Father Francis M. Craft, Missionary to the Sioux

By Thomas W. Foley | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

In 1944, rummaging around my Aunt Marae’s Chicago apartment, I found a shoe box stuffed with a collection of old letters, newspaper accounts, three small handwritten volumes, and a single photograph. The three volumes were the journals of Father Craft, written during a twenty-six-month period on Standing Rock Agency in 1888-90. The letters included correspondence from bishops, cardinals, Civil War generals, the secretary of war—even a message from Sitting Bull. As a teenager, I was fascinated with my find and asked my aunt if I could have these “Indian papers.” She agreed to pass them on to me, and on the back of the lone photo, she identified the subject as Father Francis M. Craft, noting that he had “passed away in the arms of Robert R. Foley, your Daddy.”

Father Craft, my father, and my aunt, Mary B. McCarthy, had become close friends while he served as pastor of St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; they were especially instrumental in the building of St. Mark’s Mission Church in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, shortly before Father Craft died in 1920. First and foremost, then, I am grateful to my father and aunt for having conserved the priest’s papers for that first quarter century.

Since retiring in 1990, I’ve researched Father Craft’s life and the events that influenced it using sources ranging from frontier abbeys to the Vatican Museum; from Marquette University in Milwaukee to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium; historical societies from the Dakotas to Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York; diocesan archives from the Dakotas

-xi-

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Father Francis M. Craft, Missionary to the Sioux
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xv
  • I- The Formative Years 1
  • II- Path to Priesthood 6
  • III- Spotted Tail’s Quest 10
  • IV- Conspiracy on Rosebud 17
  • V- Conflicts on Standing Rock 24
  • VI- Settling in on Standing Rock 31
  • VII- Missionary Labor and Sacrifice 48
  • VIII- Humor and Whimsy 59
  • IX- The Land Boomers 67
  • X- Fort Berthold 71
  • XI- A Special Envoy 78
  • XII- Wounded Knee 87
  • XIII- Bitter Aftermath 94
  • XIV- The Origins of the Indian Sisterhood 100
  • XV- The Death of Sacred White Buffalo 107
  • XVI- Illusions of Success 114
  • XVII- A Malicious Assault 119
  • XVIII- A Strategic Retreat 127
  • XIX- Was Father Craft Insane? 137
  • XX- Homecoming 154
  • Epilogue 160
  • Notes 161
  • Bibliography 179
  • Index 185
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