The illustrationfriday.com challenge word this week is “wrinkles”.
Chippewa Indian John Smith, also know as Ga-Be-Nah-Gewn-Wonce (Chippewa Indian for “wrinkle meat”) and commonly called “Old Wrinkle Meat”, lived in the Cass Lake, Minnesota area and is reputed to have died on February 6, 1922 at the age of 137.
The exact age of John Smith at the time of his death has been a subject of controversy. Federal Commissioner of Indian Enrollment, Ransom J. Powell argued that “it was disease and not age that made him look the way he did” and according to records he was only 88 years old. Indian biographer Paul Buffalo who, when a small boy had met John Smith, said he had repeatedly heard the old man state that he was “seven or eight”, “eight or nine” and “ten years old” when the “stars fell”. The “stars falling” refers to the Leonid meteor shower of November 13, 1833. Birthdates of Indians of the 19th Century had generally been determined by the Government in relation to the shower of meteorites that burned through the American skies just before dawn on November 13, 1833. Some thought the meteor shower was the end of the world.
This puts the age of John Smith at just under 100 years old at the time of his death.