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“Perplexing” 1866 Fenian Weapons – Base Ball Bats?

Belvidire Nov 6 1866
Belvidere Standard, Nov 6, 1866 (Belvidere, Il)
While researching the Fenian Base Ball Clubs, (Base Ball being two words back then), there were several Clubs which popped up within cities with large Irish populations. The name indicated the political sentiment of Irish locals during the period after the American Civil War. From New Orleans, LA, Charleston, SC and Hartford, CT, as well as other Gaelic centers, these gentlemanly sports teams cropped up, notably in places where the Fenian Brotherhood was active.
batsWhether there is a correlation between these base ball clubs and the Fenian military companies, which drilled publicly or in local halls at the same time has yet to be seen. It was not unusual to have amateur teams being named after the ethnic make up of their players, as the Germans did the same, but it is interesting to see these sporting teams named after a political movement. Later we come to see teams named Shamrocks, Gaels, Celtics, and of course The Fighting Irish.
I came across this newspaper story in Nov 1866 while British North America/Canada was still on a heighten state of alert, a few months after the Fenian Raids in Canada East & West of June 1866. I can only imagine what Canadian custom inspectors where thinking when they opened these suspicious packages containing base ball equipment and trying to figure out how these strange weapons would be used by the Fenians to wage war against them again.
Catcher
Could this be the new Fenian army uniform outfitted for the next raid onto the Canadian border?
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