William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


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The names of Rev. Isaac McCoy and Dr. Johnston Lykins are so intimately associated with the organization of missionary work in the Indian Territory that these sketches would be incomplete without a brief biography of each.

Rev. Isaac McCoy.--The name of Rev. Isaac McCoy is thoroughly identified with the history of the establishment of the Indian Territory. All the best years of his life were spent in efforts and sacrifices for the advancement of the Indians, his work for fourteen years--from 1828 to 1842--being chiefly in Kansas.

Mr. McCoy was born near Uniontown, Fayette Co., Penn., June 13, 1784. His youth was spent in Kentucky. In 1817, he commenced his missionary work among the Miami Indians on the Wabash River in Indiana, the first mission being near the present site of the town of Roseville. He remained at that point until May 1820, when he removed to Fort Wayne, re-opened his school, and continued it until the Pottawatomies were granted a reservation on the St. Joseph River, in Michigan, when he removed to that point and established the Carey Mission, December, 1822.

Thomas Mission, on Grand River, Michigan, was established in 1826, by Messrs. McCoy, Lykins, Meeker and others. The latter mission was among the Ottawas. During his labors at Carey, Mr. McCoy became convinced that much missionary toil and effort was, and would be, wasted, unless the Indians could be removed farther from the vicinity of the white settlements, where the precepts and example of the missionaries were continually counteracted by the evil habits and the alluring vices of the frontier traders.

In January, 1824, Mr. McCoy visited Washington, and submitted a scheme for the removal of the Eastern tribes to the west of the Mississippi, to Hon. John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War. He approved the idea, and from that time was a faithful and valuable friend to the measure.

In regard to this visit, Mr. McCoy naively writes: "I was so much afraid that his (Mr. Calhoun's) answer would be unfavorable, that, after mentioning the outlines of the plan, I proceeded to offer many reasons for adopting it, before I paused to allow room for his reply. Somewhat contrary to my expectation, but greatly to my satisfaction, his answer was such as I desired. He not only approved the plan, but urged its practicability, and said nothing was wanting to insure success but a right feeling in Congress."

From 1824 until 1828, various efforts were made by Mr. McCoy and others to further the object they deemed so essential to the welfare of the Indians, but no bill was passed providing for the emigration of the Indians. An appropriation was, however, made in 1828, for an exploration of the territory designed eventually for the tribes, and on the 15th of July, Mr. McCoy, one of the Commissioners appointed for the purpose, arrived at St. Louis, with three Pottawatomies and three Ottawas, to explore the country now Kansas, and, if desirable, select homes for those tribes. On the 21st of August, Mr. McCoy, with his Northern Indians, set out on his tour of exploration in advance of the other Commissioner, Mr. Kennerly, who, with his delegation of Choctaws and Creeks, had not yet arrived at St. Louis. According to instructions from Mr. Clark, Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, the delegation explored a portion of the territory purchased of the Osages and Kanzas, and east of the country of the Pawnees. The party crossed Missouri to the Presbyterian Mission of Harmony, on the Marais des Cygnes, and, with a half-breed Osage for a guide, followed the Osage and Neosho Rivers until they arrived at the head-waters of the latter, when they crossed to the Kansas and returned on its south bank to the Shawanoe settlement on the Missouri State line.

On his return to Missouri, Mr. McCoy selected the town of Fayette, in that State, as a temporary residence for himself and Mr. Lykins, until they should locate permanently in the Territory.

He afterward accompanied the Southern delegation to the Territory, entering on the 30th of November, at the Shawnee settlement. Their instructions were to explore the northern and western portions of the Territory as far as practicable, but, receiving word at the western line of Missouri from Maj. John Dougherty, Agent at Fort Leavenworth, that 1,500 Pawnees were on the war-path, they turned to the south, visited the Osages at White Hair's village, on the Neosho, and thence proceeded to the Arkansas River, where they visited the Creeks. The Southern delegation of Indians left the party near the junction of the Arkansas and Canadian Rivers. The remainder of the party went west as far as the Rocky Mountains, and returned to St. Louis December 24, 1828.

In January, 1829, Mr. McCoy visited Washington and submitted his report of these explorations to the Department of Indian Affairs, a map of the region explored accompanying the report. The bill for the organization of the Indian Territory, which was finally adopted, described the boundaries of the Territory according to the recommendation contained in this report.

On the 27th of July, 1829, he again started for the West, accompanied by Mr. Lykins, and, in the fall of that year, made an expedition of twenty days into the interior of the Territory.

The act of May 26, 1830, organizing the Indian Territory, finally passed the Senate by a vote of twenty- eight to twenty.

In l837, Mr. McCoy was sent by Government to survey the Delaware lands. He started with his two sons and a small party, comprising several Delawares, on the 16th of August, and was absent about four months-- ninety-six nights without the shelter of a roof. During this expedition, he made arrangements for the establishment of missions among the Omahas and Otoes. he also visited the Kanzas at their villages, and held a council with a party of Pawnees at Fort Leavenworth. On this expedition Mr. McCoy explored the country 200 miles west of Missouri, along the Kansas Creeks, and adjusted the unsettled boundaries of their reservations; also proposed locations for the remainder of the Pottawatomies, Ottawas, New York Indians, Miamis and other tribes, which selections were confirmed by the department.

From this time until his removal to Louisville, Ky., in 1842, Mr. McCoy labored unceasingly for the advancement of the tribes in the West. He thoroughly believed in the possibility and almost certainty of elevating the Indians in the Territory to a condition where they should be at least industrious, honest and self-supporting; and the strength and energy of the best years of his life were devoted to this work.

After removing to Louisville, Mr. McCoy took charge of the work of the American Indian Mission Association, and remained in that position until his death, which occurred in Louisville in 1846.

Dr. Johnston Lykins commenced his labors among the Indians in 1819, as teacher in the school established among the Weas and Kickapoos of Indiana by Rev. Isaac McCoy. He removed to Fort Wayne with Mr. McCoy, and in 1822, when the Carey Mission was established among the Pottawatomies on the St. Joseph River in Michigan, was appointed teacher at that station. At the age of twenty-two, he was appointed missionary, and on the 15th of June, 1822, went to the Carey Station with Mr. McCoy to make preparations for opening the mission, erecting buildings, etc. Mr. Lykins had charge of the school at Carey until July, 1825, when he was appointed teacher for the Ottawas at Thomas Mission, also in Michigan. Of his labors while associated with himself, Mr. McCoy says: "Neither the performance of the most disagreeable services for the sick, whether they were missionaries, their children, or Indian children, nor their peevishness and unreasonable demands, nor the deathlike disappointments, which, in various forms, hovered around our abode, moved him from his noble determination to do right." On the 7th of June, 1826, he was licensed to preach, and in the autumn of that year, the schools being somewhat impoverished, he made a journey of 100 miles through the wilderness to Chicago to procure supplies for Carey, and another by way of Lake Michigan for the benefit of Thomas Mission."

On the 25th of February, 1827, he was married to the eldest daughter of Mr. McCoy.

After the sale of the Carey property, in the fall of 1828, Dr. Lykins remained at that station for a time to aid in settling the Indian affairs, and in July, 1831, with his family, came to the Indian Territory, and at his own expense purchased a small tract of land contiguous to the Shawnees, put up a small building and commenced teaching the Indians. The small pox soon broke out among them, and Dr. Lykins, who had studied and practiced medicine with his other labors, made himself useful now by visiting, doctoring and vaccinating the Shawnee sick. In 1832, he was authorized by the Baptist Board to erect mission buildings, and, the following year, was authorized by Lewis Cass, Secretary of War, to visit the various tribes west of the Mississippi and report favorable sites for missionary establishments. From this time, his work was chiefly that of superintending the formation and work of the various Baptist missions in the Indian Territory--a position for which he was especially fitted. He was ordained a minister October 18, 1835, then having special charge of the Shawnee and Delaware Missions. After the abandonment of missionary work in Kansas, Dr. Lykins continued to reside at Kansas City, and died at that place a few years ago.


The Delawares belong to the great Algonquin family. Their oldest known home was in the lower part of Pennsylvania and the adjacent parts of New Jersey, their villages being on the waters of the Delaware and its tributary streams. The Delawares, or Lenni Lenapes, claimed to be the parent stem from which the numerous Algonquin tribes descended--the name Lenni Lenape signifying original man. Their claim to superiority was recognized by the other tribes, who accorded to them the title of "Grandfather," the Lenape giving them the name of "Children" or "Grandchildren." The Wyandots, who were of Iroquois descent, they honored by the title of "Uncle." The sachems of this tribe were the principal parties to the first treaty made with William Penn. They were conquered, and for many years under the dominion of the Iroquois, who bestowed upon them the degrading appellation of "Women." They espoused the cause of France during the continuance of the Old French war, and at the opening of the Revolution, that of the United States, at the same time declaring independence on their own account, and ridding themselves at once of the hated domination of the Iroquois, and the still more hated name that nation had fastened upon them.

The first treaty made by the United States with an Indian tribe was with the Delawares, September 17, 1778, at Fort Pitt. It was a treaty of peace and mutual protection, the sixth article evidently indicating that the United States contemplated at the time the possible formation of an Indian State, with the Delawares at its head. The passage referred to reads as follows: "And it is further agreed on between the contracting parties (should it for the future be found conducive for the mutual interest of both parties), to invite any other tribes who have been friends to the interests of the United States, to join the present confederation, and to form a State, whereof the Delaware nation shall be the head, and have a representation in Congress; provided nothing contained in this article shall be considered as conclusive until it meets with the approbation of Congress."

By the treaty of August 18,1804, made at Vincennes by William Henry Harrison, then Governor of Indiana territory, the Delawares relinquished "all their right and title to the tract of country which lies between the Ohio and Wabash Rivers, and below the tract ceded by the treaty of Fort Wayne,* and the road leading from Vicennes to the falls of Ohio." The United States agreeing in future to "consider the Delawares as the rightful owners of all the country which is bounded by the White River on the north, the Ohio on the south, the general boundary line running from the mouth of the Kentucky River on the east, and the tract ceded by this treaty and that ceded by the treaty of Fort Wayne on the west and southwest."

*The treaty of Fort Wayne was with various tribes--not a separate treaty with Delawares.

By treaty made at St. Mary's, Ohio, October 3, 1818, "the Delaware nation of Indians cede to the United States all their claim to land in the State of Indiana" (the tract above described), and in consideration of the cession, "the United States agree to provide for the Delawares a country to reside in, upon the west side of the Mississippi, and to guarantee to them the peaceable possession of the same."

The Delawares were assigned lands in the State of Missouri, and removed to their reservation, on the James Fork of the White River, where they remained until, by treaty of September 24, 1829, that tract was relinquished, and they were granted the lands afterward a part of the State of Kansas, and thus described: "The country in the fork of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, extending up the Kansas River to the Kansas (Indian's) line, and up the Missouri River to Camp Leavenworth, and thence by a line drawn westerly, leaving a space ten miles wide, north of the Kanzas boundary line, for an outlet."

These lands were surveyed by Mr. McCoy the following year, a Commissioner appointed by the Delawares accompanying the surveying party. By arrangement made with the Delawares, the site of Fort Leavenworth was reserved to the United States, Mr. McCoy's instructions making no provisions for such reservation. The Delaware Reserve was one of the most valuable in the Territory, and the eastern portion, from the junction of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers north to Fort Leavenworth was afterward tolerable well cultivated by the Indians. The United States erected grist and saw mills for them, fenced and plowed 105 acres of land, erected a schoolhouse and other buildings, and furnished them cattle. Their farms and cabins were scattered along the military road which led to Fort Leavenworth, and among the tribe were industrious, intelligent men, who were glad to give up the chase for the farm, and the tomahawk for the plow; but to the majority, who subsisted chiefly by the chase, there was a greater charm in the war or hunting party bound for the Western plains than any the harvest field or work shop could offer.

December 14, 1843, the Delawares sold to the Wyandots 23,040 acres of land, situated at the junction of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, which contract was ratified by act of Congress July 25, 1848.

On May 6, 1854, the Delawares ceded all their lands to the United States "except that portion of said country sold to the Wyandot tribe of Indians by instrument sanctioned by act of Congress, approved July 25, 1848, and also excepting that part of said country lying east and south of a line beginning at a point on the line between the land of the Delawares and the half-breed Kanzas, forty miles in a direct line west of the boundary line between the Delawares and Wyandots; thence north ten miles; thence in an easterly course to point on the south bank of Big Island Creek, which shall also be on the bank of the Missouri River where the usual high water line of said creek intersects the high water line of said river."

This reservation was, in general terms, a tract ten miles wide, extending forty miles up the Kansas River. By the terms of the treaty, it was agreed that all the ceded lands except "the outlet," which was ceded for the specific sum of $10,000, should be surveyed in the same manner that the public lands were surveyed, and so soon as the whole or any portion of said lands were surveyed, that they should be offered for sale by the President, at public auction, in such quantities as he might deem proper, being governed, in conducting such sale, by the laws of the United States in regard to sale of public lands; such lands as were not sold at public sale to be subject to private entry for three years, at the minimum government price, and if, at the expiration of that time, any yet remained unsold, they might, by act of Congress, be graduated and reduced in price until all were sold.

All the money received from the sale of the land, after deducting the cost of surveying, was to be paid to the Delawares.

For the relinquishment of their permanent annuities, Government paid the tribe $148,000. The value of the school land, $46,080, was to remain at interest.

The Delaware lands were sold in November, 1856, the sale commencing on the 17th. The lands had been previously appraised at from $1.25 to $12 per acre. The actual settler was permitted to take his land at the appraised value, and the balance was opened for competition. About $450,000 was realized from the sale of the trust lands, which was to be divided among the Delawares, then numbering about nine hundred, and the wealthiest tribe in Kansas.

On May 30, 1860, by treaty with the Delawares, eighty acres were assigned to each member of the tribe, in one compact body, to be held in severalty, the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railroad Company to have the privilege of purchasing the remainder of their land, at not less than $1.25 per acre. The surplus lands, amounting to 223,966.78 acres were appraised at an aggregate valuation of $286,742.15. The treaty was made at Sarcoxieville, on the Delaware Reservation.

Under this treaty, the Delaware Reserve, excepting the individual reservations above named, was transferred to the railroad company now known as the Union Pacific, and by the company sold to settlers.

July 4, 1866, the remainder of the land, known as the :Delaware Diminished Reserve," was, by authority of the Secretary of the Interior, offered for sale "at not less than $2.50 per acre." This tract was also bought by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, the date of the transfer being January 7, 1868.

A large portion of the tribe removed to the Indian Territory in 1867, and the remainder, reduced to about one hundred and fifty, removed to the home at the Wichita Agency in January, 1868.

Delaware Missions.--The Methodist Mission, under the direction of the Missouri Conference, was founded in 1831. In four years, it had a church of fifty members, and a school of twenty-five scholars, part of whom were entirely supported by the mission. Rev. E. T. Peery and wife were the first missionaries.

The Baptist Mission was commenced in 1832, under the superintendence of Dr. Johnston Lykins, the missionaries residing at the Shawanoe Station also visiting this. A school was started in April, 1833, Mr. G. D. Blanchard being employed as teacher. The mission labored under many disadvantages, but held its ground, and, after ten years' effort, was reported prosperous. Three missionaries were then employed.

Mr. John G. Pratt, who came to the Shawnee Mission in 1837 to take charge of the printing office, was afterward Superintendent of the Delaware Mission. He learned the language, into which he translated several books, and printed them for the use of the tribe. He remained for many years in charge of the mission, and was one of the last agents appointed for the tribe.

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