Col. A. B. Welch returns from World War I, Cannon Ball, late Sept. 1919.

A. B. Welch’s Indian Friends Celebrate his return from the 1918 Trenches of France, World War I.


Mrs. Welch and myself went to Yates at invitation of the Indians to be there on the second day of the Fair.  Drove from Cannon Ball in auto driven by Richard White Eagle.  As we entered the circle of tents at NW corner of camp we halted and shook hands with the Fair Officials, Basil Two Bears and Marcellus Red Tomahawk and many others crowded around to shake hands.  The women gave the tremolo and some old men started songs about Mato WatakpeMrs. Two Bears, the mother of Albert Grass, killed in action in France, shook hands and ran into her tipi crying loudly.  News that Mato Watakpe had returned spread through the camp rapidly, and we stopped several times to shake hands with the people.  Along the road came a woman leading a horse.  This was Mrs. Grass and she kissed me and cried softly with her head upon my shoulder, the other people did not crowd up while this was going on, but waited until she had finished her cry.  We went to the hotel and had supper.  Then we went to the camp again, and many men were in dance costume and faces painted, many dances were going on in different parts of the camp.  Songs were being sung about me and the dances were in my honor.

Mato Watakpe oma wani yelo, miye Germany okute hecamon tan inyan

Yunke lo.  Toka hiyo wau welo. Nayahon pelo.

“Mato Watakpe I roam with, myself German shoot a long time.  It is

Widely known.  I came after them.  You have heard it.”

I was invited into a ceremonial tipi with many old men, who shook hands and smoked.  We went out and the dancers and singers started my dance.  After I commenced this war dance, the rest of the men entered and danced with me.  While dancing a side step grass dance, a prairie fire was noticed and a messenger came from Major Kitch, Agent, for the men to go to fight it, so the dances were broken up for that night.  At this fire one old man sung that he was old but had always been brave and, calling the young men to follow him, he rode directly for the head of the fire, and they fought a head fire and put it out in that manner.  Late that night another fire was put out in the same way.

Mrs. Amanda Grass, wife of Chief John Grass and adopted Mother of A. B. Welch


The next night we were invited to a feast and dance at the camp of the Sihasapi and I went to visit Mrs. Grass at her tipi with a young man (Claymore) as my interpreter.  She said that I was her only son and she had waited for me to return from war for a long time.  That Grass had left me some land, that she had prayed for me every day and had prayers said by the priests, etc.  The next afternoon she gave a feast to the Sihasapa.  Mrs. McLaughlin went with us.  Two priests were there and the feast was in the nature of a thanksgiving for my safe return.  Ina (Mrs. Grass .. i.e. Mother) made a speech and gave the priests $25.00 more to pray.  One dish was meat, fat and wild cherries and plums all ground together, a sort of pemmican, and an old time dish.  Joe Jordan also returned and there were many dances and songs about Mato Watakpe’s soldiers.  I gave $1.00 to singer to sing for Albert Grass.  Gen. Scott was there one day and we had a parade for him.  There were 28 soldiers in uniform behind me, all recently discharged from the service.  Many old men in costume and riders followed us.  The Indians did wonders for the Red Cross, said they supposed I got the money.  One man, Two Bears, gave 18 horses and 31 cattle, said they did not like Liberty Bonds as that was only a loan to the Government.  They did not want it back so gave money or equivalent.