Monday, August 6, 2012

A Shawnee Indian Cemetery

As I was leaving the Shawnee City Hall, I saw a sign pointing to an Indian Cemetery.  Since I now brake for Historic Markers, down the road I went.  Houses lined the short city street, but sure enough, it ended at this small rural cemetery.  And I had quite a surprise.  Captain Joseph Parks, a famous Shawnee Chief, is buried here.  He died in 1859.  He was a hero among the Shawnee.  He fought in the Seminole War in Florida and later, assisted his people in their move to Kansas.  He continued to act as an interpreter for the United States government and traveled back and forth to Washington D.C. as a representative of the tribe.  A 5 ft. gravestone marks his grave.

Even more interesting to me, were the gravestones of Julia Ann Bluejacket, the second wife to another chief, Charles Bluejacket, and two of their children. Charles was the grandson of Chief Blue Jacket, an illustrious name in the Shawnee tribe.

  Charles was educated at the local mission school and became a Methodist minister.  Two of his sons fought in the Union Army during the Civil War, and a daughter-in-law was killed by the notorious William Quantrill.  I found it interesting that Julia died in 1870, and Charles left for Oklahoma a year later, probably one of the last of the Shawnees to leave.     


Julia Ann Bluejacket was the last known burial here.  The first was in 1837, the 6-year-old daughter of Joseph and Catherine Parks.  Only Shawnee are buried here, and the town grew up around this hallowed site. 

There are many Shawnee buried here in unmarked graves.  The above headstones were moved here from the Shawnee Quaker Mission cemetery.  This is an historic, peaceful place encompassing only three decades in the life of the Shawnee.  I couldn't help but wonder how many of these cemeteries line the path that was taken from Ohio to Kansas.  At least this one was allowed to remain undisturbed.


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