Joe Little Twig, Another NFL Star

Last time, I mentioned a guy named Joe LittleTwig. It just so happens that Wini Caudell has a website dedicated to him. You see, if things had turned out differently, he might have been Wini’s grandfather. But they didn’t.

Joe is believed to be Mohawk born on or near the Cattaraugus Reservation in New York State. After attending school on the reservation, he enrolled at Carlisle Indian School. So far, I haven’t been able to locate any record of him at Carlisle, but this isn’t all that unusual. Sometimes, different names were used. School employees often spelled named creatively, something that makes searching difficult. There’s a good chance that LittleTwig was young and not fully developed physically, a factor that would likely have kept him from making the varsity team. It’s almost impossible to identify players on any of the other teams at the school.

After leaving Carlisle, he served in WWI, but I have no details on that yet. After the war, he turned his hand to professional football and had more success than most. Researching his pro football career may be easier than researching his earlier life because some records-and a book-exist about the Oorang Indians and newspapers covered the early NFL games to some extent. Because he settled in Canton, either the local historical society or the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is located there, may have information on his life after football.

Wini Caudell’s site about Joe LittleTwig: http://www.rockislandindependents.com/Players/All%20Players/joejohnson.htm

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