Archive for the ‘Joel Wheelock’ Category

Guiding The White Brethren

October 26, 2012

The electronic version of the Fall 2012 edition of the magazine for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is finally out. My article on Carlisle Indians who went on to coach other teams is on page 46 (page 44 of print version). The idea for this article came to me after attending Lone Star Dietz’s enshrinement ceremony into the College Football Hall of Fame. He is the only Carlisle Indian to be inducted as a coach. Six others, some of whom also coached, were enshrined previously but as players. It is unlikely that any others will receive this honor because no other Carlisle Indian coached as long or with nearly as much success as Dietz.

American Indian athletic prowess is getting much attention this year due to 2012 being the 100th anniversary of Jim Thorpe’s extraordinary triumphs in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Games. Anyone unfamiliar with Native Americans’ success in the Olympics can read my several previous blog entries on this topic.

Worthy of note is that Dietz and the others had great success coaching white college and professional players. Many of them, including Dietz, coached Indian teams at one time or another but the vast majority of their coaching careers were with white college teams. Having played with Carlisle and knowing the Warner System gave these men instant credibility and opened doors for them. After going through those doors, success or the lack of it was the deciding factor. After all, sports have always been a meritocracy. Performance matters above all. Carlisle players succeeded on the field both as players and coaches. The graduate system of coaching that was tried in the early 20th century limited coaching opportunities for those who hadn’t attended major colleges but numerous smaller schools welcomed Carlisle Indians to lead their teams. Although far from an ideal situation, these men were given the opportunity to succeed or fail on their own merits and they largely succeeded.

http://content.yudu.com/A1yt4b/fall2012/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.americanindianmagazine.org%2Fabout-us

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Carlisle Indians as Coaches

June 8, 2012

While preparing the 1911 Spalding’s Guide for printing, I noticed that some former Carlisle players could be seen in the numerous 1910 team photos to be found in that volume.  That brought to mind an old newspaper article that I can’t lay my hands on now in which the writer opined as to why there were so few football coaches at a time when Carlisle Indian School players were grabbing headlines.  I don’t recall his reasoning or conclusions but do remember having read the article.

The truth is that several Carlisle Indian School players tried their hands at coaching with varying success.  The names that come quickly to mind are Bemus Pierce, Frank Cayou, Albert Exendine, Caleb Sickles, Lone Star Dietz, James Phillips, Joel Wheelock, Victor “Choc” Kelley, Mike Balenti, and Gus Welch (I keep adding names as they come to me while writing this article).  I’m sure there were others. Given enough time to research this issue, I’m sure that I could come up with more. But I don’t have the time right now because I must get the 1901 Spalding’s Guide ready to print.

The lengths of their careers varied, but Exendine, Welch and Dietz all had long coaching careers.  Of these, Lone Star Dietz had by far the most success and, as an acknowledgement of that success, was honored by the Helms Foundation many years ago. Next month, the College Football Hall of Fame will honor him. It is highly unlikely that any other Carlisle Indian will receive this honor because only a few had long careers and only Dietz, as far as we know, had a Hall of Fame worthy career as a coach.  Also, Exendine and Welch were already inducted as players. My immediate concern is not about the Hall of Fame but with 1910 team photos that include former Carlisle players.

Follows are two of the 1910 team photos.  I’ll leave it to the reader to find the Carlisle Indians in them, but here’s a hint: both wore their Carlisle letter sweaters.  I take that as an indication of how proud they were of having been part of those great teams.

Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals is Out Now

September 2, 2010

The second volume of the Native American Sports Heroes Series is now out and available to readers. Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals was released yesterday and is expected to be of interest to libraries and readers interested in Native American history, sports and government Indian boarding schools. This book follows the following players from their youths on the reservation, through their times at Carlisle to their later lives:

  • Chauncey Archiquette
  • Wilson Charles
  • Wallace Denny
  • Lone Star Dietz
  • Louis Island
  • James Johnson
  • Frank Lone Star
  • Jonas Metoxen
  • Thomas St. Germain
  • Caleb Sickles
  • George Vedernack
  • Gus Welch
  • Hugh Wheelock
  • Joel Wheelock
  • Martin Wheelock
  • Charles Williams
  • William Winneshiek

Readers will learn who became doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs. Some became musicians and led all-Indian bands. One was invited to join Richard Byrd’s Second Antarctic Expedition. Another was instrumental in establishing the Rose Bowl. Readers will also learn more about the naming of the Washington, DC NFL team and about the all-Indian NFL team. Several served in WWI even though non-citizen Indians were not drafted. Most lived long, productive lives but some didn’t. Some married girls they met at Carlisle, others married white girls and still others married girls from the reservation. One even married a congressman’s daughter.

The reading level is such that anyone from seventh grade through senior citizen can appreciate it and It is my hope that school children will read it to gain a better understanding of their history.

Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals Finally Off to printer

August 11, 2010

The files for Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals were just uploaded to the printer. Meeting the September 1 release date will be touch and go, but I think we will make it. The project was moving along smoothly until William Winneshiek threw a monkey wrench into things. First, he compiled a large photo album of Carlisle Indian School people that his granddaughter recently donated to the Cumberland County Historical Society. Some of these photos were added to the book and not all went into the chapter about him. For example, one was a photo of Joel Wheelock in his Oneida regalia that he wore when leading his band. While trying to correlate a photo with other information, I came across a newspaper article that claimed he was part of Byrd’s Second Antarctic Expedition. That took time to run down. But, at last, the book is on its way to being printed.

Something that didn’t find its way into the book was Winneshiek’s commission as 1st Lieutenant in the Carlisle Indian School Corps of Cadets. This commission, which is in the form of a diploma, is quite impressive. Some small details are important. Note that Oscar Lipps signed in the space indicated for the superintendent’s signature. The date of this commission, January 3, 1913, was a full year before the Joint Congressional Inquiry took place and Lipps was not at Carlisle at the time. Then, he was a bureaucrat located elsewhere, in the northwest most likely. His title was Supervisor U. S. Indian Service. A year later, he came to Carlisle as Acting Superintendent.

When the U. S. entered WWI, Carlisle students flocked to the recruiting stations. Several were commissioned as officers on large part due to their training at Carlisle Indian School. Others were quickly promoted to noncoms. The text of this commission sheds a little more light on the cadet program than we previously had.

Treasure Trove of New Carlisle Indian School Photos

July 22, 2010

The current edition of the Cumberland County Historical Society’s newsletter arrived earlier this week. When I got around to reading it, something in Richard Tritt’s column jumped off the page at me. William Winneshiek’s granddaughter recently donated her father’s photo album. Even though it is time to get Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals to the printer, I couldn’t resist running in to see if there was a photo of Winneshiek I’d like to add to the book. To put it mildly, I was overwhelmed. I wasn’t prepared for the number of photos in that album or the scope of them.

William Winneshiek arrived at Carlisle on June 5, 1911 and withdrew on October 19, 1915. His relatively short time at Carlisle and having never played on the varsity football team inclines one to expect mostly personal photo to be in his album and few that are directly related to Carlisle Indian School. Boy, was I surprised. Not only were there many photos in the album of school activities and of other students, several were photos that neither Richard Tritt nor I had seen before. For example, I had not previously seen any documentation of Little Twig having been at Carlisle. He is thought to have been here but no documents or photos had been seen to place him here before. The album includes several photos of Joel Wheelock’s All-Indian Band from 1929 and a number of photos of the Oorang Indians, including a group photo of the players in street clothes with two of the players’ wives. Good stuff.

After seeing what he had, and knowing what I do about Winneshiek, it all makes sense. When he left Carlisle in 1915, he remained in the area, attending Lebanon Valley College for a bit, working for the railroad in Altoona, playing with various bands, and moving permanently to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, all the while playing in bands and keeping in touch with old friends. His 1936 letter to Hugh Miller recorded a then-recent visit to Carlisle and thanked Miller for letting him have some photos from some unspecified baskets. It all makes sense now.

Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals

May 13, 2010

Yesterday, a reader asked about Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, wondering if it would be a series of blogs or a book. That tells me it’s time to talk about it a bit. Last year I wrote Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, Volume I of the Native American Sports Heroes Series. I have now completed Volume II of that series. Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals will be released on September 1. Like the earlier book, it follows 17 football stars with ties to a particular state, Wisconsin in this case, from their childhoods on the reservation, generally, to their time at Carlisle, and through their later lives. Background chapters on Carlisle Indian School, its legendary football teams, and coach “Pop” Warner set the stage for the individual biographies.

Not included are busts of the players drawn by Bob Carroll. Bob graciously drew those for Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals just before the end of his life. In their place, is a map that shows all the Indian Reservations in the state of Wisconsin which is intended to assist the reader in knowing where these people spent their early childhoods and, in some cases, returned to after finishing at Carlisle.

Chapters are included for:

Chauncey Archiquette

Wilson Charles

Wallace Denny

Lone Star Dietz

Louis Island

James Johnson

Frank Lone Star

Jonas Metoxen

Thomas St. Germain

Caleb Sickles

George Vedernack

Gus Welch

Joel & Hugh Wheelock

Martin Wheelock

Charles Williams

William Winneshiek

It is my hope that historians, teachers and librarians review this book and make it more available to students who would learn a lot about how disadvantaged people overcame obstacles to excel.

Copies of the softcover version of Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals are now in stock for June 1st release.

Dennison Wheelock Sent His Son to Carlisle

April 1, 2010

While working on Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, the idea came to me that some tidbits of information may be in Dennison and James Wheelocks’ files at the National Archives that may also pertain to their younger brothers, Joel and Hugh. The copies of their files arrived this afternoon. Dennison’s file opened to an August 1914 letter from him to Oscar Lipps, Acting Superintendent of Carlisle Indian School. Dennison graduated from Carlisle and was later bandmaster at Haskell Institute and Carlisle. After touring with his own band, he returned to West DePere, Wisconsin where he practiced law and participating as an officer of the Society of American Indians. His letter began:

“My sister, Martha Wheelock, aged twenty years, whose term expired at Flandreau, South Dakota last June, and is now with me in West DePere, desires to be admitted to the Carlisle Indian School as a pupil. I am very anxious that she shall go if possible. She is in eighth grade. My son, Edmund, who was born at the Carlisle Indian School, in1896, is also very anxious to have the benefit of a diploma from Carlisle on account of the prestige it carries with it throughout the West….”

Both were admitted and were attending Carlisle within a month. Both were active in school life and joined literary societies shortly after enrolling, Martha in the Susans and Edmund in the Standards.

Edmund had been attending public school in Wisconsin and doing well but his father was concerned about the environment. “Unfortunately, however, DePere is a city of less than five thousand inhabitants, yet has in the neighborhood of twenty-two, or twenty-four saloons, and on account of what is falsely termed liberal sentiment, the saloon keepers do not hold strictly to the law of the land, and as a result we see young boys very frequently under the influence of liquor.”

Dennison Wheelock was pragmatic about where Indian children should be educated. He preferred that they be enrolled in the public schools unless there was good reason to send them elsewhere. His experience at Carlisle evidently convinced him that it was a better environment for his son than his home town.

The Wheelock Family Tree

February 19, 2010

Researching the lives of Martin, Joel and Hugh Wheelock was made more difficult because their relationships to each other and to other Wheelocks at Carlisle Indian School, of which there were many, are not entirely clear. It wasn’t hard to determine who their fathers were. Censuses reflected that James A. Wheelock was the father of Joel and Hugh and Abram Wheelock fathered Martin Wheelock. James and Abram were surely related to each other and could have been brothers or cousins. The fun begins.

On the 1885 census, the earliest on I found that had Martin listed, no mother was mentioned. Eventually, I found the Powless Diary, which contained an entry for 1879 that stated, “Sunday, wife of Abram Wheelock, Mary Ann, age 26, died May 4.” Martin’s parentage was established—or so I thought. Then I encountered another entry that might be relevant: “Wife of Abram Wheelock, Lucy died August 29.” I then noticed that the entry was for 1869. Because Martin was born about five years later, Lucy couldn’t have been his mother. It must have been Mary Ann.

The 1891 Oneida census is the first one on which I found Joel (2 years) and Hugh (3/4 year) listed. Their father was James A. Wheelock and his wife was Sophia. The James Wheelocks’ had 10 children listed. The oldest was Dennison, 19, and the youngest was Hugh. However, they couldn’t have all been Sophia’s children because she was only 27 at that time. I noticed two gaps in the ages of the children: one between James R., 14, and Wilson, 11; the other between Josephine, 8, and Louisa, 3. Sophia was very likely the mother of Hugh and Joel. She could have been the mother of Wilson, Ida, Eliza and Josephine, but that’s not a mystery I have to solve—at least not yet. She surely isn’t the mother of Dennison and James Riley, as I have seen stated elsewhere, but that isn’t my problem, either.

Later, Sophia died and James A. Wheelock married Lena Webster and had children with her. The 1905 census lists her, then a widow, as the stepmother of Joel and Hugh and the mother of children she had with James. To complicate matters further, Lena soon married Martin Wheelock and had children with him.

Winneshiek’s Return to Carlisle

November 3, 2009

William Phineas Winneshiek, Winnebago from Hatfield, Wisconsin, wasn’t a star football player at Carlisle but surely had friends that were. He probably played on a shop team or for the band, because he was a musician. After leaving Carlisle in 1915, he played semi-pro football for the Altoona Indians and, in 1916, assisted fellow Altoona Indian and musician, Joel Wheelock, coach the Lebanon Valley College team. In 1922 he played in the NFL for the Oorang Indians. However, music was where he made his living. A website maintained by his grandson includes photos of Winneshiek: http://firstpeople.iwarp.com/phineus.html

On December 11, 1936, Bill Winneshiek, who was then known as Chief Winneshiek (probably because he was descended from a hereditary chief) wrote Hugh Miller to thank him for giving him some photographs of the Indian School. He also expressed his feelings about what he saw on his recent visit to the old school:

Mr. Miller, I know that you are one of the few White men living that will realize fully the great injustice that was brought upon the Indian Race when Our Great Democratic Government decided to: “Take Away From The Redman The Last Remaining Treasure (Carlisle Indian School) He Had in U. S. A.

Buildings had been burned down; complete destruction of the tall smokestack, which once answered the purpose of a monument; The Campus , which was once the pride of all who saw it for it was kept always in its natural beauty by the Indian students had faded into an unkept meadow; Our school mates who had been called by the Great Spirit and laid at rest near the Athletic Field, had been disturbed and moved to a more lonelier spot by the soldiers who now inhabit the Grounds where the American Indian made his last stand. No Government, no Race of People could have been more Cruel, No Christians, whether they be White, Yellow, Brown, Black or Red, could forget Providence long enough to commit that one last barbarous act as when Carlisle Indian School was taken from the Red Man. The saddest thing that has yet befallen the Indian.

1912 Olympics – Part IV

August 11, 2008

Thorpe received a lot of hype, even before dominating the Pentathlon tryouts. One such example is shown below. As coach of the Carlisle track team, Pop Warner placed himself in charge of Thorpe’s and Tewanima’s training for the Olympics. As part of their training regime he had them sit out most of the school’s spring meets. So, for the first time in several years, a team other than Carlisle won the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s track meet held on Hargest’s Island (today’s City Island) at Harrisburg. Thorpe did not attend the meet but Tewanima made an appearance. He ran 18 miles from the Indian School to Hargest’s Island, arrived at the field when the 2-mile run was underway. According to the report in The Carlisle Arrow, “he circled the field amid the cheers and applause of’ nearly everyone on theground. Tewanima made the eighteen-mile run in a little less than one hour and fifty minutes and seemed fresh at the finish and able go many more miles.”

 

Thorpe’s absence gave others an opportunity to shine. Bruce Goesback placed 1st in the 220 hurdles, 3rd in the 120 hurdles, 4th in broad jump and high jump. Possum Powell finished 2nd in both high jump and shot put. John Squirrel was 3rd in both 440-yd dash and broad jump. Sampson Bird came in 2nd in the hammer throw and 4th in discus. Gus Welch place 2nd in the half-mile and won the 440-yd dash but was disqualified of “alleged interference” with another runner. Arthur Coons placed 3rd in pole vault, Joel Wheelock came in 4th in both hurdle events, and Blackdeer, the only distance man to score points, came in 4th in the 2-mile run.

 

Carlisle still placed second to Penn State without its Olympians and beat all other colleges in the meet.

Jim Thorpe's Physique

Jim Thorpe's Physique