Summary of Piankashaw Locations (1708- ca. 1763)(pages 58 - 62)
Piankashaws may have been located on the Wabash River as early as 1708, and were certainly living in a village in the vicinity of Ouiatenon, near the location of the present-day city of Lafayette, Indiana, by 1718. An effort was made by the French to attract the Piankashaws to settle on the Kankakee River in 1720 and 1721, but only a few of them moved there and these stayed only a short time.
By 1726 the Piankashaws had moved some distance downstream from Ouiatenon and were established in a village near the mouth of Vermilion River, a western tributary to the Wabash River. This village was called "Mercata or Piankashaw" and it was estimated that at least 150 men, representing approximately 600 persons resided there. By 1730 a French officer, Vincennes, moved to the lower Wabash, taking with him some Vermilion River Piankashaws, who settled near the post he established in the vicinity of the present-day town of Vincennes, Indiana. At the same time, a larger number of Piankashaws remained in their village at Vermilion River. In 1732 the French commandant at Ouiatenon tried apparently unsuccessfully, to persuade the Vermilion River Piankashaws to move their village back to Ouiatenon.
Despite a smallpox epidemic which killed a number of them some Piankashaws took part in French-inspired attacks on Chickasaw Indians in 1732 and 1733. In 1734 the Piankashaws of Vincennes' Post were reported to have invited those of the Vermilion River village to settle with them, an invitation which was not accepted. Vincennes' Piankashaws
continued their intermittent raids on the Chickasaws, but after his death in 1736 while taking part in one of these attacks, the number living at the post diminished for a while. The Piankashaws remaining at Vincennes were described as having decreased to 15 or 25 men (representing a population of ca. 60-100 persons) in June of 1737; other Piankashaws returned to the older village at Vermilion River.
Piankashaw Indians are specifically referred to as being located at Vermilion River in 1743, 1744, 1746, and 1747.
That some also continued to live in the Vincennes area during the 1740's is indicated by the fact that in 1749 Piankashaws were reported to have left Vincennes completely. This was probably due in part to British efforts to win the trade of the Wabash Indians and also in reaction to various attacks on them by other Indians. During the winter of 1749-1750 some Piankashaws traded with the English at Pickawillany on the Great Miami River and this group of Piankashaw Indians may have wintered in that area. A number of Piankashaws including several of the Vermilion Piankashaw chiefs joined the pro-English Indians. During the winter of 1749-1750 an epidemic again killed a number of Piankashaws, and they burned their village (probably the Vermilion River one) to drive away the bad medicine which they thought the French had sent them. All during 1750 rumors and reports of Piankashaw activities and collaboration with the English were circulating among the French on the Wabash and in the Illinois country. And, in fact, some Piankashaws did meet with George Croghan and sign a treaty of friendship with the British in November of 1750.
By 1751 forty Piankashaws were reported to be at Vincennes, but whether this was a visiting group or members of a permanent village there is not clear. It is clear that at least a few Piankashaws were living in the Vincennes area again. In this year also, at least one Piankashaw chief of the Vermilion River village was reported to have rejected English overtures of friendship. By October of 1751 the Vermilion Piankashaws appeared to be won over by the English, though they still lived at Vermilion River. By February of 1752 many of the Piankashaws around Vincennes joined the Vermilion Piankashaws, who were said to have moved, at least temporarily, to the plains between the Wabash and Illinois rivers. A rumor was reported that they, together with some Illinois and Osage Indians, were going to build a fort in the central Illinois area where the Fox Indians had been attacked by the French twenty years earlier. It seems evident, however, that by February of 1752 many of the Piankashaws were established on White River in central Indiana about 2 days journey from Ouiatenon and from Vincennes, in a settlement inspired by English Traders, together with some Weas, Miamis, and Delawares. The Piankashaws at this White River location were reported to number 140 men, representing ca. 560 persons. By the end of 1752, after the destruction of the English inspired settlement of Pickawillany on the Great Miami River and the withdrawal of the English from the area the rebel Piankashaws made peaceful overtures to the French commandants at Ouiatenon and at Vincennes. By the fall of 1753 the French had pardoned the Piankashaws who by this time had gone to Ouiatenon.
Soon after this the errant Piankashaws probably returned to their former locations on the Vermilion River and the vicinity of Vincennes. It is possible also that a number of Piankashaws remained in the vicinity of Ouiatenon. In 1762 one hundred Piankashaw warriors (representing a population of ca. 400 persons) were reported as being at Ouiatenon. In a council held by the British at Ouiatenon in that year a Mascouten spoke for both the Mascoutens and the Piankashaws. In Hutchins' description written in the same year, however) what probably are the same one hundred warriors were described as being dependent on Ouiatenon, rather than as located at Ouiatenon, which raises a question as to their actual location. The Indians living on the Vermilion River were dependent on Ouiatenon for trade, and it seems probable that references to Indians dependent on Ouiatenon include them. Thus the one hundred Piankashaw warriors could have lived at either location at this time.
A description of Vincennes written in 1763 indicates that Piankashaws were living near that place at this time, the number of them probably being about sixty men, representing a population of ca. 240 persons. In the same year one hundred Piankashaw men, representing a population of ca. 400 persons, were stated to be in the Northern Department in the neighborhood of Ouiatenon and the Wabash River.
From these estimates made in the early 1760's it seems apparent that the Piankashaws were established in at least two locations-the neighborhoods of Vincennes and Ouiatenon (probably meaning Vermilion River)--and their combined population may have been ca. 160 warriors or ca. 640 persons.
All during the French period of sovereignty in the west bands of Piankashaw Indians were mentioned, along with other Indian groups, by the commandants of the Illinois country as visiting them and various Illinois Indian groups. These visits involved trips for supplies, or occurred during raids on southern Indians, visits to relatives (by intermarriage), and hunting expeditions.
to Conclusions on Piankashaw Locations (ca. 1708- ca. 1763), pp. 62-63]
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