Born in North Carolina in 1770, he began teaching at age 14. He moved to Georgia briefly but left to attend Hampden Sydney College in Virginia and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. After graduation he came back to Georgia to teach and preach. One of his students was William Crawford, future secretary of war and treasury and presidential candidate.
In 1795, Waddel married John C. Calhoun’s sister and moved to South Carolina. The future senator and vice president was another in the long list of Waddel students prominent in Antebellum America.
His academy in Wilmington, South Carolina gained national attention, and Waddel became president of the University of Georgia in 1819. His strong leadership helped the fledgling college grow and put it on sound financial footing.
One of the most influential early American educators was born on June 20, 1770, Today in Georgia History.
Three of the five candidates in the 1924 presidential election were former students of Waddel. Both the winner, Andrew Jackson, and Vice President, John C. Calhoun had been Waddel students.