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Our Iowa, Its Beginning and Growth

Herbert L. Moeller and Hugh C. Mueller

New York, Newsom and Company


Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer & Kaylee Bopp




The Indians could neither write nor print as we do today and did not, therefore, have laws written down in big books.  But they needed laws just as we do because sometimes several thousand Indians would gather in one village.  Then they had to make rules for themselves. Disputes between members of the tribe also had to be settled by someone.  Who has to do it?


You have read the story of two of the greatest chiefs that lived in Iowa.  There were many others who were famous that lived, at least for a time, in Iowa.  Pashepaho, "the stabber," was a much older chief than either Black Hawk or Keokuk.  He had more power than  either of them and was a famous fighter.  He signed the treaties of the 1824 and 1832 by which the Sac lands were sold to the Government.  He died at an old age in Kansas.

Wishecomaque, "Hard Fish," became the chief of Black Hawk's village after a great chief's downfall.  His village was in Wapello County, Where Eddyville now is.

Powashiek, or "Roused Bear," a native of Iowa, was head chief of the Fox tribe for many years. He was a very large man, weighing over 250 pounds.  He was always friendly with the white  people and was fair and honest with both Indians and Whites, as also Appanoose, another Sac chief.  Counties were named for both of these Indians.

Wapello, "The Prince," and Kishekosh, "Man with One Leg," were two other Fox chiefs.  Kishekosh really had two legs, and was a great athlete.  He had a farm and tried to get other Indians to become farmers, but they said that work was only for squaws and they would not follow their chiefs example.  Wapello was buried near Agency beside his friend, General street, and both a county and a town have been named for him.

Taimah (Tama), "Man Who Makes The Rocks Tremble," was a Fox chief of little importance.  He made a trip to Washington in 1824 and signed a treaty for his tribe.  He also has a county and a town named for him.


The most noted chief of the Iowa tribe was Mahaska, or "White Cloud."  The favorite one of his seven wives was a beautiful woman named Ranchewaime, or "Female Flying Pigeon."  She made a trip to Washington with him.  When she returned to Iowa, she told the Women of her tribe how the White women lived. Mahaska county bears his name.

Mahaska's father, Manhawgaw, "Wounding Arrow,"  An Iowa Chief, was killed while on a peaceful visit with the Sioux Indian tribe.  Mahaska at once led a war party against the Sioux.  He killed the Sioux Indian who killed his father.

At another time two Indians of Mahaska's tribe killed six Omaha Indians.  The Government wanted the two Indian murderer's and Mahaska, being  friend of the Government, let the officers arrest them.  After the Indians were released, they stole up to Mahaska's tepee one night and killed him while he slept.  Then they fled, but were caught and killed, one by the Iowas, and the other by the Otoes.

Wangewa, "Hard Heart," was chief of an Iowa village near the Missouri River.  He was in  more than fifty battles, and commanded the warriors in seven of them. 


  We do not know much about the Sioux chiefs that lived in Iowa.  Waneta, who at eighteen years of age fought with the British in the War of 1812, was on of their best chiefs.

Sidominadota, and his brother Inkpadutah, both chiefs of an outlaw band of Sioux, have been called the worst chiefs that ever lived.


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