Mary Montour Rankin, like her ancestors, had great influence in the Councils of her people. Many interesting accounts and traditions of her hospitality and influence in the tribes about Detroit are remembered to this day by her descendants.
Of the children of James and Mary Montour Rankin I know of but two, James and Catherine. James came west with the Wyandots, and died in what is now Wyandotte County, Kansas. Catherine married William Walker, Sr.
Catherine Rankin was born June 4, 1771.1 I have not been able to determine the date of the marriage of William Walker and Catherine Rankin, but their first child was born October 14, 1789. Walker had lived with Adam Brown until his marriage. He took the side of the Americans in the war of 1812, and rendered valuable service to his country. Many of the Wyandots espoused the cause of Great Britain, and Walker was in constant danger of death. He was afterward Indian sub-agent for the Ohio tribes, and it was under his administration that Methodism was introduced into the Wyandot Nation. For an account of his valuable services in this work see the "History of American Missions; Worcester, 1840": and Finley's" History of the Wyandot Mission." He died at Upper Sandusky, Ohio, January 22, 1824.1 His wife died at the same place, in December, 1844.
William Walker was the son of William and Catherine (Rankin) Walker. He was born in what is now Wayne County, Michigan, March 5, 1800.2 He belonged to the
1 Manuscript letter from Governor Walker to his mother. Now in my possession.
2 There are two dates given. In the old family Bible of William Walker, Sr., now owned by Mrs. Mary Haff, the date is put down as March 5, 1799. This date is used by Mr. Lane in his obituary notice of Governor Walker's death. Governor Walker always says when writing of the matter that he was born March 5, 1800. In his Jour-
Big Turtle Clan of the Wyandot tribe.1 He had two Indian names. The first was Häh-shäh'-rêhs, meaning "the stream over full"; the second was Sêhs'-täh-rôh, meaning "bright," and is taken. from the brightness of the turtle's eye as seen in clear water.2
As much of his life will develop in this work, little need be said here. He was given a good education at a Methodist school at Worthington, Ohio. Besides the English, he read and spoke Greek, Latin and French. He spoke the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Miami, and Pottawatomie Indian languages. He was Head Chief of the Wyandot tribe while it was yet in Ohio,3 and was Postmaster of the town of Upper Sandusky, Ohio.4 He was for a time a teacher in the Mission school there.5 He was twice married.6 His first marriage was to Miss Hannah Barrett, at Upper Sandusky; she was at the time a student in the Mission school. The date of this marriage is April 8, 1824. Of this marriage were born five children, two sons and three daughters. Hannah Walker died December 7, 1863.
April 6,1865, he was married at Dudley, Hardin County, Ohio, to Mrs. Evelina J. Barrett. She was the widow of a
nals he mentions this date as his birthday. He was certainly correctly informed in the matter of the date of his birth. The entries in the family Bible of William Walker, Sr., have the appearance of having been made all at the same time. If they were it is possible that an error was made in recording the date of Governor Walker's birth.
1 His mother belonged to the Big Turtle Clan. By Wyandot law the children belong to the clan of the mother. Two persons belonging to the same clan are not permitted to marry.
2 I have not been able to find any record left by Governor Walker in which he had written his Indian names. But that they are correctly written here a hundred Wyandots or more have assured me.
3 Governor Walker was a modest and retiring man. He left little of record that concerned himself, except as to his health. That he was Head Chief of the Wyandots in 1835-6 is established by Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio (Cincinnati, 1847), 445.
4 Manuscript letters of the late John Johnston, of Piqua, Ohio, for many years Indian Agent for the Ohio Indians. These letters are now in my possession.
5 History of the Wyandot Mission -- Finley.
6 His family Bible so states. It is owned by his grandson, William McMullan, Kansas City, Kansas.
brother of his first wife. She died August 28, 1868. No children by this marriage.1
After the death of his father, William Walker was the most influential man in the Wyandot Nation. Intellectually he was one of the greatest men of that tribe of Indians, a tribe acknowledged strong in Council.
He was an eloquent speaker, and as a forceful writer on political subjects he has been surpassed by few men. He wrote many valuable papers on passing events from the time of his removal West to the beginning of the war; these were published in the newspapers in Ohio and Missouri, and few of them can be found now. He wrote some excellent papers for literary publications.
He was an ardent Democrat, and a slave holder. He hated abolitionism and contended for the rights of slavery as he understood those rights, to the commencement of the war. But he was never in favor, so far as I have been able to learn, of secession. I have a speech which he delivered on the 4th of July, 1864, in which he says that the war was uncalled for and without any justification. He was loyal to his country. He was elected a member of the Lecompton Constitutional Convention, and was present and participated in the proceedings.2
Governor Walker was kind and gentle in his demeanor and bearing towards others. He was a lover of his home and was devoted to his family. He had the French love for company and conversation and all social enjoyments.
Of his selection as Provisional Governor of Nebraska Territory it is unnecessary to speak here. The facts are set forth in another part of this work.
1 All these facts were taken from his family Bible, except the statement: "She was the widow of a brother of his first wife." This I ascertained, by inquiry, from his and her relatives.
2 Wilder's Annals of Kansas, 127. He says so in his correspondence now in the Library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
The last years of life were sad and sorrowful ones for Governor Walker. He had lost both his wives and all his children by death. There is little doubt that he welcomed death as a friend. He was heart-broken by the loss of his family. He speaks of himself as being "stricken with grief," and says, "and now I stand like a blasted oak in a desert, its top shivered by a bolt hurled from the armory of Jove."
The poem "Oft in the Stilly Night" was a favorite one with all the Wyandots.' One of the last entries ever made in his journal is a quotation from this poem, and is as follows:"Oft in the stilly night,
E'er slumber's chain has bound me,
Fond mem'ry brings the light
Of other days around me:
1 The late Mrs. Lucy B. Armstrong's favorite stanza is as follows:3. Yet when I look above
This mansion thus forsaken
To that where God in love
My friends so dear has taken,
My doubts are quelled,
My fears dispelled;
For faith's sweet pledge is given
That those so dear
Are hovering near
To welcome me to Heaven.
CHORUS.--Thus oft in the stilly night
E'er slumber's chain hath bound me
Religion pours her light
Of heavenly joys around me.
Below is the same stanza in the Wyandot language:3. Yah-rohn-yah'-yeh eh-mah-tih
Dooh shah-tooh-rah't tah-yah-rah-nyeh-ohs,
Dih-yah zhooh-tih dah nyeh-ehn-tah-rih
Dah kah'-tooh ah't ah-roh-mah-nyeh-oh,
Nehn dih tah-kih-oh-yah-gyeh-ah'-tehs.
Kweh- ah-yeh-ohs wah-tih ah-stih-eh-quahs.
The smiles and tears
Of boyhood's years,
The words of love then spoken,
The eye that shone,
Now dimmed and gone,
The cheerful heart now broken.
When I remember all
The friends so link'd together,
I've seen around me fall
Like leaves in wintry weather,
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all but be departed.
Thus oft in the stilly night,"
Again he says:
"It costs me a pang to break up housekeeping, having kept house for forty-five years with so many pleasing associations. . . . . Whatever fortune may betide me in the future, I will say--"'Sweet vale of Wyandott, how calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade with the friends I love best.
When the storms which we feel in this cold world shall cease,
Our hearts like thy waters shall mingle in peace.' "1
The following is copied from the Wyandott Herald2 of February 19, 1874:
GOVERNOR WILLIAM WALKER.
The distinguished gentleman whose name heads this article was for many years as well known in Kansas as any citizen in the State.
He was born at Gibralter, Michigan, March 5th, 1799, and died at the residence of Mr. H. H. Smalley in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday, the 13th inst., having accomplished seventy-five years of useful and eventful life.
Governor Walker received a thorough education at Worthington, Ohio, under the immediate instruction of the venerable Bishop Chase.
1 From his Journal.
2 Hon. Vincent J. Lane established the Herald in 1872. He is still its editor and proprietor.
After acquiring his education, William Walker entered almost at once upon an active life in behalf of the North American Indians in general, and of the Wyandott Nation in particular, among whom he became leader and counselor, devoting the best years of his life to their interests.
As early as 1831 he visited the "Platte Purchase" as agent of the Wyandott Nation with a view to purchasing a new location for it. He was at the treaty of St. Marys and rendered efficient services to all contracting parties.
He was for some years the private Secretary and friend of Gen. Lewis Cass, his secretaryship beginning after the close of the war of 1812, and the friendship continuing until the death of the General.
In 1843 William Walker came to Kansas with his tribe, where he has remained ever since, except when he was called away on business or for his health which for some years has been feeble.
He acquired his title of Governor in 1853, when he was appointed Provisional Governor of Kansas Territory.
With him died more Indian archaeological knowledge than has been preserved by any writer on the subject. Indian antiquity and history were his special study, and being an Indian himself, highly educated and with a natural taste in that direction, his success was not surprising.
He furnished Schoolcraft with a large amount of information contained in his works on the Indians of North America, and also gave General Butterfield many incidents contained in his new work on Crawford's campaign against Sandusky.
Governor Walker wrote much himself for newspapers and periodicals but unfortunately has left none of the results of his deep research in a form to be used by the historian or antiquary.
He was buried on Saturday last in Oak Grove Cemetery, with Masonic honors, having been one of the Charter Members of Wyandott Lodge No. 3, and for many years an honorary member thereof.
So has passed away one of our oldest and most valued citizens.
He who first bore the title of Governor of that territory embraced within the present bounds of Kansas and Nebraska sleeps upon the banks of the Missouri River, at the mouth of the Kansas. To the shame of both States, be it said, no monument of any kind marks his last resting place.
I commenced the collection of facts concerning this period of the history of Kansas and Nebraska more than fourteen years ago. Some of the persons from whom I obtained statements and with whom I consulted are named here: H. M. Northrup, Nicholas McAlpine (son-in-law of Joel Walker), Lucy B. Armstrong, R. W. Clark, H. T. Harris, H. C. Long, Matthias Splitlog, Michael Hummer, Mrs. Lillian Walker Hale, William McMullan, Hon. Frank H. Betton,1 Sanford Haff, Mrs. Mary Haff, E. F. Heisler, Hon. W. J. Buchan, S. S. Sharp, M. B. Newman, Stephen Perkins, W. H. H. Grinter, Hiram Malott, John G. Pratt, John C. Grinter, Geo. U. S.
1 Frank Holyoke Betton was born in Derry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, August 1, 1835. He came to Kansas in 1856. He has been an active man, connected with various enterprises, the principal of which are the milling, lumber, and insurance business. He has been successful and has an elegant and commodious home at the little town of Pomeroy in Wyandotte County. He was appointed Commissioner of Labor for Kansas, which office he held many years, and was a faithful and capable official. He was married to Susanah Mudeater, daughter of Matthew Mudeater, March 8, 1860. Of this marriage were born: 1. Silas, born January, 1861, died September 13, 1873; 2. Florence, born September 8, 1862; 3. Frank Holyoke, Jr., born November 17, 1865; 4. Cora Estelle, born August 18,1868; 5. Matthew Thornton, born July 12,1870; 6. Susannah W. J., born December 5, 1871; 7. Ernest L., born July 13, 1881. All born in Wyandotte County, Kansas.3
Hovey, R. M. Gray, Ebenezer Zane, Rezin Wilcoxen, and V. J. Lane, Editor of the Wyandott Herald, and, for many years the personal and political friend of Governor Walker. George W. Martin, Editor of the Kansas City, Kansas, Gazette, furnished me valuable aid. In addition to these, and many others of Wyandotte County, Kansas, I have consulted Mrs. Sarah Dagnett, Alfred Mudeater, Mrs. Julia Mudeater, Eldredge H. Brown, Silas Armstrong, Smith Nichols, Mrs. W. H. Stannard, Henry Hicks, B. F. Johnson, Mrs. Mary Walker, Mrs. Margaret Pipe, John W. Gray-Eyes, Mrs. Carrie Lofland, James Long, Benj. Mudeater, Allen Johnson, Allen Johnson, Jr., Read Chief of the Wyandots, John Barnett, George Wright, David DeShane, Mrs. Jackson (supposed to be more than 100 years old), Charles Blue-Jacket,1 and many other intelligent and reliable Wyandots and Shawnees in the Indian Territory.
1 Charles Blue-Jacket was the son of a Shawnee Chief of the same name. He was born in what is now the State of Michigan, on the banks of the River Huron, in 1816. His grandfather was Weh-yah-pih-ehr-sehn-wah' the famous Shawnee Chief who was associated with Mih'-shih- kihn'-ah-kwah, or Little Turtle, the Chief of the Miamis, in the battle in which General Harmer was defeated by the Northwestern Confederacy of Indians, in 1790. In the battle in which Wayne defeated the Confederacy, Weh-yah-pih-ehr-sehn-wah', or Blue-Jacket, or Captain Blue-Jacket, as he was called, commanded the allied Indian forces. The ancestors of the Blue-Jackets were war chiefs, but never village or civil chiefs until after the removal of the tribe to the West.
When Charles Blue-Jacket was a child his parents moved to the Piqua Plains in Ohio. In 1832 they removed to that part of the Shawnee Reservation in the West now in Wyandotte County, Kansas. Here Charles Blue-Jacket lived with his tribe. He moved to the Indian Territory in 1871. His home was at the town of Blue-Jacket, named for him by the M., K. & T. Railroad Co. He was a Chief always after coming to Kansas. He was an honest man and much loved by the Shawnees, and greatly respected by the white people. He died in December, 1897, at his home, from the effects of a cold contracted while searching for the Shawnee Prophet's grave in Wyandotte County, Kansas, the previous summer. Mr. Blue-Jacket was well acquainted with Lah-uh'-leh-wah'-sih-kah', called after he became the Prophet, Tehn-skwah'-tah-wah, and sometimes Ehl-skwah'-tah-wah, and was present at his burial in 1836 in Shawnee Township, Wyandotte County, Kansas. Mr. Blue-Jacket was a Free Mason. He was married three times, and twenty-three children were born to him. His youngest child was born in 1889.
Some of the statements were contradictory, and few of them agreed exactly in all details; but in all material matters there was substantial agreement. I have not relied entirely upon oral evidence in any case where there was a record. C. W. Butterfield, the well known author, rendered me valuable assistance.
The territory embraced in Nebraska as bounded in the bills introduced in Congress (which uniformly failed of passage), was obtained from France in the purchase from that country of the province of Louisiana. The treaty between France and the United States by which Louisiana was ceded to the latter was signed in Paris on the 30th day of April, 1803.1
France delivered possession of Louisiana to the United State on the 20th day of December, 1803, at the City of New Orleans. Mr. Claiborne, Governor of the Territory of Mississippi, represented the American Government upon this occasion, and M. Laussat represented the Government of France.2
But the authority of the United States Government in, and the exercise of power over that part of the "Louisiana Purchase" of which the original Nebraska was a part, dates from March 10th, 1804, when Amos Stoddard assumed the duties of Governor of Upper Louisiana.3
On March 26th, 1804, Congress divided the territory acquired by the purchase of Louisiana into two parts. One of these was called the Territory of Orleans, and comprised that part of the country south of the north line of the present State of Louisiana. The other contained all the remainder
1 Andreas's History of Nebraska, 46.
2 Annals of the West (1850), 534.
3 Andreas's History of Nebraska, 46.
of the vast province, and was named the District of Louisiana. This District was attached to the Territory of Indiana. for the purposes of government.1
On March 3d, 1805, Congress changed the name of the "District of Louisiana" to that of the "Territory of Louisiana," and detached it from the Territory of Indiana. It was erected into a Territory of the "second class," and James Wilkinson was appointed its Governor by President Jefferson.2
On June 4th, 1812, Congress changed the name of the "Territory of Louisiana" to that of the "Territory of Missouri," and provided a System of government for the new Territory. On January 19th, 1816, the Legislature made the common law of England the law of the Territory.3
The Territory of Arkansas had been created from territory taken from the Territory of Missouri, in 1819. Missouri was admitted as a State in 1820-21. The "Platte Purchase" was added to Missouri by the adroit statesmanship of Colonel Benton, in 1836. The territory comprising the States of Arkansas and Missouri as now constituted was taken from the Territory of Missouri. All that area of Missouri Territory, except that portion taken for the States of Arkansas and Missouri, remained de facto as well as de jure Missouri Territory. It had no capital - no seat of government, it had very few white residents. It extended north to British America, and on the west it was bounded by the extreme limits of the "Louisiana Purchase."
On June 30th, 1834, the old Territory of Missouri was divided. For the purposes of the Act, it was declared to be Indian Country "--what it had always been, in fact, and
1 Andreas's History of Nebraska, 46.
2 Andreas's History of Nebraska, 46. St. Louis was made the capital. Frederick Bates was appointed Secretary. Return J. Meigs and John B.C. Lucas were appointed Judges. The Governor and Judges constituted the Legislature.
3 Andreas's History of Nebraska, 46.
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