As a young boy in the 1950’s, one day I discovered a paper bag full of Indian artifacts and photos in my grandfather’s attic. After almost 50 years of toting them from state to state and home to home, I began a personal quest to find answers to the questions those relics had been “whispering” to me over the years. The journey led me away from a long career in engineering and technology down a new road of historical research and writing about an ancestor from Spencerport, NY, who became an Indian Agent on the largest Sioux Reservation in 1886.
I present on a variety of topics (both informative and entertaining), including historical research methods, the Sioux Indians of the 1880's, an Indian Agent's personal journey, attempts to "civilize" the Indian, and the historical period of "Manifest Destiny."
60-90 minute presentations can be arranged for adult audiences (aged 16 and above). Please click the information link below.
Four publications are PLANNED ("in the works"):
-- An “album”:
The Rosebud Delegation: An Indian Agent’s Album
(...a photo album and much more...) Unpublished photos of an important era deserve to be accompanied by more than simple captions. This album reconstructs the Rosebud Agency setting in the important historical context of breaking up the Great Sioux Reservation and “killing the Indian” but “saving the man.”
-- A biography:
The Rosebud Agency: An Indian Agent’s Journey
Col. L.F. Spencer was a politically active white man from a small village in western New York State, with no Indian-related experience. He was appointed to the largest agency on the Great Sioux Reservation. He served in historic times, but was he up to the challenge? The story of his journey naturally involves all the participants connected to Rosebud in 1888: the US government, from the President and Congress to the Bureau of Indian Affairs employees on the reservation; the Lakota people; the military and “private” militias; the press and eastern reformers; and assorted thieves, rascals, and scoundrels. Most of all, it’s a story about the actions of men when character counts.
-- A novel:
The Rosebud Hotel: The Indian Agent’s Daughter
L.F. Spencer had a wife and one daughter, Hattie, who was 18 years old when she was removed from an upper class life in New York and placed as a school teacher on the Rosebud Agency, assisted by Luther Standing Bear. Not only was her life turned upside down, but her character and toughness were tested, not always successfully. From a protected life, through the harshness of the wild plains, to an affair with a married man and trouble with the law, this is Hattie’s story.
-- A personal quest:
Searching for Agent Spencer: A Tale and a Guide for Do-It-Yourself Researchers
Searching for Agent Spencer has led to people and places that have enriched me -- and at times provided unexpected entertainment. The process of searching for answers to questions “whispered” by items in attics or basements can be especially rewarding. My journey is documented with tales and the process of discovery which could help others to find their own “Agent Spencer.”
Col. Lebbeus Foster (L.F.) Spencer
(Son of Daniel Spencer)
Born: 1833, Spencerport, NY
Died: 1904, Spencerport, NY
Indian Agent, Rosebud Agency
Dakota Territory, 1886-1889
Wife: Anna Whiting Spencer
Daughter: Harriet Cleveland Spencer