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Kent Base Ball Club

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Paintings By
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Lawrence C. Earle,
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Artist L. C. Earle

Dutch Boy Painter
Vol. XV Number 2
March 1922




Kent Base Ball Club
L. C. Earle, Secretary

Grand Rapids Daily Eagle, April 6, 1867


An attempt was made, last spring and summer to organize and keep alive a Base Ball Club in our city. A club was formed, officers elected, and one or two meetings held, and from some unaccountable cause, no more after, and nothing more was heard of it, except when some of our young men would get together and talk over the things that were.

Again the experiment of organizing and keeping up a club of this description is being tried. On the evening of April 4, 1867, a small number of the energetic, wide-awake young men of the city, held a meeting at Perkins' leather store, Canal st., and organized a club to be known as the "Kent Base Ball Club." Mr. D. K. Hulbert was called to the chair and L. C. Earle appointed Secretary, pro tem. The club then proceeded to the election of officers, with the following results:

President.S. K. Pierce

Vice President.D. K. Hulbert

Secretary.―L. C. Earle

Treasurer.―A. P. Sinclair

Directors.―W. S. Earle, L. Withey, John W. Avery

The following business was then transacted:

Initiation fee fixed at two dollars and yearly dues one dollar. Fines for the violation of the following rules, twenty-five cents for each offence: Disrupting the decision of the Umpire. Refusing full obedience to the Captain. For non-attendance. The National Constitution and By-Laws were adopted, and the club adjourned until the 18th of April, 1867, to meet at the store of G. H. Morgan & Co., Monroe st.

The club has about thirty names signed on its roll, and the number of its members is limited to fifty. There is every reason to believe that this second attempt at organizing and maintaining a Base Ball Club will not prove an abortive one. The club is composed of the best of material; its members are young, vigorous, enthusiastic, and lovers of manly sports and exercise; and they express a determination to live up to their Constitution, By-Laws, and Rules, and use every endeavor to bring the undertaking to a successful issue. The Board of Directors have already, as we understand, set about the task of putting the grounds in readiness for use. They have made a good selection of grounds, upon the hill east of the city proper on what is known as Coit's addition.

We wish the young men success in their present undertaking. We claim, for them, among their numbers some of the best shots and most expert sportsmen in the State, and we see no reason why they cannot excel in the practice of our national game, and can give no reason for croakers entertaining the opinion that there exists the shadow of the possibility of a failure in the enterprise."


In July of 1867, there was dissension within the club and the founding Board of Directors was replaced from the club minutes, on repository at the Grand Rapids Public Library. And since he was Secretary of the organization, the beginning 45 pages of the record book are written in L. C. Earle's hand. - D.B.

On July 2nd, 1867: "On motion old Board of Directors discharged, and a new Board elected, consisting of Joslin, Hubbard & White. Motion made and carried that any Com or Officer failing to perform his duty, be discharged. On motion Club adj 'till Thursday, July 18th, '67." Scan of actual page  Scan of Earle signature

L. C. Earle.

On July 18th, 1867: "On motion the present Sec was discharged from office, G. W. Perkins was chosen by acclamation to fill said vacancy."

G. W. Perkins


Grand Rapids Daily Democrat, May 18, 1883,

In an excerpt from an article titled "When They Were Boys" published in the local newspaper there is an explanation. It seems the politics were serious! By the winter of 1867, Lawrence Earle had moved on to New York City pursuing another passion, his painting. - D.B.

The board of directors, for non-performance of duty were dishonorably discharged July 15, (67), and Fred Joslin, Will Hubbard and Charlie Mills(sic) were chosen in their place. A resolution was also adopted punishing neglect of duty by any officer with expulsion. On July 18 the secretary, L. C. Earle, was discharged and G. W. Perkins chosen to his place, and Charlie Raton was discharged for non-payment of dues.

Under the new regime the club prospered and closed the season very creditably. A new election of officers for the ensuing year were elected March 24, 1868, as follows: President, John White; vice president, Fred C. Joslin; secretary, A. B. Porter; directors, Henry Baars, N. B. Scribner, C. W. Mills. The meetings through the summer were semi-occasions, and on Sept. 29, 1868, the last recorded meeting was held. The season closed and the wonderful organization never revived.

Complete article

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*Thanks to Dr. J. Gray Sweeney for permission to use material from
Artists of Grand Rapids 1840-1980, J. Gray Sweeney; Grand Rapids, 1981:
The Grand Rapids Art Museum, The Grand Rapids Public Museum

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