Archive for the ‘Louis Island’ Category

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.

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More on Pop Warner’s last game with Carlisle

June 15, 2010

Apparently, Pop Warner added three post-season games to the 1914 schedule very late in the season, quickly or while on the road or all three. The first mention of the post-season games came in the December 4 issue of The Carlisle Arrow, after the first two of these games had been played. The team likely did not return home after the Thanksgiving game with Brown because the first pot-season game was played two days later in Boston. On December 6, the Indians met Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn) in a game played in Atlanta that figures prominently in Auburn folklore. It was Pop Warner’s last at Carlisle’s helm and Lone Star Dietz’s last before embarking on a career as a head coach.

Some research into student files uncovered the fact that former Carlisle end Charles Guyon, aka Wahoo, was instrumental in setting up that game. At that time, he was th Atlanta branch manager for Spalding Sporting Goods and, as such, was closely involved in athletics in that city. Unfortunately for him, the game had been set up too quickly to generate much publicity and, due to having a bad season, the Indians weren’t a big draw at that time. Guyon fronted the money for the game and lost it. Attempts to have the government refund part of it were fruitless.

The game itself was a defensive struggle. The Indians had the ball in Auburn territory much of the first quarter but failed to score. Auburn stiffened. The second and third quarters were fought to a standstill with neither team able to generate much offense, let alone score. In the final period, Auburn moved the ball with a series of line plunges followed by pass from quarterback Hairston to left end Kearly, who carried the ball to the Carlisle six-yard line. “On the next play Hairston catapulted through the Indian line for the touchdown.” Louiselle kicked the extra point. Carlisle moved the ball with a series of lateral and pass plays but fell short when a pass was intercepted.

The game lives on in Auburn folklore, not for the victory so much as for the play of a Carlisle substitute named Hawkeagle.

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.

Carlisle Players Play Each Other

January 19, 2009

While researching the lives of Henry Roberts and Mike Balenti, I became aware that they, and some other Carlislians played against each other when enrolled in other schools. In response to criticism that Carlisle Indian School had been playing some of the same people for too many years, Pop Warner instituted a policy that limited players to four years on the varsity squad. Mike Balenti had used up his eligibility at Carlisle and Victor Kelley had one year of eligibility remaining at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. While there were no national eligibility standards, many colleges limited students to four years of eligibility, one for each of their four years of college – assuming that they finished on time. However, colleges often conveniently ignored the time former Carlisle players now at their institutions had played at the Indian school because it wasn’t a college academically. In fact, it wasn’t even a prep school. Putting these vaguaries of eligibility aside, Mike Balenti and Victor Kelley enrolled at A&M (reenrolled in Kelley’s case) to play under new head coach Charlie Moran. Moran, coincidentally, had assisted Pop Warner at Carlisle the previous year before embarking on a career as football coach. Previously, he had been a star player and a baseball coach, but hadn’t coached football. The Aggies, with Kelley at quarterback and Balenti at left halfback, had a powerhouse team. One of the obstacles in their path to the unofficial Southwestern Championship was Haskell Institute. The teams met on October 23 at College Station. Captain and left end of the Haskell squad was Henry Roberts who would later star of Carlisle’s great 1911 team. Not on the field that day for Haskell, but on the squad, were center Nikifer Schouchuk and quarterback Louis Island. It was like old home week at the game which the Aggies won 15-0. Aggie students celebrated wildly after the game because beating the team that had beaten the University of Texas meant a lot to them. At the end of the season Charlie Moran, as coach of the Southwestern Championship team, was given the honor of selecting an All Southwest team. He named Kelley for quarterback, Balenti for left halfback, and Roberts for punter. Carlisle was well represented on that team by alums both past and future.

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.

 

 

You meet the nicest people

May 5, 2008

The best part of doing this research is the people you meet. The most recent are Iris Davis and Dick Boganwright. Driving back from a wedding in Madison, Wisconsin brought us near Mentone, Indiana where Iris and Dick live. Iris has a photo of their uncle, Louis Island, in his WWI uniform. The photo is mounted in an oval frame with curved glass, something that makes scanning difficult. Taking a photo of a photo that is under glass presents problems of its own, but they were dealt with. By now you may be wondering why I’m babbling on about this.

Louis Island played quarterback, mostly backup, at Carlisle and eventually became a star in the early pro game. He eventually settled in Fort Wayne, Indiana and married Phebe Harsh, who was raised on a farm near Mentone, which is not far from Fort Wayne. Iris Davis and Dick Boganwright’s mother was one of Phebe’s sisters. Iris and Dick remember Dr. Island from family gatherings when they were children. They also remember when he contracted tuberculosis and died. They also remember when his son died from what they thought might have been muscular dystrophy. Dick and Iris recalled that Louis had a grandson who was left the area with his mother when he was a child.

Meeting relatives of Carlisle players is always a pleasure. Sometimes people are surprised to learn that their grandfather or uncle was famous at one time or was a great athlete because their memories of him are often of an old man. The telephone conversations that preceded the visit got them thinking about their uncle and they later remembered things about him that they had forgotten long ago. The visit gave me the opportunity to share with them what I had learned about their uncle.