Archive for the ‘Richard Henry Pratt’ Category

Was David McFarland the Orator?

November 13, 2018

A researcher contacted me recently regarding information on and photos of David McFarland, an early Carlisle Indian School football star. He also shared some information he had on McFarland’s later life. One item jumped out at me: he was a skilled orator. Reading that made me wonder if McFarland was the Carlisle student who persuaded Superintendent Pratt into lifting his 1890 ban on Carlisle students playing football against other schools.

Pratt wrote of the students’ appeal to him:

“While they stood around my desk, their black eyes intensely watching me, the orator gave practically all the arguments it seemed possible to bring and ended by requesting the removal of the embargo.”

Could David McFarland have been the one who argued so eloquently?

I checked my copy of Steckbeck’s Fabulous Redmen and found McFarland’s name (Steckbeck had it as MacFarland) listed on the 1894 team roster. (His book didn’t include a roster for the partial 1893 season.) So, it was possible he might have been the one who convinced Pratt to allow Carlisle to field a football team.

I read Pratt’s account further to find out what else he might have said about the youthful speaker. “The orator was a descendent of the family that produced the great chief Logan, who said, ‘I appeal to any white man to say that ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry and gave him no meat, came cold and naked and he clothed him not, etc.’…”

Now, all I needed to do was to find out which boy was a descendent of Logan. A quick search revealed that Logan was the son of Shikellamy, a Cayuga. His father renamed him sometime after his birth to James Logan, in honor of his friend and prominent Pennsylvanian of that name.

David McFarland was Nez Perce, a fact that made it almost impossible for him to have been a descendent of Logan. The search to identify the orator goes on.

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Radiolab Program About Carlisle on NPR

February 13, 2015

I was interviewed at length some weeks ago by NPR’s Radiohead for a future broadcast about Carlisle Indian School football. While listening to Sally Jenkins’s interview during the program, I was saddened by the lack of nuance in her description of the 1896 Carlisle-Yale game. Yes, William O. Hickok was a Yale alum but he was also Carlisle’s coach that year. Omitting this important fact spun the officiating of the game as outright cheating. Carlisle Indian School ran a special edition of its newspaper, The Red Man, that included contemporaneous coverage of the game from the viewpoints of several observers who had differing opinions. A reasonable conclusion that could be made after reading these articles would be that Hickok blew the call, to use modern football parlance, by prematurely blowing his whistle before Isaac Seneca or Jonas Metoxen (accounts vary as to who was carrying the ball initially) was taken to the ground. Bad calls are still part of football, so much so that instant replay has been instituted in recent years to overturn them when ample evidence is provided on the video. To say that Hickok, Carlisle’s coach at the time, cheated his own team in favor of his alma mater, is a serious accusation that doesn’t stand up to the available evidence. Think about the boost a victory, or even a tie, with Yale would have given Hickok’s coaching career. He had a significant incentive to beat Yale. He just blew the call and, possibly, his chance at being a top-flight coach.

Contrary to the Radiolab program, Pop Warner didn’t just happen to coach Carlisle. After graduating from Cornell with a law degree, he had coached Iowa State and Georgia–simultaneously–before returning to lead his alma mater. Seeing that his players needed better coaching, Superintendent Pratt asked Walter Camp, the greatest expert on the game of his day, for advice. Camp suggested he consider Pop Warner, an ingenious up and coming coach. Warner and the Indians made a perfect match football-wise. Neither would likely have had the records they did without each other.

Richard Henry Pratt, who was sometimes called “an honest lunatic” by his critics, deserves a more balanced treatment than NPR gave him. Where a common, if not majority, view at the time favored eradication, Pratt held the radical view that Indians could do anything a white man could do. I’ve never found anything from the period stating that Carlisle students weren’t allowed to speak their own languages. They were surely encouraged to speak English but Pratt had no need to force them. How else were they going to communicate with each other if they didn’t? The various tribes represented at Carlisle spoke numerous different languages and could only understand those from their own tribe or one that spoke a similar-enough language. Other schools, where the students were from a single or only a few tribes, may have forced their students to speak English but Carlisle had no need to do that.

 

Place where Indian School children played may be saved

February 28, 2013

Something Carlisle Indian School students surely played on over a hundred years ago may be rescued from the demolition ball. The Craigheads living at Craighead Station were strong supporters of the school almost from its inception and took students into their homes on outing periods to live and work in the majority culture. But all their waking hours weren’t spent working. They surely spent some of their time playing with the Craighead children along the creek and on the ever-beckoning bridges over the creek. Students from the earlier years of the school would not have played on the iron bridge because it wasn’t built until 1899. But those, like Emma Strong, who came after the turn of the 20th century surely did as did children of that and later generations. Now there is hope for the bridge to become a dedicated recreational facility for children and adults alike.

The fate of the historic iron bridge across the Yellow Breeches Creek at Craighead Station may be determined at tonight’s township supervisors meeting. It has been in peril for quite some time but its chances for survival look better. Some years ago, Cumberland County, owner of the bridge, determined that the one-lane bridge is unsatisfactory to handle all the vehicular traffic that would like to take that route. In addition to the bridge being narrow, its intersection with Old York Road is dangerous. The state and county developed a plan for a new concrete span a bit upstream from the iron bridge. That plan also calls for bending Zion Road south of the iron bridge to meet with the new bridge, eliminating the need to remove the iron bridge to make room for the new one. South Middleton Township officials offered to take ownership of the iron bridge if they could use the money budgeted by the state for its demolition to put it in better condition for use by walkers, bicyclists, and fishermen. Last fall, the state told the township demolition funds couldn’t be used to preserve the bridge. Many locals thought it absurd that the government would rather spend taxpayers’ money to destroy something of historical and recreational value than to use that money to continue using the structure for the current and future generations.

Yesterday’s Carlisle Sentinel reported that the state may have given erroneous guidance regarding the allowable usage of demolition funds. http://cumberlink.com/news/local/craighead-bridge-may-be-restored/article_a66d6442-806d-11e2-af92-0019bb2963f4.html It’s far from certain yet, but the iron lady that has served us well for over a century may not fall to an ignominious end.

Iron Bridge 2013-02-27 Bupp

 

The Devil Is In The Details

August 3, 2012

I recently read in an article about Carlisle School that “[T]he Friedmans attended the local Presbyterian church that Captain Pratt and other staff belonged to.” While not inaccurate, the statement leaves off much of the story. For starters, Carlisle had three Presbyterian churches: First Presbyterian, Second Presbyterian, and Third Presbyterian. Third Presbyterian no longer exists, Second Pres. flourishes in a modern building on the edge of town, and First Pres. sets on the square, where it has since its early days, not far from the Carlisle Indian School campus.

Because of its location and because some students from the school attended First Presbyterian, readers generally assume that Pratt and Friedman attended First Presbyterian.  But a local historian knowledgeable about such things informed me that wasn’t the case. Pratt attended Second Presbyterian instead of the historic First Presbyterian Church on the square where George Washington once worshipped. Wondering why he chose that church when he was raised a Methodist, I perused the Second Presbyterian Church website history section.

Sheldon Jackson was a well-known minister who set up over 100 missions and churches in the western United States and Alaska. He was also the brother-in-law to Rev. George Norcross, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church from 1869 to 1909. Jackson used Carlisle as a home base between trips and met Pratt when he was in town. That Jackson and Pratt had compatible educational philosophies probably established a bond between them that may have extended to Norcross. That Pratt attended Second Presbyterian could be due to meeting Jackson and finding his brother-in-law to be an acceptable minister.

The Devil is in the Details may not be an accurate analogy for researching history. The truth can be found in the details is probably closer to the truth. Sometimes the cause is something prosaic rather than something more exciting or nefarious. But some digging is required to find the details.

Where Did Bill Warner Go

July 13, 2012

I received a question today about Pop Warner’s brother Bill. The questioner wanted to know what Bill Warner did in 1904 after Pop replaced him as head coach of Cornell. I was vaguely aware of all this before but hadn’t thought about it much. I even recalled reading an announcement of Bill’s new job, so I was able to confirm what I thought I knew. A little background is required.

That Pop Warner coached Carlisle from 1899 to 1903 and returned to Cornell in 1904 is well known. The details of the transaction are less clear but will be made clearer in Jeff Miller’s upcoming biography of Pop Warner. It’s fairly well known that Warner and star quarterback James Johnson had a confrontation in the late-season road trip to the West Coast. You’ll have to read Jeff’s book to learn the details of what happened. Ironically, all three, Warner, Pratt and Johnson, each for his own reason, were gone from Carlisle before the start of the 1904 season.

Now let’s get back to the original question. Pop Warner replaced Bill as head coach of Cornell after Bill who went 6-3-1 in 1903 with ugly losses to Princeton and Penn, 44-0 and 42-0, respectively. Pop understandably had misgivings about taking his brother’s job and, likely, made up for it a bit by helping Bill get another job. By virtue of coaching at Carlisle for five years, Pop surely had contacts within the Indian school system and at Sherman Institute in Riverside, California in particular because Bemus Pierce coached there in 1902 and 1903. Bill Warner took the reins at Sherman Institute in 1904 while Bemus Pierce returned to Carlisle to assist Ed Rogers. Bemus and his wife might have wanted to return east to be nearer to family in New York State.

Bill Warner led the Sherman Institute Braves to a more-than-respectable 6-1 season with wins over USC and Stanford and a loss to Cal. That record likely led to him being hired by North Carolina for 1905.

Utah Prepares for Carlisle Game

May 5, 2011

Coach Holmes wasn’t wasting any time in preparing for the Carlisle Indians because, as The Salt Lake Herald reported the next day, December 12, the varsity was out for signal practice the day before and would be practicing again that day. As predicted, Fred Bennion and “Fat” Robbins had joined the team for the big game. Benny was a fleet-footed halfback, and one supposes, a relative of Fat Robbins.

Holmes also shared with the press that Pop Warner had written him the previous day informing him that a game had been arranged with Reliance Athletic Club on Christmas Day in San Francisco. A third game was mentioned—a New Year’s Day game in Los Angeles—but the Indians’ opponent was not mentioned by name.

A friend of Holmes who lived in the east wrote him that he had seen Carlisle play that year and that they would be a formidable opponent. He pointed out their use of the tackles-back and wing-shift formations. The latter formation was used more often and confused the defenders. No Utah team had used this puzzling formation and it was expected to cause Utah’s varsity a lot of trouble.

The next day, The Herald reported that Warner had telegraphed Holmes the day before that the Indians would arrive in Salt Lake on Friday morning and would remain there to Monday. Warner and Superintendent Pratt both felt that travel was a broadening experience for their students and had them take in as much as possible when traveling for games. Carlisle players didn’t just come into town at the last minute and leave as soon as the game was over. They availed themselves of the cultural opportunities that existed wherever they were playing.

Warner also requested that the game consist of two 30-minute halves. In those days, football games didn’t have a standard length. Sometimes, the two halves were even of different lengths. The Utah players were enthusiastic about meeting the Indians and said they would be perfectly happy if they could just score on them.

To be continued….

Hampton University Forges New Field — Again

April 11, 2011

When most people think of Hampton University, they consider it to be a historically black educational institution, which it is, of course. However, It is more than that. In 1878, Lt. Richard Henry Pratt convinced 17 of the younger of his former prisoners at Fort Marion, Florida to enroll in an educational program he established at what was then called Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. Pratt soon disagreed with Hampton’s policy of cloistering students from the community at large and proceeded to found Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Hampton did not stop educating Indians; it continued enrolling them for decades. Their records are a source of information for people researching Carlisle students as sometimes some family members attended Hampton while others attended Carlisle. Very few appear to have attended both schools. One person, and probably more, Angel deCora, the famous Winnebago artist, was first educated at Hampton and later taught at Carlisle.

Hampton University recently became the home of something else of interest to people living in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, the eighth such installation in the U. S. and the largest in the world, completed treatment of it first group of patients in November. These men were treated for Prostate Cancer but Proton Therapy is not limited to that application as it is also used to treat a variety of other types of cancer. Their web site states that Hampton Roads leads the country in Prostate Cancer deaths. That fact might be one of the reasons the $220M facility was located where it is. That the Department of Defense ponied up $7.9M toward its costs may be because so many military personnel are stationed in the Hampton Roads area or retire there. Large numbers of Viet Nam veterans are afflicted with Prostate and other cancers due to exposure to Agent Orange. Apparently, Agent Orange affected more than just the people who handled it in their daily work or those who trudged through the terrain that had been sprayed with the defoliant.

Proton Therapy appears to be the Prostate Cancer treatment modality with the fewest side effects of the available treatment options. Next time back to football, I think.

Warner Didn’t Do It

November 18, 2010

I was recently sent an article on a particular topic on the history of football—it doesn’t matter which article because this is a common error—that attributed or blamed, depending on one’s perspective on Pop Warner that he did not do. That Warner had a split tenure at Carlisle Indian School is either not widely known or is forgotten by many when they write about Carlisle football. In this instance, the matter has to do with the 1904 Carlisle-Haskell game and the mass transfer of football talent from Haskell to Carlisle that happened after that game.

For a little background, President Theodore Roosevelt was to spend a few days around Thanksgiving at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Promoters saw an opportunity to attract greater attendance by staging a football game for Teddy to attend. Their first choice was to host the Army-Navy game that year. That idea was turned down immediately. The next thing that came to mind was to have the two prominent government Indian boarding school teams play each other as both were running roughshod over the competition in their respective parts of the country. Carlisle was already scheduled to play Ohio State on Thanksgiving, so the game with Haskell Institute of Lawrence, Kansas, was set for the Saturday following the holiday.

Why did Warner have nothing to do with this game, one asks? Well, Pop Warner left Carlisle after the 1903 season to return to coaching his alma mater, Cornell. The reason for that move, according to his critics, was that he was paid more money. They are probably correct. Warner coached Cornell through the 1904, 1905 and 1906 seasons and, other than teaching his new formations to Carlisle’s Indian coaches in 1906, probably had little to do with the operation of that program. He had no reason to recruit Haskell players for Carlisle. He might have tried to entice the best ones to enroll at Cornell, but that seems improbable.

Superintendent Richard Henry Pratt had been relieved of command of Carlisle Indian School in the summer of 1904 and replaced by then Captain William A. Mercer. With no athletic director in place and the coaches hired just for the season, Mercer filled the void left by Warner’s departure and became involved with the football program. The next year, he arranged the first Carlisle-Army game but that is a separate story.

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.

More on Oscar Hunt

February 10, 2010

Yesterday, I received an email from Bill Welge with some news about Oscar Hunt. He wrote that he or his staff at the Oklahoma Historical Society found information about the events leading up to Oscar Hunt’s death. Apparently, he found some newspaper articles that cover the death of someone else and his death. He was charged with murdering someone and, according to the newspaper coverage, may have possibly committed the crime. It will be interesting to see if the cause of his death was as reported in the Carlisle Indian School newspaper or was suicide as W. G. Thompson stated that it was. Major Mercer and W. G. Thompson appear to have been seriously at odds with each other at the time of Hunt’s death as Mercer had eliminated Thompson’s position, along with a few others, at the end of the previous fiscal year. Thompson’s 1907 letter to Dr. Carlos Montezuma, another person who had been supportive of the school when Richard Henry Pratt was in charge but became a critic during Mercer’s tenure, was quite critical of Mercer’s management of the school. So, Thompson’s charges cannot be accepted without confirming their accuracy. I am waiting with baited breath to see the newspaper articles Bill Welge found. After I receive them, I will share the information I find with the McDonald County Historical Society. Tiff City, Missouri, the location of Oscar Hunt’s reported death and one of the locations related with Mathias Splitlog, is in McDonald County. Unfortunately, their current curator wasn’t able to locate information on Oscar Hunt. His predecessor, Mrs. Pauline Carnell, had researched Splitlog but she died in 2007. I will also share the information here but don’t expect to see it much less than two weeks from now because of my personal schedule.