On Friday, March 22, 1907, one hundred-ten years ago today, spectators crowded the school hall on the third floor of the “Old” Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Ohio for the school’s annual boys’ and girls’ intramural championship basketball games. In the boys’ match, the juniors defeated the sophomores 15 to 12 in what The Norwalk Daily Reflector described as the most exciting game ever played at the school. The match was hotly contested from the very beginning, and it was not until the final whistle that the Class of 1908 was assured of victory.
Who were the young athletes who won glory for their class and were borne triumphantly on the shoulders of their schoolmates around the hall? Newspaper accounts of the game reported the roster: Clifford Williams, Fred Harkness, Pitt Curtis, Walter Sutter, and Phil Fulstow. But those are just names. Who were they really? What did they look like, these young sporting heroes?
Well, I have good news–and I have bad news. Harriott Wickham, a member of the Norwalk High School Class of 1907 (and my grandmother), left in her papers a commemorative photo of those young champions. Unfortunately, unlike with every other photo I have from her, she did not record their names.
Anyway, here they are, decked out in their sporting garb.
Seven young men posing solemnly for the camera–six in uniform, one in street clothes. Was the latter a player, or the coach. And what’s with the teddy bear perched on the basketball between his knees?
The rosters in the newspapers list five players, but in this photo there are six boys in uniform. I believe the additional boy in this photo is Leonard Delamater. On December 7, 1906, he played for the junior class in another intramural game, but for some reason, he did not play in the championship game.
I’ve searched the internet and genealogical sources for photos of these boys. Nothing there. However, when I looked back through Harriott Wickham’s papers, I found this photo of her and several of her friends. Fortunately, in this instance, she did record their names for posterity.
So, now we know how Leonard Delamater and Fred Harkness looked. Comparing their faces with those of the boys on the basketball team, I believe Leonard is sitting on the far left in the team photo, and Fred is standing behind him, second from left.
It’s a puzzle. But I do like a good mystery.
What do you think? Leave a comment below letting me know if you agree with me–or not–about Fred and Leonard. Also, if you have any idea of the identity of the other boys in the team photo, I’d really love to hear about it.
The same evening the junior boys’ team defeated the sophomores, the senior girls representing the Class of 1907 defeated the freshman girls. We’ll get to that game in a couple days, but first, in my next post, we will see how the boy’s regular team fared when they played the Sandusky High School squad on Saturday, March 23, 1907 in the last extramural game of the season.
“Senior Girls and Junior Boys are Champions,” The Norwalk Daily Reflector, March 23, 1907, page 1, column 3.
“Decides Basketball Superiority,” The Norwalk Evening Herald, March 23, 1907, page 4, column 3.
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Filed under: Harriott Wickham, Norwalk HS Class of 1907, Norwalk OH High School, Uncategorized | Tagged: Basketball 1907, Curtis Genealogy, Delamater Genealogy, Fulstow Genealogy, Harkness Genealogy, Harriott Wickham, Naughty Eights, Norwalk Class of 1908, Norwalk Evening Herald, Norwalk High School Class of 1907, Norwalk Ohio History, Norwalk Reflector, Sutter Genealogy, Wickham Genealogy |