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The Wyandot nation was divided into ten tribes. These tribes were kept up by the mother's side, and all her children belonged to her tribe. The totem of each of the ten tribes was as follows: The Deer, Bear, Snake, Hawk, Porcupine, Beaver, Big Turtle, Little Turtle and Terrapin. Each of these tribes had its chief, and these chiefs composed the grand council of the nation. The oldest man in the tribe was generally the tribal chief, and all the persons belonging to a tribe were considered as one family—all near akin. Indeed, no law or custom among them was so scrupulously regarded and adhered to with so much tenacity as the tribe law in this particular. No person was allowed to marry in his or her own tribe. It was thus considered that no crime could so effectually destroy their character or disgrace them so much as this. Nothing could ever restore to them their lost reputation. When a man wished to marry a woman he first had to obtain the consent of her tribe, and most generally he went to live with his wife in her tribe, yet the woman was not bound to live with him any longer than she pleased, and when she left him could take with her, her children and her property.
From time immemorial, until “Mad Anthony's” decisive battle at the foot of the Maumee Rapids, to the Deer tribe belonged the scepter and calumet of the great sachems; but as a result of that battle, this tribe became so weak by the loss of their warriors that the nation deemed it best to take the burden off their shoulders, and placed it on the Porcupine tribe. According to Finley, the celebrated Tarhe, and his immediate successor, De-un-quat, as head chiefs and grand sachems of the Wyandot nation, were members of the last mentioned tribe.
PURCHASE OF RESERVATIONS
By a treaty concluded at Little Sandusky, August 3, 1829, between John McIlvaine, commissioner on the part of the United States, and the chiefs and head men of the Delawares, the latter ceded their reservation to the United States for the sum of $3,000, and removed west of the Mississippi. This reservation was granted to the Delawares at the treaty of the Maumee Rapids. It contained nine square miles and adjoined the Wyandot reserve on the southeast, thus embracing portions of the present townships of Antrim and Pitt. in Wyandot county. By permission of the Wyandots, these Indians made a village on the west bank of the Sandusky river, below the mouth of Broken Sword creek, where a fine spring emerges from the river bank. Captain Pipe, Jr., a son of the Captain Pipe who burned Colonel Crawford at the stake, was with them, and their village was called Pipetown, or Captain Pipe's village. Among those named in the original grant at the treaty of the Maumee Rapids, several survived until after their removal beyond the Mississippi, and among the number were Captain Pipe, Zeshawan, or James Armstrong, Mahautoo, or John Armstrong, Sanondoyeourayquaw, or Silas Armstrong, Black Raccoon, Billy Montour, Buckwheat, William Doudee, Thomas Lyons, Johnnycake, Captain Wolfe, Isaac Hill, John Hill, Tishatahooms, or Widow Armstrong, Ayenucare, Hoomaurou, or John Ming, and Youdorast.
The Delawares were a treacherous, superstitious race, and the pioneers could not rely upon their seeming friendship or their promises. Buckwheat, one of the Indians mentioned above, was part negro. About the year 1827, he was accused of witchcraft. He was tried by his fellow Indians, found guilty and sentenced to be burned alive. The burning took place near the bank of the river opposite the town of Little Sandusky.
Tom Lyons, or “Old Tom Lyons," as he was termed by the whites, was another conspicuous character among this small band of Delawares. He had lived with the Delawares in Pennsylvania before these Indians were forced to remove to Ohio. He was a strong, powerful man and made many enemies among the whites by boasting that he had killed ninety-nine of them and had their tongues upon a string and that he desired to make the number an even hundred before being called to the “happy hunting ground.” It has been written that Lyons' wife was quite a queen of beauty among the squaws of the tribe, and that he was very proud of her and kept her dressed in the height of Indian fashion and would not permit her to perform the menial labor usually required of the squaws.
Solomon Johnnycake, the husband of Sally Williams, was well-known to the early settlers of Wyandot county. He was a friendly hunter, and it was customary for Sally and the children to accompany him on his hunting excursions. He usually constructed a bark wigwam to protect his wife and children from the storms and exposures of the forests, while he ranged the woods in search of game. He sometimes exchanged venison for pork with the white settlers, and sometimes parties who had a curiosity to see his wife and children visited his wigwam. His wife was a quarter blood, and was regarded as a good housekeeper. Her mother, a white woman, was captured in girlhood upon the Pennsylvania frontier. Johnnycake went west with his people. Three of his sons served in a Kansas regiment of the Union army during the Civil war.
Captain Pipe, Jr., son of Old Captain Pipe, who burned Colonel Crawford, was a small, rather spare man. He went west with his tribe and died upon their reservation about 1840. Among his own people he had the reputation of being quite a medicine man.
The Delawares as well as the Wyandots, when journeying from their reservations in search of game, almost invariably stopped at all the houses of the white settlers, and when they came to a white man's cabin expected to receive the hospitality of its inmates, if they did not they were much offended. They would never accept a bed to sleep upon, all that was necessary was to have a good fire in the fireplace and plenty of wood near by to replenish the fire if needed. They usually carried their blankets, and would spread them upon the floor in front of the fire.
A Wyandot pioneer said that he had often seen as many as twenty or thirty Indians pass by his cabin with their hunting materials and equipments packed on their ponies, all in single file, on their old Sandusky and Pipetown trail.
In explanation of the number of white men or partly white men found among the Wyandots, it appears that this nation, although never behind other savage tribes during their wars with the whites, were more merciful than the Delawares, Shawanese, Miamis, Ottawas, Chippewas, etc. They saved more of their prisoners and purchased many others from other tribes of Indians, and adopted them into their families. Thus they became allied with many good families of the country, including the Browns, the Zanes, the Walkers, the Williams, the Armstrongs, McCulloughs and Magees. Robert Armstrong, one of the best interpreters during the Rev. Finley's missionary services among the Indians, was taken prisoner by the Wyandots about the year 1786, when a boy about four years old. His parents resided a few miles above Pittsburgh, on the banks of the Allegheny river. One Sunday morning a young man of the family, with little Robert, took a canoe and crossed over to the west side of the river to visit a party of supposed friendly Indians of the Cornplanter tribe. This camp was situated four miles distant from the river. After they had made their visit and were returning home, in passing a dense thicket through which their path led, they heard a noise, and stopping to look back, to their great surprise and terror, four hideously painted Indians of the Wyandot nation rose up and ordered them to stop. The young man attempted to make his escape by running, but had made only a few steps, when the Indians fired and he fell dead. Little Robert ran a few rods, but one of the Indians soon caught him and picked him up. Armstrong said he was so scared to see the young man tomahawked and scalped that he could scarcely stand, for he expected it would be his lot next. One of the Indians took him on his back and carried him several miles before he stopped. The company of Indians then divided. Two of them took the scalp, and the other two took the Armstrong boy.
Young Armstrong was adopted into the Big Turtle tribe of Wyandots and named O-no-ran-do-roh. He became an expert hunter, and a perfect Indian in feelings and habits. He married an Indian woman or half-breed, and had so far lost his knowledge of the English language that he could speak but little of it. But after General Wayne's treaty he mingled more with the whites and learned to talk with them in their own language. He became an expert interpreter, and was employed in interpreting and trading the rest of his life. He died at Upper Sandusky of consumption in April, 1825. This sketch of the career of Armstrong is only a fair illustration, probably, of the life and experience of many other whites who had been captured and adopted by the Wyandots.
Between-the-logs, a Wyandot of considerable note, died of consumption, January 1, 1827. During the last part of the same year, the Rev. Mr. Finley terminated his missionary labors with the Wyandots, leaving Rev. James Gilruth in control. Among the successors of the latter were Messrs. Thompson, Shaw, Allen and Wheeler, ministers of the Methodist Episcopal church. It is said, however, that the mission at