In the summer of 1863, Chief John Moguago became ill. As he declined, he beckoned “Old” Pamptopee, his uncle, to his bedside and gave him a written transfer of power, along with other valuable Tribal papers. He then informed the President of the United States, as well as the Governor of Michigan, of the transfer. John (son of “Old” Moguago and grandson of Mogoagon) died on the reservation on May 3, 1863, and is now buried in the Indian Mission Cemetery. His grave was marked by the planting of a small oak tree, which has now grown into a very large and majestic specimen. In 1997, his grave was marked with a formal headstone.

Following Moguago’s death in 1863, Tribal leadership was transferred to “Old” Pamptopee. Like Chief Moguago, he was also an esteemed leader; his service was brief since he died in 1864, at which point his son, Phineas Pamptopee, became chief.

Phineas was born in 1837. It is thought that as a three-year-old child he made the removal trek to Kansas but later returned. He became chief in 1864 and served through his death in 1914.  He was a tall man that wore gold earrings, had a very straight posture, and long hair. He became an ordained minister in 1897. From 1882 until 1905, Phineas served as the main spokesman for all non-Pokagon Potawatomi in Michigan when dealing with claims against the U.S. Government.

For half of a century, Chief Phineas Pamptopee provided the NHBP with great steadiness in its leadership.



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,