Biography of John Ramsey 

Before he was John Ramsey, a model student of the Carlisle Indian School, he was Wap-Tose-Note a member of the Nez Perce tribe of Idaho. According to his student records, Ramsey was enrolled in the Carlisle Indian School on September 4th, 1907 at the ripe age of 18 years old for his second years at the school which shows his value to the school as a model student. Under the “Indorsements” clause of the application, in Ramsey’s file, it states: “The laws relating to the transfer of Indian children from reservations and schools are as follows… That hereafter no Indian child shall be sent from any Indian reservation to a school beyond that State or Territory in which said reservation is situated without the voluntary consent of the father or mother of such child if either of them is living, and if neither of them is living without the voluntary consent of the next of kin such child.” When Ramsey enrolled at the school at age 18, the clause continues to state: “An Indian boy or girl 18 years old and over may, without the consent of parents or others, personally sign the application form on its being changed to suit the case.” With this evidence, it can be concluded that John Ramsey enrolled himself in the Carlisle Indian School without encouragement or consent from his parents. This claim can be confirmed as his application states “For the enrollment of SELF.” Yet, this was his second time applying to the school after his initial four year application that was authorized by his mother in 1907 for a four year term that lasted from 1907 to 1912. In 1912, Ramsey applied for one more year at the school, maybe to continue his education of trade or to assist the Carlisle Indian School administration in recruiting more Indian youth to the school.

Two letters from 1913 appear in Ramsey’s  student files from his years at the Carlisle Indian School. Both letters are addressed to Ramsey and signed by the schools superintendent. It can be concluded that Ramsey and the superintendent have a fond relationship as the superintendent addresses Ramsey in the letter as “My dear Friend:” and signs it “Truly your friend”. In the letter, the school’s superintendent appears to be asking Ramsey to distribute blank applications to his friends “of school age” from back at his Nez Perce home in Idaho. The superintendent adds, “If you find it convenient to assist in any other way the favor will be appreciated.” It appears that Ramsey left such a wonderful impression at the school that when he left in 1913, he became an ambassador for the school. The second letter in Ramsey’s student files then indicates that the school superintendent was actually paying Ramsey for his work in recruiting new students to the school. The letter writes, “There is herewith enclosed a check for $4.36… Please sign the face of check before presenting for payment… Your friend, Superintendent.”

During his time at the Carlisle Indian School, Ramsey’s records indicate that through all his years at the school he was always deemed “excellent”, “very good”, or “assimilated” in aspects of education, health and character. On the other hand, Ramsey’s trade cards indicate a lesser seal of approval by saying his work was “good” or “fair” which is why I assume he applied for a fifth year at the school to perfect his new trade skills that he had not learned before at his home in Idaho.


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