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)