Charles Fish 1
- Born: 1815, Shawnee Tribe, (Kansas Territory) (Kansas), (United States)
- Died: 27 Dec 1866 at age 51
Another name for Charles was Sa-La-Ne-Weh Fish.
From Kansas State Historical Society
Letter 15 May 1839 from Joshua Pilcher, S.I.A., St. Louis to Major R. W. Cummins, Ind. Agent:
"Your nomination of Charles Fish as striker for the Kansa Indians have been approved provided he has vacated the same situation for the Kickapoos."
From "Delaware and Shawnee Migration" at https://www.eudorakshistory.com/delaware_shawnee/delaware-and-shawnee%20.htm :
"The Fish Tribe with Fish Jr. moved to the Eudora area in the early 1840's. With him came James Captain; William Rogers; Joe Parks; William Parks; a Crane; the Bluejackets (Charles, George, and Henry); and others. Votes cast in the 1855 tribal election, with Mathew Clerk serving as clerk, showed some of this original group stayed. As for the election, it resulted in Henry Bluejacket, Dougherty, Simon Hill, Tooley, and Tucker voted council leaders, and Joseph Parks and Graham Rogers (who owned 1,000 acres in Johnson County by 1858, built a home at 6741 Mackey in Merriam, and was the son of a white man kidnapped by Shawnee and raised by Chief Blackfish), the principal chiefs. Charles BlueJacket served as interpreter as he did for federal treaty agreements....
... [Paschal Fish] and his brother, Charles, pictured on the left, who had helped at the inn, operated a ferry across the Kansas River in the Weaver area. Charles appeared to operate the ferry in all government references and owned the land from which crossings took place. The ferry was on the trail that the U.S. Army blazed from Fort Leavenworth to Willow Springs to join the Santa Fe Trail. The Kansas Legislature also licensed Fish to operate the ferry a mile up and a mile down the Wakarusa.
Colonel Stephen Kearney and 280 First U.S. dragoons left the military trail in 1846 to blaze a new trail to Fort Leavenworth. They crossed the Kansas River near where the Wakarusa joins it on "a ferry operated by Indians." Lieutenant J. W. Albert wrote June 29, 1846:
"In the river we found two large flatboats or scows, manned by Shawnee Indians dressed in bright colored shirts, with shawls around their heads. The current of the river was very rapid, so that it required the greatest exertion on the part of our ferrymen to prevent the boats from being swept far downstream. We landed just at the mouth of the Wakaroosa creek. Here there is no perceptible current; the creek is fourteen feet deep, while the river does not average more than 5 feet; and in some places is quite shallow. . . .the pure cold water of the Wakaroosa looked so inviting that some of us could not refrain from plunging beneath its crystal surface."
According to Fern Long, Eudora local historian specializing in the Kansas Territory, the Fish ferry was in operation before 1845 and until the 1860s. The ferry was used continuously by the army as well as by travelers heading west to join other trails. Troops from Fort Leavenworth usually made it to the ferry in one day and camped on the Wakarusa bank after crossing. Fish got $1 a wagon for the crossing. Some days as many as 90 provision wagons crossed over on the ferry.
John Bowes wrote in From Exiles and Pioneers: Eastern Indians in the Trans-Mississippi West (New York, 2007, pg. 112-113): "A prevalent business in the 1840s entailed charging American travelers for passage across the creeks and rivers that impeded their journey along the various trails that originated in the Missouri border towns. . . .Wyandots, Shawnees , Potawatomis, and Delawares all ran small ferries at the various rivers in eastern Kansas that coursed across both their reserves and the popular emigration trails. . . .Only a few miles east of the Potawatomi reserve, Paschal and Charles Fish, two Anglo-Shawnee brothers, also operated a ferry on the Kansas River. They benefitted not only from emigrant travel but also from the U.S. soldiers that required the Indian flatboats on their way to Mexico in 1846". 2
Need to confirm birthdate. He was listed as 41 years old on either the 1854 or 1856 Indian Census.