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Acquaintance With my Wife and our Marriage
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Native American | No Comments
I was taught in a dream how I could be assisted in the difficulty. Many years ago, I dreamed of travelling up a large river, where I saw a female engaged in reading. Afterwards she knelt and prayed. I felt that the Lord had greatly blessed her, and although her face was from me, I saw in my dream that she would be my wife, and a helpmate indeed. So perfectly did I retain her image in my mind’s eye, that I ever thought I should know her if I could see her. I had an idea that this river was the Ohio. Therefore when I could make it convenient, and felt myself competent to support a wife, I started up the Ohio. In travelling, I was sure this was the same river, for everything looked as natural as if I had seen it before. When at Cleaveland and Sandusky, I was disappointed in not finding her. Here I saw her travelling in another direction. I then returned to New Orleans, where I saw her moving towards me. This I considered a good omen. I then left and went up the Mississippi. I there saw her look earnestly at me, and smile. When at Galena I saw her again. I was going from her. She looked sorrowful, and beckoned me to return. I stopped and returned by the first boat, and went on shore at the village where the boat stopped.
At the mouth of the Iowa, I met some Indians, who had come down in their boats from Iowa City. I played them a tune, they were much pleased, and invited me to go to their camps. I went with them, for I had already given myself up to circumstances. The next morning I went up to Iowa City. I saw and knew the house in which my wife was, and begged an invitation to call. I will now let my wife speak for herself, for she does not like to hear me say that we made an engagement the first day, made an acquaintance the next, and was married the third.
I was born Dec. 28, 1817, in Western New York. My father was a Mohawk Chief, a most excellent man; a great friend to civilization, and never took fire-water. But alas! He did not believe the Bible. My mother was a Delaware. She believed the Bible, though she made no profession of Christianity.
From my earliest recollection I was the subject of religious impressions, made on my mind from a dream which I had when about two years old. I do not know that I had any knowledge of God previous to this.
The dream was as follows: I thought that a person possessing a most lovely countenance, came to me and said, ‘Little child, do you know that you have a Father in Heaven?’ I answered, ‘How can I have two fathers?’ He said my Father in Heaven had only lent me to this father; that I was given to a fallen people to do them good. He said that my Father in Heaven still loved me very much, and had sent him to bless me. He told me that he spoke of the God of Heaven who made me, and all things, and explained something of his attributes. He told me I must learn to read the Bible, where I should find his will, and what I must do to be saved. He then put his hand on my head, blessed me, and taught me to pray. He told me if I would continue to do this, which I promised to do, that my Heavenly Father would give me whatever I wanted. He then told me that if I was faithful, I should go and dwell with him in a never-ending eternity. I could not at first understand what these things could mean. I refused to play, and spent all my time in conversing upon them. My pleadings with my father to go to school were such that he permitted me to go, carrying me in his arms. I made rapid progress in learning, and before I was eight years old I had read the Bible through in course. During this time my father permitted Christian people to come to our house and instruct me in the things of religion. And when in the course of this instruction, I learned that the Saviour died for all, and especially for me, my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude and love. Before 1 was ten years old, I was allowed the privilege of being baptized in his dear name. O, to put on Christ in this precious ordinance was sweet to my thirsty soul. And now I appeal to the experienced christian to supply what I am unable to say further. Before this my father had removed to the Western Reserve, and settled temporarily. Some of my people went to Green Bay, where they now reside. I went to school near Cleaveland, Ohio. Afterwards my father removed to Missouri and settled on the south side of the river, near fort Leavenworth. Several years afterwards he made a visit into the Iowa, taking his family with him. One morning while here, casting an eye into the street, I saw an Indian whom I knew must be a stranger. Although I had no thought of ever seeing him again; yet I called my sisters, saying, ‘do you see that Indian brave?’ I never saw or heard of him before, but I shall know him well, for he will be my husband.’ This was about my first attempt at a joke.
He afterwards met my sister in the street, and said to her, ‘do you have in that white cottage?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ was the reply.
‘Well,’ said he, ‘there is a person at your house who wishes to see me, and when you return, you may tell her I would like to call on her today.’ She promised to do so, and when she came home and related what had happened, we hardly knew what to think of it.
Late in the afternoon he called. He spoke familiarly with the sister he had met, and asked her to introduce him. My mother, two sisters, and the lady of the house were present. When he came to me, he looked earnestly in my face, and said, ‘Yes, you are the one.’ My mother soon stepped forward and said, ‘come tell us which of my daughters wished to see you.’ He came towards me and said, ‘this is the one. Come here and I will convince you that I have seen her before, by showing you a certain mark on her face.’ He then asked to me, ‘will you marry me?’ ‘ O yes,’ I replied. He drew my arm through his, and bowings to the company, asked if we should not make a good match? My father then came in, and he and all the rest laughed at the joke. We all drank tea together. After tea he offered to play us a tune. This did not please me, for I feared he might be a dissipated, irreligious character, like many other travelling musicians. The first instrument he used was the flute. He then took up his sauce-pananna and said, ‘will the company accept of a tune from this?’ All were very solicitous except myself. He then related the dream which had led to its construction. My feelings were changed. I was now willing to become his shepherdess in a cause which had engrossed the most of my attention through life, and was still dearer to me than all things else. When he bade me good night he said, ‘can I depend on your word?’ I replied, ‘I always keep my word.’
When I was alone I pondered over what had passed. I supposed it all a joke and yet I half wished he was speaking from his heart. The next morning he returned. We were all seated in the parlor with some visitors. We talked of his plan, and endeavored to devise the best means of carrying it into effect. I said nothing of my own early convictions in regard to my people or any other matter in relation to myself. He told me that he could neither read nor write, and added, I am a naturalist, I must teach them on natural principles to begin with. The Lord has provided me a help-mate in you, to teach them the truths of religion, by precept and example. We can be of use to each other, and by uniting our destinies, do a good work for our poor people. I could not speak. He proceeded by mentioning my childhood and experience in religion. I at length interrupted him by asking who told you this? He said he had these thoughts respecting me when he first saw me in his dream; that he only mentioned them to see if they were true. He then told me that he was not jesting at all, the night before, that he was as well acquainted with me as though he bad known me for years. The Bible says ‘it is not good for man to be alone,’ and I have come to receive an answer to my first proposal. My time is short, tell me truly, will you marry me and my cause. I will pass by the thousand misgivings of my heart. Worldly matters had not been named between us; he had not told me, only by his manner, that he was more pleased with me than others. My answer was I am not prepared to give other answer than I gave last night. He then seemed very much delighted and said he was happy to find me and hear me answer in his favor. He then told me of his travels in search of me. At two o’clock I gave him my word not to be recalled, that I would be his wife. He then told me he must be married the next day. To this I could not agree, No! no! I was willing to marry him in few months, or weeks, at least, if he would set the time and come to my father’s in Missouri. He said we must not look so far ahead, but do all we found to do, as fast as we could, for our work was great. I felt the truth of these remarks, and was willing to practice them in all other points. We retired to a room alone, where I begged and pleaded with him to split the difference at least. But he was not to be moved from his purpose. He did not say that he would never come, but said that he must be married the next day or bid me farewell for a long time, perhaps forever. I gave him my hand to say adieu; my heart failed me. I asked my heart if it could thus set aside in opportunity of realizing its long cherished hopes, if it could thus allow perhaps a false modesty to step between it and duty. I greatly admired firmness in man. I knew my parents did not fully understand his plan, although it seemed so beautiful to me. Well, said I, ask my parents, if they can, I will consent. They did consent, providing he would not take me South, and we were married. I remained with my parents. After a short time he returned to the South.
We have been blessed with a son, and healthy child, possessing a strong mind. Also a pair of twin daughters. I have watched over my heart with a careful eye, lest I should place them between me and my duty, and the Father should take them to himself. After we had been married sometime I heard my husband speak of Mr. Job Daone. He stated that he stopped at his hotel near Cleaveland, Ohio, when he first set out to find his wife. I had been in his hotel several times, and found upon inquiry that if he had come within a year or so of his first dream he would have come where I was at school, before we removed West. Although my little ones still needed a mother’s care, we now and then made short visits among the tribes, which were very pleasant indeed. In 1842 my husband visited Kentucky for the purpose of seeing the young men of the Choctaws who were at White Sulphur Academy, more commonly known as Dick Johnson’s Indian School. He played for several encampments &c. He was in the South most of 1844. As he was returning home he formed some acquaintances in St. Louis. And in 1845, gave an entertainment at Planter’s House and several places of amusement in that city, where has many warm friends. He visited many towns that winter in Missouri and Illinois, endeavoring to make friends with those winning sounds so peculiar to himself, and then interest them for the Indian family. He returned to his family, and in 1846, by his earnest solicitation.
I left my little charge with my parents, while I visited with my husband the principal towns in Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, among which were Cincinnati and Madison. We then returned to our family. We remained at home a short time and then began a tour among the Indians. Afterwards we visited the Iowa tribes, then returned to Missouri. Travelled up the Missouri River by land, visiting those uncivilized tribes far above the Council Bluffs. After much labor and anxiety on our part, our fondest hopes were realized. 1 rejoiced that I had lived to see the gray-haired chiefs of the forest sit in tears at my husband’s feet, while he discoursed with their hearts through his simple instruments. Their astonishment exceeded anything I ever saw. He could make them understand that the Great Spirit had given him this gift that he might counsel with, and make friends of all the tribes. When their hearts were softened down with melody we could introduce the gospel with good effect. In the course of a few days my husband could get enough of their tongue to make them, with the help of signs and gestures understand what I read. They would soon ask your tribe, what is it? On being told Choctaw, they would mourn, and say Great Spirit bless Choctaw much, he no bless us; come you stay, let our tribe be your tribe. You be our chief and counselor. They manifested great signs of sorrow when we told them we must return, and would not consent until we had promised them another visit. Afterwards we visited the tribes along the frontiers. There they were equally astonished, perhaps not so much overwhelmed as those in their wild state. We spent June and July, and a part of the month of August in visiting along the frontiers. September 1, 1847, we came down the Missouri River, on our way to Washington City, D. C. My husband gave several concerts, in cities and towns. We constantly endeavored to interest the citizens in behalf the Indians. Pleading with them to use their exertions that the present home of the civilized tribes should be a permanent location. We were well received at Washington City. Not only by the President and Lady, but by the citizens also. We visited Virginia, then returned to Washington, from thence through Maryland and Delaware, then to Philadelphia. We also took a tour through Cumberland, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, returning visited several places, and proceeded to New York. We are now (October 1881) travelling through the New England States.
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