That detail about the meadowlark is from Nathaniel Philbrick, The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and The Battle of The Little Bighorn. At best the second-best book about the Little Bighorn battle, first of course being:
but that image is amazing. Good on Philbrick.
What is amazing about “Son Of The Morning Star” is Connell doesn’t just tell the story, he follows the meandering lines that lead to it and out of it, and the people who traced them. He demonstrates that as soon as you focus on any particular incident, you can keep finding new dimensions of weirdness in it.
Take, for example, this meadowlark warning Sitting Bull. Philbrick cites that detail as coming from the recollections of One Bull, Sitting Bull’s nephew, found in box 104, folder 21 of the Walter Campbell collection. Walter Campbell was born in Severy, Kansas in 1887. He was the first Rhodes Scholar from the state of Oklahoma. He wrote under the name Stanley Vestal. Why? I don’t know. According to the University of Oklahoma, where his collection is kept, he was adopted by Sitting Bull’s family, and “was named Makes-Room or Make-Room-For-Him (Kiyukanpi) and His Name Is Everywhere (Ocastonka). Kiyukanpi was the name of Joseph White Bull’s father, and Ocastonka is a reference to the Chief’s great fame.”
Here’s a picture from the Walter Campbell collection:
That’s Young Man Afraid Of His Horses. Here’s another:
Regrettably OU won’t let me make that any bigger. Campbell/Vestal/His-Name-Is-Everywhere died of a heart attack on Christmas Day, 1957.
There’s also a Walter CAMP who is very important in Bighorniana. Camp worked for the railroad, and so could travel all over. An unsourced detail from Indiana University’s Camp collection is that this is how he “spent his summers,” finding lost battlefields and interviewing old Indians and soldiers. Here is a picture from Camp’s collection:
As for One Bull, here he is. This is a photograph by William Cross (which I found here):
On wikipedia’s page for One Bull, however, they illustrate him with a picture of his spoon:
This spoon is now in the Spurlock Museum, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaigne, where they also have collections of Japanese wood carvings, Arctic artifacts, and Babylonian clay tablets.
In August of 1890, Sitting Bull left his home to check on his ponies. After walking more than three miles, he climbed to the top of a hill, where he heard a voice. A meadowlark was speaking to him from a nearby knoll. “Lakotas will kill you,” the little bird said.
He became a surgeon’s mate on a ship at age 18
His lifelong friend was named Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy
An early business partner was named Hollingworth Magniac
His rival was named Lancelot Dent
He started a business in Hong Kong importing, among other things, opium to China. His partner was James Matheson:
William C. Hunter, a contemporary of Jardine who worked for the American firm Russell & Co., wrote of him, “He was a gentleman of great strength of character and of unbounded generosity.” Hunter’s description of Matheson was, “He was a gentleman of great suavity of manner and the impersonation of benevolence.”
“He was nicknamed by the locals “The Iron-headed Old Rat” after being hit on the head by a club in Guangzhou.”
When the Chinese tried to ban the importation of opium, he gave the foreign secretary a detailed plan on how to attack China, which the British went ahead and did.
His farewell dinner when he left Hong Kong was legendary. FDR’s grandfather was there.
A bachelor, when he died he left his fortune to his nephews and siblings.
Jardine Matheson Group, still run by members of his family, is today – all of this is according to wikipedia – the second-largest employer in Hong Kong.
In the early years Korda was most interested in fashion because it allowed him to pursue his two favorite things, photography and beautiful women. Korda became Cuba’s premiere fashion photographer. Korda disliked artificial lighting he said it was “a travesty of reality” and only used natural light in his studio…. “My main aim was to meet women”, he once confessed. His second wife, Natalia (Norka) Menendez, was a well known Cuban fashion model.
A quotation by [mountaineer W. H. Murray] is widely misattributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The following passage occurs near the beginning of Murray’s The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951):
… but when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
– from our old friends at Wikipedia. That Goethe quote is great, sure, but I’ll take Murray himself if I’m going on a hike. Murray’s autobiography, btw, was entitled The Evidence of Things Unseen, citing of course Hebrews 11:1.
The Exhumation of the Mastodon 1805-1808:
The wheel pictured reminded one correspondent of The Falkirk Wheel:
- twice won the Military Cross for bravery in WWI
- was a coffee grower in Kenya
- rode a bicycle across Africa
- parachuted behind enemy lines to fight with Italian and Albanian partisans in WWII
- was given “the keys to the city of Belluno which he helped save from occupation and destruction”
- “was the first man to attempt climbing the remote and unexplored Assam Himalayas”
- “detoured through Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor to see the source of the river Oxus”
- “found the pass named after him beyond Gangchempo”
- presumed dead at sea while sailing the South Atlantic to find remote mountains to climb.
- I had some açai juice today.
“apprehending the good, but powerless to be it, what was left for a personality like Claggert’s but, like the scorpion, for whom the Creator alone is responsible, to turn upon himself and act out the part allotted.”
– a quote from “Billy Budd” that David Milch brings up in an interview about the TV show “Luck” in “Written By” magazine.
I found the picture of the scorpion on the mysterious website www.scorpion.com
A fancy cancel is a postal cancellation that includes an artistic design. Although the term may be used of modern machine cancellations that include artwork, it primarily refers to the designs carved in cork and used in 19th century post offices of the United States.
– from Wikipedia, which also informed me about the Waterbury Running Chicken (a famed fancy cancel) and that I should be vy suspicious of fancy cancels on Confederate postage stamps.