STATEMENT OF I-SEE-O
Sworn Statement of I-See-O concerning the location
of the Medicine Lodge Treaty in October 1867.
Medicine Lodge, Kansas, April 7, 1926.
I the undersigned I-See-O do under oath make the following statement concerning the location of the signing of the Peace Treaty between the five tribes of plains Indians and United States Government in October 1867, on the Medicine River in Barber County, Kansas, known as the Medicine Lodge Treaty.
That I was present at the said peace treaty as a member of the Kiowa tribe of Indians, and that for a period of about three weeks during the said October while the negotiations were going on, I became well acquainted with the surrounding country.
That the Peace Council met just below the confluence of two streams of water, the one coming from a northerly direction, called the Medicine River. That the stream coming from the northerly direction was heavily wooded with elm trees, and that for some distance above its mouth it passed through a low swampy, heavily wooded country. That this creek was about the size of the creek, now just east of the present city of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, known as Elm Creek.
That the ground whereon the Peace Council was held was heavily wooded with elm and some cottonwood. That from the location of the Peace Council, could be seen a solitary mountain or great hill some six or eight miles in a Southwesterly direction, called by the Indians A-ya-dalda, meaning Timber Hill.
That there were three locations of Indians on the Medicine River during these treaty negotiations; The first location being the site of the Peace Council; The second being a location some two or three miles above the spot where the Peace Council met; and the third location being some few miles above the first and second locations.
That after the Peace Treaty was signed the Indians desiring better forage for their ponies moved about three miles up the Medicine River and there received annuities and presents from the Government.
That the Cheyenne tribe was camped on a third location still farther up the Medicine River, being afraid to bring their families down to the Peace Council, only the men coming down to attend the same. I recollect stories told by some of these Cheyennes that great droves of turkeys invaded the camp at the above location.
After closely studying the ground from a point below Medicine Lodge City of today up the Medicine River to Sun City, and being uninfluenced by any motive other than a desire to locate the exact place of the signing of the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty, I unhesitatingly state - That the Peace Council met just below the confluence of the two streams of water known as Elm Creek and the Medicine River about one-half mile southwest of the present city of Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this Seventh day of April 1926.
J. Fuller Groom.
My commission expires May 21, 1928.
Mrs. Geo. Hibbard
J. Fuller Groom
Rachel Ann Nixon
Joseph C. Hinshaw
Frank B. Chapin
Sergeant I-See-O, Kiowa Indian Chief, is pointing out the circular row of stumps, all that remains of the grove of elm trees under whose shade the famous Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Council was held and the Treaty signed in October 1867. Chief I-See-O was present at the council.
Sergeant I-See-O, a chief of the Kiowa tribe of Indians, his nephew, Geo. Hunt and Mrs. Hunt came to Medicine Lodge in the spring of 1926 in response to a message from the Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Council Treaty Memorial Association, asking for the help of I-See-O in locating the exact spot where the famous treaty was held in the latter part of October 1867.
I-See-O, then a young man of 18, was present at the council and believed he would to able to locate the spot where the Peace Commissioners met the various tribes of Plains Indians.
Practically all of one day was taken in definitely locating the place where the treaty was actually signed. Accompanied by the committee of citizens who had been instrumental in bringing him to Medicine Lodge, I-See-O, his interpreter, George Hunt and Mrs. Hunt visited a number of points from which a good view of the river and surrounding country could be obtained.
I-See-O stated that the place should not be difficult to locate, as "The signing of the Treaty took place on the north bank of the Medicine River and southeast of another stream of considerable size that flowed into the Medicine River from the north. The banks of the stream flowing into the Medicine were heavily wooded with elm and cottonwood, and near the point where the two streams met the ground was flat and rather marshy with some springs. On this expanse of level ground in the angle formed by the confluence of the two streams, was a large grove of tall elms. Looking southwest from the grove over the Medicine River, could be seen about five miles away an isolated hill with cedar trees on it. The treaty was actually signed in this grove of elm trees."
With this detailed description provided by I-See-O the party then visited all points on the River to which the description could in any sense apply, from Turkey Creek in Sun City township to a point south of Medicine Lodge. To all points west of Medicine Lodge, however I-See-O objected on the grounds that the hills were too near; the stream flowing in from the north was much too small, and the general contour of the ground did not agree with his recollection of the place where the Treaty Council was held.
On reaching a point just south of Medicine Lodge, where Elm Creek flows into the Medicine River, I-See-O recognized the surroundings, and declared that was the place where the Treaties were signed. This location is on the D. W. Stone place, perhaps 300 yards southwest from the end of the concrete bridge on South Main Street over Elm Creek and thus a quarter to half mile south of Medicine Lodge.
I-See-O pointed out that here was a large tract of level ground, on the north of the Medicine River, and southeast of a stream entering it from the north. The ground was damp with some springs - one isolated peak of the gyp hills could be seen over the south bank of the Medicine River - and amid the stumps of a large circle of elm trees that had been felled in years past, but which by their diameter still showed the size and age of the original trees - I-See-O felt that he could definitely locate even the grove in which the memorable event took place.
While visiting other locations on the River, I-See-O brought out two interesting points which account for rumors that the treaty might have been signed elsewhere. He stated that after the treaty had been signed, and when the presents were to be distributed to the Indians, it was found that the thousands of ponies had exhausted the pasturage at that point, and the assembled tribes decided to move a few miles up the River to a place where their ponies could find better pasture. I-See-O located this point at the field east of the H. W. Skinner residence. Any of our readers who possess a photo of the old drawings of the Peace Council published in Harpers Weekly can confirm this location by standing on the Lake City road a little to the west of the Mrs. Harry Stone place, and looking in a southwesterly direction over the H. W. Skinner farm. The River, the banks and other topographical features are identical with the upper half of the Harpers Weekly sketch, showing the distribution of the goods to the Indians after signing of the treaty.
I-See-O also pointed out that the Cheyenne, still warlike and afraid of the soldiers that accompanied the Commission, refused to pitch their teepees near those of the other tribes but made a separate camp some miles up the river, and left their families there while the chiefs of the tribe attended the council. The location of the Cheyenne camp was not definitely established but I-See-O thought it would be along the river between Lake City and Sun City. He mentioned that the Cheyenne camp was so overrun by wild turkeys that the Indians did not have to shoot them, but merely knocked them over with clubs.
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.
AGED INDIAN CHIEF DESCRIBES COUNCIL
Why The Chief Was Brought Here -
I-See-O Tells About Famous 1867 Peace Council
The purpose of bringing these Indians to Medicine Lodge was to definitely fix the exact spot where the council was held and the treaty signed. This step was deemed necessary in order that there might be no hitch in the proceedings of the Association in working out the details for the celebration of the event in October or the sixtieth anniversary of the occasion.
A previous attempt was made in 1916 to prepare for the golden anniversary of the Treaty but owing to the World War it was thought best to drop the matter. At that time Mr. J. C. Best was the leading spirit in the movement and had gathered a large amount of material relating to the subject. During the past winter another movement was started, largely through the efforts of Mrs. Geo. Hibbard who secured the help of Mr. Best and representatives of the various organizations of the city. These people formed what is called the Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Treaty Association, and elected Mr. Best as temporary chairman and Mrs. Hibbard as temporary secretary. The other members of the committee are Frank Chapin, Mrs. Hugh Woodward, Miss Rachel Nixon, Samuel Griffin, J. F. Groom, Joe Hinshaw, Mrs. H. W. Skinner, Mrs. Henry Rankin, Mrs. Samuel Griffin, Riley W. MacGregor, John A. Munro and J. H. Trice.
In addition to fixing the place where the treaty was signed so a memorial of some kind can be erected there, the committee have also been securing other date regarding the early history of Medicine Lodge so that the celebration will assume something of a national importance. For instance, the boundaries of the old Indian stockade have been defined. The money for bringing these Indians here was obtained through the generosity of the members of the Lions Club who agreed that an old Fourth of July fund laying dormant in the bank could best be used for this purpose.
At a meeting with the committee one evening at the home of J. C. Best, the old Indian explained through his interpreter, Mr. Hunt, some of the incidents that happened at the time the council was held.
"I went out on an expedition on Rio Grande River and was returning home and found the camp at Medicine Lodge Camp and all tribes were coming at same place and some announced they were meeting here for same purpose. That was when I first came in. It was in the early fall and I was just about 18 years old at that time.
I had been home about two, three or maybe five days when I heard announcer calling in camp that the men and soldiers were coming. I heard great bunch coming over to-morow and all the chiefs and everybody get together tonight and talk about something. This announcer said that the big party is on the road here to make this treaty. "We want to appoint two delegates to meet commission coming out half-way to-morrow."
Of course, the chiefs and headmen meet that night and I was not present as I was a young man and was not a chief yet, but to-morrow morning I saw stagecoach coming full of men to meet the commission. The party, headmen, principal chiefs, got together in a group and meet stagecoach and two delegates, chief Sa-tan-ta and chief Stumbling Bear were there. Of course I did not go along to see what took place then but the story I got from them that went.
They went in stagecoach and met party several miles away. It happened to be at noon when they met delegation and took on the place. We learned that they were big men detailed from headquarters in Washington. Everybody said, "Tell big men to get through with their dinner." After lunch they got back in stagecoach and the party moved to camp. Some time after noon, later in the evening, we can see the coach returning bringing back delegates that went to meet the party and the rest of them.
I do not remember at what time they came but they came and came and came in, part of the evening and all night. I did not know when they stopped coming in. They were whole lot of soldiers. Next morning I looked over the hills and nothing but camps.
I would not say exactly when the council took place, but I remember young men clearing trees away where the council was to take place. It was in the early fall still warm and they held it in the shade. Had lots of seats. They put down canvas for floor and then put seats all around far as canvas was put down. Early evening the announcer-cryer came out in camp announcing that after breakfast to-morrow morning everybody go to the great council.
Next morning you can see bunches going to the council ground. Everybody going to council for curiosity I went along to see what was going to take place.
There were many tribes of Indians I guess they cooked dinner for each tribe. I could see soldiers preparing lunch for the council. I could see by the side of each fireplace big piles of wood, big stacks of crackers and tine cups and lots of things. When all the Indians got there each tribe grouped off in a separate group until their commission came up. They brought the commission that was delegated to make the council treaty, they brought him over in the blue wagon to council grounds. When the party arrived everybody was quite anxious to know what was going to happen. I do not know who the chairman was but one man got up and announced that he was telling what the Kiowa said. Our interpreter came from the Comanche language they called him "Mack." (McCusker)
We did not have anyone to interpret the English language. The president of the council announced that he did not want anybody to go back to camp - they had plenty of lunch for everybody there and wanted them all to have lunch. "There are quite a few of you and you will not return promptly afternoon, so we will just stay here and eat together." The president of the commission said that he would take his lunch in camp but will return right away. "When I return I will tell you what my mission is for afternoon; what I came for. I have a little message I want to give before noon and I will tell the balance afternoon. With this party of men, soldiers and everybody, the commission was appointed at Washington to come before you to make a treaty here with you Kiowas in this reservation. You will have wars with all the tribes around you. We have been trying to get a peace treaty with you people for a long time and you never paid any attention to us because you never saw us. Now, we came here from Washington so we could talk face to face. For some reason we have failed to stop you from enemies because we understand you were short of some things. That is the reason you all are having wars with other tribes and people and I want to straighten this trouble up at this mission. If you will submit to my peace treaty and sign peace with me, in a year or two after I return to Washington and hear that you have been peaceful for three years, I will issue you horses and things and there will be no reason for trouble. I will issue horses and you will be on good terms with me and you can raise your own stock. This noon I will go take my lunch and you will take lunch here and leave us at noon."
The wagons came up and they crowded back in wagons and had no seats and had to stand up, and went back to camp. Of course, at lunch time, you know how people get. We wanted to get ourselves filled up.
Afternoon they came back and got in groups according to tribes again. Commissioner did not eat lunch - he was afraid they would get away, so he hurried back.
It seems to be that the Kiowa was spokesman for the other tribes. Treaties were made by the Kiowas - they did all the talking.
Big groups of Cheyennes and Apaches were always together with the Kiowas; they submitted to what the Kiowas wanted; they were one. They took two chairs and set them in the middle of council next to the commission. One gentleman got up - Army officer, had eagles on - and sat in one of these seats, an old gray head man. Another old man got up and occupied the other chair in civilian clothes. It was for the tribes to vote which one of these gentleman they wanted to live with.
"If you pick the man on this side, you live on the Arkansas River and the other one your reservation will be in the mountains at Fort Sill. Whatever you pick the most people on one side will win."
I can not give you all the small details of the council. Interpreters and each tribe talked which one they should vote for and each tribe was discussing among themselves. One Indian jumped up. Indian Chief Black Eagle commenced talking to his men Kiowas near Washita River is taking place today. Black Eagle says, "Now we are to make our selection of the two men. One of them, the selection of the man, our reservation will be in Kansas. You know our reservation is very cold and we have no fuel and it is cold up there and if we pick out the other man it is not cold in the south and our reservation will be in the South."
Different ones got up and spoke for the south reservation, so they picked out the south reservation man. So they picked out the man in the military uniform with the eagles on. He was one of the first agents. (Colonel Leavenworth.) Kiowas were the first to make the suggestion of Colonel Leavenworth and each tribe was asked who they wanted and each tribe voted and picked out the same man.
Naming of the Carry A. Nation Bridge Near Medicine Lodge
"Voting started on naming big new bridge over Medicine River on U. S. 160. Names first mentioned were Bill Horn bridge, Alexander bridge, Henry M. Stanley bridge, Ayyadl-dya bridge, I-See-O bridge, Carry A. Nation bridge." -- The Barber County Index, July 4, 1935.
"Voting begins on choosing bridge name, beginning heated contest between names Bill Horn and Carry A. Nation." -- The Barber County Index, August 15, 1935.
"More than 800 votes had been cast for a name for new bridge." -- The Barber County Index, September 5, 1935.
"New bridge is named for Carry A. Nation after more than 3000 votes are cast." -- The Barber County Index, September 19, 1935.
Ten Bears, Comanche Chief, Made an Eloquent Address At The Medicine Lodge Peace Council
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.
"The Medicine Lodge Peace Council", New York Daily Tribune Report
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.
"The Medicine Lodge Peace Council" by George Bent
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.
"The Medicine Lodge Peace Council": Some More Interesting Articles Telling About Famous Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Council
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.
The Treaty of Medicine Lodge Creek The text of the treaty, from Cyberlodg.com
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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