Archive for November, 2008

Carlisle Indians Had The Right Stuff

November 27, 2008

These days authors are supposed to have video previews of their books posted on the web for all to see. I was also instructed to make a video of me reading from my new book. Knowing full well that few would want to look at me reading for any period of time, I took a different approach. I read the words Pop Warner said in a 1924 interview in which he told of an episode that clearly shows what kind of stuff the Carlisle Indians were made of. After getting the thing started, I mostly disappear from view and am replaced by other footage and still photographs. Warner’s story is fascinating and, as best I can tell, is true. Because he told it over twenty years after it happened, he may have had some details confused. But the major things check out.

The story is a bit long but, when I’ve read it in book talks, audiences enjoy it because it is such a good story and, to my knowledge, hasn’t been told since the 1920s. enforces a strict time limit on videos that may be posted on their site, so it was necessary to split the story into two pieces. The first, and longer, part has been created and posted. The second and more interesting conclusion will be posted next week. “Carlisle Indians Had The Right Stuff” can be found at This is a chance to learn more about people such as Albert Exendine, Nikifer Schouchuk, Antonio Lubo, Martin Wheelock, James Johnson, Charles Williams and Richard Henry Pratt.

Feel free to make comments, either positive or negative.


American Indian Heritage Month ending

November 24, 2008

This is the last week of American Indian Heritage Month and I have seen nothing locally that would inform residents that this commemoration even exists let alone doing anything to honor it. For that matter I haven’t seen anything in the national media either. There may have been something but I didn’t see it. What with the Carlisle Indian School having been in our midst, one would think it would have at least been mentioned. If it wasn’t for the trusty internet, I wouldn’t know a thing about it.

One good thing I’ve learned is that the politically-correct terms have been sorted out. American Indian is preferred over Native American and the specific tribe or nation is preferred over that. Native American is too broad a term and, worse yet, sounds too bureaucratic. A pet peeve of mine is the frequent mention of something being a Native American song or a Native American custom. To start with, this is silliness. Would we say golf is a European game? Of course not. We know the Scots invented it. Would we lump Scots and Italians together as if they had a common heritage? I think not.

There may be reasons other than ignorance or laziness for attributing something to Native Americans. For example, Chief Seattle is often quoted as having spoken eloquently about the environment. To start with he was not a chief and his name was See-ahth, which was difficult for white people to say and was likely bastardized into Seattle, something they could pronounce. See-ahth was born in 1786 and died in 1866. In addition to being a great speaker, he was a diplomat. He gave a speech in 1854 but it wasn’t the one he is so often credited with having made. That speech was written in 1971 by screenwriter Ted Perry. Perry’s speech didn’t paraphrase See-ahth’s words. It couldn’t because there were no buffalo within 600 miles of his home to see rot and railroads didn’t come to his area until years after his death.

Rather than providing references, I will leave to the reader the task of verifying what I have written. Fortunately, it is an easy task.

Pete and Emil Hauser in the News

November 20, 2008

Last week Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs got a plug in The Kansan out of Newton, KS in an article covering a presentation by Carolyn Williams at the Halstead Historical Society. She explained that Halstead was more than the home of Adolph Rupp, Conrad Nightingale and Dennis Latimore. It was also the home of the Krehbiel Farm Indian School that the Hauser brothers, Pete and Emil, aka Wauseka, attended in the 1890s. I was aware that they had connections with Halstead, KS but didn’t know about the Krehbiel school. Constantly learning new things is one of the benefits of my job.

Christian Krehbiel emigrated from Germany in the mid-1800s and eventually settled on a farm near Halstead. He was also very active in the Mennonite Church. As part of his religious activity, he became involved with the missionary work among the Indians. In 1885 the Industrial School, Halstead, Kansas was formed by the Mission Board of the General Conference Mennonite Church and Halstead Seminary with 15 Indian children from Oklahoma for students. In 1887 the Indian School was moved to Krehbiel’s farm. Students lived on the farm with the Kriehbiels as a large family.Students studied academic subjects during the school year worked on the farm in summer. For the 1892-93 school year Krehbiel contracted with the government to take 30 students for $125 each. After the government ended its contract policy for Indian students in 1896, he organized the Orphan and Children’s Aid Society and started an orphanage on his farm. It’s likely that the Hausers were attending the school in its latter years.


The article about Carolyn Williams’ talk can be found at More on Christian Krehbiel can be found at More can be found on the school at


Final Remarks on Cayou’s Abduction

November 17, 2008

The January 28, 1898 issue of The Indian Helper had something to say about the incident:


“Our Mr. Frank Cayou, ’96, has passed through some College Freshman trials this week.  On Tuesday night the Dickinson College Freshman held a class banquet.  On Sunday night as Mr. Cayou was coming from church with two of our ladies he was spirited away by the Sophomores.  A crowd of them was standing around the church door as the three came out.


“Before they knew it the ladies were left without escort, and were obliged to come out from town alone.  Not a ‘Soph’ offered to come with them.  It is said that Cayou fought like a lion for the honor of his class, but ten or a dozen Sophomores were too much for him.  They placed him in a buggy and drove him toward the mountains, and at this writing, Wednesday morning, he has not appeared.  The Sophomores tried to steal several more of the Freshmen so as to break up the banquet, but did not succeed.  Such things are so ‘funny’ that the Man-on-the-band-stand can scarcely write about them.  He would like someday to have a new kind of a joke to laugh at if the bright young college gentlemen could only THINK of something not quite so stale.


  LATER:  Mr. Cayou has returned and tells a story of good treatment at the hands of the Sophomores.  His time was spent in the North Mountain, at Sterretts Gap Hotel, and at various other places.  Some of the time he was tied to a Sophomore so as to prevent the slightest chance for escape.  The Sophomores did not get the prize they thought they had, for Mr. Cayou was not toastmaster, as they surmised and had no part in the banquet program, and he was the only one absent.  There is considerable excitement among the college men at this writing and a strong class feeling exists.  All sorts of rumors are afloat as to what is to be done by those in authority, but we have nothing definite.”

The 1900 Microcosm included Dickinson College students’ takes on the affair in the Daily Chronicle section:

November 27th

Cayou goes to church alone.

Miss Beitzel goes to church alone.

January 14th

Cayou absent from chapel.

Miss Beitzel absent from chapel.

January 23rd

Docky warns Sophs to return Cayou.

(Apparently Docky was students’ pet name for President Rev. George Edward Reed)

Blanche Una Beitzel was listed as a Junior, a member of the class of 1900, with the motto:

‘Tis not that I love Dickinson less, but the Indian School more.

The football team photo on page 146 lists F. M. Cayou, but the player looks exactly like Ed Rogers. Cayou and Rogers were enrolled in Dickinson College proper and the law school, respectively at that time. Both played for Dickinson against Penn State in the Thanksgiving Day game held after the Indian School’s season ended.

One can only wonder how such a kidnapping would be viewed in 2008.

The Kidnapping of Frank Cayou – Part II

November 13, 2008

Decades later Parson Decker, freshman president of the class of 1902, recalled that a “council of war” was convened after which a bus pulled by a team of four horses was engaged to search for and retrieve their captured classmate. Around midnight the bus loaded with a dozen or so men from the class set out for Boiling Springs and Mt. Holly Springs in near-zero-degree weather. Dispirited, they returned to Carlisle around dawn Monday and assembled at The Wellington Hotel, the site of the next day’s class banquet.

During the day various information and misinformation traveled through the grapevine that Cayou and his captors were holed up in the Mountain House atop Sterretts Gap on North Mountain. Armed with the search warrant, the “rangy and rugged classmen” and the bus headed up Sterretts Gap late that afternoon. Halfway up the mountain, the bus stopped, the occupants got out, and went to their appointed posts encircling the hill. At the signal they started moving upwards, tightening the noose on the abductors. The plan was executed perfectly and, once all the men were at the top, the process-server served the warrant on the innkeeper who informed them of their errors. First, he said that warrants could only be served in the daytime and, second, this was a Cumberland County warrant and the Mission House was located in Perry County.

Regrouping after their hopes were dashed a contingent headed off to Summerdale to acquire a proper warrant. Using the second floor of a nearby corncrib as a barracks, those left guarding the hotel rested after setting up a watch schedule. Sleet began to fall, but the guards made their appointed rounds using only blankets taken from the bus as cover.

The next morning the correct search warrant was served but nothing was found. A search of the premises revealed nothing because Cayou’s captors got wind of the expedition the previous night and hustled him down the mountainside where they took refuge in a woodman’s hut.

As the dejected men of the class of ’02 went down the hill their bus met another “black maria” heading up. Some men of ’02 grabbed the harnesses of the horses pulling ‘01’s bus up the hill. Others pulled Chambers and Odgers, classmates who had been kidnapped that morning, out of that bus and put them into that of their own class. Feeling a little less disappointed with the success of their mission, the posse returned to The Wellington where the entire class, less Cayou, stayed incommunicado the rest of the day to reduce further losses.

The banquet was held as scheduled, sans Cayou who was returned the next morning.

Next time The Indian Helper’s take on Cayou’s abduction

Black Maria

Black Maria

The Kidnapping of Frank Cayou

November 10, 2008

Rusty Shunk recently informed me of the existence of “The History of Football at Dickinson College: 1885 – 1969” by Wilbur J. Gobrecht. Why might I be interested in this book? The reason is simple. Several Carlisle Indians attended Dickinson College, its prep school and Dickinson School of Law. Some of them also played on Dickinson’s football team. Today’s piece is about an off-field incident involving one of these men.

In 1898 Francis M. Cayou enrolled in Dickinson College as member of the class of 1902 and played halfback on the 1898 football team – after Carlisle finished its season and only in the game against Penn State. Gobrecht uncovered an interesting story regarding Cayou told in 1930 by Rev. William H. Decker, also a member of the class of 1902, after he discovered a long-forgotten search warrant that had been issued by George W. Bowers, a Carlisle justice of the peace. That warrant gave Constable H. M. Fishburn the right to search the premises of the Mountain House at Sterretts Gap for “one F. M. Cayou, forcibly taken from Carlisle on Jan. 22, 1899.”

Frank had been warned of possible nefarious actions being planned by the class of 1901 but paid no heed to them. Rev. Decker recalled how the handsome Cayou took his girlfriend to the Sunday evening service at First Presbyterian Church on the square and was abducted on departing the church after the service. Members of the class of 1901, knowing he was there, placed a black maria wagon in the adjoining alley and waited for their opportunity. As the Indian exited the church, they tore him away from his girl and threw him bodily into the paddy wagon or hearse, which was used is not clear. Once he was inside, the wagon tore off madly over the icy streets into the dark countryside. “Burlys” of the class of 1902 rushed up, grabbed the horses’ harness and tried to cut it with knives but were unsuccessful.

To be continued …


Jaycees’ Petition

November 6, 2008

I had occasion to talk with Robert W. Wheeler, the author of the definitive biography of Jim Thorpe, and used this opportunity to discuss the hearings, the Jaycees, etc. Bob does not know Mr. Sheaffer so cannot comment on his efforts. However, in 1978 he had significant contact with the Jaycees on a national level, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Almost immediately after Jim Thorpe’s Olympic honors were stripped from him in 1913, campaigns were started to restore his medals and his records. Bob recalled that what seemed like hundreds of campaigns involving were such people as Damon Runyon, FDR, and Branch Rickey, but all were unsuccessful. The unsuccessful list includes the one Sheaffer mentioned that was from Yale, OK and was headed by Grace Thorpe.

In 1978, the Jaycees redoubled their efforts and gathered over a million signatures on a petition to have Jim Thorpe’s Olympics triumphs restored. Bo Wheeler recalls that the Jaycees’ petitions were a major part of the nationwide effort which gathered over three and a half million signatures. As part of this effort Bob Wheeler and Jack Thorpe addressed the Jaycees’ national convention. Unfortunately, that was not the year of the final breakthrough. That would happen a few years later when Bob’s wife and researcher-in-her-own-right, Florence Ridlon, found the 1912 Olympic rule book lost in the stacks of the Library of Congress. The rest, as they say, is history.

A Hearing for Jim Thorpe part II

November 3, 2008

Freddy Wardecker did some research and found some old newspaper clipping related to Project Jim Thorpe. Freddy thought it might have been an initiative of the Carlisle Jaycees and his hunch paid off. He found a May 12, 1973 article from the Carlisle Sentinel titled “Carlisle JCs Renew Jim Thorpe Issue. It mentioned that the Project Jim Thorpe was started in 1969 with the goals of reinstating Jim Thorpe in the International Olympic record book and to have his medals and trophies returned. Apparently the medals and trophies were to have been housed in a proposed track and field hall of fame museum in Carlisle. One cannot tell from the article whether the museum was the one proposed by Joel Platt or not. No mention was made of the committee chair.

Reporter Bob Jackson wrote, “…After running into continual  obstacles created by the International Olympic Committee, “Project Jim Thorpe” lost momemtum and was dropped as an active project in 1971. Sensing that the Jim Thorpe Committee from Jim’s hometown of Yale, OK was about to have some success after the demise of Avery Brundage, the Jaycees launched a petition drive in which citizens were asked to sign a petition that was to be sent to President Nixon.

Freddy also found a January 29, 1974 article that announced the Jim Thorpe Memorial Exhibition to be held on March 29-31 of that year. Residents were asked to lend photos and memorabilia related to Thorpe. The exhibition was to be held at the Carlisle Jaycee Home, 311 East North Street, Carlisle. Michael L. Sheaffer was named as chairman of the Memorial commi