'Omaha Charlie' Bristol and the Kickapoo Medicine Company May 26, 2020 7:35:06 GMT -5 tomfc likes this
Post by Dietmar on May 26, 2020 7:35:06 GMT -5
Everyone knows Buffalo Bill. But who ever heard of Omaha Charlie?
David Charles Bristol alias Omaha Charlie (sometimes spelled Charley) was one of the many performers and showmen who wanted to turn his experiences on the American frontier into money. Bristol was never as famous as others, but he had a steady career and over time collected a large collection of Native American materials, now filed at the Nebraska State Historical Society.
Charlie Bristol was born on March 17, 1834 in Canandaigua, New York, and died at his home in Homer, Nebraska on September 14, 1925.
According to his own accounts, he started his showman career as manager and costumer in Cody´s Wild West in the 1870s and/or 1880s while living permanently in Rushville., S.D. However, if so, he didn´t stay long with Buffalo Bill and soon joined the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company. Despite the name, no Kickapoos are known to had been with the troupe, but mainly Winnebago Indians. Hence, Bristol eventually married a Winnebago woman.
I haven´t found exact dates, but Omaha Charlie after a while left the company and went on his own to tour cities and present his collection of Indian artifacts under the name ‘Omaha Charley and his Band of Wandering Sioux’, joined by former Winnebago comrades and other Indian performers.
What drew my attention to him was a group picture that I happened to notice on the Internet. It shows Bristol with some Indian performers.
Now, you don´t take long to realize that these are Lakota. I searched the internet, but haven´t found any hint, who they were or when they had joined Omaha Charlie. It seems, that this was his time with the Kickapoo Medicine Company, because the boy in front holds a bottle of ‘Sagwa’, a curious ‘Blood, Liver, Stomach and Kidney Renovator’, sold by the company´s founder John Healy & Charles Bigelow.
I would be interested in any list, who reveals names of Indian performers with Bristol or the Kickapoo Company.
According to my own identifications of the people in the photo, Oglala chief Long Bull (aka Daniel Long Bull aka Big Nose) was with Bristol, as well as Real Bull, a Lakota who later went to live with his wife among the Cheyenne in Oklahoma. The man in front possibly is a man named ‘Wankel Akicita’(?), as he is shown in another picture with Real Bull.
Btw, the Indian far left holds a club which is very similar (the same?) to the club we have seen earlier in a portrait of Three Strikes. This club is in the Bristol collection at the Nebraska State Historical Society.