[Note: Parts of this entry were originally included at the entry callithumpian n.]
callithump n Also calathump, calithump, calliathump, calthump; by folk-etym, cowthump [Back-formation from callithumpian adj 2]
1 A noisy and sometimes riotous assembly of revelers or troublemakers; in later use, usu on the occasion of Fourth of July celebrations or a wedding; a shivaree n B1. esp NE old-fash
1843 Belden Sketches Yale College 165 CT, The Calliathump. . . Every year [at Christmas] it was the custom to assemble at some late hour of night in the gymnasium . . armed with horns, drums (if possible), pans, pails, kettles, and clubs, and thence, after having chosen a leader, to sally forth to the revel, making melody of various characters, to the infinite annoyance of the slumbering citizens and disturbance of the city police. 1854 Daily Dispatch (Richmond VA) 21 Feb 1/2, There have been quite a number of “Calithumps,” etc., within the last ten days. During one last Friday night, the fire engine and several wagons and buggies were put into the Rotunda, together with hogs, cows and horses. Two horses were found Saturday morning tied to the Library door, and hogs and cows in Dr. Harrison’s lecture room. 1877 New Orleans Daily Democrat (LA) [28 Mar 2]/3 neLA, Rayville, Richland parish, was the scene of a most disagreeable calathump last Saturday. A gang of young men appeared in the streets about midnight, shouting, yelling and shooting. After carrying on in this way for some time they rode over to the old Vickers store, occupied by a large number of negroes, and set fire to it. 1886 New Haven Eve. Reg. (CT) 6 Sept /7, The wedding was very private. The cards were free cigars at all the stores so that no calathump is expected. 1914 Plainfield Courier–News (NJ) 2 Nov 9/2, Mr. and Mrs. Luther Cope arrived here on Saturday evening from a honeymoon trip of two weeks. . . They were welcomed home by a rousing calithump. 1941 LANE Map 409 (Serenade) 4 infs, wCT, Callithump; 1 inf, csCT, Serenade, for a popular couple; callithump, for an unpopular couple; 1 inf, nwCT, Callithump, used elsewhere; 1 inf, csCT, Callithump, older term; serenade, modern; 1 inf, cwCT, Cowthump; 1 inf, seCT, Cowthump, callithump; ‘Our minister married his third wife; we had a pretty good cowthump out of that’; 1 inf, seVT, Calthump. 1946 PADS 6.8 swVA, Calathump [ˈkæləˈθʌmp]. . . Salem. Reported, 1940. 1959 Harper Herald (TX) 18 Feb 3/1, Last Monday I heard a lot of racket around town. After following a line of cars down the Kerrville Road I ended up in front of Speedy and Doris’s house. You can imagine the looks of surprise on their faces as they found themselves greeted by a callithump. 1967–68 DARE (Qu. AA18, . . A noisy neighborhood celebration after a wedding, where the married couple is expected to give a treat) Infs CT1, NJ2, 9, 35, 41, 46, Callithump; (QR, near Qu. FF4 ) Inf CT3, At a callithump, the bride and groom treat the guests. The men go down with noisemakers and the couple has to invite all inside. [6 of 7 Infs old] 2009 in 2017 DARE File—Internet nwNJ, I’m thinking, “Does anyone remember what a cow thump is?” . . We would gather up the kids in town. Go to the homes of the newlyweds and make as much ruckas as we could to get them going. Any kind of noise maker would do. Stomping our feet and screaming, “We want Ice Cream”. In the meantime the groom would make arrangements with either Sheets and Gardner or Leo to give us ice cream. . . So the last one was probably early 1960’s.
1876 Cowley Co. Telegram (Winfield KS) 7 July /2, The “Calithumps.” [sic] appeared on the afternoon of the Fourth creating considerable fun. . . The boys were all gotten up in as hideous [a] manner as possible, with old clothes and homely masks. 1896 Worthington Advance (MN) 25 June 1/4, Calthumps Attention! Every one, both old and young, should take interest in the Calthumpian Parade. Those who intend putting on any acts, are requested to see Foster Moore as soon as possible, who will give them all necessary data. Masks will be furnished by the committee. 1909 Morning News (Wilmington DE) 2 July 6/5, Byron S. Creadick . . went on vacation this week and now has aroused the calithumps to action by coming back to town with a bride. 1913 Bennington Eve. Banner (VT) 30 Oct /2, Miss Mason and Miss Blackmer while driving Saturday evening encountered the Callithumps whose music frightened their horse so badly that the wagon was overturned.