Sunday, April 24, 2011


Mrs. Susan Fox...was seven years old in that far-away spring of 1833 when she started to the log cabin schoolhouse, just at the edge of a forest...Her eyes have witnessed marvelous changes...Log schoolhouses with their blue black spellers, and their simple games of "Black Man" and "Base" have given way to stately stone-trimmed edifices where they babble German, wrestle with Greek, and take exercise in a gymnasium.
-A History of Northeast Missouri, Volume 1

I'm rather uncertain about this reference. "Base," more than likely, refers to Prisoner's Base but, according to the Protoball glossary, it could also have been a ball game. It's tough to say but the interesting thing here is that this was taking place in northeast Missouri which was just across the river from central Illinois, where an active base ball culture had been established in the 1820s. It's entirely possible that the game could have spread, through economic interaction or immigration, from central Illinois to northeast Missouri. However, it's just as likely that the games played in northeast Missouri were brought to that area by the people who settled there, without any outside cultural influences.

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