A calathump or callithump was a noisy and violent nighttime parade of students, frequently masked, that occurred during the early years of the University of Virginia. The calathump was generally an inchoate performance that sought to annoy or harass professors who were disliked by the students for enforcing student discipline. Students sometime brought instruments (tin pans, horns and other noisemakers), and occasionally fired revolvers. The most infamous of the calathumps was the one on the night of November 12, 1840, that claimed the life of University professor and chairman of the faculty John A.G. Davis. The last known calathump was held in 1856.[1]

Other well known calathump participants include John Singleton Mosby, later known as the "Gray Ghost" of the Confederate army, who beat the town sergeant for attacking a student during an 1851 calathump, and was involved in legal proceedings related to another in 1852.[2]

The University of Virginia was not the only institute that had calathumps; they were also popular at Roanoke College, Washington and Lee, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.[3] 

References[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.