MIK GO INDIANS
MONUMENT TO AND
History of the Mingo Indians
Facts and Traditions about This
Tribe, Their Wars, Chiefs, Camps,
Villages and Trails. Monument
Dedicated to Their Memory Near
the Village of Mingo, in Tygarts
River Valley of West Virginia.
ADDRESSES AND ARTICLES BY
WILLIAM H. COBB ANDREW PRICE HU MAXWELL
WILLIAM H. COBB
BY CAPTAIN WILLIAM H. COBB
Vice President of the National Historical Society
Member Virginia Historical Society
The request that I prepare an article on the subject of the Mingo Indians
in connection with the proposal to build a monument or marker to this tribe
of the "wild man" to be located on the Huttonsville and Marlinton Pike near
the mouth of Mingo Run, in Mingo district of this county, and near the old
Indian village site, has been complied with and here it is well to state that
it is with difficulty that actual facts concerning any Indian tribe are obtained
for any long period of years, and when a period of a few centuries are to be
covered it means that most of the information is traditional.
The Indian "village site" at Mingo has been regarded as the habitat of
this tribe, but it is with no certainty that this is at all correct, but on the
other hand it would appear that this village was the abode of some other
tribe, for we have no account which would make this a Mingo home, and 'for
the reason that the Mingoes were on the upper waters of the Susquehanna
river in Pennsylvania and New York even before the founding of Jamestown,
and from that date or little later, made a settlement on the waters of the
Ohio and still later further west.
That there was a village once occupied by Indians at Mingo, I take it
that no one doubts; we have it handed down from the ancestors of those now
living in that section that such a site existed when settlement was begun soon
after the Revolution; not a site of recent occupancy, but long decaying, yet
retaining all the marks of such a village, and at this date evidences in way of
flints, pottery and Indian relics are to be found on Mingo Run, and we are
told that mounds on the Mingo Flats are still to be found, making it certain
that in that elevated and beautiful section, overlooking the country for miles
and miles, that such a village existed.
The Indian trails, over which both public roads and railroads have since
followed, passed through Mingo Flats, the scenery from which appeals to the
white and probably to the tribes that followed the routes, covering passes
from one stream to another, some of which at this point lead Northward, an-
other Southward and still another Westward. The principal route it would
appear led from the North from Saint George in Tucker county by way of
Leading Creek, up the Tygart's Valley River and thence to the Greenbrier,
and near those Flats, one trail branched to the East and down Clover Lick to
Greenbrier river, the other to the S. W. and down Williams & Gauley rivers,
and just west of Mingo, at now Brady gate, the path divided, one going down
Valley Fork of Elks to Elk river, the other by Point Mountain and westward
to the head of the Little Kanawha; on the Valley river between Huttonsville
and Mingo, other trails reached the Valley; one from the head of the two
forks of the Greenbrier, and across the Cheat river and Cheat Mountain
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
near the head of Becca's Creek; and still another from the Cheat River up
Fishinghawk and down Files Creek at Beverly, and still another of these
paths came to the Valley River from the Buckhannon waters, across the Mid-
dle Fork and down the Mill Creek to the Valley below Huttonsville.
These several trails converging around Mingo, makes this point one of
rendezvous, and with the traditions we have and the relics found renders it
fairly conclusive that such village existed, but with any certainty of which
tribe built or occupied It, we have no positive proof and can only conjecture;
most probably not the Mingo tribe.
Among the earliest history we have of the Mingo Indian is recited by
Thomas Jefferson in his "Notes" and In discussing the Five Nations of In-
dians, and referring to the Mohicans, he says:
"This nation had a close alliance with the Shawanese, who lived on the
Susquehanna and to the west of that river, as far as the Allegheny Mountains,
and carried on a long war with another powerful nation or confederacy of
Indians, which lived to the north of them between Kittatinnery Mountains
or highlands, and the Lake Ontario, and who called themselves Mingoes, and
are called by the present writers Iroquois, by the English the Five Nations,
and by the Indians to the southward, with whom they were at war, Massa-
wemacs. This war was carrying on in its greatest fury, when Captain Smith
first arrived in Virginia. The Mingo warriors had penetrated the Susque-
hanna down to the mouth of it In one of his excursions up the bay, at the
mouth of the Susquehanna, in 1608, Captain Smith met six or seven of their
canoes full of warriors, who were coming to attack their enemies in the rear.
In an excursion which he had made a few weeks before, up the Rappahannock.
and in which he had a skirmish with a party of the Manaheads, and had taken a
brother of one of their chiefs prisoner, he first heard of this nation. For when
he asked the prisoner why his nation attacked the English, the prisoner said,
because his nation had heard that the English came from under the world to
take their world from them."
At the period that Jefferson was writing, the Mtngo was in a confederacy
with the Senecas in western New York; the Mohawks to the eastward, and
Onendagees between the two, and the Cayugas and Oneidas, the two latter
being younger and weaker tribes, but all the confederacy having the same
common language, and Jointly waged war on the tribes to the south, and no
definite decisive battle in their favor having been won, and finding the enemy
resourceful, they took into the alliance other tribes and by this means over-
came the former enemy, who asked for peace and put themselves under the
protection of the Mingoes, who required the subjugated to raise corn, hunt
the game for the joint use of all, and in this condition William Penn found
the defeated tribe in 1682.
The Mingo may be taken as typical of all the Indians in this, that they
were in war daring, cunning, ruthless and wicked; and in peace generous,
hospitable, superstitious, revengeful and usually were on the chase, and
while this does not characterize all Indians, it is the general rule among
them, and from their own view point, they were religious and fairly faithful
to their teachings, taking their metaphors from the sun, the clouds, the sea-
sons, the birds, the beast and the vegetable kingdom. It is not understood
nor agreed the soqrce from which the Indian came; whether from the East
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
or indigenous to America, and it is equally uncertain about the language,
whether all tribes had the same original language, or by reason of separation
and non-intercourse, each tribe originated his own language.
The name Mingo is significant in its meaning, carrying the idea of the
despised, contemptible and unworthy and that mark was put upon them by
the Indian, not the white man, and from their conduct on many occasions, It
was not inappropriate, but just and due them.
The advent of the white man along the Atlantic Coast, of itself, drove by
degrees the Indian westward, and the Mingoes began actively to migrate be-
fore 1750, locating at first on the upper Ohio river and by the time of the war
of the Revolution were on the west of the Ohio near where the city of
Steubenville now stands; later was about Sandusky, and as time passed, so
the Mingo on further west till now only a small band have habitation in
It is said that a nation without wars is a nation without history, and of
course the same is true of the Indian, but the Mingo is not without his full
participation in war and all the cruelty of it. Prom 1750 to 1790 he played
his wicked part in the tragedy of warfare and what he and his alliance did
not do was no mark of indisposition not to do it, for they left destruction
from Port Seibert and the South Branch country westward as far as the
white man had dared advance, but in this they were not alone for the white
man at times as the leader was the instigator of the outrageous warfare, and
Simon Girty at the head of the Shawnee was an example participant.
The honors of war are usually reflected through the commanding gen-
eral, but with the Indian it was the Chief, and what mighty ones the Mingoes
may have had at different periods, we cannot ever know, but history has given
us the name of Little Eagle (Kisopila) who in an unexpected fight with a few
men under Captain Gibson near Fort Pitt in 1763, the Mingoes gave fight with
the result of Captain Gibson completely taking off the head of Little Eagle,
and it is probable that this combat gave more impetus to the Big Knife, of the
Nation of Big Knife (the designation the Indians gave the Virginians ever
after) than any other thing; but it is not known whether it was the sword of
the saber kind or an actual long knife which the Virginian used In close con-
tact, but this weapon was a "night-mare" to an Indian, whether awake or
It was about this period that Kentucky was first being explored, and at
which time no tribe claimed exclusive rights to the hunting ground, probably
the richest game country ever trod by Indians east of the Mississipi, and as
this developed we see our Mingo along with the Cherokee, Shawnees, Catawbas
and Delawares and others contending for the exclusive rights and such bloody
conflicts resulted that it in time became known as the "dark and bloody
The Chief of the Mingoes to whom more notice has been given than all
their other leaders, was John Logan, whose education, character and traits
have made his ancestry uncertain, but his father was probably Ehilkellamy,
a celebrated chief of the Cayugus, and born about 1725 at Shamokin, Penn-
sylvania; another impression is that he was the son of a French Canadian,
and adopted by the Oneidas, the allied tribe to Mingo; be that as it may, he
took the name of Logan from James Logan who was Colonial Secretary and
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
later Governor of Pennsylvania and resided in the Susquehanna River country
until about 1770, when he went with others to the Mingo Town of that tribe
In his new home for a time he appears to have not shared in the spirit of
his tribemen and allied tribes, but was disposed to live peacefully with the
The continued advance of the white man westward and his conflict with
the Indian here and there and now and then, and in these conflicts Indians
killed and destroyed white settlements, and occasionally inoffensive Indians
were killed with the view that the deader the Indian is the better he is,
brought on the conflict known as the French and Indian war and later
brought about the great battle at the Mouth of the Kanawha, which was in a
way to settle the ownership of the Ohio valley, especially the portion to the
east, but in this contest, probably the most decisive battle ever fought be-
tween the whites and the Indians, and won for the former both banks of
Preceding the battle at Point Pleasant, Logan's family was living near
Chillicothe, but being at the time at the mouth of Yellow Creek in 1774 an
Indian massacre occurred in which Logan's family, probably having only a
sister but possibly a wife, but no children, and this inflamed the allied tribes
of Indians to such an extent that Logan became the leader not only of his
own people, but any who would follow, and crossing to the east and on both
sides of the Ohio, he and his people destroyed the whites and their settle-
ments, leaving neither woman or child in their wake, and this led the Vir-
ginians to take up arms and bring about the battle of Point Pleasant, and
generally known as Dunmore's war he being then Colonial Governor of
This massacre of the Indians was by Logan attributed to Captain Michael
Cresap, a Marylander, but history is now convincing that Cresap was not
present at this shameful massacre, but probably took part in other "killings"
where he felt that justice was only being meted out to the deserving ones.
When the Dunmore war was concluded by a peace or treaty at Chillicothe,
the Chiefs of all the tribes taking part in the battle of the Mouth of Kanawha,
appeared except John Logan, the Mingo head; he being sent for, refused to
appear, but sent that famous message that school boys many years were re-
quired to recite on Friday afternoon before the country school closed for the
week; this speech reads:
"I appeal to any white man to say, if he ever entered Logan's cabin hun-
gry, and he gave him not meat; if he ever came cold and naked and he clothed
him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war Logan remained
idle in his cabin, an advocate of peace. Such was my love for the whites,
that my countrymen pointed as they passed and said, 'Logan is the friend of
the white men.' I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injury
of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked,
murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing my women and chil-
dren. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature.
This called on me for revenge. I have sought it; I have killed many; I have
fully glutted my vengeance; for my country I rejoice at the beams of peace.
But I do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn
for Logan? Not one."
Logan was killed in 1780 on his return from Detroit by his nephew, with
whom Logan had brought on a difficulty which the nephew could not avoid.
It would appear that West Virginians have done their full duty to the
end that the Mingo tribe and its last big Chief may be duly and properly pre-
served in the State's history, not so much so by monuments, but by naming a
county Mingo, and naming another for the Chief of the tribe, and still not
satisfied, also called the seat of the county by the name.
Especially is this true when we contemplate that neither Chief Logan
nor his tribe ever temporarily or permanently had their abode within the
territory of Logan or Mingo counties, and it was only the speech or supposed
speech of Logan that brought fame to himself or his tribe.
BY ANDREW PRICE
Attention Is called to the article reproduced In this issue prepared by
Capt. Cobb, of Randolph County, about our pet Indians, the Mlngos. There
Is much valuable historical matter in the article and it is well worth your
But we must enter a vigorous protest against two of the historian's con-
clusions first that the Mingos did not live at Mingo Flats, and second, that
Mingo ought to be spelt with a little m, as it means outlaw or some such
We know exactly how the Captain's mind was poisoned on this subject.
He is echoing conclusions reached by historians who lived in other states
and who have cast doubts on the identity of the tribe. It all goes to show
that the only way to preserve the history of your own people is to do it your-
self and not depend on some person a thousand miles away to do you justice.
Such men do not know and they do not care.
To doubt that the Mingo Indians once had their tribal center at Mingo
Flats is equivalent to what would be the case if some historian would arise
a hundred years hence and deny that there were ever any catfish in Green-
brier River, and then cap the climax by adding that he had his doubts if there
ever was such a fish anyway.
An old man told us thirty years ago that the Indians that last lived In
this section were Mingos and he could remember when there were traces of
their camps in the periwinkle shell piles along the river. We never doubted
that until we began to read all the histories that came to hand and then for
a season we doubted that there ever was such an animal as the Mingo. But
as time went on we gathered a great mass of information and got to the time
when we could weigh evidence better, we saw that tradition is true and that
the last Indian residents of these hills and valleys were Mingos and that they
had their city at Mingo Flats, where they raised their winter corn.
Washington made his way to the French Forts on the Ohio and reported
the Mingos living on the waters of that river. Robert Files and David Tygart
settled in Tygarts Valley in 1754. This was the year after Washington had
been at the forks of the Ohio. Files and Tygart found an Indian town at
Mingo Flats and determined to abandon the country on account of the con-
tiguity of an Indian village. Before Files could move, he and his whole
family were killed by the Indians.
Just about this time Greenbrier, the site of the town of Marlinton was
made a fortified place to watch the Warrior's Road, known generally as the
Seneca Trail. In 1755, Braddock took a big army into the woods Just north
of us and there met the Shawnees, the Delawares, and the Mingos, and other
Indians allied with the French and left 800 dead men on the field whose bones
whitened in the sun for three years.
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
After that the only place held by the whites for three years west of the
Alleghany was the Greenbrier Valley centering around Marlinton.
But vengeance overtook the slayers of Braddock's men. The Iroquols,
with headquarters in what is now the State of New York, had at that time
kept unbroken a contract with the New York settlers made 138 years before,
with the Dutch of New Amsterdam. Corlear was the "Dutchman's name who
made that treaty and for 170 years the Indians called the governors of New
York, respectively, The Corlear. This bond endured and was stronger than
death, for when the colonies declared their independence, these Indians ad-
hered to Great Britain, and the Americans for that literally wiped them off
of the face of the earth.
After Braddock's defeat, the Iroquois, with that as an excuse, or without
one, swept the whole State of West Virginia clear of every French Indian
ally, and passed a law that no strange Indian should live in the territory east
of the Ohio River. Therefore the Mingos abandoned their town at Mingo
Flats and moved to the west bank of the Ohio, just above Wheeling, at the
place called Mingo Bottom, and from that time forth they raided West Vir-
ginia, and killed more white people than all the other tribes combined. After
an outrage, it was often hard to tell what tribe of Indians was to blame, but
the Mingos were most often identified. Among the occasions the Mingos
were identified as being present were: Deckers Creek, New River foray,
Muskingum, Simpson Creek, Kelly raid, Muddy Creek, Big Lick, Point Pleas-
ant, Fort Pitt, Fort Laurens, Piqua, Tuscarawa River, and Bryants Station.
In the seventeen seventies when the permanent settlers came to the
Tygarts Valley they found abandoned houses of the Mingos at Mingo Flats.
Let it be known that the Mingos were our private scourge and that the reason
that they are being lost in obscurity is because the local West Virginian his-
torians have let northern people do their writing for them. Roosevelt calls
the Mingos a mongrel banditti like the renegade Cherokees. Just because
the Mingos were making it hot for the settlers who possessed themselves of
their ancient domain around the extreme headwaters of the Ohio, and at-
tending strictly to their own territory the northern historian has slighted
them. But they were very real to our ancestors.
Simon Girty was a Mingo Chief, but the great chief was the literary
Logan. Logan also had a slogan: "Ten for one." Meaning ten white scalps
for every red scalp lost. Captain Cobb says his name was John Logan. We
deem it impossible to have been fed on Logan since we were in the first reader
and not to have heard him called John. Why John?
It was well known that his name was Tah-gah-jute, but then as now
white men were impatient of strange names. "You say your name Is Grab-
tiswistisky? Its Graham from now on." So it was Logan, and now John
Logan. Some doubt has been cast on the authenticity of the speech of Logan,
but there need not be. It was delivered in the Mingo language to Col. Gibson
who wrote it down and then translated it. Still we wonder what It would
have sounded like if Logan had had a less eminent secretary.
A great many historians think until Col. Gibson edited the speech that it
was in the following words, to-wit: "Tell Dunmore to go to hell!" And that
the speech then was translated into English by the gifted Colonel.
It is a pretty good speech. It makes a good oration for a schoolboy.
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
Maybe you have noticeQ that we occasionally quote from other authors. One
of the earliest that we remember stealing was when the world was young.
We were playing Indian. Our name was Bear Track and we were supposed
to be an extra bad Indian. We were captured. We were told that we were
to be burned at the stake after each separate hair was pulled out. Our reply
was firm and dignified. "Bear Track never felt fear. He would not turn up-
on his heel to save his life." We can remember it as if it was yesterday, in-
cluding a stone-bruise on the aforesaid heel.
Bear Track appeals to Captain Cobb to restore the Mingos and to set
them down on Mingo Flats where they properly belong, and keep away from
all of that trash that foreigners are writing. Bear Track appeals to him to
know why he has taken his pen in his hand and massacred all the Mingos, so
that not one remains. Bear track has killed many, but Captain Cobb has
killed them all.
BY Hu MAXWELL
I have read with interest in some late West Virginia papers that a move-
ment is on foot in Randolph county to erect a monument on the site of a for-
mer Indian village at Mingo near the head of Valley river. This is a com-
mendable movement in the cause of history, but I take it that in erecting this
monument, it is not the intention to mark the former home of any particular
tribe of Indians. It is not known, and in all human probability, never can be
known, what tribe occupied the town which was once there. Authentic his-
tory is absolutely silent on the subject. The name indicates that somebody,
at some time, supposed that it had been a Mingo village. When I was collect-
ing material for my history of Randolph county, I was not able to find out
when, by whom, or for what reason, the name was first given, though I was
quite sure that Indians of the Mingo tribe never lived there.
The broad fact may be accepted as certain that when the portion of West
Virginia lying between the Ohio river and the Alleghany mountains first be-
came known to English-speaking people, it had no Indian inhabitants other
than roaming hunters who occasionally wandered through it. There were no
towns or permanent camps.
It had an Indian population at an earlier time, as is proved by remains
of towns and camps. The remains of the village of Mingo belonged, no
doubt, to that earlier period, as also did the sites of camps at Horse Shoe on
Cheat river, at Crooked run near Point Pleasant, and at many other places
in the state.
It is known, within a reasonable degree of certainty, but not with abso-
lute certainty, when and why the Indian population between the Ohio river
and the mountains ceased to exist. It was about one hundred years before
the first permanent settlers located on Tygarts river and Cheat River.
The great historical store house of information, bearing directly and in-
directly on that subject, is known as ' The Jesuit Relations," which records
were written by Catholic missionaries between the years 1610 and 1750, for
the most part. Those missionaries lived among the Indians from Hudson Bay
to the Gulf of Mexico, and from Nova Scotia to the Black Hills. The collec-
tion of reports, mostly in French and Latin, has been published in sixty-five
volumes, aggregating more than 30,000 pages. They deal with geography,
natural history, travel, religion, martyrdom, work, famine, exploration, and
almost every other topic that could interest a missionary. The records throw
a great deal of light on the Indians of the whole region, but do not deal par-
ticularly with those who then lived or had lived in West Virginia. However,
passages here and there throw light on that matter.
From this information, supplemented by information from other sources,
it is inferred that the extermination of the Indians of West Virginia was com-
pleted about the year 1672 or a full century before the first permanent settle-
ment in Tygart's valley. The work of exterminating those Indians probably
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
extended over several years, and a precise date cannot be claimed, and de-
tails of the affair are meagre.
The annihilation was the work of Indians. That Is one sin that does not
rest on the white man's head, except that it might be indirectly imputed to
Dutch traders along the Hudson river who supplied the guns with which It
was done. In the western part of the state of New York lived tribes of
superior Indians, Including Mohawks, Senecas, and others, known collectively
as Iroquois or Five Nations.
After they procured firearms by barter from the Dutch, they became irre-
sistible to their Indian enemies, who still fought with bows and clubs. Re-
markable conquests followed. West Virginia was swept clean of Its Indian
population, and the Iroquois penetrated as far south as Georgia and west to
the Black Hills.
It Is not unlikely that the village at Mingo was wiped out at that time, as
well as that In the Horse Shoe In Tucker county, but we do not know that
such was the case.
Those northern conquerors were often called "Sennegars," which was
the frontiersman's pronunciation of the tribe Seneca. Their war paths were
sometimes called "Sennegar Trails." One such led south through Virginia
along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge, which was mentioned by early ex-
plorers who watched keenly for "Sennegar smoke" meaning hostile camp
Another "Sennegar Trail," leading from western New York southward,
passed the site of Elklns, and was well Identified, and kept Its name, until
recently, and perhaps some portions may be seen yet. The name is correctly
spelled Seneca, but the former pronunciation was "Sennegar," and very likely
that was the way the Indians pronounced It.
We may guess (but It Is only a guess) that the village at Mingo was de-
stroyed by enemies who came south over that trail, scouting In all directions
for victims. They must have made a clean sweep, for later explorers, John
Sally, In particular, and Christopher Gist later, could not find an Indian camp
between the mountains and the Ohio river, though there were plenty of Indian
"old fields," showing where corn had once been cultivated.
The Indians who made war on the early white settlers in West Virginia,
came, for the most part, from Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.
Fort Seybert was destroyed by Indians, who came over the Seneca trail from
the vicinity of Pittsburgh which was then In possession of the French. Dur-
ing the Revolutionary War, when Indians were specially troublesome, Colonel
Benjamin Wilson of Randolph county, and Colonel William Raymond, of
Monongalla county, had the responsibility of guarding the frontier from the
Greenbrler River to the Pennsylvania line. It was their custom to keep
spies In the woods, watching the crossings of the Ohio, and the paths leading
eastward, In order to give warning if Indians were discovered skulking toward
Four or five families of Indians, from western New York, built a little
village called Bulltown in Braxton county, about 1768, but it lasted only four
or five years, and was destroyed by frontiersmen from Lewis county.
If the monument which it is proposed to build at Mingo shall be dedicat-
ed to "the memory of a vanished race," which once lived there, it will be an act
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
of justice and will commemorate a fact in history ; but if it shall be dedicated
specifically to the Mingo tribe, it will, in my opinion, fall short of historic
accuracy. I am not aware of any fact warranting the conclusion that any
Mingo Indians ever lived in West Virginia.
It is my opinion that if one would go back far enough, he would find
Sioux relatives of Sitting Bull hunting and fishing in West Virginia; but at
any event, if they were there, it must have been long before the time of the
Iroquois irruption that depopulated the region. It is of secondary importance
as to what particular tribe may have occupied Mingo last, as all Indians,
throughout the whole of North and South America, were of one race.
Chicago, April 6, 1920.
BY ANDREW PPICE
We are aggravated by an article in the Randolph Enterprise, from the
pen of Hu Maxwell, in which he casts doubts upon the identity of the Indians
who last inhabited the West Virginia territory. He says that he is "not
aware of any fact warranting the conclusion that any Mingo Indians ever
lived in West Virginia."
In other words, he prides himself upon what he does not know. Prom
the vast sea of human knowledge no one man is ever able to dip up more
than a bucketful of facts, so it is easy for the wisest to make a boast of what
they do not know.
We are getting out of patience with the historians who will neither admit
that the Mingoes lived at Mingo Flats prior to their well known habitat at
Mingo Bottom six miles from Wheeling, nor account for the site of their town
prior to that move. If they did not come from Mingo Flats from whence did
We are ready to do this. We will take the position of the affirmative on
whom must fall the burden of proof and debate before a body of intelligent men
any place at any time the proposition: That about the middle of the 18th
century, to-wit, 1750, the Mingo Indians lived at Mingo Flats and that in
numbers they did not then or at any time prior to their westward emigration
exceed more than one hundred families.
We would bar as judges those who have committed themselves to the
statements that there are no such animals as the Mingoes. Just because the
northern historians failed to note that a small and insignificant tribe fought
a thirty years' war to keep back the tide of white immigration that broke
over the crest of the Alleghany, many have said in their haste that there
were no Mingoes, and the first rule of the historian is to stick to his published
statements however mistaken he may be in the facts.
All we would ask would be men who are able to weigh evidence and give
proper weight to the circumstances. We feel that the poison of the doubter
is about to wipe out the memory and even the identity of the warriors who
terrorized our Immediate ancestors for a full generation, fighting from the
Ohio River to the height of land, knowing every by path and trail, and tak-
ing toll for their lost heritage. That it is time for those of us who are living
to fix the fact that the Mingo was a peculiar West Virginia aborigine, and
the one we are bound to perpetuate and preserve in the interest of truth
As the largest audience that we could hope to have would be but a hand-
ful compared to the minds that we can reach through the printed page, we
will give a short resume of some of the historical evidence that lies at hand
and which ought to be accepted without question. Of course if a person will
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
not believe Moses and the prophets he is in such a mulish state that he will
not believe though one arose from the dead.
It is a tradition with the Mingoes that they are descended from the Eries,
who were broken up and destroyed and absorbed into the Senecas in 1656.
That was a tremendous slaughter. The Eries were in a stockade and they
defied the Iroquois. The Iroquois of which the Senecas were the fighting
fools made it a policy of their nation never to fail to carry by assault any stock-
ade or fort. In this case the slaughter was fearful but they did carry the
stockade and at places human blood ran knee deep. The remnant of the
Eries were broken up into parties and settled with the Senecas along the
Alleghany Mountain far to the south and became by subjugation Iroquois.
The Senecas were known as the "Keepers of the Great Back Doorway"
in the League of the Five Nations, and they never agreed to lay down their
In the course of the next hundred years the Senecas successfully held
the eastern range of mountains in the United States from the Great Lakes
to Georgia. Think of it. As you walk along the street known as Seneca
Trail in this town, you are literally treading in the foot steps of great armies
of Seneca warriors who policed the mountain barrier and held back the
Shawnees and other hostile Indians from the west.
At Mingo Flats for a hundred years was a town that was one of a chain
of forts keeping the "Great Back Doorway." They were counted as Iroquois
warriors and if they had remained loyal to the Iroquois nation it is not likely
that they would have been distinguished by name and heard of in history.
Living at a distance from the Five Nations they were known as Mingoes, a
word that had at that time the same meaning as the British give to the word
But the Mingoes of Mingo Flats were so far from the sphere of influence
of the Iroquois nation that they were corrupted by the Shawnees whose hunt-
ing parties came up the Great Kanawha, New, and Greenbrier Rivers, and
thus reached the out post at Mingo Flats and turned them against their own
nation. There is no question but they, the Mingo Flat Indians, joined the
French in Braddock's war, while the Iroquois remained loyal to England.
And there is no question but that the Mingoes were living at Mingo Flats In
1755, the date of Braddock's Defeat, for David Tygart and Files wrote in
1754 that they would have to leave the valley for they were close to an
Indian village and that it was too dangerous to remain there.
Probably immediately afterwards, the Iroquois drove the Mingoes to the
west bank of the Ohio and in 1766, their town of 60 families was the only
Indian town on the banks of the Ohio from Pittsburgh to Louisville. From
that town they made war on West Virginian settlers for nearly a generation.
They became famous as warriors and the word Mingo which had been more
or less general in its natuie became their own peculiar tribe name. The big
chief Logan had a good deal to do with adding to the fame of the small but
distinctive fighting band.
From Mingo Town of Mingo Bottom, now Steubenville, Ohio, the tribe
moved to the headwaters of the Sciota and Sandusky, sold out to the govern-
ment, moved to Kansas, sold out again, and moved to the Indian Territory,
where they are known as the Sandusky Senecas. In 1905 they numbered 366
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
persons, and have just about held their own since they lived at Mingo Flats.
They fought with the French at Battle of Point Pleasant. Logan did not
come in person to treat for peace after that battle but he sent a speech by
Col. Gibson. Roosevelt did them an injustice to refer to the Mingoes as a
mongrel banditti. Mingo was a term used by the eastern Indians for all the
Iroquois, composed of five and afterwards six nations. The first name that
the Ohio River bore was Black Mingo River. The Black Mingoes were the
Eries, conquered and absorbed by the Senecas, the military branch of the
Five Nations. When the Mingoes of Mingo Flats, driven out of the great
Iroquois nation, retained their organization for the sole purpose of war on
those who dared settle in the West Virginia territory, the colonials gradually
restricted the name to mean those few hundred fighting men on the west
bank of the Ohio who raided this country for a business, keeping up an al-
liance with the Shawnees, a powerful confederacy.
Mingo Flats is the extreme head of the Ohio River. There it is a bold
trout stream issuing from the Cheat Mountain. It is a historical fact that the
tribe that settled near Wheeling lived immediately before that on the head
of the Ohio at a place so far distant from the Iroquois center that they were
thrown more with the Shawnees and Delawares and were thereby weaned
away from their allegiance to the Five Nations. This could not have meant
the head of the Alleghany for there they would have been in the heart of the
Five Nations. Besides the Alleghany rivers is not the head of the Ohio. It
lacks perhaps a hundred miles of being the uttermost fountain. Mingo Flats
is the head of the Ohio and that is the settlement that corresponds to the
description of a town on the head of the Ohio River so far distant from the
home nation as to throw them in constant contact with the Shawnees, and
graves up and down the Greenb'rier Valley bear mute testimony to the fact
that the Shawnee walked in this valley in the early days. Reference is made
generally to the following historical writers on Mingo affairs: Mooney,
Bouquet, Rupp, Cowley, Schoolcraft, Harris, Lang and Taylor.
It is twenty-five miles from Mingo Flats to this place, Marlins Bottom.
At the time that the Mingoes lived at Mingo Flats, there was a fort at Mar-
lins Bottom, in which at times there were as many as 150 soldiers. Without
a break since then the writer and his direct ancestors have lived at Marlins
Bottom, and we have no reason on earth to doubt the truth and fidelity of our
local history. A gentleman in Marlinton remembers his grandmother's story
of the war-whoop of the Indian when Baker and twelve others were killed
here in the last raid. He can almost make you hear that war-whoop now.
He talked with a person who heard it. On the other hand a gentleman from
Chicago who once did a history of Randolph County in the space of six days
and all very good, having given the work of historical research in Tygarts
Valley, a lick and a promise, can only say that he did not find credible evi-
dence of the existence of Mingoes at Mingo Flats, and having said the horse
was sixteen feet high, he will not retract a word of it.
We can tell you how those fiends in human form got the name of Mingoes.
When a pioneer returned from the hunt and found his house in ashes and
the mangled bodies of his family lying there, in the bitterness of his woe he
cried out "Mingo," meaning those nearby hostile Indians who once lived at
Mingo Flats and afterwards moved down the river to Mingo Town, and as
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
the years went by the name was written in blood, and no man should forget
it. And as far as West Virginians are concerned the name Mingo has the
narrow and restricted meaning of one small tribe.
We have taken up more space than we thought to, but we honestly be-
lieve that the present generation can come nearer clearing this muddy water
than any that may come after us, and that it ought to be done.
And in conclusion, we would remind you that names of places is the
most reliable as well as the most concrete evidence of a historical fact where
the word is not capable of a double meaning. Files creek, Tygarts Valley,
Marlins Bottom, Lewisburg, Braddock, and Mingo Flats, each and every one
suggest the history of the place and such are never wrong.
Mingo Flats was called Mingo Flats because the Mingo Indians lived
there and this is capable of proof beyond all reasonable doubt.
ARTICLE IV -A
IMAGINATION VERSUS HISTORY
BY Hu MAXWELL
It is unfortunate that an attempt to do historical Justice in the matter of
dedicating the Indian monument at Mingo should be muddled by the inter-
jection of personalities, as our friend, the editor of the Pocahontas Times,
seems to be trying to do. The question is, did the Mingo Indians have a
village at Mingo? If they did not, it would be misleading to dedicate the
monument to them.
Captain Cobb's article deals with history and shows that all known evi-
dence points to the fact that the Mingoes never lived there. That ought to
settle the matter, unless stronger evidence can be cited to prove the con-
trary. Thus far, no evidence whatever has been brought forward to show that
the Mingoes ever lived there.
What Mr. Price has published proves nothing except his own opinion.
His last article is about 2 per cent history, 8 per cent tradition, and 90 per
cent imagination. When he attempts to cite history, he fails to distinguish
between fact and fiction, as is shown by citing the following four mistakes
in his article:
1. He says: "The first name the Ohio River bore was Black Mingo
River." That is not true, but if it were true, it would prove nothing in regard
to Mingo Indians living in Randolph county.
2. He states: "David Tygart and Files wrote in 1754 that they would
have to leave the valley, for they were close to an Indian village and that it
was too dangerous to remain there." If it were true that this was written
FROM THE RANDOLPH ENTERPRISE
The unveiling of the Indian monument at Mingo, in the southern end of
the county, at the head of the Tygarts Valley river, took place in accordance
with the program on Saturday, September 25, 1920.
The monument stands about 20 feet high and an Indian is represented
standing listening, looking and ready for the "war path" upon short notice.
Some 1,200 or 1,500 people attended the meeting from Pocahontas and
Randolph counties and a few from other sections, who are candidates for
political honors. The dinner served was superb and praised by all who at-
tended as being one of the biggest, best and freest dinners ever offered in the
Capt. H. G. Kump was introduced about 11 o'clock in the morning by
Samuel H. Wood, the promoter of the monument, and the Beverly band an-
nounced that something was on and the Chairman introduced Captain Wm.
H. Cobb, as the first speaker for the occasion. Taking as his subject the
Prehistoric Race, or America before Columbus, Capt. Cobb interested the
people for half an hour, the talk being favorably commented upon and many
requests made that his speech be published.
Hon. Andrew Price of Marlinton, not being satisfied with the articles
heretofore published upon the subject of the Mingoes not having been the
founders of the village of Mingo, insisted in a half hour's address that his
position was correct and detailed some very interesting Indian history. His
remarks were also requested to be put into shape and given to the press.
The dinner hour having arrived, the Chairman was in a mood to enjoy a
good dinner and invited the people to the spread and not only himself, but all
enjoyed what was set before them and the quantity was such that a few hun-
dred more even if they had been half Indians, could have been fed.
The band played and the chairman called for more speeches and intro-
duced the Hon. Roy Waugh of Upshur County, who told some interesting
stories and commented on the question of building a monument to the pioneers
who were slain by the Indians, and in a very happy way entertained the crowd
for twenty minutes.
Hon. Arthur B. Koontz was called and pleasantly introduced. He got off
some good stories and interested the gathering for several minutes taking
Indian "skelpts" and making a very pleasant talk.
Hon. William S. O'Brien being on hand by invitation was introduced and
gave the crowd a talk along the line of the spiritual life and what awaits good
citizenship, and told only one story, but a good one.
Dr. F. H. Barren, who always says the right thing in its proper place was
happy in his remarks and advised that monuments be constructed every year
and mark the historical place in the county, it being good for the community
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
Upon the monument is engraved:
THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED IN
MEMORY OF THE PASSING
OF THE "RED MAN"
An Indian village was located near this place. According to local tradi-
tion it was frequented by the Mingo tribe and at one time was an Iroquois
outpost. Mingo meaning "foreign service." The Mingoes are said to have
been expelled by the Iroquois for disloyalty. This village was on the trail
from the Lakes to the South, but had been abandoned prior to the coming of
the "pale face."
From this tradition came the name of the present village, the Magisterial
District and the adjacent stream Mingo Run.
Tal gah-Jute, John Logan, the Mingo Chief, is supposed to have used this
habitat. He was terrible in warfare, yet humane in peace and was a factor
in Colonial days.
Erected by S. H. Wood and other descendants of the pioneers who located
near "this Indian trail."
BY ANDREW PRICE
In The Pocahontas Times.
The Mingo monument to the vanised Mingo town was unveiled Sept. 25,
1920, with imposing ceremonies in the presence of a large assembly. The
monument is an artistic figure of an Indian chief set upon a pedestal. It is
prominently located on a head-land looking towards the setting sun. It is
about half a mile from the Confederate monument and it adds charm and
interest to Mingo Flats which is naturally one of the beauty spots of the
Hon. S. H. Wood, the old residenter, was the active force behind the move-
ment. The good people of Randolph had furnished a great feast for the occa-
sion and all were well fed. Addresses were made by Hon. H. G. Kump, Hon.
Arthur B. Koontz, Judge W. S. O'Brien, Capt. W. H. Cobb, Hon. Roy Waugh,
and Andrew Price, the last named being us, having been invited to attend
and testify as to what had occurred some hundreds of years prior.
It was agreed that it was a historical meeting, and the crowd was asked
to indicate its love for the study of history, and one person held up his hand
but for all that the audience listened intently, drawing near on the sod to
the great well of truth as it issued from the grandstand.
Liars are said to be divided into three portions for comparison, as liars,
damned liars, and historians, and for that reason a good text to indicate the
spirit of the address would be a part of a verse of Scripture which being
slightly altered from the ancient Hebrew was to the effect: "Ananias stand
fourth," and that we were perfectly willing to enact the part of Ananias, if
Lawyer Kump, Captain Cobb, and Judge O'Brien, would stand first, second
and third, respectively.
And in order to keep the record straight it should be stated that accord-
ing to the passage in the well beloved McGuffey, "I come to bury Caesar and
not to praise him," for we belong to the school which holds fast to the belief
that a good Indian is a dead Indian.
There has been some criticism as to the propriety of the descendants of
the pioneers honoring the memory of a cruel and a treacherous foe, but as
we read the scroll of ancient events, there never was a time when the moun-
taineers were not perfectly happy and willing to bury the Mingo and bury
him deep. And the importance of this enduring monument is emphasized by
the fact that already doubters have arisen who are asserting that the head of
the valley was not peopled by a tribe of Indians who have wandered from this
place through the wilderness to the west, keeping their tribal identity until
they found their present place of abode in the Indian Territory. And while
we of the present day do not know it all, we do know more about the first
inhabitants of the valley than those who will come after us, and it is fitting
that we do know what the pioneers might have done in a day that is dead,
and fix the fact beyond dispute.
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
Authentic history reaches back into the seventeenth century and it is
crystallized from the time that the white people became firmly established on
the Atlantic seaboard. From that time the Indians were forced back into the
mountains and the white people were assigned to the country lying between
the mountains and the ocean. The Indian tribes became a confederacy under
the name of the Iroquois or the Five Nations, and the division of the territory
was so complete and endured for so many generations, that it was believed to
be a permanent thing, and like our constitution which has not as yet lasted as
long as the partition of lands, it must have seemed to the slow generations of
those former times, that the division of territory was forever.
When it was first made, the settlers on the seacoast had a vague idea of
the rich mountain country in which we now live, and believed that they were
too rugged to explore. One of the favorite fallacies of those days was that
the snow never melted in the summer time on these hills.
Up until comparatively modern times, the most authentic accounts of the
mountains and the lands west of them were the reports of the Jesuits who
went there as missionaries to the Indians.
When the Iroquois had become firmly established as a nation, the land
drained by the Ohio river from the great lakes to the Ohio, was held by a
powerful tribe of Indians known as the Eries, but they are constantly referred
to as the Cat Nation, because their tribal sign was that of the panther. This
is the tribe of whom it was reported by a priestly voyaguer, that he floated
down one of the rivers in the State of Ohio without ever being out of sight
of a corn field.
Up to the year 1653, the Iroquois had a treaty of peace with this nation
which was renewed at stated times with imposing ceremonies. That year,
thirty ambassadors appeared at the council lodge of the Iroquois for the pur-
pose of continuing the treaty. When they had arrived, and before the meet-
ing, a dispute arose, and one of the ambassadors killed an Iroquois chief.
Whereupon the Iroquois arose and killed all but five of the visitors, and war
broke out between the nations, and lasted for three years.
The end of the war came in 1656, at which time 1800 Iroquois appeared
before a fort in the Cat Nation and demanded that it surrender to save car-
nage, for the invading chief told them that it was useless to resist for the
Master of Life fought for them. The Eries replied that they depended upon
their arms and acknowledged no other power. In this fort there were an
army of 4000 warriors and the women and children of the tribe. Reading be-
tween the lines, the superiority of the attacking force must have consisted in
a cannon and gun-power for the fort was taken and the Iroquois entered the
fort and the carnage was so great among them that blood was knee deep in
It is reasonable to suppose that the great fort that was taken at that
time was the one still preserved by the State of Ohio, known as Fort Ancient,
in Warren County. It is a headland about three hundred feet high overlook-
ing the Miami river fenced in by a wall varying in height from 6 feet to 19
feet and ennclosing a boundary of one hundred acres of land. This fort is
well preserved but was abandoned prior to exploration and it is pretty certain
that it marked the spot where the Cat Nation was conquered, for only such a
fort could have contained the fifteen or twenty thousand Indians present at
the time of the great battle.
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
The Eries surviving were absorbed into the Iroquois nation, and as the
Senecas of that nation occupied the western border they naturally became the
tribe of the conquered people, and their numbers were so great that the towns
of the Senecas increased from four to thirty. And this frontier work of guard-
ing and amalgamating with a conquered people naturally resulted in the Se-
necas becoming the military department and power of the Iroquois nation.
Prior to this time the Ohio River was named the Black Mingo River, and
the Indians living on the waters of that river, with the intolerance of race,
were called Mingoes, meaning a stealthy treacherous people, by those living
to the east of them. This racial feeling is like that which prompts us to call
Italians, Dagoes, and Austrians, Bohunks, which to say the least are words
of little esteem.
And so the Iroquois council found a question of foreign affairs before it.
In considering it, they referred to it as their mingo problems. A part of the
policy was to mix the native stock with the mingo element and form a line of
villages reaching from the St. Lawrence river south to Georgia, policing the
whole line of the Endless Mountains. In council, if a statesman arose to bring
up the subject of the faraway village on the head of the Tygarts Valley River,
he would probably say: "I want to take up the question of supplies for one
of our mingo towns," just as a congressman might say today: "Here is a mat-
ter about our colonial possessions." In the Iroquois council we can almost
hear a chief say to the English ambassador stationed at the Capital of the
Five Nations: "Yes, we of the old original stock respect the contracts we
have made with the English, but our widely scattered mingo settlements are
of mixed blood and we can never be sure that they understand the bond that
is between us. And then they are apt to be influenced by strange tribes like
the Delewares and Shawnees."
It is interesting to trace the origin of the word Mingo. It first meant
chief or greatest. It became the name of the great river. Then it was used
as a word to denote the inhabitants of the country drained by that river.
Then to distinguish the foreign from the native blood of the Iroquois. Then
to designate the towns which were located in faraway parts of their posses-
sions. And finally by the pioneer white men to mean a particularly deadly
tribe of Indian outlaws who having moved to the far bank of the Ohio harried
this country for more than twenty years during the days of the first settle-
ments west of the Alleghany. The English tongue in spite of the fact that
it is fixed and made definite by the art of printing, is constantly changing the
meaning of its words. For example, a few generations ago the word villain
meant a tenant, and the word miser meant a sick person. Both are in uni-
versal use today with the meaning wholly changed, and the old meaning all
The Batts and Fallam expedition got as far as the Big Kanawha in 1671,
and reported the signs of a Indian town near the falls where the fields were
grown up with weeds, small prickly locusts and thistles. That reference to
second growth locusts tells its own tale to a man of these mountains. It fixes
the date the site was abandoned as fifteen years before the end of the great
It is fairly certain that from 1656 to 1756, an even hundred years, that
the Five Nations, that is the Iroquois, maintained a fighting town or garrison
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
on this part of the great Seneca Trail, which extended the whole length of the
Appalachian Mountains. There is a trace of an old fort in the old field that
gives the name to the Old Field Fork of Elk, fifteen miles east of Mingo
Flats. There is a possibility of that being the town for a time. But in 1754,
David Tygart wrote a letter from this valley saying that he would have to
leave on account of the proximity of an Indian Village. And he did get safely
away, but the Files family on the creek of that name at Beverly, did not get
away and they were all killed by these Indians that same year, and their
bleached bones found and interred in 1772, eighteen years after.
We know that the Iroquois tried to help Braddock in 1755, and that they
were driven away from his army by that martinet. We know that tribe
moved away from this place in 1756, and that they went just beyond the juris-
diction of the Iroquois. There can be little doubt that they had a hand in the
massacre of the army under Braddock, and that they left or were driven out
by order of the Iroquois council in 1756. The killing of the Files family in
1754 shows that they were being corrupted by the deadly Shawnee and were
getting out of hand.
From 1766, to the present day their history is definite. In 1766 they were
found at Mingo Bottom, six miles above Wheeling, which was the only Indian
settlement immediately upon the Ohio river between Pittsburgh and Louis-
ville.They told the early explorers that they had been there for ten years and
that they moved down from the head of the Ohio ten years before. The Ohio
has two heads, the river forking at Pittsburgh. But the Tygarts Valley River
and the Monongahela form by far the longest fork. The water does not
divide evenly at Pittsburgh. The southern fork is the longer by at least fifty
miles. But the clinching fact that this is the uttermost fountain of the Ohio
where they lived is that they were near the Shawnees and the Delawares.
That is true of Mingo Flats and it could not be true of the headwaters of the
Alleghany River, the north fork, for the Shawnees were southern Indians
forced by the Cherokees. The Shawnees were split by the mountains, one
part going to the east and settling in the Valley of Virginia and the other in
southern Ohio, so that the road between the two Shawnee places ran by or
through Mingo Flats, and the Delawares, originally from Delaware river were
allied with the Shawnees in the French and Indian war of the seventeen
There will never be a better time than now to fix the facts in history.
Here is the chart of the Mingo Indians, so called because of the handiwork
shown in the signs of the atrocities they committed on the pioneer settlement
of our ancestors:
In 1755, at Mingo Flats, Randolph County, West Virginia. In 1766, at
Mingo Bottom, now Steubenville, Ohio, numbering 60 families, making a total
of about 300 persons. In 1800 they lived on their own lands on the head of
the Sandusky and the head of the Scioto Rivers. In 1831, they numbered 251.
This is the year that they sold their lands in Ohio, and moved to lands on the
Neosho River in the State of Kansas, where they lived until 1867, when they
moved to the Indian Territory, where they now live. In 1885 the number of
the tribe was 239, but in 1905 they numbered 366. The tribe seems to have
just about held its own all these years, and it seems a matter of regret that
an effort was not made to have a representative of the tribe present on this
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
After the tribe left here the most notable conflict with them In this
neighborhood occurred In 1780. Thomas Lackey saw Indian tracks at Valley
Head, and thought he herad a voice saying, "Let him alone and he will go
and bring more," which is a clear case of telepathy. He warned the settlers
at Fort Hadden, but the next day a party under Jacob Warwick, returning to
the Greenbrier settlements were fired upon by Indians in ambush, and three
men killed: John McLain, James Ralston, and John Nelson. James Crouch
was wounded but escaped. Thus passed the names of McLain, Ralston, and
Nelson from this valley, but Crouch has many descendants. A similar preser-
vation of a name occurred in Pocahontas County, the same campaign. Two
men, Hill and Baker, went to the river to wash. The Indians fired on them
and killed Baker, and his name faded away, but Hill escaped and his name
is one of the most common of family names in that county.
We are here to dedicate a monument to the memory of a bitter foe, and
to preserve an historical truth by writing it upon tablets of stone. And every
effort that is made to preserve the memory of those heroic times is to be
applauded and encouraged. And no less important is the duty that each and
everyone of us owe to the lives of the departed of our families and friends
to mark the last resting place.
Many years ago there lived in Scotland a man by the name of Robert
Patterson who had reached the age of eighty-six years at the date of his
death. The last forty years of his life were spent on traveling from church-
yard to churchyard restoring with his chisel, the tablets marking the graves
of the Hill-men or Cameronians, who had been persecuted for their faith. As
it is so beautifully put:
"In the dream of the night I was wafted away,
To the moorland of mist where the martyrs lay;
Where Cameron's sword and his Bible are seen
Engraved on the stone where the heather grows green."
This remarkable man would accept nothing for his work and Sir Walter
Scott named one of his immortal works for him by calling it by the name
that had been given Robert Patterson, to-wit: "Old Mortality." Yet when
it occurred to Sir Walter Scott to search out the place where Robert Patter-
son lay buried in order to place a modest monument there, he could not dis-
cover the place though the most exhaustive and diligent search was made.
What a comment upon the lack of appreciation of those Old Mortality labored
And in this connection, mention should be made of the fact that under
the laws of this land that burial expenses are made the first charge upon the
estate of a descendant, and these are to be paid even before debts due the
nation or taxes and levies. And it is not too much to say that burial expenses
ought to include the cost of a monument in proportion to the size of the
estate accumulated, and that if we could imagine a descendant objecting to
this tribute to the life and memory of the departed, that courts would so hold.
"Our lives are like the prints which feet
Have left on Tampa's desert strand;
Soon as the rising tide shall beat,
All trace will vanish from the sand."
Address at the Unveiling of the Mingo Monument
BY CAPTAIN WILLIAM H. COBB
On a former occasion, in connection with the proposal to build a monument
you are today unveiling, I was called upon to give an account of the Mingo
Indians, and having paid my respects to them, and indirectly to those who
made this site, in former times sacred to the Indians, I shall not, therefore,
follow the line of the article which some of you honored me by reading, but
will confine my remarks to an historic race that preceded the tribe we call
The subject of America before Columbus is not known as it deserves to
be known by our people, and thought by many not to be known by any, but
in that respect you may be mistaken, for the trace of man is never lost, though
It be thousands of years in the past, and when we say the past, it may mean
many thousands of years, so remote that man dreams of such an age.
Some confusion among anthropologists has occurred in tracing man and
his works in the past, and that for the reason that they all do not agree upon
the theory of the creation of the earth and man. The scientist looks only to
facts as he finds and sees them, while the biblical anthropologist keeps in
mind the Mosaic theory of creation and that only six thousand years, or nearly,
have transpired since man came upon the earth.
The men whom the scientific world acknowledge as authority upon the
subject of the human race in America, place man here as long ago as two
hundred thousand years; some much longer; and others probably not as long;
while those of the biblical account would place the prehistoric man upon
the continent from 6 to 7 thousand years and would not yield one day more;
but it would appear that a class of civilization existed in America long cen-
turies before any certain and definite history is recorded in the Mediterranean
country or Asia Minor.
Who was the prehistoric man in America? From whence did he come?
And of what race? These questions have not been answered and we have no
certain account and probably never shall know.
We know the Mound Builders and the Cliff Dwellers were different and
distinct races, or at least, their habits and characteristics were different and
they did not follow the same path at the same time.
If we recall our Bible history correctly, one of the twelve tribes of Israel
was lost and unaccounted for and the Jew has undertaken to account for this
tribe coming to the western hemisphere and being the ancestors of the
American Indian, but I have never been able to follow their course of reason
to a favorable conclusion as to the correctness of the theory.
So long ago as Plato, a few hundred years before the birth of Christ,
he gave us an indefinite description of the "Elysium fields," or as others have
interpreted it, "the Western Continent," and not only a vivid description of
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
the climate, the people and the glories thereof, but of a mighty race that
measured favorably with the known Mediterranean country, and there can now
be no doubt that his writings and those of like nature in part inspired in
Columbus the ambition to discover and locate that delightful country. In this
story Plato is pictured as listening at the feet of an Egyptian philosopher,
who told him that Troy and her heroes in war, then ancient, was but as a
child in age. Homer sang of such Elysium fields, as did many who followed
him in early ancient Greece.
That a civilization existed in America along with Egypt, Greece and
Babylonian civilization, I take it that no scholar denies, but accepts it as a
fact, and that this civilization was equally as high, is in fact true.
In the walks of life, in agriculture, in art, in architecture, in mathematics
and in the implements of war, our greatness is largely measured by our ability
to slay the most men. We see in prehistoric America nothing superior in the
eastern countries of Asia, Europe or Africa.
In the line of agriculture these people raised the corn, the squash, the
gourd and many of the modern vegetables of this day, including the bean,
tobacco and the vine. These have been located in fhe Mounds, and there
through ages have been planted and grown the same wheat and corn we now
produce. These, in the days of which I speak, were fields of hundreds of acres
scattered universally over the country and not as the recent Indian cultivated
his patch of corn and tobacco or had his squaw do it, but these early people in
America were farmers in fact.
In art, there has probably never been seen in the East articles of greater
fineness and requiring more skill than what has been turned out by these pre-
historic people. The vase they produced was an ornament of wonder, and of
different shades and designs; and their cooking vessels were of no mean
design; their cups were patterns of the present generation. The fernery
vases were the pride of the age and no less than 800 or 1000 have been taken
from one mound in the state of Mississippi. Nor were they wanting in paint-
ings and pictures in which all life was represented, such as the birds, the
animals and the snake, the smoke a thing that has figured the world over
in religion and myths since the creation of man; and while we look upon
these early people as without vision and resources, if we only reflect, we are
now practicing many of the pagan ideas that controlled them.
In architecture, the inhabitants of Mexico and Peru were artists, and while
the houses were of the one story character generally, the decorations were so
splendid and gorgeous that they would have been creditable to a home in
the glorious days of Rome or Greece. Curtains of the finest texture and
brilliant colors fell over the doors and the stucco floors were covered with
mats of exquisite workmanship, representing an artistic taste that has prob-
ably not been surpassed in any age. Another work of art and industry, and
now followed by the Indian, was feather work in which no people has excelled
We have been told that the art of embalming has been lost as practiced
by the Egyptians, and while that is true, it is probable that the embalmer of
the Nile had nothing on the prehistoric American in this art. These people
built crypts, constructed of stone or beaten or sun dried earth, for the preser-
vation of the bodies; the body first having been chemically treated, and in this
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
state, after thousands of years, the skeletons have been found in a surprisingly
good state of preservation. The art of cremating was practiced, this being
carried out, in a way, along the lines of the modern custom. These customs
belonged strictly to the civilization of the true prehistoric races of both
North, Central and South America, and like the Egyptian civilization, the fine
arts were lost and the rude and rough customs took their places.
If gorgeous flowers, mourners, the lying of the corpse in state, the viewing
of the body by the family and friends, and guards standing by for protection,
with the practice of sacrificing human beings, as readily as Abraham offered
his only son Isaac, if this constitutes the higher civilization, then these pre-
historic Americans were in the class of the earliest Egyptians, Babylonians
In the mounds in which these bodies were placed we find that the de-
ceased were men of renown and wealth, and a part of their belongings were
buried with them. In these burial places and by their sides we find the sea
shell from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mexican Gulf; the copper from the
shores of Lake Superior; mica from North Carolina; silver from Mexico; lead
from Wisconsin; jade from Chili; the skin and painting of the Rocky Moun-
tain lion, these things representing the commercial intercourse of the people
from the Arctic Ocean to Cape Horn. How this commerce was carried on
is only explained by the art of the canoe and sail boat and overland travel,
but certain it is that it occurred and was no more marvelous than the travel in
Asia or Africa at that time.
The mound builder, who figured so extensively in Ohio, and in fact in
all parts of the United States, constructed nearly 10,000 mounds alone in that
state, and it is said that if these mounds were placed side by side they would
give a length of over 300 miles. The swampy section of Missouri is especially
noted for its mounds, and the two states and Illinois have 2500 known
moun'ds. Canals to connect lakes in Florida were constructed and were also
built in our western country for irrigation purposes, and it would seem that
some of these were built prior to the extension of volcanic activities in the
Rocky Mountain region.
The mummies of this age have been found wrapped in cotton, cloth and
skins, with feathers as an ornament, which were rolled in mats and bound
with rods strung together, resembling Japanese blinds.
The religions of this people were along uncertain lines, as has been the
history of the world over, and while it was definite in a sense, and at times
directed from those in authority, it was never accepted as a whole, and there
were no doubt Pharisees, Sadducees, conformists and infidels, as is and al-
ways has been the practice of both the civilization and the barbarian, or half
In this connection, it is upon the subject to say that in the high civiliza-
tion of Mexico and Peru that priests and ministers were brought up in the
faith of the day; that boys and girls were, at an early age, specially taught
for religious work, their faith being in a supreme being, which might have
been worshipped through the sun, moon or stars; or, as in some instances,
there was the ancestral worship, similar to China and Japan. But in this it
should be remembered that there is a faith beyond the ancestor, that is sup-
posed to be reached through the parent.
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
It should be here stated that there is not, so far as we can get information,
a great and distinct difference between the beliefs and practices of these
people, and that of a similar date in the old world. They did not know and
were not absolutely certain and fixed in their minds, nor were the people of
any other ancient country, just what the life of man meant or what future
awaited them, and from the teaching of our day, mixed with spiritualism and
thousands of other "isms" of the day, a man who thinks is none too certain
himself, certain that he does not know.
In matters of government, these people exhibited the same disposition
that has ruled man from the very earliest day, that the stronger should rule
the weaker, if not by will, by force.
And if we know the history of the people from the remotest age,
whether in the old or in the new world, we find the same traits and charac-
teristics in tribes and nations, the stronger ruling the weaker, if men and
implements of war can enforce it; and under this practice history teaches us
that nations have risen to their heights in Asia, Europe and Africa, and In
turn been wiped out by some other great power. No matter what country
we point to in the distant history, it has gone the way of the other.
Leagues of Nations and Alliances were not unknown to the prehistoric
race in America and for the moment worked in theory, but in time distant
races and those not in harmony with the greater would rebel and seek to
live to themselevs and worship God under their own vine and fig tree. This
would bring dow'n the wrath of the League upon them and in instances this
has brought destruction upon the strong in waging war upon a distant tribe.
The alliance with the central head in Mexico, about the center of the western
hemisphere, was never able to enforce strict observance by the outer tribes
In studying these people, it is of interest to know that every color of
mankind was represented in prehistoric America, and that brings us to the
question as to whether all races sprung from the Adam-Rvo race or whether
there was a preadamite and that theory is not without Interest, but time
will not permit its discussion.
My reading and study upon the question of the origin of the human race
has brought me to the belief that man is indigenous to America; that is, that
the prehistoric man of the western hemisphere was created or brought to
being in this country, and that in no wise conflicts with the biblical story of
the creation; man could have gone from this country as well as from Asia to
America and God could have started the race here as well as in Asia.
The Irish have given an interesting account of St. Brendon in the 6th
century, coming to America on his two trips covering a period of eleven
years, and who was, they claim, the first to plant the cross of Christ on the
continent. On this point great stress is laid upon the fact or assertion that
the Cross was religiously recognized by the people upon Columbus' discovery.
The cross may, and probably did eixst, at this time in America, and if so
for the same reason it existed in the eastern countries before Christ.
It is also claimed by Buddhists that monks of the 5th century visited
America and planted their religion and instituted their rites and ceremonies
among the people, and this claim has ground to stand upon. But with all of
this, I am inclined to the belief that neither Christian, Irish priest or
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
Buddhist, before Columbus, ever planted any religious Doctrines here, but on
the other hand that the great God of the Universe gave, through nature, the
religious beliefs they possessed and nature did this in the same way she
imparts inspiration the world over.
The study of man, the race and the nation has brought the student to the
conclusion that all men sprung from the same source; that the same God
created them, and you may trace the race from the original to the present
time and no special characteristic appears in one from the other to any
material extent. So we have to conclude that man, the world over, has been
uniformly good and great and uniformly wicked and evil, in this, that at
times, a great and good spirit has ruled him and that at others the evil has
directed his walk. That at different times in the history of many of the
races or nations of men, there has been greatness in the national and spiritual
life of the nation, and following the fate of their predecessors, have fallen
into the depths of depravity.
On the ruins of Troy of old, for centuries the world accepted the story
of Troy as only a fancied story of Homer, and when excavations developed
the ruins, they discovered the city as described by poets, they also found
buried underneath the city of Trojan fame, two other buried cities of which
no account of their date was obtainable. It may have been that the ray of
history kept alive by repeating the story from one generation to the other,
gave Plato and others of his age the key to the story of an ancient race that
lived to the west of the Atlantic and that in antiquity and greatness and
beauty their country was but an infant.
This may be a fancy, but there is ground for the belief. Research in the
western hemisphere has developed grandeur that is not surpassed by the
wonders of the pyramids of Egypt and possibly more ancient or co-equal in
age. These structures fully define the use of the square, the circle, the
triangle and other geometrical figures. According to competent engineers it
would take thousands of workmen, well provided with modern machinery, an
age to construct and build one of the great temples in Peru. The stones going
into some of these structures were 37 ft. in length and 8 ft. in thickness and
are estimated to weigh 200 tons, and removed from a quarry 40 miles away.
In this way we can conceive how ancient our country is and what may have
occurred in the whole history of the ages it has passed through.
We are prone to regard the prehistoric man of America as a barbarian,
and the last of the race was largely so. Nevertheless, the man of thousands
of years ago measured well with the civilization of other countries and es-
pecially the countries we would refer to as havTng a glorious history.
It is true these people had customs we now condemn and attribute to
the evil, or ignorance of the time. But when we reflect that they too had
their superstitions and burned man for witchcraft, we did Ihe same at a
period not too remote in European history, and under the laws of Massa-
chusetts, not two hundred years aog, witchcraft was a violation of both the
material and spiritual laws. Witchcraft was in vogue in the time of the Jew,
for Saul in distress called upon the witch of Endor to put him in communi-
cation with the departed Samuel, and if the Jew could practice it, why not
in the western hemisphere, and if the good spirit led Abraham to offer his son
as a sacrifice, why not permit the American man to follow also his dictations
from his gods.
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
In conclusion, let me suggest one thought as to the age of man in
America: Bancroft In his "Native Races of the Pacific States" tells us
America was peopled from Asia, but the Jesup research informs us that "A
notable effort was made under the auspices of Morris K. Jesup, president of
the American Museum of Natural History, to settle more definitely the ques-
tion of the origin of the American Indians. Mr. Jesup, in consultation with
a number of eminent anthropologists, came to the conclusion that the only
satisfactory way to discover, if there were any evidences of contact between
the early settlers of America and Asia, was to make a thorough investigation
of the oldest remaining tribes of both countries. With this end in view the
"Jesup North American Expedition of the American Museum of Natural His-
tory" was organized in 1897, and for seven years it studied the characteristics,
customs, traditions and languages of the Indian tribes in America from the
Columbia River to Northern Alaska, and in Asia as far south as the line of
civilization. By studying how long the tribes had been on the Pacific Coast,
what changes had taken place in the tribal physical characteristics, and what
relation the various tribes bore to one another, it was possible to trace the
relationship between the Asiatic and American tribes, and probably the cause
of emigration in prehistoric times. The result of the expedition points to
the existence of Intimate relationship between the Asiatic and American
Indians, and the conclusion of the members of the expedition is that the Indian
originated in America and spread Into Asia."
Taking the prehistoric man in Peru as an example of the advancement in
the arts of civilization, we find them prior to the coming of Columbus with
post and military roads such as Ceasar built in his campaigns against the
people in Western Europe and in fact as highly commendable as European
roads of the first class, and such road leading from the capitol of their country
to the utmost limits of the state; with stone culverts over the small streams
and ravines, and swinging bridges over the rivers, and over these roads
daily postmen, guards and other officials with information for the different
branches of the government passed, along which houses were provided for
resting and refreshment stations, and over which the fruits and fish of the
coast country was carried to the ruler and royal family.
The Spartan government of three thousand years ago was probably no
wiser In its establishment than this ancient country and It might appear that
the two countries had, though thousands of miles separated and a different
tongue, many of the features were similar. The citizenship was divided into
classes of 50; Into 100; into 500 and into 1000, over which was an officer, who
ruled them in accordance with the laws provided by tfie king.
Judges were appointed over the people to judge of the crimes committed
and injustice done the citizen, and in most cases the verdict was death,
though it could be mitigated. It was a capitol offence to turn the water from
a neighbors field into your own; blasphemy against the sun was a capitol
offense and so was the burning of a bridge or the crime of adultery.
The production of the whole state was divided into three parts, the first
of which went to the Sun-God (his representatives) the second to the Inca
the king and the third and last to the people, and in this it would eeem
that the Jewish idea prevailed in the observance of the sun-god.
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
The land was divided among all the people every man having a certain
parcel, and this was given at marriage and as the children came, extra
acreage was further granted, and as the children were married off, certain
acreage was deducted from the crown tenant, and at certain intervals, the
whole went back to the king and another division was made, and in this way
no unconditional grant was ever fixed in one party. The guano deposits of
the Pacific Coast was utilized for the enrichment of the soil and enlarging
the crops to maintain the dense population.
A strict registration was required of the births and deaths of the people,
which is very similar of this date of all countries to take a census upon
conquering a new country and keeping in touch with the whole of the
Another provision of the Peruvian government was to establish and main-
tain a series of store houses or magazines over the country and a certain
portion of all the agricultural production was therein stored, a provision in
case of war, widows and orphans and lastly a famine, as was done in Egypt
when the Jews visited that country.
The king, his family and the princes, as of old and as at present where
they exist, were the wards of the country and this country was no exception
to all others, in both good government at times and bad at others. Gold and
silver; corn, cotton, wool and the other modern productions were the staples
of the date in of which we speak.
The sun, with other lesser gods were the source of worship, and this
worship was required of the people, especially of the laymen, who could have
but one wife, while the royalty could have all he wanted such was the
history in the western hemisphere a few thousand years ago; times have
changed many things, but the human characteristics still exist.
The characteristic government of the Inca's in Peru at the coming of
Columbus is but the kindred in character of those through Central and North
America, at that time long past their zenith in greatness; their heights hav-
ing been reached many centuries before. The most gorgeous temple of pre-
historical times was probably in Chololu, in Mexico, where the outer walls
covered acres of ground, the temple being 1400 feet long and the perpen-
dicular walls rising 177 feet and covering more ground than the jyramids of
Egypt and its antiquity records by equal centuries.
Near the city of Mexico stood the capitol, which probably represented
the nations, states and empires of the western hemisphere, where slaves,
criminals and captive tribes were sacrificed by the thousands for rebellious-
ness and to appease the gods of war. Yucatan, if we rely upon the excavation
made by scientist, antiquarians and scholars, once contained a citizenship
far surpassing that of any other country of equal antiquity.
In our south western country of Arizona there existed an agricultural
advancement rivaling what our government and people contemplate by
modern irrigation in that section and when that country is made the garden
spot, agriculturally, in America, it will probably not far surpass what it was
under the reign of the prehistoric America. The canal was in operation in
that section when the Jew was making the sun-dried brick in Egypt and the
prehistoric man, of which we speak, was making a similar one for his people;
the magazine or store house was annually supplied for a "seven year famine,"
HISTORY OF THE MINGO INDIANS
and the civilization moving then in the East four thousand years ago did not
surpass that of the West, and it would seem that the same spirit of advance-
ment, both spiritually and materially moved equally for the good and evil
It is not at all improbable that in our middle and western prairie states
were, as has been stated by writers, once covered with a forest as dense as
the**eastern and western sections of our country, but cleared for agricultural
purposes in order to sustain an immense population.
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