Archive for the ‘Carlisle Indian School’ Category

How Did Richard Henry Pratt Become a Brigadier General?

May 18, 2021

I had never understood why Richard Henry Pratt was promoted to Brigadier General after he retired. It didn’t make sense to me, but I had never given it enough thought to consider researching it. Now, the answer comes to me when I’m not looking for it. While trying to hammer down the precise date of Pratt’s removal from his position as Carlisle superintendent, I came across a June 12, 1904 New York Times article that discussed the matter. In addition to telling the story of why and how Pratt got fired, it explained how his promotion came about.

A year before this article was written, Pratt wrote President Roosevelt requesting that, when he reached the retirement age of 65 two years later, he be retired as a Brigadier General. Apparently not amused by the request, the President issued an order retiring him at his then current rank of colonel, not Brigadier General.

In a stroke of luck, Congress bailed Pratt out. They passed a bill providing that all officers who served in the Civil War be promoted one grade above the one they were holding when they retired. This is how Pratt became a Brigadier General.

Leupp Indian Art Studio

May 13, 2021

I learned something new today while researching something different. The May 11, 1907 edition of The Washington Bee, a paper I’d never heard of before, included an article titled “Aid Art by Football: Carlisle Indian Players Build a Museum.” The piece was accompanied by a drawing of the Leupp Indian Art Studio. I already knew that the building was built with proceeds from the football program, but I didn’t know any of the details. Football cash bought the stone, lumber, glass and other materials needed to construct the building. Students from various shops on campus provided the labor. Boys created the millwork in their shop. Carpentry students did much of the construction. Other shops plumbed the building, installed the heating system, and roofed it. Art students painted and decorated the building. George Balenti, Cheyenne of Mike and John, designed the building by using the best ideas submitted by students—George had already graduated—and drew up the plans. The Balentis were a brainy bunch and even held two patents.

Originally intended to be a photo shop, it’s use was shifted to house the Native Art Studio when Winnebago artist Angel DeCora was hired. A section of the building was set aside for the photo shop. Although called a museum—at least by the reporter—displays were generally student projects, some of which were for sale.

The building still stands diagonally across the road from Pop Warner’s house, which was also constructed with football money, near what was the main gate at the time. The roof has been changed but the exterior is the same.

I learned something new today while researching something different. The May 11, 1907 edition of The Washington Bee, a paper I’d never heard of before, included an article titled “Aid Art by Football: Carlisle Indian Players Build a Museum.” The piece was accompanied by a drawing of the Leupp Indian Art Studio. I already knew that the building was built with proceeds from the football program, but I didn’t know any of the details. Football cash bought the stone, lumber, glass and other materials needed to construct the building. Students from various shops on campus provided the labor. Boys created the millwork in their shop. Carpentry students did much of the construction. Other shops plumbed the building, installed the heating system, and roofed it. Art students painted and decorated the building. George Balenti, Cheyenne of Mike and John, designed the building by using the best ideas submitted by students—George had already graduated—and drew up the plans. The Balentis were a brainy bunch and even held two patents.

Originally intended to be a photo shop, it’s use was shifted to house the Native Art Studio when Winnebago artist Angel DeCora was hired. A section of the building was set aside for the photo shop. Although called a museum—at least by the reporter—displays were generally student projects, some of which were for sale.

The building still stands diagonally across the road from Pop Warner’s house, which was also constructed with football money, near what was the main gate at the time. The roof has been changed but the exterior is the same.

Warner Might Have Been A Gopher

April 29, 2021

Things didn’t always have to happen the way they turned out although histories often read as if they were preordained. For one example, it wasn’t a sure thing that Pop Warner would return to coach Carlisle in 1907 and change the course of football forever. The Indian School surely wasn’t able to pay him as much as the large universities could. When Warner’s Stanford team was in Minneapolis in October 1930 to play the Gophers, as guest of honor at the local Rotary Club meeting, he gave a talk. Included in the talk was the story of how he returned to Carlisle for a second stint as the Indians head coach.

After the 1906 season, Pop decided to leave Cornell due to alumni pressure against his style of play. Carlisle wasn’t the only possible opportunity he considered but we know about only one other school he considered, thanks to newspaper coverage of his talk. There were likely more. As a married man not an heir to a fortune, Warner felt pressure to get a job to keep income flowing in to support Tibb and himself.

An inveterate gambler, Pop knew that nothing was certain until a contract was signed, and sometimes not even then. He had received favorable responses from his inquiries to at least two schools: Carlisle and Minnesota. He had  stated his terms, but didn’t have a contract in hand for 1907. So, when an acceptance letter arrived from Carlisle Indian School, he immediately accepted, probably by wire. He had a job offer from one of the schools he wanted and didn’t waste time accepting.

Later that same day, an offer arrived from Minnesota. Their letter had likely been mailed well before the one from Carlisle was posted, but Minnesota was a lot farther from Springville, New York than was Carlisle in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania. Warner must have been satisfied with his choice because he didn’t try to rescind his acceptance and take the Minnesota offer. However, changing his mind was less of an option then than it is now. Having given his word and keeping it was more important then than it is today.

Haskell Visits Carlisle part 2

April 22, 2021

On December 2, when asked about taking the Temple job, Warner was reported as saying, “Every time I go back East, they have me signing a contract with some other school.” Three days later, newspapers reported on his resignation from Stanford. The day after that, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran articles on Temple’s new coach, Warner, who had been hired for $15,000 a year. The $2,500 pay raise may have been less enticing than avoiding Stanford alumni who Warner thought were “after his scalp.”

On December 9, Temple published its football schedule for the upcoming year. The game with Haskell was expected to be a highlight of the early season, especially so because the Indians were led by Warner protégé Lone Star Dietz, a coach who generated headlines wherever he went.  Warner’s last game with Stanford was a 7-0 loss to another protégé, Jock Sutherland of Pitt. Bittersweet as it might have been, that game was not to be. Shortly after Warner’s announcement, Dietz’s future became the subject of speculation. Now in The Great Depression, the government had cut Haskell’s funding and had reduced its status to that of a high school. Dietz surely thought Haskell would no longer be able to field competitive teams and the media assumed he would be making a change. Names of various schools such as Holy Cross and Fordham popped up in print as possible new homes for him. On March 8, 1933, The Boston Globe ran an article headlined: “Lone Star Dietz to Coach Braves: Boston Football Team Signs Carlisle Star.” Dietz would be coaching in the NFL and not against Temple but who would lead Haskell then?

Dietz didn’t resign immediately. Instead, he stayed at Haskell until after spring practice because his NFL contract didn’t call for him to report until May 1. Haskell officials didn’t seem to be in a hurry to replace him. They said that no plans had been made regarding a successor and they wouldn’t select a coach for some time. That time came on August 4 when Henry Roe Cloud was named superintendent of Haskell Institute. The same day, Roe Cloud announced Gus Welch as Haskell’s head football coach and athletic director. It would have been nice to have been flies on Welch’s and Warner’s walls the day they realized they were scheduled to play each other and that it was late to cancel the game.

Welch had been critical of Warner at Carlisle and had submitted a petition that led to a government investigation of the school and reducing athletics’ importance at the school. Although later accused of interfering with Warner’s successor at Carlisle, Victor Kelley, Welch remained on good terms with the administration. Visiting the old school wouldn’t seem problematic for him. A crowd of thousands turned out to watch the Haskell players practice for two hours on Indian Field, where Jim Thorpe, Lone Star Dietz, Gus Welch and numerous others had played decades earlier. It had to be especially important to Haskell end Kendall, nephew of Carlisle great Bemus Pierce. Afterward, the players were then given a tour of Carlisle Barracks before departing for Philadelphia.

The game was anticlimactic. The Old Fox had no trouble defeating his former pupil 31 – 0.

On December 2, when asked about taking the Temple job, Warner was reported as saying, “Every time I go back East, they have me signing a contract with some other school.” Three days later, newspapers reported on his resignation from Stanford. The day after that, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran articles on Temple’s new coach, Warner, who had been hired for $15,000 a year. The $2,500 pay raise may have been less enticing than avoiding Stanford alumni who Warner thought were “after his scalp.”

On December 9, Temple published its football schedule for the upcoming year. The game with Haskell was expected to be a highlight of the early season, especially so because the Indians were led by Warner protégé Lone Star Dietz, a coach who generated headlines wherever he went.  Warner’s last game with Stanford was a 7-0 loss to another protégé, Jock Sutherland of Pitt. Bittersweet as it might have been, that game was not to be. Shortly after Warner’s announcement, Dietz’s future became the subject of speculation. Now in The Great Depression, the government had cut Haskell’s funding and had reduced its status to that of a high school. Dietz surely thought Haskell would no longer be able to field competitive teams and the media assumed he would be making a change. Names of various schools such as Holy Cross and Fordham popped up in print as possible new homes for him. On March 8, 1933, The Boston Globe ran an article headlined: “Lone Star Dietz to Coach Braves: Boston Football Team Signs Carlisle Star.” Dietz would be coaching in the NFL and not against Temple but who would lead Haskell then?

Dietz didn’t resign immediately. Instead, he stayed at Haskell until after spring practice because his NFL contract didn’t call for him to report until May 1. Haskell officials didn’t seem to be in a hurry to replace him. They said that no plans had been made regarding a successor and they wouldn’t select a coach for some time. That time came on August 4 when Henry Roe Cloud was named superintendent of Haskell Institute. The same day, Roe Cloud announced Gus Welch as Haskell’s head football coach and athletic director. It would have been nice to have been flies on Welch’s and Warner’s walls the day they realized they were scheduled to play each other and that it was late to cancel the game.

Welch had been critical of Warner at Carlisle and had submitted a petition that led to a government investigation of the school and reducing athletics’ importance at the school. Although later accused of interfering with Warner’s successor at Carlisle, Victor Kelley, Welch remained on good terms with the administration. Visiting the old school wouldn’t seem problematic for him. A crowd of thousands turned out to watch the Haskell players practice for two hours on Indian Field, where Jim Thorpe, Lone Star Dietz, Gus Welch and numerous others had played decades earlier. It had to be especially important to Haskell end Kendall, nephew of Carlisle great Bemus Pierce. Afterward, the players were then given a tour of Carlisle Barracks before departing for Philadelphia.

The game was anticlimactic. The Old Fox had no trouble defeating his former pupil 31 – 0.

Haskell Visits Carlisle

April 19, 2021

A few days ago a friend who collects Carlisle memorabilia showed me a photo of the 1933 Haskell Institute football team that was said to have been taken at Carlisle Barracks. The team’s coach, Gus Welch, was easily recognizable and, from past research, I knew that 1933 was his first year at Haskell. The background was clearly identifiable as Indian Field. The goalposts, which appeared to have been made of galvanized pipe, were surely replaced over the years and I already knew that the wooden grandstand had been rebuilt using concrete long ago. So, the photo was very likely legitimate. But why was Haskell visiting Carlisle?

A quick search through old newspapers uncovered a few articles about their visit. A photo accompanying one of the pieces is included in this post. They were here sure enough but why? The Harrisburg Evening News reporter answered that question when he wrote “[T]he Haskell Institute football team, which will meet Temple University in a night game tomorrow evening. This game has been an annual meeting for the past five years.” It made perfect sense for Haskell to visit Carlisle on the way to Philadelphia. It’s a wonder Lone Star Dietz didn’t bring one of his Haskell teams to Carlisle when he was coaching them and playing Temple. The reporter had one thing wrong. 1933 was only the third time Haskell played Temple. This time Welch would be taking on his mentor, Pop Warner. Given their relationship, why would either of them agree to play each other?

Not only was 1933 Welch’s first year at Haskell, it was Warner’s first year at Temple. But that doesn’t completely answer the question. On November 29, 1932, U.P. circulated a story that Temple University had offered Pop Warner the job of coaching the Owls. Stanford officials called the rumors that Warner would step down as their head coach “utterly impossible.”

<end of part 1>

Jim Thorpe Speaks

January 3, 2021

Jeff Benjamin just sent me a link to a 1932 movie short in which Jim Thorpe demonstrates the dropkick, punts and speaks. This is a real treat for me because I hadn’t heard him speak before. Old movie buffs will recognize Eugene Pallette from 1930s and 1940s comedies. The director, James Gleason, is also familiar to old movie buffs as a policeman in Arsenic and Old Lace and teamed with Edna May Oliver in the Hildegarde Withers detective stories.

The scoreboard shots may have been taken at Southern Cal’s field because the SC logo is visible. However, this movie was released in 1932 and USC played its home games in the Los Angeles Coliseum at that time.  Unfortunately, imdb.com doesn’t list the shooting locations for this little film.  

Who Is the Mystery Player?

December 7, 2020

Researching the 1900 Carlisle Indian School football team again demonstrated how hard it is to identify people one doesn’t know by their photographs. The photograph in question is the 1900 Carlisle team photo that was published in the 1901 Spalding’s Guide. The person on the far left of the middle row was listed as being Charles Williams (Caddo from Oklahoma). However, he didn’t look like Charles Williams to me. He looked more like Nekifer Shouchuk (Aleut, Alaska) to me.

What do you think? Shouchuk is on the left of James Johnson (Stockbridge, Wisconsin) in the photo below. Charles Williams is to Johnson’s right in this extract from the 1902 team photo.

To determine which player was actually in the 1900 team photo, I perused game line-ups for 1900. Shouchuk wasn’t in any of them where Williams was in them all. Shouchuk’s Student Record indicated that he arrived at Carlisle in 1901. Elsewhere I learned that he couldn’t know English at that time and, in spite of his tremendous strength, it took him awhile to make the team. He needed to know English to understand the signals.

So, the person in this photo must be Charles Williams.

1895 Football Rules Chaos

December 1, 2020

While researching the 1895 Carlisle Indian School season, I stumbled across an advertisement for a game that seemed odd to me.

I was under the impression that Yale’s Walter Camp ruled the Intercollegiate Rules Committee as its Secretary, obstructing changes whenever possible. However, in 1894, he and Alex Moffat of Princeton as President of the Rules Committee, proposed a number of rule changes. The most contentious of which was the abolishment of momentum mass plays. No more than three men could be in motion when the ball is snapped. Critics objected, saying that mass plays be eliminated completely.

If things weren’t already bad enough, the Harvard-Yale game was particularly violent with four starters on each team seriously injured, some badly enough to be admitted to hospitals. Princeton and Penn’s game ended in a brawl, causing the schools to break football relations. Harvard and Yale severed relations. The military academies only played on their grounds after that Cornell’s faculty banned road games.  

The Rules Committee became inactive in 1895, leaving Yale and Princeton, in the form of Camp and Moffat in charge. They succeeded in getting the committee to meet but they achieved no compromise on mass plays. Princeton and Yale wanted to abolish them completely. Penn and Harvard insisted on keeping them. No compromise could be reached. Two, and in some places, more rule groups existed. Cornell joined Harvard and Penn produced a set of rules with no restrictions on mass momentum plays. The Princeton and Yale rules allowed only one man to be in motion when the ball is snapped and no more than three in a group behind the line of scrimmage. In the East, teams had to choose between these two options. Elsewhere, teams could also choose to follow the 1894 rules. Teams, such as Carlisle, that traveled could play games under three different sets of rules.

For the Penn game, mass momentum plays were permitted.

Who Is Hazlet?

November 29, 2020
William Hazlett is #3.

Halfback spots opened up on the 1898 Carlisle Indian School football team. A number of young men vied for these positions, including one newspapers referred to as Hazlet. He made long runs and scored two touchdowns against Bloomsburg Normal. He got another against Susquehanna University. He had another one against Dickinson College. After that, his name disappeared from game write-ups. He wasn’t on the team photo. No one with that name was found in the student files but several named Hazlett were. Newspapers often misspelled players’ names, so his name was probably Hazlett. But which Hazlett? George and Stuart Hazlett, both Piegan, graduated in March 1899. Willie Hazlett was mentioned in an article about a debate in the January 29, 1892 edition of The Indian Helper.

Searches of the Student Files located information on all three Hazletts but nothing in any of the files referred to athletics of any sort.  William Hazlett graduated in 1895. That students sometimes remained after graduation doesn’t eliminate him completely but does make it more likely that he isn’t the one. Since the Student Files save in the National Archives are incomplete, other Hazlett boys may have attended Carlisle. 

Perhaps families or other Piegans know of a Hazlett who played football at Carlisle. I would appreciate hearing about him.

 

Delos Lone Wolf, the model

November 15, 2020

While researching the early Carlisle Indian School football teams, I came across a piece about Delos Lone Wolf, Kiowa name Gooě-pah-gah, that had nothing to do with football. He arrived at Carlisle on July 4, 1892 for a 5-year enrollment. That October, he went out on an unusual outing to Newburgh, New York but not to a farm or ordinary business. He was to be a model for Henry Kirke Bush-Brown, a sculptor known for historically accurate realist sculptures illustrating American history. He is perhaps best known for his bronze equestrian statues of George Meade, John F. Reynolds, and John Sedgwick. The latter statue incorporated fine details such as dents in the General’s scabbard and tiny stitching on the horse blanket. Also at Gettysburg is his bust of Abraham Lincoln commemorating Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

In 1892, Bush-Brown was working on a statue to exhibit at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to be held in Chicago. The subject he had in mind was an Indian bison hunt. To make his statue as realistic as possible, he brought a bison and an Indian pony east to study. How he came to know Lone Wolf is unknown. At 22, Delos was a perfect physical specimen, exactly what Bush-Brown wanted for his scene. He left Carlisle for Newburgh on October 10 and returned on November 24, his work presumably done. A year later, Capt. Pratt rescinded his order against playing interscholastic football, giving Lone Wolf the opportunity to excel at that sport.