Archive for October, 2009

Carlisle’s Most Important Game

October 30, 2009

The following question was posed to me this week:

I have to do a college speech on an event in the 20th century. I decided to do it on a Carlisle Indian School football game and how that particular game brought attention to the school, the players, and the whole story behind it. If you had to pick ONE game that, in your opinion, put the Carlisle Indian School and their football team on the map what game would you pick.

This is a very difficult question to answer because there are several possibilities:

1. In just their third full season of football, the Indians played The Big Four (Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Penn) in successive weeks and were competitive in all four games. A bad call cost them the Yale game and they held Harvard to just four points. National Champions 10-0-1 Princeton beat all of their opponents except Lehigh, Army and Harvard worse than they beat the 5-5 Indians. The Tigers were held to a scoreless tie by Lafayette. Carlisle smashed Penn State 48-5 and beat the previously unbeaten Champions of the West Wisconsin 18-8.

2. In Pop Warner’s first year at Carlisle, the Indians notched their first win over a BIG FOUR team, Penn, 16-5. They also beat California 2-0 in a game played on Christmas Day in San Francisco. Halfback Isaac Seneca was named to Walter Camp’s All America First Team, the first Carlisle player to be so honored.

3. The 10-1 1907 Indians beat a BIG THREE team for the first time when they took Harvard 23-15. They also beat Penn 26-6, Minnesota and Chicago. Their only loss was to Princeton. Warner considered the set of players on this team to be Carlisle’s best and Jim Thorpe was on the bench! The win over Amos Alonzo Stagg gave him much personal satisfaction.

4. The 11-1 1911 team also beat both Harvard and Penn. Warner considered this team to be Carlisle’s best but it lost to Syracuse by one point due to overconfidence and listless play. Clark Shaugnessy ranked the 1911 Carlisle-Harvard game as one of the twelve best games of all time. Jim Thorpe described it as his most favorite game of his long career.

5. The importance of the 1912 Carlisle-Army was debunked in “Jude and the Prince,” an article written by James G. Sweeney and published in the May 2009 journal of the College Football Historical Society.

I’d appreciate reading your opinions regarding Carlisle’s most important game.

Espresso Book Machine Going to Waste

October 26, 2009

This past Friday, I was in Ann Arbor doing research for a future book. When we finished our work in the archives, my wife suggested that we check out the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) that was installed at the University of Michigan over a year ago. The young special collections librarian was familiar with the machine and told us exactly where it is located. She looked up its hours of operations on the school’s website and noticed that the machine was in operation from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. weekdays. Because that is only ten hours a week, we decided that the website was in error; the EBM must be in operation from 10:00 a.m. to midnight. The Shapiro Library, which is better known to Michigan alums as UGLI (for Undergraduate Library), is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily, so 10:00 a.m. to midnight makes sense for the EBM. However, the website is not wrong.

We arrived a little after 5:00 p.m. to find the Espresso machine just inside the front door as advertised, sitting idle, also as advertised. An employee of the library explained to us that only two people were trained to use the machine and they only operated it two hours a day, weekdays. On the counter was a folder with a few pages of lists of books available to be printed. None of them interested me. I had expected to find a computer catalogue of thousands of pre-1923 books available to be printed. After all, Google famously scanned Michigan’s entire collection. There had to be numerous books in it that are in the public domain.

The gentleman handed us a stack of pre-printed books that could be purchased, but none of them interested us. The quality of the books looks to the naked eye to be about the same as that of print-on-demand books.

Some months ago, Jeff Wood, the proprietor of Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle, PA, and I discussed the possibilities of the Espresso machine, particularly in a college town. One opportunity we envisioned was professors, unshackled from the need to find a publisher willing to invest in their books, writing their own texts for the courses they teach. The college bookstore wouldn’t have to inventory the books, other than a few copies to keep lines down at the beginning of the term. Researchers wishing to read dissertations wouldn’t have to strain their eyes and wrenching their bodies over microfilm machines.

But that is not to be at the University of Michigan. One hopes that other installations more fully utilize their EBMs. More on the machine, including a video of it in operation, can be found at

Sally Rand’s Nude Ranch

October 22, 2009

The connection between the topic of this message and my work is tenuous to say the least, but it caught my eye. Readers may find it to be informative. A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, along with some friends, made a trip through the western states in the late 1940s. One of his stops was Sally Rand’s Nude Ranch. I thought little more about that until I read that the Craighead twins also stopped there on their way to catch a ship to Indian for their famous trip to visit their friend, Bapa, who was an Indian prince. They documented their stop at the “ranch” in Life with an Indian Prince, their account of the trip. My friend may have shared some knowledge about this attraction with the twins before their trip because they had confined their previous travel to places where wildlife could be studied. This time they studied a different kind of wildlife.

No, the “ranch” was not in Nevada. It was an attraction with the Golden Gate International Exposition that was held in 1939 and 1940 at Treasure Island in San Francisco. This event was also known as the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair. Rather than being located on the Great Plains or some grassy meadow, Sally Rand’s Nude Ranch was housed in a nightspot known as The Music Box. The Music Box was in the Treasure Island Amusement Zone, the place where “flesh” shows were found. The area was also known as the “Gayway.” But that wasn’t where it always was.

In 1936, Sally advertised across Texas for a few attractive young girls to work at her NUDE RANCH in Fort Worth, Texas. The bold-faced type surely eliminated any confusion that potential applicants may have had about what the work entailed at this Depression-era enterprise. Her requirements were also clear: “Can be any height. Perfect figures necessary. Highest salaries paid.”

For those interested in knowing more, follow this link:

Lonestar Played in the NFL

October 19, 2009

Not long ago, I learned that some Carlisle Indians other than the ones on the Oorang Indians also played in the NFL. Chris Willis’s book, The Columbus Panhandles, tells the story of one of the charter members of the NFL (called the American Professional Football Association when it was first formed in 1920). The 1920 Panhandles’ roster included one player that claimed Carlisle Indian School as his alma mater. That was Frank Lone Star. John Steckbeck’s classic about the Carlisle Indian School football teams, Fabulous Redmen, makes no mention of him playing football. An appendix to Willis’s book lists Frank as having played guard and tackle in three games in the 1920 season. A search of newspaper coverage for these games confirms Willis’s data.

Unfortunately, Carlisle’s school records don’t indicate that Frank Lonestar ever played football there—at least not on the varsity squad. Frank Lonestar, Chippewa from Shell Lake, Wisconsin, first arrived at Carlisle in August 1903. After completing the five-year term, he re-enrolled for a three-year term. Just before the end of that term of enrollment, he ran away but re-enrolled in September 1911. He ran away again, returned in March 1912, and left for good in May 1912. While at Carlisle, he learned the printing trade and could have played on the Printers’ shop football team. Shop teams received little press, so it’s not known for sure if he played for them. He kept in touch with the school while working in Cleveland, Ohio. He died at his brother’s home in Shell Lake on October 30, 1915.

Frank’s untimely death made it impossible for him to play for the Columbus Panhandles in 1920. Playing under assumed names was common in the early days of professional football, especially by people whose employment might be jeopardized if their employer learned they were playing football for money.

One possibility is Lone Star Dietz because he was looking for a coaching job at that time. He went by the name William Lone Star at Carlisle. That name is close to Frank Lonestar. Also, Dietz would have likely known that Frank was dead because his death was announced in The Carlisle Arrow. In addition, Frank’s hometown was in the county immediately north of Dietz’s. Tackle was his natural position, too.

In 1920, Lone Star Dietz was 36, an advanced age for an athlete in that era, a factor that would explain him playing only three games. Of course, it may not have been Dietz, but if it wasn’t, who was it?

Carlisle Students at Craighead

October 15, 2009

Jean Craighead George recalls a former Carlisle Indian School student and his wife visiting Craighead Station, probably in the 1930s. The man had worked for Jean’s grandmother, Agnes Miller Craighead, on his outing periods by tending her flower gardens. He was disappointed that the once beautiful gardens were gone and the yard in which they were once located had been converted into a playground for Agnes’s grandchildren and their friends. Jean doesn’t recall the man’s name but does remember how much pride he had in the gardens. He wasn’t the only Carlisle student to live and work at Craighead Station.

Charles and Agnes Craighead were early and constant supporters of Carlisle Indian Industrial School. In the October 1882 edition of The Morning Star, Lt. Pratt thanked them and the others “for their kindness and helpfulness in giving our pupils a place in their homes where the customs and labors and amenities of civilized life could be impressed upon them than is possible they should be in a school of that size.”

It is difficult to know how many students spent time at the Craigheads because we only know the names of a few who spent time there. The following are the names of students known to have been with the Craigheads:

Emma Strong

Sosipatra Suvoroff

Mary Kadashan

Della Cayuga

Melinda Cayuga

I would be greatly obliged if anyone who knows of someone who spent time at Craigheads would contact me.

Pretty Boy – part 5

October 12, 2009

Apparently, raising cattle wasn’t a very profitable undertaking at that time on that land because the Carlisle superintendent requested that the Cheyenne River Agency superintendent find him employment: “Thomas has made a most excellent record at Carlisle and it is hoped an opportunity will present itself to put him to work where he can earn ready cash while caring for his property.” Upon Hawkeagle’s arrival, the agency superintendent responded, “We will do all we can to find work for him but as there are no vacancies in the regular force any employment given to him would be of irregular nature and temporary only.” About a year later, in October 1916—after the cattle were fattened, one assumes—the Cheyenne River Agency superintendent wrote Ford to reinstate Thomas. That attempt was not immediately successful because the Chief Clerk at Carlisle wrote Ford recommending that they hire him. In ensuing correspondence, Superintendent Oscar Lipps gave Thomas a good recommendation. It is not known if he ever got back on at Ford or not, but it seems unlikely because he registered for the WWI draft at Cherry Creek, South Dakota.

Tribal rolls indicate that Thomas Hawkeagle was born in 1894. However, his WWI draft registration has his date of birth as April 14, 1893. Birthdates are often fuzzy for people born in that time period.

The 1920 Federal Census lists him as a single head-of-household living with Margaret Wolf (55), his widowed aunt, and her daughter, Nellie Wolf (16), his cousin. The 1920 tribal census lists him as married to Nellie. In 1921 they are also listed as married with son Claude born on August 4, 1920. The 1937 roll, the last one available to me, lists Thomas and Nellie as having four children: Claude, Ben H., Sylvester and Irene Matilda. Beginning with the 1927 roll, his family name was shifted to Eagle Hawk.

And this is all I know about the man who was once called Pretty Boy.

Pretty Boy – part 4

October 8, 2009

On April 30, 1915, Thomas Hawkeagle’s request to be allowed to drop his academic work and spend all day learning and working at his trade was turned down. The reason given was that, with only two weeks of school remaining, it wouldn’t be to his advantage to miss the final examinations and likely not be promoted. On that same day, he filled out paperwork to determine his eligibility for Federal aid. Given that he was an orphan with no income, he was probably deemed eligible. He owned 320 acres of land and would inherit land from his mother, but that didn’t provide immediate income.

He may have wanted to be released from academic work early to allow him to leave for Detroit two weeks earlier than he would if he completed the school year. He may have thought the opportunity with Ford Motor Company would disappear if he didn’t take advantage of it immediately. It didn’t.

Thomas Hawkeagle and several other boys from Carlisle Indian School spent most of the spring and summer learning how to make Model Ts. After successfully completing their apprenticeship, they would be eligible to earn wages twice what other employers paid. From all accounts, he performed well and enjoyed working at the Highland Park Plant. At the start of the school year, he and the other football boys returned to school.

Hawkeagle was finally a starter on the football team, but changes made in the wake of the 1914 Congressional Inquiry deemphasized athletics and band, dooming the team to no longer be competitive at their previous level. The team’s dismal 1-3-1 record may have had something to do with his mid-season departure, but the stated reason was to return home to his ranch to “care for the stock that has recently been issued to him.” But that wasn’t the last Carlisle would hear of Thomas Hawkeagle.

Next time – Part five of Pretty Boy’s tale.

Pretty Boy – part 3

October 5, 2009

A May 4, 1915 letter from Superintendent Campbell of the Cheyenne River Agency to Oscar Lipps, Superintendent of Carlisle Indian School, stated, “…you are advised that Pretty Boy and Thomas Hawk Eagle represent one and the same person.” Carlisle officials continued to call him Thomas Hawkeagle as they had always done.

Sports reporters followed suit. Thomas Hawkeagle made the varsity squad in 1914. He didn’t start the first game of the season against Albright College, but got some playing time at right guard in place of Captain Elmer Busch. That pattern continued pretty much through the season. On December 6, in a game played in Atlanta against Auburn, he apparently became part of a football legend. The Auburn website cites a possible origin of the War Eagle cheer:

The 1914 contest with the Carlisle Indians provides another story. The toughest player on the Indians’ team was a tackle named Bald Eagle. Trying to tire the big man, Auburn began to run play after play at his position. Without even huddling, the Auburn quarterback would yell “Bald Eagle,” letting the rest of the team know that the play would be run at the imposing defensive man. Spectators, however, thought the quarterback was saying “War Eagle,” and in unison, they began to chant the resounding cry.

The problem with this explanation is that Carlisle had no player named Baldeagle or War Eagle. However, as we know, Hawkeagle was on the team. The Washington Post coverage of the game reported that Hawkeagle substituted for Hill at left guard in this game. Hawkeagle could have been misunderstood as War Eagle. Thomas Hawkeagle may live today if this attribution of the legend is true.

Next time – Part four of Pretty Boy’s tale.

Pretty Boy – part 2

October 1, 2009

Breaking in on the Carlisle Varsity football team was always tough and especially so from 1911 through 1913 because those were particularly strong teams. Pretty Boy most likely played on the second or third team at first and tried to work his way up. His student file from the National Archives doesn’t indicate which trade he was taking up but, because he owned 320 acres of land, he might have been studying farming. He went on outing in April of 1913 to work on William R. Taylor’s farm near Robbinsville, New Jersey. He remained there until August 30, 1913, which allowed him to return just in time for football season. Mr. Taylor gave him high marks as a worker but a controversy arose while he was out in the country.

 F. A. Campbell, Superintendent of Cheyenne River Agency, sent two checks made out to Pretty Boy to Carlisle and they were forwarded to the New Jersey farm. Pretty Boy refused to endorse these checks so they could be credited to his account, saying that Pretty Boy was his dead brother and his name was Thomas Hawk Eagle. Superintendent Friedman eventually had the checks returned to Cheyenne River Agency, stating “…that we are unable to locate this boy at Carlisle.”

Campbell was not easily discouraged. In April 1915, he send two checks (it’s not clear if they were the same checks as sent earlier of not.) The cover letter accompanying the checks included the statement: “The above Indian [Pretty Boy] is one of your pupils.” Friedman responded, “I have your favor of the 36th, enclosing check for Pretty Boy in the sum of $5.70. I understand this boy is known here as Thomas Hawk Eagle and unless advised to the contrary check will be handed to him.”

Next time – Part three of Pretty Boy’s tale.