Mills County, Iowa


Chief Waubonsie
Famous Chief, Headed Tribe, Died and Buried in Mills County

The early history of the Pottawattamies is told in another article. Much of the story of the tribe in southwestern Iowa is given here from information gathered by Seth Dean of Glenwood and Earl R. Ferguson of Shenandoah, and appearing in the Annals of Iowa, July 1927. To these men, and others, a deep debt of gratitude is due for preserving some facts about Waubonsie, who has been brought into prominence in many ways in recent years.

Waubonsie was born in or about 1765, in northwestern Indiana, where the town of Terre Coupee on the northern branch of the Kankakee river, in St. Joseph county, is now located. Of his father and mother nothing is known, there being no mention of either of them by any writer so far as can be learned. The family must have been of more than average ability, and quite probably the office of chief was heredity in the family, as an elder brother of Waubonsie, named Mu-ca-da-puck-ee-, or in English Black Partridge, was quite active in tribe affairs. He took a very active part in the stirring times of the Tecumseh War and the Fort Dearborn massacre, August 15, 1812.

Black Partridge was probably the -----chief of the nation ---tribe and inherited the office, but other facts are not known. There is little question but that Waubonsie could did acquire his office only by actual merit fully justified by events.

It is surprising to find that two brothers were contemporary chiefs and held the offices for such a length of time and administer the matters of the tribe as did Black Partridge and Waubonsie. There is no information available that Black Partridge came to Iowa nor is it known when and where he died.

Waubonsie was probably given a name in childhood according to the Indian custom, his parents giving a feast in honor of the event, but this name, whatever it was, seems to have been reproduced by the chief himself, who states that he chose the name "Waubonsie".

Source: Seth Dean of Glenwood and Earl R. Ferguson of Shenandoah, and appearing in the Annals of Iowa, July 1927

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