Malachi Gardiner was a tenant farmer of Benjamin S. Ewell, president of the College of William and Mary, in the years after the Civil War. With the Wren Building burned and the College in ruins after the Civil War, Ewell and Gardiner kept the College officially open by ringing the College bell at the beginning of each semester. Freedpeople build shanties and raise livestock on the lawn in front of the Wren Building’s remains.
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