That degree of identification, facilitates a comparison between the Camden Club players and a larger group of northern New Jersey players analyzed by George Kirsch in the 1983 Spring/Summer issue of "New Jersey History." Perhaps the biggest surprise was how young the Camden players were. In 1858, their second year of existence, the average age of the south Jersey boys was just under 20 compared to almost 27 for the north Jersey group. All told 12 of the 15 were 19 or younger with relative gray beards like Nathan Mulliner (31) and Treasurer, Charles Rudderow (30) the oldest members. At the other end of the spectrum were David Vickers (only 13) and the Camdens most notable product, Weston Fisler at 15.
Age was not the only difference between the two groups. With only two immigrants (brothers Arthur and Frederick Merry), just over 90% of the Camden Club was native born, slightly higher than the 84% of the north Jersey players. Not surprisingly given their youth, the young men from Camden owned very little, if any, real property compared to an average of over $8600 for their neighbors to the north. One similarity was occupation where even as young men in 1860, most of the Camden Club members worked in either white collar jobs or in skilled trades.
A number of the members of the Camden Club went on to bigger and better things. Base ball wise, as noted in an earlier post, the most successful by far was Weston Fisler. Equally noteworthy in their own fields were Frederick Merry and Martin Grey. Merry, who along with brother, Arthur, were the only non-native born Camdens, became a well known architect, helping to design a portion of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park as well as numerous buildings in the New York metropolitan area where he died in 1900. Already a lawyer in 1860, Martin Grey, son of the publisher of the West Jerseyman, a Camden newspaper, became vice chancellor of New Jersey, dying in 1906 while still in office.
Flag of the 3rd New Jersey Regiment
Merry was the older brother of Arthur, one of the two Camdens and one of four New Jersey base ball players to make the ultimate sacrifice at Gaines Mill in June of 1862. More fortunate at Gaines Mill were Frank Knight and Robert Dunham. Knight, president of the Camden Club, was a captain commanding Company G of the 3rd New Jersey. "Caught in a tight spot," Knight tried to surrender, instead was struck in the back with a rifle butt by an unsympathetic Confederate. Doubtless furious at this unmanly act, the ball player drew his pistol and "shot the ruffian dead." Although he got out of that scrape, Knight was still taken prisoner because he wouldn't abandon mortally wounded teammate, William Evans. Subsequently exchanged, Knight became Lieutenant Colonel of the nine-month, 24th New Jersey and left the army for good at the end of the regiment's service.
Frank L. Knight