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"Old Boys" Play Throwback Game to 100 Tallies in Ohio

Salience Prominent
Tags Pre-modern Rules
City/State/Country: Jefferson, OH, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Retrospective
Age of Players Youth, Adult

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

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Further commentary on the site and date of this remembered game are welcome.

Was the Ashtabula area well-settled by 1830?

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Submitted by Sean Lahman
Submission Note Submitted via 5/14/2015 email


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