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100 Years Ago This Month

May 1911

May 5

Evolution of baseball

Since 1845 baseball has been generally accepted as the national sport, and has improved steadily and grown in popularity until it has eclipsed all other outdoor pastimes. Here are just a few important facts relative to the improvement of the game as played in the early days.

Underhanded pitching was enforced until the early 80s because the catchers worked without gloves and could not hold swiftly thrown overhand-balls without serious injury to their hands. In the very early days, balls were made of closely wound yarn. Later, small pieces of skin were sewed over this for cover, and still later, a small block of wood was placed in the center of the ball to make it harder and less liable to be batted out of shape.

The first bounce was considered out up to the late 50s, when the game then most popular from one end of New York City to the other gained its first real healthy start, and rules were made that compelled the players to show more skill in both catching and batting. Its popularity spread rapidly, and with the assistance of the papers, which began promoting it more, it became a nationwide sport not long after the close of the Civil War. It would take pages to tell all the other interesting things about the gameís early history, and old-timers no doubt remember that in 1857 there were 49 clubs represented at the national Association of Baseball Players.

A War Claim for Emmitsburg

Emmitsburg ought to have a war claim. In fact no town without a war claim can be called progressive. All places near us are coming forward with the reasons why their people should be reimbursed for something or other that happened during the "recent unpleasantness."

It is up to Emmitsburg to "go while the going is good." A merely cursory review of this town's claim reveals the fact that the small sum of $973,432.23 will square matters up to date - not figuring back interest cost.

Here is the basis for our claim to date: 62 settings of Minorca eggs addled and 513 quarts of Guernsey cream soured by the cannonading at Gettysburg on the first day of the fight; 17 citizens suffer loss of appetite; 324 loss of sleep; 19 maiden ladies loss of eyesight try to pick husbands from among the retreating confederates; the Burgess of the town broke his right arm and a $10 bill endeavoring to keep tab on the number of drinks imbibed by Union Officers while resting within the Corporation; nine road supervisors lost their voices asking which way the troops were coming; one man had his wooden leg chopped up to make a campfire; three poker games with a $64.38 jackpot were broken up.

These with minor claims such as those of stolen horses, destroyed crops, cattle killed, property appropriated and other items included in schedule is yet to be examined, largely run the amount beyond that asked for. But Emmitsburg cares nothing for trifles and a few hundred thousand more or less matters for a little. As her claim is just a merely nominal one, however, the people here would not hesitate to request that it be given precedence over all other business in the House when it is presented. In the meantime, while the Bill is being prepared, we advise all citizens of the community who were incommoded by the "struggle" to hand in their accounts in order that they many be included.

Damage done by Mondayís storm

The storm on Monday uprooted many trees in the Grove in front of Mount St. Maryís College, took half the roof of Mr. George Millerís barn near town, blew down a silo on Mr. Annanís farm, and wreck several chimneys in town. Mr. Manahanís barn was struck by lighting but suffered little damage. The ornamental top of Mother Setonís well was destroyed by the wind, which was particularly strong out the pike. The thunderstorm brought a 30̊ drop in temperatures.

Wivell barn destroyed last night

Mr. Frank Wivellís barn and outbuildings burned down last evening at around 6:30. Mr. Wivell lives on the old Warner farm which he purchased a short time ago, and quite recently had made extensive repairs on the buildings destroyed yesterday.


A horse driven by Messrs. Walter and Harry Baker ran off Monday morning near Mount St. Maryís College. Aside from losing their lunch, no damage was done. The gentlemen were driving to St. Josephís, where they are working on the new larger building now under construction. Last Saturday Mr. John Murrayís automobile struck a wagon loaded with stones on the pike near the college. The machine was badly injured, but the occupants were more fortunate.


Mr. Harry Stokes is having a cement walk laid on his property. Mr. Richard Zacharias has repapered his ice cream parlors, and the new Ashbaugh building is now under roof. Not everyone is working on improvements, however; calcimining artist had been busy on backyard fences hereabouts during the last two weeks.

License tangle straightened out

The objections to granting a license to Lawrence Mondorff, proprietor of the Hotel Slagle, presented by certain citizens through the Anti-Saloon League, was overruled by the court and the license was issued.

Mr. Mondorff succeeds his stepfather, the late Mr. James Slagle, and enjoys a splendid reputation here where he has lived for a number of years. Intimately associated with the former proprietor in the business of this well-known establishment, Mr. Mondorff will have little trouble maintaining the hotel up to the standard set by Mr. Slagle, who built up the business. The objections raised against the granting of his license were technical and in no way reflected on the character or reputation of the young man in question.

Condition of the fountain

Can anyone tell why the fountain in the public square, the most conspicuous point in town, is allowed to remain in its present condition? It would seem that something is radically wrong with the pipes leading to it, which should drain the water from it. The result is the stagnant water that has been in the basin for nearly a year.

The tablets recording the movement of the troops of the Union in the Civil War have not been replaced since they were broken several months ago. All these things, including the condition of the grass and rusty appearance of the ironwork, are witness of the indifference of the Burgess and commissioners in connection with this, the most prominent spot in the town. A little attention, a small amount of money and a bit of care will transform what is now an eyesore into a thing of beauty, and every stranger entering Emmitsburg would become impressed with the pride the citizens of this place manifest in the appearance of their town.

May 12

With so much good material at hand the wonder is that Emmitsburg no longer has a baseball club. It is remarked on every side that in former seasons, with the exception of a few years, the people here supported an amateur nine that more than held its own with any team with which it crossed bats. The sentiment prevails that Emmitsburg should once more come to the front with a winning team. There is no town for miles around that patronizes the games more regularly and more generously. Under the circumstances, those who can play and who in playing to ride and gives such enjoyment would be manifesting a spirit worse than indifference should they fail to come forward and organize for the summer.


Mr. Charles Landers has had his house and stable painted. Painters have been busy on the property of J. Stewart Annan and the house of the Miss Annan. Mr. Zacharias has had the interior of his store and ice cream parlor repainted. A tin roof has also been put on the stable at the foot of the property. The improvements at Mr. Toppers barbershop are now completed. The painters are now at work. Mr. Ashbaugh is having a cement pavement laid and Mr. Harner is having a new fence put around his lot on Frederick Street.

May 19

Runaway team and injured driver

On Wednesday morning Mr. John Matthews was injured slightly in a runaway accident. He was driving a pair of horses in his ice wagon and near Zachariasí store lost control of the horses. When the animals were over the concrete crossing at the west side of the Square the tongue struck the ground and Mr. Matthews was thrown against the top of the wagon and his scalp was cut, but he continued to hold the lines in an effort to drive the frightened horses around the fountain. In making the turn, the wagon collided with a tree. Freed from the wagon the horses ran until they were caught near Mr. Hoppís store.

May 26

Harry Stokes dead

Mr. Harry Stokes, familiarly known as Squire Stokes, died at his home Saturday morning after a long illness. Services were held at his home on Monday afternoon. The interment was made in Mountain View Cemetery. Mr. Stokes was born in Mechanicstown in 1825. For a time he worked in the wool mill, but left to come to Emmitsburg in 1846 where he began the saddlery business, which in 1889 he turned over to his son.

In 1867 he was appointed magistrate and served in a judicial capacity continuously. His prominence in the community of his adoption is early evident. Elected school commissioner in 1854 he served for many years. For several terms he was a town commissioner and two times his fellow citizens elected him Burgess, the last time in 1884.

It was he who offered the resolution to pike Main Street in 1861. Before the contract was given out, the fire of 1863 swept over part of the town and the work was delayed. He was one of the original members of the Cemetery Co. and was proud of his membership in the Reformed Church, where as a member of the churchís consistory, his influence and advice were felt and highly prized.

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