John Russeau Gets Hitched Part 5

Much research of John Russeau’s life remains to be done. Fortunately for his family, much of that work can be done near to or in his home area. He told Carlisle Indian School officials he played tackle on the Haywood Indian School football team. It is believed that he also played for that team in a game against Rice Lake when he was home recuperating from football injuries received at Carlisle. Perhaps the Chronotype and Hayward Indian School publications covered those games.

What John did during the period after he left Carlisle and before he joined the Canadian Army is essentially unknown. In the fall of 1913, he wrote his old friends from Superior, Wisconsin to wish them well in the upcoming football season. Some years later, he testified in the Cameron Dam matter that he was in Salt Lake City, Utah part of the year. What he did the rest of the time is anyone’s guess at this point.

At some point, Russeau joined the Canadian Army and served in England. Whether he went to the front is not known. What is known so far is that, in late 1918, he met Lillian Furner in London. She was leaving a theater and he was coming in—at least until he saw her. Lillian later said, “And then he didn’t go in at all!” They were married six months later, on April 3, 1919. About six months later, they embarked for Canada, probably because he was still in the Canadian Army. After landing in Nova Scotia, they made their way to Montreal where they caught a slow train to Reserve, Wisconsin. They left the reservation in the spring to live their lives in Rice Lake from then on. The highlight of her time on the reservation was being guest of honor at a chivari.

To be continued…

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2 Responses to “John Russeau Gets Hitched Part 5”

  1. Clinton Wood Says:

    I am Indian John’s great grandson. My father is James Wood. His mother was Gladys Wood (maiden name:Russeau). I am pleased you did the research you have done. My family is very proud to have such an interesting relative. I can only imagine the trials that native Americans endured in the days of the Carlisle School. Thank you and good luck on all your work.

    • tombenjey Says:

      Thank you for commenting. Your great grandfather left quite a legacy in Rice Lake, Wisconsin where they still talk of him today. My sense is that he flourished at Carlisle but have little evidence to support or disprove that. He received positive notice in the CIIS newspaper and was active in school athletics. Carlisle students had a wide range of experiences at the school. Those that were talented academically, musically or in sports seemed to flourish. Several of them wrote positively of Carlisle years afterwards. Some, like Jim Thorpe, didn’t much like school. In fact, his father sent him all the way to Carlisle because Jim ran away from schools closer to his home. He seemed to like Carlisle when he returned, broke, in 1911. Meeting Iva Miller and having the success he did in football and track in 1911 and 1912 would surely have influenced his opinion of the place.

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