(An amusing history of the literary societies written by J. C. Pottorf, ’09, appeared in the October, 1908 edition of The Normal Enterprise.)
In the beginning, according to legend and tradition, there was one society when the numbers upon the land were few, and its name was called Webster. It existed in the first year of the reign of Davis; but in the second year of the reign of Davis, under the leadership of Apple, there arose another society, and its name was called Bancroft. Now in the days of Bancroft, when the children had increased upon the land, another society sprang up, and its name was called Excelsior; and its adherents were children who were not yet Juniors. And lo! when the children grew and waxed old and needed no teacher to lead their meetings, then there was no Excelsior.
But on account of the grievous oppression in the land of Erie, the children of Edinboro journeyed southward in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety-two and came unto the land of Clarion, in the sixth year of the reign of Davis. Now behold in the land of Erie there had been two societies, and so it was decided by the children of Edinboro to form another society: and its name was called Union. But on account of the frailties of its constitution and the lack of interest in the individual members, it came to naught-likewise the Bancroft soon sank from existence. Then later two other societies sprang up. The names of which were called Phoenix and Euclea. Now as they had no depth of root, interest lagged and they soon withered. Dr. Weir, in the first year of his reign, tried to revive the societies, but it availed him nothing. Thus when Phoenix and Euclea had fallen from power, there arose the old society Bancroft and her members were loyal.
Thus was the condition when Dr. Becht assumed the reigns of government in the year one thousand nine hundred and four. It was then decided by the Elders that it would be best to divide the host of the children of Clarionites into two divisions, and they each then chose brave leaders much learned in the laws. But the divisions of the host could not decide what their tribal names should be. Then lo! came forth J. George, the Reckoner, with the names Franklin and Bancroft. Now the leaders of the tribes were called Bowman and Craig, and they cast lots for the names of the tribes, and the first lot fell upon Craig and its name was called Franklin. Since then there have been twelve brave leaders of the tribe of Franklin, each much learned in different things, who have journeyed into other tribes, some as Reckoners and Scribes and others as Interpreters.
In the year one thousand nine hundred and seven and in the sixth month of the year, there arose a rivalry for supremacy between the tribes of Bancroft and Franklin. And lo! the tribe of Franklin sent out five contestants, and the tribe of Bancroft, after much consultation among its elders, sent out five picked tribesmen and behold the victory was their’s. Now in the following year and in the same month of the year the tribe Franklin came against five others picked from the tribe of Bancroft, and defeated them, but there is still another victory to be won in the sixth month of our present year, so let us persevere and be zealous and steadfast to the end and the victory is ours.