Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
Paola, Kansas History Book

At the time of the Louisiana Purchase, April 30, 1803, there were no permanent or semi-permanent Indians villages or trading posts in what is now Miami County.

The Kanza (Kansas) Indians had several semi-permanent villages to the north on the river bearing their name. They had pole frame lodges covered with hides, bark or bulrushes. They also had teepees for mobility. French explorers, trappers, and traders had associated with the Kanza for nearly 100 years. There were a few Frenchmen with Indian families for a number of years back. There was an abandon trading post on the Missouri River.

The Osage Indians had several semi-permanent villages to the east at the junction of the Marmanton, Little Osage and Osage (Marais des Cygne) Rivers. They also had villages on the Neosho River at St. Paul, Kansas and on the Verdigris River in Oklahoma. They also used pole frame lodges covered with hides, bark or bulrushes. They had an even longer association with French explorers, trappers, traders and a few Frenchmen with Indian families. Big and Little Osages designated the size of their villages. They also used teepees for mobility.

July 8, 1724: French peace envoy Etienne Veniard de Bourgmont has come from Fort Orleans to visit the Indians of modern Kansas. At the mouth of the Missouri River, he encounters the "Kanza." Many of them accompany de Bourgmont on his trip to the "Padoucas."

Chouteau (Frenchman) had a trading post on the Osage River but lost his rights to Manuel Lisa (Spanish man) and moved to Oklahoma. Chouteau became an Indian agent for the U. S. Government and in his memoirs stated the Osage planted their spring and early summer crops of corn, beans and pumpkins. They then went on an extended buffalo hunting trip to the west in the tall grass prairies. The other area Indians did the same. This would have included Miami County. The Canza and Osages both spoke a dialect of die Sioux and normally had a fairly good relationship. Their arch enemies were the western plains Indians. Both hunted in Miami County.

Miami County was a part of a very large tall grass prairie with trees growing along the streams, floodplains and below ever flowing springs. There was a large variety of grasses, flowers and some berry patches. The grasses grew from two to eight feet tall depending on the location, soil fertility and depth of soil. The grasses covered all of the hills, mounds, ridges, uplands and valleys down to the flood plains. Even some floodplains had bottomland grasses. There was variety of trees, nut trees and fruit trees. Some trees had grape vines and others had honey bee hives. The prairies did not burn every year in their entirety. They burnt piece meal or in sections on a two to five year basis depending on the dryness and grass residue. This kept the grasslands treeless.

There was a large number of buffalo and deer as well as antelope, elk, cougar, black bear, wolves, coyotes, badgers, rabbits, jack rabbits and other animals. There were big flocks of prairie chickens and turkey. Also grouse, passenger pigeons (now extinct), hawks, owls, quail, vultures, and many other birds. Migratory birds present were ducks, geese, cranes, swans, bald eagles and other water fowl. The streams had beaver, muskrats, mink, otter, raccoons and other animals. Beaver would build a pond on a prime, all-season branch with some timber for a dam. Brown bear and grizzly bear were normally further westward and in the mountains and moose were further north. The streams had a variety of fish. Carp, pheasants, pigeons, starlings and sparrows are imported species. The Indians were hunter and gathers with very little crop growing. By this time, they had ponies which had to live off the prairie grasses all year. The Indians who spoke the Sioux dialect were the Quapaw, Otto, Missouri, Osage and Canza. They had a few inter-tribal marriages and fairly good relations.

Osages signed a treaty June 2, 1825, at St. Louis, Missouri giving up their Missouri and Kansas lands for a reservation west of Ft. Scott and twenty five miles west of Mo. and then west to the Spanish line. They received twenty years annuity payments, a blacksmith, cabins for the main chiefs, a miller, an agriculture agent, 600 cattle, 600 hogs and 1000 domestic fowl and other considerations. They ate the livestock instead of raising more. The Osage reservation was later reduced in size and then moved to Osage County, Oklahoma. The 1854 Indian census list 4941 Osage. This was adjusted when they moved to Oklahoma. (Census March 1854)

Kanza signed a treaty June 3, 1825 at St. Louis, Missouri for about the same considerations as the Osage. Their reservation is to start 12 leagues west of the Missouri line (about 36 miles) and straddle the Kansas River west to the plains Indians. This was later traded for a reservation around Council Grove and the Pottawatomie took part of their reservation. Then they moved to Oklahoma west of the Osages. The March 1854 Indian census lists 1375 Kanza Indians. This was later adjusted when they moved to Oklahoma.

Emigrant Indians
The treaty with the Osage and Kanza Indians cleared the way for the removal of the Indians on reservations in the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes and those already moved to Missouri. Most of the Indians from the north east and east coast had already been moved to the Ohio Valley reservations. They were to be moved to new reservations in the Kansas Territory. The Indians from the south east were to be moved to Oklahoma. These became known as the emigrant Indians.

The native Indians did not have an immunity to white man’s diseases and they died by the thousands. Measles, smallpox and alcoholism killed a very large number. Cholera killed whites and Indians alike, especially when moving. War was a minor cause of deaths. All were on reservations with an Indian agent in charge of their welfare and missionaries to Christianize and educate them; neither did a very good job.

All tribes were moved in groups and mixed tribal groups over about twenty-five years, voluntarily and involuntarily. Not all of the Indians were removed to the west. Those that went voluntarily usually were able to arrange transportation and had an easier migration. Others were rounded up and escorted by the military involuntary. These were often under harsh and primitive conditions with more sickness and deaths. A few managed to return to their former homes. All tribes had a large number of mixed bloods both whites and some blacks going back several generations. Many were tribal leaders often speaking several languages and easier for the government to negotiate with.

There were seven immigrant tribes partly or wholly in Miami County. The Shawnee, Wea, Piankashaw, Peoria, Kaskaskai, Pottawatomie, and Miami. All had fragments of former tribes merged with them.

On November 7, 1825, the Shawnee of southeast Missouri and Indiana signed a treaty for a new reservation in Kansas. It goes south twenty eight miles from the Kansas River along the Missouri border and then one hundred and twenty miles west. This includes about a two and one-quarter mile strip of northern Miami County. They were moved in three or more groups and had many mixed bloods. None of their establishments were in Miami County. Their Indian agency and at least three missions were in north east Johnson County. They would have used North Miami County for hunting and the boundary was not definitely located or enforced.

On May 10, 1854 in Washington D. C. the Shawnee signed a treaty for a diminished reserve, 200 acres for each individual, some from other tribes, land grants to Baptist, Methodist, and Friends Missions, graveyard, school and others. They agreed to move to Oklahoma which was not completed until 1867. The diminished reserve goes from the Missouri line to 30 miles west. Lawrence was located 35 miles west of Missouri for this reason. The March 1854 Indian census list 931 Shawnee. This count was adjusted in 1867. The official government survey of sections was completed in 1857 and is the basis's for all land surveys today.

Wea and Piankashaw
In 1827, some government officials and Issac McCoy, a Baptist minister, surveyor, and Indian removal agent, conducted a group of several Indian tribes on a tour of the Osage (Marais des Cygne) and Neosho River lands for future reservations.

In 1828, Langham partly surveyed the Wea and Piankashaw reservation. The Wea and Piankashaw moved from south west Missouri in two or three groups during the year and all were moved by 1829. They had been from Indiana and Illinois where part of their tribes still lived. The Wea selected a site near the springs which is now Paola. The Piankashaw had a village about 5 miles south but later merged with the Wea. The Indian sub-agent located on the hill above the spring on north Pearl Street and has been used until the Indian removal in 1867. The government blacksmith shop was established near and several cabins built for the chiefs.

In March of 1831, some Wea's from Indiana arrived in very miserable condition having wintered near St. Louis along with some others.
On Oct. 29, 1832, at Caster Hill (St. Louis) Missouri, the Wea and Piankashaw signed a treaty for the reservation already established in Kansas. It was for 250 sections being south of the Shawnee and on the Missouri border (about a 16 mile square) and the only reservation entirely in Miami County. The west line was 2 miles west of Paola near Lookout road. This was for the Indians already here and those still in Indiana. Besides the spring on north Pearl, there was another about 300 yards west in the North West corner of First and Iron Street called. Granny Wakefield's now covered over and drained into the storm sewer there. This was noted as a prime camping area and was used as such until after the Civil War.

The American Fur Company under Chouteau was granted a trading license on Bull Creek about a mile southeast of Paola on October 18, 1832 and was renewed for a number of years. Very little is known about it. (It would be in sec. 17, T17, R2 3)

In 1833, the Presbyterians established a mission a mile east of Paola on Wea Creek. In 1837, the Osage River Indian agency was relocated at the mission from Ft. Leavenworth and the mission was sold to the government. The agency was moved to near Lane for the Pottawatomie and the mission sold to the Baptist in 1840. David Lykins was the second Baptist minister coming here in August 1845 and returning in August 1847 until 1861.
There were several oil springs in Miami County. It is said that the Indians used them for medicinal purposes and the whites greased there wagon wheels. Some Indians had cabins along the wooded creeks and had small cultivated fields and some livestock.

Contractors built the military post road across eastern Miami County in 1838. This was an Indian frontier road from Minnesota to Texas to separate the Indians from settled areas.

Christmas Dagenette (Das'ney), a Wea Chief led a group from Indiana and settled south east of Louisburg near Coldwater Grove. Some of these mixed bloods remained as citizens after the final removal to Oklahoma. Christmas was born Dec. 25, 1799 on the Wea lands of Indiana, son of a French man and Wea woman. While in Indiana, he married Mary Ann Issac, officiated by Issac McCoy, Baptist minister and Indian activist. Mary Ann was born in upstate New York to French father and Brotherton-Mohican mother. They were part of the remnants of north east tribes that had been moved to Indiana, Christmas spoke several languages and worked for the government on Indian removal from Indiana. He died in 1848 during government removal of a third group of Miami's to Kansas. His widow later married Baptiste Peoria.

Baptiste Peoria was born in 1793 in a Creole settlement in southern Illinois, son of a French man and Peoria
woman. His name is also linked to the Miami, Kaskaskia and Delaware. His first two wives may have been from these tribes. It is known that he came with the Delaware tribe of south west Missouri to Kansas. He was the government interpreter for the Delaware and Shawnee in 1832. In 1839, a merchant in West Port shipped merchandise to Baptiste Peoria's store. Very likely this is the store he established on north Pearl Street across from the government sub-agency. Baptiste being a Catholic, built a chapel near the spring in 1846, used by the Catholics from Osage Mission and the Methodist from Shawnee Mission on their circuit ministry. Both were known to have services in Wea Village. In 1848, Baptiste is the interpreter for the local tribes and worked for the government making annuity payments. He spoke French, English and several Indian dialects and worked for the government much of his life in Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. It is not known when he married the widow, Mary Ann Dagenette. Both had children from previous marriages but none of their own.

On May 30, 1854, a delegation of seven members of the Wea, Piankashaw, Peoria and Kaskaskia tribes signed a treaty in Washington D.C. for a new reservation in north east Oklahoma. One of the signers is David Lykins, adopted into the Wea Tribe as Ma-Cha-ko-me-ah. Ely Moore as Indian sub-agent and Baptiste Peoria, interpreter, signed as witnesses. The four tribes are consolidated as the Confederated Tribe and Baptiste is elected chief. Each member is to receive 160 acres, 640 acres to die Baptist Mission for school and some acreage held in common for future use. It is 1857 before the sections are surveyed and ready for assignment. It is 1867 before members are required to sell and finally move to Oklahoma or stay on their selected 160 as citizens. Several stayed as citizens.

Baptiste Peoria as chief had his pick of land and as such determined that his 1,280 acres would be where Paola is now. Baptiste and several men began laying out Paola in 1854 and survey filed in 1855. Paola was expanded in 1857 and approved by the government in 1861. Baptiste Peoria was a personal friend of Paul Ponzigleon, a Catholic priest from Osage Mission at St. Paul and he furnished the name of Paoli-Paola from his native Italy. The first lot sales were recorded as Paola Town Company address Paoli, Kansas Territory. It was about 1858 before the name of Paola was accepted as correct. Baptiste and wife, Mary Ann was very active in early Paola business and promotion. Baptiste went to Oklahoma in 1867 as chief but returned to Paola often on business. He died in Oklahoma in 1873. Mary Ann died in Paola in 1883.

The May 30, 1854 count of the Confederated Tribes is 259 individuals. Item of interest is the area tribes came from Bull and Swan Creek area south of Springfield, Missouri to their Kansas reserve in 1828. It is likely this is the source of the naming of Bull Creek. The Osage River was named by the French for the Osage Indian Tribe. The Marais des Cygne River comes from the French-Canadian story of Evangeline who christened it "C'est le Marais des Cygne" or it is die marsh of the swan. Longfellow wrote a poem "Evangeline" telling the story. Wea Creek would have been named for the Wea Tribe.

On October 15, 1838, a contract was let to build the Military Frontier Post Road from Leavenworth to Chouteau trading post on the Osage River. It required very little work and was soon completed across eastern Miami County near the Missouri border. It was used as late as 1865 in the Civil War.

An Indian sub agent has the same autiiority as an agent but at half pay, $700 a year vs. $1400. The chief Indian agent lived in St. Louis many years before moving to Leavenworth.

Peoria and Kaskaskia
In 1827, government officials and Issac McCoy, Baptist Minister and Indian activist, conducted several Indian tribe members on a tour of the Osage River valley for future reservations. The Peoria and Kaskaskia tribes are among them.

During 1828, the Peoria and Kaskaskia of southwest Missouri moved to the new designated reservation on the Osage River in several groups. The Indian agent and Issac McCoy assisted in the moves. Peoria village is officially located on the north bank of the Osage and probably on the east side of Turkey Creek about a mile west of Miami County.

Some Kaskaskia from east of the Mississippi River arrive in March of 1831 in very poor condition under military escort. They had wintered near St. Louis with some other tribes with very primitive conditions.

On October 27, 1832, at Caster Hill (St. Louis), Missouri, the Peoria and Kaskaskia of Missouri and Illinois signed a treaty for the reservation already established on the Osage River. They are to be granted 150 sections soudi of the Shawnee and west of the Wea and Piankashaw (about a 12 mile square). It begins about 2 miles west of Paola and extends about 5 miles into Franklin County. They built 4 cabins for the chiefs, an agency and annuity payments. They were to share the blacksmith at Wea Village and Chouteau trading post there. The Peoria and Kaskaskia, Wea and Piankashaw are remainders of the once numerous Illinois tribes and are closely associated. The farm fields for the Peoria and Kaskaskia very likely were in western Miami County on the hill. There were several more migrations from Illinois after 1832.

The Methodist built and operated a mission and school about a mile west of the village also listed as being on the north bank of the Osage. It operated from 1832 to 1854 with several ministers. The minister from Shawnee Mission came there to preach and then went about 12 miles to the Wea Village before returning to Shawnee. A chief of the Peoria Tribe, Jim Linzey, and alias Jim Peoria died there May 13, 1841 and was buried in the mission cemetery alongside his little daughter. Methodist history gives a more complete record of this mission. The Peoria and Kaskaskia would have hunted and some live in western Miami County. They were often visitors to Wea Village blacksmith and trading store located there.

At Washington D. C. May 30, 1854, seven members of the Peoria-Kaskaskia and the Wea-Piankashaw tribes signed a treaty giving up their Kansas reservation for one in northeast Oklahoma. Ely Moore, Indian agent and Baptiste Peoria, interpreter signed as witnesses. Each individual is to receive 160 acres, some land allotted to schools and some held in common for future use. They are combined into the Confederated Tribe and Baptiste Peoria is elected chief of the Confederated tribe. Wea Village becomes the headquarters for the Confederated Tribe and Peoria Village is abandon. Later the town of Peoria is started about 4 miles to the west. The March 1854 census of Indians lists 259 members of the Confederated Tribe. It is 1857 before the land is surveyed into sections and allotments can be made. It is 1867 before all of the tribe is required to move to Oklahoma and Baptiste Peoria goes along as chief until he died September 13, 1873 there.

On February 11, 1837, several bands of Pottawatomie from the Great Lakes and Missouri signed a treaty for a new reservation in Kansas. It is located south of the Peoria and Kaskaskia and west of the Wea and Piankashaw line near Lookout Road. It is now located in southwest Miami County, southeast Franklin County, western Linn County and eastern Anderson County and is the sixth tribe partly in Miami County. The Pottawatomie were remnants of a number of former tribes around the Great Lakes. Some groups had already moved to the Kickapoo reservation in northwest Missouri.

In April of 1837, the Indian agent and Issac McCoy escorted a group of Pottawatomie from northwest Missouri on a tour of their new reserve. They crossed the creek they named the Pottawatomie at the natural rock ford at now Lane. Proceeding west, they comment on the unique free standing grass covered mounds around what is now Greeley. They proceed west to the drainage of the Neosho River before returning to the rock ford at Lane. There they locate a site for the sub agent and cabins for some chiefs. The sub agent was established on July 20, 1837 at this site. The first arrivals came from the Kickapoo reservation or northwest Missouri on August 16 and September 27, 1837. On October 23, 1837, the first Pottawatomie arrive from east of the Mississippi River.

Late in October of 1837, a Baptist Mission is located about two and one half miles west of Lane and operates until their removal in 1848. Late in 1837, Robert Polk, brother-in-law of Issac McCoy, opens a trading post near Lane until he dies in 1843. In November of 1837, several groups of Pottawatomie from around the Great Lakes arrive in the area. In January of 1838, there are around 900 on the reserve. In the autumn of 1838, a Methodist mission is located near Lane and possibly in Miami County and operates until the removal in 1848.

On October 2, 1838, the Catholics open a mission five miles above the Osage River on the north bank of the Pottawatomie for the expected arrival of Catholic Pottawatomie from Indiana. This location was about three miles west of now Osawatomie. Under military escort, they camped at Wea Village on Bull Creek November 3, 1838. On November 4, 1838, they traveled about five hours west; crossed the Osage at now Carrey ford and within an hour were in the Catholic establishment on the Pottawatomie. By January of 1839, there are about 600 Catholics in the camp. They move to Big Sugar Creek in Linn County March 10, 1839 and establish a mission there.

Another group arrives from Michigan and Indiana at Lane in October 1840. The Catholics among them proceed on to Linn County. On November 25, 1840, groups under military escort arrive at Lane and most remain there.

On May 5, 1842, the Pottawatomie are listed at 1949 persons with 940 of them being Catholics in Linn County. The American Fur Company and Chouteau are granted a trading license near Lane.

On June 5, 1846, the Osage River (Southern) Pottawatomie agree to give up their reservation and move to the Prairie Band (northern) Pottawatomie: reservation around Topeka within three years on the former Kansas Indian reservation that had been moved to around Council Grove. Most of these Pottawatomie moved during 1847 and 1848 to the Topeka area.

The Pottawatomie were moved in many groups over several years both voluntarily and involuntarily under harsh conditions. The "Trail of Death" is a play on the Cherokee "Trail of Tears" episode.

The March, 1854 the census of Indians lists 4,300 members of the tribe. This is one of the larger tribes in Kansas. Some went to Oklahoma and others remained on a reservation north of Topeka still in existence today.

Miami Indian Tribe
The Miami Indians were the seventh and last immigrant tribe to receive a new reservation part of which was in Miami County. It was south of the Wea and Piankashaw being about 7 miles of Miami County and 18 miles into Linn County. It was from the Missouri border west about 16 miles to the Pottawatomie reservation.

On November 28, 1840, the Miami of Indiana signed a revised treaty giving up their reservation for a new one in Kansas, agreeing to move within 5 years.

In the summer of 1845, several Miami chiefs were conducted on a tour of the Osage River area. There was no voluntary immigration in the 5 years agreed on. In October 1846, a group of Miami Indians were rounded up and conducted under military escort arriving November 5, 1846 at North Sugar Creek in Miami County, numbering about 325 persons. Many of the Miami were mixed bloods and did not want to leave Indiana. Also, there were some white men with Indian Wives and Indian men with white wives.

The sub-agent reported about 25 cabins had been built by January of 1847. Carrol Gunnels, a young man about 18 was a government laborer building cabins and plowing small fields on North Sugar Creek for the Indians. His descendants who live around Drexel stated the Indians stabled the horses in the cabins and let the fields grow wild blackbe Chief LaFantain, a mixed blood died April 13, 1847 near Lafayette, Indiana leading a group of Miami Indians back to their old home. (He had only about 60 miles to go.) It is assumed the rest made it home.

Later in 1847, a mixed group of about 78 persons were escorted to North Sugar Creek. By 1848, there had been a number of deaths blamed on the unhealthy area. They were buried about 2 miles south of Rockville (Rockville was established, in 1856 on North Sugar Creek).

In February of 1848, a new site was selected for Miami Village on high ground on the east bank of the Osage River also in Miami County. By September, 1848, over one half of the tribe, the blacksmith and the traders had relocated there. There were many Catholics and by December 1848, a Catholic school for boys had been built and opened. Due to lack of students and mismanagement, it was closed by the end of 1849.Catholic Priests from Osage Mission (St. Paul) and Baptist ministers from Wea Village (Paola) made regular visits thereafter.

The high land south of Miami Mission was called pigeon ridge and Pigeon Lake was in the river bottom due to large number of homing pigeons (now extinct.) The hill north of now LaCygne was known as "Big Turtle". There was a good spring on top of it and a Miami Indian settlement around it. Chouteau had a "Trading Post" on the Osage River in Linn County. West Point, Missouri was one half mile east at the Miami and Linn County line. Both traded with the Indians and some would have lived in the vicinity of them.

On June 5, 1854, in Washington D. C. the Miami's signed a treaty separate from the Confederated Tribe for a new reservation in north east Oklahoma. Each member was to be allotted 200 acres to live on or sell and move. There was also land allotted to school and for other purposes. It was 1857 before the land was surveyed and 1873 before the tribe was required to move to Oklahoma. The March census of 1854 lists 302 Miami's and more were added before 1873. Allotments were made between 1857 and 1873. Miami's had their own chief and requested that Baptiste Peoria be removed which he was Oct. 10, 1860. They never united with the Confederated Tribe.

Joel Trinkle, a mixed blood at LaCygne took his 200 acre allotment and became a citizen. He then sold his land and went to Oklahoma where he married a Miami woman and went back on annuity rolls. There were two mixed blood Trinkle boys raised near LaCygne, sons of Henry Trinkle and a Miami woman who died before 1873. Henry Trinkle married a white woman then. There are several people around LaCygne with Miami Indian lineage.

Editor's Note:
The editor wishes to thank Phil Reaka,a researcher for the Miami County Historical Museum in Paola, Kansas, for providing and allowing us to publish this article by Harold R. Long of Paola, Kansas. This article was originally published in the book "Paola, Kansas, a 150 Year Timeline: One Hundred and Fifty Years of History: Events that Made Paola what it is Today, 1855-2005" by the Miami County Historical Society in 2006. This book is available for purchase at the Museum's Gift Shop and bookstore.