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Wild West – December 2014 – Letters From Readers

10/3/2014 • WW Issues

‘It is my hope that historians, including Kraft, will begin to correctly identify Danny in the captives’ picture’

Fort Davis
My attention was drawn to a photo on P. 64 of the August 2014 issue captioned as Fort Davis, Texas. Having served at Fort Davis National Historic Site during my National Park Service career, I was intrigued with what I thought was a view of the fort I had not previously seen. However, on closer examination I became convinced it could not be the military post. The buildings do not correspond with those of the fort. Perhaps this view is of the adjacent town or some other? I would be curious to learn if the original image bears a caption and a photographer’s imprint.

Doug McChristian
Tucson, Ariz.

Editor responds: You’re right. The image does show Fort Davis the town, not the fort itself. Heritage Auctions of Dallas sold the circa 1870s cabinet card (photographer not identified) for $334.60 in September 2013, and the lot description reads, “This photograph features Fort Davis, a remote West Texas military post consisting of adobe and stone structures used by the Texas Rangers and U.S. Army.” On the back of the image, though, is a handwritten caption: “Fort Davis, Tex. Part of town looking west, South of Post.”

Defending Wynkoop
I was pleased to read the well-written article by Louis Kraft about Edward “Ned” Wynkoop (“Wynkoop’s Gamble to End War,” August 2014). However, after reading the Editor’s Letter in the same issue, it raised my ire over the continual attempt, particularly by Greg Michno, to brand Wynkoop a villain. First of all, hindsight is 20/20. Virtually every historical figure can be shown to have made a decision that didn’t have the results they expected. Second, what Michno brands “cognitive dissonance” can be explained by the life-changing experience Sand Creek was. While Wynkoop was not there, the stories related to him by Silas Soule (I am the author of Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage), Joseph Cramer and others had to chill him to the bone and would certainly add to the honorable dealings he had with Black Kettle and the other chiefs. Wynkoop was not the only Army officer to become pro-Indian after the events of 1864. Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Tappan also became an Indian advocate after this watershed year.

Ironically, the most important point the consistently pro-Chivington Michno makes is that Wynkoop’s decision caused the Cheyennes and Arapahos to camp “near enough to Fort Lyon where Chivington could attack them.” Their presence at Sand Creek did not require a military response. Colonel John Chivington chose to gather up the revenge-minded 3rd Colorado and attack this band of Native Americans (and not the more elusive and guiltier Dog Soldiers on the Smoky Hill), presumably because of frustration at his fading reputation and the arrival of General Patrick Connor in Denver, as well as his desire for another glorious victory like Glorieta Pass. It can be argued that Wynkoop’s choice was a bad one—but only because of the choice Chivington made.

Tom Bensing
Reading, Pa.

By Way of Panama
In the article “A Tale of Two Sadies,” in the October 2014 issue of Wild West, author Roger Jay wrote, “Born in New York City in late 1860 or early 1861, Sadie, along with her mother, two sisters and a brother, voyaged to California by way of the Panama Canal in 1869.” Since France didn’t begin work on the canal until 1881 and stopped, and since the United States picked up construction in 1904, and since the canal did not open until 1914, it’s impossible for Sadie to have traversed the Panama Canal. Now, it’s possible she and her family took the land route across Panama, but not the actual canal. Such an egregious error casts doubt on the credibility of the rest of the article.

John E. Kosobucki
Falls Church, Va.

Roger Jay responds: The reader’s point about the canal is well taken. I’m gratified he scanned the article with a sharp eye. According to Sadie’s memoir, “The transcontinental railway was not yet completed, so we made the journey by way of Panama.” Anxiety in regard to the credibility of facts crucial to identifying Sadie Marcus with Sadie Mansfield will be quelled by consulting my research—paying particular attention to my end notes— published in the Wild West History Association Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1, February 2013, PP. 36–55.

Josephine Cover
Editor notes: The colorized photo of Josephine Sarah Marcus (who would later become the wife of Wyatt Earp) on the cover of the October 2014 issue of Wild West is from a tintype (a mirror image). It was not reversed to show how she actually looked in real life, although it says otherwise on P. 1 of that issue. Regardless, no matter which way Josephine is facing, it really is her in the picture—unless it’s not.

Umatilla Rez
In regard to David McCormick’s August 2014 Pioneers and Settlers article on Italian Jesuits in the American West: I had never before heard the names Father Urban Grassi and Father Joseph Cataldo, but the Catholic mission on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Pendleton, Ore.) brought back fond memories. The name of that mission is St. Andrew’s. Great-great-grandpa Kirkpatrick homesteaded in Cayuse in the 1880s, and we were Presbyterians. My great-grandpa William Purchase leased Indian ground “out south” (south reservation) at the Presbyterian Tutuila Mission. We farmed thousand of acres for the Umatillas. There were carloads of natives coming to Poppy’s front door to get their crop shares. Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts [www.crowsshadow.org] is at St. Andrew’s Mission today; it promotes native artists.

In 2006 I talked to Louis Dick, the last “horse chief” on the rez. I wrote his stories down in a book. He told me Umatillas didn’t fight among each other until after the Jesuit fathers physically punished them at boarding school. He told me his own father, after quitting school, hid from the Jesuit father. One winter I did help two Umatillas pack an elk out of a canyon above St. Andrew’s. Both were a little superstitious about hunting so close to the mission. There is an ironic side to the Italian Jesuit fathers on the rez: About 8 miles east of St. Andrew’s Mission—at Thorn Hollow up the Umatilla River—was an Italian internment camp during World War II.

Todd Earl Van Dorn
Salem, Ore.

David McCormick responds: Father Grassi arrived at the Umatilla reservation in 1888 and built a school for the Indians. He died there in March 1890 of pneumonia. Father Cataldo preached to the Umatillas at the outbreak of the Nez Perce troubles in 1877. He also wrote the history of the St. Andrew’s Mission and spent a number of his remaining years at the mission, as well as at St Mary’s in Pendleton, until his death in 1928 at age 92. He was still ministering to the Umatillas as late as 1927.

Mountain Oysters
Irwin Mandell has passed away, and I am his beneficiary and executor. I think any “Wild Westerner” has a right to read this poem by Mr. Mandell, and I hope you’ll be able to publish it. It is called “Mountain Oysters,” and Mandell noted: “Mountain oysters were a traditional food for cowboys. They were made of calves’ testicles.”

Harriet Bigus
New York, N.Y.

Editor responds: I’ve usually heard them called Rocky Mountain oysters; other names include cowboy caviar and Montana tendergroins. We don’t as a rule publish poetry in Wild West, but in memory of Irwin Mandell, here goes:

Mountain Oysters

Of all the meals I never had
Though I have dined in crowds and cloisters
And some were good and some were bad
The one I want is mountain oysters.

There may be some who still remember
(And may still dine on them as well)
Before the fire’s final ember
How mountain oysters rang the bell.

The cook (or chef today) may face
The fact those oysters have no shells
And every appetite its place:
Ring out you distant dinner bells!

Ring out again for hungry men
Who never ever cared for cloisters
And take me back to old times when
The shout went out for mountain oysters.

Captive Photo Identities
I enjoyed the August 2014 issue of Wild West, but noticed an error in a picture in the Wynkoop article [“Wynkoop’s Gamble to End War], by Louis Kraft. He names the four captives that Black Kettle released to him and who were brought into Denver when the Camp Weld conference was held at the end of September 1864. He rightly names all four captives but confuses the boys in the picture. In fact, Danny Marble is on the right and Ambrose Asher is on the left. Danny was 9 and Ambrose was just 7, and so it is erroneously thought the taller boy on the left must be Danny Marble. But in fact Danny is on the right. In the Indian depredation claim for Mrs. Marble (whose husband was killed at Plum Creek) there are original letters from Laura Roper—the teenage captive in the picture—and she tells Mrs. Marble that a picture was taken of the four captives when in Denver, and if she could not secure a copy for Mrs. Marble, then she would cut out Danny’s picture and mail it to her. Margaret Coel’s excellent book Chief Left Hand has Laura’s original picture with the captives, and the boy to the right is cut out, confirming Laura’s promise to cut out Danny’s picture and send it to Mrs. Marble. Margaret Coel got her copy of the picture from a direct descendant of Laura Roper—and all original pictures were lost when sent to the publisher for publication. While Kraft told the reader about Isabell’s tragic demise in Denver not long after her rescue, he failed to mention that Danny also did not return to his home. He died at Camp Weld on November 9. He had contracted typhoid fever at the time the picture was taken and died in the post hospital. I covered Danny’s sad story in Cheyenne War, and it is my hope that historians, including Kraft, will begin to correctly identify Danny in the captives’ picture. The Nebraska State Historical Society owns the photo Kraft used, and they have corrected the mistake with the evidence I sent to them a few years ago.

Jeff Broome
Littleton, Colo.

Louis Kraft responds: In Cheyenne War (2013) Broome claims that Laura Roper cut her print of the four prisoners Wynkoop received, as she sent the image of Daniel Marble to his mother, Ann Marble. Broome places Marble’s death on November 9, 1864, “less than a month after his rescue.” Since Wynkoop received the teenager Laura Roper on September 12, and Marble and the two others in the photo on September 13, Broome is off on his rescue date by a month. Broome claims everything is documented in an undated and unnumbered depredation claim (identified as “Ann Marble Indian Depredation Claim, Record Group 75”—all Broome shares in Cheyenne War, while elsewhere in his book depredation claims include identifying numbers). Why? Also, why, in Broome’s notes, didn’t he list any dates for the depredation claims or results of their outcomes? Broome also writes, “In Coel’s research [for her book Chief Left Hand, OU Press, 1981; BTW on page 224 Coel misidentifies Ambrose Asher as Ambrose “Archer”] she was given the original photograph that Laura Roper kept, which had Daniel’s picture cut out, on the right, confirming Laura’s promise [I agree Laura made the promise] to send Daniel’s mother the image of him from her own photograph if she was unable to procure another copy.” I don’t see how Coel’s book confirms what Broome claims; she didn’t state the photo belonged to Laura in her book. Where did this information come from? More important, and if true, why did Coel identify Marble as the boy on the left of the printed image in her book (on Laura’s right; 227)? Broome implies that Coel told him all she knew regarding the image. If so, why isn’t this conversation between Coel and Broome documented and dated? Moving forward, Broome states that OU Press never returned the photos Coel submitted to them for Chief Left Hand, which means no evidence exists. The print she at one time owned cannot be dated to the 1860s or the 1980s. Let’s talk about this photo printed in Chief Left Hand a little more. If indeed it at one time belonged to Laura Roper, she didn’t just cut out the boy on the right, she also cut off the bottom, left and top portions of the print. Why? There is no reason for her to do this. I can see OU Press cropping the left slightly, but not the top or, more important, the bottom of the image, for by maintaining the top and bottom cuts would have created a better image in Coel’s book. Two more things need be stated. Lynn Ryder, editor of John Ellenbecker: Tragedy at the Little Blue (Revised 2nd Edition, Prairie Lark Publications, 1993), states, “Taken in Denver at the request of Major Wynkoop, this photo has Ambrose Asher, left, Daniel Marble, right, and Laura Roper, center, holding Isabelle Eubank,” but she is stumbling all over the place (see below). As Wynkoop asked his father-in-law, George D. Wakely, a daguerreoanist, to document the Cheyennes and Arapahos arrival in Denver, why, if he wanted someone to document the four children he received in September 1864, wouldn’t he again ask his father-in-law to capture this most important image? Wakely lived in Denver and made his money selling reproductions of his work. If Laura wanted another print, why couldn’t she obtain one? The Ellenbecker document also states: “It is believed that Danny Marble, who was captured on Plum Creek, is shown on the right [of Roper]. Ambrose is thought to be Lucinda Eubank’s nephew and may have been ‘nicknamed’ Connie. Eubank family descendants have also identified the boy on the left [of Roper] as ‘a Eubank through and through.’” Look at the two boys in the print; which of them looks like Isabelle? One final point, and it is a big one. Wynkoop, who did not know the ages of Daniel or Ambrose, thought Daniel was older by a year or two than Ambrose, meaning the larger of the two boys. See Wynkoop, “Unfinished Colorado History,” 99, Wynkoop Papers, MSS 695, History Colorado, or Gerboth, ed., The Tall Chief, Colorado Historical Society, 1994, 95-96. Don’t tell me as the boy on the right was noticeably smaller that in Wynkoop’s eyes he must have been the older of the two. Where’s the logic?

 

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