Excerpt transcribed from a manuscript at the Archives, Duggan Library, Hanover, Indiana.
On the ninth of April, 1863, after working on the farm until noon, I said to my father, after the noonday meal, which we very properly called dinner, "Father, I am going to college". In the laconic manner for which he was noted he said, "Very well, son", but that was the end of his advice. That same afternoon I walked to the village of Hanover, where I was practically a stranger, not knowing any person connected with the college one way or the other, and in fact without knowing a single person in the village. When I reached a point where the village could be seen, by heart failed me. I sat down under a maple tree, which was then just budding, and presided at a discussion which took place between a boy who wanted to go to college and a boy who appreciated that he was on a forlorn hope. With very plain homespun, cowhide shoes, with no collar nor necktie, and bronzed by the suns of early Spring, I pictured myself in the presence of the majesty of the professor. The point debated was "To go or not to go". After a long discussion, which lasted for at least an hour, the "Goes" gained the verdict. I went into the village, walked like a lost lamb along the streets, and finally saw a boy sitting at the window of the first story of a house studying. He had a kindly face and I turned into the yard and spoke to him. He proved to be Samuel Wilson Elliott, who continued in college until the end of his sophomore year and then went to Washington and Jefferson for his graduation, and afterwards became a Presbyterian minister. He encouraged me and went with me to see the president, James Wood. In a short time all the preliminaries were arranged. I had found a place where I could rent a vacant room for fifty cents a week, and I walked back home with high hopes for the future. On the morrow I gathered a few belongings, an old stove, a bedstead and furnishings, with some provisions, cooking utensils and half a load of wood, and drove back and took possession, and on the eleventh of April, 1863, I began my course at Hanover. Fifty-three years have passed since then, but the memory of that day is still undimmed.