The steel blade incised with three small profile human heads on one side, brass tacks covering the eye and butt ends, the remainder of the haft wrapped in brass or copper wire, a lengthy chain strap attached and trailing an abalone shell pendant. length 21in
Provenance: Sent in the 1880s as a gift to Miss Ruth M. Driver of Nashville, Tennessee by an admirer, J.M. Perglace (?), thereafter by descent. Included with this lot is an original letter, dated August 17, 1880 or 1886, which accompanied the tomahawk and other gifts, sent from Sidney, Nebraska to Nashville. The author recounts his recent travels through the Dakota Territory, mentioning a stay in Deadwood, witnessing a Sun Dance, and visiting the recipient's sister in Lead City. Pertaining to the present lot:
"The tomahawk I obtained from 'Little Big Man' of 'Custer Massacre' fame, and the leading War Chief of the Sioux nation: he used it in the Custer Massacre and on one side of the blade you will find three wide cuts representing heads, denoting three soldiers killed he claims by himself in that massacre: the same fact is recorded as the 'eye' or part where the handle fits, by three notches. It is pronounced by all the finest war tomahawk they have ever seen: and for novelty + the history connected with it, I concluded you would like it more for your cabinet than beadwork."
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