History of Winneshiek County
Biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
GENEOLOGY AND HISTORY OF THE DECORAH FAMILY
How fair is Decorah,
In fitting remembrance
For heeding the
And Indians that
Things have changed,
to be sure,
- Mrs. John C. Hexom.
HOPOKOEKAU, or "Glory of the Morning," also known as the Queen of the Winnebagoes, was the mother of a celebrated line of chiefs, all of whom, well known to border history, bore in some form the name Decorah. Her Indian name is also given as Wa-ho-po-e-kau. She was the daughter of one of the principal Winnebago chiefs. There is no record of the date of her birth or death.
She became the wife of Sabrevoir De Carrie, who probably came to Wisconsin with the French army, in which he was an officer, in 1728. He resigned his commission in 1729, and became a fur-trader among the Winnebagoes, subsequently marrying "Glory of the Morning." He was adopted into her clan and highly honored. After seven or eight years, during which time two sons and a daughter were born to him, he left her, taking with him the daughter. The Queen refused to go with her husband, and remained in her home with her two sons. "The result is to-day that one-half or two-thirds of the Winnebago tribe have more or less of the Decorah blood in their veins."* (*Statement by Geo. W. Kingsley.) Through the intervening generations there has been no other mixture of Caucasian blood, so that the Decorahs of to-day are probably as nearly full-bloods as any Indians in any part of the country.
De Carrie returned to Canada, re-entered the army, and was killed at Ste Foye in the spring of 1760. The daughter whom he took with him, became the wife of a trader, Constant Kerigoufili, whose son, Sieur Laurent Fily (so-called), died about 1846.
Captain Jonathan Carver, who visited the Queen in 1766, states that she received him graciously, and luxuriously entertained him during the four days he remained in her village, which "contained fifty houses." Her two sons, "Being the descendants of a chief on the mother's side, when they arrived at manhood * * * * assumed the dignity of their rank by inheritance. They were generally good Indians and frequently urged their claims to the friendship of the whites, by saying they were themselves half white."
CHOUKEKA DEKAURY, or Spoon Decorah, sometimes called the Ladle, was the eldest son of Sabrevoir De Carrie and Hopokoekau. The name is also rendered Chau-ka-ka and Chou-ga-rah. After having been made chief he became the leader of attacks on the Chippewas during a war between them and the Winnebagoes, but he maintained friendly relations with the whites. He was the ancestor of the Portage branch of the family. It was principally through his influence that the treaty of June 3, 1816, at St. Louis, Mo., was brought about.
His wife, Flight of Geese, was a daughter of Nawkaw (known also as Carrymaunee and Walking Turtle), whose management of tribal affairs was decidedly peaceful. According to La Ronde, Choukeka's death occurred in 1816, when he was "quite aged." He left six sons and five daughters. The sons were: (1) Konokah, or Old Gray-headed Decorah; (2) Augah, or the Black Decorah, named by La Ronde, Ruch-ka-scha-ka,; or White Pigeon; (3) Anaugah, or the Raisin Decorah, named by La Ronde, Chou-me- ne-ka-ka; (4) Nah-ha-sauch-e-ka, or Rascal Decorah; (5) Wau-kon-ga-ka, or the Thunder Hearer; (6) Ong-skaka, or White Wolf, who died young. Three of the daughters married Indians. One married a trapper named Dennis De Riviere and later married Perische Grignon. The other married Jean Lecuyer.
Cyrus Thomas * (* Of the Bureau of American Ethnology.) makes the statement that, "From Choukeka's daughters who married white men are descended several well known families of Wisconsin and Minnesota."
CHAH-POST-KAW-KAW, or the Buzzard Decorah, was the second son of De Carrie and "Glory of the Morning." He settled at La Crosse in 1787, with a band of Winnebagoes, and was soon after killed there. He had two sons: (1) Big Canoe, or One-eyed Decorah; and (2) Wakun-ha-ga, or Snake Skin, known as Waukon Decorah.
OLD GRAY-HEADED DECORAH, called by the whites Konakah (eldest) Decorah, often mentioned as Old Dekaury, was the eldest son and successor of Choukeka Dekaury. His common Indian name was Schachipkaka, or The War Eagle. The signature "De-ca-ri" attached to the treaty of Prairie des Chiens (as the word is frequently spelled in early documents), Michigan Territory, August 19, 1825, is probably that of Old Dekaury. He signed the treaty of Prairie du Chien, Michigan Territory, August 1, 1829, as "Hee-tsha-wau-sharp- skaw-kau, or White War Eagle. "Among those representing the Fort Winnebago deputation at the treaty of Fort Armstrong, Rock Island, Ill., September 15, 1832, he signed as "Hee-tshah-wau-saip-skaw-skaw, or White War Eagle, De-kau-ray, sr."
Old Decorah was born in 1747, and died at Peten well, the high rock on the Wisconsin river, April 20, 1836, about ninety years old. Old De-kau- ry's town contained over 1OO lodges, and was the largest of the Winnebago villages. Before he died he called a Catholic priest, who baptized him the day of his death.
Before his father's death, in 1816, Old Gray-headed Decorah had joined a band of Winnebagoes who took part, August 2, 1813, in the attack led by General Proctor, with 500 regulars and 800 Indians, on Fort Stephenson on lower Sandusky river, Ohio, which was so gallantly defended by Major George Croghan with a force of 150 Americans and only one cannon. He also fought with Proctor and Tecumseh, a celebrated Shawnee chief, at the battle of the Thames, Canada, where a great part of the British army was either slain or captured by the American forces under General Wm. H. Harrison, October 5, 1813, and where Tecumseh was shot. Old Decorah was held as a hostage for the delivery of Red Bird, a war chief, during the so-called Winnebago War. Old Decorah gave assurance to General Atkinson, during this war, of the peaceable intentions of the Winnebagoes.
It was while Major Zachary Taylor was located at Prairie du Chien that he received from Old Gray-headed Decorah a peace pipe now in the State Historical Museum at Madison, Wis. This calumet is a fine specimen, the head is of catlinite inlaid with lead polished to look like silver. The stem, or wooden handle, is about three feet long, rather rudely carved.
Mrs. J. H. Kinzie described* (*"Wau-Bun," pg. 89) him as "The most noble, dignified, and venerable of his own or indeed of any other tribe. His fine Roman countenance, rendered still more striking by his bald head, with one solitary tuft of long silvery hair neatly tied and falling back on his shoulders; his perfectly neat, appropriate dress, almost without ornament, and his courteous manner, never laid aside, under any circumstances, all combined to give him the highest place in the consideration of all who knew him."
Mrs. Kinzie further states * (* Same reference as above, pg. 484.): "The noble Old Day-kau-ray came one day from the Barribault to apprise us of the state of his village. More than forty of his people, he said, had now been for many days without food, save bark and roots. My husband accompanied him to the commanding officer to tell his story, and ascertain if any amount of food could be obtained from that quarter. The result was the promise of a small allowance of flour, sufficient to alleviate the cravings of his own family. When this was explained to the chief he turned away. 'No,' he said, 'if his people could not be relieved, he and his family would starve with them,' and he refused for those nearest and dearest to him the proffered succor until all could share alike." During the winter of 1832-33 food was scarce at Fort Winnebago, and the Indians suffered severely.
Old Day-kau-ray delivered an address on education to the agent, Mr. Kinzie, at a conference held with the Winnebago chiefs in 1831, in regard to sending the children of the Indians away to school. The following quotation is from his speech * (* Smithsonian Report, 1885, part 2, pg. 128.): "The white man does not live like the Indian; it is not his nature; neither does the Indian love to live like the white man. * * * * This is what we think. If we change our minds we will let you know."
The known sons of Old Dekaury were (1) Little Decorah and (2) Spoon Decorah.
BIG CANOE, or ONE-EYED DECORAH, a son of Chatpost-kaw-kah, told George Gale * (* A Wisconsin pioneer who in 1851 removed to the copper Mississippi region, where he was judge, state senator, etc., founding the village of Galesville and the academy thereat. He wrote a history of the Winnebago Indians, which is still in manuscript form in the Wisconsin Historical Society's possession.) about 1855 that he had but one brother, Waukon Decorah. One-eyed Decorah's Indian name was Wadge-hut-ta-kaw, or the Big Canoe. The signature, Watch-ha-ta-kaw, (by Henry M. Rice, his delegate) is attached to the treaty of Washington, October 13, 1846, and is undoubtedly that of One- eyed Decorah.
He was born about 1772, and was fifteen years of age when his father settled at La Crosse. He aided in the capture of Mackinaw, July 17,1812, and was with the British in the attack on Fort Stephenson, August 2, 1813, near Fremont, Ohio, and with McKay at the capture of Prairie du Chien. It is said that he signed the treaty there in 1825. The act for which he became celebrated was the capture of Black Hawk and the Prophet, 1832. Black Hawk's force was pursued by General Atkinson, who completely defeated him August 3, 1832. The famous Sauk leader and the Prophet escaped to the northward and sought refuge among some Winnebagoes, whither they were followed and captured by One-eyed Decorah and Chaetar (another Winnebago), who delivered him to General Street (a former Winnebago agent) at Prairie du Chien, August 27, 1832. On this occasion One-eyed Decorah made the following speech :* (*"Red Men of Iowa," pg. 160.)
"My father, I now stand before you. When we parted I told you I would return soon, but I could not come any sooner. We had to go a great distance. You see we have done what you sent us to do. These (pointing to the prisoners) are the two you told us to get. We have done what you told us to do. We always do what you tell us, because we know it is for our good. Father, you told us to get these men, and it would be the cause of much good to the Winnebagoes. We have brought them, but it has been very hard for us to do so. That one (Black Hawk) was a great way off. You told us to bring them to you alive; we have done so. If you had told us to bring their heads alone, we would have done so, and it would have been less difficult than what we have done. We would not deliver them to our brother, the chief of the warriors, but to you, because we know you, and we believe you are our friend. We want you to keep them safe; if they are to be hurt, we do not wish to see it. Wait until we are gone before it is done. Father, many little birds have been flying about our ears of late, and we thought they whispered to us that there was evil intended for us; but now we hope these evil birds will let our ears alone. We know you are our friend because you took our part, and that is the reason we do what you tell us to do. You say you love your red children; we think we love you as much as, if not more than, you love us. We have confidence in you and you may rely on us. We have been promised a great deal if we would take these men Ñ that it would do much good to our people. We now hope to see what will be done for us. We have come in haste; we are tired and hungry. We now put these men into your hands. We have done all that you told us to do."
In 1832, One-eyed Decorah married two wives and went to live on the Black river, Wis. He had at least one son, Spoon Decorah. Chas. H. Saunders says. "One-eyed Decorah has one daughter, Mrs. Hester Lowery, still living in Wisconsin. Her Indian name is No-jin-win-ka. She is between eighty-five and ninety years old." One-eyed Decorah was living in Iowa between 1840 and 1848, as Moses Paquette, who went to the Presbyterian school at the Turkey river, says that he saw him while he was at school, and Decorah was then an old man. Big Canoe disliked to leave their Iowa reservation.
Geo. W. Kingsley says: "One-eyed Decorah or Big Canoe, after being driver around by the United States Government from the Turkey river reservation, Iowa, to Long Prairie in northern Minnesota, then back to Blue Earth, southern Minnesota, his family brought the old chief back to his native home and stamping grounds in Wisconsin. * * * * He requested his children not to bury him, but instead, to place him on top of the ground in a sitting position, and so it was done."
He lived for a number of years with his tribe on Decora's Prairie, Wis., which is named after him; there is also a bluff called Decora's Peak back from the Prairie which was also named after him. George Gale states: "The One-eyed De Carry, who is now [about 1864] about ninety years old, had his cheedah (or wigwam) and family during the summer of 1862 two miles west of Galesville, Wis., and a part of the summer of 1863 he was near New Lisbon." On both of these occasions Gale interviewed him on the traditions of his tribe and family. One-eyed Decorah (also written One-Eyed Decorah) died near the Tunnel, in Monroe county, not far from Tomah, Wis., in August, 1864. A. R. Fulton says* *"Red Men of Iowa," A. R. Fulton; "The Making of Iowa," Sabin.): "While young he [One-eyed Decorah] had the misfortune to lose his right eye."
Some histories* (*Same reference as above) contain the statement that, "One-eyed Decorah, a son of Waukon Decorah, was a drunkard and unworthy of his father;" there is no evidence, however, to show that he was more debauched than other chiefs, for nearly all Indians were more or less addicted to firewater. That he was a son of Waukon Decorah is an error, as One-eyed Decorah himself testifies that Waukon was his brother.
WAKUN-HA-GA, or Snake Skin, a son of Chahpost-kaw-kah, was commonly known as Waukon Decorah, or Washington Decorah because in 1828 he went to Washington with the chiefs; he also visited Washington later. Waukon Decorah was a great council chief and orator of his tribe.
The following treaties were signed by him: August 19, 1825, Prairie des Chiens, Michigan Territory, as "Wan-ca-ha-ga, or snake's skin;" August 25, 1828, Green Bay, Michigan Territory, as "Wau-kaun-haw-kaw, or snake skin;" August 1, 1829, Prairie du Chien, Michigan Territory, as "Wau- kaun-hah-kaw, snake skin ;" among those representing the Prairie du Chien deputation at Fort Armstrong, Rock Island, III., September 15, 1832, as "Wau-kaun-hah-kaw, or snake skin, (Day-kau-ray);" November 1, 1837, Washington, D. C., as "Wa-kaun-ha-kah, (Snake Skin)." In 1832, Mr. Burnett found him, with the principal part of his band from the Wisconsin and Kickapoo rivers, about sixty miles up the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien. This was during the Black Hawk war, at which time Waukon Decorah aided the whites. This chief belonged to the Mississippi river bands.
Mr. Saunders says, "Wakun-ha-ga had one son named Ma-he-ska-ga, or White Cloud;' he is buried here on this reservation [Nebraska]. This man was known around Prairie du Chien and Lansing as John Waukon (there is a Charley Waukon who is now living at Lansing, Ia., but he is no relation to the Waukon Decorah family). John Waukon has one daughter, Mrs. Henry Big Fire, and two sons, Henry Smith ('Hunting Man') and John Smith ('Che-wy-scha-ka') still living. John Waukon was my father-in-law; my wife's name, by birth and number of female children, was Oc-see-ah-ho- no-nien-kaw. She died February 21, 1913,"
Waukon Decorah's portrait (recently identified), painted by J. O. Lewis* (* Mr. J. O. Lewis was employed by the Indian Department from 1823 to 1834 to make portraits of the Indians, which was in furtherance of the plan of Hon. J. A. Barbour, Secretary of War. He accompanied Governor Lewis Cass and Colonel H. L. McKenney in their western tours, 1819 and 1829, and was present at the several treaties made by these gentlemen with the Chippewas, Winnebagoes, Sioux, Pottawattamies, and others. One of the folios contained a letter from General Cass in September, 1835, to Mr. Lewis, confirming the correctness of his pictures and commending him to the public. The sketches made by Mr. Lewis were deposited in the Indian Office, War Department, at Washington, and many of them were afterwards copied, at two different times, for the work of McKenney and Hall. - Part 2, Smithsonian Report, 1885.) at the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1825, is shown in Lewis' Aboriginal Portfolio. He is there called "Waa-kaun-see-kaa, or the Rattle Snake." Its chief distinction is a turban composed of a stuffed rattlesnake, wound around the head, on which are some feathers; a blanket is draped around the lower part of his form, while a bunch of hair (evidently horsehair) is thrown over his arm.
Waukon Decorah evidently had adopted for his badge a stuffed snake skin, so that by some he was called "snake skin," by others, "rattlesnake," the former term, according to historical data, being more commonly used. Thomas McKenney, later United States Indian Commissioner, gives a portrait of this chief in McKenney and Hall's "Indian Tribes," with a biography. Here he is called "Wa-kaun-ha-ka, a Winnebago Chief." In his biographic note McKenney speaks of "Wa-kaun-ha-ka" as a Decorah, moreover, he says that the subject was part French. The Wa-kaun-ha-ka of McKenney and the Waa-kaun-see-kaa of Lewis are portraits of the same person, and both coincide in the rattlesnake turban.
The variation in Indian names is not a formidable matter in identification. Mr. Lamere states that, "The literal translation of 'Wa-kaun-see-kaa' is 'the Yellow Snake.'" Mr. Saunders says: "At times of feasts or medicine dances Wa-kun-ha-ga wore on his head a cap [turban] made of yellow rattlesnake skins; the feathers denote bravery in battle." L. H. Bunnell mentions that the yellow rattlesnakes of the Mississippi bluffs were held as acred by the Winnebagoes and Dakotas, who killed them only when a skin was required for a religious ceremony or dance.* (* Wisconsin Archeologist, Vol. 6, No. 3, pg. 134.)
Miss Kellogg, research assistant to Reuben G. Thwaites * (* Superintendent of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.), reports as follows: "We can unhesitatingly affirm, that there is every probability that this is the well known Winnebago known as Waukon Decorah. * * * * I think there can be no doubt that Lewis's portrait is a genuine one, and correctly identified."
Several historians * (* A. R. Fulton, "The Red Men of Iowa;" B. F. Gue, "History of Iowa," Vol. 1; Sabin in "The Making of Iowa" also gives the same account.) of Iowa, it seems, have taken their accounts of Waukon Decorah from a statement originally made in the "Annals of Iowa," 1866, by Eliphalet Price of Elkader, Clayton county. This contains numerous errors. The Waukon Decorah described as a very small Indian is not the person of that name known to Wisconsin history. Price says, * (* In his article entitled "Wakon Decorah," Annals of Iowa, 1866.) "He was usually called 'the Blind Decorah,' having lost his right eye;" he further states that the meaning of Waukon Decorah is "White Snake." In this he is also mistaken, as the previously given treaty signatures testify. Decorah is a corruption of the French surname De Carrie.
George W. Kingsley makes the following statements: "There was a White Snake also, but he was not a chief, although a very prominent Indian. He died in Houston county, Minnesota, about the time the Decorahs lived in Iowa, his remains were left in a sitting position on the point of a hill about one mile north of the village of Houston. White Snake lost a part of his family in a massacre on the Wapsipinicon river, Iowa, a few years after the Black Hawk war while on an elk hunt, by a band of Sauk and Fox Indians by mistake. White Snake was part Sauk."
The speech referred to and partly quoted in W. E. Alexander's History of Winneshiek and Allamakee counties, 1882, and credited to Waukon Decorah, is obviously connected with this incident. Evidently the speech was made by White Snake. He complained that his tribe had been firm friends of the whites, had aided them in the Black Hawk war, and because of this had incurred the enmity of the Sauks and Foxes, who first struck at his own family. He desired some token of remembrance for his services.
It is claimed by Alexander * (* In his History of Winneshiek and Allamakee counties.) that, "The name 'Wachon Decorah' is found translated in some places as the 'White Crow'; this is an error. There was a White Crow whose Indian name was Wa-haw-ska-kaw, also given as Kau-kich-ka-ka. He was a prominent Winnebago civil chief and orator and died about the year 1834 in Wisconsin, and was buried there. Spoon Decorah, a son of Old Gray-headed Decorah, stated that White Crow was a one-eyed chief.
Eliphalet Price took the census of 1850 and is credited by the Day family (who were some of the first white settlers in Winneshiek county) with suggesting Decorah as a very proper name for the town site that they had in mind to plat. * (* From a paper prepared by A. K. Bailey for deposit in the corner stone of the new Court House.) In the act of organizing the county (1851)) Decorah is herein first named, two and a half years before the town plat was recorded. The district represented by Hon. Eliphalet Price consisted of Clayton, Fayette, Allamakee, and Winneshiek counties. John Day made the remark * (* In Alexander's History of Winneshiek and Allamakee counties.) that Decorah "was a small Indian about five feet in height."
Mr. Price and Mr. Day were probably mislead in their identification of this chief, as there were other Winnebagoes whose names began with Waukon. Apparently, they were familiar with the name Waukon Decorah, and had this in mind when it came to selecting a name for the new town. Mr. Price in his article relates that, "Soon after the removal of the Winnebagoes from the Wisconsin to the Neutral Ground in Iowa, Decorah and his band took up their residence on the Iowa river near the present site of the town that bears his name, in the county of Winneshiek." Antoine Grignon states: "Wakun-ha-ga [Waukon Decorah] was camped on the Iowa river [Upper Iowa] when I knew him. * * * * He did not remain in that section long." Mr. Saunders says, "Wakun-ha-ga, and his band, also had a village at or near Waukon, Ia., where they went in the summer, and raised corn and squash, and picked berries for winter use."
In a statement made by Col. C. A. Clark in "Annals of Iowa," 1903, he remarks that, "The name of the city of Decorah evidently comes from Little Decorah." This is very improbable, as there is nothing which corroborates it. Old Waukon lived a generation or two before Little Decorah, and was a distinguished chief, while it appears that the latter was of lesser note.
It is evident, therefore, that our county seat is named in honor of the venerable Waukon Decorah. Alexander states, "Our neighboring town of Waukon gained its name from the first half." Oliver Lamere confirms this in the following account: "Waukon and Waukon Junction have derived their names from Waukon Decorah. * * * * A very prominent chief lived at the time the Winnebagoes were there [Iowa] called 'Ah-la-me-ga.' It is thought that the name Allamakee is taken from him, and therefore it is a Winnebago name."
Waukon Decorah was noted for his large and imposing stature and is said to have been a fine-looking man. Col. Brisbois of Prairie du Chien, who knew him well, speaks particularly of his stature. Antoine Grignon states that, "he was a large man over six feet tall and very powerful;" he further states, "Mr. Price is mistaken, - Waukon Decorah was not blind." He is said to have had a family of several children while here in Iowa, but the number is not known. Wakun-ha-ga was a member of the Snake clan and belonged to the Lower phratry. It is said that his sons had eagle clan names and claimed to be of the eagle clan.
What are said to be the remains of Waukon Decorah, which have been twice re-interred, now repose in the Court House Square, near the northeast corner. These are, however, the bones of some other Indian. The first grave supposed to be that of Decorah was on ground now occupied by Winnebago street, just below Main, almost at their intersection. The opening of the street to travel made it desirable that the remains be removed to another spot. This was done by a formal meeting of prominent citizens August 4, 1859. When the grave was opened the remains were found to consist of human bones, a blanket, a tomahawk, a pipe, and a great number of beads. These were taken out and buried under Ellsworth and Landers' store, the place now occupied by John C. Hexom & Son, where they remained for about six months. When the stone wall in front of the Court House was completed, the remains were re-interred. They were placed in the Court House Square, where they lay undisturbed for about seventeen years. But the grading and terracing of these grounds and the building of the new stone wall compelled another re-interrment in the summer of 1876. The bones were taken out and placed in a box to be buried again inside the new stone wall.
When the remains were first exhumed in 1859, the skull had black hair; this assertion is corroborated in a statement made by R. F. Gibson, January 27, 1913, to the writer of this article. Mr. Gibson was one of a committee of three appointed to take charge of the remains.
Waukon Decorah was at this time living in Minnesota with his people; this fact has been established beyond question. It is stated in Alexander's history that even prominent participants in the first exhumation of the alleged remains of Decorah were confused with doubts, by rumors, current at the time, to the effect that Decorah was still living. He died at the Blue Earth agency, southern Minnesota, in 1868, and was buried there. Mr. Lamere says, "He was about ninety-three years old when he died, and it is said that his hair was as white as it could be." This is practically conclusive proof that the death of Waukon Decorah did not occur here, and that his remains are not buried in the Court House Square.
LITTLE DECORAH was the oldest son of Old Gray-headed Decorah. His Winnebago name is given as "Maw-hee-coo-shay-naw-zhe-kaw," which Mr. Kingsley interprets as "The pillar that reaches the clouds." The following treaties were signed by Little Decorah: November 1, 1837, Washington, D. C., as "Ma- hee-koo-shay-nuz-he-kah, (Young Decori) ;" October 13, 1846, Washington, as "Maw-hee-ko-shay-naw-zhee-kaw;" February 27, 1855, Washington, as "Maw-he-coo-shaw-naw-zhe-kaw, "one that Stands and Reaches the Skies, or Little Decorie ;" April 15, 1859, Washington, as "Little De Corrie ;" March 1, 1865, Washington, as "Little Dacoria." It is probable that "Little Decorah" is simply another term for Decorah, Junior.
This chief established a village on the Iowa river (Upper Iowa) in 1840, and it is thought that he was about forty years old while here. Antoine Grignon, who was acquainted with him, says, "Little Decorah spent very little time in Iowa - but lived mostly in the region of Portage, Wis." He belonged to the Mississippi river bands of Indians. Waukon Decorah and Little Decorah had separate camps on the Upper Iowa river.
Little Decorah was of medium height, five feet, eight or ten inches, and was chunky and fleshy. It is said that he was slow of action and speech, but possessed a mild and kind disposition and was very sensible. He belonged to the Cloud clan. Little Decorah died near Tomah, Wis., April 1, 1887, about 1OO years old.
SPOON DECORAH was a son of Old Gray-headed Decorah. (It will be remembered that Old Decorah had a brother Choukeka, also called Spoon Decorah). Spoon Decorah was born at his father's village near the mouth of the Baraboo river, Wisconsin. In March, 1887, Dr. Reuben G. Thwaites had an interview with him. He was then "living with his aged squaw," whose name, it is said, was Gray Eagle-eye. "His progeny, reaching to the fourth generation, were clustered about the patriarchal lodge in family wigwams." He could only converse in his native tongue. He related, "In 1840, we were all moved to the Turkey river [Iowa]; but in the spring our party went to Iowa [Upper] river, where Little Decorah had a village. We went down soon afterwards to the Turkey river to get our ammunition, but for some reason - perhaps because we had moved to Iowa river without the consent of the agent - we couldn't get any."* (* Wisconsin Historical Collections.) He then went back to Wisconsin, where he died October 13, 1889, in a cranberry marsh, near Necedah. It is said that he was about eighty-four years old when he died. * (* Same reference as above.)
ANGEL DE CORA - known in private life as Mrs. William Deitz - is the daughter of a descendant of the hereditary chief of the Winnebagoes. The name "Angel" came about through an accident; its bearer was carried, while a baby, to a young kins-woman, who, being asked to choose a "Christian name," opened a Bible at random, and the first word which caught her eye was "angel." Her Indian name, which means "Queen of the Clouds," identifies her with the Thunder-bird clan. Angel De Cora - Deitz states: "Wakan [Waukon Decorah] was a generation or two before Maw-he-coo-shaw-naw-zhe- ka [Little Decorah]. The latter was my grandfather."
Her education began, while very young, when she was carried off to Hampton, Va. A strange white man appeared on the reservation and asked her, through an interpreter, if she would like to ride on a steam car; with six other children she decided to try it, and when the ride was ended she found herself in Hampton. "Three years later, when I returned to my mother," says Angel De Cora * (* The Literary Digest, January 27, 1912, pg. 161.), "she told me that for months she wept and mourned for me. My father and the old chief and his wife had died, and with them the old Indian life was gone." She then returned to Hampton, where, through the efforts of a kind family who gave her employment, she was enabled to work her way through a local preparatory school for girls, and later the art department of Smith College, Northampton, Mass. * (*Same reference as above.)
Her husband's name is Wicarhpi Isnala, or Lone Star; he is one-quarter Sioux and the rest German. Both are now teaching art at the Carlisle Indian School, her husband having also studied art and become an artist of some note. Angel De Cora has been under the art instruction of such men as Howard Pyle, Frank Brown, Joseph De Camp, and Edmund Tarbell. She has won distinction in her work. In 1904 her husband, Lone Star, supervised the interior and mural decorations of the Indian exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. It was while in St. Louis that he became acquainted with Angel De Cora.* (* From an article in The Literary Digest, January 27, 1912, pg. 161.)
Roger C. Mackenstadt, whose boyhood was spent in the city of Decorah, where his parents still reside, says, "Our best policeman, and one of my intimate friends, was Peter Decora, a grandson of Chief Wakan Decorah.
* * * * In the whole tribe I would say that fifty are named Decora. They drop the H. There are several Waukons, about ten, and twenty Winneshieks. The Winneshieks and Waukons are all Wisconsin Winnebagoes and about half of the Decoras are Wisconsin." Mr. Mackenstadt having received a promotion, is now stationed at the Uintah and Ouray Agency, Utah.