15th. A letter of this date from Council Bluffs, describes
a most shocking and tragic death of a Sioux girl, of only fourteen
years of age, who was sacrificed to the spirit of corn, by the
Pawnees, on the 22d of February last. For this purpose she was
placed on a foot-rest, between two trees, about two feet apart, and
raised above the ground, just high enough to have a torturing fire
built under her feet. Here she was held by two warriors, who mounted
the rest beside her, and who applied lighted splinters under her
arms. At a given signal a hundred arrows were let fly, and her whole
body was pierced. These were immediately withdrawn, and her flesh
cut from her bones in small pieces, which were put into baskets, and
carried into the corn-field, where the grain was being planted, and
the blood squeezed out in each hill.
CHEROKEE EMIGRATION.--A letter from Gen. Scott of this date, to the
Governor of Georgia, states that, of the two parties of Cherokees,
or those who are for and against the treaty of New Echota, only
about five hundred (including three hundred and seventy-sixty
Creeks) remain east of the Mississippi, and of the anties a little
over five thousand souls. About two thousand five hundred of these
had been emigrated in June, when the emigration was suspended on
account of sickness. An arrangement was made in the month of
September, by which John Ross was, in effect, constituted the
contractor for the removal of the remainder (twelve thousand five
hundred) of his people.
16th. Mr. J. Toulmin Smith, the phrenologist, of Boston,
writes: "I perfectly concur with you in your remarks on the minor
details of phrenology. They have hitherto been loose and vague,
but though at first sight they seem minor, they will be
found, in truth, of great importance to the thorough elucidation and
application of the subject.
"The Indian tribes do, indeed, present most interesting subjects for
examination, and it is an anxious wish of my mind to be able to
examine them thoroughly (per crania), and also to compare them with
the crania found in their ancient burial-places, supposed to be the
remnants of an anterior race. Not only will this throw light on
their history, but it will do so also on those 'minor' but most
interesting points, to the elucidation of which my attention has
been, and is particularly directed. I should be exceedingly happy to
be able to compare also one or two female Indian skulls with
the males of the same tribe. The females, I presume, may be easily
recognized phrenologically; it may be done with facility by the
large philoprogenitiveness, and the smaller general size of the
22d. Rumor says that Mr. Harris, Com. Indian Affairs, had
entered into land speculations in Arkansas, which led Mr. Van Buren
to call for a report, which, being made, the President returned it
with the pithy and laconic endorsement "unsatisfactory," whereupon
Mr. H. tendered his resignation. Rumor also says, that Mr. T.
Hartley Crawford, of Pennsylvania, is appointed in his stead. This
gentleman is represented to be a person of some ability; an old
black-letter lawyer, but a man who is apt to lose sight of main
questions in the search after technicalities. They say he is very
opinionated and dogmatical; personally unacquainted with the
character of the Indians, and the geography of the western country,
and not likely, therefore, to be very ready or practical in the
administrative duties of the office. Time must test this, and time
sometimes agreeably disappoints us.
29th. I reached Detroit this day, with my family, in the new
steamer "Illinois," having had a pleasant passage, for the season,
from Mackinack. The style of the lake steamboats is greatly improved
within the last few years, and one of the first-class boats bears no
slight resemblance to a floating parlor, where every attention and
comfort is promptly provided. He must be fastidious, indeed, who is
31st. Col. Whiting called at my office to get the loan of an
elementary work on conchology. Dr. Pitcher stated that the Board of
Regents of the University of Michigan had adopted a plan of
buildings to be erected at Ann Arbor. Four Saginaw delegates are
sent in by Ogema Kegido, to ascertain the time and place of their
Nov. 4th. The Regents of the University of Michigan adopt
resolutions respecting the establishment of branches in the
counties, which are apprehended to be rather in advance of their
means; but the measure is stated to be popular.
3d. Mr. James Lawrence Schoolcraft, the acting agent of
Indian Affairs at Michilimackinack, writes respecting the additional
claim of the estate of John Johnston, an Irish gentleman of the
upper country, whose name is mentioned in a prior part of these
memoirs: "I have looked over the old books belonging to the estate,
and find the following result upon the most critical examination.
"William's account of the beaver skins due was 7,221. Mr. Edmonds'
account was 4,313. My own 6,043. William's account exceeded mine
1,178. Mine exceeds Mr. Edmonds' 1,730. In my account I have cast
out all debts (or skins) charged for liquor. William did not. Mr.
"I found all the books but one in the box, which one, according to
William's account, contained five hundred and sixty skins. From
these five hundred and sixty, I made deductions corresponding with
the skins found to be charged in all the other books, so that the
difference can be but very trifling, and, by the liberal discount
made, I think, will be in favor of the claim."
The account stands thus:--
Due 6,043 beavers at $4 = $24,172 00 Average loss on four years'
trade, from 1813 to 1816, at $2,014 per annum = $8,056 00
Item 2 as allowed in 1836. $6,040 00 " 6 " " . $9,192 00 " 7 " " .
$1,141 00 " 8 " " . $44 90 = $10,384 72 ----------$42,612 72 Allowed
in 1836. = $32,436 72 ----------$10,176 00
"Books are shown from 1816 to 1828, a period of twelve years;
consequently twelve divided into 24,172 will give the average loss
for the four years' trade, for which no books are shown. Mr. Edmonds
made an error in computing the number of skins due; the other
difference was, of course, in consequence. I am inclined to think
Mr. E. was prejudiced against the claim, as I cannot see how he
could so much reduce the number of skins due."
6th. The Rev. Mr. Potter, a missionary for sixteen years
among the Cherokees, called and introduced himself to me. He said
that he thought the Cherokees had received enough for their lands;
that they were peaceably emigrating west, but had been delayed by
low water in the streams. While thus waiting, about five hundred
persons had died.
This gentleman had been stationed at Creek Path, where the morally
celebrated Catherine Brown and her brother and parents lived. While
there, he had a church of about sixty members, and thinks they
exhibited as good evidences of Christianity as the same number of
whites would do. He speaks in raptures of the country this people
are living in, and are now emigrating from, in the Cumberland
Mountains, as full of springs, a region of great salubrity,
fertility, and picturesque beauty. Says a portion of the country, to
which they are embarking west, is also fertile.
Florida, the papers of this date tell us, is now free from Indians.
This can only be strictly true of the towns on the Apalachicola, &c.
The majority of them are doubtless gone.
A Wyandot, of Michigan, named Thomas Short, complains that his
lands, at Flat Rock, are overflowed by raising a mill-dam.
Dispatched a special agent to inquire into and remedy this trespass.
The Swan Creeks complain that a Frenchman, named Yaks, having been
permitted to live in one of their houses at Salt River, on rent,
refuses to leave it, intending to set up a pre-emption right to the
lands. I replied, "That is a matter I will inquire into. But you
have ceded the land without stipulating for improvements, and cannot
7th. I received instructions from Washington, dated 29th
Oct., to draw requisitions in favor of the Ottawas and Chippewas,
for the amounts awarded for their public improvements in the
lower peninsula, agreeably to the estimates of Messrs. MacDonnel and
Clarke, under the treaty of March 28th, 1836.
Eshtonaquot (Clear Sky), principal chief of the Swan Creeks, states
that his people will be ready to remove to their location on the
Osage, by the middle of next summer. He states that his
brother-in-law, an Indian, living at River Au Sables, in
Upper Canada, reports that a large number of Potawattomies have fled
to that province from Illinois; and that many of the Grand River
Ottawas, during the past summer, visited the Manitoulines, and gave
in their names to migrate thither. Little reliance can be placed on
this information. Besides, the government does not propose to hinder
the movements of the Indians.
Maj. Garland states that he was present, a few years ago, at Fort
Snelling, Upper Mississippi, at the time the fracas occurred in
which the Sioux fired on the Chippewas and killed four of their
number. Col. Snelling exhibited the greatest decision of character
on this occasion. He immediately put the garrison under arms, and
seized four Sioux, and put them in hold till their tribe should
surrender the real murderers. Next day the demand was complied with,
by the delivery of two men, to replace two of the four hostages, the
other two of the prisoners being, by hap, the murderers. The Indian
agent vacillated as to the course to be adopted. Col. Snelling said
that he would take the responsibility of acting. He then turned the
aggressors over to the Chippewas, saying: "Punish them according to
your law; and, if you do not, I will." The Chippewas selected nine
of their party as executioners. They then told the prisoners to run,
and shot them down as they fled. Two were shot on the very day after
the murder, and two the following day, when they were brought in.
One of the latter was a fine, bold, tall young fellow, who, having
hold of the other prisoner's hand, observed him to tremble. He
instantly threw his hand loose from him, declaring "that he was
ashamed of being made to suffer with a coward."
8th. Col. Whiting exhibited to me, at his office, several
bound volumes of MSS., being the orderly book of his father, an
adjutant in a regiment of Massachusetts Continentals, during the
great struggle of 1776. Many of the orders of Gen. Washington show
the exact care and knowledge of details, which went to make up a
part of his military reputation.
12th. Texas is involved in troubles with fierce and
intractable bands of Indians. Among these the Camanches are
prominent, who have shown themselves, in force, near Bexar, and in a
conflict killed ten Americans with arrows.
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Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the
Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers, 1851
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Years with the Indians