Monday, February 15, 2016

The Legend of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -45

     So what happened to Cobmoosa's gold coinage is unknown, but some scholars assert the Chief's gold and silver coinage was hidden or buried in a secret location along Cobmoosa Creek or Cobmoosa Lake vicinity.  Think iron kettle.  Like Wabasis' lost treasure so to Cobmoosa may have buried his cache.  Afterall he probably told Wabasis where to bury his treasure, too, and many have tried without success because they never knew exactly what might be buried.  Oh sure, some have claimed they have found the treasures, but it's never been proven and claim's are just hearsay evidence.
     Back then nobody knew what it was they were looking for?  Treasure yes, but they couldn't describe it.  But now you know the coins are stamped Treaty of 1836 or 1836 and those who are skilled with diving rods can actually time date the coins and find them.  Happy hunting.
     You might wonder what set me off on the story of Cobmoosa.
     Well, I like Cobmoosa am prone to not traveling highways just to get someplace fast.  I take my time traveling off a direct path and seeing the beauty of Michigan.  I enjoy exploring the back out of the way roads and found Cobmoosa's monument in Elbridge Township as shown on a western Michigan map and found it.  Actually there are two monument sites.  Another is in Ionia County somewhere along the Grand River.
     Cobmoosa was indeed "The Last Designated Indian Chief of the Ottawa's of the Grand River Valley in 1855."
     As Paul Harvey would sign off at his noon hour Chicago radio show, "Now you know the rest of the story," about The Legend of Cobmoosa and President Andrew Jackson.


The Legend of Chief Cobmoosa and Pres. A. J. -44

     Old Cobmoosa didn't spend much time in his new log cabin.  Traverse City residents crossed paths with him near a stream crossing about halfway between Traverse City and Pentwater.  The chief was a walking nomad at age 95.  He had reportedly been visiting friends again at the Traverse reservation.  This last trek wore him out to the point he couldn't walk much anymore and he stayed in Elbridge with his caretakers; Negounce, Mrs. Negake and Mrs. Bailey until his death.
     Now you might think that this is the end of Cobmoosa's legacy, but you would be wrong.  Cobmoosa lived four more years and died in 1866 at 98 years.  It is during his last four years that he held many conversations with young men living on the reservation with little to do.  He told them they were all citizens of Michigan and America.  He told them it was time for them to do the right thing and join the Yankees (Union) fight against the Confederate south in the Civil War.
     Why?  "We are resident brothers and stick together for the betterment of community."  He was adamant it was their right as northern Indians to participate and serve them and forget the past.
And so it came to pass that many young Indian fighters of three fires enlisted and were assigned to Michigan's Company K. 
     Nearly all perished along with friendly white and black men fighting with guerilla warfare against Confederate and Cherokees at the Battle of the Wilderness.  Those who survived this battle wrote down memories of what they witnessed of the "People of Three Fires" screaming war cries as they fought hand to hand combat with Confederate Cherokees in a raging forest fire.  Those who white soldiers watched them fight in a blazing fire, which haunted their memories for years.
     Memoirs in the Library of Congress tell how the brave northern and southern Indians fought during battle in a forest fire.  The war cries of both tribes haunted their dreams.  The Battle of the Wilderness was near Chancellorsville, Pennsylvania.  Union losses were 17,666 dead out of 118,000.  Confederate losses were 8,000 out of 61,000.
     A monument stone was erected in honor of Cobmoosa in 1927 and re-dedicated in 2012 by over 100 of the Cobmoosa's descendants, relatives and friends.  Cobmoosa's monument stands proudly on an embankment in Oceana County one mile east of the Elbridge Township Hall on Polk road then 1.25 miles or so south on 144th Street.
     He was buried under a small knoll that in his day looked down Cobmoosa Creek and over the countryside of Cobmoosa Lake.  Unknown is whether anyone knew he was a Christian Indian?  Or just he want to be buried beside other Indians?  Perhaps!
     In Elbridge Township east and west, north and south roads are named after the 16 Presidents of the United States of America that held office during Cobmoosa's life.  These were Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jackson, VanBuren, Harrison, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Filmore, Pierce, Buchanan and Lincoln.  (continued).

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Legend of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -43

     Timeline spring of 1862.  Return with me to find Cobmoosa standing in his doorway with a throng of Indians watching him loosen the drawstrings of his poke to reveal the gold coins engraved Treaty of 1836 or 1836.  President Andrew Jackson provided him his proof who he was, but not before he answered questions only he could answer.  He had been absent from his village people for four years and had aged greatly.  Once a handsome man he was now a bent over man that time neglected.
     His coins were proof positive that citizen Andrew Jackson kept his promise and paid the Indians in gold and silver coins as he ordered for dispersal in 1838.  No longer could Indians be paid with paper currency.  Instead gold and silver so marked with the Treaty under which paid.
     Timeline summer 1863.  Cobmoosa was summoned to the Indian Reservation at Traverse City by an aged chief.  Unknown was his name, but he had bad news.  Seems Cobmoosa's foster son, Chief Wabasis had been killed by Chief Neogamah of Plainfield Village and his white friend four miles southeast of Rockford at a Rum Creek crossing in Cannon Township.  Cobmoosa knew it was Neogamah because he swore he'd kill Wabasis if he left his banishment garden plot at Wabasis Lake some 10 miles east/northeast of Rockford.  He was tricked into leaving, because Neogamah felt he was never going to find Wabasis' cache he reportedly buried before 1836.
     Neogomah standing before a tribal council prior the the treaty signing accused Wabasis of hoarding and burying his annuity payments.  This was false.  Wabasis repeatedly told Neogamah he had to appear in person in Grand Rapids to claim his money, but Neogamah was lazy as were other rebel Indians and didn't go, but they accused Wabasis of stealing their money.  Wasn't true!
     Failure to appear meant money could not be passed on to him and they were further unaware of the specie circular payment.  This renegade disliked Wabasis and felt to get his revenge after a 27 year absence, he had to trick Wabasis off his homestead and kill him, but Wabasis never sold tribal lands and ignorant Indians didn't understand that Washington paid them according to their actions and changed the monetary payment guidelines.
     Wabasis death angered many of the old Indian Chiefs still living at all those living on four reservations; Pentwater, Traverse City and Mt. Pleasant in Michigan and reservations in Missouri and they swore out a death warrant against Neogamah and friend. 
     Most angered was 94-year old Cobmoosa.  Many tears of sorrow fell from Cobmoosa's eyes for days.  He mentored John Wabasis in the ways of respect and both were highly respected.  It was a senseless retribution by Neogamah who carried out a vendetta to kill Wabasis. 
     Cobmoosa and Wabasis were the peacekeepers of the Grand River Valley.  They quieted potential Indian Wars before hostilities began and saved countless lives; Indian and pioneer settlers.  The oldest chiefs swore out a death sentence against the murderers if they showed up on any reservation lands.
     Chief Wabasis got his revenge.  Antrim and Mason Counties in Michigan were named in honor of a southern well-respected Chief  name Wabasis (Wabahsee or Wabasuh), which is documented in history books of those counties. (continued)

The Legend of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A. J. -42

     Houston's band of fighters collected more volunteer citizens coming to fight.  Houston received word from Jackson that soon he'd have enough fighters to defeat Santa Anna.  They were coming brandishing guns, ammunition and food to feed an army of men.  All paid for by citizen Andrew Jackson - the pay it forward man.  He paid it for the benefit of his people and America.
     So many volunteers rushed to serve that they didn't have enough food and so everyone was given less than full rations.  All the men who answered the call from citizen Jackson and then Houston's fighters attacked and the fight was on when Houston stopped retreating and changed direction.  Santa Anna's army was surrounded. 
     After 38 days of retreat and jousting Houston brought his legions of volunteers to bear when they crossed the Buffalo River and defeated Santa Anna's forces at the junction of Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River.  Santa Anna's forces were annihilated and the Mexican president became a prisoner of war.  His remaining army fled back across the Rio Grande back into Mexico.
     Jackson knew Houston wouldn't run from diversity.  Patience is sometimes the better part of valor.  Quick to fight with a hot temper works sometimes, but Jackson pondered the "what if's of battle." Studying the enemy in relation to your own forces can save the lives of valiant soldiers.  Stirred Indians rushed to fight whereas patience fighters lived longer and knew how a battle should unfold to gain the upper hand.
     President Jackson's last term in office had lots of emergent things to challenge his mind and heart, but that's what a  President is supposed to do.  Not sit on the sidelines and wait without a plan of action.  Many citizens thought Jackson lost his mind when he ordered his specie circular payments in gold and silver coinage.  He prevailed and turned America around financially.  He couldn't halt the financial collapse, but he lessened the severity.
     Throughout his life he was taught the difference between right and wrong.  Just because he grew up wild and fatherless didn't mean his mother's words fell off his deaf ears, but when he became a politician then he knew his mother taught him well despite the fact she wanted him to become a minister.  He became a prankster and a self made ladies man.  He led a hard life and spent his years in the White House without religion.  He envisioned that having religion was political suicide.
     He was the survivor of many things and it wasn't until he left office did he convert to Christianity in July 1838 in his mother's church at a time when he was almost blind in one eye and quite feeble.  He died peacefully June 8, 1845 and is buried in his estate garden on the grounds of his beloved "Hermitage" he rescued from ruin in 1837.
     On March 4, 1837 and one year after the death of his friend Davey Crockett - well Old Hickory retired to his home, the Hermitage to find it neglected and in disrepair.  His 1000 acres of cotton was ruined by Tennessee's worst drought in memory.  After having paid it forward to American Indians and Texas Independence as citizen Jackson he still had enough money in his coffer to buy his son Andrew a 20,000 acre farm and had money left over to repair the Hermitage and so let's return to Cobmoosa's legend because it ain't over and Cobmoosa had a secret. (continued)

The Legend of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -41

     President Jackson was a formidable military commander.  He had special talents in dealing with Indians and as did General Jackson of America's military operations in the War of 1812-1818.  Sam Houston was a United States politician who like Davey Crockett longed for adventure and lived among the Cherokee Indians of Texas most of his life and helped Presidents of the U.S. arrange Indian treaties.
     The Texan rebels who caused the Alamo catastrophe were those American citizens who settled on Mexican lands and did so at their own peril.  They became the squatters who didn't like President Santa Anna's rule and tried to overthrow Mexico and lost.  Jackson couldn't let Federal forces interfere.  America had no authority nor capital to wage war so Jackson abstained.
     Jackson felt the winds of change.  He had to remain neutral.  Since he was the outsider it gave him time to make preparations as a citizen and not President, but he had to dissuade Sam Houston from taking a government military task force back to aid the rebels in Texas and drive out Santa Anna's Mexican army.  This would give Jackson the time needed to figure out how to defeat Santa Anna.  Houston's volunteer citizen forces could annihilate him, but only if reinforcements arrived.
     Jackson heard after the fact that Houston broke the American-Mexican Treaty when Houston's small army attacked Santa Anna's small outposts and pushed Mexicans across the Rio Grande River.  This maneuver angered Santa Anna in Mexico, which returned full force with 7000 soldiers and killed the rebel fighters at the Alamo.  This is what started the Alamo fiasco.
     Jackson then ordered surveillance of Houston's movements and from Houston extracted a "pledge of honor" from him to respect and not invade Mexico without sufficient forces to defeat Santa Anna.  He then told Houston to collect the small bands of Texas fighters and his own fighters and retreat across the Red River near the US Border out of Santa Anna's reach. 
     Military observers wanted Houston to retreat back onto American soil, but Jackson disagreed and let Houston take charge.  He would wait before leading the charge until he had significant forces to return.  Word went out like wild fire that citizen Andrew Jackson was personally paying all the expenses to resurrect a volunteer citizen army to defeat Santa Anna out of respect for Crockett, Russell and Jim Bowie.
     Citizen Andrew Jackson paid it forward again for food, ammunition and accommodations for volunteers.  Getting the necessary manpower would give citizen Jackson three weeks or so to send from the Cincinnati foundry two 4-pound iron cannons for Houston's battle plan.
     These were the first of four cannons to be founded at the Cincinnati foundry several weeks before the Alamo fight commenced.  Two were put on the bow of a steamboat down the Ohio River and Mississippi River to Sam Houston waiting at New Orleans.  These were the Twin Sisters cannons of Texas.  The other two went to Michigan.
     Jackson's White House study was littered with maps everywhere and Jackson poured over them day and night.  He was the battle hardy commander and eventually told Houston to split.... (continued)

The Legend of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -40

     ...Jackson left the dispatch unopened until later that day.  He anticipated the probability that another Indian War could break out between rebel Indians and settlers. Months earlier he received missionary warnings saying that war drums were beating louder each night.  After opening the dispatch pouch he ordered an Army detachment to depart immediately with two 4-lb cannons to southern Michigan in advance of treaty signing (Mar. 28th).  Inside the dispatch pouch inside was a letter from Sam Houston bearing grave news.
     He wrote, "374 brave American citizen volunteer fighters were killed by Santa Anna's 7000 strong Mexican army at the Alamo in the Texas Republic on March 4, 1836.  Among the dead were listed his friends and colleagues, the former House of Representative Davy Crockett, his friends Gorge Russell and Jim Bowie (Bowie knife).  All had volunteered to fight for Texas independence.
     Crockett served America as a Representative from Tennessee 1831-1835.  Crockett loved his independence and exploring new frontiers and didn't seek reelection.  President Jackson and Congress was saddened by the news.
     There were those in Congress who wanted the Federal government to fight, but America had no  legal right nor big Army or government resources to arm themselves for battle with Santa Anna's forces.  Jackson refused all attempts by angry Congressmen to enter and save the lives of other American citizens, who were in essence rebels against Mexican authorities.  Why?
     Because before his presidency the United States had already signed an earlier treaty with Mexico that prohibited Washington's intervention into the affairs of Mexico.  The government could not seize land for American revolutionists.  Any interference by government forces was an act of war.
     Jackson had received word  in late 1835 that a fighting force of volunteer American citizens were threatening Mexico.  He purposely closed his eyes to the emigration of American settlers lugging guns rather than plough shares and guns were popping.  Jackson was already fighting two battles; Indian treaties and financial ruin of American citizens and a world-wide catastrophe.  These were his most important factors. 
     Since Jackson didn't advise Houston on what to do Houston's small volunteer army had illegally trespassed and fought against small detachments of Mexican forces across the Rio Grande River. Mexican president Santa Anna was furious.  Santa Anna (President) and Commander of his military forces returned towards the Alamo with a massive Mexican army and viciously attacked the Alamo.  
     Those in the south and west were waiting for a swarm of revolutionists to defeat Santa Anna, but only a small force arrived to protect the Alamo.  Houston's charge pushing the Mexican army from its own lands is what started the Mexican police action.  His commanders started something that cost them their lives, because they didn't wait.
     Jackson was one angry President - the incompetence of those he trusted.  He couldn't intervene in the rebellious action.  He had to approach the whole situation as a neutral party.  He was adamant he wouldn't break the Mexican American Treaty.  Old Hickory needed time to study and craft a good battle plan to defeat Santa Anna, but not as President but a rebel citizen.  (continued)

The Legend of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -39

     President Andrew Jackson had a history of "paying it forward" during his presidency.  He felt it was his responsibility to make sure the Indians were paid in 1838.  It was weighing on his mind and after they signed the Treaty of 1836 he wanted to make sure they were paid in gold and silver rather than paper currency they never understood the value of.
     He also knew the government Treasury was empty and he wouldn't let the Treasury borrow on credit.  He maintained the government  in the worst moment like everyone else needed to learn to budget and he told Congress to get busy and prioritize.  They had a deadline to meet, but Jackson himself decided he wouldn't let the government default on payment to Indians.  For now the government had no gold or silver of its own - just worthless paper currency, but the banks wanted nothing to do with his specie circular  and rescinded it on their own causing greater hardship.
     Flash!  Let's time travel - transport to 1862.
     As onlookers we stand in the crowd of Indians as Chief Cobmoosa stands on the threshold of his new government built log home.  Gathered together outside the doorway his people stood in Elbridge in Oceana County, Michigan, waiting for Cobmoosa to answer questions to his identity as the "Last Ottawa Indian Chief of the Grand River Valley." 
     Cobmoosa was not an Ottawa Indian - he was Potawatomi, the Sub-chief of Noonday under the Treaty of 1821. He did not become an Ottawa Chief until the death of his father-in-law Chief Wobwindigo who passed his command before death after the Treaty of 1836 was signed.
     The weary old Indian that time had neglected took off his rawhide poke (small bag with hide string),  He poured the contents into his hand for guests to see.  The gold coins had raised lettering marked, "Treaty of 1836" or "1836."
     This is what Jackson had Italian and Spanish minters inscribe on his coins.  He felt he owed a debt of gratitude to prominent Chief Cobmoosa, Wabasis and Jean Boshaw of the Ada bands.  All were educated half breeds born of from French Canadian fathers.  Wabasis and Boshaw signed no treaties, but Cobmoosa did as an Ottawa for the Treaty of 1855 and was the last Ottawa Chief of the Grand River Valley.
     Jackson ordered these gold coins prior to issuing his Specie Circular order to financial institutions on July 11, 1836.  These specially minted coins weren't available until Spring 1838 for Indian payment.  Residual gold and silver coins trickled into the monetary State banks and Treasury in late 1836.
     Jackson was always thinking about how rotten people were who cheated the Indians and let them barter for goods based on yearly credit up to $1000.00.  This is what got them into trouble and Jackson thought up the specie payment policy at a time when America was falling into a severe depression.  Actually it was a world-wide depression with Europe suffering the worst.
     He saved America by thinking outside the box - beyond his years.  He wanted what was best for America.  In hindsight he was considered the smartest President and used his citizenship as an individual and put others first.
     Old Hickory was destined to help America again, not as President but as Citizen Andrew Jackson to the rescue of Texans.  With the initial signing of the Treaty of 1836 just weeks away for Native American lands (March 28, 1836) north of the Grand River to the Straits of Mackinaw Jackson was anticipating rebel Indians were stirring up trouble.  He received a military dispatch on his desk.  Instead of opening the letter he let it lay and... (continued)

The Legend of Chief Cobmoosa & Pres. A.J. -38

     President Andrew Jackson led an interesting life, too, up until he was elected President 1829-1837.  He was one of a special breed that really has never been duplicated in public office.  Over his life he surrounded himself with family, friends and people he dealt with since his early years.  
     He had been in active military service for 40 years from the beginning of the American Revolutionary War thru the War of 1812-1818 and won his battles.  He was fearless and planned military operations far in advance of his years.  His friends helped him win his first election as President in 1828 and reelected in 1832.
     To thank them for their vote of confidence he put 2000 of his closest supporters in public office.  These he trusted for awhile, but when money is concerned he knew human nature sometimes changes with the times.  Those in authority without the knowledge of President Jackson turned greedy in the heyday of land speculations and joined the ranks as speculators to pad their own pockets.  Most overspent their savings and bought wild and free treaty lands on credit borrowing at 31% + which later became their downfall when income owed didn't outweigh debt payments.
     Jackson replaced quite a few officials at the start of his second term.  Over the years as the Panic of 1836 swept over America they drowned in their own credit fiasco they helped create.  Many lost all they gained and bankruptcy followed.
     Andrew Jackson Jr. (President's son) despite his father's warnings not to get involved in land speculation did the opposite.  He lived the high life with friends and investors then when the financial bubble burst he lost nearly everything and begged for help from his father to bail him out.  As any loving father would do for any of his children the President paid off young Andrew's debts before he left office in 1837.
     For seven grueling years the President (a.k.a. Old Hickory) managed to reduce America's national debt to a zero balance.  Jackson had become the only President to clear away all of Washington's national debts since the early days of George Washington.  At one time he thought that George Washington should have been impeached for circumventing by executive privilege the Constitution of the United States he helped draft.
     President Jackson as citizen Andrew Jackson was quite wealthy in 1835.  He saved his money and didn't buy on credit.  He paid his bills monthly with cash, but in 1835 he did something spectacular for America.  With his own bankrolled savings he purchased special minted gold and silver coins from Italy and Spain. He used them for Indian annuity payments in the Spring of 1838 to Michigan's "People of Three Fires" of the Grand River Valley according to the Treaty of 1836 they signed.  
     Only the Chief's were paid with gold coins.  He paid the rest in silver and as the Indian's traded and bartered for goods the money spent found its way into the financial banks.  Jackson paid the Indians forward out of his own personal accounts.  (continued)