Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

ATF Came Calling Today

March 6, 2012

Today, I received an email completely out of the blue from the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The message was from an ATF historian wanting to know if I had any photographs of one-time agent William Gardner. What made the request all-the-more surprising was that, when I was researching Gardner’s life, the Department of Justice disavowed having any knowledge of him, even after I appealed their initial decision. Obviously, Justice does know something about the Untouchable who busted up breweries alongside Eliot Ness many decades ago.

While talking with the ATF historian, I learned that the Bureau had undergone several reorganizations over the years and the Untouchables’ files had been thought to be lost somewhere along the way. Recently, eight of the files were found, including Bill Gardner’s. Perhaps the person writing a definitive biography of Eliot Ness uncovered them while doing his research. Now, I must wait for copies to arrive to see what remains in his file and to learn some things I didn’t know about his time with the Justice Department.

Apparently, Eliot Ness, who was a physically small man who played in a very rough game with the likes of Al Capone, recruited Gardner, a large powerful man, for his muscle. Ness may have wanted Gardner for protection both when out on operations and to be with him should the thugs attempt reprisals against him. Ness has written that he initially intended to use Gardner in undercover work but, immediately after seeing him, changed his mind. A six-foot-tall Sioux with a muscular build would not blend in well in Chicago; he would definitely not blend into the background. Gardner’s experience on the football field probably served him as well as his Dickinson law degree when he was raiding those bootleggers. It will be interesting to see what is lurking in his file.

More on Carlisle vs the Big Ten

October 16, 2011

Several details regarding Carlisle’s dominance over the Big Ten teams they played need to be addressed. First off is when the games were played. The first of these games was played in 1896 and the last in 1909. 1908 is the last year for a post-season road trip as the Penn State games were regular season games played against an in-state team that wasn’t their equal. 1907 was the only one of the seasons in which these games were played that Carlisle had a one-loss season. None were played in Carlisle’s 1911-13 glory days.  Warner complained that the bigger teams stopped scheduling games with Carlisle after they became strong. It appears that he was accurate in the case of Big Ten teams.

Eight of these games, a slight minority, were played when Warner wasn’t coaching Carlisle. He did coach the Indians against Chicago in 1907, Minnesota in 1907 and 1908, Northwestern in 1903, Nebraska in 1908 and Penn State in 1907-1909. Penn State was improving at the time but hadn’t reached the level of Carlisle’s major opponents. Pop Warner considered the victory over Amos Alonzo Stagg’s 1907 Chicago team to be one of his greatest because Stagg thought he had his strongest team to date that year. 1907 was the first year in which Carlisle was defeated but one time. It was also the first year the Indians defeated Harvard, one of the Big Three.  The only loss was to another of the Big Three, Princeton. It was also the first year that Carlisle beat two of the Big Four, Penn and Harvard.

1908 marked the end of Carlisle’s post-season trips to play Big Ten teams. That year the Indians defeated Nebraska in the teams’ only meeting 37-6 and they lost to Minnesota 11-6, in their last meeting with the Gophers. Newspaper accounts alluded to something happening in the game to sour the two schools against playing each other, but I haven’t uncovered the details yet.

Carlisle vs the Big Ten

October 12, 2011

This year Nebraska joins the Big Ten bringing the number of schools in the Big Ten up to twelve and leaving the Big 12 with only 10. It came to mind that the Carlisle Indians once played Nebraska in 1908 because a history professor at Nebraska is using “Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs” as a textbook. Other than Penn State, these games were usually post-season road trips played against the Champions of the West or strong contenders for that title. That the Indians went 13-3-1 in road games against these much larger schools. This is more evidence that shows Carlisle’s record needs no embellishment.


School Times


Wins Losses Ties Years
Chicago 1 1 0 0 1907*
Illinois 2 2 0 0 1897, 1898
Michigan 1 0 1 0 1901*+
Minnesota 3 2 1 0 1906*, 1907, 1908
Nebraska 1 1 0 0 1908
Northwestern 1 1 0 0 1903*
Ohio State 1 1 0 0 1904
Penn State 6 4 1 1 1896, 1905-1909
Wisconsin 1 1 0 0 1896*
Total 17 13 3 1  


1. * denotes Big Ten champions or co-champions.

2. + denotes national champions.