Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Chief Aubbeenaubbee  

Au-be-nau-be was a stout, robust, coarse featured, sullen specimen of his race, and when under the influence of liquor, which he nearly always was for a long time prior to his tragic death, was quarrelsome, vicious and unmanageable. One who knew him intimately said Au-be-nau-be was born in 1760, at the Portage between the headwaters of the Kankakee river and St. Joseph river, then called by the Indians "Lock-wock," the Indian name for portage, and was seventy-six years old at the time of his death.

Polygamy being allowed among the Indians at that time, Au-be-nau-be had provided himself with a number of wives, with not all of whom he lived in that peace and harmony that should characterize man and wife. In one of his drunken sprees he quarreled with one of his wives, and in a fit of anger killed her.

A council of the chiefs of the different bands of the Pottawattomies was called, so the story goes, to deliberate as to what the punishment should be.

The council, following an ancient custom, decided that the oldest son should be the avenger of the murder of his mother and slay his father.

The sentence of death was pronounced and the son was given a certain number of moons to carry it into execution.

The father had the right to defend himself, and if he could keep out of the way and escape the infliction of the penalty until the time had expired he was to be considered a free man.

His son kept watch of him, and as he wanted the old man out of the way so he could succeed him as chief of the band, he was really in earnest in wanting to kill him. Finally the opportunity presented itself. One day the old man drank to excess and, sitting down in a chair in the Blodgett log shanty, went to sleep. His son having followed him, approached stealthily into his presence, pulled his tomahawk from his belt, and, with a terrific blow, thrust it into his head up to the handle. The blood spurted to the low ceiling above, and with a single groan and struggle, the great chief, Au-be-nau-be, fell over on the floor, dead! This was at the Blodgett log cabin, just over the county line in Fulton County.

The son, whose name was Pau-koo-shuck, succeeded his father as chief of the tribe, and the same year disposed of the lands belonging to the reservation by treaty to the government, and with his band, in September, 1838, was started for the reservation west of the Missouri river.

    According to the account of one who accompanied the Indians on that expedition Pau-koo-shuck, when near the Mississippi river, refused to go any further, finally escaped and returned to the old hunting grounds, where he remained hunting and fishing, drinking and carousing, until he died not a great while afterward.

After the death of Au-be-nau-be his remains were set up by a big tree and fenced in with poles, and supplied with pipes and tobacco and provisions sufficient to last him until he reached the happy hunting grounds over there." The few white people in the neighborhood, however, did not approve of that manner of burial, and dug a hole in the ground and put him in it, covered him up and piled stone over him; and there he remained and his dust is probably there yet, but as the stones have all been taken away, and the ground composing the little mound that covered him has been plowed and cultivated, there is not now a trace of the spot where the old chief lay.

Anecdote of Au-be-nau-be.

The following anecdote is told of Au-be-nau-be in connection with the making of the treaty of 1832. President Jackson had appointed Gov. Jonathan Jennings a commissioner to negotiate a treaty with the Pottawattomie Indians of northern Indiana, his associates on the commission being John W. Davis and Marks Crume. The meeting was held at the forks of the Wabash, where the city of Huntington now stands, October 26, 1832. One who was present tells the story of what happened there as follows:
    During the preliminary council, Dr. John W. Davis who was a pompous, big-feeling man, said something that gave offense to Au be-nau-be was a one of the head chiefs of the Pottawattomies. Au-be-nau-be addressed Gov. Jennings, saying: “Does our great father intend to insult us by sending such men to treat with us? Why did he not send Gen. Cass and Tipton?

    You (pointing to Gov. Jennings) good man and know how to treat us. (Pointing to Crume) He chipped beef for the squaws at Wabash;" meaning that Crume was the beef contractor at the treaty of 1826. Then, pointing to Dr. Davis, he said: Big man and damn fool.” The chief then spoke a few words to the Pottawattomies present that gave one of their peculiar yells and left the council house, and could only be induced to return after several days, and then only through the great influence of Gov. Jennings. This was the treaty that set apart what is known as the Me-no-mi-nee reserve, consisting of twenty-two sections of land, extending from west of Plymouth to Twin lakes, where Me-no-mi-nee village was located and the old Indian chapel erected.

    The signing, of this treaty was said to be the last official act of Jonathan Jennings, the first governor of Indiana. He was, probably, the most distinguished man in many ways who took an active part in the formation of the Indiana territory and later in the organization of the state in 1816. He had blue eyes, sandy hair and fair complexion. He died comparatively young, but he did as much for the well being of Indiana as any man that ever lived. He died July 26, 1834, at Charlestown, Ind., surrounded by his family and friends, beloved by all.

This was found in the Rochester Sentinel:

    Saturday, July 11, 1908

    The burial place of the noted Indian chief was indicated to Capt. Crook of Adams township, Cass county, by the late Major McFadin, of Logansport, ten years ago, and it has since been the purpose of Capt. Crook to own the lot and furnish the last resting place for the chief.

    The burial site was on the banks of lake Maxinkuckee. This season he decided to build a dry dock on the lot, having a double purpose in view - to get his dock, and, in making the excavation to find, if possible, the bones of Aubbeenaubbee.

    Recently work was begun on the excavation and it was not long until the coveted treasure, the bones of the great Chieftain, were reached. Great excitement reigned for some time among those present when the discovery was made, the party being Capt. Fisher, ex-marshal Wood, Capt. Jack Hemling and Capt. Crook. When the excitement allayed, all gathered around with bowed heads and solemn faces to view the remains of the once noble chieftain who chose his burial place at the edge of the lake whose waters he loved so well. The dry dock will be his monument - the Aubbeenaubbee dock.

'The grave of Aubbeenaubbee" has been a topic for contention among old settlers of this section of the state for many years and many good men have died in the belief that they had established the burial spot of the old Chief beyond question. But no two of these locations of the grave have been identified. Major McFadin, of Logansport, will die in the belief that Aubbeenaubbee was not buried at all but was translated to some unknown happy hunting grounds for the purpose of getting away from his mother-in-law. Editor Dan McDonald, of Plymouth, believes that Aubbeenaubbee's bones rest in a grave near Lake "Mucksenkuckee." Uncle Jesse Shields believes that Aubbeenaubbee was buried somewhere in Richland township. And now comes Thomas Beall who says Aubbeenaubbee was not buried at all but that his body was "set up against an old tree, fenced in, and left there to dry up" on what is now the Wm. Osborn farm.

Thomas says he lived on the land where Richland Center is now located, 62 years ago, and he knew Aubbeenaubbee as well as it was safe for a paleface to know him. After he was killed by his son his body was placed in the position described. The fence about the remains was of poles and the Indians gave much attention to all that was left of the great Chief. They killed game of all kinds and threw it into the pen where Aubbeenaubbee sat, in the belief that it would furnish him lunch during his sojourn in purgatory. Great strings of fish, deer, turkey, squirrels, etc., were thrown into the pen and the stench from the decaying stuff would have given a modern health officer enough trouble to raise his salary.

Mr. Beall also has a new story of Aubbeenaubbee's tragic death. He says the murder of the old Chief by his son was not the result of a quarrel. Instead there was a general rule among the Indians that a chief should not live beyond a certain age and if he did not die before the time allotted for him to quit this world he should be killed. Aubbeenaubbee had lived to the age when tragedy was necessary to preserve the rules of the tribe. Then he indulged in a big drunk and when he was "sleeping it off" on the floor of his cabin, his wife told her son that then was the time to remove the back number Chief and he did it by plunging a knife into the heart of his sleeping father.
Many years after the murder the Bealls moved into the cabin where the tragedy occurred but neither scurb broom nor whitewash brush could obliterate the blood spots from the ceiling where it had spurted from the fatal wound in Aubbeenaubbee's breast. Rochester Sentinel, Friday, August 6, 1897


That half column of local Indiana history, concerning the death and burial of Chief Aub-be-nau-be (This is the Indian way to spell it), published in the last issue of the SENTINEL, set the old settlers all to talking and those who have heard the frequent recitals during the week, of conflicting history of the event, are sure of only one thing and that is Aubbeenaubbee is dead.

The oldest settler in the county is Uncle Jesse Shields and he says that Thomas Beall's recollection of the death of the old chief and its subsequent incidents are erroneous in several respects.

Uncle Jesse came to the county in 1830 a mere boy and spent one summer with Mose or Jesse Barnett in raising a corn crop near where Richland Center is now located. Aubbeenaubbee lived with two squaws in a double cabin and in the summer of 1833 he was murdered by his son, Pau-ku-shuk, not because the Chief had lived as long as Indian law would permit but because the old chief had murdered Pau-ku-shuk's mother, one of his wives, and Indian law or custom required that the son of a murdered squaw should destroy her murderer and that is how Aubbeenaubbee lost his life at the hands of his son.

After the murder the body of Aubbeenaubbee was placed in a pole pen, not leaning against a dead tree, but sitting on a cross log in the pen with the chin resting on another cross log or pole. The body rested on a blanket and another was thrown over the shoulders and it remained there until morning but the skeleton remained and then the bones were buried on the west side of the road running north from Richland Center, and about half way from there to the county line.

In a personal letter to the SENTINEL editor, Hon. Daniel McDonald, of the Plymouth Democrat, says he has clipped the Aubbeenaubbee article published in these columns last week for his Indian history scrap book and suggests that everybody ought to spell the name as it should be -- "Au-be-nau-be." And in commenting on the article Mr. McDonald says:

    I have been greatly interested in the history of the noted chief, and in times past have gathered all the information that was possible in regard to him and his tragic end, etc.

    You are mistaken about my belief that he is buried at Muxsencuckee. I have always known that he was not buried there. Maj. McFadin insists that Au-be-nau-be's son, Pau-ku-shuk, who killed the old chief, died at Winamac, and was carried from that place and buried on Milo Smith's Long Point, Muxsencuckee. However that may be, Pau-ku-shuk's ghost has often been seen paddling his Indian bark canoe on the rippling waters of that charming lake.

    That is a fact that is susceptible of proof.

    If you do not believe it ask Major McFadin. Au-be-nau-be was buried -- or, rather, set up against a tree as you related -- at a place near where he was killed in Fulton county, just across the line between Marshall and Fulton, a short distance west of the Michigan road.

    The house was owned afterwards by a man by the name of Blodgett. After the body became decayed it was removed to an adjoining field, or open space, and buried in due form by some white men that lived in the vicinity at that time.

    The exact spot is not known, and has long since been plowed over and obliterated. Maj. McFadin was over in that region a few years ago and decorated the old chief's supposed grave with gympsum and smart week blossoms, and accidently discovered his skull which had petrified. This he carried home with him and added it to his voluminous collection of Indian and other relics and curiosities.

    When visiting him a few years ago, as a token of friendship he presented it to me and insisted that I take it home with me. It weighed about 25 pounds, and were it not that my friend, the Major never exagerates anything in regard to Indian history, I should be inclined to believe it is more likely to be a "nigger head," than the head of Au-be-nau-be.

    Your story of the cause of his death does not accord with my understanding of it, but the story as I have it is too long to repeat here. While the parties that know anything about it still live, I hope you will interest yourself enough in that early scrap of history to find out all about it so that it may be preserved for the benefit of future generations. - Rochester Sentinel, Friday, August 13, 1897

Several conflicting stories are told about Chief Aubbeenaubbee, but the stories agree that he was a tough chief, quarrelsome and eager to fight, especially when under the influence of "fire-water."

On October 26, 1832, several Potawatomi chiefs, including Aubbeenaubbee, met with the white men to make a treaty on the banks of the Tippecanoe River north of Rochester. The white men representing the U.S. governent were Gov. Jonathan Jennings, John Davis, and Mark Crume.

A dispute arose, and the chiefs walked out, but Aubbeenaubbee is said to have brought them together and rose to speak. Before Aubbeenaubbee spoke many words, Chief Wah-ban-che commanded him to stop and sit down. Aubbeenaubbee pulled a 15-inch knife from his belt, revealing that he had two horse pistols and another knife besides. His eyes flashing fire, he cooly said, "Now show me the Indian that will tell me to sit down until I get through." The treaty soon was signed.

Chief Aubbeenaubbee had villages near Leiters Ford and Richland Center and in Marshall County. Sources agree that he killed his squaw and was, in vengeance, killed by his oldest son, Paukooshuck, while drunk. Some say he was killed with a tomahawk while drinking in Blodgett's tavern just south of the Marshall County line. Others say he was killed in his cabin with a butcher knife which struck him from behind, between the shoulders, penetrating his heart.

In accordance with the Potawatomi burial customs, his body was adjusted in a sitting position by a tree, believed to be on Gresham Lough's farm in Richland Township. Probably he was dressed for burial as befitted a chieftain, and the squaws built a pen around the lifeless body with saplings to repel predatory animals.

Some say the body was there for many months. Other say the white settlers could not stand the stench and dug a shallow grave and covered it with rocks. The exact location never will be known. This was in 1836 or 1837.
    Aubbeenaubbee's son Paukooshuck became chief in his place and led the tribe in their migration west in July, 1837. Along with Chief Kewanna and two other chiefs, they were conducted west by George W. Proffit. There were between 50 and 100 Indians in this group and all went voluntarily. But there is a tale that Paukooshuck was wounded in a fight with the guards and left for dead on the trail. Alone he made his way back to Indiana, where he died in 1839 near Lake Maxinkuckee during a drunken spree. Early settlers reported seeing his ghost by the lake, as restless in death as in life - [Chief Aubbeenaubbee, Shirley Willard, Fulton Co Folks, Vol. 2, Willard; NOTE of 21 Feb 2015 per Shirley Willard - It is not known if Pau-koo-shuck went west in 1837 but his name is on the muster roll for the 1838 removal. ]

and from the Early Settlement of Kosciusko County Greybeard AKA Isaiah J. Morris Northern Indianian March 19, 1874, also about the old chief:

    Aubbeenaubee's village was on the banks of the Tippecanoe, in Fulton County, and is introduced here on account of his tragical death.

    In 1835, Aubbeenaubbee, who was a large, portly, and influential chief, in a drunken frolic, killed his oldest son, which produced a great excitement among his tribe.

    The old chief knew the Indian law, and knew well that notwithstanding his high position, his life must pay the forfeit of his crime, and made his arrangements accordingly.

    It was agreed among the friends of the murdered man that Pok-shuk, the chiefs second son, should be the avenger of his brother's death, and take his father's life.

    Aubbeenaubee being informed of this, made all necessary preparations to meet death in a manner becoming a brave chief and warrior and seating himself with a calm countenance and steady voice told his son to shoot him.

    Pok-shuk deliberately loaded his trusty rifle in the presence of his victim, then raising it to his shoulder to shoot, but his otherwise strong and manly nerves gave way, and he trembled to such an extent that to shoot, with a prospect of killing the object was impossible, and at once abandoned the execution of his father, telling the by-standers that he could not fire the fatal shot.

    This gave evidence that he possessed filial affection and humane feeling.

    This, however, did not punish the guilty, or appease the wrath of the friends of the deceased, who taunted Pok-shuk as a coward, calling him a squaw, etc.

    Whisky was brought, and Pok-shuk, as well as the chief, were soon both drunk, when a knife was put into the hands of Pok-shuk, who like an infuriated tiger, sprung upon his father, thrusting his knife into the old chief's side twice or thrice, making fearful wounds, but not causing immediate death. Pok-shuk retired satisfied, leaving the chief to die in his blood.

    The medicine men were immediately called, who prepared a string about a foot in length of short bones, telling the chief if he could swallow them and have them drawn back again by the end of the string, he would positively recover; but if he failed in the operation, there was no help for him. He made a desperate effort to swallow the bones, which resulted in a failure, and determined his fate.

    Finding he must die, he sent for an interpreter to write his will, but he was unable to dictate his desires, and died in a few hours. Like Monoquet, his body was placed in a sitting posture against a tree or stump near his house, and a rude enclosure put around him.

    Aubbeenaubbee was one of the foremost, most eloquent, intelligent and powerful chiefs of his day among the Pottawattamies. At the treaty of Tippecanoe in 1832, he was the principal speaker, and when he arose in council, his appearance at once commanded silence and respect.

    He was at the battle of Tippecanoe and the treaty which followed, and was considered wealthy by his friends, owning, at the time of his death, an entire township of land, which to-day bears his name.

    In 1837 and 1838 a majority of the Indians in fact all who could be forced to go, were taken by the government west of the Mississippi, since when but little has been heard from them. A few yet remain, but they are living in a semi-civilized condition. This number has been devoted to a description of the Indians, though meader and imperfect, yet it will convey some idea of their operations as seen by the early settlers. Other chiefs, villages, and circumstances might have been introduced; but the foregoing must suffice

The Following is a Brief History of This Old Indian Chief.
Jun 25, 1903, Culver Citizen, copied as written.

The naming of Capt. Crook’s new steamer in honor of the Indian chief, Nees-wau-gee, brings to mind the fact that, although the original inhabitants about the lake were Indians of the Pottawattomie tribe their memory has not been perpetuated heretofore, except in one instance, that of Au-bee-nau-bee, and the history of his life is not one to conjure.

He made a large reservation, mostly in Fulton county, where his village was located. His reservation extended north to the lake near the inlet where the little green boat house now stands, thence around the lake shore north east to the section line between Stephen Edwards and L. T. Van Schoiack and thence east to the Michigan road and not far from the Marshall and Fulton county line, where he was killed by his son,Pau-koo-sliuk sometime in 1826 [1936].

Au-bee-nau-bee was an Indian in every sense of the word, full of low cunning, of considerable ability and great force of character among the members of his tribe, over whom he presided as chief. Like most Indians he was passionately fond of intoxicating liquors and was frequently intoxicated and when in that condition was very abusive to those that happened to cross his path.

Au-bee-nau-bee had four or five wives, the principal chief being allowed to practice polygamy in those days. In one of his drunken sprees he killed one by a courts or he was tried found guilty and sentenced ran killed by his oldest son, unless he could prevent him from doing so for a designated period of time.

His eldest son, Pau-koo-shuk, by name, was anxious to kill his father, for if he could do so, he would then be chief of the tribe, a coinsinuation he devoutedly wished. Keeping watch of his father and one day finding him drunk and asleep in the Blodgett cabin above referred to, struck him a blow with his tomahawk, killing him instantly.Au-bee-nau-bee was dressed inhis chief paraphernalia, set up by a tree with a pole fence around him, provided with pipes, tobacco, whiskey, venison, etc, sufficient to last him on his journey to the “happy hunting grounds.” He remained there some time when the white settlers removed him and buried him in a “grave dug six feet due east and west and six feet perpendicular,” not far away.

Pau-koo-shuk then succeeded his father as chief of the tribe, and the same year disposed of the lands belong to the reservation by treaty to the government and with his band sometime in 1837 or 1838, started for the reservation west of the Missouri river.

According to the account of one who accompanied them, Pau-kooshuk, when near the Mississippi river, refused to go any farther, finally escaped and returned to the old hunting grounds. He followed in the footsteps of his father, drank to excess and was frequently engaged in quarrels and fights. In one of these disturbances which occurred near Winamac he was so badly hurt that disease set in and he died.

There is a tradition that the body of Pau-koo-shuk was carried from Winamac and buried on Long Point, Maxinkuckee, just east of Chadwick’s, hotel. Whether this story is true or not, is of not much consequence. Human bones were found there many years ago. and many who were about the lake then believed that Pau-koo-shuk was buried there as stated,


An Early History of Lake Maxinkuckee (1905, Levey Bros. & Co. Indianapolis) Daniel Mc Donald, Maxinkuckee Lake Assoc. pg. 16

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