Civil War era Paterson
Not surprisingly the war slowed down the organization of other new teams in Paterson with no further club formations until 1863 (four clubs) and 1864 (another four). Among the 1864 vintage was the Olympic Club which became Paterson's premier team of the 1860's only to go out of existence at the end of the decade before being re-incarnated in the 1870's and sending four players to the major leagues including future Hall of Famer, Mike "King" Kelly. As with the rest of the country, the post war period then saw rapid growth in Paterson with 26 teams formed in both 1866 and 1867. Each of these teams, of course, needed a name many of which came from the categories identified by George Kirsch in his book Baseball and Cricket: The Creation of American Team Sports, 1838-1872 including the use of patriotic/national monikers as well as those claiming some level of athletic ability. Especially popular in Paterson were names endowing its members, at least figuratively, with superior mental and physical traits such as having a "quickstep," being "active" and "alert" or in such command they "neversweat." Interestingly another Unknown club was formed in 1866 with the name also adopted by one of the old-fashioned clubs that played in the summer of 1867.
Flora Temple in a Currier and Ives print
Given the number of teams formed in 1866 and 1867 alone, club organizers had to exercise a degree of creativity in choosing a name. Some apparently decided to try to replicate some of the country's distinguished clubs like the Atlantics and Mutuals, but at least two other teams followed the example of the Flora Temple Club organizers by going outside of the mainstream. In 1860 the most casual observer recognized the name Flora Temple and even today, it's an easy name to research. Born in Oneida County, New York in 1845, Flora Temple was reportedly the famous "bob tailed nag" of Stephen Foster's "Camptown Races." Originally named Flora, the relatively small mare (14 hands or 56 inches) wasn't recognized for her racing ability until 1852 when renamed Flora Temple, she defeated a horse named Brown Jim. Over the next nine years, the trotter won 92 races, came in second 14 times and was the first horse to break the 2:20 mile. Over the course of her career,Flora Temple raced throughout the eastern half of the United States and was immortalized by numerous Currier and Ives lithographs. Less than two months before an 1860 account of a Flora Temple Club base ball match appeared in the New York Sunday Mercury, Flora Temple swept a best of five heat race against George M. Patchen, another famous horse before 4000 fans in Philadelphia. It's no wonder these young men from Paterson (home to its own horse racing track) aimed to replicate the speed, strength and heart of the champion race horse.
Currier and Ives print of Mazeppa
Seven years later, another group of Paterson ball players also chose a name with an equestrian connection, but this time with a literary twist, deciding to call themselves the Mazeppa Club. Unlike, Flora Temple, however, its less likely the average reader of the Paterson Daily Press immediately picked up on the allusion to an 1809 narrative poem by the English poet Lord Byron. The work tells the story of Ivan Mazeppa, a Ukrainian page at the Polish court who has an affair with the young wife of a much older count. Outraged when he learns of the incident, the nobleman has Mazeppa tied naked to a wild horse which is then released into the wilderness. The bulk of the poem describes the long hazardous journey during which Mazeppa almost dies twice but ultimately survives and returns to his native Ukraine. Unlike the founders of the Flora Temple Club, the reason for the Mazeppa Club member's choice is less clear. It may be nothing more than a literary joke or possibly an attempt to compare their endurance on the ball field with Mazeppa. Perhaps there is also a subconscious desire to share his amorous affair with a different end result.
Although the Mazeppa Club members get some points for obscurity, their efforts paled in comparison with the Michael Erle's, one of the old fashioned base ball clubs which sprang up in Paterson in 1867. The only reference discovered to date is a play called "Michael Erle, the Maniac Lover or the Fayre Lass of Lichfield," by the English author, Thomas Egerton Wilks (1812-1854). Reportedly one of many plays by Wilks, the text of "Michael Erle" survives, but Internet searches have revealed next to nothing about Wilks beyond an interesting connection to a much better known English author. In 1837 Wilks edited the memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi, a famous British clown which he submitted to Bentley's Miscellany magazine for publication. Apparently not completely satisfied with the text, Bentley's asked a young, but promising writer named Charles Dickens to finish the job. Apparently a fan of Grimaldi's from his youth, Dickens undertook the project even though he was hard at work at what would become Oliver Twist. Given the apparent literary inclinations of the men in Paterson, it's surprising that by the 1860's, at least one new club didn't choose a name from Dickens like the Fezziwigs or the Cheerybles. Drawing on Dickens' works was left for a group of Jersey City players who opted to call themselves the Dolly Vardons after a character from Barnaby Rudge, one of Dickens lesser known novels. Although none of these clubs produced memorable results on the ball field, they certainly chose club names that are hard to forget.