Wooden Maiden…

by forrest fenn

Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 

 

 


Comfort comes from where you find it.

This 4 foot Indian woman was carved about 1830. Her original color tones and tints have gently faded through the years to form a pleasing meld. Her dress of green tobacco leaves identifies her for what she is, a cigar store Indian. The split down her extended bodice may serve to show the struggles of her culture. Before the red men got their own historians, stories of the quarrel always glorified the white man.

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I like this wooden lady because she touches me personally. When I look at her – silence responds – but her seeing eyes and angelic face speak in ways that are not misunderstood. Although she is good at keeping secrets, to me she’s the embodiment of an era I am wont to know.

FF with cigar store indian

Surely this lady stood in silent repose beside a smoke shop door in St. Louis or some other frontier town as an announcement for the product being sold just inside. At least I want to think so.

Another reason for my feelings about this maiden – she was given to me by my dear friend Eric Sloane, and now he lives vicariously through her to me. Imagination can be a treasure also.

 

Anabella’s Hat…

by forrest fenn

Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 

 

 

About forty-years ago, maybe more, an old Basque sheep herder came to me wanting to sell an awkward looking Alibates arrowhead. It was worth about five bucks so when he said he wanted fifteen, I bought it. I couldn’t guess how old the man was but his face looked like he’d slept on it for a long time.
“Where’d you find that point,” I asked.
“I donno, wherever I went, there I was,” or words similar.

He had a fun way so we sat down. He pulled a folded half-sheet of newspaper from his back pocket, tore off a small square and rolled a cigarette. The “tobacco”, looked like cedar bark. Then, to my amazement, he struck an iron strike-a-light against a piece of flint, which caused a spark that lit his smoke. And he did it with one hand. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I have a collection of fire starters and have used them at mountain man rendezvous, but would never have thought what he did was possible.

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Each time this strike-a-light struck the sharp edge of a flint it removed a red hot fliver of steel that fell upon tinder and started a fire.

Several cigarettes later the sheep herder rested his hat on the bench next to me. I picked it up. It was homemade from very thick, hand tanned hide, probably buffalo, and was maybe a hundred years old. He could see I liked it, and smiled to reveal an interesting tooth-lacking dental pattern.

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Anabella’s Hat

“It’ll break a fall,” he grinned, and pointed to the bullet hole near the hat’s forehead. “Got that one moonlit night when Anabella’s husband showed up unexpectedly. Unreasonable man, he was,” and the sheep man’s expression said that it was a proud failing. It didn’t take much for me to know that both the hat and the Basque had been molded in rude elements.

“How much you want for this old beat up hat,” I asked.
“No, No, with its history of saving my life a million dollars wouldn’t buy that thing.”
“I’ll give you three hundred bucks?”
“My God, sir, you sure bought a great hat.”

Kyetena’s Tobacco Canteen…

by forrest fenn

Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 

 

 

geronimo

 

In the early 1880s, Geronimo was the most prominent leader among the Apaches. His revengeful raids into Mexico and along the southern borders of Arizona and New Mexico were taking a heavy toll in life and property. President Grover Cleveland finally put pressure on General Crook to “rein in the terror at whatever cost.”

Kyetena, whose demeanor contained all of the earmarks of bad company, was the influential son of Nina, chief of the Warm Springs Band of the Chiricahua Apaches. He was released from Alcatraz early so he could be enlisted as a scout for the 4th Cavalry. In 1886, he was instrumental in talking Geronimo into surrendering to General Crook. The scout, who was suffering from severe dehydration at the time, was offered half a tin cup of water. He declined, saying that he would accept nothing less than a full drink, a testimony to the durability of the desert Indians.

The iconic Geronimo was a prisoner of war for 27 years. He died at Ft. Sill, in 1909, of pneumonia after being thrown from his horse and spending a cold night supine on the ground. On his deathbed Geronimo, who had long since learned the judicious lessons of what not to believe, muttered, “I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.”

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Kyetena’s canteen from The Forrest Fenn Indian Collection

During the Indian Wars, small canteens were fabricated to hold enough tobacco for a short bivouac. This one, made of copper and heavily patinated, contains the original tobacco. It was probably crafted by an army trooper and given to Kyetena, perhaps by General Crook himself.

The writing on the rondelle says:

FORT BOWIE 4TH CAV
SGT
KYETENA
1886
U.S. ARMY scout

The TOTC Word Cloud…

 

July, 2014
by E. C. Waters

 

A word cloud is an artistic depiction of words found in a text.  The size of the word indicates the frequency of its use. The larger the word, the more it has been used.
Color is not meaningful in this example.

Wordle.net will accept text and generate art depending on various user preferences.  In this example, all of the text (excluding various common stop list words like “the”, “and”, “or”, etc. from TTOTC were used with the intention of visualizing word frequency patterns for clues.

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