Archive for January, 2013

Thorpe Lost Olympic Medals 100 Years Ago

January 29, 2013

Last Thursday, Carlisle Sentinel reporter Joe Cress called to remind me that the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Jim Thorpe’s professionalism was imminent. Joe was essentially right. In late-January 1913, Roy Johnson of the Worcester Telegram, wrote an article challenging Jim Thorpe’s amateur status, based on a conversation he had with Charles C. A. Clancy, manager of the Winston-Salem baseball team of the Carolina League. According to Johnson’s article, Clancy claimed that he paid Thorpe to pitch and play first base for his team during the 1910 season. On January 19, 1913, charges claiming Thorpe was not an amateur were filed with the AAU. On January 23, an interview of Clancy was published in which he denied that Thorpe played for his team or on any other team in the Carolina Association. On January 25, Pop Warner restated Clancy’s position that Thorpe had not played for his team. That same day, the AP reported that Thorpe was negotiating a contract with the Tecumseh professional hockey team to play for them the next season.

An International News Service article dated January 25, 1913 included a claim by Peter Boyle stating that he played with Jim Thorpe in the Eastern Carolina Association. He also claimed that he was traded to the Rocky Mountain team in 1910 for Thorpe who was then playing for Fayetteville. On January 27, the AAU informed newspapers via telegram that “All doubt as to the truth of the charges has vanished and the members of the American Olympic Committee are prepared to make their apologies to the Swedes for having used Thorpe in the Olympic games.” Shortly after that, Thorpe sent the AAU a letter (probably written by Warner) admitting his “professionalism” and returned his gold medals and other trophies.

Soon after this, Thorpe signed with the New York Giants but that is a story in itself.

A Typo Cause Problems a Century Later

January 13, 2013

Today, I received a question from Jeff Miller asking if I knew anything about the Springfield Canning Company, particularly with regard to Pop Warner, whose life Jeff is researching. I clearly recalled reading about Pop’s relationship with the Springfield Canning Company from the Proceedings of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Carlisle Indian School and assumed that is what prompted Jeff’s question. A quick search on that documented verified that, on page 1337, Pop Warner was identified as having a relationship with Springfield Canning Company. Knowing that Jeff is an experienced researcher led me to conclude that he hadn’t been able to find information about Springfield Canning Company through normal means before he contacted me. I had a hunch I knew why he couldn’t find anything: the company was named something other than what was recorded in the proceedings of that investigation.

It is well known that Warner’s home town was Springville, New York. I live on East Springville Road but my mail is all too often misaddressed to Springfield Road. Because this happens so frequently, I take great pains in making sure clerks get it right because my post office also delivers mail to addresses on a Springfield Road, which is miles from my house. As a result, delivery of mail sent to me can be delayed if not lost completely. So, I did a quick search on Springville Canning and immediately came up with references to it on the site for the Concord, New York Historical Society which is located in Springville, New York.

It seems highly likely Springville Canning Company is the correct name of the firm and the government stenographer just got it wrong as so many clerks do now. I’ll leave to Jeff the task of researching this further.

Crowdfunding at

January 12, 2013

As you may or may not know, I am working on a book about the Craighead Naturalists. Last year, circumstances led me to join a committee to preserve Craighead House for posterity. That effort will require us to raise a considerable amount of money. Because the Craigheads have inspired people all over the country and around the world, there may be numerous people interested in helping who are unaware of the project. In the past, reaching these people would have been impossible. Now, using a concept known as crowdfunding, numerous donors from around the world are making projects possible by each donating a small amount of money. Of the crowdfunding web sites, appears to be the one best suited to supporting Craighead House.

Being a complete novice at crowdfunding, I decided to learn more about it by setting up a pilot project for my upcoming book on the Craigheads. Besides learning about how to set up a campaign, this pilot project should also generate a little bit of publicity for Craighead House.

I’d like to ask for a favor. I set up an campaign this week as a pilot project. So far, it hasn’t attracted viewers. Could you take a look at it and give me your opinion about it? I plan to add additional photos and video weekly. I don’t expect you to donate because you probably already have copies of my books that are being used as perks for donations by the pilot project. An increased view count might get the campaign more visibility on