Here at Wax Museum, you’ll learn about some famous historical personalities. They are individuals who played important roles in Canadian and American history! Sometimes when you look at historic photos and see how different people dressed, you wonder what it was like living back in those days. Here at the museum you can start to gain a real appreciation of the ‘good ol’ days’!
Jerry Potts (1840 – July 14, 1896) was an American-Canadian plainsman, buffalo hunter, horse trader, interpreter and scout. He was also known as “Ky-yo-kosi”, meaning Bear Child. It was given to him by his Blood tribe because of his bravery and ability to be persistent while he was still a teen.
A Great Warrior
Potts gained fame as a legendary Indian warrior, fighting against the enemies of the Blackfoot Confederacy to which his mother’s people belonged. He was the son of a Scottish Fur trader and his mother was Native Blood, and he grew up learning to fend for himself. By the time Potts was twenty-five, he was already a wealthy man because of his skills in horse trading.
He Knew Hundreds of Trails
He became a minor native chief when he was around 25 years old because of his great bravery in battle. He knew how to lead people with dignity and wisdom and he helped establish peace in the region. He had great knowledge of the prairies and it is said that he knew every trail from Fort Edmonton to the lands of the Cheyenne and Apache and every hill between those trails. Potts could speak many languages. He was fluent in American English, Blackfoot, Crow, and had a better than average ability in Plains Cree.
Wore a ‘Cat Skin’
Potts wore his ‘magic’ cat skin next to his body at all times that he believed gave him good-luck. He hung the scalps he’d captured on the lodge pole of his main teepee in Indian fashion (as if to say, ‘leave me alone while I’m sleeping, or else!). But still he wore the clothing of the white man most of the time including a fashionable hat that sported a wide headband. His bushy, drooping mustache was as stylish as that of any white man in his day.
Died Too Young
He only stopped working for the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) at age 58 because the pain of throat cancer made it so that he could no longer ride. He died a year later, on 14 July 1896. Jerry Potts was buried at Fort Macleod with full honors in 1896 having served with the NWMP for 25 years. He was given the rank of special constable.
Have you learned about any historical personalities where you live? Who would you like to learn more about? Send your request to Submit and you might find them in Countryville’s Historical Museum of Wax.