Page 19 - Cornelius Hedges Story
P. 19

For This And Succeeding Generations  Gardiner 6

    Cornelius Hedges could lay claim to a more or less illustrious
ancestry, his forefathers having been among the earliest settlers on
Long Island, removing from there to Connecticut and before his time
to Massachusetts. His maternal grandfather, Jacob Noble, served
under General Washington in the War of the Revolution, and was
the progenitor of a long line of honest farming people and strong
supporters of the Congregational church.

    After completing work in the “academy,” Cornelius journeyed
down river in the Connecticut valley to enroll in Yale College at New
Haven, Connecticut, in the fall of 1849.3 His first year of college was
interrupted by an acute illness caused by drinking poisoned milk.
Because of this, he not only lost a semester term, but he felt some
effects of this weakened condition for the next 12 to 14 years.4

    His college days were marked by the painful processes of trial-and
error. His journal shows that he was extremely sensitive to success
and failure, and in the process very self-critical and demanding
of himself. His thoughts and emotions are well expressed in this
excerpt of his journal entry for October 31, 1851.

  “I am now in my twentieth year and my parents who have
   been so long looking for some display of my abilities will yet
   be disappointed. Would I wish to graduate as I am, would I
   want to go forth into life as I graduate and continue in the sane
   course until, No answers something from within by no means.
   All this results by misguided zeal. I never shall be free from
   failures till I adopt reason as the guide of my actions and labor
   with reason in view - Reason I Will try to pursue, till I find
   her developed into my life - As much as I can do I will aim
   to follow the bounds that nature has set … and when I have
   come to these limits I Will go beyond - But for me thinking as
   I do sometimes that I can do anything and know anything, it
   is all foolish. There is no soundness or sense in such thoughts
   and yet it is with such that much of my time and strength is
    During his collegiate years, Hedges used his journals as
instruments of self-evaluation6, and his entries were much more
voluminous than in later years. Along with the serious side of
gaining a college education, his routine also included the lighter side
of life. Hedges was a very active member of Phi Beta Kappa Delta
and Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale.7
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