Bellzona's Picture Book
The Osages - Grace
SNAKE HIDE, Indian name, Wet Moccasins. Born 1886, Died January 13, 1917.
Roll number 103. This is a valuable portrait since it reveals the everyday
costume of the early Osage people. The skirt with the fringes on it was
probably actually a blanket the women simply wrapped around them and
tucked in at the waist somewhat like the women of another race wore the
sari. Grace is wearing lovely soft moccasins with long leather leggins.
Look closely and you can see how the blouse was made. Notice the shoulder
seam drops a good way off her shoulder and the sleeve is sewn on there.
These blouses were simple and were easily made by just folding a length of
material in two, cutting a hole for the neck, sewing the sides together
and then with another straight strip of cloth the sleeves were made. When
the Osage children were taken to boarding schools, their names were
changed to Christian names. This was the case with the name Snake Hide. It
would become Berry. This name changes could mean each child would have a
different last name. Also, the Osages would keep or hide their eldest
daughter from the school people and this girl would retain her Osage name,
also different from the other children. See these old photographs and be
intensely curious about these people who lived and breathed the air we
breathe but in a different era. We too can become humbled. The sharing of
sorrows and joys by one of their heirs is privileged material. In this
case, Robert L. Smith of Pawhuska who is the only son of Ethel and Goshen
Smith. Goshen Smith is the son of the man on the right, Jeff Smith. Jeff
Smith is the grandfather to Robert L. Smith. Jeff is the brother-in-law to
the maiden in this picture, Grace Snake Hide.
Grace Snake Hide was
married to Tom Butler and was divorced. She died at an early age of
twenty-seven (27). This was the period of time after the soldiers came
home from Europe with the deadly influenza plague. Grace's entire family
died within eight or nine months of each other. The plague was so great
the Hillcrest Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma was established at this time in
order to meet the crisis. Grace had a sister, Esther, and she was the only
one to survive. Esther is the grandmother of Robert L. Smith, one of her
brave heirs who was willing to share this precious information that future
generations may see and know their ancestors.
One has to understand this
was the time of change for the Osage people. It was not acceptable for a
girl to choose her own husband. She was to have an arranged union. When
Grace married of her choice she overlooked the governing laws of the tribe
which she may have felt were not going to be strictly enforced. She
married from her own district which was not acceptable. When the elders
did not approve, she was made to come to a divorce.
Speaking of district one
refers to the three districts of the tribe, Hominy, Fairfax, and Pawhuska.
It is true there is one tribe, but these three districts divide the tribe
by location. Each group hold their own ceremonies individually, called E-lon-schkahs.
While all are attended by the other they are held at the location of their
This Snake Hide family's
allotment is shown as the Berry allotment on the maps. It is directly
beside the Ralston bridge. It was here Joseph H. Jones owned forty acres
which he purchased from George Miller. This land was taken by the river as
was the land of Wilson Kirk, an ancestor of Rose Pipestem. Wilson Kirk's
original allotment became the Greyhorse cemetery, still existing, and
Wilson was given a new allotment, which is now spanned by the Ralston
bridge. The cemetery was created in l906 and is still well maintained and
used. Robert L. Smith remembers gathering corn from that land for the
In its "hay day,"
Ralston was quite notoriously known as a gambling city. It was said to
have possessed thirty-six saloons. They were in every shape and size, some
elegant and some simply tents or other make shift shelters. The Osages
were greatly oppressed with the restrictions placed upon them. They were,
in effect, "boxed in," with all the rules governing the way they
could spend their money. This little Las Vegas town of Ralston became
their escape away and out from the borders of the reservation. Another
location similar to Ralston was Cherryville, Kansas. Early on, the Indians
had hacks or teams and it was necessary to cross the Ralston bridge in
order to get into the town. Therefore, the people living at the edge of
the bridge became natural witnesses to the comings and goings of the
little resort like town. Wagons broke down, often at this point, and these
residents also ministered to the people who were visiting. Their houses
were constantly filled with a turn over of those coming and going.
Bill Hale was one of these
people who was a constant visitor. It was judicated that he was the King
and master mind of the crimes against the Osage but the common people
would not admit they knew of his crimes. They spoke of him as benevolent,
often helping families who were in desperate circumstances. Lee Otis Jones
remembered him when he was a child. He said he rode a beautiful well
groomed horse into town every morning, early. He could whistle with
beautiful control and his favorite song was, "Cattle Call." Lee
remembers it as a most pleasant memory to hear and see him riding while he
whistled his carefree melodies. Today in 2000 some resent even this
pleasant recall of a man who is recorded in history as a vicious killer.
However, one has to think and place themselves into a time in order to
understand, to speculate and to wonder about what really happened.
Jeff Smith had a brother
named Sam. He was married to Hun kah Mon Kahn, Sacred Eagle, or referred
to as Hicka Monka in English. She was one whose family concealed her from
the authorities, keeping her at home from school, and thus preserving her
name. Sam and Hunka Mon Kahn had four children, Annie, Jeff, Harry and
Mamie. Hun kah Mon Kahn had a previous child, William Look Out, from a
former marriage to John Look Out. Mamie was raised by a common
grandmother, Nannie Jane Smith who was married to George Smith. George
Smith was the father to Jefferson and Sam Smith. Esther and Grace had a
brother, Andrew, who is pictured beside Ben Mahshunkashey.
Jefferson does have an
expression that speaks of under currents of emotion. The speculation as to
what it is has been wide. After numerous interviews it became apparent
that this man was highly protective of these sisters, Esther and Grace.
Photography caught his threatening attitude. He did not drop his role of
"body guard," as he was paid to be at any time. He did mean
business about protecting Grace and this picture shows this.
Grace had a brother, Andrew Snake Hide. He
died in 1917 and is buried at Greyhorse. His roll number is 102. Esther
Snake Hide, Smith, wife of Jefferson Smith was born December 24, 1884,
died November 11, 1925. She is buried at Greyhorse. Her roll number is
This comment system requires
you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an
account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or
Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these
companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All
comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator
has approved your comment.