Where was Paul Laroque in 1907?

The grandson of Paul LaRoque and the great grandson of Frank Jude both contacted me recently. LaRoque and Jude were both from Minnesota and played on the Carlisle football team together part of the time they were there. Something I learned about Frank Jude was that his family name was not pronounced as most assumed; it rhymes with today. And researching Paul LaRoque is made more difficult because his name was often spelled LaRocque. However, LaRoque is how he spelled it when he signed the Carlisle application in 1906. Today, we’ll address what he did while he was supposedly back home in 1907 healing his eye injury.

My first challenge was to determine if he had an injury or a disease (many Carlisle students had Trachoma, particularly those who came from the west). Paul’s discharge date for his 1904 enrollment was December 4, 1906. The discharge was “Bad Eyes.” That description implies a disease but Carlisle had long had an arrangement with an ophthalmologist who would likely have treated him if he had Trachoma. That his family believes he was home recuperating from an eye injury suggests that he may have been injured playing football at Carlisle. Laroque received praise in newspaper accounts for opening holes for Frank Mt. Pleasant in the November 17 game against Minnesota. Whether Paul played in Carlisle’s next game against Vanderbilt on November 22 is open to question since newspaper accounts are inconsistent. The most detailed coverage for the season-ending Thanksgiving Day game with the University of Virginia on November 29 lists him as playing his regular position of right guard. However, newspaper accounts of the day often included line-ups given to them a day or more before the game that didn’t reflect who actually played. Without names or numbers on their jerseys, reporters unfamiliar with the players didn’t know who was actually on the field unless they asked—and they often didn’t.

One report that summarized the season for Carlisle stated that the Indians had had no bad injuries during the season. That statement was most probably a matter of opinion and perspective that should be taken with a lot of salt. So, whether Paul Laroque had a football injury or an eye disease is still unclear.

<end of part I>

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One Response to “Where was Paul Laroque in 1907?”

  1. G. David Thayer Says:

    You are correct: Ancestry.com transcribes census records by hand. At least, the early hand-written ones and probably later ones as well. They enlist a bevy of volunteer transcribers to help with this. I have been contacted by them for just this purpose. (I declined because I’m too busy with other projects–continually.) G David Thayer, Rapidsoft Press, Sarasota, FL

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