Raymond Pimlotte Kaighn

Raymond Pimlotte Kaighn

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 16 Aug 1962 (aged 92)
Macon, Warren County, North Carolina, USA
Burial Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Section 113, Lot 4
Memorial ID 96567190 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Raymond Pimlott Kaighn was born in Philadelphia, PA on December 8, 1869. His father was William Lewis Kaighn (1842-1925) who was a son of Elias Kaighn, Jr. (1799-1864). Raymond's mother was Elizabeth Victoria Pimlott (1843-1932). She married William L. Kaighn on January 1st, 1865 at St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church in Camden, NJ. The 1890 Philadelphia Directory also lists both William and Raymond still living on Ridge Avenue. Raymond's profession in that directory is listed as a clerk while William's is listed as "sew machines."
In December of 1891, Raymond was at the International YMCA Training School (which later became Springfield College) in Springfield, MA. It was there that James Naismith, a fellow student and football teammate, developed a game with 2 peach baskets and a soccer ball to relieve the winter doldrums of Swedish calisthenics: Basketball. Raymond was one of the 18 players to participate in the first game. Here is an excerpt from an article from the Greensboro Daily News written about him in 1957 where he describes that first game.
"You see, I was a member of the Springfield football team that year (1891) with Amos Alonzo Stagg, the famous coach, and Naismith. We were tired of the one-two-three-four calisthenics and wanted a winter game, not too rough, but one which would offer some sort of competitive challenge."
"Naismith, who played center on the football team, then came up with his new invention. He installed a peach basket at each end of the gym, fastening it at the base of the balcony running track. Then he told us the rules of the new game and showed us the soccer ball we'd use. For that first game, Jim chose 18 players. I was one of them."
Kaighn said the first rules stressed the importance of passing the ball. There was no dribbling. Naismith wanted to stress teamwork with the end purpose of tossing the soccer ball into the basket.
"It turned out that everyone wanted to shoot-- just like today. We would heave that soccer ball towards the basket from all corners of the court, regardless of the distance."
When the ball went into the peach basket, a janitor, mounted on a ladder beside the basket, would retrieve it. Each time a basket was scored, the players would return to the center circle to put the ball in play again. Although the game was designed to eliminate roughness, Naismith made one rule witch backfired.
"Whenever a ball went out of bounds," explained Kaighn, "the first player who reached it gained possession. This always produced an uproar, with all 18 men diving after the ball and scattering gymnasium equipment all over the floor. We'd usually have to take time out for gathering up equipment before we could continue the game."
"Then, when the ball went into the balcony, we'd stampede up the narrow stairway or climb up over the railing by jumping on each other's shoulders to get at the ball."
But that was not his only contribution to basketball history. Raymond went to Minnesota in January of 1893 to become a secretary of the YMCA. In 1894, he enrolled at Hamline University in St. Paul, graduating in 1898. At Hamline, Raymond was a student, the athletic director, quarterback of the football team, and the editor of the student newspaper. His first wife, Pearl Benham (1874-1943) was also a Hamline graduate. On February 9th, 1895 the first intercollegiate basketball game was played at Hamline and Raymond is given credit as the driving force behind the game (Hamline lost to the Minnesota State School of Agriculture 9-3). This first game had 9 players on each team, however Raymond is also credited with introducing 5-on-5 basketball to the Midwest. After leaving Hamline, Raymond continued to work for the YMCA. In 1925, Raymond was named the first Secretary of the YMCA Retirement Fund. He retired from the YMCA at the age of 70 on April 1, 1940. In 1942, he moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, where he met and married Stella (Taylor) MacNaughten (1886-1979) on May 17, 1951. They lived in Greensboro until moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1952.
Raymond was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959 as a member of the first team. He was also at the Commemoration of the Hall on November 6, 1961; he signed the envelope pictured below for that day.

Family Members



In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees

Sponsored by Ancestry


  • Created by: BOKR1958
  • Added: 5 Sep 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 96567190
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Raymond Pimlotte Kaighn (8 Dec 1869–16 Aug 1962), Find a Grave Memorial no. 96567190, citing Mount Moriah Cemetery, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by BOKR1958 (contributor 47663853) .