The Front Page News

Appalachian Spring Continues Sports Theme In Nelsonville Area

Sports In The Little Cities: Sam Jones, Champion Boxer & Community Hero

Thursday, May 9, 2019 • May 9 • 3-4:30PM • Nelsonville Public Library

The lessons of boxing far surpass the sport itself in the mind of Sam’s Gym owner and operator Sam Jones. A champion kick boxer and boxer from the
Glouster area. Jones father opened their gym in the mining town of Glouster 1936, and it has continually operated ever since, making it the oldest boxing gym in America. It is only rivaled by gyms in New York City for longevity, but as usual Sam wins the battle. Among the battles that Sam won, was reigning as the United States National Kick Boxing Champion from 1974- 78as the sport came into national attention via coverage on the ABC Wild World of Sports.

Sam Jones

The revered destination on Glouster’s High Street, has fashioned many a successful boxer and has made connections with champions from around the country, in part raising funds for Jones’ Boxing for Books program for Trimble Local Schools. More than fundraising drives this fit 70-plus year
old physical specimen, Jones has fashioned a philosophy of life that he draws from sports that he teaches those who train with him, guiding many a young men
(and a few young women) from the area to avoid the pitfalls that often beset their lives living in our economically challenged region.

Hear Sam live and in person on Thursday afternoon, May 9 at the Nelsonville Public Library. You won’t regret meeting this fine man and hearing his stories of early boxing and sport in the area, as well as his outlook on life!

Free and open to the public! Thanks to the Athens County Public Library in Nelsonville for hosting!

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Sports In The Little Cities: Professional Baseball Players from the Hocking Valley With Mark Shubert

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 • 3-4:30PM • Nelsonville Public Library

Robert Elia Williams from the mining town of Monday in Hocking County played for the New York Highlanders and New Yankees 1911-1913

America’s favorite pastime was a favorite among Hocking Valley miners seeking recreation after a hard week underground. The sport flourished in area communities with semi-pro teams developing in some mining towns. Visits to both Shawnee and Murray City from the Cincinnati Reds during the early 1900’s gives credibility to the story of the region’s baseball prowess. Even more so, the number of professional baseball players coming out of the coal region during the turn of last century is surprising. Amesville area historian Mark Shubert will share his knowledge of the numerous professional baseball players hailing from the Hocking Valley Coal region in a presentation at the Nelsonville Public Library on May 14. Shubert will also bring along sports memorabilia to share.

Among the players to be highlighted are Estel Crabtree, namesake for Crab- tree Field in Nelsonville, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds; Jack Taylor, of New Straitsville who played for the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, Congo’s John Churry who played for the Cubs Robert Elias Williams from the coal camp of Monday who played with the New York Yankees; and Corning’s Bunny Pearce who played catcher for the Reds.

Team such as this one at the mining community of Drakes in Perry County often sent players on to semi-pro and professional teams during the Hocking Valley Coal Boom Era.

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Little Cities Spirit Award Winners

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Little Cities 2018 Spirit Award Winners All American Basketball Player Jerry Jackson, Boxer Sam Jones and Football Coach Sean Bartley for service to community. In Keeping with this year’s sports theme, these athletes and youth mentors were selected.

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Little Cities of Black Diamonds Day Photos, October 2018

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Miller football players and cheerleaders enjoying a little love from a llama before our thematic parade which recognized the role of sports in the region.
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Exhibit on Corning High School sports history from the Corning-Monroe Local History Museum (located at the Corning Civic Center).
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Jackie Forquer of the Ohio Village Diamonds vintage baseball team explains the early rules of the game of baseball with our thematic display in the background at the Tecumseh Commons.
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Over a dozen Ohio University students from the College of Arts & Sciences Sociology of Appalachia class and the Patton College of Education’s Social Studies Methods class presented  3-minute Ted Talks on this year’s sports theme, or other Little Cities related research that they undertook this semester.  Thanks to Dr. Rachel Terman and Dr. Michael Kopish and thanks to the students who also provided service to the event by helping with prep, set up, take down and other roles during the event!
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It wouldn’t be Little Cities of Black Diamonds Day without homemade pie from long standing Tecumseh Theater volunteers!

Keep the Story Alive!

Click Here! to support the efforts of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council through donations or membership!


Little Cities of Black Diamonds Company Store Open for Business!

It’s finally here! The Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council is proud to announce that we’ve opened up the Company Store. we now have an online shop open for and ready for business! Check it out, and see our new Little Cities of Black Diamonds long sleeve T-shirts new for 2018, and while you’re there pick yourself up a copy of Carrying Coal to Columbus by David Meyers, Elise Meyers, and Nyla Vollmer as they share the history of the coal from its discovery in the Hocking Valley to the first loads of coal being shipped to Columbus and beyond today!



All The News That’s Fit to Print:  BDP 2018

Learn about the many inspiring stories of citizens valuing their story in the Little Cities microregion of southeastern Ohio by reading the full version of this year’s Black Diamond Press by clicking here: 

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