Moses Carpenter in Middlesbrough, NE England

Moses Carpenter died in 1889 and is buried in Linthorpe Cemetery, Middlesbrough in the north east of England.

On the face of it this seems an unremarkable story, until you go behind the name and realise he was a Native American Indian and has become part of local history.

Moses Carpenter - The Middlesbrough Mowhawk

Moses Carpenter - The Middlesbrough Mowhawk

Ska-Run-Ya-Te,  his real name, was born in a Tuscarora, Ontario, Canada in 1854, as a member of the Mohawk tribe.

He came to Middlesborough in 1889 as part of a travelling medicine show.

Moses and a few colleagues provided entertainment for the crowds as teeth were extracted and potions applied by showman Sequah, the leader of the show.

Sequah was however an Englishman, whose real name was William Hannaway Rowe.

Reports from the day indicate that the arrival of the painted caravan and associated show was quite a spectacle attracting large crowds wherever it set up camp.

Sadly for Moses he developed a fever shortly after the show arrived in Middlesbrough in the August of 1889. He died soon after, on the 15 August in the North Riding Infirmary in the town.

Three days later a funeral took place at St Pauls Church. Lining the route from the church to the cemetery was an estimated 15,000 people, thought to be one of the largest gatherings for a funeral in the town.

The poem inscribed on his gravestone was written by a local girl called Mary Charlotta Parvin.

Recent restoration work has been carried out on the gravestone following decay and vandalism.

A campaign is ongoing to get the body of Moses Carpenter repatriated.

Our thanks to the Friends of Linthorpe Cemetery for their help with this article.

Can you add to the story of the Mohawk in Middlesbrough?  Let us know via the comments area below or via the contact us page.

Further information

The Quack Doctor – Sequah – a Victorian Celebrity Quack

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