LeRoy Historical Society - page 4

(continued frompage 2)
(continued on page 5)
Page 4
the other and the person whose hoop
falls in these encounters, is conquered.“
Girls could play
battledore
also
known as shuttlecock. A “bird” or
ball was hit with paddles.
“Little girls
should not be afraid of being well
tired; that will do them good; but ex-
cessive fatigue should be avoided, es-
pecially where it is quite unnecessary.”
It’s entirely possible that the Le-
Roy children made and flew
kites.
The Boy’s Own Book even included
a great story about Benjamin Frank-
lin’s exploits:
“It is well known that the
celebrated Doctor Franklin once let up
a kite previous to entering the water
to bathe, and then, lying on his back,
suffered himself to be drawn across
a stream by its power.“
Fourteen
pages are devoted to
swimming
in the’ Boy’s Own Book.
“Although it
has been said that the weight of one’s
clothes will make but little difference
in the water, yet we strongly advise
the young swimmer when he has be-
come expert in the art, and confident
of his own prowess, to swim occasion-
ally with his clothes on . . . “
The illus-
trations, would indicate, that boys
swam nude. There were several
swimming holes in LeRoy in the
creek. Three were north of town,
west of the fields that are now
Machpelah Cemetery. The other
favorite place was behind the dam
at Red Bridge – now Munson Street.
Did Thomas and Augustus meet
some of their friends to go swim-
ming? We’ll never know for sure.
But it’s a sure bet the girls didn’t.
Winter activities included skating,
sledding, and “snowballing” which is
described in the Girls Own Book:
“I
like this exercise, because it is played
in the open air. Endurance of cold is a
very good thing. It makes the constitu-
tion hardy but rudeness and violence
must never be allowed in this or any
other game; little girls should never
forget that they are miniature ladies.”
Boys could enjoy
gymnastics,
which included walking, running, the
horizontal bars, the parallel bars, the
high leap, vaulting and walking on
stilts. Girls, on the other hand, were
encouraged to perform
calisthenics
,
which the author explains is a
“gentler
sort of gymnastics, suited to girls.”
Girls
could swing on the high bar, a swing-
ing bar, and perform exercises with
a long stick called the wand.
“Many
people think them dangerous, because
they confound them with the ruder
and more daring gymnastics of boys;
but such exercises are selected as are
free from danger; and it is believed that
they tend to produce vigorous muscles,
graceful motion and symmetry of form.”
A new game that was introduced
in the early 1800s from Europe was
La Grace
or The Flying Circle. Two
players, holding two sticks, pass the
small wooden hoop flying back and
forth, trying to catch and throw the
hoop from the sticks. “Used with
caution. It is a healthy exercise and
tends to make the form graceful, but
it should be used with moderation. “
Jumping rope
was encouraged
for boys and girls, but again, girls
were admonished:
“I have known in-
stances of blood vessels burst by young
ladies, who, in a silly attempt to jump
a certain number of hundred times,
have persevered in jumping after their
strength was exhausted.”
There are a number of games and
activities in Girls Own Book and the
Boys Own Book that would have re-
quired a lot of children. This included
cricket, foot-ball, stool ball, round-
ers, touch
, and several other team
games. Both books mention
“Eng-
lish and French”
which was a type of
tug of war, where the children grab
the waist of the person in front of
them and the teams face each other,
and pull on each others arms, or pull
on a rope as in traditional tug of war.
Marbles
were not as popular in the
early 1800s as they would become at
the end of the century, when factory
made glass marbles were manufac-
1,2,3 5,6
Powered by FlippingBook