On June 4, 1838, a year before Abner Doubleday was credited with inventing baseball in Cooperstown, N.Y., two teams from Oxford and Zorra townships did battle in Beachville, Ontario in what’s now recognized as one of the first documented game in North American history. It was Dr. Adam Ford, a former resident of St. Marys, Ont., now home to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, who later recounted details of this contest in a letter published in the May 5, 1886 issue of Sporting Life magazine.
Living in Denver, Colo., when he penned his recollections, Ford recalls that the match was played on a square field in a pasture. The competition between Beachville and Zorra featured five bases, fair and foul balls, players employing a hand hewn stick as a bat and a ball made of twisted yarn and covered with calf skin. The Beachville District Historical Society has researched Ford’s account and has concluded that the information in his letter is authentic.
The following are the names of the players on the Beachville and Zorra teams that participated in the historic game:
George Burdick Harry Karn
Almon Burch Peter Karn
Gordon Cook Reuben Martin
Henry Cruttendon Edward McNames
William Dodge Nathaniel McNames
Old Ned Dolson Neil McTaggart
William Ford James Piper
William Harrington Henry Taylor
William Hutchinson I. Van Alstine
Adam Karn Abel Williams
Daniel Karn John Williams