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Title: Letter from Leander Hughes to John Hughes, October 2, 1824: Electronic Edition.
Author: Hughes, Leander, fl. 1823-1824
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Brian Dietz
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 17K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-05-11, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Leander Hughes Letters (#1691), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Leander Hughes to John Hughes, October 2, 1824
Author: Leander Hughes
Description: 2 pages, 3 page images
Note: Call number 1691 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Student Life
Health and Disease/Deaths of Students and Faculty
Health and Disease/Diseases
Examples of Student Writing/Letters
Editorial practices
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Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
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Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
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For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Hughes informs his father that two students were expelled for drunkenness and assaulting faculty; several students have died of bilious and typhoid fevers.
Letter from Leander Hughes to John Hughes, October 2, 18241
Hughes, Leander, fl. 1823-1824

Page 1
Chapel-hill. October 2nd 1824
Dear father. I have just heard the sentence of expulsion pronounced against two of the students. viz Augustus Alston and Leonidas King ; for having on last thursday night, committed violence upon upon the persons, of some of the faculty viz. Mr Betner , Mr Sanders ,—and it is said that Mr Mitchel , the now president2 received several blows, both from Alston and King , though he has [no] appearance of it now. These acts of violence were committed in a time of intoxication. I did not see any of the engagements that took place though one was ensued in thirty steps of my room between, Alston & Mr Sanders after which, Alston ran into my room and requested that I should give him a knife (which I refused) as Mr Mitchel & Sanders had both been upon him. Betner is confined to his room; though not from the blows he received but from spraining his ancle by some means in the contest. A. & King were expelled at a meeting of the trustees to day, and the sentence pronounced by judge Ruffin .3 There have been three others dismissed this session.4 I received your's a few days since together with such clothes as you mentioned. I negnected in my last to say any thing about my gloves. the reason why they come back was because

Page 2
I neglected to take them out of the saddlebags with my other clothes, and am glad that they are sent back again. I am well, & all of the students again or nearly so, the deaths (as I before observed) that have occured here were caused by the bilius fever and one by the nervous or Typhus fever.5

Envelope page


1. Leander Hughes Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed "Mr Jno. Hughes./ Patrick, County/ Penn's Store Va."; "via Salem" appears in the lower left corner. The postage endorsement reads "Chapel Hill/7 Octo} 18."

2. Elisha Mitchell assumed the president's duties during the 1824-25 academic year, while Joseph Caldwell was in England purchasing books and scientific equipment.

3. Battle's history of the University contains the following account of the "flagrant outrage":
A. A. and L. K. loaded themselves with whiskey in the village grog-shop, and arming themselves, one with a club and the other with a pistol, "sallied forth for the purpose of attacking the persons of different members of the Faculty." They committed "violent outrages" on two of the persons hunted. (Battle 1:298; see also Faculty Minutes 3:49-50, UA)
After investigating the matter, the faculty met on October 2, 1824, with the trustees living in Orange County: Thomas D. Bennehan, Duncan Cameron, Francis L. Hawks, Thomas Ruffin , James S. Smith, and James Webb.
The young criminals expressed their regret for their misconduct, but it appeared to the authorities assembled impossible that the peace and good order of the institution could be maintained, if such outrages were permitted to pass without exemplary punishment. The said A. A. and L. K. were therefore expelled. As we now say, "the line was drawn" at cudgelling the Faculty with sticks, while looking into the muzzle of loaded pistols. (Battle 1:299)
Judge Thomas Ruffin evidently pronounced the sentence in front of the full student body assembled in Person Hall.

4. Faculty minutes reveal that on September 6, 1824, James N. Forsyth was dismissed for "having disfigured the walls of the College by making vulgar inscriptions upon them" (3:47, UA). On September 8, 1824, James Rhodes and Joseph J. Ryan were dismissed for "making a disturbance in Person Hall on Monday Evening last, when the students were assembled for Public Prayers" (3:48, UA). In all three cases the students either had been before the faculty for previous misconduct or had refused to apologize for their behavior. Upon sending the faculty a letter of regret, James Rhodes was restored to the University on October 11, 1824.

5. Three students died in August and September of 1824 (Battle 1:301). One is unidentified; the other two were North Carolinians William H. Beard and Zenas Johnston (1805-24) , both of whom had entered the University in 1822. Elisha Mitchell , believing that the students had brought their illness from home following the summer vacation, was concerned enough to recommend to the trustees that the University hire a resident physician. On December 19, 1824, James S. Smith, a physician and trustee, endorsed Mitchell's recommendation, but the board defeated the proposal.