I am putting together an exhibit and programs for Grand County Historical Association. I have copies of ledger art from the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose of Sam Yellow Nose. I would love an historic portrait of him, but cannot find.
second, Tabernash was a famous person in Grand County. I would also love to find an historic photograph of him. Thank you for your help.
The photo of Yellow Nose (labelled: "Yellow Nose sitting in front of his studio") is from the book "Fort Reno - or, Picturesque Cheyenne and Arrapahoe Army Life before the Opening of Oklahoma" by Mrs. D. B. Dyer [Ida Casey], originally published in 1896. I own a reprint by Stackpole books.
It´s the only portrait of Yellow Nose I have seen so far. Mrs. Dyer writes about Yellow Nose (page 98):
"...Yellow Nose, the artist. He was a man of smaller stature than either the Cheyennes or Arrapahoes, the latter almost invariably being tall, with fine physique and features. His hair was unkempt, and he wore it bushy around his head and ears, while the ends that hung low on each shoulder were brought to the front and tied with old string. His once white sheet was a far off-color tint."
Yellow Nose hand-painted a teepee and made several drawings for Mrs. Dyer and she praised his artistic skills.
Last Edit: May 22, 2014 10:28:23 GMT -5 by Dietmar
Thank you for this information on Yellow Nose, any more info and photos of him & Tabernash are greatly appreciated. You referred to a Tabernash as Chief, and I didn't know that. He was killed very near to where our exhibit will be-- so we need more history about him. thank you!
Unfortunately I don´t have access to Ute Oral History so I have to rely on the few books I have on Ute history. There are conflicting statements regarding Tabernash in these two:
Charles S. Mash in "People of the Shining Mountains" (Pruett Publishing, page 89) states: "A young Indian named Tabernash was murdered on a Grand County ranch for merely trespassing on property that his tribe had traditionally owned for centuries. Soon thereafter, a settler out cutting wood for his stove near Kremmling, Colorado, was shot and killed, apparently in retaliation for the Tabernash murder."
Then we have Jan Pettit in "Utes - The Mountain People" (Johnson Books, page 122), who writes: "Near Tabernash, Colorado, the Utes turned their horses into a rancher´s fenced pasture, a disagreement followed, and Chief Tabernash was shot. The next rancher the Utes met while retreating, even though he was known as a good friend, was killed in retaliation." The book also states that Tabernash was of the White River Band of Utes.
Yellow Nose, a Ute, was born about 1849 and was captured with his Ute mother by Cheyenne chief Lean Bear ( sometimes Starving Bear ) in the late 1850th. His mother escaped twice from the Cheyennes and returned ( with consent of Lean Bear ) to the Ute tribe. After the death of Lean Bear in 1864, he was adopted by Spotted Wolf.
Yellow Nose lived out the remainder of his life on the Cheyenne & Arapaho reservation in Oklahoma near the town of Geary. Yellow Nose became blind due to an injury he received during the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Regarding Tabernash , here are few additional sources and information :
In the book >Pikes Peak Backcountry: The Historic Saga of the Peak's West Slope, by Celinda Reynolds Kaelin, see pages 89 – 93 ( This book contains a scetch of Tabernash )
After his death, there were many stories, what happened to his body or where he was buried.
Robert C. Black in his book, "Island in the Rockies: the pioneer era of Grand County," wrote that "A less than dependable story indicates that Tabernash` skeleton was exhumed about four years later by two physicians and placed on exhibit in a Kansas City museum. And as late as 1918, a human skull, warranted that of 'Chief' Tabernash, stared at passersby from a Denver store window."
In Grinnell Vol. 2 / p.106, we find how Yellow Nose came to the Cheyennes. A war party was at the Rio Grande del Norte. They crossed the river and met a war party of Arapahoes. A coyote howled and one of the party was able to understand what coyote was telling, that the enemy was close. They found six lodges of Utes, attacked that camp and captured young Yellow Nose, then four years old, and his mother who afterwards escaped. This was seemingly in 1858. Yellow Nose was with the Cheyennes from this time on.
If you are interested in some of Yellow Nose's personal accounts of the events he witnessed; the Smithsonian's National Museum of The American Indian in Washington D.C. has a large collection of tissue paper/Ledger drawings. I was an intern at the NMAI in 2007 and my main task was to describe Yellow Nose's drawings for an up and coming (at the time) database for researchers. I don't know if the database has been made public yet but you might want to contact the NMAI if you would like to know more and see the drawings. -LRose