Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 14

        Cobmoosa and Meccissininni were quite different in how they approached the customs of Washington.  Cobmoosa when visiting made no bones about the fact he would always be Indian and dress like an Indian and be nothing less than Indian. 
        Meccissininni was just the opposite. 
        He always tried dressing like the pale faces and went so far to hide his skin.  On the brightest hot summer days it was a strange scene to see an Indian chief walking in Grand Rapids shielding his facial skin from the sun with a raised umbrella.  Tanning skin further he did not like.  You could say he wasn't comfortable in his own skin.
        Meccissininni, the young chief was accompanied to Washington by Rev. Slater, Louis Campau and Rix Robinson, while Cobmoosa helped Chief Wobwindigo.  They all traveled together as did many other chiefs from the whole treaty region.  Tribes in the far north weren't infected with the small pox epidemics, but it sure was running rampant in the Grand River valley and Wobwindigo was suffering from it.  Some Indian statistics say upwards of 4000 had died from 1831-1837.
        Young Chief Mecissininni was about 45 years old, but he knew enough about the white settlers to travel like the white brethren and dress like a pale face.  Gen. Jackson was not impressed with Mecissininni upon their first contact and yet to humor Mecissininni the President had his tailors make him a good suit of clothes and insisted that Mecissininni tell him what kind he would prefer.
        Since "General Jackson was Chief of his people and he was Chief of the red men" it would be he thought appropriate if he had a suit like the General.  It was a black frock coat, black satin vest, black pantaloons, silk stockings, and pumps; but the best was what Gen. Jackson wore at the time.  A white bell-crowned hat with a weed on it.  What Mecissininni didn't understand was Jackson was in mourning after the death of his wife.  The weed was a badge of mourning and Meccissininni placed one on his hat which Gen. Jackson and his entire Cabinet were not amused.
        Meccissininni wore his outfit home and wherever he went he was delighted with the warm receptions he received in different cities on his return home.  Jackson held his tongue and the initial Treaty of 1836 was signed.  Gen. Jackson had made plans for the event the Chiefs did not sign in Washington  - they'd be arrested taken by military escort to the reservations.  Those who didn't sign would never return to their villages to stir up trouble with settlers.
        When Meccissininni returned home to his village, the Indian council met to hear the specifics of the treaty where this new eloquent orator gave his assessment of the treaty.  Washington purchased the land and they were to remove west of the Mississippi River what he thought would be a certain amount of years; (Congress forgot to add a removal date on the treaty) where new land would be given to them on reservations.  Several other Chiefs balked and didn't like this arrangement and were opposed to leaving the lands of their fathers.  Meccissininni then delivered his most eloquent speech in support of it as did Cobmoosa, Wabasis and Chief Wobwindigo.
        In his remarks Meccissininni said he would rather like to remain here and be buried where his forefathers were buried.  His people would fair better if he went west of the Mississippi with them so they wouldn't become treated poorly because of association with pale faces.
        In 1841 Mecissininni was invited to a Fourth of July celebration and after an oration he was called upon to toast the day and said, "The pale faces and the red men - the former a great nation, and the latter the remnants of a great people; may they ever meet in unity together, and celebrate this great day as a band of brothers."
        A time later Meccissininni  bartered for some goods at a provisional store on the west side of the Grand River near where the old ferry crossed.  He asked for credit and would pay at the next annuity payment.  After the next payment time the Chief stopped to settle his bill.  He told the grocer he must put up a paper, send it to his home, and he would pay it.  He wanted to do business like white people.
        The grocer made out his bill and appeared at the Chief's house.  He was ushered in with all politeness imaginable and the bill was paid, but he told the grocer he want a receipt.  The grocer showed him his presents and while doing so Mecissininni donned his suit which Gen. Jackson had presented him, then brushed his hair back and began imitating the walk of Gen. Jackson and took long strides back and forth across the room.  He then stepped short and quick to imitate Vice-President Martin Van Buren.  After watching this for an hour he pleasantly left and Meccissininni gave him a polite invitation to call again.  The President and Washington's atmosphere had impressed the Chief. (continued).

Monday, April 20, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J.

         Sohnago was the last son of Chief Wobwindigo.  While the older Chief Wobwindigo was on a journey to Washington with Cobmoosa and Wabasis,  Rix Robinson and Chief Meccessininni nearly two-thirds of Wobwindigo's village died of small pox. 
         Wobwindigo was stricken with fever earlier from small pox and survived the epidemic in 1834, but was sickened so badly that Cobmoosa was put in charge of tending to the sick and dying.  He made Cobmoosa third in command of his village. 
        Wobwindigo's health improved and it was getting close for them to leave for the initial signing in Washington on March 28, 1836.  Cobmoosa and Wabasis were traveling guests.  They never signed this Treaty of 1836.  Their real task was to prevent hostilities between Indians and settlers leading up to signing.
        Sohnago feared the sickness that had claimed his two brothers lives along with other family members and would strike him.  Afraid he took off into the bush heading for Gull Prairie to escape death by small pox.  He drank in excess to forget his cowardice and misery.  He was no longer welcome in other small villages for fear he could already be infected and cause the deaths of many other Indians with whom he had contact with.
        Sohnago's  desire was to leave the village before Wobwindigo returned.   He refused to take care of his people. When Wobwindigo returned he felt betrayed that his last remaining son had refused to become chief and so Cobmoosa became Wobwindigo's second in command.   Shortly after returning Wobwindigo started getting weaker, the sickness had returned, but he still traveled to Mackinaw for the formal signing at Mackinaw on May 28, 1836 and after the formal signing of the treaty at Mackinaw returned to his village only to learn that his son Sohnago never returned.  He was devastated.
        Cobmoosa's heart as a was pure gold. When they returned to Wobwindigo's village Cobmoosa accepted the challenge to take care of his father-in-law and provide for the tribe's needs. 
        Cobmoosa was a Potwatomie living in Wobwindigo's Ottawa village.  That wasn't important.  What was most important was that Cobmoosa became the village caregiver.  Wobwindigo's health was declining and death was getting near so Wobwindigo with all his strength and waning  voice turned over his Ottawa village to Cobmoosa and made him the last remaining Chief of the Ottawas in the Grand River valley.
        Cobmoosa was the life saver of Wobwindigo's village.  In the absence of Sohnago he led fishing and hunting parties up the Flat River to acquire furs for bartering for goods and food for surviving tribal members.   It was thought that Sohnago was fleeing south, but somewhere he found some firewater and in a drunken stupor barged in on Mrs. Thomson.
        Lots of other stories about the legend of Cobmoosa and the plight of the Indians in the Grand River Valley continues until next time.  Several other renegades will surface to challenge Cobmoosa and Wabasis including a fascinating story about Chief Meccessininni and President Andrew Jackson. (continued)

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 13

        Chief Cobmoosa, Noonday & Kewaycooshcum were three Indians who never left for Indian Reservations from 1821-1833.  They remained until they heard there was the possibility that Washington wanted another treaty for the western half of territory between the north shore of the Grand River to Mackinaw.
        The settlers were already pushing against the south shore of the Grand River and so was born two equally dangerous renegades named Negake and Max Sauba who vowed a rein of terror against all they met.  Arriving settlers to the northern edge of the 1821 treaty were being verbally abused with death threats and these two could become a problem within the tribes.  They were constantly badgering settlers and in fact tensions were rising and when Cobmoosa heard rumblings in villages across the Grand River it was he who dampened the fires of the renegades. 
        Any settler who engaged Negake and Max Sauba would reap a world of intimidation and receive death threats if settlers violated Indian Territory north of the Grand River.  Luther Lincoln was the exception.  Negake was not a Grand River Indian, but was accepted in Potawatomi villages until they left for reservations.  He was from an Eastern war-like tribe and for that reason was not welcome in Chippewa or Ottawa villages.  He was constantly spewing his hatred for non-Indians and the missionaries knew he would be trouble for Washington.
       The mixed tribal villages feared retribution from Washington if renegades began terrorizing the northern frontier of the 1821 treaty.  Cobmoosa knew that Washington fathers took a dim view of any Indian aggression seriously.  Non-aggression Indians would get the lion's share of the blame if hostilities broke out no matter what Indian; good or bad was at fault.  Cobmoosa sprang to action and quelled the threats in the villages.  He countered that Indians couldn't win against Washington - to do otherwise would be futile.
        When the villages disbanded at the rapids villages Negake lived at Plainfield Village for a time and one day while out walking he came upon a Federal government surveyor who had accidentally gone across the river.  Negake confronted the trespassing surveyor and in a brawl killed him near the 43rd parallel.  Tribes within the Grand River valley were enraged and not impressed with Negake's actions and sanctioned him for death under Indian law.  Cobmoosa didn't like what he heard about the grizzly murder of the government surveyor.  He felt it was a senseless killing that could bring harm to those tribes who were friendly and trying to adopt to the farming ways of settlers.
        Two bad Indians, the interlopers from a distant tribe was all that was needed to turn the Grand River running red.  The renegades drifted back and forth between tribes spewing their hatred for settlers and constantly trying to spur on the tribes for war, but Cobmoosa and young Wabasis would show up to counter any gains they had made.  This infuriated the renegades and the hatred for Wabasis.
        One dark night the renegades on ponies began nightly rituals of threatening the homesteaders in the Thornapple and Coldwater River area in the mid 1830's.  Mrs. Thomson of Bowne Township got  a frightening surprise.  A drunken ex-Indian chief named Soh-na-go burst inside her crude cabin.  He sat down in her rocking chair drinking some rot-gut firewater.
         Nearly out of his head and finding her chair to his liking, he rocked it so hard he threw himself right out and into the fireplace.  Horrified Mrs. Thomson made a grab for him to pull him out, but he became belligerent and threatened to stab her with his knife.  She fearing for her life grabbed the fireplace axe and threatened to kill him if he advanced towards her.
        Sohnago sprang from the fire running past her.  He stood in the doorway yelling that within many moons there was going to be a great Indian battle against white settlers - to kill her and drive others from Indian lands.  Under the Treaty of 1821 any Indian still residing in the area was an illegal squatter and gave up the right to own land south of the Grand River.  He was resisting Washington's directives to leave.  Moving south Sohnago in his drunken stupor yelled his battle threats to other settlers, too, and they were afraid.
        News of an Indian uprising spread quickly by canoe down the Thornapple River and Grand River to all settlements within the Treaty of 1821 to beware of loudmouth renegade Indians.  Just the threats of an Indian attack at Lowell was enough to stop settlers and farmers from proceeding further towards Indian territory until the initial Treaty of 1836 was signed on March 28, 1836.
        Still the threats made by renegades was enough for President Andrew Jackson to dispatch a military detachment with 2 cannons in tow into the Michigan wilderness from Detroit. Jackson wanted to make sure no hostilities broke out after the treaty was signed.  Settlers needed assurances the government would act to protect them.
        Cobmoosa sprang to action and sent runners to Wabasis and both proceeded quickly to council meetings where the renegades were demanding that the tribes go to war. Wabasis would arrive first by canoe while Cobmoosa walked.  War drums beat louder each night, the sky ablaze with the bonfire light and towering smoke plumes in the north territory and again Cobmoosa and Wabasis with eloquence quelled the disturbances by renegade Indians.
        So who was Sohnago and what was his relationship with Cobmoosa?  (continued)


Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 12

        Cobmoosa was a friend to whoever came ashore at the "rapids" village.  Didn't matter whether white or red.  If someone asked a question this Indian historian could provide in the answer.     Cobmoosa and wives were just leaving the old rapids village bound for Chief Kewaycooshcum's permanent village on the north side of the Grand River near the mouth of Flat River. 
        Cobmoosa was surprised when a white man named Luther Lincoln stepped off his large raft and came onshore in 1831.  Cobmoosa, age 54 slowly walked down and welcomed Lincoln with a firm handshake and struck up a friendship.  Lincoln arrived several months in advance of the Dexter Party.  His rafts carried huge provisions of household goods and livestock.  Lincoln asked Cobmoosa if he could help him find his new parcel of land in Grandville and Cobmoosa agreed to lead the way, but he was going by land and Lincoln by water.  Cobmoosa had left during the night walking thru the thick brush along the river.  Without his wives he could move swiftly.
        By all accounts Lincoln was a friend to all Indians.  He was wealthy, a man of means and was well respected wherever he wandered.  Cobmoosa found Lincoln's property after a swift days walk in Grandville in 1831).   They became good friends.  Cobmoosa helped clear a spot for Lincoln's cabin.  Lincoln was the first pioneer settler.
        In a February 1832 letter to his relative living in New York he told them there wasn't any snow nor did the ground freeze and together with his Indian helpers they were able to cut down trees for a crude cabin and barns and till the ground for planting.  He referred to the area as a tropical paradise, but that was short lived when winter returned next season.  It was brutal that winter. 
        For hundreds of years Indians from the Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinaw regions each fall migrated south and stayed in villages within a half-mile of the Grand River and Kalamazoo River, because it was so brutal in winter up north.  This was their version of going south for the winter and was dubbed a tropical paradise.
        Lincoln reported that the wolves growled from the brush by day, but at dusk the livestock were brought inside the crude cabin with him and his Huron and Wyandot Indian farm laborers.  The wolves circled the cabin at night then attacked trying to claw, dig or chew their way inside.  Lincoln and his farm helpers would shack up together inside and take turns sitting in his crudely made rocking chair, their backs kitty-corner to the fireplace while guarding the door with their long rifles, knives and axes. 
        This enabled them to see the eyes and teeth of the wolves before they gained entry.  Firing any gun inside the small environment was dangerous and scared livestock.  It made human ears deaf for days.  Grandville, like the rapids village, was always under siege by wolves, cougars and bears.  The Indians always had huge bonfires at night to ward off the wilderness pests.
        The Grand River watershed was hostile territory.  The mosquitoes, deer and blowflys were relentless.  No matter how hot and humid it was nobody took a bath for weeks or months from June- August.  To do otherwise made man a magnet for biting insects.  It was untamed wilderness north of the Grand River and several years later the quietness of night sounds was broken by the sounds of war drums, which seemingly got louder with each rising moon.
        Lincoln, too, was a well-educated wealthy man who preferred living with the Indians.  He made friends easily, but when more and more white settlers arrived in Grandville, near the village of Chief Astaquet, he and his helpers thought it was getting too crowded so they packed up and left.  They scouted for months up the Flat River and after the Treaty of 1836 was signed they purchased a 100 acres of land on the east side of the Flat River a mile north of the Grand River near Chief Kewaycooshcum's village at Lowell. 
       Chief Kewaycooshcum was murdered by two drunken Indians at the mouth of Coldbrook Creek in late summer 1836.  His body taken upriver and buried near the top of Plainfield Village bluffs so his spirit could look across the Grand River to see what he sold to President James Monroe in 1821. 
        Several years later Lincoln felt crowded and moved to another chosen spot in the vicinity of Cobmoosa's favorite hunting spot.  Lincoln Lake in northeastern Kent County was named in honor of Luther Lincoln.
        History doesn't record who brought the Small Pox epidemic that killed upwards of 4000 Indians in the Grand River Valley from 1831-37.  Under the treaty approximately 17,000 Indians lived. When the Dexter Party came floating down they stopped for several months above Chief Kewaycooshcums village because they feared that disease, too, in 1832.  Another outbreak occurred shortly before the Treaty of 1836 was initially signed in Washington. More about that later. (continued)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 11

        Cobmoosa was the Grand River Valley's Indian historian.  As an educated shrewd debater and orator he was fearless and incorruptible.  He was frank and spoke his truthful mind.  He was a man of independence, but took the needs of others seriously.
        He let others who were opposite his thinking speak their minds, but it was he who took it upon himself to tell others what might happen should they not see things his way.  He along with Wabasis and Boshaw, another half-breed within Chief Hazy Cloud's tribe at Ada continually stated the facts at war council meetings.  War with Washington was bad.  The Indian could not win.
        Cobmoosa was a visionary.  He saw life from different perspectives - the white and red mans means of living and was impressed with what he saw in Washington.  Fact is, Chief Kewaycooshcum (Long Nose), old Meccissininni (Black Skin), Tobinabee, Mateae, Nowaquakezick (Noonday) traveling with Cobmoosa, and Astaquet all signed the Treaty of 1821 deeding all lands south of the Grand River to the Federal government.  This treaty was small compared to the Treaty of 1836.
       Upon returning to the "rapids" village Cobmoosa understood it'd only be a short time before the Indian's would begin to feel and see the influx of settlers into the succeeded lands all the way to the south shore of the Grand River valley.  No matter where Cobmoosa walked in the Grand River Valley he was welcome anywhere whether a short or long visit.
        Cobmoosa was a skillful hunter.  Many tribes would not exist if it weren't for his ability to fish and hunt for food.  He led many youthful hunting parties north into the wilds of the Grand River watershed or upper Flat River country before 1830 because game was getting scarce.  The fur trading business along with the influx of white settlers; farmers and lumbermen, were beginning to take its toll on fur-bearing and game animals, but the Grand River was still a major franchise fur-trading route to Grand Haven. 
        He frequented Plainfield Village (Chief Neogamah) and Chief Kewaycooshcum's village at Lowell.  His favorite was Chief Wobwindigo's village near Ionia where he was sweet with three of Wobwindigo's daughters and married the three simultaneously in the mid-1820's.
        Kewaycooshcum's village on the Thornapple River left for the Missouri reservations too, but he stayed behind and was later killed in 1836 by two Indians at the mouth of Coldbrook Creek (south of Leonard Street) north of Grand Rapids.  They sought vengeance for him signing the Treaty of 1821.  His body was buried below the bluffs of Plainfield Village so his spirit could see what he sold.
        Cobmoosa's relatives and friends had left before 1825 and he didn't leave the rapids village until 1829.    One day of his choosing he found a shallow spot in the Grand River at the head of Grand Island and waded across during a dry period to stay in an Ottawa village.  Young chief Meccissininni (age 45) (Black Skin) formed his own band near Greenville.  Any young brave who marries the a chief's daughter is made young chief. 
        While traveling on foot Cobmoosa had time to think about his direction in life.  Upon signing the 1821 treaty all those Indians living south of the Grand River were to vacate and remove themselves to Missouri reservations, but Cobmoosa and Noonday stayed behind to help the Catholics and Baptists build and manage their missions.  Many of the Indians upriver beyond Ada were already Roman Catholics as was Cobmoosa.  Noonday was  Protestant, but both stayed friends despite religious differences.
        Cobmoosa when accepting Christianity before leaving the rapids village confessed had he understood religion sooner he wouldn't have married three of Chief Wobwindigo's daughters simultaneously as one Indian style marriage.  Modern man has trouble with one legal marriage.
        Throughout his life Cobmoosa, at least for the first 54 years, was a zealous pagan and an active participant in the ceremonies and rites of People of Three Fires in the Grand River valley.  He was medicine man and magician.  He healed the sick and buried many of his people who caught settler diseases like small pox and other ailments.
        In the mid 1820's Cobmoosa was already teaching Wabasis (age16-18) how to succeed in the white mans world and together they became intelligent and shrewd debaters and orators.  Both were forceful orators capable of command performances to thwart any threats of war with Washington.
        One day soon the destinies of Cobmoosa & Wabasis,  young Chief Meccissininni and General Jackson and President Andrew Jackson and President Franklin Pierce's world would meld together and put to rest Indian treaties in Michigan.  Cobmoosa and Wabasis (age 25) in 1836 were a formidable pair against the renegades plotting to kill incoming settlers. Continued)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 10

        President Jackson was an experienced military man before seeking political office.  He organized and mobilized a force of 2500 militiamen for the war effort in 1812.  Under President James Madison (1809-17) Jackson and his militia defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. 
        Under President James Monroe (1817-25) Jackson led his expeditionary force into Florida in 1817 to stop the Seminole Indian raids on US territory.  Jackson here gained much knowledge in how in the near future to engage Indians.  He realized that westward migrations of settlers would impact the Indians and if treaties weren't enacted bloodshed and hostilities were going to get ugly.  Future presidents must tread lightly against Indians.
        When the War of 1812 started some 1500 miles north Noonday's son Mexicinini reportedly torched Buffalo, New York.  He along with Chief Tecumseh were responsible for the deaths of many captured slave white women who when outlived their usefulness were bound, gagged and forced marched to the precipice above Niagara Falls and thrown into the violent water over the falls.  When word of these atrocities were heard by Gen. Jackson and others in Washington they wanted to make sure that when going forward with new treaties that those Indians who participated in these violent acts didn't receive money on payment day.  That's what missionary spies were supposed to figure out.
        It was a hostile environment in which to be living from 1818-1836.  Soon the push of settlers northward into Michigan and Wisconsin would again erupt into hostilities.  He wanted to prevent another Indian War.  Jackson was already thinking about tossing his hat into the political arena for President, but he didn't want a repeat of the extreme violence to befall settlers or Indians in his presidency plans for the future.
        Now during the War of 1812 Chief Kah-kah-bah (thought to be Cobmoosa) and many other Indians in western Michigan didn't engage in the hostilities.  Cobmoosa was his inherited name given by Noonday's tribe years later.  His real father was Antoine Campau, the French Voyageur who arrived from Montreal and set foot on the shore at the rapids Ottawa and Potawatomie villages.  Inter-tribal mixed marriages were the norm between these tribes.
        Antoine was described as a handsome man who quickly wooed and won the hand of a chief's daughter and they married Indian style; just living together.  Newly arriving missionaries saw many common law marriages and spoke against it frequently; but these were pagan Indians - not religious.   
        Cobmoosa, the son of Antoine was handsome, too.  He stood six feet tall, was square shouldered, very muscular and weighed about 200 pounds.  Those that knew him stated he was a good wrestler.  Wabasis was all of the above, too, and Cobmoosa probably taught Wabasis how to wrestle too.  Both men were Indians to recon with in a fight.  Cobmoosa got his name from others who listened intently to his dream of Olympic proportions.
        In a dream (C) saw a ghost or phantom bear, which he followed to the source of the Grand River southeast of Jackson, Michigan then north to the headwaters of the Muskegon River (Houghton Lake), then down to its mouth, then south along the lakeshore to the mouth of the Grand River and back home in one day and night.  That is a long distance walk.  I believe he himself walked to all these places for not even an animal could walk that entire distance in a day and night.  Because of telling his bear dream to others he was given the name of  Cub-bah-moo-sa (English slang Cobmoosa).
        Now I have walked, fished and hunted in the head water and mouth sources of the Muskegon River and tributary streams in Cobmoosa's dream.  His journey was spectacular, but it has taken a lifetime.  If I could I'd like to be remembered as the Great Grand Watcher, the one who listened to the heartbeat of nature and the soul's of humanity in the Twentieth and Twenty-first century.
        The name Cobmoosa doesn't appear on any treaties other than the Treaty of 1855 when at age 87 he marked his name Cub-bah-moo-sa, the last great Chief of Ottawas of the Grand River Valley.  Being second under Noonday's Potawatomi village (1821) he couldn't sign the Treaty of 1821 or 1836. 
        He was born to a Potawatomi mother, not an Ottawa, but a Frenchman father.  He was like Wabasis and educated half-breed that would later in life be paid higher than other chiefs.  In 1821 he was already good friends with President Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. (continued)


Monday, April 6, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa and Pres. A.J. - 9

        Andrew Jackson was born in 1767 and grew up in the Waxhaw Settlement in South Carolina.  He never knew his father since his dad died before he was born and so he was raised by his crude speaking uncles and cousins.  Although educated at an old-field school he became quite the prankster - let's say sort of spirited or wild.  That's what most children become when not under a father's care, but what Andrew lacked his mother tried to instill good behavior in the boy.
        His mother hoped that her young son in the future might become a minister.  She was forever correcting his crude profanity and try as she might to punish him it didn't deter him from his use of disgusting language.  He was a wild renegade and that is again what becomes of fatherless children without good mentors or role models.  Andrew was high strung and said what was on his mind.  It was a good thing he never met George Washington, because George hated profanity and found it intolerable.
        Although only 13-years old (1780) and after learning of his older brother Hugh's death fighting the British he joined the American militia and participated in the Battle of Hanging Rock during the Revolution.  He was captured by the British in 1781 and imprisoned with his younger brother.  While imprisoned a British soldier ordered young Andrew to shine his boots and he refused.  An officer pulled out his sword and slashed Andrew threatening to kill him, but Andrew still refused to buckle under to the officer's demand and instead shouted volumes of profanity.  Both boys suffered inhumanely in prison.  Soon the boys mother appeared and after pleading for several months she finally won the release of her young sons.
        After the war Andrew worked hard in a saddler's shop and afterwards taught school.  In his spare time, which wasn't much, he studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina and was admitted to the bar in 1787 and moved to Jonesboro, Tennessee in 1788 and practiced law. In the early 1790's he entered politics and was elected as a Representative 1796, then Senator (R) in 1797 from the State of Tennessee.  He resigned from political offices in 1798 and for the next six years was engaged in planting and in mercantile pursuits gaining vast knowledge that would someday be the most beneficial to his destiny in dealing with Indians.
        In 1806 Charles Dickinson, a Nashville lawyer made some wise cracks about Mrs. Jackson and challenged Dickinson to a due and Jackson killed Dickinson.  Jackson had that take charge mentality and wasn't about to let an usurp lawyer get away with embarrassing his wife.
        After that Jackson continued his pursuits in farming until the Creek War started in 1813 and then he became commander of Tennessee forces; his victories in the Creek War brought him a commission as General in the United States Army in May 1813.  In 1814 he defeated the Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend and became Major General, then led his his army to victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 and Congress presented him with a gold medal.  He then led an expedition force and captured Florida in 1817 to stop Seminole raids on U.S. territories and became Governor of Florida in 1821 and President in 1828.
        As non-Indian settlement encroached upon the Creeks especially in Georgia and Alabama, the Indians were being pushed aside, but in Florida they resisted and Jackson brought his army to bear in Florida that forced the removal of the Seminoles to Oklahoma.  Many of them were deported and many died during the so-called 'Removal'.
        Pockets of Indian managed to avoid deportation into the 1830's.  Some Seminoles survived in the swamps of south Florida, some Cherokees in western North Carolina, a few Creeks in far southern Alabama and many Choctaws in Mississippi; all areas most inhospitable to settlers, but low an behold the holdouts in Florida caught the ire of Andrew Jackson and his forces earlier in the 1820's and were brought to bear to make sure the Indians left for the Indian territory established in Oklahoma.  Jackson got most of the tribes to leave, but some tribes entirely escaped 'Removal', like the Catawba in South Carolina, the Tunica and Chitimacha in Louisiana and the Lumbee in the Carolinas.  Many Lumbees were mixed descendants of the Lost Colony from the 1600's.
        Jackson learned much about the Indians and what happens when settlers begin shoving them aside.  Not all treaties mean hostilities end.  Sometimes those who feel pressured react contrary to agreements made.  When he became President he dedicated himself to the farmer, the artisan and small businessman and rewarded them with greater opportunities if they worked together and that included the Indians.  Jackson was a visionary of the future. (continued)


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. - 8

        "One lie will destroy a whole reputation...," said Baltasar Gracian, (1601-1658) a Spanish Jesuit writer.  Too bad the 24th and 25th Congress under President Andrew Jackson hadn't heard this before their reputation for being fair was heavily tarnished, because of failure to abide by treaties which they signed with the Indians.  They tried to pull the wool over ignorant Indians eyes, but it didn't work.  They were caught red faced in a grand lie of immense proportions that only Ronald Reagan could settle 150 years future.
        Before we get to the root of Congress' lies you need a little more information on Cobmoosa,  who was heralded as the last Ottawa Indian Chief to  leave the Grand River valley.  Cobmoosa was known as the "Great Grand Walker." 
        Where Wabasis or any other Indian would travel in two days it take Cobmoosa maybe several weeks cause he walked on land and never by canoe or even wading across streams and rivers.  But no matter where he had to go he'd always arrive on time for war council meetings.
        Cobmoosa was a sub-chief, the second in command under Nowaquakezick (Chief Noonday) in the Potawatomi village at the "rapids" called Bocktenong.  Noonday was west Michigan's most powerful warrior allied with the British against America in the War of 1812-1818.
        How bad was he?  On confession of faith before missionaries in Grand Rapids in the mid1820's he said, "Had I listened more intently to religious teachings earlier he wouldn't have been such a murderous warrior for Chief Pontiac and Chief Tecumseh in the Revolutionary War, Indian War and War of 1812.  Indians at war with America captured and tortured American women and children.  When they outlived their usefulness as slaves they were force marched to Niagara Falls, beaten and taken to the precipice of the falls and dashed to death over the falls.  The book "Six Months Among the Indians" tells about Noondays atrocities.
        Cobmoosa was never a warrior.  He stayed out of all conflicts in the villages taking care of the young, the old and sick in the absence of Noonday and his wandering war parties.  In Cobmoos'a 98-year lifespan he saw the rise to power of 15 presidents.  He learned during the American Revolutionary War that Indian Nations should not wage war against Washington.  Cobmoosa was impressed with Washington and President's James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.
        These men found Cobmoosa to be an articulate orator, the Indian historian whose mind was sharp who realized that Indians could not wage war with Washington and survive.  It would be an impossible feat.  Cobmoosa knew a tidal wave of change would soon approach after the Treaty of   1821 was signed and he was preparing the various tribes in advance of the Treaty of 1836.
        The Indians had to adopt the ways of white man pursuits or perish.  Cobmoosa was impressed with the atmosphere of Washington life and President James Monroe at the signing of the Treaty of 1821, but he watched Chief Kewaycooshcum and Chief Noonday sign, nor did Cobmoosa sign the Treaty of 1836.  He wasn't a chief.  He was the educated sub-chief under Noonday.  He was an assistant to Kewaycooshcum and Noonday.
        Washington broke the Treaty of 1836 shortly after the last formal signing at Mackinaw.  The 24th and 25th Congress under President Jackson realized they had made a disastrous mistake and tried to add wording and amend the Treaty language without the consent of the Indian Chiefs.  Cobmoosa and other educated Indians caught Congress in a lie (forked tongue). 
        Congress in a hush-hush fashion tried to change and add new language for Indian removal that didn't exist under what what they signed.  The Indians caught the Fed's in that lie when it suddenly stipulated that they had to remove themselves from treaty lands before 1841.  This forked tongue attitude took 20 year more to rectify with the signing of the Treaty of 1855.  This blunder was minor to the biggest blunder that lasted for another 150 years.  The fed's didn't secure the natural resources from the Indians and President Ronald Reagan settled the disputes over who rightfully owned the natural resources.
        The Treaty of 1836 stipulated that all remaining Indians living north of the Grand River, even if they purchased land from the Federal government with their own annuity money were to leave for reservations set aside for them.  Congress could not in good conscience add Indian removal after the treaty was formally signed on May 28, 1836.
        Indians far and wide across the Great Plains all the way to the Pacific Ocean were warned to be award of those Washington officials who spoke with forked tongues.  The preached the Bible, but do not abide by the Ten Commandments.  "Thou shall not steal.  Thou shall not lie."
        The Treaty of 1855 called for all transient Indians still living in the Grand River area to leave for reservations before 1860.  Chief Cobmoosa signed this treaty, but that treaty failed to tackle the natural resources problem.  Ronald Reagan felt the Indians weren't paid enough under the 1836 and 1855 treaties, which is why we have Indian Casino's and Resorts in Michigan.  Cobmoosa was the last Ottawa Chief to leave the Grand River valley in the fall of 1860 at 92 years of age.
        The Indians took the Treaty of 1836 betrayal seriously.  They sent runners beyond the Mississippi River to warn other Native American tribes to beware of treacherous Federal government officials.  They speak with "forked tongues."  These trickled down affects caused much grief on Presidents and Congress' from 1836-1886.  All because Jackson's administration tried brazenly to cover up their mistakes.  Running beside Cobmoosa's life was Andrew Jackson  -  Indian fighter.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A. J. - 7

        Despite living under the threat of death sanctioned by the renegade Indians in the Grand River valley Wabasis still traveled extensively outside his banishment area.  This was his garden plot of 40acres and within one mile of Big Wabasis Lake.  Most treasure hunters seeking Wabasis lost treasure seem to confine themselves within that 40 acre tract and believe me there are and were many places in which to hide money.  Not all the caves were in western Wabasis Lake region.
       Try as they might the Blackskins never knew when Wabasis left to get his annuity payment or visit Cobmoosa before returning northwest off the Flat River.  Another mystery of Wabasis was that when he did return he came back with just a meager portion of his payment and he never showed his wife where he hid more?
        Nobody not even the Blackskin's knew when Wabasis left and returned.  He was that sneaky.  He was a life preservationist for his families sake.  Wabasis you  must remember was coached by Cobmoosa considered the most educated and intelligent Indian and knew how to survive in the hostile world of renegades.  After many years of getting nowhere with Wabasis the bad Indians had lost hope of ever collecting what they deemed their stolen money.
        One evening Chief Neogamah along with a white man from the old defunct Indian Village at Plainfield paid Wabasis a visit, a sort of buddy-buddy friendship with plenty of firewater drinking around the campfire.  Try as they might they couldn't get Wabasis to loosen his tongue and reveal the treasures secret location.  Fearing they weren't going to get result they hatched a plan to trick Wabasis into attending the green corn festival like in old days at Plainfield village.  When Wabasis arrived he found it deserted and suddenly it dawned on him he had been duped.  He struck out for home at a fast pace up the Plainfield-Sheridan Indian Trail.
        Wabasis got as far as Rum Creek where Neogamah and friend were waiting.  They plied him again with firewater and tried to get Wabasis to tell them where the money was hidden.  When that failed to produce anything and in the early morning hours by campfire glow they murdered Wabasis.  It was a bloody massacre, the grass, the clubs and large stones at streamside covered in blood.
        Farmers in the area saw the smoldering smoke rising into the crisp morning air and went to investigate and found Wabasis dead.  They sent runners to Laphamville and Cannonsburg.  Lamphamvilles town marshal Albert L. Pickett and a Cannonsburg Constable arrived within the same day and witnessed the horrible murder.  Since it was an Indian sanctioned death they took it upon themselves to dismiss what happened as Indian revenge, however, they probably felt sorry for Wabasis because they believed he was and honest man.  They never had any doubts in Wabasis sincerity so they excused themselves from investigating the crime scene.
       What the marshal and constable didn't know was the crime of Indian retribution wasn't an exclusive Indian killing.  Neogamah's white friend was as guilty as the Indian and could have been arrested and convicted of murder.  Had the killing been done by two Indians his death was sanctioned under tribal law, but adding a white person - well that killer would've gone to prison under American law.
        Cobmoosa sitting outside his log home on the Pentwater reservation was given his mail.  The old man that time had forgotten opened a letter detailing the death of his adopted foster-son in late summer 1863.  Crying he told his caretakers it was a senseless killing carried out by the no-good lazy ignorant renegades who couldn't see the errors of their own ways.  Those who knew Wabasis knew him as an honorable man his entire life and so the remaining chiefs on the reservation put out a death decree on his killers.  The killers of Wabasis would be killed if they set one foot inside a reservation - Indian revenge for Wabasis.
        "Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed out . . . Certainly, in taking revenge a man is but even with his enemy..." said Francis Bacon (Lord Verulam) 1561-1626.
        Cobmoosa, Wabasis and Andrew Jackson all grew up fatherless.  Cobmoosa's father was a French Voyageur and Wabasis father was Canadian French Trader.  Both fathers and sons took Indian wives like their fathers to elevate their stature within the tribes.  Cobmoosa had 4-6 wives and Wabasis only one.  Cobmoosa was once quoted as saying, 'Had I been converted to Christianity before my marriages I would have had only one.' 
        French Voyageurs and Canadian French Traders were given special considerations along franchise trade routes.  All served the People of Three Fires; the Ottawa, Potawatami and Ojibway (Chippewa) that lived and roamed the Flat, Grand, Rogue Thornapple, Coldwater, Maple and Kalamazoo River country and all lands to St. Ignace and beyond.  That's a huge area and within that area in the 1820's lived 17,000-21,000 Indians. (continued)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Legends of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -6

        "History is the torch that is meant to illuminate the past, to guard against the repetition of our mistakes of other days.  We cannot join in the rewriting of history to make it conform to our comfort and convenience," said Claude G. Bowers (1878-1956) an American diplomat.

         President Jackson was a future thinking man, a visionary.  From past personal experiences he saw how easy it was for bootleggers to manipulate and fleece the Indians of their annuity payments.  Change he knew would bring its own set of challenges to be solved, but change would be more beneficial to Native Americans all across America in how they were paid. 
        For Jackson this change was going to be a vacation from an incorrect way of thinking and living.  He wanted to hold to the truths that to be satisfied in our own lives we must satisfy others greater and that's what he set out to accomplish knowing when he died he had done his best to help Indians.
        So in the 1830's several lazy Blackskin Indians living near Greenville, Michigan began to accuse and convince themselves that John Wabasis was a thief for stealing their share of annuity payments they wanted him to pickup on annuity payment day in Grand Rapids.  Wabasis did go in 1838 but he along with other Indians were unaware of the Jackson's change in how they were going to be paid.  When Wabasis returned he told the Blackskin they had to go and sign for it, but they didn't believe him and falsely accused Wabasis of stealing.  The Blackskin tribe was composed of 11-15 members and were known in the Greenville areas as lazy panhandlers targeting settlers for money and food - they worked for nothing and settlers were growing tired of being hassled. 
        To receive payment in GR they couldn't be a proxy for others.  They had to show up and personally sign or place their mark for their own and nobody elses.  They received specially engraved minted year dated gold and silver coinage.  The was (destiny day) to the Indian.  Show up or lose what little you had coming.   Another change - bad Indian behavior got them less. 
        Missionaries McCoy and Slater mailed yearly reports to Washington listing the lazy and panhandler Indians in the Grand River region and the Blackskins topped the list in the Greenville area.  The President wasn't going to allow bad Indians the same amount as those Indians who prospered.    President Jackson had changed this payment plan in 1834, but it wasn't until after the Treaty of 1836 that it was implemented.  The chiefs and half-breeds received their own shares at higher rates than those in the tribe.  All remaining Indian had to go and sign for their own allotment of money. No proxies.
        Some historians counter that the President and Congress couldn't pay out in gold and silver because that was in short supply in America, but under the treaty this special coinage was purchased specifically from European countries and shipped to America for disbursement. This is the hidden mystery of Cobmoosa and Wabasis.
        Cobmoosa in the late 1850's carried a poke, a small leather bag with rawhide draw strings and inside that bag were his engraved gold and silver coins.  When he arrived at the reservation to prove that he was Cobmoosa he poured out the coins into his hands.  The gold coins were stamped, "Treaty of 1836."  Several witnesses confirmed these coins, but unknown is what happened to Cobmoosa's coins upon death?  Got to read on to find the possible answer someplace else.
      Wabasis never gave the Blackskins anything for his twenty-five years.  That's how long he was banished to his own 40-acre garden plot at Wabasis Lake.  Try as they might the Blackskins never found out where Wabasis hid the money.  Cobmoosa taught Wabasis early on how to outwit and survive in a hostile environment where renegades wanted to kill him.
      One evening in 1863 they along with Chief Neogamah of Plainfield Village brought some whiskey and sat around a bonfire late at night trying to be friendly.  Plied him with some firewater rotgut to loosen his tongue, but Wabasis didn't cooperate.  Being disgruntled they hatched a pre-meditated murder plot to trick Wabasis off his property to kill him.  They were angry because they never collected one penny. (continued)