This was originally published on January 3, 2014.
The beginning of Herbert Yernipcut’s life is very confusing to me. The US Indian Rolls between 1895 and 1900, along with the 1900 US Federal Census, are what make his life confusing.
Herbert Yernipcut was born in Indian Territory, in what is now Cotton County, Oklahoma. He was born about 1892, as indicated by census records. However, his headstone says he was born in 1893. I’m not sure how accurate that birth year is, though, considering it also has his death date listed 21 days before he actually died (I have not been able to see a photograph of his headstone yet, so I can’t be certain that it might just be unreadable).
By all accounts he was born to a man who is listed by the name of Comanche and a woman by the name of Wah-Per-Che. However, the Indian rolls for 1895, 1896, and 1897 do not have him listed by the names Herbert or Yer-Nip-Cut. In fact, the rolls for 1895 and 1896 have him (I’m assuming it might possibly still be him?) listed as a girl. (names pertaining to Herbert are highlighted in blue, other discrepancies are highlighted in red)
1895 US Indian Roll, Comanche, Numbers 353-9
Comanche, male, father, 28 years of age
Wah per che, female, wife, 18 years of age
Maud, female, daughter, 3 years of age
To see, female, mother (of Comanche), 46 years of age
Tar sar er (?), female, daughter (of To see), 14 years of age (she appears on other rolls living by the family with a family of her own)
Que wooth take wan (?), male, son (of To see), 8 years of age
Wan que, male, (no relationship listed), 24 years of age
note: on the page prior to this are the names Ten a ver ka and Pa ko chy. These are also relatives and will be mentioned later in more detail.
1896 US Indian Roll, Comanche, Numbers 393-9
Ten-a-ver-kah, male, head of household, 41 years of age
Pa-ko-chy, female, wife, 36 years of age
Comanche, male, father, 29 years of age
Wah-per-che, female, wife, 19 years of age
Maud, female, daughter, 4 years of age
To-see, female, mother, 47 years of age
Mo-que, male, son, 9 years of age
1897 US Indian Roll, Comanche, Numbers 394-401
Ten a ver kah, male, 42 years of age
Pa ko chy, female, wife, 37 years of age
Comanche, male, 30 years of age
Wah per che, female, wife, 20 years of age
Maud, male, son, 5 years of age
McKinly, male, son, 9 months
To see, female, 48 years of age
Mo que, male, son, 10 years of age
1898 US Indian Roll, Comanche, Numbers 393-9
Ten-a-ver-kah, male, 43 years of age
Pa-ko-chy, female, wife, 38 years of age
Comanche, male, 31 years of age
Wah-per-che, female, wife, 21 years of age
Yer-nip-cut, male, son, 6 years of age
To-see, female, 49 years of age
Mo-que, male, grandson, 11 years of age
So far, Herbert doesn’t appear to show up on the census with his parents until the 1898 roll, although I do believe that he is Maud (I somehow doubt that the enumerator really cared that much whether he got the relationship or sex of family members correct…they were still considered “heathens” at this point). According to a July 6, 1933 interview with Herbert’s step-father, Emerson Niyah, “couples might…adopt native Comanche children with their parent’s consent. In that case, a young child usually forgot its natural parents” (Comanche Ethnography: Field Notes of E. Adamson Hoebel, Waldo R. Wedel, Gustav G. Carlson, and Robert H. Lowie, Compiled and edited by Thomas W. Kavanagh, 2008, page 67). And although it is completely possible that Yer-nip-cut was adopted, I doubt it.
I can’t help but wonder, though, about the name changes. And why Mo-Que went from being To-see’s son to her grandson. Again, most likely the enumerator didn’t really care one way or another.
The 1898 roll is the last one Comanche appears on. I believe he died, as he doesn’t appear anywhere else on the rolls.
1899 US Indian Roll, Comanche, Numbers 374-9
Ten-a-ver-kah, male, husband, 44 years of age
Pa-ko-chy, female, wife, 39 years of age
Wah-per-che, female, mother, 22 years of age
Yer-nip-cut, male, son, 7 years of age
To-see, female, grandmother, 50 years of age
Mo-que, male, grandson, 12 years of age
1900 US Indian Roll, Comanche, Numbers 381-6
Ten-a-ver-kah, male, husband, 45 years of age
Pa-ko-chy, female, wife, 40 years of age
Wah-per-che, female, mother, 23 years of age
Yer-nip-cut, male, son, 8 years of age
To-see, female, grandmother, 51 years of age
Mo-que, male, grandson, 13 years of age
Until I am able to get to my local US National Archives, these are the only Comanche rolls I can see between 1881 and 1900. I am able to see the 1900 US Federal Census, which provides some interesting information.
1900 US Federal Census, Apache, Kiowa, and Comanche Reservation, Oklahoma Territory
Ten-a-ver-kah, male, Indian, head of household, born 1856,44 years of age, married, farmer, cannot speak English (I swear it looks like it says he has been married for 70 years, which can’t be right at all)
Pa-ko-chy, female, Indian, wife, born 1861, 39 years of age, married for 20 years, cannot speak English
To-see, female, Indian, mother (of Ten-a-ver-kah), born 1840,60 years of age, widowed, cannot speak English
Wah-per-che, female, Indian, daughter (supposedly of Ten-a-ver-kah), born 1878, 22 years of age, married for 3 years (I do not understand this), can speak English
There are a lot of discrepancies, huh? I can’t explain it. I also can’t explain why the names Herbert or Yer-nip-cut do not appear on the federal census, although he is on the Indian roll. It is possible that he and Mo-que had already been shipped off to one of the Indian schools. I know for a fact that Herbert attended the Phoenix Indian school, lathough I don’t have the dates he was there (at least as a student and not a representative of the school at a convention). However, when I looked at the census for that school he is not listed, but I suppose it is possible he had a totally different name.
I want to point something out that I had to draw myself a diagram to understand:
As you can see in the Indian rolls and census record To-see is the mother of both Comanche and Ten-a-ver-kah. Pa-ko-chy is the mother of Wah-per-che.
I know from Cavanaugh's book (page 14) that Ten-a-ver-kah (spelled Teneverka in the book) was the son of Ekakorohko and Tosee. He married three times, but had no children of his own. More information will be provided in a separate post for him.
About the name Yer-nip-cut:
The way it is pronounced in my family, whether it is how Herbert pronounced it himself or the Tennessee accent changed it, is exactly how it is spelled: Yer nip cut. The way it is pronounced at the Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Anadarko is more like: you nid uh cut. I have found something that I think relates to the name Yer-nip-cut. Kavanaugh’s book, page 235, mentions a man named Youniacut, which happens to be a name of a man who lived close to Herbert’s family. The footnote provides, “1. yuni ‘hair’, kut
U‘possessor’, Has Hair, Hoebel (1940:145) gives this name as Yóniakat and translates it as Buffalo Robe. Youniacut was a Yapain uu local band leader, 1879-92.” How correct this is I cannot say right now. I do know that according to the Comanche dictionary I purchased from The Comanche Language and Cultural Preservation Committee, the word for “buffalo hide robe” is n um uwanah u (nuh-muh-wah-nah-h). However, I am unable at this time to figure out if Yer-nip-cut and Youniacut are possibly the same thing (I’m still learning Comanche grammar!).
To be continued…