Collar And Elbow

New York Herald – May 26, 1882

A collar and elbow wrestling match between W.L. Kennedy, of New York, and “Black Sam,” a colored individual from St. Albans, Vt., took place at Harry Hill’s sporting resort yesterday afternoon.  The match was for $100 a side, best two out of three falls, the usual rules governing.  Instead of the ordinary jackets the men were rigged in harness in the nature of straps which crossed the shoulders, encircling the waist and the arms above the elbows.  Kennedy was the favorite – $25 to $20.  James McGill, a retired wrestler from Vermont, acted as referee.  “Black Sam” was upon the defensive entirely in the first bout, but in 7m. 10s.  Kennedy secured an inside grapevine lock, which being broken he changed to a cross-buttock and Sam went down like a log with shoulders and hips touching the floor, whereupon Kennedy was given first fall.  After resting fifteen minutes the men resumed operations, and in three minutes Kennedy essayed an inside lock.  The black was thrown, but it was not a fall.  Various locks were then attempted by the men, without success, when Sam broke his hold on two occasions, but was only warned, whereas the penalty, if strictly enforced, would have been the loss of the fall.  At the expiration of thirty minutes Sam, with an outside click, brought Kennedy upon his knees and twice afterward had him down on his side, but failed to follow up his advantage and obtain the fall.  Kennedy’s right arm strap having become stretched, it came below his elbow, when Sam, persistently pulling upon it as hard as he could, used the foul hold to break Kennedy’s hold and was successful.  The black appealed the referee, and that official gave the fall against Kennedy on the ground that he had broken his hold.  It was a one-sided decision that failed to please the audience.  This bout occupied one hour.  For the third bout the men worked zealously just six and a half minutes, when, after a hurried consultation with the wrestlers, the referee declared the match a draw and all bets off.

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