History of the Winneshiek's:
19th and 20th Century


My grandfather, William Phineus Winneshiek (NahiSonwahika), is depicted in the photograph above titled NahiSonwahika
Photograph obtained from the National Football League Hall of Fame.

NahiSonwahika (William P. Winneshiek) photographed with the Carlisle Indian School Football Team of 1914.
Photographer: Gustave Hensel
Photo courtesy of Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA.
Reproduction of photo is forbidden without written permission of the Society.

NahiSonwahika (William P. Winneshiek) 1914 Carlisle Indian School Football Team

In addition to playing with the NFL, NahiSonwahika (William P. Winneshiek) was an Assistant Football Coach at Lebanon Valley College and a professional musician in Chief Winneshiek's All Indian Band.

NahiSonwahika (William P. Winneshiek) attended Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania where he befriended Jim Thorpe.

Oorang Indians

Jim Thorpe and NahiSonwahika are depicted in the photograph above titled Oorang Indians (photograph obtained from the NFL Hall of Fame). The Oorang Indians were the only NFL team with an "all-Indian" roster. NahiSonwahika played with the Oorang Indians in 1922. Jim Thorpe is standing in the back row, fifth from the left.
NahiSonwahika is sitting in the front row, third from the right.

I've collected some additional information on the Oorang Indians.

Photo courtesy of Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA.
Reproduction of photo is forbidden without written permission of the Society.

William Sherwood Winneshiek

My father was William Sherwood Winneshiek.

William Sherwood Winneshiek, a career United States Air Force officer, retired as a Full-Colonel. Following the outbreak of WWII, he became an aviation cadet, graduated as a Second Lieutenant, and then was transferred to Sebring, FL to fly B-17s. He was assigned to the 94th Bomb Group, 333rd Squadron and was Commander of the 410th Squadron, Bury St. Edmonds, England, August-September 1945. He completed forty-two successful missions from England to Germany.

William Sherwood Winneshiek was a member of a small group of men appropriately named “The Lucky Bastard Club,” named as such for those pilots who completed twenty-five or more missions from England to Germany. William commented about his B-17 time: "That's where I learned to fly...it was tough. We flew out of England against Germany." He remembered being afraid for his life all the time.

After the war William Sherwood Winneshiek functioned as an Air Inspector in Sebring, FL; a Liaison Officer, with the Army, at Fort McPherson, GA. He was selected by the Air Force Director of Communications to be one of 6 officer pilots to train as Communicators and spent 3 years training at the Pentagon. He was assigned to Communications School at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois; an Assistant Air Attaché in London, England from 1950-1953. He was an Operations Officer (Communications) with the 2045th AACS Group, Andrews AFB, MD; a student, then faculty member, at the Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL; a Communications Officer with the 7217th Air Division in Ankara, Turkey. William Sherwood Winneshiek retired in 1971, in Colorado Springs, CO.

He was a member of Retired Officers' Association, Disabled American Veterans, Space Coast Mensa, and a Red Cross volunteer.

William Sherwood Winneshiek's father was William Phineus Winneshiek (NahiSonwahika) who is Nellie Red Cloud's brother. His mother was Marie Marguerite Zerbe, an elementary school teacher. William Sherwood’s grandfather was John Winneshiek, "the true chief of the Winnebago tribe." (William Phineus “attended” Carlisle Indian School and played football with Jim Thorpe. William Phineus and Thorpe played on the only “All-Indian” NFL team, the Oorang Indians from LaRue, OH.)

William Sherwood Winneshiek attended grade school through high school in Lebanon, PA. He attended the University of Cincinnati, majoring in Mechanical Engineering, but finances (the lack thereof) forced him to transfer to the Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute in Reading, PA.

William Sherwood Winneshiek had four children: Sheryl Ward ; Linda McHugh ; Maribeth Devich ; and me depicted in the photograph below (left to right: Maribeth, my mother, me, Linda, and Sheryl.)

Maribeth, Mother, Bill, Linda, & Sheryl

My father died in 1995. My mother Marjorie died in 2004. Surviving are four children and eight grandchildren.

Out of the blue I received an email from S/Sgt Robert Peterson (USAF retired), a volunteer with "Wreaths Across America" at Arlington, VA. After being briefed, the group dispersed and began placing wreaths on all sites at Arlington National Cemetary. Since Robert was Air Force, he sought out an Air Force site, which turned out to be my Father's site. Below is the photograph of Robert placing the wreath. Very thoughtful and thank you so much Robert!

Go to next page for updates...UPDATES.

Back to Table of Contents