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Barre Club Challenge to Six Nearby MA Towns -- $100 Grand Prize Planned

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Pre-modern Rules
Location New England
City/State/Country: Barre, MA, United States
Game Round Ball, Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

"August 11, 1855 -- Barre.  The Gazette says the Barre boys will challenge their neighbors in he towns surrounding, to play a [at?] round ball.

"The Barre boys  either have or are about to extend a challenge to one of the other of the adjoining towns for a grand game of round, of [or?] base ball, the victors to throw the glove to one of the other towns, and so on, till it is settled, which one of the seven shall be victor over the other six.  A grand prize of one hundred dollars, more or less, to be raised, by general contributions and awarded to the party which shall be finally successful.  The six surrounding and adjoining towns are Hardwick, Dana, Petersham, Hubbardstown, Oakham, and New Braintree.  The seventh is Barre, which is in the centre, and equidistant from them all."


Milford Journal.


Barre MA (1855 pop. about 3000) is about 60 miles W of Boston.  Hardwick, Hubbardstown, Oakham, New Braintree and Petersham are 8-10 miles from Barre. Poor Dana MA was disincorporated in 1938.

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Do we know if this plan was carried out?  How was the victor decided among participating towns?

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Submitted by Joanne Hulbert
Submission Note Submitted April 19, 2011
Has Supplemental Text Yes


<comments voting="Plus" />

Supplemental Text

The challenge was repeated in 1859:

Mr. Editor: On  Sept. 14th, the Harwick base Ball club, received a challenge from the Naquag club of Barre, to meet them on their ground, to play a match game of ball, on Wednesday, Sept. 21st, at 9 o’clock A.M., for a purse of fifty dollars. In accordance with the challenge, the Hardwick boys were on the ground at the appointed time, but the Judges appointed to decide in the game, on account of the unfavorable state of the weather, were not present, so that both Clubs were obliged to appoint a new set of Judges, which necessarily delayed the time to nearly 11 o’clock, before the game commenced, which was then continued harmoniously up to the time agreed upon to dine at 1 o’clock P.




            Hardwick scored in the mean time, 26 tallies to Barre 10. Immediately after dinner, both clubs were promplty upon the ground again, but in consequence of a severe rain, they adjourned to the sitting room at the Massasoit House, as the Hardwick Club expected, to fix upon some future day to finish the game which had been commenced. Judge then of our surprise, when there, for the first time, the President of the  Naquag Club informed us that the prize could not be awarded to the victors unless the game was played out on that day. He assigned as a reason, that those who subscribed to raise the sum, stipulated expressly that the game should be played on that day, and consequently the prize was forfeited. Now Mr. Editor, in all candor, we would ask you, and your reading community, if it is possible to conceive or to imagine a poorer subterfuge to back out of the game, than that which was adopted by them, when it is well known that there is not more than one chance in three, to play a game of one hundred tallies, on the day that it is commenced. Again, we would ask what difference would it make with those who subscribed, whether we played the game all on the day assigned, or a part on some future day. This is a question, which can be solved but in one way, and that is this, judging by the manner in which they proceeded, it would admit of one answer, namely, they virtually acknowledged their inability to contest the game farther with any hope of success to win the purse. Further comment is unnecessay – Let the Public judge.

                                                                                  ONE OF THE CLUB

Barre Gazette, pg. 2, September 30, 1859.