Payta Kootha

Payta Kootha, Shawanoe Warrior (Shawnee)
Flying Clouds or Captain Reed

The interpretation of the name of this Indian is “Flying clouds;” but he is better known among the Americans as “Captain Reed.” He is a Shawanoe of the Chilicothe tribe, but was born in the country of the Creeks. His age, at the time his portrait was taken, is supposed to have been about fifty-five years. Although considered a brave man, he has never gained any distinction as a warrior, but is a very good hunter. He had little popularity or influence in his tribe. In 1833, he was living west of the Mississippi.

Colonel John Johnston, of Ohio, a venerable and highly intelligent gentleman, who was intimately acquainted with the north western Indians, represents this individual as a wandering, unsettled man, often engaged in embassies between the tribes, and frequently journeying to distant villages. He was considered a peaceable, inoffensive person, without talents, but always disposed to exert himself in reconciling differences between tribes or individuals, and was esteemed by the red people as a benevolent man. How ever that reputation may have conciliated for him the good will of those around him, it gave him not the kind of standing which a daring warrior, or a bold intriguing leader would have possessed among the fierce warriors of the forest, and Captain Reed had the common fate of enjoying the respect of his associates, while men of less moral worth directed their councils.