The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center provides resources to keep the Tribe’s history safe and accessible for generations to come. One key way the Nation does this is through the CHC’s archives and video interviews.
To highlight some of the archive’s holdings, the Hownikan is featuring photographs and family history of every founding Citizen Potawatomi family. If interested in assisting preservation efforts by providing copies of Citizen Potawatomi family photographs, documents and more, and to schedule family interviews, please contact the CHC at 405-878-5830.
Broken government promises
Mary Margaret Ogee, the daughter of Joseph and Madeline Ogee, appears on the 1863 Kansas census. Joseph and Madeline also had sons, Joseph Jr., Baptiste, John Lafayette and Louis Henry.
Mary Margaret Ogee married Hyram Weld around 1835. Following the 1846 Council Bluffs treaty, the Potawatomi removed from Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Welds relocated to the 567,000-acre Potawatomi reservation near Silver Lake, Kansas. The Weld children were Mary Ann, Josephine, Volney, Sarah Joane, Francis Prudence, James, Madeline and Hyram Cornelius. Sadly, James died at age 8.
After the family arrived in Kansas, Hyram built the second ferry in Uniontown and began its operation in 1853, catering to travelers along both the Oregon and California trails. Hyram walked on in 1855. Mary Margaret walked on in 1865.
While living in northeast Kansas, the Weld family learned they could become U.S. citizens and receive plots of allotted land in Indian Territory through the Treaty of 1867. The terms stipulated the Potawatomi could return their allotments to the U.S. government, which sold the land to railroad companies. The proceeds from the sales were used to purchase land in Indian Territory.
Each Potawatomi family then wrestled with a decision. Many had been through removal before and knew the potential challenges. However, life in Indian Territory was full of unknowns. The U.S. government promised to provide annuities and farming equipment so Tribal members would have a source of income.
Decades of migration then began in the 1870s.
Leap of faith
The Welds were among the families who made the difficult decision to leave Kansas to carve out a new life for themselves and future generations on the plains of Indian Territory in the late 1890s. Despite the hardships, the Weld children would persevere.
Mary Ann Weld married Samuel Cummings. They had Francis, Joseph, Hannah and Charles. Mary Ann died in 1864.
Josephine Weld married Joseph Abraham Weldfelt. Their children were Margaret, Samuel, Abe, John, Fanny and Mary. Sadly, Fanny died at age 11. Joseph died in 1907. Josephine died in 1913.
Volney Weld married Mary Dudley. They were the parents of Oliver, Joseph, Hyram and George. CHC records indicate that Volney and Mary both died at their home, located three miles south of Silver Lake, Kansas. The same record states that Oliver died in 1886, aged about 20 years. Their youngest son, George, died as an infant, shortly after his mother died. Their surviving sons, Joseph and Hyram, received allotments. At the time, Hyram Weld was living in the orphan’s home near Topeka, Kansas. The allotments were selected by Hyram’s namesake, Hyram C. Weld, because the children were too young to select their allotments.
Sarah Joane Weld married Bone Brandon. They had a daughter named Sarah. Sarah Joane died in 1885.
Francis (some records spell her name as Frances) Prudence Weld married Abraham Collins. They had a daughter, Olive, and a son, Volney. After Abraham died, Francis later married Samuel Cummings. They had Andrew, Madeline, Ellen, Sadie and Clarence. Francis died in 1884.
Madeline Weld married Charles Kennedy. Their children were Charles, Albion, Frank and another child not named in records. She later married Thomas Harridge. They had Clara, Edward, Melone (or possibly spelled as Melvan), William and two other children unnamed in records. Some CHC records indicate Madeline may have married a third time, to a man with the last name Hiram.
Hyram Cornelius Weld married Mary Margaret Fielden (possibly spelled as Fiden or Fieden). They had three children.
Arrival in Indian Territory
Migration from Kansas to Indian Territory would ultimately take decades. Most families had to save for many years before attempting the journey. The trip had to be timed so travelers could avoid dangerous winter weather or spring storms and mud along the way.
Life in Indian Territory would also prove challenging, but the Weld family relied on their strength and their family bonds to succeed.
Josephine and Joseph Weldfelt’s daughter, Mary Weldfelt, married John Whitehead. Mary and John had a daughter named Irene. Irene later married Ed Pecore. They had Autwin (A.B.) Pecore.
Francis’s daughter, Olive Collins, and her husband, Edward Hutton, had Edward George Hutton. Olive later married a second time to a man with the last name of Shepard. She married a third time to Alan Ogee.
Francis’s son, Volney Collins, died in 1880.
Andrew Cummings survived to adulthood. He and his wife, Theresa, had a son named Charles and daughters named Cora and Fama.
Madeline married Dan O’Bright. They had Ollie Johnson, Christine (Tiny) O’Bright, Christina Heck, Edith O’Bright and Andrew O’Bright. Madeline died in 1896.
Ellen survived to adulthood. She was known as a musical genius and played a pump organ.
Sadie married James Shives. They were the parents of Florence and Birchie (possibly spelled Berchie) in California. Sadie died in 1901.
Samuel Clarence Cummmings died in 1911.
Oliver Kelly Weld, Sr. and his wife, Gladys, had Elva, John Robert, Wanda Clariece, Doris Marie and Oliver Kelly, Jr.
Oklahoma’s earliest inhabitants
By the time Oklahoma became a state in 1907, Potawatomi families like the Welds had already helped establish many of the state’s earliest roads, schools, governments and communities.
Edward Hutton, the son of Olive Collins Hutton and Edward Hutton, was born in 1879. He later married Bessie Pletz. They had Agnes, Paul, George and Thelma.
Charles Cummings, the son of Andrew Cummings, married Etta Lindley. They had a daughter, Normalee. Cora Cummings married Tom Tribbey, and had a son named Tom H. Tribbey. Cora married Paul Harrison and had a son named Charles William and a daughter named Louise. Fama Cummings married William Brookover. They had Steve, Hazel and Virginia.
With their leap of faith to become U.S. citizens and taking allotments on an unknown prairie in Indian Territory, the Weld family members embraced the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their descendants.
If interested in assisting preservation efforts by providing copies of Citizen Potawatomi family photographs, documents and more, and to schedule family interviews, please contact the CHC at 405-878-5830. Schedule interviews online at portal.potawatomi.org. Learn more about the Family Reunion Festival at cpn.news/festival, and find research resources online at potawatomiheritage.com.