The Kidnapping of Frank Cayou

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 …


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4 Responses to “The Kidnapping of Frank Cayou”

  1. Cayou Says:

    It was very interesting to read this(and the part-2 and final remarks), I have a question, did this Frank Cayou coach football at some time? I don’t know much about my family line because my grandfather passed on when my father was a little boy, so we never knew much about the family history.
    I do believe though, that my Great-Grandfather was named Francis M. Cayou

    • Jim Rader Says:

      Francis Mitchell Cayou did indeed coach, and very successfully. See the Wikipedia entry on him which begins, “Francis M. ‘Frank’ Cayou was the 16th head college football coach for the Wabash College Little Giants located in Crawfordsville, Indiana and he held that position for four seasons, from 1904 until 1907.” I believe he subsequently coached at Washington University in St. Louis.

      I have done research about Mr. Cayou and would be very interested in communicating with his living descendants. Please feel free to contact me.

    • Dean Cayou Says:

      My father is Frank Cayou Jr. I wish I asked my father more about his past and about his father.

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