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)
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.
"[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."
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" 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.
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)
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)
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