Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Splendid Ball Player

John Tice, a German, and an uncle of the celebrated Prof. Tice, of St. Louis, settled in Warren county about 1809, and was the first settler on Pinckney Bottom...The names of Mr. Tice's children were-John, Joseph, Mary, and Sally. The latter was a splendid ball player, and played with the boys at school, who always chose her first, because she could beat any of them.
-A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri

To the best of my knowledge, Sally Tice was born around 1812 and was married in 1834. That would but her time at school and her ball playing sometime in the late 1810s and 1820s. Other than the Gratiot reference, this is the earliest source that I've found mentioning ball playing in Missouri.

While I can't say exactly what kind of ball young Miss Tice was playing, the reference is still significant. First, Warren County is about sixty miles west of St. Louis and, along with the Gratiot reference, speaks to a culture of ball playing in the St. Louis area that dates back to the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. Second, the reference supports the idea that ball playing arrives in a given area with European settlers. When the pioneers came to an area, they brought their culture with them and ball playing was a part of that culture. Now this may be specific to what would become the American Midwest but I have plenty of evidence showing that as soon as pioneer families arrived in Illinois and Missouri, ball playing was taking place. It would be interesting to see if this pattern holds in places like Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Finally, we have a young women playing ball. Most of the early sources mention ball games as being played by boys so this is certainly interesting.

1 comment:

waseembutt said...
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