Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Giants On The Ball Field, Part Two

The legal fraternity was numerously represented in amateur days, and among others of that profession who took part in the sport was Judge E.T. Farish, whose present proportions hardly vouch for the assertion that he was then a very active and sprightly man.  Judge W.V.N. Bay of the state Supreme bench was an honorary member of the Empire Club, and witnessed every game that he possibly could.  He was a New Yorker by birth, and prior to coming West was a ball player on the banks of the Hudson River.  John S. Fullerton, a prominent member of the bar, Brigadier General in the Union Army and later Postmaster of this city, belonged to the Cyclone Club.  General Basil Duke of the Confederate Army, who was practicing his profession in St. Louis at the opening of the war was also a member of the Cyclone Club as was Dr. Gratz Moses, Rufus Gamble, Alfred Bernoudy, Recorder of Deeds, and Edward Bernoudy, whose widow is and has been for many years connected with the office of the Superintendent of Public Schools.  John T. Davis, the late millionaire dry goods merchant, played with the same club, and in after years, when he became head of the house founded by his father, Samuel C. Davis, organized and equipped a club of his own employees, gave it the name of his firm and was a playing member himself.  Another Cyclonist was Joseph Gamble, now occupying a pulpit in an Eastern State.  And still another was Edward Bredell, a scion of one of the leading St. Louis families, who joined Mosby's men in Virginia.  The Mathews brothers, Leonard and W.H., leading druggists, were of the same club, as also was the third brother, E.O. Mathews, the last player of the family who became a Commodore in the United States navy.  Other members were Alex Grossman, son of a United States army captain, Willie C. Walker, a leading wholesale boot and shoe merchant, and John Waddell, nephew of General D.M. Frost, who after the collapse of the Confederacy returned to Missouri and became State Insurance Commissioner.  The noblest Cyclonist of them all is still living in St. the person of Missouri's National Democratic Committeeman, Colonel J. Griff Prather.
 -St. Louis Daily Republic, February 9, 1896 

At this point I should probably state that I find it increasingly difficult to remember what information I've posted on the blog and what I've saved for various other projects.  A great deal of the work I've done on the antebellum clubs and their members I've not posted for proprietary reasons.  Most of the information in the Republic article is not new to me but I think much of it hasn't been posted here yet and should be new to regular readers of this blog (all four of you).  The exciting thing about this article is that, beside being a extraordinary source of information, I'm getting a chance to share some information with you that I've held back for various reasons.

As an example of this complicated relationship between my research, this blog, and my other projects, I don't think I've ever posted anything about Jonathan Davis.  However, over the last year I've learned a great deal about him and have a nice little biographical sketch of him written up.  I knew that Davis was the son of Samuel C. Davis and took over his father's business.  What was new to me was the information about Davis starting the Samuel C. Davis Base Ball Club.  That's great stuff and I'll have to incorporate it into my other work.  It actually impacts to areas of my research: the history of the Cyclone Club and the history of postbellum amateur mercantile clubs.  
I also like the description of Griff Prather as "the noblest Cyclonist of them all."  That's definitely getting edited into his biographical sketch.

I should mention that the "John S. Fullerton" mentioned in the article as a member of the Cyclone Club is actually Joseph Scott Fullerton.  Also, "Alex Grossman" is Alex Crosman, the only baseball player that I know of who was eaten by sharks.            

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