The Galloping Ghosts 1935—1953
The legendary Galloping Ghosts football team was made up for the most part of players from Port Hope and the team's home town of Cobourg, Ontario.
Pictures and other materials from Heather (Jarvis) Rowe
To our many loyal friends and supporters, we beg to present the 1949 edition of the Galloping Ghosts. We feel that under the able guidance of Coach Bobbie Cooper the team will merit your continued support and make new friends.
This season our directorate has been strengthened by the addition of several of our Port Hope friends. We trust that Port Hope feels that this is their team too.
To the Kiwanis Club for the use of the field, to the advertisers in this programme, to those who purchased members' tickets, to those friends who year after year by their generous help have made the fielding of the team a financial possibility, we extend our sincere thanks.
Looking back over the years, we take great pride in the achievements of our teams. Surely the record is something of which we may be proud. May 1949 add to the lustre of the Ghosts' reputation.
Fred F Dufton
How Came the Name
by Ed Haynes 1949
The Galloping Ghosts. A name synonymous with the very best in football from the time ot the immortal 'Red Grange' to its present proud standard bearers, the Canadian Intermediate football champions, the Cobourg Galloping Ghosts. Whenever and wherever pigskin fans come across that name they associate it with the cream of the gridiron crop. And so it is and has been with the Cobourg squad beginning in pre-war days, but more particularly since the war ended. Present day football filberts are more familiar with the achievements of the newer crop of Galloping Ghosts of course, but the glorious trail of glory blazed by the Cobourg team was actually begun in the year 1937.
It was in 1937 that the name Galloping Ghosts came into being; born the result of two years of trial and tribulation on the part of the then called Cobourg 'Red Raiders'. Since formation in 1935 the Red Raiders had suffered through two years of nothing but trouble, both of a financial and playing nature. Gates in those days seldom topped the $35 mark and victories were even harder to come by for it wasn't until the final game of 1937, following 12 consecutive losses that the team finally managed to win a game.
Deciding something had to be done to remedy a painful situation before a new season rolled around, Fred Dufton, President and Manager of the team, huddled one Sunday afternoon in the Dufton living room with the then club Treasurer, Johnny Hayden. Between the pair of them they hoped to devise some method of improving the sad plight of the luckless Red Raiders.
Something was done alright. They began with changing the name. Johnny suggested the move, expressing his conviction that a complete housecleaning was in order. A turning over of a new leaf, so to speak. The name Galloping Ghosts was also a Hayden brainchild and its popularity was instantaneous, as it proved to be a good luck omen. From then on the team began to win championships and has yet to be stopped by nothing, except war.
Not only was a new name added, but colour combinations were revised, retaining red and white but changing white to the predominent hue, just as it remains at the present time.
from the Cobourg Star December 1946
Cobourg's Galloping Ghosts are the football champions of Canada. They blasted the Montreal Eastwards by 16 to 5. The strong Cobourg line was led by Goyer and Beatty, and they rocked the Montreal front wall.
The Ghosts rolled up 12 first downs to the Eastwards five. Jack Jamieson completed four passes out of six, with Bob Campbell intercepting one of them.
Playing for Cobourg were: R. Hodson, C. Stewart, ends; W. Goyer, G. Beatty, middles; Jarvis, H. Seale, insides; R. Campbell, snap; G. Edwards, flying wing; Gilbart, Jamieson, Quigley, halves; Downey, quarter. Alternates were: Henderson, Giardino, Brandwood, Newton, Poynton, Douglas, Shadgett, Watson, Jackson.
Behind the scenes, in the organization of the championship club were the secretary, Jimmy Redmond; president, Bill Edwards; and directors, Harry Lucas, Dr. Richards, and manager Fred Dufton.
The golf club grounds were used for the local games.
THE GALLOPING GHOSTS
The most famous Club in Intermediate ORFU history was born in the living room of the late Fred Dufton in 1935.
The Club that was to win eight Ontario Titles and three Dominion CRU Titles between 1935 and 1953, with the war years excluded, was the brainchild of 'Ferocious' Fred Dufton, very aptly named for his tremendous desire to surmount all obstacles and bring home a winner.
With a number of good players just out of Collegiate, Dufton decided the time was right to start Intermediate football. With a $150.00 loan from the bank, and with the Cobourg Collegiate Coach, the late T H McClelland, Cobourg entered the ORFU in a league with Lindsay, Belleville, Oshawa and Peterborough. The 'Red Raiders', as they were originally called, went through the complete season without winning a game, but did establish a core of good backfielders such as Ken Cooper, Chuck Johnston, Joe Dufton and Chuck Henderson, and a line of Spooner, Barton, Schrum, Pratt and Woods.
Red Raiders football team 1936
click the image to enlarge it and see the names
1936 was a banner year as the 'Red Raiders' scored their first and only win one sunny day in Belleville, as Bus Edwards scored the winning touchdown to give Cobourg their first win, and the start of good times to come.
By 1937 Red Grange, 'The Galloping Ghost' of Illinois, was tearing up the gridirons in US College Circles, and the late John Hayden, one of the Club's Executive Members, proposed the Club change their name to the Cobourg Galloping Ghosts and discard their red sweaters for basic white sweaters with red numerals.
The new look 'Ghosts' also lured 'Chuck' Peck out of Queens to do the coaching. Bob Lucas was now the quarterback with a backfield of Cooper, Edwards, McIlveen and Johnston. Schrum, Spooner and Pratt still anchored the line, however it was the kicking department that showed the most improvement. This was due to the acquisition of Graham 'Mike' Meikle, who had tried out with Balmy Beach, but who decided to come to Cobourg and led the Ghosts to their first ORFU 'B' Title in a thrilling win over Stratford.
1938 saw the Ghosts go on to bigger and better things. Still coached by Chuck Peck and led by Meikle, the fiery Jack Jacobs and, of course, Lucas, Cooper, Johnston, Newton and Bagnell, the Ghosts waltzed through Belleville Panthers, Kingston Garrison, Toronto Eastsides and Toronto Oakwoods to finally meet Sarnia Wanderers in the Intermediate 'A' Championships which they won 12-7.
In 1939 the Ghosts' fortunes slipped a little. Meikle had gone to Sarnia, several players had already enlisted and the Ghosts had to be content with the 'B' Crown with wins over Oakwood Indians 8-2 in the semifinals and Smith's Falls Trojans 27-0 in the finals.
Galloping Ghosts football team, Dominon Intermediate Champions 1946
Photo by Murray B Smith
click the image to enlarge it and see the names
The Club disbanded for the war years; however, in 1946 they came back stronger than ever to win their first Dominion Crown. Chuck Peck and Bob Lucas did the coaching. Chub Downey was the quarterback along with Ross Gilbart, Ireland Quigley, Pud Jamieson, Bus Edwards, Chuck Henderson and Chuck Johnston in the backfield. The line of Jim Poynton, Bill Jarvis, Homer Seale, Gord Beatty, Vern Goyer, Bob Campbell and Bill Douglas gave the Ghosts all they needed in a League with Peterborough, Trenton, Oshawa and the Orillia Silver Bombers with Milligan, White and Bond.
In their League Final they defeated Oshawa 25-1. Then came the two game total point Ontario 'A' Finals with Niagara Falls, where they defeated the Dynamos 23-2 and 9-0, and finally the Dominion Intermediate Championship game with Montreal Eastwards and a 16-5 win for the Ghosts.
This Club set the pattern for years to come winning two more Dominion Crowns in the next four years, all led by the determined Fred Dufton.
The Central ORFU in 1947 consisted of Peterborough Orfuns, Oshawa Red Raiders, Orillia Silver Bombers, Queens Intermediates and the Cobourg Galloping Ghosts. In the League Final the Ghosts played the Silver Bombers in a two game total point final, winning 15-11 in the snow in Orillia, and played to a 6-6 draw at home to take the total 21-17.
Then in the Ontario Finals, Niagara Falls came to town and this season surprised the Ghosts on a snow covered frozen field 13-6.
Dominion Intermediate and ORFU Champions 1948
Absent from the picture: Junior Hoselton and Alec H Pratt
click the image to enlarge it and see the names
1948 was certainly one of the Ghosts most outstanding seasons. First the Central League dismissed Cobourg who had raised their ire by drawing several players out of Peterborough and Oshawa. Not to be denied, Fred Dufton immediately went to work and formed an Eastern League with Trenton, Trenton RCAF and Queens Intermediates.
The team consisted almost entirely of Cobourg and Port Hope players with only Bob Cooper and Rye Holman out of Varsity, Russ Boyd, an ex-Argo, and Glen Connor being imports. Cooper was an excellent leader and with a backfield of Quigley, Jamieson, Connor, Currelly and Medhurst, and a line of Poynton, Jarvis, Austin, Lees, Brandwood, Douglas and Boyd, the Ghosts roared through the Eastern League and into the Ontario Semifinals against who else but the Orillia Silver Bombers in what was supposed to be a sudden death game in Orillia. With the Bombers leading 16-5 at the half, it seemed to be all over for the Ghosts, but they came back to end regulation time tied at 16. With darkness descending the League Officials ordered another game to be played on Wednesday of that week in Peterborough. The injury ridden Ghosts scored early in this one and hung on for a 6-0 win and a berth in the Ontario Finals with London Falcons, who had demolished Niagara Falls 21-2.
The Falcons came to town loaded with ex-Western Mustangs, but it was the Ghosts who prevailed 17-5 after a very tough game.
In the Dominion CRU Final, the Ghosts met Montreal Rocklands, a big hard-hitting club featuring the running of Danny Johnston (who went on to the Alouettes) and Jim Chambers (later to the Eskimos), however the Ghosts scored early and surprised the Rocklands 10-0.
It's always hard to repeat, but since the Ghosts added a number of outstanding players, including Jake Edminston, late of the Argos, who also coached the club, Andy McConvey from OAC, Bob Sevan, Art Jones and with the return of Homer Seale and Jack Newton, things looked promising. The League consisted of Trenton Mustangs, Queens Intermediates and Cobourg. The Ghosts romped through the schedule undefeated and then met the Orillia Silver Bombers in a two game ORFU Semifinal.
The Ghosts prevailed 29-18, winning 15-6 in Orillia and 14-12 at home. Then it was the Dundas Bombers led by Dutch Holland, Granby and Steeves. The Bombers ousted an injury riddled Ghost crew 15-6 in Cobourg and 8-3 in a very muddy field in Dundas. Dundas were a strong club, but must have peaked against the Ghosts for they lost to Montreal in the CRU Final.
The 1950 Central ORFU League was extremely strong - Oshawa had Davey West, Burkhart and Art Skidmore, Peterborough had Huntly, Scriver, Beatty and the McGillis brothers, and of course Orillia had Jim Milligan throwing, Mush Bond and Dave Ross running. The Ghosts had their full crew back, plus two excellent lineman in Gord Burdick and Bob McNally, along with Hawkins, Don Smith and a great running back in Ernie Darrah, later to go on to the Alouettes.
Jake Edminston was a tower of strength at centre and Brandwood, Lees, Jarvis, Burdick, Seale, Douglas, Holman and Smith gave great protection to quarterback Cooper. The backfield had Medhurst, Bevan, Darrah, McConvey, Currelly, Quigley and Jamieson. This season the Ghosts were loaded with strength. They won the League losing only one game, that to Oshawa, but several games were won in the dying moments in a very exciting season.
In the Ontario Semifinals they met their old nemesis, the Dundas Bombers.
The first game in Cobourg was a terrific struggle with the Ghosts winning 3-0 on the strength of three singles by Bob Cooper.
Back in Dundas on another terrible field the game was a defensive struggle. The Ghosts' line was outstanding, particularly Don Smith and Bob McNally. Cooper's kicking kept Cobourg in the game, and late in the fourth quarter led 8-6 on the round, even though they trailed 8-3 in the game. With the flag up, the Bombers kicker Mancini tried a field goal from 20 yards out, however, Ernie Darrah somehow deflected the ball and Cobourg recovered to win the round 8-6.
The ORFU Finals with London Falcons were almost an anticlimax. The Ghosts rolled to a 13-1 win in Cobourg and an 18-11 win in London. However, London did tie the game in the second quarter 11-11 before Art Jones took over and kicked two field goals in the fourth quarter to lock it up.
The Quebec winners this season were the Montreal Lakeshore Flyers, featuring a big hard charging line and the running of Danny Johnston, who had given the Ghosts lots of trouble as a member of the Westmounts in '48.
The game, played on the same day as the famous 'Mud Bowl' at Varsity Stadium, was dominated by a strong wind which pushed many kicks out of bounds on the west side of the field. With the weather dictating a low scoring ground game, the Ghosts line prevailed, and with Cooper kicking single points in the third and fourth quarters, the Ghosts won their third CRU Intermediate Title 2-0.
By 1951 the Central ORFU League had expanded to include East York Blue Devils, as well as Ryerson, along with Orillia, Peterborough, Oshawa, Queens and Cobourg. Jake Edminston was back as coach. New players included Bernie Flesch, Darc Campbell, Karl Lenahan, Vie Garvin and Joe Kane.
This season saw the Ghosts pick up a lot of key injuries and as a result were nosed out of first place by the Oshawa Red Raiders led by Jim Loreno, Sully Ford and Mel Taylor. However, the Ghosts did grab second place and a berth in the sudden death Intermediate 'B' Final with the Sarnia Wildcats.
The Wildcats, led by the Reeves brothers Hank & Pete, played well, but in a rough game that saw three players ejected, the Ghosts triumphed 13-0.
1952 saw the League reduced to four teams, Oshawa, Kingston RCEME, Cobourg and the Peterborough Orfuns who now included many of the disbanded Orillia Bombers.
With the retirement of several players there was a considerable turnover in personnel. Coming into the Ghosts' fold, were first of all, a new coach in the person of Art West, the former Argo star who had been coaching at Balmy Beach. With him came players such as Red Alexander, Don Hatt, Magee, Hendry and Horvath, along with Jack Reeves from OAC, Mel Taylor, Armstrong and Brodie who defected from Oshawa. This gave the Ghosts a potent crew, but as the season wore on it was evident something was missing. Injuries again were instrumental in the Ghosts finishing second to the Peterborough Orfuns-Bombers combination.
This put them into the Intermediate 'B' two-game final with the Kitchener-Waterloo Rams and Carl Totzke. The Ghosts won the first game in Kitchener 17-12, but in the second game in Cobourg the score was 6-1 for Kitchener at the end of regualtion time and it took two periods of Overtime before the Ghosts led by Red Alexander scored, to win the 'B' Title 24-18. That title would turn out to be the last the Ghosts would ever win.
Even though they operated in 1953, most of the local stalwarts had retired. The club consisted almost entirely of out-of-town players and unfortunately did not make the playoffs. With attendance dwindling and costs spiralling, it became evident to Fred Dufton and the Ghosts' executive that it would be impossible to continue.
The Galloping Ghosts were, and still are, the most famous of all teams in Cobourg's Sports history. To play for, or even to be associated with the Ghosts, left one with a sense of pride and a never to be forgotten desire to perform to the best of one's ability.
In Fred Dufton, the Ghosts had a leader who proved that there is no substitute for hard work and determination. With a record of eight Ontario Titles and three CRU Titles in thirteen years of operation, very few clubs could ever challenge the record of the Cobourg Galloping Ghosts.
How many remember that last "Reunion" at the Cobourg Pavilion on November 22nd, 1958?
Since its birth as the Red Raiders in 1935, then becoming the Galloping Ghosts in 1937 to this present day, sixty one players or members have passed away, but there remain about one hundred and seventy-six players and members still around and we are doing our best to contact them. We have one hundred and four addresses to date, Aug. 13th.
We are all older, wiser and probably slower so that the format for the dinner will probably be decided by the type of attendance we come up with. To this end we are asking how many would like to have their wives accompany them to the dinner. We feel sure some wives have fond memories of Cobourg and would like to come back.
In 1987 Cobourg celebrates its Sesquicentennial. This event affords The Cobourg Galloping Ghosts an excellent opportunity to hold their second grand "Reunion" after almost thirty years. To work in with the Sesquicentennial celebrations which includes a parade on Saturday June 27th, 1987 at 1:00 p.m. We are requested to participate in this parade. A committee has been formed and arrangements have been started to hold a banquet on that same Saturday evening.
In order that proper arrangements can be made for catering we would ask that you complete and return the attached questionaire within a reasonably short period of time to COBOURG GALLOPING GHOST REUNION ASSOCIATION.
130 King Street East, Cobourg, Ontario. K9A 1L3 (home of G. S. Edwards)
from The Independent June 17, 1987
by Linda Foley (With excerpts from a story by Paul Currelly)
Galloping Ghosts Will Trot to Reunion on June 27th
Football fans from the days of old will be treated to a special event on June 27 as the famous Galloping Ghosts hold a reunion.
According to coordinator Jack Newton, a parade, dinner and dance are all featured for the Ghosts' reunion at the Lions Centre.
"We've had a great response so far. We expect about 220 all together," he said.
It all began in the living room of Galloping Ghosts founder, the late Fred Dufton in 1935, a history of the Ghosts reads.
Mr. Dufton borrowed $150 from the bank, joined forces with the Cobourg Collegiate Coach, the late T. H. McClelland, and eventually led the team to win eight Ontario Titles and three Dominion Titles in 13 years between the club's operational years of 1935 to 1953.
Originally named the Red Raiders, football legend Red Grange from the Galloping Ghost of Illinois prompted a name change by club member the late John Hayden.
A change of uniform followed after the Ghosts discarded their red sweaters for white ones with red numerals.
Numerous changes greeted the Ghosts, and by 1938 they had become a strong enough team to capture the Intermediate A Championships, with a score of 12-7 over their Sarnia counterparts.
The club disbanded over the war years, but by 1946, people were eager to see their heroes play again. The club won many more championships, with 1948 being a particularly special year. They captured the Ontario Finals, and the Dominion C.R.U. Final against very strong competition.
However, by 1952 the League had been reduced to only four teams, Oshawa, Kingston, Cobourg and Peterborough. With several personnel changes, the Ghosts were not as strong, and lost several games.
The club continued to operate in 1953, but most of the local talent had disappeared. Attendance continued to decrease while costs skyrocketed, making it very difficult for Mr. Dufton and his team to continue.
They finally folded at the end of the season, but are not forgotten today.
The upcoming reunion will see two truck loads full of former players in the parade, all wearing new sweaters.
According to Mr. Newton the players will be arriving from all around the world including Vancouver, the Caribbean, Montreal and the United States.
The action gets underway at 1:00 p.m. downtown Cobourg for the parade, and will be followed at 6:00 p.m. by a dinner and dance at the Lions Centre.
Tickets are available by contacting Paul Currelly at Home Hardware on Covert Street.
Frederick Forman Dufton 1886-1963
from the Cobourg Sentinel-Star Sept 25, 1963
by Layton Dodge
'One of a Kind'
One of the most illustrious and most successful sportsmen this community has ever known is dead. He is Fred Dufton, Cobourg's Mr. Football of a glorious bygone era.
For thirteen years — five before the war and eight after it — Fred was the colourful manager of Cobourg's renowned intermediate clubs which became a legend of the gridiron by winning three Dominion championships and numerous provincial titles.
Roy 'Scotty' Black, the excellent trainer of the team from the day it was organised in 1935 as the Red Raiders to the day in 1937 it was renamed the Galloping Ghosts by John Hayden, the present-day CDCI administrator, until that fateful day in 1953 when it folded, reminisced upon hearing of Dufton's death that the deceased was known affectionately as 'Ferocious Fred' in his heyday because he was a perfectionist himself and demanded nothing but perfection from his players.
Scotty recalled that the Red Raiders didn't win a single game in their inaugural season but improved greatly in 1936 to earn one victory, that made possible when George 'Bus' Edwards scored the decisive touchdown in Belleville. However, with the hard work of defeat came experience and the club annexed ORFU intermediate 'B' titles in '37 and '39 and an 'A' championship in '38 before the world was turned into a battleground by a German dictator named Hitler.
Seven years later, the club was revived. It was a dynamic, prolific renaissance, making the Ghosts nationally known and a household word locally. They marched to Dominion championships in 1946 and 1948, losing nary a game in the process, added another in 1950, grabbed provincial runner-up honours in 1947 and 1949 and copped Ontario intermediate 'B' crowns in 1951 and 1952. Scotty swears that the greatest team of them all was the 1950 aggregation. Fred Dufton, who thought likewise, played no small part in achieving this remarkable string of successes. He was, as one admiring player put it, 'the whole show.' Home field for the club over the years was at Horseshow Park (later changed to McClelland Park and more recently to Donegan Park) except for 1946. Ghosts won their first Canadian championship on the fifth hole of the Cobourg Golf Club that year.
Galloping Ghosts were known far and wide as the best equipped intermediate football team in Canada. They were the first team in Canada to wear aluminum cleats and the second team in the land to wear white uniforms. Their boots were especially made in Montreal with leather supplied by Edwards and Edwards, the club's financial benefactor. It was a standing rule that players had to be bandaged properly and their shoes shined before they trotted out for each game. Yes, the Ghosts did everything on a first class basis or not at all. Players such as Chuck Henderson, Archie Spooner, Ken Cooper, Milt Benson, Charlie Schrumm, Tom Brewster, Tommy Bulger, Alec Pratt, Bill Woods, Chuck Johnston, Joe Dufton, George Dufton, Jack Newton, George Galbraith, Hank Haynes, Bob Lucas, Robert Brown, Reg Stuart and Gus Bambridge of the old guard and Bob Cooper, Glen Connor, Eagle Hircock, Homer Seale, Bill Jamieson, Marty McGuire, Gord Burdick, George Campbell, Bill Irvine, Art Jones, Ken Medhurst, Red Alexander, Bob Bevan, Junior Hoselton, Tommy Lewis, Paul Currelly, Jack Jamieson, Bernie Flesch, Darcy Campbell, Jim Irvine, Boyd Hendry, Vern Lees, Jim Poynton, Chub Downey, Art Brandwood, Rye Holman, Bill Jarvis and Bill Douglas of the post-war regime were just some of the names on the honour roll of Cobourg's most famous sporting fraternity. A few of them are gone now but those who remain must have felt a twinge of nostalgia on learning that Mr. Dufton had crossed the goal line for the last time.
Fred Dufton, a one-time Cobourg intermediate baseball manager; Fred Dufton, a past president of the ORFU; Fred Dufton, a former coach of Cobourg's intermediate hockey team; Fred Dufton, a championship rose grower; Fred Dufton and the Galloping Ghosts, names synonymous with the very best in football, gone now but not forgotten.