John Baptiste
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John Baptiste (1874 - 1915)

John Baptiste
Born in Nebraska, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married about 1898 (to before 1909) [location unknown]
Husband of — married 10 Sep 1907 (to 22 Jan 1909) in Winnebago, Thurston, Nebraska, United Statesmap
Husband of — married 13 Oct 1914 (to 1915) in Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa, United Statesmap
[children unknown]
Died at about age 41 in Winnebago, Thurston, Nebraska, United Statesmap [uncertain]
Profile last modified | Created 7 Jan 2020
This page has been accessed 448 times.
John was Ho-Chunk.




John was born about 1874.


"THE Chicago Record, of June 27, says: 'John Baptiste visited Chicago yesterday. John is the only Indian printer known. He has just completed a course of nine months at General Armstrong's school, at Hampton, Virginia, and is returning to his home on the Winnebago reservation. He is twenty-one years old. He has attended the schools at Genoa, Nebraska, and was graduated from the Carlisle Indian School in 1893. He decided to learn the printers' trade, and went to Hampton for instruction last fall. He arrived in Chicago at 8 o'clock yesterday morning and left at 6 o'clock in the evening. He is a member of the Winnebago tribe, of which his father, George Baptiste, is counselor. He intends to work at his trade in either Sioux City or Omaha.' It takes from three to five years for a white man to obtain a satisfactory knowledge of the printers' art. Possibly this young man, being the 'only full-blooded Indian who has ever learned the printers' trade.' has felt the responsibility of his tribe resting upon him and has appreciated the importance of a 'rush job'." (Chicago Notes, 520)


"One of the Carlisle team's earliest stars, Baptiste itched and played infield for the 1891 and 1892 teams. He also played for Genoa Indian Agricultural and Industrial School and became a semipro legend in Nebraska. Guy W. Green wrote of him, 'Then there was John Baptiste, a full-blooded Winnebago, whose services were in demand all over Nebraska.' In this early report of a game against Franklin and Marshall in May of 1892, Baptiste starred as the Carlisle pitcher: 'the copper-colored little pitcher sent a ball across the plate with a speed that was remarkable, relieving many on strikes.' Baptiste graduated from Carlisle in 1893, returning to Nebraska to work and play ball." (Powers-Beck, 182, 194)


"Information provided by Howard McKee, Elder of the Native American Church: The Native American Church was organized under the following leadership: John Rave and his 12 “Disciples”: John Baptiste, Willie Bird, Late Rave, Harry Rave, Albert Hensley, Joe Brown, Lawrence Smith, Turner Rave, Peter Rave, Sr., Oliver LaMere, Jesse Clay, and Harme Chase. After a successful beginning, the Church was incorporated in 1921." (Winn. Ind. News, 10)

Academic Accomplishments

John Baptiste's chief claim to fame is that he was Paul Radin's chief translator during the first year or two of his 1908-1912 field work among the Winnebago. He played an important role in the translation of the Trickster tales used in Radin's book: "The initial translation was made by two younger Indians, John Baptiste and Oliver LaMere, both of whom knew English very well, particularly the former." (Radin, 112)

John Baptiste also contributed two stories contained in Radin's Notebooks: The Fox-Hočąk War (Version II), and Ghost Dance Origin Myth II. (Dieterle)


John died in 1915 (aged 40–41) and is buried in Winnebago Cemetery, Winnebago, Thurston County, Nebraska, USA. (Find a Grave)


This profile was created by Richard L Dieterle on 7 Jan 2020.

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Categories: Winnebago Cemetery, Winnebago, Nebraska | Ho-Chunk