Osage man, nicknamed Blind Louis, lived at Hominy, Oklahoma around 1920.
Wood ashes blinded him when he was a youth. He was an uncle of Metza
Bertha Big Eagle Jones. He possessed great wealth from his oil royalties.
When Bertha, his niece, committed suicide, he changed his will, thus
leaving her children and today her grandchildren out of his estate. His
grand nieces, children of Ura May and Jack Holt are: Linda Carole, Sherry
and Kathy. His grand nephews, children of Ura May Jones Holt Finn and her
second husband, John Finn, are: John, Gary, Arthur, and Richard Finn. At
the date of 2000 two of the sons have passed away. One Author, an
attorney, and John Anthony who died in Colorado where he returned to his
brother Gary Wayne Finn.
Typical of the dress of the
Osage men during this time are his clothes. This is an expensive Beaver
State Pendleton blanket. His shirt is handmade to the liking of their
style, without a collar. This shirt was probably sewn by Nancy Bellzona
Collins Jones, of Scottish descent and Native American. This is the reason
for the choice of the plaid fabric.
Barely visible are his
leggins, which look to be what was called broadcloth. Broadcloth is an
expensive, dark navy blue woven wool with a color stripe of red and yellow
woven along the edge. His moccasins are severely plain by today's
standards with only a single bead trim around the sides.
When the book was started
it seemed to be Bellzona's sewing for these people to preserve these old
photographs. However, as documents of wills and marriage records became
available the distant kinships became apparent. One of the poems she saved
spoke of "Bell Brandon," a maid of the mountains whose blood was
tinged with the blood of the redman. The poem goes, "she came to the
prairie to live and died there." Bell's grave is unmarked at the
Foraker, Oklahoma cemetery, but one day, I hope to have this poem put on a
marker for her.
The Osages would have their
picture taken with the clothes she had made for them and share a copy with
her. Knowing of her history, I can see why she treasured the pictures of
her distant relatives just as we save our families photographs. Her son
Lee Otis Jones, jealously guarded them during his life time. This was no
easy task amid the often tumultuous trials and times of early day
No one person can be
credited with bringing these heirlooms to the public. It has been a joint
effort with a generous giving and sharing of information from these
people's descendants. Also, one has to remember, these all are the root of
great numbers of descendants.
Note the cut on the man's
ear. Mention must be made of these marks. Those elders having these are no
longer living. There may be elders living now who remember the cut out
places on the ears of older family members. The making of these people
into Christians discouraged this custom as one of self mutilation. This
would have happened along about the same time as the last recorded Sun
dance that was also considered pagan by the Christians. The stories of the
sun is woven through their culture and named affectionately as Grandfather
Sun in their legends. Many similarities between Aztec culture and these
plains people can often be recognized.