Wallowa, Wallowa County, Oregon
Chief Philip Dies On His Native Sod
Head of Nez Perce Indians Passes Away While Visiting in Wallowa County.
Philip McFarland, leader of the Nez Perce Indians, died Tuesday afternoon at the Wallowa County Fair grounds. With about 30 members of his tribe he had come to his native hills to visit old scenes and enjoy the fair. His body will be buried on Captain John creek, on the Idaho side of Snake River, about 23 miles above Lewiston, beside his father and mother.
All thru his life Chief Philip had been a frequent visitor in Wallowa County. He was here in the early summer with a party of Nez Perce Indians to locate the old Indian burial grounds which are set aside by the government as sacred to the Redmen. Two weeks ago he returned from his home at Lapwai, Idaho, and went to the head of Chesnimnus creek, where he remained until last Wednesday on Harry Huffman’s ranch.
He had been affected with Bright’s disease for many years and other complications set in and he became very ill. He was brought to Enterprise on Thursday of last week and remained for two days at a hotel. Then the other Nez Perce Indians arrived and set up their tepees on the fair grounds and Philip joined them. A physician was called and the native Indian treatments also were applied but to no purpose.
Philip was born in 1848 and so was 73 years of age, according to his own statement made recently. He was born on the Huffman ranch, and a year ago pointed out to the present owner the spot where the tepees were set by the Indians at this favorite camping ground of the old days.
His father died 17 years ago at what is known as the Indian village at the head of Fence creek, on the crest of the Imnaha canyon, and his mother died 23 years ago on the upper Chesnimnus, near where Philip was born. The old chief has told that it was dead of winter when his mother passed away and her body received temporary burial in the snow. In the spring it was taken to its permanent resting place on Snake River. Philips wife died five years ago at Lapwai.
A son and daughter survive Philip: Frances McFarland of Kamiah, Idaho, who has been visiting at Pendleton, and Mrs. Nora Harrison of Lapwai. There are six grandchildren. A sister, Mrs, Julia Minthorn, lives at Umatilla, and a brother, David McFarland lives at Lapwai.
Phipip was chief of the Nez Perce Indians when that title and office were recognized. As there are no chiefs now, he had been known of late simply as their leading and most influential man.
Coming to the fair was a good deal of a lark for the Indians. They were paid for coming, but they also entered into the various sports for the fun of it. After Philips death his tepee was taken down but the other Indians remained to participate in the fair. They demurred at giving their war dance, but at length agreed to give it tomorrow and Saturday afternoons.
Philip was personally acquainted with scores of residents of the county who welcomed him back as an honored guest on his frequent visits.
Source: Enterprise Record Chieftain, October 6, 1921, Front Page
Contributed by: Sue Wells