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"ONE TOWNSHIP'S YESTERDAYS"

By Edwin Corwin

XXX. HERE DWELT THE RED MAN

Where long ago their council fires burned,

Now many a furrow has been turned;

Where beside the lake their wigwams once rose,

Now a thriving cottage colony grows.

... Random Rhymes

HERE DWELT IN PEACE THE RED MAN, on reserves and in villages beside the still and runn­ing waters. But not for long now. The day for their going ap­proached; soon would they be leaving on their long westward trek, and soon would the incom­ing white man possess all to him­self the lands that for countless years had belonged solely to the Indian.

When the first white settlers came, they found here a some­what numerous branch of the Pot­awatomi tribe of Indians. These Indians were divided into bands, the most or all of which, by the treaty of 1832, obtained reserves. Among the treaties made by the government and the Indians then occupying this part of the North­west Territory were some that provided for the setting off of a number of reservations.

The largest reserves were those of Aubeenaubee and Menominee. Of these two, the latter was of the greater extent. The Aubeenau­bee Reserve was situated west of the Michigan Road and in the southern part of the county, ex­tending partly into the county of Fulton. The Menominee Reserve embraced a region of country to the southwest of Plymouth, its northeastern corner being near the western border of that town. This reserve comprised twenty-two sections, or 14,080 acres in all. Within its boundaries were Twin Lakes, Pretty Lake and a con­siderable portion of the Yellow River. These two reserves con­tained twenty or thirty sections each.

The reserves of Benack (or Ben-ack), Nees-wau-gee (or Nis­waug-ee), and Quash-qua were much smaller, each of them con­taining two or three sections. The Ben-ack village was on or near the Tippecanoe River, in the southeastern part of the county, about five miles south of Bour­bon. The reserves of Nees-wau­gee and Quash-qua were on the east side of Lake Maxinkuckee.

The Indian bands above men­tioned, governed by chiefs, had several villages while living in this region. The Au-bee-nau-bee village was located on or near the southern line of the county, and about two miles to the west of the Michigan Road. The settlement of the Me-nom-i-nee band in the neighborhood of Twin Lakes con­tained close to one hundred wig­wams. Around and among the wigwams were partly cleared fields. The Indians raised consid­erable quantities of corn. The Twin Lakes village of the Menom­inee band was the most noted In­dian village in the county, and, one might say, the capital of the Menominee Reserve.

There was also a village on the Roberts Prairie, and another on the old Taber farm, called Pash­po after its principal chief. The Mankekose Reserve, like some of the others mentioned, was not in Union Township, but it was mighty close to the eastern boun­dary. It was immediately east of the Aubeenaubee Reserve, and contained four or five sections. An Indian village at Wolf Creek, not far from the northeastern cor­ner of the township, has been mentioned by early settlers.

On the Yellow River, there existed an Indian settlement known as Mis-sin-ne-co-quah, ap­parently named after a Potawa­tomi Indian chieftainess of that name, and seemingly located within Union Township. In one of the treaties a section or two of land was assigned to this chieftainess. When the whites first settled in that section of the county, she was very old, well on toward one hundred years of age. She went with those driven away in 1838 and was never heard of afterwards.

According to an old map of Union Township, the Menominee Reserve extended down across the Yellow River and into the northeastern corner of the town­ship, occupying all the eastern half of Section 34 and all of Sec­tions 3 5 and 36.

On the east side of Lake Max­inkuckee, Nees-waugh-gee and Quash-qua's Reserve is given jointly on the map. The extent of this reserve along the lake front was from the south line of the old Vanschoiack property north along the water's edge to about where Peru point, as it was designated in later days, is located. The reserve took in the village of Maxinkuckee and all the summer cottage sites from the division line between the Vanschoiack and Edwards lands to a short distance north of Peru Club house, later the Brownell cottage, and including part of the Peeples' lakeside property. The reservation extended from the lake east to the township line. Its northern boundary was in a line due east of old Marmont village across the lake, and fol­lowed the line of the present dirt road that leads eastward from the old K. K. Culver cottage. The southern boundary extended east from the lake on the line be­tween the old L. T. Vanschoiack and Stephen Edwards properties, located nearly to the south end of the lake. All of Sections 22, 23, and 24, and parts of Sections 25, 26, and 27 were once within this reservation.

The Indian village '.n this re­serve, according to McDonald, was immediately across the road from what was later the resi­dence of Peter Spangler. This village was next to the Menominee village in importance. All along the east bank of the lake about 1835-36, when the white settlers began to arrive, there was quite a settlement of Indians, mainly un­der the supervision of Neeswau­gee. Quashqua also had some authority over the band, but delegated it mostly to his broth­er chief, Neeswaugee, "who ruled his people with mildness, modera­tion and decorum."

"This was a charming spot," says McDonald, "and the Indians who occupied it had the most de­lightful place to live this side of the land of Paradise. Fishing and hunting could not have been bet­ter; there was an abundance of pure spring water; and all sorts of berries and wild fruits in abun­dance in their season grew in the forests near by. Trails led in every direction to other villages in the region for many miles round about, so that the villagers could visit back and forth when­ever they felt inclined to do so."

"The small village of Maxin­kuckee was a favorite Indian village," one reads in an essay written by Ulee McClane in dis­trict school some years ago. "It is hilly and close to the lake. Indians like to live near water. The Indians' ways of traveling were a great deal different from the present time. They walked or went in canoes. There were a lot of trails from place to place. There were no nice gravel roads to travel on as at present. They had no buggies, wagons, automobiles and locomotives. In their fighting they never had guns, air ships and bombs. (This was during the World War). They fought with bows and ar­rows."

The Aubeenaubee Reservation adjoined Neeswaugee and Quash­qua's on the south and extended southward a considerable dis­tance into Fulton County. Next to the Menominee tract, it was the largest in Marshall County. It contained ten or twelve sections in Marshall and quite a number in Fulton. It extended east from Lake Maxinkuckee five or six miles. From the southeastern corner of the lake, its boundaries extended south and east to the county line. This reserve took in all of the southeastern corner of Union Township, covering parts of Sections 25, 26, 27, and 34, and all of Sections 35 and 36. It ex­tended north as far as to include the properties of Stephen Ed­wards, Joseph Bozarth, and Dan­iel Easterday.

Aubeenaubee village was in Fulton County, it is reported. It was on or near the southern line of Marshall County, and about two miles to the west of the Michigan Road, an authority adds. Aubeenaubee presided as chief over several Potawatomi bands in this and Fulton County, but made his permanent home in the village that bore his name, a few mites south of Lake Maxinkuckee. A large allotment of land was ceded to him and his followers, which was called Aubeenaubee Reserve.

These are all the Indian re­servations that existed in this part of the country, so far as can be ascertained from the records that have been kept. Of those mentioned, all except the Manke­kose Reserve, the villages of Ben-ack and Pashpo, and those at Wolf Creek and on the Roberts Prairie, were wholly or partially within the bounds of Union Township.

XXXI. "LO, THE POOR INDIAN!"

"Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutored mind

Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind."

... Alexander Pope

 

WHEN THE WHITE MAN CAME the days of the red man were numbered in the pleasant land of Maxinkuckee. Soon the Indian would be leaving; he would be going by the "Trail of Death" to lands assigned to him farther west.

The first white settlers in Union Township had not been here long before the Indians were going, never to return. It was a sad departure, and a long, long journey along a trail of tears…and blood. White men today, looking back over the span of nearly a hundred years to those days of the removal of the red men, see that act of the govern­ment in the light of shame.

It was in 1836 that the govern­ment ordered the Indians to leave, and gave them two years to do it. The first Potawatomi migration was in 1837. About one hundred went of their own accord, includ­ing the good Chief Nas-Wau-Gee, who ruled over a little band at his village on the east side of Lake Maxinkuckee. Nas-Wau-Gee agreed to go peaceably. The day before he left he called the white settlers together at his village, and bade farewell. It was a sad parting. This country and the white people who had come to it were dear to him. Next morning, packing their personal belongings on ponies, they went away, single file, south along the lake and to Kewanna, thence westward. The rest of the Indians, in a spirit of rebellion, stayed on, with Chief Menominee. In 1838, they were taken away against their will.

In '34, '35 and '36, Noah Noble was Governor of Indiana during the first settlements in the Max­inkuckee country, and in '37 was succeeded by David Wallace, the Governor who sent General John Tipton with a force of troops to remove to the West 859 Indians, from their reservations in this part of the country. It was this hegira, sometimes known as the "Trail of Death," that set out from Twin Lakes, in '38. Before them was a miserable nine hundred mile march. It was claimed that the removal was on account of trouble arising between the In­dians and white settlers, but this has been denied.

"As they were marched across the plains, under the hot, blazing sun," old Chief Simon Pokagon recalled, "wolves in the distance followed in the rear, like carrion crows, to feed upon the fallen." Well authenticated reports told how, "on the long and weary march towards the setting sun, from fatigue and want of water, children, old men and women ex­piring fell; how infants untimely born, clasped, in their mother's arms, together with them died and were left half buried on the plains, the prey of vultures and of wolves." Blood-stained trails they traveled, shamefully pushed into banishment.

The grief of the good priest, Father Petit, when the Indians were sent westward across the Mississippi, was most pitiful. He was harrowed by the bitter an­guish of his soul. Father Petit accompanied them and adminis­tered to them on the long, dreary march. On his return trip, at the age of twenty-seven, he died of malaria in St. Louis. His body was afterward removed to Notre Dame, Indiana, where it still lies in the Church of the Sacred Heart, near that of Father de Seille.

Not many years ago old settlers in these parts recalled the going of the Indians. Among them were David How, John Lowery, Mrs. Emma Dickson, and Thomas K. Houghton. Said Mr. Hough­ton: "In 1838 I lived with my father on the Indian trail between the Ben-ack village in Tippe­canoe Township and the Menominee village, where the Indians were congregated to get ready to be removed. I was not there at the time, but it was about the only subject of conversation for many years, and I heard consid­erable about it."

"It was a sad sight,” said Mrs. Dickson, who lived with her father, John Houghton, in a cabin close to the Indian trail between Ben-ack and Menominee villages, "to see the Indians forced away, for their lands were taken by fraud; the government would treat for their land and give fire­water to drink, and while drink­ing the chiefs would sign their rights away."

Lo, the poor Indian!

XXXII.  THE RED MAN DEPARTS

" ‘I beheld our nation scattered,...

Saw the remnants of our people

Sweeping westward, wild and woeful,

Like the cloud-rack of a tem­pest,

Like the withered leaves of Autumn!’"

... Henry W. Long fellow

GONE WAS THE RED MAN from the land of Maxinkuckee ... gone, never to return. Only a few memories survive today where once he roamed, glorying in his primitive freedom.

Mrs. Rebecca Robinson recalls hearing stories of the Indians, who used to come to the Voreis home, near Burr Oak, to barter. They were peaceable and harm­less.  White children, of the fam­ilies of early settlers, would play with the Indian children who, on the occasion of some visit, were brought to the homes of the pio­neers.

Mrs. Millie Bigley, who was a resident of the east side of Lake Maxinkuckee until comparatively recent years, when she died at the age of about eighty-nine, was among the last few people living in this part of the country who actually recalled seeing the In­dians in the flesh, so to speak. One old-timer, still living near the lake, tells the tale, doubtless a tall one, that in his younger days he saw the body of a dead Indian, and a Chief at that, propped up against the trunk of a tree. Evidently that was the way the old Chief had been buried. But he was not a live one, per­haps merely a mummy. He must have been sitting there a long time, for it was nearly a century ago that the Indians departed for­ever from the shores of Maxinkuckee. And we can take the old-timer's story or leave it, just as we choose. At any rate, the Indians are gone.

There was a reputed Indian burial place on Long Point, and some skeletons were dug up, quite a few years ago, near the Outlet. It was believed that the bones were those of Indians.

The red man has departed these many years from his once bounti­ful hunting-ground.