It’s hard to believe with all the sports available today to men and women, boys and girls, that a hundred years ago there was really only one game in town and that was baseball. It truly was the National Pastime back then. A history written in the 1950’s indicated that Hartland had fielded a town team at least since 1909, the date of our earliest team pictures. The then-current manager Clarence Jackson played shortstop on the first team in 1909. The early teams played in Lee Graham’s pasture. Many sons of the early players continued the tradition. Four generations of Howes played. Alonzo Howe was on the 1909 team; then Raymond Howe Sr., Raymond Howe Jr., and Raymond Durphey, son of Viola Howe Durphey; Roger Flanagan played 32 years. Leon Royce told me Roger was a great knuckleball pitcher.
In later years, the games were played at the fairgrounds. Home plate was near the corner of the present-day Hartland Elementary School gym. The town team was organized as the Hartland Athletic Association. They were the “Athletics,” appropriating the name of the Philadelphia team. Hartland played other town teams in the Bethel-Randolph area, in what was known as the Central Vermont League. Money to pay for equipment and expenses was raised by auction and dances. Frank and Lucy Temple and Floyd and Cecyl Davis were their most ardent supporters who never missed a game. The Temples lived where Dick and Edith White do now and held dances in their new barn to raise money for the team.
Some later managers of the team after Mr. Jackson were Elbridge Davis, Frank Durphey, Frank Barrell, Leon Royce and David Lamb. The lineup in the 1950s includes Mickey Cochran, Math teacher at Windsor; David Lamb, farmer; Martin Ide, government appraiser; Tom White, sawmill operator; Ken Russell, grain mill employee; Don Frail, grain mill manager; Leon Royce, Post Office employee; Bill Blaisdell, Windsor Town Manager; Calvin Frost, Windsor Machine Co. Employee; Delman Crowell; also Cone Automatic Machine employees Paul and Avery Howe, Roger Flanagan, and Robert Stillson. John Russell, John Barrell, James Ide, Bob White, and Gordon Roberts are not playing this year as they are in the Armed Forces.
In 1937 a group of youngsters, about 12 years of age, went to Mr. Jackson and asked him to help form a Little League team. They were Paul and Raymond Howe, Leon Royce, Henry Merritt, Lee Lasure, Jr., Frank Moore, Temple Hood, Launice Flower, Billy Wilder, Dave Jackson, Leonard Britton, Lloyd Barber and Bob Stillson. Some of them were still playing ball for Hartland in the 1950s.