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Holiday Encroached by Round Ball, Long Ball, Old Cat

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Holidays, Pre-modern Rules
City/State/Country: Nashua, NH, United States
Game Round Ball, Long Ball, Old-Cat Games
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Youth, Adult
Holiday Fast Day

"FAST.  This time-hallowed, if not time-honored occasion, was observed in the usual way.  The ministers preached to pews exhibiting a beggarly emptiness, upon the sins of the nation -- a frightful subject enough, heaven knows.  The b-hoys smoked cigars, kicked football, payed [sic] round ball, long ball, an [sic] old cat, and went generally into the outward observances peculiar to the occasion."


[A] Nashua Telegraph, as reported in New Hampshire Statesman, and State Journal (Concord, New Hampshire), April 30, 1847, column B.

[B] Nashua Telegraph, as reported (without the typos) in the Boston Courier, April 14, 1847



[] Stephen Katz observes: "The "fast" referred to was probably Thanksgiving, celebrated on April 13, 1847."

[] "Long Ball" also cited, is generally known as a baserunning bat-and-ball game in Europe.  However, Stephen Katz (email of 2/5/2021) notes that, according to an article in the Connecticut Courant, April 23, 1853, it was locally the name of something like a fungo game:  "Reader, did you ever see a bevy of boys playing what they call long ball? One stands and knocks and the others try to catch the ball, and the fortunate one gets to take the place of the knocker."    

[] "B-hoys?"  Stephen Katz checked Wikipedia for us, and learned that "B'Hoy" was a slang word used to describe the young men "of the rough-and-tumble working class working class culture of Lower Manhattan in the later 1840's." He also pointed to various newspaper sources showing that its meaning evolved to refer generally to ruffians, or unwholesome or unsavory lads or young men.


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Were Fast Day and Thanksgiving distinct holidays in 1847?

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Submitted by [A] Joanne Hulbert, 2018; [B] Stephen Katz, 2/4/2021
Submission Note Emails to Protoball
Has Supplemental Text Yes


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