The ancestry and prehistoric movements of the tribes constituting this

group are involved in considerable obscurity, though it is known from

tradition as well as linguistic affinity that they sprung from the


Since the days of Marquette (1673) the Iowa have ranged over the country

between the Mississippi and Missouri, up to the latitude of Oneota

(formerly upper Iowa) river,- and even across the
Missouri about the mouth

of the Platte. Chauvignerie located them, in 1736 west of the Mississippi

and (probably through error in identification of the waterway) south of

the Missouri; and in 1761 Jefferys placed them between Missouri river and

the headwaters of Des Moines river, above the Oto and below the Maha

(Omaha). In 1805, according to Drake, they dwelt on Des Moines river,

forty leagues above its mouth, and numbered 800. In 1811 Pike found them

in two villages on Des Moines and Iowa rivers. In 1815 they were decimated

by smallpox, and also lost heavily through war against the tribes of the

Dakota confederacy. In 1829 Porter placed them on the Little Platte, some

15 miles from the Missouri line, and about 1853 Schoolcraft located them

on Nemaha river, their principal village being near the mouth of the Great

Nemaha. In 1848 they suffered another epidemic of smallpox, by which 100

warriors, besides women and children, were carried off. As the country

settled, the Iowa, like the other Indians of the stock, were collected on

reservations which they still occupy in Kansas and Oklahoma. According to

the last census their population was 273.

The Missouri were first seen by Tonty about 1670; they were located near

the Mississippi on Marquette's map (1673) under the name of Ouemessourit,

probably a corruption of their name by the Illinois tribe, with the

characteristic Algonquian prefix. The name Missouri was first used by

Joutel in 1687. In 1723 Bourgmont located their principal village 30

leagues below Kaw river and 60 leagues below the chief settlement of the

Kansa; according to Groghan, they were located on Mississippi river

opposite the Illinois country in 1759. Although the early locations are

somewhat indefinite, it seems certain that the tribe formerly dwelt on the

Mississippi about the mouth of the Missouri, and that they gradually

ascended the latter stream, remaining for a time between Grand and

Chariton rivers and establishing a town on the left bank of the Missouri

near the mouth of the Grand. There they were found by French traders, who

built a fort on an island quite near their village about the beginning of

the eighteenth century. Soon afterward they were conquered and dispersed

by a combination of Sac, Fox, and other Indians; they also suffered from

smallpox. On the division, five or six lodges joined the Osage, two or

three took refuge with the Kansa, and most of the remainder amalgamated

with the Oto. In 1805 Lewis and Clark found a part of the tribe, numbering

about 300, south of Platte river. The only known survivors in 1829 were

with the Oto, when they numbered no more than 80. In 1842 their village

stood on the southern bank of Platte river near the Oto settlement, and

they followed the latter tribe to Indian Territory in 1882.

According to Winnebago tradition, the {~LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED T~}{~LATIN SMALL LETTER OPEN O~}iwe're tribes separated from that

People of the parent speech long ago, the Iowa being the first and the

Oto the last to leave. In 1673 the Oto were located by Marquette west of

Missouri river, between the fortieth and fortyfirst parallels; in 1680

they were 130 leagues from the Illinois, almost opposite the mouth of the

Miskoncing (Wisconsin), and in 1687 they were on Osage river. According to

La Hontan they were, in 1690, on Otontas (Osage) river; and in 1698

Hennepin placed them ten days' journey from Fort Creve Coeur. Iberville, in

1700, located the Iowa and Oto with the Omaha, between Wisconsin and

Missouri rivers, about 100 leagues from the Illinois tribe; and

Charlevoix, in 1721, fixed the Oto habitat as below that of the Iowa and

above that of the Kansa on the western side of the Missouri. Dupratz

mentions the Oto as a small nation on Missouri river in 1758, and Jefferys

(1761) described them as occupying the southern bank of the Panis (Platte)

between its mouth and the Pawnee territory; according to Porter, they

occupied the same position in 1829. The Oto claimed the land bordering the

Platte from their village to the mouth of the river, and also that on both

sides of the Missouri as far as the Big Nemaha. In 1833 Catlin found the

Oto and Missouri together in the Pawnee country; about 1841 they were

gathered in four villages on the southern side of the Platte, from 5 to 18

miles above its mouth. In 1880 a part of the tribe removed to the Sac and

Fox reservation in Indian Territory, where they still remain; in 1882 the

rest of the tribe, with the remnant of the Missouri, emigrated to the

Pouka, Pawnee, and Oto reservation in the present Oklahoma, where, in 1890

they were found to number 400.