Concerning the Native American

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Concerning the Native American

The following, with minor revisions, is from the pen of the late Rev. Warren Taylor. Rev. Taylor wrote with great care, and his statements may be implicitly relied upon as being as nearly correct as personal observations can make them.

When the first white settlers came to Marshall County, they found within its bounds a somewhat numerous branch of the Pottawattomie tribe of Indians. These Indians were divided into bands, the most of which or all of which, by the treaty of 1832, obtained reserves. The largest reserves were those of Aubbeenaubee and Menominee.

The Aubbeenaubee Reserve was situated west of the Michigan Road, and in the southern part of the county, extending perhaps into the county of Fulton. The Menominee Reserve embraced a region of country to the southwest of Plymouth, its northeastern corner being near the western border of the town. These two reserves containing twenty or thirty sections each. The two later lay on the east side of Maxinkuckee Lake; the former was situated on the Tippecanoe River, in the southeastern part of the county.

The Indian bands above mentioned, while living in this region, had several villages. The Aubbeenaubee village was on or near the southern line of the county, and about two miles to the west of the Michigan Road. From three to four miles to the southwest of Plymouth, in the neighborhood of the Twin Lakes, was a settlement of the Menominee band, which contained near one hundred wigwams. Around and among the wigwams were partly cleared fields, from which the Indians raised considerable quantities of corn.

This settlement was partly on the north side of the Twin Lakes, and extended over one or two sections. The Benack village was near the Tippecanoe River, and was about five miles south of the town of Bourbon. There was also a village on the Roberts Prairie, and another on the Tabor farm, which was called Pashpo, from its principal chief.

The Pottawattomies were formerly a powerful tribe, inhabiting the northern part of Indiana, the southern part of Michigan and the northeastern part of Illinois. In the early history of Indiana, they were for several years hostile to the whites. It is said that a detachment of the Pottawattomies were on the way to oppose Harrison when that General approached the Prophet’s town near the mouth of the Tippecanoe. But before they could reach the scene of action, the battle of Tippecanoe had been fought, and the Prophet’s warriors were defeated. It is reported, too, that after the battle, the Indians retreated to a spot a few miles to the west or southwest of the present village of Marmont (Culver), in Union Township, which was so surrounded with marshes as to be almost inaccessible.

During the last war with Great Britain, the Pottawattomies were probably engaged with Tecumseh, peace was concluded with the Pottawattomies, the Miamis, and some other tribes inhabiting the Northwest Territory. In 1832, the infant settlements of LaPorte, South Bend and Niles strongly feared that the Pottawattomies, with whom they were surrounded, would espouse the cause of Black hawk, and wage, if possible, against the white settlers, a war of extermination. These fears, however, appear to have been unfounded. The above facts have been mentioned because they belong to the history of the Pottawattomies, and with a branch of this tribe the early history of Marshall County is intimately connected.

The great mass of the Pottawattomie nation had embraced the Catholic religion, long, perhaps, before the settlement of Northern Indiana by the whites. French missionaries had been among them, and among many other tribes of the Mississippi Valley. In some of the villages in this region, the Sabbath was observed as a day of worship. Many of our old citizens can recollect the time they attended Indian meetings at the chapel on the Menominee Reserve.

This chapel, which was of good size, and built of hewed logs, occupied a beautiful site on the north bank of one of the Twin Lakes. The Indians who attended these meetings generally formed large congregations, and their behavior during the services was very exemplary. Generally, these meetings were conducted by ministers of their own nation, but occasionally French clergymen were present and took the lead. The ground on which the chapel stood is now owned by John Lowry, Esq., but the building has long since passed away.

The demeanor of the Indians toward the white settlers was, with few exceptions, peaceable and friendly. A few of them had received an English education, and many of them were able to read books that had been translated into their language. In dress, they had partly adopted the habits of the whites. Occasionally, individuals would be seen in fine broadcloth, which was made up in fashionable style. Such, however, would almost invariably affix to their garments more or less of the fantastic ornaments which characterize the dress of an Indian.


It has been observed that the Pottawattomies in this region were generally peaceable in their demeanor. All, however, did not possess this spirit. A somewhat tragical event is said to have occurred at the Aubbeenaubee village about or shortly after the time that the early settlers located themselves in the county. The circumstances, as they have been narrated, were substantially as follows: The chief after whom the above-mentioned village was named possessed a bloodthirsty disposition, especially when intoxicated. In some of his drunken brawls, he had, it is said, killed two Indians, which perhaps were relatives.

A council was convened to deliberate on his punishment. This council, following an ancient custom, decided that a son of the murderer should be the avenger of blood and slay his father. The chief, hearing of this decision, manifested to a striking degree the characteristics of an Indian. Placing himself before his son, he commanded him to execute the sentence of the council declaring that he was ready and willing to die. The son, not entirely destitute of filial affection, shrunk at first from the horrible mandate, but, finding that the decision of the council was imperative, he nerved himself for the occasion, and inflicted upon his father a mortal wound. The chief applauded the act of his son, called him a good brave, lingered a few hours and expired.


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