Black Bob Indians of Johnson County, Kansas

Beginning about 1870, the Black Bob Indians of the Shawnee Tribe who lived on a reservation in Johnson Co., Kansas known as the “Black Bob Reserve” began petitioning the government to keep their lands intact.  It seems that “speculators” were trying to purchase part of the land held jointly as a tribe from some tribal members. 

Some members of the tribe wanted the land that had been awarded to the tribe as a reservation split into individuals allotments so they could sell theirs, and other members of the tribe did not want that to happen.  There were a series of three petitions filed and recorded in the US serial set.  The petition from tribal members says, among other things, that “the Indians are deriving no benefit from the sale of their lands, but squander the money they receive in drunken frolics and are led to commit murder and other heinous crimes, and reduce themselves to vagabondage and ruin.”  Pretty harsh words, but sadly, probably true, based on other records relative to Native people and alcohol.  This petition also tells us that the “band is, since the war, composed largely of women and children.”  They also say that it is not their choice to divide their land, but “is an alternative urged on them by speculators who care nothing for our people, only so far as they can use us for selfish purposes.”

In 1870, the tribe petitioned the government and signed their names to the petition using a plus mark, each one with the name written either side of the mark and witnessed by the Justice of the Peace.

The signatures look like this “James + Jacobs,” but I’m only transcribing the names themselves.

  • James Jacobs 
  • James Bob
  • Bill Bob
  • Henry Dorofy
  • Thomas Johnson
  • El-e-mos Ko-Jaw
  • Isac Bob
  • James Boone
  • Sarah Blanchard
  • Sally Johnson
  • Thomas Boone
  • Mary Boone
  • Sarah Boone
  • Louisa Boone
  • Charley Boone
  • Henry Boone
  • James Dixon
  • John Blackhoof
  • Joseph Charley
  • John Bobb
  • Isaac Dougherty
  • Che-Tum Mar-Ge-She
  • Qua-Whe Tah
  • Mary Anne Scarrett
  • Anne Scarrett
  • Frances Scarrett
  • Pele-La Qua
  • Lucy Scarrett
  • John Berry
  • Nancy Berry
  • Dick Berry
  • Samuel Berry
  • Green Grass
  • Ne-Gah Tah-Be-Shiek
  • John Dixon
  • To-Beas See
  • Choctaw
  • Thomas Bob
  • Jane Bob
  • John Day
  • Mary Posum
  • Pe-To Wa-Cum-See
  • George Williams
  • Jackson Dawerty
  • Nancy Ticumsee
  • Martha Dawerty
  • Susan White
  • Shetalia
  • Lisebeth Bob
  • Logan Susan
  • Elick Boon
  • Catharine Scarrett
  • William Henry
  • Law-Que-See
  • Co-Me-Tak
  • Nancy Blackhoof
  • Joseph Blanchard

In an 1873 petition, Charles Tucker signs as first chief, Levi Flint as second chief, witnesses (noted as councilmen) were Dudley Tucker, Joseph Flint, Jonathan Blackfeather and David Blackfeather.

It appears that the Indians did in fact sell.  Depositions include one from Thomas Milhous saying he bought land from Indian George Williams in 1869.

Charles Bluejacket, an Indian of the tribe and the tribes official interpreter says that the Indian agent from the Shawnee agency visited the tribe in 1869 to obtain the names of the Indians to be sure they all received their money for the land and the Indians told him they did not want to take the land in severalty.  Apparently, from his testimony, there were some underhanded dealings having to do with the Indian agent who was pocketing some of the funds due to the Indians. 

L.R. Carter, an Indian, said the land he lived on has been sold without his consent to the brother-in-law of the Indian agent even though Carter wanted to purchase it himself.

From further depositions, one from a Hazael Wycoff, of the Black Bob Reservation (but does not say he is an Indian), he, at the request of the Indians, visited the agency requesting food and rations, which the Indian agent withheld because the Indians would not “take their lands in severalty.’  Wycoff deposes that the Indians “are in a great state of destitution; so much so that the settlers on the said Black Bob reserve have donated and are donating large quantities of corn, pork, potatoes, flour and molasses for their support.”

According to an 1870 deposition, at a previous meeting with the Indians, the “majority of the Black Bob band of Indians, not including those who have absented themselves from the tribe, requested the agent to report to the department in Washington that they wished to go South among their brethren; that they wished to make selections down there and that they desired the government to buy their lands and remove them to their new homes.”

The Black Bob Shawnee were expelled from their land, which was sold to speculators, and moved to Northeastern Oklahoma.

(Hat tip to Min for sending the link to this information.)


Black Bobs band of Shawnee Indians against any attempt to force their people to break up their tribal organization, and against division of their lands

SERIAL-SET-ID: 1408 S.misdoc.49: Feb 11, 1870, 17 pgs. (accessed through Heritage Quest 2-28-2012)

 Full Citation:


Black Bobs band of Shawnee Indians against any attempt to force their people to break up their tribal organization, and against division of their lands

Full Title:

Memorial of members of Black Bobs band of Shawnee Indians, against any attempt to force their people to break up their tribal organization, and against a division of their lands.

Serial Set ID:

1408 S.misdoc.49

Document Date:

Feb 11, 1870


J. C. Street


Committee on Indian Affairs. Senate



About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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