Posts Tagged ‘Rice Lake Hall of Fame’

John Russeau Needs Further Research

December 24, 2010

Researching John Russeau’s adult life in Rice Lake should be much easier than finding the details of what he did before WWI. As to his military service, one would expect that the Canadian Army would have records on its WWI units and soldiers as does its U.S. counterpart. That John Russeau wasn’t a star football player at Carlisle Indian School doesn’t diminish what he did later in Rice Lake. The people who named a field after him and voted him into the Rice Lake Hall of Fame knew him and are well aware of his contributions to the town. “Indian John” earned these honors with his dedication and hard work.

I would recommend to his many descendants that they get together to look at all the artifacts John left behind. They should also commit to paper all the stories he told them and any other things they have heard about him. Different people could take on specific tasks. For example, one person could research his exploits as a boxer who fought under the moniker “Black Jack.” That project should yield some interesting stories in itself.

Someone else could investigate his time at Hayward Indian School. Another could look into his time at Reserve. Another could research John’s ancestors. Still another could pour over the Chronotype, day by day, from about 1900 forward. That job might need to be broken up by decades or something so more than one person can work on it. From experience I can say with certainty that it will be tedious. After finishing the Chronotype, other local papers could be considered.

John Russeau led a long, full life and had a positive influence on his community. His life story deserves to be recorded, not just for his family but for the community at large. Doing this would be a greater honor for him than any that have been previously bestowed.

Have a very Merry Christmas.

John Russeau Part 4

December 17, 2010

Reviews of the programs for the athletic banquets for years 1908-10 (Carlisle’s athletic banquets covered calendar years not school years) found no mention of John Russeau (in any of the various spellings). That means that he didn’t get enough playing time in any of the varsity sports to letter at Carlisle. That he appeared in the 1908 team photo shows that he was on the team, probably as one of the scrubs. That he was assigned the task of coaching the Painters implies that Pop Warner thought he understood the game well enough to teach younger players how to play the game. Unfortunately, he is also credited with some things that he most likely didn’t do.

For example, his Rice Lake Hall of Fame biography includes this statement: “John played at tackle and end on both sides of the line and scored two touchdowns, one  on a 20 yard pass reception against Baltimore College in 1906 and the other on a fumble recovery in the end zone against Carlisle Prep College.” The Carlisle varsity never played a Baltimore College. However, Baltimore City College was playing high school teams around that time and may have played Carlisle’s Second Team (sometimes called “The Hustlers”). There was no school called Carlisle Prep College but Dickinson College did have a preparatory school, (called Conway Hall from 1905 to 1917) that Carlisle’s varsity annihilated in 1908 53-0 when the season opener with Albright College fell through because they didn’t field a team that year. It’s quite possible that John Russeau recovered a fumble in the end zone against them because everyone got to play in blowouts like that one. He may have gotten into the game with Mt. St. Mary’s if it had materialized.

The Second Team was to play home games against the Swatara team of Steelton on October 10 and Conway Hall on Thanksgiving. They were also to play road games in Washington and Baltimore. The Third Team (also called “The Hustlers”) also had a schedule of games against athletic clubs, college reserves and prep schools. John probably played in several of these games, one of which was played in Baltimore against Walbrook Athletic Club. This punting contest played in a snowstorm which made it unlikely that Russeau caught a pass in that game. He probably played in several second and/or third team games and may have scored in some of them. But there is no evidence found of him playing in a varsity game.

To be continued…