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  1. #1
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    MD - Tolbert 'Jack' Dalton, 63, Catonsville, 4 July 1948

    Tolbert Percy "Jack" Dalton
    Missing since July 4, 1948 from Catonsville, Maryland.
    Classification: Missing
    Vital Statistics
    Date Of Birth: July 3, 1885
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 63 years old
    Height at Time of Disappearance: 5 feet, 10 inches
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Brown hair
    AKA: Jack Dalton.
    Note his first name has been variously spelled in records as Talbot or Talbert or Tolbert, but he went by Jack or Percy.

    Circumstances of Disappearance

    Mr. Dalton was last seen on July 4, 1948 while living in Catonsville, MD.
    He left Sunday morning to a service at the Columbia Primitive Baptist Church in Burtonsville, Montgomery County. He never showed up at the church and he never returned home.

    Mr. Dalton was a professional baseball player from 1910 throught 1917. No record of a police investigation into the case has been found. The only known investigation into Dalton's disappearance was carried out by members of his Primitive Baptist congregation.

    Dalton's case has long intrigued a small group of researchers belonging to the Society of American Baseball Researchers (SABR). They have gleaned bits of information over the years, mostly from talking to Dalton's relatives and members of the Primitive Baptist Church.

    Background Information:

    Tolbert Percy Dalton, aka Jack Dalton, was born 3 July 1885 in Henderson, TN, to Tolbert Saunders Dalton, Jr. and Martha Ella Gooch. He had a brother named Pleasie Dalton who died in Virginia sometime prior to 1955.

    Percy "Jack" Dalton was a law school graduate of the University of Virginia. He played major league baseball for the Brooklyn and Buffalo, NY teams in 1910, 1913 and 1914. He played professional baseball through at least 1917.

    By 1931, he was married and living with his wife, Thelma, in Elk Ridge, Maryland where he was working as a car salesman.

    By 1936, Dalton was serving as a preacher or Elder with the Primitive Baptist Church at Colombia, located in Burtonsville, MD.

    The following information is from the "History of the Primitive Baptist Church at Columbia" as noted in the "Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers, Vol II."

    Elder T. Percy Dalton was the son of T.S. Dalton and his earliest appearance at Columbia was the Union meeting of 1936 held on July 17. Then March of the following year an appointment was made for first Sunday in April 1937 (this meant he preached on the first Sunday of the month).

    He continued to preach at Columbia, occasionally, through the years.
    On November 17, 1946, the church decided to write Elders Harvey Daily, T.P. Dalton, and F.E Thompson to find out if they would serve if called for the year 1947. On December 15 Elder T.P. Dalton was chosen by unanimous vote to serve and the following year on November 2, 1947, he was called and accepted first Sunday appointments while Elder Dove was chosen for third Sundays.

    On June 6, 1948, Elder T.P. Dalton baptized brother Emory Alderton. This was the last meeting Elder Dalton attended.

    No one seems to know why Elder T.P. Dalton did not show on meeting day, July 4th (1948). On July 17, at the union meeting, a committee was appointed to visit with Elder Dalton at his home. On August 1, two men from the church, brothers Oursler and H. Alderton reported that Elder Dalton was missing from his home and could not be located.

    To our knowledge he was never seen or heard from again.


    Web sites discussing Dalton can be found at www.aafla.org and www.baseball-reference.com.

    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact: Maryland Missing

    Source:
    The Doe Network: Case File 1398DMMD

    Link:
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1398dmmd.html
    Last edited by summer_breeze; 03-24-2012 at 12:25 PM. Reason: updated doe network link

  2. #2
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    Baseball stats...

    For you Baseball historians, here is some more information on the major league career of Jack Dalton.

    Jack Dalton played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1910, 1914, and 1915. He played on the 1916 Detroit Tigers team, and at some point (probably 1911-1913) with a Buffalo NY team.

    His Major League Career statistics:
    Games played 345, Batting Average .286, Home Runs 4, RBI 112

  3. #3
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    I just found about Dalton recently, and being a crime buff as well as a die-hard baseball fan, it's very intriguing. What indeed happened to him? Perhaps he just decided to take off and start a new life somewhere, or perhaps something more sinister. If I may take a complete and total stab in the dark here...perhaps Dalton was ambushed by someone on his way to the Sunday service, someone who knew his routine, possibly acting like their car was broke down, and Dalton pulled over to help. Then he was abducted, killed, and disposed of. Why? Perhaps he was messing around with someone's wife. Or someone may have had some other kind of grudge against him. It's a true mystery. I suppose we may never know.

  4. #4
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    Queations...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Mills
    I just found about Dalton recently, and being a crime buff as well as a die-hard baseball fan, it's very intriguing. What indeed happened to him? Perhaps he just decided to take off and start a new life somewhere, or perhaps something more sinister. If I may take a complete and total stab in the dark here...perhaps Dalton was ambushed by someone on his way to the Sunday service, someone who knew his routine, possibly acting like their car was broke down, and Dalton pulled over to help. Then he was abducted, killed, and disposed of. Why? Perhaps he was messing around with someone's wife. Or someone may have had some other kind of grudge against him. It's a true mystery. I suppose we may never know.
    Interesting possibilities, but no information to indicate why Dalton left home that morning, other than to go to church. Burtonsville is 16 miles from Catonsville, so he most likely would have driven there by car. But there is no information available concerning whether or not he had a car, or whether or not it was ever found.

    Also, I do not know if he was still married at the time, or if so, what became of his wife? The family seems to know that he did leave his home on the morning of July 4th. Did they report him missing, and if so when? The church record only states that he did not show up on that date, and that it was some two to four weeks before they conducted their "investigation". No indication that they initiated a missing persons report with the police either.

  5. #5
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    Baseball: The only real game...

    I wonder if Jack just got tired of living in Detroit, or if perhaps he might have left baseball to serve in the Army during WW I. No mention of any military service, but that is a distinct possibility. His last pro season was 1916 and the US entered WW I in April 1917.

  6. #6
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    Some more on Jack Dalton...

    Several newspaper articles list Jack's birthdate as July 4th, not July 3rd. This would have made the date he disappeared his 63rd birthday.

    Jack was a standout player at the University of Virginia. He was offiered a position with the White Sox in '08, but declined the offer. He began his career in Des Moines of the Western League in '09. He then played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he had an exceptional year in 1914. He then played briefly for the Buffalo Federals, and was then signed by the Cincinnati Reds. He and the Reds could not come to terms, so instead he played for the Detroit Tigers. Failing to repeat the success he had in Brooklyn, he was released by the Tigers and played for a time in San Francisco for the Seals. In 1917, he returned to the Western League, accepting a job managing a team in Joplin, MO. He attempted to purchase the major league franchise based in St Joseph, MO, but the owners of the team refused to come to terms.

  7. #7
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    Born on the Fourth of July?

    Quote Originally Posted by shadowangel
    Some more on Jack Dalton...

    Several newspaper articles list Jack's birthdate as July 4th, not July 3rd. This would have made the date he disappeared his 63rd birthday.....
    Great information on Jack Dalton's baseball career, when did he get out of baseball?

    The American song composer George M. Cohan always believed that he was born on the Fourth of July and even included that phrase in his song "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy". But birth records and some biographies of him list his actual birthdate as 3 July 1878.

    I also encountered a similar "Fourth of July" birthday discrepancy when researching WW I veteran Ben/William Stewart. Army Records indicate that his birthday was 2 July, but church burial records indicate that it was 4 July. I went with the Army record when ordering his headstone, as it was a date which Ben would have written down himself and/or verified by his signature.

    Perhaps birthdays close to the 4th of July are celebrated on the 4th because that was always a time that friends and family got together. Hence, people would always remember a person having his or her birthday on July 4th.

    Jack Dalton had just turned 63 - whether that day, or the day before. He walked out of his house headed for church that Sunday morning and has not been seen since. He will be 121 on his next birthday.

  8. #8
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    I can't find anything on him after 1917...Its possible he retired, when he offered to purchase the St Joe baseball team he had $15,000 of his money to put up for the purchase-I saw ads for a "new, luxury Maxwell" automobile with a price of $600.

    There are references in the very early 20's to a "Jack Dalton" boxing professionally in the mid-west, I'll see what else I can find on him.

    This is an odd story...One would almost have to assume he was single by this time. If he did travel by auto, I wonder if it was ever found?

  9. #9
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    Odd indeed...

    Quote Originally Posted by shadowangel
    ...This is an odd story...One would almost have to assume he was single by this time. If he did travel by auto, I wonder if it was ever found?
    I tend to agree somewhat. Why was it only after the church leaders FINALLY got around to checking on him two weeks later that he was reported missing? If he was married or living with family, someone must have noticed that he didn't return home. But it was reported that he actually left for church the morning of the 4th. So maybe someone had been there to state that positively. It does seem odd.

    Who would have profited by his death? Perhaps a relative who disliked him and wanted him gone? Maybe a 1948 version of a car jacker? Or maybe Jack just decided to take off on a cross country road trip?

  10. #10
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    This entire disappearance would hinge on whether or not he actually was seen leaving for church. The poor guy may have wandered into the woods near his home and still be there...


  11. #11
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    Baseball, the only real game in the world...

    Baseball season will be upon us again soon, and the warm weather has me thinking about it. Baseball historians keep careful records of all sorts of statistics for each player, and keep up on what became of major league players. Jack Dalton is a rare exception because he is "among the missing". He disappeared in 1948, on the fourth of July, one day after his 63rd birthday - and his fate remains a mystery to this day.

  12. #12
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    Jack Dalton's baseball uniforms...

    The below link is to a website where you can View Player Uniforms of the baseball teams that Dalton played on during his professional career.

    Jack is still missing. If still alive, he would be 121 years old. He is a very rare exception in that he is one of only a few Major League Players who is unaccounted for.

    Link:
    player_ID=daltoja01&teams=1910_BRO-1914_BRO-1915_BUF-1916_DET

  13. #13
    I found this at a baseball site. I'm not sure it is correct but I do find it interesting.

    The last record we have of him is living with his wife (Thelma) in Elk Ridge, MD in 1931 working as an auto salesman. However, there is information that he was living in Emmitsburg, MD. as late as 1953 as a traveling minister. Rich Bozzone, Society of American Baseball Researchers

    (Just a little something you could look into.)

  14. #14
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    Baseball season again...

    With the start of Baseball season again, I got to thinking about this case.

    It is interesting that Jack Dalton's baseball career ended in 1917 - 90 years ago. He is one of only two Pro Ball players whose later location or death date/place is unknown by baseball historians.

    I am often amazed at some of the strange "coincidences" that one encounters. Last summer, I was taking a load of musty smelling cardboard boxes to the local recycling center. Normally, I just throw the stuff into the large dumpster and leave. But this time, I needed some replacement boxes to store some stuff in, and I climbed up the steps and looked down into the dumpster.

    I immediately saw a box of 3" by 5" index cards. These were right on top of the pile of cardboard, and I reached down and retrieved a handful of them. Each was filled in by hand with information about various sports players - all of them American Indians. Dates on the cards ranged from the mid 1600's to 1960. They had been compiled in the 1950's and had aparently been stored in some attic for the past 50 years.

    Taking the box home, I learned (through correspondence also in the box) that this was all research which had been done by "Wahoo Sam Crawford", who played pro baseball from 1899 to 1917 - mostly with the Detroit Tigers. Sam is in the Baseball Hall of Fame for having the most career Triples, a record unbroken since 1917.

    Sam Crawford was evidently very interested in American Indians in professional sports and had spent untold hours researching the subject in preparation of writing a book. Although he aparently never wrote that book, he had quite a few pre-publication orders for it. Sam was quite a story teller and most of the stories about Ty Cobb came from his interviews with various reporters and writers.

    The collection consists of over three thousand index cards full of information. I have offered to donate it to the Smithsonian Native American Museum Archives, and they have accepted the offer.

    Getting back to this case, the coincidental connection seems to be that both men played together on the Detroit Tigers baseball team in their last year of professional baseball. As a kid, I lived near Detroit, and have always been a Tigers fan.

    Both Jack and Sam also spent time in New York, and both also ended up in Maryland in later years (Maryland is where the research cards were found). Sam died in Hollywood, CA in 1968.

    Jack Dalton's 1948 disappearance is still unsolved.

  15. #15
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    59 Year anniversary...

    It has been 59 years since Percy "Jack" Dalton disappeared.

    Here is an updated link to The Doe Network: Case File 1398DMMD:

    http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/1398dmmd.html

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