Test your KQ

A group of Kenyon students once received certificates and letters of commendation praising their role as “Squirrel Hunters” and “expressing confidence that they could be trusted to do their full duty, should any emergency again arise.” What had the students done?

  • Trooped to Cincinnati during the Civil War, to help defend the city from a feared Confederate attack.
  • Trapped squirrels that were nesting in Bexley Hall, disturbing the seminarians and chewing on electrical wires one winter in the 1920s.
  • Tripped up a prank being plotted by a group of fraternity pledges, who were called “squirrels” during the 1950s.
  • Transmitted fixes for a nasty computer virus that hit campus in 1996. (Nobody remembers the connection to squirrels; it may have had something to do with the way the virus consumed data, or the fact that it was driving people nuts.)


KQ Answer:

In September 1862, when it appeared that Confederate forces would attack Cincinnati, Kenyon students were among those who responded to a proclamation from Ohio Governor David Tod calling on citizens to form military units and defend the state. Thousands of volunteers poured into Cincinnati, sporting every manner of backwoods weapon and thus earning the nickname “Squirrel Hunters.” An attack never materialized, but the volunteers, including the Kenyon students, received a certificate called “The Squirrel Hunter’s Discharge.” 

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