Friday, April 22, 2011


The Red Men in Iowa by A. R. Fulton
[Des Moines, Iowa: Mills & Company, Publishers, 1882]
  The name of this chief signifies "a chief when a child," indicating that he inherited his office. He presided over a band of the Sacs. He was a man of a sedate and quiet disposition, and was much beloved by his people. We know but little of his early life. During the Black Hawk War he favored the peace policy of Keokuk, having always entertained a friendly feeling toward the whites. After the removal of the Sacs and Foxes from Iowa River to the Des Moines he established his village near the site of the present city of Ottumwa, where his people cultivated a portion of the ground now within the limits of that city. The grounds occupied by the round-house and other buildings of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad were once a part of the corn-fields of Appanoose and his people.  
  Appanoose was one of the delegation who, in 1837, with Keokuk and other head men, accompanied General Street to Washington, at which time he visited with them the city of Boston. He was present with them in the meeting at Faneuil Hall, and also in the State-house, where Governor Everett, and other State officials of Massachusetts, tendered them a reception. It was on that occasion that he brought himself prominently into notice by making the most animated speech, both in manner and matter, that was delivered by the chiefs. Keokuk having, in reply to Governor Everett first spoken, Appanoose arose, and said:
  "Brothers: You have heard just now what my chief has to say. All our chiefs and warriors are very much gratified by our visit to this town. Last Saturday they were invited to a great house (Faneuil Hall), and now they are in the great council-house. They are very much pleased with so much attention. This we cannot reward you for now, but shall not forget it, and hope the Great Spirit will reward you for it. This is the place which our forefathers once inhabited. I have often heard my father and grandfather say they lived near the sea-coast where the white men first came. I am glad to hear all this from you. I suppose it is put in a book, where you learn all these things. As far as I can understand the language of the white people, it appears to me that the Americans have attained a very high rank among white people. It is the same with us, though I say it myself. Where we live beyond the Mississippi, I am respected by all people, and they consider me the tallest among them. I am happy that two great men meet and shake hands with each other."
  Appanoose, at the conclusion of his speech, suited the action to the word by extending his hand to Governor Everett, while the audience shouted its applause at the self- complacency of the orator. He immediately became one of the heroes of that memorable occasion, and returned to his Western home with a number of valuable presents.
  According to statements of pioneers, Appanoose had four wives. Being of a quiet and peaceful disposition, he was not much known beyond his own village, whose interests, it is said, he watched over with great prudence and care. The date of his death we have not been able to ascertain, but it must have occurred after the removal of his people to that part of the Des Moines valley above Red Rock, for he is incidentally mentioned as being among them after that time. In an old memorandum of pioneer days in Iowa we have seen mention of the death of a Sac chief whose name was given as Op-pe-noose, as occurring at the mouth of Clear Creek, believed to be the small stream of that name in Keokuk county. Like his cotemporary (though senior in years), Wapello, he had probably returned on a visit to his former haunts, when the messenger came that was to summon him to his final hunting-grounds in the land of the Great Spirit. 

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