The Fort Douglas Browns – History of the Men of the 24th Infantry Regiment – Part 4

 

 

The early months of 1899 would bring many changes to the men of the 24th Infantry Regiment. The yellow fever which took hold of them in ’98 dealt a definitive blow to their heath and their standing as “Regulars’ in the United States Army. Between the months of January and March, a force reductions of the 24th Infantry Regiment would follow, relocations of certain companies would take place, and the incursion into the Philippines were part of changes that would remove the 24th Infantry Regiment from their ‘good station’ in Salt Lake, Utah.

 

It is Stated that the Regiment is to be Taken to the Presidio, and Later to the Philippines.

Another rumor as to the probable movement of the Twenty-fourth infantry has reached Fort Douglas. It is now said that preparations are being made at the Presidio of San Francisco for the reception of eight regiments of soldiers. These troops are to be stationed at the Presidio awaiting orders to sail for Manila. The rumor has it that the Twenty-fourth infantry will be one of the eight regiments to go to the Presidio and from there to Manila.

It is not a very bright outlook for the regiment, but such is life in the army. The officers are living in a half-settled state, as they do not care to go to the trouble or expense of fixing up their quarters for short time and then have to tear them all up and go to the Philippines or elsewhere. At present nothing definite is known, but most of the officers feel certain that it is only a question of time before they leave for San Francisco, en route to Manila.” — Salt Lake Tribune, January 13, 1899

 

Recruits of the Regiment to be Discharged.

Within the next ten days between 500 and 600 men of the Twenty-fourth infantry are to be discharged from the service. This will reduce for a while the garrison at Fort Douglas to 300 men, at that at Fort Russell, Wyo., to about 180 men, while the cantonment at Camp Pilot Butte, Wyo., where company K is at present stationed, will be left with a garrison of about sixty men.

RATE OF DISCHARGE

The men will be discharged at the rate of about ten a day from each company until all are out. Maj. Birmingham and his assistants at the hospital will examine every man closely as to his physical condition.

Maj. Thompson said last night said that the regiment will be re-recruited up to its full strength at once. The order now standing is to keep its strength up, and recruit will be brought on speedily.

The order that came Tuesday night also relates to the Ninth cavalry, the colored regiment, part of which was formerly stationed at Fort Duchesne.” — Salt Lake Tribune, January, 26, 1899

 

By the next day, one hundred and fifty of the three hundred recruits that had been ordered discharged from the 24th Infantry Regiment, and were mustered out of service, on placed on trains heading East. [32]

 

With $45,000 being allotted by the War Department, each solider discharged from the 24th received $75 a piece for traveling expenses. The amount spent on that single day was half of the total amount allotted. This allotment, pursuant to paragraph two of General Order no. 40, only applied to recruits who had enlisted in the regiment between April 22 and October 26, of 1896. The men of the Fort Douglas Browns were not subject to the General Order no. 40, but based on their physical condition after volunteering for the yellow fever hospital at Siboney and contracting the deadly contagion, they were more than likely subject to discharged for health reasons.

 

In February, land and naval forces would be increased in the Philippines, and the men of the 24th Infantry Regiments, stationed at Fort Douglas, Utah and  Fort Russell, Wyoming would be part of the “Regular’ troops undertaking the assignment.[33]

 

In early March, the transfer orders for the 24th had finally arrived at Fort Douglas, which called for a further dividing of regimental strength. Moving four companies, one from Fort Douglas and three from Fort Russell, immediately to Honolulu, as reinforcements in route to Manila. These orders were immediately cancelled, and only three companies were relocated to other areas of the United States. Company B, under the command of Captain Henry Wygant, would be relocated to the Vancouver barracks, in the state of Washington. Company D, under the command of Capt. Arthur D. Ducat, would be headed to Fort Harrison, in Montana. Company K, would be slotted for relocation to Fort Assinniboine, in Wyoming. Company M, a junior company in absence of a captain, were to relocate to Fort Spokane. The under lying message in all of this, would be that Fort Douglas would no longer be the home of the 24th infantry Regiment.

 

Sgt. Mack Stanfield, of Company B, former manager of the Browns, would be one of the men relocating to the Vancouver barracks in Washington. In the mean time, while still on post at Fort Douglas, Sgt. Stanfield was organizing a baseball team that he would name, the “Santiagos”. He felt that as soon as the ground had dried sufficiently, that the men of Fort Douglas should again try their hands at the game of baseball, to keep them active, and use their recreational time doing something productive. [34]

 

In late March, the local citizens of Salt Lake began to promote the upcoming baseball season, mixing politics and religion with the sport of baseball once again. It was noted, that Sunday baseball games were no longer acceptable, and only games played on Saturday afternoon would be allowed. The Y.M.C.A.’s, the Oregon Short Line, the R.G.W.’s (Rio Grande Westerns), and the Salt Lakes were teams that put in their bids for the scheduled season. [35]

 

Local Admirers of the National Game Making Ready.

The Elks of last year’s fame have given no signs of activity as yet. It is quite likely that the team will again be in the field this season. Whether the Browns at Fort Douglas will be able to support a team, weakened and split up as their strong aggregation of two years ago has been by war and division of the regiment, is uncertain. Several companies of the regiment are certain to remain here, but it is not likely that they can get any team which will be so successful as that of ’97.” — Salt Lake Herald, March 21, 1899

 

Simon Bamberger, manager of the Oregon Short Line railroad company would also be the manager of the Oregon Short Line baseball nine, and his nephew Joseph Bamberger would manage the Salt Lakes; together they would also invest a huge sum on money building a resort called the “Lagoon”, which would included a new baseball diamond. By all accounts, this would be the beginning of baseball no longer being played of the Fort Douglas grounds, by the civilian population or soldiers. Simon Bamberger’s financial motivations in trying to create a baseball monopoly that would only stage games at his resort, would do a tremendous detriment to the baseball season in the city of Salt Lake, and other surrounding cities, in the year of 1899. His plan was to get Fort Douglas shut down, as far as baseball was concerned, forcing people to travel to see baseball games at the Lagoon. The men of the 24th Infantry Regiment had larger concerns.

 

GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO AND ALCATRAZ

Headquarters and Three Companies to be at the Presidio–No New Smallpox Cases

An order was received at Fort Douglas yesterday giving the destination of the companies assigned to the Department of California. Headquarters and three companies will go ti the Presidio, and one company will be stationed at Alcatraz barracks. this was pleasant news for the officers and men connected with the regimental headquarters, for the Presidio is considered one of the most delightful stations. San Francisco is to be congratulated upon the acquisition of the band of the Twenty-fourth, the loss of which will be keenly felt here.” — Salt Lake Tribune, March 21, 1899

 

The summer season of baseball in Utah was affected by the reactivation of a ‘Blue Law’ during the Spring of 1899, that was written and adopted in 1881. It was a law that had been dragged out of moth balls to enforce the ruling of certain city councils in the Salt Lake area, that baseball should not be played within the city limits, as it was an immoral institution. Baseball players feared being arrested for playing within the city limits which they had done for many years, and contracts signed by traveling teams from out of state which were legal and ironclad, were subject to large cash forfeitures should the games not take place on the contractual dates, which included Sunday baseball games. In April, four more companies of the 24th infantry Regiment would head for the train depot late at night, loading up their gear and make their way to San Francisco, en route for their final destination, Manila in the Philippine Islands. [36]

 

NO MORE SUNDAY BASEBALL

The provision under which the police department will act is section 25 of title X, entitled crimes and punishments as follows:

“Any person who shall be convicted of skating, ball playing, hunting, fishing or any other kind of sporting, or who shall keep open bar, shop, store, or any other business or amusement or unnecessary business or labor, or who shall barter, sell or give away any spirituous, vinous, or fermented liquors, except for medicinal purposes, within city limits, on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, shall be liable to a fine in any sum not exceeding one hundred dollars.”

This ordinance became law June 27, 1881, over a decade an a half ago, when Ogden was a village and hardly seemed applicable to the city as Ogden city is today.” — Ogden Standard, May 18, 1899

 

Jackson, former catcher for the Fort Douglas Browns, played one final game at Fort Douglas, with a squad of nine who were not any good at playing the game of baseball at all. They were so awful, they were taken to task by a high school squad in their final game. It was probably based on their lack interest, as the regiment was in the final stages of being removed from the base. [37]

 

Armstrong had signed on to play with Henderson’s Whirlwinds, as he was an employee of the company, and that was the main requirements to be a part of the team. Jackson would play for the Y.M.C.A.’s that year, even though most of their games would be scheduled on Wednesdays and Saturdays, because of Sunday baseball coming under heavy scrutiny across the nation by members of Christian communities.

 

Fort Douglas was the only place near Salt Lake that had yet to enforce the Blue Law Sunday ban against playing baseball close to city limits, and because it was a military installation and did not fall under city ordinances purview. That would eventually change. A letter written by Simon Bamberger to General Merriman in Colorado, would ensure that baseball would never take place again on the Fort Douglas grounds. Bamberger’s three-pronged attack on preventing baseball from taking place at Fort Douglas included: using a group of four men who jumped from team to team; starting fights and encourage gambling and drinking at games in the cities that applied the letter of the Blue Law, including games on the Fort Douglas grounds; aligning himself with the sabbath movement of the Salt Lake area to prevent Sunday baseball from taking place in city limits, trying his best to force high attendance games to be played only at the Lagoon.

 

On June 13, 1899, the final orders for remainder of those stationed at Fort Douglas, the last 126 men of the 24th Infantry Regiment, to make final preparations to leave for San Francisco. They would be relieved by the Ninth Cavalry from Fort Duschesne. [38]

 

After the departure of the 24th Infantry Regiment from Fort Douglas, Simon Bamberger made certain that the Fort Douglas Brown’s legacy of playing baseball, drawing an average of over 1,000 spectators for every game the played during the season of 1897, would become nothing more than a faint memory in the hearts and minds of the people who had the opportunity to witness their prowess on the Fort Douglas diamond. After getting the U.S. government to shut the Fort Douglas field to civilian ball games, he made a deal with the government to buy the grand stand and fencing, having all of it dismantled, then had it shipped out to the Lagoon so it could be made into car sheds. [39]

 

Simon Bamberger Puts a Stop to It.

HIS PROTEST TO MERRIMAN

Simon Bamberger, proprietor of the Lagoon, does not favor the occupation of Government property by civilians. He also loos with especial disfavor upon the use of Government realty for the purpose of Sunday ball games. In fact, Mr. Bambergeer is opposed to Sunday ball–in Salt Lake county.

Ball is, of course, is played on Sunday at the Lagoon, but the Lagoon is in Davis county, and Davis county–well, that is different, that is all.

Whenever there has been a ball game at the Fort Douglas grounds, Mr. Bamberger hs groaned in spirit; first because a military reservation was being trodden under the foot of civilian baseball fiends, and second because the Sabbath was being violated by the players.

Finally, Mr. Bamberger hit upon a shrewd scheme by which to put a stop to the Sabbath desecration at the Fort grounds. He wrote a letter to Gen. Merriman at Dever protesting against the use of Government property by civilians for ball playing.

WORKED LIKE A CHARM

Gen. Merriman thought so too, and at once directed a communication to the commander at Fort Douglas, in which he ordered that no ball games be played upon the Fort Douglas grounds, except between soldiers and civilians,. He also ordered that no admission fee be charged. These orders brought Sunday games at the Fort to an abrupt termination.

Mr. Bamberger then magnanimously offered to purchase the lumber which has been used in fencing the grounds and constructing the stands. His offer was accepted and the grounds were dismantled.

SAVED SOLDIERS FROM LOSS

Had it not been for Mr. Bamberger’s generous offer the soldiers who assisted in purchasing lumber for the grounds would have lost money.

This in brief is the history of the rise and fall of Sunday ball playing at the Fort.” — Salt Lake Tribune, June 28, 1899

 

The act of closing the Fort Douglas field to civilian teams, had an overreaching effect that Bramberger didn’t count on. It effectively killed the 1899 baseball season, not only in the Salt Lake area, but also at the Lagoon, and other areas far outside of the city limits of Salt Lake. With no field to play on, the expense of traveling to the Lagoon to play ball or see games played, was out of the financial reach of most of the citizenry.  Bamberger’s baseball teams, one after another, were disbanded, simply for the fact that he could not maintain their salary compensation, based on the lack of drawing crowds to the Lagoon. Another factor, in the demise of baseball at the Lagoon was the reputation of fights that took place on the field when teams played at the Lagoon. Citizens did not want to squander the hard earned money to watch a game stopped because of a fight, or a fight that took precedence over a scheduled game of baseball.

 

Early Demise Of What Seemed A Successful Season.

The baseball season has seemed to have come to an untimely end in Salt Lake, and the faithful fans will have to hie to Ogden or some of the other surrounding towns if they wish to see any more ball games this summer.

It is rather unfortunate that this should be the case right in the middle of the summer, with three months and more of good baseball weather still coming. But for weeks past the baseball fever has been on the wane. During the period when the city was minus a ball field interest in the national game took a decided drop. The fans found it too much trouble to got out to the Lagoon for every game, and so they stayed home. —  Salt Lake Herald, July 30, 1899

 

 

The Fort Douglas Brows were not spoken of for many years after 1899. Baseball made a comeback in 1900, with the Inter-mountain being hosted at the Lagoon in 1901. There were other African American teams that played in Utah in 1897. The Salt Lake Monarchs was one of them. But the men of the 24th Infantry Regiment, the men of the Fort Douglas Browns would always be fondly remembered by those who had the opportunity to see them play the game of baseball. They had integrated baseball in Utah for a short, but meaningful period in 1897.

 

When Col. Abner Doubleday, one of the commanding officer’s of Fort McKavett, Texas, made a requested to General E.D. Townsend, Adjutant General of the U.S. Army for, “permission to purchase…baseball implements for the amusement of the men and a Magic Lantern for the same purpose.“, in June of 1871, one can only speculate what his intentions were when it came to teaching the game of baseball to the men of the 24th Infantry Regiment. The Fort Douglas Browns took the skills they had learned about the game of baseball, practiced them for close to a thirty year period and played against civilian teams far and wide, and applied their skills with diligence and sportsman like effort in 1897.

 

Of those that lived through the charge up San Juan hill, their recorded histories are scattered, and almost nonexistent. Those who survived moved on with their lives, only looking forward.

 

Sgt. Thomas W. “Capt” Countee left Fort Douglas and was transferred to the Presidio, where he is buried, along with other Buffalo Soldiers from that period. He drowned on August 21, 1899, during a reconnaissance mission while crossing the San Mateo river in the Philippines, along with eight other men from company G of the 24th Infantry Regiment.

 

Sgt. Mack Stanfiled was transferred to the Vancouver barrack, in Washington state, along with company B of the 24th Infantry Regiment. There are no details of him ever getting together a team called the ‘Santiagos’, but rumor has it that he did front for a team called the “Hard Hitters”, who sometimes went by the name “Brownies”, that played in 1899 and 1900. Sgt. Stanfiled retired and mover to Portland, Oregon, having survived the Battle of San Juan hill.

 

Walter H. Loving, known as “the Professor”, rose through the ranks from a Corporal to become of the the U.S. military’s first commissioned officers. Loving never made the climb up San Juan hill. He was discharged in Tampa, in June of 1898, but reenlisted in the 48th U.S.V.I. and continued his military career. After many long years, he achieved the rank of Major and was finally assigned to Military Intelligence during World War I, where he published many articles on the African American soldier, and the influences the military had on them when it came to racism on the battlefield and their treatment in America after returning home from war to face Jim Crow. He was also noted as chief musician and the first musical director who developed the Philippine Constabulary Band. He was killed in the Philippines during the Battle of Manila in 1945, under unknown circumstance.

 

 

Sgt. Thomas Countee headstone

 

End: Part IV

Part I    Part II    Part III

 

[32] Salt Lake Herald, January 27, 1899

[33] Salt Lake Herald, February 7, 1899

[34] Salt Lake Tribune, March 9, 1899

[35] Salt Lake Herald, March 21, 1899

[36] Ogden Standard, April 5, 1899

[37] Salt Lake Herald, May 22, 1899

[38] Salt Lake Tribune, June 14, 1899

[39] Salt Lake Herald, June 28, 1899

 

 

The Fort Douglas Browns – History of the Men of the 24th Infantry Regiment – Part 2

 

 

The Pioneer Day Jubilee was was the largest event held in the state of Utah in 1897, and the week long event was publicized in newspapers around the country, comparing it to the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Over $60,000 in private and public funds had been raised, and more than ten other states had donated money to usher in Utah as the 45th state of the Union. The city of Salt Lake was lined with the patriotic colors of the United States, while at the same time, the Jubilee colors burst forward in a brilliant spectacle to remind all the participants who attended this affair, that Utah still possessed its own cultural heritage.

 

“MAIN STREET

The entire front of the State Bank of Utah is concealed behind a drapery of the National and Jubilee colors, interwoven and blended into harmony.

The decorations on Templeton consist of long steamers of Stars and Stripes bunting, while the north front has innumerable flags of all sizes.

The Templeton restaurant has as single star in Jubilee colors in the center of which is a life-size portrait of William J. Bryan.” — Salt Lake Tribune, July 21, 1897

 

Utah voted predominately Democrat during the 1896 election cycle, and it was noted in many papers that Republican President William McKinley would not be showing up to the Pioneer Day Jubilee. Democratic-Populist, William Jennings Bryan, “The Great Commoner”, was the favorite son in the state of Utah during the Presidential campaign of 1896, based on his “Silverite” policy. Bryan had lost the electoral college by 95 votes, and the popular vote by over 600,000, but still remained the people choice in the state of Utah. The political and economic conflicts that endured between these two contradictory forces was represented in the colors that were flown by these opposing citizens of Utah, Goldbugs vs. Silverites; and the Republican Party would be represented by the 24th Infantry Regiment as a symbol of the United States during the Pioneer Jubilee. Bryan  attended the Pioneer Jubilee, representing the bimetallic platform for the Democratic party. President McKinley would not be at the Pioneer Jubilee, even though a formal delegation representing the new state of Utah was sent to Washington D.C. to invite him personally.

 

“(Special to the Herald) Washington, July 2 —

It can be safely stated now that President McKinley and his cabinet will not be visit Utah during her Semi-Centennial Jubilee. During the past week the president has confidentially expressed to several western members of congress, who were interested in the perspective trip, and who sought to learn his intentions regarding it, that he does not believe that he will see his way clear to go as far west as Utah until probably the later part of August, when he hopes to go to the Pacific Coast.

The committee sent to invite the president to Utah will be formally notified within a short time of his inability to accept the invitation. The apparent small interval which will exist between the adjournment of congress and the occasion of the celebration will be given as the principal reason therefore.” — Salt Lake Herald, July 3, 1897

 

The Hon. Moses Thatcher, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, made the introduction for Bryan at the Logan, Utah Tabernacle, in a speech on July 22, which stirred the Mormon champions of silver’s “16 to 1” currency policy, held by Utah’s moderate Democrats.

 

“Mr. Thatcher made a brief speech, saying, in part: “You all know that I’m not given to laudation of men, but it is a pleasure to find one who has the moral courage to stand forth and oppose the encroachments of oppressors of the people that I wish to here pay my humble tribute of admiration to our honored visitor today. With his eloquent voice, attuned to 16 silver, 1 golden tune of harmony, he has declared to all the people that oppression of the poor by the money changers must cease. I introduce to you Hon. William J. Bryan.”

BRYAN’S ELOQUENCE

“I have had a most pleasant time since I came to Utah.” said he. “In Salt Lake I had the pleasure of attending the Trans-Mississippi congress, also the opening exercise of the Pioneer Jubilee. I have learned that the people of this state are overwhelmingly in favor of bimetallism, and I will tell you my friends, we propose to continue the battle until financial freedom is won.” — Salt Lake Herald, July 23, 1897

 

Baseball was on still everyone’s mind though, including the Park City Miners who were devout ‘Silverites’. The Fort Douglas Browns had already played more games that season than the Park City Miners, and they had also won more games than the former state champions. Yet, the continuing feud between them would remain evident to the population of Salt Lake since the first time they met on the diamond. The Browns represented every aspect of life that the Miners of Park City had rejected since the 24th Infantry Regiment’s arrival in the state of Utah. They were black, they were U.S. government soldiers who spoke on behalf of the McKinley Administration, and they were good at the game of baseball.

 

The opening day events for the Pioneer Jubilee were numerous, and the draw to the baseball games were as important as any of the rest of the activities that were scheduled. The first game would be played between the Browns and the Jubilees. It would be called, “The Best Game Of The Season” by reporters.

 

“It was the best game of the season. So said everyone of the thousand people who saw the Browns defeat the Jubilees at the Fort Douglas grounds yesterday afternoon. It was close and exciting from the start to finish, with few errors and many clever plays by both sides. At the end of the sixth inning the score was 2 to 1 in favor of the Jubilees. Then Richards lost his temper at a decision of the umpire and the Jubilees and the Jubilees began to find him, and they made six runs in the two following innings. Kidder hurt his arm in a vain endeavor to stop a liner from Countee’s bat and after that he let down somewhat, and in the ninth inning, with the score 8 to 6 in favor of the Jubilees, McFarland replaced him. He sent a couple of men to base on balls, and then, with the bases full, Armstrong lifted the ball over the fence and the game and the game was won.” — Salt Lake Tribune, July 19, 1897

 

Armstrong’s grand slam had sealed the fate of the Jubilee team. It also sent a very strong message to the public at large. The final score was 10 to 8, in favor of the Browns.

 

“Armstrong’s Play Snatched Victory From the Jubilees and Perched It On the Banners of the Soldiers, But the Former Demonstrated That They Are Now Rivals Worthy of Any Other Team.”

BIG ARMSTRONG’S FEAT

It was then that big Armstrong took up the bat and rapped the ball so fiercely that it went many yards clear of the fence, and many yards above the left fielder’s head. And while men came dashing over the home plate, followed by Armstrong, the wild din of countless voices clattered over the field. Armstrong was gathered up and triumphantly held upon the shoulders of the enthusiast. Meanwhile the Jubilees limped away dazed and heavy of heart.” — Salt Lake Herald, July 19, 1897

 

The Pioneer Day Jubilee’s major event on July 21, 1897, between the most sought after rival  teams, the Park City Miners and the Fort Douglas Browns drew a crowd of three-thousand fans. It was by far, the largest draw of the season. After the defeat of the Jubilee team, the Park City Miners were out for blood. Cheating was not above them, or their traveling umpire, James Byrne. There would be trouble at this game from the very beginning.

 

“A baseball game, which came near terminating ere half-played, was on at the Fort Douglas grounds yesterday and 3000 people watched the Park City boys gain their second victory of the week by a score of 14 to 9 from the Browns of the Douglas garrison. It was in the last half of the third inning that the only thing to mar the pleasure of the game occurred, when Reid of the Browns collided with Capt. Lloyd, the miners shortstop, who was after a hot liner and claimed he did not see the colored man coming. The crowd, which by the way, was a very demonstrative one, simply raised up in the seats and yelled when Umpire Byrne, acting, so it seemed on impulse of the moment, declared Reid, who at meantime reached third, to be safe. No sooner was this done, than Capt. Lloyd walked over to the scorers’ stand, sacked his bats and retired from the field. This Achillean movement caused Byrne to reverse his decision and call Reid out. This made Capt. Loving of the Browns angry and had it not been for the timely appearance of Lieut. Jackson of Company B on the ground, the Browns would have withdrawn also. He advised Capt. Loving to go on with the game and the latter gave in, much to the chagrin of his team”. — Salt Lake Tribune, July, 22, 1897

 

With two game out of the way, one win against the Jubilees and one loss against Park City, the Browns would meet the Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s, on July 24, 1897. The Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s had just lost their game by a score of 7 to 3 against the Park City Miners in front of a crowd of 2,500 screaming fans the day before, and they gave the ‘Silverites’ a run for their money.

 

“The ball game yesterday afternoon between the Browns of Fort Douglas and the Ogden team, on the Fort Douglas grounds, was attended by a large crowd of very enthusiastic spectators, who appeared to feel well repaid for their their attendance. The game, which was unusually interesting and at times exciting, was very closely contested from start to finish. The Browns were whitewashed in the first, second and seventh innings, and the Ogdens in the second, third, forth, seventh and ninth. For the Browns, Richards and Dean were pitchers and Emmett and Ferrin for the Ogdens. The field work was good on both sides. Home runs were mad by Wheeler and Loving of the Browns, and by Greenwell of the Ogdens. A number of two and three-base hits were made on both sides. As usual, there was much fault found with the umpire.” — Salt Lake Tribune, July 25, 1897

 

In a tight game, the Browns defeated the Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s by a score of 9 to 8, which put them at two wins and one loss for the Pioneer Day Jubilee baseball series. In their final game, the Browns would once again take on the Jubilees.

 

Jubilee Boys Demonstrated There Right to Retire From the Diamond — Cannot Play Ball a Little Bit.

If the Jubilee nine ever had any illuminations, their lights went out yesterday on the dusty, sun-baked diamond at Fort Douglas. At the end of the melancholy and depressing conflict, the Jubilees were as much defunct in a baseball way as is the luminous celebration which they were created to represent.

PLAYED LIKE FARMERS

But there was a difference in the manner of the demise, for instead of going down amid belching cannons and meteors of flashing light, as the celebration did, the Jubilees simply went up against the soldier nine and were eaten up.

SPORT FOR THE BROWNS

And the Browns deemed it rare sport forsooth. They gathered in a harvest of seven in one inning and captured 12 more easily and gracefully before the curtain fell. There were home runs and sensational raps on the ball when three men covered the bags. The Browns gamboled as in the dust and grinned large mahogany grins. When the game was over they did not jubilate or tear severe cheers from their throats. All they did was to wrap up their countenances in big wide smirks.

The crowd, which had looked for no other ending to the burlesque filed out of the gate, meanwhile, a solemn and sad procession.” — Salt Lake Herald, July 26, 1897

 

The seven game series had ended, and the Park City Miners made quick work of announcing their domination in baseball at the Pioneer Day Jubilee. A ‘Jollification’ was in order, again staking claim to being the finest baseball team in the state of Utah. The Park City Miners had won three games. The Browns had also won three games out of the four they had played.

 

“Park City, July 27 — The Park City and Independent bands and the baseball club held a jollification last night, celebrating the victories won at the Jubilee last week. It will be remembered that the Park City band took the first prize of $200, and the Independent band took the second prize of $100, while the baseball nine defeated each of three contesting teams, the Browns, Jubilees, and Ogdens.

Brooms were carried by victors of the diamond. On the banners were inscribed:”Eleven victories out of twelve contest: that ain’t bad for drill drivers.” “Park City band won the $200 prize; Independent band won the $100 prize.” “We’re the only Pebbles on the Beach.” “All coons look alike, Park city on top.” “Ogden Y.M.C.A. nine drank all the red lemonade in Salt Lake.” “We’ve got next to the whole works; turn your lamps on us and see ‘lumination’.” “The Jubilees, they couldn’t split wood.” —  Salt Lake Herald, July 28, 1897

 

The month of August held some interesting developments for the Park City Miners and the Jubilees after the Pioneer Jubilee week, where baseball was concerned. These two teams disbanded, and reorganized in order to take down the Browns, while the Browns would continue to play against teams like Leadville and the Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s. This new team would be eventually call themselves the Salt Lake “Cracks”.  Another reason for this consolidation of the Jubilees and Park City Miners had to do with the shutting of two major mining camps in Park City. The Daily and Ontario mines were not producing, and many of the men working them would be thrown out of their current employment. In July of 1897, the miners of Park City accepted a wage cut during the Pioneer Jubilee Day event.  By early August, 1,200 men would be out of work.

 

“Salt Lake, Aug. 6 — The Ontario and Daily mines in Park city, Utah closed down this evening. A cut in wages was made several days ago and the men cheerfully submitted, but owing to the drop in silver during the past few days it was deemed best to close them altogether. This action means the throwing out of employment of at least 1,200 men. There is intense excitement in this city and Park City tonight over the actions of these companies. No one blames them, however, as it is a well known fact that the mines have operated at a loss. A crash in the other direction is anticipated.” — Ogden Standard, August 7, 1897

 

“The Park City baseball club, on account of the mines closing, have disbanded, and each was paid his share of the money in the treasury, which was quite an amount.” — Round Up, August 13, 1897

 

“The Jubilee and Park City baseball teams have consolidated, and propose to pick their best men with the view of “doing up” the boys of Fort Douglas.” — Ogden Standard, August 13, 1897

 

“The Ogden base ball nine are arranging for a game with the Fort Douglas Browns, at Salt Lake for some day next week. While this is going on, the Jubilees have consolidated with the Park nine and the best members of each team now constitute the “Jubilees”. They are after the “Browns” scalps.” — Ogden Standard Examiner, August, 13, 1897

 

At the Fort Douglas compound, the soldiers continued on with their duties, which included drilling and inspections, and spent their recreational time playing baseball among themselves.

 

“The soldiers are now anxiously awaiting orders for the practice march. The exact date is not yet known, but they will undoubtedly leave very shortly after the inspector general arrives and makes his inspection.

The inspector general is expected to arrive in the post on the 16th. He is on a regular tour and will thoroughly inspect the troops and the garrison here. The troops will be put through all the different forms of squad, company, battalion and regimental drills. Besides this the quarters, storehouses and the whole post will be carefully inspected.

Skirmish firing is now nearly completed and it is expected that volley will commence today. With the completion of volley firing the season’s practice will be over and the season of field work will commence.

Baseball is one of the most interesting topics among the men at present. There are several teams in existence among the different companies, and contest are of frequent occurrence. One of the games announced is for the 4th, when the F company  “Chunks” will play the B company “Chumps”. The game will be called at 7:00 am sharp. All the men who wish to see the game will have to forego their after breakfast nap. Game is called at such an early hour to give to give the players time to finish nine innings before dark. The last score between the two teams was 204 to 185.

Professor Loving, the crack all around ball player for the Browns, has suddenly stepped forth and tipped his cap to a delighted audience that sat in rapture over his musical work. Loving has shown that his voice — which so often is heard on the baseball field crying “slide, Reid, or you’ll cash your checks” — has the power to charm as well as coach. He is leader of the choir and fills his position with credit. He is also leader of the mandolin club and shows that his fingers can touch the strings of a mandolin as deftly as they can grab a baseball bat.” — Salt Lake Herald, August 12, 1897

 

The new, ‘improved’ “Jubilee” team, that was gunning for the Fort Douglas Browns would suffer their last defeat under that name at the hands of the Browns in mid August.

 

“The Salt Lake team, an aggregation composed of some of the best men from the Jubilee nine, Park City boys and others, went up against the Fort Douglas Browns, yesterday afternoon, and the score — 20 to 14 — in favor of the soldiers, tells the whole story.

The city boys put up a good game, but were deficient in team work, while their pitchers were not strong enough to hold the Browns down. Allen, McFarland, and Kimbrough were put in the box in succession, but it made little difference to the warriors, who kept right on playing ball. The city team did some good stick work in the first, pounding out four runs, and scored two in the second, three in the fifth, one in the seventh and four in the eight, but closed the ninth with a goose egg.

The soldiers scored three runs in the first, three in the second, seven in the third, two in the fourth and then let up until the eight when they piled up five.” — Salt Lake Herald, August 16, 1897

 

This would be last game of August for the Browns, even though they were challenged by a pick nine called the Salt Lake Athletics. The negotiations fell through, and the Browns never played the Athletics. All roads would lead to Leadville, the “Champions of Colorado”, who would challenge the former Jubilee-Park City consolidated team now known as the Salt Lake Cracks. The Fort Douglas field is where the game would be staged for all to witness, and Cracks and Leaville teams would end the game in a riot in the eight inning, with Leadville walking off the field, forfeiting the game to the Cracks.

 

The Browns would soon face the Leadville Blues in a three game series at the Fort Douglas grounds to determine who was the best between them. The Blues always brought the same attitude to the field. Win, or start a riot, then claim victory. The Browns would win two of the three games, one of them by forfeit of the last game, which ended up in a tie score of 13 to 13, and a riot in the tenth inning with Leadville walking off the field. Leadville left town claiming they were the victorious, and staked a claim of being the champions of both the state of Colorado and Utah. [11]

 

Second Game of the Series Produces a Score of 19 to 10

The Browns found the Leadville team somewhat easy victims at the Fort Douglas grounds yesterday. In the third inning they knocked Francis out of the box and scored twelve runs. More than enough to win the game.” — Salt Lake Tribune, September 19, 1897

 

“The game of ball at the fort ended yesterday with more or less glory for the Browns, but for all that it was an unhappy termination to a good battle.

In an attempt to decide a tie game by the tenth inning, a dispute arose in the Leadville camp over a decision by the umpire, and as the Colorado men refused to play any more in the soldiers’ yard the umpire awarded the game and the victory to the Browns. This gave the Browns two games out of the tournament of three.”  — Salt Lake Herald, September 20, 1897

 

“In a congratulatory story headed, “The Champions Of The West”, the Leadville Herald, Democrat, pats its returned baseball team on the back for the record it made on its recent trio through Utah.

The article says in part: “The baseball club returned from their successful trip through Utah Tuesday, and the boys all report a splendid trip financially. Manager Grier says the club played excellent ball while on the trip, and conducted themselves as gentlemen at all times, making friends at all the different cities where they appeared. Out of eleven games played the club won six, lost two and had three drawn games. The Blues have played forty-nine games this season, winning thirty-seven, losing nine and playing three tie games. This is the best record made by an independent club in Colorado, and the people of our city should certainly feel proud of the club which has succeeded in winning the championship of both Colorado and Utah. The city has been certainly advertised over the West, as a winning baseball team creates more interest and excitement than any other attraction in the country. Last Sunday the boys played to 1500 people in Salt Lake City against the famous Fort Douglas Browns in the most exciting and interesting contest ever played in Utah. At the beginning of the tenth inning the score stood 13 to 13, when a small-sized riot was started by the people betting on the contest, and the game was broken up” — Salt Lake Tribune, September 25, 1897

 

After the Salt Lake Cracks won their game by forfeit to the Leadville Blues, they would take a final stab at the Fort Douglas Browns. It was natural to think they stood a chance at seizing the day, and placing a final nail in the coffins of the Browns notoriety. Game after game, the Brown drew a crowd of a thousand or more spectators in attendance. The Cracks would be hard pressed to prove their point about which team would dominate the state of Utah, and after weeks of practice, their challenge of the Browns would be met by defeat.

 

“Nearly a thousand people watched the Browns and the Salt Lake gambol for two hours about the Fort Douglas baseball grounds yesterday afternoon. It was not very good baseball at any stage of the game, but the players had lots of fun and so did the spectators. The Browns won out in a very leisurely sort of way by a score of 13 to 5. Their victory was principally due to the very clever work in the box of pitcher Harris. It was Harris’s debut in the box before the Salt Lake audience and he created a most favorable impression. The Salt Lakes scored all of their runs in the first three innings. Harris held the Salt Lakes down to three scratch singles. He has good speed and excellent control, watches the bases well and is fairly good with the stick.

Reid of the Browns was in a hilarious mood and kept the players and spectators convulsed during most of the game by his antics. Adams was hit by a pitched ball in the sixth inning and had to be carried off the field. He recovered sufficiently to be able to go on with the game.

The feature were Lloyd’s fine stop of Countee’s sharp grounder in the seventh and Matthews’s splendid catch of Reid’s long fly at the left field fence in the sixth.” — Salt Lake Tribune, September 27, 1897

 

War was brewing between the United States and Spain, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt made it clear that there was no way around it. Any and all negotiation had failed.

 

Secretary Roosevelt Believes War With Spain Is Almost Certain

Uncle Sam Making Preparations for the Prospective TroubleThe Navy Department Gathering its Available MenWhat Wooford Said.

New York, Sept. 22–“This country is on the verge of war with Spain.”

These are the word of the Assistant Secretary Of the Navy Roosevelt. He used them at a conference of some of the commanders of the naval militia, whom he had summoned to Washington to learn of the state of their commands and a number of men that can be depended on to complete the complement of warships and auxiliary navy.” — Logan Journal, September 25, 1897\

 

The final game of season for the men of the 24th Infantry Regiment would be a rematch between the Browns and the Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s.  It would be an away game, played on the Ogden field in mid October.  It was a hard fought victory for the Y.M.C.A.’s, by a final score of 7 to 4, but what hadn’t been known by anyone in the Salt Lake area, is that after this game, the Ogden Y.M.C.A’s would disband their club and claim that they were now the champions of the state of Utah.

 

They are now Champions of Utah.

The Club has Disbanded for the Season and Will Open Up Next Year With the Intention of Holding the Banner in Ogden

During the past week, the Salt Lake teams, including the Fort Douglas Browns, have been endeavoring to secure a game of ball, with the Ogden team, to take place in Salt Lake. To all the inquiries the manager of the club has replied that the Ogden team has disbanded and would play no more games this year. The departure of Emmett, the crack pitcher for the Ogdens, left a vacancy which cannot be filled this season, but the club management is pushing matters for the securing of a tip top twirler and some other good timber for the coming year.

One point which the last game with the Browns brought out, but which was kept quiet for some reason, was that the game was for the championship of Utah. The Ogden team had defeated the Jubilees twice, and the Browns twice, while the Browns had defeated Ogden twice. This game was the rubber, and Ogden won it out from the start, thus securing the championship, and they say they are going to keep it.” — Ogden Standard Examiner, October 13, 1897

 

Of course, the Ogden Standard Examiner laid its own twist on the game in question, boosting the story to secure the pride of the home team. The Salt Lake Tribune called a different game, where both teams were battling fiercely, with Ogden in the lead and the score standing at 5 to 4 in the seventh inning in favor of the home team, until Ogden pulled ahead and shut the Browns down with good pitching and batting. The Ogden team batted out two runs in the eight innings, and the Browns could not recover at the plate. [12]

 

With the 1897 season officially over, the Browns prepared for next year by making plans for a grass field, to cut down on the dust that came with every play.

 

“The Browns are now hard at work on the baseball grounds, getting them in shape for next season. The club has purchased a large amount of grass seed, and are preparing to sow it all so that the grass will be up in the spring. The ground were very dusty last summer and made it disagreeable, for the players as well as the spectators. By sowing the field with grass, it is hoped to do away with the nuisance of dust. An attempt will be made to make a lawn of the whole enclosure, but a especial attention will be given to having grass in the diamond and in front of the grand stand. Next season will probably see the inevitable signs “Keep off the grass” placed about the field.

In the general work about the ground will be included the leveling of the field and a rebuilding or repairing of the grand stand. The fences will be repaired and the grounds laid out anew. The season just past was a very successful one for the Browns, both in financial and professional ways. The net proceeds of the season will be about $500, and a great deal of it will be spent in buying new suit, bats, balls and other necessaries for the season of ’98. In a professional way, the Browns won a great many laurels. The only team that could boast over their victories over the Browns were the Park City boys. And even they have not much to boast of, as their victories were hard earned and not “walk-aways.” Countee has been elected to fill the place of secretary for the team for the next season.” — Salt Lake Herald, November 29, 1897

 

Corporal Thomas W. Countee, of Company F, would also take over as team manager of the Fort Douglas Browns. replacing Sergeant Mack Stanfield, of Company B, who would be placed on a three month furlough to visit his family and friends in Nashville, Tennessee. [13]

 

The Browns of Fort Douglas had made a name for themselves throughout the West in ’97, and were recognized as one of the premier teams to play the game of baseball. Their 1897 season was filled with more wins than losses, against more teams than any other team in the state of Utah. That fact would not be soon forgotten by the citizens of Utah, so far as the game of baseball was concerned. They endeared themselves to both spectators and opponents, and brought excitement to every Sunday event they undertook. So much so, they were slotted as one of the main teams to be invited to play in the newly developing 1898 State League of Utah. [14]

 

The Browns would never get a chance to play in the scheduled state league games; and for most of the men of the 24th Infantry Regiment, they would never play baseball again.

 

End: Part II

Part I   Part III   Part IV

 

[11] Herald Democrat-September 23, 1897

[12] Salt Lake Tribune, October 6, 1897

[13] Salt Lake Tribune, Dec 26, 1897

[14] Salt Lake Trubune, March 6, 1897

The Fort Douglas Browns – History of the Men of the 24th Infantry Regiment – Part 1

 

 

Abner Doubleday, Fort McKavett, Texas, Fort Bayard, New Mexico, Fort Huachuca, Arizona and Fort Douglas, Utah all bear a common thread in the study of African American baseball history:

 

The 24th Infantry Regiment.

 

The study of African American 19th Century baseball, and those who participated in the sport is nominal. In some instances, it is almost nonexistent. The rationales for these occurrences are many, and within reason. Some of it can be related to the type of media used at that time, and the record keeping retention process. The written word was only accessible to those who had an interest in reading, and record keeping was limited based upon its value of importance. Photography was expensive and time consuming in the 19th Century, and many of the players were seldom photographed, unless they paid for them from their own pockets. More than often, illustrations, or cartoons were used as a substitute for photographs to depict players of color. The highly documented reporting of the men of the 24th Infantry Regiment during the years of 1897 and 1898 displayed very detailed accounts in the press of their participation of the national pastime, both off and on military installations.

 

The 24th Infantry Regiment was originally formed in 1869 by consolidating the 38th and 41st Infantry Regiments, which took up residence at Fort McKavett, Texas, and formed the main body of the 24th Infantry Regiment. [1]  Most of these men were former volunteers United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.) during the Civil War, who would eventually become Army ‘Regulars’. Their main duties would include defending frontier outpost, maintaining peace and order throughout Southwestern U.S. territories, escorting supply trains, repairing telegraph lines, and supplying security for the railroads and wagon construction teams, in addition to protecting Army payrolls while escorting Army paymasters. There were also certain companies within the 24th Infantry Regiment that deployed along a 220 mile stretch of territory, who were also stationed at Fort Stockton, Fort Davis, and Fort Concho.

 

Spending their lives on the Texas frontier was harsh and labor intensive duty for everyone involved in the regiment. There were constant skirmishes with hostile Native Americans, pursuits into Mexico, while at the same time guarding supply lines and and watering holes. The 24th Infantry Regiment lived a life of isolation, far removed from the creature comforts of civilization of  the larger cities, learning to the most of their time spent in service to the Union Army. Their involvement in the pacification of ‘Indians’ across the plains and deserts of America, and protection for the ever expanding civilian populations from the East who were intent on moving westward under the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, were inclusive as part of their main duty assignment in these very desolate environments. Within the fort setting though, they still found time for baseball.  As small towns sprung up across the plains, the 24th Infantry Regiment would engage civilian opponents in the national pastime.

 

After 11 years of duty on the Llano Estacado, the Staked Plains, units of the 24th Regiment were transferred to the Oklahoma territory, being stationed among Fort Sill, Fort Supply, and Fort Reno, continuing to stand guard duty, while also patrolling nearby Native American reservations. In the late 1880’s, the 24th Infantry Regiment was once again transferred; this time to the Far West and New Mexico-Arizona territory, operating under the same principles that had been set for them in the past, operating out of Fort Bayard, Fort Huachuca, Fort Apache, and Fort Grant. The overall political influence that small western towns possessed with Washington D.C., at this time in history, had little effect on the stationing of African American troops being stationed in these far away ‘burgeoning cities’. Also, these smaller communities provided less exposure to racial conflict, but by no means eliminated the pervasive racial attitudes which continued to persist among the larger American populous that existed before and after the Civil War.

 

For 27 years, between 1869 and 1896, companies of the 24th Infantry Regiment had been stationed all over Texas, the Oklahoma Territory, and the Arizona-New Mexico Territory of Southwest, until they finally reached their new assignment destination at Fort Douglas, Utah. It would be the first time in history, since the of their creation, that the men of the 24th Infantry Regiment, and every company of the 24th would be stationed at the same location. Fort Douglas and Salt Lake City, Utah would be their new home, and deservedly so.

 

“The year 1896 brought and end the 24th Infantry Regiment’s peaceful days at Fort Huachuca. Sergeant Benjamin Brown and Company C found themselves forming once again along the railroad siding at Huachuca station in Arizona. This time they were mounting the trains to leave Fort Huachuca and Arizona territory forever. This all-black regiment was ordered to Fort Douglas, Utah near Salt Lake City. The move involved two first for the entire unit. It would be the first time that all the companies of the 24th Infantry Regiment were stationed together, serving as a complete fighting force. It would also be the first time they were all posted to a fort near a reasonable-sized city.” [2]

 

Salt Lake Tribune-04-25-1908

Salt Lake Tribune – April 25, 1908

 

For many years, long after their arrival to Salt Lake City, the ‘Browns of Fort Douglas’ would be very well respected and would also be remembered for their baseball skills, along with their gentlemanly manners and as military heroes of the state of Utah. The Fort Douglas Browns were the Men of the 24th Infantry Regiment, who took up residence and were stationed at Fort Douglas, Utah in Oct. of 1896, replacing the 16th Infantry Regiment, which had been stationed at that location for eight years, protecting a main hub of the Transcontinental Railroad.[3]  These men of the 24th Infantry Regiment paved the pathway of diversity and acceptance of African Americans, and set the outstanding examples of how men of color should behave in a predominately white environment, both on and off the field. Expectations for the Occidentals of Salt Lake were set at a very high bar, because the men of the 24th Infantry Regiment were not initially welcomed by the predominately white community of Salt Lake.

 

Utah officially became the forty-fifth state of the Union in January of 1896, and the people of Salt Lake may have possessed certain fears of these new ‘colored’ troops for any number of reasons. One reason may have been the controversy behind Utah being known as a heavily populated Mormon enclave since its inception as a territory,  and the men of the 24th Infantry Regiment could have been religiously associated with having heavy contact the ‘Lamanite’ cultures of the United States. Mormon culture at that time had its own restrictions on race mixing, which included most social practices that consisted of basic day-to-day living. Another reason could be that the 24th was being brought here by the U.S. government shortly after the Utah War, where ill feelings towards the government continued to exist, roiling under the surface of a proposal of national unity. Even though the Mormon religion considered slavery wrong and they were staunch abolitionist, the intermingling of white officers and black troops living together in an encampment, clashed against all precepts that were laid out in the The Book of Mormon.

 

Through the diligent efforts of John Mercer Langston, Chaplin Allen Allensworth, and Lt. General Nelson A. Miles, Fort Douglas was considered a “good station”, and long overdue for men who had served the in national interest for decades. This would be one of the last great acts John Mercer Langston, shortly before his his death from malarial indigestion in 1897, having formerly served as U.S. Minster to Haiti, and a chargé d’affaires in the Dominican Republic in the lat 1870’s.

 

In the article titled, “An Unfortunate Change“, the Salt Lake Tribune created tall tales and falsehoods about the 24th Infantry Regiment, trying to entreat their readership to react to the negative impact these colored soldiers would have on their community. [4]

 

“Readers of this mornings paper saw with sorrow that the Sixteenth Infantry is to be sent away from here and is to be succeeded by the Twenty-fourth. The first was losing the Sixteenth. The regiment has been here for several years; the closet social ties have been formed between the regiment and our own people, and their going away will sever many and many warm friends.

There’s another reason. They are to substituted by a colored regiment, and while the colored man is just as good as the white man; while he ought to have every privilege that the white man has, there is no occasion on earth to try and force a change in conditions which will involve a strong revulsion in the minds of the best people in the city. The residence portion of Salt Lake is on the way between the main business part of the city and Fort Douglas. When our theaters are running the best people of the city, in crowds, have to take the street-cars to go home at night. They do not want to be brought in direct contact with a drunken colored soldiers on the way from the city to Fort Douglas By that we do not mean to say that colored men drink more than the white men do, but a drunken white soldier naturally shrinks from getting into the car with ladies and gentlemen, whereas the colored soldier, under the same conditions, will be sure to want to assert himself. We mention that merely as a sample, and our judgment is that if the facts were laid before the Secretary of War, he might still be induced to make the change and send the colored men to some other station where they would be just as comfortable, where they would have just as many privileges, and where they would not be a source of apprehension and discomfort to the people of a large city like this.” — Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 20, 1896.

 

From the outset, even newly elected Senator Frank J. Cannon of Utah, traveled to Washington D.C. with a delegation of concerned citizens to make his plea before the Secretary of War, Daniel S. Lamont, to change the marching orders of these colored troops. The exchange of the 24th Infantry Regiment for the 16th Infantry Regiment at Fort Douglas was set in stone. They had served with distinction for close to thirty years since their creation, and had the lowest desertion rate and lowest alcoholism rate of any other regiment in the U.S. Army at that time.

 

The 24th Infantry Regiment were one the of the Buffalo ‘foot soldier’ components of the 9th and 10th Cavalry, and the Fort Douglas Browns baseball team was often mistaken for “Troop B” or the “Duchesne Giants”, which was the 9th Cavalry’s baseball team stationed at Fort Duchesne. [5]   The 24th Infantry Regiment’s scattered history began shortly after the end of the Civil War, with the Reorganization Act of 1866, which extended in further reductions of all fighting regiments of the Regular Army through to 1869.

 

“On the afternoon of Oct. 22, the first section of the 24th Infantry arrived. They marched from the depot of Fort Douglas, a distance of four miles, and a great many people assembled along the street to see the soldiers pass. Very few of the people of Salt Lake City have ever seen a colored soldier before so it was quite a novelty item for them. The last of the regiment did not arrive until 2 o’clock the next morning. The 24th are very busy getting settled in their new stations.”– Army and Navy Journal, Nov. 7, 1896, pg. 157, reporting date Oct. 24, 1896 “Fort Douglas, Utah“.

 

“The Browns, the crack baseball team of the regiment, are making preparations for the coming season. They are fencing in a tract of ground south of the lower parade ground which will be smoothed and rolled and put in good shape for the games. The membership was confined to four companies while at Fort Bayard, while now there are eight to chose from. The nine has met some of the best teams in the Southwest, and has a large chain of victories to its credit.”… — Salt Lake Tribune,  April 11, 1897.

 

“The soldiers are making active preparations for the coming baseball season Several nines are being organized, and it is their intentions to have one of the finest teams in the State.”… — Army and Navy Journal, April 17, 1897, reporting date April 10, 1897 “Fort Douglas, Utah“.

 

The Browns 1897 season would include playing against teams from the Oregon Short Line club, the Park City Miners, the Duchensne Giants (9th Cavalry), the Jubilees, the Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s, the Evanstons (from Wyoming) the Provo nine, the Salt Lake Athletics, and the Leadville Blues (of Colorado).

 

“Tu-re-lei!      U-S-A!”   “The Oregon Short Line boys — will show you how to play!”… — Salt Lake Herald, May 10, 1897.

 

In the Browns season opener, which took place on the Fort Douglas diamond, they played the Oregon Short Line, defeating the O.S.L. by a score of 16 to 14. Two-thousand fans filled the seats at Fort Douglas that day.

 

“Such was the cry of the grand stand rooters, but 2,000 people can today testify the the situation is exactly the reverse.

The Twenty-fourth regiment nine can give the Oregon Short Line boys cards and spades when it comes to playing baseball. This fact was demonstrated in the contest between the two teams at Fort Douglas yesterday afternoon. The colored lads showed their superiority in every way. They played a good, steady game, they conducted themselves more gentlemanly than their white antagonist, a fact appreciated time and again by the cheers that greeted the colored boys, when time and again they surrendered points rather than become involved in a dispute.

It was the first game of any consequence of the season. If the popularity of baseball during the coming summer is to be measured by the attendance yesterday there is to be a genuine revival of interest in the national game.

A careful estimate could not place the number of people who passed through the gate at less than 2,000. There were many out and the modest grand stand was a perfect maze of brilliant feminine headgear. The car companies did an excellent business and everybody went to see the game. Those that had left their change in the pockets of the week-day suits made use of the numerous cracks in the board enclosure, while other scaled the fence, a feat attempted by several enthusiastic ladies. Had it not been for the prompt action of  First Sergeant Richardson of Company B, who was a sort of master of ceremonies, the bunch of pretty girls who were on the point of venturing this daring feat might have cheated the gatekeeper out of  several quarters. But the sergeant’s eagle eye was everywhere and just as half a dozen heads and parasols peeked over the fence he commanded Private Norton: ” See that those ladies don’t get over the fence” “…— Salt Lake Herald, May 10, 1897.

 

‘Two bits’ was a lot of money in that era. The gate earned over $500 dollars that day, and with the grand stands becoming filled, women of Utah who loved the game of baseball were trying to sneak in to see these ‘colored troops’ play a worthy game being staged, between these two opposing forces. Few were disappointed and many were more in awe of the spectacle they had just witnessed. The next game scheduled would be played against the well known Park City Miners, led by Rhea Byron “Old Hoss” Harkness, who’s team had dominated the region for the last two years. After hearing about the defeat of the Oregon Short Line nine by the Fort Douglas Browns, “Old Hoss” took extreme measures to ensure a decisive win against the 24th Infantry Regiment team at all cost.

 

“The Park City baseball club left here on the Utah Central special at 10:45 this morning, accompanied by over seventy of Park City’s strong-lunged rooters. Each member of the ball team sported a “right hind foot of a rabbit which had been killed in a cemetery in the dark of the moon at midnight by a red-headed, cross-eyed coon,” the gift of L. E. Hubbard.” — Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 1897, reported by Correspondence Tribune, May 16, 1897.

 

As reported by the Army and Navy Journal and Salt Lake Tribune, the Park City Miners went down in defeat, by a score of 9 to 8. [6][7]

 

“The hitherto invincible Park City baseball team met defeat yesterday at the hand of the Browns of Fort Douglas. The overthrow occurred at the new baseball field on the reservation, by a score of 9 to 8. For two years the Miners have had their own way on the diamond. Last year they went through an entire season without defeat and their name was a veritable terror to the ball tossers all over Utah. But the colored soldiers, with their years of practice under the sultry skies of New Mexico and Arizona proved too much for the men of the hills and the grey and purple of Park City was trailed in the dust. And there was a good deal of dust too.

It was a good game, replete with incidents, to delight baseball enthusiasts, and twenty-one hundred people who paid for admissions to the grounds felt that they had received their full 15 cents worth. The grounds were filled.” — Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 1897

 

The Fort Duchesne Giants, Company B of the 9th Cavalry, would be next on the Browns agenda for a series of games played at Fort Douglas between May 20th and 24th, 1897. The Browns would take two of the three game series, and Company B returned from leave to the Unitah reservation after being defeated in the final game. At this point, the Fort Douglas Browns had won four of the five games they played since their season began.

 

“Events at Fort Douglas for the past week have been rather quiet in everything but athletics. Baseball has been an all-absorbing topic, and all else has been forgotten, especially by the enlisted men. However, drills and parades are still in progress, and the other duties of the garrison are still being done in a regular routine.” — Salt Lake Herald, May 25, 1897

 

On May 30, 1897, the Browns lost their second scheduled game to the Park City Miners, by a score of 5 to 0.

 

“When the home team lost the game on May 16th they felt quite certain the tables would be turned in the next game. when the game was called last Sunday there was at least 2000 anxious people on the ground eager to view the contest among that number being Salt Lake and Fort Douglas admirers of the visiting team. It was an enthusiastic gathering and it was evident right from the start that the game was going to be for “blood”. While the game was not errorless, it was a fine exhibition of scientific baseball from beginning to end — a game that had a tendency to cause the spectators to hold their breath in anticipation of what would happen next.”…

The Salt Lake papers where not inclined to give the Park boys full credit for their magnificent game they put up but then it wasn’t expected.”– Park Record, June 5, 1897

 

“The day was perfect, the sun being obscured by clouds during the entire game, which was excellent throughout, notwithstanding the fact that at the end the the score stood at 5 to 0 in favor of the Park City nine.

In fielding and catching the two clubs were about equal, but the Browns could not find the ball when Harkness was in the box, in consequence of which they fanned out more zeros than the score card could well accommodate without putting on substantial additions.

Still, though defeated, the Fort Douglas lads took their whitewash with the utmost good nature, and now they want to play the rubber.” —  Salt Lake Herald, May 31, 1897

 

The Semi-Centennial ‘Pioneer Jubilee’ of 1897, celebrating fifty years of Mormon culture since the arrival of Brigham Young and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints immigrants in Salt Lake Valley. It was a huge event scheduled in the month of July; and in preparation for the event, a new baseball club called the ‘Jubilees’ was formed to take on the Fort Douglas Browns. The Browns would help the Salt Lake community earn money for the Pioneer Jubilee event by playing baseball to help “swell the Jubilee funds”.

 

Next Sunday at 1:30 PM the Jubilee baseball team will play the Browns of the garrison at the Fort Douglas grounds. A percentage of the receipts of this and future games will go to swell the Jubilee funds. The Pioneer Jubilee colors predominate in the uniforms of the Jubilee team, and its players are men who have made records on the diamond. Fred Knickerbocker, first baseman, and Harry Miller, short stop and captain, were members of the Omaha Originals at the time that aggregation was the championship club of Nebraska.” — Salt Lake Tribune, June 11, 1897

 

The Pioneer Jubilee would be a coming out party for the Mormon community of Salt Lake; and the colors red, yellow, and sage green, representing the Mormon enclave, were intermingled in a dazzling array along with the Red, White, and Blue. Banners were displayed in abundance all over the city, as far as the eye could see. [8]

The Pioneer Jubilee signaled a new era in Mormon patriotism, by finalizing the chapter in Mormon history which had been filled with bloodshed and religious bigotry, as this ‘new’ Mormon culture expanded beyond their own boundaries, embracing an uncertain world beyond Utah’s borders. Although this grand affair had yet to take place, the preparations for this epic event began almost six weeks prior to all the scheduled activities the Pioneer Jubilee would provide in July.

Beyond baseball, among the Pioneer Jubilee events, one of them included a grand performance by the 24th Infantry Regimental Band, which included member Walter H. Loving, who at that time, had firmly secured his position at first base for the Fort Douglas Browns. [9]

The Browns lost to the Jubilees on June 13, 1897, by a score of 20 to 8, but were scheduled to play four of the seven games which would run during the Pioneer Jubilee Day celebration.

Pioneer Jubilee Baseball Schedule:

Sunday-July 18, 1897- Fort Douglas Browns vs. Jubilees

Tuesday-July 20, 1897- Jubilees vs. Park City Miners

Wednesday-July 21, 1987- Fort Douglas Browns vs. Park City Miners

Thursday-July 22, 1897- Park City  Miners vs. Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s

Friday-July 23, 1897- Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s vs. Jubilees

Saturday-July 24, 1897- Fort Douglas Browns vs. Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s

Sunday-July 25, 1897- Fort Douglas Browns vs. Jubilees

 

With this scheduled series of games being well over a month off, the Browns once again took on the Park City Miners on the Fort Douglas grounds, on June 20, 1897. This ‘rubber game’  would determine which team was better between the Browns and Miners, and the battle between these two giants of the Salt Lake area was heavily advertised in all the newspapers. Harkness and the Park City Miners felt that the Fort Douglas Browns were not only their greatest foe on the diamond, but that the Browns also posed a danger to their reputation as champions of the state of Utah, as well as their political standing in the newly formed state. The Browns became their main nemesis and had to be defeated at all cost. There was really bad blood between these two teams, and some of it stemmed from the support the Browns received from the people of Salt Lake, who were trying to move past the reputation the U.S. government had placed on them and government resistance to the Mormon culture. The Browns represented not only a direct threat to the Park City Miners as a ball club, but they also challenged the order of things as they had been done for years; formerly as a territory, and now as a state of Utah, since the Great Mormon Exodus in 1846.

 

The Browns lost the ‘rubber’ to the Miners. It was a blow out in favor of Park City, by a score of 10 to 1, with only one ejection from the game. Cropper, the Browns steadfast umpire, who was also a soldier at Fort Douglas, was removed from the game by Loving for making a bad call on “Capt.” Countee. Countee was the primary shortstop for the Fort Douglas Browns. “Capt.” Countee was actually a Corporal, but the moniker “Capt.” was placed on him because he was normally team captain of the Browns. Umpire Byrnes, a Park City fixture, would enforce the rules, handle disciplinary action, and judge the remainder of this final contest of a three-game series from behind the plate.

 

“The Browns in their half had an excellent chance to score, and for a moment it appeared as though they might repeat the work done by their adversaries a few minutes before. After Hughes had flown out to Higson, Countee and Richards had sent a brace of nice singles. Umpire Cropper thought the ball reached there first and called him out, despite the fact that Moran failed to touch the base runner until he was lying in the bag. The decision was so unpopular that Capt. Loving requested Cropper withdraw, and thereafter Byrnes umpired in the field as well as behind the bat. Loving made a little hit, sending Richards to third, but Armstrong could only send a weak grounder to Kimbrough, and the side went out.

UMPIRE TALKS BACK

After that the game went along without incident until the fifth, when a clever double play by Hughes, Reid and Loving evoked considerable enthusiasm.

In the latter part of the sixth, Brynes made of couple of close decisions against the Browns and the crowd grew somewhat obstreperous. Thereupon Byrnes stepped out into the middle of the field and quietly addressed the spectators. “If you’re going to do any dirty work of this kind”, he said, “you will have to secure another umpire”. — Salt Lake Tribune, June 21, 1897

 

With this victory out of the way, the Park City Miners wasted no time in claiming that they were the state champions of of Utah, and the entire inter-mountain region.

 

“Colonel Horace Baker of the Ontario mine and Secretary of the Fourth of July committee was notified yesterday by Utah’s silver-tongue orator, Hon. O.W. Powers, that he would deliver the Independence day oration at Park City July 5th, for inasmuch as the 4th occurs on Sunday the celebration will take place on the day following. On that day the Fort Douglas Browns will cross bats with the Park City ball tossers, now the acknowledged champions of Utah, probably of the inter-mountain states. The boys assure me that they are very grateful to the Fort Douglas boys for their hospitable reception. The Fort boys were bred in the south, a section of our great country famous the world over for hospitality. That accounts for it in a great measure.” — Salt Lake Herald, June 23, 1897

 

June 27, 1897, brought a return match-up between the Browns and the Jubilees. This game was filled with errors from both teams, and the final score was noted at 17 to 16 in favor of the Browns. The Browns had seven errors, while the Jubilees accumulated fourteen.

 

“The Browns proved yesterday by defeating the Jubilee team at Beck’s Hot Springs that they are not entirely out of for the championship of Utah. The score was 17 to 16 at the end of the ninth inning, but had it not been for poor battery work in the closing inning the score would have been much more decisive in favor of the Browns.”…

FEW ERRORLESS SCORES

Individually the work of both teams was ragged. But six men out of the eighteen who were mixed up in the fray escaped without errors. Some of these were inexcusable, as during part of the game the blinding sun made it very difficult for the fielders to see the ball, but the greater number were due to carelessness.

Among the Jubilees, McGinnis’s work was particularly poor. Six errors were charged against and almost with out exception they were on easy balls which the veriest novice could have handled. Any one of the dozens of small boys who jeered him from the side lines could doubtless have played his position at second better than he did. In the eight he was sent to right field and Jones took his place at second base, but even in the field he fell over and mishandled everything that came his way.

GAVE HIM A BACKSTOP

After one particularly poor play by McGinnis in right field, two small boys created much merriment by carrying a large door out into his garden and depositing it triumphantly behind him to prevent any other balls that might be sent in that direction from the rolling quite to the mountains in the rear.” — Salt Lake Tribune, June 28, 1897

 

Shortly before the Pioneer Jubilee, in their the last game of June, the Browns would play the Ogden Y.M.C.A.’s. During this game, the field rules would be strictly enforced. No children would be allowed in the grand stand, and no one but the press and the players would be allowed inside the track fence. It was called, “The Greatest Game Of The Season”. It was noted that the Browns played a completely “errorless game” on that day. The Y.M.C.A.’s defeated the Browns by a score of 14 to 13. [10]

 

Heading into July, the Browns never played their scheduled rematch against the Park City Miners. The Browns would take on the Evanston nine from Wyoming, and the Miners would accept a match from the Jubilees. The slotted date for the Miners rematch against the Browns, July 5th, was taken by Evanston, and they were no match for the men of the 24th infantry Regiment. It was slaughter. The game ended in the Browns favor by a score of 19 to 2.

 

“The Fort Douglas Browns played a nine which came down from Evanston, Wyo. the visitors weren’t in it at all, and the dusky fellows from the fort wiped up all the earth that was left on the diamond with them. There is nothing small about the Browns when it comes to playing ball, especially if they get a chance at an easy thing like the Evanston team was for them. The manager of the visiting team changed the position of his men several times. The way the Browns caught hold of the ball was something astonishing and was thought Sworz was too easy with them, so in the third inning he exchanged places with McCoy. The exchange didn’t seem to help the condition of things any and in the sixth the men changed back to their original positions. Williams exchanged places with Cole in the fifth, and in the seventh, McCoy was put in as pitcher again.” — Salt Lake Herald, July 6, 1897

 

As one of the warm up games to the Pioneer Jubilee schedules series, on July 11, 1897, the Browns took on the Provo nine at Beck’s Hot Springs in an away game. This particular game was a blowout. The Provo nine went scoreless, with the Brown leaving the field, accumulating seventeen unanswered runs in their favor.

 

“Provo may be a good city for the keeping of insane people; it may be all right as a shipping point for a shipping point for black bass; the goods manufactured at its woolen mills may be superior to anything of the kind made in the east and shipped here; but when it comes to playing base ball with the Fort Douglas Browns, the team from the south counts for naught.

To sit down and relate all the details connected with the contest at Beck’s yesterday would be a never-ending task. Life is by far too short to attempt to relate all the plays, for there were so many. Take the first inning for instance, or rather the last half hour of it, when the Browns had eleven men at the plate and made eight runs. Some people may look at their score cards and say there were twelve, but the first man got his base on balls, and that doesn’t count at time at bat.” — Salt Lake Herald, July 12, 1897

 

With the Pioneer Jubilee baseball schedule being finalized, in what was deemed as a “carnival week of baseball”, certain political messages were being sent on both sides of the table to the Salt Lake community.  This was silver country. It was Mormon country. It was the land of the common man. The colors chosen for the Jubilee baseball team were by no means a mistake. It was purely an intentional statement, and it was fully directed at the U.S. government. The U.S. government of course, responded in kind with their own political message as a show of force.

 

“B.W. Brown, who has been on duty as clerk in the Adjutant’s office, succeeds Sergt. Abott as Sergeant-Major. Sergt. Brown has served with the regiment eighteen years, having been on duty at various point in the Southwest; his last post before coming here was Fort Huachuca. The Sergeant is one of the most skilled marksmen in the regiment having received a medal awarded to distinguished marksmen. He also wears a medal of honor awarded for bravery displayed in the engagement between Paymaster Wham and the outlaws, in 1889, at which time he was three-times wounded.” — Salt Lake Tribune, July 18, 1897

 

The Ambush At Bloody Run, where Sgt. Benjamin W. Brown, won his Congressional Medal Of Honor, was one of those bloody chapters in Mormon history. The Wham Paymaster Robbery, planned and encouraged by Gilbert Webb, and staged by a gang of fifteen Mormon outlaws, was executed on members of the 24th Infantry Regiment in the Arizona territory. The U.S. government sent out this information on the promotion of Sgt. Benjamin Brown as a small reminder to the Mormon community of Salt Lake, that the theft of $28,000 in gold had not been forgotten. The boys in blue of the 24th Infantry Regiment, along with the U.S. government were prepared for whatever events might take place at the Pioneer Jubilee.

 

End: Part I

Part II     Part III     Part IV

 

[1] Kenneth Jones Jr., “The Last Black Regulars”, Defense Leadership & Management Program, Strategy Research Project, Unclassified, U.S. Army War College, April 2000, pg. 2

[2] Steven D. Smith, “The African American Soldier At Fort Huachuca, Arizona, 1892-1946”, University of Sought Carolina – Scholar Commons, Dept. of Anthropology – Faculty Publication, Feb. 1, 2001, pg. 17

[3] Army and Navy Journal, Nov. 7, 1896, pg. 157

[4] Charles Alexander, “Battles And Victories Of Allen Allensworth”, Sherman French & Company, Boston, 1914, pg. 291-292.

[5] Dorothy Seymour Mills, Harold Seymour, “Baseball: The People’s Game”, Oxford University Press, 1990, pg. 567.

[6] Army and Navy Journal, May 29, 1897, pg. 723

[7] Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 1897

[8] Salt Lake Tribune, July 21, 1897

[9] Roger D. Cunningham, “The Loving Touch: Walter H. Loving’s Five Decades Of Military Music”, Army History; The Professional Bulletin Of Army History, PB 20-07 (No. 64), Washington D.C. , Summer 2007, pg. 6

[10] Ogden Standard Examiner, June 30, 1897