Dapiek Absaroka

On January 22nd, 1899, a young nurse knocked on the door to the manager’s office at the Veterans Home and stepped inside. She had a clipboard in her hand and set it down on the desk.

“Good morning, sir. Just one signature this morning. A Garrison.”

General Barret was immersed in a stack of paperwork and didn’t look up at the nurse. He just held out his hand.

“Can you believe they’re going to change the name of this town to Sawtelle? “ he mumbled.

The nurse took the clipboard off the desk in front of him and placed it in his hand. He absent-mindedly put his signature next to the name without reading it.

“Thank you, sir. He’d only been here a month. And, no sir, I don’t care for that name at all. I think Barrett is much nicer,” she said and turned to leave.

Before she closed the door behind her, General Barrett looked up.

“What did you say his name was?”

The nurse stuck her head back inside the office and looked back down at the clipboard.

“Garrison. John Garrison. Second Colorado Cavalry. Went in his sleep yesterday evening. Anything else, sir?”

General Barrett stared at the door for a minute without moving.

“Sir?” the nurse asked.

“No ... nothing else. See he gets a good burial,” he said and turned on his chair to look out the window.

“Well, you finally get some rest, Mr. Johnson ...” he whispered.

Sailor, scout, soldier, gold-miner, hunter, trapper, moonshiner, constable, and widower. Mountain man. The Indians called him “Dapiek Absaroka” – Crow Killer. Others, “Liver Eater.”

When the body of Jeremiah Johnson was moved from Sawtelle National Cemetary 75 years later and reburied in Cody, Wyoming, before a crowd of two thousand, Robert Redford was one of the pall-bearers.


dorman nelson said...

Just a note that I have researched Johnston since 1969 and am trying to finish my book by the end of 2009.
My site.. www.johnlivereatingjohnston.com
His name was Garrison, his brother's first name was John. Unfortunately, John Garrison was killed in 1864 in the Civil War. He also had two half brothers from his father's previous marriage.
Dorman Nelson

cyurkanin said...

Howdy back and thanks for visiting! I visited your site when I wrote the story and found your research fascinating. I love when I get a note from a source of information for my stories.
Glad to hear your book will be finished this year, but does that mean we won't see it in print until 2011?

cyurkanin said...

It just struck me what you were pointing out to me about the name. I did the story a few months ago and have since written quite a bit of other things since so I can't remember exactly why I settled on calling him John. I know I followed a ton of links starting with the Sawtelle Asylum in order to get to it and since there were so many confusing theories and suppositions on his name, I think I chose the one that was either the most used or the most logical. Thanks for spotting that John was actually his brother.

dorman nelson said...

My book on Johnston should come out in 2010. I will let you know.

Dorman Nelson