Posts Tagged ‘Richard Tritt’

A Possible New Book?

February 16, 2012

Looking at these old Spalding’s Guides, most of which include Carlisle Indian School team photos, has given me an idea. Because the team photos have all the people in them—players, coaches, managers and mascots—identified, putting these photos in a single book in chronological order would be helpful for relatives and other people interested in Carlisle Indian School. Richard Tritt, Photocurator at Cumberland County Historical Society (CCHS), and I have spent a great deal of time and effort trying to identify people in photographs from Carlisle Indian School. Sometimes, we had no idea at all who a particular person may have been and some other times we were probably wrong. The photos in Spalding’s Guides had the players’ images numbers by the team prior to being sent in to Spalding. Had Spalding numbered them all, the number faces would likely have varied less than they actually did.

Team photos other than the ones sent in to Spalding exist but most weren’t identified at the time they were taken. Still, they are useful because they were generally taken at a different point in the season and may include more or some different players than the one Spalding used. The photos used in early Spalding’s Guides tend to be of just the starters and, sometimes, a couple of substitutes. Other photos of the team may include more complete rosters or different starters. Regardless, having all these photos in one place should be helpful to researchers, family members and aficionados.

Spalding’s Guides often include information about individual players as well as team results. This information could be included in chronological order grouped with team photos for the particular year. Before undertaking this project, I would like some feedback as to the desirability of such a book. Please let me know if you might be interested in one and what you would like to see in it.


Let the Buyer Beware

September 12, 2010

Caveat emptor or let the buyer beware has never been more appropriate advice for ebay buyers than with regard to three items that are  up for sale now for large prices. Apparently Mitchell Pierce, Seneca, of New York State, accumulated a collection of artifacts during his life that are now being sold after his death. Three items that readers of my blog may be interested in are photos identified as being of Carlisle Indian School football players circa 1910. My research has found nothing to suggest that Mitchell Pierce ever played on Carlisle’s varsity squad. It has shown that he departed Carlisle several months before the start of the 1910 season.

The first of the three photos of interest is probably what it is advertised as being:

The outfits worn by these individuals or small groups of players appear to be Carlisle uniforms based on the stripes on the forearms and socks. Also, the backgrounds look similar to those on photos known to be genuine. A couple of them may have been shot on Carlisle’s home field. I have made no attempt to identify the players in the photos and don’t know what Mitchell Pierce looked like. My guess is that these photos are of Carlisle students, but not necessarily those who played on the varsity squad.

The second and third photos aren’t immediately identifiable as being of Carlisle students or having been taken at Carlisle. The backgrounds in the photos are not similar to those I have previously seen in Carlisle photos and the uniforms are also very different from those in the first set of photos. I checked with an expert on such matters, Richard Tritt, photocurator at Cumberland County Historical Society. Richard was not able to identify any of the individuals and the backgrounds were not familiar to him either. There is no photo of Mitchell Pierce in the CCHS collection, so Richard was not able to identify him in the photos. If Richard can’t tell if these photos were made at Carlisle, few people could because he has seen hundreds if not thousands of photos to compare these with.

While the uniforms in these photos are clearly not those of the Carlisle varsity, the possibility exists that they are of shop or organization teams. Major Mercer once told a reporter that he had to outfit 14 different football teams at Carlisle. His approach was to buy the varsity new uniforms every year and to hand their old ones down to his other teams. Unfortunately, few photos have been found of shop teams and none of teams for the band or literary societies. Follows is a photo of the Shoemakers’ team. A photo of the Blacksmiths also exists. The Blacksmiths have large Bs sewn on their jerseys and two lettermen as coaches. Varsity socks are visible on one of the Shoemakers and a letterman holds their ball.

Another possibility is that these team photos were taken at an on-reservation Indian school. I haven’t seen Pierce’s student file, so don’t know if he attended another school before coming to Carlisle. He may have because it was not uncommon for Carlisle students to have begun their education elsewhere. These photos may have been taken at that school.

Regardless of the origin of these highly priced photos, let the buyer beware.

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.

Flag Mystery Solved

July 11, 2009

Thanks to a local internet trunk being out of service, this blog is posted late. Is being dependent on modern technology wonderful? A second proof arrived for Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals and it will be accepted. That means books will be printed soon. This brings us to the next book in the series, Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals.

Relatives of Chauncey Archiquette contacted me after seeing the message about the pristine 1897 Carlisle-Cincinnati game program. Chauncey wasn’t included in Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs because I had little information on him at the time and because, at 160,000 words, the book was running long. Now that I am doing a book on Wisconsin stars, of which there were many, there should be room for him and some others such as Wilson Charles and Wallace Denny.

Here is an update on the flag in the band photo that was discussed in the previous message. Richard Tritt, photocurator at Cumberland County Historical Society, researched the photo and found the following:

I found the photo in our collection, but only in school publications and in postcards. It appears as a large full page photo in the CARLISLE ARROW, July 27, 1906. There is no story. It appears again with a story about the band being at an event in the CARLISLE ARROW of Jan. 31, 1908. The same photo was used on a postcard that was issued prior to Feb. 28, 1907. It is printed on an undivided back postcard, thus the date. After that date postcards were divided on the back. Even with the best of the four copies that I have, the stars on the flag can’t be counted. The top row of the stars is hidden by the leaves in the tree. We do know that it had to have been taken before July 27, 1906. The 1908 written on the copy that she had is probably because her copy was taken from the 1908 issue of the ARROW.

So, the flag wouldn’t have been a 1908 flag because the photo was taken prior to July 27, 1906. George Gardner’s great grandson is right. This is surely not a 1908 flag.

First Car in Carlisle

September 26, 2008

A piece posted on a website used by educators and students contains a number of significant errors concerning the Carlisle Indian School, so I was suspicious when it stated that Pop Warner was the first person in Carlisle to own a car. Carlisle is the seat of Cumberland County and was then a prosperous place. Logic suggests that the first car in Carlisle would have been purchased by someone in one of the wealthy families. Also, its placement in the article implies that Warner purchased it around 1912, a date that seems late for the first automobile to appear in a county seat.


Carlisle Indian School publications first mention Warner’s automobile in early 1907, shortly after he returned to Carlisle from a 3-year stint back at his alma mater, Cornell. He may have brought the car with him or he may have purchased it with his substantial pay raise. Neither make nor year of the car was mentioned in the school newspaper’s articles. A 1910 article in The Carlisle Arrow informed readers that Warner had bought another cat, a Chalmers-Detroit 30. I had licensed a photo of Warner tinkering with his $15 auto for the Lone Star Dietz biography so checked with the Chalmers Registry to determine if the car in the photo was the Chalmers-Detroit 30. Joe A responded quickly that the car in the photo was a Franklin but not enough of the car was shown to determine the year and model. Franklins were made in Syracuse, NY which was Warner’s home state.


A newspaper article from late 1906 stated that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had already licensed almost 13,000 cars. Seeing that led me to contact PennDOT which, surprisingly quickly, directed me to a person who might be able to tell me when the first Car was licensed in Carlisle. That person informed me that PennDOT keeps no records on “dead tags,” license plates no longer in use, so has no historical data. Bummer. Boiling Springs historian and photo curator at Cumberland County Historical Society, Richard Tritt, came to the rescue. He informed me that Barbara Bartos has the records for the licenses issued by the county before PennDOT began issuing them. Now I may be able to solve this mystery.