History of Phi Gamma Society.
PHI Gamma Society was organized in the spring of of 1837, the first year of
the college. Like the college, it did not have a phenomenal growth at
first but each vear gradually increased its membership. The first years
of the society were characterized more by the enthusiasm and hard work of its
members than by seeking a large enrollment. In the ante-bellum days the
regular weekly meeting was held on Saturday. The first three hours of the session
only served to lend "excitement and ginger" to the debate and a
short recess was given for dinner, after which the enthused speakers returned
and continued the discussion until late in the afternoon. With such genuine
enthusiasm and such a love for polemic discussion, it is no wonder that during
this period were developed men who were to stand at the front as pulpit and
In the fall of 1839 it was decided to divide the society and form a new one.
The division was effected by appointing two men to choose the members for
each of the two societies. Prof. G. W. W. Stone chose for Phi Gamma and W.
H. Holcombe for the new society which was afterwards named Few, in honor
of the first president of the college, I. A. Few.
The present hall was finished in 18*51 and was opened with elaborate exerT
cises. During the Civil War college was suspended and the hall was used as a
hospital. The doctors in charge were very kind and considerate in preserving
intact the books and manuscripts of the society.
When college opened after the war Phi Gamma had quite a large membership
as compared with the number of students in college. In fact she had all the
students except two. Among the men who were members at this period were,
j. S. Bryan, W. R. Branham, W. A. Haygood, Walker Lewis, J. E. Pope and
C. O. Jones. With the earnest efforts of these zealous young men the old spirit
of the society was revived and since that time the work has steadily pushed for¬
As an evidence of the work done by Phi Gamma Society there can be no
better witness than the illustrious alumni she has sent out to bless the world.
These men have distinguished themselves in almost every line of reputable
endeavor and have reflected the highest honor on their society. To the college
of bishops she has given, Jas. S. Key, Atticus G. Haygood and Warren A.Candler.
In the itinerary and foregin mission fields are found among others, Dr. Walker
Lewis, Dr. C. O. Jones, Dr. Robbins. Dr. Sassnett, Dr. Heidt, Dr. Bigham and
Dr. Park. Among the statesmen are found such names as L. Q. C. Lamar, U. S.
Senator and justice of the Supreme Court of U. S.; U. S. Senator, W. J. Bryan
(Fla.); Congressman Clin J. Welbourn, J. W. lslar (S. C.) and Gordon Lee. In
the legal profession are Judges J. W. Aikin, late president of the State Senate,
|. K. Hines, Henry Harris and Judge Lewis. Some of her prominent educators
are, former presidents of Emory, O. L. Smith, A. G. Haygood, W. A. Candler