Who Was Long Horn?

September 19, 2021

After finishing what I hoped was the final draft of my complete history of the Carlisle Indian football team and waiting for my editor’s comments, I started working on the appendices. Perhaps most important is the listing of the young men who played on the varsity each year. Aware of the difficulties Steckbeck had in compiling rosters given the incomplete records that existed both then and now, I rolled up my sleeves and dug into the task. It’s been tedious to the extreme and I’m sure I’m missing people but records are sketchy, especially for the early years. When I found a complete listing of the 1905 squad in the school newspaper and a photo of the entire team with a legend identifying all the players, I thought I had it made. The school newspaper article even included the first names of the players, something rarely done on the sports pages. While crosschecking against game write-ups in newspapers from across the country, I came across a curious little item.

A piece about injuries in The Pittsburgh Press included a couple of seemingly innocuous sentences: “Hunt is taking the place of the injured Kennedy at center. Big Long Horn is a new sub-center and passes the ball well.” I had no idea who Long Horn was, big or otherwise, having not heard of him before and not seeing his name on any roster. Searches of the school records for Longhorn or Long Horn returned only a reference to an assistant carpenter at the Kiowa Reservation in 2010. Line-ups in newspaper coverage of games throughout the season included Longhorn either starting or backing-up a line position, mostly center, starting with the The Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage of  the Indians’ first game against P. P. P. Y. M. C. A. of Columbia, PA and immediately followed by The New York Times’ coverage of the Villanova game. The next week, The Philadelphia Inquirer did a most unusual thing: it published a complete roster of Carlisle players at that time, all 54 of them by name, age, tribe, and home state. Long Horn was listed as a 24-year-old Seneca from New York.  The October 21 Boston Evening Transcript also mentioned him: “Long Horn, right guard on the second eleven, has lately developed as a good centre, and the coaches believe that he will make a sure hand at passing the ball.” A week later, he was getting playing time at center against Penn.

The Pittsburgh Press shed some light on the issue before the Harvard game: “Scott, whose Indian Name is Long Horn, is badly bruised as a result of the Dickinson game….” Thus, the mystery is solved. Long Horn was Frank Scott’s Indian Name. A quick look at The Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage of the Villanova game had Scott at left guard and didn’t mention Long Horn. Pittsburgh Daily Post had Scott playing center against Dickinson College and also made no mention of Long Horn. That both names don’t appear together in any line-up is further evidence Scott and Long Horn are the same person. But other such mysteries may still exist.

A Boy Who Ran Away TO Carlisle Indian School

July 30, 2021

You have likely read about numerous Carlisle Indian School students who ran away but you probably haven’t read about any who ran away to Carlisle. I hadn’t. While checking out a student who was trying out for the football team in 1900, I encountered something I’d never heard of before. The son of a Chippewa mother and a German immigrant father was living on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota when, in 1891 when the boy was eight-years old, his parents sent him to the Educational Home in Philadelphia.

Originally set up to serve orphans from the Civil War, with few of them left, it shifted its mission to serve American Indian children. After staying there four years, the boy returned to his parents’ home in Minnesota.

Finding his home life abusive and seeing few opportunities on the reservation, he wanted something more out of life. Two months after returning, he saw an opportunity. Alice Parker, a rising senior at Carlisle Indian School, was recruiting students to return to Carlisle with her. The details of how the boy ran away from home to go with her are lost to posterity.What is known is that Miss Parker arrived at Carlisle on Saturday, September 5, 1896, bringing a group of 15 Chippewa students with her, one of which was a 13-year-old boy who was 5’3 ½” tall and weighed 101 pounds. As his student file no longer includes his application for admission, exactly how he got himself admitted without his parents’ permission is unknown.

He flourished at Carlisle. An avid reader, in June 1900 he led all students in the number of books he had checked out of the library to read. He enjoyed playing sports but was too small to make any of the varsity teams. Eventually, he started pitching batting practice to the baseball team in the gym over the winter. As he improved, Pop Warner put him on the baseball team. He also practiced with the football team and was allowed to eat at the training table. The heavier diet put weight on him and helped him to grow. Soon, he was the star pitcher and captain of the school’s baseball team. After graduating from Carlisle, he attended the Dickinson College prep school and pitched for the college squad, racking up victory after victory. In the spring of 1901, Connie Mack, legendary manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, came to Gettysburg to scout Gettysburg College’s star pitcher, lefty Eddie Plank, hurl against Dickinson College. Plank won the 15-inning game and Mack signed him to pitch for the Athletics. He also signed the Carlisle Indian who was pitching for Dickinson College but to a minor league contract for some seasoning.

Any guess who this right hander who ran away to Carlisle was? Hint. He and Plank are both enshrined at Cooperstown.

Lies About Carlisle Indian School

July 13, 2021

I generally don’t bother to refute misinformation promulgated about Carlisle Indian School but, with reports on what happened at First Nations schools in Canada operated by the Catholic Church often being conflated with American schools, I now find it necessary to comment on a Facebook post (included below) that was forwarded to me for comment. Mr. Edwards appears to have visited Carlisle Barracks but is unfamiliar with its history. Some errors are so off they require no research on my part.

His sentence that includes the phrase “til ’51 or 2” is worded awkwardly but appears to mean that Mr. Edwards’ relatives played on the grounds at Carlisle Barracks in the early 1950s. If they had done that, they likely had some affiliation with the Army because Carlisle Indian School closed permanently in 1918.

Edwards’ comment about seeing fingerprints in the mortar on the Indian Field grandstand are incorrect unless the Army brought Indian masons back to Carlisle to build the new, concrete grandstand years later. Students learning the building trades likely built the original wooden grandstand around 1906, but they were long gone by the time the masonry grandstand was erected. However, they did build a masonry building: the Native Arts building which still stands. The school newspaper lauded the students for the quality of their work on the building in which the famous Winnebago artist, Angel DeCora, taught. It is diagonally across the street from the house in which Pop Warner lived. That house was also built by students. The funding for both these structures came from the Athletic Department.

A quick look at newspapers from August 1927, when the graves were moved, gives the total at 187. Perhaps Mr. Edwards was confused by hearing that over 1,000 students were enrolled in the school at its peak and mistook that for being the number of graves. Superintendent Pratt has been criticized for sending sick children home to die. He likely did that to keep diseases from spreading to other students and there was little he could do for many of them. The state-of-the-art of medicine had not advanced very far at the time the school was in operation. Lifespans were short. People, white and Indian alike, died at early ages. Tuberculous was rampant and took many lives. Pratt sent bodies of dead children home to those parents who wanted their remains whenever he could because a large graveyard filled with dead students wouldn’t have been good advertising for his school.

The graves were not moved to make room for a road. Officer housing was built on that site.

I had heard that the moving of the graves had been done in a haphazard manner but the newspaper articles suggest otherwise. Sixteen men were assigned to do the job. While errors were likely made, it appears that remains were paired with the headstones as both were relocated from the old cemetery to the new one. Some records were surely lost when the Indian School was closed with little advance notice. So, it would not be surprising to learn that some graves were mismarked. Something that argues for the overall data to be accurate is that the headstones were created shortly after the students died and would have been mostly correct, although some details could have been wrong. This was a government project after all so some screw ups were inevitable.

Neil Edwards

From where I’m standing a few yards to my right, a few yards to my left and back to that building almost where the stop sign is behind them vehicles is the old graveyard at Carlisle. There’s children under there…. but you won’t hear about that you’ll only hear about the graveyard out front. If I remember correctly, without looking it up, there was about 1,200 students back there and during the early 30s they ripped the graves out deep enough to make the road and piled them at random out front in 190 holes 192 I think or whatever……strange things happen here that’ll make yer neck hairs stand up…… this isn’t far from the “good ice” …their winter ice rink. In back and to my left is the field where Jim Thorpe, my family George Thomas todadaho, my great uncle, til ’51 or 2 I believe and his sister Edith Thomas, my GG, used to play. You can see the students fingerprints in the mortar between the Rocks when they built the grandstand there’s even fingerprints where they ended each pass in the morter.

If you don’t start learning about boarding schools here at Carlisle it’s like starting a book in the middle of it. You don’t know anything until you start here.

Basketball Cages

June 29, 2021

While reviewing the chapter on the 1908 season from my upcoming book on the complete history of the Carlisle Indian School football team, my wife thought Warner having the football team practice in the basketball cage seemed strange. What was a basketball cage anyway? I had often wondered that myself. As a boy, I would check the local newspaper’s, the Alton Evening Telegraph, “Cage Schedule” to find when the high school basketball games were being played. Much later I learned that basketball games were once played in cages. Of course that meant little to me.

To better answer Ann’s question, a little research quickly found that basketball was once played in 12-feet-tall wire mesh cages that surrounded the courts. Players complained of having tic tac toe  grids imprinted on their bodies from being slammed into the cages. Later, rope mesh replaced the metal, probably because they cost less. But why did they need to cage the players away from spectators?

We have to go back to basketball’s roots. It was invented in 1891 by James Naismith to fill the gap between the end of football season and the beginning of baseball season. In Springfield, Massachusetts where the game was created, only indoor sports were practical that time of the year. Naismith borrowed some rules from other sports, including football’s then out-of-bounds rules. In football, the ball is fumbled out of bounds relatively infrequently but errant and tipped passed are common in the roundball game.

The first few rows of basketball spectators sat just outside the out-of-bounds lines, which meant that players routinely tussled with opponents and fans, who were partisans of one team or the other, for the ball. This quickly became unacceptable to basketball officials, who solved the problem by erecting cages. Why differing from football on out-of-bounds rules wasn’t considered is anybody’s guess.

Fumbling Out of Bounds

June 26, 2021

While reviewing the chapter on the 1906 season from my upcoming book on the complete history of the Carlisle Indian School football team, my wife noticed something she thought was odd from the newspaper coverage of that year’s Penn State game: “Mt. Pleasant received the ball and ran it back to the 35-yard line where he was tackled by Maxwell. The ball flew from his grasp and McCleary secured it out of bounds.”

Teams gaining possession of an out-of-bounds ball seems odd to a modern reader, so I contacted Timothy Brown, author of How Football Became Football: 150 Years of the Game’s Evolution for some insight into out-of-bounds rules in early football. He responded with a paragraph from his book:

“Early football also differed substantially from today in the way it handled the ball going out of bounds as well as in spotting the ball for runners tackled near the sideline. Balls fumbled “in touch” or out of bounds remained live, leading offensive and defensive players to scramble over benches, water jugs, band members, cinder tracks, and all manner of obstacles to grab the ball. An example of such a play occurred when Chicago traveled to Stanford in 1894, the first game between teams east and west of the Rockies. When the ball went “in touch” during a game in San Francisco, Chicago’s Ad Ewing, a hurdler on the track team, used his hurdling skills to leap a picket fence surrounding the Haight Street Grounds and recover the ball while Stanford’s men scaled the fence the old-fashioned way. Such out-of-bounds scrambles continued until a 1926 rule awarded possession to the player last touching the ball before it went out of bounds.”

One can only imagine the melees that resulted on occasions when Stanford’s band stood close to the sidelines and an errant fumble flew or rolled into their midst.

How Did Richard Henry Pratt Become a Brigadier General?

May 18, 2021

I had never understood why Richard Henry Pratt was promoted to Brigadier General after he retired. It didn’t make sense to me, but I had never given it enough thought to consider researching it. Now, the answer comes to me when I’m not looking for it. While trying to hammer down the precise date of Pratt’s removal from his position as Carlisle superintendent, I came across a June 12, 1904 New York Times article that discussed the matter. In addition to telling the story of why and how Pratt got fired, it explained how his promotion came about.

A year before this article was written, Pratt wrote President Roosevelt requesting that, when he reached the retirement age of 65 two years later, he be retired as a Brigadier General. Apparently not amused by the request, the President issued an order retiring him at his then current rank of colonel, not Brigadier General.

In a stroke of luck, Congress bailed Pratt out. They passed a bill providing that all officers who served in the Civil War be promoted one grade above the one they were holding when they retired. This is how Pratt became a Brigadier General.

Leupp Indian Art Studio

May 13, 2021

I learned something new today while researching something different. The May 11, 1907 edition of The Washington Bee, a paper I’d never heard of before, included an article titled “Aid Art by Football: Carlisle Indian Players Build a Museum.” The piece was accompanied by a drawing of the Leupp Indian Art Studio. I already knew that the building was built with proceeds from the football program, but I didn’t know any of the details. Football cash bought the stone, lumber, glass and other materials needed to construct the building. Students from various shops on campus provided the labor. Boys created the millwork in their shop. Carpentry students did much of the construction. Other shops plumbed the building, installed the heating system, and roofed it. Art students painted and decorated the building. George Balenti, Cheyenne of Mike and John, designed the building by using the best ideas submitted by students—George had already graduated—and drew up the plans. The Balentis were a brainy bunch and even held two patents.

Originally intended to be a photo shop, it’s use was shifted to house the Native Art Studio when Winnebago artist Angel DeCora was hired. A section of the building was set aside for the photo shop. Although called a museum—at least by the reporter—displays were generally student projects, some of which were for sale.

The building still stands diagonally across the road from Pop Warner’s house, which was also constructed with football money, near what was the main gate at the time. The roof has been changed but the exterior is the same.

I learned something new today while researching something different. The May 11, 1907 edition of The Washington Bee, a paper I’d never heard of before, included an article titled “Aid Art by Football: Carlisle Indian Players Build a Museum.” The piece was accompanied by a drawing of the Leupp Indian Art Studio. I already knew that the building was built with proceeds from the football program, but I didn’t know any of the details. Football cash bought the stone, lumber, glass and other materials needed to construct the building. Students from various shops on campus provided the labor. Boys created the millwork in their shop. Carpentry students did much of the construction. Other shops plumbed the building, installed the heating system, and roofed it. Art students painted and decorated the building. George Balenti, Cheyenne of Mike and John, designed the building by using the best ideas submitted by students—George had already graduated—and drew up the plans. The Balentis were a brainy bunch and even held two patents.

Originally intended to be a photo shop, it’s use was shifted to house the Native Art Studio when Winnebago artist Angel DeCora was hired. A section of the building was set aside for the photo shop. Although called a museum—at least by the reporter—displays were generally student projects, some of which were for sale.

The building still stands diagonally across the road from Pop Warner’s house, which was also constructed with football money, near what was the main gate at the time. The roof has been changed but the exterior is the same.

Warner Might Have Been A Gopher

April 29, 2021

Things didn’t always have to happen the way they turned out although histories often read as if they were preordained. For one example, it wasn’t a sure thing that Pop Warner would return to coach Carlisle in 1907 and change the course of football forever. The Indian School surely wasn’t able to pay him as much as the large universities could. When Warner’s Stanford team was in Minneapolis in October 1930 to play the Gophers, as guest of honor at the local Rotary Club meeting, he gave a talk. Included in the talk was the story of how he returned to Carlisle for a second stint as the Indians head coach.

After the 1906 season, Pop decided to leave Cornell due to alumni pressure against his style of play. Carlisle wasn’t the only possible opportunity he considered but we know about only one other school he considered, thanks to newspaper coverage of his talk. There were likely more. As a married man not an heir to a fortune, Warner felt pressure to get a job to keep income flowing in to support Tibb and himself.

An inveterate gambler, Pop knew that nothing was certain until a contract was signed, and sometimes not even then. He had received favorable responses from his inquiries to at least two schools: Carlisle and Minnesota. He had  stated his terms, but didn’t have a contract in hand for 1907. So, when an acceptance letter arrived from Carlisle Indian School, he immediately accepted, probably by wire. He had a job offer from one of the schools he wanted and didn’t waste time accepting.

Later that same day, an offer arrived from Minnesota. Their letter had likely been mailed well before the one from Carlisle was posted, but Minnesota was a lot farther from Springville, New York than was Carlisle in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania. Warner must have been satisfied with his choice because he didn’t try to rescind his acceptance and take the Minnesota offer. However, changing his mind was less of an option then than it is now. Having given his word and keeping it was more important then than it is today.

Haskell Visits Carlisle part 2

April 22, 2021

On December 2, when asked about taking the Temple job, Warner was reported as saying, “Every time I go back East, they have me signing a contract with some other school.” Three days later, newspapers reported on his resignation from Stanford. The day after that, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran articles on Temple’s new coach, Warner, who had been hired for $15,000 a year. The $2,500 pay raise may have been less enticing than avoiding Stanford alumni who Warner thought were “after his scalp.”

On December 9, Temple published its football schedule for the upcoming year. The game with Haskell was expected to be a highlight of the early season, especially so because the Indians were led by Warner protégé Lone Star Dietz, a coach who generated headlines wherever he went.  Warner’s last game with Stanford was a 7-0 loss to another protégé, Jock Sutherland of Pitt. Bittersweet as it might have been, that game was not to be. Shortly after Warner’s announcement, Dietz’s future became the subject of speculation. Now in The Great Depression, the government had cut Haskell’s funding and had reduced its status to that of a high school. Dietz surely thought Haskell would no longer be able to field competitive teams and the media assumed he would be making a change. Names of various schools such as Holy Cross and Fordham popped up in print as possible new homes for him. On March 8, 1933, The Boston Globe ran an article headlined: “Lone Star Dietz to Coach Braves: Boston Football Team Signs Carlisle Star.” Dietz would be coaching in the NFL and not against Temple but who would lead Haskell then?

Dietz didn’t resign immediately. Instead, he stayed at Haskell until after spring practice because his NFL contract didn’t call for him to report until May 1. Haskell officials didn’t seem to be in a hurry to replace him. They said that no plans had been made regarding a successor and they wouldn’t select a coach for some time. That time came on August 4 when Henry Roe Cloud was named superintendent of Haskell Institute. The same day, Roe Cloud announced Gus Welch as Haskell’s head football coach and athletic director. It would have been nice to have been flies on Welch’s and Warner’s walls the day they realized they were scheduled to play each other and that it was late to cancel the game.

Welch had been critical of Warner at Carlisle and had submitted a petition that led to a government investigation of the school and reducing athletics’ importance at the school. Although later accused of interfering with Warner’s successor at Carlisle, Victor Kelley, Welch remained on good terms with the administration. Visiting the old school wouldn’t seem problematic for him. A crowd of thousands turned out to watch the Haskell players practice for two hours on Indian Field, where Jim Thorpe, Lone Star Dietz, Gus Welch and numerous others had played decades earlier. It had to be especially important to Haskell end Kendall, nephew of Carlisle great Bemus Pierce. Afterward, the players were then given a tour of Carlisle Barracks before departing for Philadelphia.

The game was anticlimactic. The Old Fox had no trouble defeating his former pupil 31 – 0.

On December 2, when asked about taking the Temple job, Warner was reported as saying, “Every time I go back East, they have me signing a contract with some other school.” Three days later, newspapers reported on his resignation from Stanford. The day after that, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran articles on Temple’s new coach, Warner, who had been hired for $15,000 a year. The $2,500 pay raise may have been less enticing than avoiding Stanford alumni who Warner thought were “after his scalp.”

On December 9, Temple published its football schedule for the upcoming year. The game with Haskell was expected to be a highlight of the early season, especially so because the Indians were led by Warner protégé Lone Star Dietz, a coach who generated headlines wherever he went.  Warner’s last game with Stanford was a 7-0 loss to another protégé, Jock Sutherland of Pitt. Bittersweet as it might have been, that game was not to be. Shortly after Warner’s announcement, Dietz’s future became the subject of speculation. Now in The Great Depression, the government had cut Haskell’s funding and had reduced its status to that of a high school. Dietz surely thought Haskell would no longer be able to field competitive teams and the media assumed he would be making a change. Names of various schools such as Holy Cross and Fordham popped up in print as possible new homes for him. On March 8, 1933, The Boston Globe ran an article headlined: “Lone Star Dietz to Coach Braves: Boston Football Team Signs Carlisle Star.” Dietz would be coaching in the NFL and not against Temple but who would lead Haskell then?

Dietz didn’t resign immediately. Instead, he stayed at Haskell until after spring practice because his NFL contract didn’t call for him to report until May 1. Haskell officials didn’t seem to be in a hurry to replace him. They said that no plans had been made regarding a successor and they wouldn’t select a coach for some time. That time came on August 4 when Henry Roe Cloud was named superintendent of Haskell Institute. The same day, Roe Cloud announced Gus Welch as Haskell’s head football coach and athletic director. It would have been nice to have been flies on Welch’s and Warner’s walls the day they realized they were scheduled to play each other and that it was late to cancel the game.

Welch had been critical of Warner at Carlisle and had submitted a petition that led to a government investigation of the school and reducing athletics’ importance at the school. Although later accused of interfering with Warner’s successor at Carlisle, Victor Kelley, Welch remained on good terms with the administration. Visiting the old school wouldn’t seem problematic for him. A crowd of thousands turned out to watch the Haskell players practice for two hours on Indian Field, where Jim Thorpe, Lone Star Dietz, Gus Welch and numerous others had played decades earlier. It had to be especially important to Haskell end Kendall, nephew of Carlisle great Bemus Pierce. Afterward, the players were then given a tour of Carlisle Barracks before departing for Philadelphia.

The game was anticlimactic. The Old Fox had no trouble defeating his former pupil 31 – 0.

Haskell Visits Carlisle

April 19, 2021

A few days ago a friend who collects Carlisle memorabilia showed me a photo of the 1933 Haskell Institute football team that was said to have been taken at Carlisle Barracks. The team’s coach, Gus Welch, was easily recognizable and, from past research, I knew that 1933 was his first year at Haskell. The background was clearly identifiable as Indian Field. The goalposts, which appeared to have been made of galvanized pipe, were surely replaced over the years and I already knew that the wooden grandstand had been rebuilt using concrete long ago. So, the photo was very likely legitimate. But why was Haskell visiting Carlisle?

A quick search through old newspapers uncovered a few articles about their visit. A photo accompanying one of the pieces is included in this post. They were here sure enough but why? The Harrisburg Evening News reporter answered that question when he wrote “[T]he Haskell Institute football team, which will meet Temple University in a night game tomorrow evening. This game has been an annual meeting for the past five years.” It made perfect sense for Haskell to visit Carlisle on the way to Philadelphia. It’s a wonder Lone Star Dietz didn’t bring one of his Haskell teams to Carlisle when he was coaching them and playing Temple. The reporter had one thing wrong. 1933 was only the third time Haskell played Temple. This time Welch would be taking on his mentor, Pop Warner. Given their relationship, why would either of them agree to play each other?

Not only was 1933 Welch’s first year at Haskell, it was Warner’s first year at Temple. But that doesn’t completely answer the question. On November 29, 1932, U.P. circulated a story that Temple University had offered Pop Warner the job of coaching the Owls. Stanford officials called the rumors that Warner would step down as their head coach “utterly impossible.”

<end of part 1>