Class of

2021

Historical

Kil-so-quah

Kilsoquah (Kiilhsoohkwa, Kil-so-quah, Setting Sun, Margaret Revarre) was a member of the Myaamia nation and granddaughter of Chief Mihsihkinaahkwa, better known as Little Turtle. She was born in 1810 at the Forks of the Wabash. Her father, Wok-shin-gah (Crescent Moon) was Mihsihkinaahkwa’s son. Her mother was Nah-wah-kah-mo-kwa ( Snow Woman).

When she was a little girl, Kil-so-quah moved with her family from the Miami Village at the Forks to the junction of Rock Creek and the Wabash River, near the present town of Markle. In 1826 at the age of 16, she married a man from a different Miami branch and went to live on his land near Columbia City. Her first husband was John Owl, the son of Chief John Owl. The pair wed in an area referred to as Seek’s Village around the Eel River. John died within the first year or two of their marriage. Kil-so-quah returned to live with her parents after his death.

In 1832, Kil-so-quah wed Shaw-pe-nom-quah (Anthony Revarre), who was of half-Native American, half-French descent trader. They resided in Roanoke. He was considered to be one of the most prominent farmers in the area.

Together Kil-so-quah and Shaw-pe-nom-quah had six children, four of whom died in infancy. Her two surviving children were a son, Wa-pe-mung-quah (Little White Loon, Anthony Revarre, Jr.), and a daughter, Wan-nog-quan-quah (Snow, Mist, or Fog; Blowing Snow; Happy Fawn; Mary E. Johnson).

Her second husband died in 1846. The 320 acres they owned dwindled down to only 40 over time. Her daughter left with the Miami who were relocated to Kansas and Oklahoma in the late 1840’s. Kil-so-quah and her son, Anthony Revarre, Jr. were allowed to remain on their land.

Kil-so-quah remained loyal to her Native American heritage, retaining the Miami language and adhering to their customs. She had proudly educated her children at school in the Roanoke settlement and Anthony acted as her interpreter. They had a log cabin in later years, returning to her wigwam in warm weather. Advancing age convinced her to live in a two-story frame house with Anthony’s sleeping quarters above.

In her older age, she delighted in telling visitors about her childhood. She remembered details about Little Turtle’s battles with followers of Anthony Wayne and settled disputes of historians as to land and cultural issues. She was a valuable resource for historians as one of the last living links to the culture and history of the Miami people.

On July 4, 1910, the citizens of Roanoke held a massive 100th birthday celebration to honor Kil-so-quah, who had gained a national following. As many as 10,000 visitors filled the streets. Speeches were made including one by Governor Marshall’s uncle. A mass was held in a tent. There was a parade and the Fort Wayne Infantry cannoned a salute for each state in the Union. The celebration ended with fireworks and onlookers observed Kil-so-quah’s eyes glowing with appreciation.

This was her final public appearance in Huntington County.

In 1915, a Fort Wayne-based newspaper reported that, “if a stranger called, the old woman would grasp the hand and give a firm grip, and after looking you over would in her quaint way and feeble voice mutter a few words in her native tongue, that if interpreted would be a hearty welcome.”

She died on September 4, 1915, at her home in Roanoke after spending a few weeks ill and confined to her bed. Her death was described as “without a struggle, for death was only a break in the wellworn thread of life.” Her passing was characterized in 1917 as a loss of “the last royal Miamis.” She was the oldest resident of the state of Indiana at the time of her death. Her funeral services were held at St. James Catholic Church in Roanoke and she was buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery (Glenwood Cemetery) in Roanoke.

In 2013 she was described by the Smithsonian Institute as an important midwife in Indiana who understood and used plant knowledge related to childbirth.

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