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THE FRIENDLY
INDIAN

By
Eleanor Peak



     One of Eleanor Peak's favorite stores about William Dick Marley is referred to as, "The Friendly Indian".  It seems that long ago an Indian tribe camped along Sugar Creek in the area which became Elbridge Township in Illionis.  For years people found artifacts on and near the Marley farm.  This is the area in which the following true story took place.

     William Dick Marley met an Indiana in his early years, while working his farm, about 2 miles from the Ernest Marley and now Eleanor Sturgell Peak farm.  It was a casual meeting for the two men. One working land and the other an Indiana fishing and hunting.  As years passed, their meeting twice a year led to a friendship between them.  The Indians were not in a band any longer, so the Indian was alone.  William gave the Indian the name, "The Friendly Indian".  The children and parents welcomed the Indian's visits through the years.  Both men were growing old together.  The Friendly Indian would never sleep in the house, but in the barn instead.  The Indian did however, enjoy meals inside with the family.  As years passed, so did the sight of stray Indians.  On one such visit, a man new to the neighborhood, saw the Indian walking.  The neighboring farmer hurriedly saddled a horse to find help to eliminate the Indian situation.  He rode to the home of William Marley and ask if he had a gun.  Since the boys and girls were around, the use of a gun was not mentioned.  William replied, "Yes, but would a small hand gun serve your purpose?"  The neighbor took the gun and left in the same hurried fashion as he had came.  In a short time, the neighbor arrived back with the pistol.  Very excited, the neighbor had informed the family about his shooting a stray Indian.  The entire community could rest well from harm and especially the Marley Family, as the Indian had been sighted near their farm.  To the mind's of each, came the question, was this their friend?  William was quite overcome with grief over the death of his friend, that he stated the gun would never be used in his lifetime.  Williams wishes were respected, and the gun was never used again.  William and the boys buried The Friendly Indian by the side of the road.  They built a box for the body of their friend.  The burial site was selected for the many years the Indian had traveled that road to visit his friends.

     As more years passed, and the road was to be widened it was necessary to move the burial site.  William had the remains moved to the family plot in the Wilson Cemetery.  So that is where The Friendly Indian now rests.

     The small pistol, a Prescott, was given to a grandson of William Dick Marley, Ernest Edwin Marley.  The pistol was then given to the granddaughter of Ernest, Eleanor (Sturgell) Peak.  She gave the pistol to her son, Steven C. Peak.  To this date the gun has never been fired and is in perfect condition.



 

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