CHIEF LITTLE JIM, GREAT-GRANDSON
In volume XXXIV of the Ohio Archaeological and
Historical Quarterly, pages 143-153, appeared a contri-
bution entitled, "Tecumseh and His Descendants,"
gleaned from authentic records furnished by Thomas
Wildcat Alford, scholarly and cultured gentleman, one
of the great-grandsons of the famous chieftain, Tecum-
seh, born in Ohio, and later one of the most intrepid and
resourceful leaders of the confederate tribes in their
campaigns against the Americans in the War of 1812.
In his extended list of the descendants of Tecumseh now
living, Mr. Alford gave Little Jim, the son of Big Jim,
as the great-grandson and lineal successor of Tecumseh
and the present Chief of the Absentee Shawnee Indians
in Oklahoma. It was a matter of interest to many
readers to know that so many of the descendants of
Tecumseh are now living in the United States, including
his lineal successor as chief of the remnant of that once
powerful tribe that held sway in the valley of the Scioto
River. They will now be pleased to know still more of
Little Jim, whose Indian name is To-tom-mo.
In a recent issue of the Friend, published in Rich-
mond, Indiana, is his story as follows:
*LITTLE JIM'S STORY
Many, many moons ago (in 1768) my forefathers lived near
the place where Springfield, Ohio, now stands. Before that they
* Note: The historical facts of this story are taken from Compton's
Chief Little Jim, Great Grandson of Tecumseh 511
had lived in South Carolina and in Pennsylvania where they
made a treaty with Governor Penn in 1701.
In 1768 my ancestor, Tecumseh, was born in Ohio. White
men persecuted the Shawnees and all Indians then, sold firewater
to them which made them crazy, took away their hunting grounds
and plowed fields, drove them farther and farther west. Tecum-
seh watched his people suffer. He grew to be a man, strong and
wise, and by that time many had been forced to migrate into ter-
ritory now called Indiana. They lived along White River, Tip-
pecanoe and Wabash Rivers. Tecumseh knew the Indians could
not hold their lands against white men unless they would join to-
gether. He thought deeply and planned a great confederacy of
all Indian tribes, which would stop the white man. He went
from tribe to tribe. He was a great orator and the Indians lis-
tened. They said his talk was good. Tecumseh's brother had
great power over men too. He was called The Prophet, and
worked with Tecumseh. They established a village called the
Prophet's Town, where Tippecanoe River flows into the Wabash,
in northern Indiana. The Prophet's Town was to be headquar-
ters for the Great Indian Confederacy.
In 1809 Governor Harrison of Indiana Territory persuaded
some Miami chiefs to agree to the treaty of Fort Wayne, by
which they ceded to the United States government about three
million acres of land along the Wabash river, for about one-third
of one cent for each acre. Tecumseh said they had no right to
barter away lands which belonged to all the Indians, in that way.
He asked Governor Harrison to cede the lands back again and
said there would be no peace between Indians and whites until
that was done. Then he started on a journey to get the help of
many tribes to keep the white men from taking their lands.
While Tecumseh was away, Governor Harrison began to
build a block house on part of the disputed land, at the point
where Terre Haute now stands. The Indians made trouble for
him and he then marched against the Prophet's Town, defeated
the Shawnees in the battle of Tippecanoe (near the present site
of the city of Lafayette) and completely destroyed the Prophet's
Town. Tecumseh could do no more. My people's spirit was
broken. White men took the lands and the Indians were again
pushed westward. Tecumseh went to the British, fought with
them at head of many Indian warriors, against the Americans in
1812, and was killed in battle.
When the Shawnees were driven out of Indiana, they went
to Kansas, and about 1845 many of them came on into Oklahoma,
and settled on the Canadian River where they became known as
512 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications
Absentee Shawnees. My father, who was called Big Jim, and
White Turkey, another chief, divided these Absentee Shawnees
into two bands. White Turkey encouraged his people to learn
the white man's ways, but my father believed the old Indian
ways were best for Indians and that they should not take up with
any of the white man's ways. We were driven into these sand-
hills in Cleveland County at the point of bayonets in the hands of
white men. Why should we become like them? Now, they send
us missionaries who seem trustworthy, and the United States
government builds us a few houses, but when I remember Te-
cumseh, I cannot suddenly love the long-time enemies of my peo-
ple, who have taken away so much and given back so little. I am
Tecumseh's direct descendant, his representative as a leader of
our crushed and wronged Shawnee nation. It is hard to forget.
Eber Hobson, my friend, will speak for me of the present.
Friend Hobson then continues as follows:
LITTLE JIM AS I KNOW HIM
Little Jim, chief of Big Jim's band of Shawnee Indians, is
very distant when you first meet him and what he says to you will
be through an interpreter. If perchance you wish his picture, he
will have his wife tell you that he believes if you should get his
picture, you would get his shadow, which is his spirit, so that he
would never see his loved ones who have gone on before.
Though he married an educated woman of the White Tur-
key Band, with progressive ideas, he would not let his children
go to school until he was arrested. He gave as his reason, that
the Indians who had education had been judged competent and
had been given their land without restriction, so had soon sold it
and were without anything in the world. All of which is true.
But when arrested he promised to let his children go to school
and they let him go home. He has given in only an inch at a time
to white civilization and the white man's ways, but little by little
he does yield.
When talking to white people with whom he is acquainted,
he is free to talk in our language, appears to handle it very easily
and speaks plainly.
Little Jim is making progress all the time as well as others,
though he may not realize it or be willing to admit it. He lived in
two little log houses until he leased his land for oil. Then the
agency was foresighted enough to withhold the lease money until
he would consent to use part of it in building a new house. It
was a long time before he would sign up. He said to me that the
Chief Little Jim, Great Grandson of Tecumseh 513
land was not his but belonged to the government. The people
who knew his father say it was a long time before he would take
his allotment. Mrs. Little Jim is very proud of her new house
and I really think that he is if he would but admit it.
He comes over during strawberry season to pick berries on
the Mission farm, voluntarily so far as I know, unless there is a
little persuasion from his family, and he is one of the best if not
the best picker that we have had. When I have had berries to
sort, he was the finest of help.
Assuredly Eber Hobson is to be congratulated that
he has as his champion berry picker Little Jim, who still
cherishes with solemn pride his famous ancestor, the
unconquerable Tecumseh, whom even his foes honor as
one of the greatest chieftains of his race.