Epidemical condition of the atmosphere at Detroit--Death of Henry
J. Hunt and A. G. Whitney, Esqrs.--Diary of the visits of Indians at
St. Mary's Agency--Indian affairs on the frontier under the
supervision of Col. McKenney--Criticisms on the state of Indian
questions--Topic of Indian eloquence--State of American researches
in natural science--Dr. Saml. L. Mitchell.
1826. September. Sickness, which often assumed a mortal
type, broke out during this month at Detroit, and carried away many
of its most esteemed citizens. Col. McKenney writes (Sep. 13th) that
the Commissioners reached that place from Mackinac in ten days, and
that an alarming sickness prevails--one hundred cases! Among the
latter is Mrs. Judge Hunt, an esteemed lady.
Gov. C. (Sep. 14th) announces the death of Col. Henry J. Hunt, one
of the most respectable citizens; a man who, for many years, has
occupied a position of the highest respect and esteem. His honor,
integrity, and general usefulness, urbanity of manners and kindness
to all classes, have never been called in question, and his loss to
society will create a vacancy which will long be felt. Called away
suddenly, his death has produced a shock in all classes, from the
highest to the lowest.
Edmund A. Brush, Esq., writes (Sept. 17th): "Our unhappy mortality
prevails." On the 23d, he says: "Mr. Whitney has been lying at the
point of death for the last ten or twelve days. We hope he begins to
improve." These hopes were delusive. He died. Mr. Whitney had been
abroad; he was an assiduous and talented advocate--a native of
Hudson, N.Y.--was on the high road to political distinction--a moral
man and a public loss.
I amused myself this fall by keeping notes of the official visits of
my Indian neighbors. They may denote the kind of daily wants against
which this people struggle.
Oct. 2d. Monetogeezhig complained that he had not been able
to take any fish for several days, and solicited some food for
himself and family, being five persons. The dress and general
appearance of himself and wife and the children, nearly naked, bore
evidence to the truth of his repeated expressions, that they were
"poor, very poor, and hungry." He also presented a kettle and an axe
to be repaired. I gave him a ticket on the Agency blacksmith, and
caused sixteen rations of flour and pork to be issued to him.
3d. The petty chief, Cheegud, with his wife and two children,
arrived from Lake Superior, and reported that since leaving the
Taquimenon he had killed nothing. While inland, he had broken his
axe and trap. This young chief is son-in-law of Shingauba W'ossin,
principal chief of the Chippewas. He is one of the home band, has
been intimate at the agency from its establishment, and is very much
attached to the government. He attended the treaty of Prairie du
Chien, in 1825, and the treaty of Fond du Lac, in 1826, and received
at the latter a medal of the third size. He has always properly
appreciated the presents given him, and by his temperate,
consistent, and respectable course of life, merited attention.
Directed a ticket on the shop and twenty rations.
6th. An Indian woman, wife of Sirdeland, a resident Canadian,
in very low circumstances, and living in the Indian mode, requested
a kettle to be mended. My rule, in cases of this sort, excludes
Indian females who are under the protection of Canadian husbands
from a participation in the presents distributed at the office. But
it is proper to make exceptions, in some instances, where repairs of
ironwork are solicited. Directed a ticket on the blacksmith.
13th. Issued to Waykwauking and family twelve rations.
16th. Shingwaukoance, The Little Pine (17th July,
1822, first visit), accompanied by twenty persons, visited the
office. This is one of the signers of the Treaty of St. Mary of
1820, where his mark is prefixed to his French name, Augustin
Bart. He told me he had come to visit me, attended with all his
young men, and requested I would listen to what he had to say. He
made a speech at great length, in which he recapitulated his good
offices and exertions towards the Americans, from the time of Gov.
Cass's arrival in 1820. He stated that a plot had then been formed
to cut off the Gov.'s party, and that he and Mr. G. Johnston had
been instrumental in thwarting the design. He was glad to see the
fire I had lighted up here in 1822 was kept burning, that the
Indians might come and warm themselves by it. He had now determined
to come and live permanently on the American side of the river, and
put himself under my protection.
He repeated his friendship, and gave a "parole" of blue wampum to
confirm his words. One of his party then lighted a pipe and handed
it to me to smoke in the usual manner. Caused tobacco and sixty
rations of food to be distributed among his band.
20th. Oshawano solicited food, declaring that his boys had
not been able to take any fish from the rapids for several days.
This is an old man, and a chief resident at St. Mary's. I told him
that it was not my practice, which he knew, to issue provision to
the families of fishermen during the fishing season, and that I
expected his children to supply him; that, besides, he was one of
the persons who had visited the B. Post at D. Isd. during the last
summer, and that he knew I made no presents of any kind to Indians
who received presents there; that if he went to his B. father in the
summer, when it was pleasant weather, he must also go in the fall
and winter, when the weather was bad; that if they gave him presents
of goods, they must also give him food. He looked very grave, and,
after a short silence, said that he had got little or nothing at D.I.
He said his home was here, and he was very poor, &c. Knowing,
from personal observation, that he was suffering for food, I ordered
21st. Cheegud came to say that he was about to go to his
wintering grounds, and wished some provisions to commence the
journey. This young chief has been welcomed at the agency, and is
friendly to the American government. He attended the treaties of
P.D.C. and F. du Lac; at the latter he received a medal. He has
always appreciated attentions, and by his sober, consistent, and
respectful course of life, merits the notice of the office. I gave
him some necessary ironwork, a knife, tobacco, ammunition,
23d. Visited by Shingauwosh (4 p.)
24th. Akeewayzee (4 per.)
26th. Keewikoance and band, eleven persons. This is a chief
residing on the lower part of the river St. Mary. Having visited him
last spring, he gave me an ancient clay pot, such as the Indians
used before the arrival of Europeans. He told me he was the seventh
chief, in a direct line, since the French first arrived. He and his
band plant some corn and potatoes upon an island. He appears a
sensible discreet man, and has a good deal of the pride and dignity
of the Indian character. He is in the British interest, and his
feelings are all that way, being always received at D. I. with
marked attention. He has a British medal, but wishes to keep on
friendly terms here.
28th. Metosh came in the office and said: "My father, I am
very poor; I have nothing, not even an axe to cut wood. Show me
pity." Thirteen rations.
30th. Visited by Wayishkee, a chief, having a medal of the
first class, formerly of La Pointe, in Lake Superior, and of an
ancient line of chiefs, but for the last three years a resident of
St. Mary's. He had a wife and nine children. Has been in the
constant habit of visiting the office since its establishment; but
it is only within the last year that he has given up visiting D. I.
He is one of the signers of the treaty of St. Mary. He attended the
treaty of F. du Lac last summer. Received a medal and flag from me
in the spring. Is a good hunter and a kind and affectionate parent.
Had all his children by one wife. Came to inform me that he was on
his way to make his first hunt on Red Carp river, L. S. Gave him
30th. Neegaubeyun, The West Wind, a chief by descent
of the home band; is a man about forty; has lost one eye; much given
to intemperance, and generally badly clothed; will sometimes labor
for whisky; visits D.I. every season. In consequence of his poor
character and political bias, has never been recognized by me as a
chief, nor honored with the marks of one. He said that he was poor,
and did not come to trouble me often, and hoped I would show him
charity. I told him he must not construe my charity into approbation
of his conduct, particularly his visits to D.I., which were
displeasing to me and had been forbidden by his American Father
30th. Muckudaywuckooneyea. This is a young man about 18. His
father was a steady friend to the American cause even during the
late war, and many years before an Agent resided here. He had
received a Jefferson medal at Detroit; was drowned in the St. Mary a
few years ago. The son has been an irregular visitor at the office
for the last four years, and is ambitious to be invested with the
authority of his father, but possesses neither age, ability, or
discretion. In consequence of his visiting D.I., contrary to my
request and his promise, I took away his father's medal from
him, in 1823, hanging it up in my office, and telling him when he
was worthy of it, and not before, he should have it. His conduct of
late has been more considerate, and his professions of friendship
for the American government are profuse; but he has not ceased his
Canada visits. Ten rations.
Nov. 5th. Ketuckeewagauboway. This being Sunday, I told him
he knew very well that I never listened to Indians on the Prayer Day
unless they were just come from a journey, &c. He went away, saying
he had forgot, &c.
6th. Oshkinaway and brother, 18 p., of the British shore.
Brought a present of some partridges.
7th. Metacosegay. This man resides the greater part of the
time on the Canadian side of the river, but hunts often on the
American shore. He resided many years ago with a French family at
St. Mary, and has imbibed something of the French taste and manners,
always wearing an ornamental hat, and making a bow on entering and
leaving the office. He has been in the regular habit of visiting me
from the year 1822, and generally applies for what is termed
nwappo on setting out for his fall and winter hunts. His elder
wife, for he has two, is a Sioux slave, taken in youth. (3, 12 r.)
7th. Nauwequay Wegauboway. (4, 20.)
9th. This day Bisconaosh visited me for the first time since
my residence here. He came with his wife and two children. This man
is of the ancient band of the Falls, but being strongly attached to
the British government, has been shy of approaching me. This has
been taken advantage of by Mr. E., a trader on the opposite shore,
who told him the Americans would cause him to be whipped, with other
idle stuff of that sort, if he came over. He stated these facts as
the cause for his not coming earlier to see me, and said he was
anxious to return to the seat of his forefathers, &c. Presented him
with an axe, pair of spears, ice-chisel, knife, and a couple of
flints, and with sixteen rations of flour, pork, and beans. 10th.
Ketuckeewagauboway. This is a resident Indian of this place. He is a
fisherman during the summer, and scarcely ever does more in the
winter than to snare hares or kill partridges, which he exposes for
sale. He also makes snow-shoes, &c. He is intemperate and
improvident, wasting in liquor what would be useful to his family if
laid out for provisions, &c. It is impossible to avoid issues to
such persons occasionally. Advice and reproof he always takes well,
acknowledges their justice with good nature, and is even facetiously
pleasant. This man used formerly to come to the office intoxicated;
but my undeviating rule of listening to no Indian in that state, has
had good effect.
10th. Kewazee, a fisherman in the fall, a hunter in the
winter, is the eldest son of the old hereditary chief Oshawano.
Keeps himself well clothed, and supports his family of four persons
comfortably in the Indian way. Having concluded to stop fishing for
the season, he came to solicit some provision to go inland. This is
one of the home band who adheres to the American government, and has
entirely broken off all visits to D.I., even contrary to the
practice of his father and all the other members of his family.
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Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the
Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers, 1851
Years with the Indians |