So this is a cute little beaded basket from the collection Agnes Sengstacken donated to UC Berkeley in 1929. The typed up notes state it was made around the year 1900 by a woman named “Jane Baker”. Jane Baker…I had never heard of. I have heard of Ione Baker, an Oregon Athabaskan woman, and I think that is who they meant.
Using the LDS church’s online census resources at familysearch.org, there is a “Jane Baker” listed in the search for the year 1900 living in the “Empire, Prospect” etc district. Clicking on the link to look at the original link with the handwritten entry, the name looks like”Ione” rather than Jane (it’s funny how easy it is to go either way – but the 2nd letter does not look like the census taker’s other a’s, it looks like an ‘o’). Jane/Ione was said to be about 50 then, and had one living child.
Searching the 1880 census, a 30 year old Ione Baker shows up, married to a Maine settler named Wentworth Baker and they had one son, Charlie Baker who at that time was 10. So, same as the “Jane” Baker from 1900. Probably in both Sengstacken’s notes and the census, someone made the mistake of reading the unusual name Ione for the then-common name Jane.
Ione had the traditional Athabaskan 111 tattoo on her chin. She had an older brother names Cyrus Tichenor, aka Silas Tichenor. In 1870 or so it was Cyrus, along with Coquelle Thompson, who brought the Warm House dance (Ghost Dance) to Florence and Coos Bay.
Southern Oregon Indian country being a small world (especially after the Rogue River wars, decimation and removal), it seems like everyone knew everyone. At one point, Annie Peterson married Ione’s son Charlie. The marriage was not at all a happy one (Annie described Charlie as abusive) and she divorced him.
The specific tribal affiliation of the Baker and Tichenor siblings is a bit confusing. Some people thought they were Chetco, some Euchre Creek, some Rogue River. In the 1900 census, Ione (aka Jane) listed her mother as from Coos Bay and her father “Mackantany” which looks like the name of one of the lower Rogue River villages. But in an 1940 BIA census she is listed as “4/4 Chetco and Naquenondon”. Regardless, she lived for many decades among the mixed Indian community of lower Coos Bay. Ione Baker died on June 1, 1940.