Documenting the American South

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Signature of James L. Dusenbery and several photographs artistically combined.

Owen, William Hayes

William Hayes Owen (abt. 1807-abt. 1877) entered the University in 1829, became a member of the Dialectic Society, and received his BA in 1833. He served as tutor of ancient languages from 1833 to 1835, and when his replacement declined the tutorship, Owen stayed on until 1843. It also was his responsibility to take minutes of faculty meetings and to oversee the University’s library. He earned his MA in 1838 and helped organize the alumni association in 1843. That same year he became a professor of ancient languages at Wake Forest College. He served as acting president of Wake Forest from 1852 to 1854 but left in late 1858, some say, because certain Baptists wished to rid the faculty of "this Methodist professor" (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 4:414-15). Thereafter he taught at schools in Hillsborough and Madison, NC, and in Tennessee. James Johnston Pettigrew, writing to his brother, Charles Pettigrew, on May 5, 1844, explains, "He used to be called Judge, when he was here and was famous for using large words and bombastic expressions . . . ." (Pettigrew Family Papers #592, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; see also Battle 1:550).





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