clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Classic Teams in Cyclone Football History: 1906 (9-1)

A.W. Ristine leads a very fine squad to make all of Iowa State fans very chipper in his last year as Cyclone skipper.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

A postcard from 1906 gives a good look at uniforms and a common formation for the season.

I had received a comment on my Classic Games: 1896 YMCA piece featuring a request covering the 1906 Iowa State College football team. Speaking of requests, if anyone reading this wants to learn more about something in Cyclone athletic history, let me know.

This article will be set up in the same way as the Stevie Hicks article, with chapters for ease of reading. Enjoy!

I. Coach Ristine’s Beginnings & Harvard Days

II. Ristine Hired to Coach Ames Aggies

III. 1906 Preseason

IV. September 29th - A One-Sided Affair

V. Two Games in Two Days (Coe and Des Moines College)

VI. Morningside and Blind Side

VII. The Single Blemish

VIII. Home Sweet State Field

IX. Iowa Preview and Result - Drake is on the Horizon

X. 1908 Bomb Season Recap

XI. Who Were (Some) of These Men?

XII. What Happened to Coach Ristine?

I. Coach Ristine’s Beginnings & Harvard Days

Coach Albert Welles (A.W.) Ristine was born May, 1, 1878, in Fort Dodge. His father was a pioneer surgeon in the Webster County area since about 1860.

About Groneman (p.34): The Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Webster and Hamilton County states: “C. GRONEMAN, photographer, Fort Dodge, is the proprietor of the oldest studio in the city. It was established in 1873 by James B. Leisenring, who sold out in 1880 to Dr. A. B. Vansickle, and he, in 1883, to Mr. Groneman. Our subject is a native of Dansville, Livingston County, New York, born in 1862, a son of F. A. Groneman. His father moved to Iowa in 1865, and settled in Dubuque, where he lived until 1872, when he came to Fort Dodge, and is now a member of the firm of Patterson & Groneman, furniture dealers. Then but twelve years of age, in 1874, F. C. Groneman began to learn the art of photography of Mr. Leisenring, remaining with him seven years and a half. He then went to Brainard, Minnesota, and thence to Clinton, Iowa, becoming more skilled in his art the longer he followed it. Returning to Fort Dodge in 1883 he located in his present quarters, where he has increased from time to time what was already a good business. He is devoted to his art and is always among the first to adopt the improvements that are constantly being made. He is a young man of genial and cordial manners, which, added to his well -known skill, makes him popular in his line of business.”
Fred C. Groneman (1861-1931)

Our story moves to around the turn of the 20th Century (1899-1901) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when A.W. went 32-1-1 as a player at Harvard.

Ristine was also a track and field star, with a running broad jump of 21 feet and 7.5 inches as a freshman in 1899.

The Boston Globe - Nov. 23, 1901

Ristine, the right halfback, wore #19 in 1901, and started in the 22-0 surprising victory over Yale. Yale (who 11-0-1 going into the game) had only allowed 15 points in the prior 11 games that season.

II. Ristine Hired to Coach Ames Aggies

A.W. Ristine would be hired in 1902, as this Evening Times-Republican, Marshalltown, from February 24, shows.

Evening Times-Republican

III. 1906 Preseason

Ames Team, 1906
1906 Souvenir Program (Iowa)

For the 1906 season, practice commenced on Monday, September 3rd, and below are two Des Moines Register articles concerning both captain Jeansen’s (also stylized as Jaensen in the 1908 Bomb and Jeanson in various newspapers) thoughts as well as the details of two separate practices.

IV. September 29th - A One-Sided Affair

Page 13 of Cornellian, published in Mount Vernon, Iowa on Saturday, September 29th, 1906
The Des Moines Register, 30 Sep 1906

A small disparity between Mount Vernon’s local paper and the Des Moines Register both show a ginormous win for Ames.

V. Two Games in Two Days (Coe and Des Moines College)

The Coe College Cosmos (Cedar Rapids) Thu, Oct 11, 1906 (p.6) and The Coe College Cosmos (Cedar Rapids) Thu, Oct 11, 1906 (p.7)

The very next day, October 6th, Ames played another Iowa based college in Des Moines College, and in two days the Cyclones put up a two day total that matched their first game against Cornell.

VI. Morningside and Blind Side

Evening Times-Republican, October 15, 1906

Momentum was riding high going into the October 20th matchup with Nebraska. Kickoff was slated for 3:30. Read The Nebraska State Journal’s preview below to see more proof that Cyclone fans travel well.

“Sioux” Jones. A very interesting character from this season that I’ll share more about later. According to “Jobby” Jeanson (the first Iowa State quarterback to dabble in journalism?) in December of 1924, the first points scored on Iowa State came about by “Sioux” having a punting mishap and it being called a safety. Jones may have had only one eye, but played all sides of the ball at a all-state clip.

The first two game recap clippings are from The Lincoln Star and the second pair are from The Nebraska State Journal.

Our Cyclones are on the road again, this time to Northrop Field to take on Minnesota for their first game of the season. The preview for that game is below.

Evening Times-Republican - October 22, 1906

VII. The Single Blemish

The Quad-City Times was the first to report (October 25) that Jeanson went down and the next day the Evening Time-Republican shared the news of Jeansen’s fate.

To quote Drake, of all people, Jeansen preemptively took to heart song lyrics from Forever (which came out 103 years later) “Like a sprained ankle boy ain’t nothing to play with,” so he sat out this game.

Article meant to rouse local Gopher fans into attending the Ames game.
The Minneapolis Journal - October 27, 1906

Now, as the chapter states, this game is the only blemish on Ames’ record.

The following newspaper clipping are some, if not my favorite, clippings from this entire project. Mostly due to the fact there are game photos, stats and quotes within.

A truly strange rule from this time period was if you threw a forward pass, and no one touched it, the ball went to the other team.

The following is one and part of another page of newsprint converted to digestible clippings, so strap in and prepare for more reading. All of the aforementioned will be at the end, so feel free to skip to the end of this gallery if you so choose.

VIII. Home Sweet State Field

Following the defeat to the Gophers (2-8 before the 1906 edition, not so fun fact, we had a two game winning streak against Minnesota in 1896 and 1897, but we wouldn’t get our third win in the series until the 2009 Insight Bowl.), Ames got to play South Dakota and Grinnell at home.

Sioux Falls’ (SD) Argus-Leader has the following preview regarding the elite team from Ames.

Argus-Leader - November 1, 1906

The Vermillion squad did quite well against Ames, even having two goal line stands which prevented the final tally from looking much worse that the 22-0 that it ended up being.

Evening Times-Republican - November 5, 1906

Grinnell was up next, on November 17th, which gave the Cyclones ample time to practice for their November 24th matchup against Iowa at Iowa.

The Des Moines Register - November 18, 1906

Speaking of practice, the Cyclones had closed practices to perfect their attack for their CyHawk matchup as seen below.

Des Moines Register - November 8, 1906

IX. Iowa Preview and Result - Drake is on the Horizon

Iowa was sitting at 2-2 coming into this game.

In quite possibly the first true version of ¡El Assico!, the Cyclones had a 2-0 victory that had a small amount of controversy. Digital souvenir program.

At 8-1, the Cyclone squad would have one last test to win a state championship. Drake.

Surprise surprise, the weather was forecast to be bad for the Thanksgiving classic.

The Des Moines Register - November 29, 1906.

However, the silver lining on this storm cloud was the fact that there were so many activities slated for the day.

The Des Moines Register - November 29, 1906
The Des Moines Register - November 29, 1906

The game was won by Ames and many newspapers share takes of just how muddy the game was.

X. 1908 Bomb Season Recap

XI. Who Were (Some) of These Men?

As helpful as the copyright 1908-1909 published book on general announcements, faculty and students was, having most of the male population go by their first two initials and then last name wasn’t a good use of research time.

So because of that, I have narrowed down my research to three players: Ralph M. McElhinney of Waterloo, R.E. “Jobby” Jeanson of Des Moines and John C. “Sioux” Jones of Allison.

Ralph McElhinney (July 14, 1886 - September 2, 1975) put his agronomy degree to work by developing land in southwest Canada from 1910-1930, and then worked for the Farmer’s Home Administration as county administrator from 1934-1951, to actually help farmers.


More details about McElhinney can be found on his obituary.

The Des Moines Register - October 1, 1905

R.E. “Jobby” Jeanson had a departure similar to Jacob Park’s, believe it or not.

Evening Times-Republican - January 8, 1907

As aforementioned, “Jobby” both was a referee and wrote for The Des Moines Register from before 1924 - January 29, 1927 when he decided to spend his last years in Los Angeles. There, he worked insurance for a while before moving to a shipyard as this December 25, 1944, from his former journalistic place of employment shares:

He passed away on October 28, 1951 and the October 31, 1951, Des Moines Register shares just a little more information on the 1906 captain.

John “Sioux” Jones is the last one I’ll be covering. After graduating, he became an assistant coach to Clyde Williams in 1907. On April 19, 1918, he made an appearance at the Drake Relays.

XII. What Happened to Coach Ristine?

On April 14, 1908, he got married to perhaps his only love truer than collegiate football, Mary Cookerly.

A heart attack on December 13, 1935, may have ended his life, but not his legacy as a 9 win coach at Iowa State.