Pretty Boy

The next few blogs will be a little different from those done in the past. I’ve encountered a person whose story probably won’t fit neatly into any of my upcoming books, so I’ve decided to serialize it on the blog. I don’t know how many installments will be required because it’s just being written now. After reading the first installment, someone who knows things about the person may see it and provide information about him that I don’t know. Here goes.

 Pretty Boy, as he was known on the Cheyenne River Agency in South Dakota (postal address Dupree, SD) thought he was born in February 1893 when he applied for enrollment at Carlisle Indian School on September 1, 1912. When he registered for the WWI draft, he thought his date of birth was April 14, 1893. Perhaps he learned something about his background in the intervening period.

He was an orphan when he applied, but it isn’t known for how long yet. When he was examined at CIIS by Dr. H. B. Fralic, he was found to be in good health with the exception of his eyes which were considered suspicious by the examining physician. His father died of unknown (to him) causes and his mother died of tuberculosis. He had a sister who was in good health.

Prior to coming to Carlisle, Pretty Boy attended school in Rapid City, South Dakota from 1903-1906. In 1906, he transferred to Cheyenne River Boarding School, which he attended until he left for Carlisle. Being a large young man at 6’1” tall, Pretty Boy was a natural for the athletic teams. Weighing just 163 3/ pounds, he was light for his height, but Pop Warner probably figured that he could fatten him up a bit.

Next time – Part two of Pretty Boy’s tale.

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5 Responses to “Pretty Boy”

  1. Kevin Franklin Says:

    Hello, my name is Kevin Franklin and I am the Historian for the Town of Colonie, N.Y. Years ago I came into posession of a group of diaries wirtten by Henry G. Finn who for many years beginning in about 1930, ran an amusement Park in Colonie called the Mid City Park and Pool in the Village of Menands (Town of Colonie). In his early years Finn was associated with Col. Cody and the Buffalo Bill Wild West Shows. A 1915 Diary of Finn has him at the Pine Ridge Indian Mission in S. Dakota contracting with Indians to appear in the 1915 tour of the Wild West Show. He contracted with the following Indians: “Good Horse & wife, Struck by Crow wife and boy Thomas, Willie Yellow Thunder, Red Ear Horse, Bushy Top Pine, Henry Jones or (Eagle Head) and Edna and Albert Kills in Timber, and LYDIA PRETTY BOY. I have been in contact with the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum in regard to these diaries. Any information you could provide on LYDIA PRETTY BOY would be most appreciated. Kevin Franklin, Historian, Town of Colonie N.Y. or 1-518-782-2601

    • tombenjey Says:

      Hi Kevin,

      It’s been awhile since I wrote this blog and have forgotten much of what I learned about Pretty Boy. His name is on a list of Carlisle Indian School student records. All it has is Pretty Boy [no first name] Sioux from South Dakota, File #4158, Box #93. This should be enough information for the National Archives in Washington, DC to retrieve his student file. What is left of it is more accurate as the contents of these files very from a lot to very little. They have been completely lost for many students. At least you will probably have some information about him.

      I hope this helps.


  2. Francine Says:

    Wow!! Its amazing to hear a story like this about my my grandfather….i will surely pass this on to the rest of my family 🙂

    Cetan Wanbli (Hawk Eagle)

  3. Kevin Franklin Says:

    Hi Everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve visited this site. According to the diary of Henry Finn, in March,1915 he traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation to contract with the following Indians for appearances in that season’s Wild West Shows and ended up with signed contracts for the following: “Good Horse & Wife, Struck by Crow, wife & boy Thomas, Willie Yellow Thunder, Red Ear Horse, Bushy Top Pine, Henry Jones or ‘Eagle Head’, Edna & Rob’t ‘Kills in Timber and Lydia Pretty Boy.” At one point he took them to have portrait paintings done of them. Supposedly a woman named “Mrs. George” was an “Indian Painter” and was to paint portraits of some or all of the Indians listed in Finn’s diary. The group was appearing at the “Empress Theater” in Denver toward the end of March, 1915.
    If you email me at: I would be happy to send you information from the Finn diaries.

    Kevin Franklin, Historian
    Town of Colonie, N.Y.

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