At the age of 15 I entered the Moravian Training School, at Fairfield, Manchester parish. That is some distance from the parish in which I was born. The climate is noted for its health-giving power.
Though born in a Moravian family, one grandmother was a Roman Catholic.On that account (though how it was reasoned out I do not know) I was baptized by a Roman Catholic priest. How old was I? Do not know, but I was old enough to remember the appearance of the baptizer. I remember his long, black cassockand skull cap. Father Duperong [Dupeyron], he was called. The baptism was not in a church. I do not remember as a child ever having been in a Roman Catholic church. I went to a Moravian parish school and church. In 1864, at Fairfield School, I was received into church fellowship by means of a solemn and impressive service. That began my training for confirmation. I was confirmed October 14, 1866. The soul training was such as probably I could not have gotten anywhere else.
Fairfield Training School had a large number of acres of land. There were about thirty of us in the buildings. There was but one cook, and her place was in the kitchen. Servants to do the work? Oh, no. We were our own servants and there never could be any loafing. We got up in the morning by the clock. We worked by the clock. We ate by the clock. We studied by the clock. We went to bed by the clock. Everything about the houses and grounds was kept in a state of perfect condition. Every morning except Saturday, the most of us did some work about the grounds. But clothes had to be washed, dried and mangled. We did that. Sometimes wells went dry. We must bring water from the nearest place where it can be had. All kinds of fruits and vegetables were cultivated. Every student had a small patch of land given him. That he owned. On Wednesday afternoons, each student cultivated his own piece of ground. What he raised he sold to the institution. Not many of us, if any, had parents sending them money. Hence it can be seen how diligently each one cultivated his patch.
Saturday mornings we did not work in the fields. What did we do? We swept the floors, scrubbed them, rubbed them with wax and then shined them. And everything had to be done in a perfect manner. There was a monitor going about, peeping into every corner to make sure that every spot was clean. Before that, all the cots and beds were taken out, sunned and cleaned. The afternoon was our own. Games, cricket especially, were played.
At dinner, one student had to read. Everything was done, as far as possible, in a perfect manner. All my teachers, except one from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, were from Europe and, as I remember, Prussians, and Prussian discipline meant doing everything in the best possible way. We stood aghast when we heard of some of the things that American students did. With us, the least breach of discipline meant probably dismissal from college and to have been dismissed from Fairfield Training School was looked upon as being as disgraceful as to be hanged for a crime committed. One of my duties, at school, was to take care of the roses. I still see, at this writing, seventy-two years later, some of the beautiful English tea roses that I used to nurse. I love flowers. I see so much of the face of God in them. It was probably because of early training. “Train up a child in time way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Immediately after graduation I left home to teach school in St. Croix or Santa Cruz. It was then a Danish island. That was April 12, 1868.
Note about Fairfield:
The school was started about 1839 in the house of Jacob Zorn, the Moravian superintendent, with three young men who studied 'the three R's', the Bible and gardening. F R Holland joined the staff in 1841 and carpentry was added to the curriculum; there were then 10 students. (to be continued)