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 - STACEY WESCOTTCHICAGO TRIBUNE PHOTOS Judy Wing,...
STACEY WESCOTTCHICAGO TRIBUNE PHOTOS Judy Wing, of Denver, and Mike Pamonicutt, of Wisconsin, and other relatives gathered Thursday in Schiller Park. Headstones in new resting place Native American family reunited with markers, to be stored at museum By Kate Thayer Chicago Tribune For more than a decade, Nor-ridge Nor-ridge Nor-ridge resident Verlyn Spreeman has sought information to learn more about his ancestors, most notably Alexander Robinson, a famed Native American chief who is said to have helped U.S. military families after the Fort Dearborn Massacre of 1812. Until recently, Spreeman has relied on historical documents, newspaper articles and photographs photographs to learn about pieces of his history, including the family cemetery cemetery where Robinson also known as Che-Che-Pin-Qua, Che-Che-Pin-Qua, Che-Che-Pin-Qua, Che-Che-Pin-Qua, Che-Che-Pin-Qua, Che-Che-Pin-Qua, Che-Che-Pin-Qua, or Chief Blinking Eye is buried. But now, Spreeman and other descendants have more. Headstones that marked Robinson's Robinson's grave, along with those of several family members, have been turned over to the family, decades after they were taken down and stored by the Cook County Forest Preserve District, which eventually acquired the cemetery land. "The hair on the back of your neck goes up," Spreeman, 61, said of learning the headstones existed. "This is the end of an over 10-year 10-year 10-year journey ... to be able to actually touch something that's tangible. It's a very emotional day." Spreeman and others gathered Thursday at the Schiller Park Public Library to view remnants of most of the headstones that once marked the graves of Chief Robinson, Robinson, who died in 1872; his second wife, Catherine Chevalier; and other family members. Archaeologist Dan Melone, who works with Spreeman tracing the Robinson family history, said there are nine to 11 people buried in the cemetery, inside what's now known as Robinson Woods, near Lawrence Avenue and East River Road in Chicago. The graves, which historians say date from the late 1800s to 1927, now are marked only with a boulder that bears the family name. f " -- -- tjl The found headstones included one for Chief Alexander Robinson. It's unclear what happened to all the headstones, but die ones recently recently located and returned to the family had been in a forest preserve warehouse for several decades, Melone said. They were taken down by forest preserve employees around the 1950s, or possibly earlier, earlier, in response to a rash of vandalism vandalism that had damaged the markers, he said. They are now in 10 pieces of varying sizes and include two large chunks of Robinson's headstone, which features a floral wreath design carved into the limestone. The marker also states Robinson was 110 years old when he died, but Melone said it's likely he was in his 80s or possibly early 90s. Mike Pamonicutt, 64, of Wisconsin, Wisconsin, a descendant of Robinson's, attended Thursday's event with his family to see the headstones. After the presentation, Pamonicutt placed a small pile of tobacco, wrapped in an orange cloth, on Chief Robinson's headstone. He explained it's part of a Native American ritual that offers prayers to the dead. Judy Wing, 76, also related to Robinson, traveled from Denver. Her work tracing her father's genealogy led her to the Schiller Park Historical Society. "I like to see the headstones, but to see the relatives is emotional to me," she said. Lambrini Lulddis, a forest preserve preserve spokeswoman, said the headstones headstones were uncovered last fall as part of a project documenting artifacts in the district's possession. After coming across the headstones, headstones, forest preserve employees contacted the Illinois State Archaeological Archaeological Survey, which facilitated transferring the stones to the Illinois Illinois State Museum in Springfield while descendants of the Robinson family were located and could file paperwork to prove their relation, Lulddis said. "We're glad that we were able to return this property," Lukidis said. "The family has reconnected with their piece of history, but in a way it's a piece of history for all of us." Historians say Chief Robinson was a businessman who counted settlers John Baptiste Beaubien and John Kinzie as friends. Robinson, Robinson, son of an Ottawa mother and a Scottish father, first married a Menominee woman and later a member of the Potawatomi tribe. Besides helping soldiers and their families escape after an Army post called Fort Dearborn, near Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River, was attacked in August 1812 by some Native Americans during the War of 1812, Robinson fed the soldiers to help them survive winter, winter, Spreeman said. Though technically owned by Robinson family descendants, the headstones will be stored at the Schiller Park library because of its location in the heart of the land once owned by Chief Robinson. After he saved families at Fort Dearborn, he was gifted 1,280 acres by the government. That land is now part of Schiller Park, Norridge, Norwood Park, Rosemont and Franklin Park, said June Oulund of the historical society. Melone said he and Spreeman plan to produce programs at the library using the headstones as a way to educate the public about the Robinson family. However, the headstones will not be on display at other times, he said. kthayertribpub.com Twitter knthayer

Clipped from Chicago Tribune06 May 2016, FriMain EditionPage 1-4

Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois)06 May 2016, FriMain EditionPage 1-4
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