LARRY POTTER produced this selection.

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.




The earliest European mention of the great tribes or nations whose homes and hunting-grounds extended over the region afterward known as the Territory of Kansas, is in the manuscript map of Father Jacques Marquette, still preserved at St. Mary's College, Montreal, a facsimile of which is found in this volume. This map was the result of observations made and information gained during the celebrated voyage of exploration of the Mississippi by Marquette and Joliet in the summer of 1673.

As early as 1641, vague reports of the mighty river on which dwelt the dreaded "Nadouessies, of an unknown race and language," were transmitted by the young missionaries Charles Raymbault and Isaac Vogues, to their Superior at Montreal, and, during the next quarter of a century, venturesome Canadian traders occasionally penetrated far enough into the Western wilderness to visit the powerful tribe whose home was beyond the great lake, then without a name. On one occasion, a number of Dahcotahs were induced to visit Montreal, and ask that trade might be established between their nation and the French, and also that missionaries might be sent into their country.

In the fall of 1658, De Groseilles and a companion, both traders, left Montreal, and spending the following winter among the Dahcotahs, returned in the spring, laden with furs, and related what they had heard of "the beautiful river, large, broad and deep, which would bear comparison, they say, with our St. Lawrence."

The pious priest, Father Marquette, had long desired to extend his labors to the more remote tribes, and, in order to fit himself for his contemplated mission to the Illinois, employed a young brave of that tribe to teach him the language. While learning this, he also gained some information from his teacher in regard to the wonderful river he so much desired to explore, and the nations which dwelt toward the west.

In 1670, three years before he started on his voyage of exploration, in a letter written from La Pointe to Father Francis Le Mercier, Superior of the mission, after speaking of the work he hopes to accomplish, he relates what he has heard from his instructor. Of the Nadouessi he says:

"The Nadouessi are the Iroguois of this country beyond Lapointe, but less faithless, and never attack till attacked. They lie southwest of the Mission of the Holy Ghost, and are a great nation, though we have not yet visited them, having confined ourselves to the conversion of the Ottawas. They fear the Frenchman because he brings iron into their country. Their language is entirely different from the Huron (Iroquois) and Algonquin; they have many towns, but they are widely scattered; they have very extraordinary customs; they principally adore the calumet; they do not speak of great feasts, and, when a stranger arrives, give him to eat with a wooden fork, as we would a child. All the lake tribes make war on them, but with small success. They have false oats (wild rice), use little canoes, and keep their word strictly." Speaking of the great river, he says: "Six or seven miles below the Ilois (sic) is another great river (Missouri), on which are prodigious nations, who use wooden canoes. We cannot write more till next year, if God does us the grace to lead us there."

It was not until the 10th of June, 1673, that Father Marquette, accompanied by Louis Joliet, finally embarked on the river of which he had dreamed so many years, and which he had determined should bear the name of the Blessed Lady of the Immaculate Conception, while the savage nations dwelling along its borders should bow and adore the sacred cross.

Fired by this devout enthusiasm, the gentle priest descended the river until the muddy waters of the turbid "Pekitanoui, coming from very far in the Northwest," mingled with and discolored the majestic river which he was exploring. Father Calude Dablon, the companion of Marquette in his Northern mission at Sault Ste. Marie, in narrating the story of the expedition, says: "Many Indian towns are ranged along this river (Missouri) and I hope by its means to make the discovery of the Red or California Sea."

Among the "Indian towns" noted by Marquette in 1673, as "ranged along this river," are the Ouemessourit (Missouri), the Pewaria (Peoria) and the Maha (Omaha).

Of the four dominant tribes or nations that inhabited the region subsequently called Kansas, Father Marquette locates on his map, in relatively the same postitions (sic) they occupied at the time of the French explorations early in the eighteenth century, the Kanza, the Ouchage (Osage) and the Paneassa (Pawnee). The great nation of the Padoucas, dwelling far to the west, almost at the base of the mountains, is first mentioned by Du Tissenet in 1719.

Father Douay, one of the survivors of the last disastrous expedition of La Salle in 1687, gives some details in regard to the Western Indians: "The Panimaha," he says, "had but one chief, and twenty-two villages, the least of which has two hundred cabins;" and continues he, "the Paneassa (Pawnee) is not inferior to the Panimaha." Of the Osages he relates that they "have seventeen villages on a river of their name, which empties into that of the Massourites, to which the maps have also extended the name of Osages." The language of nearly all the tribes dwelling of and near the Missouri at this early day, including the Kanzas and Osages, proved that they belonged to the great Dahcota family, so much dreaded by the more easterly Indian tribes. Du Pratz, one of the earliest French writers on "Louisiana," says the tradition of their emigration from their old home "to the northward of the great lakes," the long journey southward, their separation into bands, and settlement on the Missouri and its tributaries, was familiar to many of the tribes when they first became known to the French. In this great migration, the Kanzaz (sic) and Osages formed themselves into distinct bands, and located their villages on the banks of the Missouri, the Kansas and Osage rivers--the Kanzas (in general terms) claiming as their country the region from what is now Nebraska, on the north, to the Arkansas on the south, and west of the Missouri River; and the Osages claimed an immense region in what is now Missouri and south of the river of the same name, their villages being on the Missouri and Osage Rivers, and their hunting grounds, extending into Kansas.

The Pawnees had their home on the Republican and Platte, and ranged the central plains for their hunting- grounds, while the Padoucas dwelt near the head sources of the Kansas River, and roamed over the extreme Western plains.

How long this vast territory had been peopled by these tribes there is no certain knowledge; whether they were the "first settlers" in the valleys and on the plains of Kansas no one can tell; but when the first European explorers recorded the story of their journey through the country, they say they found them here, and they mention no other tribes as being "dwellers in the land." The homes of the wandering Indians of the Western plains were elsewhere; they rushed down from the mountains toward the North, and swarmed up from the sultry plains of the South, but, when the battle or the chase was over, they disappeared.

As years passed by, all this was changed. The "great nation of the Padoucas" ceased to exist, and the Pawnees, by war and disease, became reduced to a feeble remnant of the once powerful nation, and were obliged to seek protection from those they had once protected. In 1808, the Osages ceded nearly all their land in Missouri to the United States, and were granted a large reservation in what is now Southern Kansas, and when in 1825, a new home was to be found for the Eastern tribes, the lands of the Kanzas and Osages were fixed upon for that purpose.


During the first quarter of the present century, it became evident that measures must be adopted by Government for the removal of the Indian tribes from the older States and Territories, and some plan devised to provide them new homes. Their just claim to lands and sovereignty could not be satisfied east of the Mississippi, or where State claims existed, as the privilege to fill such defined regions with citizens of organized States had become incorporated with the Federal compact. The country west of the State of Missouri and Territory of Arkansas was exclusively the property of the General Government, and motives both of expediency and philanthropy were urged to induce the leading statesmen of the time to devise some well-defined policy whereby such region might be set apart and guaranteed to the various Indian tribes for a permanent home. Among the earliest advocates and warmest supporters of the scheme of Indian removal and colonization was Rev. Isaac McCoy, long identified with the history of the settlement of the emigrant Indians in Kansas. In January, 1824, Mr. McCoy visited Washington, and, obtaining an interview with Hon. John C. Calhoun, then Secretary of War, presented his views to that distinguished statesman, and found him then and ever after an earnest and most valuable supporter of the project.

President Monroe, in his annual message of January 27, 1825, recommended the colonization of the Indians in these words:

"The condition of the aborigines within our limits, and especially of those within the limits of any of the States, merits particular attention. Experience has shown that unless the tribes be civilized they can never be incorporated into our system in any form whatever. It has likewise shown that in the regular augmentation of our population, with the extension of our settlements, their situation will become deplorable, if their existence is not menaced. Some well-digested plan, which will rescue them from such calamities, is due to their rights, to rights of humanity, and to the honor of the nation. Their civilization is indispensable to their safety. Difficulties, of the most serious character, present themselves to the attainment of this most desireable (sic) result on the territory on which they now reside. Between the limits of our present States and Territories, and the Rocky Mountains and Mexico, there is a vast territory to which they might be invited with inducements which might be successful. It is thought if that territory should be divided into districts, by previous agreement with the tribes now residing there, and civil government be established there in each, with schools for every branch of instruction in literature and the arts of civilized life, that all the tribes now within our limits might be gradually drawn there. It is doubted whether any other plan would be more likely to succeed."

On the 17th of December, 1824, during the same session in which President Monroe's message was presented to Congress, the following resolution was offered in the House of Representatives, by Mr. Conway, Delegate from the Territory of Arkansas, which was adopted:

"Resolved, That the Committee on Indian Affairs be instructed to inquire into the expediency of organizing all the territory of the United States, lying west of the State of Missouri, and Territories of Arkansas and Michigan into a separate territory, "to be occupied exclusively by Indians, and of authorizing the President of the United States to adopt such measures as he may think best to colonize all the Indians of the present States and territories, permanently with the same."

Although the Indian emigration bill, as afterward modified, did not pass until six years later, the question of the removal of the Eastern tribes seemed from this time to be practically settled, and in the following year, June, 1825, treaties were made with Kanzas and Osages for the purchase of their lands, with a view to the proposed removal into the territory of various Eastern tribes.

Several futile attempts to frame an emigration bill which should pass both Houses were made during the next six years, one being presented in 1827, and another in 1829. Finally, during the administration of President Andrew Jackson, the "Act of May 26, 1830," passed the Senate by a vote of 28 to 20, and the House by a vote of 102 to 97.

The first section of this bill authorized the President of the United States "to cause so much of any territory belonging to the United States, west of the River Mississippi, not included in any State or organized Territory, and to which the Indian title had been extinguished, as he might judge necessary, to be divided into a suitable number of districts, for reception of such tribes or nations of Indians as might choose to exchange the lands where they then resided and remove there, and to cause each of said districts to be so described by natural or artificial marks as to be easily distinguished from every other."

Section 2 authorized the President to "to exchange such districts with any tribe then residing within the limits of any of the States or Territories."

Section 3 made it "lawful for the President solemnly to assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange should be made, that the United States would forever secure and guaranty to them, and their heirs and successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they preferred it, the United States would cause a patent to be executed to them for the same."

Under the provisions of this act, the Indian Territory was set apart for the specific objects mentioned, and, for about twenty-five years thereafter, was occupied exclusively by the emigrant and native tribes, and the agents, missionaries, teachers, traders and mechanics who were connected with them. The limits of the Territory, as defined by Rev. Isaac McCoy, who surveyed, under direction of the Government, a great portion of the land described, were as follows: Beginning on Red River, east of the Mexican boundary, and as far west as the country is habitable; thence down Red River eastwardly to Arkansas Territory; thence northwardly along the line of Arkansas Territory to the State of Missouri; thence north, along its western line, to Missouri River; thence up Missouri River to Puncah River; thence westwardly as far as the country is habitable; thence southwardly to the beginning.

Mr. McCoy says that this tract practically comprised about six hundred miles from north to south, and two hundred miles from east to west; the scarcity of wood rendering the remote western regions uninhabitable.

[TOC] [part 2] [part 1] [Cutler's History]