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20 September 2006

(A few Extracts from Lewis Henry Morgan, The Indian Journals, 1859-62, Part IV [I have only read portions  of Part IV of this journal and have not included many items duplicated elsewhere. Readers may find it worthwhile to consult this journal for further interest. At the present time, I do not know where it is is located. The article is probably contained in the Kansas and Nebraska Journal, 1959, as that title is at the top of the page. Editor]

Baptist Delaware Mission, Kansas T. June 9, 1859
I left the Shawnee Mission (Friends) yesterday morning and reached here the same evening. I cross the Kansas River at the Delaware Crossing about twelve miles above its mouth; and was so fortunate in point of time as to be there on Payment Day, which is the annual gala day of the nation. As I had never seen a government payment of Indian annuities I was of course, of course, very glad that it happened as it did. After spending about four hours as a spectator of this curious scene, I went on to the Mission. Today Mr. Pratt and I went down again, and spent a few hours, the payment still going on, but so near completed that they were expected to finish tonight. We have just returned somewhat fatigued by the ride, as the day is warm. Some account of he payment must be given, although it is one of those scenes that should be seen to be appreciated. The amount paid was universally late, it being no less a sum than $78,000 to something less that 10000 people all told, men, women and children, and was paid in gold and silver. In January 1958 the Delawares numbered by census 988. At the present June census their number is but 941. These figures were given me by Mr. Ford, a merchant of Lawrence, who stops here and is looking after the accounts with the Delawares. I supposed that the nation was not diminishing, but rather on the increase.

"Payment Day" The place of payment was centrally located but a most inconvenient place in itself, as it was upon a side gill with very rough ground all around it. The only recommendation was eight or ten houses which made up the settlement, and furnished shelter for the goods of the traders , who are inseparable from all payments. The number present was large, just as many of the Delawares as could possibly leave their homes, with a single one behind in some cases to watch the premises. About were present and some Shawnee from the opposite side and perhaps 100 white people, including traders and spectators. I arrived at 10 A.M. and the paying out commenced about 1 P.M.

     The Indian women were all dressed out in their best attire, as this is the only occasion that ever brings them together as a people. We saw the fruits of the sales of previous years, and some of the present, in advance a few hours of the time of payment, as the traders are eager to commence their work at once. In the first place the Delaware women have usually dropped the Indian skirt, and put on the long dress of the white female. I thought I saw a skirt upon an elderly woman, although it was covered up by a gown. Their dresses are of all colors, and some of them rich materials. S few were dressed in colored muslin [p.56] with silk shawls and looked quite becomingly, but the most o0f them were, strange to say, dressed in silk gowns, some of which were brocade patterns of rich brocade silk, some were black, these looked the best. Some were crimson and black, some fiery plaid; the most of them were in bright colors. Over these they wore bright shawls of every color and shade, most of them fringed. They were expensive silk shawls of good materials. Some of them had on two shawls, and some a third arranged as a neck drape. They appeared to have put on all  they had, to show it, the quantity of dress being of more importance in their sight than its style, or quality.

     Of course their appearance as a whole was fantastic and ludicrous. The dresses were made without taste from scant patterns, and worn without hoops or petticoats, thus giving to the skirt and appearance not to be compared for a moment with the Indian female skirt of cloth and blanket of the same, but these would be too warm fro Kansas. I was glad to see the gown upon them, as it is a move in the right direction. [Who the hell is he to make such a judgment! Editor] At home they may wear the Indian gown, but I doubt it. The Shawnee women, all that I saw, wore the gown. On their heads they a silk handkerchief universally. I did not see a bonnet among them.

The color of the Indian women is quite uniform, and is light. It shows that he white blood infused into them in the East has been well diffused throughout. The next cross with the white will make a pretty white child, [I guess there weren't any pretty Delaware children?], of which I saw a few and but a few specimens, as the Delawares are quite vigorous against intermarriage with the whites, and also against unlawful intercourse. As a whole, the expression on the face of the women was pleasant and healthy,. They look strong, literally cleanly and healthy, although I am told by Mr. Ford [the Lawrence merchant, that great Kansas medical authority] that syphilis among their women to an alarming extent. Their faces would not lead to such a suspicion.

The men were more fantastically dressed than the women, and did not appear half as well. Their fancy dresses' were cheap and absurd, rendering their general appearance ridiculous. There were many good faces among them, and also well dressed Indians who speak our language and have the manners and address of gentlemen [and are a credit to their race, I am sure!] Some of the old men and some of the young men had on colored calico frocks of the most gaudy colors. Many had vermilion on their faces, thus giving them a low appearance, and I saw a few girls with spots of it in their cheeks.  One man I saw with a silver ornament  in his nose, which covered part of his mouth. Many of the men wore leggings with a wide side projection, ornamented, and the breech cloth, over which they wore a vest or shirt, and perhaps one of the frock coats  of calico above named, with head bands of bead work over the  shoulder and meeting in a large bead work pocket on the right hand side. As a body I should think the men inferior to the women.

     The Delawares have a million and upwards in the national treasury at five per cent interest. Their regular annuity if $50,000. The present is a part of two payments, I understand. and is larger than usual. There were several stores full of goods, and a great many stands out in the open air with te protectin of canvas. The great show in all was in saddles and bridles, of which I presume I saw saddles alone 150; the price ranges from $15 to 50  dollars, the ordinary being $22 to $25, They are the Mexican saddle, made at Westport, Mo., and the kind usually used in Kansas and this part of the west. It has a high pommel, wooden stirrups usually, which are easier than metal for long journeys, and a [p. 57] well stuffed and quilted seat, with a high rear plate. They are far superior to our eastern saddle for riding.

The assortment of goods was creditable in the good sense of the Delawares, as the supply was adapted by the demand. Grains of all kinds, tin wares of all kinds and at reasonable prices, in fact they could not make anything on this article, wash tubs and wash boards, coffee mills and household articles, calico and muslin goods. The chief take in this was the jewelry of which large and flashy assortments were exhibited, some of it looking extremely well; salt pork, flour and bacon were also offered. The trading [in the last name articles, presumably] was pretty much a failure, the reason being that Wyandotte and Kansas City [stock and commodity markets] are within easy reach, where they can buy cheaper and at their convenience, The trader's chance lies in the weakness of the Indian before temptation, and his slight regard for money, As payment was delayed more than a day beyond the time, I noticed some of the Indians commenced moving up to book account in advance, which the traders flavored. I saw two of them this afternoon arranging [?] payment in the Indian tents, and getting it, and I have no doubt doubling the amount in footing it up, or increasing it largely, They have to pay a trader's license of $25 to the agent, and unless they speculate in some way, they must make a failure on their sales.

I saw no whiskey nor ardent spirits of any kind, and consequently no drunkenness or quarrelling. After it is all over tonight and the payment is over, and the government strikes its tent and moves off with the wagon marked U. S. and the small file of soldiers sent to protect the specie, the whiskey will show itself, and the pockets of the remaining Indians who have any money will be picked There were more white men around today than looked well for the Indian women.

"Dances of the Delawares"

1. Old Religious Dances
2. Wolf Dances
3. Turtle Dance
4. Chicken Dance
5. Buffalo Dance
6. Bear Dance
7. Doll Baby Dance
8. Horse Dance
9. False Face Dance
10. Dog Dance
11. War Dance
12. Feasting Dance
13. Dance for the Dead
14. Striking the Stick Dance
15. Buzzard Dance
16. Turkey Dance
17. Duck Dance
18. [left blank]
19/ Shuffle Dance

"Delaware Baptist Mission School" (f/n86)

This school, under the supervision of Rev. John G. Pratt, (f/n/87) a matron, Mrs. Muse, a teacher, Miss Morse, (f/n88) is in a very flourishing condition and superior to any that I have seen in the territory. It has accommodations for 78 Indian scholars as boarders and lodgers. The number as term was 64, the number the present term is about 50, as they have held back for the payment, and will soon come in now.

The buildings consist of a two and a half farm house large on the ground, designed for the sleeping and clothing rooms of the school; another of the same size with a wing for a kitchen , designed for the residence of the superintendent and teachers, and is the eating and cooking place for all. (f/n89) Also a large school house with folding doors in the center so as to separate the boys and girls although as yet hey are all together. There are numerous outbuildings, as a farm is carried on in connection with the school of about two hundred acres. The buildings were erected a few years ago with school money belonging to the Delawares, and is supported with funds in the hands of the government reserved for that purpose. [p. 61] y

The children are clothed, boarded and taught by the Mission, and the government allows &75 per annum per scholar. They have two terms of five months each, and the children are kept in school about seven hours per day. They study reading. writing, and spelling, geography, arithmetic, with blackboard exercises. The scholars are mostly young , those now at school ranging from 6 to 18 years. They look well and healthy and free from sore eyes, and are decently and comfortably clad. This is the true system of Indian education [that is one one to look at it, I suppose], beyond a doubt, and this school is in far the best condition of any I have ever seen. We see here New England cleanliness, system and good management. I did not visit the Mission School of the Methodists Southern Board among the Shawnees. It is a large and flourishing school, I believe, but complaints are made of the principal of unfairness, or avarice, etc. He has made himself rich and also the mission, they having secured by treaty between 2000 acres of land, and at the same time he was active to prevent Friend Harvey from selling his Mission farm of 200 acres, evidently desiring to break up the Friends Mission.

Mr. Pratt commenced his missionary life 22 years ago with his present wife then 20 years of age. He was accepted as a missionary to Burma, but was requested to fill temporarily an Indian Mission then vacant among the Stockbridges near Fort Leavenworth, and went from there to the Shawnee Baptist Mission now closed, and from there to this mission about 12 years ago. His wife is still young looking. (She was forty-five at the time, ed.) and must have been beautiful as a girl. They are very worthy, refined and agreeable, and my short stay with them  has been very pleasant indeed. Mr. Pratt is a well educated and superior man.

The Friends Shawnee Mission has one a good work among the Shawnees, but was never, I fancy, a very large school. There are but two boys there at present, but no doubt they have done as much good in proportion to the means employed as any other missionaries. The Friends are well adapted to gain the confidence of the Indian.

"Religious System"

The Delawares believe in a Great Spirit, and in an Evil Spirit. The also believe in the immortality of the soul, and they all went to heaven. They have one religious festival at which the Gum-win Dance is performed. This is the great religious  dance . This is held once a year every fall, after the corn harvest is gathered. The festival lasts seven days. At this festival they have a number of old dances, which are still maintained among the Delawares. This festival is called the Gum-win, from the dance. This is held for the purpose of returning thanks to the Great Spirit. They have a feast. Men, about 13, go out beforehand to hunt, and get game for the feast, particularly the deer. There is a class of persons whose business is to appoint the time for holding this council, to prepare the feast, and supervise the business of the festival. They are both men and women, but Lemuel [Ketchum] could not give me the name by which they are distinguished.

"Religious System of the Delawares" (f/n 91)William Adams, Del

The Delawares believe in a Great and an Evil Spirit. They also believe in a number of subordinate spirits, some of whom are waiting or ministering spirits of the Good and some of the Evil One. Among the waitng spirits of the former are the following.
   1. Kaka-sha-ha-no-has, the Spirit of the Whirlwind. He is represented as having the form of a man and is called Grand Father.
   2. O-we-ya-la-so, the Spirit of the Wind. He is represented as having the form of a man., with long streaming hair, so long it sometimes get tangled in the trees as he rides along. He is called Grand Father.
   3. Pate-hoc-hoo-weh, the Spirit of Thunder. He is represented as having the form of a bird, an Eagle, called Grand Father.
   4. Wa-o-tun-oo-wase, the Spirit of Water She is represented as having the hands of a woman, and the body, but ending in a fish tail.
   5. Has-gueme, the Spirit of Corn. She is represented as having the form of a woman, and is called our Mother. She can foretell about the coming crop. When she rises with her hair combed smooth and shining and seen in this condition, it is a favorable omen and indicates an abundant crop., or a failure of the harvest.
   6. Wa-ma-a-take-a-nese, the Boy Spirit. He is represented as a little boy, with a bow and arrow, and as a constant friend of the Indian. He is everywhere and always at hand in the most impossible places, ready to assist us in our trials. He is a servant of the Great Spirit.
   7. Ma-mun-sa-ase, the Spirit of War. He is represented as having the firm of a panther, with a very long tail. He can foretell [p. 63] war about to arise, who will fight, and who succeed. The meteoric stones are dropped by him. and the war will arise in the direction from which the meteor comes, and go in the direction it goes. He is under the control of the Great Spirit, as are all good spirits.
     The Great Spirit has the form of a man (name elsewhere). The Evil Spirit has the form of a man with one leg, the leg of an ox. The tradition is that the Evil Spirit was created by the good and was originally good, but he originated a contention among the interior spirits which resulted in a division and taking of sides. In the midst of this contention they all came into the presence of the Great Spirit, who seized the Evil One and as a mark of his disapprobation and as a punishment, he wrenched off one of his legs and placed in the room [sic] of that of an ox, that he might ever afterwards be known and recognized at once as an evil spirit, and then sent down to the earth with the evil spirits who followed him.
     Heaven they consider to be immediately over their heads and a place in which they have a bodily form. It is a journey of 12 days from earth to Heaven after death. They believe as do the Iroquois, that the sould does not leave the body finally at death. but that it revisits the body a few days before it takes it final departure. For this reason, as Adams says, they bury on scaffolds in trees, and in a sitting position near the surface of the earth. Last year he made a coffin for an Indian and his friends made him bore a hole in the head of the coffin, the object of which being to allow the spirit free egress and regress to and from the body.
    Heaven is a place of rest. They follow up the path, and the first stopping place is a place where they find a supply of vermilion or red paint. They cannot pass this place without painting their faces. If they have been accustomed to paint on earth, the paint will really adhere, unless they have been very wicked, and then they pass on without delay. But if not used to painting, or if they have been very wicked, the paint will not adhere, and thus they are detained at this place until the Evil Spirit removes them to a place of punishment.
    They say there are seven parts of good and evil. If the deceased has four of the good in his favor, or more, he is sure to pass on to heaven, but if there [are] four pr more bad, he cannot go to heaven but must be placed in in a place of misery and unhappiness where he is punished accordingly to his evil deeds, If he was accustomed to paint, it will be more apt to stick, and that is all that is claimed for this meritorious act. There is a second stopping place on the way where the selfish and covetous are surrounded and burned uin the article [on which] they set their store upon earth, and thus are kept out of heaven. They have a belief that mosquitoes sprang up out of the souls of those who were punished by the evil spirit, the wreck, or fragments into which they were cut up were turned into mosquitoes and such evil creatures.
     Bad spirits are believed to pass by about day break and good spirits are believed to pass along about dark. For this reason boys are often sent to bed without supper, that they may commute with or be visited by good spirits, the fasting state being thought to be favorable to such communion, and for the same reason are often compelled to get up before day break that the evil spirits may bot obtain any wicked influence upon them.
      I am told that the Shawnee Female Great Spirit is in reality the moon, and is worshipped as our Grand Mother or something like that sort; Isaac Johnny Cake who [p. 64] mentioned this [to] me also said that the Great Spirit of the Delawares was represented and believed to be a brother of the Sun, and that the Moon was the Grand Mother of the Great Spirit; and young Toucy, the Stockbridge, says that there is some evidence of a [?] in of the sun in worship of several of the Indian races, including his own. The Iroquois return thanks to the sun for heating the earth and to the moon for cooling it, but this does not show a sun worship or anything like it. William Adams is to correspond with me on the religious system of the Delawares, and I hope to find out something definite about it.


This festival or annual worship of the Delawares as explained by William Adams and of which he is to write to me more fully, is quite interesting. They believe unless they observe it once a year their crops will fail, and they will lose the favor of the Great Spirit. It lasts 6 days. It may be repeated by another person or family for a second 6 days, and so on until the feelings are satisfied. It has been known to last a month. The meeting is called by one of a certain class, who I presume correspond with the Keepers of the Faith of the Iroquois. They are called A-la-pa-cte, meaning Dreamers. The people meet in a large house erected for this worship and used for nothing else. The build two council fires in the house, and the people assemble by tribes, the Turtles by themselves, the Wolves by themselves, and the Turks [Turkeys] by themselves. They use belts of wampum and have many ceremonies. It would seem that this council or religious meeting was called by some one person. The door of the house of worship must open to the east.
     When they are assembled by two singers [?] sit down to two dried and rolled up deer skins with sticks in their hands to beat time., The leader, who is stationed on the right hand side of the door, gets up and shaking a turtle shell rattle, comes in extemporizing verses which are adapted to the set tune of his choosing, to relate his dream. As he relates his dream in music, he dances, they sing [at] the same time, and all who enter the dance, dance the religious dance which altogether is called Gum-mween. This is repeated day by day for six days. But the leaders change. When one has told his dream, he hands his rattle to the next one, who in like singing relates his dream in words of his own making, but sung in an old well known tune of his choosing. . . .