Monday, May 14, 2012

Miami Indian Chief Richardville, Fort Wayne, Indiana



Died, on the 13th inst. (August, 1841), at his residence on the St. Mary's, four and a half miles south-west of this city, John B. Richardville, principal chief of the Miami nation of Indians, aged about eighty years.
Chief Richardville, or "Piskewah" (which is an Indian name, meaning in English "wild-cat"), was born on the point across the Maumee river, opposite this city, under or near a large apple tree, on the farm of the late Colonel Coles; and at a very early age, by succession, became the chief of the tribe, his mother being chieftainess at the time of his birth. His situation soon brought him in contact with the whites, and he was in several engagements, the most important of which was the celebrated slaughter on the St. Joseph River, one mile north of this city, designated as "Harmar's Defeat," where several hundred whites, under General Harmar, were cut off in attempting to ford the river, by the Indians, who lay in ambush on the opposite shore, by firing upon the whites when in the act of crossing; which slaughter crimsoned the river a number of days for several miles below with the blood of the unfortunate victims.
The Chief is universally spoken of as having been kind and humane to prisoners—far more so than most of his race; and as soon as peace was restored, became a worthy citizen, and enjoyed the confidence of the whites to the fullest extent. He spoke good French and English, as well as his native tongue; and for many years his house, which is pleasantly situated on the banks of the St. Mary's, and which was always open for the reception of friends—was a place of resort for parties of pleasure, who always partook of the hospitality of his house.
The old man was strictly honest, but remarkably watchful of his interest, and amassed a fortune exceeding probably a million of dollars, consisting of nearly $200,000 in specie on hand, and the balance in the most valuable kind of real estate, which he has distributed by "will" among his numerous relations with "even-handed justice." He had always expressed a great anxiety to live, but when he became conscious that the time of his departure was near at hand, he resigned himself with perfect composure, saying that it was ordered that all must die, and he was then ready and willing to answer the call of the "Great Spirit." His remains were deposited in the Catholic burying-ground with religious ceremonies.—Fort Wayne (Ind.) Sentinel.