Archive for the ‘William Gardner’ Category

School’s Closing Not Inevitable

January 14, 2010

Conventional wisdom has it that Carlisle Indian School declined after the 1914 congressional investigation until it died a natural death in 1918. I came across some items that raise doubt about that conclusion. The May 24, 1918 issue of The Carlisle Arrow and Red Man listed the schedule for the upcoming football season. The 9-games scheduled included such powerhouses as Pitt and Army but didn’t include many of the powers the Indians faced during their glory days. It seems unlikely that this schedule would have been arranged if the school was expected to close before the start of the next school year.

Newspaper coverage of the school’s commencement activities held on June 6 did not even hint that the school was about to close. Mid-June newspapers announced that the government was considering the lengthening of Carlisle’s enrollment by two years to allow students to complete a college preparatory program. In addition to the educational advantages, the school would be able to attract star athletes. It wasn’t reported if this bill was ever decided upon, probably because it was overtaken by events.

In mid-July the government announced that the school was to be closed and the army was taking Carlisle Barracks back to be used as a hospital to treat soldiers that were wounded in WWI. The transition took place in less than six weeks, so it is fair to assume that it was not as orderly as it would have been had it been planned for some period of time.

Enrollment was down to about 680 students at the time of closing, due in significant part to students and potential students enlisting in the armed forces. Carlisle and the Indian community at large were overrepresented in the military although non-citizen Indians were not subject to the draft. Some even went to Canada to join their forces before the U. S. entered the war. After the U. S. entered the fray, Carlisle school newspapers were filled with items about Carlisle alums who had joined up. Those who were commissioned officers, such as Gus Welch, Frank Mt. Pleasant and William Gardner, received extra coverage.

It would have been interesting to see what might have happened if the army had delayed its decision until November 11, 1918. It will also be interesting to read what Gen. Pratt had to say about the school’s closing.

1908 Flag Mystery

July 8, 2009

George Gardner’s granddaughter sent me a scan of a photo of the 1908 Carlisle Indian School band. George’s brother, William, was better known than George due to his exploits on the football field, the sidelines and alongside Eliot Ness. However, George was quite active at Carlisle and also played on the football team. In the photo below, he is in the second row from the top, third from the left.

George’s great-grandson doesn’t think the flag in the photo is a 1908 flag. My eyes aren’t good enough to determine whether it is or not. On Saturday, November 16, 1908 the areas that had previously been known as Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were admitted into the union as our 46th state. The flag necessarily changed as a result because a star was added.

Below are images of the 45-star flag that was used from 1896 to 1908 and the flag that was used from 1908 to 1912. My eyes aren’t good enough to determine which is in the photo, so I did a little detective work. This photo appeared on the front page of the January 31, 1908 edition of Carlisle’s school newspaper, The Arrow. The photo does not appear to have been taken in the winter. The photo had to have been taken before January 31, 1908 and in good weather. Therefore, it was likely taken when the flag had only 45 stars.

Perhaps someone with sharper eyes or a higher resolution photo can prove me wrong. Keep in mind that US flags never expire. It is always proper to display an older version of the flag provided it is in good shape.

 carlisle band 1908

US Flag 1896-1908

us-1896

US Flag 1908-1912

us-1908

100th Post

February 23, 2009

After posting the most recent message I noticed that it was the 100th one since the inception of the blog last March. That means that if you’ve read each and every message, you have read 30,000 words (100 messages X ~300 words each) in a little less than a year. On March 7th it will be a year. Something else just happened – minor brag alert – Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs was selected as a Finalist for the Reader Views 2008 Literary Awards in the Biography category. The most rewarding thing about blogging is that relatives of Carlisle Indian School students sometimes become aware that some information about their ancestors is available. For instance, last week someone asked about George Gardner, the brother of William Gardner. I didn’t have much on him but I was able to point the person to places that likely do have records and photos. Over the weekend I was looking for something in John S. Steckbeck’s Fabulous Redmen and opened the book to page 38. Opposite page 38 is a page full of player photos. In the upper right corner standing next to Wauseka is G. Gardner. That has to be George. I will tag this message with his name so that people searching for him stand a better chance of finding this. If you want to communicate with me privately, email me at Tom@Tuxedo-Press.com. I don’t post emails on the blog without prior permission. Sometimes I don’t post comments if they seem too personal in nature. This blog has helped some long-lost family members to get in touch with each other. That has been the most rewarding part of this endeavor. Now it’s back to working on my upcoming release, “Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals,” the first of a series that should be of interest to children as well as adults.

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.