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This webpage reproduces an article in
The Wisconsin Magazine of History
Vol. 1 No. 1 (Sep. 1917), 98‑100

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!

[in the "Question Box" column of the journal]

p98 The Services of the Menominee in Black Hawk War

I wish to thank you very much for the information you gave me in your letter of October 30, 1916. I would have answered sooner than this but as you requested me to give you a list of my grandfather's descendants I wanted first to find some one who knew how many children and grandchildren my grandfather, Osh-ka-he-nah-niew, had. I have not been able to get this information from the old members of the tribe, but as soon as I get it I will write you again and let you know.

The name Osh-ka-he-nah-niew in the Menominee Indian language means "young man."

I received a letter from Mr. J. L. Baity, auditor of the Treasury Department, Washington, D. C., dated November 25, 1916, in which he says:

"With return of the letter from the Superintendent of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, dated October 30, 1916, addressed to Mr. Mitchell Oshkenaniew, you are advised that the information set forth in said letter is too meager for the War Department to establish the service of 'Oshkenaniew' Menominee Indian Warrior Black Hawk War 1832, and until sufficient information can be furnished setting forth the organization in which service was rendered together with the period of service and the names of some commanding officer, no further action will be taken on the claim."

Mitchell Oshkenaniew,

Neopit, Wisconsin.

Col. George Boyd was Indian agent at Green Bay in the summer of 1832; he replaced Col. Samuel C. Stambaugh early in June. Stambaugh, although superseded, did not immediately leave Green p99Bay and was very popular with the Menominee tribe. During the course of the war, when all trace of the whereabouts of the Sauk band had been lost, Gen. Henry Atkinson, encamped on Whitewater River in Wisconsin, sent Col. William S. Hamilton (son of Alexander Hamilton) to Colonel Boyd at Green Bay. Atkinson feared that Black Hawk and the Sauk hostiles would attempt to escape to the British at Malden, and he therefore ordered Boyd to enlist and equip as large a body of Menominee Indians as possible to try to intercept them. Boyd at once called the Menominee together. They were willing to go to war against the Sauk if they might have officers of their own choosing. Col. S. C. Stambaugh was thereupon made commander-in‑chief. The second place was offered to Col. W. S. Hamilton, but he declined the honor. The Menominee turned out about three hundred warriors, who were organized into two companies commanded by the following officers: 1st Company: Augustine Grignon, captain, Charles A. Grignon Jr., first lieutenant; 2d Company: George Johnston, captain, James M. Boyd, first lieutenant, William Powell, second lieutenant and interpreter. Alexander J. Irwin was charged with the commissariat with rank of first lieutenant.

There is every reason to suppose that Osh-ka-he-nah-niew was a member of the first company. Augustin Grignon told Doctor Draper that this Indian was in the war, and in all probability he named members of his own command. Robert Grignon of this company received a wound in action, and was in receipt of a pension until his death.

The documentary material in the Wisconsin Historical Library includes the official papers of Col. George Boyd, Indian agent. Those relating to the Menominee contingent under Stambaugh in the Black Hawk War are published in Wisconsin Historical Collections, XII, 270‑98. It will be noticed that August 12, 1832, Boyd wrote that Stambaugh had informed him that he had arrived at Fort Winnebago with his command, three hundred Menominees, and was on his way to report to General Scott. September 2, 1832, Boyd wrote to G. B. Porter, governor of Michigan territory, enclosing Stambaugh's report of the expedition and the Muster Rolls of the Menominee. These should be in the War Department at Washington.

p100 The well-known fact that Osh-ka-he-nah-niew took part in the Black Hawk War, that he was part of Stambaugh's band, probably under Capt. Augustin Grignon, seems to us established by the historical evidence. His name on a muster roll must be sought in the documentary material at Washington.


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