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New Englander Writes of Ballyards in Virginia
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"I saw a young man betted upon, for five hundred dollars, at a foot race. Indeed every thing is decided by a wager . . . . What would a northern man think, to see a father, and a sensible and respected one, too, go out with a company, and play marbles? At some cross-roads, or smooth shaven greens, you may a wooden wall, high and broad as the side of a church, erected for men to play ball against."
"Arthur Singleton" (Henry Cogswell Knight), "Letters from the South and West," Salem [MA] Gazette, July 30, 1824. This paper extracted portions of a new book, which had been written between 1814 and 1819, by Knight, who was reared in Massachusetts and graduated from Brown in 1812. Online text unavailable 2/3/10. Query: The ballplaying facility as described seems uncongenial for cricket or a baserunning game, unless it was a form of barn-ball. Isn't a form of hand-ball a more likely possibility? Was handball, or fives, common in VA at this stage?
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