A Complaint At McCoy's Boardinghouse (1855)
    by Catherine A. Creighton, Undergraduate Research Assistant (History Degree)

Six members of the regular faculty of the University of Virginia met on Saturday, December 8, 1855. Faculty chairman, Socrates Maupin, convened the meeting to discuss a formal complaint submitted by 29 students residing at McCoy’s Hotel. The students solicited assistance from the faculty to improve the condition of their accommodations.


The students’ grievances focused largely on the condition of the fare served at McCoy’s table. Of particular concern were the biscuits, rolls, and corn bread which were “either very much burnt, or not cooked at all” and coffee and tea which were “not fit to drink.” The students were also distressed by the “perceptibly watered” milk served alongside “very tough” beef that was served “for dinner one day” only to “frequently make its appearance the next morning in the form of steak or hash.” In addition, the students found “the vegetables” to be “deficient in both quantity and quality” and the dessert “wanting in variety and proper preparation.” In addition to these epicurean complaints, the students claimed that McCoy’s servants were “utterly regardless of the wants of students at meals” and served food that “is decidedly unclean.”


After reading the written complaint, the faculty heard testimony from six University students, Socrates Maupin, and the University Proctor. Mr. McCoy was also offered the opportunity to present a defense. After discussing all of the testimony and the report, the faculty adopted a preamble and resolution regarding the incident. The preamble stated that the faculty found “just grounds of complaint of Mr. McCoy’s table in the particulars of the biscuits and attention of the servants.” As a result, Mr. McCoy was “admonished” and required to prove “amendment in these particulars” to the Faculty. 



University of Virginia. Faculty Minutes. Vol. 7.7 (8 December 1855): n.p.


Cite This Entry

Creighton, Catherine A. "A Complaint at McCoy's Boardinghouse (1855)." JUEL, June 18, 2015. http://juel.iath.virginia.edu/node/163.



First published: June 18, 2015 | Last modified: July 1, 2018