Around 1814, a mysterious Baptist preacher and missionary known by Wigby lived in his village. Wigby was allowed to baptize him and later converted Senachwine to Christianity. However, despite Wigby's attempts to dissuade him, Senachwine refused to give up polygamy and retained his several wives. After Wigby's death, he was buried on a high bluff overlooking Senachwine's village.
Senachwine succeeded his brother Gomo as head chieftain of the Illinois River band and was a signatory of several treaties between the Potawatomi and the United States during the 1810s and 1820s. He and Black Partridge would remain the leading chieftains of the Potawatomi for over a decade before their positions of authority and influence were assumed by Shabbona. A year before his death, Senachwine believed that the Potawatomi nation, and eventually all Indians, would eventually become extinct. His son, Kaltoo (or Young Senachwine), succeeded him as chieftain after his death in the summer of 1831.
|Monument to Potawatomi Chief Senachwine near Putnam (an unincorporated village) in Putnam County, Illinois.
A short time after, Senachwine's grave was robbed of its valuables, including his tomahawk, rifle, several medals, and other personal effects. The chieftain's bones had also been scattered around the site. Members of his band returned to the site to rebury his remains and again placed a wooden monument over his grave. James R. Taliaferro, who had been present at the reburial, later built a cabin near the gravesite and claimed that "Indians from the west at different times made a pilgrimage to the grave."
|Gary Wiskigeamatyuk (from left), his son Senachwine, his wife Rosewita, and daughter Kayla visit Chief Senachwine's grave overlooking Senachwine Valley near Putnam. Wiskigeamatyuk is the fifth great-grandson of the legendary Potawatomi chief.
|Senachwine Indian Mounds. Burial stone monument circled in yellow.
|Putnam is the only village in Putnam County on the west side of the Illinois River.