Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

But I Know Where They Should Be

May 2, 2023

When I read something a friend posted on Facebook about slide rules, it brought to mind an experience I had over a half-century ago while pursuing my B.S. degree on the GI Bill. I worked as an engineering technician at Emerson Electric in suburban St. Louis where I used a slide rule daily. The senior engineer I worked under didn’t trust the results I obtained on my aluminum Pickett & Eckel because he considered it inferior to his bamboo K&E. One day I looked over his shoulder while he was recomputing some of my figures and noticed that all the numbers were worn off the middle of his slide rule.

I said, “Rollo [that was his first name], your slide rule doesn’t have any numbers on it.”

He replied, “Yeah, but I know where they should be.”

Daniel Sickles’ Temporary Insanity

February 21, 2023

A few weeks ago I wrote about Alice Pendleton, youngest daughter of Francis Scott Key. In passing I mentioned the murder of one of her older brothers, Philip Barton Key, by Daniel Sickles. There is a lot more to the story.

Daniel Sickles was a 32-year-old junior state assemblyman from New York City and notorious womanizer  when he married Teresa Da Ponte Baglioli, a teenager half his age, in September 1852. The next year, President Franklin Pierce appointed Sickles to serve as secretary of the U. S. legation in London under the leadership of James Buchanan. He allegedly brought prostitute Fanny White with him, leaving his pregnant wife at home. He supposedly presented her to Queen Victoria with the alias of the family name of a political opponent instead of her own. Married just seven months Teresa gave birth to their only child, Laura Buchanan Sickles. After his return to the U. S. he was elected to the New York State Senate, which censured him for bringing Fanny White into its chambers. The Sickles moved to Washington in 1856 when he was elected to Congress as a Democratic representative for the 3rd district of New York.

In Washington, Teresa made the acquaintance of U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Philip Barton Key II and began an affair with him in 1858. A “friend” wrote Sickles of his wife’s infidelity, enraging him. He forced his wife to confess and put her confession to paper. Sickles saw Key sitting on a bench outside his home signaling to Teresa, apparently unaware they had been found out. Sickles ran out screaming, “Key, you scoundrel, you have dishonored my home, you must die.” He repeatedly shot the unarmed Key, killing him in Lafayette Park. Defended by Edwin Stanton, Sickles pled temporary insanity and was the first person in the United States to be acquitted using that defense. Newspapers declared Sickles a hero for saving women from Key.

Teresa Sickles

Shooting Down Balloons

February 14, 2023
Two of the planes I worked on in the Far East

An unexpected article popped up on my phone this afternoon possibly because fighter planes have recently been shooting down airborne “items.” A little background is needed as to why this got my attention. From February 1967 through mid-August 1968 I maintained the FCS of F-102 aircraft in The Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. The Deuce, as F-102s were often called, wasn’t a sexy airplane at that time. The F-106 was faster and the F-4 carried a much larger variety of weapons. Being an old plane, half of the F-102s, maybe more, were then flown by National Guard units. In spite of its age, the Delta Dagger, the plane’s official nickname, was chosen for overseas duty because it was more reliable and more easily supported logistically than the newer interceptor, the F-106.

The article linked to below tells of one pilot’s experiences flying the plane against a very fast target, the B-58 bomber. In order to better understand the article some abbreviations and acronyms need to be defined.

FCS stands for Fire Control System. This has nothing to do with putting out fires. It has to do with aiming and firing the plane’s weapons. The F-102 used the MG-10 weapons control system built by Hughes Aircraft. It used radar and infrared to seek and track targets. Most of its circuits used vacuum tubes. Only a few functions utilized solid-state components.

ECM stands for Electronic Counter Measures, devices used to defeat or confuse the interceptor’s radar.

IRST stands for Infra Red Search & Track (or sighting & tracking). An IR seeker head resembling a chrome ball was located just forward of the cockpit. Targets could be located and tracked using either radar or IR or both together. Follows is an anecdote of both methods being used together:

One day at Bien Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam we had the radome off to do some work on the radar antenna . About the time we needed to test the system after finishing making the adjustment the adjustment an Air Policeman guarding the revetments in which our planes were stationed walked by smoking a cigarette (it was 1967). I locked the infrared onto his cigarette and shifted the mode to IR/Radar Slaved. Normally there is no external indication as to what the system is doing but, with the radome removed, the antenna is visible. With IR locked on to his cigarette and radar slaved to it, the radar antenna followed him as he walked past. He, not surprising, was unnerved by this.

If the Chinese balloon/items had floated by back in the day, F-102s very likely would have been assigned the job of shooting them down.

Dorothy Genevieve Rainey (1904-1987)

February 4, 2023

After reading my postings on Junia Smart, a former classmate asked if I had researched MISS Rainey, the Latin teacher. I hadn’t, so I gave her a look.

Dorothy Genevieve Rainey was born on January 20, 1904 as the first child of  William W. and Ethel Shaver Rainey. She would later be joined by three younger brothers. Her father worked as a clerk in the Litchfield, Illinois post office, so they were probably living there at the time. The 1910 US Census had them living at 1224 Franklin Street in Litchfield. Her parents owned their home and had an 18-year-old servant, Mina Aikman, living with them. Dorothy’s brothers hadn’t been born yet. Not quite six,Dorothy didn’t attend school and couldn’t read or write at that time.

In 1920, the family was living on a farm in Cahokia Township, Macoupin County, Illinois but William was still working as a mail clerk along with farming. His mother-in-law, Francis Shaver, was living with the family which had expanded to include the three boys. The farm was located west of Litchfield, north of Mt. Olive and east of Gillespie. Dorothy was attending school and could read and write. Her college yearbook entry indicated that she had graduated from Litchfield High School, probably in 1921. That seems about right considering that she had an October birthday and would graduate when still 17.

SIUE has digitized the Shurtleff College yearbooks and has made them available to peruse on-line. Miss Rainey’s senior page accompanies this piece. She was quite active at Shurtleff, particularly with the French club. One of the nice things about high school and college yearbooks of this period is that they are gossipy. A few interesting quips about her follow:

Who put the salt in Dorothy Rainey’s bed? (1923)

Dorothy Raney steps out in white slippers. (1923)

Meigs makes a date with Dorothy Rainey for John Wones and takes her to the show himself. (1923)

Miss Walker and Dorothy Rainey let the St. Louis car go by and have to sit in the depot all night. (1924)

Dorothy Rainey oversleeps and misses breakfast. (1924)

Dorothy Rainey has the mumps. (1924)

Case—Crum [probably George Crum Walbaugh] and Dorothy Rainey. (1925)

The fall after graduating with her Bachelor of Philosophy degree, she took a teaching job with the Mattoon, Illinois school district. She appears to have started by teaching junior high but had shifted to Latin by the time she resigned in January of 1927 due to ill health. She apparently returned home then.

In June of 1929 she attended a Shurtleff College reunion. In 1930, the family, except for Dorothy, was back in Litchfield but lived at 1119 Jackson Street, a house worth $3,500 that they owned. With the Great Depression in full force she may have had difficulty finding a job and decided to go to graduate school. She supposedly earned a masters degree from the University of Iowa at some time. The period between the Mattoon and Marine jobs would be the likely period during which she would have gone to grad school.

She wasn’t mentioned in the press again until 1934 when she attended the funeral for the Shurtleff librarian. Dorothy was living in Marine, Illinois at that time. The likely reason for her relocating to Marine was that she was working there. Otherwise, she would have stayed with her parents.

In April 1935 her name appears in the “Marine News” column of The Edwardsville Intelligencer for the first time. Her social and professional activities were reported on in this column from this date forward until her death many years later. This time the mention was for attending a lecture on foreign languages in St. Louis. In May she was reappointed as a teacher at Marine High School. This suggests that she had teaching there for at least one previous year. Dorothy became very active in Marine by joining the Marine Evangelical Church, the PTA she helped found and served as its first Vice-President, the Red Cross, and the Draft Board. She hosted Latin Club meetings at her home and was active in teachers’ organizations. Close to her family, she spent part of each Christmas break and summer vacation with her parents. That changed in 1945 when her parents retired and moved to California. She continued teaching at Marine High School through the spring of 1951 after which Marine merged with two other schools to become Triad High School in Troy, Illinois.

Miss Rainey started teaching at Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto, Illinois in fall of 1951. Now teaching journalism, she and Mrs. Smart started the school newspaper The Eaglet. At CMHS she became more involved in statewide and national organizations and took students to compete in various contests. She also became more adept at getting press. The two local newspapers, The Alton Evening Telegraph and The Edwardsville Intelligencer, frequently ran pieces covering her activities. Something else that changed, possibly due to her parents relocating to California, was that her travel radius expanded over time from places no father away than Chicago to across the U. S. and eventually to going abroad. Olga (and sometimes Agatha) Deibert was a frequent travel companion.

One thing that didn’t change was her involvement with Marine. The Marine newspaper column continued to run news of her. It wasn’t clear if she moved her residence to Bethalto or, if she did, how long she lived there. She kept her ties to Marine strong.

In 1955 she had a special boy for a student. 15-year-old Charles Brunk of Cottage Hills liked languages. He bought a Hebrew reader and learned the language by correlating the symbols. He learned Latin in school and Greek after school from Miss Rainey.

She continued her education by attending summer sessions at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Tufts in Massachusetts. In 1962 she fell and broke her wrist. This was about  when I arrived at CMHS and may have seen her wearing a cast. Not taking any classes with her, our only interactions were admonitions from her about my associating with underachieving friends.

She bought a house in Marine in 1965 and used a Marine address in her letters to the editor which became more frequent during this phase of her life. She retired from CMHS in June 1970 but remained active in teachers organizations. She died on January 2, 1987 at age 82 and was buried alongside her parents in Elmwood Cemetery in Litchfield, Illinois.

Information found in later searches follow.

A February 2, 1934 Edwardsville Intellingencer article reported on a farewell party for Fred C. Durbin that had been held by students at Marine High School. He had substituted for Miss Rainey during the first semester of the 1933-34 school year. The reporter gave no reason for her absence.

To some extent this information fills in the gap in Miss Rainey’s life between completing her master’s degree in 1930 and teaching at Marine High School in 1935. The article makes clear that she was or at least was scheduled to teach at Marine High in the fall of 1933. While not stated, it seems logical that she would have been teaching there at least since the 1932-33 school year and possibly earlier. If not, why would she have been considered the regular teacher if she was absent for the first semester of her employment by the school? Left completely out was the reason for her absence.

Most recent find:

Late this afternoon I realized that I hadn’t done a search on Dorothy Rainey on, one of the tools I usually use when researching people’s lives. A quick search of her name for the 1930-1935 period returned a couple of pieces of new information. Illinois State Journal for May 2, 1932 reported that she had taken a job teaching Latin at Marine High School starting in the fall. It also reported that she had been taking a secretarial course at Greenville College prior to this. Now we know when she started at Marine High School—fall 1932—and what she was doing immediately before that. What we don’t know is when she started the secretarial course.

I emailed the library at Greenville University (the current name of the institution) requesting whatever information they have on her. I will share whatever they send me.

This article confirms that Miss Rainey wasn’t about to sit on her duff and wait for something that might never happen happen. She was proactive. If teaching jobs weren’t available she was preparing herself for an office job that might be. I wonder how much she put to work what she learned in the secretarial classes. One would think some of it could be applied to producing school newspapers, something she later did. What do her former students think?

Saint O-kuh-ha-tah Part 4

November 17, 2022

The Great Depression immediately followed by World War II interrupted the mission work Oakerhater had started. It took new people moving into the area in the early 1960s to bring it back to life. An Episcopalian family advertised a religious meeting they were going to hold in their home. Seeing the ad were some Cheyennes who had known Oakerhater. They worked with the new family to revive his old mission.

Muskogee Creek scholar Lois Carter Clark researched Oakerhater’s life and works, culminating in his being designated as a saint by the Episcopal Church in 1985. The next year on September 1, the first feast held in his honor was celebrated at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Saint George Church in Dayton, Ohio dedicated a large stained glass window to him in its chapel in 2000. The tall six-sided window with pointed ends depicted him as a deacon with Cheyennes looking toward him. A smaller window featured his glyph signature.

St. Paul’s Cathedral of Oklahoma City dedicated a chapel to Oakerhater and replaced a window that was blown out by the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Preston Singletary (Tlingit) created a stained glass window featuring his glyph. The church also organized The Oakerhater Guild of St. Paul’s in partnership with Whirlwind Mission of the Holy Family.

The Whirlwind Church gained a permanent site in Watonga in 2003 and dedicated the Oakerhater Episcopal Center in 2007, which provides a place for powwows, a sweat lodge, classes, and an annual Cherokee Dance in Oakerhater’s honor.

Now a national shrine to Saint O-kuh-ha-tuh, Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse, New York held a Native-American celebration in 2005 to honor him, the first Native-American saint of the Episcopal Church. The new stained glass windows honoring him and designed by his great-granddaughter Roberta Whiteshield-Butler were dedicated in this event.

<end of part 4 of 4>

Saint O-kuh-ha-tuh part 2

October 8, 2022
Oakerhater at Fort Marion

In October 1879, David Pendleton Oakerhater, as he was then known, left New York for a time to assist Pratt in enlisting children from Indian Territory (Oklahoma today) for his former jailer’s new school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1880 after returning from this mission, Oakerhater’s wife Nomee (Thunder Woman) died in childbirth in Paris Hill. The next year, their young son Pawwahnee died. Both were buried in the church cemetery. She had earlier bore him three daughters, all of whom had died. Along the way, he had taken a second wife Nanessan (Taking Off Dress) while married to Nomee but had divorced her by 1878. The daughter born to them had died as had his other children.

In May of 1881, Pratt petitioned the Office of Indian Affairs for the money to transport Oakerhater back to Indian Territory from where he had been taken prisoner. The government had paid the travel expenses of the other Fort Marion prisoners to return home after their incarceration was completed but the Episcopal sponsors had paid the travel expenses for the four who went to New York State. Now it was time for the government to return them to Indian Territory. Oakerhater’s reason for returning was to build Episcopal churches at the Indian agencies.

He married again in 1882 to Nahepo (Smoking Woman aka Susie Anna Bent) who took the name Susie Pendleton. Both of their children died young. She died in 1890 at 23 years of age.

In 1887, Oakerhater worked at the Episcopal mission in Bridgeport and in 1889 at the Whirlwind Mission near Fay, seventeen miles west of Watonga. Many of the Whirlwind students suffered from poverty, trachoma, and conjunctivitis. After tribal lands were broken up by the Dawes Act, families often tented near the reservation schools to be near their children and to provide a safer environment. His school and mission were under constant pressure. Locals wanting to exploit the Indians saw his mission and school as a threat and others at the national level deplored the poor conditions there.

He remarried again in 1898, this time to Minnie White Buffalo, who was 20 years younger than him. She brought with her a son from a previous marriage named Bear Raising Mischief.

Oakerhater retired with a pension in 1918 but continued to preach, serving as an Cheyenne chief and holy man. After a brief stop in Clinton, he moved to Watonga, where he lived until he died in 1931. Some of Oakerhater’s works would live on after him.

<end of part two>

Saint O-kuh-ha-tah

October 6, 2022

For about 15 years Emma Newashe’s granddaughter and I have been communicating with each other when one of us has something to share. In September1905, Emma joined her brother Bill at Carlisle Indian School. Both were orphans for whom the Sac and Fox tribe had few resources to help. Bill excelled in athletics and Emma in academics. She was a particularly good writer. This time we didn’t talk much about the Newashes. Instead we talked about a Cheyenne from Oklahoma who had been incarcerated at Fort Marion under Lt. Richard Henry Pratt.

The inmate’s childhood name was Noksowist (Bear Going Straight). His military career began at age 14 in raids against the Otoe and Missouri, for which he was initiated into the tribe’s Bowstring Society. He participated in a number of battles with the U. S. Cavalry and state militias. He is reputed to have been the youngest man to complete the sun dance ritual (Okuh hatuh in Cheyenne). After surrendering at Fort Sill to end the Red River War, he was selected by a reputedly inebriated U. S. Colonel to be one of the 72 “hostiles” sent to Fort Marion for incarceration.

Known at that time as Making Medicine, aka Oakerhater, attended classes given in a casement-turned-classroom in the fort and learned to read and write English. He soon became a leader of the younger men who were confined. At the end of two years he petitioned to have the young men released because they had given up their old ways and desired to be integrated into the majority society. The request was rejected. However, in the next year, 1878, he and the other inmates were released after three years of confinement. Episcopal deaconess Mary Douglas Burnham, who had seen the men in St. Augustine, offered to take four of them home with her. She also arranged funding from Alice Key Pendleton and her husband, Senator George Pendleton, to transport Oakerhater and his wife Nomee to St. Paul’s Church in Paris Hill, New York. There he was educated by the Reverend J. B. Wicks in agriculture, scripture and current events. After six months he was baptized and confirmed at Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse. At that time he took the Christian name of David and family name of Pendleton, in honor of his patron. Three years later, he was ordained a deacon.

<end of part one>

August Lookaround – part 5

August 30, 2022

Phebe Jewell Nichols, who had studied the Menominee extensively and had authored novels on them, taught social science at Oshkosh High School. She was also the chairman of the Indian affairs committee for the Wisconsin League of Women Voters. That fall Gus organized a Keshena football team while she remained active with the League of Women Voters. In 1935 she gave a costumed recital to open the program of the 23rd Annual Convention of the International Lyceum Association in Lakeside on Lake Erie in Ohio. She also gave readings in several cities. The American Poetry Magazine devoted its first autumn issue entirely to her works.

The 1936 edition of Indians of Today included a biography of Angus Franklin Lookaround. It stated that Gus had toured with Ringling’s Circus Band, Sells-Floto Band, and the Royal Scotch Highlanders. A 1938 anthology, Poetry Out of Wisconsin, included two of Phebe’s works, “Indian Pipe” and “Menominee Lullaby.” A month later, she released a booklet titled “Tales from an Indian Lodge,” which contained background information on the tribe and essays on the philosophy and lives of its people. In March, Angus and Phebe provided the entertainment for a special meeting of the PTA. He told Indian stories “never told to the public before” and she presented her monodrama, Something of the Indian Heart. On December 1, she began writing a weekly column for The Green Bay Press-Gazette on Indian affairs. The Appleton Post-Crescent picked up her column the next month, followed by The Sheboygan Press in September. In her February talk to the AAUW in Green Bay, she stated that prejudice was the greatest obstacle in the way of satisfactory adjustment for American Indians.

In April 1939, Angus and three other men circulated a petition to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for L. W. Kemnitz be named manager of Menominee Indian Mills, a million-dollar enterprise. The Menominee believed they should be granted the right to hire their own manager. Both shifts of employees at the mill had already signed the petition. Phebe gave a talk titled “The Mother of Today” to several organizations that winter and spring. In December, The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern picked up a series of Phebe’s articles on American Indian Lore.

<end of part 5>

Gus Lookaround – part 3

August 25, 2022

Gus either enrolled in or worked at Tomah Indian School after getting out of the Navy because he played on their football team. During halftime in a game at Sparta, several Sparta boys ventured onto the thin ice on Perch Lake and broke through. Being the first to notice the boys’ plight, he raced from the football field and plunged into the icy water. He grabbed them and guided them to safety. He then played the second half as if nothing had happened but his overheated body collapsed unconscious as the game ended. He was revived with no apparent ill effects. Gus played at least one game for the Green Bay Packers that year.

August Lookaround disappeared from newspapers until 1922 when Angus Lookaround appeared. Since his Carlisle application was signed by him rather than a parent, it’s fair to say he was going by that name at the time. Why he shifted from August to Angus is unknown. Perhaps because August sounded German where Angus was Scottish caused him to make the change during WWI.

Angus first appeared in print when he signed to play for the Racine, Wisconsin American Legion football team. According to the article, he captained and played quarterback for the Atlantic fleet team during the war and afterward with eastern teams such as the New Haven Stars. The description of his time at Carlisle, while not completely accurate, convinces this writer that August and Angus Lookaround were the same person. A later article stated that Gus was living in Elkhorn, employed by the Holton Band Instrument Company, and that his Menominee name was Te Powis (Club Thrower).

In 1927 The Lake Geneva News announced that Chief Angus Lookaround would be in charge of a muskrat fur operation on the McDonald farm near Elkhorn. Later that year The Post-Crescent of Appleton, Wisconsin announced that Gus had joined the composite Wisconsin American Legion band as a sousaphone player and soloist. The group traveled to Paris, France. The next year he played bass viol in the Plaza Theater orchestra in Burlington, Wisconsin.

<end of part 3

Basketball Cages

June 29, 2021

While reviewing the chapter on the 1908 season from my upcoming book on the complete history of the Carlisle Indian School football team, my wife thought Warner having the football team practice in the basketball cage seemed strange. What was a basketball cage anyway? I had often wondered that myself. As a boy, I would check the local newspaper’s, the Alton Evening Telegraph, “Cage Schedule” to find when the high school basketball games were being played. Much later I learned that basketball games were once played in cages. Of course that meant little to me.

To better answer Ann’s question, a little research quickly found that basketball was once played in 12-feet-tall wire mesh cages that surrounded the courts. Players complained of having tic tac toe  grids imprinted on their bodies from being slammed into the cages. Later, rope mesh replaced the metal, probably because they cost less. But why did they need to cage the players away from spectators?

We have to go back to basketball’s roots. It was invented in 1891 by James Naismith to fill the gap between the end of football season and the beginning of baseball season. In Springfield, Massachusetts where the game was created, only indoor sports were practical that time of the year. Naismith borrowed some rules from other sports, including football’s then out-of-bounds rules. In football, the ball is fumbled out of bounds relatively infrequently but errant and tipped passed are common in the roundball game.

The first few rows of basketball spectators sat just outside the out-of-bounds lines, which meant that players routinely tussled with opponents and fans, who were partisans of one team or the other, for the ball. This quickly became unacceptable to basketball officials, who solved the problem by erecting cages. Why differing from football on out-of-bounds rules wasn’t considered is anybody’s guess.