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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

A Strategy for Reaching the Indians

Editor's Note:

For Dr. Williamson, see the diary entry for June 29th, "They did not wish to learn to talk on paper."


Open-u-se: A Fox chief whose name Marsh usually spelled inconsistently and which is today spelled “Appanoose,” for whom is named an Iowa county along the border with Missouri. He will figure prominently throughout the diary. Here is his portrait from McKenney and Hall's 1838 History of the Indian tribes of North America, online at the University of Washington.


During the Black Hawk War, Appanoose had supported Keokuk and refused to take up arms against the U.S. with Black Hawk. He was described in an early history of Iowa as, “tall, straight as an arrow, finely formed and intelligent.” After the removal of the tribes to the Des Moines Valley the village over which he presided stood near where Ottumwa has been built. Appanoose was one of the chiefs who accompanied Keokuk to Washington in 1837. At Boston he made a speech which made him famous. He had four wives and lived a very quiet life, seldom going far from his village.” [Gue, Benjamin F. History of Iowa (N.Y., 1903): 93]


A portrait of Appanoose was included by McKenney and Hall in their History of the Indian tribes of North Americain 1842, which the University of Washington has put online.


Capt. Loomis: Gustavus Loomis spent half a century fighting Indians. He graduated from West Point in 1811 and fought in the War of 1812. He then served in Florida and Lousiana from 1819-1827 before coming to Wisconsin in 1829. He fought in the Black Hawk War, including the final Battle of Bad Axe, after which he was stationed at Fort Snelling, Fort Crawford, and Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, until 1837. He later fought the Seminoles in Florida, was stationed on the Plains and in Texas, and fought in the Mexican-American War in 1848. He took several years leave of absence in the 1850s but when the Civil War broke out, the aging Loomis supervised recruiting in New York. He finally retired, after 45 years of active of military service, in 1863 and died in 1872. [Chronicles of Oklahoma 18: 219-228]


Fri. 4th [July 1834]


Spent the day with the above-mentioned Br[ethren] in consultation respecting missionary subjects. They concluded to have Dr. W[illiamson] accompany me to explore the River Des Moines and visit [Sauk chief] Open-u-ses village, and if a suitable place could be found and there was an opportunity, that they recommend to the Board that Dr. W. go to the Sacs and Foxes. They seemd rather to favor the practice of hiring a farmer than of having missionary farmers go out, as being more likely to secure the object and prevent difficulty.


Did not urge or feel anxious about a family going either to the Sioux or Sacs etc this fall. But that Dr. W. and a farmer perhaps come out and be learning the language and return in the spring for their families.


In the eve. the Steam Boat Warrior came up the river and they went on board to go to Rock Island. There I met with Capt. Loomis, having his family on board bound to Prairie du Chien & from there to St. Peters, his place of destination. Had a very pleasant interview and after a short time bade them all adieu. The Lord bless and go with them.



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