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Card, Virginia

From 1950 through 1966, Virginia Card compiled the information should could find about Takelma Indians. SOHS has her original writing, and a transcript in the collection. The link below goes to the online version on, which has links to every handwritten page in order to provide Card's linguistic symbols:


The Takelma Indians of Southwestern Oregon


Biography from materials assembled by Harper. If links lead to, you may need to log into it on the Jackson County Library website in order to use the links. Newspaper references may be found on (subscribers only), or through the SOHS Archives.  


Card was born to William H. Stilwell and Mary A Martin Stilwell on January 21, 1921 (Princeton indicates birth date as 1919). 

According to an account written by Virginia and transcribed by her nephew, her family was poor and she was taken from her mother at an early age, "raised by religious fanatics and abused by the Minister's wife." Virginia's mother had been forced to attend an Indian school, run by a "racist who made her ashamed of who she was and totally confused her value systems."

In spite of a background of hardship and poverty, Virginia Card became self-educated and graduated from University of Sacramento (this has not been verified, and I am uncertain if she attended California State University, Sacramento, or a different school). 


Virginia's first marriage was to Joseph Ernest Dickens when she was 16 (1937). Their son, Joseph Charles, was born in June 1938, in New Mexico.

Her second marriage, to John Percy "Pat" Kilpatrick, occurred in Texas in 1940. They apparently had 3 children: Freddie Wayne Howard, Barbara J., and Billie Pat. (source:

In 1947, Virginia married  Benjamin Franklin Card and referred to herself as Mrs. Virginia D. Card the rest of her life. The two filed for divorce in Klamath Falls in 1948, but this was probably not finalized. (SOURCE:

Virginia and Benjamin Card had 2 children, perhaps more. They were Benjamin Franklin Card, JR (1948-2012) and Loren Lee Lasher Card (1950-1992)


Virginia Card's mother, Mary (or Maye) Martin married William Stilwell in 1914 and bore 8 children (6 lived into adulthood). As of 1935, she was still in Oklahoma. Oregon marriage records indicate Maye Martin Stilwell married George Belcourt in Klamath Falls in 1946. Her race is listed as white. In 1950, when she married Jack Bryant in Klamath Falls, her name was Maye Raymond. A note in a profile on Maye in indicates she may have been married 13 times, not counting a man she married twice.They do not list names, though. Virginia Card wrote an article about her mother that was published in the Fall 1961 issue of the Frontier Times. (Source: Medford Mail Tribune, 9/9/1961, p. 12.) A copy of the article is available in the Virginia Card folder in the Vertical File. The article refers to Maye's husband and to children, but indicates Maye "...had the support of her children on her shoulders." The children, including Virginia, were not living with her as she worked as a waitress and slept with other waitresses, three to a bed. When the waitresses arose at 3 a.m. each day to go to work, they rented those bed spaces to men who worked in the oil fields. This was during an oil boom in Oklahoma, presumably in about 1926.


Newspapers sources indicate Virginia Card lived in Medford from about 1955-1960, and Central Point, where she raised goats, in 1961. She was in the area in 1963, possibly in Jacksonville. Card owned and operated a book store in Jacksonville called The Terminal Book Shop, at least in 1959 and 1960. She contributed letters to the Medford Mail Tribune occasionally, sometimes promoting True West and Frontier Times magazines, which sometimes published her work. (Source: Medford Mail Tribune 10/10/1958, p. 4)

At least one of Card's children, Barbara J. Kilpatrick, lived with her in Medford and attended Medford High School. She sang, played guitar, tap danced, and joined the Marine Corps in 1959. (Medford Mail Tribune, 3/15/1959, p. 12). 


In her later years, Virginia Card lived in Sacramento (information provided above). She was living in New Jersey toward the end of her life, and donated her papers to Princeton University. profile for Virginia Doris Stilwell



Other Names
Klamath Falls; Jacksonville