You meet the nicest people

The best part of doing this research is the people you meet. The most recent are Iris Davis and Dick Boganwright. Driving back from a wedding in Madison, Wisconsin brought us near Mentone, Indiana where Iris and Dick live. Iris has a photo of their uncle, Louis Island, in his WWI uniform. The photo is mounted in an oval frame with curved glass, something that makes scanning difficult. Taking a photo of a photo that is under glass presents problems of its own, but they were dealt with. By now you may be wondering why I’m babbling on about this.

Louis Island played quarterback, mostly backup, at Carlisle and eventually became a star in the early pro game. He eventually settled in Fort Wayne, Indiana and married Phebe Harsh, who was raised on a farm near Mentone, which is not far from Fort Wayne. Iris Davis and Dick Boganwright’s mother was one of Phebe’s sisters. Iris and Dick remember Dr. Island from family gatherings when they were children. They also remember when he contracted tuberculosis and died. They also remember when his son died from what they thought might have been muscular dystrophy. Dick and Iris recalled that Louis had a grandson who was left the area with his mother when he was a child.

Meeting relatives of Carlisle players is always a pleasure. Sometimes people are surprised to learn that their grandfather or uncle was famous at one time or was a great athlete because their memories of him are often of an old man. The telephone conversations that preceded the visit got them thinking about their uncle and they later remembered things about him that they had forgotten long ago. The visit gave me the opportunity to share with them what I had learned about their uncle.

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