Brownlow's Black Boys Base Ball Club

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Nick Name Brownlow's Black Boys Base Ball Club
Earliest Known Date Sunday, September 16, 1866
Location Nashville, TN, United States
Nine Class Senior

On Sunday September 16, 1866, 16 African American men (and one white one) were caught playing baseball at Nashville's Sulphur Spring Bottom, and were fined $5-9 for not respecting the sabbath. On the following Tuesday, the Nashville Daily Union and American published two separate accounts of the incident, both times referring to the men as belonging to "Brownlow's Black Boys Base Ball Club." That name clearly refers to William Brownlow, governor of Tennessee at the time, and a former minister and newspaper editor from East Tennessee. A unionist before and during the war, as governor Brownlow was a Radical Republican who favored extending civil rights for African-Americans and limiting them for ex-Confederates. As a result of his radical policies, Brownlow was not well liked by Nashville's white elite, and it's possible the name was the product of a newspaperman's dry wit.

A second newspaper article, this time published in the Republican Banner, also describes the incident, but without naming the team. However, it does list by name all 17 men involved, along with the fines listed for each person. 

Tragically, the Nashville Recorder's Court records for 1866 are no longer extant, so we may never know the extent to which the "Brownlow's Black Boys Base Ball Club" was an actual club


"Recorder's Court." Daily Union and American [Nashville, TN], 18 Sept., 1866: 3. Web, Chronicling America. 11 Apr. 2014.

"The Five B's C Stars." Daily Union and American [Nashville, TN], 18 Sept., 1866: 3. Web, Chronicling America. 11 Apr. 2014.

"A Freedman's Club." Republican Banner [Nashville, TN], 18 Sept., 1866.

Brunson, "Black Baseball" p. 246

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Found by Christopher Ryland
Entered by Christopher Ryland
Local-Origin Study Groups Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball

Win/Loss Records As Far As We Now Know

Warning: Users should not rely on a team's won-loss record as a reflection of its "standing" among all base ball clubs. Team schedules were not balanced, and a good record against mostly weak opponents does not signify a leading club.

Year Games Wins Losses Ties
1866 1 Played 0 Won 0 Lost 0 Tied


Page Date City Borough State Team 1 Team 2 Score First in Contributor
Ballgame 1866-09-16 Nashville TN Brownlow's Black Boys Base Ball Club Christopher Ryland

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Player Years Roles Edit Association with Club
Andrew Boyd 1866
Andrew Jackson 1866
Andrew Wright 1866
Charles Arms 1866
David Young 1866
Gus Spence 1866
Howell Tate 1866
Jack Phillips 1866
Jesse Gordon 1866
John Cook 1866
John Patton 1866
Riley Williams 1866
Rufus Porterfield 1866
Sim Noel 1866
Thos. Payne 1866
Vaughn Loften 1866

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Playing Fields

Field Years Edit Association with Club
Sulphur Spring Bottom Athletic Park

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