Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chief Taimah (Tama) Memorial Along Iowa's Mississippi River



Living at one time in central Iowa I am very familiar with the town of Tama, the county of Tama and of course the Tama Indians. Today the natives are known as Meskwakis, having lived on a settlement near Tama for roughly 150 years following their purchase of the land. I had no idea that there was a Chief by the Tama name until last weekend! I previously thought Tama was a native name for the area like the word Iowa.

While in Burlington, Iowa near extreme southeast Iowa along the Mississippi River, I came for a Sunday outing to check out a rail road depot restaurant, the Old Man river, historic homes, rail roads and Snake Alley. Taking a different way out of town that afternoon brought us along the Great River Road on X99 headed north. Just a few miles out of town (maybe seven miles) is this Chief Taimah memorial on the west side of the road. A light colored granite marker has been in place for 58 years and acknowledges the Chief's work. 


The marker indicates that Chief Taimah is buried 20 rods east of the marker. I found where a rod length is 16-1/2 feet. So that makes his grave some 330 feet east of the roadside marker. That places it somewhere in this cornfield. I was standing in the middle of the road which was about 30 feet from the marker looking east. That means the Chief may be buried in the darker brown region of the cornfield near mid-photo. A passerby told me when he was a kid the cornfield never came this close to the road. I suppose the high price of corn and perhaps the loss of knowledge of where the Chief is buried somehow lead to the an obliterated site. This part of the state is rich in history. Take time to read the historical markers when you find them .