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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...

An Historical Sketch of the Tionontates or Dinondadies, now called Wyandots

The tribe which, from the time of Washington’s visit to the Ohio, in 1753, down to their removal to the West, played so important a part under the name of Wyandots, but who were previously known by a name which French write Tionontates; and Dutch, Dinondadies, have a history not uneventful, and worthy of being traced clearly to distinguish them from the Hurons or Wyandots proper, of whom they absorbed one remnant, leaving what were later only a few families near Quebec, to represent the more powerful nation.

Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa’s

Immediately after the peace of 1763 all the French forts in the west as far as Green Bay were garrisoned with English troops; and the Indians now began to realize, but too late, what they had long apprehended the selfish designs of both French and English threatening destruction, if not utter annihilation, to their entire race. These apprehensions brought upon the theatre of Indian warfare, at that period of time, the most remarkable Indian in the annals of history, Pontiac, the chief of the Ottawa’s and the principal sachem of the Algonquin Confederacy. He was not only distinguished for his noble and manly form, commanding address and proud demeanor, but also for his lofty courage, winning manners and a pointed and vigorous eloquence, which won the respect and confidence of all Indians, and made him a marked example of that grandeur and sublimity of character so often found among his so greatly miscomprehended race. Pontiac had closely watched the slowly advancing power of the English, and their haughty and defiant encroachments upon the territories of his own people and his entire race. When he was informed of the approach of Major Rogers with a company of English soldiers into his country, the indignation of the forest hero was roused to its highest pitch; and at once he sent a messenger to Rogers, who met him on the 7th of November, 1763, with a request to halt until Pontiac, the chief of the Nation, should arrive, then on his way. As soon as Pontiac came up he boldly demanded of Rogers his business and why he had come with his soldiers...

Early Exploration and Native Americans

De Soto and his band gave to the Choctaws at Moma Binah and the Chickasaws at Chikasahha their first lesson in the white man’s modus operandi to civilize and Christianize North American Indians; so has the same lesson been continued to be given to that unfortunate people by his white successors from that day to this, all over this continent, but which to them, was as the tones of an alarm-bell at midnight. And one hundred and twenty-three years have passed since our forefathers declared all men of every nationality to be free and equal on the soil of the North American continent then under their jurisdiction, except the Africans whom they held in slavery, and the Native Americans against whom they decreed absolute extermination because they could not also enslave them; to prove which, they at once began to hold out flattering-inducements to the so-called oppressed people of all climes under the sun, to come to free America and assist them to oppress and kill off the Native Americans and in partnership take their lands and country, as this was more in accordance with their lust of wealth and speedy self-aggrandizement than the imagined slow process of educating, civilizing and Christianizing them, a work too con descending, too humiliating; and to demonstrate that it has been a grand and glorious success, we now point with vaunting pride and haughty satisfaction to our broad and far extended landed possessions as indisputable evidence of our just claims to the resolution passed by our pilgrim ancestors, “We are the children of the Lord”; and to the little remnant of hapless, helpless and...

The Meeting in 1811 of Tecumseh and Apushamatahah

The meeting in 1811, of Tecumseh, the mighty Shawnee, with Apushamatahah, the intrepid Choctaw. I will here give a true narrative of an incident in the life of the great and noble Choctaw chief, Apushamatahah, as related by Colonel John Pitchlynn, a white man of sterling integrity, and who acted for many years as interpreter to the Choctaws for the United States Government, and who was an eye-witness to the thrilling scene, a similar one, never before nor afterwards befell the lot of a white man to witness, except that of Sam Dale, the great scout of General Andrew Jackson, who witnessed a similar one that of Tecumseh in council assembled with the Muskogee’s, shortly afterwards of which I will speak in the history of that once powerful and war-like race of people. Colonel John Pitchlynn was adopted in early manhood by the Choctaws, and marrying among them, he at once became as one of their people; and was named by them “Chahtah It-ti-ka-na,” The Choctaws Friend; and long and well he proved himself worthy the title Conferred upon, and the trust confided in him. He had five sons by his Choctaw wife, Peter, Silas, Thomas, Jack and James, all of who prove to be men of talent, and exerted a moral influence among their people, except Jack, who was ruined by the white man s whiskey and his demoralizing examples and influences. I was personally acquainted with Peter. Silas and Jack, the former held, during a long and useful life, the highest positions in the political history of his Nation, well deserving the title given him by the...

Narrative of the captivity of Alexander Henry, Esq – Indian Captivities

Narrative of the captivity of Alexander Henry, Esq., who, in the time of Pontiac’s War, fell into the hands of the Huron Indians. Detailing a faithful account of the capture of the Garrison of Michilimacki-Nac, and the massacre of about ninety people. Written by himself.1 When I reached Michilimackinac I found several other traders, who had arrived before me, from different parts of the country, and who, in general, declared the dispositions of the Indians to be hostile to the English, and even apprehended some attack. M. Laurent Ducharme distinctly informed Major Etherington that a plan was absolutely conceived for destroying him, his garrison and all the English in the upper country; but the commandant believing this and other reports to be without foundation, proceeding only from idle or ill-disposed persons, and of a tendency to do mischief, expressed much displeasure against M. Ducharme, and threatened to send the next person who should bring a story of the same kind, a prisoner, to Detroit. The garrison, at this time, consisted of ninety privates, two subalterns and the commandant; and the English merchants at the fort were four in number. Thus strong, few entertained anxiety concerning the Indians, who had no weapons but small arms. Meanwhile, the Indians, from every quarter, were daily assembling, in unusual numbers, but with every appearance of friendship, frequenting the fort, and disposing of their peltries, in such a manner as to dissipate almost every one’s fears. For myself, on one occasion, I took the liberty of observing to Major Etherington that, in my judgment, no confidence ought to be placed in them, and that...

Narrative of the Captivity of Sergeant Lent Munson – Indian Captivities

Narrative of the captivity and escape of Sergeant Lent Munson, who fell into the hands of the Western Indians at the time of Lieut. Lowry’s defeat. As Lieut. Lowry and Ensign Boyd, with about one hundred men, were escorting two hundred and fifty pack horses with provisions from fort St. Clair to General Wayne’s camp, (six miles in advance of Fort Jefferson,) they were furiously assailed by about half their number of concealed Indians, and totally defeated. They had encamped four miles on their journey on the night of the 16th of October, 1793, and were sufficiently warned during the whole night of what they had to undergo at early dawn. However, no attack was made until the detachment was about ready to march on the morning of the 17th. At this juncture the Indians rushed upon them with great fury, and after a short but bloody engagement the whites were dispersed in every direction. In this onset Lieut. Lowry and Ensign Boyd both fell mortally wounded, and about twenty of their men were among the slain. The rest of this unfortunate escort, excepting eleven, who were taken prisoners, got back to Fort St. Clair. To the smallness of the number of the Indians is to be attributed the escape of any. Sergeant Munson was one of the eleven prisoners, and was hurried off with his companions towards the country of the Ottawas, to which nation of Indians this party belonged. They had not proceeded far when one of the prisoners, being but a boy, and weakly, was murdered and left on the way. The remaining ten were then...

Life and travels of Colonel James Smith – Indian Captivities

James Smith, pioneer, was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1737. When he was eighteen years of age he was captured by the Indians, was adopted into one of their tribes, and lived with them as one of themselves until his escape in 1759. He became a lieutenant under General Bouquet during the expedition against the Ohio Indians in 1764, and was captain of a company of rangers in Lord Dunmore’s War. In 1775 he was promoted to major of militia. He served in the Pennsylvania convention in 1776, and in the assembly in 1776-77. In the latter year he was commissioned colonel in command on the frontiers, and performed distinguished services. Smith moved to Kentucky in 1788. He was a member of the Danville convention, and represented Bourbon county for many years in the legislature. He died in Washington county, Kentucky, in 1812. The following narrative of his experience as member of an Indian tribe is from his own book entitled “Remarkable Adventures in the Life and Travels of Colonel James Smith,” printed at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1799. It affords a striking contrast to the terrible experiences of the other captives whose stories are republished in this book; for he was well treated, and stayed so long with his red captors that he acquired expert knowledge of their arts and customs, and deep insight into their character.

The Illinois Indians – Indian Wars

Some years ago there was deposited in the Archives of the “Historical Society” of Chicago a record in reference to the history of the Illinois Indians, a portion of which is interesting as connected with this matter. It was deposited by Judge Caton, who became a citizen of Chicago thirty-nine years ago, when the whole country was occupied as the hunting grounds of the Pottowattomie tribe. Their chief, Shabboni, died in 1849, the only remnant of this once powerful tribe. Of him it could be truth-fully said he was the last of his race. Comparatively not long since the surrounding country was mainly occupied by the Illinois tribe, an important people, ranging from the Wabash River to the Mississippi, and from the Ohio to Lake Superior. They lived mostly in Northern Illinois, centering in La Salle County. Then near Utica stood the largest town ever constructed by Northern Indians, and their great cemeteries attest the extent of the populous hordes of Indians who roamed the forests and prairies at will. La Salle, the Pioneer, discovered them before the great Iroquois Confederation had reached them, after their battle-fields had strewn their victims all along from the Atlantic Coast to the Wabash and from the lakes, and even north of them to the Alleghanies and the Ohio. The Iroquois or Six Nations, with a great slaughter, defeated this hitherto invincible people, laid waste their great city, and scattered them in broken bands over their wide domain. They never recovered from this blow. For a century they struggled, but were finally exterminated by the Pottowattomies and Ottawas at Starved Rock, on the Illinois...
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