Kansas MemoryKansas Memory

Kansas Historical SocietyKansas Historical Society

A.M. Coville to George W. Martin

Item Description Bookbag Share

[Ind. Kaw.]

 

[White Plume.]

 

[Coville, A.M.]

 

Galena Kansas.  3/27, 1909.

 

Mr. Geo. W. Martin

 

Topeka, Kansas

 

Dear Sir,

 

White Plume was a very old man in Spring of 1855.  He claimed to be over 90 years old, and he looked to be 100.  His hair was white, his face wrinkled and features shrunken.  He had been scalped in battle with the Plains Indians many years before but his tribesmen had rescued him.  As he had lost his scalp back he was compelled by a tribal custom to let his hair grow long like a squaws.  His head was bare where the scalp had been removed.  He was bent with age and walked with a stick.  I understand that he died the following winter, but whether he died in their encampment west of north Topeka or at the Kaw agency near Council Guard I cannot say.  He had in his possession a note that he had at one time give Daniel Boone for corn.  On this note were

 

[Page 2]

 

several endorsements showing that the not had been paid in full, and it also stated that Boone regarded White Plume as a friendly and honest man.  Several Free state men tried to buy this note, but in vain as he told them through the Kaw Interpreter (Frank James I think) a brother of Joe Jim and a cousin to the Pataws. that it was Good Medicine, and the interperter said it would be buried with the old man when he died.  This Frank James was kill about two years later in a drunken row with some full blood Kaws at or near the old Pataw Ferry north of the ward Place, about in a line with Clay street.

 

A few years ago I saw Joe Jim (Joseph James) in the Territory, and at the time he was 87 years old, and white plume at 90 looked to be at least 10 years older than Joe Jim did at 87.  Joe Jim did [xxxx] about the age of ninety.  He once owned [xxxx] ward place west of city.  Was official Kaw [interperter?] a number of years.  Had an arm [amputated?] from poisoning.  And died near the

 

[Page 3]

 

Kaw agency on his farm between 1907 and 1900, so I understand.  For several years Joe was our nearest neighbor, and lived only a quarter of a mile from our home on the north part what is now the McAffee Farm on west 6 st.  Joe Jim married a daughter of [xxxxxxxx] a full blood Potawatomie of the Prairie Band.  They lived together about 15 years, had one or two children, then she left him and married a full blooded Potawattomie of the Prarie Band, lived on upper Soldier creek north of Silver Lake until he died.  The she and Joe Jim lived together until his death, or at least they were living together when I visited them in the territory.  She had a boy living by both husbands, and they were hunting duck squirrel and skunks when I saw them.  And as you know all the border tribes are or were quite partial to a good fat skunk.  They said they were better than squirrel meat, at least that is what they used to tell me.

 

I have a pen sketch of White Plume.  You [can?] have it by paying express charges.

 

Respectfully Yours

A.M. Coville

1111[xxxxx] Ave

Item Description

Copyright © 2007-2022 - Kansas Historical Society - Contact Us
This website was developed in part with funding provided by the Information Network of Kansas.