Collection: Patchogue-Medford Library – Digital PML
Type of Material: Photograph
Creator: Red Thunder Cloud [Cromwell Ashbie Hawkins West]
Copyright: No Known Copyright Restriction
The reverse reads:
“George Lewis Fowler Sr. was born on the Montauk reservation April 22, 1860. His boyhood was spent roaming the hills of the great peninsula and his children say that he knew every inch of the vast terrain by heart. He was an expert hunter, trapper and fisherman and his son George Jr. inherited all of these traits of the Woodland Indian.
George Fowler Sr. was a Montauk tribal councilman of the Freetown Band of Montauks and the Eastville Montauks of Sag Harbor and had their own tribal council. Only the Freetown Band was recognized by Washington as the legitimate Montauk Tribal Council. He was one of the members of a delegation of Montauks who visited Washington in 1921 in order to determine their status. Like other members of his tribe, he insisted that the late Arthur Benson of Brooklyn worked his way into the confidence of the Montauks, by living among them and following the chase with the men. By getting the Indians to sign a paper which they did not clearly understand, Benson came into the possession of the rich Montauk lands, which he then sold to the Long Island Railroad.
Mr. Fowler, like other members of his tribe, worked hard for a living. Much of their money went to lawyers whom they hired to represent their case, only to lose it in 1910, when Judge Abel S. Blackmar ruled that there was no longer any tribe of Montauk. I feel that his decision broke the backbone of the Montauks and was the direct cause of their lack of spirit or interest in anything Indian. George Fowler Sr.’s sons were quite apathetic to any movement or Indian organization, having become bitter over the money that their parents lost in a fruitless attempt to regain their ancestral lands.
George Fowler’s daughter Eliza married Anthony Beaman of the Shinnecocks and this is a rare photo of he, his daughter, and son-in-law.
Well spoken and thought of in East Hampton, George Fowler Sr. died on January 1, 1931. He is buried in the Fowler family plot in Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton.”