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   1 The next most noted men that lived at Bellevue were the Pawnee missionaries. They were Old School Preshyterians--Mr. Dunbar and wife and Mr. Allis and wife. They never went farther west that I know of--not during our stay at Bellevue, at least. All I can say about them is they were Christian gentlemen and ladies.2 Mr. Curtis was sent by the Baptist Board of Missions to preach to the Omaha Indians. He moved from Bellevue to the village, but the Indians became insulting and made hostile demonstrations. Mr. Curtis wrote back east to know what he should do. They wrote to him to trust to the Lord and stay where he was. He wrote back to them that the Lord did not work miracles in these days and he was a going to leave. He came back to Bellevue and baptized the first person that was ever baptized in the Nebraska River. It took place near the Otoe village. The candidate for baptism was a black woman that belonged to Mr. Merrill. It was a beautiful Sabbath day and was a romantic sight to see a nation of wild Indians gathered together to witness the solemn rite of Christian baptism. Mr. Merrill gave a long talk to the Indians and Uncle Robert Dougherty was interpreter.3

   1 The first page of Mrs. Anderson's interesting story is unaccountably missing, so that whom she appraised as the most noted men of Bellevue may only be conjectured.--ED.
   2 These missionaries, Rev. John Dunbar and Samuel Allis, resided with the Pawnee at their villages on the Platte and the Loup rivers. See Dunbar, "Missionary Life Among the Pawnee", Nebraska State Historical Society, Collections, XVI, 268; Allis, "Forty Years Among the Indians and on the Eastern Borders of Nebraska", ibid., Transactions and Reports, II, 133; "The Pawnee Missionaries", The Christian Keepsake (1839), p. 25.--ED.
   3 Samuel Allis gives some account of the experience of Rev. Samuel



   Doctor Saterlee was sent by the Presbyterian Board to act as doctor and surgeon. At the Pawnee mission his wife died, and he went on alone. He never reached there. His fate is unknown. They found on the bank of Nebraska river some torn paper and human hair that they thought was his; but they did not know, as it was so defaced they could not tell.4
   A sad ending of two human lives in those young days during our stay at Bellevue.
   I saw Kit Carson. He stayed but a short time at the fort. He was on his way from Saint Louis to Santa Fe. He was a well formed man but rather undersized and was dressed in buckskin. There was a great deal of romance and fiction interwoven in the life of Kit Carson, that he never thought of. I never saw him but once. There was a Mr. Fontenelle that had a trading post a half mile south of Bellevue. His two little boys, Logan and Tecumseh, were attending school in Bellevue. Their mother was a Sioux woman, and their father was a Frenchman. He was well educated and appeared to be much of a gentleman; but in an evil hour he listened to bad advice. They told him if he would take an Indian wife he would have better success trading with the Indians, and when he wanted to leave there he could leave her with her people. He lived with her until their first child was born. He said he could not desert his child. He stayed amongst the Sioux Indians until they had two children. He left them and came to Bellevue. There was a sore trial in wait for him at Bellevue. One morning, shortly after school was called, the two Fontenelle brothers were conning over their lessons, when the mother and a negro man dashed to the door and caught the little boys in their arms and ran out at the
Curtis as a missionary to the Omaha in his history named in the preceding footnote, page 150. Rev. Moses Merrill, missionary to the Oto and Missouri.--ED.
   4 See an account of the Dr. Benedict Saterlee tragedy, by Rev. John Dunbar, The Christian Keepsake, p. 51.--ED.



southwest corner of the fort across the bluffs to the trading post. And the news in the fort was that Fontenelle's wife was killed by an Iowa Indian who was in the fort. There were a great many Iowa Indians there at that time; and they were for getting away from there in a hurry.
   In a short time they found it was right to the reverse. The woman had killed the man. The men ran out at the southeast corner of the fort; ran down the river road to the trading post; but she got there first. She and the children were locked up in the upper story. That night Mr. Foutenelle put her and her two children aboard of a boat and sent them up the river to her people. She came back the next summer. While up there a little girl was added to the family. Her name was Mary. The oldest boy had the features of his father and genteel deportment, but the complexion and color of his hair was like his mother. The younger brother had the complexion of his father but the features of his mother. The little girl was an Indian in full--their mother said the reason she killed the Indian was that he joined a war party of Iowa and killed all of her father's family after taking him in and keeping him all winter and showing him a great deal of kindness. He did his mischief on his return home. In the spring she found he was in the fort, and she enticed him into the southeast corner of the house with whisky, and he sat down in a drunken -stupor, when she stepped up behind him and cleft his skull with an ax. The thought of his children geing half Indian preyed so on Mr. Fontenelle's mind that he died the death of a suicide, a sad ending of what might of been a noble life.5 But we should imitate his virtues and shun his vices and let his name rest in peace.
   5 Lucien Fontenelle was doubtless a highborn Frenchman, who preferred the freedom of the frontier to the conventional society of New Orleans in which his family moved. Accordingly, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, he ran away to St. Louis and soon engaged in the Rocky Mountain fur trade. He was married to a daughter of Big Elk, a famous chief of the Omaha, and four children were born to them. According to the best accounts intemperance caused his death. See


Site of Old Oto & Missouri Indian Village

The small stream in middleground is Otoe Creek. Photographed by A. E. Sheldon, July 1912.



   Major Dougherty6 came up every spring and issued annuities to the Indians. He always brought a small body of dragoons with him, but they never remained longer than a few days. The Indians met him at Fort Bellevue with their head chief, Iatan,7 who was one of the noblest Indians I ever saw. He was a true friend to the whites, and it finally cost him his life. Major Dougherty distributed annuities on the public square of Bellevue. It was a dry time, and the wind blew pretty hard. I could gather up all the beads I wanted of all sizes and colors.
   The Indians picked a quarrel with Iatan by one of their number stealing his favorite wife. She was young and handsome and was greatly beloved by the old chief. It was death by the law of the nation for a woman to desert her husband, but a chief could spare her life if he chose to do so. She was gone some time but her condition was such she had to come back. Mr. Merrill went to the village to intercede for her life. Iatan promised to spare her life but would take the life of the child. Mr. Merrill went to
Chittenden, History of the American Fur Trade, p. 391; ibid., Life Letters and Travels of Father De Smet, pp. 1532, 1550; Nebraska State Historical Society, Transactions and Reports, I, 91; ibid., II, 164.
   6 John Dougherty, agent of the Omaha, Oto and Missouri, and Pawnee. The general headquarters of the agency at this time was at Fort Leavenworth. Mr. Dougherty's home was at Liberty, Missouri, and he was a man of considerable prominence in that state.--ED.
   7 A chief of the Oto and Missouri. His name is commonly spelled Itan and sometimes Jutan. Yutan, a station on the division of the union Pacific railroad from Valley to Beatrice, was named after this chief. The Oto village was situated about a mile and a half southeast of Yutan until 1835 when it was moved farther down the Platte to a place six or seven miles south of Bellevue. The expedition of Colonel Henry Dodge up the Platte, in 1835, held a council with Itan and his headmen at the old village. The Journal of the expedition gives a sketch of Itan, and in Transactions and Reports of the Nebraska State Historical Society, V, 210, Rev. S. P. Merrill describes his characteristics. It is surprising that this distinguished chief is not mentioned in the Handbook of American Indians published by the Bureau of Ethnology.--ED.



the village when he heard of her confinement to beg Iatan to spare the life of the child. When he got there he did not have any trouble on that account. The child was born with a full set of teeth. Iatan said that it was born into the world for some wise purpose, and he would spare its life. Iatan told my mother, a month before he was killed, that his tribe would kill him. He said it was because he was a friend to the whites, and that he would sell his life as dear as possible. As soon as the woman got able to travel she ran away again with the same young chief. They stayed out over two months.
   One morning Iatan was eating his breakfast at the Baptist Mission, when his nephew came in and told him that the young chief had come in for a fight. He told him to go back and tell them that he would be there when he ate his breakfast. When he was through eating he saw that his firearms were all right. He bid Mr. Merrill and wife farewell. He said he bad eaten his last meal and they would never see him again. With a sad heart they bade him goodby. His rival marshaled his men on one side, and what of the tribe remained true to Iatan rallied around him and the fight began. There were several killed on both sides. Iatan and his rival were killed. Iatan had six balls fired into his body before he fell. Every one that struck him he would spring up in the air and give a yell of defiance. He lived three hours after he fell. The last shot he received was from the gun of his rival. Iatan gave him his death wound. In dying he tightened his finger on the trigger and shot Iatan as he fell. The death of Iatan was the death blow to the Otoe nation. He was brave and honest and had great respect for Major Dougherty. When he would meet the major at Bellevue he always wore a suit of military clothes and a hat with two heavy black plumes tipped with red and a large silver medal on his breast. The little lap of earth that contains his bones is near the old Otoe village a half mile north of the Nebraska River. His memory is perpetuated by naming a railroad


Conjectured site of Chief Iatan's council lodge.

The largest earth circle in the village. Photographed by A. E. Sheldon, July 1912.



station for him in Platte county, Missouri. Peace be to his ashes.
   The crier of the village was killed, and the nation showed ingratitude to a man that had worn himself almost out in their service by killing him and leaving him unburied. Iatan's nephew came to my father after the fight was over for protection. Father told him he would gladly do so if it was in his power. He had no place to hide him. Mother told him if his enemy found him there they would kill all of us. He said he would fight until he was killed, but that would not save us. He concealed himself in the woods until dark when he stole back to the mission. They hid him in the cellar. I understood after we left there that he was killed. I witnessed the burial of one of the young chiefs. After the body was lowered into the grave they killed his favorite horse and left him by the grave. Father asked them why they did such a thing--it seemed so cruel. They said that was done in order that the chief's spirit might ride the horse's spirit in the happy hunting ground. After the death of Iatan there were no chiefs of respectability left. There was Little Rabbit and Young Crow, but they were bad Indians. When the tribe would go on a buffalo hunt in the fall they and a few of their braves would stay at the village for the purpose of thieving and live by plundering. The men did the hunting and the fighting, and the women did the work. I have seen an Indian woman walking under such a load that she was almost bent to the ground, her husband walking at his leisure behind her. When he is in a good humor he will be humming a love tune of the long ago when he wooed and won the dusky maid that walked before him. They go through a form of courtship, but they have to buy their wives. They all practiced polygamy. The number of wives depended on the number of ponies the man had. I suppose the wild Indians of the plains are the same in their habits that they were sixty years ago.

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