This blog includes text and images drawn from historical sources that may contain material that is offensive or harmful. We strive to accurately represent the past while being sensitive to the needs and concerns of our audience. If you have any feedback to share on this topic, please either comment on a relevant post, or use our Ask Us form to contact us.

This Week in Princeton History for January 3-9

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, a battle reenactment goes a bit awry, a professor is called upon to study the problem of mendicant visitors, and more.

January 3, 1877—The Newark and Pennsylvania militia reenact the Battle of Princeton as part of its centennial celebration. They are hampered in part by some of the soldiers getting stranded at Princeton Junction without a train into town, but they walk the three miles in deep snow. The train catches up to them on the way and pushes them all into a 4-foot snow drift, as the New York Tribune will later report.

Reenacting the Battle of Princeton has been an ongoing, snowy pastime for generations. This photo dates from the late 20th century. Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection (AC126), Box 27.

January 4, 1796—The faculty intervene in a dispute between Denis Reed (Class of 1797) and Joseph Reade (Class of 1796). They determine that Reade “was guilty of

Lyman Hotchkiss Atwater, 1860. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 29.

assaulting and striking Denise Reed in consequence of provoking language which was mixed with profaneness,” and formally admonish both students prior to evening prayers.

January 6, 1824—Savannah’s Georgian reports on recent unrest at Princeton, via the Georgetown Metropolitan, saying “chief conspirators were three young hot headed Virginians and N. Carolinians,” and that the faculty should have beaten the students with sticks before suspending them.

January 7, 1860—Professor Lyman Hotchkiss Atwater is appointed to a committee to examine the problem of “oppressively numerous” “paupers and beggars travelling through this town.” Locals worry that Princeton has become “a resort for beggars.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.