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Daff Gammons

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  • Daff Gammons

    Daff Gammons

    John Ashley Gammons

    John Gammons was born on March 17, 1876 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. His parents lived in New Bedford their entire lives (father dying there in 1905, and mother in 1937).

    Gammons was the oldest child of Edgar Howland Gammons, born in New Bedford on August 29, 1850, and Amantha Bordon Gammons, nee Ashley, born on July 24, 1854 in New Bedford. Amantha was a descendant of Peter Brown, an original Massachusetts inhabitant who immigrated aboard the Mayflower.

    The couple was married on June 4, 1874. Edgar was a farmer, dry goods merchant and quarry operator and later a superintendent of the local health department. The Gammons’ 250-acre farm (100 acres of which were under plow) was located on Hathaway Road in New Bedford. Amantha and her mother-in-law and Edgar Jr. tended oversaw farm operations after Edgar’s passing in 1905.

    The Gammons children:

    John Ashley
    Helen Ashley, born May 19, 1878, school teacher (died 1964 in South Dartmouth, MA)
    Alice Maud, born May 18, 1881 (died 1961 in Vermont)
    Edgar Howland Jr., born May 22, 1885
    Mary (Molly) Nye, born May 9, 1893 (died Dec 1, 1984 in Barrington, RI)

    Gammons attended grade schools in New Bedford and then enrolled at Brown University in 1894. At 5’11” and 170 lbs., he played baseball and football there with his good friend and fellow future major leaguer Dave Fultz. Gammons graduated from Brown in 1898 and later attended Harvard University.

    Football: halfback from 1895-97

    Brown Football, Division 1-A:
    1895, Rank #7, 7-6-1 record
    1896, Rank #10, 4-5-1 record
    1897, Rank #9, 7-4 record

    Baseball: outfield from at least 1895-98

    Brown Baseball:
    1895, 15-10-1 record
    1896, national champions, 19-4 record
    1897, eastern champions, 18-6 record, defeated western champions, the U of Chicago in a 3-game series
    1898, 13-7 record



    1898- halfback for Duquesne (Pittsburgh) Country and Athletic Club, a professional team
    1899 – halfback for Duquesne Country and Athletic Club, coached by former major league pitcher Mark Baldwin (Fultz was also in the backfield)
    1900 – halfback for the professional Homestead (Pittsburgh) Library Athletic Club, sponsored by Carnegie Steel (Fultz also)
    1901 - halfback, captain and coach for the professional Homestead (Pittsburgh) Athletic Club (Fultz also)
    1902 – halfback for the professional Pittsburgh Stars in the National Football League, the first professional football league (funded by MLB men) (teammates: Christy Mathewson and Fred Crolius)


    Gammons coached Brown University football in 1902 and from 1908-9, amassing a career 17-10-2 record - 334 points for, 150 against. He was also assistant coach at Brown in 1907.
    1902 5-4-1
    1908 5-3-1
    1909 7-3-0

    He was also athletic director at Brown in 1908.


    After graduating from Brown, Gammons played semi-pro ball for Attleboro and North Attleboro, Massachusetts clubs from 1898-1900. He also coached baseball at Brown from 1901-02.

    By 1900, Gammons was pursuing a career as an insurance agent; thus, he was hesitant to sign with a professional ball club. He wavered back and forth but eventually signed with the Boston Braves as a free agent on March 26, 1901. He made his major league debut at age 25 as a pinch-hitter for pitcher Vic Willis in the ninth inning on April 23 (hitless). In all Gammons appeared in 28 games for Boston (18 hits in 93 at bats for a .194 batting average and only one extra base hit, a triple), mostly in left field.

    Undedicated to the sport, Gammons quit the game on July 1. Gammons though did make an impression. His teammate Fred Tenney would later claim that gammons was the greatest head-first slider he’d ever seen.

    In 1902 Gammons signed to play ball with the semi-pro Woonsocket Gyms, Rhode Island club but quickly quit when he was offered the captaincy of the Olneyville (a neighborhood in providence) club. He left sports after 1902 to concentrate on his insurance business.

    In 1915 Gammons became interested in purchasing the Providence club of the International League. Eventually, he found other investors and bought the club from Boston Red Sox owner John Lannin. He was named president of the club, handling daily operation. Gammons quit the club in March 1918 after being hired as a member of the advisory committee of the Bureau of Mines in Washington D.C.


    Gammons was also a top amateur golfer in Rhode Island. Around 1912, he joined the private Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, Rhode Island. He compete in tournaments in and around the area well into the 1930s.


    In October 1910 Gammons married Florence Fisher Talbot, an Andover, Maine native. Talbot was born on June 9, 1882 in Andover (died June 22, 1965 in Jamestown, Rhode Island). She was the daughter of John F., a farmer, and Georgiana E. Talbot.

    In 1901 Gammons established his own insurance company, John Gammons, Inc. in Providence. The family initially lived in the Rumford District of east Providence; however, by 1930 they had purchased a $20,000 home in East Greenwich.


    John Ashley Jr., born August 27, 1911 (died April 9, 1976 in Tucson, Arizona)
    Elwin Talbot, born Apr 18, 1913 (died Sep 7, 1998 in Jamestown, RI)
    Peter Talbot, born in 1914
    Barbara, born in 1916
    Edgar B., born in 1918
    Elizabeth, born in 1919
    Daphne F., born in 1921

    On September 24, 1963 Gammons died in East Greenwich. He was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in New Bedford.

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