Posts Tagged ‘Carlisle Indian School Band’

The Carlisle Indian School March

August 5, 2010

Some time ago, I found the sheet music for “Carlisle Indian School March” at the Library of Congress and ordered a copy. What arrived was a piano score with no arrangement for band instruments. Not being able to play the piano or find someone willing to take the time to learn the tune, I was out of luck. I feared that I would never hear it played. But last week I discovered something that could make it possible to hear it. MuseScore is free software that allows you to key in music scores, print sheet music for them and, most important to me, play it back.

The software downloaded easily onto my computer, but not after having a scare. Because my machine was running short of disk space, I attempted to download it onto my wife’s laptop which has ample space available. Very early into the process, her computer uttered a brief whimper and emitted some smoke. That was followed by the all-too-familiar smell of burnt electronics. People on the MuseScore support forum assured me that it was a coincidence. Logically, I knew that but my wife’s computer had just died while I was using it. So, I intrepidly ventured forward and installed the software from without a hitch.

Entering all the notes, etc. wasn’t easy, especially given that I don’t play the piano and my music education ended with playing the bass clarinet in the jr. high band very early in the Kennedy administration. But it was completed over the weekend. It can be heard at Carlisle Indian School March.

Now, the challenge is to get it arranged for the various instruments in a marching band. Since I know nothing about arranging music, I must rely on the kindness of others. A Dickinson College professor has expressed interest in the project. It would be great to hear this historic music played by a real band.

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.

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 Flag 1908-1912


Carlisle Indian School Floozies

April 14, 2009

Something that was brought out in the 1914 Joint Congressional Investigation of Carlisle Indian School is that, then as now, a few of the girls were floozies. Bertha D. Canfield, a teacher, raised the issues of morals during her testimony.

Mrs. Canfield. “…He [Superintendent Friedman] failed to assist and cooperate with Miss Gaither in most serious, cases of discipline with the girls. He ordered Miss Gaither to go with the girls to the gymnasium. She protested, saying there was no one on duty at girls’ quarters; that it was unsafe to leave the punished girls there alone. But at his request she was obliged to go; the result was that some boys got into girls’ quarters and spent the evening with the girls. __________ __________ whose immoral character was well known, was one of these girls. After all this was allowed to sing in public entertainments before the pupils and was taken to public places with the band, to Harrisburg to sing before the governor, and other public places, singing “Redwing” and dressing in Indian costume. This was done against the wish of the matron. Miss Gaither had requested before this that __________ _________ be sent home. If the matron’s wish had been complied with in the beginning, it would have been better for __________ __________ and her associates….”

An unnamed female student supported Mrs. Canfield’s testimony.

Miss _____________. You have heard the _____________ _____________ case brought up. She was a girl that was not of a very good character. She had a very good voice, and she was taken out several times with the band, and on one occasion she sang for the governor in Harrisburg and was put as a model for the school. And she was also the star here at commencement time, 1912, I think it was, when she sang. When they put up girls of that character that is only leading weaker girls to evil doings, because they think if a girl of that standing can rise up and be put as a model before the school they also can do those things.

Out of prurient interest and using the clues presented in the testimony, I researched Carlisle Indian School publications to determine who this hussy was. After I thought I had figured out who she was, I searched the document concerning the investigation for her name and found it. Interested readers can duplicate my research to learn for themselves exactly who this floozy was.

Thanks to Matt Bentley, we now know where to find the documentation concerning the 1914 Joint Congressional Investigation into Carlisle Indian School on-line. It can be found at: