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Old 12-10-2009, 11:02 AM   #1
Mike in Canada
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Cool Gentleman Jim Corbett

Hi all,

First off, I must say I'm really impressed with this message board.

Now, to the point.

I'm related to Jim Corbett (3rd or 4th cousin)...probably 4th, but I haven't done the math. At any rate, he was the nephew of my great, great grandmother. I've had precious little time to do a detailed study on him other than what can be found on a quick Google search. I do understand he was quite the 'character" , shall we say, and would really appreciate it if anyone can shed some light on his life that isn't part of the popular knowledge. I know people can become romanticized over time and their legend grows so I won't be offended if in fact he wasn't quite the person that the movies and books would have us believe.

I'd also be thrilled if someone reads this who is also related to him.

Cheers from Canada!

(I'm from Hamilton, Ontario which is half way between Toronto and Niagara Falls..40 miles each way)


Ironically, Hamilton is where "Cinderella Man" was filmed....(Copps Coliseum)

mike

(forgive me if the topic of James Corbett has been raised many times before)
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:11 PM   #2
Mike in Canada
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

Oh, and in case you're wondering if any boxing prowess foltered down through the blood-lines, well, ummm, the answer would be a resounding no.

The last time I was in an actual fight was when I was 10 years old and I got thoroughly whupped by the girl next door.

(we're still friends after all these years and she makes it a point to re-tell the story to everyone at social functions....)

(women never forget!).....
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

You have quite a family history there.

In terms of understanding your illustrious ancestors career I think the best book around at the moment is "In the ring with James J Corbett" by Adam Pollack. It is howevewr a book that focuses on his career rather than his personal life.

As for James Corbett the man I have read a lot of contemporary newspaper articles about him ranging from the crucial to the trivial and certain points clearly stand out.

It is obvious that he was higly eloquent and sociualy adept. If he and his entorage got in trouble with the law it was always Corbett himself and not his manager who did the talking and he almost invariably talked his way out of the situation.

He was a resourcefull and ruthless individual who did whatever he had to do to better himself. Had he been born in our era it is higly likley that he would never have gone into boxing because he would have had many other options at his disposal which he might have seen as being easier or more profitable.

My final observation is that he was a man who could fit into any social set. Put him among roughnecks and he could be a roughneck. Put him in with the gentry and he could play that role effortlesly.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
Mike in Canada
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

Thanks for your response "Janitor".

By the sounds of it, he should have been a politician

He's probably lucky he didn't leave an e-trail either like a certain golfer we all know left.

Thanks also for the tip about the book. I'm really in the dark about him and all the help I can get is good.

One thing that may have rubbed off is his ability to adapt to all kinds of social situations. I've been told I too have that ability. It may have developed from my career as a telephone installer/repairman as each service call presents a totally different communication skill set. You can go from one job being in a filthy crack house in the slums, right to the next job at a University Professor or Heart Surgeon's palatial home, and then into a horse ranch or corn farmer's home. So yah, I can relate to him in that way. I have to adapt to different people all the time and communicate effectively with them. I'm also a Gemini so that helps apparantly....(hahaha)

Being related to the guy by blood aside, he sounds like an interesting study.

Interestingly, former Canadian Boxing Champion George Chuvalo owns property nearby my home and I have see him in town at the corner store, but I've never approached him. (he doesn't live there but he rents the house out) Perhaps I should sit down for a coffee with him one day when he's in town collecting the rent or working on the house and introduce myself and see if he knows any of Corbett's history from his end of things.

......thanks again for your response and thanks in advance to anyone else that can help me understand his history
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

If you haven't read his autobiography, "The Roar of the Crowd," it might be worth your while to borrow a copy through an inter-library loan.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

I will dig out a few newspaper articles.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

It was common for fighters of this period to make money on the side by acting but Corbett was unusual in that he actualy displayed a talent for it while most of his peers were prety dire.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

A nice anecdote.[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

A contemporary discussion about Corbetts suitability for congress.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

Check out the In the Ring series. You might enjoy In the Ring With James J. Corbett.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:24 PM   #11
Mike in Canada
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

Wow!...you guys are really being helpful here.....and those newspaper articles are incredible ! It sure humanizes someone when you see a reporter's words from the day.....instead of a Hollywood version of the person.

I have been painstakenly looking for the geneaology project my step-mother did on our family.......she devoted 2 entire pages on him but that was just family lineage stuff really and a few common knowledge things about his career.....but none of this stuff you guys are showing....

I'll find it in the next few days for sure .....I know his mother's name was Mary if I recall correctly and she was the sister of my great, great grandmother....or great grandmother...one or the other anyways......that's why I'm not sure if he would have been my 3rd or 4th cousin. I also recall in the book of sorts my step-mother did where he was referred to as the father of modern day boxing or something similar because he introduced the gloves. That's sort of a neat thing.

I'm also going to see if I can find that movie with Errol Flynn playing him that I've heard about......I hope i can find it on-line somewhere because I doubt I can find it at Blockbuster.

.....once again, you people have been incredibly helpful and I thank you so much.

Cheers from a suddenly frigid and snowy Southern Ontario, Canada
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:00 PM   #12
Mike in Canada
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

Ah ha!...found it.....

Okay, here it goes.


Gentleman Jim Corbett was the nephew of Mary Ellen Corbett b.1851, my great, great grandmother who lived in Birmingham England and who was married to my Great, Great grandfather b.1852. He was a police inspector. They both had my great grandfather b. 1879 (he immigrated to Canada and died here in London, Ontario on Jan.22, 1929 and is buried here in Hamilton, Ontario), who had my grandfather who died here in 1968 who had my father (still alive and now living in Nova Scotia) who had me (still alive....I think).

James Corbett must have been my great, great uncle's son as he retained the last name of Corbett (maiden name of my great, great grandmother Mary Ellen) My great, great uncle must have moved to Ireland at some point and somehow they must have immigrated to America (New York? San Francisco?) from there (I don't have any info on that)......whereas my line of the family came over to Canada one more generation later and right to Hamilton, probably because of the steel industries here....(my great grandmother and great grandfather).

The Corbetts got on the boat first by the sounds of it and stayed in the States.

So, that makes him my cousin three times removed...4th cousin correct? ('m not good at this family tree stuff and how it all works)

Now that my brain has gone to mush trying to figure all this stuff out, I think I can just boil it all down to being related to some dude who knew how to use his fists and make some pretty good coin and have a good time in life. Sounds like a guy I could have hung with and had some fun......
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:47 AM   #13
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike in Canada View Post
I'm also going to see if I can find that movie with Errol Flynn playing him that I've heard about......I hope i can find it on-line somewhere because I doubt I can find it at Blockbuster.
You can find the film on Youtube.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:51 AM   #14
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

Btw the whole meeting between Corbett and Sullivan following the fight in the film Gentleman Jim, where Sullivan sounds broken and sympathetic and says to Corbett that 'maybe you are bringing something to the fight game that fellers like me never did'.....NEVER took place....Sullivan was resentful of Corbett before and after their fight, about the only nice thing he ever said about Corbett was that if he (Sullivan) was to lose to Corbett, he was glad he lost to an American.

Read Isenberg's JOHN L SULLIVAN AND HIS AMERICA, as well as Pollack's JOHN L SULLIVAN, THE CAREER OF THE FIRST GLOVED CHAMPION, to read up on the events and relationship between and leading up to the Corbett/Sullivan fight.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:11 PM   #15
Mike in Canada
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Default Re: Gentleman Jim Corbett

Janitor......I found the movie on Youtube as you suggested.....part 1 through 10 and beyond. It looks like a real classic. Thanks

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0x2MfSRgFco[/ame]

I love this opening to the movie and black and white is really a treat to see now.

..and thanks to Homicide Henry and everyone else for the further info and sources you suggested.....it's been a great help!

cheers,

Mike
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