Freshman Riot of 1903

The week of February 14th generally brings to mind hearts and flowers but for Davidson College, it brings the anniversary of a week of campus turmoil.  It started innocently enough.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, February 10, the Freshman baseball team beat the Sophomores 12 -9.  Rubbing salt in the wound, a few members of the class of 1906 painted the score on the columns of the main campus building.  After hearing some threats, the Freshmen compounded their impudence the next day by blocking the exits to the Sophomore Banquet and the entrance to campus.

An article written by the Davidson College Magazine about the "riots" in Davidson days before.Once freed, the Sophomores tracked the class of 1906 to a boarding house and  proceeded to lay siege for the remainder of the night. A truce was  called at 6am. Seniors, Juniors and Sophomores planned a meeting for 7pm to decide appropriate justice.  The Freshman, deciding discretion was the better part of valor, left en masse for the train station in nearby Cornelius. They were almost successful in their getaway – being stopped only at the last minute by faculty who had pursued them.   Friday the 13th  classes were suspended the weekend  was spent in conferences and class meetings. On Monday the Freshman class finally agreed to a modified apology and on Tuesday, the faculty declared the matter settled and college president Henry Louis Smith declared Wednesday the 18th a holiday
Responding to local and national newspaper reports, the editors of the Davidson College Magazine attempted to place the riot in a better light declaring , “College troubles are always to be deplored, but the manner of the settlement of this will be of lasting benefit to the young men involved, and to all the interests of life on our Campus.”


  1. Tonya Washington says

    What a fantastic story! The fact that all this unrest occurred right around Valentine’s Day makes it all the more interesting. Thanks so much for sharing this very entertaining piece of Campus history.

  2. Jan Blodgett says

    Thanks – check the blog next week for a more traditional look at Valentine activities on campus.

  3. enjoy your new blog

  4. Jan Blodgett says

    Thank you – we’ll have to come up with a golf story soon for you!

  5. Cary Johnston says

    Please put me on your list to receive regular updates. I don’t know what URL stands for as I’m 73 and not especially computer literate!

  6. Jan Blodgett says

    We’re delighted you want to keep up with the blog. It is scheduled to come out every Wednesday morning- with occasional extra entries. We’ll see if we can help you get an email notice.

  7. Byron Miller says

    Lay siege eh?
    I wonder with what did they lay siege.

  8. Jan Blodgett says

    According to student accounts, the Freshman used buckets of rocks and water. The Sophomores had sticks and clubs (probably baseball bats)

  9. BEN VERNON says

    BEN VERNON 50′

  10. Jan Blodgett says

    Thank you – We hope that Davidson alumni will enjoy the blog and share some memories here!

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