1830s.5

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Wicket Played in The Western Reserve [OH]

Salience Noteworthy
Game Wicket
Age of Players Youth
Text

"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.'"

 

Sources

 

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.

Comment

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."

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Submitted by Provided by John Thorn, email of 1/29/2008



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