Baptists and the American Civil War: September 2, 1861

Delaware Indians

Delaware Indians

In the West today, Union soldiers fight against African slavery even as American politicians force yet another treaty upon Native Americans designed to marginalize Indians.

In Missouri, the minor Battle of Dry Wood Creek (also known as the Battle of the Mules) results in Confederate victory. U.S. Col. J.H. Lane, leading some 600 calvary, is seeking to try to retain control of the border state. While searching for rumored nearby enemy soldiers, Jane surprises a Confederate force numbering 6,000 strong. The element of surprise does not last long against such a numerically superior army. In a battle that results in only a handful of casualties, Union forces withdraw, forced to leave their mules behind. The abandoned animals are promptly captured by the Confederates, and for the moment the Confederates maintain a strong presence in southwestern Missouri.

Meanwhile, one state further west, the United States demands further land concessions from the Delaware Indians. In Washington D.C., U.S. officials present to Charles Journeycake, chief of the Delaware Wolf Clan, an amendment to a treaty signed by the chief in 1854. The 1854 document had ceded all Delaware territorial claims west of Missouri, other than a small portion of Kansas.

In addition to being a Delaware chief, Journeycake is a Baptist preacher. Born in 1817 in Ohio to a Delaware chief and the daughter of a white captive, in 1828 he and his family began the forced journey to northeastern Kansas. Following bitter travails during the winter months, the Delaware reached their new home the following spring. Baptized as a Baptist in 1833 on the reservation, Journeycake began preaching shortly thereafter. When he signed the 1854 treaty that gave away much previously alloted land, Journeycake was one of only two Delaware signees who was literate.

The 1861 amended treaty proves to be merely another step in restricting Indian lands and rights in the western United States. The fate of the Delaware is inevitable. “Embittered and powerless, Journeycake … watched as whites raided the Delawares’ Kansas farms and fields. Many Delaware died defending their property.” Five years later, an 1866 treaty, also signed by Journeycake, forces the Delaware from Kansas to the confines of Indian Territory (later Oklahoma), where the tribe purchases land from the Cherokee Nation in 1867.

As to Journeycake:

In later life Journeycake was unofficially recognized as the Delawares’ principal chief. An accomplished intellectual, he maintained a large library at his home near Alluwe in present Nowata County, Oklahoma, and contributed time and money to Bacone College at Muskogee. Advocating the Delawares’ legal rights and economic interests, he represented his tribe in Washington, D.C., on twenty-four occasions between 1854 and 1894. After the death of his wife, Jane Sosha Journeycake, in 1893, he took little interest in things except hunting and his Delaware Baptist Church, located near his home along Lightning Creek. He died on January 3, 1894, and is buried at Nowata. His original grave near Alluwe was relocated as a result of the Oolagah dam and reservoir.

Sources: Battle of Dry Wood Creek (link); biography of Charles Journeycake (link); illustration (link)