"...with an eye like an eagle and as tall as a mountain was he!"

How Mingo Got His Name

by Karlton Douglas

Disclaimer: The following work has been written solely for the enjoyment of fans and not for monetary profit. The rights to the characters initially created for the Daniel Boone series belong to 20th Century Fox and Fess Parker. All other characters are of the author's own creation. No copyright violation is intended.

Author's Note: I always liked the name Mingo, but I knew that it properly belonged to an Ohio tribe that I don't think was ever mentioned in the Daniel Boone TV series, and they should have been, for they were as well known as the other Ohio tribes during the years of frontier warfare. How Mingo got his name is all speculation on my part, but I know for a fact, from looking at the records of the names of Eastern Cherokee Indians, that names like Choctaw Killer, Chickasaw Killer, etc., were not uncommon names among the Cherokee.


The Mingo Indians were an amalgamated tribe, mostly made up of Seneca and Cayuga and a scattering of other wandering Ohio tribes. The Mingoes were fierce and warlike, closely allied with the Shawnee and Wyandotte Indians; they often raided across the Ohio River into Kentucky. So it was no particular surprise that Daniel and Yadkin found themselves being chased by a war party of ten Mingo Warriors.

 “Them devils have about run the legs off of me, Daniel,” said Yadkin.

 “I must admit my own legs are starting to complain a bit,” said Daniel, a smile spreading across his face.

“Do you think we can outrun them?” asked Yadkin.

“Not for much longer, I fear. They were fresh to start with, and after walking a trap line all morning, we were on our last legs as they were on their first,” Daniel said, leaning upon his long rifle. “Mingo was supposed to meet up with me by now, I sure didn't expect the Mingoes to meet up with me instead.”

“Well, expect it or not, they sure did,” Yadkin said, running the back of his hand across a sweaty brow.

The sun was arcing toward the west, and the day had grown very hot. Both men were breathing hard, and were about to begin their run again, when Yadkin said: “Uh Oh, we've had it now Daniel.” The Mingo Indians had evidently taken no break, nor had they lost the trail of the two white men. They grouped around the frontiersmen, lances and muskets pointing at the white warriors, laughing and congratulating themselves on catching the mighty Boone.

Mingo, Mingo the Indian and not a Mingo as were those sitting around the fire pointing and laughing at the trussed up Boone and Yadkin, Mingo, Daniel's friend began to size up the problem before him. Ten Mingo Indians, well armed and ready to fight, were going to be a serious problem. Daniel, what have you gotten yourself into this time? Mingo thought. He shifted his position to better hear what Daniel was saying to his Indian captors.

“I tell you that I'm a friend to Mingo, Daniel Boone is always a friend to Mingo,” said Daniel.

“That's right,” chimed in Yadkin, “Daniel is best friend of Mingo.”

A warrior with red paint on the right side of his face, and black paint on the left, said:

“Boone is a liar, Boone's friend is a liar!” He spat. “You are no friend to Mingoes.”

 “It is one of the truest things I've ever said. Everyone on the frontier knows that Mingo is Daniel's friend, my friendship with Mingo is well known.”

 “Boone lies, I know that Boone is not Mingo friend.”

Another Indian stood up, and crossed his arms as he spoke:

“Boone was friend to Shawnee, was adopted by Shawnee, maybe he is Mingo friend?” As he said his words again in the Iroquois tongue, a few of those around the fire mumbled questioningly, but others wanted to put both Boone and Yadkin to the knife, they had chased the white men all day, and were ready to test the metal of these white warriors.    

Mingo looked on, and could see no course of action to take, there were too many of the Indians, and it did not look like they were about to go to sleep anytime soon. He made his decision, and then got up, moved stealthily away from the camp, and flew through the night towards Fort Boonesboro.

It was nearly morning when Mingo returned to the Indian camp with the men of Boonesboro. He stared in disbelief, Daniel had his arm around one of the warriors, laughing and slapping a knee, obviously in the middle of one of his humorous yarns. The Mingo Indians were laughing as the English speaker translated the story, and Yadkin guffawed as well. It looked like a gang of long-time friends on a camp out. The men of Boonesboro also stared in disbelief, then slowly made their way into the camp. Daniel motioned for his new Indian friends not to panic, and also threw a reassuring smile toward his companions from Boonesboro.

Yadkin sidled up next to Mingo. “Twas the darnedest thing you ever saw, Daniel just kept grinning at them, an swearin' up and down that he was the friend of Mingo, and that he had been the friend of Mingo for many years. Sometime after midnight they decided he was either a crazy white man, or that he actually was a friend of the Mingo. It took a bit more persuadin' to get them to believe I was Mingo's friend too, but he got them interested in his storytellin', and then he had them, hook, line, and sinker.”

Mingo shook his head, a smile crossing his tanned face. “It is certainly true that Daniel is a friend of Mingo, this Mingo, so he was telling the truth, as far as what he actually said. I guess the language barrier came to his benefit in this situation. Now if we can just pass the word to the others not to give away that my name is Mingo—we can all get out of here with our scalps intact.”

Yadkin threw Mingo a curious look. “How is it that you got the name Mingo anyhow?”

“Years ago my people, the Cherokee, were in a war with the Mingoes. My uncle killed three of their warriors in battle, and thus was given the name 'Mingo Killer', my uncle insisted that I inherit the name, and it was shortened simply to Mingo.”

 “Well, I do say,” said Yadkin, but his attention was drawn back to Daniel, who had started another yarn.

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