Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Fictionalized representation of Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo on a medallion created by the Travelers' Protective Association for their meeting in May 1916 in Kokomo, Indiana. The medallion inaccurately portrays him wearing the garb of a native American chieftain of the western plains, even though he has been consistently described as a Miami.

Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo (1775–1838), sometimes referred as Koh-Koh-Mah or Kokomoko, was a chief of the Miami tribe. His name literally means "black walnut" in Shawnee.[1] Although he is commonly described as a "chief," there is no documentary evidence that he was ever actually the chief of any tribe.[2] In fact, the only documentary evidence that Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo ever even existed at all to begin with is a single entry in the records of a trading post recording him having paid twelve dollars in exchange for a barrel of flour.[3]

The town of Kokomo, Indiana is named after Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo. David Foster, the founder of Kokomo, once stated ”It was the ornriest town on earth, so I named it for the ornriest man I knew — called it Kokomo.”[4] Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo's burial monument is located east of downtown Kokomo.

Biography[edit]

The name Koh Koh Maw appears in the June 27, 1838 entry of the ledger for Godfrey's trading post in Mississinewa, Indiana. The man bearing the name was charged twelve dollars for a barrel of flour. This is the only known evidence for Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo's historical existence.

According to legend, Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo had three brothers, who were also Miami chiefs. The names of his three brothers were Shock-O-Mo (which means "poplar tree"), Me-Shin-Go-Me-Sia (which means "burr oak"), and Shap-Pan-Do-Si-A (which means "sugar tree"). It is unknown what exact measure of authority each of the four brothers may have actually possessed.[5] Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo owned a log cabin in the Center Township of Howard County, which was later taken possession of by David Foster in fall of 1842. David Foster built a trading post at the location. During the time following the establishment of his trading post, David Foster had many dealings with the native peoples residing in the area, including Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo.[6]

Cultural Significance[edit]

Today, Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo has attained a semi-legendary status in contemporary Indiana folklore. The story of his life is an integral part of the rich mythology of Howard and Tipton Counties. The stories and folktales about his life are often far more exotic than the actual records. According to an exaggerated legend, he was seven feet tall.[7]

Historical Reenactment[edit]

Every mid-September, Koh-Koh-Mah & Foster Living History Encampment, located ten miles west of Kokomo, puts on a reenactment of the times of Chief Ma-Ko-Ko-Mo.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morrow, Jackson History of Howard County (Indianapolis: B.F. Bowen & Co. [1909?]), Vol. I (“Morrow I”), p. 48.
  2. ^ Baker, Ronald L. (1984) Hoosier Folk Legends. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253203341. p. 184.
  3. ^ Baker, Ronald L. (1984) Hoosier Folk Legends. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253203341. p. 184.
  4. ^ robertajestes (2013-11-07). "Chief Kokomo, The Ornriest Man I Knew". Native Heritage Project. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  5. ^ Blanchard, Charles. History of Howard and Tipton Counties, Indiana. F.A. Battey & Co., 1883, Chicago. (Page 84)
  6. ^ Blanchard, Charles. History of Howard and Tipton Counties, Indiana. F. A. Battey & Co., 1883, Chicago. (Page 324)
  7. ^ Baker, Ronald L. (1984) Hoosier Folk Legends. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253203341. p. 184.