Red Fox Chronology from Swedenborgian Sources

This material is being posted in the hope that it will be of some help to scholars of Indian Studies, Pan-Indianism, and Swedenborgianism. It is based largely on unpublished archival sources in the Swedenborg School of Religion library.

1890-95?: Francis St. James (Red Fox Skiuhushu) born. Calculated from a letter (dated 29 Dec 1919) in which Paul Sperry says that Red Fox is about thirty years of age.

Abt 1909: Red Fox joins the Catholic church and acquires the name "Francis." Later, according to Hertzberg, he not only converted to Protestantism but became anti-Catholic. He was also anti-immigrant, though he toned this down later.

5 July 1915: Literary Digest prints account of Red Fox's journey by pony from Montana to Washington, DC.

1 June 1918: Literary Digest covers Red Fox's address to 35,000 people at "the New York City college stadium."

20 Sept 1918, Red Fox to American Swedenborg Printing and Publishing Society: Requests help for establishing a mission among the Yakima Indians in Washington (Red Fox is a Blackfoot). A. S. P. & P. S. presumably forwards Red Fox's letter to Paul Sperry, and Sperry's address and a copy of the popular Swedenborgian book Heaven and Hell to Red Fox.

6 Oct 1918: Red Fox speaks at Central Methodist Episcopal Church in Spokane, WA, on the subject "The American Indian as a Loyal American in this War." He is identified as "a Local Preacher of the Methodist Church." From worship bulletin of the above church dated 6 Oct 1918. Red Fox later tells Sperry that it is a local preaching license, and that the Methodist Church did it mainly as a compliment.

9 Oct 1918, Red Fox to Paul Sperry (minister of the Swedenborgian National Church in Washington, DC, and secretary of the Board of Home and Foreign Missions) : "I would be very glad . . . to establish a Swedenborg Indian Mission, and become an Indian minister of your church." Requests information on origin, history, and membership figures of the Swedenborgian churches in America and Europe.

9 Oct 1918, Paul Sperry to Red Fox: Sperry says that church resources are limited, and that the denomination is currently committed to its new mission effort in Japan. He refers Red Fox to Mrs. P. A. Huysman and Mr. Jacob Postma. He then asked if Red Fox is interested in distributing pamphlets. Also, it appears that Sperry contacted Jacob Postma (layperson in Washington state) and Adolph Roeder (Swedenborgian minister in Orange, NJ).

14 or 15 Oct 1918, Jacob Postma to Sperry: Postma expresses reluctance to talk to Red Fox, although we don't know why. However, he agrees to seek out Red Fox.

20 Oct 1918, Red Fox to Sperry: Red Fox asks if " . . . the matter will be taken up." He asks for more Swedenborgian literature.

27 Oct 1918: Red Fox speaks at a Baptist congregation in Yakima, WA (formerly North Yakima, WA). Jacob Postma is in the assembled group.

4 Nov 1918, Jacob Postma to Paul Sperry: Postma sends an eight page letter. He notes that he has had trouble contacting Red Fox. Nonetheless, Postma attended an address by Red Fox at the Baptist church in Yakima, and Postma is very impressed.

12 Nov 1918, Red Fox to Sperry: Red Fox asks if it will be necessary to attend the "seminary" in Ohio, since he has already had "Bible training in New York City." He speaks of starting a mission, but this time it sounds as if he plans to do it in Pennsylvania.

Undated, 1918, Sperry to Red Fox: Sperry replies that the Ohio school is a preparatory school, and that the theological school is in Cambridge. "Ordination into our church is impossible without thorough preparation, and recognition by our theological school." Sperry directs Red Fox to William Reece, and asks whether the Indian Great Spirit is thought of as "one, divine Person."

12 Nov 1918, Postma to Red Fox: Postma thanks Red Fox for his letter. Postma expressed reluctance to contact Red Fox, for fear of being accused of religious sectarianism. Since Swedenborgians are the antithesis of religious sectarianism, we can only guess the nature of the social context.

30 Nov 1918, Red Fox to Sperry: Red Fox agrees on the need for preparation, and mentions receiving correspondence course information from New Church Theological School (now the Swedenborg School of Religion). He sends an article by himself called "American Indian Message" and photos of himself and his cousin Black Hawk Von Rothmann. Says that Indians think of God as one.

6 Dec 1918, Sperry to Red Fox: Sperry congratulates Red Fox for "embarking on a wonderful journey." Again refers Red Fox to Reece, and invites Red Fox to attend the 1919 convention, which Sperry thinks might be held in Washington, DC.

11 Dec 1918, Red Fox to Sperry: For the second time, Red Fox speaks of building a chapel in Pennsylvania; " . . . the chapel I hope will be turn over to the New Church worship--along the Indian line (see Red Fox's letter of 12 Nov 1918). He pleads prior committments for attending Convention, but invites Sperry to attend a meeting of the Indian Grand Council of the Tipi Order of America.

17 Dec 1918, Sperry to Red Fox: Sperry asks Red Fox about his progress with his correspondence studies.

18 Dec 1918: First appearance of Red Fox in print in the Messenger. A short biographical article on Red Fox in the same issue asks, "Is the American Indian ready for the doctrines of the New Church?," and presents Red Fox's answer in an article entitled "The American Indian Message."

5 Jan 1919: Red Fox lectures at First Christian Church in Portland, OR. William Reece is in the assembled group.

7 Jan 1919, Red Fox to Sperry: Red Fox mentions a positive meeting with Reece.

7 Jan 1919, William Reece to Sperry: In a missions report to Sperry, Reece mentions Red Fox. See paragraph two in this letter for full text. Report is positive.

5 Feb 1919, Red Fox to Sperry: Red Fox says that he and Black Hawk are doing nicely with the correspondence courses, while experiencing some difficulty, and says that " . . . we are only in the Baby department of New Church teachings . . . (and that) College . . . that be in the Spiritual World." He expresses regret that Convention can't support an Indian mission. He says that he and Black Hawk are preparing to work under the umbrella of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but he promises to continue to teach New Church teachings.

19 Jan 1919: Red Fox speaks at the Swedenborgian church in Portland, OR.

12 Feb 1919: Short news notice and pictures of Red Fox and Black Hawk. They are here first identified as correspondence students of New Church Theological School. Article notes that they are planning another pony trip to Washington, DC, and hopes that the two will get to stop at New Church congregations.

19 March 1919, Red Fox to Sperry: Red Fox writes to tell Paul Sperry that he and Black Hawk have joined the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He assures Sperry that he does not believe in a Trinity.

4 April 1919, Sperry to Red Fox: Sperry wishes Red Fox well in his ventures in the Christian Church. He says it is probably for the best, and expresses a hope that Red Fox will continue to study the works of Emanuel Swedenborg.

10 April 1919, Red Fox to Sperry: Red Fox asks Sperry to arrange New Church lectures for him in Chicago. Red Fox sets the date for opening his mission for the fall of 1919. He says, " . . . we shall teach to our people Swedenborg Writings and we intend to ever remain loyal to the cause--an Indian never breaks his word."

27 Apr 1919, Red Fox to Sperry: Red Fox sends greetings from Chicago, and says, "We shall never give up the studies of the New Church--never (emphasis is Red Fox's)."

19 May 1919, Red Fox to Sperry: In which Red Fox is very apologetic about having to join the Christian Church, but says that it is necessary to his work. He proposes that he and Sperry meet in Washington, DC, to " . . . see what can be done and work out a plan."

23 May 1919, Sperry to Red Fox: Sperry responds to a request from Red Fox for names and addresses of New Church societies in the Midwest.

18 June 1919, William Stockton (Pittsburgh, PA minister) to Sperry: Stockton says "We expect Chief Red Fox with us next Sunday."

5 Nov 1919: A line drawing of Red Fox appears in the Messenger, identifying him as an NCTS correspondence student, studying " . . . with a view of giving the principles of the New Church to his people."

12 Nov 1919: Anonymous news article in the Messenger describes the American Indian Tepee Christian Mission Society, and asks that contributions of $2 a year be sent to Red Fox at Toppenish, WA.

28 Dec 1919: Red Fox speaks at the San Diego Society of the New Jerusalem on the topics of "The Patriotism and Philosophy of the American Indian" and "Why New Church Teachings Appeal to the American Indian." He and Black Hawk also sang "America" "in the tribal tongue (Messenger, 14 Jan 1920)."

25 Feb 1920: News article in the Messenger soliciting funds for Red Fox's mission.

24 Mar 1920 in the Messenger: Letter of thanks from Red Fox for donations from New Church people along with a promise to train Indian children " . . . to use the books of correspondences in the spiritual sense of the Word." Also, Red Fox offers associate membership in the Tepee Christian Mission, which includes " . . . a real Indian magazine, edited by Indians."

18 Aug 1920: Messenger news notice says that Red Fox and Black Hawk have resigned from the Yakima Indian Mission at White Swan " . . . because the American Christian Missionary Society did not like their New Church doctrines." The article says that The American Indian Tepee Association has received a donation of twenty acres of land, and that they will start building an Indian mission home for children in the fall of 1920.

25 Aug 1920: News notice that Red Fox and Black Hawk " . . . have adopted Rev. Wm. R. Reece, by permission, into the Blackfoot Tribe and bestowed the Indian name on Mr. Reece of 'Running Bear,' the symbolic meaning of which is 'He is always strong and watching evil.'" The article also says that Reece is a member of the Tipi Order of America. This is the last appearance of Red Fox in any New Church literature, public or private, until an article by Louise Woofenden in Five Smooth Stones in 1987.

1931: Hertzberg's last mention of Red Fox, Chapter 9, footnote 3, cites Red Fox in the American Indian Magazine (Oklahoma), as Rev. Dr. Barnabas, Ph.D., Arch-Herio Monk.

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