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McCormick, Bart E. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 28, Number 4 (Feb. 1927)

Powers, W. P.
A retrospect,   pp. 126-127

Page 126

February, I927
WHEN I entered the University,
     I was not quite eleven years of age,
and my first three years were spent in
the Preparatory   Department under
Tutors Carpenter and Smith. I quali-
fied as a Freshman in Se-tfember, i856,
and four years later was given the degree
of Bachelor of Arts and three ye'rs
after, while in the Civil War, I received
my degree of Master-of Arts.
  There are but two left of the class of
i86o, Hon. John B. Parkinson, for many
'years connected with the University,
and myself. There were only eight in the
class and of these, four went into the
Civil War and two lost their lives in
that great conflict, John E. Sutton and
Leander M.iComins.      F. T. Stark-
weather and myself were fortunate
-enough to return. John B. Parkinson,
George W. Bird, T. J. Hale, and Milan
W. Searl make up the eight. George W.
Bird was a prominient lawyer in Jeffer-
son and later in Madison, until his death
,some years ago.   Of the subsequent
ihiStory of the others I have no knowl-
   There were two debating societies,
 the Hesperian and the Athenaean, and
 there was- much rivalry between them.
 I was in the.Hesperian, but must admit
 that I neglected my opportunities.
   At the time of my graduation in i 86o,
 I was seventeen years qf age. John B.
 Parkinson was the oldest and I the
 youngest of the class. That I 'was too
 young and immature. to fully appreciate
 the advantages the institution offered,
 even in that day, admnts of little doubt;
 however, had my course at the Univer-
  A, Retrospect
     By W. P. POWERS, '6o
sity been delayed it would have been in-
terfered with by my enlistment in the
Civil War, and perhaps it was just as well
as it was, particularlyas my life has been
Sterling.i-I took my lunches there in-
stead of carrying them from -home, as
before, in a tin pail, my father giving as a
reason for such extravagance that he
North and South Halls and a view of "down town" in the '5s and
'Ws's when'
devoted exclusively to mechanical and
not professional work.
  At the time of my entrance, there
was only one building, now known as
North Hall; the foundation had been
laid for South Hall, but owing to lack of
sufficient appropriations, the building
did not go up until the year 1855. After
the completion of South Hall, Professor
Sterling lived in it with his family until
crowded out by the demand for in-
creased space for college work.
  Many of the out-of-town students
took their meals at the table of Professor
When Main Hall
-now Bascom-
boasted a weather
vane, a dome and
a semi - circular
wanted me to* learn'how to behave at the
table. As I remember this, I infer that
my table manners must have needed
some improvement.
  After our graduation, Professor Park-
inson was engaged as tutor at a-salary of
six hundred dollars. Later on he became
professor of civil polity, and political
economy, and for many years was vice-
,president of the University. He is past,
ninety years of age.
   At the time I attended the University,
the grounds were as nature made them.
Wild strawberries grew profusely where
many of the buildings now stand, and
on the high bank of Lake Mendota one
could, in the season, gather gooseberries
from bushes growing wild. The beauti-
ful lake was enjoyed in many ways; in
:summer, after school hours, and on
Saturdays, we spent hours in the water
alternating  between  swimming   and
,sliding down the high bank in furrowed
channels worn by our naked bodies.
We did not indulge in the refinement of
bathing suits, as it was before the day of
the co-eds. We traversed the lake to
the opposite shore in rowboats and sail-
boats, fishing and hunting. In the win-
ter we skated over its smooth surface and
altogether derived much pleasure from
   During my attendance at the Uni-
 versity the Faculty was made up of the
 following: John H. Lathrop, Chancellor
 in charge of Ethics and Political Science;
 0. M. Conover, Ancient Languages and
 -Literature; Daniel Read, Mental Science
 and English Literature; John W. Stefl-

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