Chronology: 1816 - 1830
1816 - 1830
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The chronology from 1816 to 1830 (162 entries)
1816.1 Cooperstown NY Bans Downtown Ballplaying Near Future Site of HOF
On June 6, 1816, trustees of the Village of Cooperstown, New York enact an ordinance: "That no person shall play at Ball in Second or West Street (now Pioneer and Main Streets), in this village, under a penalty of one dollar, for each and every offence."
Otsego Herald, number 1107, June 6, 1816, p. 3. The Herald carried the same notice on June 13, page 3. Note: those streets intersect is a half block from the Hall of Fame, right?
1816.2 Worcester MA Ordinance Bans "Frequent and Dangerous" Ball Playing and Hoops"
"Ball-playing" in the streets of Worcester, Massachusetts is forbidden by ordinance.
Worcester, MA Town Records, May 6, 1816; reprinted in Franklin P. Rice, ed., Worcester Town Records, 1801 - 1816, volume X [Worcester Society of Antiquity, 1891], p. 337. Also appears in Henderson, p. 150 [No ref given], and Holliman, per Guschov.
1816.4 "German ballgame" described in Berlin book
Flittner, Christian G., Talisman des Gluckes oder der Selbstlehrer fur alle Karten, Schach, Billard,Ball und Kegel Spiele [Berlin], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 187. This book's small section on ball games carries the Gutsmuths account of das Deutsche Ballspiel the German ballgame. Query: Does the game appear to uses bases?
1816.5 In "The Year Without a Summer," CT Lads Play Ball on Christmas Day
"My father [Charles Mallory] arrived there [Mystic CT] on Christmas Day and found some of his acquaintances playing ball in what was called Randall's Orchard."
Baughman, James, The Mallorys of Mystic: Six Generations in American Maritime Enterprise [Wesleyan University Press, 1972], page 12. Submitted by John Thorn, 10/19/2004.
1816.7 Lambert's Cricket Rules Published
Lambert, William, Instructions and Rules For Playing the Noble Game of Cricket (1816).
Bateman notes that 300,000 copies of this book were sold by 1865. Bateman, Anthony,"'More Mighty than the Bat, the Pen . . . ;' Culture,, Hegemony, and the Literaturisaton of Cricket," Sport in History, v. 23, 1 (Summer 2003), page 36.
1816.8 Troy NY Bans Ballplaying
"[N]o person or persons shall play ball, beat knock or drive any ball or hoop, in, through, or along any street or alley in the first, second, third, or fourth wards of said city; and every person who shall violate either of the prohibitions . . . shall, for each and every such offense, forfeit and pay the penalty of ten dollars."
Laws and Ordinances of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonality, of the City of Troy. Passed the Ninth Day of December, 1816 (Parker and Bliss, Troy, 1816), page 42. Citation from Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 320.
1816.9 Maine Town Outlaws Ball, Quoits, Sledding
"[A]ny person who shall be convicted of sliding down any hill on sleighs, sleds, or boards . . . between Thomas Hinkley's dwelling house & Mr. Vaugh's mill . . . or any who shall play at ball or quoits in any of the streets . . . shall, on conviction, pay a fine of fifty cents for each offence . . . ."
Hallowell [ME] Gazette, December 25, 1816. Hallowell is about 2 miles south of Augusta and 50 miles NE of Portland.
1816.10 Norfolk VA Cricket Club Reported
Richard Hershberger [emails of 1/28/09 and 2/4/10] reports seeing advertisements in the American Beacon for a Norfolk Cricket Club from 1816 to 1820:
"CRICKET CLUB. A meeting of the Subscribers to this Club, will be held at the Exchange Coffee House, this evening at 6 o'clock, for the purpose of draughting Rules and Regluations for the government."
American Beacon(Norfolk VA), October 25, 1816. Subsequent notices were for playing times.
Note: In The Tented Field, Tom Melville writes that a 1989 book has the Norfolk Club being founded in 1803 in imitation of English customs (page 164, note 10). Patricia Click, in Spirit of the Times (UVa Press, 1989), page 119, cites the October 1, 1803 issue of the "Norfolk and Portsmouth Herald" [likely then the "Norfolk Herald"] in reference to an observation [page 73] about the social makeup of cricket clubs. Query: can we find out what the 1803 paper actually says about cricket, if anything?
1817.1 Visitor to Philly Tells of Cricket Play There
"Being a commercial people, they have but few amusements: their summer pastimes are . . . fishing, batching, cricket, quoits, &c; . . . ."
John Palmer, Journal of Travels in the United States of America and in Lower Canada, Etc [London, 1818], page 283. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.
1817.2 Riddle Game Cites "Fourteen Boys at Bat and Ball"
The Gaping, Wide-mouthed, Waddling Frog [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 187-188. This chapbook comprises a rhyme resembling the song "the Twelve Days of Christmas, and one verse includes "Fourteen Boys at Bat-and-Ball, Some Short and Some Tall." Block also reports that it contains an illustration of several boys playing trap-ball.
1817.3 Ball Play Banned in New York NY
"New York City outlawed ball play in the Park, Battery, and Bowling-Green in 1817."
Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 245. Altherr's citation [page 320]: "A law relative to the Park, Batery, and Bowling-Green," in Laws and Ordinances Ordained and Established by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonality of the City of New York (T. and J. Swords, New York, 1817), page 118.
1817.4 In Brunswick ME, Bowdoin College Sets 20-cent Fine for Ballplaying
"No student shall, in or near any College building, play at ball, or use any sport or diversion, by which such building may be exposed to injury, on penalty of being fined not exceeding twenty cents, or being suspended if the offence be often repeated."
Of Misdemeanors and Criminal Offences, in Laws of Bowdoin College (E. Goodale, Hallowell ME, 1817), page 12. Citation from Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 315. The college is about 25 miles NE of Portland, and near the Maine coast.
1818.1 Yale Student Reports Cricket on Campus
A student at Yale University reports that cricket and football are played on campus [need cite]. Lester, however, says that he doubts the student saw English cricket, and that, given that the site is CT, it was probably wicket. Lester notes that wicket involved sides of 30 to 35 players, and was played in an alley 75 feet long, and with oversized bats.
Lester, ed., A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [U Penn Press, Philadelphia, 1951], page 7.
1818.2 In Cricket, Well, It's . . ."One Man Out"
Ford notes that "[William] Lambert, the leading professional of the time, banned from playing at Lord's for accepting bribes." Per John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 21. Ford does not give a citation for this account.
1818.3 "Baseball" at West Point NY?
"Although playing ball games near the barracks was prohibited, cadets could play 'at football' near Fort Clinton or north of the large boulder neat the site of the present Library. [Benjamin] Latrobe makes curious mention of a game call 'baseball' played in this area. Unfortunately, he did not describe the game. Could it be that cadets in the 1818-1822 period played the game that Abner Doubleday may have modified later to become the present sport?"
Pappas, George S., To The Point: The United States Military Academy 1802 - 1902 [Praeger, Westport Connecticut, 1993], page 145. Note: Pappas evidently does not give a source for the Latrobe statement. I assume that the 1818-1822 dates correspond to Latrobe's time at West Point.
1818.4 Cricket Reported in Louisville KY?
"It is not unreasonable to speculate that as the immigrants came down the Ohio River . . . they brought with them the leisure activities hat had already developed in the cities along the Atlantic coast. There are reports of a form of cricket being played in the city as early at 1818."
Bailey, Bob, "Beginnings; From Amateur Teams to Disgrace in the National League," , page 1. Bob (email, 1/27/2013), further quotes Dean Sullivan's master's thesis, Ball-oriented Sport in a Southern City: A Study of the Organizational Evolution of Baseball in Louisville (George Mason University): "Ball-oriented sports had been reported in Kentucky as early as 1818, when travelers stumbled upon a primitive game of cricket."
Note: The original source of the 1818 reference may have been lost. Bob reports that Dean Sullivan thesis cited Harold Peterson's The Man Who Invented Baseball (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973), page 24. However, Peterson gives no source. A dead end?
Are there other sightings of this 1818 cricket account?
1818c.5 English Immigrants from Surrey Take Cricket to IL
"There have been [p.295/p.296] several cricket-matches this summer [of 1819], both at Wanborough and Birk Prarie; the Americans seem much pleased at the sight of the game, as it is new to them." John Woods, Two Years Residence on th Settlement of the English Prarie, in the Illinois Country (Longman & Co., London, 1822), pp. 295-296.
On page 148 of the book: "On the second of October, there was a game of cricket played at Wanborough by the young men of the settlement; this they called keeping Catherine Hill fair, many of the players being from the neighborhood of Godalming and Guildford." In 1818 [page 295]: "some of the young men were gone to a county court at Palmyra, [but] there was no cricket-match, as was intended, only a game of trap-ball."
1819.1 British Science Text Uses "Base-ball" Heuristic Example
"Emily: In playing at base-ball, I am obliged to use al my strength to give a rapid motion to the ball; and when I have to catch it, I am sure I feel the resistance it makes to being stopped; but if I did not catch it, it would soon stop of itself.
"Mrs B.: Inert matter is as incapable of stopping itself as it is of putting itself in motion. When the ball ceases to more, therefore, it must be stopped by some other cause or power; but as it is one with which your are as yet unacquainted, we cannot at present investigate its powers."
Jane H. Marcet, Conversations on Natural Philosophy [Publisher?, 1819], page? Note: Mendelson, a retired professor at Marquette University, originally located this text, but attributed it to a different book by Mrs. Marcet. David Block found the actual 1819 location. He adds that while it does not precede the Jane Austen use of "base-ball" in Northanger Abbey, "I still consider the quote to be an important indicator that baseball was a popular pastime among English girls during the later 18th and early 19th centuries." David Block posting to 19CBB, 12/12/2006.
1819.2 Scott's Ivanhoe Mentions Stool-ball
[The Jester speaks] "I came to save my master, and if he will not consent, basta! I can but go away home again. Kind service can not be checked from hand to hand like a shuttle-cock or stool-ball. I'll hang for no man . . . ."
Scott, Walter, Ivanhoe; A Romance (D. Appleton and Co., New York, 1904), page 257. Reference provided by John Thorn 6/11/2007.
1819.3 Herefordshire: "Large Parties" Play Wicket ("Old-Fashioned Cricket")
[Writing of the yeoman of the county:] "notwithstanding their inclination to religion, they meet in large parties upon Sunday afternoons to play foot-ball, wicket (an old-fashioned cricket), or other gymnastics."
Source: "Manners and Customs of Herefordshire," The Gentleman's Magazine, February 1819. Submitted by Richard Hershberger 8/6/2007.
1819.4 In Hartford CT: Legislative Session Associated with Ball-playing?
In a report on the new session of the Connecticut legislature: "In Hartford and the region about the same, those who usually play ball during the day and dance at night on such occasions, did not at this time wholly abandon the ancient uses of Connecticut."
Indiana Central, June 8, 1819, reprinting an article datelined New Haven CT from May 5. Accessed 4/9/09 via subscription search.
1819.5 Irving Surveys Pastimes at Fictional British School; Includes Tip-cat
"As to sports and pastimes, the boys are faithfully exercised in all that are on record: quoits, races, prison-bars, tip-cat, trap-ball, bandy-ball, wrestling, leaping, and what-not."
Washington Irving [writing as Geoffrey Crayon], Bracebridge Hall: Or, The Humourists (Putnam's, New York, 1888: written in 1819), page 332. Contributed by Bill Wagner, email o f March 25, 2009. Accessed via 2/3/10 Google Books search (bracebridge tip-cat). The setting is Yorkshire. Note: if cricket, base-ball, rounders, or stoolball were played at the fictional school, it was relegated to "what-not" status.
1819.6 Ball Games Recalled in Southwestern WI
At the close of the Civil War, a dispute on the actual age Joseph Crele, who claimed to be 139 years old, reached Milwaukee newprint: "Beouchard . . . says he has known Crele for 40 years. In 1819, at Prarie du Chien, Crele was one of the most active participants in the games of base ball, town ball foot races, horse races, &c, and yet at that time, by the claim made for him, he must have been 93 years old."
MilwaukeeDaily Sentinel, April 4, 1865. As posted to the 19CBB listserve by Dennis Pajot, December 11, 2009. Prarie du Chien is about 90 miles west of Madison WI, on the Mississippi River. Note: it is interesting that Beouchard recalls two distinct games [and/or two distinct names of games] being played.
1820.1 Bat/Ball Game Depicted in Children's Amusements
A woodcut illustration of boys playing with a bat and ball appears in a book entitled Children's Amusements [New York and Baltimore]. David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 188, adds that it is unusual among chapbooks as "more space and detail are devoted to "playing ball" than to cricket, which at the time was a more established game." See also #1830.1.
1820.3 English Cricketers Play Two-Day Match Again New Yorkers
"The most outstanding cricket matches of the period were those in New York. In fact, the matches of note were played in that city. These contests took place between members of different clubs, and often the sport lasted for two days. Great was the interest if any English player happened to be present to participate in the sport. On June 16, 1820, eleven expert English players matched eleven New Yorkers at Brooklyn, the contest lasting two days." Holliman, Jennie, American Sports (1785 - 1835) [Porcupine Press, Philadelphia, 1975], page 68.
Holliman cites the New York Evening Post June 16, 1820. See also Lester, ed., A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [U Penn, 1951], page 5. Tom Melville, The Tented Field (Bowling Green U, Bowling Green, 1998), page 7, adverts to a similar Englishmen/Americans match, giving it a date of June 1, 1820. He seems to cite The New York Evening Post of June 19, 1820, page 2 for this match, and so June 16 seems like a likelier date.
1820.4 Another English Chapbook Cites Trap-ball
School-boys' Diversions: Describing Many New and Popular Sports [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 189. The woodcut shows a trap and bat in the foreground.
1820s.5 Town Ball Recalled in Eastern IL
"In the early times, fifty or sixty years ago, when the modern games of croquet and base-ball were unknown, the people used to amuse themselves with marbles, "town-ball" - which was base-ball in a rude state - and other simple pastimes of a like character. Col. Mayo says, the first amusement he remembers in the county was a game of town-ball, on the day of the public sale of lots in Paris, in which many of the "young men of the period engaged."
The History of Edgar County, Illinois (Wm. LeBaron, Chicago, 1879), page 273. Contributed January 31, 2010, by Jeff Kittel. Paris IL is near the Indiana border, and about 80 miles west of Indianapolis.
1820c.6 Modified Version of Rounders Played in New England.
"About 1820 a somewhat modified version of the old English game of rounders was played on the New England commons, and twenty years later the game had spread and become "town ball." In 1833 the first regularly organized ball club was formed in Philadelphia with the sonorous title of "The Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia." About 1850 the game gained vogue in New York."
Barbour, Ralph H., The Book of School and College Sports [D. Appleton and Co., New York, 1904] page 143. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Thanks to Mark Aubrey for locating a pdf of the baseball section of this text, June 2007. Barbour does not provide sources for his text.
1820c.7 Another English Chapbook, Another Engraving of Trap-ball
Juvenile Recreations [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 189. Accompanying the Trapball engraving: "Then Master Batt he did decide,/That they might one and all,/Since Rosebud fields were very wide,/Just play Trap bat and ball,/Agreed said all with instant shout,/Then beat the little ball about."
1820c.8 Another Chapbook - This One Celebrates the Fielder
Juvenile Sports or Youth's Pastimes [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 189. The accompanying text: "With bat and trap, the Youth's agre'd/To send the ball abroad with speed,/While eager with his open hands,/To catch him out his playmate stands."
1820s.9 In Middletown CT, "Wicket" Recalled, but Not Base Ball.
Delaney, ed., Life in the Connecticut River Valley 1800 - 1840 from the Recollections of John Howard Redfield [Connecticut River Museum, Essex CT, 1988], p. 35. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 82.
1820s.11 Cricket is Gradually "Cleaned Up;" Club Play Strengthens
Writing of this period, Ford summarizes: "Much single-wicket cricket was played, and wager matches continued, but from the mid 1820s both these features gradually disappeared from the scene as cricket was 'cleaned up.' Of equal importance the game at club level spread and grew strong." John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 22. Ford does not give citations for this account.
1820s.12 Boys Are Attracted to Sports of "Playing Ball or Goal" in Bangor ME
Paine, Albert Ware, "Auto-Biography," reprinted in Lydia Augusta Paine Carter, The Discovery of a Grandmother [Henry H. Carter, Newton MA, 1920], p. 240. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 77. Note: Dean Sullivan [7/29/2004] observes that Harold Seymour puts the year of play at Bangor at 1836, citing both pages 198 and 240 of The Discovery of a Grandmother. Payne was born in 1812, and was not a "boy" in 1836, so this event needs further examination. This item needs to be reconciled with #1823c.4 below.
1820c.13 A Wry View of Cricket Match on Yale Campus
"On the green and easy slope where those proud columns stand,
In Dorian mood, with academe and temple on each hand,
The foot-ball and the cricket-match upon my vision rise
With all the clouds of classic dust kicked in each other' eyes."
This verse is incorporated without attribution in Brooks Mather Kelley, Yale: a History (Yale University Press, New Haven CT, 1974), page 214. Kelley's commentary: "[Cricket] may have been a sport at Yale then [in the Colonial period]. The first clear reference to it, owever, is in one stanza of a poem about Yale life in 1818 to 1822." Ibid. Is Yale shielding us from some racy student rhymes? Oh, not to worry: From a rival Ivy League source we see that Lester identifies the poet as William Cromwell - John A. Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket (U of Penn Press, Philadelphia PA, 1951), page7. Note: OK, so who was William Cromwell, and why did he endow so many chairs at Yale?
1820s.14 New England Lad Recalls Assorted Games, Illicit Fast Day Ballplaying
Alfred Holbrook was born in 1816. His autobiography, Reminiscences of the Happy Life of a Teacher (Elm Street, Cincinnati, 1885), includes youthful memories that would have occurred in the 1820s.
"The [school-day] plays of those times, more than sixty years ago, were very similar to the plays of the present time. Some of these were "base-ball," in which we chose sides, "one hole cat," "two hole cat," "knock up and catch," Blackman," "snap the whip," skating, sliding down hill, rolling the hoop, marbles, "prisoner's base," "football," mumble the peg," etc. Ibid. page 35. Note: was "knock up and catch" a fungo game, possibly?
"Now, it was both unlawful and wicked to play ball on fast-day, and none of my associates in town were ever known to engage in such unholy enterprises and sinful amusements on fast-days; [p 52/53] but other wicked boys, with whom I had nothing to do, made it their special delight and boast to get together in some quiet, concealed place, and enjoy themselves, more especially because it was a violation of law. Not infrequently, however, they found the constable after them. . . ." "Soon after, this blue law, perhaps the only one in the Connecticut Code, was repealed. Then the boys thought no more of playing on fast-days than on any other." Ibid, pp 52-53.
1820c.15 Ballplaying at Bowdoin College
Nehemiah Cleaveland and Alpheus Spring Packard, History of Bowdoin College with Biographical Sketches of the Graduates (Osgood and Company, Boston, 1882). Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 32.
"The student of earlier years had not the resources for healthful physical recreation of the present day [1880s]. We had football and baseball, though the latter was much less formal and formidable than the present game" [Page 96]. Note: the precise time referenced here is hard to specify; but the authors graduated in 1813 and 1816, and the context seems to suggest the 1810-1830 period.
Only one of the book's many sketches of alumni, however, mentions ballplaying of any type. The sketch for James Patten, Class of 1823, includes this: "He entered college at the mature age of twenty-four, was a respectable scholar, spoke with a decided brogue, and played ball admirably. . . . When last heard from he was an acting magistrate and a rich old bachelor." [Page 276] The sketch for Longfellow, who in 1824 wrote of constant campus ballplaying [see #1824.1], does not allude to sport.
1820.16 Union vs. Mechanics - First Mention of Club Cricket?
On June 19, 1820, the Union and Mechanic Cricket Clubs played two matches in Brooklyn. According to an account [a box score was also provided] in the New York Daily Advertiser of June 21, "this manly exercise . . . excited astonishment in the spectators by their great dexterity . . . . A great number of persons viewed the sport."
Posted to 19CBB by Richard Hershberger, 7/31/2007. Richard noted: "this is the earliest example I know of named cricket clubs, and is not mentioned in Tom Melville's history [The Tented Field.] In am 1/30/2008 email, Richard added that this game was also reported in the New York Columbia of June 19, 1820 as having "all Europeans" on both sides. Note: does the David Sentence book cover this game? Do we know of any earlier club play; for instance, did the Boston Cricket Club [see #1808.2 above] ever take the field in 1808?
1820s.18 Syracuse NY Ball Field Remembered as Base Ball Site
David Block reports: "In the lengthy 'Editor's Table' section of this classic monthly magazine [The Knickerbocker], the editor described a nostalgic visit that he and two old school chums had taken to the academy that they had attended near Syracuse. 'We went out upon the once-familiar green, as if it were again 'play time', and called by name upon our old companions to come over once more and play 'bass-ball.' But they answered not; they came not! The old forms and faces were gone; the once familiar voices were silent.'"
"Editor's Table," The Knickerbocker (S. Hueston, New York, 1850), page 298. Contributed by David Block 2/27/2008.
The Editor, Lewis Gaylord Clark, was born in 1810, and attended the Onondaga Academy. He was thus apparently recalling ball-playing from sometime in the 1820s. Onondaga Academy was, evidently, about 3 miles SW of downtown Syracuse.
Can we get better data on Clark's age while at the Academy?
1820s.19 Ball-Playing in Ontario
"Contrary to the once commonly held belief that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in 1839, a form of the game existed in Oxford County [ON] during the early decades of the nineteenth century that used a square playing field with four bases and eleven players a side." Nancy B. Bouchier, For the Love of the Game: Amateur Sport in Small-Town Ontario, 1838-1895 (McGill-Queens University Press, 2003), page 100. Note: Dating this item to the 1820's is a best guess [we are asking the author for input], based on additional evidence from N. Bouchier and R. Barney, "A Critical Evaluation of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball: The Reminiscence of Adam E. Ford," Journal of Sport History, Volume 15 number 1 (Spring 1988). Players remembered as attending the 1838 event included older "greyheaded" men who reflected back on earlier play - one of whom was on the local assessment roll in 1812.
1820s.20 Horace Greeley Lacks the Knack, Fears Getting Whacked
"Ball was a common diversion in Vermont while I lived there; yet I never became proficient at it, probably for want of time and practice. To catch a flying ball, propelled by a muscular arm straight at my nose, and coming so swiftly that I could scarcely see it, was a feat requiring a celerity of action, an electric sympathy of eye and brain and hand . . . . Call it a knack, if you will; it was quite beyond my powers of acquisition. 'Practice makes perfect.' I certainly needed the practice, though I am not sure that any amount of it would have made me a perfect ball-player."
Horace Greeley, Recollections of a Busy Life (J. B. Ford, New York, 1869), page 117. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 30. Tom places the time as the early 1820s. Greeley, born in New Hampshire in 1811, was apprenticed a Poultney VT printer in about 1825.
This book was accessed 11/15/2008 via Google Books search "greeley recollections owen." Poultney VT is on the New York border, about 70 miles NNW of Albany NY. Greeley does not mention the games of wicket or round ball or base ball.
1820s.21 College Prez Was a Klutz at Ball and Cricket
"I could not jump the length of my leg nor run as fast as a kitten . . . . At ball and cricket I 'followed in the chase not like a hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry.'"
Harriet Raymond Lloyd, ed., Life and Letters of John Howard Raymond, Late President of Vassar College (Ford, Howard and Hulbert, New York, 1881), page 38. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 34. Accessed 11/16/2008 via Google Books search for "'john howard raymond.'" Raymond, born in New York in 1814, summered as a boy in Norwalk CT.
1820s.22 MA Boy Played One Old Cat, Base Ball in Early Childhood
"In my early boyhood I was permitted to run at large in the [Williamstown MA] street and over broad acres, playing 'one old cat,' and base ball (no scientific games or balls as hard as a white oak boulder in those days) excepted when pressed into service to ride the horse to plough out the corn and potatoes."
Keyes Danforth, Boyhood Reminiscences: Pictures of New England in the Olden Times in Williamstown (Gazlay Brothers, New York, 1895), page 12. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 38. The book was accessed 11/16/2008 via Google Books search "'pictures of new.'" Danforth, born in 1822, became a judge. Williamstown MA is in the NW corner of the commonwealth, and lies about 35 miles E of Albany NY.
1820s.23 Town Ball Came to Central IL in the 1820s.
"This game [bullpen, the local favorite] was, in time, abandoned for a game called "town ball;" the present base ball being town ball reduced to a science."
The History of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois (Baskin and Company, Chicago, 1879), page 252. Contributed by Jeff Kittel, January 31, 2010. Jeff notes that the author was in this passage describing educational conditions in the early 1820s. The two counties are just north of Springfield IL.
1820c.24 Waterbury CT Jaws Drop as Baptist Deacon Takes the Field
"after the 'raising' of this building, at which, as was customary on such occasions, there was a large gathering of people who came to render voluntary assistance, the assembled company adjourned to the adjacent meadow (now owned by Charles Frost) for a game of baseball, and that certain excellent old ladies were much scandalized that prominent Baptists, among them Deacon Porter, should show on such an occasion so much levity as to take part in the game."
Joseph Anderson, ed., The Town and City of Waterbury, Connecticut, from the Aboriginal Perioed to the Year 1895, Volume III (Price and Lee, New Haven CT, 1896), page 673n. Accessed 2/3/10 via Google Books search (Waterbury aboriginal III).
1820s.25 In Western MA, Election Day Saw Town vs. Town Wicket Matches
"'Election Day' was, however, the universal holiday, and the prevailed amongst the farmers that corn planting must be finished by that day for its enjoyment. It was a day of general hilarity, with no prescribed forms of observation, though ball playing was ordinarily included in the exercises, and frequently the inhabitants of adjacent towns were pitted against one another in the game of wicket. Wrestling, too, was a common amusement on that day, each town having its champions."
Charles J. Taylor, History of Great Barrington (Bryan and Co., Great Barrington MA, 1882), page 375. Accessed 2/3/10 via Google Books search (taylor great barrington). Note: this passage is not clearly set in time; "1820s" is a guess, but 1810s or 1830s is also a possibility.
1820c.26 Octogenarian Recalls Frequency of Play, How Balls Were Made in NY
"If a base-ball were required, the boy of 1816 founded it with a bit of cork, or, if he were singularly fortunate, with some shreds of india-rubber; then it was wound with yarn frm a ravelled stocking, and some feminine member of his family covered it with patches of a soiled glove."
Charles H. Haswell, Reminiscences of An Octogenarian of the City of New York (1816 to 1860) (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1897), page 77. Accessed 2/2/10 via Google Books search (haswell octogenarian).
Haswell also reflected on Easter observances of the era. They were subdued, save for the coloring of eggs by some schoolboys. "For a few weeks during the periods of Easter and Paas, the cracking of eggs by boys supplanted marbles, kite-flying, and base-ball."
1820c.27 Columbia College (NY) Students, Locals, Play at Battery Grounds
"Of those [students] of Columbia, I write advisedly - they were not members of a boat club, base-ball, or foot-ball team. On Saturday afternoons, in the fall of the year, a few students would meet in the 'hollow' on the Battery, and play an irregular game of football . . . As this 'hollow' was the locale of base-ball, "marbles," etc., and as it has long since been obliterated, and in its existence was the favorite resort of schoolboys and all others living in the lower part of the city, it is worthy of record"
Haswell recalls the Battery grounds as "very nearly the entire area bounded by Whitehall and State Streets, the sea wall line, and a line about two hundred feet to the west; it was of an uniform grade, fully five feet below that of the street, it was nearly uniform in depth, and as regular in its boundary as a dish."
Charles Haswell, Reminiscences of an Octogenarian of the City of New York (1816 to 1860) (Harper and Brothers, New York, 1896), pages 81-82. Citation supplied by John Thorn, email of 2/3/2008. Accessed 2/4/10 via Google Books search (octogenarian 1816).
1820c.28 English Village Green Had Cricket, Bass-Ball
A "rambling" railway passenger reflects as he passes through the English countryside: "The rambler sees a pretty white spire peeping out of the woodland before him . . . . The road leads to Stoke Green. Alas! We may lament for what is no more, and the name is a mockery. There was a village green some twenty years ago . . . . and the cheerful spot where the noise of cricket and bass-ball once gladdened the ear on a summer eve is now silent."
Ah, the good old days. "Railway Rambles," Penny Magazine, Oct 23, 1841, page 412. Accessed 2/11/10 via Google Books search ("railway rambles" penny 1841). The location is evidently about 20 mi W of London. Source: Tom Altherr, "Some Findings on Bass Ball," Originals, February 2010, page 2.
1820.29 Base ball an "Old-fashioned" Activity For English Girls
"In 1820, another girl-oriented book, entitled Early Education, mentions 'base ball' among a footnoted list of appropriate 'old-fashioned' amusements that also includes 'hunt the slipper' and 'my lady's toilette."
E. Appleton, Early Education (2nd Edition, 1821), page 384, cited in David Block, John Newberry Publishes A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, and With it Our First Glimpse of the game of English Baseball,Base Ball, volume 5, number 1 (Spring 2011), page 34.
1820c.30 Early African American baseball
Excerpt of interview with "A Colored Resident. Henry Rosecranse Columbus, Jr."
"The bosses used to come and bet on the horses, and they had a great deal of fun. After the races they used to play ball for egg nog.”
Reporter—“Was it base ball as now played?”
Mr. Rosecranse—“Something like it, only the ball wasn’t near so hard, and we used to have much more fun playing.”
Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman, August 19, 1881, "A Colored Resident. Henry Rosecranse Columbus, Jr. Some Incidents in the Life of an Old Resident of Kingston."
1820s.31 "Many Different Kinds of Ball" Remembered
In a charming 1867 volume, a father delivered an extended disquisition about ball games in his youth in New England. That was definitely before 1840 and more likely in the 1820s, or the 1830s at the latest. (The book had an 1860 copyright registration, so the author penned it in that year or in the 1850s). The detail of this recounting merits full excerpting:
“I think the boys used to play ball more when I was young than they do now. It was a great game at that time, not only among the boys, but with grown-up people. I know that playing ball is getting into fashion again, but I don’t think it is as common even yet as it used to be. We had, I remember, a good many different kinds of ball.There was “barn-ball,” when there were only two boys to play, one to throw the ball against the barn and make it bound back, and the other to strike at it with his club. Then there was “two-hold-cat,” when there were four boys, two to be in and knock, and two to throw. Then there was “base-ball,” when there were a good many to play. In base-ball we chose sides, and we might have as many as we pleased on each side -- five or fifty, or any other number.
“Then there was “wicket-ball,” as we called it in the part of the country where I lived. In this game, two sticks, some five or six feet long, were laid on some little blocks near the ground, and the ball, which was a large one, was rolled on the ground, andthe one that rolled it tried to knock off this stick, while the one that was in andhad the bat or club, was to strike the ball and not let it knock the stick off. If the stick was struck off, then the one knocker was “out.” Or if he hit the ball and raised it in the air, and any one on the other side caught it, he was “out.” I find that ball-playing changes some, and is different in different parts of the country, but it was a very wide-awake sport, and there was no game in which I took more delight. On ‘Lection-day, as it was called, of which I have spoken before, all the boys and young men, and even men who were older, thought they must play ball. On town-meeting days and training days, this game was almost always going on.”
Winnie and Walter’s Talks with Their Father about Old Times Boston: J.E. Tilton and Company, 1867), pp. 54-56.
Allowing for the somewhat “in-my-day” tone, there are a few interesting items in this passage. Note the unusual spelling of two old cat or two o’cat. Was there some action of holding the ball, holding the bat, holding the runner that inspired the use of the word “hold?” The initial claim that ball play was more popular in his youth is at first a head-scratcher given the surge of popularity of baseball in the1850s and 1860s.
But what if he reckoning was accurate, if only for his part of New England? That would be interesting evidence for baseball historians trying to measure the trajectory of the game’s development. Did what he called “base-ball” more resemble town-ball, or did the word “base-ball” have a wider currency that we have suspected? The description of wicket-ball seems slightly askew from other accounts--regional variation or memory lapse? Last, the civic holidays that ball play accompanied were not always in clement seasons. Training days tended to be during milder or hot weather, but town meeting and election days often occurred in March and November. The author’s points about the importance of ball play may be stronger than at first glance, if the players did not let the prospect of foul weather discourage their zeal.
1821.1 New York Book Has Bat and Ball Poem
Little Ditties for Little Children [New York, Samuel Wood and Sons], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 190. "Come on little Charley, come with me and play/And yonder is Billy, I'll give him a call,/ Do you take the bat, and I'll carry the ball . . . "
1821.2 Cricket Not New in SC
"The members of the old cricket club are requested to attend a meeting of [sic?] the Carolina Coffee House tomorrow evening."
Charleston Southern Patriot, January 23, 1821, per Holliman, American Sport 1785 - 1835, page 68.
1821.3 Schenectady NY Bans "Playing of Ball Against the Building"
The Schenectady City Council banned "playing of Ball against the Building or in the area fronting the Building called City Hall and belonging to this corporation . . . under penalty of Fifty cents for each and every offence . . . ." Note: citation needed. Submitted by David Pietrusza via John Thorn, 3/6/2005.
1821.4 A Three-Times-and-Out Rule in ME Cricket?
"'Three times and out' is a maxim of juvenile players at cricket."
Maine Gazette, November 20, 1821; submitted by Lee Thomas Oxford, 9/2/2007. Note: What can this reported rule possibly mean? Were beginning cricketers given three chances to hit the bowled ball in ME? John Thorn, email of 2/3/2008, points out that three swings was sometimes an out in wicket, and that the Gazette may have erred.
1821.5 NY Mansion Converted to Venue Suitable for Base, Cricket, Trap-Ball
In May and June 1821, an ad ran in some NY papers announcing that the Mount Vernon mansion was now open as Kensington House. It could accommodate dinners and tea parties and clubs. What's more, later versions of the ad said: "The grounds of Kensington Hose are spacious and well adapted to the playing of the noble game of cricket, base, trap-ball, quoits and other amusements; and all the apparatus necessary for the above games will be furnished to clubs and parties."
Richard Hershberger posted to 19CBB on Kensington House on 10/7/2007, having seen the ad in the June 9, 1821 New YorkGazette and General Advertiser. Richard suggested that "in this context "base is almost certainly baseball, not prisoner's base." John Thorn [email of 3/1/2008] later found a May 22, 1821 Kensington ad in the Evening Post that did not mention sports, and ads starting on June 2 that did.
Richard points out that the ad's solicitation to "clubs and parties" may indicate that some local groups were forming to play the mentioned games long before the first base ball clubs are known to have played.
June 9, 1821 New YorkGazette and General Advertiser
See also Richard Hershberger, "New York Mansion Converted -- An Early Sighting of Base Ball Clubs?,"Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 58-60.
Have we found any further indications that 1820-era establishments may have served to host regular base ball clubs?
1821.6 Fifty-cent Fine in New Bedford for Those Who Play at Ball
"Any person, who shall, after the first day of July next, play at ball, or fly a kite, or run down a hill upon a sled, or play any other sport which may incommode peacable citizens and passengers in any [illegible: street?] of that part of town commonly called the Village of Bedford" faces a fifty-cent penalty.
"By-Laws for the Town of New-Bedford," New Bedford [MA] Mercury, August 13, 1821. Accessed by subscription search May 5, 2009.
1821.7 1821 Etching Shows Wicket Game in Progress
This engraving was done by John Cheney in 1821 at the age of 20. It was originally engraved on a fragment of an old copper kettle. It is reported that he was living in Hartford at the time.
It is one of the earliest known depictions of wicket.
The etching depicts six players playing wicket. The long, low wickets are shown and two runners, prominently carrying large bats, are crossing between them as two fielders appear to pursue a large ball in flight. Two wicketkeepers stand behind their wickets.
Biographical background from "Memoir of John Cheney," by Edna Dow Cheney (Lee and Shepherd, Boston, 1889), page 10.
For an account of Baseball Historian John Thorn's 2013 rediscovery and pursuit of this engraving, go to http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/02/05/the-oldest-wicket-game-newly-found/
An interesting aspect of this drawing is that there appear to be four defensive players and only two offensive players . . . unless the two seated gentlemen in topcoats have left them on while waiting to bat. One might speculate that the wicketkeepers are permanently on defense and the other pairs alternate between offense and defense when outs are made. Another possibility is that all players rotate after each out, as was later seen in scrub forms of base ball.
Also note the relative lack of open area beyond the wickets. Perhaps, as in single-wicket cricket, running was permitted only for balls hit forward from the wicket.
We welcome other interpretations of this image.
1822.1 Round Ball Played in Worcester
"Timothy Taft, who is living in Worcester, October 1897, played Round Ball in 1822. The game was no new thing then. I think Mr. Stoddard is right about the game being played directly after the close of the Revolutionary War [see entry #1780c.4]. At any rate, if members of your Commission question the antiquity of the game (Round Ball) we have Mr. Taft still living who played it 83 years ago, and we have corroborative testimony that it was played long before that time."
Letter from Henry Sargent, Worcester MA, to Mills Commission, June 10, 1905. Henderson, on page 149, quotes the Commission's press release as referring to a Timothy Tait, which seems likely a reference to Taft. In this letter Sargent also reports that in Stoddard's opinion, "the game of Round Ball or Base ball is one and the same thing, and that it dates back before 1845."
Note: do we have that Mills Commission release that Henderson cites?
1822.2 Round-Arm Bowling Disallowed at Lord's Cricket Ground
Ford reports that "John Willes of Kent is "no-balled" for "throwing" at Lord's for round-arm bowling. Nevertheless William Lillywhite James Broadbridge and others continue this practice. John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 21. Ford does not give a citation for this account.
1822.3 Cricket Clubs, "Other Ball Clubs" Welcomed at Philadelphia PA Facility
In an advertisement about an outdoor recreation establishment run by John Carter Jr. on the western bank of the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia PA is included the sentence "Gentlemen are informed that the grounds are so disposed as to afford sufficient room and accommodation for quoit and cricket and other ball clubs." It doesn't say what these "other ball clubs" are playing. Saturday Evening Post, June 22, 1822, Vol. 1, Issue 47, page 003. Submitted by Bill Wagner 1/24/2007.
1822.4 Trap Ball Advertised at Inn
"TRAP BALL. This entertaining game and pleasing exercise may be enjoyed every Monday afternoon, at the Traveller's Rest, in Broad Street, between Chestnut and Walnut. Traps, Bats, and Balls may be had for select parties or promiscuous companies at any time. Refreshments of the first quality at the Bar."
Saturday Evening Post [running ad, summer 1822]. Provided by Richard Hershberger, email of June 26, 2007. The location is Philadelphia PA.
1822.5 Ball-playing Disallowed in Front of Hobart College Residence
"The rules for Geneva Hall in 1822 are still preserved. The residents were not allowed to cut or saw firewood, or play ball or quoits, in front of the building."
Warren Hunting Smith, Hobart and William Smith; the History of Two Colleges (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva NY, 1972. Provided by Priscilla Astifan, email of 2/4/2008.
1823.1 National Advocate Reports "Base Ball" Game in NYC
The National Advocate of April 25, 1823, page 2, column 4, states: "I was last Saturday much pleased in witnessing a company of active young men playing the manly and athletic game of 'base ball' at the (Jones') Retreat in Broadway [on the west side of Broadway between what now is Washington Place and Eighth Street]. I am informed they are an organized association, and that a very interesting game will be played on Saturday next at the above place, to commence at half past 3 o'clock, P.M. Any person fond of witnessing this game may avail himself of seeing it played with consummate skill and wonderful dexterity.... It is surprising, and to be regretted that the young men of our city do not engage more in this manual sport; it is innocent amusement, and healthy exercise, attended with but little expense, and has no demoralizing tendency."
See also 1821.5 for possible NYC ballplaying in this era.
1823.2 Base-ball Listed Among Games Played in Suffolk
Moor, E., Suffolk Words and Phrases [Woodbridge, England], p. 238. Per RH ref 123 and Chadwick 1867. The listed games played in Suffolk include cricket, base-ball, kit-cat, Bandy-wicket, and nine holes. Note:: But not trap-ball? Moor muses: "It is not unpleasing thus to see at a glance such a variety of recreations tending to excite innocent gaiety among our young people. He is no friend to his fellow creatures who desire to curtail them; on the contrary I hold him a benefactor to his county who introduce a new sport among us."
1823.3 Don't Play Ball Inside the House!
Good Examples for Boys [New York, Mahlon Day], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 190. A boy breaks a hand mirror with indoor ball play. With illustration.
1823c.4 Young Man Recalls "More Active Sports of 'Playing Ball' or 'Goal.'"
"Really time flies fast. Tis but a day it seems since we three were boys . . . . But a day seems to have elapsed since meeting with our neighboring boys, we . . . engaged ourselves in the more active sorts of "playing ball" or "goal."
Carter, L. A., The Discovery of a Grandmother [H. H. Carter, Newtonville MA, 1920], pp 239-240. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. From this note, the excerpts appear to be from a journal kept in 1835-1836 by Albert Ware Paine, born 1813. Note: This item needs t be reconciled with #1820S.12 above.
1823.5 Providence RI Bans "Playing Ball" in the Streets
"The Town of Providence have passed a law against playing ball in any of their public streets; the fine is $2. Why is not the law enforced in this Town? Newport Mercury, April 26, 1823, Vol. 62, Issue 3185, page 2. Submitted by John Thorn 1/24/2007.
In August 2007, Craig Waff [email of 8/17/2007] located the actual ordinance:
"Whereas, from the practice of playing ball in the streets of the town, great inconvenience is suffered by the inhabitants and others: . . . no person shall be permitted to play at any game of ball in any of the publick streets or highways within the limits of this town."
Rhode-Island American and General Advertiser Volume 15, Number 60 (April 25, 1823), page 4, and Number 62 (May 2, 1823), page 4.
1823.6 Students Play Ball Game at Progressive School in Northampton MA
[A, B] In their recollections during the 1880s, John Murray Forbes and George Cheyne Shattuck describe playing ball during the years 1823 to 1828 at the Round Hill School in Northampton MA. This progressive school for young boys reflected the goals of its co-founders, Joseph Green Cogswell and George Bancroft; in addition to building a gymnasium, the first US school to do so, Round Hill was one of the very first schools to incorporate physical education into its formal curriculum.
[C] In 1825 Carl Beck, Latin and gymnastic instructor at Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts, had translated F. L. Jahn’s Deutche Turnkunst (1816). Jahn had mentored the Turnerbund, a movement devoted to gymnastics. According to Beck’s original preface, “[T]hose who take an interest in the cause would be pleased to acquaint themselves with the exertions of Gutsmuths . . . years before Jahn came forward.” (Gutsmuths’ book on games provided David Block with the 1796 rules and diagram of a game called “Englische baseball,” in his 2005 Baseball before We Knew It.)
Round Hill School is renowned as the first school in the nation to include physical education in its curriculum. Translating Jahn, Beck wrote that in “games to be played without the precinct of the gymnasium, playing ball is very much to be commended.” Tellingly, where Beck inserted “playing ball,” Jahn himself recommended “the German ball game” (also in Gutsmuths and Block). Beck, however, changed the “German ball game” to “ball-playing” to suit his American audience. Also, given that the boys of Round Hill came from across the nation, Ball acknowledged regional variations: “The many variations in different parts, are altogether unessential and a matter of choice.” Ball-playing, Beck wrote, “unites various exercises: throwing, striking, running and catching.”
[A] Forbes was writing his recollections in 1884, as reported in Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Sarah Forbes Hughes, editor [Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1899], vol. 1, page 43.
[B] Shattuck is quoted in Edward M. Hartwell, Physical Training in American Colleges and Universities [GPO, 1886], page 22.
[C] Primary source: Carl Beck, Treatise on Gymnastics Taken Chiefly from the German of F. L. Jahn (Northampton, Mass., 1828).
Are any reports available on the rules of the game as played at Round Hill?
Beck didn't give the game a particular name?
1823.7 Ditty: "You Take the Bat, and I'll carry the Ball"
"Now bright is the morning, how fair is the day,/Come on little Charlie, come with me and play/And yonder is Billy, I'll give him a call,/Do you take the bat, and I'll carry the ball./But we'll make it a rule to be friendly and clever/Even if we are beat, we'll be pleasant as ever,/'Tis foolish and wicked to quarrel in play,/So if any one's angry, we'll send him away."
Little Ditties for Little Children (Samuel Wood and Sons, New York, 1823), page 9. An illustration shows two players and one watcher. One player is using a spoon-shaped bat. No ball or trap is visible. From the Origins file at the Giamatti Center at the HOF.
1823.8 "Impoisoned Ball" Described in London Book
"THE IMPOISONED BALL. Eight should play at this game; and the method is as follows:
"Make a hole, and mark it so as to know it again; then draw, to see who is to throw the ball; that done, he must endeavor to put it into one of the holes, and the person's hole it enters must take the ball and throw at a player, who will endeavor to catch it; the person touched must throw it at another, and he who fails in either of these attempts, or he who is touched, is obliged to put into the hole which belongs to him, a little stone, or a piece of money, or a nut, or any thing to know the hole by. This is called a counter. He who first happens to have the number of counters fixed upon, is to stand with his hand extended, and every player is to endeavor to strike the hand with the ball."
School-boys' Diversions: Describing the Many New and Popular Sports (Dean and Munday, London, 1823), pp 20-21. The MCC has annotated its copy "1820?" Pub date e-sleuthed by John Thorn, email of 2/3/2008.
1823c.9 Kentucky Abolitionist Played Base-ball
"I had ever been devoted to athletic sports - riding on horseback . . . playing base-ball, bandy, foot-ball and all that - so I had confidence in my prowess." C. Clay, The Life of Cassius Marcellus Clay; Memoirs, Writings and Speeches, Volume 1 (Brennan and Co., Cincinnati, 1886), page 35. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 31. Clay was 13 years old and at a KY College in 1823. His book, which makes no other reference to ball-playing, was accessed 11/15/2008 via a Google Books search for "life of cassius."
1824.1 Longfellow on Life at Bowdoin College: "Ball, Ball, Ball"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, then a student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, writes: "This has been a very sickly term in college. However, within the last week, the government seeing that something must be done to induce the students to exercise, recommended a game of ball now and then; which communicated such an impulse to our limbs and joints, that there is nothing now heard of, in our leisure hours, but ball, ball, ball."
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, letter to his father Stephen Longfellow, April 11, 1824, in Samuel Longfellow, ed., Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with Extracts from His Journals and Correspondence [Ticknor and Company, Boston 1886],volume 1, p. 51. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.
Reprinted in Andrew Hilen, ed., Henry Wadsworth Longefellow, the Letters of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, vol. 1 1814 - 1836 [Harvard University Press, 1966], page 87. Submitted by George Thompson, 7/31/2005.
1824.2 Children's Book Calls Cricket "Noblest Game of All," and Trap-ball is Pleasing Too
Juvenile Pastimes or Sports for the Four Seasons [London, Dean and Munday], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 191. For cricket: "Cricket's the noblest game of all,/ That can be play'd with bat and ball." For trap-ball: "This is a pleasing, healthy sport,/ To which most boys with glee resort."
1824.3 English Novel Cites Base-ball as Girls' Pastime, Limns Cricket Match
[A] "Better than playing with her doll, better even than base-ball, or sliding or romping, does she like to creep of an evening to her father's knee."
[B]Bateman states that Our Village, which was initially serialised in The Lady's Magazine between 1824 and 1832, contains the first comprehensive prose description of a cricket match." See
[A] Mitford, Mary Russell, Our Village [London, R. Gilbert], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 191. Block notes that this novel was published in New York in 1828, and Tom Altherr [email of April 2, 2009] adds that there were Philadelphia editions in 1835 and 1841.
[B] Bateman, Anthony,"'More Mighty than the Bat, the Pen . . . ;' Culture,, Hegemony, and the Literaturisaton of Cricket," Sport in History, v. 23, 1 (Summer 2003), page 34.
Note: It would be good to confirm when the baseball and cricket references were first published, given the conflicting data on serialization and book publication.
1824.4 Fondly Remembering the First Ballplaying Richie Allen
Stanzas to the Memory of Richard Allen; The Atheneum; or, Spirit of the English Magazines (1817-1833), Boston, August 16, 1824, vol. 1, Issue 10, page 379.
"What! School-fellow, art gone? . . .
Thou wert the blithest lad, that ever/ Haunted a wood or fish'd a river,/ Or from the neighbour's wall/ Filch'd the gold apricot, to eat/ In darkness, as a pillow treat, / Or 'urged the flying ball!'"/ Supreme at taw! At prisoner's base/ The gallant greyhound of the chase!/ Matchless at hoop! and quick,/ Quick as a squirrel at a tree . . .
1824.5 Ballplaying Now Condoned at Dartmouth College
During 1824 the village of Hanover NH authorized "the playing at ball or any game in which ball is used on the public common in front of Dartmouth College, set apart by the Trustees thereof among the purposes for a playground for their students." John K. Lord, A History of the Town of Hanover New Hampshire [Dartmouth Press, Hanover NH, 1928], page 23. Submitted by Scott Meacham 8/21/2006.
1824.6 Oliver Wendell Holmes Recalls Schoolboy Baseball and Phillips Academy in MA
"[At Phillips] Bodily exercise was not, however, entirely superseded by spiritual exercises, and a rudimentary form of base-ball and the heroic sport of foot-ball were followed with some spirit."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., "Cinders from the Ashes," The Works of Oliver Wendel Holmes Volume 8 (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1892), page 251. He went on to recollect visiting the school in 1867, when he "sauntered until we came to a broken field where there was quarrying and digging going on, our old base-ball ground." Ibid, page 255.
This essay originally appeared in The Atlantic Monthly Volume 23 (January 1869). page 120.
Note: see item #1829c.1 below for Holmes' Harvard ballplaying.
Are we sure we haven't got Holmes pere et fils confused? OWH Sr (1809-1894), the poet and novelist, attended Andover and Harvard in the 1820s. OWH Jr (1841-1935) attended Harvard in the 1850s, served in the Civil War and became a justice of the US Supreme Court.--WCH
1824.7 Bat and Ball, Cricket are Sunday Afternoon Pastimes
"on Sunday, after afternoon service, the young people joined in foot-ball and hurling, bat and ball, or cricket."
Does the context of this excerpt reveal anything further about the region, circumstance, or participants in this ball-playing?
1825c.1 Thurlow Weed Plays Base-Ball in Rochester NY
"A baseball club, numbering nearly fifty members, met every afternoon during the ball playing season. Though the members of the club embraced persons between eighteen and forty, it attracted the young and old. The ball ground, containing some eight or ten acres, known as Mumford's meadow . . . ." Weed goes on to list prominent local professional people, including doctors and lawyers, among the players.
Weed, Thurlow, Life of Thurlow Weed [Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1883], volume 1, p. 203. Per RH ref # 159.
1825.2 Bass-Ball Challenge Issued in Delhi [NY] Gazette
The following notice appears in the July 13, 1825 edition of the Delhi Gazette: "The undersigned, all residents of the new town of Hamden, with the exception of Asa Howland, who has recently removed into Delhi, challenge an equal number of persons of any town in the County of Delaware, to meet them at any time at the house of Edward B. Chace, in said town, to play the game of Bass-Ball, for the sum of one dollar each per game . . . ."
Delhi NY Gazette, July 12, 1825, reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825 - 1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 1 - 2. Note: George Thompson has conducted research on the backgrounds of the listed players: personal communications, 11/3/2003. He found a range of players' ages from 19 to the mid-30's. It is held in PBall file #1825.2.
1825.3 Writer Follows Strutt's Theory That Club-ball Was the Source Game
Aspin, J., Picture of the Manners, Customs, Sports and Pastimes of the Inhabitants of England [London, J. Harris] per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 191. Aspin's book reappeared in 1835 as Ancient Customs, Sports, Pastimes of the English, with the same material on ball play. Note: Are later games mentioned or listed by Aspin?
1825c.4 John Oliver Plays Base Ball in Baltimore
"John W. Oliver recalls having baseball in Baltimore, Maryland. His family moved from England when he was three. "He remembers very distinctly having played the game of Base Ball when a boy. He states that his earliest recollection of the playing of the game was when he was about ten years of age, and at that time the game was played in this manner: The batter held the ball in one hand and a flat stick in the other, tossed the ball into the air and hit on the return, and then ran to either one, two, or three bases depending on the number of boys playing the game. If the ball was caught on the fly or the batter hit with the ball while running the bases, he was out. These bases, so called, at that time, were either stones or pieces of sod was removed [sic], or bare places where grass was scraped off. He remembers seeing the game played frequently while an apprentice boy, but always in this manner, never with a pitcher or a catcher, but sometimes with sides, which were chosen somewhat in the manner in which they are now chosen by boys; that is, by one catching a bat in his hand and another placing his hand on top, alternating in this manner until the last one had hold of the end of the bat, which he swung around his head. I never saw the game played with stakes or poles used for bases instead of stones or sods. Never heard of a game of Rounders. One Old Cat, Two Old Cat, Three Old Cat have seen played, but never have taken part in it myself."
Full text of Mills Commission summary of information from John W. Oliver, Editor, Yonkers Statesman, under date of September 26, 1905. From the Giamatti Center at Cooperstown. Note: we wish we could ascertain what were Oliver's own words, given the artlessness of this summary. Oliver was about 90 when debriefed in 1905.
1825.5 Base Ball Called One of the College Sports as Early as 1825.
"What we know as Base Ball was played in its primitive form as far back as the beginning of the last [19th] century, and many of the oldest inhabitants remember seeing it played. It was one of the college sports as early as 1825."
Francis C. Richter, Richter's History and Records of Base Ball; The American Nation's Chief Sport [McFarland, 2005], page 4. Originally published in 1914. Cited as Richter, History and Records , page 12, by Harold Seymour - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Seymour notes that Richter was editor of Sporting Life in 1906.
1825c.6 Cricket Played at Southern Outings
In the South, "cricket was played even at the end of house raisings and trainings. The game was played along with quoits and other games of skill and strength. Parties were formed to go on fishing trips and picnics, and during the outing, cricket was one of the games played." Jennie Holliman, American Sports 1785 - 1835 (Porcupine Press, Philadelphia, 1975), page 68.
Holliman here cites The American Farmer, vol. 8, no 143 (1825), which John Thorn found online [email of 2/9/2008], and which does not make a strong case for cricket's ubiquity. This piece suggests that an ideal way to spend a Saturday near Baltimore is to have a fishing contest until dinnertime, and "after dinner pitch quoits, or play at cricket, or bowl at nine-pins." "Sporting Olio," American Farmer, Containing Original Essays and Selections on Rural Economics, July 22, 1825, page 143.
1825c.7 American Chapbook Reprises Couplets on Cricket, Trap-ball
Sports and Pastimes for Children [Baltimore, F. Lucas, Jr.], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 191. The verse for cricket and trap-ball is taken from the English Juvenile Pastimes [1824, above].
1825.8 Wicket Bat Reportedly Long [and Still?] Held in Deerfield MA Collection
The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association reported that, as of 1908, it retained a wicket bat dating from 1825-30. Submitted by John Thorn, 1/13/2007. Note: John is trying to ascertain whether the bat remains in the collection.
1825.9 Ballplaying Planned on Saturdays in Hartford CT
"BALL PLAYING: There will be Ball playing in Washington Street, a few rods South of the College, every Saturday afternoon, through the season, the weather permitting, Bats Balls and Refreshments provided by Emmons Rudge." American Mercury [Hartford CT] , April 12, 1825. Submitted by John Thorn, 9/29/2006.
1825.10 Cricket Reaches Tasmania
References to Tasmanian cricket date back to 1825, the year the colony gained its independence from New South Wales, but there is no detailed mention of matches before 1832."
Egan, Jack, The Story of Cricket in Australia (ABC Books, 1987), page 16
1825.11 Cricket Prohibited On or Near English Highways, We Mean It
Among many column-inches listing things that should never happen on or near a highway, we find: "or fire or let off or throw any squib, rocket serpent, or other firework whatsoever, within eighty feet of the center of such road; or shall bait or run for the purpose of baiting any bull, or play [p. 167/168] at football, tennis [an indoor game then, as far as we know LMc] , fives, cricket, or any other game or games upon such road, or on the side or sides thereof, or in any exposed situation near thereto, to the annoyance of any passenger or passengers . . . " Wm. Robinson, The Magistrate's Pocket-Book; or, and Epitome of the Duties and Practice of a Justice of the Peace (London, 1825), section 87, pp 167-168. Provided by John Thorn, 2/8/2008.
1825c.12 Rochester Senior: "How the Game of Ball Was Played"
Writing in 1866, a man ("W") in Rochester NY described the game he had played "forty years since." That game featured balls made from raveled woolen stockings and covered by a shoemaker, a softer ball - "not as hard as a brick" than the NY ball, no fixed team size, soft tosses from the pitcher who took no run-up, "tick" hitting, the bound rule, plugging, a mix of flat and round bats. He suggests organizing a throw-back game to show 1860's youth "what grey heads can do."
"W," "The Game of Base Ball in the Olden Time," Rochester Evening Express (July 10, 1866), page 3, column 4. Provided by Priscilla Astifan, 2006. To read the full text, go here. Note: the writer does not say where he played these games, mentioning that he moved to Rochester three years before.
1825.13 1906 Baseball History Sees Rounders in US, 1825-1840
"'Rounders,' from which modern baseball is generally believed to have derived its origin, was a very simple game - so simple, in fact, that girls could play it. It was played with a ball and bats and was practiced in this country as early as 1825 [p. 437] . . . Rounders was popular between 1825 and 1840, but meantime there had been many other forms of ball playing. [.p 438]"
George V. Tuohey, "The Story of Baseball," The Scrap Book (Munsey, New York, 1906), pp. 437ff. Caution: Tuohey gives no evidentiary support for this observation, and the Protoball sub-chronology [http://retrosheet.org/Protoball/Sub.Rounders.htm] for rounders shows no firm evidence that a game then called rounders was popular in the US.
1825c.14 Future Ohio Governor is "Best Ball Player at the College"
John Brough was the Governor of Ohio from 1864 to 1865. At the age of 11 his father died and he took on work as a type-setter. In 1825 he "entered the Ohio University, at Athens, where he pursued a scientific course, with the addition of Latin . . . . He was fleet of foot and the best ball player at college."
Whitelaw Reid, Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Generals and Soldiers Volume 1 (Moore Wilstach and Baldwin, Cincinnati, 1868), page 1022. Accessed 2/5/10 via Google Books search ("ohio in the war"). Athens OH is in Eastern Ohio near the WV border, and about 70 miles SE of Columbus.
1825.15 Base Ball in Baltimore
Sporting Life 1905-11-25 includes "Played Base Ball In 1825," a Nov 17
report from Yonkers NY. Yonkers Statesman editor John W. Oliver claims
clear recall of "how the game was played from 1825 to 1835 in Baltimore.
He said it was known as base ball as far back as 1825, and that the
players ran bases just as they do now."
I suppose the latter refers to a square run counterclockwise with the
first base line 45 degrees off the path home to the pitcher --ie, the
"diamond" run counterclockwise.
19cbb post by Paul Wendt, Apr. 18, 2005
1826.1 Christian Visitor to Indiana Commune Unimpressed with Sunday Ballplaying There
"Monday [June] 26th. I breakfasted at this place. In Harmony there are about 900 souls. They make no pretensions to religion . . . . I shall only add, that Sunday is a holiday, they have two public balls a week, one every Tuesday and every Saturday night, that the men played ball all yesterday afternoon, that their cornfields and vineyards are overrun with weeds, their school children are half of the time out of school."
"Extract from the Correspondence of a Young Gentleman Traveling in he Western States," American Advocate, September 9, 1826. The location was New Harmony IN, a settlement organized by the utopian thinker Robert Owen in 1824. New Harmony is near the southern tip of IN, and is on the Wabash River, about 130 miles east of St. Louis and about 120 miles east of Louisville KY. Accessed by subscription search May 20, 2009.
1826.2 Ballplaying Said Documented in Troy Michigan on Nation's 50th
"Troy, a small hamlet in Southwestern Michigan, has documentary proof that a game was played there thirteen years before 1839 . . . . [T]he lineups of the two teams contesting in the game at Troy in 1826 are contained n a history of Oakland County."
The Sporting News, November 14, 1940. Posted by Tim Wiles on the 19CBB listserve on November 18, 2009. Tim enlisted Peter Morris in an effort to find confirmatory details. The result:
Under the heading "A fourth of July in 1826 [the Nation's 50th birthday, and the day that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died] is an account of the festivities, including a fusillade, patriotic readings, a dinner of pork and beans and bread and pumpkin pies, and "[f]ollowing this was the burning of more powder [cannon volleys?], and a game of base-ball, in which [19 names listed] and other participated." Peter determined that two of the players had sons who played for the Franklin Club in later years.
1827.1 Brown U Student Reports "Play at Ball"
Brown College (Providence, RI) student Williams Latham notes in his diary: "We had a great play at ball today noon [March 22]." On April 9: "We this morning . . . have been playing ball, But I have never received so much pleasure from it here as I have in Bridgewater. They do not have more than 6 or 7 on a side, so that a great deal of time is spent in running after the ball, neither do they throw so fair ball, They are afraid the fellow in the middle will hit it with his bat-stick."
Latham, Williams, The Diary of Williams Latham, 1823 - 1827, quoted in W. C. Bronson, The History of Brown University 1764 - 1914 [Providence, Brown University, 1914], p. 245. Per Henderson ref # 101.
"The fellow in the middle?"
1827.2 Story Places Baseball in Rochester NY
A story, evidently set in 1880 in Rochester, involves three boys who convince their grandfather to attend a Rochester-Buffalo game. The grandfather contrasts the game to that which he had played in 1827.
He describes intramural play among the 50 members of a local club, with teams of 12 to 15 players per side, a three-out-side-out rule, plugging, a bound rule, and strict knuckles-below-knees pitching. He also recalls attributes that we do not see elsewhere in descriptions of early ballplaying: a requirement that each baseman keep a foot on his base until the ball is hit, a seven-run homer when the ball went into a sumac thicket and the runners re-circled the bases, coin-flips to provide "arbitrament" for disputed plays, and the team with the fewest runs in an inning being replaced by a third team for the next inning ["three-old-cat gone crazy," says one of the boys]. The grandfather's reflection does not comment on the use of stakes instead of bases, the name used for the old game, the relative size or weight of the ball, or the lack of foul ground - in fact he says that outs could be made on fouls.
Samuel Hopkins Adams, "Baseball in Mumford's Pasture Lot," Grandfather Stories (Random House, New York, 1947), pp. 143 - 156. Full text is unavailable via Google Books as of 12/4/2008.
Adams' use of a frame-within-a-frame device is interesting to baseball history buffs, but the authenticity of the recollected game is hard to judge in a work of fiction. Mumford's lot was in fact an early Rochester ballplaying venue, and Thurlow Weed (see entry #1825c.1) wrote of club play in that period. Priscilla Astifan has been looking into Adams' expertise on early Rochester baseball. See #1828c.3 for another reference to Adams' interest in baseball about a decade before the modern game evolved in New York City.
We welcome input on the essential nature of this story. Fiction? Fictionalized memoir? Historical novel?
1827.3 First Oxford-Cambridge Cricket Match Held
Per Stephen Green, interview at Lords Cricket Ground, 2006. Also noted in John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 21. Ford does not give a citation for this account.
Was inter-college competition common in other English sports at this time? Rowing, maybe?
1827.4 Poisoned Ball Listed in French Manual of Games
Celnart, Elizabeth, Manuel complet des jeux de societe (Complete manual of social games) [Paris, Roret], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 192. The material on "la balle empoisonee" is reported as "virtually identical" to that of the 1810 Les Jeux des juenes garcons, above at 1810.
Does this manual cover other safe-haven games? Other batting games? Other games with plugging?
1827.5 Science of Trap Construction Revealed
Paris, J. A., Philosophy in Sport Made Science in Earnest, Being an Attempt to Illustrate the First Principles of Natural Philosophy by the Aid of the Popular Toys and Sports of Youth (London, Longman), 3 volumes. Per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 192. Block notes that detailed illustrations of the trap are included, but mentions no other games.
1827.6 A Tip for Good Health: Cricket for the Blokes, Bass-ball for the Lasses
"With the same intention [that is children's health], the games of cricket, prison bars, foot ball, &c. will be useful, as children grow up, and are strong enough to endure such exercise.
"With regard to girls, these amusements may be advantageously supplanted by bass-ball, battledore and shuttlecock, and similar and playful pursuits."
William Newnham, The Principles of Physical, Intellectual, Moral, and Religious Education, Volume 1 (London, 1827), page 123. Uncovered and provided by Mark Aubrey, email of 1/30/2008.
1827.7 NY Boy Celebrates "Releasement" from School By Playing Ball
"In consequence of a dismission from school this afternoon, I play at ball . . . and perhaps you will say that I might have been better employed . . . If so are your thoughts, I can tell you, that you are much mistaken. If you have ever been confined to a study where every exertion of intellect was required, for any length of time, you must, upon releasement therefrom, have felt the pleasure of relaxation."
Nathaniel Moore, "Diaries 1827-1828," Manuscript Division, New York Public Library, 106-L-1, May 26, 1827. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 26. Tom notes that Moore was a student at Clinton Academy in East Hampton, Long Island at the time.
1827.8 Lithograph Shows Ballplaying in City Hall Park, NY
John Thorn (emails of 9/1/2009) has unearthed an engraving of City Hall Park that depicts a ball game in progress in the distance. My best squint shows me pitcher, batsman, a close-in catcher, two distant fielders and three spectators (two seated). Old cat? Single-wicket cricket? Scrub base ball?
The lithograph, titled "The Park, 1827," is published as the frontispiece Valentine's Manual for the Corporation of the City of New York (1855). For a wee image, try a Google Web search of <"the park, 1827/McSpedon">.
We welcome other interpretations of the depicted ballgame.
1827.9 Baltimore MD Bans Ballplaying on Sundays and within City Limits
"CITY OF BALTIMORE. 36. AN ORDINANCE to restrain evil practices therein mentioned. . . .[Sec. 3] it shall not be lawful for any person to play at bandy or ball, to fly a kite or throw a stone or any other missile in . . . any street, lane, or alley opened for public use within the limits of the city." Section 7 covers Sabbath play, again including ball, and adding "pitching quoits or money." The penalty was $1.00. The ordinance is dated March 2, 1827.
Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser, March 13, 1827, page 3. Posted to the 19CBB listserve November 2009 by George Thompson. Note:
One type of ballplaying that was banned was that described by young John Oliver at entry #1825c.4, above.
1827.10 "a nonsuch for (Girls') eyes and arms"
From the London Literary Gazette of March 24, 1827, in a negative review of a book on calisthenic exercises for ladies by one Signor Voarino:
[noting that the author is a foreigner] "Perhaps he was not aware...that we had diversions like these just mentioned, and many others of the same kind--such, for example (for our critical knowledge is limited,) as hunt the slipper, which gives dexterity of hand and ham; leap frog, which strengthens the back (only occasionally indulged in, we believe, by merry girls;) romps, which quicken all the faculties; tig, a rare game for universal corporeal agility; base-ball, a nonsuch for eyes and arms; ladies' toilet, for vivacity and apprehension; spinning the plate, for neatness and rapidity; grass-hopping (alias shu-cock,) for improving the physical powers; puss in the corner, and snap-tongs, for muscularity and fearlessness;--all these, and hundreds more, not so well known nor so much practised in London, perhaps, as in the county, we have had for ages..."
London Literary Gazette, March 24, 1827, per 19cbb post by Richard Hershberger, Oct. 26, 2010
1828.1 Boy's Own Book [London] Describes "Rounders," Stoolball, Feeder
The Boy's Own Book is published in London and contains a set of rules for "stool-ball," [p. 26], "trap, bat, and ball," [p. 27], "northern-spell," [p. 28], "rounders," [p.28], and "feeder" [p. 29]. The rounders entry states: "this is a favorite game with bat and ball, especially in the west of England." The entry for feeder, in its entirety: "This game is played with three bases only, and a player takes the place of feeder, who remains so until he puts one of the other players out, by catching his ball or striking him while running from base to base, as at Rounders; the one who is put out taking the place of feeder to the others, and thus the game goes on. There are no sides at this game." The entry for northern spell describes a game without running or fielding, in which the object is to hit the ball farthest - "this pastime possesses but little variety, and is by no means so amusing to the bystanders as Trapball."
Clarke, W., Boy's Own Book [London, Vizetelly Branston], second edition. This book is reportedly still available [Appleton Books, 1996], according to Tim Wiles at the Giamatti Research Library. Note: Altherr uses a reference to an 1829 US version: The Boy's Own Book [Munroe and Francis, Boston, 1829], pp. 18-19, per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 65. David Block, page 192-193, describes the wide popularity of this text in England and the US, running through many editions through the 1880s, and also identifies this book as Henderson's key evidence in his refutation of the Doubleday theory of baseball's origin 11 years later. [XXX Keyboard full text here.]
For Text:David Block carries more than a page of text, and the field diagram, in Appendix 7, pages 279-238, of Baseball Before We Knew It.
1828.2 Portland Newspaper Reports Boys Playing at "Bat-and-Ball."
Anderson, Will, Was Baseball Really Invented in Maine? [private printing, Portland, 1992], p. 1. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 70. Note: can we obtain the text?
1828c.3 Upstate Author Carried Now-Lost 1828 Clipping on Base Ball in Rochester
[A] "Your article on baseball's origins reminded me of an evening spent in Cooperstown with the author Samuel Hopkins Adams more than 30 years ago. Over a drink we discussed briefly the folk tale about the "invention" of baseball in this village in 1839.
"Even then we knew that the attribution to Abner Doubleday was a myth. Sam Adams capped the discussion by pulling from his wallet a clipping culled from a Rochester newspaper dated 1828 that described in some detail the baseball game that had been played that week in Rochester."
[B] Adams' biography also notes the author's doubts about the Doubleday theory: asked in 1955 about his novel Grandfather Stories, which places early baseball in Rochester in 1827 [sic], he retorted "'I am perfectly willing to concede that Cooperstown is the home of the ice cream soda, the movies and the atom bomb, and that General Doubleday wrote Shakespeare. But," and he then read a newspaper account of the [1828? 1830?] Rochester game."
[C] "Will Irwin, a baseball historian, tells us he was informed by Samuel Hopkins of a paragraph in an 1830 newspaper which notes that a dance was to be held by the Rochester Baseball Club."
[A] Letter from Frederick L. Rath, Jr, to the Editor of the New York Times, October 5, 1990.
[B] Oneonta Star, July 9. 1965, citing Samuel V. Kennedy, Samuel Hopkins Adams and the Business of Writing (Syracuse University Press, 1999), page 284.
[C] Bill Beeny, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, March 17, 1965.
Priscilla Astifan has looked hard for such an article, and it resists finding. She suspects the article appeared in a newspaper whose contents were not preserved.
1828c.4 NH Man Recalls Boyhood Habit of Playing Ball
Cyrus Bradley, born in 1818 in rural NH, refers in 1835 to his boyhood habit of playing ball.
"Journal of Cyrus P. Bradley," Ohio Archeological and Historical Society, Volume XV , page 210. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.
1828c.5 Vermont Schoolboy Recalls Playing Goal, With Elm Trees as Goals
"The big boys had great times playing goal, and other noisy and running games, and the elm trees by our yard were the goals . . . "
History of Samuel Paine, Jr., 1778-1861 and His Wife Pamela (Chase) Paine, 1780-1856, of Randolph VT and Their Ancestors and Descendants, compiled and edited by their grandson Albert Prescott Paine, 1923. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.
1828.6 Cricket Allows Species of Round-Arm Bowling
Says Ford: "Compromise reached permitting round-arm bowling to the level of the elbow." John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 21. Ford does not give a citation for this account.
1828.8 View of NYC Ballplayers "A Worse Menace Than Traffic"
"Let anyone visit Washington Parade, and he will find large groups of men and boys playing ball and filling the air with shouts and yells."
Evening Posteditorial no date given. This quote comes from Berger, Meyer, "In the Ball Park Every Man's a King," New YorkTimes, April 14, 1935. Submitted by John Thorn, fall 2005.
1828.9 Mitford Story Centers on Cricket, Touches on Juvenile Baseball
"Then comes a sun burnt gipsy of six . . . . her longing eyes fixed on a game of baseball at the corner of the green till she reaches the cottage door . . . . So the world wags until ten; then the little damsel gets admission to the charity school, her thoughts now fixed on button-holes and spelling-books those ensigns of promotion; despising dirt and baseball, and all their joys."
From "Jack Hatch," taken from the Village Sketches of Mary Russell Mitford, The Albion: A Journal of News, Politics, and Literature September 9 1828, volume 7, page 65.
Submitted by Bill Wagner 6/4/2006 and by David Ball 6/4/2006. David explains further: "The title character is first introduced as a cricketer, 'Jack Hatch the best cricketer in the parish, in the county, in the country!' The narrator hears tell of this wonder, who turns out to be a paragon of all the skills but is never able to meet him in person, finally hearing that he has died. Mitford treats cricket (with tongue admittedly somewhat in cheek) as an epic contest in which the honor of two communities is at stake. In the opening, very loosely connected section, on the other hand, baseball is described as a child's game, to be put away early in life."
1828.10 Trap Ball Scam Reported!
"Two young lads were taken before the police of Glasgow about the 1st of May, for breaking a pane in a shop keeper's window in playing trap ball. Upon being questioned, they stated that they were employed by a glazier to break glass for him at the rate of a penny a pane, and that several other boys were in the same business. The glazier was of course taken into custody."
RochesterDaily Advertiser, June 24, 1828. Submitted by Priscilla Astifan. Note: Should we assume that the event happened in Glasgow Scotland and that the account was taken from a newspaper there?
1828.11 Ballplaying Boys in NYC Perturb the Congregations in Church
A "mob of boys, constantly engaged in playing ball [so that] . . . on the Sabbath, while Congregations are in Church, there is more noise and clamour in the vicinity than on any other day [from this] squad of loungers, commencing their daily potations and smoking."
Commercial Advertiser (NY), January 28, 1828, page 2, column 4. Contributed by George Thompson, email of January 9, 2009.
1828.12 Police Nine 1, Men and Boy Sabbath-Breakers 0
It is reported that Alderman Peters of NY's Ninth Ward, "together with High Constable Hays, at the head of eight or ten of the peace Officers . . . arrest a number of men and boys for breaking the Sabbath by playing ball in a vacant lot.:
New York Evening Post, December 22, 1828, page 2, column 2: and Commercial Advertiser, December 23, 1828, page 2, columns 2-3. Contributed by George Thompson, email of January 9, 2009.
1828.13 In Christian Story, a Young Girl Chooses Batting Over Tatting
A very strict school mistress scolds the title character: "You can't say three times three without missing; you'd rather play at bass-ball, or hunt the hedges for wild flowers, than mend your stockings."
A.M.H. [only initials are given], "The Gipsey Girl," in The Amulet, Or Christian and Literary Remembrancer (W. Baynes and Son, London, 1828), pp 91-104. This short moral tale is set in England, and the girl is described as being eight or nine years old. Accessed 2/4/10 via Google Books search ("amulet or christian" 1828).
Reported by Tom Altherr, "Some Findings on Bass Ball," Originals, February 2010. This story was reprinted as "The Gipsy Girl," in The Cabinet Annual: A Christmas and New Year's Gift for 1855 (E. H. Butler, Philadelphia, 1855) page 93ff:
1828.14 Portsmouth NH Reminder: No Ballplaying, Betting in Public Places
A newspaper article reminded all not to "in any street, lane, alley, or other public place [within a mile of the court house] throw any stones, bricks, snow-balls or dirt, or play at ball or any other game in which ball is used; or play at game whatsoever for money; or smoke any pipe, or cigar."
"Notice," New-Hampshire Gazette, July 14, 1828. Accessed via subscription search May 5, 2009. Query: this is not a new ordinance; can we find the original date for this language, in Section 4 of the police by-laws? How does it relate to the Portsmouth ban on cricket in entry #1795.1 above?
1828.15 1828 Advertisement for the Cricket Club in New Orleans
The New Orleans Louisiana Advertiser, Feb. 27, 1828, carries an ad saying "Weather permitting, the Cricket Club will meet on the 2d of March, at 10 a.m."
The New Orleans Louisiana Advertiser, Feb. 27, 1828
1829c.1 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Plays Ball as a Harvard student.
[actual Holmes text needed]
Krout, John A, Annals of American Sport [Yale University Press, New Haven, 1929], p. 115. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 49. Richard Hershberger, posting to 19CBB on 10/8/2007, found an earlier source - Caylor, O. P., "Early Baseball Days," Washington Post, April 11, 1896. John Thorn reports [email of 2/15/2008] that Holmes biographies do not mention his sporting interests. Note: We still need the original source for the famous Harvard story. Holmes graduated in 1829; the date of play is unconfirmed.
See entry #1824.6 above on Holmes' reference to prep school baseball at Phillips Academy.
Note: We still need the original source for the famous Harvard story. Holmes graduated in 1829; the date of play as cited is unconfirmed.
:The Holmes story appears in JM Ward's "Base Ball: How to Become a Player," where he says OWH told it "to the reporter of a Boston paper."
Small Puzzle: Harvard's 19th Century playing field was "Holmes Field;" was it named for this Holmes? Harvard is in Cambridge MA.
1829.1 Philadelphians Play Ball
A group of Philadelphians who may eventually organize as the Olympic Ball Club begin playing town ball in Philadelphia, PA, but are prohibited from doing so within the city limits by ordinances dating to Colonial times. A site in Camden, New Jersey is used to avoid breaking the laws in Philadelphia. Caution: this unsourced item, retained from the original chronology of 70 items, has been seriously questioned by a researcher familiar with Philadelphia ballplaying. This group may correspond to the eighteen ropemakers whose ball play is cited in “A Word Fitly Spoken,” published in The American Sunday School Magazine of January 1830, pp. 3-5.
1829.2 Round Ball Played in MA
From a letter to the Mills Commission: "Mr. Lawrence considers Round Ball and Four Old Cat one and the same game; the Old Cat game merely being the they could do when there were not more than a dozen players, all told. . . . Mr. Lawrence says, as a boy, he played Round Ball in 1829.
"So far as Mr. Lawrence's argument goes for Round Ball being the father of Base Ball it is all well enough, but there are two things that cannot be accounted for; the conception of the foul ball, and the abolishment of the rules that a player could be put out by being hit by a thrown ball. No one remembers the case of a player being injured by being hit by a thrown ball, so that cannot be the reason for that change. The foul rule made the greatest skill of the Massachusetts game count for nothing - the batting skill - the back handed and slide batting. Mr. Stoddard told me that there were 9 of the 14 Upton batters who never batted ahead."
Henry Sargent Letter to the Mills Commission, June 25, 1905.
1829.3 Small Cambridge MA Schoolground Crimps Base and Cricket Play
14 year old Charles Henry Dana, later the author of Two Years Before the Mast and a leading abolitionist, found the playing grounds at his new Cambridge school too small. "[N]one of the favorite games of foot-ball, hand-ball, base or cricket could be played in the grounds with any satisfaction, for the ball would be constantly flying over the fence, beyond which he boys could not go without asking special leave. This was a damper on the more ranging & athletic exercises."
Robert Metdorf, ed., An Autobiographical Sketch (1815-1842) (Shoe String Press, Hamden CT, 1953), pages 51-52. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 38. The text of the autobiography is unavailable via Google Books as of 11/16/2008.
1829.4 In Upstate NY, A Teen's Death on the Ballfield
"As a number of the students at Fairfield academy were amusing themselves with a game of ball, on the 19th inst., a young man by the name of Philo Petrie, . . . of the town of Little Falls, was hit on the side of his head be a ball club and died almost instantly. He was about 17 years old."
New-York Spectator, October 30, 1829, page 2, column 5; taken from the Herkimer Herald. Posted by George Thompson to the 19CBB listserve on January 3, 2010. The Jamestown [NY] Journal reran the piece on November 4, 1829: accessed via subscription search on 2/17/2009. Fairfield NY is about 15 miles east of Utica in Central New York, and about 10 miles north of Herkimer and Little Falls.
1829.5 Town Ball Takes Off in Philadelphia?
A group of young rope makers is reported to have played a game of ball in 1829 at 18th and Race Streets.
William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 114. Ryczek cites a 2006 email from Richard Hershberger as the source of the location of the game. He identifies this game as perhaps the earliest known form of town ball, but Hershberger is unconvinced (see Warning, below).
Citing the makeup of these players as differing from that of early town ball players' reports, and seeing the 1829 account as more of a morality tale than a reliable report, Richard Hershberger (email of 10/31/12) discounts this item as an account of the origins of Philadelphia town ball.
In 1831 two organized groups, which later merged, played town ball: for a succinct history of the origins of Philadelphia town ball, see Richard Hershberger, "A Reconstruction of Philadelphia Town Ball," Base Ball, volume 1 number 2 (Fall 2007), pp 28-29.
Can we find the source of this 1829 account?
1829.6 Bat and Ball Can't Compete with Organ-Grinding
Rhapsodizing about old organ-ground music, a father writes: "Oh! It makes me feel young again to hear it - for I cannot forget how I used to throw down my books and slate - yes, my very bat and ball, and scamper off to hear it."
"The Grinding Organ," in Ladies Magazine (Putnam and Hunt, Boston, 1829), page 379. Posted to the 19CBB listserve February 17, 2010, by Hugh MacDougall. Accessed 2/18/2010 via Google Books search ("swiss or savoyard" "bonny doon"). Query: It would be useful to know when and where the author's youth was spent; Hugh points out that the reference to "muster day" implies that writer is likely depicting New England practices. If the "father" was in his thirties [pure conjecture] he is here reflecting on bat and ball play from the 1800-1810 period.
1829.7 While Playing Peacefully, "Wisdom Stole His Bat and Ball"
The poem "Childhood and His Visitors," evidently first printed [anonymously] in 1829 and appearing in many other places in the ensuing decades, turns on the line "Then Wisdom stole his bat and ball" which signifies the moment when childhood ends and manhood begins. Wisdom then, the verse continues, "taught him . . . why no toy may last forever." One interpretation may be that Childhood was using his bat and ball while "hard at play/Upon a bank of blushing flowers:/ Happy - he knew not whence or why" when Wisdom finally paid her visit. Thus, an image of bat and ball symbolizes immaturity.
The poem was referenced by Hugh MacDougall in a positing to the 19CBB listserve on 2/17/2010.
A possible initial source is The Casket, a Miscellany, Consisting of Unpublished Poems (John Murray, London, 1829), pages 21-23. Accessed 2/19/2010 via Google Books search ("the casket a miscellany"). In 1865 the piece, dated 1829, appears in The Poems of Winthrop Mackworth Praed, Volume I (Widdleton, New York, 1865), pages 370-372. Accessed 2/19/2010 via Google Books search ("bat and ball" 1865 widdleton). Assuming that Praed was the actual author, as his wife thought, the poem had appeared during the year when, at age 27, the young Romantic turned away from thoughts of blushing flowers and toward a career as a British lawyer and Tory politician.
1829.8 Girls Just Want To Have Fun (Until Age 10, Anyway)
"Then comes a sun-burnt gipsey of six, beginning to grow tall and thin, and to
find the cares of the world gathering about her, with pitcher in one hand, a
mop in the other, and old straw bonnet of ambiguous shape, half hiding her
tangled hair, a tattered stuff petticoat, once green, hanging below an equally
tattered frock, once purple; her longing eyes fixed on a game of bass-ball at
the corner of the green, till she reaches the cottage door, flings down the mop
and pitcher, and darts off to her companions, quite regardless of the storm of
scolding with which the mother follows her runaway steps.
So the world wags till ten; then the little damsel gets admission to the
charity school, and trips mincingly thither every morning, dressed in the old
fashioned blue gown, and tippet, and bib and apron of that primitive
institution, looking demure as a nun, and as tidy; her thoughts fixed on button
holes and spelling books - those ensigns of promotion; despising dirt and
bass-ball, and all their joys."
'The American Farmer' March 20, 1829 (No. 1, Vol. 11, page 6, column 1), per 19cbb post by Mark Aubrey, Jan. 29, 2008
1830.1 Children's Amusements Describes Bat/Ball Play for Brits and Yanks
The book Children's Amusements, published in Oxford (England) and New York, contains an illustration of ball playing (page 9) and this text (page 10): "Playing ball is much practised by school boys and is an excellent exercise to unbend the mind, and restore to the body that elasticity and spring which the close application to sedentary employment in their studies within doors, has a tendency to clog, dull or blunt. But, when practised as is the common method, with a club or bat great care is necessary, as sometimes sad accidents have happened, by its slipping from the hand, or hitting some of their fellows. We would therefore, recommend Fives as a safer play in which the club is not used and which is equally good for exercise. The writer of this, beside other sad hurts which he has been witness of in the use of clubs, knew a youth who had his skull broke badly with one, and it nearly cost him his life."
Children's Amusements, [New York, Samuel Wood, 1820], p. 9. Note: we need to sort out the #1820.1 and #1830.1 entries for this title.
1830c.2 Thoreau Associates "Fast Day" with Base-Ball Played in Russet Fields
"April 10 . Fast-Day. . . . . I associate this day, when I can remember it, with games of baseball played over beyond the hills in the russet fields toward Sleepy Hollow, where the snow was just melted and dried up.
Submitted by David Nevard. On 8/2/2005, George Thompson submitted the following reference: Torrey, Bradford, Journal of Henry David Thoreau vol. 8, page 270. He notes that Princeton University Press is publishing a new edition, but isn't up to 1856 yet.
1830.3 Union General Joseph Hooker Plays Baseball as a Boy
Hooker is recalled as having been enthusiastic about baseball in about 1830. [Note: Hooker was about 16 then.] "[H]e enjoyed and was active in all boyish sorts. At baseball, then a very different game from now , he was very expert; catching was his forte. He would take a ball from almost in front of the bat, so eager, active, and dexterous were his movements."
Franklin Bonney, "Memoir of Joseph Hooker," Springfield Republican, May 8 1895. From Henderson text at pp. 147-148.
1830.4 School Boys Play Base Ball Regularly at Portsmouth NH Grammar School
Letter from J. A. Mendum to Albert Spalding, My 17, 1905.. From Henderson, pp. 149-150, no ref given. John Thorn on 3/4/2006 notes that the letter included a clip from the New Hampshire Gazette titled "Origin of Baseball. Mr. Mendum Played the Game in Portsmouth in 1830." XXX request scan from John Thorn
1830s.5 Wicket Played in The Western Reserve [OH]
"How far the Connecticut game of wicket has travelled I cannot say, but it is certain that when the Western Reserve region of Ohio was settled from Connecticut, the game was taken along. Our member [of the Connecticut Society of Colonial War], Professor Thomas Day Seymour of Yale, tells me that wicket was a favorite game of the students at Western Reserve College then located at Hudson Ohio . . . . 'Up to 1861,' he says, 'the standard games at our college were wicket and baseball, with wicket well in the lead. This game was in no sense a revival. A proof of this is the fact that young men coming to college [from?] all over the Reserve were accustomed to the game at home. My impression is that my father recognized the game as familiar to him his boyhood [probably in New England], but of this I am not absolutely certain. The ball was about 5 and a half inches in diameter; the wickets were about 4 inches above the ground, and about 5 feet long. The bats were very heavy, -- of oak, about 50 inches long, with an almost circular lower end of (say) 8 inches in diameter. The ball was so heavy that most bowlers merely rolled it with such a twist that they could impart; but some bowlers almost threw it. Mark Hanna was a star player about 1860, and the rule had to be called on his that the ball must touch ghe ground three times before it struck the wicket. The bats were so heavy that only the strong (and quick) batter dared to wait until the ball was opposite him and then strike. I was always satisfied to steer the ball off to one side. The rules favored the batter and many runns were made.'"
Letter from Thomas Day Seymour to "My dear Kinsman" from New Haven CT, April 25, 1905. Reproduced in "The Game of Wicket and Some Old-Time Wicket Players," in George Dudley Seymour, Papers and Addresses of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Volume II of the Proceedings of the Society, (n. p., 1909.) page 289.
Yale Professor T. D Seymour was born in 1848, and thus about 12 years old in the days he saw wicket played at Western Reserve College in 1860. Hudson OH is about 25 miles SE of Cleveland. George Dudley Seymour (p. 289) decribes the local cummunity as "of pure Connecticut stock."
1830s.6 Players Drink Egg-Nog in Base Ball Intervals in Portsmouth NH
Brewster, Charles W., Rambles About Portsmouth, Second Series [Lewis Brewster, Portsmouth, 1869], p. 269. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 67.
1830c.7 Boston Gent Recalls Old Game of "Massachusetts Run-Around"
T. King wrote to the Mills Commission in 1905. "Just a word in regard to the old game of Massachusetts Run-around. We always pronounced the name as if it were run-round without the "a," but I presume, technically that should be incorporated.
"This was the old time game which I played between 44 and 50 years ago [1855-1861 - LM.], and which I heard my father speak of as playing 35 to 40 years before that, carrying it back to the vicinity of 1830." [Actually, the arithmetic implies the vicinity of 1820.]
T. King, Letter to the Mills Commission, November 24, 1905.
Notes: can we establish the age of King's father at King's birth?
Can we determine where the two Kings might have played?
1830c.8 Chapbook Illustrates Trap-ball
Juvenile Pastimes in Verse [New York, Mahlon Day], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 193. The book describes "several popular games," including trap-ball, with poetry and woodcuts.
1830c.9 Indoor Batsman Reappears in Publication
My Father [New York, Mahlon Day], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 193. The picture from Good Examples (#1823.3, above) is included without accompanying test.
1830c.10 Baseball-like Scene Reappears in Children's Book
Sports of Childhood [Northampton MA, E. Turner], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 193. Coverage of trap-ball is accompanied by the same base-ball like scene found earlier in Remarks on Children's Play (#1811.4, above).
1830s.11 In MO, the Slowly Migrating Mormons Play Ball
"Ball was a favorite sport with the men, and the Prophet frequently took a hand in the sport."
John Doyle Lee, Confessions of John D. Lee: Mormonism Unveiled , Chapter 8.
Submitted by John Thorn, 8/17/2004 supplemented 2/22/2006. Note: Are we sure that "1830s" is the right date here? The text may imply a later date.
1830s.12 Wicket Ball in Buffalo NY
"[The Indians] would lounge on the steps of the 'Old First Church,' where they could look at our young men playing wicket ball in from of the church: (no fences there then), and this was a favorite ball ground."
Samuel M. Welch, Home History: Recollections of Buffalo During the Decade from 1830 to 1840, or Fifty Years Since [P. Paul and bro., Buffalo, 1890], page 112. Submitted by John Thorn 9/13/2006.
1830s.13 "Baseball" Found in Several Works by Mary Russell Mitford
Submitted by Hugh MacDougall, Cooperstown12/6/2006:
"Everyone knows of Jane Austen's use of the term baseball in her novel Northanger Abbey [see item #1798.1]. I recently came across, online, an 1841 anthology of works by the English essayist Mary Russell Mitford (1787-1865). A search revealed five uses of the work "baseball." What is intriguing is that every reference seems to assume that "baseball" whatever it is is a familiar rough and tumble game played by girls (and apparently girls only) between the ages of 6 and 10 or so..
"Mary Mitford seems to have a pretty good idea of what the girls are playing, when they play at "baseball" but it seems to have little or nothing to do with the sport we now call by that name. Does anyone know what it was?
The "baseball" usages:
 "The Tenants of Beechgrove:" "But better than playing with her doll, better even than baseball, or sliding and romping, does she like to creep of an evening to her father's knee:
 "Jack Hatch" see item #1828.9 above for two references.
 "Our Village [introduction]": " . . . Master Andrew's four fair-haired girls who are scrambling and squabbling at baseball on the other." (See item #1824.3 above.)
 Belford Regis: "What can be prettier than this, unless it be the fellow-group of girls . . . who are laughing and screaming round the great oak; then darting to and fro, in a game compounded of hide-and-seek and baseball. Now tossing the ball high, high amidst the branches; now flinging it low along the common, bowling as it were, almost within reach of the cricketers; now pursuing, now retreating, jumping shouting, bawling almost shrieking with ecstasy; whilst one sunburnt black-eyed gipsy throws forth her laughing face from behind the trunk of an old oak, and then flings a newer and gayer ball fortunate purchase of some hoarded sixpence among her happy playmates.
1830.14 Australia's First Recorded Cricket Match Played
The Sydney Gazette [date not supplied] reported on a match between a military club and the Australia Cricket Club, comprising native-born members. They played at "the Racecourse" at Sydney's Hyde Park, attracted as many as 200 spectators, and set stakes of £20 per side.
Egan, Jack, The Story of Cricket in Australia (ABC Books, 1987), page 12.
1830s.15 In Buffalo NY, Balls Formed from Fish Noses
Writing over 50 years later, Samuel Welch recalled"
"the fish I bought as a small boy at that time [1830-1840], at one cent per pound, mainly to get its noses for cores for our balls, to make them bound, to play the present National Game."
Welch also recalls the local enthusiasm for ballplaying: "the boys, who must have their fun, did not always 'Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy,' but world make a holiday of it by a vigorous game of ball, in some secluded spot in the suburbs of the town."
Welch, Samuel L., Home History. Recollections of Buffalo during the Decade from 1830 to 1840, or Fifty Years Since (Peter Paul and Brother, Buffalo, 1891), page 353 and page 220, respectively.. Text unavailable via Google Books as of 11/16/2008.
1830s.16 Future President Lincoln Plays Town Ball, Joins Hopping Contests
James Gurley (Gourley?) knew Abraham Lincoln from 1834, when Lincoln was 25. In 1866 he gave an informal interview to William Herndon, the late President's biographer and former law partner in Springfield IL. His 1866 recollection:
"We played the old-fashioned game of town ball - jumped - ran - fought and danced. Lincoln played town ball - he hopped well - in 3 hops he would go 40.2 [feet?] on a dead level. . . . He was a good player - could catch a ball."
Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, eds., Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln (U Illinois Press, 1998), page 451.
See also Beveridge, Albert J., Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1858 (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1928), Volume I, page 298. The author provides source for this info as: "James Gourley's" statement, later established as 1866. Weik MSS. Per John Thorn, 7/9/04.
There is some ambiguity about the city intended in this recollection. Springfield IL and New Salem IL seem mostly likely locations.
A previous Protoball entry, listed as #1840s.16: "He [Abraham Lincoln in the 1840s] joined with gusto in outdoor sports foot-races, jumping and hopping contests, town ball, wrestling . . . " Source: a limited online version of the 1997 book edited by Douglas L Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, Herndon's Informants (U of Illinois Press, 1997 or 1998). Posted to 19CBB on 12/11/2007 by Richard Hershberger. Richard notes that the index to the book promises several other references to Lincoln's ballplaying but [Jan. 2008] reports that the ones he has found are unspecific.. Note: can we chase this book down and collect those references?
Earlier versions of this find were submitted by Richard Hershberger (2007) and John Thorn (2004).
1830.17 NYS Squirrel Hunters Stop for Ballplaying
From an account that appeared 53 later, involving a 25-year-old who lived about 20 miles south of Buffalo NY:
"Mr. Wickham had a great taste for hunting, and he relates the incidents of a squirrel hunt that took place in Collins in 1830. Two sides were chosen, consisting of eight hunters on a side, and the party that scored the most points by producing the tails of the game secured, were declared the victors. . . . About 4 o'clock P.M. the hunters came in and the scores counted up and it was found that Timothy Clark's side were victorious by over one hundred counts and the day's sport wound up by an old fashioned game of .base ball, in which Timothy Clark's men again came off victorious."
Erasmus Briggs, History of the Original Town of Concord, Being the Present Towns of Concord, Collins, N. Collins, and Sardinia Erie County New York (Rochester, Union and Advertiser Company's Print, 1883), page 526. Submitted by David Nevard, 2/22/07.
1830.18 At PA Ballfield, Man Asks English Question, Receives American Answer
"I have spent an hour in a beautiful grove in this borough [West Chester PA] witnessing the sports of its denizens. All attorneys, editors, physicians, were engaged in playing ball, while the Judge of the County was seated calmly by, preserving an account of the game! I asked a very respectable gentleman to whom I had been introduced, who were the principal men in the town present; and he answered, that there were no principal men in the town all were equalized, or attained no superiority save that of exertions fro the public weal . . ."Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg PA; August 10, 1830), page 7, as taken from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Posted to 19CBB in October 2008 by John Thorn.
1830s.19 NH Lad Had Happy Games of Ball
"I had many happy hours with the village boys in games of ball and I spy. " A. Andrews, ed., Christopher C. Andrews: Recollections: 1829-1922 (Arthur H. Clark, Cleveland, 1928), page 25. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 30. Tom notes that Andrews lived in the Upper Village of Hillsboro NH. Hillsboro NH is about 25 miles NW of Manchester NH. The text of the Andrews book is not accessible via Google Books as of 11/15/2008.
1830s.20 In GA, Men Played Fives, Schoolboys Played Base and Town Ball
"Men as well as boys played the competitive games of 'Long Bullets' and 'Fives,' the latter played against a battery built by nailing planks to twenty-foot poles set to make the [p31/32] 'battery' at least fifty feet wide. The school boys played 'base,' 'bull-pen,' 'town ball' and 'shinny' too." Jessie Pearl Rice, J. L. M. Curry: Southerner, Statesman, and Educator (King's Crown Press, New York, 1949), pages 6-7.
Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), pages 31-32. The full text of the Rice biography is unavailable via Google Books as of 11/15/2008. Long-bullets involved distance throwing. Fives is a team game resembling one-wall hand-ball. Curry's school was in Lincoln County GA, about 30 miles NE of Augusta.
1830s.21 Future OH Senator Has No Interest in Playing Ball
"Notwithstanding his studious habits as a boy [Clement Vallandigham] was fond of out-door sports, although never very fond of what the youngsters call playing. He much preferred going out gunning or fusing, to playing ball, or any of the other games so eagerly pursued as a general thing, by boys."
James L. Vallandigham, A Life of Clement L. Vallandigham (Turnbell Brothers, Baltimore, 1872), page 10. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 32. Clement Vallandigham was born in 1820 in Lisbon OH and grew up there. The biography, barren for our purposes was accessed 11/15/2008 via a "life of clement" Google Books search. Note: is it helpful to list activities that biographers say did not happen?
1830s.22 Ballplaying Recurs in Abolitionist"s Life -- From Age 10 to Harvard
You may think of Thomas Wentworth Higginson [b. 1823] as a noted abolitionist, or as the mentor of Emily Dickinson, but he was also a ballplayer and sporting advocate [see also #1858.17]. Higginson's autobiography includes several glimpses of MA ballplaying:
- at ten he knew many Harvard students - "their nicknames, their games, their individual haunts, we watched them at football and cricket [page 40]"
- at his Cambridge school "there was perpetual playing of ball and fascinating running games [page 20]".
- he and his friends "played baseball and football, and a modified cricket, and on Saturdays made our way to the tenpin alleys [page 36]".
- once enrolled at Harvard College [Class of 1841] himself, he used "the heavy three-cornered bats and large balls of the game we called cricket [page 60]." Note: sounds a bit like wicket?
- in his early thirties he was president of a cricket club [and a skating club and a gymnastics club] in Worcester MA. [Pages 194-195]
Source: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cheerful Yesterdays (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1898). Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), pages 33-34. Accessed 11/16/2008 via Google Books search for "'cheerful yesterdays.'"
See also #1858.17.
1830s.23 In South-Central Illinois, Teachers Joined in On Town Ball
"The bull pen, town ball, and drop the handkerchief were among the sports indulged in on the school grounds, and the teacher usually joined in with the sports."
A. T. Strange, ed., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Volume 2 (Munsell, Chicago, 1918), page 792. Contributed by Jeff Kittel, January 31, 2010. Accessed 2/5/10 via Google Books search ("town ball and drop). Jeff's comments: "The author is talking about the history of education in Montgomery County, IL, which is located south of Springfield and NE of St. Louis. It's tough to date this. He speaks of '75 or 80 years ago,' so it's probably the 1830s and 1840s."
1830s.24 Union Cricket Club Gains Strength in Philadelphia PA
"No city took to the sport [cricket] with more avidity than Philadelphia where the game had been played since the 1830s by the Union Club"
William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning, McFarland, 2009), page 105. No source is cited. Ryczek goes on to say that Englishmen who moved to work in the city's wool industry was one root cause of cricket's success there.
1830.25 Proud Father Lauds Son's Ballplaying Prowess
"My son Roger is a rare lad . . . He can run like a deer, jump like a catamount, wrastle like a bear . . . . He can pitch quates like all creations, he can play ball like a cat o' nine tails, and throw a stone where you could never see it again."
"Parental Partiality. My Son Roger," Salem [MA] Gazette, May 7, 1830. Taken from the New York Constitution. Accessed via subscription search, April 9, 2009. Roger is described as 19 years old. Query: Any chance of discovering the name and residence of the author?
1830c.26 Plymouth MA Boys Play Round Ball, Other Ballgames: Ballmaking Described
Writing about 70 years later, William Davis considers the range of pastimes in his boyhood: "After the hoop came, as now, the ball games, skip, one old cat, two old cat, hit or miss, and round ball. We made our own balls, winding yarn over a core of India rubber, until the right size was reached, and then working a loop stitch all around it with good, tightly spun twine. Attempts were occasionally made to play ball in the streets, but the by-laws of the town forbidding it were rigidly enforced."
William T. Davis, Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian (Memorial Press, Plymouth MA, 1906), page 104. Accessed 2/5/10 via Google Books search (plymouth octogenarian). Plymouth MA is about 35 miles SE of Boston on Cape Cod Bay.
Query: do we know the nature of the ball games of "skip" and "hit or miss?"
1830c.27 Lenox Academy Students Play Wicket
Recalling a genial local sheriff, the author writes: "We well remember the urbanity of his manner as he passed the students of Lenox Academy, always bowing to them and greeting them with a pleasant salutation, which tended to increase their self-respect . . . .As he drove by us when we were playing 'wicket' - the game of ball them fashionable - he did not drive his stylish horse and gig over our wickets, as many took a malicious pleasure in doing, but turned aside, with a pleasant smile . . . ."
J. E. A. Smith, The History of Pittsfield From the Year 1800 to the Year 1876 (C. W. Bryan & Co., Springfield MA, 1876), pp 401-402. Accessed 2/5/10 via Google Books search (history pittsfield 1876). Lenox Academy was in Lenox MA, about 7 miles S of Pittsfield, and about 35 miles SE of Albany NY. Caveat: It is difficult to estimate a date for this anecdote. The gentleman, Major Brown, lived in Pittsfield from 1812 to 1838. As the event seems to be the author's personal recollection, verifying if and when he attended the Lenox Academy may narrow the range of possibilities.
1830c.28 Fictional Mom Recalls Liking to Bat Ball as a Girl
Tom Altherr located a fictional story in The Child's Friend (January 1848) in which a mother recounts to her son, George, how she 'liked boys' playthings best' when she was a little girl and could 'drive hoop, spin top, bat ball, jump, and climb' as well as her brothers could."
The Child's Friend, January 1848. Full citation needed. Submitted by Deb Shattuck, May 2013.
It is, of course, difficult to specify a reasonable date for a fictional account like this one.
1830s.29 PA Schoolboys Recalled as Playing Town Ball and Long Ball
"Here we played town ball, corner ball, sow ball and long ball. Sometimes we would jump, to see how high we could leap; then it was hop, step and jump. Once in a while we played ring, provided the girls would help, and generally they would..."
Samuel Penniman Bates, Jacob Fraise, Warner Beers, History of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, Containing a History of the County, its Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, Churches, Industries, Etc; Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men; Biographies; History of Pennsylvania, Statistical and Miscellaneous Matter, etc. (Chicago: Warner, Beers and Company, 1887), page 300.
This observation is attributed to John B. Kaufman, a teacher turned surveyor in Franklin County, PA , reflecting on his childhood spent in a log school house in "50 odd years ago": Kaufman was born in 1827. Find confirmed 10/9/2014 via search of <"john b. kaufman" "long ball">
Franklin County PA is in south central PA, on the Maryland border. Its population in 1830 was about 35,000.
1830c.30 "Old Boys" Play Throwback Game to 100 Tallies in Ohio
Ball Playing -- Old Boys at it!
Base-ball was a favorite game of the early settlers at the gatherings which brought men and boys together -- such as raisings, bees, elections, trainings, Fourth of Julys, etc., etc., and we are glad to see that the manly sport is still in vogue, at least in 'benighted Ashtabula.' We learn by the Sentinel that a matched game came off at Jefferson on the 4th, fourteen selected players on each side, chosen by Judge Dann and Squire Warren. The party winning the first hundred scores was to be the victor. Judge Dann's side won the game by eleven scores. The Sentinel says:
There were thirteen innings without a tally. [This suggests that, at least by 1859, this game used one-out-side-out innings.] The highest number of scores was made by James R. Giddings, a young chap of sixty-four, who led the field, having made a tally as often as the club came to his hand. The game excited great interest, and was witnessed by a large number of spectators. The supper was prepared by 'our host' at the Jefferson House.
Note: Protoball's PrePro data base shows another reference to a group, including Giddings, playing this predecessor game in Jefferson; see http://protoball.org/In_Jefferson_OH_in_July_1859.
Cleveland [Ohio] Daily Leader, Saturday July 9, 1859, First Edition.
See clipping at http://www.newspapers.com/clip/2414996/18590709_cleveland/.
We have assigned this to a date of ca. 1830 on the basis that players in their sixties seem to have played this (same) game as young adults. Comments welcome on this assumption. Were the southern shores of Lake Erie settled by Europeans at that date?
Ashtabula (1850 population: 821 souls) is about 55 miles NE of Cleveland OH and a few miles from Lake Erie. The town of Jefferson OH is about 8 miles inland [S] of Ashtabula.
"The Sentinel" is presumably the Ashtabula Sentinel.
Further commentary on the site and date of this remembered game are welcome.
Was the Ashtabula area well-settled by 1830?