American antiquities--Michilimackinack a summer resort--Death of
Ogimau Keegido--Brothertons--An Indian election--Cherokee
murders--Board of Regents of the Michigan University--Archaeological
facts and rumors--Woman of the Green Valley--A new variety of
fish--Visits of the Austrian and Sardinian Ministers to the U.S.--Mr.
Gallup--Sioux murders--A remarkable display of aurora borealis--Ottawas
of Maumee--Extent of auroral phenomena--Potawattomie
cruelty--Mineralogy--Death of Ondiaka--Chippewa tradition--Fruit
trees--Stone's preparation of the Life and Times of Sir William
Johnson--Dialectic difference between the language of the Ottawas
and the Chippewas--Philological remarks on the Indian languages--Mr.
1839. June 25th. ALEX V.V. BRADFORD, Esq., of New York,
being about to publish a work on American antiquities1,
solicits permission to use some of my engravings. I am glad to see
an increasing interest in our archaeology, and hope to live to see
the day when the popular tastes will permit books to be published on
26th. Mrs. Morris brings a letter from Hon. A.E. Wing, of
Monroe. She contemplates spending the summer on the island on
account of impaired health. The pure air and fine summer climate of
Mackinack begin to be appreciated within a year or two by
valetudinarians. It is a perfect Montpelier to them. The inhaling of
its pure and dry atmosphere in midsummer is found to act very
favorably on the digestive organs. No process of health-making
gymnastics is prescribed by physicians. They merely direct
persons to walk about and enjoy the sights and scenes about them, to
saunter along its winding paths, or go fishing or gunning. Its woods
are delightful, and its cliffs command the sublimest views. One
would think that if the muses are ever routed from the bare hills of
Olympus and the springs of Helicon, they would take shelter in the
glens of Michilimackinack, where the Indian pukwees, or
fairies, danced of old. I received intelligence of the death of
Ogimau Keegido (Speaker Chief), the head sachem of the Saginaws. He
had indulged some time in drinking, and, after getting out of this
debauch, was confined by sickness three days. Death came to his
relief. Some years ago this man met with an accident by the
discharge of a gun, by which his liver protruded; he took his knife
and cut off a small piece, which he ate as a panacea. He was a man
of strong passions and ungoverned will. He visited Washington in
1836, and, with other chiefs, sold the Saginaw reservations.
The party of Saginaws who brought me the above information had among
them twenty-two orphan children, whose parents had died of
small-pox. They were on their way to the Manitoulines.
28th. Mud-je-ke-wis, a minor chief of Grand Traverse Bay,
surrenders a belt of blue and white wampum, and a gilt gorget, which
he had received from some officer of the British Indian Department
in Canada, saying he renounces allegiance to that government, and
reports himself, from this day, as an American.
29th. Chingossamo (Big Sail), of Cheboigan, having migrated
to the Manitouline Islands with thirteen families, about
seventy-nine souls, an election was this day held, at this office,
by the Indians, to supply the place of ruling chief. Sticks, of two
colors, were prepared as ballots for the two candidates. Of these,
Keeshowa received two-thirds, and was declared duly elected. I
granted a certificate of this election. The present population is
reduced to forty-four souls, who live in thirteen families. This
band are Chippewas.
Gen. Scott arrives at this post, on a general tour of inspection of
the northern posts, and proceeds the same day to Sault St. Marie,
accompanied by Maj. Whiting.
July 2d. The Wisconsin Democrat, of this date,
contains an interesting sketch of the history of the Brotherton
Indians, which is represented to be "composed of the descendants of
the six following named tribes of Indians, viz., the Naragansetts,
of Rhode Island; the Stoningtons, or Pequoits, of Groton,
Connecticut; the Montauks, of Long Island; the Mohegans, Nianticks,
and Farmington Indians, also of Connecticut. Several years before
the American Revolution, a single Indian of the Montauk tribe left
his nation and traveled into the State of New York. He had no fixed
purpose in view more than (as he expressed it) to see the world.
During his absence, however, he fortunately paid a visit to the
Oneidas, then a very large and powerful tribe of Indians residing in
the State of New York. With them he concluded to rest a short time.
They, discovering that he possessed 'some of the white man's
learning,' employed him to teach a common reading and writing school
among them. He remained with them longer than he at first intended.
During this time the Oneida chief made many inquiries respecting his
(the Montauk) tribe, and the other tribes before mentioned, and
received, for answer, 'that they had almost become extinct--that
their game was fast disappearing--that their landed possessions were
very small--that the pure blood of their ancestors had become mixed
with both the blood of the white man and the African---that new and
fatal diseases had appeared among them--that the curse of all
curses, the white man's stream of liquid fire, was inundating their
very existence, and the gloomy prospect of inevitable annihilation
seemed to stare them in the face--that no 'hope with a goodly
prospect fed the eye.' The Oneida chief, actuated partly with a
desire to extend the hand of brotherly affection to rescue the above
tribes from the melancholy fate that seemed to await them, and
partly with a desire to manifest his deep sense of the valuable
services rendered to him and his nation in his having taught among
them a school, gave to the schoolteacher a tract of land twelve
miles square for the use and benefit of his tribe, and the other
The treaty of the 14th of January, 1837, with the Saginaws, is
confirmed by the Senate.
3d. The Arkansas Little Rock Gazette, of this date,
states that the long existing feud in the Cherokee nation, which has
divided its old and new settlers, has terminated in a series of
frightful murders. Its language is this:--
"We briefly alluded in our last to a report from the west that John
Ridge, one of the principal chiefs of the Cherokee nation, had been
assassinated. More recent accounts confirm the fact, and bring news
of the murder of Ridge's father, together with Elias Boudinot and
some ten or twelve men of less distinction (some accounts say thirty
or forty), all belonging to Ridge's party.
"These murders are acknowledged to have been committed by the
partisans of John Boss, between whom and Ridge a difference has for
a long time subsisted, growing out of the removal of the Cherokees
from the old nation to the west, Ridge having uniformly been
favorable to that course and Ross opposing it."
A council was recently held to consult in relation to the laws to be
adopted by the united nation in their present country, there being
some essential differences between the code by which that portion of
the nation recently emigrated from the east had been governed, and
the laws adopted by the old settlers in the west. Each party
contended for the adoption of its own code, and neither would
concede to the other, and the council finally broke up without being
able to come to any understanding on the subject. On his way from
this council, Ridge was murdered. Ridge, although a recent emigrant,
we understand agreed with the old settlers in regard to the adoption
of their laws, while Ross contended for those of the old nation
After the murder of Ridge, General Arbuckle, the commander of the
United States forces on this frontier, sent a detachment of dragoons
to Ross, with a request that he would come to the garrison, who
declined unless he could be allowed to bring with him some six or
seven hundred of his armed partisans, and take them into the
garrison with him. This, of course, could not be allowed, and so the
detachment returned to the garrison, and after that the murders
subsequent to that of Ridge were committed. One of them was
perpetrated within the bounds of Washington County, in this State,
and we hope the necessary steps will be taken by our authorities to
secure and bring to trial the murderer, and thus preserve inviolate
the jurisdiction of our State over her own soil. "We learn that a
council was called of the whole nation, to be held yesterday, with a
view of settling the existing difficulties, and we hope it may
result in establishing peace among them."
3d. I received a letter introducing Mr. and Mrs. Kane, of
Albany. We love an agreeable surprise. I recognized in Mrs. K. the
daughter of an old friend--a most lady-like, agreeable, and talented
woman; and deemed my time agreeably devoted in showing my visitors
the curiosities of the island.
6th. The business of my superintendency calls me to Detroit.
Fiscal questions, the employment of special agents, the collection
of treasury drafts, the payment of annuities; these are some of the
constant cares, full of responsibilities, which call for incessant
vigilance. I reached the city in the steamer "Gen. Wayne," at 8
o'clock, in the morning.
8th. John A. Bell, and Sand Watie, Cherokee chiefs, publish
in the Arkansas Gazette, an appeal to public justice, on the
murder of the Ridges and Boudinot, which took place on the 22d of
13th. Rev. Mr. Duffield informs me of some geological
antiquities, reported to have been recently discovered in Ohio, made
in the course of the excavations on the line of the canal, between
Cleaveland and Beaver.
15th. The Board of Regents of the University of Michigan
inform me, by their secretary, of my having been placed on a
committee, as chairman, to report "such amendments to the organic
law of the University, as they shall deem essential, with a view to
their presentation to the next legislature."
25th. Being on my passage from Detroit to Mackinack, on Lake
Huron, a Mr. Wetzler, of Rock River, Wisconsin, stated to me that a
Mr. Davy, an English emigrant, found, in making an excavation in his
land near "Oregon," some antiquities, consisting of silver coins,
for which Mr. Wetzler offered him, unsuccessfully, $50. The story
looks very much like a humbug, but it was told with all seriousness
by a respectable looking man.
A Mr. Ruggles, of Huron, Ohio, who was aboard of the same vessel,
said, that hacks of an axe were found in buried cedars, some years
ago, at a depth of about 40 feet below the surface, near the east
edge of Huron County, Ohio. There are no cedars, he adds, now
growing in that section of Ohio.
The Burlington Gazette (Iowa) says, "that a Sac and Fox war
party recently returned from the Missouri, bringing eight scalps,
and a number of female prisoners, and horses. The Indians murdered
were of the Omaha tribe. The party consisted of ten men, with their
squaws; and, although only eight scalps were brought in, it is
supposed that not a single man escaped. We are not aware that
feelings of hostility have heretofore existed between these nations.
The ostensible object of the Sac and Fox party was to chastise the
Sioux. The expedition was headed by Pa-ma-sa, the bold and daring
brave who recently inflicted a dangerous wound upon the person of
26th. Arrived at Mackinack, in the steamer "United States,"
at 4 o'clock in the morning, after an absence of about twenty days.
27th. Mr. John R. Kellogg says, that during the early
settlement of Onondaga, N.Y., say about 1800, in cutting into a
tree, in the vicinity of Skaneateles, iron was struck. On
searching, they cut out a rude chain, which was wound about in the
wood, and appeared to have been fastened above. Query, had this been
a pot trammel of some ancient explorer? Onondaga is known to have
been early visited.
He also stated that three distinct hacks of an axe, of the ordinary
size, were found, in cutting down an oak, at the same period, in
Ontario County. Six hundred cortical layers were found outside
of these antique hacks, indicating that they were made in the 12th
century. I record these archaeological memoranda merely for inquiry.
1: This work was published, I think, in 1841.
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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 |