In an interview from 1937, Isadora Smith states that her mother’s name was Susan Bigleg, but that she knew “nothing of her life, as she died as I was born and I was taken and reared by my grandparents.” Isadora’s father was Charles Labadie, and her paternal grandparents were Peter and Umilla Labadie. Isadora was raised on their allotted lands on the north side of Miami. The following is a short excerpt about her life growing up as she remembered it:
“Before Grandpa chose his home at where North Miami now stands, he lived near Peoria on what is now called the Old Skye Place. Here we did not have as nice a house as he built when we moved. The home near Peoria was a log one, small but comfortable and I started to school at the old Peoria School House which I attended for some time but was sent from there to Haskell and later to Carlisle where I remained for three years without coming home. The climate did not agree with me but I liked it and was afraid to come home.”
In 1893, Isadora married Thomas W. Smith, a Munsee Indian from Miami County, Kansas. Isadora and Thomas lived on farmland allotted to their Labadie Family that is now the G. A. R. Cemetery in Miami. Their children were Roth, Ella, Frank, Ralph, Arlice, Ruby, and Ruth. Isadora’s daughters also went to boarding school while the boys helped their father on the farm. Though they were quite successful at farming, the Smith family had their share of heartache. By 1910, Isadora had given birth to eight children, but three had passed away. Their first son died when he was just a toddler, around 1900. Roth also died during childhood, at the age of 7. The family suffered a terrible tragedy when their son Frank, who was a hemophiliac, was injured and died in a farming accident at 13 years old.
In 2000, the Miami Nation established their first cultural grounds on Isadora’s allotment. The land served the community well as a place for language education through the Eewansaapita program and other community gatherings.
Susan was born shortly after the removal in Kansas. Her allotment card states that she was the sister to Thomas Miller’s first wife, Waapihkihkihkwa. Though their exact parents are unknown, Susan and Waapihkihkihkwa were the heirs to the Beaver Reserve in Indiana, a contested case that followed them all the way to Indian Territory. Susan was married to John Benjamin (Soowilencihsia), and they had three children who were not allotted; it is likely all three died as young children. John also died before arriving in Indian Territory. Susan later married a Quapaw man named John Medicine (sometimes recorded as Madison), but had no children with him.
Though Lizzie’s allotment card states that her mother was also named Lizzie Davis, she was listed as a ward or orphan from very early on in her life. In 1890, Milton Drake was serving as her guardian, and she was also often associated with the Shapp family. Mary Shapp may have also served as a guardian. Around 1893, Lizzie married a man named John Thompson. They had two sons, Joseph Thompson and Willie Buffalo Thompson. However, both died as children. She later married an Ottawa Indian, Peter McCoontz and had four more sons: John, James, Joseph, and Francis. None of her children were born before allotments were made.
By the time the United States began enumerating Native Americans annually through the Indian Census Rolls in 1885, Peter Shapp was listed on the Miami Roll as an orphan. His father, believed to be John Shapp, appears to have died around 1881, and his mother Jane (Gokey) Shapp passed sometime shortly thereafter. It is likely that John Shapp was a son of John Shapp and Mihšiiminaapowa, making Peter a nephew of Susan Crawfish and Mary Buck. Since he is nearly always listed adjacent to Susan or Mary on tribal census rolls, it is likely they cared for him while he was a boy. Though his grave marker notes a birthdate of 1875, earlier records imply he was born as early as 1870, and his given birthplace alternates as Kansas and Oklahoma, so he may have been born very near the time of removal of the Myaamia to Indian Territory.
Peter was married to Julia Stafford on March 14, 1894, by Thomas Richardville. Julia was a Quapaw tribal member, and their nine children were also citizens of the Quapaw Tribe. The Shapp family lived in the Quapaw land near Spring River, and many Shapp descendants still live in that area today. Their first son, John, passed away as a toddler. This was followed by the births of Mary, Harry, Thomas, Urban, Francis, Christina, Flossie Merla, and Charles.
Luella Isadore Crawfish was born to Thomas and Susan Crawfish in Indian Territory, and lived in the Quapaw and Peoria area all her life. She was married three times: to Alexander Lewis Beaver (1900), Solomon Quapaw (about 1909), and Reed Wilson (sometime after 1924). Isadore always maintained her membership in the Miami Nation, but her children were all counted as citizens of their fathers’ tribe, the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma. Her children by Beaver were Amos, Victor, Mary Francis, and Orville. Her children by Quapaw are Luella B., Elmer Thomas, Cecilia, James Henry, Edward L., and Maude E.
The daughter of Martin Luther and Mihšiiminaapowa, Susan was the half-sister of Mary Shapp (Pankihšinohkwa) and John Shapp (Awansaapia). She married Thomas Crawfish and had ten children, but only four were living in 1910: Luella Isadore (Mihšiiminaapowa), Mary, Minnie, and Lucy. Isadore was the only child living at the time allotments were made. Thomas Crawfish’s family was Quapaw, and many of his and Susan’s descendants are citizens of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma.
Frank maintained his membership in the Miami Nation based on his mother’s ancestry. He married Josie Decker about 1908 and had a son, Leonard F. Buck, who also died in 1940. As the heir to his father’s Quapaw allotment, Frank benefited from mining leases facilitated thereupon. This afforded him many opportunities to travel, but also made him a target for lawsuits. A veteran of World War I, he was a leader in the local American Legion, often attending conventions within the state and across the country with his son. He worked for a time as a farmer in Ottawa County, but moved to Los Angeles shortly before his death in 1940. He is buried in the G. A. R. Cemetery in Miami.
Mary Shapp was the daughter of John Shapp and Mihšiiminaapowa. She was married first to William Wea, and had a son who died as a young toddler in the early 1880s. In the late 1880s, she married Frank Buck, a Quapaw Indian, and had another son, named Frank Buck, Jr. Frank, Sr., passed away in 1899 and in 1903, Mary married Howard Daugherty. After she became a widow once again in 1923, she remained busy in social affairs and often traveled to see family. When she passed away at the Claremore Indian Hospital at the age of 84, she had outlived most of her family, her son having died two years before her.
Sophia was the youngest daughter of Akima Eecipoonkwia (Chief John Baptiste Roubidoux) and his wife Susan. She was raised in Paola, Kansas, until the Myaamia relocated to Indian Territory. Her first husband was named Moses Bluejacket. They had no children, and around 1888 she married Thomas Goodboo, a Miami and Potawatomi man who was born and raised in Indiana. They had six children; three boys and three girls. Mary was the eldest, followed by Ethel, Frank, Allen, Josephine, and Thomas, Jr. Following Thomas’ death in 1899, she married Homer C. LaFalier in 1900. Homer LaFalier was also Miami, through his father Louis LaFalier, but was enrolled in the Cherokee Nation through his matrilineal line (his mother being Sarah Wheeler). Homer and Sophia had four children: John, Louis, Ruby and Homer.
Though he was born after removal, very little is known about Charles Welch’s background. Probate records suggest that his mother may have been a Myaamia woman whose name was recorded as “Ne-pe-ah-kah,” and he may have been directly related to Martonah (Mary Richardville). A few years after he was born, Charles’ mother married a Myaamia man named Kiilhsoonsa (Snap Richardville). Snap was the grandson of Akima Pinšiwa (Chief J. B. Richardville) and although exempted from removal, it appears that he participated in the removal journey south to the Miami Reservation in 1846.
In 1884, Charles married Sarah Martin, the step-daughter of Peter LaFalier. She is also known by her other married name, Sarah Wadsworth. They had no known children, and Charles later married a Peoria woman named Sallie Wasacolly (or Wasacoleah), and they had two children, Thomas and Benjamin. Thomas received a Peoria allotment, but died when he was just eighteen years old. His brother Benjamin remained connected to both the Miami and Peoria Tribes throughout his life.
Charles Welch served as a Councilperson from at least 1879 to 1884 when he was elected as Second Chief of the Nation. He served as Second Chief until 1887 when he resigned halfway through his second term, nominating Waapimaankwa (Thomas Richardville) to replace him. After stepping down from that position, he served again as Councilperson until his death in 1897. He is buried in the eastern “historic section” of the current Tribal Cemetery.