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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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The Story of Kansas City, Kansas

"The Delaware"

The next Indian tribe to come bore a proud English name, that of Lord Delaware.  Like other eastern Indians the Delawares had been pushed by white men farther and farther to the west.  They had lived Ohio and Missouri before settling on the land vacated by the Kansas.

The Delawares were a civilized tribe.  When they arrived here, they built homes and established a school and a church.  This was in the community known as White Church, on the outskirts of Kansas.  Their first missionary was the Rev. John Pratt.

The Delawares relied on the buffalo to supply them with food and other necessities.  They would leave the reservation to go hunting out on the prairie.  The Pawnees resented the "short-haired" Indians and hated them almost as much as they did the white men.  Each time the Delawares went to hunt they were attacked by the Pawnees and many of them killed.  The government finally had to put a stop to such daring by forbidding the Delawares to leave the reservation.

When John C. Fremont, nicknamed the Pathfinder, was selecting men for his expedition to the Rockies, he chose some Delawares to go along as guides.  One of these guides became separated from the party.  After he had endangered his life in an encounter with another Indian, he scalped his enemy and returned to the tribe.  On the old Edwin Taylor farm, high on a hill near Edwardsville, the Indians celebrated the hero's return with the last war and scalp dance of Delaware history.

In 1854 the Delawares ceded most of their land to the government. A few years before they left Kansas forever, one of their famous men, Chief Ketchum, died.  Members of the tribe gathered in great numbers at the funeral.  They came on horseback, dressed in blankets, and carrying guns.  Their faces were painted in bright colors.  One person who saw them that day said afterward that they "seemed truly the sorrowful survivors of a once-powerful race."

In 1866 the Delawares returned to their tribal customs and bought rights into the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.  From then on they were known as Cherokee-Delawares.

The Shawnees

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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