The greatest of the Miamis and, perhaps, by the standard of achievement, which is the fairest of all standards, the greatest Indian the world has known, was Mi'-shi-kin-noq'- kwa, commonly known as The Little Turtle, but that is not what his name means. Literally it means The Great Turtle's Wife, but it is not in that sense that it was applied to this great chief.
The Miamis have specific names for the most common turtles — at-che'-pong for the snapping turtle, ah-koot'-yah for the soft-shell turtle, we-neet'-chah for the box turtle or tortoise, kach-kit'-yot for the map turtle, and mi-shi-kin-noq'-kwa for the painted terrapin. This last is the commonest of all the turtles in this region, and the most gaudily colored, which probably explains its Indian name, for who should be handsomely dressed if not the wife of The Great Turtle, who typified the Earth, and who was the chief beneficent manitou of the Algonquian tribes in the olden time ? But when it came to translation the interpreters knew no specific English name for the painted terrapin, and, as it is a little turtle, never growing more than six or eight inches across, they conveyed the idea as well as they could by saying "The Little Turtle."
The Little Turtle was rather small of stature, and was probably a puny infant, which may account for his name, for a more sprawling, helpless-looking creature than a newly hatched painted terrapin can hardly be imagined. It has been stated that his mother was a Mohegan woman, but his granddaughter Kil-so'-kwa (The Setting Sun) says that both his father and his mother were full- blooded Miamis. He was born near the present city of Ft. Wayne, about 1751. Though small of stature, he was both brave and wise. He had also a remarkable dignity of manner that commanded respect, and although not a hereditary chief, he soon rose to a position of leadership. His first opportunity for special distinction came in 1780.
Up to that time the region about the headwaters of the Maumee had not been disturbed in the war with the Americans, but had been a center, easy of access to the British, from which supplies were distributed and warriors were sent out to harass the frontiers. It had been an Indian stronghold for many years. Before the Miamis dwelt there it was occupied by the Ottawas, or Pierced Noses — so called because they punctured the cartilage of the nose, as women do their ears, and suspended ornaments from it — and the Maumee was in early times known as the Ottawa River.
At the site of Ft. Wayne was the town of one of their clans or divisions, who were called Kis-ka-kons or Ki-ka-kons, i. e., Clipped Hair, or as the French called them, Queues Coupees, because they shaved the sides of their heads and wore their hair in a bristling band across the head from front to back. This name always attached to the place, but the Delawares corrupted it to Ke-gey-unk, which would mean "old place" if it meant anything, and the Miamis to Ke-ki-oon'-gi, which would mean "cut place" if it meant anything, but both tribes disclaim knowledge of the meaning of these names, which is very proper because they lost the real meaning long ago. Here and at smaller villages in the vicinity the Miamis had dwelt for nearly a century in apparent security.
But in 1780 a rude shock occurred. Out from the East there came Colonel Le Balme, a French officer, who came over with Lafayette and had been serving with the Continental army in New England. Inspired perhaps by the success of George Rogers Clark, he conceived a plan for capturing Detroit with a force raised in the French settlements. He won the confidence of the French settlers on the Mississippi, and thirty of them started with him on his expedition. At Vincennes he recruited nearly as many more.
The expedition was well managed in the earlier part. The men were mounted, and they passed up the Wabash quickly and quietly, making the journey from the Wea towns in four days, and taking Ke-ki-oon'-gi by surprise. There were few Indians in the town and they fled, as did the British traders, most of whom were of French birth. The invaders took some plunder from the stores and then fell back to the Aboite River, where they encamped in fancied security. But they counted without their host.
The alarm spread rapidly and soon came to The Little Turtle, who quickly gathered a band of warriors to attack the enemy. Finding Ke-ki-oon'-gi abandoned,they followed back the trail and in the darkness of the night struck the sleeping camp. La Balme had not even posted sentinels, and he and his men were all killed except a young man named Rhy, who was carried captive to Canada and handed over to the British authorities. He said he was aid-de-camp to La Balme, and that they had fallen back to the Aboite to await reinforcements to the number of 400, which were expected, but of these nothing further was ever heard. The news of the destruction of the expedition against Detroit was received with great satisfaction by the British, and thenceforth The Little Turtle was the recognized war chief of the Miamis.
It has been surmised by local historians that the Aboite received its name from this event, the original form being Abattoir, which was later corrupted to the present form. This is wholly unfounded, as the stream is called Riviere a Boite in documents and maps of earlier date. Boitte, or its variant bouette, is a word used by French fishermen for minnows that are used as bait for larger fish and their name for the stream was River of Minnows. The Miamis call it Na- kow'-e-se'-pe, or Sand Creek.
In the next ten years there was an abundance of fighting, of Indian raids on the Kentucky settlements and all along the frontier, with counter expeditions by the whites. It has been estimated that between the close of the Revolutionary war and 1790 the Indians killed 1,500 people and ran off 20,000 horses. They did the greater damage, but they were being gradually forced back and losing their old homes. Many retired to the Miami country, and in 1785 Ke-ki-oon'-gi is said to have had a population of 1,000 warriors of various tribes. But the white man was growing weary of this petty and harassing warfare, and this feeling was increased by the belief, supported by very convincing evidence, thatthe British, who still held the region about Detroit, were furnishing supplies to the Indians and urging them to war. It was decided that a crushing blow must be struck, and in 1790 an expedition was started against the Miami town under command of Gen. Josiah Harmar, the commander-in-chief of the American army.
The expedition consisted of 1,453 men, rank and file, of whom 320 were regulars and the remainder militia and volunteers from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky. But the latter were not up to the frontier standard. Many were boys and old men, and most of them were poorly equipped. They were almost without discipline, and showed a great deal of insubordination. There was jealousy among the officers that extended to the men. Nevertheless, the army moved forward. The advance guard of 600 men, under Col. Hardin, reached Ke-ki-oon'-gi on October 15, and the remainder of the army two days later. They found the place deserted. Most of the men were away on their fall hunt and the rest had hastily retired.
On the 18th Colonel Trotter was sent out with 300 men, thirty of whom were regulars, to look for Indians, while the remainder of the force engaged in the destruction of the villages and crops. Trotter's trip was unsuccessful, and on the 19th Colonel Hardin was sent out with the same command. The Indians were not strong enough to attack the main army, but The Little Turtle had collected one hundred warriors and he placed them in ambush some ten miles northwest of Ke-ki-oon'-gi when Hardin was reported coming. Hardin marched into the ambush and the Indians opened fire and advanced. All the militiamen except nine fled, and these, with the regulars, were quickly hemmed in and subjected to a pitiless fire, from which only one escaped to tell the tale.
On the same day the army left Ke-ki-oon'-gi and moved two miles down the Maumee to a Shawnee town, where the work of destruction was kept up. On the 21st, having destroyed five villages and 20,000 bushels of corn, with quantities of beans, pumpkins, hay and fencing, the army started on its return and marched eight miles south. That night, at the request of Hardin, who desired to retrieve his misfortune of the 19th, Harmar sent back a force of four hundred men under his command, of whom sixty were regulars under Major Wyllis.
The detachment marched in three divisions a few hundred yards apart, intending to surprise the Indians, who, it was anticipated, would return to their villages early in the morning. But The Little Turtle was not surprised. A small force of Indians appeared before the right wing and when attacked fled up the St. Joseph, which the Miamis called K6-chis-ah-se-pe, or Bean River, the division, contrary to orders, following them for several miles.
Then The Little Turtle, with his main force, fell on the center division, which included the regulars. The regulars fought bravely, but lost so heavily that they were forced to retire up the St. Joseph. They were on the east side of the stream and the Indians followed, mostly on the west side, pouring in a deadly fire from behind trees and other cover.
At last the remnant met the returning militia, and with their united forces they compelled the Indians to fall back, and the soldiers rejoined the left wing at Ke-ki-oon'-gi. From there they returned to the main army without pursuit, the regulars having lost two officers and forty-eight men and the total loss to the army now reaching 183 killed and missing, besides many wounded, a number of whom had to be carried on stretchers. Hardin desired Harmar to go back with the army, but a council of officers decided that it was in no condition to do so. The Indians had suffered large loss of property, but were left with the belief that they had driven the Americans back.
The expedition of Harmar was followed by renewed attacks all along the frontier, the Indians being inspired both by the desire for revenge and the necessity of obtaining supplies of food. A bitter cry went up from the settlers. The Ohio company voted to raise troops to protect its settlements. Virginia provided for military expeditions from Kentucky, which was then part of its domain.
Congress directed an expedition under General St. Clair, and the erection of forts in the Indian country to guarantee peace. The Kentucky expeditions against the Wabash towns were successful, and early in September St. Clair's forces moved northward about twenty-five miles from Fort Washington and erected Fort Hamilton, on the Great Miami River. On October 4 they advanced again, this time forty-two miles, and erected Fort Jefferson. On October 24 the army again advanced, and on November 3 reached a point on the headwaters of the Wabash near where Fort Recovery was afterward established.
The advance was much delayed by failure of the contractors to forward provisions, and the army was weakened by numerous desertions, and by sending back one of the best regiments in search of deserters. It now numbered about 2,000 men.
Meanwhile the Indians had been busy. They had been kept informed of the American plans as made public by their British friends and of the movements on the frontier as gathered by their own scouts. Efforts had been made to unite the tribes in sufficient force not only to repel invasion, but also to drive the whites from the region north of the Ohio. Foremost in these efforts were The Little Turtle, the Shawnee chief Blue Jacket (Wey'-ah-pier-sen'-wah) and the great Delaware war chief known in our frontier literature as Buckongehelas (properly pronounced Poch-gont'-she-he'-los. Heckewelder writes it Pachgantschihilas and translates it "A fulfiller ; one who succeeds in all he undertakes." This is figurative; literally it means "The Breaker to Pieces".
In the latter part of October these and minor chiefs had gathered 1,400 warriors in the vicinity of Ke-ki-oon'-gi, and these assembled on the prairie, five miles below that place on the St. Marys River, which the Miamis called Mah-may'-i-wah-se-pe'-way, or Sturgeon Creek, on account of the large number of sturgeon that used to run up it in the spawning season.
There was a division of sentiment as to who should have the chief command that threatened for a time to become serious. Some favored The Little Turtle and some Buckongehelas, but the latter was not a man to let personal consideration stand in the way of success. Dawson, who voiced General Harrison's opinion, said of him: "This man possessed all the qualities of a hero ; no Christian knight was ever more scrupulous in performing all his engagements than the renowned Buckongehelas." He settled the controversy by withdrawing in favor of The Little Turtle on the ground that he was the younger and more active man.
And now The Little Turtle had no ordinary Indian foray on his hands. He had an army to deal with, and it must be handled as an army, for the Indians were determined not to await invasion and another destruction of their winter supplies. They must be furnished with food on their march to meet the enemy.
The Little Turtle divided his warriors into squads or messes of twenty each, and ordered that four from each mess, in rotation, should act as hunters for that mess for one day, bringing in at noon whatever game they had obtained. The commander was well informed as to the enemy. His scouts had hovered about the army for a month, stealing horses and cutting off stragglers at every opportunity. In the night of November 3 he brought his warriors close in around St. Clair's camp and prepared for the attack.
The Americans were summoned to arms for parade at daylight, as usual, and the waiting Indians silently watched their maneuvers. Half an hour before sunrise — near 6 o'clock — they were dismissed for breakfast, and as they dispersed to their quarters The Little Turtle gave the signal for attack. The militia outposts were quickly driven in, and the Indians pressed after, keeping under cover and maintaining a continuous rifle fire.
The troops were soon put in position and discharged repeated volleys at their concealed foes, but with little effect. Charge after charge was made, but the Indians nimbly retired before the bayonets and were back again as soon as the soldiers turned, while a destructive fire was poured into the charging columns from the flanks. The Indians did not show themselves except when raised by a charge. They made special marks of the officers and artillerymen.
The fight was one-sided from the start, and by half-past 8 o'clock the army was helpless. The artillery was silenced. The men were huddling in the center of the camp, deaf to orders. The Indians were closing in. Most of the officers were dead, and those remaining saw that the only hope was in retreat. .A few brisk charges made an opening to the road, and those who were able to go made their way to it in utter rout. And as they fled the panic seemed to grow. Fortunately the Indians pursued for only four or five miles, but the road for miles beyond that was strewn with arms and accoutrements of men who desired nothing to impede their flight.
The Little Turtle had vanquished an American army 50 per cent, larger than his own and had inflicted a loss of 37 officers, and 593 men killed and 31 officers and 242 men wounded. He had captured all the enemy's artillery, camp equipage and supplies, valued at $32,800, besides much private property. He had blocked for the time being the invasion of his country.
This was the greatest victory ever gained by Indians over American troops. In the Sioux victories at Fort Kearny and on the Little Big Horn the Indians greatly outnumbered the whites. The Nez Perces, under Chief Joseph, met equal and superior forces of soldiers, but their successes were only defenses and skillful retreats. The only engagement comparable with the defeat of St. Clair was Braddock's defeat, and in that the Indians were aided and officered by Frenchmen, and would have retreated but for their officers, while the Americans were not allowed by Braddock to fight in their own way. The Little Turtle's victory was over a superior force, on its own chosen ground and was achieved wholly by Indian military skill.
The defeat of St. Clair was a fearful blow to the frontier settlements, most of which were at once abandoned, except those adjoining the forts. Nearly all the able- bodied settlers had gone to the front, and there was mourning in nearly every family. The Indians were greatly emboldened, and war parties appeared all along the lines of the frontier,carrying havoc that brought forth a bitter cry for aid.
President Washington realized that more adequate means must be taken to subdue the Indians, and he asked Congress for authority to raise three additional regiments of foot and a squadron of horse. There was opposition to this in Congress on account of the poverty of the country, and it was even proposed to abandon the Northwest Territory
and make the Ohio River the boundary of the United States. But such sentiment was not popular, and there was soon manifested a widespread determination for adequate measures for conquering the Indians.
Congress provided for raising an army of 5,000 men, and President Washington called "Mad Anthony" Wayne from his farm to command it. Meanwhile every effort was made to settle the trouble peacefully. Commissioners were sent to the Indians through Canada, and councils were held, but the Indians stubbornly refused to treat except on condition that the Americans retire from north of the Ohio and make it the boundary between them.
Wayne went to Pittsburg in June, 1792, and began the work of organizing the army, but no offensive movements were made during that year, or until October, 1793, when he advanced to a point six miles beyond Ft. Jefferson and built Ft. Greenville. In December he sent a detachment forward which took possession of the field of St. Clair's defeat and established Ft. Recovery at that point. At these two posts Wayne wintered his army, and prepared for a sure blow in the coming summer. <
Only one attack was made on Wayne's forces in 1793. On October 17 a train of twenty wagons, under convoy of two officers and ninety men, was attacked seven miles north of Ft. St. Clair. Most of the men fled, and the two officers and thirteen men who remained, were killed. The Indians captured seventy horses and took some of the supplies, but did not destroy the remainder.
The winter passed without material incident, Wayne drilling his troops and making everything ready, while the Indians were striving to bring other tribes to their aid. In this they were assisted by the British, especially those at the Roche de Bout (Rock of the End), a place at the lower end of the Maumee rapids, so called from a massive rock in the stream. Here the British had established a fort after the close of the Revolutionary war, far within the American lines, and here were located the storehouses of Colonel McKee, an Indian trader, who was one of the most obnoxious of the British agents in urging the Indians to war. <
The Little Turtle appeared before Ft. Recovery on June 30 with a force of 1,500 men, a large number of whom were whites in disguise. They had expected to find the cannon they had captured from St. Clair and to use them in assaulting the fort, but they were disappointed. The Americans had discovered their hiding places, mostly under logs, and they were now mounted in the fort. But by chance they struck a convoy of ninety riflemen and fifty dragoons under Major McMahon, who were returning to the fort. They at once attacked and overwhelmed this force, killing five officers and seventeen men, wounding thirty, killing and wounding eighty-one horses and capturing 204. They then attacked the fort and continued their assault through most of the following day, but their rifles were of little effect and they withdrew.
A division of sentiment now arose among the Indians. They had found it impossible to surprise Wayne in camp, for his camps were always fortified by surrounding 'walls of logs and there was no opportunity to attack in the open except when the troops were ready for battle. The Little Turtle insisted that this was hopeless on account of Wayne's superior force; that it was useless to try to surprise "a chief who always slept with one eye open," and that the only way to fight him was to get in behind him and cut off his convoys, leaving him stranded in the wilderness. But they had succeeded only twice in striking convoys, and one of the successes was accidental. The British urged an attack on the army and promised aid. The Little Turtle was overruled and even accused of cowardice. The majority encouraged by their success with St. Clair, decided on a pitched battle and The Little Turtle had no choice but submission to the decision.
General Scott on July 26 joined Wayne at Ft. Greenville with 1,600 mounted men from Kentucky, and on the 28th the army advanced. On August 8 they reached 'the Grand Glaize and proceeded to build Ft. Defiance at the junction of the Auglaize with the Maumee. On the 13th a prisoner was sent out with a peace message, advising the Indians to listen no longer to "the bad white men at the foot of the rapids," but to send peace deputies at once if they desired to save themselves and their women and children from famine and danger.
On the 15th, having received no answer, the army advanced down the Maumee, and on the 18th, having marched forty-one miles from Ft. Defiance, the soldiers began erecting a light fortification for the baggage, in preparation for active work. On the morning of the 20th they advanced about five miles, when they came to a place known as the Fallen Timbers — a thick wood in which the ground was covered with old trunks of trees, probably blown down by a tornado, which prevented the action of cavalry. Here the Indians were lying in ambush, to give battle.
The advance guard was received with so severe a fire that it was forced to fall back, although under orders, in case of attack, to hold its position until the army could come to its support. But there was no other confusion.
Wayne at once dispatched his cavalry on both flanks to gain the enemy's rear, and ordered his infantry, who were marching with loaded guns and fixed bayonets, to advance, raise the Indians with the bayonet, fire at short range, and chase them out of the woods without stopping. The movement was carried out to the letter. In the course of an hour the Indians were driven over two miles, and, being refused admission to Ft. Miami — the British post — they dispersed in all directions, the cavalry not having had time to reach their position.
The pursuit was carried almost under the walls of Fort Miami, whose commander sent a protest to Wayne against this "insult to the British flag." Wayne replied with a demand for the garrison's removal from United States territory, to which the commander declined to accede. But he offered no interference to the army, which remained there for three days, destroying the crops and property of the Indians and the storehouses of Colonel McKee, which were within pistol shot of the fort.
The loss of the Americans was comparatively small, being five officers and twenty- eight men killed, and sixteen officers and eighty-four men wounded. Of the wounded eleven died. The loss to the Indians was never definitely learned, but it was much larger than that of the whites.
On the 24th the army started on its return to Ft. Defiance, laying waste the cornfields and villages for fifty miles on each side of the river. Wayne reported that the margins of the Maumee and Auglaize were like "one continued village" for miles, and that he never "before beheld such immense fields of corn in any part of America, from Canada to Florida." The work of destruction was continued at Ft. Defiance, and the fort was strengthened for permanent occupancy.
On September 14 the army marched to Ke-ki-oon'-gi and began building the fort opposite the Indian town, which was named Ft. Wayne by Colonel Hamtramck, who was left in command. The Indian dominion of "the Glorious Gate of the Wabash" was ended forever, and it is fitting that the name of the man who ended it should remain as a permanent memorial. But the old memories linger also, and to this day the older Miamis call the place Ke-ki-oon'-gi.
The spirit of the Indians was broken. They suffered much during the winter, though the British furnished them extensive supplies. The British governor Simcoe, aided by Colonel McKee and the Mohawk chief, Captain Brant, tried to unite them for further resistance, but in vain. The action of the British in refusing admission even to wounded Indians at Ft. Miami and permitting Wayne's men to destroy goods of both Indians and British under the guns of the fort, had convinced them that the British were afraid of the Americans.
Wayne had been a revelation to them. The Miamis named him The Wind (a-lom'- seng), on account of the way he had swept them from the Fallen Timbers ; but the Delawares named him The Blacksnake (Suk-ach'-gook), because they esteem the black- snake the wisest and most cunning of animals, and the most destructive to smaller animals and birds. With very little resistance the Indians obeyed his summons to assemble at Ft. Greenville in the summer of 1795, and on August 3 a treaty, which he dictated, was concluded.
The Little Turtle now realized, as few others did, that a new era had come to his people, which called for a change in them. In the past he had contended against the vices of barbarism, and had been the chief agent in suppressing "the ancient sacrificial rites," including cannibalism, which had been practiced among the Miamis as late as the Revolutionary war.
He now entered on a campaign against the vices of civilization, and an effort to gain its advantages. Most destructive of the former was intemperance. He visited the Legislatures of Ohio and Kentucky, as well as Congress, and begged for the prohibition of the liquor traffic among the Indians. In a speech, which was taken down in short and at the time, he denounced it as "an evil that has had so much ruin in it, that has destroyed so many of our lives, that it causes our young men to say, 'We had better be at war with the white people. This liquor that they introduce into our country is more to be feared than the gun or the tomahawk ; there are more of us dead since the treaty of Greenville than we lost by the years of war before, and it is all owing to the introduction of this liquor among us.' "
While on a visit to Washington The Little Turtle learned of the benefits of inoculation as a preventive of smallpox. He at once had himself and the members of his party inoculated, and he also carried this remedy to his people, which was the means of saving the lives of many of them and of the surrounding tribes.
He tried to introduce a civilized system of agriculture among the Miamis, and at his request the Society of Friends of Baltimore, established a training farm on the Wabash. It was located at a place known as "The Boatyard," because General Wilkinson built a fleet of boats there to transport his baggage down the river. This is some two miles below the present city of Huntington, the site of which was known to the Miamis as We'-pe-chah'-ki-oong or "The Place of Flints," because there is here a flint ridge running across the limestone, from which they obtained abundant supplies of flints.
The farm was not a success, however, and Philip Denis, the hard-headed Quaker, who was put in charge of it, abandoned it at the end of the first season because his Indian pupils gave no co-operation beyond sitting on the fence and watching him work.
The Little Turtle also endeavored to promote friendship with the Americans, and opposed British influences, which brought him into opposition to Tecumtha. This opposition was much aggravated by his supporting the treaties made by Governor Harrison for lands in the southern part of Indiana. As the Government had built a substantial log- house for him at his town on Eel River and otherwise encouraged him in his efforts for civilization, his enemies found many listeners to their insinuations that he had sold himself to the Americans. This feeling was worked up to such a point that in 1810 John Johnston, the Indian agent, wrote to Governor Harrison : "This Turtle is contemptible beyond description in the eyes of the Indians." Nevertheless he still retained his influence with most of the Miamis, and very few of them took part in the battle of Tippe- canoe. After that event, his wisdom was again generally recognized, and he regained much of his former standing.
In his later years the old chief was much troubled by rheumatism and gout, and was treated for them by the army surgeons at Ft. Wayne. One day an interpreter rallied him with a suggestion that gout was supposed to be a disease of fine gentlemen. The Little Turtle quickly replied: "I have always thought that I was a gentleman."
And he was. He had not only a philosophic mind and a ready wit, but also a notable instinct for the proprieties that fitted him for any social surroundings. These qualities attracted attention among the whites wherever he went. One who met him while on a trip East in 1807, writes:
"The Little Turtle and Rusheville, the Beaver and Crow (Delawares), and the two Shawnees, were dressed in a costume usually worn by our own citizens of the time — coats of blue cloth, gilt buttons, pantaloons of the same color, and buff waistcoats ; but they all wore leggings, moccasins and large gold rings in their ears. The Little Turtle exceeded all his brother chiefs in dignity of appearance — a dignity which resulted from the character of his mind. He was of medium stature, with a complexion of the palest copper shade, and did not wear paint. His hair was a full suit, and without any admixture of gray, although from what he said of his age, at Ft. Wayne in 1804, being then fifty-three, he must at this time have been fifty-seven years old. His dress was completed by a long red military sash around the waist, and his hat (a chapeau bras) was ornamented by a red feather. Immediately on entering the house, he took off his hat and carried it under his arm during the rest of the visit. His appearance and manners, which were graceful and agreeable in an uncommon degree, were admired by all who made his acquaintance.
"The "Rusheville" here mentioned was The Little Turtle's nephew, Jean Baptiste Richardville, who succeeded him as head chief of the Miamis. His Indian name was Pin-je'- wah, or the Wild Cat. He was the son of The Little Turtle's sister, Tah-kum-wah (On the Other Side, i. e., in position, as across a river), and a scion of the noble French house of Drouet de Richardville. This corruption of his name is quite common, and a further twist is found in the name of Russiaville, Howard County, which was originallly intended to perpetuate his memory.
We have also attempted to commemorate a grandson of The Little Turtle in the name of the town of Coesse, in Whitley County, But this is our reproduction of his Potawa- tomi nickname, Ku-wa'-ze, or as the Miamis pronounce it, Ke-wa-zi, meaning "old," or as here "old man." He was the son of The Little Turtle's son, Ma-kot'-ta-mon'-gwah (Black Loon). His cousin, Kil-so-kwa, says his real name was Mtek'-yah, meaning "forest" or "woods" ; but the nickname supplanted the true name, and in the treaties he appears as "Co-i-sa," "Ko-es-say," or "Ko- was-see."
Kil-so-kwa is the daughter of The Little Turtle's son Wok-shin'-gah (the Crescent Moon — literally "lying crooked"). Her mothe's name was Nah-wa'-kah-mo'-kwa (the First Snow Woman — literally, the one that comes first). She says that her own name means "the setting sun," though literally it appears to mean only "the sun" (feminine) or "sun woman." Kil-so-kwa. married Antoine Revarre, a French-Canadian, and now lives near Roanoke, Ind., with her son Antony Revarre, whose Indian name is Wah'-pi-m5n'-gwah (White Loon), at the advanced age of ninety-seven years.
The Little Turtle prepared to take the side of the Americans in the war of 1812, but he was destined not to participate in that conflict. His old enemy, the gout, carried him off on July 14, 1812, while at Ft. Wayne for treatment. He was buried on the bank of the St. Joseph, above Ft. Wayne, with military honors. For a generation or more the Indians were accustomed to visit his grave and pay tribute to his memory, and well they might, for if ever man served his generation to the best of his ability, this man had done so.
Source:True Indian Stories By Jacob Piatt Dunn 1908
BACK -- HOME
© Genealogy Trails