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July 23, 2017 – Rest in Peace James Lincoln.

Posted on July 23, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post celebrates the day that Michigan Man James Lincoln went to rest in peace in 2011. James H. Lincoln was almost ninety-five years old when he died. Lincoln was born on August 26, 1916 at Sand Beach township, Michigan. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, James Lincoln was raised in Harbor Beach, Michigan.

Lincoln came to Ann Arbor in 1934 to continue his education and play football for the Michigan Wolverines.  Since freshman did not play in the mid-1930s, James played on the freshman team. I am sure that he did his best to learn Harry Kipke’s “Michigan Football System.”

Apparently, James Lincoln learned a thing or two about Michigan Football in 1934. He played well enough, and often enough, at tackle in 1935 to earn a varsity letter as a sophomore. The Wolverines bounced back from a terrible season in 1934 and finished the season with a final record of 4 wins and 4 losses. However, they only won two of five games in the Big Ten and finished in a tie for 5th place.

James Lincoln came back in 1936 hoping that he would play better and maybe start some games.  As it turned out, James started three games at right tackle and played enough to earn his second varsity letter. Unfortunately, the Wolverines only claimed one victory that season and finished with a record of 1 win and 7 losses. Michigan lost every conference game, for the second time in three years, and finished in a tie for eighth place at 0 5-0.

Harry Kipke Michigan Football | bigbluefootballhistory.com

James Lincoln’s last season in 1937 was also the last season for Coach Harry Kipke. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

James Lincoln was listed on the roster as a “Reserve tackle” for the 1937 Wolverine Football team. However, he did not start any games and he did not earn a letter in his final season. Lincoln may have sustained an injury, but I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that it was Kipke’s last season because the Wolverines had another “un-Michigan” like season.  As it turned out, Michigan ended the 1937 season with a final record of 4 wins and 4 losses. It was time for Harry Kipke to go!

Of course, I would not be talking about James Lincoln today unless he was part of some Michigan football “firsts.” Here are two that are associated with James Lincoln and Wolverine Football:

  • James Lincoln was a member of the first, and only, Michigan football team to finish with a record of 0-5-0 in Big Ten Conference play in 1936. Ugh!
  • Lincoln also played in the first game ever against Columbia in 1935. Michigan won the game19-7.

After graduating from Michigan in 1938, James Lincoln earned a law degree from the Detroit College of Law. He went on to a prominent career as a public servant,  judge and author in the City of Detroit. So, on the sixth anniversary of his death, let us remember James H. Lincoln. He epitomized the spirit of a true, blue Michigan Man. May James Lincoln continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!




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