Archive for the ‘Carlisle Indian School’ Category

Another Eagle Feather

March 24, 2016

Newspaper accounts of a November 2, 1903 incident that occurred at Little Lightning Creek in northeastern Wyoming between Sheriff W. H. Miller’s posse and a party of Indians claimed that Sioux, Crows and Arapahos traveling back and forth between reservations in Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota had been slaughtering thousands of antelope and deer each year along with some cattle and sheep. The authorities mounted a determined effort to stop this poaching that particular year.  “Several weeks ago a large party of Sioux Indians under Eagle Feather, otherwise known as Charlie Smith, the full-blooded Sioux and a graduate from the Carlisle Indian School, appeared in the game country south of New Castle.

The party consisted of twelve wagons with twelve horses and an unstated number of men, women and children.  “Eagle Feather and Black Kettle, the latter one of the most notorious warriors of the Sioux tribe, resisted arrest and a battle began. Sheriff Miller was shot through the left thigh and died within half an hour. Black Kettle was killed at the first fire and Eagle Feather fell with bullets through both legs. Six Indians in all were killed and ten wounded, and all laid on the battlefield all night.” Eagle Feather was described as a “Bad Indian,” having sent word to Sheriff Miller that he wouldn’t be taken alive. “The Carlisle graduate is well educated and he is said to have good knowledge of law and the rights of Indians. He was an old offender, having been under the ban of authorities for several years.”

The December 11, 1903 edition of The Red Man and Indian Helper, a Carlisle Indian School publication, included “A Carlisle Ex-student’s Account of the Wyoming Pale-Face Uprising.” Clarence Three Stars wrote from the Pine Ridge Agency, telling a very different story: “The following are former pupils of Carlisle who were in trouble—Charles Red Hawk (Smith) and wife, William Brown and wife, all of whom were of good reputation and were doing well under the circumstances they were in.”  Brown and Red Hawk were on a pleasure trip in Wyoming, according to Brown, who shared the details of the incident with Three Stars.  I’ll leave reading the details of this atrocity to the reader and continue to search for someone actually called Eagle Feather and alive in 1922.

 

 

 

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Finding Eagle Feather (part one)

March 21, 2016

I initially thought this post would have been completed weeks ago due to little or no information being available regarding Eagle Feather. I was wrong. There is lots of information available, almost all irrelevant, that require much time to sort through. To make the task more manageable, I ignored everything about people named Eagle Feather far too old or long dead. But I did include anyone remotely possible of being the Eagle Feather in question.

Eagle Feather SeminoleThe first reference I investigated was of a 1901 Seminole love pentagon gone terribly wrong. Seventeen-year-old Mocking-Bird, daughter of the chief, was the belle of the tribe and had attracted four ardent suitors, including Eagle feather. The longer she took making her choice, the more hopeful—and jealous—each became. Smiling impartially at each of them, she remained steadfastly indifferent. Her suitors’ jealousy and ardor festered day by day as the day of the sun dance approached, thinking she would pick a husband during the festival.

When Eagle Feather danced with Mocking-Bird, they sped round and round until they needed to rest. Breathless, they passed out of the throng. The other three suitors saw her drop her eyes to Eagle Feather’s amorous glance, signaling surrender. Enraged with their loss, blows were struck and blades were drawn. Soon Eagle Feather and a rival fought were fighting with hunting knives. Two dark figures closed in, shielding the fighters from the dancers circling around them. Mocking-Bird pulled away, fell to her knees and prayed for the life of her young lover. The fight ended with two men dead, the other two dying. Gasping for breath, Eagle Feather was laid in Mocking-Bird’s arms. Dumb and dry-eyed, she watched his life drift away. She held him silently as if doing that would keep him from leaving her.  That night, she slipped out of camp and walked to the low bank of the sluggish river that lapped the fringe of the forest. Under the light of the quarter moon, she quietly dropped into the water.

Next time we’ll investigate a newspaper report on another Eagle Feather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Was Eagle Feather?

February 16, 2016

“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.

Jim Thorpe Comes to Berks County

February 11, 2016

Thorpe DietzTex Noël, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Football Researchers Association, informed me of a recent article on Jim Thorpe’s January 1941 visit to Berks County, Pennsylvania. Accompanying the article was a photo of Jim Thorpe with Lone Star Dietz and Jimmy McGovern, then coach at Kutztown State Teacher’s College. Also present, but not in the photo, was Carlisle Indian School alumnus and Reading High School Orchestra Conductor and Music Director Fred Cardin. In his spare time, he led the Ringgold Band, composed music, directed the Reading Civic Opera Company. With Dietz coaching athletics at Albright College and Cardin leading most of the musical groups in town, Reading had quite an exposure to Carlisle Indian School alums.

 

It was probably on this trip east the fall of 1940 and winter of 1941 that the photo of Thorpe and Dietz with the then Albright College quarterback (mistakenly identified in Albright’s yearbook and my biography of Dietz as Moose Disend) was taken. Thorpe gave a series of talks to enthusiastic audiences on that speaking tour as described in the Reading Eagle’s reporter Ron Devlin’s article. Devlin’s article can be found here: http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/history-book-when-jim-thorpe-visited-berks-county.

Ron Devlin repeated a commonly made misconception that the 1912 Jim Thorpe-led Carlisle Indians won the hypothetical National College Football Championship. The Indians never won a national football championship or had an undefeated season. 1912 was one of four-one-loss seasons the Indians had. Their 34-26 loss to Penn and scoreless tie with a good Washington & Jefferson team were the only blemishes on their record that year. 1912 was the middle year of a three-year string of one-loss teams. 1911 stands out because Carlisle beat two of The Big Four (Harvard and Penn) offset by a one-point loss to an inferior Syracuse team. 1913’s only blemishes were a 12-6 loss to Pitt and a 7-7 tie with Penn. Pretty darn good for a Carlisle team without Jim Thorpe. However, that was the year Joe Guyon and Pete Calac were shifted to the backfield. But that’s another story.

 

Renewed Interest in Carlisle Indian School

December 27, 2015

While I wait on galleys for my Craighead book, I have received requests for interviews about Carlisle Indian School football players. The first was with the local paper to talk about the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rose Bowl. The second is for a videotaped interview about the Carlisle Indian School football program for an upcoming documentary by Ernie Zahn, a Current Fellow with Filmmakers Without Borders. In the meantime, Washington State Magazine, the Washington State University alumni magazine published a short article they requested I write about the 1916 Rose Bowl. How, you might ask, is the 1916 Rose Bowl a Carlisle Indian School topic?

Lone Star Dietz played right tackle for Pop Warner’s legendary 1909-11 teams and became his protégé when he assisted the “Old Fox” coach the Carlisle teams from 1912 to 1914. After Warner took the head coaching job at Pitt, he recommended Dietz to head up the floundering Washington State program. Dietz brought Warner’s single- and double-wing formations to the Palouse and ran roughshod over the competition with them. A photo of the 1915 Washington State College team lined up in an unbalanced-right single-wing formation heads the Washington State Magazine article.

The Carlisle Sentinel interview resulted in an article in the December 26 edition titled “Rose Bowl: Lone Star Dietz coached first game in Rose Bowl Series.” Accompanying the article are two photos of Dietz: one in civilian clothes holding a cigar, the other in a Carlisle football uniform.

How much of the hour-long interview by the Filmmakers Without Borders fellow won’t be known for some time but the entire documentary Zahn intends to produce will be short. Because it is funded, he won’t be entering it in festivals or contests. Instead, he will be putting it up on YouTube.com when post-production work is complete.

 

Carlisle Indians Affected Receiver Out-of-Bounds Rules

December 5, 2015

One Saturday last month, I saw two plays that harken back to a play the Carlisle Indians ran. While sitting in the bleachers in The Big House in Ann Arbor watching the Michigan-Rutgers game, I missed seeing exactly what the players on the field did at the time it happened but did see the Michigan fans’ reaction to receiving an unsportsmanship conduct penalty for “attempting to deceive.” Tight end Jake Butts followed a group of players being substituted out of the game to the sideline but didn’t go off the field. Instead, he lined up on the line of scrimmage near the sideline. After the ball was snapped, the Michigan quarterback saw that Butts wasn’t covered by a defender and hit him with a pass for a 56-yard gain. The defense had been fooled but the officials weren’t. Coach Harbaugh protested the 15-yard penalty as only he can do but the officials were unmoved.

Later that day, Nebraska beat Michigan State on a pass completed to a receiver who had been out of bounds before returning to the field to make the catch. The officials ruled that the Michigan State defender had pushed the Nebraska receiver out of bounds and, under the rules, he was allowed to return to the field and catch a pass.

Both of these plays relate to the 1907 Carlisle-Chicago game played in Chicago against what Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg thought was one of his best teams. That year, Carlisle had a great pair of ends in Albert Exendine and William Gardner (both of whom became lawyers but that isn’t part of this story). Stagg’s defensive scheme involved hitting each end with three defenders, one at a time in succession, every time they went out for a pass. Before on play, Exendine told fullback Pete Hauser (who had passing responsibilities that day due to Frank Mount Pleasant being injured in the Minnesota game the previous week) to hold the ball as long as he dared then heave it as far as he could. Exendine let a defender push him off the field, then scooted behind the Chicago bench and streaked along the sideline until he was deep in Chicago territory. He dashed back onto the field and waved his arms wildly to get Hauser’s attention. Hauser arched the ball high downfield to the wide open Exendine for a touchdown.

A few years later when William Gardner was coaching duPont Manual High School in Louisville, he had one of his ends nonchalantly wander over to a group of sportswriters standing along the sideline. When the ball was snapped, the end headed downfield and the tailback hit him with a pass. Gardner’s only miscalculation was that he picked too slow a runner for this trick play. The play was only partially successful because his end was tackled before he could score a touchdown.

These plays are just two examples of how Carlisle Indians have affected football rulesmaking.

Pop Warner Not at 1905 Washburn-Fairmont Game

May 30, 2015

Some months back Harry Carson Frye brought the 1905 game between Washburn College and Fairmont College (today’s Wichita State University) which was played under the rules to be instituted for the 1906 season. Some claim that the game played on Christmas Day was the first one in which a legal forward pass was thrown. I’ll let others argue whether it was an exhibition game or not. What interested me most was that Mr. Frye had the impression that Pop Warner was present for the game.

Warner has been accused of trolling the reservations for material for Carlisle and for finding Lone Star Dietz playing semipro football out there somewhere. It seems unlikely that Warner would have been scouting for Carlisle in 1905 because he was in the middle of his second run as head coach at Cornell at that time. However, he was available to travel to the game for purposes of his own because Cornell’s season ended on November 30 that year. Interested in learning more about the game, I contacted Wichita State’s archives and requested copies of newspaper articles they hold about the game.

By the time the copies arrived, I had forgotten exactly what prompted me to request them. Yesterday, I realized it was Harry Frye’s question. I scanned newspaper coverage for the names of coaches who were present for the game but found no mention of Warner. Dr. John H. Outland coached Washburn refereed the game, Willis Sherman “Billy” Bates coached Fairmont and umpired the game, T. H. Morrison, a former Fairmont coach, was head linesman, Dr. J. C. McCracken of Penn reported on the game to Penn, D. C. Hetherington of Missouri observed, and it was assumed that coaches in the region would attend. If Lone Star Dietz was in Wichita at the time (he may have been working at an engraving company in Kansas City at the time), he would surely have been at the game. However, I found no evidence that Pop Warner was there.

 

Haskell Football Slashed Again

May 24, 2015
Haskell Fightin' Indians

Haskell Fightin’ Indians

Football statistician Tex Noel informs me that Haskell has canceled football for the upcoming season due to finances and provided this link for more detail:  http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2015/may/21/haskell-suspends-football-program-2015-season/

Financial problems are nothing new for the Haskell Indian Nations University’s Fighting Indians. In the Great Depression, when the school was called Haskell Institute, the federal government slashed their funding in half at a time when their program was flourishing. After Carlisle was closed by the government in 1918, the mantle of Indian athletic excellence was passed to Haskell Institute. For the decade starting with the end of WWI, Haskell had no losing seasons, peaking with a 12-0-1 season in 1926. That team’s only blemish was a 21-21 tie with Boston College in a game played in Boston. Wins included victories over Bucknell, Dayton, Loyola, Michigan State, Xavier, and Tulsa in games played largely on the road as had Carlisle.

Haskell’s success led to its coach, Lone Star Dietz’s protégé from Washington State Richard Hanley, leaving for a better job at Northwestern, where he also did well before changing to a more lucrative position in the insurance industry. Barely breaking .500 for the 1927 and ’28 seasons led to the school recruiting a new coach. A decade after his sensational trial, Lone Star Dietz was hired as the new head coach—with recommendations from Pop Warner and Knute Rockne. The Lawrence Daily Journal-World reported, “And when Lone Star assumes his duties tomorrow he will reward the efforts of athletic officials and administrative heads at Haskell who for several years have tried to secure a widely known coach with Indian blood.” He was dubbed “Miracle Man” after leading the 1929 team to a 9-2 season.

But his and their success was not to last. The coaching budget for 1933 was slashed in half by government fiat. Haskell’s storied football trail of glory ended with Dietz’s departure to coach the Boston NFL team, setting up another story still in the news today.

Did Carlisle Play Albright College in 1907?

April 5, 2015

I awoke this morning to find a question from Johnny Dunn in my email inbox:

I was just wondering if Carlisle played Albright in 1907. In Kate Buford’s Native American Son, Kate wrote “During the early, lopsided victories over Albright, Lebanon Valley, Villanova, and Susquehanna”. In other books I read like Fabulous Redmen, they did not mention a game vs Albright. I did a little research and it looks like they may have scheduled the game, but it may have never actually happened.

A few minutes research uncovered the schedule for 1907 published in the September 20, 1907 edition of Carlisle’s weekly school newspaper, The Arrow:

September 21 1907 schedule

The next week’s edition, the September 27 issue, included, without explanation, a revised schedule:

September 27 1907 schedule

Carlisle played, and defeated Lebanon Valley College on the Saturday originally scheduled for the Albright College game. The end of the article covering the team’s shellacking of LVC 40-0 (the article about the game contained a slightly different score than in the schedule) in a heavy rain ended with the following statement:

September 27 1907 schedule is open

No explanation of why the game with Albright wasn’t played and why the LVC game was advanced from the 25th to the 21st wasn’t mentioned. However, a piece in the September 18, 1908 edition of The Carlisle Arrow suggests a possible reason for the cancellation of the 1907 Albright College game:

September 18 1908 Albright cancelled

Perhaps, Albright was unable to field a team in 1907 as in 1908. The reason the 1908 game with Conway Hall was listed as a practice game is because Conway Hall was the Dickinson College prep school. Games with Conway Hall were generally played by Carlisle’s second team, not the varsity.

I can’t explain Kate Buford’s error. Perhaps, she didn’t read Carlisle’s school newspaper articles for each week of the football season, only read the pre-season edition, or, as Lars Anderson did, had someone else conduct her research.

Chickasaws at Carlisle

February 28, 2015

A friend recently asked me if I knew of any Chickasaws who played sports at Carlisle. Sadly, I can’t find any even though some Chickasaws may have played football, run track, hit a baseball, bounced a basketball, or chased a lacrosse ball on an Indian School team. The two major problems in finding someone are that no records tracked athletic participants by tribe and relatively few Chickasaws came to Carlisle because they had their own schools. Some accounts in school and newspaper publications list tribe affiliations for players but are sporadic at best. I would appreciate knowing of any Chickasaws who participated in Carlisle sports programs.