Missing from the Reviews

December 1, 2022

Reviews are coming in for Gridiron Gypsies and they’re very good. However, none of them say anything about what some consider a real bonus in this book: the list of  the 495 young men who were on Carlisle’s varsity and the years they played. Creating this list was a difficult, time-consuming task that was sometimes frustrating. Several names that appeared in newspaper coverage of the games are still a mystery. Any help in sorting out those names would be most welcome. These names can be found on page 324 of the book.

In order to compile this list, I scoured team photo captions, newspaper coverage both pre- and post-game, school newspaper articles, Spalding’s Guides, and Carlisle Indian School student files. There were probably other sources but they don’t come quickly to my muddled mind. A sample page is included to give you an idea of what was produced from this toil.

Saint O-kuh-ha-tah Part 4

November 17, 2022

The Great Depression immediately followed by World War II interrupted the mission work Oakerhater had started. It took new people moving into the area in the early 1960s to bring it back to life. An Episcopalian family advertised a religious meeting they were going to hold in their home. Seeing the ad were some Cheyennes who had known Oakerhater. They worked with the new family to revive his old mission.

Muskogee Creek scholar Lois Carter Clark researched Oakerhater’s life and works, culminating in his being designated as a saint by the Episcopal Church in 1985. The next year on September 1, the first feast held in his honor was celebrated at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Saint George Church in Dayton, Ohio dedicated a large stained glass window to him in its chapel in 2000. The tall six-sided window with pointed ends depicted him as a deacon with Cheyennes looking toward him. A smaller window featured his glyph signature.

St. Paul’s Cathedral of Oklahoma City dedicated a chapel to Oakerhater and replaced a window that was blown out by the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Preston Singletary (Tlingit) created a stained glass window featuring his glyph. The church also organized The Oakerhater Guild of St. Paul’s in partnership with Whirlwind Mission of the Holy Family.

The Whirlwind Church gained a permanent site in Watonga in 2003 and dedicated the Oakerhater Episcopal Center in 2007, which provides a place for powwows, a sweat lodge, classes, and an annual Cherokee Dance in Oakerhater’s honor.

Now a national shrine to Saint O-kuh-ha-tuh, Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse, New York held a Native-American celebration in 2005 to honor him, the first Native-American saint of the Episcopal Church. The new stained glass windows honoring him and designed by his great-granddaughter Roberta Whiteshield-Butler were dedicated in this event.

<end of part 4 of 4>

Saint O-kuh-ha-tuh part 3

October 20, 2022

While at Fort Marion Pratt, having previously observed their artistic bent, gave the prisoners—hostages to some—art supplies and ledger books on which to draw. Historically, plains Indian women painted geometric designs where the men painted people and animals, often depicted in action scenes important to them. Ledger art had already been created by some plains Indians but not to a large extent. Making Medicine was one of the most prolific artists at Fort Marion. His drawings, generally done in pen and ink, chronicled events such as tribal dances, hunts, courting, activities at the fort, and personal achievements. These drawings were done in a style similar to the decorations previously done on hides and personal possessions.

Townspeople and visitors to the fort were attracted to the drawings and Pratt encouraged the artists to sell their works to the tourists. He has since been criticized for commercializing this art. Making Medicine was the most prolific and his drawings, made in ink and colored pencil, were the most popular. Some he signed with this moniker, others with a glyph representing a sun dancer in a lodge.

Henry Benjamin Whipple, Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota, became a frequent visitor and a patron of the Fort Marion arts program. He bought several books of ledger art, which he showed to President Grant as evidence of the progress Pratt was making with his charges.

In 1998, Herman J. Viola compiled ledger art done by Making Medicine and Zotom (Kiowa meaning The Biter) aka Paul Caryl Zotom into a book adding commentary to give it contest. Samples follow.

<end of part three>

Saint O-kuh-ha-tuh part 2

October 8, 2022
Oakerhater at Fort Marion

In October 1879, David Pendleton Oakerhater, as he was then known, left New York for a time to assist Pratt in enlisting children from Indian Territory (Oklahoma today) for his former jailer’s new school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1880 after returning from this mission, Oakerhater’s wife Nomee (Thunder Woman) died in childbirth in Paris Hill. The next year, their young son Pawwahnee died. Both were buried in the church cemetery. She had earlier bore him three daughters, all of whom had died. Along the way, he had taken a second wife Nanessan (Taking Off Dress) while married to Nomee but had divorced her by 1878. The daughter born to them had died as had his other children.

In May of 1881, Pratt petitioned the Office of Indian Affairs for the money to transport Oakerhater back to Indian Territory from where he had been taken prisoner. The government had paid the travel expenses of the other Fort Marion prisoners to return home after their incarceration was completed but the Episcopal sponsors had paid the travel expenses for the four who went to New York State. Now it was time for the government to return them to Indian Territory. Oakerhater’s reason for returning was to build Episcopal churches at the Indian agencies.

He married again in 1882 to Nahepo (Smoking Woman aka Susie Anna Bent) who took the name Susie Pendleton. Both of their children died young. She died in 1890 at 23 years of age.

In 1887, Oakerhater worked at the Episcopal mission in Bridgeport and in 1889 at the Whirlwind Mission near Fay, seventeen miles west of Watonga. Many of the Whirlwind students suffered from poverty, trachoma, and conjunctivitis. After tribal lands were broken up by the Dawes Act, families often tented near the reservation schools to be near their children and to provide a safer environment. His school and mission were under constant pressure. Locals wanting to exploit the Indians saw his mission and school as a threat and others at the national level deplored the poor conditions there.

He remarried again in 1898, this time to Minnie White Buffalo, who was 20 years younger than him. She brought with her a son from a previous marriage named Bear Raising Mischief.

Oakerhater retired with a pension in 1918 but continued to preach, serving as an Cheyenne chief and holy man. After a brief stop in Clinton, he moved to Watonga, where he lived until he died in 1931. Some of Oakerhater’s works would live on after him.

<end of part two>

Saint O-kuh-ha-tah

October 6, 2022

For about 15 years Emma Newashe’s granddaughter and I have been communicating with each other when one of us has something to share. In September1905, Emma joined her brother Bill at Carlisle Indian School. Both were orphans for whom the Sac and Fox tribe had few resources to help. Bill excelled in athletics and Emma in academics. She was a particularly good writer. This time we didn’t talk much about the Newashes. Instead we talked about a Cheyenne from Oklahoma who had been incarcerated at Fort Marion under Lt. Richard Henry Pratt.

The inmate’s childhood name was Noksowist (Bear Going Straight). His military career began at age 14 in raids against the Otoe and Missouri, for which he was initiated into the tribe’s Bowstring Society. He participated in a number of battles with the U. S. Cavalry and state militias. He is reputed to have been the youngest man to complete the sun dance ritual (Okuh hatuh in Cheyenne). After surrendering at Fort Sill to end the Red River War, he was selected by a reputedly inebriated U. S. Colonel to be one of the 72 “hostiles” sent to Fort Marion for incarceration.

Known at that time as Making Medicine, aka Oakerhater, attended classes given in a casement-turned-classroom in the fort and learned to read and write English. He soon became a leader of the younger men who were confined. At the end of two years he petitioned to have the young men released because they had given up their old ways and desired to be integrated into the majority society. The request was rejected. However, in the next year, 1878, he and the other inmates were released after three years of confinement. Episcopal deaconess Mary Douglas Burnham, who had seen the men in St. Augustine, offered to take four of them home with her. She also arranged funding from Alice Key Pendleton and her husband, Senator George Pendleton, to transport Oakerhater and his wife Nomee to St. Paul’s Church in Paris Hill, New York. There he was educated by the Reverend J. B. Wicks in agriculture, scripture and current events. After six months he was baptized and confirmed at Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse. At that time he took the Christian name of David and family name of Pendleton, in honor of his patron. Three years later, he was ordained a deacon.

<end of part one>

Return of the Conquering Heroes

September 30, 2022

Jim Thorpe’s return to Carlisle after the 1912 Olympics was incorrectly described in at least one newspaper of the day and that description has found its way into current books on Jim Thorpe. Fortunately, The Star-Independent of Harrisburg, PA captured the event in minute detail in its August 16, 1912 edition. However, the article was too detailed to be included in this short piece. There is only room to summarize it here.

A crowd estimated to be between six and seven thousand people congregated at the Cumberland Valley Railroad (CVRR) station across from the James Wilson Hotel a block from the square in Carlisle for Thorpe’s expected arrival at 12:30 p.m.. The crowd-shy hero avoided this multitude by getting off the train at Gettysburg Junction, where the South Mountain Railroad connected with the CVRR, about a mile east of the square. Automobiles waiting there secreted Thorpe, Lewis Tewanima, and Pop Warner to Carlisle Indian School, where they were “greeted informally by students and their closest friends.”

From the Indian school the trio progressed to the parade which was split into three divisions, each of which was formed separately. The honorees were part of the first division which assembled along North Hanover Street, with its head at High Street (colloquially Main Street). Scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m., the parade, led by the first division, progressed east on High Street to Bedford Street, then followed a circuitous route along portions of each of the major streets in the center of town, eventually arriving at Biddle Field on the Dickinson College campus. There the official festivities started. After much speechifying, various events took place in town and on the Indian school campus (Carlisle Barracks). Fireworks were scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (EST probably), which were followed by an invitation-only reception and dance in the school’s gymnasium (present day Thorpe Hall) to close the day’s festivities.

Gus Lookaround – part 6

September 3, 2022

In January 1943, Angus received word that his stepson, Sgt. Conover B. Nichols, age twenty, has been taken prisoner by the Japanese in the Philippines. In September, Phebe received a postcard from her son, who was then interned at the headquarters of Military Prison Camp No. 3. He was reportedly in good health. In October 1944, Phebe was elected president of Wisconsin Women of the Philippine Defenders, formerly known as Wisconsin Women of Bataan.

Phebe’s 1931 book, Sunrise of the Menominees, gets a second printing in November 1944 due to popular interest.

In January 1945, the War Department informed the Lookarounds that Conover had been transferred to Osaka Camp in Japan. In August they received a “captured document” from the War Department which was in Conover’s handwriting. He listed the names of over 20 American prisoners who were hospital patients. In November the Wisconsin Women of the Philippine Defenders hosted a “liberation dinner” which both of Phebe’s sons were able to attend, although Conover had to return to Vaughn Hospital afterward.

Angus died on April 15, 1946 at Wood Veterans’ Hospital in Oshkosh at age 52. Phebe established the Angus F. Lookaround Memorial Museum and Studio in their house on the Menominee Reservation where she continued living. She served as custodian and continued to promote Gus Lookaround’s contributions until shortly before her death in1964 at age 79. The museum’s contents were transferred to University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh in 1966.

<THE END>

August Lookaround – part 5

August 30, 2022

Phebe Jewell Nichols, who had studied the Menominee extensively and had authored novels on them, taught social science at Oshkosh High School. She was also the chairman of the Indian affairs committee for the Wisconsin League of Women Voters. That fall Gus organized a Keshena football team while she remained active with the League of Women Voters. In 1935 she gave a costumed recital to open the program of the 23rd Annual Convention of the International Lyceum Association in Lakeside on Lake Erie in Ohio. She also gave readings in several cities. The American Poetry Magazine devoted its first autumn issue entirely to her works.

The 1936 edition of Indians of Today included a biography of Angus Franklin Lookaround. It stated that Gus had toured with Ringling’s Circus Band, Sells-Floto Band, and the Royal Scotch Highlanders. A 1938 anthology, Poetry Out of Wisconsin, included two of Phebe’s works, “Indian Pipe” and “Menominee Lullaby.” A month later, she released a booklet titled “Tales from an Indian Lodge,” which contained background information on the tribe and essays on the philosophy and lives of its people. In March, Angus and Phebe provided the entertainment for a special meeting of the PTA. He told Indian stories “never told to the public before” and she presented her monodrama, Something of the Indian Heart. On December 1, she began writing a weekly column for The Green Bay Press-Gazette on Indian affairs. The Appleton Post-Crescent picked up her column the next month, followed by The Sheboygan Press in September. In her February talk to the AAUW in Green Bay, she stated that prejudice was the greatest obstacle in the way of satisfactory adjustment for American Indians.

In April 1939, Angus and three other men circulated a petition to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for L. W. Kemnitz be named manager of Menominee Indian Mills, a million-dollar enterprise. The Menominee believed they should be granted the right to hire their own manager. Both shifts of employees at the mill had already signed the petition. Phebe gave a talk titled “The Mother of Today” to several organizations that winter and spring. In December, The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern picked up a series of Phebe’s articles on American Indian Lore.

<end of part 5>

Gus Lookaround – part 4

August 28, 2022

In 1929 Gus organized and directed the Keshena Indian School band that was composed of twenty-one boys and one girl. The band won second place in the Wisconsin High School Band Tournament with grade school children after having been organized only four months. That August, he married Miss Alice Hampton (Cherokee) of Bradley, Oklahoma. She was the kindergarten teacher at the school. The following year he was selected to direct the Shawano City Band due to his success at Keshena. When his bride’s health failed in 1932, they relocated to Chickasaw, Oklahoma, to be near her family one assumes. She was buried in the Bradley Cemetery and Gus returned to his home in Wisconsin.

In 1933 he was a member of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. In 1934 Gus was selected for the Indian Achievement Medal to be awarded at the Century of Progress (also known as the Chicago World’s Fair).

Gus remarried in June 1934 to Mrs. Phebe Jewell Nichols, who was nine years his senior. They must have known each other for some time because she was a member of the committee that picked him for the medal. She was an attractive upper-middle-class novelist who had been widowed three years earlier. Gus, who had had no children of his own immediately became stepfather to three: Howard Gardner Nichols Jr. (19), Patricia Nichols (17), and Conover Nichols (12). Phebe’s late husband, a real estate investor and insurance agent a decade, had died after having a nervous breakdown over financial losses incurred during the Great Depression. They had married in 1913 when he was 38 and she 28. They likely became acquainted while she was teaching school in the Oshkosh area. Originally from Wabasha, Minnesota, Phebe had attended Oshkosh Normal School after graduating from Carlton College.

<end of part 4>

Gus Lookaround – part 3

August 25, 2022

Gus either enrolled in or worked at Tomah Indian School after getting out of the Navy because he played on their football team. During halftime in a game at Sparta, several Sparta boys ventured onto the thin ice on Perch Lake and broke through. Being the first to notice the boys’ plight, he raced from the football field and plunged into the icy water. He grabbed them and guided them to safety. He then played the second half as if nothing had happened but his overheated body collapsed unconscious as the game ended. He was revived with no apparent ill effects. Gus played at least one game for the Green Bay Packers that year.

August Lookaround disappeared from newspapers until 1922 when Angus Lookaround appeared. Since his Carlisle application was signed by him rather than a parent, it’s fair to say he was going by that name at the time. Why he shifted from August to Angus is unknown. Perhaps because August sounded German where Angus was Scottish caused him to make the change during WWI.

Angus first appeared in print when he signed to play for the Racine, Wisconsin American Legion football team. According to the article, he captained and played quarterback for the Atlantic fleet team during the war and afterward with eastern teams such as the New Haven Stars. The description of his time at Carlisle, while not completely accurate, convinces this writer that August and Angus Lookaround were the same person. A later article stated that Gus was living in Elkhorn, employed by the Holton Band Instrument Company, and that his Menominee name was Te Powis (Club Thrower).

In 1927 The Lake Geneva News announced that Chief Angus Lookaround would be in charge of a muskrat fur operation on the McDonald farm near Elkhorn. Later that year The Post-Crescent of Appleton, Wisconsin announced that Gus had joined the composite Wisconsin American Legion band as a sousaphone player and soloist. The group traveled to Paris, France. The next year he played bass viol in the Plaza Theater orchestra in Burlington, Wisconsin.

<end of part 3