Red Cloud Visits a Friend.; The Great Indian Chief the Guest of Prof. Marsh in New-Haven.

“Red Cloud, the Sioux chief, is in New-Haven, the guest of his friend, Prof. O. C. Marsh of Yale College. Their acquaintance began in 1874, when the Professor, with an exploring party, was searching near the Black Hills for fossil specimens. The Indians were hostile, believing the explorers were after gold, but the Professor succeeded not only in placating Red Cloud, their chief, but in making him his warm friend, and now obtains his presence here that he may show him the fossils he obtained. The Professor said this morning:

‘You see Red Cloud did not feel just right himself about letting me take the bones, owing to the old Indian superstition that they were the remains of former tribes of Indians — of ancestors. But he rendered me great service. I always found him my friend, and now I want him to see just what was done with the fossils. I am not able to converse directly with him to any great extent. I learned a little of the language, and with that and signs I can make him partly understand. I don’t believe he speaks a word of English; he would lose caste if he learned it. I consider him a most remarkable man in every respect. He fought our soldiers harder than any Indian on the border, and I can assure you he is a great orator among his people, for I have heard him talk and have seen how he can influence them. He had the name of being blood-thirsty beyond belief, but in these latter years he has behaved better, and so far as I have known him he has always sought peace before war.

His band are known as the Ogallallas, and in 1874 I met him at the Red Cloud Agency, in the north-western part of Nebraska, on the border of Dakota, and south of the Black Hills. As I understand it he came East some weeks ago to press at Washington claims he has against the Government for $10,000 for horses taken from his people by Gen. Crook during the last Indian war. When he was East the last time I wanted to go to Washington to see him, he being unable to come here, but was prevented, greatly to his disappointment and mine. He comes now by special permission of Secretary Teller, of the Interior Department, to pay me a friendly visit. It has nothing to do with politics, matters of Indian policy, or anything of that nature.’

The party, consisting of Red Cloud, his interpreter, a half-breed named Edward Laramie; Prof. Marsh, and the latter’s secretary, Thomas C. Boswick, went this morning to the Peabody Museum and examined the specimens and relics in the various departments of the Professors’s collection. The big bones secured in Red Cloud’s country elicited from him a faint show of interest, but nothing else did. He marched from one cabinet to another, looking intently at the different specimens, but gazing upon all without a gesture or change of expression. This afternoon he was taken to the Yale art gallery and was shown 50 drawings of curiosities obtained by Prof. Marsh in Western explorations. These the Chief examined with about the same show of interest as he had displayed in looking at the museum relics.

The only emotion he has shown during his visit was this morning when the Professor met him at the depot. Then he shook hands warmly and laid his hand in a cordial way on the Professor’s shoulder and said something, which the interpretr said signified, ‘friend.’ He has a tall, straight, muscular figure, and intelligent, dignified cast of features, having an expression of habitual stolidity, characteristics of his race. He is about 60, but there is not a streak of gray in the thick mass of his coarse black hair which falls considerably below his black collar. He wore a soft black hat, a rather rusty looking overcoat, and dark trousers. It was remarked to Prof. Marsh that his savage guest made quite an impressive looking figure.

‘Yes,’ was the reply, ‘but in ‘store clothes’ he comes very far short of being the picturesque and striking individual that he appeared when on horseback, and wearing his Indian costume. Then his appearance was really noble and striking. And still there are few men of his age as well preserved, physically, as he is. Age, in fact, has left no perceptible marks upon him of any kind. He is the greatest Indian of these times, for while, perhaps, some one chief may have been a little better fighter or talker, none combines the warrior and orator like Red Cloud.’

To-morrow the chief will be invited to attend church. Monday he will visit the Armory of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, and learn how guns and ammunition are made, and perhaps other manufactories [sic] and public buildings. He will return to Washington Monday evening or Tuesday. This evening he attended the presentation of ‘Iolanthe’ at Carll’s Opera-house.

When Prof. Marsh left Cheyenne to pursue his explorations in the bone-field at the mouth of the White River, in the Summer of 1874, a greatly disturbed condition existed among the Indian tribes. An attempt to hoist the United States flag at the Red Cloud Agency threatened to provoke a serious outbreak. The Ogallallas formed the greater part of the disaffected element. They numbered about 9,000 men. The Arapahoes were there, fresh from their fight on Powder River with Lieut. Bates. Outlaws, renegades and ‘bad Indians’ swelled the numbers that surrounded the agency and made the neighborhood unquiet and dangerous.

Prof. Marsh obtained several interviews with Red Cloud and the other chiefs without any decisive results. Finally he gave the assembled chiefs a banquet, but this did not have the effect hoped for, and, becoming impatient of delay, the Professor and his party gave the Indians the slip and passed on to pursue their explorations. They were pursued by the Sioux and many times threatened with attack, but, guarding well against surprise, were not molested. On the return of the Professor to Red Cloud’s country he found that chieftain one of his warm friends. The sequel of the acquaintance is the chief’s present visit.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the New York Times, Times Machine, Sunday, January 21, 1883. (top) “Red Cloud and Othniel Charles Marsh.” Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery, photograph by Frank Bowman, 1883

“Marsh Hall, formerly the residence of Othniel Charles Marsh, professor of paleontology, from 1879 to 1899. Located at 360 Prospect Street, it currently houses offices of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.” -Image courtesy of the Yale University Manuscripts and Documents Image Database (MADID), Yale University buildings and grounds photographs, creator unknown


“NEW-HAVEN, Jan. 23 — Red Cloud and his interpreter left this city this morning for Washington. They will be accompanied as far as Jersey City by Prof. Marsh of Yale College and friends.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the New York Times, Times Machines, Wednesday, January 24, 1883

“House of America’s first professor of paleontology. Marsh pioneered in the study of dinosaurs. Marsh was a professor at Yale University and also led scientific expeditions to the American West.” -Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, “Othniel C. Marsh House, 360 Prospect Street, New Haven, New Haven County, CT,” 1933

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