Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Charles Lewis Cocke - Founder of Hollins College
Author: Smith, William Robert Lee
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Lewis Cocke - Founder of Hollins College" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Libraries.)



  [Illustration: CHARLES LEWIS COCKE]



  CHARLES LEWIS COCKE

  FOUNDER OF HOLLINS COLLEGE


  BY

  W. R. L. SMITH, D.D.


  BOSTON
  RICHARD G. BADGER
  THE GORHAM PRESS



  COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY RICHARD G. BADGER
  All Rights Reserved

  Made in the United States of America
  The Gorham Press, Boston, U. S. A.



FOREWORD


It will be obvious that this biography has been written in a passion of
admiration and loyal love. Conscious of the eminent worthiness of its
subject, the writer has felt no temptation to exceed the just limits of
praise, or to violate the demands of a true sincerity. The effort has
been to hold the record to a faithful presentation of the facts in a
long and distinguished career. The singular unity of his life-work,
localized on one spot of earth, has made the gathering of materials an
easy task. An intimate and affectionate friendship of twenty-three
years, is one of the author's invaluable sources. Then, abundant
information was found in the minutes of the trustee meetings, the yearly
catalogues, the college magazines, the occasional reminiscent speeches
to students and the annual commencement address.

One makes bold to say that he fears not the verdict of the older Hollins
girls on this memoir. If it shall awaken hallowed memories and unseal
the fount of tears; if it shall tighten the clasp of their heartstrings
to dear old Hollins, its purpose will have been largely accomplished.

                                                  W. R. L. Smith.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I                                   PAGE
  THE EARLY YEARS                               21

  CHAPTER II
  CALL OF THE SOUTHWEST                         34

  CHAPTER III
  HOLLINS INSTITUTE IN STRUGGLE AND GROWTH      49

  CHAPTER IV
  THE CLEARING SKIES                            63

  CHAPTER V
  EXPANSION AND ACHIEVEMENT                     75

  CHAPTER VI
  THE PRESIDENT AND HIS GIRLS                   91

  CHAPTER VII
  COMMENCEMENTS AND ADDRESSES                  105

  CHAPTER VIII
  RELIGIOUS ENTHUSIASMS AND ACTIVITIES         123

  CHAPTER IX
  CHARACTERISTICS                              132

  CHAPTER X
  HIS COMRADES AND CO-WORKERS                  142

  CHAPTER XI
  HIS MONUMENT                                 159



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  CHARLES LEWIS COCKE                                   _Frontispiece_

                                                           FACING PAGE

  CHARLES LEWIS COCKE AND SUSANNA VIRGINIA PLEASANTS, ABOUT 1840    30
  THE VALLEY UNION SEMINARY, 1842-1852                              36
  THE FEMALE SEMINARY AT BOTETOURT SPRINGS, 1852-1855               46
  HOLLINS INSTITUTE                                                 60
  MRS. CHARLES L. COCKE                                             70
  "GOOD MORNING, 'GYRLS'"                                           92
  CHARLES L. COCKE                                                 132
  MRS. CHARLES L. COCKE                                            142
  MRS. ANNE HOLLINS                                                150
  JOHN HOLLINS                                                     154
  HOLLINS COLLEGE                                                  160



INTRODUCTION


This biographical sketch of Charles L. Cocke has been written with fine
appreciation and sympathy. It brings before us an exceptionally strong
man, who after years of struggle against discouragements realized, in
large measure, the ideals of his early years. It is a story of heroic
achievement that can not be read without emotion.

Hollins College stands today as a fitting and permanent memorial of its
founder's indomitable will and noble aims. But there was something still
finer connected with his years of struggle and toil. Long before the end
came, he had made the noblest achievement of human life, bringing from
its disappointments and conflicts, not a cynical distrust of his fellow
men, but a courageous, hopeful and invincible character of righteousness
and love. He learned to look upon the tumultuous world with a serene and
benignant spirit.

It was my privilege for many years to serve as one of the chaplains of
Hollins College. The hours spent in Mr. Cocke's office after the evening
service are among my cherished memories. Our talk, often protracted
till nearly midnight, turned chiefly on educational, religious, and
social subjects, which always made a strong appeal to his vigorous mind
and earnest nature. He loved the truth; but in the expression of his
opinions there was sometimes a delightful touch of exaggeration that
lent a peculiar charm to his conversation.

Beyond any man I have ever known he possessed the power to call forth
noble sentiment and stimulate intellectual activity. This quality
explains, in part at least, the loyal devotion of his co-workers and the
grateful affection of his students. It made him a great teacher. It
endowed him with a sort of divine right to leadership; it crowned him
with the glory of perennial, unconscious beneficence.

In the quality of his intellect he was distinctly Roman. By the law of
resemblance he easily conjures up before our minds the dignified and
sturdy personality of a Cato. Without the gifts of Attic versatility,
his strong intellect and sound judgment set him apart for substantial
practical achievement. We are fully warranted in believing that he would
have won in any industrial or political field the same distinguished
success that he achieved in education.

The religion of the New Testament was a vital element in his character.
Its dominant feature was not emotion but conscience. To him the call of
duty was imperative and final. It was in obedience to this call that he
entered upon his work at Hollins. The materialistic science of the
latter half of the nineteenth century left him untouched. He recognized
the Divine agency in the lives of men no less than in the destiny of
nations. This profound and dominant faith habitually filled the future
with hope, and imparted to him, as to all who cherish it, unfailing
courage and strength.

A massive intellect, supported by a deep sense of religious duty, made
him an independent and fearless thinker. He had the force to break the
trammels of tradition. With the vision of a true pioneer he saw the need
of a better intellectual training for American women, and with the
resourcefulness of a strong nature he led the way in its attainment. His
aims and efforts were manifestations of real greatness. It is men of
like vision and resourcefulness who are raised up from time to time to
lead the forward movements of our race. It is no reproach to say that
Mr. Cocke would hardly have been in full sympathy with the feminist
movement of recent years. No man can live too far ahead of his time. But
he helped to prepare the way for it by his pioneer insistence on a
richer culture and larger opportunities for women; and it may justly be
said that no other man in Virginia or the South has a higher claim on
their recognition and gratitude.

He was fortunate to recognize in his early manhood his vocation as a
pioneer educator. The call was clear, and his consecration complete. Few
men have ever labored with greater singleness of purpose. As Tennyson
dedicated his life to poetry and Darwin to science, so Mr. Cocke gave
himself to the work of a nobler culture for the women of Virginia and
later of our whole country. Without this singleness of aim, which gave
unity to his efforts for more than fifty years, he could not have
brought his great life-task to a triumphant conclusion.

But his great mind and heart were not so utterly absorbed in this work
as to exclude from his thought and effort other important interests.
Before the present movement for social betterment had been inaugurated,
he labored unselfishly for the material and moral improvement of his
community and State. He was interested in the establishment of schools
for boys. He was a recognized leader in the extension of the Baptist
Church in Southwestern Virginia, and his foresight and wise counsel
contributed in no small measure to the vigorous life and growth of that
denomination.

Yet he was not narrowly sectarian. His broad outlook on life welcomed
every agency that contributed to moral and religious advancement. To
his mind denominational differences of creed were of secondary
importance as compared with the great fundamental agreement in the work
of establishing the kingdom of God in the world. He cultivated friendly
relations with all branches of the Christian Church, and invited their
ministers from time to time to conduct services in the Hollins Chapel.
His chief requirement was a helpful message supported by an upright
life.

He delighted, it seems to me, in what we might call intellectual
athletics. He welcomed a disagreement of view, and enjoyed measuring
strength in an argument. The enjoyment, I think, was independent of the
outcome of the discussion; it was found in the pleasurable exercise of a
vigorous brain. Defeat in argument yielded him scarcely less pleasure
than did victory. The warmest discussion never ruffled in the slightest
degree his self-possession and friendly courtesy.

In the massiveness of his character he was exempt from the foibles of
smaller natures. In his striving after truth he was unswayed in his
judgment by petty prejudices. His broad benevolence and warm interest in
the welfare of others shielded him from envy and jealousy. While sternly
intolerant of wrong-doing, he was gently patient with the wrong-doer,
being less anxious to punish than to reclaim. Though he was doubtless
conscious of his strength, as are all truly great men, he was too
sensible and honest to feel the inflation of egotism. His natural
stately dignity forbade familiarity; but to those in need he was
uniformly kind and helpful. It is the memory of his kindness and
helpfulness that has enshrined his image in many hearts.

The life of so rare a character deserves to be recorded in permanent
form. It will thus stand as an inspiration and guide to others. As
biographer Dr. Smith has performed his task worthily; and I esteem it a
privilege to write this introduction and pay this tribute of admiration
and affection to one of the greatest men I have known.

                                                F. V. N. PAINTER.

  SALEM, VA.,
  September 2, 1920.



CHRONOLOGY


1820

_February_ 21 Charles L. Cocke was born at Edgehill, King William
County, Va.


1836

He entered Richmond College.


1838

He entered Columbian College at Washington, D. C.


1840

Graduated from Columbian College, and accepted a position at Richmond
College.


1840

On _December_ 31 married Susanna Virginia Pleasants, of Henrico County.


1840-1846

Connected with Richmond College.


1845

Called to take charge of "Valley Union Seminary," a co-educational
school, Roanoke County, Va., at Botetourt Springs.


1846

_June_ 23 arrived at Botetourt Springs to take charge of the school.


1846

_July_ 1 the first session under Mr. Cocke's superintendence opened with
36 boys and 27 girls.


1852

Board of Trustees discontinued the department for boys.


1852

_July_ 20 the session 1852-'53 opened for girls only, under the name The
Female Seminary at Botetourt Springs, Va., Mr. Cocke, Principal,
Registration 81 girls.


1853

_September_ 4 the session of 1853-'54 opened with increased faculty and
registration of 150 girls.


1855

Mr. and Mrs. John Hollins of Lynchburg, Va., donated funds to the
institution, and in their Honor the name was changed to _Hollins
Institute_.


1855-'61

Average attendance 106.


1861-'65

Doors not closed during this period. Average attendance 134.


1865-'71

Average attendance 73.


1871-1900

Buildings, enlarged to accommodate 225 students.


1901

_May_ 4 Charles L. Cocke died.



CHARLES LEWIS COCKE

FOUNDER OF HOLLINS COLLEGE

    I think I would rather have written a great biography than a
    great book of any other sort, as I would have rather painted
    a great portrait than any other kind of picture.

                                                PHILLIPS BROOKS.



CHARLES LEWIS COCKE



CHAPTER I

THE EARLY YEARS

1820-1846


In the library at Hollins College is a life-size portrait of a great
Virginian. In its presence, you instantly feel the spell of a commanding
personality. The figure is tall, graceful, well proportioned, and in the
right hand is a diploma, the proper symbol of the vocation of a College
President. The attitude exactly fits the supreme moment on Commencement
day. In the face, the artist has cunningly gathered the insignia of fine
mental quality, and pictured the forces of achieving manhood. The ample
brow looks the home of ideality and enterprise, the aquiline nose hints
endurance and tireless energy. Napoleon selected as his marshals men
marked by the prominence of this feature. That jaw and chin and those
thin lips speak virility and determination. In the glance of those blue,
eagle eyes, are intimations of keen intensity and lightning force, yet
subduable to all the moods of tenderness and love. Truly, this is a
notably fine presentation in art of one of the noblest Virginians of the
19th century.

This man was marked for high performance, and would have won distinction
in any sphere of honorable endeavor. "Excelsior" was the divine
imprimatur stamped on his nature. His call was to leadership, and his
response enrolled him among the pioneers in the cause of the higher
education of women in the South. The educational ideals of Thomas
Jefferson became the inspiration of his youth, and with astonishing
tenacity and unity of purpose he pursued them until he worked out
Hollins College, making it one of the rare gems of American culture. His
work stimulated the founding of other like institutions in Virginia and
the South. Thus he builded wiser than he knew. He wrought well in his
generation, and a multitude of splendid women throughout the whole
nation will revere his name forever. It was a brilliant battle he fought
against hostile conditions and appalling odds. He was cast in heroic
mold. In fancy we can see him bearing his banner up the heights, his
eyes flashing strange fires, and every energy of soul and body exerted
to its utmost. The name of this remarkable man is Charles Lewis Cocke,
and there stands the faithful, impressive likeness of him in the
library building at Hollins College.

It is the story of this man that we want to know, and to that end the
following pages are written. It is the right of every child to be born
of honorable parentage. The life of Charles L. Cocke began with a good
heredity. He was born February 21, 1820, at Edgehill, the home of his
father, James Cocke, in King William County, Virginia. Elizabeth Fox was
the maiden name of his mother. Both family names run back a number of
generations, the old English ancestors having come to Virginia in the
17th century. Richard Cocke bought a home with three thousand acres, and
from 1644 to 1654 represented Henrico in the House of Burgesses. John
Fox located in York County and then in Gloucester, in the years 1660 to
1680. From this worthy stock descended the subject of this biography.
Charles Lewis was the oldest son of the family at Edgehill. Religious
reverence and intelligence dwelt in the home, and correct views of
conduct were expressed in parental example. The Baptist faith was an
important part of his inheritance, and at Beulah Church near by his
childhood received its first impressions of divine worship. By singular
good fortune, the benign influence of the eloquent pastor and friend,
the Rev. Dr. Andrew Broaddus, fell on the family and the growing lad.
In the atmosphere of this happy home, and in the moral securities and
privileges of a good country community, the early years were passed. The
boy's mind was alert, and both on the farm and in the local schools,
gave hints of latent powers. The growing youth demonstrated his
managerial capacity one year by taking charge of a kinsman's farm and
raising, as he said, "the finest crop it had ever borne." Self-reliance
and the power of bringing things to pass early became distinguishing
qualities. The father was proud of the promise of his son, and when the
boy was about fifteen years of age, gave him his choice of a career on
the farm or in some professional calling. The father could hardly have
been surprised at the prompt decision in favor of a profession.

Richmond College was then new, and under the presidency of the Rev. Dr.
Robert Ryland, was prosecuting its work in the suburbs of the Capital
City. The College was only twenty miles distant from Edgehill and soon
our ambitious youth was diligently pursuing his studies within its
walls. No special genius betrayed itself, but there was the same bent of
assiduous application which was on display when the abundant crop was
raised. Dr. Ryland was not slow in discovering the promising traits in
the new student, and a mutual interest sprang up between them. The
astute President saw in the boy the prophecy of stalwart young manhood,
just such a factor as might some day be of value to himself in the
labors of the Institution. The interest grew into intimacy, and there
were occasional confidential interchanges respecting the boy's hopes and
aspirations. The time of attendance on the College classes was drawing
to a close, when one day the Doctor suggested to him a further course at
Columbian College, a Baptist institution of higher learning in
Washington City. The thought enlisted the youth's enthusiasm, but he
urged the lack of funds needful for such a scheme. Then the generous
friend replied: "I will furnish that, and you can repay me at your
convenience."

Here was a compliment from a wise educator which, though it tended to no
inflation of conceit, put a glowing stimulus in a young man's soul. No
true man or woman ever fails to give gratitude and honor to those who
quickened and encouraged aspiration in the days of youth. Impressed
deeply by the kindly offer, and stirred by leaping ambition, Charles
Lewis Cocke left the College and returned to his home. At once he
communicated to his father the new visions and hopes. The father,
pleased at the hunger of the son for larger knowledge, said: "You shall
go to Columbian College; but we will not draw on the generosity of Dr.
Ryland. I will supply the means." Charles was then about eighteen years
of age.

The boy Daniel Webster was riding one day in a buggy with his father,
when at a certain point of the conversation the father said: "Son, I
have decided to send you to Dartmouth College." The announcement fell
like music on the aspiring soul, and the only response the delighted son
could make was to lean his head on his father's bosom and burst into
tears. Edgehill knew an emotion like that in the summer of 1838.
Pursuant to plans for early departure to Washington, James Cocke and his
son drove to Richmond in a buggy. While the reins were in the father's
hands, the horse went at a sluggish gait. Presently they were passed to
the son, when instantly the drudging steed pricked up his ears and
struck a new stride.

"You have been whipping this horse," exclaimed the surprised father.

"No," was the reply, "I have never whipped him, but he knows what I want
him to do."

Long years afterward, this little incident was told by the President of
Hollins Institute to his graduating class, with the reflection, that he
had learned that the best movements in horses and in people can be
secured without whipping.

The new student was welcomed into Columbian College and there pursued
the courses of study with unabating enthusiasm. Naturally the
environment of the national Capital served as a wholesome stimulus to
all his faculties. The good habits of his life suffered no deterioration
and the fine qualities of his mind went on maturing rapidly. It was
during this period that deepening religious impressions resulted in an
open confession of faith, and in union with a Baptist church in the
city. He was baptized in the Potomac river. Closely following his
twentieth birthday came his graduation with the degree of M.A. It is to
be regretted that no letters written to his parents during this season
have been preserved. Fortunately, two written to his friends do survive.
One, sent to his college chum, Mr. A. B. Clark, of Richmond, Virginia,
bears date of May 22, 1839:

"I walk at the usual times alone, spending the moments mostly in
meditation on serious subjects. My thoughts are more apt to turn this
way than formerly. I write two lessons per day in Greek and read but
little in other books."

Something far more significant appears in the second letter which was
addressed to a kinswoman in the neighborhood of Edgehill. In that he
declared a settled purpose, "To devote my life to the higher education
of women in the South, which I consider one of our greatest needs. In
this decision, my promised wife concurs." What special influences led
the college boy to such a majestic consecration, we have no means of
discovering. That it is a mark of uncommon maturity and breadth of
intelligent conception, there can be no question.

The benignant spirit of Democracy was becoming atmospheric and the
intellectual emancipation of woman steadily and slowly pressed to the
fore. Ancient prejudices and stupidities were beginning reluctantly to
yield. Not one of the elder ages had ever grasped the thought of woman's
mental, social and political equality with her brothers. Here and there
a lone voice had been lifted in her behalf to fall on deaf ears and
unresponsive hearts. The world habit of thought laughed the innovation
out of court and the bondage of general ignorance remained unbroken. But
the imperial idea of the dignity and worth of the human individual could
not be forever submerged. Its persistent pressure loosened the bonds of
tradition and began to breach the walls of custom. Modern freedom
wrought itself into the minds of men, and thinkers announced the
harbinger of a new era. Practice, as usual, lagged behind theory, and
one hundred years ago when Charles L. Cocke was born, advantages for the
culture of daughters were inferior to those afforded the sons. That
this inequality should have impressed the mind of a young collegian,
shows uncommon susceptibility to social needs and sacred human rights. A
rare young manhood came to expression when he dedicated himself to the
new ideal. He did not originate the ideal. It was borne to him in the
expansive thought of the time. His shining merit is in the fact that he
made the early resolve to be an agent in bringing in the better day for
the liberal education of young women.

It was in the Spring of 1840 that his college work closed and he
received the degree of Master of Arts. Before the Finals of that
session, there was some important correspondence between himself and
Doctor Ryland. The good President had startled Charles with the
flattering proposition that he should become a member of the Faculty of
Richmond College, as assistant teacher in Mathematics and as manager of
the dining hall. The college was then trying to combine training in
agriculture with the usual curriculum, an experiment that was soon
abandoned. The young man was too genuinely modest to fancy himself
equipped for so responsible a position. He faced the issue frankly,
however, and much influenced by confidence in the judgment of Doctor
Ryland, decided to accept. Leaving Columbian College he hastened to
witness the closing exercises at Richmond College.

It must have seemed almost comical to see a practically beardless
youngster put in charge of some of the vitally important duties of the
Institution. There he was, without a touch of egotism of
self-consciousness, quiet of manner, and yet with something about him
that looked resourceful, unapologetic, and unafraid. You may be sure
that the boys looked at him curiously, and asked themselves, "Can he do
it?" Of course there were cautious conservatives who doubted the
competency of the new incumbent. This tribe is always with us. However,
there was ground of assurance in the known confidence of Doctor Ryland,
and nothing remained but to wait and see its vindication. No misgivings
troubled the Doctor himself. Without bluster or consequential airs, the
assistant professor made prompt acquaintance with his tasks, and
discharged them with an efficiency that left nothing to be desired. He
was on his mettle, conscious of the questioning curiosity centered upon
himself. For the first time in his life he stood before the footlights
of public observation and expectation. Leadership had thrust its burdens
on him early and had imposed its first critical test.

[Illustration: CHARLES LEWIS COCKE AND SUSANNA VIRGINIA PLEASANTS ABOUT
1840]

A survey of the affairs of the dining hall convinced him that a change
of methods was necessary, and with pure audacity he introduced them. At
the opening of the fall session of 1840 he presented the boys with a
new bill of fare. To their astonishment he gave them oysters, finding
them as cheap as other meats. He gave them raisins and plum pudding for
dessert. He scored instant success, and the boys' heartstrings were in
his hands. Without incurring increased expense, the new manager secured
a new satisfaction with the dining hall. Noiselessly other needed
changes were made and the voice of the growler ceased to be heard. At
the helm was an officer who knew college boys, and the college spirit
was noticeably improved. Like competency appeared in the duties of the
class room. He could teach mathematics and he did. Before the
Commencement in 1841, Charles L. Cocke was recognized as a distinct
contribution to the life of the Institution. Here is a young professor
who does not propose to rest content with inadequate facilities and
outworn methods. His whole nature cries for improvement and for better
ways of doing things. What a boon to many a school and college would
such a man be. Good Doctor Ryland's face wore a smile which plainly
said, "I told you so." His judgment of capacity and character was
sufficiently justified. The young comrade was to him an object of
ever-deepening interest and their relations steadily ripened into
sincere and loving friendship.

Now, the President knew that his assistant was romantically entangled
with an affair of the heart. He also knew the fair young woman who was
responsible for that state of things. Miss Susanna V. Pleasants lived
five miles north of Richmond in a lovely old Virginia home which bore
the Indian name of "Picquenocque." Knowing that a matrimonial alliance
was imminent, the Doctor, one day, ventured to ask Charles about the
date of the coming event. He warmly approved the match and was exuberant
in congratulations. As a matter of fact he was hoping that the marriage
would tend to fix his assistant more firmly in Richmond College. This
genial intrusion into sacred privacy was not resented, but Charles found
it inconvenient to confide. The question was asked in November, and at
that very moment the issue to be decided between the sweethearts was
whether the ceremony should come off on the last day of December, or the
first of January following. That problem enabled the young gentleman to
make a complete but truthful evasion. His honest reply was: "I know
neither the day, nor the month, nor the year." There the matter ended,
and the mystified Doctor relapsed into silence. Later the mighty problem
was solved and the marriage was solemnized on the last day of 1840.
Doctor Ryland, officiating, beamed on the happy pair and found great
merriment in the perfectly true, but dextrously non-committal answer,
made just six weeks before. The bride and groom had not quite reached
their twenty-first birthdays when they began that remarkable human
pilgrimage which was to endure a little more than sixty years. The
angels of domestic peace and joy sang benediction all the way. That home
life is a glorious memory now, but its lesson is more precious than
gold. An astronomer discerned a luminous star. On closer inspection he
found it, not single but binary. The twin stars joined their radiance,
which came streaming down in one glorious pencil of light. Such a star
beams forever in the Hollins firmament.



CHAPTER II

CALL OF THE SOUTHWEST

1846-1856


The attraction of the Blue Ridge and Alleghany mountains was a fact
freely confessed by eastern Virginians. Even before the Revolutionary
War the section, now known as the Tazewell country, became an Eldorado,
and thitherward set the streams of migration. Along the beautiful
valleys and in the hearts of the hills lay the possibilities of fabulous
wealth. Through the early decades of the nineteenth century this
fascination continued, population increased, centers of culture were
formed, and men of enterprise began to think of a railroad from
Lynchburg, Virginia, to East Tennessee. Christian evangelism was active,
but education lagged. There were fine brains in the Southwest, but the
means of culture were deficient. The land called for the school teacher.
Slowly the providential workings were preparing a place for a young
professor in Richmond College, who as yet had no dream of it.

Seven miles north of the City of Roanoke, Carvin's creek pours down out
of the mountains into the wonderful Roanoke Valley. Right in the
aperture of the hills where it emerges, was discovered a little sulphur
spring whose properties suggested the establishment of a watering place.
Accordingly, Mr. Johnston, a man of wealth from Richmond, bought a
hundred acres and built a commodious brick hotel near the two springs,
one limestone, the other sulphur. This was somewhere near the year 1815.
A race course was made one of the additional attractions. The place took
the name of "Botetourt Springs," and at once leaped into fame as a
health resort. The turnpike from the west passed immediately in front of
the hotel and between the springs, which are one hundred yards apart.
General Andrew Jackson stopped here for entertainment on his way to and
from Washington City. General Lafayette, on his last visit to the United
States, was an honored guest. Touring south, he came out of his way to
pay respect to his old friend, Mr. Johnston.

Interesting legends from the old pioneer days gathered round the spot.
One bold adventurer, named Carvin, was said to have built a rock castle
on a crag near the springs and to have had many hair-breadth escapes
from Indians and wild beasts. All that is certainly known is, that he
left his name on the little creek that passes nearby. A huge, isolated
mountain, in the shape of an elephant, rises just one mile to the north,
and tradition says that cowardly slackers of the Revolutionary period
made it a hiding place. They mended pots, plates and pans, and so were
called "tinkers." Thus it comes that the beautiful mountain wears a
homely name and perpetuates an unworthy memory.

Botetourt Springs was popular and well patronized by seekers for health
and pleasure, but the death of Mr. Johnston brought a crisis, and in
1840 the property was on the market. The administrator, Col. George P.
Tayloe, offered it to the highest bidder. Just at this time a Baptist
minister, the Rev. Mr. Bradley, from New York State, had come into the
neighborhood, seeking a home and work. Being an intelligent man and
especially interested in education, he saw that this property was
capable of being converted to the uses of a school. His zeal and
industry soon materialized in the organization of the "Valley Union
Education Society," and that body purchased Botetourt Springs with
promises to pay.

[Illustration: THE VALLEY UNION SEMINARY, 1842-1852]

The buildings were easily adaptable to the purposes in hand. The old
hotel, consisting of a basement and two stories, provided a dining hall,
a chapel, and thirty-one rooms. Then, there were seven smaller buildings
with two to four rooms each. These latter were ranged on opposite
sides of the front yard, at right angles to the main building. In the
fall of 1842 the "Valley Union Seminary" was launched, under encouraging
conditions, with Mr. Bradley at the head. The patronage was large and
the prospects alluring at the outset, but soon the relations of the
Principal with his faculty and students became unhappy. He was a worthy,
irreproachable man, and intellectually competent, but it seemed
impossible for him to make tactful adjustments with the young
Virginians. The management was changed, attendance was large, and the
only cloud on the enterprise was the unpaid notes. The affairs of Mr.
Johnston's estate must be wound up. The young Seminary in its third year
was in the breakers, and looked disaster in the face. It was now in the
spring of 1845. Deliverance must come speedily, or another dead school
would pass into the abyss. In this critical hour, two or three students
just returned from Richmond College said to members of the society: "We
know a man who can handle your Seminary and make it go." Any remark that
hinted at relief was more than welcomed by the trustees, who asked whom
the students had in mind.

"It is Professor Charles L. Cocke of Richmond College. He is only
twenty-five years old but he has had five years' experience in teaching.
He knows how to bring things to pass, and if your school can be pulled
out of a hole, he is the man you want."

Such was the homely but emphatic tribute of the college boys, and it did
not pass unheeded. Propositions from the Society went promptly to
Richmond, and the Professor was induced to come to the mountains to look
the situation over. The Society was pleased with him, and he was
impressed with the possibilities of the Seminary. The call of the great
Southwest sounded in his ears and the visions of the things that may be,
beckoned him on. The call was made in the spring of 1845. He would
ponder it devoutly.

Shall he break all the tender ties that bind him to his Tidewater home?
Shall he sunder relations with Richmond College and bring grief to the
heart of his devoted friend, Dr. Ryland? Shall he take his young wife
and three little children into a rugged land, remote and destitute of
the comforts they have known? Such questions voiced the negative,
self-regarding view, and he asked himself: "Is not this Southwest a land
of great promise and educational need? May not this be the providential
arena for the realization of my fond dream of mental liberation for the
daughters of Virginia and the South?" This noble speculation, still
working, was hid away in his soul, vague and undefined. It would grow.
This was the positive and unselfish view, and he knew it. "Yes, I will
go," was the final settlement of the painful controversy. Like Abraham,
he would go forth all unknowing, yet believing in the guidance of a
divine wisdom. No, this young man was not the football of impulse. His
decisions were the outcome of long deliberate thought. This was the most
vital step of his life. He heard the voice of duty, that "stern daughter
of God," and obeyed. He had an imaginative power which went, not to the
uses of poetry, but to the practical problems of life. It was his habit
to project his thought thirty years forward, deploying before him the
reasonable developments of a growing civilization. In these forecasts,
imagination did him a fine service. Here was the spring of those
ceaseless demands for enlargement and improvement of facilities, which
later marked his work as college president.

The spring of 1846 is come; the six years of work in Richmond College
are closed; the farewells are spoken; and Mr. Cocke journeys toward the
sunset. It is a weary overland drive of five days in a carriage from
Richmond to Botetourt Springs. Lofty "Tinker" salutes the pilgrims as
they move up the highway, and now the vehicle stops in front of the old
hotel, whose front yard is a wilderness of weeds. Mrs. Cocke's heart
sinks within her as she looks on the inhospitable desolation. Ghosts of
dilapidation and decay stretch out hands of welcome in sheer, grim
mockery. The anguish in the young wife's heart is momentary. With a
sublime courage, equal to that of her husband's, from that awful moment
she goes smilingly with him to the task of preparing for the coming
session. Unwittingly, they are laying the foundations of the noble
Institution which, today, is a pride and joy to the state and nation.
Little do they dream that before the closing of their toil, they will
see girls from thirty states parading and singing on that outlandish
front yard.

  "I'd rather walk with God in the night
          Than go alone by day."

By a business arrangement with the trustees, Mr. Cocke had put into the
treasury of the Society $1,500.00 of his own and his wife's money, to
stay off the creditors. On the 23rd day of June, 1846, the session
opened with the new Principal in charge. It was a new dignity, truly,
but how precarious and involving what weight of responsibility! The
young soldier is on the firing line with an independent command. He can
hardly anticipate the leagued masses of trouble, disappointment and
despair that lurk in the mountains, plotting his destruction. For the
next twenty-five years we shall see the storms of battle break upon
him, and we shall see his banner waving in victory to the shoutings of a
multitude. The Principal is a born leader. He is resolute and confident
without egotism; resourceful and wise without display. The Richmond
College boys were right. Here is the man. However, the burden-bearing
years must develop the fact. The first nine years will carry us through
seasons of struggle and painful progress. With the outstanding facts of
this period, it is the purpose of this chapter to deal.

He was now the head of a co-educational Seminary, which from its
inception was designed to be strictly benevolent in character. In ample
proof is the fact that $45.00 paid the student's bill for tuition and
board for five months. The school never made money, nor was that ever
its end. The purpose of the founders was to put education in the reach
of all who thirsted for it. Such was the generous basis of the
enterprise. The small revenues thus realized, yielded the teachers
pitifully inadequate reward, and made improvements practically
impossible.

You may be sure that good order was maintained and good lessons were
required. From the start, Mr. Cocke's administration won popular
confidence and approval. Soon after his coming he was announced to speak
in the Baptist church in Big Lick (now the City of Roanoke), and a
large audience was there to greet him. In the address he said, among
other things, "I have come to Southwest Virginia to give my life to the
cause of education, to spend and be spent in that work." A fine
impression was made on the citizens, and on dismission a gentleman said
to a lady: "That is the man to send your son to." Fifteen years later
that boy was a Colonel in the Confederate army. This boy's older brother
had told Mr. Cocke that Thomas was a bad boy, and had added, "If he does
not behave, I hope you will thrash him." For two whole sessions the
youth found himself seated at the table next to Mr. Cocke and the coffee
pot. He was entrusted with messages here and there, and finally the boys
began to say that Tom Lewis was Mr. Cocke's pet. Not so: that was his
ingenious discipline. He could control horses and boys without whipping.
In the long after years the Principal had no more faithful and devoted
friend than Colonel Lewis. Once a group of older boys made some of the
younger ones drunk. The offenders were promptly expelled, and nothing
was done to the innocent victims. Other young men made angry threats,
and their expulsion followed. Rebellion grew; a large body of the boys
defiantly paraded the campus, making the situation ominous. The school
was called to the chapel, the boys on one side and the girls on the
other. The Principal fronted the boys and said: "I am the head of this
school and I am going to run it. I have sent some disorderly students
away, and if necessary I will send more. I will send every one of you
home and start a new school, and if I can't run it I will give it up and
go at some other business." The audience understood the tone of that
voice and took warning from the gleam in the blue eyes. After that the
incident was closed.

His skill in dealing with mischievous boys is exhibited in another
episode. Some of them felt that school life was dull without a little
spice of adventure, so in pure fun they sallied forth at night to visit
the neighbors' orchards, and even to take unwarranted liberties with
their chicken roosts. Complaints came to the Principal, who at once
sought a private interview with the culprits. He talked to them kindly,
yet with earnest protestations against such pranks. He knew they were
not thieves, far from it, but they should not take people's property
that had cost labor and care. After duly moralizing on the case, he
closed the interview with the following burst of magnanimity: "Now boys,
if hereafter some irresistible impulse is on you to prowl, spare the
neighbors and plunder _my_ poultry yard." What human heart but a school
boy's could resist an appeal like that? One night not long thereafter,
Mrs. Cocke heard curious noises on the back premises. Mr. Cocke slipped
out in the darkness and readily took in the situation. The following
night he stood at the window of one of the boys' cottages and saw the
preliminaries looking to a midnight carnival on roast duck. Just as the
feast was ready to begin, there was a tap at the door. Hospitality
invited entrance, when in stepped Mr. Cocke! To his friendly inquiries
they responded that they were about to dispose of a savory meal and
coolly invited the visitor to share it, which he as coolly proceeded to
do. The party was jolly, and though all knew that nobody was deceived,
the fact was not betrayed by one look or word. Mr. Cocke bowed himself
out with a pleasant good night, and the mystified marauders went to bed.
Depredations ceased, and the boys' admiration of that midnight diplomacy
was unconcealed.

When a boy was guilty of some offense, not mean, but mischievous, his
case was stated in the presence of the school, and the roaring laughter
that followed was sufficient correction. There was not a case of
disobedience among the girls in the years 1846-'52, but they would keep
their windows open. The boys lifted hats in passing, and were rewarded
with pleased and winning glances. Often while sitting by the open
window, a thoughtful look covered one side of a girl's face, while on
the other side, looking window-ward, played a bewitching smile. In those
days was established the yearly October visit to the top of Tinker. The
day of the excursion was a "secret between Charles and the Lord," as
Mrs. Cocke once humorously said to the inquiring girls. Arriving on the
summit, and viewing the landscape over, suddenly an apple would fall in
the midst, as from the sky. Where did it come from? The girls knew, and
the boys knew. The boys had gone before and hidden behind the rocks and
brush. Then the mountain scenery lost its charm, and a romantic search
for flowers began.

The halls of the Seminary filled to their capacity and the Principal
pleaded for more room. Alas, the Trustees had no money, and the school's
revenue was a sacrifice to the benevolent principle of minimum rates.
The Institution he wanted could come only through increased equipment
and accommodations. There the young Principal was, the sport of harsh
conditions. One balm came to his heart in the timely sensible praise of
the Trustees. In their meeting, January 10, 1851, they said in formal
resolution: "We cannot speak in terms too high of the untiring diligence
of the Principal and his assistants in maintaining judicious discipline,
and in the prosecution of their responsible duties."

His efforts for notable success had a double motive. First, he quite
properly wanted to convince all of his capacity for educational work.
Second, by the overcrowded conditions, he wanted to force an issue on
the Trustees respecting the future policy of the school. The
accommodations were palpably insufficient, and as there was no
possibility of increasing them, what should be done? The Principal knew
what to do. He boldly advised a radical change: dismiss the male
department and convert the Seminary into a school for girls. To his
immense delight, the proposition was accepted. The new order looked like
the opening of an approach to the goal of ambitions born in his college
days. His loyal interest in the education of young men was not abated,
but the dream of the higher education of women became a passion. This
important decision was made in the spring of 1852, and thus a ten years
co-educational school, in which Mr. Cocke had labored for six prosperous
years, came to a close. With mingled feelings of grateful hope and keen
anxiety, he now faced a golden opportunity. He enjoyed the distinction
of being the head of the first chartered school for girls in Virginia.
The fall session of 1852 opened with eighty-one pupils. That of the fall
of 1853, with one hundred and fifty. The wisdom of the radical change
was fully justified. It was a time of radiant satisfaction and jubilant
hope.

[Illustration: THE FEMALE SEMINARY AT BOTETOURT SPRINGS, 1852-1855]

But it was now that the battle with austere conditions and scant
equipment became the torment of his mind. The Trustees could give no
material aid, and popular interest in education was too feeble to
proffer financial help. It is simple truth to say that on this vestibule
of his great enterprise, the gravest doubts and trepidations of his
whole career assailed him. In moods of depression the heroic man feared
that he had attempted the impossible. Was he unnerved or unstrung? Not
for one minute. In these black days he fronted his task with the
resourcefulness of an uncommon manhood. The stamina of his nature came
to expression in a way that surprised even himself. He made imploring
appeals to friends who were well to do in this world's goods. A good
providence put him in touch with two noble spirits, Mr. John Hollins and
his wife, of Lynchburg, Virginia, members of his own denomination. Mr.
Hollins presented the Seminary with a gift of $5,000 cash, and then the
daylight began to break. The good man proposed as a condition of his
gift that the old management by an Education Society and its appointed
Trustees must give way to a board of self-perpetuating Trustees. To all
concerned the proposition seemed wise and just, and it was so ordered.
It was then generously agreed that the name of the Institution should be
changed, and that henceforth it should be known as "Hollins Institute."
To Mr. Cocke and the dissolving Society, this appeared to be a
compliment well deserved by the man and his wife who had saved the life
of the school.

The transfer of all the property of the Valley Union Education Society
to the Trustees of Hollins Institute was made in March, 1855. Thus in
the first nine years of his incumbency, Mr. Cocke saw two revisions of
the original charter granted in January, 1844. By the first revision in
1852, the Seminary was made a school for girls. By the second, in
December, 1855, the name of the Institution was changed, the old
management was abolished, and its functions put into the hands of a
self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. No friction arose; all was harmony.
The old régime passed, but its personnel remained steadfast.

In all the stress and tribulation of the past years, Mr. Cocke had been
the central bolt that held the structure intact. Around his single
heroic personality gathered all the forces that made possible the
perpetuity of the Institution. His reward had now come, and a blessed
assurance threw its foregleams on the future. He was now in his
thirty-sixth year and athrill with that full health and masculine energy
that was his blessing to the end of his life.



CHAPTER III

HOLLINS INSTITUTE IN STRUGGLE AND GROWTH

1855-1870


That was a high day, in the summer of 1855, when Hollins Institute flung
its banner to the breeze. A munificent gift, a new régime and a new name
put fresh enthusiasm into the Institution, and the gladness of hope into
the hearts of all its friends. You have noticed how these joyous effects
always flow from new deals and revisions of plans. A better day has
dawned, bright visions float in the brain of Mr. Cocke, and the blue
mountains seem to hail him with congratulation. The human heart would
famish but for these fountains that break out in the midst of weary,
toiling years. Economic conditions are improving in the Southwest. The
Kanawha Canal now connects Richmond with Buchanan, a village just twenty
miles away. The Virginia and Tennessee Railroad has been built (1852),
supplying quick communication with the outside world; and the
macadamized turnpike has been built from Buchanan to the west, passing
within a few hundred yards of the School. The general conditions were
never so cheering, nor was the outlook ever so bright.

Some necessary changes have been made by the Trustees in internal
affairs. The rates of board and tuition are moderately increased, and
Mr. Cocke is put in charge of all departments, with authority to select
his teachers and to fix their salaries. The new Board of Trustees knows
the qualities and capacities of the Principal, and from this time forth
they give him confidence and almost unlimited powers. Charles L. Cocke,
not yet thirty-six years of age, had attained enviable distinction in
the educational ranks of his native State. He will justify the faith of
his friends.

The Hollins gift of $5,000 was put to work. The East Building with
thirty-eight rooms, was projected, and by January, 1857, completed at a
cost of $12,000. Alas, calamity crashed upon the school. In the fall of
1856 typhoid fever broke out and forced a temporary suspension. With
cruel suddenness the epidemic worked a loss of public confidence, and
once more the heart of the Principal was harrowed with discouraging
thoughts. It was given out that bad sanitary conditions had invited the
scourge, but rigid investigation exploded the theory. The fact was that
the disease had been brought to the Institute by one of the pupils.
Slowly the panic yielded and confidence returned, but the experience was
shocking. Quickly the Principal regained his tone of courageous hope and
its wholesome contagion spread far and near. In July, 1857, in a report
to the Trustees, he made this important and assuring statement: "By
affording these superior inducements the school has realized a degree of
prosperity beyond that of any boarding school in the state, and has
given an impulse to female education heretofore unknown. The plan and
policy of our school must be considered the true one. This plan
recognizes the principle that in the present state of society in our
country, _young ladies require the same thorough mental training as that
afforded to young men_, and accordingly, in the arrangement of the
course of studies, and the selection of teachers, and the conferment of
distinctions, we have kept this principle steadily in view. This feature
of the Institution has given to it its prominence and past success, and
other Institutions, originating since our plan was made public, have
almost uniformly adopted it."

  "To each man is given a marble to carve for the wall;
  A stone that is needed to heighten the beauty of all;
  And only his soul has the magic to give it a grace;
  And only his hands have the cunning to put it in place."

During the year 1858, the activity of the Trustees secured a good many
subscriptions, and the generous Mrs. Anne Hollins rallied with her own
gift of $2,500. The dark days of 1857 began to be a memory, and the
revival of public confidence and patronage smoothed the brow of care.

It must not be supposed that Mr. Cocke lost interest in the education of
boys when the co-educational system was abandoned in 1852. No man in
Virginia was more enlisted in the education of all the people than he.
There must be a school for the boys in the Virginia Mountains, and in
the later fifties, though sufficiently burdened with local cares, he
turns his attention to this interest. With the valuable assistance of
Dr. George B. Taylor, later an eminent Baptist missionary to Italy, he
was the chief factor in establishing Alleghany College, in Greenbrier
County, one hundred miles northwest of Hollins Institute. This county
was included in the new state of West Virginia, organized in 1861. The
school opened with one hundred young men and ran well for a brief
season, but was suspended at the beginning of the Civil War. The
buildings were occupied by Federal soldiers, and shortly afterwards were
destroyed by fire. All subsequent efforts to revive the college were
unavailing. With characteristic loyalty, Mr. Cocke matriculated his son,
Joseph James Cocke, at the opening of the first session. The brave boy
laid down his books at the first alarm of war and entered the
Confederate army, and in the terrible battles in Northern Virginia, he
was twice dangerously wounded. That boy is now a venerable and honored
citizen of the State of Texas.

Long years after, Mr. Cocke bent his efforts towards the erection of
Alleghany Institute at Roanoke, and had great satisfaction in its
commodious buildings and its promising attendance of boys. In the course
of varying fortunes this enterprise fainted by the way and ceased to be.
One can but fancy that if Mr. Cocke himself could have held the helm in
these two adventures, the story would have been different. The storms
beat and the floods came, but Hollins Institute stands. Her standards
are stirring thought currents and stimulating like enterprises in
Virginia and the nation. For our pioneer in the Southwest, this is
compensation and a crown of glory. Without one thrill of jealousy does
he see the spread of his views and the certainty of large competition.
To stand in his own place and make good, is the one guiding and
all-controlling purpose of his life.

In 1860, Mrs. Hollins, now a lonely widow, signalized her profound
interest in a new gift of $10,000. This generous and timely act pushed
up the contributions of the Hollins family to the handsome sum of
$17,500. The growing popularity of Hollins sprung the problem of
enlarged facilities and to solve it was the design of this latest
benevolence. It was greeted with boundless gratitude, and the Trustees
deputed one of their members, Mr. Wm. A. Miller, to bear to her their
most cordial thanks. Accompanying this message was an urgent request for
the oil portraits of the two benefactors. In due time the portraits
came, and to this day they adorn the walls of the Main Building, whose
erection was made possible by the recent gift. An architect was
employed, and work was begun on this building in the spring of 1861, on
the very day that Virginia seceded from the Union. The tempest and
blight of the Civil War came down to threaten the life of the
Institution and to almost break the heart of the founder. Expectant hope
had looked for early occupancy, but it was not to be. In one year the
walls were upreared, the roof was on, and then the work stopped. The
contractor quit his job because the war had disorganized labor and the
situation was simply helpless. There stands the unfinished structure,
and there it will stand, a ghastly skeleton for eight long years.

At this beginning of horrors, Mr. Cocke's reputation as a strong man was
established, and the fair name of his school was extended beyond the
limits of the State. Seasoned in old battles and richly schooled in
experience, he stands in his place unterrified. He dares, even amid the
clouds and disasters of war, to send out his adventurous thought, thirty
years to the fore. What ought to be, what may be, the facilities and
achievements of this Institution a generation hence? He is now too well
fortified in his convictions of educational theory and practice, and of
their fitness to the needs of the time, to be affrighted by the spectres
and goblins of ultimate failure.

In 1862, he speaks to his girls and the public in this fashion: "The
organization of this school is unlike all others in Virginia. To some
extent it is denominational, but decidedly anti-sectarian. Its Trustees
perpetuate their own existence. Its funds cannot revert to any other
object. It is responsible to no religious body and its success depends
solely on its merits. It looks to permanent existence and to the good of
the whole commonwealth. Its successes have exceeded the most sanguine
expectations of its friends. It was first to adopt a high standard of
classical education for young women in Virginia; first to place the
English Department under a regular professor; and first in the nation to
adopt the elective system of studies. With the prestige of a history of
twenty years, it may properly and confidently appeal to the general
public to make it an addition to the permanent wealth and moral
elevation of the country. I believe its reputation will spread until it
draws pupils from all over the South." Under the distressful conditions,
is there not something morally grand in this utterance? It was a
prophetic speech, and the daring prediction was more than realized in
the thirty years that followed.

In 1863, one hundred girls filled every room, and seventy-five
applicants were turned away. Oh, for the forty-six student-rooms in that
unfinished hulk! Sequestered snugly in the mountains, no Institution in
the country suffered less from the demoralization of the war. Families
driven from the areas of invasion sent their daughters to the haven of
its seclusion. The faculty of four gentlemen and three ladies had ample
occupation. It was at this juncture that the President dropped the wise
remark that the success of an Institution demands a capable manager as
much as qualified instructors, and that he is harder to find. Of course,
during this period, the depreciated currency and the correspondingly
high cost of living required advance in the rates of the tuition and
board. In 1864, one hundred and twenty-eight students were crowded into
the rooms, and an equal number were turned away. In these days of
inevitable stringency, the fare was far from luxurious, but it was
accepted by teacher and pupil with that cheerfulness which becomes
sensible and considerate people.

That year the school was not immune to the alarms of war. A Federal
raid, led by General Hunter, rushed into the town of Salem, nine miles
distant, and the news spread consternation at Hollins, but without
panic. The President had prepared a paper, stating the defenseless
condition of the college and entreating protection by the General of any
invading force. This paper he kept in his pocket, ready to be sent by
messenger, if from any cause he himself should be prevented from going
to make an oral request. Happily, Hunter came no nearer than Salem, and
the awful suspense was relieved. On that very day, George Newman, the
faithful colored driver, went to Salem with his omnibus, and was waiting
at the depot, when the horsemen in blue came thundering down the street.
He cracked his whip over his trusty four and dashed southward across the
river, amid a shower of bullets. He was going in a course directly
opposite from Hollins, but that was the only avenue of escape. When he
was not heard from for the best part of two days, he was given up for
lost. But late on the second day, who should drive in but this same
George Newman, with an air of triumph and an ecstasy of smiles on his
face! He came bare-headed, having lost his hat in the impetuosity of
that patriotic retreat. The girls hailed him with a storm of acclamation
and instantly took up a collection with which they crowned the hero
with a new straw hat!

Mrs. Cocke, in these times of nervous excitement, was perfectly sure of
her own demeanor in case of irruption by the enemy. She would stand
defiant in the doorway and forbid all entrance. The family tell a story
which the dear mother never denied. One day her son Charley, a lad of
ten years, with some of the servants, was coming back to the stables
with the horses which had been hidden in the woods of Carvin's creek, to
escape the hands of the enemy. The youngsters came galloping down the
road, when some excitable person imagining it a charge of Yankee
cavalry, raised the alarm, and then followed the worst panic Hollins
ever knew. Mrs. Cocke, quietly busy in the pantry, hearing the shrieks,
following an irresistible impulse, left the pantry door wide open and
vanished to some place, she was never quite sure where.

It was Mr. Cocke's custom in those days to send a group of girls in the
omnibus to the Sunday morning service of one of the churches in Salem.
Such was the economic stress of the period that a handsome new hat in
the school produced a sensation. Fortune crowned one of the students
with a beautiful headgear. She wore it to church, and generously, on the
following Sunday put the treasure on the head of a comrade who was
going up to worship. So the ornament became a regular attendant at the
Salem services. Gathered at the church doors were the Salem boys, of
course, and they soon became merrily interested in the new hat. One day
after service, the girls found in the omnibus a note, inquiring: "Who
does that hat belong to?" The owner lives, today, in Blacksburg, Va.
Those trips to Salem ceased long ago, and now in the Hollins Chapel,
regular Sunday evening services are conducted by chaplain pastors from
the various denominations.

In the spring of 1865, pneumonia became epidemic in the school, taking
off six of the pupils and two more in their homes. This disaster caused
a suspension one month before the close of the regular term.

With the fall of the Confederacy, Mr. Cocke had again to face a
condition that seemed the mockery of his hopes. Everywhere were economic
prostration, social disorganization, and pinching poverty. Shall Hollins
keep up the fight? Will the sun of Austerlitz ever rise on her long and
varying battles? What young Institution ever threaded its way through a
wilderness so gloomy or by pits and precipices so dangerous? Hollins
will go on, walking by faith, and its doors shall not be closed, even
for the part of a session. That is the mind of the President. He and
his faculty, though exhausted in means, will face the destitution and
never give up the ship. The session of 1865-6 ran on with forty-five
students. Rates had to be increased, and even with that, the college
would have been compelled to close but for a timely loan from Colonel
Tayloe to buy food. This noble friend and President of the Board of
Trustees had been a comfort to Mr. Cocke from the beginning, and will
continue so for thirty years more. Our great leader did not talk about
his troubles, being always master of himself. Once he made this brief
pathetic admission to his Trustees: "I am so burdened that I do not feel
fit for my work." What can move us to tears like a strong man's grief?
And there stands the ghastly figure of the unfinished Main Building,
mocking his struggles and dreams. For five years now, pine boards have
been nailed up to cover the windows, and not even a porch relieves the
monotony of its ugliness. Two alternatives were before him: first,
reduce the faculty, which is a most deplorable thing to do; second, go
on as we are, but that is bankruptcy and ruin. Hear him: "I will go on;
I will trust in God and the people." He insisted to his Trustees: "We
must not descend to the character of a neighborhood school." Their
sympathies were with him, but they felt unable to cope with the iron
stringencies of the time. He did go on, never lowering a standard or
abating the passionate cry for more room and better equipment. How he
ever pulled through this slough of despond, he himself could not
possibly tell. Of one thing he was in no doubt and it was this, that in
the long night of anguish, there was a precious mystery of heavenly aid.

[Illustration: HOLLINS INSTITUTE

[Main Building Completed 1869. East Building Completed 1856]]

One of the encouraging incidents of this season, was the fact that one
of the finest young scholars in Virginia accepted a call to the
Institute. When Professor Joseph A. Turner, in 1866, consented to become
a member of the faculty, it meant that a finely accomplished man had
confidence in the character and destiny of the College, and that
certified confidence was a tonic to the President's soul. But Hollins is
still in the depths. There is no bracing of firm rock under her feet.
All the officials know that the whole property is in peril of a public
sale. How did the School go on? You must find answer in the
resourcefulness and adamantine will of one great man. Hollins did go on,
and complimentary testimonials from leading scholars in the State began
to be written and spoken. Mr. Cocke was cheered at the generous
recognition and said: "We must lift our standards a little higher than
ever before. Our school should be second to none in the State and we
must reach out for more distant patrons." The tide begins to rise, and
on the horizon there are gleaming hints of a better day. In 1868, Mr.
Cocke secured a loan of $10,000, and by the end of 1869, that nightmare
of the Main Building was transformed into a handsome and completed
edifice. The passing of this melancholy incubus made a new epoch in his
life. It was the cutting of chains from his feet, and the addition of
wings wherewith to fly. The new structure greatly increased the
accommodations, and now begins active propaganda in the South,
acquainting the people with Hollins Institute. Newly risen, like a star
above tempest and cloud, she will shed benignant light on the homes and
daughters of the land. May she go on shining forever!



CHAPTER IV

THE CLEARING SKIES

1870-1880


The torturing issues of the past are now settled. Mr. Cocke will let
them pass to practical oblivion while he presses on to larger
realizations. Of course annoying problems will continue to dog his
steps, but they will not wear the malignant aspect so familiar in the
strenuous years. His ideal is a flying goal, and he will never see his
loved college free from growing pains. The happiest decade of work that
he has yet known is before him. He stands on its threshold with hope
assured, and his face is lit with thanksgiving as he beholds the clouds
receding, and the sunshine flooding all the sky. It is a time to grasp
his hand and shower him with congratulations. He has now completed
twenty-four years of toilsome labor beside the little sulphur spring.
Into the holy enterprise he has grandly flung himself, his property and
his family. Never had a man a more tactful and sympathetic co-worker
than he found in his wife. Without one murmur of complaint she has
shared all his burdens and cares. Her feminine quietness and grace have
matched his masculine push and executive force. In him is a certain
rugged virility which is delightfully supplemented by her charm of
patient gentleness. With a noiseless and tireless efficiency, she has
managed the domestic details, while he has handled the administrative
affairs of the school. In the apportionment of praise, he would resent a
bestowal that made her unequal to himself; nor would he fail to
recognize the services of his children. Since the wedding bells rang,
thirty years ago, nine have come into the home [Joseph J., Leila V.
(Mrs. Joseph A. Turner), Sallie Lewis, Mary Susan (Mrs. C. W. Hayward),
Rosa Pleasants (Mrs. W. R. L. Smith), Charles Henry, Matty L., Lucian
H., and Bessie (Mrs. J. P. Barbee)]. Brought up in an atmosphere of
service, all of them have, for longer or shorter periods, loyally served
the institution.

The new session of 1870-'71 began with the registration of eighty girls.
The Trustees at this juncture stepped to the front with a cheering note,
announcing that the Institute was "Getting on a firm basis," and
expressing their intense gratification at its increasing popularity and
patronage. They emphasized their high appreciation of the system of
instruction, and the thoroughgoing diligence of the President and his
faculty. All honor to these men who were sensitive to merit, and who had
the grace to crown it with praise. These men also had learned that human
progress is not much accelerated by whips of fault-finding and rebuke.
In all their official records there is not an instance of clash between
them and the President, nor even a hint of cross-purpose or loss of good
understanding. When we think of the rough road they had travelled
together, and the bewildering tangle of issues with which they had
grappled, this concord is as surprising as it is honorable. An obstinate
and wrangling Board could have crippled him cruelly. These harmonies
were due to two facts: first, the absolute confidence of these gentlemen
in the judgment and business capacity of Mr. Cocke; second, his
reciprocal confidence in them, accompanied by the most cordial respect
and courtesy. At the Board meetings through this decade they will not
forget the value of commendatory resolutions, and it is pleasing to
mention now, that this congenial partnership never knew a jar in all the
after years.

Never was sunshine more grateful to the flowers, or music more cheering
to a tired spirit, than were the tokens of the spreading fame of
Hollins to the soul of Mr. Cocke. Golden appreciations by distinguished
men began to be spoken and written. Here is a tribute from Professor
Edward S. Joynes, of Washington College, Lexington, Virginia: "I am
intimately acquainted with the history of Hollins. It is an Institution
of the very highest character, certainly second to none of its kind in
this State. It has existed for upward of twenty-five years and been
conducted upon the very highest standards of moral and intellectual
education. Its success and permanence have been due to its merits alone.
It is an unendowed Institution, founded originally by benevolence and
supported by public patronage, and by the energy and economy of its
administration. The President is a man of ability and of the highest
personal character, and no Institution in this State has a higher claim
on the public confidence." Dr. John A. Broaddus, of the Baptist
Theological Seminary, Greenville, South Carolina, wrote his estimate: "I
know of no better female school in the whole country, and very few, that
for a moment, can be compared with Hollins. The instruction takes an
ample range, and is able, skillful and honest." The Rev. Dr. J. L.
Burrows, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia, stated
his view: "In beauty and healthfulness of location; in attractiveness
and adaptableness of its buildings; in tasteful adornment of grounds;
in the wild grandeur of surrounding scenery, Hollins Institute occupies
one of the most charming and sequestered nooks among the far-famed
mineral springs of Virginia. In the comprehensiveness and thoroughness
of its course of study; in the ability and devotion of its instructors;
in the carefulness and homefulness of its domestic economy; in its
seclusion from the distractions of fashion and social disquietude, I
regard this Institution as one of the very best for girls on this
continent."

Many such heartening notes by University professors, ministers, editors
and heads of colleges for girls, began to sound forth as early as 1868.
Golden opinions, rightly deserved and rapidly spreading, brought the
natural result. The session of 1869-'70 opened with twenty-one girls
from nine Southern States, not including Virginia. The year following,
the number grew to twenty-eight from the nine states. The session of
1873-'74 reported thirty-nine girls from thirteen states outside of
Virginia, and that of 1875-'76 enrolled fifty-three from fourteen
states. The session of 1877-'78 registered a total of one hundred and
seventeen students, seventy of them coming from other states. This
noticeable decline in the percentage of Virginia girls is easily
accounted for by the increasing competition of the new and excellent
schools for girls, now arisen in the Old Dominion. During this decade,
the fair fame of Hollins spread swiftly, and from this time on, a
gradually increasing and uninterrupted stream of pupils, from all points
of the compass, poured smilingly through her doors. Nor did her native
commonwealth fail in admiration and generous support.

You can imagine the emotions of the founder in this happy emergence from
the dilemmas and horrible incertitudes of the past twenty-five years.
His bearing was calm and undemonstrative, while in his bosom the peans
of thanksgiving go up to the great White Throne. But on the gladness of
these days, a blight of bereavement was about to fall. In 1871, the
brilliant and able Professor Turner had married Miss Leila Virginia
Cocke, an accomplished daughter of the President. He was a shining light
in the faculty, and on him great hopes centered. For two years his
health declined, and on May 5th, 1878, gloom settled on Hollins. Great
was the grief at the going of the beloved scholar and teacher. His
twelve years of service began in the dark days of 1866, and closed in
the full tide of victory. The memory of him will never perish from the
hearts of pupils and friends who almost idolized him.

An event in 1874 meant much relief and comfort to our veteran educator,
amid his manifold labors and cares. Charles H. Cocke, his son, now in
early manhood, capable, courageous and completely responsive to the
father's wish, took on himself the duties of business manager of the
Institution. Here was a much needed and most grateful division of
responsibilities, and the competent new official magnified his calling
to the uttermost. The thoroughness and courtesy with which he handled
affairs, won for him the confidence and affection of the girls.

Have we ever found Mr. Cocke in a state of perfect satisfaction with
things as they are? Never. He is a stranger to that experience, and will
ever remain so. When we met him forty years ago as an assistant
professor in Richmond College, his slogan was, "Betterment, enlargement,
progress." The urgencies of an early ideal are still upon him, and he
will never count himself to have attained. This fact touches him
pathetically, now that he is nearing his sixtieth year. Unrealized aims
add somber hues to every earnest life.

  "All I aspired to be
  And was not, comforts me."

The equipment of growing Hollins is far from complete; much remains to
be done. The spirit of advance gives him no rest. He has a vision, and
"forward" is ever his imperious challenge to things as they are.
Absolutely sure is he that his beloved College, with its reasonably low
rates, and its high standards, is on the sure road to greatness in human
service.

All through this decade his brain had been active with schemes of
improvements. In the early seventies, the Baptists of Virginia were
freshly aroused on the subject of education, and made large plans for
strengthening Richmond College. Taking cue from this new denominational
interest, the Trustees of Hollins Institute determined to go before the
public and ask for a contribution of $100,000. A financial agent went
among the people with argument and appeal. The result was disappointing
and the agent was withdrawn. The failure was depressing, but by no means
unnerving. From the beginning of the "Seminary" in 1842, the
intermittent calls on public benevolence had never met with notable
response. Nor is this fact any real ground for reproach. The mood of the
general public had never been toned and cultivated in the interests of
liberal education. From first to last the benevolent gifts to Hollins
amounted to but $35,000, exactly half of which had come from Mrs. Ann
Hollins and her husband. In the light of the recent failure Mr. Cocke
saw that there was no further ground of hope from this source of supply.
The school's expanding reputation and growing patronage gratified him
exceedingly, but the financial situation excited disquieting
apprehensions. The Trustees had no funds in the treasury; the
Institution was making no money, and their debt was growing every year.
The mind of the President was filled with foreboding and grave anxiety.

[Illustration: MRS. CHARLES L. COCKE]

Let it now be said that not one dollar had ever been added to the debt
by any form of extravagance. No head of an Institution ever practiced a
more rigid economy in projecting improvements. Not even a fancy
catalogue was ever sent out from Hollins. His severe frugality, and the
constantly demanded investment of his personal means in improvements,
actually limited the reasonable privileges and gratifications of his
family. Never did a family bear restrictions more cheerfully and
uncomplainingly. It was not in Mr. Cocke to rebel against the law of
sacrifice, but once, in his annual report to the Trustees in 1879, he
permitted himself to say: "It is a hard case, however, that a man should
have all his means so wound up in an Institution, conducted for the
public, that he cannot command enough money to give his family anything
at all, except hard work and self-denial."

In 1846, by express contract with the Trustees, Mr. Cocke became
Principal and Steward of the Seminary without stipulated salary. Neither
he nor any one of his sons and daughters, who worked so loyally with
him, ever received a salary from the Board. That initial agreement
illustrates the unbargaining generosity of the man. He pressed on the
attention of the Trustees the certainty of continuous demand for
enlarged facilities. To provide for this, it was agreed that the revenue
from the boarding department should go to the Trustees, who would devote
it to that purpose. How ridiculously small that revenue was likely to
be, may be gathered from the fact that a student was boarded at the rate
of $5.00 a month! Through all the subsequent years this principle of
benevolent rates had never been abandoned. The figures were necessarily
increased, but only with the view of keeping out of debt. Now what
possible promise was there in this arrangement for increasing
facilities? Absolutely none. So the long issue of events proved. By the
same agreement, Mr. Cocke was to pay his teachers' salaries and maintain
himself and family out of the tuition funds. What remained in the
treasury after the teachers were paid was his. Out of that residue, it
soon became evident, must come much of the means for repairs and
improvements. There was no other source from which to draw. Improvements
were made, and self-denial paid the bills.

Now, while this involved inconveniences, it did not, of course, mean the
making of gifts to the Trustees. In just business fashion, they
recorded each outlay of this kind as a loan to themselves. As a
consequence they went steadily in debt to Mr. Cocke, until by 1864 they
owed him $7,785. This included the $1,500 which he lent to them in 1846.
This curious financial arrangement continued, unavoidable and regretted
by all concerned. In 1868, the debt of the Trustees ran up to $17,473,
and in 1876 it reached the sum of $22,094. Why had not these claims been
settled? We have seen the source of the Trustees' revenue; how could
they pay? The $35,000 raised by public gift had been given to the
Trustees, who invested every cent of it in new buildings and
accommodations. Not a dollar of it ever touched the hand of Mr. Cocke.
On the contrary, as noted above, the growing plant had commandeered much
of his own slow, hard earnings. Either this undesirable order of things
had to go on, or Mr. Cocke had to abandon his dear ambition. But the
time had come for better adjustments. He felt that the multiplying years
required that he think of the interests of his family. With these views
and wishes, the Trustees were in their usual cordial sympathy. The
Institution was their property. They were in debt to Mr. Cocke in a
large and yearly increasing sum. They had no possible way of liquidating
that debt. What could they do? What ought they to have done? They solved
the question by offering to give Mr. Cocke a deed to their Institution
in satisfaction of their debt. The proposition was declined. He did not
want to own the College. Such had never been his aim. He saw that the
move would be a relief to the Trustees, but a disadvantage to the
school. He deprecated the idea of the College going into private
ownership. The associated wisdom and responsibility of a good Board of
Trustees he regarded as one of its best assets. Moreover, what could
such a deal effect in the way of relieving his financial embarrassments?
He could not see, and so the troublesome question was left unsolved. The
school was prosperous, his heart was serenely grateful; and this
personal matter could wait.



CHAPTER V

EXPANSION AND ACHIEVEMENT

1880-1901


The projection, building, and safe establishment of Cornell University,
in the State of New York, was essentially the work of that remarkable
man, Andrew D. White. In the face of many obstacles and antagonisms he
founded it, named it in honor of its chief benefactor, was its first
President and led its fortunes until he saw it take rank among the
famous Institutions of the United States. Another famous man performed
the same kind of service for his people in the South. The founder and
builder of Hollins Institute was long a voice in the wilderness. You
have seen the stern, invincible purpose of this man in the face of an
apathetic public, painfully straitened finances, epidemics, and the
desolations of war. Several times his enterprise trembled on the verge
of ruin. But in him was that iron quality that never knew when it was
beaten. Forty years of toil in the educational field sat lightly on him,
thanks to the natural vigor of a well knit body and the resilient tone
of a well endowed mind. We come now to the last lap of the journey,
which most gratefully takes the form of a triumphal progress. In the
good providence of God, the next twenty-one years were to be filled with
expansion and achievement. His years multiplied, but there was no
slowing down of energy and contriving strategy. Destiny put him
benignantly into a life-long association with the young, and he could
not grow old. To thousands of us still, no figure on the Hollins
quadrangle ever stands out so statuesque as his large form, becomingly
clad in a Prince Albert suit, and surmounted with a favorite tall beaver
hat. As he walked in unconscious majesty, one could hear that resonant
voice, issuing orders or bestowing courtly greetings. The grace and
evenness of the old Virginia gentleman sat on him like a crown, making
him ever accessible to student and friend. He was a worker, and he hated
idleness as sin. Unrelentingly he demanded work. Never a student was
allowed to escape that imperious law. For this his girls gave him honor.
Well did they understand that Hollins was not for fashionable finish, or
for money-squandering, but for downright honest study and true adornment
of womanhood. He requested parents not to encourage extravagance in
their daughters by putting in their hands undue sums of money to spend.

The sessions in the early eighties showed a rising volume of patronage
from the Southern states, a condition that was to go from more to more.
His chief resulting gratification was in the obvious awakening of
Southern people to better appreciation of the higher culture of women.
Along with this pleasing discovery, however, he began to realize a
serious barrier to the task at Hollins, created by the defective
preparatory training in the primary and secondary schools of the
country. In later years the difficulty began to disappear. To him,
education consisted in the acquisition of knowledge, the training of
faculty, and more especially, the broadening and multiplication of
powers. His students must think, reason, and understand. That is the top
of culture. Did he show any disposition to remain satisfied with the
standards already erected? Not by any means. This is a growing world
where nothing is stationary but a cemetery. The developing impulse in
the mind of the Founder would never subside while the perfect was
unattained. Even in this good summertime of 1920, nineteen years after
his going, the mighty momentum he gave to the College operates with
undiminished force. One does not expect spectacular variety in the life
of an educator, particularly in one whose labors for fifty years were
focalized on one spot. The philosopher Kant never went away from the
place of his birth, nor figured once in the publicities of his time, and
yet the patient thinker has won undying fame among the intellectuals of
the world. So we shall not find abundant incident at Hollins, but we
shall know that its organizing genius is ever active and sounding the
note of progress.

On the 15th of June, 1882, was adopted a new adjustment with the
Trustees. Mr. Cocke was still unwilling to take over the property in
payment of the Trustees' debt, but he had come to the conclusion that it
might be wise to take a lease on it for fifteen years. To this the
Trustees agreed, and the lease was duly written in favor of Charles L.
Cocke and his son, Charles H. Cocke. At this time the debt due Mr. Cocke
was $42,212, and by the terms of the contract, that sum might be
increased to $50,000. An annual rental of $3,500 was to be due the
Trustees, which was offset by the interest due on their $50,000 debt. In
this arrangement the only right reserved by the Trustees was that of
sanction of all improvements that might be undertaken during the period
of the lease. On the very day when this agreement was written, Mr. Cocke
submitted a plan for a Chapel. This was promptly approved by the
Trustees. The work began, and soon the sacred edifice was an
accomplished fact. A little later the open grates and hot air furnaces
in the buildings were abolished in favor of steam heat. The limestone
spring and the pump in the yard were abandoned to give place to a
reservoir on the side of Tinker Mountain, which supplied running water
on every floor. Needed philosophical and chemical apparatus were
forthcoming, and a beautiful Art and Music hall was built on the site of
Carvin's rock castle. Then followed a new and enlarged dining room with
all its appurtenances. The Trustees acquiesced cheerfully in all these
betterments, but they looked on the vast increase of their debt in a
sort of helpless wonderment. How should they ever meet the huge
obligation? While they forbore to put a check on this advance, they were
sure that there could be only one way of ultimate settlement.

In July, 1882, came the first great heartbreak his own household had
ever known. His daughter, Rosa Pleasants Cocke, wife of the Rev. W. R.
L. Smith, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Virginia,
passed to her dreamless sleep. She was young, beautiful, universally
loved,--the fairest bloom of queenly womanhood. She left a little Edith,
who, twenty months later, went to rest with her mother on the green hill
near Hollins.

The enrollment of one hundred and seventy-six girls in the session of
1888-'89, was the largest in the history of the school. At this date the
President found, by careful comparison, that during the past forty-seven
years, the average attendance had been greater than that of any other
school for girls in the State. The session of 1889-'90 registered two
hundred and nine students, and for the first time since 1864
applications had to be declined. The only minor chord that marred the
general joy sounded in the troubled minds of the Trustees. In his own
private reflections, Mr. Cocke had to confess that the solution offered
by the Trustees looked like the obstinate, unavoidable necessity. About
this time he made known to the Trustees and friends, a compliment to the
Institution, recently paid by the National Bureau of Education at
Washington. In a report of that body concerning schools for girls in
Virginia, Hollins was named the foremost Institution for girls, the best
known and the most effective in the State. The report continues: "There
is an admirable foundation already laid at Hollins Institute ... for
a woman's college of the type of Vassar, Smith, Wellesley and Bryn
Mawr ... in a beautiful and healthful region with ample buildings for a
great beginning.... An investment of a million would place here a great
school of the highest type, and perpetuate the well-earned reputation
of this well-known Institute,--for the past forty years one of the most
notable of Southern schools." This fine appraisement, coming from an
independent and impartial source, was unspeakably pleasing to the man
around whom this school had grown, and he could but cherish the hope
that some large-minded man of wealth would arise to follow the
suggestion of endowment made in the quotation.

A rare sensation was sprung on the Hollins community in the celebration
of Mr. and Mrs. Cocke's Golden Wedding, December 31, 1890. All unknown
to them, a group of loving hearts and hands had prepared an elaborate
and impressive program. But some days before the brilliant event,
mysterious hints, furtive interviews and beaming expectancy gave away
the secret. Mr. Cocke himself began the jubilee in the early dawn, by
slipping on the finger of his sleeping wife a handsome plain gold ring.
All day, by letter and telegram, came happy congratulations and "bridal
presents" from former pupils and friends. In the evening, Hollins took
on unprecedented splendor with illuminations everywhere. Chandeliers,
windows and doors were hung with ivy, and over the door of the main
parlor, in large green figures, were placed the dates, 1840-1890. At
7:30 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Cocke took their stand in the large parlor,
thronged by loved ones and friends. Prayer was made by Rev. Dr. G. W.
Beale, pastor of Enon Baptist Church and chaplain of the college. Then,
the Rev. Dr. E. C. Dargan of Charleston, S. C., a former pastor of Enon
and college chaplain, made an affectionate address. Among the
appropriate remarks is the following quotation: "This great school, the
love and labor of your life, speaks for itself, both in glad presence
and widely extended absence. From over all the land, and indeed from far
distant lands, the pupils of Hollins send their love and
congratulations. Through the willing service of one who has labored long
at your side,[1] they present to you this book, containing the
signatures of hundreds, who came to learn of you. Their affection also
presents to you this portrait, intending that it shall be a perpetual
heirloom, at once a splendid souvenir of this day and a monument of
their lasting gratitude."

  [1] Mrs. Eliza S. Childs, Associate Principal.

As these words were spoken, two of his little granddaughters, Thalia
Hayward and Leila Turner, touched a wire, and the veil dropped,
revealing the fine life-size portrait of Mr. Cocke, described in the
first chapter of this book. It was the work of his accomplished
daughter-in-law, Mrs. Lucian H. Cocke of Roanoke, Va. Mr. Cocke made
brief and tender acknowledgment of the honor done him, and then his
son, Mr. Lucian H. Cocke, expressed in few words the same sentiment.
Professor Wm. H. Pleasants read a poem, written for the occasion by a
former pupil and teacher of Hollins. Two other short speeches were made
by admiring friends and Dr. Dargan pronounced the benediction.

In every particular, this program was beautifully conceived and
gracefully executed, making one of the most felicitous and memorable
events ever known in the life of the Institution.

On the occasion of their meeting in July, 1896, the Trustees signalized
the completion of a half century of service by renewed expressions of
admiration and love for Mr. Cocke. One year later they returned to the
theme and took action which gave the most general delight. They passed
two resolutions: "First, that in honor of President Cocke, while living,
and after his death, in memory of his great achievements in education,
the 21st of February, his birthday, be set apart as a legal holiday in
Hollins Institute. Second, that the young ladies be permitted to
celebrate the day in such manner as may be deemed by the officers of the
school appropriate to the occasion." Such was the origin of Founder's
Day, only three happy celebrations of which the beloved President was
destined to see.

The eventide drew gently on, and that good, gray head was crowned with
glory and honor. His own health was still fine, but his dear family was
drawing near to a land of shadows. Three times in a very short period
the billows of bereavement went over him. An avalanche of grief fell on
his stout heart in the sudden loss of three of his children. Mrs. Leila
Virginia Turner, on October 21st, 1899, laid her burden down and was put
to rest beside her husband on the green hill. On the 3rd of May, 1900,
the noble Manager, Charles H. Cocke, passed away, and was gathered to
the loved ones gone before. Miss Sallie Lewis Cocke died on July 29th,
1900, and was added to the silent company of brothers and sisters.

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." With chastened tenderness and
submissive resignation, Mr. Cocke held his course as one who gets
support from an invisible world. The concerns of the Institute pressed
on him, and he must still take hold on life's affairs. The lease, in
1897, had been extended for a new period of ten years. But, obviously,
it was now full time that his business relations to the Trustees be
brought to a definite and final settlement. The issue, pending through
many years, could be deferred no longer, and on June 2nd, 1900, a
radical change in the old order was made. The Trustees found themselves
in debt to Mr. Cocke $101,253, in addition to the $50,000 in bonds
already executed. Not yet had they been able even to pay the $1,500
loaned by him in 1846. He gave up his notes and bonds to the Trustees,
and they in turn gave over the Institution. Thus the Board of Trustees,
after a period of forty-five years, went out of existence, and Hollins
became the property of Mr. Cocke. It was not the consummation that he
wished, but there was no other alternative.

The venerable man, now in his 81st year, had on his hands the great
Institution he had so laboriously builded. If he could have called back
forty years, the responsibility would have rested on strong shoulders
and a confident brain. But the competencies of the earlier years were
spent, and age could only plan for the activities in which it should not
share. He stood a noble, picturesque figure on the peak of life's work,
looking backward with thankful satisfaction, and then wistfully forward
into those years when other hands, hearts and brains should shape and
guide the Institution. Not with one touch of gloomy foreboding did he
make this provision. He believed that his children and grandchildren
would loyally cherish his ideals and aspirations. They would hold the
legacy sacred, maintain its standards, and keep it true to its aims. In
the mellowing days of life's late afternoon this confidence gave him
comfort and peace. Human affection played around him soft and tender as
summer sunset on the mountains, but it could not be doubted that among
the deepest satisfactions of his soul was the conviction that his
successors would do him the real homage of preserving the fruitage of
his long, unselfish labors.

His form was unbent and his physical force gave him hope of ten more
years of life. It was not to be. In the summer of 1898 a violent
carbuncle brought him perilously near the brink of the great mystery.
Two years later, warning symptoms came upon him suddenly. They did not
yield to careful treatment, and with premonitions of the end, he decided
in January, 1901, to go to the home of his son, Lucian H. Cocke, in
Roanoke. This arrangement was his own device. He thought thereby to save
Hollins from the anxiety which his illness would create, and from the
shock of its probable end. What could be lovelier than the two letters
that follow?

                              "Hollins, Virginia, February 21, 1901.

"Our Dear Mr. Cocke:--

"We, the members of your Faculty,--or rather of your great household
here at Hollins,--deeply touched by your never-ceasing thought of us,
and your intense interest in the work of our classes which prompted you
even in the hour of great bodily distress to send us from your bed of
sickness a message of comfort and encouragement, feel that we can not
suffer this, your birthday, to pass by without some expression of our
gratitude and sympathy.

"We can never cease to be grateful for the kindly wisdom of your counsel
which has directed us always unerringly to what is true and right, and
for the firm guidance of your hand which has unfalteringly led us
through the dark places of doubt and despair. Though we miss your wise
head and guiding hand, we shall ever feel the inspiration of your spirit
and the silent influence of your example; and trusting in that Divine
Providence which has so long directed and prospered the labors of your
brain and hand, we will endeavor to carry out, along your own lines, the
work which you have so nobly planned and which you are now forced to lay
aside.

"In this time of your physical weakness and bodily suffering, our
thoughts are often with you, and we send you this message assuring you
of our sympathy, both as a body and as individuals. May our Heavenly
Father take you in His keeping and give to you unwavering faith and
comfort and peace.

"With the expression of our affectionate regard.

                                              "J. M. MCBRYDE, JR.

  "On behalf of your fellow laborers, the Faculty of
  Hollins Institute."


"To The Faculty and Pupils of Hollins Institute:

"It is now nearly two months since I have been with you. During this
time I have been prostrated by great infirmities of body, and my
weakness still is extreme. During my illness, however, there has been no
time when I have ceased to have the welfare of each of you upon my mind
and heart. Of all the expressions of sympathy that have come to me, none
have been so comforting and gratifying as those that have come from my
faculty and pupils. I wish to extend to each one of you my sincere
appreciation of your earnest solicitude on my account. From every source
the information comes to me of the orderly conduct of affairs at
Hollins--teachers and pupils in their accustomed places, performing in a
faithful and conscientious manner each duty that the occasion demands.
It would be difficult indeed to adequately express to you the
gratification that this information brings to me. For many years it has
been my earnest desire to so conduct the affairs of the Institution,
that whether I was present or absent there should be no abatement in the
earnest purpose and devotion to duty which I have sought to make a part
of the atmosphere of Hollins. I can not express to you a proper idea of
what a pleasure it has been to me to know that this ideal is being
exemplified in your conduct, and I feel that in my declining years I am
greatly blessed in having your sympathy and co-operation in the proper
conduct of the work which has been on my heart for these many years.

"I trust that under the care of a favoring Providence, I may yet be able
to be with you, and exchange once more the kindly greetings that have
been a delight to me; but should it be otherwise, I always feel well
assured that I can rely with confidence upon you to give to the
Institution and the work with which I have been connected, the same
devotion and loyalty which you have, without stint, accorded to me.

"May our Father in Heaven preserve each one of you in His holy keeping.

                                       [Signature: Charles L. Cocke]

  "March 10th, 1901."

It was on May 4th, 1901, that the end came. In the early morning of May
6th, the body was brought to Hollins and placed in the Chapel. Mr. Cocke
had planned the two funeral services of the day. The first was held in
the Chapel, for the family, faculty and students, who crowded the room.
It was conducted by the Rev. Dr. F. H. Martin, Baptist pastor at Salem,
assisted by ministers of the Presbyterian, Lutheran and Episcopal
churches. At the beginning and close of the service were sung his
favorite hymns: "How Firm a Foundation," and "My Hope is Built on
Nothing Less."

At 4 p.m., the second service was held at Enon Church, which was
thronged by neighbors and friends. The pastor, the Rev. J. M. Luck,
presided, and after the singing of "There is a Fountain Filled With
Blood," remarks followed by the pastor, the Rev. Dr. W. E. Hatcher, and
Mr. William Ellyson of Richmond, and the Rev. Dr. P. T. Hale of Roanoke.
The service closed with "My Jesus, as Thou Wilt," and then the
procession moved up the hill in a sudden shower of rain. As the casket
was lowered, the great assemblage sang softly, "There's a Land That is
Fairer Than Day," and the Rev. T. J. Shipman offered the closing prayer.
Two impressive incidents followed. A procession of Hollins girls,
dressed in white and bearing white carnations, came up the slope and
covered the grave with flowers. In the same moment the setting sun broke
through the clouds and bathed the scene in a radiance of glory. Dr.
Hatcher, with felicitous tact, called attention to the shining symbol of
heaven's benediction on the proceedings of that solemn day.



CHAPTER VI

THE PRESIDENT AND HIS GIRLS


A careful examination of the catalogues and school registers of the
early years leads us to believe that by June, 1896, when Mr. Cocke
delivered his semi-centennial address, he had seen under training at
Hollins not fewer than 5,000 young women. To the privileges of the
school he had welcomed the children and grandchildren of his first
pupils. As terms of study closed, what did this host of girls think of
the Head of the Institution? Today in thousands of homes throughout the
nation, the name of Hollins unseals, as by magic, a well-spring of
precious and tender reminiscence. With unanimous devotion, the girls who
knew him, honored and loved the name of Charles L. Cocke. Hardly did
Tinker and Dead Man Mountain loom so large to them as the form of the
venerable man. They honored him because he was strict and absolutely
just; because he held high standards of school decorum and culture, and
insisted on hard work. He was too honorable to take the daughters of
patrons, and allow waste of time and opportunity. His stringent demands
may sometimes have caused irritation, but the good sense of the student
was certain to react to grateful recognition of his wisdom. The after
years never fail to evoke loving acknowledgment in the heart of a girl
whose teacher requires her to make good in her studies. The Hollins
girls loved Mr. Cocke because he was uniformly considerate and kind. The
fatherly interest in his heart, not one was allowed to doubt. Daily he
met them at the evening worship. Often has the visiting "old girl"
spoken of those unforgotten prayers. He welcomed them in his office,
listened to their requests, responding with sound advice and
encouragement. Arbitrariness and severity were foreign to his nature,
but all knew that the standards of conduct and study must be maintained.

How proud he was of the distinctions won by his girls! In the early
eighties five of them, in the English literature classes, took the
Shakespeare prize offered in London.

[Illustration: "GOOD MORNING, 'GYRLS'"]

The class room work was ever the major interest, but beyond this was a
large range of activity and diversion. In 1855 the Euzelian (Love of
Wisdom) Society was organized for debate, recitations and essays.
Increasing numbers in 1874 required the formation of the Euepian (Pure
Diction) Society. Still memorable are those exciting joint debates,
held occasionally by the Societies, along the years. In these latter
days, they have given place to other disciplines more in harmony with
the practical spirit of the age. Class organizations, Sororities, Clubs,
Student Government, the College "Spinster" and Magazine, monopolize the
spare hours. The Young Women's Christian Association maintains its
prominence and usefulness.

But the old-time diversions do not pass. Those glorious romping trips up
Carvin's Creek to the Falls, and the annual holiday climb to the top of
Tinker in October, together with the strenuous games and sports on the
campus, will continue to furnish happy memories.

The democratic spirit of the Institution Mr. Cocke constantly
cultivated, and with profound satisfaction he welcomed students from the
homes of rich and poor. All entered on terms of equality in privilege
and opportunity. The rich girl of common sense and industry won
popularity and honor; and by the same token the poor girl gained the
love of classmates and the medals of distinction. At no institution was
there more contempt for snobbery or for the spirit of favoritism. Moral
and intellectual worth were the sole tests of credit and high standing.

His interest followed the students, and he smiled at the tidings of
their usefulness. He counted on their private and public values in
society. Some, he was fond of saying, had become the wives of ministers,
of lawyers and judges, of officers of the Army and of the Navy, of
political leaders and of distinguished men in all ranks and professions.
With pride, he spoke of those who were teaching in the schools and
colleges, and of those who had gone into the far mission fields of the
world. In his heart the grand old man felt: "They are all my daughters,
and the sweetest benedictions be on every one." You will never meet the
daughters of Hollins, old or young, whose faces do not light up at the
mention of his name, or that of the dear place where many of life's
holiest memories were stored. When old Hollins girls meet--whether as
bosom cronies, after years of separation, or as strangers at some
Exposition, gazing through tears at a portrait--a listener need but
catch fragments of their reminiscences to know how Mr. Cocke's
personality glows in the memory of his "gyrls."

"Could we ever forget how he used to read the hymns at evening worship?
Nobody else could, or can, read them as he did:

  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah--
  My hope is built on nothing less,
  Than Jesus' blood and righteousness--
  In the Cross of Christ I glory,
  Towering o'er the wrecks of time--

This last always with an unconscious lifting of the head in his vision
of the glory one day to be revealed. It meant much to look, once a day,
on a colossal faith like his. Was it due to those unbroken, silent
trysts with his Savior in the chapel, in the early morning?"

"Latin and mathematics were always second to the Bible with Mr. Cocke,"
testifies another. "He was certainly never afraid of the 'hard-grained
muses' for us. I once heard him say, with a touch of regret, 'The next
generation in our country will produce many more readers, but fewer
scholars.' He revered true learning and made us revere it, however
little some of us possessed it. Scholarship with him was no musty work,
smelling of the midnight oil. He never laughed at it as odd or pedantic.
It was, in his mind, never dissociated from service; but scholarship was
a high thing, and he flung out the work as a challenge to the best
within us.

"One now laughs to recall her own mental protests, as a new girl, when
Mr. Cocke would so earnestly tell her fellow-students that they would be
leaders in their communities, in their states. 'How mistaken Mr. Cocke
is about this,' I would say to myself. 'He doesn't know this year's
girls. He is thinking about those women who shone out so brilliantly
here two, four, ten, thirty years ago--those stars in the crown of
Hollins. But these girls are just ordinary people. The best of them
don't even know their lessons every time--not to mention the rest of us.
They could never lead communities. Great women would be necessary for
that.' But those girls _have_ been real leaders, just as Mr. Cocke said.
They were nothing but girls, just like other girls, but they did, many
of them, go forth to lead and to lead straight. It may be that they had
from him some touch of his power; it may be that he opened their eyes to
the fact that there is, after all, nobody else to do most of these
things except just plain humanity. There really is nobody else, you
know.

"And Mr. Cocke's dignity withal--how cheap have many other men looked to
my eyes when set beside my image of him! It is like that fabled
measuring rod which made inflated pride shrink to its true stature. Mr.
Cocke was the only man I ever saw who really seemed equal to wearing a
high hat. I have watched the throng of the genteel coming down Broadway
in their Sunday best and have thought, 'Not a man of you looks right in
it--looks wholly free from affectation.' To him it was as natural as the
crown of white hair beneath it.

"Imperious sometimes? Yes. I recall once, certainly. That new invention,
the telephone, had been installed at Hollins. It was wonderful,
enabling one to talk to the depot agent at Cloverdale, _three_ miles
away. For the first few days of the new 'fixture,' Miss Matty had
attended to all the preliminaries, so Mr. Cocke had not realized just
what these preliminaries were, or that any were necessary. I saw him
walk up to the transmitter and speak into it, without ringing the bell,
asking a question of the agent. No response, of course. He spoke again.
The same dead silence. Then he right royally tapped the transmitter as
with a rod of office and commanded, 'Here, _answer_ me!' Although I knew
that the ringing of the bell was essential, I had the feeling that some
response _must_ come when Mr. Cocke spoke like that.

"By means of credit and otherwise, he helped me and helped other girls
from my section of Virginia who had less ready money than craving for an
education. The work of one of these, as Foreign Missionary, has been so
good and so big that I love to think that in her, Hollins may have its
reward for what it did for the rest of us. But so utterly did Mr. Cocke
ignore all such benefits conferred by himself that I used to think he
surely must not know about these things, that they must have all been
transacted in the privacy of Mr. Charley's business office. The
President looked so far above any money considerations; and still he
must have been a wonderful financier. Who else could have found the
means of building and maintaining that great Institution without aid of
church or state or millionaire? I never know what to say when asked by
school men how Hollins was financed in the old days. The means must have
been brought down by prayer from Heaven somehow.

"We talk much of the prudence that keeps at a safe distance from the
plague of influenza. That is right, often. But when LaGrippe came from
Russia in 1889 and invaded Hollins, I saw how the suffering was, to some
of the girls, far outweighed by the honor and joy of having Mr. Cocke
himself make the rounds to visit them as if he cared. Cared? I have
looked out into the semi-darkness of the campus and seen that stately
figure, with bowed head, walking up and down beneath the window of the
infirmary, where some girl lay extremely ill, moving to and fro, far
into the night, in a vigil, which, let me say it with reverence, has
made it easier to believe that close to all earth's pains,

  "Standeth One within the shadow,
  Keeping watch above His own."

                                                            E. P. C.

Such was the inner life of Hollins. It was and is the loving fellowship
and co-operative industry of a big family, consecrated to true culture,
good citizenship and human progress. It was the life-work of the Good
President, to cheer and help his girls onward to the realization of
these noble ideals.

One day in May, 1901, the sad tidings of Mr. Cocke's death reached them.
Out of the multitude of letters that came to Hollins, all bearing the
same message of sympathetic grief, only a few can be subjoined.

    "It is sad, and almost unbearable, to think of Hollins without Mr.
    Cocke. And yet, our grief at his death has, mingled with it, a
    spirit of thanksgiving for his life. We are so glad that we came
    under the influence of that life. I was so young when I first went
    to Hollins, and Hollins was my home for so long, that its influence,
    the life-example of Mr. Cocke, all, indeed, that made up the
    strength and beauty of those days, are woven into every fibre of my
    being, have become a part of my very life, so that I know I am
    better for having known Hollins, and Mr. Cocke."

                                                            R. B.

    "For a long time I have realized that I owe more to the influence of
    my teachers and friends at Hollins than to all the text-books I have
    ever opened, and today I count it one of the greatest blessings of
    my life that it was in the pure, elevating atmosphere of Hollins
    that I grew into womanhood. To dear Mr. Cocke, the Founder, the
    Head, the Life of Hollins, I do now and ever shall feel the deepest
    gratitude, and shall ever think of him with reverence, so high has
    always been my regard for him. Hundreds of women all over the land
    are sorrowing that they will see his noble face no more; for we, his
    old pupils, have lost a benefactor, a teacher, a friend."

                                                         M. W. C.

    "Indeed, a course so nobly run can be as fitly congratulated on its
    close--a close pertaining not merely to the finite conditions which
    fetter it here, but which, freeing it from these, ushers its powers,
    refined, magnified, glorified, into the blessed sphere of attainment
    awaiting those who have steadily followed the steps of the Master in
    ceaseless effort for the good of man. It is not the note of
    lamentation that accords with this grand freeing and glorious
    entrance of a friend of man, a soldier of the Cross, into the
    kingdom he has won: we rather shout our acclamations for the triumph
    of our friend, and drop the tear only that we are for a moment shut
    from the comfort of his countenance. We all, in fullest degree,
    offer our love and attachment, founded on unspeakable memories of
    early and lasting life."

                                                         B. D. F.

    "I am only one of the hundreds of girls who loved Mr. Cocke dearly,
    and honored him beyond the power of words to express. I feel that I
    loved him particularly well, more than others did; but perhaps many
    others feel the same way. I never knew any other man whose religion
    showed so plainly in his daily life. It always seemed to me that he
    walked with God. Hollins will never be the same again to the old
    girls."

                                                         L. J. M.

    "I feel sure that all you dear Hollins people know how fully my
    heart is with you at this time; but I feel that I must give some
    outward expression to the love and sympathy that I feel. Along with
    thousands of other old Hollins girls, I know what a great loss the
    world has sustained, and what a great and lasting grief has come to
    all of us who knew and loved and revered Mr. Cocke. To think of the
    thousands of minds and souls he has helped to strengthen and fit out
    for life's work! His opportunity was great, and he made the most of
    it,--and what higher praise can be given to any man?"

                                                      B. P. M. T.

    "I have been more distressed than I can tell you to hear of dear Mr.
    Cocke's increasing feebleness and dangerous illness, and I have
    opened each letter from Hollins with a feeling of dread, always
    fearing the worst. But although the sad news, now that it has come,
    does not find me unprepared, my grief is no less acute. I know so
    well what this loss means not only to the thousands of girls who,
    like me, loved him as a father, but to the cause of education and
    religion, in which he stood ever as a beacon light. My heart is very
    sad when I think of how much goodness and greatness and strength
    went out of the world when he was taken. I have not the power to
    express in words the grief I feel! I shall always thank God for the
    priceless boon of being for a time under the influence of that
    consecrated life, and it is my earnest prayer that I may never lose
    sight of that blessed example of 'pure religion and undefiled before
    God and the Father.'"

                                                         E. S. F.

    "A friend writes me that Mr. Cocke's work is done, and that today he
    is laid to rest, I suppose on the beautiful hill that looks down on
    the field of his labors, that field that has borne such beautiful
    fruit. We are all distressed, as will be a great many others
    throughout the South who have felt the importance in life of a
    character like that of Mr. Cocke. If there were more men with like
    quality of character and mind, the world would speedily become a
    better place. He did what he could to better it, and there are many
    left to honor him who have not the strength to do likewise."

                                                         L. B. P.

    "As one of the many thousands who owe to him unestimated, because
    inestimable, blessings, treasures of thought and influence and
    inspiration that time can not touch any more than it can dim his
    priceless memory, I sorrow today for Hollins' great 'creator,
    builder, guide.'"

                                                         S. B. D.

    "The news of dear Mr. Cocke's death has filled me with sorrow, for I
    realize what an inestimable loss the church, the school, his
    friends, and his family have sustained. I never knew any one like
    him! No one ever laid down a life more filled with good works, and
    he has indeed earned the blessed rest which he is now enjoying."

                                                         C. M. J.

    "The knowledge of such a life is invaluable. We should, we will,
    cherish the remembrance of it and hold this among the greatest
    object lessons taught us by God. The treasure of his memory would
    not be so priceless had his life been one smooth journey. It is the
    knowledge of the struggle, the knowledge that a man has fought and
    gloriously won in life's severest conflicts, that furnishes us the
    incentive, that lends us the inspiration."

                                                            A. W.



CHAPTER VII

COMMENCEMENTS AND ADDRESSES


The fine portrait of Mr. Cocke in the Hollins Library, executed by his
daughter-in-law, Mrs. Lucian H. Cocke of Roanoke, was formally presented
at the Golden Wedding celebration in 1890. Death claimed the brilliant
artist in 1899. With keen insight she portrayed her subject at the
culminating moment of the final exercises of the Institution. The
diploma in his hand is the one which he handed to his daughter, Miss
Matty L. Cocke, on the day of her graduation. The artist wanted a real
diploma, and by felicitous chance, this was the one supplied. At the
time, the owner little dreamed of being her father's successor as
President of Hollins Institute.

As now, so during the lifetime of Mr. Cocke, Maytime at Hollins stirred
a flutter of excitement in the student's mind. The session's close was
drawing near, with its terrors of examinations; its flourish of music,
oratory and white dresses; its orderly pomp and splendor. The season
brought a new flush of animation and gaiety. There were happy greetings
of fathers and mothers. The old girls came, eager for the raptures of
re-union. The bright stars shone on dear old Hollins; the blue mountains
stood guard round their jewel; and the sky dropped down benediction.
Nature and the human heart held high festival on Commencement Day.

Services began with an interesting dramatic presentation, and the
Reception to the Senior Class. The Sunday services were conducted by
invited ministers. In the days following, came the jollities of Class
Day, the joint celebration of the Societies, the Musical Concert, and
lastly, the annual address by the President, with the conferring of
Diplomas. Of course the programs of the earlier years were not so
elaborate as the one just indicated, but the exercises were as vitally
interesting and popular. On these occasions many distinguished men
delivered strong and eloquent addresses. Woe to the man who ventured to
stand before a Hollins audience without honest preparation. Declamatory
rhetoric never deceived this group of intellectually alert students. Mr.
Cocke drew his ministers for Commencement from the various Protestant
denominations, as the students came from all these bodies. Sectarian
narrowness never guided his choice, and that spirit never thrived in his
school. Christian truth and character were to him the eternal verities,
and among all communions he made devoted friends. One of his preachers
disappointed him cruelly. That good man made a calamitous mistake. He
had fancied that he was to appear before a mountain school, and that
almost any sort of a sermon would answer. Lazy unpreparedness meets
retribution. Arriving at Hollins, his disillusion was instantaneous, and
all that Saturday night he tossed in mental misery. The next morning he
appeared in the pulpit with an irrelevant theme, and a profitless
sermon. College girls are never profoundly impressed by unctuous
platitudes, or by theological combat.

One of the surprises about these years is the small number of Full
Diplomas that were given. From 1855 to 1900, Mr. Cocke bestowed this
honor on one hundred and twenty-five girls. To secure it the student had
to graduate in at least seven of the departments of study. The standards
were high, so that to win the Full Diploma, demanded native ability and
long, hard work. In the operation of the school's elective system, each
girl chose the classes she preferred, and received certificates of
graduation as the work in each subject was accomplished. Though, as we
have said, Full Diplomas were rare, many girls won these minor
distinctions, which also bore the name of Diploma. Many were the
students who, coming for one year's course, were stirred by these
Commencement occasions to larger views and longer attendance. This
imposing pageant of the Finals was apt to awaken in the ambitious,
first-year girl, a sense of her intellectual poverty, and to inspire
noble resolution for ampler education.

At the close of the session of 1899-1900, Mr. Cocke delivered his 52nd
annual address. Sad to say, it was his last. It is a notable and
probably an unparalleled fact, that he should, through fifty-two
consecutive years, have made the graduation address and have delivered
the Diplomas. In these messages he dealt with the many problems of
educational theory and practice, never failing to appeal for high and
noble standards of living. He counted on his girls as the finest
advertisement, and as the most eloquent testimonial of the merits of
Hollins. It was no vain reckoning. As a matter of fact, it became no
unusual thing for him to hear patrons confess that they had seen Hollins
girls and had been deeply impressed by their intelligence, cultured
manners and social grace.

Now we yield the platform to the President. There can be no more fitting
close of this chapter than a few paragraphs, taken from his annual
addresses. The captions are not his, but they indicate the special
thought of the passage.


THIS ONE THING 1889

    "I have aimed to implant deep in the hearts of my pupils the
    principles and precepts of our holy religion, as taught in the Word
    of God. As to those externals of religion which divide the Christian
    world into parties and sects innumerable, I have nothing to say; for
    our great Law-Giver and High Priest has said, 'The Kingdom of God is
    within you,' and unless we are subject to this law, all rites and
    ordinances and organizations put together and scrupulously
    practiced, cannot save the soul."


REVIEW OF FIFTY YEARS JUNE, 1896

    "Our trouble has been all during these fifty years, to secure
    equipment. Had this been furnished, the history of the school would
    have been far more satisfactory. The success of the school in 1852
    and years following, gave a wonderful impetus to girls' schools in
    Virginia. Many chartered schools came into existence during that
    decade. Some of course proved failures, and others exist to this
    day.

    "The annual registers of pupils during the entire existence of the
    school, aggregate 6,689. It has been almost exclusively a boarding
    school, and as such has led in numbers all the schools of Virginia.
    Its contributions to the teaching profession have been most valuable
    and probably more numerous than that of any other Virginia school.
    It has educated many daughters of ministers of different communions,
    free of charge for tuition. It has aided large numbers of indigent
    girls. Its graduates are in all parts of this country, North, East
    and West as well as in the South, where they are numerous. Some six
    or eight are in foreign mission fields. The school has far surpassed
    my own expectations and has been a surprise to the general public.

    "As soon as we took charge in 1846, and became acquainted with the
    surroundings and prospects, we saw clearly that the school could not
    live with a merely local patronage. It was almost wholly a boarding
    school, and it must draw its pupils from a broad area. The necessary
    steps were taken to make its advantages known in all parts of
    Virginia, and that patronage was sufficient for our limited
    accommodations until the close of 'the war.' We often declined
    applicants for want of proper accommodations. But after Virginia had
    been devastated by two contending armies within her borders for four
    years, we had to look to still broader fields for pupils. It was
    about the year 1870 that we first made known the advantages of the
    school in other states, and now a majority of our pupils come from
    other sections beyond our state lines. This patronage, with more
    ample equipment, might be greatly increased, and with broader and
    more ample facilities, it might be made the most prominent school
    for girls in all the South. Its country location, its invigorating
    atmosphere, its mineral waters, its glorious mountain scenery, all
    combine to bring to it increasing numbers from different and
    distinct sections. The great boarding schools for girls in the
    North, in which millions are invested, are in the country.

    "My life has been one of unceasing work and energy, of constant
    cares and anxieties, and of a deep sense of responsibility. I have
    only laid a foundation on which the next generation may build. Will
    Virginia, the most desirable State in the Union for institutions of
    learning of every grade and class, seize the opportunity and again
    advance, through educational channels, to the leadership of States,
    and inaugurate an era of greater glory and higher destinies for this
    great American people? Oh, that she may be wise to discern the
    ominous signs of these times and seek through great schools for
    young men and young ladies, a power and progress which shall far
    eclipse her pristine glories!

    "And now, at the close of fifty years' connection with this school,
    I can, without reservation or modification, say I have done all I
    could to conduct and perpetuate an Institution which might prove a
    blessing to the people without distinction of sect or class, and an
    honor to my native State. And this, too, on the very basis I found
    it standing when I took charge."


EDUCATIONAL THEORY

JUNE, 1893

    "These graduates are not confined to a single Christian
    denomination; they have come from all denominations. And this is, in
    my judgment, the true ideal of a Christian school. I have often said
    that the associations of a school for young ladies, properly
    conducted, are worth more to them than any single department of
    study. They learn so much from contact and association with each
    other.

    "Certainly a school for young ladies should not aim to send forth
    all its pupils of exactly the same type. Its facilities and
    associations should be such as to give ample scope for individuality
    of development, and that genuine sympathetic contact and impress,
    which lifts the less cultured to higher walks and ways, and
    impresses the more fortunate with their duty to the needy and
    dependent, often the most deserving, and often reaching, under such
    influence, the highest stations of life.

    "The school from its beginning has maintained and made prominent one
    feature so culpably neglected, and even opposed by most schools for
    girls. It has maintained a broad and elevated course of study and
    fixed high standards of graduation. This has been done with special
    reference to the demands of that class of girls who propose to make
    teaching their profession or business in life. And most abundantly
    has it been rewarded in this effort. Its graduates are in great
    demand and many of them hold elevated positions as teachers. But
    there are other courses in addition to that required for full
    graduation. These are intended to meet the varied wants of other
    classes of students, who, from feeble health, inadequate means or
    mere preference, decline to pursue the full course.

    "The school has accomplished far more than its early founders aimed
    at or even dreamed of. They looked to local demands and a limited
    sphere. But its influence has been felt not only through Virginia,
    but throughout the South and West, and even from the great North,
    pupils have sought and enjoyed its advantages. Graduation from
    school does not imply full and complete knowledge on any subject or
    in any department of learning. The object of true scholastic
    training is, first, to discipline the powers, and, second, to open
    to pupils the sources of knowledge. In these processes, of course,
    much information is imparted; but to stop here and read and study no
    more, would be fatal to a high and commanding success in life. You
    must read and read systematically and continuously. You must keep up
    with the progress of the times, and times are in quick movement in
    this day...."


SECRET OF SUCCESS

1855

    "If you would have your minds well disciplined and well stored with
    useful information, you must be willing to retire, for a time at
    least, from the enticing and distracting scenes of the busy world,
    and in the quietude of academic life, devote your powers to those
    labors which alone can secure the desired boon. Here the work must
    be done, here the foundation must be laid, upon which your future
    attainments and your future eminence must rest. Neglect this
    preparation, and you can have no well grounded hope of rising to
    distinction in society, or of exerting an influence which shall
    leave a record of your name and your deeds upon the hearts and
    memories of those who shall come after you....

    "The secret of success is the ability _to fix the attention on one
    subject at a time...._"


CREATIVE WORK

1862

    "I urge you to cultivate a taste not only for literature, but for
    _making literature_. The literature of a country determines its
    institutions, its social conditions, and its destiny. It is really
    its inner life whence its external manifestations spring."


LITERARY TASTE

JUNE, 1894

    "Many a wise man has said repeatedly: 'Let me go into a young lady's
    parlor and examine the literature which lies on her table, and the
    books which fill the shelves of her library, and I will tell you all
    about her; the secret thoughts which habitually haunt her
    imagination, the purposes, the ambitions, the affections, good or
    bad, which agitate and fill her heart; the scenes, the sights, the
    objects, the aims which thrill her soul--all this I know from the
    companionship amid which she delights to linger and live, and with
    which she delights to commune.' Young ladies, when you reach home
    and unpack your trunks, will you take out the text books you have
    studied in this school, one by one, and place them on the highest
    shelf of your library and in the far corner, and with a scowl on
    your face say to them, 'Now, you go and stay where I put you; you
    have cost me weeks and months and years of toil, of anxieties, of
    troubles, vexations and tears, but you have at last given me my full
    diploma and I want nothing more to do with you'! Are you going to
    speak thus to your best friends, who have done more for you than
    father and mother?

    "Are you going to turn your back upon, and quit the company of, the
    only true aristocracy of all the ages and all countries, and seek
    lower associations? These people are not upstarts; they have lived
    and still live in all ages and countries; they have been the
    intimate and loving companions of kings and queens; of emperors and
    statesmen; divines and poets, scientists and linguists, and all the
    great of all the earth and every clime and kindred.

    "Again, the Good Book says, 'Where there is no vision the people
    perish.' This was spoken most probably in regard to the ancient
    prophets and seers who received the divine light from the great
    original source, and reflected it from their own hearts and minds on
    a benighted race.

    "But has not the great Inspirer of light and knowledge, since that
    remote past, raised up other prophets and seers and imparted other
    visions that the people might not perish? These great men are among
    us; they do not compel, but they invite companionship; they say,
    'Come, go with us, talk with us, commune with our spirit, drink with
    us of the clear, cool springs of nature; the journey is pleasant and
    the scenery is grand; come, go with us and we will do thee good.'

    "Will you reject the invitation and decline the association? So,
    young ladies, as I said in the beginning, from a literary
    standpoint, from a social standpoint, from a business standpoint,
    and from the standpoint of philanthropic and Christian usefulness,
    your future position and success in life depend upon the company you
    keep. Under the great principle of the freedom of the press, the
    newspaper has become a universal institution in
    America,--omnipresent, and almost omnipotent. The result is that the
    vast constituency of our great government are better informed on
    current events all over the land and all over the world, than any
    people on the earth.

    "But the curse of the land is this: We spend too much time on this
    and kindred literature; this habit enfeebles the mind, contracts the
    vision, and suppresses high ambitions in the fields, the vast and
    elevated fields of broader, more solid, more useful and more
    permanent knowledge. Our people are making the most marvelous
    progress on all lines of human thought and effort, but on none more
    rapid than that of science and literature. The spirit of the nation
    seems to be a consuming ambition to lead the world in thought, in
    intellectual development, and in products of the brain of men. To
    keep in harmony with this spirit, you, young ladies, must rise above
    the plane on which so much of our literature moves and study the
    works of great minds."


TRUE CULTURE

1870

    "The great mistake which so many make and which satisfactorily
    accounts for their want of success, is that they regard the mere
    accumulation of facts as the sole object of scholastic study;--that
    knowledge may be stored in the mind as we gather grain into a
    garner, and this, too, without regard to its character or quality,
    or the order in which the deposits are made. We have aimed, young
    ladies, to give you a better theory of education, and a more
    enduring foundation of scholarship....

    "The great object of that culture and training which courses of
    scholastic study afford, is to assist the mind in the processes of
    its own development; to give to its searchings after truth and its
    toils in the fields of literature, direction and system; to enable
    it to think, to reason, to solve; to give it scope and expansion
    that it may successfully grasp both the theoretical and the
    practical of life and advance to those objects and destinies which
    its very structure implies and foreshadows...."


BROAD SYMPATHIES

JUNE, 1892

    "I would remind you, young ladies, that you go forth into life at a
    time when society is advancing on all lines of progress. In breadth,
    variety and thoroughness of literary and scientific knowledge, we
    are no less a marvel to ourselves than the wonder and admiration of
    the oldest civilizations of the world. This American people proposes
    to hold no inferior rank in the world-wide race for the greatest and
    grandest results in material development and production. This the
    most casual observer beholds all around him in every-day life. But
    when we come to review, critically and comparatively, the rise and
    progress of American learning, we see one determined and steady
    advance towards the highest standards the world has ever known. In
    the production and giving forth of all kinds of literature, this
    people aspires to the highest place; to the most advanced
    achievements that bless society and adorn life.

    "And shall our own section and people continue heedless and
    oblivious of this throbbing, restless, inspiring energy to rise to
    the very acme of literary fame and glory? We blush to own that,
    thus far, we have made but a feeble response to the high and
    honorable calling. When the poison diffused through the channels of
    a false and envenomed literature during the last generation, South
    as well as North, shall have spent its force, and the prejudices and
    passions that literature engendered and fostered shall have given
    place to just and generous award, then, and not until then, will the
    whole people and the outside world be prepared to receive and
    appreciate a truthful revelation, and do mental honor to all, of
    every section, who from their standpoint and environment, and with
    the light that shone upon their pathway, lived and labored for great
    ends, and the same ends. That record will show that not only under
    Southern skies, but throughout the nation, in national Senate, in
    Northern cities, even in Western wilds, Southern counsel has
    contributed in full proportion to the great results which today
    astonish the world. And furthermore, it will show that Northern
    energy, foresight and enterprise have made their deep and
    ineffaceable mark on the whole country in its educational and
    religious work, its business, political and social life, and its
    institutions. The gigantic struggle which occurred on this continent
    just before your eyes opened on the light of day was the result of
    a misunderstanding; a family quarrel on a grand scale, such as more
    than once has occurred in the land of our forefathers. But even when
    the conflict rose to its most fearful height, deep down in the
    heart, this people were one. They are now one, and may the high
    council of Heaven ordain that they shall never be other than one.

    "Young ladies, suffer no sectional jealousies or narrow prejudices
    to find a resting place in your bosoms. They dwarf your souls, they
    contract your minds. Love your country in all its sections and broad
    limits and constituent elements, and contribute your best energies,
    in appropriate spheres, to its high and grand mission."


CONFIDENT HOPE

APRIL, 1862

    "You go forth at a dark and threatening hour.... When the great
    plans of His far-reaching and comprehensive providence shall have
    been accomplished, in the stupendous conflict which you now behold,
    He will speak peace to the troubled waters, and there will be peace.
    Till then let us wait with calm resignation and abiding confidence
    in His designs of mercy.... This providence, however complicated and
    strange, leads only to some good and grand result, opening up new
    channels of usefulness to the virtuous and the good, and saying to
    the faithful--nations as well as individuals: 'This is the way, walk
    ye in it.'"


GUIDING PURPOSE

1901

    "For many years it has been my earnest desire to so conduct the
    affairs of the institution that whether I was present or absent,
    there should be no abatement in the earnest purpose and devotion to
    duty which I have sought to make a part of the atmosphere of
    Hollins."



CHAPTER VIII

RELIGIOUS ENTHUSIASMS AND ACTIVITIES


All the activities of a good man's life are religious. Intelligent
Christian thought has long since abolished the distinctions, "sacred"
and "secular." The minister is not the only man with a divine calling.
It is the right of every true man to regard his tasks, of whatever kind,
as sacred, and the vigorous discharge of them as religious fidelity. The
apostle, making tents, was serving God as truly as when preaching to the
philosophers of Athens. All the vocations are spheres in which men serve
their generation, increasing the sum of human comfort, and securing the
moral order of the world. The man who serves his fellowmen is the
anointed servant of the Lord.

Mr. Cocke's life was an uninterrupted consecration to the cause of the
education of women, permeated and energized by spiritual motive. No man
understood better than he the living unity between intellectual and
moral culture. He knew that cultivated faculties without corresponding
nurture of the spiritual nature may prove a curse rather than a
blessing. Along with growing mental power, must go a development of
religious character. The two are inseparable in any right conception of
human life. So, while he wrought with a wonderfully sustained enthusiasm
in the sphere of education, he kept always in mind the transcendent
claims of religion. There he recognized the fundamental interest of
humanity. Teaching was his vocation, but the honor of God was his
comprehensive guiding principle. To him the Bible was the word of Life,
and the worship of the Holy One of Israel the supreme privilege and
duty. Such was his view and, without intermission, his practice.

From the beginning of his work at Botetourt Springs in 1846, daily the
assembled students heard the reading of Scripture and united with the
President in ascriptions of praise. Nor were Mr. Cocke's religious
services given only to the school. His Christian interest ran out to the
whole community. He recognized an obligation to his neighbors, and was
soon meeting them here and there, instructing them in the Scriptures,
and leading them in their worship. In 1855 the little Enon Baptist
Church was organized and located within a quarter of a mile of the
Springs. Into membership in this church he and his family went, to be a
strong nucleus around which has since grown the excellent congregation
and the beautiful building of today. The pastors of Enon never had a
more loving and loyal member of their church. By all odds the strongest
force in the body, he could have ruled as he pleased, but the humble man
never dreamed of domination, or of the assertion of any kind of superior
right. He wanted harmony and growth, and sought it by preferring his
brethren in honor. His wise counsel and influence were potent, of
course, but not another member of the church was farther from the
assumption of authority. He was a model church member in attendance and
gifts; hence all the people gave him honor and love.

But Enon set no limits on his religious activity. The neighboring towns
and communities felt the force of his spirit of evangelism. The
Christian religion must have free course in the regions round about.
There was not a village within twenty miles of his school that failed to
catch something of his spirit. The impulses he gave in that early day
lie at the foundation of much of the present religious strength and
prosperity in the regions he touched.

Did this young school teacher overlook the needs of the colored people?
Would it look strange to see him conducting a Sunday School for the
slaves on Sunday afternoons at Big Lick? That is what he did. "Inasmuch
as ye have done it to the least of these, ye have done it unto me." The
negroes, in the days of slavery, learned to love him as a friend, and
when freedom came, his service among them did not cease. Their
struggling pastors and congregations sought his counsel and were not
disappointed. They looked on him as their big white brother, wise and
good, and to this day he is remembered among them with affection. Here
is a tribute written by a negro teacher on the occasion of Mr. Cocke's
death. No more tender or significant praise has been accorded him.

"My race in this section of the State would be guilty of the rankest
ingratitude did they not pay a humble tribute to the memory of their
friend and benefactor, Professor Charles L. Cocke. Any tribute to his
memory must needs be incomplete without a touching reminder of his
devotion to the cause of Christianity among my people in the days of
slavery. To him my people looked for religious instruction in those dark
days. Through his zeal and untiring efforts the slaves of this section
of the State were allowed to attend services at the white Baptist church
Sunday evenings where they could hear the word of God preached to them
by the white ministers of the gospel, Professor Cocke himself frequently
leading the meetings. He taught the slaves sound lessons in morality
and honesty, and it is a well known fact that the slaves of this county
were among the most upright, honest and trustworthy to be found anywhere
in the South. Upon every plantation were to be found Christian men and
women of our race whose lives were honest and true, and whose characters
were spotless, and they enjoyed the confidence, respect, and sometimes a
devotion, from their masters, that was touching and beautiful. Upon
every plantation were to be found colored preachers who 'exhorted' to
their people and explained to them the lessons that had been taught them
by Professor Cocke. Whilst laboring faithfully amongst the whites, he
did not forget the poor African slave.

"At the close of the war, when freedom came to our people, he gave them
the best advice and encouragement in the organization of their own
churches. He was full of the milk of human kindness. He was ever ready,
willing, yea, anxious to give advice and instruction to our preachers
who sought his aid. His purse was open to any colored minister who
appealed to him for help. No colored church was ever built in this
county that did not receive substantial aid at his hands. Thousands of
our people with bowed heads mourn his loss and revere his memory. My
mother and father received religious instruction at his hands, and it
is with a heart full of untold gratitude that I pen this tribute.
Professor Cocke was a white man in all that word implied, but he was a
Christian and not afraid to labor among men of 'low estate.'

"Such men are the negro's best friends on earth. We have nothing to fear
at their hands. To them we have ever been true and devoted, and shall
forever remain so. Such men are the salt of the earth, and the negro
believes in such salt.

"We, too, drop a tear upon his bier and shall ever hold in grateful
remembrance his many acts of kindness to a benighted race. Sweet be his
rest."

                                                     ZACHARIAH HUNT.

With the increase of Baptist churches in the Southwest, the Valley
Association was organized, and Enon became a member. Not a pastor
brought into that body more interest and zeal than did Mr. Cocke. He was
not of those whose Christian liberality slackens and enfeebles devotion
to their own communion. While broadly charitable, he was firmly Baptist.
The influence he carried into these conferences with his people arose
from his personal worth, not from his official prominence in education.
Not one of the denominational causes failed to receive his cordial
support. They appealed to him in the degree of their relative
importance, but in the roundness and balance of his benevolence nothing
was slighted. He spoke in advocacy of each and all. Of course many
gatherings wished to hear Mr. Cocke speak on the subject of Education.
In such addresses the fire of his soul was apt to burst into flame. He
did not quote much. Being the impersonation of the educational spirit,
he did not need to borrow thoughts. The man who does things has power
with an audience. Your theoretical orator has no thrills. After one of
his powerful utterances, many fathers and mothers said in their hearts:
"I want to send my daughter to that man." His motive was not the cunning
calculation of a man with a school, but rather the pure devotion of a
large-minded servant of the Master.

In the State assemblies of his brethren, where he was regularly found,
he was equally a man of recognized distinction. Likewise in the meetings
of the Southern Baptist Convention, he was greeted with the honor due to
one who had advanced the credit of the denomination. He knew that fact
himself, but no man could have been more innocent of self-important
airs. While the higher education of young women was the goal of his
daily thought and labor, the Kingdom of God was central to all his aims.

Religious controversy never interested him. Through the years ministers
of the various churches were invited to Hollins to lead its services and
receive its hospitalities. Many were the interviews with them in his
office and on the verandas in which conversation drifted into animated
discussions of things political, educational and religious. Views
differed, thoughts clashed, but the best of humor prevailed. In every
denomination he had devoted friends.

In vacation periods it was his frequent custom to make tours through the
Southwest in a large vehicle, capable of carrying six or eight persons.
His trusty colored driver, Prince Smith, held the reins, and commonly
there was in the party a goodly number of Baptist ministers from middle
or eastern Virginia. From one District Association to another, the
_caravan_ went, adding zest and interest to the meetings. It was a
genuinely delightful religious progress. The Baptists in all this region
considered him as their greatest layman and their unordained Bishop.
Everywhere he and his fellow-travelers were welcome guests. Sometimes
they lodged in homes presided over by women who had been Hollins girls.
Then the hospitality was overflowing. These summer visits did much to
stimulate the hope and courage of many small and slowly growing
churches. And what charmingly exhilarating experiences they brought to
the _caravan_! The men who shared these progresses with the "Bishop" of
the Southwest considered themselves the favorites of fortune.

It was never his habit to go off for a summer's rest. It might have been
well if he had done so, but such was not his bent. When the pressure
ceased at the close of the session, he began to plan another visit to
his brethren in the mountains. To go about doing good was the call of
his heart in those long past summertimes.

Religion and Education were the watchwords, written on the tablets of
his heart. "This one thing I do, ever pressing on to the mark of the
prize of the high calling of God." Here is the rare spectacle of a long
life, full of religious activity, supported by unfailing enthusiasm, by
fixed, high purpose, and by that ardor of achievement which are the
marks of a great soul. Unselfish human service magnified him and gave
his name to grateful remembrance.



CHAPTER IX

CHARACTERISTICS


There was nothing angular or disproportionate in the structure of Mr.
Cocke's mind. The photograph of it may be said to have been reflected in
his face, with its fine assemblage of strong and well-balanced features.
The intellect was clear, the will robust, and the feeling intense. One
never saw him when he did not know what he wanted to do; never found him
irresolute or languid of purpose; and never knew him indifferent or
unresponsive. Along every line of enterprise that summoned him, these
powers were joined in unity and concert of action. He was not in the
smallest degree visionary or quixotic. Illusions, phantasms, Utopian
dreams, perished in the light of his large common sense. Yet this man
was a true idealist. In his youth he saw a vision. At first he saw it
dimly, but as time passed it grew in clarity, until it materialized in a
better system for the higher education of young women. Had he failed, we
might have called him a dreamer; but as he succeeded gloriously, we
rank him with the adventurous thinkers who have blessed the world. He
followed the gleam and domesticated it in society. In his early days
Hollins Institute was to him what the Holy Grail was to the Knights of
King Arthur, or what the Golden Fleece was to the ancient Argonauts. The
thing that makes a man great, is a great idea seized and brought into
beneficent application. He is greatest that is servant of all. When Mr.
Cocke said that his habit was to think thirty years ahead, he was hardly
conscious that it was a fine feat of imagination. Yet this is his title
to the crown of the Legion of Honor. Intellectual and moral heroism must
have its reward.

[Illustration: CHARLES L. COCKE]

He would not have us say that his scholarship was broad. Too honest was
he to make pretense of much learning. Broadly intelligent and well
informed he was, and an efficient teacher of mathematics, but he made no
claim to extended acquaintance with literature, science or philosophy.
It is interesting to know that he was fond of Milton's "Paradise Lost"
and Pollock's "Course of Time," and could quote long passages from each.
He deplored inability to devote himself more assiduously to wide reading
and deep study. The scholarly instinct and craving was in him, but the
engrossing cares of his Institution absolutely monopolized his
attention. Pathetic necessity barred him from the fuller measures of
intellectual culture. On administrative burden bearing depended the life
and growth of the school, and with perfect intelligence of the personal
sacrifice involved, the responsibility was accepted. However, he was
keen to discover scholarship, and quick, with the wisdom of a master, to
add it to his Faculty.

It was sometimes said that he was autocratic, and he himself admitted
that there was some ground for the charge. How could it be otherwise? He
was the informing soul and energy of the Institution, and in that fact
was the sole guaranty of its development and perpetuity. He knew his
plans and hopes, he had bold confidence in his own judgment, and he
possessed an indomitable will. He had to speak with decision and
authority. All confessed his right to command and understood the certain
penalties of faulty service or of disobedience. The harassments of
interminable worries and of defeated hopes may at times have resulted in
a look of sternness, or have given his manner a touch of unpleasing
abruptness; but, withal, it was far from him to inflict intentional
pain. Austerity of manner, incidentally of expression, was balanced by
as kind a heart as ever beat. He was a superb gentleman, and in his
prevailing gentler moods, had pleasant greetings for all. He was at the
helm, and the necessity was on him to guide and direct, but behind the
flash of those keen blue eyes lay a wealth of human kindness and
affection. All Hollins knew it. Tyrant he could not be, but master he
was. Never did it pass from his thought that he was a servant of God and
that the mind of the Master was the goal of his life. He had the bearing
of a lord, but the child in his heart never died. Then, if ruggedness
appeared, it was but a surface exhibition, the fatherly feeling being
the deep inextinguishable fact within. For this, his pupils and friends
gave him a life-long devotion, and his children loved him, almost to
adoration. This man was no autocrat.

He was conspicuous for his liberality. Owing to the fact that his
earnings and that of his family were constantly swallowed up by
improvements in the Institution, he was never a wealthy man. Yet that
fact did not close the door of his compassions and generosities. Gifts
went to the poor, contributions unstinted went to his church and to the
benevolences of his denomination. Once, when attending the Baptist State
Association at Petersburg, Virginia, after several speeches had been
made on missions, he arose and said: "Now let us do something. I wish
right here to subscribe $100." The suggestion struck the body and a
handsome subscription was taken. Mrs. Cocke said, some time after the
event: "Charles came home and sold a horse to pay that subscription."
At an educational gathering in Enon Church, when the inevitable
subscription was taken, his young son, Lucian, signalized his immature
and reckless enthusiasm by saying: "Put me down for $100." The cautious
collector called out to the father what the boy had done. "All right,"
said the acquiescent father; "he has a pony." In dismay the youth saw
the meaning, and the pony went to education.

Not often did he relate jokes and anecdotes, but he enjoyed them at the
hands of his friends. He had a saving sense of humor and could relish a
flash of it even at his own expense. This incident he told on himself.
At one of the Valley meetings of ministers and laymen, he made a
stirring speech. His oratory was of the spontaneous, practical type,
often impassioned and tremendously moving. When he closed an admiring
brother arose and paid compliment to the speaker for his "exhaustive"
address. The modest orator meekly protested the extravagant language.
Then a wit of a preacher stood up to explain to Mr. Cocke that the
brother did not mean that the speaker had "exhausted" the subject, but
that he had "exhausted" himself! The house was instantly in a roar of
laughter, in which the orator himself as heartily joined. His brethren
knew they could take innocent liberties with him, because they loved him
so. At Walnut Grove Baptist Church in Bedford County, Virginia, a
meeting was in progress in the fall of 1881. The house was crowded when
Mr. Cocke arose. The good genius of speech was upon him and that address
on education was memorable for power. Later, in the church yard, a good
mother was talking to a minister about the speech. A flush was on her
face and tears glistened in her eyes as she said, "Oh, I wish I was able
to send my daughter to Hollins." Now he had not said one word about
Hollins, his effort being to magnify the importance of the education of
young women, and to fasten conviction on parental hearts. At another
time, while he was attending a Baptist meeting in Southern Virginia, he
spoke before the body. A college professor in the audience inquired as
to the personality of the speaker. On being told, he said: "I want to
meet him, for he said more forcible things in five minutes than all the
speakers before him in fifteen." An interview followed, with the result
that the distinguished Professor Kusian spent twenty-eight years in
teaching at Hollins.

Self-conceit Mr. Cocke regarded as a sort of vulgarity. With all
sincerity, his soul responded to the sentiment of him who asked: "Why
should the spirit of mortal be proud?" His friends thought that in some
instances his humility was overdone. Richmond College gave him the
degree of LL.D., but he declined it, silently and unostentatiously. His
frank reverence for truth disallowed acceptance. The degree, in his
view, stood for a measure of learning which he regarded himself as
lacking. His modesty wronged him. The compliment has come to be bestowed
on high civic merit and achievement as well as on broad scholarship. In
the former virtues, Mr. Cocke stood pre-eminent. His standard, if
applied, would strip a multitude of names of this honorary title.

Interest in making money seems never to have touched him. Not once did
he venture on an investment. The material prosperity of men gratified
him. He knew that most men ought to make money, but he had no time for
it. "This one thing I do." On one thing, the gifts, plans and powers of
his long life were literally and undividedly centered.

He loathed the feeling of jealousy. He would have despised himself if he
had been unable to hear the praise of other college presidents and of
their institutions without inward pangs. Eulogize his brethren, and you
smote on no chord of envy. He was a large man. He bore no grudges and
carried no enmities, the common luggage of proud and envious minds.

What a good and generous neighbor this man was! The successes and
sorrows of the countryside round about Hollins touched him sensibly. He
was their counsellor in times of perplexity; their comforter in seasons
of grief. Frequent were the times when a minister not being accessible,
he conducted funerals and buried the dead. He loved the people as do all
who really love God. The religion that attempts to terminate on God,
ignoring human beings, is as sounding brass and a clanging cymbal. Of
such worship this man knew nothing. He expressed love to the divine in
even-handed justice and in benevolent sympathy among men. Perhaps the
finest tribute paid at his funeral was spoken by the Lutheran minister,
Dr. F. V. N. Painter, a part of which is as follows:

"Dr. Cocke was a great educator. He was great both in theory and
practice. He had not made, I think, an elaborate study of the science
and history of education, as they are presented in text-books. His
knowledge was deeper than the knowledge acquired in that way. In the
educational work of more than fifty years, his strong intellect worked
out independent views of educational principles and methods. In no small
degree he helped to make the educational history of Virginia and of the
South.

"Dr. Cocke always impressed me as a large man. His stalwart frame was
but the counterpart of a vigorous intellect. There was nothing petty,
narrow, cynical, in his views or aims or methods. He loved to deal with
fundamental principles and great facts; and in his discussion of any
subject, there was always a breadth of view and a vigor of utterance
that commanded attention. In his great, absorbing concern for truth, he
cared but little for that delicacy of diction and that refinement of
phrasing which so often, in the hands of smaller men, become an end in
themselves. He was a strong earnest man, wrapped about with invincible
integrity, reminding us of Carlyle's words on Luther, 'Great, not as a
hewn obelisk, but as an Alpine mountain, yet in the clefts of it
beautiful valleys with flowers'.

"Dr. Cocke was a man of sterling integrity of character. A brief
acquaintance was sufficient to elicit our highest confidence. He was
straightforward and honest in his aims and methods of work. He attempted
to deceive neither himself nor others; and it is impossible now to
associate an insincere or crafty diplomacy with his character. His
native integrity of soul, which must have come as a rich inheritance
from worthy ancestors, was strengthened by his deep religious life. He
recognized his supreme obligations to God; and he took the life of Jesus
Christ as his model. Thus he stood before us as a beautiful example of
Christian manhood. In character and in life he reflected credit on our
common humanity."

It is the divine way to do mighty works through consecrated men and
women. Christian faith so identifies one with the life of God that the
eternal energies can flow onward to great consummations, even to the
casting of mountains of difficulty into the sea. Nothing evil was ever
charged against Mr. Cocke. The absolute open purity of the man shamed
all envy, and paralyzed misrepresentation. Misunderstood and
unappreciated at times he doubtless was, but this he accepted as one of
the inevitable assets of an ongoing, achieving career. He was not
perfect, but he pressed far up the heights of resplendent manhood. The
signature of a divine call was upon him, and he honored it to the end.
His long labor fell far short of his dreams, but it was crowned with the
blessings of Heaven.

  "All I could never be,
  All, men ignored in me,
  That was I worth to God."

Hollins College is his monument. There it stands, a thing of beauty, by
the little Sulphur Spring. There may it stand forever!



CHAPTER X

HIS COMRADES AND CO-WORKERS


The building of Hollins Institute was not the achievement of one man. It
was the outcome of associated work. There was a leader, gifted with
vision, judgment and iron will, but without abundant and able
co-operation, there would have been no realization of his scheme. No man
would be more prompt than Mr. Cocke in acknowledgment of this fact. He
was accurate in measurements of the qualities of men and women, and not
often in his selection of teachers was his judgment at fault. It was a
compliment to be invited into his Faculty, and its members always found
Hollins one big family. In one dining hall, students and teachers met
three times a day, and the warmth of home feeling fused all generous
natures into one delightful fellowship. Mr. Cocke did not look on his
comrades as hired people. He took them into his confidence and high
regard as honorable and worthy associates in his sacred work of
education. He was no dictator; he issued no commands. He trusted his
teachers, invited their freedom of initiative, and complimented them
with the expectation of efficient service. He asked for good team work.
It is no surprise that in such an atmosphere and under such genial
conditions, he always had a loyal and harmonious Faculty. Rarely did one
of its members go away without happy memories and loving attachments.
Many fine men and women, through the long years, made invaluable
contributions to the upbuilding of the Institution. Their work was
worthy of all praise, and it is a matter of regret that most of their
names have to be omitted from this brief record.


_Mrs. Charles L. Cocke_

In the presentation of Mr. Cocke's fellow-workers in the building up of
Hollins Institute, no one will deny the first place to his wife. Her
pre-eminent worth has already been indicated in the foregoing chapters.
Longer than others, she bore him company and demonstrated a sturdiness
of character, quite as marked as his own. She did not want to come to
the mountains with her three little children. In 1845, she listened with
loving interest to the enthusiastic recitals of her husband, just
returned from the Southwest, but kept hidden in her heart an invincible
preference for her old home. Yet, in the summer of 1846, she went with
him, loyally and cheerfully. His optimism she could not share, but the
path of duty she trod as willingly as he. In the far after years she
confided to her children that she had never loved the mountains, and
then added, "But I never told Charles!" The fact would not have helped
him, hence it was shut up in her heart. That confession is full of great
meanings, pathetic, unselfish and honorable. Such was her faith in him,
such her love and hearty comradeship in toil and sacrifice, that he most
likely never suspected the secret feeling.

[Illustration: MRS. CHARLES L. COCKE]

The shock of that first view of her new home we have seen. A little
later, the primitive rawness of it was accentuated to her as she saw a
wild bear leisurely passing through the premises! Bravely she plied the
domestic tasks, and smiled sympathetically on her husband's plans. In
truth, without such a wife he could not have won. In the strong cord
that held him to his work, she was the golden strand. Though loaded with
the cares of the household and of her little ones, this wonderful woman
gave herself to numberless ministries among the girls. One feels
astonishment at her physical endurance. Her energies and womanly
loveliness were elemental in the making of Hollins. Six years after her
arrival, it was her joy to see her brother, Professor William H.
Pleasants, added to the Faculty. In the long, dark struggles that were
to follow, there was no breaking down of her faith and courage. Through
two generations, the girls loved her with a genuine affection, and made
no distinction between her and Mr. Cocke in the bestowal of honors.

It was truly said, that if Mr. Cocke was the head of Hollins, Mrs. Cocke
was its heart. That splendid patriarchal Trustee, Mr. Wm. A. Miller,
says: "It is common to speak of the wife as the better half. In my view,
Mrs. Cocke was the better two-thirds." She watched the health of the
girls, and entered into their amusements, sometimes even lending her own
wardrobe for a histrionic performance. She could never endure harsh
criticism, and if conversation drifted in that direction, she invariably
withdrew. No unkind speech ever escaped her lips. To most mortals this
will seem unbelievable, but ample testimony supports it. If ever
compelled to express disapproval, it was in fashion so gentle that no
sting was left. In the latter years, all the graces and beatitudes
seemed to cluster on that feminine face, framed in with silver locks and
the little white cap. She had a delightful gift of humor and many times
the unconscious play of it surprised her by its mirthful effects. Enon
Church and its worship always enlisted her active sympathy and gave her
spiritual comfort. Often in quiet seclusion, she was found reading her
Bible.

The eventide came slowly on, with the relaxation of cares long borne.
Then came the desolation of sorrow, and a deepening of life's
lonesomeness. There was no decay of mental power, no encroachment of
disease. At last the mortal part went down without pain, and on January
5th, 1906, the Mother of Hollins went away. Just three weeks more, and
she would have rounded out her eighty-sixth year. The last services
revived memories of those solemn scenes of May 6th, 1901. She was laid
beside him on the hill, and weeping college girls strewed the grave with
flowers.


_Professor William Henry Pleasants_

Here is a great looking man, scholarly, courtly, popular, and in his
maturer years, affectionately called, "Uncle Billy." He was born at the
"Picquenocque" homestead, five miles north of Richmond, January 29th,
1831, the youngest in a family of nine children. The family was reared
under the quiet influence of the Quaker faith. At about eighteen years
of age, the young man graduated at Richmond College, and entered into
business relations with a foreign tobacco firm, in which was the promise
of promotion and wealth. Turning from this inviting prospect, he went to
the University of Virginia, and by diligence in study, bore off its
honors. Mr. Cocke invited him to Hollins in 1852, just as the "Female
Seminary" began its work. Soon thereafter, he married Miss Minta Smoot,
of Washington City. After a few years, the young wife passed away,
leaving him with a little daughter and son, who became the sole objects
of his devotion. It was his joy to see the daughter, Mary, achieve
distinction as a teacher of Music at Hollins.

He was a lover of Latin and Greek; and literature, ancient and modern,
was his passion. Latin was his special department of instruction, but so
versatile was his culture that he often taught the classes in Natural
Science and Philosophy. He was a magnetic teacher, accurate, clear and
inspiring. He won reputation as a polished writer and speaker, and had a
natural fondness for music and flowers. In association with congenial
friends, he was the center of courtesy and charm. Masonry was his
pleasing avocation, and he was twice honored with the office of Grand
Master of Masons of Virginia.

Here are a few of the many fine sayings which reflect his quality:

"Find out things for yourself, and you will know them better than if I
were to tell you beforehand."

"I am afraid that the average teacher of the present day prepares the
students for examinations, not for life."

"All higher education is essentially self-education."

"Can anyone who himself neither intelligently observes, reflects, nor
reasons, aid others in so doing?"

Washington and Lee University gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1907. He
gave up his work as teacher in 1912, having spent sixty years in the
service. On November 26th, 1914, he passed away, lacking only two months
of fulfilling his eighty-fourth year. He sleeps with his kindred in the
little cemetery on the hill.


_Professor Joseph A. Turner_

Professor Turner was born in Greenville County, Virginia, August 6th,
1839; was a B.A. of Richmond College in 1858, and an M.A. of the
University of Virginia, in 1860. He served in Mahone's Brigade, Army of
Northern Virginia, during the entire war, and in 1866 accepted the chair
of English and Modern Languages at Hollins Institute, which position he
held to the time of his death, May 5th, 1878. Hollins has had many able
and popular teachers, but it is simple truth to say that none ever
stirred more enthusiastic admiration and devotion than he. Indeed, after
hearing and reading his eulogies, one is almost forced to the conclusion
that he was one of the most remarkable teachers the Institution has
ever known. Of high character, broad scholarly sympathies, and passion
for teaching, he made his classroom electric with literary contagions
and enthusiasms. Not only did he teach, but he magnetized and inspired
the student. His teaching was largely by lecture, punctuated with
pointed questions. Intellectually honest, accurate, painstaking, he
cultivated the same qualities in the student. He published a valuable
treatise on Punctuation and left several works in manuscript on his
special subjects of English literature and philosophy. He contributed
occasionally to _Appleton's Journal_ and _The Atlantic Monthly_, and
regularly to the editorial columns of _The Nation_.

Mr. Cocke honored and loved him, and the tribute he paid to the lost
teacher in his annual report to the Trustees in 1878, is probably the
finest ever given by him:

"Mr. Turner was a man of no ordinary type. When a boy, he was a mark
among boys; when he became a man, he was a man among men. He hesitated
long between law and teaching, and when the question was settled, he
gave all the energies of his soul to his chosen calling. Prompt, able,
faithful and enthusiastic, he carried his pupils to the highest
standards of improvement of which they were capable, opening the fields
of Literature, where they might wander, explore and gather the richest
fruits in after years. Not only did he give them knowledge and culture,
but he inspired a zest for knowledge which would carry them beyond the
ordinary confines of female acquirements. As an officer in a school for
girls, his eminent literary attainments, his temperament, manners and
very person, inspired respect and affection. His purpose was to make
this a prominent Institution for young ladies, and accordingly he was
engaged in preparation of textbooks adapted to that end. Among literary
men, Mr. Turner was regarded as a scholar of mark, and destined to
become a figure in the literary world."


_Mrs. Leila Virginia Turner_

Mrs. Turner, Mr. Cocke's oldest daughter, was born in Richmond,
Virginia, February 5th, 1844. She was educated at Hollins and taught
twenty-one years in the Institution. Brightly gifted, ardent, magnetic,
witty and companionable, she had peculiar power to win and hold the
hearts of students and friends. She was happily married to Professor
Joseph A. Turner in 1871, and was consigned to early widowhood in 1878.
Two little children were left to her care. The daughter, now Mrs. Erich
Rath, teaches in the College, and the son, Mr. Joseph A. Turner, is its
Business Manager.

[Illustration: MRS. ANNE HOLLINS]


_Miss Sallie Lewis Cocke_

This gentle and accomplished daughter was born in Richmond, Virginia,
May 25th, 1845. She was a graduate of Hollins, and taught many years in
the college. Though frail in body, she was alert in mind, and lovingly
responsive to all those tasks wherein she could do her father service.
Gentleness and spiritual refinement were eminent qualities. Friendliness
and social grace seemed native to her character. Her teaching was in the
department of Literature and Languages, and to this day her pupils speak
in praise of her taste and skill in the teaching art. She was a model of
feminine culture, and filled her mission well. On the 29th of July,
1900, the lovable life faded away, at Hollins.


_Mr. Charles Henry Cocke_

This nobly useful man was born at Hollins, May 21st, 1853. He took a
course at Richmond College and in early manhood became an invaluable
helper to his father in the business affairs at Hollins. The growth of
the Institution, with the multiplying years and cares of the President,
made assistance imperative. No more timely relief could have been given
than that which came when young Charles H. Cocke threw his fresh
energies and enthusiasm into this work. On the new manager a
multitudinous and bewildering mass of incessant duties descended. He
discharged them with surprising swiftness and ability. A friendlier
manner or a kinder heart could not be. He had patience even with the
trivial and senseless interruptions that arose. Everybody leaned on him
and everybody loved him. His work at Hollins was one of the finest
contributions given by any one to the success and stability of the
Institution. All honor to his name. His health began to fail before the
end of twenty-five years of service, and, too late, he began to recruit
his spent vitalities. On May 3rd, 1900, his labors closed in death. All
Hollins wept and mourned his loss. Mr. Cocke said: "He was the right arm
of my strength. Without him the school would never have reached the
commanding position it now holds." With the precious company on the hill
he rests in peace. One is glad to see his son, M. Estes Cocke, a
prominent member of the Faculty.


_Mrs. Eliza Speiden Childs_

This noble woman was one of the distinguished factors in the evolution
of beautiful Hollins. Rich and varied are the contributions which she
made to the school. She was born in Washington City, July 26th, 1829.
Her father, William Speiden, was a U. S. Naval officer, and rose to the
rank of Commodore. Her mother was an English lady. Eliza was the oldest
of seven children. She was educated at Mrs. Kingsford's School in
Washington, and in that environment of elegant culture, her young
womanhood was nourished. By the strange vicissitudes of human life, she
was, before middle age, twice a widow, with two little children in her
care. In the year 1873, by good fortune both to herself and Mr. Cocke,
she came to Hollins as Associate Principal, a position she was to fill
for twenty-five years. After resignation, she was made "Emeritus." Mr.
Cocke said of her: "Mrs. Childs' gifts and qualifications were of
inestimable value to the Institution, and without them and her untiring
service, it could not have reached the excellence it has."

There was about her a captivating nameless grace of womanly finish,
delicacy and comeliness. Her unaffected goodness blended smoothly with
her emphasis of authority, and a perfect taste joined itself to charm of
manner and flowing sympathy. It was social culture to be in her company.
Her influence went out over all the South and will abide. Her daughter,
Miss Marian Bayne, is Librarian at Hollins today. Mrs. Childs resigned
at Hollins in 1898, and on August 11, 1901, she passed away, at
Marshall, Virginia. Her body was laid to rest at Alexandria, Virginia,
near the scenes of her childhood.


_Professor A. T. L. Kusian, LL.D._

Here is one of the most picturesque and delightful of scholars. His
history is dramatic and his experience of the world is rich. He was born
in France and educated in Germany. During the Civil War his sympathies
were with the South, and he bought supplies for the Confederacy in
France and Italy. He came to the United States while still young, and
took out naturalization papers in Kentucky. He married a Virginia lady,
and taught a number of years in the Baptist College at Danville,
Virginia. From there he was called to Hollins in 1890. After more than
twenty-five years of work in the department of Modern Languages, he
retired as Professor Emeritus. He was a man of remarkable memory, never
forgetting a fact or a face. He was one of the most competent, courteous
and obliging of teachers and friends, and for Mr. Cocke he had the most
sincere admiration and attachment. Honored and revered by all, he fell
asleep March 24th, 1920, at his home in Accomac County, Virginia.


_Trustees_

Two of the original Trustees of Hollins stand out particularly as
notable for long service and devotion.

[Illustration: JOHN HOLLINS]


_Mr. William A. Miller_

This venerable and delightful gentleman was born in Pittsylvania County,
Virginia, in March, 1824, and is now in his ninety-seventh year. This
summer of 1920, he is in fair health, and goes daily to his place of
business in Lynchburg, where most of his life has been spent. His whole
career has been one of stainless virtue and lofty Christian character.
His first meeting with the Trustees of Hollins was on July 5th, 1855;
his last was in February, 1900, making a term of forty-five years. He
was always high in the esteem of Mr. Cocke. He recently explained in
humorous way, that his long term of life was due to long teaching in
Baptist Sunday Schools. This got into the papers, and he has received
letters from all over the country, and some from people in other
countries, asking his methods of teaching the lessons. A halo of honor
is on his head, and thousands of friends wish him long life.


_Colonel George P. Tayloe_

On the 18th of April, 1897, this splendid citizen of Roanoke, Virginia,
this strong and invaluable friend of Hollins Institute, passed away, in
the ninety-third year of his age. He was the first-named Trustee on the
Board of the Valley Union Seminary, in 1842. That position he held
until the school took the name of Hollins Institute. In 1857 he became
President of the Board of Trustees, and as long as he lived, he held
this office with distinction. In 1896 some members thought it expedient
to elect another President, owing to Colonel Tayloe's frequent, enforced
absence on account of sickness. Mr. Cocke objected, however, and the
grand old man was re-elected. Before the next annual meeting he was no
more.

Mr. William A. Miller has this to say of his comrade: "Colonel Tayloe
was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and was often consulted by
Mr. Cocke. He seemed to feel himself a part of Hollins and was almost
like the right arm of the President."

Mr. Cocke himself, in giving a brief history of the Institution, in
1896, said, "I cannot close this sketch without a tribute to one who
well deserves to be mentioned on this occasion. The Hon. George P.
Tayloe, of this County, a gentleman of wealth and exalted social
station, was the administrator of the estate which held possession of
the property at the time the purchase was made for educational purposes.
He not only heartily approved of the establishment of the school and
gave liberally to its funds, but he gave his personal influence and more
than all, he indulged the Trustees in the payments due the estate, to
the utmost limits of the law, refusing to accept offers made by others,
until he finally secured the property to its present owners, thus
enabling the school to continue its high mission. For nearly the entire
period of fifty years, he has held the Presidency of the Board of
Trustees, and seldom has he been absent. When at any time during the
history of the school, money had to be raised for any emergency, he was
the first to subscribe and prompt to pay. His influence has contributed
largely to its successful career."

The Institution never had a more loyal friend, or a more generous and
intelligent Trustee. Hollins and its community ought to wipe the
opprobrious name of "Tinker" off the beautiful mountain, and replace it
with the honorable and cherished name of "Tayloe."


_Mr. and Mrs. John Hollins_

Mr. and Mrs. Hollins lived at Lynchburg, Virginia, prosperous, highly
respected and influential. Mr. Hollins was a man of superior worth and
always responsive to the generous impulses of his intelligent wife. Her
ancestors, the Halseys, came from England in 1623. One of these kinsmen
was a member of the English Parliament, and another went to the United
States Congress from New Jersey. She was a member of the First Baptist
Church of Lynchburg, but her husband, on account of self-distrust,
never joined. Mr. Hollins' gift of $5,000 in 1855 was by her
inspiration. Her own later gifts, amounting to $12,500, assured the life
of the Institution. But for the Civil War, which destroyed most of her
wealth, she would have given much more. They had no children. Mr.
Hollins was born February 11th, 1786, and died April 7th, 1859. Mrs.
Hollins was born in 1792 and died July 3rd, 1864. Both were buried in
Spring Hill cemetery, at Lynchburg.



CHAPTER XI

HIS MONUMENT


The perpetual, unsatisfied longings of the Founder of Hollins projected
plans and schemes whose completion had to be left to other hands. In his
wise view, an Institution completed was an Institution already on the
downward grade. The large, expansive life of the age requires continuous
modifications and enlargements to meet the ever-springing exigencies of
society. In his eighty-first year, amid the desolations of a triple
bereavement, the aged hero sounded this note: "I will devote my energies
to putting the Institution on a permanent, broad basis, with facilities
of all kinds to meet the advancing demands for such schools; for
education of every kind throughout the South is on rising grade, and
Virginia, like New England, may yet have a reputation for school
facilities with scholarly men and women equal to those of any section of
this broad and progressive land." This is the same clarion voice so
familiar through two generations. Thus came from his lips the general
program, committed to his successors for the following thirty years.
With no consciousness of the fact, he was providing his own monument
which lives in the noble Hollins College of today.

When the Institution passed from the Trustees to Mr. Cocke, it became
the charge of a Board of Governors, selected from the members of his own
family. From that day, they have regarded as their precious inheritance
the plans of his mind and the wishes of his heart. His principle of
progress has been the guiding light of the Board of Governors and not
for a moment have they forgotten that the passionate desire of the
Founder of the College was to make Hollins, in an ever increasing
degree, a leader in the cause of the education of women.

What has been done during the nineteen years of the Board's control? It
is impossible to visit Hollins without feeling that the memory of Mr.
Cocke and his influence equally abide. He, being dead, yet speaketh. At
his death the Presidency of the college went to his daughter, Matty L.
Cocke, and the Chairmanship of the Board of Governors to his son, Lucian
H. Cocke. The business affairs, so long and heroically managed by
Charles Henry Cocke, are now entrusted to two of the Founder's
grandsons: Marion Estes Cocke as Secretary and Treasurer, and Joseph
Augustine Turner as General Manager.

[Illustration: HOLLINS COLLEGE]

The improvements on the grounds and buildings, and on the farm, have
been many. A beautiful Library building, made possible by the Alumnæ,
was erected in 1908, as a memorial to Mr. Cocke. The Susanna Infirmary
was built in 1911, as a memorial to Mrs. Cocke. In 1914, the Science
Hall was built. Meanwhile important changes were being made in the
courses of study. The curriculum was gradually enlarged, and eight years
after the Founder's death, the institution was standardized on the basis
of a four years college course. When this change was recognized in a new
charter from the legislature of Virginia, the name "Hollins Institute"
gave place to that of "Hollins College."

The realization of the Founder's dream is an endless process, and the
motto will ever be, "Forward and Upward." In the very atmosphere of the
place, the sensitive soul feels a brooding presence. The trees on the
campus, nearly all of which he planted, seem to whisper the revered
name. His Ideal lives, and his Spirit interfuses all. His monument is
building still. Let it go shining down the centuries!





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Lewis Cocke - Founder of Hollins College" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home