WYANDOTS PURCHASE A HOME FROM THE DELAWARES - FOUNDED THE VILLAGE OF WYANDOTTE - ROMANCES OF OLD WYANDOT FAMILIES - THE HEROISM OF ELIZABETH ZANE - CAPTAIN PIPE.
The Wyandots by a treaty of 1842, sold their Ohio reservation to the United States and a few months later they sent forth emissaries to locate them on a new reservation in the promised land, on the banks of the Missouri river. Silas Armstrong and George I. Clark, with their families, and Jane Tillies, who had been reared in the Armstrong household, were the advance agents for the Wyandots. On his arrival Mr. Armstrong established a trading store for the tribe at Westport. The young men of the tribe, led by Matthew Walker, bought horses and came overland. The rest of the tribe went to Cincinnati and engaged two steam-boats, one of which was the "Nodaway," and set out on the long journey down the Ohio river to Cairo, up the Mississippi to St. Louis and thence up the Missouri river to Westport Landing. The long journey ended July 22, 1843.
The Wyandot nation was originally divided into ten tribes, but soon after their migration to the west two of these tribes became extinct. Those who emigrated from Upper Sandusky, about seven hundred in all, were governed by a council consisting of one head chief and six councilmen. At the time of their coming west, Francis A. Hicks was the head chief.
Great disappointment spread among the Wyandots. No lands were open to them here, although by the terms of their Ohio treaty they had been promised one hundred and forty-eight thousand acres west of the Mississippi river. The Delawares were occupying the good lands on the north side of the Kansas river at its mouth, and the Shawnees were located on the south side of the river. So the Wyandots camped on a narrow strip of river bottom lying between the Missouri state line and the Kansas river, which now is a part of Kansas city, Kansas, and covered by a net work of railroad tracks and yards, packing houses, stock yards and manufactories. This strip of land had been reserved for a fort by the United States after the expedition of John T. Long. But when Colonel Henry Leavenworth came there in 1827 he found the land was too low for a fort. He passed on up the Missouri river and Cantonment Leavenworth - now known as Fort Leavenworth - was established on the hill overlooking the Missouri valley above the site of the present city of that name.
The Wyandots then realized that they must purchase lands from some of the tribes that had already migrated to the West. While in Ohio they had made a treaty with the Shawnees, whose reservation was then a strip adjoining the state of Missouri along the south side of the Kansas river, a portion of which should have been given to the Wyandots. But the Shawnees repudiated their treaty. The Wyandots complained that when the Shawnees were homeless they, the Wyandots, had spread the deerskin for them to sit upon, and had given them a large tract of land; and now, when the Wyandots were without a home, the Shawnees would not even sell them one. The Wyandots complained that it was base ingratitude.
The Wyandots at once turned to the Delawares. The negotiations with them resulted in the immediate purchase of thirty-six sections of land, with three sections as a gift, all lying in the fork of the Missouri and Kansas rivers and extending west to a line that runs from near Muncie on the Kansas river due north to the Missouri river. For this land, a little less than twenty-five thousand acres, the Wyandots paid approximately forty-eight thousand dollars. The agreement in writing between the Wyandots and Delawares, was dated December 14, 1843. It follows:
"Whereas, from a long and intimate acquaintance and the ardent friendship which has for a great many years existed between the Delawares and the Wyandots, and from a mutual desire that the same feeling shall continue and be more strengthened by becoming near neighbors to each other: Therefore, the said parties, the Delawares on one side, the Wyandots on the other, in full council assembled, have agreed, to the following stipulations, to-wit:
"Article 1. The Delaware nation of Indians, residing between the Missouri and Kansas rivers, being very anxious to have their uncles, the Wyandots, to settle and reside near them, do hereby donate, grant, and quit-claim forever, to the Wyandot nation, three sections of land, containing six hundred and forty acres each, lying and being situated on the point of the junction of the Missouri and Kansas rivers.
"Article 2. The Delaware chiefs, for themselves and by the unanimous consent of their people, do hereby cede, grant, quit-claim, to the Wyandot nation, and their heirs forever, thirty-six sections of land, each containing six hundred and forty acres, situated between the aforesaid Missouri and Kansas rivers and adjoining on the west the aforesaid three donated sections, making in all thirty-nine sections of land, bounded as follows, viz: Commencing at the point at the junction of the aforesaid Missouri and Kansas rivers, running west along the Kansas river sufficiently far to include the aforesaid thirty-nine sections; thence running north to the Missouri river; thence down the said river with the meanders to the place of beginning; to be surveyed in as near a square form as the rivers and territory coded will admit of.
"Article 3. In consideration of the foregoing donation and cession of land, the Wyandot chiefs bind themselves, successors in office and their people, to pay the Delaware nation of Indians forty-six thousand and eighty dollars as follows, viz: Six thousand and eighty dollars to be paid the year 1844, and four thousand dollars annually thereafter for ten years.
"Article 4. It is hereby understood between the contracting parties that the aforesaid agreement shall not be binding or obligatory until the President of the United States shall have approved the same, and causes it to be recorded in the War Department."
This treaty was not confirmed by the senate until 1848, and in a treaty of the same year (1848) the Wyandots relinquished all claim to the one hundred and forty-eight thousand acres which was to have been given to them by the United States, according to the provisions of the treaty of 1842; and in consideration of this the government agreed to pay them the sum of one hundred and eighty-flve thousand dollars. However, the delay at Washington did not deter the Wyandots in their efforts to locate in their new home. In the month of October of that eventful year, 1843, the Wyandots abandoned the camp below the Kansas river and crossed over into their new lands. A feeling of sadness prevailed among them, for their stay of little more than two months had caused the deaths of sixty of their members by sickness.
The Wyandots, having at last reached the land of promise, at once began to provide themselves with comfortable homes and to improve their lands. Soon a village of cabins built of hewn logs, cut from the forest that covered these hills and valleys, sprang up here on the site of Kansas City, Kansas. The hitherto rude wilderness over which the Indians had roamed and perhaps fought many battles in the centuries gone by, soon was transformed into a community which bore evidence of civilization and refinement. A house was erected in which the Wyandots held their councils and in which John McIntyre Armstrong began teaching the first school July 1, 1844, less than one year after their arrival from Ohio. And the Wyandots did not let a year pass, before they had provided themselves with a house of worship, for they had brought with them from Ohio the organization of their Methodist mission, and out of it grew the Washington Boulevard Methodist Episcopal church.
John McIntyre Armstrong is said to have been the first of the Wyandots to erect a dwelling, although he was only a few days in advance of others in completing it. It was built of logs and stood about fifty yards northeast of what is now the intersection of Fifth street and Freeman avenue. It was occupied by the Armstrong family until 1847. A more imposing residence was built among forest trees on the sloping hillside about one hundred and fifty yards to the southwest of the Fifth street freight depot of the Kansas City-Northwestern Railroad, and for many years it was the center of culture and religious influence. While John McIntyre Armstrong was a man of education, his wife, Lucy B. Armstrong - the daughter of the Rev. Russell Biglow, one of the early Methodist missionary preachers in Ohio - was a Christian woman of refinement and influence.
Governor William Walker erected a dwelling on the north bank of Jersey creek about one hundred feet north of Sixth street and Virginia avenue. Adjoining it was a log building that was erected by the Delawares when they owned the lands and it had been used as a pay house in which the Delawares received their annuities from the agent of the United States. The two were joined together and afterwards improved by the man who was to become the provisional governor of the Nebraska territory. Writing of this historic old building and the great man who occupied it, William Elsey Connelly says: " From the beginning it was the center of culture and of the 'Indian Country.' Every traveler and scientific explorer made it a point to visit 'West Jersey,' as Governor Walker called his homestead, and enjoy the bounteous hospitality of its owner and sage. Here he gathered his books about him and led the ideal life of a gentleman of ample means and refined tastes, for twenty years. Such happiness and peace came to him here that when death invaded this delightful home and left him alone, he welcomed death for himself, and died of a broken heart. Of these sad days he wrote: 'Now I stand like a blasted oak in a desert, its top shivered by a bolt hurled from the armory of Jove, and I will say
"'Sweet vale of Wyandotte, how calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade with the friends I love best;
When the storms which we feel in this cold world shall cease,
Our hearts like thy waters shall mingle in peace.'"
No greater man has ever lived in Kansas. He was the first man here who devoted himself to literary pursuits. No man can read the delightful journals left by him without being filled with aspirations for higher and nobler things - without being filled with a longing for the simple, beautiful life with books and singing birds and rolling woods.
Governor Walker, among strangers, would be taken for a full white man. He was educated, had been a postmaster in Ohio, and wrote interestingly for newspapers. He frequently delivered lectures of much interest. He was provisional governor of the territory and was a member of the territorial legislature after Kansas was organized. Not only did he speak the Indian language, but conversed in English and French. A perfect gentleman in bearing, he lived here until 1875, when he died at the home of a friend in Kansas City. He was buried in Oak Grove cemetery, that city, and no monument of any kind has been erected over his grave.
Matthew Walker, a brother of the governor, lived on a farm in the northeast part of the village. His brick residence stood on an eminence north of Jersey creek, corresponding to Splitlog's hill south of Jersey creek. He died in 1860. Joel Walker, another brother, died in the fall of 1857.
The Wyandots cultivated farms, builded houses and barns, planted orchards and opened roads. They were seemingly intent on establishing those things that are for the convenience of their neighbors, as well as for their own use. They owned and worked a ferry over the Kansas river near its mouth. Several of the more advanced in civilization and learning engaged in mercantile pursuits in Kansas City and Wyandotte. Among these were Joel Walker, Isaiah Walker and Henry Garrett. John M. Armstrong, the school teacher, was a lawyer, having studied and practiced in Ohio before coming to Kansas. Silas Armstrong, his brother, was well educated, intelligent, and had made a goodly fortune. George I. Clark lived on the north side in what afterwards was Quindaro township. He died in 1857. Francis Hicks, who was head chief, lived about one mile northwest of the mouth of the Kansas river. He died in 1855. His father, John Hicks, lived a mile further west, and he also died in 1855. Half a mile to the west was the home of Jacob Whitcrow who migrated to the Indian territory in 1871. A little south of Whitcrow lived Robert Robetaille, who also went to the territory with the tribe. He was at one time treasurer of Wyandotte county. Noah E. Zane resided about seven miles west of the mouth of the Kansas river and was chiefly noted for the excellent fruit he grew on his trees. He died in 1887. Charles B. Garrett, a white man who was adopted by the tribe, lived just north of Jersey creek and one half mile west of the Missouri river. He died in 1868. Esquire Gray Eyes, the unschooled but eloquent exhorter of the Wyandots, lived between the homes of George I. Clark and Francis Hicks. His son John was well educated and often acted as interpreter, going to the territory with the tribe. Abelard Guthrie, the delegate to the Thirty-second congress, was a white man, but married Quindaro Brown and was adopted into the tribe. He died in 1873. Matthew Mudeater lived two miles west of the mouth of the Kansas river and had a fine orchard.
Mathias Splitlog, an Indian of large business operations, lived on what then was known as "Splitlog's Hill," the house standing near the site of the great St. Mary's stone Catholic church of this day, one of the most magnificent religious edifices in the west. Splitlog was a Mohawk Indian born in Canada, but his wife was a Wyandot, a daughter of Mrs. Hannah Armstrong, who lived on the hill on the north side) of the Kansas river valley near the present city park.
Splitlog was a mechanical genius. He had a mill near his house, in which he ground corn by horse power, built by himself. He afterwards erected a saw mill near where the Union Pacific Armstrong shops were built. He constructed the mill and installed the engine himself, and he was his own engineer. During the Civil war Splitlog built a small steamboat for George P. Nelson to ply the upper waters of the Missouri. It carried supplies to the Kansas sufferers while running between Wyandotte and Atchison, Nelson serving as captain and Splitlog as engineer. In 1861 the steamboat was pressed into service to carry Colonel Mulligan's soldiers down the Missouri river to Lexington. Splitlog and George Shreiner were in the boat - Splitlog as engineer and Shreiner as pilot. The boat landed in Lexington in time to be surrounded by General Price, and Shreiner lost an arm before Colonel Mulligan surrendered.
Many stories are told of the remarkable shrewdness of this Indian in driving a bargain. When the Wyandot lands were divided, Splitlog took his share in the bottoms along the Kansas river. He sold his bottom lands to the railroads and they made him the wealthiest Indian in the tribe. With the Wyandots he moved to the Indian Territory, in 1874, and built a fine saw mill and grist mill. He later made investments in southwestern Missouri, platting a town there and calling it Splitlog. He also built a railroad fifty miles long running from Neosho south. Splitlog was known as the Indian millionaire and lived to be nearly ninety years old.
Few of the leaders among the Wyandots reached an advanced age. Silas Armstrong was not quite fifty-six when he died; George I. Clark was fifty-six; Matthew Walker, only about fifty, and William Walker, his brother was not over sixty-five at his death. John Sarahass and Matthew Mudeater were not over seventy. Next to Splitlog in age was Tauroomee, or John Hat, who was between seventy and eighty.
The leading chiefs of the Wyandots, from the time they settled in 1843, until they became citizens in 1855, were Frances A. Hicks and Tauroomee, James Bigtree, James Washington, Sarahass, George Armstrong, John Gibson, John W. Gray-Eyes, Henry Jacques, William Walker, Silas Armstrong, George I. Clark, Matthew Mudeater and George I. Clark. The first United States agent to the Wyandots, in Kansas, was Major Phillips, of Columbus, Ohio; interpreters, John M. Armstrong and George I. Clark. The second United States agent was Dr. Richard M. Hewitt; the third and last, exclusively for the Wyandots Major Moseley. William Walker and Silas Armstrong were interpreters from 1849 to the close of the agency.
The first wedding in Kansas was that of Abelard Guthrie and Quindaro Nancy Brown. It took place in the cabin of George I. Clark, near what is now Third street and Armstrong avenue, early in the year 1844. Abelard Guthrie was a white man of education and refinement who had come west from Ohio with the Wyandots. He was one of the founders of the town of Quindaro, which was named for his wife. She was a Wyandot of the Big Turtle clan, her Indian name being "Seh Quindaro," which has been translated to mean "Daughter of the Sun." She had an infusion of white blood, and the story of her ancestry is one of the most romantic in the history of the North American Indians.
The marriage of Hiram M. Northrup to Miss Margaret Clark was celebrated at the Methodist Episcopal parsonage November 27, 1845, by the Rev. James Wheeler, missionary to the Wyandots. The bride was a daughter of Thomas Clark, and, by marriage, Mr. Northrup became an adopted member of the Wyandots. He had come out from Ohio and had been living on the Missouri side, engaged in banking and merchandising with Joseph S. Chick. After the marriage he erected a log cabin near the present intersection of Eighth street and Minnesota avenue. It was there the young coupIe went to housekeeping, and it was there they lived during the remainder of their lives, though the old log house soon gave place to a more substantial residence. Mr. Northrup was a trusted friend and counselor of the Wyandots and made frequent trips to Washington in their interests. He was a banker in Kansas City, Kansas, up to the time of his death in the spring of 1893.
The certificate of the Northrup-Clark marriage was recorded at Leavenworth. The first marriage certificate entered on the record after Wyandotte county was organized was that of John Thrasher and Anna Berering. The ceremony was preformed by Byron Judd, justice of the peace.
Into the history of some of the old families of the Wyandots is woven many strange Indian romances of the early settlement of America, and the pages are filled with tales of deeds of daring.
When a young man Robert Armstrong, father of Chief Silas Armstrong, and the cultured educator, John Armstrong, was taken temporarily into the family of a man who had no children of his own. One day he was captured by the Indians. He is said to have been a handsome youth and, although he was made to run the gauntlet, his captors applied the lashes very lightly. He was adopted into the tribe in full fellowship and married Sallie Zane, whose father was English and whose mother was French; and from this union descended the Armstrongs.
Quindaro Nancy Brown, who married Abelard Guthrie and for whom the old town of Quindaro was named, was born of parents whose history was filled with romance. William Elsey Connelley, the historian, in an address on "The Emigrant Indian Tribes of Wyandotte County," before the high school pupils in Kansas City, Kansas, in November, 1901, thus told the story of the Brown family, and also gave an insight into other old Wyandot families.
"Adam Brown was captured in Virginia by the Wyandots when a child; he was adopted and brought up by them. When grown, he married a Wyandot woman, by whom he had a large family, became a chief of the tribe and was a man of great influence with his people. His son, Mrs. Guthrie's father, married a Shawnee girl, who had a romantic ancestry. About 1760, a Jewish lad was arrested in London charged with clipping coins. It is certain that he was not guilty of the charge, for he was taken before one of those courts in the interest of those engaged in stealing and kidnapping British subjects and selling them into slavery in the American colonies. Samuel Sanders (that was the lad's name) was convicted and sent to Virginia and sold into slavery. He broke away from his bondage and fled to North Carolina; there he became acquainted with Daniel Boone and accompanied him on a journey to Kentucky. Here he was captured by the Shawnee Indians, carried to the Scioto towns and adopted by the captors. He married a Shawnee woman; their daughter married the younger Adam Brown, and became the mother of Mrs. Guthrie.
"Among the most romantic incidents in all America we can class the ancestry of the Walker family, perhaps the most honored in all the modern history of the Wyandots. William Walker, Sr., was captured in Virginia when a child by the Delawares, sometime about the period of Dunmore's war. He was carried to the Delaware towns on Mad river, in Ohio, and adopted into the tribe. He chanced to go with some members of the tribe to Detroit, to visit the British commander of that post. Here he met Adam Brown, who had known his family in Virginia. Brown desired to get possession of him to bring him up in his own home, for their families had been friends. But young Walker was now a member of the Delaware tribe, and there was no law by which he could be changed from one tribe to another. The Wyandot chiefs proposed that their nephews, the Delawares, let the young man come and live with his uncles, the Wyandots, and the commander of the post would give the Delawares presents from the king's storehouse. This arrangement was agreed to, and young Walker became an adopted Wyandot. He lived in the house of Adam Brown until his marriage. His wife was a young Wyandot girl of great ability and of fair education. And her ancestry was as romantic and strange as any ever described in tale or story. At the massacre of Wyoming, in the War of the Revolution, Queen Esther, an Indian woman descended from Madam Montour, took some twenty of the captured soldiers and settlers to a point some distance from the battle field. There she placed them around a large boulder, now known as 'bloody rock.' She then took a tomahawk and began to chant a death-song as she passed slowly around the helpless prisoners; when she had completed the circle, she slew a captive. This was repeated until every prisoner, except one who escaped, was slain by her hand. She had lost a son in a battle with the Americans the day before, and this was her revenge. Her daughter was then married to a young Irishman, James Rankin, who was born in Tyrone. Her name was Mary, and she was a devout Catholic and a woman of remarkable intellectual powers, in whose nature and characteristics the traits of her French ancestors predominated, in this respect being very different from her mother. She retained the name of her French family, and was married as Mary Montour. James Rankin was long in the service of the Hudson Bay Company, and amassed a considerable fortune.
"The young man, William Walker, who grew up in the house of Adam Brown, took to wife Catherine Rankin, the daughter of James and Mary Montour Rankin. Miss Rankin had been carefully educated in the best schools to be found in Pennsylvania, and she taught her husband to read both French and English. He pursued these studies until he obtained a fair education. He became a partisan of the Americans in the War of 1812, and about half the Wyandot nation followed him and Brown, The other half fought for the British. Among the children of William Walker by this marriage were Governor William Walker, Matthew R. Walker, Joel Walker and the wife of Charles B. Garrett.
"James Rankin, the brother of Catherine Rankin Walker, was in the service of Aaron Burr and Blennerhasset for years. He was sent to the Chickasaws and Choctaws to enlist them in ambitious schemes for a Western Empire; he labored among them six years, and was completely successful. He often said that if Burr had done his part, the whole scheme would have succeeded.
"And while I am speaking of romantic things connected with the Wyandots, I will mention the Zane family. The founder of this family came to America with William Penn, was one of the founders of Philadelphia, and one of the streets of the town still bears his name. One of his sons settled on the south branch of the Potomac, and had a large family. The Wyandots pushed even to these parts in their predatory forays, in one of which they carried away young Isaac Zane, took him to their towns and adopted him, and when grown gave him a Wyandot woman to wife. The Zanes of Wyandotte county are descended from him. His brothers founded Wheeling, West Virginia, and Zanesville, Ohio. His sister, Miss Elizabeth Zane, immortalized herself in the seige of Wheeling, in the old Indian wars.
The incident that placed the name of Elizabeth Zane among those of the world's heroines occurred in 1774, two years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. A company of immigrants located on the Ohio river near the site of the present city of Wheeling, West Virginia. They built their log houses around a block house which served as a fort in which to take refuge when attacked by the Indians. It was called Fort Henry. Three years later they fled to the block house for safety, being attacked by a band of Indians. The siege lasted for several days, the settlers making a brave stand against a foe far superior in numbers. Finally the settlers' firing grew less. The Indians divined the cause, for they had been waiting for the settlers' supply of powder to give out. They became bolder and crept closer and closer towards the block house.
Suddenly Colonel Zane remembered that in his log house, two hundred yards distance, was a keg of powder. But who should go and fetch it? Volunteers were called for. The response was like that at Santiago, more than one hundred years afterwards, when every man in Sampson's fleet volunteered to ride the Merrimac into the harbor to block it. Every settler in the block house volunteered. While they were parleying, Elizabeth Zane slipped out from among the women and girls who had been casting bullets and loading guns for their husbands and fathers, and said: "No, you shall not go. Every man here has a wife and family dependent on him. I will fetch the powder. If I fail, your defense will not be weakened as it would be if you lost a man."
The men protested, but the young girl only became more determined in her resolve to brave the fire and the tomahawks of the Indians. She bounded out of the block house and ran swiftly to her brother's house, while the settlers imprisoned in the fort prayed for her safe return. Soon they saw her leave the hut, carrying the can of precious powder. It was heavy, but her strong arms bore it up and she made all possible speed back to the fort. The Indians did not realize the meaning of her mission until she had almost reached the fort. Then with a wild yell they sent a volley of bullets after her. They whizzed past her head and some of them touched her clothing, but she pressed into the fort without receiving a single wound. And thus it was Elizabeth Zane who saved the day for the fort.
Now, one hundred and thirty-seven years after, the great-great-granddaughters of Colonel Isaac Zane - the three Conley sisters of Kansas City, Kansas - are showing the same characteristics found then in Elizabeth Zane, by guarding the graves of their Indian ancestors in Huron Place Cemetery to prevent the despoilation of that sacred spot.
Another romantic incident in relation to a Wyandot family is related by Mr. Connelley. "During the Revolution, Hopoca, or Captain Pipe, was chief of the Delawares. He was a brave and warlike man, and endowed with a fine mind. The histories of Ohio and the works of Heckewelder are full of references to him. He lived with his people, the Wyandots, on the plains of Sandusky. The Delawares here conceded the leadership and management of Indian affairs to the Wyandots, then under the rule of the great Sar-star-ra-tse, known in history as the Half King.
"The Christian Indians at Gnadenhutten were all Delawares, and were murdered in cold blood, men, women and children, by a band of Pennsylvanians under command of one Williamson. The government of the United States desired to drive the Wyandots from Upper Sandusky, for they were strongly in sympathy with the British, and an expedition, under command of Colonel Crawford, was sent against the Wyandot towns. Now the Delawares believed that Crawford had commanded the expedition that murdered the Moravians at Gnadenhutten, which was wholly wrong, as he had had nothing whatever to do with that horrible deed of blood. The campaign against Sandusky was a complete failure, and ended in disaster and rout. Colonel Crawford was captured, and Captain Pipe burned him at the stake in revenge for the murder of his Moravian brethren.
"Captain Pipe had a son who was also called Captain Pipe, and who married a Wyandot woman. From this union resulted the Pipe family in the Wyandot tribe. A little boy was captured by the Wyandots in one of their expeditions against the Cherokees, and, from the circumstances of his capture, named Mudeater. When he grew up, he married a Wyandot woman and founded the Mudeater family of the Wyandots. One of the oldest and most honored families in Wyandotte county, that of the late Frank H. Betton, comes from the union of the Pipe and Mudeater families of the Wyandots."
All of the incidents relating to these old Wyandot families written by Mr. Connelley are found in his "Provisional Government of Nebraska Territory."
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