As part of that game, the guys from the team came up to the museum to give a presentation. After they were finished, we showed them some of the old photographs in our collection of some of the earliest Rice County baseball teams. One photo in particular got them very excited because it was one of the oldest photos of a Kansas team they had seen!
The team was owned by T.E. Nash, a well-to-do clothier in Rice County in the late 1800’s. The photo shows the team in their original uniforms, with much of their equipment as well.
Theophilus E. Nash and his wife Lydia moved to Rice County in the 1870’s and initially homesteaded just south of Sterling. He was a Civil War Veteran; him and his brother fought for the Union during the conflict and were both members of the G.A.R. in the area. T.E. and Lydia lived the rest of their days in the county, bouncing back and forth between Lyons and Sterling several times. The Lyons Republican lists them as “among the first settlers in the community, and were known and respected by all in the neighborhood”. (Lyons Republican, March 3, 1905) T.E. Nash was a clothier and tailor who operated his own establishment, and was very successful. One advertisement listed his store as carrying clothing, hats, caps, boots and shoes.
Photos like this are very important for a couple of reasons. They help museums tell the stories that are important to their local communities, but they also serve another purpose. They help groups like Cowtown’s team stay accurate in their costumes and equipment through various time periods. The team at Cowtown is looking for any and all old photographs of baseball teams from Kansas! Check out this article in The Wichita Eagle for more information on how to contact them.
Don’t forget to see our Take Me Out To The Ballgame! exhibit, which closes June 30th!