Posts Tagged ‘Oscar Lipps’

Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals Finally Off to printer

August 11, 2010

The files for Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals were just uploaded to the printer. Meeting the September 1 release date will be touch and go, but I think we will make it. The project was moving along smoothly until William Winneshiek threw a monkey wrench into things. First, he compiled a large photo album of Carlisle Indian School people that his granddaughter recently donated to the Cumberland County Historical Society. Some of these photos were added to the book and not all went into the chapter about him. For example, one was a photo of Joel Wheelock in his Oneida regalia that he wore when leading his band. While trying to correlate a photo with other information, I came across a newspaper article that claimed he was part of Byrd’s Second Antarctic Expedition. That took time to run down. But, at last, the book is on its way to being printed.

Something that didn’t find its way into the book was Winneshiek’s commission as 1st Lieutenant in the Carlisle Indian School Corps of Cadets. This commission, which is in the form of a diploma, is quite impressive. Some small details are important. Note that Oscar Lipps signed in the space indicated for the superintendent’s signature. The date of this commission, January 3, 1913, was a full year before the Joint Congressional Inquiry took place and Lipps was not at Carlisle at the time. Then, he was a bureaucrat located elsewhere, in the northwest most likely. His title was Supervisor U. S. Indian Service. A year later, he came to Carlisle as Acting Superintendent.

When the U. S. entered WWI, Carlisle students flocked to the recruiting stations. Several were commissioned as officers on large part due to their training at Carlisle Indian School. Others were quickly promoted to noncoms. The text of this commission sheds a little more light on the cadet program than we previously had.

Pretty Boy – part 5

October 12, 2009

Apparently, raising cattle wasn’t a very profitable undertaking at that time on that land because the Carlisle superintendent requested that the Cheyenne River Agency superintendent find him employment: “Thomas has made a most excellent record at Carlisle and it is hoped an opportunity will present itself to put him to work where he can earn ready cash while caring for his property.” Upon Hawkeagle’s arrival, the agency superintendent responded, “We will do all we can to find work for him but as there are no vacancies in the regular force any employment given to him would be of irregular nature and temporary only.” About a year later, in October 1916—after the cattle were fattened, one assumes—the Cheyenne River Agency superintendent wrote Ford to reinstate Thomas. That attempt was not immediately successful because the Chief Clerk at Carlisle wrote Ford recommending that they hire him. In ensuing correspondence, Superintendent Oscar Lipps gave Thomas a good recommendation. It is not known if he ever got back on at Ford or not, but it seems unlikely because he registered for the WWI draft at Cherry Creek, South Dakota.

Tribal rolls indicate that Thomas Hawkeagle was born in 1894. However, his WWI draft registration has his date of birth as April 14, 1893. Birthdates are often fuzzy for people born in that time period.

The 1920 Federal Census lists him as a single head-of-household living with Margaret Wolf (55), his widowed aunt, and her daughter, Nellie Wolf (16), his cousin. The 1920 tribal census lists him as married to Nellie. In 1921 they are also listed as married with son Claude born on August 4, 1920. The 1937 roll, the last one available to me, lists Thomas and Nellie as having four children: Claude, Ben H., Sylvester and Irene Matilda. Beginning with the 1927 roll, his family name was shifted to Eagle Hawk.

And this is all I know about the man who was once called Pretty Boy.

Carlisle Indians Built Model Ts

October 17, 2008

In 2003 three of my brothers and I took our soon-to-be 90-year-old father for a tour of old car museums in the Midwest. At Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI we took a ride in a Model T. That was all it took to whet his appetite for the Tin Lizzie. Before I knew it one appeared at my doorstep. Dan lives in Illinois but the 1915 brass radiator T he found was in New Jersey. The seller agreed to deliver it as far as my place in Pennsylvania. (See photo below)

This being the 100th anniversary of the Model T, one looks for connections between it and the Carlisle Indian School. Some employee surely had one but I haven’t bothered to explore that link because a much stronger tie exists.

Shortly after Henry Ford increased wages to $5 per day and reduced the workday from 9 hours to 8, a move that other industrialists thought would bankrupt him and possibly themselves as they tried to compete for workers, Superintendent Oscar Lipps arranged to have some Carlisle students enter the training program at Ford. In January 1915 6 boys left to put Americans on the road. At Ford they were placed in a training program which consisted of both classroom training and hands–on work in the various aspects of the Highland Park plant. Lipps received feedback on the boys’ performance and found it necessary to upgrade part of the academic program at Carlisle to better prepare students for positions in modern industrial concerns.

The boys performed well and received good evaluations from Ford. So good in fact, that additional students were sent to Ford. By mid-summer, 19 boys were in the Ford training program. In September most, including the football players, returned to Carlisle, but 9 remained at Ford. In December, after football season was over, 16 more, including several who had previously been in the Ford program returned to Detroit. By January 1916, Joe Gilman, Chippewa, set a Ford record by assembling a Model T in 2 hours and 50 minutes, breaking the previous record of 3 hours.

End of Part I

Ann cranks while Tom impatiently honks horn

Ann cranks while Tom impatiently honks horn