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Wooden Leg's ledger book
Wooden Leg, 1858-1940
Indians of North America
Little Bighorn, Battle of the, Mont., 1876
Title from deed of gift, which also notes that the ledger book was formerly known as the Little Wolf ledger book.
"I suspect 'Wooden Leg,' Cheyenne, to be the artist of all these watercolours because of the resemblance to his style, as exemplified at the museum at Crow Agency, Montana, at the Custer monument. [signed] CHH [Charles H. Heyl, Jr.] 8/7/57"--Inscription on last page.
Production date range from appraisal.
Cheyenne ledger book depicting scenes of the Cheyenne and other Plains Indians. Includes scenes of Indigenous hunters with guns, bows, and other weapons on horseback chasing large game, such as elk and buffalo, and battles between tribal groups and with white soldiers. Some scenes show the actions of white soldiers against Indigenous communities, such as the killing of Sioux women and children and the burning of teepees "by Custer's command". One elaborate battle scene appears to depict Colonel Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn fought in 1876. Other scenes show dances and other customs, such as one captioned in pencil "scalp dance after Custer fight", another captioned "Sioux war dance", and several showing courtship and marriage customs. Some tribes and individuals have been identified in pencil in the hand of former owner Charles H. Heyl, Jr.. Identified tribes include Cheyenne, Nez Perce, Pawnee, Shoshone, Sioux, and Ute. Identified individuals include Calling Elk, Black Sun, Big Wolf, Crow, Chief Joseph, Little Wolf, and Many Crows.
Wooden Leg (K�ham�x�ve�ht�he) was a North Cheyenne warrior. Born in 1858 in the Black Hills region near the Cheyenne River, he was the son of Many Bullet Wounds and Eagle Feather on the Forehead. As a child, he was known as Eats from His Hand, but he later inherited the name Wooden Leg from his uncle. Wooden Leg spent his childhood like many other Plains Indians did, hunting game and fighting against enemy tribes. The first battle with white men that he witnessed was the Wagon Box Fight in Wyoming Territory in 1866. Although the Cheyenne were victorious, Wooden Leg's eldest brother, Strong Wind Blowing, died in the battle. A few years later, at the age of 14, Wooden Leg was invited to become part of the warrior society of the Elkhorn Scrapers. He participated in several battles against white soldiers, including the Battle of Powder River, the Battle of the Rosebud, the Battle of the Little Bighorn (against Colonel George Armstrong Custer), and the Battle of Wolf Mountain. For a time, Wooden Leg, his brother Yellow Hair, and other Cheyenne refused to live on reservations newly created by the United States government. However, Wooden Leg eventually entered the White River Reservation, until the U.S. government forced the Cheyenne to relocate to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. In 1878, he married a Southern Cheyenne woman. After the death of his father, Wooden Leg and his family left the reservation and settled near the Tongue River, where Little Wolf and other Cheyenne had relocated several years prior. In 1889, Wooden Leg enlisted at Fort Keogh as a U.S. Indian scout. He was assigned to First Lieutenant Edward W. Casey's Cheyenne Scouts of the Department of Dakota, who participated in the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Thirty years after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, in 1906, Wooden Leg participated in a meeting of white and Indigenous people on the battlefield to remember the event, and he spoke about the battle. In 1913, Wooden Leg joined Little Wolf (nephew of the Cheyenne leader), Two Moons, and Black Wolf as part of a delegation sent to Washington, D.C., to speak about the Cheyenne tribe. After he returned, Wooden Leg became a judge on the reservation. He and his wife had two daughters, who died in childhood. They adopted the son of Wooden Leg's sister, John White Wolf, after the death of their second daughter. In 1903, Thomas B. Marquis, a former agency physician for the Cheyenne, interviewed Wooden Leg. His account has published in 1931 in the book, Wooden Leg : a warrior who fought Custer. Wooden Leg died in 1940.
121 drawings in 1 volume : pencil, watercolors ; volume 33 x 21 cm
Ledgers (Account books)
Archival Collection Title
Edward E. Ayer Collection
No Copyright - United States
Newberry Open Access Policy
The Newberry makes its collections available for any lawful purpose, commercial or non-commercial, without licensing or permission fees to the library, subject to
these terms and conditions.
Link to Catalog
Ayer MS 3278
3401px × 5398px 105.08 MB
IIIF Resource Type
IIIF Resource ID
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