The following article was taken from History of Marshall County, Indiana, 1836 to 1880, by Daniel McDonald, pg. 20. Please keep in mind that it was written in 1880 when he mentions "the present" or "today".
When the first white settlers came to Marshall County, they found within its bounds a somewhat numerous branch of the Pottawatomie tribe of Indians. These Indians were divided into bands, the most or all of which, by the treaty of 1832, obtained reserves. The largest reserves were those of Aubbeenaubbee and Menomonee. The Aubbeenaubbee Reserve was situated west of the Michigan Road, and in the southern part of the county, extending perhaps into the county of Fulton. The Menomonee 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 contained twenty or thirty sections each. The reserves of Ben-ack, Nis-waug-ee, and Quash-qua, were much smaller, each of them containing two or three sections. The two latter lay on the east side of Maxenkuckee 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 Aubbeenaubbee 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 Menomonee 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 villae was near the Tippecanoe River, and about five miles south of the town of Bourbon. There was also a village on the Roberts Prairie, and another on the Taber farm, which was called Pashpo, from its principal chief.
The Pottawatomies 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 Pottawatomies 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, in Union Township, which was so surrounded with marshes as to be almost inaccessible. During the last war with Great Britain, the Pottawatomies were probably engaged with Tecumseh against the United States. In 1812, a detachment of the United States army marched from Fort Wayne and destroyed a large Pottawatomie village on the Elkhart River. Soon after the death of Tecumseh, peace was concluded with the Pottawatomies, 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 Pottawatomies, 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 Pottawatomies, and with a branch of this tribe the early history of Marshall County is intimately connected.
The great mass of the Pottawatomie 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 when they attended Indian meetings at the chapel on the Menomonee 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, Esp., 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 the garments more or less of the fantastical ornaments which characterize the dress of an Indian.
It has been observed that the Pottawatomies 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 Aubbeenaubbee village about or shortly after the time that the early settlers locatd 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 concil, 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.
It has been observed that the Indians, by the treaty of 1832, obtained within the county several reserves. Something like three years afterward, Col. A.C. Pepper, agent for the United States, held a council with the Indians for the purchase of the above-mentioned reserves, which council was held, according to some, at the Pottawatomie Mills, about one mile east of Rochester, and according to others, on the Tippecanoe River, about two miles above the crossing of the Michigan Road. The purchase was effected, but whether fairly or otherwise has been a matter of considerable dispute. Many of the Indians were extremely dissatisfied with the result of the treaty, maintaining that only a few individuals has consented to the purchase; that the wishes of the great mass of the owners had not been consulted. By this treaty, the Indians obtained a tract of land in the then Territory of Kansas, and perhaps something besides in the shape of an annuity. The news of this purchase soon brought to those reserves many white settlers, who were called "squatters," as the lands were not then in market. These settlers would build a house, and sometimes make a small improvement upon the quarter-section which they wished to secure. This was considered as establishing their claim. During the years 1836 and 1837, the most of the Aubbeenaubbee and Monomonee Reserves were in this way taken up. The Indians, who still lived upon their grounds, regarded these settlers as intruders. Disputes frequently took place between them, but none of them, it is believed, terminated seriously. About this time, Congress passed a pre-emption law, which secured 160 acres, at $1.25 per acre, to all actual settlers upon United States lands, if these lands were paid for within a specified time. The settlers of our reserves were included within the provisions of this act, and most of them succeeded in paying for their claims.
Anthony Niago was the last of that host of warriors who originally inhabited this region of country, and as such is worthy of more than a passing notice as an important landmark in the history of Marshall County. He was born somewhere in the then territory of Kosciusko County, in the year 1805, and was in his seventy-third year when he died, in Plymouth, in 1878. He moved into Marshall County in 1828, and located in the region of Tippecanoe Town. His head was not clear as to numbers, but he said there was a "heap Indian" here at that time. His father was of the Pottawatomie tribe, and his mother of the Miami tribe. He claimed to have belonged to the Miami tribe, in accordance with an Indian custom of designating the tribe the papooses should belong to from the squaw's side of the house, out of the respect Mr. Lo entertains for the female portion of the Lo family. He was married at the Indian chapel on the Menomonee Reserve, near Twin Lakes, in the year 1828, to Miss Ashnuc - in the Indian language signifying Miss Angeline. She was what is now known as a half-breed, one of her parents being French and the other Indian. It was in this same chapel, also in 1828, that he was baptized into the Catholic faith by a missionary of that denomination sent from the Old World to look after the spiritual welfare of the aborigines of the Western wilderness, and for forty years had kept the faith, and at the time of his death was an enthusiastic devotee at the altar of the Catholic Church in Plymouth.
An Indian by the name of Marshall visited the residence of Niago when he resided north of Bourbon in an early day, and threatened to kill him for some imaginary cause. In self-defense, Niago took his gun down from over his door and shot him dead in his tracks.
When the Indians were removed from Marshall County in 1838, he sought and obtained an interview with Gen. Tipton, of Logansport, who had been instructed by the Government to remove the Pottawatomies in conformity with the treaty entered into between the Government and Chechoes, the chief of that tribe in this region of country. Belonging to the Miamis, he was informed that he need not go if he did not wish to, provided he would procure lands and settle down to peaceful pursuits. He still had friends here of his own tribe, and, not wishing to leave the scenes of his early exploits among the red men of the forest, he bade his red brothers an affectionate adieu, turned his face homeward, and, having settled on a piece of land suited to his ideas of civilization, became a peaceable citizen, and had been an exemplary and law-abiding resident of the county to the date of his death. The territory of Marshall County was originally in the possession of the Fox Indians and another friendly tribe. The Pottawatomies claimed right of possession, and, as a natural consequence, a feud sprang up between them, resulting in many hard-fought battles, the last of which, it is stated, occurred on an open space of ground north and east of Wolf Creek Mills, on the place now owned by Hugh BROWNLEE. This open space in the wilderness was, prior to the settlement of that part of the county by the whites, an Indian village. In 1836 to 1840, the ground was dotted over with small rises of ground the size of potatoe hills, giving evidence of approaching civilization in the raising of Indian corn. It had been unoccupied, however, for some time prior to 1836. Still, small stalks of corn continued to grow each spring and summer for several years after; Indian ponies, running wild through the woods, were occasionally seen; war implements, bows and arrows, tomahawks, beads, rings, and various trinkets common to the Indian race, were found in abundance. When the first white people settled near Maxenkuckee, there was still a chief of the Pottawatomie tribe living near there. His name was Nis-wau-gee. He was not one of the fighting kind, and was kindly disposed toward the white people, and during his residence among them never betrayed them. Old Uncle William THOMPSON and his wife "kept house" for Nis-wau-gee during one of his trips to obtain a payment on the treaty. When he started West to join his tribe, the white people visited him and wished him a safe journey. He was much moved by this expression of unexpected good will, and promised to return again and live with them, but he was never seen again.
From some who were present, and others who were conversant with the modus operandi by which the Indians were removed from the county in 1838, the following statement is compiled:
In the spring of 1838, the Government of the United States, having purchased all the reservations, entered into a treaty with the Indians that they should emigrate and settle on the Great American Desert, west of the Mississippi River. The Indians became dissatisfied when the time arrived for them to fold their tents and leave their hunting-grounds, and many of them finally determined that they would not go, and urged in justification of the determination that the treaty with the Government was made with chiefs who had no right to sell the land embraced in the reservations. Col. Pepper and Gen. Morgan were sent out by the Government, with authority to take such steps to carry out the stipulations of the treaty as might be deemed necessary. Some time was spend in the use of moral [per]suasion, but the tympanum of the noble red man was too thick to be penetrated with that sort of ammunition, and he would not go. The Indian agent called a council to ascertain what, if anything, could be done to induce the Indians to go without using force. This council was held on the north bank of Pretty Lake. The orator who spoke for the Pottawatomies was Menomonee. He was the head chief of his tribe, and as fine a specimen of physical manhood as the aborigines produced. When Gen. Pepper made his final appeal, and threat of force, and all had had their say, Menomonee rose to his feet and drew his costly blanket about him, showing below his splendidly worked leggins and moccasins, a wonder of skill. His white head towering above those around him, he said in substance: "The President does not know the truth. He, like me, has been imposed upon. He does not know that your treaty is a lie and that I never signed it. He does not know that you made my young chiefs drunk and got their consent, and pretended to get mine. He does not know that I have refused to sell my lands, and still refuse. He would not by force drive me from my home, the graves of my tribe and my children who have gone to the Great Spirit, nor allow you to tell me your braves will take me, tied like a dog, if he knew the truth. My brother, the President, is just; but he listens to the word of his young chiefs who have lied; and when he knows the truth he will leave me to my own. I have not sold my lands. I will not sell them. I have not signed any treaty and I shall not sign any. I am not going to leave my lands, and I do not want to hear anything more about it." And amid the applause of the chiefs he sat down. Spoken in the peculiar style of the Indian orator, with an eloquence of which Logan would have been proud, his presence the personification of dignity, it presented one of those rare occasions of which history gives but few instances, and on the man of true appreciation would have made a most profound impression.
A man by the name of WISE acted in the capacity of a "middle man," and interpreted the utterances of the noble red man to the white men of the council. Considerable time was spent without accomplishing anything, and the council was disbanded. Finding that no amount of persuasion would induce them to go, Gen. Tipton, of Logansport, was appointed moving agent, and was furnished a company of troops from Logansport, one from LaPorte, one from South Bend and one from LaFayette. A coundil was again called by the agent, and, while they were parleying, they were surrounded by the troops, taken prisoners and their arms taken from them. On Sunday, before the departure of the Indians, the white residents of the county paid them a visit at their camping grounds and bade them farewell. There were about fifteen hundred Indians, all told, about one hundred of whom were sick. A Catholic priest from South Bend was present, and held services in the old chapel on the Menomonee Reserve. About forty of the Indians died before they reached their destination. The interpreter was taken sick in Illinois, and Abraham BURNETT was appointed in his place. He returned in the fall of the same year. He represented that the Indians wre shamefully treated while on the march, many of them dying for want of water. If his story was true, the agent must have been a fiend in human form. He would not give them time to drink water enough to quench their thirst. The only consolation these poor sufferers had was in the belief that the Great Spirit was offended with his conduct. His wife died while he was absent, and, two weeks after he returned, he was taken sick and died also. And thus the original owners of the territory now known as Marshall County were driven from their possessions, and the places that knew them then shall know them no more forever.
There are many traces of the Indian race that once inhabited this county still remaining, and many objects of curious workmanship once belonging to them are still picked up, although of late years the numbers have grown perceptibly "smaller by degrees and beautifully less." Several residents of the county have collections of calumets, stone axes, bows and arrows, stone arrows of every conceivable shape and make, wampum, wampum belts, stones on which hieroglyphics of various kinds aredrawn, stone tablets, scrapers, fis-net sinkers, totems, etc., etc. Some of these archaeological specimens are very curious, and afford an ample theme for the delectation of minds directed in that channel. The writer has in his possession a totem found near Fort Wayne, which probably belonged to the Pottawatomie or Miami tribe of Indians. It is worked out of solid blue and white stone. Its head is the shape of a dog's head, and its back like that of a shell turtle. Underneath, holes are drilled for the purpose of securing it to the "big Injun" wearing it. A writer says "the Indians believed every animal to have had a great original, or father. The first buffalo, the first bear, the first beaver, the first eagle, etc., was the Manitau of the whole race of the different creatures. They chose some of these originals as their special manitau, or guardian, and hence arose the custom of having the figure of some animal for the arms or symbols of a tribe, called totem. Hence, the buffalo, the bear, and the beaver tribes, each had their totems, which was represented by rude representatives of these animals. When they signed treaties with the white men, they sometimes sketched out lines of their totems. Wampum, which was in universal use among the different tribes of Indians prior to the settlement of the whites among them, is yet in use as money among some of the Western tribes. It is made of various material, that most common being the clear parts of the common clam-shell. This part being split off, a hole is drilled in it, and the form is produced by friction. They are about hald an inch long, and valued, when they become a circulating medium, at about 2 cents for three of the black beads, or 6 for the white. They were strung in parcels to represent a penny, three-pence, a shilling, and five shillings of white, and double that amount in black. A fathom of white was worth about $2.50, and black about $5."
The most common souvenir of the Indian race, or more properly Mound-Builders, that once inhabited this region, is the flint arrow-points. They are of every conceivable size and quality of stone, and many of them are artistically and elegantly made. Arrow-heads are picked up in this vicinity in considerable numbers, but how
"The ancient arrow maker
Made his arrow heads of sandstone,
Arrow heads of chalcedony,
Arrow heads of flint and jasper,
Smooth and sharpened at the edges,
Hard and polished, keen and costly,"
is as much a mystery as it was when our ancestors first discovered America. Mr. Aaron GREENAWALT, of Plymouth, is something of an archaeologist, and has some five or six hundred stone arrow-points, and other Mount-Builder and Indian trinkets. He has for a long time been studying and experimenting for the purpose of discovering the modus operandi of making stone implements, and has succeeded in making, from flint-stone, in the rough, several fine specimens of arrow-points, stown awls, etc. From the many researches made by antiquarians in the stone age, it has been definitely ascertained that these implements were made by a process unknown to the present generation. There were no iron or other metal tools, in those days by which stone implements could be carved out, and the art of making them has been the study of thousands, for perhaps for as many years. These stone implements were made by a race of people known as the Mount-Builders, who inhabited this country long prior to its occupancy by the Indian race found here when America was discovered. Of what race of people the Mount-Builders were, whence they came, and whither they went, is as much a mystery now as it was in the beginning of the many investigations that have been made down to the present time. In about all the mounds that have been opened and explored, more or less of these implements have been found. The Indians found them when they came on to this continent, and made use of many of them for such purposes as suited their fancy - for use in battle, in securing game and food, for ornament, and other purposes. But how they were made originally has been considered one of the "lost arts." Mr. Greenawalt thinks he has solved the problem; at least, the manner in which he worked out the specimens referred to is as near a satisfactory solution as any that has yet been reported. He uses a piece of leather sufficiently large to cover the inside of the left hand, in which a hole is made large enough to insert the thumb. He then lays a piece of obsidian, or flint-stone in the rough, out of which the arrow-point is to be worked. He then takes a piece of wire (he thinks a sharpened buck's-horn was formerly used) about the size of a small lead pencil, the end of which is sharpened. Holding the piece of stone firmly in the hand, between the thumb and fore-finger, he commences chipping off the stone by pressing downward. He turns the stone over and reverses it, as the work continues, until it is completed. There is all there is of it. Whether this was the original manner of working out these arrow-points or not, of course cannot be definitely stated, but it is novel, to say the least, and is worthy the attention of those whose aesthetic taste runs in that direction.
There are three what are called Indian Mounds near Maxenkuckee Lake, on the farm of John GARVER, on the "Burr Oak Flats" They are not over two or three hundred feet apart, and are situated in a triangular position from each other. They are probably thirty feet in diameter, and, when first discovered, were about six feet in height above the surface of the ground. Since the settlement of that part of the county, they have been cut down and plowed over until they are not now more than half as high as originally. Excavations were made in one of them several years ago, and some human bones discovered, from which was conjectured that a battle at some time had been fought there, and these mounds had been made in burying the dead. However, this is mere conjecture, and until they are thoroughly explored nothing definite will be known as to what they were used for, and perhaps not then. On the west side of the same lake, near "Long Point", a small mound was opened several years ago, and several stone implements found, as well as some bones, supposed to be the remains of Indians who inhabited that section of the country in the long past. West of the Michigan Road, about three miles south of Plymouth, at the place originally known as "Pashpo," were found several small mounds, but, with the advance of civilization, they have all been leveled with the ground, and no trace of them is now visible.
Several residents of the county have, during the past few years, made considerable headway in collecting relics of the Indian race in this locality, and, as the years go by, these collections will become more and more valuable as marking the starting-point in our civilization fifty years ago.