for the Louisiana Gazette:

Sketches of the Territory of Louisiana

No. VI:  Political Divisions of the Territory, Inhabitants, Settlements

The Indians of this territory are not noticed in the census.  I shall give a brief account of them, with some estimate of their numbers.  The Sacks [Sauk] & Foxes [Meskwaki] have two villages on the Mississippi.  The most considerable at the mouth of la riviere de Momes, but the principal part of the nation, and particularly since the breaking out of the war, between them and the Sioux, reside on the east side of the Mississippi.  The Ayowa's are not numerous and inhabit the river of that name.

The Osage nation reside in two villages on the river of the same name; and are called the great, and little Osage.  There is also a village of them on the Arkansas.  The character of this people is bad.  They are much  adicted to pilfering and robbing, but are defective in courage.  The settlements before the change of government were much infested by them; it was in fact impossible to make establishments beyond the villages.   I well recollect the terror I learned to feel when a boy at the name of Osage.  They but seldom ventured to appear, excepting in the night or by stealth and since the change of government they never come down excepting to St. Louis, where they have assurances of protection.  Their stature is larger than the common size of men; and all finely proportioned with good features.  Their number of warriors has been estimated at one thousand, but this is perhaps exaggerated.  Their manner of fighting, like that of all the nations on the Missouri, is in open prairie, and generally on horse back; but in true courage none of those are equal to the northern Indians.  They are at war at present with almost all the Indian nations; and they are thought to have become in a great measure disheartened.  The interference of the government has saved them, on two occasions, from the attack of powerful  combinations; and they are in the habit on such occasions of flying to Fort Clark for protection.

Below Apple Creek and a short  distance from the Mississippi, at the distance of fifteen miles from each other, there are two villages of Shawonese [Shawnee]; about one hundred and fifty warriors.  I have always admired the Shawonese nation, they possess a generosity, refinement and courage, that would do honour to any people on earth.  During the Indian wars, this nation was a sharp thorn in our side, but they were recognized and acknowledged as not yielding either to their allies or enemies, in the most undaunted and manly courage.  The old men who fought against the Indians all speak of the Shawonese with respect.  The Shawonese, in these villages, bear a high character.  They have good log houses, and are possessed of abundance of hogs and poultry, and good stocks of horses.  Their white neighbours live on good terms with them, and speak favorably of their sobriety, and correct deportment.  I declare, although acquainted with Indian manners from infancy, I never met with any of those people that could be compared to these Shawonese.  I cannot but lament, that no provision have been made or are likely to be made for them by Congress.  After possessing this soil peaceably for more than twenty years, they are to be driven away from their cabbins and fields.  Spain permitted them to hold for several miles around them, and forbid encroachment, but the United States that ought to pride themselves upon a noble and generous policy, are not willing to allow them a slender possession.  They were the enemies of the United States, and this from noble minds, calls for a generous treatment:  they were the worst enemies of the United States, but the same character has made them the best friends.

There was a village of Delawares on Apple Creek, but they removed to St. Francis.   These were also a brave people, but addicted to drink and had no scruples in stealing a white man's hogs, or bells from the cattle.  There is another village of Shawonese on the Maramek, 60 miles from the mouth;   they are under the government of Rodgers their Chief.  Their deportment is equally correct with their brethren on the Mississippi.

In the white river country, there are four or five Indian villages, of Choctaws, and Cherokees.  Great numbers of the last emigrated in the course of last spring from the Tennessee River.  The country which they have chosen, is said to abound in game of all kinds.  It is, however, much to be feared, that it will become the refuge of vagabond Indians, who have been driven from amongst their own people.

The whole number of the Indians scattered through the limits of this Territory, or least that immediately under the jurisdiction of the United States, including Sacs, Foxes, Shawonese, Delawares, Cherokees and Choctaws, may amount to about three thousand warriors and fifteen thousand souls.  The Osages of the Arkansas and osage river, fifteen hundred warriors and five thousand souls.

[Note that the following footnote seems to refer to the Osage.]
This nation formerly resided on the Savana river in Georgia, and exchanged their country with the Cherokees, for that on the Cumberland river, from whence they crossed over into the country north of the Ohio.

Made possible by the Rivers Institute and the
History Department of Hanover College.


How to cite this article:  "Sketches of the Territory of Louisiana," Louisiana Gazette (St. Louis, Louisiana Territory), 14 March 1811, p. 1, available at