Native American / Indian Famous Graves 

Chief Tecumseh.  Early 19th Century Native American Leader. He is remembered as the chief of a large tribal Native American confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh’s War (the conflict between the US and Native Americans in the area of the Northwest Territory from about 1809 to late 1811) and the War of 1812. It is believed he was been born along the Scioto River, near the present-day city of Chillicothe, Ohio, or in another village the Shawnee Kispoko tribe had erected not far away, along a small tributary stream of the Scioto, where his family moved just before or not long after his birth. When he was a boy, his father Puckshinwa, a minor Shawnee Kispoko war chief, was killed by white frontiersmen who had crossed onto Indian land in violation of a treaty, at the Battle of Point Pleasant in present-day West Virginia during Lord Dunmore’s War in 1774. The Shawnee were military allies with the British during the American Revolutionary War and repeatedly battled the Americans. Following his father’s death, his family moved back to Chief Blackfish’s nearby village of Chillicothe. The town was destroyed in 1779 by Kentucky militia in reprisal for Blackfish’s attack on famed frontiersman Daniel Boone’s settlement of Boonesburough, Kentucky. His family then fled to another nearby Kispoko village, but it was destroyed in 1780 by forces under the command of George Rogers Clark. The family moved a third time to the village of Sanding Stone, which was attacked again by Clark in November 1782, and the family moved to a new Shawnee settlement near modern Bellefontaine, Ohio. Around the age of 15, he joined a band of Shawnee who were determined to stop the white invasion of their lands by attacking settlers’ flatboats traveling down the Ohio River from Pennsylvania. For a while, these raids were so effective that river traffic virtually ceased. In early 1789 he traveled south with his older brother Cheeseekau and a small band of Shawnee warriors to live among, and fight alongside, the Chickamauga faction of the Cherokee. There he met Dragging Canoe, a was chief leader who was leading a resistance movement against US expansion. Cheeseekau was killed while leading a raid, and Tecumseh assumed leadership of the small Shawnee band, and subsequent Chickamauga raiding parties. In 1790 he returned to the Ohio territory and participated in several battles, including Fallen Timbers in 1794, in which the Native Americans were defeated by General Anthony Wayne’s American forces, which ended the Northwestern Indian Wars. He eventually settled in what is now Greenville, Ohio, the home of his younger brother Lalawethika, who would later take the new name of Tenskwatawa and became known as “The Prophet.” A religious leader, he advocated a return of the Shawnee and other American Indians to their ancestral lifestyle and rejection of the colonists and Americans. Around 1808, Tecumseh relocated with “The Prophet” near the confluences of the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers, near present-day Battle Ground, Indiana, and established the village of Prophetstown. “The Prophet’s” religious teachings became more widely known, as did his predictions on the coming doom of the Americans, and it attracted numerous members of other tribes to Prophetstown. They formed the basis of a sizeable confederacy of tribes in the southwestern Great Lakes region and Tecumseh emerged as the primary leader of this confederation. In September 1809, William Henry Harrison, governor of the newly formed Indiana Territory, negotiated the Treaty of Fort Wayne in which a delegation of Native Americans ceded 3 million acres of their lands to the US. Tecumseh opposed this and in August 1810 he led 400 armed warriors to confront Harrison at his home in Vincennes, Indiana, and demand the treaty be overturned, which Harrison refused to do. He met with Harrison again in 1811 without any resolution and he travelled south to recruit allies among the Five Civilized Tribes consisting of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. Harrison sensed that war was imminent and decided to strike first. On September 26, 1811 he led a force of 1,000 trained soldiers to Prophetstown and early on November 7th, the Native Americans launched a sneak attack. Harrison’s forces prevailed and they won the battle and destroyed the village. In spite of this setback, Tecumseh rallied his confederacy and joined up with British forces at the beginning of the War of 1812. He teamed with British Major General Sir Isaac Brock in the Siege of Detroit, helping to force the city’s surrender in August 1812. In the summer of 1813, with the American Naval victory on Lake Erie and Harrison’s successful defense of Fort Miegs, the British found themselves in an indefensible position and withdrew from Detroit. Harrison continued to pursue the British forces and their Native American allies into Canada and on October 5, 1813, he defeated them at the Battle of the Thames, near Moraviantown, in the present-day Canadian province of Ontario. Tecumseh was killed, and shortly after the battle, most tribes of his confederacy surrendered to Harrison at Detroit. Several in Harrison’s army claimed to have killed him, including Col. Richard Mentor Johnson of the Kentucky Mounted Rifles, and this fame helped him be elected to the US vice presidency in 1837. 

Sitting Bull Grave.  North Dakota Location

Sitting Bull Grave.  South Dakota Location

Sioux Indian Leader. His parents named him “Slow” because they did not see anything remarkable about him. When he was 14, he was considered very young to join a war party (1845). However, he was very anxious for a chance to prove himself. As they rest of his party waited for the enemy to approach nearer, he quickly charged towards an enemy on his pony, with the others changing strategy and following his lead. The enemy warriors were so shocked at the boldness of the attack that they retreated. Because his father was so proud of his son’s early victory, he gave the name Sitting Bull to his son that the Buffalo God had given him. In 1856 Sitting Bull killed the chief of the Crows in combat and became the chief of the Strong Hearts warrior society. He played an increasing role in the ongoing conflict with Whites that escalated in the 1850s and 1860s. In 1864 he participated in the Battle of Killdeer Mountains and the Battle of the Badland; in 1865 he fought United States troops in the Battle of Powder River. The Indians thought of the Buffalo as a headstrong, stubborn creature that was afraid of nothing – a creature that has great endurance, courage and strength. These qualities were fighting qualities that people ascribed to Sitting Bull. When the Hunkpapa Sioux tribe began losing respect and faith in the Chiefs of their tribe, Four Horns decided it was time that a new chief was to be chosen. In 1867 Sitting Bull was inaugurated as head chief of the Teton Sioux with the belief that he would restore the honor of and rebuild the people’s respect. Well known as an able buffalo hunter and a brave warrior who led charges against enemies, he was a popular figure within the camp. He also had a reputation as a peacemaker, settling disputes among his people. Sitting Bull felt for the poor and weak people of his tribe and showed his compassion by sharing food and even giving away his horses. He was also a sociable man who always had a good story or joke ready for those who would listen. Being extremely religious, it was said that Sitting Bull received everything he prayed for, and his prophecy gift was uncanny. In 1868 he showed his leadership by negotiated the Treaty of Laramie with Father Pierre Jeane DeSmet. Volitions of that treaty, and increasing White encroachment into Indian lands prompted Sitting Bull to assemble a force of Plain Indians in 1876 and prepare for war against the United States Army. Prior to the most significant fighting, he performed the outlawed Sun Dance ritual and prophesied the subsequent victory over General George Cook in the Battle of the Rosebud and the defeat of General George Custer in the Battle of Little Bighorn. Meeting with Colonel Nelson Miles after the battles, he took his people to Canada in 1877 under an agreement with the United States government in 1877. Some Americans objected to his exile and called for his extradition. In 1878 he again met with a United States Commission but refused to leave Canada. By 1881, insolated from his people in the United States and receiving no humanitarian aid from the Canadian government, he returned with his people to the United States and surrendered at Fort Buford. Between the years of 1881 to 1883, he was held in confinement at Fort Randall. During his confinement he made a deal with William “Buffalo Bill” Cody to perform in Cody’s traveling “Wild West Show.” After touring from 1883 to 1885, he once again returned with his people to the United States and Canada. Arguments with the Government continued and in 1888 he resisted the proposed breakup of the Great Sioux Reservation. In 1889 he attempted, unsuccessfully, to block cession of land to the government. In 1890, during an attempted arrest, he was killed by the Standing Rock Indian police, two weeks before the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota.

Memorial for Indian Sauk Chief Joc-O-Sot, 1810-1844. This is the site of the cemetery’s most notorious ghost. Joc-O-Sot was a tribe leader who fought in the Black Hawk war against the U.S. in 1830. At that time, he sustained a gunshot wound, but survived. After the war, in an effort to earn money for his tribe, Joc-O-Sot later joined a vaudeville troupe in Cleveland. During his theatre group’s tour of England, he fell ill
as a result of complications from his gunshot wound from over ten years before. His illness caused him to return to Cleveland.

Legend states that Joc-O-Sot knew he was dying and tried to return to his native land in Minnesota so to that he could die and be buried next to his ancestors. He never made it out of Cleveland, and died within the Warehouse District. He is buried at this grave in Erie Street Cemetery. Joc-O-Sot’s spirit never rested, they say. He still wanders the cemetery, bitter over having been buried here instead
of his native land.

Next to Joc-O-Sot’s grave is Chief Thunderwater. An Iroquois Indian Chief from New York, Thunderwater was a local celebrity, and was at one time credited for being the inspiration for the Cleveland Indian’s mascot, Chief Wahoo.

Red Jacket. Native American Indian Chief. Born Sagoyewatha in Geneva, New York, he was Chief of the Seneca Wolf clan. He fought on the side of the British in the American Revolution and was named Red Jacket from his wearing British red coats. After the hostilities, as the British ceded their territories to the Americans, Red Jacket was a critical mediator in relations between the new US Government and the Seneca tribe. He led a tribal delegation which met with President George Washington in 1792 and for his good will received a Silver Peace Medal. In 1805, a Boston missionary society requested Red Jacket’s permission to proselytize among the Iroquois settlements in northern New York State. Red Jacket stood in defense of his native religion which resulted in he being an outspoken opponent of Christianity and an advocate for preserving traditional Iroquois beliefs. In the War of 1812, the Seneca Indians went to war on the side of the United States and Red Jacket fought bravely in several battles during this conflict. By the 1820s, Christianity was gaining many adherents among the Seneca tribesmen. Red Jacket went to Washington, in 1827 and told his concerns to the Secretary of War and the head of the Indian Bureau, he was advised him to return home and show a more open attitude toward the tribe’s Christianity choices. In his final years many of his people had become Christians and after his death at his tribal village near Buffalo, New York, his wife had a Christian religious service, which he would have never approved.

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