The last civil chief of the Miamis was Francis La Fountaine, called by the Indians To-pe-ah. His father was French and his mother a Miami. When about twenty-one he married Catharine, the second daughter of Richardville and took such interest in the wellfare of his tribe that he was selected the chief after the death of his father-in.law, in 1841. He lived on two sections of land, east of Huntington. He was a tall, portly man, weighing about 350 pounds. He accompanied the Indians to their new reservation in Kansas, spent the winter with them, and while on his return, died at Lafayette, April 13th, 1847. The body was brought to Huntington and interred in the Catholic cemetery. He left seven children. John La Fountaine, a grandson, the last by that name died a poor man, in Huntington, in 1889.
The Indian chiefs were granted large tracts of land, containing the very richest soil, and many of them were skillful traders and accumulated great wealth, but their children died poor and posterity does not long retain their name. The name of Godfroy will, in all probability, outlive that of any other in the history of the Miamis.
History of Miami County by John H. Stephens
Published by John H. Stephens Publishing House, Peru, IN
Chiefs and Head Men
The story of Francis Slocum stands without a parallel in American history. It is beautiful and remarkable, full of romance, now touching and sublime, and often pathetic. Her capture, life and wanderings would fill a large volume that would be both interesting and instructive. Her peculiar development by long association with the Indians, the loss of her mother tongue, the tenacity with which she clung to her adopted people, make her an interesting subject for the ethnologist. Her life is a good argument that environment is stronger than heredity.
The capture of Frances Slocum carries us back to the Revolutionary period. A happy, peaceful settlement of Quakers lived in the beautiful valley of Wyoming, near Wilkesbarre. During that dreadful Indian massacre in the summer of 1778 these people were unmolested. They had even been held in reverence by the dusky warriors, and when savage cruelty all around them was unparalleled, they were spared the tomahawk and the fire of the incendiary.
Sometime during the summer of 1777, Jonathan Slocum, with his wife and nine children emigrated from Rhode Island and settled near the present site of Wilkesbarre, then a fort. With him came, also, his father-in-law, Isaac Tripp. Nathan Kingsley, a wealthy and influential citizen of Connecticut, that same year, settled with them. In the summer of 1778, he was captured by the Indians and taken to Niagara.b His wife and two boys sought refuge at the home of the Slocums. Giles Slocum, the eldest son, about nineteen years old, took part in the bloody battle of Wyoming, and was one of the few that escaped the slaughter, by swimming the river and hiding in the fallen trees. The Indians are quick to discern deception, are crafty, cruel when aroused, and always were revengeful. They thought the Slocums must be practicing deception, or else Giles would not have taken up arms against them.
On the 2d of November, 1778, three Delaware Indians, stealthly approached the Slocum cabin, Mr. Slocum and his father-in-law, Tripp, were away from home. The two Kingsley boys, one 14 years old, the other 9, were at a grindstone in the yard, sharpening an ax. The older boy wore a soldier's coat and this no doubt, angered the Indians, and they selected him as a special mark of revenge. One of them raised his gun and shot the young man, and when Mrs. Slocum, aroused by the report of the gun, came to the door, saw them scalping him. She aroused the children, and they ran in the direction of the fort, which was near by. The Indians took the younger Kingsley boy captive and entered the house for pillage. One of them overtook Mrs. Slocum and seized a little boy that she was leading. The mother pleaded very pathetically, saying: "Do thee not see that he is crippled; he can do thee no good." The Indian left the boy and ran back to the house. According to Indian tradition, little Frances, when she heard the report of the gun and her mother's alarm, secluded herself under a stairway. Here the Indians, in their pillage, found her. They escaped with the two captives and their plunder to the mountains. The mother secreted herself in the thicket, and saw the Indians depart with little Frances calling, "Mamma, mamma." The mother called imploringly, but that was the last time that she ever saw her little girl.
The Indians did not go far until they hid in a cave. They reached the place just in time, for in a few minutes, they heard the soldiers from the fort ride by in search of them. They remained in the cave that night and the next day. At the approach of night they stole through the forest to an Indian camp.
The story of Frances Slocum's lifr and wanderings among the Indians for sixty years is traditional and was related to the writer by her grandson, Judson Bundy and by Gabriel Godfroy, who married one of her daughters.
When she was discovered by her relatives, she was induced to tell her story, which at the time was published in a number of papers.
When the Indians are suspicious that those whom they have trusted are deceptive and inconstant, their vengeance knows no bounds. The theft of little Frances did not satiate their cup of vengeance. About one month later Mr. Slocum, his son William about eighteen years old and his father-in-law, Tripp, were feeding cattle near the fort. They were fired upon by the Indians and Slocum was shot dead. Tripp was wounded, speared and tomahawked; both were scalped. The boy was struck by a spent ball, but escaped. Only a mother knows the suffering and agony which Mrs. Slocum endured. As years rolled by, however, the grief for her husband was somewhat softened, but time nor space, could wean her thoughts from little Frances! The mother always believed that her lost child was alive and would some day be found. At the time of Frances' capture, the Indians had become so barbarous that it was unsafe for the whites to venture away from the forts and it was impossible then to make any extensive search. Her brothers soon grew into manhood and became men of means. After the close of the Revolution and hostilities among the Indians had ceased, the brothers made a trip to Niagara and visited many Indian villages in search of their sister. They offered a reward of one hundred guineas for her recovery or information about her whereabouts, thinking that this sum of money might tempt the Indians to give her up. They returned home disheartened and thought that Frances must be dead. But the mother still yearned and constantly believed that her lost daughter was yet alive and at her request, four years later, 1788, the brother made another trip, this time penetrating the wilds of Ohio. They enlisted the services of hunters and trappers and visited many Indian villages, but returned without a single clue to the object of their search. In 1789, the government requested the Indians to bring all white children that had been captured to a place now called Athens, Pa., that their parents or friends might identify them. Many captives were brought there. Mrs. Slocum was then 53 years old, and made a long and arduous journey in the hopes that she might recognize her lost Frances. But she returned with only the belief that her child was still living. Four of the brothers spent nearly the whole of the summer of 1797 among the Indians of Ohio in search of their sister, and the next summer went up near Detroit. Mrs. Slocum passed away May 6, 1807, aged 71 years. Her daughter had been lost to her more than 29 years. She had searched and searched in vain and died with the firm belief that her Frances was among the living.
Frances Slocum was ever treated with great kindness and shown much favor by the Indians. Her red hair made her an object of worship among them. When she was captured, the Indians took turn-about in carrying her, and while they would lie down to drink out of the brooks they made a little cup of white birch bark for her. When the Indians arrived at the first Indian camp with their young captives they were surrounded by the savages. The boy captive was shot at, kicked and cuffed by the young braves, in order to try his pluck. One of the Indians who had made the capture had become greatly attached to the little girl, and gave very close attention to her. While he was by her side a young brave came and pushed her over, upon which he was severly kicked. One of the Indians, who captured her was the chief of a tribe of Delawares and was called Tuckbos or Tuck-Horse. The Indians remained at the first Indian village several days and then placed the two captives on a pony and trailed through the woods a number of days until they arrived at the village where the Indians belonged.
One day this Tuckhas, dressed her very fine in Indian costume - painted her face, adorned her with wampum, and took her to a tent of an Indian who but recently lost a little girl. Tuckhos asked them to adopt the white child and they did so. The little captive cried very much at first, but she was treated with such care and kindness, that she soon forgot her real parents. They taught her to shoot and to ride. She was not compelled to do any drudgery. She soon learned to love the red men, their campfire and wigwams. They first gave her the name of We-let-a-wash, which was the name of the youngest child of her adopted parents, whom they had recently buried. She was later known by the name of Mah-con-es-quah (a young female bear.) She and her Indian parents soon left where they lived and went to Genesee Falls. They stayed here only a short time and then went to Niagara Falls, where they were during Wayne's war. In the summer, they roamed through the vast forest, wherever there seemed to be plenty of game, and in the winter returned to the Falls, where they were furnished provisions by the British. While she was here, the Indians come into camp with many white men's scalps. In later years, she would often talk about the great water falls and how she would walk under it. They remained at the Fall two winters and then went back to their old home, out soon left there and went to Sandusky. At this place the Indians built many bark canoes and about 2,500 of them went to Detroit where they remained three years. They then went to Brownstown. Here a young Delaware gained the affections of Frances and the good will of her Indian parents. He was a bad man, drank too much firewater, and abused his pale-face. Her Indian parents said she should not be ill-treated and took her home.
According to tradition, her parents built a raft on the Ohio and moved down the river. Her Indian father was now very old and remained on the raft, while Frances drove the cattle and ponies on the bank. One day she found an Indian lying on the ground, shot through the side by the whites, and was unable to rise. He was a Miami. She stopped the raft and carried him on board. The old Indian doctored the young Miami for several months, till he was able to hunt, when he supplied them with provisions with his gun. As soon as he thought he had paid his doctor bill by hunting, he said to the old Indian that he wished to return to his people. But She-pan-can-ah, for such was his name, was a brave Indian and a good hunter, and the old Indian could not think of him leaving. He said that he might have his white daughter for his wife. But he could not be prevailed upon to remain. He with Frances Slocum went up among the Miamis east of Ft. Wayne somewhere. After the war of l812, they went down the Wabash and settled near the mouth of the Mississinewa river at Osage village, which at one time was the largest village of the Miamis. She-pan-can-ah soon became the chief of this village. They lived here a number of years, and then went up the river about five miles and founded a small village. The old chief was now quite old and could not hear, and the place was called Deaf Man's Village.
FRANCES SLOCUM'S DISCOVERY.
George W. Ewing, an extensive Indian trader, who had acquired the languages of several tribes, made frequent journeys among the Indians. He, and his brothers, owned several trading posts along the Wabash. They had a very large one at Ft. Wayne and one at Logansport. George W, made his home at the latter place. One day in the fall of 1835, while returning from Ft. Wayne to his home, he was benighted at Deaf Man's Village. He asked the hospitality of a respectable Indian home. He was received with great kindness and all strove to make him comfortable. The mistress of the house was a venerable old lady to whom great reverence was paid by all the family of children and grandchildren. Ewing was weary, and after some refreshments lay down in one corner of the room on some skins and blankets. The family soon retired with the exception of the old lady, who was attending to some household duties for the night. The great Indian trader could not sleep and tossed about on his bed of furs. The venerable head of the family, as she moved about him attracted his attention. The color of her hair and the complexion of her skin led him to suspect that she had been made a captive in her childhood. Her dress, manners, and style indicated a thorough Indian, and it took a shrewd observer to detect that she was anything else. The trader began a conversation with her in the Miami language. He asked her if she was not a white woman. She replied that she was no Indian. She was at first very reluctant to say anything; for many years she was afraid that she might be discovered and taken back to civilized society. But she was then very old and had been suffering of some sickness, and reflecting that she had but a short time to live, she was induced to tell her story. She had forgotten her mother tongue, did not know her name, but thought it was Slocum and that her father was a Quaker. She said that she was captured when a child, that they lived on a great river near a fort.
George W. Ewing resumed his journey the next morning to Logansport, and after considerable reflection, he concluded to write to some postmaster in the interior of Pennsylvania, with the hopes that it might be published and be the means of leading to Frances Slocum's discovery. He accordingly addressed the following letter to the postmaster of Lancaster, Pa.:
“LOGANSPORT, IND., JAN. 20, 1835.
“DEAR SIR: - In the hope that some good may result from it, I have taken this means of giving to your fellow-citizens - say the descendants of the early settlers of the Susquehanna - the following information; and if there be any now living whose name is Slocum, to them, I hope, the following may be communicated through the public prints of your place.
“There is now living near this place, among the Miami tribe of Indians, an aged white woman, who a few days ago told me, while I lodged in the camp one night. that she was taken away from her father’s house, on or near the Susquehanna river, when she was very young--say from five to eight years old, as she thinks, by the Delaware Indians, who were then hostile towards the whites. She says that her father's name was Slocum, that he was a Quaker, rather small in stature and wore a large brimmed hat; was of sandy hair and light complexion, and much freckled, that he lived half a mile from a town where there was a fort; that they lived in a wooden house of two stories high, and had a spring near the house. She says three Delawares came to the house in the day time, when all were absent but herself and probably two other children; her father and brothers were absent making hay. The Indians carried her off and she was adopted into a family of Delawares, who raised her and treated her as their own Child. They died about forty years ago. She was then married to a Miami, by whom she had four children: two of them are now living - they are both daughters - and she lives with them. Her husband is dead, she is old and feeble and thinks she will not live long.
“These considerations induced her to give the present history of herself, which she would never do before, fearing that her kindred would come and force her away. She has lived long and happy as an Indian, and but for her color, would not be suspected of being anything else but such. She is very respectable and wealthy, sober and honest. Her name is without reproach. She says that her father had a large family, say eight children in all - six older than herself, one younger, as well as she can recollect, and she doubts not that there are yet living many of their descendants, but seems to think that all her brothers and sisters must be dead, as she is very old herself, not far from the age of eighty. She thinks she was taken prisoner before the two last wars, which must mean the Revolutionary war, as Wayne's war and the late war have been since that one. She has entirely lost her mother tongue, and speaks only in Indian, which I also understand and she gave me a full history of herself.
“Her own Christian name she has forgotten, but says her father's name was Slocum, and he was a Quaker. She also recollects that it was on the Susquehanna river that they lived, but don't recollect the name of the town near where they lived. I have thought that from this letter you might have something inserted in the newspaper of your county that might possibly catch the eye of some of the descendants of the Slocum family, who have knowledge of a girl having been carried off by the Indians some seventy years ago. This they might know from family tradition. If so, and they will come here, I will carry them wrere they may see the object of my letter alive and happy, though old and far advanced in life.
“I can form no idea whereabouts upon the Susquehanna river this family could have lived at that early period, namely about the time of the Revolutionary war, but perhaps you can ascertain more about it. If so, I hope you will interest yourself and. if possible, let her brothers and sisters, if any be alive - if not, their children - know where they may once more see a relative whose fate bas been wrapped in mystery for seventy years, and for whom her bereaved and afflicted parents doubtless shed many a bitter tear. They have long since found their graves, though the lost child they never found. I have been much affected with the disclosure, and hope the surviving friends may obtain, through your goodness the information I desire for them. If I can be of any service to them, they may command me. In the mean time, I hope you will excuse me for the freedom I have taken with you, a total stranger, and believe me to be sir, with much respect, your obedient servant.
GEORGE W. EWING.
Mrs. Mary Dickson was the postmistress of Lancaster and the owner of a paper called the Intelligencer. She received Ewing's letter, and no doubt, supposing it a hoax, threw it among some of her o1d papers. Two years later, a young man by the name of John W. Forney bought the Intelligencer, and looking over some of the old papers found this letter, read it, saw at once through his journalistic instinct, its great importance and published it. A copy of this paper fell into the hands of Rev. John Bowman, a native of Wilkesbarre, an intimate acquaintance of the Slocum family. He at once mailed the paper to Joseph Slocum, a brother of the long lost captive.
The news or this letter soon spread among her relatives and a correspondence was commenced between Jonathan J. Slocum, son of Joseph Slocum, and George W. Ewing as follows:
“ WILKESBARRE, PENN. AUG, 8, 1887.
“GEO. W. EWING, ESQ.:
DEAR SIR: - At the suggestion of my father and other relations, I have taken the liberty to write to you although an entire stranger.
“We have received, but a few days since, a letter written by you to a gentleman in Lancaster, of this state, upon a subject of deep and intense interest to our family. How the matter should have lain so long wrapped in obscurity, we can not conceive. An aunt of mine - sister of my father – was taken away when five years old by the Indians, and since then we have had only vague and indistinct rumors upon the subject. Your letter we deem to have entirely revealed the whole matter, and set everything at rest. The description is so perfect, and the incidents (with the exception of her age) so correct, that we feel confident.
“Steps will be taken immediately to investigate the matter, and we will endeavor to do all in our power to restore a lost relative who bas been
sixty year's in Indian bondage.
“Your friend and obedient servant, “JOHN J. SLOCUM
“ LOGANSPORT IND.” AUG. 26, 1837.
“JON. J. SLOCUM, ESQ., WILKESBARRE:
DEAR SIR: - I have the pleasure of acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 8th instant, and in answer can add, that the female that 1 spoke of in January, 1835, is still alive; nor can I for a moment doubt that she is the identical relative that has been so long lost to your family.
“I feel much gratified to think that I have been thus instrumental in disclosing to yourself and friends such facts in relation to her as will enable you to visit her and satisfy yourselves more fully. She recovered from the temporary illness by which she was afflicted about the time I spent the night with her in January, 1835, and which was, no doubt, the cause that inducted her to speak so freely of her early captivity.
“Although she is now, by long habit, an Indian, and her manners and customs precisely theirs, yet she will doubtless be happy to see any of you and I myself will take great pleasure in accompanying you to the house. Should you come out for that purpose, I advise you to repair directly to this place; and should it so happen that I should be absent at the time, you can find others who can take you to her. Bring with you this letter; show it to James T. Miller of Peru, Ind., a small town not far from this place. He knows her well. He is a young man, whom we have raised. He speaks the Miami tongue and wil1 accompany you if I should not be at home. Inquire for the old white woman, mother-in-law of Brouriette, living on the Mississinewa river, about ten miles above its mouth. There you will find the long lost sister of your father, and as I before stated, you will not have to blush on her account. She is highly respectable, and her name as an Indian is without reproach. Her daughter too, and her son-in law, Brouriette, who is also a half-blood, being part French, are both very respectable and interesting people - none in the nation are more so. As Indians they live well and will be pleased to see you. Should you visit here this fall, I may be absent, as I purpose starting for New York in a few days, and shall not be back until sometime in October. But this need not stop you; for, although I should be gratified to see you, yet it will be sufficient to learn that I have furthered your wishes in this truly interesting matter.
“The very kind manner in which you have been pleased to speak of me shall be ful1y appreciated.
“There perhaps are men who could have heard her story unmoved, but for me, I could not, and when I reflected that there was, perhaps, still lingering on this side of the grave some brother or sister of that ill-fated woman, to whom such information would be deeply interesting, I resolved on the course, which I adopted, and entertained the fond hope that my letter, if ever it should go before the public, would attract the attention of some one interested. In this it seems at least, I have not been disappointed, although I had long since supposed it had failed to effect the object for which I wrote it. Like you, I regret that it should have been delayed so long, nor can I conceive how anyone should neglect to publish such a letter.
“As to the age of this female, I think she herself is mistaken, and that she is not so old as she imagines herself to be. Indeed, I intertain no doubt but that she is the same person that your family have mourned after for more than half a century past.
“Your obedient humble servant, GEO. W, EWING.
It was now very plain that this old woman, whom Ewing spoke of, was the long lost sister of Joseph Slocum. Isaac Slocum, a brother, and Mrs. Mary Town, a sister, lived in Ohio, in different neighborhoods. It was arranged through correspondence that Joseph Slocum should visit Ohio by private conveyance, take Mrs. Town and that they should meet their brother Isaac at Peru. Isaac pushed on by public conveyance and arrived at the appointed place several days before his brother and sister arrived. He was very anxious to see the woman that was supposed to be his sister, who had been so many years in Indian bondage and did not wait for his brother and sister, but secured James T. Miller as interpreter and proceeded to Deaf Man's Village. He had fixed in his mind a sure mark by which he might know her. His sister. shortly before her capture, had a finger mashed while playing with one of her brothers in the blacksmith shop. The bone of the finger had been so injured as to permanently destroy the nail. Mr. Slocum found the venerable queen of the Miamis coy and suspicious and was very indifferent as to the object of his visit. She did not like Mr. Miller, the interpreter, and no doubt thought that the whites were scheming to in some way to get hold of her property. She could not be induced to tell anything about herself. He took hold of her hand and found that one finger was marked. He asked: “How came that finger jammed? “ “My brother struck it with a hammer in the shop a long time ago before I was carried away.” This settled the question with Mr. Slocum. He thought: “Good God! Is this unfeeling, indifferent, old woman, a veritable Indian, my sister?” He bade her adieu, returned to Peru and anxiously waited the arrival of his brother and sister. After two or three days they came and the three, Isaac and Joseph Slocum and Mrs. Town, accompanied by James T. Miller and James B. Fulwiler, repaired to the "old white woman's" cabin. What a meeting that must have been. They had been searching for sixty years, had made long journeys, had offered large rewards, had enlisted the services and sympathy of traders and trappers and now when they were all quite old, they were to meet the object of their long, long search! When they saw the venerable Indian queen, the brothers were overwhelmed with emotion, the sister wept. The long lost sister was perfectly indifferent, ironhearted, cold as an iceberg. Long years among the Indians had made her thus. She had been taught to be suspicious of the whites. She said that her father's name was Slocum, a Quaker, wore a broad brimmed hat, and lived on a great river near a fort; that she had seven brothers and two sisters; that her finger nail had been hammered off by her brother. This settled it. Here was the dear, little Frances, that they had pictured in their mind's eye thousands of time. She would say very little, because she did not like the interpreter, Mr. Miller. At another time however, a colored man, who lived on the east end of the reservation, came to the house to interpret for a man, who came to buy some stock. Through this colored man, she was induced to tell her whole story.
The company proposed that she, her daughters and son-in-law, accompany them to Peru, but she would not consent until she would seek the advice of Chief Godfroy. The chief advised her to comply with their request. So, on the next Sunday, she, her two daughters and her son-in-law, Brouillette, rode into town in Indian style and met the party at the new hotel, located where the Bearss House now is. The people of the town soon learned of the meeting and the doors and windows of the hotel were crowded with people attracted by curiosity. But before any intimacy could be established between the two parties, it was necessary, according to Indian custom, to give and receive a pledge of friendship. The oldest daughter of Frances presented a package wrapped in a clean, white cloth. This act was performed in a very solemn and formal manner, and according to instructions from the interpreter, Mrs. Town received it in the same manner. When the cloth was removed, it was found that the package contained a hind quarter of a deer which was probably hunted for the occasion. The ceremony of thus giving and receiving was considered by these Indians a seal of faith. It was at first suggested that what Frances might say would be written. To this she at first objected. She was asked a number of questions which she readily answered. After dinner the conference broke. Frances slipped away and was soon found in a corner fast asleep.
The brothers urged Frances to return with them, offering to share with her all they had. She replied:
“No, I can not. I haye always lived with the Indians; they have always used me kindly; I am used to them. The Great Spirit has always allowed me to live with them, and I wish to live and die with them. Your Wah-puh-mone (looking-glass) may be larger than mine, but this is my home. I do not wish to live any better, or anywhere else, and I think the Great Spirit bas permitted me to live so long because I have always lived with the Indians. I should have died sooner if I had left them. On his dying bed my husband charged me not to leave the Indians. I have a house and large lands, two daughters, a son-in-law, three grand children, and everything to make me comfortable; why should 1 go, and be like a fish out of water?”
They then asked her to make a visit to her early home. She replied: “I can not. I can not. I am an old tree. I was a sapling when they took me away. It is all gone past. I am afraid that I should die and never come back. I am happy here. I should not be happy with my white relatives. I am glad enough to see them, but I can not go.”
The brothers and their sister, Mrs. Town, returned to their homes feeling gratified that they had found their sister. They thought it was dreadful that she talked like an Indian, ate and slept like one, feared civilized life and could be free only in the great forest. They had a great deal to tell when they went home, and were interrogated by a great many people.
Joseph Slocum was not satisfied with his first visit and in September, 1839, he, with his youngest and oldest daughters, Mrs. Bennett and Harriette (later Mrs. Drake) made another visit. This time Frances received her relatives with more warmth and talked more freely. Through the colored man, who lived on her place, they learned the whole story of her life. Each of the young ladies kept a diary of their journey and recorded all that Frances said.
The story of her captivity as related by herself and written in the diary of the young ladies is as follows:
“Three Delaware Indians came suddenly to our house. They killed and scalped a man by the door. A boy ran into the house and he and I hid under the stair case. The Indians came into the house and up stairs. They took some loaf sugar and some bundles of other things. They carried us through the bushes. I looked back, but saw no one except my mother. They carried us over the mountains - it seemed to me a long way - to a cave where they had left their blankets and some other things. There was a bed of leaves, and there we lay all night. We reached this place while it was yet light. I was very tired, and I lay down on the ground and cried until I fell asleep.
“The next morning we set off early, and we traveled many days in the woods before we came to an Indian vil1age. When we stopped at night, the Indians would make a bed of hemlock boughs, and make up a great file at their feet which would last all night. They roasted their meat by sticking a stick into it and holding it to the fire. They drank at the brooks and springs, and made me a little cup of birch bark to drink out of. The Indians were very kind to me; when they had anything to eat, I always had the best; when I was tired they carried me in their arms; and in a short time I began to feel much better and stopped crying. I do not know where the Indian village was at which we first stopped; we only staid there a few days.
”Very early one morning two of the same Indians took a horse, and set the boy and me on it, and set off upon a journey. One Indian went before and the other behind driving the horse. We traveled a long way when we came to the village where these Indians belonged. I now found that one of them was an Indian chief whom they called Tuck-horse, I do not know what that name means. Early one morning, Tuck-horse took me and dressed my hair in the Indian fashion, and painted my face. He then dressed me up and put on me beautiful wampum beads and made me look very fine. I was much pleased with the wampum. We then lived on a hill not far from a river, and I remember he took me by the hand and led me down to the river side to a house where lived an old man and woman. They had once several children but now they were all gone - either killed in battle, or died very young. When the Indians thus lose all their children they often adopt some new child as their own, and treat it in all respects as their own. This is the reason they often carry away the children of white people. I was brought to these old people to have them adopt me if they would. They seemed unwilling at first, but after Tuck-horse talked to them awhile, they agreed to it, and this was my home.
“It was now the fall of the year for chestnuts had come. There were a great many Indians here, and here we remained all winter. The Indians were furnished with ammunition and provisions by the British. We went from Niagara to near Detroit, where we lived three years. My adopted father made chairs, which he sold; he also played on the fiddle and frequently went into the white settlements and played, and received pay for it. My adopted mother made baskets and brooms, which she sold. The British made them presents of ammunition and food, which they had to go after in the night.
In the spring we went down to a large river - Detroit river - where the Indians built a great many bark canoes. When they were finished we went up Detroit river, where we remained three years.
“There had been war between the British and Americans, and the American army had driven the Indians away from around the fort where I was adopted. In their fights the Indians use to bring home scalps. I don't know how many. When peace was made between the British and Americans, we lived by hunting, fishing and raising corn. The reason why we staid here so long was that we heard the Americans had destroyed all our villages and corn fields.
”After three years, my family and another Delaware family removed to Ft. Wayne after Wayne's victory. I do not know where the other Indians went. This was now my home and we lived there thirty years I suppose. We lived on Eel river, not far from Ft. Wayne. I was there at the time of Harmer’s defeat. At the time of this defeat the women and children were all made to run north. I do not know whether the Indians took any prisoners or brought home any scalps at this time. After the battle they all scattered and returned to their homes. I then returned to Ft. Wayne again. The Indians who returned from this battle were Delawares, Pottawattomies, Shawnees, and Miamis.
“I was always treated kindly by the Delawares; and while I lived with them I was married to a Delaware by the name of Little Turtle. He afterwards left me and went west of the Mississippi. I would not go with him. My old mother staid here, and I chose to stay with her. My adopted father could talk English, and so could I while he lived. It has been a long time since I forgot it all.
“The Delawares and Miamis were then living together as one people. I was afterwards married to a Miami, a chief, whom the white people called ‘The Deaf man.’ His Indian name was She-pan-can-ah. We came to this reserve about twenty-four years ago. I had no children by my first husband, but by the last one I had four - two boys and two girls. My boys died while they were young; my girls are still living, and are here with me. My husband has been dead six years.
“I can not tell much about the Indian wars with the whites, which were so common and so bloody. I well remember a battle and a defeat of the Americans at Ft. Washington, which is now Cincinnati. I remember how Wayne and 'Mad Anthony' drove the Indians away and built the fort. The Indians then scattered all over the country, and lived upon game, which was very plenty. After this they encamped on Red river. After peace was made we all returned to Ft. Wayne, and received provisions from the Americans and there I lived a long time. I had removed with my family to the Mississinewa river sometime before the battle of Tippecanoe. The Indians who fought in that battle were Kickapoos, Pottawattomies, and Shawnees. The Miamis were not tbere. I heard of the battle on the Mississinewa, but my husband could not hear and never went into the wars, and I did not know much about it."
Joseph Slocum's daughter, Mrs. Bennett, gave the following description of Frances in her diary:
” My aunt is of small stature, not very much bent: her hair clubbed behind in calico, tied with worsted ferret; her dress a blue calico short-gown, a white Mackinaw blanket, a fold of blue broadcloth around her, red cloth leggings, and buckskin moccasins. Her hair is somewhat gray; her eyes a bright chestnut, clear and sparkling and she is sprightly for one of her age; her face is very much wrinkled and weather-beaten. She has a scar on her left cheek, which she received at an Indian dance. Her skin is not so dark as would be expected from her age and constant exposure. Her teeth are remarkably good. "
Frances Slocum, who was known far and near as “the old white woman" was quite wealthy at the time of her discovery. At the treaty of 1838, her two daughters were granted a section of land. She had saved her annuities and had quite a sum of money in cash, a thousand dollars or more. She had about a hundred head of horses, cattle and hogs. They lived much better and were more comfortably situated than any of the Indian families. They had clothes and calicoes enough to fill a country store. Some of their dresses were richly ornamented with silver brooches. Frances had seven pairs of silver earrings, which sbe wore and her daughters had a dozen apiece. They had saddles and bridles of the most costly kind.
Frances Slocum had two daughters, the eldest Kick-ke-ne-che-quah (Cut-finger) and the younger, O-sab-shin-quah (Yellow-leaf). The eldest had one child, a boy, which was poisoned when about seven years old by his drunken fatber, because his wife would not live with him. The younger daughter was married four times. Her first husband was Louis Godfroy, a son of the chief. He was a drunken Indian and she would not live with him. Her second husband was Ta-coon, who soon died and then she married his brother. He died, then she was married to Peter Bundy, who is yet living. She had twelve children in all; six are now living, and twenty-three grandchildren. O-sah-wah-shin-quah died early in the seventies, but we do not know the exact date.
Frances Slocum passed away March 9, 1847. Her elder daughter followed her four days subsequently. Judson Bundy, a grandson is now living on the site where Frances was discovered. Her grave is on a beautiful knoll across the road from the house. One day last fall, her grave was pointed out to the writer by Judson Bundy. Pointing to a boulder half the size of a water bucket, near a sunken place, he said, “There is where grandmother is buried.”
History of Miami County by John H. Stephens
Published by John H. Stephens Publishing House, Peru, IN
Story of Francis Slocum