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Peace Attempts with Western Prairie Indians, 1833

What was known as the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was entered into in Mississippi with the Choctaw Indians September 27, 1830;1 pursuant to the terms of the treaty, in 1832 the movement of the Choctaw to their new home between the Canadian and Red rivers was under way but they were in danger from incursions of the Comanche and Pani Picts2 or Wichita, and the Kiowa tribe, who came east as far as the Washita and Blue rivers; these Indians had also evinced a hostile attitude toward white citizens and had attacked and plundered Santa Fe traders, trappers, and other unprotected travelers. A party of twelve traders had left Santa Fe in December, 1832, under Judge Carr of Saint Louis for their homes in Missouri. Their baggage and about ten thousand dollars in specie were packed upon mules. They were descending the Canadian River when, near the present town of Lathrop in the Panhandle of Texas, they were attacked by an overwhelming force of Comanche and Kiowa Indians. Two of the men, one named Pratt, and the other Mitchell, were killed; and after a siege of thirty-six hours the survivors made their escape at night on foot, leaving all their property in possession of the Indians. The party became separated and after incredible hardship and suffering five of them made their way to the Creek settlements on the Arkansas and to Fort Gibson where they found succor. Of the other five only two survived. The money secured by the Indians was the first they had ever seen.3 Colonel Arbuckle on May 6, ordered4 a military force to Red...

Washington Irving at Fort Gibson, 1832

The McIntosh Creeks had been located along Arkansas River near the Verdigris on fertile timbered land which they began at once to clear, cultivate, and transform into productive farms. The treaty of 1828 with the Cherokee gave the latter a great tract of land on both sides of Arkansas River embracing that on which the Creeks were located. This was accomplished by a blunder of the Government officials, in the language of the Secretary of War,1 “when we had not a correct knowledge of the location of the Creek Indians nor of the features of the country.” This situation produced much unhappiness and contention between the people of the two tribes. The Indians had other grievances, and the Creeks took the lead in calling the attention of the officials to their needs by the preparation of a memorial in which they complained of frequent attacks upon them by bands of wild Indians from the south and west of their location. They asked the Government to appoint a commission to meet with them for the redress of their wrongs, and to call a council of the different tribes for the adoption of measures to establish peace and security in their new home. The Creek memorial and a long report by the Secretary of War on February 16, 1832, were transmitted to Congress by President Jackson,2 who recommended that three commissioners be appointed as requested in the memorial, and recommended by the Secretary. It appeared from the report of the Secretary of War that there were then west of the Mississippi twenty-five hundred Creeks, six thousand Choctaw, thirty-five hundred Cherokee and...

Earliest Known Traders on Arkansas River

With the help of contemporary records it is possible to identify some of the early traders at the Mouth of the Verdigris. Even before the Louisiana Purchase, hardy French adventurers ascended the Arkansas in their little boats, hunting, trapping, and trading with the Indians, and recorded their presence if not their identity in the nomenclature of the adjacent country and streams, now sadly corrupted by their English-speaking successors.1 French Influence in Arkansas One of the first of the French traders up the Arkansas whose name has been recorded was Joseph Bogy, an early resident of the old French town, Arkansas Post, from which point he traded with the Osage Indians in the vicinity of the Three Forks. On one of his expeditions he had ascended the Arkansas with a boatload of merchandise, to trade to the Osage near the mouth of the Verdigris. There on the seventh of January, 1807, he was attacked and robbed of all his goods by a large band of Choctaw Indians under the famous chief, Pushmataha.2 When charged with the offense, Pushmataha admitted it and justified the robbery on the ground that they were at war with the Osage, against whom they were proceeding at the time; and that as Bogy was trading with their enemies, he was a proper subject for reprisal. Bogy laid a claim before the Government for nine thousand dollars damages against the Choctaw, based on the protection guaranteed by his trader’s license. This claim was pending until after 1835, before it was allowed. Among the interesting papers in connection with the claim, is Bogy’s report of having met on...

Establishment of Fort Gibson in 1824

By Act of Congress of March 2, 1819, Arkansas Territory was established July 4, embracing substantially all of what are now the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma; though the civil government of Arkansas Territory was limited to that section lying east of the Osage line, divided into counties, and embracing approximately the present state of Arkansas. That west of the Osage line was the Indian country, and in later years became known as Indian Territory. James Miller1 of New Hampshire was appointed the first Governor of Arkansas Territory, and among the duties of his office was that of supervision of the Indians within his jurisdiction. After the battle at Clermont’s Town an effort was made to induce the warring tribes to enter into a treaty of peace. This was accomplished in October 1818,2 in Saint Louis, in the presence of William Clark, the Governor of Missouri Territory. Directly after Governor Miller assumed his duties as executive, he was required to intervene between the Osage and Cherokee in an effort to prevent imminent hostilities growing out of the killing of a number of Cherokee hunters by a band of Osage under Mad Buffalo. In April 1820, Governor Miller departed from the seat of government at Arkansas Post, on his mission to the Cherokee and Osage. He was gone two months, and prevented temporarily at least – the threatened renewal of warfare by the Cherokee. He went first to the Cherokee settlements, where he sought to dissuade the members of that tribe from further hostilities by his promise that he would endeavor to secure from the Osage the murderers of their...

Expeditions of Fowler and James to Santa Fe, 1821

When Pike returned from his western expedition and related his experiences in Santa Fe and other places among the Spaniards, his accounts excited great interest in the east, which resulted in further exploits. In 1812, an expedition was undertaken1 by Robert McKnight, James Baird, Samuel Chambers, Peter Baum, Benjamin Shrive, Alfred Allen, Michael McDonald, William Mines, and Thomas Cook, all citizens of Missouri Territory; they were arrested by the Spaniards, charged with being in Spanish territory without a passport, and thrown into the calabazos of Chihuahua, where they were kept for nine years. In 1821, two of them escaped, and coming down Canadian and Arkansas rivers met Hugh Glenn, owner of a trading house at the mouth of the Verdigris, and told him of the wonders of Santa Fe. Inspired by the accounts of these travelers, Glenn engaged in an enterprise with Major Jacob Fowler and Captain Pryor for an expedition from the Verdigris to Santa Fe.2 The members of the McKnight party who had escaped from the Spaniards, continued their journey to Saint Louis, where they repeated their romantic tale to John McKnight, a brother of Robert McKnight who was still a prisoner with the Spaniards, and to others. As a result of their account, McKnight and General Thomas James organized an expedition to go from Saint Louis to Santa Fe. James’s purpose was to trade with the Indians, and John McKnight went to see his brother and procure his release, if possible. The two expeditions got under way the same summer, and both went by way of the Arkansas as high as the Verdigris, which at that...

Kit Carson, His Life and Adventures – Indian Wars

The subject of this sketch, Christopher “Kit” Carson, was born on the 24th of December, 1809, in Madison County, Kentucky. The following year his parents removed to Howard County, Missouri, then a vast prairie tract and still further away from the old settlements. The new home was in the midst of a region filled with game, and inhabited by several predatory and hostile tribes of Indians, who regarded the whites as only to be respected for the value of their scalps. The elder Carson at once endeavored to provide for the safety of his family, as far as possible, by the erection of that style of fortress then so common on the frontier, a log block house. In this isolated spot, surrounded by dangers of every sort, the little Christopher imbibed that love of adventure and apparent disregard of personal peril, which made him so famous in after years. When he was only twelve years old, being out one day assisting in the search of game, his father sent him to a little knoll, a short distance off, to see if a certain curious looking, overhanging cliff there might not possibly shelter a spring of water. Instead of the spring, however, he found a shallow cave, and in it, sleeping quietly on their bed of moss and leaves, lay two young cubs. With boyish exultation he caught them in his arms and hastened as fast as possible toward his father. In spite of their squirming he had borne them half way down the hill, when the sound of a heavy footfall and a fierce panting of breath warned him...

Indian Hostilities in California and New Mexico – Indian Wars

The Indian tribes of California are in a degraded and miserable condition. The most numerous are the Shoshonee, the Blackfeet, and the Crows. Many of them have been brought to a half civilized state, and are employed at the different ranches. But those in the neighborhood of the Sierra Nevada are untamable, treacherous, and ferocious. They wander about, for the most part going entirely naked, and subsisting upon roots, acorns, and pine cones. Since the discovery of the gold, they have acquired some knowledge of its usefulness, but no clear conception of its value, and they part with their gatherings for whatever strikes their fancy, without much hesitation in bargaining with dealers. They are generally of medium stature, dark skin and hair, (which grow low down over their foreheads,) with ugly countenances, devoid of any intellectual expression, and are immeasurably inferior to the Indians east of the Rocky Mountains, and those of the Atlantic States. Soon after the discovery of the placers, the Indians displayed their hostility by attacking straggling miners, and, growing bolder, committed serious depredations in the neighborhood of the mines furthest advanced towards the Sierra Nevada; at length, the murder of a number of Oregonians led to a destructive warfare between the whites and Indians. It happened that six men of a clan were out “prospecting,” (exploring,) on the Middle Fork, and when they had penetrated a deep canon, (gulf,) a party of some forty Indians attacked them from the heights above. Unsuspicious of an ambuscade, the explorers had left their arms at some distance, and a flight of arrows among them was the first intimation...

Biographical Sketch of Luther C. Challis

Perhaps Luther C. Challis, nearly forty years a citizen of Atchison, is best known as a pioneer railroad man. He was born in New Jersey January 26, 1829, and for some years before moving West was engaged in business in Philadelphia and Boonville, Missouri. In 1855 he located in Atchison and joined his brother as one of the first merchants of that town. He afterward became a banker, and maintained a profitable ferry across the Missouri River until the building of the bridge in 1875. Mr. Challis was elected to a seat in the Territorial Council of 1857-58, made vacant by the resignation of Joseph P. Carr in January, 1858. He is generally conceded to be the father of the Central Branch of the Union Pacifie Railroad, having framed the bill to authorize its construction, secured its passage, and negotiated the treaty with the Kickapoo Indians for securing its right-of-way through their territory. Mr. Challis was also one of the incorporators of the Atchison & St. Joseph Railway, the first railroad built in the state, and one of the founders of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. He died in Atchison, July 26,...

Biography of William F. M. Arny

Kansas has produced no more eceentric, generous or beloved character than William F. M. Arny. Although not a native of the state, he was a son in all that stands for its independence and humanity. He was born in the District of Columbia, March 6, 1813, and after graduating from Bethany College, West Virginia, acted for a time as secretary for Alexander Campbell the famons Disciple preacher. At the age of twenty-eight he was on intimate terms with all of the leading men of the nation, especially with such as Abraham Lincoln and others of force and originality. In 1850 Mr. Arny settled in McLean County, Illinois; was active in the organization of the republican party, and in 1856 was a committeeman in that state appointed to raise money to settle Free State men in Kansas. In that year he made a trip of investigation to the territory, and its condition so appealed to him that in the spring of 1857 he settled in Anderson County. The people of Kansas, who had come thither to stay and build a real commonwealth of equals, accepted William F. M. Arny as a valuable accession to their forces, electing him both to the Leavenworth constitutional convention of 1858 and the House of Representatives of the First State Legislature, which assembled with the outbreak of the Civil war. At that time he was also closing his faithful stewardship of the relief fund and the goods entrusted to him in behalf of the sufferers from the grasshopper plague of 1857. He had been elected a delegate to the Grasehopper Falls convention soon after coming...

Hirsh, Naome Mrs. – Obituary

Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon Mrs. Naome Hirsh passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. A.E. Clawson, with whom she had made her home for the past three years. Mrs. Hirsh has been an invalid for years and Sunday morning, October 10th, suffered a paralytic stroke which foretold the close of her sixty-eight years of life. She lived at Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a daughter previous to coming to Wallowa County. She also has a son living at Wabash, Indiana, and a daughter at Fargo, N.D. The body was sent to Wabash for interment, Wednesday, accompanied by A.E. Clawson. Wallowa County Reporter, Wallowa County, Oregon, October 14,...
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