Kent, CT High School’s First Baseball Team – A Waterbury, VT Flea Market Find


I apologize to Portrait of War’s dedicated followers for this brief divergence from the military-related post norm.  A recent flea market find has been screaming to me from my pile of “to research” photos and I can’t resist any longer; this photo has a lot going for it.  Crisp details, a fully identified roster, and a historically significant moment in Kent, CT’s town history have been captured in this 1931 photograph of the seminal baseball team of Kent High School.

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1931 Kent High School Baseball Team

Being a CT prep school alumni myself, I instantly recalled battles on the pitch against Kent School, the private college prep school located in Kent, Litchfield County, CT.  Although I don’t have access to the school records, I’m guessing their baseball team started significantly earlier than the 1931 date inscribed on the photo.  With that in mind, I came to the conclusion that the image likely depicts the public Kent High School.   This makes the research process much easier.  Prep schools of the time were typically filled with students from around the country, often from larger American cities and/or England/Canada.  In summary, my next avenue of research involves searching keying in every name inscribed on the reverse using on ancestry.com.  Doing some quick math (not my strong suit) I searched in the 1910-1920 range based on average high school ages from the time period. It turns out that most of the boys in the photo were born between 1915 and 1918.

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Cropped Version

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“First Baseball Team in Kent High”

With all the information listed above, I took some time after work this week to research each and every one of the legible names in hopes of finding a living ’31 Kent player…. to no avail.  Below are my results.  This post was made in order to link future family researchers with crisp photos of their “starting nine” relations.

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John E. Austin – Captain

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1920 Kent Census Listing

Second

Charles F. Taylor

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Charles F. Taylor’s 1940 Census Record

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George C. Page in 1931

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George Charles Page’s 1920 Census Record

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George Charles Page’s 1998 Death Record

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Charles W. Stone in 1931

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Charles Stone’s 1940 Census Record

CharlesStoneDeath

Charles W. Stone’s 1997 Death Record

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Charles W. Stones WWII Record Information

last

Paul M. Richards in 1931

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Paul M. Richards’ Census Record

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Paul M. Richard’s 1998 Death Record

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Walter Pacocha in 1931

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Walter Pacocha 1930 Census Record

WalterPacochaDeath

Walter Pacocha’s 1981 Death Record

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Carlos Jennings in 1931

CarlosJennings

Carlos Jennings’ 1930 Census Record

CarlosJenningsDeath

Carlos Jennings’ 2000 Death Record

 

WWI Patched Studio Photo: Corporal Harold Dannhorn, Illinois WWI and WWII Veteran of the 86th Division


Harold Dannhorn Reads a Book in France

Harold Dannhorn Reads a Book in France

Corporal Dannhorn served in the HQ Company of the 343rd Infantry Regiment of the 86th Division while stationed in France before being switched over to the 256th Prisoner of War Escort Company #256 during the Occupation of Germany.  Here he poses in a studio in Menton, France on February 20th, 1919.

 

 

Veteran Gravestone Registration

Veteran Gravestone Registration

 

WWI Draft Card

WWI Draft Card

 

Uncropped RPPC

Uncropped RPPC

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WWI RPPC Photo – African-American Infantry Doughboy William M. Richardson of Washington, D.C. Posed in France


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Reverse Side

Reverse Side

The hidden treasures of the eBay world still turn up genealogical treasures with a bit of background research.  A recent auction listing provided me with a solid base for some in-depth research.  I actually timed myself on this one – it took me exactly 1 hour and 32 minutes to research this piece from beginning to end.

Mr. William Maccihammer Richardson of 814 Michigan Ave, Washington D.C. enlisted for the draft on June 5th, 1917 at the age of 24.  He had a dependent mother and presumably a deceased /absent father.  William, according to his draft registration card, was already in the service of the War Department and was likely added to the roster of the 93rd Division.  The 93rd was comprised of National Guard units from New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Massachusetts.  I’m assuming he was in the 93rd Division given the presence of his infantry regiment crossed rifle cap insignia and his military service in D.C.  He was a messenger before the war while working for the War Department in Washington, so it’s an easy jump assume he served in a similar role with an infantry regiment of the 93rd.  William was one of over 1,000,000 African-American men to register for the draft and one of only 370,000 to be inducted into the army.

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CSI Style Signature Comparison

Those familiar with WWI draft cards will notice the clipped corners.  This was required of men of color in order to easily pick them out during draft board review.  It was apparently  a common practice that I was not aware of until researching this image.

Richardson Draft Card

1917 Draft Card

The next definite genealogical entry I found for William puts him in District 221 of Washington, D.C. in the census of 1930.  His entry is easily misread as a William N. Richardson.  He is shown as being married to a Mary E. Richardson.  His profession is listed as being a Chauffeur with the U.S. Government – another link to his prewar position.

1930 Census Record

1930 Census Record

In the 1940 census record, William is listed as being a chauffeur for a private family.  His yearly income is $1,700 – almost exactly the average annual income of $1,900 in 1940.  He lived in an apartment building in Block No. 18 of Washington and had two “lodgers” living with him and his wife.  June and Cleo Adams were sisters to Mary E. Richardson.

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The last and final genealogical reference to Mr. Richardson comes in the form of a death registration.  William died at the ripe age of 81 on June 3rd, 1973.  The trail ends with his death, but the possibilities for future research lay wide open.  Which unit did he serve with?  Did he see direct combat?  How did he meet Ms. Adams?

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