Horatio Gates Jones
Gavin Morton Walker
The Years Tell of Changes
Rev. War Memorial
President Woodrow Wilson |
In 1887, Professor Woodrow Wilson of Bryn Mawr College, Mrs. Wilson, and baby Margaret came to live on our property, and a few months later Jessie Woodrow arrived to enrich the happy family. In R.S. Baker's "Woodrow Wilson" we read, "Down the hill, some quarter of a mile, stood a weather-beaten Colonial Church, with the graves of ancient families about it. Back of it stretched the forest, which is still untouched, and close to that quietude the parsonage was placed. Here the Wilsons moved in May, 1887." When the future President was fixing up his new abode, he wrote, "I haven't had a moment for thought of anything but my own household plans, and nights have found me hardly able to hold a pen." We catch glimpses of him working in his study while his wife sewed. Sometimes he would read aloud and sometimes he sang. Nor did the future Chief Executive neglect other duties. "He took care of the furnace and pumped the water into the tank from a well worked by a queer little hand pump."
A month after Woodrow Wilson moved into the parsonage,
the "Political Science Quarterly" published an article by him in which he foreshadowed the League of Nations. It was a long wait of thirty-two years before the young college professor saw his idea put into concrete form at Versailles under his leadership, yet he did eventually come to the end of his bright rainbow.
The Professor was somewhat reserved to those whom he did not know, and Mrs. Wilson was very gracious. It was not quite easy for the young professor in those nineteenth century days of feminine repression in certain spheres, to teach in a Woman's College, with a lady Dean, as his "Life and Letters" will indicate. Evidently a rumor had got under way that he was to be the President. At any rate, a certain good lady, not unduly backward, accosted him in the Meeting House one Sabbath morning, with the salutation. "How do you do, Mr. President?" Taken aback, Woodrow Wilson replied, "How do you do, woman?" The retort came, "How do you do, man?"
In 1930, Mrs. Jessie Woodrow Sayre graciously presented the Church with a handsome pulpit Bible, and on the day of its dedication Mrs. Helen Taft Manning, daughter of President William Howard Taft, read the lesson from the Woodrow Wilson Bible.
The chorus of Bryn Mawr College sang, and among those present was a granddaughter of President U.S. Grant. The Bible is well inscribed: "The gift of Jessie Woodrow Sayre, in memory of her beloved father, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, to the Lower Merion Baptist Church, April 20, 1930. 'I should be afraid to go forward if I did not believe that there lay at the foundation of all our schooling, and of all our thought, this incomparable and unimpeachable Word of God.--Woodrow Wilson'."
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