Topic: Osage

Governor Houston’s Life Among the Indians

The year following his failure to secure the contract, Houston spent writing letters defending his acts and denouncing the officials who had been discharged. In addition to the Indian officials, he poured his wrath and denunciation on Colonel Hugh Love, a trader on the Verdigris whom Houston accused of being in league with the Indian Agent to rob the Creeks; Love replied to Houston with some spirited charges against the latter. Stung by the contents of an article appearing in a Nashville paper, in a burst of passion Houston gave to the press of Nashville a most intemperate letter, July 13, 1831, beginning:

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Governor Houston at His Trading Post on the Verdigris

In February, 1828, the vanguard of Creek immigrants arrived at the Creek Agency on the Verdigris, in charge of Colonel Brearley, and they and the following members of the McIntosh party were located on a section of land that the Government promised in the treaty of 1826 to purchase for them. By the treaty of May 6, 1828, the Government assigned the Cherokee a great tract of land, to which they at once began to remove from their homes in Arkansas. The movement had been under way for some months when there appeared among the Indians the remarkable figure of Samuel Houston. The biographers of Houston have told the world next to nothing of his sojourn of three or four years in the Indian country, an interesting period when he was changing the entire course of his life and preparing for the part he was to play in the drama of Texas.

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Western Garrison Life

Grant Foreman describes the early life in a Western Garrison; providing insights on some of the traders in the region, the deaths of Seaton, Armstrong, Wheelock and Izard, all soldiers obviously familiar to him. But he also shares the story of the elopement of Miss Sarah Knox Taylor, daughter of General Taylor, to Lieutenant Jefferson Davis… yes, THAT Jefferson Davis.

An interesting section of the chapter are the references to the punishments inflicted upon the soldiers in the event of their disobedience.

Painted by Catlin in 1834, the picture attached is of Clermont, chief of the Osage Tribe. Clermont is painted in full length, wearing a fanciful dress, his leggings fringed with scalp-locks, and in his hand his favorite and valued war-club.

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Fort Gibson Conference with the Indians, 1834

One of the most important Indian conferences ever held in the Southwest, occurred at Fort Gibson in 1834 for it paved the way for agreements and treaties essential to the occupation of a vast country by one hundred thousand members of the Five Civilized Tribes emigrating from east of the Mississippi; to the security of settlers and travelers in a new country; to development of our Southwest to the limits of the United States and beyond and contributed to the subsequent acquisition of the country to the coast, made known to us by the pioneers to Santa Fe and California traveling through the region occupied by the “wild” Indians who, at Fort Gibson, gave assurances of their friendship. It is true, these assurances were not always regarded, and many outrages were afterwards committed on the whites and by the whites, but the Fort Gibson conference was the beginning and basis upon which ultimately these things were accomplished.

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The Osage Massacre

When the treaty council with the Osage at Fort Gibson broke up in disagreement on April 2, 1833, three hundred Osage warriors under the leadership of Clermont departed for the west to attack the Kiowa. It was Clermont’s boast that he never made war on the whites and never made peace with his Indian enemies. At the Salt Plains where the Indians obtained their salt, within what is now Woodward County, Oklahoma, they fell upon the trail of a large party of Kiowa warriors going northeast toward the Osage towns above Clermont’s. The Osage immediately adapted their course to that pursued by their enemies following it back to what they knew would be the defenseless village of women, children, and old men left behind by the warriors. The objects of their cruel vengeance were camped at the mouth of Rainy-Mountain Creek, a southern tributary of the Washita, within the present limits of the reservation at Fort Sill.

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Colonel Dodge Reaches Villages of Western Indians

Trailing through broad and verdant valleys, they went, their progress often arrested by hundreds of acres of plum trees bending to the ground with tempting fruit; crossing oak ridges where the ground was covered with loaded grapevines, through suffocating creek-bottom thickets, undergrowth of vines and briars, laboring up rocky hillsides and laboring down again, the horses picking their way through impeding rocks and boulders, until on the twenty-ninth of the month, two hundred miles from Fort Gibson, General Leavenworth and his staff reached Captain Dean’s camp, a mile or two from the Washita, where there were quartered two companies of the Third Infantry from Fort Towson. Reports of sickness among the men were alarming. They were dying daily, and failure of the expedition was threatened. General Leavenworth, who had intended to send the command on from the Washita in charge of Colonel Dodge, announced that he himself would proceed in charge to the Wichita country. It was not until the first day of July that the regiment came dragging into camp with forty-five men and three officers ill from exposure, the surgeon said, brought on by marching through the heat of the day. A contributing cause was the strange diet to which these untrained, undisciplined men gave themselves, and the sudden and intemperate indulgence of their appetite in abundant buffalo meat. On arrival at the Washita, seventy-five horses and...

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Peace Attempts with Western Prairie Indians, 1833

What was known as the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was entered into in Mississippi with the Choctaw Indians September 27, 1830; 1Kappler, op. cit., vol. ii, 221. pursuant to the terms of the treaty, in 1832 the movement of the Choctaw to their new home between the Canadian and Red rivers was under way but they were in danger from incursions of the Comanche and Pani Picts 2Called by early French traders Pani Pique tattooed Pawnee, and known to the Kiowa and Comanche by names meaning Tattooed Faces. [U.S. Bureau of Ethnology, Handbook of American Indians, part ii,...

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Washington Irving at Fort Gibson, 1832

The McIntosh Creeks had been located along Arkansas River near the Verdigris on fertile timbered land which they began at once to clear, cultivate, and transform into productive farms. The treaty of 1828 with the Cherokee gave the latter a great tract of land on both sides of Arkansas River embracing that on which the Creeks were located. This was accomplished by a blunder of the Government officials, in the language of the Secretary of War, 1U.S. House, Executive Documents, 22d congress, first session, no. 116, President’s Message submitting the memorial of the Creek Indians. “when we had not...

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Earliest Known Traders on Arkansas River

With the help of contemporary records it is possible to identify some of the early traders at the Mouth of the Verdigris. Even before the Louisiana Purchase, hardy French adventurers ascended the Arkansas in their little boats, hunting, trapping, and trading with the Indians, and recorded their presence if not their identity in the nomenclature of the adjacent country and streams, now sadly corrupted by their English-speaking successors. 1Many tributaries of Arkansas River originally bore French names. There was the Fourche La Feve named for a French family [Thwaites, R. G., editor, Early Western Travels, vol. xiii, 156]; the...

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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 Miller 1James Miller was born in Peterboro, N. H., April 25, 1776; entered the array as major in 1808, became Lieutenant-colonel in 1810,...

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Expeditions of Fowler and James to Santa Fe, 1821

When Pike returned from his western expedition and related his experiences in Santa Fe and other places among the Spaniards, his accounts excited great interest in the east, which resulted in further exploits. In 1812, an expedition was undertaken 1American State Papers, “Foreign Relations” vol. iv, 208. by Robert McKnight, James Baird, Samuel Chambers, Peter Baum, Benjamin Shrive, Alfred Allen, Michael McDonald, William Mines, and Thomas Cook, all citizens of Missouri Territory; they were arrested by the Spaniards, charged with being in Spanish territory without a passport, and thrown into the calabazos of Chihuahua, where they were kept for...

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Establishment of Fort Smith in 1817

The white population in Arkansas in 1817 had increased to several thousand, whose protection, as well as that of the Cherokee people living in that territory, from the continued hostilities of the Osage, required the establishment of a military post at the western border dividing the white settlements from the Osage. From Saint Louis came further news of threatened hostilities by the Osage near Clermont’s Town, and a report 1Niles Register, (Baltimore) vol. xiii, 176. that Major William Bradford with a detachment of United States riflemen, and accompanied by Major Long, topographical engineer, had left that city for the...

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Memoirs of John Pitchlynn

John Pitchlynn, the name of another white man who at an early day cast his lot among the Choctaws, not to be a curse but a true benefactor. He was contemporaneous with the three Folsom’s, Nathaniel, Ebenezer and Edmond; the three Nails, Henry, Adam and Edwin; the two Le Flores Lewis and Mitchel, and Lewis Durant. John Pitchlynn, as the others, married a Choctaw girl and thus become a bona-fide citizen of the Choctaw Nation. He was commissioned by Washington, as United States Interpreter for the Choctaws in 1786, in which capacity he served them long and faithfully. Whether...

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Choctaw War Against the Osage and other Legends

There were many traditions among all North American Indians, many of which bordered on the poetical and from which I will select one or two more, which shall suffice as examples of a few of the peculiarities of this peculiar yet interesting people. Thus says the tradition of “Ohoyo Osh Chisba,” (The Unknown Woman.) In the days of many moons ago, two Choctaw hunters were encamped for the night in the swamps of the bend of the Alabama River. But the scene was not without its romance. Dark, wild, and unlovely as a swamp is generally imagined to be, yet to the musing heart and contemplative spirit, it had its aspects of beauty, if not of brightness, which rose up before the mind as objects of serene delight, i speak from long personal experience. Its mysterious appearance; its little lakes and islands of repose: its silent and solemn solitudes; its green cane-breaks and lofty trees, all combined to present a picture of strange but harmonious combination to which a lover of nature in all its diversified phases could not be wholly insensible. The two hunters having been unsuccessful in the chase on that and the preceding day, found themselves without anything- on that night with which to satisfy the craving’s of hunger except a black hawk which they had shot with an arrow. Sad reflections filled their hearts as...

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Vaundreuil and the Chickasaws

At this juncture of affairs, May 10th 1743, the marquis of Vaudreuil arrived at New Orleans, and assumed command of the colonies, Bienville having been again deposed. As soon as the Chickasaws learned that BienvilleĀ had been superceded by a new governor, they sent four of their chiefs, at the close of the year 1743, to sue for peace; but Vaudreuil informed them he would enter into no treaty with them, unless they would drive all English traders from their territories; and not even then would he treat with them unless in concert with the Choctaws. Thus again were the...

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