1892: Limpy Jim and other fools

More of that California Indian pidgin English (etc.)…

reedley ca

(Image credit: BestPlaces)

Here’s the start of an early post-frontier political letter to the editor, purporting to quote a Native man known as Limpy Jim:

limpy 1

limpy 2

Limpy Jim and Other Fools.

Eds. Record-Union: Limpy Jim is
securely in jail. Our Reedley Constable,
Fred. Stoll, started alter him on a hot
trail, and he didn’t let it get cold. The
trail led across the Sierras into Inyo
County, a trip of a week over untraveled
mountain canyons and precipices. Fred
had neither food, nor horsefeed, nor
blankets to protect from the mountain
cold, but he kept up his utmost speed
till the fugitive was caught. And who is
Limpy Jim? Nothing but an old Digger
Indian. What had he done? Killed
another Indian; that was all! But the
circumstances of the killing ally Jim
with “the great and popular movement
of the day.” Jim’s victim was an Indian
doctor, who years ago came into the val-
ley where Jim and his family lived, and
had eminent success treating Indian ail-
ments. Finally, after years of successful
medical practice, he was called upon to
treat Jim’s family just down with
typhoid fever. He used the same reme-
dies that he’d successfully used in ma-
laria, rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago and
all previous ailments he’d treated, but
Jim’s family all died, and the doctor fled
the country and was followed and mur-
dered by the deeply injured and justly
indignant Jim.

Limpy has been interviewed. He says:
Sqedunk, Indian doctor, Panamint,
catchum $2, give heap medicine Indian
allee time get well. Pahlee (the murdered
doctor) catchum $2, no give um much
medicine, my family all die.” We say,
“But, Jim, may be your family had a
more deadly disease than the Indians
had who were cured at Panamint.” Jim
again answers: “Doctor at Panamint
catchum $2, give heap medicine, Indian
get well. Pahlee catchum $2, little medi-
cine, family die.” We again urge:
“Maybe he couldn’t get the necessary
medicine; perhaps the progress of the dis-
ease was too rapid for him to procure the
proper remedies.” To this Jim gives the
same answer. We again urge that the
locality where his family were sick may
have a climate so unhealthy that no med-
icine or treatment could allay the disease.
To this came the identical same answer.
This is Limpy Jim’s statement of the
case, his defense and appeal for justice
and sympathy from his standpoint
which makes murder or any other re-
dress justifiable.

— from the Sacramento (CA) Record-Union of August 29, 1892, page 6, column 1

What do you think?