The Vagabond


"He felt that the university was to be great, and he took, his measures accordingly."

His father's name was Elijah, and his mother's name was Eunice, and he was born at Westchester Landing on the Bronx River in New York in 1807. His Quaker parents christened him Ezra.

By 1845 he was a well known associate of Samuel Morse in building the new telegraph lines which were beginning to mushroom up throughout the country. He made his first large profit of $6000 on the New York-Albany line. In 1885 Ezra and other owners of the Middle Western lines formed the Western Union Telegraph Company, on which company he served twenty years as a director, and of which for more than fifteen years he was the largest stockholder. Then, financially secure, he turned to public affairs and became trustee of the infantile State Agricultural College just founded at Ovid, N. Y. He nourished the little school with $300,000 and moved it to Ithaca. Alike in appearance to Arthur Train's venerable Ephraim Tutt, of Saturday Evening Post stories fame, Ezra's tall, spare figure, set off with frock coat and shiny stovepipe hat, was a familiar sight on the campus. His checks and gifts were also familiar--and welcome.

Today in the stadium there will be a football game. The Vagabond will be there. The newspaper men will also be there. And the modern successors of the telegraph lines which Ezra helped Morse to string along the tree trunks between Washington and Baltimore will be chattering up above, sparking out the account of the game between the Big Red and the Big Crimson. But the Vagabond, psychic youngster that he is, will sense the presence of Ezra by more than the metallic clicking in the press box. Ezra, he knows, will be very much present on the opposite side of the field. The coed sitting in back of him will complain that she can't see through his old stovepipe hat, and her enthusiastic Cornell friend will smash that Lincolnian chapeau down over his ears.

But Vag knows that Ezra Cornell won't mind. He will keep on smiling as he watches his sons--the sons of Cornell--do battle with the Bruin-bruised sons of John. Vag will smile, too. Like Ezra, he feels that Cornell is probably going "to be great." But, like Ezra, Vag also "took his measures accordingly." This afternoon he will escort his Pine Manor cheering section to the game, well knowing that their young voices can last out even the toughest gridiron battle. It's Vag's own personal sacrifice. The Crimson will get vocal support, but God help Vag's eardrums.