Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


Chapter 1
Early Inhabitants of Greene County
by Edward M. Shepard

Part 2
Indian Tribes


INDIAN IMPLEMENTS.

The abundance of flint arrow-points, axes, spear-beads, chisels, mortars and pestles and flint chips that are found all over the county indicate a long occupancy by aboriginal races. The exposure of Lower Burlington limestone over various parts of the county, especially in the east half, made possible numerous quarries where, in the upper beds of this horizon the Indians worked the hard flint that accompanies this limestone and which is especially adapted for arrow-points. One of these flint quarries is noted on the Winoka Lodge property, in section 15, township 21, range 28, where this flint is exposed in deep gorges, easily accessible, and where large quantities of arrow-points as well as flint chips have been found.

The proximity of this property to large springs, as well as its nearness to the James river, made it especially attractive to the Indians as a camping ground, as is evidenced by the recent finding there of great numbers of arrowpoints (some of them of exceptional beauty), innumerable flint chips, and the mortars and pestles with which they ground their corn for use. This is evidently the location of an old Osage camp, possibly also a later Delaware village, and is close to where the old Osage hunting trail toward the White river crossed the James.

Another noted quarry was at Percy Cave, on the Sac creek, in sections 33 and 29, township 30, range 22. Others are found along the Sac river; at Ritter's mill; along the bluffs of the James east of Winoka Lodge; and extending up the James into Webster county.

The great abundance of these flints, scattered throughout the whole county, and locally exposed by every rain and fresh plowing, causes one to be astonished at the industry which produced so many. Yet the making of an axe, we are told, occupied but a few hours, and to chip out an arrow-point from a piece of flint probably required, relatively, little time in the hands of an expert. Half-formed objects are numerous, and point to frequent failure to succeed in the making, while arrow-points of various sizes, shapes and outline give an idea of the numerous purposes for which, they were made. Some are massive, and suggest the killing of a deer or buffalo; some of diminutive size, with finely serrated edges, seem fashioned for the smallest victims of the bow; and some show that even artistic instincts were not absent from the mind of the savage workman. When one remembers the centuries of aboriginal occupation before the coming of the white man, and the various causes for the scattering and disappearance of their simple weapons, implements and utensils, it is easy to understand why every new clearing of land or upturning of old pastures may be made the occasion of new discoveries concerning these people, about whom both history and tradition have joined in the attempt to bring within the grasp of modern understanding the story of their life and customs. [29-30]

THE OSAGE INDIANS.

When the French and Spanish explorers first penetrated into this region, they found it to be the hunting ground, and at times the more or less permanent residence of the Osage Indians. This tribe was the dominant one all through that territory which lies south of the Missouri river in Missouri and in northern Arkansas. From the traditions of their medicine men, corroborated by similar traditions in other allied tribes, these Indians probably inhabited this country several centuries before the coming of the white man. The name "Osage" was a corruption of their own name, "Was-haz-he," made by the French, or, as the artist-explorer Catlin writes it, "Wa-saw-see." Catlin, in his "American Indians," says that they were the tallest race in North America, either among the red or white men. He states that few were less than six feet in stature, and that many were six and one-half and even seven feet. They were well-proportioned, good looking rather narrow in the shoulders, and, like most tall men, rather inclined to stoop. Their movements were graceful and quick. In war, or the chase, they were equal to any of the tribes about them. Though long living on, or near, the borders of civilization, they studiously rejected all civilized customs, and uniformly dressed in skins of their own preparation. They were one of the few tribes that shaved their heads, and they decorated and painted themselves with great care and some taste. Their heads were of a peculiar shape, owing to the fact that they strapped their infants to a board, binding the head so tightly as to force in the occipital bone, thus creating an unnatural deficiency in the back part and consequently a more than natural elevation on the top of the head. They explained that this was done because it pressed out a bold and manly front. The Flat Head Indians press the head between two boards, while the Osages used only one board, thereby compressing, to only a slight degree. The latter, also, cut and slashed their ears and suspended from them great quantities of wampum and tinsel ornaments. Their necks were decorated with great quantities of wampum and beads. Living in a warm country, their shoulders, arms and chests were generally naked, and they wore silver bands on their wrists and frequently a profusion of rings on their fingers.1 Washington Irving, in his "Tour of the Prairies," says, "The Osage Indians are the finest looking Indians I have seen in the West."

Further description of the dress of these Indians is given by Houck6 who writes: "The dress of the Osages was usually composed of moccasins for the feet; a breech-cloth; an overall or hunting shirt, seamed up and slipped over-the head; all made of leather, softly dressed by means of fat and oily substances and often rendered more durable by the smoke with which they were purposely imbued. Perhaps this caused Brackenridge to describe them as having a filthy and dirty appearance. Long says that the ordinary dress of the men was a breech-cloth of blue or red cloth, secured in its place by a girdle; a pair of leggins made of dressed deer-skin, concealing the leg excepting a small portion of the upper part of the thigh; a pair of moccasins made of dressed deer, elk or bison's skin, and a blanket to cover the upper part of the body. The dress of the women was composed of a pair of moccasins, leggings of blue or red cloth, with a broad projecting border on the outside and covering the leg to the knee or a little above; around the waist, secured by a belt, they wrapped a piece of blue cloth the sides of which met, or came nearly in contact, on the outside of the right thigh, and the whole extending downward as far as the knee or to the midleg; and around the shoulder a similar piece of cloth was attached by two of the corners at the axilla of the right arm and extended down to the waist. This garment was often laid aside in warm weather. The women allowed their hair to grow long, hanging over the shoulders, and parted longitudinally on the top of the head. The children were allowed to go naked in hot weather. Many of them tattooed different parts of their bodies." [31-32]

History tells us that several centuries ago the Osage Indians, with allied tribes, forming one great family, called Siouan, after the principal tribe, the Sioux, either migrated, or were driven by the Iroquois and other tribes, westward from Virginia and North Carolina, making long stops at various points along the Kanawha and Ohio valleys until the Mississippi was reached. While on the way, small bands were here and there left behind and so distributed themselves throughout the surrounding country. At the Mississippi, this Siouan band divided, one group, called the Omaha, or up-river group, going north up that river, and the other, the Quawpaw (Kwapa), or down-river group, going down the river. The Omaha group again divided at the mouth of the Missouri river, further dividing, as they went, into the Kaws (Kansas), who settled on the Kansas river; the Osage, along the Osage river; and the Missouris, along the Missouri river.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OSAGES.

Ethnologists have classified the Indians of North America into 56 great linguistic stocks, or families, which have been separated into more than 2,000 tribes, or affiliations; and it is by a careful study of the Osage language that Dorsey has been able to show that this tribe belonged to the great Siouan stock, thereby confirming the relationship which the historian has pointed out in his account of the wanderings of the various tribes of this great family. As a further proof that the Siouan family was more or less homogenous in composition, Nuttall3 says that the language of these tribes differ little from each other. Major Long4 states that the pronunciation of the Omahas and .Poncas was guttural, the Osages brief and vivid, and the Missouris nasal.

One reason for the migrations and separation into different tribes is found in the fact that they were largely dependent upon hunting for food and clothing, and when a village became too large, or, its enemies too strong, it was necessary for them to break up and find new hunting grounds. [32]

At the mouth of the Osage river, one group remained, while another migrated to a point near what is now the southeast corner of Bates county.

From a geographical standpoint, the Osages may be divided into three bands,5 "Pahatsi," or Great Osages, the Bates county band; the "Utsehta or Little Osages, the band near the mouth of the Osage river; and the "Sautsukhdhi," or Arkansas band, south of the Osage.

About 1802, according to Lewis and Clark, nearly half of the Great Osages, under a chief named Big Track, migrated to the Arkansas river. From the same authority we learn that in 1804 the Great Osages numbered about 500 warriors, living in a village on the south bank of the Osage river. The Little Osages had about 250 warriors; and the Arkansas band, with about 600 warriors, were on the Vermilion river, a branch of the Arkansas.

It is with the Pahatsi, or Big Osages that we of Greene county are especially interested, for here was one of the most important parts of their hunting ground. Here were beautiful large prairies, for the timber in those days, was mainly confined to the neighborhood of the water courses; and over these broad expanses roamed the buffalo, elk, deer, wolf, and bear, while the tall prairie grass was alive with all the smaller game that would naturally inhabit so favorable a region. In the eastern, northeastern and northwestern parts of the county, the streams had cut deep valleys, and their tributary spring branches had worn out precipitous gorges which abounded in beaver, ducks and food fishes, making an earthly paradise for aboriginal man. Too much cannot be said of the beauty of the scenery as well as the abundance of natural resources which would appeal to him. That the Osage had a love for scenery was evinced by the fact that he always selected the most sightly positions-the tallest bluffs or promontories which commanded broad views of plain and low-land-for the burial of his dead. It was in such an environment of natural beauty, with rich soil, a great abundance of pure, clear, cold springs and broad, spring-fed streams and rivers, pure air, bounteous rainfall, and a food supply unlimited in quality and abundance, that was developed the Osage, who was the largest, most perfect in physique and the most admirable in character of any tribe of the great Siouan family, and probably of all the North American Indians.

Houck6 says that "the Osages possessed all the Indian characteristics, talked little, in conversation did not interrupt each other, and except when intoxicated, were not vociferous or noisy. They were not drunkards and were greatly and favorably distinguished from the other Indians by their general sobriety. Lieut. Frazier remarked that the Indians are in general great drunkards, but adds, I must except the Osages. They rejected whiskey and refused to use it." Catlin, in another work, quoting from J. M. Stanley, 1843, says that "one admirable trait in their character was worthy of remark, viz, their aversion to ardent spirits. Such was their abhorrence.of the 'fire water,' as they termed it, that they could not be induced to drink it. It is generally supposed that all Indians are passionately fond of it, those particularly who are brought into contact with the whites. We note this fact as an exception to the general rule." [33-34]

The Osages were notable thieves, especially of horses. They took long trips, in the nature of forays, from their villages to the early French and Spanish settlements along the Mississippi. They were the terror of the early hunters in the Ozarks, on account of their predatory habits, though they rarely shot or killed the whites. Anything left in their care, they would guard and protect at the cost of life, if necessary. However, after the restoration to its owner of the property thus guarded, they would, perhaps, avail themselves of the first opportunity to steal it. According to Sibley, who knew them well, "they were very intelligent. * * * They bore sickness and pain with great fortitude, seldom uttering a complaint, and Brown says they were most skillful in medicine."

Mrs. Hamilton,7 who lived five years among the Osages, says she never heard of an Osage man abusing his wife or children. As a rule, he was devoted to his family. The mother had control of the children. As soon as the girl was large enough to assist the mother in her work, she was set such tasks as she was capable of, but the boy was allowed more liberty. As a rule, each family lived in its own separate lodge. The women did most of the work, such as providing fuel, water, cooking, scraping skins and converting them into articles of clothing and setting up the lodge. She also performed the various duties involved in their limited pursuit of agriculture. The man made his weapons, hunted and fished, provided meat for the family and aided in the mutual protection of their village and tribal interests.

Dorsey states that the virtues of their women were zealously guarded and their reputations defended.

In regard to government, each village had its chief and sub-chief. Pike8 says "their government is oligarchical, but still partakes of the nature of a republic; for, although the power nominally is vested in a small number of chiefs, yet they never undertake any matter of importance without first assembling the warriors and proposing the subject in council, there to be discussed and decided on by a majority. Their chiefs are hereditary in most instances, yet there are many men who have risen to more influence than those of illustrious ancestry by their activity and boldness in war. Although there is no regular code of laws, yet there is a tacit acknowledgment of the right which some have to command on certain occasions, while others are bound to obey, and even to submit to corporal punishment. * * * On the whole, their government may be termed an oligarchical republic, where the chiefs propose, and the people decide on all public acts." [34]

In 1817 Sibley reports that the Great Osages had 400 warriors and the Little Osages 250, which, compared with the estimate given by early historians, shows that the tribe was diminishing.

Catlin9 estimates the total number of Osage Indians to have been 5,000 in number in 1838.

Houck10 states that "the main dependence of these Indians was hunting, but they raised, annually, small crops of corn, beans and pumpkins, which they cultivated entirely with the hoe, and in the simplest manner, planting in April. They entered upon their summer hunts in May and returned about the first of August to gather crops which had been left unhoed and unfenced all summer. Sibley states that each family could save from ten to twenty bags of corn and beans, besides a quantity of dried pumpkins. On this they feasted, with dried meat saved in the summer, until September, then what remained was cached11 and they set out for their fall hunt from which they returned about Christmas. From that time, until some time in February or March, if the season happened to be severe, they stayed pretty much in their villages, making only hunting excursions occasionally and during that time they consumed the greater part of their caches. In February or March the spring hunt commenced, first the bear and then the beaver hunt. This was pursued until the planting time when they again returned to their village, pitched their crops, and in May set out for the summer hunt, taking with them the residue, if any, of their corn, etc. This was the routine of their life, broken occasionally by war and trading expeditions. Sibley further states that these people "derived a portion of their subsistence regularly from dried fruits that the country abounded with, walnuts, hazel nuts, pecans, acorns, grapes, plums, pawpaws, persimmons, hog potatoes and several very nutritious roots, all of which they gathered and preserved with care." [35]

FOND OF THE OZARKS.

Early explorers give an account of some of the deserted hunting camps of the Osage people in the region which is now Christian and Greene counties. Pike,12 in 1804, said, "Their villages hold more people in the same space of ground than any places I ever saw. Their lodges are posted with scarcely any regularity and usually very close together. Added to this, they have pens for their horses, always within the village, into which they always drive them at night. * * * The lodges in the villages are generally constructed with upright posts, put firmly in the ground about 20 feet in height, with a crotch on the top. They are about 12 feet distant from each other. In the crotch of the posts are put the ridge poles, over which are bent small poles, the ends of which are brought down and fastened to a row of stakes about five feet in height. These stakes are fastened together with three horizontal bars and form the flank walls of the lodge. The gable ends are generally-broad slabs rounded off to the ridge pole; the whole of the building and sides are covered with matting made of rushes, two or three feet in length and four feet in width, which are joined together and entirely exclude the rain. The doors are on the sides of the building and generally are one on each side. The fires are made in holes in the center of the lodge, the smoke ascending through apertures left in the roof for the purpose. At one end of the dwelling, a raised platform about three feet from the ground, which is covered with bear skins, generally holds all the little choice furniture of the master, and on which repose his honorable guests. They vary in length from 36 to 100 feet."

On their hunting trips in the Ozark region (in which what is now Greene county must have been one of their favorite haunts), they would go to some point along the trail where game and fishing were abundant, and there erect lodges and occupy them as long as the products of the chase encouraged their stay. Then they would move to some other desirable point, where they would proceed to erect another lodge, occupying it in a similar manner for the period of the hunting season. [36]

Schoolcraft,13 on his trip up Swan Creek in 1818, into what is now Greene county, describes three of these camps, the construction of which differs somewhat from the lodges in the villages described by Pike, and are worthy of attention here, since these are what this interesting tribe of Indians used for shelter during their hunting trips in what is now Greene county. He says, "We passed successively three of their camps, now deserted, all very large, arranged with much order and neatness, and capable of quartering probably, 100 men each. Both the method of building and the order of encampment observed by this singular nation of savages, are different from anything of the kind I have noticed among the various tribes of aboriginal Americans, through whose territories I have had occasion to travel. The form of the tent, or camp, may be compared to an inverted bird's nest, or hemisphere, with a small aperture left in the top for the escape of smoke; and a similar, but larger one, at one side for passing in and out. It is formed by cutting a number of slender, flexible green poles, of equal length, sharpened at each end, stuck in the ground like a bow, and crossing at right angles at the top, the points of entrance into the ground forming a circle. Small twigs are then wove in, mixed with the leaves of cane, moss and grass, until it is perfectly tight and warm. These tents are arranged in large circles, one circle within another, according to the number of men to be accommodated. In the center is a scaffolding for meat from which all are supplied every morning, under the inspection of a chief whose tent is conspicuously situated at the head of the encampment, and differs from all the rest, resembling a half-cylinder inverted. Their women and children generally accompany them on the hunting excursions which often occupy them three months."

TREATIES.

On October 10th, 1808, after the Louisiana Purchase, the Big and Little Osage tribes made a treaty with the United States at Fort Osage, now called Fort Sibley, about twenty-five miles east of Kansas City, on the Missouri river, by which they ceded to the United States all that portion of southern Missouri lying east of a line extending from Fort Sibley due south to the Arkansas river and north of the Arkansas to its mouth, west of the Mississippi to the mouth of the Missouri, and following that river back to the original starting. For this vast tract, covering practically all of the Ozark country, the Big Osages were given $800.00 in cash and $1,000.00 in merchandise; while the Little Osages received just half this amount. On June 2nd, 1825, they relinquished all their land remaining in Missouri and Arkansas, and a portion of their Kansas possession, recognizing the right of the United States to use all navigable rivers in what was left in their original territory. For this they were to receive $7,000.00 yearly for seven years.14 [37]

By Act of Congress, July 15th, 1870,15 the limits of their reservation in the then Indian Territory were established. This reservation consisted, in 1906, of 1,470,058 acres, and in addition the tribe possessed funds in the Treasury of the United States amounting to $8,562,690.00, including a school fund of $119,911.00, the whole yielding an annual income of $428,134.00. Their income from pasturage leases amounted to $98,376.00 in the same year, and their total annual income was, therefore, about $265.00 per capita, making this tribe the richest in the entire United States.

By Act of Congress of June 28, 1906, an equal division of the lands and funds of the Osages was provided for. The population of the tribe at this time, after the division of the tribal lands and trust fund had been provided for, was 1,994.

We have given this somewhat full and extended account of the Osage Indians, because they were, for many years, probably centuries, the only inhabitants of the region now known as Greene county.

THE DELAWARE INDIANS.

The Delaware Indians were a group of the great Algonquin tribe, or family, whose early home was on the Atlantic coast, in Delaware, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and southeastern New York, a territory including the basin of the Delaware river. When first discovered by the whites, they called themselves the "Lenape," a collective term for men, or, as it was afterward written, "Leni-lenape." William Penn bought large tracts of land from them. They were forced to migrate westward, and in 1751 the Hurons invited them to settle in eastern Ohio, where the government gave them a reservation. In 1789 the Spaniards permitted some of them to come to Missouri, and with a band of Shawnees they moved to a point near what is now Cape Girardeau, and later to Arkansas. In 1818 the whole tribe deeded to the government all their possessions in Ohio and removed to the White river in Missouri. This was the treaty that was in force from 1818 to 1829.

The first mention of the Delaware Indians in what is now Greene county is found in the statement quoted by Houck16 from Morse's Report that "in 1805 the Delawares had a village on White river near Forsyth, in what is now Taney county; one on James fork, in what is now Christian county, and one on Wilson's creek, in what is now Greene county." [38]

The writer of this chapter believes that this last-named village was located southwest of and near the site of the present city of Springfield.

On September 24th, 1829, the Delawares, by another treaty with the United States, ceded all claims to land in Missouri, comprised in two tracts: First, that known as the Cape Girardeau tract, and, second, the tract in southwest Missouri, selected for them under the provisions of the treaty of October 3d, 1818, and lying along the James fork of the White river, which included the tract lying south of the Kickapoo reservation (later to be described .under Kickapoo Indians), to the present line of Missouri and Arkansas, which included the south half of Greene county.17

From the foregoing facts, it will be seen that, although the Delawares were in this region as early as 1806, and hunted over southern and eastern Greene county, they had no treaty rights until 1818, and that in 1829 they gave up all their territory and were removed farther west.

They were originally a bold, daring and numerous people, but were gradually reduced by war, removals and smallpox. It was a well-known fact that they were ever ready to assist and protect those who were weaker than themselves, as evidenced by their friendliness to individuals of various other tribes.

Besides their principal villages at Delaware Town, in Christian county, just south of Greene, there were, according to Escott,18 some suburban towns scattered along up and down the James and on the banks of Wilson creek. One of these (before referred to) was probably southwest of the present city of Springfield, another probably near the Big Boiling Spring, on the Winoka Lodge property, southeast of the town of Galloway, and another at the old James river mines near Kirshner's, as described by Schoolcraft.

THE KICKAPOO INDIANS.

The Kickapoos belonged to the Algonquin family, and are first referred to in history by Allouez19 as living in what is now, probably, Columbus county, Wisconsin, about 1667. No traditions exist in regard to their earlier origin. LeSeuer, in 1669, refers to the Quincapous (Kickapoo) river, just above the mouth of the Wisconsin, which he stated was so called from the name of a nation which formerly dwelt on its banks.

The Kickapoos were driven to the southward by northern tribes in 1765, and remained for a short time at Peoria, Illinois. Some of them were associated with Tecumseh in his war against the whites, and a portion of them migrated east to a reservation on the Wabash river in Indiana, some of these being again moved to a reservation in Missouri, as will be later told. [39]

Mooney and Jones20 state that the Kickapoos lived in fixed villages, occupying bark houses in the summer and flag-reed oval lodges during the winter. They raised corn, beans and squashes, and while dwelling east of the Mississippi they often wandered out on the plains to hunt buffalo.

The Kickapoos are first noted in Missouri as living just north of the mouth of the Missouri river. By a treaty with the United States, July 19th, 181921 they received, as a reservation, that tract in southwest Missouri which was bounded as follows: "Beginning at the confluence of the rivers Pomme de Terre and Osage, thence up the said river Pomme de Terre to the dividing ridge which separates the waters of the Osage and White rivers, thence with said ridge westwardly to the Osage line (a point about in the northeast corner of Newton county), thence due north on said line, to Nerve creek, thence down the same to a point due south of the mouth of White Clay, or Richard, creek, thence north to the Osage river, thence down said river to the beginning."

This territory, it will be noticed, included what is now the northern two-thirds of Greene county, which they occupied from 1819 to 1832. Mooney says the meaning of "Kickapoo" is, "He stands about, or he moves about, standing now here, now there."

About 1812, a band of Kickapoo Indians built a village, which tradition locates near the site of the present city of Springfield, and which was called, "Kickapoo settlement." From the best information obtainable, the writer believes this to have been near what is now known as Phelps Grove Park. They are said to have had about one hundred wigwams, and they cultivated, as, farms, portions of the tract of land now called "Kickapoo prairie." Barnes22 states, in speaking of Springfield, that "the lands on the south and west are beautiful prairies, which, in early days, were cultivated by the aborigines."

A Kickapoo village existed in 1828 just north of what is now the town of Strafford, in Greene County.23

In 1832, the Kickapoos ceded the reservation before described for one in Kansas, northwest of Fort Leavenworth.

Members of this tribe were probably more intimately associated with the pioneer white hunters of this region than those of the two tribes previously referred to, and the early settlers relate many stories regarding them. Mrs. Rush Owen, of Springfield, states that when her ancestors, the Campbells, came to Missouri in the fall of 1829, or later, members of this tribe had a village situated in the tract between the present streets known as Campbell, Pearl, Madison and Grand avenue; that there was a sunken spring east of South street, one hundred and fifty feet from Madison, where the Kickapoos used to get their drinking water. She remembers that in her early childhood, she used to watch the Indians lean over to dip the water out. The spring referred to was destroyed at the time of the building of the new city sewer. [40]

The Piankashaw and Pawnee tribes were occasional visitors rather than, permanent dwellers in this region. There was a small village of the former just west of Forsyth in 1828; also a village of Peorias and Piankashaws east of Forsyth in the same year. There were a few Piankashaws around Springfield, who associated with the Delawares and were known by the early settlers. La Salle, in 1682, mentions this tribe as one of those gathered about his Illinois fort. They were also referred to by Cadillac, in 1695, as living with the Kickapoos and other tribes on the St. Joseph river, in Michigan. Later, they migrated southward to southern Indiana and Illinois. They were probably driven westward into Missouri by the Iroquois. They were never a large tribe and in 1806 they merged with the Peorias, so that there are, probably no pure-blooded Piankashaw's now living. Many interesting stories are told of. these Indians by the early settlers of Greene county.

Schoolcraft refers to the Pawnees as hunting through this region, and they, with the Osages, were much feared by the early pioneers on the White, river. They had no villages here, and were only occasional predatory visitors in this part of the country.

INDIAN TRAILS.

The natural routes of travel for the aborigines, as well as for the early explorers, and later for the pioneers coming to the great western country, was by water, the Ohio river being the great highway leading up to the settling of the West, while the Mississippi was the natural gateway for the French voyageurs from the north and the Spanish explorers from the south. Later, the Missouri river became the outlet for western immigration, and still later, its tributaries (especially the Osage) opened new regions to the south and west. The White and Arkansas rivers were also natural routes of travel :into the Ozark region. When this area came to be settled, it was by means of the Osage on the north and the James and White rivers on the south. Where the watercourses were not available, the aboriginal traces, or trails, were utilized. Most of the early roads in the Ozark region followed the old Indian trails, and the modern fisherman, as he travels along our streams, pursues, in the main, the paths that were outlined by his aboriginal predecessor. The early explorer also took advantage of these tracks, which were originally made by men on foot or on horseback, and which were not only sometimes obscure, but were also frequently turned from their course by fallen trees and washouts. Still later, these trails became, in the main, the general course of state and county roads, though as the region became more settled, these were often turned to follow section lines. It is an interesting fact that some of our railroads now follow the general direction of old Indian trails. [41]

For many years, in connection with his geological work in the State of Missouri, the writer has, both by personal observation and reading, studied these old Indian highways. Many of these have been mapped by Houck24 in his valuable work on the history of this state, and two of them will be here described. That author refers to a map published by James Smith in 1720, which outlined a path, or trail, running through southwest Missouri, evidently the continuation of one starting on the Atlantic coast in Virginia, and known as "The Virginia warriors path," leading across the Cumberland mountains, thence to the falls of the Ohio and across what is now southern Indiana and Illinois, to the Mississippi, and west through southern Missouri to the Rocky mountains-a veritable "Indian Appian Way across the continent." He believes that it crossed the Mississippi near what is now Gray's Point and also at Grand Tower, and states that the trail crossing at, or near, Grand Tower would, on the west side, follow Apple creek, or the dividing ridge between the waters of the St. Francis and Meramec rivers, but that the lower trail would hug the edge of the great alluvial St. Francis basin, gradually ascending by way of Otter, Big Barren and Pike creeks to the plateau of the Ozarks. Substantially on this route, a railroad is now in operation. This trail extends through the counties of Carter, Shannon, Howell, southwest corner of Texas, southern Webster, to what is now Springfield near the center of Greene county, and is largely followed by the course of the Kansas City, Springfield & Memphis railroad. This Virginia Warriors Trail extends from what is now Springfield, following essentially the 'Frisco railroad southwest through McDonald county into Oklahoma.

From such sources as county histories, gazetteers and maps, the writer also finds that the 'Frisco railway from Springfield to St. Louis follows, in the main, another aboriginal trail.

Houck locates still another trail extending from the Osage village, in the southern edge of Bates county, through Vernon in a southeast course through Cedar, the southwestern corner of Polk and through the western part of Greene county. The writer, however, differs from him in believing that this trail extended in a more southeasterly course through Greene, following practically what is now the Melville road to the site of the present city of Springfield.

Just where these trails entered the territory now occupied by the last -named city, it is difficult to say. That this area was a famous camping ground for different tribes of Indians, is a well-established fact. They liked to camp near water, and the numerous springs within and close to the present city limits were popular places for the location of villages. The Jordan, Jones and Country Club springs on the southeast; the natural well, the Lyman, Kickapoo and Brewery springs on the south; the cotton mill spring, the Puller spring, the Doling Park springs, the Ritter springs on the. west; the Fulbright spring on the north, and the Sander spring on the northeast, all bear evidence of having been the sites of Indian camping grounds. [42-43]

Both the Melville road and the Bolivar, or Boonville, road, essentially outline the two old Osage trails into Greene county. The "Wire," or Fayetteville road, follows, in the main, one of the Indian trails to the southwest down Wilson creek and the James river to one of the White river hunting grounds. It is probable that the Delawares and Kickapoos followed a trail that passed due south of Springfield about a mile west of the "Wilderness" road. The Osages, it is certain, followed another trail to their hunting ground on the White river, a road now partially outlined by the Chadwick branch of the 'Frisco railroad, past Sequiota Park (Fisher's Cave), through Galloway along the road to the ford below the bridge which crosses the James, to about a mile south of the bridge, where the old Linden road begins, following the latter in a general course southeast toward Chadwick, then down Swan creek to Forsyth, or the mouth of Big Beaver creek.

Another Osage trail branched, from the beginning of the Linden road southward down to Bull creek and, on to the White river.

The writer has endeavored to outline these trails, Indian mounds, villages and early roads on the accompanying map.

Keemile and Wetmore25 state that the Creeks, or Muskogees, and the Chasseurs du Bois of Louisiana, hunted along the Niangua river, which abounded with beaver, making it probable that they passed from the southwest along the Virginia Warriors Trail through what is now Springfield, and thence north by a route now followed by the old Jefferson City road.

The Bolivar, or Boonville, road followed the old Osage trail as indicated on the map, and was known among the first settlers as the "old road," or the "military road." It extended from Palmyra, on the Mississippi,26 through Boonville, Springfield and Fayetteville, Arkansas, to Fort Smith, and was the chief route of travel from the upper Mississippi to Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. It was regularly located and cut out to the legal width by Act of March 7th, 1835. [43]

____________________

1 Catlin's "North American Indians," Vol. II, p. 89.
2 "History of Missouri," Louis Houck, Vol. I, p. 186.
3 Nuttall's "Arkansas," p. 82
4 "Long's Expedition," Vol. !, p. 342
5
"Handbook of American Indians," Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 30, Pt. II, p. 156.
6
"History of Missouri," Louis Houck, Vol. I, p. 182.
7
"Missouri Historical Review," Vol. IV, p. 19.
8 "Pike's Expedition," Vol. II, p. 526.
9 "North American Indians," Catlin, Vol. II, p. 40.
10 "History of Missouri," Louis Houck, Vol. I, p.182.
11 In Pike's Journal, 1804 (see "Pike's Expedition," Vol. II, p. 385), he calls attention to Halley's Bluff, named for Col. Halley, in charge of Chouteau's Fort, or Fort Carondelet, on the Little Osage, nine miles from the Big Osage village, where some old caches in the sandstone may still be seen. These were more fully described by Broadhead ("Geological Survey of Missouri," Vol. I, 1873-1874, p.152), who says: "They consist of a series of circular holes, twenty-three in number, dug down in the lower part of a thick sandstone, which forms the face of a bluff, and is a member of the Coal Measures. The holes are five feet deep each, on an average; they are larger at the bottom than at the top, being three feet across at the top and five and one-half feet in diameter at the bottom. They are only from one to three feet apart, and follow the course of the outcrop of the sandstone, which is north and south. They appear to have been made by some such instrument as a pick-faint marks as of such a tool being still visible. At one place there are six holes, side by side, forming a double row; the rest are single, following one after another. . . . From the regularity in the order, and the manner in which the holes were made, in the nicety with which they were formed, and the regularity of size, I am led to believe them to be the remains of old caches made by former traders with Indians, or parties who were necessitated to conceal their goods." A careful study of these excavations made by the writer strongly inclines him to the belief that they were the caches of the Big Osage Indians, where they stored their corn and other supplies, as they were so near the Big Osage village as to have been a very convenient repository for their surplus products.

12 "Pike's Expedition," Vol. II, pp. 528, 529.
13 "Journal of a Tour in the Interior of Missouri and Arkansas in 1818," Schoolcraft, London, 1821, p. 52.
14 See 18th Annual Report, United States Bureau American Ethnology, Part II, p. 676.
15 ''Handbook of American Indians," United States Bureau of Ethnology, Bulletin 30, Part II, p. 158.
16 "History of Missouri," Louis Houck, Vol. II, p. 218.
17 "Eighteenth
Annual Report," United States Bureau American Ethnology, Part II, pp. 692, 724.
18 "History of Springfield," G. S. Escott, p. 19.
19 "Handbook of American Indians." United States Bureau American Ethnology, Bulletin 30, Part I, p. 684.
20 United States Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 30, Part 1, P. 68-5.
21 .Eighteenth Annual Report, Bureau American Ethnology, Part II, p. 700.
22 "Commonwealth of Missouri," p. 873.
23 Eighteenth Annual Report, Bureau American Ethnology, Part II, map 38.
24 "History of Missouri," Louis Houck, Vol. I, p. 226.
25 "Gazetteer of Missouri," Keemile and Wetmore, 1837.

26 "History of Benton County," James H. Lay, Hannibal, Mo., 1876, p. 15.


Next Part | Table of Contents | Keyword Search
Greene County History Home | Local History Home