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.

Family beginnings

The origins of the Levier family can be traced back to the Great Lakes region, where the Potawatomi and their relatives, the Odawa and Ojibwe, lived near Lake Michigan. The early to mid-1600s were a time of peace and prosperity as Indigenous people helped develop the fur trade in the region.

As the Iroquois pushed west to attempt to dominate the fur trade, conflict increased between tribal nations. The resulting “Beaver Wars” pushed many tribes west of the Mississippi and into Wisconsin.

Elizabeth Cadue Battese, Walter and John Battese

Fortunately, the Potawatomi were able to escape much of the warfare and starvation their Odawa and Ojibwe relatives experienced. Potawatomi villages were located in an area with rich soil suitable for farming. There, they lived peacefully for many years alongside the Wyandot, Miami, Winnebago, Sauk and Kickapoo.

The Potawatomi successfully expanded their territory from Michigan to Milwaukee and Detroit. By the 1700s, fur traders flocked to the area and many Potawatomi married into the families of the traders. It was through intermarriage that French surnames like Cadue, Battese and Levier began appearing among the Potawatomi.

Tensions rise

The federal government had begun pressuring Native Nations, including the Potawatomi, to leave their homelands in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois as settlers clamored for land. The Potawatomi concluded a treaty in Chicago on Sept. 26, 1833, selling 5,000,000 acres on the left bank of the Missouri River.

Under the terms of the Treaty of 1837, Potawatomi in Indiana gave up their lands in exchange for a reservation in Kansas. From 1837 to the early 1840s, they gradually moved to the Osage River or “Mission Band” Reserve.

The federal government’s “right of discovery” caused tragic events such as the Potawatomi Trail of Death. With no time to prepare food or supplies, the forced removal began on Sept. 4, 1838, at Chief Menominee’s village in Indiana. More than 850 Potawatomi made the journey, and 42 perished, mostly children and elderly.

Finally arriving at Sugar Creek, Kansas, treaty terms had promised the land would be inhabited by the Potawatomi forever. However, U.S. government promises were again broken as settlers and railroad companies began demanding access to Potawatomi lands.

Life after removal

Peter Cadue and his wife, Marguarita Kishnonckouy, were among the Potawatomi who established themselves in Kansas. Their daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1834. She married John (Laurence) Battese. Their children were Susan, Frank (P-nos-wah), Alice (Ze-ze-quah), Mary (Wa-me-go), Martha, Michel Lawrence, Walter, Julia and Ktequa Lucy.

When Kansas became a state in 1861, the U.S. government pushed the Potawatomi from Kansas to Indian Territory under the Treaty of 1867. The Potawatomi used the treaty funds to acquire a reservation in Indian Territory.

Some of the Levier family members decided to remain in Kansas and they became part of the Prairie Band Potawatomi. Others decided to receive U.S. citizenship and allotments in Indian Territory as part of the Citizen Band Potawatomi.

Over the next 20 years, families and individuals gradually made the move from Kansas to Indian Territory. Elizabeth Cadue Battese’s descendants were among the Potawatomi who successfully made the treacherous journey and would later establish themselves in Indian Territory.

Arrival in Indian Territory

Challenges would await Levier family members in Indian Territory. None of the U.S. government’s promised provisions arrived. Potawatomi who arrived found empty prairies and no equipment to help them begin farming.

The Leviers who arrived in Indian Territory worked hard to build their homes from the ground up, establish farms and raise their children. The first winter was a difficult one, and many people battled health challenges because of the harsh conditions. Some of the summers were no better, with insects destroying fruit, pecans and other crops.

However, the Leviers and other Potawatomi families relied on their strength to ensure their survival.

John and Elizabeth Battese’s daughter, Martha, married Joseph Levier. Their children were Susan, Peter Oliver, Maggie, Ernest, Eunice, Alfred, Elisabeth Betsy, Sylvester, Joseph, Jr. and Abraham. In 1909, Peter died. Martha married John H. Jackson in about 1912.

After Martha walked on at age 108 in 1954, her obituary in the Rossville Reporter said she was one of the oldest native-born Kansans. Martha reportedly passed away at the home of her daughter, Maggie. She had been active prior to a fall, which resulted in her becoming bedfast. Her estate was left to her children: Peter Oliver Levier, Ernest Levier, Alfred (Dash) Levier, Sylvester (Sy) Levier, Joe Levier, Jr., Abraham Levier, Maggie Aitkens, Eunice L. Mulanax and Elisabeth (Betsy) L. Mulanax. She was also survived by her children, 42 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

Joseph and Martha’s son, Peter Oliver, was married first to Lucy Pam-nuck-nuck in 1919. She died in 1923. Peter then married Ellen Lewis in 1934. After Ellen died, Peter then married Mary Moore in 1942. Peter Oliver died on Aug. 27, 1971. His heirs were: his wife, Mary Moore; and his children, Francis, Carl, Anthony, Rose Ann (Bradford), Albert, Vivian (Crowder), Bernadette (Lewis), Sharon, Martha (Spencer) and Glenn Levier.

Joseph and Martha’s son, Ernest, was married to Eva Louise. Their children were Robert, Douglas, Geneva, Lois, Gladys, Billy, Nancy and Alvin.

Sylvester and his wife, Agnes, had Dwight, Adelia, Antonelle.

Joseph and Martha’s daughter, Eunice, married Louis Mulanax. They had Vivena, Alta, James, William, Irvin and Kenneth.

Joseph, Jr., and his wife, Cecilia, were the parents of Joanne, Charles and Cletus. Joseph, Jr., later married his wife, Beulah, and they had Atha, Judy, Francis, Jospeh, Susan, Fay and Tommy.

Alfred and his wife, Josephine, had Arthur and Clarice.

Elisabeth (Betsy) and her husband, Leroy, had Howard, Ruby, Ernestine, Leon, Leroy and Bernard.

The Levier family made incredible sacrifices to ensure not only their survival, but the survival of their descendants. After countless U.S. government promises were broken, the Levier family members persevered. The solid foundation they created would ensure that Levier family members are thriving today.

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 Learn more about the Family Reunion Festival at, and find research resources online at