Thursday, 4 April 2013


Robert Griffing.

While Coons was gone for the bread, the Indian that claimed me asked me to write his name. I asked him to speak his name distinctly. He did. I had heard it spoken several times before. His name was "Mahtomack." When I was done writing he took it up and looked at it and said it was "Depaway." He then went to his trunk and brought his powder horn, which had his name wrote on it by an officer at Post Vincennes in large print letters, and compared them together. They both were the same kind of letters and his name spelt exactly the same. He seemed mightily pleased and said it was "bon vely good." It was a big captain he said wrote his name on the powder-horn at Opost. The wife of the Indian that claimed me, next morning combed and queued my hair and gave me a very large ostrich feather and tied it to my hat. The Sunday following after I was
taken to that town, there was a number of Indians went from that town to the old Kickapoo trading town. They took me with them to dance what is called the "Beggar's Dance." It is a practice for the Indians every spring, when they come in from their hunting ground, to go to the trading towns and dance for presents; they will go through the streets and dance before all the traders' doors. The traders then will give them presents, such as tobacco, bread, knives, spirits, blankets, tomahawks, &c.

While we were in town that day I talked with my friend McCauslin to speak to the Indians and try to get them to sell me, but they would not agree to sell me then. They said they would come down the Sunday following and bring me with them, perhaps they would then agree to sell me. They complied with their promise and brought me down with them. My friend McCauslin then inquired of them if they had agreed to sell me;
they told him they would. McCauslin then sent for the interpreter, and the Indians asked one hundred buckskins for me in merchandize. The interpreter asked me if I would give it? I told him I would. The Indians then went to the traders' houses to receive their pay. They took but seventy bucks' worth of merchandize at that time. One of the articles they took was bread, three loaves, one for the Indian that claimed me, one for his wife, the other one for me. I saw directly they wanted me to go back home with them. After a little while they started and motioned and told me I must go with them. I refused to go. The Indian fellow took hold of my arm and tried to pull me forward. I still refused going with them. He still continued pulling and his wife pushing me at the back. We went scuffling along a few yards till we got before my friend McCauslin's cabin door. He discovered the bustle and asked me what the Indians wanted. I told him they wanted me to go home with them. He asked me if I wanted to go. I told him no. He then told me to walk into his cabin and sit down and he would go and bring the interpreter. I went in and the two Indians followed me into the cabin and sat down. The interpreter came in immediately and asked the Indians what they wanted. They told him they wanted me to go home with them. The interpreter then asked if I wanted to go with them. I told him no. He then told the Indians they had sold me and that they had nothing more to do with me, that I was a freeman, that I might stay where I pleased. They then said they had not received all their pay. The interpreter then asked them why
they did not take it all? They said they expected I would go home with them and remain with them until I got an opportunity to go home. The interpreter then told them they could get the balance of their pay. They said if I did not go home with them they must have thirty bucks more. The interpreter asked me if I was willing to give it. I told him yes. I did not want to go back again. The Indians then went and took their thirty dollars of balance and thirty more and went off home. I then owed the traders that advanced the goods for me one hundred and thirty buckskins for my ransom, which they considered equal to $260 in silver.
There were five traders that were concerned in the payment of the goods to the Indians. One of them was a Mr. Bazedone a Spaniard, who sometimes traded in the Illinois country, with whom I had some acquaintance. I told him if he would satisfy the other four traders, I would give him my note, payable in the Illinois country. He did so, and I gave him my note for the $260, to be paid twelve months after date in the Illinois country, and $37 more for my boarding and necessaries I could not do without, such as a bear skin and blanket to sleep on, a shirt, hat, tobacco and handkerchief.

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