After our email last week where I stated that J.B. Moore sold the Crystal Trading Post in 1911 and disappeared, possibly as the result of a scandal, I received a couple of emails. This one is from Mike Ryan, co-author of “The Great American Turquoise Rush 1890-1910.
According to Iverson in Diné: A History of the Navajos, p. 132, Marion Moore was the postmaster at Crystal. She had founded The Navajo Indian League to solicit donations for missionary and charitable work from women’s religious and charity groups. Evidently she also intended the effort to expand her husband's marketing network to promote the sale of rugs via the catalogs. It’s hard to know someone’s intent but in any case the matter came before the assistant Indian commissioner F.H. Abbott who opined that her missionary and charity work was not well founded and later in 1911, “Mrs. Moore’s business is commercial and not connected with missionary activity”. Although she was declared innocent of mail fraud the experience sufficiently disturbed the Moores that they basically went underground.”
That may be the answer. It still doesn’t explain how it is that we have a record of Marion’s death in Texas in 1917, but nothing about Moore’s passing. If you have a clue, pass it on!If you don’t have Mike’s book on turquoise, you can order it online.
And, from Navajo weaving expert and collector Carol Ann MacKay:
“Hi, I thought you should know the scandal that J.B. Moore was involved in. When he sent out his catalogs, and there were several, he would ask for money and other goods as donations for his “poor Indians.” When these items were sent back to him, he put the money in his own pocket and the food goods etc. on the shelves of his trading post for sale. When the powers that be (probably the Bureau of Indian Affairs) got wind of this, he lost his license and left the Rez. Supposedly he went to Texas and at some point he went to Mexico.”
And thanks to everyone who caught that I had John B. Moore being born 100 years later than he was! Thank you for everyone’s feedback.
An Exciting New Artist for Gallery Walk Friday, May 11!
It has been a long time since I met an artist whose talent and perspective on life and art got me so excited. Our May Gallery Walk, for the first time in years, will be a single artist show featuring the oil paintings of Shawn Begay.
He is a young Navajo artist from the Two Grey Hills area that has been hiding from the world.
I saw his work for the first time about a year ago when his sister brought some pieces in to sell. She was having a tough time and Shawn gave her some of his paintings to sell to help her out. Since meeting him, we have developed a great relationship. This young man is the real thing! He is an avid student of art, attended the Institute of American Indian Art and has been quietly spending his time on the reservation, helping his mom and working on his paintings.
For the past nine months, he has been working on the show for Spring Gallery walk on May 11. Most of these paintings will be exhibited for the first time. This will be his first gallery show and I can promise you, it will not be his last. I believe he is destined for great things.
We will have a full story on him in the next newsletter, but I hope you will put it on your calendar to come and meet him! We will also open the show that day on our website!
Thank you for all the support and encouragement following our Burglary. Where did Roy Rogers come from?
So many people from all over the country called, sent notes, we received flowers, candy and our banker sent a bottle of wine following the burglary in September. She totally understood the situation! We got dozens of tips and calls about possible sightings of our jewelry. The out pouring of support brought me to tears more than once. Seriously.
It is never easy to have something stolen, but when you know that these things are one of a kind pieces of art, many of them by deceased silversmiths and by people that were good friends, it really hurts. Many of the pieces we had stolen were on consignment, which is the reason I always say to never consign to someone who isn’t insured! Our insurance company, based in New York and Paris, specializes in art coverage. In today’s world, where the bad guys often get away, it is important. If we had not had insurance, we could very well have been forced to close the gallery.
When something like this happens, it makes you realize how far down the line thieves can hurt. The artists and their families, the people who sell the art, the city (they were forced to spend hours of police time and they lost sales tax revenue), the insurance company, the customers who will never have the opportunity to see this beautiful work and lots more.
But, there is a mystery person I would like help identifying. A day or so after we had re-opened, a woman came into the gallery and left me a small package. I did not see her. There was a note that said, “I hope these will help you through this difficult time.” It was signed, but I cannot read the signature.
Inside the package was a set of DVD’s featuring all of the 30 minute Roy Rogers and Dale Evans television shows from the 1950’s and 60’s! I watched every one of them and loved it!
The good guys always win, it is no secret who the bad guys are, they never give up, women are treated with respect, the good guys are polite and courteous and if there is a fist fight or a gun fight, the whole screen does not explode with blood and gore!<
I watched one episode with my grandchildren. My grandson, Aidan, asked a question that had never occurred to me when I watched the shows every day after grade school. In one scene, Roy’s sidekick, Pat Brady, is driving after the bad guy in Nellybelle (his jeep) while Roy was pursuing on his horse.
My grandson asked, “Why do they have cars and horses in the same movie?”
“Well,” I answered, “that’s because it’s the Roy Rogers show!” This, of course, made no sense to him, but just then Dale Evans had to be rescued and I didn’t have to elaborate.
If you are the person, or if you know who the person is who sent this wonderful gift, could you let me know please?
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