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The Whereabouts of Colonel William Penn Boudinot

William Penn Boudinot (Stand Watie's nephew)

Brother Colonel E. C. Boudinot

Ft. Gibson abstracts


Ft. Gibson Post
Vol III No 27
Saturday April 12, 1898 (Part 1)

Abstracted / Transcribed by Linda Haas Davenport

STATEMENT OF FACTS. Concerning the Whereabouts of Col. Wm P. Boudinot. - Col W. P. Boudinot went from Fort Gibson on 13th of March with F J Boudinot, his son, to Kansas City for the purpose of taking treatment for the morphine addiction. The next heard of him was by letter written from East St. Louis, Ill., to his son, Frank Boudinot, in which he said he was not satisfied with the method pursued at the institution at Kansas City, and that he was going somewhere else - that he would return when cured and not before. He also promised to write to his son again soon. That letter was dated the 15th of March, 1898. The next, and last, heard from Col. Boudinot was a letter to Frank Boudinot, mailed at Chicago, Ill, on April 8th, 1898, saying that he was not doing so well, that his absence would be for indefinite time, and asking his son to so state to the curious. Not liking the tenor of the letter Frank Boudinot went to Chicago to the hotel where Col Boudinot wrote he had been stopping for some time. He was not known at the hotel at all, neither could he be located in the city. That is the extent of the knowledge his son has of him at the present time, and he asked The Post to so state for the information of those who, from curiosity or other motives would ask questions.

Ft. Gibson Post
Vol III No 32

Thursday June 23, 1898 (Part 1)
Abstracted / Transcribed by Linda Haas Davenport


Startling Story that the Missing Man Has Committed Suicide

Just before going to press with this issue of The Post we find a somewhat starting article in yesterday's Fort Smith News Record regarding Col. Wm P Boudinot, who left this place several months ago and who has since been mysteriously missing, which fact has been fully set forth in this paper heretofore. The article referred to is an alleged interview with F J Boudinot of this place, in regard to his father's mysterious disappearance. As an items of news to the many friends of the missing man we reproduce the alleged interview as follows:

"My father has committee suicide," he said. "I do not think that there is any doubt of that, and while I have said nothing heretofore, it is probably best to now give the public the facts. My father disappeared in the early spring. He left for Kansas City, with the intention of taking treatment for a habit to which he was addicted. From Kansas City he was traced to Chicago, where on the 8th of April he was seen for the last time. About the middle of April I received a letter from him in which he said that he had come to the conclusion that it would be better for him and everyone else if he were to end his life. He said he proposed to start to Milwaukee on a lake steamer, and when he got a good distance from the shore he would jump into the water and end his life. Since then, although I have employed a detective to follow up every possible clew, I have not been able to secure the slightest trace of him. I have no doubt he carried out his plan. Lake Michigan is a large stretch of water and it is not at all strange that we have not yet recovered his body."

"What causes led to your father to end his life?" was asked.

"There were several. One of the principal reasons for his discouragement was the manner in which he had been treated in the settlement of the estated of my brother, E C Boudinot. He had trouble with the widow, but gave up on every point, and out of an estate of $20,000 received only $600. He was a man of fine sensibilities and was easily hurt, and his treatment in the matter wounded him to the quick."


Boudinot, William P. (pp. 266, 267, 268) Biographical Index

The subject of this sketch is brother of the late E. C. Boudinot, a well-known man, not only in the Indian Territory, but throughout the United States, and whose sketch is elsewhere given in this volume. W. P. is four years the senior, being now sixty-one years of age. The lives of both ran very much in the same groove until their return to the nation upon coming of age. W. P.'s Eastern education qualified him to fill various subordinate positions in the Cherokee Government, beginning with the clerk of the Senate, or "National Committee," as it was then called in 1851-52, and ending with delegate to Washington City in 1887. At times during the interim he edited the national journal, the Cherokee Advocate, assisted to compile and revise the laws of the nation several times, supervised the public schools, and served as one of the secretaries of the executive department. While not engaged in official work he practiced law in the local courts. W. P. Boudinot, like his deceased brother, is a man of ability and talent. He is a natural musician and a forcible writer, and while he does not claim to be a poet he has written verses of undoubted merit. Being as he is a native Cherokee Indian, some readers may be curious to know how one of the race has succeeded in a field of literature where so many have failed, therefore we have obtained his permission to publish the following poem, which we have especially chosen for its picturesque weirdness---a quality characteristic of most of the poetry and music of the Indians. It was only after great persuasion that we prevailed upon the writer to favor us, as Mr. Boudinot is the most modest and unpretentious of men. The verses, we are told, were written when he was a mere boy. The idea in his mind seems to have been that human beings are all followed from cradle to the grave by a relentless and ever-present doom.

 The Spectre
by W. P. Boudinot

 There is a spectre ever haunting
All the living ones on earth;
Like a shadow it attendeth
Every mortal from his birth,
And its likeness is a demon's,
Horrible with mocking mirth.

And it never sleeps an instant,
Never turns away its eye,
Which is always fixed and greedy
Gazing on us ardently;
When at night we sleep it watcheth,
At our bedside standing by.

 Low it crouches by the cradle
Where the new born infant sleeps,
Watching with the watchful mother
When it smiles and when it weeps,
Unseen, silent, absent never,
'Round the dreaming babe it creeps.

 Thus from life's fist faint beginning,
Till the dreaded close appears,
Does this still, unknown companion
Dog us through our flying years;
And it mocks our silly pleasures
As it mocks our useless tears.

[Thus attended the unconscious mortal grows up and enjoys life, until he begins to notice the passage of time, and the coming sunset.
Then he perceives that something is half following, half urging him along.]

 And we feel its icy fingers
Tracing wrinkles on the brow,
While its breath, so cold and deadly,
Turns the raven hair to snow,
As we hobble on our journey
With a stumbling step and slow.

 [The mortal, now an old man, is anxious at last to know where he is being led or driven to.]

 Whither, pleads the weary traveler,
Whither, whither do we fly?
But the darkness now descending
Shuts the scene from human eye;
Still is heard the faint voice pleading---
Never cometh a reply.

 [Save that which the poet himself gives us.]

On the footsteps of each mortal
From his first to latest date,
When he joys, or loves, or sorrows,
Wretched, happy, humble, great,
Mocking glides the silent phantom---
Child of clay it is thy fate.


That a boy of fourteen or fifteen years of age, and an Indian boy at that, should have written such verses as the above, is an interesting fact, and indicates the possession of a vivid poetic imagination. It will be observed that but few words of more than two syllables are brought into use, and if poverty of expression be urged by the critic, the young writer's surroundings and opportunities should be considered, as well as his tender years. We should like to here produce one of Mr. Boudinot's later and consequently more mature poems, but being circumscribed, are therefore obliged to refrain from that pleasure. It is to be hoped that before very long he will collect together the fugitive children of his brain and give them to the world in book form.

 Col. William P. Boudinot (suicide)

Frank J. Boudinot-----------------------E C Boudinot* (deceased)

              Frank J. Boudinot