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Poweshiek Part 9;  The Friendship of Dr. James Campbell
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How Poweshiek Became a Chief
The way things were
Poweshiek has some fun
Poweshiek outwits the paymaster
Poweshiek meets the missionary
Ross can come home now
Dancing during an eviction
Poweshiek's Friends intervene
Personal Diplomacy

Poweshiek had friends among the early settlers.  Three of them were willing to ride a hundred miles through February snow to meet with him.

From The Pioneers of Polk County, Iowa:

“A notable character among the pioneers was Doctor James Campbell.  He was a hustler from the start, and had a hand in everything going on about The Fort—politics, trade, real estate, amusements—everything which made up the wild, bustling life of that early period.  He was a man of many eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, good-hearted, blunt of speech, and of peppery temperament.

…The Doctor was inclined to sporting, and while the Indians were here, pony and foot racing was a frequent amusement, and at times not a little exciting, for the Indians were fond of racing, especially after they had received a payment from the Government.  They were inveterate gamblers, also, but they were not up to the tricks of the settlers, and their money soon vanished.  The race course started between Fourth and Fifth streets, where the Kirkwood House is, and extended a little southwest one-fourth of a mile. After the Indians left, the settlers used the track, and the races were lively, scrubby, and open to anyone who had a horse, for it was about all the amusement in summer there was.

The Doctor had a small sorrel mare, not handsome, but a complete bundle of nerves and energy.  As a sprinter, she was a mighty deceiving beast to lots of over-zealous natives, who thought they knew a good thing when they saw it, and staked their dollars and watches on the other horse.  When the first Methodist Church was build, where the Iowa Loan and Trust Building is, it blocked the race track, and it was abandoned.

In the fall of 1845, when Keokuk and his bands left Iowa for the last time, Poweshiek, whose lodges were on Skunk River, balked.  He was a good friend of the white people, a frequent visitor at The Fort, and well known to the first settlers.  He was very arrogant a and independent, and inclined to resist his removal  to Kansas  Instead of going there, he, with his fort lodges, camped on Grand River, just north of the Missouri line.  The white people soon became excited over their coming, and threatened extermination, which only incited the Indians to retaliation.   Rumors came to The Fort that conditions were serious.  The Doctor, J.B. Scott, and Hamilton Thrift, who knew Poweshiek, one day in February, mounted houses and rode one hundred miles through deep snow, over trackless prairie, to Poweshiek’s encampment, where they found trouble brewing.  The old chief and his braves were holding dog festivals every day, which meant war.  He was surly and inclined to be ugly, but Scott gave him a long talk, whish, as the Doctor recalled it, was substantially as follows:

‘My friends and myself have come a long distance to help you out of this trouble.  We are your friends.  If you persist in your purpose of making war on the whites, many of your squaws and pappooses, as well as your braves, will be butchered.  The remainder will be driven out in the cold and snow, to perish on the prairie.  It would be better for you now to break up your lodges and go in peace to the reservation in Kansas, which the Government has provided for you.’

It was some time before he could be induced to accept the good advice, as he feared if he left his encampment he would be stigmatized as a coward, and that he could not endure, but finally comprehended the true situation, promised to move, and soon after, he and his lodges were beyond the border of the state.  The timely arrival of the three friends, and their wise counsel, undoubtedly saved the old chief much trouble, and possible extermination."


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