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worked with the men when not engaged with their books; the girls assisted in the cooking and general housekeeping and learned to sew,
we well knew work was one gospel that would save the Indians.
But our plans were vain. The Sioux, who had not let more than two weeks pass during the year without proving to us their presence near, were now so continually coming in war parties that our men could do no work safely outside of the pickets. Finally they ventured to come down upon us in battle array, but evidently fearing to attack us behind our pickets, they were content to take horses from the stables and withdraw. A council was then held in which it was decided to be in vain to try to do anything for the Pawnees there, and removal to the agency was held the wiser course. Each family imme. diately began packing, and what could not then be carried away was "cached” to wait till the men could return for it. To pack our household goods and cook for twenty-two, who were to take a journey a hundred and twenty-five miles by ox team, and to be ready for the start in three days was no easy task; but it was completed by the third day, and Saturday, June 20, all the whites left for Bellevue, taking our pupils and three or four Indian children who were living in families connected with the mission. We crossed the Beaver that day and camped a short distance beyond for the Sabbath. The most exciting experience on our journey was that of crossing the Elkhorn, which we found swollen by the June rise. All the goods in each wagon must be removed, that they might be placed in a wagonbox lashed to the top of another, or they would be soaked in the water. The box of our wagon was larger than the others and would best serve the purpose desired. All our goods were piled upon the ground in a confused mass to wait until everything was crossed. That we might cross most expeditiously, the women removed stockings and shoes and took a foot bath standing in the wagon as the oxen swam across, directed by their drivers. It was dark before our goods, drenched in the rain, which had been falling since the middle of the afternoon, were safe over; and then twenty children were to be fed and arrangements made for their sleeping. All this, added to the terror of seeing one of our faithful oxen killed instantly by the breaking of his neck, his large branching horns having become fast in the precipitous bank as he was about to enter the narrow path leading up from the water, made the Elkhorn a historic stream
Arrived at Bellevue, the families were easily housed. But we with our large company had the prospect of camping in skin tents, when a government store room was found empty, which, though infested with rats and fleas, we felt compelled to occupy. We reported to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, as there was no agent at Bellevue.
Maj. Miller had been too much interested in saving the Pawnees from the curse of liquor to suit the traders who visited them, and his official head fell into the basket. He gave place to one who had so long freely partaken, that he soon paid the penalty by giving up his life. Another Daniel Miller received the appointment and he came up from Missouri to act as agent. His presence was no check to the wild excesses which the Indians and whites chose to practice. To keep in order and to secure the progress of our little family, with a room on one side of us where a blacksmith was making sheet iron kettles, and one on the other where an Indian woman lived with a white man, and where drunken orgies extended far into the night, while Indians rode through the streets whooping and screaming, with whisky bottles in their hands, required no little nerve and decision. Yet, amid all this with the added babble of five different languages spoken in our yard, our pupils did make commendable progress.
When we arrived at Bellevue the Mormons were crossing the river in their flight from Nauvoo, to take up their abode in winter quarters before going to Salt Lake. From their camp by permission of Brigham Young we procured aid to assist in fitting our children with clothing for the winter, and were visited by him and his twelve, -part of them at various times,--they taking a deep interest in our charge. Our agent however had no thought of showing such favor, and the next spring he ordered us to deliver the school into the hands of those whom he found to be in sympathy with his mode of administering offices,
On leaving Bellevue we made our home in Iowa near the Missouri River, about four miles above old Ft. Kearney, now Nebraska City, where we remained till 1861, still keeping an acquaintance with our Pawnee friends. At that time learning that their treaty stipulations of 1857, promising them schools, had not been complied with, we went to their reservation expecting immediately to gather a company of pupils to our home, as the agent, H. W. DuPuy, had given us the appointment of teachers. But under various pretenses we were forbidden the privilege of carrying out our cherished plan, and growing weary and outraged at the delay, we united with other employes who were there under similar disappointments, in sending an agent to Washington to report our grievances and if possible have matters righted.
As we expected, as soon as this was known to the agent, we were ordered from the reserve and took refuge in a small earth-roofed cabin in the Mormon settlement, called Zigzag, the site of which now lies in the middle of the Loup (Loo) river. Our plea to the authorities at Washington was regarded, and another agent, Maj. Lushbough, began his administration, July 1, 1862, at which time we returned to the reserve and immediately gathered a school. The difficulties attending the dismissal of Mr. DuPuy caused an order to be issued that no voter who had been an actor in them should remain in the reservation. Mr. Platt, with others was consequently dismissed from government service, and went just across the eastern line of the reserve, about a mile away, to set up an independent trading post for the Pawnees; while I, who was not a voter, was permitted to stay as I greatly desired to continue the work, for which we had made so great a sacrifice in leaving our Iowa home.
I remained in charge of the school till December 1864, when various considerations combined to cause me to resign and go out to work in the service of the Christian commission. I remained in this work till March of 1865, when being requested to take charge of the Soldier's Orphan's Home in Iowa, I accepted and served there till August 1866. Then I resigned and returned to Mr. Platt in Nebraska, who had occupied his trading post during my absence.
In May 1867, I was asked to resume the charge of smy school," for as such I had ever claimed it to be and from that time till July 1872, I had great enjoyment in its possession, Mr. Platt still remaining at his post, which was so near as to permit him to make daily visits to the school building. Grant's peace policy had been inaugurated and the Friends had been given charge of the Indian Reservation of Nebraska. Very naturally, when they became acquainted with the work, they desired to have it all under their immediate control. I was dismissed from service and went to my home where I remained till Mr. Platt's death in September 1875. The next year I removed
from the state, but, in the Autumn of 1883, I returned to assist in organizing an Indian Industrial School at Genoa, in the building which was erected for my Pawnee school in 1865. I remained in the state nearly two years and then left to establish myself in a permanent home in Tabor, Iowa.
In Volumn I, of the Transactions and Reports of the Nebraska State Historical Society, I find communications proving the noble descent of Mr. Henry Fontenelle, of Decatur, Nebraska. It is for me to prove that Mrs. Emily Fontenelle, his wife, sprung also from the noblesse, not however on the father's side. She was one of the two girls who were my pupils the first winter after our appointment as teachers to the Pawnees. Her mother, sister of Whiteman Chief, was a very superior woman in form, feature, bearing and intellect. The Skedee band, to which she belonged, was superior to the other three bands which formed the Pawnee tribe; its members had a higher grade of intellect, were more cleanly in their habits, and their language which was a dialect of the Pawnee, had a musical intonation, which betrayed the origin of the speaker the moment his voice was heard. When Emily was about seven years of age, her mother took her to Mrs. Mathers, the wife of the superintendent of the farms, and said this child being a twin, was favored of God and was given to her white, and she thought it proper she should be educated with white people. Neither Whiteman Chief nor his sister was as dark as the average Indian, and their finely cut features, dignity of bearing and accurate thinking, proved them far above their surroundings. As the Pawnees originally came from the south it is not improbable that they sprang from some old Aztec king. Whiteman Chief went at one time on an embassy to Washington, and on his return had much to tell his people of the greatness of La-chi-Koots—(Big Knives--Americans) and of their territory. In order to give them an idea of its vastness, he said, were he to start when a very young man and travel till he was old he would not have visited half of their cities. Of the wonderful things shown him, he told of a dish brought him with a substance that moved round in it like water, but when they told him to take it, it came near falling from his hands it was so heavy, and when it was poured into a cloth sack and he looked in to see it, it was not there. That was very wonderful. Then a gun was brought, and he saw the bullet put in, pressed down, it was pointed at a tar
get and he saw where the ball hit, but heard no sound.
That was too-war-axty (miraculous) and he thought how good a thing for his people to have such guns; then, when the Sioux came, they could hide in the grass and the enemy would fall on every side wondering whai had hit them. He was taken to the ocean and he essayed to look over on the other side, but he could not. He looked again and again, and there was no other side; it was so vast; it was like God. Another thing deeply impressed him. There were days when all of the people stopped their work, and dressing very nicely, they met in a large house and read and sang and talked--one man to the peopleand then he spoke to an invisible one. The next day each one he met looked very happy and he saw them smiling and shaking hands and looking rested, and he thought it would be good for his people to have such days. The sister had no such means of proving her powers of observation, but in her motherhood, she showed greatness. She insisted her daughter should be kept in school, and when one of the chiefs of her band and Emily's stepfather took her home, because of a slight punishment she had received, the mother brought her back, telling her she was to stay and accept punishment, if it camethat she took a rod and whipped her if she offended even at home, and she was not to make an ado for any such little thing.
But she was a woman of very sad face, always seeming to be bearing a mental burden, and when in after years I learned that Emily was a daughter of Mr. Pappan, one of the Fur Company at Bellevue, the mystery was explained, for in those days there was a high sense of chastity among the women of that people. So thoroughly had Emily learned the value of that virtue from her mother, that her grief and indignation knew no bounds when first told that her father was a white man. She flung back the charge with disdain, saying she knew her mother had never proven untrue to her father—that she remembered him as an Indian and that he had died an honorable death. Emily continued in the school and went with us to Bellevue when we fled from the Sioux, and during all the years of her young womanhood, though beset by temptations and entreaties, even by those who had her in charge, to give herself to white suitors, she never trusted them but prefered one of her own race.
Mrs. Fontenelle has long been a member of the Episcopal church, and the more intimately she is known, the more she is beloved. She