People You Should Know – Chief Johnson Paudash

This article first appeared in The Commando, June 1945 Volume 3 No.11, p.2 and has not been edited, thus is representative of the language and terms used at that time.

Chief Paudash

Chief Joseph Paudash   The Commando, June 1945

Here is a chap that probably should have been written up long ago, but while we have had good intentions, we never seemed to be able to click with our subject before. Chief Johnson Paudash is one of the most amazing people we have ever talked to. Paudash is a direct descendent of a long line of Indian Chiefs, one of whom fought with Sir William Johnson against Crown Point in 1755. Since that day, one of Chief Paudash’s family has always been called Johnson.

Chief Paudash himself is a full blooded Mississagi Indian. He is at present 82 years old, and never have I talked to a man with a memory like his. The mass of detail, including dates, would be amazing coming from a man half his age, and it stumped us completely how he could remember so much.

The Chief was overseas in the last war from 1914 until 1918. He went over with the 21st Infantry as a sniper so he had a tough job cut out for him. The unusual part of his enlistment was that he was 52 years old at the time, but the Indians were in so much better physical shape than their white comrades that they were given active service even though they were twice the official age limit.

Johnson was wounded at Vimy, at Hill 90, and also at the Somme. At one time he was caught in the concussion of a large shell that knocked all his teeth out and caved in his ribs. He was lucky at that for the rest of the group he was with were all killed by the same shell.

Rice Lake, still the home of many of the Indians was where Paudash was born and spent a great deal of his life. At the present time he and his wife are living out North of the Plant on the Brock Road. He admits that he raised a good sized family, but they are scattered now and completely grown up.

Longevity seems to run in the Paudash family. His father, grandfather and great grandfather all lived to be over 100 years old, so it looks as though our friend still has a small lifetime ahead of him.

For more information on Chief Paudash or to research through more volumes of The Commando, click on this link to the Ajax Public Library.

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