The Reverend John Roberts also officiated at two prominent funerals. The first occurred on April 10, 1884. A woman known as “Wad-ze-wipe,” mother of Baptiste and stepmother of Bazil, died at about age 100. According to Shoshone tradition and early Wyoming historian Grace Raymond Hebard, this was Sacagawea of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Many modern scholars argue that Sacagawea died shortly after her historic journey and is buried in what’s now South Dakota. Roberts believed that “Wad-ze-wipe” was the true Sacagawea and recorded her as such in the church burial records.
The second funeral was that of the venerable Washakie, on February 22, 1900. Washakie, said to be 102, was buried with full military honors at the post cemetery. He had served the United States Army for many years as a scout. The Reverend Coolidge assisted Roberts in the service. In 1897, before his death, Chief Washakie summoned Roberts to his home for a visit. There, on January 25, Washakie officially became a Christian through baptism at the age of 97. He became active in this faith for his remaining three years and encouraged other Shoshones to become Christians as well.
Roberts served his people for as long as he was able. He served as became a bridge for Indian people with the white culture that surrounded the reservation. His style could best be described as “loving paternalism.” In his later years, he suffered from blindness. It was said he could identify visitors to his log home by the sound of their footsteps on a creaking floor. He died on January 22, 1949, and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Lander. His Wyoming ministry lasted 66 years.
The Episcopal Church also commemorates John Roberts, Priest, 1949
John Roberts (1853-1949) was a Welsh Anglican priest & missionary, initially in the Bahamas, later in the USA, ministering from 1883 to the Shoshone & Arapahoe tribes in Wyoming https://t.co/bXvS8Q7isu pic.twitter.com/wQ4k55DEuU
— The Anglican Church in St Petersburg (@anglicanspb) February 25, 2019