Letter from Dr. V.T. McGillycuddy, Physician who attended Crazy Horse at Ft. Robinson on Sept 5, 1877 and later was an Supt. at the Indian Agency. Dated January 30, 1920
To: Addison E. Sheldon, Supt. From: V.T. McGillycuddy Hotel Claremont Berkeley, California
January 30, 1930
His death was one of the most pitiable and I may say inexcusable of the many I had to witness in my long career on the old frontier and brought back to me my friend Mark Twain's comment on the landing of our Pilgrim Fathers, "They were a good God fearing people and when they landed that day at Plymouth Rock from off the Mayflower, they fell upon their knees and thanked Almighty God, for the many blessings he had vouchsafed them that day, in enabling them to reach a land of liberty and free thought. Later on, they fell upon the aborigines."
Regarding the photograph which I return herewith, I regret to have to state that it is not of Crazy Horse, for he was much of a mystic and superstitious and positively refused to pose and he living before the days of the quick acting kodak, it became impossible to snap one of him.
This picture was faked some time, after his death, and is of a Brule Sioux, of Spotted Tails agency.
Post by Ephriam Dickson on Jan 28, 2005 17:47:13 GMT -5
Another aspect of the Crazy Horse tintype that we can examine, besides the historical record for photographers known to have visited the Red Cloud Agency (detailed above), is the story that came with the tintype. Can this be tested for historical accuracy?
Supposedly, Baptiste "Little Bat" Garnier was the one who persuaded Crazy Horse to sit for this photograph.
Little Bat's brother-in-law was John Hunton who operated a ranch south of Fort Laramie and fortunately for historians, kept a diary. Little Bat originally lived and worked on the Hunton ranch, though by 1877 he had his own place nearby. Because Hunton and Little Bat were good friends, his diary gives considerable detail about Garnier's movements. Did Little Bat visit the Red Cloud Agency anytime between May and Sept 1877 when Crazy Horse was there?
Hunton's diary records three visits by Garnier to Red Cloud:
1.) in March 1877 (but that was before Crazy Horse had surrendered).
2.) about May 22 to about June 4 (Crazy Horse at Agency but no photographer there)
3.) about June 15 to sometime before June 24 (again, Crazy Horse at Agency, but no photographer there)
The only time that there was a photographer at the agency at the same time as Crazy Horse was James H. Hamilton, photographer from Sioux City, Iowa, who was there in August and September 1877.
But where was Little Bat at that time? He was actually traveling with Hunton, as detailed in his diaries, in northern Wyoming searching for hay. Garnier returned to his home in late August 1877; and there is no indication that he visited the Red Cloud Agency before Crazy Horse was killed on September 5.
So, the historical record does not support the story of Little Bat pursuading Crazy Horse to sit for his photograph.
The story also implies that there was some relationship between he and Crazy Horse, a bond strong enough to overcome Crazy Horse's aversion to being photographed. Every indication however is that Little Bat did NOT enjoy a special relationship with the famed Oglala warrior. While he spoke Lakota as a mixed blood and made occasional visits to the agency to visit Oglala relatives, he was not strongly connected to the full blood community there. He served as a scout for Crook in the initial campaign in March 1876 and as scout for Col. Merrit 5th Cavalry when he headed out in May 1876. Unlike other mix-bloods such as William Garnett (aka Billy Hunter, interpreter at Red Cloud Agency/Camp Robinson), the historical record does not support that Little Bat enjoyed strong relationship with the surrendereding northern Oglala.
So, not only does our knowledge of the photographer suggest that this tintype is not of Crazy Horse, but the story of Little Bat's role does not pass historical muster either.
Post by Oglala history on Jan 29, 2005 10:47:37 GMT -5
Well, Ephriam, not so fast. There is no historical record that Little Bat did not enjoyed strong relationship with the Northern Oglala nation either. What records are you talking about? Little Bat had his own life, like everybody else. I doubt very much that there was at that time someone who would keep Little Bat diary, follow Little Bat around and count every step he took for the for months Crazy Horse was at camp Robinson. I could see if Little Bat was the US president. On the contrary he had married Julie Mosseau which was an Oglala and second cousin of Crazy Horse. If you look at Little Bat family pictures, you could easily see that his wife and daughters are dressed and look like Oglala. He enjoyed to be part of the Oglala tribe very much indeed. There are records, military records, which clearly stated that Little Bat and another scout, Grourd, went after Crazy Horse in the spring of 1877 to induce to Crazy Horse to surrender. He was sent by the army amongst other Lakota, because Crazy Horse liked him, knew him and trusted him. After all he was family to Crazy Horse. But again, we white believe only to our records, the white records, written on paper by the white people. Why don't we start to be less prejudist and believe the Indian story too? Ellen Howard, was Little Bat daughter and she was 50% Oglala. She dressed like and acted like an Indian and proudly so. She said that the tintype in question was Crazy Horse, as told to her by her father. Why do not believe an Indian account once in a while? That would be too hard for us white people. Here we are making assumptions and theories why could be and why could not be etc. etc. But we can’t believe a true Oglala tough. Could it be that their history is not written in our books? Why not believe their culture and oral tradition? That was the way and still is their way to pass their history from generation to generation. Little Bat daughter had no reason to lie. She made no profit out the tintype and no fame either. She stood by her culture and believes like the mother and father before her. Little Bat made a promise to Crazy Horse, never to tell of the photo to anyone and he kept that promise and so that his Oglala wife after him. But again, all this would have been true if they were white and all this written by white people in a white book. Indians account count only when it suites us white people. When it does not suites us, then it is all a big lie.
Post by Ephriam Dickson on Jan 30, 2005 0:53:24 GMT -5
Dear "Oglala History":
Thank you for your posting your message and for sharing some of your thoughts. Please allow me to address several interesting issues that you brought up.
1.) You are correct that we do not have a detailed accounting of all of Little Bat Garnier's activities during 1877. However, what historical records we do have -- and they are actually better for Garnier then for many other people -- clearly shows that Garnier was NOT at the Red Cloud Agency in August 1877 when photographer James H. Hamilton was there. That is all I was trying to point out.
2.) As to Little Bat's relationship (or lack thereof) with the northern Oglala surrendering at the Red Cloud Agency, you are also correct that what I wrote was speculation. However, it is speculation based on considerable information, derived from Oglala, mixed blood and white sources. Your comment seems equally speculative, that "Crazy Horse liked [Garnier], knew him and trusted him." There is no evidence to support this at all. Does not mean it is not true, only that there is no evidence to support your theory.
3.) Little Bat's wife, Julia, was the daughter of a fur trader and his Lakota wife. Both she and Little Bat were part of a large mixed blood community among the Oglala. Vaughn in his book does mention that she was a cousin of Crazy Horse, however, we do not know the nature of that relationship. It should be noted that when Little Bat and his wife lived on the Pine Ridge Agency in 1890, they did not live among the northern Oglala; rather they chose to reside with the Wolf Creek Band in the White Clay District, a band composed of mostly mixed blood families.
4.) Which military records are you referring to in regards to Little Bat Garnier and Frank Grouard going out to Crazy Horse in the spring of 1877 to persuade him to surrender? That information is incorrect. Neither of these individuals participated in the peace parties sent out to find Crazy Horse. Three different parties did go out from Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Agencies that spring to find the "hostile" camps: George Sword led one group (left Jan 16, 1877; returned March/April); Spotted Tail led the largest delegation (left Feb. 12; returned April 1877); and Red Cloud (left April 13; returned May 1877). The only mixed blood individuals to participate in any of these three groups was with Spotted Tail: Francis C. Boucher, Tom Dorian and Joseph Merrivale.
5.) Finally, for those of us interested in Lakota history, Oglala oral history is absolutely critical to a balanced perspective. For me personally, I am constantly seeking to listen and better understand the Lakota voice. For a historian, however, a healthy dose of scepticism about all accounts, documents, etc. is important, regardless of the background or race of the person providing the informatoin. That information should always be checked and verified through other sources whenever possible. That's just good scholarship. Please don't misinterrept scepticism for prejudice. I am equally sceptical of white accounts as much as any other!
If you have any questions about how people can have different perspectives, look at the many studies done within our own society of how witnesses can see or believe they saw an accident for example so very differently. Many human qualities are responsible for those very different perspectives. I never said or implied in this discussion that Ellen Howard lied. I have no doubt that she passed along information as she understood it. But in the passing and retelling, errors can creep in.
Take for example the stories that have been told regarding this tintype. Vaughn's original version published in his book is very different from the version that later appeared in Friswold's book. In retelling the story, it got refined, changed. What did Ellen Howard really say? How much of what she said was reinterpreted or added to?
We are all guilty of this when we communicate. No matter how hard I try to be historically accurate, my own personal perspectives creep in. So do yours. In retelling the story about the tintype, you inserted the following: "Little Bat made a promise to Crazy Horse, never to tell of the photo to anyone and he kept that promise and so [did] his Oglala wife after him." That information is not included in any of the original versions of how the tintype was created. You just added to the folklore of the image. Oral histories are like that sometimes; they tell more about what the teller of the story thinks and believes then it does about the original subject of the story.
In conclusion to this long burst of "hot air", I think it is important to realize that no one will ever be able to positively verify with 100% certainty that this or any other photograph is actually of Crazy Horse. To state the obvious, no one alive has ever seen him. We can determine which photographs are NOT him because of various details or historical inaccuracies, but we cannot say for certain if one is actually him. So this is about probablities. What are the probablities that this tintype is of Crazy Horse?
All I am saying is that the probablity is very low. The clothing, as noted by several earlier researchers, does not match the 1877 period; the backdrop does not match any known photographer from the 1877 period; Little Bat Garnier's well documented movements preclude him from being present in August 1877 when photographer J. H. Hamilton was there; and so on. From my perspective, this all suggests that the tintype is not of Crazy Horse.
Thank you for putting up with my diatribe and for sharing your thoughts and views! It is through discussions and sharing of perspectives that we all gain greater understanding.
Post by oglala history on Feb 1, 2005 13:53:55 GMT -5
Dear Ephriam, I was away for the weekend, sorry I could not anwser you promptly. I do not want to create a personal debate, so I will answer just a few of your comments. I could not disclose or share other information for personal reasons. Starting with Ellen Howard, nothing of wht she said was added or reinterpreted. She was very short and sweet. She wrote a certificate of authenticity that stated that the tintype wasa photo of Crazy Horse as always told by her father. Not more not less. She had two witness at the time of her written statement. I have no reason to believe that an oglala woman would lie about a person admired by the all Lakota nation. Expecially that the person in the tintype meets all the descriptions of Crazy Horse, starting with the clothes he was wearing. It is not true that Lakot dressed like that only in the 1990 as you stated. About the promise made by Little Bat, you said that I add only folkore to the story on how the tintype was created. Well I got some written information about the promise that Little Bat made and on how the tintype of Crazy Horse was created. My researches were a little deeper than yours regarding the origin and the story of the tintype. Sorry at this moment can not disclose all this info with anyone. There are voltures out there like [name deleted by DM] ready to jump on any news like these and then twist them around and print them on paper to make people believe what he wants them to believe. Expecially people with very little knowlede on Indian History and culture. Regards
Post by Ephriam Dickson on Feb 1, 2005 21:38:18 GMT -5
Dear Oglala history:
Not to worry. I have not taken any of your comments personally. In fact, to the contrary. It is great fun to study and debate various perspectives on these issues that we all find so interesting!
My comments are based on what information is currently available either in published form or in museum archives. If you have additional information that offers a different interpretation, I look forward with great expectation to seeing it in published form. I stand ready to revise my own views when new information becomes available.
Feel free to contact me at my personal email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need anything.
I've found this fascinating and I'll be intrigued the new evidence John and Oglala history are talking about - sounds like they're both talking about the same thing. I tend not to believe the photo is of Crazy Horse for various reasons I've stated above and more so after reading Ephraim's contributions to this debate. I will not, however, shut my mind to the possibility it is an image of Crazy Horse and eagerly await the presentation of the new evidence.
Post by Ephriam Dickson on Feb 7, 2005 14:28:19 GMT -5
I made a mistake in a previous message when I wrote that the only mix blood or whites who went out to the hostile camps in the spring of 1877 were with Spotted Tail. In rechecking the docuements, I did find that there were three white men who also accompanied Red Cloud out: Antoine Ladeau, Antoine Janis and Joseph Merrivale (the last also had accompanied Spotted Tail). The first two were old fur traders who had intermarried among the Oglala and Brule.
After double checking the known records that deal with the three peace embassies sent out from the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Agencies, I just wanted to confirm. Contrary to what "Oglala History" wrote, neither Baptiste Garnier or Frank Grouard accompanied these parties out to the Crazy Horse village.
If someone has documentation to the contrary, please share. Thanks!
Yeah, I know Lakotas wrapped their braids in fur, but these seem to be otter skin ties more commonly seen in portraits later than 1877. Furthermore he does not have two feathers - certainly not in his hair.
Chips described the chief’s medicine as including two bilateral and matched tail feathers of the spotted eagle and how one was worn upside down in his loose, light hair while the other was laced to a rawhide skin that covered a black stone at the end of Crazy Horse’s medicine lanyard hanging over the bottom of his shirt
this is the description of crazy horse two feathers , the second almost reaches ch's knee in the photo , it seems to match exactly
Thanks so much Shatonska. That is the picture that I thought we were talking about, the quality of the original must be more revealing. I have seen it in publications numerous times but cannot make out any facial scars. This has been a contender for some 30 years. I bought a two record box set of John Neihardt reading and discussing these events back in the 1970's, and this photo was included along with several others on the picture sleeve as CH candidates. I always get suspious though, when someone will present 'new evidence soon.' You either have it or you don't. There is a lot of money riding on this photo...so there is a lot of digging going on somewhere.
if you save and zoom this photo the white of the scar is more visible under left nostril (in) and on ceek(out), but it is the asimmetry , the mouth a bit falling on the left left nostril damaged that show that left side has been damaged by a traumatic event