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INDIAN REMINISCENCES

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

He was always a favorite with them, so much so that they named him Sam-okay-ma-co, which means the good man. Among his particular Indian acquaintances were four brothers, Sam-o-ka, who had been a petty chief in his tribe, Not-a-wa, Pe-ash-y and Pe-ne-moo. These names and many others of the old Pottawattomie band were as familiar as household words to the early settlers in Climax and the region about it. Uucle Billy soon found that Johnson ^*as a white man, and strongly suspected that he was of the Kentucky family above mentioned. He wrote to his old neighbor, John Johnson, at Shelbyville, who sent two of his other sons to Climax, where they found their long lost brother—a complete Indian in all but his having been born a white child. The facts in his life are as follows: Two of Johnson's children had been stolen many years before from his home in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and no trace of them had ever been found. One was quite a lad, the other an infant in the cradle, whom his Indian captors must have killed, as he was never seen or heard of afterwards. The lad was kept and had thus been reared by the Indians.
Johnson, having been identified by his brothers, went back with them to his "old Kentucky home. " But he was now more Indian than white man, and, after staying some years or so, he came back to his forest home in Michigan, where he died some years afterwards. Pe-ne-moo's squaw was, Johnson's daughter. Johnson would never join the Indians in their pow-wows, but on such occasions he would come to his friend's, Uncle Billy's, home. Mrs. Dr. L. W. Lovell informed the writer that Johnson at times in his talk with the settlers seemed to feel the full sense of his lost manhood, that he was now, as compared with the whites, an inferior person—an underling. And a feeling of sadness would come over him as he would say: "Me not Indian. Me born white. Me white man.

Michigan


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