Archive for August, 2010

Comment Helps Solve Frank Jude-Ed Rogers Problem

August 31, 2010

Almost a year ago, I posted a message that asked if Frank Jude and Ed Rogers were brothers as the Carlisle Indian School newspaper, The Arrow, had stated. Now, I have the answer to that question thanks to Larry Rutenbeck. Larry posted a comment late last week that provides the necessary information. Larry wrote:

Mary Sahgoshkodaywayq Williams Racine had 12 children fathered by 3 different men, William Rogers (3), William Jude (2), and George Snetsinger (7). Ed Rogers was the oldest (born in 1876) and Louise Rogers was the third child (born in 1882). Frank Jude was the 4th child (born in 1885) and was the oldest of the two Jude children.

In addition to answering a very basic question, Larry’s comment causes several others to come to mind:

  1. Was Mary married to these men?
  2. Were her marriages simultaneous or sequential?
  3. Did they end in death or divorce or did they continue during a subsequent marriage?

Louise Rogers’ enrollment card implies that her father was still alive in 1897 when she enrolled because he is listed in her home address field.

That Frank Jude played on the 1904 team that his older half-brother coached may have raised some issues among the players. Was Frank getting opportunities that others were not getting due to this relationship? Was more expected from Frank by the coaching staff for this same reason?

Frank Jude’s abilities as a baseball player are well known due to his having played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1906. Less well known is that he scored the winning touchdown in the Indians’ great victory over Army in 1905. Larry’s assistance will make researching Frank Jude’s life easier. That is a benefit I receive from this blog.

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Hidden Ball Play Was More Complicated that It Appeared

August 26, 2010

I was just reviewing some materials on the hidden ball play that Carlisle ran successfully against Harvard in 1903 and learned that getting the play off correctly was more complicated than it seemed. For starters, the kickoff had to be deep enough to give the players time to assemble around the person who received the kick, James Johnson in this case. The Harvard kicker put his first kick out of bounds and had to rekick. There must not have been much of a penalty for that in those days because he was able to put the second kick on the goal line.

Johnson’s teammates had to line up precisely to make the other team think they were forming a wedge to block for Johnson. Room for Johnson to stand next to Dillon was essential to making the play work. It was (and probably still is) illegal to hand or pass the ball forward on a kickoff. The ball had to go backward or laterally. By standing alongside Dillon, Johnson was able to reach back to place the ball under his jersey, thus keeping the play legal. Doing it this way also screened what was he was doing from the prying eyes of the Harvard defenders.

Another potential hurdle that has to be cleared is the official. An official who is unfamiliar with the play may incorrectly disallow the touchdown and penalize the team for running it. Warner took care to inform the Referee, Mike Thompson of Georgetown, that the play was to be run so that he would pay special attention to the handoff and make sure that it was legal.

By paying attention to all the little details, including selecting a ball carrier with speed, especially for a big man, Warner pulled off a trick that is still being talked about over a century later.

Errata Sheet Necessary

August 23, 2010

While looking for a photograph of William O. “Wild Bill” Hickok, the Yale star who coached Carlisle in 1896, I noticed an error in the Wikipedia file about him. Wikipedia had his record as 6-4 for that year. From prior research, I knew that was incorrect.

In 1896, the Carlisle Indians played the Big Four, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn, on successive Saturdays away from Carlisle, sometimes on the big team’s home field, other times in a big city. The Indians lost all of these games but would have tied Yale were it not for a bad call and they would probably have beaten Harvard if they hadn’t misplayed a punt. Those games account for four of their losses that year. Those losses against six wins would be the record Wikipedia showed. However, they lost another game. The Indians played Brown University on Thanksgiving Day on Manhattan Field in New York City, the site of the Yale game played earlier in the season. Brown won the game 24-12. That loss ran the total up to five for the season out of the ten games played. Going .500 over a brutal schedule like the one the Indians played that year is quite an achievement, so great in fact that Walter Camp wrote that Carlisle should be considered among the first rank of teams after that.

How did Wikipedia come to have that error? The only reference listed on the site was Sally Jenkins’s book, so the error must have come from there. Sure enough, on page 155, Jenkins stated, “The Carlisle players were weary but jubilant; the victory [over Wisconsin] completed their first winning record at 6-4.” As it turns out, Carlisle didn’t have a winning record in 1896, they went .500 as they had done in 1895 when they went 4-4. Why did Jenkins get this wrong? My guess is that she accepted Steckbeck as being accurate. I made that same mistake myself and have to insert errata sheets in books that include that error. This is what happens when one accepts someone else’s research without checking it.

 

Bob Wheeler Will Be Speaking in Carlisle

August 21, 2010

Yes, Robert W. Wheeler, author of the definitive biography of Jim Thorpe, is coming to Carlisle. On Thursday, the Friends of Bosler Library held a press conference to formally announce the inaugural Celebrate the Book festival to be held on Saturday, October 23 at the Expo Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This will afford readers, sports fans and historians a rare opportunity to meet Bob Wheeler and to hear him speak. He will give a talk and take questions about his book. In many ways, I find how he conducted his research to be even more interesting than Thorpe’s life story.

After convincing his thesis advisor to allow him to write an aural history, a new concept at the time, Wheeler, a grad student with little financial backing, hitchhiked around the country to interview people who had been connected with Thorpe during his lifetime. Interviewing Thorpe was impossible as he died two decades before Wheeler set sail on his odyssey.

Almost everyone he interviewed is now dead and many of the artifacts he perused are no longer available to researchers. He interviewed every one he could think of who had a connection to Thorpe and anyone who would talk with him. Occasionally, it was even necessary to deal with unsavory characters, but he did that because it was necessary to be able to tell Big Jim’s story. He met with anyone from the obscure to President Eisenhower. He was so thorough that Dick Schaap referred to him as “Jim Thorpe’s Boswell.”

But Bob didn’t stop when his book was completed and his degree awarded. He and his new bride, Florence Ridlon, opened an office in what had been a closet in a Washington, DC hotel and worked doggedly to get Jim’s Olympic medals restored. Flo will be on hand to discuss her great find that made medal restoration possible.

Also speaking that day is Dr. Richard Sommers, Sr. Historian at the Military History Institute. In addition to housing military archives, the MHI also holds Carlisle Indian School records due to its having been located on Carlisle Barracks. Visiting the MHI and meeting Dr. Sommers are musts for anyone researching the Carlisle Indian School.

Y’all come and see us on October 23. More information can be found at www.CelebratetheBook.org.

American Indian on Antarctic Expedition

August 17, 2010

Yesterday, I received a letter from Laura Kissel, Polar Curator at The Ohio State University Archives. She found a letter dated September 1, 1932 from William Winneshiek to Richard Byrd in which Winneshiek requests to be considered for inclusion in Byrd’s Second Antarctic Expedition. That was a year and four days before the newspaper articles were published that said he had been selected. So, Byrd had ample time to select him for the trip. Although no documentation exists that he had been selected, the newspaper accounts may have been correct. But why was he selected?

Winneshiek points out [accurately], “The Boy Scouts of America and various other nations have been represented on your previous expeditions. Thus far, I have failed to see the American Indian represented on your expeditions, hence this letter.” He went on to describe his heritage (full-blood Winnebago) and his education (Carlisle Indian School, Lebanon Valley College, Penn State). For his qualifications, he included, “…my vocations as chemist and musician, I am capable of performing the duties of a ‘chef,’ having worked my way through school as an assistant ‘chef.’”

It’s doubtful that Byrd needed musicians or chefs, possibly a chemist, but he most definitely cooks. I say plural because his force was split for significant lengths of time and all would need to have been fed. It seems quite plausible that Byrd would have chosen him as a crew member because it would have made good press and would have created interest due to his being an Indian. He closed with, “…I feel positive that you will give my application your earnest consideration and give the Red-Man an even break.”

Bulldogs and Indians Play Footbrawl

August 13, 2010

Large newspapers of the day recorded the October 15, 1922 game simply as Canton 14 – Oorang 0 but that doesn’t begin to tell the story. In the early days of the NFL, the Canton Bulldogs were a powerhouse team that featured Jim Thorpe and his Carlisle Indian School teammates, Joe Guyon and Pete Calac, in the backfield. But in 1922, Jim Thorpe and Walter Lingo formed the Oorang Indians franchise to, at least in theory, compete with Canton for championships. Oorang’s results were anything but competitive as Father Time’s inexorable crush was their greatest opponent. However, they more than rose to occasion when they battled the eventual league champions. And battle they did.

Few details of the game were covered by the national media but a Massillon, Ohio newspaper and the hometown paper of one of the players provided some unexpected coverage of the hard-fought battle. After a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs scored their two touchdowns in the third quarter. The Evening Independent told the story, “During that part of the contest the game almost developed into a free-for-all when the Indians gave battle to several Canton linemen who used their fists on an opponent, guilty of kneeing one of the Canton halfbacks. Throughout the game, Thorpe’s charges played in a most determined fashion, and bloody faces were not uncommon.”

A skeptic might conclude that this was slanted by a reporter from the Bulldogs’ rivals’ lair but The Lebanon Daily News provided some verification when it wrote, “William Winneshiek…was the recipient Sunday of an extraordinary compliment from the football players of the Canton Bulldog professional team. Winnie played center against them for the Oorang Indians and as an expression of appreciation of his wonderful playing and good sportsmanship, he was presented with the football used in the game and also a gold watch. The game developed into a slugging match, but evidently the Lebanon Indian played the game and kept out of the fights.”

 

Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals Finally Off to printer

August 11, 2010

The files for Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals were just uploaded to the printer. Meeting the September 1 release date will be touch and go, but I think we will make it. The project was moving along smoothly until William Winneshiek threw a monkey wrench into things. First, he compiled a large photo album of Carlisle Indian School people that his granddaughter recently donated to the Cumberland County Historical Society. Some of these photos were added to the book and not all went into the chapter about him. For example, one was a photo of Joel Wheelock in his Oneida regalia that he wore when leading his band. While trying to correlate a photo with other information, I came across a newspaper article that claimed he was part of Byrd’s Second Antarctic Expedition. That took time to run down. But, at last, the book is on its way to being printed.

Something that didn’t find its way into the book was Winneshiek’s commission as 1st Lieutenant in the Carlisle Indian School Corps of Cadets. This commission, which is in the form of a diploma, is quite impressive. Some small details are important. Note that Oscar Lipps signed in the space indicated for the superintendent’s signature. The date of this commission, January 3, 1913, was a full year before the Joint Congressional Inquiry took place and Lipps was not at Carlisle at the time. Then, he was a bureaucrat located elsewhere, in the northwest most likely. His title was Supervisor U. S. Indian Service. A year later, he came to Carlisle as Acting Superintendent.

When the U. S. entered WWI, Carlisle students flocked to the recruiting stations. Several were commissioned as officers on large part due to their training at Carlisle Indian School. Others were quickly promoted to noncoms. The text of this commission sheds a little more light on the cadet program than we previously had.

The Carlisle Indian School March

August 5, 2010

Some time ago, I found the sheet music for “Carlisle Indian School March” at the Library of Congress and ordered a copy. What arrived was a piano score with no arrangement for band instruments. Not being able to play the piano or find someone willing to take the time to learn the tune, I was out of luck. I feared that I would never hear it played. But last week I discovered something that could make it possible to hear it. MuseScore is free software that allows you to key in music scores, print sheet music for them and, most important to me, play it back.

The software downloaded easily onto my computer, but not after having a scare. Because my machine was running short of disk space, I attempted to download it onto my wife’s laptop which has ample space available. Very early into the process, her computer uttered a brief whimper and emitted some smoke. That was followed by the all-too-familiar smell of burnt electronics. People on the MuseScore support forum assured me that it was a coincidence. Logically, I knew that but my wife’s computer had just died while I was using it. So, I intrepidly ventured forward and installed the software from www.MuseScore.org without a hitch.

Entering all the notes, etc. wasn’t easy, especially given that I don’t play the piano and my music education ended with playing the bass clarinet in the jr. high band very early in the Kennedy administration. But it was completed over the weekend. It can be heard at Carlisle Indian School March.

Now, the challenge is to get it arranged for the various instruments in a marching band. Since I know nothing about arranging music, I must rely on the kindness of others. A Dickinson College professor has expressed interest in the project. It would be great to hear this historic music played by a real band.

Carlisle’s Attempt to Land Jim Thorpe’s Remains

August 2, 2010

John Luciew (pronounced Lucy), a reporter for Harrisburg’s Patriot-News, contacted me last week about the court case in which Jack Thorpe is trying to have his father’s remains brought to Oklahoma in perpetuity. Luciew was most interested in what I knew about Carlisle’s attempts, if any, to have Thorpe’s remains placed here back in 1953. I hadn’t looked into that before, so I had to do a little research. Freddy Wardecker, proprietor of Wardecker’s Menswear (formerly Blumenthal’s), gave me some information to go on and I was off to the races.

Jim Thorpe renewed acquaintances in 1951 when he was in Carlisle for the premier of his biopic, Jim Thorpe– All American. When he died just two years later, Carlislians wanted to honor him by locating his memorial here. A committee was formed, headed by attorney John B. Fowler (now deceased). The committee negotiated a location for the grave and monument near Indian Field at Carlisle Barracks where the young athlete made a name for himself when that facility was Carlisle Indian School. When Mauch Chunk entered the picture, Carlisle demurred, not wanting to get in a bidding war. In 1982, Sports Illustrated quoted Fowler as saying, “Pat wanted too much money. We felt like we were getting in a bidding war. We tried even after he died, but her price was too high.” Whether the Mauch Chunk group outbid others isn’t clear. What is clear is that they were actually able to raise the money and built the monument that stands there today.

Carlisle eventually placed a historic marker on the square next to the old courthouse. Some people think he is buried there but his remains are in the borough currently known as Jim Thorpe. Here is a link to the article Luciew wrote: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/08/town_of_jim_thorpe_is_ready_to.html

Photo by William Fischer, Jr.