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AUCTION 20

Massive Indian Territory Mug Book & History

29. [GIDEON, D. C.]. Indian Territory Descriptive Biographical and Genealogical Including the Landed Estates, Country Seats etc., etc. with a General History of the Territory in One Volume [all published] Illustrated. Chicago & New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1901. xvi, 956 pp., 102 plates (81 photographic, mostly portraits, some architecture, and scenes; 21 steel-engraved portraits). 4to, professionally rebound in full black morocco, a.e.g., cover panels and portion of original spine preserved and laid on, new endpapers. Small ink stamps of the Thos. J. Harrison Private Library, Pryor, Oklahoma (title and p. 3), otherwise very fine.

     First edition (in another issue of the book, Gideon’s name is listed as author on the title). Adams, Guns 1107: “Has a long section on all the outlaws of the Indian Territory, including the Dalton gang and Cook gang. The author is mistaken in saying that Belle Starr’s brother Ed was her twin, and he repeats all the early and false legends about her.” Howes G158. Adams did not include this work in Rampaging Herd, but the tome has a wealth of material (and many excellent photographs) on Indian Territory ranching and stock raisers, such as Mat Wolf, John D. McLaughlin, Dorsey B. Taliaferro, A. J. McFarlin, et al. Another interesting aspect of the work are biographies of the many Texans who emigrated to Indian Territory and tie-ins between Texas and Oklahoma history.

     This book is filled with out-of-the-way information not found elsewhere. For instance, the section on “Territory Outlaws” contains a biography of Indian Territory deputy marshal Bass Reeves (1824-1910), the first Black to be commissioned U.S. deputy marshal west of the Mississippi River. Reeves was born to slave parents in Paris, Texas (Handbook of Texas Online: Bass Reeves). In the present work Reeves is described thus: “A stalwart negro, fifty years of age, weighs one hundred eighty pounds, stands six feet and two inches in his stockings, and fears nothing that moves and breathes” (p. 115). The author includes Reeves’ own account of his capture and shooting of rancher Jim Webb in 1895 (pp. 115-118). See Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr. & Lonnie E. Underhill, “Negro Marshals in the Indian Territory” in Journal of Negro History, LV:2 (April 1971), who remark that Reeves’ career exemplifies the role that Blacks played in westward expansion, with which they are not usually associated.

     Authorship is attributed to D. C. Gideon, whose biography and photograph are on pp. 312-313. A physician from Illinois, Gideon abandoned a medical practice and eventually emigrated to Indian Territory around 1890, where he again became a doctor, setting aside his intervening career as a journalist. In yet another twist he again resumed journalism before stopping that work “in 1900 to accept the position of general and local historian for this history. His work in this line being ended, his time hereafter be devoted to his ranch and stock in Blue county, Choctaw nation.” Although originally married to Sarah Row, he later remarried a Choctaw named Nellie J. Landers.

     This volume is a cornerstone of historical, anthropological, social, and genealogical research for Indian Territory shortly before it was extinguished in 1907 by Oklahoma statehood. The author’s stance on Native Americans may be inferred by the statement in the section entitled “Indians Becoming Extinct”: “Never in the history of the world has the extermination of a people been so complete as that of the American Indian during the past two hundred years. At first they were estimated at several millions; now only a few thousand are left, and they are being so systematically reduced by the white man’s vices that another century will mark the last of their race.” Nevertheless, even as the book preserves a fading way of life, it clearly anticipates and projects a prosperous growing area that will soon become a state. ($600-1,200)

Sold. Hammer: $900.00; Price Realized: $1,057.50

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