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In Upstate NY, A Teen's Death on the Ballfield

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"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.


The game played was wicket. See the Ilion Citizen, March 13, 1903:

One Saturday afternoon, in the fall of 1829 while a party of academics were playing a game of wicket ball on the "green," Philo Petrie, a student, was hit by a bat and almost instantly fell dead. Ozias Nellis was at the wicket, defending it, and in his playing raised his bat to strike the fall; as it came he struck but missed the ball, and momentum of the blow swung Nellis and the bat around, raising the bat as it went, and hit Petrie, who was standing near, on the side of his head. Petrie suddenly clapped both hands to his head, and in a moment fell headlong to the ground. No blame was laid on Nellis; the blow was accidental, but fatal.

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