JOC-O-SOT, or WALKING BEAR (1810-3 Sept. 1844) was a chief of the Fox (or Mesquakie) tribe which resided in the Iowa area. During 1831, Joc-O-Sot fought in the Black Hawk War against the United States when the Fox allied themselves with the Sauk. Following the defeat of BLACK HAWK, Joc-O-Sot, who had been wounded in the war, made his way east to Cleveland in the early 1830s. Here he began leading hunting and fishing expeditions and became a close companion of Dr. HORACE ACKLEY. Through Ackley's friends, he made the acquaintance of theater promoter, Dan Marble. He joined Marble's theatrical troupe, touring various cities performing in plays which purported to represent Native American life. In March 1844, at the behest of Marble, Joc-O-Sot traveled to England in the company of Irish composer William Vincent Wallace. In June 1844, Joc-O-Sot was received in audience by Queen Victoria. Very much impressed by Joc-O-Sot, the queen commissioned a portrait of him by her royal lithographers, Day and Hague.

Joc-O-Sot fell ill (probably with tuberculosis) while in England and, on his own, made his way back to Cleveland where he died. Ackley and his friends arranged for his burial in Erie Street Cemetery. His epitaph, bearing an incorrect date of death reads:

Joc-O-Sot / the Walking Bear / a Distinguished Sauk Chief / Died August, 1844 / Erected by ten citizens of Cleveland and a friend / of Cincinnati.


Although the record is unclear, it is probable that Joc-O-Sot's remains were taken from his grave and used for medical experimentation, a practice that was all too common duing the 1840s.

O'Neill, David. "A Cleveland Indian in Queen Victoria's Court" (unpublished paper).

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