All three met on the field of battle and the scuffle began. The two men met, grabbed hold of each other, throwing each other to the ground. The little dog named Anna (as I learned later) was still barking her head off and running in circles around the two. Before long she began to sound like a wolf.
Soon the crowd was into it too watching intently as the three on the field continued wrestling, yelling and of course barking. The crowd was on it’s feet and finally after about 3 or 4 minutes (it seemed like an hour) the Indian got the upper hand. After a few whacks with his war club (simulated whacks of course) the white settler (Dean Phillips) lay still , but the little dog was still barking at the Indian (White Turtle).
Then out of the blue, White Turtle stood up, with his arms in the air waving his war club, and looked down at the barking and growling dog. Their was a gasp from the spectators (me included) as to what would come next for the dog. Would Turtle “kill” the dog? The crowd began yelling “ no, no.. run little dog, run”. I looked at the crowd and the children were sitting in stunned silence.
White Turtle went over to the yelping dog and started to bend over. The dog was not intimidated. She stood her ground protecting her fallen master. Turtle bent over, and picked up the dog. She would not give up easily. The crowd fell silent. But the red man raised the dog in the air over his head and began to walk off the field. He looked back at the gaping crowd and a hint of a smile passed across his face. This was the end of the Long Run Massacre Re-Enactment.
As the applause died down, White Turtle came walking out onto the field. And as if on cue the dog, Anna followed and ran to her master who was now getting up. The three of them turned to the crowd (almost as if to take a bow) and walked off the field together. The crowd went wild. That is the kind of showmanship that makes for a great re-enactment.
This is one of my fondest memories of Turtle. I can still see he and Dean and Anna standing there.
Turtle was a complex man. There was Turtle the everyday man, and White Turtle the Indian.
Turtle, the man was one of the funniest men I know. He made made laugh and even cry sometimes. He loved history and re-enacting and he was one of the best. He was often imitated but never duplicated. He strove for perfection in his Indian persona, and many have tried to emulate him. Our website reaches all over the world and we sometimes receive photos and link request from various re-enacting groups. It is surprising how many groups in countries like England, Germany, Ireland and Spain re-enact American History. In looking over their photos we often find that they have imitated not only our American history but our American re-enactors. And the two most copied “looks” are White Turtle and “Black Fish (Michael Fields.)
For all Turtle’s complexities he was gentle and kind, and would help or advise any one that wanted to learn about the Eastern Woodland Indian., history and re-enacting. When Turtle was on he was really, really on and days when he was not - it took those who loved him a bit of patience and understanding. His wife Gloria was one of those (should become a Saint) She loved Turtle, understood him and helped him with all the endeavors he undertook in life.
We will all miss him and the guidance he gave to his fellow re-enactors. White Turtle is now with Indians he loved to portray. His spirit and the s Native Americans he portrayed are together at last. There will be no more re-enactments for Turtle only the real thing. He will keep the camp fire burning so we have a light to follow when it is our turn to follow. May God bless you , my friend and find peace.