Posts Tagged ‘Moses Friedman’

How Did Richard Henry Pratt Become a Brigadier General?

May 18, 2021

I had never understood why Richard Henry Pratt was promoted to Brigadier General after he retired. It didn’t make sense to me, but I had never given it enough thought to consider researching it. Now, the answer comes to me when I’m not looking for it. While trying to hammer down the precise date of Pratt’s removal from his position as Carlisle superintendent, I came across a June 12, 1904 New York Times article that discussed the matter. In addition to telling the story of why and how Pratt got fired, it explained how his promotion came about.

A year before this article was written, Pratt wrote President Roosevelt requesting that, when he reached the retirement age of 65 two years later, he be retired as a Brigadier General. Apparently not amused by the request, the President issued an order retiring him at his then current rank of colonel, not Brigadier General.

In a stroke of luck, Congress bailed Pratt out. They passed a bill providing that all officers who served in the Civil War be promoted one grade above the one they were holding when they retired. This is how Pratt became a Brigadier General.

The Devil Is In The Details

August 3, 2012

I recently read in an article about Carlisle School that “[T]he Friedmans attended the local Presbyterian church that Captain Pratt and other staff belonged to.” While not inaccurate, the statement leaves off much of the story. For starters, Carlisle had three Presbyterian churches: First Presbyterian, Second Presbyterian, and Third Presbyterian. Third Presbyterian no longer exists, Second Pres. flourishes in a modern building on the edge of town, and First Pres. sets on the square, where it has since its early days, not far from the Carlisle Indian School campus.

Because of its location and because some students from the school attended First Presbyterian, readers generally assume that Pratt and Friedman attended First Presbyterian.  But a local historian knowledgeable about such things informed me that wasn’t the case. Pratt attended Second Presbyterian instead of the historic First Presbyterian Church on the square where George Washington once worshipped. Wondering why he chose that church when he was raised a Methodist, I perused the Second Presbyterian Church website history section.

Sheldon Jackson was a well-known minister who set up over 100 missions and churches in the western United States and Alaska. He was also the brother-in-law to Rev. George Norcross, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church from 1869 to 1909. Jackson used Carlisle as a home base between trips and met Pratt when he was in town. That Jackson and Pratt had compatible educational philosophies probably established a bond between them that may have extended to Norcross. That Pratt attended Second Presbyterian could be due to meeting Jackson and finding his brother-in-law to be an acceptable minister.

The Devil is in the Details may not be an accurate analogy for researching history. The truth can be found in the details is probably closer to the truth. Sometimes the cause is something prosaic rather than something more exciting or nefarious. But some digging is required to find the details.

John Russeau Part 3

December 14, 2010

A 1951 Rice Lake Chronotype article about john Russeau stated that he had been at Carlisle Indian School from 1906 to 1910. The Carlisle Arrow article about him coaching the Painters football team in 1909 seems to support that he was involved in the football program and that he was at Carlisle in the 1909-10 school year. Further research is needed to learn more about his time there. The 1951 article also included some of Russeau’s observations of Pop Warner that, to my knowledge, haven’t been reported elsewhere but are consistent with what is known about “The Old Fox” including what he has written about himself.

Russeau described Warner as “a strict disciplinarian who would take no excuses for ‘holding back’ by his players and who enforce rigorous training by the whole team. His favorite penalty for rule infractions, according to John, was a long cross-country run, with the player in full football uniform. ‘Pop’ made sure the delinquent did not lag in his run—from one to five or ten miles—by following along on horseback.”

While this might seem far-fetched, it is quite possible because horses could still be found in the stables on Carlisle Barracks. The Model T Ford was not put into production until 1908 and few could afford automobiles before that. Cavalry officer Major William A. Mercer was superintendent of Carlisle Indian School part of the time Russeau was there and kept his horse on campus. Mercer’s successor, Moses Friedman, also had horses—or at least his wife did. The Carlisle Arrow of May 28, 1909 reported that Mrs. Friedman’s horse fell on her and broke her thigh bone. Also, horse were used on the school’s farms and were likely readily available for Warner’s use. It is quite possible that Mercer or Friedman welcomed Warner’s riding as exercise for their horses.

To be continued…

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.

Christmas at Carlisle 100 Years Ago

December 24, 2009

Christmas 1909 was the second under the command of Superintendent Moses Friedman. Although Jewish himself, the school’s observance of the Christian holiday did not change significantly from earlier years. Follows is a page from the school’s newspaper in which that year’s activities are described:

Pretty Boy – part 2

October 1, 2009

Breaking in on the Carlisle Varsity football team was always tough and especially so from 1911 through 1913 because those were particularly strong teams. Pretty Boy most likely played on the second or third team at first and tried to work his way up. His student file from the National Archives doesn’t indicate which trade he was taking up but, because he owned 320 acres of land, he might have been studying farming. He went on outing in April of 1913 to work on William R. Taylor’s farm near Robbinsville, New Jersey. He remained there until August 30, 1913, which allowed him to return just in time for football season. Mr. Taylor gave him high marks as a worker but a controversy arose while he was out in the country.

 F. A. Campbell, Superintendent of Cheyenne River Agency, sent two checks made out to Pretty Boy to Carlisle and they were forwarded to the New Jersey farm. Pretty Boy refused to endorse these checks so they could be credited to his account, saying that Pretty Boy was his dead brother and his name was Thomas Hawk Eagle. Superintendent Friedman eventually had the checks returned to Cheyenne River Agency, stating “…that we are unable to locate this boy at Carlisle.”

Campbell was not easily discouraged. In April 1915, he send two checks (it’s not clear if they were the same checks as sent earlier of not.) The cover letter accompanying the checks included the statement: “The above Indian [Pretty Boy] is one of your pupils.” Friedman responded, “I have your favor of the 36th, enclosing check for Pretty Boy in the sum of $5.70. I understand this boy is known here as Thomas Hawk Eagle and unless advised to the contrary check will be handed to him.”

Next time – Part three of Pretty Boy’s tale.

1908 Carlisle-Denver Game Canceled

May 31, 2009

Like most of the interesting things I find, I unexpectedly stumbled across a November 19, 1908 Nebraska State Journal article that said the upcoming game between the Carlisle Indians and the University of Denver had been canceled. Post-season (about anything after Thanksgiving in those days) road trips were not unusual for the Indians. As early as 1896, they played a night game in the Chicago Coliseum on December 19 against that year’s Champions of the West, Wisconsin. And 1908’s trip wasn’t as long or as elaborate as some. It started early with a November 21 game against Minnesota in Minneapolis. Five days later, the opponent was St. Louis University in St. Louis. Six days after that it was Nebraska in Lincoln. Three days after that was to be the Denver game in Denver. According to the article, Denver officials were informed by Carlisle officials that the game was called off because, “…that leave of absence could not be secured for so long a journey.” The article didn’t say if it was Superintendent Friedman, who was new at his post, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Francis Leupp, or someone else. There had been recent communications with Pop Warner and he had said nothing about a cancelation. Denver didn’t take it lying down.

According to the paper, they went straight to the top: “President Roosevelt has been asked to use his influence in having a contract between representatives of Denver University and the Carlisle Indian school for a football game between the elevens of the two schools lived up to.…they at once asked the president through former United States Senator  Patterson, to request that the Indians be given the leave necessary. A portion of Senator Patterson’s message reads: ‘The Denver boys want a square deal and turn to you to get It for them.’ Governor Buchtel, who is chancellor of Denver University, also wired Congressman Bonynge and Senator Teller to secure, if possible, the Intervention of Commissioner of Indian Affairs Leupp.”

I don’t know what happened next but do know that the Indians won three and lost one on the road trip. The loss was to Minnesota. The wins were over St. Louis, Nebraska and Denver.


Carlisle Quarterback Mike Balenti

Carlisle Quarterback Mike Balenti

Carlisle Indian School Floozies

April 14, 2009

Something that was brought out in the 1914 Joint Congressional Investigation of Carlisle Indian School is that, then as now, a few of the girls were floozies. Bertha D. Canfield, a teacher, raised the issues of morals during her testimony.

Mrs. Canfield. “…He [Superintendent Friedman] failed to assist and cooperate with Miss Gaither in most serious, cases of discipline with the girls. He ordered Miss Gaither to go with the girls to the gymnasium. She protested, saying there was no one on duty at girls’ quarters; that it was unsafe to leave the punished girls there alone. But at his request she was obliged to go; the result was that some boys got into girls’ quarters and spent the evening with the girls. __________ __________ whose immoral character was well known, was one of these girls. After all this was allowed to sing in public entertainments before the pupils and was taken to public places with the band, to Harrisburg to sing before the governor, and other public places, singing “Redwing” and dressing in Indian costume. This was done against the wish of the matron. Miss Gaither had requested before this that __________ _________ be sent home. If the matron’s wish had been complied with in the beginning, it would have been better for __________ __________ and her associates….”

An unnamed female student supported Mrs. Canfield’s testimony.

Miss _____________. You have heard the _____________ _____________ case brought up. She was a girl that was not of a very good character. She had a very good voice, and she was taken out several times with the band, and on one occasion she sang for the governor in Harrisburg and was put as a model for the school. And she was also the star here at commencement time, 1912, I think it was, when she sang. When they put up girls of that character that is only leading weaker girls to evil doings, because they think if a girl of that standing can rise up and be put as a model before the school they also can do those things.

Out of prurient interest and using the clues presented in the testimony, I researched Carlisle Indian School publications to determine who this hussy was. After I thought I had figured out who she was, I searched the document concerning the investigation for her name and found it. Interested readers can duplicate my research to learn for themselves exactly who this floozy was.

Thanks to Matt Bentley, we now know where to find the documentation concerning the 1914 Joint Congressional Investigation into Carlisle Indian School on-line. It can be found at:

Common Misconceptions About Carlisle Indian School

January 26, 2009

Google Alerts inform me of “news” on the internet regarding Lone Star Dietz, most of which I ignore. Although the most recent alert was a message largely concerned with Moses Friedman, that blog contains some misconceptions that are probably widely held. Matt is understandably confused by some of the entries on Friedman’s draft card (below) but those inconsistencies aren’t the worst problems. The misconceptions I consider serious are discussed in the paragraphs that follow.

  1. He could pass off the Moses as a given name perhaps, but not Friedman, especially considering that students kept an anglicized version of their Native name.

While it is true that some students were assigned anglicized versions of their original names, my experience researching Carlisle Indian School football players has been that the Anglicized names were generally assigned to an elder in the family, often at the agency in which the family was recorded. By the time Carlisle started fielding a football team in the 1890s, there had been so much intermarriage between Indians and whites that the majority of players I researched carried the family name of a white ancestor. For a small example, I seriously doubt if any of the six Carlisle Indians who were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame carried Anglicized names, bastardized perhaps, as in the case of Guyon. Those names are:

a.     Albert Exendine (may have originally been Oxendine)

b.    Joe Guyon (probably Guion originally)

c.     James Johnson

d.    Ed Rogers

e.    Jim Thorpe

f.      Gus Welch

Had Friedman’s father married an Indian woman, he could easily been named Moses Friedman, although I am unaware of any evidence that indicates that he has Indian heritage. The point is that his name said nothing, one way or the other, about whether he had Indian heritage or not. Another point is that the Anglicized versions that are known for these men, Bright Path (Jim Thorpe) for one, are nothing like the names they were known by at Carlisle.

  1. My initial thoughts were of Lone Star Dietz, but why would he attempt to pass himself off as Indian with such a German sounding name?

As shown by the sample of European names above, by the 1890s a mixed-blood Indian could carry almost any European surname. Germans may have intermarried less than the French, English and Irish, but surely some did. Having the last name of Dietz (or Deitz as his father spelled it), is probably the weakest argument against him.

  1. However, Native-Americans were not exempt from the draft, …

Non-citizen Indians were exempt from the draft, but citizens weren’t. Indians as a group weren’t granted citizenship until after WWI, so most were not required to serve. However, the fact that so many volunteered and served with distinction speaks well for their bravery and patriotism. A significant number even went to Canada to enlist before the U. S. entered the war.

  1. As an aside, even though I have his date of birth I cannot find any Moses Friedman born in America, let alone Cincinatti [sic], on that date or even in 1874!

It was not unusual at all for births not to be recorded at that time. My own paternal grandmother had no birth certificate and she was born over a decade later.

Friedman’s draft registration is surely confusing, most likely because he was confused. As to why he would check the white box for race and also check the citizen box for Indian: my guess is that, knowing people of any race could be citizens or non-citizens, he ignored the Indian heading when he checked the citizen box. I am unaware of any attempt by Friedman to claim Indian heritage.

A look at his then current employment might shed some light as to why he put Carlisle as his permanent address. He was then doing “special work as stockman for NY Supreme Court” in Taos, NM. After resigning from his position as Superintendent of Carlisle Indian School and being acquitted in Federal Court, Friedman was probably taking any work he could get. His work in Taos sounds like it was temporary and Friedman may have had as yet established a permanent location after leaving Carlisle.


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