Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Alumni Project: Charles Thomas Abercrombie, 1846

Charles Thomas Abercrombie, 1823-1876

Apparently, from a fairly well off family as he married a woman who had at least two brothers (likely) who were UGA alums (using definition from the 1901 circular considering any one who had attended an alumnus) as well and a father who was apparently a judge in Putnam Co., Georgia and may well have attended the University himself, though no record indicates how the ‘Hon. Charles P. Gordon’ was educated.

Abercrombie’s monetary value and relative stationary position once he settled in Russell County, AL is evident through the census records. From 1850-1870, each of the three in which Abercrombie is enumerated, he is in Russell Co., and in 1850 and 1860 his personal estate and real estate are valued at $10,000 (real, 1850, not yet adjusted for inflation); $20,000 (real, 1860, not adjusted); and $40,000 (personal, 1860, not adjusted). Additionally, it appears that several brothers or other relatives settled near him in Russell Co, Ala. as in 1850-1870 census records there are several other Abercrombie families enumerated on the same page.

Abercrombie was an MD as well as focusing on his livelihood as a ‘planter’ as he is identified in both the 1901 Catalogue and Hull’s 1906 survey of alumni. Who completed his form is not indicated as he had died in 1876 well before the 1901 forms were sent.

Other items of note for Abercrombie include that the person responding for him lists several relatives (including a Confederate General who had become a governor of Georgia, John Brown Gordon and 3 others, none of whom have their specific connection to Abercrombie listed.

For any answers not given by respondent, I have removed the associated question for the sake of space in blog posts.

Name, in full, (Do not use initials):
Charles Thomas Abercrombie

Address; state, county, city, street and number:
Russell Co. Ala.

Place and time of birth:
Sparta, Ga. April 15th, 1823

Date of entrance, with class entered:
1844 with [class of] ’45 (i.e. what we would likely call a transfer today)

Date of graduation, and degree received; or date of leaving college:
1846 [based on Hull’s 1906 list and answer below, likely not a graduate]

Other institutions attended later; degrees received; with dates:
Graduated from University of Pa, then attended Medical College at New Orleans, (in a different hand): & was also a graduate of Jefferson Medical College Philadelphia Penn.

Facts relating to marriage:
Was married June 27th, 1849 to Virginia Gordon, daughter of Hon. Charles P. Gordon, of Eatonton.

Facts as to occupation and business life:
Most of his time was given to his planting interests, some part of it, however, was devoted to his profession as M.D.

Names and addresses of any relatives, immediate or remote who were alumni:
Messrs. Joseph C. Wilkins (18??, relation) & James (different hand) Lovick Grant (18??, relation?).

Gen’l. John B. Gordon (18??, likely brother-in-law. Was also Gov of GA) & Walter S. Gordon (18??, likely brother-in-law)

NOTE: If this circular is sent to the relatives of an alumnus deceased, kindly give accurately the date of death.
Died at his home in Russell Co., Ala. March 28th, 1876

14 April 2010
Vidalia, GA

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Alumni Project

Discipline & Projects (usually not my bag)
Based on the 1901 alumni catalogue that UGA and the Board of Trustees commissioned/required to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the start of classes, the Hargrett Collection through the UGA Libraries has digitized each of the 1790 four-page response sheets that UGA alumni submitted or had submitted on their behalf (mostly for those who were deceased).

So, why the interest in this list/catalogue? (Well, besides the fact that it's about UGA and I really don't need much reason other than that).

I'm working on a prosopography (collective biography) of UGA alumni and students. Beyond that I won't show my hand too much regarding my interests and where I'm going with the project, but this will essentially be a way for me to make notes regarding each of the entries and other items from Pandora, the Red & Black, the University Reporter, and the Bumble Bee among other student publications.

The plan is to transcribe each of the four-page responses with notes and research followed by tags for Alumni Project, 1901 Catalogue (or other source), Class graduation year, Profession, Degree, and perhaps others. Hopefully, I'll be able to include some information regarding census records as well. I'll discuss other issues as I have time and thought such as the all-male nature of the institution during the time frame discussed as well as discussing student organizations (primarily 1886-1900) and art work/cartoons from student publications.

I'll run through the list alphabetically as it appears in the Hargrett archives. So first up in the next post will be Charles Thomas Abercrombie Class of 1846. And hopefully 1 at a time.

To start, the questions from the catalogue are as follows.

Fraternally Yours . . .

"The word “alumnus” as used in this letter, refers to any man who has matriculated at the University, whether a graduate or not.

University of Georgia

Dear Sir:

As an important part of the celebration of the Centennial of the University, the Board of Trustees has ordered the preparation and publication of a CENTENNIAL ALUMNI CATALOGUE, to contain, as far as possible, a full but concise account of the life and services of all the alumni during the century.

The hearty co-operation of all living alumni, and of the relatives and friends of all deceased, is necessary to the success of the undertaking. Your prompt and careful attention to the inquiries set forth below will be a real service to the University, and will be most cordially appreciated. If you are not able to give the information under any head, please leave the space blank so that it may be filled by others.

The alma mater again extends to all alumni a hearty invitation to join with her celebration of the Centennial, June 12th-19th, 1901.

Fraternally yours,

Walter B. Hill,


1. Name, in full, (Do not use initials):

2. Address; state, county, city, street and number:

3. Place and time of birth:

4. Date of entrance, with class entered:

5. College honors, or distinctions of any kind:

6. Literary Society:

7. Date of graduation, and degree received; or date of leaving college:

8. Other institutions attended later; degrees received; with dates:

9. Honorary Degrees; by whom conferred with dates

10. Member of learned societies:

11. Facts relating to marriage:

12. Facts as to occupation and business life:

13. Public Service:
a) Civil:
b) Military:
c) Religious/Educational Service:

14. Writings:

15. Any additional information of a personal nature:

16. Names and addresses of any relatives, immediate or remote who were alumni:

NOTE: If this circular is sent to the relatives of an alumnus deceased, kindly give accurately the date of death."



13 April 2010

Vidalia, GA

Monday, February 8, 2010

Georgia Wildcats, er Bulldogs: Bicenquasquigenary Jubilee pt. IV (much delayed)

Go Goats? Go Wildcats? . . . Go Dawgs!

Well, believe it or not (and most folks know about the goat), Georgia's teams were once represented/called Goats and Wildcats before they were called Bulldogs. The Wildcats have been largely left off (i.e. I've not read a reference to UGA using Wildcats until reading it in the editions of the R&B from 1920).

1920 is significant because not only did UGA field its first undefeated football team that year, but it was the year that a Bulldog was set as the team mascot in favor of Wildcats, largely via the influence of Morgan Blake's writing after the UGA-Auburn game that year. Below is the very first Red & Black to reference Georgia's teams as 'Bulldogs'.

Interestingly, the same edition also references the team as Wildcats at some point too.

Will write more on this later, but wanted to get a quick post up.


8 February 2010
Athens, GA

Thursday, August 27, 2009

UGA's Lion among Men, Bicenquasquigenary Jubilee, Pt. III

Dean William Tate
Again, a current/semi-current event inspires a post to celebrate UGA's 225th anniversary. Within the last week UGA has officially dedicated the expansion of the Tate Student Center, the original part of which, with the 'this-looks-like-it-should-be-the-world's-largest-Pizza-Hut' roof, was dedicated in 1983 and named for the late Dean of Men (later Dean of Students), William/Bill Tate.
A photo of Dean Tate during the 1961 integration of UGA.

He was truly a giant at the University, and one who despite very strong personal convictions seemed to be able to separate those from what he needed to do as an administrator and devotee to the principles and idea that was for him The University of Georgia.

The Tate Expansion to the right with the Miller Learning Center at the head of the quad.

Despite the dedication, my inspiration for this post came from an article I found in the most recent (26 Aug 2009) Flagpole Magazine. (Not only do I get to talk about one of UGA's greats, but I get to plug Athens' weekly magazine). In the 'pub notes' section, Pete McCommons, who was student council VP during the 1961 confrontations regarding the admission of Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter (later Gault) to UGA, recounts several memories of Tate during that time and regarding Tate's status as what amounts to a Lion on-campus--in the minds of students and faculty alike.

I'll quote a couple highlights, but leave McCommons to elucidate the Dean's career.

Regarding UGA's integration:
"That week may have been Dean William Tate’s finest hour. Whatever his own sentiments were, the federal court had ordered the integration of the University of Georgia, and he saw his duty as Dean to protect those two students and to protect the university."

Tate's sense of humor:
“'Son, do you know what a revolving son-of-a-bitch is?”
“No, sir, Dean Tate.”
“A revolving son-of-a-bitch, the Dean intoned, ”is a son-of-a-bitch no matter which way you look at him.'“

I'll leave the rest to McCommons: Part I (from Aug. 12) & Part II (from Aug. 26).

Good stuff. Enjoy.

. . . and to HELL w/ Georgia Tech!

DCC, Athens, GA, UGA
27 August 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

UGA's First Building? Bicenquasquigenary Jubilee Series, Pt II

"June 30, 2009
"by Matt Weeks
"Athens, Ga. – Remnants of a former building and artifacts dating back more than 200 years have been uncovered beneath the foundations of New College on the University of Georgia’s North Campus, allowing a glimpse into a long-lost chapter of UGA history.

“Awesome!” was my first internal response, and perhaps verbal, to the news that construction crews and afterward archaeologists had uncovered the foundations of what could represent the University of Georgia’s very first building underneath the foundation of New College while renovating the building.

Having lived and worked near an archaeological dig for two years, my second thought was, “I want to see it.” Pictures are nice and all, but if anyone has an ‘in’ with Danny Sniff and can get me into the belly of the beast (i.e. the basement of New College while this is going on), I’d be ever grateful.

And finally in the slow machinations of my brain, as I was walking across the North Quad and ruminating about material that could be the focus for my next post, it clicked. It probably had something to do with the fact that I glanced over at New College while I was thinking about it, but really, should it have taken me that long to come up with that? No, never.

The official press release notes some pretty interesting bits from what they’ve uncovered, and by the looks of the pictures, the remains of the earlier building cover a fair amount of the floor (see below). Apparently you could have used the basement of New College as a dungeon as well or a nice oubliette, perhaps.

Fortuitous finds for my blog. Thank you, New College construction crews. Love, me.

Some interesting bits from the find:
  • The foundation, and therefore the building, was there before the 1819 construction began on New College (a la the Romans constructing buildings on top of buildings, though I doubt we’ll find any catacombs on campus). No direct connection has been established with Josiah Meigs, UGAs first acting president.
  • Because of construction, the uncovered brick floor was 7ft below the current ground level at New College.
  • The brick, unlike later building materials for UGA, was made locally, which you can apparently discern from their color.
  • The crew found a Lamar period pottery bowl. For those not familiar, it means it’s very old, as it would have pre-dated even the founding of the colony of Georgia (1350-1600), which means that whoever left the bowl was a collector of some sort. My guess would be a professor, who though much later than intended had his wish in preserving Lamar culture.
  • “. . . other artifacts found are a handmade spoon, wrought iron nails, blown-glass bottles, glazed cookware and an instrument that resembles a modern fire poker.”
In my history-geek brain, that’s just awesome. Rumor has it that they’re going to try to have it where folks can see it when they finish the renovation, but at this point, it is just that, unfounded rumor. But it’s a rumor with which I’d definitely be satisfied should it come true.

As a result of this, I'm trying to sort out in my head the relative/exact age of the buildings on campus. There will be a list that I'll post soon. Why? Because I'm going to create it if it hasn't already been done!

5 August 2009
Athens, GA

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bicenquasquigenary Jubilee!

The University of Georgia: 1785-2010 Celebrating 225 years!
If you know that the above means 225th Jubilee, congratulations, you're doing very well on your preparations for the GRE!

In the spirit of one of this blog's original intents, to post both UGA academic & athletic history and traditions, I hope to produce a series of posts leading up to the 225th anniversary of The University of Georgia's founding on January 27, 2010. In deference to the dates that lead up to the present, I think that I'll progress from the beginning, as is only fitting.

As you will find in the title of the blog at the very top, the picture behind 'Iron Pillars, Silver Britches' is from the Charter of UGA, reading 'the Trustees of the University of Georgia.' The full text, as well as archival pictures of the Charter can be found at the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. By virtue of being the first state-chartered institution in the country, the University has also named one of its scholarships for the founding document, the Charter Scholarship.

An Acknowledgment of the Ignorance or Inferiority of our own
That said, without having to get complete permission from the Archives, I'll cite a few pertinent quotes, with a bit of commentary.

"By the REPRESENTATIVES of the FREEMEN of the STATE of GEORGIA in General Assembly and by the AUTHORITY of the SAME . . ."

Well, the way that's expressed has certainly changed in the last 225 years, but I won't belabor that point as the changes from that statement seem relatively obvious.

" . . . Sending them [the youth of Georgia] abroad to other countries for their education will not answer these purposes, - is too humiliating an acknowledgment of the Ignorance or Inferiority of our own, and will always be the Cause of so great foreign attachments that upon principles of policy it is not admissible."

Certainly, you would not hear this from an academic today. Whether you were to focus on UGA's rankings for sending students on studies abroad (5th in the nation among research universities, with 30% of each graduating class studying abroad at some point) or on the general atmosphere in academia that if you want to work (read: 'be a professor') at an institution it is imperative that you get your Ph.D. elsewhere, you would be hard pressed to find a department at UGA that holds to this particular part of the Charter. I think it can be safely said that, depending on your point of view, you could see this as a 'for better or for worse' part of the Charter. For my part, it's certainly an improvement that our students are encouraged to study at locations and with professors who have such varied experiences, pulling from more than 200 majors and programs that UGA now offers.

The Rising Hope of our Land

" . . . that our present happiness joined to pleasing prospects should conspire to make us feel ourselves under the strongest obligation to form the youth, the rising hope of our Land to render the like glorious & essential Services to our country."

Such language ought to be used more often. A shame none would well understand it. "The Rising Hope of Our Land" certainly is an excellent way to refer to students, and yet I have not made it out of the preamble of the Charter. I'm surprised that we have not a student organization or honorary that's taken this monicher or some form of it for its name. I'm sure when writing this the founders never imagined the possibility that the student body population would grow to over 34,000, which would have made up over 1/3 of the entire population of the State of Georgia when the first census was taken in 1790.

The University of Georgia or Franklin College?

" . . . THE BOARD OF VISITORS hereby vested with all the powers of visitation to see that the intent of this institution is carried into effect, and John Houston, James Habersham, William Few, Joseph Clay, Abraham Baldwin, William Houston, Nathan Brownson, John Habersham, Abiel Holmes, Jenkin Davis, Hugh Lawson, William Glascock, and Benjamin Talliaferro esquires who shall compose another board, denominated THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES. These two boards united, or a majority of each of them shall compose the SENATUS ACADEMICUS of the University of Georgia. (emphasis added) . . ."

Interestingly, as noted in the emphasis on the last phrase, the institution, despite the tradition that the school was first called Franklin College, which represents the oldest and largest college at the University, it is clearly stated that it was indeed first 'the University of Georgia.'

Some of the names in the above list ought to be fairly familiar to students of Georgia history & geography as several have counties as their eponyms and Baldwin, Few, and Houston were three of Georgia's delegates at the Constitutional Convention two years later.
The list effectively consitutes the list of the University of Georgia's founding fathers, though Baldwin is almost solely given credit as he was the institution's first titular president. As with much of the rest of the document this part of the Charter starts building the foundations, mechinisms, and bodies for governing the fledgling University.

" . . . FOR this purpose they are hereby constituted a body corporate, and politic, by the name of TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA; by which they shall have perpetual succession, and shall and may be a person in Law, capable to plead, and be impleaded, defend, and be defended, answer, and be answered unto, also to have, take, possess, acquire, purchase or otherwise receive . . ."

Again, I am emphasizing the intent for the institution to be the University of Georgia, despite its early monicher (see above). Not to mention the interesting countering to every ability . . . 'to plead and be impleaded . . .' etc.

University System of Georgia

" . . . ALL public schools - instituted or to be supported by funds or public monies in this State shall be considered as parts or members of the University and shall be under the foregoing directions and regulations."

This fell by the wayside at some point. I'm fairly certain that the University wouldn't want this responsibility today.

et cetera, &c.,
etc. . . .

And that's about it for this one, as I'm sure it's sufficiently long. I'm sure that I've enjoyed writing it far more than most will enjoy reading it. Nonetheless, there it is. Part I of the Bicenquasquigenary series on UGA, I suppose.

7 July 2009 Athens, GA

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Dawgs Shootaround

Here are 3 videos from the shootaround. I add a little commentary, but I'm pretty sure you'd get the idea on your own. Thanks to PWD over at Georgia Sports Blog. More photos and videos to come.


Good News: Met Coach Felton and Damon Evans yesterday while we were greeting the team and coaches.
Bad News: Um . . . not sure there is any right now
. . . All for Now
. . . And to HELL with Georgia Tech!

-DCC '08
Washington, DC