Percival Henry Biddulph Furley was born on February 10th 1900. He entered the High School on October 2nd 1906 at the age of six. His father was Willis Furley and his mother was called Bertha. The family lived at 72, Cromwell Street, which is fairly close to the High School. Look for the orange arrow. The pale orange buildings of the High School, edged in maroon, are in the top middle of the map, bounded by Waverley Street and Arboretum Street:
Willis Furley was a Hosiery Manufacturer, and the whole family used to go to All Saints’ Church in Raleigh Street, just a short walk from the family home. The church has a ring around it in this late 19th century map. Further towards the top of the map are the High School, looking like an inverted Letter “T”, and the Forest Recreation Ground, complete with Grandstand:
I do not know if this young man was called Percy at home, but he was certainly called “Dab” at school. Apparently, none of his contemporaries knew where his nickname came from. I have researched the word “Dab” as a nickname on the Internet, and the best solution comes from The Word Detective, who believes that “Dab” means “someone who is an expert in or proficient at something” as in the phrase “dab hand”. While “Dab” on its own dates apparently from 1691, this particular expression of “dab hand” first appeared at the end of the 19th century, with the oldest example being dated as 1870 (“He was a dab hand at water-colours.”)
The Word Detective is unable to supply a guaranteed origin for “Dab”, but I suspect that he is right to say that it comes from “dapper” which means “neat, elegant, smart, stylish or well-groomed”.
Dab certainly proved to be a dab hand at a great many things in his time at the High School, not least in his academic subjects. In 1912, after his first year, for example, he had clearly impressed enough to become a Foundation Scholar. Dab finally left the High School in May 1918.
He was always one of the favourites of Sammy Corner, the Deputy Headmaster, especially in the Latin and Ancient Greek classes in the Lower Sixth.
As a teacher, Mr Corner was famous for how easily he could be diverted from the work in hand. If anybody started talking about an interesting subject, especially in his Scripture lessons, the class would seldom, if ever, have to return to what they were supposed to be doing.
Dab’s other claim to fame was his talent in school plays. At this time, all the female parts were taken by boys, and, given his youthful good looks, Dab could always be made up into a very good looking girl or lady! Perhaps this was what made him an especially “Dab hand”.
The High School had stopped playing football, or soccer, at the end of the Christmas Term in 1914, ironically, just in time for the Christmas Truce in the Great War. The First XI finished with a 2-7 away defeat against Leicester Wyggeston School on November 25th 1914. The Second XI, playing at home at Mapperley Park against the same opponents’ 2nd XI, lost by 1-5. Dab probably did play for the High School at football, but we have no record of any of the team line-ups for this shortened season. When the school began playing rugby in early 1915, they did not play any official fixtures, but instead, spent their time trying to learn this rather complex game.
In the summer, though, Dab was to be a player in the school’s First Eleven at cricket for three years. The website “Cricket Archive” does have some of Dab’s performances listed. Here is the High School’s First Eleven in an unknown year. The coach on the left is the much respected Mr Onions, and the three young men in blazers are, left to right, Dab Furley, Roy Henderson and FL Oldham. Nobody else is named unfortunately:
On May 29th 1915 against Derby School at Mapperley Park, Dab batted seventh and was run out for a score of two. He did not bowl. Derby School managed 58 all out but lost to the High School who were 78 all out, having batted on after victory, as was the custom at that time. On June 2nd 1915, playing in another home fixture, this time against Worksop College, Dab again did not bowl, but he batted sixth and was run out for a score of 17. Worksop College were all out for 113, but the High School managed an all-out total of 125, having again batted on after victory was achieved. Here is my first attempt at an enlargement:
The next season, on June 10th 1916, Dab travelled to Parker’s Piece, Chester Green, Derby to play against Derby School. This venue has been used for cricket from 1883 to at least 2006. Derby managed a record breaking low score of only 13 runs. JH Boyd took five wickets for only seven runs and GA Wright claimed four wickets for two runs. The rest of Derby’s total came from four extras. When the High School batted, Dab opened the innings as number two, and scored just three runs before he was out caught by Cotterill of the bowling of Stray. The High School, not surprisingly, were the victors, and batted on to score 158 all out.
In later years archaeologists began an excavation to look for Roman remains at this site and duly found a Roman hypocaust just to the left of the pavilion:
Nowadays, the area has clearly gone downhill with even horrific dog attacks being reported there. Such things were clearly not a hazard in those bad old days of 1916!
I have found no more scores, but Dab went on to win the School’s Prize for the Best Batting Average during the 1917 season:
The following year, in 1918, he was the Captain of Cricket, although this cannot have lasted long if he was to leave the school in May of that year.
Tomorrow, more about the life of Percival Henry Biddulph Furley.
Frank Cadle Mahin is one of the most interesting of the school’s pupils. He was born on May 27th 1887, in Clinton, Iowa, the son of Frank W. Mahin, who was a retired United States Consular Officer at the time. Frank W. had graduated from Harvard University in 1877. Frank C.’s mother was Abbie Anna Cadle, who was born in Muscatine, Iowa, in 1857 to Cornelius Cadle and Ruth Lamprey.
This was Abbie’s second marriage. She had previously been married to Frank Mann with whom she had one child. With her second husband, Frank W., she had two more children, Frank C., and a daughter, Anna, who was born in 1880.
Anna was to meet a young English doctor during the family’s stay in Nottingham, and she remained with him after her parents eventually left England for Amsterdam in Holland. I have been unable to trace Anna’s husband’s surname, although he was to become Frank’s Uncle Alec. As an Englishman, Alec was to fight in the Great War well before Frank and his fellow Americans became involved in the hostilities. Alec was certainly in combat as early as 1915, and I believe that he survived the conflict. The year of Anna’s death has not been recorded. Her mother, Abbie, died in 1941 at the age of 84.
Frank Cadle Mahin entered the High School on September 15th 1902, at the age of fifteen. The Mahin family lived at 7, Sherwood Rise, on the opposite side of the Forest Recreation Ground from the High School. His father was by now the United States Consul in Nottingham. Look for the orange arrow:
Despite a comparatively short stay at the High School, Frank Junior seems to have been an accomplished sportsman, and appeared for the First XI at football in a fixture against Loughborough Grammar School on Wednesday, October 25th 1904 at Mapperley Park. The High School began very slowly and had quite a fright before they eventually ran out victors by 4-1. The team was M.J.Hogan, J.P.K.Groves, R.Cooper, R.E.Trease, R.G.Cairns, F.C.Mahin, H.E.Mills, S.D.M.Horner, R.B.Wray, L.W.Peters and P.G.Richards.
Frank played a second match on the afternoon of Saturday, December 3rd 1904. Again, it was at Mapperley Park against Notts. Magdala F.C. 2nd XI. The game finished in a 1-3 away win as:
“a weakened team, who ought really to have won, but did not play as well as they might have, against opponents who themselves were rather poor.”
This time the team was M.J.Hogan, R.B.Wray, R.Cooper, R.E.Trease, R.G.Cairns, F.C.Mahin, H.E.Mills, J.Henson, L.W.Peters, C.R.Attenborough and P.G.Richards.
Frank’s only away game was against Worksop College at Worksop. The entire team doubtless travelled by steam train from Nottingham’s Victoria Station on the afternoon of Saturday, March 11th 1905:
According to the school magazine:
“The High School fielded a weakened team, but played well, and did not deserve to lose by such a wide margin as he 0-5 final result would suggest.”
The team was M.J.Hogan, J.P.K.Groves, W.E.Williams , F.C.Mahin, R.B.Wray, R.E.Trease, H.E.Mills, C.S.Robinson, S.D.M.Horner, L.W.Peters and P.G.Richards.
This photograph shows the First Team in the 1904-1905 season. It was taken at Mapperley Park Sports Ground, opposite the old Carrington Lido on Mansfield Road. Serjeant Holmes is present, and on the back row are S.D.M.Horner, C.F.R.Fryer, M.J.Hogan, R.E.Trease and J.P.K.Groves. Seated are R.G.Cairns, R.B.Wray, R.Cooper (Captain) and L.W.Peters, Seated on the grass are H.E.Mills and P.G.Richards. On the right is the so-called twelfth man, the reserve player, who is Frank Cadle Mahin. I believe that the photograph was taken on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 12th 1904, just before the High School played against Mr.Hughes’ XI. The School won 12-5, and we know that Cooper in defence was the outstanding player, but the whole team played well, and the forwards’ finishing was particularly deadly. This year, the team was amazingly successful. Their season began with victories by 5-4, 2-1, 23-0, 12-5, 9-0, 15-0, 3-1, 4-1, 11-0, 16-1. They had scored exactly 100 goals by November 3rd, in only ten games:
The detectives among you will notice that it is warm enough for the changing room windows to be open, and the design of the ball is very different from nowadays. Young Horner has forgotten his football socks, and, because this game marked his début for the side, Mr Fryer’s mother has not yet had the time to sew his school badge onto his shirt. Frank is, in actual fact, in the full school uniform of the time, which was a respectable suit or jacket, topped off with a neat white straw boater, with a school ribbon around it.
Frank also performed as a linesman, or assistant referee, in First XI football fixtures on several occasions in 1904-1905:
“Referees during the season were Mr.W.T.Ryles, Mr.R.E.Yates, Mr.M.R.Hughes and Mr.A.G.Onion. F.C.Mahin and K.M.Brace also performed as linesmen.”
Frank was perhaps a better cricketer than footballer, and he was, in actual fact, the regular captain of the Second XI at cricket.
This photograph shows the First XI cricket team, in an unrecorded year, probably 1905. The individuals are thought to be on the back row, Mr.A.G.Onion, (Groundsman and Coach), S.D.M.Horner, R.G.Cairns, C.F.R.Fryer, unknown and F.C.Mahin. In the middle row are P.G.Richards, L.W.Peters, W.G.Emmett (Captain), M.J.Hogan and R.B.Wray. Seated on the grass are J.P.K.Groves, H.E.Mills, and an unknown player.
In his time at the High School, Frank played for the First XI cricket team only sporadically. We know that he batted once in the 1904 season, and scored five runs, and then batted once more in 1905, and obtained the same score.
In addition, we also know that, on Saturday, June 24th 1905, which was School Sports Day, Frank dead-heated for first place in the Open Long Jump, managing a jump of fifteen feet nine inches, exactly the same distance as C.F.R.Fryer.
In the academic world, Frank won the Mayor’s Prize for Modern Languages, and, most significant of all, perhaps, he reached the rank of sergeant in the newly formed Officer Training Corps.
Frank left the High School in July 1905, and returned to the United States where he was in the Class of 1909 at Harvard University.
The university’s proud boast nowadays is that they produce the most highly paid university alumni in the United States:
Both of these men had the same interest in the military as Frank. In 1917, Kermit Roosevelt, although he was obviously an American, joined the British Army to fight in Mesopotamia during the Great War. He was awarded a Military Cross on August 26, 1918. Theodore Roosevelt served as a Brigadier General in the United States Army during the Second World War. He died in France in 1944, a month after leading the first wave of troops onto Utah Beach during the Normandy landings. This brave act was to earn him the Medal of Honor. To me, it would seem ludicrous to suggest that they were not, at the very least, among Frank’s acquaintances at Harvard, if not friends.
Hopefully, Frank had little or no association with another famous member of the Class of 1909. This was Ernst Hanfstaengl, a prominent member of the German Nazi party in the 1920s and early 1930s. A close personal friend of the Führer, Hanfstaengl provided part of the finance for the publication of “Mein Kampf” and the Nazi Party’s official newspaper, the “Völkischer Beobachter“. Using his experience of Harvard football songs, he composed many Brownshirt and Hitler Youth marches and also claimed to have invented the “Sieg Heil” chant. Eventually, “Putzi” was to defect to the Allies and to work as part of President Roosevelt’s “S-Project”, providing information on some 400 prominent Nazis.
During his time at Harvard, according to the Secretary’s Second Report on the Harvard College Class of 1909, Frank married Miss Carrie Knight Whitmore on December 10th 1906. Alas, the poor lady was to die on February 11th 1907. Details are lacking, unfortunately, but this was an era where women could die not only giving birth to a child, but even of morning sickness in the early part of a pregnancy. The same source reveals that Frank remarried on August 18th 1908 in New York, New York State. The lucky lady was called Miss Sasie Avice Seon.
Frank represented the University at football on a number of occasions. Here is one of them:
“Tonight at 6 o’clock the University association football team will leave on the Fall River boat for New York, where they will play Columbia tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock. While in New York the team will stay at the Murray Hill Hotel. On Sunday, they will leave for Ithaca, play Cornell on Monday afternoon, and return to Cambridge that night. The following men, accompanied by Manager E. B. Stern ’07 and Assistant Manager P. Woodman ’08, will be taken: G. W. Biddle ’08, W. M. Bird ’08, P. Brooks ’09, E. N. Fales ’08, W. A. Forbush ’07, H. Green ’08, O. B. Harriman ’09, F. C. Mahin ’09, C. G. Osborne ’07, A. N. Reggio ’07, A. W. Reggio ’08, L. B. Robinson ’07, W. T. S. Thackara ’08.”
The association football team will play its first game of the season with Columbia this afternoon at 2 o’clock on Alumni Field, New York. Individually the team is strong; but, as several of the men have only recently joined the squad, the team work is not well developed. Captain Thackara will be in the line-up today for the first team this year. Columbia finished second in the intercollegiate league last year and defeated Yale last week in a well-played game by the score of 4 to 0.
The line-up will be: HARVARD. COLUMBIA. Mahin, g. g., Graybill Green, l.f.b. r.f.b., Voskamp Thackara, r.f.b. l.f.b., Fairchild Biddle, l.h.b., r.h.b., deGarmendia A. W. Reggio, c.h.b. c.h.b., Dickson Bird, r.h.b. l.h.b., Rocour Forbush, l.o.f. r.o.f., Billingsley Brooks, l.i.f. r.i.f. Simpson Osborne, c.f. c.f., Hartog A. N. Reggio, r.i.f. l.i.f., Dwyer Robinson, r.o.f. l.o.f., Cutler
Tomorrow the team will leave for Ithaca, and will play Cornell on Monday afternoon, returning to Cambridge that night.
“The association football team defeated Columbia on Saturday at Alumni Field, New York, by the score of 1 to 0. With only ten men in the line-up, Columbia was unable to block the clever attack of the University team, and was on the defensive during most of the game. The single goal was scored in the first half after a series of speedy passes by the forwards to A. N. Reggio, who sent the ball into the net. Osborne, the University team’s centre forward, played an excellent game, and continually broke up the Columbia attack before it was fairly started. Two 30-minute halves were played.
Harvard vs. Cornell at Ithaca Today.
This afternoon, the team plays Cornell on Percy Field, Ithaca. Last month Cornell defeated Columbia by the score of 2 to 1, and has a fast, aggressive team.
The teams will line-up as follows: HARVARD CORNELL. Mahin, g. g., Wood Green, l.f.f. r.f.b., Van der Does de Bye Thackara, r.f.b. l.f.b., Sampaio Biddle, l.h.b. r.h.b., Malefski A. W. Reggio, c.h.b. c.h.b., Dragoshanoff Bird, r.h.b. l.h.b., Wilson Forbush, l.i.f. r.o.f., Van Bylevelt Brooks, l.i.f. r.i.f., Deleasse Osborne, c.f. e.f., MacDonald A. N. Reggio, r.i.f. l.i.f., Samirento Robinson, r.o.f. l.o.f., Chryssidy ”
“ITHACA, N. Y., Dec. 3.–On a field covered with snow the association football team defeated Cornell this afternoon on Percy Field, by the score of 5 to 1. In spite of the unfavorable conditions, the University team played well and showed a marked improvement in team work over the form in the Columbia game. Cornell’s defense was unable to check the hard attack of the University forwards, and but for the snow which made accurate shooting impossible, the score would have been larger. Of the five goals, Osborne made three, and Biddle and A. N. Reggio one each. Cornell’s goal came after a hard scrimmage in front of the net, following a kick out from the corner of the field. Two thirty-minute halves were played.
The summary follows: HARVARD. CORNELL. Mahin, g. g., Wood Green, l.f.f. r.f.b., Van der Does de Bye Thackara, r.f.b. l.f.b., Sampaio Brooks, l.h.b. r.h.b., Malefski A. W. Reggio, c.h.b. c.h.b., Dragoshanoff Bird, r.h.b. l.h.b., Wilson Forbush, l.o.f. r.e.f., Van Bylevelt Biddle, l.i.f. r.i.f., Delcasse Osborne, c.f. c.f., MacDonald A. N. Reggio, r.i.f. l.i.f., Samirento Robinson, r.o.f. l.o.f., Chryssidy
Score–Harvard, 5; Cornell, 1. Goals –Osborne, 3; Biddle, A. N. Reggio, Dragoshanoff. Time–30-minute halves.”
This is the Harvard team for an unknown match in the 1906-1907 season:
“The University association football team will play Haverford this afternoon at 2.30 o’clock in the Stadium. As neither team has been defeated this fall, the game today will decide the intercollegiate league championship.
The University team has improved steadily during the season and has developed an effective attack, as shown in the Cornell game last Monday. Haverford has a well-balanced, team of experienced players, many of whom played on last year’s championship team. Last month they defeated Columbia by the score of 2 to 1, while the University team defeated Columbia, 1 to 0.
The line-up will be: HARVARD. HAVERFORD. Mahin, g. g., Warner Kidder, l.f.b. r.f.b., Brown Green, r.f.b. l.f.b., Godley Thackara, l.h.b. r.h.b., Drinker A. W. Reggio, c.h.b. c.h.b., Rossmaessler Bird, r.h.b. l.h.b., Windele Brooks, l.o.f r.o.f. Bushnell A. N. Reggio, l.i.f. r.i.f., Furness Osborne, e.f. e.f., Baker Robinson, r.i.f. l.i.f., Shoemaker Biddle, r.o.f. l.o.f, Strode
The privileges of the Union are extended today to all Haverford men.
D. J. Pryer has been elected captain of the Brown University football team for next year.
The novice revolver shoot, finished last night, was won by M. R. Giddings ’08 with a score of 329 out of a possible 500.”
“The University association football team was defeated by Haverford on Saturday in the intercollegiate championship game by the score of 2 to 1. Haverford’s light forwards were very fast and displayed better team work than the University players, who depended almost entirely on individual work. On the defense, the University backs were not given enough assistance by the forwards.
For the University team, Brooks and A. N. Reggio played especially well. In spite of a constant guard of two Haverford players, Osborne played his usual good game. In the second half, several opportunities to score were lost by the University forwards through inaccurate kicking. Baker, Haverford’s centre forward, played brilliantly and was the most untiring player on the field.
Haverford won the toss and chose to defend the north goal with a strong wind behind them. During the first half, Baker made two goals, aided by fast team work on the part of the other forwards. Shortly after the beginning of the second period, A. N. Reggio scored Harvard’s only goal.
The summary follows: HARVARD. HAVERFORD. Mahin, g. g., Warner Thackara, l.f.b. r.f.b., Brown Kidder, r.f.b. l.f.b., Godley Brooks, l.h.b. r.h.b., Drinker A. W. Reggio, c.h.b. c.h.b., Rossmaessler Bird, r.h.b. l.h.b., Windele Forbush, l.o.f. r.o.f., Bushnell A. N. Reggio, l.i.f. r.i.f., Furness Osborne, c.f. c.f., Baker Robinson, r.i.f. l.i.f., Shoemaker Biddle, r.o.f. l.o.f., Strode
Score–Haverford, 2; Harvard, 1. Goals–Baker 2, A. N. Reggio. Referee–J. H. Fairfax-Luey. Linesmen–D. V. Leland ’10 and F. R. Leland ’10. Time–25-minute halves.”
This was in the “first bumping races” and Frank rowed for a crew called “Brentford”. The latter were classified as fifth out of six, in the third division out of three:
“Brentford–Stroke, C. L. Hathaway ’10; 7, J. F. Frye ’09; 6, J. A. Curtis ’10; 5, W. F. Doake ’09; 4, P. N. Case ’09; 3, I. E. Willis ’09; 2, F. C. Mahin ’09; bow, H. F. Bingham ’10; coxswain, E. B. Gillette ’10.
The full details were:
“This afternoon at 3.45 o’clock the first division of the Dormitory crews will race upstream over a one and three-eighths mile course, starting at the Boylston street bridge, and rowing up the river to the beginning of the long stretch, leading up to the Brighton bridge. A stake boat will be placed at this point and all the crews will finish at the same place. Immediately after, the second division will row over the same course, and as soon as the shells are returned, the third division will start. The divisions of the crews and the order in which they will start follows:
Division I–1, Claverly; 2, Mt. Auburn street; 3, Dunster-Dana-Drayton; 4, Randolph; 5, Westmorly; 6, Craigie-Waverley; 7, Russell.
Division II–1, Thayer; 2, First Holyoke; 3, Hampden; 4, Holworthy; 5, Perkins; 6, Matthews; 7, Weld.
Division III–1, Foxcroft-Divinity; 2, Grays; 3, Second Holyoke; 4, Hollis-Stoughton; 5, Brentford; 6, College House.
On the two days’ racing, which will follow, the order of the crews in the divisions will change; the crews securing a bump advancing in position, while the crews against which a bump is scored, will be put in the rear, one place for each bump.”
“At the meeting of candidates for the cricket team last night, the following handed in their names: W. P. Phillips 2L., R. M. Gummere 3G., N. L. Tilney ’06, C. G. Mayer 2L., C. G. Osborn ’07, A. W. Reggio ’08, R. N. Wilson 1G., A. N. Reggio ’06, H. R. Waters ’07, N. B. Groton ’07, T. E. Hambleton ’07, L. C. Josephs ’08, E. M. B. Roche ’09, A. E. Newbolt ’09, A. L. Hoffman ’09, F. C. Mahin ’09.
For the present the men will be divided into two squads, which will practice in the old baseball cage in the Gymnasium on alternate afternoons between 3.30 and 5 o’clock. Outdoor practice will begin as soon as the condition of the ground on Soldiers Field permits.”
Frank was really quite bored with life at Harvard though. He wanted to be a soldier. After two years of university life, he left Harvard to join the Regular Army, not as an officer, but as a private soldier. I will take up his fascinating tale in another blog post.