Rush Roberts May Have Been White

As I sat down to write today’s blog on an entirely different topic, a comment came in from a relative of Henry Roberts. Henry played football for Carlisle for just one year, in 1911. Prior to coming to Carlisle, he had attended Haskell Institute. The commenter, who wants others related to, or knowledgeable about, Rush Roberts to get in touch with him. In his comment, he mentioned that Henry Roberts wrote a story when in fourth grade that can be found on the web. With a little googling, I found what I think is that article: An annotation by Henry’s brother, George, that was later attached to the story, gives some background information about Rush Roberts that even he may not have known. George wrote that Rush Roberts was not born a Pawnee, that he was a white, perhaps German or of German descent, whose parents had been killed by Sioux. Later, some Skidi happened along to find the orphaned boy. Sitting Eagle and Roaming Princess took him in and raised him as their own.

George opined that the reason Rush’s adopted Skidi mother sent him to the new Pawnee Reservation School was because orphans were often sent there. Hampton Institute records indicate that Rush attended that school for a time as well. This is the first time I have read someone acknowledge that Indian orphans were often sent to government schools. In my research of Carlisle Indian School football players, I have observed that many, probably the majority, had lost at least one parent before coming to the school.

The commenter also mentioned that a photo can be found on the Internet of Rush Roberts with seven other surviving Pawnee scouts. In his opinion, Rush had Caucasian features. Here is a link to a site that has a number of photos including one that may be the one the commenter referred to: I’ll leave to the reader to determine if Rush had Caucasian features.

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10 Responses to “Rush Roberts May Have Been White”

  1. Joseph Rush Roberts Says:

    I’m a direct relative of Rush Roberts, my great grandfather was Henry Roberts. My grandfather was Vandervort James or VJ Roberts and my father is Franklin Roberts. I’m interested to learn more regarding Rush Roberts

    • tombenjey Says:

      Thank you for contacting me, Joseph. This will take me a little time and I have to go to a funeral this morning. Your family, I believe, is like most families in that some first names appear in many generations, sometimes multiples as brothers will sometimes use some of the same first names to their children or name a child after one of their siblings. I hope it isn’t that way for yours. The Henry Roberts that I am familiar with played football on the legendary Carlisle Indian School team. A chapter in “Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals” is devoted to him. I’ll try to find out if this Henry Roberts was your great grandfather.


      • Joseph Rush Roberts Says:

        Henry was married to Rose I’m not sure how many children they had, my mother was the historian of the family but she’s passed away she could tell you more about the Roberts family.

  2. david roberts Says:

    My name is david fathers name was rush rector roberts he said he was named after rush roberts indian chief. My dad passed away in 1973 ,and was buried in magnum oklahoma. I would welcome any family genealogy help you or any one could give. I think my grand fathers name was wilial jerry roberts.thank you in advance for your help ,and reply . David roberts

  3. Rozena Roberts Says:

    Hello! I came across this site looking for some more information in regards to my grandfather Rush Rector Roberts. I’m interested if David and I are speaking on the same person. My mother Colleen Roberts never knew her father. She was told he passed away at war. David, was your father in the military?

  4. Damascus Dawson Says:

    Hello I’m not sure if anyone still checks this website but My name is Damascus And i was trying to gather some more information on Rush and Henry Roberts. My grandfather is Lewis Henry Alexander, his mother is Florence Mae Roberts She was the Daughter of Henry Roberts and Rose Denomie. I Mostly was curious because I was given this family album with old pictures of Rush and Henry Roberts.

    • tombenjey Says:

      Hi Damascus,

      Thanks for writing. “Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals” includes a chapter on Henry Roberts that contains most of what I know about him. Other descendants of Rush Roberts have commented on this blog but not all, I think, in the same place. So, you’ll have to look for them.

  5. sean beardsley Says:

    Hello, I think this my clarify some information. My name is Sean Beardsley, Henry Roberts was my great-great grandfather. His daughter, my grandmother was Edith Roberts Beardsley, and her Son, and my father was Norman Beardsley. I recently took a DNA test and here are the results:
    Africa North 3%
    Asia Central 10%
    Asia East 2%
    Iberian Peninsula 16%
    Great Britain 3%
    Scandinavia 2%
    Europe East 1%
    European Jewish < 1%
    Finland/Northwest Russia < 1%
    Italy/Greece < 1%
    Ireland < 1%
    Native American 52%
    My mother is primarily Spanish. (Iberian Peninsula) I'm not trained professionally to read this information, but there are traces of areas like Great Britain, and Scandinavian DNA. Keep testing, and we will be able to get the information needed to solve these family mysteries. Thank you.

  6. Karen McQuillen Says:

    Hi! I have a water color painting of Chief Roger Redback Rush. I can send photos.

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