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Full text of "American Indian tomahawks"

PETERSON : AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 



Frontispiece 




AN EXAMPLE OF A PIPE TOMAHAWK WITH EXTREMELY ELABORATE DECORATION 

{see No. 161) 



CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE 

MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN 

HEYE FOUNDATION 

Vol. XIX 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 



by HAROLD L. PETERSON 



With an Appendix-. 



THE BLACKSMITH SHOP 



by MILFORD G. CHANDLER 




MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN 

HEYE FOUNDATION 

1971 



JUL 2 2000 




First published in 1965 
Revised Edition 1971 



Library of Congress Catalogue card number 73-125345 

Printed in Germany at J. J. Augustin, Gliickstadt 

Price: $10.00 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Illustrations iv 

Foreword vii 

Introduction i 

Chapter 

I. A Matter of Words 4 

II. The Indian and the Tomahawk 8 

III. The Simple Hatchet or Belt Axe 18 

IV. The Missouri War Hatchet 22 

V. The Spontoon Tomahawk 24 

VI. The Halberd or "Battle Axe" Tomahawk 27 

VII. The Spiked Tomahawk 29 

VIII. Tomahawks with Hammer Polls 31 

IX. Celtiform Tomahawks 32 

X. The Pipe Tomahawk 33 

XL The White Man and the Tomahawk 40 

XII. Naval Boarding Axes 44 

Directory of Makers and Dealers 46 

Index to Provenience 53 

Appendix: 

"The Blacksmith's Shop," by Milford G. Chandler 55 

Bibliography 78 

Captions to Photographs 83 



111 



IV CONTENTS 

ILLUSTRATIONS 
Plates 
I. Decorated Pipe Tomahawk frontispiece 

[following page 32) 

II. Sketch of an Indian throwing a tomahawk. 

III. Engraved powder horn. 

IV. Sketches of mid-i9th century weapons, by Seth Eastman. 
V. Page from Lewis and Clark's journal. 

VI. Page from Lewis and Clark's journal. 
VII. King Hendrick of the Mohawks. 
VIII. Cornplanter, painted by Frederick Bartoli. 
IX. Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pieth Ton, one of the "Four Kings." 
X. Indian with a spontoon axe. 
XI. Woainga, or "Pipe- Stem," an Oto man. 
XII. Chief Holds-His-Enemy, a Crow warrior. 
XIII. Plug cutter for Battle Ax Plug Tobacco. 



Text Figures 

PAGE 

1. Nomenclature of a hatchet 11 

2. Manufacture of a simple belt axe 19 

3. Spontoon type blade 24 

4. Halberd type blade 27 

5. Construction of a spiked hatchet 30 

6. Lathing hatchet 31 

7. Shingling hatchet 31 

8. Method of forging a pipe tomahawk 37 

9. Tools and equipment used in making tomahawks 58-59 

10. Improvisations 62 

11. Improvisations 63 

12. Improvisations 64 

13. Manufacture of the common pipe tomahawk 66-67 

14. Alterations on the common pipe tomahawk 68 

15. The pierced eye technique of making a tomahawk . . . 70-71 

16. Manufacture of a gun-barrel tomahawk 72 



CONTENTS V 

PAGE 



17. Manufacture of a pipe tomahawk using the "wrap- 
around eye and blade" technique 74~75 

18. An Indian's modification of a ball-peen hammer 77 



Photographs of Tomahawks 
(following page 142) 

Aboriginal Forms Nos. 1- 23 

Simple Hatchets and Belt Axes 25- 45 

Missouri War Hatchets 46- 51 

Spontoon Tomahawks 52- 53 

Halberd Tomahawks 54- 60 

Spiked Tomahawks 61- 88 

Tomahawks with Hammer Polls 89-101 

Celtiform Tomahawks 102-106 

Pipe Tomahawks of the Halberd Form 107-108 

Pipe Tomahawks with Conventional Blades : 

Iron or Steel Heads 109-208 

Brass Heads with Steel Edges 209-219 

All-Brass Heads 220-239 

Pewter or Lead Heads 240-255 

Silver Heads 256 

Stone Heads 257 

Pipe Tomahawks with Spontoon Blades : 

Iron or Steel Heads 258-287 

Brass Heads 288-293 

Pewter Heads 294-298 

Stone Heads 299 

Implements Used by White Men 300-314 



FOREWORD 

The pipe tomahawk is an implement unique in American Indian 
life. Although most native peoples of the world had cutting axes 
and smoking pipes, it was only in North America that these two 
functions were fused into a single object. Over a period of 250 
years, it served on different occasions as a functioning tool, a 
ceremonial adjunct, a decorative object, and a symbol of prestige. 
And, above all, it has become romantically associated with the 
Indian as no other implement. 

Yet with all of this historical and sociological lore, almost no 
serious attention has been given to the story of its development and 
typology, as the bibliography will attest; this volume represents 
an attempt to present much of that story in detail. 

In selecting a suitable author, we turned to Harold L. Peterson, 
an outstanding authority on American colonial arms and armor, 
to supply for the first time a summary of the art of the black- 
smith together with a history of the role of the tomahawk in 
Indian life. 

To round out the more personal relationship of the blacksmith 
with his Indian customers, we asked Milford G. Chandler to recount 
experiences drawn from his early life in the Midwest. Mr. Chandler, 
who grew up in Indiana when it was still a part of the Frontier, 
saw smiths turn out tomahawks for the Indian trade. We are 
indebted to his son, Alan L. Chandler, for executing the drawings 
for the appendix. 

Accompanying these accounts is certainly the most extensive 
visual record of tomahawk types yet published. Captions supply 
documentation as complete as has been possible to gather for each 
of the more than three hundred specimens illustrated, making this 
volume particularly useful as a reference work. 

A word should be inserted concerning provenience. Wherever a 
given tomahawk has been obtained from a known person or tribe, 
the phrase, ''collected from. . .," is employed. This is the most 
accurate statement which can be supplied to associate the object 
with its history. When a specimen comes to the Museum with an 
alleged history or statement of ownership through a third hand, 
the phrase, "attributed to. . .," implies that we accept at face 
value the asserted provenience, but cannot guarantee its accuracy 
beyond this hearsay and our own experience. 

vii 



Vlll FOREWORD 

Much of the study material is drawn from the collections of the 
Museum, gathered over the past half century. However, particular 
acknowledgement must be made to the Harold J. Hibben Col- 
lection, which forms such a significant part of this work. Mr. Hib- 
ben, of Indianapolis, Indiana, was an avid collector of tomahawks 
and, at his death in 1956, owned some four hundred and fifty 
examples. These were generously presented to the Museum in 1959 
by his nephew, Mr. Richard M. Fairbanks, also of Indianapolis. 
They have been given catalog numbers 22/7198 through 22/7408, 
so that all of the Hibben specimens used herein can be readily 
identified. 

Our gratitude is extended to Mr. Fairbanks for the gift of the 
Hibben Collection without which this publication would not have 
been possible, and we acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Robert 
Beverly Hale of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for his friendly 
cooperation in our behalf. To Mr. Peterson go our thanks for his 
willingness to undertake this study, as well as for his patience during 
the long delay in its production; and to Miss Elaine Taylor for 
editing the manuscript. 

Frederick J. Dockstader 
Director 
November, 1964 

Foreword to the Revised Edition 

The popularity of the first edition is a testament to the scholar- 
ship of the author as well as interest in the subject. We are partic- 
ularly grateful to Mr. Peterson for his cooperation in verifying 
certain details, making minor corrections, and providing data on 
additional specimens not included in the original volume. Since 
the earlier publication, some of the specimens are known to have 
changed hands as noted; while every effort has been made to 
keep our records up-to-date, it cannot be guaranteed that the 
ownership of all examples is as listed. 

F. J. D. 
July, 1970 



INTRODUCTION 

The metal trade tomahawk has long been an object of fasci- 
nation for both the amateur collector and the ethnologist. 
Few other implements have ever combined so many different 
functions: tool, weapon, scepter, symbol and smoking pipe. In this 
one instrument is collected the lore of handicraft, warfare, prestige, 
ceremony and personal comfort. Because of this wide appeal, 
and because good specimens are scarce, prices have increased tre- 
mendously on the open market in recent years. This has led, in 
turn, to the manufacture of reproductions and even outright fakes. 
Yet, in spite of this very evident widespread interest, surprisingly 
little has been published on the tomahawk. Arthur Woodward's 
pioneering study, which appeared in the Bulletin of the Fort 
Ticonderoga Museum in 1946, and a few short articles in more 
recent periodicals, constitute almost the entire specific literature 
of the subject. It is hoped that the present study will collate the 
data that have already been published in scattered sources with 
those gleaned from an intensive study of actual specimens into 
one handy reference for the use of future students in their efforts 
to carry the investigations still further. 

As has been stated, the number of surviving tomahawks is 
comparatively small. It is a fortunate museum or collector with 
more than 100 specimens, and the Museum of the American Indian 
with over 700 is in a class completely by itself. Yet almost every 
one of these tomahawks is different from every other. A few exact 
duplications are encountered, but they are the exception ; usually, 
even these demonstrate variations or differences in the decoration 
or in the haft. Thus it has been necessary to choose only representa- 
tive examples for illustration and description here. Of more than 
2000 specimens studied by the writer during the past ten years, 
approximately 300 have been chosen as illustrating the principal 
types, or which display characteristic features, that will assist in 
identifying others which may differ somewhat in detail. 

The dating of tomahawks is as yet by no means precise, for 
only a very few bear dates or makers' names. The balance must be 
dated approximately through provable historical associations, 
paintings or photographs, or the use of various materials which are 
in themselves datable. Much weight must be given to style and 
workmanship. This is a dangerous procedure, for manufacturers in 



2 INTRODUCTION 

certain areas tended to be more conservative than those in others, 
and one is apt to find a tomahawk made by an older or an isolated 
smith in a style that was no longer generally popular at the time 
of its manufacture. Thus the dates given herein are in most cases 
approximations based on the best collateral data available, and 
they represent the years of greatest popularity for each style. 

No work such as this would be possible without the help of 
many unselfish people who have freely given of their time and 
knowledge and have allowed me full access to their collections. It 
would not be possible to mention all who have assisted, but it is 
imperative that special acknowledgment be given the following: 

To Mr. E. K. Burnett, Dr. Frederick J. Dockstader and Mr. 
Charles Turbyfill of the Museum of the American Indian; Mr. 
Philip C. Gifford, Jr., of the American Museum of Natural Hist- 
ory; Mr. Robert A. Elder, Mr. Edgar M. Howell and Mr. Craddock 
Goins, Jr. of the Smithsonian Institution; Mrs. Eugenia Langford 
of the Interior Department Library; Mr. Donald A. Shelley and 
Mr. George Bird of the Henry Ford Museum ; Mr. Patrick Patterson 
of the Woolaroc Museum; Col. Edward P. Hamilton and Miss 
Eleanor Murray of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, all of whom 
have made the materials in their care freely available for study, 
have offered critical suggestions or provided other assistance far 
beyond the call of duty. 

To Dr. Francis S. Ronalds and Charles Steen of the National 
Park Service, and Charles Hanson, former Director of the Museum 
of the Fur Trade, who have provided helpful documentary ma- 
terials and suggestions. 

To Ben F. Hubbell, LaDow Johnston, John and Mary duMont, 
Robert Abels, Ben Palmer, William O. Sweet, Gary L. Granger, 
T. M. Hamilton, Robert F. Wheeler, Clem Caldwell, Donald Baird, 
Herb Glass, Clay Fielden, and Joe Kindig, Jr., advanced col- 
lectors all, who have freely loaned their pieces for study, and 
provided photographs or data without restriction. 

To Dr. Carl P. Russell, who has generously permitted access to 
and use of his unpublished study on the materiel of the fur trade. 

To Dr. Wilfred D. Logan of the National Park Service, who 
read and criticized the manuscript. 

To Bluford W. Muir, who spent many hours photographing the 
specimens from private collections. 

To Carmelo Guadagno, staff photographer of the Museum of 
the American Indian, for his patient cooperation in taking care of 
the requirements of a specialist in such painstaking fashion. 

To Milford G. Chandler, for his courtesy in allowing the in- 
clusion of his own observations as an Appendix to this study. 



INTRODUCTION 3 

And finally, to my wife, Dorothy, who typed the manuscript 
and helped in so many ways. 

Harold L. Peterson, 

Chief Curator 

National Park Service 

United States Department of the Interior 

Arlington, Virginia, 1964 



1* 



CHAPTER I 
A MATTER OF WORDS 

Names can confuse as well as clarify, and this is especially true 
of the tomahawk. For years students and writers, archeolo- 
gists and collectors have been accustomed to using names for 
specific forms or general categories of hatchet or tomahawk. They 
refer to squaw axes, half axes, or to French, Spanish, Minne- 
wauken, Woodlands, or English types with the calm assumption 
that these are accepted terms and will be understood. This is far 
from true. Many of these names have little or no validity in histor- 
ical fact or usage but have been coined by a writer and based upon 
his own observations and deductions. Another writer in a different 
part of the country often independently adopts the same term for 
an entirely different pattern, and adds to the confusion. It is thus 
necessary to discuss and define the various technical terms and 
names that will be used in this study, as well as a few that will not 
be used. Generally speaking, when it is necessary to identify a 
category, a descriptive name based on obvious physical features 
will be used unless there is definite historical or ethnological reason 
for classifying it according to use or area of origin. 

The very word tomahawk itself has a history of confusion. It 
derives from the Algonquian Indians of Virginia whose original 
words tamahak or tamahakan indicated a utensil for cutting. Other 
Algonquian groups had similar words, but it is the Lenape term 
which entered the English language through the settlers who 
founded Jamestown and encountered this group in 1607. 1 

The colonists were by no means linguists, and their faulty 
understanding of the Indian's usage of the term made their defini- 
tions inaccurate and has so clouded the issue that it is now impos- 
sible to be absolutely sure just which instrument or class of in- 
struments an Algonquian speaker meant when he used the word. 

1 William H. Holmes, "Tomahawk," in Frederick W. Hodge (ed.) 
"Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico," Bureau of American 
Ethnology Bulletin 30, 2 vols (Wash., D.C., 1909, 1910), II, 773-775. 
Arthur Woodward, "The Metal Tomahawk, Its Evolution and Distribution 
in North America," Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, VII, No. 3 
(Jan. 1946), 3. William R. Gerard, "The Term Tomahawk," American 
Anthropologist, X, No. 3 (1908), 177-180. William H. Holmes, "The Toma- 
hawk," ibid., X, No. 2 (1908), 264-276. 



A MATTER OF WORDS 5 

Captain John Smith is believed to have been the first to bring the 
word into English in his brief vocabulary of Indian terms prepared 
sometime during the years 1607-1609, when he defined tomahaks 
simply as meaning "axes." Later he added that the term was 
applied to both the native war club and the iron hatchet. 2 

Subsequent writers followed suit, applying the name impartial- 
ly to the native celt hatchet, the grooved axe, the knobbed club, 
the falchion club, spiked club, gunstock club, and the iron trade 
axe and hatchet. Taken out of its context in an early document, 
the word thus means nothing ; it could be any striking weapon or 
tool. Conversely, it is interesting to note that during the 18 th 
century iron hatchets are sometimes referred to as "war clubs" by 
contemporaries. 3 

As the years passed, the term tomahawk came to be applied 
strictly to metal hatchets. Any form of hatchet not specifically 
connected with a trade or profession, such as a coopering hatchet, 
shingler's hatchet, or the like, might receive the name, though 
there was always the implication that it was to be used as a weapon. 
During the 18th century this usage reached its height. Then the 
trend again changed. The term began to be restricted to hatchets 
possessed by Indians, and finally it was applied primarily to the 
pipe tomahawk, while other forms were designated simply as 
"hatchets," or sometimes "war axes," or "battle axes." 

Through all of this period, the tomahawk might also be simply 
called a hatchet. This term, too, is interesting in its usage and 
implications. Normally it connotes a small form of the axe, de- 
signed to be wielded with one hand. Yet, during the 17th century, 
the weights given for hatchet heads to be traded to the Indians, 
(often two or three pounds each), indicate that they were sometimes 
of a size that would be considered an axe today. 4 

It is this size factor that also accounts for another term fre- 
quently encountered, the squaw axe {see No. 25). Some modern 
writers have a tendency to equate the squaw axe with all simple 

2 Ibid. John Smith, "A Map of Virginia," Lyon Gardiner Tyler (ed.), 
Narratives of Early Virginia, 1606-1625 (N. Y., 1907), 78, 102, 103. Carl 
Russell, Firearms, Traps and Tools of the Mountain Men (N. Y., 1967), 239. 

3 Ibid. William Wood, New England's Prospects (1898), 62. "A Relation 
of Maryland, 1635," Clayton C. Hall (ed.), Narratives of Early Maryland, 
1633-1684 (N.Y., 1910), 86. William S. Fowler, "Tomahawks of Central 
New England," Bulletin of the Massachusetts Archeological Society, XII, 
No. 3 (Apr. 1951), 29-37, an( l "Trade Tomahawks," ibid., XIII, No. 3 
(Apr. 1952), 23-25. 

4 Harold A. Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada (New Haven, 1930), 15. 
Carl Russell, op. cit. 



6 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

hatchets and thus differentiate them from those having spikes, 
pipes or other attachments. There seems to be no historical justi- 
fication for this usage, however, except that squaw axes were 
simple implements without spikes or pipes. The term is an old 
one, in use at least by 1806, and it appears to have been used to 
designate the two- and three-pound hatchets mentioned above, 
when it became the custom to distinguish them from the lighter 
forms of the size normally associated with hatchets today. These 
smaller forms were suitable for use as a weapon and for light cut- 
ting. The larger ones were more useful for cutting wood and other 
utilitarian tasks normally performed by Indian women. Although 
such differentiation apparently began early in the 18 th century, 
it has as yet been impossible to document. 5 

A final general term occasionally encountered is the half axe or 
half hatchet. This derived from the era when axe blades frequently 
flared out symmetrically. In the half axe only the side toward the 
hand flared out. The other side was straight or curved slightly in 
the same direction. In the era considered here, the half axe was 
the normal form for hatchets and felling axes, and the term itself 
was becoming obsolete. 6 

In this present volume, only metal trade tomahawks will be 
considered in detail, and the broadest definition of these will be 
used to cover all of the forms normally traded to Indians or used 
by Caucasians and called by that name. For purposes of classi- 
fication, these will be divided into types according to their dis- 
tinguishing physical characteristics, then subdivided by chrono- 
logical period, and the materials of which they are made. 

For all hatchets and axes there are certain technical terms 
which make description easier, and these, too, must be tightly 
defined to prevent confusion (see Fig. 1). The piece is normally 
described as seen in a horizontal position with the head to the 
viewer's right, blade down. The side toward the viewer is then the 
obverse ; the far side is the reverse. There are two principal parts 
of every complete hatchet : the haft (which is also called the handle 
or helve) and the head. The head consists of the blade or bit, the eye 
(the hole through which the haft passes), and the poll (technically, 
the thickened portion of the head on top of the eye and opposite 
the blade, but usually applied to the top of the eye whether if is 
thickened or not). The blade itself is sharpened to an edge for 
cutting, and has two main features : the corner nearest the hand, 
called the heel, and the far corner, called the leading edge. Sometimes 

5 Sir William Craigie and James R. Hulbert (eds.), A Dictionary of 
American English, 4 vols. (Chicago, 1944), IV, 2210. Woodward, op. cit., 6. 

6 Woodward, op. cit., 9. 



A MATTER OF WORDS J 

there are also projections of the head along the haft on either side 
of the eye. These are called ears and serve to strengthen the joint. 
In some specimens there is a metal plate or cap attached to the 
haft in front of the head, often helping to secure the head in 
position. This is called a fore-end cap, or plate, as the case may be. 




LEADING 
EDGE 



Figure i. Nomenclature of a hatchet. 



In addition to these technical features, three terms will be 
used for dimensions: length, height, and width, abbreviated as L., 
H., and W. Length applies to those tomahawks with hafts, and is 
taken from the forward end of the haft to the tip of the butt 
or mouthpiece (if the specimen is a pipe tomahawk). Height 
refers to the vertical dimension of the head. It is taken in a 
straight line from a point equal to the tip of the spike, the top of 
the pipe bowl or the top of the poll depending upon the type of 
axe, to the lowest projection of the blade. The width refers speci- 
fically to the blade and is measured at its widest point (in spontoon 
blades, the curling arms are ignored and only the blade proper is 
considered). There are other minor features, but these are the es- 
sential ones for the discussion which follows. 



CHAPTER II 

THE INDIAN AND THE TOMAHAWK 

Almost from the moment the Indian first saw the metal hatchet 
or tomahawk he coveted it, and sought to possess one for 
himself. The efficiency of the new implement was readily ap- 
parent: it was deadlier in combat, more efficient in cutting wood, 
and just as useful as a ceremonial object. Although it was an excel- 
lent weapon, the white man was not as reluctant to trade it as he 
was to dispense guns. The axe was also self-sufficient; it could 
function without such components as powder and ball that had to 
be obtained from the traders. Thus the hatchet could and did 
spread rapidly through Indian trade routes far from the points of 
white contact, reaching tribes and areas as yet unknown to the 
few Europeans along the coast. 

As it was absorbed, the single tomahawk or hatchet replaced a 
number of more primitive specialized implements. It has already 
been noted that the early colonial writers displayed a distressing 
lack of accuracy in their description and identification of Indian 
weapons and tools. Even when descriptions were essayed, they 
were normally so vague that it is difficult if not impossible to 
obtain an accurate mental image of the piece in question. 

Through the reading of numerous contemporary comments 
made over a period of a hundred and fifty years, however, a pat- 
tern does seem to appear. There were probably at least four and 
possibly five major types of clubs used as weapons in the eastern 
part of the United States when the colonists arrived. Of these, two 
principal categories were most often designated as tomahawks — 
the ball-headed club and the celt {see Nos. i-io). This may not have 
been what was intended by the Algonquians, from whom the word 
came, but nevertheless it would seem to be the finally accepted 
English meaning and in this sense establishes them as the direct 
antecedents of the metal tomahawk. Thus one finds William Wood 
stating in 1634, "Tomahawks be staves of two foote and a halfe 
long and a knob at one end as round and bigge as a football." 7 
Needless to say, this was not the size of the modern football. A 
century later, Mark Catesby summed up the situation thus : 

7 Wood, op. cit., 62. 



THE INDIAN AND THE TOMAHAWK 

These [tomahawks] were of two kinds: one was a staff about 
three feet long, with a large knob at the end ; the others were made 
of stone ground to an edge, of the form and size of a small hatchet, 
and fixed to a strong handle ; these would cut, and were of much 
use, as well for war as for hollowing their canoes, and other mechan- 
ick uses; with these they fought and worked, but since the intro- 
duction of iron hatchets, which they still call tommahawks, they 
have wholly laid aside their stone ones. 8 



Although Catesby was essentially correct in stating that the 
celt as a tool had been superseded, it should not be assumed that 
the club as a weapon or ceremonial symbol had also become ob- 
solete. The ball-headed club continued in use as a weapon through 
the early 19 th century, often with the addition of an iron point set 
in the ball. Some time between 1746-1755, Sir William Johnson 
had been given such a tomahawk club {see No. 3), and small de- 
cadent forms for ceremonial use have been made until very recent 
times. Other clubs, such as the gunstock club and the stone-headed 
war club of the Plains tribes also continued in use as weapons 
through the middle of the 19 th century. For examples, see Plates 
III and IV. 9 

The first contact of the Indian with the iron or steel axe un- 
doubtedly occurred with the arrival of the Vikings, and to judge 
from accounts in the sagas, the meetings were not auspicious. Two 
instances are recounted which may well be the first recorded en- 
counters of the Indian with the weapon which later was to become 
almost synonymous with his warfare. The Saga of Eric the Red 
recalls the first reported battle of the Vikings with the natives of 
America, following which 

8 Mark Catesby, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the 
Bahama Islands, 2 vols. (London, 1731-1743), II, ix. See also: Holmes, 
loc. cit.; Fowler, loc. cit.; Hodge, loc. cit.\ Harold E. Driver and William C. 
Massey, "Comparative Studies of North American Indians," Transactions 
of the American Philosophical Society, n.s. XLVII, Part 2 (Phil., 1957), 
357; John R. Swanton, "The Indians of the Southeastern United States," 
Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 13J (Wash., D.C., 1946), 566- 

570- 

9 Driver and Massey, loc. cit. Swanton, loc. cit. Henry R. Schoolcraft, 
Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition and 
Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, 6 vols. (Phil, 1851-1857), 
II, plates 73, 74. John C. Ewers, "The Horse in Blackfoot Indian Culture," 
Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin isg (Wash., D.C., 1955), 200, 201, 
202, 326, 330. Thomas L. McKenny and James Hall, The Indian Tribes 
of North America, 3 vols, (Edinburgh, 1933, *934) passim. Louis Schell- 
bach, "An Historic Iroquois Warclub," Indian Notes, V, No. 2, (Apr. 
1928) 158-166. George Catlin, North American Indians, 2 vols., (Edinburgh, 
1926), I, 266. 



10 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

The Skrellings [Indians], moreover, found a dead man, and an axe 
lay beside him. One of their number picked up the axe and struck 
at a tree with it, and one after another [they tested it] and it seemed 
to them to be a treasure, and to cut well; then one of their number 
seized it, and hewed at a stone with it so that the axe broke, 
whereat they concluded that it could be of no use, since it would 
not withstand stone, and they cast it away. 10 

In another instance 

One of the Skrellings picked up an axe, and having looked at it for 
a time, he brandished it about one of his companions, and hewed 
at him, and on the instant the man fell dead. Thereupon the big 
man seized the axe, and after examining it a moment, he hurled it 
as far as he could out into the sea. 11 

Following the visits of the Vikings, the Indian was cut off from 
a source of iron axes for some 500 years. Then came the explorers 
sailing along the coasts and pushing inland, and the fishermen 
harvesting the Grand Banks who also stopped along the shore to 
trade for furs. Axes came with them ; the Indian quickly accepted 
them and sought them in trade well before permanent colonies 
were established. The French were the leaders in this sort of trade 
during the early years. Jacques Cartier is known to have distributed 
a gift of hatchets to the Micmac and Saguenay in 1535, and both 
he and Verrazano had undoubtedly done so on earlier voyages 
without leaving records of the fact. Special trading voyages were 
made, and by the end of the century there was an official trading 
post, probably America's first, set up at Tadoussac on the Saguenay 
River. Champlain and the Sieur de Monts fostered the trade along 
the northern Atlantic coast and down the St. Lawrence River. 12 

From these contacts axes spread out through Indian middlemen 
in ever- widening circles. When John Smith explored Chesapeake 
Bay in 1608, he found iron axes that had come down Indian trade 
routes from the French in Canada. From the Great Lakes area the 
Hurons braved the enmity of the Iroquois to obtain axes and other 
trade goods. When the Hurons and the Ottawas were driven west- 
ward after 1663, they took their axes with them on across the 

10 "The Saga of Eric the Red, also called The Saga of Thorfinn 
Karlsefni," in John E. Olson (ed.), The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, 
985-1503, (N.Y., 1906), 39. 

11 "The Vinland History of the Flat Island Book," ibid., 61, 62. 

12 Jacques Cartier, The Voyages of Jacques Cartier, H. P. Biggar (ed.), 
(Ottawa, 1924), 53, 60, 121, 125, 233. Samuel de Champlain, The Voyages 
of Samuel de Champlain, 1604-1618, W. L. Grant (ed.), (N.Y., 1907), 
passim. Carl Russell, op. cit., 239. William M. Beauchamp, "Metallic Im- 
plements of the New York Indians," New York State Museum, Bulletin 55 
(1902), 6-20, 59-65. 



THE INDIAN AND THE TOMAHAWK II 

Mississippi into the land of the Sioux and northward along Lake 
Superior to the Cree. These peoples had not known the axe, and 
in turn entreated the newcomers to obtain some for them. Thus, 
from the French posts alone, the iron axe had spread south as far 
as the Chesapeake and west along the St. Lawrence, around the 
Great Lakes and even across the Mississippi. 13 

But the French were not alone. In the early years of the 17 th 
century, the Dutch and Swedes traded up the Hudson and Dela- 
ware Rivers and along the coast from Connecticut to Delaware. 
The English began operations in Virginia and New England, and 
in 1668 the Hudson's Bay Company launched its extensive opera- 
tions. In Florida and the Southwest, the Spanish had introduced 
the axe at an even earlier date. The pattern of Spanish relations 
with the Indians was different, with an emphasis on missions and 
agriculture, and the relative scarcity of marketable furs did not 
encourage a highly developed trade relationship for the distribution 
of goods such as axes. Furthermore, in the Southwest the cultural 
pattern of the Indian was different ; the scarcity of timber and his 
methods of fighting, which did not involve the hatchet, made such 
implements of little interest to him. Thus, comparatively few axes 
found their way into Indian hands so that the over-all distribution 
from Spanish sources was limited. 

Based partly upon source of supply and partly on needs and 
customs, the distribution of axes and tomahawks can be divided 
into certain relatively well-defined zones. The area of greatest 
concentration was the Northeast, comprising the New England 
and Middle Atlantic states, plus Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. The 
Mohawk River Valley and western New York State formed the 
center, with probably the heaviest concentration of axes, hatchets 
and tomahawks of all descriptions to be found any place in the 
United States. In some parts of this area recoveries of early axes 
have been so heavy that for a time they were used as a cash crop 
by farmers who regularly "mined" them and sold the iron. 14 

The reasons for this concentration of axes in the Northeast 
are easily found. There were many sources of supply immediately 
at hand, with French, Dutch, and English traders all active. The 
relative density of Indian population insured a large potential 
market. And, finally, the wooded nature of the country and the 
customs of the various people, who placed great value on clubs and 

13 John Smith, "Proceedings of the English Colony," Lyon Gardiner 
Tyler (ed.), Narratives of Early Virginia, 1606-1625 (N.Y., 1907), 149. 
Beauchamp, loc. cit. Innis, op. cit., 41, 42. 

14 Letter from Willis Barshied, Palatine Bridge, N.Y., to the author, 
Jan., i960. Beauchamp, op. cit., 60. 



12 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

tomahawks both as symbols and as weapons. Because of the 
position they held in the culture of these peoples, the hatchets and 
tomahawks from this area are primarily functional tools and 
weapons; the ceremonial role did not outweigh utility until after 
the Indians of this region had been pacified and settled on reser- 
vations. 

Further south, the concentration of tomahawks becomes less 
dense. The customs and needs of the Indians in the Southeastern 
United States were similar to those in New England and along the 
southern shores of the Great Lakes, but there were fewer sources 
of supply. The French operated along the Mississippi, especially in 
Louisiana, but not on the same scale as along the St. Lawrence. 
The Spanish in Florida were extremely conservative in their 
dealings, especially since their Indians did not have the fur 
resources of their northern brethren for exchange. The English had 
most of the rest of the area to themselves. 

To the west, the tribes of the Plains and the Rocky Mountains 
sought the hatchet, and an area of concentration developed second 
in importance to the Northeast, but with one decided difference: 
the period of the concentration was later, and there was a distinct 
differentiation between the hatchet or tomahawk as a tool and as 
a ceremonial object. The old-time, double-pointed stone war club, 
on its long supple handle, suited the mounted combat of the area 
exceptionally well, and the tomahawk never held the same im- 
portance as a weapon among these people as it had in the East, 
although it was used occasionally in the 19 th century. Thus there 
was an increasing emphasis on showy but inefficient specimens, 
finally reaching a stage of decadence where all resemblance to 
either tool or weapon had vanished, except for a vague similarity 
in general outline. 

The Far West, except for the Northwest Coast, apparently had 
a lower concentration even than the Southeast, and the Southwest 
had almost none except for a few tools. The nature of the country, 
the customs of the people, and the Spanish attitude towards trade 
all combined to keep this area barren. Except for a few simple 
hatchets used as tools, such tomahawks as are found there seem 
usually to have been brought in by Indians migrating from the 
Plains area. Along the Northwest Coast there is again a higher con- 
centration of tomahawks because of the wooded nature of the 
country and early white contact, but it still cannot compare with 
the Northeast where the contact was greater. 

From this it will be seen that the primary impact of the metal 
hatchet and tomahawks upon Indian culture occurred in the 
Northeast and Southern Great Lakes area during the 17 th and 



THE INDIAN AND THE TOMAHAWK 13 

18 th centuries. Lists of trade goods and treaty gifts indicate that 
the axe, hatchet, or tomahawk were among the most desired 
objects. As many as 300 axes might be handed out at one treaty 
meeting, and Sir William Johnson estimated that the Northern 
Indian Department needed 10,000 axes for trade purposes in the 
year 1765 alone. Even if this should be taken as an exceptional 
year, operations such as this over a 200-year period by the French, 
Dutch, and English undoubtedly poured many hundreds of thou- 
sands of axes of all sorts into this area. 15 

In the contemporary documents and narratives which mention 
the trade, the terms axe, hatchet, and tomahawk are frequently used 
almost interchangeably. Even so, it is possible to establish a 
general evolution of types. The first hatchets distributed during 
the 17 th century were large affairs, with heads weighing two and 
three pounds. Gradually smaller types became more popular for 
carrying on hunting or war parties, and the larger specimens were 
left in the villages. All of these were smaller copies of the typical 
European felling axe, and will be discussed in detail in the section 
on simple hatchets and belt axes in Chapter III. 

About 1700, specialized forms began to appear which were still 
called axes, hatchets, or tomahawks at the time, but which are 
normally called tomahawks today. First came those with auxiliary 
spikes, then almost immediately those combined with pipes. All 
were large, strong implements, useful as a tool, a weapon, or as a 
ceremonial implement. It was about this time that other specialized 
forms developed, each of which will be considered in greater detail 
in another chapter. Later years saw the decline of the weapon: 
softer metals replaced the iron and steel, hafts were reduced in 
diameter, blades were made thinner, and all semblance of an edge 
disappeared. Finally came the copying of the form in stone {e.g., 
catlinite and slate), and wood, which could serve no useful purpose. 
Throughout this period the standard simple hatchet remained 
popular both as a tool and weapon, but it underwent much the 
same evolution as did the standard felling axe, albeit more slowly. 

With his acceptance of the iron hatchet, and the consequent 
abandonment of native stone axes and clubs, the Indian became 
more dependent upon the white. Normally he did not have either 
the facilities or the skill to repair or replace the iron hatchet when 
it broke or wore out. Thus there were constant demands for 
blacksmiths to live with the Indians to care for their new hatchets 
and repair their guns and other metal implements. Young men 
who could learn the language were sought out and sent to the 

15 Woodward, op. cit., 9. Beau champ, op. cit., 59-65. Carl Russell, 
op. cit., 232 ff. 



14 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

Indians. There they became interpreters for colonial officers and 
formed a spy network which could dispatch word of impending 
trouble or dissent. This was an important factor in keeping the 
Indians under control during the 18 th century as the British and 
French struggled for mastery of the continent with the help of 
their native allies. 16 

The potentialities of the axe as a weapon were apparent to the 
Indian from the outset. Garcilaso de la Vega tells of a bloody fight 
between an Indian armed with a captured battle axe and several 
of De Soto's soldiers, in which he even includes a 16th century 
version of the old story of a man being cut in two so quickly by a 
keen blade that he remains standing and has time to pronounce a 
benediction before falling. In Florida, Jacques LeMoyne illustrated 
the murder of a colonist by an Indian with an axe during the brief 
French settlement at Fort Caroline, 1564-1565. By the early 17 th 
century the tomahawk was firmly established in the minds of the 
white settlers as the Indians' primary weapon, and was much more 
feared than the bow and arrow. Even after the Indians had obtained 
a sizeable number of firearms, the tomahawk retained its popularity 
and importance. Once a gun had been fired, it was useless until it 
could be reloaded; an edged weapon was needed as a supplement, 
and this was the tomahawk. Moreover, for surprise attacks and raids, 
a firearm was frequently out of the question. And even though a 
knife was available, the Indian found the tomahawk more efficient, 
particularly in the style of warfare prevalent in the East during the 
17 th and 1 8 th centuries. 17 

In the 19th century West, the tomahawk was less important 
as a weapon. Customs of warfare were different, and often in- 
volved the horse. Even so, tomahawks were used, as evidenced by 
an account related by the trapper, Osborne Russell, who tells of 
being attacked by Indians with upraised "battle axes" in the late 
1830's. The missionary, Marcus Whitman, was killed by a Cayuse 
warrior with a tomahawk at Waiilatpu in 1847, and there are 
skulls in the Army Medical Museum bearing tomahawk wounds 
which were collected as late as 1869. 18 

16 Beauchamp, op. cit., 62-64. Woodward, op. cit., 6-9. Edmund B. 
O'Callaghan and others (eds.), Documents Relative to the Colonial History 
of New York, 15 vols. (Albany, 1853-1887), III, 775, 844; IV, 23, 43; IX, 816. 

17 Garcilaso de la Vega, The Florida of the Inca, John G. and Jeanette 
J. Varner (eds.), (Austin, Tex., 1951), 461-463. Stefan Lorant, The New 
World (N.Y., 1946), 119. 

18 Osborne Russell, Journal of a Trapper (Portland, Ore., 1955), 102. 
Ewers, op. cit., passim. The tomahawk supposedly used to mortally 
wound Whitman is now in the Oregon Historical Society Museum, Cat. 
No. 1607. 



THE INDIAN AND THE TOMAHAWK 15 

Normally the tomahawk was used in much the same manner as 
a club, but it could also be thrown to reach a foe at some distance. 
Hurling a hatchet so that it will strike blade foremost requires 
considerable skill; the thrower has to know how many times the 
implement will turn end-over-end in a given distance and be able 
to estimate the range between himself and his target accurately 
and swiftly. Should he miss, he would be disarmed and then might 
find himself the hunted, instead of the armed hunter. Nevertheless 
there seems to be ample evidence that the Indian could and did 
throw his tomahawk. In the i75o's, Henry Timberlake reported 
"Neither are the Indians less expert at throwing it [the tomahawk] 
than using it near, but will kill at a considerable distance." 19 In 
1776, Ebenezer Elmer visited the Six Nations and noted that 
"they have the art of directing and regulating its motion, so that 
though it turns round as it flies, the edge always sticks in the tree 
near the place they aim at." 20 And the indefatigable traveler, 
Thomas Anburey, reported in 1777 that in pursuing an enemy the 
Indians threw their tomahawks with the utmost dexterity and 
seldom failed "striking it into the skull or back of those they 
pursue . . . " 21 Much later, and farther west, George Catlin spoke of 
the tomahawk as being thrown "with unerring and deadly aim." 22 
It has been stated that this accuracy was acquired through the 
custom of throwing at small trees as a camp pastime, and Elmer's 
comment would seem to support this. It was also supposedly 
the custom occasionally, following a war speech in council, for all 
the assembled warriors to throw their hatchets high into the air, 
catching them by the hafts as they came down, while uttering 
shouts of approval. 23 For pictorial evidence, by an Indian artist, 
of tomahawk throwing, see Plate II. 

Because of its importance and constant use as a weapon, the 
tomahawk became a symbol for war, and for war potential. Many 
of the eastern tribes employed it as a metaphor in speeches and 
ceremonies, and sent either actual axes, or wampum belts which 
bore such a woven design, when war was under discussion, or when 
peace was concluded. For example, when peace was concluded in 
1670 following the defeat of the Algonquians by the Iroquois, a 

19 Lt. Henry Timberlake, Lieut. Henry Timberlake' s Memoirs, 1756- 
1765, Samuel Cole Williams (ed.), (Johnson City, Tenn., 1927), 77, 78. 

20 Ebenezer Elmer, "Journal Kept During an Expedition to Canada 
in 1776," New Jersey Historical Society Proceedings, II (1847), 157, 158. 

21 Thomas Anburey, Travels Through the Interior Parts of America, 
2 vols, (London, 1791), I, 356. 

22 Catlin, op. cit., I, 266. 

23 Woodward, op. cit., 14. Lewis Morgan, The League of the Iroquois, 
2 vols. (N.Y. 1922), II, 15. 



l6 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

council was held during which six tomahawks were buried — one 
for each of the Five Nations, and one representing the defeated 
tribe. The Algonquian weapon was buried first, and the others were 
then placed on top of it, so that if hostilities were resumed, the 
Algonquian warriors would have to raise the weapons of their foes 
from their own, and thus be reminded of their defeat. As a token 
of condolence and peace, the vanquished tribe was given a wam- 
pum belt of purple beads, with a tomahawk design worked in 
white, and smeared with vermilion paint to "scare war" (see 
No. 24). As late as 1831, the Sauk leader, Black Hawk, sent a 
miniature wooden tomahawk smeared with vermilion paint to the 
Chippewa as an invitation to join him in war. Phrases developed 
using this metaphor, and some are still used as common figures 
of speech today. A belligerent statement was said to be a' 'toma- 
hawk speech/' while to "take up the hatchet" was to declare war; 
and as it still does today, to "bury the hatchet" meant to conclude 
peace, and there were many others, the meanings of which are less 
obvious. 24 

Another function of the tomahawk was the execution of In- 
dians who had committed crimes against their own people. John 
Heckewelder cites such an instance in the execution of Leatherlips, 
a chief of the Wyandot s, who had offended a faction of his tribe. 
When it was decreed that he must die, a piece of bark bearing a 
crude drawing of a hatchet was handed to the old man as a death 
warrant. Although he protested the decision, he submitted grave- 
ly, sitting down, placing his hand upon his knee and supporting 
his head on his hand. While he was in this position, one of the 
young Indians selected to carry out the sentence came up behind 
him and struck him twice with the tomahawk. In another instance, 
Mamachtaga, a Delaware convicted of murder and sentenced to 
death by a white frontier court in the late 18 th century, asked that 
he be tomahawked after the custom of his people, but was refused. 25 

Evidence that the tomahawk was used in the ritualistic torture 
of prisoners is presented by many tales of beatings with axes and 
dismemberments. From a very early period comes a picture of the 
death of the Jesuit missionaries Brebeuf and Lalemant at the 
hands of the Iroquois in 1649, which shows several of the simple 
hatchets of the period being heated in a fire while a necklace of 
red-hot axe heads already hangs around the neck of Brebeuf. It is 
true that this picture was made in France, but it was done within 

24 Joseph Keppler, "The Peace Tomahawk Algonkian Wampun," 
Indian Notes, VI, No. 2 (Apr. 1929), 130-138. Schoolcraft, op. cit., VI, 448. 
Beau champ, op. cit., 61, 62. Woodward, op. cit., 14-16. 

25 Beauchamp, op. cit., 61. Woodward, op. cit., 17. 



THE INDIAN AND THE TOMAHAWK 17 

a few years after the event depicted, and is presumed to have been 
based upon accurate information obtained from Jesuit writers of 
the period. 26 

Specially made "presentation tomahawks" were bestowed as 
gifts to important chiefs to solemnize treaties and help ensure 
their friendship. These were frequently elaborate affairs with 
inlays of silver in both blade and haft, engraved decorations, 
and sometimes bore presentation inscriptions. Such objects were 
highly prized by their recipients and were often handed down 
from generation to generation as part of the regalia of leadership. 
In i860, Benson J. Lossing found Chief G. H. M. Johnson of the 
Six Nations carrying a presentation tomahawk of the 18 th century 
as part of his insignia of authority. 27 

The addition of the pipe bowl to the hatchet blade about 1700 
allowed the Indian to add his ceremonial tobacco rites to these 
other uses of the hatchet, so that it became indeed almost in- 
dispensable. It was usually carried thrust through the belt on the 
right side, or in the back with the head to the right. As has been 
noted, it was this symbolic and ceremonial function that eventual- 
ly became paramount and allowed the pipe tomahawk to survive 
into the present century long after it had outlived its utilitarian 
purposes. 28 

26 Francisco Creuxiux, Historiae Canadensis sen Novae Franciae (Paris, 
1664). C. W. Jeffreys, The Picture Gallery of Canadian History, 3 vols. 
(Toronto, 1 945-1952), I, 106. 

27 Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 181 2 (N.Y., 
1869), 421. Woodward, op. cit., 25-27. 

28 Joseph D. McGuire, "Pipes and Smoking Customs of the American 
Aborigines," Annual Report of the U. S. National Museum for 1896, 1897 
(Wash., D.C., 1899), 351-645, passim. George A. West, "Tobacco, Pipes 
and Smoking Customs of the American Indians," Bulletin of the Public 
Museum of the City of Milwaukee, 2 vols. (Milwaukee, 1934), passim. 
Elmer, op. cit., II, 152. Anburey, op. cit., I, 356. 



CHAPTER III 

THE SIMPLE HATCHET OR BELT AXE 

OF all the tomahawks traded to the Indians, by far the most 
common type was the simple hatchet, or belt axe. This was 
the earliest type to reach the Indian, and it remained popular 
from the 16 th through the 19 th century. It is the one form found in 
every part of the United States, even in the Southwest and Florida 
where axes are rare. This same essential form is still encountered 
in parts of Canada and Alaska, as well as in Mexico, Central 
America, and even in South America. Some have been made in the 
United States for trade to those areas well within the present 
century. 

The basic form of this hatchet was derived from the standard 
European half- axe. It had a relatively long blade flaring on the 
side towards the hand so that the edge might be once-and-a-half 
or twice as wide as the base of the blade at the eye. Normally these 
hatchets were made in two pieces: a strap of iron was wrapped 
around a form to make the eye, and the ends of this strap were 
hammered to make the flare of the blade. A piece of steel was then 
inserted between them to serve as an edge, and the joints were 
welded by heating and hammering. Grinding and coarse filing 
removed the worst of the roughness, and the axe head was com- 
pleted. (See Fig. 2) . 

It was a simple object that any competent blacksmith could 
make in a short time. The cost was low, and the demand was so 
great that extremely good profits could be made on the furs that 
these axes could command. Such costs varied naturally from 
country to country and year to year during the two centuries that 
this pattern was popular in America, but a relative idea can be 
obtained from LaSalle's specifications of 1684 for axes to cost 7 or 
8 sous per pound and from figures of the 1750's and '6o's, when 
axes of this pattern cost the trader 3 shillings each in quantity. 29 
Even this low cost was not enough to satisfy the greedy, and 
shoddy products were frequently offered to the Indians by un- 
scrupulous individuals. The usual form of chicanery consisted in 
omitting the steel edge. This deception was not readily noticeable, 
and would not be detected unless the buyer understood the prin- 
29 Beauchamp, op. cit., 62. Woodward, op. cit., 9. 



THE SIMPLE HATCHET 



19 



ciples of axe manufacture, knew exactly what to look for, and 
what tests to make. He would normally be well away from the 
post before he discovered that his new hatchet would not hold an 
edge, and even then he might not realize what the trouble was. 






Figure 2. Manufacture of a simple belt axe from a strap of iron and a 
piece of steel. 



This deception was the subject of a complaint by the Five Nations 
of the Iroquois as early as 1701, when they protested to Robert 
Livingston, Secretary of Indian Affairs, thus : 

Brother. We can not omitt to acquaint you of the deceit of the 
Smiths who takes our money and instead of putting steal into our 
hatchetts, putts Iron, soe that as soon as we come into our country 
to use them they fall to pieces. 30 

Almost a century later, at Fort Laramie in present-day Wyoming, 
John Bordeau, ferryman and blacksmith, was getting ten beaver 
skins for the same sort of inferior hatchet which he made out of 
old wagon tires at almost no cost — and Bordeau even went so far 
as to stamp his products with his initials in large letters so that 
they could be readily identified! 31 

As noted elsewhere, the first of these hatchets to come to 
America were large specimens, almost the size of felling axes. They 
weighed two or three pounds each, sometimes even more, and ran 

30 Quoted in Woodward, op. cit., 8. 

31 Carl Russell, op. cit., 270 citing a statement by a contemporary of 
Bordeau's when one of his axes was plowed up in Nebraska, 1890. 



20 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

to lengths of seven or eight inches from the top of the poll to the 
edge. The fact that inventories listing these sizes refer to them as 
"hatchets" leads one to suppose that they were probably intended 
to be fitted by the Indians with short hafts and wielded with one 
hand. Photographs of Indian women in Canada using such hatch- 
ets, taken as late as 1913, tend to confirm this inference. Most of 
these early axes seem to have been made in two principal European 
centers: Utrecht in Holland, which is mentioned in reports by 
Dutch traders along the Hudson; and Biscay in northern Spain, 
which seems to have been favored by both the French and the 
English. Axes were also purchased in other European areas, 
especially in France and England. Apparently the Sheffield and 
Birmingham areas of England began to displace Biscay as a source 
of supply for British traders early in the 18 th century. 32 

Despite the fact that the larger sizes continued to be made 
throughout the whole trade-axe period, some modifications did 
develop which can occasionally help to establish a date or area of 
manufacture. First of all, there was a trend toward smaller sizes, 
which would be easier to carry in the belt and were better balanced 
as a weapon. One or two such small-sized heads have been ex- 
cavated at the site of the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, 
indicating that they were known before 1700, but it appears to 
have been the first or second decade of the 18 th century before the 
smaller hatchet superseded the larger one completely and relegated 
it to the position of squaw axe. 

Another development is the appearance of the so-called 
"American" pattern. This followed the evolution of the con- 
temporary full-sized axe. The European axe which the first colo- 
nists had brought with them was an inefficient tool. Because there 
was no true thickened poll, the weight was centered in the blade ; 
this caused the blade to wobble in a stroke. Also, it lacked the 
extra power that a heavy poll would impart. Since tree cutting 
was an important activity in America, considerable attention was 
given to improving the design to make the task easier. First the 
blade was shortened or otherwise lightened by piercings. Then an 
extra piece of iron was welded to the top of the eye to form a true 
poll. Ears were also added to strengthen the attachment of the 
haft, and, incidentally, to improve the balance by adding more 
weight near the center {see Nos. 35 and 36). Axes of this type seem 
to have first appeared in fully developed form sometime between 

32 The 1913 photograph of the woman with the "squaw axe" appears 
in The Beaver, published by the Hudson's Bay Company (Mar.., 1946), 
p. 26. Carl Russell, op. cit., 305-309. Innis, op. cit., 15, 72. Beauchamp, 
op. cit., 65. Woodward, op. cit., 4, 6. O'Callaghan, op. cit., Ill, 164. 



THE SIMPLE HATCHET 21 

1725 and 1750, and hatchets of a like design date from about the 
same period. 33 

In making the new-style hatchets, the same basic principles 
were followed. A piece of steel was used for the edge, while the eye 
and poll were formed of iron. Usually the same technique as em- 
ployed in manufacturing the early axes was used, with the simple 
addition of an extra piece of iron welded on for the poll. Occasion- 
ally, some of the new hatchets were made of four pieces : the steel 
edge, pieces of iron for either side of the eye, and a fourth piece for 
the poll {see Nos. 40 and 306). And there were other variations 
according to the whim and skill of the individual smiths. Some 
even made the top solid and drilled out the eye, while in the 19 th 
century in the larger factories it was the practice to stamp out the 
eye with a water-powered punch. Always, however, a separate steel 
edge was welded in. 34 

It should not be assumed that these newer and better-balanced 
hatchets superseded the older polless variety. They did not, and in 
point of fact were always in the minority among the Indians, 
though white users of tomahawks quickly adopted them. 

Among the other variations in the simple hatchet are two 
which are indicative of specific areas of origin, and deserve special 
mention. One of them, the so-called "Missouri war hatchet," is so 
distinctive and found in such quantities that it will be considered 
separately in Chapter IV. The other is a form which seems to be 
found in areas of Spanish influence, and is almost diagnostic of 
such historical relationship. In general, this type resembles the 
other axes except that it has a rudimentary poll and is always 
made in three pieces: the steel edge, plus two side pieces. These 
side pieces are welded together around the edge and below the 
eye, and then are joined above the eye in a ridge or crest with a 
noticeable groove along the top {see No. 39). Both full axes and 
hatchets made in this manner are found in the Southwest, where 
they seem to have been used entirely as tools. Thus far, none has 
been reported from Florida or from sites elsewhere in the United 
States. 

33 Henry C. Mercer, Ancient Carpenter's Tools (Doylestown, Pa., 2nd 

edition, 195°). i~35- 

34 Ibid. Park Benjamin (ed.), Appleton's Cyclopaedia of Applied Me- 
chanics, 2 vols. (N.Y., 1880), I, 107, 108. One Hundred Years of Progress 
(Hartford, Conn., 1871), 339-342. Horace Greeley and others, The Great 
Industries of the United States (Chicago and Cinn., 1872), 122-133. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE MISSOURI WAR HATCHET 

One of the tomahawk patterns that has been given a specific 
name with considerable justification is the so-called "Mis- 
souri war hatchet/' Lewis and Clark found it already in use 
among the Mandans in January, 1805, and subsequent study has 
indicated that it was popular among such people as the Iowa, Sauk, 
Fox, Kansa, Pawnee, Comanche, Mandan, Dakota, Osage, and 
Oto. It has not been reported from the East or South, and only 
rarely shows up in the area north of the Great Bend of the Mis- 
souri River. The territory along that river below the bend and 
above its juncture with the Mississippi seems to have been both 
the center of its popularity and the outer confines of its use. 35 

The implement itself is unusually awkward and poorly designed. 
It seems to be in reality a variation of the simple hatchet, but 
with the strength and utility removed. Apparently it reached the 
area via the French sometime during the 18 th century and there 
quickly achieved greater popularity than any other form of hatch- 
et. William Clark made a drawing of the axe on January 28, 1805, 
and noted that several Indians had visited the camp seeking to 
have such "war hatchets" made. On January 29, he noted that 
the expedition's blacksmith was making the axes, since it was the 
only way they could obtain corn. {See Plates V and VI). On 
February 5, Meriwether Lewis described the axe in detail: 

[The Mandans] are peculiarly attached to a battle ax formed in a 
very inconvenient manner in my opinion, it is fabricated of iron 
only, the blade is extremely thin, from 7 to nine inches in length 
and from 4-f to 6 Inches on its edge from whence the sides proceed 
nearly in a straight line to the eye where its width is generally not 
more than an inch — the eye is round & about an inch diameter — 
the handle seldom more than fourteen inches in length, the whole 
weighing about one pound — the great length of the blade of this 
ax, added to the small size of the handle renders a stroke uncertain 
and easily avoided, while the shortness of the handel must render 
a blow much less forceable even if well directed, and still more in- 
convenient as they uniformly use this instrument in action on 
horseback. 36 

35 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Journals of the Lewis and 
Clark Expedition, 180 4-1806, American Philosophical Society, Codex C, 
158, 163, 164. 36 Ibid., 163, 164. 

22 



THE MISSOURI WAR HATCHET 23 

Clark's mention of this axe as a "war hatchet," and Lewis's 
statement that it was wielded on horseback are particularly inter- 
esting (if, indeed, they are accurate) in view of the general im- 
practicability of this type of tomahawk. As Lewis noted, it was 
made all of iron, without a steel edge, and with an extremely thin 
blade which was otherwise poorly designed for use. Also, many of 
the surviving specimens have decorative piercings in the blades, 
which further weakens them. There is usually no indication of any 
sharpening along the edge. It is simply left square and blunt. A 
study of physical characteristics alone would lead to the conclusion 
that these were merely ceremonial objects — an excellent illustration 
of the fact that European standards may not always be used in 
judging the use an Indian may have had for an object. 

Size and workmanship vary considerably in the specimens of 
the Missouri war hatchet which have been studied thus far. The 
average axe has a height of y\ inches from the top of the eye to 
the edge, and an edge width of 4! inches; but some specimens 
have heights as great as 10J inches and blades as wide as 6 inches. 
Most display simple and crude workmanship, but an occasional 
well-made example is found, with decorative forged moldings 
around the eye and at the base of the blade. Among the pierced 
decorations, the heart is most commonly seen, frequently with a 
curved tip; this is sometimes called a "bleeding heart." Often 
there will be punched decorations stamped along the borders, or 
forming special designs in the center of the blade. The hafts of 
those later specimens which have survived are usually longer than 
the 14 inches mentioned by Lewis. 

The Missouri war hatchet had a popularity span of somewhat 
more than fifty years. Since Lewis and Clark found it as an estab- 
lished pattern in 1805, it was undoubtedly introduced before the 
end of the 18 th century. The height of its popularity seems to 
have been between 1810 and 1830, but Rudolph Friedrich Kurz 
sketched an Omaha Indian with one of these hatchets in his hand 
at Bellevue, Nebraska, as late as 185 1 and some were unquestio- 
nably handed down as heirlooms or for ceremonial use in even 
more recent times. 37 

37 The Kurz drawing is reproduced in American Anthropologist, X, 
No. 1 (1910), 11. 



CHAPTER V 



THE SPONTOON TOMAHAWK 



The spontoon tomahawk received its name because the blade 
resembles that of the military espontoon, a polearm carried 
during most of the 18 th century by commissioned officers 
who fought on foot. The espontoon derived from the partizan, an 
officers' spear of the 16 th and 17 th centuries, and actually most 
tomahawks of this type resemble the earlier partizan more closely 
than the 18 th century spontoon. Both simple tomahawks and 
pipe-tomahawk combinations have been found with the spontoon 
blade. The pipe combination, which is by far the more common 
form, will be discussed later in the section on pipe tomahawks 
(see Chapter X). This chapter will consider only the distinctive 
blade type. 

Characteristics of this implement are a spear-point blade, usu- 
ally symmetrical, with curling flanges, or processes, at or near the 

base (see Fig. 3). Usually these processes curve 
upward toward the haft, but upon occasion 
(usually in later specimens) they may curve 
toward the point. In these highly developed 
late specimens the curve is sometimes complete 
so that the distal or free end rejoins the blade, 
giving the effect of a lobe with a hole through 
its center. In some specimens this hole is 
omitted, so that there is simply a spear point 
with a lobed base. Some 19 th century versions 
of the spontoon blade omit even the lobes, 
leaving simply a symmetrical kite-shaped spear 
point. For some unknown reason this last 
variant is often named the "Minnewaukan" 
type by earlier writers. It has been encountered 
most frequently in Wisconsin and the tier of 
states between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. 
Other names by which the spontoon-bladed tomahawks have 
been called include "dagger-bladed," "diamond-bladed," and 
"French type." There is considerable justification for the latter 
designation, since all available evidence seems to indicate a French 
origin for the design. Many of the earlier writers jumped to the 




Figure 3. 
Spontoon blade. 



24 



THE SPONTOON TOMAHAWK 25 

conclusion that they were French because they professed to see a 
resemblance to the fleur-de-lys in the shape of the blade. Since this 
resemblance is a bit far-fetched and since the fleur-de-lys was widely 
used in Europe outside France, this would hardly constitute a 
justification for the association. The best support lies in the fact 
that almost all of the earliest specimens are found in areas where 
the French influence was strong: the St. Lawrence Valley and the 
Lake Champlain waterway, the shores of the Great Lakes, and the 
mouth of the Mississippi. In all of these areas the concentration is 
heavy. Others are found on the borders of these regions or in 
locations that may be explained by migrations or trade. One group 
of early specimens comes from the Lake George battlefield of 
1755 where the Indian allies of the French were especially active. 
Other early specimens come from Tunica burials in Mississippi. 
Since only the French were particularly active in this latter region 
in the 18 th century, the origin of these tomahawks would seem to 
be reasonably well established. 38 

It should not be assumed from this that all hatchets of this 
type are presumed to be of French manufacture. After the form 
became popular it was undoubtedly made also by the British and 
certainly by the Americans. William Clark, in fact, implies that 
the blacksmith with the Lewis and Clark Expedition made some 
tomahawks of this type for the Mandans who specifically requested 
it. 39 Probably all tomahawks of this type made after 1763, when 
Great Britain finally wrested control of the greater part of the 
North American continent from France, were of British, American, 
or possibly Canadian manufacture, except for the very few which 
might have come in through Louisiana. And even this inlet for 
French goods was sealed off after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. 
It is barely possible that some such tomahawks might have been 
made in France on the order of an American or British trading 
company, but this possibility is highly unlikely and may well be 
disregaided. 

All evidence seems to indicate that the spontoon form ap- 
peared early in the 18 th century. This is corroborated by the 
recoveries from the Tunica cemeteries in Mississippi, and the finds 
at the Lake George battlefield. The earliest forms were simple 
narrow blades often curved slightly toward the rear. The basal 

38 West, op. cit., I, 320, 321. James A. Ford, "Analysis of Indian Village 
Site Collections from Louisiana and Mississippi," Louisiana Geological 
Survey, Anthropological Study No. 2 (Nov., 1936), 139. A group of these 
axes from the Lake George battlefield is in the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. 
Carl Russell, op. cit., 293. 

39 Lewis and Clark, op. cit., 158-164. 



26 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

processes were short, set close to the eye, and almost always curved 
up towards the haft. Occasionally they made a complete loop. 
There was no true thickened poll. Unfortunately, no specimens from 
either Tunica or the Lake George battlefield are included in this 
study, but No. 259 illustrates the form. 

The form found by Lewis and Clark among the Mandans was 
quite large, "12 to 15 inches in length [height]" according to their 
sketch and Lewis's description, in which he termed it an "older 
fassion" and still more inconvenient than the Missouri war hatchet. 
He also indicated that it was frequently pierced for ornamentation 
with "two, three or more small circular holes." 40 

Later in the 19 th century simple diamond- or kite-shaped 
blades developed, as well as exaggerated forms with long narrow 
stems between the eye and the point at which the expansion of the 
blade began. The arms or processes also frequently became more 
elaborate. Decorative perforations aside from the simple circular 
holes also appear about this time. 

In most instances, the spontoon tomahawk was made of one 
piece of iron looped over a bar and welded to form the eye. Though 
a very few specimens are known which seem to have been made of 
a low grade steel, no specimen with a deliberately added steel edge 
has been encountered. The lack of a steel edge is not surprising. 
These tomahawks were weapons in their early functional years. 
Because of their design they would have had no value as wood- 
cutting tools, but the soft iron blade would inflict a serious wound 
in combat. Thus, a sharp cutting edge of the type needed for 
cutting wood was not necessary. Since later specimens seem to have 
been primarily ceremonial in use, they also required no edge, 
and plain iron remained entirely sufficient for Indian needs. For 
those specimens combined with pipes, other metals such as pewter 
and brass were commonly used from at least 1750 through the 
end of the 19 th century, but for these simple hatchets without 
pipes, iron remained standard. 

40 Ibid., 164, 165. 



CHAPTER VI 



THE HALBERD OR "BATTLE AXE" TOMAHAWK 



Another variety of tomahawk named after a European pole- 
arm is the halberd type. This was a polearm weapon con- 
sisting of an axe blade with an opposing spike or hook, and 
crowned with a spear point (see Fig. 4). Mounted on a long haft, 
it had developed as a weapon in the late 14 th century. By the 
18 th century it had become largely a ceremonial arm carried by 
sergeants in most armies and by honor guards and court officials. 
On a short haft, it resembled the layman's conception of a battle 
axe ; thus, both names have been applied to tomahawks of this 
classification. 

The halberd tomahawk developed early in the 18 th century 
and was apparently of British origin. Most surviving specimens 
come from the areas of New York and New 
England where British influence was strong, 
and a very few specimens are known from 
the southern Great Lakes area that may have 
migrated there from the east. At least one 
specimen has been recorded as having been 
made by R. Beatty of Pennsylvania during 
the second quarter of the century, and is 
reputed to have belonged to Daniel Boone, 
who took it with him to Missouri toward the 
end of his life. 

An excellent contemporary illustration of 
the halberd tomahawk which is also further 
evidence of its British origin is found in the 
mezzotint portrait of the Mohawk chief, King 
Hendrick, published in London prior to his 
death at the Battle of Lake George in 1755 (see PI. VII). 

The halberd tomahawk was made in a manner quite different 
from the types previously described. Usually forged from one 
piece of steel, it was normally quite thin and light. There are 
examples made in two or more pieces, however, and in these in- 
stances the blade and spike were usually forged separately from 
two or three pieces of metal, and then welded to the spear point 
and shank, which were made from one piece. One specimen in the 




Figure 4. 
Halberd blade. 



27 



28 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

Museum of the American Indian appears to have been made from 
an actual halberd (see No. 54). 

A special characteristic of this form of tomahawk is that it was 
commonly attached to the haft by driving a shank into the wood. 
This shank, usually forged as one piece with the rest of the head, 
was often sharpened for easier penetration and sometimes roughen- 
ed or barbed to make it hold more securely. A ferrule would also 
normally be placed around the forward end of the wooden haft to 
strengthen the joint. In this connection, it might be mentioned 
that one object frequently mistaken for a halberd tomahawk or, 
sometimes for a "Viking halberd," is the plug cutter used for Battle 
Ax Plug Tobacco in the early logo's. Although slight variations 
exist, this cutter is usually made in two pieces — a cast iron section 
including the socket and spike, and a thin steel edge attached 
by means of two rivets or screws. 41 It is fastened to a wooden 
cutting board, as shown in Plate XIII. 

As a form, the halberd tomahawk did not last very long. Less 
than fifty years would probably cover its active life. Some speci- 
mens are well balanced and practical, but many are fantastically 
designed and poorly balanced. Light hooks with no point or edge 
are found in place of the spike, and extra-long spear points, some- 
times with barbed ends, made them difficult to carry. In fact, it 
has been asserted that the inconvenience caused by these spear 
points was the principal reason for the abandonment of this type. 
Since tomahawks were usually carried thrust through the belt at 
the right side and slightly to the rear, the spear point could thus 
easily become a nuisance or even a danger. The spear point actually 
was of little or no value in fighting ; it did offer one more possibility 
of striking a victim with a cutting edge if thrown end-over-end, 
but it sometimes hindered a stroke when held in the hand. Halberd 
tomahawks also were weapons only, since they were too light for 
effective chopping even of small branches. More efficient toma- 
hawks that could also be used as tools were available, and so the 
halberd type disappeared. 

41 R. W. Breckenridge, "Norse Halberds," American Anthropologist, 
LVII, No. 1, Part I (Feb., 1955), 129-131. Letter from V. J. Boor, Assistant 
Advertising Manager of the American Tobacco Company, to Charlie R. 
Steen, Apr. 16, 1953. 



CHAPTER VII 
THE SPIKED TOMAHAWK 

A companion of the halberd tomahawk and its successor was 
the spiked tomahawk. The use of hatchets and axes with 
spikes on their polls as fighting weapons — and particularly 
as naval boarding axes — was common to all nations of western 
Europe, but the British appear to have been responsible for the 
introduction of the light hatchet, with a spiked poll, to the 
American Indian. 

As might be expected with an arm of British origin, its area 
of use was within the English sphere of influence. Since it was also 
an early form which developed shortly after 1700, achieved its 
greatest popularity about the middle of the century, and began to 
disappear shortly after 1800, it was confined largely to the Atlantic 
coastal region. Within that territory it is found principally in the 
area north of Pennsylvania, although a few are encountered as far 
south as Virginia. A small number have been recovered from sites 
in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, where the British were 
active following the French and Indian War, and a very few 
scattered specimens have been found further west, possibly as a 
result of trade or migration. 

The spiked tomahawk served well as both a tool and a weapon. 
The spike was useful in driving small holes, in loosening ground, 
in forcing openings, and for many other needs. Some spikes were 
curved and sharpened along the edge like a pruning knife, thus 
providing an effective cutting edge for use in situations where the 
normal edge could not operate. In some instances the spike was 
simply a hook with a point on the end, but without an edge, so that 
it could be used for catching and hauling. In warfare, the spike 
allowed the use of a backstroke and the chance for deep penetration 
in a narrow area, as happened on one occasion during a fight in 
1778 at Harbert's Block House, in what is now West Virginia. On 
this occasion, a young borderman named Edward Cunningham is 
reported to have wrested a tomahawk from an attacking Indian, 
and driven the long spike deep into his back. 42 Further evidence 
of their use in warfare is suggested by the large numbers of 

42 Woodward, op. cit., 20, 21, citing Alexander Withers, Chronicles of 
Border Warfare, 7th edition (Cinn., 1920), 238. 

29 



30 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 



spiked tomahawks recovered at Fort Ticonderoga, and on the 
Lake George Battlefield; these are now on display at the Fort 
Ticonderoga Museum. In the Rhode Island Historical Society 

there is a complete specimen which was 
carried by a soldier in the colonial wars. 

In early examples, spiked tomahawks 
were sometimes made with shanks for in- 
sertion into a wooden shaft in much the 
same manner as the usual halberd type. 
In such instances they were normally forged 
from one piece of iron or steel. One specimen 
found near Rome, New York, seems to have 
been made by applying a small conical spike 
to a standard half axe. 43 Another, found in 
Pennsylvania, was made entirely of cast 
brass. These are exceptions, for most spiked 
axes were made of two or three parts. 
Usually two pieces were welded together 
around an iron handle pattern to form the 
eye; then, if desired, a piece of steel was 
fastened between them to form the edge 
(see Fig. 5). Sizes varied tremendously, from 
that of a small hatchet to the dimensions of the full axe. The 
weight, however, remained relatively light, so that they could 
be used with one hand. 




Figure 5. 
Construction of a spiked 
hatchet with two pieces 
of iron and a steel edge. 



43 Beauchamp, op. cit., 65. The specimen is in the U.S. National Museum. 



CHAPTER VIII 
TOMAHAWKS WITH HAMMER POLLS 

Closely akin to the spiked tomahawks were a small group of 
implements with hammers on their polls. Hatchets with such 
hammers, including lathing and shingling hatchets, had been 
standard tools in Europe, and some of the examples found in In- 
dian sites seem to have been intended originally as tools (see Figs. 6 
and 7). Others quite definitely were designed to be used for military 
or ceremonial purposes. In some of these the hammer head is too 
small in diameter to have been used for efficient pounding and must 
have served somewhat as a dull spike. In others the mouldings are 
decorative, and there are inlays and engraved decorations on the 
blades which indicate such uses. One specimen is even inscribed 
"To your arms Solder," and bears a silver crescent inlay engraved 
with an Indian name which is now so worn as to be illegible 
(see No. 92). 





Figure 6. 
Lathing hatchet. 



Figure 7. 
Shingling hatchet. 



3i 



CHAPTER IX 
CELTIFORM TOMAHAWKS 

One of the oldest forms of the tomahawk is the stone axe 
blade lashed to a wooden haft. These are quite common in 
archeological excavations, and form a specific type to which 
the name celt has been applied {see Nos. 8 and 9). In those regions 
where local circumstances permitted, occasional celts were made of 
native copper in prehistoric times. These implements performed the 
dual services of tool and weapon, and with them the Indian accom- 
plished most of his wood cutting and combat. 

An interesting version of the trade tomahawk which reflects 
this earlier implement is the simple iron celt. Sometimes these 
were of European manufacture, yet in many instances the Indian 
himself fashioned them from bits of iron obtained from whites. 
This was never a widely popular type, yet such celtif orm tomahawks 
do appear in scattered examples over a wide part of the United 
States, and represent a considerable period of usage. The Great 
Lakes region and the Northeast, where the copper celt was most 
frequently made, have produced examples of the iron celtiform 
tomahawk dating from the 18 th century. One has been found in 
Florida, and a few have been discovered among the Plains and 
Mountain tribes as late as the i84o's. One very late specimen, 
obviously only of ceremonial importance, has a thin blade cut 
from sheet copper {see No. 105). 



32 



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PETERSON: AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 



Plate III 




AMERICAN ENGRAVED POWDER HORN OF THE MID-18TH CENTURY, 
ILLUSTRATING THE GUNSTOCK CLUB, THE BALL-HEADED CLUB, 
AND THE SIMPLE BELT AXE CARRIED BY INDIAN WARRIORS. 



COURTESY, JOE JUNDIG, JR. COLLECTION 



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PETERSON: AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 



Plate XIII 




PLUG CUTTER FOR BATTLE AX PLUG TOBACCO, LATE IQTH CENTURY. HEADS BROKEN 
FROM PLUG CUTTERS SUCH AS THIS ARE OFTEN MISTAKEN FOR TOMAHAWKS OR 

EARLY POLEARMS. l: i?" mai/hf: 23/2231 



CHAPTER X 
THE PIPE TOMAHAWK 

OF all the types of tomahawks, by far the most popular was 
the pipe tomahawk. No other form was made in so many 
different designs, nor of as many different materials. Ex- 
cepting for the simple hatchet or belt axe, none was made for so 
long a period nor in such large numbers. Here the symbols of 
war and peace were combined in a single instrument, which 
quickly became a prized possession. Henry Timberlake observed 
it among the Cherokees in the 1750's, and declared: "This is 
one of their most useful pieces of field-furniture, serving all the 
offices of hatchet, pipe, and sword." He might have added the 
symbolic power of the mace as well, for the ceremonial functions 
together with the smoking rituals permitted the survival of 
the pipe tomahawk well after its usefulness as a weapon had 
diminished. 44 

The identity, and even the nationality, of the genius who 
invented the pipe tomahawk is unknown. In all probability it 
was some Englishman who visualized, even before the turn of 
the 18 th century, what a great attraction such an instrument 
would have in trade and Indian affairs in general. At any rate, 
pipe tomahawks, or "smoak tomahawks," as they were then called 
by the English, were known within a few years thereafter. When 
J. Simon engraved the portraits of the "Four Kings of Canada" 
(they were Iroquois chiefs) who visited London in 1709-1710 with 
Peter Schuyler, he included what may have been pipe tomahawks 
with symmetrically flaring blades among their accoutrements (see 
PL IX), and a similar tomahawk is shown in a posthumous portrait 
of King Philip which appears in Thomas Church's Entertaining 
Passages Relating to Philip's War published in Boston in 1716. By 
1750, pipe tomahawks were common though relatively expensive 
items in trade and treaty lists in the East, running from 12 to 
20 shillings for fine specimens, as compared with 3 shillings for the 
simple hatchets. Once known and available, their popularity was 
never seriously challenged. 45 

44 Timberlake, op. cit., 77, 78. 

45 Woodward, op. cit., 9, 13, et passim. Carl Russell, op. cit. West, 
op. cit., I, 317-325. 

3 33 



34 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

The earliest of the pipe tomahawks manufactured by Europe- 
ans were fashioned from iron and steel, and these materials con- 
tinue to be most commonly used up to the present day. By 1750, 
brass tomahawks with inletted steel edges were known, and they 
continued in parallel use with the iron types until about 1830, 
after which date the steel edge was generally omitted. The com- 
bination of brass and steel was expensive because of the extra work 
involved in careful inletting and joining, and as the pipe tomahawk 
declined in importance as a weapon, the steel edge was eliminated 
in favor of all-brass heads. An occasional specimen is found from 
a later date, but it is a rarity. Pipe tomahawks made of pewter 
also are found in a variety of styles for a period of at least a 
century, from about 1800 to 1900. In no instance, however, has a 
pewter head been found in combination with a steel edge. Cast 
iron also has been used in very recent specimens for ceremonial 
purposes, and, for a short time around 1900, heads made of 
nickel-plated brass were manufactured. 

Indians also made pipe tomahawks for their own use, although 
apparently this was always on a small scale. A portrait of the Seneca 
chief , Cornplanter, painted by Frederic Bartoli in 1796 (s££ Pl.VIII), 
illustrates a pipe tomahawk which seems to have been assembled 
from a spiked hatchet of exaggerated form and a clay pipe. From 
this picture it appears that the haft of the hatchet had been 
pierced to form a stem, and the pipe bowl simply inserted in the 
end opposite the mouthpiece. This would have been a simple way 
of making a pipe tomahawk combination, and may well have been 
practiced more than is now realized, since the bulk of simple 
hatchets and spiked tomahawks that have survived are archeologi- 
cal specimens of which only the iron heads remain. It is also entire- 
ly probable that some brass and pewter specimens were made by 
the Indians, for they had been capable of casting both metals 
since the middle of the 17th century. When John C. Ewers of the 
Smithsonian Institution was working among the Plains Indians, 
he was told that they had cast pewter tomahawks in wooden 
molds until about 1900. As blacksmiths were sent to live with the 
various tribes, some Indians undoubtedly learned to forge iron, 
and one pipe tomahawk in the Museum of the American Indian 
is known to have been the work of such a Chickasaw blacksmith 
{see No. 131). Later, catlinite became popular for this purpose, and 
decadent specimens are still being made for the tourist trade. 46 

All types of blades were used in combinations with the pipe. 
Cornplanter's spiked pipe tomahawk has already been mentioned. 
In the collections of the Museum of the American Indian and 

46 West, op. cit., I, 317-325. Statement by John C. Ewers to the author. 



THE PIPE TOMAHAWK 35 

the U. S. National Museum are halberd-type tomahawks with 
detachable pipe bowls, which may be screwed into place as desired 
(see Nos. 107, 108). The symmetrically flaring hatchet blade is 
known in the earliest pictures of pipe tomahawks. The spontoon 
blade is pictured with a pipe as early as 1757, and this combi- 
nation continued in common use until after 1900. The half-hatchet 
form, with an outward flare on the side toward the hand only, was 
undoubtedly the most common blade used, especially among the 
English specimens, until it was surpassed by the thin blades with 
expanding straight sides of the so-called "Plains Indian type" that 
became popular after 1850. 47 

The earliest of the pipe tomahawks were large sturdy imple- 
ments, useful as weapons or tools as well as for smoking and 
ceremonial purposes. The eye was large, to receive a haft strong 
enough to deal a heavy blow without snapping, even though there 
was a hollow channel running through it. Usually this eye was 
shaped like a teardrop with the point down towards the blade. 
Some, however, were oval. As time passed, the eye tended to 
become more circular and smaller until, about 1815-1830, some 
specimens were made with round eyes a scant five-eighths of an 
inch in diameter. In another line of development, the oval eye 
became first straight sided, or a pointed ellipse, and then diamond 
shaped. By 1850, the diamond form was almost universal. 

An interesting feature of the eye is the fact that in almost all 
forms it tapers slightly toward the rear or hand side. This was done 
because the haft also tapered and was normally inserted from the 
front, in the manner of a pick handle today. The mouth end was 
inserted first, and the entire haft passed through the eye until the 
head lodged in place, just short of the forward end of the haft. A 
few specimens are encountered with eyes which do not taper ; these 
are usually late pieces, and a very few are known in which the 
haft actually was cut down and inserted from the back. These are 
the exceptions to the rule, however, and either is a cause for im- 
mediate suspicion that the whole piece — or at least the haft — may 
be modern, unless all the other evidence outweighs it. 

Pipe bowls evolved in shape, as did blade forms and eye open- 
ings. The early bowls were short and of large diameter ; the sides 
were rounded, and they usually tapered slightly inward toward 
the top. Gradually the bowls became taller, the sides became 
straighter, and the diameter decreased. By 1850 a straight-sided 
or slightly barrel-shaped bowl with a single molding at top and 
bottom was standard. Thereafter, forms became even more ex- 

47 The pipe tomahawk with spontoon blade is shown in Thomas Jeffery, 
Collection of the Dresses of Different Nations, (London, 1 757-1 772). 



36 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

treme until, by the end of the century, an attenuated vase shape 
resulted. Throughout the entire period other forms of the bowl are 
encountered with hexagonal, octagonal, or otherwise faceted sides. 
But in all forms, the general progression from short and wide to 
tall and slender seems to hold true. 

The addition of the pipe bowl created new problems for the 
tomahawk maker. Sometimes he made the axe and bowl separately 
and then joined them, and at other times he adopted an entirely 
different manufacturing technique, making the entire unit in one 
piece. 

There were several ways of manufacturing a bowl and axe of 
iron separately and then attaching them. Usually the smith made 
the desired type of blade in the manner usual for that pattern. 
Then he forged the bowl, occasionally shaping it from a solid 
block ; more often he wrapped a flat piece of iron around a mandrel 
and welded it. The bowl could then be keyed and mortised to the 
poll of the axe and brazed or welded in place. Some specimens have 
also been found in which a tube from the bowl was passed through 
a hole in the poll and riveted inside the eye. Some bowls were 
threaded so that they could be screwed into the poll of the axe. 
One specimen in the Museum of the American Indian has a pipe 
bowl that can be unscrewed and replaced with a hammer, which 
is similarly threaded (see No. 215). 

If an iron pipe tomahawk was to be forged in one piece, the 
smith usually began by making a tube. If an old gun barrel was 
available, he could use a section of that and thus save the first 
step. Rifle barrels were preferred because they were thicker and 
thereby provided more metal to work with than the thin musket 
barrels. Once a tube of the proper length was ready, the base of 
the bowl was necked-in and a rough shape given to the bowl. Then 
two cuts were made opposite each other just below the neck and 
the sides of the tube in the area of the cuts flattened out and 
shaped to form the eye. An iron handle form was put in the eye to 
hold its shape, and the remaining tube below was flattened and 
shaped to form the blade (see Fig. 8) . If desired, a piece of steel for 
the edge was sandwiched in and welded to complete the job. Pipe 
tomahawks made from rifle barrels in this fashion can be readily 
recognized by the traces of rifling still inside the bowl. 

Some iron pipe tomahawks were cast, but these were usually 
late pieces for ceremonial purposes only and were not intended for 
use as either tool or weapon. With brass and pewter pipe toma- 
hawks, casting, of course, was the normal procedure, and usually 
these were made in one piece. In some brass specimens, however, 
the bowls were made separately and threaded to screw in place. 



THE PIPE TOMAHAWK 



37 



Iron molds were the rule, though sand also seems to have been 
used occasionally. Some of the pewter axes may have been cast in 
stone molds and, impractical as it may seem, the reference to 
wooden molds mentioned above should be recalled. 



)-'< 





Figure 8. 
Method of forging a pipe tomahawk in one piece from an iron tube. 



The brass tomahawks with steel edges required careful joining. 
Normally the edge was formed with a dovetail projection in the 
center matching a like opening in the brass part. This prevented 
forward or back motion. To prevent movement from side to side, 
grooves were opened in the sides of the cut in the head, and the 
edges of the steel to be joined were tapered. These tapered edges 
were forced into the grooves in the head, and the brass was ham- 
mered down over them. To complete the joint, melted tin, solder 
or pewter was used as a seal. In some instances brass rivets were 
driven through the head above the joint for further strength. In 
rare instances the edge was simply riveted to the head without 
dovetailing; in late specimens the edge was simply inserted in a 
groove in the lower edge of the head, or even placed in a mold and 
the brass head cast around it. 

Hafts or stems were almost always made of hardwood. If made 
in Europe, or by a white man in America, any sort of tough hard- 



38 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

wood might be selected, though ash, walnut, maple, or hickory 
seem to have been preferred. The hole was then drilled through 
from end to end. The Indian, lacking such drills, usually selected 
ash and burned the pith out with hot wires to make the hole. This 
hole went completely through from one end to the other. A bit of 
rawhide or occasionally a wood or metal plug closed the forward 
end. In decorated specimens a metal cap might cover the entire 
end of the haft beyond the head. At the end of the haft designed to 
be placed in the mouth, the wood was narrowed to a convenient 
size. Sometimes a separate mouthpiece was added; this might be 
a metal inlay or a carved bone, ivory or horn piece the diameter of 
the haft, or it might be a small metal tube (perhaps fashioned 
from a cartridge case), the quill of a feather, or a reed inserted in 
the hole itself. Around the haft where it lodged inside the eye of 
the head was wrapped a gasket or shim of paper-thin leather ; this 
gasket, almost always present on early specimens and character- 
istically charred, is almost impossible to reproduce. Thus, along 
with the proper taper of the haft, it offers a good clue to the 
authenticity of the stem. In late specimens not designed for use, 
this gasket was sometimes of cloth. 

Hafts were decorated in a number of ways according to the 
abilities of the maker and the customs of the tribe. In the East the 
earliest specimens from the period before 1800 were normally 
polished smooth and slightly cigar shaped toward the mouth end. 
Decoration consisted primarily of metal inlays and bands of lead, 
pewter, brass or silver as a rule. Sometimes incised pictographs or 
symbols are encountered, but these are less common. Paint was 
undoubtedly applied more than might be suspected from surviving 
specimens, since the great bulk of aboriginal hafts has been lost. 
On occasional specimens, the hafts were wrapped and burned in 
"tiger stripes' ' in much the same fashion as some early rifle stocks. 

Around 1800 the lower edge of the haft began to be carved in a 
series of scallops. This innovation has been attributed to the Chip- 
pewa but, whether or not this can be substantiated, it did become 
popular among many of the Great Lakes and western Plains tribes, 
and continued so for at least the next 75 years. 

Other later (and usually western) innovations included the 
branding of the stem with a hot file, the addition of numerous 
brass-headed tacks, the practice of wrapping the haft in brass or 
copper wire, and the attachment of colorfully beaded flaps (see 
Frontispiece). The provision of a small carved protuberance on the 
bottom of the haft, pierced for a buckskin thong, is also a 19 th 
century characteristic, and is almost always western. Usually a 
few beads, feathers, brass tinklers, or perhaps an eagle-claw 



THE PIPE TOMAHAWK 39 

charm, were tied to this thong (see No. 201). This is not found in 
the East except in some very late 19 th century specimens used 
for ceremonial purposes. 

Another form of decoration included the use of feathers and 
cloth. Feathers were used for ornamentation in the East, if we 
may judge by the 1796 portrait of Cornplanter, and cloth wrap- 
pings must certainly have also been employed. Since both materi- 
als are of a perishable nature, all specimens illustrating this practice 
are western and date from the 19th century (see Frontispiece and 
Nos. 172 and 176). 

Closely allied to the subject of decoration was the special use 
of the tomahawk as an important gift to cement a friendship or to 
seal a treaty. Such "presentation tomahawks" are almost always 
pipes, and normally they were highly decorated with inlays of silver, 
or occasionally gold, in both haft and head (see Nos. 134 and 256) . 
Coats of arms, names, dates, and other inscriptions were sometimes 
engraved upon them as well. One particular bit of symbolism 
occasionally encountered on such axes of the 18 th and early 19 th 
centuries was the "silver chain of friendship" mentioned frequently 
in the formalized orations that were an integral part of the Indian 
councils of that period. This chain ran from a band around the 
haft near the mouthpiece to another band near the head, or even 
to the head itself. In i860 Benson J. Lossing sketched a portrait of 
Chief G. H. M. Johnson of the Six Nations holding a tomahawk 
with such a silver chain that had been in tribal ownership for many 
years. Another tomahawk with a silver chain of friendship belong- 
ing to Chief Bowles of the Cherokee is now in the Museum of the 
American Indian (see No. 133). 48 

Thus the pipe tomahawk served its various functions and pas- 
sed through its many mutations. The Iroquois chiefs who went to 
the court of Queen Anne in 1710 carried pipe tomahawks with 
them, as did the Crow chief, Holds-His-Enemy, when he went to 
Washington in 1910 (see PI. XI). The two centuries which inter- 
vened saw it spread to every part of the United States where 
metal tomahawks of any sort were used and quickly become the 
most popular form of all. 

48 Lossing, op. cit., 421. 



CHAPTER XI 
THE WHITE MAN AND THE TOMAHAWK 

The Indians were by no means the only peoples in America to 
use the tomahawk. Explorers, colonists, soldiers, and sailors, 
trappers, and fur traders — all found it a useful tool and 
weapon. Military use of the axe in America, of course, dates back 
to the Vikings, who favored it as a weapon, and even one mass 
murder of five women by an axe-wielding Viking on American 
soil is recorded in the Norse sagas. Spanish soldiers of the early 
16 th century also carried battle axes through the southern 
states. 49 

When the English and Dutch colonists arrived in the next 
century, the tradition of the axe as a military weapon had be- 
come obsolete in their native lands. Yet, in 164 1, colonial governor 
William Kieft directed that Negroes in New Amsterdam were to 
be armed with "small axes" and half-pikes to aid in the war 
against the Indians. Soldiers, on the other hand, were normally 
armed with a gun and a sword. Experiences here, however, soon 
demonstrated that the hatchet was in many ways a more useful 
weapon to carry on expeditions into the wilderness than the sword, 
for it could serve utilitarian purposes as well. At first it was decided 
that a certain number of men in each unit would exchange their 
swords for hatchets as, for instance, the decree of the Council of 
Connecticut Colony in 1675 : "It is ordered that ten good serviceable 
hatchets be provided in each county for the use of the army, and 
ten soldiers to carry them instead of swords." Before the end of 
the century, militia laws almost universally specified that either 
a sword or a hatchet would be acceptable for military purposes. 
Since militiamen had to provide their own weapons, there was 
an understandable tendency to select the hatchet, which was 
cheaper than the sword, and which could also be used around the 
house when not needed for military service. 50 

49 Olson, op. cit., 64. Garcilaso de la Vega, op. cit., passim. 

50 Extracts from the Papers of Director Kieft, O'Callaghan op. cit., I, 
414. Charles J. Hoadly (ed.), The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 
15 vols. (Hartford, 1 850-1 890), II, 385. Harold L. Peterson, Arms and 
Armor in Colonial America (Harrisburg, Pa., 1956), 87, 88, 99, 257, 279, 
293-297* 3°°> 329. 

40 



THE WHITE MAN AND THE TOMAHAWK 41 

The 18 th century brought some modifications to this trend in 
military regulations, but did not change it materially until the 
Revolutionary War. Militia laws began to specify bayonets as 
well as swords or tomahawks. Then the swords began to disappear 
from the lists, leaving only the bayonet and tomahawk, which 
were sometimes carried in a double frog on a shoulder belt. For a 
time in 1776, Virginia even directed its cavalry to carry tomahawks. 
During the Revolutionary War regular infantry generally abandon- 
ed the hatchet, but light infantry and riflemen who did not have 
bayonets continued to carry tomahawks throughout the conflict. 51 

The American colonials were not alone in their use of toma- 
hawks in warfare. In 1747, French troops and their Indian allies 
who attacked Fort Clinton in New York were instructed to fire a 
volley and then charge, axe in hand. The British light infantry 
adopted the tomahawk in 1759, carrying it in a rough, buttoned 
case, hung in a frog on the left side of the belt, between the coat 
and waistcoat. This tomahawk became a standard part of the 
British light infantry equipment and was carried by them through- 
out the Revolution. 52 

Following the Revolution, riflemen in the American Army 
continued to carry tomahawks. In 1793 the quantities of toma- 
hawks in various arsenals were listed: 53 

West Point 45 

Philadelphia 6 

Carlisle, Pa. 1007 with handles 

1019 without handles 
Ft. Washington, 

Western territory 236 

Compared with other arms available, this was an impressive 
inventory. As late as 1819 there were still 1074 of these tomahawks 
at Carlisle Barracks. 54 

When the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1 804-1 806 was dis- 
patched to explore the newly-acquired Louisiana Territory from 
St. Louis to the Pacific, soldiers carried tomahawks believed to 

51 Peterson, op. cit., 257, 279, 293-297, 300, 333, 334, 335. 

52 O'Callaghan, op. cit., X, 79, 80. Peterson, op. cit., 296. Woodward, 
op. cit., 30, 32. Charles M. Lefferts, Uniforms of the American, British, 
French and German Armies in the War of the American Revolution (N.Y., 
1926), 195, 196. Cecil C. P. Lawson, A History of the Uniforms of the British 
Army, 3 vols. (London, 1940-1960), II, 47. 

53 Records of the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, War Records Division, 
National Archives. Walter Lowrie and Matthew Clarke, (eds.), American 
State Papers, Military Affairs (Wash., D.C., 1832), I, 44. 

54 Ibid. 



42 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

have been made in the national armory at Harpers Ferry. At this 
time there were no regular riflemen in the American Army, such 
troops having been discontinued with the abandonment of the 
Legion system in 1796. But when riflemen were reintroduced in 
1808, they were again issued tomahawks and tomahawk belts, 
which they continued to use throughout the War of 18 12. Fol- 
lowing the war, special units of riflemen were again discontinued, 
and with them the tomahawk disappeared from the army as a 
regulation weapon, though the hatchet still continues to be issued 
as a tool to the present day. 55 

In the civilian world, hatchets or tomahawks were long car- 
ried by traders, trappers, explorers, and frontiersmen. This con- 
tinued well into the 19 th century, when the trapper, Osborne 
Russell, noted that his companions frequently carried hatchets 
fastened to the pommels of their saddles. Leaders of wagon trains 
following the Santa Fe trail in the logo's advised each man in 
the companies to provide himself with a tomahawk. Still later, 
the professional buffalo hunters clung to their hatchets just as 
they did to their knives and rifles. 56 

For the most part, the tomahawks carried by both soldiers and 
civilians were the typical simple hatchet or belt axe of the period. 
Hordes of hatchet heads from such military sites as Fort Ticon- 
deroga reveal clearly the type carried by both militiaman and 
regular (see Nos. 35, 36 and 37). All varieties are there, from the 
polless European styles through American implements with well- 
developed polls and ears. There are also documented specimens of 
spiked axes and hammer axes known to have been used by whites, 
in such collections as Fort Ticonderoga, the Rhode Island Histori- 
cal Society, and Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh, New 
York. In the United States National Museum there is a hammer 
axe presented to Davy Crockett by the young men of Philadelphia. 
And there are other hammer specimens bearing U. S. marks, in- 
dicating official issue. There are no extant specifications covering 
the tomahawks issued to United States riflemen at any period, 
and it may well be that some of these were either spiked or 
hammer axes. In the Henry Ford Museum collection there is a 
unique tomahawk bearing a splendidly forged eagle head on its poll 
and the name "Jas. McTear," apparently the owner, engraved on 
it (see No. 304). 

55 H. Charles McBarron, Jr., "American Military Dress in the War of 
1812, Part IV, Regular Riflemen," Military Affairs, V, No. 2 (Summer 
1941), 138-144. Woodward, op. cit., 32. 

6 * Osborne Russell, op. cit., 82. S. A. Clark, Pioneer Days of Oregon 
(Portland, 1905), I, 216, 217. Carl Russell, op. cit., 235. 



THE WHITE MAN AND THE TOMAHAWK 43 

Although it has long been thought that the pipe tomahawks 
were strictly for Indian use, this is not entirely true. In the Museum 
of the American Indian there is a specimen bearing inscriptions 
which would indicate it was owned by a colonial soldier (see 
No. 301). In the Caldwell collection is a more elaborate pipe toma- 
hawk of the 1800-1815 period, inland in gold and silver, and en- 
graved with an eagle and military trophies (see No. 30) 

A final and by no means insignificant number of tomahawks 
formed a part of the regalia of fraternal and political organizations. 
Best known of these were the Sons of St. Tammany and the 
Improved Order of Red Men, both of which claimed similar 
origins although they developed along entirely different lines. In 
the pre-Revolutionary War days there had been a group called 
the Sons of St. Tammany, named after a Delaware Indian chief 
who was noted for his wisdom and benevolence as well as his love 
of liberty. The title of "Saint" seems to have been added in jest. 
During the War itself, this group disappeared along with such 
other kindred organizations as the Sons of Liberty when these 
patriotic groups united in the struggle for liberty. 

With the winning of independence, however, some Americans 
felt that there was still a need for an organization to guard their 
rights and liberties. On May 12, 1789, William Mooney, founded 
the Society of St. Tammany or Columbian Order for political 
action by middle-class citizens. Since it was designed to be entirely 
native in character, it turned towards the Indian for many of its 
designations and its regalia. Officers received Indian titles, and 
its main building became known as the tepee; tomahawks were 
an important ceremonial item. 

The Improved Order of Red Men also claims the pre-Revolu- 
tionafy Sons of Saint Tammany, Red Men and Sons of Liberty 
among its ancestors. Unlike the later Sons of St. Tammany, the 
Red Men remained a fraternal, benevolent and patriotic society 
and did not engage actively in politics. Of especial interest to 
tomahawk students, however, is the fact that the word Tote plays 
an important role in the Order's vocabulary. Thus at least some 
of those tomahawks which bear the words may actually be fra- 
ternal axes. 

Mention should also be made of the manufacture in recent 
times of iron and brass reproductions of tomahawks. Usually 
these are not meant to defraud the purchaser, but are intended 
for use by Indian lore enthusiasts, hobbyists, and others interested 
in the subject. However, they are sometimes mistaken for older 
specimens, and often show up in collections. 



CHAPTER XII 

NAVAL BOARDING AXES 

For centuries the sailor looked upon the hatchet as an essential 
tool and weapon and used it in much the same ways as a 
soldier did. On sailing ships the rigging frequently became 
tangled as masts or arms were shattered in battle, and ropes had 
to be cut quickly to clear out debris. The hatchet was the obvious 
answer. Such naval battles also frequently ended as the vessels 
came together and the crew from one boarded the other to finish 
the action in hand-to-hand fighting. Here the hatchet, or boarding 
axe as it was usually called, was especially important. Nets or 
other obstructions were frequently raised to hinder any such 
boarding attempt, and these had to be cut and cleared away with 
the axe, which then became a weapon in the fighting that follow- 
ed. Landing parties also normally carried such axes as a tool or 
defensive weapon for use in any emergency they might encounter. 
Little is known about the naval boarding axes of the 17 th and 
early 18 th centuries, but by the late 18 th century established 
patterns had developed which seem to have been based on long 
tradition. The spiked axe was almost universal, and there were 
iron straps either forged as part of the head or passing through 
the eye, which ran back along the haft to protect it against cuts 
and to add strength. On British and American boarding axes 
these straps were normally on the sides ; on French specimens they 
were often along the top and bottom. During the 19th century 
British and American axes usually had notches cut in the back of 
the blade above the heel for use in snaring lines or gripping 
gunwales or, in later types, as nail-pullers. Aboard ship, boarding 
axes were kept in racks, issued as need arose, then returned to the 
racks. Some few were provided with belt hooks (notably by the 
French), but this does not seem to have been the practice either 
in Great Britain or the United States. 

About the time of the Civil War, the United States abandoned 
the spiked axe in favor of one with a hammer head and, at the 
same time, adopted a leather frog with a button-over strap, so 
that it could be carried securely on the waist belt. During the Civil 
War, boarding axes were issued to specified crew members, but 
these soon ceased to be a weapon as naval tactics changed with 

44 



NAVAL BOARDING AXES 45 

the introduction of steam ships and long range cannon. Boarding 
actions were no longer practical and wooden masts and rope rig- 
ging also disappeared. The boarding axe of the late 19 th century 
was an anachronism, useful only for emergencies, and, as such, soon 
became relegated to the tool box. 57 

These statements concerning the evolution of the boarding axe 
in the United States Navy have necessarily been general and 
somewhat vague, for such axes were not covered in regulations. In 
the early years of the new nation, contracts were usually let for 
the outfitting of a specific ship, but the language in these agree- 
ments stated only that the axes were to be made according to a 
pattern which was to be supplied to the contractor. This pattern 
has long since vanished. Thus, it is known, for instance, that, in 
1797, the Constitution and the Constellation each received 100 boar- 
ding axes, and it is also a matter of record that, in 1816, various 
contractors from Massachusetts to Virginia were offering to supply 
such axes at prices ranging from 62 J cents to $7.00 each. But it 
is impossible to determine the exact pattern in any given case. 
Dated specimens and collateral evidence supply the principal data, 
and though the outlines are clear, the details are missing. 58 

57 Ordnance Instructions for the U.S. Navy, 4th edition (Wash., D.C., 
1866), Part I, 19-25. 

58 Naval Records Division, National Archives. 



DIRECTORY OF MAKERS AND DEALERS 

Albot, Joseph Address unknown. Employed by the British to 

make and repair axes for friendly tribes, 1755-1763. 
Allere, J. B. Chicago. Known to have made pipe tomahawks 

ca. 1820-1840. 
Ancram & Go. England. Supplied iron mongery and cutlery to 

the Hudson's Bay Company in 1800. 
Andrus, John Address unknown, probably New York. This name 

appears on the pipe tomahawk presented to Cornplanter now 

in the New York State Museum, Albany. 
Bagg, John England. Supplier of trade goods, 1706. 
Bailey, Thomas & Company England. Suppliers to the Hudson's 

Bay Company, 1794-1810. 
Ballard, Etienne Blacksmith at Detroit, 1778. 
Bell & Company England. Suppliers to the Hudson's Bay 

Company, 1792. 
Bordeau, John Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory. Blacksmith and 

ferryman at the Fort before and after 1847, Bordeau made 

hatchets without steel edges from old wagon tires, which he 

traded to the Indians for 10 beaver skins. His mark was JB. 
Bo wen, Ryar Address unknown. Blacksmith hired to make and 

repair hatchets for Indians friendly to the British during the 

French and Indian War. 
Bo wen, William Address unknown. Made and repaired axes in 

1770. 
Brown, Elijah Richmond, Virginia. In 1816 he offered to make 

"battle axes" for the Navy at $2.50 each. 
Brown, J. M. Green Bay, Wisconsin. Known to have made pipe 

tomahawks ca. 1820-1840. 
Burgon, John 
Burgon, John & Son England. Supplier of trade goods as John 

Burgon, 1793-1811; as John Burgon & Son, 1812-1821. 
Burnett, William Green Bay, Wisconsin. Known to have made 

pipe axes, ca. 1820-1830. 
Cargill, Peter England. Supplier of trade goods, 1761-1781. 
Collins & Company Collinsville, Connecticut. Established in 

1826 by Samuel W. Collins, Daniel C. Collins, and William 

Wells, this firm has been primarily manufacturers of axes, 

ploughs, and machetes. Collins axes were designed as tools, not 

46 



DIRECTORY OF MAKERS AND DEALERS 47 

specifically for the Indian trade, but a number of them found 
their way into Indian hands. See No. 45. Although the factory 
was at Collinsville, the address "Hartford" was stamped on 
all Collins products. 

Cronin, Peter Address unknown. Made and repaired hatchets for 
the Indian allies of the British during the French and Indian 
War. 

Cremar, Peter Address unknown. Made and repaired hatchets 
for the Indian allies of the British and Americans during the 
French and Indian War. 

Crowley -Hallett & Company England. Suppliers to the Hud- 
son's Bay Company, 1748-175 1. 

Crump, Thomas England. Supplier to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, 1742-1760. 

Dana, Daniel Canton, Massachusetts. In 1816 he, Adam Kinsley 
and Charles S. Leonard offered to make boarding axes for 
the Navy at $7.00 each. 

Deringer, Henry 370 N. Front Street, Philadelphia. Famous 
firearms maker, born 1786 in Easton, Pa. He worked first in 
Richmond and moved to Philadelphia in 1806, working there 
until his death in 1868. In 1816 he made 51 brass pipe toma- 
hawks for the Office of Indian Trade for $2.50 each. 

Dimick, Horace E. St. Louis, Missouri. In 1849 Dimick moved 
to St. Louis from Lexington, Kentucky where he had op- 
erated a cabinetmaking and upholstery shop. He opened 
a gunsmithing and sporting goods business at 38 N. Main 
Street, under the name of H. E. Dimick & Co. In 1861 he 
opened another store at 97 N. 4th Street. His specialty was 
fine target rifles and pistols, but his stock was varied, in- 
cluding tomahawks and Bowie knives as well as all manner 
of firearms. Some of these were made in his own shop ; others 
were purchased from different manufacturers. He died in 
1873. See No. 153. 

Duplesis, Louis Blacksmith at Oviatenon, Indiana, 1778. 

Durant, J. Address unknown, probably American. The name ap- 
pears on a hatchet head of the 18 th century found in New 
Hampshire. 

Dyelle, Francois Blacksmith among the Miami, 1778. 

Gosling, Richard Philadelphia. Made knives and belt axes, 
1714-1717. 

Goulding & Company New York City. Makers of surgical in- 
struments and fine cutlery, ca. 1850-1860. See No. 60. 

Gove, Carlos Council Bluffs, Iowa; St. Joseph, Missouri, and 
Denver, Colorado. Gove was born in Went worth, New 



48 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

Hampshire in 1817 and learned the gunsmith trade in Boston. 
After a tour with the dragoons, he became gunsmith at the 
Pottowattomie Agency near Council Bluffs in 1840. Four 
years later he moved to St. Joseph and established his own 
business. In 1854 ne returned to Council Bluffs. In 1862 he 
opened a gunshop at the corner of 16 th and Larimer Streets 
in Denver. By 1871 he had moved to 12 Blake Street. In the 
early 1880's the firm became C. Gove & Son; the elder Gove 
died in 1900. See Nos. 144 and 14J. 

Graham, Buxton & Company England. Suppliers to the 
Hudson's Bay Company, 1818-1820. 

Greaves, William & Sons Sheaf Works, Sheffield, England. 
The name appears on a tomahawk of about 1 830-1 850 with 
a threaded diamond-shaped point which may be unscrewed. 
Presumably a pipe bowl could be substituted, but this is now 
missing. 

Hall, William A. Chicago. Made pipe axes, ca. 1820-1840. 

Hammond Philadelphia. The name and city are stamped on a 
simple hatchet with thickened poll and ears of the late 18 th 
or early 19 th century. 

Harrison & Bagshaw England. Suppliers to the Hudson's Bay 
Company, 1753. 

Hendricks, John Philadelphia. Made belt knives and trade 
tomahawks, 1783-1790. 

Hoff, F. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1800-1815. Listed as a 
blacksmith, his name appears on the superb pipe tomahawk, 
No. 303. 

Hoffman, Fred Philadelphia. In 1806 he offered to make navy 
boarding axes for $1.00 each. 

Hoglan, Isaac Georgetown, D. C. In 1816 he offered to make 
"battle axes" for the Navy at 950 each and boarding axes at 
750 each. 

Holtzappfel & Go. England. Supplied axes to the Hudson's Bay 
Company in 181 1. A pipe tomahawk bearing the name and 
the British ordnance mark of the broad arrow and letters BO 
is in the collections of the Museum of the American Indian. 
See No. 126. 

Horstmann Philadelphia. The firm was founded by W. H. Horst- 
mann in 1818 as a lace and fringe factory. Between 1828 and 
1830 he opened military goods stores in Philadelphia and 
New York. He took his sons into the business, and from 1843 
until 1858 the Philadelphia directories list W. H. Horstmann 
<fc Co. and W. H. Horstmann <fc Sons at the same address, 51 N. 
3rd Street. From 1845 until 1849 tne New York firm operated 



DIRECTORY OF MAKERS AND DEALERS 49 

under the name of Horstmann, Sons & Drucker. In 1858 the 

elder Horstmann died, and in 1859 tne Philadelphia directory 

lists Horstmann Brothers 6c Co. in partnership with John G. 

Franklin at 723 Chestnut St. The company was primarily a 

sales concern, contracting for finished items from various 

manufacturers in this country and abroad. The firm is still 

in business. See No. 231. 
Hunt, James England. Supplier of trade goods, 1806. 
IS Rutland, Vermont. These letters in a heart-shaped cartouche 

appear on a spiked axe of the mid-18 th century along 

with the stamped word "Rutland," the date 1775 and the 

number 3. 
JB Mark of John Bordeau, q. v. 
J. G. Unidentified mark on a spiked tomahawk from central New 

York State. 
Johnson, Reynaldo Address unknown. In 1808 he delivered 178 

half axes at 500 each and 22 tomahawks at 400 each to the 

Office of Indian Trade. 
Johnson, Sam Washington, D. C. In 1816 he offered to make 

"battle axes" for the Navy at 62 J each. 
Jourdain, Joseph Wisconsin. Born at Three Rivers, Canada, in 

1780. He moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1796 and worked 

at the agency there until 1834. In that year he was transferred 

to Winnebago Rapids near the Little Lake des Morts, where 

he lived until his death in 1866. See No. 162. 
Jukes, William & George England. Suppliers to the Hudson's 

Bay Company, 1748. 
Kinsley, Adam Bridgewater and Canton, Massachusetts. In 1816, 

in partnership with Daniel Dana and Charles S. Leonard, he 

offered to make boarding axes for the Navy at $7.00 each. 

Kinsley was also a gunsmith who had federal contracts for 

muskets in 1798 and 1808. 
Koch, Rudolph Fort Michilimackinac. A blacksmith at the post 

before and after 1769, when he rendered a bill to Sir William 

Johnson for making and repairing hatchets and axes of all 

kinds, including pipe tomahawks. 
Lafoy or Lefoi, Agustin Detroit. Assistant blacksmith at Detroit, 

1778, and apparently active there as late as 1820. 
Leonard, Charles S. Canton, Massachusetts. In partnership with 

Daniel Dana and Adam Kinsley, he offered to make boarding 

axes for the Navy at $7.00 each in 1816. 
Lewis, John Detroit. Made pipe tomahawks, ca. 1 820-1 840. 
Lloyd, Nicodemus Address unknown. In 1805 he made 12 pipe 

tomahawks and 61 wood axes for the Office of Indian Trade. 



50 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

In 1806 he made 100 "wood axes," 150 "common tomahawks," 

and 50 "pipe tomahawks." 
Lusignant, F. Fort Wayne, Indiana. Made pipe tomahawks ca. 

1820-1840. 
Margnier Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. A French smith mentioned 

as making pipe tomahawks early in the 19 th century. 
Migneron, Solomon Address unknown. Made pipe tomahawks, 

ca. 1820-1840. 
Montour Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. French smith mentioned as 

making pipe tomahawks early in the 19 th century. 
Morton & Company England. Suppliers to the Hudson's Bay 

Company, 18 14. 
Opy, William Address unknown. Employed by the British to 

make and repair hatchets for their Indian allies during the 

French and Indian War. 
Parke The name appears on a pipe tomahawk of the second half 

of the 18 th century, which also bears the British broad arrow. 

This may possibly be William Parkes, q. v. See No. 113. 
Parkes, William England. Supplier to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, 1770-1790. 
Parkes & Company England. Suppliers to the Hudson's Bay 

Company, 1791-1800. 
Parkes & Hearle England. Suppliers to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, 1803. 
Pettibone, Daniel Philadelphia. Gunsmith, cutler, and U. S. 

inspector of arms, 1808-1809. During the War of 1812 he 

made belt axes as well as pikes and knives. 
Printup, William Address unknown. Made and repaired hatchets 

for Indians friendly to the British during the French and 

Indian War. 
Provinsalle, Pierre Saginaw, Michigan. Made pipe tomahawks, 

ca. 1820-1840. 
Putnam, Ernes tus Address unknown. In 1818 he delivered 300 

squaw axes to the Office of Indian Trade. 
Rose, J. & Son New York City. In 1806 he made 36 tomahawks 

for the Office of Indian Trade at prices ranging from 50 to 

90 cents each. 
Russell, George England. Listed as supplier of trade cutlery and 

hardware, 1800-18 16. 
Russell, Michael England. Supplier to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, 1804. 
Russell, William England. Supplier of trade goods, 1817-1820. 
Russell & Company England. Listed as suppliers of trade goods, 

1792. 



DIRECTORY OF MAKERS AND DEALERS 5 1 

Russell & Smith England. Suppliers of trade goods, 1789. 

Sanderson & Company England. Supplier of trade cutlery and 
hardware, 1744. 

Sanderson & Towers England. Listed as supplier of trade goods, 
1745-1747. 

Seyfert Philadelphia. The name and city appear on a spiked toma- 
hawk of the late 18 th or early 19 th century. 

Sharp, Catherine England. Supplier to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, 1784. 

Sharp, James England. Supplier to the Hudson's Bay Company, 
1760-1790. 

Shaw, Lemuel Address unknown. In 1811 he made 12 "Large 
squaw axes" at 560 each for the Office of Indian Trade. 

Smith, William England. Supplied hardware and cutlery for the 
Indian trade, 1815. 

Southouse & Chapman England. Suppliers to the Hudson's Bay 
Company, 1746-1752. 

Southouse, Samuel & Company England. Suppliers to the 
Hudson's Bay Company, 1738-1756. 

Sprague, O. B. Probably English, ca. 1820-1850. See No. ij$. 

St. Cyr, Levi Winnebago, Nebraska, Born about 1875. A nickel- 
plated tomahawk bearing his name and date is known. See 
No. 233. Another tomahawk obviously by the same hand 
but unmarked is illustrated as No. 234. 

Stanton Edward England. Supplier of Indian trade goods, 
1751-1760. 

Stowe, A. J. Address unknown, probably American. The name 
appears on a belt axe of the 18 th century found in Vermont. 

Taylor, William England. Supplier to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, 1737-1741. 

Taylor & Company England. Supplier to the Hudson's Bay 
Company, 1790. 

Thomas, J. & C. Probably England. The name appears on a pipe 
tomahawk made ca. 1800. See No. 128. 

Trott, J. England. Supplier of hardware and cutlery for the Indian 
trade, 1790. 

Van Eps, John B. Probably New York. Made 100 axes for the 
Treaty of Burnet's Field in 1770 at a cost of 4 shillings each. 

Watson, J. Address unknown. The name appears on an iron pipe 
tomahawk of about 1800 in the collection of the Ohio His- 
torical Society. 

Welshhans, J. York, Pennsylvania. There were four gunsmiths in 
York, Pa. who signed their work /. Welshans or /. Welshhans, 
from the 1770's through the early 19 th century. Two were 

4* 



52 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

named Jacob, two Joseph, and it is impossible to determine 
which is which from the signature. For a fine brass tomahawk 
with a steel edge bearing this name. See No. 213. 

W. H. & Co. A belt axe bearing this stamp was found at Fort 
Ticonderoga. 

Wheat, Thomas Washington, D. C. In 18 17 he delivered to the 
Office of Indian Trade 66 large squaw axes at 750 each, 
67 middle squaw axes at 62^0 each, and 62 small squaw axes 
at 500 each. 

Whitford, John England. Hardware and cutlery supplier, 1809. 

Wilson, Samuel 

Wilson, Samuel & Son 

Wilson, Simon & William 

Wilson, William England. Supplied hardware and cutlery for 
the Indian trade, 1 737-1745. Changes to Samuel Wilson 
& Son, 1746-1760 ; Simon & William Wilson, 1761-1767 ; and 
William Wilson, 1768-1790. 

Wilson, C. & Company England. Suppliers of hardware and 
cutlery, 1816. 

Wood, B. Probably English. A late i8th-early 19th century pipe 
tomahawk of iron bearing his name, is in the collection of the 
Museum of the American Indian. See No. 12 j. 

Woodruff, W. A. Probably Cincinnati. A silver or silver-plated 
tomahawk bearing his name and the date 1850 is illustrated 
as No. 256. 



INDEX TO PROVENIENCE 

Attributions, as recorded in captions, are given below by tribe or, 
if that is not known, by geographical area or state. Numbers cor- 
respond to illustrations. 



Alabama 


i5 




Crow 


44, 94, 193, 


Arapaho 


178, 200 






248, 249, 267, 


Arizona 


246 






277 


Arkansas 


8, 9, n 








ASSINIBOINE 


127, 284 




Delaware 


256 


Bannock 


207 




Fox 


155, 165, 255 


Blackfoot 


182, 192, 


193, 


Haida 


7 




217, 222, 


224, 






230, 241, 


275, 


Illinois 


60 




283, 291 




Indiana 
Iowa 


73, 97, 257 
6, 102 


Caddo 


145, 149, 
160, 290 


150, 


Iroquois 


2, 3, 24, 72, 
75, 77 > 79, 82, 


California 


16 






113, Il6, 121, 


Canada 


12 






129, 132, 143, 


Cayuga 


168 






148, 159, 169, 


Cherokee 


133, 151, 


158 




181, 205, 209, 


Cheyenne 


202, 216, 


274 




264, 266 


Chickasaw 


131 








Chippewa 


4, 21, 88 


, 99, 


Kaw 


223 




167, 175, 


180, 


KlCKAPOO 


152, 186 




210, 240, 


244, 


Kiowa 


272, 287 




245, 251, 


254, 


Kwakiutl 


17, 18 




278, 280, 


288, 








298 




Mahikan 


162 


Choctaw 


265 




Mandan 


52, 138, 237 


Colorado 


13 




Massachusetts 


301 


Comanche 


49, 189, 


190, 


Menomini 


228 




261 




Miami 


115, 134, 208, 


Connecticut 


38, 74 






295 


Cree 


128, 243 




Michigan 


259 


Creek 


146, 242 




Mississippi 


103 



53 



54 


AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 






Nebraska 


204 


Shawnee 


119, 


120, I35, 


New England 


54, 56, 59, 89, 




136, 


137, *55, 




90 




185, 


226 


New Hampshire 


: 34 


Shoshoni 


100, 


161, 197 


New Jersey 


310 


Sioux 


21, 22, 23, 42, 


New Mexico 


39 




43, 45, 48, 80, 


New York 


35, 36, 37, 57, 




93, 


95, 125, 




62, 63, 64, 65, 




126, 


130, 166, 




66, 67, 69, 90, 




174, 


176, 179, 




92 




184, 


187, 191, 


Nez Perce 


153, 170, 218, 




194, 


195, 196, 




220, 268, 279, 




199, 


201, 227, 




299 




236, 
253, 


247, 250, 
264, 266, 


Oklahoma 


10 




270, 


285, 289, 


Ohio 


98, 142, 221, 




292, 


294, 297 




260 


Southwest 


108 




Osage 


46, 47, 50, 51, 










219, 232, 269 


Tennessee 


14 




Oto 


5, 188, 229 


Tsimshian 


20 




Ottawa 


154 


Tlingit 


19 




Pennsylvania 


61, 76, 112, 










213 


Ute 


177 




Plains 


172, 282, 293 








Ponca 


104 


Vermont 


64, 300 


POTAWATOMI 


114, 144, 147, 


Virginia 


I, 106, 206 




164 


Wampanoag 


252 




Sauk and Fox 


117, 118, 139, 


Washington 


309 






140, 141, 163, 


West Virginia 


123 






183, 234, 273, 


Winnebago 


156, 


233, 239, 




276, 281 




263, 


296 


Seminole 


173 


Wyandot 


101, 


157 



Appendix 

THE BLACKSMITH SHOP 

by 
Milford G. Chandler 

The pioneer blacksmith shop was a cluttered-up place where at 
one time the prevailing odor might be of wood smoke; at another 
time, it would be the smell of the half-rotted hoof and frog of a 
horse being prepared for shoeing. Following the sound of a hiss-ss-s 
as a hot horseshoe was applied, the pungent smell of burning hoof 
would fill the air. The ringing of the anvil could be heard throughout 
the village and, often, the loud whinnying of a stallion. Except for 
those sounds and an occasional dogfight, there generally was silence. 

Thick dust covered all surfaces not worn clean from use, and 
out-of-the-way places were littered with odd pieces of iron and 
wood. To the rear was a heap of old iron, and inside, hanging from 
pegs, were a few bars of new iron of the sizes most needed. The shop 
was a cold place in winter, but in the summer, with the big door 
open, it was as airy and attractive as the barroom or the general 
store. Over the entrance might be a sign, "Blacksmith Shop." In 
later days this often read "Practical Horseshoeing" or "Scientific 
Horseshoeing," especially if there were rivals in the village.* 

The iron used was called Swedish, Norway, or wrought (com- 
monly pronounced "rot") iron. Very low in carbon content, it was 
soft and contained considerable quantities of slag and other 
impurities. These occurred in various forms, from fine streaks to 
large pockets or flaws filled with gritty material. When heated to 
welding temperature, this iron had the merit of being sticky, with 
the stringy fibrous appearance of pulled taffy. 

Steel was expensive. It was made in the shop by drawing iron 
down to small bars, which were then heated to a high temperature 
for a number of hours in containers in the presence of charred 
leather or bone. During this time the white-hot iron absorbed 

* In the British Isles and eastern North America the term forge was 
used to designate the business establishment where forgings were made. But 
later, in the West, the definition became more limited. Here, forge referred 
to the actual hearth where the work was heated for forging or welding, and 
the term blacksmith shop was a more popular name for the establishment. 

55 



56 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

carbon from the charred granules. The bars were then welded 
together to form the sizes wanted. Naturally, the impurities 
already present in the iron were not eliminated and, with the ad- 
dition of carbon, there was an even greater risk of imperfect welds. 
This was called "blister" steel because of such imperfections. The 
collector should look for these characteristics in the material of 
genuine forged tomahawks. 

In those days, because iron bars were expensive and the range 
of sizes limited, a supply of scrap was an adjunct to a forge. Large 
pieces were made by welding smaller ones together. One forged 
tomahawk, therefore, might contain iron from a worn-out wagon 
wheel, another from a horseshoe, while a third blade might contain 
streaks of iron from any number of different sources, even from 
guns. The steel might have been retrieved from obsolete swords, 
bayonets, or from discarded files and rasps. 

In the smaller establishments a variety of work was done, 
including the repair of wooden wagon parts and guns as well as 
horseshoeing. It is quite likely that a good share of tomahawks 
were made by gunsmiths and blacksmiths as a side line. For ex- 
ample, Jourdain, the best-known tomahawk maker in America, 
had a general blacksmith business. 

The actual hearth or forge was a structure of brick with an 
elevated platform on which the fire was built. Partly over this was 
a hood, an extension of a chimney that rested on the end of the 
forge at the blacksmith's left. At the right end was a trough con- 
taining coal of the type we now call charcoal. This fuel was made 
locally from wood that had been heated until the gassy com- 
ponents were driven out. 

Air was conveyed from a bellows, by pipe, to the base of the 
fire at what was called the tuyere, pronounced "tweer." The bel- 
lows was operated with the left hand by means of a lever. It 
usually had a hinged lower flat member for pumping the air, a 
stationary central partition, and a hinged upper member, with an 
accordion-like strip of flexible leather to connect the three together. 
This formed two compartments. When the lower one was drop- 
ped, the vacuum created opened a large flat valve to take in air. 
Then, when it was raised, the air was forced up through another 
flapper valve in the stationary member into the upper chamber, 
which expanded to accomodate the charge of air. 

Some of the basic tools and heavy equipment required for 
tomahawk manufacture are illustrated in Figure 9. In the shop, 
tongs were hung on a convenient rack and, at the coal trough, there 
was a small shovel and poker. To the left was a tub of water called 
the slake, or "slak," tub and not far away was a hinge-type vise of 



APPENDIX 



57 



wrought iron anchored to a bench. Because it was steadied by a 
projection going down to the floor, this was called a post vise. In 
front of the forge stood the anvil — a heavy forging of iron with 
a thick steel face welded to its top surface. This was mounted on 
a section of tree trunk to bring it to a convenient height. Handy 
to the anvil were the blacksmith's hammers, punches, and sledge 
as well as hot and cold chisels, fullers, and wooden-handled flatters. 
The use of the flatter required the cooperation of an assistant: 
while the blacksmith held the work with tongs and applied the 
flatter or other handled tools, his assistant struck with the sledge. 
The anvil supplied the backing or foundation for the various 
operations. 

The iron was heated in the forge to a bright red color, and then 
worked on the anvil until it cooled to a dull red. It was reheated 
for each subsequent operation. Each time the smith would pump 
the bellows, sending a blast of air up through the fire to increase 
the intensity of the heat. Chisels were used to trim the work to 
shape ; fullers were used to form grooves ; and flatters, to level the 
surface marks made by the hammer. If a hatchet, hammer, or 
tomahawk was being made, a drift was also used. 

Hammers and sledges were "faced" by welding a layer of steel 
to the iron work surface. For wood chisels and plane bits, a thin 
layer of steel was welded to one side of the tool to form the cutting 
edge. In the manufacture of hatchets, axes, and tomahawks, the 
steel or "bit" was usually welded into a slit made at the cutting 
end of the blade. 

The most important aspect in this kind of forge welding was 
the smith's judgment of temperature, which he determined by 
watching closely the color of the metals as they were heated. The 
iron, when brought to near its melting point, became quite plastic. 
Particular caution was taken with the steel, however, for if it 
became too hot it would lose it properties of hardness. If the metals 
were overheated, they "spit," or threw off sparks, as oxidation 
occurred. As the two parts were heated, the areas to be joined were 
liberally fluxed. Borax was the flux preferred, but sand was also 
used. The flux served two purposes. First, acting as a cleaning 
agent, it formed a near-liquid paste that dissolved the surface 
oxides on the metals. This paste flowed easily from between the 
two parts when they were hammered together. It also formed a 
protective film over the metal surfaces, thus preventing the oc- 
curence of further oxidation from the hot blast of the fire. When 
each of the metals had simultaneously reached its proper tempera- 
ture, the smith had to act quickly. The parts were removed from 
the fire, placed properly together on the anvil, and struck over the 



58 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 




anvil 



Figure 9. Basic tools and shop equipment 



APPENDIX 



59 





M, A 1 




hunch 



flatter 




tongs 




bottom fuller 



used in the manufacture of tomahawks. 




o 

o 
o 






C_J 



drift, with various shapes of cross section 



60 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

surfaces to be bonded. If, for any reason, the weld did not produce 
a good bond, it was called a "cold shut/' and the entire process had 
to be repeated. 

If the weld was successful, the projecting part of the steel was 
lightly worked over to reduce any brittle quality that might exist. 
The forging was heated again, put into the vise, and "hot filed/ ' 
In this step the metal surface was gone over with a very coarse file 
or rasp, usually called a "bastard" file, to refine the form. If the 
work was a tomahawk, it was necessary to harden the cutting edge. 
To do this, the steel was again heated and then plunged into the 
water of the slake tub to cool. An extreme hardness — even brittle- 
ness — resulted in the steel, but the iron was not affected. Some 
risk was involved, for there was a chance that the steel might 
crack during the rapid chilling. Now, to impart toughness to the 
metal, it was tempered. The smith heated the iron body of the 
tomahawk just behind the cutting edge. The steel, which then 
appeared gray, was rubbed on the gritty floor. This abrasive 
action cleaned the surface of the metal so the smith was able to see 
the "color/ ' As the heat traveled down the cutting edge, the metal 
slowly became a straw color, then purplish. When it turned a deep 
purple, the smith again quenched the blade in the slake tub. By 
this tempering process the steel edge was made tough enough as 
well as hard enough to stand service and retain its sharpness. 

The forging was now ready for finish filing and polishing. In 
well-equipped shops these hard tasks were done by power-driven 
grinding stones and polishing wheels, but some hand filing was 
almost always required. If power polishing was done, care was 
taken to avoid excessive heating of the steel edge for this would 
cause a loss of temper and the metal would be softened. Following 
these steps, the tomahawk was ready for the user. 

When a tomahawk rusted, the steel and iron usually took on 
different hues. Sometimes the iron rusted away so much that, at 
the front and back edges, the steel would stand at a slightly dif- 
ferent level than the iron. If a tomahawk is the type used by 
Indians of woodland regions, it should show some sign of this steel 
cutting edge. A reproduction is not so likely to have this feature 
and is even less likely to have a body of "rot" iron into which a 
steel bit had been forge welded. 

CLASSIFICATION 

Because few tomahawks were marked with the maker's name, 
and because chronological information is so fragmentary, as- 
signment of a specimen to a particular period hinges largely on 



APPENDIX 6l 

technical points. One tool aiding in classification is the drift used to 
form the eye. The making of a drift took time and material and, 
unless he had a sufficient number of orders, it is quite unlikely that 
a maker would have had several on hand. More probably he would 
use only one for all the tomahawks he produced and merely change 
the external features to suit the requirements of his customers. The 
drift most commonly used for all types of tomahawks produced a 
near-oval shape in the eye. However, some smiths used an elliptical 
form while others preferred a modified rectangle. Several different 
cross sections of drifts are shown in Figure 9. 

Another aid to classification is the technique of manufacture. A 
maker would most likely consider his particular method the proper 
way to do the job. The process is revealed principally in two 
places — the interior of the bowl and the inner surface of the eye. 
Points to be observed will be brought out in detail for each 
technique described here. 

TECHNIQUES OF MANUFACTURE 

The early tomahawk was almost always made by bending a 
strip of iron at the middle around a stake that was usually sup- 
ported in the hole of the anvil. The two lapped ends were then 
welded together with a bit of steel enclosed at the working end. 
Most early examples show signs that the eye was "drifted out/' 
truing it to receive the handle. Some tomahawks show where the 
smith neglected to true up the eye, possibly because the maker may 
not have had a drift on hand. 

By improvising on this basic method, the makers could also 
produce several types of pipe tomahawks [see Figures 10 and 11). 
One such method was to cut a dovetail into the top of the eye of the 
axe and drill or punch a hole through the eye. A short tube, often 
a section of gun barrel, was forged to a shank, leaving a bowl at 
one end and a flange at the other. This flange was then fitted into 
the dovetail and secured by brazing. 

Another method was to fit the flanged tube like a saddle to the 
top of the eye and braze it into place. Still another obvious and 
easy way was to use a brass pipe bowl with a threaded cast iron 
stud at its base. This merely had to be screwed into a threaded 
hole drilled into the top of the axe eye. 

In some instances, instead of using the brass bowl and iron 
stud combination, iron bowls were necked down and threaded. The 
brass screwed-in bowls did not meet with much success for they 
were subject to breakage at the stud and were easily screwed out 
and lost. The all-iron bowls were found to be somewhat more 



62 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 





A. bowl, dovetailed 





B. bowl base, saddle-shaped 



Figure io. Improvisations. 



APPENDIX 63 

durable. These are often hard for a collector to detect, but traces 
of the end of the stud can usually be seen inside the eye. 






A. bowl with cast-in stud B. bowl made of one piece of iron 

Figure ii. Improvisations. 



One improvisation which is likely to pass unnoticed is illus- 
trated in Figure 12. In this instance, a pocket was forged in the 
top of the eye and a section of tube was welded into the pocket. 
The tube was then necked down and finished to form the pipe bowl. 
Often the weld is so perfect that there is no exterior evidence of a 
joint. 

Common Pipe Tomahawk 

None of the improvisations described above met with any great 
approval; it became apparent that a rugged, completely forged 
pipe tomahawk could be sold in quantities great enough to war- 
rant its development. Most popular was a design based on the 
traditional axe of the wrap-around construction [see Figure 13). 
This had a stud or shank riveted and welded into the top of the 
eye. Because it is found in comparatively great numbers, this form 
is called the "common" type. Variations on this same technique 
suggest that several contractors had been engaged in producing it 



64 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 




A. blade with forged pocket 




S 



s 




B. tube ready for welding 



C. tube forced into eye 





D. section of finished work 



Figure 12. Improvisations: bowl welded into depression. 



APPENDIX 65 

to rather loose specifications, probably from samples. Surviving 
specimens also frequently show evidence of alterations made after 
manufacture. 

Lathes of a sort were used to turn the bowls and tool marks can 
still be seen on well-preserved examples. Some give evidence that 
the blade had been ground on the flat surface to reduce the amount 
of hand filing. The contours of the shank, bowl, and eye, made by 
turning and filing, are pleasing and quite uniform from one speci- 
men to another, again an indication that tomahawks of this type 
were made to specification. 

Features that distinguish this method of manufacture are : the 
flat bottom in the bowl cavity; the faint trace, inside the eye, of 
the welded-in shank; and the seam where the eye ends and the 
blade starts, which can also be seen inside the eye. 

Whatever the shape of the drift used to form the eye, it was 
customary, when making a pipe tomahawk, to line the eye with 
buckskin to seal and cushion its fit to the handle and thus prevent 
leakage. 

The "Pierced Eye" Method 

This technique (see Figure 15) was developed at an early date. 
For it, the smith required a short rectangular bar of iron, the end 
of which was formed into a pipe bowl. This was done by "upsetting," 
i.e., beating the end of the iron to increase its diameter. This 
section was then somewhat necked down by using the fuller and 
a chisel to form a groove behind the enlarged portion. The result 
was a dished-out pancake of metal standing on the end of the bar. 
This disc was then drawn down over a stake supported in the square 
hole of the anvil. A cross-pein hammer was used in the manner 
similar to that employed by the silversmith in forming cup-shaped 
pieces from sheets of silver. The blade was roughly forged down 
from the other end of the bar and slit to receive the steel bit. 

The next step was to pierce the eye. A punch was driven nearly 
halfway into one side of the still-thick portion of iron in line with 
the thin edge of the blade. Then, from the opposite side, it was 
driven all the way through. A drift was inserted into this hole to 
stretch and form the eye. Since the drift tapered, the hole also had 
a taper, and the handle was similarly designed where it fitted the 
eye. This was advantageous for, by having the handle larger at the 
end away from the mouthpiece, the tomahawk head was prevented 
from coming off accidentally. 

After the eye had been shaped, the blade was forged out to its 
full width and leveled off with the flatter. The shank between the 



66 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 




B. the shank is driven into the hole 




^ 






A. a hole is punched for the shank 




n 






C. the shank is welded into the hole 



U 




Figure 13. Manufacture of the 



APPENDIX 



67 



D. the strip is bent and then welded 
over the steel insert 





E. the bowl is welded 
to the shank 




F. the eye is drifted to form and the 
tomahawk is filed to final shape 




common pipe tomahawk. 



68 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 



y^ 






CO 

CD 



a 
o 
o 

c 
o 

CO 
CD 

u 

O 

J-i 
Oh 



a 

o 

CD 

Oh 

fl 
O 

s 
s 

o 

CJ 

cu 

G 

o 

CO 

O 
• t-i 
-(-» 

J-I 
0) 



^Q^^^i 



APPENDIX 69 

bowl and eye was trued up, and a small hole was drilled to con- 
nect the bowl with the eye. The forging was then ready for 
filing, tempering, and polishing. 

Characteristics of tomahawks manufactured in this manner are : 
the generally true form of the eye and the absence of any seam at 
the apex of the oval. 

In one interesting variant of this type, which I have seen, the 
outside of the eye opposite the blade had a depression, approximate- 
ly the size of the bowl, punched into it. Then a section of tubular 
material (perhaps a musket barrel) was butt-welded into this de- 
pression and the tube was necked down to produce a shank and 
bowl. By looking at it from both the eye end and the bowl end, and 
by exploring it with a wire, the pocket was found at the point 
where the shank was joined to the eye. 



Gun-Barrel Technique 

In the early days, even in well-settled areas, iron was expensive. 
On the frontier the costs of transportation increased the price even 
more. Guns received rough usage and scrap gun barrels became an 
important source of iron. The tomahawk maker was quick to take 
advantage of the cylindrical shape (see Figure 16). A drill was not 
necessary for there was already a hole for the bowl, and no dif- 
ficult welding was required. After the tube was necked down for 
the shank, it was flattened all the length from the shank to its far 
end. A slit was then cut and opened with a drift to form the eye. 
Sometimes a steel bit was welded to the cutting edge. 

The bowl made in this manner was long, like the catlinite pipe 
bowls of the Plains Indians. The eye was merely spread at the 
middle and drifted to a diamond cross-section with rounded 
corners. The blade had nearly straight edges front and back and, 
since this shape did not lend itself to use in combat, it was usually 
not sharpened. 

Such tomahawks are readily identified by the funnel-like 
opening which, with the handle removed, may be seen under the 
eye. Sometimes traces of the original rifling of the gun barrel can be 
seen on either side of the eye or bowl.* 

* The gun-barrel technique was first described to me by Colonel Stobie 
who was agent to the Utes shortly after the Civil War. He went into detail 
as he had seen tomahawks made by the agency blacksmith at that time. 
I was rather surprised to get an identical description from Harry Burgess, 
who had spent his boyhood on the Pawnee reservation in Nebraska. His 
father was a Quaker appointed by President Grant to the agency. 



70 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 





A. the bar of iron at start 
and after upsetting 



B. necking operation 







C. the bowl is drawn to a cylindrical shape 




Figure 15. The pierced eye technique 



APPENDIX 



71 





D. the eye is pierced 



E. the eye is drifted to shape 




F. the finished tomahawk 




of making a tomahawk. 



72 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 



f^f) 




} % 




A. the gun barrel, necked and flattened 



l^^?l 



B. the eye slit and drifted to form, 
and the blade drawn to full width 






C. section of the eye and bowl 



Figure 16. Manufacture of a gun-barrel tomahawk. 



APPENDIX 73 

Wrap- Around Eye and Blade with Drilled Bowl 

This method of manufacture combines the welded blade 
technique, such as was used to make the early axe, and a drilling 
operation, which required a machine. (A bit brace had been 
adequate for the small holes made in earlier examples.) A large 
bar stock of iron was also needed, and it is possible that sections 
cut from the axles of stage coaches were used for this. Some 
specimens show that a seamy wrought iron was used ; in others, the 
metal is clear and appears to be what at that time was called 
"mild" steel. 

Why did the smith revert to the older technique ? One explana- 
tion is that it allowed a greater length of contact between the eye 
and handle, a feature difficult to achieve by using the pierced 
technique. Generally, although it would have been easy to in- 
corporate, the added steel bit is absent and the edge is quite blunt. 
Spontoon blades were made in this way, as were the more common 
hatchets. 

In manufacture {see Figure 17), the heavy section of bar was 
heated and the fuller used to reduce the thickness in the center on 
each side of what was to become the bowl. Then, the two ends were 
bent down so that the thinned portion formed the eye. The two 
ends were welded together and drawn out roughly to form the 
blade. Where the center section stood above the eye, the fuller and 
a chisel were used to neck the iron down to form the shank. The 
bowl was then forged to a round section to increase its height. The 
blade and eye were trued up with the flatter, chisel, and drift. 

The bowl was very high and the shank long, so the depth of 
drilling exceeded any required on pipe tomahawks previously 
manufactured. It seems obvious that the maker must have had at 
least a hand-operated drilling machine, such as were available in 
blacksmith shops in the settled parts of the country, for he made 
no concession in technique to spare labor in drilling. A small bit 
was used to bore through the entire length of the bowl and shank to 
the eye. A larger bit was used to drill out the bowl. (The smiths 
generally made their own drills and tempered the working ends, 
and lard oil was used as a lubricant.) The forging was then ready 
for finishing and ornamentation. 

Characteristics of tomahawks of such manufacture are: a high 
bowl, a pointed oval eye, usually a seam in the area where the weld 
starts, and a definite angle at the bottom of the bowl where the 
drill stopped. 



74 



AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 




A. bar stock and first operation 




B. bar drawn out, bent, and welded 





Figure 17. Manufacture of a pipe tomahawk 



APPENDIX 



75 




C. bowl, necked and drawn out 



^£7 





D. the finished forging, drilled and filed 



using the "wrap-around eye and blade" technique 



76 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

REPAIR AND REWORKING 

In wooded country it was quite natural that the small axe and 
even the pipe tomahawk were used for chopping. As they wore, 
blades were sometimes taken to the blacksmith for "dressing." To 
do this, the blade was thinned at the cutting edge to be reforged 
and retempered. Little grinding was required to sharpen the edge 
and the resulting acute angle cut wood more efficiently. 

The steel bit did not extend very far up into the body of the 
blade. Often, through wear and resharpening, it would be com- 
pletely worn away and only the body of soft iron remained. If a 
new bit was necessary, a piece of steel was simply welded to one 
side of the blade. This was called a "lap" weld. Later, when the 
metal was more plentiful, a V-shaped piece of steel was welded 
over the worn edge. 

The shortness of some blades may be accounted for by a method 
of repair that duplicated the manufacturing process. In this, the 
edge was upset, a slit was cut in the iron, and a steel bit was welded 
into the slit. 

In the Midwest, the spontoon blade was popular, and it would 
appear from existing specimens that some blades of the common 
type were reworked to this newer shape (see Figure 14). This, of 
course, would indicate that the owner had given up all thought 
of using his tomahawk as a chopping tool, even though a trace 
of the steel from the original cutting edge might still remain in 
the point. Ordinarily, a spontoon blade was used only as a pipe 
or symbolic weapon rather than for practical purposes, and had 
no steel in it. 

THE INDIAN BLACKSMITH 

Indians took up blacksmithing at an early date, as attested by 
David Zeisberger, the Moravian missionary who worked among 
many different tribes in the years between 1740 and 1808. In 
addition to forging, Indians learned casting techniques and 
decorated tomahawks, knife handles, pipes, and flutes with 
elaborate inlays of lead and pewter. They cast a number of 
types of tomahawk heads of lead alloys, preferring Babbit metal 
for this purpose. They came in contact with this alloy while 
working in lumber mills and appreciated its hardness and lustre 
as compared to bullet lead. Before this was available, they saved 
the foil from tea boxes and, around country printing shops, 
they collected worn-out printing type, which was also prized 
for its hardness. 



APPENDIX 



77 



Where the Indians lived in pioneer settlements, they were 
able to take advantage of the heavy tools of their white employers 
to make forged tomahawks and knives. Since there was a steady 
demand from their tribesmen, some of their work remains in 
collections today. For example, one tomahawk I have seen, 
which had a pierced eye and a drilled bowl with a spontoon 
blade (see Figure 18), was made by a Carlisle graduate. In the 
more remote villages, though, Indian ironwork was largely con- 
fined to the making of knives and spearheads from rasps and 
files. 



m 



Figure 18. 

An Indian's modification of a ball-peen hammer 
to make a tomahawk. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED 

The following list should not be construed as a complete bibliography 
of the works consulted in the preparation of the present study. It contains 
only those works with sufficient information to cause them to be cited in the 
text. In addition to the printed materials listed, the following manuscript 
sources were also used : Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 
1 80 4-1 806 in the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, and the 
records of the Army, Navy, and Office of Indian Trade in the National 
Archives, Washington. 

Anburey, Thomas 

1791 Travels Through the Interior Parts of America, 2 vols., London. 

Beauchamp, William M. 

1902 "Metallic Implements of the New York Indians," New York 
State Museum Bulletin 55, 92 pp. 

1946 The Beaver, (March issue of magazine published by Hudson's 
Bay Company), p. 30. 

Benjamin, Park, (ed.). 

1 880 A ppleton's Cyclopaedia of A pplied Mechanics, 2 vols. , New York : 
D. Appleton & Co. 

Breckenridge, R. W. 

1955 "Norse Halberds," American Anthropologist, LVII, # 1, part 1, 
pp. 129-131. 

Cartier, Jacques 

1924 The Voyages of Jacques Cartier, (H. B. Biggar, editor), Ottawa. 

Catesby, Mark 

1 73 1- The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Is- 
1743 lands, 2 vols. London. 

Catlin, George 

1926 North American Indians, 2 vols., Edinburgh: J. Grant. 

Champlain, Samuel de 

1907 The Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, 1604-1618, (W. L. Grant, 
editor). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 377 pp. 

Church, Thomas 

1716 Entertaining Passages Relating to Philip's War, Boston, 360 pp. 

Clark, S. A. 

1905 Pioneer Days of Oregon. Portland, Oregon. 

Craigie, Sir William, and James R. Hulbert, (eds.) 

1944 A Dictionary of American English, 4 vols., Chicago: University 
of Chicago Press. 

Creuxiux, Francisco 

1664 Histories Canadensis sen Nova Francice. Paris. 

78 



BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED 79 

Driver, Harold E., and William C. Masse y 

1957 "Comparative Studies of North American Indians," Trans- 
actions of the American Philosophical Society, XLVII, part 2, 
pp. 165-456. 

Elmer, Ebenezer 

1847, "Journal Kept During an Expedition to Canada in 1776," 
1848 New Jersey Historical Society, Proceedings, II, pp. 97-146, 
150-194; and III, pp. 21-56, 90-102. 

Ewers, John C. 

*955 "The Horse in Blackfoot Indian Culture," Bureau of American 
Ethnology, Bulletin i^g, Washington, D. C, 374 pp. 

Fowler, William S. 

1951 "Tomahawks of Central New England," Bulletin of the Mas- 
sachusetts Archeological Society, XII, No. 3, pp. 29-37. 

Fowler, William S. 

1952 "Trade Tomahawks," Bulletin of the Massachusetts Archeological 
Society, XIII, # 3, pp. 23-27. 

Garcilaso de la Vega 

1 95 1 The Florida of the Inca, (edited by John G. and Jeanette J. 
Varner). Austin: University of Texas Press, 655 pp. 

Gerard, William 

1908 "The Term Tomahawk," American Anthropologist, n. s., X, 
# 2, pp. 277-280. 

Greeley, Horace, and others 

1872 The Great Industries of the United States. Chicago: J. B. Burr, 
Hyde & Co., 1304 pp. 

Hoadley, Charles J., (ed.) 

1850- Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 15 vols. Hartford, 
1890 Conn. 

Hodge, Frederick W., (ed.) 

1909 "Handbook of the American Indians North of Mexico," Bureau 
of American Ethnology, Bulletin 30, 2 vols. Washington, D. C. 

Holmes, William H. 

1908 "The Tomahawk," American Anthropologist, n. s., X, #2, 
pp. 264-276.' 

Jeffery, Thomas 

1757- Collection of Dresses of the Different Nations. London. 
1772 

Jeffreys, C. W. 

1945 The Picture Gallery of Canadian History. Toronto. 

Keppler, Joseph 

1929 "The Peace Tomahawk Algonkian Wampum," Indian Notes, 
VI, % 2, pp. 130-138. 

Kurz, Rudolph Friederich 

*937 "Journal of Rudolph Friederich Kurz," Bureau of American 
Ethnology, Bulletin 115. Washington, 382 pp. 



80 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

LaFarge, Oliver 

1956 A Pictorial History of the American Indian. New York: Crown 
Publishers, 272 pp. 

Lawson, Cecil C. P. 

1940- A History of the Uniforms of the British Army, 2 vols. London: 
1 94 1 Peter Davies, Ltd. 

Lefferts, Charles M. 

1926 Uniforms of the American, British, French and German Armies in 
the War of the Revolution. New York: The New- York Historical 
Society, 289 pp. 

Lorant, Stefan 

1946 The New World. New York: Duel, Sloan & Pearce, 392 pp. 

Lossing, Benson J. 

1869 Pictorial Field-book of the War of 181 2. New York: Harper & 
Brothers, 1084 pp. 

Mason, Otis T. 

1897 ' 'The Tomahawk of the North American Indian," The American 
Naturalist, XXXI, # 369, pp. 824-826. 

McGuire, Joseph D. 

1899 "Pipes and Smoking Customs of the American Aborigines," 
Annual Report of the U. S. National Museum for i8g6, Washing- 
ton, D. C, pp. 351-645. 

McKenney, Thomas L., and James Hall 

1933, The Indian Tribes of North America, 3 vols. Edinburgh: J. 
1934 Grant. 

Mercer, Henry C. 

1950 Ancient Carpenter's Tools. Doylestown: Bucks County His- 
torical Society, 2nd edition, 339 pp. 

Morgan, Lewis H. 

1904 League of the Ho-di-no-sau-nee or Iroquois, (edited by Herbert 
M. Lloyd). 2 vols, in one. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. 

O'Callaghan, Edmund B., and others, (eds.) 

1853- Documents Relative to the Colonial History of New York, 15 vols., 
1887 Albany. 

Olson, John, (ed.) 

1906 "The Saga of Eric the Red, also Called the Saga of Thorfinn 
Karlsefni," in The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, g8 5-1 503. 
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 3-43. 

1906 "The Vinland History of the Flat Island Book," in The North- 
men, Columbus and Cabot, 985-1503. New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, pp. 45-°5- 

1871 One Hundred Years of Progress. Hartford: L. Stebbins. 

1866 Ordnance Instructions for the United States Navy. 4 th edition, 
Washington, Government Printing Office, 297 pp. 

Peterson, Harold L. 

1956 Arms and Armor in Colonial America, 1526-1783. Harrisburg: 
The Stackpole Company, 350 pp. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED 8l 

Pohrt, Richard A. 

1957 "Two Tomahawks and an Iron Pipe," Ohio Archeologist, VII, 
#2, pp. 70, 71. 

Russell, Carl P. 

1967 Firearms, Traps and Tools of the Mountain Men. New York: 
Alfred A. Knopf, 448 pp. 

Russell, Osborne 

x 955 Journal of a Trapper. Oregon Historical Society, Portland, 
Oregon, 179 pp. 

SCHELLBACH, LOUIS 

1928 "An Historic Iroquois Warclub," Indian Notes, V, # 2, pp. 
157-166. 

Schoolcraft, Henry R. 

1 85 1- Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, 
1857 Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States. 
6 vols., Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co. 

Smith, John 

1907 "A Map of Virginia," in Narratives of Early Virginia, 1606-162 5. 
Lyon Gardiner Tyler, (editor). New York: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, pp. 73-203. 

Swanton, John R. 

1946 "The Indians of the Southeastern United States," Bureau of 
American Ethnology , Bulletin 13J. Washington, D. C, 943 pp. 

Thiroux, M. 

1849 Instructions Theoretique et Practique d'Artillerie. 3rd edition, 
Librairie Militaire de J. Dumaine, Paris, 563 pp. 

TlMBERLAKE, LT. HENRY 

1927 Lieut. Henry Timberlake's Memoirs, 1756-1765, (Samuel Cole 
Williams, editor). Johnson City, Tennessee. 

West, George A. 

1934 "Tobacco, Pipes and Smoking Customs of the American In- 
dians," Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee, 
2 vols. Milwaukee. 

Wheeler, Robert F. 

1957 "The American Belt Axe, 1650-1870," The American Arms 
Collector, I, # 4, pp. 127-130. 

Wildschut, William, and John C. Ewers 

I 959 "Crow Indian Beadwork," Contributions from the Museum of the 
American Indian, XVI. New York, 55 pp. 

Withers, Alexander S. 

1895 Chronicles of Border Warfare. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke Com- 
pany, 447 pp. Reprint of the 1831 edition. 

Wood, William 

1898 New England's Prospects, reprint, n. p. 

Woodward, Arthur 

1946 ' 'The Metal Tomahawk, Its Evolution and Distribution in North 
America," Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, VII, # 3, 
pp. 2-42. 



CAPTIONS TO PHOTOGRAPHS 



ABORIGINAL FORMS 

1. An example of the 17th century Virginia ball-headed clubs commonly- 
referred to by the early colonists as tomahawks. This specimen found its way 
into the collections of John Tradescant (1 608-1 662), a notable traveler, 
naturalist, and Royal gardener who was greatly interested in the newly 
settled colony at Jamestown and collected both botanical and ethnological 
specimens from Virginia. It displays the large size and sharp drop to the ball 
typical of the early clubs of this form. (British Official Photograph: Crown 
copyright reserved) . 

L: 21" Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 

1685 Cat.B. 133-5 

2. Ball-headed club tomahawk, probably early 19th century. The drop of 
the haft is not so sharp as that of the previous specimen, and the ball is 
somewhat smaller in proportion. Nevertheless it is a good functional weapon, 
fashioned from a single piece of wood. Especially interesting are the incised 
figures of two fighting Indians on the obverse side, one armed with a bow 
and arrow, the other wielding a ball-headed club which seems to have an 
iron blade. Definitely an eastern Indian type, it has been attributed to the 
Iroquois. 

L: 24!" mai/hf: 18/4922 

3. A ball-headed club tomahawk of the mid-i8th century with an iron 
blade. This important specimen was presented to Sir William Johnson after 
1746 and before 1755. It is inscribed on the underside of the handle WAT- 
KONOCHROCHQUANYO [I present it to thee freely out of respect] 
WARRAGHIYAGEY [the name given to Johnson when he became a 
Mohawk war chief in 1746]. On the top of the handle is "og8entaguete le 
camarade jeanson" [the name of an Onondaga warrior who probably 
presented the weapon to Johnson, and an identifying phrase indicating he 
was a comrade of Sir William]. On the obverse side are thirteen joined 
human figures, each holding a gun ; and on the reverse is a series of exploit 
marks designed to record the number of times the owner engaged in battle 
and whether he had been wounded. The forward end of the haft is carved 
as an animal's head, and there are some conventional incised decorations. 

L: 23" William 0. Sweet collection 

4. Ball-headed club tomahawk, late 18th century. The straight haft re- 
sembles the Johnson tomahawk described above as to the angle and 
amount of drop to the ball. The ball is smaller, and the specimen is relatively 
light but is still a functional weapon. The haft in the area of the drop is 
shaped in profile to resemble an animal's head, holding the ball in its 
mouth. It is flat sided except for a short section near the butt, which has 
been rounded to afford a better grip. The butt itself is flat sided and 
slightly larger than the grip as a further aid in retaining a good hold of the 
weapon when striking. Just in front of the grip the haft is pierced for a 
thong. Attributed to the Chippewa. 

L: 2 if" mai/hf: 2/4613 

85 



86 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

5. Ball-headed club tomahawk with iron blade, 19th century. This is a 
highly sophisticated example with refinements indicative of Plains Indian 
design. The small decadent ball, the protruberance on the lower edge of the 
haft, and the type of decoration all point to the western Indian and the 
early 19th century. The decoration consists of brass-headed tacks in pattern 
groupings on both haft and ball, incised follow lines, and raised carving. 
Most significant is the stylized carving of an otter on the forward edge of the 
drop, which undoubtedly symbolized the original owner's supernatural 
helper. The butt of the haft is pierced for a thong, and the grip area is 
wrapped with a narrow band of fur. Collected from the Oto in Oklahoma. 

L: 23%" mai/hf: 1/3555 

6. Ball-headed club tomahawk, probably late 19th century. In this 
specimen the functional qualities of the weapon have almost entirely disap- 
peared. The balance is poor, and the ball is decadent, being both small and 
poorly shaped. The decoration consists of brass-headed tacks in some 
profusion. A feather has been attached to one of the tacks just above the 
ball. Collected in Iowa, it is also typically western. 

L: 27" mai/hf: 1/3973 

7. Ball-headed club tomahawk, very late 19th century. A grotesque de- 
scendant of the early weapon, this one-piece specimen was made from a 
burl and branch rather than cut down from a large block of wood in the 
traditional manner. The haft, in fact, follows the original contour of the 
branch. There is a slight enlargement at the butt and some notched deco- 
ration in the grip area, but otherwise the limb has simply been smoothed. 
The ball, on the other hand, has been carved in typical Northwest Coast 
designs. Collected from the Haida. 

L: 18" mai/hf: 5/789 

8. Polished stone celt with its original wooden haft. It was this type of 
hatchet which the colonists found the Indians using and calling tamahak. 
Like its metal successors, it could be used either as a tool or weapon. This 
pre-contact specimen was found in Arkansas. See also No. 9. 

H: 6f" W:2|" L:i9i" mai/hf: 10/4996 

9. Celt tomahawk with flaked stone head. Some had chipped stone heads, 
and a few writers have felt that these were more apt to have been weapons 
than tools. This pre-contact specimen with its original wooden haft is from 
Benton County, Arkansas. See also No. 8. 

H: 4^" W: 2%' L: i 4 J" mai/hf: 11/7235 

10. Copper celts. There were celts of native copper as well as of stone long 
before the era of the trade hatchet. This pair is from a large cache of 
such hatchets found together in the Spiro Mound, Le Flore County, 
Oklahoma. The wooden hafts are carved to resemble birds' heads at the 
point where the blade passes through, with the eye indicated by a circular 
shell inlay. Dimensions given are for the largest specimen. 

H: iof" W: if" L: 18" mai/hf: 18/9077 

11. Polished stone celt with original haft of wood. This specimen closely 
resembles No. 8, but has a slightly longer haft and a more sharply defined 



ABORIGINAL FORMS 87 

anterior section through which the stone blade passes. Found in a cleft in a 
rock bluff on the Buffalo River near Yellville, Arkansas. 

L: 19b" mai/hf: 10/4996 

12. Full grooved stone axe with reconstructed haft to show manner of 
hafting. The hickory handle is wrapped around the head and lashed with 
a rawhide thong. Axes such as this were almost always tools although they 
could have been used as weapons in an emergency. Collected in Saskatchewan. 
L: 16" mai/hf: 22/7240 

13. Full grooved axe with original haft. This specimen, found in a cave 
in Mesa Verde, Colorado, is grooved nearer the center of the head. The mass 
of stone above the handle thus helps to balance the weight of the blade and 
so affords a steadier stroke. The haft is composed of a light withe, which is 
wrapped completely around the head and back along its own length. 

H: 6" L: 17" mai/hf: 5/8533 

14. Monolithic ceremonial axe. Like the superb specimen described below, 
this axe is fashioned from a single piece of stone. In all major respects it is 
identical except for the quality of workmanship. Minor differences include 
the shape of the forward end, the amount of the "blade" projecting above 
the "haft," and the butt piercing, which is horizontal instead of vertical. 
Found along the Cumberland River opposite Nashville, it also represents 
the Mississippian culture horizon. 

H: 6" L: 13^" mai/hf: 7775 

15. Indicative of the importance of the early stone axe in playing a cere- 
monial as well as a utilitarian role — just as did its metal successor — are the 
superb axes carved from a single block of stone, found in various areas of 
the southeastern United States. Useless as a tool or weapon, they are 
marvelous examples of craftsmanship in stone. Most of these represent 
the Mississippian culture horizon, and date from between 900-1600 A.D. 
This specimen, excavated at Moundville, Alabama, by Clarence B. Moore 
in 1909, has a small hole drilled in the base, presumably for a thong. 

H: 5f" W: i\' L: uf" mai/hf: 17/891 

16. Monolithic ceremonial axe of the type commonly termed a "slave 
killer." Outside the Mississippian culture, monolithic axes tended to follow 
designs far removed from the standard axes of the period. This example is 
zoomorphic in design with only slight resemblance to the functional tool. 
It was carved from black slate, probably about 1500 A.D. Excavated on 
Gunther Island, Areata Bay, California, it bears evidences of cremation. 
H: 6£" L: 15" mai/hf: 23/1874 

17. Monolithic ceremonial "slave-killer." This specimen of black slate 
more closely resembles the standard celt but is capped by a carved eagle's 
head at the forward end in typical Northwest Coast style. This head is, in 
turn, decorated with tufts of hair set in holes drilled in the stone. The 
sharply curved haft is chamfered in the area of the grip and bears an 
incised design representing a "tinneh," the coppers used as symbols of 
wealth in the Northwest. Collected from the Kwakiutl, Vancouver Island, 
British Columbia, it dates to about 1875. 

H: 8£" L: 13V mai/hf: 5/5062 



88 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

18. Monolithic ceremonial "slave-killer." Like the preceding specimen, 
this axe is fashioned from black slate and was made about 1 850-1 875. The 
workmanship is much finer and the eagle head more stylized. It was never 
tufted. Collected at the mouth of the Fraser River, British Columbia, from 
the Kwakiutl. 

H: 7" L: 13" mai/hf: 14/4346 

19. Ceremonial stone "slave-killer," early 19th century. Closely related 
to the celt, this elongated blade is hafted in the same manner as numbers 8 
and 1 1 . Except for the forward terminal and the enlarged butt, in fact, the 
haft is quite similar to these specimens. The haft is painted red and black. 
The forward terminal is carved and painted to resemble a human head and 
is even adorned with hair. Collected in Alaska from the Tlingit. 

H: 15" L: 23^" mai/hf: 18/8554 

20. Elkhorn club of the "slave-killer" type, with stone blade. The antler 
from which the haft is fashioned has been smoothed and decorated with 
incised abstract zoomorphic designs. The fore end is carved as an animal 
head, and the leaf-shaped stone blade is cemented into a socket in one 
prong of the antler. Collected from the Tsimshian, Skeena River, British 
Columbia. 

L: 15I" mai/hf: 15/1346 

21. Four gunstock clubs. This form of club has been recorded as early as 
the beginning of the 17th century. It remained in use as a weapon among the 
western Indians until after 1850 and continued to be made for ceremonial 
purposes for many years thereafter. The specimen at the left bears a flaked 
chert point, mounted in the early manner. Nevertheless it is a 19th century 
piece, attributed to the Chippewa. The incised decoration is accented with 
black, red, and green paint. (L: 31"). The second club, also of 19th century 
style, is noteworthy for its pierced decoration. Incised lines follow the edges 
of the club and the borders of the piercings while brass-headed tacks are 
also used along some of the borders. The iron point is crudely fashioned. 
It is attributed to the Sioux. (L: 31V). The third specimen boasts a spear 
point, obtained from traders, and brass-headed tacks set in a circle. It was 
acquired from the Teton Sioux about the middle of the last century, at 
which time it must have been relatively new. (L: 31 \"). The right hand 
specimen is less a gunstock club than a variant of the celt with a blade made 
from a knife instead of polished stone. The fore end is cut on a slant and 
edged with three incised follow lines. A cluster of feathers is attached to the 
tip. The haft is flat sided in the area of the blade, then rounded to the butt, 
which is enlarged to prevent the hand from slipping off. It is late 19th 
century and is attributed to the Sioux. (L: 32".) 

mai/hf: 21/2103, 18/4911, 16/5172, 1/9641 

22. Gunstock club, mid- 19th century. A long slender variant of the 
gunstock club, it is one step further removed from the classical form than 
No. 23, which retains more of an angle at the point of percussion. The three 
blades of this specimen are made of horn. The decoration consists of seven 
unequally spaced rings of brass-headed tacks around the haft plus feathers 
attached to the fore end. Attributed to the Sioux. 

L: 42!" mai/hf: 7/4305 



SIMPLE HATCHETS AND BELT AXES 89 

23. Sitting Bull's gunstock club. Collected from the famous Hunkpapa 
Sioux leader by General Nelson A. Miles, this long slender variant of the 
gunstock club boasts three bowie knife blades of about 1850, stamped on 
their ricassos MANHATTAN/ CUTLRY CCMP/ SHEFFIELD. The wood 
is flat sided throughout and is decorated with rile branding in diagonal 
lines. The enlarged butt is pierced for the attachment of three grizzly bear 
claws and a rawhide trailer onto which are sewed a number of brass trade 
bells. 

L: 40" mai/hf: 14/2173 

24. Peace wampum belt with trade tomahawk in purple and white quahag 
shell beads. It symbolizes the defeat of the Algonquians by the Iroquois in 
1670 and was presented by the victors to the vanquished at the council 
following the war. The belt is 15 rows wide with a hemp fiber weft and 
deer skin warp. At one time it was smeared with vermillion; the depiction 
of the simple iron hatchet upon it makes it an important document for this 
study. For a detailed identification and documentation of this early wam- 
pum belt see Keppler, (1929). It is 43^" long and varies from 4^" to 
4 y wide. 

mai/hf: 9776 



SIMPLE HATCHETS AND BELT AXES 

25.-34. Group of simple hatchets or belt axes of the commonest form with 
rounded polls, showing some of the variety in size and shape that may be 
found in even so basic a type. No. 25 is the large size, typical of those 
traded almost exclusively during the 17th century and gradually replaced 
by lighter varieties after 1700, until they were relegated to the position of 
the "squaw axe". (H: 7" W: 3^"). Most are made in the usual fashion, from 
one piece of strap iron with a steel edge welded on. Exceptions are No. 32, 
which is hammered out of brass and may be of Indian manufacture. (H : 5" 
W: 2^"); and No. 34, from New Hampshire, which was made in two 
sections and welded down the middle. It is entirely of iron without a steel 
edge. (H:7"W:2£"). 

mai/hf: 
22/7331, 22/7393, 22/7405, 22/7395, 22/7394, 22/7331, 22/7334, 17/9764. 
22/7400, 22/7404. 

35.-37. Anglo-American belt axes of the mid-i8th century found at Fort 
Ticonderoga. They resemble the contemporary felling axe as it was devel- 
oping in America, but are quite small in size. These particular specimens 
were probably used by colonial soldiers. The polls are flat and slightly 
thickened on 35 and 36 but not enough as yet to counter-balance the weight 
of the blade and prevent wobbling in a stroke. The poll of No. 37 is also flat 
but not thickened. The eyes are long thin teardrops on numbers 35 and 36, 
and are slightly shorter and thicker on 37. In all instances, the eyes flare 
to the rear rather than to the front as was usual in most tomahawks. 
Note that ears have developed on 35 and 36. No. 35 bears an illegible 
maker's mark on the reverse side. 

No. 35: H: 4 |" W: 3" 

No. 36: H: 3f" W: i\" 

No. 37: H: 3f" W: if" Author's collection 



90 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

38. Iron hatchet with double flaring blade and steel edge, middle 18th 
century. Excavated in an Indian grave near Greenwich, Conn. The flat poll 
is not thickened and shows signs of having been used for pounding. The eye 
is rectangular. On the obverse side is a maker's mark consisting of a depres- 
sed oval with a raised border of dots and, in the center, crossed saws or 
scythe blades above a star. There were originally three letters in the angles 
formed by the saws, but only H and A are now legible. Hatchets of this 
form are comparatively rare. 

H: 5" W: 4^" Ben F. Hubbell collection 

39. Hatchet of the so-called "Spanish Southwestern form." Note the 
three-piece construction with the two side pieces of iron welded together 
above the eye to form a heavy crest and the steel edge welded on. Collected 
in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

H: 3!" W: if" William O. Sweet collection 

40. Fully developed hatchet of the American type, period 1 750-1850. The 
heavy poll now counter-balances the blade. The ear is pronounced, and the 
eye is an elongated teardrop much the same as in a modern hatchet. 

H: 4" W: 2" William O. Sweet collection 

41. An unusual double-edge hatchet of unknown provenience; the haft is 
probably recent. The head is made of four pieces — two iron sides and two 
steel edges, and it apparently dates from the mid-igth century. The eye 
is oval. 

H: 3f" W: 2f" L: 14" mai/hf: 22/7243 

42. Late belt axe of the traditional pattern with rounded poll and tear- 
drop eye, (ca. 1850-1860). The head is apparently English and bears a 
maker's mark on the reverse side. This is now illegible except for the words 
"CAST STEEL/ WARRANTED." A separate steel edge is welded on. The 
head is well made with riled borders around the eye; moldings are below 
it. The wooden haft is encased at the butt end in buckskin and bears beaded 
decoration plus fringes and a buckskin wrist loop. Collected about 1875 from 
the Teton Sioux. 

H: 6J" W: 3^' L: 2 4 f" mai/hf: 9/6588 

43. A traditional belt axe of the 18th or early 19th century with rounded 
poll and round eye. It is made of wrought iron with a steel edge. On the 
obverse side are two stamped marks consisting of a pair of sunbursts con- 
nected by an arc. The wooden haft is mid-i9th century and is encased at 
the butt end with buckskin to which is attached a beaded and fringed flap. 
Attributed to the Oglala Sioux. 

H: 5i" W: 2f" L: 19*" mai/hf: 2/3178 

44. Late belt axe with exceptionally heavy flat poll. The eye is a pointed 
ellipse, and there is a stamped maker's mark that is now illegible. The 
wooden haft is wrapped just behind the head with strips of red cloth, and 
there is a wrist thong at the butt end. This specimen is of Crow provenience 
and probably dates from the second half of the 19th century. 

H: 5i" W: if" L: 24" mai/hf: 2/3299 

45. Late belt axe by Collins & Company. The shape is generally traditional, 
but the poll is flat and considerably thickened. The reverse side is stamped 



MISSOURI WAR HATCHETS 91 

"No. 179/COLLINS &CO. HARTFORD/CAST- STEEL WARRANTED." 
The wooden haft is decorated with file branding in wide bands, fur, feathers, 
and wool thread. It is Sioux, and dates from the latter part of the 19th 
century. 

H: 5§" W: 3^" L: 28^" Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 154021 



MISSOURI WAR HATCHETS 

46. Missouri War Hatchet of the typical form, without piercings. The 
head is well made of a single piece of wrought iron, and the edge has been 
beveled, although there is no sign that it was ever sharpened. The eye is 
round, and there are deep file lines forming borders over the poll. The blade 
is decorated with stamped X's, plus a central design which resembles a 
stick figure drawing composed of sunbursts or "stars," and file stamped 
designs. The wooden haft is carved with a series of line-and-dot bands. The 
butt end is encased in buckskin with a black-and-white beaded band and 
flap. Most of the original fringe on the flap is now missing. Collected in 1870 
from the Osage. 

H: 8|" W: 5" L: i6£" mai/hf: 7080 

47. Missouri War Hatchet with cloth- wrapped haft. The head is well 
forged and slightly heavier than usual. The eye is round, and over the poll 
are file lines forming a border, plus a series of punched dots. There is a 
stamp which may be a maker's mark somewhat resembling a fleur-de-lys that 
has been applied five times. There are five circular holes in the blade, plus a 
sixth which has been filled with brass. The haft is encased in red woolen cloth 
terminating in a flap with the usual white selvage. The forward end of the 
haft is studded with brass tacks, and the lower edge of the butt is carved in 
serrations. Collected from the Osage. 

H: 8£" W: 4 f" L: 24^" mai/hf: 2/895 

48. Missouri War Hatchet. The head is simple and plain except for a 
single piercing of a paisley or apostrophe shape. The eye is round. The 
wooden haft is completely unadorned, though there is a piercing for a wrist 
thong at the butt. Attributed to the Sisseton Sioux. 

H: 7i W: 5l L: 23 mai/hf: 9/7365 

49. Missouri War Hatchet. This specimen is unusual because of its narrow 
edge in proportion to the height. Also, the edge has been sharply beveled, 
which is most uncommon. The eye is round, and the one-piece construction 
is typical. There are file line decorations over the poll and at the base of the 
blade, plus three rows of punched dots. The blade is pierced with a "bleeding 
heart" surrounded by a border of punched dots. The small projection to the 
rear at the base of the blade is more highly developed than is usually 
encountered in this form of hatchet. The wooden haft, which appears 
somewhat more recent than the head, is encased at the butt end in buckskin, 
with a black-and-white beaded band at the forward end and a flap at the 
rear. The handle section is wrapped with cord. Both ends of the leather are 
fringed, and decorated with tin-cone "danglers" enclosing tufts of deer 
hair. Collected from the Comanche. 

H: 8" W: 4" L: 23" mai/hf: 11/8057 



92 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

50. Missouri War Hatchet. The head itself is simply forged in the usual 
manner, but is decorated more elaborately than normal. There are file mark 
borders on the poll. The blade is pierced with a "bleeding heart," and just 
below the piercing on the obverse side are a crescent and a star inlaid in 
brass. Beneath the inlaid star are four punched stars. The haft is studded on 
the forward end with brass tacks and is completely wrapped in strouding 
cloth. This covering consists of a broad strip of red wool and a narrower 
strip of blue wool which have been sewed together. At the butt end the 
strips separate and form two flaps with serrated edges. The blue strip 
terminates with selvage striping and the butt end of the haft is serrated on 
the under side and is pierced for a thong from which is suspended a cluster 
of small brass bells and two trimmed feathers. Collected from the Osage. 

H: 8" W: 4 £" L: 2if" mai/hf: 2/9173 

51. Missouri War Hatchet of exceptionally large size. The huge head is 
decorated with deeply filed lines over the poll, plus moldings at the base 
of the blade. Punched dots form a cluster at the base of the blade and borders 
along its front and back, as well as around the piercings. These piercings 
consist of a heart in the center and two sunbursts, one at the leading edge 
and one at the heel. The edge has never been beveled. The plain wooden 
haft is studded with brass tacks. It is pierced for a thong from which a large 
brass bell is suspended. An almost identical hatchet is in the collections of 
the American Museum of Natural History. Collected from the Osage. 

H: 9|" W: 6" L: 21" mai/hf: 2/5036 



SPONTOON TOMAHAWKS 

The great majority of spontoon tomahawks were made with pipes. A 
selection of these are illustrated and described in numbers 258-298. 

52. Spontoon axe of the type found among the Mandans by Lewis and 
Clark in 1805 and described by them as the "older fassion." The huge blade 
is forged from one piece of wrought iron, bent around to form the eye and 
welded at the base of the blade. The two basal processes were cut from the 
body of the blade and curled outward. The sole decoration consists of two 
circular piercings. Because of these typical piercings, the round eye, and 
the great length of this form of blade (12 to 15 inches in height), they are 
often mistaken for door hinges. As weapons they must have been extremely 
unwieldy especially since the haft was only about 14 inches long, approxi- 
mately equal to the height of the blade. The present specimen bears a 
maker's mark in the form of a capital L stamped at the base of the blade 
just below the weld. 

H: 14^" W: 3^" Donald Baird collection 

53. Spontoon axe, (ca. 1 830-1 850). It is forged from a single piece of 
wrought iron in the usual fashion with a round eye. Decoration is provided 
in the form of numerous file marks and punched dots on both the blade 
and poll. The wooden haft is decorated with a few brass tacks just behind 
the head and wrapped with a coil of fur. Provenience unknown. 

H: n£" W: 2.\" L: 22" Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 359628 



93 

HALBERD TOMAHAWKS 

Two other halberd tomahawks, both bearing pipe bowls, are described 
and illustrated as Numbers 107 and 108. Another closely related specimen is 
No. 61, although it does not have a spear point. 

54. Halberd tomahawk, probably New England, (ca. 1 700-1 750). In 
many ways this unusual specimen seems almost to have been made from 
a halberd with the head and ground iron separated only by 2 inches of 
bare wood. Both head and ground iron are made of wrought iron and forged 
in several pieces. The blade and beak or spike are of one piece. The spear 
point is round in cross-section, and both it and the socket for the haft may 
at one time have screwed into the blade-beak combination. At the present, 
however, the piece is rusted badly so that it is not possible to deter- 
mine whether this is the case or whether all three pieces were welded 
together. 

H: 6f" W: 2f" L: 13^" mai/hf: 22/7241 

55. Unusual halberd tomahawk, probably designed for throwing, (ca. 
1 825-1 850). The distinctive features of this specimen are the flat section of 
the haft and the sharply pointed butt filed to a distinct median ridge. It is 
impossible to determine without X-rays whether it was forged from two or 
three pieces of steel, but the haft and spear point seem to be one piece while 
the blade and beak have been welded on either as a unit or as separate 
pieces. The hole through the butt end of the haft is recent. Originally the 
pointed butt may have been driven into a short wooden handle. The fact 
that the dark green paint with which most of the piece was originally 
covered stops at the filed area of the butt seems to confirm this theory. No 
exact analogy for this tomahawk has been found, though it closely resem- 
bles some medieval throwing axes. It is well made, however, and seems to 
have been designed as a weapon: its combination of points and edges makes 
it especially adaptable for throwing. Provenience unknown. 

H: 6£" W: 4!" L: 14!" Author's collection 

56. Halberd tomahawk, probably New England, (ca. 1 700-1750). It is 
forged from one piece of steel averaging three-sixteenths of an inch thick 
and is unusual in that it has a short chisel-like edge instead of a spear point. 
The short tang was designed to be driven into a wooden haft. The beak has 
been blunted somewhat from pounding, and there are still traces of yellow 
and red ochre on the blade. 

H: 7" W: 3|" L: 5%" William 0. Sweet collection 

57. Halberd (or halberd tomahawk) from New York State, (ca. 1700- 
1750). In some instances it is difficult to determine whether specimens such 
as this were designed to be fitted with a long haft to serve as halberd or 
whether they were meant to have short hafts and to be used as tomahawks. 
Probably some were finished one way and some another. The present speci- 
men was found between the walls of a 17th century house in Kingston, 
N.Y., along with other pieces of Indian trade goods, such as packets of 
jews' harps and folding knives. It is forged from one piece of steel. The blade 
and spear point are sharpened, but the beak is simply a hook, rectangular 
in section. The end of the tang has been roughened with chisel cuts to help 
hold it in place after insertion in a wooden haft. 

H: 8" W: 5" L: 15J" Author's collection 



94 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

58. Halberd tomahawk, (ca. 1700-1750). This a most important specimen, 
for it illustrates how heads such as number 57 were hafted for use as toma- 
hawks. The head is forged as one piece with a long shank. Both blade and 
spear point have been sharpened, but the beak is one-eighth of an inch 
thick along its edge. It does, however, taper toward its apex to form a 
relatively sharp point. The original haft is slotted to receive the shank, 
which is secured in place by three transverse rivets with diamond-shaped 
iron washers. An iron collar is wrapped around the fore end of the haft and 
brazed. The butt end is cut square, and apparently this is the original length 
of the haft. At any rate, it is far too slender ever to have been much longer. 
Provenience unknown. 

H: 9f" W: 6|" L: 22^' Author's collection 

59. Halberd tomahawk, New England, early 18th century. Somewhat 
smaller than the preceding specimen, this piece seems more likely to have 
been used as a tomahawk than as a halberd, though either function is 
possible. It is forged from one piece of steel, one-quarter inch thick. This 
maximum thickness is maintained in the shank just before and behind the 
blade and beak, and tapers from that in both directions. The barbed spear 
point set far up the shank is a most unusual feature, and the beak is 
sharpened to an edge on the concave side. The tang is also sharpened to 
facilitate driving into a wooden haft. 

H: 6" W: 2\" L: 12^" Author's collection 

60. Halberd tomahawk from Illinois, (ca. 1750). It is made entirely of 
wrought iron or low grade steel. The haft is round in section and swells 
at the normal position for grasping with the hand, then tapers to a blunt 
point. The beak has been broken off. A generally similar tomahawk marked 
by R. Beatty of Pennsylvania is said to have been owned by Daniel Boone. 
H: 3f" W: 2^" L: 13$" mai/hf: 22/7270 



SPIKED TOMAHAWKS 

One other spiked tomahawk is illustrated and described as No. 300 in 
the section on hatchets used by the military. Closely related types are also 
to be found illustrated in the sections on celtiform tomahawks and on naval 
boarding axes. 

61. Early spiked tomahawk from Pennsylvania, very similar to the hal- 
berd type. This specimen, which dates from the first half of the 18th centu- 
ry, however, never had a spear point. It is forged in two pieces (head and 
haft) of wrought iron or low grade steel. The symmetrical, crescentic blade 
such as found on this and the succeeding three axes seems most often to be 
found in New York State, but it also occasionally appears in neighboring 
Pennsylvania and New England. The haft is flat sided with the corners 
rounded and sharply pointed at the butt. 

H: 6£" W: 3f" L: iof" mai/hf: 6/7608 

62. Early spiked tomahawk with crescentic blade from New York, (ca. 
1730-1760). It is forged in the usual manner with two pieces of wrought iron 
and a steel edge. The eye is round, and the blade, eye section, and spike are 
covered with decorations composed of punched circles plus straight lines 



SPIKED TOMAHAWKS 95 

and chevrons made up of many individual short lines. The spike is leaf 
shaped and double edged but has never been sharp. 

H: 7|" W: 3$" mai/hf: 21/6289 

63. Early spiked tomahawk with crescentic blade from Ontario County, 
New York, (ca. 1 730-1 760). The eye is rectangular, and the entire head has 
been forged in the usual manner with a steel edge. The diamond-shaped 
spike has never been sharpened. 

H: 6f" W: 44" mai/hf: 10/4170 

64. Early spiked tomahawk with crescentic blade from Vermont, (ca. 
1 730-1 760). This one is of the more common form, designed for a wooden 
haft and having a rectangular eye. It is forged in two pieces in the typical 
fashion for a spiked axe plus a steel edge. The spike is sharpened along its 
back edge. 

H: 54" W: 2f" mai/hf: 6/6402 

65. Spiked tomahawk from New York State, (ca. 1750). It is made of 
wrought iron with a steel edge. The eye is a pointed ellipse, almost diamond 
shaped. The spike is rectangular in section and has been decorated with 
notches cut in the angles. 

H: 54" W: 24" mai/hf: 19/418 

66. Spiked tomahawk from Genoa, New York, (ca. 1750). It is forged 
from iron with a steel edge. The spike has a strong median ridge on both 
sides so that it is roughly diamond shaped in section. The eye is rectangular. 

H: 74" W: 3" mai/hf: 5/4599 

67. Spiked tomahawk from New York State, mid-i8th century. The 
curved spike is especially long in relation to the size of the blade. It is 
rectangular in section at the base, and gradually becomes rounder as it 
tapers to the point. The eye is oval, and there is a steel edge. 

H: 74" W: if" mai/hf: 21/6303 

68. Exceptionally large spiked tomahawk, 18th century. The eye is 
rectangular, and the spike is round in section. There is no information 
concerning provenience. 

H: 104" W: 34" mai/hf: 22/7337 

69. Very large spiked tomahawk from New York State with symmetri- 
cally developed ears and a straight spike, possibly 18th century. The spike 
is rectangular in section with rounded corners at the base, but quickly 
becomes round. The eye is oval. 

H: 104" W: 3I" mai/hf: 22/7407 

70. Spiked tomahawk of a form closely related to No. 65, but half again 
as large; mid-i8th century. The spike is rectangular in section, but the 
edges are chamfered. The eye is oval. Provenience is unknown. 

H: 84" W: 34" mai/hf: 22/7337 

71. Spiked tomahawk, 18th century. The spike is unusual in that it is 
triangular in section. The eye is oval, and the blade has been cut off at the 
back so that the edge is quite narrow. Provenience unknown. 

H: 54" W: if" mai/hf: 22/7337 



96 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

72. Late spiked tomahawk collected among the Seneca in Oklahoma. It 
appears to be no earlier than the second quarter of the 19th century, well 
after the vogue for this form of tomahawk had passed. It is made of wrought 
iron with a steel edge. The eye is a pointed ellipse, and the spike is rectan- 
gular in section. 

H: 7f" W: 3" mai/hf: 20/7293 

73. Late spiked tomahawk, probably 1800-1810, said to have been found 
on the Tippecanoe battlefield in Indiana. The spike is rectangular in section, 
and the eye is oval. 

H: 8" W: 2|" mai/hf: 22/7391 

74. Spiked tomahawk from Connecticut with symmetrical ears and sym- 
metrically flaring blade, (ca. 1 740-1 770). The eye is a pointed ellipse. The 
spike is rectangular in section with the corners chamfered at the base and 
gradually tapering out for about three quarters of its length. 

H: 7f" W: 3^" Ben F. Hubbell collection 

75. Spiked tomahawk with original haft, {ca. 1740-1770). This specimen is 
believed to have come from the Mohawks of central New York State. It is 
very similar to one carried by a colonial soldier during the French wars and 
now in the Rhode Island Historical Society. The spike is generally rounded 
in section, and the eye is oval. The wooden haft still bears traces of red paint. 

H: 6|" W: 2^" L: 17" William O. Sweet collection 

76. Spiked tomahawk with exceptionally long haft. The head is beauti- 
fully forged with moldings at the base of the spike, and engraved scroll and 
line decoration over the eye and down the blade. The spike has a low median 
ridge and slopes to an edge both front and back, but it has never been 
sharp. The eye is a pointed ellipse. The haft has been cut away at the 
forward end to allow it to pass through the eye, and the wood which 
place. The wood has been wrapped and burned in a tiger stripe design with 
one broad and one narrow stripe spiralling around it. During the years it 
has broken once, approximately in the middle, and been repaired. This is 
one of few the specimens with such a long haft, and the presumption is that 
it was designed as a ceremonial present during the second half of the 1 8th 
century. It was found in Pennsylvania. 

H: 7f" W: 2" L: 35^" Author's collection 

77. Spiked tomahawk with unusually forged head and conical cap at the 
butt, (ca. 1 740-1 760). Instead of being forged in the usual manner from two 
pieces of iron welded together above and below the eye, this specimen ap- 
pears to have been made from a piece of iron wrapped around a form for 
the eye and then welded back upon itself in the manner of the typical belt 
axe with rounded poll. The spike was then forged separately and welded on. 
There is also a steel edge. At the base of the spike is a flat molding to supply 
the welding area, and this has been balanced by additional moldings on the 
poll and below the eye. The spike is straight sided for most of its length 
with chamfered corners; then it tapers rapidly to a point and becomes 
rounded in section. The eye is round. The wooden haft is straight sided 
until it enters the butt cap, and there it tapers rapidly to a point. The butt 
cap is made of sheet iron and resembles the ground iron of a polearm of the 
period. Obtained from the Iroquois. 

H: 6" W: if" L: 14" mai/hf: 20/1993 



SPIKED TOMAHAWKS 97 

78. Spiked tomahawk of the late 18th or early 19th century, of unknown 
origin. The head is well made and heavier than usual. The eye is a pointed 
ellipse, and there are engraved line-and-chevron decorations above and 
below the eye and on the spike. The spike itself has a strong median ridge, 
but the edges were never really sharp. The haft is modern. 

H: 8f" W: i\" L: 28" mai/hf: 22/7237 

79. Late spiked tomahawk made by Goulding & Company, New York, 
(ca. 1 850-1 860). The head is made of steel and finely finished with an oval 
eye and a spike with a high median ridge. The haft is of the curved pattern 
which became popular about the middle of the 19th century for both 
hatchets and axes. On both the butt and fore end are brass plates, each 
attached by two screws. The butt plate is stamped "GOULDING & CO / 
NEW YORK;" the front plate "GOULDING / NEW YORK." This firm 
made surgical instruments and other fine cutlery during this period. It is at- 
tributed to the Iroquois. 

H: 8f" W: 4 £" L: 17" mai/hf: 15/6258 

80. Late spiked tomahawk, (ca. 1840-1850). The long straight spike is 
generally rectangular in section. The eye is wedge shaped, and there is a 
well-developed socket for the haft. The edge of the blade is somewhat 
broken, but there is no indication of any steel. The haft is straight and 
undecorated. Attributed to the Sioux. 

H: 10" W: 2£" L: 26f" mai/hf: 2/5325 

81. Spiked tomahawk with brass head, late 19th or early 20th century. 
The head is crudely cast. The eye is round, the diameter increasing towards 
the haft which is apparently held in place by friction only. The haft itself 
expands similarly. Slightly more than half way to the butt it is pierced for a 
rawhide thong, which is decorated with thread wrapping, short strips of fur, 
and a long tuft of horsehair. Tribal origin unknown. 

H: 5" W: 3f" L: 17^" mai/hf: 22/7236 

82. Late spiked tomahawk of unusual construction, (ca. 1850-1860). Both 
the blade and the spike are formed from sheets of steel. These are fastened 
together by two straps of iron which are bent outward in the space between, 
to form the eye, which is in the shape of a pointed ellipse. The haft is copied 
from the recurved axe and hatchet handles which became popular after the 
middle of the century. Attributed to the New York Seneca. 

H: 8i" W: 3|" L: 19" mai/hf: 14/4984 

83. Spiked tomahawk with symmetrically flaring blade, (ca. late 18th or 
early 19th century). Note the resemblance to No. 69, except that the spike 
on this specimen is bent and is slightly shorter. The spike is rectangular 
in section at the base but quickly becomes rounded. The eye is oval. The 
haft is a modern replacement. Provenience unknown. 

H: 8|" W: 5" mai/hf: 22/7264 

84. Spiked tomahawk, late 19th or early 20th century. The spike is rectan- 
gular in section. The eye is oval. The haft is even more recent than the head. 
Provenience unknown. 

H: 8" W: 21" L: 19!" mai/hf: 22/7245 



98 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

85. Spiked tomahawk, (ca. 1890-1910). The construction of this specimen 
is most unusual. The poll is wrought iron, and the blade is attached to it 
by three rivets. Inside the eye and around the haft is a short section of iron 
pipe. The spike seems to be riveted on. The haft is decorated with brass 
tacks, brass bands, a black leather band, and blue-and-white beaded bands. 
Tribal affiliation unknown. 

H: 7i" W: 2|" L: 16^' mai/hf: 22/7250 

86. Spiked tomahawk, late 19th century. The piece is functional as a 
weapon, which is unusual in an implement which seems to be so recent 
from the standpoint of style and workmanship. The spike is rectangular in 
section, and the eye is a flat oval. Provenience unknown. 

H: 7£" W: 2%" L: 16^" mai/hf: 22/7310 

87. Spiked tomahawk of cast iron, 20th century. The form of the blade 
owes much to the Missouri war hatchet except that the poll is flat on top 
and that the sides of the blade flow from the poll to the edge in a straight 
line instead of curving in beneath the eye. There is a pierced decoration in 
the form of a "bleeding heart." The eye is round, and the spike is round in 
section. All in all, this heavy and clumsy piece could serve only for decora- 
tion. The haft expands gradually from the head to the butt. It is pierced 
with a small hole near the butt, and two feathers are attached to a rawhide 
thong tied through the hole. Tribe unknown. 

H: 7f W: 41" L: i6|" mai/hf: 22/7247 

88. Spiked tomahawk of cast iron, (ca. 1890-1920). The eye is round, and 
the spike is generally rounded in section. On the obverse side of the blade is 
a simple incised decoration which was cast in the piece. It consists of a 
rectangle with two diagonal lines connecting the corners and forming an X. 
The haft bears remnants of black paint and shows evidence of charring. 
Near the head it is pierced with a small hole from which are suspended a 
short string of beads and a tuft of horsehair. Collected from the Chippewa. 

H: 7I" W: 2f" L: 16" mai/hf: 11/8158 



TOMAHAWKS WITH HAMMER POLLS 

Other tomahawks with hammer polls which are believed to have been 
used by settlers are illustrated and described as numbers 302, 305, 307. One 
tomahawk which can be converted from a pipe to a hammer with a thread- 
ed insert is illustrated and described as No. 215. 

89. Unique tomahawk with hammer poll, probably second half of the 
1 8th century. It is made entirely of wrought iron, and it is an exceptionally 
good forging. The eye itself is round, but the metal surrounding it has been 
Drought out to a ridge, giving this portion of the axe a diamond shape when 
viewed from the front. On the poll is mounted a tall finial with a thin vertical 
base from which a cylindrical column rises to a button at the top. Moldings 
are forged and filed around the column, and there are straight file line 
decorations on the base which is also pierced with a single circular hole. The 
blade is quite thin, and it also is pierced in an intricate pattern featuring 
a four-pointed star. In addition, there are straight horizontal file lines and 
punched dots all over the poll and around the eye. Along the edge on the 



TOMAHAWKS WITH HAMMER POLLS % 

reverse side of the blade is a line of small stamped sunbursts. The haft is 
modern. The axe is believed to have been made in New England. 

H: 6f" W: 3 £" L: 15" mai/hf: 15/163 

90. Tomahawk with hammer poll, mid- 1 8th century, probably from New 
York or New England. Tomahawks with hammers are relatively scarce, 
but this is the size and shape most often encountered during the early period 
when they were often an object of real use. It is forged in three pieces in the 
manner most commonly used for spiked tomahawks. Two pieces of wrought 
iron were welded together above and below the eye, and a steel edge was 
sandwiched in. The eye is a pointed ellipse. The hammer is rectangular in 
section with the edges chamfered, giving almost an octagonal section. 

H: 6£" W: if" William O. Sweet collection 

91. Superb tomahawk with hammer poll of the late 18th century or very 
early 19th century. An identical specimen except for the engraving was 
recovered in Ohio some years ago and is now in the Ben Palmer collection. 
The eye is round. The hammer is round in section and enhanced with finely 
forged moldings. There is also a deep concave molding at the base of the 
blade to set it off from the eye area. On the reverse side of the blade is inlaid 
a silver crescent which once bore an Indian's name, now illegible. Above the 
inlay are engraved the letters S C, separated by a sunburst. Below, running 
in perpendicular lines, is engraved the motto "to your / arms solder / and 
fight." The haft is curly maple, much darkened. Provenience unknown. 

H: 8" W: 2f" L: 19!" William Guthman collection 

92. Tomahawk with a hammer poll of the mid-i8th century in better con- 
dition and exhibiting slightly better forging than No. 90. The eye is a thick 
oval. The hammer is almost a true octagon in section, although the wider 
base is rectangular and the top molding is almost circular. There are also 
moldings at the poll and just below the eye. From Cayuga County, New York. 
H: 6£" W: 2§" Ben F. Hubbell collection 

93. Late tomahawk with hammer poll, (ca. 1850-1880). The eye is tear- 
drop. The hammer is ten sided for most of its length, but terminates in a 
round band at the top. There are filed moldings above and below the eye. 
The haft is branded in stripes with a hot file and is studded for half its 
length with brass tacks arranged in four double bands and two single ones. 
There is a hole through the center of the haft at the butt, and through this 
are knotted two short strips of fur. Attributed to the Hunkpapa Sioux. 

H: 6f" W: 2" L: 23^" mai/hf: 20/1302 

94. Late tomahawk with hammer poll, [ca. 1 860-1 890). The eye is oval. 
The hammer is generally octagonal with moldings at top and bottom. Ad- 
ditional moldings are filed above and below the eye, and two deep rile lines 
form an X across this area. The blade flares symmetrically with straight 
sides and is quite thin, which is typical for most forms of tomahawk from 
this period ; it is forged completely of steel. The wide wooden haft has been 
cut down to enter the eye, which is unusual. It is file branded and is studded 
with brass tacks arranged in conventional designs. The butt is wrapped in 
fur tied with rawhide thongs, and there is a blue, white, and black flap 
backed with cloth and terminating in a beaded buckskin fringe. Collected 
from the Crow. 

H: 7$" W: 4 £" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 13/5320 

7* 



100 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

95. Late tomahawk with hammer poll, (ca. 1 850-1 870). The eye is wedge- 
shaped, and the hammer, generally round in section, flares outward toward 
the top. The blade at one time was stamped with the number 2 with several 
words forming a circle around it. These are now illegible, however. The haft 
is branded with a file for slightly more than two -thirds of its length and is 
pierced for a thong at the butt. Attributed to the Sioux. 

H: 6£" W: 2$" L: 25" mai/hf: 7/4629 

96. Tomahawk with hammer poll of the late 18th or early 19th century. 
It is forged from two pieces of iron plus a steel edge. The eye is oval. The 
hammer is roughly octagonal. Provenience unknown. 

H: 4f" W: 3" mai/hf: 22/7336 

97. Tomahawk with hammer poll from Hamilton County, Indiana, late 
1 8th century. It is made of wrought iron with a steel edge. The eye is oval, 
and the hammer is generally round in section. Numerous small dots have 
been punched into the metal as a decoration. 

H: 4f" W: if" mai/hf: 22/7402 

98. Tomahawk with hammer poll. It is made of wrought iron with a steel 
edge. The eye is oval. The hammer is generally round in section and flares 
outward towards the top. On the obverse is a maker's name, now illegible, 
stamped in a rectangular cartouche, below which are the large letters US of 
the form commonly used during the Revolution and immediately thereafter 
to denote government property. Therefore, it may well have been issued to 
troops or possibly given to friendly Indians, though the former is more 
likely. Compare with No. 302, another tomahawk with a hammer poll 
bearing what appear to be identical markings. This specimen was recovered 
in Ohio. 

H: 5 1" W: 2" mai/hf: 22/7403 

99. Tomahawk with hammer poll, (ca. 1 860-1 890). It is made of steel in 
the typical fashion for western tomahawks of the period, with thin straight- 
sided blade flaring symmetrically. The eye is oval. The hammer is round in 
section, decorated with moldings and diagonal file lines. The blade is pierced 
with a heart design and further decorated with a diagonal line of punched 
dots. The haft is studded with brass tacks and branded with a file. The butt 
is pierced for a thong, and to it are attached two strips of fur. Attributed to 
the Chippewa. 

H: io£" W: 4 f" L: 2 3 f" mai/hf: 15/4742 

100. Tomahawk with hammer poll converted from a pipe tomahawk, (ca. 
1 860-1 890). In this instance the pipe bowl was broken off, and a short 
hammer of lead was substituted. The rest of the head is steel, decorated with 
filed moldings below the eye and cross-hatched file lines at the base of the 
hammer. The eye is of teardrop form, and the blade is characteristically 
thin. The haft is studded with brass tacks and branded with a file. The butt 
is encased in buckskin with a thong at the rear, a beaded band, fringe, and 
a red cloth flap with a beaded panel at the forward edge. At the base of the 
beaded panel is a row of short tufts of hair fastened in small brass cones. 
Collected from the Shoshoni. 

H: 8J" W: 3|" L: 23" mai/hf: 20/9754 



CELTIFORM TOMAHAWKS IOI 

101. Tomahawk with hammer poll, probably a converted tool, (ca. 1830- 
1860). From all appearances this may well have been a shingler's or lather's 
hatchet before being acquired by the Wyandot of Ohio, from whom it was 
collected. It is made of wrought iron with a steel edge. The eye is a pointed 
ellipse, and the hammer is round in section. The haft is undecorated. 
H: 5i" W: 2f" L: 12" mai/hf: 10/2893 



CELTIFORM TOMAHAWKS 

102. Early celtiform tomahawk from Oklahoma. The use of iron for the 
blade and the apparent use of steel tools in fabricating the haft indicate that 
it is a post-contact specimen, but the workmanship suggests that the entire 
axe, including the head, is of Indian manufacture. The date is thus 
difficult to establish, but it would certainly seem to be in the early 18th 
century. The blade passes through the haft and is secured by two transverse 
rivets. The haft was originally painted a dull red and dark brown, almost 
black. On the forward end and over the blade is carved the figure of an otter, 
probably the dream helper which had appeared to the owner when he 
fasted for power as a youth, and from whom he hoped to acquire the facility 
for swift attack with which the otter was credited. The axe was found in the 
war bundle of an Iowa Indian in Oklahoma, and has been published by 
Harrington, (1920). 

H: nf" W: i£" L: 22" mai/hf: 3/3877 

103. Early celtiform tomahawk from Mississippi. It is difficult to date so 
simple a specimen precisely, but the type of forging and the use of a shank 
seem to point to the 18th century. The head is made in two pieces, a simple 
triangle with the apex slightly curved, with a narrow strap bent around it 
and welded to it and to itself to form a shank for driving into a wooden haft. 
This mode of construction causes it to resemble in outline the halberd forms 
also encountered during the 18th century. The blade is well forged, and the 
apex is strengthened with a well-defined median ridge which gives it a 
diamond shape in section. 

H: 6£" W: 3$" mai/hf: 20/9797 

104. Celtiform tomahawk hafted in rawhide collected from a Ponca Indian 
in 1840. The surface of the head is very rough, but the sides and angles are 
true and uniform, possibly indicating white manufacture. The butt is 
pierced for a thong which is still in place. 

H: 6f" W: 4" L: 15^" Woolaroc Museum: In D-452 

105. Modern celtiform tomahawk suitable only for display purpose. The 
head is cut from thin sheet copper. The haft is split and lashed with sinew 
and leather which have been painted red and blue. Provenience unknown. 

H: 8£" W: 3" L: 28" mai/hf: 22/7273 

106. Early celtiform tomahawk blade. It is forged in a single piece with the 
apex slightly curved in a manner similar to No. 103. Four circular piercings 
arranged to form a rectangle served either as decoration or as a means of 
securing the blade to the haft. Because of its early form and the fact that it 
was recovered near Hampton, Virginia, it would seem safe to assign it a 
date no later than the middle of the 18th century. 

H: 31" W: 2|" mai/hf: 22/7406 



102 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

PIPE TOMAHAWKS 

Because pipe tomahawks are so numerous and diversified they have 
been divided into the following categories: halberd form, conventional 
blades, spontoon blades. Within these groups they are further divided by 
materials ; first, those of iron and steel, those of brass with steel blades, those 
completely of brass or pewter, and finally those of stone, of which only a 
few specimens are included for comparison. It should be noticed also that a 
few pipe tomahawks are included in the section dealing with the white use of 
tomahawks. 

PIPE TOMAHAWKS OF THE HALBERD FORM 

107. Unusual halberd pipe tomahawk with an iron haft. The head is steel, 
probably with a shank which is inserted into the shaft underneath the 
forward silver band. The haft is made of sheet iron wrapped around and 
brazed. At both ends there are silver bands which have been wrapped and 
soldered. A butt cap and tubular mouthpiece of silver are also soldered in 
place. The pipe bowl can be unscrewed and removed. Halberd tomahawks 
are normally considered very early, but the design and workmanship on 
this specimen would seem to indicate a date no earlier than the first half of 
the 19th century. Provenience unknown. 

H: 5i" W: 3!" L: i6£" mai/hf: 22/7230 

108. Halberd tomahawk with pipe bowl in place of the spike or beak; 
1 8th century. The main body of the head is forged from iron, but there is a 
deep steel edge sandwiched and welded into the head. The spear point is 
pierced with a heart design. Opposite the spear point is a small threaded 
hole for attaching the haft. The general shape of the piece would indicate 
the area from Pennsylvania through New England, though the specimen 
was actually collected in the Southwest. 

H: 4!" W: 4-f' Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 36918 

PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES 
1. Iron or Steel Heads 

109. Superb example of a mid-i8th century pipe tomahawk. The head is 
inlaid in both brass and silver, and both the inlays and surrounding areas 
of the head are engraved. Around the center of the pipe bowl are a series of 
triangular silver inlays engraved with floral patterns. On either side of the 
base of the bowl where it is welded to the poll are shield-shaped brass inlays, 
again with floral designs engraved upon them. Silver 8 -pointed stars with 
engraved borders suggesting vines are on both sides of the eye area. The 
blade bears brass triangles and a series of inlaid silver flowers connected 
by engraved stems and leaves cut into the iron of the head. The haft is curly 
maple with a shaped underside and mouthpiece. Provenience unknown. 

H: 8£" W: 3" L: 22" William O. Sweet collection 

110. Pipe tomahawk of a slightly higher quality than No. in, and dating 
from the same era. The moldings on the head are more boldly executed, 
and the inlays in the haft are engraved with scratchwork designs. These 
inlays consist of a fore-end cap, a band just behind the head with serrated 
edges, and a mouthpiece also with serrated edges, all of pewter. In addition 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES 103 

there are two bands plus a series of rectangular inlays in a low grade silver 
or very high quality pewter; these are held in place with small nails. The 
eye is large and teardrop in form. The haft is of the characteristic cigar 
shape. Provenience unknown. 

H: 7I" W: 2\" L: 15^" William O. Sweet collection 

111. Pipe tomahawk with pewter inlaid haft, mid- 1 8th century. Note the 
short thick bowl sloping inward towards the top, the large eye, and the 
generally massive utilitarian head, all characteristic of the early form. This 
is a simple specimen with few moldings and uncomplicated inlays, but it is 
an excellent unrestored example of its type. The haft is maple. Provenience 
unknown. 

H: 8" W: 2^" L: 16" William W. Shemerluk collection 

112. Pipe tomahawk with octagonal bowl, mid- 1 8th century. Pipes with 
polygonal bowls with or without the circular base are found most frequently 
in Pennsylvania and Ohio. This particular specimen was recovered in 
Pennsylvania. It is well forged with sharply denned moldings, a round eye, 
and a steel edge. 

H: 6" W: 2§" George O. Bird collection 

113. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1750-1800). The bowl is slightly straighter than 
those of the previous period (see No. 111), and it lacks a top molding, but 
otherwise little is changed. The eye is teardrop, and the blade is stamped 
with the broad arrow, symbol of British government ownership, on the 
obverse side and with the maker's name, PARKE, on the reverse. (This 
may possibly be William Parke who supplied axes to the Hudson's Bay 
Company, 1 770-1 790.) Such tomahawks bearing government marks were 
used to arm the Indian allies of Great Britain during and after the 
Revolution and as treaty gifts. Collected from the Mohawk. 

H: 8£" W: i\" mai/hf: 22/7216 

114. Pipe tomahawk with silver inlaid haft, {ca. 1750). The short inward 
tapering bowl and large teardrop eye are typical, and the weld on the steel 
edge is quite obvious. Some of the silver band and diamond inlays are mis- 
sing, but those that remain bear engraved scratchwork decorations. The 
haft is maple and is slightly relieved between the two rear bands where the 
hand would grasp it. This piece is reported to have been captured at the 
Battle of Tippecanoe in 181 1, which would indicate a long period of service. 
Attributed to the Potawatomi. 

H: 8" W: 2f" L: 2of" mai/hf: 15/8000 

115. Pipe tomahawk with head of the classic form for the mid-i8th century. 
All of the normal features for which one looks in dating a piece of this period 
are present in their most typical shapes and proportions : the large teardrop 
eye, the ample bulbous bowl sloping inward toward the top with an edge 
molding, the concave molding at the base of the blade, the small projection 
from the rear of the blade just below the base, and the heavy functional 
blade itself with its steel edge. The haft only is atypical, for it is exceptional- 
ly plain without any taper for a mouthpiece — possibly a separate tubular 
mouthpiece may have been used. This haft may not be the original, but it 
is certainly very old. It was collected in Indiana and has been attributed to 
the Miami. 

H: 8|" W: 2f" L: i-j\" mai/hf: 10/2881 



104 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

116. Crudely made pipe tomahawk of the late 18th or early 19th century. 
The eye is teardrop. The moldings are of the most rudimentary, and the 
bowl has been made separately and riveted in place. It was obtained from 
the Mohawk. 

H: 8f" W: 3^' mai/hf: 1/2575 

117. Pipe tomahawk with a shortened and considerably reworked blade, 
(ca. 1 750-1 800). The eye is teardrop, and there are file nicks along the front 
of the blade from just below the base molding to the reworked area. The 
alteration of the blade probably took place after the original steel edge had 
been worn away or otherwise lost; there is no trace of it left. Collected from 
the Sauk and Fox tribe in Illinois. 

H: 7£" W: 3$" mai/hf: 18/8274 

118. Pipe tomahawk with unusual bowl, (ca. 1750). The eye is teardrop, 
and the concave molding at the base of the blade is standard. The shape of 
the bowl, its thick stem with two rings, and the rounded base instead of the 
more usual pointed one are atypical. The blade has been shortened through 
much sharpening. Recovered in Illinois, from the Sauk. 

H: 7" W: 2f" mai/hf: 18/8273 

119. Pipe tomahawk of the late 18th century believed to have belonged to 
Tecumseh. The head is massive and generally of the form associated with 
the second half of the 18th century. The eye is teardrop. The blade bears 
punched dots and engraved designs. On the obverse side is a rectangular sil- 
ver inlay bearing the name Tuchunye in script. The reverse side bears a 
silver diamond with an engraved monogram that is now too worn to read. 
The haft is straight with only rudimentary shaping around the mouthpiece. 
A separate tubular piece must have been inserted if the pipe was to be 
smoked. At one time the haft was striped in red, green and black, and traces 
of the paint still remain. The axe is said to have been obtained by General 
Russell after Tecumseh's death at the Battle of the Thames in 1813. 
The tradition that the piece belonged to the Shawnee chief can be traced 
back to within fifty years of his death. For another tomahawk believed to 
have belonged to Tecumseh see No. 120. 

H: 7|" W: i\" L: 2i£" mai/hf: 1/1158 

120. Pipe tomahawk believed to have belonged to Tecumseh, (ca. 1790- 
1810). The eye is a teardrop, but the pipe bowl has become taller, almost 
nozzle shaped. The metal around the eye is exceptionally thick, and the 
overall height of the head has increased with both a taller bowl and a longer 
blade, giving it the slightly attenuated appearance frequently encountered 
in axes of this type made about the turn of the century. The obverse side 
of the blade is engraved in script letters in three vertical lines To Chief 
Tecumseh / From Col. Proctor / MDCCCXII. (Henry Proctor was com- 
mander of the British forces with whom Tecumseh's Shawnees served in the 
old Northwest during the War of 1812.) The reverse side of the blade bears 
a maker's stamp in the form of a standing bird with the letters B and E on 
either side plus a sun with a human face, a crescent moon with a face, and a 
cluster of 7 stars in a circle with one in the center. The same marks have 
been found on two almost identical tomahawk heads in private collections. 
The sun, moon, and star markings are typical of those found on European- 
made sword blades of the 18th and early 19th centuries, and these plus the 
maker's mark would seem to indicate Continental, probably French, manu- 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES 105 

facture. The haft is burned in stripes for decoration, and there are two 
protuberances on the lower edge, each pierced with a single hole from 
which thongs with beads, feathers, scalps, or other decorations were un- 
doubtedly suspended. 

H: gl" W: 3J" L: 26^' mai/hf: 17/6249 

121. Pipe tomahawk of the second half of the 18th century. It is a finely 
made specimen with crisp moldings and a well-developed bowl on a tall 
stem. The eye is teardrop. The haft is curly, maple with a silver mouthpiece, 
bands, and fore-end cap. This cap bears the initials GG in script. The lower 
edge of the haft has been relieved between the bands, perhaps to afford a 
better grip for the hand. Attributed to the Iroquois. 

H: 8" W: 3" L: i8£" mai/hf: 15/159 

122. A fine pipe tomahawk of the late 18th century. The head is lighter 
than the earlier specimens and is slightly more sophisticated in the style 
usually associated with the years from 1770 to 1800. The eye is teardrop; 
the moldings are less massive. There are filed decorations consisting prima- 
rily of diagonal lines and follow lines. A silver crescent is inlaid in the blade 
and a heart is at the base of the bowl. The fore end of the haft is covered with 
a cap of silver, and there is a band of silver just behind the head. Both of 
these are soldered to the head, making a tight joint and eliminating the 
need for the usual thin leather shim. The haft is curly maple and bears 
further silver inlays consisting of bands and diamonds bearing engraved 
scratchwork designs. There is also a silver mouthpiece. Provenience 
unknown. 

H: 8|" W: 2|" L: 2 if" William Guthman collection 

123. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1790-1810). This specimen illustrates the at- 
tenuated appearance of the turn-of-the-century iron pipe tomahawk head 
even more emphatically than No. 120. The pipe bowl is poorly proportioned 
and crudely fashioned. The molding at the base of the blade is rudimentary, 
and the eye, though still teardrop, is a slender one. The edges of the iron 
around the eye and down the front of the blade have been filed to make a 
cusped border, and a silver knife has been inlaid in the blade. Upon this 
knife is engraved the name "H. Knox" in script. The haft is maple with one 
silver band and five circular silver inlays, all with light scratchwork and 
floral engraving. The mouthpiece, which undoubtedly was silver also, is 
now missing. From West Virginia. 

H: 8f" W: 2J" L: 19" Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 13515 

124. Pipe tomahawk with engraved eagle and shield on the blade, (ca. 
1786-1810). In proportion the head of this tomahawk more closely resem- 
bles those of the mid-i8th century. The pipe bowl is more barrel shaped, 
however, and it is riveted to the head instead of being welded, keyed or 
made in one pieceas was more common. The head proper is thick and flat, 
topped with well-developed step moldings. The raised central molding on 
the bowl has a continuous row of stamped circles for decoration. The prin- 
cipal decorative device, however, is an .engraved American eagle with shield 
clutching both arrows and an olive branch in its claws. In place of the stars 
in the shield, however, there is the word "TOTE." There is considerable 
speculation concerning the meaning of this word since it appears on several 



106 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

tomahawks over a period of a hundred years. (See No. 203 for a very late 
example.) It has been thought to derive from the Pennsylvania German 
dialect as a corruption of the German Todt meaning death, but this is pure 
hypothesis. The haft was inlaid with a number of bands, strips, and discs 
of silver held by tacks, but most of these have since disappeared. The few 
that remain bear traces of simple scratch engraving. A screw in the fore 
end helps spread the haft and hold the head securely in place. The mouth- 
piece is pewter, held in place with an interesting semi-dovetailed effect. The 
haft also was lightly branded with a file, but most of this has now worn off. 
The provenience is not known. 

H: 8" W: 2f" L: 2i|" Robert Abels collection 

125. Pipe tomahawk, also probably of British manufacture, (ca. 1800). 
Similar in most respects to No. 126 except that it is unmarked and the 
fact that the pipe bowl was riveted and welded to the poll can be clearly 
seen. Also, the eye is round. Attributed to the Teton Sioux. 

H: 9^" W: 3^' L: 2if" mai/hf: 18/2771 

126. Pipe tomahawk by Holtzappfel, (ca. 1800). The form of the head is 
typically attenuated. The eye is teardrop, and the pipe bowl is straight 
sided though there is a slight inward taper. On the obverse side is stamped 
the British broad arrow and the letters BO (Board of Ordnance). On the 
reverse side the maker's name, "HOLTZAPPFEL," is stamped in incised 
capital letters. The mouthpiece is turned and shaped but is an integral part 
of the haft. Attributed to the Sisseton Sioux. 

H: 9^' W: 3" L: 22" mai/hf: 2/2106 

127. Pipe tomahawk, probably English, (ca. 1800). Similar in all important 
respects to the preceding two specimens, with a teardrop eye. The maker's 
name, "B. WOOD," is stamped in incised capital letters on the reverse side 
of the blade. The mouthpiece is turned from bone. Collected from the 
Assiniboine. 

H: 8£" W: 3" L: 22^" mai/hf: 3/4716 

128. Pipe tomahawk, probably English, (ca. 1800). Similar to the pre- 
ceding three specimens in all important respects, though the pipe bowl is 
narrower and more poorly formed. The eye is teardrop. The maker's name 
is stamped on the reverse side of the blade, " J & C THOMAS." Beneath it 
is another word now illegible except for the letters "AZAR," approximately 
in the middle. Attributed to the Plains Cree. 

H: 8£" W: 3" L: 2ii" mai/hf: 19/5704 

129. Pipe tomahawk said to have been presented to Chief Warrior at the 
Big Tree Treaty of 1797. The eye is oval. The pipe bowl is slightly barrel 
shaped and faceted with turned moldings at top and bottom. Just below 
the base of the bowl is inlaid a silver diamond on the reverse side, and on 
the blade is a silver cartouche bearing the name "Chief -Warrior" engraved 
in script. Two brass strips following the borders of the blade are inlaid from 
the base to points opposite the ends of the cartouche. The haft is striped 
maple with two narrow pewter bands and one wide one at the butt. The 
mouthpiece is a tube of bone. Warrior is a well-known Iroquois family 
name. 

H: 8£" W: 3f" L: 17" mai/hf: 10/4051 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES IO7 

130. Pipe tomahawk (ca. 1 800-1 825), believed to have belonged to the 
famous Chief Red Cloud (1822-1909) of the Oglala Sioux. The eye is oval. 
The bowl is very slightly barrel shaped with moldings at top and bottom. 
A silver heart is inlaid in the base of the bowl, a crescent at the base of the 
blade, and a bleeding heart in the center of the blade. The haft is maple, 
inlaid with silver bands and diamonds. The mouthpiece is a silver tube. 

H: 8£" W: 3" L: 16" mai/hf: 22/7203 

131. Pipe tomahawk made by a Chickasaw blacksmith about 1800. (See 
p. 29.) The eye is oval. The bowl is of the so-called acorn shape which 
developed about 1770 and remained popular for brass specimens until about 
1825. There was an oval inlay, now missing, on the reverse side of the blade. 
There are traces of both black and red paint on the head and on the fore- 
end of the haft. The haft bears an oval pewter inlay on the obverse side in a 
carved frame. The script initials EF are carved in a scrolled border on the 
reverse, and the butt is carved in a rudimentary scroll. 

H: 7f" W: i\" L: 18" mai/hf: 7319 

132. Pipe tomahawk with silver inlays and exceptionally heavy blade, 
(ca. 1800-1820). The bowl is straight sided and almost stemless. It has filed 
moldings at top and bottom and a silver inlaid band around the center. On 
the base of the bowl is inlaid a silver heart, while a silver crescent, "bleeding 
heart," and designs resembling bird footprints adorn the blade. The eye 
is oval, and the squared section below it is exceptionally heavy and deco- 
rated with filed moldings. The haft is apparently much more recent and is 
cut down to enter the eye. The mouthpiece is pewter. Obtained from the 
Iroquois. 

H: 8i" W: 3" L: 2o|" mai/hf: 6/341 

133. English presentation pipe tomahawk given to Chief Bowles of the 
Cherokee, circa 1800. (See p. 33.) The vase-shaped bowl is finely forged and 
closely resembles the socket of a candlestick of the period. The eye is oval, 
and the blade flares symmetrically. On the obverse side opposite the eye is 
engraved "TUSTOWACKHAJO" in a vertical line. On the blade is en- 
graved a panoply of arms featuring two British flags. On the reverse side 
is the name "BOWLES." The haft is cut down to enter the eye and is 
capped with silver after it has passed through. There is a silver band with 
borders two-thirds of the way to the butt, and there is a silver mouthpiece 
with similar borders. The mouthpiece and band are connected by the sym- 
bolic "silver chain of friendship" so often referred to in formal oratory. 
This is one of the few such presentation tomahawks with the chain still 
surviving intact. 

H: 8" W: 3!" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 12/9426 

134. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 18 10-1830), presented to the Miami chief Mesh- 
ingomesia (1 781-1879) . The eye is oval. The bowl is tall and almost straight 
sided with a well-developed stem, indicating a date well into the 19th cen- 
tury. The entire head is engraved with diamonds, hearts, crescents, chevron 
and scroll work designs. The haft is curly maple inlaid with silver bands, 
diamonds, and circles. There is a silver fore-end cap and a silver mouth- 
piece. All mounts are engraved with formal borders and designs and are 
held in place by tacks. (See p. 32.) 

H: 8" W: 3" L: 23!" mai/hf: 14/5983 



108 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

135. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1815-1835). This is the type shown most often 
by Catlin in his paintings, through it is actually quite a rare type. It has a 
round eye, the whole blade curves back slightly, and the edge is on a slant. 
The bowl expands slightly toward the top and with its molding at the top of 
the stem somewhat resembles a candlestick. Both sides of the pipe base 
molding are inlaid with silver shields, and both sides of the blade bear silver 
ovals. The haft is banded with silver held in place by rows of round-headed 
brass tacks; the silver mouthpiece is similarly fastened. Attributed to the 
Shawnee. 

H: 8" W: 2f" L: iq^" mai/hf: 20/4921 

136. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 825-1 850). An earlier version of the type that 
became most popular from about 1840 to i860, it is well forged with an 
ample bowl which is now taller, and distinctly barrel shaped. The eye is 
oval, and there are numerous filed moldings for decoration as well as silver 
inlays. These inlays consist of a silver crescent on the obverse side and a 
horizontal band (now missing) ; on the reverse side there was a circle and 
another horizontal band, both of which are now lacking. The wooden haft 
is plain and generally of the early type. There is a lead mouthpiece and a 
fore-end cap also of lead. Just behind the head is another lead band with a 
serrated rear edge. Attributed to the Shawnee. 

H: 61" W: i\" L: \$\" mai/hf: 2/484 

137. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 830-1 850). Another Shawnee specimen of a 
form of tomahawk popular during the second quarter of the 19th century, 
but showing some later features than No. 136. The bowl is a little taller and 
has almost achieved the shape that became standard shortly after 1850. 
The edge is straighter, and although the rear line of the blade is still slightly 
concave, it gives evidence of the approaching straight side so typical of 
axes of the second half of the century. The eye is also a pointed ellipse, ap- 
proaching the diamond shape found in the later specimens. The haft is 
quite recent, and the gasket between the haft and the inside of the eye is of 
cloth, a very late feature. The haft is finished an unnaturally light color and 
is inlaid with silver diamonds and triangles. 

H: i\" W: 2£" L: 15!" mai/hf: 2/4812 

138. Very fine example of a pipe tomahawk, probably made in the first 
quarter of the 19th century. The bowl is quite tall in proportion to its di- 
ameter, but it tapers inward slightly toward the top. The eye is a teardrop, 
and the molding beneath the eye is well developed. On the obverse side 
there is a silver crescent inlay, and on the reverse is a silver oval. The haft 
is of the early form, inlaid with silver diamonds and bands decorated with 
scratchwork engraving. The mouthpiece is silver, and an unusual feature is 
a spiral brass band which runs the entire length of the haft. Collected from 
the Mandan. 

H: 6£" W: 7.\" L: i6f" mai/hf: 19/639 

139. Pipe tomahawk dated 1829. There are many early features on this 
well-forged specimen. The eye is teardrop, and the bowl, although tall, 
retains early moldings at its base. The moldings below the eye also reflect 
the taste of the late 18th or early 19th century. The obverse of the blade is 
decorated with brass inlays including a bird, the letters OC, the date 1829, 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES log 

and foliage. On the reverse side the inlays consist of a tree and scrollwork; 
the edge is steel. Attributed to the Sauk and Fox. 

H: 6f" W: 3" mai/hf: 18/8272 

140 and 141. Pipe tomahawks which belonged to the Sauk chief Keokuk, 
( 1 780-1 848). Both were given to Indian Agent Woodyard by Moses Keokuk 
who stated that they had belonged to his father. No. 140 must have been 
given to Keokuk late in life after the crises of the Black Hawk War when 
he fell from favor with his people. The blade is almost the fully developed 
form of the second half of the century, although there are a few earlier 
features, especially the heaviness of the metal around the eye. The pipe also 
is a slightly earlier form with its bulbous moldings. The eye is oval. There 
are inlaid triangles on either side of the bowl base molding, two horizontal 
bars on either side of the eye, and a diamond in the center of the blade, all 
of silver. Further decoration of this fine quality head is provided with 
stamped crosses and crescents. The haft has a silver front cap which has 
been covered with lead, and a lead band is at the rear of the head, making 
a tight seal. In addition, there are a series of silver bands and diamonds. 
There is no mouthpiece except for the shaping of the wood. 

No. 141 is also an especially fine piece and slightly earlier; it could well 
have belonged to Keokuk at the time of the Black Hawk War. The eye is a 
teardrop. The bowl is short and of large diameter, and the blade form is 
early. There is a brass or copper front plate covered with lead which, 
together with a lead band just behind the head, forms a tight seal. The haft 
tapers at the rear in the earlier form as contrasted with the later concave 
taper exhibited in No. 140. There is a pewter mouthpiece with a serrated 
edge adjoining the haft, and several silver bands and a silver heart are inlaid 
along the sides of the haft. 

No. 140. H: 71" W: 2.\" L: i 4 £" mai/hf: 12/744 

No. 141. H: 6f" W: i\" L: 15!" mai/hf: 12/745 

142. A most unusual pipe tomahawk with bilaterally flaring blade, (ca. 
1840-1850). The eye is round. The bowl is tall and is welded to the flat poll. 
On either side of the eye are filed moldings in a reeding pattern. The blade 
is even more remarkable by having two convex brass bosses soldered on 
either side and by the fact that three circular holes are bored through just 
above the edge. The haft is grooved along its lower edge and is wrapped 
with copper wire. It was found in Ohio and acquired by the Smithsonian 
in 1868. 

H: 8i" W: 4!" L: 171" Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 7339 

143. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1835-1850). The blade, forged of iron with a 
steel edge, has here assumed the shape most characteristic of the 1840*5 
and early 1850's with a notch just below the eye forming a narrow waist 
above a pronounced rearward flare to the heel. The bowl is tall with several 
moldings and tapers slightly inward towards the top. The entire head is 
decorated with an overall pattern of punched dots. The eye is oval. The 
haft is inlaid with pewter bands, and there is a pewter mouthpiece. At- 
tributed to the Iroquois, New York. 

H: 71" W: i\" L: iq|" mai/hf: 14/4873 



110 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

144. Pipe tomahawk by Carlos Gove, (ca. 1 840-1 854). A well-made axe 
that would seem to have been made during Gove's tenure at the Potawatomi 
Agency or at St. Joseph. The eye is oval, and the notch below the eye is not 
so pronounced as in some specimens. The bowl is tall and slightly barrel 
shaped with well-executed moldings. The workmanship throughout is ex- 
cellent, especially the filing of the moldings on either side of the eye. The 
obverse of the blade bears a large stamp of concentric cabled rings with 
some wavy lines between the rings. In the center are four eagle heads and 
the name C. GOVE. The reverse side is engraved with a walking bird and 
several tree stumps. The haft is inlaid with pewter bands and diamonds, 
and the mouthpiece is pewter. Attributed to the Potawatomi( ?). For 
another pipe tomahawk by Gove, see No. 147. 

H: 7I" W: i\" L: 20I" mai/hf: 22/7220 

145. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 840-1 850). In this specimen the notch below 
the eye is not nearly as sharp as in some, but the narrow waist is quite 
apparent. The eye is oval. The tall bowl is faceted with cabled moldings at 
top and bottom and a slight outward flare toward the top. There is a series 
of brass inlays in the form of bars across the blade between the eye and the 
waist, and there are triangular inlays, a diamond, and a star around the 
sides of the eye. The haft is inlaid with pewter bands and rectangles, and 
there is a pewter cap. The mouthpiece is lead. Collected in Oklahoma from 
the Caddo. 

H: 6f" W: 2" L: i 4 f" mai/hf: 2/2398 

146. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 825-1 840). The shorter, thicker form of this 
specimen is readily apparent when compared with the three previous ones. 
It is forged of iron with a steel edge, and the eye is round. The bowl is short 
and thick with cabled moldings top and bottom. The haft is inlaid with 
pewter bands and diamonds, and there is a pewter mouthpiece. Collected 
from the Creek tribe in Oklahoma. 

H: 6£" W: i\" L: 13I" mai/hf: 2/7567 

147. Pipe tomahawk by Carlos Gove, (ca. 1 845-1 854). This axe also prob- 
ably dates from Gove's years in St. Joseph, but it is later in its design than 
No. 144. It was collected among the Potawatomi with whom Gove had been 
associated as Agency gunsmith. In this specimen the eye has assumed the 
diamond form typical of the 1850's and later. The blade also is assuming 
the flat straight-sided form which became more pronounced in the next 
decade. The bowl is tall and barrel shaped with simple moldings at top and 
bottom, but it is slightly thicker than the later examples. There is a brass 
band inlaid around the pipe bowl, and a silver disc is inlaid on the obverse 
of the blade. This disc is stamped with a series of short arcs and small circles 
which form a conventionalized flower and border. Around the silver disc is 
engraved a larger double circle, and conventional flowers are stamped in the 
space between. The name C. GOVE is stamped above a longer word, now 
illegible. The haft is covered with punch marks, and there is a pewter cap 
and mouthpiece. See also No. 144. 

H: 6|" W: i\" L: i8f" mai/hf: 2/7569 

148. Pipe tomahawk with widely flaring blade, (ca. 1 835-1 850). The un- 
usual rear line of the blade almost obscures the thin waist and other 
characteristics of the axes of the 1840's, but nevertheless this specimen 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES III 

belongs to that period. The eye is round, and the bowl is short and thick, 
both early features which might indicate a date in the opening years of the 
period. The blade is highly decorated with both stamping and silver inlays. 
Only traces of the stamping remain, but it comprised floral sprays. The 
inlays consist of a band around the bowl, triangles, lines, and a crescent on 
the obverse side and a diamond, lines, and triangles on the reverse. The haft 
is tiger striped, but otherwise undecorated. From the Iroquois; collected in 
New York. 

H: 6£" W: i\" L: nf" mai/hf: 22/4005 

149. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1840-1850). Compared with the large eye and 
bowl, the small blade of this axe seems quite out of proportion. The eye is 
oval; the bowl tall and flaring out towards the top. There is a cabled 
molding at the neck, but none at the top. Above the narrow waist the 
corners of the blade are filed in a series of notches. Below the waist are 
copper inlays consisting of a series of three lines and a heart. The haft is 
inlaid with silver bands and rectangles. The mouthpiece and cap are pewter 
or lead. Attributed to the Caddo in Oklahoma. 

H: 7" W: 2" L: i6|" mai/hf: 2/2397 

150. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 830-1 850) . A finely made specimen with an oval 
eye and well-developed moldings on the bowl and at the base of the blade. 
The bowl itself is quite short, but it is situated upon a long neck and a high 
poll. In addition to the moldings, the decoration consists of stamped 
crescents along the borders of the blade, a cartouche and a heart inlaid in 
brass on the obverse, and a silver cartouche and diamond with a copper 
circle in its center on the reverse. The haft is decorated with silver bands, a 
pewter cap, and a pewter mouthpiece. Attributed to the Caddo in Oklahoma. 

H: 6" W: 2.\" L: 13I" mai/hf: 12/866 

151. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 840-1 855). In this specimen, which was ob- 
tained from a Cherokee man, the features of the 1840's are giving way to 
those of the i85o's. The narrow waist of the blade has moved up just below 
the eye. The eye itself is diamond shaped, and there is a slight forward flare 
to the front line of the blade. The bowl is barrel shaped, but not so tall 
and slender as in later forms. There are well-developed moldings on the 
lower portion of the eye, and there are punched decorations of convention- 
alized flowers and floral sprays made up of many individual short straight 
lines. The haft has a pewter cap but is otherwise plain, except for notches 
carved in the narrowed mouthpiece. 

H: 71" W: 2f" L: 18!" mai/hf: 20/4929 

152. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1830-1850). Forged of very soft iron, this speci- 
men presents both an unusual bowl and haft. The bowl is tall with a groove 
around its center and a cabled molding at its base. The eye is a pointed 
ellipse, almost diamond shaped, but not quite fully developed. The filed 
moldings at the base of the blade are characteristic. The haft has an unusual 
swelling two-thirds of the way towards the free end and then tapers more 
sharply to the lead mouthpiece. There is also a lead fore-end cap. Like 
No. 186, it was collected from the Mexican Kickapoo, and was said to have 
been brought with them when they fled Texas in 1852. 

H: 6|" W: 2" L: 15" mai/hf: 2/4539 



112 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

153. Pipe tomahawk by Horace Dimick, (ca. 1 849-1 860). The axe is of 
the style normally associated with the 1840's with a thin waist well below 
the bottom of the eye. Dimick did not move to St. Louis until 1849, how- 
ever, so that a tomahawk bearing that address could not have been made 
earlier. It is a handsome specimen worthy of the fine workmanship found 
also in his target rifles. The bowl is relatively wide in proportion to its 
height and flares slightly towards the top. There are moldings at both top 
and bottom. The eye itself is oval, but the outer surfaces have been filed to 
give an indication of the diamond shape soon to become almost universal. 
Silver inlays in straight lines and geometrical patterns decorate the blade, 
and there are also punched crescents. On the reverse also is a two-line 
stamping "H. E. DIMICK / ST. LOUIS." The haft is absolutely plain 
except for one brass tack on the obverse side, just behind the head. At- 
tributed to the Nez Perce. 

H: 71" W: 21" L: 16" mai/hf: 20/4924 

154. Pipe tomahawk with exceptionally long and heavily carved haft, 
(ca. 1 830-1 850). The eye is teardrop in the earlier form. The tall simple 
bowl is almost barrel shaped, but with a molding only at the top and no 
neck. It is threaded and screws into the poll. There are no moldings of any 
kind. By contrast with the plain head, the haft is elaborately carved in a 
series of scrolls along the top, bottom, and sides as the haft itself changes 
from a vertical diamond at the head to a flattened diamond at the mouth- 
piece. The general effect is heightened by the use of red and green paint. 
From the Ottawa. 

H: 6" W: i\" L: 201-" mai/hf: 15/6256 

155. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 840-1 860). This very simple specimen reflects 
several early aspects, but the design of the bowl and the workmanship in- 
dicate a date in the second quarter of the century rather than in the first, 
as might be assumed at first glance. The eye is teardrop and ample in size 
with a simple molding below. The bowl is tall and generally urn shaped. It 
has been carefully filed in a series of diamond-shaped facets just below the 
top molding and six flat facets below these. The rest of the head is starkly 
simple in contrast. The haft is recent, with a cloth gasket inside the eye. 
Collected from the Shawnee. 

H: 6f" W: i\" L: 16" mai/hf: 10/2889 

156. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1850-1870). A crudely formed specimen forged 
in one piece from a tube. The eye is a teardrop but small. There is almost 
no delineation of the neck and only a suggestion of moldings on the bowl. 
The haft is plain except for a shaped mouthpiece. Attributed to the 
Winnebago. 

H: 5" W: 2-£" L: 14" mai/hf: 21/5041 

157. Simple pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 840-1 860). The workmanship and over- 
all design bear a strong resemblance to No. 155, and indeed the basic 
forgings may have been identical, the surface differences being produced by 
the finish filing. The general shape, including the ample teardrop eye and 
simple molding at the base of the blade, strongly indicates manufacture by 
the same hand. Even the outer dimensions are identical to within one- 
eighth of an inch in height. In this instance the bowl is filed into an octago- 
nal form without the more complicated diamond facets, but then the eye 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES II3 

area has been faceted instead. The haft is simple and straight with a horn 
mouthpiece. Attributed to the Wyandot. 

H: 6f" W: i\" L: i 5 f" mai/hf: 1/9565 

158. Simple pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 840-1 860) . Another specimen apparently 
by the same hand. This time the base of the bowl is not as well finished, 
and the top of the blade has been filed away at the rear to produce more of 
a flare. All basic elements are the same, however, and the dimensions are 
almost identical. The haft in this instance is considerably more ornate, with 
a series of brass bands and a pewter mouthpiece. Attributed to the Cherokee. 

H: 7" W: i\" L: i6±" mai/hf: 1/9864 

159. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 830-1 850). A very well-forged head with the 
steel edge clearly discernible, even in the photograph. The eye is teardrop. 
The bowl is a bit ponderous, but well finished with straight sides and octag- 
onal bands top and bottom. The double molding at the base of the neck 
where it joins the poll is particularly well done. Aside from the moldings, the 
only other decoration consists of a series of stamped ovals which form a 
border around the eye area. The haft is plain with a pewter mouthpiece. 
From the Seneca in Oklahoma. 

H: 6f" W: 2\" L: 15!" mai/hf: 10/2882 

160. Elaborate pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1840-1860). The basic form with 
narrow-waisted blade, oval eye and tall thick bowl has been decorated with 
an inlaid silver heart and bars of silver and copper, as well as with punched 
circles. The haft has been inlaid with silver bands and rectangles, and there 
is a pewter mouthpiece and cap. There are also traces of file branding. The 
early shape of the haft and the type of decoration would tend to indicate a 
date within the early part of the general period given above. Collected from 
a Caddo woman in Oklahoma. 

H: 7" W: t\" L: 15!" mai/hf: 2/2396 

161. Pipe tomahawk with a head of the 1840-1860 type and late 19th 
century haft. The head is a simple forging of the narrow-waisted type with 
an oval eye and a tall thick bowl. The haft, however, is rectangular in 
section and is so heavily decorated it could be used only for display; it is not 
even pierced for smoking. It is studded with brass tacks. A feather is at- 
tached to a tack in the fore end, and a socket of buckskin with an attached 
beaded flap covers the other. The flap is 34 inches long, is beaded, and 
terminates in a long section of red cloth. Further decoration is provided 
with ermine fur, fringe, and hawk bells. Attributed to the Shoshoni. See 
frontispiece. 

H: 8" W: 2%" L: 2 4 |" mai/hf: 2/3330 

162. Pipe tomahawk by Joseph Jourdain. A finely forged hatchet made 
towards the end of his career, circa 1 845-1 855. The eye is a pointed ellipse, 
not quite a diamond. The tall bowl tapers inward towards the top where 
there is an incised follow line but no molding. On the blade are a series of 
circular touches with raised crosses in them reminiscent of those found on 
the simple trade hatchets of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In ad- 
dition, there are brass inlays of conventionalized floral sprays radiating from 
a common center plus two bands around the bowl. The haft is completely 
plain. Collected from the Mahican. 

H: 71" W: 3" L: 26" mai/hf: 1/2131 



114 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

163. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1849) . This specimen is of the same general style 
of the Jourdain tomahawk mentioned above, but much more crudely made. 
The eye is a pointed ellipse. The bowl is tall with a slight inward taper at 
the top and no upper molding. Most interesting is the fact that a United 
States penny, dated 1849, is inlaid on the reverse side of the blade, thus 
helping to fix its date. The haft is wrapped with brass wire over which are 
two bands of red cloth with black-and-white beadwork. Attributed to the 
Sauk and Fox. 

H: 7f" W: 2\" L: 19I" mai/hf: 16/4766 

164. Pipe tomahawk, second half of the 19th century. This specimen is dif- 
ficult to date precisely. The bowl is of a type normally associated with the 
period 1 840-1 860, but the narrowness of the band around the eye, the shape 
of the blade and the workmanship, would seem to indicate a date consider- 
ably later than that. The eye is round. The decoration consists of cabled 
moldings at the top and bottom of the bowl and incised lines as its base and 
around the eye area. The haft is carved into four segments separated by 
double ring moldings. The rear three of these segments have four flat faces, 
each of which bears two pointed ellipses of pewter nailed in place and 
stamped XXX. There is a pewter mouthpiece and an end cap. Attributed 
to the Potawatomi. 

H: 7£" W: 2£" L: 17!" mai/hf: 16/9268 

165. Pipe tomahawk, second half of the 19th century. Like the previous 
specimen, this is also difficult to date precisely ; it varies so much from any 
common pattern that there are no readily recognizable and datable features. 
The long neck and tall bowl would place it no earlier than mid-century, 
however. The blade is very narrow, and the eye is round. The shaft is 
short and plain except for a pewter mouthpiece and a pewter end cap which 
has chevrons engraved upon it. From the Fox tribe in Iowa. 

H: 6£" W: i£" L: i2f" mai/hf: 2/7865 

166. Pipe tomahawk, mid- 19th century. The tall bowl with its urn shape, 
the oval eye, and the raised moldings stamped with crescents in the eye 
area are all typical of the middle decades of the last century. The blade is 
quite unusual but seems to be an early variant of the thin straight-sided 
form which became most popular in the 1860's and 1870's. The reverse side 
has a border of stamped bow and narrow designs. The haft is plain. At- 
tributed to the Sioux. 

H: 7" W: 2f" L: 19$" mai/hf: 15/3382 

167. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1850-1870). This example is identical to No. 163 
except that it does not have the inlaid penny and its haft is decorated dif- 
ferently. In this instance the haft is studded with brass tacks along the top 
and in a single diagonal band. There are also traces of file branding. Sus- 
pended on rawhide thongs from a hole in the bottom are a feather with its 
quill wrapped in red cloth, brass and bone beads and two. 32 caliber 
Smith & Wesson cartridge cases. From a Chippewa collection. 

H: 7£" W: i\" L: i8£" mai/hf: 18/4764 

168. Pipe tomahawk, second half of the 19th century. The general size 
and design of this specimen, aside from the bowl, would tend to indicate a 
fairly early date. The eye is teardrop. The blade is large and functional with 
a curving flare to the rear. The workmanship, however, is crude and not in 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES Il5 

keeping with an early date. Moreover, the bowl is small in proportion to the 
head and poorly developed. The haft is plain and appears to be more recent 
than the head. From the Cayuga of New York. 

H: 7f" W: i\" L: 18" mai/hf: 10/4048 

169. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1850-1860). A factory-made specimen, this 
bears a partially legible name ending in "SON / PITTSBURGH, PA" in 
two lines. The eye is rectangular. The bowl flares outward towards the top 
and is completely devoid of moldings. It rests upon a flattened poll wide 
enough to taper to the edge in a straight line without expanding in the area 
of the eye. The haft is plain except for a rawhide thong which may at one 
time have attached a feather, bells, or other decorations. Said to have been 
obtained from a Canadian Mohawk Indian. 

H: 6" W: if" L: i2f" mai/hf: 1/2376 

170. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 850-1 860). The blade shape of this axe is most 
unusual, with the two basal processes above an almost hemispherical sec- 
tion. The eye is oval, and the bowl is straight sided with an outward flare. 
It has no neck and no moldings. The haft seems more recent than the head, 
and is plain except for file branding. Attributed to the Nez Perce. 

H: 5|" W: 3" L: 17%'' mai/hf: 20/4922 

171. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1850-1860). This specimen, of unknown prov- 
enience, presents an interesting transition between the blade form with a 
straight forward line and a flare to the rear (which had been the most 
popular style for over a century) and the double straight-sided flare which 
became popular in the 1860's and almost universal in the 1870's. The eye is 
oval, and the bowl is well developed, flaring outward slightly with moldings 
at the top and bottom. The date 181 1 has been stamped on the head in 
recent years. 

H: 6£" W: 3f" mai/hf: 22/7324 

172. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1850-1870). This interesting specimen is of the 
same general group as numbers 163 and 167. It is distinguished, however, 
by moldings at the top and bottom of the bowl and by a most unusual basal 
process at the rear of the blade. The eye is in this instance a teardrop. The 
haft has been file branded and studded with brass tacks. At the end, near 
the mouthpiece, is tied a sunburst decoration of feathers. Attribution given 
only as "Plains." 

H: 7f" W: 3£" L: 20" mai/hf: 6980 

173. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 850-1 870). Another specimen of the same gen- 
eral category as the previous axe. In this instance, however, the eye is 
round, and the bowl is characterized by a sudden inward taper halfway 
between its top and bottom moldings. The plain wooden haft has been 
varnished, and there are two groups of serrations carved into the lower 
edge. It is one of the few Seminole specimens encountered in this study. 

H: 6£" W: 3$" L: 25!" mai/hf: 4/5105 

174. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1840-1860). Very slender in proportion to its 
height, this axe is dominated by its pipe bowl. This feature is tall with a 
well-defined neck and flares outward toward the top. It is girdled with a 
series of grooves and moldings, some of them cabled. Raised moldings are 
also found as borders around the eye area. The eye is oval. The haft is 

8* 



Il6 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

plain, though once it was studded with brass tacks along its upper edge. A 
rawhide thong is tied through a hole immediately adjacent to the mouth- 
piece. Attributed to the Teton Sioux. 
H: 6£" W: <i\" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 16/5174 

175. Pipe tomahawk by O. B. Sprague, (ca. 1 825-1 850). Probably of 
English manufacture, this specimen has the simple base molding and ex- 
aggerated rearward flare of the blade characteristic of the i83o's. The eye 
also is teardrop, but the bowl is almost of the barrel-shaped type and sits 
upon a long neck, which is usually a later style. The maker's name appears in 
a vertical line on the reverse side of the blade. The haft is studded with brass 
tacks, and one band of incised lines is carved around it. Collected from the 
Chippewa. 

H: 6" W: 2f" L: 23" mai/hf: 18/4928 

176. Pipe tomahawk with porcupine quill and feather decorations, (ca. 
1 850-1 870). By no means a highly finished or refined piece, this tomahawk 
has considerable strength and force in its forging. The eye is oval. The bowl 
sits atop a long neck and has moldings at top and bottom and uneven flat 
surfaces filed around its lower half. Most unusual are the filed moldings at 
the base of the blade. Instead of being horizontal and parallel, these grooves 
slant so that the upper ones rise part way up the eye area. The haft bears 
traces of red paint and is pierced with three holes. From each of these holes 
a group of feathers is suspended, attached to rawhide thongs around which 
porcupine quills, stained red, white, blue, and green, have been wrapped. 
Collected among the Sioux. 

H: 6" W: 2§" L: 22" William O. Sweet collection 

177. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 875-1 900). During the late 19th century, and 
even early in the 20th century, a group of tall, thin pipe tomahawks was 
produced for ceremonial use. Usually they were crudely made, and some- 
times they were cast instead of forged. In this specimen, the eye is oval. The 
bowl is tall and urn shaped with double moldings at top and bottom. There 
are a few incised X's on the sides. None of the moldings is sharply defined. 
The haft has a piece of buckskin tacked to the top near the head and is 
encircled with a pewter band. The band is stamped with floral designs. The 
tacks are brass. Suspended from two rawhide thongs are beads, a thimble, a 
brass tinkler, and fringe of red cloth and rawhide. Attributed to the Ute. 
H: 8fc" W: 2±" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 20/2922 

178. Pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. Another of the long slender type, 
even more crudely finished. In this specimen, attributed to the Arapaho, 
the edge has not been beveled and remains one-sixteenth of an inch thick. 
The haft which is quite recent, is decorated with a few brass tacks and 
grooves filled with red paint. 

ft: 8£" W: i\" L: \$\" mai/hf: 20/2926 

179. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 850-1 870). The most interesting feature of this 
specimen is the stamped decoration on the blade in which conventional 
floral patterns have been developed using sunburst, triangular, and cres- 
centic stamps. The bowl is exceptionally tall with a slight outward flare. It 
is completely devoid of moldings but does have two scratchwork bands 
engraved upon it. The eye is a teardrop. The haft is quite recent and is 
studded with brass tacks ; it is not pierced for smoking. From the Sioux. 

H: 6$" W: 3" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 12/4429 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES II7 

180. Pipe tomahawk, {ca. 1 850-1 870). This Chippewa specimen may well 
have been made by the same hand as the previous one. There is a general 
similarity in the shape of the blade, and the decorations were created with 
the same set of stamps, although the individual punches are arranged 
somewhat differently. In this instance also, there is a hole drilled through 
the blade. The bowl on this specimen is more fully developed, with a slight 
barrel form and moldings at top and bottom. The eye is oval. The haft ap- 
pears to be later, and is studded with brass tacks in four bands and in 
smaller groups. Most interesting are what appear to be cast iron fishhooks 
set into the wood as part of the ornamentation. 

H: 6\" W: 2f" L: 2if" mai/hf: 16/9271 

181. Pipe tomahawk, {ca. 1 850-1 880). Another of the long attenuated type 
related to numbers 177 and 178, but much better made. The eye is teardrop. 
The bowl is small but well developed with moldings at top and bottom, and 
there are ears along the haft at the eye. The haft itself is short and plain 
except for a bone mouthpiece. Said to have been of Iroquois ownership. 

H: 6£" W: 2" L: n£" mai/hf: 12/101 

182. Pipe tomahawk, {ca. 1860-1880). Another of the type with low, thick 
bowl. In this instance the bowl has both top and bottom moldings, the 
lower one cabled. The eye is oval, and the blade is plain. The haft is recent 
and is decorated with wrappings of copper wire and one group of brass tacks. 
A Blackfoot specimen, collected in Montana. 

H: 6|" W: 3" L: 2 3 £" mai/hf: 5/6792 

183. Pipe tomahawk, {ca. 1 860-1 880). In this specimen the pipe bowl is 
most unusually formed with a tall, thick neck that has been faceted by 
filing. The eye is round, and on the outside of the straps forming the eye 
roughly parallel grooves have been filed for decoration. The blade itself is 
thin, unsharpened, and useless as a weapon. It has been pierced with a 
"bleeding heart." The haft has inlaid pewter bands and diamonds, mouth- 
piece, and fore-end cap. One section is wrapped with brass wire and a strip 
of fur, and twelve brass bells are suspended from a rawhide thong. Collected 
from the Sauk and Fox. 

H: 8f" W: i\" L: 2of" mai/hf: 2/6537 

184. Pipe tomahawk, {ca. 1860-1890). A most unusual feature of this axe 
is the long rod welded to the rear of the blade. There is no apparent purpose 
for this feature, although it may have held some decorative device at one 
time, since it is threaded at its free end. The tall octagonal pipe bowl also 
is threaded and unscrews. The blade is blunt and was never beveled for an 
edge. It bears a triangular brass inlay near the edge. The haft is file branded 
for most of its length. Attributed to the Sisseton Sioux. 

H: 6J" W: 2\" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 3/6823 

185. Pipe tomahawk, {ca. 1 860-1 880). Although the bowls of most pipe 
tomahawks of the second half of the 19th century were tall and slender, 
there was a small group in which these were short and thick. This specimen 
is one of the latter category. The short, thick bowl has a knurled molding 
at the top and none at the bottom. The eye is round and the blade is thin 
with no molding at its base. It is engraved on the obverse side with a 
stylized tree and on the reverse with a five-pointed star. The haft, which is 



Il8 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

more recent, is of highly polished light-colored wood with a lead fore-end 
cap and mouthpiece. Collected from the Shawnee. 

H: 6£" W: <i\" L: i 3 f" mai/hf: 10/2888 

186. Pipe tomahawk, {ca. 1 850-1 870). In this remarkable specimen the 
form tomahawk most popular from i860 to 1880 is almost completely de- 
veloped. The tall bowl, almost imperceptibly barrel shaped, with a simple 
molding at top and bottom, the high median ridge opposite the center of 
the eye, and the thin blade flaring symmetrically with straight sides all are 
characteristic of the type. In this instance the bowl moldings have been 
filed octagonal, and the eye itself is still a pointed ellipse rather than a 
true diamond. The blade has been sharpened, which is not usual; and in this 
instance a considerable portion of the blade has been ground away through 
repeated sharpenings, perhaps as much as an inch and a half. It is engraved 
with scratchwork borders and a circle. The haft is most unusual with the 
protuberances on top and the branch below. There are brass tacks on the 
top of each of the protuberances and in an X pattern just behind the head. 
The bands and diamond inlays are silver and are engraved with scratch- 
work decoration; some of these are replacements. The fore-end cap is 
pewter; the mouthpiece is lead. Collected from the Kickapoo in Coahuila, 
Mexico, it was probably taken with them when they fled south in 1852 or 
in 1863. See No. 152. 

H: 8" W: 2f" L: 19" mai/hf: 2/6862 

187. Pipe tomahawk, {ca. 1 860-1 880). This is the large classical so-called 
Plains Indian tomahawk in its simplest basic form. It belonged to the 
Hunkpapa Sioux chief, Big Foot, who was killed in the Wounded Knee 
Massacre, December 29, 1890. Later examples illustrate various embellish- 
ments and variations. The eye is diamond shaped, and there is a sharp 
median ridge on the outside, opposite the lateral points of the diamond. 
The bowl is tall, slightly barrel shaped, with simple top and bottom mold- 
ings. Its pointed base moldings extend to the median ridge. There are filed 
moldings at the juncture of the blade and eye, and there is a small projection 
to the rear at the base of the blade. The blade itself is thin and flares in 
straight lines both front and back so that it is almost symmetrical. The haft 
is file branded. 

H: 9f" W: 4±" L: 24!" mai/hf: 22/7225 

188. Pipe tomahawk, {ca. 1860-1880). Here the classical features of the 
Plains Indian type have been embellished with stamping, engraving, and 
inlay. The tall bowl has double moldings at top and bottom instead of the 
more usual single bands. The exterior of the eye has the median ridge, but 
internally the eye itself is a teardrop instead of the more usual diamond. 
Two deep file lines follow the outline of the base molding of the bowl as it 
extends to the ridge of the eye. Other borders throughout the piece are com- 
posed of stamped circles and crescents. The center of the blade bears a 
conventionalized flower inlaid in brass on the reverse side, and the same 
design is engraved on the obverse. Above it is a cartouche formed by the 
stamped circles and crescents and shaded with scratchwork engraving. On 
the lower half of the eye area below the ridge is a trefoil in scratchwork. 
The haft is rough with the whittling marks visible. It has been file branded, 
and the lower edge near the head has been carved in a series of serrations. 
Attributed to the Oto. 

H: 8£" W: 3$" L: 2i£" mai/hf: 20/7859 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES 119 

189. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). In this specimen several variants 
of the standard form have been introduced. The bowl is heavier, faceted, 
and stamped with a sunburst decoration in the center of each facet. There 
is no true base molding for the bowl, and this has been simulated by filed 
lines on the strap forming the eye. The blade has a straight forward line 
and flares only to the rear, thus making it narrower than most, and it is 
pierced with a single circular hole. The haft is wrapped with brass wire for 
two-thirds of its length, and there is a buckskin sleeve at the mouth end 
with narrow beaded bands and a fringe. A pewter fore-end plate is held in 
place with brass tacks. Collected in Oklahoma from the Comanche. 

H: 8|" W: i\" L: 19$" mai/hf: 2/4423 

190. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1860-1880). This specimen is typical in all 
respects, except that the blade is narrower than the average. Crude filed X's 
have been placed below the ridge of the eye, and there is a series of short 
vertical lines engraved across the base of the blade. The haft is quite recent. 
Attributed to the Comanche. 

H: 8|" W: 3" L: 22" mai/hf: 20/2021 

191. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1860-1880). In this specimen the basic Plains 
Indian form has been embellished by piercing. The eye is oval rather than 
diamond, and the base moldings of the blade have been forged rather than 
lightly filed. The haft has a buckskin sleeve near the mouthpiece decorated 
with quill work, a flap, and long fringe. Attributed to the Sioux. 

H: 9$" W: 4$" L: 23^" mai/hf: 20/1261 

192. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1860-1880). This specimen also is narrower than 
the classic form of No. 187. It is also pierced with a heart and bears inter- 
esting scratched engraving depicting two Indians on each side. The haft is 
wrapped for most of its length with brass wire. At the mouth end a buckskin 
thong passes through a hole and attaches a small beaded flap with a braided 
scalp of light-colored hair. Collected from the Blackfoot. 

H: 8$" W: 2f" L: i6£" mai/hf: 20/9657 

193. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1860-1880). A large typical specimen of the 
Plains type embellished with a pierced heart, the point slightly bent. The 
haft is studded with brass tacks in double bands and cross patterns. It 
has also been file branded. A long strip of fox fur and some remnants 
of red cloth are suspended from a hole at the mouth end. Apparently 
there was a separate mouthpiece, which is now missing. From the Crow 
in Montana. 

H: g\" W: 3f" L: 20" mai/hf: 10/3157 

194. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). A very crude specimen of the Plains 
type with an oval eye. The pipe bowl has no neck and has been bent slightly 
backward. The blade has been pierced with a cross, each end of which 
terminates in a circle. The haft is file branded and studded with brass tacks 
in bands. The lower edge near the head has been carved in a series of ser- 
rations. The mouthpiece is made from a .38 caliber cartridge case. At- 
tributed to the Oglala Sioux. 

H: 9i" W: 3i" L: 23F' mai/hf: 13/7843 



120 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

195. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1860-1880). A large, very well-forged example 
of the Plains type with a heart piercing in the blade. The haft is file branded 
and studded with brass tacks principally in bands. From the Oglala Sioux. 
H: q£" W: 3!" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 20/4899 

196. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1860-1880). A well-forged specimen of classical 
Plains type with a pierced heart design in the blade. The haft has been 
carved in an unusual fashion with flats along the sides for the forward two- 
thirds of its length. Then a series of three notches, almost dovetailed in 
form, have been fashioned, perhaps for finger grips. There are a few brass 
tacks, and the mouthpiece is made from a copper cartridge case originally 
of .44 or .45 caliber. It was collected from the Santee Sioux. 

H: 7f" W: 3^" L: 19^" mai/hf: 20/2829 

197. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). An extremely large example of the 
Plains type. The head is in the classical form in all respects. The haft ap- 
pears more recent and is unadorned except for a quantity of brass tacks. At- 
tributed to the Shoshoni. 

H: 10" W: 4^" L: 23" mai/hf: 12/3200 

198. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1860-1880). A slightly atypical form in that 
the blade does not flare symmetrically, and the edge is at an angle to the 
haft instead of roughly parallel to it. It is also embellished with scratchwork 
decoration comprising crossed arrows on the eye area below the ridge on 
both sides, a conventionalized flower on the reverse of the blade, and a 
bird's head on the obverse. The haft appears to have been branded with a 
sharp-toothed rasp. The mouthpiece is a separate piece of wood. Attributed 
to the Blackfoot. 

H: 8" W: 3f" L: 22" mai/hf: 22/4846 

199. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). A large crude version of the Plains 
type, inlaid on the obverse side of the blade with a silver cross and a copper 
crescent. The eye is round, and the outer surfaces of it are not well formed. 
There is no median ridge, and the moldings on the bowl are barely in- 
dicated. The haft is rough and apparently branded with a rasp. Attributed 
to the Santee Sioux. 

H: 9£" W: 3£" L: 20" mai/hf: 21/1295 

200. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1890-1910). Generally in the traditional Plains 
Indian form, this specimen is machine made and modern in appearance. The 
eye is oval, though there is a ridge on the outside. This portion still bears 
traces of red paint as does the base of the bowl. The haft bears a zig-zag 
groove, painted red, running for most of its length. Rawhide thongs are 
wrapped around just before and behind the head and just before the 
mouthpiece. A string of miscellaneous beads is also wrapped around the 
haft just behind the head. Attributed to the Arapaho. 

H: 7|" W: 3^" L: i8£" mai/hf: 20/7623 

201. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). A very large, but typical, specimen 
of the Plains type, closely resembling numbers 187 and 197. Slight differ- 
ences include a triple molding at the top of the bowl and a base molding 
that stops short of the ridge in the center of the eye. The haft is plain except 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES 121 

for a buckskin thong from which suspends a circle of red cloth decorated 
with bead work and trailing three tufts of hair in simulation of a scalp. 
Attributed to the Sioux. 

H: 9 f" W: 3 £" L: 23!" mai/hf: 2/9679 

202. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 870-1 890). A huge tomahawk which shows 
some of the influence of the typical Plains Indian style, but varies greatly 
from it. It is beautifully forged and finished. The bowl is short and thick by 
Plains standards and is inlaid with two brass bands. There is almost no 
neck. At the base of the blade are three circular inlays of brass on each side. 
The blade itself is narrow and pierced with a circular hole that has bevelled 
edges. A more unusual feature is a beveled edge along the back of the 
blade. The haft has been burned in an all-over pattern of a leaf design, and 
a small section near the mouth end has been wrapped with copper wire as 
has a very short section just in front of the head. Another interesting 
fact is the presence of a protuberance with a hole drilled through it on the 
upper edge of the haft just behind the head. Usually these features are on 
the bottom of the haft, and this raises the question of whether the haft 
might have been inserted upside down at some point in its career. It could 
not have been recent, however, to judge by the wire wrapping in front of the 
head, and it may just possibly always have been this way. From this hole 
are suspended a string of beads and a scalp with some more beadwork 
around the fastening. This interesting specimen belonged to Chief Little 
Wolf of the Northern Cheyennes, a leader in the Sioux War of 1876. 

H: 11" W: 3 £" L: 2 4 i" mai/hf: 3/5353 

203. Pipe tomahawk dated 1895. A most unusual specimen that may pos- 
sibly be fraternal, rather than actually meant for Indian use. The bowl is 
without moldings and sits on a long neck slanted back. It is inlaid in brass 
"F F & C / 1895" in two lines. The eye is oval, and on either side is inlaid 
a crude drawing of an Indian's head. The blade is inlaid on the obverse with 
an American eagle, stars, and the word "TOTE" as if this decoration had 
been inspired by one of the early axes such as No. 124. The reverse side has 
a design of arms consisting of a hatchet, pipe, knife and club in brass inlay. 
The haft is completely plain. Provenience unknown. 

H: 8" W: 3^" L: 21" mai/hf: 22/7210 

204. Recent pipe tomahawk. This specimen was undoubtedly made after 
1900 and may well have been designed for fraternal use. It is cast iron with 
a simple stovepipe bowl and a round eye. It is decorated in relief on the 
obverse side with an arrow, its head on the pipe bowl and its shaft running 
down the bowl, over the eye and terminating in the feathers on the base of 
the blade. On the blade itself is an Indian head. On the reverse side are a 
bear and a snake. The haft is carved along its upper edge with a turtle and 
an Indian head, and there are various notches. There is also some evidence 
of charring, perhaps in an attempt to simulate age. Collected in Nebraska. 

H: 7!" W: i\" L: 19!" mai/hf: 22/7233 

205. Recent pipe tomahawk. Another cast iron specimen probably made 
after 1900. The eye is round, and the workmanship is crude. The haft is 
simple with an arrow incised on the obverse side and a sun on top. There 
are traces of green paint and of some charring. Attributed to the Seneca. 
H: 7£" W: i\" L: i6£" mai/hf: 22/7276 



122 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

206. Recent pipe tomahawk. An excessively crude wrought-iron specimen 
undoubtedly made after 1900. The eye is teardrop and tapers towards the 
front instead of to the rear, as in almost all bonafide specimens. The haft is 
carved with a large turtle which has been painted a dull red. The remainder 
of the haft is painted black. An interesting addition is an antler plug in the 
fore end. Provenience unknown. 

H: 7$" W: i\" L: 21-f" mai/hf: 22/7300 

207. Pipe tomahawk (ca. 1 860-1 880). A classical example of the so-called 
Plains Indian tomahawk in its simplest form, this specimen belonged to the 
Bannock chieftain Little Taighe from whom it was purchased in 1885. The 
eye is diamond shaped and there is a sharp median ridge on the outside. The 
bowl is tall and slightly barrel shaped with simple moldings at the top and 
bottom. Its pointed base moldings extend almost to the median ridge. 
There are filed moldings at the juncture of the blade and eye, and there is 
a small projection to the rear at the base of the blade. The haft is decorated 
with file branding and two double rings of brass-headed tacks. There is a 
separate mouthpiece of bone. 

H: 8f" W: 3f" L: 2of" mai/hf: 22/7300 

208. Pipe tomahawk said to have belonged to Little Turtle, the famous 
Miami chieftain (1752-1812). The bowl is tall, but heavy, with a thick neck. 
It is slightly barrel shaped, with moldings at top and bottom. The eye is a 
rough oval, almost rectangular, with rounded corners, and the relatively 
narrow blade is straight sided with a gradual flair to the rear. The haft is 
cigar shaped with a protuberance on the lower edge near the mouthpiece. 
Decorations consist of silver and pewter inlays. There is a pewter fore-end 
cap and a pewter mouthpiece, both cast in place. Style and construction 
details seem to indicate a date in the 1 820-1 840 period, since both the the 
bowl and the blade are early versions of the so-called "Plains Indian" form, 
which became popular after 1850. 

H: 6£" W: 2" L: 17I" mai/hf: 22/7207 



2. Brass Heads with Steel Edges 

209. Pipe tomahawk with date 1 760. If the date engraved on this specimen 
indicates the year of manufacture, as it well may, this is the earliest known 
brass tomahawk with an inset steel edge. The bowl is taller than normal for 
this era and slopes slightly backward. Much of this height, however, is 
caused by the long neck. Otherwise the faceted bowl, tapering in to the 
moldings at the top, is in keeping with the style of the period. The eye is 
teardrop. The blade has the rearward flare in a concave line that one would 
expect, but in this instance both front and back lines have been broken by 
decorative filing and curving lines. There is also a bevel simulating an edge 
on both the front and back for a distance of approximately one-third of the 
blade's height. The steel edge is not dovetailed but apparently is fitted into 
a groove in the brass and soldered. The reverse side of the blade is engraved 
with a set of scales. The date 1760 appears just below the bowl. The haft 
has a raised carving of a fleur-de-lys adjacent to the head on its lower edge. 
There are two pewter bands, and the mouthpiece is pewter. It was collected 
from an elderly Mohawk. 

H: 5!" W: 2" L: ij\" mai/hf: 3/4812 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES 123 

210. Pipe tomahawk, late 18th century. This is one of the commonest 
forms of brass tomahawk with dovetailed steel edge. The shallow rounded 
bowl has a conventionalized holly wreath engraved around it. There are 
raised horizontal moldings across the eye just below the neck, an engraved 
border, and conventionalized floral motif in the center of the eye. The border 
continues along the front and back of the blade, and down the center is 
engraved a single floral spray. Minor details vary, but this general pattern 
of decoration is found on almost all pipes of this form. The eye is round. The 
haft is completely modern and, although of fine workmanship, does not 
resemble any known pattern of the period. This specimen was collected 
among the Chippewa. 

H: 7I" W: 2f" L: 17$" mai/hf: 22/7212 

211. Pipe tomahawk, late 18th century. Of the same general pattern as 
the preceding, this specimen has differences in decorative detail, and one 
structural difference. The engraving is slightly cruder. There is no wreath 
around the bowl, but a border of chevrons just above the bottom molding. 
These same chevrons compose a border in a rectangle on the eye area 
formed by the bottom line of the base molding of the bowl and the top line 
of the molding at the junction of the blade and eye. There are wavy line 
borders along the front and back of the blade and chevrons across the top. 
In the center is a floral pattern consisting of a center and five petals. The 
structural difference consists of eight brass rivets which pass through the 
blade just above the steel edge. The eye is teardrop. The haft appears to be 
old, but is not original. It is cut down to enter the eye and also lacks the 
thin leather gasket that should seal the joint between the haft and the head 
in a pipe of this period. Provenience unknown. 

H: 7i" W: 2f" L: 20I" Author's collection 

212. Pipe tomahawk, late 18th or early 19th century. Although this axe 
is more crudely made, its relationship to the two preceding specimens can 
easily be seen, especially in the shape of the bowl. The eye area is not 
delineated, but slopes from a relatively broad poll in an almost uniform 
taper to the edge. The eye itself is a modified teardrop. The steel edge is 
quite narrow and is attached to the brass head by three rivets. Provenience 
unknown. 

H: 7" W: if" William O. Sweet collection 

213. Pipe tomahawk marked J. Welshhans, (ca. 1810-1820). A simple 
but exceptionally well-made specimen with a small round eye. The bowl is 
threaded and unscrews. The edge is dovetailed into the head. An interesting 
feature is the loop which projects from the back of the blade. It quite pos- 
sibly may have been intended for one of the ceremonial chains of friendship. 
The haft is curly maple. This specimen was found in an attic in York, 
Pennsylvania. 

H: 7" W: 2f" L: 15!" William Guthman collection 

214. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1815-1825). Another of the specimens with a 
small round eye, this one is only five-eighths of an inch in diameter. In view 
of the weakness inherent in any haft passing through so small an eye, the 
piece must have been entirely ceremonial. Thus the addition of a functional 
steel edge is most puzzling. Except for moldings on the bowl and neck, the 
piece is completely plain. Provenience unknown. 

H: 7£" W: 2.\" Author's collection 



124 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

215. Pipe tomahawk with removable hammer head, (ca. 1820-1850). This 
is a unique specimen in several ways. The inside of the pipe bowl is threaded 
to receive an iron insert which converts it to a hammer poll. A few other 
instances are known in which a spike can be substituted for the bowl, but 
in these specimens the entire bowl is removed and the spike attached in its 
place; also, these have been specimens with iron or steel heads. Another 
unique feature of this axe is the complicated design of the inset steel edge, 
with an urn motif and two small dovetails. There is a finely engraved wreath 
around the center of the bowl. The eye is oval and there is a very thin 
leather gasket. The haft is painted vermilion. The mouthpiece is horn, 
fastened with brass pins, and the plug at the front end is also horn. Prov- 
enience unknown. 

H: 8" W: 2f" L: 20!" Robert Abels collection 

216. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). A late specimen with a very tall 
straight-sided bowl much resembling the cup of a candlestick. The blade is 
pierced with two circles and an inverted heart. The steel edge, very narrow 
and cusped in the center, appears to be secured only with silver solder. The 
eye is round; the haft completely plain. Collected among the Cheyenne. 

H: 7f" W: 3f" L: igf" Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 178877 

217. An unusually elaborate and heavy pipe tomahawk of excellent 
workmanship, late 19th century. The casting of the brass portion of the 
head, deeply grooved with geometrical patterns, suggests some of the wall 
decorations of the late Victorian era. The steel edge is heavy and comes up 
almost to the eye where it is inserted in a socket in the brass. The eye is 
oval. The haft appears to be walnut, and has a small, carefully worked 
mouthpiece. A buckskin thong is tied to a groove at the butt. According to 
its records, the Museum obtained this specimen in 191 3 from a retired 
Birmingham, England gun worker, then 84 years old. He said his father 
used to go to America to get orders for flintlock guns between 181 3 and 
1833 and, on one occasion, was given this tomahawk by a Blackfoot chief. 
H: 9f" W: 4" L: 22£" mai/hf: 3/2906 

218. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 890). A late but well-made and mod- 
erately functional specimen. The steel edge is long and fits into a groove in 
the brass just below the eye where it is silver soldered in place. There is a 
pewter band just behind the head with a serrated edge. A similar one just 
in front of the carved mouthpiece is now missing. The haft itself is curved 
in a manner reminiscent of the felling axe of the same era. This was ob- 
tained in Idaho from the Nez Perce. 

H: 7" W: 3£" L: 22f" mai/hf: 20/4922 

219. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1900-1910). This specimen qualifies for inclu- 
sion in the brass and steel group only because its bowl is brass. This feature 
is screwed into a wrought iron strap which forms the eye. A thin steel blade 
is sandwiched between the ends of this strap. The eye itself is teardrop. 
The haft is flattened along the sides for about two-thirds of its length and 
has a series of vertical lines scratched into its surface. Attributed to the 
Osage. 

H: 7f" W: 4 £" L: 17I" mai/hf: 20/4927 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES 1 25 

3. All-Brass Heads 

220. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1850-1880). An early version of the Plains type 
with a straight-fronted blade. The eye is teardrop. The bowl is tall and 
straight sided with milled moldings top and bottom. The blade is pierced 
with three circular holes. The haft is straight and plain except for a few 
brass tacks and a rawhide thong. This axe was obtained from Chief Joseph 
of the Nez Perce when he was at Fort Leavenworth in 1877. 

H: 8£" W: 3!" L: i8f" mai/hf: 22/7235 

221. Pipe tomahawk from the battlefield of Fallen Timbers, Ohio, 1794. 
The eye is round. The bowl is short with a central molding, and the general 
casting is crude. The only decoration consists of the moldings and incised 
chevrons which were part of the original pattern. An identical specimen, 
now in the Stark County Museum, at Springfield, Ohio, was found on the 
site of the Greenville Treaty of 1795. 

H: j\" W: 3^" LaDow Johnston collection 

222. Pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. The head is cast from a well-made 
pattern but roughly finished with the file marks still visible, especially on 
the blade. The eye is round. The bowl is exceptionally tall with a series of 
turnings and moldings. The area of the eye is faceted instead of rounded, 
and there are double file lines simulating the usual base molding for the 
bowl. The long narrow blade is pierced with a heart. The haft is file branded 
and studded with brass tacks. A flap of red cloth with characteristic 
Blackfoot beaded decoration and buckskin fringe is tied just in front of the 
mouthpiece. 

H: 9£" W: 2f" L: 2i£" mai/hf: 2/4424 

223. Pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. A simpler specimen than the 
preceding, its only decoration consists of the paneling around the eye and 
three knurled bands on the bowl. The eye is oval. The plus in the fore end 
is red cloth. Collected from the Kaw in Oklahoma. 

H: 7£" W: 2f" L: 2i£" mai/hf: 2/7128 

224. Pipe tomahawk, mid- 19th century. An earlier specimen than the two 
preceding ones, this axe possesses an interestingly faceted bowl with ex- 
ceptionally thick walls which sits on a high base above the poll. The haft 
is modern. Collected in Montana from the Piegan Blackfoot. 

H: 7£" W: 2f" L: i 4 £" mai/hf: 20/4910 

225. Pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. Probably made in France, this 
specimen demonstrates considerable craftsmanship and imagination, but it 
is doubtful if it was actually intended for an Indian. In many respects it 
resembles the wall decorations of the late Victorian era. The bowl is huge. 
The eye is drilled through a solid cube, and the blade bears raised floral 
decorations. Immediately behind the head is a brass band fastened in place 
with a screw. The haft is ebony, and the turned mouthpiece is bone. Tribe 
unknown. 

H: 5£" W: 4" L: 2i£" mai/hf: 21/4485 

226. Pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. In some ways this specimen 
resembles those with narrow-waisted blades which were popular at mid- 



126 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

century. The very tall bowl without a top molding, however, immediately 
stamps it as belonging to the late years of the century or possibly even to the 
opening years of the next. It is roughly cast with many sand pits. The edges 
have been nicked with a file here and there for decoration. Follow lines are 
engraved along the front and back of the blade, and a floral decoration is 
engraved in the center. The eye is a pointed ellipse. The haft is completely 
wrapped with brass wire. There is a pewter mouthpiece, fore-end cap and 
head bands, and an engraved silver band near the mouthpiece. Attributed 
to the Shawnee. 

H: 8" W: 3" L: 23$" mai/hf: 20/7401 

227. Pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. Another of the very late bronze 
castings with an extremely tall bowl and no top molding. In this instance 
the eye area is faceted, and the blade shape is quite decadent without even 
a hint of functionalism. The eye is round. The fore-end plug is turned wood. 
The haft itself is file branded and studded with brass tacks in a chevron 
pattern. Attributed to the Oglala Sioux. 

H: 9" W: 2f" L: 24^" mai/hf: 13/7845 

228. Pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. Although this axe belongs to the 
same general group as its two predecessors, it is distinguished by a more 
elaborately formed bowl which boasts two inlaid copper rings. The eye is 
oval. The haft has a scalloped lower edge and is file branded. At one time 
it apparently had two inlays in the form of pointed ellipses. The mouth end 
is wrapped in strips of red-brown fur, apparently from a fox. From the 
Menomini in Wisconsin. 

H: 7f" W: 3" L: i8£" mai/hf: 10/2876 

229. Pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. A crudely-fashioned specimen of 
the late cast brass type with many file marks still visible. The bowl is once 
again the very tall form without top molding. The eye is oval. The haft is 
file branded, and there is a long wire pick tied on with a piece of light cord. 
Attributed to the Oto in Oklahoma. 

H: 8" W: 2|" L: 15I" mai/hf: 12/855 

230. Pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. This piece may well be slightly 
earlier than its predecessors, perhaps as early as 1870-1880. It is wide and 
heavy. The tall bowl has well-formed top and bottom moldings, and the 
eye is teardrop. The haft is carved with raised figures of Indians, buffalo, 
arrows, and geometric patterns. Attributed to the Kainah Blackfoot. 

H: 7f" W: 3f" L: 23!" mai/hf: 20/4931 

231. Pipe tomahawk by Horstmann, circa 1900. In form this head general- 
ly resembles the narrow- waisted types of the mid- 19th century. The details 
of workmanship, the fact that it is cast brass and nickel plated, and that it 
is secured to the haft by a screw with its head on the reverse side, however, 
all seem to indicate a considerably later date. The practice of nickel-plating 
brass tomahawk heads does not seem to have become popular until ap- 
proximately the turn of the century. The name "HORSTMANN/PHIL a " is 
stamped in two lines at the base of the blade just above the notch on the 
reverse side. The haft is a most unusual shape with a turned wooden 
mouthpiece. 

H: 7f" W: 2f" L: i8£" Mary R. duMont collection 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES 1 27 

232. Pipe tomahawk, nickel-plated brass, circa 1900. Very similar to the 
preceding specimen, except that it is unmarked and does not have the 
screw passing through the side of the head and into the haft. The haft also 
is Indian made, rather than manufactured for the trade. It is branded in 
bands with short vertical lines and X's burned-in between. The rear half is 
wrapped with a leather strip, and there is a beaded band at both ends of 
the wrapping. Two small feathers are tied to the rearmost band. Attributed 
to the Osage. 

H: 7f" W: 2f" L: i8f" mai/hf: 20/4926 

233. Pipe tomahawk of nickel-plated brass by Levi St. Cyr, 1908. This 
casting is similar in many respects to numbers 226 and 229 although the 
bowl is a little shorter and thicker. The eye is oval. The blade is stamped on 
both sides with a star surrounded by a double circle. Each line of the 
stamping is made up of a series of small arcs. Between the double lines of the 
circle appears the name "LEVI ST CYR / WINNEBAGO NEBR," and in 
the center of the star is the date 1908. The haft is file branded, but is not 
pierced, so that it could not be smoked. Collected from the Winnebago, 
Nebraska. 

H: 8" W: 2f" L: 22" mai/hf: 16/2541 

234. Pipe tomahawk of nickel-plated brass, probably by Levi St. Cyr, 
1908. The head is identical in all respects to the previous specimen, except 
that the star-and-circle mark does not bear the name or date. It is obviously 
from the same mold, and the stamp is the same. The haft is file branded and 
decorated with strips of fur, black glass beads, yarn, and brass bells. Col- 
lected from the Sauk and Fox tribe. 

H: 8" W: 3" L: 19!" mai/hf: 2/4814 

235. Recent pipe tomahawk. The head is roughly cast and almost formless 
except for the bowl. The eye is oval. A cross-and-line border has been en- 
graved on the blade and the corners have been file nicked for decoration. 
The haft is studded with brass-plated tacks and is carved with incised 
drawings of Indians, a tepee, wagon, sun, and stars. The mouthpiece is 
nickel-plated brass. Undoubtedly a 20th century product. Provenience 
unknown. 

H: 8£" W: 3" L: 20" mai/hf: 22/7215 

236. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1900). A simple brass casting that may possibly 
date from the very last years of the 19th century or as late as 1920. The eye 
is round. The decoration consists of engraved lines along the front and back 
of the blade and along the base molding of the bowl plus a few stamped 
circles. The haft is not original. From the Sioux. 

H: 7" W: 2f" L: 18" mai/hf: 22/7234 

237. Recent pipe tomahawk. The head is a simple but well-made casting. 
The eye is oval, and there is no decoration. The haft tapers sharply in the 
reverse of the usual form; that is, it expands towards the mouth end. The 
head has been slipped over the fore end and slid down the haft to insure a 
tight fit; thus about one-fifth of the haft protrudes beyond the head. From 
this portion of the haft dangle brass bells on rawhide thongs, and strings of 
glass, shell, and horn beads, some of which seem to be prehistoric specimens. 



128 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

The mouthpiece is made from a cartridge case, apparently from the 1903 
Springfield rifle. Attributed to the Mandan. 

H: 6f" W: i\" L: i6£" mai/hf: 20/4901 

238. Recent pipe tomahawk. A more elaborate casting than most heads of 
this period, it may date from the closing years of the 19th century or as 
late as 1910. There are floral decorations incised in the bowl and eye areas 
as part of the original casting. The blade bears miscellaneous punched dots 
and is engraved on the obverse side with a bear, and on the reverse side with 
the figure of an Indian. The eye is oval. The haft is completely modern. 
Provenience unknown. 

H: 6f" W: 2f" L: i 7 £" mai/hf: 22/7208 

239. Recent pipe tomahawk. A simple and crude casting with many sand 
pits and no decoration. It is certainly 20th century. The eye is oval. The 
haft is studded with brass-headed tacks and wrapped for the first third of 
its length with a piece of buckskin held in place with some of these tacks. 
The remaining portion of the haft is branded with a series of crescents and 
lines which form bands around it. Attributed to the Winnebago. 

H: 8" W: 3-i" L: 18" mai/hf: 20/4915 



4. Pewter or Lead Heads 

240. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 775-1 825). A well-made specimen with 
the shape of the late 18th century. The bowl is short and of large diameter, 
tapering in slightly at the top. The eye is teardrop. Scratchwork borders 
have been engraved around the blade, and the name Wagaquan is engraved 
on the reverse side. The long slender haft is inlaid with pewter strapwork 
decoration just behind the head and before the mouthpiece, which is also 
pewter. Attributed to the Chippewa. 

H: 6£" W: 2f" L: 224" mai/hf: 19/6202 

241. Very small pewter pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. With such 
small specimens, perhaps children's pieces, it is very difficult to be certain 
of a date since they do not necessarily follow the styles of contemporary 
pipes for adults. This particular specimen might well date from the first 
half of the century rather than from the second, but the straight sides of the 
bowl and the manner in which the blade springs from the eye area seem to 
outweigh the earlier features of the haft shape and the concave flare of the 
rear line of the blade. The eye is round. The haft is inlaid from end to end 
with bands of connected pewter diamonds. There are three eyelets along the 
lower edge of the haft, and from the first of these dangle long rawhide 
thongs wrapped in red, yellow, and blue quillwork, red feathers and horse- 
hair dyed green. Attributed to the Blackfoot. 

H: 4 £" W: if" L: 124" mai/hf: 4/2071 

242. Crude pipe tomahawk of lead, late 19th century. The eye is round. 
The blade has been bent because of the softness of the material, and there 
are some rough solder repairs. The form of the bowl as well as the rear line 
of the blade reinforce the period attribution which might also be made on 
the basis of workmanship. There are two lead bands and a lead mouthpiece 
on the stem. Attributed to the Creek in Oklahoma. 

H: 44" W: if" L: 27I" mai/hf: 10/2884 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH CONVENTIONAL BLADES I29 

243. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1880-1900). Another of the Plains Indian 
group, this time with unusual inlays in the blade despite the fact that the 
head itself is rather crudely cast. On the obverse side are four copper 
horseshoes. On the reverse are a brass tree and two C's. The eye is oval. The 
haft is studded with brass tacks and has been file branded. At the butt end 
is a sleeve with a beaded red cloth flap backed with buckskin and a cotton 
print. Attributed to the Cree. 

H: 9f" W: 4" L: 2if" mai/hf: 7/2419 

244. Very large pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 870-1 890) . Typical of the so- 
called Plains Indian form, but with a slightly later form of pipe bowl. The 
eye is round. The blade is decorated with dots punched in a V pattern and 
with five circular holes arranged in a square with one in the center. The 
haft may possibly be newer, but the decorations attached to the fore end 
are old. These consist of beads, feathers, and red cloth. The haft has not 
been pierced, so the pipe cannot be smoked. This was obtained from the 
Saulteaux Chippewa. 

H: iof" W: 4$" L: 25$" mai/hf: 11/3501 

245. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 870-1900). Generally typical of the 
Plains Indian pattern, but with a small and decadent bowl. There is no 
decoration. The eye is rectangular, and the haft is file branded. Once again, 
it is not pierced and cannot be smoked. Collected among the Chippewa. 

H : 7f" W : 3 f" L : 2 3 £" mai/hf : 5/3707 

246. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1880-1900). A late and crude specimen 
collected in Tucson, Arizona, but certainly not used by any of the tribes in 
that immediate vicinity. The eye is rectangular, and this is reflected in the 
outside shape as well. Indications of the earlier pointed bowl base moldings 
have been filed on the sides, and the blade is pierced with a heart. 

H: j%" W: 3 \" William O. Sweet collection 

247. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1880-1900). A late example of the Plains 
type in which the triangular piercing of the blade reaches the maximum of 
its development. The blade itself is reduced almost to straps. There is a 
heart inside a diamond in scratch engraving on the obverse side of the eye 
area. The eye itself is oval. The haft, which appears quite recent, is not 
pierced. It is, however, studded with brass tacks, and the butt end is 
wrapped with modern red cloth. Attributed to the Sisseton Sioux. 

H: 10" W: 4f" L: 25^' mai/hf: 20/4906 

248. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1890-1900). The eye is large and round. 
The blade is pierced with a triangle, and the rear line of the blade is serrated. 
The haft is of the very short type sometimes found on late pipe axes. It is 
not pierced. For almost two-thirds of its length it is covered with rows of 
brass tacks ; then it disappears into a beaded buckskin sleeve with a beaded 
flap, fringe, and brass bells. The beaded design is a late floral pattern. At- 
tributed to the Crow. 

H: 9¥' W: 3*" L: 15" mai/hf: 9/1404 

249. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 870-1 890). Generally typical of the 
Plains Indian pattern, except that the eye is flat sided instead of having a 
sharp median ridge. The top and bottom moldings of the pipe bowl are 



130 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

cabled instead of being plain, and the base molding runs almost to the base 
of the blade. The most outstanding characteristic is the triangle piercing in 
the blade which seems to be quite common in pewter specimens of the late 
19th century. Below it is engraved a tree. The haft has been burned in a 
spiral strip. There is a buckskin sleeve at the mouth with fringe and a 
beaded flap. Attributed to the Crow. 

H : 9|" W: 4 f" L: igf" mai/hf: 2/4425 

250. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 870-1 890). Generally typical of the 
Plains Indian form, but with an octagonal eye and a simplified bowl. The 
blade is pierced with a diamond. The haft is studded with tacks and file 
branded. There is a cloth gasket around the haft inside the eye. From the 
Sioux. 

H: 8£" W: 3!" L: igj" mai/hf: 13/7844 

251. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1880-1900). Of the same general type 
as No. 246, but more crudely made. The bowl is interesting because of its 
central band moldings and taper towards both ends. The eye is oval. 
Attributed to the Chippewa. 

H: 8£" W: 2f" mai/hf: 22/4847 

252. Pewter pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. A well-made specimen 
with complicated moldings and facetings on the tall straight bowl and over 
the eye. The eye itself is teardrop, and there is a cloth gasket around the 
haft inside it. The head sits well down the haft, and there is a bone plug in 
the fore-end which resembles the head of a walking stick. The mouthpiece 
is antler. The haft is plain. From the Wampanoag in Massachusetts. 

H: 7§" W: 3f" L: 30" mai/hf: 22/7202 

253. Pewter pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1880-1900). A crude specimen of the 
same general quality and type as numbers 246 and 251. The blade is pierced 
with a circular hole. The eye is oval. The haft is diamond shaped in section, 
is serrated along its lower edge and carved with incised chevrons on the 
two upper sides. At the mouth end is a buckskin socket attaching a beaded 
flap with long fringes of beads and plain buckskin. Attributed to the 
Hunkpapa Sioux. 

H: 6£" W: i\" L: i6£" mai/hf: 22/7199 

254. Pewter pipe tomahawk, early 19th century. A small specimen, but 
well made in the style of the opening years of the century except for the 
straight-sided bowl. The eye is round. The haft is inlaid with silver dia- 
monds, and there is a pewter mouthpiece. Attributed to the Chippewa. 

H: 5" W: if" L: i 4 £" mai/hf: 3/4645 

255. Pewter pipe tomahawk, early 19th century. Another small specimen, 
but very nicely made with knurled moldings and incised diamond deco- 
rations. The bowl has been bent backward slightly. The eye is round. 
The haft is plain and the mouthpiece, probably originally of pewter, is 
now missing. The wire wrapped around the haft and head is modern, 
apparently designed to prevent the loss of the head. Attributed to the 
Fox in Iowa. 

H: si" W: if" L: 13" mai/hf: 5/3708 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH SPONTOON BLADES I3I 

5. Silver Heads 

256. Pipe tomahawk presented to Tom Hill in 1850. This is the only silver 
or silver-plated tomahawk that has been observed in the course of the 
present study. It was impossible to determine which this is without scratch- 
ing the specimen, which the museum was reluctant to do. If plate, it is 
extremely thick and well applied. No indication of any base metal could be 
detected, even on corners and edges. A strong magnet gave no reaction, 
removing the possibility of any ferrous metal being involved. The piece is 
well made, with a high oval eye. The bowl is tall and flares slightly toward 
the top. There is no real neck, but a short area below the bottom molding 
conveys this impression. The head is heavily engraved. The obverse side 
bears a sunburst on the outer surface of the eye with the date 1850 (ap- 
parently by a different hand) beneath. On the blade is "TOM HILL / from / 
P. B. Reading," two clasped hands and "Peace & Friendship. ." The maker's 
name, W. A. Woodruff, is stamped near the base. On the reverse side there 
is an eagle with the U. S. shield, a crescent moon, stars, and a design com- 
posed of a percussion gun, tomahawk, powder horn, and bow and arrow. 
The haft is walnut with a silver fore-end cap and mouthpiece and a wavy 
silver inlay along both sides. Hill was a Delaware Indian who went West in 
the 1840's; he was with General Fremont in his fight with the native Cali- 
fornians in the Salinas Valley in 1847 and was sent to Monterey for help. In 
that fight he lost his tomahawk, and Major Reading of Fremont's party had 
this one made as a present. 

H: 8y W: 3§" L: 18" Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 362064 

6. Stone Heads 

257. Sandstone pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. A copy of a late speci- 
men in soft sandstone, found in Indiana. The eye is round and does not pass 
all the way through the head. 

H:5f"W:2^" mai/hf: 21/6004 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH SPONTOON BLADES 

1. Iron or Steel Heads 

258. Early spontoon pipe tomahawk without basal processes, probably 
second half of the 18th century and of French origin. The eye is teardrop 
and ample for a heavy haft, typical of this period. Originally the blade 
terminated in a point, probably turned slightly to the rear. Since this is 
now missing, measurements are given for the remaining portion. Provenience 
unknown. 

H: 6f" W: if" William O. Sweet collection 

259. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 750-1 780). Another of the early 
forms with ample teardrop eye and finely formed bowl. It was found in 
Michigan and is undoubtedly of French origin. This specimen has the basal 
processes which are commonly found on the spontoon blades. The neck was 
originally faceted. The point curves slightly to the rear. 

H: 8£" W: i|" William O. Sweet collection 



132 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

260. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 750-1 780). Similar to the preceding 
two specimens, but in better condition. The eye is large and oval with 
moldings above and below. The bowl is slightly irregular. The blade has lost 
part of one of the basal processes, and has been ground down considerably 
from its original shape. Found in Ohio, it is again probably French in 
origin. 

H: 9\" W: ij" mai/hf: 21/2489 

261. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). The similarity between 
this and the Plains Indian form with an conventional blade can readily be 
recognized. The tall, slightly barrel-shaped bowl with the point of its base 
molding extending almost to the median ridge in the eye area, and the 
ribbed moldings are all typical of the era. In this specimen the base moldings 
are curled strongly around until the free ends touch the base of the blade, 
and there is a little scratchwork engraving. The eye is oval. The haft is 
studded with brass tacks and may well be later than the head. It is not 
pierced, so that the piece cannot be smoked. At the butt end are tied two 
long strips of fur, each with a beaded band two-thirds of the way towards 
its tip. Attributed to the Comanche. 

H: 7f" W: \\" L: t.$\" mai/hf: 2/4422 

262. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 850-1 880). This specimen belongs to 
the same group as No. 261. It differs, however, in having a bowl inlaid with 
two narrow copper bands and a blade that is finely forged with a strong 
median ridge running from just below the basal processes to the point. 
There is also a sunken band running across the outside of the eye where the 
median ridge would normally be. The eye itself is oval. The haft has two 
deep scallops cut from its lower edge and has incised designs of a cross 
and leaves. Tribe unknown. 

H: 7£" W: if" L: igf" mai/hf: 22/7206 

263. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, second half of the 18th century. The head 
is excavated, but the haft is quite modern. The bowl appears to have been 
faceted originally. The eye is large and of the teardrop form. The basal 
processes are rudimentary, but may at one time have been larger. Attri- 
buted to the Winnebago. 

H: 8|" W: i\" L: 18" mai/hf: 20/4914 

264. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1800-1810). The eye is teardrop and. 
large. The bowl is slightly smaller and taller than on the earlier specimens. 
The blade is rather crudely forged, and the forward process is bent and its 
end broken. The haft is straight sided with one silver band, flaring to an 
oval medallion on top. Attributed to the Seneca. 

H: 9f" W: if" L: i 4 £" mai/hf: 15/8356 

265. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, first half of the 19th century. A crude 
forging with a diminutive blade and "processes" that are really pierced 
lobes. The eye is large and oval. The haft is apparently a replacement, but 
retains the original lead mouthpiece. Attributed to the Choctaw. 

H: 6£" W: \" L: 15I" mai/hf: 7321 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH SPONTOON BLADES I33 

266. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1825-1850). The eye is teardrop and 
relatively ample, but the bowl is tall, and the moldings on the sides of the 
eye area suggest those popular at mid-century. There are no basal processes. 
The haft is absolutely plain. Attributed to the Iroquois. 

H: 6£" W: \\" L: 15!" mai/hf: 19/5088 

267. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, late 19th century. The bowl of this large 
specimen is plain except for a single groove near the center. The eye is 
teardrop, and the outer surface reflects this shape. The blade is thin, without 
basal processes, and is pierced with a heart. The haft is file branded and 
studded with a few brass tacks near the head. At the mouth end there is a 
hole with a buckskin thong tied through it, and just ahead of this a long 
strip of light brown fur is tied to the haft. A green ribbon is tied around the 
neck of the pipe bowl. Attributed to the Crow. 

H: io£" W: 2f" L: i^\" mai/hf: 11/5089 

268. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 870-1 890). A small and crude speci- 
men of a type often called "Minnewauken" in the past. The characteristic 
of this form is the kite-shaped blade without basal processes. In this in- 
stance the blade is stamped with crescents, stars and leaves; the point is 
broken off. The bowl is excessively tall in proportion to its height. The haft 
is tall and thin with six notches cut in the lower edge near the mouthpiece 
and some slight scrolling along the top edge just above them. Attributed to 
the Nez Perce. 

H: 7" W: i£" L: i6f" mai/hf: 20/4923 

269. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). Another tall specimen of 
the so-called Plains Indian type. The bowl and eye are well formed with a 
beaded molding along the median ridge. The eye itself is a pointed ellipse. 
The basal processes curve sharply upward, and their free ends touch the 
blade. Below, the blade is pierced with a heart, and punched dots form a 
border around the opening. The haft is plain except for a few tacks in the 
fore end. Attributed to the Osage. 

H: 10" W: 2£" L: ig\" mai/hf: 10/2890 

270. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). Also in the Plains Indian 
pattern, this specimen has an unusual bowl as far as spontoon pipes are 
concerned. It is tall, tapering inward toward the top with multiple narrow 
moldings. The basal processes curve sharply upward, and originally prob- 
ably stopped just short of touching the blade with their free ends. The blade 
is pierced with a heart, and there are brass inlays consisting of a stylized 
tree, crescent moon, and stars on the obverse, and the same elements plus 
the letters CK on the reverse. The haft is plain except for a pewter headband 
and mouthpiece. Attributed to the Sioux. 

H: 10" W: 2 1" L: 16" mai/hf: 22/7204 

271. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). This is the classic so- 
called "Minnewauken" form with the kite-shaped blade almost a diamond. 
It is completely undecorated, but there is a slight median ridge running 
down the blade. The eye is a pointed ellipse, and there is no median ridge 
on the outside. The haft is absolutely plain. Provenience unknown. 

H: 10" W: i\" L: 13!" mai/hf: 22/7292 



134 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

272. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 890-1 910). This large specimen has 
several unusual features. The bowl is thick and sits on a high base. Around 
its center runs a broad knurled band, and the base itself is reeded horizontal- 
ly. Most unusual, however, is the blade shape consisting of a diamond and 
then a barbed point. The eye is diamond shaped, and there is a sharp 
median ridge on the outside. The entire head is forged of soft iron. The haft 
is file branded and studded with brass tacks. It has been varnished. From 
a hole near the mouth end dangles a horsehair tassel with a beaded band at 
its base. Attributed to the Kiowa. 

H: io£" W: if" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 19/7964 

273. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). A crude specimen of the 
Plains type with various lines askew and numerous cracks and flaws in the 
metal. The bowl and the pointed ellipse eye with a median ridge on the 
outside conform in all respects to the type. The rear basal process of the 
blade retains its original curve ; the forward one has been bent more acutely. 
A single circular hole pierces the blade just above its widest point. The haft 
is plain. Attributed to the Sauk and Fox. 

H: 9£" W: 2" L: i8f" mai/hf: 18/8270 

274. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 870-1900). A simply-forged speci- 
men with the basal processes well down the blade, instead of almost directly 
at the base in the more usual fashion. The eye is oval. The bowl is lower and 
of larger diameter than most pipes of the period, and the blade is a thin sheet 
of iron. The haft is plain except for file branding. Attributed to the Cheyenne. 

H: 7f" W: i£" L: 18" mai/hf: 22/7223 

275. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1880-1900). A crudely-made late 
specimen. The blade is a separate thin piece of iron welded between the 
two straps which form the eye. The eye itself is round. The bowl is ex- 
ceptionally tall with straight sides and a flare outwards. The haft is diamond 
shaped in section and is file branded in a pattern of spiral stripes. The butt 
end is sheathed in a sleeve of buckskin with beaded decoration which at- 
taches a beaded flap, fringe, and brass bells. Attributed to the Blackfoot. 

H: 7|" W: if" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 20/4912 

276. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). This again is a classic ex- 
ample of the so-called "Minnewauken" blade. It is well but simply made 
with a straight-sided bowl and oval eye, and the kite-shaped blade without 
processes that characterizes the style. In this instance the blade has been 
stamped with a series of crescents and stars, and the edges of the eye have 
been filed to form a cusped border. The first third of the haft is wrapped 
with cord, and a fringe of buckskin is tied along the entire lower edge. 
Attributed to the Sauk and Fox. 

H: 9!" W: 2 £" L: i 7 £" mai/hf: 5/473 

277. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1880-1900). The pipe bowl has been 
broken off. The eye is round, and the blade is a thin sheet of iron with very 
long basal processes of almost fishhook shape, to judge by the one which 
survives. The blade is pierced with three circular holes arranged as a 
triangle, and there are punched dots all over the surface. The haft, which 
seems even more recent, is completely wrapped in what appears to be rabbit 
fur with three long strips pendant. Attributed to the Crow in Montana. 

H: 8£" W: 2" L: 23" mai/hf: 12/6401 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH SPONTOON BLADES I35 

278. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1900). A very crude specimen made 
of three pieces of iron brazed together. These comprise a simple tube for the 
bowl, a strap for the eye, and a sheet for the blade. It could not possibly be 
used for anything except decoration. The eye is teardrop. The haft seems 
even more recent than the head; it is carved with a series of grooves into 
which blue paint has been rubbed. Near the mouth end is a large tuft of 
horsehair and lengths of red, purple, and green cloth. Attributed to the 
Chippewa. 

H: 7" W: i\" L: 20" mai/hf: 15/2978 

279. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). A well-made specimen 
with a faceted pipe bowl that unscrews. The eye is teardrop. There are no 
true basal processes, but projections just below the joint of the eye suggest 
rudimentary vestiges. The blade is pierced with four circular holes, and a 
series of engraved arcs and punched dots complete the decoration. Attributed 
to the Nez Perce. 

H: 10" W: 2f" mai/hf: 14/7358 

280. Late spontoon pipe tomahawk with leaf-shaped blade. The bowl is a 
simple tube, straight sided with a simple flaring molding at the top. The eye 
is almost round. An X is engraved on the outside of the eye, and a series of 
punched dots and engraved lines form a stilized tree on the blade. Attributed 
to the Chippewa. 

H: 7I" W: 2f" mai/hf: 19/4989 

281. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, mid-igth century. An unusual specimen 
in that the strap which forms the eye is exceptionally narrow and thick, 
directly opposite from the more common proportion. The bowl is tall with a 
double molding at the top, and the blade is small but well formed. The eye 
itself is oval. The haft is file branded and the mouthpiece is lead. Attributed 
to the Sauk and Fox. 

H: 7f" W: if" L: 14^' mai/hf: 20/1990 

282. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1880-1900). One of the very long- 
hafted types found at the very end of the 19th century. The head is proba- 
bly a trifle earlier than the haft. The eye is diamond shaped and there is the 
external median ridge which is normal for this period. The bowl is faceted. 
The blade is leaf shaped with only rudimentary basal processes, and there 
is an elliptical copper inlay in the center. The haft is wrapped tightly in 
rawhide for most of its length. A braided thong with hair tassel is looped 
around the haft near the head, and another heavier one passes through a 
hole at the butt end. The haft is not pierced and cannot be smoked. It was 
collected from a Plains Indian; the specific tribe is not known. 

H: 7!" W: 2 \" L: 32" Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 361478 

283. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1900). A recent forging with kite- 
shaped blade, rectangular eye, and a flat circular face on the outside of the 
eye. In this instance the haft is also one of the extremely long, unpierced 
variety. In the fore end there is a screw with a short length of ribbon in 
place of the usual plug. The haft is wrapped in what appears to be rabbit fur 
for a short length just behind the head. Then follows a long section wrapped 



136 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

in copper wire with a section of light and dark blue and yellow beads in the 
center. The butt end is covered with a sleeve of red and black wool fag- 
goting with loose ends of the yarn for a tassel. From the Piegan Blackfoot 
of Montana. 

H: 6f" W: 2 J" L: 29" Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 153578 

284. Unique spontoon pipe tomahawk with buffalo-head blade, (ca. 1880- 
1900). In this highly imaginative specimen the basal processes have been 
converted to horns and the blade itself shaped to resemble a buffalo's head 
with a short straight beveled edge at the bottom. Four circular holes have 
been drilled to simulate the eyes and nostrils. The eye is rectangular both 
inside and out, and the neckless bowl expands slightly to the top with a 
simple molding. The haft is undecorated. It is attributed to the Assiniboin. 

H: 6£" W: i£" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 11/8046 

285. Spontoon pipe tomahawk with pick blade, (ca. 1 860-1 880). In this 
instance the blade actually seems to have been made from a pick with the 
bowl brazed on. The haft is plain except for file branding. Attributed to 
the Sioux. 

H: 10" W: £" L: 22" mai/hf: 3/6822 

286. Spontoon pipe tomahawk with pick blade, early 19th century. In 
this specimen the blade seems to have been intended for the purpose, and 
not converted as was the previous example. The eye is round. The bowl is 
octagonal, and of the low, ample proportions typical in such an early piece. 
It could possibly be late 18th century, but more probably dates from 
1 800-1 820. The provenience is not known. 

H: 8" W: £" mai/hf: 22/7329 

287. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1860-1880). The bowl is typical of the 
Plains Indian form of the period. The eye is diamond shaped with a high 
median ridge on the outside opposite the lateral points of the diamond, and 
there are crisply filed moldings where the eye joins the blade. The lobes, 
which have replaced the basal processes, are pierced with circular holes. 
The haft, which is undecorated, has a strong ridge on each side and a separate 
mouthpiece made of a brass cartridge case. This tomahawk belonged to 
Kicking Bird (Teneangapote), a famed Kiowa war leader, who was active 
in Oklahoma and Texas prior to his death in 1875. It was collected in 1874 
by Thomas C. Battey, a trader at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. 

H: n£" W: 2f" L: 27I" mai/hf: 23/898 



2. Brass Heads 

288. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1870-1890). The bowl is approaching 
the ungainly attenuated tulip shape sometimes encountered on specimens 
made after 1900. The eye is diamond shaped with a median ridge on the 
outside. The basal processes of the blade curve downward in the reverse of 
the more usual manner. The haft is plain with a slight double curve remini- 
scent of the standard axe of the period. Attributed to the Chippewa. 
H: 9" W: 2" L: 2o£" mai/hf: 19/5096 



PIPE TOMAHAWKS WITH SPONTOON BLADES 137 

289. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). Here the bowl and eye 
pattern of the typical Plains Indian form are readily recognizable. The 
brass casting is good, and the piece has been well finished. The basal 
processes curve downward and are well developed. Beneath them the blade 
is pierced with a gentle arc above a heart. The haft is file branded in a spiral 
pattern. For slightly over half its length it is wrapped in rawhide. Two 
narrow beaded bands remain around this portion; at one time there may 
have been a third. Attributed to the Oglala Sioux. 

H: g£" W: 2" L: i6f" mai/hf: 21/2547 

290. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). An exceptionally heavy 
and well-made specimen. Once again the bowl and eye patterns are those 
typical of the Plains Indian form with the addition of knurled bands 
around the bowl and a sunken panel in place of the median ridge across the 
outside of the eye. The eye itself is oval. The haft is file branded and studded 
along its upper edge with brass tacks in a single line. Attributed to the 
Caddo in Oklahoma. 

H: 9f" W: i£" L: 18" mai/hf: 5/64 

291. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). Generally similar to 
No. 292 but better made and more vigorous in its design. The bowl is seven- 
sided with cabled moldings at top and bottom. The eye is a pointed ellipse. 
The lobes which have taken the place of basal processes are at least pierced 
to carry on the effect of curved arms. The haft is wrapped for almost its 
entire length in brass wire. The remaining few inches are studded with brass 
tacks, and two buckskin thongs with fringe are looped around. Attributed 
to the Kainah Blackfoot. 

H: 8" W: 2" L: 19!" mai/hf: 6979 

292. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 870-1 890). The general character- 
istics of the Plains Indian form can be recognized in the bowl and eye area, 
but poorly executed and decadent in feeling. The eye is actually a teardrop. 
The basal processes have given way to lobes. The haft is plain except for 
one feather tied with a rawhide thong to a hole in the lower edge of the haft. 
Attributed to the Santee Sioux. 

H: 9f" W: 2\" L: 2if" mai/hf: 20/4908 

293. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1880-1910). A very large, late form 
which even more strikingly resembles the spontoon than most of those 
made in years when the spontoon was still used. The bowl is of the typical 
Plains pattern. The eye is diamond shaped. The basal processes are broad 
and curve down only slightly, while the blade continues to a blunt point. 
Incised scrolling decoration is cast into it. Provenience unknown. 

H: n£" W: 2" William O. Sweet collection 



3. Pewter Heads 

294. Recent spontoon pipe tomahawk; an early 20th century specimen. 
The head is cast with a flat blade one-quarter inch thick. It is inlaid with 
catlinite and slate. The eye itself is oval, but the outside is rectangular. 
The haft is made from a board and is studded with brass tacks. Attributed 
to the Sisseton Sioux. 

H: n£" W: if" L: 26£" mai/hf: 14/2914 



I38 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

295. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1870). A crude casting with an ex- 
ceptionally tall bowl foreshadowing the later tulip shape. The eye is a 
pointed ellipse with a median ridge on the outside. The pointed base 
molding of the bowl terminates right at the ridge, as is typical of the most 
usual Plains Indian form. The basal processes are long and thin and curl 
sharply around on themselves ; below them the blade is kite shaped with a 
slight median ridge. In all specimens of this form that have been examined, 
the haft is cut down to enter the eye so that this unusual procedure is to be 
expected. The haft is file branded and studded with brass tacks in bands 
and on the fore end. This specimen was collected in 1870, at which time it 
must have been almost new. Attributed to the Miami. 

H: 11" W: 2f" L: 22^' mai/hf: 14/5984 

296. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1890-1910). A late casting with a flat, 
kite-shaped blade three-sixteenths of an inch thick. The eye is oval. The 
bowl is poorly formed. There is a cloth gasket around the haft inside the eye. 
The haft is straight and plain. Attributed to the Winnebago. 

H: 9f" W: 2f" L: 23" mai/hf: 20/4917 

297. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 880-1900). The eye is rectangular. 
The neckless bowl flares towards the top with straight sides. Brass tacks 
have been driven into the center of the diamond-shaped blade from both 
sides, leaving the heads to form bosses. There is also a faint scratch engraving 
of a buffalo head on the reverse side. The haft is wrapped with strips of cloth 
and two beaded bands, and there is one band of brass tacks. Attributed to 
the Santee Sioux. 

H: 6|" W: if" L: 17^' mai/hf: 20/4569 

298. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 890-1910). The wide bowl with top 
and bottom moldings is better formed than most in this period. The eye is 
teardrop, though there is a median ridge on the outside. The blade has file 
nicks for decoration along the top edges, and there are geometrical designs 
in scratch engraving. The haft narrows to enter the eye. A cloth gasket is 
wrapped around it. The eye is diamond shaped in section with serrated top 
and bottom edges. Running chevrons are cut into the upper surfaces, and a 
short line of brass tacks has been driven in near the head. Attributed to the 
Chippewa. 

H: 6" W: i\" L: i6£" mai/hf: 20/9755 



4. Stone Heads 

299. Spontoon pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1 860-1 880). This unique example is 
finely carved of black slate, perfectly copying the metal object of the period. 
It is inlaid with pewter and catlinite in designs comprising a four-pointed 
star, a square enclosing a cross, a bird, and a diamond. The eye is oval. At- 
tributed to the Nez Perce. 

H: 6f" W: i\" mai/hf: 19/6655 



139 
TOMAHAWKS AND HATCHETS USED BY WHITE MEN 

300. Spiked tomahawk used by a colonist (ca. 1 750-1 775). It is forged in 
the manner usual for such axes. The eye is oval and there are well-developed 
ears. The spike is rectangular in section, and its point has been flattened 
through striking some hard object. The haft is original. Found in an old 
house in Brattleboro, Vermont. 

H: 5i" W: 2" L: i2£" Ben F. Hubbell collection 

301. Pipe tomahawk, (ca. 1776-1781). This specimen is a most interesting 
document. Undoubtedly made for use by a white colonist during the 
American Revolution or very shortly thereafter, it is one more indication of 
the fact that pipe tomahawks were used by whites as well as by Indians. 
The pipe bowl is now missing. The eye is round. The poll is flat with a hole 
where the pipe bowl was riveted and welded in place. The moldings above 
and below the eye are well developed, and the blade is gracefully shaped 
with a chamfer along the rear line. There is a steel edge. But of paramount 
interest are the inscriptions inlaid in brass. On the obverse side appears 
"I-G / AME / RICA / LIBE / RTI 1776." The date may possibly be 1775, 
but 1776 seems more likely in view of the fact that liberty did not become 
a popular cause until the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A 
complete transliteration would be In God American Liberty 1776. The date 
need not be that of the manufacture of the hatchet, but its form and the 
style of the inscription would indicate that it was made during the war. The 
haft is modern. Collected in Massachusetts. 

H: 5 f" W: 2.\" L: i 3 £" mai/hf: 22/7239 

302. Tomahawk with hammer poll bearing US mark, late 18th century. 
Compare this example with No. 98, which appears identical except that in 
this instance the hammer is octagonal in section and heavily mushroomed 
from use. Once again the cartouche bearing the maker's name is illegible, 
but the U. S. mark is strong and clear. In all probability this axe was issued 
to troops during or shortly after the Revolution. Provenience unknown. 

H: $\ L ' W: 2" Herb Glass collection 

303. Superbly made pipe tomahawk (ca. 1800-18 15). This is probably the 
finest head encountered during the course of the present study. The bowl is 
finely faceted with well-developed moldings. There is a steel edge, and the 
whole of the head is enhanced with engraving and inlays of gold and silver. 
In addition, the background appears to have been russeted to give greater 
contrast to the inlays. On the obverse side these decorations include a deer 
fleeing from a hunter and his dog as the hunter aims a flintlock. The 
background is a stylized tree with a distelfink, a typically Pennsylvania 
Dutch bird, perched above a cartouche bearing the name "F. HOFF." Hoff 
was a blacksmith in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, ca. 1 800-1 81 5. Below 
the scene, along the edge, is inscribed "American Horse" in script. The 
reverse side bears an American eagle with shield and a trophy of arms and 
flags. Although the general form of the blade is of a type which would 
normally be dated slightly later, the style of decoration, plus the name of 
the maker seem to indicate the earlier period. Exact dimensions are not 
available. Provenience is unknown. Although there was a famous Indian 
chief named American Horse (1825 ?-i875), he was not connected with this 
specimen. 

Clem Caldwell collection 



140 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

304. Unique tomahawk with eagle poll, (ca. 1810-1830). The interesting 
eagle poll on this specimen is a fine forging in a graceful adaptation of the 
older spiked form. The eye is oval with serrated edges around the outside. 
Across the center is engraved the name "JA S M C TEAR", apparently the 
owner. The blade is simple with relatively straight lines and only a slight 
flare to the rear. The provenience is not known. 

H: 8£" W: 4f" Henry Ford Museum: 62.32 

305. Tomahawk with hammer poll presented to Davy Crockett; an inter- 
esting specimen of highly polished steel. The hammer flares slightly toward 
the top and is octagonal in section. The eye is a pointed ellipse, but the 
outside has been forged to present a flat circular surface on each side. The 
blade flares symmetrically in concave arcs. Across the reverse side is en- 
graved the name Crockett in script, and on the obverse Go Ahead. The haft is 
smooth, flaring slightly toward the mouth end where it diminishes suddenly 
and enters a carved ivory mouthpiece with a brass ferrule at the joint. This 
hatchet was presented to Davy Crockett by "The Young Men of Phila- 
delphia" in 1834 or 1835. 

H: 5!" W: 4f" L: i6f" Smithsonian Institution 

usnm: 359628 

306. U. S. Army hatchet, 19th century. Following in the tradition of the 
fully developed American hatchet of the late 18th century illustrated as 
No. 40, hand axes of this form were issued by the Army throughout almost 
the entire 19th century. They seem to have been standard by the time of 
the War of 181 2 and continued in use until the ears disappeared about 
the end of the century. The present specimen was excavated on the Civil 
War battlefield of Brandy Station, Virginia. The eye is a flat ellipse, 
pointed slightly at its lower end. The poll is thick and counter-balances 
the blade and has been mushroomed slightly from pounding. There is a 
steel edge. 

H: 4f" W: 2f" Author's collection 

307. U. S. Army hatchet, Civil War period. In addition to the form of 
hatchet commonly issued by the Army and described above, Civil War 
battlefields also yield a number of shingler's hatchets of this form. The 
hammer is rectangular in section, but with chamfered corners so that it is 
almost octagonal. The eye is a long slender teardrop, almost a pointed 
ellipse. There is a steel edge, and a nail-pulling slot is cut in the rear line. 

H: 6£" W: $\" Author's collection 

308. British boarding axe, {ca. 1 750-1 850). The head is forged from two 
pieces of iron plus a steel edge in the usual manner for a spiked axe. Inter- 
esting additions in this instance, however, are the two straps running along 
the haft and fastened by two transverse rivets. The eye is round and tapers 
slightly from back to front. On the obverse side of the blade appear a 
cartouche bearing an illegible maker's name, the broad arrow signifying 
government ownership, and two broad arrows struck point to point in- 
dicating that the piece has been sold. The haft has been shortened an in- 
determinate amount. (Of eight identical specimens examined during this 
study, all have been cut off at approximately the same point.) Both head 
and haft are painted black. 

H: 8f" W: 3$" L: 22^' Author's collection 



TOMAHAWKS AND HATCHETS USED BY WHITE MEN 141 

309. Boarding axe, probably British, (ca. 1 800-1 850). This specimen bears 
many similarities to the preceding one in the method of forging and general 
shape of the blade. Differences include the narrower, slightly curved spike 
and the two notches in the rear line of the blade. It was excavated in San 
Juan County, Washington, and undoubtedly came from one of the naval 
vessels which frequented the area. 

H: 7£" W: i\" mai/hf: 4/5412 

310. American boarding axe, (ca. 1 800-1 850). The present specimen was 
found in an Indian burial in New Jersey. No marks are visible, but identical 
specimens bearing U.S. marks have been found. The eye is round and tapers 
to the rear in the normal manner for picks and tomahawks. There are no 
straps. Characteristic of this particular form is the right-angle turn of the 
rear line of the blade with two notches along the top. 

H: n£" W: 3f" mai/hf: 10/4993 

311. American boarding axe, (ca. 1800-1850). Closely related to the previ- 
ous specimen, this axe is slightly more sophisticated. The spike is rectangu- 
lar in section and at one time had a point with chamfered edges which has 
since been cut off. The eye is round and tapers to the rear. The blade has 
two notches in the rear line. The straps are separate from the head, passing 
through the eye and forming a convex split cover for the fore end. On the 
reverse side of the blade is stamped "U. S. / N. Y. W. [Navy Yard, Wash- 
ington] J. T. [the inspector's initials]." The obverse side bears a much later 
stamping "ORD'CE [Ordnance] / N. Y. N. Y. [Navy Yard, New York] / 
1852." This second inscription would indicate that it was reinspected and 
issued from New York at that date. The head and straps are painted black. 
The haft is round with a flattened ball at the butt. Other axes of this pat- 
tern are known with slightly different hafts. 

H: g\" W: 1%" L: 24" Author's collection 

312. French boarding axe, model 1833. An exceptionally massive speci- 
men with heavy spike, diamond shaped in cross section. The eye is rec- 
tangular, and the straps which lie along the top and bottom of the haft pass 
through it and are headed on the fore end. They are fastened together by 
two vertical rivets which pass through the haft. On the reverse side is a 
belt hook which also passes through the eye and is held in place by a screw 
directly behind the head. The blade flares symmetrically in concave arcs 
and is stamped on both sides with an anchor. Both head and haft are 
painted black. Although this axe is French, many specimens are found in 
America, and the present specimen was actually purchased as Civil War 
surplus at the Boston Navy Yard late in the last century, lending 
credence to the fact that numbers of them were manufactured for use 
during that war. 

H: 9" W: 4!" L: 2i£" Author's collection 

313. American boarding axe. This model is a heavy shingler's hatchet with 
straps along the haft. Its exact date of adoption is not known, but it was 
used during the Civil War and thereafter as long as boarding axes were 
issued. The head is usually made of cast steel with a hammer which flares 
slightly toward the top and is rectangular in section with rounded corners. 
The straps are fastened by two transverse rivets, and the blade has two 



142 AMERICAN INDIAN TOMAHAWKS 

rectangular slots in the rear line. Some specimens are stamped "U. S. 
NAVY" on the blade. The present specimen is stamped "WARRANTED / 
CAST STEEL" in two vertical lines on the reverse of the hammer. 

H: 6f" W: $\" L: 17I" Author's collection 

314. Frog for Civil War boarding axe. Made of black harness leather with 
a loop for the belt and a strap to button over the top of the axe, these frogs 
provided the means for carrying the boarding axe into action. The button 
for the strap is a pointed stud of brass, and there is a gusset at the back of 
the pocket to allow for the flat end of the hammer. On the front portion of 
the pocket is stamped a pointed ellipse bearing the legend "NAVY YARD / 
N. Y. / 1865" plus two anchors. The period following the "Y" in the second 
line is actually a tiny five-pointed star. Frogs for post-Civil War boarding 
axes were generally similar but lacked the gusset at the rear of the pocket. 
The brass stud also was round headed instead of pointed, and the stamp 
consisted of a generally rectangular cartouche with the words "U. S. N. Y. / 
BOSTON" or a similar Navy Yard without date or anchors. 

H: 6£" W: 8" Author's collection 



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