the call of our country, “SEND US SOLDIERS!”—soldiers to fight for the down-trodden and oppressed—soldiers to fight for our glorious, our heaven-born Union.
While the call is being answered by every portion of the North, shall we withhold the boon that is asked of us? No, no, though it crushes our very hearts; though it drains the foundations of our tears we will send them; send them from our societies, from our class-rooms, from our homes, for our country—our bleeding, groaning country.
And now on behalf of the ladies of Monmouth, and especially the ladies of the college, by whose appointment I am before you, I address you:
Union Guards of Monmouth.
Knowing as we do the hardships and dangers to which you will be exposed, and in our hearts commending your noble self denial, you every praiseworthy patriotism, and our every sympathy being with you, we would not let you go without a parting word.
And now, though our hearts bleed because of the stern necessity which takes you from us, though the closest fonds of friendship and love, the nearest and dearest ties that bind heart to heart, unite you to us, we can not bid you stay, when our suffering country demands your services. For:
Freedom, for which our fathers bled and perished,
is tottering on her throne;
Her institutions long and fondly cherished,
are being overthrown.
MARIA MADDEN (reading):
Our Union, purchased with the blood of fathers,
and given to our trust,
Disrupted by the hands of traitor brothers
is crumbling into dust.
Must it be so? And shall the spirit of secession
gain strength by might?
CAROLINE POLLOCK (reading):
Shall cruel wrong, injustice and oppression
triumph o’er truth and right?
No, never! Thousands at the war drum’s rattle
stand forth with powers elate.
To shed their heart’s blood on the field of battle
to save our glorious State.
Then, go, and with brave hearts and fearless courage,
with theirs your strength unite
To crush the cringing, cowardly usurper,
and save the suffering right.
Go, tear the traitor colors from the masthead.
Let them no longer wave,
In this our glorious, boasted land of freedom,
Home of the true and brave.
KATE BEACH (no longer reading):
And now, with aching hearts and dark forebodings,
and many a smothered sigh.
We bid you go! Oh cherished friends and brothers.
God bless you all, good bye!
(Lights up, after which the following rise from the audience, grasp the flag and hold its hem aloft as they turn to speak)
MORRISON: I bid farewell twice. To those who march off in defense of their native land and to those who remain behind in prayerful watching and waiting. For the time being I have accepted the task of being the college’s financial officer, but as soon as I receive an offer to become chaplain in some fighting unit, I intend to enlist. Chaplin and hospital orderly. It is the best way I see to serve both God and country.
ALLEN: Those of you who remain behind, pray for us, and study hard. You must be ready when your turn, or your trial, comes. The blind Milton said, “They also serve who only sit and wait.” But more is demanded of those who can see the different between right and wrong, good and evil.
CAROLINE POLLOCK: This is not a man’s war alone. We women must shoulder the axe and guide the plow, nurse the wounded, and bury the fallen. And some of us must study. For while there is a war now, after the victory there will be peace. And peace has tasks for which we must prepare, even in the midst of war.
Students and soldiers sing:
The Battle Cry Of Freedom (http://civilwarmidi.homepage.com/)
music by George F. Root
Oh, we'll rally 'round the flag boys, we'll rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom;
We will rally from the hillside, we'll gather from the plain,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.
The Union forever, Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, Up with the star;
While we rally 'round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.
We are springing to the call of our brothers gone before,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
And we'll fill the vacant ranks with a million freemen more,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.
We well welcome to our numbers the loyal, true, and brave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
And although they may be poor not a man shall be a slave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.
So we're springing to the call from the East and from the
Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
And we'll hurl the Rebel crew from the land we love the best,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.
Courtroom, Spring 1865
Set as before. Wallace and Quinby at stage center, forward.
WALLACE: It has come down to this. We do not have a single male student of military age on campus. We have bills to pay. And I have to look to the future. I have sold the 712 Iowa acres that W.P. Pressly gave in 1862 to create an endowment fund; Knox College has had to do the same and is in such bad shape that they cannot even attract a president. Harding donated $10,000 in 1863 as promised, but the interests covers only one salary. I had hoped to purchase farms so that each department could have the income from one, but the Board of Trustees would not approve my plan.
QUINBY: Quite properly so. We couldn’t risk the future of any department on the success of one crop; and inevitably, once a renter left suddenly, as often happens, the affected faculty member would’ve had to become a farmer. Moreover, the endowment fund would have been exhausted. You’ll simply have to succeed with the proposal I made in ‘62. I will contribute $5000 toward the endowment if others will donate $45,000. 9-1, that’s a fair offer.
WALLACE: That will make $8,000 you have contributed, if I can raise the remainder. A princely sum. I wish that you would allow me to tell others of your generosity. You are a magnificent example.
QUINBY: The Bible tells us to do our charity in private.
WALLACE: But also not to hide our light under a bushel.
QUINBY: There is also the practical matter. I do not want the public to assume that I am an easy mark for every sad story. There are so many people, so many institutions that need help, but (pause, seeking for words) my resources are limited. (Pause) I prefer to use my poor talents and limited funds for those individuals and enterprises which offer the greatest likelihood of assisting others in turn. To emphasize the long view, not the short. For instance, for Monmouth College. Mary understands that.
WALLACE: Your wife has been very supportive in our endeavors.
QUINBY: Thanks to the high prices brought about by the war, there is a good deal of money in the community now. Everyone is building houses, large houses. Some of that money should be available for education. Meanwhile, you and I will simply have to persuade the creditors to wait until fall. Richmond has fallen, Jeff Davis is on the run. The soldiers will be coming home soon. As soon as the veterans are enrolled, you will have the money necessary to operate. Even to pay off some of the debts. The creditors ought to understand that. Especially if the alternative is to never be paid.
WALLACE: How many men will be wanting to return to college? Some of them are four years older, and much older in terms of experience. Many have become officers. Seven, at least, are currently serving as officers of colored troops. Some have married, and others plan to be.
QUINBY: I think you worry too much. They may be older, but I understand that they are mad about the new game they learned in the army. Baseball, they call it. I read that sometimes, if one can find a vantage point to overlook a camp, one can see dozens of games, even hundreds, in progress at one time.
WALLACE: That will mean we have to clear a field for them.
QUINBY: Some have also taken up another game called football. It’s like rugby, only more brutal. The sort of thing that would appeal to soldiers. William McClanahan, who organized some of your students into a hundred day company last summer, he’s very enthusiastic about the game.
WALLACE (resigned): Two fields. (Sigh) Perhaps we can level spaces at the northern foot of the hill, or perhaps in valley beautiful.
QUINBY: If I know the properties in that part of town as well as I think I do, you’ll be more likely to find suitable ground farther east on the road to Galesburg. Morrison called the creeks “little trickling rills that burlesque the Ohio, uniting to make their way to the Mississippi.” That area floods easily, and the forest in front is far too beautiful... as Morrison said, “Clothed in the fresh robes of spring.... “ Better to have the fields far enough away that the noise will not disturb afternoon classes.
WALLACE: Two more expenses! I have just hired two young women to teach German and French; how much more can we afford?
QUINBY: Look at it as a necessary investment. The men will come if you provide them what they need, or think they need. And if the men come, so, too, will the women.
WALLACE: Goodness, will they need athletic facilities, too?
QUINBY: You know them better than I!
WALLACE: I’ve already been told that the men will be organizing fraternities.
QUINBY: Fraternities tolerate smoking and drinking.
WALLACE (with spirit): Tolerate? If only that were the right word.
QUINBY (trying to calm him with a touch on shoulder or arm): Well, the women will keep them in line. Perhaps not all of them, but when the boys become men, they will notice that grown women do not tolerate foolishness; and as long as they are still boys, they will hesitate to cross real women.
WALLACE: I do not believe that have to worry about the women trying to organize something like that! They have enough social activities in their two literary societies to keep them occupied!
QUINBY: I believe you underestimate them. When the old academy building only had halls for the two men’s literary societies, the girls made us put halls for four literary societies in the new building. These are “strong-minded” modern women, and they will take second place to the men in nothing.
WALLACE (calmed down): If it comes to women’s fraternities, I suppose we shall have learn to accommodate them as well. But, meanwhile, no word of this conversation.
(Curtain, with Maria Madden coming in from one wing)
MARIA MADDEN: Remember me? Maria Madden. How determined I was to go to college? Nine years I taught school, 1851-1860, first in the school that became the academy, later in the first public grade school. Then came the family crises, one after the other, then the war. Then, I met a man. (Crossly) Don’t look at me like that! I was forty-one when I married in May of 1865. (Pause, wistful look) Dr. Young conducted a lovely ceremony. (Sigh and short pause, then somewhat heatedly) And I don’t regret it. John and I had thirteen years together and I wouldn’t trade in our daughter, Lillian, for all the degrees in higher education. (Pause, then more calmly). John was a widower, a farmer with two teenaged boys. (Pause) We actually met during a recruiting drive for 83rd Infantry replacements. (Pause, as if trying to decide how much to tell.) When John’s wife died in ‘64, he was already fifty-two, but he decided to enlist. Like me, he was a United Presbyterian. (Pause) We married as soon as the war was over. (Pause, sigh.) I did help get my nieces and nephews through Monmouth College. When young James Madden came home from the war he moved to Kansas and became an important officer in the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. Maria S (pause) They always called her Maria S to keep us apart. Well, after Maria S graduated, she taught school in Springfield, then joined her brother at Leavenworth. Soon enough she was in charge of the women prisoners. Later they both worked at the federal prison in Joliet. (With pride) Maria S became one of the foremost female criminologists in the nation. (Pause) I moved to Monmouth and saw Lillian graduate from Monmouth College in ‘89.
SARAH PORTER. (Entering) Remember me? Sarah Porter? I didn’t get my degree, either, but I don’t feel that my life was a failure. Maria and I have good reason to be proud of having made it possible for our children, our nieces and nephews, get their education. There are a lot more people involved in a college education than those who actually get to sit in the classrooms!
MARIA: You bet!
SARAH: If only the students took it as seriously as we did!
MARIA: Ah, they are young.
SARAH: And we, alas, (pause) are not. (They exit, arm in arm.)
Students come from offstage to sing (from Songs of Monmouth College, 1927. This song actually dates from 1877, written by Dr. J. C. Hutchinson, who taught science 1859-1890)
Here’s to Monmouth College, Drink it Down, Drink it Down
Here’s to Monmouth College, Drink it Down, Drink it Down
Here’s to Monmouth College, She’s so fine and full of knowledge,
Drink it down, drink it down, drink it down, down, down.
Monmouth College College Monmouth College College
Monmouth College, Way down on the Bingo farm
We won’t go there anymore, we won’t go there anymore,
We won’t go there anyone, Way down on the Bingo farm.
Bingo, Bingo, Bingo, BINGO, BINGO
Way down on the Bingo farm. B-I-N-G-0
(Verses 2-4 optional)
(Girls come on stage, with curtain falling behind them)
#1: Dr. Wallace is the most marvelous speaker! So straight-forward, so sincere. When he sits at the desk and talks, the time just flies. One feels that this can be a better world.
#2: What I like is that classes are cancelled once a week for his lecture.
#3: You just like the chance to flirt with the older boys.
#2 (playfully): Oh, you. (Pushes her)
#1: And why not? But boys aren’t everything.
#2: Who is interested in boys! I much prefer MEN.
#3: There haven’t been many of them around since the war started.
#2: But the peace is almost won. Now we can have college as it was meant to be!
#1 (after a pause): That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
#2: We can have picnics again. There is a fine place out on Cedar Creek at Olmstead’s Mill. (Almost swooning). Imagine us there, sitting on blankets, eating fried chicken and cole slaw, watching the evening sky close in over the pond.
#3: And you exchanging glances with every potential beau! Or holding hands.
#2: And why not? One can always dream. And besides, almost every girl who attends Monmouth College takes home a man, if not a degree as well.
#1: Well, you had better get the man, because there isn’t much you can do if the only course you pass is piano!
#2: Piano takes a lot of practice. And a woman who plays well, or even not so well, can always give lessons once she’s got the hang of it.
#1: I’m going to do more than learn to count time. I’m going into the scientific program so that I can become a medical doctor.
#3: A medical doctor! There aren’t any medical schools that admit women.
#2 (disdainfully to the others): She can do what most male doctors do. Just learn a little Latin and biology, watch some doctor for a while, then hang out a shingle. That’s what you’ll do, isn’t it? Or do you mean you’ll become a nurse, like Caroline Pollock?
#1: Not a nurse, and certainly not a quack!
#3: Then how?
#1: There are schools in Europe that admit women. I intend to study in Vienna after I graduate.
#2: That’s why you are studying German!
#1: Yes, of course. If I’d wanted to be a dancer, like Loie Fuller intends to be, I’d have studied French.
#2: Loue’s just a child; she’s what, three years old? How can you even talk about her?
#3: She lives right across the street. Everybody knows how wild Loie is about dancing. (Optional: to have an appropriate child dance across the edge of the stage)
#2 (almost pouting) Monmouth College students don’t dance. (With a smile) Or they aren’t supposed to. But I know some who do. Sin or no sin, I like dance music.
#3: Loie’s dancing isn’t sinful. She doesn’t touch anybody. (Waves arms) Just goes round and round, with her silk scarves fluttering in the air. (Demonstrates) And jumping!
#2: I don’t see how that would be any fun.
#1: Well, she does. All she talks about is Paris. One can dance there, she says, even dance the way she wants to.
#3: What’s the point? Who takes a child seriously? Besides, no one with a name like Loie Fuller can be famous. Besides, it’s not as though a future president was living right down the street.
#1: Fame isn’t what I’m after. Life is meant to be more serious. I am going to have a career, and that means studying in Europe. Hard study. Latin and German, Chemistry and Biology.
(#2 makes a wry face): Ugh! You and Jennie Nicol. Who’d want to be a doctor?
#1: There’s a need for women doctors! Even more than for women teachers!
#3: I’ve been thinking of teaching. The Presbyterian mission in Cairo is planning to open a school for Christian girls. Dr. Wallace says that they need dedicated teachers. Hard work, though. It is hot in Egypt, and one has to learn Arabic. Not much opportunity to talk with men, much less dance with them.
#2 (almost shouts, flinging hands in air): You’ve talked me into it! I’m going to take French! Goodbye Latin, hello Latin quarter!
#1 (watching #3 try to stop #2 from running off, then addressing the audience): That’s a liberal arts education. Something for everybody.
(Soldiers come marching in, all sing:)
Here’s to our college, Our old MC
Here’s to our colors Red and White
Her’s to our college, With all her knowledge.
And may she ever stand for right. Rah! Rah!
All hail to Monmouth. All hail M.C.
And first she’ll ever be.
We’re loyal always
To Monmouth College
Our Alma Mater, old M..C.
The Monmouth Duo
Curtain closed, lights dim, PI PHI and Kappa presidents enter, stand in spotlight.
KKG: Two of Monmouth College’s finest moments were the foundation of two of the first three national sororities. The first was Pi Phi.
PI PHI: That was in 1867, first called I.C. Sororis, then Pi Beta Phi.
KKG: The men had just created three fraternities. Veterans just back from the Civil War were founding fraternities everywhere. Soon there were five male fraternities on campus, and two debating societies.
PI PHI: For women there was only one “fraternity,” as they called it.
KKG: For a while the two female debating societies sufficed.
PI PHI: But only until 1870, when Kappa Kappa Gamma was founded.
KKG: That is the moment described in this concluding act of our pageant. The Spring of 1870.
PI PHI: On the shady front lawn, with Old Main
(Curtain opens. Old Main is projected onto screen. Perhaps the boulders, benches and sundail from the front lawn in paper maché.
KKG: Let’s join the students of that era! (Both presidents go to the back of a group of young people, stylishly dressed)
Male students singing I Want to Go Back to Old M.C, written by Archibald Graham (‘02) in 1919. He was the college business manager. (Songs of Monmouth College, 23-24), miming the lyrics.
I want to go back to old M.C. The best school in the west.
To go to all the games again and cheer HOO-RAH.
Dear Alma Mater, We will pledge our Love and loyalty.
I want to go back, I’ve got to go back, to old M.C.
In Monmouth College we get our knowledge (tap head)
We sling-a da’ink and push-a da-pen along (flip hand, write)
Monmouth College we get our knowledge (tap head)
We sling-a da’ink and push-a da-pen along (flip hand, write) (Joined by women)
We sling-a da’ink, da’ink, da’ink (flip)
and push-a da’pen, da’pen, da’pen. (push)
We sling-a da’ink and push-a da’pen along. (flip, push)
In Monmouth College we get our knowledge.(touch head)
We sling-a ink and push-a da’pen along. (Flip, push)
Boys and presidents exit. The Kappa girls form a circle, talking excitedly:
#1: This will really show the boys!
#2: Yes, they think they know all there is about organizing fraternities. They can’t even organize a decent party without the help of their mothers, a sister, or one of us.
#3: Sisters is what we are! The knowledge is already built in.
#1: And manners! What passes for manners among them! They don’t know enough to take off their hats in a class.
#3: Some wear them backward! Real hayseeds!
#2: Just a couple of years ago. We had some real men then, some real gentlemen.
#3: Those were the war veterans. They had seen the world. Now all we have are boys.
#1: And they act it.
#2: Who can even pay them the slightest attention?
#3 (pushing #2's shoulder in sport): You do!
#2: Okay, okay, but only as practice! I don’t take them seriously.
ALL others (ironcially): Ohhh, nooo.
#2: That’s why we are going to have a fraternity of our own. To get away from the boys and create our own social life.
#1: Just as I.C. Sororis did three years ago.
#4: Tell me again, why don’t we just join them?
#2: This college is too big for one women’s fraternity. Besides, some of them are really old! Twenty-one or even twenty-two. They don’t even quit attending after they graduate.
#4: I don’t understand. Do you mean that I won’t be able to come back and see you after I leave. Just because I’m getting married in June doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see you again.
#3: Sisters always want to see sisters again.
#1: It is different in this case. Married women won’t want to be at parties with boys.
#3: We will have some parties just for us.
#2 (joking again, pushing #2) The parties with boys are just for us, too!
#1: Seriously now. This is a life-time society. The friends we make here in Kappa Kappa Gamma will be the best friends we ever have. We will want to get together as often as we can.
#4: Can’t we do that in the literary societies?
#2: There are always faculty around those. We can never really talk. (Almost fainting from affected boredom) Always so deadly serious.
#4: I suppose it would be more fun to do everything ourselves.
#2: And just think how jealous the boys will be! They would never think of anything as inventive as our secret symbol.
#4: And what is that!?
THE OTHERS (somewhat loudly, with a hint of laughter): It’s still a secret!
As they exit, Holt, Stewart, Wallace, Harding come in from the opposite wing.
STEWART (to Holt): Mayor Holt, I thought it would come to this. You remember the “fraternity” that was established in your house three years ago?
HOLT: Stewart, how could I not? I.C. Sorosis, they called it. There is nothing quite as obvious as a group of girls trying to keep something secret. It’s a big house, but twelve of them holding “secret meetings” and arguing over the wording of a constitution! And buying golden arrows to put in their hair. (Pause, then turns for emphasis) This is Monmouth. Everyone in town was asking me about them! And now that they have expanded to other colleges, whenever I go out of town, people query me about them. After all, when the largest college in Illinois introduces some new practice, that innovation is likely to be copied by the others.
STEWART: Well, the fraternities are probably going to get some competition. When my daughter, Mary Moore, has friends over to play croquet, they get awfully quiet when Isabella or I come out. They have been writing letters in code. We think we are going to have another “fraternity.”
WALLACE: The men have them. Why not the women? The only point that bothers me is the word, fraternity. They should have learned enough Latin to know that this means a brotherhood.
HOLT: They did use the Latin for sister, Soror, Sorosis.
HARDING: What bothers me is the secrecy. You know, our old friend, Nathan Bedford Forrest, started a fraternity down in Tennessee. The Ku Klux Klan. It’s exactly like the old Knights of the Golden Circle that was so strong here during the War.
WALLACE: The Synod of Illinois is concerned about that.
HARDING: They well should be. All we need is to have some outside organization teaching our fraternities to hate colored people. It was difficult enough when we brought some former slaves back with us from Kentucky and Tennessee. Those slaves had helped our boys locate the night riders. At least then our students, coming straight out of uniform, understood that they could not abandon them to the returning Confederates.
WALLACE: You are right. A year and a half ago, when a son of one the colored families enrolled at the college, some of the girls objected. I had to explain, in no ambiguous terms, that he would stay, even if they left. A couple did.... And we could have used their tuition payments.
HOLT: I think we need to separate in our minds male fraternities from female ones.
WALLACE: I do not see how we can. Equal treatment means equal treatment.
STEWART: I know my daughter well enough to know that she would not countenance any improper behavior. I think I can speak for her group, which I believe she calls the Kappas.
HOLT: David, I suspect that you can rely on your daughter, Lizzie, to use good judgment, too.
WALLACE: Lizzie? She’s still a subfreshman. (Dismissively): She can’t be thinking about a female fraternity yet.
HOLT: I saw her looking very closely at a golden key my daughter was showing around the other day. I believe that is Kappa’s secret pin.
WALLACE: This does not seem like a matter to worry about, then. If the Synods of Illinois and Iowa object on the principle that honest people do not join secret societies, we will discuss the matter at that time. Meanwhile, let us rejoice that Monmouth College has been founded and has survived the hard times.
HOLT: Thanks to you, David. We know how hard the struggle has been for you. When your health collapsed two years ago, from excessive work and worry, we feared the worst.
WALLACE: A college has to be stronger than one man. (Getting into sermon mode, addressing the audience.) It is the work of many men and women, some who contribute money, others time and labor, and yet others who speak on our behalf and write encouraging words to their friends. (Turning for a moment to the actors on the stage, then back to the audience) It is the work of you, Judge Holt, and the other officers of the city of Monmouth, the pastors and congregations of the United Presbyterian Church, the parents of pupils and students, and of those overworked and underpaid servants of the college, the faculty. It is the work of the Board of Trustees, men such as Judge Quinby, who, alas, passed away last year. (Pause) How his sound advice is missed! Also Congressman Abner Harding, and most of all, of the students, without which there would be neither a Monmouth College nor a reason for having an institution of higher education here.
ALL: Hear, hear.
WALLACE (to Holt and Stewart): The actions of the young women we have been talking about demonstrate what Monmouth College has achieved. Without our guidance, they have organized themselves in a manner that would do credit to any group of men in this nation. I am sure that their goals are worthy of every praise, and their determination beyond resisting. (To the audience) Let us imagine what they will be like in only a few years. And Monmouth College, too.
(Move to side of stage to watch Pi Phi and Kappa groups enter and sing their songs alternately. The soldiers then enter, as fraternity men, and all sing A Flame of White and Crimson, written in 1920 by Clara Schrenk. The audience is asked to join in. This must be in the program)
A flame of white and crimson
Weaves mem’ries shows spell
And a thousand hearts’ devotion
To the school we love so well.
Thy strength, Our honor, loyalty and beauty
ever be thy strength, our strength and pride for aye.
Old Monmouth, hail to thee.
(Stage darkens, then relights with entire cast present) Bows.
Wallace comes forward to call on president of the college to come up, to ask local graduated members of the sororities to stand, the chair of the faculty senate to stand, the mayor and other civic leaders to stand, and lastly the members of Board of Trustees to stand and be recognized. Applause from the cast as they file out to the lobby, singing “In Monmouth College, we get our Knowledge”, to greet the audience.
Notes for the director and actors.
Roles in bold.
For the Associate Reformed Church’s beliefs, http://www.arpsynod.org/who.html
James C. Porter 1809-1863. 1830 graduate of Jefferson College in Pennsylvania; came to Illinois in 1840. H. Leonard Porter (class of 1967) commented in Destiny of the Scotch-Irish (1985) that he held that in a changing world, things should never change. He was usually phlegmatic, except as a hunter and fisherman, but when roused, was relentless.
Sarah Porter 1818-1907
Children: John 1838 (MC ‘62), Mary 1841, James R. 1849, David, Lida, Clara, Emma.
Robert Ross 1818-1873. 1845 graduate of Franklin College. According to Porter, he had a grim belief in the wrath awaiting all sinners. His favorite saying was “Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth as the seething masses of humanity, like maggots in a dunghill, crawled over each other in efforts to get out of the flames.” He was among the early Latin instructors at Monmouth College.
Lydia McDill Ross 1826- She married Robert in Sparta, Illinois, in 1850. Her father, David McDill, moved to Monmouth in 1856. She was living in Monmouth as late as 1877, a widow.
Children: Frances 1853, Jennie 1861, John 1861, Mary 1867.
William Erskine. 1819- Came to Ellison in 1852, among the third of the ministers who founded Monmouth College. Eskine College in South Carolina is still affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
James C. Madden 1817-1896 Local lawyer who came to Monmouth in 1846 from Xenia, Ohio, and was among the railroad organizers in 1851; county school superintendent 1849-1851; among the nineteen founders of the 2nd Presbyterian Church (now Faith Presbyterian Church); with James Thompson he organized the first fund drives for Monmouth College. He married three times (Gabriele Saunders in March 1861, last in 1883) and had seven children. He later became Judge Madden.
Martha Madden 1822-1860.
Children: Elizabeth 1841 (MC ‘59), Margaret 1843, Maria S. 1845-1892 (MC ‘64), James B. 1847-1892 (47th Illinois Inf), William 1850 (MC ‘69), Emma 1853 (MC ‘72), Frank 1854, Ida 1856, Carrie 1859-1861.
Maria Susan Madden 1824-1900. (Census records give three different birthdates—1824, 1827 and 1830; the obituary says 1824.) She was living with her mother, Susan, in Xenia, Ohio, in 1850; the next year they came to Monmouth. She taught in the private school that merged into the academy, then in the public schools until 1861. She was among the nineteen founders of the 2nd Presbyterian Church (now Faith Presbyterian Church) in 1853. She married John Guilinger May 30, 1865 (1812-1878).
Children: Lillian 1867 (MC ‘89).
William Pressly The most important philanthropist of early Warren County. He gave the college land in Iowa, established the Warren County library in 1868 partly for the community and partly for the use of the college students, and created a fund for the education of Egyptian students. This latter enterprise led to Monmouth College’s long time practice of sending several graduates each year to Cairo girls school or Assiut College.
Ivory Quinby 1817-1869. Lawyer, real estate investor, railroad builder. Noted for being very wise and avoiding public praise. Judge of Probate Court 1849-1853; Mayor 1857; founder of the first bank in Monmouth, the Warren County Bank 1859; an organizer of the Warren County Library, donating a room in his downtown building for its books. Board of Trustees 1859-1869. He had come west for his health, which began to fail again in 1859.
Mary 1837- . His second wife.
Children: Truman 1850, Jane 1859.
Abner Harding 1807-1874 Lawyer, railroad builder; in the Illinois legislature 1848-1850; in Congress 1864-1868. County school superintendent 1847-1849; first president of the First National Bank (1870), now the Midwest Bank).
Susan Harding1815-1900. His second wife. No children.
George 1830, Mary 1833.
Chauncey Hardin 1815-1892. Brother of Abner Harding; richest man in Warren County; among organizers of the First National Bank (1870); his son organized the Second National Bank (1875). Board of Trustees 1857-1886.
Harriet Hardin 1820- .
Children Delevan 1844, Chauncey 1849, Jennie, Arzelia (MC ‘59).
David Wallace 1826-1883
Martha Wallace 1831-
Children: John 1853, William 1857, Elizabeth 1859 (MC ‘80), McClenn 1860, Chandler 1866
Marion Morrison 1821-1900 1846 graduate of Miami University, 1849 Xenia Seminary; president of Amity College and missionary for the Presbyterian Church for the West. Excellent sense of humor, with the ability to paint colorful word pictures. Might look and sound something like John Wayne. Board of Trustees 1862-1878.
Elizabeth Morrison 1823-1889. Married Marion in 1850.
Children: William 1856, Phoebe 1860, George 1861, Mary Elizabeth 1867.
Jacob Holt 1804-1880. Mayor 1858.
Children: Alex 1839, Josephine 1842, Adelia 1844, Margaret 1847, Frances 1849 (MC ‘70),
Caroline 1853, Susan 1859.
James Stewart, 1818 -1898; Graduate Hanover College 1836; States Attorney of Warren County 1856-1864. The Portrait and Biographical Album of Warren County (1886) commented that he was a “careful and painstaking Prosecuting Attorney. There were very few who escaped punishment while he held the office.” Judge of the County Court, 1881-1890.
Children: ten, but only three grew to maturity. Isabella (MC ‘69), Mary (MC ‘72)
James McClanahan 1795-1863. Board of Trustees 1857-1863. Captain Co. B of 83rd Volunteer Infantry.
Mary McClanahan 1801-
Children at home: Nancy 1836, William 1838-1892 (MC ‘65), Susan 1840, Francis 1841
Catherine 1843, Monroe 1844.
Students/soldiers, born between 1840 and 1847
Josiah Moore 1833-1897 (MC ‘65)
George Palmer. Harding’s nephew. Became a professional soldier, retiring as major.
Kate Beach 1842-1909, boarding with Wm. Webster, with sister Caroline 1839 who was a school teacher; became a teacher in Elmira, IL, then married Thomas Embelton.
Caroline Pollock c1842-1911+. Transferred from Knox in 1860, became a nurse at Benton Barracks in St. Louis in 1862. Married Jerome Gray, April 22, 1863 in St. Louis.
Bryson Allen c1841-1863. Died at the Battle of Fort Donelson
Loie Fuller 1862-1928. Founder of Modern Dance. Lived in Monmouth, perhaps on in house on the present site of Hubbard House, 1873-1875. The chronology is wrong here, but the spirit is right.
Founders of Phi Beta Phi and Kappa Kappa Gamma
Jennie Nicol (MC ‘68), one of founders of Pi Phi, attended Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia, 1876-1879, then a medical school in Boston; she then went to Germany to learn the language, after which she enrolled in medical school in Zurich, where she died in 1881.
Author note: William Urban began teaching at Monmouth College in 1966. In 1978, with Mary Crow and Charles Speel, he wrote an updated college history. He outlined this pageant in the summer of 2000 while traveling in Europe and wrote the first drafts during the late summer and fall. He is very appreciative of the comments and suggestions of Jim Betts, Jim DeYoung and Jerry McNamara.