The Indians in 1904 

This postcard, depicting eleven of the Indians on the 1904 tour, was based on a photograph taken at Land’s End, Cornwall, on Thursday, 29th May 1904. The man sitting, at the extreme right of the group, is Philip Blue Shield and to his immediate right is Iron Tail; these two were photographed at John O’Groats, Scotland, on 3rd September.

The following core group of Indians arrived at Liverpool, in two separate parties, on board the Lucania, on 16th April 1904, and the Umbria, on the 24th; departing at season’s end from Liverpool, on board the Campania, on 22nd October and arriving at New York on the 28th:

American Horse, Thomas; Blue Shield, Philip; Broken Nose, David; Brown, Edward; Bush, James; Charging Hawk; Chases in Winter; Comes Among Them, Harry; Cuts, Ellis; Eagle Elk; Fast Hawk; Feather on Head; Ghost Bear, Chas; Ghost Dog; Ghost Dog, Willie (small boy); Good Crow; Good Crow, Abraham; Iron Tail; Kills and Comes Back; Kills Both Sides; Kills Deer; Kills Enemy; Kills Right; Lays Bad; Left Hand, George; Little Dog; Little Eagle; Lone Bear, Samuel; Pumpkinseed, William; Red Horse; Running Hawk; Runs Between; Short Bear; Short Bear, Laura (infant); Spotted Weasel; Spotted Weasel, Washington (small boy); Stand, James; Standing Bear; Standing Bear, David; Strikes Plenty; Thrice, James (apparently otherwise Dismounts Thrice); Tobacco, Adam; Two Eagles, George; Whetstone, Joe; Whirlwind Horse; Whirlwind Man; Yellow Hair, Joseph

The presence of William Sitting Bull, otherwise Young Sitting Bull, a son of the famous Chief Sitting Bull, was widely heralded in press releases throughout the Scottish leg of Buffalo Bill’s tour and even thereafter, though there are no known sightings of or interviews with him there. However, as ‘Sitting Bull’, he was listed as sailing out of Liverpool on board the Umbria, on 28th May 1904, almost two months before the Scottish leg of the tour began. His travelling companion was Jonas Spider, another Indian, although he has to be added to the roll of those whose arrivals in Great Britain are not presently accounted for. Particularly since the passenger list on arrival at New York on 6th June records that both men had their passage paid by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, it may be taken as a matter of virtual certainty that this is indeed William Sitting Bull.

The following female Indians arrived at Liverpool during April 1904 and left the show shortly after arrival in Glasgow. They sail out of Liverpool for New York, on board the Majestic, on 3rd August 1904:

American Horse, Julia; Runs Between (otherwise Kills Enemy, Mrs Jane); Kills Enemy, Nellie (infant)

Of those Indians specifically attested as having been present in Scotland, Little Bear presents something of an unresolved enigma. He is not known from any of the passenger lists at the start or close of the 1904 tour but received substantial newspaper coverage when he met with an accident in the arena at Fraserburgh on 30th July 1904 and was committed to the Thomas Walker Hospital for a few days. It is likely that he is to be identified with Frank Little Bear, who is known to have arrived at Southampton at the start of the 1902-03 season.

The following Indians participated in the 1904 tour and were probably still with the show over the course of the Scottish venues:

Brave; Bull Bear, David (interpreter); Cuts Grass; Runs on Edge

The following Indians participated in the 1904 tour and may still have been with the show when it reached Scotland on 26th July 1904, though in the majority of cases the chances are probably against it:

American Bear, Philip; Arapahoe, David (interpreter); Charge Close to Lodge; Good Horse; Good Horse, Mrs; Gray Eagle; Kills Enemy at Night; Parts His Hair; Red Kettle, Henry; Running Hawk, Chas; Running Hawk, Harry; Two Elk; Two Elks, Richard; Young Man Afraid, Frank

The following specific unresolved points are to be noted:

1. The two interpreters, David Arapahoe and David Bull Bear, are relatively obscure figures and there is reason to suspect that these are alternative appellations for the same individual.

2. Running Hawk, Chas Running Hawk and Harry Running Hawk were all April arrivals. Only one, Running Hawk, is entered as returning on the Campania. This list is generally less inclined to include Christian names so it is necessary to guard against the assumption that this was the man known simply as Running Hawk, as opposed to Chas or Harry.

3. ‘Red Kettle’ sailed out of Liverpool on the SS Celtic from Liverpool on 17th August 1904, three weeks after the start of the Scottish leg of the tour, arriving at New York on the 27th. This is taken referring to Henry Red Kettle. However, his last place of residence was entered as London, which rather militates against the possibility that he was ever present in Scotland.

4. Jonas Spider is another Indian whose arrival in Great Britain has not been established. Since he is known to have returned to the United States on board the Umbria, arriving at New York on 6th June 1904, it may be taken that he was never present in Scotland.

Genealogical enquiries welcome


Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Great Britain