MARY'S CITY of DAVID - The Israelite House of David as reorganized by Mary Purnell

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A vintage base ball team that will play historic base ball games from the pre-Civil War era (1858 rules).

The 1858 Matthew Brady photo taken for the cover of Harper's Weekly.
In 2015, the House of David Echoes
Won 6, Lost 10, Posted 4 Ties

After 15 seasons of play on the historical Eastman Field, the House of David Echoes will move home plate to another historic field. The House of David Echoes will be at Eden Springs Park and playing on the original House of David base ball field that was created the same year Fenway Park (in Boston) was built, 1912. In addition to watching vintage base ball on a historic base ball field, you can also enjoy a train ride at the adjacent Eden Springs Park. You may visit Eden Springs Park on line for more information to get 2017 scheduling for the House of David Echoes, now playing on the original House of David base ball field at Eden Springs Park.

The House of David Echoes Base Ball Club had a 2001 premiere season with a perfect record of no wins and 8 losses. Practicing every Friday evening from April through the season ending; "practice makes perfect" as was demonstrated by the results of first year.

On August 8, 2010, the House of David Echoes were invited to Paw Paw, Michigan to be a part of the village celebration and recognition of its long standing resident and former major league star, Charlie Maxwell. 'Captain' Ron Taylor asked Charlie if he ever played against the great pitcher, Bob Feller. Maxwell grinned and said that he hit his first major league home run off of Feller. He said Feller was one of the greatest to ever pitch and his fast ball was at 91 mph and he got stronger as the game went on. The pitch he hit was a curve that hung a bit too long and he pulled it over the right field wall. In his early eighties, Charlie looks great, has good health and a great memory. We were honored to meet this great part of American base ball history.

Our 2007 season opener at Eastman Field was special with the appearance of Lloyd Dalager, the last living House of David member that played on the famous barnstorming teams of the 1930s. Lloyd is presently 95 and President of the Board at the House of David. He honored us by tossing out the first pitch.

Our annual trip to Beery Field (in 2007) in Douglas was special because we got a chance to meet and play the Ohio Muffins BBC from Columbus, Ohio. They are the original 'vintage' base ball club in America. It was special in another way, in that the House of David took both matches from the Muffins and the Douglas Dutchers.

Miss Bangor 1937 with the House of David Nine, 2011.

Captain Taylor, first base man, member of the Israelite community and trying to do John Tucker's job

One of the great photos of base ball history in America. Photo taken by Kelly Weber of South Haven (Tribune/photo journalist). Terri Abbott of the Bangor Cubs is coming home from third base and knows that ball has already arrived ahead of her. She decides to do her artistic somersault performance in spite of expecting to be tagged out. The House of David 'behind' William F. 'water-boy' Ast, was so amazed at Terri's coordinated landing upon home plate, he forgot all about tagging her. Of course, Mister Ast was being gallant as well, or so he explained to the club afterwards. This year at the Bangor 'Harvest Festival', we are inviting Sports Illustrated Magazine to cover the match. We are also asking Mister Ast to tally from third base doing a perfect somersault landing upon home plate. Stay tuned and get a Sports Illustrated subscription that runs through October, 2013.

In Memory of Mister John (Skip) 'the pirate' Longacre.

Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm, visits Mary's City of David on her 'Hidden Treasures of Michigan' tour, June 10, 2004. She told 'Captain' Taylor in Lansing, her batting average wasn't so hot, but she could run. Here she is connecting with the ball down to first base. So lightning fast is the Governor that she didn't bother to beat the ball to first. Actually, quite humble and lotsa pzazz...

'The CHET you will not forget' Johnson

SANTA 'BILL' CLAUS: Bill Swank, historian for the San Diego Padres, joined us at Eastman Field for a match with the Bonneyville Millers. Bill had on his House of David Echoes Santa suit and has now been portrait painted and a figurine has been made of him in the international collection of Santa Claus. We are proud to have him occasionally appear from the north country to help us through a match of his favorite pre-Christmas activity. When you play the Echoes with Santa, 'you better watch out, you better not lie', we're a tellin' Ya why ....

Jeni Bollenbacher, Edwardsburg's community Queen for the Blossomtime Festival in 2008, was an All-State soft ball star in her senior year and hurled her team to a district championship. One of the finest high school girls soft ball players we've seen since Jessica Chopp of Mattawan, Blossomtime, 2005. Jeni played for the American Legion lady All-Stars from west Chicago against the House of David as a 2008 season opener at Eastman Field. Later in the season on the evening before her leaving for college, Jeni played for the House of David in a contest with the Penn Township (at Vandalia, MI) fire department. We thank Jeni for attending two of our ball games, she is a great athlete, a good academic student and just a lovely young lady.

October, 2011, Team Photo

 The House of David Echoes Base Ball Club
gives tribute to the great Negro League Players:
Theodore "Doubleduty" Radcliffe and Lloyd "Pepper" Bassett.

On September 21, 2008, the final home match for the House of David Echoes at Eastman Field, the House of David with the guidance of Bill "Santa" Swank, honorary second baseman for the club and Historian for the San Diego Padres, and 112 year old (???) Richard Nelson of Carol Stream, Illinois, paid tribute to the legendary Theodore "Doubleduty" Radcliffe, team mate of Satchel Paige and Lloyd "pepper" Bassett. "Doubleduty" got his name from his performances of pitching a first game and catching Paige in the second game. "Pepper" Bassett received his title by catching the game in a rocking chair.

Playing the Deep River Grinders from Hobart, Indiana, "Santa" Bill played an occasion second base positioned on a chair and pulled off the famous House of David antic of the hidden ball in the beard, which yield a Grinder dead at second base.

112 year old ??? Rich Nelson, using a colony provided wheel chair tossed an inning from the hurler's position and in the second match, caught the ball for an inning as the behind in a rocking chair.

It was "Jesus boys" (a label that Satchel Paige gave to the House of David club in the 1930s) again at their gentlemanly best as they graciously conceded both matches to the Grinders, 17 to 10 and 12 to 4.

It was "Doubleduty" that cleared the history books by confirming, "the House of David invented pepper" (the pepper game).

"How many have ever seen a three run home run ball get caught for the final out of the inning?

It was shades of Ponce de Leon Park in Atlanta, Georgia. A mammoth magnolia tree that grew in right-center field is all that remains of the home of the Atlanta Crackers. Babe Ruth and Eddie Matthews both hit home runs that got stuck in the branches.

But the ground rules at Eastman Field are a little different than they were at Ponce de Leon.

A Deep River Grinder launched a drive that found a hard wood tree whose branches extended into fair territory in left field. The ball didn't exit the other side. A House of David fielder spotted it wedged between the highest limbs and another David immediately began to climb the tree. He shock a large branch as the puzzled Grinders watched. Ten dramatic minutes later, two players (ballists) were waiting below as the ball gently dropped from its hiding place. It was caught. The second player (ballist) was on a knee to catch the bounce, if necessary. The umpire ruled the striker dead and the tallies did not count."

Bill "Santa" Swank
Historian, San Diego Padres
Honorary second baseman, House of David Echoes BBC
21 September 2008

Miss Blossomtime, Jamie Hartmann, of Watervliet, was an All-Star soft ball player for her school during her senior year of 2006. She honored the House of David by coming out to play on the team for its last home match of the 2006 season. Jamie hit well, hurled several innings, played second base and center field. Here she is tagged before she reaches home base, which would have been the tying tally for the Echoes. It was an exciting match till the last out, in which the Echoes came up one tally shy.

A TRIBUTE to Mister Douglas 'tired iron' Snyder 12 November 2013  I believe Dougie became a member of the House of David Echoes Base Ball Club in our second season, 2002. Though not an original, first year player, I have long regarded him as one of the original players in those early years when we won one or two games a season, but thoroughly enjoyed the sport of 'vintage base ball' and each other's company. The team social chemistry of those first 4-5 years was amazing. A wide range of individuals from all walks, we had great fun in winning as well as losing games. I was the one that gave Dougie his nick-name, 'tired iron'. It was a quote from his business card that I thought was catchie and he seemed to like it and carried it well. Once on a trip to Goshen, Indiana, to play a twin-bill with the Bonneyville Millers, Dougie kept pointing out the great old farm tractors on the roadside properties. Some were for sale and he wanted to stop and examine. I posted that on our web pages, warning all Hoosier teams that we might be late for our Indiana appointments because 'tired iron' was always wanting to stop and look at all the old farm iron along the way.  Dougie was an original player on the House of David Echoes ball club because he was a great sport; a man you could always count on if he said he was in. He was always supportive of others and towards the ball club as a whole. What I liked most about Dougie was not his athletic abilities for 1858 base ball, but his embodiment of the etiquette of the day. Humble, cooperative, a man well mannered, both on the field and away. Dougie was a guy that did not give his share alone, he was always eager to do much more to better whatever the cause or situation might be. Very simply, 'tired iron' was a complete gentleman and a good example of Christian living, never tooting his own horn.  Dougie introduced the blue tie to our uniforms that I thought was an outstanding touch of class to our team's appearance. I have tried to wear it at every game to honor his gift to our team and because it looks good. Dougie also began making 1858 base balls by going on-line to research the proper materials used, the process in construction and the proper dimension of that base ball, exclusive to 1858. Through numerous trials with his craftsmanship, Dougie came to, what I call the perfect ball of 1858. A ball that looks original, the size feels good to the hand and he made them to last through weekly practices and 4-5 games and that's with a lot of Jimmie Gaytan's tattoos on it. I have saved a number of these because they were and are so special. Such a wonderful gift to our team and how prestigious to have a House of David player making an actual/authentic 1858 base ball. Having taught Mark Clayton, of our team, the legacy of Dougie's initiative will go on. For those that play the game, having the authentic ball, hand-made, is history itself. Just one more humble, but earnest contributions, among the many, to the House of David Echoes Base Ball Club.  In closing, I was pleased to have the opportunity this summer, upon his beloved Eastman Field (for Dougie always bragged about our ball field to other clubs), to call him from the 'cranks' to stand in the players line with us. To introduce him as an 'original' House of David Echoes player and will always be an 'Honorary' House of David ball player. And this is the way that it is.  We have only a few of the originals still playing at this day. All are missed, but from my perspective, the gentleman of humility, always supportive, thoughtful with kindness, was and is 'always' , Mister Douglas 'tired iron' Snyder; a model of proper etiquette and a real Christian Brother.  Respectfully for the House of David Echoes Base Ball Club and Mary's City of David, 'Captain' Ron Taylor, first baseman.

The last time that $40.00 ball was seen. A.J. 'Jimmie Foxx' Gaytan connects ...

Playing on the Harry and Elizabeth Eastman Field at Mary's City of David ... The Eastman field is an historic athletic site going back into the 1890s, in fact Benton Harbor High School football and baseball teams used this field for practice and games in their Sensational 1903 State Championship Season. After the Eastman Springs Company sold the property to the Pugh family in 1920, the field remained open and mowed but relatively unused as an athletic field. The City of David purchased all 54 acres of the original Eastman Springs properties in 1945, and would begin again to clear and use the field for local sporting events  with children's leagues. From the end of the 1950s through 1999, the field lot remained unused and became over grown with 40 years of brush and trees. In the Spring of 2000 it was decided by Mary's City of David to clear the property for again, another athletic field, at the request of the Berrien County Historical Association, looking for a home field for its vintage base ball team.

Mister Daniel 'Timber' Van Beek smashes an onion at the Bangor Harvest Festival, September, 2011.

Not only was a base ball playing field re-created, but the colony decided to also field a team using a name suggested by one of the colony sisters: The House of David Echoes.

SANTA 'BILL' CLAUS: Bill Swank, historian for the San Diego Padres 

SANTA 'BILL' CLAUS: Bill Swank, historian for the San Diego Padres 

Aleisha Shepherd at Navin Field

Debra and Raymond Pritchett at Navin Field

Berrien County Historical Association
Berrien Co

Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
Tourist Council

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