4to., (10 5/8 x 8 3/8 inches). 100 photogravure plates, numerous in-text illustrations. Professionally rebound in full morocco, preserving the cover panels and portion of the original spine, decorated in blind, all edges gilt, the spine in 5 compartments separated by four raised bands, gilt lettered in two (small chip to front cover, rear cover slightly rubbed).
Provenance: Ink stamps of “Thos. J. Harrison Private Library, Pryor, Oklahoma” on title page and p. 3.
First edition. Attributed to D. C. Gideon, whose autobiography and photograph appear on pp. 312-313. A physician from Illinois, Gideon abandoned his medical practice and eventually immigrated to Indian Territory around 1890, where he again became a doctor, setting aside his intervening career as a journalist. In yet another twist he went back to 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 will hereafter be devoted to his ranch and stock in Blue county, Choctaw nation” (p. 313). Although originally married to Sarah Row, he later remarried a Choctaw woman named Nellie J. Landers.
This volume is a cornerstone of historical, anthropological, social, and genealogical research for the Indian Territory shortly before it was subsumed in 1907 by Oklahoma statehood. There are numerous biographical entries, and it “has a long section on all the outlaws of the Indian Territory, including the Dalton gang and Cook gang” (Adams). This section of “Territory Outlaws” includes a biography of Bass Reeves (1824-1910), the first African American to be commissioned U.S. deputy marshal west of the Mississippi River. Born to slave parents in Paris, Texas, Reeves’s career exemplifies the role that African Americans played in westward expansion, which is often overlooked. Reeves’s own account of his capture and shooting of rancher Jim Webb in 1895 appears on pp. 115-118.
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” (pp. 7-8). Though this book records (and mourns) a fading way of life, it also clearly anticipates a growing region on the cusp of statehood. Adams, Guns 1107.