Posts Tagged ‘Woodrow Wilson’

Vance McCormick’s Life After Carlisle

May 8, 2012

Vance McCormick wasn’t a slacker child who lived with his wealthy parents and coached the Carlisle Indian School football team to give himself something to do, he worked in the family businesses.  After he returned home from Yale in 1893, he helped his father operate his many businesses that included Central iron and Steel, Dauphin Deposit Bank, and Harrisburg Bridge Company.  After his father died in 1897, Vance was in charge of the entire enterprise.  The McCormicks were hard working Scots-Irish Presbyterians who attended Pine Street Presbyterian Church.  At Yale, Vance split with his father on politics and became a Democrat.

In 1900 at age 27, Vance began his career in politics by running for and winning a seat on Harrisburg’s common council from the 4th ward.  About the time he turned 30, he began a term as mayor of Harrisburg.  McCormick’s legacy to Harrisburg is still seen today in the city’s park system.  Less visible, but more impactful, are the water filtration plant that supplied clean drinking water to the residents of Harrisburg at a time when neither Philadelphia nor Boston had such a facility.  He also had 45 miles of city streets paved.  A reformer, Horace McFarland credited him with cleaning up Harrisburg morally as well as physically as fast as he could in his one term as mayor.  And he wasn’t a full-time mayor!  In 1902, he also became publisher of the Patriot-News, which he had ferreting out Republican corruption.  He ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 1914 as organized labor and liquor interests opposed him.  Today, he is perhaps remembered most for what he did on the national level.

McCormick’s restructuring of the moribund state Democratic party was a turning point in his political career.  He was instrumental in shifting the Democrats to progressivism.  Vance became a major player on the national stage.  He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee (1916-19) and served as Woodrow Wilson’s campaign manager.  He chaired the War Trade Board (1916-19) and served on the Commission to Negotiate Peace at Versailles in 1919.

After the war, McCormick returned to Harrisburg where he published both the Patriot-News and the Evening News.  At age 52, he married for the first time to the widow of eight-term Republican congressman Marlin Olmsted.  He died in 1946 at his country home, Cedar Cliff Farms, across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg.

Carlisle Players in WWI — 1918

January 27, 2012

War years, at least those for WWI and WWII, affected college football greatly, so much, in fact, that Spalding’s guides for those years had to adapt to the changed environment.  The 1919 guide, for example, includes a large section, titled Part II Spalding’s Official Foot Ball Guide: Army and Navy Foot Ball.  A July 24, 1919 letter from President Woodrow Wilson to Hugh Miller extolling the virtues of football in training troops for combat served as a frontispiece for this section of the book.  Ironically, or not, Miller wrote publicity pieces for Pop Warner when Warner coached the Carlisle Indians.  Apparently, Hugh Miller was more than just a hack writer who did Warner’s bidding.

This focus on military teams was necessary because the 1917 and 1918 football seasons were disrupted, to put it mildly, by the large number of college football players who were inducted into the service during WWI.  Many colleges stopped fielding teams where others played with lesser talent than usual.  Most college teams included military teams on their schedules.  It’s fair to assume that the military academies were not impacted nearly as much as their civilian counterparts.  Carlisle Indian School canceled its 1918 season because the school was closed to allow Carlisle Barracks to be used as an army hospital.  However, many of the former students continued to play football—even after they enlisted.

Perusing the pages of the Army-Navy section revealed the names of several Carlisle students with whom I was not familiar. Follows is a list of those names and the teams on which they played:

Name                                    Unit

Sgt. Mickel                          Air Service Department, Garden City, NJ

Buffalohead                       Fort Ontario, Oswego, NY

M. Le Claire                        Camp Travis, Fort Sam Houston, TX

Ojibway                               Wissahickon Barracks, Cape May, NJ

Webster                              3rd Army Troops, Europe

Kalama*                               35th Division, Europe

*Selected as center for All-American Expeditionary Forces Eleven

If you know anything about any of these men, please get in touch with me.


Joe Gilman Part V

December 14, 2009

Joe Gilman was apparently transferred to Minneapolis by Ford because his daughter, Roberta Carlysle, was born there and his wife, Lydia, was from Michigan. The November 3, 1916 issue of The Carlisle Arrow contained this item about Joe:

End of Part V