Elizabeth (LaMere) Decora
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Elizabeth Hīnū́gā (LaMere) Decora (1846 - 1925)

Elizabeth Hīnū́gā Decora formerly LaMere aka Sampson
Born in Wisconsin Territory, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married about 1868 [location unknown]
Wife of — married 1875 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 79 [location unknown]
Profile last modified | Created 11 Sep 2019
This page has been accessed 346 times.
Elizabeth was Ho-Chunk.

Contents

Biography

Birth and Lineage

Elizabeth LaMere DeCora-Sampson was born in 1846 and died on 17 March 1925. (Find a Grave)

"Catherine Armel, Oliver’s first born, married Oliver Lamere, a Frenchman from Canada who located first at Lake Koshkonong. When the Winnebagoes went to Long Prairie, he went with them, making several trips to Wisconsin, finally locating in the vicinity of Madison, where he died. He had three sons, Moses, Joseph, and Frank, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth was the mother of Angel Decora." (Jipson, 256)

Mrs. DeCora (LaMere) was the aunt of Radin's translator, Oliver LaMere, who therefore shared grandparents with Angel DeCora. (McAnulty, 144)

Name

In the Indian censuses without exception, she is always referred to as "Mrs. Sampson", with neither first name nor maiden name given. However, the 1898 census did give her birth order name, Hīnū́gā. This means, "First Daughter", which tells us that she was the eldest born female in her family.

It is in the 1910 Federal census that we first discover the identity of Mrs. Sampson: her name is given as "Elesebeth Lamore". This is an awkward transcription of "Elizabeth LaMere" who is buried as "Elizabeth Lamere" followed by an inscription that says, "The Wife of Peter Sampson". (Find a Grave) However, the 1918 census clearly states that the wife of Peter Sampson is Elizabeth Lamere.

Education and Occupation

"[Angel DeCora's] mother was a member of the LaMere family, also prominent among the Winnebago, and had been educated at a convent." (McAnulty, 144)

Angel DeCora says in her autobiography: " I was born in a wigwam, of Indian parents. ... My mother, in her childhood, had had a little training in a convent, but when she married my father she gave up all her foreign training and made a good, industrious Indian wife. During the summers we lived on the Reservation, my mother cultivating her garden and my father playing the chief's son."

Marriages

As Jipson noted in 1923 when Elizabeth was still alive, "Oliver Lamere, a Frenchman from Canada ... [had] two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth was the mother of Angel Decora." (Jipson, 256) The father of Angel and Julia was David "Tall" DeCora, whose surname both girls retained until they had married. Therefore, Elizabeth LaMere was the wife of David DeCora. It was suggested by McAnulty that David DeCora had died in July, 1888, but this seemed unlikely, since both his daughters (Angel and Julia) were living with Peter and Mrs. Sampson from 1886, and when they departed at age 21, each moved in next door to the Sampsons. One might conclude, therefore, that Angel's and Julia's parents had died prior to 1886; but surprisingly the whole family turns up in the 1910 census, not in Winnebago, Nebraska, but in northern Minnesota. The census of the Chippewa Reservation in St. Louis County, Minnesota reveals the following:

Name Relationship Age Year of Birth (±1) Place of Birth Ethnicity
Decara, David Head 65 1845 Nebraska Chippewa
Decara, Elizabeth Wife 65 1845 Nebraska Chippewa
Decara, Angle Daughter 34 1876 Nebraska Chippewa
Decara, Julia Daughter 36 1874 Nebraska Chippewa

"Decara" hardly differs from "Decora" ("DeCora"), and "Angle" is a misspelling of "Angel". This is the whole of David DeCora's family, with Elizabeth still described as his wife. The dates are in good agreement with those of the censuses, except for Angel, who was born in 1871. This census was enumerated on 29 April 1910; the census for Winnebago, Thurston County, Nebraska, was conducted on 6 May 1910. After a mad dash home, she shows up for this latter census, in which she gives her actual name, but claims that she had been born in Canada. The census taker found this implausible, and crossed it out in pencil and wrote "Winnebago" above it. Nevertheless, she had almost been born in Canada, as her father Oliver had been in 1822, and who would have turned 21 in 1843, just two years before her birth in Wisconsin Territory. Now that we know that Mrs. Sampson is actually Elizabeth LaMere, we now understand how it came about that at least by 1886, Angel and Julia had moved in as step-children of Pete Sampson: his wife was their mother!

There is no explanation for David DeCora's flight to the Ojibway unless it has something to do with Elizabeth's apparent polygyny. Since he was a chief's son, it might have been harder to conceal this fact from the white authorities, under whose jurisdiction it would have been illegal.

Children

Elizabeth had the following children with her first husband David "Tall" Decora:

Anglo Name Hocąk Name Dates Place of Birth
Angel Hinų́k-Mąxiwikirinąka (Woman Who Arrives from the Clouds) 3 May 1871 - 6 February 1919 Nebraska
Julia Áksiáka 6 May 1873 - 1967 Nebraska

With her second husband, Peter Sampson, she had the following children:

Anglo Name Hocąk Name Dates Place of Birth
Louisa Littlebeaver - English Inekimąnįwįga (Walks Alone) 1874 - 1946 Nebraska
Emma 1879 - bef. 1883 Nebraska
Josephine Greyhair Hąheoracewįga (Travels at Night) 1881 - 1962 Nebraska
Mary Yellowcloud Kikárasįcka (Shaking to Clear Itself) 1883 - 1918 Nebraska
Grace Whitesnake Ną̄k’ági’ą́wįga (uncertain) 15 August 1886 - 1 November 1963 Winnebago, Nebraska

Little is known of Emma, who died in infancy.(Waggoner, 44, 84-85, 285 nt. 11)

Death

Elizabeth died 17 March 1925, most likely on the reservation in Winnebago, Nebraska. She is buried in Saint Augustine Mission Cemetery, Winnebago, Thurston County, Nebraska. (Find a Grave)

Sources

  • Linda M. Waggoner, Fire Light: The Life of Angel De Cora, Winnebago Artist. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8061-3954-8.
  • Sarah McAnulty, "Angel DeCora: American Indian Artist and Educator," Nebraska History, 57 (1976): 142-199.
  • "Angel DeCora — An Autobiography," The Red Man, 3, #7 (March 1911): 279-285.
  • Norton William Jipson, Story of the Winnebagoes (Chicago: The Chicago Historical Society, 1923). This is an unpublished typescript.
  • 1886 Indian census; Roll: M595_311; Page: 31; Line: 5; Agency: Winnebago. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1887 Indian census; Roll: M595_311; Page: 30; Line: 5. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1888 Indian census; Roll: M595_311; Page: 32; Line: 4. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1889 Indian census; Roll: M595_311; Page: 26; Line: 8; Agency: Winnebago. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1890 Indian census; Roll: M595_311; Page: 39; Line: 8; Agency: Winnebago. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1892 Indian census; Roll: M595_312; Page: 45; Line: 7; Agency: Winnebago. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1898 Indian census; Roll: M595_312; Page: 24; Line: 22; Agency: Omaha & Winnebago. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1900 Federal Census Place: Winnebago, Thurston, Nebraska; Page: 19; Description: Winnebago Precinct; FHL microfilm: 1240941. United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
  • 1910 Federal Census for Township 62, Saint Louis, Minnesota; Roll: T624_724; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0244; FHL microfilm: 1374737. Census date: 29 April 1910. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.
  • 1910 Federal Census for Winnebago, Thurston, Nebraska; Roll: T624_857; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0207; FHL microfilm: 1374870. Census date: 6 May 1910. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1918 Indian census; Roll: M595_665; Page: 50; Line: 17; Agency: Winnebago. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1924 Indian census; Roll: M595_665; Page: 52; Line: 7; Agency: Winnebago. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • Find a Grave, database and images (accessed 30 January 2021), memorial page for Elizabeth LaMere (1846–17 Mar 1925), Find a Grave Memorial no. 11500765, citing Saint Augustine Mission Cemetery, Winnebago, Thurston County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by kmapp (contributor 46799577) .


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Categories: Ho-Chunk | Métis American Border Region