Monday, December 02, 2013

"Discharging pistols at all hours of the night appears to be a favorite sport with the Princ[e]ton undergraduates...."



Half a score of Shots Fired in a Public
Street--A Sophomore Severely Wounded
--Freshmen Avenging an Insult to a
Freshman--Students Gagged and Their
Heads Shaved.

[N. Y. Sun, Feb. 20.]

   About a week ago, two members of the Princeton College sophomore class of '80, A.H. Atterbury of Trenton, and j.b. Carter of Montclair, N.J. went to the room of a freshman named Lane, and hazed him most unmercifully. He was stripped and spanked, his hair was cut, and he was subjected to indignities which his classmates felt called upon to resent in the most summary manner. The freshman class, that of '81, is unusually large, containing upward of 110 members, many of whom are specially noted for strength. The most active members of the class held a meeting and deputed eight of their number, together with two juniors, to wreak vengeance upon the offending sophomores. The majority of the freshmen and both the juniors belonged to the Alpha Sigma Chi secret society, an organization that the faculty supposed had been broken up, but which appears to have maintained a lively and flourishing existence. The men selected were among the most powerful of their class, and numbered several who were distinguished in the athletic exercises of the college. Two were from New York, a third from Illinois, a fourth from Missouri, a fifth from Maryland, and a sixth iiorn the District of Columbia.

   On Monday evening Dr. F.M. Otis lectured on "Health" in the college chapel. It had been whispered about that the injured freshmen intended to resent the insult in a signal and terrible manner, but the assemblage dispersed without any signs of tumult. At the close of the lecture Carter and Atterbury went to a saloon on Nassau street to get some oysters. While they were gone the "Ku-Klux," as they were called, blacked their faces, armed themselves with revolvers, ropes. &c, and mounted cautiously to Atterbury's rooms, which are on the second story of the Mansion house, fronting on Nassau street, and nearly opposite the college campus. Here they concealed themselves and waited for their victim.

   At about 11 o'clock the two sophomores returned, opened the door of the room, and were instantaneously seized, gagged, and beaten. Alter being subjected to the usual hazing tortures, the gags were removed and the two victims were asked to sign a humble apology to the Freshman class for maltreating one of its members.

   "Sign, or it'll be worse for you." said the ringleader of the Ku-Klux, a tall, athletic fellow from Missouri, the starboard stroke oar of the Freshman crew.

   "I'll be hanged if I'll sign." responded Atterbury.

   You can do your damnedest, you can't get anything out of me," replied Carter between his clenched teeth.

   The men were given two minutes by the watch in which to make up their minds, but they refused. Then the freshmen gagged them again, and proceeded to scalp them in the most approved Princeton fashion. Carter was stripped and spanked with a paddle until he nearly fainted. Atterbury was served in a similar fashion, and then the two men were tied to two chairs and the process of shaving began. Their hair was cut off until nothing but a waving topknot was left upon each, and not content with this, their tormentors smeared their closely cropped heads with mucilage. Then they poured water down their backs, tied them hard, and exhausted their ingenuity in devising new methods of scalping, by which they could subdue their victims. The two sophomores, however, stuck to their word, and the Ku-Klux were forced to retire, leaving the sophomores gagged, bruised, and nearly half dead with exhaustion, but still defiant.

   A friendly freshman released them, and hurrying on such clothing as they could lay hands on, they sallied out, carrying their revolvers and breathing the direst vengeance on their persecutors. In the hallway they discharged their pistols as a signal to the neighboring sophomores, and then hurried on without waiting for reinforcements. The Ku-Klux had retreated up Chambers street, and had crossed again in to Nassau. At the University hotel Carter and Atteibury caught up with them, and, levelling their resolvers, ordered them to halt. The Ku-Klux continued their retreat, and then Atterbury pulled trigger on them. Quick as a flash the masked men wheeled, and producing several revolvers returned the fire.

   A brisk fusilade followed, in which the windows of the astonished burghers in the vicinity were flung up and several heads in night caps protruded.

   Atterbury called out to Carter, "I'm shot!" People began to appear on the scene, and the Ku-Klux, realizing that a night in jail might follow their sport, put up their weapons and scattered. Three of them were seen running across the college campus in the direction of their boarding halls, while several others were hurrying through different streets.

   The wounded man was taken to Dr. Wikoff's, opposite the hotel, but that surgeon, not caring to probe for the ball by gaslight, allowed the patient to be taken to his room at the Mansion House. There a throng of sympathizing sophomores collected, and it was hours before the wounded man succeeded in getting any rest. In the morning the physician called, and after careful probing extracted the ball. It had entered the left groin near the femoral artery, and proceeded in a slanting direction through the fleshy part of the hip. Had it gone a quarter of an inch on either side it would have severed the femoral artery and resulted fatally.

   Atterbury's father and mother were summoned by telegraph from Trenton, and every effort made by the college authorities to hush the matter up.

   A meeting of the faculty was held late in the day, at which Dr. McCosh presided. He afterward refused to say anything on the subject beyond the fact that a rigid investigation would be made and the guilty ones expelled from college.

   A Sun reporter visited the rooms of the two hazed students in the Mansion House yesterday. Atterbury, a tall, pleasant-looking fellow of about 19 was tossing uneasily in bed. His wound pained him. but he thought he would be around again in a week or two. The only danger was that inflammation might set in in which case it would become serious. Both he and Carter persistently refused to give the names of the Ku-Klux, although they know very well who they are

   "What will the faculty do with them if they find them out?" asked the reporter.

   "Expel them, I suppose. I don't see how they can blame us for doing what we did We were attacked and abused outrageously, and we resented just as anybody with any spirit would have done. Besides, our pistols were loaded with blank cartridges only."

   It might have been an optical delusion, but something very much like a wink quivered in Mr. Carter's eye as he uttered the last sentence. Then he added: "McCosh has been down here this afternoon, and he says that we're all right; we only defended ourselves, eh, Al?"

   "Yes, that's what the Prex says, and no mistake," replied Atterbury from under the bedclothes.

   "Did they hurt you much?"

   "Well, they made it rather warm for us to tell the truth," answered Carter, passing his hand carelessly over his closely cropped head. "All they left me was a warlock that would have done for Spotted Tail, and I had to go down to the barbers this morning and get the whole thing shaved off. It's rather inconvenient in this weather."

   Numbers of sympathizing sophomores were pausing in and out, to ask how the sick man was doing.

   The indignation of the sophomores is deepseated, and unless the faculty take strenuous measures, there will be bloody retaliation before long. Knots of excited classmen gathered at the hotels last evening and discussed the situation, but it was generally agreed that nothing would be done at present. "We will have to let this thing blow over first," said a tall sophomore with a jaunty cane and a gold horse-shoe in his neck tie. "We'll have to keep dark until the faculty are off the scent. Then you can look out for shows, that's all."

   Discharging pistols at all hours of the night appears to be a favorite sport with the Princ[e]ton undergraduates. The method of hazing is severe in the extreme. Last fall a party of sophomores seized an unsuspecting freshman, carried him off to a lonely part of the river, and, having stripped him, and tied a rope around his waist, flung him in. The man could not swim, and yet for some minutes the sophomores amused themselves with pulling him up to the surface and letting him down again, until he was almost drowned.

   College opinion in regard to the present scrape is pretty evenly divided. The juniors generally side with the freshmen, and urge that Carter and Atterbury, in resorting to firearms after being hazed, were violating the college usage. The plea of the latter that their pistols were blank loaded meets with very few believers. The sophomores uphold the use of the revolver, and threaten to "plant"' several freshmen before the injury is fully atoned for. It was said last night that Dr. McCosh advises the criminal prosecution of the offending boys, although they are not as yet sufficiently known to warrant such action. The fact that Carter and Atterbury first resorted to firearms, and that the Ku-Klux only followed their example, will only complicate the case.

   Mrs. Atterbury, the mother of the wounded man, arrived last night, and will remain with her son until he has fully recovered. It is rumored that detectives will be brought on from New York, if necessary, to get at the bottom facts.

[Daily Globe, St. Paul, Monday Morning, February 25, 1878. Volume I. Number 42. Pg. 3]
    It sure seems that these Ivy League schools loved their forearms:

No comments: