Collection: Indian Chiefs I have Known


I suspect “Uncle Sam” was born July 4th, 1776. If so, he was still a young man, only twenty-eight years old, when Osceola came into the world. The Red Stick tribe of the Creek Indians had a camp on the bank of the Chattahoochee. The water of this river is colored by the roots of trees, shrubs, and vines which grow along its sluggish current, and so it is very black. Osceola’s mother, living near this dark river, named her baby As-sa-he-ola,-black water. Spanish tongues by and by shortened it to the beautiful and Latin-like name of Osceola. Osceola’s mother was the daughter of a Creek Indian chieftain. His father is said to have been an Indian trader born in England. There were three children, two girls and the boy. Osceola’s mother, the proud and high-tempered Indian princess, be-came angry for some reason and taking her son went into the wilderness of southern Georgia and joined her own people, while the father took his two daughters and passed over to the far West. The princess taught Osceola both English and her own language, but she had come to hate the white people and did not fail to bring up her son with the same unkind feelings. Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE...

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Cochise, The Chiricahua Apache Chief

Once upon a time, far away in New Mexico, an Indian tribe lived on a large stretch of land near a place called Tulerosa. They had not always lived there, but now the white men said they must stay there and nowhere else, for there was much land, many trees, and plenty of water. But the ground was really too poor for the Indians to plant, and they said the water made the children sick. The chief of this tribe, the Mescalero Apaches, was Victoria, a good man who was troubled for his people. He knew they were discontented and wanted to go on the war path and that it was better for them to keep peace. Now not far away from Tulerosa Uncle Sam had an army post where some soldiers lived who believed that the Indians had good reason to be unhappy. They thought about it awhile and then wrote down all they had heard the Indians say and sent it in a letter to President Grant at Washington. President Grant wanted everybody in the whole country to be happy, so he decided to send some one out to Tulerosa to see just what the matter was and what could be done. I was very busy just then in Washington, but the President sent for me and told me not to wait a minute, but go right...

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Moses, a great war chief who knew when not to fight

In the Northwest of our great country there are so many different tribes of Indians that I cannot begin to tell you their names, but they were often divided in this way: Those who lived on reservations were called “Reservation Indians” and those who did not, “Outside Indians.” Now, Moses was chief of a great many tribes of Outside Indians and he was a very great chief. Of course, Moses was not his Indian name, but Governor Stevens gave it to him long ago and every one called him so; indeed, he seemed to have forgotten his Indian name and called himself Moses. He was a very handsome man, tall and straight, and always well dressed. He usually wore a buckskin coat and trousers, and handsome beaded moccasins, and a broad, light felt hat with a thin veil encircling it. He always had a leather belt around his waist, in which he carried a long knife and pistol holster, the ivory pistol knob in plain sight. Now, Moses had led his Indians in many battles, both against Indians and white men, and everybody knew that he was a brave warrior and could fight. Indeed, in 1858 one of the very fiercest battles we ever had with the Indians took place when Moses was the Indian war chief and General George Wright commanded the United States soldiers at the “Battle...

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Santos, and Eskiminzeen the Stammerer

Far away near the Aravipa River in Arizona, one of “Uncle Sam’s” young officers rode at the head of a company of soldiers. They had marched eighteen miles already in a deep ravine, the bottom of which was filled with coarse sand. In the rainy season this ravine was filled with water, but now it was what the Mexicans call a ” dry arroyo, ” for there had been no rain for many weeks. Just at the mouth of this arroyo was the Aravipa River, coursing serpent-like across their path. It was not very broad nor very deep, but...

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Famous Indian Chiefs I have Known

The following biographies are small glimpses of Indians, who’s names most of us have heard. From these brief writings you can decide if you are interested in further information on one of these great Chieftains. Major-General Oliver Otis Howard, US Army, served in the Civil war prior to coming west. He directed several campaigns against the Native Americans, and negotiated with Chief Joseph in 1877. He has written numerous books on his experiences with the Indians. This particular manuscript is often met with outcries from our readers as his particular point of view of the Chiefs he met often differs with popular sentiments. Come read what Major-General Howard’s assessment of each chief he met was.

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Billy Bowlegs and the Everglades of Florida

Watervliet Arsenal, near Troy, New York, is one of the places where Uncle Sam keeps his guns and powder, and as I was an ordnance officer, that is, an officer whose duty it is especially to look after the things to shoot with, I was on duty at that post when word came to me from Washington that the Indian chief, Billy Bowlegs, had broken out from the Everglades of Florida to go on the war-path, and that Uncle Sam wanted me to stop looking after guns in Watervliet, and to look after them in the South. Little John...

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Captain Jack of the Modoc Indians

It was a queer country where the Modoc lived. Their land stretched along for sixty-five miles, measured on the straight line that separates Oregon from California, and it was thirty miles wide, some in Oregon and some in California. Parts were fairly good for cattle and horses where the earth was rich, but most of it was in hillocks and knolls all stony and so much alike that it was not much easier, than on the water, to find the way without a compass. This land was called the “lava bed country,” and it was well named. I suppose...

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