Posts Tagged ‘Dennison Wheelock’

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.

Dennison Wheelock Sent His Son to Carlisle

April 1, 2010

While working on Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, the idea came to me that some tidbits of information may be in Dennison and James Wheelocks’ files at the National Archives that may also pertain to their younger brothers, Joel and Hugh. The copies of their files arrived this afternoon. Dennison’s file opened to an August 1914 letter from him to Oscar Lipps, Acting Superintendent of Carlisle Indian School. Dennison graduated from Carlisle and was later bandmaster at Haskell Institute and Carlisle. After touring with his own band, he returned to West DePere, Wisconsin where he practiced law and participating as an officer of the Society of American Indians. His letter began:

“My sister, Martha Wheelock, aged twenty years, whose term expired at Flandreau, South Dakota last June, and is now with me in West DePere, desires to be admitted to the Carlisle Indian School as a pupil. I am very anxious that she shall go if possible. She is in eighth grade. My son, Edmund, who was born at the Carlisle Indian School, in1896, is also very anxious to have the benefit of a diploma from Carlisle on account of the prestige it carries with it throughout the West….”

Both were admitted and were attending Carlisle within a month. Both were active in school life and joined literary societies shortly after enrolling, Martha in the Susans and Edmund in the Standards.

Edmund had been attending public school in Wisconsin and doing well but his father was concerned about the environment. “Unfortunately, however, DePere is a city of less than five thousand inhabitants, yet has in the neighborhood of twenty-two, or twenty-four saloons, and on account of what is falsely termed liberal sentiment, the saloon keepers do not hold strictly to the law of the land, and as a result we see young boys very frequently under the influence of liquor.”

Dennison Wheelock was pragmatic about where Indian children should be educated. He preferred that they be enrolled in the public schools unless there was good reason to send them elsewhere. His experience at Carlisle evidently convinced him that it was a better environment for his son than his home town.

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.