Alex Payer

Alexis Payer (1820 - 1909)

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Alexis (Alex) "Alexander" Payer aka Payon, Payeur
Born in Wisconsin, Michigan Territorymap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of [half], [half], [half], [half], [half], [half] and [half]
Husband of — married 1850 in Long Prairie, Todd, Minnesota Territorymap
Descendants descendants
Died in Winnebago, Thurston, Nebraska, United Statesmap
Profile last modified 21 Feb 2020 | Created 21 Sep 2019
This page has been accessed 90 times.
Alex Payer was a Native American and member of the Ho-Chunk tribe.

Contents

Biography

Name

His French name, "Alexis," by which he is known in early records, is more commonly a woman's name in the English speaking world. Since "Alex" is a nickname for "Alexis," Payer changed his name formally to "Alexander," but went by the name "Alex," even in census records.

Residence

In the 1900 census, he claimed to have been born in Iowa, although an affidavit says that he resided in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. However, since this town is on the Mississippi River, it is possible that he could have been born on the west bank side, which is in Iowa. Nevertheless, in a list of Indian Agency employees from 1879, he said to have been born in Wisconsin.

In the Treaty of 1829, Alexis was given one section of land in Rockford, Illinois. The same was granted to his mother and each of his siblings. (Kappler)

In May of 1865, he and his wife were residing in Empire City, Dakotah County, Minnesota according to the state census.

Once settled in Winnebago, Nebraska, the site of the Indian Reservation, he seems to have stayed there until his death.

Life

Birth

The In the 1900 federal census gives his birth year explicitly as 1820. This was followed by other censuses both earlier and later. However, the deposition given below suggests that 1823 is more accurate. He had a penchant for presenting himself as older than he was. At his death he was claiming to be 103 years old, and by the time his tombstone had been carved, his age had reached 108 years! (Find a Grave)

Treaty Awards and Depositions

In 1837, Alexis received $1,600 as his share of the treaty allotment payout. (Wyckoff)

On 5 Oct. 1838, Benjamin L'Ecuyer and Francis Roy testified before a commission stating, "that they are well acquainted with Alexis Payon or Payer, residing at Prairie du Chien, and aged about twelve or fourteen Years. He is the Son of Michael Payon or Payer, and Mau. naw. tee. see a Winnebago Woman of full blood: the said Michael and Mau. naw. tee. see. resided for several Years after their marriage on Prairie du Chien, after which the said Michael emigrated to the West with some Indians, and has remained there ever since, and will so continue to reside, as deponents verily believe: Since his departure the said Michael has contributed nothing to the support of his Wife and said Child, which these deponents know from being nearly related to said Mau. naw. tee. see. and on habits of close intimacy with her: the said Alexis is an intelligent boy, well conducted and of good habits, he is naturally very smart, and if educated would make a good citizen, and intelligent person of business, but his education has heretofore been necessarily neglected from want of means." (Waggoner, 6-7)

Marriage

He married Sarah Ann Rasdall, a.k.a., Rogue. She consistently lied about her age on the censuses, claiming that she was nine years older than she actually was. This was for a good reason: Alex married her when she was 12 years old, perhaps for her protection.

Children

According to the 1900 federal census, they had 10 children, of whom 5 survived. The oldest child mentioned in the earliest census was Barcley, who was born in 1874; but a set of marriage licenses shows that he had an older child, Louisa, born in 1867. The remaining children were: Mary (b. 1876), Clara (b. 1881), Maggie (b. 1884).

Gatschet, writing some notes about prospective informants in 1889, said, "Mrs. John Johnson, lives towards the Bluffs, speaks English & can tell a good deal. Alek. Pare [Alex Payer ?], her father, a policeman, speaks English." Mrs. Johnson, assuming Alex had no other children than those listed here, ought to have been Louise, who would have been 32 at the time.

Career

An affidavit from 1838 states, "the said Alexis is an intelligent boy, well conducted and of good habits, he is naturally very smart, and if educated would make a good citizen ..." (Waggoner, 7a)

In 1865, when he lived with his wife in Minnesota, he was an interpreter for the United States government. He may have functioned in this capacity on and off for a number of years. He may be seen here standing in the back row in the photograph by R. A. Lewis taken in New York in 1865.

On the reservation in Winnebago, Nebraska, he joined the Indian Police early on, and by 1879 he had risen to the rank of Sergeant with a salary of $5.00 per month. By 1891, he had become Chief of Police at a salary of $15.00 per month. (Official Register, 1879, 347; 1891, 712)

Burial

He may have died in his 85th year, or if we accept the ages given in the various censuses, his 89th year. He is buried by a pink granite tombstone with the false birth date of 1801. His plot is located at the Winnebago Cemetery, Winnebago, Thurston County, Nebraska, USA.

Sources

  • Linda M. Waggoner (ed.), “Neither White Men Nor Indians: Affidavits from the Winnebago Mixed-blood Claim Commissions, Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin, 1838-1839” (Roseville, Minnesota: Park Genealogical Books, 2002). Extracted from Territorial Papers of the United States, Wisconsin, 1836-1848. M236. “Special Files of the Office of Indian Affairs,” 1836-46. “Special File 161” (Roll 41). “Special File 190” (Roll 42). National Archives, Washington D.C., Documents on Microfilm, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Record Group 75).
  • Find a Grave, Alexander Payer, Memorial ID: 66572737.
  • 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. 30 Jun 1889; Roll: M595_311; Page: 1; Line: 1; Agency: Winnebago.
  • 1900 United States Federal Census for Winnebago, Thurston, Nebraska; Page: 11; Enumeration District: 0187. 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; FHL microfilm: 1240941.
  • Charles J. Kappler, Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, Vol. 2, Treaties (Washington : Government Printing Office, 1904). Treaty with the Winnebago, 1829, Article V, 2:302.
  • Larry Wyckoff, "1837 Winnebago Mixed-Blood List. A list of Winnebago Mixed-bloods entitled to payment under the treaty of November 1, 1837." Academia.edu, 2017.
  • Minnesota State Census for 25 May 1865, at Empire City, Dakota County. Minnesota State Population Census Schedules, 1865-1905. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN, USA: Minnesota Historical Society, 1977. Microfilm. Reels 1-47 and 107-164.
  • Blackhawk Family Tree, Bethamy Blackhawk, Ancestry.com https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/107994985/person/130061997308/facts
  • Obituary of Alexander Payer, Nebraska State Journal, 2 February 1900, p. 3.
  • Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service. Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of the Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service, 1879.
  • Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service. Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of the Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service, 1891.
  • Albert Samuel Gatschet, Linguistic and Ethnological Material on the Winnebago, Manuscript 1989-a (Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution National Anthropological Archives, 1889, 1890-1891) 1-104.


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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Alex by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Alex:

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Alex is 15 degrees from Greg Clarke, 16 degrees from George Hull and 16 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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Categories: Ho-Chunk