Their legends and folk-lore indicate that they are of extreme Northern origin as a tribe, and their history confirms this. The Hurons were visited by the Jesuits early in the seventeenth century. They lived then between Lake Simcoe and the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron, in what is now the province of Ontario, Canada. The Tionnontates lived a little more to the south and east, in the Blue Mountains, about the southern shores of the Bay of Nottawassaga. They were called Petuns, or the Tobacco Nation, by the French, because they cultivated tobacco in sufficient amount to form a considerable commerce in its barter and exchange with other tribes.
In 1649 the Iroquois destroyed the Huron Confederacy. Of all the Huron Nations, the Tionnontates alone retained a tribal organization after this catastrophe. The fragments of the broken tribes fled. northward along the Great Lakes, and were for years wanderers in those dreary wastes. As they increased in strength and became blended into a single tribe or people with the name Wyandot, they gathered about Mackinaw, and from thence began slowly to descend the Great Lakes, and stopped at Detroit. Here they were Pontiac's best and bravest warriors. In the wars between the British and Americans they were on the side of the English until the war of 1812, when about half the tribe sided with the Americans. At the close of the war that portion of the tribe that had adhered to Great Britain settled permanently in Canada, and those who had espoused the cause of the United States remained about the western end of Lake Erie, in what is now Ohio and Michigan. Their Ohio lands were in what is now Wyandot County. Here Methodism was introduced among them and a Mission established. On March 17, 1842, they ceded their Ohio lands to the United States. 2 They were the last of the tribes to relinquish their lands in Ohio.
In July; 1843, the Wyandots followed in the steps of the other tribes and moved beyond the Mississippi. 3 Here in the "Indian Territory" they purchased the land in the fork of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers from the Delawares. 4 They brought with them from Ohio a well organized Methodist Church, a Free Mason's Lodge, a civil government, and a code of written laws which provided for an elective Council of Chiefs, the punishment of crime and the maintenance of social and public order.
In 1855 the Wyandots accepted the allotment of their lands in severalty, and dissolved their tribal relations. A part of the tribe was dissatisfied with this action, and resumed their tribal relations. They purchased a tract of land in the Indian Territory from the "Cowskin Senacas," and there reestablished their own govemment. Those living on the reservation number about 300. As a tribe they are poor, but many individuals are quite well to do. They are intelligent and industrious and are all self-supporting. The Government maintains a good school for them and it is well attended.
The Wyandots were always brave and humane warriors. They adopted persons captured in war; 5 no instance is known of their burning and torturing a prisoner. The Wyandot tribe stood at the head of the Confederacy of the Northwestern tribes formed to oppose the settlement by white people of the Territory Northwest of the Ohio River.
The tribes composing this Confederacy were all removed west of the Mississippi River. In October, 1848, a great Congress of these tribes was held near Fort Leavenworth. The ancient Council-fire was re-kindled and the Wyandot tribe confirmed in the honorable position so long held by it.
2. 'Revision of Indian Treaties, 1017.
3. The Wyandots left for the far west in July, 1843, and numbered at that time about 700 souls." Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio (Cincinnati, 1847), 549.
4. Among the many authorities confirming this, see "Laws of the United States of a Local or Temporary Character" (Washington, 1884), 849. The agreement between the Delawares and Wyandots is there set out. The Delawares donated to the Wyandots three sections of land and sold them thirty-six sections. For this land the Wyandots paid the Delawares $46,080.00. This agreement was sanctioned by Congress, July 25, 1848. The Wyandots had made a treaty with the Shawnees while yet in Ohio whereby they were to have a strip of land adjoining the State of Missouri running south from the mouth of the Kansas River in the Shawnee Reserve, but the Shawnees finally repudiated this treaty. The Wyandots complained that when the Shawnees and Delawares were homeless they had "spread a deer skin for them to sit down upon" and given them each a large tract of land-to the two tribes the greater portion of Ohio, in fact; and now that the Wyandots were without a home, the Shawnees would not even sell them one, and the Delawares exacted from them more than the true value of the land sold. I have the copy of the treaty retained by the Shawnees, but it is unsigned. It was given me by Charles Blue-Jacket, Head Chief of the Shawnees.
5. The walker, Hicks, Brown, Zane, Armstrong,
Driver, Mudeater, and other Wyandot families were all founded by captives
who were adopted into the tribe