Waterloo Wonders

Waterloo Wonders

Taken from http://www.briggslibrary.com/hamner/WaterlooWonders.html

          The Waterloo Wonders was a high school basketball team from Waterloo, Ohio became famous for its amazing players. Waterloo school had twenty-six males, ten were on the basketball team and five were on the first string. By the end of their years in school, the Wonders won back to back Ohio Class B Championships (1934 and 1935). Although this may not sound amazing by today’s standards, it was for a small town like Waterloo in the middle of the Great Depression.
The Waterloo Wonders was a poor team from a poor farming community. They could not afford a basketball to practice with, so they used old rags to make a ball. Because this type of ball could not bounce, the team learned how to pass and handle the ball with a minimum of dribbling. An iron ring from an old wagon served as their basket. The ring was 1/3 of the size a regulation basketball basket rim Waterloo School did not even have a gym until the 1933-1934 school year.
The “Fabulous Five” was the name given to the Waterloo Wonders first string players. Wyman RobertsCurtis McMahonOrlyn RobertsStewart Wiseman and Beryl Drummond was those players. These five young men were the only five who traveled to play games because only those five could fit in the coach’s car. Their coach was Magellan Hairston.
The Wonders were a hard working team. They practiced one and a half hour each day for a month before the season started. During the season, the boys were busy playing games.  During the 1933-1934 season, the Wonders won 31 games and had no losses. They won twice against the Rio Grande College’s team and once against the Marshall University freshman team.
In the 1934-1935 season, they played 100 games with 97 wins and 3 losses. In one night they played two teams and won both games. They lost to Greenfield McClain, Franklin and Ironton High School. By the end of the season, the team was household names throughout Ohio.
The Wonders made their name through skill and their tricks on the court. During some games, two or three players would eat hot dogs while the remaining players played. Another time, two players decided to play marbles in the center of the court during a game. They were known to rebound an opposing team’s missed shot and return the ball so they could try again. Another technique was to bounce the ball into the hoop to score. For the hayseed effect, the players would occasionally show up to a game wearing overalls and gum boots over their uniforms.
The Great Depression helped make these boys a household name. The lack of money allowed them to use other equipment and methods to play the game. More people attended the games because they were able to take their minds off of their problems. For 10¢ or 20¢, a person could see the Wonders play.
When it came to skill, no one could match the Wonders. 65% to 70% of their balls went into the basket. The handling of the basketball was a wonder to watch. They would toss the balls behind their backs and play tricks to confuse their opponents. Some of the tricks can still be seen today in a Harlem Globetrotter Game.
In 1936, the Wonders participated in barnstorming tours. They would play games against local high school teams and local industrial leagues. At the end of the game, each member of the Waterloo Wonder team received $25 to $50.
After high school, the Fabulous Five played professionally for seven years. During that time, they beat the New York Celtics, Philadelphia Spahs, and the Harlem Renaissance (the predecessor to the Harlem Globetrotters). The whole team was offered a scholarship to the University of Kentucky, but they refused. They continued to play together until the early 1940’s. By that time, there were only four team members. Stewart Wiseman had left for college.
The last time the team was together was in 1960. The Wonders was honored at the Ohio High School State Basketball Tournament. It was the 25th Anniversary of their last state championship.
The Fabulous Five was also recognized when an Ohio Historical Marker was erected in Waterloo, Ohio. On the marker was the name and position of the Fabulous Five. Carl Adams, Edgar GriffithBurke BrumfieldOwen Knox,Lee Drummond, Forest Malone, and Kenneth McCauley were listed as other team members. Kathryn (Bradshaw) McMahon and Blanche (Vermillion) Spears were the team’s cheerleaders. Their school colors were black and white.

Magellan E. Hairston

           Magellan Hairston was born in Franklin County, Virginia. His father was L. S. Hairston. Magellan had four siblings: Georgia, Merle, Thomas E. and Russell E.
He graduated from Rio Grande College and attended graduate school at Ohio University and Ohio State University.
Hairston would put his degrees to work in local schools. For seventeen years, he was employed as a teacher in a Lawrence County, Ohio school.
In 1932, Hairston replaced Frank Wiseman as the coach of the Waterloo Wonders.
During the 1933-1934 school year, Hairston was the coach of the Waterloo Wonders. One of the team, Curtis McMahon, was his nephew.The team won the first of their two consecutive Ohio Class B. Championships. The following year, the team won their second championship.
On December 29, 1934, Magellan married Genewth Wells from Gallipolis, Ohio. Together would have three children: Alice, June and George.
In 1936, the successful Waterloo Wonders went on barnstorming tours. Hairston was their manager. After returning from the barnstorming tours, some people began questioning how the money earned by the team was spent. Hairston, upset by the accusations, stepped down as the coach for the Waterloo Wonders. He did help the team, but not in official capacity.
In 1938, Hairston returned to coaching at Waterloo School. As a coach, Hairston won more than 90% of the games he coached. He would remain there until 1943, when he retired.
After retiring from teaching and coaching, Magellan went into partnership with Higgins Chevrolet. At that time, the business was located in Linnville, Ohio. He was so successful he opened his own car lot. In 1955, he established Hairston Chevrolet, Inc. in Chesapeake,Ohio.
Magellan was inducted to the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Hairston died at Cabell Huntington Hospital and was buried in Woodland Cemetery.

Beryl Drummond

          Beryl Drummond was the five foot eight inch tall forward on the Waterloo Wonders. Originally from Flagg Springs, Lawrence County, Ohio, he was a member of the Fabulous Five who won the Ohio Class B Championship in 1934 and 1935.
Ironically, Waterloo was not the first team that interested Beryl. He had been attending school at Cadmus, Lawrence County, Ohio. He tried out for their basketball team, but did not make the cut. They told young Beryl he was too short. After his dismissal from Cadmus, he moved to Waterloo School.
Drummond played against some of the greats of the era. He played on several semi-professional basketball teams after leaving the Wonders. They include Acme Aciators, Wright Field Kitty-hawks, White Motors, Toledo Mercurys, Sucher Victory Meals, and Toledo Jeeps. He played his last game in 1952.
Beryl married Minnie Ruth Pyles. Together the couple had five children, Sue, Bonnie, Phillip, Paul and Douglas.
Drummond eventually moved to Florida. He was employed as the greens keeper at the Green Acres County Club. At the age of 63, he died in Green Acres, Florida.

Curtis McMahon

          Curtis McMahon was the five foot eleven and a half inch center for the Championship Waterloo Wonder team. McMahon was not only the team’s center, he was also was their captain.
Originally from Greasy Ridge, McMahon learned to shoot basketball outside. He learned quickly how to make the shot, since a missed shot meant chasing the ball three hundred yards down a hill.
During his sophomore year of high school, Curtis’s father died. He moved in with his uncle, Magellan Hairston, coach of the Waterloo Wonders. Since he lived with his uncle, he attended school at Waterloo.
After the Wonders split up, McMahon worked as a toolmaker for Frigidaire. He was employed there for thirty-two years before he retired.
Curtis married Catherine Bradshaw. The couple had three daughters, Patricia, Carolyn, and Marilee.
Curtis was buried in Zion Hope Cemetery.

Stewart Wiseman

          Stewart Wiseman was the defensive specialist for the championship winning Waterloo Wonders. At five foot seven inches, Wiseman was the shortest of the five member team.
Born on May 9, 1919, Stewart was actually named Henry Stewart Wiseman. He was the son of Frank and Josie Wilson Wiseman. He was one of eight children. His siblings included John, Emerson, Joe, Ed, Esther Ruth, Glenn, and Beatrice. He and his family resided in Sherritts, Ohio.
You could say basketball ran in Stewart’s blood. His father, Frank, was a coach at Waterloo before Hairston.
After graduating high school, Wiseman was the only Wonder to go to college. He received a bachelor and master degree from Ohio University.
During World War II, Wiseman joined the military and served in the Pacific Theatre from 1941 to 1945.
He married Betty Cash and had three children, Jeff, Frank, and Robert.
After completing his education, Wiseman became an industrial arts and basketball coach for Defiance from 1950-1955 and for Chillicothe from 1955-1979.
In 1996, Stewart Wiseman was named to the Ohio High School Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the last surviving Waterloo Wonder from the 1934-1935 Championship team.
He is buried in Athens Memorial Gardens in Athens, Ohio.

Orlyn Roberts

          Born on May 30, 1916 in Waterloo, Ohio, Orlyn Roberts was the son of Hudson and Myrta Cremeans Roberts. He had two sisters, Wilda and Mildred.
While in high school, Roberts played on the championship Waterloo Wonder team. At five foot eleven inch, Roberts was the team’s guard.
Like the rest of his Wonder teammates, Orlyn was a World War II veteran. He joined the army during the war. While in the army, Roberts played on the Camp Lee, Virginia army basketball team. While on the team, Roberts played a game in Madison Square Gardens.
After the war, Orlyn returned to his roots. He became a farmer and a custodian at the Waterloo Grade School. The grade school was the former Waterloo school where he was on the championship team. In 1972, Roberts retired.
In 1964, Orlyn Roberts married Irene Drummond Lyall. Irene was a widow with six children, Helen, Evelyn, Norma, Shirley, Irvin, and Wayne. Roberts and Irene also had two children of their own, Edward and Theodore.
On October 13, 1983, Orlyn Roberts died at Jo Linn Health Center. He was buried at Flaggs Springs Cemetery near Waterloo.

Wyman Roberts

          Wyman Roberts was born on September 27, 1915 in Waterloo, Ohio. He was the son of Odd and Minnie Pine Roberts. Wyman was one of thirteen children.
Wyman was best known as a member of the Waterloo Wonders championship team. He played forward for the team. At five foot ten inches, Wyman was the first player to pass the basketball from behind his back.
During World War II, Wyman joined the U.S. Army. When his service in the army was finished, Wyman returned to Waterloo, Ohio. He would remain in Waterloo for his entire life.
On November 5, 1975, Wyman married Betty Lambert. Betty had a son, Elton Lambert, from a previous marriage.
Over the years, Wyman worked as a construction worker and a store clerk. Robert’s Grocery in Waterloo, Ohio was where Wyman clerked.
On December 1, 1987, Wyman died at University Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He was 72 years old. He was buried in Flaggs Springs Cemetery.
Stewart Wiseman went to see Wyman in the hospital before he died. Wyman gave a quote which typified the Wonders spirit. He told Wiseman, “we surely showed a lot of people a good time.”

Owen Knox

            Owen Knox was the son of E. E. Knox and attended school at Waterloo, Ohio. Owen was one of the supporting players for the championship winning Waterloo Wonders.
Like many young men, he enlisted in the military during World War II. In June 1940, Knox enlisted at Richmond Virginia in the U. S. Army. He was a Private First Class when he was killed during a reconnaissance bomber flight in the far east on April 2, 1942. Knox was the second Lawrence Countian to die in army air corps.

Burke Brumfield

          On October 3, 1915, Burke Brumfield was born to Lacy B. and Leonora Butler Brumfield. He was a Waterloo, Lawrence County, Ohio resident for his entire life.
Brumfield was a supporting player on the championship Waterloo Wonder team. In 1935, he graduated from Waterloo High School.
He, like his fellow Wonders, joined the military when World War II began. In his case, he joined the U. S. Army.
Burke Brumfield eventually married his wife, Norma Reynolds.
After leaving the service, he worked in a couple of profession. He worked two years for Princess Dorothy Coal Company in Boone County, West Virginia. He retired in 1977 after twenty-six years as a top operator with Barretts Division Allied Chemical.
Brumfield was a charter member of the Highway Baptist Church in Aid, Lawrence County, Ohio.
On October 6, 1994, Burke Brumfield died. He was buried in Bradshaw Cemetery.

Kenneth McCauley

          Kenneth McCauley was born n March 25, 1915 in Andis, Lawrence County, Ohio. He was the son of Millard and Flossie Simpson McCauley.
Kenneth was a supporting player of the championship Waterloo Wonder team. McCauley was the team’s statistician. He graduated from Waterloo in 1932.
Kenneth went on to college. He attended college at Rio Grande and Wilmington College. After he received his bachelor’s degree, he went to Marshall to obtain a master’s degree.
McCauley returned to Waterloo after completing his college degree. He was employed as a teacher, coach and principal at Waterloo High School. Kenneth also became the first principal a Symmes Valley High School. He would remain at Symmes Valley until 1965.
On May 26, 1936, Kenneth married Bernice Addis. Bernice was a music and English teacher.
On May 1, 2000, Kenneth McCauley died at River Valley Health System.

Edgar Griffith

          Edgar Griffith was born on July 28, 1918 in Arabia, Lawrence County, Ohio. He was the son of George and Nella Vermillion Griffith.
Griffith attended school at Waterloo School. It was there he became a supporting member of the championship Waterloo Wonder team. Edgar graduated from Waterloo High School in 1936.
Edgar joined the U. S. Army during World War II. He spent four years in the Pacific area.
Griffith married Fern Hancock and together the couple had three children, George, Jane and Thomas.
Edgar moved to Springfield, Ohio. He was employed by the International Harvester Company.

William Drummond

          William Drummond was born on July 29, 1917 to Fred Ray and Anna Null Drummond.
William attended school at Waterloo. While there, he became a supporting player of the championship Waterloo Wonder team. His cousin, Beryl Drummond, was one of the Fabulous Five. In 1937, William graduated from Waterloo High School.
William Drummond married Marie Reed. Marie had a son, Bob Miller, who William helped raise. The couple had three children together, Edgar, Roslyn Arnold, and Bertha Mae.
In 1979, William retired as a molder for Dayton Malleable Iron Company.
On July 4, 2006, William died at the age of 89 years old. He was the last surviving member of the 1934, 1935, and 1936 Waterloo Wonder team.