Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Did Grover Cleveland Alexander's father wear a kilt?

Over the weekend Peter Nash, of the Hauls of Shame website, tweeted the following picture:

1916 Grover Cleveland Alexander Handwritten Signed Letter

It came from a recent Heritage Auction sale.

My transcription is:
     Sat Sept 16 16
My Dear Friend
     In reply to  your letter in regard to my nationality I will say I am of Scotch Irish parents.  My Father is a full blooded Scotchman and my Mother is Irish.
     Respectfully
           G C Alexander

"My Father is a full blooded Scotchman and my Mother is Irish."  I like bold statements.  They stand strong and we have to accept them as truth.  We do, don't we?  Well, no, not really.

I figured that Grover's declaration could be verified or disproved.  To ancestry.com I went.

This 1900 US Census page shows that Grover's father, William Alexander was born in Iowa.  Grover's mother, Martha, was born in Wisconsin.  His paternal grandparents were born in Scotland and Ohio.  His maternal grandparents were both born in Ireland.

Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Fairdale, Howard, Nebraska; Roll: 930; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0125; FHL microfilm: 1240930

Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.


Moving chronologically through the records, I should find the 1910 US Census.  But I don't.  Or at least I haven't yet.  I found where he isn't.  His parents, William and Maggie J. Alexander, were enumerated in St. Paul, Howard County, Nebraska that year.  He wasn't in with the family.  I don't know where he was when the census takers came calling.

So on to the next item.  It is his World War I draft registration card.  This doesn't talk about his parents' heritage, but it is interesting.

Source Citation: Registration State: Nebraska; Registration County: Howard; Roll: 1711698
Description: Draft Card : A
Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: United States, Selective Service System.World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration 

I found Grover in Chicago in 1920.  On the next page is his wife, Amy.  According to this Grover's father was born in Iowa.  What's a few different states between friends?

Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 25, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll:T625_342; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 1477; Image: 1024
Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census[database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.
Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 (Chicago City).


Like the 1910 census I couldn't track down the 1930 census listing Grover.

In 1940 Grover and Mrs. Alexander are in New York.  This census didn't ask where the parents were born.

Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York;
Roll: T627_2644;Page: 85A; Enumeration District: 31-844
Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.
Since Grover did serve in the military we have his application for headstone or marker.

Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963[database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941. Microfilm publication M1916, 134 rolls. ARC ID: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92. National Archives at Washington, D.C.Applications for Headstones, compiled 01/01/1925 - 06/30/1970, documenting the period ca. 1776 - 1970 ARC: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
image by Arthur Koykka
from FindAGrave.com
Grover ended up in Elmwood Cemetery in St. Paul, Nebraska.

So, based on the records from Ancestry.com I'd have to say that I don't know if Grover's dad wore a kilt, but it does seem that his father wasn't born in Scotland and his mother wasn't born in Ireland.  It is too late for me to try to do the ancestral math as to what percentage of what nationality he actually was.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Remembering Fallen Friends

1867 was a tough year for two Tennessee teams. The Nashville Base Ball Club and the Stonewall Jackson Base Ball Club of Memphis both lost players to death within a few months of each other.  Not on the field of play, but both were missed by their clubs.

Due to the blurred images I've transcribed the articles.

Nashville Union and Dispatch - May 10, 1867
Tribute of Respect.
     At a call meeting of the Nashville Base Ball Club, held to-day (May 9, 1867,) the following preamble and resolutions were adopted and approved:
     It having pleased the Divine Ruler to remove suddenly from action and healthful life to the realms of death our companion and friend, JAS. MCGUIRE, late a worthy and esteemed member of the Nashville Base Ball Club.  Therefore, we the members of the club do
    Resolve, That in this dispensation we have sustained the loss of a cherished companion and friend, whose good conduct and spotless character were an ornament to the social circle, and gave promise of a live of usefulness as a citizen.
     Resolved, That during the present base ball season, at all matches in which this club may be a part, the members wear the usual badge of mourning.
     Resolved, That to the immediate relatives of deceased we tender our sincere condolence and sympathy, and that his family be furnished with a certified copy of these resolutions by the Secretary.
     M. J. MCKEE, Sec'y.
     JAS. BONER, Ch'n.
     WM. MOORE,
     JAS. DOHERTY,
       Committee.


Then a few months later in Memphis...

Public Ledger (Memphis, Tenn.) - July 19, 1867

TRIBUTE OF RESPECT. - At the last meeting of Stonewall Jackson Base Ball Club the following resolutions were passed relative to the death of John Cass, a member of the club:
     WHEREAS, It has pleased Almighty God, in His Allwise providence, to take hence our esteemed and beloved brother, John Cass.  We, as a token of regard to his memory and condolence with his loved parents, have unanimously
     Resolved, That in the decease of John Cass the fraternity has lost one of its strongest advocates, his acquaintances a friend who will always be missed, whether at the festal board, on the play ground, or in the meeting room, and his relatives a dutiful son, a loving brother and a kind hearted protector.
     Resolved, That in his removal from earth there is left in our midst a void that cannot be filled, while the memory of his kindness and charities remain in our midst, or while a member of the fraternity exists.
     Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to his parents and also be published in the Memphis LEDGER.
     Resolved, That the said members of the Stonewall Jackson Base Ball Club of Memphis wear crape for twenty days in respect of their late brother John Cass, and not to participate in any games of ball.
     Signed by the members of the Stonewall Jackson Base Ball Club.

The interesting thing is that both clubs added an item to their clothing.  The Nashville BBC wore "the usual badge of mourning" in their club's games.  The Stonewall Jackson BBC wore "crape for twenty days".

I assume that the "usual badge of mourning" was some sort of crape of black cloth probably worn on the sleeve. 

In 1973 Pittsburgh Pirates wore a memorial patch in honor of Roberto Clemente, who died at the end of 1972.  It is not uncommon now to see teams honoring deceased owners, players, or broadcasters with a patch or a decal in many sports. 

Could the Nashville BBC have been one of the first teams to honor a fallen teammate?

Paul Lukas, of the fantastic site Uni Watch, posted an article titled Remembering fallen friends through uniforms at ESPN.com in January of 2008.  In it he mentions Tom Shieber, Baseball Hall of Fame historian, who said that:
the first memorial to appear on a big league uniform was in 1876, when the St. Louis nine wore a "badge of mourning" (likely black crepe) in memory of former teammate Tom Miller, who'd died of a kidney ailment.
A quick search through Chronicling America and GenealogyBank.com provided nothing.  The Baseball Hall of Fame has a lot of info on Patches and Armbands (as part of their Dressed to the Nines on-line exhibit) which mentions the St. Louis team honoring their former teammate.

It wasn't until I peeked inside of A Game of Inches by Peter Morris that I got a good reference on the 1876 story.  In chapter 10 he discusses armbands.  The story was to be found in the June 10, 1876 edition of the New York Clipper.

New York Clipper - June 10, 1876

I won't transcribe the whole article, but just the last paragraph.
     Resolved, That we, his late associates, wear a badge of mourning for thirty days as a token of respect for his memory; that the secretary forward a copy of these resolutions to the family of the deceased.
They might not have been the first team to do so, but it is possible that the Nashville club was a trailblazer in remembering a friend and teammate.

UPDATE: Christopher Ryland, at his blog, Three Hands Dead, lists a similar tribute to Thomas Kinna by the 1868 Memphis Bluff City Club.


Nashville and Memphis articles from Chronicling America
New York Clipper article from the University of Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Aquatic baseball

The city of Dubuque, Iowa has a long history with the game of baseball.

But I found this article to add to it.

Public Ledger (Memphis, TN) - May 9, 1866

I'd put this one in the same category as Baseball on Ice.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Baseball Players To Invade Ireland

What a better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than to look back at some early clippings about baseball and Ireland?

Boston Journal - January 11, 1911

A few years ago I used the following wire story.  This one has a bit more info.

Baltimore American - November 5, 1917

And an attempt at humor.

The Times-Picayune - August 4, 1922

images from GenealogyBank.com

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Jolly Jumpers

The Stripper's Guide's entry for Jolly Jumpers gives a nice overview of Harrison Cady's Sunday comic strip.  Cady was probably best known for his work on Peter Rabbit.

But in 1913 The Jolly Jumpers were engaged in a series of great baseball games.  "...the whole feature is brimful of rollicking good nature and clean fun."

Denver Rocky Mountain News - May 31, 1913


Augusta Chronicle - June 1, 1913


Don't you love it when frogs and rabbits play baseball?


images from GenealogyBank.com