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drawn, and his spirit took its flight. The passing breeze in Æolian notes chanted a requiem in the elm-tops. The placid creek in its meandering course murmured in chorus over the dead. The squirrel came forth in the bright sunshine to frisk and chirp in frolicsome glee, and the timid fawn approached the brook and bathed her feet in the waters, but the old man. heeded it not, for Manitou, his God, had called him home.
Although it is a matter of regret that we are not in possession of his dying words and other particulars connected with his death, let us endeavor to be content in knowing that Wapello died sometime in the month of March, in the year 1844, in Keokuk county, on Rock Creek, in Jackson township, on the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter, section 21, township 74, range 11 west, where a mound still marks the spot; and with knowing also that his remains were thence conveyed by Mr. Samuel Hardesty, now of Lancaster township, accompanied by twenty-two Indians and three squaws, to the Indian burial-ground at Agency City, where sleeps the Indian agent, Gen. Street, and numbers of the Sac and Fox tribe, and where our informant left the remains to await the arrival of Keokuk and other distinguished chiefs to be present at the interment."
Keokuk, Appanoose, and nearly all the leading men among Indians, were present at the funeral, which took place toward evening of the same day upon which the body arrived at the Agency. The usual Indian ceremonies preceded the interment, after which the remains were buried by the body of Gen. Street, which was in accordance with the chieftain's oft repeated requested to be buried by the side of his honest pale-faced friend.
In 1845 Keokuk led his tribe west of the Missouri River and located upon a reservation, now comprised in the boundaries of the State of Kan
What must have been the emotions, which swelled the heart of this renowned savage when he turned his back for the last time upon the barkcovered huts of his Iowa village. To him it was not going west to grow up with the country, but to lose himself and his tribe in oblivion and national annihilation. The fact that no remnant of this once powerful and populous tribe remains is sad to contemplate. Keokuk returned no more; he lived but three years after leaving the Territory of Iowa, and we have no facts at our command in reference to his career at the new home west of the Missouri. The Keokuk Register of June 15, 1848, contained the following notice of his death, together with some additional sketches of his life:
"The St. Louis New Era announces the death of this celebrated Indian chief. Poison was administered to him by one of his tribe, from the effects of which he died. The Indian was apprehended, confessed his guilt, and was shot.
"Keokuk leaves a son of some prominence, but there is little probability of his succeeding to the same station, as he is not looked upon by the tribe as inheriting the disposition and principles of his father."
We close this sketch by appending an extract from a letter recently writ ten by Judge J. M. Casey, of Fort Madison, to Hon. S. A. James, of Sigourney:
"While Keokuk was not a Lee county man, I have often seen him here. He was an individual of distinguished mark; once seen would always be remembered. It was not necessary to be told that he was a chief, you would at once recognize him as such, and stop to admire his grand deportment. I was quite young when I last saw him, but I yet remember his
appearance and every lineament of his face as well as if it had been yesterday, and this impression was left upon every person who saw him, whether old or young. It is hard for us to realize that an Indian could be so great a man. But it is a candid fact, admitted by all the early settlers who knew him, that Keokuk possessed, in a prominent degree, the elements of greatness."
Poweshiek, the chief of the Fox Indians, who as before mentioned, lived on Skunk River is described as tall, heavily built, of rough cast of features and a disposition full of exaction and arrogance. When he left Fort Des Moines for the last time, he went south and encamped temporarily in the southern part of the State. His village, which consisted of about forty lodges, was located on Grand River, not far from the settlements of northern Missouri. A difficulty soon arose between the Missourians and the Indians, and there was every reason to suppose that the trouble would terminate in bloodshed. When the report of the difficulty came to Fort Des Moines, three persons, Dr. Campbell, J. B. Scott and Hamilton Thrift, who had been intimately acquainted with Poweshiek, desirous of preventing bloodshed, mounted their horses and proceeded to the Indian encampment. This was during the winter of 1845 and 1846. Everything in and about the Indian village had a warlike appearance.
Mr. Scott sought an early interview with Poweshiek, and spoke to him as follows:
"My friends and myself have traveled through the snow a long distance to help you out of this trouble. We are your friends. If you persist in your purpose of making war on the whites, many of your squaws and pappooses, as well as your braves, will be butchered. The remainder will be driven out into the cold and the snow to perish on the prairie. It would be better now for you to break up your lodges and go in peace to the reservation in Kansas, which the government has provided for you."
The old chief was at first unwilling to accept this advice and his principal reason in not doing so was that his conduct would be construed into an exhibition of cowardice. He, however, finally concluded to accept the proffered advice and in a short time removed beyond the Missouri River.
Reference has already been made to the fact that from time immemorial a deadly feud existed between the Sac and Fox Indians on the one part and the Sioux on the other part. These were the two principal tribes inhabiting the State in early days and the hatred they had for one another frequently embroiled them as well as numerous lesser tribes in long and bloody wars.
In order to put an end to these sanguinary contests, and stop the effusion of blood, the United States Government tendered its services as a mediator between the two hostile tribes. As a result of the first negotiations it was agreed, in August, 1825, that the government should run a line between the two tribes, and thus erect an imaginary barrier between the respective territory of the hostile tribes. After a trial of nearly five years, it was found that the untutored mind of the red man was unable to discern an imaginary boundary. The Sacs and Foxes from the south in pursuing game northward were frequently borne beyond the boundary line and they were sure to have a fight with their jealous neighbors before they returned; the same was often true of the Sioux. The idea was then conceived by the agents of the government of setting aside a strip of neutral territory, be
tween the two tribes, of sufficient width to effectually separate the combatants, on which neither tribe should be allowed to hunt or encamp.
A treaty was accordingly made with the Sac and Fox Indians in July, 1830, whereby the latter ceded to the government a strip of country twenty miles in width, lying immediately south of the line designated in the treaty of August, 1825, and extending from the Mississippi to the Des Moines rivers. At the same time a treaty was made with the Sioux, whereby the latter ceded to the government a strip of country twenty miles in width lying immediately north of the line designated in the treaty of August, 1825, and extending from the Mississippi to the Des Moines rivers. By the provisions of these treaties, the United States came into possession of a strip of country forty miles wide and extending from the Mississippi to the Des Moines rivers, upon which it was unlawful for either Sac and Fox or Sioux to hunt. This strip was known as the "Neutral Ground." Certain of the inferior and peaceable tribes, as the Pottawattamies for instance, were permitted to remain on the Neutral Ground.
This neutral strip extended south nearly as far as the north line of Polk county, and a beautiful section of country bordering on the Des Moines River north of Polk county was a favorite resort of the Pottawattamie Indians, where the settlers found them in great numbers.
Mr. Benjamin Williams, one of the pioneers of this region, found them in great numbers in the vicinity of Elk Rapids, when he came to the county in 1846. They had been accustomed to make maple sugar in a large grove located upon the claim which Mr. Williams first took. After the Indians were gone he used their appliances for catching and hoarding the sap in continuing the business. The sugar troughs were made of the bark of elm trees, and so well were they constructed that they lasted for a number of years. A large walnut trough, which the Indians had used for hoarding the sap, Mr. Williams continued to use for some five or six years after they were gone. During the winter of 1846-7 some five hundred of these Pottawattamie Indians were encamped in the vicinity of Elk Rapids, and, although several white men had settled in that vicinity at that time, none of them were molested by the Indians. Their chief was an old man by the name of Chemisne; by the early settlers, however, he was known by the name of Johnny Greene.
It was not only at Elk Rapids that Johnny Greene and his band were known but throughout the whole of central Iowa. They were peaceable Indians and apparently on good terms with the Sac and Fox Indians as well as the whites. Not so with the Sioux who lived farther north, they were treacherous, cruel and relentless.
INDIAN INCIDENTS AND REMINISCENCES.
During the visit of Keokuk, Wapello, Appanoose and other distinguished Indians at Boston, there was a lively competition between the managers of the several theaters in order to secure the presence of the illustrious chiefs at their several performances. Although the Pilgrim Fathers had in years gone by seen plenty of the noble red inen, so great was the transformation of the country during a century that the sons and daughters of the Pilgrims looked upon the Indians as a great novelty.
At the Tremont, the aristocratic one, the famous tragedian Forrest, was filling an engagement. His great play, in which he acted the part of the
gladiator, and always drew his largest audiences, had not yet come off, and the manager was disinclined to bring it out while the Indians were there, as their presence always insured a full house. General Street, who, as before remarked, was in charge of the party, being a strict Presbyterian, was not much in the theatrical line, hence Major Beach, to whom we are indebted for the facts of this incident, and who accompanied General Street at the time, took the matter in hand. He knew that this peculiar play would suit the Indians better than those simple declamatory tragedies, in which, as they could not understand a word, there was no action to keep them interested, so he prevailed upon the manager to bring it out, promising that the Indians would be present.
In the exciting scene where the gladiators engage in a deadly combat, the Indians gazed with eager and breathless anxiety, and as Forrest, finally pierced through the breast with his adversary's sword, fell dying, and as the other drew his bloody sword from the body, heaving in the convulsions of its expiring throes, and while the curtain was descending, the whole Indian company burst out with their fiercest war-whoop. It was a frightful yell to strike suddenly upon unaccustomed ears, and was immediately followed by screams of terror from the more nervous among the women and children. For an instant the audience seemed at loss, but soon uttered a hearty round of applause-a just tribute to both actor and Indians.
During the same visit to Boston, Major Beach says that the Governor gave them a public reception at the State-house. The ceremony took place in the spacious Hall of Representatives, every inch of which was jammed with humanity. After the Governer had ended his eloquent and appropriate address of welcome, it devolved upon one of the chiefs to reply, and Appanoose, in his turn, as at the conculsion of his "talk," he advanced to grasp the Governor's hand, said: "It is a great day that the sun shines upon when two such great chiefs take each other by the hand!" The Governor, with a nod of approbation, controlled his facial muscles in a most courtly gravity. But the way that the house came down "was a caution," all of which Appanoose doubtless considered the Yankee way of applauding his speech.
One of the most affable and remarkable of the Indians, with whom the early settlers became acquainted, was named Kish-ke-kosh. It was in honor of him that Marion county was at first named, it being afterward changed on account of the many objections which were raised to the orthography of the word.
This Kish-ke-kosh, previous to 1873, was simply a warrior-chief in the village of Keokuk. The warrior-chief was inferior to the village-chief, to which distinction he afterward attained. The village presided over by this chief is well remembered by many of the early settlers. It was located, some say, just over the line in what it is now White Oak township, Mahaska county. Major Beach thus describes it: "The place cannot be located exactly according to our State maps, although the writer has often visited it in Indian times; but somewhere out north from Kirkville, and probably not twelve miles distant, on the banks of Skunk River, not far above the Forks of Skunk, was a small village of not over fifteen or twenty lodges, presided over by a man of considerable importance, though not a chief, named Kish-ke-kosh. The village was on the direct trail-in fact it was the converging point of two trails-from the Hard-fish village, and the three vil
lages across the river below Ottumwa, to the only other prominent settlement of the tribes, which was the village of Poweshiek, a Fox chief of equal rank with Wapello, situated upon the lowa River."
Here the squaws, after grubbing out hazel-brush on the banks of the stream, unaided by plow or horse, planted and tended patches of corn. Here the men trained their ponies, hunted, fished and loafed until May, 1843, when they removed to the vicinity of Fort Des Moines.
The following incident is located at this point: Some time about 1841, Maj. Beach, Indian agent, in company with W. B. Street and others, came up from Agency City on some business with Kish-ke-kosh. Arriving late in the evening they encamped near the village, and on the following morning Kish-ke-kosh, with his assistants, came over to camp to receive them. The pipe of peace was lighted and passed around and the business transacted. After the council the whites were invited to come over in the evening to the feast which the Indians proposed to have in honor of their visit. The invitation was accepted and presently the whites heard a great howling among the dogs, and looking in the direction of the village they could plainly see the preparations for the supper. A number of dogs were killed and stretched on stakes a few inches above the ground. They were then covered with dried grass, which was set on fire and the hair singed off, after which, after the dogs had gone through the scalping process, they were cut up and placed in pots along with a quantity of corn. The whites were promptly in attendance, but on account of their national prejudice they were provided with venison instead of dog meat. After the feast, dancing was commenced: first, the Green Corn Dance, then the Medicine Dance, and closing just before morning with the Scalp Dance. Kish-ke-kosh did not take part in this terpsichorean performance, but sat with the whites, laughing, joking and telling stories.
On another occcasion Kish-ke-kosh was on a tour through the country and stopped over night at the house of a settler. He was accompanied by several other Indians, who slept together on a buffalo hide within view of the kitchen.
In the morning when he awoke, Kish-ke-kosh had an eye on the culinary operations there going on. The lady of the house-it is possible she did it intentionally, as she was not a willing entertainer of such guests-neglected to wash her hands before making up the bread. Kish thought he would rather do without his breakfast than eat after such cooking, and privately signified as much to his followers, whereupon they mounted their ponies and departed, much to the relief of the hostess. When they arrived at a house some distance from the one they had left they got their breakfasts and related the circumstance.
While encamped on Skunk River in the northeastern part of Marion county Kish-ke-kosh, in company with several other prominent members of his tribe, went to the house of Mr. Mikesell on a friendly visit and the hospitable white man treated his dusky guests to a bountiful feast.
Besides Kish-ke-kosh and his wife, who was a very lady-like person, this party consisted of his mother (Wyhoma), the son of Wapello, and his two wives; Mashaweptine, his wife, and all their children. The old woman on being asked how old she was, replied: "Mach-ware-re-naak-we-kan" (may be a hundred); and indeed her bowed form and hideously shriveled features would justify the belief that she was that old. The whole party were dressed in more than ordinary becoming style; probably out of re