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LEWIS AND CLARK

The Primedia Enthusiast Group has let the secret out. Lewis and Clark had a return journey! The loud applause you are hearing from along the Lewis and Clark Trail is a commendation for your Lewis & Clark: The Corps of Discovery 200th anniversary commemorative issue, from the editors of Wild West and American History magazines. The content provided by your contributing writers on many aspects of the journey make this a collectible edition that should be reprinted and available along the trail for many years past the bicentennial. Exceptional artwork adds handsomely to the work.

James P. Ronda’s “Clark on the Yellowstone” article strikes a special chord in our area. He writes: “The return journey—with all its adventures, perils and disasters— has slipped away from us. And one Lewis and Clark river—the Yellowstone—has escaped our attention as well.” The Charles Fritz painting depicts the pillar well. Fritz will have his entire collection at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Mont., in the summer of 2006, with a special reception on July 21.

The Pompeys Pillar Historical Association (PPHA), dedicated to the preservation and development of Pompeys Pillar National Monument, has worked since 1989 to preserve the pillar (managed by the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM) and to build an interpretive center at the site that tells the story of William Clark and his party on the return journey along the Yellowstone. The Clark on the Yellowstone Interpretive Center, on Montana I-94 at mile marker 23, will open Memorial Day weekend in 2006. It will be dedicated during the

“Clark on the Yellowstone” signature event July 22-25, with special ceremonies on July 22. A path takes visitors from the parking lot, through the interpretive center, and to the base of the pillar, with the journal highlights of the Clark on the Yellowstone journey inscribed in the riverlike pathway. From the base of the pillar, visitors can ascend the boardwalk to view Clark’s July 25, 1806, inscription and on to the top of the pillar.

Thanks again for the Lewis & Clark collector’s edition. The PPHA and BLM are ready to share these stories and experiences with the world. Please visit the site (see photos at left).

Gloria Wester

PPHA Board Member

Laurel, Mont.

The editor responds: Thanks. Author James Ronda’s fine article would make anyone want to visit Yellowstone country. Lewis & Clark: The Corps of Discovery can be ordered online at www.The HistoryNetShop.com or by calling 1-800-358-6327.

CUSTER AND McGOWAN

Enjoyed your latest “Custer issue” (August 2005) and your explanation for same. Nothing you could say would placate those anti-Custer guys. If they like Wild West at all, they will buy it for the other stories and keep the Custer article to savor as a guilty pleasure when they have read everything else. An’ that’s ma rulin’.

Also enjoyed Donald J. Hauka’s Ned McGowan article in that same issue and note that the “judge” is treated as a happy-go-lucky scalawag, much as John Myers Myers treats him in his McGowan epic. No doubt about it, McGowan was a colorful character, but he was also a thug who consorted with all the ballot box stuffers in San Francisco. I don’t know how the author came to the conclusion that McGowan did not obtain “his vengeance against the Vigilance Committee,” however. McGowan’s book and two nasty little newspaper articles were about what you would expect from him in the way of vengeance, and I’m sure they made him feel better.

McGowan was very talented in many areas, and if he hadn’t felt compelled to associate with thugs and thieves he surely might have made a bright mark in Western history. There is no doubt in my mind that McGowan coached and encouraged the killing of James King in San Francisco. It was a tough case to make in court, however. In my recent book on Harry Love, The Man from the Rio Grande: A Biography of Harry Love, Leader of the California Rangers Who Tracked Down Joaquín Murrieta, I show what a liar McGowan was when it served his purpose. In any case, if I had to choose between the Vigilantes in old San Francisco or McGowan and his pals, such as Billy Mulligan, Charley Duane and Jim Casey, it would not be a hard choice.

William B. Secrest

Fresno, Calif.

BOWERS OF NEVADA

I greatly enjoyed your “Westerners” article in the August 2005 issue of Wild West. I have always wondered about the stately mansion visible on the road between Carson and Reno, and Richard Peterson’s narrative about Sandy and Eilley Bowers really brought it to life. There was, however, one point of misinformation. Nevada gained statehood in 1864, not 1869 as printed in the article. Nevada’s state motto of “Battle Born” is emblematic of its admission to the Union during the Civil War.

Harry E. Smith

South San Francisco, Calif.

The editor responds: Author Peterson had the correct date (1864) but it was lost in the editing process on this end, which resulted in the unfortunate “misinformation.”

WYATT IN WICHITA

I thought I knew everything about Wyatt Earp, but apparently I don’t. Now your magazine (October 2005 issue, also see www.TheHistoryNet.com) brings to light that Wyatt Earp could have been part of the secret police in Wichita, Kansas. John Jefferson Harlan, a k a Off-Wheeler, was quite the character. That is what I like about the Wild West—there were many colorful characters with colorful names. There were many vices going on at Wichita, and the confidence artists must have had a field day in this small town. Big Ed Burns’ Confidence Gang was doing well, up to the time the secret police started getting involved. Gambling and prostitution is like a magnet that brings in other types of crimes, and when these crimes keep occurring, it’s time to clean up the town. And Wyatt Earp is the man that can do it! Thanks for this great story by Roger Jay.

Rosemarie (Rosita Causing) Roberts

Sacramento, Calif.

SEMINOLE STORY

It was great to see Mike Coppock’s article (“Coacoochee/Chief Wildcat,” October 2005 Wild West) about our brothers and sisters of the Seminole Tribe, as it was long overdue. As director of the Black Native American Coalition, which was established in the state of Washington and is now closed, I documented articles about Wildcat and also John Horse. As a longtime reader of Wild West Magazine, I want to say that if Mr. Coppock would have checked with the Black Seminole Indian Scouts Association, which is headed by William (“Dub”) Warrior, he would have found additional information that would have enhanced his article.

Black Seminole people were a part of the Seminole Tribe regardless of what part they played in the activities of Wildcat and John Horse. You will find that the Black Seminole Indians (including the Black Seminole Indian Scouts) have handed down a proud heritage of service to the United States.

Wildcat was given the name Tustenugee, meaning “warrior chief,” after proving himself in battle against others. He was a leader who never backed down from anyone or anything. When President Andrew Jackson ordered that all Indians had to be moved west of the Mississippi, Wildcat offered to move his tribe peacefully. But the Seminoles who refused to move were attacked by U.S. troops. Those who were not happy in the Oklahoma land, with its cold winters and hot dry summers, moved away to Mexico, where the U.S. laws could not get them. They settled near Musquiz and Nacimineto, not far from present Eagle Pass. Along with the Seminoles were Creeks and Cherokees.

Although John Horse (Gopher John) was recognized as the leader of the Black Seminoles and Wildcat as leader of the Native Seminoles, they worked as one entity. Only the government separated them by lot. At the end of your article were the names John Kibbits (or Kibbetts) and John Warrior (William Warrior’s grandfather), along with Sergeant John Ward , Isaac Payne and Pompey Factor (whose father was Army scout Bill July)—the trio that saved the life of Lieutenant John Lapham Bullis in an Indian fight on the Pecos on April 25, 1875, and who each received the Medal of Honor. There needs to be more information on them for the readers.

Let us also not forget the Italian Seminole families that lived and played a part in the establishment of Brackettville, Texas, such as the Filippone sisters (who taught school in Brackettville), the Moore family, the Judges family and the Moscatallis family, though none have any descendants living there today. I would like to see more articles done on black Native Americans and their ancestry and more on black cowboys of the West as I am in the process of writing a Black Western myself. Thank you, Wild West Magazine, for a job well done.

H. Carolyn Jones-King

Columbia, Mo.

The editor responds: In the fourth issue ever of Wild West Magazine (December 1988), we ran a “Warriors and Chiefs” article by Eva Sanderlin about the black Seminole Indians. The author wrote that many of these black Seminoles became unhappy living away from their homeland, came north across the border to help the Army and played a major role in helping to bring peace to the bloody Texas frontier in the 1870s.“Today,” Sanderlin added,“that proud band of Seminoles, who sought freedom over half a continent, has dwindled to about 100 descendants in Brackettville, with perhaps 10 families living in Nacimiento and Muzquiz, and a very few living elsewhere.”

 

Originally published in the April 2006 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here