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History of Cass Co. 1877



When the Indian title to the lands in western Iowa, of which Cass county is a part, became extinct by Government treaties in 1846, there was not a white person in all the land that is now Cass county. When Iowa became a State in the same year with a population of 97,588, not one of that population belonged in this county, and not one of all that number belonged in the thirteen counties, which comprise this Congressional district. By a treaty made September 26th, 1833, this county, though not then named as a county, was part of a five million acre hunting ground, granted to the Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawattamie Indians, on condition that they would remove from lands lying farther east that they then occupied. The Indians removed to this section of the State in accordance with that treaty, and remained here until by another treaty they agreed to go still farther westward. The treaty last referred to was made at Traders' Point, (now in Mills county) June 5th, 1846. The Indian inhabitants of this county were of the Pottawattamie tribe. They were quite numerous, and during the years they were here had encampments on the streams in various parts of the county. They were peaceable, greasy and lazy. Their principal village was at a point west of the present town of Lewis, now known as Indiantown, but which the Indians called Mi-au-mise (the young Miami) after their favorite chief. The agency and trading post for these Indians was at Traders' Point on the Missouri river. At that place there was an Indian agent, an interpreter, and a store, at which powder, lead, tobacco, etc., etc., could be bought by the child of the forest or any other person. The store was kept by Peter A. Sarpy, a man of St. Louis, a man quite famous in his day -- more famous however in Nebraska than in Iowa. Col. Sarpy had a young man from St. Louis, clerking for him at Traders' Point, who fell desperately in love with one of our Cass county girls of the Pottawattamie tribe, and when the Indians went away in 1846 or 1847 the young man stuck a feather in his hat and went with them, and if he is living to-day he is probably a gray-haired child of nature drawing his rations from the government and stealing them from frontier settlers in true aboriginal style. The main body of the Indians left prior to 1847, although stragglers and small squads of them could occasionally be seen as late as 1856. They cultivated no land in this county, so far as we have been able to learn, although in some other counties on the Missouri slope they did leave a few small patches of ground bearing marks of cultivation. At Mi-au-mise (or, as we call it, Indiantown) they had a burying ground, where rest the bones of many of their tribe whom death claimed while the tribe hunted elk and deer along the streams and over the prairies of this county.

The most noted event that occurred in the county, during its occupancy by the Indians, was the death of the famous chief of the Iowa tribe, Mahaskah, which occurred on the Nodaway, near the south-east corner of the county, in 1834. He was sitting by his camp fire, one evening, (sixty miles from his tribe on the Des Moines) when a skulking, cowardly Indian enemy crawled to a convenient and secluded spot and shot him in the back, killing him instantly. Thus perished, on our soil, a chief who had led his tribe in seventeen successful battles with the Sioux, and whose name is perpetuated by being borne by one of the best counties in the State -- from which county, we may remark, Cass has received a number of her best citizens.

From the History of Cass County, Iowa Together With Brief Mention of Old Settlers
by Lafe Young, Atlantic, Iowa:  Telegraph Steam Printing House, 1877, pp. 1-2.
Transcribed for Cass County by Cheryl Siebrass, July, 2013.

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