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1925-26 WPCD Team
The biographies and images below summarize the information gathered for the members of the 1925 - 1926 team. Among those in the team picture are one black doctor, three white officers, and twenty-four black players. The names of nineteen players from 1925 and one other player from the 1926 team are known. Biographical information was found for nine of the eighteen players and the three officers.
The 1925-1926 team played in the West Point Enlisted Men's Football League and scheduled outside games with Lincoln University of Chester, Pennsylvania. The 1925 team lost to Lincoln 66-0 while the 1926 team lost 87-0. We also know the 1926 team lost to the Service Department in their Enlisted Men's league game.
1925 - 1926 Team Members
Baldwin, unknown. Left Tackle. No other information.
Bell, Percy Allen, Sr. Quarterback. (b. February 4, 1903 in Georgia. / m. Margery in abt. 1928 / d. April 16, 1964 in Henrico, VA / i. Seven Pines National Cemetery) A WWI veteran, Bell was stationed at West Point by 1925, remaining there through 1940. He served in the Service Company of the 25th Infantry Regiment in during WWII. Although his role during WWII is unclear, the 25th fought at Guadalcanal, New Georgia and the Philippines. Highest rank: Master Sergeant
Benefield, William R. (b. October 5, 1904 in GA / m. unknown on September 1, 1932 in Highlands, NY / m. Hattie M. Tass, July 15, 1972 in Columbus, OH / d. March 3, 1987 in Dayton, OH). Benefield is not mentioned in the 1925 or 1926 game reports, but the image comparison below suggests he was on the 1925 team. Standing 6' 6" and known a "Giant," he was the star right end for nearly a decade, while also playing center on the basketball team, and was competed in the shot put and discus in track. Was still a private in the cavalry in 1939, but switched to the medical units, served through WWII and Korea before retiring in 1955. Highest known rank: Private
Brockman, James Louis. Back. (b. October 25, 1892 in TX / m. Esther Anna Henley on June 18, 1924 in Highland Falls, NY / d. January 21, 1973 in Los Angeles / i. Los Angeles National Cemetery) Brockman grew up in Texas and was living there when he entered the Army during WWI. He served with the cavalry at Camp Furlong on the Mexican border until 1920 or later. Brockman was at West Point from 1921 to the early 1940s, running one of the mess halls. During WWII., he served as 1st Sergeant of an ammunition supply company in North Africa and Italy, returning to the States in 1944. He then retired to the Los Angeles area. Highest rank: Master Sergeant
Childs, unknown. End. No other information
Cooper, Herman. Quarterback. (b. July 16, 1905 in Bailey, GA / m. Mary Bell / d. October 10, 1973 / i. Mount Tilla Baptist Church Cemetery, Toomsboro, GA) Cooper played on 1925 team, remaining at West Point until at least 1930. It appears he left the Army in 1934 to return to the family farm in Bailey, GA., spending the next forty years in the area. Highest rank: unknown
Davis, unknown. Right guard. No other information.
Fasky, O. B. Back. No other information.
Foote, Thomas Jerome. Right halfback / tackle. (b. January 11, 1907 in Baltimore, MD / m. / d. March 2, 1970 in Los Angeles / i. Los Angeles National Cemetery) Foote enlisted during the 1920s and his inclusion with the 1925 team is based on image matching with the 1928 to 1930 team images (1929 in particular). Foote was with the Cavalry Detachment in 1938 and 1939, but his unit during WWII is not known. He was discharged in January 1945 and a form completed a month later indicates he had scars from multiple bullet wounds near his waist, but it is not clear whether he acquired the wounds in combat. Highest rank: Private
Gray, unknown. Center. No other information.
Harper, Henry Carlton. Right tackle. (b. June 9, 1893 in Wynnewood, OK / m. December 20, 1912 to Lizzie Webb in Wagoner, OK / m. July 5, 1923 to Claretta O. Allen / d. November 19, 1944 in Los Angeles / i. Los Angeles National Cemetery). The son of a Chickasaw Freedmen (slaves owned by the Chickasaw tribe of Oklahoma), Harper enlisted in 1912, shipped to the Philippines with the 25th Infantry Regiment, and returned the same year. He likely served with the 25th in Hawaii during WWI. By 1920, he was a sergeant in the Motor Transport Corps in Washington, D. C. and moved to West Point the same year. He became a Master Sgt., commanded the 2nd Squadron, 10th Cavalry until the early 1940s when he retired and moved to Los Angeles. Highest rank: Master Sergeant
Hobson, unknown. Left guard. No other information.
Johnson, Lonnie Adams. Fullback. (b. February 27, 1903 in TN / m. Tenny in 1930 / d. unknown / i. unknown) Growing up in Tennessee, Johnson entered the Army in February 1918 (at age 15?), sailing to France in July with the 523rd Engineers (Forestry), a forestry service battalion of black enlisted men that supplied lumber and firewood for Army operations. He returned to the U.S. in July 1919, was at West Point by 1925 and remained there in 1930, after which little is know about Johnson's life.
Jones, unknown. Punter. No other information
Moore, unknown. Right halfback. No other information
Payne, Matthew. Manager. (b. July 29, 1886 in Grandview, IN / m. Gladys abt. 1928 / d. October 9, 1974 / i. Derrette Cemetery, Grandview, IN) Payne enlisted in 1911, serving during WWI. As a Sgt, with the 9th Infantry, Payne went to the Philippines in 1919, then transferred to West Point, and was managing the Cavalry Detachment football team by 1925, a role he held for 8+ seasons. He retired before 1940 and returned to his native Indiana. Highest rank: Master Sergeant.
Pryor, Robert. Right end. (b. abt. 1900 in PA) Robert Pryor started at right end against Lincoln in 1925 and was a member of the detachment track team that won the West Point Enlisted Men's championship in 1927. He remained with the Cavalry Detachment until at least 1930, but no other information is available about him.
Roane, Charles Henry. Right halfback. (b. July 13, 1897 in Philadelphia, PA / m. Alice Jackson abt. 1924 / d. July 23, 1976 in Atlantic City, NJ / i. unknown) Convicted of larceny in 1914, Roane was sent to the Pennsylvania Industrial Reformatory. He enlisted in the Navy in 1916, serving eight months as a mess attendant. Discharged, he enlisted in the Army, joining the 303rd Stevedores and sailed to France in December 1917. He returned to the States in May 1919, reenlisted and was assigned to West Point. Mentioned as a Philadelphia hometown boy in the Pittsburgh Courier coverage of the Cavalry Detachment's 1925 game with Lincoln University, he left the Army was living in Atlantic City by 1930. He spent some time living in Baltimore, but appears to have spent most of his post-military in Atlantic City. Highest rank: Corporal
Simcoe, Albert Theodore. Center. (b. May 3, 1896 / m. Geneva B. Washington on January 4, 1922 in Highland Falls, NY / d. August 11, 1972 / i. unknown) Simcoe enlisted in 1911, joining the 24th Infantry Regiment. As a private, he was stationed at Camp Stotsenburg, Philippines in 1914, returned to the States, and was sent back to the Philippines in 1916 with the cavalry. He likely spent WWI in the Philippines since an October 1918 letter home was published in a newspaper and transport records show he sailed to the U.S. in September 1919. He was at West Point by 1922, played football for the Detachment team in 1925, and left the Army in 1929. Simcoe is next found working at a Washington, D. C. hotel in 1942 before being convicted of narcotics trafficking in 1952. Highest rank: Private
Williams, John. Left End. No other information.
Five other players and the team physician. Names not known.
1925 - 1926 Officers
The officers in the 1925 team picture were identified using annual rosters of officers and cadets at West Point, images of faculty members in the West Point yearbooks, and other sources. It turns out that all three graduated from West Point, two played football there, and all three were career soldiers, serving during both WWI and WWII.
Cole '17, Capt. John T. Assistant Instructor of Tactics, Cavalry. (b. July 23, 1895 / m. abt. 1928/ d. April 24, 1975 in Denville, NJ / i. Arlington National Cemetery). Cole played football and captained the basketball team at West Point, graduating in 1917. Served in France during WWI managing remount depots (i.e., supplying horses). He may have coached the 1925 Cavalry Detachment team during his time as an instructor at West Point. He trained in cavalry and armor in the 1920s and 1930s and was a reserve rider on the 1932 U.S. Olympic equestrian team. He commanded a combined armor, artillery, and engineers brigade in WWII France, including the first U.S. ground troops to enter Germany, After the war, Cole oversaw the U.S. Army Olympic program, had extensive involvement in the equestrian events at the 1952 Olympics, retiring from the Army in 1953. Highest rank: Brigadier General
Holderness '05, Maj. Arthur W. . Senior Assistant Instructor of Cavalry Tactics. (b. October 22, 1882 in Kenosha, WI / m. Lena Pearl Walsh on June 22, 1912 in Newburgh, NY / d. July 17, 1963 in Tucson, AZ / i. United States Military Academy Post Cemetery) Holderness graduated from West Point with the Class of 1905. Though not a varsity athlete, he was an avid polo player and coached polo at West Point and the University of Arizona. Holderness commanded the Cavalry Detachment in 1925 and 1926. He served in Army Staff positions in Washington, D.C. and spent 1939 to 1941 in the Philippines, returning to the States before the Japanese attack. Highest rank: Colonel.
Stearns '09, Maj. Cuthbert P. . Master of the Sword and Instructor in Military Gymnastics and Physical Culture. Commanding Officer, Cavalry Detachment. (b. / m. Jessie Peabody on November 11, 1909 in Canon City, CO / d. June 6, 1969 in Charlottesville, VA / i. Arlington National Cemetery) At 156 pounds, Stearns started at right end for West Point, graduating in 1909 and returning as an instructor and assistant coach several years later. He served with the Punitive Expedition in Mexico and was the Chief of Staff of the Spruce Production Division during WWI. (Based in the Northwest, the division produced the spruce for airplanes and other military equipment.) During his second active duty tour at West Point, he was Master of the Sword, running the Academy's Physical Eduction Department. Stearns held a range of command and staff roles including command of the 5th Cavalry, and served in England during WWII while planning the occupation of post-war Europe. Stearns retired in 1946. Highest rank: Brigadier General
The ten individuals identified in the 1925-1925 team pictures are labeled accordingly below.
This page will be updated as additional information about these men becomes available.