The Indians in 1904 


This postcard, depicting eleven of the Indians on the 1904 tour, is 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 man in the centre of the back row, in the greenish-blue shirt and war bonnet, is Sam Lone Bear. The man in the cowboy gear is probably the interpreter.

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 Christian name of Bush is clearly entered as ‘James’ on arrival; on departure, it is carelessly written and is either ‘Jas’ or quite possibly ‘Joe’.

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 from 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 adult male Indians sailed from Liverpool on board the Carpathia, on 28th June 1904, arriving at New York on 8th July:

Chas Running Hawk; Two Elk and Charge Close to Lodge

It is presumed that ‘Two Elk’ refers to Two Elk and not to Richard Two Elks, although this cannot be concluded with certainty.

The following married couple sailed from Liverpool on board the Teutonic on 20th July 1904, arriving at New York on the 28th:

Good Horse, George and Good Horse, Mrs Woneta

It can therefore be stated that neither of these two groups of Indians was present on the Scottish leg of the tour.

The following female Indians left the show shortly after arrival in Glasgow. They sailed from Liverpool on board the Majestic, on 3rd August 1904, arriving at New York on the 11th:

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

Red Kettle (presumably the same Henry Red Kettle who had arrived on the Umbria), sailed from Liverpool on board the Celtic on 17th August 1904, arriving at New York on the 27th. Since his departure from Great Britain occurred three weeks after the start of the Scottish leg of the tour, his presence in Scotland cannot be excluded. However, his last place of residence was entered as London, which tends to militate against this possibility.

The following specific points await resolution:

1. There are two named interpreters, David Arapahoe and David Bull Bear. The former arrived at the start of the tour on board the Umbria but his return home is unknown. The latter’s arrival is not known but the entry pertaining to ‘David Blue Bear’ returning home at the end of the tour with the Campania party probably refers to him. For this reason, it is suspected that Arapahoe and Bull Bear are alternative appellations for the same individual.

2. Similar considerations apply to:

Brave; Cuts Grass and Runs on Edge.

Their arrivals have not been identified but they went home at the end of the tour with the Campania party. It is very likely that they were all present in Scotland.

3. Jonas Spider is another Indian whose arrival in Great Britain has not been established. He returned to the United States on board the Umbria, arriving at New York on 6th June 1904, several weeks in advance of the Scottish leg of the tour.

4. The opposite difficulty applies to:

American Bear, Philip; Arapahoe, David (interpreter); Gray Eagle; Kills Enemy at Night; Parts His Hair; Running Hawk, Harry; Two Elks, Richard and Young Man Afraid, Frank

All of these are known to have belonged to one of the two parties arriving at the start of the tour but their returns are still to be accounted for. In connection with Harry Running Hawk, it may be noted that Running Hawk, Chas Running Hawk and Harry Running Hawk were all April arrivals. Only one, Running Hawk, is entered as returning on the Campania, although Chas Running Hawk’s early return is also accounted for. The Campania list is generally less inclined to include Christian names so it is necessary to guard against the careless assumption that this refers to the man known simply as Running Hawk, as opposed to Harry.

5. The strange case of Little Bear is particularly acute. He is not known from any of the passenger lists either 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. He is tentatively identified with Frank Little Bear, who is known to have arrived at Southampton at the start of the 1902-03 season.

Genealogical enquiries welcome

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Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Great Britain