In a treaty with the Indians in 1826 the United States government promised to build several mills for the benefit of the Indians. One of these mills was located on one of the outlets of Manitou Lake in Fulton county. The records of John Tipton, who was Indian agent for the government in this area at that time, reveal that this mill was the center of much activity. Here the Indians would come for their provisions of bacon, flour, and salt, furnished them by Uncle Sam.
An entry in Tipton's papers for May 7, 1827, tells of Chief Musquawbuck getting 4 barrels of flour and 300 pounds of bacon. On June 15 of the same year Chief Monoquet received six barrels of flour. These Indian chiefs were from the area which became Kosciusko county. Of course this was several years before there was any white settlement in our county.
Near the mill was located the "old payment ground," where in the fall of each year the Indians would come for their annuities. Each Indian chief received payments based on the number of persons in his village. In 1828 the period of payment was from September 6 to 8. Monoquet reported 52 persons and received $134.16, which would amount to $2.58 per person. Musquawbuck reported 28 and Checose 57, receiving $72.24 and $147.06, respectively.
There is an interesting article in the Feb. 1, 1872 issue of the "Northern Indianian," Warsaw newspaper, which gives an eye witness account of this "old payment ground" during this time of the annuity payment. We quote from the article:
"Every shade of Indian character was there, from the proud chief in gaudy colors to the most humble squaws and children, poorly clad, looking dejected and in want. If one visited these camps during those days they would see Indians playing rude flutes, or shooting at a mark with bow and arrow for a wager, or playing a game of moccasin, or if drunk they might be singing an Indian dirge. The Indians usually had many ponies and many half starved, but faithful, dogs. Of course, the white trader was there with his liquor and his claims against the Indians."
Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Apr 3, 1954