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)

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