Throwing Stones in Kitty Foster's Neighborhood (1834)
    by Emily Richards, Undergraduate Research Assistant (Architecture, 3rd year)

Even in the earliest years of the University, Charlottesville’s Venable Lane community was very active, and students were already finding a way to cause trouble within it. On the evening of May 22nd, 1834, a band of four or five students travelled down to the neighborhood. They stopped first at the house of Kitty Foster, where they beat on her door and overturned several flower pots, before moving on to the Vandergriff househould. They threw stones at the dog tied in the yard until Mr. Vandergriff himself came out to scold them, then instead they threw their stones at him, forcing him to take cover behind a tree in his yard. When Mrs. Vandergriff came out to stop the trouble, she had to hide behind the house to avoid being struck. Before leaving, the students broke a window light and put enough dents in the house to be visible the next day. Of the students involved, Mr. Vandergriff was able to identify only one, Mr. Thomas L. Patterson, who had a bad reputation for cock fighting behind the University stables. Patterson admitted throwing stones at the dog and overturning pots at Kitty Foster’s but denied throwing them at the Vandergriffs, whom he claimed to know. The faculty appeared not to believe him, and on May 31st ruled to suspend him for two weeks. As for the damage to the Vandergriffs’ property, Patterson was tried in front of the Grand Jury of the county court the following week.


University of Virginia. Faculty Minutes. Vol. 3.4 (31 May 1834): n.p.

Cite This Entry

Richards, Emily. "Throwing Stones in Kitty Foster's Neighborhood (1834)." JUEL, June 18, 2015.

First published: June 18, 2015 | Last modified: 


Faculty Minutes; Volume III: Part IV: Lines 4453-4511