Benjamin Gratz Brown

photograph by Mathew Brady

When the cannon had given forth its thunder, the whole plains seemed to be covered with the moving masses of chiefs, warriors, men, women and children, some on horseback, some on foot, and the sight was presented of the most thrilling interest. Each nation approached with its own peculiar song or demonstration, and such a combination of wild and fantastic manners and dances was never before witnessed. It is not probable that an opportunity will ever again be presented of seeing so many tribes assembled together displaying ll their peculiarities, features, dress, equipments, and horses...Once all were assembled [around the council arbor], for quietness, decorum, and general good behavior, on such occasions, the Indians might be made models for more civilized society. Although they were closely pressed together, many thousands of them, everything was as quiet as in a church.

(1826 - 1885)

        B. Gratz Brown, a young attorney and the future governor of Missouri, accompanied A.B. Chambers and D.D. Mitchell to the Treaty Council at Horse Creek and served as the official secretary for the proceedings.  His meticulous observations and journal entries are the most complete record we have of what transpired among the treaty commissioners and the twelve tribes during their three weeks of negotiations.  His detailed and robust narrative of each day's proceedings provide an almost cinematic record of the events that took place that September at the confluence of Horse Creek and the North Platte.