Captain John Page
Capt. John Page was originally from Maine. He enlisted in the United States Army in Massachusetts around 1818. During the period of Indian Removal Capt. Page was stationed mainly at Fort Mitchell, Alabama. His earliest role in Indian Removal was helping to lead a group of Choctaws. In 1834 Capt. Page was named as an emigrating agent with the Creek Indians of Alabama. His first group consisted of almost 630 Creeks.
During removal of this first group, Capt. Page was clearly moved by the plight of the Indians under his charge. Page kept note of this in a journal he was required to keep during the removal. While near Columbus Mississippi on his way to Little Rock, Page wrote:
“I have to stop the wagons to take the children out and warm them and put them back again 6 or 7 times a day. I send ahead and have fires built for this purpose. I wrap them in tents and anything I can get hold of to keep them from freezing…there was continued crying from morning to night with the children…I used to encourage them by saying that the weather would moderate in a few days and it would be warm, but it never happened during the whole trip.”
(From Grant Foreman’s Indian Removal )
In 1839, Capt Page was assigned to Fort Gibson as a Captain with the 4th Infantry there. While at Fort Gibson, Capt. Page asked some of the Seminole Indians there to go with him to Florida to influence members of their tribe to remove voluntarily. This was apparently the last recorded act of his related to Indian Removal.
Like many officers in the Army at the time, Capt. Page served during the Mexican War. During the first day of the Battle of Palo Alto, Capt. Page was injured. This injury seems to have an impression on a young Ulysses S. Grant at that time as it was noted in his Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant:
“One cannon-ball passed through our ranks, not far from me. It took off the head of an enlisted man, and the under jaw of Captain Page of my regiment…”
Captain Page died July 12 from his injuries. The July 23rd 1846 Pike County Free Press (Illinois) mentions the death of Capt Page: “Death of Capt. John Page-This gallant officer, who distinguished himself in the battle of the Polo [sic] Alto and in which he received a dreadful wound, breathed his last on Sunday morning, at half past 3 o’clock on board of the steamer Missouri, when a short distance from Caire [sic].” Page County Iowa is named in honor of Capt. Page.
Sources: Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, C.L. Webster and Co., New York, 1885-86. Foreman, Grant, Indian Removal, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman and London (place) 11th printing 1989. Pike County Free Press, July 23, 1846. http://www.pikecoilgenweb.org/newspaper/1846/jul.html