Archive for January, 2009

Pistol Pete

January 29, 2009


It is well known that Albert Exendine’s father, Jasper, was a marshal for Hanging Judge Parker. Less well known is that Jasper adopted Frank Eaton Jr. after he was orphaned by six Regulators, former Quantrill Raiders, who murdered his father in cold blood when Frank Jr. was eight years old. The year was 1868 and Mose Beaman, his father’s friend, said to Frank, “My boy, may an old man’s curse rest upon you, if you do not try to avenge your father.” Eaton learned to mold bullets and to shoot accurately. When he was 12 or 15, stories vary, he went to Ft. Gibson, OK to learn more about handling a gun from the cavalry men stationed there. He entered a shooting competition with the best marksmen at the fort and won. The post commander, Colonel Copinger, dubbed him “Pistol Pete,” a moniker he would carry for the rest of his life. He became a deputy marshal for Judge Parker and went after his father’s killers. He shot five of them but someone beat him to the sixth, apparently after catching him cheating at cards.

Pistol Pete was reputed to pack the fastest guns in Indian Territory and to have 15 notches on his gun by the end of his career as a lawman that covered most of his life. Part of his eccentric attire was a cross he hung around his neck that he claimed was given to him by a girlfriend and was given credit for saving his life by deflecting a bullet. Of it he said, “I’d rather have the prayers of a good woman in a fight than half a dozen hot guns: she’s talking to Headquarters.”

In 1923 Oklahoma A&M (today’s Oklahoma State) students wanted a new mascot to replace the tiger that had been borrowed from Princeton. When asked if he would model, he agreed. The Pistol Pete mascot has been associated with Oklahoma State ever since. Pistol Pete himself attended many functions over a 30-year period signing autographs, posing for photographs, and telling tales about the Old West as long as people would listen. He was in and out of Stillwater when his adopted brother, Albert Exendine, coached the football team from 1930-35. One can imagine what their relationship must have been like.

Frank Eaton Jr.

Frank Eaton Jr.

Common Misconceptions About Carlisle Indian School

January 26, 2009

Google Alerts inform me of “news” on the internet regarding Lone Star Dietz, most of which I ignore. Although the most recent alert was a message largely concerned with Moses Friedman, that blog contains some misconceptions that are probably widely held. Matt is understandably confused by some of the entries on Friedman’s draft card (below) but those inconsistencies aren’t the worst problems. The misconceptions I consider serious are discussed in the paragraphs that follow.

  1. He could pass off the Moses as a given name perhaps, but not Friedman, especially considering that students kept an anglicized version of their Native name.

While it is true that some students were assigned anglicized versions of their original names, my experience researching Carlisle Indian School football players has been that the Anglicized names were generally assigned to an elder in the family, often at the agency in which the family was recorded. By the time Carlisle started fielding a football team in the 1890s, there had been so much intermarriage between Indians and whites that the majority of players I researched carried the family name of a white ancestor. For a small example, I seriously doubt if any of the six Carlisle Indians who were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame carried Anglicized names, bastardized perhaps, as in the case of Guyon. Those names are:

a.     Albert Exendine (may have originally been Oxendine)

b.    Joe Guyon (probably Guion originally)

c.     James Johnson

d.    Ed Rogers

e.    Jim Thorpe

f.      Gus Welch

Had Friedman’s father married an Indian woman, he could easily been named Moses Friedman, although I am unaware of any evidence that indicates that he has Indian heritage. The point is that his name said nothing, one way or the other, about whether he had Indian heritage or not. Another point is that the Anglicized versions that are known for these men, Bright Path (Jim Thorpe) for one, are nothing like the names they were known by at Carlisle.

  1. My initial thoughts were of Lone Star Dietz, but why would he attempt to pass himself off as Indian with such a German sounding name?

As shown by the sample of European names above, by the 1890s a mixed-blood Indian could carry almost any European surname. Germans may have intermarried less than the French, English and Irish, but surely some did. Having the last name of Dietz (or Deitz as his father spelled it), is probably the weakest argument against him.

  1. However, Native-Americans were not exempt from the draft, …

Non-citizen Indians were exempt from the draft, but citizens weren’t. Indians as a group weren’t granted citizenship until after WWI, so most were not required to serve. However, the fact that so many volunteered and served with distinction speaks well for their bravery and patriotism. A significant number even went to Canada to enlist before the U. S. entered the war.

  1. As an aside, even though I have his date of birth I cannot find any Moses Friedman born in America, let alone Cincinatti [sic], on that date or even in 1874!

It was not unusual at all for births not to be recorded at that time. My own paternal grandmother had no birth certificate and she was born over a decade later.

Friedman’s draft registration is surely confusing, most likely because he was confused. As to why he would check the white box for race and also check the citizen box for Indian: my guess is that, knowing people of any race could be citizens or non-citizens, he ignored the Indian heading when he checked the citizen box. I am unaware of any attempt by Friedman to claim Indian heritage.

A look at his then current employment might shed some light as to why he put Carlisle as his permanent address. He was then doing “special work as stockman for NY Supreme Court” in Taos, NM. After resigning from his position as Superintendent of Carlisle Indian School and being acquitted in Federal Court, Friedman was probably taking any work he could get. His work in Taos sounds like it was temporary and Friedman may have had as yet established a permanent location after leaving Carlisle.


1905 Inaugural Parade

January 23, 2009

The 1905 Presidential Inauguration was a big deal, especially for Carlisle. They had marched at inaugurations before, but this one was special. President-elect Teddy Roosevelt wanted to “make a big show,” likely because his first inauguration was a short, somber affair held in the home of Ansley Wilcox after President McKinley’s assassination. They pulled out all the stops to make his 1905 inauguration a day to remember. Already a staple of inauguration parades after appearing in two previous ones, the Carlisle Indian School Cadets (essentially the large boys) and the renowned school band were expected to march again. However, this time some celebrities would appear with them.

A week or so before the inauguration, six famous chiefs from formerly hostile tribes, arrived in Carlisle to head the school’s contingent in the parade. But, before they left for Washington, there was much to do. First, they spoke to an assembly of students through interpreters. A dress rehearsal was held on the main street of Carlisle to practice for the parade. The Carlisle Herald predicted that the group would be one of the big parade’s star attractions.

Those marching in the parade were woken at 3:45 a.m., had breakfast at 4:30, and were the special train to Washington at 5:30. As the train rolled out of Carlisle, a heavy snow fell, but later the sun burned through, making for a fine day weather-wise. Fortunately, the travelers had lunch on the train because it was late in arriving in Washington. They were hurried into the last division of the Military Grand Division. Originally, they were to have been in the Civic Grand Division, but Gen. Chaffee transferred all cadets under arms to the military division, putting them in a separate brigade. Leading the group was Geronimo, in full Apache regalia including war paint, sitting astride his horse, also in war paint, in the center of the street. To either side, on their horses in their regalia and war paint, rode the five other chiefs: American Horse (Oglala Sioux), Hollow Horn Bear (Brulé Sioux), Little Plume (Blackfeet), Buckskin Charlie (Ute), and Quanah Parker, (Comanche). Following them came the 46-piece Carlisle Indian School Band led by Claude M. Stauffer. Capt. William M. Mercer, superintendent of the school and member of the 7th Cavalry, led the 350 Carlisle Cadets from horseback.

All in President’s box rose when the Carlisle contingent passed. The old chiefs were the object of the most interest from the crowd. Roosevelt said, “This is an admirable contrast-first the chiefs, in their native costumes and then these boys from Carlisle.” Marching ahead of Carlisle in the Military Grand Division were the Cadets from West Point and the 7th Cavalry, whose band played “Garry Owen,” their regiment song, when they passed. President Roosevelt remarked, “That is a bully fighting tune, and this is Custer’s old regiment, one of the finest in the service.” Capt. Mercer surely heard his regiment’s song and may have requested the Carlisle band to play it on occasion.

Perhaps being in close proximity to the War Department and West Point officials gave Mercer the opportunity to discuss a football game between Carlisle and Army. About six weeks later a game between the two government schools appeared on a schedule published in the school paper. The historic event would take place the following November 11.

Six chiefs lead, followed by the CIIS band and 350 students

Six chiefs lead, followed by the CIIS band and 350 students



Foul Weather Spoils Inauguration

January 20, 2009

Good weather was expected for the inauguration of President Taft in 1909. Carlisle Indian School students had been a staple of inaugural parades for some time and began making preparations for the parade as early as late November of the previous year when The Carlisle Arrow announced that the tailoring department was to make 350 cadet capes for Taft’s inauguration in early March. (Yes, inaugurations were held about six weeks later in those days.) Later issues monitored the status of the cape production. But when the inauguration came and passed, The Carlisle Arrow had nothing to say about it. How could this be when the Carlisle contingent had been so prominent in Roosevelt’s 1905 inaugural parade?

The answer, it appears, has to do with the state-of-the-art of weather forecasting at that time. High winds and 10 inches of snow where what Washingtonians got instead of the fair weather that was predicted. Cold temperatures that accompanied the blizzard caused the swearing-in ceremony and the speechifying that are part of it to be relocated to the Senate, but didn’t cancel the parade. The parade was held but was smaller than expected. Newspaper coverage, like that of the Carlisle Indian School publications, contained no mention of the Carlisle contingency marching in the parade. News reports on the weather described how the snowstorm shutdown transportation in and out of the Capital. Trains from all four directions were blocked by the snow and couldn’t get into town. West Point cadets got a lot of press for actually marching in the parade, enthusiastically at that, after getting off their train in Baltimore and marching 40 miles to get to the parade route.

It seems likely that the 350 Carlisle boys were on one of those trains that didn’t make it into the city and missed the parade. The March 12 issue of The Carlisle Arrow related, “Several of our students had the satisfaction of seeing the inaugural parade at Washington.” Those students most likely weren’t part of the contingent who were to have marched.


Carlisle Players Play Each Other

January 19, 2009

While researching the lives of Henry Roberts and Mike Balenti, I became aware that they, and some other Carlislians played against each other when enrolled in other schools. In response to criticism that Carlisle Indian School had been playing some of the same people for too many years, Pop Warner instituted a policy that limited players to four years on the varsity squad. Mike Balenti had used up his eligibility at Carlisle and Victor Kelley had one year of eligibility remaining at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. While there were no national eligibility standards, many colleges limited students to four years of eligibility, one for each of their four years of college – assuming that they finished on time. However, colleges often conveniently ignored the time former Carlisle players now at their institutions had played at the Indian school because it wasn’t a college academically. In fact, it wasn’t even a prep school. Putting these vaguaries of eligibility aside, Mike Balenti and Victor Kelley enrolled at A&M (reenrolled in Kelley’s case) to play under new head coach Charlie Moran. Moran, coincidentally, had assisted Pop Warner at Carlisle the previous year before embarking on a career as football coach. Previously, he had been a star player and a baseball coach, but hadn’t coached football. The Aggies, with Kelley at quarterback and Balenti at left halfback, had a powerhouse team. One of the obstacles in their path to the unofficial Southwestern Championship was Haskell Institute. The teams met on October 23 at College Station. Captain and left end of the Haskell squad was Henry Roberts who would later star of Carlisle’s great 1911 team. Not on the field that day for Haskell, but on the squad, were center Nikifer Schouchuk and quarterback Louis Island. It was like old home week at the game which the Aggies won 15-0. Aggie students celebrated wildly after the game because beating the team that had beaten the University of Texas meant a lot to them. At the end of the season Charlie Moran, as coach of the Southwestern Championship team, was given the honor of selecting an All Southwest team. He named Kelley for quarterback, Balenti for left halfback, and Roberts for punter. Carlisle was well represented on that team by alums both past and future.

Untameable Shrew

January 15, 2009

Kit Carson was a widower with a small daughter, Adaline, to care for when his Arapaho wife, Waa-nibe, died. The only thing he could do was to acquire another wife. Little is known about their courtship or the negotiations with her family but, nonetheless, Making-Out-Road, Cheyenne, became his second wife. He was her first husband. Because Cheyenne women typically didn’t marry until their mid-20s, she was hardly a child bride. Carson could then return to his usual ways of being gone on expeditions most of the time. After little more than a year of marriage and a lot of violent quarrels with this mostly-gone mountain man, she divorced him according to Cheyenne customs. On the day he returned from one of his trips, she pitched his belongings, including Adaline, outside their tent. An alternative version of this story is that Carson escaped rather than being thrown out. He complained that she wanted too many “fafurraws.”

Not long after that, she married Flat Head and then Wolf Man, and divorced both of these Cheyenne men. She wasn’t married to either of them very long, just long enough to make a pair of twin boys, a girl and another boy. About that time a Charles Rath was in need of a wife.

Rath surmised that there were two ways to get along with the Indians: sell them liquor or marry into their tribe. He chose the latter course and married Owl Woman. After her death came her sister, Yellow Woman. When she died, he looked toward Making-Out-Road, perhaps because, when she was younger, she was vivacious and turned heads. Once her male relatives found the gifts Rath offered to be acceptable, the two were married. They soon had a daughter. Because Roadmaker, as Rath called this wife, had been considered the Belle of the Cheyenne, he called his daughter Cheyenne Belle. When Belle was about two years old, Rath left never to return. Cheyenne Belle would grow up to be the mother of the Balenti brothers mentioned in an earlier blog.

Charlie Rath presumed that Making-Out-Road meant that his bride was a good tracker. Some others thought it had a more contemporary meaning, such as my way or the highway or hit the road, Jack.

Indians Were Poor Marksmen

January 10, 2009

Over a century before Rush Limbaugh roamed the airwaves, Rush Roberts, whose Pawnee name translates to Fancy Eagle, roamed the Great Plains. While researching the life of Henry Roberts, left end on the great Carlisle Indian School football team of 1911, for my upcoming book, Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, I came across the fact that Henry’s father was a quite colorful character.

In 1876, at age 16 or 17, Rush was recruited as a scout for the U. S. Cavalry, becoming the youngest man to fight under Gen. Crook in this campaign. It is documented that he participated in the November 25, 1876 Dull Knife-Mackenzie Fight (aka Battle of Bates Creek) as a member of the Pawnee Battalion. The Pawnees were credited for fighting with exceptional capability against one of their ancient enemies. He was awarded his father’s name, Fancy Eagle, for his bravery in battle. Almost a decade after the war ended, he enrolled as a student at Hampton Institute in Virginia. He stayed there for two years and later sent two of his children, one of whom was Henry Roberts. Rush eventually became a chief of the Skidi Pawnees and lived to an old age. His exploits ares mentioned in We Remember: the history of the U. S. Cavalry from 1776 to the present by Edward L. Daily.

In an interview about the plains wars, Rush stated that, in general, Indians weren’t good marksmen with rifles. The problem was that they didn’t understand how to use the rear sight and wind gauge to hit their targets at long distances. However, they were excellent at shooting from horseback, particularly at short range. Rush explained, “The group formations of the army made a bigger target, but army marksmanship was better and steadier.”

Ebook Created for Carlisle Indian School Football Immortals

January 5, 2009

This weekend was productive – maybe. Walt Shiel offered some advice on converting print books to ebook format on a small publishers forum. The first step was to open an rtf file containing the book in question with Microsoft Word. Fortunately for me, Keevin Graham, the graphic designer who lays out my books, had already provided me with an rtf of Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs. The second step was to save the book as Web Page, Filtered, which produces an html file. So far, so good. The third step was to open the html file with Notepad and save it again, thus eliminating the “secret codes” Word embeds in documents. The resulting file was ready to import into Mobipocket’s ebook creator (available free on the Mobipocket site). There was one small glitch. Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs has a number of photos, illustrations and tables, items which ebooks don’t display well and which require considerable manual manipulation. FWIW, Keep A-goin’: the life of Lone Star Dietz has a lot more, a factor which will keep it from being converted into an ebook for some time. The illustrations are such an integral part of that book that I’m reluctant to publish an ebook of it without them.

My solution to the problem was to create a new book from Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs that includes only the background/overview chapters and none of the players’ biographies. Also, at 160,000 words some find the entire book too long and detailed for their taste. Carlisle Indian School Football Immortals: a brief introduction provides the key information about the history of the Carlisle football program and will be of interest to those who are not interested in reading about the individual players. Even this conversion required a lot of manual HTML coding because of all the illustrations and tables are a particular headache. After some “learning experiences” with the Mobibook creator, a prc file was created and uploaded to the Mobipocket site. The prc file was also converted by the Kindle converter and uploaded to its site. I’m waiting to hear back from Sony.

For those who become interested in the players or seeing better quality illustrations after reading the ebook, Tuxedo Press is giving ebook buyers free shipping on print books purchased from them. The net result is that the ebook cost is essentially being refunded because its list price is only $4.99 and is currently offering the Kindle version for $3.99.

a brief introduction

Carlisle Indian School Football Immortals: a brief introduction

A Brave, New Technology for the New Year

January 2, 2009

My New Year starts off with learning a new technology. ebooks are all the rage now, or so we’re told. What is an ebook you say? It’s an electronic book. Instead of lugging pounds of paper around with us, we’re now able to carry a lightweight electronic appliance that stores words as binary digits instead of in ink on paper. I say words because the first generation of these devices does not handle graphics well and color not at all. The advantages of ebooks are many: lower cost per book ($10 is the price on many new releases), ability to search the book as easily as other computer documents, font scaling to make larger type immediately available to these aging eyes, portability, and ease of acquisition. markets a device they call the Kindle, perhaps because they think it will light the fire for this new technology. Included with the device is Whispernet, a wireless broadband network that supports one-click purchase of new books – from Amazon, of course. Before thinking that the Kindle is the cheap razor for which Amazon sells the blades, consider the price. At $359 (down from $400), they ain’t cheap but are almost continually out of stock. New and refurbished units are available on eBay but few are bargains.

Leading competitors for Kindle include the Sony Reader Digital Book PRS-700 and Mobipocket eBook Reader. According to Sony, its device is the first one to use the EPUB international standard for ebook publication. The Mobipocket Reader runs on devices ranging from desktop computers to cell phones as well as things in between. The Mobipocket format purportedly runs on or can readily be converted to run on Amazon and Sony devices. I’ll find out more this weekend.

Next time I’ll share my experience preparing one of my writings for this brave, new world.