Monday, February 6, 2017

Ballplayers vs the Village Board of Birds 1903

Wall-mounted phone with hand crank,
wood case made in 1931--
have you seen it? 
(Teaser Alert:  N King and her committee are building a new exhibit for the February program.....don't miss it!) 
The editor of of the Robinson Constitution printed an editorial from the correspondent in Birds: (I think the correspondent was one of the baseball boys; what do you think?)

JULY 1, 1903 The village dads of this place (Birds) are getting "picayunish." (ie. small and petty) Last Friday morning they gave the baseball boys orders to stop playing catch on the street, but yet these very "dads" sit on the side walk from morning  until dark and spit tobacco juice all over the walk and swear continually. That's not all they have; a case of 'damnation' is  sent to them occasionally. Which is worse, playing catch or these other little things?

This elicited an angry response from the Village Board.

JULY 15, 1903
To the Correspondent of the Constitution From Birds:

We members of the Village Board are somewhat surprised at your attack upon us because you were forbidden to throw the base ball across the street at all times in the day, interrupting the people upon the street. As to the character of the board we will say that we are up to the standard of the average village board but do not profess to be as good as the baseball team, morally but the board is for clean, honest government and the enforcement of all ordinances. They do not use one-tenth the indecent language that is used in a far shorter space of time during one game of ball. Why do not the girls and ladies go up to the grounds where you play? Any mother can tell you. No members of the village board was ever arrested for insulting any one upon our streets. If  we employ a marshal who lets the "hoodlums" take the town,  Birds is O.K. but on the other hand, if we enforce law and order, then the "howl" is raised from the ones restrained. We do not object to a good ball game but do not see why the writer should throw stones when their house is glass even to the foundation. The board has no poker players, can the team say as much? A goodly majority of the team are gentlemen, to them we do not intend this article It is to the tale bearer, the street lounger, the ones who attend to everybody's business but their own. Any one who tries to injure the effects of the will of the best people in a community and who tries to check everything that is wholesome for the public is on a fair road to anarchy. A MEMBER

And the mudslinging continued in the next week's paper........

JULY 22, 1903
In reply to the "members" of the village board last week. We desire to say that this letter was flavored with the essence of ignorance and the "squint essence" of falsehood, was a feeble pretense of defense against an alleged attack made upon them by a correspondent in a previous issue of the CONSTITUTION. The village board is composed of a few members who are as good citizens as ever trod the soil of sweet America, but some of the members are as "rotten" as men are made. We do not claim that throwing balls across the street is right, but were just explaining how rotten the government of this city is. Last summer, boys, men and members of the village board pitched horse shoes upon Main street from morning till night from April till Christmas. Several horses were crippled, women were compelled to go back alleys to avoid pushing aside the crowd that were gathered to watch the pitching and several fights took place; also the boxing gloves were used upon the streets last fall and no attempt was made to present any of these things but just let the ball boys do anything then the "fur flies." In conclusion we wish to say we have a ball team that did not sustain a single defeat last year and it has the same record this year, and if there is any team in Lawrence or Crawford counties who think they can break our record we are willing "bump" up against you. We will play for money, marbles or chalk.

And there you have it......gossip a hundred years ago...printed in the paper.  Thanks David F. for sharing this with us, but if I were you, I would stay out of Birds for awhile. And for Heaven's Sake, don't play ball there on the streets.