Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

Disease decimated Shawnee in 1800s

October 18, 2007

— Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of stories on the life of Paschal Fish.

Some of the Shawnee bands that relocated to the tribe's new reservation in Kansas were led by Chiefs Henry and George Bluejacket, Silverheels, Adams, James Big Knife, Red Wing, Capt. Joseph Parks, William Parks, James Captain, Capt. Crane, William Rogers, Tooly, Edmonds, Capt. Peter Cornstalk, Robert Longtail, Eli Blackhoof, Pumpkin, Charles and Robert King, Paschal Fish, Tiblow, Shiverhead, Josephus and Locust Pascal. The Fish Band came in 1828.

The first group of Shawnee settled at the mouth of the Kansas River in what is now Wyandotte County and the town of Turner. Chief Paschal Fish Sr. requested a school from the government as children had to be sent to Ohio or Missouri to be educated. The Methodist Episcopal Church started the Shawnee Indian Mission near present-day Kansas City, Kan., and a church was organized in 1832 with 50 members and Fish was the leading layman. Paschal Fish Jr., who was married with children at that time, was an interpreter at the school.

The known children of the elder Fish and their birth dates were Paschal Jr, 1804, Charles, 1813, William, John, Isaac, Elizabeth (or Na-ke-a-ase),1824, who married Locus Pascal.

William Fish married into the Delaware Tribe, which had a reservation north of the Shawnee. He sol his Shawnee land for a fair price in August 1863. John Fish fought in the Civil War and was discharged in Arkansas. Before that, he lived in the Eudora area with the younger Paschal and owned in a lot in the city. His son Cephas helped the Rev. Abram Still build a Mission School in the area in 1851.

Paschal Jr. had requested the school and so the Methodist Church provided for an Indian mission school in the area. It was closed in 1854 because of the increasing tensions in Kansas before the Civil War. Paschal and Still were both opposed to slavery, were friends and lived near to each other.

Isaac Fish, who married Eliza Bonn, was a Methodist minister who lived near Linwood, the De Soto area,. He, too, served in the Civil War. He raised a son and daughter from his wife's first marriage and had a son Dwayne, who was born in Ottawa and lived in Eudora.

The elder Fish died in Wyandotte County in 1834 and his son and namesake became chief of the Fish Tribe. He was a cousin of the brothers Chief Tecumseh and The Prophet (Tenskwata). Paschal's first wife and children may have died in one of the terrible epidemic of smallpox, malaria, cholera, measles, yellow fever and whopping cough that visited Kansas Territory from 1831 to 1855. Some of these epidemic whipped out entire villages of Indians with no immunity to the diseases the Europeans brought to the Americas. In 1844, the year of a cholera outbreak, all the Eudora Shawnee fled to the woods to escape the ravages of the disease. In an 1849 return of cholera, two-thirds of the tribe was afflicted and more than 1,200 died in April 1852.

Paschal Jr. married his second wife, Hester Zane, daughter of Hannah Dickinson Zane. She was a quarter Wyandot or Huron, and a cousin of John Armstrong and the Conley sisters, who saved the Huron or Wyandot cemetery from destruction. It can still be seen across from the federal building and Kansas City, Kan., City Hall.

The two were married Oct. 14, 1847, at Quindaro in Wyandotte County. There children Obadiah, 1848, Eudora, 1850, Leander Jackson, 1852, and his probable twin Andrew, 1852. Hester died in 1852, possibly while giving birth to the twins. Eudora and Andrew went to live with their widowed grandmother Zane after their mother's death. Obadiah and jack must have stayed with Paschal.

All these children were probably born in Eudora, since their father moved to the area in 1845.

Paschal was a blacksmith and gunsmith's assistant of the Delaware from 1837 to 1838 in Leavenworth County and was a licensed Methodist minister from 1847 to 1866.

Paschal married again to Consort Fish, who died at 50 in the 1855 cholera outbreak. There was no record of any children.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.