Biography of Mikanopy


Mikanopy (`head chief’). A Seminole chief. On May 9, 1832, a treaty was signed purporting to cede the country of the Seminole to the United States in exchange for lands west of the Mississippi. The Seminole had already relinquished their desirable lands near the coast and retired to the pine barrens and swamps of the interior. Mikanopy, the hereditary chief, who possessed large herds of cattle and horses and a hundred Negro slaves, stood by young Osceola and the majority of the tribe in the determination to remain. Neither of them signed the agreement to emigrate given on behalf of the tribe by certain pretended chiefs on Apr. 23, 1835. In the summer of that year the Indians made preparations to resist if the Government attempted to remove them. When the agent notified them on Dec. 1 to deliver their horses and cattle and assemble for the long journey they sent their women and children into the interior, while the warriors were seen going about in armed parties. The white people had contented the Seminole as a degenerate tribe, enervated through long contact with the whites. Although Mikanopy, who was advanced in years, was the direct successor of King Payne, the chief who united the tribe, the agent said he would no longer recognize him as a chief when he absented himself from the council where the treaty was signed. When the whites saw that the Seminole intended to fight, they abandoned their plantations on the border, which the Indians sacked and burned. Troops were then ordered to the Seminole country, and a seven-years’ war began. In the massacre of Dade’s command, Dec. 28, 1836, it is said that Mikanopy shot the commander with his own hand. He took no further active part in the hostilities. He was short and gross in person, indolent, and self-indulgent in his habits, having none of the qualities of a leader.

McKenney and Hall, Ind. Tribes, it, 271, 1858.

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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