Local History and Genealogy

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Grave of a Chief

     John Holton, of near Hamilton, was in Angola last Saturday.  His father, John Holton, was the first settler of DeKalb county, locating there as early as 1833.  There were 600 Pottawatomie Indians near his home, and Mr. and Mrs. Holton were present at the burial of their chief.  A section of a walnut log was split in two pieces and from one a trough was made into which was placed the body of the chief, together with his gun and many other trinkets of greater or less value.  A shallow grave was dug in the forest, the trough containing the body was placed in the grave, covered with the other half of the log, and then with dirt, apparently to rest there in peace until the resurrection.  But not so, for with the clearing away of the forest came the washing and changing of the surface of the ground, until one day when the young Mr. Holton was plowing in the field the sharp point of his plow caught the cover to the rude coffin and exposed to view all that remained of the brave chief.  The skeleton and the rusty gun and trinkets alone gave evidence of the years that had passed since the grave was first made, for the interior of the trough was apparently in as good state of preservation as when placed there many years before.
     Mr. Holton was a man who had respect for even a dead Indian, so he and his son dug a new grave and to this day have kept the secret of its location, although they have from time to time been offered money to reveal the secret and permit the grave to be opened.

The Steuben Republican, February 18, 1903.