From Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library
No. 70, December 31, 2009
by Cynthia Theusch
After four Winnebago braves attacked a farmhouse in June 1827 near Prairie du Chien in what is now Wisconsin, volunteers from Illinois and Michigan were called up to help federal troops quell the ensuing “disturbances.” Only a few skirmishes took place and most of the 1,000 volunteers had served less than two months before the Winnebago surrendered in September. Available at the Genealogy Center, “Compiled Military Service Records of Michigan and Illinois Volunteers Who Served During Winnebago Indian Disturbances of 1827” is a three-roll National Archives microfilm set pertaining to these troops.
Records are arranged by company and then in alphabetical order by the name of the soldier. Volunteers from Illinois may have served in the Mounted Riflemen or in companies commanded by Captains Field, Hamilton, Nair, Strode or Whiteside. Michigan volunteers served in companies under Captains Dickinson, Johnston, Smith and McNair. Captain Smith’s company consisted of volunteers from the Menominee tribe who were assigned the rank of “Warrior.” In front of each company’s records is a record-of-events jacket that highlights the stations, movements and activities of the unit. One such jacket provides this description: “Muster Roll of a Company of mounted Riflemen Commanded by Capt. Achillis Morgan who at the special request of Alexander Wolcott, Jr., Esqr., Indian Agent at Chicago, Volunteered their services for the defence of Fort Dearborn on the 28th day of July 1827 and were discharged on the 16th day of August 1827.”
Each soldier’s record consists of muster roll abstracts in a jacket-envelope noting the volunteer’s name, unit and incoming and outgoing rank. Because of the short period of service, most jackets contain only one card abstract of a muster roll entry relating to the soldier. Each abstract shows the soldier’s name, unit, period of service, whether present or absent on particular days, name of the person who completed the muster roll jacket, and remarks such as “served with his own arms” or “served with public arms.” The records of Menominee warriors who served provide an English translation of their name, as with May-aw-ko-may, “The Straight Nose Warrior” and Pe-de-dah, “The one who comes making a noise.” The identification of parentage for some of the warriors is an added genealogical bonus, as with O-me-gw-on, “The Feather,” son of O-shaw-wo-nim.
These military records may help fill a gap in your ancestor’s life. For those with Menominee forebears, they may add another generation to the family tree in a time period that is difficult to research.
This electronic newsletter is published by the Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center, and is intended to enlighten readers about genealogical research methods as well as inform them about the vast resources of the Allen County Public Library. We welcome the wide distribution of this newsletter and encourage readers to forward it to their friends and societies.
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Steve Myers & Curt Witcher, co-editors