The truth behind “Man Afraid of Soap”.

Lacrosse has been an infrequent guest at the Olympic Games. It was played at the 1904 and 1908 Olympics as a full medal sport then as a demonstration sport in 1928, 1932 and finally in 1948. Only three nations, Canada, the United States and Great Britain took part in the five editions of Olympic lacrosse.
With the possibility of the sport returning to the Olympic fold at Los Angeles 2028 it seems a good time to reflect upon the beginnings of the sport and its roots amongst the Native American communities of what is now the north east part of the United States and south east Canada.

The 1904 Olympic tournament was traditionally only competed between the Winnipeg Shamrocks and the hometown St. Louis Amateur Athletic Association but during my colleague Bill Mallon’s research into the St. Louis Games he discovered that a third team, from the Six Nations Reservation of Ontario, had competed and lost to the St. Louis team in what amounted to a semi-final.
The roster of the Six Nations team has been known for over 30 years but only in the form of the English translation of the tribal name of the players involved. Until today…

The traditional list of the team is as follows;
Almighty Voice, Black Eagle, Black Hawk, Flat Iron, Half Moon, Lightfoot, Man Afraid of the Soap, Night Hawk, Rain in Face, Red Jacket. Snake Eater, Spotted Tail.
Up until now it was impossible to link these names to those recorded in Canadian records but a finding by the Swedish athletics historian Tomas Magnusson has changed all that. We can now reveal that “Man Afraid of the Soap” was also known as Freeman Joseph Isaacs (1869-1937), the father of Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee Bill Isaacs.

Furthermore, we have solid evidence that the rest of Canada knew those squad players through their registered English names as opposed to their Native American names.
Those names being
Joe Crawford. Philip Jackson, Eli Warner, Amos Obediah, Thomas Will. Berman L. Snow, L. Bumbary,J. B. Eaver ,Eli Martin, Sandy Turkey, Austin Bill, W. E. Martin, Jacob Jamieson, Eli Henry, Joe Clark, Frank Seneca. Charlie Johnon, Robert Lottridge
Hopefully we may continue to gather more information until all the roster is revealed.

Freeman Joseph Isaacs

4 thoughts on “The truth behind “Man Afraid of Soap”.”

  1. Thank you so much for this information. My grandfather is W. E. Martin – William Eugene Martin – he was the captain of the team and is in the centre of the photo. In May of 2017 I sent out a few e-mails trying to find out the names of the other people in the photo. Finally, we have them – thank you.

    1. Thank you Ms. Baillie. You’re very kind (and apologies for being so slow to reply.
      Are there any clues to help match the two sets of names together?
      It would very nice to correctly identify each player under both names.

      1. Thank you for your reply about the 1904 Olympics. I saw this photo when I was a young girl – I am now 68 years old. We only had a photo of my grandfather W. E. Martin taken from the team photo. I had been trying to find the original and only discovered it again on a Six Nations Library website. When I found it I sent the photo to the Lacrosse Museum to see if they had any ideas – they gave me some suggestions to follow – that was some time ago. I had no success finding any info at that time. Then I started to do some digging again and discovered that info had been updated on a few sites with more information. Here is what I found. At the bottom of the article is a list as best as they can figure of who is who in the photo. Also This site has been updated with new info. My grandfather William E. Martin was born in 1865 he is 39 in this photo. He was born at Six Nations Reserve outside of Brantford, Ontario. I’m not surprised that they would have been in St. Louis as a demonstration sport as reported in the Laxphilly article. I was told that a number of people in my family traveled with the Wild West Shows – many native people did at that time. He was by trade a Herbalist, he made native herbal remedies – even had an advertisement about what he made. He was 31 years older than my grandmother and died when my mom was 6 years old of TB. So, we don’t know too much about him – only stories from his older children. He had 4 older children when he married my grandmother, then in his 60’s had 3 more children. Sorry I can’t help with more information.

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