Back to the William R. Talbot Home Page.  Back to the Prints Page.
  McKenney & Hall. Four Portraits.  
McKenney, Winnebago [ 1 ]

McKenney, Not-chi-mi-ne [ 2 ]

McKenney, Pocahontas [ 3 ]

McKenney, Mon-Chosia [ 4 ]

Four Fine Indian Portraits by McKenney & Hall

From the first octavo edition of The History of the Indian Tribes of North America (Philadelphia: Printed and colored by J. T. Bowen, 1848–1850)

The four Indian portraits listed below are from the first royal octavo edition of The History of the Indian Tribes of North America published by the firm of Daniel Rice and A. N. Hart in 1848–1850. They are all lithographs enhanced with exquisite bright original hand color and have the desirable evidence of gum arabic. Each sheet is approximately 10 1/4 x 6 5/8". The prints are in fine condition and are free of the foxing that often plagues the octavo edition.

1. “A Winnebago Orator” [Horan 292].

This colorful spokesman accompanied a delegation of proud, fierce Winnebago warriors to Washington, D.C., in 1828, to ask for the release of Chief Red Bird, who had been sentenced to death for killing a trader’s family at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. “McKenney,” writes Horan, “who was present at the meeting in the White House between John Quincy Adams and the Winnebago delegation, recalled the Indian orator as part French and ‘a sensible, fluent speaker.’ He told Adams that he could speak for both the white man and the red man ‘because the blood of both runs in his veins.’ His intense oratory helped to persuade the President to pardon Red Bird.”

2. “Not-Chi-Mi-Ne, An Ioway Chief” [Horan 312].

“Nothing mattered to this Iowa warrior,” notes Horan, “as he told Colonel McKenney, but waging war, killing one’s enemies, stealing their horses, and taking prisoners. His skill and ruthlessness in battle and the contempt with which he viewed life, his own or his enemy’s, had gained him his name. . . . In 1836, when he was thirty-eight, Notchimine grew weary of war and bloodletting and visited the Osage with a peace proposal. He was a hated but respected enemy so the Osage called a council and listened to his proposals. His offer was refused. It was now either a choice of continuing to fight or seeking new ways to promote peace. The Iowa chose the latter. . . . In 1837, a treaty was finally hammered out between representatives of the Osage and the Iowa and signed in the War Department.”

3. “Po-Ca-Hon-Tas” [Horan 324], with pages of text

Pocahontas, the daughter of Wahunsunacock, chief of the Virginia tribes, may never have thrown herself across the body of John Smith to save him from execution, but she did marry John Rolfe and move briefly to England where she died of smallpox. “Pocahantas’s real name was Matoaka,” writes Horan. “‘Pokahantes’ was the name Powhatan [Wahunsunacock] used for his favorite daughter. She was decoyed aboard an English ship in the Potomac, and taken to Jamestown in 1612 where the English and Powhatan met to agree on her ransom.” There she married Rolfe. “Pocahontas became a Christian and was given the name ‘Lady Rebecca.’ The marriage was a great advantage for the struggling colonists; Powhatan kept peace with them until his death.”

4. “Mon-Chonsia, A Kansa Chief” [Horan 340].

“This chief may have been one of the sixteen Pawnee, Omaha, Kansa, Oto, and Missouri who visited the Great Father in the winter of 1821–1822,” according to Horan, “toured the city, and entertained thousands of spectators with a war dance in front of the White House. In the 1820s the Kansa was a small Siouan tribe living northwest of the Osage on the Kansas River. . . . In 1822, Benjamin O’Fallon, McKenney’s agent on the Missouri, estimated that the nation numbered about fifteen hundred men, women, and children. Three years later O’Fallon accompanied their chiefs to St. Louis where they signed a treaty with William Clark, relinquishing to the United States all claims they had to lands in north Kansas and southeast Nebraska. They retained a large tract of land on the Kansas River. . . . McKenney recalled Monchonsia as ‘a man respected by his tribe, cautious, fearless, and brave.’”

Ref.: James D. Horan, The McKenney-All Portrait Gallery of American Indians (New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1972).

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot