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Wicket Played on Boston Common at Daybreak

Salience Prominent
Tags Famous
Location MA
City/State/Country: Boston, MA, United States
Game Wicket
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult
Notables Judge Samuel Sewell

"March, 15. Sam. Hirst [Sewall's grandson, reportedly, and a Harvard '23 man -- (LMc)] got up betime in the morning, and took Ben Swett with him and went into the [Boston MA] Common to play at Wicket. Went before any body was up, left the door open; Sam came not to prayer; at which I was most displeased.

"March 17th. Did the like again, but took not Ben with him. I told him he could not lodge here practicing thus. So he lodg'd elsewhere. He grievously offended me in persuading his Sister Hannam not to have Mr. Turall, without enquiring of me about it. And play'd fast and loose in a vexing matter about himself in a matter relating to himself, procuring me great Vexation."




Diary of Samuel Sewall, in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (Published by the Society, Boston, 1882) Volume VII - Fifth Series, page 372.  As cited by Thomas L. Altherr, “There is Nothing Now Heard of, in Our Leisure Hours, But Ball, Ball, Ball,” The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture 1999 (McFarland, 2000), p. 190.


While this is the first known reference to ballplaying on Boston Common, there are several later ones.  See Brian Turner, "Ballplaying and Boston Common; A Town Playground for Boys . . . and Men,"  Base Ball Journal (Special Issue on Origins), Volume 5, number 1 (Spring 2011), pages 21-24.


A letter in "The Nation," July 7, 1910, dates this play in 1726.  Cites George Dudley Seymour's address to the CT Society of Colonial Wars. [ba]

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Further comment on this entry is welcome, especially from wicket devotees; after all, this may be the initial U.S. wicket citation in existence (assuming that #1700c.2  cannot be documented, and that #1704.1 above is not ever confirmed as wicket).

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