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1832.9 Norwich CT Sets $2 Fine for Playing Ball
"Be it ordained by the Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council of the city of Norwich . . . That if any person or persons should play at ball, cat ball, or sky ball, or at ball generally . . . in any of the public streets of said city, the person or persons so offending shall forfeit and pay . . . the sum of two dollars; and when any minor or apprentice shall be guilty of a violation of this by-law, the penalty may be recovered from the parent or guardian." The fine also applied to bowling, kite-flying, and hoops. Norwich Courier, Volume 11, Issue 8 (May 16, 1832), page 1. Provided by John Thorn, email of 1/14/2008. Note: "Sky ball?"
1836.7 Scots Still Play "Ball Paces," a Type of Trap Ball with Running
"'The Ball Paces' was formerly much played, but is now almost extinct. In this game a square was formed; and each angle was a station where one of the party having the innings was posted. A hole was dug in the ground, sufficient to hold the ball, which was placed on a bit of wood, rising about six inches above the ball. The person at the hole struck the point of this with his bat, when the ball rose; and in its descent [p116/p117] was struck with the bat to as great a distance as possible. Before the ball was caught and thrown into the batman's station, each man at the four angles ran from one point to another, and every point counted one in the game." George Penny, Traditions of Perth (Dewar & Co., Perth, 1836), pp 116/17... Provided by David Block, email of 5/17/2005.
David's accompanying comment: "From the description it appears to be a remarkable hybrid of trap-ball and the multiple goal version of stool-ball described by Strutt. . . . This is the first trap-ball type game I've ever come across that features baserunning." Penny also mentions cricket: "Cricket was never much practiced in Scotland, though much esteemed by the English. It was lately introduced here; several cricket clubs established; and is now becoming popular." Ibid, page 117.
1840c.33 Future University Head Plays Two Types of Ball in NC
Kemp Battle (1831-1919), who moved to Raleigh NC at age 8, and who would stay to become President of the University of North Carolina, wrote later of two forms of local ballplaying. The first involved high and low pitching to the batter's taste, leading and stealing, plugging - the ball was loosely wrapped—the bound rule, a three-strike rule, and one-out-side-out innings. [The absence of foul ground, team size, and nature/spacing of bases are not mentioned.] The second form, "known as old hundred or town ball" used all-out-side-out innings, with the last batter able to revive vanquished team members with certain feats.
W. Battle, ed., Memories of an Old-Time Tar Heel (U of NC Press, Chapel Hill NC, 1945), pages 36 and 57. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 31. The text of the Battle book is unavailable via Google Books as of 11/15/2008.
1840s.36 VA Lad Plays Chermany at Recess
"Our recess games were chiefly chermany and bandy ("hockey").
Moncure Daniel Conway, Autobiography: Memories and Experiences (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1905), page 35. Accessed via Google Books 12/16/2008, search "conway autobiography." The recesses were enjoyed at a school in Fredericksburg VA, which Conway attended from about 1842 to 1847, ages 10 to 15. Chermany has been described as a "variety of baseball" played in Virginia and perhaps elsewhere in the South: Frederic Gomes Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall, Dictionary of American Regional English (Harvard University Press, 1985), page 604. Fredericksburg is about 55 miles north of Richmond and about 55 miles SW of Washington DC. Thanks to Tom Altherr for the lead to "chermany" [email of 12/10/2008].
1847.11 Curling is "Bass Ball," or "Goal," or "Hook-em-Snivy," on the Ice?
In response to an article from the Alabama Reporter belittling the sport of curling, the Spirit of the Times writer attempts to describe curling to Southerners like this: "What is 'Curling,' eh? Why, did you ever play 'bass ball,' or 'goal,' or 'hook-em-snivy,' on the ice? Well, curling is not like either. In curling, sides are chosen; each player has a bat, one end of which is turned up, somewhat like a plough-handle, with which to knock a ball on ice without picking it up as in the game of foot-ball, which curling resembles." Provided by David Block, email of 2/27/2008. "
The Alabama Reporter, as reprinted in Spirit of the Times, January 16, 1847, page 559.
David Block explains, 2/27/2008: "Clearly, the writer had curling confused with ice hockey, which was itself an embryonic sport that the time." Or maybe he confused it with ice-hurling, which actually employs a ball.
From Richard Hershberger, 12/8/09: "What makes this so interesting is that the response speaks of "bass ball" played on ice. This is a decade before such games were commonly reported, suggesting that the [later] practice by organized clubs was borrowed from older, informal play on ice."
Could gentle readers please enlighten Protoball on the nature and fate of "hook-em-snivy," in AL or the South or elsewhere? I asked Mister Google about the word, and he rather less helpfully and rather more cryptically than usual, said this: "My Quaker grandmother, born in Maryland in 1823, used [the word] in my hearing when she was about seventy years old. She said that it was a barbarism in use among common people and that we must forget it.