Chapter One: Brother - Science and Cannibals
Well, I feel almost ashamed to say I didn't know this before, but from what I have done in research of this, not many other people did either. So, it's truly a pleasure to share this with everyone. I was just looking through random newspapers looking for information on William Muldoon and as seems to be the case most often something that is only loosely related to what you want pops up and you end up researching something completely different to what you set out to. This is exactly that situation. My first thought was, "Wow." How am I only just hearing of this? Nonetheless, I looked further and found what I think is quite interesting, even if it is only very loosely connected to wrestling.
Some of you will know who Clarence Whistler is, some of you will not. So, to recap for those who don't; Whistler was an Australian Heavyweight Champion and a real boy wonder in the wrestling world. He was born and raised in Indiana, America and between the years of 1879-1885 became one of the most famous and well respected wrestlers on the planet. His life was cut tragically short at the age of 28 and if you would like to know more about his life check out our pretty in depth bio of him: Click Here.
What has now come to my attention is Clarence had a brother. That brothers name was William Henry Whistler. William was a private in the army, a well respected private. He was considered hard-working, loyal and an all around good man. There is a mountain called Mount Whisler named after him and an island called Whisler Island also. The spelling of the name is different as that was the original family name, although William himself never spelled it Whisler.
As children it's said the Whistler's would pick up railroad ties and toss them over the fence down the tracks. The next day they'd lay in wait and watch the members of an oncoming train have to evacuate and spend half a day working out where they were and how to put them back. Together the boys also worked on the farm and the neighbor's farm as well. It's said both of the brothers had impressive physiques and strength. Even though Clarence was two years older, the family recalls William could hold his own with big brother.
William is so interesting though because he was a part of the infamous Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, also known as the Greely Expedition. It was his strength and discipline that got him his placement on the great exploration. If you are not familiar with this it was to collect scientific data for the first International Polar Year. Aldous Greely the leader of the expedition said of William:
“He always labored his best to advance the interests of the expedition.”
Unfortunately for everyone the expedition did not go as planned. The men were practically left abandoned for three years in the Arctic. First people panicked and stole extra rations and other minor crimes to help their chances of survival. As things got worse the men started to die though, the members of the group began to resort to cannibalism as a means to survive the harsh conditions.
The younger Whistler did not survive. Nine men died before him. Nine men died after him. When his body was returned to the family he was immediately buried. However, when the rumors of cannibalism broke out, the family had the body exhumed and a thorough autopsy was performed. This confirmed that his flesh had been cut from the bone by a blade from all over the body.
Even though cannibalism was never admitted by the surviving men, it is generally accepted it did take place. It appears they never killed anyone for food, only ate those who died naturally, so to say. From the reports of William's time on the expedition and his own journals it would seem his research contributed a lot to what has been now accepted as important scientific information that could help with the problems the Earth faces, as well as his keen ability as a carpenter helped build structures which undoubtedly helped the longevity of the crew.
Two brothers Clarence and William, both led remarkable lives and met even more astonishing ends. One died due to terrible conditions facing him on an important expedition into the arctic and the other from his celebrating of a title victory and refusing to see the doctor with an illness. One died at 26 the other at 28. Both men proved to be stand-outs in their chosen field of work though.
By Jimmy Wheeler
As unique content strictly for the Professional Wrestling Historical Society