Friday, March 31, 2017

1755 British Gen Wm Johnson saving French Baron Dieskau at Lake George by Benjamin West (1738-1820)

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.

Benjamin West (American artist, 1738-1820) General Johnson Saving a Wounded French Officer from the Tomahawk of a North American Indian depicts William Johnson saving the life of Baron Dieskau at the Battle of Lake George.

The Battle of Lake George

The Battle of Lake George was fought on 8 September 1755, in the north of the Province of New York. The battle was part of a campaign by the British to expel the French from North America in the French & Indian War. On one side were 1,500 French, Canadien, & Indian troops under the command of the Baron de Dieskau & on the other side 1,500 colonial troops under William Johnson and 200 Mohawks led by a noted Native American war chief, Hendrick Theyanoguin. 


Dieskau ordered his Canadians & Native Americans to attack on Johnson's camp. The Caughnawagas did not wish to attack an entrenched camp, the defenders of which included hundreds of their Mohawk kinsmen. The Abenakis would not go forward without the Caughnawagas & neither would the Canadians. Hoping to shame the Indians into attacking, Dieskau formed his 222 French grenadiers into a column, 6 abreast, & led them in person along the Lake Road into the clearing where Johnson's camp was, around which Sir William had hurriedly constructed defensive barricades of wagons, overturned boats & hewn-down trees. Once the grenadiers were out in the open ground, the British gunners, crewing Johnson's 3 cannons, loaded up with grapeshot & cut lanes, streets & alleys through the French ranks. When Johnson was wounded & forced to retire to his tent for treatment, Gen. Phineas Lyman took over command. When Dieskau went down with a serious wound, the French attack was abandoned.

American Artist Benjamin West (1738-1820)

Benjamin West (1738-1820) was the 10th child of a rural innkeeper in Springfield, Pennsylvania, in October, 1738, & died exaulted in London, in March, 1820. Before his ascension to historical allegory painter for English royalty, he began learning his craft as a humble portraitist in Philadelphia. West told John Galt, his biographer, that when he was a child, Native Americans showed him how to make paint by mixing some clay from the river bank with bear grease in a pot.

During his years painting in the British American colonies, his portraits exhibit a modest attempt to emulate the baroque & rococo styles, which he probably observed in Philadelphia.

His modest American portrait compositions also exhibit some knowledge of English mezzotint portraits reflecting the works of Peter Lely (1618–160) & Godfrey Kneller (1646–1723). West told a friend that a "Mr. Hide (Haidt), a German, gave him instruction. Johann Valentine Haidt (1700-1780), a Moravian evangelist & trained artist, painted not just portraits, but also history & religious paintings. Apparently, Benjamin West became determined to paint inspiring historical & religious compositions as well.

He later wrote, "Most undoubtedly had not (I) been settled in Philadelphia I should not have embraced painting as a profession." However, his early move away from Philadelphia to England was necessary for him to work in a country where artists were commissioned to paint inspiring depictions of history's real & imagined indispensable men & women who made extreme sacrifices & performed noble deeds. In the American colonies, the gentry paid for portraits, not inspiration.

Benjamin West became a painter of historical scenes, sometimes including Native Americans, around & after the time of the American War of Independence & the Seven Years' War. During his 22 years in America, he was a fairly typical provincial artist; but his choice to leave the colonies in 1760, for Europe & England led to his appointment as the official painter at the court of King George III & to his becoming co-founder of the Royal Academy in London, where 3 generations of fellow American students would return home from his tutelage to impact the art of the emerging republic.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sexual Politics-Mohawk-Style 1754

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.

The British colonial government convened a conference in Albany, New York, in the summer of 1754. French troops had occupied the Ohio valley; while the Indians in New York had declared the Covenant chain alliance broken.

Hendrick Theyanoguin (c. 1691-1755), whose name had several spelling variations, was an important speaker for the Mohawk Council.  Hendrick, a Mohawk leader among the Iroquois Confederation, wanted to renew the alliance between the Iroquois & the colonists. But in his speech at the meeting, he called the British weak. Soon the Seven Year's War would involve the French, the British colonists, & the Native Americans in a war that would also be called The French & Indian War.


"The Brave old Hendrick the great sachem or chief of the Mohawk Indians", a hand-tinted engraving of Mohawk leader Hendrick Theyanoguin, published in London in 1755, based on an earlier lost portrait. According to historian Eric Hinderaker, artist William Williams painted a portrait of Hendrick in 1755 in Philadelphia. Others say it is by by Eliz. Bakewelll c. 1740 (John Carter Brown Library, Brown University)

 Mohawk Hendrick:

"Then Hendrick, brother to the said Abraham, and a Sachem of the same castle, rose up and spake in behalf of the Six Nations: "Brethren, This is the ancient place of treaty where the fire of friendship always used to burn, and it is now three years since we have been called to any public treaty here; ‘tis true, there are commissioners here, but they have never invited us to smoke with them (by which they mean, the commissioners had never invited them to any conference), but the Indians of Canada came frequently and smoked with them, which is for the sake of their beaver, but we hate them (meaning the French Indians)

"We have not as yet confirmed the peace with them: ’tis your fault, brethren, we are not strengthened by conquest, for we should have gone and taken Crown Point, but you hindered us: We had concluded to go and take it; but we were told it was too late, and that the ice would not bear us. Instead of this you burnt your own fort at Saraghtogee and run away from it; which was shame and a scandal to you. Look about your country, and see you have no fortifications about you, no not even to this city. 'Tis but one step from Canada hither, and the French may easily come and turn you out of doors.

"Brethren, You desired us to speak from the bottom of our hearts, and we shall do it. Look about you, and see all these houses full of beaver, and money is all gone to Canada; likewise your powder, lead, and guns, which the French make use of at the Ohio.

“Brethren, You were desirous we should open our minds and our hearts to you; look at the French, they are men; they are fortifying every where; but we are ashamed to say it; you are like women, bare and open, without any fortifications.”

Source: Jeptha Root Simms, History of Schoharie County, and the Border Wars of New York. Albany: Munsell & Tanner, 1845.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Indian Stick Game at Mission Dolores 1822 by Louis Choris (1795-1828)

Ohlone people, also known as the Costanoan, are a Native American people of the central & northern California coast. When Spanish explorers & missionaries arrived in the late 18th century, the Ohlone inhabited the area along the coast from San Francisco Bay through Monterey Bay to the lower Salinas Valley. They lived by hunting, fishing, & gathering, in the typical ethnographic California pattern. The members of these various bands interacted freely with one another as they built friendships & marriages, traded tools & other necessities, & partook in cultural practices. Before the Spanish came, the northern California region was one of the most densely populated regions north of Mexico. However in the years 1769 to 1833, the Spanish missions in California had a devastating effect on Ohlone culture. The Ohlone population declined steeply during this period.


Louis Choris (German-Russian painter 1795-1828) Indian Stick Game at Mission Dolores 1822

Louis Choris (1795-1828) was a German-Russian painter & explorer. He was one of the 1st sketch artists used for for expedition research. Choris, who was a Russian of German stock, was born in Yekaterinoslav, now Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine on March 22, 1795. He visited the Pacific coast of North America in 1816, on board the Ruric, being attached in the capacity of artist to the Romanzoff expedition under the command of Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue, sent out for the purpose of exploring a Northwest Passage. After the voyage, Choris went to Paris, where he issued a portfolio of his drawings in lithographic reproduction. Choris worked extensively in pastels, as he documented the Ohlone people in the missions of San Francisco, California in 1816. Voyage Pittoresque Autour du Monde, Avec des Portraits de Savages d'Amerique...by Louis Choriswas was published in Paris by Firmin Didot in 1822. Choris was only 20 years old,  when he was appointed official artist aboard the Rurik, 1815- 1818, commanded by the Russian, Otto von Kotzebue. After visiting islands in the South Seas, Kotzebue explored the North American coast & landed twice on the Hawaiian Islands. The first work in particular has great American interest because of its lithographs of California, the Queen Charlotte Islands, the Aleutians, St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, & Kotzebue Sound in Alaska. The lithographs cover all aspects of native life & culture.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Slaughter of Moravian Leanpe Indians 1781

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.


Sketch & Narrative From Henry Howe's 1852 book Historical Collections of the Great West Slaughter of Moravian Leanpe Indians 1781

A melancholy disaster, about the same time, befell a body of one hundred & seven United States troops, under Capt. Laherty, on their way down the Ohio to Fort Steuben, at the Falls of the Ohio. They were attacked by an overwhelming force of Indians, near the mouth of the Great Miami, and, although making a brave resistance, were compelled to retreat, with the loss of about fifty slain. Massacre of the Moravian or Christian Indians. As early as the year 1762, the Moravian missionaries, Post & Heckewelder, established a mission among the Indians on the Tuscarawas. Before the close of the war of the revolution, they had three flourishing stations Or villages, viz: Shoenbrun, Gnadenhutten & Salem. These were respectively about five miles apart, & stood near fifty miles west of the site of Steubenville, Ohio. In the war, their position was eminently dangerous. They were midway between the hostile towns on the Sandusky & the frontier settlements, & being on the direct route of war parties of either, were compelled occasionally to give sustenance & shelter to both. This excited the jealousy of the contending races, although they preserved a strict neutrality, & looked with horror upon the shedding of blood. In February, 1782, many murders were committed upon the upper Ohio & the Monongahela, by the hostile Indians. The settlers believing that the Moravians were either concerned in these murders, or had harbored those who were, determined to destroy their towns, the existence of which, they deemed dangerous to their safety. Accordingly, in March, about ninety volunteers assembled under the command of Col. David Williamson, in the Mingo Bottom, just below the site of Steubenville. Arriving in the vicinity of Gnadenhutten, they, on the morning of the 8th, surrounded & entered the town, where they found a large party of Indians in a field, gathering corn. They informed the Indians that they had come on an errand of peace & friendship that they were going to take them to Fort Pitt for protection. The unsuspecting Indians, pleased at the prospect of their removal, delivered up their arms which they used for hunting, & commenced preparing breakfast for themselves & guests. An Indian messenger was dispatched to Salem, to apprise the brethren there of the new arrangement, & both companies then returned to Gnadenhutten. On reaching the village, a number of mounted militia started for the Salem settlement, but ere they reached it, found that the Moravian Indians at that place had already left their corn-fields, by the advice of the messenger, & were on the road to join their brethren at Gnadenhutten. Measures had been adopted by the militia to secure the Indians whom they had at first decoyed into their power. They were bound, confined in two houses, & well guarded. On the arrival of the Indians from Salem, (their arms having been previously secured without suspicion of any hostile intention,) they were also fettered, & divided between the two prison-houses, the males in one, the females in the other. The number thus confined in both, including men, women & children, have been estimated from ninety to ninety-six. A council was then held to determine how the Moravian Indians should be disposed of. This self-constituted military court embraced both officers & privates. The late Dr. Dodridge, in his published notes on Indian wars, says:

"Colonel Williamson put the question, whether the Moravian Indians should be taken prisoners to Fort Pitt, or put to death?" requesting those who were in favor of saving their lives to step out & form a second rank. Only eighteen out of the whole number stepped forth as advocates of mercy. In these, the feelings of humanity were not extinct. In the majority, which was large, no sympathy was manifested. They resolved to murder (for no other word can express the act) the whole of the Christian Indians in their custody. Among these were several who had contributed to aid the missionaries in the work of conversion & civilization two of whom emigrated from New Jersey after the death of their spiritual pastor, the Rev. David Brainard. One woman, who could speak good English, knelt before the commander & begged his protection. Her supplication was unavailing. They were ordered to prepare for death. But the warning had been anticipated. Their firm belief in their new creed was shown forth in the sad hour of their tribulation, by religious exercises of preparation. The orisons of these devoted people were already ascending the throne of the Most High! the sound of the Christian's hymn & the Christian's prayer found an echo in the surrounding woods, but no responsive feeling in the bosoms of their executioners. With gun, & spear, & tomahawk, & scalping-knife, the work of death progressed in these slaughter-houses, until not a sigh or moan was heard to proclaim the existence of human life within all, save two two Indian boys escaped, as if by a miracle, to be witnesses in after times of the savage cruelty of the white man toward their unfortunate race. Of the number thus cruelly murdered by the backwoodsmen of the upper Ohio, between fifty & sixty were women & children some of them innocent babes. No resistance was made; one only attempted to escape. The whites finished the tragedy by setting fire to the town, including the slaughter-houses with the bodies in them, all of which were consumed. A detachment was sent to the upper town, Shoenbrun, but the people having received information of what was transpiring below, had deserted it. Those engaged in the campaign, were generally men of standing, at home. When the expedition was formed, it was given out to the public that its sole object was to remove the Moravians to Pittsburgh, & by destroying the villages, deprive the hostile savages of a shelter. In their towns, various articles plundered from the whites, were discovered. One man is said to have found the bloody clothes of his wife & children, who had recently been murdered. These articles, doubtless, had been purchased of the hostile Indians. The sight of these, it is said, bringing to mind the forms of murdered relations, wrought them up to an uncontrollable pitch of frenzy which nothing but blood could satisfy. In the year 1799, when the remnant of the Moravian Indians were recalled by the United States to reside on the same spot, an old Indian, in company with a young man by the name of Carr, walked over the desolate scene, & showed to the white man an excavation, which had formerly been a cellar, & in which were still some moldering bones of the victims, though seventeen years had passed since their tragic death the tears, in the meantime, falling down the wrinkled face of this aged child of the Tuscarawas. Crawford's Defeat. At the time of the massacre, less than half of the Moravian Indians were at their towns, on the Tuscarawas, the remainder having been carried off, by the hostile Indians, to Sandusky, had settled these in their vicinity. Immediately after the return of Williamson's men, what may be called a second Moravian campaign, was projected; the object being first to finish the destruction of the christian Indians, at their new establishment, on the Sandusky, & then destroy the Wyandot towns on the same river.


The long continuance of the Indian war, the many murders & barbarities committed upon the frontiers, had so wrought upon the inhabitants, as to create an indiscriminate thirst for revenge. Having had a taste of blood & plunder, in their recent expedition, without loss or danger on their part, it was now determined not to spare the lives of any Indians who might fall into their hands, whether friends or foes. On the 25th of May, 1782, four hundred & eighty men, principally from the upper Ohio, assembled at the Old Mingo towns, near the site of Steubenville. At this place, they chose Col. Wm. Crawford commander, his competitor being Col. Williamson. Crawford* accepted the office with great reluctance. Soon after, his men exhibited such an utter disregard to military order, that he was depressed with a presentiment of evil. Notwithstanding the secrecy & dispatch of the enterprise, the Indian spies discovered their rendezvous, on the Mingo Bottom, knew their number & destination. They visited every encampment on their leaving it, & saw written on the barks of trees & scraps of paper, that " no quarter was to be given to any Indian, whether man, woman or child." Their route was by the "Williamson trail," through the burnt Moravian towns. On the 6th of June, they arrived at the site of the Moravian villages, on a branch of the Sandusky. Here, instead of meeting with Indians & Elunder, they found nothing but vestiges of desolation. A few huts, surrounded by high grass, alone remained; their intended victims having, some time before, moved to the Scioto, some eighteen miles south. A council then decided to march on north one day longer, & if then, no Indian towns were reached, to retreat. About 2 o'clock, the next day, while on their march through the Sandusky plains, the advanced guard were driven in by Indians concealed in great numbers in the high grass. The action then became general, & the firing was incessant & heavy until dark, for In this battle, the whites had the advantage, & lost but a few men. The Indians were driven from the woods & prevented from gaining a strong position on the right flank, by the vigilance & bravery of Major Leet. During the night, both armies lay upon their arms behind a line of fires, to prevent surprise. The next day, the Indians were seen in large bodies traversing the plains, while others were busy carrying off their dead & wounded. At a council of officers, Col. Williamson proposed marching, with one hundred & fifty volunteers, to upper Sandusky; but the commander opposed it, stating that the Indians, whose numbers were hourly increasing, would attack & conquer their divided forces in detail. The dead were buried, & preparations made for a retreat after dark. The Indians perceiving their intention, about sunset, attacked them with great fury in all directions, except that of Sandusky. In the course of the night, the army commenced their retreat, regained their old trail by a circuitous route, & continued on with but slight annoyance from the enemy. Unfortunately, when the retreat commenced, a large number erroneously judging that the Indians would follow the main body, broke off into small parties & made their way toward their homes, in different directions. These the Indians, for days, pursued in detachments, with such activity that but very few escaped, some being killed almost within sight of the Ohio River.


{* Col. Win. Crawford was a native of Virginia, but at this time was residing near Brownsville, Pa. He was a captain in the old French war, & in the revolution, raised a regiment of continentals by his own exertions. He was an intimate friend of Washington a man of character, & of noted bravery. At this time, he was about fifty years of age. The battle was fought three miles north of upper Sandusky. The large tree on the right of the engraving (Eng. p. 110) & others in the vicinity, even to the present day, show marks of the bullets.}


Soon after the retreat began, Col. Crawford having missed his son & several of his connections, halted & unsuccessfully searched the line for them as it passed on, & then, owing to the weariness of his horse, was unable to overtake the retreating army. Falling in company with Dr. Knight & others, they kept on until the third day, when they were attacked, & Crawford & Knight captured. They were taken to an Indian encampment in the vicinity, where they found nine other prisoners, & all, the next morning, were conducted toward the Tyemochte, by Pipe & Wingenund, Delaware chiefs, except four of them, who were killed & scalped on the way. At a Delaware town on the Tyemochte, a few miles northwesterly from the site of upper Sandusky, preparations were made for the burning of Col. Crawford. In the vicinity, the remaining five of the nine prisoners were tomahawked & scalped by squaws & boys. Crawford's son & son-in-law were executed at a Shawanese town. The account of the burning of Crawford is thus given by Dr. Knight, his companion, who subsequently escaped. When we went to the fire, the colonel was stripped naked, ordered to sit down by the fire, & then they beat him with sticks & their fists. Presently after, I was treated in the same manner. They then tied a rope to the foot of a post about fifteen feet high, bound the colonel's hands behind his back & fastened the rope to the ligature between his wrists. The rope was long enough for him to sit down or walk round the post once or twice, & return the same way. The colonel then called to Girty, & asked if they intended to burn him? Girty answered, yes. The colonel said he would take it all patiently. Upon this, Captain Pipe, a Delaware chief, made a speech to the Indians, viz: about thirty or forty men, & sixty or seventy squaws & boys. When the speech was finished, they all yelled a hideous & hearty assent to what had been said. The Indian men then took up their guns & shot powder into the colonel's body, from his feet as far up as his neck. I think that not less than seventy loads were discharged upon his naked body. They then crowded about him, & to the best of my observation, cut off his ears; when the throng had dispersed a little, I saw the blood running from both sides of his head in consequence thereof. The fire was about six or seven yards from the post to which the colonel was tied; it was made of small hickory poles, burnt quite through in the middle, each end of the poles remaining about six feet in length. Three or four Indians, by turns, would take up, individually, one of these burning pieces of wood, & apply it to his naked body, already burnt black with the powder. These tormentors presented themselves on every side of him with the burning fagots & poles. Some of the squaws took broad boards, upon which they would carry a quantity of burning coals & hot embers, & throw on him, so that in a short time, he had nothing but coals of fire & hot ashes to walk upon. In the midst of these extreme tortures, he called to Simon Girty, & begged of him to shoot him; but Girty making no answer, he called to him again. Girty then, by way of derision, told the colonel he had no gun, at the same time turning about to an Indian who was behind him, laughed heartily, & by all his gestures, seemed delighted at the horrid scene. Girty then came up to me & bade me prepare for death. He said, however, I was not to die at that place, but to be burnt at the Shawanese towns. He swore by G d I need not expect to escape death, but should suffer it in all its extremities. Col. Crawford, at this period of his sufferings, besought the Almighty to have mercy on his soul, spoke very low, & bore his torments with the most manly fortitude.


He continued in all the extremities of pain for an hour & hour & three quarters or two hours longer, as near as I can judge, when at last, being almost exhausted, he lay down on his belly; they then scalped him, & repeatedly threw the scalp in my face, telling me, " that was my great captain." An old squaw (whose appearance every way answered the ideas people entertain of the devil) got a board, took a parcel of coals & ashes & laid them on his back & head, after he had been scalped; he then raised himself upon his feet & began to walk round the post; they next put a burning stick to him, as usual, but he seemed more insensible of pain than before. The Indian fellow who had me in charge, now took me away to Captain Pipes house, about three-quarters of a mile from the place of the colonel's execution. I was bound all night, & thus prevented from seeing the last of the horrid spectacle. Next morning, being June 12th, the Indian untied me, painted me Black, & we set off for the Snawanese town, which he told me was somewhat less than forty miles distant from that place. We soon came to the spot where the colonel had been burnt, as it was partly in our way; I saw his bones lying among the remains of the fire, almost burnt to ashes; I suppose, after he was dead, they laid his body on the fire. The Indian told me that was my big captain, & gave the scalp halloo. Most of the prisoners taken in this campaign, were burned to death, with cruel tortures, in retaliation for the massacre of the Moravian Indians, who were principally Delaware's. This invasion was the last made from the region of the upper Ohio during the war. But the Indians, encouraged by their successes, overran these settlements with scalping parties. In September, three hundred Indians, for three days, unsuccessfully invested the fort at Wheeling. A detachment of one hundred of these, made an attack upon Rice's Fort, twelve miles north. Although defended by only six men, they were obliged to retire with loss.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pacific Coast Ohlone Indian 1816 by Louis Choris (1795-1828)

Ohlone people, also known as the Costanoan, are a Native American people of the central & northern California coast. When Spanish explorers & missionaries arrived in the late 18th century, the Ohlone inhabited the area along the coast from San Francisco Bay through Monterey Bay to the lower Salinas Valley. They lived by hunting, fishing, & gathering, in the typical ethnographic California pattern. The members of these various bands interacted freely with one another as they built friendships & marriages, traded tools & other necessities, & partook in cultural practices. Before the Spanish came, the northern California region was one of the most densely populated regions north of Mexico. However in the years 1769 to 1833, the Spanish missions in California had a devastating effect on Ohlone culture. The Ohlone population declined steeply during this period.


 Louis Choris (German-Russian painter 1795-1828) Ohlone Indian 1816

Louis Choris (1795-1828) was a German-Russian painter & explorer. He was one of the 1st sketch artists used for for expedition research. Choris, who was a Russian of German stock, was born in Yekaterinoslav, now Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine on March 22, 1795. He visited the Pacific coast of North America in 1816, on board the Ruric, being attached in the capacity of artist to the Romanzoff expedition under the command of Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue, sent out for the purpose of exploring a Northwest Passage. After the voyage, Choris went to Paris, where he issued a portfolio of his drawings in lithographic reproduction. Choris worked extensively in pastels, as he documented the Ohlone people in the missions of San Francisco, California in 1816. Voyage Pittoresque Autour du Monde, Avec des Portraits de Savages d'Amerique...by Louis Choriswas was published in Paris by Firmin Didot in 1822. Choris was only 20 years old,  when he was appointed official artist aboard the Rurik, 1815- 1818, commanded by the Russian, Otto von Kotzebue. After visiting islands in the South Seas, Kotzebue explored the North American coast & landed twice on the Hawaiian Islands. The first work in particular has great American interest because of its lithographs of California, the Queen Charlotte Islands, the Aleutians, St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, & Kotzebue Sound in Alaska. The lithographs cover all aspects of native life & culture.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

New England - 1643 The Confederation & Native Americans

The New England Confederation, was a political and military alliance of the English colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven. Established May 29, 1643. Its primary purpose was to unite the Puritan colonies against Native Americans.

ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION between the plantations under the government of the Massachusetts, the plantations under the government of New Plymouth, the plantations under the government of Connecticut, and the government of New Haven with the plantations in combination therewith:

WHEREAS we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely, to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace; and whereas in our settling (by a wise providence of God) we are further dispersed upon the seacoasts and rivers than was at first intended, so that we cannot according to our desire with convenience communicate in one government and jurisdiction; and whereas we live encompassed with people of several nations and strange languages which hereafter may prove injurious to us or our posterity; and forasmuch as the natives have formerly committed sundry insolences and outrages upon several plantations of the English and have of late combined themselves against us; and seeing by reason of those sad distractions in England which they have heard of, and by which they know we are hindered from that humble way of seeking advice, or reaping those comfortable fruits of protection, which at other times we might well expect, we, therefore, do conceive it our bounden duty, without delay, to enter into a present consociation among ourselves, for mutual help and strength in all our future concernments.


That, as in nation and religion, so in other respects, we be and continue one according to the tenor and true meaning of the ensuing articles. Wherefore it is fully agreed and concluded by and between the parties of jurisdictions above named, and they jointly and severally do by these presents agree and conclude that they all be and henceforth be called by the name of the United Colonies of New England.


2.The said United Colonies, for themselves and their posterities, do jointly and severally hereby enter into a firm and perpetual league of friendship and amity for offense and defense, mutual advice and succor upon all just occasions, both for preserving and propogating the truth and liberties of the Gospel and for their own mutual safety and welfare.


3.It is further agreed that the plantations which at present are, or hereafter shall be, settled within the limits of the Massachusetts shall be forever under the Massachusetts, and shall have particular jurisdiction among themselves in all cases as an entire body; and that Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven shall each of them have like particular jurisdiction and government within their limits, and in reference to the plantations which already are settled, or shall hereafter be erected, or shall settle within their limits respectively; provided that no other jurisdiction shall hereafter be taken in as a distinct head or member of this confederation, nor shall any other plantation or jurisdiction in present being, and not already in combination or under the jurisdiction of any of these confederates, be received by any of them; nor shall any two of the confederates join in one jurisdiction without consent of the rest, which consent to be interpreted as is expresed in the 6th article ensuing.


4.It is by these confederates agreed that the charge of all just wars, whether offensive or defensive, upon what part or member of this confederation soever they fall, shall both in men and provisions and all other disbursements be borne by all the parts of this confederation in different proportions according to their different ability in manner following, namely, that the commissioners for each jurisdiction, from time to time as there shall be occasion, bring a true account and number of all the males in every plantation or any way belonging to or under their federal jurisdictions of what quality or condition soever they be from sixteen years old to threescore being inhabitants there. And that according to the different numbers which from time to time shall be found in each jurisdiction, upon a true and just account, the service of men and all charges of the war be borne by the poll; each jurisdiction or plantation being left to their own course and custom of rating themselves and people according to their different estates with due respects to their qualities and exemptions among themselves though the confederation take no notice of any such privilege; and that according to their different charge of each jurisdiction and plantation, the whole advantage of the war (if it please God to bless their endeavors), whether it be in lands, goods, or persons, shall be proportionately divided among the said confederates.


5.It is further agreed that, if any of these jurisdictions or any plantation under or in combination with them be invaded by any enemy whatsoever, upon notice and request of any three magistrates of that jurisdiction so invaded, the rest of the confederates, without any further meeting or expostulation, shall forthwith send aid to the confederate in danger but in different proportions; namely, the Massachusetts, 100 men sufficiently armed and provided for such a service and journey, and each of the rest, 45 so armed and provided, or any less number, if less be required according to this proportion. But in any such case of sending men for present aid, whether before or after such order or alteration, it is agreed that at the meeting of the commissioners for this confederation the cause of such war or invasion be duly considered; and if it appear that the fault lay in the parties so invaded that then that jurisdiction or plantation make just satisfaction, both to the invaders whom they have injured, and bear all the charges of the war themselves, without requiring any allowance from the rest of the confederates toward the same. And, further, that if any jurisdiction see any danger of any invasion approaching, and there be time for a meeting, that in such case three magistrates of that jurisdiction may summon a meeting at such convenient place as themselves shall think meet, to consider and provide against the threatened danger; provided when they are met they may remove to what place they please. Only while any of these four confederates have but three magistrates in their jurisdiction, their request or summons from any two of them shall be accounted of equal force with the three mentioned in both the clauses of this article, till there be an increase of magistrates there.


6.It is also agreed that for the managing and concluding of all affairs proper and concerning the whole confederation, two commissioners shall be chosen by and out of each of these four jurisdictions; namely, two for the Massachusetts, two for Plymouth, two for Connecticut, and two for New Haven, being all in church fellowship with us, which shall bring full power from their several General Courts respectively to hear, examine, weigh, and determine all affairs of our war or peace leagues, aids, charges, and numbers of men for war, division of spoils and whatsoever is gotten by conquest, receiving of more confederates for plantations into combination with any of the confederates, and all things of like nature, which are the proper concommitants or consequents of such a confederation for amity, offense, and defense, not inter-meddling with the government of any of the jurisdictions, which by the 3rd article is preserved entirely to themselves  It is further agreed that these eight commissioners shall meet once every year, besides extraordinary meetings (according to the 5th article), to consider, treat, and conclude of all affairs belonging to this confederation 


7.It is also agreed that the commissioners for this confederation hereafter at their meetings, whether ordinary or extraordinary, as they may have commission or opportunity, do endeavor to frame and establish agreements and orders in general cases of a civil nature, wherein all the plantations are interested, for preserving peace among themselves and preventing as much as may be all occasion of war or difference with others, as about the free and speedy passage of justice in every jurisdiction, to all the confederates equally as to their own, receiving those that remove from one plantation to another without due certificates; how all the jurisidictions may carry it toward the Indians, that they neither grow insolent nor be injured without due satisfaction, lest war break in upon the confederates through such miscarriage.


It is agreed that if any servant run away from his master into any other of these confederated jurisdictions, that in such case, upon the certificate of one magistrate in the jurisdiction out of which the said servant shall be delivered either to his master or any other that pursues and brings such certificate of proof. And that upon the escape of any prisoner whatsoever, or fugitive for any criminal cause, whether breaking prison, or getting away from the officer, or otherwise escaping, upon the certificate of two magistrates of the jurisdiction out of which the escape is made, that he was a prisoner, or such an offender at the time of the escape, the magistreates, or some of them of that jurisdiction where for the present the said prisoner or fugitive abides, shall forthwith grant such a warrant as the case will bear for the apprehending of any such person, and the delivery of him into the hands of the officer or other person who pursues him. And if there be help required for the safe returning of any such offender, then it shall be granted to him that craves the same, he paying the charges thereof.


8.And for that the justest wars may be of dangerous consequence, especially to the smaller plantations in these United Colonies, it is agreed that neither the Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, nor New Haven, nor any of the members of them, shall at any time hereafter begin, undertake, or engage themselves, or this confederation, or any part thereof in any war whatsoever (sudden exigents with the necessary consequents thereof excepted which are also to be moderated as much as the case will permit) without the consent and agreement of the forenamed eight commissioners, or at least six of them, as in the 6th article is provided; and that no charge be required of any of the confederates in case of a defensive war till the said commissioners have met and approved the justice of the war, and have agreed upon the sum of money to be levied, which sum is then to be paid by the several confederates in proportion according to the 4th article 


9.It is further agreed that if any of the confederates shall hereafter break any of these present articles, or be any other ways injurious to any one of the other jurisdictions, that both peace and this present confederation may be entirely preserved without violation.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Paul Kane (1810–1871) Return of a War Party in Canada, 1847

Paul Kane (1810–1871) Return of a War Party in Canada, 1847. Songhees village (left) and Fort Victoria (right).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Georgia's Native American Leader Mary Musgrove c 1700-1763 & Her Unfortunate Choice of Husbands

Mary Musgrove (c 1700-1763), Indian leader in colonial Georgia, was the child of a Creek mother & an English trader. Originally named Coosaponakeesa, she was born at Coweta town, then on the Ocmulgee River but later moved to the Chattahoochee River. Her father, whose name is unknown, was an English trader; her mother is said to have been the sister of Old Brim, the so-called “Emperor of the Creeks.” When she was about seven, Mary was taken to Ponpon, South Carolina, by her father about 1710. In her own words, she was "there baptized, educated, and bred up in the principles of Christianity." Mary returned to Coweta in 1715, after the Yamasees revolt was put down. At the end of the Yamassee War in 1716, she returned to the Indian country west of the Savannah River.

Shortly, John Musgrove, a prominent South Carolinian, was sent by his government to deal with the Creeks. His son John Musgrove II, who accompanied him, met the young Indian girl & married her. She now assumed the name Mary Musgrove; & although she was married twice afterward, she is best known throughout history under that name.
John Musgrove & his wife Mary were among several traders who lived to the south & west of the Savannah River before 1733

The couple returned to South Carolina about 1722; but by 1732, they were back among the Creeks, running a trading station near a Yamacraw village on the western bluffs of the Savannah River. Mary & John established their trading post at Yamacraw Bluff in 1732, and Savannah was founded on this site a year later. Here they distributed merchandise primarily secured through the imported goods of Charleston merchants & received from the Indians some 1200 pounds of deerskins annually. They also had “a very good cow-pen & plantation,” where they raised their food crops.

When James Oglethorpe landed in 1733, to found the colony of Georgia, Mary Musgrove was among the first to greet him. Her personality, her facility in English, & her key position as a trader all recommended her to Oglethorpe as an aid in his Indian diplomacy. The Yamacraws were less than pleased with the founding of Savannah much less Georgia. The ink was not yet dry on the treaty establishing the Savannah River as the limit of white expansion to the south and west.

Oglethorpe made Mary his interpreter & emissary to the Creeks, treating her with “great Esteem.” It was largely owing to Mary Musgrove’s influence that the Creeks remained friendly to the English, serving throughout the imperial wars of the 18th-century as a buffer between the Southern English colonies & the Spanish in Florida. She became one of the most important figures in Georgia’s colonial history.
James Oglethorpe depicted with Yamacraw Chief Tomochichi. Mary appears between them.

Her husband John Musgrove served as interpreter for John Wesley and Tomo-Chichi. John Wesley was a frequent visitor to Mary's plantation on the Savannah. Mary owned the fairest and broadest acres in Georgia and supplied the struggling colonists with meat, bread & liquor.

At Oglethorpe’s request, the Musgroves set up Mount Venture, a trading station at the forks of the Altamaha River, to serve a a listening post for threats from Spanish Florida. Unfortunately Mary's beloved husband John Musgrove died there in 1739, & his widow promptly married one Jacob Matthews, captain of the 20 rangers stationed at the post, a “lusty fellow,” quarrelsome, & given to drink, who had formerly been her indentured servant.

Public opinion of Matthews was mixed. William Stephens migrated from England to Savannah in 1737, to serve as secretary of Trustee Georgia. Stephens wrote of Jacob Matthews: "On his Master's Death he found Means to get into the Saddle in his Stead, fitly qualified to verify the old Proverb of a Beggar on Horseback; soon learning to dress in gay Cloaths, which intitled him to be a Companion with other fine Folks of those Days, . . . . He was flattered to believe himself a Man of great Significance, and told, that he would be to blame not to exert himself, and let the World know what his Power was with the Indians; wherefore he might expect the Trust would have a singular Regard to that, and be careful to oblige him in all he should expect. Thus prepared, what may we not expect from him? To pass over many of his late Exploits a few of which I have touch'd on in some of my preceding Notes; he seems now to be grown ripe for exemplifying to what Uses he means to employ that Influence he thinks he has over those neighboring Indians, who by half Dozens or more at a Time, have daily of late been flocking about his House in Town, where they continually get drunk with Rum, and go roaring and yelling about the Streets, as well at Nights as Days, to the Terror of some, but the Disturbance and common Annoyance of everybody."

However, a neighbor, Robert Williams later testified: "I was an Inhabitant in this Province and lived at the next Plantation to Mr. Jacob Mathews on the River Savannah . . . he had cleared and planted a large Tract of Land with English Wheat, Indian Corn, Pease, and Potatoes; and very believe he had a larger Crop than any Planter raised by the Labour of White Hands within the said County And I further declare that I have often heard the said Mathews say, that he never received from the Trustees, or Persons in Power at Savannah on their Behalf, Any Bounty or Reward for the said produce. . . ."

From Mount Venture, Mary rallied the Creeks to aid the Georgians in their was with Spain-the War of Jenkins’ Ear 1739-44. Bands of Creek warriors accompanied Oglethorpe in his unsuccessful attack on St. Augustine in 1740, & her brother was killed in that attempt. She returned to Savannah in 1742, because of her husband’s ill health. Upon her departure, Spanish Indians destroyed Mount Venture & the settlement that had grown up around it.

Apparently Jacob worked hard but he also set himself up as the leader of the malcontents in Georgia and chief critic of the authorities to the annoyance of William Stephens. Stephens declared in his Journal for 1740 that it was useless "to foul more Paper in tracing Jacob Matthews through his notorious Debauches; and after his spending whole Nights in that Way, reeling home by the Light of the Morning, with his Banditti about him." Jacob Matthews died on May 8, 1742

Oglethorpe left the colony of Georgia in 1743, upon his departure giving Mary 200 pounds & a diamond ring from his finger. She continued her services to the colony, working successfully during the War of the Austrian Succession to counter French influence among the Creeks. Mrs Musgrove also persuaded her native relatives to retain their English allegiance, after their brief flirtation with Spain during the Creek-Cherokee war in 1747-48.

About 3 years after the death of her 2nd husband, Mary remarried. Her new husband would come to foment a scheme which took advantage both of the Creeks & of the colony government. Her new husband was an opportunistic fortune seeker named Thomas Bosomworth.

Bosomworth had an "Ambition of being an Author" of essays on religion. According to Stephens, "his sprightly Temper, added to a little Share of classical Learning, makes him soar" high. Bosomworth wrote a long essay on the "Glory & Lustre" of charity, to the Georgia Trustees in 1742, attempting to show that the Bethesda Orphans Asylum was being perverted. Bosomworth also wrote poems & lyrics but took offense at the accusation of having "Ambitions to be an Author." He wrote the Trustees, "I am sorry to find that my good intentions are so far perverted as to be imputed to an Ambition of appearing as an Author."

Failing as a religious essayist, Bosomworth next felt a call to preach sailing to England for Holy Orders in March 1743. He was appointed minister to Georgia for a term of 3 years on July 4th, and returned to Georgia on December 2nd. However, Bosomworth soon tired of preaching & apparently of Mary. He sailed back to England in 1745, without notice or providing for the church in Savannah declaring that he would not return. The Georgia Trustees ignored the complaints he attempted to bring to their attention, but Bosomworth decided to return to Georgia the following year.

He was, however, no longer the minister. One report was that he cast "aside his Sacredotals;" but another had it that the Trustees had torn them from him. His successor, the Reverend Mr. Zouberbuhler, discovered that Bosomworth had stripped the parsonage of all furniture, & he was forced to live in an unfurnished house for some time.

Dissatisfied with past unsuccessful financial ventures, Bosomworth laid plans for an ambitious venture into the cattle business. Mary first secured from the Creeks a grant of the 3 coastal islands of St. Catherines, Ossabaw, & Sapelo, together with a tract of land near Savannah which had been reserved to the Creeks, by treaty with the English, for hunting grounds. Chief Malatchee entered into this agreement on the "4th day of ye Windy Moon called ye month of January by ye English" in 1747, in return for promises of cloth, ammunition, & cattle.

After Bosomworth had stocked St. Catherines with cattle bought on credit in South Carolina, Mary made large claims to the colonial & English government for her past services. Mary & her husband came to Savannah on July 24, 1749, accompanied by Malatchee & 2 other chiefs. Malatchee announced that he was "the present and only reigning Emperor" & that all Creeks were his loyal followers. Malatchee also announced that 200 more chiefs & their warriors would be in Savannah within 8 days. And so Mary produced a large body of Indian warriors into Savannah in the summer of 1749, terrorizing the town for nearly a month. In 1754, she & her husband sailed for England to press her claims.

Not until 1759, was a settlement reached, the English government finally agreeing to give her St. Catherines Island & 1,200 pounds for her services to Georgia. Back on St. Catherines, she & her husband built a manor house & developed a cattle ranch, but Mary died not live long to enjoy it. Sometime in the early 1760s, she died & was buried on the island. Her only children, by her 1st husband, had all died in infancy.

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Native Americans in 1736 Georgia - Philipp Georg Friedrich von Reck 1710–1798


1736 Georgia Philipp Georg Friedrich von Reck (German artist, 1710–1798) An Indian Camp

In 1736, Philipp Georg Friedrich von Reck (German artist, 1710–1798) then only 25 years old, sailed with other colonists from Germany to Georgia. One of his intentions, expressed in a letter before he left Europe, was to bring back from America "ocular proof" of what he called "this strange new world." Idealistic & enthusiastic, well-educated & blessed with an amazing artistic gift, von Reck kept a travel diary, wrote separate descriptions of the plants, animals & Indians he discovered in Georgia & drew some 50 watercolor & pencil sketches of what he saw.  


Monday, March 20, 2017

1764 New York Mohawk finds himself on display in Europe

Etching of the New York Mohawk Sychnecta, in traditional dress. He wears a characteristic head-dress & nose-&ear-jewellery of the Mohawks. He carries a bow & arrow in his left hand plus a pipe-tomahawk in his right hand. Next to his feet a pair of snowshoes is depicted. Dreesmann-collection of the Municipal Archives of Amsterdam, dr.pr.1463

In the 16C, Dutch ships frequently sailed across the oceans. Once back in their home ports, the crew members told stories of the wondrous things they had seen. Interest in these stories was enormous. Merchants were eager to learn all they could about trade possibilities with distant lands; cartographers were hungry for facts about newly discovered regions; & collectors tried to purchase the exotic objects these venturers had brought home. Living & stuffed animals found their way to menageries (forerunners of today's zoos); collectors' cabinets; traveling exhibitions; and, in some cases, inns.

In the autumn of 1764, an American Mohawk Indian could be seen at the Blauw Jan Inn in Amsterdam. In the port city of Amsterdam, there were countless inns in the 17C & 18C, & some of them maintained collections of exotic animals & even exotic humans. A German living in the Mohawk Valley had joined forced with his neighbours to earn some money in Europe. He reached Amsterdam via England with 2 Indians. He sold one of them, named Sychnecta, to the manager of the inn who in turn put him on display. Sychnecta was drawn there from life in his traditional costume by Amsterdam artist Pieter Barbiers  (1717-1780) . A. Smit made an etching from the drawing. Sychnecta returned to the Mohawk Valley in the summer of 1765.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Women already on the Atlantic coast of America when the English arrived

John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) One of the Wives of Wyngyno, John White Painting of Algonquian Indians of Virginia (later North Carolina), 1585

John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) was an English artist & early pioneer of English efforts to settle North America. He was among those who sailed with Richard Grenville to the shore of present-day North Carolina in 1585, acting as artist & mapmaker to the expedition. During his time at Roanoke Island he made a number of watercolor sketches of the surrounding landscape and the native Algonkin peoples. These works are significant as they are the most informative illustrations of a Native American society of the Eastern seaboard.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

1600s Depictions of Native Americans - More Fantasy than Fact

Ralph Hamor visits Powhatan with a proposal By Johann Theodore de Bry after Georg Keller 1619

By Johann Theodore de Bry after Georg Keller
Engraving from book page, 1619
Plate 10 from America, Part 10

In May 1614 Ralph Hamor, the interpreter Thomas Savage, & two guides visit Powhatan's town on the Pamunkey River. In the foreground Powhatan feels Hamor's neck for "the chaine of pearle" Powhatan had given Thomas Dale to designate the English envoy. In the background at center, Hamor has an audience with Powhatan at his house, surrounded by Powhatan's guard. After presenting gifts, Hamor asks if Dale can have Powhatan's youngest daughter as "his neerest companion, wife & bedfellow." Powhatan refuses the request. Left of the house, an Englishman stands with Indian men, perhaps a representation of Hamor finding William Parker—a colonist lost for three years—among the Indians. In this image, the artist's invented details include the spear, the design & materials of the houses, & the tropical trees.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Du-cór-re-a, Chief of the Tribe, and His Family by George Catlin 1796-1872

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Du-cór-re-a, Chief of the Tribe, and His Family

New Jersey born George Catlin (1796-1872) is reknowned for his extensive travels across the American West, recording the lives of Native Americans. In 1818, Catlin practiced law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821 to pursue painting. Catlin enjoyed modest success painting portraits & miniatures, but he longed to be a history painter. In 1828, after seeing a delegation of western Indians in the east, he had wrote that he had found a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." In 1830, Catlin made his initial pilgrimage to St. Louis to meet William Clark & learn from him all he could of the western lands he hoped to visit. Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating an astonishing visual record of Native American life. He had only a short time to accomplish his goal—to capture with canvas & paint the essence of Indian life & culture. In that same year, the Indian Removal Act commenced the 12-year action that would remove the remaining Indians from land east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, the Mandan would be decimated by smallpox; with in a few decades, the number of buffalo would drop from millions to a few thousand, & the Native Americans' high prairies would be crosshatched by the plow & the railroad.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Studying Native Americans in the Southeast

Native Americans and American History 
by Francis Flavin
US National Park Service

Southeast 

The American Southeast was home to the “Five Civilized Tribes”—the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles—and there are many good books documenting their history. Angie Debo and Grant Foreman wrote in the first half of the twentieth century, and their work, though dated, is still solid. Debo’s The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic (1934) and Foreman’s The Five Civilized Tribes (1934)—both published by the University of Oklahoma Press—are thorough overviews of their subjects. Debo’s And Still the Waters Run (Princeton: Princeton University Press) was a controversial exposé of how Oklahoma’s politicians and leading citizens bilked the Indians and the Five Civilized Tribes of their land and resources.

Two prominent scholars of Cherokee history are William G. McLoughlin and Theda Perdue. Among MacLoughlin’s several works is Cherokee Renascence in the New Republic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), which describes how the Cherokees underwent a profound cultural change after the American Revolution by adopting many Anglo-American social, economic, political, and religious practices. Theda Perdue’s Slavery and the Evolution of Cherokee Society, 1540-1866 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979) looks at how Cherokee Indians participated in the slave trade, adopted the slave-labor plantation system, and attempted to negotiate the slavery issue during the Civil War years. The principal chief of the Cherokees from the 1820s through 1866 was John Ross, and Gary E. Moulton’s biography John Ross: Cherokee Chief (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978), describes how Ross managed the many crises of these turbulent years.

Other significant books in the field include Charles Hudson’s Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando De Soto and the South’s Ancient Chiefdoms (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997), which is a lengthy but pleasantly readable and richly illustrated account of the Spanish expedition into the American Southeast in 1539-1543 and the Indians encountered there. In The Tree that Bends: Discourse, Power, and the Survival of the Maskókî People (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1999), Patricia Riles Wickman studies the experience of the Florida Indians and makes the claim that, rather than being swept away by Americans—as conventional wisdom suggests—descendants of early Florida Indians still inhabit the state today. Joel W. Martin’s Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees’ Struggle for a New World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991) is an insightful ethnohistorical account of the religious dimensions to the Creek “Redstick Revolt” of 1813-1814. James H. Merrell’s The Indians’ New World: The Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989) is a study of the amazingly adaptable Catawbas, a small tribe in the Carolina Piedmont that managed, unlike many southeastern tribes, to retain their ancestral homelands.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Assiniboin Woman and Child by George Catlin 1796-1872

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Assiniboin Woman and Child

New Jersey born George Catlin (1796-1872) is reknowned for his extensive travels across the American West, recording the lives of Native Americans. In 1818, Catlin practiced law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821 to pursue painting. Catlin enjoyed modest success painting portraits & miniatures, but he longed to be a history painter. In 1828, after seeing a delegation of western Indians in the east, he had wrote that he had found a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." In 1830, Catlin made his initial pilgrimage to St. Louis to meet William Clark & learn from him all he could of the western lands he hoped to visit. Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating an astonishing visual record of Native American life. He had only a short time to accomplish his goal—to capture with canvas & paint the essence of Indian life & culture. In that same year, the Indian Removal Act commenced the 12-year action that would remove the remaining Indians from land east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, the Mandan would be decimated by smallpox; with in a few decades, the number of buffalo would drop from millions to a few thousand, & the Native Americans' high prairies would be crosshatched by the plow & the railroad.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Studying Native Americans on The Plaines

George Caleb Bingham (American genre painter, 1811-1879) Eh-toh'k-pah-she-pée-shah, Black Moccasin, aged Chief 1832

Native Americans and American History 
by Francis Flavin US National Park Service

Plains 

The Plains Indians are the most prominent Indians in popular culture. Not surprisingly, there are many books on Plains Indians that demonstrate good scholarship and are accessible to a general audience. Among them are John C. Ewers’s The Blackfeet: Raiders on the Northwestern Plains (1958); Ernest Wallace and Adamson Hoebel’s The Comanches: Lords of the South Plains (1953); and several histories on the Pawnees and Sioux written by George E. Hyde—all of which are published by the University of Oklahoma Press. Two classics that incorporate Indian points of view are Peter J. Powell’s People of the Sacred Mountain: A History of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs and Warrior Societies, 1830-1879, with an Epilogue 1969-1974 (San Francisco: Harper and Row Publishers, 1981), and Jerome A. Greene’s edited volume, Lakota and Cheyenne: Indian Views of the Great Sioux War, 1876-1877 (Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1994). Recent and accessible tribal histories include Jeffrey Ostler’s The Plains Sioux and U.S. Colonialism from Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004); and novelist Stanley Noyes’s lively narrative of Comanche history, Los Comanches: The Horse People, 1751-1845 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993).

Another prolific and well-respected historian of the West is Robert M. Utley. Among his many works is The Indian Frontier, 1846-1890, revised ed. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003), which surveys of Indian-White relations on the Plains and the far West. Utley’s The Last Days of the Sioux Nation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963) examines the Ghost Dance messianic movement among the Sioux and the slaughter of approximately two hundred Ghost Dancers at Wounded Knee in 1890.

Not to be overlooked is Francis Parkman’s The California and Oregon Trail: Being Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life (New York: George P. Putnam, 1849), a travel narrative of his trip to the Plains and his extended visit with an Oglala Sioux band. The Oregon Trail has remained a classic for over a century and a half and is still in print today. Elliot West’s The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1998) is a well-written study that examines the evolving lifestyles of both Indians and Whites on the Great Plains through the mid-nineteenth century, demonstrating that conflict and competition were important forces of transformation.

John G. Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1932) is a warm, sympathetic biography of a Sioux holy man. Neihardt interviewed Black Elk and several other Sioux and, using artistic license, interpreted and rewrote the interviews. This book has been enthusiastically received and is available in at least eight different languages. Those wishing to understand Black Elk without Neihardt’s interpretation should consult Raymond J. DeMallie’s The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk’s Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984), a book that contains the verbatim transcripts of the Black Elk interviews along with a thoughtful, one hundred-page biographical sketch of Black Elk.

Mari Sandoz grew up in the Sand Hills of Nebraska and personally befriended many Indians in the early reservation period. Her Crazy Horse: Strange Man of the Oglalas (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1942) is a tragic, loving, almost mystical narrative about the famous Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, whom she saw as the last champion of the traditional Sioux way of life. One esteemed biographer calls it “the best American biography ever written.” Among her many other books are Cheyenne Autumn (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1953), which describes the exodus of the Northern Cheyennes from a reservation in Oklahoma to their traditional homelands on the Northern Plains, and These Were the Sioux (New York: Hastings House, 1961), a short, easy-to-read, and affectionate portrayal of pre-reservation Sioux life.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Indian camp in California in 19C America by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)


Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) Indian camp in California (1866)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Studying Native Americans in California and the Northwest

Ostenaco - Skiagusta Uku - Mankiller of the Cherokeesby Sir Joshua Reynolds 1762 Gilcrease Museum

Native Americans and American History 
by Francis Flavin US National Park Service

California and the Northwest 

One of the most poignant stories in the history of Indian-White relations is the story of Ishi, a Yahi Indian, who stumbled out of the California backcountry and into a slaughterhouse corral in the summer of 1911. Ishi’s band had eluded capture and extermination for many years, but, when all had died except for Ishi, he decided to take his chances and present himself to his American neighbors. Ishi In Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961), is an account of Ishi’s life written by Theodora Kroeber, wife of professor Alfred Kroeber, who became one of Ishi’s caretakers. This amazing human interest story, written with a warm, empathetic intimacy, is truly a “must read.”

Another important work is Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.’s The Nez Percé Indians and the Opening of the Northwest (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965). This well-written history explores the Nez Percé Indians and their traditional way of life, their responses to increasing pressure from Whites and the resultant conflicts, and concludes with a description of the Nez Percé war and Chief Joseph’s subsequent flight. Lowell John Bean’s Mukat’s People: The Cahuilla Indians of Southern California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972) and Frederica deLaguna’s Under Mount Saint Elias: The History and Culture of the Yakutat Tlingit (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990) are good introductory texts on the Indians of California and Alaska, respectively.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Karl Bodmer (1809-1893) Encounters 19C Native American Traditions

Karl Bodmer (Swiss Artist, 1809-1893) Watercolor of an Assinboin Indian magic pile 
From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America to the Pacific coast of America during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples on their journeys. Karl Bodmer (Swiss Artist, 1809-1893) developed a remarkable talent for drawing & painting while studying with his uncle, painter & engraver Johann Jacob Meyer. After further studies in Paris, he joined his brother on a sketching trip through Germany in 1832 where he met Prince Maximilian zu Weid. Maximilian, known for his natural history research in the coastal forests of Brazil, was searching for a professional artist to accompany him on his expedition to North America. Bodmer signed a contract with Maximilian &, 3 weeks later, they set sail for America.

From 1833-1834, the two traveled up the Missouri River, retracing the 1805 journey of Lewis & Clark. On the expedition, Bodmer depicted some of the same characters that George Caitlin had painted just months before. Bodmer was the last artist able to paint the Mandan Indians in North Dakota before the fatal 1837 smallpox epidemic that nearly obliterated the tribe. He also painted portraits of the Sioux, Blackfeet, Hidatsa, & other tribes, while Maximilian conducted studies & made notes on the botany & zoology of the areas. Before the end of the journey, Bodmer had completed 81 paintings, illustrating Maximilians expedition. Each elegant painting displayed extremely detailed & accurate accounts of Indian ceremonies & everyday life. In 1843, Maximilian's lithographs were published in Travels in the Interior of America. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Studying Native American Writings

George Caleb Bingham (American genre painter, 1811-1879) Om-pah-tón-ga, Big Elk, a Famous Warrior 1832

Native Americans and American History 
by Francis Flavin - US National Park Service

Native Voices 

Although Indian voices are under-represented in the literature, there are still many worthy selections available, including Black Elk Speaks, Indeh, and Jerome Green’s book on Lakota and Cheyenne views of the Plains wars—each discussed above. The works of Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa), a mixed-blood Sioux, deserve particular attention. Eastman was a boarding school standout and graduate of Dartmouth College who received his M.D. from Boston University’s medical school. To reformers, Eastman represented the ideal assimilated Indian. Despite his success in White society, he never lost his affection for traditional Indian culture and devoted much of his life to explaining its merits to White Americans. Among his many works is From the Deep Woods to Civilization (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1916), a moving autobiographical account.

Vine Deloria, Jr., was the leading Native American intellectual of the latter twentieth century. He wrote copiously on social, political, and theological issues and was a leading Indian rights advocate. Those interested in contemporary Native American issues ought to read one of his many books and essays. Among his publications are Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1969), which is a humorous yet caustic social and political commentary, and God Is Red: A Native View of Religion.(New York: Putnam Publishing Group, 1973), which attempts to explain Indian religions vis-à-vis Christianity.

Other significant native histories include Born a Chief: The Nineteenth Century Hopi Boyhood of Edmund Nequatewa, as told to Alfred F. Whiting (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1993).
Charlotte J. Frisbie has edited two lengthy Indian autobiographies, Tall Woman: The Life Story of Rose Mitchell, a Navajo Woman, c. 1874-1978 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001); and Navajo Blessingway Singer: The Autobiography of Frank Mitchell, 1881-1967 (Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 1978). Those interested in contemporary native histories might read Mary Crow Dog’s Lakota Woman (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990), a captivating autobiography of a Sioux woman who was born into reservation poverty and joined the Indian protest movements of the 1960s. Another contemporary native history is Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means (New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1995). It is a riveting account, alternately humorous and unsettling, of a man the Washington Post calls “[o]ne of the biggest, baddest, meanest, angriest, most famous American Indian activists of the late twentieth century.”

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Karl Bodmer (1809-1893) paints a Funeral scaffold of a Sioux chief

Karl Bodmer (Swiss Artist, 1809-1893) Funeral scaffold of a Sioux chief

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America to the Pacific coast of America during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples on their journeys. Karl Bodmer (Swiss Artist, 1809-1893) developed a remarkable talent for drawing & painting while studying with his uncle, painter & engraver Johann Jacob Meyer. After further studies in Paris, he joined his brother on a sketching trip through Germany in 1832 where he met Prince Maximilian zu Weid. Maximilian, known for his natural history research in the coastal forests of Brazil, was searching for a professional artist to accompany him on his expedition to North America. Bodmer signed a contract with Maximilian &, 3 weeks later, they set sail for America. From 1833-1834, the two traveled up the Missouri River, retracing the 1805 journey of Lewis & Clark. On the expedition, Bodmer depicted some of the same characters that George Caitlin had painted just months before. Bodmer was the last artist able to paint the Mandan Indians in North Dakota before the fatal 1837 smallpox epidemic that nearly obliterated the tribe. He also painted portraits of the Sioux, Blackfeet, Hidatsa, & other tribes, while Maximilian conducted studies & made notes on the botany & zoology of the areas. Before the end of the journey, Bodmer had completed 81 paintings, illustrating Maximillians expedition. Each elegant painting displayed extremely detailed & accurate accounts of Indian ceremonies & everyday life. In 1843, Maximilian's lithographs were published in Travels in the Interior of America.