eluding the posse, War Eagle's band set up camp deep in the Boston Mountains.
It was at this point that his Indian companions tried to persuade him to give
up the search. Many felt that now that the trail was lost it would be impossible
to ever find the trapper or Se-quah-dee in the dense and mountainous Ozark
forests. Several of the Indians left to return to Indian Territory, leaving
War Eagle only with a very small group of his closest friends. The thick Ozark
woods were strange and unfamiliar to him. Weeks went by, but he continued, determined
to never give up until he found the one he loved.
night, War Eagle would search for camp fires and quietly moved close enough
to see the campers. One night, several months after leaving his home, he finally
saw Se-quah-dee preparing a meal for her abductor who sat on a log guzzling
hard liquor. The camp was near a stream where it made a large bend. This stream
is believed to be the War Eagle River of today. In his desperate anxiety to
kill the trapper and retrieve his long-lost lover, he failed to notice the
trapper's friends sleeping nearby. War Eagle lunged into camp and drove his
razor sharp knife into the trapper's chest. The trapper's scream woke his sleeping
friends and they grabbed their rifles and killed War Eagle quickly.
was the son of a Cherokee chief. He lived with his family along the banks of
the La Grande River of Indian Territory which is now a part of Eastern Oklahoma.
Se-quah-dee, a beautiful young maiden from a village down stream, had been promised
to become his wife. Friends and lovers since early childhood, their families
had planned for their wedding as soon as the corn was green. Shortly before
the wedding date, a French trapper had befriended Se-quah-dee's family. One
night the trapper lured Se-quah-dee to his fireside and told her he loved her
and desired to take her as his wife. Explaining that she loved only War Eagle
and that they were to be married soon. The trapper grabbed her and bound her.
Fighting her abductor with all her might, her strength could not overcome that
of the big woodsman. The trapper tied Se-quah-dee to a horse and left with her
during the night, heading east into the mountains of Arkansas.
War Eagle realized it was against the white man's law to leave Indian Territory
and that the consequences were severe, his every thought was on rescuing Se-quah-dee.
The young brave mustered a small band of his friends together and managed to
follow the trapper's trail into Arkansas for three days. Coming into a small
settlement, the band entered the village in hopes of finding the trapper's party.
It was a common emotion for white men to become excited and fearful at the sight
of a Redskin, and soon a posse from the settlement were armed in pursuit of
party. In War Eagle's frantic efforts to evade the kill-seekers over the next
few days, he lost the trapper's trail.
One day while
resting near a stream, the band was ambushed by a posse of whites and during
the fight three of War Eagle's men were killed. This outrageous act greatly
infuriated War Eagle. He felt that he was doing no harm to the white man and
that they had no cause to kill some of his best friends since childhood.
Seeking revenge, War Eagle killed and scalped the next white man he came across.
When the man's body was found, fear spread rapidly throughout the Ozarks. All
of the Ozark settlements were put on alert and many posses were formed to search
for and kill the wild renegade Indians that were roaming the hills.
the many white men on their trail, the band had many skirmishes and during the
battles all were either killed or wounded. Somehow War Eagle escaped the many
battles without injury but soon found himself alone without a horse. Hunted
like a wild animal in the strange Ozark wilderness, his survival was undergoing
the supreme test. When whites got too close, the brave bolted like a frightened
deer, leaping over the dead trees and gullies frantically escaping the wrath
of his pursuers. To survive, he fished the many Ozark streams, stalked rabbits
and other small game with his knife. He ate his meat raw as he could not afford
to give away his location by building a fire. He also ate the many wild berries that flourished
in the forest around him.
such grief over the death of her lover, Se-quah-dee was successful in her pleas
to the men to let her stay with War Eagle's body. She gave War Eagle an Indian
ritual and mourned his death with such intense emotion that she finally died
alongside the remains of her cherished warrior.
or no historical fact has been recorded about this legend but it was apparently
told to the earliest white settlers who chose to call the beautiful stream War
Eagle in honor of the brave Indian who died along its banks. Mrs. Blanche Elliott,
present owner of the War Eagle Mills Farm, recalled that Dr. S.C. Dellinger,
history professor at the University of Arkansas, made an interesting discovery.
Shortly after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, surveyors were sent into the region
of North Arkansas to survey the value of the lands acquired. In reviewing these
old original survey reports it was noted that the War Eagle River was named
at that time. The report stated that of all the lands reviewed within the territory
purchase, the lands along the War Eagle were the only lands worth the 5c per
acre paid to France for these lands. It therefore can be assumed that the War
Eagle received its name prior to 1820.
mourns her dead lover War Eagle
Scenic War Eagle River and commemorative marker, namesake
of an Indian warrior