Elkhart and South Bend
| Genocide, Extermination, “The Final Solution” are, perhaps, words and phrases
too strong to describe the United States Government’s answer to the problem
created by the mass immigration of Caucasians from Europe into the lands of
a people not technologically or numerically capable of defending what was theirs.
Ethnic Cleansing, however, describes exactly what took place by the order of
the United States Government—and endorsed by President Andrew Jackson—from
1826 to 1838 and beyond.
Again, “Bataan” is, perhaps, a word too strong to use to describe the march of the Pottawatomies from their homes in and around South Bend and Elkhart, but “Trail of Tears” and “Trail of Death” are phrases the Pottawatomie—and other Native Americans—coined to describe the suffering they endured on their march to a reservation west of the Missouri River.
When Gen. William Henry Harrison was appointed governor of the Northwest Territory, he
was invested with general powers to make treaties with the various
Indian tribes, and to extinguish by such treaties the titles of
the Indians to the lands within the territory. He was very active
in this matter and negotiated several treaties, acquiring with each
large tracts of land. In 1802 he got from the Miamis and Pottawattamies
large tracts in the vicinity of Vincennes, on the Wabash. In the
next year at a treaty negotiated at Vincennes, he secured about on
million six hundred thousand acres from the head men of the Delaware,
Shawnee, Pottawattamie, Eel River, Kickapoo, Piankeshaw and Kaskaskias
tribes. During the same year he negotiated at Vincennes another treaty
with the Kaskaskias by which the government secured about eight million
and six hundred thousand acres, lying on the borders of the Mississinewa
and Illinois rivers. In August, 1804, at a treaty concluded at Vincennes,
the Delawares and Piankeshaws relinquished their claim to the tract of
country lying between the Wabash and Ohio rivers, and south of the road
which led from Vincennes to falls of the Ohio. In 1805 the Delawares,
Pottawattamies, Miamis, Eel Rivers and Weas ceded a large tract on the
Ohio River, and in December of the same year the Piankeshaws ceded about
two million six hundred thousand acres lying west of the Wabash River.
By these treaties the United States had acquired the title to all the
Indian lands along the Ohio River from the mouth of the Wabash to the
western line of the State of Ohio. In 1809 Governor Harrison obtained
from several of the tribes, by a treaty concluded at Fort Wayne, about
three million acres, lying principally on the southeastern side of the
Wabash River, and below the mouth of the Raccoon Creek, in what is now
Parke County. Governor Harrison, b his several treaties had acquired
for the government, about twenty nine million seven hundred and ten
thousand five hundred and thirty acres of land. Tecumseh, and his
brother, the Prophet, rejected the treaty of Fort Wayne, and refused
to be bound by it. The next treaty was in 1818, when the Delawares
ceded all the lands claimed by them in the present boundaries of Indiana,
but they reserved the right to occupy the land for three years after
signing the treaty. Between that and the year 1840, when the Indian
title to the last of the lands claimed by them in Indiana was extinguished,
thirty-three separate treaties were negotiated.
The last fact of importance in the history of the Indians of St. Joseph county is the removal of the Pottawatomies to the west. This pathetic story has been so well told by Daniel McDonald of Marshall county in the general assembly of 1905 and 1907, and the story as told by him is crowded with such a wealth of historical facts, that we cannot do better than give in full his admirable and eloquent speech, delivered in the House of Representatives, February 3, 1905. Mr. McDonald is one of the best informed men in Indiana on the early history of this section of the state; and, as shown by his address, his heart was in his subject. The address is as follows:
Address of Representative Daniel McDonald of Plymouth, delivered in the
House of Representatives, Indianapolis, Friday, February 3, 1905,
on the bill to erect a monument to the Pottawatomie Indiana at
Twin Lakes, Marshall county, published by direction of the House
The bill to erect a monument to the memory of the Pottawatomie Indians at Menominee village, in Marshall county, being under consideration, Representative Daniel McDonald said:
Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:|
In order that a fair understanding may be had in regard to the subject matter embraced in this bill, I desire to submit the following:
The question of the extinguishment of the Indian titles to the lands of the Pottawatomie Indians in northern Indiana and southern Michigan and their removal to a reservation to be provided for them west of the Missouri river, was one of the most important and delicate questions the government had to deal with in the early settlement of this part of the Northwest Territory. General treaties were made from 1820 to 1830 between the government agents and the chiefs and headmen of the Pottawatomies by which large tracts of land were ceded to the government, and numerous reservations made to various bands of Pottawatomies Indians in northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Later these reservations were ceded back by treaty by the Indians for a stipulated amount, and in all the treaties it was provided that the Indians should remove to the reservation west of the Missouri river within two years from the date thereof. The dates of these treaties were about all in the year 1835 and in 1836, the last date for removal expiring about the first of August, 1836.
The territory now included within the boundaries of Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, which was the home of the Pottawatomie Indians for many years prior to the time they were removed to the reservation west of the Missouri river, was in the early days of the history of America owned and occupied by the Miami Indians, originally known as the Twightwees. It was clamed by France from the time of the discovery of the mouth of the Mississippi river by La Salle, in 1682, to 1763, when it was relinquished by treaty to the government of England and held by it until 1779 as a part of her colonial possessions in North America. The state of Virginia extended its jurisdiction over it until 1783 when it became by treaty of peace and by cession from Virginia the property of the United States. In 1787 an ordinance was passed by Congress creating the territory northwest of the river Ohio, which embraced the territory of the state above mentioned.
The Pottawatomie tribe of Indians, the owners and inhabitants of the territory now comprising northern Indiana, belonged to the great Algonquin family, and were related by ties of consanguinity to the Ojibways, Chippewas and Ottawas. The first trace we have of them locates their territory in the Lake Superior region on the islands near the entrance of Green bay, holding the country from the latter point to the headwaters of the great lakes. Subsequently they adopted into their tribe many of the Ottawas from Upper Canada.
About 1817 it was estimated that there were in the region north of the Wabash river and south of Lake Michigan something more than two thousand Pottawatomies. They were located in villages on the Tippecanoe; Kankakee; Iroquois; Yellow river; St; Joseph of the Lake Michigan; the Elkhart; Maumee or Miamis of the Lake; the St. Joseph emptying into it; the St. Marys; Twin lakes; Maxinkuckee; and Lake Kewanna. At that time they had no uniform abiding place of residence. During the fall, winter and part of the spring they were scattered in the woods hunting and fishing. Their wigwams were made of poles stuck in the ground and tied together with strips of bark, slender hickory withes or raw hide strings. They were covered with bark or a kind of mat made of flagweeds. There was an occasional rude hut made of logs or poles, but nearly all the dwellings were wigwams hastily put up as here described. They raised some corn, but lived principally on wild game, fish, fruits, nuts, and were clothed with blankets and untanned skins.
From the date of the treaty of peace at Greenville in 1795 to 1832, all the lands in possession of the Pottawatomie and Miami Indians were ceded to the United States. Nearly all the titles to the lands in this part of the country reserved for various bands by the treaty of 1832 were extinguished by United States Commissioner Able C. Pepper, who seems to have been well fitted for the difficult task assigned him.
In 1831 the legislature of Indiana passed a joint resolution requesting an appropriation by Congress for the purpose of the extinguishment of the remaining titles of lands held by the Indians with the state. The appropriation was made and three citizens—Jonathan Jennings, first governor of Indiana; John W. Davis and Marks Crume—were appointed by the secretary of war to carry into effect the law authorizing the appropriation. The commissioners assembled with the several Indiana chiefs concerned at a place called Chippewayning on the Tippecanoe river where the Michigan road crosses that stream two of three miles north of Rochester and sixteen miles south of Plymouth, where they concluded a treaty October 27, 1832, by which the chiefs and warriors of the Pottawatomies of Indiana and Michigan Territory ceded to the United States their title and interest to all the lands in Illinois south of Grand river. From this general treaty a large number of small individual reservations were made. Among them was a reservation of two sections to Naswagee, and one section to Quashqua, both on the east shore of Lake Maxinkuckee, and twenty-two sections to Menominee, Pepinawa, Nataka, and Mackatawmaaw, adjoining the town of Plymouth on the west and extending south to Twin Lakes, a short distance north of Lake Maxinkuckee; several sections in the vicinity to Aubenaube and other chiefs making in all 160 section. These reservations were all ceded back to the government between 1834 and 1837, mostly under treaties negotiated by Abel C. Pepper. All of these treaties contained the following:
Article 3.—-The United States further agrees to convey by patent
to the Pottawatomies of Indiana a tract of country on the
Osage river, southwest of the Missouri river, sufficient
in extent and adapted to their wants and habits, remove
them to the same, furnish them with one year’s subsistence
after their arrival there, and pay the expenses of the
treaty, and the delegation now in this city.|
The first removal under these treaties took place in July, 1837, and within
the two years from the date of these treaties to August 1837, all had
gone peaceable, or had been removed without force, except Menominee
and his band, whose village was on the north bank of Twin lakes. On
the 6th of August, 1838, the time stipulated in the treaties for the
Indians to emigrate having expired, and Menominee and his band declining
to go, a council was held at his village, at which Col. Able C. Pepper,
agent of the Government, was present, and most of the chiefs in that
part of the country, as also many white residents of the surrounding
country. The treaty was red wherein it was shown that in ceding their
lands the Indians had agreed to remove to the western reservation within
the time specified and that the date was then at hand when they must go.
It was plain to those present who were familiar with the Indiana character
that there was great dissatisfaction among them and a spirit of rebellion
growing which if not soon suppressed would probably lead to serious results.
The leader and principal spokesman for the Indians was Menominee. By the
treaty of 132 twenty-two section of land had been reserved to him and three
other chiefs, vis., Pepinawa, Nataka and Mackatawmaaw. The last three named
chiefs entered into a treaty with Col. Able C. Pepper on behalf of the
government August 5, 1836, by which they ceded all their interest in the
reservation above described for which the government paid them $14,080 in
specie, and they agreed to remove to the country west of the Missouri river
provided for them within two years from the date of the treaty. Chief Menominee
refused to sign the treaty and persistently declined to release to the
government his interest in the reservation. When Col. Pepper had made his
final appeal and all had had their say, Menominee arose to his feet, and,
drawing his costly blanket around him, through and interpreter he addressed
the council as follows:|
Members of the Council—The President dose not know the truth.
He, like me, has been imposed upon. He does not know that you
have made my young chiefs drunk and got their consent and
pretended to get mine. He does not know that I have refused
to sell my land and still refuse. He would not by force drive
me from my home, the graves of my tribe, and my children who
have gone to the Great Spirit, nor allow you to tell me your
braves will take me tied like a dog if he knew the truth. My
brothers, the President is just, but he listens to the word
of young chiefs who have lied; and when he knows the truth
he will leave me to my own. I have not sold my lands. I will
not sell them. I have not signed any treaty and will not sign
any. I am not going to leave my lands, and I don’t want to
hear anything more about it.|
Describing the scene, one who was present said:|
Amid the applause of the chiefs he sat down. Spoken in the
peculiar style of the Indian orator—although repeated by an
interpreter—with an eloquence of which Logan would have been
proud, his presence the personification of dignity, it presented
one of those rare occasions of which history gives but few
instances, and on the man of true appreciations would have made
a most profound impression.|
Considerable time was spent in trying to persuade Menominee and his following
to accept the inevitable and remove peaceable to the reservation provided
for them, and that if they did not, the government would be compelled to
remove them by force. Without accomplishing anything, however, the council
disbanded. Menominee was a wise and experienced Chief, and he knew the final
consummation was near at hand. Soon as the council had disbanded there began
at once to fire the hearts of his followers, with a determination to resist
the government officers in their evident intention to remove them, peaceably
if they could, forcibly if the must. The consequence was the Indians became
desperate, intoxicating liquors were drank to excess; threats of violence were
freely made, and the white settlers in the immediate neighborhood became greatly
alarmed for the safety of themselves and families. In this alarming condition
of affairs, a number of white settlers of Marshall county, early in August, 1838,
petitioned the governor of Indiana for protection against what they believed would
result in the certain destruction of their lives and property. In his message to
the legislature December 4, 1838, Governor David Wallace said:|
By the conditions of the late treaty with the Pottawatomie Indians
in Indiana, the time stipulated for their departure to the west of the
Missouri expired on the 6th of August last. As this trying moment
approached a strong disposition was manifested by many of the most
influential among them to disregard the treaty entirely, and to
cling to the homes and graves of their fathers at all hazard. In
consequence of such a determination on their part, a collision of
the most serious character was likely to ensue between them and
the surrounding settlers. Apprehensive of such a result, a view
to prevent it, the citizens of Marshall county, early in the
month of August, forwarded to the executive a petition praying
that an armed forced might be immediately sent to their protection.
On receipt of this petition I repaired as speedily as circumstances
would permit to the scene of difficulty in order to satisfy myself
a personal examination whether their fears were justified of not.
On my return to Logansport a formal requisition awaited me from the
Indian agent, Col. A. C. Pepper, for one hundred armed volunteers
to be placed under the command of some competent citizen of the
state, whose duty it should be to preserve the peace and to arrest
the growing spirit of hostility displayed by the Indians. The
requisition was instantly granted. I appointed the Hon. John Tipton
to this command and gave him authority to raise the necessary number
of volunteers. He promptly and patriotically accepted the appointment,
and, although sickness and disease prevailed to an alarming extent
throughout northern Indiana, yet such was the spirit and patriotism
of the people there that in about forty-eight hours after the
requisition was authorized the requisite force was not only mustered,
but was transported into the midst of the Indians before they were
aware of its approach or before even they could possibly take steps
to resist or repel it. The rapidity of the movement, the known
decision and energy of General Tipton, backed by his intimate
acquaintance and popularity with the Indians, whom it was his
business to quiet, accomplished everything desired. The refractory
became complacent; opposition to removal ceased, and the whole
tribe, with a few exceptions amounting to between 800 and 900,
voluntarily prepared to emigrate. General Tipton and the volunteers
accompanied them as far as Danville, Illinois, administering to them
on the way whatever comfort and relief humanity required. There they
were delivered over to the care of Judge Polke and the United States
removing agents. Copies of all the communications and reports made
to the executive by General Tipton while in the discharge of this
duty I lay before you, from which I feel assured you will discover
with myself that much credit and many thanks are due not only to him
but to all who assisted him in bringing so delicate an affair to so
happy and successful a termination.|
David Wallace served as governor of Indiana from 1837 to 1840. The most important
act of his administration was his order to remove the remaining Pottawatomie Indians as
set forth in his message herein quoted. After his term as governor expired, he was
subsequently elected to Congress. He was made a member of the committee on ways and
means, and in that committee gave the casting vote in favor of assisting with a donation
to Professor Morse to develop the magnetic telegraph. This vote was ridiculed by his
political opponents and cost him many votes the last time he ran for Congress. But he
lived to see the telegraph established in nearly all the countries of the world and the
wisdom of his action acknowledged by all.|
General Tipton recruited and organized the company of soldiers authorized by Governor Wallace immediately after the requisition was made. These recruits were nearly all from Cass county, at Logansport, and in the vicinity. They started from Logansport the latter part of August, marching along the Michigan road through Rochester, across Tippecanoe river, and then along the old Indian trail northwestward until they came to Menominee village at Twin lakes, five miles southwest from Plymouth. A great many of the white settlers in the neighborhood turned out to welcome the soldiers and to render such assistance as might be necessary. The Indians were surrounded before they realized that the soldiers had been sent to remove them. Such arms as they had were taken from them and preparations at once commenced for the starting of the caravan. Squads of soldiers were sent out in every direction for the purpose of capturing the straggling bands encamped in various places in the county, and such others as might be found hunting and fishing in the neighborhood. Several days were occupied in getting everything in readiness. The names of heads of families, and other Indians were registered, and when the list was completed it showed a total of 859.
On the day prior to the exodus a meeting of the Indians was held at the little graveyard, a short distance from the village, at which a final farewell of the dead was taken by those who were to leave the following morning, never to return. Addresses were made by chiefs present and several white settlers. (An address of some length was delivered by Myron H. Norton of Laporte which was afterwards printed, but unfortunately no copies of in can now be found.) The scene is said to have been affecting in the extreme. Weeping and waling, which was confined to a few at first, became general, and until they were finally induced to disperse, it looked as though a riot would surely ensue. In solemn reverence they turned their weeping eyes from the sleeping dead never to look upon the graves of their kindred again.
The Indian chapel which was used as General Tipton’s headquarters while preparing for the removal was situated on the north bank of the middle Twin lake about twenty rods west of the Vandalia railroad. It was erected by Rev. Stephen Theodore Badin, the first Catholic priest ordained in the United States. He was born at Orleans, France, in 1768, ordained May 23, 1793, and died a Cincinnati, April, 19, 1853. The chapel was erected about 1830 and was built of hewn logs and covered with clapboard. It was about 30 by 40 feet, the west half being two stories high. There was a hallway through the center. The room for the missionary was over the west end of the chapel which was reached from below by means of a rustic ladder. The furniture was of the most primitive kind; and the food, corn, and wild meat and such fruits and vegetables as were suitable to eat during the summer season. The chapel was torn down many years ago. Bishop Brute, of Vincennes, under whose supervision this mission was established, writes as follows in regard to the Indians, their village and chapel:
A large number of their huts are built around their chapel,
which is constructed of logs with the bark on with a cross erected behind
and rising above it, and filled with rudely made benches. The Indians
begin and end their work without hammer, saw or nails, the ax being their
only implement, and bits of skin or bark serving to fasten the pieces
together. The room of the missionary is over the chapel, the floor of the
one forming the ceiling of the other. A ladder in the corner leads to it,
and his furniture consists, as did the prophets, of a table and chair, and
a bed, or rather a hammock swung on ropes. Around the room are his books,
and the trunks which contain the articles used in his chapel, as well as
his apparel. He spends his life with his good people, sharing their corn
and meat, with water for his drink, and tea made from the herbs of his
little garden. He abjures all spirits, as all Catholic Indians are forbidden
to touch that which is the bane of their race and he would encourage them
with his example. I attended at the evening catechism, prayers and canticles,
and in the morning said mass, at which a large number attended.|
At the time the arrangements for the removal were being perfected, Farther Benjamin
Marie Petit was the missionary in charge of the chapel. He was about twenty-five
years old, and had been born and reared in France. This ardent youthful spirit
evinced an intense enthusiasm from first to last in the work of his chosen field,
and in an outburst of fervency he tells something of his feelings and of his
How I love these children of mine, and what pleasure it is for
me to fine myself among them. There are now from 1,000 to 1,200
Christians. Could you see the little children when I enter a cabin
crowding around me and climbing on my knees—the father and mother
making the sigh of the cross in pious recollection, and then coming
with a confiding smile on their faces to shake hands with me—you
could not but love them as I do.|
Of the chapel exercises he gave the following interesting account:|
At sunrise the first peal was rung; then you might see the
savages moving along the path of the forest and the borders of the
lakes. When they were assembled the second peal was rung. The
catechist then, and animated manner, gave the substance of the
sermon preached the evening before; a chapter of the catechism
was read and morning prayers were recited. I then said mass, the
congregation singing hymns the while, after which I preached, my
sermon being translated by a respectable French lady, seventy-two
years old, who had devoted herself to the missions in the capacity
of interpreter. The sermon was followed by a pater and ave; after
which the congregation sang a hymn to Our Lady, and quietly dispersed.
The next thing was confession which lasted till evening, and sometimes
was resumed after supper. At sunset the natives again assembled for
catechism, followed by an exortation and evening prayers which
finished with a hymn to Our Lady. I then gave them my benediction—the
benediction of poor Benjamin. In the first three weeks of my pastorate
I baptized eighteen adults and blessed nine marriages.|
About this time officer and soldiers arrived at the chapel and village to arrange
for the departure of the Indians. Father Petit again wrote as follows:|
One morning I said mass and immediately afterward we began
removing all the ornaments from my dear little church. At the moment
of my departure I assembled all my children to speak to them for the
last time. I wept, and my auditors sobbed aloud. It was indeed a heart
rendering sight, and over our dying mission we prayed for the success
of those they would establish in the new hunting grounds. We then with
one accord sang: “O, Virgin, we place our confidence in Thee.”
It was often interrupted by sobs and but few voices were able to finish
it. I then left them.|
When General Tipton and his soldiers had arranged everything in readiness to move,
the teepees, wigwams and cabins were torn down and destroyed and Menominee village had the
appearance of having been swept by a hurricane. Early on the morning of September 4, 1838,
orders were given to move, and at once nearly one thousand men, women and children, with
broken hearts and tearful eyes took up the line of march to their far western home.|
General Tipton accompanied the Indians as far as Sandusky Point, Illinois, at which place the caravan arrived on September 18, 1838, two weeks after the departure from Twin lakes. From that point he made a lengthy report to Governor Wallace, giving a historical sketch of the occurrences that led up to the removal, together with a copy of his daily journal in which is shown in detail all that occurred during the time he had charged of the caravan. The report is too lengthy for insertion here in full, and only brief extracts can be given. He says:
The arrival of the volunteers in the Indian village was the first
intimation they had of the movement of men with arms. Many of the Indian
men were assembled near the chapel when we arrived and were not permitted
to leave camp or separate until matters were amicably settled and they
had agreed to give peaceable possession of the land sold by them.|
As has been stated heretofore, Menominee, the principal chief in the ownership of the
reservation which bore his name, never signed the treaty executed by the three chiefs
associated with him in the reservation, vis., Pepinawa, Nataka and Mackatawmaaw. The
reason he did not sign this treaty was because he new from past experience that the
amount of money received from the government by these chiefs would all be spent for
whisky and riotous living before the two years expired stipulated by the treaty that
they should remove to the west. His worst fears were realized. The $14,080 the
government paid them to sign them to sign the treaty had all been squandered for
spirituous liquors and trinkets of one kind or another purchased at enormous prices
from the white traders that gathered about them like crows about a dead carcass until
their money was all gone. Menominee declined to sign the treaty, and never did sign it,
but there was at no time any danger of an uprising. The Pottawatomies as a tribe were
always friendly with the white settlers, and in northern Indiana never caused any
disturbance expect in individual cases where they were driven into it by white traders
and other designing persons who sold and gave them whisky for the purpose of getting
them drunk and robbing them of their lands and annuities paid them the government.|
At the time of the removal none of these Indians were armed for defense or warfare, and had only a few rifles which they had purchased from the white traders at exorbitant prices, and the bows and arrows for killing game for food. Menominee, the head of the band, was a religious man, and an exhorter. He taught his followers to avoid the use of intoxicating liquors; not to cheat, or murder, or lie, or steal, or quarrel with one another, or the white settlers, although they might have ample provocation, but to live in peace with all men. They were completely under his control, and that of their priest, Father Petit. No trouble ever occurred between them and the whites except that related by General Tipton in his report to Governor Wallace, as follows:
On the 5th of last month, the day on which the Indians were to have
left the reservation, the whites demanded possession which they—the
Indians—absolutely refused. Quarrels ensued and between the 15th and
20th the Indians chopped the door of one of the settlers—Mr. Watters—and
threatened his life. This was followed by the burning of ten or twelve
Indian cabins which produced a state of feeling bordering on hostilities.|
Having made a thorough and exhaustive investigation of this subject a few
years ago when many of the settlers were still living and several who were there at the
time and participated in the removal and knew all about the circumstances leading up to
the removal, it is but the truth to say that the origin of the trouble was not with the
Indians, but with Mr. Watters, who had settled in the reservation without authority, a
few months previous, and desired the Indians to leave so he could preempt 160 acres of
the reservation under the laws of Congress passed in June of that year. He was the
disturbing element, and set about deliberately to work up the disturbance so that the
Governor would be compelled to remove them. The information on which Governor Wallace
based his action was that received from Mr. Watters and a few other white settlers in
the vicinity that allowed him to be the spokesman. The Indians were not consulted and
had no say in the matter.|
Further along in his report General Tipton, speaking of the Indians, said:
Most of them appeared willing to go. Three of their principal
men, however, expressed a wish to be governed by the advise of their
priest (Mr. Petit, a Catholic gentleman), who had resided with them
up to the time of the commencement of the quarrel between the Indians
and the whites, when he left Twin lakes and retired to South Bend
[Notre Dame]. I addressed a letter inviting him to join the emigration
and go west. He accepted the invitation and I am happy to inform you
that he joined us two days ago and is going west with the Indians. It
is but justice to him to say that he has both by example and precept,
produced a very favorable change in the morals and industry of the
Indians; that his untiring zeal in the cause of civilization has been
and will continue to be eventually beneficial to these unfortunate
Pottawatomies, when they reach their new abode.|
On the 16th of September Father Petit rejoined his flock near Danville, Illinois.
He found them moving onward, enveloped in clouds of dust, and surrounded by the soldiers who
hurried of their march. Behind came the wagons in which were crowded together the sick, the
women and the children. The scene as described by Father Petit was one of the most mournful
description; the children overcome by heat were reduced to a wretched state of languor and
exhaustion. By this time General Tipton had begun to understand something of Father Petit’s
worth, and treated him with marked respect. The chiefs who had hitherto been treated as
prisoners of war were released at the priest’s request and took their places with the rest
of the tribe. First went the flag of the United States born by a dragon; after which came
the baggage; then the vehicle occupied by the native chiefs; next followed the main body of
the emigrants, men, women and children, mounted on horses, marching in file after Indian
fashion, while all along the flanks of the multitude might be seen dragoons and volunteers
urging on unwilling stragglers, often with the most violent words and gestures. The sick were
in their wagons under an awning of canvas, which, however, far from protecting them from the
stifling heat and dust, only deprived them of air. The interior was like an oven, and many
consequently died. Six miles from Danville, Illinois, there was a halt for two days. “When
we quitted the spot,” Father Petit said, “we left six graves under the shadow of the cross.”
Order had been so thoroughly restored through the presence of the good priest that the troops
now retired and Father Petit was left with the civil authorities to conduct the emigrants to
their destination. Having seen the emigrants safely landed on their reservation on the Osage
river southwest of the Missouri river, such as had not died and escaped on the way, Father Petit
started on the return trip. As St. Louis he was taken sick from fatigue and malarial fever and
died. His remains were afterward removed to Notre Dame, Indiana, where they lie buried beneath
a beautiful chapel at that place.|
Of the onward journey after leaving Sandusky Point, Illinois, where the caravan was placed in charge of Judge Polke, we have only the general statement that 150 persons were lost on the whole way by death and desertion. What amount of suffering fell to the lot of these poor Indians every day of this horrible journey, no tongue can tell. Hundreds of them were daily burning with the terrible malarial fever so universally prevalent during the warm part of 1838. These hundreds were crowded into common rough wagons and compelled to bear the down pouring rays of a sultry sun, and the only beverage to quench the prevailing thirst was dipped from some mud stream just drying up. The food was of beef and flour cooked as might be while encamped for the night. Alas, how those poor little dusky infants must have suffered. No wonder that their little graves marked the daily journey.
In the southern part of Indiana, the legislature two years ago authorized the erection of a monument to the memory of the pioneers of that section of the state who were massacred by the Shawnee Indians during the period of the War of 1812 with England. The massacre was cruel and inhuman and without excuse, but in the history of that most deplorable event, the Indiana side of the question that led up to the culmination of the dispute has never been written. The monument at Pigeon Roost, while it commemorates the memory of the murdered dead, also perpetuates the worst feature in the Indian character.
On the other hand the state, though its legislature, is now asked to authorize the erection of a monument to mark the dawn of civilization in northern Indiana; the rebuilding of the first house of Christian worship in the entire great northwest, east of the Pacific coast, and to perpetuate the memory of the Pottawatomie Indians, the owners and first inhabitants of the country north of the Wabash river, whose written history is entirely the work of the white people, the government agents, traders, and schemers who wrote from the white man’s selfish and prejudiced standpoint. I stand here to-day, in this magnificent presence, to plead for the Pottawatomie Indians; to give their side of the story which has never before been told. As I stand here to-day I wish you to imagine that the spirit of the good Indian Menominee has come back after nearly three-quarters of a century to tell you the truth in regard to the cruel and inhuman manner in which he and his tribe were treated by the government agents who dispossessed him of his property against his will, without compensation, and forced him and his people into captivity beyond the great Missouri, where he was never heard of again and where he undoubtedly died of a broken heart.
They are now all gone—not one is left to tell the story. But whether the legislature authorizes the erection of this monument or not the Pottawatomie Indians will not be forgotten. Their memory has been preserved and will continue to be perpetuated for all time to come in the rivers, lakes and various localities bearing their names. Aubenaube and Kewanna, and Tiosa, in Fulton county, perpetuate the names of noted Indian chiefs; and the beautiful Tippecanoe, with its rippling waters of blue; and the picturesque Manitou, and the lovely Maxinkuckee, the St. Joseph, and especially the famous Wabash, where:
‘Round my Indiana homestead wave the cornfields,|
In the distance loom the woodlands clear and cool;
It was there I spent my days of early childhood—
It was there I learned the love of nature’s school.
I can here my mother’s voice call from the doorway
As she stood there years ago and watched for me;
I can hear the birds sing sweetly in the spring-time,
On the banks of the Wabash, far away
Oh, the moon is fair tonight along the Wabash.
From the fields there comes the breath of new-mown hay,
Through the sycamores the candle-lights are gleaming
On the banks of the Wabash, far away.
All these names will perpetuate for all time to come the memory of the Pottawatomie
Indians, the first owners and inhabitants of all the beautiful country north
of the Wabash river and south of the great lakes.|
The Indians all have passed away,|
That noble race and brave,
Their light canoes have vanished
From off the crested wave.
Amid the forest where they roamed
There rings no hunter’s shout—
But their name is on your waters—
You can not sash it out.
| While the House of Representatives showed its appreciation of the eloquence of Mr. McDonald
by ordering his address published in pamphlets form (the only address of the session so honored), yet
the members were not prepared to pass his bill for the erection of the modest memorial which he
requested. It is gratifying, however, to know that Mr. McDonald was returned to the general assembly
for the session of 1907, and that his bill was re-introduced during that session and became law by
the approval of the governor, March 12, 1907. The memorial to the great Menominee will be no less a
monument to the noble hearts and wise head of his advocate and defender, the Hon. Daniel McDonald.
In 1840, Alexis Coquillard, the first white man to establish a trading post on the site of the city of South Bend, was commissioned by the general government to remove certain bands of Pottawatomies who still remained in St. Joseph county. They had agreed to go peaceably with “the Pottawatomie Chief,” as Mr. Coquillard was called by the Indians, who had much admiration and affection for this distinguished pioneer. These last Indians were removed by Mr. Coquillard without trouble, and in a most humane manner.
There was in this case none of the sadness and suffering so graphically described by Mr. McDonald in being all in wagons. The only regrettable circumstance connected with this last Indian emigration is the fact that Alexis Coquillard was defrauded by his partner, a man named Alverson, who appropriated to himself the large sum of money, $40,000 and over, which the general government had appropriated and paid for this important service. The defalcation of his partner, for a time, weighed heavily upon the spirits and fortunes of Mr. Coquillard, but only for a time. The same indomitable energies that made his fortunes restored them. He was a fine type of those business men that followed him, men who refused to be suppressed by adverse circumstances and who have made the business enterprises of St. Joseph county known to the people of the world.
With this last removal of the primitive inhabitants, but two of three Pottawatomie families were left I St. Joseph county, and now there is not an Indiana of full blood where once the race was in absolute possession. As said by Mr. McDonald, in closing his notable speech in the state house at Indianapolis: “They are now all gone—not one is left to tell the story.” (Howard, A History of St. Joseph County Indiana, 1907 vol. 1)
of Pottawattomie Indians, 1838
The “consolidation” or removal of Indian tribes from their homes to reservations further west was one
of those apparently necessary and equally cruel courses dictated by the
expansion of the white race in the United States. Annie H. Abel’s article,
“History of Indian Consolidation West of the Mississippi” in the Annual
Report of the American History Association, 1906, Vol. 1, describes the
principal steps in the process. The so-called Removal Act, approved by
President Jackson, May 28, 1830 (4 United States Statutes at Large, 411),
was taken as authority for forcible removal of Indians.
|Of an Emigrating Party of Pottawattomie Indians, From|
Twin Lakes, in Marshall County, Ia. [Indiana], to Their
Homes on the Osage River in the We [stern] Terri-
tory. Conducted by Wm. Polke, Esq.
Property of Judge Polk if called for.
|Thursday 30th. August, 1838.
Commenced collecting the Indians at Twin Lakes Encampment, Marshall County Indiana, and succeeded in gathering by night time, about one hundred and seventy.
|Friday, 31st. Aug..
Received considerable accessions to the numbers of yesterday. The day was employed in bringing in the Indians and their baggage.
|Sunday, 2nd Sept..
Loaded thirteen wagons with the Baggage belonging to the Indians and prepared for a march.
|Monday, 3d Sept..
A party of forty-two Indians were brought into camp, and the business of the emigration so arranged as to expedite our departure on to-morrow.
|Tuesday, 4th Sept.
Left Encampment at Twin Lakes at half past 9 o’clk A. M. leaving behind on account of sickness of the chief San-ga-na, with his family consisting of thirteen persons, three of whom are very sick, and proceeded on our march. Messrs, Wheeler & Hopkins agree to furnish provisions during the sickness of the family, and until such time as San-ga-na may be able to report himself at the agency at Logansport, preparatory to his emigration west. The day was exceedingly sultry, and the roads choked up with dust. Traveling was attended with much distress on account of the scarcity of water. Reached Chippeway at sunset having travelled a distance of twenty-one miles further than it was the intention of the Conductor to have gone, but for the want of water. The number of horses belonging to the Indians is estimated at two hundred and eighty-six—the number of wagons engaged in the transportation twenty-six. Provisions and forage rather scarce and not of the best quality.
|Wednesday, 5th September.
Fifty-one persons were found to be unable to continue the journey, the means of transportation not being at hand—they were therefore left, the most of them sick, the remainder to wait upon them. Proceeded on our route, and reached at half past 12, at noon, the point determined upon as the location of our second encampment, a distance of nine miles from the encampment of the day before. The scarcity of water in the country again retarded the progress of the emigration—the distance being either too great or too short between the watering placed. A child died on the vening of this day, and buried on the morning of the 7t. A child was also born during our encampment. A party of three Indians joined us today shortly after coming into camp. Subsistence generally of beef and flour, and that very difficult to acquire—having in most cases to ransport it from Logansport, a distance form the furthest point of 46 miles*
*During the night of the 4th instant at the encampment at Chippeway, twenty persons affected their escape—stealing two horses from the Indians remaining behind, and have not since been heard of.
|Thursday, 6th Sept.
Left the Encampment at Una Creek at 9 in the morning, and traveled encountering fewer difficulties on our route, than on either of the previous days, to the encampment settled upon in the immediate vicinity of Logansport, having accomplished on our third day’s march, a distance of seventeen miles. During the Evening of our arrival, nine of those left at Chippeway came up.
|Friday, 7th Sept.
Two wagons with the thirteen person left at Chippeway arrive in camp today. Kock-coch-kee, with his party consisting of fifteen persons, as also Co-co-ta, Che-shaw-gen Way-wa-he-as-shuk and Pawk-shuk, with their families, making in all eighteen persons, came into camp today. A child died this morning.
|Saturday, 8th Sept.
A child three years old died and was buried—The chief We-wiss-sa came in with his family consisting of six persons, to join the emigration,—himself sick. Two wagons that had been sent to Chippeway returned bringing with them twenty-two persons, the whole of the number of those left behind, save the few who had effected their escape, and others who wished to remain until they are better able to travel. C. Martin has agreed to furnish them while sick at that place.
|Sunday, 9th Sept.
Physicians came into camp today, and reported three hundred cases of sickness, generally of a temporary character, and which they are of opinion, may be removed by a two-day course of medicine. A kind of Medical hospital has been erected to-day, which is likely to facilitate the course of medical regime proposed by the physicians. A child died to-day. The priest formerly attached to the Catholics among the Pottawattamies, asked and obtained leave to say mass to-day and perform the ceremonies of his church in camp. The rites are now being performed. This Evening Sidney Williams and Wm. T. Polke, who had been dispatched in pursuit of the Indians who escaped from Chippeway, returned, having reconnoitered the village and cornfields on the Reserve without receiving any intelligence of the fugitives. They brought into camp three Indian horses which they had found on the road. A child died since dark.
|Monday, 10th Sept.
The morning was early employed in preparations for a removal. Nothing of any note occurred during the morning. At 10 o’clk, we got under way and proceeded on our journey, leaving behind us of sick and attendan[ts] twenty-one. The day was hot—we had the advantage [how]ever, of being in the vicinity of water, our route lying on the northern bank of the Wabash, the whole distance. We reached our encampment at Winnemac’s old village, at about 5 o’clk, a distance of perhaps ten miles from the camp at Logan. Provisions of the same character of those of yesterday and the day previous. Bacon is not to be had—beef and flour constitutes generally our provisions. A child died since we came into camp. A man also died tonight after several day’s sickness.
|Tuesday, 11th Sept.
Left Winnemac Encampment at 10 A. M. and journeyed westward. Our route lay through an open, champaign, country, which circumstance rendered the traveling more pleasant than that of any previous day. The sick along with us appear to be recruiting and everything bids fair for a comfortable and prosperous emigration. If we may be allowed to judge from the gayety of our encampments—the bright smiles that gild the sunny faces of our unhappy wards, and the contentment which seems to mark the sufferance of imposed restrictions, we may safely calculate upon the pleasantest and happiest of the emigrations west. We reached our present encampment (Pleasant Run) at 5 o’clk—having accomplished a distance of seventeen miles. Provisions beef and flour, bacon difficult to be procured. A source of considerable expense is the foraging of Indian horses. We generally, however, manage to pasture during our encampments, as cheaply as possible.
|Wednesday, 12th Sept.
At half past 8 o’clk. we struck our tents and started on the march. At 11 we reached and forded the Tippecanoe river. A little after 12 we passed the Battle Ground and at 1 arrived at our present encampment (Battle Ground) Distance from the Encampment of yesterday fifteen miles. Immediately after our arrival the Indians were collected, and Dry Goods consisting of Cloths, Blankets, Calicoes, etc., to the amount of $5469 81 were distributed among them. Nothing of importance occurred during the remainder of the day. The Indians appeared to be well satisfied with the distribution of the Goods. A very old woman—the mother of the chief We-wiss-sa—said to be upwards of a hundred years old, died since coming into camp.
|Thursday, 13th Sept.
We commenced our journey this morning about 9 o’clock, and after traveling until 4 this afternoon, reached the encampment near Lagrange—some eighteen miles from the camp of yesterday. With the exception of the sultry heat of noon-day and the excessive dust of the road, our marches are very pleasant. This Evening two neighboring Physicians, Drs. Ritchie & Son were called into camp (the situation of the sick demanding it) and have visited and prescribed for most of those indisposed. They report 106 cases of sickness.
|Friday, 14th Sept.
Left Lagrange encampment at an early hour and proceeded at a quick pace on our journey—passing over a dry and seemingly unhealthy portion of the country. Our party continues to mend in health. Occasionally however, and indeed not unfrequently, persons thro’ weariness and fatigue take sick along the route. This occupies much of our time. We place them in the wagons which are every day becoming more crowded and proceed. Reached our camp ground near Williamsport at 4 P. M. As we advanced farther into the country of he prairies water becomes more scarce—the streams are literally dried up, and we have to fear that unless soon refreshed with rain, our future marches will be attended with much pain, and suffering. To-day we made 18 miles. Two deaths took place this evening.
|Saturday, 15th Sept.
Early on this morning we were on our way, and traveled without interruption until 12 o’clk. M. when we arrived at an unhealthy and filthy looking stream, at which, from the reports of the citizens of the country, we were forced to encamp. The young men among the Indians during the afternoon, to the number of twenty-five, were permitted to go on a hunting excursion-a permission which they have for some time seemed to covet. We traveled to-day about 10 miles. Two small children died along the road.
|Sunday, 16th Sept.
At 8 o’clock we were loaded and in our saddles. Seven persons were left sick in camp, among the number a woman who was about to be confined. A few minutes travel brought us to the Grand Prairie, a portion of which we passed over, arriving at our present Encampment at Danville, Ill., at about 3 o’clk. P. M. The heat along with the dust is daily rendering our march more distressing. The houses are jaded the Indians sickly and many of the persons engaged in the emigration more of less sick. The whole country through which we pass appears to be afflicted—every town, village, and hamlet has its invalids. We traveled to-day fifteen miles, passing the dividing line between the two states at about 11 ½ o’clock. We find provisions and forage, the further we advance, demanding most enormous prices. It is worthy of remark, perhaps, that such a season for sickness in this country is almost unparalleled. In the little town, adjoining which we are now encamped, containing a population of from eight hundred to a thousand four persons died yesterday.
|Monday, 17t Sept.
Left the encampment at Danville at 9 in the morning, and proceeded to Sandusky’s point—a distance of six miles, where we encamped for the remainder of the day and night. Soon after our arrival in camp, Joseph Mouland who was left as Interpreter for the sick remained at the camp of Saturday last, came up with his part, it having received an accession by the birth of a child. Provisions and forage we find scarce. Subsistence generally beef and flour. A young child died directly after coming into camp.
|Tuesday, 18th Sept.
The accumulation of business, together with the discharge of a number of troops in service, rendered it necessary that we should remain in camp a day or so—beside which the weak condition of many of the emigrants demanded rest. During the evening a woman and a child died. A child was also born today. The health of the emigrants continues very bad. Scarcely a day but new cases are reported. In the main however, a daily improvement may be calculated upon. Dr. Jerolaman, the physician to the emigrants arrived in camp to-day, and commenced the discharge of his dut[ies]. He is assisted for the time by Dr. James H. Buell of Williamsport, Ia. whose service were enlisted during the absence of Dr. Jerolaman. In their report of to-day they say, “there are at this time sixty-seven sick—of that number there are forty-seven cases of intermittent fever—thirteen of continued and three of diarrhea, and two of scrofula. Of the whole number eight may be considered dangerously ill. Provisions and forage still continue to be scarce.
|Wednesday, 19th Sept.
The business for which we remained yesterday in camp, is but half concluded. The sick require active treatment such as they cannot receive whilst on the march. We remain to-day. To-morrow morning most of the volunteers will be discharged, when we expect to proceed on our way. The report of the physicians varies but little from that of yesterday. They report six or eight cases as very dangerous. A child of six or eight years old died this Evening. Also late at night an adult person.
|Thursday, 20th Sept.
At 3 o’clock we were up and busily preparing the discharge of the volunteers. At sun rise they were mustered and marched to Head Quarters, where, after being addressed for a few moments by the General in command, they were discharged and paid off. Sixteen of the mounted volunteers, upon a requisition of the Conductor of the emigration were retained in service and are now under the immediate charge of Ensign Smith. At 9 o’clk. a few hours before which an elderly woman died, we prepared for our march. We left the camp at half past 9, and reached our present encampment at about 2 P. M. During the march of the party, Gen. Tipton who has heretofore been in command of the volunteers, and superintended the removal of the present emigration, took his leave, and left us in charge of the Conductor, Wm. Polke, Esq. While on the march a child died on horseback. A death has also occurred since we came into camp this Evening. We are now encamped at Davis’s Point, a distance of ten miles from the camp ground of yesterday. To-morrow we expect to reach Sidney, which is reported to be a good watering place.
|Friday, 21st Sept.
Left Davis’s encampment at half-past 9. At a little before 2 we reached Sidney, near the spot selected for encampment. The health of the Indians is the same—scarcely a change—the worst of the cases in most persons proves fatal. Physician reports for yesterday, “their condition somewhat better. There are yet fifty sick in camp—three have died since my last.” The farther we get into the prairie the scarcer becomes water. Our present encampment is very poorly watered, and we are yet in the vicinity of timber. A child died since we came into camp. This morning before we left the Encampment of last night, a chief, Muk-kose, a man remarkable for his honesty and integrity, died after a few days’ sickness. Distance traveled to-day 12 miles. Forage not so scarce as a few days ago. Bacon we occasionally procure—beef and flour, however, constitutes our principal subsistence.
|Saturday, 22nd Sept.
At 8 o’clock we left our Encampment, and entered the prairie at Sidney. The day was exceedingly cold.—The night previous had brought us quite a heavy rain, and the morning came in cold and blustery. Our journey was immediately across the Prairie, which at this point is entirely divested of timber for sixteen miles. The Emigrants suffered a good deal, but appeared to be cheerful. The health of the camp continues to improve—not a death has occurred to-day, and the cool bracing weather will go far towards recruiting the health of the invalids. A wagoner was discharged to-day for drunkenness. Dissipation is almost entirely unknown in the camp. To-night, however, two Indians were found to have possessed themselves of liquor, and become intoxicated. They were arrested and put under guard. Some six or eight persons were left at Davis’s Point this morning, for want of the means of transportation. They came in this evening. We are at present encamped at Sidoris’s Grove, sixteen miles distant from Sidney. Water quite scarce.
|Sunday, 23rd Sept.
Left our encampment at 9 o’clk. Having been detained for an hour at the request of the Rev. W. Petit, who desired to perform service. The day was clear and cold. Our way lay across another portion of Grand Prairie, which, as was the case yesterday, we found without timber for fifteen miles. Physicians report the health of the camp still improving. “The number of sick” the report says “is forty. There have been two deaths since my last report, and four of five may be considered immediately dangerous.” A child died early this morning. One also died on the way to our present Encampment. Distance traveled to-day fifteen miles. We are at present encamped on the Sangamon river, along the banks of which our route to-morrow lies. Subsistence, beef and flour—better, however, than usual.
|Tuesday, 25th Sept.
To allow the sick left at Pyatt’s Point yesterday time to join us, and to give the emigrants generally a respite, and to bring up the business of the emigration, it was determined to remain in camp to-day. The baggage wagons were weighed and reloaded during the day and the matters of the emigrants made more comfortable. Sometime in the afternoon the sick left at the encampment of yesterday arrived. Directly after their arrival a woman among the number died. The rest were but little if any improved. A child died this evening. The farther we advance the more sickly seems the character of the country. It is very difficult to procure provisions and forage owing to the general prostration of the husbandry…Most of the Indian men were permitted to go on a hunting excursion to-day. They brought in a considerable quantity of game.
|Wednesday, 26th Sept.
Left our Encampment at the Crossing at 8 o’clock in the morning and proceeded on our route. The sick appear somewhat recruited. Owing to the indisposition of our physicians no report has been made since Monday. We have reason to believe that the health of the camp is returning. The weather still continues delightful—the roads, however, are again becoming dusty. Provisions and forage seem not so scarce as farther back.—the country through which we are now passing is more thickly settled…Distance traveled to-day fourteen miles. We are now encamped near
Decatur, Ill. Forty miles from Springfield. A child died after dark.
|Thursday, 27th Sept.
At 8 this morning we were loaded and on our horses. We traveled until 2 p. m. and reached our present encampment, Long Point, about fourteen miles from the camp of last night. During the march, and indeed for the last three days, a considerable number of the Indian men were scouring the prairies in search of game. Their success has been such as to upercede entirely the necessity of issuing rations. The camp is now full of venison. Mr. Shields, one of the Assistant Conductors, left us this morning on account of indisposition. A substitute, it is thought, will not be necessary as the emigration is already far advanced on its route. We find no difficulty in procuring water, and we have every reason to believe that the greater portion of our route will be found to furnish a sufficiency for the party. Physician still indisposed. Forage and subsistence the same. We find less difficulty in procuring sufficient quantities.
|Friday, 28th Sept.
Left Long Point at a little before 8 and crossed the prairies intervening. At 2 o’clk. P. M. we reached the Sangamon (on the banks of which we have encamped for the last five days) after crossing which we pitched our tents. We are now within a few miles of Springfield, which place we shall pass through to-morrow. Judge Polke, the Conductor, on the occasion of passing through a village of the character of Springfield, requested I-o-weh, one of the principal chiefs, so to arrange and accouter the Indians as to insure a good appearance. The chief was delighted with the proposition and no doubt the emigration to-morrow will present quite a gaudy appearance. As an inducement they were promised some tobacco, which they have been much in want for several days. The day has been very warm, which added to the length of our march, fatigued much the emigrants. The illness of the camp in disappearing gradually, and we may safely calculate upon a great diminution in the number of sick at the next report of the physician. Forage and provisions becoming plenty, as we nearer approach the settled portions of the state. Distance traveled to-day Eighteen miles. Two children died during the night.
|Saturday, 29th Sept.
In order to pass Springfield at as early an hour as possible, we rose before light, and at 8 o’clock were on our way. The Indians amongst whom a degree of pride was excited, arranged themselves into line with an unusual display of finery and gaudy trumpery marched through the streets of Springfield. The wayfares were covered with anxious spectators, so indeed as to threaten for a time to impede the progress of the Emigration. We passed clearly through however, and that too without the detention of a single Indian. A 3 we reached our present Encampment, McCoy’s Mill, distant from last night’s camp seventeen miles. This morning, Dr. Jerolaman on account of his continued indisposition, requested leave to remain in Springfield a few days to recruit. Permission was granted. Our march today was through a very dry region of Country. We are now encamped on a stream affording little water.
|Sunday, 30th Sept.
We left McCoy’s Mills at about 9 o’clk. and at 12 reached Island Grove, the place of our Encampment 6 miles distant from the Camp of last night. Our march was made necessarily short on account of the scarcity of water—this being the only watering place nearer than ten or fifteen miles. The death of a child occurred a few hours after our encampment. Health of the sick still improving. Provisions and subsistence good and healthy. The Indians still bring in large quantities of game—sufficient for their subsistence—and they greatly prefer such provisions as they acquire by the chase. One of the Dragoons was dismissed last night for intoxication— Nothing of the king is permitted.
|Monday, 1st October.
Early in the morning we left Island Grove—travelled over a dry prairie Country, seventeen miles, we reached our encampment near Jacksonville, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Nothing occurred during our march save that a child fell from a wagon, and was very much crushed by the wheels running over it. It is thought the child will die. To-night some of the chiefs reported two runaways, who left this morning. During the Evening we were much perplexed by the curiosity of the visitors, to many of whom the sight of an emigration of Indians is as great a rarity as a traveling Caravan of wild animals. Late at night the camp was complimented by a serenade from the Jacksonville Band.
|Tuesday, 2nd Octr.
We struck our tents at 8 this morning, and prepared for a march. Owing to the very great curiosity manifested by the citizens generally, Judge Polke, after being solicited, marched the emigration into the square, where we remained for fifteen or twenty minutes. Presents of tobacco and pipes in abundance were made by the citizens to the Indians, who appeared quite as much delighted with the favor shown them as with the excellent music of the Band which escorted us around the square. We continued our journey, and at 3 o’clock reached our present encampment about sixteen miles from Jacksonville. The day was excessively warm and the dust very afflicting, added to which water was scarcely to be found on the route. Provisions and forage we find in considerable quantities, without difficulty.
|Wednesday, Oct. 3d.
Left Exeter encampment at a little before 8 o’clock, and without any occurrence of note reached the Illinois river at about 11—9 miles distant from last night’s camp. Preparations were made for ferrying the river, and we embarked in keel and flat boats directly after our arrival. The day was spent in crossing and recrossing the stream, and by 9 p. m. we succeeded in landing the last of the baggage wagons. We are now encamped on the opposite shore from Naples, where we shall perhaps remain to-morrow, to recruit the fatigues of the past few days. A child died directly after our arrival at the river.
|Thursday, 4th Octr.
Although the ferriage of the river was completed last night before we slept, it was thought advisable by the Conductor to remain in Camp to-day. The Indians made use of the opportunity thus afforded, to furnish themselves with moccasins, wash their blankets and clothes, and do many other things necessary to their comfort and cleanliness during the remainder of the journey. The health of the Indians is now almost as good as before we commenced our march from Twin Lakes—a few days more will entirely recruit them. A young child died in the Evening.
|Friday, 5th Oct.
Left Encampment opposite Naples at 8 o’clock, and reached at a little after 12 our present encampment, at McKee’s creek, twelve miles from the Illinois river. We were forced to-day to leave the Road and travel a considerable distance to find water—even such as it is—standing in ponds—The streams are nearly all dry. Subsistence, beef and flour. Forage of a good character.
|Saturday, 6th Oct.
At a little before 8 in the morning we left the encampment of last night. During the night we were visited by a fall ran which rendered the traveling to-day unusually pleasant. The dust has been completely allayed, and the air much cooled. Water on the route was only to be found in stagnant ponds. At 3 o’clock we reached our present encampment, which from the barreness of the spot in everything save grass, brush and weeds, we have appropriately named Hobson’s Choice. Beef and potatoes were issued to the Indians this Evening. Forage, corn and hay. A child died since we came into camp. Distance traveled to-day eighteen miles.
|Sunday, 7th Oct.
We were on the march this morning at half past 7 o’clk. The journey was pleasant and the road better than usual supplied with water. The distance to Quincy, of which we are now within six or seven miles, was too great for one day’s journey; we therefore encamped at Mill-creek, but twelve miles distance from Hobson’s Choice camp. To-morrow we shall reach Quincy at an early hour, and soon as possible cross the river on the opposite bank of which we expect to remain two of three days to allow the teamsters and others engaged in the service, sufficient time to repair their wagons, etc. A child died shortly after we arrived in camp.
|Monday, 8th Octr.
In order to reach Quincy and forward the ferriage of the river as much as possible, parties of the emigration were detached and sent a-head at 7 o’clk. At 10 a great portion of the emigrants had reached the river, seven miles from the camp of last night. A stream ferry-boat which had been previously employed, was in waiting for, and the Indians were immediately put on board. By night we succeeded in crossing all the Indians, horses, and several wagons. The remainder will be brought over as early as convenient, to-morrow. It is with the utmost difficulty that many of the Indians are restrained from intoxication. A guar has to be kept under arms in every town through which we pass.—Tomorrow will be employed in the payment of the officers and troops. Three children died since morning.
|Tuesday, 9th Octr.
The wagons belonging to the emigration were early engaged in ferrying the river, and by night time all were over. During the day the officers were busily employed in making out the accounts of the of the officers, laborers and wagoners engaged in the emigration most of whom will be paid and settled with up with up to the 30th ult. Two Dragoons Messrs. Kelly & Smith declined going further with the emigration—they were accordingly discharged. Dr. Jerolaman came into camp to-day—his health is still very delicate. Several of the chiefs assembled to-day, and requested of the Conductor liberty to remain in Camp each succeeding Sabbath for devotional exercises. Leave was granted. The health of the Indians is still improving. We shall continue in camp to-morrow. Mr. H. Barnett, a dragoon, was also discharged to-day, at his own request.
|Wednesday, 10th Oct.
The settlements of yesterday was concluded to-day, and every person engaged in the service, save the Officers of the emigration, was paid up to the 30th ult. In order to allow the wagoners an opportunity of repairing their wagons, shoeing their horses and making other repairs necessary for the safe prosecution of the journey, much extra ferriage was done during the two days of our encampment at the river. This might have been avoided by remaining on the Quincy shore, but the dissolute habits of the Indians and their great proneness to intoxication, forbid such a step on the part of the agents of the government. At sunset all the wagons that had been repairing, were in camp, and we were prepared for next day’s journey.
|Thursday, 11th Octr.
At 9 o’clock the emigration moved from the encampment of the last two days. The rest of yesterday and the day before had much recruited the health and spirits of the Indians. The march was pleasant and without the occurrence of any difficulties. We are encamped at Pleasant Spring, near Palmyra, Mo. Capt. J. Holman, of Peru, Ia. Arrived in Camp to-day. He serves in the capacity of Assistant Superintendent, having received his appointment at the suggestion of reports unfavorable to the health of the officers attached to the emigration. A woman died shortly after we encamped today. An ox wagon engaged in the transportation of Indians, having lost its cattle was forced to remain behind with its load. The wagon along with those left to hunt the oxen will be up to-morrow. Distance traveled to-day thirteen miles.
|Friday, 12th Oct.
Early this morning we prepared for marching, and at 8 ½ o’clock were under way. We passed through Palmyra at 10, and had little difficulty in preventing the excesses of the Indiana. After we arrived in camp, however, two or three Indians were found to have procured liquor, and became much intoxicated. They were immediately arrested and put under guard. We are now encamped on See’s creek, thirteen miles from Pleasant Spring, the camp of last night. The health of the Indians is considered so good that Medicine has not for some time been administered to them. Subsistence beef and flour. Forage corn and corn fodder. The Indian horses are suffered to graze through the woods. The wagon left behind yesterday came up this evening after dark. Gen. A. Morgan, who has heretofore been acting in the capacity of Assistant Superintendent in the emigration gave notice that he should offer his resignation to-morrow.
|Saturday, 13th Oct.
This morning as we were on the eve of leaving our encampment, a number of the Indians headed by the chief Ash-kum came up to Head Quarters, and requested an interview with the Conductor and Gen. Morgan. Ash-kum arose and in a short talk informed the Conductor that the Indians were unwilling that Gen. Morgan whom they had been taught to recognize as principal in the emigration, should leave them. They felt, he continued, that Gen. M. was near to them pledges upon which they depended, and the fulfillment of which induced them in part to consent to their emigration. The Indians also requested throu’ Ash-kum liberty to travel less and remain longer in camp. Judge Polke answered. He informed them that Gen. Morgan had voluntarily offered his resignation, and that he had been appointed to conduct them to their new homes, with the consent of Gen. M. etc. etc. Gen. Morgan also responded and returned his thanks to the Indians for the interest which they manifested in his welfare. The chief I-o-weh dissented in strong terms from the sentiments expressed by Ash-kum. He stated that these men (alluding to Ash-kum and his associates) were not chiefs—that they were not entitled to respect as such. He wished that Judge Polke should conduct them to their new homes, and that Gen. Morgan should return. He was contented with the Officers remaining with the emigration. The emigration left at 9 o’clock. Gen. Morgan having previously departed, The day was very windy, and the dust exceedingly afflicting. At 3 o’clock we arrived in camp at Clinton—a distance of seventeen miles from See’s creek. To-morrow we shall remain in camp.
|Sunday, 14th Octr.
To-day according to a promise made the chiefs a few days ago, we remained in camp. The Indians attended service during the day, and seemed quite to enjoy themselves. In the Evening the chiefs Ash-kum, I-o-weh and others, along with a number of the Indians, assembled at Head Quarters, and shook hands for a talk. They came, I-o-weh said, to demand the dismissal or suspension of Dr. Jerolaman, the physician for the emigration, whom they had ceased to like, and did not wish him longer to accompany the emigration. Judge Polke answered and informed them that their request was one of so much importance and so unusual in emigration, that he hoped he might be allowed time not only to decide himself but to council with is officers. The Indians then retired, with the understanding that an answer would be given them to-morrow evening.
|Monday, 15th Oct.
At 8 o’clk. this morning we were on the march. The day was very windy, which rendered our passage across the prairie very disagreeable. Many of the Indians suffered a good deal. At noon we reached our present encampment, near Paris, twelve miles distant from the camp of last night. During the evening the chiefs, according to arrangement of last night, along with a large number of the Indians, came up to Head Quarters, and repeated their request of last night. The Speaker said that he did not demand it for himself or for his associates alone, but for every man, woman and child in camp—they all united in soliciting he discharge of Dr. Jerolaman. The Conductor briefly informed them that Dr. J. had received his appointment from government—that he felt a delicacy in discontinuing an officer of government—that the Indians were not compelled to receive the services of Dr. J.—they were free to choose for themselves—that he through it his duty to retain his services as physician for the officer of the emigration, and that viewing their request in the light he did, he could not consistent with his duty, grant their request. He hoped they would forget their prejudices, and still continue friendly with Dr. J.—and that his decision might not affect the feelings of unity which had so far subsisted between the officers and their red brethren. In conclusion he informed them that he had purchased, in the hope of allaying their discontent, a keg of tobacco, which he wished them to smoke in token of continued friendship. The Indians then retired, not without, however, first requesting leave to renew the subject again. Subsistence, beef, corn and potatoes. Forage corn & hay.
|Tuesday, 16th Oct.
Left Encampment at Paris this morning at 8. Our march was unusually long—water being scarce throughout the country. At 3 o’clk. we arrived at Burkhart’s Encampment, eighteen miles from Paris. The day was quite cold—last night having frozen water in camp. Health still improving. Complaints of sickness are scarcely to be heard.
|Wednesday, 17th Octr.
Although the appearances of the weather were unfavorable, we were at an early hour preparing for the day’s journey. At 8 the snow commenced falling very fast, and continued during the greater part of the day. Travelling was difficult, the road being exceedingly slippery, and the snow falling so fast as to render very cold and unpleasant the whole journey. At 3 o’clk. we reached our encampment near Huntsville, about thirteen miles fro Burkhart’s. The Indians traveled without complaint, and seemed greatly to approve of the exertion of government to place them at their new homes. Subsistence flour and beef. Forage corn and hay. The snow at night changed to rain, which almost inundated the encampment. A quantity of straw was procured, which generally distributed throughout the camp rendered the Indians tolerable comfortable for the night.
|Thursday, 18th Oct.
To-day owing to the continued rain we were forced to remain encamped. Added to which the state of the roads forbid our travel. Nothing occurred during the day, save the drunkenness of a few of the Indians who had procured liquor at Huntsville. To-morrow we expect to move. Provisions and forage the same as yesterday.
|Friday, 19th Octr.
Early this morning the Indians were busily engaged in making preparations for a march. At 8 o’clock we were on the way. At 12 we reached encampment on Middle Chariton, eleven miles from the camp of last night. The day was cold and clear—the journey, however, was accomplished without the distress of Wednesday. The Indians still seem to be anxious to reach their destination.
|Saturday, 20th Octr.
Left Chariton Encampment at 8 o’clock this morning. The road was quite muddy, and the air very cold. At 12 we reached our present Encampment on Grand Chariton, two miles from Keatsville. To-morrow being the Sabbath we shall remain in camp. The health of the Indians is almost completely restored. There are perhaps scarcely a dozen in camp. Subsistence beef and flour—of which the Indians are becoming tired. Bacon and pork cannot be procured. Forage hay and corn. Distance traveled to-day eleven miles.
|Sunday, 21st Oct.
To-day we remained in camp to allow the Indians, according to a request made by them, an opportunity for worship. During the day a considerable quantity of apples and cider was purchased and given to the Indians. The health continues good. One or two of the Officers have within the last few days been much indisposed.
|Monday, 22nd Oct.
At an early hour this morning we left our encampment, and passing through Keatsville, journeyed towards the Missouri River. At 2 o’clk. P. M. we reached Grand River, preparations for the ferriage of which had before been made, and immediately commenced its crossing. By dark all the Indians and many of the wagons were over. The remainder will cross in the morning early and by 12 we hoped to be able to continue our journey. Distance traveled to-day fifteen miles.
|Tuesday, 23rd Octr.
This morning was early employed in ferrying the remainder of the wagons. By 12 o’clk. all were across, and we prepared for the continuation of our journey. The bottom lands of the Missouri being too flat and wet to encamp upon an hour longer than was essentially necessary, at 1 o’clk. we left Grand River Encampment, and passing over prairies (the cold being severe) arrived at Thomas’ Encampment at a little after 4, a distance of ten miles. Subsistence beef, flour and corn. Forage orn and corn fodder.
|Wednesday, 24th Octr.
This morning before leaving Camp a quantity of Shoes were distributed among the indigent and bare footed Indians, the weather being too sever for marching without a covering to the feet. At 8 o’clock we left Thomas’ encampment, and at 12 reached Carrolton, near which place we are now encamped. Distance twelve miles. Nothing occurred on the way. The cold was intense on the prairies. The country through which we passed to-day is very much excited. Nothing is heard—nothing is talked of but the Mormons and the difficulties between them and the citizens of Upper Missouri. Carrollton is nightly guarded by its citizens.
|Thursday, 25th Octr.
Having an unusually long journey before us, across a prairie, we moved from Carrollton encampment at half past 7 o’clk. and without meeting with difficulty or obstructions, but somewhat fatigued, we arrived at Snowden’s near whose farm we encamped. The journey was made unnecessarily long ecause of the scarcity of water and timber, and the absence of provisions and forage. Sometime after jour encampment the Conductor was waited upon by a gentleman, who it appeared had been delegated by the citizens of Richmond (a village near us) to request assistance as they really anticipated an attack from the Mormons tonight. Judge Polke informed the gentleman that such a step on his part would be entirely without the line of his duty. His duties were particularly delegated to him by the government, to which he was responsible for the faithful performance of the same. He hoped that the excitement would abate, and the aid which he required be rendered unnecessary. Provisions and forage as usual.
|Friday, 26th Octr.
At 8 o’clock we left our encampment, and at 10 reached the Missouri river, opposite Lexington. We immediately commenced ferrying, and shall perhaps be able to get the wagons all over before night. We found the ferry engaged in transporting females who were flying from their homes. Great excitement prevailes. Reports are rife throughout the country of bloodshed, house-burning, etc. The people seem completely crazed. By sunset all the wagons save a few on the opposite bank of the river. Early in the morning we shall proceed to cross the Indians.
|Saturday, 27th Octr.
At sunrise the ferry boats were busily plying from shore to shore. As fast as the Emigrants reached the southern bank they were hurried on their journey. At 2 o’clk. the party were all over the river, and hastened to join the front of the emigration. At 4 o’clock the front of the party reached our encampment at Little Schuy creek, eight miles from last night’s camp.
|Sunday, 28th Octr.
To-day we remained in camp. We have performed a good week’s travel, ferrying two rivers in the time. Health of the camp as good as it has been. This morning the Indians with Ash-kum at their head, came to Head Quarters and informed the conductor of some difficulties hich they were fearful might occur in the exercise of the unrestricted power by I-o-weh, whom they did not choose to acknowledge as a chief of the blood. They also requested information in regard to their annuities, etc. Judge Polke hoped that they would cease to speak of a subject which could not be of benefit to them, but on the other hand might affect the progress of the emigration. When the journey was completed they were at liberty to speak and decide among themselves. He had yet some tobacco, which he should offer them in hopes that they would still continue in peace and harmony. He also informed them what he knew of their annuities, etc. The Indians then retired apparently contented. A child died after night some time—the first for the last four weeks.
|Monday, 29th Octr.
At 8 o’clock we resumed our journey—the morning being delightful and fine for traveling. At 12 we reached Prairie creek ten miles from Schuy creek. Subsistence flour, corn-meal, beef and pork and game of every kind. Forage, corn, hay and fodder. About 5 o’clock Capt. Hull arrived in camp with the Indians left at Logansport and Tippecanoe, numbering in all some twenty-three. They are tolerably good health and spirits and will perhaps accomplish the remainder of the journey in the company of our party.
|Tuesday, 30th Octr.
We marched from Prairie creek this morning at a little before 8, and at 1 p. m. reached our present encampment at Blue River, fourteen miles from this morning’s camp. The journey was unusually pleasant—the day warm, and the emigrants in the company of their friends, who came up yesterday evening, very gay and cheerful. Some time after our encampment Capt. Hull reported himself to the conductor and the number and condition of the emigrants under his charge. They number in all twenty-three, having five horses and three transporting wagons in company. They will be attached to the emigration nder the charge of Judge Polke to-morrow.
|Wednesday, 31st Octr.
Left Encampment this morning at half after 7 o’clock—the company under Capt. Hull being attached to the emigrants—and at 12 o’clock passed through Independence. At 1 we reached our present encampment two miles south of Independence, and ten miles from the camp of yesterday. After reaching camp in the evening a small quantity of shoes were distributed among the emigrants. Many Indians came into camp during the afternoon much intoxicated.
|Thursday, 1st Novr.
Left camp Independence at a little after 9—one hour or so having been allowed the Indians for their religion exercises. At 3 o’clk. we reached our present encampment on Blue River, sixteen miles. Te journey was exceedingly pleasant—the weather being warm and the road very good. Subsistence and forage of a good and healthy character, and to be had in abundance. To-morrow we shall cross the state line, and thereafter experience some difficulty in provisioning—the country being almost an entire wilderness.
|Friday, 2nd Nov.
This morning broke upon us rainy and disagreeable. The conductor being anxious, however, to complete the journey now so near at an end, gave the word for a move, and at 8 o’clock we were on the road—the rain increasing as we advanced. At 9 we crossed the boundary line, and found ourselves in the heart of a prairie, with scarcely any trace to mark our route. The journey was continued and at 12 a large portion of the emigrants on horseback came detached from the wagon, and wandered over the prairie four hours in search of the trace of the wagons. It was found at length, and we reached the camp ground set-out for a 3 o’clock, having traveled a distance (it was computed) of twenty-five miles from the encampment of yesterday. Our encampment is known as the North fork of Blue river. Subsistence beef and corn. Forage corn.
|Saturday, 3rd Nov.
At an early hour we left our encampment at Oak Grove, and traveled until 2 o’clock when we reached a settlement of Wea Indians, on Bull creek, and camped adjoining Bull-town. Our journey was pleasant, and was marked by the anxiety of the Indians to push forward and see their friends. During the evening as attempt as made to enroll the Indians, but not very successfully. They did not seem (or would not) to understand or appreciate the object. Late in the evening several of the chiefs came to Head Quarters, and request to remain in camp to-morrow. But the journey being so nearly completed, and the scarcity of orage and provisions induced the conductor to deny their request, and insist upon traveling.
|Sunday, 4th Nov.
Left Bull-town encampment this morning at 9 o’clk. two hours having been allowed the Indians for devotional purposes. At 2 we crossed the Osage, where the Indians were met and welcomed by many of their friends, and at half after 3 reached Pottawattomie creek, the end of our destination. The emigrants seeming delighted with the appearance of things—the country—its advantages—the wide spreading prairie and the thrifty grove, the rocky eminence and the meadowed valley—but particularly with the warm and hearty greeting of those who have tested (and but to become attached to,) the country assigned them by Government. The evening was spent in preparing for some settlements of to-morrow. The distance of to-day’s travel is computed at twenty miles. Mr. Davis the Agent, we found absent.
|Monday 5th Nov.
The day consumed in making settlements with the Officers. During the afternoon a considerable number of the Indians, assembled at Head Quarters, and expressed a desire to be heard in a speech. Pe-pish-kay rose and in substance said:--That they had now arrived at their journey’s end—that the government must now be satisfied. They had taken been from homes affording them plenty, and brought to a desert—a wilderness—and were now to be scattered and left as the husbandman scatters his seed. The Agent, Mr. Davis, they knew not, and his absence would not afford them an opportunity of deciding what they might expect from him. The Indians did not think such treatment of a character with that promised them in their treaties. They hoped Judge Polke, their friend, would remain with them and see that justice should be rendered. Judge Polke informed them that considering their request too important to be disregarded, he would return from Independence, whither it was necessary he should go to attest the settlement of the emigration, and remain with them until Mr. Davis’s return. He would leave his son (Mr. B. C. Polke) who would in company with them visit and select such localities in the country as might please them. They returned for answer that they would reply in the morning. The Council then broke up. Quite an old man died after coming into camp last night. Beef and corn were delivered to the Indians in the afternoon. During the evening, a wagon belonging to and owned by Andrew Fuller, a Pottawattomie, containing six Indians, came into camp. They had traveled from Michigan with the intention of becoming citizens of the Western Territory, and borne their expenses for the whole route. They came without any instructions from the Agent at Logansport.
|Tuesday, 6th Novr.
We were early preparing to move on our return—the Officers and wagons generally expressing much anxiety to hasten their return. The Indians assembled again, and after a repetition of the requests and arguments of yesterday, informed the Conductor that they were willing he should leave them, but they should expect his return. In the meantime they hoped that Judge Polke would nterest himself in their affairs. They had confidence in him, and hoped he would not abuse it. Immediately we left our encampment, and proceeded on our return. Much feeling was manifested at our departure. On our way we passed a wagon containing two dead persons. A sick family of Indians had been left a Bull-town—two of the sick had died. They reached the camp of the Indians before night. We arrived at our encampment of Saturday last at 3 o’clock. To-morrow we shall proceed to Westpoint.
|Wednesday, 7th Nov.
Travelled from Bulltown encampment to McLean’s Grove, a distance of twenty-five miles. It had snowed the night previous and continued most of the day, which was windy and excessively cold. But a small number of the Team kept in company—most of them selecting their own routes.
|Thursday, 8th, Nov.
Left McLean’s Grove and traveled to Westpoint a distance of nine miles to breakfast. After breakfast we continued o our way, and arrived at Camp near Independence at 5 o’clock. Several of the teams were already in camp, and others coming in. To-day we traveled a distance of twenty-one miles.
|Friday, 9th Nov.
During the day the wagons left behind us came into camp. The settlements with the teams will be commenced to-day and perhaps be concluded to-morrow.
|Saturday, 10th Nov.
The settlements with the teamsters and officers concluded to-day. To-morrow we set out for home every thing having resulted as well and happily as could have been anticipated by the most sanguine.
I believe the foregoing Journal to be correct in every thing pertaining to distances, localities, etc., etc.
|J. C. Douglas,|
|SCALE OF DISTANCES|
From Logansport to Quincy……………………………….339 miles
From Quincy to Independence…………………………….213
From Independence to Pottawattomie Creek, W. T………...66
From Naples, Ill. to Quincy………………………………....49
From Springfield, Ill., to Naples…………………………….59
From Springfield to Danville, Ill…………………………..126
St. Joseph County Perspective
Primitive Inhabitants. Dr. Montgomery, in speaking of the time towards the close of the last ice age, when the great Kankakee carried its waters from Saginaw Bay down the valley of the St. Joseph and the Kankakee to the Mississippi, tells us that, “If a man could have stood upon the hills of Rum Village, a vast panorama of water would have met his gaze: To the northeast, as far as the eye could reach, a stream from five to six miles wide and a hundred feet in depth, passing at his feet and rolling onward to the southwest, confined only by the hills on the north and on the south; and to the northwest a tributary of the same great stream three miles wide and limited in the line of vision only by the horizon.” And he adds: “And primitive man was here.” This conclusion, that the first man was already here, is read by the learned scientist in the records of our rocks. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
The Mound Builders. But other and more easily deciphered records are found upon the face of the earth, all over the region of the Mississippi valley, indicating the presence, at a comparatively recent period, of a highly intelligent race. These people, for whom we have no name, but who are vaguely included under the general term of Mound Builders, have left evidences of extensive works in the vicinity of our great rivers and their tributaries. These works are of three kinds: Mounds; square and circular enclosures; and raised embankments of various forms. The absence of remains of buildings is explained by the circumstance that timber was here abundant, and would therefore be chosen for building instead of stone. The Mound Builders are believed to be the same people who have left buildings of stone in New Mexico, Arizona, Mexico and various parts of Central and South America. The stone structures of those countries remain, but the wooden buildings of our own region would leave no trace after a few hundred years. These mysterious people disappeared from our country ages ago. Nature does not give a forest growth at once to abandoned fields; a preparatory growth of shrubs and softer timber comes first. But forest trees have been found upon the summit of these mounds which show, by annual rings and other signs, at least six hundred years of growth. There could be no better proof of the great antiquity of these mounds. The Mound Builders occupied the country, at least the southern part of it, where their population was densest, for a very long time. This is shown by the extent of their remains, by their workings in the copper mines of the Lake Superior region, and by many other proofs. At the south they were at peace; but as they advanced northward they came more and more into contact with the wild tribes, before whom they finally retired again toward the southern countries from which the ad come.
In the Lake Superior region have been found, as already intimated, the copper mines worked by these ancient people. In one of these mines there was discovered an immense block of copper weighing nearly six tons. It had been left in the process of removal to the top of the mine, nearly thirty feet above, and was supported on logs of wood which were partly petrified. The stone and copper tools used by the miners were discovered lying about as they had been left by their owners ages ago. At the mouth of this mine are piles of earth thrown out in digging the mines; and out of these embankments trees are growing which are nearly four hundred years old.
As said by Maurice Thompson, in his delightful Stories of Indians, it is hard to realize now what the face of the land looked like fifty or sixty years ago, even when old people most graphically describe it from memory. Still more difficult do we find it when we try to look back to the far-off time when the first human footprints were made in Indiana. We might naturally suppose that these first visitors were Indians, but we don not know that this conjecture is anywhere near the truth. What we do know is that strange and interesting traces of human activities, dating back probably many centuries, are clearly marked in almost every region. These are mostly earthworks of various forms—mounds, embankments, and curious garden-like arrangements of soil beds with walks between. In some places beds or heaps of shells, broken and charred bones of fish, birds and quadrupeds, suggest camping spots where cooking and feasting went on for years. And almost always in connection with these mounds and the like are found human bones, curious copper and stone and pottery implements, and the crude ornaments worn by the people. They had for arms bows and arrows and spears, and used stone axes and knives; while the women sewed with flint needles. They were hunters, fisherman and warriors.
It is said that the Indians found here when white men first arrived had a vague tradition that their distant ancestors came from far towards the setting sun, probably the southwest. These first men liked to dwell beside running streams, where they could build earthworks, on high, well-drained land overlooking the course of the water and commanding a view of the surrounding country. Some of the most beautiful landscapes in Indiana lie round about these sites of ancient encampments. Doubtless the Mound Builders were expert canoemen and used the streams as highways of travel and as base lines from which to make explorations and hunting excursions; for almost every water course in Indiana then navigable for canoes has here and there along its banks traces of the Mound Builders’ art. The implements of copper, of stone and of pottery found imbedded in the mounds show the effect of patient and quiet accurate work. Arrowheads of flint were sometimes so neatly finished that they are marvels of symmetry even when compared with like heads made of steel by the best workmen of Europe for archers in the time when the bowmen of England were the finest soldiers in the world. Stone mortars and pestles for pounding grain and the kernels of nuts and acorns into meal served them instead of mills. For knives they had sharp stone and keen-edged blades of bone. It is evident that the Mound Builders depended mostly upon spears and bows and arrows for killing game. If we knew the form of their bows it would aid us greatly in finding out more about their character as men; for among the wildwood hunters, before firearms reached them, the bow was the best sign of their condition. Short, weak bows stood for an inferior people; long and strong bows indicated a stalwart race of men. But many of the arrowheads found in the mounds are large and heavy, fitted for use only with powerful bows; and the axes and spears points were ponderous weapons suggestive of great muscular force in those who used them.
From the northernmost part of the state down to the Ohio river the Mound Builders had their fortifications, and the same may be said of the whole country on down to the Gulf of Mexico. In many places stone walls were built instead of earthworks, the masonry being regular and strong, but laid without mortar. We have noted that the mounds of ground overlooking considerable areas of surrounding country. This choice may have been a measure of precaution against the approach of enemies, but there was a more urgent and natural reason for it. I those early days Indiana’s territory was almost as much water as dry land. During a great part of the year nearly all the low, flat lands were too wet for camping purposes, and in times of long-continued rain even the animals were all forced by the water to take refuge on the high places. How easy it was then for the Mound Builders to go in their light canoes to the grounds thus surrounded by water and take all the game they needed. No doubt the floods often drove whole herds of deer, flocks of wild turkey, and even many bears and pumas, wild cats and wolves up to the very walls of the encampments. And this may be why such vast numbers of arrowheads are to this day found on the high grounds.
A great many signs point to the south and southwest as the direction whence the first inhabitants reached Indiana. Sometimes little things are more significant than large ones, and the fact that some of the arrowheads and stone ornaments found in and around our ancient earthworks are made of certain kinds of stone not appearing anywhere this side of Tennessee, speaks almost as clearly as written legend of the route by which their owners came to this region. Some historians have thought that the Mound Builders were a race greatly superior to the Indians found here by the whites, and have tried to show, by remains left here by that vanished people, that they were advanced in intelligence. Others maintain that the Mound Builders were but ordinary Indians, the ancestors of tribes still in existence when the French missionaries and traders came to this region. While no remains of great magnitude, left by the Mound Builders, are found in St. Joseph county, yet indications of the presence of those mysterious people are discovered in many places in and near the valleys of the St. Joseph and the Kankakee.
Near New Carlisle, on the borders of Terre Coupee Prairie, and at various other points such remains are discovered. The Most remarkable of these are three large mounds and two small ones, found in Warren township, on the northwest bank of the furthest south of the group of Chain of lakes, just south of the Lake Shore railroad tracks. These mounds have supplied some of the finest of the copper axes in the collections of the Northern Indiana Historical Society and other collections; while in the vicinity of the mounds are the usual cloth-marked fragments of pottery and broken stone implements indicating the presence of that old race whose remains are so conspicuous throughout the valley of the Kankakee and the Illinois.
Across Portage Prairie, by the portage or pathway from the St. Joseph to the Kankakee, the Mound Builders, like the Indian tribes that came after them, carried on the commerce that went from the lakes to the gulf in those far off years. Old residents who yet remain with us remember this pathway as deep and straight, so deep in places that a man on horseback could almost touch the level ground on either side with his foot. It is not difficult to understand why this pathway, this ancient trail from the St. Joseph to the Kankakee, should have been straight and deep; caused as it was by dusky traveler and burden bearer, moving man after man, in the footsteps of his predecessor, and by the moccasined foot pressing the soil deeper and deeper, year after year and age after age.
Unnumbered centuries and countless hosts knew the trends of this ancient highway; ages when the hosts of the lower Mississippi and the gulf, and the regions to the south, sought the copper mines of the upper lake region. Not only in the mounds throughout the great valley and the gulf region, but also in the oldest of the Peruvian tombs, are found implements and tokens made from Lake Superior copper. And we may not doubt that the traffic which these facts imply was itself, in part, responsible for the depth of this path across our Portage Prairie. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
Our Miamis and Pottawatomies. But the earth records of the Mound Builders are almost as unsatisfactory in the reading as are the records of the rocks which tell us of the presence of man in the geological ages; and we turn with relief to the somewhat scanty written records,—letters, journals and reports of missionaries, fur traders, explorers and adventurers,—who tell us of the people that occupied these regions when they first came known to civilized man.
When La Salle reached tie St. Joseph, in 1679, he found the country in the possession of the Miami Indians, and he gave the name of that tribe to the fiver. Mr. Dunn says that, “The main body of the Miamis proper, whom the English called Twigh-twees, were located in 1689 on the St. Joseph and Lake Michigan, a little above the site of South Bend. This was the Miami Village at Mount Pleasant on Portage Prairie. The Miamis were a tribe of the great Algonquin Nation. This nation formerly occupied the territory now comprised in the New England states, eastern New York and Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, parts of North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee, and nearly all of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. There were no less than eleven or twelve tribes of the Algonquin nation: Ottawas, Chippewas, Sacs and Foxes, Miamis, Pottawatomies, Shawnees, Powhatans, Delawares, Mohegans, Naragansetts and Pequods; all speaking different dialects of the same speech. The Algonquins were the most extensive and powerful of the Indian nations. Their bitter enemies were the Iroquois, who occupied western Canada and New York and the country on the south shore of Lake Erie. The nation of the Iroquois was divided into five tribes; Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas and Mohawks. Several years after La Salle’s visit, in 1722, they admitted into their confederacy the Tuscarosas, who had some time previously emigrated to New York from the Carolinas. The Iroquois are therefore known in history at first as the Five Nations, and afterwards as the Six Nations. They were perhaps the most highly accomplished and the bravest of the northern Indian nations. They are known to our state only by their warlike incursions from the east, and their attacks upon different tribes of their hereditary enemies, the Algonquins. At La Salle’s coming there was almost constant war between the Iroquois and a confederacy of tribes, who called themselves Illinois, that is, real men, or manly fighters. The Illinois, properly speaking, did not constitute a tribe, but a confederacy: Kaskaskias, Cahokias, Tamaronas, Peorias and Mitchigamias. The last tribe, which is said to have come from west of the Mississippi, gave its name to Lake Michigan, formerly called, from the confederacy, Lake Illinois. The Illinois confederacy was formed to resist the incursions of the Iroquois, but was scarcely a match for the latter. This enmity of the two great confederacies was at first a chief obstacle to the success of La Salle’s explorations, The Iroquois were allies of the English, while their ancient enemies, the Algonquins, were almost always on good terms with the French. The country t the south of the lakes was therefore unsafe ground for the French, who were consequently compelled to make their approaches by the lakes from the north. But even the Indiana and Illinois territory was invaded by the terrible Iroquois; and the less warlike and less united Algonquins seemed unable to resist them. It was for this reason that La Salle determined to form a powerful and well united confederacy which should take the place of the inefficient Illinois confederacy, and son protect both the French post and missions and the western Indians themselves from their eastern foes. In this he succeeded, as we have seen. The Miamis of our valley, nd indeed of all northern Indiana, were at first timid about joining against the dreaded Iroquois, but they were finally persuaded by the arguments and the eloquence of La Salle. The result was that the Miamis and all other Indians left northern Indiana and went of reside in the Illinois country, around Starved Rock, joining the great confederacy of Algonquins formed at that point by La Salle. In speaking of two ancient maps, drown about 1684, Mr. Dunn says:
“On neither map is there any mark of Indian village of French post within the limits of Indiana, although all other known villages and post are marked. The reason was that there were no Indians residing in Indiana, They had all removed to the Illinois. So far as has yet been discovered, none of them returned before the opening of the eighteenth century.”
Soon after La Salle’s death his confederation began to dissolve. The French, however, were then better able to protect themselves, and the Iroquois generally found enough to occupy their attention in the east. Of the tribes gathered by La Salle at Starved Rock, some returned to their former abode, while others sought new habitations. The Pottawatomies who had come from the Green Bay country, in Wisconsin, took possession of the southern shores of Lake Michigan and the adjacent territories now known as southwestern Michigan, northwestern Indiana and northeastern Illinois. The Indians known to the early English speaking inhabitants of St. Joseph county were therefore chiefly Pottawatomies. With them were mingled some Miamis, Chippewas and others. The great body of the, however, went farther south and east in Indiana and into Ohio, their chief settlements in Indiana being on the Wabash and near the head waters of the Maumee, where the city of Fort Wayne now stands. But the Miamis always considered themselves the rightful owners of all the territory included within the state of Indiana, as well as a large part of the adjacent sections of Ohio, Illinois and Michigan. More than a hundred years after the death of La Salle, the renowned Mish-kin-ak-wa, or Little Turtle, the greatest of the Miamis at the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, said to General Anthony Wayne:
“I hope you will pay attention to what I now say to you. I wish to inform you where your younger brothers, the Miamis, live. . .You have pointed out to us the boundary line between the Indians and the United States; but I now take the liberty to inform you that that line cuts off from the Indians a large portion of country which has been enjoyed by my forefathers from time immemorial, without molestation or dispute. The print of my ancestors’ houses are everywhere to be seen in this portion. . . It is well known by all my brothers present, that my forefathers kindled the first fire at Detroit; from, thence he extended his lines to the headwaters of the Scioto; from thence, to its mouth; from thence, down the Ohio, to the mouth of the Wabash; and from thence, to Chicago, on Lake Michigan.”
Dillon informs us that,
“In the early part of the eighteenth century, and perhaps for a long period before that time, the Miamis dwelt in small villages, at various suitable places within the boundaries of their large territory. Some of these villages were found on the banks of the Scioto—a few were situated in the vicinity of the headwaters of the great Miami—some stood on the banks of the river Maumee—others on the St. Joseph of Lake Michigan—and many were found on the borders of the Wabash, and on some of the principal tributaries of that river. The villages which stood on the banks of the St. Joseph of Lake Michigan, those which lay about the headwaters of the Maumee, and those which stood on the borders of the Wabash, were often visited by Christian missionaries and by fur traders, before the middle of the eighteenth century.”
It is plain, therefore, that our Pottawatomies occupied the valley of the St. Joseph and Kankakee by grace of the Miamis. “Braches of the Pottawatomie, Shawnee, Delaware and Kickapoo tribes,” says Dillon, “were at different periods of time, permitted to enter, and reside at various places, within the boundaries of the large territory which was claimed by the Miamis.” Indeed it was not at all uncommon for bands of different Algonquin tribes to dwell in peace within one another’s territory. Such a band of the Miamis themselves lived in Wisconsin with the Kickapoos and Mascoutins. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
The French Powers. While the famous post known as Fort St. Joseph wan not located within the limits of St. Joseph county, and not even within the limits of the State of Indiana, yet for nearly a hundred years the history of that post was the history of the valley to which it gave its name, and no history of our county could be complete without giving some attention to the old fort.
On the west bank of the St. Joseph, about sixty miles from the mouth of the river, measured by the windings of the stream, the Miamis retained a noted fishing village which had been located at this point long before the whit man’s day. “The town,” says Mr. Bartlett in his charming volume, Tales of Kankakee Land, “was there when La Salle invaded the region, and doubtless the spot had been held by many races through many ages past; for this part of the stream was one of the famous fishing grounds.” Across the river, and not far from the east bank, attracted no doubt by the same cause, the Pottawatomies, probably soon after coming into the valley, established a village of their own. These towns were located about a mile above the present city of Niles and ten or twelve miles below South Bend. Here, on the east bank of the river, was established, at a very early date, the mission of St. Joseph. It would seem that this mission was founded by Father Allouez, the same zealous missionary who, in 1665, had established at the Falls of St. Mary (Sault Ste. Marie) the first permanent mission, in the northwest. In 1673, as already noted, when Marquette was on his way to the discovery of the upper Mississippi, he came to an Indian village on the Fox river where Father Allouez had preached to the Miamis, Mascoutins and Kickapoos of the Green Bay country. It is also known that in 1670, 1671 and 1672, Allouez and Dablon traveled the whole region along the western and southern shores of Lake Michigan; and there can be little doubt that on such a journey the missionaries would visit the famous fishing village of the Miamis.
In Nevin’s “Black Robes, or Sketches of Missions and Ministers in the Wilderness and on the Border,” it is said that the first attempt at establishing a mission at this point was made in 1675; and that the design was permanently accomplished in 1680, when Allouez and Dablon, having coasted Lake Michigan from Green Bay, entered the St. Joseph and proceeded up the river until they reached this point. Here, adds the writer, on the east bank of the river, rises a semicircular bluff, at the base of which, and through the soil of the marshy level, runs a brook into the St. Joseph. On this bluff Allouez built a chapel, and nearby a log cabin for his own accommodation. This mission cared not only for the Miamis across the river, but the course of the next few years, watched over all the Pottawatomies and other tribes on both sides of the stream, including those around the Notre Dame lakes and along the banks of the Kankakee. Bartlett and Lyon say that “It does, indeed, seem not unlikely that Allouez, who was with the Miami Indians in 1762, should have followed them to this valley. He was certainly here at a later date, devoting the closing years of his life to the work of the mission on the St. Joseph, where he died in 1690.” The same authors, in another connection, say that about seven thousand Miamis left the St. Joseph valley after the treaty on Portage Prairie with La Salle, and joined that explorer’s confederacy on the Illinois, at Starved Rock; and that when La Salle lost his life in Texas, and Tonti retired from the Illinois country, “Father Allouez brought back a remnant of these people to their old home on the St. Joseph.”
On the same high bluff on which the mission of St. Joseph’s was established, but how soon after or by whom is not certainly known, a fort was erected, which took its name from the mission, being called Fort St. Joseph’s. This fort was thereafter the chief stronghold of French in this vicinity; and the post was for many years one of the most important in French America. It was the center of the fur trade and other commerce of the St. Joseph and Kankakee valley. Here came French and Indians from all the surrounding country; and to this point expeditions were sent up the river from Lake Michigan, and from here they passed on to the south, across the portage and down the Kankakee, to the Illinois country. The center of missionary effort among the Pottawatomies, Miamis and other tribes; the center of commerce; and the strong arm of French authority; the mission and post at St. Joseph’s long continued to be one of the best known of the French stations in the northwest. Fort Miamis, established by La Salle at the mouth of the river, fell into disuse after he left the valley, and Fort St. Joseph took its place.
Some have conjectured that it was La Salle himself who, attracted by the unfailing supply of food at this fishing place, and by the opportunities for traffic in the Indian village across the river, built his second fort at this point. It is more probable, however, that Fort St. Joseph’s was built later, and after the establishment of the mission by Allouez; although the idea of a fort at this point might well have occurred to the far-seeing mind of La Salle, as he passed up and down the river. The better opinion is that the military post was established her in 1697. But whatever may have been the origin of the old fort, it is one of the historical certainties of this region, that Fort Miamis, built by La Salle at the mouth of the river, ceased to be occupied after he left the valley; while, on the high bluff between South Bend and Niles, Fort St. Joseph’s took its place, and became, and for nearly a hundred years remained, the stronghold of the French and their secure asylum in the surrounding wilderness.
With the change from Fort Miamis to Fort St. Joseph’s, the river also changed its name. The mission gave its name to the fort, and the fort to the river. It was no longer called the river of the Miamis, but the river St. Joseph. To distinguish it from the small St. Joseph, which, with the St. Mary’s, near Fort Wayne, forms the Maumee, our river was for a time called the Big St. Joseph’s, the St. Joseph’s of the Lakes, or the St. Joseph’s of Lake Michigan. In time, however, it became known, simply as the St. Joseph. From the river the name passed to the valley, and from the river and the valley the name of our country, as also the familiar title of our county seat, the Queen Cit of the St. Joseph valley,—all from the pious name given to the ancient mission of St. Joseph’s by its founder, the simple-minded and zealous Allouez. So, too, not only the name but the civilization of the beautiful valley dates from the mission of St. Joseph’s.
Two objects chiefly seemed to engage the attention of the French at Fort St. Joseph’s: The centralizing of the labors of the surrounding mission; and the protection of the fur trade with the tribes of the northwest. While the fort was strong, yet there was comparatively little resort to force or intimidation. The French understand the Indians and lived on friendly terms with them. Not until the year 1730 is there any record of important military operations. In that year an expedition went up the river and over the portage by the Kankakee to punish the Outagamies at Starved Rock for outrages committed against the Pottawatomies and other peaceful tribes. This successful operation appears to have been conducted in conjunction with another from post Vincennes against the barbarous Outagamies. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
British Supremacy. But the comparative peace which had happily prevailed from the days of Marquette and Allouez and La Salle was brought to a rude termination by the Seven Years’ war,—the French and English war, as it was called in America. This conflict had long been brewing: it was a struggle of giant powers for the possession of a continent. On May 18, 1756, war was declared; and on September 17, 1759, after the deaths of Wolfe and Montcalm, Quebec passed from France to Britain. A little less than one year afterwards, on September 8, 1760, Montreal was surrendered. With Montreal went all Canada, which, in the articles of capitulation, was said “to extend to the crest of lands dividing branches of Lakes Erie and Michigan from those of the Miami [the Big Miami, flowing into the Ohio], the Wabash and the Illinois rivers.” For nearly two years and a half, of until the treaty of Paris, that provision in the articles of capitulation made the boundary between the British and French possessions in the northwest a very irregular line. The lands drained by the Maumee and the St. Joseph became British territory, those drained by the Wabash and the Kankakee remained French. The northeast part of St. Joseph county, including the greater part of South Bend and all of Mishawaka, ceased forever to be French. The boundary ran irregularly along the summit dividing the waters of the St. Joseph from those of the Kankakee. This took the present townships of Clay and Harris, and the greater part of German, Portage and Penn, within the British line; while the rest of the county remained French territory. Under the terms of the capitulation of Montreal, Detroit was taken over in the fall, 1760; but Fort St. Joseph’s and the other frontier post were not garrisoned with British troops until the spring of 1761, and some of them even later.
By the treaty of Paris, which was signed February 10, 1763, the British boundaries were extended to the Mississippi. The line drawn through that river from its source to its mouth was made the boundary between the two matins, except that the city and island of New Orleans were to remain with France. Thereafter the province of Louisiana was confined to the territory west of Mississippi. Spain was a party to the treaty of Paris, and in that treaty ceded the Floridas to Great Britain. By way of compensation for this loss, France, by a private agreement, made over to Spain, New Orleans and what remained to her of Louisiana. Thus Spain for a time, came into the history of the Mississippi valley, and , incidentally, as we shall see, into the history of our own valley of the St. Joseph. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
Pontiac’s War. The discomfiture of France and the transfer of the northwest territory to Great Britain brought about a state of sullen displeasure in the minds of the Indians, who had lived so long on friendly terms with the French. Accordingly, in the early part of 1763, Pontiac, the distinguished chief of the Ottawas, formed a confederacy to expel the English from their newly acquired territory. The Ottawa Chief was by birth a Catawba, but being captured in war by the Ottawas was adopted by that tribe. By his wisdom and bravery he became not only the chief of the Ottawas, but the leader of the whole Algonquin nation. The confederacy formed by Pontiac, one of the strongest and best ever organized by the Indian race, was composed not only of all the Algonquin tribes, but embraced also the Wyandots and the Senecas, the latter being one of the Iroquois confederacy, so long at enmity with the Algonquins. Pontiac’s plan was to take all the English forts at the same time, by similar stratagem. A body of picked men was to visit each post in a friendly manner during the month of May, 1763, and then, while the men and officers were off their guard, make a sudden attack and capture the garrison. The plan might have succeeded if it had not been for the treachery of an Indian girl at Detroit, who disclosed Pontiac’s design to Major Gladwin, the commander of that post. Major Gladwin immediately sent a message to warn the commander of Fort Pitt, formerly, Fort Du Quesne, where the city of Pittsburg now stands. The well conceived stratagem therefore failed at those two posts. All the other forts, however, were taken by the Indians. Sandusky was captured May 16; St. Joseph’s, May 25; Miami (Fort Wayne), May 27; Ouiatanon (Lafayette), June 1; and Michillimackinac, June 2. Pontiac’s war lasted through 1763 and 1764, during which time his will was law from the lakes to the Ohio and the Mississippi, except at Fort Pitt and Detroit: but the failure to capture those two strong posts was fatal to his enterprise. His powerful confederacy became dissipated by degrees; and the mighty chief of the Ottawas retired to the Illinois country, near St. Louis, where in 1769, he was basely assassinated by a Kaskaskia Indiana, prompted by a reward for his murder by Amherst, the British commander.
Fort St. Joseph was again an English post. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
George Rogers Clark and Fort St. Joseph’s. The British occupancy of the northwest was not again disturbed until after the opening of the American revolution. But on July 4, 1778, George Rogers Clark acting under a commission from Patrick Henry, then governor of Virginia, captured Kaskaskia, and soon after took possession of Cahokia and other villages situated on the east side of the Mississippi, a little below where St. Louis now stands. A few days later, through the good offices of Father Gibault, then in charge of Kaskaskia and the adjacent mission, the inhabitants of Vincennes joyfully raised the American flag and proclaimed themselves citizens of the new republic. The French people in the west had no love for the British; and when they learned of the assistance given to Washington by La Fayette and that France herself was aiding the American cause, they were glad to take the first opportunity to throw off the yoke of their ancient enemies.
The British, however, were not disposed to yield possession of this rich territory without a struggle. Towards the end of the same year a strong force was sent from Detroit, by way of the Maumee and the Wabash, and on December 17, 1778, Vincennes was retaken from the little garrison of Virginians. Although it was mid-winter, Col. Clark prepared at once to re-capture the fort; and, on February 24, 1779, after a most heroic march from Kaskaskia, the post on the Wabash passed forever into possession of the Americans.
During the summer of 1778, Clark made preparations to take Detroit and the remaining British posts in the western country, including Fort St. Joseph. He tells us, in the Memoir which he has left of his conquest of the northwest, and which Mr. Williams H. English has printed in full in his valuable history and life of George Rogers Clark, that the British went an expedition from Michilimackinac, to proceed by way of Fort St. Joseph’s and the portage of the Kankakee, for the purpose of driving the American traders out of the Illinois country; but that on arriving at the fort they were deserted by their Indian allies, and becoming alarmed withdrew to the mouth of the river and sent back to Michilimackinac for help. When the troops came down the lake to the assistance of the expedition and saw the camp at the mouth of the St. Joseph (probably on the site of La Salle’s old Fort Miamis), they mistook their friends for Americans and hastily with drew, believing that Fort St. Joseph’s had fallen into the hands of the Americans. Clark, however, found himself unable to raise a force sufficient to proceed against the northern forts, and, for the time, Fort St. Joseph’s and the other northern posts continued in possession of the British. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
Taken by the Spaniards. But the romantic story of Fort St. Joseph’s had yet another episode. Early in 1779, war had again broken out between Spain and England. Louisiana still continued in possession of the Spaniards, and they had a strong military post at St. Louis. Mr. English in his life of George Rogers Clark says that; “General Clark’s possession of the Illinois and Wabash country was not only good as against the British, but also against the Spaniards, and there is scarcely a doubt that the latter would have seized the French towns, and occupied the territory, if it had not already been in actual possession.” And he adds: “The Spaniards did make a raid, to that end, in the winter of 1780-81, and captured Fort St. Joseph’s; but they made no attempt to hold the country.” This Spanish expedition left St. Louis January 2, 1781, under command of Don Eugenio Pourre, the detachment consisting of sixty-five soldiers and sixty Indians. They marched rapidly across the frozen lands of Illinois and northwestern Indiana, and surrounded Fort St. Joseph before there was any intimation of their approach. The garrison was easily overcome, and the Spaniards took formal possession of the post and its dependencies, in the name of the king of Spain. The valley of the St. Joseph, including the territory of our own county, thus for a time became a part of the dominion of Spain. Not desiring to occupy the fort, the Spaniards burned it to the ground and returned to St. Louis. Spain afterwards made a vain attempt to found, on this capture, a claim to a large territory east of the Mississippi. It is interesting to observe that this victory of the little Spanish army from St. Louis marks the extreme northern limit in the new world of the power of Spain, whose flag then floated from the valley of the St. Joseph to the Straits of Magellan. The old fort was never rebuilt; and soon after, on the establishment of American independence, the soil on which it stood, together with that of all the northwest, was, by reason of the victories of George Rogers Clark, acknowledged as a part of the territory of the young republic. So passed Fort St. Joseph’s, a little over a hundred years after the founding of the mission of Allouez upon the banks of our beautiful river. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
The Parkovash, Indian Camps and Trails. While the banks of the Kankakee are low and the soil dark and rich; the banks of the St. Joseph are high and the soil dry and gravelly. Accordingly, the growth of timber along the St. Joseph was not “thick woods,” but the trees stood well apart, as in a great natural park. The Indian custom of keeping the underbrush and leaves annually burned away added to the park-like appearance of the lands. The expressive phrase “oak openings” well describes the fine vistas through the ancient forests that decorated the banks on either side of the beautiful river. Added to the beauty and shade of the woodlands, the waters of the St. Joseph were always as they are today, clear and cool, while refreshing springs bubbled up everywhere under the high banks or trickled down their face to the stream below. It is little wonder therefore that this ideal solitude was dear not only to the redman, but also to the birds of the air and the four-footed creatures that roamed the wilderness. Here came the elk and the deer: but, more than all, this was the favorite haunt of the buffalo, the great wild oxen and cows that came into the cool shadows from the hot sun of the prairies, to browse on the fresh grass and drink of the sweet waters. From the mouth of the river, on either side, and far up beyond the limits of St. Joseph county, extended this magnificent park-like buffalo range. So accustomed were the early French hunters of traders to see the buffalo cows come with their calves for rest and refreshment to these pleasant haunts along the St. Joseph, that they gave to the place the picturesque appellation of Parc aux Vaches (literally, park of the cows), a term changed in the spelling by our early settlers to parkovash. The term “Parkovash” has been usually, no doubt properly, confined in application to the plain along the eastern bank of the river above and below the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
Camps and Fishing Resorts. Fort St. Joseph’s was in the heart of the Parkovash: and into and through these beautiful woodlands along the eastern and northern banks of the river came every trail from the surrounding wilderness. Here the bands set up their wigwams, and here the council fires arose. Hard by, on some open spot or highland, stood a village of Miamis or of Pottawatomies. For in this valley as elsewhere, as said by Maurice Thompson, the villages, or rather camps, of the Indians were usually situated, as were those of the Mound Builders, on highlands close to a stream, pond or lake where plenty of water could easily be had.
Favorite fishing places were, of course, an additional attraction. Such was the location in the river at Fort St. Joseph’s; where, on one side of the stream, was the ancient village of the Miamis, and, on the other, the village of the Pottawatomies. “Here,” says Mr. Bartlett, “at a place where the waters were shallow, the aborigines had paved a strip of the river’s bed from shore to shore with great slabs of limestone. Just who they were that labored at this task, or when they toiled, on one will ever know. These slabs of limestone are a characteristic of the surrounding glacial hills. The purpose of dragging the huge, flat stones into the river and disposing them so as to form a paved path though the waters was an important one, since thereby the people might more easily take the great fish with which the river at certain seasons was fairly alive. The canoes were accustomed to go p stream some miles, and then, descending in an open line that reached from bank to bank, so agitated the waters as to drive before them the finny game. Companions, who in the meantime had taken their stations at frequent intervals across the limestone floor, stood with uplifted spears awaiting the moment when the form of the rolling sturgeon of the catfish or the swift pickerel or the quick-darting pike should be outlined against the underlying pavement. Those who sometimes witnessed these operations have left the record that when the spearmen were at work, the boats went frequently to the shore and were often weighted down to the water’s edge with the burden of fish. It was nothing strange, therefore, that just above this renowned fishing-place a great Indian village should have survived from remote times down to a period within the memory of men now living.”
After the Miamis went east and south, to the vicinity of the Maumee and the Wabash, the Pottawatomies were left in sole possession of the valleys of the St. Joseph and the Kankakee; but, while these Indians came every year in great numbers by way of the St. Joseph portage, with their furs, maple sugar, baskets and trinkets, to the markets at the trading posts down the river, yet no large villages of the tribe were to be found within the limits of St. Joseph county. Pokagon’s village was on the west side of the St. Joseph, two miles north of the St. Joseph county line, near Bertrand, and there was a small band settled about a mile or two southwest of the site of South Bend, at a place called Raccoon village; but the main body of the Pottawatomies was farther south, in Marshall county, around Twin Lakes and Lake Maxinkuckee, and in Fulton county. Accordingly, while the roving Indian was constantly on the trails throughout all this region, hunting, fishing, or going to or from the trading stations, yet his more permanent abode was in the villages to the south and when finally he came to be removed to the west, the gathering places for the beginning of his long journey to the lands beyond the Mississippi were, in general, without the confines of St. Joseph county. And while of course many redmen had their fixed abode within the limits of St. Joseph county, yet the romantic Parkavash, the prairies, the woodlands and the streams were for visiting, for sightseeing and for hunting and trading, rather than for permanent dwelling places. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
Trails and Traces. And so it came to be that into and through the fair Parkavash ran those numerous traveled ways out of the surrounding wilderness. When whitemen first came into the Indian country they found everywhere those well marked pathways, trodden by human and pony feet, but not by buffaloes or other animals. To these pathways was given the name of trails, and sometimes that of traces. The word trail, as often used by hunters and frontiersmen, denoted the slight trace left where an animal or a man had passed but once, and to follow such a trail was no easy matter; but the term was also used to denote a well worn narrow pathway that might have been trodden hundreds of thousands of times. These trails have in many instances been adopted as the lines of permanent roads by the civilized successors of the roving Indians and their ancient predecessors, the Mound Builders. This use of the trails for one modern highways resulted from convenience and long continued custom; for traders, travelers, scouting parties and frontiersmen passed along these trails for many years before the wagons of the pioneers widened them out with their wheels, and before the civil authorities finally fixed them as legal public highways.
The most noted of these trails was that of the Portage, already referred to, extending from La Salle’s landing, at a sharp western bend of the St. Joseph, thence across to the headwaters of the Kankakee, a little to the west and south of the blue sheet of water, sometimes known as La Salle’s and sometimes as Stanfield lake, but perhaps even still more appropriately called Summit lake, because located almost on the line of the watershed between the St. Joseph and the Kankakee. This famous trail was used chiefly for the carrying of boats from one river to the other; and therefore came to be named the Portage, from the French word porter, to carry. The beautiful prairie over which the portage passed was naturally called Portage Prairie.
Other trails seem to have led from the St. Joseph, over to the prairie to the Miami village at Mount Pleasant, and to Chain lakes, nearby, and thence on to Crum’s Point and other places along the Kankakee. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
Charlevoix on Portage Prairie. It was while encamped on of these trails, September 17, 1721, that the celebrated traveler and missionary, Father Charlevoix, wrote his very interesting letter to a friend in France descriptive of our Portage Prairie, as he then found it. The visit to this county at that early date of so distinguished a character as Charlevoix is of itself of sufficient historical interest to justify the making of an extract from his letter written on that occasion. The letter also serves to throw light on many points already touched upon in this chapter. The extract is as follows:
“I believe I gave you to understand in my last letter that I had two routes to choose from in going to the Illinois. The first was to return to Lake Michigan, follow along its southern course and enter the little Chicago river. After ascending that river five or six leagues, on passes into the Illinois by two portages, the longer of which is five quarter leagues; but as that river is only a brook at the point, I was warned that at this season I should not find in it enough water for my boat, and therefore I took the other route [by the St. Joseph], which, indeed, has also its inconveniences, and is not nearly so agreeable, but is surer. Yesterday I left the fort of St. Joseph river [Fort St. Joseph’s], and ascended that river about six leagues. I disembarked on the right, walked five quarter leagues, first following the edge of the water and then crossing the fields into a great prairie, all sprinkled with little tufts of woodland which have a very beautiful effect. It is called Ox-Head Prairie, because there was found there, as they say, the head of an ox of monstrous size. Why may there not have been giants among these animals also? [This “ox-head” was perhaps that of an unusually large buffalo. More likely, however, it was the head of a Mastadon or of a mammoth, many of the remains of both being found at different places in the county, particularly in the miry stretches of the Kankakee bottoms.] I encamped in an exceedingly beautiful place called the Fort of the Foxes, because the Fox Indians [the Outagamies] had a village there not long ago, fortified in their way. This morning I went a league farther into the prairie, my feet almost constantly in the water, and then found a sort of pond, which communicates with several other of different sizes, the largest of which is only a hundred paces in circuit. These are the sources of a river called the Theakiki, which our Canadians her corrupted into Kiakiki [Kankakee]. Theak means wolf, I do not remember in what language; but this river bears that name because the Mahingans, who are also called the Wolves, formerly took refuge there. We put our boats, which two men had carried up to this point, into the second of these sources, and embarked; but we had scarcely enough water to keep afloat. Ten men in two days could make a straight and navigable canal which would save much trouble, besides ten of twelve leagues of travel, and it is necessary continually to turn so sharply that at each instant one is in danger of breaking his boat [a bark canoe], as has just happened to us.”
It is an interesting circumstance to note in this connection that the canal, or ditch, suggested by Father Charlevoix in 1721, nearly two hundred years ago, has recently been dug, and the Kankakee straightened and shortened, accordingly, as he said it could be; though it has taken the labor of more than ten men for two days to do it. (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
Other Trails. Next in importance to the Portage trail was the Great Sauk Trail. To the travel and commerce of the wilderness, between the east and the west, this trail was what our great drunk lines of railroad are now to the travel and commerce between the same distant localities. The Sauk Trail received its name from the Sac tribe of Indians. The Sacs and Foxes used it in their journeyings from Canada and other eastern points to their homes in the far northwest. The trail started near the site of Detroit, followed the high ridges across Michigan, crossed the St. Joseph river at Bertrand, six miles north of South Bend, and then ran westerly, crossing the northwest part of St. Joseph county, over Warren and Olive townships, passing through Terre Coupee, and then, by Hudson lake, formerly called Lake du Chemin, through the county of La Porte, and on to the cite of Chicago and beyond to the Illinois and northwestern country. This was the path taken by the Iroquois of New York, in their raids against the Miamis, Illinois and other tribes. A multitude of smaller trails ran into and out from this great thoroughfare. A well-known Pottawatomie town, called the village of Pokagon, after the wise chief of that name, stood on the west side of the St. Joseph, just south of the Sauk trail. For fifty years and more the Sauk trail has been called the Chicago Road, this name having been given to the old trail after the national government had smoothed and straightened its course from Detroit to Chicago. The Dragoon trace was a well-worn trail leading from Fort Wayne to Chicago. Through this county it passed under the hills above Mishawaka and came into what is now South Bend over the line of Vistula avenue, passing to the west until it united with the Sauk trail. Near the extreme south bend of the St. Joseph river, by what has been known as the Turkey Creek road, now Miami street, another trail lift the Dragoon trace and passed on southeasterly through the county. South Michigan street, a part of the old Michigan road, marks the line of yet another southern trail, reaching to the Pottawatomie habitation at Twin lakes, Lake Maxinkuckee and other points in Marshall county; while still another trail went out southwesterly over the line of Sumption Prairie road. Along the east side of the St. Joseph, from its mouth almost to its source, ran a well-marked trail, connecting at Bertrand with the Sauk trail, and receiving from place to place all the minor trails that entered the Parkovash. Indeed every stream had its trail on either side; for although the canoe glided along the water, yet the chief travel of the wilderness was along the trails, on foot or on the backs of the precious ponies.
Another trail, and the last that need be mentioned, was the Pottawatomie trail, which followed the Kankakee from the Illinois country, crossed the St. Joseph near the site of South Bend, one branch joining with the trail along the river down to Fort St. Joseph’s and another continuing along what is now South Bend avenue and the Edwardsburg road, and connecting at Edwardsburg with the great Sauk trail. As South Bend avenue and the Edwardsburg road mark this trail east of the St. Joseph, the Crum’s Point road marks it on the west.
Throughout its course the Indian trail was at first simply a pathway, which in time developed into a well trodden highway. This pathway [from Bartlett, Tales of Kankakee Land]
“never crossed over a hill which it might go around; it crept through the hollows, avoiding, however, with greatest care, those conditions in which a moccasin could not be kept dry and clean; it clung to the shadows of the big timber-belt, and, when an arm of the prairie intervened, sought to transverse such a place of possible danger by the route which was shortest and least exposed. At every step the ancient path tells the story of wilderness fears. Yet the precincts of this venerable avenue of the old life had also their own peculiar delights. A warm and sheltered path in the winter-time, its fragrant airs were cool and soft in the summer days…and then to the Pottawatomie this, above all others, was the ancient highway of his people. Along its course he saw the war-parties filing away to find the enemy in distant lands and among strange peoples. And he heard the forest walls of the old path re-echo the exultant cry of the returning band, saw the unhappy captives schooling their hearts to a stoic’s calm, of following with proud disdain in the footsteps of their conquerors, or nursing thoughts of grim vengeance by glaring scowls and vain mutterings. At such an hour the Pottawatomie, standing by the path of his fathers, rejoined to know that the name of his people was terrible in the land of the enemy. The old men loved to wander along this path and rehearse the stories of the past, and tell of the times when they with their people, in tumultuous throng, hurried home from the chase.” (Howard, History of St. Joseph County, 1907)
Elkhart County Perspective
Algonquins and Iroquois Traditional Enemies. At the beginning of the Seventeenth century, the Algonquin family of Indians occupied a vast region of territory in North America. They occupied all that territory from 37 degrees to 53 degrees north latitude and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi River. Their territory was bound on the northwest by the Esquimaux, on the northwest by the Athabascan tribes, on the west by the Dacotahs and on the south by the Cherokees and Natchez Indians. This family was made up of numerous tribes, resembling each other in manners, customs and dialects. Within this same territory dwelt some other tribes, differing essentially from the Algonquins. The Algonquins were the hereditary enemies of the Iroquois. Nearly all the tribes found in Indiana were of the Algonquin family. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Miami Confederation in Indiana. When the first white man invaded the soil of Indiana he found here several tribes, sometimes living at peace with each other but more often at war. Indiana was then the seat of the treat Miamis Confederacy. This Confederacy has been organized as against that of the Iroquois, of Five Nations. When the Iroquois had reached the Atlantic and found that they could go no farther east, and felt the western tribes still pushing them, they formed a Confederacy of five of the largest tribes, for the purpose of protecting themselves and driving back toward the setting sun those who were following in their wake toward the east. Individual tribes had sought to gain a foothold on the eastern side of the mountains, but had been repulsed by the Iroquois Confederation, and they, too, in turn made a union.
Among the principal tribes which formed this Miami Confederacy, in Indiana, where the Twightwees, Weas, Piankeshaws, and Shockeyes. They had fought many and bloody battles with the Iroquois, and had been worsted in the contest, and had been greatly reduced in numbers by the time the white man first invaded their territory. They dwelt in small villages along the various water courses, from the lakes to the Ohio River. The Piankeshaws occupied the territory east of the Wabash and north of the Ohio, as far east as Lawrence County, and as far north as Vigo. The Wyandots had a little section comprising what is now Harrison, Crawford, Spencer, Perry, Dubois and Orange counties; the Shawnees occupied the land east of the Wyandotts into the present State of Ohio, and as far north as Rush and Fayette counties; the Weas had their possessions along the Wabash with their principal villages near where Lafayette now stands; Twightwees were principally located along the St. Joseph and St. Mary rivers; the Pottawattamies held the whole northern part of the state, and the Delawares the central-eastern part One branch of the Shawnees had villages in the country to the south and east of that occupied by the Weas.
The Delawares, the Wyandots, the Shawnees and Pottawattamies were the strongest of these tribes. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
The Pottawattamies were at one time a very powerful and warlike tribe. When any of the tribes made war on the Americans the Pottawattamies were sure to be found taking up the tomahawk. They united with the French as against the British; with other tribes, to fight the British, and with the British as against the Americans. They were at Harmar’s defeat, at the overthrow of St. Clair, and were among the fiercest of those who fought Mad Anthony Wayne. Some of them took part in the defeat of Colonel Crawford and danced around his burning body. They joined Pontiac in his conspiracy, and Black Hawk when he opened up the last Indiana war east of the Mississippi. They were always among the first to make peace with the whites, and also among the first to take up the tomahawk again. Some of them fought at Tippecanoe and some at the battle of the Thames. They were finally moved west of the Mississippi. They claimed all northern Indiana, and southern Michigan. A few of the tribes still linger in Michigan . (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Miamis, Most Powerful Western Indian Nation. The Miamis were the most powerful nation of confederation in the West. They had been gradually migrating toward the East, when they met and had to battle with the Iroquois, who were just then being driven westward by the advancing Europeans. They settled in what is now the State of Ohio, and as this was the natural highway to the Mississippi Valley from the East, the Iroquois mad many determined efforts to drive them away. The wars between the two nations were frequent and bloody, and as the Iroquois were the first to receive arms from the white men, they usually had the best of it. The Miamis had a varied migratory experience. They were among the finest of all the race of Indians, and proudly called themselves “Men.” In fact, that was their real name. They were “men,” warriors, statesmen, men above all the other tribes. They were met everywhere in the West; around Superior, the upper Mississippi, and in Ohio and Indiana. They were heroic, warlike. They had long and bloody contest with the Sioux and Sacs and Foxes, until only the Miamis and Weas were left. The rest had been scattered. In 1669 they were mostly found around Green Bay, Wisconsin. From there most of them soon moved to Chicago, and then to the St. Joseph of the Lake, and then to the head of the Maumee, and there their principal villages were located. In 1680 the Iroquois declared war against the Illinois, who had been the friends and allies of the Miamis, and the wily Iroquois for awhile disarmed the suspicions of the Miamis. In 1682 war again was declared. By this time La Salle was a leading spirit among the Indians of this part of the country, and by his influence the Miamis, Shawnees, Weas, Illinois and Piankeshaws were gathered around his fort on the Illinois River. The Iroquois vainly endeavored to overthrow this formidable confederation. By this effort of La Salle, all the Indians had been drawn away from Indiana, and the Miamis did not return until 1712.
Around the Maumee and the Wabash they thereafter lived until finally they yielded their lands to the whites. A few of their descendants still remain in Indiana . The Miamis were not as lazy as most of the tribes, and raised corn, small fruits and vegetables. They had one peculiar feature. Some civilized nations have had their public executioners, whose duty it was to execute all criminals, and this office was a sort of hereditary one. So it was with the Miamis. They frequently condemned their captives to be eaten, and this eating was all done by one family, trained for that purpose, and the office remained in the same family generation after generation. The eating was always done in public, and was surrounded by certain religious rites and ceremonies. The last victim known to have been killed and eaten was a young Kentuckian who was thus disposed of at the Miami village near the present site of Fort Wayne.
In 1765, just after the territory northwest of the Ohio River was ceded to the British by France, Cpl. George Croghan, and Indian agent of the Province of Pennsylvania, visited the various tribes, and made the following statement in reference to the tribes then found occupying the territory:
“Twightwees (Miamis), two hundred and fifty fighting men, reside on the Miami (Maumee) River, near Fort Miami; hunting grounds where they reside.
“Putawatimes, one hundred and fifty fighting men; Ottawas, one hundred and fifty fighting men; reside near St. Joseph’s hunting grounds thereabouts.” (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
French Missionaries among the Indiana Miamis. In 1670, and for many years previous, the fertile region of country now included within the boundaries of the State of Indiana, was inhabited by the Miami Confederacy of Indians. This league consisted of several Algonquin tribes, notable the Twightwees, Weas, Piankeshaws, and the Shockeyes, and was formed at an early period—probably in the early part of the seventeenth century—for the purpose of repelling the invasions of the Iroquois, or Five Nations, at whose hands they had suffered many severe defeats. By the frequent and unsuccessful wars in which they were compelled to engage, in self-defense, their numbers had become greatly reduced, until, at the date mentioned, they could not muster more than 1,500 or 2,000 warriors. They dwelt in small villages on the banks of the various rivers in Indiana, and extended their dominion as far east as the Scioto, north to the great lakes, and west to the country of the Illinois. Their principal settlements were scattered along the headwaters of the Great Miami, the banks of the Maumee, the St. Joseph of Lake Michigan, the Wabash and its tributaries. Although once important among the nations of the lake region, they had become greatly demoralized by repeated defeats in war, and when first visited by the French, their villages presented a very untidy appearance. They were living in constant terror of the Five Nations, practicing only sufficient industry to prevent starvation, and indulging all their vicious passion to the vulgar extreme.
Almost immediately following the discovery and exploration of the Mississippi, by La Salle, in 1682k and a few years later by James Marquette, the government of France began to encourage the policy of connecting its possessions in North America by a chain of fortifications, and trading post, and missionary stations, extending from New Orleans on the southwest, to Quebec on the northeast. This undertaking was inaugurated by La Motte Cadillac, who established Fort Pontchartrain, on the Detroit River, in 1701.
At this period the zealous Jesuit missionaries, the adventurous French fur traders, with their coarse blue and red cloths, fine scarlet, guns, powder, balls, knives, ribbons, beads, vermillion, tobacco, and rum; and the careless rangers, of coureurs des bois, whose chief vocation was conducting the canoes of the traders along the lakes and rivers, made their appearance among the Indians of Indiana. The pious Jesuits held up the cross of Christ and unfolded the mysteries of the Catholic religion in broken Indian to these astonished savages, while the speculating traders offered them fire water and other articles of merchandise in exchange for their peltries, and the rangers, shaking loose every tie of blood and kindred, identified themselves with the savages, and sank into utter barbarism.
The Jesuit missionaries were always cordially received by the Miami tribes. These Indians would listen patiently to the strange theory of the Savior and salvation, manifest a willing belief in all they heard, and then, as if to entertain their visitors in return, they would tell them the story of their own simple faith in the Manatous, and stalk off with a groan of dissatisfaction because the missionaries would not accept their theory with equal courtesy. Missionary stations were established at an early day in all of the principal villages, and the work of instructing and converting the savages was begun in earnest.
The order of religious exercises established at the missions established among the Miamis was nearly the same as that among other Indians. Early in the morning, the missionaries would assemble the Indians at the church, or the hut for that purpose, and, after prayers, the savages were taught concerning the Catholic religion. These exercises were always followed by singing, at the conclusion of which the congregation was dismissed, the Christians only remaining to take part at mass. This service was generally followed by prayers. During the forenoon the priests were generally engaged in visiting the sick, and consoling those who were laboring under and affliction. After noon another service was held in church, at which all the Indians were permitted to appear in their finery, and where each, without regard to rank or age, answered the questions put by the missionary. This exercise was concluded by singing hymns, the words of which had been set to airs familiar to the savage ear. In the evening all assembled again at the church for instruction, to hear prayers, and to sing their favorite hymns. The Miamis were always highly pleased with the latter exercise. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
The Fur Traders. Aside from the character of the religious services which constituted a chief attraction in the Miami Village of Indiana while the early French missionaries were among them, the traveler’s attention would first be engaged with the peculiarities of the fur trade, which, during the first quarter of the seventeenth century, was monopolized by the French. This trade was carried on by means of the carriers, of rangers, who were engaged to conduct canoes on the lakes and rivers, and to carry burdens of merchandise from Detroit to the principal Miami villages, where the traders exchanged their wares for valuable furs, which they transported to the nearest trading post affording them the most available market. This traffic was not, however, confined to those whose wealth enabled them to engage vessels, canoes, and carriers for there were hundreds scattered through the various Indian villages of Indiana, at almost any time during the first half of the eighteenth century, who carried their packs of merchandise and furs by means of leather straps suspended from their shoulders, of with the straps resting against their foreheads.
Rum and brandy were freely introduced by these traders, and always found a ready sale among the Miami Indians. A Frenchmen, writing of the evils which resulted from the introduction of spirituous liquors among these savages, remarked:
“The distribution of it is made in the usual way; that is to say, a certain number of persons have delivered to each of them a quantity sufficient to get drunk with, so that the whole have been drunk over eight days. They begin to drink in the village as soon as the sun is down, and every night the fields echo with the most hideous howling.”
In those early days the Miami villages of the Maumee, those of the Weas about Ouiatenon, on the Wabash, and those of the Piankeshaws, around Vincennes, were the central points of the fur trade in Indiana. Trading post and missionaries had frequently visited them. A permanent mission, or church was established at the Piankeshaw village, near Vincennes, in 1740, by Father Meurin, and in the following year a small fort was erected there by order of the French government. It was in that year a small fort was erected near the mouth of the Wabash River. These past soon drew a large number of French traders around them, and in 1756 they had become quite important settlements, with a mixed population of French and Indian.
The siege of Detroit was conducted by Pontiac himself; but this post, as also Fort Pitt, withstood the storm of Indians vengeance until the forces of Colonel Bradstreet on the one hand, and Colonel Bouquet on the other, brought to the tired garrison. The British army penetrated the Indian country, and forced the savages to a treaty of peace, and on the first of December, 1764, accession of hostilities was proclaimed. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Enter the English. From this date until 1774, the Indians who occupied the country northwest of the Ohio River remained at peace with the English, although in the meantime many English colonists, contrary to the proclamation of the king, the provisions of the treaty, and the earnest remonstrances of the Indians, continued to make settlements on Indian lands.
When the British extended dominion over the territory of Indiana by placing garrisons at the various trading posts in 1764-65, the total number of French families within its limits did not probably exceed eighty or ninety at Vincennes, about fourteen at Fort Ouiatenon, on the Wabash, and nine or ten at the confluence of the St. Joseph and St. Mary’s rivers, near the Twightwee village. At Detroit and in the vicinity of that post, there were about one thousand French residents, men, women and children. The remainder of the French population in the Northwest resided principally at Kaskaskia, a Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher, and in the vicinity of these villages; and the whole French population, northwest of the Ohio, at that time did not exceed three thousand souls. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
The Pottawattamies of the St. Joseph Valley. As the St. Joseph Valley was the acknowledged keynote to the settlement and development of Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana, so was the old Chicago trail—later, the “military road”—the avenue along which the Indian tribes and the first white settlers entered this section of the county. From the advent of the first Frenchmen and Englishmen who penetrated into the central regions of the United States, until the period of Black Hawk’s greatest activities, from 1812 to 1832, the Indian trail around the foot of Lake Michigan had been the highway for the red men of Northern America traveling anywhere by land between the regions of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi Valley. When the country became a battling ground between England and the United States, in 1812, and Detroit and Fort Dearborn were recognized as military keys to the occupancy of interior America, the old Indian trail was still the traveled path between those points and was utilized by both white and red men.
In the war of 1812, Black Hawk was the most powerful native ally of the British. He felt that he had good grounds for deserting the Americans, but found, after he had joined the British, that they were not as powerful as he had been led to believe, and soon returned to the home of his people (the Sacs and Foxes). During his absence these tribes had been removed by the United States government up the Missouri River, and Black Hawk found that he had been displaced by the more pacific chief, Keokuk. Through the influence of the two, the Sacs and Foxes were divided into war and peace parties, in their relations to the Americans.
After the war of 1812 Black Hawk was in constant communication with the British government, and every year passed along the Chicago trail, at the head of other less noted warriors of the Sac nation, to receive his annuities from his royal patron represented by the authorities at Fort Malden. When the procession began to approach the settlements, runners were sent out to notify the inhabitants along the trail that the main body of dusky warriors was coming and to assure them of the pacific intentions of the Indians. It was rarely that any trouble arose; in fact, for many years previous to the outbreak of the Black Hawk war in 1832, the sole cause of disturbance between the whites and the Indians migrating along the Chicago trail was “fire water,” and all the name implies.
In 1831, a joint resolution of the legislature of Indiana, requesting an appropriation by Congress fro the extinguishment of the Indian title to lands within the state, was forwarded to that body, and, in compliance with the request, the necessary provision was made. Three citizens were designated by the secretary of war, to constitute a commission to carry into effect the object of the appropriation. It was considered an object of great importance to extinguish the title of the Miamis to their lands, at that time surrounded on all sides by American settlers, situated almost in the heart of the state, and immediately on the line of the canal, then under construction. The prompt and cheerful manner in which the chiefs of the tribe obeyed the summons to the treaty, induced the belief that the negotiation would prove successful; but in their response to the proposition of the commissioners, they positively refused to go westward, of sell the remains of their lands.
The negotiation with the Pottawattamies was more successful. This tribe sold about six million of acres in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, including their entire claims in this state.
At the settlement of Elkhart County, the Pottawattamie nation was scattered over a vast territory. A portion remained in Canada, apportion in what is now known as the Upper Peninsula, a portion along the Miami of the Lakes and a portion in the State of Illinois, besides the comparatively small branch which remained on the reservation. The separate branches or sub-divisions were governed by their respective head and subordinate chiefs, agreeable to their national policy and the usages, customs and traditions by which they had always been governed. No national measures could be adopted, or transfer of their hunting grounds be made, without the sanction of the majority of the head chiefs of all the several departments or tribes.
At the time of the first settlement of Michigan, the home of various bands of Indians, notable those of the Pottawattamie, Ottawa and Chippewa, were in the St. Joseph Valley and they were known as the Nottawa-seepe Indians. In 1821, at the treaty of Chicago, when the territory of this section was ceded to the United States, there were several sections or reservations exempted from the provisions of the general land laws, among them being the Nottawa-seepe reservation in what is now St. Joseph County, Michigan.
From 1832 until 1833 the government agent, Patrick Marantette, tried to get the Nottawa-seepe Indians to relinquish the government the lands that had been so long their forefathers’ but without much success, This was partially owing to the peculiar conditions of the Pottawattamie nation and the great area of country covered by it, as well as their national customs, laws and usages. To more intelligently understand the situation and the Indiana title of the lands of this reservation, a brief review of the Pottawattamie nation in 1830 is necessary. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
The Pottawattamies in the ‘30s. Part of the powerful Indian nation was in Canada, some in the Upper Peninsula near Marquette, others in the Miami Valley, a portion in Illinois near Peoria, and the small band in the Valley of the St. Joseph River. Each of these portions had its head men or tribal chiefs, and no measure of national importance such as selling their hunting grounds, etc., could be made without the sanction or consent of all the heads chiefs. As it was difficult to get them all together, the work of inducing them to relinquish these lands was slow.
The legitimate Pottawattamie chief at this time was Cush-ee-wees, but he had been supplanted by Pierre Morreau, a native of France and belonging to one of the first families of Canada. Meeting with reverses in Detroit in early life, he came to the banks of the St. Joseph. Here he wedded a dusky maiden of the forest, and by his wisdom and cunning, soon gained such ascendancy over the untutored savages that they renounced the sway of Cush-ee-wees, then hereditary sachem, and installed Morreau in his stead. He reigned over them for many years until the oldest son, Sau-u-quett, became of man’s estate and took the reins of government from his father, who was now in his dotage. Thus matters stood at the close of the Black Hawk war when Cush-ee-wees died and was succeeded by Pee-quoit-ah-kissee, a direct descendant of the Pottawattamie sachem. But the tribe, having been under the sway of Morreau and his son a long time, most of the Indians acknowledged Sau-au-quett as their head man.
In the fall of 1833, the government having almost despaired of getting the Indians to relinquish the Nottawa-seepe reservation, induced Sau-au-quett and a few others of his followers to cede the lands to the United States. They were to receive about $30,000 and be allotted land west of the Mississippi, where they were to go by land with their ponies, dogs and other belongings. After two years’ peaceable possession of their reservation, the first payment of $10,000 worth of calico, beads and other trinkets was made on the reservation. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Final Treaties. September 23, 1836, various bands of the Pottawattamies ceded the lands reserved for them by the treaty of 1832 (being all their remaining lands in Indiana).
By the Miami treaty of November 6, 1838, a reserve of ten miles square was made (out of the general cession) for the bands of Me-to-sin-ia.
By the treaty of November 28, 1840, the United States agreed to convey this tract to Me-shing-go-me-sia, son of Me-to-sin-ia, in trust for the band. By act of Congress approved June 10, 1872, this reserve was partitioned among the members of the band, sixty-three in number, and patents issued to each of them for his or her share. This ended all the Indian tribal titles to lands in Indiana.
Still Clinging to St. Joseph Valley. The first of December of the same year (1833), for nearly a week the Indians were camping on the bank of the Old St. Joe, casting eager looks at the bright colored calico, blankets, beads, etc., so temptingly displayed by the government agent, but refusing to confirm the treaty by receiving them, as they had consulted among themselves and had concluded that Sau-au-quett and his followers had no authority to cede their lands.
Governor Porter had issued a proclamation that no liquor should be allowed on or near the reservation, but parties disobeyed the order and provided the Indians with plenty of fire-water, until at length patience ceased to be a virtue, and Governor Porter commanded his agent, Mr. Marantette, to break in the heads of the barrels containing the whiskey. This was accordingly done and the Indians in their desire for the liquor drank it from the ground and eagerly lapped the place where it was spilled. Subsequently Mr. Marantette was sued for the value of the liquor and forced to pay several hundred dollars, notwithstanding he was obeying explicit orders of Governor Porter when he broke the heads of the barrels; nor was he ever reimbursed for this unjust payment of money. The Indians finally accepted the provisions of the treaty and received their money at the earnest solicitation of Sau-au-quett, who said, “I did sell this land, and I would sell it again for two gallons of whiskey.” The bad blood thus engendered among the Indians was only wiped out by the murder of Sau-au-quett, at Coldwater in 1839, by one of his band who opposed the sale.
Last Band Leaves in 1840. “In 1835, which was the time the Indians were to leave the reservation, they had refused, claming that the whites had encroached upon their lands and had not lived up to the terms of the treaty. Thus matters went on until 1840, when General Brady with a force of troops compelled them to vacate. The remnants of this once powerful tribe were taken to the Mississippi, whence they were to cross to the borders of Kansas. All went by land on their horses which were well packed for their journey. When arriving at their crossing on the Mississippi, Mr. Marantette and his assistant observed that some of the tribe were trying to escape. Mr. Marantette immediately sent Governor Porter a message apprising him that the Indians were trying to escape, and that the surest and only way to stop them from escaping would be to confiscate the horses f the leading conspirators. Receiving an approval from Governor Porter, Mr. Marantette and his assistants crossed them all on barges over to the border of Kansas, returning their horses after crossing where they settled; but finally their lands became so valuable that they sold them and many went to the Indian Territory.” (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Famous Pottawattamie Chiefs. Shaubenee, who for twenty years was head chief of the Pottawattamies, Ottawas and Chippewas, was a grand nephew of Pontiac, the famous Ottawa, and a contemporary of Tecumseh and Black Hawk. Born in Canada in 1775, when twenty-five years of age he accompanied a hunting party to the Pottawattamie country and married a daughter of the principal chief of the tribe, whose village stood on the site of Chicago of today. When forty years of age Shaubenee was war chief of both the Ottawas and Pottawattamies, and was next in command to Tecumseh at the battle of the Thames. When Tecumseh fell, Shaubenee ordered a retreat, which concluded his warfare with the whites. He was deposed as war chief, but continued to be the principal peace chief of the Ottawas, Chippewas and Pottawattamies. Shaubenee died in Grundy County, Illinois, on the south bank of the Illinois River in 1859 at the age of eighty-four. Although he never lived in Indiana, his name and fame were high among the Indians of the northern part of the state.
Alexander Robinson, or Chee-Chee-Bing-Way (Blinking Eyes), as he was known in the Indian tongue, was not as great a man among his people as Shaubenee, but is closely related to the wild life of northern Indiana before the civilization of the whites became planted there. There is said to have run through his veins blood from Indian, French and English sources. He was able and enterprising and in 1809, while still a young man, he was in the employ of John Jacob Astor and engaged in the transportation of corn around the head of Lake Michigan, as well as the purchase of furs. This grain was raised by the Pottawattomies and was taken to Chicago for sale and exported in bark-woven sacks on the backs of ponies.
In August, 1812, while engaged in these occupations, he was making a canoe voyage to Fort Dearborn, when some friendly Miamis hailed him from the shore and warned him to avoid that post, as “it would storm tomorrow.” On the 15th of that month occurred the Fort Dearborn massacre, for which the Pottawattamies are responsible. But the warning of the Miamis fortunately saved Robinson from any portion of the stigma attached to that horrible affair, as he left his canoe at the mouth of the Big Calumet and passed the succeeding winter in hunting and trapping in the Calumet region. In 1825 he became the principal chief of that tribe, and four years afterward married a woman of the Calumet region who was three-fourths Indian. At that time there was no more widely known character in Northwestern Indiana or Northeastern Illinois than Alexander Robinson. His headquarters were at Chicago, his journeys for the purchase of furs extended as far south as the Wabash River, and his word was law with the now peaceful Pottawattamies.
“It is claimed that he, as a Pottawattamie chief, evidently a trader rather than a warrior, called together an Indian council at Chicago during the Black Hawk war (1832), and it is said that in 1836, when the great body of this bribe met for the last time in that village, received their presents and started for the then Wild West, this trader chief went with them. But, like Shaubenee, who also went out to see the people settled in their new home, he soon returned and passed his last years on the Des Plaines River.” The claim is made that Robinson was one hundred and four years of age at the time of his death—in many ways a remarkable man—a veritable link between the restless, migratory red man and the more settled and patient white man. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Along the Primitive Highways. What is now Elkhart County was along the primitive highways of travel, which were rudely traced before the coming of the white men, between the populous Indian regions of the Northeast and the North and that grand western outlet toward the Mississippi, the Valley of the Illinois. To use a homely illustration, when you “cut across lots” you instinctively select the path of the easiest grade—the line of the least resistance. So it has always been with the migratory routes across the United States, or any other country, whether selected by Indians of whites, afoot, horseback or in wagons; whether by canal builders of railroad engineers. It is the old story of a study in the saving of labor, which is at the basis of progress and civilization.
What is now Northwestern Indiana was a very important section in the Great Short-Cut from the lands of the Chippewas and the Iroquois, from the territories of the Sacs and Miamis and Pottawattamies, to the prairies of the Illini and the Sioux.
As Lakes Erie and Michigan obtruded themselves southward from the Great Chain and the most populous and fertile districts of the East were in a latitude not far from their southern extremities, while the teeming prairies of the West lay in substantially the same zone, it was inevitable that the continuous migration induced by wars and racial pressures should be along the comparatively easy grades. By water and by land, generation after generation, these migrations poured along, from East to West, and no strip of soil has been more ceaselessly worn by man and beast than that which lies between the foot of Lake Michigan and the banks of the Kankakee and the St. Joseph rivers. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
Great Indian Trails. A famous Indian route was known as the Sac Trail, and crossed Northwestern Indiana in a generally southwesterly direction to Joliet, which marked the western limits of the Sac country, From the main Sac trail a branch struck southward near the Lake of the Red Cedars and across Lake Prairie to the rapids of the Kankakee at the present site of Momence, Illinois. Another trail came in from the East and hugged the shores of Lake Michigan, leading to Fort Dearborn, afterward Chicago. The last named was much used by the Pottawattamies, Indians, traders, travelers, scouting parties, military expeditions and frontiersmen passed along these trails before the wagons of the pioneers widened them out with their wheel tracks.
It is an unprofitable matter of conjecture as to how early the dusky children of the Upper Lakes region commenced to make tracks across the country bordering Lake Michigan on their way toward the Mississippi Valley, or when the Iroquois and other eastern tribes begun to push in along their own trails. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)
The Old Chicago Trail. But it is quite certain that the intrepid and executive La Salle, with his companions and followers, was the first white man to test these Indian trails, which even in his time (1680) were old. The waters of the marshes of the Kankakee, alive with water fowl, muskrats and mink, must have been a welcome sight to the chevalier, who had as sharp an eye for the fur-trade as for exploration and discovery. We also remember how he united the tribes of the Ohio and Illinois valleys against the invading Iroquois, and it must have been largely along these trails, not far from the southern shores of Lake Michigan, that the Miamis, Pottawattamies and other tribes of the middle West migrated, to afterward gather in the Valley of the Illinois under La Salle’s leadership and make such an effective stand against their fierce enemies of the East. (Weaver, History of Elkhart County, 1916)