Wednesday, January 23, 2013

College Students Behaving Badly - in 1832

In November 12, 1832 the postmaster at Williamsburg Virginia sent a letter to the editors of the
Southern Pioneer in Richmond Virginia explaining that  there was a fair number of subscribers who were not
picking up their copies. They were either  College of William and Mary graduates who had left the area, or those who were just refusing to receive their copies.  In those day, subscription payment was not before your subscription, but after!  So the abandonment of copies, was usually considered an attempt to not pay a debt.

The Southern Pioneer was an Universalist publication that was ran from 1831 to 1835, starting in Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland. So to the students in Williamsburg, it was a semi-local paper.

Those listed below were probably not Universalist, and it would be difficult to figure out why they subscribed
and then fled without paying their bills, or even if some later paid up.  But because the letter is avilable, I decided to  list the names of these 14 students, who were behaving badly back in 1832.

The postmaster was Jesse Cole,

Thomas Burfoot   Class of 1834, of Petersburg.  - In March of 1832, he was disciplined for being part of a group riding a horse in a school building. Likely to be Thomas Matthew Burfoot (1814 - 1869)

Richard  H. Gregory  Class of 1831, from Lombardy Grove. Son of William O. Gregory

Lemuel J,  Bowden  Class of 1832 (1815 - 1864); lawyer,   mayor of Williamsburg 1862-1863 and U.S. Senator from 1863 - 1864

Thomas Martin  Class of 1831 from James City, son of Dr. Thomas Martin

Thomas P. Giles Class of 1832 from Amelia, son of Gov William B. Giles.  (c1813- ) is not to be confused with his half-brother Thomas Tabb Giles, or the Thomas Giles from South Carolina.  Luckily the College said he was the son of the Governor, so we know which Thomas Giles he was. The Govenor had been a co-founder of the "Thomas Payne Infidel Club", some of which may be due to living in Paineville. The Governor was an active member of the Episcopal Church.  Thomas P. Giles' daughter, Elizabeth Peyton Giles is mention is Mary Chestnut's diary.

John H. Jones  Class of 1831 from Charles City

Frederick Proctor Class of 1832 from Elizabeth City

James M. Scott - Feb. 1832, left school after participating in a duel. Possibly from Richmond , he was the  son of Robert G. Scott

Edward C. Outlaw   Class of 1831 from North Carolina. Edward Cherry Outlaw (1810 - 1853) brother was US Congressman David Outlaw, from Windsor in Bertie County. Family were Episcopalians. Extremely
distant kin to the Universalists at Outlaw's Bridge (and  even more extremely distant kin to this writer).

John  W. Jarvis - from Matthews

P.C. Lightfoot  Class of 1832 from Buckingham - Possibly Carter Lightfoot.

John W. Greenhow  Class of 1832 from Richmond,  son of Robert Greenhow
 The only son of Robert Greenhow who fits is James "Washington" Greenhow (1817-1849), newspaper editor in Petersburg. Nominated but declined appointment to be consul in Argentina in 1847.

John M. Maufin (Maulpin)  (1807 - 1850) apparently not a student. He was the future son-in-law of the above postmaster, Mayor of Williamsburg in 1850, owner of the Custis-Maulpin house in Williamsburg,  Episcopalian
Lucius Cary - apparently not a student. (1815 - 1845)  A leading merchant in Williamsburg by the
late 1830s, may have lived in Mississippi for a few years in the early 1840s.

William G. Young,   Class of 1832, son of John Young of Denbigh, Warwick (the location is now a neighborhood in  Newport News). He is likely the William G. Young who actually owned the community of Denbigh in the 1860s - it was a working plantation and the former home of  Colonial Governor Samuel Mathews Junior.

So, these were rich kids used to getting their way. Not surprising to see Episcopalians, as that was the church of the ruling elite in the South in those days,  and these kids were being groomed to be just that. 
If you wanted to succeed at politics or buisness, you went to the right church.

Missing  from this list was James Lewis Corbin Griffin (1814 - 1878) was was a William And Mary student from 1826 to 1828, and 1829 to 1833.  A local boy, from proniment family, who after graduation becomes a Methodist preacher, and a teacher - and later an Universalist minister. He recieved an honorary MA degree from William and Mary in 1854.  Did he see a copy of the Southern Pioneer that his fellow students may have actually accepted from the Post Office?

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