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White Plume (aka Mon-chonsia) Kansa chief
1763-1838
 
    (Plume Branche, Mon Charisz, or Waapashaw)
(also known as No-Pa-Wa-Ra, Nampawarah, Wompawara and Mannschenscaw)
(meaning "He who scares all men" or "fury")
oil portrait by Charles Bird King (1785-1862).
Plate 100. McKenney, Thomas L. & Hall, James. 
Per
History of the Indian Tribes of North America.
Philadelphia: F.W. Greenough, 1838-1844.
The original oil portrait was painted during White Plume's  visit to Washington DC ca 1822
(The original portrait was in the Smithsonian Museum when
the museum had a fire in 1865  and the original portrait
was destroyed; but there are many copies that were made)

      White Plume's village was located at the area of present day Grantville, just northeast of North Topeka, Kansas.

White Plume (Mon-chonsia) (Kansa [Hutanga]), was a member of a large delegation brought to Washington, D.C. by Indian Agent Benjamin O'Fallon in 1821-1822.  The delegation included prominent chiefs of the Missouri, Omaha, Oto and Pawnee nations.  The purpose of the visit was to impress the Native American leaders with the power and generosity of the federal government in order to maintain peace on Western borders which the government was unable to defend.  The portraits painted of this delegation were the first which Charles Bird King was commissioned to execute. 

“This chief may have been one of the sixteen Pawnee, Omaha, Kansa, Oto, and Missouri who visited the Great Father in the winter of 1821–1822,” according to Horan, “toured the city, and entertained thousands of spectators with a war dance in front of the White House. In the 1820s the Kansa was a small Siouan tribe living northwest of the Osage on the Kansas River. . . . In 1822, Benjamin O’Fallon, McKenney’s agent on the Missouri, estimated that the nation numbered about fifteen hundred men, women, and children. Three years later O’Fallon accompanied their chiefs to St. Louis where they signed a treaty with William Clark, relinquishing to the United States all claims they had to lands in north Kansas and southeast Nebraska. They retained a large tract of land on the Kansas River. . . . McKenney recalled Monchonsia as ‘a man respected by his tribe, cautious, fearless, and brave.’'

White Plume (Wom-pa-wa-ra, "He who scares all men"), a chief of the Kansas Indians, was born about 1763 and died past 70 years of age. He is described by Catlin as "a very urbane and hospitable man of good, portly size, speaking some English, and making himself good company for all persons who travel through his country and have the good luck to shake his liberal and hospitable hand." The government built a substantial stone house for White Plume about 1827 or 1828, but for some reason he refused to abide in it; White Plume replied when asked "Too many fleas"; 
preferring his old-style wigwam, which he erected in the door yard of his official palace. This house stood about 50 yards north of the present Union Pacific depot in the village of Williamstown, Jefferson county. Father P. J. De Smet, the Jesuit missionary, in speaking of White Plume, says: "Among the chiefs of this tribe are found men really distinguished in many respects. The most celebrated was White Plume." John T. Irving, in his Indian Sketches, thus describes this dignitary: "He was tall and muscular, though his form through neglect of exercise was fast verging towards corpulency. He wore a hat after the fashion of the whites, a calico hunting shirt and rough leggings. Over the whole was wrapped a heavy blanket. His face was unpainted and although his age was nearly seventy, his hair was raven black and his eye was as keen as a hawk's. He was the White Plume, chief of the Konza nation."

from Page 907 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar.

White Plume II (aka White Feather)

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Biography ACharles Curtis and his extended family genealogy.


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Updated January 22, 2013
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