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Old 09-10-2007, 04:43 PM
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War whoops

This is from The Daily Star paper in NY State.

Published: September 08, 2007 09:44 am

Local ’Indian Princess’ made international splash

If you’d ever like to grab someone’s attention when you arrive at his place for a visit, take the advice of Carolina Mohawk. Announce it with a good old-fashioned American Indian war whoop, and check out the reaction.

Carolina Mohawk once lived in Greene with her parents. Although it wasn’t for very long, for village residents it was very memorable. So much so, a blue and yellow historic state marker is in front of the family’s former home on South Chenango Street. Carolina was known as Go Won Go Mohawk, Indian Princess.

According to Mildred Cochrane’s book, "From Raft to Railroad," the Mohawk family was quite colorful and well-liked in the nearly nine years they were around Greene. Dr. Allen Mohawk came to Greene around 1861 with his wife, Lydia, and Carolina from a reservation in Gowanda, Cattaraugus County.

Nothing is known of Dr. Mohawk’s medical training, but his skill with herbs was said to be legendary, and he performed what were considered to be miraculous cures. Once he was asked to come to New Berlin to see a woman whom the best physicians from across our region had given up hope on. Dr. Mohawk took the case and within three weeks the woman was sitting up and later was free of her disease.

Dr. Mohawk, like many around Greene, used to love horses, and raced them. Mohawk would lead his competitors around the north turn of a local track and would always let out a wild war whoop, which it was said could be heard two miles away. His horse got used to the high-decibel whoop and then poured on the speed to win many races, mainly because the other horses were startled and would quit, much to the annoyance of their drivers.

Race judges were asked about the war whoops but never disqualified Mohawk because, "Every man had a right to talk to his horse."

Go Won Go, which in the Mohawk Indian tongue means, "fear no one," was much like her father _ tall, with flashing dark eyes and the same flow of thought. After Dr. Mohawk died in 1869, Go Won Go and Lydia then went to live in Painesville, Ohio.

Much like we now have "American Idol" contests and winners on tour these days, Indian and Western shows were very popular in the 1880s and ’90s. Talented American Indians were recruited for these traveling shows, and Go Won Go was among those recruited. She had developed into a beauty, became a noted horsewoman and won several prizes with the rifle and bow and arrow.

Go Won Go attracted the attention of many talent scouts. One was Capt. Charles W. Charles, an ex-Army officer and former actor who became her theatrical manager on the vaudeville circuit. Under Charles’ guidance she became an accomplished actress, well-educated and in time wrote and starred in her own plays.

In 1889, they married and settled down in Edgewater, N.J. They owned their own show and took many trips to Europe with a company of cowboys and Indians. The title of Princess was added to her Indian name for stage purposes.

Go Won Go once visited a friend in New York City. She announced her arrival with a war whoop, startling everyone for blocks around the East 170th Street area. Like father, like daughter.

While Capt. Charles and Go Won Go took their show to Europe and around the U.S., they also visited our region.

In March 1898, for example, The Chenango American reported how they visited Greene after entertaining large audiences at a Binghamton theater called The Bijou. She met with friends of her youth and visited her father’s grave and her old home.

"She was attired for the reception in a rich and queenly dress," the newspaper reported, "and the diamonds and jewelry were valued at several thousand dollars."

Despite an early death of Capt. Charles, as well as her faithful horse companion, Buckskin, Go Won Go continued to tour on her own until her health failed. She passed away in February 1924 at her home, "Mohawk Wigwam," in Edgewater, N.J.

On Monday: An Oneonta fairground is converted into a neighborhood.

City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or e-mail him at simmark@stny.rr.com. His website is www.oneontahistorian.com.

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:17 AM
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Re: War whoops

Thank you for that article and the link to that NY newpaper. Oneonta is about 45 minutes south of me. We go there often, and to Cooperstown. It's a wonderful drive. We pass through the Mohawk reservation on the way. At least I think that's what it is. There's a large meeting place for the Mohawk Indians there and a museum. Anyone interested in antiques should make the drive. There's a place called Wood Bull Antiques just minutes south of Cooperstown on Rt. 28, the BEST place I've found so far. A large barn and 2-3 out buildings chock full of great stuff, plus acres of farmland with outdoor items like fountains, statues and iron yard furniture.Then west on Rt. 20, there's a town called Bouckeville where they have a couple of giant Antique fairs a year, thousands of venders spread out along the streets and in a couple of farm fields. Even when there's no fair going on, the whole Rt. 20 is lined with antique stores. From NJ it won't be a day trip but there are plenty of B&B's though.
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:54 AM
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Re: War whoops

I stopped in to see Go Won Go's gravesite the other day. What a peaceful place for repose for an amazing lady! Thanks for the info.
"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." Roberto Clemente.

Lauran...proud to be the daughter of Neda Rose
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