Select Spalding Miscellany


Here are some Spalding stories
accounts over the years:


Spalding Origins


The Lincolnshire village of Spalding on the fens of East Anglia was
founded at the point where a road ran over the low country to the
Wash.  The name appeared in Anglo-Saxon records as early as the
8th century, the first written record of Spalding being in a charter
issued in 716 by King Athelbald to the monks of Crowland Abbey.
In Latin, Spall or Spald means “shoulder” and the town of Spalding
meant literally “the tribe who live at the shoulder (of marsh
land).”  Spalding was one of the Saxon divisions of Lincolnshire
known as “the Spalda,” the Saxon suffix “ing” denoting sons of a family
or tribe, and the people who lived in Spalding were known as the
“Spaldingas” or the Spalding tribe.  This tribe was believed to
have come from Flanders and to have held land in south Holland as early
as the 7th century.
Spalding in medieval times was a market centre with two important
industries, salt making and fisheries. Today it is known for its tulips
and sausages.

Spaldings in York

There was a family of Spaldings who were made freemen of
York in the 17th century.  Their records show that they were a
family of carpenters:

1633 Henry Spalding, carpenter
1662 Mathew Spaldinge, carpenter, son
of Henry Spaldinge
1672 Henry Spawlden, son of Henry
Spalden, carpenter
1689 Marcus Spaldinge, carpenter, son
of Mathew Spalton, carpenter
1702 Mathew Spalding, son of Mathew
Spalding, carpenter


Spaldings of Ashintully

The Spaldings built Ashintully Castle near Blairgowrie in
Perthshire in 1583 where they remained for the next hundred and fifty

Some of these Spaldings had a reputation for cruelty.  David
Spalding, it was said, “condemned and executed many most unrighteously,
particularly a man of the name of Duncan who was drowned in a sack in
what is still called Duncan’s pool.”  A ghost which haunts the
grounds is said to be that of a misshapen servant, known as “Crooked
Dave” who was murdered by one of the Spaldings.  Another ghost is
that of a tinker, hanged for trespassing on the grounds.  He
cursed the family, warning that their line would soon come to an end.

The curse was made in the early 1700’s and soon came to pass.


Spaldings and Spaulding

The spelling was Spalding in England and Scotland; and mainly Spalding
for immigrants to America.  But once there Spaldings tended to add
a “u” to their name.  The following is the approximate current
distribution of
the Spalding and Spaulding names.


Numbers (000’s) Spalding Spaulding
UK   3.7   –
America   3.2   6.4

According to some family records, the shift from Spalding to Spaulding
(where it occurred) started sometime after the Civil War.


Edward Spalding in
Virginia and Massachusetts

In the spring of 1619 Edward Spalding boarded a
ship in London that sailed for the Jamestown colony in Virginia.
He had signed himself on as an indentured servant to pay for the cost
of his voyage.  When he arrived there, it was recorded that he
elected to obtain a wife from a selection of women who were described
as “agreeable persons, young and incorrupt.”  Apparently the union
was successful for in 1623 it was further recorded in the Virginia Colonist Record in a “List
of the Living” that Edward Spalding with wife, son and daughter were
living in the Jamestown colony.

Life in Jamestown was
not idyllic.  In 1622 an Indian uprising resulted in the death of
over 300 colonists and disease was still taking an enormous toil on the
population.  One contemporary commentary on Edward Spalding stated
that he finally departed Jamestown “after losing two young
families.”  Whether or not this is true cannot be confirmed.
However, it does appear that when he relocated to Massachusetts
sometime in the late 1620’s he did so without children and possibly
without a wife.  No doubt conditions in Jamestown were too much
for him to bear.  By 1627 he had completed the terms of his
indentureship and he must have concluded that there were better
opportunities in Massachusetts.

By 1630 his name
first appeared in the Braintree public records in Massachusetts and
three years later it was recorded that a son was born to Edward and his
wife Margaret.  Three other children followed.  In 1645 he
and nineteen other petitioners were granted land to establish the town
of Chelmsford.  He lived there until his death in 1670.


Albert G. Spalding and the Invention of Baseball

At the turn of the century, few people were agreed on precisely how
baseball had come to be.  In 1907 the sporting-goods tycoon Albert
G. Spalding, formerly a major league pitching star, appointed a
committee to investigate the game’s early history and settle once and
for all where, when, and how baseball had originated.  Spalding’s
unfounded belief was that baseball was a purely American phenomenon.

Most of the committee members quickly lost interest in the study and by
year-end its chairman, former National League president A. G. Mills,
was left working by himself.  Early in 1908 he submitted his
findings to Spalding.  It was then that the Doubleday myth
arose.  Doubleday, Mills wrote, invented baseball, diagramed and
laid out the first diamond, and supervised the first games in
Cooperstown, New York in 1839.  He was an instructor at a local
military academy and the first players of the game were his

Spalding liked the report for it meshed with his own notions of
baseball’s fundamental Americanness.  But little in it had any
basis in fact.  No one – neither Spalding, nor baseball historian
Henry Chadwick, nor anyone else – had ever heard of Doubleday.

Doubleday, a prolific writer of magazine articles in the years
following the Civil War, had never penned a single word about the game
he supposedly invented, nor could Mills attribute a single quoted
remark about baseball to Doubleday.  Significantly, Mills and
Doubleday had been classmates at West Point and it is not unlikely that
Mills used his report simply to honor his friend.


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