Posts Tagged ‘Fancy Eagle’

Rush Roberts’ Heritage

August 22, 2011

It is always gratifying when descendants and relatives of Carlisle Indian School football players comment on this blog. Even more gratifying is when they provide information not known and is not easily found. Most gratifying of all is when relatives use this blog as a way to get in touch with each other. All of these things happened last week.

Henry Roberts, left end on the great 1911 team, was the son of Rush Roberts, a legendary figure in Pawnee history. I blogged about Rush Roberts a couple of times in March and April 2010 after discovering things about him I didn’t previously know. Since that time, descendants of Rush have posted comments regarding family genealogy on those blogs, with last week having the greatest concentration of new information.

Unfortunately, comments on older posts don’t show up on the first page of the blog. Readers must search to find them. The easiest way is to search for Rush Roberts and open the comments on the posts relating to him. You should find these to be interesting reading.

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More About Rush Roberts

March 3, 2010

The commenter who raised the issue about Rush Roberts’s heritage found his obituary and forwarded it. The March 11, 1958 issue of The Lawton Constitution included the following extract:

 Roberts on Sept. 3, 1876 was the youngest of 100 Pawnees chosen as scouts for soldiers assigned the job of avenging Gen. George A. Custer’s death In the battle of Little Bighorn. He enlisted under his boyhood name of Ahrekahrard.

 Roberts was born in Nebraska and came to Oklahoma on a long trek with his tribe in 1874-75 when the government established a Pawnee reservation.

 Roberts was first married in 1882 to an Indian girl whose name translated into English as Captive Princess. She died a year later. Polygamy was then customary in the tribe and he next married three daughters of Kaheeka, principal chief of the Skedee band of Shawnees.

 On Sept. 18, 1876 Roberts and his fellow recruits were formally mustered into the army at Sidney, Neb. In a little over a month after his enlistment, Roberts, then 17, was in battle….

 Roberts won high praise from white troop leaders he served, one officer recalling: “Ahrekahrard, the youngest Pawnee scout in Gen. Crook’s fall and winter campaign of 1876-77, was with us on every occasion, he was quiet, but brave as any man could be and be charged with us into the villages as fearlessly as a warrior should.”

 Roberts subsequently traveled with the William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody’s Wild West Show in 1884-85….

 The commenter wrote, “shortly after his return took Lou Howell as his wife. She shows up in 1888-1896 annual Indian censuses as his wife. These same censuses have Lou’s younger sister Rose listed as ‘Living by Herself’ next after Rush & Lou[Howell]. Rose then shows up in the annual census’ as Rush’s wife from 1888 until her death in 1928.”

Was Rose his sister by blood? Was she really his wife, or just living in his house? Perhaps future research will find the answers to these questions.

Indians Were Poor Marksmen

January 10, 2009

Over a century before Rush Limbaugh roamed the airwaves, Rush Roberts, whose Pawnee name translates to Fancy Eagle, roamed the Great Plains. While researching the life of Henry Roberts, left end on the great Carlisle Indian School football team of 1911, for my upcoming book, Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, I came across the fact that Henry’s father was a quite colorful character.

In 1876, at age 16 or 17, Rush was recruited as a scout for the U. S. Cavalry, becoming the youngest man to fight under Gen. Crook in this campaign. It is documented that he participated in the November 25, 1876 Dull Knife-Mackenzie Fight (aka Battle of Bates Creek) as a member of the Pawnee Battalion. The Pawnees were credited for fighting with exceptional capability against one of their ancient enemies. He was awarded his father’s name, Fancy Eagle, for his bravery in battle. Almost a decade after the war ended, he enrolled as a student at Hampton Institute in Virginia. He stayed there for two years and later sent two of his children, one of whom was Henry Roberts. Rush eventually became a chief of the Skidi Pawnees and lived to an old age. His exploits ares mentioned in We Remember: the history of the U. S. Cavalry from 1776 to the present by Edward L. Daily.

In an interview about the plains wars, Rush stated that, in general, Indians weren’t good marksmen with rifles. The problem was that they didn’t understand how to use the rear sight and wind gauge to hit their targets at long distances. However, they were excellent at shooting from horseback, particularly at short range. Rush explained, “The group formations of the army made a bigger target, but army marksmanship was better and steadier.”