A Peripatetic Teacher and . . .
It was a spring day in Paris in 1780, and Michael Barada (Baradat), was
20. As he sauntered along a fashionable street, very gay in the silk, ribbons
and ruffles of a young French gallant of the court of Louis XVI; he surveyed
the world with a roving, adventurous eye and felt within him the vague,
exciting expectancy with which spring brings to youth. He strutted a little,
his sword in its jeweled scabbard swinging jauntily.
In front of the house of a nobleman, Michael halted abruptly, something
had dropped at his feet from one of the windows. It was a rose, romantically
red. The youth glanced swiftly and saw, framed in the window, the piquant
face of a girl. He had time for just a glimpse of white teeth and smiling
lips and a moment's look into the dark seductive eyes. Then the casement
closed-cutting off a murmur of soft laughter.
Michael picked up the rose and went on his way. His heart was singing,
but he walked more slowly, more thoughtfully. Something had happened to him
in that brief meeting of eyes. Romance had lost its vagueness: romance had
centered in the girl at the window. So young Michael Barada fell in love on a
spring day in Paris. So began the romance that was to send this youth of
gentle birth from the gay luxury of the French court to a life of hardship in
the New World and keep him roaming for ten years through the wilderness in
search of a girl seen but for a moment. It was romance that is now engaging,
a hundred and fifty years later, the attention of the Congress of the United
States. A bill relating to the descendants of Michael Barada is now pending
in the House of Representatives. The bill was introduced by Congressman Edgar
Howard of Nebraska, and the romance is officially told in the report made by
the Committee on Indian Affairs which accompanied the bill.
The day after young Michael acquired a rose and lost his heart, he
returned to the scene of his adventure. But, there was no rose for him this
time, no face at the window. The following day when he had again failed to
see the girl, he made inquiry of the owner of the house and learned her
identity. She was an Indian, who with others of her race, had been brought to
Paris by the French government in order that the people of the capitol might
see the aborigines of America, and that these visiting Indians, in turn,
might, when they got home, spread word of the wonder and might of France
among the tribes.
The girl was Tae-Gle-Ha, or Laughing Buffalo. She was 17 years old and
had spent a year in the capitol. All this information Michael gathered
eagerly. Then came an additional fact which dealt his hopes a heavy blow.
Tae-Gle-Ha had left Paris for America the day after he had seen her, just
some 24 hours before he learned who she was. But the high-spirited Michael,
after a short period of despondency, refused to accept defeat from an
outrageous fortune. A few days later he, too, took a ship for America to find
In his impetuous ardor and ignorance of America, young Barada had
neglected to supply himself with certain data without which his quest would
seem hopeless to any practical person. He didn't know know that the girl he
sought was a member of the Oo-maha (now called Omaha) tribe, which was living
in territory embraced by the present states of Wisconsin and Iowa. He didn't
know anything about the division of Indians into tribes or their respective
territories. He didn't know even the port to which the Indian girl's ship had
sailed. The port was New Orleans, from where Tae-Gle-Ha landed. She went up
the river through St. Louis to her people in the North. Barada's boat landed
him in Montreal one day in the late 1780's. And it was only after many
inquiries there proved fruitless that he realized how stupendous was the task
he had undertaken: the finding of an Indian girl, tribe and habitat unknown,
somewhere in the vast reaches of America.
But Michael was not deterred. He joined a band of trappers and went with
them into Indian country, far from civilization. He set himself to learn as
much as possible about Indians. In time, he became a skilled hunter and
trapper and often ranged the wilds alone. Always he inquired of Indians he
met about Tae-Gle-Ha, Laughing Buffalo.
He early discovered that in the Sioux tongue, the base of most of the
northern and western Indian languages, "Tae" meant "Buffalo". This enabled
him to narrow his search a bit, for when he came upon a tribe which had a
different word for Buffalo, he knew it was useless to seek among them. Year
after year, the search went on. The callow, romantic youth became a lean,
bronzed, self-reliant man, an expert, hardened woodsman. France and his easy,
frivolous existence there became a dim memory. But he held tenaciously to his
On the shores of Lake Superior, Barada met a band of wandering Indians
who told him of a tribe far to the south, some of whose members spoke French.
Ready to investigate everything that even remotely resembled a clue, the
trapper turned southward. In the Wisconsin country he found small bands of a
tribe whose main body had moved westward. With the main body, he was told,
were Indians who could speak French; some had even been to France. Also, in
the language of this tribe "Tae" was the word for Buffalo. Barada, despite
previous disappointments, grew hopeful again and hastened on. He crossed the
Mississippi and traveled down into what is now Iowa.
Barada reached at last a village of the tribe of which he had been told,
the Oo-Mahas. As he paused before a skil teepee before which sat an old
an old grandmother, he heard her call to someone inside. The name she called was
Tae-Gle-Ha. Barada stopped and waited. A young woman came to the door of the
tepee and looked out. It was Laughing Buffalo, his lady of the rose. The hunt
had ended after ten years.
Tae-Gle-Ha at 27 was still unmarried. It was not for lack of suitors. At
the time of her visit to France, she was considered the prettiest maiden of
her tribe. And her family was influential; her brother, Wa-Ni-Ke-Ge, was a
chief of the Omahas. But her year's contact with white civilization made her
unwilling to become the wife of a brave. Perhaps, too, the look she had
exchanged through a window with young Michael Barada one spring day in Paris
had something to do with it. Two weeks after their second meeting, she and
Barada were married by an Indian ceremony. Later, the service was performed
for them by a Jesuit priest. Barada became a member of the tribe.
The Omahas moved, sometime afterward, across the Missouri River into
territory which is now Nebrasks. And in 1807, a few miles from where the city
of Omaha now stands, a son was born to Michael Barada and Laughing Buffalo in
the first house built by a white man in Nebraska. The boy was named Antoine.
Within the next few years, Margaret, Mary and Julia were born. Another child
whose name is not known, was killed by the Sioux while Michael was on a
buffalo hunt. (Church records show a Poperine, but not a Julia).
When the children began to grow up, Michael tried to persuade his wife to
move to St. Louis where they could educate the children. She refused to be
separated from her tribe, so Michael took Antoine and Margaret to St. Louis
where they grew up. It is assumed that Michael remarried because years later
a Barada boy came to Barada, Nebraska, and said that Michael was his father.
Michael is probably buried at St. Louis.
Antoine Barada was born on August 22, 1807, and died March 20, 1885. When
he was a small boy, the family moved to St. Louis, journeying down the
Missouri River on a flatboat. Antoine grew to manhood and returned to the
Nebraska Indian country as a trapper; maintaining headquarteres, however, in
St. Louis, the chief center of the fur trade in the U. S. In 1833 Antoine
married in Carondelet-then an independent community on the outskirts of St.
Louis-Marcellite Vien (the Belle of St. Louis). She was the daughter of Jean
Baptiste Vien. The ceremony was performed by Father Saulnir. The record of
the marriage, written in French, appears in one of the old Parish registers
preserved at the Church of St. Mary and Joseph in Carondelet. Sometime
afterward, Antoine and his family moved to Nebraska, settling in Richardson
County where the town of Barada was named for him. To our knowledge seven
children were born to the couple; Thomas, Bill, Euphrosine, Celestine, Julia,
Clara and Michael T.
Both Antoine and Marcellite are buried at the cemetery at Barada. The
inscriptions read-Antoine Barada, born August 22, 1807-died March 20, 1883.
His wife's reads "Marcellite "Josephine" Barada, born March 22, 1817-died May
8, 1889. The inscriptions are still readable on the tombstones in the Barada
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Another account indicates that Antoine was not taken to St. Louis by his
father, but that his father was sending him back east to school, but that he
was abandoned in St. Louis by the soldiers who where to accompany him to
school. He found his Aunt Mme. Mousette and stayed with her in St. Louis.
Michael Barada and Tae-Gle-Ha (Marie Sauvegesse) both gave their consent
to Antoine's marriage in 1836, so it is assumed they were living together at
that time. Also, there is one account that states that Miahael is buried in
Nebraska and that Tae-Gle-Ha's ashes were spread over Blackbird Hill, near
Macey, Nebraska, which is northwest of Omaha.
Newspaper article submitted by John Clark
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