by Julia Munro


Anon0057 (name unknown), adult female, is mentioned in an April 25, 1837 entry in Faculty Minutes (session 13). The entry contains several descriptions that make it unique compared to other entries that mention slaves or servants; likely she was a free woman (although not explicitly stated). She is described as a "colored woman," (rather than servant or slave) who herself reported an incident of disorderly conduct on the part of university students.

She "resided in" John Hartwell Cocke's (P43616) house (PL9353); although Cocke did oversee and purchase slaves (in relation to the university), it is apparent that this woman is not owned or leased by Cocke. He was a long-standing member of the Board of Visitors, serving from 1825 to 1851, and was involved in the construction of the University in the 1820s. He also purchased lands near the university (and, evidently, owned the above-mentioned house near the university).

The entry in whole is thus: 

"The Chairman [J.A.G. Davis (P33195)] stated to the Faculty that complaint had been made by a colored woman residing in General Cocke's house on the street leading from Charlottesville to the University; that on Wednesday night last, a party consisting of four or five students one of whom was intoxicated, endeavored to gain admission into said house, and being refused made a violent assault upon it and broke several panes of glass; the morning after the head of a cane was found with the letters W. C. K. engraved on it; it was concluded therefore that the cane belonged to Mr. Wm C. Knight (P39278); the same party made also an assault upon a house a short distance above, and the door was broken down. The Chairman and Procter had investigated the case and from all circumstances they could gather were satisfied that Mr. Knight did not belong to the party and that Messers Thomas M. Isbell (P28571and Wm P. Whiting (P25952did, and that one of them had borrowed Mr. Knight's caneMessers Whiting and Isbell were sent for, Mr. Whiting appeared and said that he admitted he was in Charlottesville that evening at a private house; as far as concerns himself would conceal nothing; was asked if he had been drinking; no one was intoxicated; will not say where he was in CharlottesvilleMr. Isbell and he went down together; went down by themselves and started to return by themselves; did not commit any violence on the house.

Mr. Isbell said that he went to town; was at a private house; as for himself he would conceal nothing; was asked if he disclaimed any participation in the acts of violence; answered that he broke a window glass; had nothing to do with the house above; did not drink to intoxication carried the cane and lost the head accidentally; there were three or four others; fell in with them returning; had not been at the same place with them; thinks it necessary to repair the injury done by him.

Mr. Whiting being again sent for said that he was altogether opposed to the acts of violence committed; tried to stop them and bring them to the University they were but a few moments at the upper house.

Mr. Tucker (P43619) offered the following resolution which was seconded and passed.

It appearing on satisfactory evidence that Mr. Thomas M. Isbell on the night of the 19th instant was one of a disorderly party, and actually committed an outrage on a house between the University and Charlottesville in the occupation of a colored woman, by breaking several panes of glass.

Resolved that Mr. Isbell be suspended for two weeks and required to reside at Bocock's during his suspension."



1. References to the Individual in the JUEL Digitized Transcripts

(Links below are to JUEL's full-text digital transcripts of primary sources that refer to the individual. If no links display, this indicates that either the JUEL digitized texts have not yet been tagged with the individual's ID/Key, or, that no reference is made to the individual in any JUEL digitized texts, or, that the primary source has not yet been digitized).  

Faculty Minutes, April 25, 1837, Session 13


2. Library Call Numbers/Bibliographic Records

Minutes of the General Faculty. University of Virginia Library. Call Number: RG-19/1/2.041 v.1-4



Return to the List of African American Individuals