Who Was Eagle Feather?

“Do you have any idea who this Eagle Feather was,” asked Chris Willis, of NFL Films and President of Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA)? “On the 1922 Oorang Indians is a player named Eagle Feather. In my research the name coming up for him is Bemus Pierce. But the only Bemus Peirce I am finding is one who was born in 1873 or 1875. Which would make him roughly 47 or 49 years old when he played in 1922. The photo I have of Eagle Feather in 1922 doesn’t look like him.”

Oorang Indians player Eagle FeatherReceiving questions like this isn’t unusual for me since writing Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs: Jim Thorpe & Pop Warner’s Carlisle Indian School football immortals tackle socialites, bootleggers, students, moguls, prejudice, the government, ghouls, tooth decay and rum because I have probably researched Carlisle Indian School football players’ lives more than anyone has. This is normal and not discouraged because I also ask other authors questions about topics they have researched. Chris is researching the Oorang Indians NFL team that played in the 1922 and 1923 seasons for a future book, one that I’m looking forward to reading.

Something I’ve never seen is a color photo of an Oorang Indians uniform and hope Chris finds one. I’m told they were maroon and orange and looked just like the one Eagle feather is wearing in the photo. If anyone has one or knows where one can be found I’d appreciate being informed. I’d also appreciate learning anything you might know about Eagle Feather (which might not be his name because Walter Lingo made up names for some of the players). Email me with anything you might have, no matter how small unimportant it might seem.

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5 Responses to “Who Was Eagle Feather?”

  1. Steve Jubyna Says:

    I found an obituary in the Dunkirk (NY) Evening Observer of 03/11/50 for Sherman Pierce of Irving, NY, a Seneca who lived on the Cattaraugus Reservation. He was 54, and according to the article, had played football at Carlisle with Jim Thorpe, and then with the Oorang Indians. An article covering his funeral appeared on 03/15/50. From what I could find, he was only at Carlisle for a few months in 1911 into 1912. I have never seen anything else about him, but considering the confusion about the real name of the Pierce who played for Oorang, I’m curious as to whether you have any information. I realize many players have greater careers in their obituaries than they ever had on the field, but in a case where a player has died less than 30 years after he played, there are a lot of people still around who can refute what is printed. Thanks.

    • tombenjey Says:

      I don’t know much about Sherman Pierce other than he was a Seneca from New York who attended Carlisle. If he attended in 1911/12, he would have been a good bit younger than Bemus Pierce, the aging star who played briefly on the Oorang team. Sherman would have had difficulty cracking the varsity in 1911 or 1912 as those were two of Carlisle’s best teams. He could have played on the Second Team or on one of the several shop teams. If he was born in 1896, he would have only been 15 or sixteen at the time and would not likely have been physically mature enough to compete with the great players on those teams. The National Archives in Washington, DC may have his Carlisle Student File. I’m not guaranteeing that it will have anything useful or interesting but it might. My guess is that he might be a much-younger brother or cousin of Bemus and Hawley Pierce, two of Carlisle’s best.

  2. Brian Meehl Says:

    I was just doing some research for a couple of days in Carlisle on the mystery of Eagle Feather’s identity and given the reasons above it’s pretty safe to rule out Sherman Pierce (along with all the other male Pierces who went to Carlisle for various reasons). On January 10-11, 1912 Sherman was cured of “auto-intoxication” in the school’s hospital and then “ran” from the school in late Feb after being there a little more than two months. It never looked like he was there for a football season. I would add that in Dec., 1911 Sherman was recorded as 17 years old, 5’10” and 174 lbs. He would have been about 28 in 1922. I’ve procured a good solo picture of Eagle Feather in 1922 without his helmet on and he resembles a man older than 28. In addition to this, Eagle Feather with the Oorang Indians is listed at 6′, 220, which comes closer to Bemus or Hawley who are listed variously from 6′ to 6′ 1.5″. More later on a possible new clue as to Eagle Feather’s identity.

  3. Cathy Says:

    I have a picture of Sherman Pierce and it sure does look like the man pictured in the football uniform. If I could figure out how to attach it here, I would

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