Cherokee Phoenix

From the National Journal

Published September, 2, 1829

Page 2 Column 1b-3a

From the National Journal


The Missouri Intelligencer of the twenty-fourth ultimo, gives a statement of some disturbances on the frontier, between some of our citizens and a party of Indians, which unfortunately terminated in bloodshed.- From the statement of facts as communicated by some of the citizens, but the entire accuracy of which is not attested by the editor, it appears that a party of citizens had lately removed into lands which are claimed by the Indians. On being ordered off, and menaced in case of continuing their residence there, the citizens collected their strength, and went to the Indian camp to make a treaty, with a view to a friendly understanding.- While in the act of negotiation, one of the citizens shot an Indian, and the next moment the American who was engaged in negotiation shot the chief with whom he was in conference.- This fixes the responsibility of having shed the first blood, even on the showing of their own statement, by the Americans.

The news having reached Fayette, preparations were instantly made for a campaign. The chivalry of the whole country was as much set in motion as if there had been a descent of an European army upon the frontier. About 200 volunteers from the vicinity of Fayette, and 100 from Charlton, instantly were marched to Randolph, which was made the point of rendezvous, and whither on the following Tuesday and Wednesday, re-enforcments (sic) to considerable amount, making according to the calculation of the Editor, an aggregate strength of from 1,500 to 2,000 volunteers mounted, armed and provisioned had repaired.

In addition to these movements, it is stated that Wm. Taylor, Esq. who had been despatched express to the Governor, returned with an order for calling out 1000 men.- The Governor had also sent an express to St. Louis 'for the purpose of notifying the commanding officer of the United States troops stationed there, and requesting that a detachment might be sent up without delay.'

Apprehension or rumour (sic) had swelled the number of the Indians to 1500 Winnebagoes, and a large number of other tribes, who were concentrating themselves.

It is much to be regretted that the whole country should thus be called to arms, in consequence of a fray which may probably be traced to the wanton aggression of our own citizens in the first instance, and ultimately to their intemperate feelings, at the moment when a negotiation was in progress.- The proper course presents itself at once to every reasonable man. On representation of the facts to the General Government, an investigation would have taken place. If the Indians were the aggressors, they could have been punished; and on the same principle of justice- if a principle of equal justice in relation to the Indians is to regulate the policy of the new Administration- had our citizens committed the first injury, redress could have been afforded to the Indians.- The citizens having taken the law into their own hands, ' surrendered themselves to those feelings of hatred to the Indians which are cherished along the frontier, it is impossible to foresee the point at which the present excitement will terminate.

The following is a statement of the circumstances of this fracas as given in the Missouri Intelligencer:

The origin of the unfortunate encounter between our citizens and the Indians, we understand is as follows:

Some of the citizens of this country removed this Spring to the Grand Chariton, 70 or 80 miles from this place, for the purpose of raising stock, ' settled in the northern end of Chariton or Randolph county. The Indians, calling themselves Ioways, but believed to be Sioux or Winnebagoes, were hunting in that vicinity, and ordered the settlers off, pretending that the land belonged to them, and threatening to kill them if they refused.- They finally became very insolent, came about their houses, demanding such things as they wanted, and when the men were from home, conducted themselves abusively towards the females, drawing their tomahawks upon them, and driving off their stock. It is also stated that they whipped a Mr. Myrtle, lately from this neighborhood. Mr. M. then proceeded to the settlements and procured the assistance of some of his friends, who proceeded with him to try and arrange matters with the Indians, or drive them off. Twenty-eight in number had collected by the time they reached the Indian camp, which appeared to be fortified by a rude stockade, or something of the kind. John Myers, Esq. (a Magistrate of this county,) who understood the Indian language, commenced a treaty, or talk, with the Chief, and was endeavoring to have a friendly understanding. In the meantime, his son, James Myers, had met with the Indian who had drawn his tomahawk upon his wife, and some sharp conversation ensued between them, when the Indian at length cocked his gun, presented it at him, and he supposed intended firing, when Myers discharged the contents of his into the head of the Indian. John Myers then also fired and killed the Chief, and when he had reloaded and about to fire again, was himself shot. The company all fired, and killed eleven or twelve Indians. Three white persons were killed, viz: John Myers, James Winn, and Powell Owensby- and three or four wounded.

We do not vouch for the entire accuracy of the above, but believe it is substantially so.

What will be the consequence of this unfortunate affair we are unable at this time to say.