Collection: Indian Wars and Captivities

News from New England – King Phillip’s War

Being a true and last account of the present Bloody Wars carried on betwixt the infidels, natives, and the English Christians, and converted Indians of New England, declaring the many dreadful battles fought betwixt them: As also the many towns and villages burnt by the merciless heathens. And also the true number of all the Christians slain since the beginning of that War, As it was sent over by a factor of New England to a merchant in London. Licensed Aug. 1. Roger L’Estrange. London. Printed for J. Corners, at the sign of the Black Raven in Duck-Lane, 1676. 1The following tract is of exceeding rarity; so much so that, not long since, but one was known to be in this country. This is reprinted from a copy of one in the library of John Carter Brown Esq., of Providence. To the politeness of this gentleman we are indebted for permission to make a transcript. The original is, without exception, one of the worst printed tracts of the day in which it appeared. The type on which it was printed was wretched, especially the Italic; some of the letters in many of the words not being distinguishable, and others entirely wanting. I have adhered, in this reprint, as closely to the original, in respect to orthography, capitals, and italics, as possible. Of its comparative value, in an historical point...

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History of the Indian Wars

Our relations with the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent form a distinct and very important, and interesting portion of the history of this Republic. It is unfortunately, for the most part, a history of bloody wars, in which the border settlers have suffered all the horrors of savage aggression, and, in which portions of our colonial settlements have sometimes been completely cut off and destroyed. Other portions of this thrilling history, evince the courage, daring, and patience of the settlers, in a very favorable point of view, and exhibit them as triumphing over every difficulty, and finally obtaining a firm foothold on the soil. In all its parts, this history will always possess numerous points of peculiar interest for the American reader.

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The Tribes West of the Mississippi – Indian Wars

By treaties concluded by the agents of the United State government at different periods, nearly all of the Indian tribes have been induced to remove west of the Mississippi. Those who remain in the haunts of their fathers are chiefly converts to Christianity, and in a half civilized state. Many of the tribes have dwindled into insignificance, yet the few who remain are proud to maintain their distinctive appellation, and support the independence of their old clan. The most powerful and numerous tribes in the northwest are the Sioux, or Dacotahs, the Blackfeet, Crows, and Pawnees. A few of the celebrated Delaware tribe still remain, and are a source of terror to their numerous enemies. The Blackfeet Indians occupy the whole of the country about the sources of the Missouri, from the mouth of the Yellow Stone to the Rocky Mountains. Their number is between forty and fifty thousand, and their general bearing is warlike and ferocious. Their enemies are numerous, yet they maintain their ascendancy. The Crows are a much smaller tribe than the Blackfeet, with whom they are always at war. They are fearless warriors, and seek their enemies wherever they are to be found. In number they are about six thousand. The following is an account of one of their battles with the Blackfeet Indians. Fight Between the Crow and the Blackfeet Indians In June, 1845, a...

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The Cherokee Revolt – Indian Wars

From the removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia and Tennessee to Arkansas and their establishment upon the reservation allotted to them by treaty with the Government in Arkansas, they have, until the period of this outbreak to the narrative of which this chapter is devoted, been considered as among the least dangerous and most peaceable of the tribes in that region. But through various causes, chief among which has been notably the introduction among them of a horde of those pests of the West the border ruffians; these half wild, half-breed Nomads were encouraged by these Indians, as it appeared, for the sake of the liquor traffic. According to the official accounts of this attempt to reopen hostilities, it appears that on the 11th of April, 1872, it originated with a man named J. J. Kesterson, living in the Cherokee nation, near the Arkansas line, about fifty miles from Little Rock. On that day he went to Little Rock, and filed information against one Proctor, also a white man, married to a Cherokee woman, for assaulting with intent to kill him while in his saw mill, on the 13th of February. Proctor fired a revolver at Kesterson, the ball striking him just above the left eye, but before he could fire again Kesterson escaped. Proctor, at the time, was under indictment in the Snake District for the murder of his...

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Massacre at Howard’s Well and Other Depredations – Indian Wars

Closely following the outbreak of the Cherokees and half -breed renegades at Whitemore‘s, Barren Fork, came on attack by a similar party of Indians, half breeds, and Mexicans combined, on a train of supplies, en route to Fort Stockton, at Howard’s Well, near old Fort Lancaster. The facts of this one of the most inhuman massacres in history were reported to the “War Department, by Col. Merritt, through General Angua, under date of April 29th, 1872. We give the report as written: On the 20th inst, I arrived with the cavalry of my command at Howard’s Well, a few hours too late to prevent one of the most horrible massacres that has ever been perpetrated on this frontier. A Mexican train, loaded with United States commissary and ordinance stores, on its way from San Antonio to Fort Stockton, was attacked by Indians, plundered and burned. All the people with the train, seventeen souls in all, were killed or wounded, except one woman. My command buried eleven bodies, and brought three wounded men and one woman into this post. Before arriving at the burning train, the first intimation we had of the horrible disaster were the charred and blackened corpses of some of the poor victims, but no one was alive to tell the horrors of the affair. I supposed, up to this time, that Capt. Sheridan, with the infantry of...

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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,...

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The End of the Florida War, The Fate of the Seminoles – Indian Wars

The close of the troubles with the Florida Indians resulted in their removal to a reservation almost within the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. The tribe, the Seminoles, lost much of their prestige, and became discouraged upon the death of Osceola. The last battle of those terrible swamp skirmishes could be called by the legitimate term of regular pitched battles and occurred December 8th, 1842. The first conflict occurred on the 19th of July, 1835. This second war followed closely upon the treaty which was supposed to have removed beyond any possibility the chance of another outbreak. But only with his total extinction will the Indian forget a wrong either fancied or real. They still brooded over their fancied wrongs. For them, as is told of those who wanted opportunity, the opportunity was made. A settler, newly arrived, and who had located near one of the largest of the Seminole towns, lost two or three of his horses, and entertaining the idea that the Indians were naturally thieves, at once proceeded to the nearest military post and made complaint with such additions and exaggerations to his story as he thought necessary to insure a prompt reprisal and rescue of his property from the depredators. This fermented the ill-feeling of the Indians, who in reality had not taken the horses, for they were afterwards found in a swamp some miles...

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General History of the Western Indian Tribes 1851-1870 – Indian Wars

Up to 1851, the immense uninhabited plains east of the Rocky Mountains were admitted to be Indian Territory, and numerous tribes roamed from Texas and Mexico to the Northern boundary of the United States. Then came the discovery of gold in California, drawing a tide of emigration across this wide reservation, and it became necessary, by treaty with the Indians, to secure a broad highway to the Pacific shore. By these treaties the Indians were restricted to certain limits, but with the privilege of ranging, for hunting purposes, over the belt thus re-reserved as a route of travel. The...

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War With The Modoc – Indian Wars

Early April 16th, the Modoc had a big fire in their camp. Major Thomas dropped a shell directly into it, provoking a frantic war whoop, and causing the sudden extinguishing of the fire. Another shell was dropped in the same locality, and was followed by yells of pain and dismay. The Modoc then appeared and challenged the soldiers to come out and fight. Another shell was the answer, and they were driven back. At 4 o’clock A. M. , after another fight, the Modoc gave up the attempt to break through the line and retired. Scattering shots were fired on the...

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William Cody – “Buffalo Bill” His Life and Adventures – Indian Wars

One of the best known, and since the death of the renowned Kit Carson, probably the most reliable guide on the Western frontier, is William Cody, otherwise known as “Buffalo Bill.” His exploits have been the theme of a dozen novelists, and in the year just past (1870-72) his movements have been as accurately and frequently chronicled by the daily press throughout the country as they would have been had he been an official magnate of the highest degree. There is something especially attractive in the romance attending the career of one of these noted hunters, which never palls...

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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,...

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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...

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Second Seminole War – Indian Wars

The second Seminole war against the Indians and runaway Blacks in Florida commenced in 1835. A treaty had been concluded with the Seminole warriors, by which they agreed to remove beyond the Mississippi. A party of the Indians had proceeded to the territory appointed for their reception, and reported favorably upon their return. Everything promised a speedy conformity to the wishes of the government. But at this juncture, John Hext, the most influential chief of the tribe, died, and was succeeded in power, by Osceola. This chief wielded his power for far different purposes. Being opposed to emigration, he...

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Black Hawk’s War – Indian Wars

We have now to record the events of a war “which brought one of the noblest of Indians to the notice and admiration of the people of the United States. Black Hawk was an able and patriotic chief. With the intelligence and power to plan a great project, and to execute it, he united the lofty spirit which secures the respect and confidence of a people. He was born about the year 1767, on Rock river, Illinois. At the age of fifteen he took a scalp from the enemy, and was in consequence promoted by his tribe to the...

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