E.H. LITTLE LIBRARY –– While paging through old school newspapers in the Rare Book Room during his lunch break last Thursday, Professor Peter Maldonado made a discovery that has sent shockwaves throughout Davidson’s honor-bound community.
In the April 5th, 1873 issue of The Davidson Daily (the inferior predecessor to The Davidsonian), Maldonado noticed an intriguing entry in the crime log: “x2 horse theft, x2 underage consumption.” A college archivist told The Yowl that horses were “the golf carts of the late 19th century” and were permitted on campus for RLO and injured athlete use.
Seeking to find out more, Maldonado turned to the personal diaries of 28th U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, who attended the college for the 1873-1874 school year before transferring to Princeton University––the #1 ranked party school in America during the period. It was in the diaries that the story truly began to unravel.
“I had read passages of Wilson’s diaries before but I had clearly never seen the entry for April 5th, 1873. I would have remembered,” said a still shocked Maldonado. “Wilson just brazenly admits to stealing the horses mentioned in the newspaper the night before. I mean, I would have expected something like this from Teddy Roosevelt, but this is Woodrow we’re talking about.”
According to the remarkably candid entry, Wilson detailed how he had attended “an evening of revelrous merrymaking” in the courtyard between Phi and Eu Halls during the night of the theft. The former President elaborated further, describing how he and “a jolly comrade from the dormitory” stumbled gaily away from the festivities while “inebriated from the bitter elixir [whiskey].” The two men each commandeered a horse belonging to the Presbyterian minister Samuel Eckland, who resided on campus at the time. The pair apparently made it “halfway to Concord” before ultimately being apprehended.
From later entries in Wilson’s diary, Maldonado discovered that the rapscallion turned politician decided in mid-April to transfer from Davidson following the spring semester rather than face impending honor council charges. “I fear that these indictments will prove an irreparable mark on my character and deter my political ambitions should I remain in the northernmost Carolina,” wrote Wilson on April 24th, “plus dear cousin Alfred says that the soirees in New Jersey are far superior.”
Upon learning of the true reason for Wilson’s departure from Davidson, the Honor Council conducted its first posthumous hearing and voted unanimously to retroactively expel the former President from Davidson College. Said Vice Chair Dylan Maxwell, “I mean stealing a horse… it’s as clear as they come. We have to hold even our most cherished alumni accountable.”