Epping Historical Society
Summer is winding down, but this time of the year we have many visitors at the Epping Historical Society. We had visitors from Idaho and they have family roots right here in Epping! We are so fortunate to be able to take phone calls anytime, making access to the Society a daily occurrence. We have attracted many local residents; most have not been here before. They are amazed at how much research material we have. We truly do hold “the History of Epping” within our building. We have old deeds, cemetery records, school records, town records, and genealogies of hundreds of Epping families.
As I was driving by the other day, I spotted an object propped up against the door. It was a framed document in honor of James Leddy, schoolmate and friend. James Leddy died in 1868, aged 16 years and this document was dated 1868, and was signed by his teacher. The frame is very old, and the small tacks in the back are all hand cut. We wish to thank the person that gave the document to the Society. It will hang in a place of honor.
We are still selling memorial bricks for our walkway. This is a nice way to keep the memory alive for a loved one. The bricks are $50.00, which includes 3 lines, with fourteen characters, including spaces on each line.
Corey Blanchard, author of the “Images of Epping,” is now in California continuing his education in history. He has generously donated his remaining books to the Society. Thank you, Corey!
Last Sunday, four of us attended a vintage baseball game in Newbury, MA. Have you ever been to any of their games? They play in a field with dirt bases with a cornfield in the background. Seating was right on the field, sitting on a blanket or in a lawn chair. They play under the 1860 rules of baseball, in vintage uniforms and no gloves. The players catch with one hand. It was considered “un-manly” to use two hands to catch a ball. Baseball was a nationwide pastime, and most every town had a baseball team. In Epping we had at least two teams, one was sponsored by the Legion and another team was from the Shirpio and Wagner shoe shop. We have a great photo (signed by the players) of the Shirpio and Wagner Shoe shop team. The following story is of two players, each with a significant handicap.
I. Orlando Underhill
Orlando was born in 1884 in Epping and died in 1940. Hunting and gunning were very popular sports and in 1898 he met with a terrible accident. He was hunting with a group of friends at Pawtuckaway when he lost his right hand in a gun explosion. In spite of this accident, he was a very talented baseball pitcher, striking out numerous players. He was also a great batter, scoring many home runs, all left-handed! If anyone has more information on Orlando, are you willing to share?
II. “Middy” Proulx, the one-armed pitcher
Amedee “Middy” Proulx was a native of Epping. At the age of fifteen years, he was working at the Goodrich Brick Yard when he met with a terrific accident. His job was to move pallets of newly formed bricks along a conveyor belt to the drying sheds. According to court records, he found himself being borne into the wheels of the conveyor belt; he tried to save his head by putting out his left arm, which was caught and torn off. His parents sued the Goodrich Brick Company and two years later he was awarded the unusual damage amount of $3,004, plus 16 cents. Alas, the verdict was overturned the following year by the N.H. Superior Court, which ruled that “a boy, though only 15 years old, assumed the risks of the dangers of an occupation which he knew and understood.”
With no money and no arm, Middy went to Manchester and found a job at the McElwain shoe company, packing shoes. I have been told that even with only one arm, he was the fastest packer in the department!
Middy also found a spot as a pitcher on the roster of the “Box Shop Boys,” one of the six teams from the Shoe Shop’s various divisions that formed the McElwain Twilight Baseball League. In the summer of 1923, Middy had an outstanding season, winning game after game at Textile Field in Manchester. He made headlines in the Manchester Union and the Manchester Daily Mirror, week after week. Not only was he a great pitcher, but his batting average was .286, the highest for the team. “In his last three games he has struck out 17 opposing batters. Middy, despite the handicap he is under, fields his position better than most players.”
Middy took well to city life; he married and lived a full life in the city of Manchester. He died at the age of 85 years, and is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Manchester.
John Clayton, former writer for the Manchester Union Leader, provided additional information on Middy Proulx for this column. Thank you John!
If you would like more information on Middy, please visit the Epping Historical Society. We are open Monday morning, 8:00 to 12:00, or when the flag is flying! If this is not convenient for you, please call: 679-2944 for an appointment or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Joy True, curator, Epping Historical Society
The Civil War Roundtable of NH
The Civil War Roundtable of New Hampshire welcomes anyone with an interest in the American Civil War who would like to be with others who share the same desire to learn more of this time in American history. We are an informal club with the only requirement being a Civil War enthusiast. If you or a friend has an interest in the American Civil War, we invite you to come check us out.
Founded in May 1991, the Civil War Roundtable of New Hampshire is a group of men and women, young and old, who share our interests, both blue and gray, in the pivotal era of American history known as the Civil War. We are open to the public and welcome all! As our slogan goes, “There’s no time like the present to join us in the past.”
This is the upcoming CWRT-NH schedule:
Note: The schedule is subject to change without notice. You can access the CWRT-NH website for the current schedule. If a meeting is cancelled, a notice will be put on ETV.
September 15, 2017 – Christopher Gwinn (Chief of Interpretation and Education at Gettysburg National Military Park) – “Measuring Heroism: The Medal of Honor at Gettysburg”
October 20, 2017 – Prof. Michael Pierson (UMass Lowell) – “Lt. Spalding in Civil War Louisiana: A Union Officer’s Humor, Privilege and Ambition” (book)
November 10, 2017 – Eileen Foley Bennis (CWRT-NH member) – “Female Nurses of the Civil War and How That Led to the Founding of the American Red Cross”
December 2017 – No meeting