The NAHL: Frank Patrick Downing

Frank Patrick Downing allowed his dedication and skill to speak. A midwest transplant from Milwaukee, the Downings moved to Somerville in the early 1900s. Attending Somerville High School, Frank gained attention for hockey. After high school, he worked for the National Biscuit Company, a.k.a. NABISCO. Throughout the ‘teens and early twenties, he won championships in the American amateur hockey leagues. In 1922, he quietly hung up his amateur hockey skates. His accomplishments standing on their own.

Despite moving at an early age. Frank Downing appears to have retained nany character traits typically associated with the midwest. Born in June 1894, he found himself in Somerville High School’s class of 1915. Whether through hard work, talent or both, Frank excelled in sports, specifically hockey. Due to his skill and attaining captain, the Boston Globe placed him on their 1913/14 Interscholastic All-star team along with Percy Wanamaker.

While still playing high school hockey, Frank rose to senior amateur hockey. For the 1914/15 season, he played with the Boston Arenas. At the time, the Arenas team included Frank Synnott, Mickey Roach, Farrell Conley, and others. He even played at least one game with Raymie Skilton. Afer graduating, he switched to the B.A.A. Unicorns.

In 1917, he submitted his draft card. He listed assistant foreman at National Biscuit for his occupation. He placed his employment location on 128 Franklin St., which is the former Kennedy Biscuit Co. Before the Army called, Frank joined the Navy Reserve Force.

After the war, Frank returned to NABISCO and amateur hockey. First, he started with BAA. In 1922, he drove the Westminster to a USAHA championship. He almost led the team to an international win against Pere Marquette. Pere Maquette promised a unique challenge cup for the series. Yet, the cup was never presented. Depending upon the amateur rules, the Marquette won 2 games to 1 (Canadian newspapers) or it was a tie with 3 goals apiece (Boston Globe). Either way, Pere Marquette never had to show the promised cup. At 28, Frank hung up his skates with a Fellowes challenge cup for his final hockey prize.

In October 1924, Frank married Dorothy Ann Deacon. They had two children, Francis and John. By 1942, the Downings moved to Philadephia. Frank continued working for NABISCO. At 48, Frank provided nearly thrity years of service to NABISCO. He still had a long life yet ahead.

At 88, Frank passed away in Philadelphia. Dorothy passed away five years later in 1987. Many details about Frank are not publicly known. What is known are the comparisons to some of the greatest hockey players of his era, his championships, and his dedication to his family, country and craft.

Sources:
1. Kennedy Biscuit Co. Cambridge Historical Commission. Jan 16, 2019
2. History of Candy Making in Cambridge. Natalie Moravek. Cambridge Historical Society. 2011
3. United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm. (Courtesy of ancestry.com)
4. World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania. State Headquarters ca. 1942. NARA Publication: M1951. NAI: 563728. The National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri. U.S.A. (Courtesy of ancestry.com)
5. Frank Downing player profile. SIHR. https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=134087 (NOTE: Requires a paid account.)
6. Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Ottawa Citizen and others courtesy of newspapers.com

The NAHL: Percy Weston Wanamaker

Percy Weston Wanamaker played until he was exhausted. I can imagine him giving the quote “[War/hockey] is a young man’s game.” Percy’s achievements in high school hockey and beyond stand. In high school, he played two sports, hockey and football. After high school, he regularly played on two different hockey teams. When war came, he volunteered when others delayed. Always an active man, he needed age to gain the patience to complete college. When he transitioned to the work force, he walked away from the public to support his family.

Like many of his contemporaries, Percy Wanamaker played two sports at Melrose high school, hockey and football. Percy excelled in hockey. As a sophomore, he earned a spot on the first of the 1913/14 All Interscholastic Hockey Team. On the team, he played with Frank Downing, Robert Paisley and others. Percy captained the Melrose team in 1914/15. The Globe reported an impressive seven goals in a 26 – 0 blowout against Winchester H.S. in a 9 January, 1915 game. Before heading to college, Percy enrolled at the Andover Academy, a preparatory school. While playing hockey for Andover, he also played for the Boston Arenas.

In 1917, Percy volunteered with the American Ambulance Field Service for a 6-month duty in France. Assigned to Section Sanitaire (Etats-) Unis (S.S.U.) 27, Percy drove ambulances in Champagne sector during the Second Battle of the Aisne. When the U.S. Army assumed control of the ambulance field service, they refused to accept Percy. As a result, Percy returned to Boston in October. He stayed States-side long enough to play with the Boston Arenas for the 1917/18 USNAHL season. He found another ride over to France with the Battery C, 54th Coast Artillery Corps.

After getting back, Percy decided to finish his college degree and get back to playing hockey. First, he enrolled at Dartmouth for the 1919/20 academic year. In January 1920, the Dartmouth team elected Percy to captain. In 1920/21, Percy transferred to University of Pennsylvania.

While in Philadelphia, Percy played two seasons in the USAHA with the Quaker City team. For the 1921/22 season, Tom Howard coached Percy and Tom Jr. played defense. Percy’s playing style apparently clashed with Tom’s coaching. In January 1922, Percy left the team. Although not clear, Percy returned in February. Despite the news criers’ proclamation, Quaker City’s team work, or lack thereof, prevented them from having a chance for the Fellowes Challenge Cup. The team folded at the end of the 1921/22 season. Tom continued working as the hockey director for Brooklyn Public Schools. Tom Jr. left for California. Percy completed his degree in 1923. He hung up his skates and never looked back.

Some where in the middle of this, Percy married Florence. By 1930, they moved to Connecticut. They had three children, Burnice (1924), Harold (1926), and Thomas (1931). Out of all the children, Thomas received his father’s fire. In 1953, Thomas was in Japan with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. The 187th RCT experienced punishment during 1951 and 1952. In Thomas might have seen action in the final days during the Battle of Kumsong. On his way to war, Thomas married Fae. When he returned, they moved to Seattle.

After Percy completed his degree in 1923, he worked for New York Telephone company. He worked there until he died on 1 October, 1954. Florence moved out to Seattle with Thomas, whose wife and child died in car accident in 1960. Florence passed on in 1980. As of this post (2019), Thomas is still alive. Quite possibly with that Wanamaker passion cooled, but not forgotten. Hopefully, he’s looking forward to the return of professional hockey to Seattle. As for Percy, war and hockey were a young man’s game. When he got his fill, he moved on.

Sources:
1. Percy Wanamaker, SIHR player profile, https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=134095 (Note: Requires a paid account)
2. History of the American Field Service in France. https://cudl.colorado.edu/MediaManager/srvr?mediafile=MISC/UCBOULDERCB1-58-NA/1511/i73728925.pdf#. Spokane Chronicle, Sept 1, 1960, p. 6. Courtesy of newspapers.com
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_the_Aisne
4. Dartmouth 1919/20 hockey stats. College Hockey News. https://www.collegehockeynews.com/schedules/team/Dartmouth/19/19191920
5. University of Pennsylvania Stats. College Hockey News. https://www.collegehockeynews.com/reports/teamHistory/Pennsylvania/417
6. https://icehockey.fandom.com/wiki/1920-21_USAHA_Season
7. https://icehockey.fandom.com/wiki/1921-22_USAHA_Season
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/187th_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States)#Korean_War
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kumsong
10. The Boston Globe, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and others courtesy of newspapers.com

Additional Sources:
1. American Field Service: https://afs.org/archives/world-war-i-diaries/

Interlude: Rabbit Holes in Research pt2

In the first “rabbit hole” post, I suspected that Lionel Ryder, Secretary to the U.S. Envoy to Brazil, fell into a Japanese honeytrap. When I went to the National Archives in D.C., I had two questions. First, who was the Japanese chargé d’affaires for Brazil in 1922. Second, was there any investigation by the Naval Attache office in Rio de Janeiro related to Lionel’s suicide.

I contacted several people from Japan and Brazil before stumbling upon the answer to the first question. I contacted Rogério Dezem-sensei from Osaka University. His expertise is in Japanese immigration to Brazil. With his help and records from the NARA, I identified the chargé d’affaires was 堀口九萬一 (Horiguchi Kumaichi). According to Jamie Bisher, Horiguchi was embroiled in another high level, political assassination attempt involving Korea in 1895. The U.S. Naval attache reported Horiguchi left Brazil in 1923. So, Horiguchi Kumaichi was the answer to the first question.

As I searched for investigative reports within the Rio De Janeiro files, I did not get an answer to my second question. As I posited, I believed the code compromised related to the death of Lionel Ryder and Iwo Horiguche (likely 堀口), a possible Japanese Honeytrap. In 1925, the U.S. Navy released an assessment of the cryptographic compromise, which included the likely source. As can be seen, the compromise was believed to have originated in Germany and not Brazil. As a result, the Lionel Ryder suicide is still a mystery.

Since this was a rabbit hole, I probably will not revisit this research. I am heavily focused on the 1917/18 National Amateur Hockey League research. I did photograph several documents related to Brazil including Japanese immigration and Amazonian insurrection. However, I hope to convey the difficulties of focusing research activities when there are so many interesting facets to explore.

Images of the Navy cypher compromise assessment (Office of Naval Intelligence, Secret-Confidential Files of the U.S. Naval Attache, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 1919-29,US National Archives, RG 38, Entry 190):

 

Sources:
1. Honey Trap: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_trapping
2.  chargé d’affaires: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charg%C3%A9_d%27affaires
3. Horiguchi Kumaichi: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/堀口九萬一
4. Rogério Dezem: https://osaka-u.academia.edu/RogerDezem
5. Jamie Bisher, Intelligence War in Latin America: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CPS51BM/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i1
6. Critique of Bisher: https://networks.h-net.org/node/12840/reviews/2081239/hall-bisher-intelligence-war-latin-america-1914-1922

The NAHL: Herbert “Herb” John Drury

Herbert “Herb” John Drury’s reality became about hockey leaving him rather than him leaving hockey. The Midland native became hockey greatness with an innate skill that challenged Hobey Baker for greatest American player of his day. However, time and injury slowed the hero. Although he attempted to become a referee, he failed to make the transitions necessary to remain attached to the sport. Despite an unceremonious end, Herb long remained the standard for comparing new players well after he passed.

The two-time Olympic Silver medalist skated into the world on March 2, 1896 in Midland, Ontario. After the 1915/16 season in Port Colbourne, he transitioned to St. Paul. However, he only briefly stayed. By the 1916/17, Roy Schooley convinced him to move to Pittsburgh.

For the next ten years, Herb dominated hockey. He played at the rover position in seven-man hockey. In seven-man hockey, all positions moved along fixed lines except the rover. The center is roughly an equivalent position in modern (six-man) hockey. The rover needed excellent skating skills to succeed. By all accounts, Herb darted around the enabling the wingers to score.

During next ten years, Herb starred on an all-star, all- Canadian team. They were called the Pittsburgh All-stars. Teammates included Joe and Larry McCormick and many others. They won three United States amateur hockey championships in seven seasons. When the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets turn professional, Herb went with them.

Despite an explosive inaugural seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates struggled in the NHL and they struggled financially. Additionally, Herb’s age started to show. He fell out of starting positions to Lionel Conacher and others. When the Pirates moved to Philadelphia, Herb moved with them. The Quakers struggled worse than in Pittsburgh. The Quakers unceremoniously and quietly dismissed Herb in mid-February 1931.

At the end of his playing career, Herb felt hockey owed him. However, that can be debated. He got at least one game as an NHL referee. He performed two years as a Pittsburgh area collegiate and amateur hockey referee. Finally, he participated in most of the Pittsburgh old-timers hockey games which gave exposure to his Oakmont restaurant.

While he attained glory on the ice, off-ice matters were more modest moderate. Herb worked as a mill wright prior to enlisting in WWI. After all the hockey and restaurant business matters, he returned to the steel industry. He eventually retired from U.S. Steel. In the late-20s, Herb married, but they divorced in the early-40s.  Herb’s address always seemed to be tied to another parent or relative. Additionally, Herb possibly suffered from concussions. All potential stressors on someone who just wanted to play hockey.

Herb died in a VA hospital on 30 July, 1965. When the press mocked his beer keg physique, he attempted to get back into shape. When hockey left him, he complained a bit and then moved on. However, they held him up as a standard to compare greatness. He never forgot them.

Research notes: Official US Government records and various databases attribute different middle names, birth, and death dates. An alternate middle name is Joseph. Common alternative birthdates include April 2, 1896, July 2, 1896, and even dates in years 1894 and 1895. Some of these dates are in official government documents indicating sloppy clerical work. The most common incorrect death date is July 1, 1965.

Thu, Feb 20, 1936 – 23 · “Old-Timers Game” · Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. Herb Druryhttps://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/blog/western-pennsylvania-history/olympics-ice-herb-drury
2. Philadelphia Quakers Release Herb Drury, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 24 February 1931. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/35539039/pittsburgh_postgazette/
3. Herb Drury Stats: https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=6887 (Note: Requires a paid account)
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_Yellow_Jackets
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_Pirates_(NHL)
6. Pittsburgh Post, Pittsburgh Gazette, Boston Globe, and other newspapers courtesy of newspapers.com

The NAHL: The Team Rosters

The NAHL (1917/18) consisted of forty-four core players, four teams, three promoters and one head coach. The smallest team with the fewest player substitutions was the Pittsburgh Athletic Association with eight core people and a few substitutes. The First Naval District team had thirteen players with significant contribution. However, the New York Wanderers topped at fourteen players making contributions to the 1917/18 NAHL seasons. It is not my intention to document all forty-four players.

I would like to provide a sense of completion. Please note that research is still being conducted to identify players. The promoters include George V. Brown, Roy D. Schooley and Cornelius Fellowes. Ralph Winsor was the only dedicated coach, and he was Navy. In this list are at least three dentists, at least four Navy WWI pilots, one WWI Marine Corps pilots, two Canadian Royal Navy WWI veterans, four US Army WWI veterans, and twelve US Navy WWI veterans. For the season that almost wasn’t, it laid a foundation for a half of decade of U.S. hockey.

Family NameGiven NameTeam
BakerAngus G. “Stubby”Pittsburgh
DruryHerbert “Herb”Pittsburgh
FullerPaddy “P.J.”Pittsburgh
McCormickJoseph “Joe”Pittsburgh
McCormickLawrence “Larry”Pittsburgh
McCrimmonRussellPittsburgh
NagleEddiePittsburgh
MaddenF.C.Pittsburgh
CannTheodore “Ted”First Naval District
DowningFrankFirst Naval District
GawGeorge “Chippie”First Naval District
GeranGeorge “Jerry”First Naval District
HowardThomas Jr.First Naval District
HutchinsonJohn “Jack”First Naval District
LaCroixAlphonseFirst Naval District
O’hareJohn JamesFirst Naval District
OsgoodForrestFirst Naval District
PaiselyRobertFirst Naval District
ShaughnessyJoeFirst Naval District
SheaJohnFirst Naval District
SkiltonRaymond “Raymie”First Naval District
HughesunknownBoston Arenas
MartinUnknownBoston Arenas
McNeilUnknownBoston Arenas
MurphyUnknownBoston Arenas
NowellBertBoston Arenas
O’SullivanPaulBoston Arenas
RiceUnknownBoston Arenas
StoreyFrankBoston Arenas
SynnottFrankBoston Arenas
WannamakerPercyBoston Arenas
ClaffyUnknownNew York Wanderers
CrovatLamyNew York Wanderers
DufresneErnieNew York Wanderers
HeffernanFrankNew York Wanderers
LewisFredNew York Wanderers
McCarthyUnknownNew York Wanderers
McKinnonUnknownNew York Wanderers
MyraGeorgeNew York Wanderers
PowersUnknownNew York Wanderers
ReycroftLouisNew York Wanderers
RoachMickeyNew York Wanderers
SmithTurkNew York Wanderers
WellingtonAlexander “Duke”New York Wanderers
WendellUnknownNew York Wanderers

The NAHL: Lawrence “Larry” James McCormick

Lawrence “Larry” James McCormick left behind minor fame following his younger brother Joe to Pittsburgh.  Larry drove the Buckingham Seniors of the Lower Ottawa Valley League to three Maclaren Cups, 1907/08, 1912/13 and 1914/15. He captained the team during the 1914/15 run. For Larry, the decision to leave probably was more about supporting family and friends than chasing a cup.

The McCormick’s baptized their newest son, Larry, at St-Gregoire-de-Naziance in Buckingham, Quebec. Locked into tradition, Larry carried it with him throughout life.

Larry remained in Buckingham until 1915. Several factors possibly pushed, pulled or dragged Larry from Buckingham. During the summer, he, Joe and Ed Gorman, a 1927 Stanley Cup winner with the Ottawa Senators, left for Cleveland to play for Mr. Shannon. They quickly found themselves in Pittsburgh. Shannon ran afoul of the Ontario Hockey Association and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, who banned Cleveland’s team with claims of professionalism. As a result, the group found themselves trying out for the Pittsburgh teams in early January 1916. Roy Schooley picked them up for the Pittsburgh Athletic Association.

Buckingham and Pittsburgh recognized Larry’s shot and situational awareness. Newspapers from 1907 until the 20s commented on it. Roy declared Larry captain of the 1920 U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team, which won silver.  Larry played one last season, 1921/22 before transitioning to coaching and refereeing.

Larry coached amateur Pittsburgh teams from the USAHA to the local club level. During his first season of coaching the YellowJackets, he got into an altercation with Canadian Soo player, Charley Boucher. Larry, as one of the two referees, penalized Boucher. Instead of heading to the bench, Boucher skated over to Larry. The Pittsburgh Press indicated Larry came out the better of the scrap. Whether fists flew or not, Larry personified hockey tradition.

Because Larry held-fast to amateurism, he worked as a car mechanic. His occupation in the war years was at Samson’s Motor Company. The employment ended with mobilization into the Army Motor Transport Corps along with teammates Joe McCormick, Herb Drury and Angus Baker. While he may have returned to work for Samson’s after the war, he found a new occupation, husband.

A scribbled note next to his baptism entry marks 19 July, 1921. Larry, much like his brother Joe, were practicing Catholics. Just after that date, Larry married Hazel Marie Chisholm. She probably did not like her first name. On drafts cards or military service compensation, Larry always wrote her name as “H. Marie”.

Around Roy’s death in November 1933, Larry and Marie started looking for a new place to settle. They were in New York for a bit in 1935. Larry came back to Pittsburgh for an old-timer’s game in February 1936. However, they found their home in Barnstable, Massachusetts. After a long illness, Larry passed away on 30 December, 1961 in Hyannis with services held at Our Lady of Victory. Marie’s journey continued until 7 November, 1980.

I think of the brothers as representing the two sides of the hockey coin. Joe represented the new era of hockey players. Whereas, Larry memorialized the hockey players of “then”.

Sat, Jan 12, 1929 – Page 16 · Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/lower-ottawa-valleys-holy-hockey-grail-uncovered
2. https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=33599 (Note: Requires paid account)
3. World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Massachusetts. State Headquarters ca. 1942. NARA Publication M2090, 166 rolls. The National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri. U.S.A.
4. Institut Généalogique Drouin; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Drouin Collection; Author: Gabriel Drouin, comp
#. Pittsburgh Press, Ottawa Journal and others courtesy of Newspapers.com

The NAHL: Joseph Wallace McCormick

The adventurous Joseph “Joe” Wallace McCormick chased achievement with a principled determination that resulted in multiple hockey championships and an Olympic Silver. Unlike previous players discussed, Joe captained the Pittsburgh All-stars, who were the Navy’s biggest rivals in the National Amateur Hockey League (NAHL). But, Joe was not satisfied with playing top tier amateur hockey. He sought a career in hockey, and something else.

The middle child, Joe sprouted forth on August 12th, 1894 in Buckingham, Quebec. A small town near Ottawa, which is now incorporated into Gatineau. In 1914/15, Joe played for the Buckingham Seniors prior to a move to Cleveland. Joe did not stay long in Cleveland. By the 1915/16 season, Joe established himself in Pittsburgh and became well familiar with Roy Schooley. Like Chippie Gaw, Joe pursued higher education goals while playing hockey. He achieved that goal, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, after the 1920 Olympics. When Joe arrived in Pittsburgh, I doubt he believed a World War would interrupt those studies.

From 1915/16 until 1921/22 season, Joe stayed amateur and remained a student in Pittsburgh. During this time, Joe is at the height of his playing career. The Pittsburgh All-stars, or Yellow Jackets, exert dominance over the local hockey and, then, at the national level in the newly formed US Amateur Hockey Association. In 1918 , Joe and three others from the Pittsburgh All-stars join the U.S. Army. Although they never go farther east than Philadelphia, the Army lacks a top tier hockey team. After the war, he captained the 1920 Men’s US Olympic hockey team in Antwerp to a Silver medal. Despite these successes, Joe refused to be content.

Over the course of the next decade, Joe sought an elusive goal. First, he spent a season with the St. Paul Saints in Minnesota. Then, he traveled west. He played with the Edmonton Eskimos (Western Canada Hockey League) and the resurgent Portland Rosebuds (Western Hockey League). Both of these teams and leagues roiled in scandal and financial turmoil until collapse in 1926. On these teams, Joe still sought something that was not available to amateur hockey.

In 1926, Joe moved back to St. Paul to play for the Saints. By this time, the USAHA and amateur hockey collapsed from prominence in the United States. St. Paul and several other teams created a minor professional league, the American Hockey Association (AHA). Joe spent only one season with St. Paul before moving to the Kansas City Pla-mors. The AHA stirred controversy that impacted many players lives. In a challenge to the NHL, the AHA attempted to create a team in Buffalo. Frank Calder declared the AHA to be an unsanctioned league and barred their players from joining the NHL. While several AHA player applications were rejected, Joe possibly did not apply or try-out for an NHL team.

Joe retired after the 1931/32 season. By 1934, he and his wife moved to Sudbury, Ontario. Although Joe traveled and explored, he never left Buckingham until he moved to Sudbury. He lived in Pittsburgh. He became a U.S. citizen. He played hockey on the West Coast. But, he never left Buckingham. On the 1929 marriage certificate, he listed Buckingham as his place of residence, and not Kansas City. For all his adventures, I think he always wanted a single place to call home.

When it came to marriage, Joe refused to settle for less. Joe married Ann Margaret McArthur on November 6, 1929. Ann Margaret was the daughter of James Joseph McArthur, the famous Canadian explorer. Additionally, they faithfully practiced Catholicism. On the surface, he found someone just as daring yet rooted as himself. After moving to Sudbury, they had two children, D’arcy and Lawrence James. Joe passed away in 1958. While I’m sure that Joe settled, I’m not sure if Joe ever achieved that elusive goal.

Wed, Dec 31, 1924 – 14 · Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. Joe McCormick, SIHR database. https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=21779. (Note: Requires Paid Account.)
2. James Joseph McArthur. Wikipedia.
3. University of Pittsburgh. Wikipedia.
4. Multiple newspapers, (Nanaimo, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, etc.) courtesy of newspapers.com

Interlude: Rabbit Holes in Research

Over the course of the past year or so, many puzzles and rabbit holes presented themselves to me. In the most recent post on John Hutchinson, the West Roxbury VA hospital requested military service verification in 1963. John Hutchinson died in 1956. Fold3 indexed several other records of a John Hutchinson born in Massachusetts on July 20, 1891 who died in May, 1978. Who was this second John Hutchinson that might have served in the U.S. Navy and needed medical attention in 1963. Regardless of the answer, this is not the puzzle box that spawned this blog post.

I attempted to verify Ralph Winsor‘s claim that he was Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the First Naval District’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). During that [ongoing] attempt to verify, I uncovered a November 10, 1922 memorandum from the U.S. Naval Attache in Chile to Director of Naval Intelligence.

The memo identified a Japanese woman, Iwo Horiguche, involved in the suicide of Lionel Ryder, Secretary to the U.S. Ambassador.  While the memo mentioned Ryder’s last name, it mainly focused on Horiguche describing her as attractive, well-cultured and fluent in five languages. Finally, she was the guest of the Japanese Charge d’Affaires and his wife. The memo goes on to state that the Ryder was likely betraying secrets to her.

NOTE: Horiguche is likely incorrect. “Che” is not native to Japanese, but “Chi” is. The most common kanji for the Horiguchi surname/family name is 堀口.

Wondering more about the background, the Chicago Tribune ran a small note on October 17. Unfortunately, there is not a lot there. In the July 1922 Annual Report on Naval Attache activities, the Buenos Aires office was “active in uncovering activities of the British-Japanese espionage service in South America and United States.” Espionage rarely happens in a vacuum.

Starting in 1921, the U.S. State Department assisted in the (February) 1922 Shantung Treaty negotiations between Japan and China. Considering WWI fallout, this treaty resulted in the transfer of Shantung/Shandong from Germany to Japan to China. Obviously, Japan felt it important to know as much as possible regarding the US’s negotiation stances, even if it came from sources who were not directly involved. But why Brazil.

Japanese began moving to Brazil since 1908. Oddly enough, Japan experienced famine and overpopulation around the turn of the century, especially in Okinawa. Many Japanese went to United States (Hawaii and California). Just as the United States started restricting Asian immigration, Brazil became open as they clamped down on immigration from African countries and those of “black descent”. To this day, São Paulo still has a large Japanese-Brazilian population.

In 1923, the Naval Attache conducted a detailed investigation into how each station handled codes and ciphers. The questionnaire covered foreign national staff, like cleaning crew, storage of cryptographic material, and decrypted message handling. The investigation identified Rome, London and Tokyo as high risk areas for encrypted Naval Attache message traffic interception and compromise. The final report was presented on September 1923 with instructions to every out station.

Unfortunately, I have no more information regarding this strange tale. Lionel Ryder could have started spying much earlier than 1922. I doubt Iwo Horiguche/Horiguchi was her real name. Furthermore, she could have murdered Lionel and the suicide a cover story by the United States. Does a random newspaper clipping, a single memo, and an investigation into Naval Attache ciphers really lead to an uncovered intelligence coup? May be one day I’ll find out.

Tue, Oct 17, 1922 – 1 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. November, 1922 U.S. Naval Attache (Chile) report on Japanese involvement. https://www.fold3.com/image/297048609 (Note: Requires paid account)
2. July 1922, Annual report on Naval Attache activities: https://www.fold3.com/image/299255116 (Note: Requires paid account)
3. September, 1923 report to OIC of Naval Code and Ciphers: https://www.fold3.com/image/297048609 (Note: Requires paid account)
4. American and British good offices in the negotiation of the Shantung treaty between China and Japan, signed at Washington February 4, 1922: https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1922v01/ch42
5. Wikipedia on Japanese-Brazilians: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Brazilians
6. A Brief History on Shantung/Shandong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shandong_Peninsula
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Ambassadors_of_Japan_to_Brazil

The NAHL: John “Jack” Gouverneur Hutchinson

In December 1917, the First Naval District acquired John G. Hutchinson from a private life as a farm manager. By the end of the month, Jack joined the First Naval District hockey team and assisted them to their first exhibition win over the Boston-based Arena Hockey Club. As with many other John’s of the era, newsprint often referred to him as “Jack”. Knowing this helped tracked him to the start of his hockey playing in Arlington High School in 1908 and all the way through his Amherst (Massachusetts Agriculture). He played amateur hockey for Boston Athletic Association until at least 1926. When he transitioned to coaching, he earned a new nickname, the “old fox”, which carried him through the 1930s. However, Jack’s era was the era of amateur hockey. As amateur hockey diminished, Jack blended into the background as well.

The “old fox” was born in Arlington, Massachusetts on July 20, 1891. He played high school hockey during his last two years at Arlington High School. When he attended Massachusetts Agricultural College (UMass Amherst), he played from 1911 until 1914. During this period, John also spent time in the military achieving the rank of sergeant prior to enlisting in the Navy. John’s high school and college years prepared him well for the future.

John became a Naval Aviator too late in the war to see action. In a bit of unintentional foreshadowing, his Naval Air Station Bay Shore flight school record states:

A little slow to learn – quiet – Industrious – Has confidence – good attitude – handles men well.

The instructor who noted that John “handles men well” probably did not expect him to become a successful hockey coach.

John did not immediately transition into coaching. He played in the US Amateur Hockey Association with the Boston Athletic Association Unicorns until 1926. After a two year hiatus, he started managing BAA hockey. In 1931, he managed the “university club” team. With nearly ten years of coaching and management experience, the Amateur Athletic Union selected him to lead the 1939 United States’ hockey team. On the cusp of WWII, John took ten players to Switzerland. They walked away with Silver.

Even as a coach, John maintained an Amateur status. He found work primarily as an automotive mechanic. Whether it was an automotive job or an airplane job, John worked at Roosevelt Field Inn in the early 40s. Roosevelt Field was one of the busiest airports in the United States in the 20s and 30s. Roosevelt Field Inn opened in 1930, which was nearly four years after Charles Lindbergh made his famous transatlantic trip. Shortly his WWII draft card listing, he moved on to Cote Motor Company.

After 13 years at Cote and two months of retirement, John Hutchinson passed away at his son’s house on October 4, 1956. In a twist of bureaucratic fate, John lived on in Veteran’s Affairs records. In 1963, a John G. Hutchinson claimed VA benefits from the West Roxbury VA hospital. While it probably was a mix up between him and his son, a probable WWII veteran, these little mysteries of every day heroes can be misleading trails or tantalizing puzzle boxes. Those that survived John include Edith, a son, and two grandchildren. Much like John, they blended into the historical background of every day life.

Sources:
1. https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=48798 (Note: Requires paid account)
2. http://scua.library.umass.edu/youmass/doku.php?id=m:morrill_act
3. National Archives, john Hutchinson [Service # 001723610], https://catalog.archives.gov/id/3488255
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939_Ice_Hockey_World_Championships
5. https://teamusa.usahockey.com/page/show/2669052-1939-iihf-men-s-world-championship
6. https://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/roosevelt-field-through-the-years-1.10862824
7. Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.  (Note: Requires Paid Account)
8. Boston Globe courtesy of newspapers.com

Additional sources:
Morrill Land Grant background: https://www.aplu.org/library/the-land-grant-tradition/file
Amherst under President Meiklejohn (1912-1923) https://www.jstor.org/stable/368850?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
https://bayshore.greaterlongisland.com/2018/01/02/31061-from-history-remembering-bay-shores-wwi-air-base-local-hospitality/

The NAHL: Dr. George Joseph Gaw

For a man who only pitched in six major league baseball games, Dr. George Joseph Gaw remains closely associated with the game. But, baseball was not his only passion. George was a dentist, ship builder, WWI Navy Veteran, coach and a hockeyist. Along the way, he earned the nickname “Chippy” or “Chippie”. And, he married Dorothy Schroeder, a Newton HS basketball star and Chippy’s high school crush. In many ways, George Gaw was just your average New Englander.

George Gaw came into this world on Sunday, March 13, 1892 in Newton, Massachusetts. He played baseball (pitcher) and hockey (forward) for Newton High School. In 1911, Gaw entered minor league baseball with the Lancaster Red Roses. The move to Pennsylvania lasted just one game. Chippy returned to Boston after a couple of days. He bounced back eventually earning on spots the International League, AA ball at the time. Chippy helped the Buffalo Bisons win the pennant in 1915 and 16. In 1917, the Bisons released Chippy in mid-season mainly due to contract conflict. However, the Bisons waited until a badly pitched game before handing him the “blue ticket”. The Providence Grays picked him up.

In the off season, Chippy attended Tufts Dental for a dental degree. By 1914, sports writers labelled him as the “kid dentist”, “tooth twirler” and similar mash ups. By 1916, he opened a small dentistry office in Waltham, Massachusetts. As the war came, he shut down everything and joined the Navy Reserve. With the Navy, Chippie played on Ralph Winsor‘s hockey team and later on the baseball team.

As the war wound down, Chippy returned to the civilian games he never left. In 1920, the Chicago Cubs brought him up for six games before pushing him to Milwaukee Brewers, a AA-team at the time. Through all of this, Chippy focused on finishing his degree, which happened in 1921. Chippy’s baseball career ended on September 9, 1928 in front 15,000 people. Chippy pitched for the losing South Boston against Quincy in Boston’s Twilight League. Chippy coached college baseball, too. In 1920, he coached Boston University. In 1921, it was Harvard’s second team getting expertise. Finally, Chippy settled down at BU starting in 1924 until 1928.

As for hockey, Chippy stopped playing and started coaching. First, he coached Lafayette in Buffalo and Pomfret high schools. In 1920/21, MIT picked Chippy to coach hockey. Although he played for Newton High School (1910) and Tufts, people expected Chippy to coach in the “Winsor style” that he learned in the Navy. From 1921/22 until 1928, Chippy coached Dartmouth (1), Princeton (2), and Boston University (4). In the move to BU, he replaced former teammate John James O’hare as head coach. Across those years, he recorded .581 (50-31-5) win percentage. (NOTE: does not include MIT era.)

After his sports careers wound down, George never really left baseball. He gave hockey one last coaching attempt in 1932. Unfortunately, Chippy was too serious for the Boston Hockey Club. But, Chippy was on the mound for old-timer games like one on July 12, 1939. He engaged in Babe Ruth’s final appearance as player in a July 12, 1943 exhibition game. He commented on Pantsy Donovan’s passing, too.

With the onset of World War II, Chippy registered for the old man’s draft in April, 1942. At the time, George listed Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard as his place of employment. The Navy used this site to build many Destroyer Escorts. Even with this 25 million dollar contract at the shipyard, George filed for bankruptcy in 1943. Tragedy struck again when one of his sons, David, murdered his estranged wife in 1952. George and Dorothy just worked through it all.

In the midst of near retirement, he picked up a fascination for bullfighting. He would trot down to Nogales during spring training. He learned Spanish. Traveled across Spain and Italy in ’59. In mid-December 1960, the basketball star, whom he married in Bermuda, passed away. Focused on spring training and his grand children, George pushed through until David’s parole. In 1968, George followed Dorothy. Despite the baseball championships or the Ivy league hockey wins, Jerry Nason reminded us that to Chippy ¡Olé! equaled his other sports accomplishments.


Tue, May 28, 1968 – 29 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. Chippy Gaw, “The Doctor is in”. Diamonds in the Dusk. Nov 8, 2012.
2. Year: 1916; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2456; Line: 4; Page Number: 82
3. Coach George Gaw. College Hockey News.
4. Hingham Shipyard History. Wikipedia
5. Chippy Gaw’s Obit. Part1, Part2. Jason Nason. Boston Globe. May 28, 1968.
6. Boston Globe

Other Sources:
1. Boston Terriers Men’s Hockey Recordbook, 1917-2016. Boston University.
2. Boston University Baseball Club. Boston University.
3. Boston Terriers Team History. College Hockey News.
4. Hingham Shipyard History. Smith Yacht.
5. List of WWII Navy vessels built at Hingham. ShipBuildingHistory.com