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Mr. Rhodes was a child about five years old when he last saw Masheena. This was about the year 1829. Mr. Rhodes says the old chief would often come to his father's house and go to an old shed nearby which had no floor and which the Rhodes children used as a playhouse, and taking a little kettle, with which the children used to play, would set it up on stakes and build a fire under it, "Indian fashion.” “Then,” says Mr. Rhodes, “We imagined we were all Indians.”
With further reference to Masheena’s great fondness for children we have the following: Of John Benson, Jr., a pioneer of White Oak Township, McLean County, Duis says, "He sings to his grand-children the song he learned of the Indian chief of the Kickapoos, Machina.“ It was not much of a song, and was hummed in a monotonous way by Machina to the little white papooses who sat on his knee. It ran 'He-o, He-o, mee-yok-o-nee, mee-yok-o-nee,' continually repeated.”
Again in Duis account of the life of Thomas Orendorff we find the following: “When Thomas and William Orendorff settled in McLean County, the old chief of the Kickapoos [La Ferine?] came with Machina (afterwards their chief) and ordered them to leave. But the old chief spoke English in such a poor manner that Thomas Orendorff told him to keep still and let Machina talk. Then Machina drew himself up and said, "Too much come, back, white man, t'other side Sangamon.' Mr. Orendorff told Machina that the latter had sold the land to the whites; but the latter denied it, and the discussion waxed warm, and the chiefs went away, feeling very much insulted."
This was in the year 1823. It is a matter of fact that Masheena was not a party to either of the two Kickapoo treaties of cession for their lands in Illinois made in the year 1819, and that his name does not appear on any Kickapoo treaty of earlier date than the year 1832. Some of Masheena's descendants who reside on the Brown County, (Kansas), Kickapoo reservation, hold a claim against the government, to this day, based upon this fact, and notwithstanding that Masheena was a party to a later treaty.
It also appears from the account of John Dawson, (another pioneer of McLean County), as given by Duis, that Masheena also ordered the Dawson family to leave Blooming Grove. This account is as follows: “The Kickapoo Indians were very jealous of the incoming white men, and their chief, Machina, ordered Mr. Dawson's family to quit the country before the leaves fell. This he did by throwing leaves in the air. By this and other signs he gave them to understand that if they were not gone when the leaves in the forest should fall, he would kill all the 'bootanas' [?],(white men).
“Mrs. Dawson replied to him that the time he had given would be sufficient to call together enough 'bootanas' to exterminate all the Indians. The old chief was very wrathy at this, and made some terrible threats, which he had the good sense never to [attempt to] carry out.” This was about the year 1822. In the biography of Jeremiah Rhodes, (also given in Duis “Good Old Times,,), we get the following: “In the fall of 1823 , the Rhodes family came to Illinois, to Sangamon County: They had no very exciting adventures on their journey, but when they arrived at their destination at Blooming Grove, matters became interesting enough. The Indians came for them and ordered them away from the country. Mr. Rhodes sen. [Rev. Ebenezer Rhodes] was out in the woods making rails, when a party of Indians came to his house and sent one of their number to bring him in. Old Machina, the chief, then told Mr. Rhodes not to make corn there, but to go back to the other side of the Sangamon River. The chief declared he had never signed any treaty ceding the land to the whites, and that white men should never settle there.
3 In Sec. 15, Bloomington Township, McLean County. Duis' spelling; pronounced Ma-shee’-na.
Old Machina threatened to burn the houses of the settlers, but at last consented to allow Mr. Rhodes' family to remain until fall to gather their crops.” It seems that the question of the signing of the treaty was also the subject of an acrimonious debate between Masheena and John H. S. Rhodes. Part of their conversation (according to Duis), was as follows: “The old chief Machina was a very cunning Indian, and had some strange peculiarities. He always denied selling the country to the whites. John [H. S.] Rhodes told him that he did sell the country to the whites, and that "Boss-Stony" [?], (the President), had it on paper. Machina replied “D-m quick putting black upon white."
About the year 1828, the Kickapoos held at Blooming Grove what was probably their last ceremonial dance ever celebrated in that part of McLean County. Mr. William J. Rhodes was present as a child of four or five years, and from his own faint recollections of the occurrence, assisted by the information given him in later years by his parents, he was able to point out to me the spot where this dance was held. It is located upon a kind of bench or high point of land facing the east, towards a small branch of the Little Kickapoo, on the Maik Livingston farm, near where the “Big Four” railroad now passes.
Our pioneer, John Dawson has left us a detailed account of this ceremonial dance. Jeremiah Rhodes, in the “Good Old Times” has also left us a detailed account of this dance which is as follows: “Mr. Rhodes' recollection of the Indians is pretty clear.
At the great dance, about six or eight Indians [Kickapoos and Pottowatomies] formed in twos and jumped around flat-footed, with tinkling bells attached to their ankles. Old Machina had a gourd with stones in it and these he shook up and down to keep time. Another musical instrument was formed from a ten-gallon keg with a deer-skin drawn tightly over one end. This was carried on the back of a half-grown papoose, and was beaten with a stick. The dancers had their bodies painted black, but over their breasts was painted in white a pair of hands and arms crossed. Outside of the circle of dancers an Indian held up a stick cut in the shape of a gun. The stick was pointed upwards, and was supposed to be an emblem of peace. Another Indian held up a tomahawk, with his hand close to the blade, but what this meant is not easy to be seen. The Indians received a little assistance in their performance by old John Dawson," who danced and sang with them. They were willing to allow his dancing, but
5 Son of John Wells Dawson, who settled at Blooming Grove in 1822, along with John Hendrix and others.
6 John Wells Dawson.
stopped his singing as it spoiled the exquisite music of the gourd full of rocks and the keg.
The Indians kept time by repeating monotonously the words: “Hu way, hu way," etc., and the squaws who were gathered in a circle around the dancers, looked on admiringly.
In December, 1898, John Dawson gave an interview to a reporter of the Bloomington Bulletin, concerning the early history of Blooming Grove. This interview was published in the Daily Bulletin of January 2, 1899. In it Mr. Dawson had the following to say with regard to what was probably the same dance:
"The most vivid thing in my life's memory today, and I am past eighty years old, was an occurrence among the Indians before I was five years of age. My father [John Wells Dawson] was invited to participate in an Indian war [?] dance. For that form of amusement they fixed up a ring, just like a circus ring, and would dance round and round, brandishing their tomahawks and singing their songs—typical of only an Indian. No other race ever called such howls singing. Well, they dressed father in all the paraphernalia of a chief and took him out in the circle of dancers. Chief Masheena conducted my father out. His wife [Macheepia] sat between my mother and Mrs. Orendorff, and I was near them, the most interested spectator of the lot. I verily believe Buffalo Bill's wild west Indian dances of his famous show cannot begin to compare in interest to the children of today as did that genuine one to me. All this, remember, was 200 [?] yards from our own door.
Father was so great a success in the dance that he waxed enthusiastic and thought he could also sing, so he joined in the chorus, as it were. Chief Masheena stopped him, and said, “No sing, friend Dawson, just dance. At this my mother laughed heartily, and Mrs. Masheena solemnly said, “No laugh, offend friend Dawson.'
From the meager accounts we can get, Masheena must have left McLean County about the year 1829 or 1830. He was with Kanakuk and the 'Vermilion Band' somewhere near the southern end of Lake Michigan,' in 1831, when Catlin painted his portrait, (and also that of Kanakuk, and four other Kickapoos). His signature appears upon the treaty of Castor Hill, St. Louis County, Mo., October 24, 1832.
In his history of the Baptist Indian missions, Rev. Isaac McCoy, the pioneer missionary, who had established a mission to the Pottowatomies at Carey, on St. Joseph's River, in southern Michigan, states that Kanakuk and his band passed his (the missionaries) house in the spring of 1833, ‘on their way to the Indian Territory, and it is highly probable that Masheena was among them.
Among the few traditions relating to Masheena and Kanakuk, which were related to me by Mahkuk, or ‘Old Jesse,' an old Kickapoo now deceased, but who was yet living at the time I first visited the Kansas Kickapoos in October, 1906, was the following: "While they were coming over from Illinois, Masheena wanted to give his daughter, "The LongVamed One,' to Kanakuk, to be his wife.? Kanakuk knew this before it was told him, because he was a prophet.
7 Kanakuk was a widower at that time; his first wife, Saukeetoqua, mother of Chief John Kennekuk, died in Illinois.
So after they came over to this time [i. e. the west side] of the Missouri, Kanakuk married her.” She was the mother of Kachassa, wife of Katnamee, and an ancestress of all the living descendants of Kanakuk.
That Masheena became affiliated with the so-called 'Church' of Kanakuk, in Illinois, prior to the year 1831, is attested by the fact that Catlin's portrait of him shows him holding one of Kanakuk's prayersticks.
The Kickapoos under Kanakuk lived near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, from about 1834 to 1854. Kanakuk died in 1852 and Masheena was shortly afterwards elected to the position of head-chief of the Kansas Kickapoos, which office he continued to fill until the time of his death.
Though he is referred to as a chief in almost every early account we have of him, it is likely that Masheena was only a subordinate chief, or chief of a band while he lived in Illinois.
In my correspondence on the subject of the Kickapoos, I have a number of letters and a large amount of original information received from my friend Mr. George J. Remsburg, of Potter, Kansas. Among these letters is a partial copy of a letter written to Mr. Remsburg by Mrs. Mary A. Jones, of Alamo, California. Mrs. Jones lived at Fort Leavenworth during the '30s and was well acquainted with both Masheena and Kanakuk.
Mrs. Jones says: “I heard Masheena, the old chief, preach with the aid of an interpreter, many times.” She also says: “The old chief, Masheena was at Fort Leavenworth one day and had trouble with a Delaware Indian, and they had a fight in which Masheena killed the Delaware. His (Masheena's) tribe tried him for it and they sentenced him to have 120 lashes by the Regulators [i. e. the 'Whippers' of Kanakuk's church], and a goodly number of his tribe offered to take part of the punishment, so he had only [about] 20 stripes. These Regulators could be seen at any time with their long seasoned switches, ready to punish all [the Indians] they found doing wrong, men, women and children.”
In the year 1854, the Kickapoos moved from their location near Fort Leavenworth to a point near theii present “diminished reserve” some thirty-five miles northwest of their former location.
Masheena located on the west side of Grasshopper Creeks within the present limits of Atchison County, Kansas. Here he built a "cabin” (probably of poles and bark) upon a "bench” of bottom land facing the east, near the creek. He resided at this place until his death, and it was while he lived here that Mr. Henry W. Honnell of Horton, Kansas, met and became acquainted with him. Mr. Honnell (a native of Ohio) was one of the first pioneers of Brown County, Kansas, having settled there in 1856. His brother, Rev. William H. Honnell, was pastor of the Presbyterian Mission on Horton Heights, during the years 1856 and 1857, and Mr. Ilonnell says that Masheena often attended the prayermeetings that were held there; that he frequently took an active part in these meetings, offering lengthy prayers in his own language. On
one occasion, after the meeting was over, some one asked Masheena why the French always seemed to get along better with the Indians than did people of other white nationalities.
Masheena got down upon the floor upon his hands and knees and with a piece of chalk of some kind, began to draw a kind of map or outline, upon the floor, to represent the different nations. He then began to explain his improvised course of instruction, pointing out different parts of the diagram, saying: "This one, he Americans, he fight Indians, take Indians land. This one, he British, he fight Indians. This one, he Spaniard, he fight Indians, take all they got!" etc., etc. Then coming to the last he said: “This one he French. No fight Indians, no take Indians land.”
Mr. Honnell says Masheena wore the clothing of civilization at the time he knew him, but that he allowed his hair to grow rather long. Mr. Honnell says he was a tall, strongly built Indian, and that even in his old age, his height and bearing would easily distinguish him from others in any gathering of his people.
Masheena died in December, 1857, and was buried near where he had lived during his last years. The plow of the white man has turned the soil over his grave for nearly thirty years, until its exact location is now unknown. Mr. Honnell was only able to locate it within two or three rods. It is located on the Sautter farm about a mile and threequarters south of the town of Horton and about the same distance southwest of the village of Kennekuk, in the northwest corner of Atchison County, Kansas.
Some mention of his descendants may be of interest. Masheena was survived by his son, Mataskuk; his daughter Nubya Eshnoqua, and other members of his family. His descendants today number but twelve Living persons. They are all said to be full-blood Kickapoos, and all reside upon the Kickapoo Reservation, eight miles west of Horton, in Brown County, Kansas. Masheena's son, Mataskuk, died unmarried, in 1858, aged about 25 years. Nubya Eshnoqua, daughter of Masheena and Macheepia, said to have been the last surviving Kickapoo born in Illinois, died in 1907. She had been married to a Kickapoo named Kakahkah, and had several childreỉ, but left no living descendants. Kachassa, daughter of Kanakuk, the Kickapoo "Prophet” and Ahsahmeenotenwawkwa, or “The Long Named One," married Katnamee, a Kickapoo. They had three sons, Wawawsuk (now deceased); Wapoahtek
(or John Winsee), and Optukkee (or Commodore). Wawawsuk was married and died leaving two children, Etwenahpee (Robert Wawawcsuk) who also died about three years ago, leaving two little sons, Wacheekwehwa (Leo Wawawsuk) now aged about ten years, and Joseph Wawawsuk) now aged about eight. Wawawsuk's other child, za daughter, Shawakea (or Minnie Wawawsuk) a young woman aged about 24 years is now employed as assistant matron at the Kickapoo School, on the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas. Wapoatek, or John Winsee, is married to Nunnahben, and has three children, viz. Wawseequa (Ella Winsee), Papesheena, and one other small child whose name
* or “keel.”