Monday, May 11, 2020

The Legend of Yellow Hair

We were asked recently if there was any oral history about the last battle of the Nephites, since in North America the Shawnee have an account of a battle that led to the extermination of Ancient Whites called Yellow Hair.”
    In answer, there were two battles in which the indigenous Indians of North America were involved in that has to do with the name “Yellow Hair.”
The Little Big Horn where a great battle was held that ended the 7th cavalry

The first was the famous “Custer’s Last Stand,” in which his entire command was wiped out at the Little Big Horn. This river was a 138-mile-long tributary of the Bighorn River. The battle, also known as the Battle of the Greasy Grass to the Indian tribes, or “The Defeat of Yellow Hair,” was fought along the river’s banks on June 25–26, 1876.
    This armed engagement was between combined forces of the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States, and marked the end of two very final events in history:
1) the end of Yellow Hair (Custer)
2) the end of the Sioux Nation’s control of the area.
    This also brought to an end the Second Treaty of Fort Laramie, in which the U.S. government guaranteed to the Lakota and Dakota (Yankton) as well as the Arapaho exclusive possession of the Dakota Territory west of the Missouri River, which treaty had been broken by pioneers moving into the area after gold.
    The casualty count of Custer’s 7th Cavalry included 268 dead and 55 severely wounded (six died later from their wounds), including four Crow Indian scouts and at least two Arikara Indian scouts. It was such a humiliating loss for the Army, that they mounted an aggressive response that drove both Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, as well as the entire Sioux nation into Canada.
The Fifth U.S. Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Wesley Merritt and with William “Buffalo Bill” Cody as scout, skirmished at Warbonnet Creek in northwest Nebraska with Cheyenne Indians from the Red Cloud Agency on July 17, 1876
Twenty-two days later, a battle at Warbonnet Creek, included a duel between "Buffalo Bill" Cody and a young Cheyenne warrior named Heova'ehe or “Yellow Hair” (often incorrectly translated as "Yellow Hand"). This battle was between Cheyenne Indians and the Fifth U.S. Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Wesley Merritt. The cavalry was present in northwest Nebraskaorder to block an Indian supply trail from the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies in Nebraska to the Powder River country of northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana. When the Cavalry learned that 1,000 Cheyenne had left two Agencies to join the triumphant Sioux, and were encamped at Warbonnet Creek, the Cavalry attacked and forced them back to the reservations.
    During the battle, Cody and Yellow Hair fought, with Cody killing and scalping the Indian. As Cody rose, he raised the scalp high and yelled: “This is the First Scalp for Custer,” a phrase later to be referred to as “Bill Cody’s First Scalp for Custer.” The event became a legend when it was later reenacted on stage by Cody in his Wild West show and became known all over the civilized areas of North America and parts of Europe.
    Another event that might be confused with Yellow Hair and the Shawnee, was the Battle at Tippecanoe fought on November 7,1811, in Battle Ground, Indiana. The encounter was between American forces led by Governor William Henry Harrison of the Indiana Territory, and Indian forces associated with Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (commonly known as "The Prophet"), who were leaders of a confederacy of various tribes who opposed settlement of the American West.
The military company of “Yellow Jackets,” a term gained its name from the uniforms provided by the county for the men, which had cuffs and fringes of their buckskins and wool coats dyed a bright yellow

Harrison gathered the scattered militia companies at Fort Knox near a settlement on Maria Creek north of Vincennes. The 60-man company called the “Yellow Jackets” from Corydon, Indiana, were attacked by the Shawnee and suffered heavy casualties, which caused an American response by Harrison that, after a ferocious battle at Prophetstown, the Indians were dispersed and Harrison destroyed the Indian settlement and burned it to the ground, including the winter stores of food.
    The event marked the end of the Indian confederacy envisioned by Tecumseh, Chief of the Shawnee tribe and his brother, Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet, that had been formed to battle against the encroaching settlers, forcing the Indians to join forces with the British as their only defense to their homeland.
    Vincennes, a city founded in 1732 in what was then the Midwest, originally belonged to France. Later, France lost the area to Great Britain, which in turn lost it to the Americans in the Revolutionary War. In 1800, Congress created the Indiana Territory with Vincennes as its capital and oldest city. By 1811, rumors flooded Vincennes, which was located in the Indiana territory in the southwestern Indiana, on the Wabash. It was the first permanent settlement in Indiana and where state had its beginnings. This is the area where the Shawnee gathered under Chief Tecumseh, where the first governor of the Indiana Territory, Wiliam Henry Harrison, as well as the ninth president of the United States, lived and worked, and where troops mustered for the Battle of Tippecanoe.
    With the Indians massing in nearby Prophetstown, General Harrison gathered 1400 troops and in mid-September of 1811 began his long march to confront this renewed threat to the interior. Accompanying the 1000 regulars were 400 men of the Indiana and Kentucky militias, including Captain Spencer and his brave Yellow Jackets of the Indiana militia.
    Afterward the “Yellow Jackets” were credited with the victory that drove the Indians in retreat. Later the battle became a political slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” for the 1840 Presidential campaign, which Harrison won.
    Since all three of these “Yellow Hair” events became known across the width and breadth of America, it is logical to assume they survived in both legend and myth among Indian tribes.
    However, the battle to which the inquirer referred is no doubt the mythical legend of the Ohio Mound Builders’ Chief Yellow Hair, referred to by the “Shawnee Legend of Yellow Hair,” in which is described as a giant who ruled over white people living on an island at the Falls of the Ohio on the river north of present-day Louisville, Kentucky.
Corn Island along the Ohio River on the banks of Louisville, Kentucky

Corn Island no longer exists, having lost much of its area in the 1800s as a result of erosion caused by deforestation and mining of limestone. The Corps of Engineers blasted and excavated the bedrock base until it was submerged in order to open the river up to commercial boat traffic. It is first recorded in 1773, and first settled with a major, permanent group in 1778 by George Rogers Clark’s militia and 60 civilian settlers as a communication post to support his famous military campaign in the Illinois country. When Clark's party eventually departed the farming colony remained on the island.
    According to the Draper Manuscripts which document the earliest pioneer settlers on Corn Island, there was a handful of people on the island in the 1730s, however, nothing is known about the island before that time, other than in Indian myth and lore. Eventually, the farmers moved to the south bank of the Ohio, and opened a settlement, which became Louisville.
     The events of this “Yellow Hair” legend are placed along the Ohio River near present-day Louisville on Corn Island, earlier known as Dunmore's Island. The island is now submerged in the Ohio River, at head of the Falls of the Ohio, some 50 miles north of the present archaeological site of the ancient Shawnee,
    Within this Shawnee legend of Yellow Hair, he was the King of the Mound Builders—a group of giant men. Hawk Wing was the chief of the Shawnee. According to the legend, the Shawnee drove Yellow Hair and his people onto the island on which was a cave, referred to as “Yellow Hair’s Bath.” The legend ends with Hawk Wing killing Yellow Hair and massacring the rest of those mound builders on the island.
The closest mound to Corn Island is 36 miles away, and that was formed by glacial movement in the last Ice Age

It might also be noted that in1800, the area of Corn Island was not in Shawnee territory, which was in most of Ohio (along with the Ottawa Wyandot, but in the area of the Miami tribes, who controlled Indiana. The area of corn Island is also outside the Woodlands and the locations of the Hopewell and Adenas mound builders. However, there were several mounds built in the northern and northwestern Indiana, but none arouondthe area of Corn Island and Louisville, Kentucky.
    While in the first three encounters listed above are based on actual events and can be verified by historical facts, this last, a legend, is either to be believed or rejected according to one’s belief, but either way, it does not equate to any event in the Book of Mormon, neither in size nor scope.

No comments:

Post a Comment