College Football Riot 170 Years Ago, Rowdy Students in 1841

November 24, 1841, Wednesday – The Experimenter, Norwalk, Ohio


The Students of Old Yale have been creating a disturbance of a very serious character and have disgraced themselves by an outrage upon public property which is attended with public danger, and at the same time unjustifiable and infamous in its character.

It appears that on Saturday last the fire department of that city turned out with their eight engines for inspection and review. An attempt was made to try the power of the machines upon the Central Church, for which purpose it was necessary to lay two trains of hose across the upper Green, but the students, who were engaged playing foot ball upon the Green, determined that the hose should not be laid across the Green, and in the face of the public authorities who had assembled to witness the performance, successfully kept possession of the Green, and drove off the department.

But the quarrel did not end here. Soon after 12 o’clock on Sunday night, a gang of students in disguise, made a rush upon the engine house, and almost entirely demolished a beautiful machine, called the Washington, which was entirely new, and ornamented with a beautiful portrait of the Father of his country. About 200 feet of hose were also deliberately cut and destroyed.

While this was going on, the city watch rallied, but were assailed with brickbats and so overpowered by numbers that their services were inefficient, and it was not until the alarm bells were rung and the citizens began to turn out, that the rioters dispersed.

The College Faculty view these circumstances with deep regret, and have come promptly forward and offered to repair all damages, and will exercise all the means in their power to prevent a repetition of such offenses.

From “The Lost Century of American Football


Sports on Sunday a Sin in 1874 — Oops, We Changed Our Mind!

October 23, 1874, Friday – The Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois

The weather permitting there will be another game of base ball played in the Fifth ward on next Sunday; and also a game of foot ball. The whole to be concluded by a rousing fight. These kind of amusements are becoming very fashionable; and yet our good Christian people do nothing to prevent them. They ought to pray for a change. This is not, we are sure, asking too much of them. We do not wish to trouble them, but really this matter ought to be attended to, and it seems to us they are the people to attend to it.

October 24, 1874, Saturday – The Bulletin, Cairo, Illinois

It seems that we have been misunderstood. Several sinners have called upon us and remarked that base ball is not a sin and that foot ball is a virtue; that therefore it is not a sin to play these games on Sunday. This we admit. In our belief Sunday is a day of recreation, and if recreation can be had at base ball or foot ball or any other kind of ball, we have no objections to urge. We do however maintain that pugilistic encounters should not be put down upon the list of recreations.

Several Christians also called upon us to say that they had prayed for the reformation of base ball men, but to little effect. They seem to be of the opinion that neither prayer nor salt will save these men; that they are all on the highway to the bad place, and like the journey. Our Christian friends, however, do not intend to weary of well doing and will go on praying.

From ebook: “The First Decade of College Football: 300 Published Reports of American Football from 1869 to 1879

Football in New Orleans, 1874, Prize is Barrel of Chicago Beer

August 22, 1874, Saturday – The Morning Star and Catholic Messenger, New Orleans, Louisiana


     A grand match game of Base Ball, between the Lone Stars and the Robt. E. Lees—game to commence at 3 o’clock P.M. Prize, to be chosen by the winner.
     A grand match game of Foot Ball, twenty-five men on each side—game to commence at 6 o’clock. Prize, one barrel Chicago Lager Beer.