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eral who have been convinced ere this, that Kansas is not the prom-
ised land they are looking for. I am very sorry for these poor de-
luded people. The sole cause is the kind of religion they practice,
and the only remedy is education.

H. O. B.

N. P. N. D.


I was agreeably surprised on the morning of the 7th. inst. by
being made the recipient of a letter from you, asking what the future
prospects of this State [Nebraska] as well as the adjoining State of
Kansas, and the Indian, Arizonian and New Mexican Territories
may be; and what opportunities they may afford for many of your
( colored ) people who are looking hopefully toward them as places
of refuge, peace and future prosperity.

Your reliance on me for an unvarnished statement of the facts
relative to which you ask information is duly appreciated and in a
spirit void of partiality or prejudice.

The news-papers have contained almost daily accounts of the
migratory spirit which seems to have seized so strongly upon the
colored population of the South, and I well know the cause of it;
and that neither the whites or blacks are free from blame, for
having each been, more or less, party to the cause.

You also say that some whites are emigrating. I imagine certain
of them cannot leave too soon for their advantage.

6. "Hon. Alex. Noguez of Avoyelles [Parish, La.] having received numerous letters
from his constituents in regard to Kansas, and being desirous of advising them wisely upon
this as upon every subject affecting their welfare, wrote to Mr. E. D. McLaughlin, at one
time a resident of Marksville [parish seat of Avoyelles] and connected with one of the oldest
and most respectable Creole families of the State a gentleman of character and integrity,
and now engaged in the practice of law at Omaha, Nebraska to send him such information
as might be of service to colored people disposed to migrate to that section of the country."
Weekly Louisianian, July 26, 1879. Alexandre Noguez was a Negro delegate to the Louis-
iana State Constitutional Convention in 1879 then in session in New Orleans.



But the cause has transpired, and is thought by many good men
to be irremediable. It has at least had the effect of producing the
exodus excitement; and here let us drop it to consider what may be
done with the people now residing in the South of whatever caste,
class, color, condition, or nativity who consider it unprofitable and
unconducive to longevity to remain in Dixie.

You say that three hundred colored people leave the City of New
Orleans, alone, every week; or some twelve hundred per month.
Add to that number one hundred and fifty persons per week from
other parts of Louisiana, and we have eighteen hundred per month,
or twenty-one thousand six hundred per year, from that State alone.
Then add for the States of Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Georgia,
Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas,
each a like number, and we find that nearly two hundred thousand
persons will have left the South principally from the cotton and
grain fields, during an excitement of only a twelve month duration.

Now this State and Kansas are large in territory, fertile in soil,
healthful in climate, and cannot be surpassed in general natural
resources by any states of the American Union. They are in great
part thinly populated.

Much the same might be said of the State of Colorado, and the
Territories of Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Wash-
ington, and Wyoming. The Indian Territory has not been opened
to settlement by other than Indian tribes, and I hope never will be
while there are such to occupy it; for I am one of those who believe
the Government of this Country should keep its pledges inviolate,
though made to persons unable to enforce them.

The other States and Territories I have mentioned can easily
absorb as many of the right kind of persons, coming in the right
spirit, and duly prepared, as would leave the whole South during a
year; even if they equalled the grand aggregate we have computed;
without their numbers being noticed, or anyone's elbow-room being
interfered with.

By right kind, I mean honest men and women. By right spirit,
those who are willing and determined to gain the necessaries of life,
and to that end will begin work with the rising, and end it with
the setting sun, doing a fair day's labor every working day of the
year, no half Saturdays excepted. By duly prepared, I mean having
at least sufficient means to support themselves while they are look-
ing for permanent homes, or employment.

The regular vocations are open to all those who wish and are


able to avail themselves of the opportunities, they afford; but
farm labor is what is especially in demand.

There is a class of colored people with which the North (and I
may also say the South) is over-stocked. I allude to, what, in
southern parlance would be styled the "city nigger"; who is gener-
ally speaking, a barber, hotel porter, waiter or cook, or swaggering
beer guzzling gambler, or impudent bawdy house pimp.

Of course there are very worthy and honorable exceptions, but
so many of the worst element among the colored people have
flocked to the Cities and Towns, that here in the north-west they
are exciting even republicans to say "if there be the characteristics
of the descendents of Ham, we don't want any more of them
amongst us." Such had better, stay where they are; for this busy
north-western hive sometimes gives its drones short shrift.

Lands can be had, (where they are in the market,) at all prices
from $1.25 to $50.00 per acre, in tracts of any regular sub-division of
a section from ten acres to six hundred and forty, by pre-emption,
homestead, or purchase at private sale.

There are certain things no colored man need expect who flees
from a southern state, and I will enumerate a few of them.

There will not be given him 160 acres of land and the teams and
implements for culture. Nor will he be given food and clothing.
Neither will the people rush with open arms to receive and embrace
him. They don't do after that fashion with the whites who come
among them And they must not expect so much personal social
intimacy with the white people, as they may have been used to in
their southern homes.

They will also find that their chances for official distinctions are
exceedingly rare, and are like to remain so for many generations.

But as a compensation for these things of which they may be de-
prived, they may be sure that if they prove themselves worthy in
their various callings they will command and receive fair wages,
which are (in this State at least) secured to them by laws which
exclude all property from exemption against claims for wages for
labor. They will also be treated justly, and above all things, be
allowed to entertain, declare and practice any political faith, and
freely do all things not in violation of the laws concerning the peace
and good order of these States and Territories, or contrary to good
morals. They may be sure that, so long as they do as others are
required to do they may remain daily and nightly in enjoyment of
the utmost personal security possible to be attained and may safely


hold all property their industry and economy may enable them to

The whites who come to this section will be treated according to
their merit, and will have opportunity for demonstrating whether
they have much or little of it.

None need expect to find this northwest settled by ignorant semi-
barbarous people. They will be met with as active intelligence, as
great general culture, and studied acomplishment, as can be found
among the same number of individuals anywhere on God's footstool.

I have written in this plain manner, because, knowing me as you
do, you will not misunderstand me. You are well aware that I am not
given to exaggeration or flattery, but am rather in the habit of saying
plain things. I have always respected you as one of the earnest,
honest leaders of your race; in fact as a representative man among
them; and I am pleased that you so far retain the respect and con-
fidence of all classes, as to have been sent to represent your parish
in the Convention.

You may publish this letter, if you desire to do so as a whole, and
think it worthy and conducive of good.

I am your friend,


Early Years at St. Mary's Pottawatomie Mission

Edited by THE REV. JAMES M. BURKE, S. J.


DURING a cold, bleak winter, 105 years ago, on the prairies of
what later became Kansas, Father Maurice Gailland, S. J.,
began his apostolic labors among the Pottawatomie Indians. The
portion of his diary presented in the following pages records some
of the joys and sufferings that fill part of the first two years, 1848
to 1850. The interweaving of these lights and shadows helped
fashion this intrepid missionary. The diary was not written, how-
ever, as a personal account, but rather as a mission record. The
impersonal aspect, therefore, makes it less entertaining, but per-
haps all the more valuable from a historical point of view.

The translator in an attempt to render a precise but idiomatic
translation from the Latin language, was confronted with some
inconsistencies of Latin construction, ambiguous phrases, and mis-
spellings in the diary. Such defects are very understandable when
one recalls that Father Gailland was pressed for time frequently,
and hence, hurriedly jotted down the affairs of the day. No doubt
many of these entries were made after a strenuous day of traveling
on horseback to his flock scattered in two or three directions from
the mission. In order to clarify or correct some of these incon-
sistencies, the translator has checked other sources pertinent to
this period, and as far as possible tried to convey the exact mean-
ing of each entry.

Fortunately many of the details of the life of Father Maurice
Gailland have been recorded. He was born in the Canton of Valais,
Switzerland, on October 27, 1815, and entered the Society of Jesus
on his 19th birthday, October 27, 1834. He made his novitiate at
Brieg, in the diocese of Sion, Switzerland, and completed his usual
course of studies in the Jesuit seminary of his homeland. On April
11, 1846, the Rt. Rev. Stephen Marilley, bishop of Lausanne and
Geneva, conferred upon him the sacred orders of the priesthood.

Shortly after his ordination, Father Gailland and his Jesuit com-
panions were exiled from Switzerland. In the spring of 1848 many
Swiss Jesuits left for Turin and Chambery. Father Gailland was

THE REV. JAMES M. BURKE, S. J., formerly of St. Mary's College, St. Marys, Kan., is a
student of theology at Alma College, Los Gatos, Cal.



among the number to come to the new world. Providentially the
exile from his homeland was to fulfill one of his most cherished
hopes to be an Indian missionary. Father Gailland went first to
St. Charles, Mo., a little village a short distance from St. Louis, Mo.,
to await his call to the Indian territory. With realistic touches, he
describes his joy in being summoned to Kansas :

Shortly after his [Verreydt's] arrival, whilst in St. Charles, I received the
news that I was appointed by my superiors as missionary among the Potto-
watomies and would soon leave for the Indian territory. Need I tell you,
Dear Father, [De Smet] that my heart leaped with joy at these glad tidings,
and that I longed with impatience for the hour of departure? It came at last.
One morning whilst I was walking in the garden, musing with delight on the
condition of the far-off flock that was committed to my care, the steamboat
arrived and rang the signal for us to come on board. Bidding a hasty farewell
to the good Fathers at St. Charles, ... I embarked. 1

Upon arriving at the mission on Sugar creek in present Linn
county, Kansas, Father Gailland was overcome with fever. For a
few days he was confined to bed. During these days of sickness
he felt the full weight of loneliness, recalling the majestic mountains
of Switzerland, from the rocky heights of which wild mountain tor-
rents rushed to the lakes below. In a semidelirious state he imagined
partaking of this cold water to satisfy the maddening thirst that con-
sumed him.

After his recovery, Father Gailland accompanied the Jesuits and
the Ladies of the Sacred Heart to Wakarusa, the mission station of
Father Christian Hoecken, S. J. While visiting at Wakarusa, Father
Gailland employed his time profitably, learning the basic rudiments
of the Pottawatomie language. He attended Father Hoecken's in-
struction classes for the Pottawatomies, and according to his own
testimony he improved daily.

At first the sounds of the words appeared to me very strange and difficult,
but by degrees, and as I commenced understanding it a little, it became daily
easier and smoother to my mind, and I found it to my great astonishment a
rich and expressive though an uncultivated language. 2

On September 7, Father Verreydt, the superior, Father Gailland,
the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, Brother George Miles, Joseph
Bertrand, a guide, and Chariot, an Indian boy, set out for their final
destination. Some weeks preceding the arrival of this group, Father
Verreydt had definitely decided on a location on the north side of
the Kansas river, at the present site of St. Mary's College, St. Marys,
Kan. They arrived at their new home on September 9, 1848. Two
log cabins had been erected, but as yet no doors, windows or floor

1. Catholic Mirror, Baltimore, Md., November 16, 1850. Gilbert J. Garraghan, S. J..
The Jesuits of the Middle United States (New York, 1938), v. 2, p. 602.

2. Ibid., p. 604.


had been built in these houses. The Fathers and the Indian helpers
had to begin immediately to make them habitable for winter.

The Fathers' house was one story high, covered with boards, the crevices
between the logs being filled with sticks and clay. The house for the Ladies and
the Indian girls was of better finish, being two stories high and having the
rooms rudely plastered. 3

From the date of his arrival at St. Mary's, September 9, 1848, to
his death nearly 30 years later, Father Gailland dedicated himself
completely to the spiritual and temporal welfare of the Pottawatomie
Indians of Kansas. Fortunately, he has recorded faithfully in his
writings the important happenings of these 30 years. These events
are highly significant in one's understanding of the character of
Father Gailland, although kaleidoscopic as they may be when
passed in review.

He saw Kansas first as an Indian territory with warfare going on
between the Pottawatomie and Pawnee. He saw the gold seekers
in 1849 passing through Kansas on their quest for hurried wealth;
he saw the little log chapel of St. Mary's mission become the first
cathedral for the vicariate of Kansas, and Father J. B. Miege, S. J.,
become the first Vicar-Apostolic of Kansas. He saw the advent
of the white settlers who were covetous of the land of the Indians,
gaining it frequently by devious means. He endured civil war,
droughts, and pestilences. He beheld many Indians fall victim to
whisky, and, finally, he witnessed what he called "the gloomiest page
of the Pottowatomie mission" the Indians selling their land to
the whites and leaving for new homes. These are the deep and
the fine lines that sketch the background against which Father Gail-
land lived his life of love for God and man.

For some months Father Gailland labored assiduously learning
the Pottawatomie language. He became in time not only adept in
speaking the language, but composed a large dictionary and gram-
mar of this tongue. 4 Besides this work, he compiled and published
a prayerbook containing hymns, meditations, psalms and prayers
in Pottawatomie. The title of this work was: Potewatomi Neme-
winin 1P1 Nemenigamowinen. This prayerbook is used even to this
day by the Pottawatomies. Besides Pottawatomie, he mastered,
also, some dialects of the Algonquin family. To add to his knowl-
edge of these languages, he had a skillful command of two or three
Romance languages, as well as an easy familiarity with Latin.

3. Walter J. Hill, S. J., "Father Maurice Gailland, S. J.," Woodstock Letters, v. 7
(April, 1878), p. 14.

4. This dictionary was never published. It comprises 130 pages, written in long hand
on ledger paper 7% by 15 inches. The dictionary can be found in the archives of St. Mary's
College, St. Marys, Kan.


This scholarly aptitude of Father Gailland, however, was not his
most striking characteristic. For the human touches, as well as the
profoundly spiritual depths of his character we can best turn to the
writings of Brother Louis deVriendt, S. J., a contemporary of Father
Gailland, who wrote a little biography of his Spiritual Father and
friend. The charming simplicity, naivete, and the graphic details
of Brother deVriendt's account makes it invaluable for a closer
study of this remarkable missionary. According to Brother
deVriendt, Father Gailland had his ear cocked always to "someone
sick/' or "some Indian across the river wants you." After a weary
day of traveling, Father Gailland would first ask if any sick calls
came for him. If such were the case, he would mount his horse
without stopping to rest and gallop off to the one summoning him.

Sometimes, it was recorded by Brother deVriendt that the cook
would forget to keep Father Gailland's supper warm. Such
thoughtlessness did not disturb him, but rather he seemed to de-
light in such treatment. Father Gailland spent many evenings
after supper visiting with the Brothers, recounting the experiences
he had that day with the Indians. Like a true Boswell, Brother
deVriendt jotted them down, leaving a wealth of stories that lend
vivid insight into Father Gailland's love and solicitude for the
Indians, the tremendous power he exercised over them, as well as
some of the bitter disappointments that came in his ministry. 5

Two extracts from Brother deVriendt's "Biography of Father
Gailland" may help us understand more intimately this blackrobe
among the Pottawatomies. The following account reveals the re-
spect and veneration some of the Indians held for Father Gailland:

Father Gailland told an Indian to give his wife some beef soup. Father
came back next day and the Indian was bloody and had a knife. He said
that he had killed his cow because you [Father Gailland] have told me to
make some soup. "How many cows do you have?" [Father Gailland asked.]
"Only one cow," he said. Father Gailland: "That will be hard on you. You
will have no more milk." But the Indian said, "My wife will have beef soup
anyways, and I will have done what you told me to do." 6

The second account tells us of the intense sorrow that weighed
on his soul in later years when he saw his flock scattered, and cor-
rupted by the white men.

Almighty God has certainly blessed these Indians with many graces, but I
fear for some because they are beginning to be molested by the whites, and

5. Brother deVriendt's "Biography of Father Gailland" was never published. The
grammar is frequently awkward and faulty, as well as the spelling, but for vivid and dra-
matic touches of the personality of Father Gailland, it is unsurpassed. This work can also be
found in the archives of St. Mary's College.

6. Ibid., p. 175.


that is very dangerous for them that is what makes my heart bleed when I
think on it. And the time is not far off that those good people will get cor-
rupted by coming in contact with the whites . . . . O Lord, spare my In-
dians from those evil days which I now already foresee. Yes, that there [sic]
morals will be spoiled, even that they will swindel them out of their property
and cast them forth as dogs not worthy to be among them, and that they will
be obliged to leave their reserve where now are settled on. 7

These scattered sketches of Father Gailland from the pen of
Brother deVriendt clearly testify that Gailland was a man of no
ordinary virtue. For the spiritual welfare of the savages he would
endure any pain and privation. The inclemency of the weather, the
distance of the place, nor the hardship of travel did not deter him
from administering to the cares and needs of his flock. For 30 years
he deprived himself of even meager comforts that he could have en-
joyed at the mission. He was faithful to his flock though some re-
mained indifferent and obstinate to his Christ-like charity. The
cause of his disease that eventually proved fatal was the result of his
devotion to the Indians.

Twelve years before his death he was called to a dying pagan
Indian who lived in the present village of Silver Lake. When Father
Gailland reached Cross creek, the stream was high, full of floating
ice. The companion of Father Gailland warned him of the danger
of crossing at that time. "I must," he replied, "if I die another will
take my place." Then he urged his horse into the rushing torrents
and succeeded in reaching the other bank safely. This plunge into
the icy water and the long ride of 11 hours with his clothes frozen
to his person proved too much, however, for even such a robust
man as Father Gailland. The next day the first symptoms of par-
alysis appeared, and became progressively worse each year until
his death on August 12, 1877. He trembled constantly, finding re-
lief only in sleep. When he sat down his head was bent nearly to
his knees.

There are still to this day a few Pottawatomie Indians living on
their reserve northeast of St. Marys who remember him in that for-
lorn condition. Someone asked him if he felt any pain. His reply was
that he felt as if someone were continually pounding his fingers with
a mallet. Despite his constant pain, the only complaint heard from
his lips was his inability to care for his spiritual charges. After the
paralysis had gained hold on him, he was unable to ride horseback,
but for some years he went long distances by means of horse and
buggy to carry out his ministry.

7. Ibid., p. 185.


Father Gailland's last summons to the sick came in June, 1877.
He was called to a sick woman near Topeka. This journey proved
too much for his already exhausted strength. The Brother Infirmar-
ian, notified that Father Gailland was very ill, set out for Topeka
immediately to bring him home. The month of July passed, and the
valiant missionary's health revived, but only temporarily, for during
the first week of August he suffered a relapse from which he never
recovered. God summoned him to Himself on August 12, 1877.
"With him the Jesuit attempt, lasting through four decades, to
christianize and civilize the Potowatomi of Kansas passed into his-
tory." 8

Father Walter Hill, S. J., summed up Father Gailland's remark-
able life in this manner:

Few missionaries of recent times among the aborigines of America have
accomplished greater and more solid good than did the saintly, noble-hearted,
long-suffering, and most charitable Father Gailland. His life was a model of
every high Christian virtue, and his death was the befitting close to such a
career; for it was peaceful and happy in that hope that confoundeth not. Up
to his dying day he never missed a community exercise to which he was physi-
cally able to attend; and in order to spare others trouble, he would permit no
one to serve him in anything which he was at all able to do for himself. 9

THE DIARY, 1848-1850

September 7: We set out on our journey to the place of the new
mission, that is, Father Superior, Father Gailland, the lay brother
Patrick Regan and one boarder named Chariot. 10

September 8: At the trading post we were delayed a whole day
owing to a rise in the river. 11

September 9: We forded the Kansas River, some in wagons,
others on horseback, Mr. Joseph Bertrand with the Ladies of the
Sacred Heart accompanied us all the way. 12 At noon we stopped

8. Garraghan, op. cit., v. 3, p. 65.

9. Walter Hill, S. J., "Maurice Gaffland, S. J.," loc. cit., p. 19.

10. Father Superior at the date of this entry was the Rev. Felix L. Verreydt. He was
b ?i m 2 iest ' Bel gj u P. and entered the Society of Jesus at White March, Md., on October 6,
1821. He was ordained to the priesthood on September 24, 1827. His work as an Indian

Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) → online text (page 58 of 76)