Since [Christmas inst.?] the following murders have been committed by the indians in this country; also persons near the mines on the Mississippi, nine in the district of St. Charles within the settlements supposed to be killed by the Kicapoos [Kickapoos], one man at Fort Madison on the 3rd inst. by the Winabagoes [Winnebago]. - -  There were several men who left Fort Madison for this part of the Territory, about the 17th inst. who are supposed to have fallen into the hands of the enemy as they have not been heard of.

Main Poc, the Pottowatimi [Potawatomi], is preparing a war party to proceed against the Osages.  this fellow has been, until lately, at Fort Malden; and it is thought at the Peorias that he intends to strike at the whites.

We received a few days ago, some account of Governor Harrison's treating with some of the chiefs who were in the late action on the Wabash; this news may be correct, but we know from the most authentic channels, that those are only squads of bands, who either are amusing Gov. Harrison, to avert a merited retaliation, or wish to secure their individual families from an expected attack this spring.  The officers of the garrisons of Chicago and Fort Madison, U. S. agents on the Mississippi, and Illinois, Traders, Travelers and Spies, all concur in the same story, that the Indians have no idea of making peace with us, that red wampum is passing through all the upper villages, from the Sioux to St. Peters, to the head of the Wabash, that at every council fire, the Americans are devoted and [proscribed?]; and in short,  that a general combination is ripening fast.  We should be sorry that Gov. Harrison should be the dupe of a few [rascals?]; or that we should call our frontier people to a fatal security, by giving them a soporifick from Vincennes; we know that we have a better opportunity of acquiring a knowledge of Indian movements [than?] can possibly be attained on the Wabash and therefore will sound the alarm when danger is apprehended.

It is a well known fact that most, if not all the Indians [east?] of the Mississippi have divided into [illeg.] bands, some are for peace, while a band of the same nation are determined on war with the United States; thus one party of each of the Pottawatomies, Kickapoos, Puants [Winnegabo], &c. are treating with Gov. Harrison, the others are butchering our frontier people yet the [peace] party will not scruple to engage for the whole nation whom they know it is impossible to restrain as long as there is a British subject suffered to trade within the lines of our territories, or receive presents at Malden, Mr. Follet's slang to the contrary notwithstanding.

In consequence of various and groundless rumors of the dissatisfaction of the Louisiana Delawares and Shawonee's [Shawnee], their chiefs lately addressed a letter to Gen. Clark, expressive of the most acute mortification in that their fidelity could be doubted, and demanding the subject should be brought before Court, in order to confront and punish their calumniators.  We are sorry that the idle, the vicious, and the talkative could not find some other topic to indulge their genius.

The new company of rangers, now doing duty in the district of St. Charles, is perhaps, as fine a body of hardy woodsmen as ever took the field.  they cover, by constant and rapid movements, that tract of country from Salt River on the Mississippi to the Missouri near [Louvre?].

The Cherokees who were exploring that tract of Country, between the Arkansas and White River have returned home terrified by the repeated and violent shocks of earthquakes.  We understand they intended to exchange with the U. States their country on the E. of the Mississippi for a like quantity on the Arkansas.

The tremendous effect of earthquake in this Territory has revived an almost obsolete Indian rite, in the mode of imploring [illegible] [pleasure - - samples protecting in the Indian ability?]  to make offerings to the [GREAT SPIRIT?].  The Shawanoes of the [illegible] (40 miles from this place) have [hushed] their religious devotions.  The following authentic account of it may be interesting to our readers.

The Indian mode of worship, as happened in consequence of the late Earthquakes.

This alarming Phenomenon of nature, struck with such consternation and dismay, those tribes of Indians, that live within and contiguous to the tract of country, on the Mississippi, where the severity of the earthquakes appears to have been the greatest, that they were induced to convene together in order to consult upon the necessity of having recourse to some method of relief, from so alarming an incident; when it was resolved to fall upon the following expedient to excite the pity of the GREAT SPIRIT.

After a general hunt had taken place to kill deer enough for the undertaking.  A small hut was built to represent a temple, or place of offering a sacrifice.

The ceremony was introduced by a general cleansing of the body and face.  The novelty of the occasion rendering it unusually awful and interesting.  After neatly skinning the deer, they suspended them by the forefeet, so that the heads might be directed to the heavens, before the temple, as an offering to the Great Spirit.  In this attitude they remained for three days; which interval was devoted to such penance, as consists in absolute fasting; at night lying on the back upon fresh deer skins; turning their thoughts exclusively upon the happy prospect of immediate protection; that they may conceive dreams to that effect, the only vehicle of intercourse between them and the Great Spirit; the old and young men observing a most rigorous abstinence from cohabitation with the women, under the solemn persuasion, that for a failure thereof, instant death and condemnation awaited; and lastly,  [gravely?] and with much apparent piety, imploring the attention of the GREAT SPIRIT to their helpless and distressed condition; acknowledging their absolute dependence on him; entreating his regard for their wives and children; declaring the fatal consequence that must inevitably ensue by withholding his notice; namely the loss of their wives and children; and their  total disability to master their game, arising from their constant dread of his anger, and concluded in asserting their full assurance that their prayers are heard, their object is accomplished by a cessation of [terrors] and game becoming again plenty and easily overcome.

On the lapse of the three days, thus dedicated, believing themselves forgiven, for every unwarrantable act of which they were sensible, that the offering was accepted; they finally begin with a mutual relation of their respective dreams & the scene is changed to joy and congratulation, by proceeding ravenously to devour the sacrificed deer to allay their fast.


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


How to cite this article:  "Indian Turbulence," Louisiana Gazette (St. Louis, Louisiana Territory), 21 Mar. 1812, pg. 3, available at