Sporting Events in the Early 1800s



It wasn’t all hard work for the early pioneers. Those living in the country enjoyed sporting activities just as we do today.

Shooting Matches were great fun for early settlers. Participants aimed their rifles at targets hoping to be the most accurate. These matches normally occurred around Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Horse races were always popular events. The races varied in length from a quarter mile or half mile on a straight path.

One, two, and three mile races, called Fairs, happened on circular tracks. The races took place at harvest time. Large crowds attended to watch the best horses in the area compete during the event that lasted three to four days.

Sports were part of most public gatherings. Country folks enjoyed foot races, jumping, wrestling, and pitching quoits (horseshoes.)

Pioneers also loved fishing. Passing a few hours on the riverbank also provided tasty suppers – as long as the fish took the bait!

-Sandra Merville Hart



“History of The Game of Quoits,” 2015/06/15

Welker, Martin. 1830’s Farm Life in Central Ohio, Clapper’s Print, 2005.