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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/202

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194 Southern Historical Society Papers.

little house still standing on Clay street. He also went to other schools in Lynchburg, and then to a boarding-school kept by Mr. William Claytor, at Liberty, now Bedford City. From there he went to Emory and Henry College where he graduated with distinc- tion in 1855. In the fall of that year he assumed the duties of the Chair of Ancient Languages in Roanoke College, to which he had been unanimously elected, but being then only 19 years of age, concluded that he was too young for such a position and determined to further cultivate his own mind. With this end in view he entered the University of Virginia in February, 1856, and remained there until the close of that session. His course there cannot be other- wise described than as brilliant. Colonel William E. Peters, his uncle, Emeritus Professor of Latin, University of Virginia, says that no student within his knowledge ever accomplished more than he did within the same space of time. To use Colonel Peters' exact language, he writes: "It was my good fortune to take part in his education from his earliest boyhood in Lynchburg, afterward at Bedford City and again at Emory and Henry, where he graduated. After his graduation he was elected Professor of Latin and Greek (I believe) in Roanoke College, Virginia. The position there did not suit him. He gave it up late in the fall and on my earnest in- sistence his father sent him to the University of Virginia. I was confident that he would be able to graduate (here) in Latin, Greek, French and Spanish which he studied with me at Emory and Henry. He did graduate in these subjects, a most unusual achievement, considering the fact that he entered the University late in the session. I doubt whether any student had accomplished so much here in so short a time. Your father was a brilliant student and an exception- ally fine scholar. * * I have never known a truer and braver spirit, nor a finer intellect."

This testimony is corroborated by others who were at the Univer- sity at the same time, among whom may be named Professor E. S. Joynes, of South Carolina College, and Dr. J. A. Quarles, of Wash- ington and Lee University, the latter of whom was his roommate. Dr. Quarles says that he was the most indefatigable student he ever saw, and that he does not recollect ever having seen him asleep, but that when he would retire at night he would leave Halsey awake with book in hand, and when he awoke in the morn- ing he would find him in the same position, although, of course he supposed he went to sleep some time during the night.

After his distinguished career at the University of Virginia, he