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LAKE COUNTY INDIANA
Native American Data

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From "Historical Records of the Lake County Old Settler and Historical Associatio of Lake County, Ind.", 1924, Compiled by the Historical Secretary. Transcribed here by K. Torp

The Pokagons were probably the most prominent of the local Indians. Simon Pokagon, son of Leopold, and Cheif of the Potawatomi bands that inhabited Norther indiana and Southern Michigan, was an author, an orator, a musician, and a man of high ideals. It often has been said of him that was nevr known to break an agreement. Sometimes we wonder - and then realize that we should be loyal to our race. This noted "Son of the forest," who was honored by Carter Harrison, former Mayor of Chicago, and who at one time was a guest of the President of the United States, made regular visits to this county. The records of Indian land sales, following the treaty at Chicago, October 27, 1832, show that he owned a strip of land described as section 29, township 36, range 7 west; this being a part of the present site of Hobart. Mr. Arthur Patterson, of East Gary, asserts that he became well acquainted with the chief, who pointed out the old trails, the site of the former Potawatomi village at East Gary, and the burial ground near Liverpool. Mr. Patterson has in his private museum, an arrow which he received about 1870, from the chief, who was then paying a visit tot he site of the old Indian village.

Mr. Nocktonich has translated a number of names of the Indians who formerly resided in this locality, some of whom owned land in Lake County.

Potawatomi Reservation, Kansas, July 2, 1923
Friend Sir:
Yours of June 21st at hand and contents noted. In reply: Deep River may be Not-weh, Rattlesnake River.
Note a e i o u
a as in ah
e as in let
i as in eel

Tope-ne-bee -- Principal chief of the Wabash river Potawatomies
Meh-shi -- Son of Tope-ne-bee; died in Kansas, 1897; old age
Nen-wish-ma -- Nephew of Top-ne-bee; Kaw-ki-me, mother of Nen-wish-ma warrior
Mes-quass -- Nephew of Lepold Pokagon; died 1900, advanced age
Sin-otch-win - Friend of Leopold Pokagon
Wa-bon-si -- Principal chief, Prairie Potawatomi; St. Joseph Band
Wop-sei -- Son of Sin-otch-win; Chief Kansas Prairie Potawatomies; died at the age of 72
Mi-sha-bo -- Brother of Leopold Pokagon; uncle of Simon Pokagon
Pset-tah -- Daughter of Mi-sha-bo; mother of writer; born 1823 near Chicago, in Indiana
No-ta-get -- Warrior chief; killed in action with the Sioux in 1850, in Kansas

Pronunciation -- Meaning
Tope-ne-bee -- Tope-neh-bee -- Deep water fish
Meh-shi -- Meh-shee -- Sturgeon
Nen-wish-ma -- Nan-wish-maw -- I conquer
Mes-quas -- Mass-quass -- Red fish
Sin-otch-win -- Sen-otch-wen -- Swan of the Grand Rapids
Wa-bon-si -- Wau-bon-sie -- Morning (early eagle) Dawn
Wop-sei -- Waub-say -- White Swan
Mi-sha-bo -- Me-shaw-bo -- Great waters (ocean)
Pse-tah -- Pseh-taw -- I am heard
No-ta-geh -- No-taw-geh -- I hear (a warrior's call)
Ki-wa-ni -- Key-wah-nee -- Spiritually lost

I am sending you nine names of head men of our tribe, who were born near the great lake. Ki-wa-ni, an old man, bore that name. He was neighter chief nor warrior.

This may help you a little. The nine were born in Indiana. All came to Kansas except Tope-ne-bee; Nen-wish-ma died in Topeka. His picture is at the state capitol.
Yours,
Joseph Nocktonick

Former Indian Land Owners In Lake County

From records of land sales at Laporte, Indiana; Treaty of October 27, 1832
(Translated by Joseph Nocktonick)
Purchase -- Translation -- Sec. - T. - Range - Tract
Pokagon -- Rib -- 29 -- 36 -- 7 -- 640A
Auhenaube -- Looking Backward -- 17 -- 36 -- 7 -- 640
Quashman -- Landing a Log -- 21 -- 36 -- 7 -- 160
Nuvataumant -- Beaver cutting a tree -- 6 -- 36 -- 7 -- 298.8
Wesaw -- Yellow Beaver -- 20 -- 36 -- 7 -- 640
Wesaw -- Yellow Beaver -- 31 -- 36 -- 7 -- 640
Benock -- Tribe Bennock -- 32 -- 36 -- 7 -- 640
Pokakanse -- Little Rib -- 31 -- 37 -- 7 -- 80.51
Nisinek-que-quah -- Goddess of War -- 17 -- 34 -- 8 -- 640
Misnoke -- Fighting Earth -- 1 -- 36 -- 8 -- 569.34
Ashkum -- Forever a Sturgeon -- 4 -- 36 -- 8 -- 556.5
Showkowchkluck -- Pushing a Log -- 23 -- 36 -- 8 -- 300
Meshowke-to-quah -- A Goddess that clears the sky of clouds -- 36 -- 36 -- 8 -- 640
Besiah (of French origin) -- 36 -- 37 -- 8 -- 371

In nearly every part of the county, but more especially along the beach of lake Michigan and on the banks of the rivers, are found marks of the red man. About two years ago your historical secretary visited the old Potawatomi cemetery at Liverpool. Here much sand had been excavated for construction work, and there were flint chips, arrow-heads, pieces of pottery, and what seemed to be human bones, scattered all about. He picked up an arrow-head that had been neatly chipped from pure white flint, and as it lay in the palm of his hand, he thought how interesting would be a reconstruction of the camp where the maker of this arrow-head once lived.

A year later he enjoyed hearing about a camp which, sixty some years ago, was situation almost at this identical place. The descriptions were given by Mrs. Julia Hart Follette, of Chicago, and Mrs. Henrietta Gibson, of Gary; both of whom as girls were acquainted with the Indians, understood their languarge and played with the Indian children.

Mrs. Follette, accompanied by Mrs. Gibson, frequently visited the camp. She asserts that on one occasion they called to console an Indian woman who was mourning the loss of a charming infant daughter to whom Mrs. Follette had become much attached.

The men, who were painted, and decorated with beads and porcupine quills, and who carried pistols and daggers in their belts, were dancing to the sound of a tom-tom. A number of the women who were sitting in a circle, waved to and from and moaned incessantly. The mother of the dead child turned to Mrs. Follette and sobbed, "You papoose gone -- God take you papoose."

Mrs. Gibson tells many interesting details of the camp:

"The Indians were mostly of the Catholic faither, but they included sun-worship in their ceremonies. Often we could hear them about day-break, chanting and beating their drums, as they knelt and riased their faces to the rising sun. One of the women, Na-o-men-equeh (A lady of the Menominee tribe) worked for us; and Shobbona, a fine looking man, often came to our home.
"I recall a visit we made in the early 60's to one of their camps, situated about a mile east of where Broadway now is, and a short distance north of the Little Calumet river. Their tepees, to the number of a dozen or more stood at the base of a high dune call Coup-ni-quon (a bear's potato patch). They seemed to be much pleased to have us call. Most of the men wore blankets. They were making birch canoes, working with their traps or smoking in the shade of oak and willow trees. The women, who were rather nice looking, wore broadcloth skirts and shawls. They were doing beaded work, staining designs of flowers on the sides of birch canoes, or helping to prepare a meal which they were cooking in a large iron kettle. After the contents of the kettle had been sifficiently cooked, they dipped it out with wooden ladles, or gourds. They offered me some, which I tasted but did not relish, for it consisted of unseasoned field corn and quartered muskrats."

It seems, from evidence furnish by the earlier pioneers, that contact with the white race did not tend to elevate the morals of the Indians. Solon Robinson, who arrived at the site of Crown Point, october 31, 1834, has written in "The Early history of Lake County" that his best customers were the Potawatomies, who paid their bills in furs and berries, while many of his white customers gave only promises.

In 1838, many of the Indians were transported to Kansas. Few of the white or red race are now living who were in existence at that time, but we have among the members of this Association, one who was then a child of six years; Mrs. Elinore Phillips, who was 91 years of age the 28th of last March, came here in 1836. The Indians regularly visited her home to trade venison for pork and flour. She feared them, but they never molested her.

The departure of the Potawatomies, about 1838, is distinctly remembered by Mr. James L. Monahan, of Michigan City, who is now in his 99th year. "There was a string of Indians," he says, "that would reach from Plum Grove to Laporte. My uncle, Jonathan Dudley, had a contract to remove them to a reservation in the Southwest. One offered me a pony if I would accompany him, but I refused the offer."As time speeds on and weaves its hazy web about the past, these stories of pioneer life will arouse ever increasing interest and appreciation.


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