Friday, February 28, 2014

HANDY POST OFFICE in Ripley County - was this once New Ireland?

Located just east of J highway in Ripley County, a few miles north of the Irish Wilderness, lies the tiny hamlet of Handy, Missouri.  In 1859 and 1860 when Irish settlers were arriving , there was in this area a heavy concentration of land patents with Irish names as claimants. The ravages of the Civil War in this remote Ozarks land disrupted, some say destroyed, Father Hogan's once-hopeful colony. After the war, one could draw the conclusion that some settlers may have returned – a possibility suggested by tombstones in the Catholic Cemetery near Ponder as well as by a Cram’s 1875 map showing the tantalizing name, New Ireland, in the approximate location of Handy. (see page 76 of Mystery of the Irish WIlderness).
Written on the back of this unmailed postcard is the following information:
Noah Haney Founder of Handy Post office was commissioned as Post-Master Sep. 9, 1913 – Resigned in favor of his daughter Mrs. Catherine Probst Oct, 28 1932 – Mrs. Probst served as Acting P.M. until Commissioned as Postmaster May 13 1935 – and continued as same until Post Office was closed Nov. 30 – 54 – Mail was carried from Fremont, MO by truck – in Carter Co.
--> In her master’s thesis, "Place Names Of Five Southern Border Counties Of Missouri,"  (University of Missouri, 1945) Cora Ann Pottenger recounts the story of how the Handy Post Office got its name:
Established in Noah Haney's small country store. The story is told that because of poor penmanship in the petition, the postal authorities mistook the suggested name Haney for Handy. Some remarked that the name was appropriate for it would now be so "handy"--convenient--to get the mail twice a week right at home, instead of going the long distance to Pine. (A.C. Randel; J. Whitwell; Harry Thaxton; Postal Guide 1915-)

Deer hunters – Real Photo Postcard probably 1940s or early ‘50s. Written on back,  "POV Handy Mo. Smallest P.O. in Mo. 7 feet 6 inches by 9 feet 6 inches."


Monday, February 24, 2014


On February 21, 1913, John Joseph Hogan, first Bishop of Kansas City and St. Joseph, died at the parish house where he had lived for decades. According to his wishes, no elaborate homily was preached at the funeral:
The Cathedral was filled to capacity for the funeral Mass, Monday, February 24, and hundreds of mourners stood outside. Bishops, Abbots, and priests filled the sanctuary. He had directed that no sermon be preached; Archbishop Glennon offered the simple summary: 
This request of Bishop Hogan will be faithfully carried out. He directed wisely for there is no necessity for a funeral sermon. The souls he saved, the friends he made, the dioceses over which he presided, the cathedrals he built, the priests he ordained, the words he spoke, the life he lived, speak more eloquently than words put together in a sermon. He has gone to the Great Silence and silence on our part can be tribute. Though he commanded silence, we can join in prayers for him; we can do this within his request.

After a solemn funeral at the Cathedral he had built, the cortege wound through the less populated streets of Kansas City to St. Mary's Cemetery on East 23rd Street. The most graphic account of the graveside service came from an article with no byline in the Kansas City Journal, Feb. 25:
Bishop Hogan’s Wishes Duly Observed in Rites for Dead Churchman.

The pale winter sun gave no warmth to offset the chill and searching wind, yet a great concourse of 2,000 men and women, many with uncovered heads, stood quietly as with upraised hands Bishop Lillis blessed the grave of the Rt. Rev. John Joseph Hogan, first bishop of Kansas City, in Mount St. Mary’s cemetery shortly after noon yesterday.

A great man, tired out after a long lifetime of right-doing, was laid to rest. The silent prayers of the multitude went up for him.

The clods thudded dully on the coffin lid. The long shadow of the cross on the priests’ lot fell athwart the grave. The worn out body of Bishop Hogan was cradled for its last and lasting slumber.

Silently Archbishop Glennon, Bishop Lillis and the other prelates of the Catholic church went to the waiting carriages. The coaches drew away with a crunch of gravel. Then the multitude started to depart, its members murmuring softly one to another til the whispering filled the clear air like a benediction.

The old grave digger filled in more earth, then shouldered his shovel and he, too, went away. The new-made and tenanted grave in the priests’ lot kept company with those seven others, where were laid the bodies of priests who had gone before.

Hogan's grave is surrounded by those of "his brother priests," several of them relatives of his.

From the vantage point of the knoll where his grave lies one can see in the distance the much-changed skyline of Kansas City.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wife and Daughter of Osage Chief Red Eagle in Washington 1924

Osage mother-daughter

Osage mother-daughter photo caption

Press Photo by Wide World Photos, 1924

Caption reads: Mother clings to Indian Custom, but Daughter … much American: The wife and daughter of Red Eagle, Principal Chief of the Osage Tribe, in Washington to adjust some finances with the Interior Department. The daughter, Mary, prefers the American fashion while mother clings faithfully to the Osage tribal robes.

Possibly Chief Red Eagle is Paul Red Eagle who was Chief from 1923-24, following Chief Ne-Kah-Wah-She-Tun-Kah’ who died while in office.

Since the 1890s the Osage tribe had had substantial income derived from the sale of drilling rights to oil discovered on their lands.  “With extraordinary foresight, the tribe had reserved subsurface mineral rights even though the land had been allocated among the 2,229 enrolled Osages.” (page 280, Damming the Osage).

Money generated by the sales of drilling rights made enrolled Osages “probably the wealthiest people on earth” (New York Times November 18, 1898). Having had great wealth and the advantages of wealth – many Osages traveled the world and pursued higher education, modern houses, fashion, and automobiles; others maintained their Osage cultural lifestyle, language and traditions. One who maintained the cultural lifestyle was Paul Red Eagle.

Six years after this photo was taken, Chief Red Eagle died. John Joseph Mathews, author of many books and articles on the Osages, attended his funeral and wrote a moving and graphic account of the final rites for the venerable warrior/chief.  In “Passing of Red Eagle” (Sooner Magazine, Feb. 1930), Mathews remembers:

For ninety years Red Eagle had lived among his people. For that many years of constant changes, contacts and shifting scenes, he remained an Indian; thinking Indian thoughts and dreaming his own dreams.  In his later years he seemed to be waiting for something. He lived quietly on this ranch preferring his horse to a car until his eightieth year. He had oil royalties but desired to live in simplicity. He had seen many things and had taken part in the wars in the southern part of the state; he talked of these wars with members of the tribe. He saw brick buildings rise up among the jack-oaks and his nation spanned with roads, some of them sinuous black ribbons winding over sandstone ridges and limestone prairie. He watched with passivity, shiny oil derricks spring up like phantasmal fungi from valleys, wooded hills and prairie. Yet, with him remained the spirit of his fathers.  To the end he remained an Indian. Frenzied wealth seeking and confused material progress did not disturb the soul of Red Eagle.

A Catholic priest presided at the funeral, but after the sermon and prayers, the son of Red Eagle and his wife came forward “and began the heart tearing wail of the race. No suffering European could so touch the deepest chords of one’s heart as does the long, quavering cry of a mourning Osage.”






Wife and Daughter of Osage Chief Red Eagle in Washington 1924

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wah Tze Moh In (Star that Travels), Chief of the Osage – a.k.a. Bacon Rind


Chief Bacon Rind Photogravure, 1925

In his classic book, Wah’kon-tah: The Osage and the White Man’s Road, John Joseph Mathews describes Wah Tze Moh In (Star that Travels), as a ‘tall (and handsome) aristocrat’ of the Osage tribe, and a gifted orator “who adjusted himself to the conditions that the white man had brought upon his people.”

He still wore the leggings, shirt and blanket, and was seldom seen without the gorget made from the fresh water mussel, which was the symbol of the sun at noon, the god of day.”

His handsome face has been moulded in bronze and his picture painted by great artists. His face appears on programs, on brochures and as letterheads. His name, an unimaginative interpretation, is known everywhere, and is invariably associated with the word, Osage.

This image of Wah Tze Moh In clearly illustrates Mathews’ description.  The photograph was taken during one of three photo expeditions sponsored by department store magnate, Lewis Rodman Wanamaker. Wanamaker was a man of many interests, supporting the arts, education, golf and athletics, and Native American scholarship. Between 1908 and 1913 he funded expeditions with photographer Joseph K. Dixon, to document “The Vanishing Race” – the American Indians.

This is a third edition photogravure,  dated 1925.

Wah Tze Moh In (Star that Travels), Chief of the Osage – a.k.a. Bacon Rind