Thursday, July 02, 2015

HISTORY SUBDUCTION ZONE: one plate over another

Today I read two articles about Blackfeet.  One, in The Guardian was by Kristen Millares Young in Seattle.  Her resume is at:   
Her website is at
Kristen Millares Young

She is a pretty woman, trained in journalism at fancy places but aspiring to be a novelist.  The first one is called "Subduction" and its place is Neah Bay, which is a rez.  The one on the coast with werewolves and whales.   She wrote a good article about Misty in The Guardian.  I haven’t read "Subduction", but I listened to her reading from it.  I think it’s fancy writing, haute Harvard, closely observed, and out of control.  (Do you hear the condescension?  I can’t help it, so I’ll just stick a flag in it.)

Misty Upham, an actress who went over the edge

Here’s the link to the article:  

An older white man from Montana has just written a book about the “Baker Massacre” and is promoting it as “the real story”.  He is impressed that when he was a kid, no one knew anything about it, but now they do because of Jim Welch.  He believes that living in Montana entitles him to the story.  Actually, there’s quite a bit written about this event, including what’s embedded in the “Blackfeet Heritage, 1907-1908” transcription of the commodity rolls which is available through the Blackfeet Heritage Center.  [SEE BELOW]  He evidently doesn't know how to google and didn't ask a librarian.  He gets my other flag.  

Come on, mister!  For decades Carol and John Murray have been publicizing this story and making sure it gets marked annually with ceremony. One of the quickest and most appealing things to read is Ben Bennett’s version, “Death, too, for the Heavy Runner.”  It's a fiction version of events.  Bennett was a history prof in SF and is gone now. These accounts are laden with mythology, romanticism, bitterness, truth, and outrage.  I put a version in a book of mine. The emphasis depends upon the writer and the times.

Now I’m going to be a target myself.  I didn’t know Misty Upham, but I knew a lot of her relatives.  Let’s start with the oldest genealogy that I have.  The Blackfeet Heritage book gives us these relatives.  (In the only Amazon customer review of “Death, too, comes for the Heavy Runner” the person only wants to know how Heavy Runner got his name. Grab those factoids!)  But I’d like to know far more about Ben Bennett.  Knowing about writers tells you a lot about what they write.  In the meantime, I’ll give you the Blackfeet names of some Upham ancestors.

Illustrations, including the visionary cover, by Tom Saubert
He's in Kalispell.
He accepts commissions.

Many images here of Blackfeet/Blackfoot

Source for the books that are resources for the info below.


William Upham was 37 when the commodity list was made.  His father was Heavy Runner, whose parents are unknown, though the entry for Emma Miller claims his mother was Ah-poh-kee-a.  His mother was Rush-in-the-Night, daughter of  Ee-pun-sevis-wa-ah. All these folks except William were dead when this list was made.

The descendants of Heavy Runner are split into two claim-groups at this point, descendants of Dick Kipp, who was said to have been adopted as a child by Joe Kipp after the Baker Massacre, and Richard (Makapini/Red-Eyes/Last Gun) and Mary (Eesqueepeesaki) who was the father of Thomas Kipp who was the father of Darrell Kipp (Apiniokio Peta, founder of Piegan Institute).  Joe Kipp and Cobell were the scouts that led Baker to the wrong camp.  Heavy Runner had been elsewhere only a short time earlier.  The soldiers were in pursuit of Mountain Chief, who had possibly been warned -- they had left.  Feelings about Kipp and Cobell run high.  Darrell Kipp contested vigorously the material tucked into the commodity list as footnotes. (From Robert J. Ege)  Joe Kipp was well-known as a bootlegger and may have known where the camps were because of delivering whisky only a short time before. Baker was alcoholic and many of his soldiers were drunk, good consumers. Both scouts had family connections to Mountain Chief.

The sibs of Tom Kipp were Cora, Louis, George, Cecilia, Annie and Jack.

The half-sibs whose mother was Old Woman are Joseph (Berry) Kipp, Spear Woman, William Upham, Cut Bank John Kipp, Mary, James, and George.

The children of William Upham at the time of the list were Joseph Upham (9 yrs old) and Dick Upham (6 years old).  They were said to live in the St. Mary’s valley near Babb.

Now I switch to another genealogy book also composed by Roxane DeMarce.  This much more recent book was voluntary; that is, people sent in their own information.  It’s also generally available through the Blackfeet Heritage Center and includes other historical material.  The only entry under Upham is John Edward Upham (wife JoAnn Leotta), children Brittany Jo, Bethany Marie.  Sibs are Tony Francis, Lisa (husband Copiskey), Doug and Laniana.  Father was Francis, and other descendant is Karen.  John Irvin Upham was his grandfather and Hiram Upham was his great-grandfather.

A Good Man Dead. Hiram D. Upham, son of Hiram and Delphia Upham, was born in Madison County, NY, Feb 22, 1838, and was therefore, at the time of his death on June 3 [1893] 54 years of age. Possessing more than ordinary ability, young Upham was given a good education in the schools at Coldwater, Mich., to which place his parents had moved from NY. For several years his uncle, Judge Upson, presided over the circuit court in the Coldwater district in Michigan. During Judge Upson’s third term in Congress Gad E. Upson, a brother, was appointed agent of the Piegans and with him to his post at Fort Benton came his nephew, the subject of this sketch. In the summer of 1865 Major Gad E. Upson was nominated by the republicans for delegate in congress and was beaten by Sam Mclean. During the canvass he left Hi, then chief clerk, in charge of the agency. In the fall of 1868 Major Upson, being compelled by ill health to relinquish his post, he was placed in charge to settle up the affairs of the agency.  [Note from MHS: there is no explanation for sliding from Upham to Upson.]

T.C. Power steamboat on the Missouri

T.C. Power himself

Continuing on as clerk under other agents until about 1873 he entered the employ of the firm of T.C. Power Bro., trading at the agency then located on the Teton about three miles above the present town of Choteau, [now Teton County] and at Fort Macleod. In the latter part of the seventies he became associated with Joseph Kipp in business, which partnership continued till the time of his death. Trading at Carroll, Fort Conrad, Robare and Piegan, the firm is one of the best known in northern Montana.

In April 1885 Hi, Joe Kipp, Charley Thomas and several others, went to the Sweetgrass mines, then but recently discovered, and Hi was made recorder. Upham was interested in the Summit Mining Company, whose claims are located in Flathead County west of St. Mary’s Lake. About two weeks ago his health was so impaired that he thought best to go to Great Falls for treatment. On April 28 [1893] the physician telegraphed Kipp to come to Great Falls, but upon his arrival there Upham seemed to be better, and Joe left for home after being with Hi three or four days. The next day after Kipp left, the sick man’s condition was so changed that little hope was entertained for his recovery. On the day of his death A.B. Hamilton called about noon to see him and when admitted to the room was recognized and welcomed by the sufferer, though anyone could see, and he realized it himself, that he had not many minutes to live. Holding his friend’s hand while he approached the dark valley and with scarcely a struggle he ceased to breathe. The bereaved family consists of four children the oldest being 10 years of age. Coming to Montana in his 24th year and living here continuously for 30 years, Hiram D. Upham was admired by every man who knew him. A man of brains and sterling integrity, loyal to his friends and family, generous to a marked degree, of jovial disposition, wholly without sham he finished his work without flinching and is dead. [Reprinted from the Teton Times June 10, 1893]

H.D. Upham No More: the Many Friends of Him Whose Name Appears above Were Shocked with Almost Inexpressible Grief When They Heard of His Untimely Death, Which Occurred in Great Falls Saturday Last. He Had Been Suffering for a Year past with an Affection of the Bladder. His Physicians Had Finally Told Him He Could Live but a Few Days Unless Relief Could Be Had by a Surgical Operation. They Told Him the Operation Would Probably Result Fatally. But He Decided to Risk the Terrible Ordeal And, as the Doctors Predicted, the Operation Proved Fatal Within Twenty Four Hours. The Writer of this Is Only Able to State Some General Facts in the Career of the Deceased. He Was Upwards of Fifty Years of Age and a Native of New York. While a Very Young Man, Perhaps Before He Had Attained His Majority, He Left His Home in New York, and Went West, Settling in Coldwater, Mich. He Entered the Law Office of Judge Upson, His Brother-in-law, (Afterward a Leading Member of Congress for Several Terms) and after Pursuing His Studies the Usual Time, Was Duly Admitted to the Bar. He Had Scarcely Began the Practice of His Chosen Profession, However, When Major Upson, Brother of the Judge of Choteau County, Was Appointed Indian Agent at the Blackfeet Agency and He Came on with Him, Having Been Appointed Agency Clerk. This Was in the Early Sixties. After Serving Some Time in That Capacity He Was Chosen, and as the First Probate Judge of Choteau County. Subsequently He Became Associated in Business with Joseph Kipp at Fort Conrad, Later at Piegan Agency in the Indian Tradership. Mr. Upham Was a Notable Character among the Old Timers in Northern Montana. Everybody Seemed to Know Him, and Not as “Judge Upham,” but Familiarly and Affectionately as “Hy Upham.”  He Was a Man of Remarkable Abilities. Clear-headed and Reliable in Business, Socially Genial and Witty. There Was a Certain Ruggedness about Him Coupled with a Heart as Tender as a Child’s and as Affectionate as a Woman’s. No Man Was Ever Freer from Revengefulness, or Jealousy, or Petty Meannesses, That Characterize So Many. Six Feet or More in Height and Large in Proportion, He Seemed the Picture of Health and Long Life; and with His Happy, Whole Souled Ways, He Was a Person One Could Scarcely Associate with the Idea of Death. His Friends Were Almost as Numerous as His Accuaitances, and He Held Them as with Hooks of Steel. It Is Safe to Say That the Death of No Other Person in Many Years Has Caused Sincer Sorrow in All this Section than That of Hiram D. Upham. No One Who Knew Him Will Deny That He Had Faults, Which Is Only to Say He Was Human.. But If Men Are to Judged by the Deeds Done in the Body, Then Every Tender Heart Will Hope, and Every Liberal Mind Believe, That When the Books of the Great Accountant Are Written up a Balance Will Be Found to His Credit. Though His Death Seems Untimely to Us, We May Perhaps Quote Apprepriately the Words of Colton: “Death Is the Liberator of Him Whom Freedom Cannot Release, the Physician of Him Whom Medicine Cannot Cure, and the Comforter of Him Whom Time Cannot Console. Standing by His Grave as it Were, We May Say: “Here Are No Storms, No Noise, but Silence and Eternal Sleep” FAREWELL, DEAR FRIEND, A LONG LAST, A SAD FAREWELL. C.L.B.

BIOGRAPHICAL: Information was supplied by Carol Ann Chattin Kramer P. O. Box 144, Babb, Montana 59411-0144; Phone: (406) 732-4430 dated 5 May 2002. It states:

"Hiram D. Upham
Leeson, History of Montana (1885) P. 1028
Montana Historical Society, Helena, Mt.

Hiram D. Upham. P.O. Conrad, Was Born in Madison Co., N.Y., February 22, 1839; Son of Hiram And Delphia Upham. Before Coming to Montana Our Subject Had Been For Several Years Located at Coldwater, Mich., Engaged as Collector of Back Pay, Bounties, Pensions, Etc., and Came to the Territory in 1865 as Clerk under Major Upton, Who Located Here as Indian Agent and Died the Year after His Arrival. Mr. Upham Continued to Work as Clerk under Other Agents until 1871, After Which He Acted as Indian Trader for T.C. Powers Sessions in Vicinity Of Fort Mcleod, for Several Years. In 1878 He Became Interested with Joseph Kipp in General Merchandise on the Marias River at Fort Conrad, They Being Also Engaged in Ranching and Trading with the Indians, and He Is Now Interested In the Dupuyer Ditch Co."

CENSUS: This family appears in the 1880 US Federal Census for Montana Territory, Choteau Co., Belt Creek District 4. Enumerated 23 Jun 1880. See line 11 as follows:

Upham, Hiram D. W M 40 Indian Trader N.Y. Fa: N.Y. Mo:N.Y.

Hiram married Emma Spear Woman Heavy Runner of the Blackfeet tribe.  She had a brother William Heavy Runner who took up the name UPHAM.  You will find two Upham lines. One from Hiram and the other from William Heavy Runner UPHAM. When looking up these lines go to ROOTS.WEB.COM you will see both lines.  Terry Smith who has the Indian side and Jacqueline Upham Oliver the UPHAM SIDE. Both are correct in many ways. Difference Source used. Also see Descendent of John Upham by Frank Kidder Upham 1892. Also go to the Upham Family Society Melrose, Ma

Rose or Rosa UPHAM b: 17 DEC 1880 in Dupuyer, Pondera, Montana
Kathryn Marie UPHAM b: 27 NOV 1883 in Browning, Glacier, Montana
Joseph Johnson UPHAM b: 24 APR 1885
John Hiram UPHAM b: 29 AUG 1889 in Blackfoot Reservation, Browning, Glacier, Montana
Myrtle Stella UPHAM b: 6 APR 1893 in Barnard, Lincoln, Kansas

I’ll continue tomorrow with personal memories and may post more info as I find it.  This has been a remarkable family.  I don't think that will change.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of my early novels, The Two Medicine River, was largely drawn from the Heavy Runner source. It was a Romeo and Juliet story, involving the mixed-blood Kipps. The youth seeks to follow the new white men's ways, while the young lady, released from a St. Louis convent, vows to return to her people and become a seer, loosely transcribed as a medicine woman, and restore traditional Blackfoot ways. The Baker massacre brings all that to a bitter end.