From Abe to Babe
Member Connects History and Ancestry
By Mike Smith, Member Since 1983
Our own Jack Dunn from Baltimore, an Ocean Reef Member since 2004, enjoys reading about history and is a great trivia competitor. He also has a fascinating ancestry which connects two famous, very disconnected Americans: Babe Ruth and Abe Lincoln.
Jack Dunn’s great grandfather was also Jack Dunn – owner of the then minor league team, the Baltimore Orioles. In 1914, a young player by the name of Herman Ruth, then 19, drew Dunn’s attention because of his pitching and Dunn hired him. The law at that time required Ruth have a legal guardian sign his baseball contract in order for him to play professionally. Dunn became that guardian and teammates called Ruth “Dunn’s new babe.” The moniker stuck and from then on Ruth’s nickname was ‘Babe Ruth’. Ruth was with the Orioles for only a year before he was called to play for the Boston Red Sox.
Even more interesting, a man named Cipriano Ferrandini, Jack’s (present day Jack) great, great grandfather. Ferrandini immigrated to the United States from Corsica and established himself as a barber and hairdresser in the basement of Barnum’s Hotel in Baltimore. He practiced his trade from the mid 1850s and retired shortly after the Civil War was over. Mr. Ferrandini was known to have strong ties to the Southern movement. When Abe Lincoln was elected president in 1861, Ferrandini and others thought he would be a threat to the Southern cause. They learned that Lincoln was going through Baltimore on his way from Springfield to Washington and planned a plot to assassinate him. According to an Allan Pinkerton journal, Ferrandini was the leader. Pinkerton had an agent who penetrated the plotting group and advised Lincoln not to go through Baltimore. However, Lincoln disguised himself and arrived by rail unnoticed. He changed trains and arrived safely in Washington. Ferrandini was called to appear in front of a Congressional Committee investigating plots against the president. Even though Ferrandini admitted his antiunion sentiments, he was not charged with a crime. He continued to live in Baltimore and died in 1910.
So Abe and Babe are connected albeit through the ancestral genes of our own Jack B. Dunn.