Charles  (Blue-Jacket) Bluejacket

Charles (Blue-Jacket) Bluejacket (1817 - 1897)

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Rev. Charles Bluejacket formerly Blue-Jacket
Born in River Huron, Michigan, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Shawnee, kansasmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Bluejacket, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), United Statesmap
Blue-Jacket-1 created 2 May 2016 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 62 times.

Categories: Shawnee.

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Charles (Blue-Jacket) Bluejacket was a Native American and member of the Shawnee tribe.
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Biography

28 August 2006

Anna (Marshal) Grinter and Charles Blue Jacket


Because of the interest between Anna (Marshall) Grinter and that of the Shawnee Charles Blue Jacket, the Shawnee Prophet, and other members of that illustrious family, I have set aside a separate page for this subject. For the time being, this page will be largely unorganized and unedited while it is under construction. Editor


(Photograph courtesy of the Wyandotte County [Kansas] Museum)

Blue Jacket went to Wyandotte County on 24 September 1897 to find the resting place of the Shawnee Prophet, the brother of Tecumseh. Martin Weeks has tentatively identified the following people in the photograph: 1. Charles Blue Jacket (Shawnee) 2. Anna Marshall Grinter (Kansas Delaware) 3. Francis Catherine Grinter, daughter of Anna Marshall Grinter (Kansas Delaware) 4. Mary Elizabeth Grinter Mooney, daughter of Francis Catherine Grinter (Kansas Delaware) 5. Infant Grinter No. 1 (Kansas Delaware) 6. Infant Grinter No. 2. Both of the babies would be grandchildren of Anna Marshall Grinter

A later news items revealed that the grave site of the prophet was not found due to the disturbance of the area by urban construction. It seems likely that Annie Grinter accompanied Rev. Charles Blue Jacket on the search for the Shawnee Prophet's grave in 1897 because she likely was present, along with her mother Betsy Wilaquenaho at the prophet's funeral in 1836. Of course, she may have just wanted to see Charles Blue Jacket again, because it was highly likely that they knew one another having been neighbors across the Kansas River for about 40 years. The Shawnee Prophet died in Argentine, Kansas in late 1836, about the time frame for Arch Fish, Betsy Wilaquenaho's second husband, and Betsy to have been married. Because Arch Fish was probably related to Tecumseh and the Prophet, that would have been even more of a reason for Betsy and Anna to have been at his funeral.

The newspaper coverage of the event is as follows:


Kansas City Sun – October 1, 1897


CHIEF BLUEJACKET. HISTORICAL POINTS OF INTEREST.

(From the Argentine Republic)

Last Tuesday at 10 a.m. Chief Charles Bluejacket, the famous Shawnee interpreter arrived in Argentine accompanied by E. F. Heisler of the Kansas City Sun and was escorted to the Fifth Avenue Hotel where a large crowd of old settlers who had known him in “days lang syne” were in waiting for him. He is truly a wonderful man, six feet two inches in height, straight as an arrow, coal black hair and eyes, 80 years of age, and speaks as [?] English as a country school ma’am. It was through the efforts of Editor Heisler that Bluejacket was induced to come to Argentine in the interest of the Historical Society to locate the grave of the famous Shawnee Prophet, brother of the noted Chief Tecumseh. The moment he stepped on the platform at the hotel, he commenced shaking hands with the old settlers, calling each one by name, and he had [?] been seen for some twenty-five years. A large number of old settlers were present, among them who were noticed the following: Mrs. Moses Grinter, Mrs. John Grinter and Mrs. R. T. Mooney, [?] R. Matney, Samuel Batie, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Chick, Mr. and Mrs. W. [Anderson?], Mrs. Frank Holsinger, Judge [?], Secretary of the Kansas Historical Society, Mr. Feary, Secretary of the Western Historical Society, Hon. [?] Barber, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Love[?], Dr. G. W. Pearsall, Editor Mitchel of the Olathe Mirror, A. N. Moyer, Miss [?] Moyer, who was taking notes in short hand for the Wyandotte Co. Historical Society, F. W. Betton, J. F. Timmons, E.[?] Haren, E. F. Heisler, editor of the Sun, and Mrs. Heisler, V. J. Lame, president of the Wyandotte County Historical Society, [?] Parsons, five generations of the Grinter family, and all the old timers of Argentine [and?] vicinity, were present and accompanied Bluejacket on his pilgrimage to the graves of his kindred. It was a funeral procession minus a hearse, silver-handled [coffin?], and trappings of sorrow. Old John [Matney?] and Bluejacket led the procession in a single seated top buggy, followed by carriages, buggies, and moving vans.

Arriving at the spot one and a half miles south of Argentine the procession [roosted?] upon a knoll and Bluejacket said he didn’t really know where he was: the trees had growed big and the whole face of the country had changed. Some of the settlers maintained that we were near the hallowed spot, others said it was near Shawnee; but Bluejacket contended that it was near a spring one mile northwest. At the suggestion of Editor Heisler, Bluejacket read several notes of news relative to delinquent subscribers from the “Shawnee Sun” printed in 1841 at the Shawnee Baptist Mission.

Bluejacket will remain the guest of John R. Matney, Esq., for several days and claims he will surely locate the spot when he gets his bearings straight and sight of land. We neglect to mention that Dr. A. B. Earle of Kansas City, for many years physician among the Delawares and Shawnees, J. S. Chick and wife, and a number of others from Kansas City, Mo, who were present. Rev. J. G. Pratt of this country and Mrs. J. H. Bartles of Bartlesville, I. T., who was born in Wyandotte County in 1843. It was conceded by all present that the meeting in Argentine last Tuesday was the most interesting and profitable of any meeting ever held by the Historical society. . .

(From the Kansas Tribune)

Tuesday the Wyandotte County Historical Society entertained a distinguished personage, Chas. Bluejacket, the last chief of the Shawnee Indians, for years a resident of this county, now living near the town of Bluejacket in Indian Territory. The mission of this Shawnee chief’s visit to this city is to locate the place of burial of one of the greatest Aboriginee statesman – whose influence extended beyond the narrow tribal lines to the council circles of the six great western Indian nations – Laulewasika, the Prophet.

It has long been known that the great Shawnee Prophet was buried in Wyandotte county, but efforts to locate the exact place have proven futile. The oldest white inhabitant has forgotten the early topography of the county, and the nearest authentic information was that near the old site of Prophet Town, a mile or so south of the present limits of Argentine, this Patriarch of the tribes was laid to rest. Individual effort was of no avail, so the Historical Society took the matter up. About two weeks ago, Mr. E. F. Heisler, a prominent member of that organization, made a trip to the home of Mr. Bluejacket and pursuaded (sic) him to give his assistance in this work. Mr. Bluejacket was at the funeral services of the Prophet and being familiar with the county, claims he will have no difficulty in locating the exact place.

There are few men now living who were acquainted with the noted Indian chief, and Mr. Bluejacket is one of the few. At the time of the death of the Prophet the prominent men of the Shawnee tribe were Graham Rogers, Chas. Bluejacket and Silverheels, of whom Mr. Bluejacket alone survives. In 1871 he removed to the Indian territory, where he has since resided. It is the intention of the Historical Society that a suitable monument marks the resting place of this old-time Indian statesman.

At 10 o’clock this morning a large delegation of citizens assembled at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, to receive the last of the great men of the Shawnee Indian nation. Among the assemblage were the pioneers of Wyandotte county, who grasped the hand of the aged statesman, and familiarly called him “Charley.” On those occasions the grim visage of the Indian would relax its set stolidity and be wreathed in smiles of recognition; at all other times he was statuesque and distant.

The head of the Shawnee nation is a man of commanding appearance, he towered high above all who went out to bid him welcome, and his eighty years rests lightly upon him. He is commanding in appearance, straight as an arrow, with quick, penetrating eyes, and hair long, black and straight pushed back from a swarthy brow. He is the typical Indian representative, and amid the excitement of the ovation given him, he betrayed no symptoms of timidity. He says he is ill but he conceals all symptoms of sickness well.

Charles Bluejacket came to Wyandotte county from Ohio in 1832, and was about twenty years old when the great prophet died. Bluejacket was acquainted with all the great sachems of the great nation, and his information concerning events of early American history is worthy high regard in American historical literature. He is a legislator rather than a warrior and since the date of his residence in this county he has been prominent in all the treaties with the government. Today he lives quietly in a peaceful home in the Indian Territory and is a champion of arbitration in all tribal matters.

The search for the grave of the Shawnee Prophet at noon was barren of results. The Chief, Chas. Bluejacket, who was present at the burial was driven to the site of Prophet Town by the Historical society, but the topography of the scene had so changed that he was not certain of his surroundings, [?] is located the site of the town of the Prophet on an eminence that towered high above the hills about Argentine, the spring by which the Prophet built his house was located , but that is all that the Shawnee chieftain recognized. For a time he hesitated, then said, “Things have changed.”

Among those who bid Bluejacket welcome were the Mooney and Grinter families, who came to Wyandotte county in the ‘30’s five generations of the Grinter family being in attendance. Before the start was made to the resting place of the Prophet, a group of about two score of the pioneers had their pictures taken in a group in front of the Fifth avenue.

Laulewasikaw the Prophet

There is a difference in the pronunciation of the name of the Prophet. Chief Bluejacket pronounces the name Ten-squa-ta-wa; the name in biographical mention is Laulewasikaw. Both the chief and historians say it has the same significance.

The most distinguished and respected among all of the Indians who came west after the disastrous defeat of the British and Indian allies in the second war with England, was Laulewasikaw, better known as the Prophet. He came to Wyandotte county from Cape Gerardeau (sic), Mo., in 1828, being then about 60 years of age, and in possession of physical and mental vigor. He lived here about seventeen years, dying about the year 1845. His had been an active career. His was the master mind that evolved all the great coups by which the six nations distressed the newly established American government. His voice was ever raised in eloquent appeal to the Aboriginees to drive white invaders from their hereditary hunting grounds. He and his associates staked all on the field of battle and they accepted inevitable defeat with characteristic immobility. The life of the Prophet in Wyandotte county was quiet and tranquil, a striking contrast to the stirring scenes that marked his early life.

Laulewasikaw was one of an illustrious family, closely akin to the royal or ruling family of the great tribe. He was a son of Pokeshinwa of the Kineopokes [?], his mother was [Methoajaska?] of theTurtle clan of the Shawnees. It is an established custom of all Indian nations for the children to be members of the tribe to which the mother belonged, so Laulewasikaw became a member of the Turtle clan of the Shawnees. They removed from Florida to Ohio about the middle of the last century. His father rose to the rank of chief and fell at the Battle of Pleasant Point. Laulewasikaw was born near the present sight of Piqua, Oho, about 1768. History says he was a brother of Tecumseh and that he, Tecumseh and another brother were triplets, the children of a single birth. The Name Laulewasikaw signifies “the open door.” His brother Tecumseh showed a passion for war early in life, he was the mainspring for all the movements of the great Indian wars, but the Prophet was apparently the most prominent actor. His first mention in history was in 1805 when he assumed the office of Prophet which enabled him to sway the Indians to a wonderful degree. In 1806, Laulewasikaw and Tecumseh resided together and their reservation to which the discontented red men made frequent pilgrimages. Here the Prophet dreamed many wonderful dreams and claimed to have many supernatural revelations made to him. He predicted the great eclipse of that year which enabled him to carry conviction to the minds of his followers that he was the earthly agent of the Great Spirit.

He boldly announced to the unbelievers on a certain day he would give them proof of his supernatural powers by bringing darkness over the sun. When the day and hour arrived and the earth at noonday was shrouded in the gloom of twilight, the Prophet, standing in the mist (sic) of his party, significantly pointed to the heavens and cried, “Did I not prophecy truly? Behold darkness has shrouded the sun.” This striking phenomenon produced a strong impression on the Indians and increased their belief in the sacred character of the Prophet.

In 1806 the brothers removed to a tract of land on the Tippecanoe where they strengthened their influence over the various tribes. The influence of the Prophet continued unchallenged until the Battle of Tippecanoe, when his power began to wane, he having previous to the battle, promised them certain victory. Among his own tribe he exerted a remarkable influence to the day of his death.

Last Days of Laulewasikaw

(Found among the papers of Rev. Isaac McCoy, in the papers of the Kansas State Historical Society).

In November last there died in this country of the Shawnees, a few miles from this point, the Shawnee Prophet, Tensquatawa, usually reputed to be a twin brother of Tecumseh. He had been sick several weeks, when he sent for a gentleman connected to the Baptist Mission, to visit the prescribe for him. At the request of this gentleman, I called to see him. I went accompanied by an interpreter, who conducted me by a winding path through the woods till we descended a hill at the bottom of which, secluded apparently from all the world, was the “prophet’s town.” A few huts built in the ordinary Indian style constituted the entire settlement. The house of the Prophet was not distinguished at all from the others. A low portico, covered with bark, under which we were obliged to stoop to pass under, was erected before it, and a half starved dog greeted us with a growl as we entered. The interior of the house which was lighted only by a half open door showed at the first view the taste of one who hated civilization. Two or three platforms built against the wall served the purpose of bedsteads, which were covered with blankets and skins. A few ears of corn and a quantity of dried pumpkins, the favorite dish of the Indians, were hanging on poles overhead, a few instruments of savage domestic use, as wooden spoons and trays, pipes, etc., lay scattered about the floor, everything indicating poverty. One corner of the room closing an apology for a fireplace, contained a platform of split logs, elevated about a foot from the floor and covered with a blanket. This was the bed of the Prophet. I involuntarily stopped for a minute to view in silence the spectacle of a man whose word was law to numerous tribes, now lying on a miserable pallet, dying in poverty, neglected by all but his own family. He that exalteth himself shall be abased. I approached him. He drew aside his blanket and discovered a form emaciated in the extreme, but the broad proportions of which indicated that it had once been the seat of great strength His countenance was sunken and haggard, but appeared – it might have been fancy – to exhibit something of the soul within. I thought I could discover, spite of the guards of hypocrisy, something of the marks which pride, ambition, and the workings of a dark designing mind had stamped there. I inquired of him his symptoms, which he related particularly. I then proposed to do something for his relief. He replied that he was willing to submit to medical treatment, but was just then engaged in contemplation, or “study,” as the interpreter called it, and he feared the operation of medicine might interrupt his train of reflection. He said his “study” would continue three days longer, after which he would be glad to see me again. Accordingly, in three days, I repaired again to his cabin but it was too late. He was speechless and evidently beyond the reach of human assistance. The same day he died. The history of the Prophet until the late war has been often told. When in conjunction with his brother Tecumseh, he was plotting the union of all the Indian nations of the continent against the growing power of the United States. He preached, as he alleged with a direct command from heaven. His influence was almost unbounded. Many tribes besides the Shawnees believed in him, but the charm was in a great measure broken by the disastrous result of the battle of Tippecanoe. The Indians engaged in this battle with all the enthusiasm that superstition could inspire, assured by the Prophet that he had power to change the power of whites into ashes. Tensquahtawa, who possessed in an eminent degree that part of valor called prudence, placed himself on an eminence out of harm’s way, and encouraged his men, singing and dancing to conciliate the favor of the Great Spirit. But all was vain. The Indians were killed in great numbers, and the reputation of the Prophet sunk never again to rise. Since the war the Prophet has not figured at all. He seems to have lived in obscurity, always keeping a small but decreasing band about him. He maintained his character to the last, professing to hold continual intercourse with heaven, and opposing every encroachment of civilization upon the venerated customs of his forefathers; he hated the whites, he hated their language; he hated their religion and their modes of life. He understood English, it is said, but would never speak it. Nothing vexed him more than the operations of the missions and their success in introducing the Christian religion and civilized arts. He was frequently known when an assembly had met for worship, to stand before the door and interrupt the meeting by noise, sometimes sinking the dignity of the Prophet in very unbecoming acts to effect this purpose. Among his pretensions was that in skill in medicine, or rather in healing, for I believe his means of cure were mostly conjuration and ceremonies, deriving their efficacy from divine interposition. A Shawnee of intelligence and piety, yielding to the importunities of friends, who had faith in the Prophet, once called on him to administer relief to two of his children. Tensquahtawa told him he would visit them, but he must first take time to dream. Accordingly, he retired to his pallet and after a nap, in which he communicated with the Great Spirit, he hastened to communicate the results of his revelation, assuring the parents that the prescriptions of the Deity himself must infallibly succeed. The children, however, died, and the parents’ faith in the Prophet was probably buried with them. He always maintained that he should never die. Several times in his last sickness he swooned, and was thought to be dead. He took advantage of these occasions, and assured his followers that he actually died temporarily, but was restored again by divine power. Why he would seek the aid of a white physician in his sickness seems rather mysterious. Perhaps, and I have thought it probable, the near approach of death caused his own spirit to quail, and pride for once gave way to fear, but further reflection on his weakness induced him to discard aid offered by one of the race he so heartily detested. The Prophet held the rank of chief and was regarded by his countrymen as a man of talents, aside from his religious pretensions. All agreed, however, in ranking him below Tecumseh, whose memory is still venerated by the Shawnees, as the pride of the nation. Tensquatawa was considered a good counsellor but I have frequently heard the Indians complain that he made too long speeches. They sometimes threw out remarks rather derogatory, and even once openly called him a _______. Some historians have said that Tecumseh and the Prophet were twin brothers; others that they and a third called Venn were of one birth. But the true account as I have derived it from the old Shawnees, who certainly must have known, was that Tecumseh was the oldest of the family, and that between him and Tensquatawa, who was one of two at a birth, a sister intervened.



[The above paper is in the handwriting of Dr. I. A. Chute, who was a correspondent of Isaac McCoy in ---- writing from Westport, Mo.]

Photos/Sketches accompanying article:


Laulewasikaw


Mrs. Annie Grinter (mis-identified as Mrs. Mary Grinter)

Kansas City Sun, November 5, 1897


The many friends of the late Charles Bluejacket in this state will be pained to learn of his death so soon after his recent visit to this city. The following letter from his son-in-law, Jonathan Gore, explains itself and next week, we hope to give a more extended account of the life of this truly great man.


Bluejacket, I. T., , Nov. 1, 1867 (sic) [should be 1897]

E. F. Heisler, Editor, Kansas City Sun, Kansas City, Kansas

Dear Sir:

Charles Bluejacket died Oct. 29th at seven o’clock and twenty minutes, P.M. His remains were buried in Masonic honors in his family burying at his home. His funeral was the largest ever witnessed in this country. He was known in the Indian Territory and the states of Missouri and Kansas and loved and highly respected by all. We deeply regret his loss. Very respectfully, Jonathan Gore.


Turtle Clan

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Charles is 27 degrees from AJ Jacobs, 29 degrees from Isaac Kidd, 29 degrees from Greg Slade and 28 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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