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Thursday, July 09, 2009

My grandfather and his brother

I never knew my maternal grandfather, Clarence Williams. He died when I was two or three years old.

But my mother didn't really know her father as well as she ought to have, either. Apparently, my grandmother's mother Lillian had a whole lot more control on her kids, even as adults, than she should have, and somehow essentially caused the breakup of Clarence with my grandmother Gertrude, though my mom knew her dad to some degree. My mother was primarily raised by Lillian, Gertrude and Gert's siblings, my great uncle Ed and my great aunt Deana.

My sister was going through some photos and came across these:

Top row-4th from left is Clarence Williams
Seated on right end is his brother, Charles Williams

I had heard vague stories of my grandfather and his brother playing in the Negro Leagues, but I never got any sense of the time frame. And, as this article notes, there were LOTS of teams named the Giants.

Top row 2nd from Left is Clarence Williams
Top Row 4th from left is Charles Williams

This is Charles. He has a daughter, Barbara, who my mom has befriended only relatively recently.

If, by chance, someone knows more about these guys, I would love to hear about it.



Demeur said...

Roger - I did about three hours of research on this and the best I can figure comes out like this:
The very first negro league was started in 1920. There was only 8 teams to start with. In order to promote games and the league the first teams would "barnstorm" around the eastern part of the country. The league teams would play any takers such as college and company teams. As other teams and leagues were formed things advanced until the early 1930s when only the NNL survived.
I looked all over the net to find a team with the B Giants name but could find none. I therefore assume that either this was a local team that was formed to play against the league teams of the time or it was a short lived league team that never was included in the roster of the NNL or other major league. Some teams back then didn't make it an entire season. Judging by the suits that they are wearing this appears to be of the early to mid 1920s era. Notice the high collar on the one portrait.
Wish I could tell you more but in the process I now have an understanding of the negro leagues of the 1920s.

clw said...

Since you're in NY state, maybe a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame's Research Center could give you answers, maybe at least about the team. You can email them too.