Archive for the ‘Frank Hudson’ Category

Warner Teams Scored the Most Points

December 15, 2013

While researching the 1906 Carlisle Indian School team, I came across something that might interest my sports statistician friend Tex Noel in the December 7, 1906 edition of The Arrow, Carlisle’s school newspaper. In addition to summing up Carlisle’s season, the article titled Football Resume closed with a list of points scored and points allowed by team for the top 34 college teams. Carlisle scored 244 points for the season where Cornell scored 237. The only team to outscore them was the University of Western Pennsylvania (known as Pitt today), which racked up 254 points. Pitt not only played an easier schedule that year than did Carlisle and Cornell, they lost to them 22-0 and 23-0, respectively. It is fair to say that Carlisle and Cornell far more points than did the other major football powers that first year under the revolutionary new rules. But why?

Sure, they had good players, but some teams had All Americans. I propose that it was the offensive schemes these teams ran that made the difference. Ironically, both teams ran formations developed by none other than Pop Warner. Warner stated that the Indians were the first team to run the earliest incarnation of his single-wingback formation and they first ran it 1906. But Warner didn’t coach Carlisle in 1906 because he was at Cornell then. However, he spent a week at Carlisle before the season started coaching the Indians’ coaches, Bemus Pierce and Frank Hudson, in his new offensive schemes designed to take advantage of what the new rules allowed, including the forward pass. It’s probably true that both Carlisle and Cornell ran Warner’s single-wing that year. Given that, even though they don’t use it themselves, some modern-day coaches acknowledge that the single-wing was the most effective running formation ever devised. In those days of run mostly, even an early version of the single-wing would have given teams running it an advantage that could show up on the scoreboard.

1906 points scored


1905 Carlisle Indians Were Ranked #10 in Country

August 8, 2011

While preparing Spalding’s Official Football Guide for 1906 for reprinting, I noticed a few things about the Carlisle Indian School football team’s 1905 season. These things caught my eye because it was this very team under Advisory Coach George Woodruff that Sally Jenkins maligned in her 1907 book. Caspar Whitney ranked the Indians as the 10th best team in the country for 1905. He also placed Frank Mt. Pleasant as a substitute at quarterback on his All America team.

George Woodruff placed three Carlisle Indians to his All Eastern Eleven for 1905: Frank Mt. Pleasant at quarterback, Charles Dillon at guard, and Wahoo (Charles Guyon, older brother of Joe Guyon) at end. N. P. Stauffer placed Dillon at guard on his All Eastern Eleven as well.

That an authority of the stature of Caspar Whitney considered Carlisle as the 10th best college football team in the country means something and that something is that the Indians were viewed as having had a very good season. Not their best ever, mind you, but a successful one at that.

These selections, along with George Orton’s observations that were posted in the June 27, 2011 message, show that Jenkins’s assessment of the type of play and success of the 1905 Carlisle Indian football team is at odds with the opinions of the experts of the day who actually saw the teams play.

1905 Carlisle Indian School football team from Spalding’s Official Football Guide for 1906

Frank Hudson in Lingohocken

January 11, 2011

After reflecting on the matter a little, I recalled that Frank Hudson had lived in Bucks County when the two prior censuses were taken in 1920 and 1910. Perusing those censuses revealed that the Buckingham Township farm on which Frank Hudson lived and worked was owned by Charles (S. or L.) Smith and his wife Ruthanne Rockefeller Smith. Charles was French-speaking due to being born in Alsace-Lorraine. However, the 1910 census listed him as being German. Perhaps his origin was modified after WWI. The elderly Smiths apparently died between 1920 and 1930, probably leaving the farm to one or both of their daughters.

Frank Hudson was classified as Indian in 1910 but, from 1920 on, was listed as being white. It appears that he stayed with the Smiths from the time he left Carlisle. His student file indicates that he started working for a C. Smith in Lingohocken, Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1894 and following years. His “Report After Leaving Carlisle” listed him as working as a farm hand in Wycombe, Pennsylvania in 1909. (Wycombe and Lingohocken appear to be unincorporated areas near each other.) S. J. Nori reported that, beginning in 1910, he was farming on shares (sharecropping) in Wycombe. Given that the 1910 census placed him on the Charles Smith farm in 1910 and that Smith was already in his mid-70s at that time, it is logical that Frank was farming on shares instead of just working as a hired hand. That he stayed on for at least another decade as indicated by the 1930 census argues for him having more of a stake in the farm than as a hired hand. Whether he ever obtained an ownership position remains to be seen. That will probably require a trip to Doylestown to unravel.

A Little More Info on Frank Hudson

January 6, 2011

The Spruance Library in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the seat of Bucks County, has a tiny bit of information on Frank Hudson in their files: “Frank Hudson, died Dec. 24, 1950 in Wycombe, PA.; full blooded Pueblo Indian. Leaves no known relatives.” While it’s not a lot of information, it tells us some important things we didn’t know before. We now know the exact date and general location of his death. It supports but does not affirm our belief that he didn’t marry and didn’t have any children. One newspaper article—a couple of sentences at most—used the phrase “on his farm” when announcing his death. For decades after leaving Carlisle, it was reported that he worked on a farm in Bucks County, so his living on a farm at the time of his death wasn’t surprising. Now to research where he was living.

The 1930 census listed Frank Hudson, 50, as living with sisters Clara and Edna Smith, 60 and 45, respectively. These three ages were probably the census taker’s approximations. Clara was listed as a farmer and Frank as a laborer. Edna’s occupation was listed as “none.” Perhaps she was disabled or otherwise unable to work. She may even have functioned as cook and housekeeper because farmer’s wives’ occupations were also categorized as “none” on this page. The operation was listed as “general farm” as were others on the page. The three of them were likely living on a diversified farm, the norm for that day and place. The sisters were probably spinsters as both had marital statuses of S(ingle). Neither was widowed or divorced.

I called the Bucks County Courthouse to determine if they had any other information on Hudson. No will was probated for him after his death. That probably means that he owned no property solely in his name if at all. The Recorder of Deeds Office has a number of properties owned at one time by Frank Hudsons. It will take a trip to Doylestown to see if any of them were our Frank Hudson.

Frank Hudson

January 4, 2011

Yesterday, Frank Hudson’s grand nephew contacted me regarding information concerning the great drop-kicker, particularly the date and place of his death. The latest information I had on Hudson was in the 1930 census that showed his location as being on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the place he relocated to when leaving Carlisle. The information trail had run dry there a few years ago when I was actively researching his life. Knowing that some information sources had become available since that time, I decided to see if any of them had any new (to me) information on him.

Knowing that old census data is released every ten years, I checked to see if the 1940 census is now available. It isn’t but is scheduled for release on April 1, 2012. That means that next year I will be able to fill in some holes of missing data on the people I have researched. It also means that I probably won’t know what Frank Hudson’s were in 1940 until then.

I decided to take a shot at searching old newspapers again because additional newspapers are added to every day. My search found two mention of Hudson’s recent demise—one in January 1951, the other in December 1950. The 1951 mention contained very little information, but the 1950 article placed him on a farm near Wycombe, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. That would have made him somewhere between 70 and 75 years old when he died, a ripe old age for a man of his generation.

Now that I know where he was living when he died, I know where to look for more information on his later life. I expect that Bucks County has a very active historical society. Perhaps they will have an obituary for him. Now for the hard part—waiting for their response.

Indians’ Legs Better Suited for Kicking

December 2, 2010

Pop Warner made many observations regarding his Carlisle Indian players, almost all regarding their behavior, much of which he thought was a result of their culture. But on one occasion he discussed an anatomical difference he had observed. Warner claimed that the lower legs of white boys and Indians were different. It was his observation that one group’s lower legs dropped straight down from the knee whereas the other’s curved outward.* It was this difference that gave the Indian boys an advantage in kicking the football over white boys.

Warner often mentioned how his Indian players would practice some skill endlessly, in some case for years, until they perfected it. An example was Frank Hudson who drop-kicked footballs year round including when there was snow on the ground. He simply moved indoors to the gym during inclement weather. Hudson also practiced with both feet until he became ambidextrous (it’s not clear if ambipedal is a word) and was able to dropkick field goals with either foot. He also became the game’s best dropkicker, arguably of all time. In addition to practicing a skill, Warner noticed that that the Indians watched proficient players’ closely to learn a skill. An example he gave was of Mike Balenti kicking four field goals, two from over 40-yards away, against Navy without having attempted one in a game before. Balenti attributed the success to his having watched Hudson and Frank Mt. Pleasant.

Warner thought that many more Carlisle players were good at kicking than were the white players he coached before and after because of a physiological advantage. He believed that the shape of Indians’ lower legs was better suited to kicking. It would be interesting to know if Warner was seeing things or if what he said is true.

*I misplaced the article in which Warner stated this and would appreciate it greatly if someone could inform me as to where I can find it.

Indians Also Innovated

November 29, 2010

Pop Warner is viewed by most historians as the great football innovator and especially for his work at Carlisle Indian School. However, not all the innovations at Carlisle were Warner’s brainchildren. In 1906, the Indians were coached by former players Frank Hudson and Bemus Pierce who Warner helped prepare for the revolutionary rule changes that were implemented that year. After Warner departed for Cornell to start his season, Hudson and Pierce were pretty much on their own. But that wasn’t much of a problem. The Carlisle Indians were called a lot of things but witless wasn’t one of them.

One of the major rule changes was the legalization of the forward pass. Completing a pass wasn’t the easiest thing to do, particularly when both teams wore similar brown or black leather helmets. Passers needed a way to identify the eligible receivers. So, during the very first season in which the forward pass was legal, the Indians experimented with special helmets to help the passer find his target. The November 21, 1906 edition of The Lake County News described this early attempt at receiver identification. Five players wore snow white helmets and one wore a blazing red one. The article used the term headgear rather than helmet which, given the early state of helmet development, is probably more accurate. Given that the four backs and two ends are eligible to receive passes, the total of six special helmets makes sense. It seems fair to surmise that the red one would be worn by the player who does most of the passing and that the white ones are worn by those who can go out for passes.

In 1933, Michigan State started using a winged helmet for all its players to differentiate their men from the defenders. Less than a decade later, Lone Star Dietz’s Albright College team painted crosses on the tops of the receivers’ helmets but didn’t invent that idea as it had been used before, possibly even at Carlisle.

It Probably Wasn’t the Single-Wing

November 2, 2010

Now that we’ve dealt with some obvious errors in Rich Manning’s article, let’s get to the original issue: formations. The single-wing section in the Carlisle Indian School article in starts this way:

In 1907, ‘Pop’ Warner returned to Carlisle. Together he and the Indians developed a new formation that would revolutionize football. The single wing shifted the halfback out wide, to outflank the opposing tackle. The new offense formed a shape that look like a wing. It opened up options and disguised intentions. The ability to show one thing and do another combined with the new rules made it possible to run, throw or kick at any time. ‘Pop’ Warner unveiled the new formation against the University of Pennsylvania, on Oct. 26, 1907.

I have read that the single-wing was unleashed in several different years due to Pop Warner’s inconsistent memory and writers’ imaginations. After researching this topic a bit, I came to believe that the single-wing did not arrive fully formed as the unbalanced-line, direct snap version depicted as Formation A in Warner’s 1927 book. I have concluded that the formation evolved over time as Warner implied on page 136 of his 1927 classic where he stated that it was first used by the Carlisle Indians and that he had used it or variations of it since the rules change of 1906. That he spent a week in Carlisle before the start of the season preparing coaches Bemus Pierce and Frank Hudson for the rule changes gives credibility for it having been first used by the Indians in 1906 when he wasn’t their coach. Fortunately, some documentation exists.

Warner began marketing a correspondence course on football in 1908 for which I have located and have reprinted the Offense pamphlet along with its annual updates. The 1908 pamphlet includes a number of offensive formations, which is not surprising as Warner was noted for tinkering with them. That newspaper coverage of the 1907 Penn game mentioned that multiple formations were used is not surprising. However, it is far from clear that end-back formation, the earliest documented version of Warner’s single-wing, was the formation being described for many of the plays as it didn’t feature a direct snap to a running back. That would come later. However, the punt formation did allow direct snaps to the backs and Warner had devised a set of running and passing plays from this formation.

He even described Play No. 17 thusly, “This is the long forward pass play used so successfully last season.” Last season would have been 1907, so this is likely the formation from which Frank Mt. Pleasant and Pete Hauser completed all those passes, not an early incarnation of the single-wing.

Play No. 17 from 1908 correspondence course Offense pamphlet

Rare, Pristine Football Program

June 22, 2009

Saturday night, Frank Loney contacted me about a new item he had just acquired. Never before had he been so excited about an acquisition. Yesterday, I went over to look at it. It is simply beautiful. I’ve seen a few old football programs before but none were in the condition of this one for the 1897 Thanksgiving Day game between the University of Cincinnati and the Carlisle Indians. Never before have I seen a 100-year-old program in perfect condition. This one must have been stored out of the sunlight most of its long life. Could it have been a reprint? Frank called the University of Cincinnati archives for an answer to that question. No, no reprint had ever been issued. That Cincinnati didn’t win may have had something to do with that.

In addition to being a historical artifact, it is beautiful. The program is decorated in an Indian motif, likely due to Carlisle being the opponents. This program may not have been in the hands of a spectator because the game was played in a drenching rain. The Indians won 10-0 less than five days after playing a night game against the University of Illinois in the Chicago Coliseum. Carlisle scored all of its points in the first half. According to one newspaper report, “Most of the time of the last half was taken up with fighting.” Isaac Seneca played right tackle. Two years later he would be a first team Walter Camp All-American at halfback. Two days later, missing quarterback Frank Hudson and center Edwin Smith due to injuries, the Indians beat The Ohio State University Medical College for their third victory in a week. The Indians were the only team to defeat Cincinnati, a team that beat Ohio State, Miami, Center College and LSU that year. Chicago was the only other team to beat Illinois.

The program includes a team photo I haven’t seen before and demographic data for the starters. It also includes a photo of W. G. Thompson, the unsung hero of early Carlisle football.

1897 Cincinnati-Carlisle program

Galleys Received

May 27, 2008

The advance reading copies (called ARCs in the trade) arrived for my new book and are being sent out to reviewers. This is a big moment in a writer’s life: seeing thousands of hours of hard work turned into something tangible. In the old days (pre-computer), ARCs were called galleys, bound galleys or galley proofs. Authors, editors and publishers go over these babies with a fine-tooth comb looking for errors, typos or things that have changed since writing was complete. It is an impossible task because, after all this scrutiny, some typos escape and find their way into the final book. But we try.

Another important use of ARCs is to see how the photos and artwork come out in print. Overall they came out very well, better than expected. But a cartoon about the Oorang Indians from a 1922 Baltimore newspaper is too dim. The challenge now is to figure out how to darken it without losing the detail.

This weekend I received some additional information and a correction regarding Louis Island from a family member who happened to see a previous blog. That was fortuitous because I want the book to be as accurate as possible. This blog is already proving to be of some value. That encourages me to continue with it.

Having these ARCs provides local booksellers the opportunity to provide their customers something extra. People can look at an ARC and pre-order the book if they choose. The bonus, besides being sure of getting a copy of the book as soon as it comes out, is to receive an inscription of his or her choice signed by the author. On-line booksellers also take pre-orders but personalized inscriptions are impractical.