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The All American - Martin Wheelock

October 9, 2017



At the turn of the 20th century, Wisconsin native Martin Frederick Wheelock earned national prominence as a lineman for the Carlisle Indian School from 1894 to 1902. In an era when American football still resembled rugby,  Wheelock was a dominating athlete who led his school to successive winning seasons. He was handsome, fiercely intelligent, and often described in the press as one of the greatest to play the game. American Colleges at this time kept good football players around as long as possible. Wheelock played the game for 9 years. He used his time well and became educated in several fields of study. He delivered this quote from a deftly defiant oration to the spring graduating class of 1902, "The Indian... has made athletic science his warpath thereby making the college world dread him as did their forefathers in the old colonial days." He returned home in 1902, briefly played football for Green Bay (before the Packers) and settled into life as a blacksmith, farmer, logger and interpreter of legal affairs for people of the Oneida Nation. Wheelock married fellow Carlisle student Lena Webster and raised a family. He was living in Belle Plaine in Shawano County when he passed away in 1937.  Wheelock was an All American selection, a member of Pop Warner's 1913 All Time Greatest Indian Team and is a member of the American Indian National Athletic Hall of Fame.