The Train to Auburn

Howard College Football Team 1928-29

The Howard College Football Team, 1928

On October 27, 1928, students, faculty, and fans of Howard College traveled to the campus of Auburn University to cheer on the bulldogs in a rivalry football game.  Unlike college football games of today, there was no tailgate, and no caravan of fans with Samford flags waving from their car windows.  In 1928, everyone boarded a train for Opelika, called the “Central of Georgia Special”.  Fans aboard the “Georgia Special” spent the ride talking, telling stories, and chanting for their team.  Although this ride may seem strange by current standards, the train to Auburn rallied Howard College behind the football team and in spirit for their school.  They got to know each other and grew in unity.  Unfortunately, that day, Howard fell to Auburn 25-6. After the game, the fans were not able to stick around, they had to catch the train back home.

On Saturday, the bulldogs will take on Auburn University for the 27th time, and Samford is looking to get its first win against the tigers. Many Samford students, faculty, and alumni are set to attend, and there will be university-sponsored tailgates surrounding Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Students and faculty are sure to reminisce, tell stories, and cheer for their team.  Although the mode of transportation may have changed, some things, like the school spirit of Samford University, never will.

Great Crowd Attends Auburn Game Via Special Train And Otherwise

Fine spirit is manifested on trip with freshmen living up to their reputation of greenness.  Railroad officials extend every courtesy possible.

Some one hundred and twenty five Howard students and supporters pulled out aboard the Central of Georgia Special to Auburn on Saturday, October 27…Typical of all Howard crowds, there was much spirit manifested. Very few were able to name all of the topics of conversation or (bull) which made the rounds. Old cronies got together, old friends met new ones, and there was a fine spirit of friendship and closeness throughout the whole trip. Freshmen lived up to their reputation of greenness…there was a constant parade through the train as is always the case. Many were so absorbed in the scenery and other matters that they hardly knew what was happening. Even these awoke from their trance when the band was tooting forth many strains of more or less familiar music. This happened after about one-half the distance had been covered…Every one was feeling good and real pep was exhibited for the first time this year.

Upon arriving in Opelika, we were left stranded by our trusty C. of G…we found ourselves in the loveliest village of the plains…As usual, the band started off the excitement with a parade through the town. Other rooters followed in a long line…As a preliminary to the game, one of the fraternities staged a stunt for an initiation. This sent the crowd into roars of laughter. Both bands played music of the usual nature. Auburn showed a remarkable spirit. Those who went can certainly appreciate what the Auburn Spirit really is. Not to be outdone, the Howard side opened up with all the reserve that they have been holding in all this season, and each supporter yelled as he has never yelled before. All the yells went over in big style. This spirit lasted throughout the game. Two minutes after the kick off, Howard scored and the bunch went wild. It looked too easy. [But] every one knows what a rude awakening we had…ask those who saw it. Auburn opened up with a bang on their touchdown. A great demonstration was given. It was the first score for them this year.

We lost, but we went down fighting…After the final whistle it did not take long for the crowd to scatter. Hasty departures were made. The [train] pulled off from Opelika at 7:00. This time there was still a fine spirit shown. Howard should be proud of its representation. Howard is proud of its team. The return trip was somewhat quiet…Having been beaten in the way we were, we are glad that it was Auburn rather than some of our other rivals. Special thanks should be given for the way we were received and treated…and appreciation should be shown to the Central of Georgia Railroad for the many favors they granted us…They are all right. Record time was made to Birmingham, the time required being only three hours.

Not one who went on this trip is sorry. Except for the defeat, nothing happened to be sorry for. Those who went acted as real Howard students…With only three games remaining, all efforts must be turned to making these a success. Everyone must back the team and must act when called on. Show your spirit and there will be much to show for it later!

Auburn Samford

A more recent look at the Auburn/Samford Rivalry, 2011

Adapted from:

Howard Entre Nous, 1929.

Howard Crimson, October 31, 1928.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/11/samford_field_goal_cuts_auburn.html

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Honoring Samford’s Veterans

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(Samford paid tribute to the faculty, staff, and students who served our nation in the armed forces in the dedication of the 1948 Entre Nous.)

Samford has a rich history of military participation. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Howard College president Henry Talbird and many Howard students left Marion, AL, to organize a regiment of Independent Volunteers in 1861.   Future Howard President Harwell Goodwin Davis, along with many other Howard faculty members, served in WWI, where he was promoted to Major, wounded in action, and received a citation for gallantry. Later during WWII, “The Major,” recognizing the needs of the struggling Howard College, invited the Navy to host a V-12 training unit at Howard’s East Lake campus, which ultimately played a huge role in saving the struggling school. Countless men and women from Samford’s ranks have proudly worn the uniforms of our nation’s armed forces, and many continue to do so today.

Several Crimson articles paid tribute to those who served, like the following article that listed the Howard men (and women) in uniform:

Howard Men are Doing Their Share for Freedom 

Ex-football Stars, Profs, Crimson Editors—They’re Fightin’ All Over the World.

From the Solomons to Suez – from Africa to Australia – and right here in the good ol’ U.S.A., Howard men and women are showing the world how to fight for freedom. They’re everywhere in every phase of the war effort, doing their share and more. Ex-football stars, professors, pharmacists, doctors, chaplains, public relations officers, physical instructors – battling the Japanese in the jungles of New Guinea, dueling the Germans over the African desert, teaching physical fitness to future aviators in Texas. Here are som [sic] typical Howard men who are serving:

  • (jg) Ernest H. Dunlap of the U.S. Navy, wounded in action and awarded the Navy Cross.
  • James Stuart (Coach Jim to you) physical instructor at the Naval Reserve Air Base in Dallas, Texas.
  • Amasa B. Wingham, director of public relations for the Navy in Alabama.
  • Osce M. Bentley, an “All-Southern” drum major and a campus tradition, in the Naval Reserve.
  • Josiah Bancroft, died in service of the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
  • Ensign Olivia Philabert, only Howard girl in uniform. She’s in the WAVES…

– Howard Crimson, December 4, 1942

One Howard student, who preferred to write under the initials H.R.L., put everything in perspective in a touching opinion piece for the Crimson.  For Thanksgiving 1941, he or she reminded fellow Howard students just how much they had to be thankful for because of the bravery of every American soldier:

Alabama’s Hills Are Beautiful With No Machine Guns to Mar the Foliage

Howard’s campus and the mountains around East Lake are in the height of one of their full dress parade. The Beacon Mountains toward the east with its beautiful array of fall colors was a scenic background for the Howard-‘Nooga game last Friday evening. Many times during the game our eyes would wander from the field where boys in red and blue and yellow and black were fighting for possession of the ball and gaze at nature’s colors across the way. To our left was stately Main, standing in all her lofty whiteness against a background of a setting sun.

Due, perhaps, to the fact that we have had a few frosty nights followed by balmy days, the colors of the leaves are blended with a skill more than human. The roads out of Birmingham are bordered by trees of reds and yellows and browns and appear to have been planned to mix most effectively with the dark green of the pines.

It is not unusual for us to forget to see and enjoy the little things of beauty about us, but when out most inward thoughts and feelings are wrapped up with our personal problems, we find a release when we turn them outward and view the handywork of Mother Nature’s brush.  During this season in which we give thanks for a harvest of blessings, we think of fields beyond these seas that yield little but broken plows and bodies of men. We know not what another Thanksgiving may be like, but whatever the coming days may have in store for us, we hope we may still be alive to give thanks. The hearts of men in other lands may be slow to give thanks this year, but but here where our roads are not filled with fleeing women and children and aged fathers; where our barns and bins and warehouses are stored with the harvest of the year; where we can look at the colors of nature without being afraid that a machine gun lies beneath the foliage, we are thankful–H.L.R.

-Howard Crimson, November 21, 1941.

Happy Veteran’s Day, and thank you.

 

Adapted from:

Howard Entre Nous and Howard Crimson