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    Monuments Erected by the "White" to Commemorate Famous Chiefs
    By Will M. Clemens

    Source: "New York Tribune Sunday Magazine" for August 27, 1905
    Transcribed for Genealogy Trails by R. Ramos
     

    Where sleep the great chieftains of the historic past? No stone marks the last camp of Pontiac nor of Tecumseh. We know not the burial place of Blue Jacket, Little Turtle, Crane nor Logan. In the United States to-day are nine monuments erected by white men to perpetuate the memory of famous Indians, and the nine great warriors of the early wilderness thus remembered are Miantonomoh, Uncas, Keokuk, Leatherlips, Seattle, Red Jacket, Cornstalk, Tomo-chi-chi and Pokagon.

    Chief Miantonomoh
    Miantonomoh, famous sachem of the Narragansetts, was one of the first Indian chiefs of whom early English settlers of Connecticut and Rhode Island had knowledge. He was captured and executed in 1643 and was buried a mile east of Norwich, Connecticut, on the spot where he died. For many years after members of his tribe made visits to the grave, and each added to a pile of stone until a considerable monument was raised in this way to his memory by his own tribe. In 1841 the citizens of Norwich and vicinity placed over the grave of Miantonomoh a solid brock of granite, eight feet long, five feet high and five feet in thickness, with the inscription "Miantonomoh, 1643," cut in large deep letters.
    This was the first monument actually erected by white men over the grave of an Indian: and nothing could better illustrate the advance in civilization than this act of rescuing the grave of this noted chief from neglect and oblivion, who two hundred years before had been condemned and executed by the English settlers.

    *****

    Chief Uncas
    Uncas was the most noted chief of the Mohegan tribe, a branch of the Pequots. He died of advanced age about 1683, at Norwich, Connecticut, to which town he deeded a large tract of land shortly before his death. The people of Norwich long contemplated a monument to Uncas, but the project did not take active form until the summer of 1833, when General Jackson, then President of the United States, visited Norwich, and his visit was made the occasion of awakening an active interest in the project of erecting a monument for their "old friend," as they expressed it---the Mohegan sachem, Uncas.
    President Jackson formally "moved the foundation-stone to its place." It has been described by the historian Caulkins as "an interesting, suggestive ceremony; a token of respect from the modern warrior to the ancient--from the emigrant race to the aborigines."
    But the project of completing the monument languished, and not until July 1847, was the Uncas memorial finally completed. It is a granite obelisk or shaft, about twenty feet in height, supported by a huge granite block upon which the simple name "Uncas" is cut in large letters. All about the grave of Uncas repose the ashes of many chiefs and members of his tribe. The place had been used before and has been used since by the Indians as a burying-place, but little or no evidence now remains to distinguish their respective graves.

    *****

    Chief Keokuk
    The monument to Chief Keokuk, "The Watchful Fox," was erected at Keokuk, Iowa, in 1886. Subsequent to the Black Hawk War, Keokuk removed with his tribe from Iowa to the Territory of Kansas, where he died in 1848. Over his grave was placed a marble slab which marked his place of burial until 1883, when the remains were exhumed and taken to Keokuk and interred in the city park, where a durable monument was erected by public-spirited citizens to designate the final resting-place of the noted chieftain. Later a bronze bust of Keokuk was placed in the marble room of the United States Senate at Washington.

    *****

    Chief Leatherlips
    Chief Leatherlips of the Wyandots, who was executed by the people of his own race in 1810, is remembered by his white brothers with a lasting monument on the spot where he died in Franklin County, Ohio, fifteen miles from Columbus. Leatherlips was put to death "for witchcraft," and his execution was witnessed by William Sells, a white man. The Wyandot Club of Columbus in 1888 erected a Scotch granite monument, which stands in the center of the one-acre park surrounded by a substantial stone wall. The monument stands upon the summit of the east bank of the Scioto River, about fifteen rods from the river's edge. The view from the monument, both up and down the Scioto, is most picturesque and beautiful.

    *****

    Chief Sealth
    The monument to Seattle, or Sealth as called by the Indians, chief of the Squamish and Allied tribes, stands at Fort Madison, on Puget Sound, fifteen miles northwest of Seattle, Washington. Sealth was perhaps the greatest Indian character of the western country. As a statesman he had no superior among the Red Men and ruled his people for more than half a century. At the time of his death in 1866 he was the acknowledged head and chief sachem of all the tribes living on or near Puget Sound. He had reached the age of eighty when he passed away and had made many warm friendships with the white pioneers in Washington. Over a hundred white men were in attendance at his funeral. In 1890 his friends erected a monument of Italian marble, seven feet high, with a base or pedestal surmounted by a cross bearing the letters "I. H. S." On one side of the monument is the following inscription:

    SEATTLE
    Chief of the Squamish and Allied Tribes
    Died June 7th, 1866.
    The Firm Friend of the Whites, and for Him the
    City of Seattle Was Named by Its Founders.

    *****

    Chief Sagoyewatha
    The memorial to the great Seneca chief, Red Jacket, or Sagoyewatha, "The Keeper Awake," stands in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New-York, and was erected in June, 1892. Red Jacket was born at Seneca Lake, New-York, in 1752 and died on the Seneca Reservation near Buffalo in 1830. His fame is that of a statesman and orator rather than as a warrior, and he was regarded as the most noted chief among the Six Nations of the Iroquois. He has been described as the perfect Indian in dress, character and instinct. He refused to acquire the English language and never dressed other than in his native costume. He had an unalterable dislike for the missionary and contempt for the clothes of the white man. In answer to a proposal to send missionaries among his people he said:
    "We also have a religion, which was given to our forefathers and has been handed down to us, their children. We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we receive, to love each other and to be united. We never quarrel about religion. The Great Spirit has made us all, but He has made a difference between His white and red children. He has given us different complexions and different customs. To you He has given the arts. To these He has not opened our eyes. We know these things to be true, since He has made so great a difference between us in other things; why may we not conclude that He has given us a different religion, according to our understanding? The Great Spirit does right; He knows what is best for His children; we are satisfied."
    When Red Jacket died in 1830 his remains were given over to Ruth Stevenson, a step-daughter, who retained them in her cabin for some years and finally secreted them in a place unknown to any person but herself. After she had become advanced in age, she became anxious to have the remains of her stepfather receive a final and known resting-place, and with that view in October, 1879, she delivered them to the Buffalo Historical Society, which assumed their care and custody and deposited them in the vaults of the Western Savings Bank of Buffalo, where they remained until October 1884, when their final interment was made in Forest Lawn Cemetery at Buffalo. The splendid monument which now marks the spot was not completed until some years after the interment.

    *****

    Chief Cornstalk
    The monument to Cornstalk, warrior and sachem of the Shawnees, was erected at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in 1896. It stands in the court-house yard and was made possible by the thoughtfulness and generosity of the leading citizens of Point Pleasant. Here in October 1774, was fought that great battle where Cornstalk won fame for his prowess and generalship. He was, too, a man endowed with superior intellectual faculties and was an orator of transcendent eloquence. His murder in 1777 by a party of infuriated soldiers was the result of the killing of a white settler by some roving Indians. The death of Cornstalk destroyed the only hope of reconciliation and peace between the white settlers south of the Ohio River and the Indian tribes north of it. It was followed by a succession of wars, forays and murders, down to the battle of "Fallen Timbers" in 1794, during which time many thousands of white men, women and children, and many thousands of the red race of all ages and conditions perished.
    There never has been and never can be any excuse or palliation for the murder of Cornstalk, and no one event in the history of those bloody times so much enraged the vindictive spirit of the Indian tribes, particularly of the Shawnees. It can never be known how many deaths of white men, women and children during the next twenty years were owing to this murder. One hundred and twenty years later an enduring monument was raised to his memory by a few generous-minded white men on the spot where he fought one of the greatest battles in all Indian warfare, and where three years afterward he gave up his life.

    *****

    Chief Tomo-chi-chi
    In the heart of Savannah, Georgia, reposes a huge granite boulder, erected in honor of the Indian chief, Tomo-chi-chi. This noble Red Man was the special friend of General James Oglethorpe, the English knight who, in the early Colonial days, endured much hardship in the new country of America to befriend both the Georgia Colony and the Indians thereabout. Chief Tomo-chi-chi, also mighty in the camp-fire councils of the braves easily ranked as one of the foremost of his race in those times. And so, when the stately descendants of Colonial sires, known as the Colonial Dames of America, sought to commemorate the spirit of the Georgia colony four years ago, they placed this monument in the State Capital. The bronze tablet on the side reads:

    In memory of Tomo-chi-chi,
    the Mico of the Yamacrans,
    the Companion of Oglethorpe,
    and the Friend and Ally of the Colony of Georgia,
    this Stone Has Been Here Placed by the Georgia Society of the Colonial Dames of America.
    1739-1899

    *****

    Chiefs Leopold and Simon Pokagon
    The monument erected by the citizens of Chicago to
    Leopold and Simon Pokagon, chiefs of the Pottawottomi Indians, in Jackson Park, Chicago, completes the known list of memorials erected by white men to their red brethren in this country. The Pokagons, father and son, were successive chiefs and Sachems of the once powerful Pottawottomi tribe, which long occupied the region around the southern and eastern shores of Lake Michigan. Leopold Pokagon is described as a man of excellent character and habits, a good warrier and hunter, and as being possessed of considerable business capacity. He was well-known to the early white settlers in the region about Lake Michigan, and his people were noted as being the most advanced in civilization of any of the neighboring tribes. He ruled over his people for forty-three years. In 1833 he sold to the United States one million acres of land at three cents an acre, and on the land so conveyed has since been built the city of Chicago. He died in 1840 in Cass County, Michigan.

    His son, Simon, then ten years of age, became the rightful hereditary chief of the tribe. At the age of fourteen he began the study of English, which he successfully mastered, as well as Latin and Greek. No full-blooded Indian ever acquired a more thorough knowledge of the English language. In 1897 he wrote an article for a New York magazine on the "Future of the Red Man," in which he said: "Often in the stillness of the night, when all nature seems asleep about me, there comes a gentle rapping at the door of my heart. I open it, and a voice inquires: "Pokagon, what of your people? What will be their future?" My answer is: "Mortal man has not the power to draw aside the veil of unborn time to tell the future of his race. That gift belongs to the Divine alone. But it is given to him to closely judge the future by the present and the past." Pokagon died January 28, 1899, at the age of seventy years; and thus passed away the last and most noted chief of the once powerful Pottawottomi tribe. His remains were buried in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago.

    [New York Tribune, Sunday Magazine for August 27, 1905 - Tr. by Richard Ramos]


 


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