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The Wyandotte reservation is on steep land lying north of the Seneca reservation and adjoining it, with Missouri on the east and Grand River on the west. But a very small portion of the land is good for agricultural purposes, as it is hilly and quite rough except along Sycamore and Lost creeks. Along these streams the lands are good for all purposes, and here they have fine farms. The Wyandottes have taken their lands in severalty, but there is so much poor land that now some 25 of them have none. These lands are well watered not only by the streams but by numerous springs. It is really the best watered of any reservation at this agency. There are strong indications of lead and zinc on a great portion of the land, especially in the hills and on the bluffs.
The Wyandottes number 288 in all, 129 males and 159 females; 250 speak English and 157 read it.
These Indians have good farms, which are mostly along the streams. They have some few, however, on the prairie, which are not so large, as they use the prairie land for grass and grazing purposes. Since they have taken their lands in severalty, they have made greater progress than for many years previous, building houses, barns, fences, and all kinds of improvements, and acquiring more stock of all kinds.
By the allotment the head of a family received 160 acres, single men and women 80 acres, and children 40 acres.
They are typical Indians in appearance, of a quite dark complexion, and while there are but three or four who claim to be full bloods, most of the older ones have full-blood appearance. This is attributed to intermarriage, all the older ones claiming blood relation. The younger generation intermarries with the whites, which gives the children a much whiter, appearance. The men are good businessmen and traders, but are not as industrious as the women, some of whom are good housekeepers, neat and tidy, dress well, and make a respectable appearance. All wear citizens’ clothes. They are increasing in number, and seem to be in good health. There are but few very old people among them. Their houses are of both log and frame; some are large and well built, with good outbuildings, barns, and stables for stock. Quite a number of new buildings have been erected within the last year. They are exclusively farmers, and although some are able. to assist mechanics in erecting buildings none make it a business. Sheep and stock raising is done on a small scale and is growing.
There is one church on this reservation, which belongs to them. It was built by the Methodist missionaries. Services are held here twice in each month. Their religious belief is about equally divided between the Methodists and the Society of Friends, and both of these denominations have missionaries here, who take great interest in their spiritual welfare.
The Wyandottes have entirely lost their old traditions and legends. The last medicine man died about 12 years ago. His record was kept by beads, strung in a peculiar manner, which he alone was able to read. This knowledge he never imparted to any one. Some of these beads are now kept as curiosities.
Many of these Indians use their own language in their families, although nearly all speak English; many, however, will not do so unless to their advantage. In council with the whites they must have an interpreter.
The Seneca boarding school is situated on the Wyandotte reservation. It is attended by children from all the tribes at this agency, and consists of 5 buildings, for schoolrooms, dormitory, dining room, laundry, and carpenter shop, with ample room for employees. All of these buildings are large, well ventilated, healthy, and capable of accommodating 100 children. The common industries are taught, such as housekeeping, sewing, and fancy work to the girls, and all kinds of farm industries to the boys. The school is well conducted.
The Wyandottes, are peaceable and law-abiding. Minor offenses are adjusted by the agent. They have an Indian police, and there is little trouble in keeping order. They have entirely abandoned Indian dances. However, some of them will attend the dances of other tribes and take part, more for amusement than to keep up the custom. The making of trinkets, beadwork, and bows and arrows has nearly ceased.
These Indians have a chief, whom they elect every year, but his power is nominal. Polygamy has been abolished, and the marriage relation is strictly adhered to. Their homes seem pleasant, and they are a contented people. They have no annuity fund. Their lands are allotted, heads of families receiving 160 acres, children under 21, 40, and single persons 80 acres each.
Last Of The Wyandottes In Ohio
Margaret Solomon, known as the last of the tribe of Wyandotte Indians in Ohio, died August 18, 1890, at her home, north of the city of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, on the banks of the Indians beloved Sandusky River. She was a fall-blooded Wyandotte, the daughter of John Gray Eyes, a noted chief. She was born in 1816, and when in 1821 Rev. Mr. Finley opened his mission school Margaret Gray Eyes was the first little maiden who was brought to be taught. When the Indians went west to the Indian Territory in 1843 she went with them, but some years ago, after her husband, John Solomon, died, she returned and bought a home, where she lived quietly and alone.