Posts Tagged ‘Henry Roberts’

Rush Roberts May Have Been White

February 23, 2010

As I sat down to write today’s blog on an entirely different topic, a comment came in from a relative of Henry Roberts. Henry played football for Carlisle for just one year, in 1911. Prior to coming to Carlisle, he had attended Haskell Institute. The commenter, who wants others related to, or knowledgeable about, Rush Roberts to get in touch with him. In his comment, he mentioned that Henry Roberts wrote a story when in fourth grade that can be found on the web. With a little googling, I found what I think is that article: An annotation by Henry’s brother, George, that was later attached to the story, gives some background information about Rush Roberts that even he may not have known. George wrote that Rush Roberts was not born a Pawnee, that he was a white, perhaps German or of German descent, whose parents had been killed by Sioux. Later, some Skidi happened along to find the orphaned boy. Sitting Eagle and Roaming Princess took him in and raised him as their own.

George opined that the reason Rush’s adopted Skidi mother sent him to the new Pawnee Reservation School was because orphans were often sent there. Hampton Institute records indicate that Rush attended that school for a time as well. This is the first time I have read someone acknowledge that Indian orphans were often sent to government schools. In my research of Carlisle Indian School football players, I have observed that many, probably the majority, had lost at least one parent before coming to the school.

The commenter also mentioned that a photo can be found on the Internet of Rush Roberts with seven other surviving Pawnee scouts. In his opinion, Rush had Caucasian features. Here is a link to a site that has a number of photos including one that may be the one the commenter referred to: I’ll leave to the reader to determine if Rush had Caucasian features.

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.”

Henry Roberts Gets Married

July 28, 2008

While looking up information on Carlisle’s participation in the 1912 Olympics, I stumbled across an article from Carlisle in the Washington Post that had nothing to do with the Olympics. So, we’ll take a day off from our Olympic coverage for a little romance.




Hurt in Game Against Syracuse, First Thing He Remembers on Regaining Consciousness Is Face of Pretty Indian Maid—Football Eleven Gives Happy Couple Wedding Banquet.


Carlisle, Pa., Jan 17 —As the climax to a four months romance that began when the groom was Injured on the football field, and was nursed in the Carlisle Indian School Hospital here by the bride, Henry Roberts, 23 years old, of Pawnee, Okla and Miss Rose Denomie, 19 years old, of Ashland Wis, were married here at the home of M. Friedman, superintendent of the school, today.

Henry Roberts, Pawnee, played left end on the great Carlisle 1911 team and, before his injury, was Rose Denomie’s football hero. As she nursed him back to health he determined to win the Chippewa maiden’s hand. He studied for a civil service examination and passed with high marks for which he was rewarded with a $900 a year clerical job (not bad for any American in 1911) at Shoshone Indian School in Wyoming. Armed with a good-paying job and restored health, he proposed.


Because Rose was Catholic, they were married by Father Strock in Superintendent Moses Friedman’s residence and were feted by his teammates. Immediately after the celebration they caught a train for Wind River Agency, Wyoming. In November The Red Man reported that they were in Odanah, Wisconsin where he was employed by the government as a stenographer. Jack Newcombe described Roberts as the one who “epitomized the success story Carlisle cared to boast of: a business career with an oil firm in Oklahoma, a home on a hilltop in Pawnee not far from the reserve where he was born, a happy marriage with the girl he had met at Carlisle.” In a 1959 interview Roberts mentioned that before retiring he had helped build the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. From bows and arrows to atom bombs!


Next time it will be back to the Olympics – if nothing interferes.


 Henry Roberts shortly before his wedding