Report from Captain J. B. F. Russell with Enclosed Copy of Petition from Pottawatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa to
His Excellency Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, the Great Father
National Archives Identifier: 38995525
Creator(s): War Department. Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence. 1818-1912 (Most Recent)
From: File Unit: Commissary Gen'l of Subs (LR- 1835, C-V Chicago), 1831 - 1836
Series: Letters Received, 1831 - 1836
Record Group 75: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1793 - 1999
Container Identifier: 2
Level of Description: Item
Type(s) of Archival Materials: Textual Records
This item was produced or created: 10/10/1835
The creator compiled or maintained the series between: 1831 - 1836
Access Restriction(s): Unrestricted
Use Restriction(s): Unrestricted
Scope & Content: This petition, to His Excellency Andrew Jackson, President of the
United States, the Great Father, explains the tribal leaders'
views and complaints about their new land west of the
ARC Identifier: 38995525
HMS/MLR Entry Number: PI-163 201
HMS/MLR Entry Number: PI-163 201
Copy 1: Preservation-Reproduction-Reference
Contact(s): National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference(RDT1)
National Archives Building
7th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC, 20408
Copy 1 Media Information: Specific Media Type: Paper
Container ID: 2
Transcription for Image 1 out of 9: Emig -- 96 Chicago
From Capt. J. B. F. Russell
Camp Devils Shooting Grove, 120 Miles W. of Chicago
[in pencil (?)] inclosure Octo [abbreviation for "October"] 10 _ 1835.
Reports his arrival at this place and ^having been^ in Waiting for those of Inds. behind [seemingly revised in Image from "bihind"] to come up, for others to join, & to hold a talk with them__ At the talk
enrolled 300. &c. [abbreviation (in superscript) for "et cetera"] Says they are generally willing to cross the Missipi. [?] but to go farther remains doubtful -- told them they would not be provisioned if they
stopt [sic; variant of "stopped"] short of the New Country. __ A Chief, Ah-take, made a Speech [revised something else (now effaced)] at at [sic] the talk to influence them to Stop at his Village West of the Mi [abbreviation for "Missipi"?] & is under the influence of Black Hawk who wishes to collect around him a large band. Refused provisions to all who would not enroll &c__Encloses a Petition from the Principal Chiefs asking permission to occupy the strip of land ceded in Supplement to Treaty made
at Chicago __ Refused their Petition until they shewed determination to get off a party this fall. __ Inds much disatisfied [sic] with the Treaty & threaten the chiefs for making it &c __ Think if they get the strip the whole nation will move in the spring &c 2 Nov Transcription for Image 2 out of 9: Copy of a Petition drawn up by the Principal Men of the Pottawatomies, Ottawas, & Chippewas.
"To His Excellency Andrew Jackson Pres[']d [abbreviation for "President"] of the
U.S." "Great Father"
The men appo[']t [abbreviation (for "appointed"?) ] to explore the Country selected for the new home of the United Nations of the Pottawatomies, Chippewas, & Ottawas Indians have returned_ We have talked with them and send you the substance of their report. Father, Your agents told us at the Treaty made at Chicago in 1833, that the Country assigned to us West of the Mississippi, was equally as good as the lands in Illinois, which we then occupied, & as well adapted to our situation, trusting
to their representations. We ceded our lands, and hard as it was, were preparing
to leave our old hunting grounds and the graves of our Fathers for our new homes.
Father - we have been deceived and we feel disappointed & dissatisfied. We are
told that our new Country is mostly prairie, that there is scarce timber enough to
build our Wigwams, and that some of our land is too poor for snakes to live upon.
Our men are not accustomed to the Prairie_ They have always lived in the woods.
Father - we are told too that there are no sugar trees in our new country_ In the
Country which we ceded to the U.S. there is an abundance of them. We understand
that you wish us to become cultivators of the soil; some of our men desire to do
so. But there is but little encouragement for them to become farmers in a
country, where there is so little timber & so much poor prairie. Father - do not think that we wish to violate our Treaty because we send you this letter. It is not so. [addition (page number) near lower-right corner of Image : ] 429 Transcription for Image 3 out of 9: We are not opposed to removing beyond the Mississippi. We are willing to go, and should now be ready to smoke our last pipe upon the site of our old Wigwams, if our new country had been what is [[sic; "]it[" intended]?] was represented to be, but we have been deceived in it. Father, in order to satisfy our Men and make them more contented, We ask to be allowed the exclusive possession for the term of twenty years, of the north half of the strip of land surrendered by us to the U.S., since the Treaty of Chicago,
for the benefit of Missouri. In consideration of this surrender, we propose to relinquish to the U.S. the Thirteen thousand dollars agreed to be paid us for the whole strip of that land. This would make our Men more contented. We have said twenty years, because we hope in that time to become accustomed to the Prairies & able to relinquish it without inconvenience. We would also say that in this
country there are sugar trees, but none in the country selected for us. This country too is better adapted [struck through] for us, [/struck through] to [revised in Image from (effaced) "for" (?) ] agricultural purposes than our own. Father, we are told that game is now abundant in our new country. But as the game is mostly confined to the timber, we fear that in a few years when it has been
hunted, that it will be scarce, and we should be forced to rely upon agriculture [revised in Image from "agricultural" (?) ] for our support. This strip of land lies on the south part of our new country Our neighbours on the North are numerous and powerful & we know not what feelings they may entertain towards us. But we hope before the twenty years are elapsed to cultivate their friendly acquaintance.
[addition (page number):] 430Transcription for Image 4 out of 9: Father - we know that you feel friendly towards us and wish toconsult our best interests. We thank you for it, and we hope that you will now lay our case before the Councils of your great nation and use your influence to procure this small boon _ And may the Great spirit bless you for it.
[seen near bottom of Image/sheet/page; addition (page number):] 431
Transcription for Image 5 out of 9: Recd 2 Nov
(No. 2) Camp Devils Shooting Grove 120 Miles W. of Chicago
October 10[']h [abbreviation for "tenth"; final "h" in superscript] 1835
To Genr [? (abbreviation for "General"; letter in superscript unclear] G Gibson
C.G.S. U.S. Army [abbreviation "C.G.S." for "Commissary General of Subsistence"]
I had the honor to address you last from the Des Plaines river, and informed you. I was on my way with a party of Emmigrating [sic] Indians to Paw Paw Grove, to meet a large Band or two at that place. I reached that place in due season, and met about Two Hundred Indians more, but in consequence of the abundance of Ardent Spirits, and knowing that other large Bands of Indians were ahead, and those
already with me getting very drunk, and riotous I concluded to move on to this place, where I have rested for those behind to come up, for others to join me, and to hold a decided talk. At this talk which I had to day - I have succeeded in enrolling three hundred, tho' [? (abbreviation for "though" (?) ] there is a large Band of as many who are within ten miles of me, who I expect will join me in course of tomorrow or next day _ The general opinion expressed, was a willingness to cross the Mississippi, whether they can be got beyond that still remains doubtful_ I expresly [sic] told them in reference [? (last clear character is "n")] to this point, that they would not be provisioned by the Government. if
they stopped short of their New Country _ That [revised from "that" (?)] it was necessary I should know their determination in order to advise Gov[']r [?; abbreviation for "Governor" (?)] Clarke in relation to their years provisions - they express a willingness to go, but I am doubtful as to their performance
agreeably to that expression - my letter to you of the 28[']h Sept from the Des Plaines river, which every day confirms, will enable you to truely [sic] estimate the difficulties of this movement and the occasion of that difficulty. [(added) page number; seen near lower-right corner of Image:] 433
Transcription for Image 6 out of 9: At the talk held to day, a Chief by the name of Ah-take of Sack
[sic] origin, and a great medicine man of great ambition and shrewdness, told the Indians that they
were men and did not require the aid of Government to drag them along like old women - that he had taken care of himself all his life and could do so still_ I told him as he was so independent, he might travel along his own trail and that all such as were not able, such as the poor without Horses, the sick, & Lame, and all such _ The Government had provided Teams and provisions - that I should treat such as he, as they deserved, they should have no accommodation from the Teams or be provisioned with Subsistence By his daring speech, he wished to influence the Indians to stop at his village, (he went over by himself last fall and is under the immediate influence of Black Hawk, who is trying hard to collect around him a large Band) on the west of the Mississippi River, but a hundred or two miles from the Country allotted to the Pottawatomies. I refused to provision any who did not enroll themselves, and that neither should they receive any aid from the Government without complying with that requisition_ This brought him to terms at once - he said it was his intention to go over to the Mississippi - but wished to Hunt along the rode [sic] _ In the fall of the year, the Indians have a large quantity of corn - and therefor [sic] feel less the necessity of being provisioned by the Government - which may account for some degree of their present independence_ In the Spring time, the
most favourable for Emmigration [sic] - they are generally hungry and have no provision [?] , and are then very dependent [(added) page number (seen near lower-right corner of Image:] 434
Transcription for Image 7 out of 9: upon the Government for food When this Band comes in tomorrow I shall hope to increase my party to Five or six Hundred, that I shall not be able to make up my Muster Roll complete until I reach the Mississippi I shall now move on as fast as circumstances will permit to their [?] new Country, and nothing but their final and fixed determination to the contrary will prevent me from reaching it. The Principal Men of the nation have drawn up a petition addressed to the President of the U.S., asking of him permission to reside on a part of that strip of land which they gave up in the Supplementary Treaty annexed to that entered into at Chicago_ I refused to approve of this paper or their sending it until they first shew [?] a disposition to comply with their part of the Treaty, [cross
mark seen between "Treaty" and "," (?)] by using their influence to get off a Party this fall, in that case I would aid them from that Country to obtain the permission they asked of the President of the U.S. _ This I am led to believe will have a favourable effect and secure their influence in our operations this
fall in truth they feel much dissatisfied with that Supplementary Treaty and threaten the Chiefs Caldwell & Robinson for having made it and accuse them of getting the money arising therefrom for themselves, it is my opinion however, that should they succeed in obtaining permission to reside on this trip of land, the whole nation would agree to move off in a body next spring, as the report of the
Exploring Party represents this strip of land as being very rich and well suited to their wants, and of their own New Country, they measure out abundance of condemnation [page number (addition) seen near lower-right corner of Image:] 435Transcription for Image 8 out of 9: I shall communicate with Gov[']r. [? (Abbreviation for "Governor"(?); final "r" (clearly) seen in superscript in Image] Clarke Sup[']t. [abbreviation for "Superintendent"] of Indian Affairs at S[']t._ ["._" seen below superscript "t" in Image] Louis, and keep him apprised of our movements, in season for him to make any arrangement that circumstances may require
I have the honor, to be,
Your Most Obedt Srt [?] [Your Most Obedient Servant]
[signature:] J B F Russell
Capt U. S. Army
Actg [abbreviation for "Acting"] Superit [? (unclear after "r"; abbreviation for
I enclose herewith a copy of the Petition drawn up by the Principal Men of the
Indians, to be presented to the President of the United States. This paper will
fully corroborate the statements which I have had the honor to communicate to you
heretofore _ The great secret is, that these Indians are afraid to go to their new
Country for fear of the Sioux.
[page number (added) ; near lower-right corner of Image (below much blank space in
Image): ] 436
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