Merry Christmas Ladonna ! Do you know, has anyone tracked down the sketches drawn by the 3 newspapers that were at the Terry Commission to Sitting Bull and the other Lakota in Canada in 1877 ? I have seen only one but it shows many natives and non natives in the meeting room. Thank You
It is pure fantasy. The figures are compiled from different pictures/photographs. An image from New York Times (1870) with Red Cloud is probably the template. See also this photo of Red Cloud and the NYT
The seated man with the pipe is from a Gardner photograph (1868 Fort Laramie). The gardner photo shows Man-Afraid-of-his-Horses.
Greetings from Germany and - hopefully - a HAPPY NEW YEAR to everybody! Gregor
Thank you, yes I know that pic. What I'm looking for are any other pics from the sketch artists/ reporters from the New York and Chicago papers, who were there covering the conference, and possibly even the Helena, MT newspaper. There are supposed to be more records, including an accounting of all in attendance, including all in the Native party.
I'm sure you've seen this already, but this is one of only three sketches that I know that purport to show Sitting Bull in Canada (based on a drawing by Jerome B. Stillson and taken from Harper's Weekly, Dec 1877):
There is one more of Sitting Bull addressing a council by Richard Nevitt and another sketchy portrait of him, also by Nevitt:
- unfortunately, I can no longer find the other in my files!
Hi grahamew, thanks for posting the pictures. Yes, we were already familiar with them. The Sitting Bull picture in Harpers is of course by Jerome Stillson, the second is attributed to Dr. Richard B. Nevitt - more on that later.
There also seem to have been discussions about Stillson's authorship. In a letter dated January 15, 1878 to his fiancé Elizabeth "Lizzie" Beaty, Nevitt writes: „The pictures in Harpers credited to Stillson are his. The one of Sitting Bull – no one would recognize. He had on a big fur cap and that is about all that looks like him. The little scene called S.B.‘s travelling outfit is a picture of a half breed lodge …. near Fort Walsh.“ So he seemed to be a poor draftsman in Nevitts mind. To me, the sketch reminds me of the Blackfoot chief Crawfoot.
Now to Nevitt, who was a police physician for the North-West Mounted Police in Canada, stationed in Fort McLeod, Alberta, where he stayed from 1874 to 1878. Nevitt and Dr. John Kittson were the first full-time physicians on the Prairies. They build Alberta’s first hospital at Fort McLeod.
The Sitting Bull sketch by Nevitt is said to have been made during a meeting with Assistant Commissioner Irvine on June 2nd, 1877. And this is where the riddle begins.
Hier some important dates: On May 25th, 1877 Irvine telegraphed from Fort Benton to Ottawa: „Sitting Bull on Canadian Side with 135 lodges, about 60 Miles from Fort Walsh …“.
Major Walsh arranged a meeting with SB and Irvine on June 2nd, as said before.
The next dates are from Nevitts letters to „Lizzie“ – all published and online on www.glenbow.org/ (Glenbow Museum). These letters are written in a Diary style (different days in one letter):
April 11th, 1877 (Wednesday) „Walsh from Cypress Hill went out to Wood Mountain and visited a lot of Sioux there …. Sitting Bull is no more than a good soldier and he is n obig chief. They say that they were originally Britisch Indians …“
April 14th, 1877 „I have been nursing my cold nearly all day and feeling most wretched…“
In April and May, he mainly wrote letters about life in Fort McLeod and how he cured his cold. After these letters, it seems he never left Fort McLeod.
June 2nd, 1877
„Irvine was about to leave for Cypress Hill – that was on the 27 of May. So we may not expect them for some days yet…“.
June 7th, 1877 I felt so very miserable on Tuesday ….my cold is not very much better that I can feel well…“.
June 11th, 1877 „… Major Irvine and party came home from Cypress later … they went to see Sitting Bull and slept in his camp, smoked with him and had a big pow wow …he had 3 American prisoners in his camp – a priest, an interpreter and the chief Scout of Gen. Miles Division …“. June 19th, 1877
„ …I have been very busy today finishing up my Sitting Bull sketch…“
Questions: For whom did Nevitt do the SB sketch? Why does Nevitt's drawing hardly resemble Sitting Bull. And Nevitt was a good draftsman, as can be seen from the drawings published on the Glenbow site.
Where did Nevitt see SB? Or did he only rely on descriptions from Irvine & Co? Or is Nevitt's drawing also pure fantasy?
Irvine, who met the famous Sioux Chief gave us this description of SB:
"I was particularly struck with Sitting Bull. He is a man of somewhat short stature, but with a pleasant face, a mouth showing great determination and a fine high forehead. When he smiled, which he often did, his face brightened up wonderfully. I should say he is a man of about forty-five years of age. … When talking at the conference he spoke as a man who understands his subject well and who had thoroughly weighed it before speaking. …. His speech showed him to be a man of wonderful capability."
I tend to assume that Nevitt never met SB and that the drawing is based on descriptions of the meeting participants or that it even sprang from his imagination.
With regard to the "3 American prisoners". They were Abbot Martin Marty (a Benedictine Missonary), who arrived at Sitting Bulls camp about May 26th, 1877. The interpreter was the mixed-blood William Halsey, who worked later - during the "Buffalo Bill times" - for Sitting Bull and the Scout was John Howard, also a mixed-blood. Marty went to see SB to get him to return to the United States and to communicate terms of surrender. As agreed with Walsh, Sitting Bull informed Walsh that Americans were in his camp and asked what to do with them.They were treated more as guests than they were treated as prisoners and ultimately returned to the USA.
The plot thickens. Sitting Bull is referred to as wearing an animal skin (fox?) cap at the May 77 meeting with Stillson and I suspect this is the basis for that sketch. I agree, I think Nevitt's rough sketch reminds me of a drawing of Sitting Bull (and I do think it's him) by someone far less skilled than Nevitt. According to Utley, as I'm sure you know, the rough sketch was on the back of a field draft of his drawing of a meeting between SB and his Lakotas and the Mounted Police, but, yes it took place on 2 June and from what you've brought to light, it doesn't seem like Nevitt was there. I wonder if someone else made the crude sketch AND the field sketch of the actual meeting. I haven't fund a copy of the council on the internet and my scanner died long ago