Archive for June, 2012

1913 Carlisle Indians Were Not Demoralized

June 22, 2012

The current (Summer 2012) issue of National Museum of the American Indian magazine devotes most of its pages on Indian athletes, especially those who competed in the Olympics. Of course, Jim Thorpe figured prominently in several of the articles in that issue of the magazine. One of these pieces, The Jim Thorpe Backlash: the Olympic medals debacle and the demise of Carlisle, even mentions me and, of course, disagrees with me:

Whatever the facts, the investigations eviscerated the athletic program. Its surplus funds, totaling $25,640.08, were turned over to the school superintendent, and Warner left Carlisle. The football team was a shadow, losing the rest of its schedule by lopsided scores. Although the school lingered on until August 1918, when the Army took it back for war uses, the noted Carlisle scholar Tom Benjey dates its true demise to the visit of the Congressional investigating committee. And although students and faculty had many grievances, it can fairly be said that the retraction of Thorpe’s medals was the fatal blow to morale.

I can’t figure out exactly what time period is being discussed. Thorpe lost his medals in the spring of 1913. The Congressional inquiry took place in February 1912. Warner left Carlisle for Pitt in early 1915. And, the Carlisle football team never had a winless season, even in the seasons after Thorpe’s medals were returned. So, I’ll wait to address this statement until I know what time period this was supposed to have happened.

While losing his medals had to be devastating to Jim Thorpe and surely affected the morale of other Carlisle athletes, I question whether it struck “the fatal blow to morale” as suggested in the article. It seems unlikely that the Carlisle Indian School football team would have performed well if player morale was low. A 10-1-1 season for a team that lost its greatest player from the previous year sure doesn’t sound like low morale held it back. The 1913 team’s tie was against Penn, the team they lost to the previous year. The 1912 tie with Washington and Jefferson couldn’t be avenged because the teams didn’t play each other in 1913. 1913’s only loss was due to a fumbled kick return that Pitt converted into the winning touchdown. Major wins included one of Warner’s favorites: a 35-10 upset of Dartmouth. George Orton gave Warner high marks for developing such a good team when he had so many inexperienced players. 1913 was one of Carlisle’s best seasons and was not an example of demoralized players.

The Summer 2012 issue of National Museum of the American Indian magazine can be found at:

Line Ups for 1904 Carlisle-Haskell Game

June 20, 2012

Tex Noel recently sent me a link to a list of numerous books, programs and other football memorabilia that have been digitized and are available on-line. Included in the list was the program for the 1904 Carlisle-Haskell game which was held at the St. Louis World’s Fair, in part, for the entertainment of President Roosevelt who visited the fair but did not attend the game.

Page 3 of the program contains the proposed line ups for the two teams. At first glance, the Haskell line up looked similar to the one Steckbeck included in Fabulous Redmen,but the Carlisle line up was significantly different:

Program            Steckbeck

Jude           LE   Rogers

Bowen        LT   Bowen, Gardner

Dillen         LG   Dillon

Kennedy     C     Shouchuk

White          RG  White

Exendine    RT  Exendine

Flores          RE  Tomahawk

Libby           QB  Libby

Hendricks  RH  B. Pierce, Hendricks

Shelden        LH   Sheldon, Lubo

Lube           FB   H. Pierce

Jude, Kennedy and Flores didn’t get in the game. Coaches Ed Rogers and Bemus Pierce suited up for the game.  Hawley Pierce and long-time player Nikifer Shouchuk also played. The reason given for loading up the line up was that rumors swirled around that Haskell was even recruiting white ringers for the big game. That doesn’t seem to have happened. What did happen was that some of the best players ever to play at Carlisle could be found on both sides of the ball. Some, like Archiquette had previously played for Carlisle but were at Haskell in 1904 (and would return to Carlisle in 1905). Others like Charles Guyon (Wahoo), Pete Hauser and Emil Hauser (Wauseka), would star at Carlisle in the years that followed. The two line ups amounted to a who’s who in Indian football at that time.

Scores for Forfeited Games

June 14, 2012

Tex Noel, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Football Researchers Association, just requested information on the “first season and ‘score’ and season for a forfeit game.”  Not having previously dealt with forfeits, I took Tex’s challenge.  The first place I looked was, of course, in Spalding’s Football Guides.  The 1883 book is the earliest one I have but it says nothing at all about forfeitures.  The next earliest year in my collection is 1888.  That book mentions forfeitures of games beginning on the bottom of page 98: “Either side refusing to play after ordered to by the referee, shall forfeit the game. This shall also apply to refusing to commence the game when ordered to by the referee.”  However, it says nothing about awarding points or creating a score for a forfeited game.  Similar language is present in the 1892 and 1893 Spalding’s Guides.

The 1899 Spalding’s Guide, page 145, lists the Nov 24, 1898 Alabama Polytechnic Institute score as “A.P.I., 18; Univ. of Ga., 0. Forfeited.  Real score 18 to 17.”  On page 155 the November 12, 1898 University Medical College game with Kansas U. was forfeited but no score was given.  Rule 12(a) on page 181 adds an additional reason for forfeiting a game: refusing to play after the referee shortens a game that has started too late to be completed by the time it gets too dark to play.  Another reason added is delaying the game by committing fouls when the opponent has the ball close to your goal line.  Committing a second infraction close to one’s own goal line triggers the forfeiture.

The 1908 Spalding’s Guide is the first one to mention awarding points for a forfeiture.  Page 181 contains the section, Alterations in the Rules for 1908.  The fifth paragraph states: “The score of a forfeited game is made 1-0, in order to distinguish it from any other possible scores.”  In 1908 safeties were awarded 2 points, field goals 4 points, and touchdowns 5 points.  A goal after touchdown was awarded 1 point but could not be earned without having already scored 5 points for a touchdown.  Thus a score of one 1-0 would clearly indicate a forfeited game.

Ironically, page 139 of the 1909 Spalding’s Guide, the issue that includes scores for the 1908 games, lists Cook Academy winning by forfeit over Binghamton H. S. by a score of 2-0.  And the forfeiture rule stayed the same pointwise as it was in the 1908 book!

Carlisle Players in 1901 Spalding’s Guide

June 12, 2012

While preparing the 1901 Spalding’s Guide for printing, I noticed that some future Carlisle players could be found in two photos on page 167. The first photo was of the 1900 Haskell Institute team but was mislabeled as being “Haskell Indian College,” in much the same way as Carlisle Indian Industrial School was often referred to as Carlisle College. Perhaps the whites who elevated these government Indian schools to collegiate status felt embarrassed that the Carlisle and Haskell Indians routinely defeated teams from the elite schools with players who had less education, money or experience playing football.

The first names to register with me were Archiquette and Guyon. I already knew that Chauncey Archiquette, captain of the 1900 Haskell team had played for Carlisle prior to coming to Haskell. He again played for Carlisle after returning from Haskell a few years later. I also knew that Charles Guyon played for Carlisle after enrolling there in 1905. However, as a joke, he went by the name Wahoo.

The list of players’ names under the photo included some other familiar ones but they weren’t Carlisle stars; they were Haskell players who battled against Carlisle in the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair game and later transferred to the eastern school. Steckbeck identified DuBois as another Haskell player who transferred to Carlisle along with several others who were on the 1904 team but not on the 1900 team. However, there were some players on the 1900 Haskell team that were also on the 1904 edition: Oliver, Felix, and Payer (or Payor).

Immediately below the Haskell photo is the Fort Shaw Indian School team photo. The person sitting in the first row, far left is Burd. Sampson Bird, captain of the great 1911 Carlisle team attended the Fort Shaw school before coming east, so this is probably him in the photo. An Indian agent probably spelled the name with a “U” instead of an “I” because the Burd family name was known to many.

Carlisle Indians as Coaches

June 8, 2012

While preparing the 1911 Spalding’s Guide for printing, I noticed that some former Carlisle players could be seen in the numerous 1910 team photos to be found in that volume.  That brought to mind an old newspaper article that I can’t lay my hands on now in which the writer opined as to why there were so few football coaches at a time when Carlisle Indian School players were grabbing headlines.  I don’t recall his reasoning or conclusions but do remember having read the article.

The truth is that several Carlisle Indian School players tried their hands at coaching with varying success.  The names that come quickly to mind are Bemus Pierce, Frank Cayou, Albert Exendine, Caleb Sickles, Lone Star Dietz, James Phillips, Joel Wheelock, Victor “Choc” Kelley, Mike Balenti, and Gus Welch (I keep adding names as they come to me while writing this article).  I’m sure there were others. Given enough time to research this issue, I’m sure that I could come up with more. But I don’t have the time right now because I must get the 1901 Spalding’s Guide ready to print.

The lengths of their careers varied, but Exendine, Welch and Dietz all had long coaching careers.  Of these, Lone Star Dietz had by far the most success and, as an acknowledgement of that success, was honored by the Helms Foundation many years ago. Next month, the College Football Hall of Fame will honor him. It is highly unlikely that any other Carlisle Indian will receive this honor because only a few had long careers and only Dietz, as far as we know, had a Hall of Fame worthy career as a coach.  Also, Exendine and Welch were already inducted as players. My immediate concern is not about the Hall of Fame but with 1910 team photos that include former Carlisle players.

Follows are two of the 1910 team photos.  I’ll leave it to the reader to find the Carlisle Indians in them, but here’s a hint: both wore their Carlisle letter sweaters.  I take that as an indication of how proud they were of having been part of those great teams.

More Proof That Warner Wasn’t First Carlislian To Own A Car

June 5, 2012

While browsing through Two Hundred Years in Cumberland County for something unrelated to Carlisle Indian School, I stumbled across a short article that, although moderately interesting in itself, brought an entirely different article to mind. In 2008, I wrote about an article written by a James C. McGowan that is loaded with falsehoods. Honest errors are one thing but some of these seem to be made up from whole cloth. To make matters worse, this false information has been disseminated from, a paid “educational” web site that flogs subscriptions for schools, districts and individuals, since 2007.

The article that caught my attention today was titled, “Autoists Arrested.” In July, 1906, G. Wilson Swartz, Esq. and Albert E. Caufman were brought before Burgess Brindle for breaking Carlisle Borough’s five-mile-per-hour speed limit. None of the police officers who observed the drivers would testify that Swartz “goes faster than some of the drivers of the big machines….” This is further evidence to show that McGowan’s claims about Warner being the “first man in town to own an automobile” is patently false. One wonders about McGowan’s motives for promulgating such unfounded claims. Accuracy is something about which McGowan and, by extension, have little concern.

McGowan wrote the following in a section of the article that attacked Pop Warner:

As the Redmen beat one top team after another, including Pitt, Navy, Yale, Syracuse, and Rutgers, the Athletic Fund swelled with cash. Pop Warner took to wearing diamond jewelry, and he became the first man in town to own an automobile.

Anyone the least bit familiar with Carlisle Indian School football knows that the Indians never beat Yale. Even those who are familiar would be hard pressed to name a year in which Carlisle beat Rutgers because there is no record of the two teams playing each other. Warner wasn’t living in Carlisle in 1906 and didn’t return to live there until 1907, at which time he had an automobile. Little is known about that car but Warner was known for buying inexpensive old clunkers and tinkering with them until he got them running. Regardless, this piece further demonstrates that other Carlislians had autos well before Pop Warner.