Saint John, A Sporting Tradition, 1785 - 1985" by Brian Flood


Saint John, A Sporting Tradition, 1785 - 1985

A book about Saint John athletes
scores points with genealogists

I loved recess time! As soon as the bell rang, we would rush out the woodshed door and claim our positions to play ball. City kids had organized ball teams, but our little group didn't have enough kids to make up two teams.

We played our own kind of softball called "Scrub".

The players rotated from catcher to fielder to pitcher to baseman and best of all was the turn as batter. Once you hit that ball or struck out, a position change was made by everyone.

When I was a kid, I thought Scrub was a recognized sport, but strange to say I have not seen it listed in any sporting book.

Speaking of sporting books, if you had a relative who was involved in sports in Saint John, take a look at "Saint John, A Sporting Tradition, 1785 - 1985" by Brian Flood.

There are 1,100 sport personalities listed in the index. Many pictures of individuals as well as teams have been included. Mabel Thomson won her first national championships title in Canadian ladies' golf in 1901. This was followed by four more wins. She was not only a great golfer but also a champion tennis player. There is a beautiful picture of her in the publication (see photo).

Rifle shooting was encouraged by the British royalty for the purpose of improving the marksmanship of their soldiers. The Prince of Wales visited New Brunswick in 1860 and was so impressed that he had a silversmith craft a trophy to be sent to the province. The cup was first shot for on October 6, 1861, at Colonel Beer's farm at Sussex Vale. Private Elston from a Kings County company carried away top honours and was the first to have his name inscribed on the trophy.

Wallace Ross was probably the greatest sculler that ever came out of Saint John. He was born in Memramcook on Feb. 20, 1857.

Some of the men who figured in harness racing in the mid 1800s were John Walsh, Henry and James Gilbert, Larry Donovan, John McSweeney, Col. Gierson, Capt. Kemmis and Capt. Holyoke.

The stories of Hugh McCormick and William Whelpley with their long-reacher skates shed light on life on the river in the 1880 time period.

Genealogists with ancestors who liked to bat the ball, shoot the puck or participate in other sports will discover many of them in this publication.

You will find  "Saint John, A Sporting Tradition, 1785 -1985"  by Brian Flood, in most libraries and other research institutions in the province.
For more information on the book

For information on purchasing a copy of  Saint John, A Sporting Tradition, 1785 - 1985 contact Ruby.
For more information on the book

Denise Savage, 529 Sugarbush Circle, Frederick, MD 21703-6233 USA

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.

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