Indian Missions of the Interior States

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The whole interior region of the United States, stretching from the English seaboard colonies to the main divide of the Rocky Mountains, was included under the French rule in the two provinces of Canada and Louisiana, and with one or two exceptions the mission was in charge of French Jesuits from the first occupancy up into the American period. The very first mission worker, however, within this great region was the heroic Spanish Franciscan, Father Juan de Padilla, who gave up his life for souls on the Kansas prairies, as narrated elsewhere, nearly as early as 1542 (see New Mexico, Arizona, and California). The first mission west of the Huron country was established in 1660, probably on Keweenaw Bay, Mich., by the veteran Huron missionary, the Jesuit René Menard, in response to repeated requests of visiting Chippewa and Ottawa. In the next year, while attempting to reach a colony of fugitive Hurons who had called him from Green Bay, he was lost in the forest and is believed to have been murdered by the Indians. In 1665 Father Claude Allouez established the mission of Sainct Esprit on the south shore of Lake Superior, at La Pointe – Chegoimegon (Shaugwaumikong), now Bayfield, Wis. Besides working here among the Ottawa and Huron refugees from the older missions destroyed by the Iroquois, he visited all the other tribes of  the upper lake region from the Miami and the Illinois to the Sioux. Within the next few years other missions were established at Sault Ste Marie (Sainte Marie), Mackinaw (St Ignace), Green Bay (St Francois Xavier), and among the Foxes (St Marc) and Mascoutens (St Jacques), two last named being about the southern Wisconsin line. Among other workers of this period were Dablon, Druillettes, and the noted discoverer, Marquette.

The mission of St Joseph on the river of that name, near the present South Bend, Ind., was established by Allouez among the Potawatomi in 1688. It continued, with interruptions, until the removal of the tribe to the west in 1839-41, when the missionaries accompanied the Indians and reestablished the work in the new field. To this later period, in Indiana, belong the names of Fathers Rézé, Badin, Desseille, and Petit. The mission at Lapointe was abandoned in 1671 on account of the hostility of the Sioux, but most of the others continued, with some interruptions, down to the temporary expulsion of the Jesuits in 1764. A mission begun among the Sioux in 1728 was brought to a close soon after in consequence of the war with the Foxes.

The first regular mission among the Illinois (Immaculate Conception) was founded by Marquette in 1674 near the present Rockfort, Ill., where at that time 8 confederate tribes were camped in a great village of 350 communal houses. It was known later as the Kaskaskia mission. Other missions were established also among the Peoria, on Peoria lake and at Cahokia, opposite St Louis, with such work result that by 1725 the entire Illinois nation was civilized and Christian. Besides Marquette, the most prominent of the Illinois missionaries were Râle, noted elsewhere in connection with the Abnaki mission, and Father James Gravier, who arrived in 1693 and died 12 years later of wounds received from hostile Indians, leaving as his monument the great manuscript Peoria dictionary of  22,000 words. Despite apparent success, the final result in Illinois was the same as elsewhere.

The Natchez and Chickasaw wars interrupted the mission work for some years, and gave opportunity for invasion by hostile northern tribes. The dissipations consequent upon the proximity of garrison posts completed the demoralization, and by 1750 the former powerful Illinois nation was reduced to some 1,000 souls, with apparently but one mission. The Indiana missions at St Joseph (Potawatomi and Miami), Vincennes (Piankashaw), and on the Wabash (Miami) continued to flourish until the decree of expulsion, when the mission property was confiscated by the French government, although the Jesuits generally chose to remain as secular priests until their death. Their successors continued to minister to Indians as well as to whites until the disruption and removal of the tribes to the west, between 1820 and 1840, when the work was taken up in their new homes by missionaries already on the ground.

The majority of the Indians of Michigan and Wisconsin remained in their old homes at missions in those states, kept in existence either as regular establishments or as visiting stations served by secular priests. The most distinguished of these later missionaries was the noted author and philologist, Bishop Frederick Baraga, of the imperial house of Hapsburg, who, after having voluntarily forfeited his estates to devote his life to the Indians, came to America in 1830, and for 36 years there after until his death labored with success, first among the Ottawa at Arbre Croche in lower Michigan, and afterward at St Joseph, Green Bay, Lapointe, and other stations along the upper lakes, more particularly at the Chippewa village of L’Anse, on Keweenaw bay, which he converted into a prosperous Christian settlement. Even when past 60 years of age, this scion of Austrian nobility slept upon the ground and sometimes walked 40 miles a day on snowshoes to minister to his Indians. Besides numerous devotional works in Ottawa and Chippewa, as well as other volumes in German and Slavonic, he is the author of the great Grammar and Dictionary of the Chippewa Language, which after half it century still remains the standard authority, having passed through three editions.

In 1818 was begun, near Pembina, on Red River, just inside the U. S. boundary, the Chippewa mission, afterward known as Assumption, which became the central station for work among the Chippewa of Minnesota and the Mandan and others of the upper Missouri. The most noted name in this connection is that of Rev. G. A. Belcourt, author of a dictionary of the Chippewa language, second in importance only to that of Baraga. In 1837 Father Augustin Ravoux established a mission among the Santee Sioux at Faribault’s trading post in east Minnesota, learning the language and ministering to the eastern bands for a number of years. In 1843 (or 1844) he published a devotional work in that dialect, which has passed through two editions. The first regular mission station among the Menominee of Wisconsin was established in 1844, and among the Winnebago, then at Long Prairie, Minn., in 1850, For 20 years earlier missionary work had been done among them, notably by Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, whose Winnebago Prayer Book, published in 1833, is mentioned by Pilling as “the first publication, so far as I know, of a text in any of the dialects in the Siouan family.” In the farther west work was carried on among all of the immigrant, and the principal of the native, tribes, the chief laborers again being the Jesuits, whose order had been restored to full privilege in 1814. A the whole country was now explored and organized on a permanent governmental basis, and the Indian day was rapidly waning, these later missions have not the same historic interest that attaches to those of the colonial period, and may be passed over with briefer notice. Chief among there were the Potawatomi missions of St Stanislaus and St Mary, in Kansas, founded in 1836 by the Belgian Jesuits Von Quickenborne, Hoecken, Peter J. de Smet, and others, working together, and the Osage mission of St Francis Hieronymo, founded about 1847 by Fathers Shoenmaker and Bax. The girls of these two mission schools were in charge respectively of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the Sisters of Loretto. Temporary missions were also established in 1836 and 1847 respectively among the Kickapoo and the Miami

The remote Flatheads in the mountains at the head of Missouri River had heard of Christianity and had been taught the rudimentary doctrines by some adopted Caughnawaga Indians, and in 1831 they sent a delegation all the long and dangerous way to St Louis to ask of Indian Superintendent Clark that missionaries be sent among them. To do this was not possible at the time, but with persevering desire other delegations were sent on the same errand, some of the envoys dying on the road and others being murdered by tho Sioux, until the request met response. In 1834 the Methodist missionary, Jason Lee, with several assistants, accompanied a trading expedition across the mountains, but, changing his original purpose, passed by without visiting the Flatheads and established himself in the vicinity of the trading post of Ft Vancouver, nearly opposite the mouth of the Willamette, in Washington. Another embassy from the Flatheads, in 1839, was successful, and in the next year the noted Belgian Jesuit, Peter John de Smet, priest, explorer, and author, was on the ground, 1,600 Indians of the confederated tribes being gathered to await his coming. In 1841 he founded the mission of St Mary on Bitterroot River, western Montana, making it a starting point for other missions farther to the west, to be noted elsewhere. On account of the hostility of the Blackfeet the mission was abandoned in 1850, to be succeeded by that of St Ignatius on Flathead lake, within the present Flathead reservation, which still exists in successful operation, practically all of the confederated tribes of the reservation having been Christian for half a century. The principal co-workers in the Flathead mission were the Jesuits Canestrelli, Giorda, Mengarini, Point, and Ravalli. The first three of these have made important contributions to philology, chief among which are the Salish Grammar of Mengarini, 1861, and the Kalispel Dictionary, 1877, of Giorda, of whom it is said that he preached in six Indian languages.

Next in chronologic order in the central region, after the Catholics, come the Moravians. Their work among the Delawares and associated tribes in Ohio, and later in Ontario and Kansas, was a continuation of that begun among the same people in New York and Pennsylvania as early as 1740, and has been already noted

After them came the Friends, or, as more commonly known, the Quakers. In all their missionary effort they seem to have given first place to the practical things of civilization, holding the doctrinal teaching somewhat in reserve until the Indians had learned from experience to value the advice of the teacher. In accord also with the Quaker principle, their method was essentially democratic, strict regard being given to the wishes of the Indians as expressed through their chiefs, their opinions being frequently invited, with a view to educating them to a point of self-government. In 1804 the Maryland yearly meeting, after long councils with the Indians, established an industrial farm on upper Wabash River in Indiana, where several families from the neighboring Miami, Shawnee, and others soon gathered for instruction in farming. For several years it flourished with increasing usefulness, until forced to discontinue by an opposition led by the Shawnee prophet (see Tenskwatawa). The work was transferred to the main Shawnee settlement at Wapakoneta, Ohio, where, in 1812, a saw mill and grist mill were built, tools distributed, and a farm colony was successfully inaugurated. The war compelled a suspension until 1815, when work was resumed. In 1822 a boarding school was opened, and both farm and school continued, with some interruptions, until the final removal of the tribe to the west in 1832-33. The teachers followed, and by 1837 the Shawnee mission was reestablished on the reservation in Kansas, about 9 miles west from the present Kansas City. It was represented as flourishing in 1843, being then perhaps the most important among the immigrant tribes, but suffered the inevitable result on the later removal of the Shawnee to the present Oklahoma. The work was conducted under the joint auspices of the Indiana, Ohio, and Maryland yearly meetings, aided in the earlier years by liberal contributions from members of the society in England and Ireland. The most noted of the teachers were Isaac Harvey and his son, Henry Harvey, whose work covers the period from 1819 to 1842. During the period of the “peace policy” administration of Indian affairs, for a term of about a dozen years beginning in 1870, considerable work was done by laborers of the same denomination among the Caddo, Kiowa, Cheyenne, and other tribes of Oklahoma, but without any regular mission or school establishment. The best known of these workers was Thomas C. Battey, author of ‘A Quaker among the Indians,’ who conducted a camp school among the Kiowa in 1873.

The Presbyterians, who now stand second in the number of their mission establishments in the United States, began their labors in the Central states about the same time as the Friends, with a mission farm among the Wyandot on Sandusky river in Ohio, in charge of Rev. Joseph Badger. It continued until 1810, when it was abandoned in consequence of the opposition of the traders and the conservative party led by the Shawnee prophet. Morse’s report on the condition of the tribes in 1822 makes no mention of any Presbyterian mission work at that time excepting among the Cherokee (see Southern States). A few years later the Rev. Isaac Van Tassel, under authority from the American Board, was in charge of a mission among the Ottawa, at Maumee, Ohio. He compiled an elementary reading book, printed in 1829, the first publication in the Ottawa language

In 1827, under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, a Congregational mission was begun among the Chippewa on Mackinaw Island, upper Michigan, by Rev. J. D. Stevens and wife, who with others afterward extended their labors into northern Wisconsin, and later were transferred to the Sioux mission. In 1829 Rev. Frederick Ayer joined the Mackinaw station, and, after two years’ study of the language, opened among the Chippewa at Sandy Lake, Minn., in 1831, what is said to have been the first school in Minnesota. He is the author of a small text-book in the language. Other stations were established soon after among the same tribe, at Lapointe, Avis., Pokegama lake, and Leech lake, Minn., but seem to have been discontinued about 1845. The Mackinaw mission had already been abandoned. Rev. Peter Dougherty, under the direct auspices of the Presbyterian mission board, labored among the Chippewa and the Ottawa at Grand Traverse bay, lower Michigan, in 1843-47+ and is the author of several text-books and small religious works in the language of the former tribe.

In 1834 two volunteer workers, Mr. Samuel W. Pond and his brother Gideon, took up their residence in a village of the Santee Sioux on Lake Calhoun, near the present St Paul, Minn. They afterward became regularly ordained missionaries under the American Board, continuing in the work for 78 years. In the same year Rev. Thomas S. Williamson, “the father of the Dakota mission,” made a reconnaissance of the field for the same Board, and on his favorable report two mission stations were established in 1835—one at Lake Harriet, near St Paul, under Rev. J. D. Stevens, formerly of the Mackinaw mission, the other under Williamson himself at Lacquiparle, high up on Minnesota River. With Mr. Williamson then or later were his wife, his daughter, and his two sons, all of whom became efficient partners in the work. In 1837 Rev. Stephen R. Riggs, with his wife, Mary, and his son, Alfred L.—all known in mission annals—joined the station at Lac-qui-parle. In the next 10 or 12 years, as the good will of the Indians was gradually won and the working force increased, other stations were established, all among the Santee Sioux in Minnesota. Among these was the one started by Rev. John F. Aiton, in 1848, at Redwing, where Revs. Francis Denton and Daniel Gavan, for the Evangelical Missionary Society of Lucerne, had established the “Swiss mission” in 1837, these two missionaries now combining forces with the American workers. In 1852, in consequence of a cession of Indian land, the eastern station, then at Kapoia, was removed by Williamson to Yellow Medicine on the upper Minnesota, and two years later, in consequence of the burning of the Lac-qui-pane station, that mission also was removed to Hazelwood, in the same neighborhood.

The work continued with varying success until interrupted by the Sioux out break in the summer of 1862, when the missions were abandoned and the missionaries sought safety within the older settlements. Throughout the troubles the Christian Sioux generally remained friendly and did good service in behalf of the endangered settlers. As a result of the outbreak the Santee Sioux were removed to Niobrara, north east Nebraska, where they now reside. The missionaries followed, and in 1866 the “Niobrara mission” was organized, the work being extended to other neighboring bands of Sioux, and the principal workers being Revs. John P. Williamson and Alfred L. Riggs, sons of the earlier missionaries. Nearly all the earlier Presbyterian work among the Sioux, as among the Cherokee, was conducted through the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

To the Congregational missionaries we owe most of our knowledge of the Sioux language, their work being almost entirely in the Santee or eastern dialect. Stevens, the Pond brothers, all of the Williamsons, and Stephen and Alfred Riggs have all made important contributions, ranging from school text-books and small devotional works up to dictionaries, besides adapting the Roman alpha-bet to the peculiarities of the language with such success that the Sioux have become a literary people, the majority of the men being able to read and write in their own language. It is impossible to estimate the effect this acquisition has had in stimulating the self-respect and ambition of the tribe. Among the most important of these philologic productions are Riggs’ Grammar and Dictionary of the Dakota Language, published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1852, with a later revision by Dorsey, and Riggs and Williamson’s Dakota Bible, published in 1880, being then, in Pilling’s opinion, with two exceptions, the only complete Bible translation in any Indian language since Eliot’s Bible in 1663. In much of the earlier linguistic work the missionaries had the efficient cooperation of Joseph Renville, an educated half-blood. As an adjunct to the educational work, a monthly journal was conducted for about 2 years by Rev. G. H. Pond, chiefly in the native language, under the title of ‘The Dakota Friend,’ while its modern successor, Iapi Oaye’ (‘The Word Carrier’), has been conducted under the auspices of the Niobrara mission since 1871.

In 1821 two Presbyterian missions were established among the Osage by the United Foreign Missionary Society. One of these, Harmony, was near the junction of the Marais des Cygnes with the Osage River, not far from the present Rich Hill, Missouri; the other, Union, was on the west bank of Neosho River, about midway between the present Muskogee and Ft Gibson, Okla. Both were established upon an extensive scale, with boarding schools and a full corps of workers; but in consequence of differences with the agent and an opposition instigated by the traders, the Osage field was abandoned after about 15 years of discouraging effort (McCoy). One of these workers, Rev. William B. Montgomery, compiled an Osage reading book, published in 1834. Among others connected with the mission were the Revs. Chapman, Pixley, Newton, Sprague, Palmer, Vaill, Belcher, and Requa. The missions conducted by the same denomination among the removed Southern tribes in Oklahoma are noted in connection with the Southern states.

In 1834 two Presbyterian workers, Revs. John Dunbar and Samuel Allis, began work among the Pawnee of Nebraska under the auspices of the American Board, and later were joined by Dr Satterlee. After some time spent in getting acquainted with the people and the language, a permanent station was selected on Plum Creek, a small tributary of Loup River, in 1838, by consent of the Pawnee, who in the meantime had also acknowledged the authority of the Government. Circumstances delayed the work until 1844, when a considerable mission and a Government station were began, and a number of families from the different bands took up their residence adjacent thereto. Inconsequence, however, of the repeated destructive inroads of the Sioux, the ancient enemies of the Pawnee, the mission effort was abandoned in 1847 and the tribe returned to its former wild life.

About the year 1835 work was begun by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions among the Iowa and Sauk, then residing on Missouri River in eastern Nebraska. Attention was given also to some others of the removed tribes, and about 10 years later a mission was established among the Omaha and the Oto at Bellevue, near the present Omaha, Nebraska, where, in 1850, Rev. Edward McKenney compiled a small Omaha primer, the first publication in that language. Both missions continued down to the modern period, despite the shifting fortunes of the tribes. Other prominent workers were Rev. Samuel Irvin, who gave 30 years of his life, beginning in 1837, to the first tribes named; and Rev. William Hamilton, who, beginning also in 1837, with the same tribes, was transferred to the Bellevue mission in 1853, rounding out a long life with a record of half a century spent in the service Working in collaboration these two produced several religions and linguistic works in the Iowa language, published by the Mission press from 1843 to 1850, besides a collection of Omaha hymns and some manuscript translations by Mr. Hamilton alone at a later period.

The pioneer Methodist mission work in the central region appears to have been inaugurated by a volunteer Negro minister, Rev. Mr. Stewart, who in 1816 began preaching among the Wyandot, about Sandusky, in Ohio, and continued with such success that 3 years later a regular mission was established under Rev. James B. Finley. This is the only work by that denomination noted in Morse’s Report of 1822. In 1835, with liberal aid from the Government, as was then customary, the Southern branch established a mission about 12 miles from the present Kansas City, in Kansas, among the immigrant Shawnee. In 1839 it was in charge of Rev. Thomas Johnson, and 3 years later was reported in flourishing condition, with boarding school and industrial farm. In 1855 both this mission and another, established by the Northern branch, were in operation. Smaller missions were established between 1835 and 1840 among the Kickapoo (Rev. Berryman in charge in 1839), Kansa ( Rev. AC. Johnson in charge in 1839), Delawares, Potawatomi, and united Peoria and Kaskaskia, all but the last-named being in Kansas. A small volume in the Shawnee language and an-other in the Kansa were prepared and printed for their use by Mr. Lykins, of the Shawnee Baptist mission The work just outlined, with some work among the immigrant Southern tribes (see Southern States), seems to be the sum of Methodist mission labors outside of the Chippewa territory until a recent period. In 1837 a mission was started by Rev. Alfred Brunson among the Santee Sioux at Kaposia, or Little Crow’s village, a few miles below the present St Paul. Minn., which existed until 1841, when, on the demand of the Indians, it was discontinued.

In 1823 the Wesleyan Methodist Society of England began work among the Chippewa and related bands in Ontario (see Canada, East), and some 20 years later the American Methodists began work in the same tribe along the south shore of Lake Superior in upper Michigan. In 1843 Rev. J. H. Pitezel took charge of the work, with headquarters at Sault Ste Marie as the principal station. Another station was established at Keweenaw Point about the same time by Rev. John Clark. Others were established later at Sandy lake and Mille Lac, Mum., also among the Chippewa, and all of these were in successful operation in 1852.

The earliest Baptist worker in the central region was Rev. Isaac McCoy, afterward for nearly 30 years the general agent in the Indian mission work of that denomination. In 1818 he began preaching among the Wea in Indiana, and in 1820 organized at Ft Wayne, Ind., a small school for the children of the neighboring tribes, then in the lowest state of demoralization from wars, removals, drunken-ness, and the increasing pressure of a hostile white population. His earliest associate was Mr. Johnston Lykins, then a boy of 19, but later distinguished as a voluminous translator and author of a system of Indian orthography. Two years later this school was discontinued, and by treaty arrangement with the Government, which assumed a large part of the expense, two regular missions were established, viz: Carey (1822) for the Potawatomi, on St Joseph River near the present South Bend, Ind., and Thomas (1823) among the Ottawa, on Grand River, Mich. Mr. Lykins took charge among the Ottawa, to whom he was soon able to preach in their own language, while Mr. McCoy continued with the Potawatomi. In consequence of the inauguration of the Government plan for the removal of the Indians to the west, both missions were abolished in 1830, the work being resumed among the Indians in their new homes in Kansas. A small mission established among the Chippewa at Sault Ste Marie, Mich., under Rev. A. Bingham about 1824, continued a successful existence in charge of its founder for about 25 years.

In 1831, while the removal of the Indians was still in progress, the Shawnee Mission was established under Mr. Lykins about 10 miles south west from the present Kansas (City, among the Shawnee. In the fall of 1833 Rev. Jotham Meeker, one of the former assistants in the east, arrived with a printing press and types, with which it was proposed to print for distribution among the various neighboring tribes educational and devotional works in their own languages according to a new phonetic system devised by Mr. Meeker. The work of translating and printing was actively taken up, the first issue being a Delaware printer in 1834, believed to he the first book printed in Kansas. Within the next few years small volumes by various missionary workers were printed in the Shawnee, Delaware, Potawatomi, Ottawa, Wea, Kansa, Osage, Iowa, Oto, Creek, and Choctaw languages, besides a small journal in the Shawnee language. Not alone the Baptists, but also Methodists and Presbyterians working in the same field, availed themselves of the services of the Shawnee mission press. In the meantime other missions were established among the Delawares (Mr. Ira D. Blanchard, 1833), Oto (Rev. Moses Merrill, 18:13), Iowa (1834?), Ottawa (Rev. Jotham Meeker, 1837), and Potawatomi (Mr. Robert Simerwell, 1837), besides stations among the removed southern tribes of Indian Territory. (See Southern States.) All of these first named were within what is now Kansas excepting the Oto mission known as Bellevue, which was at the mouth of Platte River, near the present Omaha, Nebraska. At this station Mr. Merrill, who had previously worked among the Chippewa, made such study of the language that within 3 years he was able to preach to the Indians without an interpreter, besides compiling a book of hymns and one or two other small works in Oto. He died in 1840. The various missions remained in successful operation until about 1855, when, in consequence of the disturbed condition of affairs in Kansas, they were discontinued. All of the tribes have since been removed to Indian Territory.

The Episcopalians appear to have done no work in the interior until about 1830, when they had a station in the vicinity of Sault Ste Marie, Mich., among the Chippewa. In 1852 a mission was established among the Chippewa of Gull lake, Mimi., by Rev. J. L. Breck, and in 1856 at Leech lake by the same worker. In 1860, through the efforts of Bishop H. B. Whipple, a mission was established among the Santee Sioux at the lower Sioux agency, Redwood, Minn., in charge of Rev. Samuel D. Hinman. The work was interrupted by the outbreak of 1862, but on the final transfer of the Indians to Niobrara, Nebraska, in 1866, was resumed by Mr. Hinman, who had kept in close touch with them during the period of disturbance. A large mission house, known as St Mary’s, was erected, which later became the central station for the work of this denomination among the Sioux and neighboring tribes. In 1870 St Paul’s mission was established at the Yankton Sioux agency, South Dakota, by Rev. Joseph W. Cook, and in 1872 work was begun at the Lower Brulé Sioux agency, South Dakota, by Rev. W. J. Cleveland, and extended later to the Upper Brule and Oglala Sioux of Rosebud and Pine Ridge agencies, South Dakota. In the meantime Rev. J. Owen Dorsey had begun to labor arming the Ponca, also in South Dakota, in 1871. The work is still being actively carried on in the same field. All of the Sioux missionaries named have rendered valuable service to philology in the preparation of hymnals, prayer books, etc, in the native language, together with a small mission journal ‘Anpao’ (‘The Daybreak’), issued for a number of years in the Yankton Sioux dialect. The ethnologic researches of Mr. Dorsey place hint in the front. rank of investigators, chief among his many contributions being his great monograph upon the Dhegiha (Omaha and Ponca) language, published under direction of the Bureau of American Ethnology, in whose service he spent the last years of his life. In connection with the Episcopal mission may be noted the lace-making industry for Indian women instituted by Miss Sibyl Carter, chiefly among the Chippewa.

In 1847 the Lutherans, under the auspices of the Evangelical Lutheran Missionary Society of Dresden, Germany, began work among the Chippewa in lower Michigan, principally in the present Saginaw and Gratiot Counties. The first mission school was opened in that year at Frankenmuth, on Cass River, by Rev. A. Craemer. In 1847 he was joined by Rev. Edward Baierlein, who, a year or two later, established a second station at Bethany, on Pine River, in Gratiot County. Here Mr. Baierlein compiled a small volume of reading lessons and Scripture stories, published in 1852. In the next year he was recalled and we hear no more of the mission, which was probably discontinued soon after.

In 1846 the first Mormon emigrants crossed the plains from Illinois and, after a long and toilsome journey, settled at Great Salt lake, Utah, where they have since transformed the desert into a garden and built up a religious commonwealth which now exercises a dominant influence over large portions of the Mountain states. Their religious tradition regards the Indians as the descendants of the so called Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, and while no statistics are available it is known that their nonsalaried missionaries from the first have given special attention to the Indian tribes, with the result that many among the Ute, Shoshoni, Paiute, and others at least nominally belong to that denomination. In 1905–6 their missionary effort was extended to the Cheyenne and other tribes of Oklahoma.

One of the most recent mission enterprises undertaken in the middle west is that of the Mennonites, a small but influential denomination of German origin, professing the principles of peace and nonresistance common to the Moravians and the Quakers. After a short preliminary sojourn in 1877, regular work was begun among the Arapaho at Darlington, Okla., by Rev. Samuel D. Haury in 1880, the enterprise being aided by the active cooperation of the Government and local Indian agent. In 1883 another station was opened at Cantonment, about 70 miles north west, among the Cheyenne, by Mr. Maury, while Rev. H. R. Voth took charge of the work at Darlington and continued with it until transferred to a new field of duty in Arizona about 10 years later. Two other stations were afterward established among the same tribes, and provision was made for the industrial training of Indian boys in schools and private homes in Kansas. In 1890 the Cantonment mission received an important accession in the arrival of Rev. Rudolph Petter and wife from Switzerland, who at once devoted themselves to a systematic study of the Cheyenne language in the tipi camps. The schools at both principal stations were in flourishing condition until the withdrawal of Government aid compelled their discontinuance in 1902. The Cantonment mission is still kept up, the Cheyenne work being in charge of Mr. Petter and his wife, assisted by Miss Bertha Kinsinger, while Rev. John A. Funk ministers to the Arapaho. There is also a small station among the Cheyenne at Hammon, in charge of Rev. H. J. Kliewer, and an other among the Northern Cheyenne at Busby, Mont., in charge of Rev, and Mrs. Gustav Linscheid since its establishment in 1904. To Mr. Petter we are indebted for our principal knowledge of the Cheyenne language, into which he has translated some parts of the Bible, a number of hymns, and the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ besides being the author of a reading book and an extended manuscript grammar and dictionary.




MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 15 April 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/indian-missions-of-the-interior-states.htm - Last updated on Nov 24th, 2013


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