Joc-O-Sot

Stories of Cleveland Disasters and Tragedies

Joc-O-Sot (Walking Bear) was a Sauk Indian Chief born in 1810 and died, in Cleveland in 1844. In the 1830’s he moved to Cleveland where he offered his services as a hunting and fishing guide to the residents of Cleveland.

He served as an Indian Ambassador to President Tyler and traveled the country and to England where he met with Queen Victoria. While there he most likely contracted tuberculosis; he returned to the US and died in Cleveland.

Cleveland residents that knew him paid for his burial in Erie Street Cemetery. It is said that he had wished to be buried closer to where he was born (probably somewhere in current Minnesota or Wisconsin). It is also said that his burial here in Cleveland angered his spirit so much, that he cracked the headstone and he is known to haunt the cemetery and even disrupt Cleveland Indian Baseball games at Progressive Field, which is just across the street from the cemetery.

But his story doesn’t stop there. Chief Thunderwater, part of the Algonquin nation, lived from 1865 to 1950. He too traveled the country but lived in Cleveland. He led the fight to save Erie Street Cemetery from being moved to make way for new construction in the 1920’s. He warned if Joc-O-Sot’s body was ever moved a terrible disaster would befall Cleveland. Luckily for us, Joc-O-Sot is still buried in Erie Street Cemetery with Chief Thunderwater buried beside him.

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Chief Thunderwater (left) and Joc-O-Sot (right) graves in Erie St.