A “good-natured cowboy” and U.S. Army veteran of World War I. He spoke fluent Navajo as they were friends and playmates. Uncle Jesse had a child with a Navajo woman but as was the custom in the early 1900’s it belonged solely to the mother and her immediate family. A wonderful tradition as there were no illegitimate Navajo children, as the uncles in the family were as fathers and the women were all as mothers. This, also, kept any children from being orphans.
Uncle Jesse was guide to Zane Grey for several years, they married cousins. Uncle Jesse’s wife was Lillian Wilhelm Smith, her art very sought after now, she died in Prescott Pioneer’s home totally broke.
Photo and story courtesy of Barbara Ohlwiler – Jesse’s Niece