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Inductee Profile

John Russeau


John was born near Solon Springs and graduated from Superior High School in 1905. In the fall he played football for the Hayward Indian team and attracted the attention of a Carlisle Indian Industrial Institute scout who came to the reservation. At Carlisle he entered a vocational training course in tinsmithing and carriage painting. While at Carlisle, John played football for the legendary coach, Glenn “Pop” Warner from 1906 through 1910, a period when the school in Carlisle, PA was building up its highest reputation as a giant-killer among the gridiron powers of the east. Two of John’s teammates were the immortal Jim Thorpe and the famous “Lone Star” Dietz. John played at tackle and end on both sides of the line and scored two touchdowns, one on a 20 yard pass reception against Baltimore College in 1906 and the other on a fumble recovery in the end zone against Carlisle Prep College. In 1910, Carlisle defeated a highly favored Harvard team, defeated Yale 6 to 0 and held a Pennsylvania powerhouse to a 12-12 tie. In 1907 he played against the Rice Lake High School football team when he joined the Hayward Indian team for one game while at home recuperating from an injury received in the Carlisle-Princeton game. Following football, John served overseas during World War I as a volunteer with the Canadian Army in France. In 1919 he married British war bride, Lillian Furner in Sussex, England and returned home to the reservation in Reserve. After one year they moved to Rice Lake to make their living and raise their family of seven children. While in Rice Lake, “Indian John” boxed in the 1920’s under the name of “Black Jack”. As a Chippewa Indian, John was a brave who made good in the white man’s world. He loved children and he chatted with literally thousands of them on the streets of Rice Lake during his 50 years in the city he called his home. His children and many grandchildren grew up in Rice Lake. His grandfather served with the Union Army in the Civil War. His ancestors knew this territory like the back of their hands. John Russeau was the one individual who, down the decades, represented his heritage well, more than any other person in Rice Lake. A football field was named in his honor on April 26, 1991 at Clanton Park in Rice Lake for youth flag football and adult football. Indian John Russeau passed away on October 30, 1969.

John Russeau
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