Address on the Pottawattomie Indians

George S. Cottman


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 160-162

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This Address, written and delivered in support of a bill before our last legislature, failed in its immediate object, as the bill did not pass, but as a monograph on the Pottawattomie Indians of northern Indiana it is of such interest and value as to merit a place in any historical collection. Mr. McDonald is regarded as, perhaps, our best authority on this particular subject. He has long been a deeply interested, a conscientious and a sympathetic student of the vanished aborigines as presented by the records and traditions of the locality where he was reared. And a study of this tribe in its passing is a study of the Indian question in little. The story has in it much that was pathetic and tragic, particulary to a large band located on Twin Lakes (Marshall county) under a chief called Menominee. Menominee was an Indian of unusual character, a friend to the whites, a convert to Christianity, and a zealous promoter of good among his people. By a treaty of 1832 twenty-two sections of land had been reserved to him and three other chiefs. When the whites came for the reserved remnants (as they always did) Menominee declined to be tractable, and sign away his land. As the other chiefs signed it, however, that was held to be sufficient, and at the end of the time stipulated by the treaty the recalcitrant chief and his people were unceremoniously ousted; their cabins were torn down, their mission chapel dismantled, and the whole band, numbering nearly a thousand, put under a strong military escort commanded by General John Tipton, to be conveyed to a reservation beyond the Mississippi river. Amid tears and lamentations they took their departure. It was in September, the weather hot, the season dry and sickly. Suffering from the swelter, dust and thirst the hapless Indians sickened like sheep and the long route was marked with their graves. Particularly was there mortality among the small children; the ailing, jostled along under the burning sun in rude army wagons, suffering for water and with no relief from the hard ordeal, stood little chance, and almost every day some wronged mother surrendered her offspring to earth.

  • Address of Representative Daniel McDonald, of Marshall county, delivered in the House of Representatives, Indianapolis, Feb. 3. 1905, on the bill to erect a monument to the Pottawattomie Indians at Twin Lakes, Marshall county.

In this Address of Mr. McDonald's, and particularly in another brochure issued by him some years since (Removal of the Pottawattomie Indians from Northern Indiana) the reader finds a circumstantial account of the matters here touched upon. In the earlier publication there is also much information regarding individuals, both Indians and whites, connected with our earlier history. The booklets, we believe, can be had by addressing Hon. Daniel McDonald, Plymouth, Ind.


The History of Lake Maxinkuckee, by Daniel McDonald, to which is appended "Fishes and Fishing in the Lake," by Judge A. C. Capron, "The Maxinkuckee Lake Association," by W. T. Wilson, and "The Aubbeenaubbee yacht Club," by T. H. Wilson, Jr., is a handsome booklet designed to promote interest in what is regarded as one of Indiana's finest lakes. The historical part contains considerable interesting lore about the first settlers and the Indians who were located about the lake. Of particular interest are some authoritative letters touching the name of the place. These letters, written to Mr. McDonald in response to queries we here give:

Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C., Sept. 13, 1889.

DEAR SIR: In reply to your letter of the 18th, I have to say that the lake referred to is spelled "Muk-sin-cuck-u" in the official field notes of the survey of the township in which the lake is situated.

Respectfully yours, W. M. STONE, Acting Commissioner.

Auditor of State, Indianapolis, Ind., Sept. 27, 1897.

DEAR SIR: On examination of our field notes I find in the survey made by Deputy Surveyor David Hillis he spells it "Mek-in-kee-kee." In another place in a survey of a small fraction of land on the lake Jerry Smith, deputy surveyor, spells it "Muk-sen-cuk-ee." This is all the field notes show as to the name.

Very truly yours, A. C. DAILY, Auditor of State.

County Surveyor's Office, Plymouth, Ind., Feb. 1, 1898.

DEAR SIR: On examination of the records of the surveyor's office of Marshall county, containing copies of the original field notes, I find the following in regard to the orthography of Max-inkuckee lake. On page 43 of the survey of towns 32 and 33, David Hillis, deputy surveyor, makes the following note: "There are also several lakes in the county. The Max-in-kuck-ee lake is large and beautiful," ∗ ∗ ∗

In a survey of section 32, range 1 east, Jerry Smith, deputy surveyor, on page 48 says "Set post on Muk-sen-cuck-ee Lake."

Yours, JOHN C. BUTLER, Deputy Surveyor Marshall Co.

Hartford, Mich., Feb. 5, 1898

MY DEAR SIR:—Your inquiry of February 3d, relative to the meaning and pronunciation of the word Muck-sen-cuk-ee, at hand. I have written it as nearly correct as the white man's o-.daw-naw (tongue) can pronounce it. It means, in the Algonquin dialect, "There is grass." ∗ ∗ ∗


On page 705 of the revision of the Indian Treaties of the United States, in a treaty made at Nees-wau-gee Camp, in 1838, the word is spelled Max-ee-nie-kee-kee. Only in the records of Marshall county is it spelled Max-in-kuck-ee. This is but a copy of the original field notes at the State Auditor's office, and whoever transcribed these notes made a mistake in the spelling; and thus was established the form that has become fixed. The present name, says Mr. McDonald, "lacks a good deal of being a pure Indian word. ‘Max' is German, and the balance of the word is made up of Scotch, Irish, American and Algonquin."


Mr. Isaac H. Julian, of San Marcos, Texas, sends us a copy of the "Memoir of David Hoover," a pamphlet now rare, published in 1856. David Hoover was one of the earliest and best-known pioneers of Wayne county. The pamphlet contains an account of the first Old Settlers' Meeting of Wayne county, held in September 1855. Mr. Julian thinks this was the first of these meetings held in the State. If any reader of this knows of a previous one we will be glad to be informed.

  • Simon Pokagon, an educated Indian, was the last of the Pottawattomie chiefs in this part of the country. He and his band remained in Michigan.

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.