Baseball in Coleman County, Texas

Hale Noah Griffin - Horace Walter Brown

by Ralph Terry

(This article appeared in my Looking Backward column
of the Coleman County Chronicle and Democrat-Voice Newspaper, May 2001.)

     About ten years ago, I began writing a more or less regular column for the Chronicle and Democrat-Voice, regarding the history and genealogy of Coleman and Coleman County.  I have on occasion written articles over the past several years, but there is not enough spare time to do all the things I would like to do.  Hopefully, with this article, I will again begin regular contributions on history and genealogy about Coleman County. 

     It is baseball time of the year again, all over the world.  In Coleman County, we have high school baseball just ended, and youth baseball leagues, both boys and girls, working to improve their games, going on at the present time.  In past years, especially in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, many area towns had professional baseball teams!  No locals played on the teams, but professional and semi-professional players were hired to play.  The local Coleman team played on a large baseball field located about where the Coleman swimming pool at the city park is now located, with a covered grandstand.

     But the main characters in this story, Hale Noah Griffin and Horace Walter Brown, grandfather and father of Dan W. Brown of New Zealand, Coleman High School alumni, who sent the material for this story. 

     In the early history of baseball, the game was played without gloves or any protective equipment.  Every town and community had a ball club and practically every young man was proficient in the game.  Due to the fact that every boy had to do physical work, farming with mules or oxen, living in the great outdoors, he was physically fit for the game.
Hale Noah Griffin - about 1915, Coleman, Texas
       Hale Noah Griffin was born June 15, 1885 in Madisonville, Texas and played baseball for the Hollis, Madison County, Texas team from the late 1890’s until 1905 or 1906.  Griffin was the catcher of the Hollis team, which was undefeated from 1900 to 1904.  He married Mexye Mathis, also of Madisonville.  The Griffins left the area with their daughter, Lella Otis Griffin (mother of Dan W. Brown) in 1907 or 1908.

     They moved to Coleman County and remained in Coleman until Hale’s death on November 13, 1950.  It was in Coleman that Griffin continued his ball playing by being a member of the Red Cross team around 1915 or 1916.  The picture shown here was taken on Colorado Street in front of the Texan Hotel, with the west side and rear of the First Baptist Church to the left in the picture.

     Horace Walter Brown, father of Dan W. Brown, is shown in this photograph in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s.  Horace married Lella Otis Griffin, Hale’s daughter.  The picture was taken on the Brown’s farm near Loss Creek on the old Shield’s road, south of Coleman.  His parents were John Gilliam Brown and Siddie Gribble Brown.  Horace played with one of the local “sandlot” teams in Coleman.

     I am sure there are countless other stories about Coleman County sports, some of which I have written on in past articles.  But, until next time, keep “looking backward.”

Horace Walter Brown 

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This page last updated February 24, 2004
© 1983 - 2004 Ralph Terry.  All rights reserved.