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Postcard of the week ending
Saturday, 15 October 2005

Go-won-go Mohawk (fl. 1888-1919)
American Indian actress and playwright

 Go-won-go Mohawk

Go-won-go Mohawk

(photo: unknown, probably England, 1905)

This real photograph postcard, without photographer's or publisher's credit, was probably issued during Go-won-go Mohawk's visit to England in 1905.

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'An Indian Actress.
'Miss Go-won-go Mohawk is one of the few Indians who have adopted the stage. Her father, who was a medicine man, stood six feet two and a half in his stocking feet. Miss Mohawk is said to be a direct descendant of the famous Red Jacket, and she belongs to the Mohawk tribe of the Seneca nation. She was born on the reservation in Gowanda, N.Y., where she remained until 10 years of age. She was taught when a child all the arts of woodcraft and horsemanship, and is an expert in the use of the rifle and throwing the lariat. She invariably rides without saddle or other support than a mere tether to guide the animal. At the solicitation of the Indian agent she was sent to school at Painsville, O., to be educated. There she soon showed a desire for study and became one of the brightest pupils in the school. Last season she played Saugerre, the Gypsy, in a Michael Strogoff company. Her latest character is the leading role in a play written for her entitled The Indian Mail Carrier.'
(Hornellsville Weekly Tribune, Hornellsville, New York, Friday, 20 July 1888, p.1e)

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New Clinton Street Theater, Trenton, New Jersey, March 1890.
'A treat is in store for the patrons of this place of amusement all next week, being the first appearance in Trenton of the only Indian actress, Go-won-go Mohawk, accompanied by her own celebrated trained Indian pony. The New York Herald says: "The Third Avenue Theater never held a large audience than it did last night. Go-won-go Mohawk, an Indian maiden, was the star, and she succeeded in winning a vast amount of applause. The Indian Mail Carrier was the play, and it depicted frontier life in hits most rugged state. It pleased the audience very much, and Go-won-go Mohawk was given a cordial reception. Her supporting company was a capable one." One matinee only, Saturday March 29.'
(The Trenton Times, Trenton, New Jersey, Friday, 21 March 1890, p.3a)

'A Popular Performance.
'Miss Go-Won-Go Mohawk, the only Indian actress, opened a week's engagement at the Clinton Street Theatre last night to the largest audience that that place has ever held. The piece was The Indian Mail Carrier, and was well received. Miss Mohawk is certainly a talented actress. Miss Mohawk resents a striking picture in her native dress, and when sitting astride her trained Indian pony, Wongy, she drew forth founds of applause
'The climax of the piece is reached in the third act in the terrific knife fight between Wep-ton-no-mah, the Indian mail carrier, and Spanish Joe. W.S. Montgomery as Manuel Lopez was very clever; Geo. W. Sparks as Capt. Franklin, and C.W. Traverse as Col. Stockton, also did good work. Charlie Charles as Garry Cullen and Billie Evans as Sam White, kept the audience in a roar by their comic songs and antics. May Buckingham as Mollie is a very talented young lady, her singing being quite above the average. The Mail Carrier will be the attraction again this evening. Popular prices will prevail.'
(The Trenton Times, Trenton, New Jersey, Tuesday, 25 March 1890, p.3d)

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'That very peculiar Indian actress, Gowongo Mohawk, will make a European tour in her very peculiar play, The Indian Mail Carrier.
(Sandusky Daily Register, Sandusky, Ohio, Tuesday, 20 September 1892, p.2c; Go-Won-Go Mohawk appeared in Wep-ton-no-mah, the Indian Mail Carrier during a tour of the United Kingdom in 1893 at the Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool (10 April 1893), the Elephant and Castle Theatre, London (11 September 1893), and elsewhere)

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Grand Theatre, Des Moines, Iowa, October 1901.
'Lincoln J. Carter's scenic melodrama, The Flaming Arrow, will hold the boards at the Grand the latter half of the week. The star is a full-blodded member of the Mohawk tribe. She speaks several languages, having been educated both in this country and abroad and is said to possess no little amount of dramatic ability. She recently returned from England, where her frontier plays are said to have been received with much enthusiasm.
'It is stated that The Flaming Arrow is a thrilling story of the troublesome times when the white men were preparing the way for the advance of civilization in the west. The character of White Eagle, a civilized Indian, is enacted by Go-Won-Go-Mohawk. A story of lover, revenge, loyalty and adventure is presented. It is claimed that elaborate and complete scenic equipment has been provided for the play and that many novel mechanical effects are introduced. Among the features of the production are the four trick ponies, Wango, Buckskin, Arrow and Flyer, Moon Dog and his family, Dead Flash and Kenjockety, the Indian scouts and a band of twelve Indian braves.'
(The Des Moines Daily Leader, Des Moines, Iowa, 29 September 1901, p.22d/e)

'Auditorium.
Wednesday Night, Oct. 30 [1901]
A night of glad surprise and wonder. Lincoln J. Carter presents the world's only Indian Actress,
GO WONGO MOHAWK in a big special Production of The Flaming Arrow , A play as typical of the New West as the Old Homestead is of the old East.
35 Special Cast 35
Genuine Government Indian Brass Band. Magnificent Scenery and Effects.
Princes, 25, 35 and 50 cents.'
(The Newark Daily Advocate, Newark, Ohio, Thursday, 24 October 1901, p.6a, advertisement)

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Majestic Theatre, Fort Wayne, February 1910.
'Go-Won-Go-Mohawk a Hit at the Majestic Theater.
'Go-Won-Go-Mohawk, a full-fledged Indian, who is also an actress, appeared for the first time in Fort Wayne yesterday afternoon and evening in a thrilling western play, Wep-ton-no-man, The Indian Mail Carrier. The Indian actress was a bit hit with the large audiences and it is certain that she will be greeted by another enthusiastic house at the concluding performance this evening.
'Miss Mohawk is as straight as an arrow. She has raven black hair and flashing black eyes and is altogether one of the most striking actresses who have appeared on the local stage for a lengthy time. More than this, Miss Mohawk is an accomplished actress. She has two Indian ponies with her which are particularly handsome and which appear in the play. The drama furnishes a most pleasing evening's entertainment.'
(The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Friday, 18 February 1910, p.3a)

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© John Culme, 2005