According to Holcomb’s 1891 chronicle, during the winter of 1840-1841, members of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi who had been removed by the Army camped on the Osage River, about 100 miles from Independence, Missouri. Holcomb stayed with the band nearly three months until payment of approximately $20 per person (equivalent to $580.36 in 2018) was made. Holcomb and 11 members of the band employed a team and returned to Independence, MO, where they remained the rest of the winter. Among the defectors were Chief John Moguago’s sister and her four children.
In the spring they returned to the Nottawasippe Prairie where Holcomb wrote in his unique style, they
“…came to the Town of Athens Evry one Glad to see the Indians once more. It has been so lonesome they we [sic] would have stay. Some thought it was wiced [sic, “wicked”] to take them of away among wild Indians whar [sic] they would be so Lonesome and on the open Prarie they cant [sic] make Sugar to Eat.”
They soon located Chief Moguago, who had a long, lonely winter with plenty to eat, but only three people to share it with. The returning group chose a location to cultivate crops; the same place, said Holcomb in his 1891 memoir, on which they now owned and lived.
By 1842, they had settled near Dry Prairie in Calhoun County, Michigan, within the former Nottawaseppi Reserve. That same year, they resumed contact with Michigan’s Federal Indian Agent.
The number of NHBP that escaped, hid undetected, and returned is not known definitively but an estimate of 40 is realistic.
“$20 in 1842 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” FinanceRef Inflation Calculator, Alioth Finance, 28 Feb. 2018, http://www.in2013dollars.com/1842-dollars-in-2018?amount=20.
Rodwan, John, and Virginia Anewishki. Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, A People in Progress. Pine Creek Reservation, 2009.
United States, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Acknowledgement and Research, et al. “Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc.” HPI-V001-D004, https://www.bia.gov/sites/bia.gov/files/assets/as-ia/ofa/petition/009_hurpot_MI/009_pf.pdf.