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


[TOC] [part 8] [Cutler's History]


In the early Jesuit relations, the Sacs and Foxes were nearly always mentioned together. Their language was identical, and they were probably of common origin. From the country east of Lake Huron they were driven by wars with the French and with hostile tribes, to Wisconsin, where they settled at the confluence of Wolf and Fox Rivers. Again driven by the French, they settled on the Upper Wisconsin in 1761, numbering about seven hundred warriors. During the war of the Revolution, they were the firm friends of the English.

A treaty was held at St. Louis, November 3, 1804, between the united tribes of Sacs and Foxes and the United States, William Henry Harrison being Acting Commissioner on the part of the Government. By the provisions of this treaty, the chiefs and head men of the tribes ceded to the United States a large tract on both sides of the Mississippi, including on the east lands in Illinois and Wisconsin, and on the west a portion of Iowa and Missouri, from the mouth of the Gasconade northward.

On September 13 and 14, 1815, another treaty was held at Portage des Sioux (now a village in St. Charles County, Mo.), with the Sacs and Foxes then residing in Missouri, who then confirmed, for their portion of the tribe, the treaty of 1804.

On May 13, 1816, a treaty was held with the Rock River Sacs and Foxes at St. Louis, also confirming the treaty of 1804. To this treaty Black Hawk's name is signed. At the time of the breaking-out of the Black Hawk war, that chief affirmed that, although he himself had "touched the quill" to this treaty, he was deceived by the agent, and knew not what he was signing, and that the treaty of 1804 was made by persons who had neither authority in the nation nor power to dispose of its lands.

August 4, 1824, the Sacs and Foxes of Missouri ceded to the United States all the land "lying and being between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and a line running from the Missouri, at the entrance of the Kansas River, north 100 miles to northwest corner of the State of Missouri, and from thence east to the Mississippi." For this cession each tribe received $1,000, and $500 in annuities for ten years.

By treaty of July 15, 1830, the Rock River Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States "a tract of country twenty miles in width, from the Mississippi to the Des Moines."

Keokuk, the principal chief of the Foxes, soon removed to the west side of the Mississippi, followed by a large part of the two tribes, but Black Sparrow Hawk and his band refused to leave their village at Rock Island, contending that they had never sold their town. The Black Hawk war followed in 1831-32, ending with the battle of Bad Ax, in Vernon County, Wis., in which Black Hawk and his forces were routed by United States troops under Col. Zachary Taylor, and Illinois volunteers under Col. Henry Dodge. Black Hawk was captured and the war ended.

The Iowas and Missouri Sacs and Foxes were assigned, by treaty of September 17, 1836, "the small strip of land on the south side of the Missouri River, lying between the Kickapoo northern boundary line and the Grand Nemahaw River, and extending from the Missouri back and westwardly with the said Kickapoo line and the Grand Nemahaw, making 400 sections, to be divided between the said Iowas and Missouri Sacs and Foxes; the upper half to the Iowas, the lower half to the Sacs and Foxes." This tract was partly in what is now Doniphan County, Kan., and partly in Nebraska; the reservation of the Sacs and Foxes being in Kansas.

On the 18th of May, 1854, this reservation was all ceded to the United States, with the exception of fifty sections, of 640 acres each, "to be selected in one body in the western part of the cession made." In 1861, the reservation was still further reduced in size.


The first treaty concluded with this tribe of Indians, under this name was at Portage des Sioux (now in St. Charles County, Mo.) on the 16th of September, 1815. The Commissioners on the part of the United States were William Clark, Ninian Edwards and Auguste Choteau, of St. Louis, and the treaty was simply one of peace--no boundaries being established. On the 4th of August, 1824, the same tribe, by their deputies, Mah-hos-kah (or White Cloud) and Mah-ne-hah-nah (Great Walker), in consideration of the sum of $500 to be paid the tribe that and for ten successive years, ceded to the United States all claim which they had to the "lands in Missouri, situated between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and a line running from the Missouri, at the mouth or entrance of Kansas River, north 100 miles to the northeast corner of the limits of the State of Missouri, and from thence east to the Mississippi."

The Iowas and Missouri Sacs and Foxes were assigned, by treaty of September, 1836, a reservation in the Indian Territory, lying north of the Kickapoos, and described in the preceding sketch. To this they immediately removed. By the treaty of May, 1854, in common with the Sacs and Foxes, they ceded to Government a large portion of their reserve, and, on the 6th of March, 1861, their reservation was reduced to a still smaller dimension. They have now a small village called Nohart on their reservation in the northern part of Doniphan County.

Mission and School.--Before the Sacs and Foxes were removed from Missouri, a mission was established among them by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions. After they located on their reservation west of the Missouri River, Rev. S. M. Irvin was the first missionary that followed them to their new location. In May, 1837, near the site of the present town of Highland, he organized a mission, and, ten years later, in conjunction with Rev. William Hamilton, who came to the mission six months after Mr. Irvin, an Indian school, which latter was efficiently and successfully maintained as a part of the mission until Kansas became a State, and the school expanded into Highland University.

The mission school was opened in the summer of 1846, and was under the superintendence of Revs. S. M. Irvin and William Hamilton, several assistants being employed as teachers.

The Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi were removed from the Des Moines River, Iowa, by treaty with the United States, about the year 1840, and settled on land granted them in what is now Osage County, their village being on the Marais des Cygnes River.

October 1, 1859, the tribe, "having now more lands than are necessary for their occupancy and use, and being desirous of promoting settled habits of industry and enterprise among themselves by abolishing the tenure in common by which they hold their lands," cede the reservation to the United States, excepting a tract of twenty miles by twelve, and containing about one hundred and fifty-three thousand and six hundred acres. Out of this reservation, a tract of eighty acres to be assigned to every individual of the tribe, the residue to be owned by the tribe in common.

By treaty of February 18, 1867, the Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi sold their entire reservation, except some individual reservations, at the rate of $1 and acre, and were given for their future home "a tract of land in the Indian country, south of the Kansas and south of the Cherokee lands, not exceeding 750 square miles in extent."

The united tribe, when removed to the Indian Territory, numbered about eight hundred.


The Kickapoos were associated with the other more powerful tribes occupying the country watered by the Ohio, Wabash and Miami Rivers, in the treaty made at Greenville in 1795 by Gen. Wayne, and in those of 1803, at Fort Wayne and Vincennes, by William Henry Harrison. By these and succeeding treaties, the tribe ceded all their lands on the Wabash, White and Vermilion Rivers, that of July 30, 1819, including their principal village on the southeast bank of the Wabash, "in which their ancestors formerly resided, and consisting of a large tract, to which they have had, from time immemorial, and now have, a just right." They also ceded lands in the valley of the Illinois River, of which "the said Kickapoo tribe claim a large portion by descent from their ancestors, and the balance by conquest from the Illinois nation, and uninterrupted possession for more than half a century." In consideration of these cessions, they were given a tract of land situated on, and south of, the Osage River in Missouri. The tribe were living on the Wabash River at the time this treaty was made, and removed to Missouri the following year.

October 24, 1832, the Kickapoos ceded their country on the Osage River in Missouri, and, on the 26th of November of the same year, were granted a reservation situated north of the Delawares in the Indian Territory. It was described as follows: "To begin on the Delaware line, where said line crosses the Left Branch of Salt Creek; thence down said creek to the Missouri River; thence up the Missouri River thirty miles, when measured on a straight line; thence westwardly to a point twenty miles from the Delaware line, so as to include in the lands assigned to the Kickapoos at least twelve hundred square miles."

By treaty of May 18, 1854, the above-described tract was ceded to the United States, "saving and reserving in the western part thereof 150,000 acres for a future and permanent home" for the tribe. By the terms of the treaty, the specified sum of $20,000 was to be paid the tribe, they to support themselves thereafter.

June 28, 1862, a treaty was made, setting apart a portion of the reserve to be divided and held in severalty by members of the tribe, the remainder to be sold, the Atchison & Pike's Peak Railroad Company having the privilege of buying the lands at $1.25 per acre. The company bought 123,832 acres at that price, lying principally in Brown County. The lands were advertised for sale in 1866. Those of the tribe who chose to remove to the Indian Territory, numbering about six hundred, were allotted a portion of the Sac and Fox Reservation.

The first location of the Kickapoos in Kansas was on the southeast corner of their reservation, near Fort Leavenworth. They were more industrious and their habits were generally more correct than those of many of the tribes to the north. The more rapid improvement of this tribe was in a large measure owing to the influence of Kenekuk, the "Kickapoo Prophet," who removed to the Indian Territory with the tribe, and founded a religious sect among them, teaching and practicing himself the doctrines of sobriety, industry and honesty. The Prophet numbered among his adherents a large proportion of the tribe.

Missions.--A Methodist Mission was founded in 1833. It was under the direction of the Missouri Conference, and under the direct superintendence of Rev. J. C. Berryman. A school was established, which, in 1835, numbered forty. The children were boarded at the mission house.

The Catholic Mission was founded in May, 1836, by Fathers Van Quickenborn and Hoeken and two lay brothers. A mission house was built near the junction of Salt Creek with the Missouri. This mission was afterward merged in that of St. Mary's on Sugar Creek. The Catholic Mission was founded for the benefit of the Pottawatomies residing on the Kickapoo Reservation.


A treaty of peace was made with the Cherokees of the Cumberland and Tennessee in 1785. In 1791, they commenced to cede their lands to the United States, which they continued to do, by frequent treaties, until 1808, with no grant of other lands in return. In the fall of 1808, deputations from the upper and lower Cherokee towns visited Washington, the first to declare to the President (Thomas Jefferson) their anxious desire to engage in the pursuits of agricultural life, and to establish fixed laws and a regularly organized government, and the latter to declare their wish to continue the hunter life, and to ask for a reservation to the west of the Mississippi, where game was more abundant. The United States Government, by the President, answered the requests in the following affectionate terms: "The United States, my children, are the friends of both parties, and, as far as can be reasonably asked, they are willing to satisfy the wishes of both. Those who remain may be assured of our patronage, our aid and good neighborhood. Those who wish to remove are permitted to send an exploring party to reconnoiter the country on the waters of the Arkansas and White Rivers, and the higher up the better, as they will be the longer unapproached by our settlements, which will begin at the mouths of those rivers. The regular districts of the Government of St. Louis are already laid off to the St. Francis."

The Cherokees "of the lowers towns" accordingly explored the country on the rivers named, and, after making their selection, exchanged their Eastern for their new Western lands, the United States generously giving all the poor warriors of the emigrating tribe a gun, a blanket and a brass kettle, or, if they preferred a beaver trap to a brass kettle, they could have that instead, these articles "to be considered as a full compensation for the improvements which they may leave."

In this and treaty of 1819, two years later, provisions were made for the permanent location of the remainder of the Cherokees east of the Mississippi.

In May, 1828, a tract of land forming a parallelogram of forty miles by three hundred, along the western border of the Territory of Arkansas, as it was then bounded, was ceded to the Cherokees, the property and possessions of the inhabitants being bought by the Federal Government, and compensation made to them for removal.

By the treaty of December 9, 1835, the United States agreed to convey to the Cherokee Indians "the following additional tract of land, situated between the west line of the State of Missouri and Osage Reservation: Beginning at the southeast corner of the same and running north along the east line of the Osage lands fifty miles to the northeast corner thereof, and thence east to the west line of the State of Missouri; thence with said line south fifty miles; thence west to the place of beginning--estimated to contain eight hundred thousand acres of land."

The northern portion of this reservation was in the southeast corner of the present State of Kansas. Three years after the treaty was made--in May, 1838--Gen. Scott, by order of Gen. Jackson, marched into Georgia with a military force and accomplished the removal of the Cherokees.

July 19, 1866, the tribe ceded to the United States the land in Kansas sold to them in 1835; also the strip of land in Kansas ceded to them by the same treaty, the lands to be sold at not less than $1.25 per acre. The Senate added a proviso to the treaty, allowing the lands to be sold at $1 an acre.

On the 30th of August, 1866, the Secretary of the Interior (Harlan) made a contract with the American Emigrant Company of Connecticut for the sale of so much of the tract ceded by the Cherokees (Cherokee Neutral Lands) as was "not occupied by actual settlers at the date of treaty," for $1 per acre.

Secretary Browning, who succeeded Mr. Harlan, regarding this sale illegal, made a contract, on the 9th of October, 1867, to sell the lands to James F. Joy, of Detroit, Mich. By a supplemental treaty made with the Cherokees, ratified June 6, 1868, it was agreed that the American Emigrant Company should assign its contract to Joy, the contract, so modified, being re-affirmed and declared valid. The contract between Secretary Browning and Mr. Joy was canceled.

All the missionary and other establishments of importance among the Cherokees have been outside the limits of Kansas.


To the various bands of New York Indians, the remnants of the powerful Six Nations, the feared and hated Iroquois, was assigned, January 15, 1838, "the following tract of country, situated directly west of the State of Missouri: Beginning on the west line of the State of Missouri, at the northeast corner of the Cherokee tract, and running thence north along the west line of the State of Missouri twenty-seven miles, to the southern line of the Miami lands; thence west so far as shall be necessary, by running a line at right angles and parallel to the west line aforesaid to the Osage lands; and thence easterly along the Osage and Cherokee Lands to the place of beginning--to include 1,824,000 acres of land, being 320 acres for each soul of said Indians, as their numbers are at present computed."

This tract was intended as a home for all the tribes residing in the State of New York.


The Cheyennes and Arapahoes, confederate tribes, were among the most dreaded foes of the early Mexican traders, and later, of the California fortune-seekers. The boundaries of their country, as fixed by the treaty of September 17, 1851, at Fort Laramie, included a large portion of what afterward became Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas, and within that territory the United States agreed to protect these tribes 'against the commission of all depredations by the people of the United States, after the ratification of this treaty."

The discovery of the rich mining regions of Colorado in 1858 drew a crown of adventurers to that country, who, against the protests of the Indians, occupied the land, established mining camps, started cities, and effectually drove the tribes from the mountains to the valleys and plains of the Arkansas and Republican rivers. Feb. 18, 1861, the Indians ceded all their lands to the United States, except a tract between the Sandy Fork of the Arkansas and the Purgatory River, Government again contracting to protect them in this diminished reservation, and to aid them in the difficult task of learning to live in a new and untried way. For a few years there was comparative quiet, and the Cheyennes and Arapahoes were, outwardly, at least, at peace with the white settlers of Kansas. Trouble commenced again in the spring of 1864, and the war then initiated was not terminated until 1867. On the 28th of October, 1867, a treaty was concluded with the tribes, by the provisions of which they were located on a reservation in the Indian Territory, south of the Kansas line, and between the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers, with the privilege of hunting as far north as the Arkansas River in Kansas.

There were 2,250 Cheyennes and nearly 2,000 Arapahoes removed to the Cheyenne Agency in Indian Territory. The Cheyennes were employed for a time as military scouts, but were finally induced to attempt farming, and, in a year's time, became self-sustaining. In 1881, they raised good crops, and resolved to break up their tribal relations. During 1882, they moved onto farms on the Little Missouri, went to work in earnest, and, during the summer, built thirty houses, and raised produce enough to keep them through the winter. They are fast becoming civilized.

An account of the depredations of the Indians on the frontier is given elsewhere.

The various wandering tribes that infested the plains of Western Kansas for many years were not in any sense occupants of the country, and are not identified with the history of the Territory.

[TOC] [part 8] [Cutler's History]