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)

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