Title: The Death of "Eagle Star" in Sheffield

Periodical: Sheffield & Rotherham Independent

Date: August 26, 1891

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Never since the Sheffield Infirmary was instituted has there been witnessed in its board room such a unique spectacle as was seen there yesterday, when, in the presence of four Sioux Indian chiefs, the inquest on the body of Paul "Eagle Star" was held by Mr. Wightman. It will be remembered that the accident which caused the death of the deceased occurred a week ago last Friday while he was taking part in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show at Owlerton, and that his death took place on Monday, amputation of the right leg having been performed on the previous Saturday. While he was an inmate of the Infirmary he was visited several times by Colonel Cody, and when the illness took a serious turn Mr. G. C. Crager, who has charge of the Indians, was sent to Sheffield with instructions to "spare no expense, secure the best care, and save his life." After he arrived in Sheffield telegrams came at frequent intervals from Colonel Cody and Mr. Salsbury, inquiring for news of "Eagle Star's" condition. On Monday morning it was apparent that the end was near, and he asked Mr. Crager, who was at his bedside, to give him his hand. Shaking it feebly he said "Jesus, Jesus," and died. Mr. Crager then returned to Nottingham, and found the camp in a condition of gloomy depression at the news that had been received. The squaws and other Indians were walking among the wigwams chanting a requiem for their dead comrade. Colonel Cody, Major Burke, and many of the other members of the company were also much affected.

At the inquest yesterday there were present, arrayed in their brightly coloured native garments and trinkets, Chief Kicking Bear, Chief Black Heart, Chief Lone Bull, and Bull Stands Behind. The last named is a cousin of the deceased, and as an indication that he was mourning for some one dead he wore round his head a band of white silk. He is a tall young man with a singularly graceful form, and upon his face is an expression of refinement and womanlike tenderness in strong contrast to the rugged and dogged virility displayed in the smeared countenances of the Indian chiefs who sat by his side. When he saw the dead body of his cousin Bull Stands Behind burst into tears, but was eventually consoled somewhat by one of the other chiefs, who told him with what exceeding kindness the deceased had been treated at the Infirmary. Throughout the inquiry the four Indians maintained their accustomed stolidity, the only time when they showed more than ordinary interest in the proceedings being when the members of the jury were sworn and kissed the testaments. Probably the ceremony puzzled them as much as some of their ceremonies puzzle the white people. They were accompanied by Major Burke, the general manager for the Buffalo Bill Wild West Company; Mr. William Laugan, supply agent; Mr. George C. Crager, Sioux interpreter, who has charge of the Indians; and John Shaugren, a native interpreter. Mr. B. Folsom, United States Consul, at Sheffield, also attended.

Mr. G. C. Crager identified the body, and said he had known the deceased about six months. The deceased, who was 25 years of age, was a Sioux Indian, and came from America with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. He was a healthy man, and had been with the company about five months. He (witness) did not see the accident occur, but he saw the deceased immediately afterwards, and the latter was brought to the Infirmary within an hour afterwards. The accident happened while the deceased was riding a horse out of the arena. He had ridden the horse daily for a considerable time. The horse slid with all his four feet out, and then fell, and slid on its belly. The deceased's right foot was under the horse's belly, and his right ankle was dislocated. This was the explanation given by the deceased, who did not blame any one.


Mr. Hugh Rhodes, house surgeon at the Infirmary, said he was present when the deceased was admitted. He was suffering from a compound dislocation of the right ankle, whiich had been reduced when he came. He remained at the Infirmary, and it was decided to amputate the foot a week and a day after his admission. This course was taken because lock-jaw had set in. Up to that time he had improved, and it was thought he would recover. The amputation was well performed and with the deceased's sanction, but the lock-jaw became worse, and he died on Monday.

Mr. Folsom, upon being asked whether he had any questions to put, replied that he had not, and remarked that at the time it happened the accident was not considered to be a serious one. He was satisfied the affair was purely an accident.

Mr. Crager stated that the treatment the deceased had received had been perfectly satisfactory. Wherever he went he should always think of the Sheffield Infirmary with feelings of intense gratefulness. The manner in which the surgeons, nurses, and all connected with the institution had cared for a stranger and a foreigner had so impressed him that his command of words entirely failed him in his efforts to give expressions to his feelings. The deceased was a favourite in the camp, and the news of his death had made Colonel Cody ill. The latter would have attended the inquest if he had been able.

The Coroner said that in Sheffield they were proud of the Infirmary, and he was pleased to hear its excellence had been appreciated.

Mr. Folsom replied that he was quite satisfied with the kindness displayed to the deceased at the Infirmary, and with the medical treatment he had received.

The jury, without hesitation, returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

After the inquest, in a conversation with one of our representatives, Mr. Crager grew most enthusiastic in his acknowledgement of the treatment the deceased had received at the Infirmary, where, he said, he could not have received more attention had he been a king. The doctors and nurses spared no pains in ministering to his comfort, and thought nothing of leaving their beds in the middle of the night to grapple with any symptom that threatened him with suffering. He spoke of the generosity and courtesy with which he himself had been treated in Sheffield by all with whom he had come in contact. He had travelled in all sorts of countries, and had mixed with almost all grades of society, but in Sheffield he had received kindness which had quite taken him aback, and which he had previously thought did not exist in this world. He intimated that a bust and pedestal of Colonel Cody in white marble and ebony was being made at Munich, and that Colonel Cody intended to present it to the staff at the Infirmary.

Immediately after the inquest the body was conveyed by Messrs. Tomlinson and Sons to the Midland Railway Station, the Indians and others connected with the show following in carriages. The funeral party was met by Mr. Wheen, the station master, and the coffin containing the body was taken from the hearse and placed in a van specially engaged for the purpose. The presence of the Indian chiefs on the platform excited much interest amongst the people at the station, but as it was not generally known they were going to be there, no crowding took place. All the members of the party took their seats in the train leaving at 11.35 for Nottingham, at which town all the other members of the show, including the proprietors, Colonel Cody and Mr. Salsbury, met the train at the station, with the cowboy band, which played appropriate music. The coffin was unscrewed, and each allowed to have a last look at their comrade. The body was then taken forward to West Brompton, London, by train, and buried in the Indian burying ground there.

Title: The Death of "Eagle Star" in Sheffield

Periodical: Sheffield & Rotherham Independent

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West , MS6.3772.028 (Crager Scrapbook)

Date: August 26, 1891

Topics: Lakota Performers

Keywords: Accidents American Indians Bands (Music) Burial Foot--Amputation Funeral service Horses Indian women Medical care Railroad travel Sioux Nation Surgeons Surgery Translators Wigwams

People: Burke, John M., 1842-1917 Kicking Bear, 1853-1904 Lone Bull Salsbury, Nathan, 1846-1902

Places: Brompton Cemetery (London, England) Nottingham (England) Sheffield (England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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