Happy Birthday, George Ewell!

George Ewell’s major league baseball record consists of a single game for the Cleveland Forest City club in 1871.

“Ewell made a long hit to left, securing a home run.”  (“Baseball”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 May 1870, Page 2.)

George W. Ewell played on the Philadelphia Keystone club as a catcher and occasional infielder between 1867 and 1870.  The Keystones were a good professional team, but not quite the equal of the more famous Athletic Club of the same city.  Ewell next played for the Washington Olympic club as a catcher in 1870.  According to the box score found on Retrosheet.org, Ewell played right field against the Olympic Club in Washington D.C. and went hitless for Cleveland in his lone “major league” game on 26 June 1871.  I’m guessing he was a suggestion made by the Olympic Club, and may have just filled in as an emergency player for Cleveland that day.  That being said, Ewell was a professional player during the formative years of professional baseball.  The 1870 US Census noted that he was a “Base Ballist”, suggesting that he was considered a paid professional at the time.

George W. Ewell was born 29 October 1850 to Solomon and Martha Mahala (Taylor) Ewell, the seventh of nine children listed on the 1860 US Census.  Ewell died just shy of his sixtieth birthday on 20 October 1910 of complications related to Bright’s Disease.  In between, he married Mary Lenoir around 1876 and they had two daughters, Hannah and Jennie, and a son, also named George W.  George, Sr. worked in the oyster business until his death, something he did with his father after his baseball career ended in 1871.

(Author’s note:  I’m not going to document this other than to mention that a young lady named Deidre McIntosh put together a long family history of the Ewell family – which may have been spelled Youell back in the day.  I don’t know about those of you who also do this kind of research, but sometimes I try to see how far back I can trace some people.  George’s dad, Solomon, was born in 1806 in Accomack, VA.  Accomack is found along the far eastern seaboard of Virginia – some of the earliest settlers of Virginia started there.  Anyway – McIntosh is able to trace the Ewell family back through a Mark Ewell (born in Accomack in 1665), who married a Constance Hope – who traces her ancestry to a William Hope who was born in York, Virginia in about 1625, which would make him one of the first babies born to settlers in what would become the United States.  William Hope married someone named Mary “Pirate’s Wife” Watson, and they had a son named George – and the name and blood line carried down to George Ewell 200 years later.)


1860, 1870, 1880, 1900 US Census
Philadelphia Death Certificate

FindaGrave.com – George W. Ewell
Findagrave.com (Mahala Ewell)

“Great Base-Ball Match – Mutuals vs. Keystone”, Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, 31 August 1867, Page 3.
“Base Ball”, Philadephia Inquirer, 15 October 1867, Page 2.
“Base-Ball”, Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, 22 June 1869, Page 8.
“News Summary.”, Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, 25 March 1870, Page 3.
“Base Ball”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 May 1870, Page 2.
Obituary, Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 October 1910, Page 14.


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