The old Delaware hunter, Billy Dowdee, visited the cabin of Allen Oliver, father of Lewis, in the spring of 1812, a few months before the removal of the Greentown Indians. Dowdee, with his squaw and six or seven children, encamped at the mouth of a rivulet, half a mile above Mr. Oliver, where it empties into the Black fork. The old warrior had hunted for some time, over the hills and along the valleys of Green Township, but with ill success. His squaw and children lived meagerly on hominy and venison. Dowdee was a humane Indian, and was much attached to his squaw and children. In his distress, he concluded that Mr. Oliver would be likely to sympathize with the "red hunter." He had met his new neighbor several times, and rightly conceived the true elements of his character. He hastened to the cabin of Mr. Oliver, when the following dialogue took place:
Dowdee-"How much you charge for big pot full mush and milk? My squaw and papooses velly hungry."
Oliver-"How much will you give?" Dowdee-"Me give one large buck-skin." Oliver-"All right, bring them along."
Dowdee hastened to his wigwam to inform his squaw and children of the good news, and bring them to the cabin of Mr. Oliver.
In the meantime, Mrs. Oliver prepared a two-gallon pot of mush, and it was steaming hot when Dowdee and his family appeared at the cabin. On entering, "Billy"desired the pot to be placed in the middle of the floor, which was done; and the Indian family surrounded it, seating themselves on the floor. Tins, spoons and milk were provided, and Dowdee and his dusky family commenced their meal. The little Indians were remarkably voracious. The mush gradually disappeared. Finally the glossy skinned little fellows, with distended stomachs, began to hesitate. "Billy," talking to them in the Delaware tongue, urged them to "eat more." It was in vain, for their appetites had been fully glutted.
There they sat, nearly nude, with their yellow skins expanded almost to the point of explosion. One by one, they began to become drowsy, and nodded. The scene was exceedingly ludicrous. It was well worthy some native artist, and excited a smile from those who beheld it. The mush was at last consumed, and "Billy" produced the buckskin, and handed it to Mr. Oliver. He then roused his papooses from their torpor, bade adieu to Mr. Oliver, and returned to his wigwam. The rivulet, upon which he encamped, has since been known as "Dowdee's run."
A year or two after the war Dowdee returned to the Greentown settlement to hunt, and re-visited that region, annually, for several years, for the same purpose. The characteristic love of the Caucasian for mental culture existed among the early settlers of Green Township. The children of the pioneers were gathered into a rude log schoolhouse, and the services of a young lady secured as teacher. This was probably the first school ever taught in the township. The young lady who taught the young idea how to shoot still survives, and has nearly reached four score of well-spent years. She informs me that, one drowsy, summer afternoon, when the little urchins under her charge were sleepily perusing their A B C's, and feeling perfectly secure, a large, copper-colored warrior stepped into the schoolroom and looked gravely at the children. Profound silence prevailed. The little fellows could almost feel their scalps disappearing. The teacher looked enquiringly at the Indian. The little ones trembled in expectation of capture or the tomahawk. It was Billy Dowdee. He took in the whole scene at a glance. Looking gravely at the teacher, he said: "Much papooses-velly much papooses." The young teacher blushed, visibly, at the insinuation, and felt greatly embarrassed. The point was, "Billy" intended to compliment her on possessing so large a family of pale-faced papooses.
At the treaty at the Maumee rapids, in 1817, William Dondee, or Dowdee, is named as one of the proprietors in a reservation three miles square, south of Upper Sandusky, which was assigned to the Greentown and Jerometown Indians, formerly of Ashland County.
Billy Dowdee was a harmless old Indian, and is well remembered by the pioneers of Green Township. He and his family accompanied the Delawares to their new reservation, west of the Mississippi, in 1829.