Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis World’s Fair’

College Players in Carlisle-Haskell Game

March 1, 2012

Due to misreading a few lines in an article, I thought they have played another game that wasn’t included in Steckbeck’s Fabulous Redmen, but a closer reading cleared up the confusion. Before rereading it, I came across an article in a Wisconsin newspaper about the 1904 Carlisle-Haskell game that included a couple of statements that caught my eye:

The program stated that every one of the players was a full-blooded Indian, but we doubted it in the case of one man with curley [sic] hair, and in the case of another who formerly played with the U. W. [University of Wisconsin–Madison] team and at least made no claim of Indian ancestry at that time. Most of them really were Indians, though they didn’t look the part except when they wrapped themselves in red blankets waiting to begin.

It is well known that a number of the Haskell players later enrolled at Carlisle, but not so well known that some players played on major college football teams before or after playing for Carlisle or, in a few cases, both.

I haven’t figured out which University of Wisconsin player the newspaper reporter had in mind yet. The only player on the 1903 Wisconsin squad that I know for sure played for either Carlisle or Haskell was William Baine. But he didn’t play in the World’s Fair game. However, two former University of Minnesota players played for their old alma mater, Carlisle. Perhaps, the writer confused players for his neighboring state’s team with those of his home state. Ed Rogers and John B. Warren both played for Minnesota in 1903. Rogers played for Carlisle from 1897 to 1901 before enrolling at the University of Minnesota law school. John B. Warren eventually came to play for Minnesota but by a more circuitous route. The April 22, 1904 edition of The Red Man & Helper included an article about him that included his football history. He played for Carlisle in 1898 and 1899. After graduating in 1900, he enrolled at the Indiana Pa. Normal School where he continued to play football in 1900 and 1901. He enrolled at Minnesota in 1902 and lettered at right tackle. In 1903, Warren shifted to right guard and Rogers was elected captain of the Minnesota squad.

1904 found both Ed Rogers and John Warren working as football coaches. Rogers coached at Carlisle and Warren was hired as coach and athletic director of Chilocco Indian School. Because Chilocco played a major role in the operation of the model government Indian school exhibit at the World’s Fair, Warren and his athletes spent the summer at the Fair, most likely playing baseball. He could have easily made contact with Haskell officials that summer and fall. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Rogers suited up as a player for Carlisle and Warren donned the moleskins for Haskell.

1904 Olympic Football Champions

February 23, 2012

It is well known that Carlisle Indian School shellacked Haskell Institute at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. What isn’t widely known is that the St. Louis University team was deemed the Olympic Champions that year by virtue of playing, and winning, all their home games at the fair site which doubled as the location of the 1904 Olympics. The 1905 Spalding’s Guide includes a photo of the team titled “St. Louis University, Olympic World’s Champions.” While the pre-Billiken St. Louis U. footballers went undefeated, untied, and unscored upon through their eleven-game schedule, they were probably not even the second or third best team to play in front of an Olympic audience that year. The only major schools played were Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri.

The Haskell Institute Fighting Indians were also undefeated in regular season play that year but gave up six points each to Nebraska and Kansas. They had also beaten Texas and Missouri. At that time, comparative scores were considered but Haskell and St. Louis had only one common opponent: Missouri. St. Louis shut them out 17-0 where Haskell humiliated them 38-0. Additionally, Haskell played a much tougher schedule, mostly on the road. Martin A. Delaney, Coach of St. Louis University’s football team, wrote about the World’s Fair/Olympics impact on football in the region:

During the season of 1904 football in the Southwest received a stimulus which did more to develop the game in this section than ten years of independent effort on the part of the various teams could possibly have done. This stimulus was given by the Physical Culture Department of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The department took charge of the schedules of St. Louis’ principal teams—those of Washington and St. Louis Universities—furnished them grounds, and brought the best teams in the section to meet them. As a consequence, these teams and the teams who played them had a season of unexampled success and development.


<More Next Time>


Warner Didn’t Do It

November 18, 2010

I was recently sent an article on a particular topic on the history of football—it doesn’t matter which article because this is a common error—that attributed or blamed, depending on one’s perspective on Pop Warner that he did not do. That Warner had a split tenure at Carlisle Indian School is either not widely known or is forgotten by many when they write about Carlisle football. In this instance, the matter has to do with the 1904 Carlisle-Haskell game and the mass transfer of football talent from Haskell to Carlisle that happened after that game.

For a little background, President Theodore Roosevelt was to spend a few days around Thanksgiving at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Promoters saw an opportunity to attract greater attendance by staging a football game for Teddy to attend. Their first choice was to host the Army-Navy game that year. That idea was turned down immediately. The next thing that came to mind was to have the two prominent government Indian boarding school teams play each other as both were running roughshod over the competition in their respective parts of the country. Carlisle was already scheduled to play Ohio State on Thanksgiving, so the game with Haskell Institute of Lawrence, Kansas, was set for the Saturday following the holiday.

Why did Warner have nothing to do with this game, one asks? Well, Pop Warner left Carlisle after the 1903 season to return to coaching his alma mater, Cornell. The reason for that move, according to his critics, was that he was paid more money. They are probably correct. Warner coached Cornell through the 1904, 1905 and 1906 seasons and, other than teaching his new formations to Carlisle’s Indian coaches in 1906, probably had little to do with the operation of that program. He had no reason to recruit Haskell players for Carlisle. He might have tried to entice the best ones to enroll at Cornell, but that seems improbable.

Superintendent Richard Henry Pratt had been relieved of command of Carlisle Indian School in the summer of 1904 and replaced by then Captain William A. Mercer. With no athletic director in place and the coaches hired just for the season, Mercer filled the void left by Warner’s departure and became involved with the football program. The next year, he arranged the first Carlisle-Army game but that is a separate story.

Carlisle Indian School Scrubs Beat Ohio State

February 19, 2009

Frank Loney, a collector of Carlisle memorabilia, called to ask about a football player named T. A. Engleman. He had a letter written by a Carlisle Indian School football player who was visiting the St. Louis World’s Fair. The letter was written the morning of the big game against Haskell Institute on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 1904. The letter was written to Mr. Ziegler in the harness shop at the Indian school.

Frank could find no student named Engleman listed in Linda Witmer’s book, so further research was necessary. Steckbeck listed an Eagleman. The author of the letter wrote, “The second team played the Ohio State University on the 24th, Thanksgiving-day. I played out the whole game, and felt as though of being eighty years old after the game. My man was more than two hundred pounder and so you can imagine I had something to buck up against.” I knew that the first team sat out the Ohio State to be rested for the big game with Haskell that President Roosevelt was expected to attend. Finding a newspaper write-up of the game that included line-ups, I noticed that a player named Eagleman played left tackle across from either Gill or Marker. Because Marker was ejected from the game along with Fremont for engaging in a hair-pulling contest, Gill must have been the 200-hundred pounder and Eagleman was Engleman or vice-versa. Ticket prices for the Carlisle-Ohio State contest, a deluxe game, ranged from 25 cents to a dollar. Ohio State’s only other deluxe game was with the University of Michigan.

Witmer’s book listed an Eagle Man but no Eagleman. However, various censuses listed Thomas A. Eagleman, Sioux. He married a white woman, Grace More, in 1909 and they had 3 sons and 5 daughters. They farmed near Crow Creek in South Dakota, probably on an allotment.

Mystery solved.


Native Americans in 1904 Olympics – Part III

July 21, 2008

The 1904 Olympics were not the first games to feature football. The 1900 Paris games included two football events neither of which were American football. Soccer and rugby were both played that year but in 1904 American football appeared in the Olympics for the first time. Football (soccer) was a demonstration sport in which three teams played a round-robin tournament between two American teams and a Canadian club. The Canadians won the gold. Several college football games were played on Francis Field at the fair. Washington University and St. Louis University each played a number of their games on the Olympic field. Missouri and Purdue even played there. Prior to the Fair, Washington U’s teams were known as the Purities but due to playing at the Fair were renamed the Pikers in 1905 as a comment on their association with the infamous world fair’s Pike. However, the most important college football game played at the 1904 Olympics wasn’t played by colleges.

President Theodore Roosevelt was to visit the Fair over Thanksgiving weekend making it an ideal time for a major football event (read moneymaker). The Fair organizers’ first choice was to have West Point and Annapolis relocate their annual contest to the fairgrounds but that didn’t happen. Haskell Institute’s Fightin’ Indians were tearing up the Midwest at that time and Carlisle was a top ten program. So, the first ever football game between the two government Indian schools was arranged for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Carlisle already had a Thanksgiving Day game scheduled against Ohio State in Columbus. Major Mercer, the new Carlisle superintendent, very likely saw the opportunities such a high profile game would create for him and his school and added the game to the schedule. Playing two games in three days may have been taxing for Carlisle’s players, so Head Coach Ed Rogers (Pop Warner was back at Cornell for the 1904-6 seasons) drubbed the Buckeyes with his second team 23-0. Ohio State supporters were unhappy to miss seeing the Carlisle stars they had read so much about.

Rumors of Haskell bringing in ringers, some of them white, were rampant. To balance the scales, Ed Rogers suited up for the game as did Assistant Coach Bemus Pierce and his brother, another former Carlisle and pro star, Hawley Pierce. They needn’t have bothered. Carlisle obliterated Haskell 38 to 4. Seeing the superiority of the Carlisle program, eight Haskell players transferred to the eastern school where many became stars. If there was an Olympic gold medal to have been won Carlisle would have won it, but none was. However, the Carlisle Indians were the closest thing to an Olympic football champion that we’ve had – if you ignore the 1920 and 1924 U.S. rugby teams. But that’s a story for another time.

The Native American game of lacrosse was played at the 1904 Olympics but mostly by non-natives. Three teams, two from Canada and one from the U.S., vied for the championship. The Canadian Shamrocks won the gold, the St. Louis Amateur Athletic Association won silver, and, in a bit of irony, the Mohawk Indians from Canada got the bronze.

Next time we take a look at the 1908 games.

1904 Carlisle-Haskell game program cover

1904 Carlisle-Haskell game program cover




Native Americans in 1904 Olympics – Part I

July 16, 2008

News outlets are now getting interested in Native Americans’ participation in past Olympics, so I should share a little of that history in case the media should overlook important contributions. Everyone knows about the incomparable Jim Thorpe’s triumphs in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, but Native Americans were involved much earlier than that. There was too much earlier involvement to cover in one message, so I’ll break this topic into installments beginning with the 1904 games held in St. Louis as part of the World’s Fair (more properly called the Louisiana Purchase Centennial Exposition). Pairing the Olympic Games with a world’s fair was not unusual at the time because the 1900 games were co-located with the Paris World’s Fair. Including events that we moderns wouldn’t consider appropriate as Olympic events wasn’t unusual either.

The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, conducted what must have been the most bizarre athletic contest ever. Some 3,000 native people from around the globe were brought to the fair for the Anthropology Exhibit. These people lived on the fair’s ground in traditional dwellings and wore traditional attire. Finding appropriate food for them presented a bit of a problem. Legend has it that the neighborhood known as Dogtown got its name as being the place Igorots captured a favorite meat. Included in the Anthropology Exhibit were a number of Native Americans who represented several tribes. Adjacent to their tipis was the Model Government Indian School which was populated by Chilocco Indian School students and faculty. Having all these different “primitive” ethnic groups at their disposal was just too tempting for Fair and Olympic organizers.

On August 12 and 13 Ethnology Days were held. The Indian School Journal, which was printed in the Model School, had this to say about those games:

Our Indians Easy Winners

 The athletic games held yesterday for members of the various races in the Anthropology Exhibit furnished one of the most unique entertainments imaginable. A remarkable collection of peoples were gathered together in the Stadium to vie with one another in contests of speed and endurance. There were wild-eyed Ainus, heavy-bearded and gorgeously clad; great, tall lumbering Patagonians; stockily built Moros; slender, tawny-skinned Syrians; long-haired Cocopas, wild and savage of aspect; and last but by no means least, pupils of the Indian School, clad in the conventional athletic habiliments of the white man.

And the winners were:

100-yd dash – 1. George Mentz (Sioux)

120-yd low hurdles – 1. Leon Poitre (Chippewa), 2. George mentz

High jump – 1. George Ments, 2. Black Whitebear

440-yd run – 1. George Mentz, 2. Simon Marques (Pueblo)

Mile run – 1. Black Whitebear

Baseball throw – 2. Frank Moore (Pawnee)

Lone Star Dietz qualified for the finals in the shot put, but apparently did not win the event.

Prizes of $50 or more were given to the winners. Apparently, the Indians did not participate in the mud-throwing and pole climbing events. From the results of these events, AAU Secretary James E. Sullivan, concluded that the results “prove conclusively that the savage is not the natural athlete we have been led to believe.”

The distance-running Pierce brothers and the 1904 Olympics next time.

Ainu at 1904 St. Louis World's Fair

Ainu at 1904 St. Louis World's Fair