Posts Tagged ‘Joe Little Twig’

Miscellaneous Research

November 4, 2010

This blog deals with some miscellaneous research findings and issues that aren’t closely related to each other.

An event that helped trigger my interest in researching the Craighead naturalists was mentioned in this blog some time ago when I noticed that Frank Craighead, age 12, agreed to stock a terrarium for Miss Paull’s classroom at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Later, I noticed that Frank’s older sister, Rebecca, visited Miss Paull at the Indian School. Now, I learn that Rebecca graduated from Carlisle High School and gave an oration at her graduation ceremony in 1906 entitled “Nature Is God’s Mirror.” Frank graduated from CHS two years later. At his ceremony, Carlisle Indian School Superintendent Moses Friedman conferred the diplomas. This was yet another example of the Indian School’s involvement with the local community.

Today, I visit the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio with multiple objectives. First, I want to photograph Leon Boutwell’s Oorang Indians uniform. I have seen several black and white photos of these maroon and orange outfits but haven’t encountered any that are in color. I read where Boutwell’s descendents donated his suit to the HoF and would love to see it. Who knows, it might make a great cover photo for “Carlisle Indians in the NFL.”

Also while at the HoF, I want to do a little research on players about whom I need more information. Chief among them is Joe Little Twig, another Oorang Indian. He played in the NFL for a few years after the Oorang franchise folded and eventually settled in Canton, Ohio. His early life is unclear. Little Twig is reputed to have attended Carlisle Indian School but I have not found any evidence of that. Perhaps, he was enrolled under a different name but I don’t know what that was. Here’s hoping that I find more information on him today.

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Treasure Trove of New Carlisle Indian School Photos

July 22, 2010

The current edition of the Cumberland County Historical Society’s newsletter arrived earlier this week. When I got around to reading it, something in Richard Tritt’s column jumped off the page at me. William Winneshiek’s granddaughter recently donated her father’s photo album. Even though it is time to get Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals to the printer, I couldn’t resist running in to see if there was a photo of Winneshiek I’d like to add to the book. To put it mildly, I was overwhelmed. I wasn’t prepared for the number of photos in that album or the scope of them.

William Winneshiek arrived at Carlisle on June 5, 1911 and withdrew on October 19, 1915. His relatively short time at Carlisle and having never played on the varsity football team inclines one to expect mostly personal photo to be in his album and few that are directly related to Carlisle Indian School. Boy, was I surprised. Not only were there many photos in the album of school activities and of other students, several were photos that neither Richard Tritt nor I had seen before. For example, I had not previously seen any documentation of Little Twig having been at Carlisle. He is thought to have been here but no documents or photos had been seen to place him here before. The album includes several photos of Joel Wheelock’s All-Indian Band from 1929 and a number of photos of the Oorang Indians, including a group photo of the players in street clothes with two of the players’ wives. Good stuff.

After seeing what he had, and knowing what I do about Winneshiek, it all makes sense. When he left Carlisle in 1915, he remained in the area, attending Lebanon Valley College for a bit, working for the railroad in Altoona, playing with various bands, and moving permanently to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, all the while playing in bands and keeping in touch with old friends. His 1936 letter to Hugh Miller recorded a then-recent visit to Carlisle and thanked Miller for letting him have some photos from some unspecified baskets. It all makes sense now.

Unexpected Carlisle Indians in the NFL

August 12, 2009

While researching Carlisle Indian School alums who played in the NFL, I came across an unexpected name—Frank Lonestar. Everyone is well aware that Lone Star Dietz coached the Redskins in 1933 and 1934 but I bet few know that Frank Lonestar played for the Columbus Panhandles in 1920, the league’s inaugural year. A website stated that he played three games at guard for the Panhandles that year. So far, I’ve found newspaper coverage for one game with his name in the lineup. That one was a losing effort against the Detroit Heralds.

I was well aware that Frank, a Chippewa from Wisconsin, was much involved in extracurricular activities such as the Invincible Debating Society and was an officer in his class (the same one as Gus Welch), but had no idea that he was a football player of note. He probably played for his shop team, the Printers, but many boys did that. I was unaware of him being on the varsity squad and doubt that he was. He apparently left Carlisle around 1911 to practice his trade after getting useful experience printing school publications. But that’s about all I know about him.

Also on the 1920 Columbus Panhandles, at least for awhile, was Littleboy, or someone with a similar name. The October 17, 1920 Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette included a photo of four stars the local team, the Friars, would be facing when taking on the Columbus Panhandles later that day. Included in the photo and expected lineup was someone named Littleboy. A little research should determine if this person was Carlisle’s Little Boy. This Littleboy played left halfback in the Columbus-Detroit game mentioned previously.

I’m also learning about another Carlisle student who played in the NFL but doesn’t appear to have starred on the legendary Indian teams. Joe “Little Twig” Johnson began his NFL career with the 1922 Oorang Indians, but, unlike the majority of his teammates, had a significant pro career after Oorang’s demise. It appears that the Carlisle Indians were more involved in the early NFL than I thought.