Chronology:Trap Ball

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1807.1 Book Includes Hermit's Promise to Bring Children "Bats, Balls &c"

Age of Players:

Juvenile

"A hermit who had been watching some children playing ball games approved of their play and promised 'to provide bats, balls, &c' at his next visit."

Sources:

The Prize for Youthful Obedience (Jacob Johnson, Philadelphia, 1807), part II, page 16. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It, see page 242-3 and ref # 60. Note: This book is an American edition book earlier published in London see #1800.6 above.

Year
1807
Item
1807.1
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1810.2 Children's Book Describes Trap Ball and its Benefits

Game:

Trap Ball

Age of Players:

Juvenile

A book published in Philadelphia and New York depicts trap ball, "one of the most pleasing sports that youth can exercise in.  It strengthens the the arms, exercises the legs [but is not a running game], and adds pleasure to the mind." 

Sources:

Youthful Amusements (Johnson and Warner, Philadelphia, 1810), pp. 37 and 40. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It, see page 243 and ref #62. The same text later appeared in Remarks on Children's Play (Samuel Wood and Sons, New York, 1819), p. 32. Per Altherr ref #64 in Block. This book describes thirty games and includes an engraving of trap-ball.

Comment:

Tom Altherr indicates that Remarks on Children's Play (Samuel Wood and Son, New York, 1819), "repeated the same comments of the 1810 Youthful Amusements book."  See 1810.2.

Year
1810
Item
1810.2
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1811.3 NY Paper Carries Notice for "English Trap Ball" at a Military Ground

"At Dyde's Military Grounds. Up the Broadway, to-morrow afternoon, September 14, the game of English Trap Ball will be played, full as amusing as Crickets and the exercise not so violent:"

[Three days later] "The amusements at Dyde's to-morrow, Tuesday the 17th September, will be Rifle Shooting for the prize, and English Trap Ball. The gentlemen who have promised to attend to form a club to play at Trap Ball are respectfully requested to attend."

[And four days later] "Trap Ball, Quoits, Cricket, &c." would be played at the ground. However, more space is now given to rifle and pistol shooting contests.

 

Sources:

New York Evening Post, September 13, 1811, page 3 column 3. Submitted by George Thompson 8/2/2005.

New York Evening Post, September 16, 1811, page 3 column 3. Submitted by George Thompson, 8/2/2005.

New York Evening Post, September 20, 1811, page 3 column 3. Submitted by George Thompson, 8/2/2005.  [This third cite is also found in Thomas L. Altherr, “A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball: Baseball and Baseball-Type Games in the Colonial Era, Revolutionary War, and Early American Republic.." Nine, Volume 8, number 2 (2000), p. 15-49.  Reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It – see page 247 and ref #90.]

 

Year
1811
Item
1811.3
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1818c.5 English Immigrants from Surrey See Cricket, Trap Ball in IL

Location:

Illinois

"[S]ome of the young men were gone to a county court at Palmyra, [but] there was no cricket-match, as was intended, only a game of trap-ball." [1818]

"On the second of October, there was a game of cricket played at Wanborough by the young men of the settlement; this they called keeping Catherine Hill fair, many of the players being from the neighborhood of Godalming and Guildford." [1819] 

"There have been [p.295/p.296] several cricket-matches this summer [of 1819], both at Wanborough and Birk Prarie; the Americans seem much pleased at the sight of the game, as it is new to them." [1819] 

 

Sources:

John Woods, Two Years Residence on the Settlement of the English Prairie, in the Illinois Country (Longman & Co., London, 1822), pp. 148 and 295-296.

See also: 

Thomas L. Altherr, “Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games, Base Ball, v. 2, no. 1 (Spring 2008), pages 32-33.  Note: Tom's account includes the same quotes, but attributes them to the British lawyer Adlard Welby, and sets them in 1820.

Comment:

The settlement was in modern Edwards County.

Query:

Can we reconcile the conflicts in the two attributions?

Circa
1818
Item
1818c.5
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1853.3 B is [Still] For Bat and Ball

Game:

Trap Ball

Age of Players:

Juvenile

Under an illustration of trap-ball play, we find in an 1853 children's book: "My name is B, at your beck and call,/ B stands for battledore, bat, and ball;/ From the trap with your bat, the Tennis ball knock,/ With your battledore spin up the light shuttlecock."

Sources:

The Illuminated A, B, C (New York, T. W. Strong, 1853), per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 215.

Comment:

The use of a tennis ball in a description of a batting game is unusual. 

In 1853, the modern game of lawn tennis had not been invented, and most tennis was played for centuries [as players of "Real Tennis" now do] on indoor, walled courts with hard balls that strongly resemble modern baseballs. It is not clear that the old form of tennis was played in the US in the 1850s.

Query:

Could this be an American printing of an English volume?

Year
1853
Item
1853.3
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1859.16 Boy's Own Toy-Maker Covers Tip-cat and Trap-ball

Location:

England

Age of Players:

Juvenile

The Boy's Own Toy-Maker [London, Griffith and Farran]. This book has information on making toys and sporting equipment. It spends two pages on tip-cat and three on "trap, bat, and ball." An American edition [Boston, Shepard, Clark and Brown] also appeared in 1859.

Sources:

David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 220. 

Year
1859
Item
1859.16
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