St. Clair County, Illinois
Presents:

TURKEY HILL SETTLERS "WIPE OUT" A TRIBE OF TOMARI INDIANS

As told by Mr. Henry Stallmann
Donated by Erna Spalt Garber




"Here is the transcription of the my Great Uncle Henry Stallmann talking to the children at school. Uncle Henry was born in 1886 and he was 78 when he told this story. So the year must have been 1964 when he gave this speech . I have copied it with all the ahhaa's and grammar that he used. You may want to clean it up some. I copied this for the family and didn't want to loose the flavor of his talk. I have talked to his daughter and she has given me permission to give this to anyone interested in history. If you have any questions please e-mail me. I hope you enjoy this story."

Erna Spalt Garber


UNCLE HENRY AND THE INDIANS

(Henry Stallmann was in a classroom in New Athens when he was telling this story.)

Now they told .............. that I knew a story about indians right here at home. Right in front of our door. I live 5 miles West of here and Tomarway is right across the river. So them Indians was right here at home.But our geogrogfist don’t state anything about these Indians I asked an older man what them Tomarway Indians the last indians of the prairie. So I was born in Pointavall. Blackquarter if you remember that and they ,my dad moved over to the place where I live when I was a little boy ,like you and a, of course we were strange the first year. But then one day our neighbor came over and introduces himself. Of course my father knew ah Mr. Talbot but my mother and ........ didn’t know him so he introduced himself. And when he wanted to go home he said “Good Day” Now I never heard that expression before. We say Good by. But He said Good Day So I figured out that he was a tipical American man. And then later I got very chummy with him. He was 92 years old. And I am 78. So if we knock off about 10 years of each one it will figure out to be about 150 years back. what I’m going to tell you about.

Mr. Talbot he ah he was about 90 years old when I got aquainted with him and ah every day he would ah sit on the hill right .....(above us)?? (Talbot) my place and somehow or another he couldn’t tell when a thunderstorm came up. The very first time he got wet. Awful wet. So my mother said you take a overcoat over to him and take him home. So later on I had to take him home quite often. And I had to do chores for him. His youngest ah his youngest ah son he got married and they were living all alone. Everytime I done a chore for him he give me a nickle. Ah that was big money a nickle you know. Well huh huh ha. We ah so he ah started to tell me about stories you know. Well the first story we’ll take up is about ah them days they had ah what you would want to call ah cattle law. You know the cattle were branded and they were running loose.Now Mr. Talbot had some branded running loose and Mr. Wiskamp he had some running loose and probably up further all the farmers had some running loose. so ah when ah When these cattle .... when you wanted to raise something you had to make enough rails to fence up ... put a fence around em that the cattle wouldn’t get in. Well so ah my father was working at the Wiskamps before he was married. He told me this story. He said they had fixed up a nice fence to have some nice corn on the inside. And ah one day ah............................. big heavy bull he broke the fence.and got in the corn.Well they run him out. and ah the next morning he was in there again. Run him out again ah and next morn he was in again and so they got ..... they ask ... they went and told the boss Mr. Wiskamp he was working for him. He said the next time that animal is in the corn you let me know. Alright they got on a horse rode up there and told him. The bull was in the corn. So he come down with a great big shepherd dog. He weighed about 200 pounds and he got after that bull.So ah he told the dog to get him. Threw him and the dog started after him and the bull started running and he jumped on his neck and he got hold of the ear on the opposite side and he throwed that bull just flat. And he said he’ed seen that. My Dad told me this. And then after he got up he hung on his tail untill he was out of the corn field and that bull never did return. He never did break the fence no more. Ha ha .... that’s that story.

Well ah Mr. Talbot he ha he grew oxen You know. Them days they had no horses, only riding horses. And he’d dirve them oxen, He’s drive them to St. Louis once a week with them oxen and a wagon. And ah, so ah, He’d take everything along what the Indians had collected say like hickory nuts and ah and dueberries and ah and blackberries and anything they could ... furs furs was the main thing. and he’d take them over there and he’d he’d they had what they call a post ah .......tradingpost that’s right. and ah they’d he’d ah then Mr. Talbot had to bring things back for um. The main thing was wiskey. He said he had as high as 14 gallons of wiskey in his wagon. What he brought and every Indian had his chug .........his personal jug................... but he had to always bring that along. That’s all he told me but the one time he did say something about ....... you know he ah an Indian wore skins that was ah from wild animals you know for their clothing. But he said he brought some ah ah trousers along for them. But some wanted them and inch bigger then he had and and inch smaller ah ha ha.......... and he said he had an awful time. But ah he ah got along very nice with these indians. He had .. course I told you before he had cattle branded. They were even so nice that when a cow would get a calf and it was in danger of high water or something like that those indians would bring it up to his place. All .......... Mr Talbot was nice to these indians. He told them all about all things that they could collect and make a little money on. He’d take along to St. Louis.

Now when I used to take this old man home. Why we’d get to ah the ah ( old ) house first when we came from the woods. And of course this .... they have a new house there now and its a brick house ...this is where the broghers lived .... ah when we’d come to that place somethimes wouldn’t go any furthur until the rain was over. He showed me this house that he build when he got married.This house was 4 rooms and the one was the kitchen and this kitchen was build of rocks, solid rock and right in the center was a little chain hanging and on that chain was a pot, an iron pot and he said thats where they used cooked everything they eat in that pot. And when ah they ...an when Mr Talbot died and they cleaned up they throwed all this junk in a ditch and later on I bought 20 acres from Talbot and when I got ah cleaning up that ditch I found that pot and I have it today. Think a whole lot of it.He said they used to put the meat in below and potatoes and everything else on top and that’s the way they eat.

Well .... Yeah .... so ah ... then ah.... these indians would have to have some meat . You know. The squirrels was getting sc...... not to many squirrels anymore not too many rabbits .. not too many ah ah ah anything they could shoot you know. Wild ducks and turckeys and stuff. So ah these indians they got hungry and but they wouldn’t kill none of Mr. Talbots cattle and Mr. Wiskamps cattle but they’d go up to Turkey Hill because Turkey Hill was a little bit heavier settled and they had some better cattle. And they’d go up there with their horses and they’s kill it throw in on the back of one horse that had no saddle on and ah they’d ah bring it home and they’d eat it. Well thety’d skin that animal and hang it on a tree so ah in the middle of the summer. That’s one thing I couldn’t believe. I asked them did’t the flies bother the meat and he says no there were no flies at that time.That may be ..... I I can hardly believe it, but he said the flies came with the cattle when they shipped the cattle from other countries. And it might be true.That ah ah ja... I could’t believe it but then ... but he said meat would get real balck from the sun But he said at ... it would .. be about 1/8 inch thick , the blackness and on ...in the center just as red and just as good. They gave him some to eat. He said he never ate any better meat than that. Well ah ...Then one day the chief died. You know they had a chief ... have a little history (probably) And he died and Mr. Tabot was very well aquainted with him. He went down to see him after he was dead. They were real nice to him . They showed him the ah corpse and then ah he went home. But he knew that was going ta giving him the works that night. I don’t know what really .... he really meant by giving him the works. But an ... right where my Pa lives there was two trees standing together ... about 20 feet apart and that place had very few trees. Kinda of a little a ... not too many trees. So ah They’d put long polls across the ah from one tree to the other . They laid the chief up there and then in the evening they was going to give him the works.So ah ah Mr. Talbot he knew that much that he that he showed himself that evening he had a ....if they’d found him they’d a killed him right there ... because that was their doings. So he got on the hill and laid behind the log and watched. He says they come with all their horses. They had 14 horses. Come with all their horses and every man on a horse had a flair. And then ah they started to ah lined up on a circle and they always road under through and give him a scorch you know. And every time ..... now the women folks he said everytime one horse went why then one of the women would would go across with that torch. And that’s the way they kept on and he got tired and he went home. 11 o’clock and they still were a going on. And he said he went home. But that’s ah something that we don’t hear very often neither. So ah .... (question for the audience Did they bury him after that? ) Well, that’s something I didn’t ask him. I did not ask him that.

So then ah people from from ah Turkey Hill they come down took Mr. Talbot along and ah Talbot was going to talk to the indians and try to tell them that that was wrong. They shouldn’t come up ther and kill some of their best beef or cattle. And ah well they talked it over several times. The indians did not quit that. They just ah when they were out of meat they went up and got some. So then ah...... he ah said they asked him wether they was going to destroy those indians weither he’d help. Nope he said I will not help. He said I’m going in my house and lock all the doors. So one day they come down. They come down in three divisions. And they ah come from three sides because an indian fights from behind a tree. So they come from 3 sides and they come on a day when the creek was high it was about 6 - 8 feet of water. But they were on the one side and from three sides they come in on. And they destroyed all ... the whole bunch of indians. Right there. And that was the end of the Prairie Indians . Now these indians had a Tomarway were relation to them but they got afraid because they had killed them up there that they might do the same thing here so the indians go over to Fort Charters. And that was the last of the a Pra.....of a Fort Charter indians. Prairie Indians

Now if what I told you is not true then he told me a lie. But I want ta make this clear to you . He took me out there and he says right here there was 15 huts . There’s where the indians was.Right here it was the road where he drove to St.Louis.What was called the St.Louis road. Where he drove with oxen. That road is there today yet That place where the indians (bled to death)??? He told me where he lived and ah he said that ah he lived there that I ... there was no house once I got there . There was two apple trees. And a good sign that he would’t tell me any lies.And the reason I can remember this story is because when I see this place where he pointed out it always refreshes me of the memory. So ah why you ah heard the story of the indians right here at home. I thank you for your kind attention.

Thank you Mr. Stallmann.

Do you want to show them your arrrows you brought.?

Yes, here ah is ah tommyhawk. Now they have no handle on it. Well now the indians used to go in the woods in the spring and they’d split a little ah sappling what was big enough for a handle you know ... just about the right size for a handle and they’d tie it in the back and tie it in the front and then they’d let that grow a year or two I don’t know how long. About two years I guess. And then that was just so tight you know.. Then they used it for a tommyhawk.

Now this is a smaller one I had some larger ones but they got away on me. And ah I have some ah arrows here that you can see they are ... I think they are hard to make. Hard stone I don’t see how they made them. But ah they made them all right.

TEACHER

“they made them out of flint rock and flint rock will chip easily. they would hit it and it would chip off easily.” They knew how to shape these so they would come to a point. and most of the real points are broken off on all the arrows that we find.Their not too sharp anymorebut if you fine and arrow that hasn’t had the point broken off its as sharp and a needle and it would go right in and kill . They are coming at such a speed that they would kill whatever they would go through. You have some good arrows there. Real good ones. Do you have any other questions you would like to ask Mr. Stallmann. “

MR. STALLMANN

I tell you A Good way to find them is when people plow up Plow the land up you know and it rains on it. That’s the best time to find them but their hunted so much already that they’re not so easy to find anymore.

TEACHER

He says he knows where Fort Charters is.

Where did you get your arrow. ( the teacher is repeating questions from her students.)

MR STALLMANN

I found them around in my place. You know they’d shoot rabbits with them arrows you know. and then they’s (move her) And then whenever it would rain I would

TEACHER

Did you find anything else besides tommyhawks and arrow heads.

MR. STALLMANN

Well in my day we found a lot of bowers in the timber and we’d dig them up sometimes people would dig them up and they might found a little something like an arrow tommyhawk or something . I never die see any thing else.

Uncle Henry was in a classroom in New Athens telling this story.

Great Grandpa and Grandma lived in Blackquarter before buying the 2 farms in Prairie du Long Township where Henry and Fred Stallmann lived.





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