American Football Database
Pete Overfield
File:Pete Overfield.png
Overfield during his football days at Penn
Date of birth: April 12, 1874
Place of birth: Pennsylvania, United States
Date of death: July 1, 1959(1959-07-01) (aged 85)
Place of death: San Diego, California, United States
Career information
Position(s): Center
College: Penn
 As player:
Homestead L. & A. C.
Sigma Chi All-Star team
Career highlights and awards

Peter Delome "Pete" Overfield (April 12, 1874[1] - July 1, 1959[2]) was an All-American and professional football player, federal judge and rancher. Overfield played center for the University of Pennsylvania and was a first-team All-American in 1898 and 1899. He served as a federal district judge in Alaska from 1909-1917. In 1917, he moved to Casa Grande, Arizona where he lived for the remainder of his life, owning a large ranching operation.

Football player

Overfield played center for the Penn Quakers from 1897–1899 and was selected as a first-team All-American in both 1898 and 1899. Overfield was known as a fierce competitor. After Harvard defeated Penn 16-0 in 1899, Overfield tried to prevent Harvard from securing the ball as a trophy in accordance with a custom. A scuffle spread into the stands, and Penn's coach ultimately secured the ball from Overfield and made Overfield apologize to the Harvard players.[3]

After graduating from Penn, Overfield remained active in football. He was a football coach for a time at Multnomah College and also remained active as a professional football player.[4] Overfield played a total of nine years of college and professional football without ever suffering an injury.[5] He played on the famed 1900 and 1901 Homestead Library & Athletic Club football teams in Pittsburgh. The 1901 Homestead team consisted of former college football All-Americans, including Overfield, Bemus Pierce (Carlisle) and Arthur Poe (Princeton). The team beat Lafayette 66-0 in two ten-minute halves.[6] On November 23, 1901, the Homestead Library team featuring Overfield defeated the Blondy Wallace's Philadelphia professionals for the professional football championship of the United States.[5] The game was played at the Philadelphia park, and Homestead won by a score of 18 to 0.[5][7] The New York Times reported on the game as follows:

"Against the well-trained, concerted team work of Homestead they were like so many pigmies. Their line could not hold the fast onslaught of the Western contingent, and after the first ten minutes of play a lack of good physical condition began to assert itself. … The 5,000 spectators present shivered through thirty minute halves and at no time during the game was a real opportunity offered to get enthusiastic over the work of Wallace's [Philadelphia’s captain] team. It was an eleven made up of stars against well-trained team work, and the latter triumphed."[8]

In 1903, Overfield played in a Thanksgiving Day game in Denver on a team composed of old stars of the Sigma Chi fraternity.[9] The 1903 Sigma Chi All-Star team was made up of former All-Americans, including Overfield, Thorpe, Hernstein, Stahl, Starbuck, Van Valken, and Van Hoevenberg.

In 1923, Princeton head coach W.W. "Bill" Roeper named Overfield as the center on his All-Time All-Eastern football team. Roeper wrote, "Pete Overfield would be ideally equipped to act as pivot on any team today just as he was when he played for Pennsylvania twenty-odd years ago. If my recollection is correct Overfield was down the field on kicks with the ends. He was a sure passer and a wonderful defensive man. He played in a day of a tight line, with the center on the line of scrimmage on every play, but his physique, speed and ability would make him readily adaptable to the present day game ..."[10]

Lawyer and judge in Alaska

In 1906, Overfield moved to Nome, Alaska where he practiced law from 1906-1909.[11] In 1909, Overfield was appointed by President William Howard Taft as a federal district judge serving in the third judicial district of Alaska.[12][13][14] Overfield later went into the mining business in Alaska and served as a director of Oatman Revenue Mines Co.[15]

Pioneer and rancher in Arizona

In 1917, Overfield moved to Arizona where he became involved in farming on a large scale in the Casa Grande Valley.[16] He was a pioneer of the Casa Grande Valley and was a leader in the fight to bring water to the valley. He pioneered the Picacho and San Carlos Dam projects and was a long-time supporter of the Central Arizona Project.[5]


  1. Draft registration card for Peter Overfield, born April 12, 1874, resident of Casa Grande, Arizona. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Registration State: Arizona; Registration County: Pinal; Roll: 1522649.
  2. Death record for Peter Delone Overfield, born April 12, 1874 in Pennsylvania, died July 1, 1959, San Diego. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Original data: State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.
  3. "Football: Harvard 16; Pennsylvania 0". Dubuque Sunday Herald. 1899-11-05.
  4. "Old-Time Football Yarn Creates Clamor For Story of All-American". Casa Grande Dispatch. 1939-11-17.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Acuff (1951-01-18). "Sports Off The Cuff". Casa Grande Dispatch. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Pro" defined multiple times with different content
  6. Alan Gould (1931-01-05). "Sports Slants".
  7. "Football On Many Fields, Harvard Is Champion". The Evening Times. 1901-11-25.
  8. "Homestead 18; Philadelphia 0". The New York Times. 1901-11-24.
  9. "Football Stars To Play in Denver". The New York Times. 1903-10-07.
  10. "An All-Eastern Time for All-Time Is Picked By the Princeton Mentor". Des Moines Capital. 1923-01-21.
  11. "Pete Overfield Receives Appointment As Judge: He Was A Member Of Old Penn's Best Teams". Titusville Herald. 1909-06-12.
  12. "New Judge For Alaska". Portsmouth Herald. 1909-06-12.
  13. "Scholarships for Alaskans: Pete Overfield and Others Bring the Matter About". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. 1913-05-13.
  14. "Judge Overfield Returning To Fairbanks". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. 1931-05-19.
  15. "Pete Overfield Is Now Mining Director". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. 1917-04-16.
  16. "Mrs. Overfield Tells Club Members Of Days In Alaska". Casa Grande Dispatch. 1941-01-17.