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Title: Excerpts from the Diary of George N. Thompson, January 26, February 14, and February 15, 1851: Electronic Edition.
Author: Thompson, George Nicholas, 1832-1891
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. 23K
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:
2005-04-20, 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: George Nicholas Thompson Diary and Notebook (#2367-z), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Excerpts from the Diary of George N. Thompson, January 26, February 14, and February 15, 1851
Author: George N. Thompson
Description: 9 pages, 9 page images
Note: Call number 2367-z (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Buildings and Grounds
Education/UNC Curriculum
Education/UNC Faculty, Staff, and Servants
Education/UNC Student Life
Examples of Student Writing/Diary and Notebook Excerpts
Travel and Entertainment/Celebrations and Holidays
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of diary entries. 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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For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Thompson describes in his diary caricatures of faculty members drawn on the campus belfry as a prank, a fight he instigated against a classmate in Prof. Albert Shipp's class, and his apology to the student in front of the assembled faculty.
Excerpts from the Diary of George N. Thompson , January 26, February 14, and February 15, 18511
Thompson, George Nicholas, 1832-1891

Page 49

Sunday January 26th 1851
I arose this morning and went to prayers, When I came out I was directed to look at the belfry, to which all eyes were turned—I could not see until I had gone nearer than the chapel door, what excited the gaze, admiration with some, and jolity with all—When I had gone near enough to see plainly and to distinguish the pictures I was equally pleased—for the first thing [I] saw was a large bull painted on the side of the belfry—to represent Mr James Phillips over the bulls head were drawn a bowl (of hot) punch! glass & Jug representing Old Mike , who, it was said, when he caught whiskey in a student's room always took it, to the Elaberatory and made punch to drink himself—As you went round, to the left on the belfry was—a pair of the most knock kneed legs any one ever saw—These were the legs of Bunk —and on a little farther was a man, who strutted largely—apearantly of small capital—but who wished to be reputed more than he really was painted—to represent Old Wheat —in the Campus. On farther was a skull with bones under it, with the motto "Kill & eat" This is said, to represent the life and character of ole Bull , during the ten years which

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he never speaks of—Under the skull & Bones there is an anchor drawn, with letters at each corner—Next on the row was a Jack ass, made very large, above it being "x + y"—this is to denote old Fatty —and next you come to is, "Pay your $1.00 for vaccination" but on the door was written "Dr Dave Barum will vaccinate for half price"—This was to cut Old Mike who has been advising every boy to be vaccinated, saying the "price was only one dollar"—After looking over all these curiosities & talking about who could have been so rude as to put them there—I returned to my room and went to breakfast after having dressed, Came back and talked with Jeff —and soon several boys came into my room and sat until it was church time, We went to church and heard a tolerable interesting sermon from Old Mike , I went down to dinner, The stage had not arrived when I had eaten so I did not wait for it—I returned to College and read over my Bible lesson—and talked with Murchison , Worth , Jeff , & Dandy Laurence until recitation—Went to recitation was not taken up—but if he

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continues to take up in rotation I will come either first or second next time—Aftr prayers and supper I went up by the P. Office thinking perhaps I would get a letter but I can but imagine my surprise & pleasure on reaching the office to find in my box three letters—One was from Brock Holden, & one from John Wilkerson—and the other from my dear niece Virginia Wiley of Misspi which last had been directed to me at Leasburg— Father & Mother had read it—and had it forwarded to me at C. Hill—I read the letters with much pleasure— John Spoke of his visit to Miss Mary Holden on Monday last at Milton—I was glad he went to see her. I think the little difficulty which existed is now blotted out and they both love eachother more affectionately than ever, for they both are my frinds and, I love them as such— John promised to tell me more of his visit when he writes again—I intended answering one of the letters to night, but have been what I called bored,2 until now, and now one or two bores are in my room talking hard as they can I will go to bed soon as I finish this It is now nearly eleven or past ten—

Page 80
Friday 14th Feb 1851
I have neglected to write any for the last two or three days—from the reason that nothing unusual or interesting happened—To day is St Valentine's day—I wrote a letter to W Sergeant yesterday, sent a comic valentine valentine to Miss Bettie Moore This evening I went to recitation to Mr Shipp and while there, I had to act a very unbecoming scene, El Scales & myself were sitting together and I was fooling with him in one way or another, such as pulling his breeches up his leg & when he became

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mad and struck me, I did not think he would strike me more than once & did not return the blow, but when it was repeated, I did not think I was able to justify myself in sitting still & allow him to pelt me with impunity & when he struck me a second time, I returned his blow & we went into a regularly built fight, but only one or two more licks passed before the whol class, was up and arround us, puling one one way and the other in another way, until they succeeded in separating us. I was not hurt, nor was Scales Mr Shipp sat all the while a silent spectator, and did not say a word in condemnation of the conduct, After recitation I asked his pardon for what I had done in his recitation room he granted it, I have not spoken to Scales since—I expect to soon—I went after recitation prayers not to supper but to the P. O. where I found two letters to me—One from Brock Holden, stating the death of Dr Comer, who died last friday I was very sorry to hear it. He was an eminent physician, and a much

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respected member of society. He leaves behind him a wife, and three beautiful daughters, to weep the loss of a dear parent——The other letter was from Sister Kate dated 18th Jan. being not quite a month on the way—She informed me of the difficultys into which Bro John had lately gotten into, and came very near bing killed from a shot, fired with the intention of killing him, but he was only slightly wounded—ont his forehead—She told me that the difficulty was not yet settled—I am anxious to hear—how it will terminate—I must answer Sister's letter to morrow—if I have time—

Saturday Feb 15th 1851
This morning after going to prayers I returned to my room and went to bed, Murchison had gone to the P. O. and brought back with him two letters for me—one was a Valentine post marked Warrenton, I have no idea who could have sent it, I do not know the handwrite, It was a right pretty one, the other letter was from

Page 83
Sister Annie, dated Feb 2ond. All are well & in Misspi —She did not say a word about the difficulty which Bro John had had—I went into the Society; After society I was summoned to go before the Faculty about the difficulty I had yesterday in the recitation room by Dave , It was raining quite hard indeed& I concluded I would not go down but happening to be at the window of the passage I saw El Scales going down. & I thought if he could brave the storm, I knew I could. I throwed on my cloak, took my umbarellla; and was soon on my way down to Bunk's .3 I knew not whether I would meet an enraged faculty or not, nor did I care much; Scales had entered the door when I reached the gate, I entered the house and the parlour in which all the facuty were; I made a bow when I entered & took a seat, Swain stated why we4 had been summoned. He called on Scales to make a statement of the facts which he did very correctly and in a few words, I was then called and, I answerd "that Mr Scale's statement was correct, and that all the blame rested upon myself. I have no more to say" I took my seat

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and was surprised at, the acclamations of approbation which came from all the faculty as I took my seat, Some said, "you have spoken like a man" all had smiling countenances, Old Bunk asked me if Scales and myself had made friends, I told him. "we had not spoken since the affray but that I was willing to ask Mr Scale's pardon for what I done"Bunk speaking to Scales said "Mr Scales you cannot refuse his hand" Scales and myself shook hands and again sat down. Bunk said "It was easy to return a verdict on this case and that we might retire." so we left in company—Old Mr Phillips seemed particularly pleased with manner in which I had acted in owning I was the only one to blame, and as I left the room, he patted me on the shoulder and said "We can now expect something from you George "5—I came on back to College in the rain and told Jeff of the proceedings at the faculty meeting At twelve o'clock I went up into the library and took out Goldsmith's works & the Spy 6—and became at once very much interested, I read in it until twelve o'clock

Page 85
at that time I went to bed—


1. George N. Thompson Papers, SHC. The diary is a leather-bound volume measuring 5 by 7 5/8 inches, paginated, and inscribed "Mr. Geo N. Thompson / Leasburg./N. Car./ Miss Luly Thompson./ Leasburg./ Caswell Co./N. Carolina."Thompson's entries, written in pencil, begin on January 1, 1851, and continue through March 21, 1851. Thompson resumed the diary for three pages on December 24, 1876, recording the baby talk his wife spoke to their six-week-old infant. A second hand, presumably belonging to Thompson's seventeen-year-old daughter Luly, begins the diary on page 91. Her entries for June and July 1876 and 1878 consist of lecture notes written during the University's summer normal school.

2. "bored": irritated, exceedingly annoyed.

3. Gov. Swain's house stood about a block from the residence halls and often was the site of faculty meetings.

4. Thompson wrote we on top of several unrecovered characters.

5. Faculty minutes for February 15, 1851, contain the following report:
Messrs Scales and Thompson next appeared before the Faculty. Yesterday at Prof Shipp's recitation, they came to blows with each other, and were seperated by their classmates. Mr Scales said that he struck Thompson because he was pertinaciously teasing him, so that he could not attend to the recitation. Mr Thompson very handsomely confessed that this was true, that he was himself entirely to blame, and that he begged Scales' pardon. Upon this, Mr Scales offered him his hand, and this scene was more approved by the Faculty, than the other [several students' leaving the recitation room prematurely] made them indignant (5:86, UA).

6. Oliver Goldsmith, The Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith (London: W. Griffin, 1775); and James Fenimore Cooper, The Spy (New York: Wiley & Halsted, 1821).