Jim Thorpe's remains to stay in Pennsylvania town after legal battle

Thursday October 23rd, 2014

The remains of former multi-sport star Jim Thorpe will stay in the Pennsylvania town named after him after a protracted legal battle, according to The Associated Press.

The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a ruling by a U.S. District judge that would've allowed Thorpe's remains to be moved to American Indian land in Oklahoma.

Thorpe's son Jack sued the town of Jim Thorpe, Pa., in 2010 to have his father's remains moved to Sac and Fox land in central Oklahoma, Thorpe's home state. Jack's brothers Bill and Richard took over the suit after Jack's death in 2011.

Upon Thorpe's death in 1953, the towns of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk in eastern Pennsylvania merged and named the new town after the athlete in order to have him be buried there, even though Thorpe had no connection to the area. Thorpe's sons claimed in their case that Thorpe's third wife, who wasn't their mother, agreed to the arrangement for financial reasons.

At Thorpe's burial site in the town, two statues and signage surround his tomb and comprise a monument to him.

Thorpe was a football, baseball and track star and also competed in lacrosse and basketball. He earned notoriety playing football for Carlisle, an Indian boarding school in south-central Pennsylvania, under Pop Warner in the early 20th century. He starred for the Canton Bulldogs after the team signed him to be a player and coach in 1915. 

Thorpe won the gold medal in both the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963 as part of its inaugural class after a pro playing career that lasted from 1915 to 1928.

The award given to college football's top defensive back every season is named the Jim Thorpe Award in his honor.

Ben Estes



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