Biography of Samuel Howell (1796 - 1882)
History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri, by Wm. S. Bryan and Robert Rose (St. Louis: Bryan, Brand & Co., 1876) pp. 114-116.

Mr. Samuel HOWELL settled in Lincoln county in June, 1827, having emigrated from Franklin county, Ga. Soon after he came to the county, he and a small party went down to the Mississippi for a week's hunt. During the afternoon of the first day, a fine buck was killed not far from the camp. The next morning, after the others had been gone some time, Mr. HOWELL took his rifle and walked down the river about half a mile. Approaching the bank, and happening to look toward the opposite side, he saw an Indian shove his canoe into the water and step into it. At that distance he appeared to be a very large and powerful man, and Mr. HOWELL watched his movements with a considerable degree of interest, for the Indians in the upper country, under the celebrated chief Black Hawk, had begun to be troublesome, and it was not known at what time they might make a raid upon the white settlements. For several minutes the warrior remained motionless, as if listening, and then seated himself he began to ply his paddle, and the canoe sped swiftly up the stream, hugging close to the shore as if to screen itself under the overhanging bushes. Reaching a point opposite the hunters' camp, it turned and made directly across the stream. Mr. HOWELL, suspecting mischief, returned as quickly as he could to the camp, which he reached a few minutes in advance of the Indian. The latter was unarmed, but advanced directly toward the camp, without showing by a sign or an expression of his countenance whether he meant friendship or enmity. Stepping up to Mr. HOWELL, he grasped his hand and grunted out the usual Indian salutation of "How do?" which was probably all the English he knew. The next instant he snatched the rifle out of Mr. HOWELL's hand, with the same show of rough cordiality, and with a complacent smile proceeded to carefully examine every portion of the weapon from the muzzle to the breech. Mr. HOWELL was not sure but that the smile meant mischief, and blamed himself severely for allowing the gun to be taken from him; but the movement was so unexpected and sudden that he had not the power to resist it. He deemed it prudent, however, not to betray any signs of uneasiness, but to await further developments. Having finished the examination with many evidences of satisfaction, the Indian made signs, by taking aim, imitating the noise of the discharge of the piece, going through the motions of a wounded deer, and then pointing to the skin and the spot where the deer had been killed, to show that he had been a witness on that occasion. He then handed the rifle back, and with many smiles and nods of pleasure and approbation, proceeded to examine the other equipments of the camp. No harm came of this adventure, but Mr. HOWELL never ceased to regret his carelessness in allowing the Indian to snatch his gun.

Shortly afterward, Mr. HOWELL went with another hunting party to near the mouth of Cuivre river, and while riding out one day, they came upon an Indian tent, in the door of which sat a venerable-looking old warrior. On the inside was an old squaw, engaged in cooking, while a young and very pretty one sat a little distance from her, on a mat of deer skins. The hunters thought she was the most handsome woman they had ever seen, and cast many admiring glances toward her, which greatly annoyed her. The fire of anger gleamed from her beautiful eyes, but this manifestation of her displeasure producing no effect, she covered her face with a deer skin, and remained covered while the interview lasted. The old squaw gave each of the visitors a piece of jerked venison, and poured a little salt into the palm of each one's hand. The venison had been dried in the sun, was very hard, and did not have the appearance of being extra clean; but politeness demanded that they should eat it. The longer they chewed it, the larger it seemed to get, and they were compelled either to gulp it down or spit it out, and most of them finally chose the latter alternative. The old warrior related, in broken English, and by signs, how the Indians often caught great numbers of deer by driving them into the overflowed bottoms and drowning them; and the hunters were inclined to believe, from the taste and smell of the venison they were trying to eat, that the red men were not always in a hurry about dressing their meat after it had been secured.

The Sioux Indians were allowed to hunt in Lincoln county for several years after the Black Hawk war, but they had learned discretion from past experience, and gave the white people but little trouble.

File submitted to HERITAGE PAGES of LINCOLN COUNTY, MISSOURI by Tom Howell, 8 Apr 2001.  Link change or update: 27 May 2001

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