Archive for the ‘Pete Calac’ Category

More About Carlisle Players in 1917 Season

April 17, 2012

The photo on page 30 of Carlisle Indian School’s starting eleven for 1917, the last team that would represent the school, includes one player who would be heard from later, Nick Lassau.  To learn more about Nick, aka Long Time Sleep, read up on the Oorang Indians of 1922 and 1923.  Note that Carlisle’s uniforms had changed to include stripes across the midriff and the stripes that had been below the elbow were moved up above the elbow to align with the midriff stripes.  Page 35 may contain the last thing written about a Carlisle team in a Spalding’s Guide: “Carlisle showed improvement over the previous year, but until they get a team of first rate caliber they will do well not to schedule so many matches with the big colleges.”

Page 41 begins the section on Foot Ball in West Virginia with the All-West Virginia Elevens selected by H. A. Stansbury, Athletic Director of West Virginia University.  It was no surprise that Pete Calac of West Virginia Wesleyan headed the list.  No other Carlisle Indians were on it, most likely due to not playing for a West Virginia school.

Page 50, immediately preceding the Foot Ball in the District of Columbia section, contains a photograph of the Georgetown University team on which the players are numbered but no legend is provided.  Number 2, front row center in a sweater, is Georgetown’s Head Coach, Al Exendine, star end on the great 1907 Carlisle team.  Georgetown was the class of DC college teams as had become the norm under one of Warner’s former assistants.

John Heisman, Head Coach of Georgia Tech, authored the Review of Far Southern Foot Ball.  So, it is no surprise that he named Joe Guyon to his All-Southern Team at half-back.  About his own team, Heisman wrote, “This team was considered by many as the best of the year anywhere.  Whether it was or not need not here be debated.  But certain is that in Strupper, Guyon and Hill it possessed three back-field men who were the equal of any other three that could be named the country over.”  He said nothing about Guyon’s brother.

<next time—More Carlisle Players in The Great War>

Was Wahoo Really Present?

April 15, 2012

Beginning on page 7, Camp discussed three unbeaten eastern teams, two of which had ties to Carlisle.  Carlisle’s former coach, Pop Warner, completed his third consecutive undefeated season at Pittsburgh since leaving Carlisle after the 1914 season.  More on Georgia Tech later.

When discussing the state of Pacific Coast football on page 9, Camp gives a Carlisle alum high marks: “Washington State, with seven veterans of the previous season’s team, was again coached by ‘Lone Star’ Dietz, and under his guiding hand established a clear title to the Pacific Coast Championship…She [Washington State] would give many eastern teams a hard battle.”

On page 11, in lieu of his annual All America Team, Camp lists Honorable Mention college players.  Ends selected included Pete Calac, formerly of Carlisle, then playing for West Virginia Wesleyan.  Backs included Joe Guyon, formerly of Carlisle, then playing on Georgia Tech’s undefeated “Golden Hurricane” team.

Page 13 listed All-America selections made by other pundits.  Dick Jemison of the Atlanta Constitution named Guyon to his All-America team as a half-back.  Lambert G. Sullivan of the Chicago Daily News placed William Gardner at end on his The Real “All-Western” Eleven on page 17.  The All-Southern Eleven picked by seven football writers in the South placed Joe Guyon at half-back. And Fred Digby of the New Orleans Item put Guyon at full-back on his All-Southern Eleven as did Zip Newman of the Birmingham News.  “Happy” Barnes of Tulane did the same.  Closing out the college all-star teams on page 23 was the All-West Virginia Eleven picked by Greasy Neale, coach of West Virginia Wesleyan.  He selected his own player, Pete Calac, as one of the ends.

A photo of the Georgia Tech team appears on page 8 of the 1918 Spalding’s Guide.  Figure number 1 is Head Coach John Heisman.  That is no surprise.  Neither is it that number 13 is Joe Guyon.  The last person listed, number 22, is C. Wahoo.  From previous research, I know that is Charlie Wahoo, Joe Guyon’s brother Charles Guyon, who also used the fabricated name of Wahoo.  That all the other figures in the photo are numbered in order and that Wahoo is positioned out of order is suspicious.  So is that his figure is smaller than the others.  It’s well known that Heisman didn’t think much of him and that he used recruiting his brother for the team to leverage an assistant coaching position for himself.  Could this picture have been “photoshopped” to include him using a primitive tool available at the time?

 

<next time—More Carlisle Players in The Great War>

All-Indian Backfield

November 25, 2010

While doing a little research at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio recently, I came across a photocopy of a newspaper article titled “Backfield of Indians—Plan of Jim Thorpe.” The article began by saying that Thorpe planned on fielding an Indian backfield for the Canton Bulldogs during the 1919 season. The name of the newspaper and date were not on the copy but the paper must have been local to Canton or nearby Massillon because the third paragraph began, “Guyon’s presence here…” which implies that the paper is local to the team’s location. Discussing the possible line-up for the 1919 season suggests that the article was written after the end of the 1918 season, definitely after Armistice in November 1918. Sometime in 1919 is more likely because the article stated, “…will reach shores not later than September.”

The writer discusses how Thorpe plans to reunite with three of his former Carlisle teammates all in Canton’s backfield. Gus Welch would play quarterback (blocking back in the single-wing, wingback in the double-wing), Joe Guyon and Thorpe would be the halfbacks, and Pete Calac would be the fullback. All had played together on the 1912 Indian team but Guyon and Calac were needed on the line to replace Lone Star Dietz and Bill Newashe at the tackle positions because they were no longer playing on the team. Welch, Guyon and Calac were all in the backfield on the 1913 edition but Thorpe had departed by then.

Thorpe’s dream of being reunited fell through because Gus Welch took the head coaching position that had opened up with Lone Star Dietz’s dismissal. Thorpe, Calac and Guyon played pro ball together for several years and won championships in 1919 and 1920. Thorpe tried to field the same all-Indian backfield in 1917 but Joe Guyon elected to play college ball for National Champions Georgia Tech, was named to Walter Camp’s All America Second team at halfback, the same honor he received in 1913, his last year at Carlisle.

Bulldogs and Indians Play Footbrawl

August 13, 2010

Large newspapers of the day recorded the October 15, 1922 game simply as Canton 14 – Oorang 0 but that doesn’t begin to tell the story. In the early days of the NFL, the Canton Bulldogs were a powerhouse team that featured Jim Thorpe and his Carlisle Indian School teammates, Joe Guyon and Pete Calac, in the backfield. But in 1922, Jim Thorpe and Walter Lingo formed the Oorang Indians franchise to, at least in theory, compete with Canton for championships. Oorang’s results were anything but competitive as Father Time’s inexorable crush was their greatest opponent. However, they more than rose to occasion when they battled the eventual league champions. And battle they did.

Few details of the game were covered by the national media but a Massillon, Ohio newspaper and the hometown paper of one of the players provided some unexpected coverage of the hard-fought battle. After a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs scored their two touchdowns in the third quarter. The Evening Independent told the story, “During that part of the contest the game almost developed into a free-for-all when the Indians gave battle to several Canton linemen who used their fists on an opponent, guilty of kneeing one of the Canton halfbacks. Throughout the game, Thorpe’s charges played in a most determined fashion, and bloody faces were not uncommon.”

A skeptic might conclude that this was slanted by a reporter from the Bulldogs’ rivals’ lair but The Lebanon Daily News provided some verification when it wrote, “William Winneshiek…was the recipient Sunday of an extraordinary compliment from the football players of the Canton Bulldog professional team. Winnie played center against them for the Oorang Indians and as an expression of appreciation of his wonderful playing and good sportsmanship, he was presented with the football used in the game and also a gold watch. The game developed into a slugging match, but evidently the Lebanon Indian played the game and kept out of the fights.”

 

Joe Gilman Part III

December 7, 2009

The January 1, 1915 edition of The Carlisle Arrow announced that Joe Gilman and Pete Calac, both Freshmen, would be leaving soon to work for Ford Automobile Company in Detroit. By the time he left, less than a week later, four more boys: Gus Lookaround, Norman Thompson, Everett Ranco and Charles Pratt, were added to the list. The Freshmen class held a reception in their honor in the Mercer’s Hall to celebrate their leaving. Joe and some of the others were called upon to say some words at the event. Later in the month, in an article entitled “What Carlisle Means to Her Graduates,” lauded Joe’s initiative:

Last summer when work was scarce and hard times had struck our country, Joseph Gilman, without any other credentials than his honest face and the fact that he was a Carlisle Indian, applied for a job at the Bethlehem Steel Works. He was one in a long line of men waiting for work. Hundreds had been laid off, but Joe was given a job and was told by the superintendent when he left that if at any time he wanted work he could find it there.

On February 5, the first report on the boys’ progress at Ford. Joseph Gilman and Gus Lookaround are in rear axle department. They have been through the rear axle operations and are now on transmission, but Lookaround still has the repair job on rear axle to learn, as there was no room for him there. Their foreman says they are good and willing workmen, Gilman being especially apt. At school they have taken up work in English, arithmetic, and penmanship, and will later take up spelling and drawing. Gilman and Ranco have attended regularly, the others having missed some sessions. At their boarding place they are behaving themselves admirably and are general favorites. They are much interested in basketball, and their instructor says they show the best form for a winning team of any group he ever saw. They never seem to lose their tempers, even when the other team is purposely rough, simply laughing it off. They have the reputation for conducting themselves as gentlemen wherever they appear.

End of Part III

End of Carlisle-Detroit Connection

October 21, 2008

Last Friday night I had the pleasure of meeting Marcia and Sheldon Cohen, the wife and son of the late Gus Cohen, at Lone Star Dietz’s induction ceremony, but more on that in a later blog. Mrs. Cohen related that her mother left the Triangle Shirtwaist factory two weeks before the infamous fire in 1911. At the time she was making $2.50 a week. She made that much because she had the skill necessary to sew lace collars onto shirts. This puts Henry Ford’s pay increase into better perspective for me. $2.50 per week increased to $5.00 per day and the workday was shortened from 9 hours to 8. That was a ten-fold increase. However, autoworkers were already making more than many other workers. But still, this raise more than doubled their income if they met Ford’s criteria. No wonder the other industrialists were flummoxed.

Not every Ford worker qualified, starting with women. Ford believed that women rightfully should be married and taking care of their families, so he didn’t increase their wages. Worker’s under 22 were not qualified unless they had dependents. To further determine who was worthy, the company’s Sociological Department was expanded. The staff of 150 visited employees’ homes and asked them about everything from marital status to savings, health, hobbies, and child care. Excessive drinking, gambling, buying on credit, a dirty home, and an unwholesome diet were all grounds for probation; if a worker hadn’t cleaned up his act in six months, not only did he not get the $5 a day wage, he was fired.

The Carlisle students at Ford worked hard to qualify. In December 1915, 25 Carlisle boys were working at Ford. Three of the first to go to Detroit (Joseph Gilman, Everett Ranco, and Norman Thompson) had already qualified for the $5 a day wage and six others (Clement Hill, William Hall, Leslie James, Francis Kettle, Fred Skenandore and Benjamin Skenandore) expected to attain that status soon. Joseph Gilman, Chippewa, expected to be transferred to Ford’s Minneapolis plant soon. That move would return him to his home state.

In May 1916, The Arrow reported that, in 1916 alone, the school had received checks from Ford to be deposited in 25 students’ accounts $1,988.60, an amount that equals 25% of their earnings during this period, $7,954.40. Most were able to live on the 75% of their pay that they received directly but some withdrew money from their school accounts for living expenses.

While living and working in Detroit the boys formed their own football team, the Detroit Carlisles, and competed with the independent or semi-pro teams along the Great Lakes. By June 1918, a total of 68 Carlisle boys had worked at the Ford plant of which more than completed the student course. Twenty-five had enlisted in the armed forces by this time. The Ford-Carlisle was impacted first by the declaration of War in 1917 and finally by the closing of Carlisle Indian School in 1918.

 

 

 

Carlisle Indians Built Model Ts

October 17, 2008

In 2003 three of my brothers and I took our soon-to-be 90-year-old father for a tour of old car museums in the Midwest. At Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI we took a ride in a Model T. That was all it took to whet his appetite for the Tin Lizzie. Before I knew it one appeared at my doorstep. Dan lives in Illinois but the 1915 brass radiator T he found was in New Jersey. The seller agreed to deliver it as far as my place in Pennsylvania. (See photo below)

This being the 100th anniversary of the Model T, one looks for connections between it and the Carlisle Indian School. Some employee surely had one but I haven’t bothered to explore that link because a much stronger tie exists.

Shortly after Henry Ford increased wages to $5 per day and reduced the workday from 9 hours to 8, a move that other industrialists thought would bankrupt him and possibly themselves as they tried to compete for workers, Superintendent Oscar Lipps arranged to have some Carlisle students enter the training program at Ford. In January 1915 6 boys left to put Americans on the road. At Ford they were placed in a training program which consisted of both classroom training and hands–on work in the various aspects of the Highland Park plant. Lipps received feedback on the boys’ performance and found it necessary to upgrade part of the academic program at Carlisle to better prepare students for positions in modern industrial concerns.

The boys performed well and received good evaluations from Ford. So good in fact, that additional students were sent to Ford. By mid-summer, 19 boys were in the Ford training program. In September most, including the football players, returned to Carlisle, but 9 remained at Ford. In December, after football season was over, 16 more, including several who had previously been in the Ford program returned to Detroit. By January 1916, Joe Gilman, Chippewa, set a Ford record by assembling a Model T in 2 hours and 50 minutes, breaking the previous record of 3 hours.

End of Part I

Ann cranks while Tom impatiently honks horn

Ann cranks while Tom impatiently honks horn

Galleys Received

May 27, 2008

The advance reading copies (called ARCs in the trade) arrived for my new book and are being sent out to reviewers. This is a big moment in a writer’s life: seeing thousands of hours of hard work turned into something tangible. In the old days (pre-computer), ARCs were called galleys, bound galleys or galley proofs. Authors, editors and publishers go over these babies with a fine-tooth comb looking for errors, typos or things that have changed since writing was complete. It is an impossible task because, after all this scrutiny, some typos escape and find their way into the final book. But we try.

Another important use of ARCs is to see how the photos and artwork come out in print. Overall they came out very well, better than expected. But a cartoon about the Oorang Indians from a 1922 Baltimore newspaper is too dim. The challenge now is to figure out how to darken it without losing the detail.

This weekend I received some additional information and a correction regarding Louis Island from a family member who happened to see a previous blog. That was fortuitous because I want the book to be as accurate as possible. This blog is already proving to be of some value. That encourages me to continue with it.

Having these ARCs provides local booksellers the opportunity to provide their customers something extra. People can look at an ARC and pre-order the book if they choose. The bonus, besides being sure of getting a copy of the book as soon as it comes out, is to receive an inscription of his or her choice signed by the author. On-line booksellers also take pre-orders but personalized inscriptions are impractical.

 

 


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