The 1941 Comanche Indians Share Their Memories!

Dan Waggoner wrote the following in 1991 at a Comanche Indian reunion, and it was printed in the Comanche Chief. When Missy Jones brought me a copy, I just had to share it with you. It is long and a bit tedious unless you have a connection to this team. If you do, you will find a wealth of information here!

COMANCHE INDIAN FOOTBALL TEAM

“…Co-captain Bill Monroe welcomed everyone with thanks to two very special people present- Coach Glen Frazier and Catherine from League City, Texas. Coach Frazier was the only head coach many of the 1941 players ever had. He came to Comanche as head coach for the 1935 season and stayed until 1942.

Those Who Were Gone

“Of the 30 team members, including two coaches, manager and assistant manager, 11 have passed away. Hubert Eoff remembered those who are no longer with us:

Coach John Dyer was credited with character development of his players as well as fundamental football; assistant manager Truman Morgan, reserve lineman Raymond Ruth, reserve back Bobby (Toad) Marshall (110 pounds), reserve lineman Harold Williams, and reserve lineman Paul Slider.

“Paul had a distinguised military career with service in 3 wars in the Army, Navy, and Marines. Reserve running back Cecil Jack (Red) Cox loved football and had a memory for players, facts, and statistics. Victor Scott, reserve lineman, was a strong boy with broad shoulders from Van Dike.

Donald Spears, end, was small, tough, and a good blocker. A.J. (Ears) Coker and Weldon (Scratch) Edwards were something special to Hubert and the team of 1941. Ears and Scratch were roommates of Hubert and Joe Clate Carnes at TCU where each received a football scholarship.

“Hubert said Ears was the best football player he ever saw. The 41 team agreed. Scratch was an All American Lineman and played professional ball for the Washington Redskins.

Those Who Were Still With Us

Jackie Laughlin played on the 1940 team and told about playing in the first game he ever saw! The toughest player he ever practiced and played against was Wilburn Fletcher- also present.

Herbert Davis told about his 99 yard return of an intercepted pass against De Leon. It was late in the game on a sunny afternoon. He caught the ball and cut to the left and picked up a few blockers. Scratch Edwards was an escort down the sideline. About the 50 yard line he began to slow down. Scratch said, ‘If you can’t make it, give me the ball.’

“Herbert said he’d make it, but when he crossed the goal line he was in a slow walk!

Carol (Spider) Gore, team manager, said he buried a time capsule in 1941 of several items he found in the dressing room. He brought it but said the smell was so overwhelming he really couldn’t share it. He found a faded photograph in the capsule. On the back written in a feminine hand was, ‘I love you and always will.’

“Beneath this in a bold hand it said, “Me too.’ It was a surprising photograph and Spider said we would recognize the people and they might notwant to be identified so he burned the photograph. But when Christmas comes someone might be surprised, for he saved the negative.

John Manning Arthur told us about the chartered train trip to Bowie- one of the highlights of the year. Many had never ridden on a train, but the Chamber of Commerce and local businessmen guaranteed to sell a minimum of 250 tickets for $2.90 round trip!

“As the train was loading at noon on December 5, collections were taken to buy tickets for those who could go but could not afford the ticket.

“After about 20 miles some were afraid they might be sick, and some were. Coach put the team in one car and locked the doors so the boys could concentrate on the game. We had no cards, dominoes, or games- we were to think about blocking, tackling, play assignments, etc.

“Highway 377 looked different from the railroad. We were delayed for an hour and a half at Fort Worth, where a freight train had to clear the track before we went on to Bowie. [We] arrived late. Bowie townspeople met the train to take us to restaurants and on to the game and returned us to the depot after the game. This was a good example of hospitality and sportsmanship, for Comanche won 20-0. [Would we show the same sportsmanship?]

“When the team was taken to a restaurant to eat and steaks were brought to the tables, Coach said we could not eat- because of the train delay it was too late for u to eat. The hunger pains lasted until the game started, then they were forgotten- we were so hyped up by all the activity, the train, and the support of the fans who madethe trip.

“The ride home was terrific. The team could sit with friends or their special girl friend. We will never forget the Bowie trip. The train arrived back at the Comanche Depot about 2:30 a.m. on December 6, 1941.

“The next day was Sunday, December 7, 1941. Where were you?”

“We were to play Stamford for the regional championship. The Fort Worth Star Telegram carried our team picture with the Heisman Trophy winner on the same page. The game scheduled for December 12 was postponed until December 19 because of bad weather, and no one knew what to expect from the Japanese.

“December 19 we played in Stamford on a cold windy night. Only a few Comanche people could go that far to the game. We played a good game but lost 6-0.”

This article would become way too long were I to continue on; however, if you have an interest in all of the names of those present or of those who called in or sent letters, you can find in the October 10,1991, issue of the Comanche Chief.

I will close with a quote from a letter from Hormel Gilliam who was a 1940 graduate. Hormel played football for the U.S. Navel Accademy and was named All American in 1944.

“‘We adhered explicitly to Coach Glenn Frazier’s orders of physical training for football. We didn’t smoke, drink (even coca-cola), and beer hadn’t been invented! Oddly enough, I stuck with those rules for another 8 years of football.'”

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About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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4 Responses to The 1941 Comanche Indians Share Their Memories!

  1. Missy Jones says:

    Fredda, I love this story about the 1941 CHS football team. It was written by Dan Waggoner for the 50th year reunion of this team, held in 1991. Dan’s widow, Ruth Adele Waggoner is a volunteer at the Museum and loaned me the copy of the newspaper article. I have this story at the Comanche Historical Museum, and would be happy to mail it to anyone interesed in this. Comanche Historical Museum, Box 22, Comanche, TX 76442

  2. Missy Jones says:

    Fredda, I love this story about the 1941 CHS football team. This article was written by Dan Waggoner, a member of this team for their 50th reunion of the team in 1991. I have this printed out at the Comanche Historical Museum, box 22, Comanche 76442, OR Missy Jones, 205 North Worth, Comanche, 76442. I would be happy to mail you a copy of this article. Dan’s widow, Ruth Adele Waggoner is a volunteer, with me at the Museum.

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