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the West for Harper’s
Coast to Coast with Frenzeny & Tavernier in 1873–1874 Claudine Chalmers
Chronicling the West for Harper’s
The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West B. Byron Price, General Editor
Coast to Coast w ith Frenzen y & Tav ernier in 1873–1874
Chronicling the West for Harper’s Claudine Chalmers
U n i v er si t y of Ok l a hom a Pr ess : Nor m a n
Also by Claudine Chalmers Splendide Californie! Impressions of the Golden State by French Artists, 1786 to 1900 (San Francisco, 2001) Early Mill Valley (Charleston, S.C., 2005) (co-au.) Grass Valley (Charleston, S.C., 2006)
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
French San Francisco (Charleston, S.C., 2007)
Chalmers, Claudine, 1948– Chronicling the west for Harper’s : coast to coast with Frenzeny & Tavernier in 1873–1874 / Claudine Chalmers. pages cm. — (The Charles M. Russell Center series on art and photography of the American West) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-8061-4376-7 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Frenzeny, Paul—Travel—West (U.S.) 2. Tavernier, Jules, 1844–1889—Travel—West (U.S.) 3. West (U.S.)—Description and travel. 4. West (U.S.)—Pictorial works. 5. West (U.S.)—In art. 6. Wood engraving, Victorian—United States. I. Harper’s weekly. II. Title. F594.C563 2013 978'.02—dc23 2013009234
Paul Frenzeny’s Chinatown Sketches (San Francisco, Calif., 2012) Publication of this book is made possible through the generosity of Edith Kinney Gaylord.
Chronicling the West for Harper’s: Coast to Coast with Frenzeny & Tavernier in 1873–1874 is Volume 12 in the Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West. The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources, Inc. ∞ Copyright © 2013 by Claudine Chalmers. Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Publishing Division of the University. Manufactured in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the United States Copyright Act—without the prior written permission of the University of Oklahoma Press. To request permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, University of Oklahoma Press, 2800 Venture Drive, Norman OK 73069, or email [email protected] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
To men with hearts true as steel Romeo and Juliet, act 2, scene 4
List of Illustrations ix Acknowledgments xiii
1 A Nation Marching West: Leaving New York, July 1873 13 2 Foreshadowing the Frontier: Pittsburgh, Summer 1873 23 3 Working for the “Katy”: Missouri to Texas, August 1873 31 4 Taming the Frontier: The Neosho Valley, August 1873 38 5 The Indian Territory: Fort Gibson, August 1873 52 6 Life in the Old Southwest: Texas, September 1873 66 7 Life on the Great Plains: Texas and Kansas, September–October 1873 91 8 The Far West: Wichita to Denver, October 1873 110 9 Staging in the Far West: Southern Colorado, Early November 1873 123 10 Wintering in Denver: Colorado and Arizona, November 5, 1873, through April 1874 130 11 Red Cloud Agency: Nebraska, May 8, 1874, to June 15, 1874 161 12 Mormons and Indians: Utah, May–June 1874 172 13 The End of the Assignment: San Francisco, Summer 1874 183 Conclusion: One Hundred Sketches of the Vanishing Frontier 198 Appendix: Chronological List of the One Hundred Frenzeny and Tavernier Engravings 203 Notes 207 Bibliography 221 Index 225
All illustrations by Frenzeny and Tavernier in this book are from the author’s collection unless otherwise indicated in the caption. MAP Route of the “Katy,” the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railroad 32 FIGURES
I.1. Portrait of Paul Frenzeny 5 I.2. Portrait of Jules Tavernier 5 I.3. The Dawning of the New Year, by Jules Tavernier 6 I.4. Behind the Ramparts—A Critical Moment, by Paul Frenzeny 7 I.5. Spring 10 I.6. The Circus Coming into Town 12 1.1. An Emigrants’ Boarding-House in New York 16 1.2. The Emigrant Wagon—On the Way to the Railway Station 18 1.3. Scenes in Emigrant Life—In the Emigrant Train 19 1.4. Scenes in Emigrant Life—Switched Off 21 2.1. The M anufacture of Iron—Filling the Furnace 24 2.2. The M anufacture of Iron—Carting Away the Scoriae 25 2.3. The M anufacture of Iron—Tapping the Furnace 26 2.4. The Strike in the Coal Mines—Meeting of “Molly M’Guire” Men 28 3.1. View in Hannibal, Missouri 35 3.2. General Offices, Depot, and Machine Shops of M., K. & T. R’ Y, Sedalia, Mo. 36 3.3. Interior View of Car—M., K. & T. R’y 37 4.1. Leaf from a Sketch-Book 39 4.2. Leaf from a Sketch-Book—A Smoking City, Pittsburgh and A Sunny Home on the Neosho River 40 4.3. Leaf from a Sketch-Book—Taking Water in the Prairie 41 4.4. Scene in the Great Neosho Valley 42
4.5. Sunset Scene in the Neosho Valley 43 4.6. Temperance, Industry, and Happiness 44 4.7. Scenes in Emigrant Life—Building the Log-Cabin and Laying the Fences 46 4.8. Leaf from a Sketch-Book—Prairie Chickens for Sale and Herding with Comfort 47 4.9. Leaf from a Sketch-Book—Going to Church and A Surprise Party 48 4.10. Leaf from a Sketch-Book—A Market Day in Parsons City—18 Months Old 49 5.1. View on the Arkansas River 53 5.2. In the Indian Territory—Fort Gibson 55 5.3. United States Signal Service—Watching the Storm 56 5.4. In the Indian Territory—A Leaf from Our Artist’s Sketch-Book 59 5.5. In the Indian Territory—Cherokee Farm-House and Natives 60 5.6. In the Indian Territory—Traders Store 61 5.7. In the Indian Territory—Legislature in Session and A Delegate of the Sacs & Foxes 62 5.8. In the Indian Territory—Prisoners En Route to Ft. Smith 62 5.9. Sketches in the Far W est—Vigilance Court in Session 64 6.1. An Oasis along the Track 67 6.2. A Saturday Noon in a Southwestern Town 69 6.3. Denison, Texas 71 6.4. Sketches in the Far W est—Arkansas Pilgrims 72 6.5. W estern Sketches —Arkansas Pilgrims in Camp 74 6.6. W estern Sketches —A Freshet in the Red River, Texas 76 6.7. Sketches in the Far W est—Sugar-Making in Texas 78 6.8. The First Bale of the Cotton Crop 79 6.9. A Deer Drive in the Texas “Cross-Timber” 80 7.1. The Tex as C attle Trade—Calling the Night Guard 92 7.2. The Tex as C attle Trade—Guarding the Herd 93 7.3. The Tex as C attle Trade 96 7.4. The Tex as C attle Trade—Branding and On the Trail 98 7.5. The Tex as C attle Trade—Rodeo, or Rounding Up Cattle and Cutting Out 99 7.6. The Tex as C attle Trade—In Camp and Shipping for the Eastern Markets 101 7.7. The Tex as C attle Trade—Halting-Place on the Ninnescah River 103 7.8. The Tex as C attle Trade—Wichita and Ho, for Texas! 105 7.9. A Kansas Land-Office 107 7.10. Limestone in Kansas 109 8.1. Fighting the Fire 111 8.2. A Prairie Wind-Storm 113 8.3. “Busted!”—A Deserted Railroad Town in Kansas 114 8.4. Sketches in the Far W est—An Under-Ground Village 116
8.5. Slaughtered for the Hide 119 8.6. Sketches in the Far W est—Curing Hides and Bones 121 9.1. Staging in the Far W est—Throwing Out the Mail 126 9.2. Staging in the Far W est—Taking the Morning “Slumgullion” 127 9.3. Staging in the Far W est—Calling for the Relays 128 9.4. Staging in the Far W est—Home Station on the Plains 129 10.1. Gold and Silver Mining, Colorado—A Honey-Combed Mountain 132 10.2. Smelting Ore in Colorado 135 10.3. Smelting Ore in Colorado —Bringing Ore from the Mine and Crushing the Ore 136 10.4. Smelting Ore in Colorado —Calcining Floors and Smelting Furnace 138 10.5. Smelting Ore in Colorado —Roasting the Gold and Silver Ore and Washing and Separating Room 139 10.6. Smelting Ore in Colorado —Reverberatory Furnace and Casting the Silver Bricks 140 10.7. Smelting Ore in Colorado —Shipping the Silver Bricks 141 10.8. Irrigation in Colorado—Letting Water into a Side Sluice-Way 142 10.9. Views in Colorado in Harper’s Bazaar 144 10.10. A Bird Colony on Lake St. Mary 146 10.11. Trout-Hatching in Colorado 148 10.12. On the Way to New Diggings—Halt in a Rough Pass of the Rocky Mountains 150 10.13. Mining in Colorado—A Played-Out Gulch 153 10.14. A Bear Hunt in the Rocky Mountains 154 10.15. Returning to Camp from a Bear-Hunt 155 10.16. Shooting Antelopes from a Railroad Train in Colorado 156 10.17. The Watch for Montezuma 159 11.1. Driven from Their Homes—Flying from an Indian Raid 163 11.2. Photograph of Jules Tavernier at Red Cloud Agency, 1874 167 11.3. Indian Sun Dance—Young Bucks Proving Their Endurance by Self-Torture 168 12.1. Mormondom—A Fresh Supply of Wives—Going Out to the Settlements 173 12.2. Reading a Ukase in a Mormon Settlement 174 12.3. Bringing Home the Fifth Wife—A Sketch in Mormondom 177 12.4. Quarrying Stone for the New Mormon Temple 178 12.5. “Two Bits to See the Pappoose” [sic] 179 12.6. Indians Trading at a Frontier Town 181 13.1. Chinese Fishermen in San Francisco Bay 184 13.2. Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco 185 13.3. Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco —Alley in Jackson Street and Chinese Market, Sacramento Street 186 13.4. Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco —Chinese Gardeners Going to Market and Lottery Shop 187
Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco —Watch Dog of a Gambling Den
and House Hold Gods 188
13.6. 13.7. 13.8.
The Suburbs of San Francisco 190 The Suburbs of San Francisco —San Rafael and Mount Tamalpais 191 The Suburbs of San Francisco —Lagunitos Lake and S. Quentin Point
The Suburbs of San Francisco —The Pic-nic Ground 192 The Suburbs of San Francisco —Blue Gum Tree 193
1a. 1b. 2a. 2b. 3a. 3b. 4a. 4b. 5a. 5b. 6a. 6b. 7.
Forest and First Avenue, Parsons, Kansas 83 A Market Day in Parsons City—18 Months Old 83 Deserted Kansas Town 84 “Busted!”—A Deserted Railroad Town in Kansas 84 Intérieur d’une Blanchisserie Chinoise, Las Animas 85 Habitations Mexicaines, Las Animas, Colo. 85 Denver from the Highlands 86 Denver in V iews in Colorado 87 Trading Post of J. S. Collins at Fort Laramie, Wyoming 88 Wagon Train 88 Red Cloud’s Camp, Nebraska (infirmary) 89 Tente pour la Cuisine, Red Cloud 89 A Balloon in Mid-Air 90
he entertaining illustrated book The American West: The Pictorial Epic of a Continent by the team of historians Lucius Morris Beebe and Charles Clegg was of great assistance and an inspiration in the making of this book, as was the remarkable study Artists and Illustrators of the Old West by Robert Taft, the Kansas historian who wished he could have included more engravings by Frenzeny and Tavernier in his book. Chronicling the West for Harper’s: Coast to Coast with Frenzeny & Tavernier in 1873–1874 carries out his wish. A road trip I took in June 2011 to retrace the western portion of the artists’ route was probably the most exciting episode of this project. I had the good fortune to spend time with Sandra Lowrie at Fort Laramie, to meet the dynamic staff of the Las Animas Library, to discover a new watercolor study of Camp Robinson thanks to Audrey S. Kauders of the Museum of Nebraska Art, and to get my own feel and taste of the lay of the land my countrymen explored and sketched some 140 years ago. The main destination of my visit was Fort Robinson in northwestern Nebraska, where Tavernier observed and drew the great Sun Dance of the Sioux. Historian and author Thomas R. Buecker knows the fort, the region, and the history of the Indian agency better than anyone else from years of personal interest, research, and writing. I am thankful for his wonderful and expert assistance during my visit and for his book Fort Robinson and the American West, 1874–1899. I am also thankful to historian Ephriam D. Dickson III for details on the timing of Tavernier’s visit to the fort and the location of the tintypes of Jules Tavernier at Red Cloud Agency, and to Vance Nelson and Franklin Snocker for their reading of the Nebraska chapter and for the remarkable details they provided about the agency and the Sun Dance. As for the Denver Public Library, it felt like a miraculous place where the staff members were willing to spend immense amounts of time to help and materials requested arrived as soon as ordered. As always, librarians performed important tasks to add significant xiii
pieces to the puzzle. Lin Fredericksen of the Kansas State Historical Society forwarded to me copies of the artists’ sketches in the Great South-West and provided useful information. Erika Bales at the Bent County Library contributed the name of Long Shong, the Las Animas Chinese laundryman immortalized by Tavernier. In California, Carol Andersen at the Madeleine Helling Library, in Nevada City, spent countless hours obtaining through interlibrary loans the texts of the illustrations in the pages of Harper’s Weekly, as these were often not on the same page as the illustrations I had collected. Fellow historians were of great help as well. Jim Smith, author of San Francisco’s Lost Landmarks, put me in touch with a descendant of the Buislay family of aeronauts. Historian Guy de Rougemont, author of Lazard Frères: Banquiers des Deux Mondes, provided tireless assistance in locating heretofore unknown news items on the Frenchmen’s travels and adventures. John Hardy, Richard Dillon, Bob Chandler, Gary Kurutz, Leonard Berardi, and Jacques Périlhou provided what an author needs most: encouragement and support. So did Bob Clark at the University of Oklahoma Press. It was an honor and a pleasure to work with him on this project. Project editor Emily Jerman was ever gracious, dedicated, and thorough in our labor to polish the manuscript. My appreciation also to acquisitions editor Chuck Rankin. To the many friends and associates who have shared this creative journey, and who have gone unmentioned, please accept my humble thanks.
Chronicling the West for Harper’s
rothers John and James Harper established their first printing press in New York in 1817. Sixteen years later, two more brothers, Wesley and Fletcher, joined the firm, which took the name Harper and Brothers. Their brainchild, the small-format literary journal Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, made its debut in June 1850. When the first issue of the Harper brothers’ Weekly rolled off the presses in 1857, it set the standard for illustrated journalism in the United States. Dubbed “A Journal of Civilization,” it offered its readers, for a nickel a week, sixteen folio pages filled with news of the world and of their own country. About half of these folios were devoted to wood engravings, the rest to descriptive text and advertising. Like other illustrated U.S. newspapers, the Weekly grew in popularity during the Civil War. As the demand for more current illustrations increased, so did the need for a new type of artist capable of recording military campaigns on a daily basis.
The Era of Special Artists Winslow Homer was one of this emerging breed of artists generally called “special artists.” An equivalent of today’s “special correspondents,” the special artist was no longer content with depicting flora and fauna or the mores and monuments of exotic cultures. He was a social observer and commentator who focused on people and current events. He was capable of making accurate descriptive drawings, as well as penning explanatory descriptions that were picked up by the publisher in their captions. Once the Civil War came to an end, the Harper brothers sent such artists as war veterans Theodore R. Davis and Alfred R. Waud to document the southern states’ rise from chaos.1 By the early 1870s, the transcontinental railroad had opened up the West, and the frontier was quickly disappearing. The Harpers were on the lookout for journalists who could chronicle the
4 Chronicling the West for Harper’s
biggest news in the nation and abroad: the American West. They were well aware that the circulation of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, one of their competitors, had spiked when sketches of a four-day trip west aboard the new transcontinental railroad appeared in Frank Leslie’s pages.2 The subject was vast and demanded an artist “whose mind is not only open to various and broad impressions, but also stored with knowledge and strengthened by experience.”3 To select the best scenes, the best vantage points, the special artist had to possess imagination combined with the power of observation. He needed sufficient physical strength to undergo great fatigue and overcome formidable practical difficulties, and he needed the courage to face danger in the course of his mission: “He will sleep on the bare ground, wrapped in a blanket or waterproof sheet, and he will ride all night through a hostile country to catch the homeward mail. He is equally at home in the palace and the hovel, and is as ready to attend a battle as a banquet, or wind up with a run on the warpath among the American Indians.”4 The art of wood engraving was also a demanding process. The field artist needed to take along a great number of blocks of polished boxwood the exact thickness of the printing type. For larger prints, especially fullpage prints, the original woodblock comprised many pieces of boxwood riveted together. Up to forty blocks were needed for double-page prints. The artist drew his illustration on the surface of the wood in pencil, and in reverse, using a mirror. He would then package the blocks carefully and ship them. Once the blocks were received at the Harpers’ headquarters on Franklin Square in New York, they were broken up into their component parts, and each piece was assigned to a different engraver to speed up the process. When the engravers were done, the blocks were again assembled, and a master engraver would run one line expertly into another to remove all evidence of the junctions. This multiple-block method allowed weeklies to speed up the process of printing recent news with illustrations.5 There were very few artists who could be first-rate “specials” skilled at this sort of work, and they were a joy to the employer who could keep them. As the Harper brothers searched for this special breed of man to chronicle America’s vanishing frontier for their weekly, their interest was piqued by not one but two enthusiastic and talented Frenchmen whose combined skills seemed to make them perfect for the task: Paul Frenzeny and Jules Tavernier, whom the winds of war in Europe had brought to the new continent.
The Winds of War Wars have shaped the destinies of men throughout the ages. They turned Paul Frenzeny and Jules Tavernier into expatriate artists who would spend very little of their lives in their native France. The son of an exiled Hungarian nobleman, Paul Frenzeny trained with the French army in the field of artillery and was engaged in military campaigns in Italy and Algeria. Still another war brought him to the American continent when he served as one of Maximilian’s artillery officers under Marshall Bazaine during the ill-fated French scheme of conquest concocted by Emperor Napoleon III in the 1860s. The French army eventually withdrew from Mexico in 1867, but instead of heading back home to France, Frenzeny stopped in New York, where his name first appeared in an 1868 issue of Harper’s Weekly with a landscape depicting a train heading through a dramatic pass in Mexico. Frenzeny fell under the spell of New York’s excitement and of the new journalistic life it opened for him. He became a student of the well-regarded pictorial artist John Hyde, considered by a contemporary to be “one of the most prolific producers of black and white sketches and one of the most accurate draughtsmen in the country.”6 The streets of New York filled with humble folks inspired Frenzeny to produce a remarkable series of sketches for Harper’s Weekly. From street urchins washing their bare feet behind a water wagon, to street sweepers and ragpickers starting their day’s work, Italian immigrants plying their trades, young ladies in Central Park, and members of the Greek Orthodox Church celebrating their religion, he drew them all. From 1868 to 1871, Paul Frenzeny produced, just for Harper’s, a dozen sketches that exhibited an acute sense of observation together with excellent writing skills. His journalistic choices of subjects and commentaries, often directed at America’s tremendously diverse cultures, made his work particularly appealing. Jules Tavernier, in contrast, was the oldest son of a successful British candy maker. Born in Paris of a French mother, he first discovered art in his father’s Left Bank confectionery store, where he helped decorate “Bonbons Tavernier,” a colorful array of sweets. Jules lived in the French capital with relatives when his parents and siblings returned to England. He pursued art studies in the private studio of Parisian master Felix Barrias in the 1860s and showed great promise. His early works were exhibited at the Paris Salons of the 1860s. Once his training with Barrias was over, he also spent time painting in and around the famed village of Barbizon. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 may have brought the two artists together, although friends assumed they knew each other in Paris before the war. At its outbreak, Frenzeny’s pencil became idle, and his sketches disappeared from the Weekly. The career soldier traveled to France to fight
I.1. Portrait of Paul Frenzeny. The Denver Public Library, Western History Collection.
I.2. Portrait of Jules Tavernier. From The Annals of the Bohemian Club, vol. IV, edited by Clay M. Green, 1899. Courtesy of Leonard Berardi, Mountain House Books, Nevada City, Calif.
I.3. The Dawning of the New Year, by Jules Tavernier.
I.4. Behind the Ramparts— A Critical Moment, by Paul Frenzeny.
alongside his countrymen. In 1871, his name reappeared in the Weekly with two sketches of the war in France: Behind the Ramparts—A Critical Moment and The Last Message. Jules’s peaceful years of artistic pursuits also came to a brutal end in 1870 with the outbreak of the war. He enlisted in the “Artists’ Battalion,” one of the volunteer grassroots regiments composed of idealistic young men carried by patriotic spirit who marched to the war front with more enthusiasm than preparation. In January 1871, he fought side by side with fellow painters, architects, musicians, and poets of the Eighty-fourth Battalion of the Compagnie des Marche at the battle of Buzenval, not far from the capi tal. Many fell for their flag at that battle, but none was so missed as Henri Régnault, the son of a renowned chemist, whose young brilliant career had dazzled Paris and the world.7 The twenty-eight-year-old painter had enlisted even though he was exempt from military service as an Académie de France scholar. He was killed by a cannonball during the battle. Like so many others in France, Jules mourned his loss. When the war ended, Tavernier became aware like many of the growing popular uprising called the Commune,8 which was starting to brew in Paris
8 Chronicling the West for Harper’s
and would throw the capital into bloody chaos for months. He took advantage of his English citizenship and sailed for London on the day the armistice officially ended the Franco-Prussian War. There he spent time with his family for a while. He found work in London for the London Graphic, where he developed a lifelong friendship with staff engraver Allen Measom. Jules’s time in London was brief. On August 29, 1871, Tavernier sailed aboard the ship Denmark from London for New York with his friend Measom. He immediately went to work on a commission to sketch New Jersey landscapes for Picturesque America, a lavish subscription book published by D. Appleton in 1874 with hundreds of woodcuts and steel engravings by leading artists of the period. Like Frenzeny, Tavernier also published war sketches: two war scenes for the London Graphic and a stunning composition for Harper’s Weekly that depicts the dawn of the New Year rising from the ashes of the great Chicago fire and the Franco-Prussian War.
The Harpers’ Vision These war pictures and the subsequent sketches each of the two Frenchmen produced for Harper’s Weekly were not lost on the Harper brothers, who always had an eye for quality and craftsmanship. Frenzeny revealed himself to be an outstanding special artist when he documented—with remarkable empathy, observation, and skill—the life of the American coal miner in a series of nine drawings published in Harper’s Weekly between June 1873 and May 31, 1873. Tavernier burst onto the New York art scene with imaginative, boldly composed views of various subjects—including The Christmas Dream (1871), Washington Market (1872), and Death on the Rail (1873)—that betrayed his flair for the dramatic. What a combination these two must have seemed to the newsmen! The Harpers surely saw in them two multicultural artists and war reporters from affluent backgrounds yet with great empathy for humbler folks. Frenzeny was a man with a clever pencil who excelled at contrasts, details, and expressions; a man with a particular eye for the workingman, whether street sweeper or mailman, peddler or coal miner; a man who also delighted in the humorous side of life and showed great versatility in his choice of topics; a worldly man who spoke several languages, exhibited interest and tolerance for the nation’s multitude of cultures and religions, and showed great ability to formulate informative texts describing the subject of his drawings. He was, as well, a veteran of several campaigns in Italy, Algeria, and Mexico, and a superb rider said to know a horse in all its moods:9 in other words, the epitome of the special correspondent. The Harpers probably saw in twenty-nine-year-old Jules Tavernier, fresh from the Paris art world, a painter of great talent and promise. A Frenchman with a Gallic accent and attitude and a taste for the dramatic,
Tavernier had been trained to work fast, with great knowledge of composition and use of light in a variety of media. Above all, he was an emerging new artist, soon to be published in the prestigious Picturesque America volume. Jules was the talented, ebullient product of the Parisian salons with unbridled imagination and a flare for the dramatic; he must have seemed the epitome of the inspired artist. Frenzeny and Tavernier were young, strong, talented, and filled with compassion, and they viewed America with fresh eyes. This dynamic duo of artists must have seemed particularly apt to depict the many ethnic groups of the American melting pot. In addition, they were observant, responsive, and quick of hand, and they both drew the commonplace with zest. Nothing in the culture of the American West was the least bit familiar to them. Besides, the subject was so vast, the assignment so long and demanding, that a team of artists would be an asset. The two artists put their collaborative abilities to the test by producing their first joint sketches, published in Harper’s Weekly on April 12 and October 4, 1873. The first publishing date suggests that the Harper brothers discussed this coveted coast-to-coast assignment with Frenzeny and Tavernier in the early part of the year. Although the double-page composite image titled Spring follows conventional Victorian themes and style, it offers the notable presence of buffalo and Indians, a foreshadowing of exciting times to come. Their joint sketch The Circus Comes to Town is a resplendent tableau that showcases their combined abilities in composition and characterization and was picked as a cover illustration for the magazine’s October issue.10 These two sketches inaugurated the soon-to-be-famous “Frenzeny & Tavernier” signature. The Harper brothers hired the pair of young artists for a coast-to-coast sketching tour that would take the better part of a year and lead them to the greatest adventure of their lives. Although the two friends left New York in July 1873, the Harpers did not announce their sketching tour until the November 8, 1873, issue of the Weekly: “Our artists, Messrs. Frenzeny & Tavernier, will tell the story of an extensive tour, commencing at New York and intended to include the most interesting and picturesque regions of the Western and Southwestern portions of this country. These gentlemen will not restrict themselves to the ordinary routes of travel. They will make long excursions on horseback into regions where railroads have not yet penetrated, where even the hardy squatter, the pioneer of civilization, has not yet erected his rude log-cabin; and the pictorial record of their journeyings will be a most valuable and entertaining series of sketches.” By the time this appeared, the special artists had already crossed the Mississippi, spent four months exploring the frontier, and reached Denver. By then, too, Harper’s had received a sufficient number of sketches to feel confident about this grand western odyssey to announce it publicly and to
12 Chronicling the West for Harper’s I.6. The Circus Coming into Town
simultaneously publish the artists’ first frontier pictorials.11 The unexcelled scope, variety, and appeal of their one-hundred-drawing saga was about to earn them a lasting place among popular magazine illustrators of the nineteenth century and to turn their signatures into a household name tied to the most celebrated, influential, and widely circulated newspaper in the nation.
In [these] spirited illustrations our artists give us several striking incidents in the Westward progress and settlement of immigrants.
1. A Nation Marching W est
Harper’s Weekly, January 24, 1873
Leaving New York, July 1873
hen Paul Frenzeny and Jules Tavernier started off west in July 1873, there were only eleven established Ameri can states west of the Mississippi River.1 The remaining lands were organized into territories of varying sizes that obtained statehood at a later time (including “Indian Territory,” present-day Oklahoma, which became a state in 1907).2 There were substantial settlements in Utah, California, and Oregon, but the country’s vast interior was still largely unpopulated and little known. By providing easier access to this new country, ever-lengthening rail lines unlocked the mysteries of the American West and greatly accelerated the tempo of the nation’s westward migration. The two artists were hired to chronicle the frontier at a time when the entire American nation seemed to be marching west, an unparalleled migratory tide that had increased tenfold at the end of the Civil War. It was described by a Kansas newspaper as “the most astonishing migratory movement which has characterized any age or nation.”3 One can imagine the young men’s trepidation as they set out on this grand odyssey. They had passes to travel on the new transcontinental railroad (at least, on the Katy).4 They had contracted with the Harper brothers to seek adventure wherever they could.5 They had, without a doubt, spent long hours figuring the logistics of their journey, both with the Harpers and on their own. The assignment involved huge distances and a great diversity of obstacles to overcome, such as the vagaries of train schedules, long train rides, heavy travel bags filled with art supplies, and questionable hotel rooms in strange towns. Illness was not acceptable; the travelers had to remain healthy and productive. And they were not alone: Frenzeny would never have considered such a journey without his beloved pointer, Judy, once described as a tolerably plumb pedigreed animal of hunting instincts but no skill—failings no one ever mentioned, however, because the Frenchman was known to be “uncertain in temper” if anyone presumed to criticize his pet.6 13
14 a nation marching west
A large part of their preparations revolved around the story they were to tell. At the onset of their long trek, they entwined two story lines to give continuity and purpose to the grand picture they were about to draw: the nation’s march west and the contrast between the industrialized cities of the Eastern Seaboard and the frontier’s undeveloped regions.
In the Emigrants’ Footsteps Frenzeny and Tavernier gave careful thought to the huge task of chronicling the rising tide of emigrants heading west. They started their portfolio of this frontier saga near the wharves of New York, where steamers regularly poured out loads of European emigrants. Once screened by immigration authorities, the newcomers immediately registered at a boardinghouse, generally close to the harbor: this was a perfect starting point for the artists’ coup d’envoi, the opening round of their great moving human panorama. Paul Frenzeny had produced a sketch of a New York boardinghouse for Harper’s February 1869 issue.7 His subject at that time was, however, a boardinghouse for vagrants. The view of a dark and barren room filled with destitute men, women, and children in rags served as an editorial urging “reformation” of the shelters that so poorly accommodated New York’s vagrant population that they actually turned into hotbeds of further vagrancy and vice. The boardinghouse he and Tavernier depicted in 1873 was, on the contrary, described as one of the “better class.” There is obvious excitement in An Emigrant Boarding-House in New York (fig. 1.1), mainly around the figure seated in the bright zone of light at center, the landlord who leans forward over the table as he describes the frontier to prospective settlers exhibiting rapt attention. Their attentive group is surrounded by a buzz of activities: three men staring at the Chicago train schedules posted on the wall on the left; others, including children, being served food close to the tidy-looking kitchen in the back; on the right a man selling shaving razors from a squarish basket. The details of caps and pipes suggest German emigrants. The artists’ sense of expectancy must have matched the emigrants’ as they drew the very first scene of their great western excursion. That is perhaps why Jules Tavernier signed his name first as “TAVERNIER & FRENZEN Y” in exuberant large caps. The artists had obviously agreed that whoever was most involved in creating the sketch, or perhaps whoever drew it onto the block, had the right to sign his name first. Only one in ten of their total sketches were signed with Tavernier’s name first: four at the beginning of their journey, five at the end. What a thrill this occasion must have been for him, what a way to celebrate the very first installment
Leaving New York, July 1873 15
of a soon-to-be legendary series. The illustration’s open and bright center surrounded by darkness is certainly indicative of Jules’s work. Frenzeny perhaps worked on the choice of multiple actions, on some of the details, and certainly on the text, which denounces the “runners and land sharks” that hovered around these boardinghouses and preyed on the unsuspecting newcomers. Such editorials denouncing abuses that the pair noticed along their way were to become a hallmark of their work. The Harper brothers obviously thought well of this first scene: not only did they print it as a double page, an honor reserved for masterpieces, but it was engraved by a talented master engraver at their offices, Charles Maurand, a great way to kick off their assignment. oubleThe Harpers also proudly mentioned the sketch as “last week’s d page illustration” in the next week’s issue, when Frenzeny and Tavernier’s follow-up illustration appeared. During their visit to the boardinghouse, the Frenchmen had obviously identified a group of emigrants scheduled to head west at a date that fit the artists’ plans. This enabled them to follow the emigrants’ progress on the second stage of their journey, when they were conveyed, as explained in the commentary, from Castle Garden (or, in this instance, from their boardinghouse) to the railway station, where they would start their long journey in search of the place that would become their permanent homes in the West or South. The mention of Castle Garden, known today as Castle Clinton National Monument, brings up reminiscences of emigrant life in the second half of the nineteenth century. A major New York City landmark within the twenty-three-acre waterfront park called the Battery, Castle Garden was located at the tip of Manhattan. One of New York’s earliest places of settlement, it was, from 1855 to 1890, America’s first official immigration center, jointly run by the City and State of New York. Although signed “Frenzeny & Tavernier,” The Emigrant Wagon—On the Way to the Railway Station (fig. 1.2) has a very short descriptive text stating that “the illustration tells its own story so well that no further explanation is required,” a bold way to dodge a lengthier description. Then, too, the artists’ schedule must have been hectic as they prepared to leave New York on this year-long journey; perhaps their own luggage was part of the perilous pile on the cart. Frenzeny may already have left for his next destination. This second sketch (which, like all of their work, took days to create) indeed tells a great story. While the first scene focuses on the preparations for the westward journey, this one centers more particularly on family ties. There is a remarkable range in ages represented here, from babies to older folks, an extended family with perhaps even friends or neighbors, all on the move. Details suggest the closeness between them: the mother looking down at the boy in the foreground, the young girl carrying a pretty goodsized toddler on her back, walking very close to her grandmother, while the
1.1. An Emigrants’ BoardingHouse in New York An Emigrant BoardingHouse. Most of the New York boarding houses for the accommodation of emigrants are situated in the lower part of the town, in the neighborhood of the wharves of the various steam-ships that ply between the city and the Old World. These establishments are under the supervision of the police, and the owners are held strictly responsible for the welfare of their guests, whom they are obliged to furnish with board and lodging at moderate and regulated prices. As a general rule, the landlords are reliable men, speaking several languages, and able to afford valuable information in regard to obtaining employment, means of going West, where to settle, etc. Runners and land-sharks are generally kept at bay by the landlords, who stand between them and the unsuspicious emigrants who might fall easy victims to their wiles. In general, emigrants seek quarters according to nationality, the Germans going to German houses, the French to those kept by their countrymen, and so on. Our double-page illustration this week shows the interior of one of the better class of these houses.
18 a nation marching west
1.2. The Emigrant Wagon— On the Way to the Railway Station The Emigrant Wagon. Last week we gave a double-page illustration of the interior of a New York emigrants boarding house; this week we give, on page 940, a picture showing the way in which emigrants are conveyed from Castle Garden or their boarding houses to the railway station on setting out for their permanent homes in the West or South.
father brings up the rear with a boy at his side, leaning down toward him as they walk in step. Such interactions were one of the hallmarks of Frenzeny’s work. The characters are already familiar, since they appeared in the first sketch: the young woman with a straw hat and earrings, another with a distinctive tall black headdress; a little boy with a coat that sports two buttons in the back; and a man with a German cap that likewise shows a button on the top, while another man smokes the same pipe he smoked in the previous scene. The composition, with its perspective from a point behind the huge wagon whose wheels are as tall as the young girl at center, gives the viewer the impression that he is following in the emigrants’ footsteps, a sense of forward motion that also suggests the artists’ forward momentum and travel plans as they too engage in the great westward march epic, under the watchful eyes of onlookers barely visible in the background. The composition seems to involve us in this adventure. Master engraver W. H. Lagarde’s skill with the chisel clearly did justice to a sketch that stands out artistically despite the simplicity of its subject.
Leaving New York, July 1873 19
Emigrant Trains It would have been convenient for Harper’s readers if Frenzeny and Tavernier’s sketches had been published in a regular, chronological order. But the pressing deadlines and demands of a big newspaper, the time-consuming craft of wood engraving, and the need to insert fresh news at the last moment all interfered with that strategy. The next scenes along their tour were not published until two months later, even though the images were a continuation of the first two sketches. Characterized by the Harper brothers as “spirited illustrations [of ] . . . several striking incidents in the Westward
1.3. Scenes in Emigrant Life— In the Emigrant Train Emigrant Life. The first shows the interior of a car on an emigrant train at night. The journey is not, in general, particularly pleasant. The cars, which are often old ones fitted up for human freight, may be crowded to their utmost capacity, and as they are generally attached to a freight train, their progress is necessarily very slow. But, as a rule, the emigrants keep good natured and hopeful, and cheer themselves with the brilliant visions they conjure up before them of the new homes they are going to found in the far West.
20 a nation marching west
progress and settlement of emigrants,” these were laid out as four sketches on one single page. Two of them still dealt with the same emigrants, this time as they travelled, in In the Emigrant Train (fig. 1.3). The young lady at center wears a by-now-familiar straw hat with a black ribbon and flowers; the man in front of her sports an also-familiar German cap. These details indicate that the French artists boarded the same train as the group of emigrants they befriended at the boardinghouse and followed to the train station.8 The artists chose to sketch a night view of the interior of this train. This choice is reflective of Tavernier’s fondness for dark scenes à la Barbizon, a substantial artistic challenge he had already tackled during the Franco-Prussian War when he drew a night scene of the inside of a refugee wagon for the London Graphic in 1871.9 His talent comes through in his sophisticated treatment of the lighting in this car filled with emigrants and their belongings: a wall fixture sheds a general glow on the passengers, the lantern held by the conductor lights his face and that of the young woman nearby, faint moon rays light the sky outside the window. All characters are visible, yet the dark confinement of the train is palpable. According to the artists, the train ride was not “particularly pleasant.” The cars were old and poorly fitted for passengers. They were overcrowded. They were attached to freight trains and moved at a monotonous, unnervingly slow pace. The short text alludes, however, to the dream that helped the passengers keep a positive attitude in the face of this difficult journey: “brilliant visions” of the homes they were going to build for their families, the fundamental ingredient of the pioneering spirit that propelled emigrants of all nations toward the wilds of the American frontier no matter the hardships. Railroad travel was at that time a novelty in the United States. The network of railways was made up of many small, privately owned companies, often very recently organized. Because of the lack of coordination between the lines and the fact that emigrant travel was regarded as a low priority, “emigrant cars” attached to freight trains were at times “switched off ” on a side track at way stations so that additional freight could be added to the trains. These occurrences could be quite devastating for the unfortunate travelers, as reported to the U.S. Senate in June 1872: Over and over . . . I have seen unhappy groups of immigrating families after days and days of detention of travel upon the great railroad lines, after sleepless nights, looking more dead than alive. I have seen many a young mother, after sleepless nights spent by her in an effort to snatch some repose for her flock of little ones, stretched out upon the hard bench so exhausted that she had lost for the time all ideas of comeliness and almost of decency. I ask my associates to join me in securing for
Leaving New York, July 1873 21 1.4. Scenes in Emigrant Life— Switched Off Switched Off. One of the miseries to which they are subjected is that of being “switched off ” on a side track to make room for freight cars on the train. Sometimes they are compelled to wait for hours before a train comes up to take them on. When this happens at a small way station remote from any village, the poor people are very apt to suffer. Our illustration, “Switched Off,” was sketched from an actual scene. In this case, the emigrant party, which included old people, delicate women, and children, were compelled to remain all night exposed to a cold, drenching rain.
these immigrants on the long lines of travel from the sea-board to the great West . . . some conveniences of needful rest, some conveniences for decent cleanliness, some protections against hardships.10
Frenzeny and Tavernier experienced this firsthand as they were indeed stranded at a small way station far from any village, with no shelter available nearby, in the course of their train ride from Pittsburgh. They did not hesitate to point out these painful deficiencies of the fledgling train system in the short text that accompanied their next illustration, entitled Switched-
22 a nation marching west
Off (fig. 1.4). Drawn from an actual scene, the view depicts their emigrant friends—the same group of older folks, women, and children—huddled on an unprotected train platform, where they were forced to spend the entire night exposed to a cold drenching rain until their connecting train arrived. The very small, faint plume of smoke of an engine on the horizon is all there is in this illustration to suggest that relief is at last on its way and their “misery,” as the artists described it, is about to end. This inhumane system could not have failed to irk the two Frenchmen—in particular, Tavernier, who had so espoused the humanitarian beliefs of France’s intelligentsia that he had been jailed in Paris in November 1867 for demonstrating against Napoleon III at the Montmartre cemetery.11 The artists’ depiction of the early stages of the emigrants’ long journey jelled the Frenzeny and Tavernier illustrative style. Together they decided on a specific journalistic choice of newsworthy places or events with a penchant for the life of common folk. Their distinctive artistic style became a blend of their respective personal styles. Frenzeny, the reporter, contributed journalistic sensitivity and action scenes through skilled rendering of details and human figures; fluid, multiple actions; and an informative, insightful literary commentary. Tavernier, the artist, provided the aesthetic form, excellent composition, great use of light, and recurring night scenes. The creation of these collaborative masterpieces was to become the two artists’ daily routine for many months.
Interesting sketches giving some of the picturesque features of iron manufacturing. Harper’s Weekly, November 1, 1873
2. Foreshadowing the Frontier Pittsburgh, Summer 1873
fter following the emigr ants on the first leg of their journey, the artists turned to foreshadowing their second story line: the contrast between the industrialized regions of the East Coast and the pristine character of the frontier’s undeveloped lands. A unique opportunity for a journalistic scoop caused them to divide up the work and report on separate subjects: Paul Frenzeny was invited to an undisclosed location “somewhere in Pennsylvania” for a secret meeting of the Molly Maguires, leaving Jules Tavernier in charge of stopping alone in Pittsburgh to document one of the city’s iron manufactures.1 In his threesketch series The Manufacture of Iron, Tavernier again chose to illustrate night scenes. These enhance the light and dark contrast of the smelting process and transform the workers’ routine activities into evocative scenes of a world of fire and molten metal reminiscent of ancient Vulcan legends—even in black and white. While Frenzeny’s journalistic style of illustration always depicts several simultaneous, ongoing actions, Tavernier’s approach is more focused on one activity at a time—he tends to draw more visually laconic scenes. These three drawings vary markedly in style from their other joint sketches. The composition of each of the three sketches again demonstrates his strong artistic background. Filling the Furnace (fig. 2.1) shows, with a great light effect, how mostly shirtless workers empty wheelbarrows full of ore, limestone, or coal endlessly into doors at the top of the furnace: four men at a time on the sketch, one after the other, day and night. The sense of intense heat is conveyed by the back motion of the worker on the right-hand side. Carting Away the Scoriae (fig. 2.2) strikes a beautiful balance in contrasting shapes and textures between the rough rocky slope, the clouds that crowd the sky, the geometric outlines of the industrial containers on stilts, and men and mules in the foreground. The teams of mules pull our eyes toward the gigantic structure that rises from behind the hill-sized slag heap.
2.1. The M anufacture of Iron—Filling the Furnace Filling the Furnace. The first sketch shows the process of filling a blast-furnace. The furnace itself is a solid and massive structure, generally of granite, lined inside with the hardest fire-brick, capable of sustaining heat of almost inconceivable intensity. These structures vary in height from fifty to one hundred feet, and in diameter from thirty to fifty feet, according to the amount of work they are intended to perform. When properly constructed they will last from fifteen to twenty years, in constant use. The top of the furnace resembles a large platform, with a large opening as shown in the sketch, surmounted by a chimney-like cylinder furnished with doors, through which the material is thrown in. The process of filling goes on day and night, ore, limestone, and coal being thrown in proportions required by different qualities of ore. Flames and gases escape continually from these openings, and at night the illumination is often strikingly picturesque.
Pittsburgh, Summer 1873 25
The surprisingly stylized design of the full-page Tapping the Furnace (fig. 2.3) focuses on the grandiose volumes of the iron furnace and its geometric shapes, in stark disproportion with the muscular, bare-chested men in the foreground as they work at dispersing the rush of metal from the channel into rows of molds where it was left to cool. The larger figures in the foreground, the darkness, the bright fire, as the studiously penned “Tavernier & Frenzeny” signature all point to Jules Tavernier as the author of the sketch directly onto the woodblock. The painter’s descriptive texts are also far more laconic, as if he had merely jotted down a few tidbits of information and his own impressions. His descriptions rely heavily on his sensory perceptions. He mentions the furnace’s “solid and massive structure,” colors such as the reddish-gray color of the scoriae (or slag), and sounds such as the “roaring, hissing sound of the melted metal.” The descriptions are studded with commonplace adjectives, including “picturesque” (used three times), “large,” “interesting,” “striking,” and “inconceivable,” which Frenzeny would have shunned. As the
2.2. The M anufacture of Iron—Carting Away the Scoriae Carting Away the Scoriae. The second sketch shows the carting away of the scoriae, or refuse of the furnace. This is done either by teams or by steam-power. The scoriae when cool assume a reddish-gray color. Huge piles of this refuse material may be seen in every iron manufacturing district.
26 Foreshadowing the Frontier 2.3. The M anufacture of Iron—Tapping the Furnace Tapping the Furnace. Tapping a furnace . . . presents an extremely interesting and picturesque sight. The melted metal rushes out through the main channel with a roaring, hissing sound, and is dispersed through minor channels into the several rows of moulds, until all are filled. The castings are removed when cooled, and new moulds are made in the sand to receive another cast.
artists’ western saga developed, it becomes progressively more obvious that Tavernier was not a man of the word, especially not in English, despite his British citizenship, and unlike Frenzeny. He always kept his remarks to a minimum when he sent his sketches to the Harpers’ offices. Jules was a man of the brush: his perception of the world around him was foremost and intensely sensory. This series of sketches leaves no doubt that Tavernier’s style of reporting,
Pittsburgh, Summer 1873 27
for both illustrations and texts, naturally focused more on the aesthetics of a scene than on its human drama. The mention by artist and publisher of the “picturesque features” of the job reinforces that perspective. His characters do not appear to interact as much with each other as do those drawn by Frenzeny. But his scenes offer a powerful and memorable visual impression of work in a foundry. Meanwhile, Paul Frenzeny, the perennial advocate of simple folks, was granted an exclusive invitation to attend and sketch a secret meeting of “Molly M’Guire” men, the powerful secret society of coal miners who had recently induced extensive strikes throughout the state.2 This exceptional “scoop” was well earned. From June 1872 to June 1873, Paul Frenzeny had dedicated a series of nine sketches to the life and plight of the coal miner and his family. The artist’s presence at this secret meeting speaks volumes about the miners’ high regard for his compassionate and authentic depiction of their work conditions. In his moonlit action scene The Strike in the Coal Mine—Meeting of “Molly M’Guire” Men (fig. 2.4), one man stands alone on a large rock as he exhorts a group of intent-looking coal miners gathered around him in an undisclosed location “somewhere in Pennsylvania.” He stands at center on this flat slab flooded by a pool of moonlight. The drop between the sheer barren cliffs behind him brings the viewer’s eye down on him. More than the stark rocky backdrop with barely the suggestion of a few trees at right, it is the men’s attitudes that spark interest in this scene. Their leader in particular is grounded, yet without any stiffness in his posture. He holds his right hand up in a gesture meant to grab attention and keeps his left in his pocket, in quiet confidence. The moonlight that falls on the twelve men around him spices up the interest, too, with shadows on the rock, reflections on their miners’ helmets, and highlights on their faces. Their attitudes, like their expressions, reflect pensiveness, rapt attention, and perhaps sadness or worry, too. They all wear tall heavy boots with trousers tucked in, but each is different in character, depending on his beard or shaven face; on his type of head gear, from cap to hat to helmet (only one, seated behind the leader, is bare-headed); on his shirt, with or without a vest or a jacket; on his position, standing, sitting, or leaning on an outcrop; and on his hand, whether holding a cane or with arms crossed. They all look very authentic, very real. The miners are intently looking at their leader, except for one who is turned away, reinforcing the hypothesis of a Judas among them. Labor scholars suggest that this could be the messianic figure of labor leader Jack Kehoe, surrounded by twelve of his “apostles” or followers—who were destined to die on the scaffold four years later.3 The locale and its long line of rugged cliffs, intentionally kept vague but described as “a deserted mine, or a caved-in work,” clearly demonstrates that it was drawn on the spot. Frenzeny’s use of the dramatic environment
2.4. The Strike in the Coal Mines— Meeting of “Molly M’Guire” Men Coal Miners’ Strike. The extensive strike among the Pennsylvania coal miners, consequent upon the proposed reduction in the rates of payment, brings into special prominence their powerful organization, known as the “Molly M’Guire Secret Society,” which for several years has exerted a widely ramifying influence among them. The coal-fields of Pennsylvania are entirely under its control, and its branches extend into other States where coal is found. All the miners, with very few exceptions, belong to this society, and obey the edicts of their elected officers with a blind fidelity. It is difficult to give an exact statement of its numbers, but it is sufficiently strong to have brought the coal companies to terms many times, in spite of the most powerful combinations. . . . The meetings of the Molly M’Guire men are held secretly. Some secluded field or house is selected for the purpose, guards are posted at suitable distances from the place of gathering, and no person not belonging to the society is allowed to approach. Our illustration . . . shows such a meeting in a deserted mine, or “caved-in work,” as the miners call it. It is not surprising that the miners should form such an organization as the best means in their knowledge of resisting the oppressive conditions which the coal companies often seek to impose upon them; but no measures could be too severe to compel them to refrain from the violence and murder to which they so often resort. So great is the terror the society excites that not a jury could be found in the mining regions to give a verdict against a member who was known to have committed murder.
30 Foreshadowing the Frontier
and moonlight reinforces the sense of tension and solemnity of this meeting. One may wonder whether the artists both chose night scenes to depict the East Coast in order to further accentuate the upcoming contrast with the sunny views of the frontier. Frenzeny’s commentary adds depth to the tenor of the sketch as well. It points out the dangerous edge of an organization that managed to bring coal companies to term many times, when their treatment of the miners grew to be abusive. It also brings up the secret society’s ruthless way of dealing with miners who resisted their edicts: its members did not hesitate to carry out the execution of such miners, easily covered up as a mining incident in the coalfields. Their power over juries, should a miner ever be tried for murder, casts another dark touch over this group’s power. Even though the Molly Maguires and the labor movement of the 1870s were usually presented in the press in antagonistic terms, Frenzeny concludes his text with comments that show his deep sympathy for these hardworking men: “It is not surprising that the miners should form such an organization as the best means in their knowledge of resisting the oppressive conditions which the coal companies often seek to impose upon them.” This superb bit of reporting brings Frenzeny’s exceptional series on coal miners to a perfect close. Duly engraved by master-engraver Lagarde as a full-page print,4 it is to this day considered iconic by many. Hired to depict the common folks of the frontier, the artists did so passionately from the very beginning, giving these pioneers a voice, a presence. They did not hesitate to thunder against land sharks, against the deficiencies of the fledgling train system, against the oppressive conditions of a coal miners’ work. This was reporting at its best. And they had not even reached the frontier yet.
The M., K., & T. railroad has become one of the leading roads of the West and South West, and will without a doubt, in a few years, rank among
3. Working for the “Katy” Missouri to Texas, August 1873
the best paying roads in the country. Great South-West, July 1874
t was still the height of summer when Frenzeny and Tavernier left Pittsburgh by rail for Hannibal, Missouri, where they crossed the Mississippi over a splendid newly built bridge that spanned the legendary river. This was a place well known to the French who had followed the early explorations of “The Furious,” as the Sioux called the Mississippi, by French missionary Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, the celebrated “Blackrobe” who had explored it at such length that he thought of it as “his” river. Frenzeny and Tavernier were at last entering the frontier, a land of legends. Their first stop, Hannibal, was at that time a flourishing city of about fifteen thousand souls, located between two immense bluffs that rose abruptly from the river. One of the most important lumber points on the Mississippi River, the city was home to some fifteen firms engaged in this trade. Timber was brought there by raft from the lumber regions of the upper Mississippi, and acres of lumberyards stretched along the railroad tracks. This was the port town that served as the inspiration for the fictional town of St. Petersburg in Mark Twain’s great American classics Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Samuel Langhorne Clemens had indeed called Hannibal home from the time he was four until he left for New York at age eighteen, in the 1850s, before he took the pseudonym Mark Twain.1
Will Sketch for Tickets . . . This was an important stop for the two Frenchmen, because Hannibal was the center of an extensive railroad system based on five independent lines: the Hannibal and St. Joseph, running west to St. Joseph, Kansas City, and Atchison;2 the Toledo, Wabash and Western, running east to Toledo, Ohio; the Quincy, Alton and St. Louis; the Mississippi Valley and Western, running to Keokuk, Iowa; and most of all, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, one of the leading railroads of the West and Southwest. 31
map 1. Route of the “Katy,” the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railroad. The Great SouthWest, June 1874. Kansas State Historical Society.
34 Working for the “K aty”
The overall cost of the expedition must have been so staggering for the Harpers (considering the materials, transportation, insurance, and travel expenses) that they appear to have struck a deal with the directors of the M.K.&T. (known affectionately as the “Katy” for its “K-T” stock exchange code), who retained the artists’ services in exchange for free passes on their lines. As a result, the artists’ itinerary was dictated by these free tickets. This arrangement meant that they would depict what they saw along the railroad exclusively for much of their trip, but life then clustered around the tracks, which were a lifeline to most of the settlements in this vast continent. This was at once an opportunity and an obligation of sorts for Frenzeny and Tavernier, who were commissioned to produce seven sketches for the railroad company, all landscapes designed to promote the railway or the lush Neosho Valley, where the company was selling land. No texts were required; professional writers were hired for that task. These seven illustrations bear a somewhat more impersonal “Frenzeny Tavernier” signature, omitting the usual “&” to separate these views from those that the artists were creating for Harper’s. Almost all are landscapes that feature the friendly presence of the smoking engine and cars as a central focus. The seven images started to appear in the Great South-West exactly one year after the artists’ passage and were subsequently published in that newspaper, the railroad’s own publication, several times each, occasionally with different captions and different descriptions, throughout 1874 and 1875. In 1874, the railroad claimed to have published more than sixty thousand copies of this newspaper in a matter of only a few months. Because these copies were distributed for free not only through the greater Southwest but also to every other state and territory in the United States, this added up to quite a bit of recognition for the artists as well. The first of the commissioned sketches represents a partial view of Hannibal’s riverfront, from the foot of Verde Street looking north, with a nice perspective of the M.K.&T.’s offices and tracks on the left (fig. 3.1). Majestic paddle steamers are lined up on the right-hand side, piles of lumber waiting to be loaded are stacked at center, and the rising bluff anchors the view in the background. There is a flurry of workers unloading merchandise from the boats, while others are loading lumber onto horse-drawn carts. Much activity also centers on the depot and the two train tracks, each with a train and smoking engine ready to head off in opposite directions. After accomplishing their mission in Hannibal, Frenzeny and Tavernier boarded the M.K.&T.’s Texas Express. They passed through Moberly and Boonville to reach, thirty-five miles farther, the town of Sedalia, boldly nicknamed “Queen City of the Prairies” in the bombastic style of those days. The seat of Pettis County, Missouri, the city was built on rolling prairie, midway between the north and south boundaries of Kansas, in the heart of a magnificent sweep of fertile, well-watered country. Originally a small village of wooden houses, Sedalia had repeatedly
Missouri to Texas, August 1873 35
been destroyed by fires during its early growth. It was booming at the time of the artists’ visit. In 1874 alone, 113 buildings were erected, including a large market house with the city hall and offices and two more recently built churches. The “Prairie Queen’s” existence and economy were tied to the railroad. A large part of its workforce maintained tracks and operated various machine shops for both the Katy and the Missouri-Pacific. Sedalia was also an important railhead for the cattle trade. For much of the nineteenth century, its stockyards received cattle from drives for shipping east. The Frenchmen’s view of Hannibal focused mostly on the intense business activity surrounding the railroad’s offices. Similarly, the view of Sedalia shows the M.K.&T.’s general offices, depot, and machine shops at Indiana Street, with the train and smoking engine taking center stage, the imposing water tower in the background, and the tracks at a pleasant angle at center (fig. 3.2). Yet the scene also focuses on the passenger trade and on the social intercourse fostered by rail travel, be it the customers on the platform, the families with children exchanging greetings in the foreground, or the gentility of the scene with cab waiting and riders trotting by. This may have served to reinforce the Great South-West’s claim that “here are as clever, hospitable people as the world knows, as testifies the ‘stranger within her gates.’”3
3.1. View in Hannibal, Missouri (Katy sketch). The Great South-West, June 1874. Kansas State Historical Society.
36 Working for the “K aty”
3.2. General Offices, Depot, and Machine Shops of M., K. & T. R’Y, Sedalia, Mo. (Katy sketch). The Great South-West, July 1874. Kansas State Historical Society.
A National Obsession Railroads were becoming a national obsession in the mid-1870s, unlocking the mysteries of the vast continent as their rails crisscrossed farther and farther into the country. Frenzeny and Tavernier were asked to depict the comfort of a regular Katy passenger car, an ironic assignment because its comfort, together with the company’s boast that there was no finer or more splendidly equipped train running regularly in the United States, offered such a stark contrast with the miseries they had experienced being “switched-off ” aboard an emigrant train. Interior View of Car—M., K. & T. R’y (fig. 3.3) shows, this time in full daylight, one of these regular passenger cars, which consisted of “finely upholstered and commodious day cars as well as sleeping and drawing room cars.”4 The four women in the foreground look far more fashionable than do the emigrant women in the earlier Weekly sketch.5 The conductor occupies center stage as a reassuring mustachioed, uniformed, almost paternal figure. The paper touted his courtesy and the passengers’ pleasure at hearing his cheery “All aboard,” answered by the steady ring of the bell. This is a safe-looking, well-lit place where passengers were never “switched-off ”:
Missouri to Texas, August 1873 37
3.3. Interior View of Car— M., K. & T. R’y (Katy sketch). The Great South-West, November 1874. Kansas State Historical Society.
when night came, they headed for the Pullman car for a comfortable night. Sleeping on a train still remained a novelty and a potentially scary experience, however. The newspaper tried to relate it in reassuring terms: “The sensation when lying down in the berth is that of a ‘fever’n-ager’ standing still all over you, a sort of ‘dumb quaking.’ Add to this a serious apprehension concerning your morning reception by Mr. Lo, and you will be astonished to find yourself sound asleep in less than five minutes.”6 These views are pleasant and have some documentary value, yet their subject matter was dictated by the needs of the company. They are all simple, classic sceneries, except for Interior View of Car.7 Because the Katy did not publish Frenzeny and Tavernier’s illustrations until a full year after their passage, the two Frenchmen may never have read the prose that accompanied the illustrations, and they may never have realized to what extent they had contributed to further the goals of a major corporation. That was probably a good thing. All that mattered in the grand scheme of things is that they had free passes to continue their travel south across the immense prairie, through Indian Territory, and all the way to Texas and the new adventures and sights these fabled regions held for them.
The two preceding illustrations showed the interior of an emigrant’s boarding house and a party of emigrants on their way to the railway station. The Leaf from a Sketch-Book tells the story of our artists’ depar-
4. Taming the Frontier
ture from Pittsburgh and their entry upon the wilder portion
The Neosho Valley, August 1873
of their route. Harper’s Weekly, November 8, 1873
First Glance at the Frontier: The Pr airie It would have been convenient for Frenzeny and Tavernier to sketch Hannibal and Sedalia for Harper’s, too. But once free of their obligation to cater to the Katy, they remained true to the spirit of their mission and to their initial intention of focusing on simple folks and frontier industries, as well as chronicling the contrast between urban and frontier areas, the story they had foreshadowed with their East Coast industrial sketches. Composed of eight sketches, the full-page Leaf from a Sketch-Book offers a balanced mix of four landscapes and four genre scenes (fig. 4.1).1 The first two illustrations of this grouping (or “block,” as artists and publishers described them) contrast the stark difference in living conditions in A Smoking City, Pittsburgh (fig. 4.2, left) and in A Sunny Home on the Neosho River (fig. 4.2, right) with juxtaposed views of Pittsburgh’s black skyline, smoky clouds, and mining rubble, next to an idyllic cabin surrounded by clear sky and lush vegetation. The artists’ previous sketches of East Coast
(facing) 4.1. Leaf from a Sketch-Book Leaf from a Sketch-Book. The interesting sketches [here] . . . form the third of a series of illustrations in which our artists, Messrs. Frenzeny and Tavernier, will tell the story of an extensive tour, commencing in New York, and intended to include the most interesting and picturesque regions of the Western and Southwestern portions of this country. These gentlemen will not restrict themselves to the ordinary routes of travel. They will make long excursions on horseback into regions where railroads have not yet penetrated, where even the hardy squatter, the pioneer of civilization, has not yet erected his rude log-cabin, and the pictorial record of their journeying will be a most valuable and entertaining series of sketches.
40 Taming the Frontier
4.2. Leaf from a SketchBook—A Smoking City, Pittsburgh and A Sunny Home on the Neosho River A Smoking City, Pittsburgh [no.1]; A Sunny Home on the Neosho River [no. 2]. No. 1 & No. 2 present a striking contrast: on the one hand the busy, crowded manufacturing town, with its smoky atmosphere and ceaseless din of forges; on the other, a sunny, quiet home on the banks of the Neosho River, with pure air, green trees, melodious birds, and every evidence of peaceful, happy industry and thrift.
industries had, from the start, led up to this comparison, which they further emphasized in their text: “On the one hand the busy manufacturing town with its smoking atmosphere and ceaseless din of forges; on the other, a sunny, quiet home on the banks of the Neosho River, with pure air, green trees, melodious birds, and every evidence of peaceful, happy industry and thrift.” The cabin is nestled in abundant vegetation to contrast, smoky, industrial Pittsburgh with Kansas’s bountiful, sunny land. A woman sits on a chair outside her home and works facing the stream, under a jutting roof. There is a barrel (probably for rainwater) in front of the home, a fence in front and back, and a curtain in the window. A beautiful train scene regrettably too small in size, Taking Water on the Prairie (fig. 4.3) serves as a transition. The long stretches of lone prairie indeed represented a significant and scenic divide between these two different regions worlds apart. The image depicts a train taking water at a lone tank at sunset in the middle of a vast expanse of prairie, with great cloud effects over the empty plain and the curve of the engine and cars. The silhouette of the water tower anchors the view. Steam escapes from under the engine with a bright white puff. This scene, which the artists characterize in the text as “exceedingly picturesque,” allows them to establish the vastness and pristine character of the frontier and cries out for Tavernier’s inspired coloring. Where the Frenchmen saw beauty, another wanderer whose destiny would cross Tavernier’s saw mostly drudgery: “a world without features, an empty sky, an empty earth; . . . the train toiled
The Neosho Valley, August 1873 41
4.3. Leaf from a SketchBook—Taking Water in the Prairie Taking Water in the Prairie. [This figure] shows a railway
over this infinity like a snail.”2 Robert Louis Stevenson did get a taste of the prairie six years after Tavernier; both would become close friends of French tavern-keeper extraordinaire Jules Simoneau in Monterey, and they eventually met in Monterey, San Francisco, and more-tropical climes as well. Given their French heritage, the two artists must have wondered about the numerous French place-names they encountered on the prairie along their way from Fayette to Chouteau,3 just in the names of train stations or town names such as nearby Paris, Texas. The widely traveled French mining engineer Louis Laurent Simonin reported in one of his travel logs as he made his way across the plains around that time, “The country is full of French names conferred on it by our former trappers. In fact, the very word ‘prairie’ was borrowed from our language.”4
train on the prairie, stopping to take in water. The scarcity of water in certain localities in the far West compels the railroad companies to take advantage of every pool and pond, however small, to obtain a supply for their locomotives. Sometimes distances varying from fifty to one hundred miles have to be traversed between these sources of supply. Wherever these are found, high water tanks are erected, into which water is pumped by stationary engines.
Settling the Frontier: The Log Cabin As the Frenchmen traveled across the prairie, depicting the frontier for Harper’s readers—and for the Katy—they discovered the bountiful Neosho Valley, where the company ran a railway branch along the Neosho River, a region that lived up to its Indian name: “Neosho” was said to be a Native American word for “clear, cold water.” Filled with some of the finest, richest, and most desirable land to be found in Kansas, the valley was primarily company land.5 The M.K.&T. was in the process of selling land grants in a belt that stretched 40 miles in width on each side of the railroad, 182 miles along that valley. One can easily understand, then, why the railroad’s directors were anxious to promote the fertility of the region, why their editorials waxed lyrical over its various admirable features. Sketches by representa-
When a train stops at evening at one of these tanks the spectacle, as may be seen in our sketch, is often exceedingly picturesque.
42 Taming the Frontier
4.4. Scene in the Great Neosho Valley (Katy sketch). The Great South-West, July 1874. Kansas State Historical Society.
tives of Harper’s Weekly were a boon to them, and they requested views that stressed the promise of a bountiful life in that valley. Frenzeny and Tavernier drew two scenes of the fertile Neosho for the Great South-West. The first features cows grazing in a lush pastoral setting by the river (fig. 4.4). One wonders whether the Katy’s director found the familiar outline of the steam engine, blowing a plume of smoke on the ridge above, to be not quite prominent enough; the train is mentioned as being “in the distance” in the caption, to be safe. The second Neosho landscape is tied to a central element that likewise started to emerge from the artists’ depiction of the frontier at that time: the log cabin. Sunset Scene in the Neosho Valley, Kansas (fig. 4.5) features a cozy-looking cabin by the water’s edge. This scenery was profusely used by the railroad company to praise the beauty of the countryside they were anxious to promote, sell, and profit from. “A Kansas sunset must be seen to be fully appreciated. The annexed view is, perhaps, as near the thing as we can produce it ‘on paper,’” they wrote of this sketch by Frenzeny and Tavernier. The promoters went on to describe it in prose that suggests they had hired a professional writer to work on this as well—pamphlets for railroad companies were then a booming new type of literature:
The Neosho Valley, August 1873 43
As the sun speeds on, the wind becomes less fierce, and gradually softens down to delicious zephyrs. The atmosphere gathers moisture, and the sun mellows and expands as it approaches the horizon, until the very hills appear small in comparison with it. Now the beautiful valley appears in her full glory. The farms, the groves and the hills “stand out” in charming relief. Then comes the twilight. Golden beams stream along the lower skies, then brighten into purple and crimson, while away up overhead they spy out a net of tiny clouds so light and thin that they were until now imperceivable. These in turn are transformed into brilliant resplendent billows, until the whole heavens become a literal sea of dazzling beauty. The proverbial evening breezes now usher in the night, and the gold yields to crimson, the crimson to purple, and that again to brown and gray, and the exhibition concludes amid regrets that are only appeased by the reflection that the morrow will witness its repetition.6
The Frenchmen’s sunset scene for the Great South-West is a peaceful, attractive view of a log home with a smoking chimney, on the bank of the river. A man smokes his pipe contemplatively in the outer corner of his fenced garden.
4.5. Sunset Scene in the Neosho Valley (Katy sketch). The Great South-West, September 1874. Kansas State Historical Society.
44 Taming the Frontier 4.6. Temperance, Industry, and Happiness
Although reminiscent of the log home on the banks of the Neosho, which the artists used to contrast East Coast and frontier life in their Leaf from a Sketch-Book for Harper’s, this second view of a log cabin is drawn from a different angle and offers a glimpse of the river. It fits the Katy’s lyrical description of a Kansas sunset. The Harpers took advantage of the artists’ depiction of the quiet home on the banks of the Neosho River and of their claims that it shows “every
The Neosho Valley, August 1873 45
evidence of peaceful, happy industry and thrift.” They requested from the pair a sketch illustrating these virtues (see fig. 4.6) to be used as a repoussoir for an illustration by C. Gault entitled Intemperance, Idleness & Misery, in a Harper’s Weekly issue dedicated to “Woman’s Crusade against Intemperance.”7 For the Katy promoters as well as the Harpers brothers, a home in the Neosho Valley became a useful emblem of the idyllic frontier lifestyle.
Life on the Frontier This traditional frontier dwelling appears in two of their subsequent sketches as well. Building the Log-Cabin (fig. 4.7, left) and Laying the Fences (fig. 4.7, right) both focus on the settling of the frontier, and in each the log cabin again captures center stage, partly because of the elemental way it fits into the wilderness in the eye of an artist but also because it partakes of the speed with which the West was being settled. The artists’ commentary points out that it was built “in an incredibly short space of time.”8 The twenty stumps of felled trees in the background of Laying the Fences partially convey this element of speed, as do the four busy men stacking rails, dragging new branches with a hook, and chopping a tree. The finished log home stands in the back, with mother and child watching the men at work. Even though it is referred to as a temporary means of shelter, the massive presence of the log home in the second of these sketches belies the idea, and while the artists found the rail fence “hideous,” they deemed the log cabin “not only comfortable, but quite tasteful with a little rustic work about the door and windows.” Frenzeny and Tavernier may not have been familiar with log chalets, which in France are indigenous mostly to the Alpine regions. But in America, this type of home was to the frontier dweller what the false-front buildings were to boomtowns: a staple and a symbol. These two illustrations also focus on the communal spirit that was spawned by frontier life, with figures performing different tasks at the same time to accomplish a common goal. Populations were still so scattered on the frontier that the success of new neighbors had a crucial impact on everyone’s survival. Great activity presides over Building the Log-Cabin, as men are building, women are cooking, and children are reading. No one stays idle and no one is alone. The three women in the foreground are cooking together over a campfire. The four men in the background are also at work together; there are already eight layers of logs notched and set in place, and more logs are being unloaded while the other two settlers are busy stacking. Sunlight falls brightly on the white shirts of the three men at center and on the woman in front of the fire, while the other three figures remain in the shadows.
4.7. Scenes in Emigrant Life— Building the Log-Cabin and Laying the Fences Building the Log Cabin In many parts of the great West, where railroads are of recent construction, there may still be found many specimens of the old fashioned log cabin; and many settlers in new lands put [up] these easily and cheaply erected buildings as a temporary means of shelter. The village neighbors, glad of an addition to the settlement, give their aid, and in an incredibly short space of time the cabin is ready for occupancy. It may be made not only comfortable but quite tasteful with a little rustic work about the door and windows. Laying the Fences. As soon as the house is ready, the emigrant’s first care is to fence in two or three acres of land right about the dwelling for a garden. The neighbors who helped him build his log cabin are no less ready to assist in laying the fence. The rest of his claim the emigrant will enclose himself, with the assistance of hired labor. In many parts of the West hedges are coming into favor, and those beautiful substitutes for the hideous rail fence will, it is to be hoped, be used every year to a greater extent.
The Neosho Valley, August 1873 47
4.8. Leaf from a Sketch-Book— Prairie Chickens for Sale and Herding with Comfort Prairie Chickens for Sale. [Here] we have a picture of a farmer and his daughter trudging to market with a lot of prairie-chickens, which they can sell at prices varying from a dollar to a dollar and half a dozen. Many farmers in the West, after their crops are gathered in, contrive to make a little money from this source. Herding with Comfort. The odd appearance presented by the herder . . . , comfortably watching cattle from under the shade of a huge umbrella, will excite a smile; but where there are no trees some measure of this kind must be taken as a protection against the burning sun.
Although duty-bound to draw landscapes for the Great South-West, Frenzeny and Tavernier manifestly enjoyed the task of depicting for Harper’s how the West was being settled, from new homes to new communities and new towns. Far from picking cattle barons, dignitaries, sheriffs, or businessmen, they persisted in their plan to give their full attention to common folks, in this instance the simple farmers who lived around the small settlements of the prairie. Four of the sketches in Leaf from a Sketch-Book bring to life local Kansas settlers in four different activities representative of their frontier lifestyle. The images show them as colorful, quaint, and willing to find imaginative solutions to the adverse conditions they found, as with the father and daughter living off the land by selling the game they hunted in Prairie Chickens for Sale (fig. 4.8, left). The drawing was done in the slightly caricatural vein that landed Jules Tavernier in a lot of trouble in Monterey years later.9 Anticipating that the odd scene of the cowhand watching his herd in the shade of his umbrella in Herding with Comfort (fig. 4.8, right) might “excite a smile,” the artists were careful to clarify in their text that “where there are no trees some measure of this kind must be taken as a protection against the burning sun.”10 The scenes also document the isolation of the settlers, because of the enormous distances separating them, and the importance of the horse as a
48 Taming the Frontier
4.9. Leaf from a SketchBook—Going to Church and A Surprise Party Going to Church. In many of the newly settled parts of the far West churches are few in number and long distances apart, and
means of transportation. The community spirit that results from this isolation is apparent in the illustration of a group riding their horses to church en famille in Going to Church (fig. 4.9, left) or to a neighbor’s house in A Surprise Party (fig. 4.9, right). Religion, social gatherings, cattle raising, hunting: those were the staples of life on the frontier.
the farmers’ families often have ten to twelve miles of horseback riding to do in order to attend divine service. [This picture] shows an honest, God-fearing farmer with his wife and child bent on the pious errand. A Surprise Party. [This illustration] depicts a horse-back surprise-party galloping over the prairie to pay an unexpected visit to some isolated farm-house, where their presence will be heartily welcomed, neighbors being few and far between.
A Frontier Fixture: The Boomtown Heading southwest across the prairie, Frenzeny and Tavernier crossed the Missouri boundary line into Kansas. They passed through lively Fort Scott, the state’s fifth city in population, the center of a fertile wheat-growing country, with several very extensive flouring mills. They rested from the first leg of their journey at Parsons City, represented at the bottom right of Leaf from a Sketch-Book. Named for the M.K.&T.’s president,11 Parsons City was described in the Great South-West as being “emphatically” a railroad town, the junction of several railway lines.12 Parsons’s railroad’s shops were built of stone and equipped with all modern machinery for the repair of rolling stock. Yet the little town that had sprung up upon the bare prairie, and had grown and thrived as the railroad progressed, was not deemed by the company as worthy of much business yet. After its initial growth spurt, perhaps they felt that it had to wait for the rich farming country around it to become settled. The Katy had not commissioned a view of Parsons City from the artists.13 There were several other reasons for this particular stop. For one, it was located only about twenty miles from the artists’ next destination: the “Indian Territory.” But the town held
The Neosho Valley, August 1873 49
special significance to Frenzeny and Tavernier. The very title of the sketch A Market Day in Parsons City—18 Months Old (fig. 4.10, plate 1b) points to the youth of this small boomtown, obviously an object of fascination for the two European artists accustomed to centuries-old villages and towns at home. They must have felt as if they were entering a new world. Describing Parsons as “a border town,” because of its location in Kansas near Indian Territory, they reported with surprise, “Though only a few months old, it is
4.10. Leaf from a Sketch-Book—A Market Day in Parsons City—18 Months Old Parsons City. About twenty miles from the Indian Territory, in Kansas, is the newly settled border town called Parsons City. Though only a few months old, it is already a thriving, bustling, active business centre, with about two thousand inhabitants. It is the junction of several railway lines, and bids fair to become an important and flourishing city. [This figure] gives a view of one of the principal streets on market-day, when farmers and hunters come from far and near to sell and make purchases.
50 Taming the Frontier
already a thriving, bustling, active business center, with about two thousand inhabitants. . . . It bids fair to become an important and flourishing city.” Parsons was central to their perception and depiction of how the West was being settled. It was during their stay in the boomtown that Jules inaugurated a practice he would use more than once in the course of their odyssey: he sold a watercolor of the town locally. This watercolor, now in the possession of the Kansas State Historical Society, bears Jules’s signature and the inscription “Parsons City, Kansas, Forest & First Ave., August 4, 1873” (see plate 1a). The muted study shows a rather wide street lined with false-front frame buildings. The perspective judiciously allows both a side view and a front view of the false-front structures so emblematic of the frontier. Planked sidewalks, store signs resting on posts, a one-horse buggy, and a prairie schooner complete the sense of a quiet little town. The watercolor is closely akin, in general composition, to the sketch published in Harper’s Leaf from a Sketch-Book. A close look at similarities and differences between the study and the Harper’s sketch reveals how the pair proceeded to create the portfolio of their travels. They had devised a system that assigned specific tasks to each of them, a modus operandi. Once they had decided on a place and scene, Tavernier, the landscape painter, created a small watercolor and gouache study of each scene on a page of his sketchbook.14 Frenzeny then copied the view onto a piece of boxwood (or several pieces, depending on the size of the final sketch) and added his journalistic touches: generally people and animals in action. This two-step method is reflective of considerable efficiency on their part, since it also allowed each of them to do the work in his own time, although their initial drafts were probably done at the same time, from the same vantage point, with Tavernier paying attention to the lay of the land, to sources of light and volumes, while Frenzeny took in people, activities, and other details that told the story. In this instance, Frenzeny staged the final view of “Forest Avenue”— depicting a street later renamed Broadway—on a market day, no doubt to add immediate human interest to the scene. Everywhere on the farming frontier, sleepy little towns like this one came alive once a week as farmers and their families came from far and near to sell their produce and to buy whatever supplies they needed, very much like the farmer and his daughter captured in the previous sketch (see Prairie Chickens for Sale). Frenzeny kept the perspective and the rows of false-front buildings Tavernier had blocked out, but he removed the covered wagon and replaced it with a remarkable bustle of men standing or sitting on their horses as they talked; a heavily loaded cart with three cows, one of whom is lying down; a man on a chair tipped on its back legs under the awning; and two light coaches
The Neosho Valley, August 1873 51
moving at a brisk pace. All this is covered with the inevitable cloud of dust generated by that busy traffic. He also added the name “Dr. Warden” above the awning, something artists were sometimes hired to do by enterprising local store owners who were willing to pay for the service. Tavernier’s watercolor study is the first of a dozen that have surfaced along the Frenchmen’s path and are now held in local historical archives along their route. These studies often provide precious clues, because the artist dated his work, the reflex of a trained painter. In this case, the young settlement had no newspaper yet, and the artists’ passage was therefore not recorded in print. The date on the watercolor helps us retrace their itinerary: they were in Parsons City on August 4, 1873. Tavernier obviously felt free—based on previous arrangements—to sell his studies locally once they had been used for the final sketch. Whether the proceeds were his to keep or were split between the two, or whether they were used to cover the costs of their expedition, remains a mystery. Such groupings of sketches not only provided a cohesive view of a given locale but also were an excellent way for the special artists to preserve the thread of their story, to keep it from becoming a mere juxtaposition of unrelated views haphazardly published in Harper’s. The ensemble on Parsons evokes both the gentility and the quaintness of life on the frontier. Frenzeny and Tavernier were, after all, reaching the “wilder portion of their route,” as the publishers noted.15 The “Indian Territory” was a mere twenty miles and only a few pounding heartbeats away.
A sketch made by the special artists of Harper’s Weekly and engraved by Messrs. Wittenburg & Sorber of St. Louis, expressedly for this paper; its locality is in the Indian Nation, where the M.K.&T. R’y crosses
5. The India n Territory
the Arkansas river, near Fort Gibson, and in the vicinity of
Fort Gibson, August 1873
the junction of the Arkansas and Neosho Rivers. Great South-West, June 1874
t was still August when Frenzeny and Tavernier left Parsons City, Kansas, for the Indian Territory, as Oklahoma was then called. The train ride was lyrically described as a “great line from the heart of the continent through the wild home of the red man, to the great state of Texas.”1
Crossing into the Indian Nation The “Through Texas Express” left Sedalia every morning at six o’clock. During the night, the train passed through the wealthiest and most fertile portions of Missouri and southeastern Kansas. Morning found the passengers “in the midst of the Indians and in the most beautiful country that man ever beheld,” according to the Great South-West. The newspaper waxed lyrical over the “Indian Nation,” which it traversed in its entirety, from north to south: “Though the soil of the ‘Nation’, as we invariably hear it called, is not so rich or productive as Kansas, yet its magnificent ranges for grazing and almost unlimited supply of water, together with its fine timber will make it one of the most desirable regions to be found in America for stock raising.”2 The special artists’ sixth landscape (fig. 5.1), so boastfully introduced, does show the profuse and luxuriant vegetation of this coveted country through which the Katy ran for 250 miles. The view of the Arkansas River near Fort Gibson is anchored on the left by a tall tree with three deer at its foot. The pleasant bend of the river leads the eye to the bridge that spans the Arkansas River to the inevitable smoking engine pulling cars over it. A dramatic spot of light under the bridge offers a bold contrast with dark foliage that frames the view of the bridge and train on both sides. There is a suggestion of a ridge in the background, and there are pleasant clouds in the sky. The caption does mention “crossing of the M.K.,&T. R.R.” to ensure that viewers would not miss the “iron,” but the directors must have been quite pleased with that scenery. 52
Fort Gibson, August 1873 53
5.1. View on the Arkansas River (Katy sketch). The Great South-West, June 1874. Kansas State Historical Society.
The territory, also known as Indian Country, was a part of the Louisiana Purchase (acquired from France in 1803). At that time, President Jefferson had suggested that much of the land be set aside to “give establishment in it to the Indians of the Eastern side of the Mississippi in exchange for their present country.” In 1824, President Monroe recommended that American Indians in the Gulf States be moved to within its borders. Under President Jackson, Congress authorized their transfer to this unorganized part of the Louisiana Purchase, including the Indian Territory, which served as a destination for displaced tribes from the East and South, especially the socalled Five Civilized Tribes: the Cherokees, Choctaws, Muscogees (Creeks), Chickasaws, and Seminole. They were established on tracts proportionate to the size of each tribe, with titles vested in them.3 The rising tides of colonization had wrested the Kansas lands from Native tribes, encroaching on parts of the Indian Territory itself. With barely veiled lust, the Katy’s newspaper description went on to suggest that there were “most sanguine expectations” regarding that land: in other words, strong hopes for more encroachment.
54 The Indian Territory
A Frontier Icon: Fort Gibson and Its Signal Station in 1873 The Katy’s route followed the old “Texas Road,”4 also known as the “Shawnee Trail,” a major trade and emigrant route across the Indian Territory and an early cattle trail. Trains huffed and puffed along as they followed the Grande River to Fort Gibson and on to the Red River, stopping at stations with names evocative of American Indian culture and language, such as Muskogee, Oketaha, and Atoka. The Frenchmen stopped at Fort Gibson, one of the chief places and oldest non-Indian settlements in the territory. Like Chouteau’s trading post, it was built on the Texas Road by the Grande River, just above its junction with the Arkansas River nearly halfway to the Texas line. Established on April 20, 1824, by Colonel Matthew Arbuckle, the fort served as a base for several military expeditions to explore the West and to bring peace to the tribes of the region.5 It stood at the westernmost end of the chain of forts intended to protect the frontier. Abandoned in 1857, reactivated during the Civil War, abandoned again, and reoccupied the year before Frenzeny and Tavernier’s visit, Fort Gibson was at that time home to the Tenth Cavalry, assigned to police local railroad works and to keep law and order in nearby railroad camps. The Katy line was being extended from Baxter Springs, Kansas, to the Red River crossing at Colbert’s Ferry, a key crossing point from the Indian Territory into Texas. The fort had never lacked in colorful visitors in the short course of its existence. Jefferson Davis, later president of the Confederacy, was one of over a hundred former West Point cadets stationed there. Nathan Boone, son of Daniel, resided there, too, and Sam Houston owned a trading post in the area before moving to Texas. In 1832, Washington Irving launched his exploration of the frontier from the fort to write his book Tour of the Prairies. Two years later, the artist George Catlin joined a force of five hundred dragoons at Fort Gibson. During the ensuing campaign to pacify the Wichita and Comanche tribes, the brutal heat reduced the force by half; even Catlin had eventually fallen ill. It was while recuperating at Fort Gibson that he completed his field sketches of Comanche chiefs and tribal horsemen. The fort also held the grave of Auguste Pierre Chouteau, who spent a lifetime trading successfully in the territory, created several posts throughout, and was a most effective interpreter between the U.S. government and many Indian nations.6 Frenzeny and Tavernier’s simple sketch Fort Gibson (fig. 5.2) depicts the inside of the garrison. Two giant trees with Spanish moss hanging from their branches loom in the foreground like gates opening onto two rows of wooden structures with false fronts and protected planked sidewalks. No less than seven horses are tethered at the foot of the tree on the right.
Fort Gibson, August 1873 55 5.2. In the Indian Territory— Fort Gibson Fort Gibson. [This illustration] represents fort Gibson, one of the chief places in the Territory. The fort is garrisoned by United States troops.
In the background, light falls on a more imposing two-story building with a white façade and regularly spaced second-floor windows. A protected sidewalk runs around its ground floor. More buildings extend from its side into the background. A group of three men, two sitting, one standing under the eaves of the closest building on the left, brings a little animation to the scenes, like another group farther down, all looking quite small proportionally to the trees and to the wide thoroughfare. Besides its colorful visitors, one of Fort Gibson’s most remarkable claims to fame was its weather station. The first post surgeon had begun meteorological observations the year the post was established, so the fort has the earliest known weather records in Oklahoma. It is well situated to monitor the tremendous atmospheric changes that sweep over the vast prairies of Kansas, the Indian Territory, and Texas, so prevalent throughout the seasons that the artists would come to depict them along the route. The specific details regarding United States Signal Station—Watching the Storm (fig. 5.3) were of greater interest to the readers than a mere view of the fort could have been. The illustration shows a platform, topped by a wind gauge connected inside to a recording machine with a drum capable of printing on a roll of paper the variations of the wind speeds. The sergeant strikes an attentive pose, and even though his neckerchief is blowing in the wind, he wears his military cap solidly on his head. His assistant sitting on the steps must have lost his own hat more than once, for he has tied a scarf around it to secure it on while he takes notes. This sketch engraved by Adolf
Fort Gibson, August 1873 57 (facing) 5.3. United States Signal Service—Watching the Storm Watching the Storm. The signal station at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, . . . is the last in the chain of such stations belonging to the Eastern Division. There is none yet established between Fort Gibson and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the atmospheric changes over the immense plains of Kansas, the Indian Territory, and Texas are recorded at this station. The terrific storms which rise in the Rocky Mountains sweep down the deep cañons and valleys, and pass with unabated strength and fury over the wide prairies. The stations at Pike’s Peak, Denver, and Santa Fe are generally the first to give cautionary signals on the approach of these storms.
Our sketch represents a sergeant and assistant of the Signal Service at Fort Gibson watching the
progress of a storm. They take notes of every feature of the tempest, the peculiar formation of the clouds, the struggles between contending currents of air, measure carefully the speed of the wind, the degree of moisture in the atmosphere, and other matters. . . . Every day each station reports by telegraph to the chief signal-office at Washington, and full detailed reports are sent at least once a month.
The small vignette shows the interior of the signal-office. Scientific instruments of the best manu
facture, such as thermometers, barometers, etc., are so arranged as to record the exact state of the temperature and other atmospheric phenomena. The wind-gauge, as shown in the large drawing, on the roof, is connected by an electric wire with a recording instrument in the interior of the office—a drum covered with a long roll of paper, on which the instrument records the varying degrees of speed. The barometers and thermometers are placed in a projecting window called the “shelter.” As a rule, there are two officials to each station, a sergeant and an assistant.
When the signal station was first established at Fort Gibson an incident occurred which is worthy of
mention. The Cherokee Indians regarded the building with great curiosity, mingled with awe, for they understood that it was a contrivance for controlling the weather, and the sergeant was looked upon as a weather sorcerer. Strangely enough, a few days after the station was put in working order a tremendous storm set in, accompanied by a heavy rain-fall. It lasted without interruption for several weeks, and the Indians, attributing its unusual duration to the evil influence of the sorcerer, assembled in large numbers and attacked the station. They were determined to pull it down and “break the charm.” Nothing saved it, and with it the lives of the officials, but the firm conduct of the commandant of the fort. The Indians were at last persuaded to retire, but, though the object of the station was fully explained to them, there are many who still regard it with suspicion, and look with fear and awe upon the sergeant.
Victor Bernstrom features dramatic clouds and light and trees bent by the winds, signs of an approaching storm. The weathermen’s indoors activities are depicted just as carefully in the adjoining vignette. The sergeant is shown inside a projecting window called the “shelter,” which holds an array of barometers and thermometers. His assistant is taking notes of the sergeant’s readings at the desk on the right. Things look organized, and the equipment seems elaborate: the vignette offers a sense of order and purpose. Note how the flue of the stove at left is in line with the wood support of the larger picture. An anecdote that ties the signal station to the people of the Nation (as the Indian Territory was called at the time) adds an element of human interest and humor. The text explains that Cherokee Indians regarded the
58 The Indian Territory
building with great curiosity mingled with awe, because they believed it had the power to control the weather. This, in their eyes, meant the sergeant was a weather sorcerer. Strangely enough, a few days after the station was put in working order a tremendous storm set in, accompanied by a heavy rain-fall. It lasted without interruption for several weeks, and the Indians, attributing its unusual duration to the evil influence of the sorcerer, assembled in large numbers and attacked the station. They were determined to pull it down and “break the charm.” Nothing saved it, and with it the lives of the officials, but the firm conduct of the commandant of the fort. The Indians were at last persuaded to retire, but, though the object of the station was fully explained to them, there are many who still regard it with suspicion, and look with fear and awe upon the sergeant.
The Frenchmen spent enough time at Fort Gibson to collect this sort of anecdote, to learn to differentiate the various tribes living there, and to become informed of the annual councils that took place each year at Ocmulgee, the capital of the Nation since the Civil War, named from a Creek word meaning “boiling water.” The emigrant Indians chose the site in the belief that tornadoes would not strike the area, and so far history has proven them correct.
Life in the “Nation” For the second time in their tour, the artists gathered several sketches on one large page, as for the Parsons scenes. This “grouping” of seven sketches, subtitled by the Harpers as Leaf from Our Artists’ Sketch-Book, was not signed, but it was credited to Frenzeny and Tavernier by name on page 406 of the issue.7 The Harpers stretched the truth a bit with their claims that “these interesting sketches were recently made in the Indian Territory by Messrs. Frenzeny & Tavernier,”8 because they were published a full ten months after the special correspondents’ visit. In the Indian Territory offers, besides the pleasant view of Fort Gibson, a representative sample of the Native tribes and their environment, based on specific situations the artists witnessed (fig. 5.4). The “Nation” had greatly changed since the heroic days of Sam Houston, Washington Irving, and Catlin. Thousands of Indians had enlisted and fought in the Federal and Confederate armies during the Civil War. At its close, the tribes had sunk into poverty. Cherokee Farm-House (fig. 5.5, left) depicts two simple structures with thatched roofs and an awning of thatch that rests on forked tree branches planted in the ground. Supporting beams stick out of the roof line, with what could be stacks of hay visible behind a fence. Two figures stand in front of the doorway. These figures
5.4. In the Indian Territory—A Leaf from Our Artist’s Sketch-Book
60 The Indian Territory
5.5. In the Indian Territory—Cherokee Farm-House and Natives Cherokee Farm-House. [This sketch] represents a small farmhouse belonging to a Cherokee family. Natives. [This image] is a group showing a half-breed and Cherokee and Delaware Indians.
are drawn more explicitly in the next illustration, entitled Natives (fig. 5.5, right), which depicts three men and a woman talking. The so-called “halfbreed” wears short hair and conventional clothes with a shirt tucked into pants, in addition to a wide-brimmed hat. The Cherokee wears a shrug over his shoulders, along with a short jacket and loose pants, he has long dark hair; he is a look-alike of the manacled man in Prisoners En Route to Fort Smith (see below). The third, facing the viewers, is a Delaware, taller, dressed in a fringed jacket, and wearing a headband. A woman with a baby in a cradle on her back stands with them, by the corner of a log house, which could be the store. These are relatively simple line drawings. Traders Store (fig. 5.6) is a more complete, nicely composed scene with ten figures around the wide opening of the store. Two white men and a woman stare at a man sitting on the bench. One of the men, sitting on a chair tilted against the wall, appears to control the entrance. The Natives outside are variously occupied with their affairs. Two in the back are riding away on loaded mules, two in the foreground are chewing the fat, and the third group in the foreground focuses on the man sitting on the bench, holding a bottle, head down as he feels the effect of the alcohol. Another standing to his right seems to be speaking to him, head down too, like many of the other figures in this grouping. An Indian woman bent under a heavy bundle waits, her hair straggling down. As the Frenchmen entered this much-anticipated world of American Indians, they were struck by the signs of poverty and bare-bones existence in the predominantly Cherokee section of the territory.
Fort Gibson, August 1873 61
5.6. In the Indian Territory— Traders Store Traders Store. The last sketch represents a trader’s store, to which Indians bring various products to barter for merchandise, whisky, and tobacco.
Frontier Law What caught their attention next was the question of law in the territory. There is an obvious disconnect between the titles of two sketches in this block, which include words such as “Legislature” and “Delegate,” and the actual scenes, which are devoid of the classic decorum associated with these terms in Western societies. Legislature in Session (fig. 5.7, left) shows anything but a court situation as Westerners would understand it. Two bare-chested “delegates” in the foreground make the presiding white man in suit and tie look rather out of place—he is also the only man sitting on a chair, a sign of his importance. The two shirtless Natives also stand out, since one is casually lounging on the ground on a propped elbow while the other proudly wears long hair and a top hat. They steal the attention both from the man at center presenting his case and from the other figures said to be part of the legislative meeting. It is doubtful that Frenzeny and Tavernier had time to go to Ocmulgee for this late annual council, more likely that they reconstructed the scene based on a meeting they witnessed during their visit. Their portrait A Delegate of the Sacs & Foxes (fig. 5.7, right) further reinforces the sense of cultural clash, since the stout, barechested man with a wide sash around his midriff, considered decorous and respectable in his world for the impressive row of fierce-looking bear claws around his neck and large metal pendant, hardly appears to Western eyes as a “delegate,” a word that suggests a rather official-looking man in a suit.
5.7. In the Indian Territory— Legislature in Session and A Delegate of the Sacs & Foxes Legislature in Session. [This illustration] shows a Legislative session. The sketch was made during a late annual council held at Ocmulgee, to which the various tribes inhabiting the Territory send delegates. A Delegate of the Sacs & Foxes. [This] is the portrait of a delegate of the Sacs and Fox Indians to the annual council.
5.8. In the Indian Territory—Prisoners En Route to Ft. Smith Prisoners En Route to Ft. Smith. [This sketch] represents a batch of prisoners on their way to Fort Smith, manacled and under a strong guard. Lawlessness is the rule in the Territory, and the United States Marshals have their hands full all the year round.
Fort Gibson, August 1873 63
The central vignette of this grouping, Prisoners En Route to Ft. Smith (fig. 5.8) perhaps depicts the outcome of the legal sessions. The “strong guard” they mention consists of an escort of three mounted white men, two in Stetsons and one wearing a cap, with the barrels of their rifles in plain sight, flanking their four prisoners. Two of the prisoners are manacled together, one singly, perhaps because he belongs to a different tribe. The fourth, hands tied at his back, rides a horse, head down, like several of the other characters in the previous drawings. There is a sense that there is quite a story in the situation. The special correspondents concluded their visit to the Indian Territory with an illustration that historians Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg call an “accepted classic of Western portraiture.”9 It seems obvious that Vigilance Court in Session (fig. 5.9)10 was intended as a pendant to the Prisoners scene, with a message that not only tribal Indians but also whites broke the law. It would have been very lucky if the two Frenchmen had run into such a scene. Perhaps they did, or perhaps they were told of one by a member of the posse and the artists re-created this scene from elements gleaned at Fort Gibson and in Texas. Their text tells the story as they may have heard it, with details that sound true. A posse captured three horse thieves after an eventful chase. Two of the shackled thieves look very much alike, so perhaps they are brothers. They are facing a pair of self-assured mustachioed men leaning casually against a sturdy fence in the pool of light at center, calmly staring at them and listening with an amused smile to a witness presumably describing the theft. The treatment of light shows a lot of sophistication: the trio of thieves are in the dark, as if already as good as dead; in stark contrast, the “court” is bathed in a pool of light (the light of justice, perhaps), as is the telegraph pole picked to be used as improvised gallows. While two of the thieves meet their verdict with “sullen and dogged bravery,” the third is on his knees, begging for his life. The man farthest to the left guards them with his pistol ready, although he is talking with another vigilante and not paying attention to the proceedings. Another part of the story unravels with the bearded man at right tending to his injured leg; it seems that during the pursuit, the thieves shot him through his boot. Another member of the posse is holding a bandage up to him. In the back, in full light, a member of the posse takes the liberty of anticipating the verdict by throwing a rope over a nearby telegraph pole. On the cattle range, horse stealing and the rustling of stock were capital offenses because, as mentioned in the text, livestock was the only property people owned. Vigilante justice grew hand in hand with the establishment of farms, towns, and ranches throughout the West. In some areas, the vigilantes were local farmers, merchants, and ranchers who took the law into their own
5.9. Sketches in the Far W est—Vigilance Court in Session Sketches in the Far West. Our illustration . . . represents a Vigilance Committee trying three horse thieves, who have been captured after an exciting chase. The locality is on the border of Texas and the Indian Territory, that chosen land of refuge for lawless characters of every description. The proceedings in this case have been summary. On being overtaken the thieves showed fight, and wounded one of the pursuing party. Their fate was quickly sealed. Defiant to the last, with the exception of one who shows the white feather, they meet their doom with a sullen and dogged bravery. A telegraph pole serves as a gallows. The punishment may seem disproportioned to their offense, but, considering all the circumstances, the men deserve their fate. In these regions live stock is the only property people own, and among real settlers mutual trust and confidence exist. Cattle of all descriptions roam over boundless tracts of land, and, were it not for these bands of thieves, would be as safe as in a well-secured stable.
Fort Gibson, August 1873 65
hands to defend their communities as fairly as they could when there was no authority. In other areas, criminals plundered the countryside under the mask of vigilante action, the stuff of many of our classic Westerns. Either way, frontier justice was swift, especially on the border of Texas and the Indian Nation, which the special artists characterize as the “chosen land of refuge for lawless characters of every description.” Many years later, Paul Frenzeny produced a watercolor entitled The Big Medicine Man, which he probably initially sketched in the Nation. It suggests that the special artists had an excellent, playful interaction with the local Indians. In the style of the watcher being watched, Frenzeny’s watercolor captures an artist who looks suspiciously like Jules Tavernier painting two tribal members posing in ceremonial regalia next to a white pony. A crowd of no less than nine Natives and scouts, one squatting in the foreground dressed like a Cherokee, attentively watch his every move, while the viewer assumes, of course, that yet another invisible artist, Paul Frenzeny, is watching, sketching, and painting the watchers and perhaps being watched himself. The beautiful composition includes an interesting depiction of Jules Tavernier as a man of short stature in rather formal traveling attire: tall boots, shirt, suit and cravat, and a wide-brimmed hat. He paints on a small canvas, his palette will fit inside his paint-box, and his easel is foldable, yet these still amount to a lot of gear to cart around. It is easy to imagine that Jules was creating one of his usual monochromatic studies, one that has not yet surfaced. Frenzeny’s watercolor also evokes the magical thinking present in the weather station anecdote: the Natives intuitively perceiving the awesome components of Art in the making, captivated by the process of creativity—except, of course, the child wreaking havoc in Tavernier’s paint-box. By far the most interesting scene made of the Indian Territory, this gouache suggests that the artistic medium opened up communications channels between the special artists and the men of largely different cultures they encountered along their route.
Today, at meridian, the sun blazes down its most piercing rays, and the wind sweeps across the glaring prairies; Your every motion starts the perspiration, every touch creates a dust, and you sigh for
6. Life in the Old Southw est
the blessed relief which you know is vouchsafed you.
Texas, September 1873
The Great South-West, July 1874
heir visit to the Indian Territory over, Frenzeny and Tavernier again boarded a train and headed south as far into Texas as the Katy went: in 1872, its route had been extended all the way to the town of Denison, its terminal point. They found ample subject material in that northern section of the Lone Star State.
Brutal Heat and a Gentler Pace The view from their train must have been rather dull as the “iron” crawled endlessly across the prairie. Rail-side events whenever the engine stopped to take water were a welcome distraction from both the searing summer heat and the drudgery of the prairie landscape. It is such an event, familiar to travelers along the Texas railways, that is depicted in An Oasis along the Track (fig. 6.1): an overseer and his mule working the machinery for pumping water from the tank in the back to the steam engine. The man’s casual (facing) 6.1. An Oasis along the Track An Oasis along the Track. The illustration on our front page [portrays] a scene familiar to travelers along the Texas railways. Scarcity of water is one of the greatest evils in that State, and the railroads have to avail themselves of every ditch and pool that gives the least promise of a supply, however scanty, of this indispensable source of motive power. In seasons of heavy rainfalls the pool may become quite a large pond, and the water is collected in a rude reservoir, and stored up for use in the not distant time of drought. The machinery for pumping the water into the tank from which the engines are fed is driven by a mule or horse, attended by a man, who is at the same time overseer of the whole establishment.
The place may be lonely, miles and miles away from the nearest house. The only excitement is
when a train stops to take in water. A few words exchanged with the brakemen or the engineer, a shrill whistle, and away the train, leaving the drowsy driver and the drowsy mule to their monotonous round. But the traveler’s eye has been refreshed by the sight of grass and trees, and he can again face the dry and desolate prairie with a lighter heart.
68 Life in the Old Southwest (facing) 6.2. A Saturday Noon in a Southwestern Town This engraving on our first page represents a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon in a Southwestern town. The quiet which reigns in its streets during all the rest of the week is broken by the invasion of the farmers and their hands, who come in to make their Sunday purchases, hear the gossip and the news, talk politics, and enjoy a little fun. In some of the border towns, where the rougher elements of pioneer life are still active, the sport is apt to grow “fast and furious” under the influence of bad whisky, frequently ending in bloodshed; but in the more peaceful villages the younger people amuse themselves with quoit pitching and other games, the negroes make havoc among the water-melons, and an air of business and activity pervades the streets. There is a good deal of buying and selling during the afternoon; but when evening comes the farmers drive away with their purchases, and quiet settles over the town for another week.
posture as he lies stretched out on the travois harnessed to his mule, the lush foliage around them as they go round and round, and the gear pump plainly visible on the ground add to an evocative scene with undeniable human interest and artistic appeal. The text elegantly rounds off the story as it mentions the scarcity of water, the tremendous isolation of this sort of watering post, and how the pump works, as well as the impact it has on the traveler: “A few words exchanged with the brakemen or the engineer, a shrill whistle, and away the train, leaving the drowsy driver and the drowsy mule to their monotonous round. But the traveler’s eye has been refreshed by the sight of grass and trees, and he can again face the dry and desolate prairie with a lighter heart.”1 The perceptive artists managed to encapsulate the appeal of the scene and turn this insignificant incident into cover-page material for the Harpers— the first front page of their tour since their joint Circus illustration, and not the last by far. The scene engraved by master engraver Lagarde is an excellent introduction to the slower pace of the Old Southwest and the gentility of southern life, further represented in A Saturday Noon in a Southwestern Town (fig. 6.2), a market day in an unidentified Lone Star town. The topic of smalltown markets had already been chronicled in A Market Day in Parsons City, but this Texas scene is more festive and amicable. The special artists seem to have experienced pleasant encounters with settlers and ranchers around Denison, and the hospitable quality of their sojourn in Texas appears to be an important component of the artists’ perception of the gentler lifestyle of the Old Southwest. The image focuses on Texans having fun on a hot Saturday afternoon. The sense of heat is conveyed by a harsh contrast of sunlight and shadows. The shortness of these shadows, especially behind the lights of the store signs, tips the viewer to an early afternoon hour. Despite the heat, men in this scene look dressed up: some wear tall boots, but the white of their shirts is very crisp, and no one goes about bareheaded. Piles of refreshing oranges and watermelons are stacked on and near the fruit stand in the shade of an umbrella, next to a water cooler that reads “Ice Water.” While there is some ongoing buying and selling and several men on horseback at center go about their business, including one driving a cart pulled by oxen in yoke, the drawing focuses on farmers and their hired hands having fun on a hot weekend day. The sketch depicts clusters of activities as described in the text. Younger people in the foreground are amusing themselves with quoit pitching. This pastime is the original form of horseshoe pitching, an ancient game with heavy metal rings tossed at short metal stakes driven into the ground that was most widespread and popular in the United States until the 1930s but is still played in small towns today.
70 Life in the Old Southwest
There are seven men playing or watching the game, with one man at center making a throw. Next to them are three African Americans “making havoc among the watermelon,” although the barefoot child looks longingly at the slice his father is eating. They are the only ones in the picture in shirtsleeves. The elder of their group, in vest and top hat, behind them is pointing at an orange he wants to buy, and the young seller with long hair is smiling at him. Farther from them, under the eaves of the drugstore, not far from the barber’s post, three men are looking at a newspaper, chatting, exchanging “gossip and the news, talking of politics.” There is no visible tension anywhere, just plain fun. While an oasis became the cover-page illustration for Harper’s issue of March 21, Saturday Noon, likewise focused on simple folks in their daily activities, was picked as the front-page illustration for the July 25 issue. Robert Taft has suggested that the town in this scene could be Denison.2 The oldest parts of Denison might have held stores that looked like the tobacconist, drugstore, and clothing store in Saturday Noon, but the illustration is more likely to represent a smaller town, “a peaceful village,” as the text mentions. Looking at the Katy map, one wonders whether the Frenchmen could have resisted a visit to nearby Paris, Texas, only a few miles away. The special artists’ seventh and last sketch for the Great South-West depicted Denison proper, and it offers a very different feel than their Saturday Noon scene. Yet another boomtown, a few miles south of the Red River, Denison sat at the end of the Katy line at that time. Connected with the Houston and Texas Central for travels south, the city was, like Parsons City, so much a “railroad town” that it was nicknamed “Katy’s Baby.” The newspaper proudly exploited the image in the promotional text next to the illustration: “On the 23rd of September, 1872, Northern Texas gave birth to the city of Denison, named in honor of Mr. Denison, of New York, one of the owners and directors of the great thoroughfare known as the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad. The city was conceived by Col. R. S. Stevens (a worthy sire), and the whole enterprising corps of assistants in the construction of this great line of railroad stood god-fathers at the baptismal font when Denison was christened and numbered among the cities of this great Lone Star State—a fair sister among the galaxy of beautiful cities within her border.”3 There was nothing but empty land a year before the two artists’ visit, until the railroad’s chief engineer selected the spot for this new railhead in Texas. The bridge over the Red River had been completed on Christmas Eve of that year. The population then boomed to three thousand in the first hundred days of its existence. During these days of growth, every third
Texas, September 1873 71
building was a saloon. The town was incorporated on March 7, 1873, and the railroad line was completed only a few months before Frenzeny and Tavernier appeared. Although the birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower was said to be located in the midst of “magnificent groves of trees that afford a grateful retreat from the burning sun,” Denison was built not with local lumber, which was quite scarce, but with yellow pine from Texas pineries more than a hundred miles away.4 On the sketch (fig. 6.3), large, tall buildings line its main thoroughfare with open train tracks along the left side of the view. Once again, the drawing focuses on the bustle created by the train as it pulls into the station, among a throng of travelers waiting under the covered eaves of the station while clusters of friends and relatives stand in the middle of the street to greet passengers. In the foreground, the repair shops and depot are abuzz with men loading chests and crates onto a horse-drawn carriage. The names of the engravers appear on one of the crates. Four prairie schooners are stationed nearby, their oxen at rest.
6.3. Denison, Texas (Katy sketch). The Great South-West, August 1874. Kansas State Historical Society.
72 Life in the Old Southwest
Iconic Scenes of the Old Southwest Denison was on the Old Texas Road. This highway of travel for southbound emigrants before the coming of the “iron” started near Baxter Springs, Kansas. It followed the Grande River to Fort Smith, Arkansas, then extended into Texas. The legendary road was worn down by Arkansas pilgrims, a household word in the United States at that time. In 1866, Waud had chronicled Arkansas pilgrims, thus attesting to their ubiquitous presence.5 Frenzeny and Tavernier drew a much more colorful and quaint version of these perennial wanderers, illustrative of their importance in the folk literature of the Southwest.6 Arkansas Pilgrims (fig. 6.4) offers an often-reproduced iconic image and written description of a family heading from Arkansas to Texas by trail, a common mode of travel in rural areas even after the transcontinental
Texas, September 1873 73
railroad was completed. These “pilgrims” with their endless peregrinations, reflective of post–Civil War drifters, are represented as the antithesis of the settler. They are eloquently described by the Frenchmen both visually and in words as “the genuine American nomads, as unsettled and restless as gypsies.”7 The special artists portrayed two men, a woman, and three children traveling on a windy trail, walking alongside a wagon pulled by two horses, with one of the men riding an additional horse. A chair hangs from a hook outside the wagon for a quick rest. There is another wagon on the same route in the background. Thistles appear to be the only trailside vegetation. The composition is special in that the viewer cannot see the travelers’ feet, because they are emerging uphill out of a lower part of the road. The scene is also “framed” by a cow’s head on the far left and a calf cantering over the deeply grooved wagon ruts at center. Frenzeny “claimed” this great sketch with the unusual “P. Frenzeny & Tavernier” signature in the lower left.8 Famed twentieth-century artist and copyist Casimir Gregory Stapko later reproduced this appealing scene in oils as part of a hobby project he started in 1941 when he set out to copy paintings exhibited at the National Gallery in Washington.9 The self-taught house painter turned construction company owner usually made his copies of the masters in a week or two. At the height of his career, the passionate artist was turning out between fifty and seventy works a year, both copies and originals.10 Stapko’s choice of this drawing as one of his favorite works of art is a tribute to the artists.
(facing) 6.4. Sketches in the Far W est—Arkansas Pilgrims Sketches in the Far West. Our . . . illustration shows a phase of the restless life led by many families in the far West. They are constantly on the go. From Arkansas to Texas, from Texas to Arkansas, and so back and forth, they wander up and down the face of the earth until the pilgrimage of life is ended. They are the genuine American nomads, as unsettled and restless as gypsies. The route usually taken by these “pilgrims” runs from Arkansas through the Indian Territory to Eastern and Northwestern Texas, and from three to four months are consumed in making the journey. The equipage consists of a rude covered wagon, crammed with odds and ends of household furniture and cooking utensils, dragged slowly along by a team of jaded horses; a milch cow is always in the rear of the wagon, and frequently a calf may be seen in the van. In this manner the pilgrims wind their way slowly over the tree-less plains; and when arrived at the end of their journey they squat down anywhere on unclaimed land, break a patch of it, plant a little corn, make a little hay, fatten a calf or a couple of hogs, and at the end of a few months sell out for cash and start back for Arkansas, but not to stay there. Next year they will make the same pilgrimage, and the next and the next, as long as life and strength remain. If not given to agricultural pursuits, they go to some of the new railroad towns, where the men find employment with their teams in grading the track, hauling rail, etc., while the women take in washing and ironing at their “camps.” When money enough has been saved, they pick up stakes and depart.
74 Life in the Old Southwest 6.5. W estern Sketches — Arkansas Pilgrims in Camp Western Sketches. . . . In the first sketch on this page is shown a camp of these pilgrims settled near one of those lively, bustling Western villages that spring up as by enchantment along the new lines of railroad. A large party of Arkansas pilgrims has gone into camp near the town, and while the men hire themselves and their teams to the railroad company, the women and children take in washing and ironing. Where there is no “Chinese cheap labor” to keep prices down, the pilgrims have everything their own way, and frequently make a very handsome “pile” during their sojourn.
Obviously intrigued by these “pilgrims,” the two Frenchmen followed their trail to one of their camps. Western Sketches—Arkansas Pilgrims in Camp (fig. 6.5) captures a large party of these travelers gathered in a temporary encampment pitched “near one of these lively, bustling Western villages that spring up as if by enchantment along the new lines of the railroad.”11 The five men in the background heading off with pickaxes and shovels to hire themselves out to work for the railroad company may have
Texas, September 1873 75
been quite happy to leave their wives alone in camp, just as an altercation breaks out between two of them. The wonderfully interactive scene is alive with a very physical, raised-fists argument. A scared child clutches at his mother’s skirt, while all but two of the others watch with varying degrees of glee. The eleven women with very different headdresses, from bare hair with chignon to head scarves or even hats, are otherwise occupied at washing and hanging clothes to dry. Three large tubs on small tables are full of
76 Life in the Old Southwest
6.6. W estern Sketches— A Freshet in the Red River, Texas A Freshet in the Red River, Texas. Our second sketch show[s] a party crossing the Red River, Texas, during a heavy freshet. The great Western rivers are subject to a very great rise in spring, and the banks being generally low, the land is frequently overflowed for miles and miles, causing a great destruction of property and sometimes of life.
laundry, while water is heating over the campfire. Two very content-looking pigs are napping in the foreground. The woman by the fire at center is obviously different from the rest. Far from being in shirtsleeves like the others, she wears a nice dress, hat, and earrings, and she is the only one that is not working on laundry like them. To avoid disconnection from one Southwest sketch to another, the publishers and artists often offered their readers reminders of past illustrations at the beginning of descriptive texts: for example, “Our readers will remember that in a recent number of the Weekly we gave a sketch representing a party of Arkansas pilgrims on their travels.” This device was used to tie this image with the previous one, published three weeks earlier. Denison was close to the Red River, which ran as a boundary between the Indian Territory and northern Texas, a region where “freshets,” flash floods resulting from heavy rain or a spring thaw, were a very common occurrence. A Freshet in the Red River, Texas (fig. 6.6) recorded such an incident with a
Texas, September 1873 77
view of a ferry crowded with passengers and a stagecoach floating across the Red River, which has completely overflowed its banks. The details make the scene instantly familiar with two centers of interest: three men operating the barge, two men in the back guiding the horses. The barge handler in shirtsleeves with his back to the viewer is pulling on the pulley and guiding cables that allow them to move forward against the current, while his assistants armed with poles push off the logs. Two hands in the back guide and coax the horses swimming upstream. There are several groups of passengers. Two women with fancy hats are sitting in the middle of the barge: one watches the men with interest as they coax the horses. Not far behind them are several African American women with head scarves, which are present in almost every one of the artists’ Texas illustrations. One man in a military uniform smokes a cigar, and the coachman still sits at his post, whip at his side, while a tyke on top of the coach has the best view of all. The artists’ care with detail helps offer an excellent sense of the local folks who lived in communities along the river.
“There’s More to Texas Than Gunfire and Whiskey” This quip by historians Beebe and Clegg to address Frenzeny and Tavernier’s choice of scenes in the Lone Star State points out that far from chroni cling violent scenes of frontier life, the Frenchmen continued to focus on the settling of the land, in this instance on peaceful local industries such as sugar making and cotton growing, not industries, as the team of historians went on, “that instantly suggested [themselves] to readers in connection with the Texas of Sam Houston, the Alamo and the longhorn.”12 The festive pastoral scene in Sugar-Making in Texas (fig. 6.7) is set under the ample shade of a large tree. The intense light outside its canopy suggests crushing heat, as does the men’s open shirts. The traveling machinery transported on wagon from settlement to settlement on a wagon is awash in that light, powered by horses to crush the cane, and so are the men cutting canes or sorting them out of large baskets in the background. The scene focuses on settlers in the foreground as they pour buckets of the crushed cane juice into the main barrel at left. From there it is sifted into the boiling trough, where another team of pioneers stands by to remove impurities. The hot liquid sugar flows through a tap into a funnel on top of the barrel. The bare-headed boy at left has perhaps the most uncomfortable job in this sweltering heat as he feeds sticks into the fire under the boiling trough. The two smaller children at right duly celebrate the occasion by licking the pieces of sugarcane left over in a tub. It was still the height of the cotton season when the artists passed through Denison, and they spent enough time in the region to become experts on how the downy crop is separated from the seeds and shafts and pressed into
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6.7. Sketches in the Far W est—Sugar-Making in Texas Sugar-Making in Texas. The sugar harvest in Texas begins in the early part of September. Small farmers cultivate two or three acres of sugar-cane, from which they realize a trifling profit. As a rule, the machinery for crushing the cane, boiling the sap, and making sugar and molasses is owned by some enterprising Yankee, who travels with it from place to place. The whole apparatus is carried on a wagon; it can be unloaded and set up in a very short time, and is worked by horse-power. The cutting and crushing of the cane and the boiling process are shown in our drawing. It is a holiday for the young folks, and they make the most of it.
bales. It is easy to imagine the special correspondents’ respective tasks in the making of The First Bale of the Cotton Crop (fig. 6.8). Tavernier would have enjoyed blocking out the geometrically intricate interior of a cotton-gin house, the light on the roof and on the men outside and the machinery in the darkness of the shed. Frenzeny would have been keen on drawing the characters and the technical process itself. The result combines in one great image the bargaining that goes on between planter and purchasers and the actual processing of the cotton.
6.8. The First Bale of the Cotton Crop First Bale of the Cotton Crop. Our illustration . . . represents the interior of a cotton-gin house in Texas. The motive power is a wheel of great diameter, set in motion by oxen, as shown in the sketch. A belt connects with the machine, the main features of which consist of a cylinder upon which is set a series of circular saws. A mass of cotton, separated from the cylinder by iron bars set close together, is brought into contact with the teeth of the saws which play between the bars and draw the cotton through, leaving the seed behind. Underneath the saw is a set of stiff brushes on another cylinder revolving in the opposite direction, which brush off the fibre from the saw teeth. A current of air sends the loose downy material to a convenient distance from the machine, where it is collected and taken to the bale room. Here it is pressed into bales.
As soon as the first bales of the crop are ready, great excitement prevails among the planters.
Purchasers arrive from all parts of the country to examine samples, discuss prices, and make bargains. Nothing else is talked of. The cotton crop is the one topic in parlor and log-cabin. The picking season begins in July or August, according to locality, and lasts until late in the fall, as the plant continues to produce and ripen its bolls of cotton until the appearance of frost.
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Two stages of the cotton processing take place behind the group. On the right, a partial view of a cart reveals two workers above the gear of the gin, loading the loose cotton already worked by the machine so it can be taken to the bale room. On the left, three longhorns power the gear inside the huge belt that connects gears and machine. The text provides a clear and concise description of how the cotton is separated from the seed and the shaft by revolving saws and brushes.
Texan Hospitality As a parting shot to the Lone Star State, the artists sent for publication the much-admired double-page A Deer Drive in the Texas “Cross-Timber” (fig. 6.9), engraved by Allen Measom, as remarkable for the beauty of its illustration as for the beauty of its text. Like the Arkansas Pilgrims sketch, this image is signed “P. Frenzeny & Tavernier,” thereby claiming Paul Frenzeny as its main author, both as an artist and as a writer.
Texas, September 1873 81
The term “Cross Timbers” was coined by early hunters and trappers to describe a belt of narrow forest land that stretched as far as the eye could see across the prairie of northern Texas for a hundred miles, a barrier they had to cross on their route to the south. The gently undulating, picturesque woodland interspersed with open glades, plateaus, and vistas of prairie scenery held numerous clear fresh streams and countless springs.13 Frenzeny, who seemed to love the South, was obviously one of the participants of this deer hunt in the Cross Timbers, which lasted several days. The scene is set at the edge of one of these clearings with beautiful large trees spreading their branches above it, which allows for an artistic contrast between the extremely detailed forest and foliage in darkness, and the open space in full light. The drawing depicts more than a dozen sportsmen in
(facing) 6.9. A Deer Drive in the Texas “Cross-Timber” A Deer Drive. The great belt of forest, bordered on each side by prairie lands, which extends through Texas from San Antonio up to the Indian Territory is called the “Cross Timber.” It ranges from twelve to forty miles in width, and is intersected by numerous creeks and streams. A rich and luxuriant vegetation and abundance of game make this immense forest attractive to sportsmen. In the Cross Timber itself there are but few settlements, but the bordering lands, especially on the eastern side, are well settled, and flourishing crops of cotton, tobacco, corn, etc., are obtained from the rich soil. Large herds of Texas cattle range through it, and immense droves of hogs fatten in its recesses.
The favorite sport of the farmers and stock-raisers who live in the neighborhood of the Cross Timber
is an old-fashioned deer drive. . . . Every Texan is a first-rate horseman, and thorough-bred stag-hounds are owned by most of the residents. On a certain day, generally just after a slight fall or rain, the word is given, and preparations are made for a “big drive.” Long before the break of day two or three neighbors start out to sound the “morning call”; the notes of the horn are answered on every side by the deep baying of the awakened hounds, and soon, by the dim morning light, the hunters may be seen riding over the prairie lands toward the appointed rendezvous, each attended by a brace of hounds, and responding to the call with “hark and whoop and wild halloo.” In a short time a party of twenty-five or thirty men has assembled, and the whole troop sets out for the Cross Timber.
The hunters, well acquainted with the runs of the game, and all the ins and outs of the forest,
plunge at once into its recesses. . . . It is a wild ride, now through dense thickets, now through beautiful green openings, where the deer find pasturage, now down the dry bed of a stream, and now up the side of a steep ravine. At last they come in sight of the hunted stag, striving, on “the dead jump,” to escape his merciless pursuers. The chase lasts sometimes for eight or ten miles, when the crack of the unerring rifle speaks the victim’s doom.
The game down, the horns are sounded for the recall, the hunters and hounds come together, and
the deer is cut up, the refuse part being thrown to the dogs. After an interval of rest, another drive begins, and the sport is kept up until darkness puts an end to it. Sometimes camps are formed in the forest, and the hunters remain out several days, until men, horses, and hounds are worn out with fatigue and excitement. The camps at night present a very picturesque appearance. Bright fires illuminate the scene, the houses are picketed in the rich grass, hunters and hounds gather in groups about the fires, and songs and stories and feasting are kept up till late in the night. Then, rolled in blankets, the men lie down to sleep, and silence reigns in the great forest.
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full chase of hounds and deer. The central figure is a horseman jumping over a fallen tree trunk, in hot pursuit of the doe and buck in the far left. A dozen hounds are closing in on them. The bearded man surrounded by seven or eight more hunters is the most visible of the hunters because of the white chest of his horse and white dog, so much the focus of the scene that one may presume he is the leader of the group. Three more horsemen on the left are seen from the back, as they too close in on the deer. One wears both a pistol and a knife at his back. The other wears the riding clothes of a vaquero. Frenzeny surpassed himself as well in his long written account of the chase: The hunters, well acquainted with the runs of the game, and all the ins and outs of the forest, plunge at once into its recesses. Soon a short, sharp bark, followed by a prolonged howl from the whole pack, warns them that a trail has been struck, and with loud shouts and the shrill sounding of horns, they spur their horses on. It is a wild ride, now through dense thickets, now through beautiful green openings, where the deer find pasturage, now down the dry bed of a stream, and now up the side of a steep ravine. At last they come in sight of the hunted stag, striving, on “the dead jump,” to escape his merciless pursuers. The chase lasts sometimes for eight or ten miles, when the crack of the unerring rifle speaks the victim’s doom. . . . Then rolled in blankets, the men lie down to sleep and silence reigns in the great forest.14
These southern sketches were a particularly successful series: two of them were published as covers, and one as a double-page spread. Frenzeny in particular was the author, as evidenced by the rare “P. Frenzeny” signature, of two very beautiful sketches that received ample recognition then and still do today. Long talks with Tavernier on the specifics of art, as they traveled west, together with the congenial Texan hospitality, may have inspired him to create these exceptional drawings.
Team work. First Jules Tavernier painted this watercolor study of the general appearance of the boomtown. Then Paul Frenzeny drew the scene on a block of wood, in reverse using a mirror, and added details that conveyed the bustle of a market day. PLATE 1A. Jules Tavernier, Forest and First Avenue, Parsons, Kansas, watercolor study, 1873. Kansas State Historical Society.
PLATE 1B. Frenzeny & Tavernier, A Market Day in Parsons City— 18 Months Old, blackand-white sketch. Harper’s Weekly, Nov. 8, 1873.
Boom to bust. In this instance, also, Jules Tavernier “blocked out” a watercolor study of an abandoned Kansas boomtown. Since the artists did not identify the town by name in their commentary, Paul Frenzeny did not bother to draw the study on the block in reverse. He added the one detail that clinches the story: the outline of a train on the horizon. The town had gone bust because the railroad missed it by a few miles.
PLATE 2A. Jules Tavernier, Deserted Kansas Town, watercolor and gouache, 1873. Kansas State Historical Society. PLATE 2B. Frenzeny & Tavernier, “Busted!”—A Deserted Railroad Town in Kansas. Harper’s Weekly, Feb. 28, 1874.
Colorful pioneers. As they kept heading west, Frenzeny and Tavernier ran into pioneers from widely different cultures. They probably did not expect to see a Chinese launderer in Colorado. That scene and the Mexican adobes in Las Animas are among the watercolor studies by Tavernier that Frenzeny never turned into sketches for Harper’s. PLATE 3A. Attributed to Jules Tavernier, Intérieur d’une Blanchisserie Chinoise, Las Animas, ink wash, ca. 1873. Kansas State Historical Society.
PLATE 3B. Jules Tavernier, Habitations Mexicaines, Las Animas, Colo., watercolor, n.d. Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, Western Art Collection, C42-9 ART.
PLATE 4A. Paul Frenzeny and Jules Tavernier, Denver from the Highlands, watercolor, ca. 1874. Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, Western Art Collection, C58-2 ART.
PLATE 4B. Denver in Views in Colorado. Harper’s Bazaar.
A joint watercolor. The “Frenzeny & Tavernier” signature appeared on every Harper’s sketch, but the only time it appeared on a watercolor study is on plate 4a. The artists were obviously learning from each other: Frenzeny was developing an interest in watercolors (see the illustration on the jacket of this book), while Tavernier would, till the end of his days, be known for the historically accurate details of his paintings.
En route to Camp Robinson. It was probably Paul Frenzeny who negotiated a visit to Nebraska’s Camp Robinson and Red Cloud’s Agency, but only one artist was allowed to go, so Jules Tavernier went alone. He chronicled the ride from Cheyenne with a watercolor of paymaster Stanton’s wagon train and an oil of the trader’s post at Fort Laramie on the lid of a cigar box. The miniature is so unique and detailed that it was used to re-create the inside of the store in 2009.
PLATE 5A. Jules Tavernier, Trading Post of J. S. Collins at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, oil on lid of cigar box, 1864. Bancroft Library, Honeyman Collection, BANC PIC 1963.002:1386 FR.
PLATE 5B. Jules Tavernier, Wagon Train, watercolor on paper, 1873. Gift of Carl and Karen Brasee. Museum of Nebraska Art, Kearney.
A fledgling military camp. These two watercolor studies by Tavernier provide an excellent sense of the temporary nature of the camp that eventually became Fort Robinson near Crawford, Nebraska. Even the cook and the physician lived and worked in a tent, as did all three hundred soldiers and officers, all the while surrounded by up to fifteen thousand Indians and their tepees at the time of the Sun Dance.
PLATE 6A. Jules Tavernier, Red Cloud’s Camp, Nebraska, mixed media, 8 1/2 × 13". Courtesy Nancy Ferreira, Christopher Queen Galleries, Duncans Mills, Calif.
PLATE 6B. Jules Tavernier, Tente pour la Cuisine, Red Cloud, pencil sketch, 1874. Kansas State Historical Society.
Reaching the West Coast. Frenzeny and Tavernier went on looking for adventures even after they reached the Pacific Coast and the end of their assignment for Harper’s. A flight in a hot air balloon piloted by an intrepid French aeronaut, Etienne Buislay, provided the inspiration for Tavernier’s return to painting. His earliest known canvas in California, A Balloon in Mid-Air also evokes how, at the end of this yearlong exploration of the American frontier, the two men must have felt on top of the world.
PLATE 7. Jules Tavernier, A Balloon in Mid-Air. Private collection.
Nowhere is a traveler more cordially welcomed or more hospitably entertained than at a Texas ranch. Harper’s Weekly, March 28, 1874
7. Life on the Great Plains Texas and Kansas, September–October 1873
A Texas Cattle Ranch The above words of praise suggest that the artists were guests at a ranch near Denison identified as “a cattle ranch on the Northwestern frontier of Texas,”1 presumably not too far from the Cross Timbers. Besides the deer hunt in the company of farmers and stock raisers through beautiful countryside, they were compelled to chronicle the life of the Texas cowhands on the cattle range. The Texas cowhand or drover was not yet known as a “cowboy,” except locally, and his nomadic lifestyle was only starting to be romanticized both in the country and abroad. The special artists chose to honor their perception of the drovers’ “generous, warm-hearted, brave” and adventuresome lifestyle with two night scenes that depict the somewhat rough conditions they lived in. Calling the Night Guard (fig. 7.1) shows a crowded but relatively comfortable log cabin—a few cracks are visible between the logs—with a fire burning in the fireplace prominently featured at center. There are eight herdsmen variously occupied in different corners of the cabin: one smoking a pipe in the back corner, another cooking over the fire, while a third sits by the hearth enjoying the heat as he looks at a card game in progress. One of the three herdsmen gathered to play the game is about to make a decisive move, card held high, ready to slam it down for full effect on the small crate they use as a makeshift table. Meanwhile, the night guard whose shift is over, a man dressed in a fringed buckskin jacket, walks in, calling for his replacement, as a drover by the fireplace is getting up, stretching and yawning indicating that it is his watch next. Besides the mess of blankets and clothes lying around or thrown over beams at the top of the cabin, the bric-a-brac of cooking implements, saddle, pistol, rifle, and jug of wine (and possibly the shapes of two men asleep in the right foreground), the treatment of light is particularly remarkable: the fire in the fireplace provides backlighting for a silhouette effect, while the moonlight that pours through the open 91
7.1. The Tex as Cattle Tr ade—Calling the Night Guard The Texas Cattle Trade. The larger drawing on this page represents the interior of a cattle ranch on the northwestern frontier of Texas. A rude but comfortable log-cabin gives shelter to the herdsmen, who are, as a rule, generous, warm-hearted, brave, and fond of adventure. A stranger entering their camp might mistake them for lawless and dangerous characters, but they must not be judged by their rough appearance. Good comradeship, devotion, and disinterestedness are the rule among them, and hospitality is a sacred law. Nowhere is a traveler more cordially welcomed or more hospitably entertained than at a Texas cattle ranch. Indefatigable and excellent riders, they are perfectly familiar with the topography of the country over which they are continually roving, and as they are always well armed, and skillful in the use of the rifle and pistol, they are more dreaded by the Indians than all the United States soldiers ever sent into the State.
A herd of cattle is called a “bunch,” and varies in number from five hundred up to ten or twelve thou-
sand. Each herd is guarded by from four to six men, according to the character of the country, woodland requiring a larger force than open prairie. Day and night the strictest watch is kept to prevent the cattle from straying or being driven off by Indians and prowling Mexicans. The larger drawing shows a herder entering the ranch, and calling the night watchers. Supper has been eaten, the boys have indulged in a game of cards, and are ready to take their turn. A picturesque confusion of saddles, blankets, weapons, cooking utensils, etc., is apparent in the room. In case of an attack by Indians, the log cabin becomes a fortress, which can be easily defended against a force greatly outnumbering the garrison. The herdsmen live well but simply, meat, corn cakes, and coffee, all served without stint, forming the regular bill of fare.
Texas and Kansas, September–October 1973 93
door onto the card players acts as a secondary source of light that adds a significant dimension to the scene. The next sketch in the same issue, Guarding the Herd (fig. 7.2), follows the night guard to the herd’s resting place. It is a peaceful night scene of a huge herd at rest guarded by no less than four herdsmen. The guard in the left foreground is sitting comfortably on his horse in a watchful pose, one fist resting on his thigh, the other holding a whip. He wears a Stetson hat in this cool night air. The shapes of three more cowhands in the distance suggest the huge size of the herd of longhorns, all lying down in the darkness except for one that stands out in the foreground, its rump very visible. There is a very nice pond effect in the foreground, one of Tavernier’s hallmarks later in his career.
The Romance of the Longhorn The cattle on this ranch were probably due to be herded north to Kansas, for Denison and its surroundings marked the beginning of some of the important northward cattle trails. These were the heydays of the “long drive.” The hardy longhorns from Texas, with long legs and horns that extended up to seven feet, were being taken north to occupy on the Great Plains the
7.2. The Tex as Cattle Tr ade—Guarding the Herd Guarding the Herd. The smaller drawing represents a large “bunch” of cattle on their “bedding,” or resting-place, guarded by mounted watchers. A watch comprises about six hours, and the duty requires the sharpest look-out and attention.
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vast empire of grass so abruptly vacated by the buffalo, so they could fatten on the rich grazing lands of the prairie before being shipped to the eastern markets. Longhorns were a tough, rangy, hardy, aggressive, and adaptable animal, a cross of feral Mexican cattle from the borderland and eastern cattle. Appreciated for their strong survival instincts, longhorns could find food and shelter even during rough weather. However, they also carried ticks known to spread a disease called “Spanish fever,” which had proved fatal to some shorthorn breeds in the recent past. Some Kansas towns had lost all of their cattle to the disease in the late 1860s after the passage of longhorns through their country. There was still great prejudice against them among the cattlemen of Kansas.2 At the time Frenzeny and Tavernier explored the region in the early 1870s, entrepreneurs such as Joseph McCoy—who inspired the phrase “The Real McCoy”3—were hard at work to drive longhorn cattle from Texas to Kansas despite the general fear of disease. The stakes were high. Not only was the price of beef quite high in the North, but also construction of the railroads across the Great Plains had increased demand, as did stocking the new ranches of the prairies with fresh herds. The cattle trade was more than just a frontier industry: it played an important role in the occupation of the vast plains of Kansas, previously considered a desert. The “long ride” had come to be seen, all across America and even in Europe, more like an epic filled with romance than just a profitable, risky trade. It was an unparalleled way of taking in the vastness of the American prairie, to enjoy a roving lifestyle that engaged the soul. Even though Frenzeny and Tavernier were aware of the central role played by the cattle trade in the life of the settlers of the plains at that time, an industry that “surpassed that of every country excepting South America,” as they described it in their text, a cattle drive took four to five months to cover the distance between Denison and Wichita, and the artists obviously could not take the time to ride the entire distance, not even parts of it. It is questionable whether they rode very far along at all. Their two handsome scenes on the cattle range near Denison might have been the Frenchmen’s only views of cattle ranching on the Great Plains if it had not been for an Englishman from Liverpool they met upon their return to Kansas. On October 11, 1873, a news item in the Topeka Commonwealth disclosed that Frenzeny and Tavernier were sketching cattle in the company of a local Englishman from Liverpool, where some of Tavernier’s family hailed from: “Paul Frenzeny & Jules Tavernier, artists and correspondents of Harper’s Weekly, in company with Prof. Worrel [sic] the well-known artist of Topeka, are in Wichita for the purpose of taking sketches of that town and vicinity.” The Emporia News of October 17, 1873, similarly reported that
Texas and Kansas, September–October 1973 95
“Paul Frenzeny and Jules Tavernier, representing Harper’s Weekly, are here for the purpose of making sketches of the scenery here for the pages of the great illustrated paper. They have been to Wichita for some days taking various views of that city, and of droves of Texas cattle, etc. We trust every favor will be shown the talented artists during their stay with us. The enterprise of the Harpers in sending artists this far into the west to make sketches for their great favorite illustrated paper is worthy of special note, and we are glad that the Weekly is well patronized here.” Henry Worrall was an important local figure at the time, a buoyant forty-eight-year-old man of many talents, from vineyards to oil portraits, who had become a respected and influential citizen of Topeka, as well as Kansas’s main illustrator. A glass cutter who achieved local fame as a guitar player and composer, Worrall immigrated to the United States with his parents at age ten in 1835. He had settled in Topeka only in 1868 at age forty-three. He would eventually, a few years later, see some of his Kansas sketches published by Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s. He was at the time of Frenzeny and Tavernier’s visit working on over a hundred illustrations of the cattle trade commissioned by the enterprising Joseph McCoy for his book Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest, a compendium of practical information on how the trade was started, how it had developed, and what its present status was; how to grow and market livestock; and sketches of leading cattle barons and their ranches. It was due for publication the following year.4 The colorful Englishman was the perfect guide for the special correspondents. Not only did he know the ins and outs of the Texas cattle trade, but he could take them himself to the right spots to capture the technical aspects of the trade as well as the romance of the drovers’ lifestyle.5 The artists’ informative double-page, nine-sketch grouping titled The Texas Cattle Trade (fig. 7.3), entirely drawn in and around Wichita, no doubt greatly benefitted from Worrall’s contribution. He would have been instrumental in helping them select views that were most representative of the trade, since he had just chronicled it for his upcoming book. In fact, six of the nine views address the same topics as Worrall’s sketches for McCoy’s book, and two are almost identical.6 The first of these six similar views, Branding (fig. 7.4, left), shows the process of a “road brand,” usually done in Texas before the start of a drive north, as opposed to the “ranch brand” put on the animal when young. Eastern cattle, not longhorns, are being driven in pairs into a chute, where two hands with their back to the viewer apply the hot iron to the animal’s haunch as it goes by. A fire pit keeps the irons hot in a bed of coals on the left. There is a rail fence in the back. A man dressed like the owner or supervisor of a ranch, perhaps one of the Frenchmen’s acquaintances, is watching the process.7 While Branding Cattle offers plenty of details,
7.3. The Tex as Cattle Tr ade The Texas Cattle Trade. The drawings on our double-page block represent various interesting features of the Texas cattle-trade, which surpasses that of every other country excepting South America.
Texas and Kansas, September–October 1973 97
the next three illustrations are rather sketchy. On the Trail (fig. 7.4, right) depicts a drove of cattle en route. The size of the herd is perfunctorily represented by a long winding line through the prairie en route to Wichita. A lot of ink was spilled over the fact that the cattle in the foreground of this sketch are not Texas longhorns but eastern shorthorns. Perhaps this is what the artists actually saw, or perhaps the engraver was not familiar with longhorns. Perhaps, too, they wanted to change some detail of their sketch because Worrall’s illustration Herd on the Trail En Route to Wichita is surprisingly similar, with the same long sinuous line and cowboys riding at intervals on both sides of the trailing herd. His view shows a broader sweep of the characteristic country and depicts longhorns, not eastern breeds— although as Robert Taft points out, they are not quite correct anatomically.8 In both cases, the major intention was merely to give a sense of the staggering dimension of the herd. The size of these “bunches” being moved across the plains defies the imagination. It has often been said that the longhorn, not the plow, opened up the vast territory west of the Missouri River to white settlement. And more cattle traveled over the Texas Road than all other trails and roads of Oklahoma. In 1871, Abbie Bright, a young woman who lived close to the Kansas trail, wrote in her journal, “Every week, 7–10 thousands of Texas cattle are driven north over the trail. If the cattle stampede, and don’t want to cross the river, the herders yell and fire off their revolvers. Sometimes we hear them here, and it sounds as I suppose a battle does. It is the cattle that keep the trail worn and smooth.”9 The successful cattleman entrepreneur McCoy himself related in his book how “a herd of one thousand cattle will stretch out from one to two miles whilst traveling on the trail, and is a very beautiful sight,
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7.4. The Tex as Cattle Tr ade—Branding and On the Trail Branding [no. 1]. Sketch No. 1 shows the process of branding. Each cattle owner has his own peculiar brand; it may be his initials or some other distinctive mark. The branding-iron is heated to a red heat, and then applied to the haunch or flank of the animal. This is done every spring and autumn. The cattle are driven along a narrow lane, just wide enough for two to pass abreast, and as they move slowly along the branding-iron is applied. On the Trail [no. 2]. No. 2 represents a drove of cattle on the march from Texas to Kansas, where they are transferred to the cattle cars, and sent Eastward by railroad. These droves vary from 500 to 8,000, and are guarded by well-mounted and well-armed herdsmen, who are inured to fatigue and to fighting Indians. The cattle feed during the long march on the luxurious grazing grounds of the Indian Territory. The journey from Texas to Kansas occupies from four to five months, as the herd must move very slowly, and what with stop-pages to feed, water, and rest, only a few miles are made in a day.
inspiring the drover with enthusiasm akin to that enkindled in the breast of the military hero by the sight of marching columns of men.”10 The next sketch, Rodeo, or Rounding Up Cattle (fig. 7.5, top), represents the milling process, or “rodeo,” in which thousands of heads of cattle are rounded up and gathered in a moving circle. Like the preceding scene, the rather sketchy view is practically the same as one of Worrall’s, this time A Grand “Round Up” at River Bend, Colorado, on the Kansas Pacific Railway, except for the addition of grand cloud effects (probably by Tavernier) and of two gloved riders wielding a lasso as they chase steers in the foreground (presumably by Frenzeny). Cattle were often scattered during storms or stampedes. The herd then had to be rounded up, as in this view.
7.5. The Tex as Cattle Tr ade—Rodeo, or Rounding Up Cattle and Cutting Out Rodeo, or Rounding Up Cattle [no. 4]. No. 4 represents the rounding up, or, as it is called, a “rodeo” of cattle. Various herds, belonging to one or more parties, are brought together, to the number sometimes of 10,000 or 12,000 head, into one drove. Cutting Out [no. 5]. No. 5 shows the process of cutting out cattle from the herd. It takes skillful riding, and is pretty hard work, requiring frequent use of the lasso and whip.
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The W ichita Eagle depicted the scene as “the milling process in which thousands of head of cattle are rounded up and circled around and around,” an event often witnessed around Wichita.11 Next, drovers had to work in pairs for maximum efficiency to progressively separate from the roundup each and every steer that belonged to a particular owner, a process that required skill and expert horsemanship. This process is depicted in the same vein in the artists’ sketch called Cutting Out (fig. 7.5, bottom). A horseman, whip in hand, is chasing a calf on the left. Three more horsemen pursue longhorns in different directions at center and right. Two more at right look much farther away. They all illustrate how “cutting out” requires frequent use of the lasso and whip to single out cattle from the bunch. Worrall’s sketch is quite similar, although much cruder. The Englishman was self-taught, and his work is far less sophisticated than that of Frenzeny and Tavernier. In Camp (fig. 7.6, top) is reminiscent of the quality of the previous Texas ranch sketches, with a long, low tent at right in front of a huge sun rising over a very flat stretch of land. It depicts four herdsmen sitting around, eating breakfast and drinking from tin cups in front of makeshift tables made of boards over barrels. A man is cooking over the fire while another, combing his hair, stands to the side. The table at center has dishes, a bottle (perhaps molasses?), and a pail next to it. A convoluted sapling at center adds a fun, unexpected touch, loaded as it is with various utensils hooked to its twigs. A man in a cape is saddling his horse in the right foreground. Two small figures outlined in the background provide a sense of distance. Worrall’s two similar scenes are again cruder, but one of them does likewise feature a quaint detail, a table made of a board over barrels. Beebe and Clegg joke about the Texas sun depicted by the artists as “suitably large for a Texas setting,” but when the sketches, done in 1873, were published in Harper’s Weekly on May 2, 1874, the town’s newspaper authoritatively described the sketch as a Kansas view. On April 30, 1874, the Wichita Eagle reveled in the fame this double-page engraving represented for their town: “Wichita and her trade has been immortalized by illustration. For some months past Harper’s Weekly has contained pictorial sketches of the west and southwest, drawn by Frenzeny and Tavernier. Many of these delineations were of scenes connected with the life of the cowboy and the hunter. The supplement of that paper for May 2nd contains nine pictures, all relating to the cattle trade.” The newspaper depicted each image sometimes in the same terms used by the artists in their commentary, at other times with interesting differences. That was the case of this sunrise over the plains, when the journalist went on to add a few details to the Harper’s commentary: “No. 6 shows a camp of cattle men out on the herd grounds, west of Wichita. The sun is just rising as the boys are taking their breakfast. In the dim distance is the
Texas and Kansas, September–October 1973 101
herd. Two are coming off the night-watch, and others in camp are preparing to take their place through the day.” The locals knew that scene quite well. The last of the six views similar in topic to those of Henry Worrall, Shipping for the Eastern Markets (fig. 7.6, bottom), shows steers being prodded into cattle cars through a maze of wooden pens and chutes into three loading gates, each manned by cowhands. There were sometimes thousands of cattle waiting to be loaded onto cattle cars, so the loading had to be executed as expeditiously as possible. This view is quite different from Worrall’s in
7.6. The Tex as Cattle Tr ade— In Camp and Shipping for the Eastern Markets In Camp [no. 6]. No. 6 shows a camp of cattle men in Kansas. Breakfast is served at an early hour, and then the business of the day commences. Shipping for the Eastern Markets [no. 7]. No. 7 shows how cattle are shipped from a station for the Eastern markets.
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that it is a close-up view of the operation. The artists’ texts for these six images were relatively short, sometimes mere one-liners. The brevity suggests that they were rushing to execute this spread, to be free to go on with their travels west.
Kansas Cow Towns: Clearwater and Wichita Every cattle trail ended at a Kansas cow town, the end point where the Texas drovers would bring longhorn cattle and put them on trains to be shipped to points east. The cattle boom therefore went hand in hand with the extension of the railroad and the settlement of cow towns.
Clearwater Two of the sketches of the cattle trade are views of such towns along the trails. Both were first executed in watercolor by Jules Tavernier, then copied on the wood block by Paul Frenzeny. Both watercolors have surfaced in local collections and can be compared to the final Harper’s Weekly woodcut printed as part of the double-page spread dedicated to the cattle trade. Clearwater was a little trading post on the Ninnescah River with only two buildings sporting the typical western false fronts. Located in southern Sedgwick County, just north of the river, it was one of the few signs of civilization the cowboys would pass on the drive north to Kansas, an outof-the-way station for cattle drovers about twenty miles from Wichita. The village was founded in fairly flat country on a trail blazed for freight trains en route to the Indian Territory with an easy crossing of the river. The first cattle drive on the trail took place in 1867 and was represented by Worrall in his Colonel Wheeler’s Herd En Route for Wichita. This little village so rich in fine bottomlands and surrounded by a large belt of timber was set on the banks of one of the most beautiful streams in southern Kansas, the Ninnescah, an Osage-Sioux name meaning “water clear.” Clearwater was platted in 1872, only the year before the Frenchmen’s visit, the same year that J. G. Dunscomb bought out the previous owners, said to be desperadoes. It sat quite a distance from the railroad routes, and the Frenchmen would have had to ride twenty miles out of Wichita to draw it. All the activity in Halting Place on the Ninnescah River (fig. 7.7) rests with the three groups of drovers wearing Stetsons and chewing the fat while their horses eat out of a trough in front of the first building. On the right side, three men—one on horseback and the others standing nearby—are also conversing with each other. Under the eaves of the second building, the grocery store of Ward, McKee & Co., five men are similarly occupied while, on the road, a small cart and rider drive away. A couple of loose horses grazing and two birds flying complete the simple scene.
Texas and Kansas, September–October 1973 103 7.7. The Tex as Cattle Tr ade—Halting-Place on the Ninnescah River Halting-Place on the Ninnescah River [no. 3]. No. 3 shows one of the chief halting-places in Kansas, where the roads to the various grazing grounds branch off from the main trail. Situated about twenty miles from Wichita, the main post of the cattle trade, the Ninnescah River Station is well known to cattle traders.
The study by Tavernier was never identified as the original for the Harper sketch because it matches the scene in every way except its perspective. No matter how it is viewed, as is or flipped, the watercolor does not match the final published sketch. This means that Frenzeny redrew the view to ensure that the perspective was accurate, since it was a recognizable place. This was certainly a good initiative on the part of the special artist, since the study was sufficiently accurate and personalized that the Wichita Eagle was able to refer to “John Dunscomb’s store in the foreground, and Ward, McKee and Co’s grocery store in the back with a lot of boys scattered around in conversation, while their horses are feeding out of a trough in front of the awning of John’s place.”12
Wichita, Queen of the Cow Towns Once they had passed through Clearwater, the drovers reached Wichita, a town the special artists dubbed “the grand central station for the cattle trade.” That stature had been reached thanks to James Bryden, hired to induce Texas drovers to direct their herds to Wichita’s yards, and to Joseph G. McCoy, hired to advertise the town to prospective cattle buyers throughout Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and other states.13
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Wichita was settled in 1863 at the junction of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers by Wichita Indians fleeing the Indian Territory. Jesse Chisholm, a mixed-blood Cherokee widely known as a guide, interpreter, and Indian trader before the Civil War, established his trading post in that settlement, traveling south every fall to the North Canadian River and returning the next spring with buffalo robes, furs, and cattle. By 1870, it was known to all as the Chisholm Trail and had a reputation of being more practical than many of the other trails. From 1867 to 1887, over five million cattle traveled it from Texas to the railroads of the Kansas cattle towns. The wild, wicked, and lawless gathered in these towns, creating iconic images of the Old West. The city’s Douglas Avenue was one of the most celebrated thoroughfares of the West, and a paradise for Texas cowhands thirsty from the long trail drives. By 1873, Wichita had become one of the principal cattle-shipping centers in Kansas. Frenzeny and Tavernier were, however, not currently in the business of documenting picturesque scenes of cowboys painting the town red, although Frenzeny did capture a few of these scenes, which he would use later in his career.14 They only paid attention to what pertained to the settling of the West, to information that could be of use to would-be settlers. Wichita was, like Clearwater, given the honor of a Tavernier watercolor study before it was turned into a sketch for Harper’s, a study titled (with two French spelling errors) Maine St. from Eagle Bloc. Both study and sketch reflect the haphazard architecture of this boomtown and important details such as the extended platform that owner “Whitey” Rupp had built out from the second floor of Keno Hall over the sidewalk so his Keno band could lure customers to try their luck at the frontier version of bingo (the intersection was therefore known as “Keno corner”).15 As with the Clearwater view, the artists’ final sketch, entitled Wichita (fig. 7.8, left; also plate 3b)—which shows the same view of Main Street from its intersection with Douglas Avenue looking north—also altered Tavernier’s watercolor, although not as drastically and not as successfully. Tavernier’s study is busier than the engraving, a more pleasant composition that does not pull the eye straight down the street as the sketch does. Frenzeny changed the perspective to provide a better sense of the street’s huge proportion, but the change takes away the elegance of the study’s composition. The treatment of shadows is not as effective either, and the end result feels “flat.” The Wichita Eagle was well aware of the deficiencies: “While it does not do that street justice it is nevertheless recognizable.”16 One more vignette with no pendant in Worrall’s treasury of cattle scenes concludes this important double-page spread, which the Wichita Eagle deemed “vivid and true to life and to the character of the scenes represented, showing that the artists had studied their subjects.”17 In the final cut, Ho, for Texas! (fig. 7.8, right), a spirited party of drovers—the survivors,
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7.8. The Tex as Cattle Tr ade—Wichita and Ho, for Texas! Wichita [no. 8]. Sketch No. 8 represents Wichita, the grand central station for the cattle trade. It is a driving business town in the county of Sedgwick, Kansas. The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, the great road for the transportation of cattle, has a branch to this town. Ho, for Texas! [no. 9]. No. 9 represents a party of cattle traders, who have sold their stock, going home to Texas. The camp outfit is loaded in the wagon, in which the “cow boys,” as they call themselves, make the homeward journey in order to give the ponies needed rest, and a crowd of friends gather round to say good-by, and wish them a safe journey and return. Hard as the life may be, and often perilous, it has a singular fascination for all who have once engaged in it. They find it difficult to quit the roving live and settle down to the dull and monotonous occupation of farming.
as Beebe and Clegg suggest, of Wichita’s whisky and gunfire18—have sold their stock and loaded their camp gear into a wagon to give some rest to their ponies (handled by an African American drover on the left) and are heading back home to Texas. The Wichita Eagle completes this description with a nice detail about the cattle men “who have sold out their cattle, bought a Moser wagon, loaded in their outfit and are bidding the Wichita boys good bye until another season.”19 This double-page spread provided a very complete, accurate depiction of life on the range, up to that date the largest group of images on the subject. As always with the special artists, part of the excitement of their reporting was the new lingo they had heard, learned, and used in their text. There
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(facing) 7.9. A Kansas Land-Office A Kansas Land-Office. . . . The illustration on our first page shows the interior of a Kansas land-office. On the wall hang large section maps, and samples of all kinds of agricultural produce are scattered about the
were plenty of such instances in the case of this extensive study of the cattle trade.20 Besides technical terms such as “branding,” “rounding up,” and “cutting out,” there are more local terms such as a drove of cattle, a bunch of cows, bedding for the cattle’s resting place, and so forth. What is remarkable is that the term “cowboy” was not yet a part of the lexicon except locally. In their eleven descriptions of life on the Texas and Kansas range, the special artists described these adventurers of the range as herdsmen, herders, drovers, boys, cattle men, cattle traders, mounted watchers, and only once, in the very last sketch, as cow-boys—“as they call themselves,” the artists explained. The Wichita Eagle only called them “cowboys” generically in the introduction to their text but when depicting the scenes more specifically, referred to them as “cattle men” and “drovers.” Another iconic feature of this reportage of life on the range is the hat worn by most of the drovers in these illustrations: not the ten-gallon hat of classic Western movies but rather the practical, highly useful “Boss of the Plains” model created by John Batterson Stetson after he traveled west for his health.21 During his trip, he invented the “prospector hat,” but upon his return to the East Coast, as he established his own hat firm in Philadelphia to produce high-quality hats for outdoor use, he decided to create a hat based on his experiences in the American West. The original “Boss” was flatbrimmed, with a straight-sided crown, as depicted in the engravings. These lightweight waterproof hats were natural in color, with four-inch crowns and brims. A plain hatband was fitted to adjust to the cowboy’s head size, and the sweatband bore Stetson’s name. The cowboy riding the range wearing that “Boss of the Plains” hat showed the world that he was doing well.
room, as evidence of the fertility of the soil. The agent appears to be explaining the peculiar advantages of a certain section of land. The cautious buyer listens, but has not yet made up his mind. In the background, a clerk is explaining to some customers the mysteries of a map, and showing the location of the land about which they are inquiring. These agents furnish teams to those who wish to inspect the country, make contracts, receive payments, and give deeds. They know every inch of ground and every settler in their neighborhood, and are a smart, lively, enterprising class of men.
The Virgin Lands of Kansas The romance and staggering scope of the cattle trade did not prevent the observant artists from documenting another transformation of life in Kansas, the rapid apportionment of its virgin prairies and the exploitation of its natural resources. Around the time Frenzeny and Tavernier drew A Kansas Land-Office (fig. 7.9), it was becoming quite plain to many that there would soon no longer be any public lands. The last of the Indian lands, such as the Indian Territory’s “Cherokee Strip,” would soon be expropriated twenty years later, and as Beebe and Clegg comment, “The border states would no longer be on the border of anything.” And “by the turn of the century,” the historians went on, “the homesteader, the ‘nester’ of the contemptuous cattle barons, would be as obsolete as the night rider and jayhawker who had just gone before him.”22 This scene in a Kansas land office is captivating on different levels. There is first the seemingly friendly, casual interaction between settlers and land
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agents. The two groups of three men, both composed of buyers and agents, seem to be enjoying the moment, surrounded as they are with the many tokens of this rich land: an open crate of fruit, an ear of corn, a small tree branch, ore samples, a glass jar. The “office” is rather unthreatening, with pigeonholed titles on the desk shelf, a few books, and an open inkwell, but there are more objects than papers, while still enough room for the agent’s boots to rest on its top; the lettering on the window “Land Office” is reflected backwards on the wall, decorative branches hang on the wall above the map, and a plant occupies the back corner, all details that combine to give a sense of homey comfort. And then, on the back wall, there is the sectional map of Wichita’s Sedgwick County—misspelled by the Frenchmen. It is at least seven feet tall, a mosaic of existing and future land acquisitions, the symbol of exciting opportunity for the prospective homesteaders reviewing it with a clerk at their side. The men’s posture in both groups is relaxed, and all strike very natural attitudes, hands on hips or at their back as they listen and reflect. The agents’ expressions do make them look like “smart, lively, enterprising” men, as they are described in the text.23 The Harpers turned this sketch into a cover-page illustration for their July 1874 issue, probably because it makes the purchasing of land look pleasant and simple and encapsulates one desired end to the long march west. The emigrants’ dream of the West came true right here in that friendly office, which provided everything the settler needed to launch the next phase of his adventurous undertaking. It was the moment the emigrants envisioned in An Emigrants Boarding-House in New York, Frenzeny and Tavernier’s very first scene, on the eve of their western journey. Perhaps to save time with winter weather lurking around, or perhaps because it was a landscape, Tavernier was alone, as the “Tavernier & Frenzeny” signature suggests, when he sketched and transferred to the wood block a view of yet another frontier industry in Limestone in Kansas (fig. 7.10). As always with Tavernier, there is less focus on people and more focus on sensory details, together with colorful imagery in the text that compares the huge lime kilns to castles in the Rhine Valley.24 The engaging quality of the view revolves predominantly around the structural appearance of the quarry, consisting of high platforms on stilts, blocks of limestone strewn across a huge area, and the unusual structure of the kiln, all repeated four more times far into the distance. The kiln is built along the wall of the quarry and connected to it by a rickety-looking narrow bridge without a railing and on very tall stilts, which allows workers to wheelbarrow limestone rubble directly into its top section. The pile of uncut firewood in the left foreground and the pathway of sorts behind the kiln soften the straight lines of the structure and draw attention to the man inside the woodshed at the foot of the kiln as he tends to the preparation of lime.
Texas and Kansas, September–October 1973 109
7.10. Limestone in Kansas
The long tracks at center used to wheel the heavy slabs on horse-pulled carts act as a visual link between four such kilns in the distance, each with a footbridge at the top and a covered shed at its foot. The bottom right corner is reserved for a view of the stone cutters, whose faces are indiscernible. They look like ants in the midst of an immense sea of limestone blocks waiting to be cut or carried away. Some of these workers shelter themselves from the heavy sun with boards propped on long poles, which add an incongruous visual detail to the huge panorama. The text does not provide much information on this industry: how workers split the blocks by drilling holes nine to twelve inches apart, placing wedges in these holes, and tapping them to split out the slabs. It did not mention that fence posts were made of that stone or that the lime powder obtained from burning the leftover limestone rubble in these crude kilns was used for mortar and plaster, as fertilizer in the fields, and to whitewash cottages. For most of the emigrants Frenzeny and Tavernier had followed, Kansas was the end of their journey and the start of their new life as ranchers and homesteaders. But for the artists, Kansas was a springboard toward the wilder West and a long coach ride they had planned much earlier, hopeful that they would beat the approaching winter and reach Denver safely.
Limestone in Kansas. Our artist . . . makes a very clear picture of some of the stone quarries and lime-kilns in the State of Kansas. Seen from afar, the kilns resemble nothing so much as a line of old castles on the Rhine, that one might imagine has been transported hither and set down in the midst of the prairie. Here is made nearly two-thirds of all the lime used in the State. The stone taken out of the quarries is the magnesia limestone, of which great quantities are shipped throughout the year. It is white, and when first cut is soft, but it soon hardens when exposed to the air. Most of the public buildings in the State are constructed of this material.
Our artists spoke with hunters on the plains who boasted of having killed two thousand head of buffalo apiece in one season. At this rate of slaughter the buffalo must soon become extinct.
8. The Far W est
Wichita to Denver, October 1873
December 12, 1874
he cattle trade kept the special artists quite busy for much of October. With winter nearing, it was now high time to resume their western progress. Leaving Wichita in the latter part of October, they boarded the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad in Newton, the western railhead then known as “Bloody Newton,” the wickedest town in the West. They headed west through southern and western Kansas, Fort Scott, Emporia, Coolidge—then known as Sargents, Dodge City, and Granada, all the way to West Las Animas in eastern Colorado. Along this route through the Far West (which they called the “far West,” since it was not yet a legend or iconic word but simply a place), they chronicled some of the more astonishing sights of their trip, fierce elements that caught the newly arrived immigrants by sheer surprise, and fledgling ways of life and settlements that would soon be gone. The documentary value of these illustrations is important as the artists witnessed and captured scenes that would soon be obsolete. The artists did not make the locales known, preferring to focus on generic occurrences rather than on specific places or events. Their texts used recurring phrases such as “[s]ights frequently to be seen on the Great plains of the far West,” “an incident frequently witnessed on the Great Plains,” “sight . . . frequently met with in Kansas and other portions of the West,” or “a frequent scene along one of the Northwestern railroads.” This approach, of course, allowed them to draw sketches on the block that were not in reverse, since they were not depictions of a specific, recognizable locale—thereby saving precious time.
A Story of Survival As the Frenchmen went on experiencing and documenting the emigrants’ great march west, it became apparent that if the prospective settlers had at this point survived the ills of their travels, long waits on exposed train
Wichita to Denver, October 1873 111
8.1. Fighting the Fire Fighting the Fire. The astonishing
platforms, heat and drought, gunshots, robbers, and land sharks, they still remained exposed to exceptional natural threats specific to the plains. Life this far west no longer appeared just as a matter of taming the frontier but rather of surviving it, especially at the time of year when Frenzeny and Tavernier traveled through. Prairie fires in particular were a common occurrence in the days when much of the open country was unplowed and grass-covered. Frenzeny and Tavernier were passing through these plains in the fall, when grass was tall and dry and fires posed a greater threat. Reports of fires of terrifying proportions appeared in nearly every issue of local newspapers along their route during that fall season. The travelers must have witnessed both actual fires and blackened prairies as their train chugged through. Their drawing Fighting the Fire (fig. 8.1) offers a dramatic, backlit view of one of these events. The figures remain anonymous because they are beating down the flames with rags or even blankets tied to sticks, and their backs are to the viewer. The extent of the fire is put into perspective with the small scale of the horses pulling a plow to create a firebreak down the hill in the distance. The text mentions the rapidity and devastation caused by these fires but
rapidity with which the prairie fire, driven by furious winds, sweeps on in its work of devastation is something beyond the power of description. . . . It is especially dreaded when it makes its way toward the settlements. In such an event the alarm is speedily given, and in the twinkling of an eye every man, woman, and child turns out to fight the foe. All sorts of expedients are used to stay the progress of the flames. Blankets, rags tied on ends of sticks, and everything that can be used to beat down the fire, are brought into requisition. In the illustration on this page a scene of this description is given. “All men on fire-guard!” is the order, which is speedily obeyed, and not until the last spark has been quenched will the band cease the brave fight with the flames.
112 The Far West
also leaves the reader with a comforting conclusion: settlers working together were able to prevail over this calamity. “‘All men on fire-guard!’ is the order, which is speedily obeyed, and not until the last spark has been quenched will the band cease the brave fight with the flames.”1 More violent weather preyed on unprepared newcomers: tornadoes. These devastating funnel clouds are frequent in the plains. The thunderstorms that spawn them strike northern Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma more than any other region in the country, particularly in spring and fall. The Frenchmen spent much of September and October in these vicinities; they may have witnessed one of these storms. Their drawing A Prairie Wind-Storm (fig. 8.2) depicts a farmer and his wife returning home with a load of hay in a small covered wagon drawn by two horses, just as a dark and violent storm, perhaps even a tornado, catches up with them. There is nothing to offer protection; they are completely exposed. The canvas of the wagon is being torn off, whipping in the wind, a danger to the frightened woman inside. The terror of the horses, both foaming at the mouth, is exquisitely rendered: one throws his head back; the other flashes hooves high. Paul Frenzeny was renowned throughout his career for his skill at capturing a horse in all its moods. His past as a French soldier in North Africa no doubt also had something to do with the comparison in the Harper’s text to the African simoon. The stormy sky, on the other hand, shows off Jules Tavernier’s forte. The settler, in contrast to his horses, is calm. He must have appeared as a model of courage to the readers who wished to follow him to the Far West and hoped to live up to these challenges as well. Perhaps for that reason, the text offers a happy end to the story by mentioning that the settlers were saved by entering “one of these ravines or gullies where the force of the wind is less perceptible.”2
Ephemeral Settlements In the early days of the “far West,” small prairie settlements generally sprang up in locations determined by the proximity of roads or rivers. This all changed when the growing web of railroad tracks started to spread across the continent. It became a common fate, in the 1870s, for any existing village bypassed by railroad builders to be quickly abandoned. The artists explained elegantly how countless little prairie boomtowns “flourish for a season, and then go to swift decay. Wolves and foxes are the only occupants, every building in the settlement is deserted and falling to ruin.”3 Kansas in particular had its share of “busted” towns. The artistic power of an image can sometimes reach far beyond the
8.2. A Prairie Wind-Storm A Prairie Wind-Storm. Our illustration . . . represents an incident frequently witnessed on the great plains of the far West—a party of emigrants seeking shelter from one of those fearful storms of wind that, like the simoom of the African deserts, bursts upon the traveler almost without warning. The bright sunny sky changes in an instant, on the horizon line, to the most intense black; the dark cloud rises like a wall, and advances with a rapidity and uproar that threatens overwhelming destruction. Experienced Western men know the danger of these sudden storms, and when overtaken by one hasten for shelter to some ravine or gully, where the force of the wind will be less perceptible.
The party in our drawing have left the road and entered one of these ravines, which
fortunately abound in the prairies, where they may remain sheltered until the storm has spent its fury. Emigrants unfamiliar with the sudden changes of weather on the great plains, and heedless of the warnings of the experienced, have sometimes braved the violence of these storms and paid the penalty of foolhardiness with their lives. The months of March, April, October, and November are the ones most to be dreaded for these sudden tempests.
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8.3. “Busted!”—A Deserted Railroad Town in Kansas Busted! . . . We give an illustration of one of those towns that spring up along the lines of the new railroads in the far West, flourish for a season, and then go to swift decay. Wolves and foxes are the only occupants; every building in the settlement is deserted and falling to ruin. This sight is to be frequently met with in Kansas and other portions of the West.
story it tells. That is the case with “Busted!”—A Deserted Railroad Town in Kansas (fig. 8.3), an illustration filled with such a sense of “haunting foresakeness [sic]”4 that it compelled historian Robert Taft to start his lifelong research on western artists. “I first saw the picture over 15 years ago,” he wrote, “and its image has frequently flashed across my memory in the intervening years. It was in fact, the illustration that started my first work on these artists. Goldsmith in nearly 400 lines was not able to produce the feeling of utter desolation that can be obtained by a single glance at this illustration of the great Plains’ version of The Deserted Village.”5 Jules Tavernier, the painter, created a watercolor and gouache study of the ghost town. It is obvious that he and Frenzeny sketched the scene at the same time, from the same vantage point. A comparison of the study with the final sketch, once reworked by Paul Frenzeny, goes a long way toward explaining the drawing’s evocative power. Tavernier the artist provided a strong night-time composition, which sets the dark shape of wolves and
Wichita to Denver, October 1873 115
ruined buildings against a bright pool of moonlight, a real mood setter. He blocked out the main volumes, the shades of light to dark, including a sliver of lighter color on the horizon and touches of moonlight here and there in the background. A wolf sitting on its haunches turned toward the moonlight completes the evocative setting. Paul Frenzeny, the storyteller, further developed the themes of dilapidation and eerie emptiness by working in details such as broken windowpanes, a twisted hitching post, falling lumber, and a tattered awning. He gave the “wolves,” or coyotes, a scrubbier look and stealthier postures. He removed the larger barrel at center and added more vertical posts and lines, a bit of foliage drooping from the dilapidated roofline, as well as a fallen sign with the partial lettering “Fancy . . .” (for “Fancy Goods”). He also replaced the bright pool of light with more-filtered moonlight falling at an angle through the damaged roof. Most of all, Frenzeny added the masterly touch that clinches the story: the tiny shape of the steam train silhouetted against the horizon. Its too-distant presence accounts for the town’s failure to prosper. The location of this scene was not of much significance to the artists, who meant to represent an event that occurred throughout the frontier at that time. For this reason, Frenzeny drew the image on the piece of boxwood without reversing the view, thereby saving time. This explains why the Harper’s print is the reverse of Tavernier’s study and why the text mentions vaguely that it is “a sight to be frequently met with in Kansas and other portions of the West.”6 The special artists’ first contact with frontier boomtowns had amazed them. Ghost towns along the railroads inspired them to create a view of haunting desolation. Nothing, however, had prepared them for yet another ephemeral sort of frontier settlement: an underground village. They made sure in their text for Harper’s that readers would remember and compare these settlements: “Our readers will remember the curious and interesting sketch of a deserted railroad village or rather settlement published a short time since in the Weekly. In this number of our paper we give them by contrast a sketch of a village built on an underground plan, as if the hardy pioneers of civilization had taken a prairie-dog town as a model.”7 Lumber for building was at a premium on the treeless prairie in the early years, and some little towns were at first essentially made up of dugouts with roofs, as the Pleasant Hill (Missouri) Leader of January 3, 1873, reported: “Out in this wild country, there are stations, consisting of a water-tank and a dugout. The dugouts are simply holes in the ground, or cellars with roofs over them. They are the most convenient houses for this windy country that can be built, and are exceedingly warm; they are used as boarding houses for the section hands, and at present for eating houses for those who may
116 The Far West
8.4. Sketches in the Far W est—An Under-Ground Village An Under-Ground Village. Our readers will remember the curious and interesting sketch of a deserted railroad village, or rather settlement, published a short time since in the Weekly; in this number of our paper we give them, by way of contrast, a sketch of a village built on the under-ground plan, as if the hardy pioneers of civilization had taken a prairie dog town as a model. Secure against the violent wind storms that sweep with irresistible fury over the plains, these “dug-outs” form an excellent shelter. The style of architecture is certainly not imposing, but as temporary shelters these under-ground habitations, constructed at little expense, serve their purpose well until substantial buildings can be erected. The settlers do a great deal of trading with the Indians and hunters, and a small guard of soldiers, under command of a sergeant, is generally posted at such places to protect the station against raids.
travel on construction trains.” The early railroad towns of Abilene,8 Dodge, Hays, and Newton, which sprang up beside the tracks of the Kansas Pacific and the Santa Fe, started as communities of dugouts, because of both the lack of timber and the threat of tornadoes. These primitive dwellings served their purpose well until substantial building could be erected. An Under-Ground Village (fig. 8.4) depicts one of these “prairie dog towns” with roofs at ground level, therefore quite secure during violent windstorms and quite snug in winter for anyone capable of ignoring fleas. The presence of the railroad was obviously the motivation to settle here.
Wichita to Denver, October 1873 117
The presence of water determined the location of these stations. The water tank with its movable water spout, topped with a large windmill that powered the pump, was the most important structure in these budding communities. Next in importance was the boxcar used as a depot for railroad property, including piles of railroad ties next to it. It would later house the telegraph station as well. As settlers, traders, and railroad workers gathered at this halting station, so did stores and businesses that provided for their needs. The signs that stand so oddly above ground for the dugout stores advertise two restaurants, a liquor and cigar store—the most visible of all—a grocery store, a clothing store, a post office, and a trader’s store advertising “Hides Bought.” Three American Indians stand by that store: two women carrying a huge bundle of pelts while the man shows a sample to the trader in a hat and vest who stands half out of the dugout. This was a common trade, according to the text. A dozen rooftops with smoking chimneys emerge from the ground facing every which way into the distance. There is quite a bit of activity around the bare tracks: three men are talking under the watchful eye of a soldier sitting on a bench, a member of the small guard of soldiers appointed to the settlement to keep peace. On the right, another soldier in uniform inspects the boxcar with smoking chimney. Built around and for the railroad as it was, this temporary settlement of dugouts could probably look forward to a more prosperous future. In fact, the trail hands who reached Kansas in the first years of the cattle trade found nothing but prairie and dugouts. But in the following years, wicked cow towns dubbed “Babylons of the Plains” suddenly sprouted in their place. Indeed, in Beebe and Clegg’s colorful language, “the presence of the cow hands and their gold pay roll caused the desert to bloom with useful and pleasant things to be had for the buying.” Prostitutes inevitably flocked to these cow towns during cattle trading season. “Magnificent saloons with mahogany bars and crystal fixtures from Kansas City gleamed with coal oil chandeliers, madams paraded their girls after sundown, monte throwers, roulette dealers, and keno operators in ratcatcher suits and plug hats dealt in potential fortunes.”9 According to Robert Taft, illustrations of individual dugouts were fairly common; it is the collection of a number of these dugouts together that constitutes the uniqueness of the illustration in question, and no other artist depicted this aspect of town life on the Great Plains. He believed this town could have been Sargent, now Coolidge, Kansas.10
Slaughter on a Gigantic Scale The buffalo has always been one of the greatest emblems of the American West. Many travelers in the first half of the nineteenth century came across buffalo herds that covered fifty or more square miles and took five days
118 The Far West
to pass by. Steamboats on the upper Missouri River were sometimes left dead in the water for hours while a huge herd crossed the river. There were probably still 20 million buffalo left at the end of the Civil War. Yet by the time Frenzeny and Tavernier reached the great plains of the Missouri, all they saw was rampant destruction. The systematic extermination of the American West’s emblematic ani mal was at its height in 1873, spurred by the development of methods of manufacturing commercial leather from buffalo hides. The new western railroads also had much to do with it: the animals were killed to provide food for the workers who built the roadbed. William Frederick (“Buffalo Bill”) Cody first earned his nickname by killing 4,280 buffalo in eighteen months, in 1867 and 1868, under a contract with the Kansas Pacific Railway to provide their workers with meat. Buffalo tongues in particular were considered a delicacy. The railroads brought to the West both passengers who enjoyed stopping for a moment of sports shooting on the plains and an army of a few thousand professional hunters who were all it took to wipe
(facing) 8.5. Slaughtered for the Hide Slaughtered for the Hide. The vast plains of the Missouri river are covered with the decaying bones of thousands of slain buffaloes. Most of them have been slaughtered for the hide by professional hunters, while many have fallen victims to the sportsman’s rage for killing merely for the sake of killing. These people take neither hide nor flesh, but leave the whole carcass to decay and furnish food for the natural scavengers of the plains.
Our front-page illustration represents a party of professional hunters, numbering six or eight,
who have come upon a large herd of buffaloes. The first shot brings down a splendid animal, wounded purposely in a manner not to kill but to make him “pump blood,” that is to say, to bleed profusely. Others of the herd gather around their wounded comrade, and appear to be too much stupefied to avoid danger by flight. The hunters then open a well-directed fire, bringing down as many as they can, until the survivors at last take fright and gallop off.
Then the “stripping” begins. The hides are taken off with great skill and wonderful quickness,
loaded on a wagon, as shown in the background of the picture, and carried to the hunters’ camp. Our artists spoke with hunters on the plains who boasted of having killed two thousand head of buffalo apiece in one season. At this rate of slaughter the buffalo must soon become extinct. Already there is a sensible diminution of the great herds on the plains, and from many places where they were once numerous they have disappeared altogether. Some of the railroads running far out into the prairies have regular trains for parties of amateur hunters, who fire upon their victims from the car windows. Thousands of buffalo were killed in this manner, besides other kinds of wild game, and their carcasses left to decay on the ground along the line of the railroad.
The indiscriminate slaughter of the buffalo has brought many evils in its train. Among other
bad consequences it has been the direct occasion of many Indian wars. Deprived of their chief means of subsistence through the agency of white men, the tribes naturally take revenge by making raids on white settlements and carrying off stock, if they do not murder the settlers.
120 The Far West
out the great herds forever. Killing buffalo with a rifle required little skill. Over 4 million animals were shot dead along the Arkansas River alone. Slaughtered for the Hide (fig. 8.5) is shocking, like the slaughter itself, like the artists’ reaction to this endemic massacre. Unlike other news correspondents, the Frenchmen did not draw bleached carcasses on the plains but rather chose to depict the graphic goriness of the kill, the enormous animal reduced to a bloody carcass. The animal’s beautiful big head is intact, eyes closed in the foreground, the flesh and sinew of the skinned body exposed. They placed one of the perpetrators in the foreground, the skinner holding up his trophy, a freshly skinned hide that weighs close to one hundred pounds, his bloody skinning knife still in his hand, his face bland. A horse nearby shows a saddle scabbard holding a rifle, the instrument of death. Behind the skinner, three more men work on a carcass in the distance, and a loading wagon is waiting. Hunters and skinners worked in teams, as the hides had to be removed the same day the animal was killed. Two experienced skinners, usually working for the hunter for a wage, could remove a hide in five minutes. A buffalo hunter reminisced that he only killed as many “buffs” as his skinners could handle, perhaps twenty-five a day but some days fifty or sixty. With so many hunters out, thousands of buffalo died in a matter of days, tens of thousands in a matter of months.11 The artists took time to speak with men involved in this slaughter, this “boastful” hunter whom they questioned as they sketched, a man blind to everything but his “sportsman’s rage.” It is remarkable that the Harper brothers picked this graphically realistic and dramatic scene as the cover illustration for the December 12, 1874, issue of Harper’s Weekly. The denunciation of the hunt implied in the sketch was picked up in the text—which specifically mentions the artists and uses words such as “rage,” “boasted,” and “slaughter”: “The vast plains of the Missouri river are covered with the decaying bones of thousands of slain buffaloes. Most of them have been slaughtered for the hide by professional hunters, while many have fallen victims to the sportsman’s rage. . . . Our artists spoke with hunters on the plains who boasted of having killed two thousand head of buffalo apiece in one season. At this rate of slaughter the buffalo must soon become extinct. . . . Some of the railroads running far out into the prairies have regular trains for parties of amateur hunters, who fire upon their victims from the car windows.” There was yet another possible reason for this carnage. General Philip Sheridan, who campaigned against the Plains Indians, spoke plainly when legislation protecting the Texas buffalo herd was proposed: “The buffalo hunters have done more in two years to settle the vexed Indian question than the entire U.S. Army has done in ten years,” he claimed.12 The artists, on the contrary, considered this approach a great evil, and their commentary states, “Deprived of their chief means of subsistence through the agency
Wichita to Denver, October 1873 121
of white men, the tribes naturally take revenge by making raids on white settlements and carrying off stock, if they do not murder the settlers.”13 The buffalo were not yet gone in the fall of 1873, but they were far removed from the lines of the railroads. In the fall of 1873, Col. R. I. Dodge, after riding out from Fort Dodge, some four or five miles from Dodge City, wrote, “Where there were myriads of buffalo the year before, there were now myriads of carcasses. The air was foul with sickening stench, and the vast plain, which only a short twelve month before teemed with animal life, was a dead, solitary, putrid desert.”14 What could be seen from the windows of railroad cars during that time became the subject of another of the duo’s sketches, Curing Hides and Bones (fig. 8.6),15 which documents another aspect of the ongoing massacre clearing the plains for farmers and ranchers. Buffalo hunting indeed evolved into an important frontier industry in the 1870s, until the disappearance of the great Arkansas and Texas herds. All along the railroad tracks, the travelers could see great stacks of bones, hundreds of tons of them piled so high that they reached far above the tops of the boxcars. Buffalo hunting evolved into an important frontier industry in the 1870s until the disappearance of the great Arkansas and Texas herds. Dodge City was one of the centers of this trade. It dealt in bones as much as in buffalo hides, shipping ten
8.6. Sketches in the Far W est—Curing Hides and Bones Curing Hides and Bones. Our next illustration represents a frequent scene along one of the Northwestern railroads. The large heap of bones seen in the background has been collected out on the plains, ready to be shipped eastward, to be used for various manufacturing purposes. Hundreds and thousands of such heaps may be seen along the track of these railroads. The buffalo hunters bring their products of the chase to the trader’s store, always to be found at these stations. There the hides are spread and dried, pressed by machinery, as shown in the drawing, tied up in bales, and shipped to the East.
122 The Far West
times as many carloads as any other town in the state. That is probably where the special artists drew this classic view of the buffalo “trade” (just as there was a cattle trade). They show fresh hides spread out and pegged down in the sun, hair down; such hides would be left to dry for three to five days, which reduced the weight by half. Poison was then poured over the hide to kill insects. Next the hides were pressed in the machinery visible in the foreground and tied in bales like those shown on the left, before being carted to the railroad cars. The artists report in their text that hundreds and thousands of such heaps could be seen along the tracks of the railroads. This dramatic series of sketches in the Far West dealt with the survival skills settlers needed to make a life for themselves in the heart of the continent. With the representation of the ever-present railroads and the wanton destruction of the buffalo, the artists also signaled the imminent closing of the frontier, as one provided access to the vast plains, while the other cleared them for farmers and ranchers.
In the Eastern States the old-fashioned stagecoach is remembered as a thing of the past, except in a few regions where the railroads have not
9. Staging in the Far W est
sent out their spreading arms; but in the far West it may be called the advance-guard of
Southern Colorado, Early November 1873
invading civilization. Harper’s Weekly, July 4, 1874
The Booming New Railhead of West Las Animas In the very first days of November, the two artists stopped and registered at the American House in West Las Animas, according to the young city’s newspaper, the Las Animas Leader.1 This used to be one of the sleepy way stations on the stage route, but the town had just become the new railhead for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, whose first train from Kansas had arrived on October 17, 1873, loaded with goods, lumber, and passengers. West Las Animas (the “West” was dropped in 1886) was presently in the throes of a building frenzy. Its population, lured by this event, had boomed to one hundred, and the town was being laid out relative to the direction of the railroad, a common practice in those days. The special artists could not have missed the powerful influence of countryman Céran de Hault de Lassus de St. Vrain on this corner of the world. St. Vrain Avenue was one of the town’s main thoroughfares. The son of French aristocrats who fled France during the Revolution of 1789 and settled near St. Louis, Missouri, Céran was born three years later, on May 5, 1802. He was educated by tutors before attending private school. With family capital, he had then become a major fur trader in New Mexico and Colorado Territories. Only a few miles from the site that would become Las Animas, St. Vrain and his trading partners, the Bent brothers, built a fort on the north bank of the Arkansas River, which at the time marked the boundary between Mexico and the United States. Bent’s Fort became a hub for traders riding the Santa Fe Trail, and a visit to the restored Old Bent’s Fort, built like a walled town with a plaza and blacksmith, gunsmith, and carpenter shops, offers a wonderful glimpse at life on the frontier in the 1830s. The remarkable Frenchman had passed away only three years before the special artists’ arrival; more than two thousand people had attended his funeral.
124 Staging in the Far West
As they waited for their stagecoach, the special artists took time to document a few aspects of the little railroad town. Two of Jules’s usual monochromatic studies that were never finished by Frenzeny and never published in Harper’s suggest that the town had a few other cultural surprises in store for the Frenchmen.2 This was the artists’ first contact with the Hispanic cultures of the West. Habitations Mexicaines, Los Animas, Col. (see plate 5b)3 depicts a group of adobe dwellings, empty as yet of the animation Frenzeny would usually add. Tavernier blocked out two sets of low buildings with multiple groundlevel rooms and uneven rooflines. A covered wagon and an open cart stand to the left of the main adobe building; two men and two women dressed in Hispanic style are working near the main entrance. The line drawing was filled in with monochromatic watercolor, leaving the figures for Frenzeny to finish. An even more astonishing cultural oddity was the presence of a Chinese laundry, shown in Chinese Laundry in West Las Animas.4 Tavernier’s unfinished monochromatic study adds new details to our knowledge of how the artists worked on sketches that included major character studies. The Frenchman blocked out the proportions of the two separate rooms, one for washing, the other for ironing, and the main tools of the launderer’s trade: a substantial stove, a very large tub heating on its top burner, and another washtub on a table under the window. He finished the light and dark contrast of the timber frame and of the stovepipe’s meander and chose a vantage point that looks directly toward the window and opened door, revealing a telegraph pole and wires outside and another adobe building in the distance. The Chinese launderer is calmly ironing on the table in the foreground, his shape merely outlined in pencil, waiting to be finished by Frenzeny. Demonstrating the authenticity of the artists’ observations, a list of merchants in a local Bent County history book confirms that a Chinese national did run the Las Animas “Long Shong City Laundry” in 1873.5 The intrepid Long Shong is no doubt the laundryman immortalized in Tavernier’s watercolor study.
A Bouncy Ride in a “Cradle on Wheels” The special artists had contracted with the Harper brothers to seek adventure wherever they could, as reported in the initial announcement of the Frenchmen’s assignment: “These gentlemen will not restrict themselves to the ordinary routes of travel.”6 Each railroad terminus had stage routes that took travlers deeper into Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, and other remote regions. In early November, the two Frenchmen prepared to ride a stagecoach from West Las Animas, the new railhead of the Santa Fe, to Pueblo, an uncomfortable eighty-mile trip through Colorado Terri-
Southern Colorado, Early November 1873 125
tory that was run three times a week in both directions and took several days.7 The stagecoach that ran the route from Las Animas to Santa Fe was a model called a “Horace Greeley,” named for the influential newspaper editor credited with coining the popular saying “Go West, young man,” a symbol of Manifest Destiny. The actual coach is kept today in the museum of a nearby town, La Junta. For the traveler unaccustomed to staging, like Frenzeny and Tavernier, this primitive mode of travel presented many surprising novelties. It was a grueling ride that compelled the travelers “to jog for days and nights over the rough trails that serve as apologies for roads in those regions.”8 In their commentary, they confessed, “It is not altogether an enjoyable way of making a journey; but, on the whole, its pleasures and excitements more than counterbalance its inconveniences and discomforts. . . . It is wearing at first, but one soon becomes accustomed to the jolting and rattle of the coach, and is sorry when the journey is over.”9 Mark Twain called the stagecoach a “cradle on wheels.” A great pamphlet entitled A Ticket to Adventure recounts with humor how passengers who had their anatomy rearranged during a ride called it many other things— mostly unprintable: But no matter what the praises or epithets, anyone who purchased a ride on a stagecoach had purchased a ticket to adventure. One passenger may have captured it best when he described his trip as a “through ticket and fifteen inches of seat space with a fat man on one side, a poor widow on the other, a baby in your lap, a bandbox over your head and three or four more persons immediately in front of you leaning against your knees.” On long trips, such arrangements made fast friends, and faster enemies. One newspaper, the Omaha Herald, even offered travelers sound advice on avoiding the perils of stage travel. Among its tips: “If a team runs away, sit still and take your chances; if you jump nine times out of ten you will be hurt.” “Spit on the leeward side of the coach.” “Expect annoyance, discomfort and some hardships. If you are disappointed, thank heaven.”10
Despite the high adventure occasioned by a coach ride, stagecoaches connected fledgling frontier communities and moved people, goods, gold, news, and the mail on a grand scale. Despite the discomfort, the two Frenchmen were able to draw four very representative scenes of that unforgettable western experience. In Throwing Out the Mail (fig. 9.1), the architecture of the adobe post office is representative of Mexican adobes in southern Colorado, situated as it is under the shade of a large tree, with only empty prairie all around. The thunderous passage of the stagecoach pulled by three teams of mules must have represented an exciting moment for the station master in his sleepy,
126 Staging in the Far West 9.1. Staging in the Far W est—Throwing Out the Mail Staging in the Far West. In the Eastern States the old-fashioned stagecoach is remembered as a thing of the past, except in a few regions where the railroads have not sent out their spreading arms; but in the far West it may be called the advance-guard of invading civilization. Lines beginning at each railroad terminus lead to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, and other remote regions, and to one who is unaccustomed to staging, this primitive mode of travel presents many surprising novelties. It must be confessed that it is not altogether an enjoyable way of making a journey; but, on the whole, its pleasures and excitements more than counterbalance its inconveniences and discomforts.
The sketches on this page
illustrate some of the incidents with which the traveler will meet on any one of these long stage journeys across the plains. Throwing out the Mail [no. 1]. No. 1 shows a lonely post-office station, away out on the prairie. When there are no passengers to set down or take up, the driver throws out the mail-bag, dexterously catches the one tossed up to him by the station-master, and whirls on without stopping, and scarcely checking the speed of his team.
isolated station, since the coach often did not stop—in fact, it is represented in the drawing as going so fast that it tilts to the right as it makes its turn in front of the low building. A mailbag on the dirt road in the foreground suggests that the driver has already thrown the mail; the station master in turn throws a mail bag to the man sitting next to the driver. The master’s wife watches the commotion from her doorway. Taking the Morning “Slumgullion” (fig. 9.2) depicts the passengers of the coach, well dressed in travel coats and hats. The implements of the traveler abound: a large trunk, a brimmed hat, fur, a rifle, and carrying bags. Morning tea appears comfortable enough, as a young woman brings a tray loaded with cornbread, pork, and beans as described in the text. The tablecloth,
9.2. Staging in the Far W est—Taking the Morning “Slumgullion” Taking the Morning “Slumgullion” [no. 2]. No. 2 shows the interior of a “home station,” where the stage stops for breakfast, and the weary passengers regale them-selves on pork and beans, corn bread, and the traditional “slumgullion,” which is the far Western name for tea.
128 Staging in the Far West 9.3. Staging in the Far W est—Calling for the Relays Calling for the Relays [no. 3]. No. 3 shows a stage driver calling for a relay of fresh mules. The station is perhaps nearly a mile distant, but the watchful hostlers hear the warning whoops a long way off, and when the stage rattles up they are ready with the fresh team. The change is expeditiously made, and in two or three minutes the stage is on its way again.
glasses, and tray of condiments in front of the passengers no doubt seemed like outright luxuries for weary passengers who regaled themselves on the simple fare. A parked coach visible outside identifies the place as a station. As always, the artists enjoy using the local lingo, like “slumgullion” for “tea.” The next two views are night scenes. Calling for the Relays (fig. 9.3) shows a team of three pairs of mules drawing the coach at night. It is nicely composed, showing the coach as it barrels down a slope, with two nightlights, one on each side, and moonlight providing the sources of light for the scene. A passenger has opened the wooden blind on his window and stuck his head out to see what is ahead. There is a nice shadow of the driver, whose knees are covered with a blanket; his whip is stored on the right side. Home Station on the Plains (fig. 9.4)11 seems to address the pleasure of standing up and moving about. It depicts the corral of a home station with
Southern Colorado, Early November 1873 129 9.4. Staging in the Far W est—Home Station on the Plains Home Station on the Plains [no. 4]. In No. 4 we have the yard or corral, at a home station, where the animals are kept in readiness for the stages as they come along, and where the passengers may stop for their meals, and rest from the fatigues of the long ride. It is wearing enough at first, but one soon becomes accustomed to the jolting and rattle of the coach, and is sorry when the journey is over. . . .
two low adobe buildings and the coach being attended to. There are five men shown. Two in the foreground are just crossing paths: one, bearded, wears a fur hat and carries a lamp, while the other in a regular hat looks like the man in the Slumgullion picture. Two other men are smoking and talking, facing each other; one is caring for the mules in back, next to the stage, in front of a much taller structure, the main building, with a thatched roof. A trough in the foreground at the side and a long curved pole across the whole image complete the sense of a corral, against a background of looming mountains barely lit by a waxing moon. By the time the special artists reached Pueblo, rail connections completed in June 1872 allowed them to travel via the narrow-gauge Denver and Rio Grande Railroad all the way to Denver, about one hundred miles north of Pueblo. Their arrival was recorded in Denver on November 5, 1873.
Messrs. Frenzeni [sic] and Tavernier, artists for Harper’s Weekly arrived in Denver yesterday and are registered at Charpiot’s. These gentlemen have made an extensive tour of Texas, Indian Territory, and southern Colorado, where they have made a large number of interesting sketches of frontier
10. W intering in Den ver Colorado and Arizona, November 5, 1873, through April 1874
life. Rocky Mountain News, November 6, 1873
s they reached Denver after their momentous venture into the joys and perils of stagecoaching, the journalists registered, not too surprisingly, at a Frenchman’s boarding house. They probably knew of Frédéric Charpiot from French travel writer Louis L. Simonin, who had described Denver with enthusiasm in his 1868 journal of the American Far West, impressed as he was by the young city, which already had several newspapers, several schools, cafés, and restaurants befitting a more established, first-rate city. “One of particular note among the latter,” he wrote of the restaurants, “is the French café kept by our countryman from Burgundy Frédéric Charpiot who strives to insure that French cuisine remains, even in these regions, first and foremost in the world, and he does not have to work very hard to reach that goal.”1 After many overland adventures, the enterprising Frenchman from Burgundy had settled in Denver in late 1859 and opened a fine eatery, the International Restaurant on Blake Street, next door to the Elephant Corral in the city’s Fink block.2 His place advertised meals at all hours, along with the best of wines, liquors, and cigars. The success of his establishment was such that by 1871, Charpiot was able to erect jointly with George C. Schleier and another local partner a beautiful three-story building on Larimer Street, Denver’s most popular thoroughfare. The Rocky Mountain News, the city’s main newspaper, reported on August 13, 1871 that “the most attractive building on Larimer street is the block now under way of erection by Eckhart, Schleier and Charpiot. It is a three-story block, with basement, iron front, and 75 × 84 feet. Each of the three gentlemen named own a division, or one third, independent of the other.” As they rested from their grueling coach ride, Frenzeny and Tavernier were able to enjoy the Frenchman’s hospitality in his new restaurant, which
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 131
had come to be known as “The Delmonico of the West.” There they could share grand tales of the West over glasses of Charpiot’s finest wines, since the adventurous Burgundian had crossed the plains countless times by mule team, stage, and railroad. The special correspondents had plenty of great stories of their own, and besides, they were by that time much more newsworthy as well. Sometime during their stay in Wichita, their first joint sketches had started to appear in Harper’s Weekly. First there was their beautiful circus sketch on October 4, then their two New York emigrant scenes, on October 18 and 25, followed by the Pittsburgh iron foundry views on November 1. Then at long last, only twelve days after their arrival in Denver, their sketching tour of the frontier was announced for the first time, in the Weekly’s November 8 issue. Their collaborative work now started to appear every month (sometimes every week). The American public, poring over their newspaper illustrations, would, for the next two years, discover their own country through the eyes of these two French illustrators. Everywhere on the frontier, Harper’s readers paid attention to the special correspondents’ extensive assignment. In January 1874, more emigrant scenes appeared in the Weekly’s pages, with Frenzeny’s sensational interview of the Molly Maguires also that month. In February, their depiction of midwestern fires, ghost towns, and a deer drive were featured. In March, it was the start of their sketches on the Texas Road with Oasis, Watching the Storm, and their masterful double-page spread on the cattle trade.3 Fame was at last catching up with the adventuresome pair.
Mining in the Rockies Contacted by the Rocky Mountain News immediately upon their arrival, the special artists reported that they intended to spend just a few weeks in Denver.4 But as they set to work, Frenzeny and Tavernier soon discovered that things in Denver might not be as easy as they expected. Three weeks after their arrival, an article in the Rocky Mountain News mentioned the difficulties Paul Frenzeny encountered when he traveled to the mining districts to illustrate Colorado mining scenes: “Mons. Paul Frenzeny of Harper’s Weekly, returned on yesterday from his sketching expedition to Boulder County. He was not able to get to Gold Hill on account of the prevailing snow storm, but went to Caribou instead, making several sketches of the mines and works at that place and Middle Boulder.”5 The artists resigned themselves, perhaps with a certain measure of relief, to settle down for a while and to winter in Colorado’s capital. Their newfound celebrity may have earned them their countryman’s special protection: they were able to open a studio in Charpiot’s beautiful building on Larimer Street.
10.1. Gold and Silver Mining, Colorado—A Honey-Combed Mountain A Honey-Combed Mountain. This drawing shows a sight often witnessed in a rich mining country like Colorado. The hills and mountains throughout that region are literally honey-combed with tunnels, shafts, and prospecting holes. The hardy miner is a very persevering fellow. He will turn the surface of a mountain over and over as long as there is the slightest indication of favorable results in the end. The money expended in sinking shafts and driving tunnels is very large, and often the experiment ends in complete disappointment. The rich veins that crop out at the surface often follow a most capricious course, and even the experienced practical miner is sometimes fooled into sinking a shaft fifteen or twenty feet deep, only to find some small unprofitable branch vein. . . .
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 133
Hillside Mining The fact that Frenzeny could not reach Gold Hill, the site of the first major gold discovery during the 1859 Colorado Gold Rush, is understandable since Gold Hill, a miners’ town of about a thousand souls at the time, was settled on a mountainside at an elevation of 8,300 feet at the end of a harrowing road reputed to be the steepest in the United States. The fact that Frenzeny set out to depict Colorado’s mining camps and industries first makes perfect sense as well, since Colorado’s mineral wealth was responsible for the steady flow of newcomers to the region. Perhaps, too, Frenzeny was alone when he traveled to this locale because he was the team’s specialist when it came to mines, mining, and miners.6 Gold and Silver Mining, Colorado— A Honey-Combed Mountain (fig. 10.1) probably represents mines in the vicinity of Caribou, as suggested in the Rocky Mountain News column. The sketch depicts no less than a dozen individual mine shaft openings drilled into the hillside (these were known as “coyote mines” in California), with miners at work on their own with mere picks. Up close in the foreground is a more elaborate view of one of these shaft openings, with an ore car on tracks filled with chunks of excavated ore-bearing rock. A bearded miner wearing a cap that seems to be the standard miner’s headgear is pushing the car out of the darkness of the shaft, where the shape of other miners is barely visible. Three more informed “tyros,” wearing vests and the universal western pants-stuffed-in-tall-boots outfit, examine samples in front of the shaft opening. The steepness and ruggedness of the slopes, the scarcity of trees, and the snow-covered peaks in the distance provide an excellent sense of the high elevation. The scene apparently offered useful insight into this type of mining, because it reappeared a year later in Scientific American. The article, entitled “Hillside Mining in Colorado,” does not offer much new information on the location or the mining itself, but it does use technical terms such as “lode,” “ore,” and “workings,” with which Frenzeny would not have been familiar quite yet. The article’s author does pick up on the wonderful visual term “honeycombed” used by the Frenchman: Our engraving, taken from Harper’s Weekly, shows the manner in which mining is carried on in the mountainous districts where the lodes lie above the surface of the valleys, embedded in the hills. Many of the slopes are literally honeycombed by these horizontal workings, and the labor expended in prospecting for paying ores, frequently without adequate results, has been very great. But in the aggregate, the yield of the gold and silver has been enormously profitable to the Colorado miners, and the occasional failure of a lode or an unsuccessful prospecting scheme, is not likely to discourage so hardy a race.7
134 Wintering in Denver
Even if he did not receive additional royalties for this reissue, Paul Frenzeny must still have been quite pleased to be featured in that scientific newspaper, given his interest in technologies. Aside from its documentary importance, this scene had (like Busted!) personal resonance for Robert Taft, who saw the scene repeated when “the great depression brought back again the individual miner.”8 The roving journalists might have been content with only a few depictions of the local mining industry if they had not been inspired, as they were in Kansas, by the presence and work of one particular local artist. They could not have helped but hear about Alfred E. Matthews, who was then in Denver completing a geological chart of the earth and giving lectures on his work. Described as a man of liberal culture and ideas, kind and genial in manner, Matthews would have been a great source of information useful to their task, since he was reported to “have sketched more of our Rocky Mountain scenery than any of his contemporaries.”9 Matthews had headed west after the Civil War, ending up first in Nebraska City and then, in 1865, in Denver. There he started to draw the mines and mills of the nearby mining regions, including the town of Black Hawk, and a bird’s-eye view of Denver and of three of its streets. These were gathered in Pencil Sketches of Colorado, published in 1866. Self-taught, Matthews had a stiffness and a somewhat faulty sense of perspective in his sketches, but the details of his views are invaluable.10 Mining scenes were among the first Colorado views Frenzeny and Tavernier produced for the Weekly. Matthews’s drawings of the “Keith Process for treating ores at the Hope Co.’s Works”11 (including an ore-breaking room, the furnace, a drying room, and an amalgamating room) and at the James E. Lyon and Co.’s Smelting Work (including his ore-dressing room and reverberatory furnace) may have been of great assistance to Paul Frenzeny as he pondered the format and choice of subjects for his enormously detailed reportage of nine illustrations on ore smelting in the town of Black Hawk. A small mining town buried in deep ravines, surrounded by rugged mountains, Black Hawk was located along the north fork of Clear Creek west of Denver. One of Colorado’s oldest towns, it sprouted when thousands of would-be miners poured into nearby Gregory Gulch, named for the miner who first discovered gold as he prospected in the stream. Once the first excitement had passed and the rich surface ores began to play out, many of Colorado’s mining towns went bust. Black Hawk survived because of its location on North Clear Creek, which powered mills that crushed the gold- and silver-bearing ore to extract. But the deeper the miners dug, the harder the rock became because of its higher content in sulfide. Black Hawk survived that crisis, too, thanks to Nathaniel P. Hill, a former professor of chemistry at Brown University, who built a smelter capable of extracting
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 135
10.2. Smelting Ore in Colorado
the precious metals from sulfide rock, thereby saving the region’s hardrock mining industry.
The Smelter at Black Hawk Paul Frenzeny was able to reach the smelting operation by train, for the Colorado and Central Railroad had extended its route to include the town in 1872. He was surprised by the extensive, intricate metallurgical processes of this operation, backed by Boston capitalists and therefore known as the Boston and Colorado Smelting Company. Always intrigued by ingenious methods, Frenzeny summarized these methods in Smelting Ore in Colorado (fig. 10.2) a well-balanced nine-sketch grouping with three large horizontal scenes at center and six small square ones on the sides, entirely dedicated to the operation at Black Hawk. One of the three larger views in the block, Bringing Ore from “the Mine” (fig. 10.3, top) sets the scene at the foot of sharp slopes and tall snowy mountains: a series of industrial buildings with smoking smokestacks, uneven rooflines,
Smelting Ore in Colorado. The subject of our double-page drawing is the works of the Boston and Colorado Smelting Company at Black Hawk, Colorado. The visitor to this little mining town, buried in deep ravines, surrounded by rugged mountains, is struck with surprise to find an extensive establishment, where the most intricate metallurgical processes are carried on.
The company owning this estab-
lishment is composed mainly of Boston capitalists, and was organized by N. P. Hill, formerly Professor of Chemistry in Brown University. The works were built in the spring of 1867, and since that time have been in constant and successful operation under the management of Professor Hill.
10.3. Smelting Ore in Colorado — Bringing Ore from the Mine and Crushing the Ore Crushing the Ore. The ore comes from the mine in large pieces and first goes to the crusher, or Cornish rollers, where it is broken in pieces the size of pease [sic]. It is then sampled and assayed to determine its value. It then goes to the calcining floors. On these floors the ores are exposed to a gradually increasing heat, which is obtained by moving the whole mass from the lower part of the floor toward the seat of the fire. The ores are charged on the part of the floor most remote from the fire every eight hours, a ton at each charge. In this operation the sulphur is converted into sulphurous acid, and escapes into the chimneys. The base metals are changed from sulphuret into oxides, when the ore is ready for the smelting furnace.
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and façades; in the foreground, a long row of carts filled with ore, each pulled by two horses, with miners walking alongside carrying their shovels and tools. Always gifted when it came to capturing horses in motion, the artist shows the two horses in full sight, one black, one white, pushing on their front legs as they brace against the weight of the cart going down the hill. The sketches are not organized in their natural order on the spread, which makes following the complex process a bit more difficult. Views and written descriptions, however, are clear, precise, and detailed without being overbearing. Crushing the Ore (fig. 10.3, bottom) presents the first step in preparing the smelting, with two workers shoveling rock debris into a machine called a Cornish roller, an indication of the prevalence of Cornish miners and mining techniques in hard-rock operations in the West. The focus is entirely on the machine, run by belts and power wheels, which breaks up the ore into pea-size chunks in what must have been a deafening noise. Calcining Floors (fig. 10.4, top) is a view of a large room lined with huge brick furnaces. Calcining was a major operation that exposed the peasize ore to gradually increasing heat by moving a ton at a time of the ore gradually closer to the fire at center over a period of eight hours. The process released sulfuric acid, which escaped into the chimneys and created a highly toxic cloud around the plant. The smelting proper took place in a huge roofed structure with a wall of brick furnaces, as shown in Smelting Furnace (fig. 10.4, bottom). Men in shirtsleeves with picks, wheelbarrows, or long rakes are busy working the smelter, where gold, silver, lead, and copper are separated out. The miner at center lets loose liquid metal with a long implement. Another group of men work on identical processes in the back. The result of this smelting, called “matte,” was then taken outside as shown in Roasting the Gold and Silver Ore (fig. 10.5, left), to furnaces with smoking chimneys. Their constant low heat reduced the matte to powder to further separate gold and silver from the baser metals. In Washing and Separating Room (fig. 10.5, right), the calcined gold and silver are washed in four large tubs on a tall platform accessed via a ladder. After going through tanks with copper plates that precipitated the silver, the rest of the matte was washed in the larger tub shown on the right, which contained acid. The mass remaining from the washing after the silver was precipitated was treated in the smaller furnace, as seen in Reverberatory Furnace (fig. 10.6, left), where gloved men with long tools separate the gold. Casting the Silver (fig. 10.6, right) depicts a more immediately understandable process as two men pour liquid silver from a lead crucible with a long handle on each side. The final moment had arrived. In Shipping the Silver Bricks (fig. 10.7), two managers inspect a line of at least six Wells Fargo employees as
10.4. Smelting Ore in Colorado —Calcining Floors and Smelting Furnace Calcining Floors. A large portion of the ores contains so much sulphur that it can be calcined without the aid of fuel. A thin layer of wood, sufficient to ignite the ore, is laid upon the ground, and about one hundred tons of ore piled upon it. The wooden chimneys, as shown in the drawing, are for the purpose of igniting the wood in the centre of the pile, which is done by throwing down burning charcoal. The layer of wood is consumed in about twelve hours, when the ore is thoroughly ignited, and burns for about two months. The result obtained in this process is the same as that on the calcining floors. Smelting Furnace. Previous to the starting of this enterprise the ores of Colorado were treated only be the stamping and amalgamating process, by which, especially from the richer ores, not more than half the noble metals were saved. By smelting, as conducted at these works, not only the gold and silver, but the baser metals, such as lead and copper, are extracted. Since the commencement of operations over forty thousand tons of ore from the mines of Colorado have been reduced, yielding several millions of dollars in gold and silver. . . .
10.5. Smelting Ore in Colorado — Roasting the Gold and Silver Ore and Washing and Separating Room Roasting the Gold and Silver Ore. After the smelting into matte comes a series of more intricate operations in liberating the gold and silver from their compounds with the base metals. The establishment represented in our drawing is the only one in the United States where this process is applied for the extraction of gold and silver. Swansea, in Wales, has two and Germany three establishments of this kind. This branch of the business is superintended by Mr. Richard Pearce, whose experience in conducting a similar work in Swansea for eight years made him a thorough master of the business.
The matte is reduced to an impalpable powder, and then taken to the matte
calciners, where it is kept for several hours at a low red heat, and constantly stirred. Several chemical changes take place, and the silver is reduced to a soluble sulphate, while the gold is unchanged. This is one of the most difficult and delicate of operations. It requires the utmost skill and care to insure good results. Washing and Separating Room. The calcined matte is put in tubs, shown in the upper part of our drawing. A continual stream of hot water filters through the mass, until the sulphate of silver is completely dissolved. The stream of water flowing from the tanks carries the silver into a series of other tanks, containing copper plates, whereon the silver is precipitated.
After this the silver is freed from all impurities by washing with acid, with
the aid of steam, in the large conical tub shown in the drawing.
140 Wintering in Denver
10.6. Smelting Ore in Colorado — Reverberatory Furnace and Casting the Silver Bricks Reverberatory Furnace. The mass remaining in the tanks after the silver has been washed out is then treated in small reverbatory furnaces for the extraction of the gold. The details of this process are too numerous to admit of even a partial description. Casting the Silver. The pure precipitated silver as it comes from the tubrooms is put into the drying-pans to evaporate the water. Then it is melted in black-lead crucibles by exposure to a white heat for two hours. In the background the crucible furnace is shown in full operation. When the silver is melted, the crucibles are handled by two men, as shown in the drawing, and the contents poured into moulds. Each brick weighs over a thousand ounces, and represents a value of about $1,400 in gold.
The New York Mint estimates the silver coming from these works at an
average fineness of 995. The weekly shipments average nearly half a ton of fine silver, worth about $20,000, and gold of about the same value.
they head into a long hallway, each carrying one silver brick wrapped in a custom leather case with two closing buckles and a double leather handle. Each brick weighed more than eighty pounds and was worth about $1,400. Additional supervisors are visible in the hallway: the temptation of such riches was, inevitably, rather hard to resist. This long and fastidious reportage on this industry offers no fancy work of composition or lighting, just workmanlike precision and clarity both in the visuals and in the descriptions. It makes no mention of the intolerable noise level of this very large industrial operation, of the chemical waste
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 141 10.7. Smelting Ore in Colorado —Shipping the Silver Bricks Shipping the Silver Bricks. The bricks are turned over to Wells, Fargo, & Co., who enclose them in leather cases, and so send them to their final destination.
polluting the creek’s water, or of the toxic fumes from coal dust and sulfur that filled the air. Trees were eradicated for timber to power machinery until coal started to be delivered by train. Mining is always hard both on the men and on the land. The double-page spread of the Black Hawk smelting operation published in late May was followed in late June by another Colorado view, featured on the Weekly’s cover page for the June 20 issue. Irrigation in Colorado— Letting Water into a Side Sluice-Way (fig. 10.8) is a visually pleasant scene that focuses on two farmers opening a sluice of a main canal to let water into a side ditch. How can such a topic become front-page illustration material for Harper’s Weekly? There is obvious artistic excellence in the composition, attitudes, actions, and faces. The scenic mountains behind them and lush foliage around the sluice gate offer a great sense of the place. A very astute, clear explanation of the flume system of irrigation and how it functioned, with an explanatory vignette to allow readers to visualize the technical stuff, and a map of the irrigated areas add to the interest of the piece. This commentary also widens the scope of interest by summarizing how directing water from the Front Range into selected areas of the plains had changed the character of the soil and transformed the once-almost-barren country into a magnificent wheat-growing region. The perceptive artists had once again proved that they could make an intriguing scene from an ordinary moment in the life of two farmers.
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Colorado’s Golden Summers The months of November and December must have been filled with the work related to these mining and irrigation illustrations. As 1874 came around, early spring found the artists at work on Colorado’s stunning vistas. In mid-February, the duo exhibited their recent, joint watercolor, a bird’s-eye view of Denver “taken from near General Bearce’s residence, and Cherry Creek, the water works, the full sweep of the city, the plains beyond, and the mountains—showing Pike’s Peak and the Buffalo back to the left. The sketch is finely touched with water colors.”12 This work, which is often used in books even today,13 in a sense marked the culmination of the artistic partnership, since it is the only instance when a watercolor, not a sketch, was actually signed with both their names. Liked by some who thought “the blue of the mountains most artistically rendered, and Denver given the air of a metropolis”14 but criticized by others who thought “that the artist must have been cross-eyed to have located the city between the Platte river and the mountains, and near sighted to have the foot hills appear to be immediately joining the suburbs, when they are ten miles distant,” it was exhibited in the window of Richards and Co. and offered for sale for $250.15 This watercolor also marks a new event in their arrangement with the Harper brothers: the study was meant not for a sketch in their Weekly but for a four-view, double-page spread in Harper’s Bazaar (fig. 10.9).16 As the Harpers juggled newsworthy articles and illustrations each week to provide balanced perspectives and news on the nation and the world, some patterns emerged, in particular, in this case, the fact that Colorado seems to have been a good summer topic. Published on July 15, the sketch A Bird Colony on Lake St. Mary (fig. 10.10) depicts an aerial colony on the shore of one of the most picturesque and romantic sheets of water in Estes Park in the Rocky Mountains. Swallows nested there in such large numbers that they became an intrinsic and stunning part of the landscape: “No other lake, it is said, is so haunted by swallows as this. Myriads and myriads of these lively and graceful birds make it their home, and all the cliffs and rocks that girdle the lake are covered with their nests. These are so constructed as to be sheltered from wind and rain, and quite out of the reach of other kinds of mischief. Nothing can be prettier than the sight of these thousands of graceful swallows, now skimming over the surface of the water, now soaring into the heavens, or twittering and fluttering about their clustered nests.”17 Today, the lake has been dammed and looks much smaller. Private homes were built right into the convoluted boulders that line one side of it. There are no longer “myriads and myriads” of swallows; only a few of these “graceful birds” the Frenchmen depicted still skim the water and soar into the sky with shrill cries.
(facing) 10.8. Irrigation in Colorado—Letting Water into a Side Sluice-Way Irrigation in Colorado. The system of irrigation now quite extensively adopted in Colorado has worked a great change in the character of the soil, and transformed the once almost barren country into a magnificent wheat-growing region. From the large rivers and streams, such as the Arkansas, the Platte, and the Bear rivers, long canals are dug, branching into smaller ditches, through which the fertilizing waters are conducted in every direction to the fields. The engraving on our first page shows two farmers opening a sluice of a main canal to let the water into a side ditch. These ditches form a regular net-work, as shown in the diagram. The supply of water can be regulated at will. Towns are supplied with water on the same plan. At the head of each street is a sluice-box for a lateral ditch running the whole length of the street, from which branch smaller ditches used for garden irrigation. The vignette on the first page shows the manner in which water is conducted down from the mountains into the plains.
144 Wintering in Denver 10.9. Views in Colorado in Harper’s Bazaar
On July 18, only three days after A Bird Colony appeared in the Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar published a double-page illustration by Arthur Lunley, Colorado and the Rocky Mountains, which depicts Denver’s surroundings.18 The Bazaar more specifically targeted women readers, which may be why the views emphasized the beauty and stunning vistas of the regions. Lunley’s double-page illustration shows, in a very ornate, very Victorian collage style, views of the Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak, Colorado Springs and
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 145
Cheyenne Mountain, buffalo hunting, Punch Bowl—Queens Canyon, Cheyenne Canyon, Monument Park, and “Snowy Range,” sights Frenzeny and Tavernier were presently contemplating each day and sketching as well. The text never mentions the artist, but it does provide a history of the settling of Colorado and a mention of the area’s unique appeal to Englishmen who routinely purchased land in the territory, as it goes on to boastfully compare the Rocky Mountains to Europe’s Mont-Blanc and Jungfrau, in particular.
146 Wintering in Denver
10.10. A Bird Colony on Lake St. Mary A Bird Colony. Lake St. Mary, on the shore of which may be found the aerial colony of which we give a sketch on this page, is situated in [Estes] Park, and is one of the most picturesque and romantic sheets of water in the region of the rocky mountains. No other lake, it is said, is so haunted by swallows as this. Myriads and myriads of these lively and graceful birds make it their home, and all the cliffs and rocks that girdle the lake are covered with their nests. These are so constructed as to be sheltered from wind and rain, and quite out of the reach of other kinds of mischief. Nothing can be prettier than the sight of these thousands of graceful swallows, now skimming over the surface of the water, now soaring into the heavens, or twittering and fluttering about their clustered nests.
At the time of the Bazaar’s Colorado issue, Frenzeny and Tavernier were sketching the same views. Yet except for the swallow sketch, kept on hold by the Harper brothers until May 1875, the Frenchmen’s illustrations were reserved for the Bazaar’s “Colorado summer series” spread on July 10, 1875. The double-page, four-view spread by Frenzeny and Tavernier appeared almost exactly a year to the day after the Lunley spread of July 15, 1874. The commentary goes on to mention, in support of the summer timing of Colorado views, “Many English gentlemen have their summer homes in Colorado and come hither to spend the heated season among our mountains.”19
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 147
This, then, was the new “Colorado Summer” installment for the Bazaar, done the previous spring by Frenzeny and Tavernier, clearly identified and characterized in the introduction to the text as “our own artists” and the spread as “a fine grouping of view[s]” that will do more to give easterners an intelligible idea of this section than would half the letters written upon them.”20 The engravings that depict this “sublime scenery” are quite pleasant, with the bird’s-eye view of Denver at the center, bustling Larimer Street “from Sixteenth street west, with the distant foothills in the background” in a round medallion, and two more sceneries (Gateway Garden of the Gods and Clear Creek Canyon) flanking the main landscape. The commentary reads pleasantly as well: “Through the frowning portals seen in the illustration the traveler enters a flowery vale, diversified by sparkling streams and silvery waterfalls. Another interesting feature of this region is the canons or steep mountain gorges, a fine specimen of which is seen on the right hand side of the illustration, with the locomotive whizzing between its rocky walls and bearing civilization to the land of the red man and the buffalo.”21 Each bit of scenery is enhanced by a special center of interest: for Clear Creek Canyon, it is the picturesque narrow-gauge train chugging along at the bottom of the deep-set canyon, and for Gateway Garden of the Gods, it is the tent and smoking campfire. Quite a tale could be told about this little tent, which traveled with the artists straight across the frontier as part of their luggage and would soon be hauled up and down California from Monterey to Sonoma’s Russian River. This particular rendering of it does not show Frenzeny’s pointer, Judy, as some of their California works do—only two characters by the fire in front of the tent. The Frenchmen had by then become seasoned campers as well as travelers. Like the Katy sketches, these views are signed “Frenzeny-Tavernier,” an indication that they were not a part of the frontier series. One may hope that they produced some extra funds for the traveling reporters.
Trout Farming As they went on sketching in and around Denver in the spring of 1874, the Frenchmen probably had a chance to discuss with Matthews another of his interests. After returning from southern California, where he spent the year 1872–73, Matthews had acquired a home near Longmont, between Loveland and Estes, in the spring of 1874. There he had set out to create a trout farm.22 Frenzeny would certainly have shared with Matthews a passion for this ingenious idea. And this might have alerted the Frenchmen to the ponds Alderman James M. Broadwell had created on his own estate. Although Matthews’s name was not mentioned, the Denver Daily Times reports on March 20, 1874, “A number of invited guests, making altogether quite a good-sized
148 Wintering in Denver
party, among whom were Messrs. Paul Frenzeny and J. Tavernier, of Harper’s Weekly, made [a] flying visit, yesterday, to Alderman James M. Broadwell’s artificial trout ponds, situated some ten miles down the Platte.” On the same day, the competing Rocky Mountain News provided more details on the expedition: On yesterday Alderman James M. Broadwell invited a number of prominent citizens of the city to inspect his fish ponds, situated on his ranch about ten miles down the Platte. The party started from the Broadwell house about 10 o’clock. A couple of hours were profitably spent at the rancho in examining the young fish, of which there are seventeen thousand in the hatching house, and some five or six thousand yearlings and two-year olds in the ponds. . . . It is an enterprise worthy of encouragement, and a business that will admit of unlimited expansion, as there will always be a demand for fresh fish, especially during the season of summer travel. On returning, the party were hospitably entertained at the Broadwell house. Messrs. Paul Frenzeny and J. Tavernier, artists of Harper’s Weekly, accompanied the party, and inspected the premises for 10.11. Trout-Hatching in Colorado (not part of the series, just an occasional sketch)
the purpose of making sketches for the paper they represent.23
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 149
While Paul Frenzeny always proved a curious student of novel methods in the fields of agriculture, power, and technology, Trout-Hatching in Colorado (fig. 10.11) does not bear the official “Frenzeny & Tavernier” signature, although published, as they had confided to the news reporter, more for personal—and perhaps political—reasons than to satisfy their contractual agreement with the Harpers. With fame came, perhaps, a few social obligations.
Spring Adventures Colorado’s spring could not have left the Frenchmen indifferent. There were so many more fascinating facets of life to chronicle in this part of the West, so many opportunities for new discoveries in the regions around Denver.
A Jaunt through the Rocky Mountains With the double-page engraving On the Way to New Diggings—Halt in a Rough Pass of the Rocky Mountains (fig. 10.12), the special artists again fulfilled their engagement with the Harper brothers that they would make “long excursions on horseback into regions where railroads have not yet penetrated, where even the hardy squatter, the pioneer of civilization, has not yet erected his rude log-cabin.”24 The Harper brothers actually boasted a bit in their introduction to the text: “Our artists traveled for several days with such a party,” calling attention to the fact that their special team was keeping their word.25 By spring the high passes of Colorado’s Shining Mountains again swarmed with gold and silver prospectors. Frenzeny and Tavernier joined this fresh tide for a few days. Their jaunt into the rugged wilderness of the Rockies may well be the best and most realistically drawn scene in their entire portfolio. The engraving chronicles the more picturesque and sociable aspects of a miner’s life with a large group of hardy-looking men heading into inaccessible regions where gold and silver were rumored to have been found. This long, difficult journey at high altitudes would have been possible only in spring. Even in good weather, a party of miners would have had to halt at a steep and rough mountain gorge to give the teams a breathing spell before the trail became steeper. For this scene, captured from an actual location, the artists selected a wide bend in the narrow trail. This ingenious choice provides both an overall view of the long mule and wagon train in the background and a close-up look at the men in the foreground and the incongruous disparity of their garb. The chasm between the two segments of the trail reinforces the steepness of the rough pass and gives depth to the drawing. Even though the text describes the pass as “picturesque and romantic,”
10.12. On the Way to New Diggings— Halt in a Rough Pass of the Rocky Mountains On the Way to New Diggings. Our double-page engraving represents a party of Western miners on their way, with a long train of mules and wagons, to some new part of the country where gold or silver diggings have been discovered. They have come to a very steep and rough portion of the mountain gorge, through which they slowly wind their way, and the train halts for a few moments to give the teams a breathing spell before commencing the harder ascent. Our artists traveled for several days with such a party, and the picture we give is an accurate transcript of an actual scene, both as regards the picturesque and romantic pass where the halt has taken place and the figures and costumes of the miners.
152 Wintering in Denver
the preponderance of massive boulders and sheer slopes suggests a forbidding environment. The rather long mule train seems dwarfed. The white canvas of the three wagons stands in sharp contrast with the darkness of the gorge. A few details are suggestive of the way things were done then. For example, the wagon at center is pulling a small canvas-covered trailer in its wake, the mule teams are actually controlled by riders mounted on a mule close to the wagon, and the complex harnessing is faithfully represented. The eleven prospectors in the foreground are even more picturesque than the setting, with beards, mustaches, and hats of all sizes and shapes. Their colorful outfits range from a well-dressed sportsman in sport jacket and hat on the right to miners in checkered shirts, from a Native American on the left to a man wearing a poncho, from a trapper in a beaver hat to a bearded rider in fringed buckskin. This particular character is looking down at a man barely visible under a heavy load next to him. All we can see of him is a buffalo robe with painted Indian motifs. This rider may merely play an artistic role to stress the diversity of men that composed the train, or perhaps he had personal significance to the artists and they were particularly acquainted with him. The light color of his fringed jacket stands as a sort of counterpoint to the white spots of the wagons’ canvas tops. The scene is so real that one can imagine the slow, labored pace, the clinking sounds of harnesses and hooves, the drivers’ calls, the shouts and songs. It made a lot of sense for miners to team up for such a difficult trip through largely unchartered hills with all possessions loaded on wagons pulled by mule teams. But as John Grafton remarked, once they reached the new diggings, it would again be every man for himself in the search for the best claims.26 Given the unpredictability of mining claims, the life span of a Colorado mining settlement was often pitifully brief, the miner’s life singularly transient. As Beebe and Clegg have pointed out, by the time of the Frenchmen’s trip, “many mining towns already slept the long sleep,”27 like the ghost town depicted in Mining in Colorado—A Played-Out Gulch (fig. 10.13). It was probably sketched during the same trip in the spring of 1874, when the artists, “struck with the picturesqueness of the scene, halted there for a few moments for the purpose of making a sketch.” Although the name of the ghost town was not mentioned, its evocative abandon struck a chord with the Frenchmen just like the “Busted” railroad town in Kansas: “This picturesque sketch was made by our artists on the bank of a mountain stream in Colorado. A bustling miners’ camp a year before[,] . . . the cabins were all deserted, the sluices falling to pieces, the stream had returned. . . . The gulch was played-out.”28 The Frenchmen’s exploration of the frontier consistently included the colorful lingo they heard along their route, from “Busted!” to “Honeycombed”
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 153
10.13. Mining in Colorado— A Played-Out Gulch
to “Played-Out.” These were unforgettable words perfectly adapted to the new realities they discovered, readily included in their texts and titles, that contribute to the evocative quality of their engravings.
A Played-Out Gulch. This picturesque sketch was made by our artists on the bank of a mountain stream in Colorado, at a spot where months before a com-
The Sportsman’s Rage The Rocky Mountains attracted large numbers of well-heeled visitors from the East and England every season. A portfolio of sketches on Colorado would not have been complete without hunting scenes. Bear hunting in particular was a highly prized sport. The artists’ two bear hunt drawings were obviously executed during the same hunt even though they were published at different times. A Bear Hunt in the Rocky Mountains (fig. 10.14) suggests that the special artists hired a guide so that they could experience the thrill of one of these hunts. After depicting the “powerful” grizzly (compared to the Bengal tiger of India and the lion of Africa), the text turns to this specific hunt: “The bear in our illustration . . . when hard pressed for food, or brought to bay, will attack man with great bravery, and in defense of its young it will fight with courage and ferocity. The latter is
pany of hardy miners had erected their rude log-cabins, constructed works, diverted the course of the stream from its old channel, and had gone to work with a will to make the earth surrender its hidden treasures. A year before, the camp was alive with a bustling crowd; when our artists, struck with the picturesqueness of the scene, halted there for a few moments for the purpose of making a sketch, the cabins were all deserted, the sluices falling to pieces, the stream had returned to its former bed, and its waters, shortly before turbid and muddy, were clear and sparkling again. The gulch was played out.
10.14. A Bear Hunt in the Rocky Mountains A Bear Hunt in the Rocky Mountains. The wild and rugged fastnesses of the Rocky Mountains are the favorite haunts of several species of the great family of bears. First among them in respect to size, ferocity, and tenacity of life, comes the powerful grizzly which bears the same relation to Ameri can beasts of prey that the royal Bengal tiger does to those of India, and the lion to those of Africa. Its range is from the vast plains lying between the Missouri and the Rocky Mountains through Upper California to the Pacific Ocean. The grizzly is the most savage of his race, and many thrilling stories are told by Western hunters of their encounters with him. If attacked and wounded, he will pursue the assailant to the last, and will not give up the struggle till he or the unfortunate hunter is killed. . . .
The bear in our illustration belongs to a less dangerous family, the black, though when hard
pressed for food, or brought to bay, it will attack man with great bravery, and in defense of its young it will fight with courage and ferocity. The latter is the incident chosen by our artist. A female bear has been tracked to her lair, where she stands at bay for the protection of her defenseless young. Sentiment has no place among the mental qualities of the Nimrods of the Rocky Mountains, and the unerring rifle will soon put an end to her life.
Civilization advances rapidly toward the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The grizzly and the black
bear and all their weaker relations are year by year driven further and further into the remoter and wilder regions where the pursuit of them will become more hazardous to life and limb.
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 155
the incident chosen by our artists. . . . Sentiment has no place among the mental qualities of the Nimrods of the Rocky Mountains, and the unerring rifle will soon put an end to her life.”29 Paul Frenzeny would later produce additional sketches of bears and bear hunts, including a beautiful sketch of a grizzly hunt, always with texts sympathetic to the animals, when he did not outright advocate the need for the preservation of wildlife. In this engraving, the scout in fur hat and buckskins has cornered a female bear near her den, as indicated by the remnants of a carcass, not far from a barely visible shape that could be a scrambling cub. He is shooting her at close range just as the other “Nimrods” bring up the rear. The rugged landscape of large boulders and trees shown in semidarkness is effectively livened up with light reflections on the tree trunks behind the scout, on the facets of the rocks, and on the foliage on the left. Returning to Camp from a Bear-Hunt (fig. 10.15) was published first, perhaps because it offered a better sense of place with tall mountains and snow-covered peaks reflected in a large and tranquil mountain lake. “This sketch shows a party of hunters crossing a lake in the Rocky Mountain range on their return to camp with the spoils of a successful bear-hunt. The hunters’ costumes, the raft, and the bold landscape make a genre picture of the most interesting character.”30 The raft is an interesting contraption
10.15. Returning to Camp from a Bear-Hunt Returning to Camp. This sketch shows a party of hunters crossing a lake in the Rocky Mountain range on their return to camp with the spoils of a successful bear-hunt. The hunters’ costumes, the raft, and the bold landscape make a genre picture of the most interesting character.
156 Wintering in Denver
made of tree trunks and leather straps; it could be an improvised affair, although sturdy enough to carry the mule, its load, and the three men. The engraving provides more details of the same men in the previous hunt, with an amusing note. The “Nimrod” who paid for the escapade, no doubt, and will get the credit for the kill, is at center, proudly posing, one hand resting on his rifle, geared up in a hunting outfit that makes him look like a vaquero, the dead bear’s body stretched at his feet. The scout who actually did the killing is crouched in the shadow next to his mule as he keeps his animal still. Even the third man maneuvering the raft keeps his head down, as if unwilling to steal the stage from the “Nimrod.” Tavernier was indeed a man of small stature with a beard and mustache who enjoyed wearing buckskins in California. It is hardly a stretch of the imagination to picture him as the proud hunter in this scene. In the early days of western railroading, shooting herds of animals from the windows of a train of cars was considered a sport. The artists witnessed such a shooting on the Kansas-Pacific line near the city of Kit Carson, 150 miles east of Denver. Just like the bear hunt, which seemed to admire the bear’s actions more than it condoned the killing, Shooting Antelopes from a Railroad Train in Colorado (fig. 10.16) seems to side with the animals, both
Colorado and Arizona, November 1873–April 1874 157
in its text, which is an open editorial against the shooting, but also visually: as the engraving places the vantage point in the midst of the small herd of pronghorn antelope, one of them apparently hit and ready to collapse. This rather unusual perspective with the focus on eight pronghorn in the foreground allows the artist to show the halted train, smoke shooting straight up from the engine, against a wide panoramic view of low ranges and hills and great cloud effects in the far distance. The passengers have stepped out of the cars and stand in a group. Half a dozen of them hold rifles in the direction of the viewer. While most of the passengers are anonymous, a sort of unfeeling crowd, one of the improvised hunters is closer and more visible on the right, perhaps wearing a fur hat. Legs apart, grounded, he is shooting to kill, as the viewer can tell from the plumes of smoke above his rifle. The pronghorn do not appear to be moving at great speed, due perhaps to the curiosity that characterized their kind, according to the text—a curiosity that turns them into easy targets. In other words, there is no merit in this sort of hunting. When this sketch was published in 1875, laws against this kind of aimless shooting were being more strictly enforced. The artists expressed their relief in the commentary: “We are glad to know that it is growing into disfavor.”31 This unusual engraving was “claimed” by Paul Frenzeny, who signed his name in capital letters larger than Tavernier’s. It is, according to Taft, unique, since it is the only one Taft knows of that shows the destruction (not hunting) of pronghorn, as opposed to buffalo, from a train.32
(facing) 10.16. Shooting Antelopes from a Railroad Train in Colorado Antelope Shooting. Shooting antelopes from the windows of a train of cars is a kind of sport only to be witnessed on the great plains of the West, and we are glad to know that it is growing into disfavor. When the trains first began running across the plains it was not unusual to stop when a large herd was near, and allow the passengers time to get out and kill as many as they could bring down. Sometimes, with the stupid curiosity that characterizes the antelope, a herd would run for miles parallel with the track, keeping up with the purposely slowed train, while the passengers would fire at them from the car windows with rifles or revolvers. Great numbers were slaughtered—we might say massacred—in this manner, and left to die on the plains. Of late, however, the game-laws of the several States and Territories through which the Union Pacific Railroad and its various branches pass are being more rigidly enforced. Our illustration . . . represents an antelope hunt such as we have described, which was witnessed by our artists near Kit Carson, Colorado.
158 Wintering in Denver (facing) 10.17. The Watch for Montezuma Watching for Montezuma. Our illustration . . . represents a group of Moquis Indians watching from a house top for the coming of Montezuma or some other great personage who in earlier times was a prince and hero among their people. They believe that he will re-appear some morning with the rising sun, and restore them to the security, peace, and splendor of which traditions still linger among them. The Moquis of New Mexico and Arizona were once supposed to be direct descendants of the Aztecs, but later research has shown them to be an entirely distinct race, and the hero for whose coming they watch is supposed to be a different person from the Montezuma whom Cortez overthrew. In order that he may not surprise his people asleep a careful watch is kept for the appearance of the sun, and messengers are sent toward the east every morning to welcome the prince, should he come, and conduct him to the city. Another of their beliefs is that to repair the ancient towns in which they live would retard the appearance of the expected prince, and although they are advanced in some branches of civilized life, raise stock, and have well-regulated social and domestic relations, they do nothing to restore their towns.
The Mythical Lands of Arizona One winter outing was to Arizona, where a cluster of dilapidated, never-restored ruins struck the Frenchmen’s imaginations. The artists created an unusual sketch that for once seems to blend reality and myth. It tells the story of the Hopis (then called Moquis), who were once believed to have been (but now known not to be) direct descendants of the Aztecs but are instead an entirely distinct race—“their Montezuma is supposed to be a different person from the Montezuma whom Cortez overthrew,” as claimed in their commentary.33 This illustration, which seems to depart from their usual, rigorously authentic observations, is clearly signed “Frenzeny & Tavernier.” On the left are three figures—a man and a woman sitting and a young woman standing—on the roof of a house built of cut rocks and stones (fig. 10.17). They are looking at the sun rise over the irregular shape of a village of similar houses built over a steep slope on the right. A similar home on the right shows the same sort of scene, with two figures on a rooftop turned toward the rising sun. A tall ladder resting against the façade and a pot-bellied vase at center anchor the viewer’s focus. The three figures appear motionless, like the thin layer of clouds that stretch across the horizon.34 One of Tavernier’s later works provides a clue to the whereabouts of the scene. This painting unveiled in 1879 illustrates the same subject and is sometimes titled “Indian Village of Acoma.” During a visit to the Native American pueblo of Acoma, approximately sixty miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the special correspondents became spellbound by the villagers’ ancient belief in the god-king Montezuma. This god, unrelated to Mexico’s Aztec emperors, figures prominently in the religion of the Pueblo people, especially in the vicinity of Acoma, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. According to his people, Montezuma taught them many things, including how to build the adobe pueblos. Then he kindled a fire, which he told them to never allow to die, and departed, promising to return one day with the rising sun. This ancient belief captivated Jules Tavernier. It lingered in his personal treasury of references and inspiration until five years later, when in the course of a discussion with his friend Charles Dormon Robinson, they came to discuss Acoma and the Harper’s sketch The Watch for Montezuma. Robinson suggested a painting that would deal with the Pueblo people’s belief in their god’s return. Tavernier seized upon the idea and quickly painted a scene somewhat reminiscent of the Harper’s sketch, using bits of studies he had jotted in his sketchbook during his visit with Frenzeny. Robinson posed as a priest, draped in one of Tavernier’s Indian blankets, and vases were borrowed from a collector of valuable Mexican pottery. As a painter, Tavernier was strongest when putting a canvas together
160 Wintering in Denver
quickly. The painting, also titled Watching for Montezuma, became an instant success. It captivated the San Francisco art world, including the artist’s staunchest critics, at the fourteenth San Francisco Art Association show in March 1879. Called a “powerful study of both actuality and imagination” and “one of the most extraordinary compositions in the exhibit,” the work was considered Tavernier’s best. Frenzeny and Tavernier spent more time by far in Denver than in any other region they visited. Rich in natural beauty, mineral and agricultural wealth, and wildlife, Denver, the Rockies, and the nearby locales they chronicled, such as the Garden of the Gods and Acoma, provided inspiration for some of their best engravings of the West. Yet if the artists felt that the West could not offer more unusual sights and adventures than what they had experienced so far, they were about to be completely taken by surprise.
I am going to see Red Cloud, one of the biggest Indian chiefs, and two or three others, I will really see life in the wilds. Jules Tavernier, letter to his
11. Red Cloud Agency
mother, May 7, 1874
Nebraska, May 8, 1874, to June 15, 1874
ith spring came a unique chance for the special artists to conclude their portfolio of their epic journey across the West with an unsurpassed finale. Their first contact with the Native tribes of the “Nation” during their visit to Fort Gibson had been interesting, perhaps even entertaining, as Frenzeny’s watercolor suggests, but it had not matched the expectations of rugged splendor generally associated with American Indians, an object of fascination back east and in Europe. The French in particular were captivated by “the lords of the forest.” To them, the American West was a glamorous land filled with the heroics of Peaux-Rouge braves in gorgeous war regalia just as George Catlin had painted them. Catlin’s “Indian Gallery” had received national acclaim in Paris when it was displayed at the Louvre in 1845. French poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire in particular declared that Catlin had “captured the proud, free character and noble expression of these splendid fellows in a masterly way.”1 Even the level-headed Louis L. Simonin evoked James Fenimore Cooper’s novels when he witnessed American Indians fishing in their canoes around a camp built on an island.2
“Indian Trouble” A brief news item in the Rocky Mountain News of March 21, 1874, suggests that it was during a visit to the settlements of Carr Station and Greeley, Colorado, that the artist-journalists first came into contact with the U.S. Army and eventually obtained a unique invitation to visit an Indian agency. Frenzeny was apparently traveling alone on that errand: “Mons. Paul Frenzeny will visit Captain J. S. Maynard’s rancho at Carr, in a few days, to make characteristic sketches and will probably stop over at Greely [sic] on his return.”3 Captain Maynard was said to have one of the finest herds of blooded cattle in all of Colorado at his Meadow Springs stock ranch, three miles from Carr Station. He had recently acquired twenty-seven shorthorn 161
162 Red Cloud Agency
cows and bulls with unquestionable pedigrees, as evidenced in the names of his bulls (Red Duke, Typhoo, Sir John Bright, Crystal Baron) and those of the cows (Dewdrop, Lady Carlisle 2nd, Mountain Belle, and Smile). Frenzeny’s route to Carr went through Fort D. A. Russell first. There the Frenchman heard dramatic news that caused him to stop short of his initial destination: the region was abuzz with reports of “Indian Trouble” between Fort D. A. Russell and Fort Laramie.4 Hostile raids on settlements along the line of the North Platte River and the Black Hills had driven from their homes many pioneers, who had sought refuge by the hundreds under the walls of the two forts in late February and early March 1874. A Sioux expedition of 949 U.S. soldiers had recently been sent to the area.5 Instead of an informative piece on Colorado’s thoroughbred cattle, Frenzeny ended up chronicling a group of settlers seeking help on the road between the two forts in Driven from Their Homes—Flying from an Indian Raid (fig. 11.1). The locale is not specific. Because the events had taken place before his arrival, the Frenchman probably reconstructed the scene from the likenesses, tales, and reports of soldiers and refugees he met at the fort. This breaking news was promptly published by the Harpers less than a month later, on April 11, with the mention: “Our sketch represents an incident that took place during the march of a scouting column that left Fort Russell a few weeks since for Fort Laramie.”6 The events and sketch actually provided perfect foreshadowing of the pair’s next exciting adventure. While dealing with the “brave boys in blue” at Fort Russell, Frenzeny no doubt heard much about the Red Cloud Agency, where tensions had been high in the past year. He was probably told many tales of Indian feats and traditions, including the Sioux’s upcoming summer solstice ceremonies in June. This was a perfectly opportune occasion for the Frenchmen to complete their sketchbook of the American West with images of “true,” nontreaty Indians. Lieutenant William Harding Carter, who was serving at Camp Robinson under Captain James J. Van Horn,7 was put in charge of requesting from the Indian chiefs at the agency permission to attend the Sun Dance. In his memoirs, Carter mentioned the difficulties of the task: “Their dances and various ceremonies were observed by the officers and soldiers, but when the great Sun Dance was prepared for, which I believe was the last one ever allowed on the reservation, there was considerable opposition to the presence of anyone except Indians, and their Indian guests.” Carter interceded with the chiefs: “At that time two French artists, Tavernier and Frenzenny [sic] had arrived in this country and were employed by Harper Brothers to sketch among the Indians and frontiersmen of the West for Harper’s Weekly. With considerable difficulty I obtained consent to let Tarvenier [sic] view the proceedings of the Sun Dance.”8 Carter was fortunate enough to wrangle permission for one artist to
Nebraska, May–June 1874 163 11.1. Driven from Their Homes— Flying from an Indian Raid Driven from Their Homes. The recent Indian raids along the line of the North Platte River and the Black Hills drove from their homes many of the hardy pioneers who had settled in that region. They sought refuge by hundreds under the walls of Fort Russell and Laramie. Our sketch represents an incident that took place during the march of a scouting column that left Fort Russell a few weeks since for Fort Laramie. On the march of ninety miles the brave boys in blue met many parties of refugees flying from the savage enemy. The cold was intense, forty degrees below zero, and the fugitives suffered the most cruel hardships. In our sketch the officer in command of the troops is gathering from a party of fugitives information concerning the whereabouts of the Indians.
attend. In the context of the tenuous peace between Indian warriors and American settlers and soldiers, the invitation extended to Jules was nothing short of exceptional.9 No doubt the Harper brothers’ name was crucial. Given Frenzeny’s military training and hunger for adventure, this choice may have honored the fact that Tavernier was the better painter of the two, and that he would most pay justice to and most benefit from the inspiring scenes.10
Heading into the “Wilds” After six months of somewhat sedentary life in Denver, the sketching companions resumed their westward journey. They celebrated Tavernier’s thirtieth birthday on April 27. Then, nine days later, on May 6, 1874, they split up for the first time in nine months, in Cheyenne, as they had in Pittsburgh at the start of their trip. Paul Frenzeny traveled west, to produce on his way
164 Red Cloud Agency
a series of sketches on Utah and California under both their names, while Jules Tavernier made his preparations to head into untamed Indian Territory. His subsequent Nebraska sketches were also published under both their names, an arrangement that fulfilled their contract with the Harper brothers. The day after Frenzeny’s departure, Tavernier wrote home to his mother, “My friend Paul left yesterday for Salt Lake City where the Mormons are and on to San Francisco.” He went on, “I am about to cross one of the wildest regions [of the West], where no artist has gone yet.” The young man’s excitement was clearly fraught with apprehension on the eve of this dangerous journey, but he fully intended to fill his sketchbooks with scenes he would later turn into paintings. “If I come back in one piece,” he wrote, “I hope to earn a small fortune with these sketches.” His destination was Camp Robinson, established in March 1874 after the “Indian Trouble” depicted in the artists’ earlier sketch. Although very recent and still a camp of tents, Camp Robinson already had by June a stormy past fraught with Indian-white grievances, from encroaching settlers and confrontations with cattle herders to Indian thievery and even murders.11 This was the region Tavernier was about to enter with Paymaster Major Thaddeus H. Stanton and a heavily armed escort of ninety cavalry men and ambulance wagons.12 These were specially outfitted, with large springs that softened their ride, folding seats inside of the sideboards, and a series of hooks that allowed for four stretchers to be strung up inside the frame.13 According to Jules, the paymaster was bringing with him $200,000 to pay the troops garrisoned at the forts of that frontier area and would then oversee several Indian agencies, including that of the formidable Chief Red Cloud. What made this tour of duty special was that it coincided with the annual Sun Dance, the ancestral rite performed by Sioux, Cheyennes, and Arapahos to honor, during the spring solstice, the spirit beings they believed resided in the sun. Thousands of American Indians were expected to gather near Red Cloud’s agency for the three-day ritual. Red Cloud Agency, established in 1873, was one of the largest Indian agencies in the country. It was set up to issue supplies, including flour, meat, and blankets, to both treaty and nontreaty Indian tribes in exchange for lands ceded to the U.S. government in 1868. The agency gathered between 9,000 to 13,000 Sioux, Cheyennes, and Arapahos camped in its vicinity. It was named for Red Cloud,14 a war leader and head chief of the Oglala Lakota-Sioux from 1868 to 1909 and one of the most capable Indian opponents of the U.S. Army. His successful campaign of 1866–68, known as Red Cloud’s War, over control of the Powder River country, had ended with the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. He was in the process of leading his people through their important transition to reservation life. Tavernier had heard Frenzeny describe the hardships caused by the
Nebraska, May–June 1874 165
raids earlier that year. He knew of the recent death of their fellow officer, First Lieutenant Levi Robinson, for whom the camp was named. He was probably also aware that most tribal Indians resented having their likeness drawn and that their mood would be at its most volatile at this great gathering of the clans. He could not entertain any illusions on just how much danger he faced, and it is little wonder that his thoughts turned to his family and mother at that junction. In June 1874, Red Cloud’s agency remained a powder keg.
En Route to Red Cloud Agency The company left Cheyenne only a few days after Jules wrote his letter. Traveling forty miles a day, they reached Fort Laramie in two days. Jules spent perhaps as much as a week there while the paymaster visited Fort Fetterman. The artist occupied his time by painting the interior of the fort’s trading store,15 a scene he executed on the lid of a cigar box. The 4.75" by 7.5" oil painting depicts the store’s plank counter, its standard-issue stove, and tall shelves piled with goods. In warm mellow colors, the scene also shows a soldier leaning against the counter behind the pot-bellied iron stove, along with a woman—perhaps a soldier’s wife—examining merchandise, while two other figures converse over the counter. The clarity and quality of this small, atypical piece are remarkable. It is, in fact, so detailed that in 2008–2009, Jerry Green was able to reconstruct the interior of the store based on the image—the only visual aid available—and written descriptions in diaries.16 The painting clearly shows the store owner’s name, J. S. Collins. Jules likely painted the scene as a gift to Gilbert Collins, who then ran the store and probably hosted Tavernier at his house next door.17 In 1919 a San Francisco journalist mentioned this work by Tavernier: “All the trademarks of the tobacco brand are still to be plainly read on the reverse side of the picture, which is true historically and which has a vital touch in its depiction of loungers and traders about the counter and stove.”18 As promised, Jules never stopped filling his sketchbook with scenes of his travels. When, after another two days’ ride, Colonel Stanton’s party reached Camp Robinson, Nebraska, on May 20, 1874, Jules celebrated their arrival with a watercolor entitled Red Cloud’s Camp (1874), which shows five military wagons against the background of what historian Thomas Buecker believes is the northwest side of present-day Fort Robinson.19 A sixth, taller wagon on the right could be one of the ambulances Tavernier mentioned in his letter. This military camp located seventy-five miles northeast of Fort Laramie had just been moved that month a mile and a half west of Red Cloud Agency, near the confluence of Soldier Creek and White River where the permanent
166 Red Cloud Agency
post was later built. Home to the Eighth and Thirteenth Infantry, the camp was composed merely of a series of tents, located on a slight rise about fifteen or twenty feet above the bed of a stream, surrounded by a blockade and Indian lodges.20 Farther out, the castle-like cliffs of the Crow Buttes rise from tall grass clearings and clumps of trees. A little-known, unpublished study dated June 11 and entitled Tente pour la cuisine, which looks very much like a page from Tavernier’s sketchbook, depicts the area where cooking was being carried out over an open campfire (see plate 8b). Another of Jules’s unpublished watercolor studies, also entitled Red Cloud’s Camp,21 gives a further idea of these temporary conditions, showing the post’s surgeon at work in a tent designated as an infirmary (see plate 8a). According to Buecker, the drawing is typical of a surgeon’s wall tent, with a metal stove and a wood floor, which were generally reserved for officers.22 The drawing details familiar items of life in an army outpost, such as a buffalo robe, a rubber blanket (which the surgeon would wear when it rained), a square spit-box, and a standard-issue inkwell such as those often found in excavations at the fort. Other items specific to the surgeon’s work were the medical supplies on the bookshelves, the medical journal, and a specimen of a skull similar to those found along the buttes on the south rim of White River valley, which he kept as a curiosity—post surgeons were considered the “scientists” of the frontier. This particular surgeon in civilian clothing was not an army surgeon but a “contract surgeon.” A glimpse through the tent flap depicts the fort’s stable and corral, and pine hills on the south side of the White River Valley, all details that historians Thomas Buecker and Vance Nelson confirm as accurate and that help identify the location of the tent, on the bank of Soldier’s Creek where excavations in 1940 and 1990 revealed a walled dugout where medical supplies were kept. These watercolors provide rare glimpses of daily life at the camp before it was relocated to the Dakota Territory three years later.23 Chief Sitting Bull, one of Red Cloud’s Oglala chiefs, particularly struck a friendship with Tavernier. When the Parisian’s jaw swelled due to a bad tooth, the chief removed the molar “with a monkey wrench he had stolen from some wagon train.” Tavernier delighted in relating how he never winced despite the pain because half the tribe was looking on.24 Jules’ growing acquaintance with both Indians and garrison residents was further documented by two tintypes taken inside the corral of W. W. Dear’s store on the west side of the agency by Lieutenant Thomas Whilhem of the Eighth Infantry at Camp Robinson that week. These show the artist in fringed pants, riding boots, and Stetson, sitting on the ground at the feet of Lieutenant W. H. Carter, Red Dog next to him, and several Indian chiefs, all posing for the camera in front of the massive stockade that protected the U.S. government agency about a mile and a half east of Camp Robinson, where Dear’s store was located (fig. 11.2). How could this visit not have been a thrill for Jules?25
Nebraska, May–June 1874 167 11.2. Jules Tavernier at Red Cloud Agency, from an original tintype by Maj. Thomas Wilhelm, 1874. The artist is sitting, indicated by #3. National Archives, no. 111-sc-83155.
The Sun Dance of June 1874 The rough appearance of the motley group in this photograph gives great resonance to the way we can imagine the upcoming tribal celebrations. The yearly Sun Dance brought out a wilder—and for the whites very u nsettling— side of life at Red Cloud Agency. This was the biggest religious ceremony of the year, with at least 15,000 to 20,000 Indians from different agencies in attendance, among them Red Cloud’s Oglala and Spotted Tail’s Brulé, both tribal bands of the Lakota Sioux. Strangers were rarely allowed. Tavernier was one of the first early Western observers to attend the spectacular occasion, and the last. The Sun Dance was a deeply spiritual, grueling ceremony held at the time of the summer solstice; it lasted from four to eight days and included dancing, singing, praying, drumming, fasting, smoking the pipe, and the experience of visions, as well as piercing. The object of piercing, including ear-piercing for children, was to sacrifice one’s self to the Great Spirit and to pray while connected to the Tree of Life for the improvement of one’s family and community. Purification in a sweat lodge always preceded the ceremony. Jules Tavernier’s double-page Indian Sun Dance—Young Bucks Proving Their Endurance by Self-Torture sketch (fig. 11.3) was engraved by his friend Allen Measom and signed “Jules Tavernier & Frenzeny.” It is one of the earliest on-the-spot representations of the ceremony—and perhaps the last, because Carter noted in his journal that he believed it was the last one allowed on the reservation. The impressive roofless dance shade is one of the most striking elements of the scene, described in the commentary as “a round enclosure of high poles interlaced with branches and covered with buffalo
168 Red Cloud Agency 11.3. Indian Sun Dance—Young Bucks Proving Their Endurance by Self-Torture Indian Sun Dance. Our double-page engraving represents the celebration of various religious ceremonies as performed by the Sioux Indians in honor of the sun. These ceremonies take place early in June. Strangers are rarely allowed to witness the rites to which it was the good fortune of our enterprising artists to be admitted.
At the time and place appointed the whole tribe comes together
and makes preparations for the construction of a round inclosure [sic] of high poles, interlaced with branches and covered with buffalo-skins. In the centre of the arena stands a tall pole, which has been selected by a young Indian maiden and cut down with great ceremony. It is adorned with flags of white and red cloth, and at the top, during the first day of the rites, are fixed rudely carved representations of a man and a buffalo. Old warriors and young “bucks,” mounted on ponies, gallop round the pole at full speed, firing with arrows, pistols, and rifles at the two figures till they are brought to the ground.
Our illustration shows the third and last day of the cere-
monies, when the young warriors of the tribe undergo various self-inflicted tortures for the purpose of proving their powers of endurance—such as piercing the skin and sticking into the wounds pieces of wood to which stout cords running from the central pole are attached. The whole weight of the body is suspended on these cords, producing the most excruciating pain, which is borne not only without flinching, but with every manifestation of delight. Others are fastened to their ponies in the same manner and dragged round the arena. All these young warriors are naked, with the exception of a cloth about the loins, and their bodies are smeared with red, green, yellow, and blue paint. . . .
skins. In the center of the arena stands a tall pole, which was selected by a young Indian maiden and cut down with great ceremony. It is adorned with flags of white and red cloth, and at the top, during the first day of the rites, are fixed rudely carved representations of a man and a buffalo.”26 The arbor-like enclosure as depicted by Tavernier has an opening facing east and no side wall, so participants could come and go. It is covered not with bowers of pine branches, as was traditional in those days to provide shade while letting the air flow through, but with buffalo hide. Perhaps a scarcity of pine trees and the restrictions of the agency’s regulations resulted in that unusual cover. The ceremony opened with a column of mounted warriors filing into the arena, racing around, and firing at the rawhide buffalo figure hanging from
Nebraska, May–June 1874 169
the top of the pole, but Jules’s illustration and commentary record the ritual performed inside this structure on the third and last day of the ceremonies: The young warriors of the tribe undergo various self-inflicted tortures for the purpose of proving their powers of endurance—such as piercing the skin and sticking into the wounds pieces of wood to which stout cords running from the central pole are attached. The whole weight of the body is suspended on these cords, producing the most excruciating pain, which is borne not only without flinching, but with every manifestation of delight. Others are fastened to their ponies in the same manner and dragged round the arena. All these young warriors are naked, with the exception of a cloth about the loins, and their bodies are smeared with red, green, yellow and blue paint.
170 Red Cloud Agency
Some succeeded quickly, but a few continued the ordeal for so many hours that they were exhausted. These young warriors occupy the center of the engraving. Two on the right are fastened to the main pole: one is pierced in the chest, one in the back. The one facing the viewer wears an elaborate feather headdress with horns and is blowing in a traditional whistle made of the hollow wing bone of an eagle; it was believed their breath carried a continual prayer. At center left are two more youths likewise pierced through the skin of their chest, while three more await their turn behind them. Two women are piercing the ears of a little boy at the foot of the central pole. Tavernier represented the numerous viewers of the ceremony in relative darkness all around the enclosure, in contrast with the young warriors bathed in light at center. This creates a strong sense of a community fully united by the ritual, an impression further highlighted by Jules’s commentary: “All this time the old warriors, who have been through the same trial in their youth, try to encourage the young bucks by beating drums and singing war-songs. The medicine-man stands ready with drugs and herbs to revive those that succumb to the torture. The squaws, adorned with green wreaths, and carrying boughs in their hands, encourage them with approving cries, and throw them presents in token of admiration.” There are two groups of singers and musicians on the left side of the sketch, while a group of women exhort the young men at left—one woman in particular has very long abundant hair and a beautiful bracelet. The artist also represented several more rows of spectators barely visible in the open backside of the dance shade. There are plenty more interesting studies among the thirty or so characters in full view, including a horseman in full regalia; two scouts, one wearing a beaver hat and feathers (and carrying a rifle), the other a beard and Stetson. Historian Vance Nelson points out the possibility that this is Jules Tavernier himself, in a pose similar to that of the tintype; two Indians with rifles; and women holding their infants in a shawl or a cradle. Farther behind the young warriors, a few odd details catch the attention, such as a man sitting under an umbrella and another wearing a top hat, four more smoking a peace pipe in a group, and one chief standing up as he exhorts his people. The camp’s Lieutenant Carter mentions some of these details in his account of the ceremony: “During all this performance, squaws sat on the ground beating on a piece of raw hide or drum chanting throughout the ceremony. Many of the chiefs took turns in making addresses to the multitude. Each of these young men was provided with a goose bone or quill whistle containing a downy feather at the end, which they blew almost continuously and jumped up and down with a view of tearing out the flesh.”27 The multiple-day rite was a test of endurance for spectators as well. It often ended at sundown on the last day with “a grand carouse,” which, according to Jules, was often followed by celebrations of a more warlike type:
Nebraska, May–June 1874 171
“Very often the Indians go on the war-path the morning after the sun dance.” This particular Sun Dance went on until the third day, when a violent storm came up and lightning struck the center pole. As Carter reported in his journal, this uncanny incident could have turned deadly for Jules and all the other white viewers. Carter and Tavernier were warned that they should leave quickly, because many of the Indians believed that their presence had caused “the Supreme Being to register his disapproval by sending lightning to strike the pole around which they were carrying on their ceremonies.” Spotted Tail’s Brulé tribesmen immediately struck camp and returned to their agency thirty miles away. Remarkably, the incident did not escalate into a concerted attack.
Powerful Memories The powerful memories of the Sun Dance were forever branded into Tavernier’s psyche, as they were for Frederic Remington, who waited until the late 1800s to give form to his own experience. Remington wrote in his diary, “Am starting the ‘Sun Dance’ for the love of record of Great Themes, but I’ll never sell it—it will give everybody the Horrors. It is in my system and it’s got to come out.”28 Tavernier’s fellow artists and students reported that he often recalled the experience. The sketchbooks he filled with scenes of Indian life at the fort and at the agency became an inexhaustible source of inspiration for resplendent Indian oils he continued to paint the rest of his life, among them some of his most brilliant works. Loaded with mementos acquired at Camp Robinson and Red Cloud Agency—including buffalo robes with geometric designs in mineral paints, beaded moccasins and belts, a full buckskin suit, and a warrior’s wampum belt with eagle feathers—Tavernier returned to Cheyenne around mid-June. The Cheyenne Leader was quite aware of his feat when it announced on June 10, 1874, “Mr. Jules Tavernier, an accomplished artist from Paris, now engaged on Harper’s Weekly, accompanied Major Stanton, U.S. Paymaster on his last trip to Fort Laramie and Fetterman, and to the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Agencies. Mr. T. made a great many sketches of the country, and of persons and things at the military posts, which will appear in Harper’s in due season. He will return in a few days from his interesting trip.”29 The great Sun Dance represents a crucial moment in Tavernier’s career, a time when he accomplished the near-impossible, seeing “the true wilds,” a feat many artists longed to do, yet few ever had the good fortune to experience.
We were expecting passes to San Francisco, but [the Harpers] did not give us any and I barely have enough [money] to get there. Jules Tavernier, letter to his mother, May 7, 1874
12. Mormons a nd India ns Utah, May–June 1874
hile Tavernier faced the dangers and excitements of “life in the Wilds,” Paul Frenzeny headed west alone, leaving Cheyenne on May 6 aboard the Central Pacific Railroad. Their sketches of Utah suggest that the two friends had planned to draw three scenes each as they traveled through the territory separately: two related to the Mormon culture—one of human interest, one of factual interest—and one drawing related to Utah’s American Indian cultures. We can tell which of the Frenchmen authored the sketches from the signatures: three bear the “Tavernier & Frenzeny” version. Following the murder of Prophet Joseph Smith and their expulsion from Illinois in the 1840s, the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, more commonly known as Mormons, settled in Utah and lived in the desert territory in relative peace and freedom. They were largely removed from the horrors of the U.S. Civil War and went on settling large areas of the American West, building beautiful communities such as Salt Lake City. Their practice of polygamy, however, became the target of the federal government as it attempted to eradicate this “relic of barbarism.” Nothing about the Mormon faith “[so] outraged the sensibilities of an incurably pious generation as the practice of plural wives,” as Beebe and Clegg put it so well.1 An antibigamy bill was passed in Congress, but bigamy was almost impossible to prove, because those involved could not be forced to testify; the isolation of the Utah desert made prosecution of suspected bigamists prohibitive as well. The open practice of polygamy remained, however, despite being universally condemned at the time in the United States.
Frenzeny’s “Mormondom” Sketches The special artists could not ignore the subject as they made their way west. Paul Frenzeny’s Mormondom—A Fresh Supply of Wives—Going Out to the Settlements (fig. 12.1) addresses the problem with a scene that provides 172
Utah, May–June 1874 173 12.1. Mormondom—A Fresh Supply of Wives—Going Out to the Settlements A Fresh Supply of Mormon Wives. The women converts to the doctrines of Mormonism come chiefly from the Old World, England, Scotland, Wales, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden being the fields most successfully worked by the emissaries sent forth by Brigham Young. For a long time they were glad to obtain matrimonial recruits of any age; but recently orders have been given to send over none but girls and young women, there
quite a bit of information, more than is apparent at first. It documents the voyage of a “lot” of women destined to be “married off ” to a member of the church in some unknown Mormon settlement in the Territory of Utah. Besides the striking terrain full of stratified boulders and imposing rock walls that barely allow a winding road through, it focuses on two major topics of human interest. The special artist depicts two white-haired Mormon elders in charge of the errand. One, riding his horse at the head of this convoy, appears oblivious to everything but his vigorous singing of hymns. The other seems more amicable as he shows one of the future wives what must be the writings of the Prophet. The convoy is composed of a covered wagon driven by two men in the background and an open wagon carrying three women and travel trunks in the foreground. The women’s personal experience—and plight—is addressed both visually and in the text. While all the women are wearing nice hats and dresses, two of them sitting in the open wagon hold their heads down, and one even appears to be crying. The third, who wears the dark veil of a widow, is listening attentively to what the elder says. Three more recruits are singing, though they look resigned and joyless as they walk side by side alongside the wagon. Frenzeny’s informative commentary reports that the elder envoys were assigned to round up potential “wives” among immigrants from England, Scotland, Wales, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden and were presently responding to an official request that the recruiters bring back far younger women, because there was, among the present wives, an “oversupply” of the old and middle-aged. Once the emissaries sent forth to gather recruits had gathered enough candidates in Salt Lake City, the women were distributed in “lots” among the various Mormon settlements in the outlying regions, as
being an oversupply of the old and middle-aged. These recruits are received at Salt Lake City, and thence distributed in “lots” among the various Mormon settlements. Many of the women appear to be entirely indifferent to their fate, while others bitterly repent their folly when repentance is too late.
Our illustration . . . shows the
departure of a number of these recruits from Salt Lake City. An elder leads the train, and with a powerful voice intones a hymn, in which the others join, though none of them appear to be in the mood for singing.
12.2. Reading a Ukase in a Mormon Settlement A Mormon Ukase. Although the power of Brigham Young has been steadily decreasing for the past few years in the region immediately around Salt Lake City, where his people are under the influence of a large “Gentile” population, his hold upon remote Mormon settlements appears to be still as firm as ever. He and his elders are fully conscious of the fact that the debasing superstition which they have misnamed a religion must give way in time, and that they can only prolong their power by isolating their people as much as possible from outside influences. Hence their industry in planting distant colonies and settlements, and the eager haste with which they dispatch the newly arrived emigrants from Salt Lake City to the Mormon villages, where the authority of Brigham Young and his elders is still unquestioned and supreme, and where his decrees are obeyed to the very letter.
We give on this page a picture representing a Mormon elder reading a decree or
ukase in one of these remote settlements. The inhabitants, mostly simple-minded and honest-hearted, gather around him, and listen reverentially and in a spirit of blind obedience to the orders of the Church. They may relate only to some religious ordinance; they may require the people leave their homes and move to some other region further away from disturbing influences, and begin a new settlement in the wilderness. Whatever they may be, the orders will be obeyed; and the next day may see the houses deserted and dismantled, and the settlers moving slowly across the plain toward another place of sojourn.
Utah, May–June 1874 175
illustrated in the image. Always sympathetic to human plights, the artist mentions that many of these women appeared indifferent to their fate while others bitterly regretted their folly “when repentance is too late.” Without ever pronouncing an overt judgment on Mormonism, Frenzeny offers details that speak for themselves and for his own position.2 The documentary quality of his second Mormon sketch, Reading a Ukase in a Mormon Settlement (fig. 12.2), turned this relatively simple drawing into cover-page material for Harper’s Weekly’s February 6, 1875, issue. Filled with factual information both visual and written, it again depicts two elders on horseback, one with a long beard, the other with long hair and a rifle at his back, as they read an edict to a group of settlers. Five of the settlers are listening attentively up close, as do four women lined up on the right-hand side, each wearing a different headdress, shawl, hat, or bonnet. There is a child in their midst, and two more women are listening inside the modest home. A whole other group is barely visible in the background. Although there is a nice treatment of light and shadows through the legs of the horses, the scene is rather plain, not visually striking. Its interest lies in its illustration of the settlers’ blind obedience, visually represented in their still attitudes, in their folded hands, and in the text, which exposes two of the mechanisms by which the leaders muster absolute control: the simple settlers are placed in faraway, isolated settlements to facilitate easier rule over them, and the leaders’ decrees are read by strangers representing a remote and little-known power. Although not derogatory, the commentary is not kind to the church either.
Tavernier’s “Mormondom” Sketches Upon his return from Red Cloud Agency in mid-June, Tavernier in turn boarded the Union Pacific Railroad and traveled to Ogden, then the Central Pacific Railroad to head across Utah and Nevada to Sacramento and the Pacific Coast.3 As Jules had complained in his letter to his mother, the artists had no more passes, so they had to pay their ticket to San Francisco out of their own pockets. This gives credence to the authenticity of a 30" by 47" oil on canvas that surfaced in a “Thrift Emporium” in Utah in 2004. Le Hussar shows a glorious horseman in the uniform of one of Napoleon I’s regiment of hussars. It is signed “J. Tavernier” and dated “Paris, 1869.” The motion of horse and man is superb, as is the detail, so evocative of the notoriously impetuous spirit of these light horsemen mounted on fast horses and used for rapid charges, who were considered the dashing, unruly swashbucklers of Napoleon’s Grande Armée. The hussar wears a mustache and the hussars’ typical long hair with two plaits in front of his ears. His light uniform with a short fur-edged jacket pelisse, slung over one shoulder like a cape, is
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fastened with a cord adorned with silver or gold according to his rank. His fur shako and high boots, along with his saber, carbine, and brace of pistols, complete the portrait of a type of soldier prominent during the Napoleonic Wars and so reckless in battle that Napoleon himself was quoted to say that any hussar not dead by thirty years of age was a blackguard.4 This is indeed a treasure Tavernier might have brought with him as an example of his art from his days in the atelier of Beaux-Arts master Felix Barrias. With his career safely launched thanks to this western excursion for Harper’s, cash for a ticket to San Francisco would have been of much more pressing urgency than establishing his credentials. As he passed through Utah, Tavernier, like Frenzeny, also produced three sketches. The first two, inevitably, addressed the Mormon phenomenon. His “Mormondom” scene is not quite as informative or neutral in tone as Frenzeny’s, and it even seems a bit out of place in the context of the authenticity of their western chronicle. Bringing Home the Fifth Wife—A Sketch in Mormondom (fig. 12.3) caters to the public’s perception and enjoyment of the humorous aspects of polygamous life, a common subject for cartoon humor in East Coast papers in the years when Mormons openly practiced polygamy. The drawing offers a good encapsulation of the potential matrimonial drama of a polygamous household, and as such, it has been used and is still often used to illustrate texts on polygamy. It features a pleasant enough home obviously ruled by the alpha wife in shirtsleeves, bonnet, and apron facing her husband and the newcomer with an ominous look on her face, hands on hips, while the other, meeker wives press in behind her. The bearded, long-haired elder stands out as much for his relatively affluent attire (white shirt, vest, cravat, overcoat, and pants tucked in tall boots western-style) as for his attitude (firm and straight, yet reserving some decent amount of space and the whip in his hand between him and his wives) as he presents his new spouse to the household. Unlike the rest of the characters, he and his matron stand very straight, and the conflict of wills is clear. In contrast with the rest of the women, his fifth wife wears earrings, a fashionable dress and cinched short coat, and a hat with a long feather and carries a stylish purse. She is turning her face away as she meets her new family. The text and the drawing promise her a very unenviable few months of adjustment and the prospect of becoming just as plain a housewife. Two daughters leaning on the railing watch the scene thoughtfully—a nice detail, since one day it will be their turn to be some stranger’s new wife. Implements such as a washtub, a well, and the hired hand in the back taking horses and carriage away add to the sense of place and to the character of the scene. As always with Tavernier, there are well-defined zones of light and darkness or shadows, an intrinsic component of his excellent compositions.5 The location of his more factual Mormon drawing, Quarrying Stone for
Utah, May–June 1874 177
12.3. Bringing Home the Fifth Wife—A Sketch in Mormondom Bringing Home the Fifth Wife. Our engraving . . . illustrates one of the unpleasant incidents that sometimes occur in the domestic circles of Mormondom. A wealthy and rather elderly Mormon brings home a new acquisition in the shape of a young and very pretty wife, who has been “sealed” to him according to the rites of his Church. The ladies in the background do not appear to be particularly well pleased with the action of their lord and master, and if we may judge by the defiant and hard look of the foremost, the new wife will not have a very smooth time with her four sisters in matrimony. But the despotic sway of the Church will compel them to accept her; and in time the present new-comer will have to take her place in the background in favor of some younger and more fascinating charmer.
the New Mormon Temple (fig. 12.4), is identified in the text as Little Cottonwood Canyon, fifteen miles from Salt Lake City. This popular sightseeing destination sat in a U-shaped canyon carved by a glacier. It was famous for its wildflowers and rare endemic plant species. The Salt Lake Temple was built of blocks of quartz quarried from the Little Cottonwood Stock near the canyon’s mouth in a spot where huge boulders had detached and fallen from the walls of the canyon. The quarrying consisted of splitting up these
178 Mormons and Indians
12.4. Quarrying Stone for the New Mormon Temple The New Mormon Temple. Our illustration shows a number of workmen engaged in quarrying stone in the Little Cottonwood Cañon, Utah, to be used in the erection of the new Mormon Temple at Salt Lake City, which is designed to be, when completed, one of the largest places of religious worship in the country. Meanwhile troubles of a very serious nature beset the Mormon faith. The death of Brigham Young, which in the course of nature cannot be very distant, will probably be the signal for a general breaking up through internal dissensions, while the outside pressure against the religious and social system he has established grows more powerful every year.
blocks. Photos of those days are quite reminiscent of Tavernier’s sketch, down to the ladder. Most of the workers, in white shirts and sometimes a vest, are wielding mallets to split the rock. The two men working on the platform at center are carrying out the finishing work with a chisel, smoothing out the surface of the huge block. The presence of two men at its top pulls the viewer’s eye up toward the attractive forested landscape above the canyon and provides a sense of scale for the size of the imposing boulder. The ladder at center is not being used, but it offers a welcomed new more-geometrical shape that breaks up the monotony of multiple boulders and multiple men working on a similar task. This well-composed drawing comes with a very brief commentary à la Jules. This was a natural choice of subject for Tavernier, who had also engraved Limestone in Kansas, published only three months earlier.
Utah, May–June 1874 179
Indians and the Iron Horse in Utah
12.5. “Two Bits to See the Pappoose” [sic]
As the iron horse penetrated ever farther toward the Pacific, Ameri can Indians drifted toward newly built stations, so that passengers who got off the cars at the main stations, be it Julesburg, Cheyenne, or Laramie, discovered vast numbers of Indians lounging on the platforms and begging alms. Frenzeny could hardly resist documenting the cultural contrast he noticed when he watched women exhibiting their papooses for two bits (twenty-five cents) a look as the Palace cars ground to a halt somewhere in Ogden, as suggested by the hotel sign, “Union Pacific Hotel.” His Two Bits to See the Pappoose [sic] (fig. 12.5) identifies the group as Shoshones. The Shoshones’ ancient way of life changed forever beginning with the arrival in Utah of Mormon settlers, whose livestock had overgrazed the native grasses and seeds. The completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, followed by a rush of immigrants in unprecedented numbers, had done the rest. On the left of this captivating scene, white men stand in groups speaking to each other; Shoshone men and women have clustered in a separate group on the right. The two groups come into contact with each other at center, because of the papoose and of the white women,
The Pappoose. The once numerous and powerful tribe of Shoshone Indians has dwindled down to a few hundred. All along the line of the Union and Central Pacific Railroad they may be seen loafing about in a most wretched and forlorn condition, begging for money or food from every traveler. To those who have never come into contact with Indians on their native plains, the sight of the squaws and pappooses is something very droll and interesting. The poor creatures crowd about the railroad stations on the arrival of the trains, and pick up many a penny by showing off their babies to the lady passengers. Our engraving represents such a scene. The squaws generally ask “two bits” for the pappoose show, and the fair ladies, always interested in babies, are frequently very generous in their gifts to the poor mothers. The pappooses are sometimes very bright and handsome. They are closely strapped to boards, as shown in the engraving, the object being to keep them quiet and make them grow straight.
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who are “always interested in babies,” as noted in the text. The conductor of the train on the left, remarkable for the size of his mustache, is speaking to one of a group of men in rather formal traveling clothes. The single men appear indifferent to the familiar sight obviously seen at each station. The group of Shoshones on the right keep to themselves, too, as three Indian men of different ages and clothing stand watch behind three Indian women begging, each holding a baby swaddled in a cradleboard. A boy with long black hair watches the scene in the right foreground in a position that betrays how naturally nimble he is. There are many human interactions in the scene: mothers and babies, Indian men watching their wives protectively, whites captivated by the babies in cradleboards, a buzz of conversations on the platform, a mix of officials, travelers, drifters, men, women, and babies. The details of the text further involve the viewers. Paul Frenzeny took the time to learn that these were Shoshones, and he notes that their papooses are often very bright and handsome, that this is the travelers’ first contact with Natives, and that the travelers are generally very generous and often hand out more than the “two bits” requested, perhaps a bill, as in this case. This sketch, done in July 1874, was published quite quickly, in October of that year.6 Tavernier’s Indians Trading at a Frontier Town (fig. 12.6), probably also drawn in Ogden from an “actual scene witnessed by our artist,”7 depicts Ute tribal members at a “border town”—not at a train station but at a trader’s store, whose multiple signs advertise western clothing, cigars, shaving for twenty-five cents, and hair cutting for forty-five cents. Pelts and gloves hang from hooks on the sides of the doorway where the merchant stares rather contemptuously, one hand in his pocket, at the pelt held out to him by the Indian woman in the foreground, bent under a large load of very different furs. Although the text suggests that the “warriors” condescend to do the bargaining, she seems to be in charge of the bartering, while the rest of her group are already busy examining merchandise. The Indian man inside is looking at a cane, and the Indian woman at left with a decorated hat stares at the shop window with her back to the viewer. The group at right steals the show, as the two Indian couples, according to the artist, “stop to admire the ideal Indian figure before the tobacconist’s shop—very unlike the real creature.” The tallest Ute man in their group is wrapped in a traditional striped blanket, but he wears a top hat, which illustrates the Indian predilection for incongruous items of white man’s attire. Most Indian men admired the silk top hat beyond all else, and it was an almost universal article of trade and barter.8 Tavernier’s Utah scenes display more boisterous irony than Frenzeny’s, and so does his text as he goes on to report how warriors consider every kind of labor degrading, how white traders exhibit sharp craftiness when
12.6. Indians Trading at a Frontier Town Indians Trading. Our drawing represents a party of Indians belonging to the Ute tribe, who have come into a border town for the purpose of trading. The squaws, who do all the hard work, are loaded with the skins of various animals, while the warriors, who consider every kind of labor degrading to a man, condescend only to do the bargaining. As a rule, they also fix the price at which they are willing to part with their goods, and are not above haggling sharply with the trader, although they generally get the worst of the bargain, so far as the intrinsic value of the articles exchanged is concerned. Indian cunning, supreme in border strategy, is never a match for the sharpened craftiness of the white trader in a bargain.
The Indians depicted in our illustration, which is engraved from a sketch of an actual scene
witnessed by our artists, appear to have just arrived in the town. Some of them stop to admire the ideal Indian figure before the tobacconist’s shop—very unlike the real creature—others are offering their wares for sale or barter, and others are examining weapons and goods. Money is seldom desired in exchange for their wares by these wild traders. They want rifles, revolvers, knives, beads, sugar, cloth, and other articles which they can turn to immediate use. Scenes similar to the one depicted in our drawing may be witnessed in every frontier town where barbarism and civilization come into contact.
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trading with Indians, whose cunning is supreme in border strategy but does not prevail when haggling, how “barbarism” and civilization come into contact at frontier towns, and how the real creature is very unlike the Ideal Indian carved in wood. As he set out to meet with Paul Frenzeny in San Francisco, Jules seemed superlatively happy to have come out alive and unscathed from his sojourn at Red Cloud’s Agency. He must have been bursting with new impressions of the American West and tales to tell of his close contact with American Indians and their culture. Little did he know how many more adventures were waiting for him on the shores of the Pacific.
Messrs Franzeny [sic] and Tavernier, artists of Harper’s Weekly, will contribute to the first number of the Bohemian, which will be issued Saturday,
13. The End of the Assignment
the 17th inst. Thomas Hill, Virgil Williams, Richard Bush, Joseph Harripsten, Arvid
San Francisco, Summer 1874
de Verner, and all, in fact, of the artists members of the Bohemian club, will sustain the illustrated department. The
ith Tav er nier still busy in Nebr ask a, Frenzen y boarded the Central Pacific Railroad, which ultimately took him to the West Coast without any stop in Nevada. Once settled in the City by the Bay, he needed to complete only a few sketches to fulfill his part of the contract with the Harper brothers.
literary contributors comprise the most brilliant pens of the association. “The Bohemian,” San Francisco Evening Post, October 9, 1874
The Final Sketches Frenzeny was the first to reach the West Coast, and he therefore got first pick of the most interesting subject, one to which he would thereafter return to chronicle many more times: San Francisco’s booming Chinese presence. The first of these sketches was not done in Chinatown proper. The Frenchman was obviously struck by a fishing scene he witnessed at sunup on a day when the wind was light and the boat’s sails were insufficient to drag the fishermen’s seine. The sweep of the net, the boats in the background giving depth to the scene, and the seagulls trailing along for the pick combine to create a simple yet striking view. No aspect of life in the West was ever dull to Paul Frenzeny. The faces of his Chinese Fishermen in San Francisco Bay (fig. 13.1) are rather sketchy, a weakness the artist soon overcame as he became increasingly familiar with San Francisco’s Chinese population.1 His concise, informative text explains how the hardy men pulled their net through freezing water in the early morning hours. He wrote with great human sympathy of the hardship they endured, their long daily exposure to very cold water as they waded up to their neck a mile or two from the shore to bring in rich hauls of fish. The artist then spent time visiting and sketching Chinatown. The Chinese Quarter he discovered in the late summer of 1874 was the product of an 1868 treaty with China that had allowed a yearly emigration of sixteen thousand Chinese to the United States. This industrious workforce had been vital in the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Once the East–West
Portions of this chapter were previously published in the author’s Paul Frenzeny’s Chinatown Sketches: An Artist’s Fascination with San Francisco’s Chinese Quarter, 1874–1882 (San Francisco: Book Club of California, 2013).
184 The End of the Assignment (facing) 13.2. Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco
Sketches in “China-Town.” The series of illustrations . . . represents some curious phases of Chinese life in San Francisco, California, of “China-town,” as that part of the city where the Celestials most do congregate is called. . . .
junction had been completed, the “coolies,” a derogatory term applied to these Chinese workers, remained in brisk demand because they provided labor for California’s agriculture, mining, heavy construction, fisheries, canneries, and lumber mills. By 1872, they held half the factory jobs in San Francisco. By 1874 when Frenzeny first reached the Pacific, Chinatown had grown into a bustling quarter of 47,000 souls with its own customs, laws, and celebrations.2 Not counting alleyways and partial streets, Chinatown stretched over ten blocks between California and Pacific Streets on its east and west boundaries and between Kearny and Stockton Streets on its north and south boundaries. Dupont Street (a.k.a. Grant Street) was the Chinese Quarter’s main thoroughfare. Sketches in China-Town (fig. 13.2) was done in the journalistic vein of Frenzeny and Tavernier’s transcontinental tour: a composite page of six sketches that focused as usual on humble folks. Even though this was
13.1. Chinese Fishermen in San Francisco Bay Chinese Fishermen. In the shallow portions of the bay of San Francisco may be witnessed almost every day, in calm weather, the scene depicted in our illustration of Chinese Fishermen. . . . When the wind is favorable they make use of a sail-boat to assist in dragging one end of the sine, but if the wind is light, the boat is drawn by a couple of men, as in the sketch, while the other end of the seine is drawn by two other fishermen. In this manner they sometimes venture a mile or two from the shore, wading up to the neck, and making very rich hauls of fish. The water of the bay is very cold all the year round, yet these hardy men do not appear to suffer much from their long exposure to its chilling influence.
Frenzeny’s first impression of this by then-famed San Francisco landmark, the special correspondent rose above the average observer or artist: he had, after all, spent the entire previous year chronicling the settling of the frontier. He had an eye for men with an attitude such as the bouncer of a gambling den and a dealer of lottery tickets. The Chinese laborers balancing their loads of vegetables on bamboo poles may have been a familiar sight, but sketching them in a long row seems a particularly nice concept. There is, as is common in Frenzeny’s scenes, more than appears at first sight in the selection of these six sketches, with three sceneries offset by three portraits, as well as contrasting glimpses of daily life in Chinatown: a dark, narrow alley and a broad market street; a house altar and a gambling den’s entrance; laborers hard at work and a man risking his money on lottery tickets. Although drawn from the viewpoint of a freshly arrived visitor, this compilation of six views stands out as a well-conceived depiction of life in San Francisco’s Chinese Quarter.
13.3. Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco —Alley in Jackson Street and Chinese Market, Sacramento Street
San Francisco, Summer 1874 187
Frenzeny may have penned a text to describe the scenes, but the Harper brothers used his sketches as a promotional plug for a book they had first published in 1872: Charles Nordhoff ’s California: For Health, Pleasure and Residence. Nordhoff ’s profusely illustrated two-hundred-page book hardly needed promoting. Written shortly after the completion of the transcontinental railroad, it was fast becoming one of the most popular books ever written on California. His descriptions of the Golden State were held in
13.4. Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco —Chinese Gardeners Going to Market and Lottery Shop
188 The End of the Assignment
(above and facing) 13.5. Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco —Watch Dog
of a Gambling Den and House Hold Gods
high esteem and are said to have influenced hundreds of thousands to settle there. His rather lengthy description of life in Chinatown certainly went far beyond the range of Frenzeny’s illustrations. Based on his arrangement with Tavernier and the Harper brothers, Frenzeny signed these two sketches for Harper’s Weekly “Frenzeny & Tavernier,” even though Tavernier had not yet reached the Pacific Coast. When he did reach San Francisco in turn—one can only imagine the voluble, boisterous conversations he had when sharing his tales with Frenzeny—Tavernier likewise turned to executing his last sketches for the Harpers’ coast-to-coast assignment. Like Paul Frenzeny, Tavernier prepared a grouping of six sketches: The Suburbs of San Francisco (fig. 13.6). These were views of Marin County, where he developed strong friendships in the course of his subsequent years around the Bay Area. He often stayed
San Francisco, Summer 1874 189
at the home of French-Canadian printer Edward Bosqui in Ross near San Rafael when the winds of the big city aggravated the recurring asthma he mentioned in his letter home from Cheyenne. Marin County, the northern San Francisco suburbs illustrated here, was a popular weekend and summer destination for those drawn to beauty, including hikers, campers, artists, writers, and plain dreamers, who flocked to its picturesque towns in redwood groves in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais, the tallest peak of the coastal mountain range. It was reached by ferry from San Francisco’s waterfront to the quaint village of Sausalito.3 The Tamalpais scenic railway ran the “crookedest railroad in the world” to its summit, where passengers exulted in the stunning vistas of San Francisco’s bay and ocean shores.4 Jules was a very quick artist, and he probably did not spend a whole
190 The End of the Assignment
13.6. The Suburbs of San Francisco
Suburbs of San Francisco. . . . An interesting series of sketches showing the character of the scenery within a short distance of the city of San Francisco, California.
lot of time preparing this block of views, probably in and around a friend’s home. Unlike Frenzeny, he did not offset landscapes and genre scenes but simply drew sceneries, which were signed with his name first. Mount Tamalpais appears on two of the views, and he would pay more justice to the imposing mountain with beautiful oil canvases in the coming years. He skipped views of the bay, one of the great splendors of Marin County, drawing instead the lesser known Lake Lagunitas inland—close to Bosqui’s home in Ross—and the now-defunct boat landing at San Quentin, the small village known for the maximum security prison that opened on that spit in 1852. For good measure, he added a quick sketch of a “blue gum tree” (fig. 13.10): the eucalyptus, brought from Australia in the late 1800s to reforest the land so heavily logged from the days of the gold rush onward. And he threw in a view of a picnic ground, which he actually saw not in Marin but in San Francisco, as his brief, uninformative text confirms. Every indication points to the fact that after a year of sketching the wondrous sights of the American frontier, after his sojourn in the wilds of
13.7. The Suburbs of San Francisco —San Rafael and Mount Tamalpais The pretty village of San Rafael is situated in a picturesque landscape on the west shore of San Pablo Bay, about sixteen miles north of San Francisco, with which it is connected by a line of steamers. Three miles from San Rafael is San Quentin, on San Francisco Bay. Both of these villages are situated in Marin County, in which rises the bold and picturesque peak of Tamalpais, reaching an elevation of over 2,000 feet above the level of the sea.
13.8. The Suburbs of San Francisco — Lagunitos Lake and S. Quentin Point Landing Three miles from San Rafael is San Quentin, on San Francisco Bay.
13.9. The Suburbs of San Francisco —The Pic-nic Ground The Pic-Nic Ground. There are several fine parks or picnic grounds about San Francisco, like the one shown in our picture, shaded by what are called orchard oaks—trees whose low and wide-spreading branches make them especially desirable in parks.
San Francisco, Summer 1874 193
Red Cloud Agency, Tavernier was done being a journalist. His passion for painting had been put on hold for too long. He was impatient with these last sketches and itched to return to his canvas. He could not have been luckier. San Francisco had a surprise in store for him: a welcome committee the likes of which he could never have dreamed.
Bohemian Club Revelry Tavernier’s arrival in San Francisco hardly went unnoticed. He was no more than a month behind Frenzeny and probably reached San Francisco in August 1874. Historian Betty Hoag McGlynn penned a vivid text based on Dan O’Connell’s reminiscences to relate how Tavernier chanced upon his first Bohemian Club acquaintance: One afternoon in the late summer of 1874, a young newspaper reporter went to San Francisco’s Black Point beach for a swim. It must have been during the week, for on weekends, hundreds of the city’s inhabi tants dotted the sand. On this day, Dan O’Connell could see only one lone sleeper, which was fortunate, for as the reporter approached he was horrified to find the wiry figure with neatly trimmed Louis Napoleon mustaches and beard to be otherwise unadorned. The young man objected to being awakened and was incensed when O’Connell insisted upon draping his own bath towel over him. With a voluble staccato anyone in a knee- and elbow-length swimsuit of navy serge like the
13.10. The Suburbs of San Francisco —Blue Gum Tree
one O’Connell was wearing? Dan agreed, but explained that the police
Blue Gum Tree. The “Blue Gum Tree,”
would not, and where had he come from, to not know this? The man
also shown in the picture, grows very
rose to his not-great height and proudly answered, “France! I am Jules
rapidly, and is much valued as a shade
Tavernier, a great artist!” Dan O’Connell introduced himself as a poet
of French exclamations, the stranger asked how the sun could benefit
temporarily reduced to commercial occupation, and said that he would like to see some of Tavernier’s work. The artist led him to his loft above a macaroni factory in the Italian section. Its only contents were a cot, small table and chair, an easel, and a few untouched canvases leaning against a wall. “Your paintings? Where are your paintings?” asked the surprised visitor. Tavernier tapped his head and heart. “Here! Where an artist’s pictures should be!” Dan must have appeared dubious, because Tavernier offered to do a portrait of him at once, and did. It was excellent. But when Dan asked if he might buy it, Tavernier was insulted. He would give it to his new friend. However, he would also accept a small loan of money. And, since he “had eaten his last crust of bread eighteen hours ago,” Dan might order them both a good Italian dinner—with plenty of red vino. The day ended in a feast and animated conversation.5
194 The End of the Assignment
It is hard to explain how this event fits with the plans the artists must have made to reconnect once in San Francisco. This bare loft in the Italian district may have been all Tavernier could afford and find after paying for his ticket to the Pacific and before contacting Frenzeny. The episode became just one more incident in the legend that would start to gather around him as the two Frenchmen, welcomed with open arms by San Francisco’s emerging Bohemian crowd of artists and litterateurs, settled in the young Bohemian Club’s headquarters instead of heading back east once their assignment was over. Founded only two years before the Frenchmen’s arrival, the young club initially gathered journalists who wished to promote a fraternal connection among men who enjoyed the arts in San Francisco, at the time the tenth-largest city in the United States, and one of the wealthiest. As an interview by M. H. de Young reports, this “Bohemian” Club “was actually organized in the Chronicle office by Tommy Newcomb, Sutherland, Dan O’Connell, Harry Dam and others who were members of the staff. The boys wanted a place where they could get together after work, and they took a room on Sacramento Street below Kearny. That was the start of the Bohemian Club, and it was not an unmixed blessing for the Chronicle because the boys would go there sometimes when they should have reported at the office. Very often when Dan O’Connell sat down to a good dinner there he would forget that he had a pocketful of notes for an important story.”6 The club became a focus of San Francisco’s artistic activity by promoting good fellowship among men concerned with the arts, through weekly entertainment at its headquarters, and after 1878, through ceremonial activities at its midsummer encampment on the Russian River. The Frenchmen’s early contributions to the club’s productions, Tavernier’s “Jinks” and Frenzeny’s cartoons and painting, confirmed to all that the Frenchmen’s unequalled joie de vivre and artistic gusto were in the line of true Bohemianism. A news item early in the fall of 1874 is proof that they immediately became instrumental in the life of the young club, for they were mentioned first and foremost in the announcement of O’Connell’s first issue of his short-lived Bohemian newspaper, as cited in the chapter epigraph. The pair also garnered mention by Hepworth Dixon in his 1877 book, The White Conquest. The passage gives a sense of Frenzeny and Tavernier’s spirit for adventure: Two foreign artists come into these parts. For what? To grow their beards, to bronze their cheeks, to shake the dust of Paris from their feet. A gay Bohemian circle welcomes them to San Francisco; where a man may smoke and laugh, sitting over his cakes and ale, into those mystic hours which brush away the bloom from youthful cheeks. This circle gives them Mont Parnasse; but they are born for higher flights
San Francisco, Summer 1874 195
than Mont Parnasse. Donning their Indian pants and jackets, Monsieur Tavernier grasps his sketch-book, Signor Franzeny loads his gun. Each has an eye for nature, and observes her moods with care; noting how sunlight plays with colour in the sea, and how metallic veins add lustre to the earth. Seeking for beauty, they find a seam of coal.
Fame had preceded the new Bohemian members, and commissions started to flow their way. In the fall, Frenzeny and Tavernier were hired by Senator John F. Jones to paint Moorish decorations in a Hammam bath he was building on Post Street.7 As soon as the Frenchmen were installed in the Hammam with power to act, “they devised a pleasant method of recompense for the labors of the day,” that is to say, they instigated a series of Oriental dinners to which their Bohemian friends were freely invited. The special artists hosted these dinners in full Oriental outfits, and hired “maidens” waited on the table in Oriental regalia, as did a genuine Arab “rigged most gorgeously.” The maidens were procured from an employment office on Clay street, and knew more about Galway than the Alhambra. They were coached by Jules into making the proper opelstance, and also after much remonstrance, consented to have their faces stained in the correct Moorish shade. But they were enjoined to preserve strict silence, and merely falnam when spoken to. Those damsels, at the opening feast, Tavernier alluded to as a portion of the ménage imported from Constantinople at great expense. The banquet was a grand affair. There was but one slight hitch which amused the guests but made Tavernier furious. One of the odalisques dropped and smashed an Oriental vase from which she was serving the bard. “Howly Mary,” she cried, “if I havn’t broken the iligant pitcher.” The screams of laughter that followed this disclosure of her nationality drove Jules wild, and the culprit was at once consigned to the bow sprit and the Bosporus. There were many revels at the Moorish place before it was opened to the public, and the washhouse poet ceased to sing and the French Bohemians to paint.”8
On Top of the World Apprised of the duo’s sensational sketching trip across the continent, the press started to follow the epic adventures of Harper’s special artists. They had their heart’s content on September 9, 1874, when an incident on that day reveals that after months of traveling at times by horse or coach, of camping in the wilds, the two young Frenchmen were not only fit but bold in their taste for new adventures. In the context of a Pioneer Celebration that early September weekend,
196 The End of the Assignment
the balloon Sierra Nevada was put into commission for an afternoon ride at Woodward’s Gardens. The event caused a great deal of interest. A huge crowd of spectators from the city and country around gathered at the Gardens. The occupants were none other than Paul “Frenzenay” and Jules Tavernier, “the distinguished artists employed by the Harpers in New York”; Thomas Newcomb, city editor of the Morning Call; and Monsieur Etienne Buislay, who belonged to a French family whose members performed unimaginable stunts with Montgolfières as early as the 1860s.9 The aerial voyageurs were provided with opera glasses, drawing materials and such.10 The process of inflation proceeded slowly. The netting showed signs of weakness, and it broke several times in the hands of those holding it. At the last minute, Buislay’s son was also allowed into the basket. The word at last was given. The great balloon started to ascend from its enclosure in the gardens, surrounded by roofs, tall pickets, and windmills. Underinflated and overloaded, the great monster swayed, bellied, and staggered, and showed little inclination to leave the earth, although a moment before it seemed to the thousands of spectators that forty men could scarcely keep it from soaring away into the blue empyrean. In a few moments, however, it rose perhaps twenty feet, and the wind catching it, swept it in the direction of the shed which shelters that collection of stupidly good-natured animals called the “Happy Family.” It seemed for a moment as if it would pass the ridge safely, but it was too heavily weighted. The basket struck the roof about two-thirds of the way from the eaves, tilted to a nearly horizontal position, then dragged slowly over. An expression of terror was heard from the vast throng of spectators. One man was seen to leap up and cling frantically to the ropes. The basket passed the ridge and fell immediately out of sight. The balloon was swung round by the wind, and touching the ornamental chimney of the house of a Mr. Kelly, a rent was made in the canvass, which quickly enlarged, causing an instantaneous escape of the gas and an immediate collapse. The huge mass passed down out of the vision of the audience in a twinkling of an eye. The greatest excitement followed. The crowd surged in great masses back through the garden, out into Mission street, and around to the spot where it was presumed the balloon, with its occupants, would have come to earth. The basket struck on a stable or outhouse of a residence fronting on Mission street, and the collapsed bag fell over some trees growing about the building, and still further forward, covering with its immense fold a portion of the lawn.11
Frenzeny and Tavernier got out on the outhouse and hopped to the ground without injury. Buislay and his son were slightly injured about the head and bruised. Newcomb fell, or was thrown out in some manner not
San Francisco, Summer 1874 197
perfectly understood, and suffered a painful fracture of the right wrist and forearm. He was taken to a grocery opposite the garden entrance and subsequently to his room on Pine Street. Never men to give up on such a potentially exhilarating artistic experience, the Frenchmen went up again on another ascension on October 4, with the very same reckless French aeronaut. That balloon ride was successful although the balloon was blown over to the East Bay.12 Tavernier drew, from these October adventures into the volatile San Francisco skies, fresh inspiration for what became his very first painting in San Francisco. On April 10, 1875, the San Francisco Evening Bulletin announced, “Tavernier has just finished a picture of a somewhat unique character. It represents a balloon in mid-air, from which the spectator is supposed to gaze down upon the world beneath. It will soon be shown to the public.” By April 24 of that year, Tavernier’s first West Coast painting was on view at San Francisco’s Beaux Arts Gallery. On May 12 it received a glowing review from the San Francisco Morning Call’s art critic: “The spectator is at a great elevation—on a level with the aerial ship and its human freight. At a great depth the green earth may be seen through the cold, gray fogs, while the upper air surrounding the voyagers is clear, and the heaven is canopied with vast bodies of warm cloud, illumined by the declining sun, which has sunk below the horizon of the befogged region upon which, from their great elevation, the spectators look down. The painting of the cumuli in this picture equals the cloud studies in Ruskin.”13 There is not a more fitting image for the two bold Frenchmen at this point in their life. Their year-long sketching tour for the Harpers had indeed brought them new heights of success and plenty of rich new horizons.
Conclusion One Hundred Sketches of the Vanishing Frontier
y the time A Bear Hunt was published in January 1876, the special artists had produced one hundred sketches bearing their household signatures, a significant number that suggests those were the terms of their contract with the Harper brothers.1 Considering Tavernier’s watercolor studies for the sketches (some of which still have to be found), the seven Katy landscapes-with-train, and the four-view Colo rado spread for Harper’s Bazaar,2 and considering the work involved in creating each of these scenes, studies, and drawings on wood, as well as the accompanying texts, while traveling perhaps as many as seven thousand miles coast to coast, one may reasonably conclude that Frenzeny and Tavernier made the most of their western journey. The result of this remarkable productivity was an unparalleled amount of exposure in the pages of Harper’s Weekly from October 1873 to January 1876, a period of two years and four months.3 Their drawings of the frontier appeared in twenty out of twenty-eight issues during that period, including six cover-page illustrations and six double-page folios. Ten of the issues published more than one of their sketches. Although other artists such as Theodore R. Davis, Alfred R. Waud, and William M. Cary went on contributing images of the West to the newspaper during that time as well, the Frenchmen’s constant presence in the pages of the Weekly was overwhelming, especially in 1874, when their engravings appeared every month except for August and November and included four cover pages and three double pages—two of them (The Texas Cattle Trade and Smelting Ore in Colorado) in the month of May alone. The scope and quality of their frontier illustrations also points to a remarkable team effort on the part of both publishers and special artists, who worked hard at creating this visual record of a time and place about to vanish. The publishers faithfully showcased the drawings and texts they received. They preserved the continuity of this ongoing chronicle of the frontier by often referring to past sketches with introductory phrases such
as “Our readers will remember,” and they consistently mentioned Frenzeny and Tavernier as “our special artists.” They also put their best engravers to work on the series. The artists were able to curb their strong temperaments and handle the frustrations and dangers of such an extended excursion, to keep up steady production of well-chosen, well-conceived, well-executed images of America at a time when its wild frontier was quickly vanishing. They consistently focused on offering the best coverage possible of the frontier with scenes packed with accurate, practical details and specific places so that future emigrants could use these reports as a reliable source of information on what was waiting for them out there in the vast wilderness. The Frenchmen also paid special attention to the more unusual components of the rugged life of the frontier, such as underground villages and a “busted” railroad town. They chronicled the dangerous weather, fires, and tornadoes. They made no effort to glamorize the West; they left to future great artists such as Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell the task of turning the frontier into a myth. The accurate portrayal of what they saw was an essential part of their mission, and some of their engravings—such as Indian Sun Dance and Slaughtered for the Hide—were realistic in the extreme. The artists also remained true to their promise that they would go on horseback to unexplored regions, and by coach as well. Tavernier literally put his life on the line when he journeyed to Camp Robinson and nearby Red Cloud Agency, a powder keg if there ever was one at the time in the West. Finally, they successfully performed what Waud considered “the invidious mission of commenting in print,” by which he meant sending descriptive notes along with the sketches.4 The texts that accompany Frenzeny and Tavernier’s visual records expand on the image. They offer context, additional details, and at times editorial comments about the measures needed to protect emigrants, settlers, American Indians, or wildlife from the dangers of this vast untamed West.5 And then there was their art. Paul Frenzeny knew the horse as well as Remington did later and excelled at drawing people. In addition, he was fascinated with technologies and inventions. Jules Tavernier was a quick and versatile artist, whether with oils, watercolors, pastels, charcoal, or the pencil. He could sketch anything from landscapes for Picturesque America to women’s fashion plates for the Bazaar. They favorably compare with other artists of their time: they had far more training than local artists Henry Worrall and Alfred E. Matthews, more sophistication than Theodore R. Davis. They were more reliable in their observations than the prolific Catlin, who was known to freely include imaginary components to his scenes every now and then. Where Waud drew three riders to represent “Arkansas pilgrims,” Frenzeny and Tavernier represented an entire family complete with wagon and calf leading the way, marching up a slight slope toward the viewer. Where Davis drew carcasses with coyotes howling nearby to depict
200 Chronicling the West for Harper’s
the slaughter of the buffalo, Frenzeny and Tavernier drew the actual ongoing act of skinning, with the bloody hide in the skinner’s hand. Theirs was a sophisticated approach that rested on their respective talents and teamwork. Their series of drawings holds much of its appeal because they never drew merely landscapes or portraits but instead drew action scenes with excellent composition, as befits a hands-on New York reporter and a P aris-trained painter. For that reason, many of their illustrations have become classics of the American culture. The Strike in the Coal Mine has become an iconic image of the Molly Maguires, often used by labor movements. Their Vigilance Court in Session has been used to illustrate countless stories of the West, and their Bringing Home the Fifth Wife has, too, since it encapsulates the dilemma of polygamy from three perspectives: that of the wives, that of the husband, and that of the daughters as they grow up. The Harpers particularly favored some of the Frenchmen’s illustrations and published them as covers for the Weekly, choosing three scenes with superb composition and a close-up view of common folks in An Oasis along the Track, Irrigation in Colorado, and Slaughtered for the Hide, and three scenes with a motley group’s interaction in Circus Comes to Town, A Kansas Land-Office, and Saturday Noon in a Southwestern Town. Later artists and writers too were inspired by some of these iconic images, for example, Gregory Stapko, who chose the Arkansas Pilgrims image as the subject for one of his masterpieces, and Robert Taft, who was inspired to write his book Artists and Illustrators of the Old West when he saw Busted! for the first time. As they drew these iconic images while exploring the West, Frenzeny and Tavernier’s vision started to actually define the West for the people of a young nation still in the making. It impacted the perception that Harper’s readers had of their own country and also influenced future great artists such as Remington and Russell, who trained as youths by reproducing pictures in the weeklies. This artistic odyssey is also a story of adventure, friendship, and courage. One may justifiably imagine that Jules’s charisma, enthusiasm, imagination, and boundless talent fueled the mission, while Paul’s practical survival and organizational skills, his focus and determination, his scholarly excellence, and his writing skills ensured the success of their daunting mission. During these twelve months on the road, the two men came to know each other’s artistic strengths so well that they actually influenced each other’s art—Frenzeny’s influence curbed Tavernier’s romantic tendencies so that Tavernier was later heralded as a most accurate painter, while Frenzeny developed a fondness and talent for watercolor in the course of his year-long exposure to painting with Tavernier as his mentor. Both artists had seen action in the grievous Franco-Prussian War, and their early, dark sketches of the war are revealing of the sufferings and losses veterans carry home with them. How could this year-long crossing of the bountiful American frontier
not have healed them of these wounds, especially since it also brought them recognition and fame? Their joint signature was a household name by the time they reached Denver, and doors easily opened for Harper’s special artists by the time they reached the West Coast’s Bohemian art scene. The wilderness had thus brought them to a new world where both were slated to achieve prominence, and they did. And then there was their relationship with the West, with the frontier, with the wilderness. The frontier impacted them profoundly. It became a part of their psyche. From then on, they never stopped looking for new horizons, never stopped seeking adventure and fit subjects for their talent. Jules painted Indians scenes as he saw them in Nebraska for the rest of his life. He looked for new frontiers along old Monterey’s rugged coast, deep inside Sonoma’s redwood groves, and on the rim of volcano craters in Hawaii, and never saw France again. Paul Frenzeny went on roaming the world with a seemingly irresistible yearning to venture beyond the boundaries of the civilized world. His art matured and evolved as he reported from Costa Rica, from the Everglades, the Yukon, Siberia, and even China until he fittingly became one of the illustrators for Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. These courageous, talented artists—men with hearts true as steel—remained forever dazzled by the lure of the West and of new frontiers.
Appendix Chronological List of the One Hundred Frenzeny and Tavernier Engravings
Engravings marked with an asterisk appear on the same page of Harper’s Weekly or in a double-page spread.
2. October 4
1. April 12
The Circus Coming into Town
3. October 18
An Emigrants’ Boarding-House in New York
4. October 25
The Emigrant Wagon—On the Way to the Railway Station
5. November 1
The M anufacture of Iron—Filling the Furnace*
6. November 1
The M anufacture of Iron—Carting Away the Scoriae*
7. November 1
The M anufacture of Iron—Tapping the Furnace*
8. November 8
Lea f from a Sketch-Book—A Smoking City, Pittsburgh*
9. November 8
Lea f from a Sketch-Book—A Sunny Home on the Neosho River*
10. November 8
Lea f from a Sketch-Book—Taking Water on the Prairie*
11. November 8
Lea f from a Sketch-Book—Going to Church*
12. November 8
Lea f from a Sketch-Book—A Surprise Party*
13. November 8
Lea f from a Sketch-Book—Prairie Chickens for Sale*
14. November 8
Lea f from a Sketch-Book—Herding with Comfort*
15. November 8
Lea f from a Sketch-Book—A Market Day in Parsons City*
16. January 24
Scenes in Emigrant Life—In the Emigrant Train*
17. January 24
Scenes in Emigrant Life—“Switched Off ”*
18. January 24
Scenes in Emigrant Life—Building the Log-Cabin*
19. January 24
Scenes in Emigrant Life—Laying the Fences*
20. January 31
The Strike in the Coal Mines
21. February 28
Fighting the Fire*
22. February 28
“Busted!”—A Deserted Railroad Town in Kansas*
23. February 28
A Deer Drive in the Texas “Cross-Timber”
24. March 14
Temperance, Industry, and Happiness
25. March 21
An Oasis along the Track
204 appendix Date
26. March 21
United States Signal Service—Watching the Storm
27. March 28
The Tex as C attle Trade—Guarding the Herd*
28. March 28
The Tex as C attle Trade—Calling the Night Guard*
29. April 4
Sketches in the Far W est—An Under-Ground Village*
30. April 4
Sketches in the Far W est—Arkansas Pilgrims*
31. April 4
Sketches in the Far W est—Curing Hides and Bones*
32. April 4
Sketches in the Far W est—Sugar-Making in Texas*
33. April 11
Driven from Their Homes—Flying from an Indian Raid
34. April 11
Vigilance Court in Session
35. April 25
W estern Sketches—Arkansas Pilgrims in Camp*
36. April 25
W estern Sketches—A Freshet in the Red River, Texas*
37. May 2
The Tex as C attle Trade—Branding*
38. May 2
The Tex as C attle Trade—On the Trail*
39. May 2
The Tex as C attle Trade—Halting-Place on the Ninnescah River*
40. May 2
The Tex as C attle Trade—Rodeo, or Rounding Up Cattle*
41. May 2
The Tex as C attle Trade—Cutting Out*
42. May 2
The Tex as C attle Trade—In Camp*
43. May 2
The Tex as C attle Trade—Shipping for the Eastern Markets*
44. May 2
The Tex as C attle Trade—Wichita*
45. May 2
The Tex as C attle Trade—Ho, for Texas!*
46. May 30
Smelting Ore in Colorado—Bringing the Ore from “the Mine”*
47. May 30
Smelting Ore in Colorado—Crushing the Ore*
48. May 30
Smelting Ore in Colorado—Calcining Floors*
49. May 30
Smelting Ore in Colorado—Smelting Furnace*
50. May 30
Smelting Ore in Colorado—Roasting the Gold and Silver Ore*
51. May 30
Smelting Ore in Colorado—Washing and Separating Room*
52. May 30
Smelting Ore in Colorado—Reverberatory Furnace*
53. May 30
Smelting Ore in Colorado—Casting the Silver*
54. May 30
Smelting Ore in Colorado—Shipping the Silver Bricks*
55. May 30
A Prairie Wind-Storm
56. June 20
Irrigation in Colorado
57. July 4
Staging in the Far W est—Throwing Out the Mail*
58. July 4
Staging in the Far W est—Taking the Morning “Slumgullion”*
59. July 4
Staging in the Far W est—Calling for the Relays*
60. July 4
Staging in the Far W est—Home Station on the Plains*
61. July 11
A Kansas Land-Office
62. July 18
Gold and Silver Mining, Colorado—A Honey-Combed Mountain
63. July 18
A Bird Colony on Lake St. Mary
64. July 25
A Saturday Noon in a Southwestern Town
65. September 12
Limestone in Kansas
66. October 24
“Two Bits to See the Pappoose” [sic]
67. December 12
Slaughtered for the Hide
68. December 12
Quarrying Stone for the New Mormon Temple
Chronological List of Engravings 205 Date
69. January 2
Bringing Home the Fifth Wife
70. January 2
Indian Sun Dance
71. January 30
Mormondom—A Fresh Supply of Wives
72. February 6
Reading a Ukase in a Mormon Settlement
73. March 20
Chinese Fishermen in San Francisco Bay
74. May 1
On the Way to New Diggings
75. May 15
In the Indian Territory—Natives*
76. May 15
In the Indian Territory—Cherokee Farm-House*
77. May 15
In the Indian Territory—Traders Store*
78. May 15
In the Indian Territory—Legislature in Session*
79. May 15
In the Indian Territory—A Delegate of the Sacs & Foxes*
80. May 15
In the Indian Territory—Prisoners En Route to Ft. Smith*
81. May 15
In the Indian Territory—Fort Gibson*
82. May 22
The Watch for Montezuma
83. May 22
Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco—Alley in Jackson
Street* 84. May 22
Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco—House Hold Gods*
85. May 22
Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco—Lottery Shop*
86. May 22
Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco—Watch Dog of a
Gambling Den* 87. May 22
Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco—Chinese Gardeners
88. May 22
Sketches in “China-Town,” San Francisco—Chinese Market,
89. May 29
The Suburbs of San Francisco—San Rafael*
90. May 29
The Suburbs of San Francisco—The Pic-nic Ground*
91. May 29
The Suburbs of San Francisco—Mount Tamalpais*
92. May 29
The Suburbs of San Francisco—Lagunitos Lake*
93. May 29
The Suburbs of San Francisco—Blue Gum Tree*
Going to Market* Sacramento Street*
94. May 29
The Suburbs of San Francisco—S. Quentin Point Landing*
95. May 29
Shooting Antelopes from a Railroad Train in Colorado
96. May 29
Returning to Camp from a Bear-Hunt
97. July 3
Indians Trading at a Frontier Town
98. August 21
The First Bale of the Cotton Crop
99. November 27
Mining in Colorado—A Played-Out Gulch
A Bear Hunt in the Rocky Mountains
1876 100. January 15
1. Views executed outside the context of the frontier series
Harper’s Bazaar, July 10, 1875 V iews in Colorado—Denver, Colorado V iews in Colorado—Larimer Street, Denver V iews in Colorado—Gateway Garden of the Gods V iews in Colorado—Clear Creek Canyon
2. Views attributed to Frenzeny and Tavernier in the title of the sketch Harper’s Weekly, July 4, 1874 Trout-Hatching in Colorado 3. Views that could be by Frenzeny and Tavernier Harper’s Weekly, November 13, 1875 An Indian Agency—Distributing Rations Harper’s Weekly, September 26, 1874 Mormons at the Communion Table Brigham Young’s Wives in the Great Mormon Tabernacle 4. Engraving signed “Frenzeny & Tavernier” in error Harper’s Weekly, June 30, 1877 Camel Train in Nevada
Introduction 1. In his excellent Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, 1850–1900, Robert Taft of the University of Kansas provides biographical information on many of these artists. 2. Joseph Becker was a contemporary of Frenzeny and Tavernier who worked for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Among his various assignments for Leslie’s, he traveled across the West in 1869 to record the landscapes of the Great Plains as he rode the first cross-Rockies Pullman train from Omaha to San Francisco. His journey lasted only 81 hours, but he returned to New York with forty drawings, which were published in Leslie’s between December 1869 and the summer of 1870 as the series “Across the Continent.” For an interesting discussion of Becker’s trip, see ibid., 89–93. 3. Barnett, “Special Artist,” 163. 4. Jackson, Pictorial Press, 328. 5. Harper and Brothers, “High Quality Mass Printing.” 6. “Gotham Gossip,” San Francisco Call, April 24, 1887. 7. Jules mentioned in an interview published in the Hawaiian Gazette Publishing Company’s The Panorama of Kilauea that he had been influenced by Régnault (1843–71), who was only one year older: he too had started his studies at age seventeen, but Régnault was a French national and, unlike Jules, was thus qualified to compete for the famed Prix de Rome, which the young man won when he was twenty-three. 8. In the wake of the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, and the end of Napoleon III’s rule, the city council of Paris (La Commune in French) briefly ruled Paris from March to May 1871. Its council members belonged to the working class and included anarchists and Marxists. The rebellion ended in a bloodbath between the members of the Commune and government troops. 9. Mackart, “Monterey.” 10. The subject was dear to Frenzeny, who had previously published a lovely circus scene with children. 11. The announcement of the artists’ “extensive tour” in the November 8, 1873,
208 Notes to Pages 13–27 issue of Harper’s Weekly and in subsequent issues as well mentions an interesting detail: artists and publishers thought of the successive shipments of sketches as “series.” For example, this initial announcement states that the first set of sketches dealt with emigrants in New York, while the second would portray East Coast industries and the third would document the artists’ first contact with frontier life. These “series” were used as the basis for the chapters of this book.
1. A Nation Marching West 1. The western states at that time were Arkansas, California, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas. 2. The other western territories at that time were Colorado (which became a state soon after their visit, in 1876), Dakota, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. 3. Kansas Weekly Tribune, October 12, 1865. The population of Kansas in fact more than tripled after the war. 4. As mentioned in Jules’s May 7, 1874, letter to his mother. 5. As reported in Harper’s Weekly, November 8, 1873. 6. Mackart, “Monterey.” 7. Underground Lodgings for the Poor, in Harper’s Weekly, February 20, 1869, p.116. 8. Robert Taft assumed in Artists and Illustrators of the Old West (p. 98) that these two sketches were probably made along their later MKT railroad route, but the similarity of the passengers and the emigrants at the boardinghouse suggest otherwise. 9. In the Railway Carriage: At the Station, in London Graphic, March 4, 1871. 10. Hon. Eugene Casserly of California in the U.S. Senate, June 4, 1872, quoted in Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 94. 11. Journal des Débats (Paris), November 6, 1867, p. 3.
2. Foreshadowing the Frontier 1. All three sketches were published in the Weekly in November 1873. This is one of the rare instances when the artists signed “Tavernier & Frenzeny” (instead of “Frenzeny & Tavernier”). Only one other sketch, Limestone in Kansas, was signed “Tavernier & Frenzeny” during the pre-Denver portion of their trip. 2. The society was organized in Ireland in 1842 to prevent evictions by terrorizing agents of landlords. There are many folktales about the source of the Molly Maguire name, which may have been that of a widow whose eviction inspired others to punish her persecutors, the owner of a tavern where the society met, or even a woman who led men on raids. In The Molly Maguires Trials: An Account (2010), part of a collection of essays on famous trials, Douglas O. Linder of the Missouri–Kansas City School of Law suggests that the Molly Maguires were so called because they sometimes adopted the practice of dressing in women’s clothing when they visited shopkeepers to demand handouts like a poor Irish mother would. By the early 1870s, they had evolved into a secret society of Irish-American miners in eastern Pennsylvania whose members sought to oppose oppressive in-
Notes to Pages 27–41 209 dustrial and social conditions by creating a reign of terror, including arson and murder. No one stood in graver danger than mine superintendents and bosses. It took courage and special protection for a reporter like Paul Frenzeny to enter that world. 3. Gladstone, “Working Class Imagery,” 42–61. On June 21, 1877, known as “Black Thursday,” ten miners walked to the gallows. Kehoe’s date with the rope was December 8, 1878. 4. Although these scenes were sketched in the summer of 1873, they were not published until November 1, 1873, for The Manufacture of Iron views and January 31, 1874, for The Strike in the Coal Mine.
3. Working for the “K aty” 1. Tom Sawyer was published in 1876; Huck Finn in 1885. 2. This railroad was organized in 1846 in the office of Clemens’s father, an attorney and local judge. 3. Great South-West, July 1874. Today, the Katy Trail, open to hikers and bikers, follows the railroad right-of-way through much of Missouri as part of the federal and state “Rails to Trails” projects. 4. Ibid., p. 4. 5. Tavernier drew fashion sketches for Harper’s Bazaar and Harper’s Weekly before receiving his coast-to-coast assignment. 6. Great South-West, June 1875, p. 1. 7. The engravers, the firm of Wittenberg and Surber in St. Louis, were more conventional in style than the Harpers’ engravers were.
4. Taming the Frontier 1. The eight-sketch page appeared on page 993 (with the text opposite, on page 994) of Harper’s Weekly’s November 8, 1873, issue, three full months after the artists drew it. This was a most important issue for the publishers, because that is when the Harper brothers first disclosed the Frenchmen’s assignment. 2. Stevenson wrote that bleak description in his travel journal, Across the Plains (August 23, 1879), and followed it up with these words: “A man on the prairie may walk five miles and see nothing, ten and it is as though he had not moved” (August 21, 1879). In the next day’s entry, he wrote, “Front and back the line of railway stretched from horizon to horizon, like a cue across a billiard board.” According to him, the words “Emigrant car” were emblazoned on the shabby sides of the railroad cars, “exacerbating the contempt directed at the travelers inside” (August 22, 1879). 3. Named for J. P. Chouteau, founder of an illustrious francophone frontier family. See note 6 of chapter 5. 4. Simonin, “Le Colorado—La Naissance d’un Territoire,” Le Tour du Monde, 1868, p. 256. Simonin published extensive reports of his wanderings across the American West in the French magazine Le Tour du Monde between 1859 and 1875. 5. It is also situated in “Tornado Alley,” the broad region where cold air from
210 Notes to Pages 43–63 the Rockies and Canada collides with warm air from the Gulf of Mexico. The city of Neosho, incorporated in 1878, is known as the Gateway to the Ozarks. 6. Great South-West, July 1874. 7. Harper’s Weekly, March 14, 1874, 236–38 and supplement, p. 247. The Temperance sketch appears on p. 246. C. S. Reinhart drew the four-sketch grouping depicting “Woman’s Crusade against Intemperance.” 8. There was a hiatus in the December issue of Harper’s, with no Frenzeny and Tavernier sketches. This January 24, 1874, issue combined the two train illustrations Switched-Off and In the Emigrant Train on a full page (p. 78) along with these two. 9. See Chalmers, Splendide Californie!, 92–93. 10. Harper’s Weekly, November 8, 1873, p. 994. 11. Levi Parsons was the Katy’s president. The town was founded in 1870 and incorporated in 1871. 12. Great South-West, August 1874. 13. I appreciate the help of Lin Fredericksen at the Kansas State Historical Society in establishing that Robert Taft’s mention of a Frenzeny and Tavernier sketch of Parsons City for the Katy was actually incorrect. 14. These pages usually measured around 6" × 9", small enough to not be a burden in their luggage, given the hectic character of travels across an entire continent, through unfamiliar and often yet-unsettled territory. 15. Harper’s Weekly, November 8, 1873, p. 994.
5. The Indian Territory 1. “South-Westward the Star of Empire takes its way,” Great South-West, November 1874. 2. Great South-West, July 1874. 3. They moved in with their African slaves, for the practice of slavery was not outlawed until the 1860s. 4. The Texas Road is now Route 69. 5. The fort was named for Colonel George Gibson, commissary general of sustenance. 6. Auguste Pierre Chouteau was born in St. Louis on May 9, 1786. He gradu ated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1806 but resigned his commission in 1807 to focus on the family’s extensive fur trade. He was nevertheless known as “Colonel” all of his life. Hafen, Mountain Men, 9: 63–90. 7. This composite sketch was published much later, on May 15, 1875 (p. 396), completely out of sequence, perhaps because it stands on its own or because it was deemed of secondary importance, or perhaps it was sent at a later date or was needed to complete the hundred-sketch mark. 8. Harper’s Weekly, May 15, 1875, p. 406. Emphasis added. 9. Beebe and Clegg, American West, 456. 10. United States Signal Station and Vigilance Court in Session were published on March 21, 1874, and April 11, 1874, respectively; the sketches for In the Indian Territory not until May 1875.
Notes to Pages 68–95 211 6. Life in the Old Southwest 1. Harper’s Weekly, March 21, 1874, p. 254. 2. Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 100. 3. Great South-West, August 1874. Eleven acres of oak forest in the heart of the city was donated for a park. 4. Eisenhower was only one of Denison’s notables. Another famous figure was local vintner Thomas V. Munson, who saved French grape crops from complete destruction. 5. Harper’s Weekly, January 24, 1874, p. 76. 6. In The American West, Beebe and Clegg mention their importance in American lore (p. 162) even before the emergence of “On a Slow Train through Arkansas,” a song made famous by the soundtrack of the movie Lonesome Dove. A team themselves, Beebe and Clegg prominently feature Frenzeny and Tavernier’s images of the West in their heavily illustrated book. 7. Harper’s Weekly, April 4, 1874, supplement, p. 306. 8. A rare occurrence, the addition of Frenzeny’s first initial occurred only three times during their sketching tour, twice in the Southwest. See also A Deer Drive in the Texas “Cross-Timber.” 9. This Stapko work is held at the Hollabaug Collection of Historical Arkansas Art at Arkansas Tech University. 10. Casimir Gregory Stapko was born in Milwaukee to Polish immigrants. His copies of famous works hang in the White House, the Blair House, and the Arlington House, as well as at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), at U.S. embassies and government agencies, and in the Cosmos Club as well as on the walls of businesses and private homes around the world. Holley, “Gregory Stapko.” 11. Harper’s Weekly, April 25, 1874, p. 361. 12. Beebe and Clegg, American West, 477. 13. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, much of the area has been cleared for pastures, croplands, horse and cattle ranches, and urban and rural developments. Very few large tracks of woodland remain today. “Cross Timbers and Prairies Ecological Region,” www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/ habitats/cross_timbers/ecoregions/cross_timbers.phtml. 14. Harper’s Weekly, February 28, 1874, p. 205.
7. Life on the Great Plains 1. Harper’s Weekly, March 28, 1874, p. 272. 2. Barragy, “Gathering of the Texas Herd.” According to Barragy, an estimated 10 million longhorns were driven north from Texas between 1866 and 1895—worth approximately $200 million, saving Texas from the dark days that followed the Civil War. Many Indian and Texas breeding herds that passed through were destined for Illinois or Wyoming to fatten before being shipped to the eastern markets. 3. Because he had pledged in Chicago that he would bring 200,000 head of cattle in ten years, and he actually brought 2 million head in four years. 4. McCoy’s Historic Sketches included fifty-three views, fifty-seven portraits, and sixteen cartoons by Worrall deemed “to be too crude, at times imaginary or
212 Notes to Pages 95–114 inaccurate, or too poorly executed” to be featured in the 1940 reprint, according to the introduction of that reprint. 5. A sturdy race, the Texas longhorn was nevertheless almost extinct by 1900, like the buffalo. 6. Only two cattle drive scenes from Worrall’s book were not also sketched by Frenzeny and Tavernier: Swimming a Herd across a River and A Stampede. 7. There were several sorts of branding; Worrall’s sketch of a branding scene depicted “cross-branding” after purchase and the arrival of new cattle to the ranch. Every ranch had its own brand, made up of the initials of the ranch’s name or other distinctive mark. These and ear marks were recorded with officers of the county, and cross-branding was a major source of conflicts in the plots of subsequent Western novels and movies that dealt with rustlers. Bieber, introduction to McCoy, Historic Sketches (1985 reprint). 8. Taft, Artists and Illustrators, p. 126. 9. Diary of Abbie Bright, June 4, 1871. 10. McCoy, Historic Sketches, 163. 11. Wichita Eagle, April 30, 1874. 12. Wichita Eagle, April 30, 1874. 13. His work done, McCoy actually left town the following year. 14. A later Frenzeny sketch, The Capture of a Texas Town by Cowboys, was used as the record cover for the Bonanza television show soundtrack in the 1980s. The same image is printed on the jacket of Beebe and Clegg, American West. 15. Haywood, Victorian West, 200. 16. Wichita Eagle, April 30, 1874. 17. Ibid. 18. Beebe and Clegg, American West, 453. 19. Wichita Eagle, April 30, 1874. 20. Harper’s Weekly, March 28, 1874, p. 272; May 2, 1874, p. 385. 21. J. B. Stetson was born in 1830 in Orange, New Jersey, where his father, Stephen Stetson, was a hatter. 22. Beebe and Clegg, American West, 183. 23. Harper’s Weekly, July 11, 1874, p. 583. 24. In Artists and Illustrators (p. 103), Taft asserts that the location of Limestone in Kansas was either Fort Scott or Florence.
8. The Far West 1. Harper’s Weekly, February 28, 1874, p. 192. 2. This image is occasionally reproduced to illustrate windstorms encountered by western-bound wagon trains (Grafton, American West, 61). Actually, this type of small horse-drawn wagon would have served only for local transportation; teams of oxen or mules pulled the wagon trains west. 3. Ibid. 4. Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 104. 5. Ibid., 104. This poem by the eighteenth-century author Oliver Goldsmith describes at length, in very lyrical terms, the destruction of an ancient village by a wealthy local bent on replacing it with his own ornamental garden.
Notes to Pages 115–25 213 6. Harper’s Weekly, February 28, 1874, p. 195. Robert Taft in Artists and Illustrators of the Old West (p. 104) offered some reason why he believed the busted town could have been Zarah, in Barton County, Kansas. Although in July 1872 Zarah was the first town in the county, with a hotel, two saloons, a blacksmith’s shop, a livery stable, a general store, a post office, and several houses, and thousands of Texas cattle had previously wintered there, the bustling little town quickly died after the Santa Fe reached nearby Great Bend in August 1872, missing it by about a mile. The town disappeared within a year or so. Zarah is now a wheat field three miles east of Great Bend. Its last citizen left in 1875. It was named, like Fort Zarah, for General Samuel R. Curtis’s son, killed in action in 1863. 7. Harper’s Weekly, April 4, 1874, pp. 306–307. 8. Abilene still had dugouts in 1867, according to McCoy (Historic Sketches, 58). 9. Beebe and Clegg, American West, 446. 10. Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 106–107. 11. The Kansas State Historical Society offers excellent testimonies on buffalo hunting on their website, www.kshs.org. 12. Sheridan, Personal Memoirs, vol. 11, chap. 12. 13. Harper’s Weekly, December 12, 1874, pp. 1022–23. 14. Cited by Taft, who felt that this sketch was probably done in Dodge City late in October 1873, since it matches the description of one of the founders of that city, Robert M. Wright (Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 105). 15. This drawing about buffalo hides was published in the April 4, 1874, issue of Harper’s Weekly, before Slaughtered for the Hide, probably because the Harpers had to wait to find a “slot” for a cover illustration, while this one could be fit inside as a half-page view.
9. Staging in the Far West 1. Las Animas Leader, November 8, 1874, in the column West Las Animas Items: “The following were the arrivals at the American House this week, as furnished us by the affable Geo. D. Williamson, Clerk: Patrick Shanley, Kit Carson, Col.; . . . P. Frenzeny, New York City; Jules Tavernier, d[itt]o.” Their arrival in Denver was pinned in a newspaper column as November 5, so they must have been in West Las Animas in the very first days of November. 2. These two studies confirm Taft’s assumption, based on the architecture of the adobe in Throwing Out the Mail, that the staging sketches were done on the stage route between Granada and Pueblo. Taft did not realize, however, that the railhead was not Granada but West Las Animas. 3. This study is in the collection of the Denver Public Library. 4. This study is in the collection of the Kansas State Historical Society. 5. Book Committee, Bent County, Colorado History. 6. Harper’s Weekly, November 8, 1873, p. 994. 7. Pueblo Chieftain, November 5, 1873, p. 4. The trip between Las Animas and Pueblo, a distance of well over 130 miles, was made three times a week in both directions. 8. Harper’s Weekly, July 4, 1874, p. 556.
214 Notes to Pages 125–43 9. The commentary goes on: “Over the greater part of the territory now traversed in this way, the old excitement of danger from Indians has given place to almost absolute security; but enough remains to give spice to the trip, to say nothing of overturns and breakdowns by the way.” Ibid. 10. Wells Fargo Bank, A Ticket to Adventure. Robert Taft was incorrect in his assumption that the two artists made at least one other stage trip from Cheyenne to Fort Laramie (Artists and Illustrators, 107). Tavernier’s May 7, 1874, letter to his mother indicates otherwise. 11. It could be Pueblo, according to Taft (Artists and Illustrators, pp. 107–108), although the mountains in the background seem exaggerated. There is no mention of their stop at Pueblo in the Pueblo Chieftain.
10. Wintering in Denver 1. Simonin, “Le Far-West Américain,” 256. 2. Born December 31, 1829, in the department of Doubs, France, Frédéric Charpiot left France for Chicago, where his parents had emigrated, in 1854. He married Julia C. Riche in DeWitt, Iowa, and moved to Kansas in 1858 and to Denver in 1859. His International Restaurant was advertised for its excellent fare in 1866 and 1867. 3. As well as the “Temperance” sketch, on March 14, 1874. See chapter 13. 4. The Rocky Mountain News reported on November 6, 1873, “They will spend several weeks hereabouts, making sketches for the illustrated paper they represent.” 5. “Sketches by Paul Frenzeny, Harper’s Weekly,” Rocky Mountain News, November 26, 1874, p. 4. 6. See his engraving A Strike in the Coal Mine (fig. 2.4). 7. Scientific American, January 16, 1875, p. 35. 8. Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 108. 9. Rocky Mountain News, November 15, 1874. 10. Matthews was born in Bristol, England, in 1831. His father was a book publisher who brought his family to the United States in 1833. They settled in Ohio, the Buckeye State. Matthews, who was teaching in Alabama when the Civil War broke out, made his way back to Ohio and enlisted in a local volunteer regiment. Skilled with the pencil, he helped prepare maps and drawings for army use and produced about thirty-eight different views of Civil War scenes that were later lithographed. He was known for prohibiting at gunpoint a surgeon from amputating his leg. 11. Matthews, Pencil Sketches of Colorado. 12. “Denver Pictured,” Denver Daily Times, February 16, 1874, p. 4. The Rocky Mountain News confirmed in an article titled “Denver to be Illustrated,” dated February 17, 1874, that “the artists draw their sketches on wood before sending them to the engraver” (p. 4). 13. For example, on the cover of Smith, Birth of Colorado. 14. “Denver Pictured,” Denver Daily Times, February 16, 1874, p. 4. 15. Rocky Mountain Herald, February 28, 1874, p. 3. Taft concluded that the reporter was a “hypercritical grouch” (Artists and Illustrators, 318n54). Matthews
Notes to Pages 143–62 215 exhibited his work at Richards and Co.’s bookstore as well. Charpiot’s Hotel and Restaurant was at 386 Larimer Street, Richards and Co.’s at 372 on the same street. 16. Views in Colorado, in Harper’s Bazaar, July 10, 1875, pp. 448–50. 17. Harper’s Weekly, July 15, 1874, p. 604. 18. Harper’s Bazaar, July 18, 1874, engraved by Henry Linton, pp. 464–65. 19. The many other Frenzeny and Tavernier views of Colorado for the Weekly were not published until 1875, to further synchronize them with the Frenchmen’s sketches for the Bazaar. 20. Harper’s Bazaar, July 10, 1875, pp. 448–50. 21. Ibid. 22. Matthews died that fall, on October 30, 1874, presumably of acute appen dicitis. 23. “A Visit to the Trout Ponds,” Rocky Mountain News, March 20, 1874, p. 4. 24. Harper’s Weekly, November 8, 1873, p. 994. 25. Harper’s Weekly, May 1, 1875, p. 362. 26. Grafton, American West, 29. 27. Beebe and Clegg, American West, 213. 28. Harper’s Weekly, November 27, 1875, p. 969. 29. Harper’s Weekly, January 15, 1876, p. 45. 30. Harper’s Weekly, May 29, 1875, p. 444. 31. Harper’s Weekly, May 20, 1875, p. 442. 32. Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 109. 33. Harper’s Weekly, May 22, 1875, p. 426. 34. A watercolor study entitled Zuni Shur signed “J. Tavernier” suggests that the traveling artists indeed paid Arizona a visit during their stay in Denver. This watercolor is in a private collection. 35. San Francisco Call, May 28, 1893. 36. Ibid. The painting is presently in the Denver Art Museum’s Anschutz Collection. Another Arizona desert scene in the same vein is also in the Anschutz.
11. Red Cloud Agency 1. Baudelaire quoted in exhibit material at Gene Autry National Center, George Catlin and His Indian Gallery exhibit, 2004. 2. Simonin, “De Washington à San Francisco.” 3. Rocky Mountain News, March 21, 1874. Greeley was a utopian town founded by Nathan C. Meeker, a newspaper reporter from New York who had worked with Horace Greeley and named the town after him. 4. Fort D. A. Russell was near Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory; Fort Laramie is near the present-day town of Torrington, Wyoming. 5. They left Fort Laramie on March 2 and arrived at the agency on March 5, according to information contained in Carter, “Journal of Fort Robinson.” 6. Harper’s Weekly, April 11, 1874, p. 321. 7. Van Horn had just replaced Arthur MacArthur, Jr., father of Douglas MacArthur of World War II fame. 8. Carter, History of Fort Robinson.
216 Notes to Pages 163–66 9. Catlin described the Sioux Sun Dance of 1832 but did not paint it, because he arrived several days after the ceremony. Cavalry Lieutenant Fredrick Schwatka (1810–88) also wrote about a Sun Dance he witnessed in 1875. Frederic Remington illustrated Schwatka’s article, but Remington saw a Blackfoot Sun Dance in 1890 only. Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 319n60. 10. Perhaps, too, Frenzeny had not acclimated to high altitude and was anxious to reach the Pacific, as Jules suggested in a letter: “I have not experienced any asthma since I came here, we are 6400 feet above sea level, my friend on the contrary does not feel well here.” May 7, 1874, letter to his mother. Jules may have started his letter in Denver, because he mentioned that city as “here” in the letter. 11. Four months later, Indians chopped down the agency flagpole and threatened to destroy both the agency and the military camp. Camp Robinson was officially renamed Fort Robinson in January 1878. See Buecker, Fort Robinson, 24–25. 12. Major Thaddeus H. Stanton was a paymaster with the Department of the Platte, U.S. Army. Thomas Buecker pointed out when I interviewed him at Fort Robinson that military forts and Indian agencies were run by different departments. 13. An ambulance exactly like the one used in Tavernier’s expedition can still be viewed at Fort Robinson. These were the most comfortable of all army wagons, generally built by the Studebaker Company, and used by officers and sometimes their families, according to historian Vance Nelson. 14. Born in September 1822, Red Cloud was fifty-two years old at the time of Tavernier’s visit. 15. Trading Post of J. S. Collins at Fort Laramie, Wyoming (1874). Oil on wood, Honeyman Collection, Bancroft Library, University of California–Berkeley. 16. Maryann Neubert, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming, June 2011. Jerome Greene researched and wrote the “Historic Furnishings” plan for the sutler’s store at the fort. He was the staff curator at the Media Services Division at Harpers Ferry Center, West Virginia. 17. Interview with Sandra Lowrie, Fort Laramie curator. 18. Anna Cora Winchell, “Artists and Their Work.” 19. Interview with Thomas Buecker, June 2011. 20. Carter, “Journal of Fort Robinson.” 21. Red Cloud’s Camp was dedicated to “my little friend Woolworth” in an inscription, according to Nancy Ferreira of Christopher Queen Gallery. 22. Interview with Thomas Buecker, June 2011. 23. The agency became the Pine Ridge Agency in the Dakota Territory after the death of Crazy Horse in 1877; a treaty signed in 1876 ceded the Black Hills to the United States. The hillside where Red Cloud’s camp once stood is now marked only by a historical marker. Fort Robinson and its museum are well worth a visit. 24. This Chief Sitting Bull, unlike his Hunkpapa Lakota-Sioux namesake, proved friendly to the whites and saved Camp Robinson soldiers from slaughter at the agency a few months after Tavernier’s visit. For the tooth incident, see the Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, November 30, 1889, p. 1.
Notes to Pages 166–89 217 25. Tintype by Lieutenant Thomas Whilhem: #1 is Lieutenant W. H. Carter; #2 is Red Dog; #3 is Jules Tavernier (information provided by historian Ephraim Dickson). 26. Harper’s Weekly, January 2, 1875, p. 10. 27. Carter, “Journal of Fort Robinson.” 28. Frederic Remington, cited in Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 22n67. 29. Cited in ibid., 318n56.
12. Mormons and Indians 1. Although polygamy has typically been viewed by outsiders as a hallmark of Mormon life, only 20 percent of men in the early days of the church had more than one wife at a time, and two-thirds of those had only two. Brigham Young’s twenty-seven wives and fifty-six children were the exception. Grafton, American West, 79. 2. Harper’s Weekly, January 30, 1875, p. 98. 3. Robert Louis Stevenson remarked that the cars on the Central Pacific Railroad were nearly twice as high as and airier than those of the Union Pacific; they also contained an upper tier of berths where passengers could sleep at night (Across the Plains, August 22, 1879). 4. France established a number of hussar regiments starting in the seventeenth century with recruits from Hungary where they originated, then with recruits from northeastern France itself. They invented the “sabrage”: opening a bottle of champagne with a saber. 5. In his study of the two Frenchmen’s sketching tour, Robert Taft suggests that two Utah sketches that appeared on p. 793 of the Weekly on September 26, 1874, were probably done by the duo as well. However, even though these two scenes, Mormons at the Communion Table and Brigham Young’s Wives in the Great Mormon Tabernacle, fit into the series with respect to time, place, and subject, as Taft suggests, they are not signed or credited to the artists (Artists and Illustrators, 111–12). Most of all, they are not at all in character with the Frenzeny and Tavernier series, because they denigrate the Mormons, both in the drawings and in the text. It is also more than doubtful that the artists would have been allowed to attend a communion or would have had access to the Great Tabernacle. 6. Harper’s Weekly, October 24, 1874, p. 880. 7. Harper’s Weekly, July 31, 1875, p. 537. 8. Beebe and Clegg, American West, 380. Taft reports in Artists and Illustrators (p. 112) that there was a large Ute reservation east of Ogden in 1874.
13. The End of the Assignment 1. There were many Chinese fishing villages along San Francisco’s Bay and the Pacific Coast. Frenzeny would sketch one of them a few years later. See Chalmers, Paul Frenzeny’s Chinatown Sketches. 2. This made the Chinese the largest immigrant group in California. 3. Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge was not completed until April 19, 1937.
218 Notes to Pages 189–98 4. See Chalmers, Early Mill Valley, 40–43. 5. Hoag, “Jules Tavernier,” 15. Her account was based on M. O’Moran’s “Biography of Dan O’Connell,” reprinted in the San Francisco Wasp, as quoted in California Art Research, first series, vol. 4 (January 1937): 1–26a. 6. “The Bohemian,” San Francisco Evening Post, October 9, 1874. 7. A journalist hired to attend to the literature was known for some time afterward in Bohemia as the washhouse poet. “Leaves from the History of the Older Bohemia,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 1, 1897. 8. Ibid. 9. “Adventures of an Aeronaut,” New York Times, July 6, 1866. 10. In 1866, Auguste Buislay wowed the crowds by twirling on a trapeze hanging from a hot air balloon, and he almost drowned along the New Jersey shores when the balloon plunged down in a storm. Buislay conducted these ascensions on a regular basis during the 1870s. Each ascension had its thrill: in the corner by the car barn stood a windmill that Buislay often bumped as he soared aloft. Buislay later lost his life in a flying accident. In a later interview in the Hawaiian Gazette Publishing Company’s Panorama of Kilauea, Jules mentioned the ride and “a precipitate descent.” 11. “Perils of Ballooning,” San Francisco Chronicle, September 17, 1874. 12. That ride was written up in another article, “Ballooning,” published in the Daily Alta California of October 5, 1874, kindly provided to me by the North Point Gallery, San Francisco. 13. According to the family’s oral history, the artist gave the painting to his friend David McRoberts, a San Francisco Call reporter who was one of the passengers in the balloon. Source: North Point Gallery, San Francisco.
Conclusion 1. All but three of these one hundred sketches (on fifty-five pages, counting the double folios as two pages; see list in following section) documented the western frontier. Fifteen of that hundred were signed with Tavernier’s name first, while three bore Frenzeny’s first initial or his name in larger caps. There were a few other isolated engravings, such as Trout-Hatching in Colorado, which was unsigned but assigned to them in the text, and they might have created one other view, An Indian Agency—Distributing Rations, which appeared in Harper’s Weekly in late 1875. This drawing was, however, unsigned and not assigned to Jules Tavernier in the text. Finally, there is the case of the sketch Camel Train in Nevada, which bears the “Frenzeny & Tavernier” signature. Not only is this illustration out of sequence for a sketch that belongs to the frontier series, but close scrutiny suggests that the “Frenzeny & Tavernier” signature was partially erased. Additionally, the sketch is attributed to Paul Frenzeny alone in the title. This may be attributed to an engraver’s error, as Tavernier no longer worked for Harper’s with Frenzeny at that date. 2. All signed differently as “Frenzeny-Tavernier” to separate them from the main series. 3. Eight pages and fifteen sketches in 1873, twenty-nine pages and fifty-three
Notes to Page 199 219 sketches in 1874, seventeen pages and thirty-one sketches in 1875, and one page and one sketch in 1876. 4. Quoted in Taft, Artists and Illustrators, 59. 5. For example, two drawings by William M. Cary—Indian Offerings to the Dead and A Canoe Race—were published in the June 20, 1874, issue of the Weekly. These appealing views of Indian life are set in unidentified locales, with tribes and dates also unidentified. Cary’s two short descriptive paragraphs do not ground the events in factual information.
Archival and Unpublished Sources Bright, Abbie. “Diary of Abbie Bright.” Clearwater Historical Museum, Kansas. June 4, 1871. California Art Research. First series, vol. 4, January 1937. Carter, William Harding. “Journal of Fort Robinson.” Unpublished unpaginated manuscript, Fort Robinson Museum. Hoag, Betty Lochrie. “Jules Tavernier: Monterey’s Knight of the Palette.” Master’s thesis, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, February 1967. Tavernier, Jules. Letter to mother, May 7, 1874. Private collection. Wells Fargo Bank. A Ticket to Adventure. Pamphlet. No date.
Books and Periodicals Arcadia Publishing. Early Mill Valley. Charleston, N.C., 2005. Barnett, Harry V. “The Special Artist.” Cassell’s Magazine of Art 6 (1883). Barragy, T. J. “The Gathering of the Texas Herd.” Cattleman (March 1926). Beebe, Lucius, and Charles Clegg. The American West: The Pictorial Epic of a Continent. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1955. Book Committee, The. Bent County, Colorado, History. Las Animas, Colo.: Book Committee, 1986–87. Bowles, Samuel. Across the Continent. Springfield, Mass.: S. Bowles and Company; New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1866. Buecker, Thomas R. Fort Robinson and the American West, 1874–1899. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003. Carter, William Harding. The History of Fort Robinson. Crawford: Northwest Nebraska News, 1942. 18 pages (not numbered). Chalmers, Claudine. Early Mill Valley. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2005. ———. Paul Frenzeny’s Chinatown Sketches. San Francisco: Book Club of California, 2012. ———. Splendide Californie! Impressions of the Golden State by French Artists, 1786–1900. San Francisco: Book Club of California, 2001.
222 Bibliography Dixon, William Hepworth. White Conquest. London: Chatto & Windus, 1876. Gladstone, John G. “Working Class Imagery in Harper’s Weekly.” Labor’s Heritage Magazine (Spring 1993). Grafton, John. The American West in the Nineteenth Century: 255 Illustrations from Harper’s Weekly and Other Contemporary Sources. New York: Dover Publications, 1992. Great South-West, The. Vol. 1, no. 2 (July 1874). Greeley, Horace. An Overland Journey. New York: C. M. Saxton, Barker and Co., 1860. Hafen, Leroy R., ed. Mountain Men of the Far West. Glendale, Calif.: Arthur H. Clark, 1972. Harper and Brothers Publishers. “High Quality Mass Printing.” Harper and Brothers Descriptive List of Publications. New York, 1878. Hawaiian Gazette Publishing Company. The Panorama of Kilauea: The Great Hawaiian Volcano, with a Full Description and Photograph View; Also, a Sketch of the Artist, Jules Tavernier. Honolulu, 1886. Haywood, Robert. Victorian West, Class and Culture in Kansas Cattle Towns. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1991. Holley, Joe. “Gregory Stapko, Copyist of Famous Artworks.” Washington Post, March 31, 2006. Jackson, Mason. The Pictorial Press: Its Origin and Progress. London: Hurst and Blackett, 1885. Mackart, Deejay. “Monterey: The Bohemian Resort It Was Twenty Years Ago.” San Francisco Call, July 10, 1892. Mathews, Alfred Edward. Pencil Sketches of Colorado, Its Cities, Principal Towns and Mountain Scenery. N.p.: privately published, 1866. McCoy, Joseph G. Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest. Edited by Ralph P. Bieber. Reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986. Orig. pub., Kansas City: Ramsey, Millett and Hudson, 1874. Nordhoff, Charles. California: For Health, Pleasure and Residence; A Book for Travelers and Settlers. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1872, 1874, 1882. Richardson, Albert D. Beyond the Mississippi: From the Great River to the Great Ocean . . . Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Co., 1867. Sheridan, Philip H. Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan. New York: Charles L. Webster and Co., 1888. Simonin, Louis Laurent. “Le Far-West Américain.” Le Tour du Monde, 1867–68. ———. “De Washington à San Francisco.” Le Tour du Monde, 1868. Smith, Duane A. The Birth of Colorado: A Civil War Perspective. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989. Stevenson, Robert Louis. Across the Plains: With Other Memories and Essays, 1892. Facsimile edition, Carlisle, Mass.: Applewood Books, 2007. Taft, Robert. Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, 1850–1900. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953. Winchell, Anna Cora. “Artists and Their Work.” San Francisco Chronicle, April 20, 1919.
Bibliography 223 Newspapers Consulted Cheyenne Leader
Rocky Mountain News
Daily Alta California
San Francisco Call
Denver Daily Times
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Evening Post
Journal des Débats (Paris)
San Francisco Morning Call
Las Animas Leader
Rocky Mountain Herald
References to illustrations are in italic type.
Bohemian Club (San Francisco). See under Bohemianism Boomtowns, 45, 48–50, 70, 83–84, 83–84, 104, 112, 115.
Acoma pueblo, 158
See also Denison, Texas; Parsons City, Kan.; Wichita,
Aesthetics, and Tavernier, 22, 27
African Americans, 70, 77, 105
Border states, 106
Bosqui, Edward, 189–90
“Boss of the Plains” (hat), 106
American Indians. See Indians; individual entries for
Boxwood, 4, 50, 115
tribes and individuals
Boston and Colorado Smelting Company, 135, 135
Antelope, 156, 156–57, 205
Bright, Abbie (diarist), 97
Appleton, Daniel, 8
Broadwell, James M., 147–48
Arapaho Indians, 164
Brulé Sioux, 167, 171
Arbor-like enclosure (Sun Dance), 168
Bryden, James, 103
Arkansas pilgrims, 72, 72–74, 74–75, 76, 80, 199, 200,
Buecker, Thomas (historian), 165–66
Buffalo, 4, 9, 94, 117–18, 121, 145, 160, 199–200; and
Artists’ Battalion, 7
American Indians, 120, 167–68; hides and other goods,
Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, 105, 110
104, 117, 121, 121–22, 152, 166, 171; slaughter of, 110, 117–18, 119, 120–22, 199–200, 213n11, 213n15
Barbizon, France, 5, 20
Buffalo Bill, 118
Barrias, Félix-Joseph, 5, 176
Buislay, Auguste, 218n10
Battle of Buzenval, 7
Buislay, Etienne (aeronaut), 90, 196, 218n13
Bazaine, Marshall, 5
Bush, Richard (artist), 183
Bearce, General, 143 Becker, Joseph, 207n2
Camp Robinson, 88, 162, 164–66, 171, 199, 216n11
Beebe & Clegg, 63, 77, 100, 105–106, 117, 152, 172, 211n6,
Candy store (Tavernier family’s), 5
Caribou, Colo., 131, 133
Bent’s Fort, 123
Carr (Station), Colo., 161–62
Blackfoot Sun Dance, 216n9
Carter, William Harding, 162–63, 166–67, 167, 170–71,
Black Hawk, Colo., 134–35, 141
Blue gum tree, 190, 193, 193, 205
Cary, William H. M. (artist), 198, 219n5
Bohemianism, 158, 183, 194, 195, 201; Bohemian Club
Castle Garden (Castle Clinton National Monument), 15, 18
(San Francisco), 5, 183, 193, 194
Catlin, George, 54, 58, 161, 199, 216n9
226 Index Cattle barons, 47, 95, 106 Central Park, 5
East Coast: compared to frontier, 23, 30, 38, 40, 44–45; views on polygamy, 176
Chalets and log houses, comparison, 44
Eckhart, Schleier, and Charpiot (Denver firm), 130
Charpiot, Frédéric, 130–31, 214n2, 214–15n15
École des Beaux-Arts, 207n7
Cherokee Indians, 53, 57–58, 60, 60, 65, 104, 106
Eisenhower, Dwight D., 71
Cherokee Strip, 106
Elephant Corral, Denver, 130
Cheyenne, Wyo., 88, 163, 165, 171–72, 179, 189, 214n10 (chap. 9), 215n4
False-front buildings, as emblem of West, 45, 50
Cheyenne Indians, 164
Flash floods. See Freshets (flash floods)
Chinatown (San Francisco), 183–84, 184–89, 186, 188
Fort D. A. Russell, 162–63, 215n4
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 172. See also
Fort Dodge, 121
Mormonism Civil War, 3, 13, 54, 58, 73, 104, 118, 134, 172, 211n2 (chap. 7), 214n10 (chap. 10) Chisholm Trail, 104. See also Cowboys
Fort Fetterman, 165 Fort Gibson, 54–55, 55, 56, 57–58, 63, 65, 161, 205 Fort Laramie, 88, 88, 162–66, 171, 214n10 (chap. 9), 215nn4–5
Chouteau (place name), 41, 54, 209n3 (chap. 4)
Fort Scott, 48, 110, 212n24
Clegg. See Beebe & Clegg
Fort Zarah, 213n6 (chap. 8)
Cody, William Frederick, “Buffalo Bill,” 118
Franco-Prussian War, 5, 7, 7–8, 20, 200, 207n8
Collins, Gilbert (store owner), 165
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 4, 95, 207n2
Collins, J. S. (store owner), 88, 88, 165
Frenzeny, Paul: artistic skills, 8; background as soldier,
Commune uprising (Paris), 7, 207n8
5; balloon ride, 195–97; Bohemian Club (San Fran-
Cooper, James Fenimore, 161
cisco) involvement, 183, 193–95; other commissions,
Cotton industry, 77–81, 79, 205; cotton-gin, 78–79, 79
34, 38, 195, 201; signature on works, 14; as world trav-
Cover page, Frenzeny and Tavernier illustration selected
eler and illustrator, 201. See also Cover page, Frenzeny
for, 12, 67, 68, 69, 70, 107, 108, 119, 120, 141, 142, 174,
and Tavernier illustration selected for; Special artists/
175, 198, 200, 213n15
Cowboys, 91, 96–99, 97–98, 100–106, 101, 212n14
Freshets (flash floods), 76, 76, 204
Coyote mines, 133 Cross Timbers, 80–81, 80, 91, 211n13
Garden of the Gods, 144, 144–45, 147, 160, 206
Crow Buttes, 166
Gault, C. (artist), 45 Golden Gate Bridge, 217n3 (chap. 13)
Daily Alta California, 218n12
Goldsmith, Oliver (poet), 114, 212n5 (chap. 8)
Dakota Territory, 166, 216n23
Gouache, 50, 65, 84, 114
Dam, Harry (Bohemian Club), 194
Grande Armée, 175
Davis, Theodore R. (artist), 3, 198–99
Greeley, Horace, 125, 215n3
Dear, W. W. (store owner), 166
Great Chicago fire, 6, 8
Delaware Indians, 60, 60
Great Plains, 91, 93–94, 110, 112–14, 117–18, 157, 207n2
“Delmonico of the West,” 130–31
Great South-West, The, 31, 33–37, 42–43, 47–48, 52–53,
Denison, Texas, 66, 70–72, 71, 76–77, 93–94, 211n4
Denmark (ship), 8
Gregory Gulch, 134
Denver Daily Times, 147
Grizzly bears, 153–55, 154, 155
De Smet, Father Pierre-Jean, 31 De Young, M. H. (journalist), 194
Harper and Brothers, 3, 8–9, 12
Dixon, William Hepworth, 194–95
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 3
Dodge, Colonel R. I., 121
Harper’s Weekly, 3, 5, 8, 9, 13, 23, 38, 42, 45, 52, 83–84,
Dunscomb, J. G., 102–103
91, 94–95, 100, 102, 110, 120, 123, 130, 131, 133, 141,
Index 227 148, 162, 171, 175, 183, 188, 198, 203, 206, 207–208n11, 209n5 (chap. 3), 209n1 (chap. 4), 213n15, 218n1
Limestone/lime kiln, 23–24, 108–109, 178, 204, 208n1 (chap. 2), 212n24
Harripsten, Joseph (artist), 183
Linton, Henry, 215n18
Hill, Thomas (artist), 183
Little Cottonwood Canyon, 177–78, 178
Hoag McGlynn, Betty (historian), 193, 218n5
Log cabins, 9, 38, 39, 41–43, 43, 44, 44–45, 46, 60, 60,
Homesteaders, 48, 106, 108–109, 112
91–92, 92, 149, 153, 153, 203; log chalets, 45
Hope Co.’s Works, 134
London Graphic, 8, 20, 208n9
Hopi Indians, 158, 159
Longhorn, 77, 79, 80, 93, 93–95, 96–97, 97, 100, 101,
Houston, Sam, 54, 58, 77
102–103, 211n2 (chap. 7), 212n6
Hussars, 175–76, 217n4
Long Shong City Laundry (Las Animas, Colo.), 124
Hyde, John (artist), 5
Lunley, Arthur, 144, 146
Indian agencies. See Red Cloud Agency
Marin County, 188–91, 190, 191, 192, 193
Indians: French perspective on, 161; Frenzeny and Taver-
Matthews, Alfred E., 134, 147, 199, 214n10 (chap. 10),
nier’s depictions of, 59, 60, 60, 61, 62, 116, 117, 150–51,
152, 158, 159, 162–63, 167, 168–69, 170–71, 179–82, 179,
Maximilian I, 5
181, 199; Frenzeny and Tavernier’s first contact with,
Maynard, Captain J. S., 161
54, 161; Frenzeny and Tavernier’s interaction with, 65,
McCoy, Joseph, 94–95, 97, 103, 211n4 (chap. 7), 212n13
164–67, 170–71, 201; Frenzeny and Tavernier’s views
McKee & Co., Ward. See Ward, McKee & Co.
of buffalo and, 117–18; Frenzeny and Tavernier’s views
McRoberts, David, 218n13
of poverty of, 58, 60. See also entries for individual
Measom, Allen, 8, 80, 167
tribes and individuals; Indian Territory; Red Cloud
Medicine man, 65, 170
Mining industry: coal, 27, 28–29, 29–30, 38, 39; Califor-
Indian Territory, 13, 37, 48–55, 55, 56, 57–58, 59, 60, 60,
nia, 184; Colorado, 131–135, 132, 152–53, 153, 204–205;
61, 62, 63, 65, 73, 76, 81, 98, 102, 104, 106, 130, 164,
coyote mines, 133; smelting operations, 135–41,
135–36, 138–41. See also Prospectors
Mississippi River (“The Furious”), 9, 13, 31 Molly Maguires, 23, 29, 29–30, 131, 200, 208n2 (chap. 2)
Mont Blanc, 145
“Jinks” (Tavernier), 194
Jones, Senator John F., 195
Judy (Frenzeny’s pointer), 13, 147
Jungfrau, compared to Rockies, 145
Moqui Indians, 158, 159 Mormonism: 172, 179, 217n1 (chap. 12), 217n5; Frenzeny’s
Katy (Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company), 13, 32–33, 34–37, 35, 36, 37, 41–42, 48, 52–54, 53, 66, 70–71, 71, 147, 198, 209n3 (chap. 3), 210n11 Katy’s Baby (Denison, Texas), 70
depictions of, 172–82, 173–74; Tavernier’s depictions of, 164, 176–78, 177–78 Moser wagon, 105 Mount Tamalpais, 189–91, 190, 191, 205
Kehoe, Jack, 27 Keno Hall, Wichita, 104
Napoleonic Wars, 176
Kipling, Rudyard, 201
Nelson, Vance, 166, 170, 216n13 Neosho Valley, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41–42, 42, 43, 45, 47, 49, 51
Lagarde, W. H., 18, 30, 68
Newcomb, Thomas, 194, 196–97
Lakota Sioux, 164, 167
Newton, Kan. (“Bloody Newton”), 110
Left Bank, 5
Nordhoff, Charles, 187
Leslie, Frank. See Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper
North Africa, 112–13
228 Index O’Connell, Dan, 193–94
Schleier, George C., 130
Oglala (Lakota Sioux), 164, 167
Scientific American, 133 Sheridan, General Phil, 120
Papoose, 179, 179, 204
Shoshone Indians, 179–80, 179
Parsons City, Kan., 48–51, 49, 83
Sierra Nevada (balloon), 196–97
Simoneau, Jules, 41
Picturesque America, 8–9, 199
Simonin, Louis Laurent, 41, 130, 161, 209n4 (chap. 4)
Pine Ridge Agency, 216n23
Pioneer Celebration (Woodward’s Gardens), 195–96
Sioux, 31, 162, 164, 167–69. See also Brulé Sioux; Lakota
Plains (the Great Plains, the High Plains). See Great Plains Prairie: 34–35, 37–38, 40–41, 41, 47–48, 48, 50, 54–55, 57,
Sioux; Oglala (Lakota Sioux); Sun Dance Skinner (buffalo), 119, 120, 200 Slumgullion, 126–29, 127, 204
66, 68, 71, 81, 92, 94, 97, 106, 109, 111, 111, 112–13, 113,
Spanish fever, 94
115–18, 120, 125–26, 203–204, 209n2 (chap. 4)
Special artists/correspondents: Frenzeny and Tavernier’s
Prix de Rome, 207n7
experience and skills as, 8–9, 65, 103, 105–106, 120,
Pronghorn, 156, 157
131, 186, 200–201; job requirements and experiences
Prospectors, 134, 149–50, 150–51, 152–53, 153; prospector
of, 3–4, 124, 131, 195, 198–99
hat, 106 Pueblo, Colo., 124, 129, 213n2 (chap. 9), 214n11 (chap. 9) Pullman car, 37, 207n2
Spotted Tail, 167, 171; agency, 171 Stanton, Thaddeus H. (paymaster), 88, 164–65, 171, 216n12 Stapko, Casimir Gregory, 73, 200, 211nn9–10
Red Cloud, 161, 164, 216n14, 216n23. See also Red Cloud Agency; Red Cloud’s War Red Cloud Agency, 88, 88, 161–62, 164–68, 170–71, 175, 193, 199 Red Cloud’s War, 164
Stetson, John Batterson, 106, 212n21; hat created by him, 59, 63, 93, 93, 102, 106, 166, 167, 168–69, 170 Stevenson, Robert Louis, 41, 209n2 (chap. 4), 217n3 Stores and shopping (frontier), 51, 69, 70, 102–103, 103, 117, 166, 187, 205, 208–209n2 (chap. 2), 213n6
Red Dog, 166, 167, 217n25
(chap. 8); trading posts/stores, 60–61, 61, 88, 88, 121,
Reinhart, C., 45
165, 180–82, 181, 205, 216n16
Remington, Frederic, 171, 199–200, 216n9
Sun Dance, 89, 162, 164, 167–71, 168–69, 199, 205, 216n9
Rhine Valley, castles of compared to limestone kilns, 108
“Switch off ” (practice with passenger cars), 20–21, 21,
Robinson, Charles Dormon, 158
36–37, 203, 210n8 (chap. 4)
Robinson, First Lieutenant Levi H., 165 Rocky Mountain News, 130–31, 133, 148, 161, 214n4 (chap. 10), 214n12 Rodeo, 98–99, 204 Rupp, “Whitey,” 104 Russell, Charles M., 199–200
Taft, Robert (historian), 200, 207n1, 208n8, 210n13, 212n24, 213n6 (chap. 8), 213n14 (chap. 8), 213n2, 214n10 (chap. 9), 214n11 (chap. 9), 214n15, 217n5, 217n8 Tavernier, Jules: accent, 8; artistic skills, 8–9; balloon ride, 90, 195–97; birth and childhood, 5; Bohemian Club (San Francisco) involvement, 183, 193–95; in
Saint-Vrain, Céran de Hault de Lassus de, 123
Hawaii (and elsewhere), 201; other commissions, 34,
Saloons, 70–71, 117, 213n6 (chap. 8)
38, 195, 209n5 (chap. 3); signature on works, 14. See
Salt Lake Mormon Temple, 176–78, 178, 204
also Cover page, Frenzeny and Tavernier illustration
San Francisco, Calif.: San Francisco Art Association,
selected for; Special artists/correspondents
158; San Francisco Bay Area, 188. See also Chinatown
Temperance, 44, 44, 203
Temple (Mormon), Salt Lake City. See Salt Lake Mormon
Santa Fe Railroad (Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad), 105, 110
Temple Tepees, 89
Index 229 Texas Road, the/the Old, 54, 72, 97, 131, 210n5
Wells Fargo & Co., 140–41, 141
Tintypes, 166, 167, 170, 217n25
West Coast, Frenzeny and Tavernier at the, 90, 183, 197,
Tornadoes/windstorms, 58, 112, 113, 116, 199, 209n5 (chap. 4) Transcontinental railroad, 3–4, 13, 54, 72, 179, 183–84, 187
201 West Las Animas, 85, 110, 123–24, 213nn1–2 Wheeler, Colonel, 102 Wichita, Kan., 94–95, 97, 100, 103–105, 105, 131
Trappers, 41, 54, 81
Wichita Indians, 54, 104
Treaty of Fort Laramie, 164
Wilhelm, Lieutenant, 167
Twain, Mark, 31, 125, 209nn1–2 (chap. 3)
Williams, Virgil, 183 Windstorms. See Tornadoes/windstorms
Ukase, 174–75, 174, 205
Woodblock, 4, 25, 102, 108
Underground village, 115, 116, 199
Wood engraving, 3–4, 19, 25
Union Pacific Railroad, 157, 175, 179, 217n3
Woodward’s Gardens, Calif., 196
Ute Indians, 180–81, 181
Worrall, Henry (artist), 95, 97–98, 100–101, 104, 199,
Van Horn, James J., 162, 215n7
Wyoming Territory, 88, 124, 126, 208n2 (chap. 1), 211n2
211n4 (chap. 7), 212nn6–7 Vaquero, attire of, 80, 82, 155, 156 Wall tent, 166
(chap. 7), 215n4 Young, Brigham, 173–74, 178, 217n1 (chap. 12), 217n5
Ward, McKee & Co., 102–103, 103 Washington Market, 8
Zarah (Barton County, Kan.), 213n6 (chap. 8)
Waud, Alfred R., 3, 72, 198–99
Zuni Indians, 158, 215n34
Copyedited by Sally Bennett Design and composition by Julie Allred, BW&A Books, Inc. Set in Miller and Engraver’s Roman Jacket design by Tony Roberts Image prepress by University of Oklahoma Printing Services Color gallery printed by John P. Pow Text printed and bound by Thomson-Shore, Inc.