September 1, 2017 Happy Birthday Anniversary Efton James!

1914 Michigan Football Team |
Efton James is shown above with the 1914 Michigan Football team. He is standing in the back row – third man from the left. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Today’s post celebrates the Happy Birthday Anniversary of a Wolverine named Efton James. According to the Wikipeida article linked below, Efton M. James was born on this day at Cass County, Michigan in 1890. Yes, that was a very long time ago.

Efton’s family later moved to Ann Arbor where James graduated from Ann Arbor High School. Efton was a very good athlete, especially in football. He played with a couple young men (John Maulbetsch and Ernest Allmendinger) who helped Ann Arbor High School win two straight state championships in 1908 and 1909. Allmendinger decided to play at Michigan. However, Maulbetsch and James opted to continue their education, and their football, at Adrian College.

Efton James and John Maulbetsch both starred on the Adrian College football team in 1911. In fact, James was elected as their captain for the 1912 season. However, his heart was apparently still in Ann Arbor. Efton James decided to leave Adrian and play football for the legendary Fielding Yost.

Efton James Michigan Football 1914 |

Efton James played for Fielding Yost from 1912 to 1914 and helped Michigan win 17 games. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

The talented James did not play much, if at all, in 1912. He did not earn a letter on Yost’s team that finished with a final record of 5 wins and 2 losses.

Efton returned to Michigan in 1913 and was reunited with his high school teammates. Maulbetsch arrived in 1913 and Allmendinger was back for his third season in Ann Arbor. James did not start any games in 1913, but he played enough at End to earn a letter on a team that finished the season with an excellent record of 6 wins and only 1 defeat.

Efton James was back for his final season in 1914. He is listed on the roster, but did not start any games.  It appears that Efton earned his second letter in his final season at Michigan. His teammate, and longtime friend, John Maulbetsch had an All-American season. Michigan finished the season with a final record of 6 wins and 3 losses.

Although he didn’t star at Michigan, Efton James is still an important part of Wolverine Football History. He is also connected to a couple of interesting Michigan Football “firsts.” Check them out:

  • Efton James was on the first Michigan Football team to play South Dakota in 1912.
  • James probably played in the first game ever against Mount Union in 1913.

Efton James graduated from The University of Michigan in 1915 and began a successful career in real estate. Sadly, Efton James died serving his country in World War I on October 14, 1918. So, as Michigan starts play in season #138, today is a good day to appreciate the contributions of Efton James to Michigan Football. May Efton James continue to Rest in Peace! Go Blue!

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher is a self-proclaimed Michigan Football Archeologist. He spends a considerable amount of his time digging into the 138-year history of Wolverine Football. He is on a mission to share his findings with Maize and Blue football fans everywhere. He is the author of one book about Michigan Football titled "21-194-13 Michigan Football's Greatest Era". His second book titled, "The Legend of Bo Schembechler-How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History" was released on September 12, 2017. You can learn something about Michigan Football everyday by going to his website at: You can also follow him on Social Media.
0 Comment

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published.