Photographs (left to right): Paynes Prairie, Florida; Indigo Butterfly, Suwannee River Park Live Oaks, Florida; Paynes Prairie, Florida

Wampum Belt Archive


Governor Simcoe Wampum Belt

Beauchamp 1901


Reproduction R.D. Hamell Feb 22, 2018




Original Size:

Columns: 244. Rows: 11. Length: 37.0 inches. Width: 2.75 inches


Bead Length: 42 inches. Width: 3.8 inches. W/fringe: 66 inches


Columns: 244 by 11 wide. Total 2,684.


Warp: Red wool. Weft: Artificial Sinew.


This belt came from Willis N. Tobias of Moraviantown, Canada, and is a white belt of 244 beads, or 37 inches in length. The large white and purple beads have a foundation of coarse red twine. The two human figures, clasping hands, show an alliance, but are not in the usual conventional Indian form, while the letters, I.G.S., point to a European source. The former owner wrote to the national museum: "The belt is a good one and relates to the schemes of the renowned Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh. This is a companion belt to the one you purchased from Mr Thompson, and is supposed (there is not documentary evidence) to be the record of a peace treaty in which the hatchet is burred and the hands joined in friendship between the tribes, who unite in war against the wigwams of the white man. It is certain that these are records of the offensive and defensive alliances formed by Tecumseh against the hated Long Knives, or Americans."

The letters, however, make it evident that the alliance in one belt was between the Indians and civilized men and made by non-Indians (Beauchamp). These would refer to some prominent officer, and the writer (Beauchamp) identifies them with the initials of John Graves Simcoe, governor-general of Upper Canada, 1791-94.

Stolle, Nickolaus (2016) Purchased from Willis N Tobias in 1899, who collected it at Moraviantown Kent County.


Beauchamp. 1901. Wampum and Shell Articles. University of the State of New York, Albany, Fig. 269.

Becker, Marshall J. and Jonathan Lainey. 2004. Wampum Belts with Initials and/ or Dates as Design Elements: A Preliminary Review of One Subcategory of Political Belts. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Vol. 28, No 2, pp. 25-45.

Krieger, Herbert. W. 1930. Aspects of Aboriginal Decorative Art in America. In Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution (1931), pp. 519-556, 37 plates.

Stolle, Nickolaus. 2016. Talking Beads: The history of wampum as a value and knowledge bearer, from its very first beginnings until today. Hamburg, Germany. ISSN 1437-7837