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History of American Cricket Part II - 1800 to 1850
by Dreamcricket USA
Aug 27, 2007

 Click here for History of American Cricket Part I - The 1700s

1800: Cricket was played in front of the Philadelphia State House according to Tom Melville in ‘Tented Field.’

Philadelphia State House
1803: Cricket club was organized in Norfolk, Virginia.

1809: Boston Cricket Club was founded.

1810: Evidence exists to show that cricket that was played in America was somewhat archaic when compared to that played in Britain according to Rowland Bowen. The English game underwent structural changes which did not make their way to America.

1811: In yet another account of women's cricket, a match took place in 1811 between two female elevens of Surrey and Hampshire for 500 guineas. The match was won on the third day by the Hampshire eleven, one of the latter making a score of 40.

1813: Birth of William Ranney: William Ranney was born in 1813 at Middletown, Connecticut. Many years later, at the age of twenty he journeyed to New York City, where he studied drawing.

 
Ranney - Self Portrait

He then enlisted in a company that went to Texas to fight under General Sam Houston in the Texas War of Independence. There he found the subject matter for most of his art - Southwestern and Rocky Mountain hunters, trappers, explorers, and pioneers. He also known to have played cricket in San Antonio.

After his return to New York Ranney became proficient in illustrating the life of the frontier, its romance, barbarism, and spectacular scenery.

By the time he founded the New York Cricket Club, William Ranney gained fame but little fortune as an artist. Throughout the 1840’s he was a zealous cricketer, and he kept playing after the age of forty, until he was sidelined with illness.

Although Ranney’s art was admired during his lifetime, he died nearly destitute in 1857. At the time of his death, he was still a member of the New York Cricket Club.

1816: Trustees of the Village of Cooperstown, NY enact an ordinance: "That no person shall play at Ball in Second or West Street [now Pioneer and Main Streets], under a penalty of one dollar, for each and every offense." Ball is a reference to cricket.

For some time now, Cooperstown was thought to be where baseball got its start in 1839 with Abner Doubleday being proclaimed the inventor. The National Baseball Hall of Fame too is located here. However, both baseball and cricket are mentioned some decades before in a town ordinance for Pittsfield in Massachusetts. This ordinance is now referred to as the Pittsfield Bylaw.
 

Broken Window Bylaw

The earliest written reference to both cricket and baseball in North America (in the same document) has been discovered in the city of Pittsfield's library, the Berkshire Athenaeum, by baseball historian John Thorn. The reference to baseball and other games was found in a 1791 Pittsfield bylaw, which states the following:

“Preservation of the Windows in the New Meeting House . . . no Person or Inhabitant of said town, shall be permitted to play at any game called Wicket, Cricket, Baseball, Football, Cat, Fives or any other game or games with balls, within the Distance of Eighty Yards from said Meeting House.”

The document is now called the “Broken Window Bylaw,” and it shows that both cricket and baseball were played in Massachusetts as early as 1791.


 

 
Yale College

1818: Expatriate British played cricket in Southern Illinois according to Spirit of the Times. Also, by 1818, cricket was played regularly at Yale according to Harry Crosswell.

1820: Cricket was played regularly near Broadway and Thirtieth Street in New York but this gathering was not organized into a club until much later in 1838. Elsewhere, in Portland, Maine, cricket was played throughout the 1820s.

June 16, 1820: "June 16, 1820, eleven expert English players matched eleven New Yorkers at Brooklyn, the contest lasting two days." New York Evening Post

1825: Cricket was played by Americans in Baltimore annually as part of July 4th celebrations.
 

Capt William Parry

1823: A cricket match was played on the ice near the island of Igloolik, 3 degrees north of the Arctic Circle, by Captain William Parry and his men on board HMS Fury and HMS Hecla, around 1823. Captain Parry was on his second attempt to discover a Northwest Passage (this attempt was aborted). Captain Parry's Journal of a Second Voyage appeared in 1824. Previously, in 1820, Captain Parry experienced unprecedented Arctic success, having accomplished more than half the journey from Greenland to Bering Strait, which solved the ancient problem of a Northwest Passage.

1823: Reverend Thomas W. Higginson, one of the few clergymen to play the sport at that time, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A Harvard divinity school graduate, he stayed clear of denominational matters choosing instead to champion the cause of physical fitness although he was raised in a New England culture that discouraged sports as useless and even immoral.

Throughout his youth, he played sports including cricket whilst at Harvard. Later, he was to play for the Lincoln Cricket Club in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was also President of the club in 1858.

The same year, Rev Higginson wrote an article called “Saints and Their Bodies,” which appeared in Atlantic Monthly. In the article, Rev. Higginson stressed on proper exercise and recreation, which he felt were of vital importance for a full intellectual and spiritual life. An abolitionist, Rev Thomas Higginson also distinguished himself as a Union officer in the Civil War commanding a black regiment.

1825: Canadian cricket’s roots spread in and around the town of York, now known as Toronto, in the Province of Ontario. During its early years, it is nurtured with a lot of care by George Anthony Barber.

Arriving from Britain in 1825, George Barber, a master at the newly established Royal Grammar School, located on Adelaide and Jarvis Sts, Barber quickly converted a part of the school property into a rustic cricket pitch. A superb organizer and a fanatic cricketer, he immediately set out to form a cricket team from amongst the teachers, many who had come from England, and the student body. This was the first civilian team in Upper Canada.

Barber subsequently taught at Upper Canada College founded by Sir John Colborne. Later in life, he was the publisher of Toronto Herald. Barber also held many administrative positions in government of Upper Canada. Today he is considered to be the father of Canadian cricket.

1827: James Higham, another member of the New York Cricket Club, was born in Gravesend, England. He was a tailor by profession. In 1865, he opened “The Office,” a popular English pub in New York that attracted a cricketing and theatrical crowd. A trailblazer in American cricket, he died in 1872 at the age of forty-four.

1827: George Barber founded the York Cricket Club (the predecessor of the Toronto Cricket Club). He wrote a set of rules or by-laws for what was then called the York Cricket Club and elected officers to run the club.
 

Upper Canada College
 

1829: John Colborne (or Lord Seaton), Governor of Upper Canada, established the Upper Canada College, located at King St and Simcoe St. Several teachers (including Barber) and students from the Royal Grammar School moved to the College. Barber started a college team. Throughout the 1830s, matches were played by Barber’s team and local regiments on the corner of a race track on the Humber river, which today is Lambton Golf Club.

Around this time, The York Cricket Club, which included a number of College students, moved to the Upper Canada College grounds and became the prominent team of its time.

1831: In Philadelphia, working class English enthusiasts demonstrated their favorite sport to local residents inviting the locals to join in the fun. A few of them nurtured cricket at Philadelphia’s schools and colleges (see Haverford and U Penn).

Throughout 1830s and up until the Civil War, universities and colleges across America embraced cricket. Cricket clubs were started at Assumption, Girard, the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, New York City’s Free Academy, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin, Holy Cross, and Princeton.

1831: In 1831 several members of the influential Tichnor family played on a ground on the west bank of the Schuylkill River.

Horatio Smith observed in New England that young men played cricket.

1834: After 38 years being called York, the Canadian town reverted to its original Inuit name of Toronto and the York Cricket Club became the Toronto Cricket Club.

1834: According to the C.C Morris Cricket Library, cricket has been played, albeit with some breaks here and there, at Haverford College longer than anywhere else in the United States.
 

Haverford College

In 1834, just a year after the school was opened, the first Cricket Club was established, and was comprised entirely of American-born students.

Although Dartmouth, Harvard, Ohio Wesleyan and Fordham were already playing cricket in the 1830s, it can be argued that Haverford had developed a stronger link to cricket over the decades.

By 1893, nearly eighty percent of the student population were playing cricket. As Tom Melville points out “disloyalty to the game was disloyalty to the institution itself.”

 

Coach Kamran Khan at the
CC Morris Cricket Library

William Carvill, an English gardener, is credited as being the person who brought the game to Haverford, when he came to landscape the brand new campus with its beautiful Cricket Field. “Could you imagine this whole earth could yield/A spot more beautiful than our old cricket field?” wrote Francis Colgate Benson in his poem, “The Field,” in reference to Haverford College’s Cope Cricket Field.

This Haverford club, probably the first composed entirely of Americans, lasted only a few years. After this initial flirtation died away, the college’s affair with cricket resumed in 1848, when it fielded two elevens.

Some years later, cricket saw a major revival due to the interest taken by Dr. Lyon who was an English teacher in a nearby school. Cricket’s popularity soared and its hostility to baseball at Haverford nearly produced athletic civil war on campus between 1850 and 1920. “The rivalry was so intense at one point that, legend has it, Haverford cricketers even sawed up the baseball bats.”

 

Cope Cricket Field - Pavilion
 

Until 1862, Haverford cricketers were prohibited from playing off campus. Their availability to play off-campus games provided the needed impetus to intercollegiate cricket. In the late 1880’s, the college hired a full-time professional coach in Arthur Woodcock. An indoor practice shed was also built in 1887 and expanded in 1893. In 1896, the college undertook first of five English tours before the World War 1. As a result of these extensive trans-Atlantic contacts, this college was the best known college in England over a long period.

1834: Henry Chadwick, a New York cricketer as well as a ‘Baseball Hall of Famer’, wrote the first Rules of Baseball published by Robin Carver in 1834.

1836: Beginning of the historic series between the Toronto Cricket Club and Upper Canada College (UCC). These matches are still played annually, making it the longest sporting competition in North America. Through the years both clubs have turned out a host of talented cricketers who have gone on to represent their country.

1836: Sam Wright landed in America forever changing the quality of cricket in New York. Elsewhere, there are reports of cricket taking roots in Chicago. Sam Wright was to become the groundsman of Elysian Fields in Hoboken.

  

Elysian Fields - Harper's Weekly Illustration


1837: English residents of Albany and Troy began playing informal matches in the area which is now represented by the Tri-City Cricket club of Albany, Troy and Schenectady.

September 20, 1838: English expatriates from Sheffield and Nottingham faced off at the Brooklyn’s Ferry House Tavern. The wager was $100.

October 22, 1838: English expatriates, some of whom had played a month earlier, now realigned themselves into teams called “New York” and :”Long Island” – this time for $400 wager.

This New York cricket club was founded by the trio of William Jupe (an iron merchant who is referred to as Henry Jessup by Tom Melville), John Taylor (dealt with wool) and Robert Bage (who sold insurance). However, it drew more of its men from the city’s literary, artistic, and theatrical circles than from its mercantile community. These intellectual cricketers included William Ranney and James Higham. Tom Melville feels that this reliance on mercantile and literary classes was a deliberate attempt to dissociate the club from the working class immigrants who played cricket in Brooklyn.

 

Union Cricket Club Ground at Camden - Leased from Camden & Amboy Railroad in 1843
 

1838: Union Cricket Club of Camden started around 1840. (Some have claimed that it has existed since 1831). It was born when Robert Wailer of New York Cricket Club moved to Philadelphia and brought together several English importers, a few Kensington artisans, and some American baseball players.

Soon after its creation the Union sponsored the Junior Cricket Club at the University of Pennsylvania.

More detailed article on U Penn Cricket.

October 1839: The “New York” club and “Long Island” club teams met for an anniversary match at the Ferry House Tavern in Brooklyn.

1839: The “New York” club which had played two matches against the Long Island cricket club was now renamed St George’s Cricket Club after England’s patron saint. The St. George’s Club acquired a new ground at the corner of Bloomingdale’s Road and the 42nd Street between vegetable farms. The St. George’s which was born out of cricket interactions between English expatriates in New York chose a very English name for its club and always discouraged any American influence.

Side note: A separate New York Cricket Club was born some years later under the supervision of the publishers of Spirit of the Times. But the first New York Cricket Club was the St. George’s.

1840s: By 1840s, cricket was played on a national scale and Philadelphia cricket was judged good enough to play a full strength of Australia and the first-class English counties. An American player even headed the first-class averages!

Working class English communities were still hard at work promoting the sport in Pennsylvania. In 1840, a group of hosiery weavers at Wakefield Mills scheduled matches on holidays and Saturday afternoons attracting local boys and young men to the game.

Cricket was played up and down the East Coast and in other locations elsewhere in the as well. However, Philadelphia became the Mecca of the game due to the stimulus provided by the influx of a number of Lancashire and Yorkshire hosiery and mill-workers in the 1840's. Philadelphia became the mecca of the game due to the stimulus provided by the influx of a number of Lancashire and Yorkshire hosiery and mill-workers in the 1840s.

1840: North American cricket’s first hoax occurred when a certain G.A. Phillpotts purportedly invited the St. George’s Cricket club of New York to visit Canada and play a friendly game against the Toronto Cricket Club on the northern shores of Lake Ontario. In reality, the poor guy had nothing to do with the invite which turned out to be a hoax. On the afternoon of August 28, 1840 eighteen members of the St. George's Club turned up in Toronto following an exhausting journey through the state of New York by coach and across Lake Ontario by steamer. When they asked about the Toronto Cricket Club, they were told that the members of the Toronto Cricket Club had no knowledge of any such cricket match. Mr. Phillpotts himself was not around and the embarrassed officials of the Toronto Cricket Club hastily called a meeting. Following this meeting, a challenge match was organized between the two clubs for a stake of fifty pounds ($250) a side.

A large number of spectators turned out and the band of the 34th Regiment entertained the gathering. His Excellency, Sir George Arthur, the Governor of Upper Canada, witnessed the match which the New Yorkers won by 10 wickets. Following this match, the St. George's Club and the Toronto Cricket Club planned a more proper encounter between the two countries at New York in 1844.

1841: In New Orleans, Picayune reported that the youth played ‘base’ while men played ‘wicket.’ Ebenezer Davies noted that perhaps forty to fifty boys were playing cricket in New Orleans.

1841: Two families stand out for their role in Philadelphia cricket. First is the Wisters (see below) and the second is the Newhall family, Walter S. and George M. Newhall were members of a famous cricketing family. Walter was perhaps the best American batsman of his era. Born in 1841, he scored one hundred five runs in one contest at the tender age of fifteen. He was among the international cricketers of high standing. He died at the Rappahannock in the Civil War.

 

William Wister

1842: Cricket began at the University of Pennsylvania with the founding of the Junior Cricket Club by William Rotch Wister, in the fall of 1842 encouraged by Dr. John K Mitchell, who was among the founders of the Union Cricket Club in Camden.

This club was very active until after Wister's 1846 graduation, when lack of leadership and of funding led to the disappearance of cricket from University life until its revival in the 1860s.

For an annual rent of fifty dollars, Penn's Junior Cricket Club rented the Union Club's field in Camden for one day a week since Penn's Ninth Street Campus was small. Practices were held each afternoon, and matches were held on Saturdays. Although coaches were uncommon for college sports teams throughout most of the nineteenth century, the Junior Club hired a coach - Englishman William Bradshaw. The Penn cricketers were so enthusiastic that, even before warmer weather arrived, they practiced their cricket skills at Barrett's Gymnasium near Sixth and Chestnut Streets.

At about this time a group of schoolboys and the sons of local English weavers formed another junior club. Led by John Wister, this eleven challenged the University team to a series of matches in 1845.

 

Early UPenn team
 

Although University of Pennsylvania had a very solid cricket program between 1842 and 1846, and Haverford also had embraced cricket thanks to William Carvill, the first intercollegiate match was not played until 1864, when Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania squared off. The intervening decade long slump in collegiate cricket was not a reflection of the popularity of the sport. The youngsters who played college cricket took to it after graduating and Philadelphia cricket grew tremendously during the next decade. William R. Wister should be credited for his central part in popularizing cricket among natives through the latter half of the nineteenth century.

1843: New York Cricket Club was reconstituted by John Richard, with William Porter, the publisher of Spirit of the Times, as its President.

Their American-born emphasis was always in contrast to the British-oriented St George Club.

But it continued to be somewhat joined at the hips with the St. George’s Cricket Club and shared the Elysian Fields ground in Hoboken that St. George’s rented from John A Stevens (the ferryboat entrepreneur). John’s son, Edward, was a keen cricketer and played for New York Cricket Club.

John A Stevens charged a rent of $50 per annum for the field but made up for the lost revenue by ferrying spectators.

The coach and groundsman was the famous Sam Wright, whose sons, George and Harry, both cricketers, came to be known later as equally great baseball players. Harry, in fact, went on to manage the first professional baseball team in the United States - the Cincinnati Redstockings (the Reds).

That takes the total to three the number of cricket players who figure in the baseball Hall for Fame. The two Wright brothers and Henry Chadwick, the writer-cricketer who wrote the first Rules of Baseball. William Ranney too was among the founders of New York Cricket Club.

1844: When William Boulton a young master at UCC inherited property at the Grange, College and McCaul Street, in the outskirts of Toronto, he built a new racetrack and a cricket ground named ‘Taddle’ after a creek nearby. This became the home of the Toronto Cricket Club for some 60 years.

1844: Chief Mew Hu She Kaw and his clan of Iowan Indians became the first Americans to ‘play’ at Lord’s. But it wasn’t cricket they played. They participated at an Indian Archery Fete and Festival organized by the MCC.

1844: Canada and the United States of America met in their first international at the St.George’s Club in New York at Bloomingdale Park on the site where the New York University Medical Centre is now located (East 31st near First Avenue) on the 24th and 25th of September 1844.

Historians believe that this contest, now called the K.A. Auty Trophy is the oldest international sporting fixture in the world. This competition predates Ashes, the famed England versus Australia series, by nearly thirty years. It is older than the Americas cup (Isle of Wight, 1851), the Modern Olympics (Athens, 1896) and some famous horse races.

So even if many would like to believe that international cricket began at Melbourne in 1877 when Alfred Shaw of England tossed up a medium paced delivery to Australian opening batsman Charlie Bennerman, that is not accurate. International cricket got a kick-start at New York in 1844 when Henry Groom flung a ball at Canadian batsman David Winckworth.

Canadian team included eight Toronto Cricket Club members but it strived to be a representative team, not just a Toronto team. The US team was drawn from several New York clubs, and also included players from Philadelphia, DC, and Boston (the other centers of US cricket at the time).

A large crowd gathered to see John Wilson and David Winckworth open the batting for Canada. One of John Wilson’s brothers was Sir Archdale Wilson who later found himself defending Lucknow during the Indian Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Winckworth later switched sides to play for the United States thus becoming the only player to achieve the distinction of appearing for both countries in the International Series.

Included in the Canadian line-up was George A. Barber of UCC and York Cricket Club fame. Another interesting personality in the Canadian side was Upper Canada College batsman J. Beverly Robinson whose father was Chief Justice of Upper Canada and Robinson himself later served as Mayor of Toronto and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

The Canadian wicket-keeper on this historic sporting occasion was G.A. Phillpotts, the same guy in whose name a hoax was played on the Americans some years before.

Canada was dismissed in the middle of the afternoon of the first day for 82 runs after experiencing some difficulty against the American medium-pacer Sam Wright who collected 4 wickets.

Winckworth was the best of the Canadian batsmen; he was run out of 12 and drew loud applause from the spectators as he left the field. When James Turner opened the batting for the United States a most impressive crowd of approximately 5,000 had gathered at the ground. Betting on the match was heavy as was the custom of the day and press reports in the Toronto Herald reported that as much as $100,000 depended on the outcome. That amount is the equivalent of some $1.2 million dollars today.

On the second day the Americans collapsed to 64 all out owing to good bowling by Winckworth. Only R.N. Tinson (14) showed any fight.

In their second innings the Canadians replied with 63, Winckworth hit up a useful 14 and once again Wright bagged 4 wickets.

The large crowd buzzed with excitement as the United States was set the target of 82 runs to win. Despite a good innings by opener James Turner who made a stubborn 14, the home side could only manage 58 and Canada triumphed by 23 runs in the first international cricket match.

If there had been a player of the match award it would have been a tough job to choose between the Canadian all-rounder David Winckworth for his outstanding opening batting and bowling efforts and the consistent bowling performance of Sam Wright who took 4 wickets for the United States in each innings.

International cricket has enjoyed a large measure of success in North America despite the modest beginnings of 1844. The International Series between Canada and the United States has continued to the present day. The contest enjoyed immense popularity around the turn of the century with the emergence of the two finest all-rounders in the history of North American cricket, namely John M. Laing of Canada and J.B. (Barton) King of the United States.

Following the historic match at New York in 1844, international cricket did not expand until the famous Nottingham player George Parr led a team of English professionals to North America in 1859 for a series of games in Canada and the United States against teams consisting of 22 players.

SCORECARD: CANADA vs USA

First ever match at St George Cricket Club Ground, Manhattan, New York September 24-25, 1844

 

 

Toss:

USA

 

 

Umpires:

H Russel and Walker

 

 


Canada 1st innings

 

 

Runs

D Winckworth

run out

 

12

J Wilson

 

b Wright

0

Birch

c Bage

 

5

GA Barber

 

b Wright

1

Sharpe

 

b Wright

12

GA Phillpotts

Lbw

b Groom

1

JB Robinson

Lbw

 

1

HJ Maddock

not out

 

7

Freeling

c Dudson

 

12

French

 

b Groom

9

Thompson

 

b Wright

5

Extras

(b 11, w 6)

 

17

Total

(all out)

 

82


USA 1st innings

 

 

Runs

J Turner

 

b Winckworth

7

G Wheathcroft

 

b Winckworth

9

J Ticknor

Lbw

 

0

J Symes

c Thompson

 

1

H Groom

c Thompson

 

0

R Bage

not out

 

1

R Ticknor

 

b Thompson

5

S Wright

c Barber

 

4

RN Tinson

st Philpotts

 

14

S Dudson

c Freeling

 

4

Wild

 

b Winckworth

10

Extras

(b 7, w 2)

 

9

Total

(all out)

 

64


Canada 2nd innings

 

 

Runs

D Winckworth

 

b Wright

14

J Wilson

 

b Groom

0

Birch 

c Turner

 

0

GA Barber 

 

b Groom

3

Sharpe

 

b Groom

5

GA Phillpotts

 

b Wright

13

JB Robinson

 

b Wright

4

HJ Maddock

 

b groom

7

Freeling

not out

 

7

French

 

b Wright

0

Thompson

Lbw

 

3

Extras

(w 7)

 

7

Total

(all out)

 

63


USA 2nd innings

 

 

Runs

J Turner

c Barber

b Sharpe

14

J Ticknor

 

b Sharpe

0

J Symes

 

b Sharpe

11

H Groom

 

b Winckworth

0

R Bage

not out

 

5

R Ticknor

 

b Sharpe

8

S Wright

 

b French

3

RN Tinson

Lbw

b Sharpe

0

S Dudson

c Winckworth

b Sharpe

0

Wild

c Maddock

 

8

G Wheathcroft*

Absent

 

-

Extras

(b 3, w 6)

 

9

Total

(all out)

 

58

*Wheatcroft failed to arrive in time to bat in 2nd innings



Result: Canada won by 23 runs

1844: On October 3, James Turner scored 120 for Union Cricket Club against St. George’s Cricket Club to become the first player to score a recorded century in North American cricket.

1845: The Penn Junior Cricket Club now had over fifty members. On occasion, members of the Junior Club split into two teams and played each other. UPenn archives state that on September 27, 1845, Wister's Eleven defeated Blight's Eleven in a two inning game.

S. Weir Mitchell, A.B. 1848 (son of Dr. John K. Mitchell and later himself a world-renowned physician and scientist) scored 38 runs, winning a bat offered as a prize by his father to the player who scored the most runs. In another 1845 match, William Rotch Wister won another prize bat. The Junior Club also played a number of cricket matches with the Germantown Boys Club, as this team was a good match for the University cricket players.

1845: New Jersey reported that it had some two dozen clubs by 1845.

1845 also marked the birth of the second of the Newhall brothers, George Newhall. George created a sensation at the age of thirteen when he bowled in front of about six thousand spectators in all star match of Americans against Englishmen. The Spirit correspondent called him “the Little Wonder” whose round arm bowling drew forth applause, firing of pistols, etc.” He lived to play a prominent role in promoting Philadelphia cricket after the Civil War.
 

Elysian Fields - Hoboken Marker

1846: The Elysian Fields at Hoboken, New Jersey, home of St. George’s Cricket Clubb hosted the first recorded professional baseball game between the New York Knickerbockers and the New York Club in 1846. New York Base Ball Club defeated the Knickerbockers 23-1.

1846: At New York in 1846, the Canadian side was bundled out for a dismal 28 against the United States to record the lowest effort by the national side. This brought the USA vs Canada matches to an end until 1853.

1846: A young Philadelphian recommended rigorous exercise of the following type to anyone who wanted to acquire knowledge of the art of cricketing: “engage a friend to tie him fast to a fencerail, and then pitch halfbricks at his head for one hour or two; after which, the friend should break a stout hickory club over his sconce, if possible. The “learner” should then be released-to run a mile or two, at top speed, and if by any chance he returns.after this last feat he promises fairly, with continued practice, to become “one of ‘em!”

1847: Harry Wright played baseball for Knickerbockers and cricket for St. George’s, with both clubs sharing Elysian Fields in Hoboken as their home ground.

1847: Capt. Brewster of the US Military Academy encouraged his cadets to organize cricket clubs. Tom Melville wrote that the US Naval Academy cadets were playing cricket in the 1850s. In 1884, The Army and Navy Journal asked rules for baseball and cricket be obtained from ‘professional editions’ and asked the army to promote the game. Cricket was played by soldiers in far-flung parts of the country until the 1880s such as Louisville (Kentucky), Ft. Douglas (Utah) and at Capt. Charles Vernou’s garrison at San Antonio (Texas).

1849: Henry Sharp, a contender for the title of “Father of American Cricket” arrived in New York from Derbyshire. Although the title could be bestowed upon several early cricketers including William Jarvis and William Rotch Wister of Philadelphia, Henry Tinson of St. George, and Harry Groom who played at St. George before moving to San Francisco, Henry Sharp, according to Tom Melville is the ‘worthiest recipient.’ He captained the non-exclusive New York Cricket Clubb throughout the 1850s while running a glass staining business in New York. He advocated popularizing the sport among Americans. Henry was the force behind the English vs Americans match of 1856 and for the inclusion of Americans in USA vs Canada matches.

1850: In January, the future members of Knickerbocker Cricket Clubb met at San Francisco’s Union Hotel. The same year that California joined the United States. In Chicago, a Kent XI defeated Chicago XI.

1850s: During this period, cricket prospered in the eastern seaboard, particularly in the cities Philadelphia New York, Montreal and Toronto where elegant cricket clubs were built and still exist today.

Cricket clubs were established in every American city. Cricket wasn't just another sport - cricket was the American sport.

Considerable amounts were wagered on the outcome of matches. Gambling on cricket became so severe that Congress enacted laws to curtail it and in so doing it diminished the popularity the game in the USA.

In Canada, Confederation Prime Minister John A MacDonald declared cricket Canada’s national sport, which shows how popular cricket was throughout that time.

Picture and archive credits: Not a word on USA cricket can be written without acknowledging Tom Melville, P David Sentance, Amar Singh, and Deb Das. We are grateful to them for their terrific books and/or articles which provide in-depth and insightful commentary. What we have done here is merely constructed a timeline. Also fascinating are the rich histories available via UPenn and Haverford + Bryn Mawr Archives.

Most of all, we relied on NY Times archives as well as our own collection of books and magazines that we were fortunate to obtain when the KA Auty Library was auctioned off by the Ridley College in Ontario.

We depended on New England colleges for history of college cricket, especially Yale, Dartmouth, and Harvard archives. Of course, Wikipedia is among the most extensive sources these days. Pictures are presumed to be out of copyright owing to their antiquity.

 

 

 
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