Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Chariton's town football team, 1902

This photo, also from the Lucas County Historical Society collection, is a companion piece to a photograph of Chariton High School's first football team, published here on Saturday. This, however, is the Chariton town team, fielded during the fall of 1902 by a mix of young men who were not enrolled in the public school and some who were.

Team members are identified as (first row from left) Harry Hickman and Charlie Ervin; (second row) Glenn Anderson, Charlie Johnson, Lawrence Miller, Fred Young and Fred Updyke; and (third row) Charlie Copeland, Jim Baker, William White, John Law and Jim Hamilton.

Hickman, Ervin, Young, Baker, Johnson, Copeland and Law all were veterans of the 1900 school team, but Law had graduated during the spring of 1901. Hickman, a spring 1902 graduate, actually was enrolled at Drake University during the fall of 1902, devoting some of his October and November Saturdays to games on his hometown team. Young would graduate from CHS during the spring of 1903.

This photograph has had a hard life, so part of the emulsion is worn away. But you can make out the chicken the served as the team mascott, perched on Charlie Ervin's knee. The bird may have been stuffed --- it would be a challenge for a bird to stay still enough to emerge from a photo taken during this time frame as anything other than a blur.

There also was a high school football team during the fall of 1902, but Chariton newspaper reports quite often did not clearly state which team its reports were covering so it's impossible to develop a schedule for either. In fact, the only games clearly identified in newspaper reports as high school were with the new Russell High School team, just down the rail line. I was unable to find a roster for the 1902 school team.

A rail link remained crucial to team schedules and by 1902, games along the southern route linking Chariton and St. Joe, including Garden Grove and Davis City, were on the schedule of one team or another --- or both. There was no good way to get from Chariton to Knoxville by rail, however, so most likely team members used other means of transportation to travel there.

Then as now, players got knocked around now and then. That happened to Fred Young during a game at Knoxville during late October of 1902. The Democrat of Oct. 30 reported, "Fred Young, one of the star players of the Chariton football team, got a knock in the head in the game with Knoxville last Saturday, and from that time until about Sunday noon he remembers nothing that he did. He went on with the game mechanically, playing fiercely when told what to do, and on Saturday night he acted as if partially out of his head. He is in full possession of his faculties now, but the doctors advised him to stay out of school for a few days, for fear serious results might follow."

Chariton lost that game 25-0, by the way.

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