Posts Tagged ‘Wilson Charles’

1905 Carlisle Indians Were Ranked #10 in Country

August 8, 2011

While preparing Spalding’s Official Football Guide for 1906 for reprinting, I noticed a few things about the Carlisle Indian School football team’s 1905 season. These things caught my eye because it was this very team under Advisory Coach George Woodruff that Sally Jenkins maligned in her 1907 book. Caspar Whitney ranked the Indians as the 10th best team in the country for 1905. He also placed Frank Mt. Pleasant as a substitute at quarterback on his All America team.

George Woodruff placed three Carlisle Indians to his All Eastern Eleven for 1905: Frank Mt. Pleasant at quarterback, Charles Dillon at guard, and Wahoo (Charles Guyon, older brother of Joe Guyon) at end. N. P. Stauffer placed Dillon at guard on his All Eastern Eleven as well.

That an authority of the stature of Caspar Whitney considered Carlisle as the 10th best college football team in the country means something and that something is that the Indians were viewed as having had a very good season. Not their best ever, mind you, but a successful one at that.

These selections, along with George Orton’s observations that were posted in the June 27, 2011 message, show that Jenkins’s assessment of the type of play and success of the 1905 Carlisle Indian football team is at odds with the opinions of the experts of the day who actually saw the teams play.

1905 Carlisle Indian School football team from Spalding’s Official Football Guide for 1906

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1903 Season Ender Against Sherman Institute

April 5, 2011

A while back, I was asked about the scheduling of the Carlisle-Utah game on December 19, 1903. Based on what I had read at the time, I concluded that the reason for the trip to California trip that year was to play Reliance Athletic Association on Christmas Day in San Francisco and that the game with Sherman Institute on New Year’s Day in Riverside was a side trip. Well, that may actually be the opposite of what was the case.

In 1902, Carlisle alum Bemus Pierce took the job of coaching the Sherman Institute team in Riverside, California and, apparently, took it pretty seriously. CFBdatawarehouse.com lists their record as 8-1-0 with the Stanford & Santa Ana All-Stars being the team that scored the 6 points total scored against them that season. Victories included a 34-0 thumping of Occidental College and a 28-0 thrashing of Southern California, which many call USC.

The 1903 season didn’t turn out as well. Sherman Institute lost its season opener to Pomona-Pitzer in a more lopsided score than they had defeated them the previous year. They also lost to Stanford 18-0 but beat USC 12-0. With a 4-3 record, they were called West Coast Champions—surely a dubious title that year. Regardless, they suited up to play the eastern powerhouse in a New Year’s game.

Game reports indicate that this was one of the hardest fought games of football ever played in Southern California. Carlisle scored a touchdown just three and a half minutes into the game and would have been held with that score had it not been for a disputed play. Wilson Charles broke through the Sherman left tackle for a 45-yard touchdown run that the captain of the Sherman Institute team claimed was blown dead by Umpire Hauberman. Referee Tappan allowed the play. Sherman scored six points and lost 12-6 (Correct this score on page 47 of Steckbeck). Carlisle lost quarterback James Johnson and fullback Charles Williams early in the game to injuries. Sherman’s stars were Captain Neafus, for his fast playing, and Pierce for his defense work. So, it appears that Bemus Pierce suited up to play his old comrades. His playing days weren’t completely over. 

It wouldn’t be until 1916 that USC would beat Sherman Institute in the first game in which they scored on the Indians.

Chicken Legs or Bird Legs?

June 21, 2010

I have wondered for some time where John S. Steckbeck found some of the the anecdotes he used in Fabulous Redmen. The other day while searching for something else—the usual situation—I came across a Project Gutenberg file for Football Days: Memories of the Game and of the Men Behind the Ball, a 1916 book by William H. Edwards, Princeton 1900, with an introduction by Walter Camp. In one section of the book, Edwards retells some of stories told by former Yale star Carl Flanders, who helped coach the Indians in 1906.

Because Flanders related these stories within a decade of them happening, they stand a better chance of being accurate than those that were told a half century, or longer, after that. Of particular interest was the topic of nicknames:

“The nicknames with which the Indians labeled each other were mostly those of animals or a weapon of defense. Mount Pleasant and Libby always called each other Knife. Bill Gardner was crowned Chicken Legs, Charles, one of the halfbacks, and a regular little tiger, was called Bird Legs. Other names fastened to the different players were Whale Bone, Shoe String, Tommyhawk and Wolf.”

I do wonder if Edwards got a couple of the names reversed or if Flanders remembered them incorrectly. During WWI, Bill Gardner was referred to in newspaper columns as “Birdie,” something that leads me to suspect that his nickname was Bird Legs not Chicken Legs. If that is so, then Wilson Charles was probably called Chicken Legs. Perhaps a descendent of his will let us know which was his correct nickname.

Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals

May 13, 2010

Yesterday, a reader asked about Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, wondering if it would be a series of blogs or a book. That tells me it’s time to talk about it a bit. Last year I wrote Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, Volume I of the Native American Sports Heroes Series. I have now completed Volume II of that series. Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals will be released on September 1. Like the earlier book, it follows 17 football stars with ties to a particular state, Wisconsin in this case, from their childhoods on the reservation, generally, to their time at Carlisle, and through their later lives. Background chapters on Carlisle Indian School, its legendary football teams, and coach “Pop” Warner set the stage for the individual biographies.

Not included are busts of the players drawn by Bob Carroll. Bob graciously drew those for Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals just before the end of his life. In their place, is a map that shows all the Indian Reservations in the state of Wisconsin which is intended to assist the reader in knowing where these people spent their early childhoods and, in some cases, returned to after finishing at Carlisle.

Chapters are included for:

Chauncey Archiquette

Wilson Charles

Wallace Denny

Lone Star Dietz

Louis Island

James Johnson

Frank Lone Star

Jonas Metoxen

Thomas St. Germain

Caleb Sickles

George Vedernack

Gus Welch

Joel & Hugh Wheelock

Martin Wheelock

Charles Williams

William Winneshiek

It is my hope that historians, teachers and librarians review this book and make it more available to students who would learn a lot about how disadvantaged people overcame obstacles to excel.

Copies of the softcover version of Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals are now in stock for June 1st release.

The Craighead Naturalists and CIIS

September 3, 2009

While researching the life of Wilson Charles, I came across an item that discussed a Carlisle Indian School teacher visiting with Mrs. Charles Craighead and starting a terrarium in her classroom, Number 6, in 1902. That little item caught my attention because the Craigheads lived up the Yellow Breeches Creek in Craighead Station near Carlisle, but closer to Boiling Springs. Miss Fannie G. Paull was the teacher who visited with Agnes Craighead and her students who were there on their outing period. Over the years, quite a number of Carlisle students spent their outings with the Craigheads. As a result, the family got to know the students and their teacher very well. On a visit in 1902, Miss Paull let it be known that she was making a terrarium in her room. Frank Craighead, a lad of 12, set about to helping her with the undertaking. He promised to catch two small turtles and a squirrel for the terrarium. He gave them a “hang-bird’s” nest as a nest for the prospective squirrel.

Frank C. Craighead would go on to make the study of flora and fauna his life’s work. He graduated with a degree in forestry from Penn State in 1912. He later received a PhD from George Washington University, and made the study of forest insects as his life’s work, retiring in 1950 as the chief of the U. S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Forest Entomology. After retiring to Boiling Springs, he studied the Everglades, publishing titles including Orchids and Other Air Plants of the Everglades National Park, Trees of South Florida, and The Role of the Alligator in Shaping Plant Communities and Maintaining Wildlife in the Southern Everglades. He also quickly became an expert on rapidly disappearing native plants and the ecological role of hurricanes.

Regardless of what he did professionally, his greatest contribution he made was to instill a love of nature in his children: twins John and Frank Craighead and daughter Jean Craighead George.

I wonder why there is no historical marker to honor the Craighead naturalists’ contributions.

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.