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Past & Present

Kokomo’s grandson was Civil War veteran

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kokomo's family

FAMILY — The Miami concept of extended kinship shows how Kokomo was related by intermarriage to the two large and influential Miami families: Meshingomesia and Richardville. For example, Wahseehkamohkwa was the first wife of Mihšiinkweemiša’s brother Mahkwaahkonaka. She was the second marriage for Kokomo’s son Nkotikaapwa (whose first wife was Eepinsahkwa). Kokomo’s sister Angelique was the wife of Pimcinwa and their son was Waapimaankwa, the great-grandson of Pinšiwa.

Starting with three known siblings in the Miami Nation, researchers at the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, have created a family history that provides valuable clues about the village leader named Kokomo. The genealogy research also shows his grandson served in the American Civil War.

The Miami concept of kinship helps us understand how Kokomo was related by intermarriage to the two large and influential Miami families: Meshingomesia and Richardville. According to George Ironstrack, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and the assistant director at the Myaamia Center, it’s important to understand this concept of family within the tribe. “The best way to view a Myaamia person is through the lens of kinship,” he said, “which to the Myaamia includes close and extended kin.”

Ironstrack explained that extended kinship networks in the Miami community were as important as the close kinship connections of the nuclear family. “Extended kinship created a closeness and a sense of family over a much larger group, including those you are related to through marriage,” he said. Thus, the three sisters (see chart) connect Kokomo to the Miami leaders as follows: Kaapeenohkwa was the wife of akima (chief) Mihtohseenia and mother of akima Mihšiinkweemiša. Her sister Katakimaankwa married Waapimaankwa, son of akima Pinšiwa (Jean Baptiste Richardville). And sister Lo-pu-ge-quah married Kokomo.

In their published paper “kokomo neehi eeweemaacihi” (Kokomo and His Family), the Myaamia Center reports that Kokomo’s family lived on for a time, and a direct descendant – Pimweeyotamwa (Eli Goodboy) — served with the U.S. Army’s 101st Infantry Regiment in the Civil War.

Sadly, no children of Pimweeyotamwa and his wife, Tahkamwa, survived infancy, so no direct descendants of Kokomo exist among Myaamia people today. But viewed through Myaamia kinship, other descendants and relatives can be found living throughout Indiana and the broader Midwest.

(Learn more about the Myaamia Center at The Kokomo and His Family paper is available on the Miami history and ecology blog,