Clarence Freeman, World Beater
by Bob Podoff
Clarence Herbert Freeman was a full blooded Pequot Indian. He was born in 1863,
in Plainfield, Conn., U.S.A. He died in The Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I.
on May 20, 1909 after a six week illness with bladder trouble. He was 46 years old
when he died! His mother and his grandmother, also both full blooded Pequot
Indians survived him! As a boy he learned to play checkers using yellow and white
pieces of maize or corn for checker pieces! He did indeed become a bona-fide,
legitimate "WORLD BEATER" ! After having beaten various local New England
players of talent and other great players, he came up against The World Champion
James Wyllie in one of his many World Tours! When
Wyllie got to the USA a friendly match of 20 games was
arranged for and played at Providence, R.I, USA in 1884. The score of this match
was Freeman 4 wins, Wyllie 1 win and 15 draws!!
This obviously now established Freeman as World Class. Also about this time there
was a Providence versus New York team match. He beat his opponent Dr August
Schaefer 1-0-3. Another scalp to hang on his belt! Now he figured was the time to
challenge Charles Francis Barker for his American Championship Title! So in 1885
exactly one year after he defeated Wyllie, CH Freeman
defeated CF Barker for $400.00 and The American Championship by the score of 6-3-39
drawn! Now they were calling Freeman "Champion Beater" and "Peerless Player of Providence".
Soon after, the title changed again. In a restricted match for $200.00 and The Championship
of America, commenced at Providence, R.I. on May 25th, 1885, AJ Heffner defeated
C.H. Freeman by the score of 4-3-17 draws! This is the only time and the only match
of record that I could find that Freeman ever lost! Albeit by the very narrow score of
only 1 win. Heffner was in turn challenged by Barker, and the match, played in
Providence in 1886, resulted in a win for Barker 2 to 1 and 47 drawn! Then of course
in 1890 for $500.00 and The American Championship CH Freeman beat CF Barker again
by the score of 2 to 1 and 27 draws! Barker always beat Heffner; Heffner beat Freeman;
and Freeman always beat Barker! Charles Francis Barker was one of the strongest and
greatest Grand-Master Checkerists and problemists and end-game players who ever lived!
This is indisputable. His record includes 2 World Championship matches!
James Wyllie couldn't beat him! couldn't beat him!
Richard Jordan couldn't beat him! He was the first American
Tournament Winner in 1907 beating Heffner. He was the American Checker Champion on numerous
occasions. He placed 2nd highest on the American team in the First International Match in
1905 with a plus score of 5 wins and 3 losses, against arguably the strongest team of
masters ever assembled! The combined Scottish and English team consisted of FOUR present,
past and future World Champions and various English and Scottish Champions! Very, very
formidable and Barker is to be commended for his enviable performance! And the point of this
article about Freeman is: if Barker was so great, and honestly folks he really was very
great, then what must you think about Freeman who beat Barker convincingly twice?
That is why I call Clarence Herbert Freeman "WORLD BEATER"!