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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

Second Visit to Appanoose's Village

Editor's Note:

At long last, Marsh has arrived at the most important Fox village, that headed by Chief Appanoose on the site of modern Ottumwa, Iowa. Here he is the beneficiary of that "Indian mode of generosity" upon which he remarked earlier in the week.

Appenoose was still away on his summer hunt, but Marsh was given space in his lodge and cared for by his mother. Soon the chief will return, along with other hunters laden with food and hides, and the Fox will begin their happiest time of year -- a mid-summer celebration of dancing and feasting that will tax the Protestant missionary's understanding and tolerance.

For William Phelps and his trading operation, see the entry for July 16.

[July] 30th Wed.

About breakfast time arrived at a small island on which we found two girls, who had been left there whilst their parents went out to hunt; all they had to eat that I saw was some sunfish but there was no fire to cook them, yet they did not appear the least impatient or unhappy. Little do the children of civilized parents know how great the merits they enjoy in having food, or how much the children of pagans often suffer from hunger etc.

Sometime after met two canoes descending the river, with some skins, and withal a keg for the purpose of filling it with whiskey.

The children of one of the families appeared remarkably healthy and fat.

About middle of the P.M. arrived again at the village and was kindly received by Mr. Phelps clerks, and the Indns also.

They soon presented me meat and pumpkin sweetened for to eat. The latter was presented by Appenooce's mother, who is a remarkable agreeable sociable old woman.

Blessed be God that my life and health are still precious in his sight. My health again restored after a short season of sickness, in consequence of taking improper food which brought on a dysentery and was rather difficult to [illegible] on account of not having suitable medicine.

And the treatment which I have received from the Indians has been as kind and good as I could have desired or received from civilized people. Every possible attention was paid to my wants and convenience. Gracious God, may the time soon come when this people shall enjoy the inestimable blessings of the Gospel and civilization.

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