Fiddling and Football: Rivalry Between Carroll County and Cambria, 1901-1902

headline from Flora Hoosier Democrat 1902-11-29

Cambria seems to have been quite the happening place in 1901-1902, which is impressive for so small and new a village. (At this point it had only been platted sixteen years earlier.) Combing through the digitized newspaper archives of Carroll County, I turned up some interesting articles about fiddling and football contests between residents of Carroll County, Cass County, and Cambria (Clinton County).

Fiddling Contests

This amusing article from January 1901 recounts how a certain Frankfort resident and esteemed fiddler, Frank Hill, was entirely shut out of a Cambria fiddle contest in favor of his nemesis, a Carroll County resident named Eli Walker, driving him to storm out of the contest and threaten violence against Walker.

Clinton County Fiddler Who Couldn't Play With Carroll County's Champion 
Frankfort News, Thursday: Frank Hill got in bright and early this morning from the Cambria fiddler's contest, returning on foot, as is his usual custom when attending such affairs. The walk and the early morning ozone seems to have a smooth effect on Frank's nerves, which become somewhat tense over the strain of playing the old classics. But last night Frank didn't get to play at all, and thereby hangs a tale. He says the contest was an Eli Walker affair--a sort of benefit for the Carroll county fiddler and that no one else was in it. Frank is very indignant over the treatment he received. He says there were frequent and vociferous calls for "Hill," but that the chairman of the contest would each time get up and say, "Mr. Walker is requested to play another tune," or "Mr. Walker will now favor the audience with such and such a tune by special request," or "Mr. Walker, they seem to want you again." Frank says he sat glued to his chair for two solid hours while Eli got there and swiped all the honors and other emoluments. He had on a new G string and was prepared to go along some, but was forced to see Eli do all the fiddling. Hence he nursed his wrath as he walked down the pike this morning. Before the contest was over Hill indignantly left the hall, remarking that that was no place for a good fiddler, and said soto voice to Mr. Walker as he passed out that he would enjoy very much using his (Walker's) head for a punching bag. 
-Delphi Evening Herald 1901-01-25 page 1
Later, in November of that year, it seems there was some controversy regarding another Cambria fiddler's contest, this time for excluding a Carroll County resident:

In sending invitations out for the Old Fiddler's contest at Cambria last week, Wm. Wilson for some reason better known to himself than anybody else, did not send our own Clark Pearson a "bid." We guess--"he was afraid." 
Flora Hoosier Democrat 1901-11-30 pg 5

Football Contests

Rivalry and Injury in 1901

The main rivalry of the area seems to have been the Young America football team vs the Cambria team. In 1901, it appears they were just playing each other informally, but the seriousness of the game can be seen in the major injury Young America's Fred Hamilton took when they were shut out by Cambria 5-0.
The foot ball team of Young America drove all the way to Cambria last Sunday to have the club of that town defeat them by a score of 5 to 0. 
-Delphi Journal 1901-11-21
Hurt While Playing Foot Ball 
Fred Hamilton of Young America, step-son of I. A. J. Gray, is in a serious condition as a result of injuries received in a football game at Cambria, last Saturday. The Young America team had a game there and in a rush he was thrown off of his feet and rendered helpless. He had to be carried in a house neary-by for medical treatment and the latest from his bedside is of the most discouraging character. The ligaments in both legs were torn loose and it is feared there were internal injuries inflicted. 
-Flora Hoosier Democrat 1901-11-23
The Young America and Cambria foot ball teams chased the pigskin last Saturday at Young America to the tune of 11 to 0, in favor of Young America. Warren Knapp, of this place, officiated as umpire and gave entire satisfaction. This is a game for each, Cambria winning the first 5 to 0. They talk of playing the deciding game at this place. 
-Flora Hoosier Democrat 1901-12-14 Pg 8

A Four-County Championship 1902

I have yet to turn up any evidence of the final tie-breaking game in 1901, but we know they kept playing eventually because the following year there seems to have been a large football tournament with Cass, Carroll, Clinton, and Howard counties participating. The final championship came down to Cambria and Young America, which played to a crowd of 500-plus. (Note that Fred Hamilton, who was reported as seriously injured above, was back to play in the 1902 tournament, so he must have recovered well after all.)

Here is a notice for the upcoming game:
The foot ball teams of Young America and Cambria will play for $50 aside and the gate receipts at the Flora fair grounds on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 22. Cambria will be reinforced with several men from the famous Frankfort "Tigers" and the game will attract a large crowd. 
-Delphi Journal 1902-11-13 pg 1
It is unsurprising that Cambria had to beef up their numbers with players from Frankfort. A 1902 railway guide gives Cambria's population as 46.

Here is where we get to the good stuff: full detail coverage of the big championship, complete with interviews with the coaches, betting stats, and a point-by-point run-down of how the game goes. It's like a turn-of-the-century Monday Night Football broadcast, all for a football game between two tiny rural towns. It really makes you mourn for local journalism.

Young America and Cambria will Chase the “Pig-Skin”--Both Teams Confident. 
Lovers of foot ball will no doubt be rewarded with a good contest at the Racing Association grounds this afternoon, when Young America will chase the “pig-skin” with Cambria. Both teams have been playing great football lately and have confidence of victory. The Young America “Iron-Clads” are 2 to 1 favorites in the betting. Their opinions follow with the official line up: 
Manager Linville McClain of Young America says: “I am confident that our team will win today and taking into consideration the scores and players of last year, we should be able to shut them out with at least 12 points to our credit.” 
Capt. J. Fred Hamilton of Young America: “Our team for today’s game will be lighter than any line-up we have ever had, yet by fast play and hard bucking we hope to win the game. I hardly think the score, if either wins will, be over 12.” 
Coach Oscar Drinkwater of the Young America eleven: “I was not with the team in last year’s games but the team this year is unusually strong and should be able to win over any amateur team not heavier.” 
Manager Manson Lewis of Cambria: “If grit and determination counts anything we hope for victory, although we are battling against a greater weight. I feel confident.” 
Capt. Roy Richardson of Cambria: “I feel confident, though our opponents are heavier than we are. I am confident I can pilot my team to victory. I predict a low score to winners.”

Young America.
Geo. Ullerich
F. Ticen
D. McManama
E. Troxel
Jos. Cripe
G. Martz
G. Hunter
W. Corns
E. Craig
M. Hufford
C. Turley
C. Smith
E. Lybrook
M. Lewis
E. Sence
W. Michael
F. Hamilton
B. Neher
M. McClain
W. Pickerson
H. Hubler
R. Richardson

Young America Substitutes: George Hubler, Owen Kirk, Garfield Todd, Roy Lybrook, Wilbur Richardson, J. Remley, W. Allread 
Flora Hoosier Democrat 1902-11-22 Pg 1  

 The result of the game, in brief and then full. For context, the $50 prize is worth about $1,500 in 2019, and the $87.35 in receipts is $2,600 in 2019. :
The foot ball teams of Cambria and Young America played an exciting game at Flora Saturday afternoon. The contest was for $50 a side and the gate receipts as well as to decide which of the teams were best, each having won a game from the other. A crowd of over five hundred persons witnessed the game. The final score was 16 to 0 in favor of Young America.
-The Delphi Journal 1902-11-27



Of Four Counties--Five Hundred People See Game, the Receipts Being $87.35. 
Young America is again supreme at football. The object of weeks of hard work has been accomplished with more success than the followers of the red and white had hoped. Cambria was whipped last Saturday by a score of 16 to 0. Whipped so thoroughly that when time was called in the gathering darkness there was left not a vestige of doubt that the Young America eleven stands above Cambria in strength, knowledge, and execution of football--in fact everything that pertains to football. It was the first contest of its kind that ever occurred at this place, and it won many warm supporters. Over five hundred people paid admission to the game, which netted the teams $87.35. The receipts went 60 per cent to the winners and 40 per cent to the losers. Both teams had many warm supporters and the noise was deafening. The Young America team was 2 to 1 favorites in the betting. Both teams were satisfied in every way regarding the manner in which the game was pulled off and especially the treatment shown them by the citizens of Flora. By winning Young America claims the championship of Cass, Carroll, Clinton and Howard counties. Following is the game and the final line up of the two teams.  
Cambria won the toss and chose the west goal, thereby forcing Young America to kick off against the wind. Hubler of Young America kicked off to Ticen on the ten yard line where he was downed. Then by a series of hard line plunges they were able to advance it to Young America’s thirty-five yard line where they lost the ball on downs, only to regain it again on first down on a fumble. Here Young America made a brave stand and again held them for downs and by a few nicely executed end plays soon had the ball on Cambria’s five yard line. Here Hamilton took Sence’s place at half back and carried the ball over for the first touchdown just eleven minutes after play had commenced. Hubler kicked goal, making a star kick. When first half was called Young America was on Cambria’s four yard line. Score, Young America 6, Cambria 0.  
Cambria kicked off beginning of second half, and by some great end runs by McClain, Turley and Hamilton, Remley was forced over the line for second touchdown. Hubler missed goal. Sence carried it over the line for the last touchdown and failed to kick goal. Score standing at end of game, Young America 16, Cambria 0.  
-Flora Hoosier Democrat 1902-11-29


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