The Summer of the 1815 Peace and Friendship Treaties
1815 – Just as residents of Saint Charles were the last to know of the beginning of the War of 1812, news of its end would come just as slow. Too slow to prevent the horrible incidents that would occur during the spring of 1815. By late that summer, the Nation’s history would converge and collide at a small settlement called Portage des Sioux. There the Peace and Friendship Treaties between the Kings, Chiefs, and Warriors, of the Tribes or Nations, in behalf of their said Tribes or Nations, on the one part; and the American representatives William Clark and Ninian Edwards of the other part; were signed. A turning point in American history. The beginning of westward expansion; and the end of the American Indians way of life.
IN THE SPRING OF 1815
On the frontier in the St. Charles District of the Louisiana Territory, Daniel Boone’s grandson James Callaway, had taken command of Nathan Boone’s company of Rangers at Fort Clemson on Loutre Island. They were about to mount another campaign, so Callaway had sent many of his men home to prepare, when the Sauk and Fox stole several horses. The alarm sounded, and Callaway gathered several of his men still at the Fort and took off in a westward pursuit. Following the trail up the dry fork of the Loutre creek, they discovered an abandoned Indian camp, with their horses and a few Indian women. They retrieved their horses, and turned towards home. Some of the men believed that to return the same way they had come would take them into a trap. It did. As they forded the creek, they were fired upon and Daniel Boone’s son, Capt. James Callaway was shot. He and five other soldiers lost their lives that day.
In May, atrocities against the settlers continued, unknowingly and despite the events in the East. Bands of the Sauk and Fox attacked the Ramsey family, murdering and scalping the entire family, except a two year old and an infant. The final battle in the St. Charles Territory would come May 24, 1815, called the Battle of the Sinkhole. Black Hawk and a band of Sauk Indians attacked Fort Howard (City of Troy) north of the Cuivre River. That ambush on a group of American Rangers led to a prolonged siege in which seven Rangers were killed. This is considered by many to be the last battle of the War of 1812 in America. Finally, word had reached the frontier about the Treaty of Ghent signed five months before.
THE SUMMER OF 1815
The United States assembled all Chiefs of any Nation that touched the waters of the great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, to treaty with them. These treaties, at the conclusion of the War of 1812, were to bring Peace and Friendship between the residents of Missouri and Illinois and the Native Americans. This was the opening of the United States westward expansion. This was the beginning of the end for way of life that the Native Americans had known for centuries.
President James Madison called for a Treaty to be made with the Indians, and selected Portage des Sioux for the location. He appointed Gov. Wm Clark, Illinois Gov. Ninian Edwards, and Col. Auguste Choteau to handle the affair. With the U.S. showing their strength with Col. John Miller and his Third Infantry, and almost the entire force under Gen. Daniel Bissell stationed at Ft. Bellefontaine in one place, the drums began to roll. The tribes began arriving July 1st and negotiations lasted for months, with Black Hawk never signing. But the War of 1812, our Indian War, was finally over.
Its location made Saint Charles a passageway for all the Indian nations to the north, who had hunted this area for years prior to the arrival of the white man. Settlement was scattered. St. Louis and St. Charles (the oldest city north of the Missouri River) had begun as trading posts for French Canadians fur traders, whose lives had melded with the Native American Indians by the time of the Louisiana Purchase. The purchase gave America a place to push all of the displaced tribes east of the Mississippi. It wasn’t long before the settlers followed. By 1804, there were already over 100 homes and 450 residents in St. Charles.
ON MARCH 11, 1815, President James Madison appointed William Clark, governor of Missouri Territory and Ninian Edwards, governor of Illinois Territory to extend invitations to the Chiefs of all Indian Nations of both territories to treaty following the end of the War of 1812.
The treaty signings at Portage des Sioux were to occur between July 18 and September 16, 1815, with the Osage signing their Treaty on September 12, 1815. These events were a turning point in our Nation’s history. While it was the opening of America’s west for expansion, it was the beginning of the end for the American Indian’s way of life. This series of treaties officially marked the end of conflicts between the U.S. and the Native Americans in the west, at the conclusion of the War of 1812, with a purpose to “restore to such Tribes or Nations respectively all the possessions, rights, and privileges which they may have enjoyed or been entitled to in 1811″.
The treaties formed the legal basis in which tribes were relocated west of Missouri into Indian Territory, clearing the way for Missouri to enter the Union. President James Madison appointed Gov. Wm. Clark, Governor Ninian Edwards and Auguste Chouteau to arrange the treaty, by extending 37 invitations to the Chiefs. The tribes signing (in order of dates) were the Potawatomi, Piankeshaw, Teton, Sioux, Makah, Kickapoo, Wyandot, Osage, Fox, Iowa, and composed the largest gathering of tribes ever seen in Missouri, or west of the Mississippi.
The Treaty read
A treaty of peace and friendship, made and concluded between William Clark, Ninian Edwards, and Auguste Chouteau, Commissioners Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, on the part and behalf of the said States, of the one part; and the undersigned King, Chiefs, and Warriors, of the Tribes or Nations, on the part and behalf of their said Tribes or Nations, of the other part.
THE parties being desirous of re-establishing peace and friendship between the United States and the said tribes or nations, and of being placed in all things, and in every respect, on the same footing upon which they stood before the war, have agreed to the following articles:
ARTICLE 1 Every injury, or act of hostility, by one or either of the contracting parties against the other, shall be mutually forgiven and forgot.
ARTICLE 2. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between all the citizens of the United States of America and all the individuals composing the said tribes or nations.
On Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. the City of Portage des Sioux invites the public to join us for a ceremony to commemorate the signing of the Peace and Friendship Treaties. Our special guests will be the Principal Chief of the Osage Nation, Geoffrey Standing Bear; State Representative Anne Zerr; St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann; and Bud Clark, 3rd Great Grandson of William Clark. The ceremony will be located in the original location called “the pecan grove” where the treaties were signed in 1815.
It is suggested that the public bring lawnchairs and blankets. Portage des Sioux is on Hwy 94, and approximately 14 miles north of its intersection with Hwy 370. There will be signs with directions that day.