In 1995, I took a trip to the National Archives (NARA) to compare the sources available there to the sources found at the Cumberland County Historical Society (CCHS) in Carlisle. I decided to take the CCHS list of a nation for whom there are very few names and compare that to what I'd find in DC. So I chose the Abenaki...since were only about a dozen names. I also did this comparison with a few other nations...Quapaw and Stockbridge. What I found was that there were several names missing on the Archives' list that CCHS had, and the Archives had a couple of names that CCHS didn't. That led me to the conclusion that neither list is complete, but by blending the two lists, a fairly comprehensive list can be compiled.
At any rate, I decided to focus on the Tahamont names to get a good picture for what specific records are available at the Archives. I copied the NARA data for Robert and Estelle Tahamont. These are personal records, but might be interesting to others who would like to know what information can be found in the BIA record group 75 for Indian schools.
Following the NARA file abstracts, are references pulled from the Carlisle Indian School weeklies, The Carlisle Arrow. These newspapers are the basis for which much of my own interpretation of the CIIS history is gleaned. I have some of these issues in text file format, taken from the Indian School collections of the US Military History Institute, in Carlisle. The cites found below are from those files found in searchable format, and the number of files continues to increase but it's important to keep in mind that these do not show ALL of the known references to "Tahamont", only those currently available in my computer directories.
From the student record file (# 5513) at the National Archives: Record group 75, entry 1327.
Robert James Tahamont (Abenaki)
Indian name: Little Owl
Father: James Tahamont; Mother: Estelle
Reservation: Encampment at Lake George.
Mother: 1/4 white, not alloted.
Date of application for enrollment: May 30, 1906.
Age at arrival at CIIS: 15
Date of arrival: July 24, 1906
Height: 49 3/4 " Weight: 86 lbs.
Date of discharge: September 1, 1911.
Reason for discharge: Graduated
8/31/07 Mrs. R. L. Miller, 127 Walnut St, Harrisburg, PA left 6/22/08
9/05/08 " " " " " " " " " left 12/24/08
1/ 02/09 " " " " " " " " " left 6/17/09
6/09/10 A. W. Mann*, New Kingston, PA left 8/31/10
*good Outing Report with Mann.
REPORT AFTER LEAVING CIIS:
1911 Carlisle address, Carpenter
1911 Newark, NJ address, Baker's apprentice
December 14, 1911, Tahamont writes that he owns property in Metuchen, and a house and land in Newark, NJ.
September 21, 1912 Tahamont sent a postcard to Supt. Milton Friedman giving his current address as 145 Watson Ave, Newark, NJ. Occupation: Carpenter.
February 20, 1916, Tahamont wrote a letter to Mr. Denny of the Carlisle school in which he mentions Jim Thorpe and "fire water". He had just been promoted to Corporal of the 2nd Infantry, Company C of the NJ National Guard. There is a photograph in his student file of Robert Tahamont in uniform.
From the student record file (# 3655) at the National Archives: Record group 75, entry 1327.
Estelle Tahamont, BIA entry # 3655. Tribe: Abenaki
Indian name: Falling Star
Father: Johnson Tahamont; Mother: Annie Tahamont.
Home address: c/o Johnson Tahamont, Central Ave, Lennox Hotel, Newark, NJ.
Blood quantum: Fullblood.
Age at arrival: 14.
Height: 5'2 3/4 ", Weight: 107 lbs
Date of arrival at CIIS: 8/25/1909.
Date of discharge: 6/29/1911.
Number of months of previous schooling: 60. Entered grade 6.
Church affiliation: Episcopal.
Her doctor's certificate shows tribe as Bannock, but Miss Gaither reports she is Abenaki.
Reason for discharge: Office request.
Her application for enrollement was in the student file and showed the
Estelle Louise Tahamont
145 Watson Avenue
Term of enrollment: 5 years [Note: 5 years was the typical length of stay at the Carlisle school]. Estelle's mother filled out the application I saw. Estelle was born at Asbury Park, June 8, 1895. Her father was full Indian of Abanaki Tribe located at the NY state Agency.
Her mother was 1/2 Indian of the Long Island Tribe. Mother left the tribe at about age 15 to attend the Chestnut School in Newark. The physician's certificate included a voucher signed by a disinterested person saying Estelle was not afflicted with TB. This is quoted from the application: "is Indian and can not receive proper and adequate schooling at home for reason that her mother is the only support and has three children." According to her medical record, one sister died of whooping cough.
Estelle went to her country home as part of the Outing System 4/30/1910. She lived in the home of J.C. Freemner, 16 E. Mt. Pleasant Ave, Mt. Airy, PA.
OUTING REPORT: J. L. Troemner, Mt. Airy
Conduct: Good, at times a little sullen.
Situation of room: 3rd floor
Careful accounts kept by patron? : yes
Careful accounts kept by pupil? : no
Distance to school: few blocks
Church Attendance: Catholic
Nature of work: General helper
Favorable comments by patron signed by Mollie V. Gaither.
Discharged from Country home: 8/27/10
OUTING ACCOUNT RECORD:
May June July Aug
Conduct G VG VG VP
Ability G G VG F
Health G G VG G
Earnings 5. 5. 5. 5.
Report after leaving: blank
In 1913 she was working in a chewing gum factory near her home in NJ.
Nov 13, 1908 ARROW
Robert Tahamont, the smallest member of the Sophomore Class,
writes a very interesting letter to one of his classmates saying that he
enjoys his Freshman studies at the High School in Harrisburg.
The Invincible Debating Society met at the usual hour Friday evening
in their assembly room. Vice-president Friday called the house to order.
There being no regular program prepared, a volunteer program was given
as follows: Declamation, Joe Loudbear; extemporaneous speeches, Robert
Tahamont and George La Vatta; select reading, Fred Cornelius; vocal
solo, James Mumblehead. One of our visitors, Mr. Whitfield, of Carlisle,
gave us an interesting talk. Mr. Fritz Hendricks followed with some sound
The Invincibles held an unusually interesting meeting last Friday evening.
They decided to drop from their roll all the members who are not sufficiently
interested to help carry on the work. There are a few whose indifference
greatly retards the advancement of the society. In order to keep up their
high standard it is necessary that they should have active members, hence
the resolution which will be acted upon at next meeting. Those who took
part in the program were Robert Tahamont, Peter Jordan, David Solomon,
Thomas Myiow, Joseph Jocks, and Edison Mt. Pleasant. The debate: "Resolved,
That the right of suffrage should be limited to those who can read and
write." Affirmatives, Mitchell LaFleur and George LaVatta; negative,
Alfred Degrass and William Bishop. The affirmatives won. The visitors:
Mrs. Lovewell and Mrs. Canfield:
The Invincibles held an interesting meeting last Friday evening. The
program was well carried out. All but two of the members on the program
were on duty; others willingly volunteered. The program: Select reading,
Peter Regis; essay, Alfred De Grasse; extemporaneous speeches, Loyd Reed
and Alex Arcasa; select reading, Robert Tahamont; oration, Jos.
Loud Bear. The question for debate was: "Resolved, That the masses are
governed more by custom than by reason." The speakers for the affirmative
were Jonas Homer and Arthur Coons; the negative, David Solomon and Fritz
Hendricks. The judges favored the negative. The official visitors were
Miss Guest and Mr. Ramsey.
The following excellent program was given last Friday evening by the
Invincible Debating Society in honor of the graduating class: Overture,
Invincible Trio; Declamation, George Lavata; Essay, James Mumblehead; Selection
- Invincible Trio; Extemporary Speeches, Chas. W. Kennedy, William Owl;
Vocal Solo, Fritz Hendricks; Select Reading, Leroy Redeagle; Oration, Edison
Mt. Pleasant; Selection, Invincible Trio; Debate: "Resolved, That immigration
should be further restricted by an educational test." Affirmative side,
Robert Tahamont, Mitchell Le Fleur; Negative side, William Bishop,
Joseph Jocks; Invincible Trio, Chas. W. Kennedy, 1st Violin, James Mumblehead,
Solo Cornet, Joe B. Poodry, Solo Flute.
Last Friday evening an election of officers for the coming term was held in the Invincible Society Hall. The result of the election was: President, Robert Tahamont; vice-president, William Bishop; recording secretary, Sampson Burd; treasurer, George La Vatta; corresponding secretary, Peter Jordan; reporter, Thomas St. Germaine; sergeant at-arms, Eben Snow; critic Edison Mt. Pleasant. After the election a general debate was held: The question was "Resolved, That the railroads should be owned and operated by the United States government." The offical visitor was Mr. Meyer.
Robert Tahamont, or "Beneki," is now a traveling agent for the
Carlisle Indian Press.
The Catholic meeting last Sunday evening was quite a success. The program
consisted of a declamation, "Duties to mind" by Lewis Runnels; a
recitation entitled "God’s Acre" by Robert Tahamont, and
a guitar solo by Henrique Herreras.
Seniors Elect Officers.
At their class meeting last Monday evening, the Seniors elected the following officers : President, Nan Saunooke; Vice-president, Louis Dupuis; secretary, Eliza Keshena; treasurer, Jefferson Smith; critic, Jerome Kennerly; reporter, Emma LaVatta; question committee chairman, Lewis Runnels; associates, Alfred DeGrass, Minnie White; program committee chairman, William Owl; associates, Mary Dixon and Robert Tahamont. The question for debate at their next meeting reads thus: "Resolved, That the Indian should learn the science of farming."
The Indian has played a very important part in the history of our country, especially the early history. Had it been not for Teedyuscung, a friendly chief of the Delaware Indians, John Harris, the founder of Harrisburg, would have been burned at the stake as was the intention of the unfriendly Paxtang Indians. John Harris’ grave may be seen in the River Park at Harrisburg, at the foot of the tree to which he was bound when the Indians were going to burn him. Since Teedyuscung’s hospitality did so much toward the founding of Harrisburg, a portrait has been placed in the state Capitol building at Harrisburg in honor of this benevolent chief. Teedyuscung was born near Trenton about the year 1700 and died in Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania, in 1763.
HOW THE TERM "FIRE WATER" ORIGINATED.
When the Hudson Bay trading company began their trading among the Indians it was found that by selling the Indians liquor they could more easily be induced to trade their peltries. The first whisky, or intoxicant of inferior quality, was distilled in England and brought to America in large barrels, but in transporting it overland it was found more convenient to divide it into small kegs. The traders soon became aware of the fact that by diluting the whisky with water more furs could be obtained. This was practiced fors ome time, but the Indians learned that good whisky poured on a fire would cause it to flame up, whereas had the whisky been diluted the fire would be quenched. It was by this simple experiment that the term “fire water” became warnon word among Indians. A chief who had experienced the bad effects of whisky among his people said it was most certainly distilled from the hearts of wild cats and the tongues of women, from the effects it produced on the people.
The Invincibles elected and installed the following officers last Friday
evening: President Edison Mt. Pleasant; Vice-President, Sylvester Long*:
recording secretary, William Bishop; corresponding secretary, Frank Lone
Star; treasurer, Alfred Degrasse; reporter, William Owl; sergeant-at- arms,
Robert Tahamont; assistant sergeant-at-arms, Jack Jackson.
THE MASOUERADE BALL.
The masquerade ball given by a party of girls in the gymnasium on the evening of October thirty-first, was, according to a statement made by Supt. Friedman, one of the finest “getups” ever given by the pupils. The ball started at seven-thirty, when figures garbed in costumes of varied and fantastic appearance marched into the gymnasium. Clowns prevailed and amused the lookers on by playing pranks with what appeared to be a stuffed dummy representing a scarecrow; but soon the dummy became animated and walked around. He proved to be not a dummy after all, but was a senior who portrayed the character with great exactness.
There were pretty maids dressed in costumes representing Red Riding Hood, Gypsies, Swiss girls; Scotch girls, and many other quaint characters. The boys represented Indians, monkeys, girls, darkies, tramps, rustic lassies and happy sons of Erin.
After several dances a.[?tlunm&d?] and each found out who his partner was. After having found.their right partners, refreshments consisting of pumpkin pie, apples and coffee were served.
Good behavior was observed throughout the evening and after the “Home Sweet Home” waltz all adjourned carrying with them the memories of one of the most enjoyable social events in the annals of Carlisle. The prize for the best dressed couple was given to Mrs. Deitz and Suzanne Porter; they were dressed in hobble skirts with enormous peach-basket hats. Texie Tubbs and Harry West were the winners of the prize-waltz.
There was a large turnout of the Invincibles last Friday evening and a very spirited meeting ensued. The question debated was: Resolved, “That Korea should be annexed to Japan.” Joseph Loudbear and Robert Tahamont upheld the afirmative, while Alfred DeGrasse and James Mumblehead fought for the negative. Among the visitors were the Misses LeCrone, Hagan, and Sweeney. Mr. Denny was also present and, as always, gave very good advice.
The Invincibles held a lively meeting in their hall last Friday evening,
every seat being taken. After the miscellaneous business and the signing
of the constitution by new members, the house proceeded with the program
as follows; Song, Invincibles; declamation, George LaVatta; essay, Frank
Lonestar; speeches, Thomas Owl and Josiah Saracino; duet, George La Vatta
and Robert Tahamont; quartet, James Mumblehead, Sylvester Long,
Frank. Johnson, and Philip Cornelius. Debate: Resolved, “That to cross
the Atlantic in an airship requires more courage than it did for Columbus
to cross in a sailing vessel.’ The affirmative speakers were William
Bishop and Henry Vinson; the negative, Philip Cornelius and Moses Friday.
The judges decided in favor of the negative. The official visitor was Miss
The invincible society held its most spirited meeting of the year thus
far. There was a full house and the old Invincible spirit was shown by
the way in which the meeting was conducted. The usual routine of business
was quickly disposed of after which the following program was rendered:
Declamation, James O'Brien; extemporaneous speeches, Robert Tahamont,
Philip Cornelius and Georga LaVatta; select reading, Josiah Saracino; oration,
Moses Friday; vocal solo, James Mumblehead. The question debated-was:
Resolved, "That the average young man of today has greater opportunities
to make life a success financially than had his forefathers". The affirmative
speakers were William Owl and Jack Jackson; the negatives, Joseph Jocks
and Mitchell LaFleur. The judges decided in favor of the affirmative. Miss
Kaup and staff of pupil teachers were the visitors for the evening, and
when called upon for talks responded with pleasant advice.
Eight names were added to the roll and several more were presented for membership. The Invincible society is now quite up to the standard and every week makes an effort to have an interesting meeting, to which all are invited.
Robert Tahamont read an essay on "Good Manners" at the Catholic Meeting last Sunday evening. The thought it contained was of the best and we should profit by it.
CHRISTMAS AT CARLISLE.
After having attended a most delightful entertainment in the auditorium, on Saturday evening, the pupils marched in a body to the gymnasium where, amid wreaths of holly and sprays of evergreen, the much-looked-for Christmas presents were given out.ROBERT TAHAMONT, Abenaki.
The Invincible program was as follows: Song, members, Select reading,
Frank Lonestar; extemporaneous speeches, Joseph Jocks, Charles Coons; select
reading, Eugene Powle,qt- -quartets James Mumblehead, Sylvester Long, Philip
Cornelius and Frank Johnson; oration, Sylvester Long*. The question: Resolved,
"That the judges of the United States Supreme Court should be elected
by the people," affirmative, Robert Tahamont and Edison Mt.
Pleasant; negative, Wm. Owl and Moses Friday. The affirmatives won. The
official visitor was Mr. Wyatt.
The Invincibles’ program last Friday evening was as follows: Declamation,
Josiah Saracino; essay, Henry Broker; extemporaneous speeches, Robert
Tahamont and Agustine Knox; recitation, William Garlow. The question
for debate was: Resolved, "That a person should pass an educational
test before he can vote." The speakers on the affirmative were Alfred
Degrasse and Abe Colonahaski; negative, Syl. Long* and Joe Loudbear. The
judges awarded the victory to the affirmative side. Miss Acheson favored
the society with a vocal solo. There were no official visitors.
Robert Tahamont, of the Senior Class, distinguished himself by
winning first prize in the contest in Catechism which was given by the
Sisters to the small boys a few days ago.
The program at the Catholic meeting was rendered as follows: Singing
of hymns by the congregation; select reading, Robert Tahamont; two
stories by Father Stock; piano solo, Mary Pleets; some more hymns and the
meeting was dismissed.
What might have been a very grave accident was averted by the prompt
and heroic action of Robert Tahamont, recent graduate, who was on
his way to the station to meet his mother last Thursday evening. A
patron of the school in company with friends, was walking along when, hearing
the approach of an automobile, she stepped aside on the trolley track,
missed her footing and fell headlong into the Le Tort Creek, which at this
season of the year reaches a depth of four or five feet. It was just at
this moment that Robert appeared, without a moment’s hesitation he jumped
to the rescue and soon had the lady safe upon the shore. We rejoice that
Robert was there and that lady is rapidly recovering severe shock.
[text disjointed...looks to be account of someone's wedding written
THE GRADUATING CLASS.
Mazie L Skye, Seneca.
Estella W. Ellis, Sac & Fox.
Elizabeth Keshena, Menominee.
Emma D LaVatta, Shoshoni.
Minnie 0. White, Mohawk.
Ellen L. Lundquist, Menominee.
Nan E. Saunooke, Cherokee.
Edison P. Mt. Pleasant, Tuscarora.
Louis Dupuis, Sac & Fox.
James W. Mumblehead, Cherokee.
Lewis H. Runnels, Sanpoil.
Leroy Red Eagle, Quapaw.
Spencer Patterson, Seneca.
Jefferson B. Smith, Gros Ventre.
Moses L. Friday, Arapaho.
Francis Coleman, Chippewa.
Charles L. Fish, Sioux.
Alvin W. Kennedy, Seneca.
Robert J. Tahamont, Abenaki.
Fred E. Leicher, Stockbridge.
William J. Owl, Cherokee.
William J, Ettawageshik, Ottawa.
Alfred L. DeGrasse, Mashpee.
Mary E. Nunn, Winnebago.
Emma E. Jackson, Klamath.
Margaret I. DeLorimere, Mohawk.
At the Catholic meeting on Sunday night Robert Tahamont gave
a select reading concerning the missionary work of Mother Mary Paul in
Africa, and Samuel Wilson played two selections on his new saxophone.
Robert Tahamont, Class ‘11, left September first for his home in Newark, New Jersey.
Everet Paul is visiting at the home of Robert Tahamont, in Newark, New Jersey.
Estelle Tahamont has a very nice home in Mt. Airy and writes that she is pleased with her work there and that she has made many new acquaintances. She sends her fondest rememberances to all.
*This is the famous Sylvester Long, aka "Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance,"
who fabricated his Indian identity, wrote a fake autobiography of his life,
and starred in the early film, THE SILENT ENEMY.