View Full Version : 1912 Ellensburg's African American Baseball Team

04-25-2015, 07:26 PM

I've been assembling a list of pre WW1 black baseball teams in Washington state and their rosters. Here's a couple articles about Ellensburg's 1912 team with quite a few connections to other athletes from central Washington including "Yakima's Ghost of Joe Gans" Henry Woods, and Negro League hurler Bob Saunders:

"The members of the African Methodist Episcopal church are planning to give a barbecue at the local baseball park on Wednesday, June 19, the proceeds to be used to clear the church debt, Reverend GT Kinchion, who has been in Ellensburg since March 9, has been working in the interest of the church, with the aim of lifting the debt, and is helping plan the barbecue. Mrs. Carrie Jimmirson will have charge of the dinner, and will be assisted by Mrs. Josie Harlow, Mrs. John Woods, Miss Garvin, Mrs. Hunter, and others." June 11, 1912 Ellensburg Evening Record

"To free the AME church from a debt that has been hanging over it for a number of years, the negroes of Ellensburg and the surrounding country yesterday gave an all day program beginning with speeches, including a baseball game and barbecue and ending with a reception in the evening.

Mayor JA Mahan in the address of welcome told the large audience of the legal rights of the negro race. Reverend Sharp of the Presbyterian church spoke and told of the power of the Christian people in the world today. Following the speeches, the crowd repaired to the ballpark, where a nine inning baseball game between the North Yakima and Ellensburg negro teams was played. The lower valley nine (Yakima) won the contest the score being 13 to 8. John "Goldie" Golden, who played first base on the Ellensburg team several years ago, pitched three innings for the home team, no hits or runs being made. Although the team had indulged in but little practice, they made a most creditable showing, and the game was fast and exciting. The (Ellensburg) line-up: Brown, first, Brewer, second, "Star" Hunter, third, William Thomas, catcher, John "Goldie"Golden, pitcher, Morrison, shortstop, Forney, centerfield, Gratton, rightfield, and Evans, leftfield.

A barbecue dinner was served in the AME church after the ball game. During the afternoon a steer, sheep, hogs, and other meats were roasted, and although the hungry crowd would not wait till the meats were thoroughly cooked, the repast was said to be excellent.

In the evening a reception was held in the Grace church parish house, at which the 56 out-of-town people were guests. Miss Margaret S. Sanders and her sister, Liette Sanders, of North Yakima, sang several songs during the course of the evening. Close to 200 people attended the reception and the celebration was a success in every way." June 20, 1912 Ellensburg Evening Record

Highlighted names include Mrs. Della Woods and Evans, Henry Woods mother and uncle. The Evans family was very well known as Jasper P. Evans (pictured above) was a decorated Civil War veteran who fought for the 18th infantry in Missouri before homesteading 160 acres outside of Selah, Washington in 1896. Mrs. Woods would have been 3 months pregnant at this event with Henry's older brother, Albert J. Woods. Jasper would have been 64 at this event, so the left-fielder was probably one of his two oldest sons Edward or Nathan Evans, 26 and 22 respectively. Miss Margaret Sanders and Liette Sanders were Bob Saunders mother and aunt. This is probably more genealogical record than interests most but I thought it was a nice background story about church, community, barbecue, and baseball.

05-02-2015, 01:48 PM
One sentence in the above Ellensburg Evening Record got my attention about pitcher John "Goldie" Golden integrating the town team. I had to go back through some notes in order to confirm this, sure enough here's a photo of the 1906 Ellensburg town team with John Golden at thirdbase. Sorry for the image quality but it's from a May 19, 1989 Daily Record newspaper article, no idea where they got it.

Golden was born in Washington DC, July 18, 1880. He joined the military's 9th cavalry which served courageously in the Spanish American War in Cuba (1898), where they charged Kettle Hill, and San Juan Hill with Roosevelt's Rough Riders. He was stationed at Fort Wingate, New Mexico in 1900, before the 9th was sent to the Phillipines 1900-1902. He moved to Ellensburg sometime between 1904-05, as he integrated the 1906-08 Ellensburg town teams. Thought some might like his story..... Of course he was also on the 1912 Ellensburg black baseball team as noted above. He lived in Ellensburg a great deal of his life as a "baggage master" for the NPRR. He and his wife had no children. Still cannot find his obituary (though he did register for WW2 draft in 1942), or any 9th cavalry musters to confirm his location during the Spanish American War, any advice from military historians about how to find this info would be greatly appreciated.


05-08-2016, 10:10 PM
Recently purchased this cut-out of the 1906 Ellensburg Baseball Team integrated by John "Goldie" Golden (#10 in the picture), of the very shortlived Yakima-Kittitas Baseball League. Founded in 1906 the league folded in mid-season 1907. This image is from a 1906 or 07 Spalding Guide.

Also pictured is Nick Daviscourt (#12), professional wrestler who battled for the World Heavyweight Championship twice (in 1921 and 1935). Both bouts he lost.


05-09-2016, 08:42 AM
Interesting history. Thanks for posting it!!