Sep 292020

Photo courtesy of Osage Fire Protection District. They’re not only intrepid first responders but excellent photographers. Great picture!

News stories Sept 27 told of three people rescued by the Osage Fire Protection District when their pontoon boat got stuck in the fast current of Lock. Jefferson City firefighters “built a rope rescue system, lowered a rescuer to the boat, and brought the occupants up one at a time.” No one was injured but the KJLU online post by Lesley Taylor noted that in 2009 a man on a jet ski drowned trying to go through the ruined lock.

Other concrete blockages of the Osage River—Bagnell Dam, Truman Dam—have unsavory histories and underperform, but they do serve some contemporary needs like recreation. The ruined 1906 lock and dam on the lower reaches serves no purpose—and never did. It’s a menace to navigation, blocks migratory fish, and every few years kills someone.

In 2012 a long summer drought dropped the river level, exposing the crumbling concrete shell, rusting rebar, and rotten timbers that lurk below the surface and twist the currents of the Osage. We climbed down into the riverbed, walking over and along its ruins. Taking pictures and looking at “the decay of that colossal wreck,” we pondered at the folly of it still being there. We have an extensive post with pictures on the lock, its history and many problems.

We extensively covered it in Damming the Osage: The Conflicted Story of Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Reservoir. The $35, 304-page, all color book, incidentally, we are currently offering for half price, $17.50 postage paid. To purchase, click here.

Aug 202014

Osage Delegation meets with Pres. Calvin Coolidge(click to enlarge)

Press Photo, 8 x 10, dated January 23, 1924 (by UNITED)

Official caption pasted on the back of photo:

The delegation of Osage Indians, in the Capital seeking additional allowances from their government held incomes from oil lands, call at the White House and pose with President Coolidge.

Unfortunately the caption does not identify any of the Osages in the photograph. We wonder if the man on the far left is not Chief Bacon Rind (see previous posts: ). We welcome confirmation of that guess or any identification of others in the photo.

Money generated by the sales of drilling rights had made enrolled Osages “probably the wealthiest people on earth” (New York Times November 18, 1898). Since 1897, oil wells have been drilled in Osage County, Oklahoma. With extraordinary foresight, the tribe had reserved subsurface mineral rights even though the land had been allocated among the 2,229 enrolled Osages. . . . . By the 1920s, those Osages who owned headrights, or shares based on their or their ancestors’ listing on the official rolls of 1906 had become rich from oil revenues.” (page 280, Damming The Osage)

Note the peace medals the two Osage men wear. Genuine medals today are quite valuable, but there are a lot of copies. The otter skin ‘bandeaus’ they wear are characteristic Osage head wear.

Jan 022014


730Press Photo, August 1, 1928

Photograph is by Love Studio, Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The white lines were the outline for cropping for newspaper or magazine layout. The cutline for the photo states: “Fred Lookout, present chief of the Osage Indians and owner of one of the finest cattle ranches in northern Oklahoma.  Lookout has repeatedly urged his tribesmen to economize.”

Lookout was Principal Chief for three terms, serving a record twenty-eight years, much of it during the turbulent oil boom. He attended Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, but spoke only Osage while conducting tribal business.  His wife Julia was a descendent of PA-HIÚ-ÇKA (White Hair) whose grave on Blue Mound near the upper Osage River was desecrated after the tribe departed for Kansas.  Their resting place is on a high hill east of Pawhuska, Oklahoma with a panoramic view of Osage County.

IMG_4339 IMG_4340

Inscription reads:

JULIA MOGRE LOOKOUT, MO-SE-CHE-HE, Born 1-1-1870; Died 2-28-1950. Great Grand-Daughter of Chief PA-HIÚ-ÇKA (White Hair). A true helpmate and devoted mother

CHIEF FRED LOOKOUT, WA-NŐ-SHE ZHIʺ-GA Born 11-17-1861; Died 8-28-1949. The last hereditary Chief of the Great and Little Osage served his tribe with wisdom, integrity and faithfulness.

May they rest in peace

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