The Kickapoos were first mentioned in history about 1670, when they were found about the water-shed between the Wisconsin and Fox rivers. That region seems to have been their prehistoric home. They drifted to the southward in historic times, finally stopping on the Sangamon and Wabash rivers. Those dwelling on the waters of the Wabash had their town on the Vermilion River, and from that circumstance came to be called the Vermilion band. Those to the westward were known as the Prairie band. All of them were followers of Tecumseh, and many of them fought under Blackhawk in his war against the United States. The Government employed one hundred of them to go to Florida, as soldiers. There they fought the Seminoles, in 1837. In 1852 a considerable number, with some Pottawatomies, went to Texas. Later they went on to Mexico, where they have a reservation east of Chihuahua, in the Santa Rosa Mountains.
The first removal of the Kickapoos was to the State of Missouri, living there on the Osage River. By the treaty of October 24, 1832, they were assigned the following lands now in Kansas:
“Beginning on the Delaware line, six miles westwardly of Fort Leavenworth, thence with the Delaware line westwardly sixty miles, thence north twenty miles, thence in a direct line to the west bank of the Missouri, at a point twenty-six miles north of Fort Leavenworth, thence down the west bank of the Missouri River, to a point six miles nearly southwest of Fort Leavenworth, and thence to the beginning.”
They were all gathered on this reservation in due time. In 1854 this reservation was given back to the United States, excepting a tract containing one hundred and fifty thousand acres on the head of the Grasshopper River retained for a future home. Much of this diminished reserve was lost through grafters and railroad promoters. Only sixty-four hundred and sixty-eight acres remain. This tract is held in common to this time and is the home of those still in Kansas.
Additional Kickapoo History