Indian Histories, from Aagard to Bulls Eye (44 Individuals) as told to Col. A. B. Welch

  • Indian Histories, from Aagard to Bulls Eye, 44 Individuals

(Click a name to go right to their post)

Luis Aagard (old French-Indian Hunter)

Afraid of His Plumes (old Buffalo Hunter who never used a gun)

All Yellow (photo of Mrs. All Yellow)

American Horse (followed the Ghost Dance-Messiah Craze)

Antelope (under-chief, Fort Berthold, 1872)

Antelope Woman (Photo: Sept. 1942 News Article)

Arrow Walking (He was shot by the enemy so many times He had a lot of arrows sticking in him)

Bad Buffalo (Ist chief of Mandans, Fort Berthold, 1872)

Bad Gun (2nd Chief, Mandans, Fort Berthold, 1872)

John Baine (Sisseton-White Family History)

Beade Uses Arrows (an old Anti-New Dealer!)

Bears Arm (2nd Chief, Gros Ventre, 1936)

Bears Heart  (old ‘Buffalo Indian’ who fought Custer)

Bears Belly (old scout for Custer)

Bear Ghost (World War I, France, 1918)

Bear in the Water (Family History & some Myths)

Bear Robe (Eli Perkins)

Bears Rib (Family History & some Myths)

Belly Fat (1885 Photograph)

Big Eagle (1885 Photograph)

Big Foot (Leader of the ‘hostiles’ and killed at Wounded Knee)

Big Head (Scout for Custer)

Big Mouth (slain by Spotted Tail, 1874)

Birds Bill (Custer Scout)

Bird Lying Down (story of the White Man’s right hand)

Black Chest (Custer Scout)

Black Eagle (Chief of Wahpekute Band, 1842-1851)

Black Hawk (story of the Spicer Family Murders)

Bloody Knife (How this Custer Scout died)

Blue Earth (World War I, France, 1918)

Blue Thunder (old camp Crier, 1925)

Bob Tail Bull (Custer Scout killed at Little Big Horn, 1872 photo)

Brave Bul(World War I, France, 1918)

Brave Bear (The Story of His Depredations in 1874)

Broken Arm (1934 Photo)

Brought Plenty (1924 Photo)

Brown Eyes (1923 Photo given to Welch)

Brown Face (a Little History statement)

Brown, Sarah (1924 Photo)

Brugier, Eugene (a little French-Indian history from 1800)

Buffalo Boy  I have fought many battles when I had buffalo meat to eat.

Mr. & Mrs. Bull Bear (1926 Photo)

Bull Head, (Died as he shot Sitting Bull, Dec. 1890)

Bull, Luis (Son of Sitting Bull)

Bulls Eye (Grandson of Sakakawea, 1923)

“Louis Aagard” (old French-Indian Hunter)

Welch notes dated June 23rd, 1923: Louis Agaard of Grand River Country.

This man is a half-breed.  His father came into this country with the American Fur Company and was a hunter and trapper working into their fort at Pierre, S.D.  He married three women of the Dakotah.  The last one was of the Hunkpapa, and this Louis Agaard was issue of that union.  The father came to Pierre when he was but twelve years of age; he was 55 years old when he died in 1890  – consequently he came to Dakota in 1847.

The family lived for years about nine miles south of Bismarck on the east side of the Missouri river, but finally moved to the Grand River, S.D., and the subject now lives about 16 miles south of the sub-agency at Bull Head.  He is called by the Dakotah  – Chatka  – The Left Handed, as he is left handed and handles the lariat with that arm.  He says he cannot rope well any more as he has broken his shoulder twice, while roping stock and getting tangled up.

I think he is about 65 years old now, as he has white hair, but it is hard to tell the age of a man who has faced the wind and sun of Dakota for years since childhood. He is a quaint character, soft-voiced, slow in speech as a Dakotah; crafty and strategic in his arrival at the point of discourse; polite as a full blood Frenchman; I judge that he would be relentless in hate, but a good friend  – going the limit either in ‘peace or war,’ and every movement and gesture, showing the effete of a wild life in the open with the Indians.

In fact he is a splendid example of the old time hunter and pathfinder of the times which are now all but gone  – such a man as Custer took for guides in his Black Hills Expeditions; one who can talk the language of the Dakotah and read the stories of the game trail or war path.  “I ain’t been here for 16 years,” he said, “Your trees have got big and the houses have grown tall.  The saloons are gone somewhere.  I can’t find any now.  Too bad.”

Later penciled note by Welch:  Born Dec 1864, he is 59 years of age.



“Afraid of His Plumes” (old Buffalo Hunter who never used a gun)

This man is eighty-nine years of age, September 1920.  He is a Hunkpapa, and an Indian of the ‘old school.’  In his youth he was a famous buffalo hunter and never used a gun, always bow and arrows.  It is told me that at one time he cut out a fat cow from a herd and ran her to death, finally killing her with an arrow while on foot.

When he was eighty years old he was struck by a rattle snake on the big toe and nearly lost his life, and at this time he is entirely blind, which he says was caused by the bite of the snake.

He is a typical Teton, dark, very wrinkled, and with a very prominent roman nose; gray hair, very tall and exceedingly dignified when I called at his tipi to talk with him.

He says he was born the year they first saw wagons on wheels.  According to American Horse’s Winter Count, this was in 1830….”Saw wagons for first time, with Red Lake, a white Man.”

He also said that it was one winter camp before the “Stars Changed Places,” which, on most counts, occurred in 1833.

Later Welch penciled note:  died winter of 1924  –  Kills Spotted’s wife’s grandfather.



“All Yellow”

(photo of Mrs. All Yellow)




“American Horse” (followed the Ghost Dance-Messiah Craze)

Wasecu Tasunka was an Oglala Teton, probably the son of the American Horse who was killed at Slim Buttes in 1875 while on the war path with Sitting Bull.

He signed the treaty with General Crook in 1889 by which the Sioux lands in Dakota were reduced in one half.  The expected benefits of this treaty were never realized by the Sioux.

Their cattle were stolen and with no crop in 1889 and the Government rations withdrawn, his band were in a state bordering starvation, when they went into the Bad Lands to follow the chimera of the Ghost Dance-Messiah Craze, under Sitting Bull.

In 1891 he headed a delegation of friendly Indians to Washington and upon the representations then made, the Government rations were reissued.


“Antelope” (under-chief, Fort Berthold, 1872)

Badger called them PORCUPINE AND ANTELOPE, underchiefs of Gros Ventres, 1872, Fort Berthold……Red Bear (11-20-22) identified as Fine Porcupine and Plenty Antelope – Gros Ventre.

Antelope, on right, 1872biog4-antelope



“Antelope Woman”

Photo: Sept. 1942 News Article




Arrow Walking” (He was shot by the enemy so many times He had a lot of arrows sticking in him)

No Welch notes about this Warrior.  No date, either.

However, the back of the photo is shown below…Bristling (Hobu) is a name referred to by Elk in a talk with Welch, September 12th, 1922:

Hobu (Bristling) got his name this way.  He was shot by the enemy so many times.  He had a lot of arrows sticking in him.  He was a great warrior then.  They called him Bristling for that.  Some other people call him Wahinkpe Mani (Walking Arrow).

Arrow Walkingbiog4-arrow-walking




“Bad Buffalo” (Ist chief of Mandans, Fort Berthold, 1872)

Welch notes on back of photo:  Identified by Red Bear as ‘Bad Buffalo (Cow)’ and ‘Bad Gun’ or ‘Rushing Eagle,’ 1st and 2nd chiefs of the Mandans.  This man, Bad Gun, is famous for being a direct descendant of the Great Mandan Chief ‘Mato Topa’ (Four Bears) who treated the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the winter of 1804-05 so well and is much spoken about by George Catlin and Maximilion in 1833-34.  Bad Gun was an uncle of Mrs. Red Bear.  He also was the blood father of Mrs. James Red Star and uncle to Little Sioux.  Star, 1926, identifies man on left as grandfather of Sam Packineau.  Feathers indicate two arrow wounds.  One the right: feathers indicate many wars…leggins show ‘four enemies killed.

Bad Buffalo and Bad Gun, 1872biog5-bad-buffalo-and-bad-gun



“Bad Gun” (2nd Chief, Mandans, Fort Berthold, 1872)

Welch notesabout Bad Gun, December 1923:

Bad Gun, also called Rushing Eagle (a Mandan), is descended from Mato Tope (Four Bears). 

Bad Gun, son of Four Bears, died in 1907 at Fort Berthold.

Welch notes on back of photo:  Identified by Red Bear as ‘Bad Buffalo (Cow)’ and ‘Bad Gun’ or ‘Rushing Eagle,’ 1st and 2nd chiefs of the Mandans.  This man, Bad Gun, is famous for being a direct descendant of the Great Mandan Chief ‘Mato Topa’ (Four Bears) who treated the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the winter of 1804-05 so well and is much spoken about by George Catlin and Maximilion in 1833-34.  Bad Gun was an uncle of Mrs. Red Bear.  He also was the blood father of Mrs. James Red Star and uncle to Little Sioux.  Star, 1926, identifies man on left as grandfather of Sam Packineau.  Feathers indicate two arrow wounds.  One the right: feathers indicate many wars…leggins show ‘four enemies killed.



John Baine” (Sisseton-White Family History)

John Baine, Fort Yates, April 4th, 1923.

This man is half white and Sisseton.  His father was a mess sergeant belonging to the 19th, Inf. U.S.A., and was located somewhere in the Sisseton country, coming to Fort Yates with the Regiment, and bringing his Indian family there.

His wife was named Ito Coka Wakan Win (Face Middle Holy Woman).  She belonged to the family of Waanete.

Waaneta Ist, was the son of Red Thunder, and with him they took a band of Sissetons to fight with the British in the War of 1812.  This Waanate 1st had two sons, Waanate the Second and Tatonka Skata (Playing Bull). 

The mother of this sketch was the daughter of Playing Bull.  She received her name on account of having a tattoo mark on her forehead.  This was a custom of the Santee.  When the first offspring of a chief’s family was a woman child, they received this mark of distinction.

This family is very proud of the famous forebear, Waanata

Waanata was mentioned by Capt. Clark together with his father, Red Thunder, as among the famous men at the Treaty of Prairie deChien.  Waanate 1st got his name, which means The Charger or The Rushing Man, in battle with the Americans in Ohio along the Ohio river in 1812.

John Baine is educated and is really quite a musician, playing both reed and brass instruments and piano.



“Beade Uses His Arrow” (an old Anti-New Dealer!)

Present:  Twin (Uses His Arrow) and a young man interpreter.

Time:  April 8th, 1940

Place:  My residence in Mandan, N.D.

These men called upon me to ask my advice about a proposed trip to Washington, as Anti-New Dealers.  They said that a Pro-New Dealer Committee had been named by the Superintendent at Fort Yates, to go there, and these people wanted to go to watch them and listen to what they had to say to the Indian Commissioner, Mr. Collier.

They already had the promise of a private auto to carry them, but they wanted me to write ‘a paper’  – so they could solicit funds to use on the trip.  They wanted to raise $35.00 for that purpose.  So I prepared such a solicitation for them.

Then we talked about our ages; they are both old men but they said that I was getting younger all the time.  Being polite, I suppose.  When they rose to go, Bead Uses His Arrow started off without his cane, and I handed it toward him.  He passed his hands down it without touching it, and said, “I am old.  I can still walk until I can cut another one.  This I leave with you.  It has medicine on it.  It will help you when you get old.”


“Bears Arm” (2nd Chief, Gros Ventre, 1936)

Bears  Arm, 1936




“Bears Heart” (old ‘Buffalo Indian’ who fought Custer)

A biographical sketch prepared for E.E.Nolan of the N.P.Ry. From a direct conversation with Bears Heart, February 16, 1931.

Tribe  – A Ihanktowanna Dakotah (Yanktonaise Sioux)

               Subdivision  – Pabaksa (Cut Heads)

Born  –  1859.  The Winter Count of No Two Horns says this is the winter when Red Robe came back alive.  With seven others he had gone against the Crows on hostile intent.  They got caught in a trap and seven were killed.  Red Robe killed a buffalo; wrapped himself in it with the bloody side out, and so impressed the Crows that they allowed him to escape, and even gave him some horses and accompanied him to the Sioux country.

Bears Heartbiog9-bears-heart-photo

Vicinity of birth  – Nagajupaha (Rainy buttes, in southwest North Dakota).

Father’s name  – Sunka Sapa (Black Dog)

Mother’s name  – Wicapi Topa (Four Stars Woman)

Both father and mother and the subject of this sketch belonged to the band which followed the Chief Red Fish (Hogan Luta).  Red Fish died about two years ago on the Cannon Ball, North Dakota.  Red Fish’s Cut Head division of the Yanktonaise Sioux, followed the buffalo migrations from the present vicinity of Poplar, Montana, to the Black Hills; along the Bad Lands on Beaver Creek and the Little Missouri river.  Red Fish, himself, being a partisan of Tatonka Naji (Standing Buffalo) who had been chased across the Missouri from the ancestral haunts, by General Sibley, the Minnesota General, of Minnesota fame.  His name was Wapetu Hanska (Long Trader) and he was married to a Sioux woman and traded among the Sioux.  He (Standing Buffalo) was the head chief of the Pabaksa.

Bears Heart warred against the Crows and the Mandans in his youth and made trouble for soldiers at Forts Rice, Abraham Lincoln and Buford.  He took part in the Custer Battle on the Little Big Horn in 1876, and surrendered in Canada and was brought down to Fort Yates and turned loose with Sitting Bull and Gall.

He is a typical Sioux; strong features  – a good study for an artist; pompous, proud, inclined to be overbearing; a dancer and follower of old time customs and ceremonials; superstitious; tall, erect, sharp in trading; what is known to me as a ‘Buffalo Indian,’ an old timer who has been rather roughly handled by the advance of civilization.



“Bears Belly” (old scout for Custer)

Bears Belly’s coups. November 3rd, 1927

Today I made arrangements with the officers of the fourth Infantry at Fort Lincoln, to receive 17 old men and women of the Arikaras.  At four o’clock they sent a truck for the Indians and we were at the parade ground at 4:30 for the review.

Bears Belly is an old time scout of Fort Abraham Lincoln, for Gen. Custer and tells many stories of the warlike times of the 70’s at that post.  He made a short characteristic Indian speech to the officers and their ladies.

Asked why he wore two feathers in his hair, he said:  “They are for two honors of mine.  I was a scout with Custer.  When we were close to the Sioux village on the Little Big Horn, we discovered several tipis with Sioux in them.  Two of the men were alive. 

I struck them both there. 

Therefore I wear two honor feathers.  Then we killed them.”

Bears Belly with Chip Creighton, 1924, at a gathering of old Custer Scouts.

Creighton was with Major Reno’s command .

Chip Creighton, left, Bears Belly, right, 1924biog11-chip-creighton-and-bears-belly



“Bear Ghost”(World War I, France, 1918)

Alphonse Bear Ghost, left, 1918



“Bear in the Water” (Family History & some Myths)

Bear in the Water, Arikara, talks, Mandan, August 3rd, 1924:

Talking about the difference in pottery design, this Gros Ventre said that the Mandan was always black and the Gros Ventre was very similar.  The Arikara was lighter, while the Assiniboine was the white kind.  He also identified those fragments with herring bone decorations, as Cheyenne.  The place where the Mandans got their clay for pots was on the Cannon Ball by Crow Ghost’s place (West of Solen).

Flint Turtle Story:  This man said, when shown the flint turtle picked up in the site south of Sanger:  “That was a Mandan village first.  This turtle was worn with a necklace of beads or tied in a bag to the hair.  It was strong medicine.  When everybody had the small pox (1837) everybody died, nearly.  Twenty  – ten lodges lost every one.  The people left the villages and went away.  There was a place for 57 miles along the Little Missouri.  Everywhere there you could see a dead man or somebody along the trail.  It was bad.  Then a man took a turtle medicine.  He stopped that sickness then with it.”

This man’s history:  “Bear in the Water was my name when I was boy.  I was a scout too.  I scouted at Fort Buford a lot.  My father’s name was Hawk.  He had another name, too, but I took it.  It is my name now.  It is Long Bull.  I have another white name.  It is Adlaide Stevenson.  My father’s father’s name was Hawk, too.  He was half French and his white name was “Joe.”  I am related to Joe Packineau.  His mother and my mother were sisters from different mothers but same father. My great grandfather was a white man.  We call him Antelope.  (Note: Joe Packineau calls this man Good Buffalo Chaser).  My father Hawk was born in the Hidatsa village south of the Knife.  He was 78 years old when he died.  He has been dead 25 years (Note: Born at Hidatsa 1821).  My mother was Otter Woman.  Her mother was Red Blossom or Buffalo Woman.

Heraldry:  “I want a hatchet with a heart and a collar bone in it (On the blade).  Make then in holes, I want it.  A man can do that with a heart and a collar bone after he has killed an enemy.  If a fellow takes an enemy prisoner, he can have a hand on his body for each of those fellows he takes.”

I delivered my tomahawk head to him to fit in a handle; also 113 tied human hairs, to put in shape with new quills.

Bear in the Water (Adelaide Stevenson), 1924biog12-bear-in-the-water


“Bear Robe” (Eli Perkins)

Bear Robe (Eli Perkins), 1920’s



“Bears Rib” (Story: Stealing colts from the Crows)

Bears Rib talks to Ross Anderson, Rapid City:

Anderson told me (Bismarck, Dec. 5th, 1920) that Bears Rib, who is now dead, told him the following story of an event of his early life.  Bears Rib was a chief of some of the Pine Ridge Dakotah.

“When I was a very young man the band with which I was camped, just about where Rapid City now stands.  We had a large camp there but were  disturbed because there were some Crows not far away and we were uneasy about that.  One time the Crows rushed into our camp and stampeded all of our horses but one.  This one was a two year old colt which had never been ridden or trained, but was tied close to my tipi.  I don’t know why I did this thing, but when the Crows were driving off our horses, I ran to this colt, untied him and leaped upon his back.  The Crows were some distance away by that time and there was much excitement in the camp.  But I took after the fleeing herd and ran my horse into the herd.  I yelled and scattered the horses, and the Crows, being afraid of me there among the horses, all ran away and I brought all the horses back to our camp.  This was the first time I had shown our people that I was a brave man and they all talked about me for that thing for a long time, and I became a man among the people for that.”

Two Bulls talks, undated:  His brothers were Bears Rib and High Eagle

Bears Rib was appointed by Tuskasila (President) as head Chief of the Hunkpapa in 1871.  Bears Rib was a great favorite with the soldiers at Fort Pierre and they gave him many presents at that time.  This made the others of the Hunkpapa jealous and two men asked him to walk away from the fort with them to talk.  He went with them and they beat him and he died.  He is buried at Fort Pierre in the Catholic Cemetery there.


“Belly Fat”  (1885 Photograph)

Belly Fat, 1885



“Big Eagle” (a warrior, born in 1827)

 Welch notes, undated:

Wamditanka is translated as ‘the Great War Eagle’ in the Handbook of North American Indians, but it is nothing more than Big Eagle, from wamdi, eagle and tanka, big.  He was sometimes called Jerome Big Eagle, and was a chief of one of the numerous bands of Mdewankanton.  He was born in the Indian Village at Winona, Minn. In 1827.  His father’s name was Grey Iron (Maza hota) and, at his death, he became chief of the same band.

While a young man he often went on war raids against the Chippewa and wore three eagle’s feathers to show his coups.  He visited Washington in 1858 and was signer of the treaty of that year.  He was chief at the time of the uprising in 1862 but took no active part in it.  His village was on Crow Creek, Minn., at that time and his band numbered about 200 persons and 40 warriors.  After the Battle of Birch Coule he was imprisoned by order of Gen. Sibley, and served three years in various prisons for some unknown crime.



“Big Foot” (Leader of the ‘hostiles’ and killed at Wounded Knee)

Welch notes, undated:

A chief of the Hunkpapa, who assumed command of about 300 hostiles after the death of Sitting Bull in the winter of 1890.  They fled but were overtaken by the troops of the cavalry on Wounded Knee Creek and surrendered.

In attempting to disarm the warriors a fight was started and nearly the entire band, including Big Foot was killed.

This fight was caused, so say the Indians, by a soldier firing on a young man whose rifle was under his blanket.  No attempt was made to draw the gun and it looked to the Indians as though it was a preconcerted signal to start the bloody dead.  This was December 29th, 1890 and the weather was terribly cold.

The soldiers turned gatling guns upon the defenseless Indians and shot them indiscriminately.  The wounded laid on the frozen ground all night with no shelter or succor and many froze to death.  Women took off their dresses to wrap around their children and were found thus, dead.  Many terrible tales are told by the Indians of this fight, which they claim was revenge on the part of the 7th Cavalry.  The Indians call it a massacre.



“Big Head” (Scout for Custer)

Welch notes, undated:

Big Head, an Arikara Scout under Custer on the Little Big Horn Expedition, died in vicinity of Underwood, N.D., late in June 1921.



“Big Mouth” (slain by Spotted Tail, 1874)

Welch notes, undated:

An Oglala, but a chief of the Sicangu Tetons the same time as Spotted Tail, with whom he was not friendly.  He was of considerable influence and good standing among his people, because Spotted Tail was against him.  He was not such a great historical character as Spotted Tail, however, and not so much given to ‘grand stand plays.’  He gained his power by is views of policy.

Spotted Tail went to Washington where his views underwent a complete change and Big Mouth used this changing of his mind to disparage his rival.  In 1874 Spotted Tail called at Big Mouth’s lodge and, when he appeared, two of Spotted Tail’s warriors seized him and their chief shot him dead.



“Birds Bill” (Custer Scout)

Birds Bill, standing on left, 1924biog20-birds-bill



“Bird Lying Down” (story of the White Man’s right hand)

May 4th, 1929, I drove to Elbowoods with Ernest Wilkinson and Thomas Rogers (Charges Alone).  In the morning, Sunday, we drove to various Gros Ventre homes trying to pick up elk teeth.  At the lodge of Bird Lying Down, we found the old warrior, face painted, but pleasant.  I told him that I was Sioux, in sign language, as I do not speak Gros Ventre.  He answered, and then went into a lengthy tale of some Crow friends of his who crawled into a hole where there was a hungry bear.  They pulled him out and he growled much but did not bite them.  Then they saw a white man on a horse and gave chase.  Soon they had him full of arrows, but when they got up to him, he was not there.  He had disappeared in some ghostly fashion.  Only one hand was left there.  They looked all about.  He was gone.  Something queer about this.  Buy, anyway, they had his right hand.  He keeps it yet, tied up in a bundle.  It was his big bid for the right of being known as a brave man, to Charging Bear, the Sioux.

A woman, who said she knew me, gave me her dress to take home and try to sell.  It has some 500 artificial elk teeth on it.  Another woman, sister to Thomas Roger’s wife, left me take 367 artificial teeth for the same purpose.



“Black Chest” (Custer Scout)

Black Chest, left, 1924




“Black Eagle” (Chief of Wahpekute Band, 1842-1851)

Wamdi Sapa’s band.  Black Eagle was chief of this band of the Wahpekute (there are two divisions to this tribe), from 1842 to 1851.  This band had a long war with the Sacs and Foxes after which they left the Wahpekute and settled at what is now Vermillion, S.D.  The band was soon after reduced to only about 15 lodges and the band took the name of their chief, Scarlet Point.



Black Hawk” (story of the Spicer Family Murders)

The Spicer Family Murders, told to me by a witness, who will remain unnamed under promise,  undated notes:

The Indians Paul Holy Track, Alex Cadotte (a negro breed) and Phillip Ireland were hanged at old Williamsport on a beef rig, for this murder.

They were badly beaten before being hung up by the mob.  Defender and Black Hawk escaped the noose somehow.  The dead men were put into rough boxes and taken to Fort Yates, where Father Bernard buried Cadotte in the catholic cemetery there, but the others were not permitted Christian burial, being ‘self-confessed murderers,’ but were thrown into the ground outside of the yard.

Holy Track’s mother cut herself with knives in a frightful manner to show her grief, cutting her breasts and slashing her arms and cheeks.

Father Bernard and Charlie McLaughlin talked with the camp all night to prevent a war party going and burning Winona, across the river from Fort Yates.  If there had been ice on the river, it could not have been prevented. 

Winona was a terrible hole with plenty of whiskey and women.



“Bloody Knife” (How this Custer Scout died)

 Emeron White, Dakota, educated, Fort Yates, August 17, 1922 talks to Welch: 

The Sioux people sing a song about a Ree Scout who died with Custer.  They call him Makpia Tatonka(Buffalo Cloud).  He rode a swift horse but it was wounded and they got around him.  The scout begged for his life and name the first born of the families of these Hunkpapa who were around him.  This is sacred to the people to name the first born and they always let an enemy get away when they do that.  But, this time everyone was excited and so they killed him there.  I think maybe that it was Bloody Knife, his other name.  They are all sorry for that thing now and sing this song in his honor:

“The horse came alone

Where is his rider?


Where is Buffalo Cloud?

Here he lays.”


  Welch discussing Custer and a photo with Chas. Luce, undated:

I’m inclined to believe it is California Joe in the picture, as I have several pictures of California Joe, and they show a strong likeness.,  I think Bloody Knife is one of the Indians.  You will remember a picture taken at Fort Lincoln where Custer and several families are sitting on the front porch.  In the rear of that picture, standing behind them on the piazza or veranda, is an Indian.  The very same Indian in the N.P. Picture, and I have always been told that was Bloody Knife.  You know Custer thought a lot of Bloody Knife, and I have always wondered why he turned him over to Reno instead of keeping him with him.  Although I do know that Custer, on the morning of the battle, at the Rosebud Divide, got a little ‘miffed,’ at Bloody Knife, when he told Custer that he would “have more Sioux to battle than he could handle.”

Bloody Knife, left, 1874biog24-bloody-knife



“Blue Earth”(World War I, France, 1918)

Richard Blue Earth, 1918


“Blue Thunder” (old camp Crier, 1925)



Most likely a separate “Blue Thunder” in group photo

Blue Thunder, at arrow, 1914





“Bob Tail Bull” (Custer Scout killed at Little Big Horn, 1872 photo)

Strikes the Knife (Stab) and Bob Tail Bull (Custer Scout, killed at Little Big Horn)biog30-bobtailbull



Brave Bull”(World War I, France, 1918)



“Brave Bear” (The Story of His Depredations in 1874)

Brave Bear—the Story of his Depredations, As written by Col. A. B. Welch, 1932:

Brave Bear, 1880’sbiog32-brave-bear

James McLaughlin came to Devils Lake, in the Territory of Dakota, in 1871, and was connected with the Indian Department in one capacity or another, as the Indian Agent there, which was and still is called Fort Totten.  Finally he was appointed Indian Agent over the wild, restless Yanktonaise, Cut Heads and Wapeton Sioux who lived there, and became the representative of the “Great Father” in Washington.  The records of his official activities there are preserved in a volume of thin sheets, in which each communication and report were “filed” by taking an impression of them upon numbered pages by means of placing the letter, which had been written in longhand with copying ink – together with a board and damp cloth – at the desired page and then screwing it down with a hand wheel.  In this manner these old records are even truer than the carbon copies of today.  Part of the history of the man known as Brave Bear is taken from these old records.

While this is not a story of the “Custer Fight” of 1876, mention is made in this record under date of 1878, in a report the Indian Commissioner at Washington, of 349 Indians being there then, all of whom had taken part in that bloody affair on the Little Big Horn.

The great chief at Devils Lake at that time, was the famous Wanata (Rushing Man), son of the Yanktonaise Chief of the same name, and grandson of Chief Wahkiyan Luta (Red Thunder) who had headed a force of considerable Sioux who fought against the American settlers along the Ohio and before Detroit, as allies of the British, in the War of 1812.force of considerable Sioux who fought against the American settlers along the Ohio and before Detroit, as allies of the British, in the War of 1812.

Red Thunder was a Chief of much influence at that time and his friendship had been carefully cultivated by the British.  Robert Dixon, who was known among the Sioux tribes as “Red Head,” was the British Agent among the Sioux, and had taken as his wife, a sister of Red Thunder.  Influenced by Dixon, the Yanktonaise Sioux had made peace with their old enemies, the Chippewa and, through this arrangement, Dixon was enjoying great prosperity.  However, Red Thunder broke the peace covenant by stealing a Chippewa woman and fleeing with her into the Sioux Territory.  Flat Mouth, the Chippewa Chief, made a vow of vengeance against the famous Red Thunder, and started a tribal. war.

It came to pass that Red Thunder received an invitation to visit Dixon at his trading post upon the Red River of the North.  Upon arrival there, he found that Dixon was absent with a trading expedition.  However, Flat Mouth, the Chippewa, together with a band of his warriors, was in the immediate vicinity and proposed to entertain him.  The next we hear of Red Thunder, his head was being proudly displayed to all the Chippewa camps in the Minnesota country.

Waanata, his son, died a natural death and was buried at the mouth of Beaver Creek in Emmons County, North Dakota.  His grandson, Wanata, the powerful Chief at Devils Lake, lies buried in the graveyard at that Agency.  Thus passed a line of warrior Chiefs of the Yanktonaise.

In the latter days of June 1874, five Teton Sioux came into the camps of the Yanktonaise at Devils Lake.  They were under the leadership of a square-faced Hunkpapa Sioux brave, named Mato Ohitika (Brave Bear) as he was known along the Missouri, but who went by the nickname of Wapepe (Thorny) among the Devils Lake Indians. Major McLaughlin was Acting Agent there at that time and saw these Indian youths several times during the time they stayed there.  After visiting five days, they mounted their ponies and left.  It is know that one of the five returned to the Standing Rock country.

On July 3rd, the day after their departure, an Indian named “Tawcihay” reported to the Agent that he had met them about twenty miles east of the Agency; that he had talked with the four men, who had stated  that they were going south toward Standing Rock.  He had been surprised however, while hunting horses that same evening, to run across their trail two miles north of his camp, and he suspected that they were on a horse-stealing expedition as their trail led toward St. Joe, in the vicinity of Walhalla, as it became known, a small settlement about ninety miles distant from Fort Totten, lying in what is at, present, Pembina County, North Dakota.

Brave Bear—the Story of his Depredations

This settlement was a struggling arrangement of log houses along the pleasant banks of the Pembina River, a veritable outpost of civilization, about thirty miles west of the fort at Pembina on the Red River of the North.  The rolling prairies stretched away as far as the eye could reach, with timbered bottom lands along the river and in the gullies.  Several families with pioneering instincts lived within the radius of a few miles of this historic settlement.  Among these families, the writer finds the names of George W. Reed, George Emmerling, the Joseph Campbell family, Charles Dumas, John Maker, Joseph Trottier, Joseph Delorme, and there were others, no doubt, whom we would like to mention, did we but know who they were.  J. R. Moorhead, at present in business in Pembina, was born at Walhalla in 1867.

On Sunday, July 4th, 1874, the day after the Indian, Tawacihay, had met Brave Bear and his party, they appeared approaching the log house of Joseph Delorme at St. Joe.  Delorme, a splendid type of French and Indian descent, apparently had no suspicion of the four Sioux, and they started talking about trading horses.  As they neared the stable where Delorme kept his horses, the Indians killed him and his son, Louis, at the first opportunity, and this atrocious deed was followed quickly by the killing of Delorme’s son-in-law, Baptise Moran.  The hostiles then went to the log house and attacked both Nancy Delorme, who was the wife of Baptise, and Mrs. Delorme, whose maiden name was Isabella Burneau.  After having beaten and dragged the women about by the hair, it is said that they then scalped one of the women and left them both for dead.  Both of then recovered from the wounds, however.

Brave Bear and his companions then rounded up all the horses to be found upon the place and quickly departed.  They apparently went directly to Jamestown, passing the camp of the Indian, “Tawacihay,” in the morning of the 6th of July, and they were seen in camp that same evening at Lake Belland, by several freighters.  Early in the morning of July 7th, they appeared in Jamestown and boasted that they had killed some Chippewas “up north by the big river,” and displayed one fresh scalp.  Henry Belland, Sioux interpreter at the military post at Fort Totten, saw them and conversed with them.  Brave Bear stated that he had killed one of the women with a sword, but that he had lost it during the hard ride after the fight.  Mr. Belland afterward found this sword, still stained with blood, a few miles north of Jamestown on the Indian trail, where Brave Bear had dropped it.  The hostile party of young Sioux followed the James river after leaving Jamestown, then turned west, reached the Missouri river, swam the great stream with their booty and reach safety among their own people.

The murder of the Delorme family was discovered by John F. Mager, who happened to pass the log house of Delorme with his sister and a maid.  A man stood at the rail fence which surrounded the house and shouted to them to go away, as Indians had killed the entire family.  Hastily returning, Mager spread the alarm and a party of twenty French-Indian horsemen was quickly formed and started out to trail the murderers.

The women and children were gathered at the Emmerling home and means of protection were adopted for the expected general Sioux outbreak, for this little settlement was directly within the “no-man’s-land” district which separated the Sioux and their ancient enemies, the Chippewa.  Some of the women and children were taken to Pembina that night, a distance of thirty miles or more, and the commander of the military post there, at once sent troops forward to relieve the situation.  These troops were guided by the father of J. W. Moorhead of Pembina. Axious days followed this atrocious murder, and a Sergeant and ten men remained at Walhalla all that summer, but the dreaded uprising did not occur.  The deed had been perpetrated by men of a small, adventurous band of youthful Sioux, intent upon obtaining war honors and new names and, incidently, a few good horses.  The house where the murders were committed burned to the ground in 1931, and Mrs. Isabel Campbell, one of the survivors, still lived there at the age of 94.

It has been the general opinion that Brave Bear was executed and that the other three members of this dangerous band met death while resisting arrest for this crime, but such is not the case.  In endeavoring to establish the facts, it is found that only one of them was killed.  It is true that Major McLaughlin arrested Brave Bear and another of the band at Fort Totten, on March 16th, 1878.  These two had been visiting their relatives at Fort Totten, and their capture was a tragic episode.  In the arrest, Ishnakiyapi (“The Only One”) was killed

Original 1878 letter about Brave Bear’s Depredations

from copybook of Major James McLaughlin, U.S. Indian Agent, Devils Lake, Dakota Territory

James McLaughlin came to Devils Lake, in the Territory of Dakota, in 1871, and was connected with the Indian Department in one capacity or another, as the Indian Agent there, which was and still is called Fort Totten.  Finally he was appointed Indian Agent over the wild, restless Yanktonaise, Cut Heads and Wahpeton Sioux who lived there, and became the representative of the “Great Father” in Washington.  The records of his official activities there are preserved in a volume of thin sheets, in which each communication and report were “filed” by taking an impression of them upon numbered pages by means of placing the letter, which had been written in longhand with copying ink – together with a board and damp cloth – at the desired page and then screwing it down with a hand wheel.  In this manner these old records are even truer than the carbon copies of today.  Part of the history of the man known as Brave Bear is taken from these old records.

Ist letter advising Brave Bear had shown up at Devils Lake Agency:


Letter giving the story of the DeLorme Massacre, page 1


Letter giving the story of the DeLorme Massacre, page 2


Letter giving the story of the DeLorme Massacre, page 3


Letter giving the story of the DeLorme Massacre, page 4


Letter giving the story of the DeLorme Massacre, final page 5



“Broken Arm” (1934 Photo)

Note on back of 1934 photo:  Broken Armbiog34-broken-arm-photo



“Brought Plenty” (1924 Photo)



“Brown Eyes” (1923 Photo given to Welch)




“Brown Face” (a Little History statement)

Brown Face, Yanktonaise, to Welch, June 18th 1917

Said that the Hunkpapas, Oglalas, Brules and Sihasapa were always fighting the white wherever they could find them, but that the Yanktons, Yantonaise and Sans Arcs were always friendly and had traded with the whites for a long time in the past.

He named a band as Mahkpiah-to and said they were not friendly to the whites.  Said that this band lived with the Oglala.


“Brown, Sarah” (1924 Photo)



“Brugier, Eugene” (a little French-Indian history from 1800)

Eugene Bruguier talks with Welch, Fort Yates, N.D., April 3rd, 1923

This man lives in the vicinity of Fort Yates. He is a half breed.  His father was a Frenchman who came into the country of the Mdewankanton Dakotah at Kaposa (St.Paul) sometime before 1800, and made medicine with the band of the Little Crow.  He took an Indian wife.  Later on he went into the southern part of the Santee country and settled on Big Sioux river, in the vicinity of what is now Sioux City, Iowa.  He came in from Montreal, via the Great Lakes waterways.

After the treaty of Prairie des Chien with Capt. Clarke, he settled in the vicinity of what is now Pierre, S.D., on the east side of the Missouri river, on Chapelle Creek, where he run a trading store with the Santee as well as the Tetons.  Her also had trading stations at different times, at Forts Sully and Rice.  Mr. Galpin, who married the Indian widow of Honore Picotte, was his clerk.

He would take furs and robes to St. Joseph or St. Louis, sell them, load up with horses, and take these back to his Indian relatives and friends.  He would give these horses away to them, and they were to give him agreed prices in furs at the end of the season.  In this manner he became quite wealthy.

His son, the subject of this sketch, was born on the Big Sioux river, and is now sixty seven years old.  He was educated, but has always lived with his Indian relatives.  He speaks English, but mixes the language with many Indians words and strange, old western oaths and Dakotah inflections.

“By God  – I’m glad to see you now.”

“By Gar  – wanna, you see them geese.”

“Heca, many they fly.”

“Spring he come maybe  – Iblexta.”



“Buffalo Boy” ( I have fought many battles when I had buffalo meat to eat) 

At the Dance of Mato Watakpe, 1913:

……The old man who had fallen down, exhausted, sent a man around the ring of dancers after the dance had finished, who said for the other:

“I fell in the dance because I am not as strong as I used to be when I was fighting with Grass.  I have fought many battles when I had buffalo meat to eat.  But now I can not get that to eat any more and I am weak.  I am ashamed that I am weak.  I have lost my honor.  But I will buy back my honor if no one objects.  I am sorry to have fallen down in this new dance of Mato Watakpe’s, so I will give two dollars for the feast.  Does any one object?  Then, it is done.”

This was related in a song by the man he sent around the circle, who walked slowly while he sang.  I asked to be allowed to pay the two dollars for him and did do so.  After this, the weak old man stood and sang a song about:

“He has a good heart.  His is a good friend.  He does not lie.”

The name of the old man who fell down was Tatonka Hoksina or Buffalo Boy.


“Mr. & Mrs. Bull Bear” (1926 Photo)

Search for lost papers of Bull Bear (Mato Tatonka) … another name is Mad in the Lodge (Tiyo Knaskinyan), April 20th, 1926:

Bull Bear, left, 1926biog38-mr-mrs-bull-bear

This man was a scout for several six-months enlistments at Fort Rice, and carried mail from Rice to Ft. Yates and to Ft. Lincoln.  Was mail dispatch rider for from three to five years.  Iron Roads, Goose, Red Hail, Grey Bear and Cold Hand were all scouts at the same time.

From the talk of his son, the present Bull Bear, I take it for granted that he at last deserted

…”He went to see his family and relatives.’  then he got sick and did not go back anymore.  Three Stars (General Crook) took seven head of his horses in 1876 and burned his lodges, robes, meat and camp material, so he had nothing left.  This was down there by Ft. Yates.”

His woman, Black Corn, also had four head of horses taken at that time.

“His papers from the army got lost.  Maybe they were burned up.  I want to get others just like them now.  I come to you to do that for me.”



“Bull Head” (Died as he shot Sitting Bull, Dec. 1890)

 Bull Head (Tatonka Pah), Sometimes called Afraid of the Bear (Mato Kokipopi)


Notes on back of Photograph:

Photograph of Bull Head, sometimes called Afraid of the Bear.  1st Lieut. Of Indian Police at the Battle of the Grand River, Dec. 15th, 1890.  In this battle this man was mortally wounded by Catch the Bear, a Ghost-dancing hostile.  As Bull Head fell, he shot Sitting Bull and Red Tomahawk also shot Sitting Bull at the same time.

Bull Head was taken to Fort Yates and died there on Dec. 18th in the evening.  Shave Head, the 1st Sgt., also died after being wounded and taken to Fort Yates on Dec. 16th.  Bull Head was shot four times.

Mandan, N.D., Jan. 29th, 1927:

Today I received a photo of this man, who lost his life at the arrest of Sitting Bull.  Also several Warrants issued by the Indian Department, appointing him to be an office in the U.S.Indian Police Force at Standing Rock Agency, Dakota Territory.

Rank   Date   Commissioner   Name used

Captain,  Dec 16-1878,  E.A.Hoyt,  Afraid of Bear

Captain,  Sept 5-1879,  E.A.Hoyt,  Afraid of Bear

Captain,  Aug 31-1880,  E.M.Marble (acting),  Afraid of Bear

Captain,  Sept 6-1881,  S.A.Price,  Afraid of Bear

1st Lieut,  Aug 7-1889,  T.J.Morgan,  Bull Head

Lieut,  Jan 8-1886  I.D.C.Atkins,  Bull Head

 Also two appointments as Judge of the Court of Indian Offences signed by A.B.Cipshaw, Acting Commissioner:

Judge,  Oct 20, 1885,  Expiration Jane 30, 1886,  Effective July 1-1885

Judge,  Sept 20, 1886,  Expiration June 30, 1887,  Effective July 1-1886

 Sam Halsey talks to Welch, May 1915:

He was Captain of Indian Police on Standing Rock Reservation at time Sitting Bull was killed in 1890, and in charge of the force which captured and killed him.

He was a little fellow.  Mato Watakpe (Chief John Grass) says he is good man.  He is my uncle in the white way.  He was brave man.  When he was fifteen years old he kill an enemy once.  I think it some Crow man maybe.  He awful good fightin’ fellow man.  He kill two, three more mans maybe.  I don’t know.  I think so.  He awful smart man too.  They say so.  He wear long eagle’s feathers.  He kill’em, enemy mans.  He stay round here (note: during Little Big Horn Fight).  He not fight Custer.  They make him Captain police for that.  Long time Captain.”

Note:  This man had hold of Sitting Bull by the right arm, when Crow Foot, Sitting Bull’s son, came around the corner of the log house and, seeing his father prisoner, started shooting.  Bull Head was killed instantly at his first shot.  He is buried at Fort Yates Catholic yard.




“Bull, Luis” (Son of Sitting Bull)



“Bulls Eye” (Grandson of Sakakawea, 1923)

 Welch interview with Bulls Eye, Shell Village, May 29, 1923:

Welch and Bulls Eye, 1927biog39-bulls-eye-photo

His Indian name is Tatan Tatonka, and he is the second son of Otter Woman, who was the second child of Sakakawea, the Bird Woman of 1804-5-6 who guided the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  He died of heart trouble March 20, 1928 at Shell Village on the Elbowoods Reservation.  The Gros Ventre Story of Sakakawea, as told by Bulls Eye is a vital part of the Welch Collection