Chief Bruce John Poolaw

Chief Bruce John Poolaw

Birth
Mountain View, Kiowa County, Oklahoma, USA
Death 21 Dec 1984 (aged 80)
Oklahoma, USA
Burial Mountain View, Kiowa County, Oklahoma, USA
Memorial ID 65926329 · View Source
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Showman and Rodeo Star. A Kiowa, who was born and grew up in Mountain View, Oklahoma (Kiowa County). He was one of at least eleven children of Tsomah and George Poolaw. His father had at least two wives so Bruce had both full and half siblings. His full siblings, those whose mother was Tsomah, included: David T.; Phyllis Annie; Gladys Samuel; Robert William, his twin; Horace Monroe; Pierce Justin; and Trecil. His half siblings, those whose mother was Keahtinekeah, included: Dorothy (Oegotahkeah); Moses Edward; Ralph E.; and Cora. Another half sibling was Mammedaty, whose mother was Ku-da-am-ke.

In 1910, he was living with his parents, maternal grandparents, and siblings in Mountain View Township, Oklahoma (Kiowa County). The household included: George Poolaw, age 46, born in Oklahoma of Oklahoma parents, married twice, a farmer; Tromah, age 38, married twice, six living children of ten, born in Oklahoma of Mexican parents; David, age 15, born in Oklahoma; Annie, age 13; Bruce, age 5; Robert, age 5; Horace, age 4; Shah-k, age 2; Jerry, age 62, father in law, married 10 times, 36 years, speaks Kiowa, born in Mexico of Mexican parents; and Kon-No-Aon, age 66, mother in law, married twice, born in Mexico of Mexican parents.

In 1920, he was still living at home with his parents and siblings. His grandparents Jerry Paith-T-Te, age 71 and Kau-Oirty, age 72 were still in the household. Bruce began his career as an entertainer around that time. He had adopted "Chief" as his stage name and became a nationally known performer. In 1929, while on the Keith Vaudeville Circuit performing at wild west shows, he met Lucy Nicolar, known as Princess Watahwaso, a popular vaudeville singer. Princess Watahwaso was married at the time, but her husband left her in 1929 and she returned to her home in Maine.

In 1930, Bruce was living in Mountain View, Oklahoma with his parents, his younger brother Justin, age 19, and his sister Trecil, age 17. His occupation was "actor vaudeville." From 1933 until at least 1937, he was still counted in the Indian census as living in Mountain View, Oklahoma. He was single and lived alone. At some point after that, he married Princess Watahwaso and moved to her home in the Penobscot Community on Indian Island in Maine. They built their home there and in 1947, erected a tepee next to their home and opened Chief Poolaw's Trading Post. They sold native goods such as baskets. They also held live shows that employed some of the local children and included some of their Vaudeville acts. Bruce also ran a guide service, which employed some of the local Penabscot guides. Several years after his wife died in 1969, he moved back to Oklahoma, where he spent the rest of his life.



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  • Maintained by: Thousandwinds
  • Originally Created by: Claudia L Naugle
  • Added: 20 Feb 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 65926329
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Chief Bruce John Poolaw (25 Dec 1903–21 Dec 1984), Find a Grave Memorial no. 65926329, citing Rainy Mountain Cemetery, Mountain View, Kiowa County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Thousandwinds (contributor 47530874) .