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Chronicling America

Manuscripts by Subject - Indians of North America - #11236

Title: Josephine Waggoner        

Dates: ca. 1925-1987

Collection Number: MSS 11236

Quantity: 2 feet

Abstract: Consists of manuscripts written by Josephine (McCarthy) Waggoner (1871-1943) including stories of Lakota and Dakota tribal members, their traditional customs and beliefs, Waggoner's own life experiences, and biographies of Lakota and Dakota chiefs. Information for many of the manuscripts was told to Waggoner by tribal members. Waggoner worked with several individuals, including Frank Herriott and George F. Will Sr. to edit her manuscripts for publication. The collection includes original manuscripts by Waggoner, edited versions by both men, and related correspondence. The collection also includes correspondence about litigation undertaken by Waggoner's descendants to reclaim her manuscripts. 

Provenance: The Josephine Waggoner Papers were donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Jan McKinney, Waggoner's granddaughter, on September 23, 2014. 

Property rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to the collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed. 

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

Related Collections:       
MSS 10190 George F. Will Family Papers
Series 30203 SHSND Superintendent's Correspondence
Earl Alonzo Brininstool Collection, 1850-1945. Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Lawrence Frost Collection at the Monroe County Library (Monroe, Michigan).

Collection Note: Most of the manuscript material in the collection was published in the 2013       book Witness: A Húŋkpapȟa Historian's Strong-Heart Song of the Lakotas, by Josephine Waggoner, edited by Emily Levine.

By Josephine McCarthy Waggoner
From MSS 11236 as published in Witness, edited by Emily Levine

Yes, I can write a short sketch of my life, but there would not be very much, just a continual chain of duties day in and day out, always on a ranch, lonely and far from other habitations .... Took care of ten children that came to me. I studied history of our own people to keep my mind occupied. -JOSEPHINE WAGGONER to Frank Herriott, December 23, 1932

I was born at Grand River Agency, South Dakota, October 28, 1871. Grand River was a fur trading post, built about the year 1866, on the west side of the Missouri River. A year later the military built a garrison there for four companies of soldiers. And in the summer of 1868 an Indian agency was built near the American Fur Company trading post.

My father's trading store (Charles H. McCarthy) was on the east side of the river. He had several men working for him, chopping wood, for he had a contract to furnish the garrison with wood. At that time the river bottoms were heavily timbered and the Indians had come in from the west to make their winter quarters near the agency. When it was nearly time for my birth, my mother came over, across the river, to my grandmother's camp near the agency, where I was born.

My mother and father were married by a Catholic priest who came up every year from St. Joseph, Missouri, on one of the many steamboats which traveled up and down the Missouri River every year. In those days the Indians were preparing for a defense against the invasion of their country by the whites. Guns and ammunition were scarce. The buffalos, which had supplied the Indians with meat and clothing as well as bedding and moccasins, were fast disappearing. It was useless to try to stop the white buffalo
hunters who were on Sioux territory one day-and the next were gone to some other field of exploration.

There was many a young Indian girl sold to white traders. Buffalo robes, elk hides, beaver, mink, and otter hides, which were used as a medium of exchange, were almost extinct. My mother often went with her people when they went to trade at my father's store. He took notice of her and paid special attention to her trading. My uncles and male relatives took notice of this. They consulted with my mother and told her the situation, that they were scarcely armed to defend their nation. My mother was willing to be sold. She was decked out in her finest clothes and taken to my father. My father accepted her and she was sold for arms and ammunition. I believe there were ten guns and several pounds of powder and bullets. These relatives of my mother told my father that the arms were for hunting purposes.

I have always admired my father for his speech to these Indians. Father told them that he had been in the war and had traveled many places since the war, that he had never married and had no offspring, but the woman he married and who was to be the mother of his children, he intended to marry legally, the way marriage was generally performed among the white race. He told them that a marriage performed by a man of God was for life and was sacred-it was not for a year or two, but forever. Father told my uncles to bring my mother up the next time a steamboat came up the river, which happened to be in a few days. When the boat arrived, a priest got off. He always stayed at the log fur trading post here Mr. Galpin was in charge. Here at the fur trading post, my father and mother were married. My father always honored my mother and treated her with respect until his death at Bismarck, North Dakota, while performing his duty as sheriff.

My father was about ten years old when his parents emigrated to this country in 1840 from County Cork, Ireland, settling in Minnesota, south of St. Paul. My father told Mother he had five brothers and three sisters. He named me Josephine after his favorite sister. I was the only child. My father enlisted in Minnesota for the Civil War, when the war began. He told his friends that he marched with General Sherman from Atlanta to the sea. In battle, he was wounded in the leg. As a result, he was discharged from the army. He came out west to seek his fortune and struck gold in a Black Hills claim. He sold out for a large amount and returned to Yankton. He had a great interest in the early political affairs of the country. He was admitted to the Dakota Territorial Legislature from Todd County in the 1865-1867 session (Kingsbury's History of South Dakota, vol.1 , pg. 448). He resigned from this and came upriver and established his trading house, where he was until I was born, when he moved to Bismarck in the fall of 1871.

He took an interest in helping to establish the community of Bismarck - in the political affairs, the business part, and in the local land organization. He had a claim on Apple Creek and had several lots in the town site, a livery barn, many horses, mules, wagons, sleighs, and buggies. I never knew what became of all his property and land interests and his money deposited with the priest at Bismarck, for Mother bought a large tent and, taking only trunks and household belongings, she returned to her people at Standing Rock.

A log schoolhouse was built at that agency. Mrs. Van Solen, who used to be Miss Louisa Picotte, was the teacher. I attended day school there in 1877. My mother had been married before to a Ben Arnold. From this marriage my sister Marcella was born, five years before my birth. We both went to day school with many other Indian children. My mother had a log cabin built at the agency, close to the interpreter William Halsey's house. The agent, Major Hughes, gave her a job as matron. There were about thirty
men employed at that time as farmers. She took care of making up the beds, sweeping, and washing for the men. These employees built agency quarters, such as dwelling houses, barns, and new school quarters - a long row of log rooms, one end of which was the quarters for the priest. The garrison at Fort Yates was also being built up with a stockade around it. There were no vacations those days and the quarters were stockaded so none of the children could get away, so we were practically prisoners, behind stockades. When parents came on ration days, they had to talk to their children through the small openings between the logs. Sometimes there were railings on both sides of the stockade. Later, the government built two nice, large, frame boarding schools, one at the agency and one sixteen miles below Fort Yates, along the river where there was a colony of Indians. This place was called Farm School. As the agency school was too crowded, some of us were sent down there. I went to school at Farm School in 1879, 1880, and the winter of 1881. The last year we were allowed to go home for vacation.

The fall of 1881 an army officer came from the East to gather schoolchildren, a Lieutenant Brown. He came to my mother's place with Major McLaughlin and Edward DeGray as interpreter. This custom of keeping us in school year in and year out was a bugbear to many of us, although we were better off and had more to eat than our folks, who were having hard times most of the time, but we didn't realize that. We thought we were abused and always wanted to run away, which we often did. But there were Indian police who caught us and brought us right back to face punishment. That was often a severe strapping and being sent to bed without our supper. When Major McLaughlin proposed going to school in the East, I was all enthused about it, so my name was put down among the list. I was nine years old then and I was anxious to see the wonders I had heard about and seen in the pictures I had looked at. Most of the pictures I had seen were in fairy storybooks and I could not start soon enough.

Mrs. McLaughlin took charge of the girls, five in number, while the lieutenant was in charge of the same number of boys. I was the smallest of the girls. All the others were from fourteen to seventeen years old. When we reached Mandan, where we were to take a train the next day, there were other pupils there waiting for us. They were from Fort Berthold Reservation. The boys were all wearing leggings, moccasins, and blankets, with paint and long scalp locks and braided hair. Some of the girls whispered
that they were enemies and we were awfully shy of them. Mrs. McLaughlin tried to get us to be friendly. I don't know why she picked on me to shake hands with them; there was a little girl about my age and she wanted me to play with her. She got me by the hand and was going to pull me to her, but I pulled back when she took firm hold on my wrist to pull me to the girl. All the others were stolidly looking on. The more she pulled me, the more I pulled back, till I slipped and fell on the floor, so she dragged me
to the little girl. I was sobbing and crying, but the little girl took me by the hand and smiled. It was such a ridiculous scene that both sides, the Rees and Sioux, started to laugh and the embarrassment was over and the little Mandan girl and I became the greatest of friends before the journey was over. We talked broken English to each other.

We stopped at the Tremont Hotel near the Capitol. The next day Mrs. McLaughlin took us to the White House to see President Arthur, who had just been made president. We went through the capital buildings and to the different museums. They were wonderful. That night I had a nightmare: I thought the mummies I had seen were following us everywhere. When we reached Hampton, Virginia, there were more strange tribes, but I no longer feared them. I was started in the fourth grade. I was indifferent in my studies, like the other Indian children in the grade school, but in two years I was promoted into the preparatory department, where the colored children were entered, for they could not come to Hampton unless they had finished the grade schools. The preparatory studies had to be finished before the normal school was taken up. I had one year of the preparatory and two years of the normal school. I stayed two three-year entries and when my time was up, I came home.

All the teachers General Armstrong employed were from the New England states. I have never seen such patience, such sweetness, nor such endurance as these New England teachers had. When I look back, we must have been terribly trying at times. Sometimes we were stubborn, sulky, and pouty and could hardly be driven or persuaded. I never knew the value of education until I sat in the same classroom with the poor colored children, who struggled so hard for an education. I have seen them cry and pray over difficult problems that they could not understand.

It was only twenty years after the Civil War when we were at Hampton. The colored people did all the hardest labor in the different factories and the wages were very small. There were many employed at this school who worked all day and attended school at night. This arrangement was made by the great wisdom of General Armstrong, so that those who wanted an education and didn't have the money could have the advantages of school at night. Most of the colored children were devout Christians and it was a
great pleasure to go to the prayer meetings and listen to their experiences. They were an inspiration and an inducement for us Indian children to make an effort to keep up with them in all things.

After I returned from school, I worked at the Episcopalian mission, called St. Elizabeth Mission, at Wakpala. I did housework and interpreted for Mr. Weddell, who was sent out as a missionary to the Indians. He only spoke English and the Indians could not understand him, although the church was full and all were anxious to hear him speak on the Bible. I was with Mr. and Mrs. Weddell for a year, interpreting from the pulpit. Mr. and Mrs. Weddell were transferred, and after that time Bishop Hare would come to the mission about every three months. I also interpreted for him many times.

Early in the winter I worked for Mr. and Mrs. Reed, who had a mission a mile south of Fort Yates. The Congregational Mission Society sent them out. They had a church, a dwelling house, and a hospital. I worked in the hospital under Doctor Devoll. While working there, I met my husband. The lightning struck a camp and killed two Indians and some were stunned. My husband came out on his bicycle from Fort Yates and helped us carry the Indians into the hospital. The patients were scalded pretty badly with
boiling water and had to be treated. After this meeting he came sometimes and I got acquainted with him. We were married that fall, late on Thanksgiving Day 1889.

This was the year that the Ghost Dancing was started. I often went home to my mother's place, about twenty-four miles south of Fort Yates. It was at these times that I spoke to the Ghost Dancers. I was often asked to read letters from fanatics from Pine Ridge. It was very hard to bring them out of their delusion. I talked with the principal men; among them were Sitting Bull, Thunder Hawk, Bear Face, Crow Feather, and many others at Thunder Hawk's house, where Kenel is now, and at other meetings. I talked with some of the men, but they were so set and convinced, I could not do anything with them.

We lived in the Garrison until my husband received his discharge from the army in 1892, after which time we moved out on Fourmile Creek, eight miles from town, where we ranched for several years, raising horses and cattle. When the time came to give allotments to the Indians, we moved ninety miles west, out on Hay Creek, where the railroad was being built. I sold the town site at Keldron to a land company for four thousand dollars. I sent my children to Carlisle, Haskell, and Flandreau after they finished the common school grades. We raised four boys and five girls.

When the Depression started, we came into the Soldiers' Home at Hot Springs, South Dakota. My husband was in the Sitting Bull War. He had served five years before, down in Arizona, from 1881 to 1885.

[Josephine Waggoner passed away at the home of her daughter, Daphne Quay, on February 14, 1943].



Box 1:
1 Introductory/supplemental material ca. 1940
2 Manuscript chapters that were in the possession of F. I. Herriott ca. 1935
3 Bibliography    ca. 1930s-1943
4 Lists of chiefs and miscellaneous ca. 1930s-1943
5 Title sheets     ca. 1980s
6 Table of contents ca. 1935
7 Introduction/autobiography    1940
8 Manuscripts: Mahaitrum coccineum, clothing, culture, menstruation, animals, birds, men's names, language ca. 1940-1943
9 Tribal organization        ca. 1940-1943
10 "Sioux Legends and Traditions and Their Origins" manuscript ca. 1930s-1943
11 Emigrations, "Ancient Legends of the Sioux" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
12 "Agriculture" manuscript        ca. 1940-1943
13 "Aztecs" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
14 "The White Buffalo" manuscript          ca. 1940-1943
15 "The Hunkpapayua" and other bands manuscripts      ca. 1930s-1943
16 "Some South Dakota Geography" manuscript  ca. 1940-1943
17 "Buffalo Hunt" manuscript     ca. 1940-1943
18 Grattan Massacre manuscript ca. 1940-1943
19 Tribal History manuscript (before the birth of Josephine) ca. 1940-1943
20 "The Wagonbox Battle" manuscript   ca. 1940-1943
21 Waggoner's early life, birth to 1875 manuscript ca. 1940-1943
22 "Cuthead Band of Sioux at Poplar, Montana" manuscript         ca. 1940-1943
23 "At Standing Rock" manuscript             ca. 1940-1943
24 The winter of 1875-1876 manuscript  ca. 1940-1943
25 1876, 1877 and 1878 manuscript           ca. 1940-1943
26 "The Yanktonais all made their dwelling places north of Fort Yates..." manuscript  ca. 1940-1943
27 "The Surrender" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
28 The Year of 1881… manuscript              ca. 1940-1943
29 Hampton Normal and Industrial School manuscript     ca. 1940-1943
30 "Missions" manuscript, part 1 ca. 1940-1943
31 "Gall (Pizí)" and part 2 of "Missions"  ca. 1940-1943
32 "Sitting Bull" short manuscript ca. 1940-1943
33 "Sitting Bull" manuscript          ca. 1940-1943
34 "After Sitting Bull's Death" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
35 Waggoner's life from 1892 manuscript ca. 1940-1943
36 "Tamahay [Támahe], the One Eyed Sioux" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
37 "Sleepy Eye (Ištáȟba)" manuscript     ca. 1940-1943
38 "Little Crow (Tȟaoyátedúta)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
39 "Black Spotted Horse (Šúŋgleškásápa), Ciwalazi, Spotted Rabbit (Maśtíŋčalaglešká)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
40 "Real Buffalo (Heyókȟahmi)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
41 "Big Head (Nasúnatȟáŋka)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
42 "Bear Ribs" manuscript            ca. 1940-1943
43 "Bear Face (Matȟó Íté)" manuscript  ca. 1940-1943
44 "Rain in the Face (Itéomağážu)" manuscript   ca. 1940-1943
45 "Running Antelope (Tȟatȟoka Íŋyaŋke)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
46 "Mad Bear (Matognskinyan)" manuscript       ca. 1940-1943
47 "Charger (Waánataŋ)" manuscript      ca. 1940-1943
48 "White Swan II (Maǧáska)" manuscript            ca. 1940-1943
49 "At Custer's Battle: The Story of Mato Hanska" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
50 "Chief He Dog (Šúŋka Bloká)" manuscript        ca. 1940-1943
51 "American Horse (Wašíču Tȟašúŋke)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
52 "Hump (Čhaŋȟáȟake)" manuscript     ca. 1940-1943
53 "Hollow Horn Bear (Matȟóhéȟloğeča)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
54 "One Horn (Héwaŋžíča)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
55 "Red Tomahawk (Čhaŋȟpílúta)" manuscript   ca. 1940-1943
56 "Lieutenant Henry Bull Head Jr. (Tȟatȟáŋkapȟa)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
57 "Swift Bear (Matȟó Oȟ'áŋkȟo)" manuscript   ca. 1940-1943
58 "Iron Shell (Thukímáza)" manuscript  ca. 1940-1943
59 "Two Strike (Núŋpa Kapȟá)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
60 "Struck by the Ree (Pȟalániyapȟápi)" manuscript        ca. 1940-1943
61 "Cross Bear (Matȟó Oĉíŋnsica) and Spotted Horn Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Héglešká)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
62 "Yellow Horse (Tȟašúŋkezi)" manuscript          ca. 1940-1943
63 "Crow Feather (Kȟaŋǧí Wíyaka), Bone Club (Hohú Čhaŋȟpi), Iron Star (Wičháȟpi Máza)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
64 "Swift Bird (Ziŋtkálakiŋyán), Four Bear (Matȟó Tópa), White Swan II (Maǧáska), High Horse (Tȟašúŋke Waŋkátuya)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
65 "Spotted Tail (Siŋté Glešká)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
66 "Red Cloud (Maȟpíyalúta)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
67 "Little Wound (Tȟaópičík'ala)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
68 "Big Turkey (Waglékšuŋ Tȟáŋka)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
69 "White Bear (Matoska)" manuscript  ca. 1940-1943
70 "Tahunska Tanka (John Brughier)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
71 "Grey Eagle (Waŋblíȟóta)" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
72 "Crazy Horse (Tȟašúŋke Witkó)" manuscript  ca. 1940-1943
73 "Weasel Bear (Itúŋkasaŋ Matȟó)" manuscript               ca. 1940-1943
74 "Lame Deer (Tȟáȟčahušté)" manuscript          ca. 1940-1943
75 "Spotted Eagle (Waŋblíglšká)" manuscript       ca. 1940-1943
76 "Spotted Elk (Big Foot) (Uŋpȟánglešká)" manuscript  ca. 1940-1943
77 "Flying By (Kiŋyáŋ Hiyáya)" manuscript             ca. 1940-1943
78 "Oglala Winter Count" by Makula, 1761-1877 ca. 1940-1943
79 "The Mackinaw Attack near Burnt Wood Creek" manuscript   ca. 1940-1943
80 "The Camping Death" ca. 1940-1943
81 "Indian Religions and Christian Missionaries" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
82 "Indians Hung at Mankato, Minnesota, 1862" list ca. 1940-1943
83 "In 1884 when I came back from Hampton" manuscript ca. 1940-1943
84 "Goose (Čhaŋtehi)" manuscript           ca. 1940-1943
85 "Scarlet Point (Íŋkpadúta)" manuscript            ca. 1940-1943
86 "Scarlet Point (Íŋkpadúta)" manuscripts by Waggoner and copies from the Lawrence Frost Collection at the Monroe County Library (Monroe, MI) and from the Earl Alonzo Brininstool Collection, 1850-1945. Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin ca. 1933
87 Background information and notes about George F. Will's transcription of Josephine Waggoner's diary by Adra (BeBe McPherson) 1992-1993
88 George F. Will's transcription of Josephine Waggoner's diary  ca. 1940-1943
89 George F. Will's transcription of Josephine Waggoner's diary  ca. 1940-1943
90 George F. Will's transcription of Josephine Waggoner's diary  ca. 1940-1943
91 Miscellaneous writings by Josephine Waggoner (photocopies) n.d.
92 Newspaper clippings about Josephine Waggoner and miscellaneous  ca. 1935-1970
93 Photocopy of a history of the Standing Rock Agency (from BeBe's files) ca. 1930s-1943

Box 2:
1 Josephine Waggoner manuscript with edits by George F. Will Sr. ca. 1940
2 Josephine Waggoner manuscript with edits by George F. Will Sr. ca. 1940
3 Josephine Waggoner manuscript with edits by George F. Will Sr. ca. 1940
4 Josephine Waggoner manuscript with edits by George F. Will Sr. ca. 1940
5 Josephine Waggoner manuscript with edits by George F. Will Sr. ca. 1940
6 Photocopy of the Josephine Waggoner/George F. Will Sr. manuscript   ca. 1940
7 Photocopy of the Josephine Waggoner/George F. Will Sr. manuscript   ca. 1940
8 Photocopy of the Josephine Waggoner/George F. Will Sr. manuscript   ca. 1940
9 Photocopy of the Josephine Waggoner/George F. Will Sr. manuscript   ca. 1940
10 Photocopy of the Josephine Waggoner/George F. Will Sr. manuscript  ca. 1940
11 Daphne (Waggoner) Quay memoir     ca. 1970s-1983
12 Josephine Waggoner miscellaneous correspondence  1925-1943
13 Josephine Waggoner and George F. Will Sr. correspondence  1940
14 Josephine Waggoner, Russell Reid and Daphne Quay correspondence              1940-1946
15 Nelson Mason, George F. Will Sr., Josephine and Frank Waggoner, and Daphne Quay correspondence 1940-1950
16 Josephine Waggoner and George F. Will Sr. correspondence  1941
17 Josephine Waggoner and George F. Will Sr. correspondence  1942-1943
18 Correspondence pertaining to the lawsuit about Josephine Waggoner's manuscript 1955-1979
19 Adra (BeBe) McPherson correspondence about publishing the manuscript and the lawsuit 1976-1978
20 Daphne Quay, George F. Will Jr., Luzetta Irons and Adra (BeBe) McPherson 1976-1978
21 Daphne Quay correspondence about the "Rekindling Campfires" manuscript 1986-1987
22 Adra (BeBe) McPherson and Don Diessner correspondence 1985
23 Adra (BeBe) McPherson and Billy Irons miscellaneous correspondence ca. 1992

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