Little Turtle

Miami Indian Chiefs and Leaders

Little Turtle

Little Turtle (Michikinikwca). A chief of the Miami tribe. Born at his village on Eel River, Ind., in 1752. His father was a Miami chief and his mother a Mahican; hence, according to the Indian rule, he was a Mahican and received no advantage from his father’s rank, that is, he was not chief by descent. However, his talents having attracted the notice of his countrymen, he was made chief of the Miami while a  comparatively young man. Little Turtle was the principal leader of the Indian forces that defeated Gen. Harmaron on the Miami River in Oct. 1790, and Gen. St Clair, at St. Marys, Nov. 4, 1791, and he and Bluejacket were among the foremost leaders of the Indians in their conflict with Gen. Wayne’s army in 1795, although he had urged the Indians to make peace with this “chief who never sleeps.”

After their defeat by the whites he joined in the treaty at Greenville, Ohio, Aug. 3, 1795, remarking, as he signed it, ” I am the last to sign it, and I will be the last to break it.” Faithful to this promise he remained passive and counseled peace on the part of his people until his death at Ft Wayne, July 14, 1812.

Little Turtle
Little Turtle

Early in 1797, accompanied by Capt. Wells, his brother-in-law, he visited President Washington at Philadelphia, where he met Count Volney and Gen. Kosciusko, the latter presenting him with his own pair of elegantly mounted pistols. Although Tecumseh endeavored to draw him away from his Peaceful relations with the whites, his efforts were in vain.

Little Turtle’s Indian name as signed to different treaties varies as follows: Greenville, August 3, 1795, Meshekunnoghquoh; Ft Wayne, June 7, 1803, Meseekunnoghquoh; Vincennes, August 21, 1805, Mashekakahquoh; Ft Wayne, September 30, 1809, Meshekenoghqua.


  1. Drake, Inds. N. Am., 1880;
  2. Brice, Hist. Fort Wayne, 1868;
  3. Appleton’s Cyclop. Am. Biog., III, 1894.



Papakeecha (`flat belly’, i. e. a bed-bug). A Miami chief whose village, commonly known as Flat Belly’s Village, was east of Turkey Lake, at the present Indian Village, Noble County, Ind.


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

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