Various entertainment activities conducted by Native Americans

Indians in Paris (part 2)

Today’s post is the next in a short series providing background for the American Indian presence at the Paris Expo of 1867.
Today I cover what the U.S. Agent in Paris requested for a Native American exhibit and some dialog concerning the public attitude towards indigenous people in general.

Continue reading

Categories: 1867 Paris Universal Exposition, Culture, Entertainments, Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , ,

1867 Paris Universal Exposition (Illustrations)

Today’s post will try to convey a sense of what it was like to be a participant of this Expo. I have located plans of the grounds, illustrations of the exhibits, and studied the personal impressions of various reporters and writers.
I will also cover the different groups and categories I have researched in an attempt to locate more about the “Indian” exhibit.

I found the plan for the entire exposition grounds showing where the different countries are located in the main Expo Palace and the locations of the smaller buildings belonging to the various countries. You can click on the image to enlarge it. The shaded area is shown in greater detail below. The River Seine is to the right in the plan. The railroad stations are at the top right, just out of sight. The Royal Entrance is located at the bottom center.
Continue reading

Categories: 1867 Paris Universal Exposition, Culture, Miscellaneous | Tags: ,

1867 Paris Universal Exposition (intro)

Today’s post begins a short series which will provide my readers a view of the 1867 Expo and what part my friend U-ta-wa-un might have played in it. I will break the story down into several posts covering

  • what was the Paris Expo of 1867 like
  • U.S. locations within the expo and the neighbors
  • what the U.S. Commissioner in Paris requested
  • what the New York Times claimed was being provided
  • what I could learn about the actual American Indians that appeared in Paris

I will follow up with an additional post to summarize how this relates to my Kanistanaux research project and why I took the time to make this research side-trip.
I will try to make one post a week, but since it is summer and I am spending a lot of time at camp (no power!), I am not going to promise anything.
Continue reading

Categories: 1867 Paris Universal Exposition, Culture, Entertainments, Miscellaneous, Resources-Internet | Tags: ,

U-ta-wa-un and Wa-no-na in Paris

I am so excited to share the following image with my readers.
I have located and acquired images of U-ta-wa-un and his “wife” while exhibiting at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1867. The image originally appeared in an 1867 French newspaper.
Ne-Do-Ba acquired the image through Le Hinchet Books & Prints of France. I would like to thank them for their very prompt service and for making this historically important print available.
Continue reading

Categories: 1867 Paris Universal Exposition, Analysis, Culture, Documentation, Family-Kanistanaux, Resources-Internet | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Indians in Paris?

I recently found a single sentence in a book (written in French) which could be of great interest to the Kanistanaux project. The topic is, of all things, the 1867 Universal Exposition in Paris, France.
Guess who was there? Yep, it’s him Winking smile  He’s baaaack —

Continue reading

Categories: 1867 Paris Universal Exposition, Analysis, Culture, Documentation, Entertainments, Family-Kanistanaux | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Dr. Lee & U-ta-wa-un

A few weeks ago I posted a news clipping about U-ta-wa-un touring in Vermont with Dr. Lee-o-netto as a member of his troupe. Today’s post will cover a nice little treasure relating to this tour. It was located by my good friend Salmon, who is a total research hound. Once he found this artifact, he tracked down the owner and purchased a digit copy for me so I could post it on this blog.

K’chi Wliwni Nidoba

This document is a bit unusual for the time period since it is written using an early version of the “writing machine” or what folks of my generation would recognized as a typewriter.
Continue reading

Categories: Analysis, Culture, Documentation, Entertainments, Family-Kanistanaux | Tags: , , , , , , , ,


This post contains all the information I have collected to date for U-ta-wa-un. I will update the page as new information is gathered, so bookmark this page and check back often.

Last updated on 19-Oct-2012

The man known publicly as U-ta-wa-un appears to have been born W. C. Cappell in New York State, son of Stephen T. Cappell (b.c1804 NY) and his wife Belinda (b.c1814 VT). He spent most of his life playing the part of an Indian Doctor in traveling shows. So far, I have found no clear evidence either of his parents were of Native ancestry.

From an image owned by Ne-Do-Ba


  • c3-Jun-1835 – born in NY, perhaps at or near to Cuba, Cattaraugus Co., NY (1870 US Census, 1900 US Census, 1885 Olean Democrat article, 1904 marriage record, 1889 News Clipping)
  • c1843 ±2 – he left the area of Cuba (1885 Olean Democrat article)
  • 1850 – his parents, Stephen & Belinda Cappell, are residents of  Union, Erie Co., PA with an 11 year old son, William, who may be U-ta-wa-un (1850 US Census)
  • bef c1865 – he lost his hand in a fight in Michigan sometime before his first return to Cuba (1885 Olean Democrat article)
  • bef Apr-1867 – he visited Cuba with a traveling show featuring a tame bear and snakes (perhaps horse racing as well) and was recognized by local residents. Someone inquired how he lost his hand. (1885 Olean Democrat article)
  •  Apr-1867 to Nov-1867 – he participates in the Universal Exposition in Paris, France posing as “Chief U-ta-wa-un of the Callapooses Tribe” (1867 Paris Expo series). He is traveling with a woman using the name Wa-no-na. His image clearly shows his right hand is missing. (1867 Image)
  • 1870 – found at Rondout, Ulster Co., NY with Marleah listed as his wife (1870 US Census)
  • 1877 to 1879 – he appeared at various times and places with “Marleah ‘The Wild Flower’” billed as his sister (various news clippings)
  • 1885 – visited Cuba, NY with his traveling show and wrote a letter to the local newspaper identifying himself as a local boy (1885 Olean Democrat article)
  • early Sep-1887 – re-married his current wife in the Catholic Church at Janesville, Rock Co., Wisconsin (1887 News Clipping)
  • summer 1889 – on tour in Vermont as the “U-ta-wa-un Medician [sic] Co.” with Lee-o-netto as a member of the troupe (1889 News Clipping, 1889 Letter)
  • 1891 – his address was “World’s Fair and Palace Pavillion, Millville, Mass.
  • 1894 to 1906 – appears to frequent the town of Bridgeton, CT perhaps having a residence or family in the area (various news clippings)
  • 1900 – found in census as “Chief U-ta-wa-un”, single, b.in Illinois, working as a Indian doctor staying at a boarding house in Meyersdale, Somerset Co., PA (1900 US Census)
  • 8-Dec-1904 – married Emma Snyder in Reading, Berks Co., PA (1904 Marriage Record)
  • 1905 – he appears under the heading of “Patent Medicine” as “Utawaun C., 708 Washington” in Reading, PA (1905 Directory)
  • 17-Apr-1907 – died as a result of a fall in a Salvation Army hotel in Newark, NJ (1907 Death Notice)

Discussion & Notes

I have prepared this page based on the assumption that U-ta-wa-un was providing the Patriot with accurate information in June of 1885 concerning his connection to the town of Cuba. This may be fool hearty on my part! The man was a master showman and this may be just one more attempt on his part to pique public interest in his products and services.
On the other hand, I have been able to substantiate some of the details he provided in that news piece and on a later marriage record, so the ground may not be too murky in this direction.
Despite the claim by a Cuba resident that Stephen Cappell “is reported to been a resident of the Allegany reservation” (Seneca Nation), I was unable to find the surname on any Seneca lists or records available online. The surname is found in the region over a period of many decades with nothing to suggest there is Native heritage associated with the surname. There are a number of towns within the Allegany reservation, including the city of Salamanca. Many residents of the reservation are non-Native and do not belong to the Seneca Nation.
In the 1870 Census I found Stephen & Belinda Cappell living in Toledo, Ohio. This is interesting because U-ta-wa-un’s death notice mentions he had a son working as a Doctor in Toledo, Ohio.
I found a news clipping suggesting there was another man using a similar name “U-ta-wa-un-o-din-ok-an-es” and claiming to be Choctaw. I wonder if that could be the son? Or perhaps it was just U-ta-wa-un trying out a new sales pitch ;)
It seems this man had a couple run ins with the law in the 1870s. I found two incidences of claimed rape or “ravages” by young women, but in both cases the charges appear to have been dropped after an inquiry. I will not speculate on what might or might not have transpired between the man and the young females. However, I will point out that if an Indian man had indeed molested a white woman in the 1870s, I doubt the Indian would have walked away from the incident.
At this point, I do not know how or even if this man is directly connected to any member of the Kanistanaux family by blood or marriage. I have been able to document two female members of the Kanistanaux family (Marleah & Lee-o-netto) traveling with him at different times. I suspect the men (Laton & Isaac) may also have traveled with him at an earlier time. I also believe Marleah may have been the woman traveling with him to the 1867 Paris Expo. Therefore I feel it is important to continue researching this man’s early professional life in hopes of finding more pieces of the Kanistanaux puzzle. And, well, I admit it, I’ve grown fond of him and feel he’s too colorful to cast aside ;-) and then there is this “feeling” I have – he is not done with me yet!

Sources & Documents

See the Kanistanaux Home Page for more.
See the Kanistanaux Map at Google.
Do you have any information to add or questions?
Please leave a comment.
Canyon Wolf 
Copyright ©2012 Ne-Do-Ba – All Rights Reserved
Categories: Entertainments, Family-Kanistanaux, Review, Timeline, U-ta-wa-un

U-Ta-Wa-Un – Who are you?

Once again, while searching in old newspapers for something completely different, I found a nice little treasure. Actually this one was pretty big, if you count the number of words.
At some point in a puzzling research project, I think most genealogists find themselves asking a dead ancestor something like “Betty, just who are you really?” We might even say it out loud if nobody is listening. Of course we don’t generally expect to get an answer, but what can it hurt to ask? At a minimum, it’s a way to vent frustration. And when we get an answer? That’s the really cool and Really Spooky part of genealogy that keeps me hooked.
I other day I said out loud something to the effect of “U-ta-wa-un, you little stinker, who the heck are you?” (actually that’s cleaned up considerably for my public audience). I then decided to put him aside. Within days I stumbled on a local news piece that tells me exactly who U-Ta-Wa-Un was before he was U-Ta-Wa-Un. He was listening and he answered – Spooky stuff!
Pretty cool what you can find when you’re not looking for it, ha ;)
Continue reading

Categories: Analysis, Documentation, Entertainments, Family-Kanistanaux | Tags: , , , , ,

He’s Baaack!

And now for an encore appearance of none other then the world famous tooth puller himself, the infamous Dr. U-ta-wa-un. I really thought I was done with this fellow. Guess who he is traveling with today!
A big thanks to Randy Blood for discovering and sharing this.

[updated 19-Oct-2012]

Continue reading

Categories: Analysis, Documentation, Entertainments, Family-Kanistanaux, Resources-Internet | Tags: , , , , ,

Laton’s Death Notice

K’chi Wliwni Nidoba – Great Thanks My Friend

A descendant of Carrie’s, Randy Blood, has recently gotten involved in this research project. He has been searching through old newspapers and found some really great treasures he is sharing with me.
The first one I will share with my readers is the death notice for Laton Kanistanaux published in a local New York newspaper.
Continue reading

Categories: Analysis, Documentation, Entertainments, Family-Kanistanaux | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Blog at WordPress.com.