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presented by 

Marion D. Pratt 













- , , - 1 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 188ti, 

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C. 

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Their Discovery and Name, 9. Peculiarities. 10. Migrations and Alliance 
with the Foxes, 11. Conquests in Iowa, 11. Extent of Territory, 12. Great 
Men, 12. Foxes not in Black Hawk War, 12. Form of Government, 13. 
The Gens in Female Line, 13. Chieftaincies, 14. Legend about Selecting 
their Chiefs, 15. Painting their Sons at Birth, 16. Laws, and Modes of 
Enforcing them, 16. Adjustment of Murders, 16. Honesty and Similarity 
to the Israelites, 16. Love-making and Marriages, 17. Easy Divorces, 18. 
National Religious Feasts. 18. Modes of Worship. 19. The Dread of 
Night. 19. Civilization, 19. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, 20. Their 
Councils, 21. Parliamentary Rules, 21. Adhesive Power Decreased, with 
Increase of Numbers, 22. Divided by the War of 1812-14, 22. Keokuk and 
Black Hawk Rivals, 22. This Division Never Healed. 22. Black Hawk's 
Band called "British Band," 23. White Man's Path, 24. 


Three Thousand Acres Cultivated, 25. Corn, Beans and Pumpkius, 25. 
Fences, 25. Public Road,' 26. Fort Armstrong, 26. Trading-house, 26. 
Pasture Land, 26. Ponies not Breachy, 27. White Men's Stock held their 
Fences in Contempt, 27. That of Rinnan Wells made a mistake and lost 
their Liberty, 27. The Fee of their Lands, 28. Allottments, 28. Three 
kinds of Corn, 28. Their Orchard and Garden, 28. Land of the Foxes, 28. 
Right of Selection of Land, 28. Continuous Occupancy, 29. Boundaries 
Defined, 29. A Usufruct Title, 29. Descent, 29. Analagous to a Dower 
Interest, 29. No desire for Land or Wealth of any kind, 30. No Money 
Lenders or Corporations, 30. Rivalry, 30. No Employers or Labor 
Strikes, 30. Annuities, per capita and pro rata, 30. They could not hold 
Land in fee in severalty under the Indian or White Man's Law, 30. Which 
Robbed Shaubenee of his Home, 31. Indians Incapable to Trade and Bar- 
ter, 31. A Jug of Whisky with a few Gew-Gaws, 32. Their Title to Real 
Estate Denned, 32. Black Hawk's and Tecumseh's Views Thereof, 32. 
Corn Hills Preserved, 34. Indians Sold Corn, 34. Legend of the origin of 
Corn, Beans and Tobacco, 35. Their Crude Farm Implements, 36. Pre- 
venting the Soul from Escape, 36. Superstitions, 36. Selecting Big Med- 
icine and Totem, 37. 


Location, Construction and Population. 39. Streets, Alleys and Palli- 
sades, 40. Hodenosotes, 41. Beds any Modes of Living, 42. Carver's 
and Adair's Comments, 43. Customs when Traveling, 43. Women Gov- 
erned the Household, 43. Sanedrian, or Council House, 44. Public 
Square, 44. Mass Meetings and Public Gatherings, 45. Scenery, 46. Van- 
druffs and Big Islands, 46. Milan, 46. Black Hawk's Watch Tower, 47. 
Cbippinock, 47. Stone Coal, 48. Lead and Iron Ores, 48. Geological In- 
terest, 49. Sauk Sentinels, 49. Telegraphy, 49. Black Hawk's descrip- 
tion of this Rock, 50. Black Hawk's Watch Tower Pavilion, 57. Reflec- 
tions, 51. Sauk Legend of Love and Death, 53. Land Slide, 54. San- 
teaux Legend, 51. Poem thereon, 55. Quarryman's Story, 57. 




Cuvier Settlement, 58. Whisky the Cause of the Trouble, 59. An Insulted 
Indian Maiden and Drunken Father, 59. Knocked Down and Dragged 
Out, 59. A Murder and an Indian Escape, 60. The Murderer Surren- 
dered to the Military, 60. Quashquamme and Associates go to St. Louis, 
61. They are Treated to the Amount of 92,234.50, and Attempt to Cede 
the Land of their Nation to Secure its Payment, 61. The Indian Prisoner 
Keleased and Shot, 61. Forsythe's Statement of this Affair, 62. The 
Quashquamme Treaty, 66. Their Lands Surveyed at the Special Bequest 
of Col. Davenport, 70. 


One of our People Killed an American and was taken Prisoner, 71. 
Quashquamme and Party on their Eeturn were Dressed in Fine Coats, 
71. Quashquamme's Statement, 71. Drunk while in St. Louis, 72. Ellsk- 
watawa's Prophecy, 72. President Madison Advised them to keep Neu- 
tral in the War of 1812, 72. They were Deceived by the Promise of Goods 
on Credit, 73. LaGutrie, a British Trader, Supplied them with Goods, 73. 
He Induced Black Hawk to join the British, but he Deserted soon and Re- 
turned Home, 74. His Comments on the White Man's Mode of War. 74. 
Nomite Dies, 74. LaGutrie's Advice, 74. "What you 'say is a lie," 75. 
"Touched the Goose Quill, "75. "Might Buy our Bodies for Dissection, and 
we not Know what we are Doing," 75. "A White Man may do Wrong all 
his Life, Repent and be Saved, but it is Different with us." 75. Preparing 
for War in Time of Peace, 75. More Liquor. 76. Accused of Killing Hogs 
and Beaten therefor, 76. Cutting a Bee Tree, 76. Col. Davenport's Ad- 
vice, 77. Keokuk left Saukenuk in 1830, 77. Black Hawk Assumed Com- 
mand of the Opponents of Keokuk, 77. Offer to Exchange their Lead 
Mines for their Farm Lands near Saukenuk, 77. Black Hawk visits the 
Winnebago Agent. 78. Visits the Prophet, 78. The Prophet's Advice, 78. 
Land Cannot be Sold, 79. White Intruders Cultivating their Lands, 79. 
The Squaws could not Climb their Fences, 79. Many Grievances, 79. 
Making Right look Wrong and Wrong look Right, 80. Gov. Cole and 
Judge Hall visit Rock Island, 80. Black Hawk made a Speech to them, 
80. Conspiracy to Kill Col. Davenport and St. Vrain, their Agent, 81. 
Claiming the Right under Article Seven of the Quashquamme Treaty, 82. 
Seeking Advice, 82. Puzzled, 83. Visits Rock Island Again, 81. ?6,000 
Offer, 84. Gen. Gaines' Speech and Black Hawk's Reply, 86. The Pro- 
phet again Consulted, and Mattata's Daughter sent to Gen. Gaines, 87. 
Another Proposition Made, 87. Gen. Gaines' Business at Saukenuk, 88. 


Might was the only Right Obtained, 89. Engineered by the French 
Trader, without the Merit of a Mormon Acquisition of Land, 89. The 
Mormon Rule, 90. Waited IPpon by Angels, 90. The Validity of this 
Treaty never before Questioned by the Historian, 90. Quashquamme 
and his Four Associates had no Power to make a Cession, and their Act 
in Attempting so to do was never Ratified or Acknowledged by their 
Tribe, 91. The Curse of Canaan, 92. Gov. Ford's Statement, 92. His 
Groundless Charge that Black Hawk knew Nothing about this Trans- 
action, 93. Ford's Statement Continued, 94. Gov. Edward's Spite at 
these Indians, and his Efforts for their Removal, 95. They were Granted 
One Year's Grace, 95. Gov. Edward's Statements, 96. Gov. Reynolds' 
Declaration, 96. Yet he Admits that Black Hawk Desired Peace, 97. 
Both Edwards and Ford rely upon Subsequent Treaties as Affirming that 
of 1804, but are in Error, 97. These Subsequent Treaties originated un- 
der the 9th Article of the Treaty of Ghent, and the Act of Congress of 
March 11, 1815, which gave the Commissioners no Power to make them, 98. 
These Indian Treaties Given, 98-104. 



The Truth was Hidden in the Center of a Mountain of Concealment, Mis- 
representation, Prejudice and Ignorance, 105. The Black Hawk War a 
Series of Murders, 105. Reasons why the Quashquamme Compact was 
not a Treaty, 105. The Word Treaty Defined, 106. The Fox Nation was not 
Bound by It, 106. If not a Treaty, What was It ? 106. Insuperable Objections 
to its validity, 106. Did Gen. Harrison consider it a Treaty? 107. Ante- 
cedent Facts to the Appointment of the Commissioners under Article 9 
of the Treaty of Ghent, 108. This Article Given, 109. Its Object, 110. Scope 
or Extent of the Commissioner's Power under this Article, 111. Yet they 
Arrogated to themselves Power and Authority to make Treaties, etc.. 111. 
They Notified the Indians to meet them at the Portage de Sioux to enter 
into Treaties with them, 112. And to prevent Collision, they made a Re- 
quisition for Troops, and Gen. Henry Dodge, with a Strong Military 
Force, was sent for that Purpose. 112. Their Pompous and Ludicrous 
Actions formed the Plot for an Improved Pinafore, 112. Which the Jona- 
than and which the David? 113. Quashquamme a Poltroon and Coward, 
113. Treaty of September 14, 1815, considered, 115. Great Speech of Black 
Thunder, 115. Treaty of May 13, 1816, Anomolous, 118. This was the first 
time Black Hawk's Name was Signed to a Treaty, 119. "The White Man's 
Lying Paper," 120. Conceived in Avarice, the Offspring of Deception, 
Ill-shapen and Deformed at its Birth, the Quashquamme Treaty never 
had any Real Life, 120. 


The Ownership of Land had nothing whatever to do with the War of 1831, 
123. Saukenuk stood upon the Land of Col. Davenport, and the Indians 
were his Tenants, 123. From 1818 to 1830, Black Hawk was a Subaltern 
Chief, 124. His Courtesy and Kindness to the Whites, 124. While Gov. 
Ford copied the Views of Gov. Edwards with regard to the Black Hawk 
War, he did not quite Believe Black Hawk was a British Spy, 125. Is 
Black Hawk's Story of these Matters worthy of Credence? 126. Black 
Hawk had no Allies from the Pottawattamies and Kickapoos, when he 
Recrossed the Mississippi in 1832, 127. The Division of the Sauks in 1813 
:still Exists, 127. The Sauks and Foxes were never United as a Confeder- 
ation, 127. The Charge made by Gov. Ford and other Historians that the 
Sauks threw down the fences, etc., of the White People, was Putting the 
Shoe on the Wrong Foot, 128. Gov. Reynolds' First Call for Volunteers, 
128. Gov. Ford's Services to the State, 130. John Davis' Report on the 
Woodsawing Little Governor, 131. Died Poor, 134. 


Alarmed at the Building of Fort Armstrong. 135. The Spirit of the Cave, 
135. Holy Ground, 136. Great Ability of Col. Davenport, 136. Indian 
Benevolence, 137. The Luxuries of the Forest paid Tribute, 137. Sauks 
Wintered in Missouri, 138. Getting Credit, 138. Davenport and Farm- 
ham, 138. Davenport's Foresight, 139. Fought with Old Hickory, 139. 
At Washington City, 139. A Chilling Frost upon his Hopes, 140. Bound- 
ary Lines, 141. "By the Eternal," 142. Black Hawk and Davenport, 142. 
A Modified Order, 142. Full of Resources, 143. The Children of Japheth 
Commingle with those of Shem, 143. Davenport decides to Purchase 
the Sauk Lands. 144. His Object Therefor, 144. Black Hawk Offended. 
144. His Conference with Davenport, 144. Keokuk's Visit to Washing- 
ton City. 145. Black Hawk offered to Accept 86,000 and leave, 146. Out- 
side Pressure. 147. 


Joshua Vandruff, 148. Intrusive Possession, 148. Black Hawk and Van- 
druff, 148. A Drawing Card, 149. Hand Mill as an Appetizer, 149. The 
White People brought Whisky, 150. Ordered to Quit Selling It, 150. 
Vandruff s and Big Island, 150. Wet Grocery Store and its First Invoice, 


CHAPTER X Continued. Page. 

160. Liquid Poison and Jim-jams, 150. Black Hawk's Protest, 151. Worse 
than Useless Brutes, 151. Forbearance Ceased, and Black Hawk De- 
stroyed his Liquors. 152, Dare not further Beard the Lion in his Den, 
152. Charges against the Indians of Destroying Property Formulated and 
Laid before the Governor, 153. The Old Banger's Predicament, 154. And 
a call was issued for 700 Mounted Volunteers, 156. Gov. Reynolds' hate 
of the Indians, 157. And like Barkis, " was willin'," 157. Was there a 
Hostile Invasion of the State ? 158. Spilling 'the Whisky was the 
"Priests all Shaven and Shorn," 159. His Excellency on the Stump 
Beating up for Volunteers, 160. The War Spirit, 160. The British Allies, 
160. One Thousand Six Hundred Volunteers Accepted, 160. Gov. Ford's 
Slight of Gov. Reynolds, 161. Heterogeneous Crowd, 163. If the Rider 
had a Will and a Mission the Mule had a Will and a Resolution, 163. 
Variety of Fire Arms, 164. Indian Scalp Law, 164. Lex talionis the 
Rule. 166. 


Gen. Gaines reached Fort Armstrong, but found no Hostile Indians, 167. 
He determined to remove them. 168. And called a Council at Fort 
Armstrong, 168. Keokuk, Wappello and Black Hawk, 168. Black Hawk 
refused to enter the Council, and Why? 168. His Declaration when He 
did Enter It, 169. Two days given for the Indians to Remove. 169. For- 
bearance of Gen. Gaines. He visits Saukenuk and meets with no Hos- 
tility; even the Indian Children did not Cease their Plays, 170. Gen. 
Games' opinion of their Feelings and Intentions, 171. One-third of 
them persuaded to Leave, 171. Black Hawk desperately in Earnest, 175. 
Treaties of September 3, 1822, and August 4, 1825-176. 


Like the Israelites, these Indians had their Prophets, 181. Winnesheik 
born in 1790, 181. His great Ability and Pride, 182. Black Hawk's Evil 
Genius, 183. Like humbug Trance Mediums, 184. Mattata's Daughter 
and her Mission, 185. Failure of her Mission, 185. Black Hawk's offer 
to leave in the Fall, 187. Gov. Reynolds' Untimely Appearance, 188. 
Belief in Dreams, 189. Dog Feast, 190. " In Gideon the Lord Appeared," 
190. Peace Prevailed till Gov. Reynolds Came, 191. Black Hawk's Last 
Hope fled, 193. 


Gen. Gaines Assumes the Responsibility of this War, 195. Concerted 
Plan of Operation, 1%. A Battle Expected, 196. Fierce Charge upon the 
Brush and Briars of Vandruffs Island, and Confusion Worse Con- 
founded, 196. The order of Battle against the Brush and Briars, 196. 
Black Hawk's Ruse, 197. Did Gen. Gaines know the Indians had Es- 
caped? 197. The Brush and Briars were the Victors, 198. The Invincible 
Spirit of the Still, 198. Did Gen. Gaines intend to Kill his own Men? 
198. Black Hawk with his entire Band cross the Mississippi, 199. 
Saukenuk Burnt, 201. Gen. Duncan Elected Governor, 201. Fort Arm- 
strong, 202. Black Hawk Sues for Peace, 202. " Like the Punishment 
of Moses, " 204. Their Growing Corn Appraised, 205. Gen. Duncan's 
Volunteers Returned Home, 205. 


Immediate Flight to Escape Death, 206. Wonderful Escape, 207. Broken 
hearted Mothers, 207. Prayers and Supplications, 207. Prime Leaders 
Gone to their Reward, 208. Late Repentance, 208. Treaty of Fort Arm- 
strong, 208. Never Reported or Confirmed, 210. Jackson's Indian Views, 
211. Who drew this Treaty, 213. The Blunders of Gen. Gaines, 212. 
Criticisms on this so-called Treaty, 213. A Tissue of Falsehoods, 214. 
Outgrowth of Imagination, 214. Clothed in Sack-cloth, 215. " Their lives 


CHAPTER XIV Continued. Page, 

and assigns." 215. What were their Assets? 215. Hard on the Jews, 216. 
Gov. Reynolds' pretended Sympathy, 216. Nobody was Hurt, 217. Press 
Comments, 218. Rather Perish than Ask a Favor, 219. Pitiable Condi- 
tion, 219. Shooting at Squaws, 220. 


Promises as Thick as Hops. 221. Demand on the British, 221. Black Hawk 
Goes to Canada, 222. Glad Tidings from other Indian tribes, 222. Black 
Hawk Appeals to the British, 223. Neapope follows him to Canada, 224. 
What Black Hawk Found on his Return, 224. He Confers with Col. Daven- 
port and others. 225. The Great Spirit made the Ice Strong, 225. He Visits 
Winnesheik and Receives his Advice, 225. He tries to Enter Fort Arm- 
strong, but Fails, 225. His Visit to the Winnebagoes, 225. Again he Tries 
to Enter the Fort, 226. Neapope Returns from Canada loaded with Lies, 
226. Neapope's Stories, 226. Gen. Dixon's Advice, 227. Boundary Lines 
of no Force, 227. "Oh! the Circumstantial Villain," 228. "You have been 
Imposed upon by Liars," 229. The Thirty-Bottle Chief, 230. Keokuk tries 
to go to Washington City, but Fails, 231. Black Hawk's Connection with 
the Menominee- Sioux Difficulty, 231. His Unpardonable Sin. 232. If Black 
Hawk was a British Spy, what was he to Spy ? 233. 


The Winter of 1831-32, 234. Scarcity of Provisions at Fort Armstrong. 234. 
A Small Garrison, 234. The Fort Weak and Garrison Sick, 234. Surrounded 
by Unfriendly Indians. 235. Much Anxiety Felt, and Many Conferences 
Held, 235. Plotting Indians, 235. Josiah Smart sent to Prairie du Chien 
for Reinforcements and Supplies, 236. Danger from Indian Attacks on 
Fort Crawford Prevented Sending Reinforcements, 236. Provisions Sent 
Down on Keel-boats, 237. Sergeant Coulter Sent to Jefferson Barracks, 
237. Keokuk's Pledge. 237. He sends for a Witness to his Fidelity, 237. 
Josiah Smart Sent to Keokuk's Village, and is Concealed, 238. Winne- 
sheik Visits Rock Island and Calls on Col. Davenport and others, 238. His 
Real Object, 239. Inhibited from Crossing the Mississippi, 241. A Stockade 
Built, 232. The Country around Rock Island notified of their Danger, 244. 
John W. Spencer's Work, 244. How the People reached the Island, 244. 
They Acted First and Thought After, 244. Crowded Condition of the Fort 
and Stockade, 245. The Turkey Scare, 246. The Tale of a Teapot, 247. 
Found in Forty Years, 249. Excitement Ran Riot, 250. 


Black Hawk's Intended Indian Confederacy, 251. Powder Plot to Blow 
Up Fort Armstrong, 252. He Starts for Keokuk's Village to hold his War 
Dance, to Enlist Soldiers from his Band, 253. Whisky again to the Front. 
254. Black Hawk and Neapope in British Uniform, 255. Carrying a Brit- 
ish Flag they reach Keokuk's Village, 255. Erecting his War Post, 255. 
How it was Constructed, 255. Description of the War Dance. 255. Black 
Hawk's great War Speech. 256. Neapope's Speech, 266. Wild Excitement 
among the Indians, 263. Black Hawk Happy, 263. But like Lucifer he 
was to be soon Cast Down. 263. Keokuk the Mighty, to the front, 262. 


Wonderful Speech of Keokuk, 265. And its Influence, 268. Even the 
wolfish Dogs felt the sudden change, 269. " He came to gather wool but 
went away shorn." 269. Josiah Smart, the only white man who heard this 
Speech, 269. This Speech prevented the Formation of an Indian Con- 
federacy, 270. Keokuk's Ability and Special Study, 271. Keokuk com- 
pared to King Solomon. 272. Black Hawk withdrew from the War Dance 
with the loss of one-third of his Band, 273. Like a dismantled ship he had 
no fixed course. 273. Too proud to admit the failure of his plan, he re- 
solved to cross the Mississippi and take the chances. 




The life of a Nation Analagous to that- of Man, 275. Vanity of Black 
Hawk and his Susceptibility to Flattery, 275. Still relying upon False Re- 
ports he staked every thing upon the single cast of the die and lost, 275. 
His Critical Position, 276. The Rubicon Crossed, 276. He Marches up 
the Illinois side to Rockport where he is met by Winnesheik, 277. Winne- 
sheik Addressed the Sauks, 278. No Indian War Chief was ever known 
to go upon the War Path accompanied by the families of his Warriors, 
278. Why did Black Hnwk take his Women and Children with him while 
his Warriors were Clothed in the Panoply of War? 275. He was simply 
changing his Village from Iowa to Saukenuk, and why ? 279. He reached 
Mill Creek, near Saukenuk, April 11, 1832. and on that evening forded 
over to the Island of Rock Island at the head of about 200 Braves, 280. 
Remaining in the Grove near the Fort that night, 281. His plan to 
Capture the Fort, 281. What Captain Pike and Companions Saw, 282. 
Heroic Josequa, 283. Loaded to the Brim, 283. Keokuk to the Rescue, 
284. Gen. Atkinson with Reinforcements and Supplies Arrived in the 
Nick of Time, 285. A Welcome Signal Gun to the Garrison, but a Terror 
to the Stockade, 285. " Wattair he be bettair zan ze prayair," 286. Black 
Hawk Silently Stole away at Break of Day, 286. An anxious Night to the 
Squaws and Papooses, 287. Indian Mourners, 288. They must either go 
down the Mississippi or up Rock River, and selected the latter, 289. Vis- 
ited by PhiL Kearney, 290. Black Hawk denied all Hostile Designs, 290. 
Atkinson Attempts to Follow Him, 291. 


With the Signal Gun's Salute Black Hawk's Hopes of Capturing the 
Fort was Dissipated, 292. From being an Aggressive Nation they were 
Converted into a Band of Timid Fugitives, 292. Not a Gun was Fired by 
his Band on his Trip up Rock River, 293. Judge Hall's Statement. 298. 
Warmly Welcomed at the Prophet's Town, 283. Negotiating for Corn 
Lands, 294. The News of Black Hawk's Return to Illinois Spread Like a 
Prairie Fire, 294. A Messenger sent to Gov. Reynolds, and he at once 
Called for 1,000 Volunteers, 295. His Circular Letter, 295. Of all things 
Black Hawk, in his then Condition, dreaded :was War, 294. A half dozen 
boys with toy pistols could have put his Band to flight, 297. Had the 
Good Spirit Deserted Them ? 297. Gov. Reynolds' Statement, 298. Com- 
ments Thereon, 299. Majors Stillman and Bailey, 300. Their Biographies. 
301. The State Militia Law, 302. The five Grand Divisions, 302. Gov. 
Reynolds' Version, 303. Under the Governor's Call of April 16, fully 2,000 
Volunteers offered their Services, and 1,935 were Received, 303. These 
were Organized into four Regiments under Gen. Whiteside, 304. They 
were Marched to Oquawka, 3<>5. Short of Provisions, and a Mutiny Threat- 
ened, 306. Provisions sent from Fort Armstrong, 307. False Rumors and 
Foolish Movements, 307. Incompetency of General Atkinson, 307. Was 
he Afraid of the Indian Wolf, 308. Whiteside's Army taken up the Miss- 
issippi and Sworn into the Military Service by< Lieutenants Jefferson 
Davis and Robert, Anderson, 308. The Mounted Volunteers pass up Rock 
River on Horseback, while the Regulars, with Supplies, go up in Keel- 
boats, 308. Whiteside's Men became Demoralized at Seeing " Immolated 
Dogs," or by Burning the Prophet's Deserted Village and made a Forced 
March on Dixon, leaving their Baggage, Wagons and Provisions on the 
Prairie, 309. 


Stillman's Run, 310. The Governor was Ambitious, 311. If he could Cap- 
ture Black Hawk before Gen. Atkinson arrived the Presidential Chair 
would be his, 311. In Maj. Stillman he put his Trust, 312. His Orders to 
Stillman. 312. Stillman's Outfit and Start, 312. Encountering Quicksand 
Land his Whisky is Stuck, 313. Carry it they could not, and Saved it by 


CHAPTER XXI-Continued. Page. 

Drinking, 313. Encamped in a Ravine, Black Hawk sends him a White 
Flag, which is Insulted and a War began, 315. Forty Indians Stampede 
275. Militiamen, 315. A Terrific Panic, 316. "Mr. Indian, I surrender," 319. 
Col. Strode wins the Thirty Mile Race, and tells the Tale in Glowing 
Terms, 321. Gov. Reynolds' Account of this Affair, 323. Black Hawk's 
Version of It, 324. What was found in Strode's Saddle-bags, and His 
Statement about it, 329. 


Each Survivor claimed that he alone Escaped, 330. The News to Gov. 
Reynolds was Specially Sad, 330. Atkinson had not Reached Dixon, and 
Gov. Reynolds called for 2,000 Mounted Volunteers, 331. Press Com- 
ments and Wild Rumors, 331. The Governor's Call, 332. Further Com- 
ments from the Public Press, 332. It was not what they Saw, but what 
they Felt, 337. Neapope's Version, 339. Gov. Reynold's Statement that 
Maj. Stillman Disobeyed his Orders is not Correct, 340. How the News of 
Stillman's Defeat was Carried, 341. Our own Recollections of the Matter, 
342. Our Flight, 342. A False Alarm and a Heroic Woman, 343. Capt. 
Soloman Hoge brought Confidence out of Despair, 344. False Reports as 
to being Short of Provisions, 344. Gen. Atkinson's Command fully 2,500, 


Black Hawk Dined with Col. Dixon and said he was going into the Win- 
nebago Territory to lease Corn Lands, 346. Elated over his Easy Victory 
over Stillman, yet he knew he would soon be Pursued, 346. Reasons why 
the Pottawattamies should Sympathize with Black Hawk, 347. To Rouse 
them to Action he held a War Dance at Paw Paw Grove, 348. Black 
Hawk's Appeal to Shaubenee and his Reply, 349. Shaubenee Head- Man 
of three Nations, 349. Waubanse or Wauponsee, 349. Deceived on all 
sides, Black Hawk's Band were Starving, 350. Shaubenee held his Nations 
in Check, 350. Yet he knew some of the White Settlers were Doomed and 
Determined to Save their Lives, &50. Warning Them, 350. His Great La- 
bor and Long Ride, 351. He Suffered the Tortures of the Damned, 352. 
Mr. Davis would not Heed his Warning and was Lost with many others, 
352. The Indian Creek Massacre, 353. Black Hawk's Version, 357. Kewasse- 
the Leader, 357. The Statement of John W. Hall and his Sister, who were 
the Captives, 358. How they were Treated, 367. Their Presents, 367. Ke- 
wasse, Taaua-wee and Comee, three Pottawattamies Indicted, but finally 
Acquitted, 367. Court Record, 368. Hon. T. J. Henderson's Statement, 370. 


Burying the Slain at Stillman's Run, 371. More than the Illinois Volun- 
teers could Endure, 371. All Mustered Out. 372. Gen. Anderson's Letter, 
372. His Fine Memory, 377. The word Lenneway or lllinl, 377. Cowardice, 
378. Appeal of Gov. Reynolds, 379. The bold deft of Whiteside, 379. Five 
Companies are Organized for Guard Duty, and Gen. Fry Elected to the 
Command, 380. The Hoosier Regiment, 380. Six Independent Companies, 
380. Old Grannie Atkinson in Mortal Fear of Black Hawk, 381. A Huge 
Farce, 381, Comments of the Public Press, 382. Strodes' Proclamation of 
Military Rule. 386. " Praise God Bowels," 386. Black Hawk Flees North, 
Whiteside South, 389. 


The Twenty-day Volunteers. 389. Capt. Snyder has a Skirmish at Burr 
Oak Grove, 389. Gen. Whiteside and Judge Semple, 389. A Good Shot. 
390. McDaniel, Makenson and Scott Killed, 390. Two Thousand more 
Volunteers called Out, 390. Three Thousand One Hundred and Forty- 
eight Organized into ten Regiments, three Brigades, and three Spy 


CHAPTER XXV-Oontinued. Page. 

Battalions, 390. Military Men Plenty. 390. They Select their own Officers, 
Alexander Posey, Milton K. Alexander and James D. Henry elected 
Brigadier Generals, 390. List of Companies Composing each Brigade, 391. 
Murray McConnell. 392. Peter Cartright, 392. General Robert Anderson, 
of Fort Sumter ' fame. Drill Master, 392. Stockades, 393. Shaubenee Wau- 
ponsee. Big Thunder and the Red Devil, 393. Washeown. 394. Rev. Jesse 
and George Walker, 394. Mission House, 394. Francois Bourbone, Jr., 395. 
The Schermerhorn and Hazelton Murderers, 396. The Beresford Mur- 
der, 398. Murder of Rev. Adam Payne, the Dunker, 399. George Hollen- 
beck's House Burned, 400. Elijah Phillips Killed. 400. Aaron Gunn's 
Statement, 401. Fort Strawn, 403. We Stood Guard. 403. Night Hawks. 
403. Indians never Attack in the Night, 503. Murder of Rev. James 
Sample, 404. The Bastard Whelp of Simon Girty, 404. Black Hawk's Sit- 
uation, 404. Every Indian was Dreaded, 405. 


A Shiftless Never-do-Well, 406. He had a Dream, or said he had, 407. rMy 
Master, 409. Aaron Payne and His Revenge, 409. Treaty of Aug. 24, 1816, 
411. Black Hawk's Statement of These Murders, 413. Murder of Boxley 
and Thompson, 414. Murder of St. Vrain and Three Volunteers, 415. Gov. 
Ford in Error, 415. Old Hickory Takes a Hand, and Orders Gen. Scott to 
Take Command, 416. Press Comment, 418. Gen. Henry Dodge, 420. Gen. 
Albert Sydney Johnston's Account, 421. 


Attack on Apple River Fort, 426. Heroic Conduct of the Besieged, 426. 
Black Hawk's Statement of It. 427. Col. Strode to the Rescue, 427. Battle 
of Peckatonica, 428. Batttle of Prairie Grove, 429. Battle of Kellogg's Grove, 
430. Gen. Taylor's Unjust Criticism, 451. Col. Dement's Reply, 482. Hon. 
Isaac Funk, 432. Gov. Zadok Casey, 431. Heroism of Col. Dement, 433. 
Stealing Horses, 434. Bravery of Dement's Command, 435. Black Hawk's 
Version of It, 435. The March of Gen. Posey, 436. The Black Hawk War 
Monument. 437. Strength of the American Army and its Commanders, 440. 
Cen. William S. Harney's Statement, 440. Indian Allies, 440. Disposition 
of Soldiers, 440. Gen. Brady, 440. Turtle Village, 440. False Alarms, 441. 
CoL Fry and Major Ewing Scoured the Surrounding Country, 441. An Old 
Blind Sauk Captured, Fed and Killed, 441. No Information of the Where- 
abouts of Black Hawk, 442. Burnt Village, 442. Bridges built across a 
3-foot Stream, 442. The Trembling Land, 442. Col. Wm. S. Hamilton with 
his Sioux and Menominees, 443. Tired of Soldier Life, 443. Mutiny Immi- 
nent, 444. Capt. Dunn Wounded, 444. Gen. Posey sent to Fort Hamilton; 
Generals Henry, Alexander and Maj. Dodge sent to Fort Winnebago for 
Provisions ; Generals Atkinson and Brady fall back to Lake Kushkanong 
and Build a Fort; Col. Zach. Taylor sent to Fort Crawford, 444. Generals 
Alexander and Henry's Horses Stampeded and Disabled, 445. They learn 
that Black Hawk is at the Manitou Village, 445. They, with Maj. Dodge, 
hold a Council of War, in which Gen. Henry and Major Dodge determined 
to follow Black Hawk, while Gen. Alexander declared it a Wild Goose 
Chase, and refused to join them, and returned with Provisions to Gen. At- 
kinson, 446. A Mutiny threatened in General Henry's Command; Sub- 
altern Officers put under Arrest; an Apology and Reconciliation, 447. 
" Every Cloud has a Silver Lining," 447. 


Led by White Pawnee, a Winnebago Chief, and Paquette, a half-breed, as 
Guides. Gen. Henry Starts in Pursuit of Black Hawk, 449. Deceived by 
Black Hawk's Spies, 450. Treachery of Little Thunder, and Black Hawk's 
Trail Struck by Accident, 450. Maj. Murray McConnell's Prompt Action, 
451. Discarding Heavy Baggage, 451. Evidence of Famine among the In- 
dians, 451, Gen. Henry and Maj. McConnell relieving their Infantry, 451. 



CHAPTEE XXVin Continued. Page. 

Sleeping upon the Wet Ground with a piece of the Sky for their Blankets, 
452. A Shot in the Dark, 452. Maj. McConnell's Position, 453. An Indian 
Killed and Scalped, 453. Wonderful Generalship of Black Hawk, 455. 
Battle of Wisconsin, 456. Gov. EeynoJds' Description of this Battle, 458. 
The Indian Harrangue, 458. Gov. Ford's Version, 458. Col. Dodge's Ver- 
sion, 459. Black Hawk's Statememt of It, 460. It was Neosho who gave 
the Imaginary Orders of the Battle, 462. Black Hawk Escapes to an Island 
in Wisconsin, and Gen. Henry gives up the Chase, 463. 


Black Hawk's Escape to the Island, 465. Gen. Atkinson Starts in Pursuit, 
466. The Buzzards and Crows Mark the Line of Black Hawk's Retreat, 
466. Gen. Atkinson Eeached the Bluffs of the Mississippi, August 2, 467. 
Black Mawk's Band were then Crossing the Mississippi, 467. The Sioux 
Join the Whites, 467. Capt. Throckmorton and Steamboat Warrior, 467. 
Black Hawk's Statement. 469. Battle of The Bad Axe, 470. Atkinson 
Thrown off the Trail by a Euse, but Gen. Henry was not Deceived by It, 
470. The Father of Waters Blushed to a Scarlet Eed, 472. Brave 
Mothers and Heroic Children, 472. Black Hawk's Statement, 473. Black 
Hawk's Eetreat the Equal of Xenophon or Hannibal, 475. The Illinois 
Volunteers Mustered Out, 476. Black Hawk Surrendered Himself. 477. 
The One-Eyed Decori and Lying Cheators, 477. Their Fulsome 
Speeches, 477. Gen. Street and Col. Taylor's Replies, 478. Black Hawk's 
Account, 480. The Treaty of Fort Armstrong, 482. 


Gen. Atkinson Wins a 20-mile Eace, 487. " You no hitte me, by gar," 491. 
" Take him avay, he is bitee like ze tarn dog, " 492. " I don't wish to 
fight the Yankee, but would like to trade hats," 493. Twenty-seventh 
Eegiment, 493. Various Detached Companies, 494. One hundred and 
seventy-seven Companies, 495. Dastardly Attack upon Col. Davenport by 
Illinois Volunteers, 496. Neapope Badly Squeezed and Discouraged, 497. 
Implicit Confidence in the Public Press, 500. The Indians Build no Forti- 
fications and Eisk no General Engagements, 501. Eighty Million Acres 
of Indian Land Obtained for $690,000, 501. Causes Why the Campaign was 
a Long and Tedious One, 501. An Array of Prominent Men who Partici- 
pated in Those Events, 502. Captivity of Black Hawk, 503. " I am a man 
and you are another," 504. Black Hawk Eeleased from Prison; Loaded 
with Presents and Shown Through the Country: Feted and Eeturned 
Home, 504. Patriotism of Illinois, 504. 








His Birth and Education, 571. Great Strength and Ability, 572. Integrity- 
He Visits Chicago and Marries a Pottawattamie Squaw, 573. His Wooing, 
and Wedding Feast, 574. Death of Tecumseh and Shaubenee's Vow, 
576. His Various Names and Why, 577. Canoka, 577. His Little Wife, Nebe- 
baqua, 578. Shaubenee's Children, 578. Head-man of Three Tribes, 579. 
Winnebago War. 580. Namaque and Shaubenee* 681. Shaubenee's Ser- 
vices^to the White People in 1832. 582. Robbed by the Government, 583. 
Treaty of Prairie du Chien, 583. 




The Pottawattamies are Removed West of the Mississippi in 1836 by the 
United States, 587. Held but a Usufruct Title, 589. Selecting a Beauty, 
592. Shaubenee's House, Death and Burial. 593. Wife and Grand-Child 
Drowned, 593. Decorating his Grave, 594. Death of Pyps and Smoke, 
594. Crossing a Toll Bridge, 594. Humanity and Wisdom, 596. Adhering 
to Indian Customs, 596. The Family Leave Illinois, 597. Failure of Cit- 
izenship, 597. Diminishing their Reservation, 598. Mission School, 598. 
Letter of Geo. W. James, 600. A Slight Increase of Tribe, 691. Chief 
Shaugh-pes-see, 602. Matwa and his Surperstitions, 602. Yaubee, 603. 
Moquska and Matwaweiska. 603. Obnessee, 603. 


Born Gamblers, 605. Their Annuities, 605. Distrust of Palefaces, 606. 
Swindled, 608. Laziness their Characteristic, 606. Fences and Crops, 606. 
Marriages, 607. Support of Illigitimate Offspring, 607. Hard on the 
Widowers, 607. A Barbarous Law, 608. The Sabbath, 608. Thunder and 
Lightning, 609. St. Vitus' Dance, 609. Burial of a Chief, 610. Modes of 
Burial, 610. Big Medicine Men, 611. First Fruits, 610. Death of Nishusqus 
and Her Pet Dog, 611. Masquas and His Shirt, 613. Shaubenee's Grave 
and Rev. D. K. Foster, 614. Rose How's Beautiful Letter, 615. " Always 
in want; frequently in distress," 615. Beneath the Evergreens, 616. 


Col. George Davenport, 617. Gen. Jacob Fry, 622. Gen. Milton K. Alex- 
ander, 626. Col. John Dement, 630. Col. John Thomas, 635. Hon. Bailey 
Davenport, 639. Gen. John Strawn, 642. Gov. Zadok Casey, 645. Judge 
William Thomas, 650. 


Alexander, Gen. M. K 626 

Armstrong, P. A 2 

Black Hawk 506 

Black Hawk's Watch Tower 47 

Black Hawk War Monument 437 

Casey, Gov. Zadok 645 

Davenport, Col. George 617 

Davenport's House r 620 

Davenport, Hon. Bailey 639 

Dement, Col. John 630 

Fry, Gen. Jacob 622 

Hodenosote, or Long House 41 

Keokuk 542 

Powesheik 556 

Shaubenee 571 

Strawn, Gen. John 642 

Thomas. Col. John 635 

Thomas, Judge William 650 

Vandruff s Island 14 

Winiiesheik 181 






Adair, William 



Adams, John G .... 

Tazewe 11 


Aldenrath, B. J 

Jo Daviess 


Arnett, J. T 



Arnold, John 



Armstrong, Aaron 



Ashton Eliakim . 



Bailey, Alexander 

Vermilion. . 


Ball, Asel F 



Ball, J. A 



Bankson Andrew 



Bannon, Aaron 



Barnsback, J. L 



Barnes, David W 


. 675 

Barnes, John 



Barnes, Robert 



Barney, Benjamin 



Bays, John 



Biggerstaff , Ardin 



Boone, Levi D . 



Bowman, James 



Bowyer, George P 



Briggs, Jonah ... 



Brimberry, Samuel 

Edgar ... 


Bristow, George F 



Brown, Reuben 



Burns, James 

Washington.. .. 


Butler, Peter 



Butler, Walter 



Carlin, Thomas 



Chapman, Thomas 



Clark, James N 



Clay well, Jesse 



Coffee, Achilles 



Connor, James . . . 

Randolph . 


Covell. M. L. . . 



Craig, B. B 



Craig, James 

Jo Daviess 


Craig, Jonathan 

Jo Daviess. 


Crow, Daniel 



Cox, Alex D 


Dawson, John 



Dement, John 



Dobbins, William N 

Monroe.. . 


Dorsey, Charles 8 



Dowling, Nicholas 

Jo Daviess. 


Duncan, Enoch 

Jo Daviess. 


Dunn, Charles 

Pope i 


Durman, Jonathan 



Eads, Abner 



Barley. Jacob M 



Ebey, Jacob 



Flood, William G... 



Gear, H. H.. 

Jo Daviess 


Gillespie, I. M... 



Gillham. William 



Given, William T 

Morgan . . 







Geodan, L. W. 



Gorden, William. .. 


Gordon William. 



Geer, Abner 


.. 713-715 

Gregory, James 



Griffin, Bobert 

Edgar . . . 


Hail, Ozeas. 



Hall, James 



Harrison, Thomas 



Harris, John 



Haynes, John . . 



Haws, William 


Highsmith, William 



Hoiliday, Joel . . ... 



Holman Armstead 

Houston, Alex. M 



Houston, Samuel 



Hunter, Solomon . 



Hutt C. B 



lies, Elijah 



James, Benjamin 

Bond . 


Jenkins, Alex. M 



Jordan, Elias 



Kenney, J. W 

Bock Island. 


Kincaid, James 



Lincoln, Abraham. 


.... 665 

Lindsey, Allen F. 



Little, Josiah... 

Madison . 


Mading, C. S 



Mathews, Cyrus 


Maugh, Milton M 

Jo Daviess 


Mayo, Jonathan 


.. 709-714 

McCann, John 



McClure, Bobert 



McCoy, Charles 

Jo Daviess 


McDow, Thomas. 



McFadden, George B 



McMurtry, William 



Miller Solomon. .. ... 

St. Clair 


Moffett, Thomas 



Moore, William 

St. Clair 


Napier, Joseph. 

Du Page 


Nott, Boval A 

Clark . 


Nowlen, iBennett 


. 714-722 

Onslott, John 



Palmer, James 



Patterson, Gershom 

Greene . 


Payne, Morgan L 



Petty, Elisha 



Pierce, Earle 


Powell, Daniel 

White .. 


Pratt, Beth 


Price, Daniel 



Pugh. I. C 

Macon. . . 


Ball, William C 



Bichardson, John F 

Clark . 


Boss, Thomas B 



Boundtree, Hiram 



Bussell, David B 



Sanf ord. Isaac 



Scales, Samuel H 

Jo Daviess 


Sain, John 



Simpson, Gideon 

St. Clair 


Scission, Holden 



Smith, David 



Smith, Jeremiah , 



Smith, Samuel 



Smith, William B 


Snyder, Adam W 

St. Clair 


Stennett, John 

Schuyler . 


Stewart, William M 



Btephenson, William J , 

Franklin... . 

702 706 

Stone, Clack 


Stout, Thomas 



Tate, John 

St. Clair 







Thomas, John B 



Thomas, William 



Thompson, James. .... 



Vansburgh, L. P 


Walker James. 



Warren, Peter 



Wurniek, William 



Webb, Henry L... 



Wells. B. G 



West, Obediah 



Wheeler, Erastus 



Willis, George B 



Wilson, Harrison.. 



Wilson. M. G 



White, Alexander 



White, James 

Hancock . 


Willbourn, John S 



Winstanley, John 

St. Clair. 


Winters, Nathan 




fo THE EARLY SETTLERS OF ILLINOIS, with whose dangers and 
fears, toils, turmoils, privations and tribulations, we par- 
ticipated over fifty years ago, 

When these prairies and woodlands, rivers and lea, 
Alike to the savage and wild beasts were free, 

Whose brave hearts, strong arms and willing hands, coupled 
with habits of industry, economy, integrity and perseverance, 
converted the wilderness of broad, bleak prairies into smiling 
farms, happy homes and a noble State, is this work dedicated by 



Over fifty eventful years have come and gone since the Black 
Hawk War occurred, with no general history of those stirring 
events. Although there was really no war worthy the name, 
the excitement and terror caused thereby were far more intense 
and widespread than any other Indian Wav of the then North- 
west. In compliance with a promise made to the late Judge 
Dickey and Dean Terry years ago, we have been deligently col- 
lecting data with a view of giving an exhaustive history, not only 
of these events, but the causes which led to the Black Hawk War 
of 1831-2, and the lives of the celebrated Sauk Chiefs, Black 
Hawk and Keokuk, Powesheik, the Fox Chief and Shaubenee, 
the celebrated Pottawattamie Chief, whose names and deeds are 
a part of the history of that war. In collecting material for our 
history, we have consulted every authority within our reach 
having any bearing upon our subject, chief among which 
are Edward's, Ford's, Brown's, Davidson and Stuve's "Histories 
of Illinois," Eeynold's "My own Times," "Black Hawk's Autobio- 
graphy, and the Black Hawk War of 1832," by Col. John B. Pat- 
terson ; "The Book of Indians," by Prof. S. G. Drake ; "Waubun 
or Early Days," by Mrs. John H. Kenzie ; "Indian Kaces of North 
America," by Prof . Bowen; "The North American Indians," by 
Geo. Catlin ; "Our Wild Indians," by Col. E. J. Dodge ; "Origin of 
the North American Indians," by John Mclntosh ; "Black Hawk 
and Mexican War Records," by Adjutant-Gen. I. H. Elliott ; "The 
Indian Tribes of the Northwest," by McKinney and Hall ; Recol- 
lections of the Black Hawk War," by Gen. Robert Anderson, j 
of Fort Sumpter fame, who was Inspector General of the ' 
Illinois volunteers during the Black Hawk War. "The Black 
Hawk War," by W. Preston Johnston, compiled from the field 
notes of his late father, Albert Sidney Johnston, while acting as 
Adjutant General on General Henry Atkinson's staff. "The 
Book of Indian Treaties," "President Jackson's Messages and 


Proclamations," "Home-lives, Laws and Customs of the Aborig- 
ines of America," by L. H. Morgan, and numerous other writers 
upon Indian character, habits, customs, etc. ; the public press 
of 1831-2, and the recollections of many old settlers of Illinois 
who participated in those exciting events. To Hon. Bailey Dav- 
enport, of the city of Eock Island, son of Col. George Daven- 
port, who located on Eock Island May 12, 1816, and was robbed 
and murdered there by what were known as the Prairie Bandits, 
Fox, Birch, Baxter and the Long brothers, July 4, 1845, are we 
indebted for more new matter of fact and circumstances perti- 
nent to our subject, than all other unpublished sources com- 
bined. A man of fine natural ability, coupled with a good edu- 
cation and tenacious memory, he was raised among the Sauks 
and Poxes, and therefore perfectly familiar with their characteris- 
tics, as well as the events of 1831-2. In the collection of facts we 
have spared neither time or expense. Several trips have been 
made to Eock Island, (which was the central location of the 
events we have narrated), Kansas and the Indian Territory, in 
search of needed information, while our correspondence has been 
large. Eegretting that our biographies of those celebrated In- 
dian Chiefs, Black Hawk and Keokuk of the Sauks, and Shau- 
benee of the Pottawattamies, are so meagre, yet we have given all 
the reliable facts we have been able to obtain in relation to their 
lives and deeds. Neither of them kept a record of their acts, nor 
did they understand or speak any written language, hence the 
impossibility of giving their every day life and conduct. 

In compiling our history we have endeavored to be fair to all 
partial to none yet unsparing in our censure of men and 
measures whenever and wherever their action deserved it. If, 
therefore, we have inadvertently done injustice to the dead, or 
wounded the feelings of the living, such has been unintentional. 
Our aim and object have been "to tell the truth, the whole truth 
and nothing but the trnth," regardless alike of "fear, favor or af- 
fection;" and if our effort shall meet the approbation of the early 
settlers of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri, who, with us, 
passed through those trying days, then will we feel satisfied with 
our long and tedious labor in writing this, our first book. 



The Osaukie or Sauk Nation of Indians A Short Sketch of their Migrations, Loca- 
tions, Allies, Customs, Religious Beliefs, Laws and Numerical Strength. 

"I lovo the wigwam home, 

Its brands so cheerful burning, 
Wherever I may roam. 

I love the sweet returning. 
And when this life shall end, 

When calls the Great So- wan- a,* 
Southwestern shall I wend 

To roam the broad Savana." LEVI BISHOP. 

As the cautious sportsman, before placing his bets upon any 
contest of skill, strength or endurance, carefully investigates the 
previous achievements and record of the contestants, so should 
the historian, before giving the great events of his history, first 
introduce to his readers the heroes of his story. To do so in our 
case, with any degree of satisfaction, is a difficult, indeed, im- 
possible, thing, so far at least, as one of the contesting parties is 
concerned, for the Indians kept no records, and did not speak 
any written language. Hence we are remitted to their legends 
and traditions, which are always more or less mythical, extrava- 
gant, and unreal. Indeed an Indian can be nothing if not mys- 
terious, stoical and superstitious. We shall, therefore, endeavor 
to give facts and circumstances clearly, truthfully, and faithfully ; 
and from those facts and circumstances endeavor to trace their 
intentions, as well as their acts. In doing this we ask the indul- 
gent reader to accompany us in drawing conclusions, and censure 
us when, in their judgment, censure is our due. On the other 
side, we shall give the facts as we find them of record, and when 
erroneous we shall criticise them unsparingly and fearlessly. 
From all the authorities we can find, the Osaukies, or men from 
the White Earth, or clay, so-called, when first found by the 
French Voyageurs in Northern Canada, in 1668, on account of 
the snow upon the ground where they lived, were a powerful 

*The Indian term for God over all. 


nation, numerically and physically. The French, being unable 
to pronounce the word Osaukie, omitted the first and latter syll- 
ables, and to further harmonize the sound of the word to their 
language, changed the sound from Sauk to Sac. By this latter 
name have they almost universally, but erroneously, been known, 
a few writers even spelling the word Sock. We shall adhere to 
the name Sauk in these pages. In stature these Indians were 
above the average of other northern tribes of the aborigines. 
Though bold, war-like and aggressive, they were very intelli- 
gent, hospitable and humane. In their knowledge of the arts 
sciences, and agriculture, they were the foremost nation of the 
North American Indians, and the absolute wonder of the age. 
Nor were they deficient in mechanism and engineering. Quick to 
perceive and apt in copying everything of utility, they were the 
leading Indian nation in point of wisdom, skill and useful infor- 
mation. In language, habits, customs and religious beliefs they 
were closely allied to the Pottawattamies, Ottawas, and Chippa- 
was, from whom they undoubtedly sprang, and with whom they 
were grouped under the generic term Peuotomies. They were 
ever friendly with these nations as well as the Musquawkies, or 

With the latter they were especially cordial, and, so far as we 
have been able to trace the history of these five nations, they were 
nearly always on terms of peace and good will, and not infre- 
quently, allies, notably so in their long sanguinary war against 
the Illini or Illinois, culminating in the siege of Starved Rock* 
about the year 1760, of which many legends have been written 
one by us in 1872, and published in a local paper. Whether the 
Sauks voluntarily left their northern home, and migrated to the 
bay in Michigan, which bears their name, Saganaw or Sauga- 
nau, or were driven from Canada, by their hereditary enemies, 
the Osages, or the more powerful Iroquois, who invaded and con- 
quered all the Indian tribes in Canada, about the time when the 
Sauks left it and came to the United States, we have not been 
able to definitely ascertain. But they did leave Canada, and 
locate in what is now the State of Michigan, along the banks of 
Sauginaw Bay, which was then called Saukenuk, or Saukietown, 
but since they left it has been called Sauginaw Bay. 

Here they did not remain but a short time before migrating to 
what is now the State of Wisconsin, and located on the banks of 
" Sauk river," so named for them. While here they formed an 


alliance with the Musquawkies, or Ottagamies, as called by many 
early writers, the former being correct, and meaning " men from 
the red earth or clay." The French traders, finding these Indians 
too shrewd, wary and cunning to be gulled and deceived, called 
or dubbed them " Les Eenards," or in plain English, Foxes, by 
which name they have been very generally known, and will be so 
called by us. The Foxes then were in possession of the country 
about Green Bay, and along Fox river of the Wisconsin, which 
was named for them. These Indians remained at this point in 
Wisconsin, until about the year 1730, during which time they 
had frequently descended the Mississippi in their canoes, and 
taken a strong liking to the magnificent country at, and sur- 
rounding the beautiful island of Rock Island, then in possession 
of the Santeaux*, who were a branch of the Chippewa, or Ojibway 
Nation, with their principal village where the large city of Rock 
Island now stands. Whether the Sauks and Foxes purchased 
these lands from the Santeaux, or took them by force, is not known. 
But since they spoke the same language and afterwards lived as 
neighbors with them, the strong presumption is, that they 
obtained them by purchase. The Santeaux moved farther down 
the Mississippi, making their principal village where the city of 
Quincy now stands. The Sauks and the Foxes left their homes 
in Wisconsin, and migrated to, and took possession of, these 
lands at and near Rock Island. The Sauks located their prin- 
cipal village at the foot of the promontory, on the north bank of 
Rock river, on the peninsula, some three miles south of the island 
of Rock Island, and named it Sauk-e-nuk or Saukietown, while 
the Foxes located their principal village on the north bank of 
the Mississippi, where the splendid city of Davenport now stands. 
The Mississippi at this point runs almost due east and west. 
Although these two Indian tribes were allies, they were never 
united, but were separate and distinct in their governments and 
possessions. Soon after their migration to this point, they levied 
war against the Aiouz or loway Indians, partially subjugating 
them and driving them back from their lands, which embraced 
the entire territory of the present State of Iowa, and that part of 
the present State of Missouri lying east of the Missouri river, and 
took possession thereof. Thus did their joint possessions em- 
brace all the territory, -commencing on the Mississippi at the 
mouth of the Illinois river, running thence up the Illinois to where 

*Prononnc(Ml San-toes. 


the city of Peoria now stands, thence in a direct line to a point 
on the Wisconsin river, seventy miles above its mouth ; thence 
down that river to the Mississippi, and down the Mississippi to 
the place of beginning, besides the entire State of Iowa and north- 
eastern Missouri, containing, in the aggregate, about fifty millions 
of acres of the finest agricultural lands in the United States ter- 
ritory of sufficient size to build and support an empire. The 

jSauks had a small village near the mouth of the Des Moines 
I river, in Iowa, and the Foxes a similar one on the south side of 

; the Mississippi, where that fine city of Moline now stands. To 
the north and east of their possessions were the territories of the 
Pottawattamies and Winnebagoes, and adjoining them were the 
lands of the Chippewas and Ottawas, while to the south laid the 
lands of the Kickapoos. With all of these tribes the Sauks and 
Foxes were uniformly on terms of peace, and united by ties of 
blood and intermarriage, and with whom they were frequently 
confederated in repelling the aggressions of their common ene- 
mies, the Sioux. These seven tribes spoke substantially the same 
language. But the ties of friendship existing between the Sauks 
and Foxes were far stronger than those entertained by them for 
these other tribes. Yet they were never" consolidated together as 
"the united bands or nations of Sacs and Foxes," as is errone- 
ously supposed, and inserted in the treaties of St. Louis of Nov. 
3, 1804, and again in 1815, and others. The lands upon the pen- 
insula, lying between the Mississippi and Eock rivers, had prob- 
ably been cultivated by the Santeaux for a century or more prior 
to the advent of the Sauks to that locality. The Santeaux were a 
numerous and belligerent nation, else they could not have held 
this Indian Garden of Eden so many long years against their 
avaricious, savage neighbors. With the loways on their west, 
who were also a powerful and war-like nation, they had an almost 
incesssant guerrilla kind of warfare for many years prior to their 
surrendering possession to the Sauks and Foxes. The similarity 
existing between the latter tribes was so striking that they 
may be well-termed the same in general characteristics. And 
as history teaches us that the great men of every nation run or 
appear but once during its lifetime, and then in numbers, so with 
these two nations, and the period of time when their great men 
appeared, was that of which we are writing. Black Hawk and 

. Keo'uik, of the Sauks, Black Thunder and Powesheik, of the 

'; Foxes, were their greatest. But since the Foxes, as a nation, 



took no part or lot in the so-called Black Hawk wars of 1881-2, 
we shall confine our history as closely as practicable to the 
Sauks ; yet for a century or more the history of one would be the 
history of both, saving and excepting as to their rulers and the 
strength of their respective nations, the Sauks having double 
the number of the Foxes. 

The origin of the Sauk Nation as a government was not dis- 
similar to that of all other nations and peoples of the earth. It 
was of the common type, known as the Gentile organization the 
oldest and most widely spread institution among men on earth, 
and the vehicle or instrumentality through and by which society 
has been organized and held together from the lowest grade of 
savagery up through the various stages of barbarism, to civiliza- 
tion and refinement. It is through and by means of the gens, or 
kin, phratry, or brotherhood, tribe and confederacy. Like the 
Grecian gens and phratry, the Eoman gens and curia, the Irish 
sept, the Scottish clan and Albanian phrara, this form of organi- 
zation seems to have run through the cycle of all human society 
from time immemorial. The word gena implies not only kin, but 
a body of kindred persons, or consanguinity, or as being de- 
scended from the same common ancestor, distinguished by a 
gentile name, and cemented together by the ties of blood or 
consanguinity. Nearly every ethnologist who has written upon 
the American aborigines, whom we call Indians, has used the 
word tribe, band, or clan, instead of the more apt, significant and 
comprehensive words gens, gentes, or phratries. 

With the Sauks, like all other Indian nations, the gens ran in 
the female line, and were based upon three cardinal principles 
first, the bond of kin ; second, a pure lineage through descent, and 
third, non-intermarriage in the same gens. Thus the males of 
one gens must marry a female of another, and vice versa. Hence 
the gens must of necessity increase. The gens resting on the 
bond of kinship had a strong, cohesive principle for protecting 
each individual member, which could not have had existence in 
any other way. As the gens increased in number, other organi- 
zations became imperative, and produced the gentes and then the 
phratry, or subdivisions of the tribe. The natural increase of the 
phratry produced still another organization known as the tribe, or 
nation, and from surrounding danger and oppressions another 
organization ensued in the form of a confederation of two or more 
tribes, or nations, for purposes offensive and defensive. The gens 


ran into gentes, composed of a number of gens, each assuming a 
totem representing some animal or bird, the more notable of 
which were the bear, wolf, fox, tortoise, eagle, hawk and crane. 
These gentes were run into phratries, or brotherhoods, of the same 
tribe, or nation. The organization of the phratries was constantly 
kept up, and exerted a powerful influence in the decision of all 
tribal questions, as each phratry cast their votes as a unit. Hence 
they stood in the same relation to their tribe that a well organized 
political club does in our political contests. Under the Sauk law 
inter-marriages seldom took place between members of the same 
phratry, for they, as a general rule, were at least cousins, whose 
inter-marriage was strongly condemned by the tribe as tending to 
deteriorate their offspring. Quoting from the pen of the late 
Judge Hall,* who spent much time among the Sauks about the 
time of which we are writing, we find that "the omc of 
Chief of the Sauks is partly elective and partly hereditary. 
The son is usually chosen as the successor of the father, 
if worthy, but if he be passed over, the most meritorious 
of the family is selected. There are several of these d gnitaries, 
and in describing their relative rank they narrate a tradition, 
which we suppose to be merely figurative. They say that a great 
while ago their fathers had a long lodge, in the center of which 
were ranged four fires. By the first stood two chiefs, one on the 
right hand, who was called the Great Bear, and one on the left 
hand, who was called the Little Bear. These were the Peace, or 
Village Chiefs. Ttiey were the rulers of the baud, and held the 
authority that we should describe as that of Chief Magistrate, but 
not in equal degree, for the Great Bear was Chief and the other 
next in authority. At the second fire stood two chiefs, one on the 
right called the Great Fox, and one on the left called Little Fox. 
These were their War Chiefs, or Generals. 

" At the third fire stood two braves, who were called, respect- 
ively, the Wolf and the Owl, and at the fourth fire stood two others, 
who were the Eagle and the Tortoise. The last four were not 
chiefs, but braves of high reputation, who occupied honorable 
places in the council, and were persons of influence in peace or 
war. The lodge of four fires may have existed in fact, or the tra- 
dition may be merely metaphorical. The chiefs actually rank in 
the order presented in this legend, and the nation is divided into 
families, or clans, each of which is distinguished by the name of 

*0nce State Treasurer of Illinois. 


an animal or bird. Instead of there being but eight there are 
now twelve (chiefsj. The place of Peace Chief, or Head-man, con- 
fers honor rather than power, and is by no means a desirable sit- 
uation, unless the incumbent be a person of popular talents. He 
is nominally the first man in the tribe, and presides at the coun- 
cils. All acts of importance are done in his name, and he is sa- 
luted by the patriarchal title of Father. But his power and influ- 
ence depend entirely on his personal weight of character; and 
when he happens to be a weak man, the authority is virtually 
exercised by the War Chief. He is usually poor, whatever may 
be his skill or success as a hunter ; he is compelled to give away 
his property in hospitality or benevolence. He is expected to be 
affable and generous, and must entertain his people occasionally 
with feasts, and be liberal in giving presents. He must practice 
the arts of gaining popularity, which are much the same in every 
state of society, and among which a prodigal hospitality is not 
the least successful. If any one requires to borrow or beg a horse 
on an emergency, he applies to this chief, who cannot refuse with- 
out subjecting himself to the charge of meanness. Not unfre- 
quently the young men take his ponies or other property without 
leave, when he is probably the only individual in the tribe with 
whom such a liberty could be taken with impunity. He is the 
father who must regard with an indulgent eye the misdeeds of 
his children, when he himself is the injured party, but who must 
administer inflexible justice when others are aggrieved. A person 
of energetic character may maintain a high degree of influence 
in this station, and some who have held it have been little less 
than despotic. But when a man of small capacity succeeds to the 
hereditary chieftaincy, he is a mere tool in the hands of the War 
Chief, who, having command of the braves and young men, con- 
trols the elements of power, and readily obtains the sway in a 
community essentially martial, where there is little law and less 

" The principal War Chief is often, therefore, the person whose 
name is most widely known, and he is frequently confounded 
with the Head-man. The station of War Chief is not hereditary, 
nor can it properly be said to be elective, for although in some 
cases of emergency, a leader is formally chosen, they usually 
acquire reputation by success, and rise gradually into confidence 
and command. The most distinguished warrior, especially if 
he be a man of popular address, becomes, by tacit consent, the 
War Chief." 


One of the established customs among the Sauks, as well as 
the Foxes, was, upon the birth of a son, to paint his face 
with white or yellow paint. If the first born son was painted 
white, the second was in turn painted yellow, thus alternating, 
the mother being careful that she made no mistake in rotation. 
Thus, if her sons were of an even number, they were equally 
divided into two classes, the one known as whites or white faces, 
the other as yellows, and this classification adhered to the 
children through life. In painting themselves ever after upon 
any occasion, or for any purpose, each class used its character- 
istic color, mixed with such other colors as they might select in 
addition, all other colors being free to their use. The object of 
this custom was to form, or create, two competitive classes, and 
thus inspire a continuous emulation and rivalry between the two 
parties who were always pitted against each other, at public ball 
playing and other tests of skill or endurance. Also at their 
dances and in their hunting, fishing and even war parties, they 
vied with each other in a manly emulation to take more scalps 
than those of the opposing color, and on their return from either 
a hunting expedition or the war path, the trophies of both parties 
were placed side by side until it had been ascertained whether 
the yellows or the whites were the victors. 

Their emulation, however, was never permitted to extend be- 
yond the limits of a fair, honorable and generous strife to excel 
each other. Hence, in its effect, it worked beautifully and bene- 
ficially. The Sauks had but few laws. They seldom contracted 
debts, and had no modes to enforce their collection when con- 
tracted, save that of public scorn to him who refused to pay that 
which he agreed to. His obligation, therefore, was merely one of 
honor, and he prized that too highly to lose it for trivial causes, 
hence, debts were promptly paid or arranged. Civil injuries were 
settled by the old men who were familiar with the injury and the 
parties. In case of murder in their own tribe, the relatives of 
the murdered person had the right to take thq life of the mur- 
derer on sight, but unless there were no mitigating circum- 
stances connected with the murder, they seldom did so, but com- 
promised with the murderer for a property consideration, for they 
neither had or used money. The usual currency in murder com- 
promises were, so many ponies, blankets and peltries. Black 
Hawk says, in his autobiography: "The only means with us for 
saving a person who killed another, was by paying for the person 


killed, thus covering the blood and satisfying the relatives of the 
murdered man." If the parties could not agree upon the amount 
or value of the ramsom to be paid for the murderer's life, the old 
men interfered as arbiters, and never failed in effecting an adjust- 
ment. They had no treason except aiding their enemies, or a 
failure to perform military duty, both of which received prompt 
and contemptuous rebuke. As for instance, a sentinel who neg- 
lected his duty, was publicly flogged with rods in the hands of the 

In point of honesty, the Sauks stood so high that the traders \ 
among them did not lock their doors by day or night. Hon. 
Bailey Davenport, of Rock Island, assures us that such was the 
confidence of his father, who kept a store or trading house on 
Book Island, from 1816 up to near the time of his death, in the 
honesty of these Indians, that no matter how many of them 
might be in his store, he never hesitated to go to his meals with- 
out having them vacate the building, or leaving any one to guard 
against thefts, and never lost a cent's worth to his knowledge. 
Not even would they take a common clay pipe, though a box of 
them were temptingly open and in reach, and many of them were 
inveterate smokers. 

Wonderfully like the ancient Jewish nation in their religious 
rites and ceremcnies, they offered up to the Great Jehovah, under 
the name of the Great Spirit, burnt offerings, and celebrated the 
Passover in their Crane Dance, which they held annually upon 
the completion of their corn planting. What, between feasting, 
dancing and love-making, this was their most noted holiday. Black 
Hawk's description of this feast is as follows : "Our women plant 
the corn, and as soon as they are done we make a feast at which 
we dance the crane dance, in which they join us, dressed in their 
most gaudy attire, and decorated with feathers. At this feast 
the young men select the women they wish to have for wives. He 
then informs his mother, who calls on the mother of the girl, 
when the necessary arrangements are made, and the time appoint- 
ed for him to come. He goes to the lodge when all are asleep, or 
pretend to be, and with his flint and steel strikes a light and soon 
finds where his intended sleeps. He then awakes her, holds the 
light close io his face that she may know him, after which he 
places the light close to hers. If she blows it out the ceremony 
is ended, and he appears in the lodge next morning as one of the 
family. If she does not blow out the light, but leaves it burning, 


he retires from the lodge. The next day he places himself in full 
view of it, and plays his flute. The young women go out one by 
one to see who he is playing for. The tune changes to let them 
know he is not playing for them. When his intended makes her 
appearance at the door, he continues his courting tune until she 
returns to the lodge. He then quits playing and makes another 
trial at night, which usually turns out favorable. During the 
first year they ascertain whether they can agree with each other 
and be happy ; if not, they separate, and each looks for another 
companion. If we were to live together and disagree, we would be 
as foolish as the whites. No indiscretion can banish a woman from 
her parental lodge, no difference how many children she may 
bring home, the kettle is over the fire to feed them." This feast 
and dance lasted several days, and was generally followed by 
another, which Black Hawk calls their National feast and dance, 
and describes it thus : "The large square in the village is swept 
and prepared for the purpose. The chiefs and old warriors take 
seats on mats, which have been spread on the upper end of the 
square ; next come the drummers and singers, the braves and 
women form the sides, leaving a large space in the middle. The 
drums beat and the singing commences. A warrior enters the 
square keeping time with the music. He shows the manner he 
started on a war party ; how he approached the enemy. He strikes, 
and shows how he killed him. All join in the applause, and he 
leaves the square and another takes his place. Such of our young 
men as have not been out in war parties and killed an enemy, stand 
back ashamed, not being allowed to enter the square. I remem- 
ber that I was ashamed to look where our young men stood before 
I could take my stand in the ring as a warrior. What pleasure 
it is to un old warrior to see his son come forward and relate his 
exploits. It makes him feel young, and induces him to enter the 
square and fight his battles over again. This national dance 
makes our warriors." 

If Black Hawk wished to convey the idea that this dance was 
special to the Sauks, then was he mistaken, as it is the dance 
known as "Big Indian" among all tribes of aborigines of this 
country, and is but a training school. It will be seen that he 
makes the word warrior mean he who has killed an enemy^ 
instead of the word brave. We believe this to be a mistake of his 
interpreter, Antoin Le Glair, the universal rule among Indians 
being that a brave is one who is known to have killed one or more 


enemies, while he who may have participated in a dozen pitched 
battles is but a warrior until it is known that he has killed and 
scalped an enemy. They had many other public feast days, nota- 
bly the Big Medicine Feast once a year devoted to the dead of 
the year, when the relations of the deceased gave all their per- 
sonal effects away, and reduced themselves to poverty to show 
their humility to the Great Spirit, and implore His pity. Their 
war dance will appear in a subsequent chapter. As a tribe or 
nation they were essentially religious in their beliefs, all believing 
in the existence of one Divine Being, who ruled and governed the 
heavens and the earth. Quite a large number indeed, nearly 
the entire tribe believed in the existence of two Great Spirits, 
one good, the other bad. The Good Spirit ruled and governed the 
day, and was their special friend and protector, while the Bad 
Spirit dominated over the night, causing darkness and death, and 
to placate and appease him they offered feasts and burnt offer- 
ings. Naturally superstitious like other Indians great, indeed, 
must have been the necessity which could induce them to travel 
at night, while such a thing as making an attack in the darkness 
of the night was never thought of by them, much less practiced. 
All Indian tribes, even in the lower plane of savagery, have been 
noted for their hospitality to strangers. It is, and ever has been, 
one of their cardinal virtues. At the landing of Columbus, the 
first act of the aborigines was to offer him food. With the Sauk's, 
hospitality to strangers was a leading characi eristic, while charity 
was only limited by their means of giving. If they had two blan- 
kets and their neighbor had none, he who had the two divided 
with him who had none ; and this they did to a stranger as readily 
as to a neighbor. As a general rule, they thanked the/ Good Spirit 
for everything which they prized and enjoyed. "For myself," eays 
Black Hawk, "I never take a drink of water from a spring without 
being mindful of His goodness." 

In 1831 they, as a nation, had emerged from the dark cloud of 
savagery, passed through the earlier stages of barbarism, and were 
hovering upon the outer edge of civilization. In mechanism and 
agriculture they were well advanced for their period. They wove 
belts and twisted ropes from the filaments of bark, plaited flags 
and grasses into mats, tanned the skins of animals into soft and 
pliable leather, more especially those of the deer, moose and elk, 
from which they made moccasins, leggings, hunting-shirts and 


other garments for wearing apparel. They well understood how 
to cure and prepare the hides of the buffalo and bear, and then 
utilize them for blankets or bed-covering, and to prepare the fur- 
bearing peltries of the otter, beaver, mink, coon and muskrat for 
market, and estimate their relative values. In ornamental feather 
adornments their women were well skilled. They cultivated thou- 
sands of acres of corn, beans, pumpkins and squashes, with small 
lots of tobacco, artichokes, etc. They had learned the use of the 
plow as a means of preparing their lands for their crops. Their 
fields were enclosed with post and rail fences. They were familiar 
with the use of fire arms, and experts in handling them. Their 
government was purely Democratic, with universal suffrage to all 
who were of proper age, male or female. This government was 
administered upon the broadest principles of even-handed justice 
and human rights. Justice to all, favoritism to none. Station or 
place afforded no immunity to crime or oppression. Inexpensive 
and simple in form, yet forcible and efficacious in its operations. 
Under it individual liberty and personal freedom of restraint were 
inviolate, while the rights of property were secure. 

Theft and robbery seldom occurred among their people, and 
when they did, they were speedily ferreted out. and the culprit 
submitted to such a storm of ridicule that he seldom repeated the 
experiment. Each brave and warrior was ever ready to defend, 
Dot only his own, but the liberty of every member of his nation, 
high or low, old or young. Liberty, equality and fraternity were 
the cardinal principles of their government. These fundamental 
principles tended to strengthen the natural independence and 
stoical dignity of these Indians. The most grateful compliment to 
their ears was to call them "a true Sauk." It sounded to them 
like "I am a Koman citizen" to the Eoman, and the equally proud 
title to us of being "an American citizen." In what may be 
termed political economy they had reached the third period, which 
is a government of the people and by the people, through a coun- 
cil and assembly, with a general or military commander. It is, 
however, true that their council was not purely elective, though 
practically so. This council was composed exclusively of their 
chiefs twelve in number. In this council must originate every 
public measure or proposition affecting the interests of the nation. 
It was, to a/1 intents and purposes, a close communion institu- 
tion, and held its sittings with closed doors, beyond the reach of 
treacherous eaves-droppers. Here they discussed, amended, and 


perfected the question or proposition which, if passed by them, 
must be unanimously adopted. When so adopted, they caused 
public proclamation of the proposition to be made by the village 
crier, who passed from lodge to lodge through the entire village, 
proclaiming, in a loud voice, the purport of the proposition which 
was to be submitted to the people, in general assembly, upon the 
plaza, or public square, for approval or rejection, and the time 
when it would be submitted. When the people were assembled, 
the council, with the Head-man, or Peace Chief, as presiding 
officer, entered the square, and were seated on mats at the upper 
end of the plaza. At a sign from the Head-man, all became silent, 
when, with bowed head, he offered up a petition to the Great Spirit 
for wisdom and guidance in the business in hand. This done, he 
rose to his feet and stated the proposition which the assembly 
were called together to consider and vote upon, giving, in extenso, 
the reasons why the council had adopted and recommended it to 
them for approval. He then invited discussions ; and not infre- 
quently an animated and very able debate ensued, and continued 
from day to day before a final vote was taken. Their mode of 
ascertaining the true vote was by the appointment of tellers, who 
passed through the assembly, one set counting the affirmative 
and another the negative votes. When the tellers were through, 
they reported to the Head-man, who announced the result to the 
assembly. If the proposition be ever so faulty, the assembly 
must vote on it without power to amend. If defeated, that ended 
the matter, as they had no rule by which they could reconsider a 
vote once taken. If the majority of the votes cast, or taken, 
were in favor of the proposition, it then became the law upon the 
proclamation of the Head-man. Though ignorant of the meshes 
and labyrinths of parliamentary law, they had a far more simple, 
expeditious and satisfactory method of arriving at conclusions 
than have our ablest statesmen and law-makers, with all their 
knowledge and skill in the use of parliamentary'tactics, previous 
questions and multifarious dilatory motions. At one time there 
were over eleven thousand souls belonging to the Sauk Nation. 
Saukenuk alone contained that number, while their villages on 
the Des Moines and at Prophetstown would increase the grand 
total to the neighborhood of fifteen thousand. But their almost 
constant warfare with the Osages, who seem to have been their 
natural and hereditary enemy, Sioux, Cherokees and other 
Indian Nations, had decimated their number about two-thirds, so 


that in 1831-2 there were about six thousand Sauks, all told. Of 
these, about two-thirds followed the standard of Keokuk, and one- 
third that of Black Hawk. 

It is a singular fact that when an Indian Nation contains more 
than about two thousand people its increase of population 
decreases its cohesive power. This originates from the multi- 
plicity of the gens, gentes, and phratries, who become jealous of 
each other, and commence to intrigue and plot for the advance- 
ment of their own special gens, gentes, or phratry, which lead 
to numerous combinations and results, in dividing their nation into 
two or more segments, each selecting and electing chiefs from 
their own gentes or phratry, to whom alone they acknowledge 
fealty and duty. By thus dividing their original nation into 
fractions, with each fraction organized as an independent tribe, 
they fall an easy prey to the rapacity of every nation more pow- 
erful than they, or of equal numerical strength under older and 
more experienced chieftains. This fallacious and suicidal cus- 
tom has done more toward the utter extinction of the Indian 
races than any one other cause, whisky excepted. But in the divi- 
sion of the Sauks, which occurred with the late war between Great 
Britain and the United States, this custom or weakness was not a 
factor. That division grew out and was a part of the war of 1812-14. 
For more than forty years Mucketee-Meshe-Kiah-Kiah, (literally 
meaning in our language Black Sparrow Hawk, but always called 
Black Hawk), prior to that war had been the 1 universally 
acknowledged first or head War Chief of the Sank Nation. He 
was a lineal descendant of Nanamakee or Thunder, the founder 
of the nation. (See his biography). A born leader of his people 
and Indian patriot, he was as fond of a fight as the fellow who 
is so eager to find the traditional "man who struck Billy Patter- 
son" or " Pat at Donnybrook Fair, with a chip on his shoulder." 
Living at Saukenuk, near Rock Island, and " out of a job," as he 
had no immediate fight on his hands, but eager to have, on learn- 
ing that war had been declared, hastened to offer his services with 
two hundred picked braves, to our Government to fight against 
the British. But from the W 7 ell established rule, be it said to the 
honor and humanity of the American people, we never have, and 
doubtless never will, employ Indians to slaughter white people. 
This is a fundamental principle of our Government, and one of 
our grievances against our mother country Great Britain in 
the glorious Declaration of Independence. "He has endeavored 


to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian 
savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished 
destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions," is its language. 
On being refused, he at once tendered his services to the British, 
and was accepted, and went to Green Bay, where he was assigned 
to duty with the rank of Colonel. During his absence, a rumor 
reached SaukeAuk that a large force of United States troops had 
left Peoria, Illinois, for an attack upon Saukenuk, which created 
great alarm among the Sauks, who, as a mass, sympathized with 
the people of the United States in this war. A council of chiefs 
was convened, and a proposition submitted in favor of abandon- 
ing Saukenuk and crossing to the west side of the Mississippi to 
escape what appeared to be danger. This proposition was advo- 
cated by a number of the older chiefs, and would probably have 
been adopted but for the impassioned eloquence of Keokuk, 
(meaning the Watchful Fox) who was then but a Chief of the 
Eagle, or fourth grade. He had already gained much renown, 
both as a brave and an orator. The proposition was defeated, 
and Keokuk appointed War Chief of the tribe, although then 
comparatively young. 

He at once organized a small army, sent out spies, and went in 
person at the head of a little band of trailers, towards Peoria, 
and satisfied himself that the whole story was a canard. He 
manifested so much skill and knowledge of warfare in this, that 
he was at once elected War Chief of the Nation. When Black 
Hawk and his 200 braves returned from the war, he fouud Keo- 
kuk fully installed in his place as the War Chief of the Nation, 
and a division of the tribe ensued. Those braves and warrior's 
who had accompanied him to the war and back, with a few 
others, followed Black Hawk's banner, while the rest followed 
the banner of Keokuk. The former were known as the British 
or Black Hawk's band ; the latter as the Peace or Keokuk's 
band. The breach which then occurred has never been healed, 
and these two factions are more widely seperated now than 
ever before. Keokuk, and Black Hawk have long since gone 
upon the "long trail," and have been gathered to their fathers. 
Appanoose, (meaning a born chief) the eldest son of Keokuk, suc- 
ceeded his father, and is still the great Chief of the Peace band of 
Sauks, which are located upon their own reservation in Franklin 
Co., Kansas, while the British or Black Hawk's band, are located 
in the Indian Territory, with a lineal descendant of the old chief 


at their head. Many efforts were made by the United States of- 
ficials to reunite the Sauks into one nation, with Keokuk at its 
head, but in vain. They were partially united from and after 
the treaty at Fort Armstrong, of September 21, 1832 to 1839, but 
it proved abortive. They could no more adhere and coalesce 
than oil and water. 

The rivalry which had been so long and so sharp between 
Black Hawk and Keokuk, extended through the entire Nation, 
the gentes and phratries taking sides and fomenting the natural 
enmities of their favorite Chiefs, Both were great men in every 
sense of the term, orators, warriors, patriots and statesmen. 
Saukenuk being located near the Mississippi, while their corn 
lands extended to the south bank of that great highway of 
travel, these Indians were brought in almost daily contact 
with the white people, who passed up and down in all manner of 
water craft, long before the building of Fort Armstrong, in 1816; 
and after that time, friendly relations existed between these In- 
dians and the officers and soldiers of the Fort, more espe- 
cially with Col. Davenport, who opened a trading house on the Is- 
land, near the Fort. Hence their opportunity to learn the "white 
man's path" were good, and being naturally quick of perception, 
they soon copied and adopted the white man's way of doing every- 
thing, except to speak our language, in this they were deficient. 
Their tenacity in adhering to their own language was more from 
prejudice than lack of ability to speak it. In the arts of hus- 
bandry or agriculture they made rapid progress, as well as in 
many other respects. These facts are the solution of their near 
approach to actual civilization. 



Location and Extent of their Farm-Lands, and the Tenure by which they were 
Held. How their Lands were Allotted, Fenced and Cultivated. Their Legend 
about the Origin of Corn, Beans and Tobacco, 

Of late where yonder forest green 

Now stands in beauties' form, 
Three thousand acres might be seen 

In silk and tasseled corn ; 
No stick or twig, no bush or tree 

Stood on that rich plateau, 
Of grass and weeds it then was free. 

Some fifty years ago. 

The Sauks cultivated in corn, beans, pumpkins, squashes, tobac- 
co, etc., nearly, if not fully, three thousand acres of table lands 
upon the peninsula lying between the Mississippi and Eock rivers. 
These rivers at this point run nearly parallel for many miles, 
forming a peninsula, which is from two to six or eight miles in 
width. At the point where their farms were located, the penin- 
sula is about three miles across. Commencing at a point some 
three miles above the mouth of Eock river is an elevated plateau 
of land, which maybe called a promontory. Starting at the bank 
of Eock river, in a narrow point, this promontory rises abruptly 
some sixty or seventy feet, and runs almost in a direct northeast- 
erly direction, to within about one-half mile of the Mississippi. 
After leaving the Eock river bank the elevation drops off, forming 
a plateau of beautiful table-land, embracing several thousand 
acres, all sloping from southeast to northwest. Upon these table- 
lands were the cultivated farms of these Indians, all of which, 
but a little over fifty short years ago, were enclosed, and over 
three thousand acres in one body under cultivation by the Sauks 
and Foxes. 

There were but few Foxes living on the peninsula, their princi- 
pal village being on the Iowa side of the Mississippi. These two 
tribes not only joined territories but fences at this point, so that 
starting on the north bank of Eock river, they ran a line of post 
and rail (more properly pole) fence from thence to the south bank 


of the Mississippi, near the foot of the island of Eock Island, a 
distance of about four miles in the line built upon. The high 
bank of Rock river running east from the south end of their fence, 
formed the south fence, while the Mississippi formed the north 
one, and the high promontory to the northeast formed the other 
fence. Immediately west of and following the west line of fence, 
was a well beaten and extensively traveled road, leading from 
Saukenuk to the Mississippi, or the island, where Fort Armstrong 
(built in- 1816, and named in honor of Gen. John Armstrong, then 
Secretary of War,) and the trading house of Col. George Daven- 
port stood. West of this road, and fence, extending to the mouth of 
Kock river, the land is low and flat. Here was their pasture land, 
upon which hundreds, yea, thousands of their hardy little ponies 
grazed. It was thoroughly sodded to blue grass, furnishing pas- 
ture equal to the finest blue grass fields of Kentucky. The con- 
struction of their fences was decidedly pristine, and when com- 
pleted they were neither safe nor durable. Their only tools were 
the tomahawk and scalping-kmfe. Their posts were made by 
cutting down small saplings and haggling them off to the proper 
length, then sharpening one end, in a rather rough way, and 
driving the sharpened end into the ground, at about eight feet 
apart, along the line where they wished to build. Then cutting 
down smaller sapplings, they split them in two, as nearly equal 
parts as practicable, and lashed them with strips of bark or hick- 
ory withes to the posts (flat side to the post), putting on about 
five split poles to the panel. What, between the heavy dews, 
and pouring rains,, succeeded by scorching suns and arid winds, 
these barken nails, or fastenings, were like the modern Boards of 
Trade and Bucket Shops, subject to sudden expansion and con- 
traction, which, like the bulls and bears of trade, played havoc 
with their corn. For, with their expansion and contraction, the 
rails were permitted to slide down the posts, thus forming gaps 
through which their horses and hogs entered their fields to forage 
on the growing crops. Hence their fences were not unlike cheap 
clocks constantly out of repair. They neither had nails or 
knew their use, nor would they have used them if they had. They 
were conscienciously opposed to innovation, or change, and reli- 
giously believed in doing ast heir fathers had done before them. 
The lower rails, or poles, were placed comparatively close to- 
gether, to prevent their knife-blade-shaped hogs from sliding 
through into their cornfields. To guard against depredations of 


their ponies was not difficult, because the little brutes, though 
naturally treacherous and vicious, were not hard on fences, or 
breachy. They were well contented with munching the succulent 
blue grass, or bucking their unsuspecting riders into some pond 
or ditch, kicking their heels high into the air, and galloping back 
to join the heard, occasionally looking back to fully enjoy the dis- 
comfiture of their late riders. 

But with the advent of the white settlers in that locality, whose 
horses and cattle partook of the avaricious and breachy nature of 
their owners, the sapling fences of these Indians were merely cob- 
webs in their road to their growing cornfields. These pioneer 
white people began settling near Saukenuk as early as the spring 
of 1829. In the latter part of June, in that year, when the Indian 
corn was about knee-high, the stock of these white people were 
making nightly raids upon it, when Keokuk personally visited 
every white settler in the vicinity, and begged of them to- keep 
their stock confined of night, saying that by day the Indian 
squaws and pappooses would keep watch and ward over their fields. 
To this reasonable request, all except Einnah Wells readily as- 
sented, but he flatly refused so to do. Now, he had jumped the 
claim of an Indian and planted quite a field of corn, and inclosed 
his field with a substantial rail fence. His corn was growing 
finely, and bid fair to produce a heavy yield. He was also the 
owner and possessor of several horses and quite a heard of cattle, 
which were, on the evening of the day when Keokuk had made 
the request, as usual, all turned loose to forage on the fine blue 
grass or growing Indian corn, as they might prefer, but liked corn 
the better. On the morrow, when Mr. Wells sought to find his 
stock, he discovered that they had made a mistake a serious 
mistake ; for, instead of making their usual raid upon the Indians' 
cornfields, they had Utterly devoured some five or six acres of his 
own. By some unknown cause, the bars entering his field had 
been opened or let down, and left in that condition. Mr. Wells 
accused the Indians of doing it. His suspicions were probably 
correct, with the verdict in favor of the Indians that they "served 
him right." The stock of Einnah Wells, thenceforward, were 
restrained of their liberty at night. 

Nearly all of the farming lands of the Sauks, near Saukenuk, 
were enclosed in one vast common field, which embraced about 
three thousand acres of tilled table lands, lying along the western 
and northern slopes of the promontory, from which the timber 


had been completely removed, even to the stumps, and subdi- 
vided into small lots, to suit its occupants. Their cross-fences, 
as a rule, however, were constructed of brush, while in some 
instances the dividing lines were merely stakes. While the great 
majority of those who worked these cornfields lived in Saukenuk, 
some had their lodges built upon their cornfields. The size of 
their fields varied in proportion to the number in the family or 
gens. Their title to the land they individually cultivated, was 
merely possessory. The fee was vested in the nation, and could 
not be divested, except upon recommendation of their council 
and vote of the assembly. In dividing up these farm lands 
among the families, the council of their chiefs had supreme con- 
trol, without submitting their action to the assembly for approval. 
Ten acres to one family was a large allotment. When once 
allotted, a possessory title attached, which lasted year after 
year, dr until voluntarily abandoned. Their principal crop was 
corn, of which they raised three distinct kinds, to- wit : First, a 
small kind of sweet corn, which matured very early. This was 
raised for roasting-ears. Secondly, a larger kind of flinty, hard- 
kernelled corn, for hominy; and, thirdly, a still later, large-eared 
corn, whose kernels were comparatively soft. This was their 
meal corn. 

They also raised pumpkins and squashes in abundance, with 
smaller quantities of tobacco, artichokes, and more recently, 
potatoes. The beautiful island of Rock Island, lying slightly 
above the city of Rock Island, embracing nearly one. thousand 
acres of magnificent bottom land, was their garden and orchard, 
where they dug artichokes and gathered plums, strawberries, 
gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries, choke cherries, crab apples, 
etc. To the northeast of their farm lands were those of the Foxes, 
located on the south bank of the Mississippi. But the farm lands 
of the latter were small, as compared with those of the Sauks. 
The fee to their lands being vested in the nation, the individual 
holdings were in the nature of an estate in joint tenancy rather 
than as tenants in common. Hence, individual ownership in fee, 
with power of alienation, did not, nor could not exist. They had 
no conception of title to land in severalty, with power to sell and 
convey the fee to other persons. Each and every family, gens or 
phratry, had the undisputed right to select, and apply to the coun- 
cil for the assignment or allotment of such unoccupied land 
belonging to the nation as they desired. Of course, two or more 


claimants' might, and often did, select the same land. In such 
cases the council investigated the matter and decided in accordance 
with the right, and from their decision no appeal would lie. Upon 
such allotment being made, the allottee became seized and pos- 
sesssed of a possessory title or dower interest in the land so allot- 
ted. This interest was held sacred and inviolable by all the tribe, 
so long as the allottee continued its cultivation. 

Continuous accupancy, in our sense of the word, was neither 
indispensible or essential, to maintain this possessory right, nor 
need the claimants build their lodges upon it, in order to hold 
title. But to confirm the allotment, the allottee must define the 
boundaries of the land claimed, by fences or stakes, and make 
some improvements, by way of breaking the soil or planting some 
part of it to crop. This done, the allottee might go off and re- 
main absent for months without in the least jeopardizing his 
rights, but the fee to the allotted land still vested in the nation. 
This possessory right was, therefore, but a usufruct title, 
good only during occupancy. Yet it had certain other qualifica- 
tions, which changed the holdings into a qualified usufruct title, 
which qualifications were in favor of the allottee. They were 
these the right of decent and power of sale. But the latter only 
extended to the improvements or betterments, and did not affect 
the fee. Under their rules of descent, the heir is the nearest of 
blood kin. Thus, the property of the husband descended to his 
children in equal parts, but if he left no children, it descended to 
his parents, brothers and sisters. The widow was absolutely dis- 
inherited in such cases. This qualified usufruct title, descended 
from generation to generation, and could only be terminated by 
the voluntary abandonment of the allottee and his heirs, but 
could not be assigned to a stranger. Upon a determination to 
abandon the land so allotted, the allottee could sell and transfer 
the betterments or improvements, but not the right of possession, 
except by the consent of the council, manifested by a new allot- 
ment. Hence, this possessory right was analogous to a dower in- 
terest, as the improvements thereon made by the allottee could 
only be sold to the successor in possession. Thus, there could 
not arise a conflict between the owner of the improvements, and 
a new allottee of the possessory right. It, therefore, followed as a 
natural sequence, that since there could be no individual owner- 
ship in fee in their real estate, they had no land owners or land- 
lords and tenants. 


Not being permitted to own lands in fee, there could exist no 
desire to obtain even a possessory right to any considerable 
quantities of land. Nor, indeed, did they have any inducement 
to strive for wealth of any kind. Hence, they were relieved from 
the presence of Shylocks, money-lenders, note-shavers and cor- 
porations for pecuniary gain. Though exempt from the baleful in- 
fluence of what has been aptly termed the "root of all evil" the 
love of money let it not be understood that they were want- 
ing in ambition and rivalry. On the contrary, a sharp, and not 
infrequently bitter, rivalry existed continuously. It appeared in 
their national games and sports, in contests of strength, skill 
and endurance, in the chase and on the war-path, in love, music, 
dancing, rowing, swimming, shooting, throwing the tomahawk 
and spear, in casting a heavy stone, foot and horse racing, and in 
everything they did. Natural born gamblers, they strove to excel 
in all the games of chance within their knowledge. Fond of 
applause and inordinately vain, their whole lives were but one 
incessant strife to win the plaudits of their tribe. They knew 
nothing of the relations of employer and employe, and therefore 
were strangers to labor strikes and demands for increase of 
wages or short day's work. Their manual labor was performed 
by their squaws and pappooses, while the husband and father did 
the hunting and fishing. Their annuities from the United States, 
from sales of their lands, were divided per capita and pro rata, 
the child being entitled to the same share that the parent 
receivd. To this rule there was an exception in favor of their 
chiefs. They were entitled each to five shares, and when paid in 
goods, they had the first choice in the order of their rank as such 
chief, and out of the first payment, after the nation made a sale, 
a reasonable compensation was taken from the gross amount 
received, and equitably distributed among those who had made 
and owned the improvements upon their allotments of improved 
lands. In the purchase of Indian lands our Government has 
always recognized and adhered to the rule, established under 
James the II. in colonial days, which is, that the right to acquire 
land by a government is vested in the sovereign as an exclusive 
prerogative. Even where special reservations have been made in 
treaties of purchase and cession to individual members of the 
tribe making the sale, as in the treaty of Prairie Du Chien of July 
29, 1829, with the Pottawattamies, Ottawa s and Chippewas, in 
which many reservations to indivadual Indians and half-breeds 


were made, such reservations were held by our Government to be 
merely usufruct and the title vested in the United States when 
the resevee abandoned its actual possession. A hard and cruel 
rule, under which the noble old Shaubenee was robbed of his 
beautiful home at Shaubenee's grove, in Dekalb County, Illinois, 
on his going west of the Mississippi merely on a short visit 
after an occupancy of twenty years. Under that treaty the 
Pottawattamie Nation specially reserved from their deed of ces- 
sion two sections of fine timber land for a home for Shaubenee, 
their Head-man, and in 1849, during his temporary absence, the 
Commissioner of the General Land Office decided that he for- 
feited his right by abandonment, and therefore sold these 1,280 
acres to white men at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, 
and converted the money into the United States Treasury to the 
credit of the public land sales' account. Such shameful and op- 
pressive acts as this have been the fruitful source of many cold- 
blooded murders upon innocent persons, as will be more fully 
illustrated in subsequent chapters. 

The Indian rule prohibiting individual ownership in their pub- 
lic domain has therefore been applied by our government, as 
against Indians ; hence, no individual ownership by them has 
ever been sanctioned or recognized by our government. It will, 
therefore, be seen that the advantage is all on the side of the 
white man, and the law, as defined, is to the white man all 
turkey; to the Indian rank turkey buzzard, and a downright, 
unmitigated robbery of the latter ; for under this rule our govern- 
ment took possession of lands it never bought, or even agreed to 
buy ; lands that were specially reserved in and by the terms and 
conditions of their deeds of cession, and sold them to her own citi- 
zens, even withholding the money received therefor from its legal 
owners. And this they did in direct violation of their own funda- 
mental law, which declares that "private property shall not be 
taken for public use without just compensation." In robbing 
these Indian reservees of their lands, our government has not even 
taken the usual course of condemnation proceedings required by 
law when the private property of the citizen is taken for the use of 
the public. Against this robbery the poor reservee has no remedy. 
Indeed, the Indian is utterly incapable of meeting white men 
with any safety in the field of trade and barter. The latter 
always have overreached and completely vanquised the former in 
business transactions. 


The Indian has no standard of values, and no means of fixing 
any kind of relative values upon his lands, or of the utility or im- 
portance of their possession to him and his tribe as a home. Did he 
own the title in fee and in severalty with unrestricted power of 
sale and alienation, six hours would afford the scheming Yankee 
ample time to trade him out of house and home. A jug of whisky, 
with a few gew-gaws, were all the capital required to make the 
purchase and obtain the title. Hence, in this respect it was well 
that the Indian could not sell and convey his individual land. As 
applicable to the Sauk Nation their title in real estate may be 
summed up under the following brief statement : 

First The fee was vested in the entire nation, who alone could 
sell and convey it through the recommendation of their council 
of chiefs, and a majority vote of the people through their assem- 
bly, duly convened for that purpose, and upon a careful consid- 
eration of the subject. 

Secondly They knew no such thing as individual ownership in 
fee, their highest individual title being merely possessory or a 
qualified usufruct, which was the subject of descent, but not of 
sale or barter with conveyance or alienation, while their improve- 
ments were held as a kind of dower interest and subject to sale 
to the allottee, but to none other. 

Thirdly Individuals, whether chiefs or otherwise, without ex- 
ception, held but the right to use certain defined lots for their sus- 
tenance, which was hereditary in the male line after bei'ng 
allotted by the council, subject to conditions of cultivation by or 
in their own names, but could not be sublet by them. 

In speaking of the manner in which his tribe held title to 
their lands, Black Hawk uses this language: "My reason 
teaches me that land cannot be sold. The Great Spirit gave 
it to his children to live upon and cultivate as far as necessary 
for their subsistence, and so long as they occupy and cultivate it 
they have the right to the soil ; but if they voluntarily leave it, 
then any other people have a right to settle on it. Nothing can 
be sold but such things as can be carried away." 

The celebrated Couchant Tiger Tecumseh in a speech de- 
livered to Gen. Harrison and associates at Vincennes, Indiana, 
Aug. 12, 1810, said: "The being within, communing with the 
past ages, tells me that once, nor until lately, there was no white 
men on this continent. That it then belonged to the red men, 


children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Spirit that 
made them, to keep it, to traverse it, to enjoy its productions and 
fill it with the same race. Once a happy race, since made miser- 
able by the white people, who are never contented, but always 
encroaching. The way, and the only way, to check and stop this 
evil is, for all the red men to unite in claiming a common and 
equal right in the land as it was at first and should be yet, for it 
never was divided, but belongs to all for the use of each. That no 
part has a right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers. 
Those who want all will not do with less. The white people have 
no right to take the land from the Indians, because they had it 
first it is theirs. They may sell, but all must join. Any sale not 
made by all is void. * * * It requires all to make a bargain for 
all. All red men have equal rights to the unoccupied land. The 
right of occupancy is as good in one place as another. There 
cannot be two occupancies in the same place. The first excludes 
all others. It is not so in hunting or traveling, for then the same 
ground will serve many, as they may follow each other all day, 
but the camp is stationary, and that is occupancy. It belongs to 
the first who sits down on his blanket, or skins, which he has 
thrown on the ground, and till he leaves it no other has a right." 

From this speech of Tecumseh it would seem that an Indian 
had the right to select any unoccupied land of his nation, and take 
possession without having it allotted him by the council. In this 
only did the laws of the Shawanees differ from those of the Sauks, 
with the preference in favor of the latter, which gave a much 
clearer title than those of the former, in this, under the laws of 
the Sauks, the claimant of this possessory right to a part of the 
land of the tribe must first apply to the council for an allotment, 
the size of which is governed by the number of the family or gens 
of the applicant. If small in number, the allotment is corres- 
pondingly small if large, then the quantity is allotted corres- 
pondingly large. This allotment must be clearly defined by the 
allottee by fences or stakes, and in addition to all this, public 
announcement was made thereof by the village crier, thus mak- 
ing the highest record of it known to the nation. 

The principal farm lands of the Sauks were located on the 
western slope of the promontory, and extended from Rock 
river in a northeasterly direction until it touched or joined 
those of the Foxes. The latter embraced in the neighbor- 
hood of five hundred acres, leaving about two thousand and five 


hundred acres belonging to the Sauks in one body. But, in addi- 
tion to these lands lying upon the uplands, they cultivated small 
fields upon the two small islands in Eock river, lying south of 
Saukenuk, known as Vandruffs and Big Islands. These fields 
added to the main field aggregated well up towards three thousand 
acres of land under actual cultivation by the Sauk tribe near 
Saukenuk. If we add to this the lands under cultivation at 
Quashquamme's village on the Des Moines river, Iowa, and the 
Prophet's village on Eock river, the total number of acres under 
actual cultivation by this nation may be safely stated at not less 
than three thousand acres. This appears to be an extravagant 
statement, but is fully corroborated by the facts. Even to-day 
the lines of these cultivated fields upon the western slope of the 
promontory, between the Eock and Mississippi rivers, are clearly 
defined by their corn hills, notwithstanding the lapse of over fifty 
years since they were cultivated, and the heavy growth of timber 
now there, where at that time scarcely a bush or twig could be 

Two causes have combined in preserving these land-marks of 
Indian agriculture. First, they always planted in the same hill 
from year to year, and generation to generation, hoeing around the 
hill to renew the soil and strengthen the growth, thus forming 
hillocks surrounded by ditches. Secondly, the bottom land lying 
immediately west of these cornfields had been pastured by their 
large herds of ponies for a century or more, and thoroughly set 
to blue grass, which, upon the exit of the Indians, June 26, 1881, 
went to seed, and the seed was blown upon and completely seeded 
the broken-up corn land, so that the whole surface became a mat 
of tough blue grass sod, which preserved these elevated corn hills 
from washing down. Hence they have been preserved and are 
still very clearly defined. These corn hills are about three and a 
half feet apart, and run in straight lines. In their earlier days at 
farming, their farming tools or implements were few, and crude 
in the extreme. But as they gradually became acquainted with 
the white people and their farming implements, they adopted 
them and utilized their knowledge in their use. Thus during the 
last dozen years or more before their removal from Illinois, they 
used the plow in preparing their soil to some extent, and also in 
cultivating their corn, of which they not only raised a sufficient 
quantity for their own use, but for sale and barter. At one time 
they contracted, sold and delivered to Col. Davenport three thou- 
sand bushels of corn, which he bought for the use of the soldiers' 


horses at Prairie Du Chien, whither he shipped it. It seems like 
a strange story to say that any tribe of the American Indians 
was ever found as far back as 1816 cultivating large fields of maize, 
or Indian corn, and that, too, successfully raising more than they 
could consume, and selling large quantities of it to our Govern- 
ment. Yet the statement is true, and can be substantiated as to 
the sales by the record ; and as to the number of acres under cul- 
tivation on the western slope of the promontory near Eock Island, 
by the corn hills before described. 

Their legend as to the origin of corn, beans and tobacco, as 
given by Black Hawk, is as follows: "According to tradition, 
handed down to our people, a beautiful woman was seen to 
descend from the clouds and alight upon the earth, by two of 
our ancestors, who had killed a deer and were sitting by a fire 
roasting a part of it to eat. They were astonished at seeing her, 
and concluded that she was hungry and had smelt the meat. 
They immediately went to her, taking with them a piece of the 
roasted venison. They presented it to her. She ate it, telling 
them to return to the spot where she was then sitting at the 
end of one year, and they would find a reward for their kindness 
and generosity. She then ascended to the clouds and disap- 
peared. The men returned to their village and explained to the 
tribe what they had seen, done and heard, but were laughed at 
by their people. When the period had arrived for them to visit 
the consecrated ground where they were to find a reward for their 
attention to the beautiful woman of the clouds, they went with a 
large party, and found where her right hand had rested on the 
ground, corn growing, where her left hand had rested beans, and 
immediately where she had been seated, tobacco. The two first 
have ever since been cultivated by our people as our principal 
provisions, and the last is used for smoking. The white people 
have since found out the latter, and seem to relish it as much as 
we do, as they use it in different ways, namely, smoking, snuf- 
fing, and chewing." How they obtained pumpkins and squashes 
and the knowledge of cultivating or using them, he fails to state. 
Nor does he mention more than one kind of corn as being found 
where this nymph from the clouds rested her right hand upon the 
earth. He seems to have been delighted at the thought of the 
white men being greater fools than the red men in using the nox- 
ious weed in different ways from the Indian, by adding snuffing 
and chewing to smoking. 


That the Sauks as a nation were both numerous and industri- 
ous are self-proven propositions, or they could not and would not 
have cultivated, by means of the rude hoe, three thousand acres 
of land. In agriculture, as well as oratory and intelligence, they 
were the foremost Indian tribe in North America. They were 
brave and chivalric, yet naturally humane and always kind to 
their captives. Never, indeed, did they torture with fire, or make 
their prisoners run the gauntlet, yet they adhered as a rule to the 
savage custom of scalping those whom they killed. This was a 
part of their religion, upon the theory that the soul of the 
deceased, if the scalp-lock is taken, can never reach the happy 
hunting ground, any more than can the soul of him who is 

We may safely say that all nations of. the American Indian 
believe that there are at least two ways by -which the soul of the 
dead may be barred of the spirit land. One is by being scalped, 
the other hung. Both of these were considered imprisonment of 
the soul. Hence, it was an unpardonable sin 'to kill an enemy on 
earth and suffer his soul to pass to the happy hunting grounds, 
where the fight might be renewed when the slayer's soul should 
follow it thither. Thus, the Indian is ever eager to scalp his 
enemy and careful to protect his own scalp. The most daring and 
reckless charges are made by the Indian to bear off from the bat- 
tlefield the bodies of their slain before they are scalped. And 
since they believe the soul passes out at the mouth with the last 
gasp for breath of the dying body, death by strangulation or 
hanging prevents its escape. But, as they are all firm believers 
in the immortality as well as the indestructibility of the soul, 
their theory is that the soul of him who is scalped or hung, 
ever conscious of its position, is held captive'in or close by the 
dead body, and ever remains there, even after the entire decom- 
position of the body. This, then, is their lowermost hell. To 
stand like Moses upon the mount and view the happy hunting 
grounds, but not permitted to enter there. 

The Sauks, like other Indian tribes and all primitive peoples, 
were full of superstition, and saw signs from on high in the flight 
of the birds through the air, the courses of snakes in the grass, 
the yelpings of the wolf or motioning of the ears of their horses, 
and interpreted them satisfactorily to themselves. Many a time 
and oft would an entire war party start on a foray and hastily 


return without striking a blow because something occurred which 
they interpreted as a bad sign, notwithstanding they had met 
with nattering omens of success up to that point. 

Every Indian brave or warrior selected and compounded his 
Big Medicine or charm before he went upon the war-path. In 
the combination of various incongruous substances, one ingre- 
dient at least must be peculiar to himself. What that special 
ingredient should be, was the subject of serious thought and 
many dreams. He fasted and labored in solving this, to him, the 
most important problem of his life, until he sank into a semi-con- 
scious condition, during which he saw, or thought he saw, in a 
vision the ingredient specially intended by the Good Spirit for 
his medicine bag, and, upon being restored from his trance to 
consciousness, he at once adopted it. Having procured it, he 
placed it in a small buckskin pouch, then securely sewed it up and 
suspended it on a chord, so it would rest upon his breast, where 
it ever after reposed and was buried with him. This special 
ingredient was kept a profound secret, even from his wife. Once 
revealed, its charm was gone. It was, to his mind, the pledge 
between himself and the Great Spirit, and too sacred to be 
revealed. Once selected, this special ingredient became his 
special charm, never to be changed unless its possessor met with 
a series of misfortunes and accidents. In that event, he went 
into a second trance in search of another vision and charm. 

Their medicine bag was a very 'different thing from their totem, 
which is their individual coat-of-arms, and is displayed to the 
gaze of all, and ever subject to inspection. Their belief in the 
existence of a Good and a Bad Spirit coincides very closely with 
that of the Christian world, who also believe the same. The one 
they call God the other devil the latter having tenfold more 
power over human actions and conduct than God Himself. These 
Indians could not reconcile in their minds and reasons how the 
all-good and all-powerful God could suffer or permit the all-bad 
god to commit so many evil deeds, and still control and win so 
many souls. The nice distinctness of the Christians' belief were 
too metaphysical for their understanding ; hence, they preferred 
the faith of their ancestors, and Christianity found no lodgment 
in their Nation. Their belief as to Heaven was a Land of Dreams, 
located in the far distant West beneath the evening star. Upon 
the death of a member of their tribe, their High Priest or Big 
Medicine sprinkled the grave with holy tobacco to drive away 


evil spirits. He also placed some of it in the coffin, accompany- 
ing the act with incantations to the spirit of the departed for its 
kindly intercession with the Great Sowana to prepare the living 
for an entrance to the Happy Hunting Grounds when the Panguk* 
should call for them to depart hence. 

*God of Death. 



Sauk-e-nuk, the Ancient City of the Sauks Its Location, Construction, Population, 
Government, Antiquity, Home-Life Black Hawk's Watch Tower and Lover's 

"Who has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere, 

With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave; 

Its temples and grottoes and fountains as clear 

As the love-lighted eyes that hung over their wave." LALLA ROOKH. 

Saukenuk or Saukietown nestled at the foot of the promontory, 
on the peninsula, upon the north bank of the Eock river, some 
three and a half miles south of the present city of Eock Island, in 
Eock Island county, in the State of Illinois. This city, for it 
was such in every sense of the word, stood at the foot of the 
rapids of the lovely Eock river, which comes from the northeast, 
winding its course, down through one of the most fertil coun- 
tries in the world, like a silver thread in a ground-work of em- 
bossed green, beneath the shady boughs of giant forest trees. Its 
banks were carpeted with wild roses, lillies and a multitude of 
other wild-flowers, whose sweet fragrance perfumed each passing 
breeze and zephyr. Chiefly fed by springs, the waters of this 
river are pure, bright and sparkling, and come jumping, tumbling 
and bounding over the well-worn rocks of the rapids, rushing on, 
with a musical laugh to join the "Father of Waters" some two 
and a half miles below. 

From the frozen regions of the North came the majestic Missis- 
sippi with its world of waters, at race-horse speed. Her banks, 
on either side, fringed and sheltered by lofty trees and towering 
mountains and bluffs, upon whose brows enormous rocks and 
ledges hang f rowuingly over, as if ready at every moment to break 
loose from restraint, and come tumbling down like an avalanche 
upon the place beneath. Grand old rocks that rested there from 
the time when Adam was created, and Eve was made for his help- 
mate. Eocks, whose size, grandeur and position, bear witness, 
that no hand save that of Omnipotence could have made and 
placed them there, and a glory to Him who made them. This 
peninsula is a wonder land. Its diversity of soil, topography, 
vegetation, rocks, minerals, metals and water courses are such as 


around which cluster the keenest interests of the geologist, min- 
eralogist, metallist and student of nature, independent of the 
great events which have transpired here during the last three cen- 
turies. Here, in this valley, rivaling in -beauty the Vale of Cash- 
mere, and the shores of Lake Como, stood this ancient city of the 
Sauks, which at one time contained, by actual enumeration, 
eleven thousand active, energetic, industrious and intelligent peo- 
ple. And here it had withstood the visitations of time and sea- 
sons, and every attack from enemies without and dissensions and 
plots within, for a century or more immediately preceding its 
destruction in 1831 ; during all of which long period it was doubt- 
less the Queen City of the West, and most populous one this side 
the Allegheny Mountains. 

It was regularly laid off into lots, blocks, streets and alleys, 
with a square or esplanade, and fortified by a brush palisade, with 
gates for entrance. It was a right angle in shape, with its point 
to the southeast, the east line being the longer, extending north 
and south along the base of the promontory. The point of the 
angle resting on the bank of Rock river, with the shorter line 
running down that river, and the longer one toward the Missis- 
sippi. At the point of the angle, or southeast corner of the city? 
stood the lodge, or hodenosote of the old chief, Black Hawk. 
Saukenuk was not a mere aggregation of wigwams and tepees, but 
a permanent Indian abode, composed of the large bark-covered 
long houses known as ho-deno-so-tes, ranging from 30 to 100 feet 
in length and 16 to 40 feet in width. Many of them were the 
home of an entire gens, comprising the families of the grand 
parents, children and grand children, their husbands, wives and 
children. They were built and constructed of poles for frame- 
work and bark for covering. In shape they resembled our arbors. 
Selecting sapplings of proper size and length, they felled, trimmed 
and sharpened the lower ends and sunk them into the ground in 
two straight rows, equidistant apart. The distance between 
these lines or rows of poles was regulated according to the taste 
of the builders and length of their poles. The size of the hodeno- 
sote was governed by the number of persons it was intended to 
shelter and accommodate. Having firmly imbedded the lower 
ends of these sapplings or poles in two lines at interims of about 
four feet, their tops were inclined to the center, meeting and lap- 
ping at the desired height. They were securely lashed together 
with strips of strong, tough bark or hickory withes. When this 



was completed, other sapplings or poles were cut and split into 
equal halves and laid transversely upon these upright poles, com- 
mencing near the ground and upward at about three feet apart, 
lashing them fast at each intersection with thongs of deer skin or 
bark until the center or top was reached. This being done, they 
had a substantial framework upon which to rest their bark casing 
or weather boarding. For this purpose they obtained large blocks 
of bark usually from elm trees cutting it to the proper length 
and straightening the edges so they should meet and leave little 
or no cracks. These pieces of bark were laid upon the frame- 
work and securely bound to it by cutting small holes in the bark 
and running thongs of buckskin through them, and tying them 
around a perpendicular or horizontal pole in the framework. At 
both ends of the framework poles were set in the ground, extend- 
ing up to its intersection with the end arch and securely fastened 
thereto, and placing poles horizontally thereon for the bark cover- 
ing, leaving a doorway of about three feet in width in the center 
at each end, lashing a cross-piece at a distance of about six feet 
above the ground and covering the framework of the ends with 
bark, thus leaving an open doorway at each end of the hodenosote 
open. This was supplied by hanging the well-tanned skin of the 
buffalo from the cross-piece above extending down to the ground. 
The following sketches will more fully illustrate the Hodenosote 
as we now remember them : 

Figure 1. 





Figure 2. 



Figure 1, represents the internal arrangement of a hodenosote 
64 feet long, by 22 feet wide, and is divided into 16 compartments, 
which would accomodate that number of families. The hall 
leading through the center of the building is their general living 
room, while the apartments 8 feet square were their sleeping 
rooms, not being encumbered with chairs or tables, they had 
all the room they needed. The Indian always sits upon a mat 
or skin, flat on the ground. The mark o is their fire pits. Each 
fire served four families, a hole being left through thereof for the 
smoke to escape, as shown in figure 2, which represents the entire 
building. The hodenosote thus completed, afforded a good shel- 
ter from the winds and storms, but were by no means warm. As 
they only used them for their spring, summer and fall residences, 
they served the purpose for which they were designed compari- 
tively well. These Indians spent the later fall and winter months 
at their hunting grounds in Northeastern Missouri, usually 
erecting their snug little wigwams in the heavy timber on the 
two rivers. As a general thing, all the side compartments were 
not used as living or sleeping rooms, but were utilized as store 
rooms for their clothing, saddles, bridles, weapons, etc. 

Their beds were spread upon elastic poles, whose ends rested 
upon cross-pieces, and consisted of the soft skins of the bear, 
panther, wolf, lynx, or catamount. Upon these soft, elastic beds 
they could repose their weary bodies and sleep " on downey beds 
of ease," the envy of kings. Hence, the Indian was the original 
inventor of the spring bed, which has of late become so popular 
with us. But as he failed to apply for a patent, some cute Yankee 
has utilized this Indian discovery, and coined money out of his 

As a general rule, an entire gens or kin occupied a single 
hodenosote. All provisions, whether derived from the field or 
chase, were taken to the long house and held in common for the 
use of its occupants, and free to every member of the hodenosote. 
All had the perfect right to use from the common store what 
they needed to eat, but could not sell or give it or any part thereof 
to an outsider. To this there was but one exception, and that 
exception was in favor of a hungry stranger applying for food. It 
was considered a crime to refuse food to a stranger. Jonathan 
Carver visited the Sauks at Saukenuk as far back as 1776, and 
speaks of their hospitality as follows : "No people are more hos- 
pitable, kind and free than these Indians. They will readily 


share, with any of their own tribe, the last part of their provi- 
sions, and even with those of a different nation, if they chance to 
come in when they are eating." James Adair, whose work was 
published in 1775, says: "They are so hospitable, kind-hearted 
and free that they would share with those of their own tribe the 
last part of their own provisions, even to a single ear of corn, and 
to others, if they called when they were eating, for they have no 
stated meal time. An open, generous temper is a standing virtue 
among them ; to be narrow-hearted, especially to those in want, 
or to any of their own family, is accounted a great crime, and to 
reflect scandal on the rest of the tribe. Such wretched misers 
they brand with bad characters." 

A Sauk, when traveling in his own country, if but to another 
village than his own, inquired for a hodenosote of his own gens. 
If he did not find it, he inquired for one of his own gentes or 
phratry, and finding it, he was kindly received, though he had 
never seen a single member of the household. He was welcome 
to all he needed in the way of refreshments and rest. They had 
their State House, or Sanedrian, corresponding with the Jewish 
Sanhedrim, where the head men and chiefs convened to consider 
public affairs, and where, at other times, the people met to sing, 
dance, feast and rejoice in the presence of the Good Spirit. If a 
stranger called there, he received a hearty welcome and kind 
treatment. Communism entered into and formed their plan of 
life, as well as determined the character of their houses. It was 
a union of effort to procure the means of subsistence, as well as 
safety. A desire for the accumulation of individual wealth or 
property had little or no existence, because there were no induce- 
ments, as before shown. The women governed the hodenosote, 
and, while their stores were in common, each adult was expected 
to contribute their labor and skill towards keeping the hodenosate 
in supply of food, and "woe to the luckless husband or lover who 
was too shiftless to do his share of the providing. No matter 
how many children or whatever goods he might have in the 
house, he might, at any time, be ordered to pick up his blanket 
and budge, and, after such orders, it would not be healthful for 
him to attempt to disobey. The house would soon become too 
hot for him, and unless saved by the intercession of some aunt 
or grandmother, he must retreat to his own clan, or, as was often 
done, go and start a new matrimonial alliance in some other." 


If the reader has been under the impression that the Indian 
squaws were the drudge and obedient slaves of their lazy louts of 
husbands, let him at once abandon it. They were essentially the 
controlling power among the gens and petty tyrants over the 
hodenosotes, as well as among the entire nation, and never hesi- 
tated to exercise this power whenever and wherever the facts and 
circumstances warranted. In defeating a chief for cowardice or 
other unworthy conduct, and relegating him to the ranks as a 
brave or warrior, then nominating and electing his successor 
they took special delight. This is what they called ''knocking 
the horns from the head of the chief." It matters not how high 
the rank, nor how many daring and noble deeds he may have 
performed, if in an evil hour he should commit an egregious 
blunder, he was doomed, and from that doom he could not well 
escape. Theirs was the exclusive prerogative to nominate his 
Successor, and rare, indeed, was the occasion when they did not 
succeed in obtaining votes sufficient to elect him of their choice 
to be the successor. Hence, to him who would be a chief, it 
became important to make friends of the w r omen, and, therefore, 
gallantry was a virtue much cultivated by the ambitious warrior, 
as well as the headmen and chiefs. 

The Sauks belonged to that class known as village Indians, 
and always lived in or near their villages. The hodenosote, or 
long house, is the distinguishing characteristic of their principal 
village, and always means settlement or permanence, while the 
wigwam, or tepee, is equally characteristic of a hunting or 
migratory party, and therefore a mere temporary abode. Their 
hodenosotes were built, as a general rule, facing or fronting upon 
the public square, or other street, and in straight lines, and at 
equidistance from each other. Saukenuk, being in the shape of 
a right-angle, had two public squares, or esplanades, running at 
right- angles with the intersection at the southeast corner. The 
broader, and therefore the Broadway of the city, extended north 
and south along the base of the promontory. This was their 
principal public square, at the southern end of which stood their 
Council Chamber, or Sanedrian, an immense long house without 
partitions. This was used by their council of chiefs, for the 
secret consideration of matters of state, and by the young people 
as their dancing hall, etc. But the public square was the arena 
for the assembly of the people on all great events of a public 
nature. Here were held their mass meetings and national feasts. 


Here, too, were their braves and warriors drilled and instructed in 
the arts of Indian warfare. Here their younger warriors and 
would-be braves tested their skill in the manly arts, and feats of 
strength and endurance. Here, too, were held their war-dances, 
scalp-dances and more terrible sun-dance, and here were held 
their simple religious services, when they offered up to the Great 
Spirit their burnt offerings. Here were their war parties organ- 
ized for the war-path, and recieved upon their return with shouts 
from the people, beating of tom-toms and singing of the wawan- 
aissas, or whippoorwills, as their singing women were called. 
Here, too, the ambitious youth, eager to select his medicine bag 
and adopt his totem, "told o'er his hair-breadth 'scapes" and 
deeds of toil and daring, while on the war-path or in the chase, 
in the most extravagant language, and if they were deemed 
worthy, he was recieved and acknowledged as a brave, with all the 
rights, privileges and benefits it conferred, together with the con- 
gratulations of his loved ones ; if rejected, he bore the great dis- 
appointment with all the stoicism peculiar to the Indian 
character, suffering it, like the youthful spartan's stolen fox, 
to gnaw away at his very vitals without sign or signal of distress, 
and bided his time to try, try again, for the dearly coveted boon. 
It was here their old men expatiated in extravagant similes, on 
their wisdom and experience, of what they had seen and done in 
their youth. Here their prophets declared their visions and 
prophecies, and their sooth-sayers, their auguries, and their Big 
Medicine proclaimed their triumphs over death, and of snatching 
his victims from his very teeth. Here, too, were held their courts 
of justice, with their aged Head-man as their Judge, and their 
most gifted orators as counsel and advocate, full of prece- 
dents and eloquence, some of them gifted with that over- 
whelming eloquence that carried everything before them, elo- 
quence that partook of the nature and power of absolute 
enchantment, now rousing into fury, then softening and soothing 
into tears of compassion. 

The natural scenery surrounding this ancient city was of such a 
wild, weird beauty as to captivate the senses and hold us spell- 
bound in admiration. Scenery of that ravishing kind which drives 
the poet mad in search of apt terms of description, a second 
Eden, prepared by God himself for a special and perpetual 
admonition to His children, of the primal eldest curse of Adam 
and Eve and the enduring penalty therefor, inflicted upon their 


descendents. As the beautiful Bock river approaches the site of 
ancient Saukenuk from the east, it divides into three branches, 
and forms two small islands. The eastern one is the somewhat 
celebrated Vandruff's Island, notorious as being the place where 
I Joshua Vandruff located his whiskey shop in 1829, which, as will 
appear in a subsequent chapter, led to the so-called Black Hawk 
War of 1831, while the middle branch divides Vandruff's from Big 
Island. The lower end of Vandruff's Island drops below the upper 
end of Saukenuk, while the upper end of Big Island laps on the 
lower end of Vandruff's Island. The latter contains an area of 
some two hundred acres, the general surface of which is flat as a 
pancake, and was originally studded with trees, brush and briars. 
Gov. Ford, although one of Gen. Whiteside's Spy Battalion, in 
his celebrated charge upon this island, hereafter described, was 
clearly mistaken when he says "it rose up abruptly so that Gen. 
Games' cannon was ineffective a hundred yards from the shore." 
Big Island is larger and more irregular in surface than Vandruff's. 
The main branch of Eock river, however, is the more northern 
channel, which passes along near the site of this ancient city, and 
is about three hundred feet wide at this point, and too deep to 
ford at ordinary stages of water. Neither of these islands is sub- 
ject to overflows because this river is chiefly fed by springs, and 
therefore, seldom overflows." On the south bank of the south 
branch of Eock river stands the beautiful village of Milan, late 
Camden, nestling beneath the shadows of the grand old bluff of the 
Mississippi, for at this point the south bluff of the Mississippi ex- 
tends beyond the peninsula and takes Eock river in its folds. 
These two islands in Eock river are studded with buildings and 
other improvements, and traversed by a railroad and horse-car 
track at the present time. Milan is connected with the lovely 
city of Eock Island, some four miles north, by a horse-car railway 
and the Eock Island and Peoria railroad, the former making 
hourly trips. Both of the railroads pass through the site of ancient 
Saukenuk, running parallel and only a few rods apart at this 
point, each having their respective bridges across the three 
branches of the Eock river. At Searsville, a small village located 
upon a portion of the site of Saukenuk about a qurter of a mile 
north of the north branch of the Eock river, a branch of the horse 
railroad, but operated by a small steam engine or dummy, con- 
nects with the main track and leads up a ravine in the prom- 
ontory, thence to 



which stands immediately onjtbe north bank of Bock river and 
about half a mile up that river from the upper end of ancient 
Saukenuk, a fine engraving of which is above presented. At the 
lower end of the promontory, near the north bank of Eock river 
and close to the upper end of Saukenuk, the Chippionnock, 
or Silent City of the dead of the Sauks, was located. Unlike the 
greater number of Indian nations of their time they buried their 
dead in the ground. The spot where these burial-grounds were 
located is the lower point of the promontory, and some eighty feet 
above the level where Saukenuk stood. Then denuded of timber, 
it is now thickly studded with trees, many of whose varieties are 


never found elsewhere, except in bottom land. Here upon this 
ridge, for such it is, as a deep ravine passes up through the pro- 
montory some four hundred yards north and runs parallel with 
the river entirely through the promontory, may be seen to-day 
honey locust, black walnut, hackberry, black cherry, basswood, 
or linden, box alder, elm, sycamore, and other kinds of river bot- 
tom timber. Thousands upon thousands of their dead repose 
here without stake or stone to mark the spot where their lives 
ended and their eternity began. 

In this ravine, running through the promontory, two separate 
veins of bituminous coal are found, the lower one being about 
fifty feet from the upper. Both veins furnish good coal, but the 
upper one is too thin to pay for mining, while the lower one is 
fully four feet thick and overlaid with a firm rock or slate roof, 
which renders its mining both safe and profitable. Here Bailey 
Davenport, having run a branch of the Horse Eailroad leading 
from the city of Bock Island to the village of Milan up this 
ravine to the coal mine, is utilizing this fine deposit to advantage, 
shipping coal therefrom to the city of Bock Island. 

Below these beds of coal, lead and iron ores have been found, 
but not in paying quantities. A singular fact in connection with 
this ridge is the great varieties of stone formations found therein, 
and in its vicinity. The ridge may be called a hog's back, and 
extends up Bock river nearly a mile. At about midway of this 
ridge the surface rises up some forty feet for about twenty rods, 
and then drops back to its usual elevation of one hundred feet 
above the surface Of the river. The body of this elevation is St. 
Peter's Sandstone, whose surface is covered with well-sodded rich 
loam, and originally was covered with monster old white oak 
trees. This elevation or peak stands immediately at the water's 
edge, and is known as Black Hawk's Watch- Tower. Extending 
east for a distance of some dozen miles, Bock river comes down 
in nearly a straight line, but on leaving the promontory on the 
west, its course bends northerly, so as to obstruct the veiw in that 

Among the many wonders of this truly wonder land, this grand 
old tower is among the most wonderful. With the exception of 
this tower, and extending up some four hundred yards above, there 
are no sandstone within many miles. Add to this the fact that 
it is located on a peninsula, whose soil was largely formed from 
the drifting and deposit of vegetable matter of these two rivers, 


and the promontory of which the tower is a part, was formed, and 
created in the same way, whose soil is rich as rich can be, the 
great query is how came these sandstone and mineral deposits 
there ? By what freak of mother nature was this hoary old rock 
deposited on this peninsula? It is one of nature's secrets to 
be guessed at, but never satisfactorily solved, unless we as- 
sume that this land, with its rich mineral and rock deposits, 
was there before the birth of the mighty Mississippi, whose 
waters played antics with its surface, and left it in its present 
form and shape. It is at least a subject of wonder and specula- 
tion. The apex of this watch-tower is but a higher elevation of 
the promontory, and accessible by horse rail road, and embraces 
an area of about a quarter of an acre. The fine trees which form- 
erly grew here could not withstand the incessant tramping of 
the feet of the multitude of visitors hither, and gradually died 
and fell into decay, and have finally been removed, leaving not 
even a stump or root to show where they stood. Though used by 
the Sauks as their signal and lookout station for over a century 
prior to their expulsion from Illinois, their soft moccasined feet 
did not affect these tress, and when the Indians left, in 1831, this 
tower was well studded with the monarchs of the forest, in whose 
tops the Indians had constructed platforms for the accomodation 
of their sentinels, one or more of whom was ever on duty. These 
platforms were constructed of poles laid from one large horizontal 
limb to another, closely beside each other, so as to make a sub- 
stantial platform. Perched up among the higher branches of 
these oak trees, about 200 feet above the river's surface at their 
feet, their faithful lynx-eyed sentinel held his station from early 
dawn to dewey eve, and from dewey eve to early morn, his eagle 
eye ever on the alert to note everything that transpired within the 
scope of his vision. To the east he could trace Rock Eiver for 
twelve miles, to the south his vision extended over the bluffs away 
over the prairies. West of the lookout stood Saukenuk, which 
extended north nearly to the Mississippi. Up and down Rock 
river, away over the tree tops, hill and bluff, far over the wide- 
spread prairies and valley, his vision took in every moving object, 
ready to signal the city everything of interest or danger, as well 
as the return of their hunting and war parties, and the approach 
of friends. 

They had a regular system of telegraphy. The watch tower 
was their battery and machine, signal lights their electric wires. 


This is no fiction, but an absolute fact. By the use of fire and 
smoke upon this elevated spot, which could be seen, especially at 
night, for a hundred miles on either side, these Indians commu- 
nicated news with the rapidity of electricity. Black Hawk's 
description of this singular rock and its location is as follows : 
"Our village was situated on the north side of Eock river, at the 
foot of the rapids, on the point of land between Eock river and 
the Mississippi. In front, a prairie extended to the Mississippi, 
and in the rear a continued bluff gently ascended from the prairie. 
On its highest peak our watch-tower was situated, from which we 
had a fine view for many miles up and down Eock river and in 
every direction. * * This tower, to which my name had 
been applied, was a favorite resort, and was frequently visited by 
me, where I could sit and smoke my pipe and look with wonder 
and pleasure at the grand scenes that were presented by the sun's 
rays, even across the mighty water. On one occasion a French- 
man, who had been making his home in our village, brought his 
violin with him to the tower to play and dance for the amusement 
of a number of our people, who had assembled there, and while 
dancing with his back to the cliff, accidentally fell over it and 
was killed by the fall. The Indians say that always, at the same 
time of the year, soft strains of the violin can be heard near that 
spot. On either side of the bluff we had our cornfields, extending 
about two miles up, parallel with the larger river, where they 
joined those of the Foxes, whose village was on the same stream 
opposite the lower end of Eock Island, and three miles distant 
from ours. We had eight hundred acres in cultivation, including 
what we had on the islands in Eock river. The land around our 
village which remained unbroken, was covered with blue-grass, 
which furnished excellent pasture for our horses. Several springs 
poured out of the bluff near by, from which we were well supplied 
with good water. The rapids of Eock river furnished us with an 
abundance of excellent fish, and the land being fertile, never 
failed to produce good crops of corn, beans, pumpkins and 
squashes. We always had plenty. Our children never cried 
from hunger, neither were our people in want. Here our village - 
had stood more than a hundred years, during all of which time 
we were the undisputed possessors of the Mississippi Valley, from 
Wisconsin to the Portage des Sioux, near the mouth of the Mis- 
souri, being about seven hundred miles in length." 


It will be observed that while Black Hawk says they cultivated 
eight hundred acres of land including that on Vandruff 's and Big 
Islands, he says their cultivated lands were two miles up parallel 
with the Mississippi and three miles long, which make six square 
miles. Each square mile containing 640 acres, would make the 
aggregate 3,840 acres of tilled lands. But all of the lands em- 
braced in the two by three miles described by the old chief were 
not suitable for corn lands, and the actual amount cultivated was 
but about 3,000 acres. Hon. Bailey Davenport, of the city of 
Bock Island, is the owner of the greater portion of the land where- 
on Saukenuk stood, including Black Hawk's Watch-Tower, and 
has constructed a horse railway leading from the city of Rock 
Island to Black Hawk's Watch-Tower, on which he has erected a 
neat building on the Swiss cottage plan, with porches on the north 
and south sides for the accommodation of visitors to this his- 
toric place, where they who would, for a short time withdraw 
from the dust, smoke and noise of the crowded, busy streets of 
the city to seek rest and repose beneath the green shade of God's 
umbrellas the trees can inhale the fresh, pure air of heaven, 
ladened with the perfumes of the meadows and glades. He has 
named this building "Black Hawk's Watch-Tower Pavillion." 
Surrounding it long tables and rustic seats are spread over the 
lawn to accommodate picnic and family parties, and on which ice 
cream and other refreshments, except ardent spirits, are served, 
the latter being strictly prohibited from the tower. The pavil- 
ion is well kept. Its rooms are large and nicely furnished, and 
it can be made a very agreeable home, and that too at reasonable 
prices. It is a quiet retreat, away from the busy haunts, where 
you can enjoy the pure air and beautiful scenery to your hearts 
content. It is indeed the most lovely summer resort in the State. 

Standing upon this tower by the pavillion on a pleasant Sab- 
bath in September, 1883, and, for the first time, drinking in and 
absorbing the glorious landscape here presented, and at the same 
time thinking of the many thousand human beings who had pre- 
ceded us hither, of its antiquity as a place of resort, of the 
great city which stood near by, but now no more, we were filled 
with a sad kind of solemn awe, which seemed to say: "Put off 
thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest 
is holy ground." A holy halo surrounded us on all sides, filling 
us with admiration and wonder. An undefinable sense that God 
Himself was near us, and all around us, showing some of His 


most beautiful works, yet tinged with a melancholly reflection 
over the departed greatness of a once highly favored nation, who, 
perhaps, had violated His commandments and broken His laws, 
and were therefor driven forth from this Eden to seek shelter and 
build up a new home in the wilds west of the Mississippi. Like 
silver threads, ran ripplingly along at our feet the three branches 
of the Eock river, while side by side slumbered the two small 
islands. Beyond them, nestled like a bird in her nest, the neat 
buildings and lofty church spires of Milan, whose sweet-toned 
Sabbath bells called His people to His holy alter, and forcibly 
recalled us from our reverie to the solemn fact that that was 
God's holy day, while we felt that we were then standing upon 
His "holy mountain, where God commanded the blessing even 
life everlasting." Away to the east, as far as our vision could 
extend, we beheld the beautiful waters and valley of Eock river ; 
to the south, and as it were, beneath our feet, large herds of 
horses and cattle were lazily grazing the succulent grass upon 
Vandruff's Island; beyond we saw growing fields of corn, and farm 
residencs, upon Big Island ; beyond that the village of Milan, 
flanked by the south bluff of the Mississippi ; away over this bluff r 
over the trees upon its brow, we beheld the prairies, dotted 
with farms like a checker board the happy homes of Eock 
Island's princes the honest and independent tillers of the soil ; 
to the west we saw large mills and factories, railroad briiges 
and cars, moving like things of life and beauty under the mys- 
terious power of steam. 
While standing thus we realized the truth of the aphorism, 

"Some feelings are to mortals given 
With more of earth in them than heaven." 

for the irreverent thought kept pressing upon our mind that if this 
had been the mount to which the devil led our Savior, and this 
the country he offered as the bribe to fall down and worship him 
instead of the barren hills and impoverished vales of Palestine, 
the Christian world of to-day would have been Jews. Yet, with 
all the beauty of this locality, together with its intensely interest- 
ing history, its once powerful inhabitants and large city, the occu- 
lar evidence of which is still here to be seen, all lying within a few 
minutes' travel by rail from the three cities Davenport, Eock 
Island and Moline we venture the assertion that not to exceed 
five per cent, of the 60,COO or more inhabitants of these cities 
have visited the site of ancient Saukenuk, or Black Hawk's 


Watch-Tower, and probably not more than ten per cent, of these 
inhabitants have ever heard of their existence, and if they have, 
were unaware that they are located so near by and can be 
examined and enjoyed for the small sum of twenty cents horse- 
car fare there and return. On the north bank of the Eock Eiver, 
at a point some four hundred yards east of Black Hawk's Watch- 
Tower, was a grotto or cave extending back from the water's edge 
into the promontory. This grotto was doubtless cut out by the 
current of the river, fretting away the soft sandstone rock. At its 
outer edge it was considerably lower than at the rear. From the 
brow of this grotto the high promontory ran up to a hundred or 
more feet at an angle of about 45 degrees. Through this grotto a 
beautiful little streamlet of bright, pure spring water came, per- 
colating through the rock, and formed a pretty little pool near 
the outer edge. With this grotto were several Indian legends 
connected, two of which we deem of sufficient interest to insert. 
The first is from the Santeaux when they had possession of this 
peninsula, the latfer by the Sauks, which occurred as late as 
1827. We give the latter, in the language of Black Hawk, first. 
He says : "In 1827 a young Sioux Indian got lost on the prairie in 
a snowstorm, and found his way into a camp of the Sauks. Ac- 
cording to Indian customs, although he was an enemy, he was 
.safe while accepting their hospitality. He remained there for 
some time on account of the severity of the storm. Becoming 
well acquainted, he fell in love with the daughter of the Sauk at 
whose village he had been entertained, and before leaving for his 
own country, promised to come back to the Sauk village for her 
at a certain time during the approaching summer. In July he 
made his way to the Eock river village, secreting himself in the 
woods until he met the object of his love, who came out to the 
field with her mother to assist her in hoeing corn. Late in the 
afternoon her mother left her and went to the village. No sooner 
had she got out of hearing than he gave a loud whistle, which 
assured the maiden that he had returned. She continued hoeing 
leisurely to the end of the row, when her lover came to her, and 
she promised to come to him as soon as she could go to the lodge 
and get her blanket, and together they would flee to his country. 
But, unfortuately for the lovers, the girl's two brothers had seen 
the meeting, and after procuring their guns, started in pursuit. 
A heavy thunderstorm was coming on at the time. The lovers 
hastened to and took shelter under a cliff of rocks at Black 


Hawk's Watch-Tower. Soon after a peal of thunder was heard, 
the cliff of rocks was shattered in a thousand pieces, and the lovers 
buried beneath, while in full view of her pursuing brothers. Thus 
their unexpected tomb still remains undisturbed." 

That this statement of Black Hawk may be true, is corrob- 
orated and partially established by the unmistakable evidence of 
an extensive land-slide still very distinctly marked at this spot, 
and when Black Hawk said the thunder peal shattered the cliff 
of rocks into a thousand pieces he stated the truth more directly 
than would at first thought appear. Though it is the light- 
ning which destroys instead of the thunder, yet in this case 
it was the concussion or thunder which produced the effect. The 
frail rock-shelf, already crumbling under its thousands of ton's 
weight of earth and trees, upon the side of the promontory, con- 
stantly pressing on it, was ready to break like a pipe-stem at any 
moment, and when the thunder peal vibrated against the promon- 
tory, causing it to tremble and shake, the shelving rock gave way, 
and down came an avalanche of rock, earth and trees, submerg- 
ing the grotto and the lovers many fathoms beneath, and left 
them there entombed where their mortal remains still slumber. 

Thus was the union of the Sauks and the Sioux, who, like the. 
Capulets and Montagues, were hereditary enemies, through the 
inter-marriage of this Borneo and Juliet defeated by death. The 
Santeaux legend, though not of love, is also of death and special 
horror. In point of time, it is much older than the Sauk 
legend, and is as follows : During the occupancy by their 
nation of this peninsula, their young, but brave and popular 
war chief, was missing, and no one knew whither he had gone. 
Neither his wife or any one else had the slightest knowledge of 
his whereabouts, or the cause of his absence. The keenest 
anxiety was felt by the entire tribe for his safety. Thus matters 
continued for several days without tidings from him, when the 
people were assembled on the public square by the village crier 
and public announcement made that their beloved chief had been 
absent several days, and the gravest fears were entertained for his 
safety. No one knew anything as to where he had gone. There- 
upon searching parties were despatched in all directions, who 
returned at night without tidings. On the morrow the entire 
village turned out to renew the search. A small party started up 
Bock river in canoes, and as they passed by this grotto one of the 
canoes was ran up to the cave to enable its occupants to strike a 


light for their pipes. As the first Indian alighted from the 
canoe upon the outer edge of the cave, the sight presented to his 
startled view was such as to curdle his blood, and render him 
speechless with horror. His trembling limbs refused to bear up his 
body and he fell prone upon his face, and as his companions 
rushed forward to learn the cause, a chorus of loud wails from 
their palid lips called a multitude of horrified Santeaux thither to 
gaze upon the horrid sight. There laid the dead body of their 
lost chief upon his back, with his glassy eyes staring at the shelv- 
ing rock above, his scalp-lock gone, his brains strewn over the 
rocks, his heart taken from his body and placed upon his naked 
breast. This they believed to have been done by the Manitou in 
punishment of some secret, and, to them, unknown crime, hence, 
this place, above all others, was from thence forward the home of 
the Bad Spirit, and shunned as the most horrid of horrors. The 
very bravest of their braves ever afterward passed up the farther 
side of the stream, when campelled to ascend or descend Rock 

But Dove Eye, the favorite daughter of their Head-man, al- 
though, she had often heard the horrid legend of the death of one 
of the chiefs of her tribe at this cave of death many years before, 
and fully aware of the superstitions of her people with regard to 
it, frequently sought this lonely retreat solitary and alone, (for 
indeed she could not have induced a living soul to accompany 
her thither,) although it was located over three miles from the 
lodge of her parents. Here would she spend hours, musing and 
communing with her own feelings, dressing her raven locks, 
using the placid water of the little basin as her mirror. This 
legend was used as the basis for an illustration of a fine album 
nearly a half century ago, which contained the engraving of a 
beautiful Indian maiden, in the act of dressing her hair by its re- 
flection from a rivulet or basin as her mirror. As this en- 
graving was upon the first leaf, many efforts at poetry were made 
in dedicating these albums. The finest effort was made by the 
late George H. Kiersted, for many years a public officer of Grundy 
County, Illinois, which, though written by him in the album of 
Mrs. Dinwiddie over forty years ago, has never appeared in print. 
It is as follows : 

Half pleased, half pensive, forrest born; 

Why at the cave at early morn, 

Ere in the vale the God of day. 

With glittering beam has shed his ray, 


Com'st thou to look upon the wave, 

And in its flood thy form to lave? 

Why seek the cave, whose glassy breast, 

By winds unruffled ever rest? 

And where the startled fawn its bed, 

At thy approach hath frightened fled? 

And where the moss and waters meet. 

Why resteth thou thy buskined feet? 

And in its mirrored surface seek, 

Reflection of thy olive cheek? 

"Why deck thy hair with flowers of morn, 

That from the parent stem just torn, 

Upon the boquets foilage bright, 

Still sleep the dewey tears of night? 

Is this thy toilet, Indian maid, 

The brook the glass, thy hair to braid, 

The cave, which hunters feet ne'r grace 

For years long gone, thy dressing place? 

'Tis here tradition marks the ground, 

A chieftian's mangled form was found, 

Each rock and stone was dyed in red 

Around the spot whereon he bled; 

His scalp-lock from his head was torn, 

And o'er the rocks his brains were strewn, 

Upon his breast his heart lay bare, 

And throbbed not when they found it there. 

The legend says 'twas for a crime 

And punishment of wrath divine; 

No human foot-step since that time 

Hath sought that dark retreat save thine. 

The pure soul beaming in thy face 

Shows crime hath there no resting place. 

Then why should'st thou forbear to tread, 

The spot thy bravest warriors dread. 

But more those thoughtful lines express, 

Than will thy modesty confess. 

Tney tell thy heart is far away 

Where thy young lover's footsteps stray. 

Thy spirit hov'ring round his heart, 

Will turn the ambushed foeman's dart; 

Thy spirit's self the guide shall be 

To lead him home to love and thee. 

This immediate locality seems to have been the accursed of the 
peninsula, for shortly after the land-slide in 1827, it became the 
den and winter quarters of numerous and various kinds of snakes, 
which are not entirely eradicated to this day, as we can verify 
from occular demonstration, but those which still seek their win- 
ter quarters there are few and harmless. It is a singular fact, 
not generally known, that every variety of serpent of the same 
locality consort and den together during the winter. The large 
yellow rattler may be found coiled around the harmless garter or 
blue racer. Like the promised time when " the lamb and the 
lion shall lie down together," they pass away the long tedious 
winter months in each others embrace. While inspecting this 


old ruin (in the fall of 1883) we came suddenly upon a couple of 
our old acquaintances, streaked fellows, who caused us to step 
quick, high and careful. Yet we knew they were harmless ; still 
we have no special liking for a snake, even though he be but a 

The story told by Mr. Davenport's quarryman, a few years 
since, who, while taking out stone at this place in the fall, being 
constitutionally lazy, he concluded, rather than walk back to Bock 
Island one pleasant evening, he would lie down and sleep in the 
quarry. Scarcely had he reached that blissful period of forget- 
fulness in slumber ere he felt something cold and chilly crawling 
over him, which brought him from a dead level to a living per- 
pendicular in short meter, when, to his horror, he discovered a 
regular army of snakes, wriggling their way towards the bed of 
rocks from which he had been quarrying stone, seeking their den. 
Quickly arming himself with a club "he smote the enemy hip and 
thigh." If he told the truth, Sampson with his celebrated jaw- 
bone among the Philistines was eclipsed by this quarryman among 
the snakes. But since this slaughter took place since the manu- 
facture of strychnine whiskey, the quarryman's snakes were prob- 
ably located in his boots, the usual result of bad whiskey and 
troubled dreams. He claimed to have killed a barrel full of 
snakes in one night. In closing this article we suggest the name 
"Lover's Tomb" in place of the Cave of Death, to this submerged 



The Origin of the Black Hawk War as given by the Sauks and Confirmed by their 
Agent was: A Dance and a Drunk, an Insulted Indian Maiden, followed by a 
Knock-down, Drag-out and Murder; and then came the Quashauamme 
Treaty of Nov. 3, 1804, by which the Sauks lost about 50,000,000 acres of Land, 
including Saukenuk. This Treaty Given and Criticised. 

Fiddle a little, dance a little, and drink a little rum; . 
Scold a little, fleht a litte, the mischief then is done. 

As the skilled and prudent physician when summoned to the 
sick bed of his patient, first makes a careful diagnosis of the disease 
before ministering to the relief of the sufferer, so should he who 
would write the history of any important event, first carefully 
study the causes which brought into existence the events he would 
describe. Following this principle as our rule of action in writ- 
ing up the Black Hawk War, we have given the subject thorough 
investigation and patient research, the more so because the pri- 
mary or antecedent causes leading to such loss of life and trea- 
sure date back over eighty years, and have never been fully written 
up in anything like connected form. 

Henry the IV. is credited with saying that "wine and women 
are the primary causes of every misfortune." While we do not 
indorse this statement, and enter a protest against uniting the 
demon of intoxicating spirits with the softening and enobling in- 
fluence of woman upon human weal and woe, we are compelled 
to admit that in this case the two were united in producing the 
evil, but whiskey was the primary, woman the secondary cause, 
or in other words, the former was the actual, the latter the acci- 
dental, cause of the trouble. 

Away back in the early spring of 1804, there was located on the 
west bank of the Mississippi, near where Louisiana now stands, 
at the mouth of the Cuvier or Copper river, a small settlement 
of semi-savage white people, known as the " Cuvier Settlement." 
Whether any copper ore was found there or not we are unable to 
state, but presume there was, from the fact that the small river 
which empties into the Mississippi at that point was named 


"Cuvier Eiver," that being the French word for copper. In this 
settlement women were few. Its inhabitants were chiefly French- 
men, who lived by hunting, fishing and farming small patches of 
land. Though immured in the frontier upon the extreme border of 
civilization at that time, whisky had found its way thither, and 
had captured as its patrons and admirers nearly, if not quite, all 
of the inhabitants of this little settlement. 

It is a singular fact that the devil usually steals a march upon 
our Maker in all new settlements. To this general rule Cuvier's 
Settlement was no exception, for whisky was there in abundance. 
The French are the finest of dancers as a rule, and always ready 
to "shake the light fantastic toe," although lady partners were 
few of their own color. But, to supply the deficit, they had a 
ready remedy. Indian maidens were plenty, and easy and grace- 
ful dancers, while the Indian took more solid pleasure in becom- 
ing esquaby* This they could generally accomplish in proper 
short time. Thus, while the young squaws enjoyed the dance, 
poor Lo enjoyed the whisky. These two causes always drew a 
fair attendance of dusky maidens and drunken Indians to their 
cabin dances, which were many. It was at one of these dances 
where the trouble began. A dance took place at the log cabin of 
one of the white settlers of this place, at which, among others, 
were a relative of Quashquamme,t the then Head-man of the 
Sauks, with one of his daughters, a queenly beauty of the forest. 
She was a superb dancer and highly accomplished for an Indian 
belle, and enjoyed dancing to the sweet music of the violin very 
highly. While she was enjoying the dancing, her father paid his 
devotion to the whisky-jug, and became decidedly muddled. As 
the dance went on and whisky circulated among the crowd, the 
male portion of the dancers also became exhillerated, when an 
imprudent young white man, while dancing with this Indian belle, 
attempted undue familiarities with her, which was resented in- 
stantaneously by her leaving the floor. The drunken father 
noticed the act and at once staggered up to the offending youth, 
and in a threatening way and tone demanded an apology, when 
the white man knocked him down with his fist, and seized him 
by the scalp-lock, dragged him to the door and thrust him over 
its threshhold with a vigorous kick, as he would an offending dog. 
This was an insult and wrong never to be atoned except by death. 
On gaining his feet the Indian found the door of the cabin closed 

*Drunk. tjunping Fish. 


against his re-entry. Hence all he could do was to wait and watch 
his opportunity. This came in due time. When, as the offending 
youth opened the door to step out, the Indian's tomahawk went 
crashing through his skull, where he dropped dead at the feet of 
his slayer. This done the Indian, with his daughter, entered his 
canoe and returned up the Mississippi to their home at Saukenuk. 

This transaction occurred while negotiations were pending be- 
tween our government and Napolian for the purchase of what was 
known as the Louisiana Territory, which was effected April 30. 
1804, and Capt. Amos Stoddard was, temporarily, the Governor 
of this vast territorial purchase, with headquarters at St. Louis, 
Mo. His territory included all the country lying north of Chick- 
asaw Bluffs, on the Mississippi, including the territory now within 
the jurisdiction of the States of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and a 
large portion of Minnesota, with all the vast regions of territory 
to the West, extending to the Pacific Ocean, south of the 49th 
degree of north latitude. Hence, the so-called murder was com- 
mitted in the territory of Upper Louisiana, and reported to 
Major Stoddard, then in command. He at once sent a de- 
tachment of United States troops, with a demand upon the 
Head-men and Chiefs of the Sauks, to demand his surrender 
to be tried for murder. Upon their arrival at Saukenuk, he was 
immediately surrendered up to the military authority by the 
Indian Chiefs, and by them 'taken to St. Louis, where he was 
turned over to the civil authorities and lodged in jail, to await the 
slow processss of the law for killing a brute a deed, the perpe- 
tration of which, under the antecedent circumstances, would 
entitle the Indian who did it to the approval and commendations 
of the people of the present time. But he was an Indian, and 
had killed a white man ; therefore, he must suffer the penalties 
of the law. 

After the departure of the soldiers with their prisoner from 
Saukenuk, Black Hawk says : "We held a council at our village 
to see what could be done for him, and determined that Quash- 
quamme, Pashepaho, Ouchequaha and Huxequaxhiqua should 
go down to St. Louis, see our American Father and do all they 
could to have our friend released by paying for the person killed, 
thus covering the blood and satisfying the relatives of the mur- 
dered man, this being the only means with us for saving a person 
who had killed another, and we then thought it was the same way 
with the whites. The party started, with the good wishes of the 


whole Nation, who had high hopes that the emissaries would 
accomplish the object of their mission. The relatives of the pris- 
oner blacked their faces and fasted, hoping the Great Spirit 
would take pity on them, and return the husband and father to 
his sorrowing wife and weeping children." 

This delegation reached St. Louis some time in October, 1804, 
and were, doubtless, surprised at finding out that the crime of 
murder, under the white man's law, could not, as under the 
Indian law, be compromised by the payment of a money or prop- 
erty consideration. Here they fell in with Pierre Choteau, Sr., 
who, as a member of the American Fur Company, knew the Sauk 
Nation well, that they were numerous, intelligent and reliable, 
and at once not only supplied the emissaries with food and cloth- 
ing, but absolutely pressed his goods upon them until his bill, at 
Indian prices, reached the enormous sum (for those times) of 
$2,234.50. To secure the payment of this bill, he proposed to 
General Harrison, the recently appointed Governor of Upper 
Louisiana, embracing the territory of Illinois, the purchase of 
the lands of the Sauks and Foxes, which eventuated in the so- 
called treaty of November 3, 1804. In effecting this treaty, Cho- 
teau had two powerful levers upon Quashquamme and his asso- 
ciates, viz : the liberation from prison and saving the life of his 
friend and relative, the Sauk murderer, and his indebtedness for 
goods, clothes, &c., which he had furnished these emissaries. 
When this treaty was concluded, the Indian prisoner was liber- 
ated, but shot down like a dog in the street before he had gone 
three hundred yards. 

Having briefly stated the cause that led to this treaty, which 
was the bone of contention, we shall give the views of parties then 
living and well qualified to understand both sides of the question. 

The whole controversy hinges upon this treaty, and both sides 
depend entirely upon it for their justification in all subsequent 
matters of dispute and misunderstanding. If that treaty was 
valid then was Black Hawk and his band intruders, trespassers 
and aggressors ; if on the other hand it was invalid, then was 
Black Hawk a patriot and hero, and the action of our government, 
both National and State, indefensible and oppressive in the ex- 
treme, and an outrage not only upon the leaders, but upon those 
who represented them. 

Thus far, although half a century has elapsed since the close 
of this war, no historian has been found with the moral courage 


to give both sides of this question. To do this will be one if not 
the chief object of these pages. Truth should never be concealed, 
feven though it may wound the sensibilities of the living or cast 
|odium upon the dead. Adjutant-General Elliott in his recently 
published "Record of the services of Illinois Soldiers in the Black 
Hawk war of 1831-2" has done much toward showing up the real 
facts connected therewith, but falls far short of giving all the facts. 
He, of necessity, gives but a partial sketch on one side that of 
the whites. Be ours the task to give, as far as possible, a full, 
fair and unbiased history of this war, taken from the histories 
already published thereon and the public press of those days, to- 
gether with our recollections of the event, for we were in it, and 
! although we did no fighting, we stood guard and did some rapid 
< running to -escape imaginary danger from the terrible Black 
; Hawk. 

The late Thomas Forsyth, of St. Louis, Mo., who was Indian 
Agent to the Sauks and Foxes from 1804 to 1830, and therefore 
knew whereof he spoke, left a manuscript among his papers, 
which was written by him in 1832, while Black Hawk was in 
prison at Jefferson Barracks (see Appendix to Waubun by the late 
Mrs. John H. Kenzie), as follows : 

"The United States troops, under command of Maj. Stoddard, 
arrived here (St. Louis) and took possession of this country in the 
month of February, 1804. In the spring of that year a white 
person (a man or boy) was killed in Cuvier Settlement by a Sauk 
Indian. Some time in the Summer following a party of United 
States soldiers were sent up to the Sauk village, on Eocky river, 
and a demand made of the Sauk Chiefs for the murderer. The 
Sauk Chiefs did not hesitate a moment, but delivered him up to 
the commander, who brought him and delivered him over to the 
civil authorities in this place (St. Louis). 

"Some time in the ensuing autumn some Sauk and Fox Indians 
came to this place and had a conversation with General Harrison 
(then Governor of Indian Territory and acting Governor of this 
State, then Territory of Louisiana), on the subject of liberating 
their relative, then in prison for the above murder. Quash- 
quamme, a Sauk chief, who was the Head-man of this party, has 
repeatedly said : ' Mr. Choteau, Sr., came several times to my 
camp, offering that if I would sell the lands on the east side of 
the Mississippi river Governor Harrison would liberate my rela- 
tion, (meaning the Sauk Indian then in prison as above related), 


to which I at last agreed, and sold the lands from the mouth of 
the Illinois river up the Mississippi river as high as the mouth of 
Eocky river, (now Eock river) and east to the ridge that divides 
the waters of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, but I never sold 
any more lands.' Quasquamme also said to Governor Edwards, 
Governor Clark and Mr. Auguste Choteau, Commissioners 
appointed to treat with the Chippewas, Ottowas and Pottawatta- 
mies of Illinois, in the summer of 1816, for lands on the west 
side of Illinois river. ' You white men may put on paper what 
you please, but again I tell you I never sold any lands higher up 
the Mississippi than the mouth of Eocky river.' 

" In the treaty just mentioned, the line commences opposite to 
the mouth of Gasconade river, and running in a direct line to the 
head waters of Jefferson* river, thence down that river to the 
Mississippi river thence up the Mississippi river to the mouth of 
the Wisconsin river thence up that river thirty- six miles 
thence in a direct line to a little lake in Fox river of Illinois, down 
Fox river to Illinois river to its mouth thence down the Missis- 
sippi river to the mouth of the Missouri river thence up that 
river to the place of beginning. (See treaty given herein, dated 
at St. Louis, Nov. 3, 1804), The Sauk and Fox Nations were 
never consulted, nor had any hand in this treaty, nor knew any- 
thing about it. It was made and signed by two Sauk Chiefs, one 
Fox Chief and one warrior. "When the annuities were delivered 
to the Sauk and Fox Nation of Indians, according to the treaty 
above referred to, (amounting to $1,000 per annum) the Indians 
always thought they were presents, (as the annuity for the past 
twenty years was always paid in goods, sent on from Georgetown, 
District of Columbia, and poor articles of merchandise they were 
very often damaged and not suitable for Indians) until I, as 
their agent, convinced them of the contrary in the summer of 
1818. When the Indians heard that the goods delivered to them 
were annuities for land sold by them to the United States, they 
were astonished, and refused to accept the goods, denying that 
they ever sold the lands, as stated by me, their agent. The Black 
Hawk in particular, who was present at the time, rflade a great 
noise about this land, and would never receive any part of the 
annuities from that time forward. He always denied the author- 
ity of Quashquamme and others to sell any part of these lands, and 

There is no such river in this country, therefore this treaty is null and void of 
no effect in law or equity. Such was the opinion of the late Gov. Howard. 


told the Indians not to receive any presents or annuities from any 
American otherwise their lands would be claimed at some future 
day. As the United States do insist and retain the lands accord- 
ing to the treaty of Nov. 3, 1804, why do they not fulfill their part 
of that treaty as equity demands ? The Sauk and Fox Nations 
are allowed, according to this treaty, ' to live and hunt on the 
lands ceded, as long as the aforesaid lands belong to the United 

" In the spring of the year 1827, about twelve or fifteen families 
of squatters arrived and took possession of the Sauk village, near 
the mouth of the Eock river. They immediately commenced de- 
stroying the Indian bark boats. Some were burned, others were 
torn to pieces ; and when the Indians arrived at the village and 
found fault with the destruction of their property, they were 
beaten and abused by the squatters. The Indians made complaint 
to me as their agent. I wrote to Gen. Clark, (Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs at St. Louis,) stating to him from time to time 
what happened, and giving a minute detail of every thing that 
passed between the whites (squatters) and the Indians.* The 
squatters insisted that the Indians should be removed from their 
village, saying that as soon as the land was brought into market 
they (the squatters) would buy it. It became needless for me to 
show them the treaty and the right the Indians had to remain on 
these lands. They tried every method to annoy the Indians, by 
shooting their dogs, claiming their horses, complaining that the 
Indians' horses broke into their cornfields, selling them whiskey 
for the most trifling articles, contrary to the wishes and requests 
of the chiefs, particularly, the Black Hawk, who both solicited 
and threatened them on the subject, but all to no purpose. 

" The President directed those lands to be sold at the Land Office 
in Springfield, Illinois. Accordingly, when the time came that 
they were to be offered for sale (in the autumn of 1829) there were 
about twenty families of squatters at and in the vicinity of the old 
Sauk village, most of whom attended the sale, and but one of 
them could purchase a quarter section, (if we except George 
Davenport, 9. trader, who resided on Bocky Island) ; therefore, 
all the lands not sold still belonged to the United States, and the 
Indians had still a right, by treaty, to hunt and live on those 
lands. This right, however, was not allowed them they must 
move off. 

*See Black Hawk's statement; Chap. V. 


" In 1830 the principal chiefs and others of the Sauk and Fox 
Indians, who resided at the old village, near Eocky river, ac- 
quainted me that they would remove to their village on Ihoway 
river. These chiefs advised me to write to Governor Clark, Super- 
intendent of Indian Affairs at this place (St. Louis), to send up a 
few militia that the Black Hawk and his followers would then 
see that everything was in earnest, and they would remove to the 
west side of the Mississippi to their own lands. The letter, as 
requested by the chiefs, was written and sent by me to Governor 
Clark, but he did not think proper to answer it ; therefore, every- 
thing remained as formerly, and as a matter of course, Black 
Hawk and his party thought the whole matter of removing from 
the old village had blown over. In the spring of 1831 the Black 
Hawk and his party were augmented by many Indians from Iho- 
vway river. The augmentation of forces made the Black Hawk 
very proud, and he supposed nothing would be done about re- 
moving him and his party. General Gaines visited the Black 
Hawk and his party this season with a force of regulars and 
militia, and compelled them to remove to the west side of the 
Mississippi river on their own lands. When the Black Hawk re- 
crossed to the east side of the Mississippi river in 1832, they 
numbered three hundred and sixty-eight men. They were ham- 
pered with many women and children, and had no intention to 
make war. When attacked by General Stillman's detachment, 
they defended themselves like men, and I would ask who would 
not do so likewise. Thus the war commenced. * * It is very 
well known by all who know the Black Hawk, that he has always 
been considered a friend to the whites. Often has he taken into 
his lodge a wearied white man, given him good food to eat and a 
good blanket to sleep on before the fire. Many a good meal has 
the Prophet given to people traveling past his village, and very 
many stray horses has he recovered from the Indians and restored 
to their rightful owners without asking any recompense whatever. 

* * " What right have we to tell any people : ' You shall not 
cross the Mississippi river on any pretext whatever ? ' When the 
Sauk and Fox Indians wish to cross the Mississippi to visit their 
relations among the Pottawattamies, of Fox river, Illinois, they 
are prevented by us because we have the power." 

These are the statements of Mr. Forsythe, a white man, who 
speaks of what he knew, and is, therefore, entitled to entire 

These statements confirm Black Hawk's; Chap, V. 



As this treaty of 1804 is the basis and ground- work of the whole 
difficulty, it is here given, viz : 

"A treaty between the United States of America and the united 
tribes of Sac and Fox Indians. 

"Articles of treaty made at St. Louis, in the District of Loui- 
siana, between William Henry Harrison, Governor of the Indian 
Territory, and of the District of Louisiana, superintendent of 
Indian affairs for the said Territory and District, and commis- 
sioner plenipotentiary of the United States for concluding any 
treaty or treaties which may be found necessary with any of the 
Northwestern tribes of Indians, of the one part, and the Chiefs 
and Head-men of the united Sac and Fox tribes, of the other 

"Article 1. The United States receive the united Sac and Fox 
tribes into their friendship and protection, and the said tribes 
agree to consider themselves under the protection of the United 
States and of no other power whatsoever. 

"ART. 2. The general boundary line between the lands of the 
United States and the said Indian tribes shall be as follows, to- 
wit : Beginning at a point on the Missouri river, opposite the 
mouth of the Gasconade river ; thence in a direct course so as to 
strike the river Jefferson at the distance of thirty miles from its 
mouth, and down the said Jefferson to the Mississippi ; thence 
up the Mississippi to the mouth of the Ouisconsin river, and np 
the same to a point which shall be thirty-six miles in a direct line 
from the mouth of the said river ; thence by a direct line to the 
point where the Fox river (a branch of the Illinois) leaves the 
small lake called Lakegan; thence down the Fox river to the 
Illinois river, and down the same to the Mississippi. And the 
said tribes, for and in consideration of the friendship and protec- 
tion of the United States, which is now extended to them, of the 
goods (to the value of two thousand two hundred and thirty-four 
dollars and fifty cents), which are now delivered, and of the annu- 
ity hereinafter stipulated to be paid, do hereby relinquish forever 
to the United States all the lands included within the above de- 
scribed boundary. 

"Article 3. In consideration of the cession and relinquishment 
of land made in the preceding article, the United States will de- 
liver to the said tribes at the town of St. Louis, or some other 
convenient place on the Mississippi, yearly, and every year, goods 
suited to the circumstances of the Indians, of the value of one 


thousand dollars (six hundred of which are intended for the Sacs 
and four hundred for the Foxes), reckoning the value, at the 
first cost, of the goods in the city or place in the United States 
where they shall be procured. And if the said tribes shall here- 
after, at an annual delivery of the goods aforesaid, desire that a 
part of their annuity should be furnished in domestic animals, 
implements of husbandry and other utensils convenient for them, 
or in compensation to useful artificers, who may reside with or 
near them, and be employed for their benefit, the same shall, at 
the subsequent annual delivery, be furnished accordingly. 

"Article 4. The United States will never interrupt the said tribes 
in the possession of the lands which they rightfully claim, but 
will, on the contrary, protect them in the quiet enjoyment of the 
same against their own citizens, and against all other white per- 
sons who may intrude upon them. And the said tribes do hereby 
engage, that they will never sell their lands, or any part thereof 
to any sovereign power but the United States, nor to the citizens 
or subjects of any other sovereign power, nor the citizens of the 
United States. 

"Article 5. Lest the friendship which is now established between 
the United States and the said Indian tribes should be inter- 
rupted by the misconduct of individuals, it is hereby agreed, that 
for injuries done by individuals, no private revenge or retaliation 
shall take place, but instead' thereof, complaints shall be made 
by the party injured to the other by the said tribes, or either of 
them, to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, or one of his depu- 
ties, and by the superintendent or other persons appointed by 
the President, to the chiefs of the said tribes. And it shall be 
the duty of the said chiefs upon complaint being made as afore- 
said, to deliver up the person or persons against whom the com- 
plaint is made, to the end that he or they may be punished 
agreeably to the laws of the State or Territory where the offense 
may have been committed ; and in like manner, if any robbery, 
violence or murder shall be committed on any Indian or Indians- 
belonging to the said tribes or "either of them, the person or per, 
sons so offending shall be tried, and if found guilty, punished in 
the like manner, as if the injury had been done to a white man. 
And it is further agreed, that the chiefs of the said tribes shall, to 
to the utmost of their power, exert themselves to recover horses 
or other property which may be stolen from any citizen, or citi- 
zens of the United States, by any individual or individuals of 


their tribes, and the property so recovered shall, forthwith, be de- 
livered to the superintendent or other person authorized to re- 
ceive it, that it may be restored to the proper owner ; and in case 
where the exertions of the chiefs shall be inefficient in recovering 
the property stolen, as aforesaid, if sufficient proof can be ob- 
tained that such property was actually stolen by any Indian, or 
Indians, belonging to the said tribes, or either of them, the 
United States may deduct from the annuity of the said tribes, a 
sum equal to the value of the property which has been stolen. 
And the United States hereby guarrantee to any Indian, or In- 
dians of the said tribes, a full indemnification for any horses or 
other property which may be stolen from them by any of their 
citizens : Proaided, that the property so stolen cannot be recov- 
ered, and that sufficient proof is produced that it was actually 
stolen by a citizen of the United States. 

"Article 6. If any citizen of the United States or other white 
person should form a settlement upon lands which were the prop- 
erty of the Sac and Fox tribe, upon complaint being made there- 
of to the Superintendent or other person having charge of the 
affairs of the Indians, such intruder shall forthwith be removed. 

"Article 7. As long as the lands which are now ceded to the 
United States remain their property, the Indians belonging to the 
said tribe shall enjoy the privilege of living and hunting upon 

"Article 8. As the laws of the United States regulating trade 
and intercourse with the Indian tribes are already extended to 
the country inhabited by the Sauks and Foxes, and as it is pro- 
vided by those laws that no person shall reside as a trader in the 
Indian country without a license under the hand and seal of the 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs or other person appointed for 
the purpose by the President, the said tribes do promise and 
agree, that they will not suffer any trader to reside amongst them 
without such license ; and that they will from time to time give 
notice to the Superintendent or the agent for their tribes of all 
the traders that may be in the country. 

"Article 9. In order to put a stop to the abuses and impositions 
which are practiced upon the said tribes by private traders, the 
United States will, at a convenient time establish, a trading house 
or factory where the individuals of said tribes can be supplied 
with goods at a more reasonable rate than they have been accus- 
tomed to procure them. 


"Article 10. In order to evince the sincerity of their friendship 
and affection for the United States, and a respectful deference for 
their advice by an act which will not only be acceptable to them, 
but to the common Father of all Nations of the earth, the said 
tribes do hereby solemnly promise and agree that they will put 
an end to the bloody war which has heretofore raged between their 
tribes and that of the Great and Little Osages. And for the pur- 
pose of burying the tomahawk and renewing the friendly inter- 
course between themselves and the Osages, a meeting of their 
respective Chiefs shall take place, at which, under the direction 
of the above-named commission or the agent of Indian affairs 
residing at St. Louis, an adjustment of all their differences shall 
be made and peace established upon a firm and lasting basis. 

"Article 11. As it is probable that the Government of the United 
States will establish a military post at or near the mouth of the 
Ouisconsin river, and as the land on the lower side of the river 
may not be suitable for that purpose, the said tribes hereby agree 
that a fort may be built either on the upper side of the Ouisconsin 
-or on the right bank of the Mississippi, as the one or the other 
may be found most convenient, and a tract of land not exceeding 
two miles square shall be given for that purpose. And the said 
tribes do further agree that they will at all times allow traders 
and other persons traveling through the country under the 
authority of the United States, a free and safe passage for them- 
selves and their property of every description. And that for such 
passage they shall at no time and on no account whatever be 
subject to any toll or exaction. 

"In testimony whereof, the said William Henry Harrison and 
the Chiefs and Head-men of the Sac and Fox tribes have hereunto 
set their hands and affixed their seals. Done at St. Louis, in the 
District of Louisiana, on the third day of November, one thousand 
eight hundred and four and of the Independence of the United 
States the twenty-ninth. 



The Indian names are signed with their X. 


Upon some matters of fact Mr. Forsythe was in error, notably 
so with regard to the quantity of their lands actually sold by our 
Government to individuals, which will be found in a subsequent 
chapter. But they were surveyed at the special request of Col. 
Geo. Davenport, who purchased some three thousand acres, and 
nearly all that were sold for the sole purpose of protecting these 
Indians, he having purchased all the land upon which Saukenuk 
was located. His object in so doing will more fully be explained 



Black Hawk's Statement of the Causes which led to the Execution of the Quash- 
quamme Treaty of 1804, and subsequent events up to 1831, collected from his 
Autobiography, interpreted by Antoine LeClair, and recently republished by 
J. B. Patterson, of Oquawka, Illinois. 

A warrior he of skill and tact, 
Quick to perceive, and prompt to act; 
Brave as a lion in the fight, 
Yet courteous as a plumed knight. 

Though, as a general rule, the Indian is treacherous and natu- 
rally vengeful, he is not untruthful. Cunning and skillful to ob- 
tain an advantage over his enemy, he prizes his integrity as dearly 
as life. After his return from Washington City, and visiting New 
York, Boston and other large cities, Black Hawk, by the aid of 
Mr. LeClair, dictated, and Col. J. B. Patterson wrote down and 
published in 1833, his autobiography. The original edition being 
exhausted and out of print, Mr. Patterson, who still survives, 
made a reprint in 1882 of this book, which is a very interesting 
one, because it gives the Indian side of the whole matter in dis- 
pute. In this chapter we give that portion which precedes his 
removal west of the Mississippi, in 1831. His views of this treaty 
are as follows : "One of our people killed an American, was taken 
prisoner and confined in prison at St. Louis for the offence. We 
had a council, etc., (See statement in preceding chapter). Quash- 
quamme and party remained a long time absent. They at length 
returned and encamped near the village, a short distance below 
it, and did not come up that day, nor did any one approach their 
camp. They appeared to be dressed in fine coats, and had 
medals. From their circumstances, we were in hopes that they 
brought good news. Early next morning the Council Lodge was 
crowded. Quashquamme and party came up and gave us the fol- 
lowing account of their mission : 'On our arrival at St. Louis we 
met our American father (Gen. Harrison) and explained to him 
our business, urging the release of our friend. The American 
chief told us he wanted land. We agreed to give him some on the 


west side of the Mississippi, likewise more on the Illinois side op- 
posite Jefferson. When the business was all arranged we expected 
to have our friend released to come home with us. About the 
time we were ready to start, our brother was let out of prison. 
He started and ran a short distance, when he was shot dead.' 
This was all they could remember of what had been said and done. 
It subsequently appeared that they had been drunk the greater 
part of the time while at St. Louis. 

"This was all myself and nation knew of the treaty of 1804. 
It has since been explained to me. I found by that treaty, that 
all of the country east of the Mississippi and south of Jefferson 
was ceded to the United States for one thousand dollars a year. I 
will leave it to the people of the United States to say whether our 
nation was properly represented in this treaty; or whether we 
received a fair compensation for the extent of country ceded by 
these four individuals. I could say much now respecting this 
treaty, but will not at this time. It has been the origin of all our 
serious difficulties with the whites." * * * In speaking of the 
effort of Tecumseh and his brother, the Shawanee's prophet, to 
induce his tribe to join in his proposed great scheme of a confed- 
eration of Indians to expel the whites in 1812, he says: "I re- 
member well his (the Prophet Ellskwatawa, or a door opened) 
saying 'If you do not join your friends on the Wabash, the 
Americans will take this very village from you.*" * * * 
" Little thought I then that his words would come true, suppos- 
ing that he used these arguments merely to encourage us to join 
him, which we concluded not to do. * * * Why did the Great 
Spirit ever send the whites to this island, to drive us from our 
homes and introduce among us poisonous liquors, disease and 
death ? They should have remained in the land the Great Spirit 
allotted them. * * * Several of our chiefs were called upon 
to go to Washington. * * * When they returned they re- 
ported what had been said to them. Their Great Father (the 
President) told them that in the event of war taking place with 
England, not to interfere on either side, but remain neutral. He 
did not want our help, but wished us to hunt and supply our fam- 
ilies, and remain in peace. He said that British traders would 
not be allowed to come on the Mississippi to furnish us goods, 
but we would be well supplied by an American trader. Our 
chiefs then told him that the British traders always gave us 

*How prophetic this proved to be in 1831. 


credit in the Fall for guns, powder and goods to enable us to hunt 
and clothe our families. He replied that the trader at Fort Madi- 
son would have plenty of goods and would supply us on credit in 
the fall." 

But it turned out that the trader at Fort Madison refused to 
sell them goods and supplies without receiving his pay on the 
spot. With this they were sadly dissatisfied, and left the fort in 
a bad humor. Indeed, they were in a sad dilemma. Without 
amunition and guns they could not hunt, and money or peltries 
they did not have and could not get. 

At this juncture La Gutrie, a British trader, arrived at Eock 
Island with plenty of goods, and treated the Indians to tobacco, 
pipes and wampum. This decided Black Hawk to espouse the 
British cause in the war of 1812. He says: "Here ended all 
hopes of our remaining at peace, having been forced into war by 
being deceived. * * * La Gutrie gave us a number of pres- 
ents, among which was a large silk flag and a keg of rum. * * 

While our people were dividing the goods he took me aside 
and informed me that Colonel Dixon was at Green Bay with 
twelve boats loaded with goods, guns and ammunition. He wished 
me to raise a party immediately and go to him. * * * I commu- 
nicated that information to my braves, and a party of two hun- 
dred warriors were soon collected and ready to depart. * * * 
On our arrival there (Green Bay), we found a large encampment. 
We were well received. * * * Colonel Dixon gave us plenty 
of provisions, tobacco and pipes. I found in the encampment a 
great number of Kickapoos, Ottawas, and Winnebagoes. * * * 
They had all received new guns, ammunition and a variety of 
clothing. * * * Colonel Dixon said : ' General Black Hawk. 
* * * our friend La Gutrie informs us of what has lately 
taken place. You will now have to hold us fast by the hand. 
Your English Father has found out that the Americans want to 
take your country from you, and has sent me and my braves to 
drive them back to their own country. He has likewise sent a 
large quantity of arms and ammunition, and we want all your 
warriors to join us." 1 

Is it to be wondered that such blandishments, coupled with 
such slights, should make Black Hawk espouse the British cause ? 
If, under the circumstances, he had declined, he would truly 
have shown that he was above our mortal plane. 


But he did not remain long in the British service. He says : 
"I was now tired of being with them, our success being had and 
having got no plunder. I determined on leaving them and return, 
ing to Eock river. * * * That night I took about twenty of 
my braves and left the British camp for home. * * * When 
near our village on Eock river, I was surprised to find that a 
party of Americans had followed us from the British camp*. * 

* * On my arrival at the village I was met by the chiefs and 
braves and conducted to the lodge, which was prepared for me. 

* * * I explained to my people the manner in which the 
British and Americans fought. Instead of stealing upon each 
other, and taking every advantage to kill the enemy and save 
their own people as we do, * * * they march out in open 
daylight and fight regardless of the number of warriors they may 
lose. * * * They all fought like braves, but would not do to 
lead a party with us. Our maxim is ' kill the enemy and save 
our own men.' Their chiefs will do to paddle a canoe but not to 
steer it. The Americans shot better than the British, but their 
soldiers were not so well clothed, nor so well provided for." But 
although interesting to trace the causes that induced Black Hawk 
to fight with the English in the war of 1812, it is foreign to the 
subject under consideration, viz., the Quashquamme treaty of 
1804. In the spring of 1815, Black Hawk admits that his band 
were requested to meet the Commissioners plenipotentiary of the 
United States, Clark, Edwards and Choteau, at Portage De Sioux, 
and that he, with the principal chiefs of his tribe, started to 
attend, but Nomite, the principal civil chief of the band, sickened 
and died soon after they started, and considering this a bad 
omen they returned to their homes at Eock Island. * * * 
When the Foxes returned they said: "We have smoked the pipe 
of peace with our enemies, and expect that the Americans will 
send a war party against you if you do not go down. * * * 
La Gutrie told us that we must go down and make peace, as this 
was the will of our English father. * * * The Great Chief 
(Gov. Clark) at St. Louis, having sent word for us to come down 
and confirm the treaty, we did not hesitate, but started imme- 
diately, that we might smoke the peace pipe with him. On our 
arrival we met the Great Chiefs in council. They explained to us 
the words of our Great Father at Washington, accusing us of 
heinous crimes and many misdemeanors, particularly in not com- 
ing down when first invited. We knew very well that our Great 

'Elijah Kilbourn and eleven others. (See life of Black Hawk.) 


Father had deceived us, and thereby forced us to join the British, 
and could not believe that he had put this speech into the mouths 
of those chiefs to deliver to us. I was not a civil chief, and con- 
sequently made no reply, but our civil chief told the Commis- 
sioners that ' what you say is a lie. Our Great Father sent us 
no such speech. He knew that the situation in which we had 
been placed was caused by him.' The white chiefs appeared 
very angry at this reply, and said : 'We will break off the treaty 
and make war against you, as you have grossly insulted us.' 
Our chiefs had no intention of insulting them, and told them so, 
saying 'we merely wish to explain that you have told us a lie, 
without any desire to make you angry, in the same manner that 
you whites do when you do.'not believe what is told you.' The 
council then proceeded and the pipe of peace was smoked. Here, 
for the first time, I touched the goose quill to the treaty, not 
knowing, however, that by that act I consented to give away my 
village. Had that been explained to me I should have opposed it, 
and never would have signed their treaty, as my recent conduct 
will clearly prove. What do we know of the manners, the laws 
and the customs of the white people? They might buy our 
bodies for dissection, and we touch the goose quill to confirm it, 
and not know what we are doing. This was the case with me 
and my people in touching the goose quill the first time. 

"We can only judge of what is right and wrong by our standard 
of what is right and wrong, which differs widely from the whites. 
If I have been correctly informed, the whites may do wrong all 
their lives, and then, if they are sorry for it when about to die, 
all is well. But with us it is different we must continue to do 
good throughout our lives. If we have corn and meat and know 
of a family that have none, we divide with them. If we have 
more blankets than we absolutely need, and others have not 
enough, we must give to them who are in want. We were treated 
friendly by the whites, and started on our return to our village on 
Rock river. When we arrived we found troops had come to 
build a fort on Eock Island. This, in our opinion, was a contra- 
diction to what we had done. "To prepare for war in time of 
peace.' We did not object, however, to their building their fort 
on the island, but were very sorry, as this was the best one on the 
Mississippi, and had long been the resort of our young people 
during the summer. It was our garden, like the white people 
have near their big villages, which supplied us with strawberries, 


blackberries, gooseberries, plums, apples and nuts of different 
kinds. Being situated at the foot of the rapids, its waters sup- 
plied us with the finest fish. 

"In my early life I spent many happy days on this island. A 
good spirit had charge of it, which lived in a cave in the rocks, 
immediately tinder the place where the fort now stands.* This 
guardian spirit has often been seen by our people. It was white, 
with large wings like a swan's, but ten times larger. We were 
particular not to make much noise in that part of the island 
which it inhabited, for fear of disturbing it. But the noise at the 
fort has since driven it away, and no doubt a bad spirit has taken 
its place. * * * If a prophet had come to our village in those 
days and told us that the things were to take place which have 
since come to pass, none of our people would have believed him. 
What ! to be driven from our village, and our hunting grounds, 
and not even be permitted to visit the graves of our forefathers, 
and relations, and our friends. * * * How different is our sit- 
uation now. Then we were as happy as the buffalo on the plains, 
but now we are as miserable as the hungry wolf on the prairie. 
* * * Our people got more liquor from the small traders than 
customary. I used all my influence to prevent drunkenness, but 
without effect. As the settlements progressed towards us, we be- 
came worse off and more unhappy. Many of our people, instead 
of going to the old hunting grounds where game was plenty, 
would go near the settlements to hunt, and instead of saving 
their skins to pay the trader for goods furnished them in the fall, 
would sell them to the settler for whiskey, and return in the 
spring with their families almost naked, and without the means 
of getting anything for them. * * * I was out hunting one 
day in a bottom and met three white men. They accused me of 
killing their hogs. I denied it, but they would not listen to me. 
One of them took my gun out of my hand and fired it off, then 
took out the flint, gave it back to me, and commenced beating me 
with sticks, ordering me at the same time to be off. I was so 
much bruised that I could not sleep for several nights. Some 
time after this occurrence one of my camp cut a bee tree and 
carried the honey to his lodge. A party of white men soon fol- 
lowed him and told him the bee tree was theirs, and he had no 
right to cut it. He pointed to the honey and told them to take it. 
They were not satisfied with this, but took all the packs of skins 

*Old Fort Armstrong, polled down in 1845. 


that he had collected during the winter to pay his trader, and 
clothe his family with in the spring, and carried them off. How 
could we like a people who treated us so unjustly. * * * 
This summer* our agentt came to live at Bock Island, and then 
for the first time, I heard talk of our having to leave our village. 
"The trader (Col. George Davenport) who spoke our language 
explained to me the terms of the treaty that had been made, and 
said we would be obliged to leave the Illinois side of the Missis- 
sippi, and advised us to select a good place for our village and 
remove to it in the spring. He pointed out the difficulties we 
would have to encounter if we remained at our village on Rock 
river. He had great influence with the principal Fox chief,* the 
adopted brother of Keokuk. He persuaded him to leave his 
village and go to the west side of the Mississippi and build another, 
which he did the spring following. Nothing was talked of but 
leaving our village. Keokuk had been persuaded to consent to go, 
and was using all his influence, backed by the \\ar chief at Fort 
Armstrong, and our agent and trader at Rock Island, to induce 
others to go with him. He sent the crier through our village to 
inform our people that it was the wish of our Great Father that 
we should remove to the west side of the Mississippi, and recom- 
mended the Iowa river as a good place for the new village. * * * 
He wished his party to make such arrangements before they 
started on their winter's hunt as to preclude the necessity of their 
returning to the village in the spring. The party opposed to sur- 
rendering called on me for my opinion. I gave it freely, and after 
questioning Quashquamme about the sale of our lands, he assured 
me that he ' never had consented to the sale of our village.' I 
now promised this party to be their leader, and raised the stand- 
ard of opposition to Keokuk, with a full determination not to leave 
our village. I had an interview with Keokuk to see if the diffi- 
culty could not be settled with our Great Father, and told him 
to propose to give any other land that our Great Father might 
choose, even our lead mines, to be peaceably permitted to keep 
the small part of land on which our village was situated. I was 
of the opinion that the white people had plenty of land, and 
would never take our village from us. Keokuk promised to make 
an exchange, if possible, and applied to our agent and the Great 
Chief,.; at St. Louis, who had charge of all the agents, for per- 
mission to go to Washington for that purpose. 

*1829. tFelix St. Vrain. :Wapello. Maj or John Bliss. Gov. Clark. 


This satisfied us for a time. We started to our hunting grounds 
with good hopes that something would be done for us. During 
the winter, I received information that three families of whites* 
had come to our village and destroyed some of our lodges, were 
making fences and dividing our cornfields for their own use. 
They were quarreling among themselves about their lines of di- 
vision. I started for Eock river immediately (a distance of ten 
days' travel), and on my arrival I found the report true. I went 
to my lodge and saw a family! occupying it. I wished to talk 
to them, but they could not understand me. I then went to Rock 
Island ; the agent being absent, I told the interpreter! what I 
wanted to say to these people, viz : ' Not to settle on our lands, 
nor trouble our fences, that there was plenty of land in the coun- 
try for them to settle upon, and that they must leave our village, 
as we were coming back to it in the spring.' The interpreter 
wrote nie a paper ; I went back to the village and showed it to the 
intruders, but could not understand their reply. I presumed, 
however, that they would remove, as I expected them to. I 
returned to Rock Island, passed the night there, and had a long 
conversation with the trader. He advised me to give up and 
make my village with Keokuk on the Iowa river. I told him that 
I would not. The next morning I crossed the Mississippi on very 
bad ice, but the Great Spirit made it strong that I might pass 
over safe. I traveled three days further to see the Winnebago 
sub- agent, and converse with him about our difficulties. He gave 
no better news than the trader had done. 1 then started by way 
of Rock river to see the Prophet, || believing that he was a man of 
great knowledge. When we met, I explained to him everything 
as it was. He at once agreed that I was right, and advised me 
never to give up our village for the whites to plow up the bones of 
our people. He said that if we remained at our village the whites 
would not trouble us, and advised me to get Keokuk and the party 
that consented to go with him to the Iowa in the spring, to return 
and remain at our village. I returned to my hunting ground 
after an absence of one moon and related what I had done. In a 
short time we came up to our village and found that the whites 
had not left it, but that others had come, and that the greater 
part of our cornfields had been enclosed. When we landed, the 
whites appeared displeased because we had come back. We re- 
paired the lodges that had been left standing, and built others. 

"Joshua Vandruft't;. Rinnah Wells' and Haekley Sam's. 

tVandruffs. JLeClalr. M. Gratiot. UWinueshiek, or White Cloud. 


"Keokuk came to the village, but his object was to pursuade 
others to follow him to the Iowa. He had accomplished nothing 
towards making arrangements for us to remain, or to exchange 
other lands for our village. There was no more friendship be- 
tween us. I looked upon him as a coward and no brave, to aban- 
don his village to be occupied by strangers. What right had these 
people to our village and our fields, which the Great Spirit had 
given us to live upon? My reason teaches me that land cannot 
be sold. The Great Spirit gave it to His children to live upon 
and cultivate as far as necessary for their subsistence, and so 
long as they occupy and cultivate it they have the right to the 
soil, but if they voluntarily leave it, then any other people have a 
right to settle on it. Nothing can be sold but such things as can 
be carried away. 

"In consequence of the improvements of the intruders on our 
fields, we found considerable difficulty to get ground to plant a 
little corn. Some of the whites permitted us to plant small 
patches in the fields they had fenced, keeping all the best ground 
for themselves. Our women had great difficulty in climbing their 
fences, being unaccustomed to the kind, and were ill-treated if 
they left a rail down. One of my old friends thought he was safe. 
His cornfield was on a small island on the Hock river. He planted 
his corn, it came up well, but the white man saw it, he wanted it, 
and took his team over, ploughed up the crop and replanted it for 
himself. The old man shed tears, ,not for himself, but on account 
of the distress his family would be in if they raised no corn. The 
white people brought whiskey to our village, made our people 
drunk and cheated them out of their horses, guns and traps. 
This fraudulent system was carried to such an extent that I ap- 
prehended serious difficulties might occur, unless a stop was put 
to it. Consequently, I visited all the whites and begged them not 
to sell my people whiskey. One of them continued this practice 
openly. I took a party of my young men, went to his house, took 
out his barrels, broke in the heads and poured out the whiskey. I 
did this for fear some of the whites might get killed by my people 
when they were drunk. 

"Our people were treated very badly by the whites on several 
occasions. At one time a white man beat one of our women 
cruelly for pulling a few suckers of corn out of his field to suck 
when she was hungry. At another time one of our young men 
was beaten with clubs by two white men, for opening a fence 


which crossed our road to take his horse through. His shoulder 
blade was broken and his body badly bruised, from the effects of 
which he soon after died. Bad and cruel as our people were 
treated by the whites, not one of them was hurt or molested by 
our band. I hope this will prove that we are peaceable people- 
having permitted ten men to take possession of our cornfields, 
preventing us from planting corn, burning down our lodges, ill- 
treating our women and beating to death our men without offer- 
ing resistance to their barbarous cruelties. This is a lesson 
worthy for the white man to learn to use forbearance when in- 
jured. We acquainted our agent daily with our situation, and 
through him the Great Chief (Gov. Wm. Clark) at St. Louis, and 
hoped that something would be done for us. The whites were com- 
plaining at the same time that we were intruding upon their rights. 
They made it appear that they were the injured party and we the 
intruders. They called loudly to the Great War Chief, in com- 
mand of Fort Armstrong,on Kock Island, to protect their 

How smooth must be the language of the whites when they can 
make right look wrong, and wrong look right. During the sum- 
mer Governor Cole and Judge James Hall visited Rock Island, 
when Black Hawk laid the grivances of his tribe before them. 
He says : "The Great Chief, however, did not seem disposed to 
counsel with me. He said he was no longer the chief of Illlinois, 
(Ninian Edwards having succeded Gov. Cole in 1826,) that his 
children had selected another father in his stead, and that he 
now only ranked as they did. I was surprised at this talk, I sa 
had always heard that he was a good brave and great chief. But 
the white people appear to never be satisfied. When they get a 
good father, they hold councils at the suggestion of some bad, 
ambitious man who wants the place himself, and conclude 
among themselves that this man or some other equally ambitious 
one, would make a better father than they have, and nine times out 
of ten they don't get as good a one again. I insisted on explaining 
to this chief the true situation of my people. They gave their 
assent. I arose and made a speech, in which I explained to them 
the treaty made by Quashquamme and three of our braves, accord- 
ing to the manner the trader (George Davenport) and others 
had explained it to me. I then told them that Quashquamme and 
his party positively denied having ever sold my village, and that 


as I had never known them to lie I was determined to keep it in 
my possession. I told them that the white people had already 
entered our village, burned our lodges, destroyed our fences, 
plowed up our corn and beaten our people. They had brought 
whiskey into our country, made our people drunk and taken from 
them their horses, guns and traps, and that I had borne all this 
injury without suffering any of my braves to raise a hand against 
the whites. My object in holding this council was to get the 
opinion of the two chiefs as to the best course for me to pursue. 
I had appealed in vain, time and time again, to our agent, who 
regularly represented our situation to the Chief (Gov. Clark, 
Superintendent of Indian affairs,) at St. Louis, whose duty it was 
to call upon the Great Father, (the President of the U. S.) to 
have justice done to us,* but instead of this we were told that the 
white people wanted our country, and we must leave it for them. 
"I did not think it possible that our Great Father (the President) 
wished us to leave our village, where we had lived so long, 
and where the bones of so many of our people had been laid 
away. The Great Chief (Gov. Cole) said that as he no longer had 
any authority, he could do nothing for us, and felt sorry that it 
was not in his power to aid us ; nor did he know how to advise us. 
Neither of them could do anything for us, but both evidently 
were very sorry. * * * That fall (1829) I paid a visit to the 
agent before we started to our hunting grounds, to hear if he had 
any good news for me. He had no news.* He said that the land 
on which our village now stood was ordered to be sold to individ- 
uals, and that when sold our right to remain by treaty would be 
at an end, and that if we returned next spring we would be 
forced to remove. We learned during the winter that part of 
the land where our village stood had been sold to individuals 
and that the trader of Kock Island, Colonel Davenport, had 
bought the greater part that had been sold. The reason was now 
plain to me why he urged us to remain. His object, we thought, 
was to get our lands. We held several councils that winter, to 
determine what we should do. We resolved in one of them 
to return to onr village as usual, in the spring. We concluded 
that if we were removed by force, that the trader, agent and 
others must be the cause, and that if they were found guilty of 
having driven us from our villages, they must be killed. The 

*Mr. Forsyth said Governor Clark did not see fit to even answer his letters. 
*In this statement Black Hawk is sustained by Mr, Forsyth. 



trader stood foremost on the list. He had purchased the land on 
which my lodge stood, and that of our graveyard also. We there- 
fore-proposed to kill him and the agent (St. Vrain), the interpreter 
(Antoine Le Glair), the Great Chief (Clark) at St. Louis, the War 
Chief at Fort Armstrong, Kock Island (Major Bliss) and Keokuk, 
these being the principal persons to blame for endeavoring to re- 
move us. 

Our women received bad accounts from the women who had been 
raising corn at the new village, and of the difficulty of breaking 
the raw prairie with hoes and the small quantity of corn raised. 
I prevailed upon some of Keokuk's band to return tbis 
spring (1831) to the Eock river village, but Keokuk himself would 
not come. I hoped that he would get permission to go to Wash- 
ington to settle our affairs with our Great Father (the President). 
I visited the agent at Eock Island. He was displeased because 
we had returned to our village, and told me that we must return 
to the west of the Mississippi. I told him plainly that we would 
not.* 1 visited the interpreter at his home, who advised me 
to do as the agent had directed me. I then went to see the 
trader (Davenport) and upbraided him for buying our lands. He 
said that if he had not purchased them some person else would, 
and that if our Great Father would make an exchange with us, 
he would willingly give up the land he had purchased to the 
Government. This I thought was fair, and began to think that 
he had not acted so badly as I had suspected. We again repaired 
our lodges and built others, as most of our village had been 
burned and destroyed. Our women selected small patches to 
plant corn, where the whites had not taken them in their fences, 
and worked hard to raise something ior our children to subsist 
upon. I was told that according to the treaty, we had no right 
to remain on the lands sold, and that the Government would 
force us to leave them. There was but a small portion, however, 
that had been sold, the balance remaining in the hands of 
the Government. We claimed the right, if we had no other, to 
live and hunt upon it as long as it remained the property of the 
Government, by a stipulation in the treaty that required us 
to evacuate it after it had been sold. This was the land we 
wished to inhabit and thought we had a right to occupy. 

"I heard there was a great chief on the Wabash, and sent a party 
to get his advice. They informed him that we had not sold our 

The accessions from Keokuk's band, Mr. Forsyth said, made Black Hawk proud. 


village. He assured them that if we had not sold the land on 
which our village stood, our Great Father would not disturb us. 
I started to Maiden to see the chief of my British Father, and 
told him my story. He gave me the same reply that the chief on 
the Wabash gave, and advised me to apply to our American 
Father, who he said would do us justice. I next called on the 
great chief at Detroit, and made the same statement to him that 
I had to the chief of our British Father. He gave me the same 
reply. He said that if we had not sold our lands, and would re- 
main peaceably on them, that we would not be disturbed. This 
assured me that I was right, and determined me to hold out as I 
had promised my people. I returned from Maiden late .in the 
fall. My people were gone to their hunting ground whither 1 
followed. Here I learned that they had been badly treated all 
summer by the whites, and a treaty had been held at Prairie Du 
<3hien. Keokuk and some of our people had attended it and found 
that our Great Father had exchanged a small strip of the land 
that had been ceded by Quashquamme and his party, with the 
Pottawattamies for a portion of their laud near Chicago. That 
the object of this treaty was to get it back again, and that the 
United States had agreed to give them sixteen thousand dollars a 
year forever, for this small strip of land, it being less than a 
twentieth part of that taken from our nation for one thousand 
dollars a year bears evidence* of something I cannot ex- 
plain. This land, they say, belonged to the United States. 
What reason then could have induced them to exchange it with 
the Pottawattamies, if it was so valuable. Why not keep it? Or 
if they found they had made a bad bargain with the Pottawatta- 
mies, why not take back their land at a fair proportion of what 
they gave our nation for it. If this small portion of the land they 
took from us for one thousand dollars a year, be worth sixteen 
thousand dollars a year to the Pottawattamies, the whole tract of 
country taken from us ought to be worth to our nation, twenty 
times as much as this small fraction. 

"Here I was puzzled to find out how the white people reasoned, 
and began to doubt whether they had any standard of right and 
wrong. * * * We were a divided people, forming two parties. 
Keokuk being at the head of one, willing to barter our rights 
merely for the good opinion of the whites, and cowardly enough 
to desert our village to them. I was at the head of the other 

*Barefaced swindling was perhaps what lie would have called it, had he been 
familiar with our language. 


division, and was determined to hold on to my village, although I 
had been ordered to leave it. But I considered, as myself and 
band had no agency in selling our country, and that, as provision 
had been made in the treaty for us all to remain on it as long as 
it remained the property of the United States, that we could not 
be foreed away. I refused, therefore, to quit my village. It was 
here that I was born, and here lie the bones of many friends and 
relations. For this spot I felt a sacred reverence, and never 
could consent to leave it without being forced therefrom. * * 
The winter (1830-1) passed off in gloom. We made a bad 
hunt, for want of guns, traps and other necessaries, which the 
whites had taken from our people for whiskey. I fasted and 
called upon the Great Spirit to direct my steps to the right path. 
I was in great sorrow, because all the whites with whom I was 
acquainted, and had been on terms of intimacy, advised me con- 
trary to my wishes, that I began to doubt whether I had a friend 
among them. Keokuk, who has a smooth tongue, and is a great 
speaker, was busy in pursuading my band that I was wrong, and 
thereby making many of them dissatisfied with me. I had one 
consolation, for all the women were on my side on account of 
their cornfields. * * * 

"I visited Kock Island, and the agent again ordered me to quit 
my village. He said that if we did not, troops would be sent to 
drive us off. He reasoned with me, and told me it would be bet- 
ter for us to be with the rest of our people, so we might avoid 
difficulty, and live in peace. The interpreter joined with him, 
and gave me so many good reasons, that I almost wished I had 
not undertaken the difficult task I had pledged myself to my brave 
band to perform. In this mood, I called upon the trader, who is 
fond of talking, and had long been my friend, but now amongst 
those who advised me to give up my village. He received me 
very friendly, and went on to defend Keokuk in what he had done, 
endeavoring to show me that I was bringing distress on our 
women and children. He inquired if some terms could not be 
made that would be honorable to me, and satisfactory to my 
braves, for us to remove to the west side of the Mississippi. I 
replied, that if our Great Father would do us justice, and make 
the propositons, I could then give up honorably. He asked me if 
the Great Chief at St. Louis would give us six thousand dollars to 
purchase provisions and other articles, I would give up peace- 
ably, and remove to the west side of the Mississippi. After 


thinking some time, I agreed that I could peaceably give up, 
being paid for it, according to our custom, but told him that I 
could not make the proposal myself, even if I wished, because it 
would be dishorable in me to do so. He said he would do it by 
sending word to the Great Chief at St. Louis ; that he could 
remove us peaceably for the amount stated, to the west side of 
the Mississippi. * * * I did not let my people know what 
had taken place, for fear they would be displeased. We now 
{1831) resumed our games and pastimes, having been assured 
by the Prophet* that we would not be removed. But in a little 
while it was ascertained that a Great War Chief (Gen. Gaines) 
was on his way to Eock Island with a great nuirber of soldiers. 
I again called upon the Prophet, who requested a little time to see 
into the matter. Early next morning he came to me and said he 
had been dreaming ; that he saw nothing bad in the coming of 
the Great War Chief who was now near Rock river; that his object 
was merely to frighten us from our village, that the white people 
might get our land for nothing. He assured us that this Great 
War Chief dare not, and would not hurt any of us ; that the 
Americans were at peace with the British, and when they made 
peace the British required, and the Americans agreed to it, that 
they should never interrupt any nation of Indians that was at 
peace, and all that we had to do to retain our village, was to 
refuse any and every effort that might be made by this War Chief. 
The War Chief arrived and convened a council at the agency. 
Keokuk and Wapello were sent for, and, with a number of their 
band were present. The Council house was opened and all were 
admitted, and I did not much like what had been done myself 
and tried to banish it from my mind. * * The answer 
returned from ' the Great Chief at St. Louis would give us 
nothing, and that if we did not remove immediately we would be 
driven off.' * * * I now resolved to remain in my village 
and make no resistance if the military came, but submit to my 
fate. I impressed the importance of this course on all my band, 
and directed them, in case the military came, not to raise an arm 
against them. 

"About this time our agent was put out of office for what 
reason I could never ascertain. I then thought it was for want- 
ing to make us leave our village, and if so, it was right, because 
I was tired of hearing him talk about it. * * * The young 

*Winnesheik, or White Cloud, of Prophetstown Sank Prophet, 


man who took the place of our agent told the same story over 
about removing us. * * * Our women had planted a few 
patches of corn, which were growing finely and promised a sub- 
sistence for our children, but the white people again commenced 
ploughing it up. I now determined to put a stop to it by clear- 
ing our country of the intruders. I went to their principal men 
and told them that they should and must leave our country, 
giving them until the middle of the next day to remove. The 
worst of them left within the time appointed, but one who re- 
mained, represented that his family, which was large, would be 
in a starving condition if he went and left his crop. Myself and 
band were sent for to attend the council. When we arrived at 
the door, singing a war song, and armed with lances, spears, war- 
clubs, bows and arrows, as if going to battle, I halted and refused 
to enter, as I could see no necessity or propriety in having the 
room crowded with those who were already there. If the council 
was convened for us, why then have others in our room ? The War 
Chief having sent all out except Keokuk, Wapello, and a few of 
their chiefs and braves, we entered the council in this war-like ap- 
pearance, being desirous of showing the War Chief that we were 
not afraid. He then rose and made a speech. He said : ' The 
President is very sorry to be put to the trouble and expense of 
sending so large a body of soldiers here to remove you from the 
lands you have long since ceded to the United States. Your 
Great Father has already warned you repeatedly, through your 
agent, to leave the country, and he is very sorry to find that you 
have disobeyed his orders. Your Great Father wishes you well 
and asks nothing from you but what is reasonable and right. I 
hope you will consult your own interests, and leave the country 
you are occupying and go to the other side of the Mississippi.' I 
replied : ' We have never sold our country ; we never received 
any annuities from our American father, and we are determined 
to hold on to our village.' 

"The War Chief, apparently angry, rose and said : ' Whq is 
Black Hawk ? Who is Black Hawk ? ' I replied : 'I am a Sac ; 
my forefather was a Sac, and all nations call me Sac." The 
War Chief said : ' I came not here neither to beg nor hire you 
to leave your village. My business is to remove you, peaceably, 
if I can ; forcibly, if I must. I will now give you two days in 
which to remove, and if you do not cross the Mississippi by that 
time, I will adopt measures to force you away.' I told him I 


never would consent to leave my village, and was determined not 
to leave it. The council broke up and the War Chief retired to 
his post. I consulted the Prophet again. He said he had been 
dreaming, and that the Great Spirit had directed that a woman, 
the daughter of Mattatas, the old chief of the village, should take 
a stick in her hand and go before the War Chief and tell him that 
she is the daughter of Mattatas, and that he had always been 
the white man's friend ; that he had fought their battles, been 
wounded in iheir service, and had always spoken well of them, 
and she had never heard him say that he had sold their village. 
The whites are numerous and can take it from us if they choose, 
but she hoped they would not be so unfriendly. If they were, 
she had one favor to ask. She wished her people to be allowed 
to remain long enough to gather their provisions now growing in 
their fields ; that she was a woman and had worked hard to raise 
something to support her children. And now, if we are driven 
from our village without being allowed to save our corn, many of 
our little children must perish with hunger. Accordingly, Mat- 
tatas' daughter was sent to the fort, accompanied by several 
young men, and was admitted. She went before the War Chief 
and told the story of the Prophet. The War Chief said that the 
President did not send him here to make treaties with the women, 
nor to hold council with them ; that our young men must leave 
the fort, but she might remain if she wished. 

"^11 our plans were defeated. We must cross the river or 
return to the village and await the coming of the War Chief with 
his soldiers. We determined on the latter ; but finding that our 
agent, interpreter, trader, and Keokuk, were determined on 
breaking my ranks, and had induced several of my warriors to 
cross the Mississippi, I sent a deputation to the agent, at the 
request of my band, pledging myself to leave the country in the 
fall, provided permission was given us to remain and secure our 
crop of corn, then growing, as we would be in a starving situation 
if we were driven off without the means of subsistence. The dep- 
utation returned with an answer from the War Chief : ' That no 
further time would be given than that specified, and if we were 
not then gone, he would remove us. 

I directed my village crier to proclaim that my orders were, in 
the event of the War Chief coming to our village to remove us > 
that not a gun should be fired, or any resistance offered ; that if 
he determined to fight, for them to remain quietly in their lodges, 


and let him kill them if he chose. I felt conscious that this 
great War Chief would not hurt our people and my object was 
not war ; had it been, we would have attacked and killed the War 
Chief and his braves when in council with us, as they were com- 
pletely in our power. But his manly conduct and soldierly 
deportment, his mild, yet energetic manner, which proved his 
bravery, forbade it. 

Some of our young men, who had been out as spies, came in and 
reported that they had discovered a large body of mounted men 
coming toward our village, who looked like a war party. They ar- 
rived and took a position below Kock river for their encampment. 
* * * The great war chief, General Gaines, entered Rock 
river in a steamboat, with his soldiers and one big gun. They 
passed and returned close to our village, but excited no alarm 
among my braves. No attention was paid to the boat ; even our 
little children, who were playing on the bank of the river as 
usual, continued their amusements. The water being shallow, 
the boat got aground, which gave the whites some trouble. If 
they had asked for assistance, there was not a brave in my band 
who would not willingly have aided them. Their people were 
permitted to pass and repass through our village and were treated 
with friendship by our people. The war chief appointed the 
next day to remove us. I would have remained and been taken 
prisoner by the regulars, but was afraid of the multitude of pale 
faced militia, who were on horseback, as they were under no re- 
straint of their chiefs. We crossed the river during the night* 
and encamped some distance below Rock Island. The great war 
chief convened another council for the purpose of making a 
treaty with us. In this treaty he agreed to give us corn in place 
of that we had left growing in our fields. I touched the goose 
quill to this treaty and was determined to live in peace. 

The corn that had been given us was soon found to be inade- 
quate to our wants, when loud lamentations were heard in the 
camp by the women and children for their roasting ears, beans 
and squashes. To satisfy them a small party of braves went 
over in the night to take corn from their own fields. They were 
discovered by the whites and fired upon. Complaints were again 
made of the depredations committed by some of my people on 
their own cornfields." 

Such is the statement of Black Hawk, who gives, in his own 
somewhat rambling but really forcible manner, his side of the 
difficulties leading to the so-called treaty of June 30, 1831. 

*Early in the morning of June 26, 1831. . 



The Treaty of 1801 Construed by our three earliest Historians, Governors Edwards, 
Reynolds and Ford, together with the other treaties referred to by them. 

These three ex-Gov'uors all have said 

Without a reason why, 
That Black Hawk every year was paid 

By England as her spy. 

In Chapter IV will be found the so-called Treaty of St. Louis, 
better known by the name of the Quashquamme Treaty, of Nov. 
3, 1804, which is the foundation of every claim the United States 
ever had to the lands of the Sauks in Illinois, since, as will be 
seen upon examination of all the subsequent treaties, they 
are merely re-affirmative of that of 1804. If our facts be true, and 
of that there can be no ground of doubt, then our Government 
never obtained any legal or equitable title to these fifty million 
acres of God's heritage. 

Our only right being that of might, which is a forcible one, even 
though justice, equity, and fair-dealing are outraged thereby. 
When carefully considered in the full light of the law and the 
facts, we feel assured that every fair-minded and honest-hearted 
reader must arrive at the definite conclusion, as we have, that our 
possession of these lands is a clear case of bare-faced and unmit- 
igated robbery upon the most enlightened, intelligent and noble- 
hearted Indian Nation of North America, that, too, without an 
excuse or a single palliating circumstance. For at the time of this 
so-called treaty and purchase, our Government had no need of more 
lands, and had no thought of making it, and neither the President 
nor any member of his Cabinet knew aught about it until after 
its consummation. The whole transaction was probably engi- 
neered and effected by that cunning Frenchman, Pierre Choteau, 
of St. Louis, Mo., and bad not even the merit of the Mormon 
mode of acquiring additional territory, which embraces two ele- 
ments, viz: Necessity, and Divine command through a vision. 
In our case neither of them existed. When Joseph Smith, the 
great apostle and founder of the latter-day Saints, needed more 


lands for cultivation he obtained them in very short order by a 
raid upon the possessions of his Gentile neighbors ; not by means 
of purchase or war, he simply took them without as much as 
saying, "by your leave, sir," and when his right to do so was 
questioned, his answer was, "I needed this land, and the Lord 
appeared to me in a vision and ordered me to take them." 

The following actual facts, as related by Hon. Bailey Daven- 
port, will more clearly illustrate the Mormon method of obtaining 
land from the Gentiles. In 1843, his father, the late Col. George 
Davenport, being the owner in fee by Government patent of a 
certain tract of fine prairie land lying in the neighborhood of the 
"Holy City of Nauvoo," which was and had been for several years 
prior, vacant, or unoccupied, sent Bailey to Carthage, the County 
Seat of Hancock County, 111., to pay the taxes, with directions, to 
go on to the land and examine it. On reaching Carthage, Bailey 
found the taxes of 1842, then due, had been paid by the Prophet, 
and on reaching the land he found it enclosed and in crop. He, 
thereupon, proceeded to Nauvoo to ascertain the meaning of all 
this from the lips of the Apostle. On reaching Nauvoo and en- 
quiring for the residence, or office, of the Prophet, he was directed 
to the "Mansion House," located on the bank of the Mississippi, 
then kept by him. He found this hotel well filled with guests, 
and had some difficulty in obtaining a room, but finally succeeded. 
This being in the fall, and the weather cold, he asked for a fire in 
his room, which was soon built by a very aged lady, whom he 
ascertained to be the mother of the Prophet, who, though bowed 
by the weight of some four score years, still adhered to the belief 
of her early days, that "an idler is a cumberer of the earth," and 
made herself generally useful. The Apostle was very busy, 
so young Davenport was compelled to bide his time for a 
private interview with him. When supper was announced the 
Prophet took his seat at the head of a long table, and invoked a 
blessing upon his guests and the food, and then, in a reverential 
tone of voice, added, "We will now be waited upon by angels," 
when a side door swung open and some two dozen bright and 
pretty little misses, dressed in white, entered the dining-room 
and waited upon the table. After supper he succeeded in meet- 
ing the Prophet face to face in the hall, and commenced to ex- 
plain to him the object of his visit, but was cut short by the 
Prophet, who said, "I know your business. You were sent here 
by your father to pay the taxes on the quarter section of land I 


have lately fenced and planted, and on finding the taxes paid 
and the land improved you desire to know by what authority I 
have done so. I will tell you. I know your father has a patent 
to this land from the President, but I have a much higher aud 
better title than his, 1 derive title to this land direct from the 
Almighty. I needed more land and appealed to the Throne of 
Grace for directions how and where I should obtain it, and He 
appeared to me in a vision saying, 'Behold, thy people need 
more land whereon to grow their crops for food. Before thee lies 
the inheritance of the Gentile, who need it not ; arise and go thou, 
Joseph, my servant, and possess thyself thereof, use and enjoy 
it.' Thus you see, my young friend, my title is much stronger 
than yours." 

This Mormon mode of obtaining land has this merit, besides 
being impudent and cheeky, a humbug can be endured better 
than a robbery, though the result be the same. The former 
leaves us in doubt as to a criminal intent, while the latter 
strongly suggests the total depravity of human nature. 

Starting out with Governor Edwards, who wrote the first history 
of Illinois, followed by Governors Eeynolds and Ford, and every 
other writer upon the history of Illinois who has alluded to the 
treaty of November 3, 1804, all have treated it as being a valid 
and binding contract, not only upon the parties who executed 
it, but those whose rights and interests might be affected thereby. 
This treaty was confirmed by the President and the United States 
Senate and proclamation thereof made January 5, 1805, which 
act rendered it valid as to the United States. But Quashquamme 
and his four associates, having no power or authority delegated 
them by either the Sauk or Fox Nation, to make a cession of 
the lands of these nations or any part or portion thereof, the 
treaty or cession was void abinitio as to these nations, unless the 
act was confirmed and ratified by them, which they nor either of 
them ever did. Nor has any writer upon this question so 
claimed, so far as we have been able to find, unless by implica- 
tion in receiving the annuity of one thousand dollars per year in 
goods at St. Louis by them was a ratification. But, as stated by 
Black Hawk and Governor Edwards, he refused to accept any 
part of these annuity goods. Nor is it charged, much less 
proven, that any part or portion of his band ever received a dol- 
lar's worth of annuities under said treaty. 

Quashquamme and his associates received the advance pay- 
ment of the two thousand two hundred and thirty-four dollars 


and fifty cents in "wet groceries and gewgaws" from Mr. 
Choteau, and had a big drunk, which proved to these poor 
descendents of Shem as costly as that to Ham, when Noah pro- 
nounced the anathema, "Cursed be Canaan: a servant of serv- 
ants shall he be unto his brethren. * * * God shall enlarge 
Japheth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan 
shall be his servant." Governor Ford says, p. 108 et seq., 
of his history of Illinois: "It appears that a treaty had been 
made by General Harrison, at St. Louis, in November, 1804, 
with the chiefs of the Sac and Fox nations of Indians, by which 
those Indians had ceded to the United States all their land on 
Eock river and much more elsewhere. This treaty was con- 
firmed by a part of the tribe in a treaty with Governor Edwards 
and Auguste Choteau, in September, 1815, and by another part 
in a treaty with the same commissioners, in May, 1816. The 
United States had caused some of these lands, situated at the 
mouth of Kock river, to be surveyed and sold. These lands 
included the great town of the Nation, near the mouth of the 
river. The purchasers from the Government moved onto their 
lands, built houses, made fences and fields, and thus took 
possession of the ancient metropolis of the Indian Nation. This 
metropolis consisted of about two or three hundred lodges, made 
of small poles set upright in the ground, upon which other poles 
were tied transversely with bark at the top, so as to hold a cover- 
ing of bark peeled from the neighboring trees, and secured with 
other strips of bark with which they were sewed to the transverse 
poles. The sides of the lodges were secured in the same manner. 
The principal part of these Indians had long since moved from 
their town to the west of the Mississippi. 

But there was an old Chief of the Sacs called Mucata- 
Muhicatah, or Black Hawk, who always denied the validity of 
these treaties. Black Hawk was an old man. He had been a 
warrior from his youth. He had led many a war party on the 
trail of an enemy, and had never been defeated. He had been in 
the service of England in the war of 1812, and had been aid-de- 
camp to the great Tecumseh .* He was distinguished for courage 
and for clemency to the vanquished. He was an Indian patriot, 
a kind husband and father, and was noted for his integrity in all 
his dealings with his tribe and with the Indian traders. He was 
firmly attached to the British and cordially hated the Americans. + 

*This is erroneous Black Hawk was never with Tecuraseh. 
tThis is not warranted in fact 


At the close of the war of 1812 he had never joined in making 
peace with the United States, but he and his band still kept up 
their connection with Canada, and we're ready for war with our 
people. He was, in his personal deportment, grave and melan- 
cholly, with a disposition to cherish and brood over the wrongs 
he supposed he had received from the Americans. He was thirst- 
ing for revenge upon his enemies, and at the same time his piety 
constrained him to devote a day in the year to visit the grave of 
a favorite daughter buried on the Mississippi river, not far from 
Oquawka. Here he came on his yearly visits and spent a day by 
the grave lamenting and bewailing the death of one who had been 
the pride of his family and of his Indian home. With these feel- 
ings was mingled the certain and melancholy prospect of the 
extinction of his tribe and the transfer of his country with its 
many silvery rivers, rolling and green prairies and dark forests, 
the haunts of his youth, to the possession of a hated enemy, 
whilst he and his people were to be driven, as he supposed, into 
a strange country, far from the graves of his fathers and his 

He then hastily gives Black Hawk's construction of the treaty 
of 1804, adding: "It maybe well here to mention that some 
historians of the Black Hawk war have taken much of the matter 
of their histories from a life of Black Hawk written at Rock 
Island in 1833 or 1834, purporting to have been his own state- 
ments written down on the spot. This work has misled many. 
Black Hawk knew but little, if anything, about it. In point of fact, 
it was gotten up from the statements of Mr. Antoine Le Clare 
and Colonel Davenport, and was written by a printer,* and was 
never intended for anything but a catch-penny publication. Mr. 
Le Clare was a half-breed Indian interpreter, and Colonel Daven- 
port, an old Indian trader, whose sympathies were strongly 
enlisted in favor of the Indians, and whose interest it was to 
retain the Indians in the country for the purposes of trade ; hence 
the gross perversion of facts in that book attributing this war to 
the border white people, when in point of fact these border white 
people had bought and paid for the land on which they lived, 
from the government, which had a title to it, by these different 

*Governor Ford was led into an error. That printer is the venerable editor of 
the Oquawka Spectator, Colonel John B.Patterson, who still survives, and is a man 
of marked ability and unquestioned integrity. Though an octogenarian his mind 
and pen are yet vigorous. He is the oldest living editor in Illinois, and was a 
candidate for Public Printer under Jackson's administration, 


treaties. They were quietly and peaceably living upon their lands 
when the Indians, under Black Hawk, attempted to dispossess. 

"As yet I have seen no excuse for Black Hawk's second invasion 
of the State in breach of his own treaty with General Gaines in 
1831 ; but the sympathisers with the Indians skip over and take 
no notice of that treaty, so determined have they been to please 
their own countrymen at all hazards. * * * Under the pre- 
tense that this treaty was void he resisted th .: orders of the gov- 
ernment for the removal of his tribe west of the Mississippi. In 
the spring of 1831 he recrossed the river with his women and 
children and three hundred warriors of the British band, together 
with some allies from the Pottawattainie andKickapoo Nations, to 
establish himself upon his ancient hunting-grounds and in the 
village of his nation. He ordered the white settlers away, threw 
down their fences, unroofed their houses, cut up their grain, drove 
off and killed their cattle, and threatened the people with death 
if they remained. The settlers made their complaints to Governor 
Reynolds. These acts of the Indians were considered by the 
Governor to be an invasion of the State. He immediately 
addressed letters to General Games of the United States army, 
and to Governor Clark, the Superintendent of Indian affairs, call- 
ing upon them to use the influence of the government to procure 
the peaceful removal of the Indians, if possible ; at all events to 
del end and protect the American citizens who had purchased 
those lands from the United States, and were now about to be 
ejected by the Indians. 

."General Gaines repaired to Rock Island with a few companies 
of regular soldiers and soon ascertained that the Indians were 
bent on war. He immediately called upon Governor Reynolds 
for seven hundred mounted volunteers. The Governor obeyed 
the requisition. A call was made upon some of the northern and 
central counties, in obedience to which fifteen hundred volunteers 
rushed to his standard at Beardstown, and about the 10th of 
June were organized and ready to march to the seat of war."* 

In August, 1826, Ninian Edwards was elected Governor of 
Illinois. Born m the " dark and bloody ground" Kentucky 

*Governor Ford's charges that Black H.iwk's autobiography was a mere catch- 
penny, and that Cjlouel D.ivenpori's sympathies warped his judgment, to the 
Indian side, are untrue and ill-advised. Colonel Davenport was the soul of honor 
and a gallant soldier, while Colonel Patterson, the publishe'r, still lives, and is an 
honorable and thoroughly reliable citizen. 


where Daniel Boone and his compatriots had so long and so des- 
perately contended with the Indians, he imbibed from his ififancy 
a strong prejudice against the red man. Immediately after his 
inauguration he directed his powerful intellect and influence, as 
a citizen, as well as Governor of the State, towards driving every 
Indian across the Mississippi and out of the State. He first 
wrote a letter to the Secretary of War strongly urging their 
removal as a necessity to the peace and welfare of the white 
people of the State, and that their presence in the State was a 
constant menace to the peace and safety of the citizens of Illinois, 
urging in the strongest language that they had no sort of right 
to remain upon the lands they had ceded to the United States ; 
that they were committing depredations upon the white settlers 
by stealing their horses, killing their cattle and other outrageous 
conduct, and demanded that the war department take immediate 
steps for their forcible removal. In response to these pressing 
appeals the Secretary of War instructed General Cass, in 1827, to 
take measures with a view to their immediate removal to the west 
side of the Mississippi. But farther than a little inquiry no 
action was taken in the matter by General Cass. In May, 1828, 
Governor Edwards wrote Governor William Clark, then Superin- 
tendent of Indian affairs, with headquarters at St. Louis, urging 
and demanding immediate action on the part of the government 
of the United States in the matter of the removal of all the 
Indian tribes within the State of Illinois. Following up this 
matter, he again wrote to the Secretary of War in June, 1828, in 
which, among other caustic words, were the following: "The 
grievance still continuing, and aggravated as it is by recent occur- 
rences, of which I am bound to presume you are informed, I feel 
it my duty to ask you what farther in regard to this matter may 
be expected from the general government?" In response to this 
last appeal an order was issued by the war department for the 
removal of the Indians to the west side of the Mississippi. On 
the receipt of this order the Indians begged and plead for time to 
mature and gather their crops and prepare for their departure, 
and another year was given them for that purpose. With this 
action of the government of the United States in granting a 
year's extension of time for their removal from the State, Governor 
Edwards was very indignant, and wrote Governor Clark, a 
strongly- worded letter, closing with : "If any act of hostility 
shall be committed on the frontiers, I will not hesitate to 


remove them on my own responsibility as Governor of the 
State." Governor Edwards eays : "In 1829 was the land 
sale, and on July 15, 1830, another treaty was made with the 
Sacs and Foxes by the provisions of which they were to re- 
move peaceably from the Illinois country. A portion of the 
Sacs, with their principal Chief, Keokuk, at their head, quietly 
returned across the Mississippi. With those who remained in 
the village at the mouth of Kock river, an arrangement was made 
by the Americans, who had purchased the land, by which they 
were to live together as neighbors, the Indians still cultivating 
their old fields as formerly. 

"Black Hawk, however, a restless and uneasy spirit, who had 
ceased to recognize Keokuk as chief, and who was known to be 
still under the pay of the British, emphatically refused either to 
remove from the lands or respect the rights of the Americans to 
them. He insisted that Keokuk had no authority for making 
such a treaty, and he proceeded to gather around him a large 
number of his warriors and young men of the tribe who were 
anxious to distinguish themselves as braves, and, placing himself 
at their head, he determined to dispute with the whites the pos- 
session of the ancient seat of his nation. He had conceived the 
gigantic scheme, as appears by his own admission, of uniting all 
the Indians from Rock river to the Gulf of Mexico in a war 
against the United States, and he made use of every pretext for 
gaining accessions to his party." 

Governor John Reynolds succeeded Governor Edwards in 1830, 
beating Lieutenant-Governor William Kinney by a large major- 
ity. A native of Pennsylvania, but raised in Tennessee, he came 
to Illinois while it was but a territory, and had served in several 
campaigns against the Indians. At the time of the election 
Kinney was Lieutenant-Governor under Edwards, and Reynolds 
had been one of the Circuit Judges of the State Court. Both were 
Democrats. Kinney was a Baptist preacher, Reynolds inclined 
to Methodism, but too much of a politician for a Christian. 
Kinney, though not blessed with a scholastic education, was 
possessed of fine native ability and personal character. They 
both took the stump, and while Kinney spoke of the needed 
legislation, Reynolds declared that every last Indian must go. 
Having made " the removal of the Indians from the State" 
his- platform, Governor Reynolds was ever eager for the op- 
portunity to fulfill his publicly made pledge. Now, it is a well 


established fact, that pioneer settlements along an Indian 
boundary line have but little to lose and tmuch o gain by a small 
Indian war, because it is sure to eventuate in driving the Indians 
further back and opening up desirable locations for the pioneer. 
In this case the fine lands of the Sauks, lying on the peninsula 
between the Mississippi and Kock rivers, had been broken up 
and cultivated for many years ; some of them indeed, for cen- 
turies, as before shown. Such being true, it was an easy matter 
to provoke a dispute or formulate false charges against the 
Indians. The temptation was too strong, false charges were pre- 
pared and forwarded to Governor Reynolds, who says in his 
anomolous work, " My Own Times " : "At the time I saw Black 
Hawk he seemed more inclined to [counsel than action. He 
would not receive annuities from the United States, but went to 
Canada every year for presents from his British father. * * * 
B. F. Pike states on oath: 'That the number of warriors is 
about three hundred ; that the Indians have, in various instances, 
done much damage to the said white inhabitants, by throwing 
down their fences, destroying their fall grain, pulling off the roofs 
of houses, and positively asserting, that if they did not go away, 
their warriors would kill them." 

Governors Ford and Edwards both rely upon the treaties of 
1815 and 1816, while Edwards states there was another treaty of 
July 15, 1830. Before showing the errors and misstatements 
of fact contained in each of the foregoing statements of the ex- 
Governors, we will give these three socalled treaties to the end, 
that the reader may fully comprehend all the real facts in the 
case, and be governed accordingly. But a . little retrospection is 
probably advisable to fully comprehend the meaning of these 
treaties It should be remembered that in the war 1812-14, be- 
tween the United States and Great Britian, Black Hawk having 
first tendered his services, with two hundred braves, to the United 
States, and, being refused, he then made the same tender to the 
British and was received by them. That at this point com- 
menced the cause which culminated in a division of the Sauk 
Nation, which has never been healed to the present day. This 
division, which took place in 1812 or 1813, and resulted in the 
formation of two separate bands in the same tribe or nation, 
the one known as the Black Hawk or British band, because they 
had espoused the British cause, and the other as the Peace or 
Missouri band. The former comprised about one-third of the 


entire nation, with Black Hawk at their head; the latter contained 
the remainder of the tribe, with Keokuk at .their head, who was 
always the white man's friend. It was asserted by some writers 
that a portion of the Fox tribe joined Black Hawk's band in 
the war of 1812-14. But such was not true, for a wonder, since 
Muckete-Nanamakee, or Black Thunder, their greatest chief, and 
others were seized and imprisoned on mere suspicion and held 
captive at Prairie du Chien until after the close of that war. 
Other Indian tribes of the then Northwest, like Black Hawk's 
band, had fought on the British gide in that war. A treaty of peace 
was concluded and executed at Ghent on the 24th of December, 

1814, between the United States and Great Britain. Under the 
provisions of Article IX of this treaty, both of the contracting 
parties stipulated and agreed to put an end to Indian hostilities, 
and for the purpose of fully carrying into full force and effect this 
stipulation on the part of the United States, William Clark, Gov- 
ernor of the Territory of Missouri ; Ninian Edwards, Governor of 
the Territory of Illinois, and Auguste Choteau, merchant and 
Indian trader, of St. Louis, Mo., Territory, were appointed, 
under the provisions of an act of Congress, by the President of 
the United States, and confirmed by the Senate March 11, 1815, 
"Commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States to harmon- 
ize and pacify all the various tribes of Indians inhabiting the North- 
Western Territory." 

These commissioners proceeded to meet the numerous Indian 
tribes, and rapidly effected what they invariably called "Treaties 
of Peace and Friendship." With this preliminary explanation, 
we here give, intheir-order of date, the singular documents pre- 
pared by these Commissioners "to harmonize and pacify the 
various tribes," etc. The first of these is that of September 13, 

1815, with the Quashquamme branch of the Peace band, residing 
then in the Territory of Missouri, none of whom had taken any 
part in the war of 1812-14. This instrument will be found in the 
official volume of " Indian Treaties," page 134, and is as follows : 

" PORTAGE DBS Sioux, September 13, 1815. 
" A treaty of peace and friendship made and concluded between 
William Clark, Ninian Edwards and Auguste Choteau, Commis- 
sioners Plenipotentiary, of the United States, of America, on the 
part and behalf of the said States, of the one part, and the under- 
signed Chiefs and warriors of that portion of the Sac Nation of 
Indians now residing on the Mississippi river, of the other part. 


"WHEREAS, The undersigned Chiefs and warriors, as well as 
that portion of the nation which they represent, have at all times 
been desirous of fulfilling their treaty with the United States with 
perfect good faith, and for that purpose found themselves com- 
pelled, since the commencement of the late war, to separate 
themselves from the rest of their nation and move to the Missis- 
sippi river, where they have continued to give proofs of their 
friendship and fidelity; and, 

WHEREAS, The United States justly appreciating the conduct 
of said Indians, are disposed to do them the most ample justice 
that is possible, the said parties have agreed to the following 
Articles : 

" Article 1. The undersigned Chiefs arid warriors for them- 
selves, and that portion of the Sacs which they represent, do 
hereby assent to the treaty between the United States of America 
and the United tribes of Sacs and Foxes which was concluded at 
St. Louis, on the third day of November, 1804, and they moreover 
promise to do all in their power to establish and enforce the same. 

"Article 2. The Chiefs and warriors for themselves and those 
they represent, do further promise to remain distinct and separate 
from the Sacs of Bock river, giving them no aid or assistance 
whatever until peace shall also be concluded between the United 
States and the said Sacs of Eock river. 

"Article 3. The United States on their part promise to allow 
the said Sacs of the Mississippi river all the rights and privileges 
secured to them by the treaty of St. Louis, before mentioned, 
and, also as soon as practicable, furnish them with a just pro- 
portion of the annuities stipulated to be paid by that treaty : 
Provided, they shall continue to comply with this and their former 
treaty. "WILLIAM CLARK. 


"SHAMAGO, the lance; KATAKA, or sturgeon; WEE-SAKA, the 
devil ; MECAITA, the eagle ; CATCHS-MA-CHINEO, the big eagle ; 
NESHATA, the twin ; QUASHQUAMME, the jumping fish ; CAICKAQUA, 
he that stands by the big tree ; CHAGOSENT, the blue's son ; 
POCUMA, the plumb ; NANOCHOLOOSA, the brave by hazard ; NANEO- 
CHEWAUN, the Sioux." 

The next so-called treaty is with the Fox Nation, of September 
14, 1815, p. 135, Book of United States Treaties, at Portage Des 
Sioux, is as follows, omitting the caption : 


"The parties being desirable of re-establishing peace and 
friendship between the United States and the said tribe or nation,, 
and of being placed in all things and in every respect on the 
same footing upon which they stood before the war, have agreed 
to the following articles : 

"Article 1. Every injury or act of hostility by one or either 
of the contracting parties against the other shall be mutually 
forgiven and forgotten. 

"Article 2. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship 
between the citizens of the United States of America and all the 
individuals comprising the said Fox tribe or nation. 

"Article 3. The contracting parties do hereby agree, promise, 
and obligate themselves reciprocally to deliver up all the prisoners 
now in their hands (by whatever means soever the same may 
have came into their possession) to the officer commanding at 
Fort Clark*, on the Illinois river, to be by him restored to their 
respective nations, as soon as it may be practicable. 

"Article 4. The said Fox tribe or nation, do hereby assent to 
recognize, re-establish and confirm the treaty of St. Louis, of 
November 3, 1804, to the full extent of their interest in the same, 
as well as all other contracts and agreements between the par- 
ties, and the United States promises to fulfill all the stipulations 
contained in the said treaty in favor of the said Fox tribe or 
nation. " WILLIAM CLARK, 


"PiEREE MASKIN, the fox who walks crooked; MUCKETE-WA- 
GUIT, black cloud ; NANIA-SA-SUN-A-MET, he who surpasses others ;. 
NE-NE, the liar; CATCHEE-CAW-MEE, big lake; MALA-SUO-KA- 
MEE, the war chief ; KE-CHUO-WA, the sun ; MA-TA-QUA, the medi- 
cal woman; PA-TAU-QJA, the bear that sits; AQUR-QUA, the ket- 
tle; NE-MAS-QUA; MACHE-NA-MA, the bad fish; PESO-TOKEE, the 
flying fish ; MISHE-CA-QUA, the hairy legs ; CAPUN-TWA, all at 
once; MOWHININ, the wolf; ORIGON; WO-NA-KA-SA, the quick 
river ; NANA-TOW-AKA, the scenting fox." 

The next so-called treaty is with the Sauks, of Kock river, 
which was concluded at St. Louis, May 13, 1816. These Indians 
had been notified by the Commissioners Plenipotentiary to meet 
them at Portage Des Sioux the year or fall before, but after 

*Ai Peoria. 111. 


starting thither, and while on their way, Nomite, their principal 
peace chief and Head-man, was taken suddenly ill and died at a 
small Sauk village, then on Henderson river. Nomite's brother 
became Head-man upon the death, and considering the death of- 
Nomite as a bad omen, said that if he started he would be 
taken sick and die as his brother had done, flatly refused to go 
any farther on this ill-starred expedition. These august com- 
missioners, whose authority extended only to notifying the vari- 
ous Indian nations of the Northwestern Territory of the con- 
clusion of peace between the United States and Great Britain, 
sent them a peremptory order to come down to St. Louis and 
execute a treaty (See Black Hawk's statement of the matter). 
This treaty is called the " Second Treaty of St. Louis with the 
Sacs of Eock Eiver," and (omitting the caption) is as follows: 

"WHEREAS, By the ninth article of the treaty of peace, which 
was concluded on the 24th day of November, 1814, between the 
United States and Great Britain, at Ghent, and ratified by the 
President with the advice and consent of the Senate, on the 17th 
of February, 1815, it was stipulated that said parties should 
severally put an end to all hostilities with the Indian tribes with 
whom they might be at war at the time of the ratification of said 
treaty, and to place the said tribes inhabiting their respective terri- 
tories on the same footing upon which they stood before the war : 
Provided, they should agree to desist from all hostilities against 
said parties, their citizens or subjects, respectively, upon the ratifi- 
cation of the said treaty being notified to them, and should so 
desist accordingly. 

AND WHEREAS, The United States being determined to execute 
every article of the treaty with perfect good faith, and wishing to 
be particularly exact in the execution of the article above referred 
to, relating to the Indian tribes, the President, in consequence 
thereof, for that purpose, on the llth of March, 1815, appointed 
the undersigned : William Clark, Governor of Missouri Territory ; 
Ninian Edwards, Governor of Illinois Territory, and Auguste 
Ohoteau, Esquire, of the Missouri Territory Commissioners, with 
full power to conclude a treaty of peace and amity with, all the 
tribes of Indians conformably to the stipulations contained in the 
said article on the part of the United States in relation to such 

AND WHEREAS, The Commissioners, in conformity with their 
instructions, in the early part of last year, notified the Sacs, of 


Eock river and the adjacent country, of the time of the ratifica- 
tion ; of the stipulations it contained in relation to them ; of the 
disposition of the American Government to fulfill those stipula- 
tions by entering into a treaty with them conformably thereto, 
and invited the said Sacs, of Bock river and adjacent country, to 
send forward a deputation of their chiefs to meet the said Com- 
missioners at Portage Des Sioux, for the purpose of concluding 
such a treaty as aforesaid, between the United States and the 
said Indians; and the Sacs of Rock river having not only declined 
that friendly overture, but having continued their hostilities, and 
committed many depredations thereafter which would have justi- 
fied the infliction of the severest chastisement upon them, but 
having earnestly repented of their conduct, now imploring mercy, 
and being anxious to return to the habits of peace and friendship 
with the United States, and the latter being always disposed to 
pursue the most liberal and humane policy towards the Indian 
tribes within their territory, preferring their reclamation by 
peaceful means to their punishment by the application of the 
military force of the nation. Now, therefore, the said William 
Clark, Ninian Edwards and Auguste Choteau, Commissioners as 
aforesaid, and the undersigned chiefs and warriors as aforesaid,, 
for the purpose of restoring peace and friendship between the 
parties, do agree to the following articles : 

"Article 1. The Sacs of Eock river and the adjacent country 
do hereby unconditionally assent to recognize, re-establish and 
confirm the treaty between the United States of America and the 
united tribes of Sacs and Foxes, which was concluded at St. 
Louis on tbe d day of November, 1804, as well as all other con- 
tracts and agreements heretofore made between the Sac tribe or 
nation and the United States. 

"Article 2. The United States agree to place the aforesaid Sacs 
of Eock river on the same footing upon which they stood before 
the war : Provided, they shall, on cr before the first day of July, 
next, deliver up to the officers commanding at Cantonment Davis, 
on the Mississippi, all the property they, or any part of their 
tribes, have plundered or stolen from citizens of the United States 
since they were notified, as aforesaid, of the time of the ratifica- 
tion of the late treaty between the United States and Great 

"Article 3. If the said tribes shall fail or neglect to deliver up the 
property aforesaid, or any part thereof, on or before the first day 


of July, aforesaid, they shall forfeit to the United Skates all right 
and title to their proportion of the annuities which, by the treaty 
of St. Louis, were covenanted to be paid to the Sac tribe, and the 
United States shall forever afterwards be exonerated from the 
payment of so much annuities as upon distribution would fall to 
the share of that portion of the Sacs who are represented by the 
undersigned chiefs and warriors : 

"Article 4. Provides that this treaty shall take effect from and 
after its confirmation by the President and the United States 
Senate, and in the meantime all hostilities shall cease. 


ANOWORT, or the man who speaks ; NAMAWENAM, or sturgeon 
man; NASUWARKEE, or the fork; NAMUTCHESEE, or jumping stur- 
geon ; MACHEQUAWA, or the bad axe ; MASHCO, or young eagle ; 
AQUASSA, a lion coming out of the water ; MUCKETEEMESHEK:AHK[AH, 
Black Hawk; PAINAKETA, the cloud that does not stop; MEALESTA, 
bad weather ; ANAWASHQUETH, the bad root ; WASSEKEQUA, sharp- 
faced bear; SOKEETOO, the thunder that frightens ; WAPAMUKQUA, 
the white bear ; WARPALAKUS, the rumbling thunder ; KEMALASHA, 
the swan that flies in the rain ; PASHKOMASK, the swan that flies 
low ; KEMALASHEE, the running partridge ; WAPULAMO, the white 
wolf ; CASKUPEWA, the swan whose wings crack when he flies ; 
NAPITAKU, he who has a swan's throat about his neck ; MASHASHE, 
the fox." 

The treaty of July, 15, 1830, alluded to by Gov. Edwards, will 
be found on page 328, Book of United States Treaties, and is as 
follows : 

" PRAIRIE Du CHEIN, July 15, 1830. 

Omitting the caption and first article, which applies to other 
Indian nations. 

"Article 2. The confederated tribes of Sacs and Foxes cede 
and relinquish to the United States forever, a tract of country 
twenty miles in width, from the Mississippi to the Des Moines, 
situated south and adjoining the line between the said confed- 
erated tribes of Sacs and Foxes and the Sioux, as established by 
the second article of the treaty of Prairie Da Chein, of the 19th 
of August, 1825." 


Under article 4, the United States agree to pay to the Sacs and 
Foxes, each, for the land ceded in Article 2, ten thousand dollars 
per annum for ten years, and to the Sauks, of the Missouri river, 
five thousand dollars per annum. 

Supt. of Indian Affairs. 


Col. 1st Infantry, U. S. A. 

Sacs MASHQUTAIPAW, or red head ; SHECOCALAWKA, or turtle 
shell ; KEEOCUCK, the watchful fox ; PAITOHOIT, one that has no 
heart ; OAHOYSKEE, ridge ; SHESHUQUAMIE, little gourd ; OSAW- 
WISHCONAC, yellew bird ; IONIN, am away ; NINIWAWQUASOUT, he that 
fears mankind ; CHOOKEEMMITON, the little spirit ; MOSOINN, the 
scalp ; WAPAWCHECAMUCK, fiish of the White Marsh ; MESSICOJIC. 

Foxes WAPELLO, the prince ; TOWEEMENI, strawberry ; PASHA- 
SAKAY, son of Piemanchie ; KEEWAUSETTE, he who climbs every- 
where; NAWMEE ; APPENIOCE, the grandchild ; WAYTEEMENS ; NAWAY 
AWKIOSO ; MANQUOPEWAN, the bear's hip ( Morgan ) ; KAWKAWKEE, 
ways fish," 

The names of all Indians to each ireaty are signed by an X. 



Tho expressed views of Governors Edwards, Reynolds and Ford, Reviewed and 
Criticised by the Light of the Law and the so-called Treaties of 1804. 1815, 1816 and 
1830 together with the 9th Article of the Treat/ of Ghent of December 24, 1814. 

" If circumstances lead me I will find 
Where Truth is hid though it were hid, indeed. 

Within the centre." 


The old adage says, "truth was hidden in a well," but in this 
case it was hidden in the center of a mountain of concealment, 
misrepresentation, ignorance and prejudice, whose prevailing 
material, was an unwarranted hatred of the British government. 
In this chapter we propose to dig deeply into the mountain and 
bring forth the bright angel Truth, and present her all-radiant 
to the gaze of the world as she is and should be. By the light of 
truth we shall be able to show the so-called Black Hawk war of 
1831-2 was simply a cold-blooded series of murders without cause 
or justification on the part of the American people. These are 
bold words but easily proven. Governor Ford's version of these 
transactions covers and embraces that of the other ex-Governors, 
hence we shall consider his first. That the gallant little Governor, 
Thomas 'Ford, should, under any circumstances, have suffered 
himself to be misled by Governors Edwards and Keynolds in 
their highly-colored, one-sided statements of the facts and cir- 
cumstances connected with the so-called treaty of November 3, 
1804, and subsequent events growing therefrom, is to us, who 
knew him intimately and long, inexplicable and strange. Although 
a capital hater of those he disliked, and warm friend to those he 
liked, he was eminently fair-minded and the very soul of honor. 
But notwithstanding all this his statement of these transactions, 
while meagre, is honey-combed with errors. Starting out, he calls 
the contract of November 3, 1804, a treaty. There were no dif- 
ferences then existing between the people of the United States 
and these Indian nations to form a treaty upon unless it be the 
release of the Sauk prisoner, incarcerated on the charge of mur- 
der. But we apprehend that neither of these Governors would 


have been willing to admit that as the subject of barter and 
foundation for a treaty. It was, if anything, an agreement to 
sell their lands. A treaty is an agreement between two or more 
nations formally signed by commissioners purposely authorized, 
and solemnly ratified by the sovereign or supreme power of the 
nations interested. 

No public writer has ever assumed that the Sauk Chiefs, Quash- 
quamme, Pashepaho and Hashequaxhiqua, with the two braves, 
Layouvois and Outchuquaha, were delegated by the Sauk and 
Fox Nations, or either of them as Commissioners Plenipotentiary, 
to sell and convey their lands, or any part thereof, to the United 
States, and certainly not to make a treaty when tbere were no 
grievances or national disagreements to be adjusted, and since 
the Fox Nation had no representation in the matter, their rights 
were not and could not have been affected thereby, whether the 
instrument were a treaty, sale and cession or contract of sale. 
Nor did it make but little difference to the Foxes in any event, as 
they were not the owners in fee of any of the lands affected by 
the % so-called treaty of 1804. 

They were permitted by the Sauks to occupy a small portion of 
their lands along the south bank of the Mississippi, extending 
from Moline to Kock Island, where they had a small village and 
cultivated a field of corn. When these two nations went to that 
locality as the successors or grantees of the Santeaux, the .Foxes 
located their principal village on the Iowa and the Sauks on the 
Illinois side of the Mississippi. This instrument of writing, 
called the treaty of St. Louis, not being in any sense of the mean- 
ing of that word a treaty, the next question is, what was it ? We 
confess, frankly, that it was a nondescript, and may be called a 
contract of sale, perhaps, or an act of cession. In any event it 
was largely turkey for the United States and buzzard for the 
Indians ; for the price to be paid by the former for these fifty mil- 
lion acres was a mere bagatelle if intended as the full compen- 
sation. If, by the execution of this instrument by these five 
Indians, the title of the Sauk and Fox Nations passed thereby 
eo instanti to the United States, then it was a sale and convey- 
ance or cession of the lands described in the instrument, if there 
were no other obstacles in the way. But there were insuperable 
objections in the way besides the incompetency of Quashquamme 
and his associates to make such a contract as would bind their 
nation. Among these obstacles were these : The consideration 


for the lands ceded was not paid at or before the execution of the 
instrument, but, on the contrary, was strung out in annual pay- 
ments "of a thousand dollars in goods yearly and every year," 
ad infinitum, or "to the crack of doom." Nor was the possession 
of these lands delivered to the United States, but on the contrary 
article 7 reads thus : "As long as the lands which are now ceded 
to the United States remain their property the Indians belong- 
ing to the said tribes shall enjoy the privilege of living and 
hunting upon them," Nor do its boundary lines close within 
many miles, rendering it void for uncertainty or want of de- 
finite description. It starts "at a point on the Missouri river, 
opposite the Gasconade river, and runs to strike the Jefferson 
river (no such river known) thirty miles from its mouth, then down 
that river to the Mississippi, up the Mississippi to the mouth 
of Wisconsin river; up that river thirty-six miles in a direct 
line from its mouth; thence to where Fox river of Illinois 
leaves Lakegan; down Fox river to Illinois, and down that 
river to the Mississippi," and here it stops square off, opposite 
where Alton now stands. Hence, it is neither a treaty nor con- 
veyance. Then what is it ? Simply a contract to purchase and 
agreement to sell. 

In view of the wording of the latter part of article 4 of this so- 
called treaty, it is even doubtful if General Harrison considered 
this instrument a cession of the lands of the Indians. If so, why 
insert these words : "And the said tribe do hereby engage that 
they will never sell their lands, or any part thereof, to any 
sovereign power but the United States, nor to the citizens or sub- 
jects of any other sovereign power nor to the citizens of the 
United States." "This treaty," says Governor Ford, "was con- 
firmed by a part of the tribe in a treaty with Governor Edwards 
and Auguste Choteau, in September, 1815, and by another part 
in a treaty with same Commissioners in May, 1816." These 
instruments appear in cha.pter VI. 

From an inadvertence of Gov.Ford, or a mistake of the printer, 
the name of the third and leading commissioner is omitted, that 
of Gov. William Clark,* of Missouri. He was a man of fine 
judgment and masterly ability. 

To fully comprehend the purport and meaning of the appoint- 
ment of this commission, and the scope and extent of their power 
and authority, a few antecedent facts are necessary, which are 

*Younger brother of Col. Geo. Roger Clark. 


these : In the summer of 1814, President Madison, with the advice 
and consent of the United States Senate, in obedience to a request 
from his Britanic majesty, sent Messers. Adams, Bayard, Clay, 
Kussell and Gallatin as commissioners plenipotentiary on the 
part of the United States to the city of Ghent, in Belgium, to 
meet Lord Gambier, Sir Henry Goulburne and Hon. William 
Adams, who had been appointed by the King of England to rep- 
resent the British government in a like capacity, to negotiate a 
treaty of peace between the two governments. On the 12th of 
August our commissioners communicated with the President sev- 
eral propositions submitted to them by the British commissioners 
which they insisted should form a part and portion of the treaty 
they were negotiating. The language used, as well as the propo- 
sitions submitted, were of such character as to give offense to our 
commissioners. Hence, they reported them to the President, 
who laid them before Congress in a special message, October 10, 
1814, where they were referred to the Committee on Foreign 
Kelations. One of these propositions was called the sine quanon, 
meaning: "Without which no negotiations no treaty," which 
referred to their late Indian allies in the following words : 

"The Indian allies of Great Britain, to be included in the paci- 
fication, and a definite boundary to be settled for their territories." 
They asserted that "an arrangement on this point was a sine 
quanon that they were not 'authorized to conclude a treaty of 
peace which did not embrace the Indians as allies of his Britanic 
majesty, and that the establishment of a definite boundary of the 
Indian territory was necessary to a permanent peace, not only 
with the Indians, but also between the United States and Great 
Britain." At a subsequent meeting of the commissioners, expla- 
nations were solicited and given. Our commissioners, with John 
Quincy Adams as the leader, told the British commissioners "that 
no nation observed a policy more liberal and humane towards the 
Indians than that performed by the United States ; that our 
object had been, by all practical means, to introduce civilization 
among them ; that their possessions were secured by well defined 
boundaries ; that their persons, lands and property were now 
more effectually protected against violence or frauds from any 
quarter than they had been under any former government ; that 
even our citizens were not allowed to purchase their lands ; that 
when they gave up their title to any portion of their country to 
the United States, it was by voluntary treaty with our government 


ment, who gave them a satisfactory equivalent ; and that through 
these means the United States had succeeded in preserving, since 
the treaty of Greenville, of 1795, an uninterrupted peace of six- 
teen years with all the tribes a period of tranquility much longer 
than they were known to have enjoyed heretofore." It was then 
expressly stated on our part "that the proposition respecting the 
Indians was not distinctly understood. We asked whether the 
pacification and the settlement of a boundary for them were both 
made a sine quanon, which was answered in the affirmative." To 
this the British commissioners laid before the American commis- 
sion the following protocol in writing : 

"That the peace be extended to the Indian allies of Great 
Britain, and that the boundary of their territory be definitely 
marked out as a permanent barrier between the dominions of the 
United States and Great Britain. Arrangements on this subject 
to be regarded a sine quanon of a treaty of peace." Our commis- 
sioners resisted these claims and demands. Every communica- 
tion from the commissioners was sent to their respective govern- 
ments, and replies awaited by them. These claims were finally 
modified and the difficulty compromised as set forth in the 9th 
article of the treaty of December 24, 1814, known as the Treaty 
of Ghent. This article is as follows : 


"Article the Ninth. The United States of America engage to 
put an end, immediately after the ratification of the present 
treaty, to hostilities with all the tribes or nations of Indians with 
whom they may be at war at the time of such ratification; and 
forthwith to restore to such tribes or nations, respectively, all the 
possessions, rights and privileges which they may have enjoyed 
or been entitled to in one thousand eight hundred and eleven, 
previous to such hostilities. Provided, always, that such tribes 
or nations shall agree to desist from all hostilities against the 
United States of America, their citizens and subjects, upon the 
ratification of the present treaty being notified to such tribes or 
nations, and shall so desist accordingly. And his Britanic 
Majesty engages on his part to put an end immediately after the 
ratification of the present treaty, to hostilities with all the tribes 
or nations of Indians with whom he may be at war at the time of 
such ratification, and forthwith to restore to such tribes or na- 
tions, respectively, all the possessions, rights arid privileges which 


they may have enjoyed or been entitled to in one thousand eight 
hundred and eleven, previous to such hostilities. Provided, al- 
ways, that such tribes or nations shall agree to desist from all 
hostilities against his Britanie Majesty, and his subjects, upon 
the ratification of the present treaty being notified to such tribes 
or nations, and shall so desist accordingly." 

This stubborn demand of the English that their late allies, a 
portion of the Indian tribes of the Northwestern Territory, should 
be included in the treaty, and be protected against punishment 
by the American government for the offense of taking up arms 
against them in this war, has been severely censured by many 
American writers, but certainly unjustly so. It would have been 
the basest ingratitude aye, perfidy in the British to have made 
peace for themselves, and left the Indians to the tender mercy of 
the outraged American people, who would have literally flayed 
them had they not have been protected under the treaty. Upon 
the ratification of the treaty of Ghent, which occurred by both 
governments about the middle of February, 1815, it became the 
supreme law of our land, under Section 2, Article 6, of the Fed- 
eral Constitution, and was binding upon officers and citizens, and 
not subject to alteration or amendment, except by mutual agree- 
ment of the contracting parties. Article 9 was inserted for the 
purpose of shielding and protecting the life, liberty and property 
of those Indians who had espoused the English cause in the war. 
Its language is clear and explicit, and not susceptible of double 
construction. The intention of the parties was to put an end to 
all further hostilities, either against or from the Indian allies of 
Great Britain, and that, too, without inflicting pains, penalties, or 
conditions, beyond simply notifying them that the White Winged 
Angel of Peace had spread her pinions over the late scenes 
of contention and death, wiping out the blood-stains left by the 
red dogs of war, and extending over the land the nepenthe of for- 
giveness for the past, and offering the olive branch of good will 
for the future. Welcome news even to the savage, with all his 
supposed brutality of nature, for be it truthfully said that the In- 
dian makes a pfcor soldier for hire. He has but little knowledge 
of the value of money or goods, but is a first class hater of those 
whom he feels and knows have done him an injury, and fights 
like a demon ; but for gain, very indifferently. In this cae it 
was white men on both sides, in which he took but little interest 
in the fight between the parties to it. The British fed and 


clothed him, with which he was content, and seldom permitted 
his stoical nature to become aroused to the fighting pitch. To 
fully carry into effect the provisions of this treaty, President 
Madison nominated the commission named in the foregoing 
chapter. Of this commission, Mr. Choteau was an Indian trader, 
and spoke the Indian language fluently. 

The scope or extent of their instructions we have not been able 
to ascertain, but it matters not what they were, since they could 
not change or alter Article IX of this treaty, which was the law 
and could not be altered by executive instructions, or legislative 
enactments. Hence, if the instructions given these Commission- 
ers in any manner contravened the provisions of the treaty, such 
instructions, so far as they were in conflict therewith, were null 
and void. Nor could they legally do or perform any act or thing, 
which might affect the rights, interests, or standing of these Indi- 
ans, by virtue of their appointment. With the official notifica- 
tion of the conclusion of peace and restoration of the various 
Indian nations to the same footing they occupied before the war, 
their duties were performed, and all acts of theirs in their capac- 
ity of Commissioners and assumed capacity of having plenary or 
potential powers to make treaties, etc., were extra official and 
ultra vires. Having clearly shown the law, the facts prove be- 
yond a doubt that these self-styled Commissioners plenipoten- 
tiary had neither power or authority to impose penalties, fines, 
or conditions, of any kind whatever, upon the Indian tribes, col- 
lectively or individually, and had no sort of right, power or 
authority to represent the Government or people of the United 
States in regulating or making treaties with these Indian nations. 
Nor could they bind the United States Government to the pay- 
ment of anything valuable, as a consideration to secure a peace 
with these Indians, who were the late allies of Great Britain, 
since the treaty of Ghent had been ratified and become the fund- 
amental law by which that peace had already been established. 
All additional consideration would have been in the nature of an 
amendment to that treaty, which could not be done. Yet these 
Commissioners, from some unexplained cause, arrogated to them- 
selves the power and authority of entering into what they and the 
historians have termed " treaties of peace and friendship," with 
dozens of Indian nations, not one in ten of whom had taken any 
part in the late war; imposing penalties and condition with 


perfect abandon and granting immunities with a liberal hand, 
whereby they fully illustrated Shakspeare's idea of the insolence 
of office: 

"O, but man, proud man, 
Dressed in a little brief authority, 
Most ignorant of what he's most assured, 
His glassy essence, like an angry ape, 
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven 
As make the angels weep." 

Like the three tailors who met in Tooley street and "Resolved, 
That we the people of England," these Commissioners met at the 
village of St. Louis, (for it was then but a small village,) and 
resolved that since they represented the people of the United 
States they would make these Indians come to them, and Mo- 
hammed-like, said to the mountain, "Come thou to me ! " Hence, 
they sent out messengers to the various Indian tribes, ordering 
them to assemble at the little village of Portage Des Sioux, on 
the west bank of the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Missouri, 
for the purpose of entering into treaties of peace with the United 

To awe and intimidate these wild sons of the forest, or, in their 
own language, " to prevent any collision or surprise," they made 
a requisition on the commander at Jefferson barracks for a mili- 
tary escort for their mission of peace and friendship, who detached 
" Brigadier-General Henry Dodge* with a strong military force " 
for that purpose. Thus did these Commissioners, instead of 
personally visiting the various Indian nations and officially and 
personally informing them that the war between the United States 
and England was over and peace concluded, as was clearly con- 
templated and expected by the President when appointing them, 
and what they might have easily done, because the principal vil- 
lages of all these Indian nations were located upon or near to 
some water course, and accessible by water craft, order these 
descendents of Shem, whose homes were scattered over a terri- 
tory large enough for an empire, and whose inhabitants were 
numbered by the tens of thousands, of half-clad, half-starved 
people, with no means of support save from the chase, and 
the brook, and without adequate means of transportation, to 
dance attendance upon the will and pleasure of these three 
Commissioners, at the Portage Des Sioux. There are so many 
matters connected with the action and movements of these Com- 
missioners, so much of the pompous and ludicrous, that they 

*Afterwards Governor etc., of Wisconsin. 


would form the plot for an improved Pinafore. Take as an exam- 
ple the instrument in writing which they term " a treaty of peace 
and friendship between the United States and that portion of the 
Sac nation now residing on the Mississippi river," which starts 
out by admitting that these Indians "have at all times been 
desirous of fulfilling their treaty with the United States with 
perfect good faith, and for that purpose found themselves com- 
pelled, since the commencement of the late war, to separate 
themselves from the rest of their nation and move to the Missouri 
river, where they have continued to give proofs of their friendship 
and fidelity." If these admissions were true, why the necessity 
of making a new treaty? Was it because they loved the people 
and the laws of the United States, and even withdrew from their 
own people, kindred and color, to follow after the white people, 
declaring, like Euth : " Entreat me not to leave thee or to return 
from following after thee ; for whither thou goest I will go ; and 
where thou lodgest I will lodge," that these Commissioners re- 
quired them "to swear again that they loved " the white people ? 
Which the Jonathan and which the David, in this new covenant ? 
These Indians being on terms of perfect peace and accord with 
the people of the United States, what treaty of peace could they 
make when there had been no war or trouble ? In addition to 
injecting the bogus treaty of 1804 into this so-called treaty, they 
make these Indians reaffirm it and add a condition requiring 
them to keep separate from the balance of their nation. But, in 
consideration therefor, they neither give or offer any considera- 
tion or compensation to these Indians. The assertion contained 
in this instrument that this portion of the Sauks were compelled 
to separate themselves from the rest of the tribe, in order to 
maintain their fidelity to the Quashquamme treaty is mere bosh. 
Quashquamme was a poltroon and coward of the first water, and 
fled from Saukenuk, in 1812, to save his worthless scalp, on hear- 
ing a rumor of an approaching army of white soldiers from Fort 
Clark, followed by his gentes and a few other cowards, who fled 
when no one pursued. This is explained by Black Hawk in chap, 
ter V, and occurred at the time Keokuk was made war chief, whil e 
Black Hawk was in Ohio, with his two hundred picked braves, in 
the service of England. It is, however, true that from and after the 
return of Quashquamme and his four associates from St. Louis 
late in the fall of 1804, laden and bedecked in the trinkets 


and gew-gaws of the French trader, which, with the whisky they 
had purchased while at St. Louis, made up the sum total of 
the advance payment of two thousand, two hundred and thirty- 
four dollars and fifty cents, the price of the heritage and birth- 
right of his nation, he ceased to be a favorite. But tnen, nor until 
twenty-five years after, did his nation learn of the extent of 
his duplicity in attempting to sell and convey not only all the 
lands of his nation, but a large portion of the inheritance of 
the Pottawattamies, lying between Peoria and Fox river, which 
never belonged to the Sauks. 

By referring to the statement of Black Hawk it will be seen 
that Quashquamme and his four associates had been drunk the 
greater part of the time they were at St. Louis, and could give 
no definite account of what they did, or attempted to do. "The 
American chief," he says, "wanted more land. We agreed to 
give him some on the west side of the Mississippi, likewise more 
on the Illinois side, opposite Jefferson. When the business was 
all arranged we expected to have our friend released to come home 
with us. About the time we were ready to start our brother was 
let out of prison. He started and ran a short distance, when he 
was shot dead." 

This statement of Quashquamme, so far as it affected the 
prisoner's release and sudden taking off, are true to the letter. 
Black Hawk adds : "This was all they could remember of what had 
been said and done, and was all myself and nation knew of the 
the treaty of 1804." Haying conducted himself in this shame- 
ful manner, Quashquamme found Saukenuk a decidedly cool 
place for him to inhabit, hence he "folded his tent and silently 
stole away" west of the Mississippi. 

We neither assert nor believe that the noble old "Tippecanoe," 
as Gen. Harrison was called, had any knowledge of or connivance 
in the release from prison of the Sauk prisoner, under indictment 
for murder, as a part and portion of the so-called treaty, but as- 
sert that his discharge was not only one, but by far the most 
important considerations offered to these five Indians as an in- 
ducement to their execution of the so-called treaty. But the shrewd 
trader who managed the whole business, to secure his bill of 
$2,234.50, not daring to mention this matter to Gov. Harrison, 
arranged it with the jailer, and took special care that he should 
not escape, and thereupon had a trusty rifle, well loaded and in 
steady hands, to relieve the prisoner of life as well as imprison- 


On the 14th of September, 1815, these Commissioners made 
what they termed a treaty of peace and friendship with the 
Musquawkies or Foxes, who were the firm friends of the United 
States during the late war, and had tendered their services to our 
Government, but not being permitted to unite in the war, they 
moved up the Mississippi and located above Prairie Du Chien, 
and remained there until the close of the war, when they returned 
to their old village, Musquawkienuk, where the city of Davenpo?t 
now stands. Backed by several hundred Federal bayonets, these 
Commissioners were not afraid of a "collision or a surprise," 
and one of them, being decidedly handy with his tongue, accused 
the sons of the forest with breaking their tieaties, and aiding and 
assisting the public enemies of the United States in the late war. 
To this unjust and outrageous assault Pahechunene, or the Liar, 
essayed a reply, neither admitting or denying the charges, but 
speaking in a quivering voice. He was followed by Muc^etenan- 
amakee, or Black Thunder, tbe patriarch of his tribe, and had 
chief. Though very old, he was by all odds the greatest orator 
and most intelligent Indian, his nation ever produced, and had 
always been a warm friend of the white people, with whom he 
spent much of his time, picking up and absorbing useful and 
historical knowledge, which he utilized. At this time he had just 
been released from imprisonment at Prairie Du Chien, where he 
had been incarcerated and held upon the false charge of aiding 
and assisting the public enemy of the United States. He began : 
"My father, restrain your feelings, and hear calmly what I shall 
say. I shall say it plainly. I shall not speak with fear and 
trembling. I have never injured you, and innocence can feel no 
fear. I turn to you all, red skins and white skins, where is the 
man who will appear as my accuser? Father, I understand not 
clearly how things are working. I have just been set at liberty. 
Am I again to be plunged into bondage ? Frowns are all around 
me ; but I am incapable of change. You, perhaps, may be ignor- 
ant of what I tell you ; but it is a truth which I call heaven and 
earth to witness. It is a fact which can easily be proved, that I 
have been assailed in almost every possible way, that pride, fear 
feeling or interest could touch me, that I have been pushed to 
the last, to raise the tomahawk against you ; but all in vain. I 
never could be made to feel that you were my enemy. If this be 
the conduct of an enemy I shall never be your friend. You are 
acquainted with my removal above Prairie Du Chien. I went 


and founded a settlement, and called my warriors around me. We 
took counsel, and from that counsel we never have departed. 
We smoked and resolved to make common cause with the United 
States. I sent you the pipe it resembles this and I sent it by 
the Missouri, that the Indians of the Mississippi might not know 
what we were doing. You received it. I then told you that your 
friends should be my friends, that your enemies should be -my 
enemies,* and that I only awaited your signal to make war. Why 
do I tell you this? Because it is a truth, and a melancholly 
truth that the good things which men do are often buried in the 
ground, while their evil deeds are stript naked, and exposed to 
the world!. When I came here, I came to you in friendship. I little 
thought I should have to defend myself. I have no defense to 
make. If I were guilty I should have come prepared ; but I have 
ever held you by the hand, and I come without excuses. If I had 
fought against you I would have told you so. * * * My lands 
can never be surrendered ; I was cheated, and basely cheated, in 
the contract. I will not surrender my country but with my life. 
* * * When this pipe touches your lips may it operate as a 
blessing upon all my tribe. May the smoke rise as a cloud, 
and carry away with it all the animosities which have arisen 
between us." 

Notwithstanding these Indians then were, and always had been, 
on terms of peace and good will with the people and Government 
of the United States, these Commissioners, to say the least, 
were guilty of a solecism of an aggravated character, and per- 
petrated an insult alike upon the Government of the United 
States and this kindly hearted and very intelligent Indian Nation, 
when they asserted the contrary to have been true. Not content 
with virtually accusing these Indians of treaty-breaking and 
rendering aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States, 
even after that statement was contradicted and proven to be 
untrue by the grand old patriarch, Black Thunder, they 
start out by saying: "The parties being desirous of re-estab- 

*"Thy people shall be my people and thy God my God." Book of Ruth, 
S 1, 14. This wonderful speech was published in 1817, in the Philadelphia Literary 

fThis is an improvement on Shakspear's 

"The evil men do lives after them, 

The good is olten interred with the bones;" 
Yet he could not read or ppeak the English language. 


liahing peace and friendship," etc., when that peace and 
friendship had never been interrupted. It would seem from one 
sentence in Black Thunder's speech that these Commissioners 
demanded more of the lands of these Indians, as the price of that 
peace which had been unbroken, "I will not surrender my coun- 
try but with my life." Although well guarded by the military 
forces under General Dodge, these doughty peace Commissioners, 
though pompous, were hardly prepared to make war then and 
there hence they dropped the land question. Whether the severe 
rebuke administered to them in the closing sentence of this great 
speech, "may the smoke rise like a cloud and carry with it all 
the animosities which have arisen between us," was the means of 
calling the attention of these Commissioners to the object of their 
appointment and duty or not, we can only surmise. 

True it is, that they did, from accident or intent, inject the 
following legitimate sentence in this suigeneris document: 
"Every injury or act of hostility by one or either of the contract- 
ing parties against the other, shall be mutually forgiven and for- 

Article 4, of this so-called treaty, makes these Indians "assent 
to recognize, re-establish and confirm the treaty of November 3, 
1804, to the full extent of their interest in the same," and offer in 
in consideration therefor nothing. Now since that so-called 
Quashquamme treaty had never been called in question, and 
these Commissioners were appointed for an entirely different pur- 
pose, the reader will be puzzled to comprehend the relevancy or 
object of the insertion of this article in the mission of these Com- 
missioners to the Indians, notifying them of the conclusion of 
peace between the United States and Great Britain, which also 
included peace between the Indians, who were lately engagad in 
the war as allies of either party, to the treaty of Ghent, and by 
the terms of said treaty, every Indian Nation was restored to "all 
the possessions, rights and privileges which they may have en- 
joyed, or been entitled to in 1811," previous to the war of 1812. 
Clearly these Commissioners, nor the United States government, 
had the right or authority to impose any fines, penalties or con- 
ditions upon any of the Indian nations, whether allies of Great 
Britian or not, for any act, deed or thing, committed by them, or 
any of them, growing out of the late war. This fact was clearly 
recognized by these commissioners in their first so-called treaty, 


after their appointment, which was with the Pottawattamies, who 
had taken an active part in the late war, including the terrible 
massacre of Chicago, August 15, 1812, which was organized and 
perpetrated by Se-noge-wone, or Eock in the Water, (universally 
but most erroneously called Snachwiue, the War Chief of that 
tribe, and whose grand-son Hen-nes-see, or Scar-face, is now head 
chief of this once powerful nation,) and fought desperately under 
Tecumseh at the battle of the Thames, Oct. 5, 1813. In this so- 
called treaty it is provided that "every injury, or act of hostility 
by either party against the other, shall be mutually forgiven, and 
all prisoners- delivered up to the respective parties." 

The so-called treaty of St. Louis of May 13, 1816, is anomo- 
lous. We explained the reason why the Sauks of Rock river 
failed to obey the summons of these Commissioners to appear 
before them in September, 1815, at the Portage Des Sioux, and of 
the threats of war made by the Commissioners, as sent them by 
the Foxes. 

This instrument charges these Indians with various misdemean- 
ors, the most serious of which was in their declining their friendly 
overture to meet them at the time and place designated, to con- 
clude a treaty of peace, &c. They also assert in the preamble 
that these Indians "continued their hostilities and committed 
many depredations thereafter, which would have justified the 
infliction of the severest chastisement upon them, but having 
earnestly repented of their conduct, now imploring mercy," etc. 
But they do not deign to enlighten the world upon the important 
question as to whom they continued their hostilities against, and 
since there were no white settlements at that time within hun- 
dreds of miles of Saukenuk, their home, we are remitted to a 
strong suspicion that these hostilities were nothing but myths, 
originating from hallucinations of mind, resulting from their 
insulted dignity at being called liars by these savages of the 
forest. Black Hawk says that these Indians replied to these 
charges by telling the Commissioners that, "what you say is a 
lie!" and thereupon they told the Indians, "we will break off 
the treaty and make war against you, as you have grossly insulted 
us." Then these Indians attempted to explain what they meant 
by telling them they were liars, but made the matter more 
explicit by saying, "we merely wish to explain that you have 
told a lie, without any desire to make you angry." It was not on 


account of injuries committed, real or imaginary, that these dig- 
nified Commissioners threatened to make war against these 
Indians, but because they had the effrontery to tell them to their 
faces they were liars. Having grossly maligned and purposely 
insulted these Indians, and provoked a reply from them, that 
reply was too decidedly a home thrust, whereupon they threatened 
war. After concluding their preamble, these Commissioners 
parade their sine quanon, the worthless Quasquamme treaty of 
1804, for unconditional approval and reaffirmation 

" This is the maiden all forlorn, 
That milked the cow with crumpled horn." 

which seemed to be the all-important subject they had in view, 
although not thought of by Congress or the Executive in ratify- 
ing and carrying out the provisions of Article IX of the treaty 
of Ghent. When they had insisted upon these terms and condi- 
tions, to their satisfaction, they add other fines, penalties, and 
conditions, coupled with the most offensive charges, by implica- 
tion, requiring these Indians to deliver up to the officer in com- 
mand at Cantonment Davis, on the Mississippi, all the property 
they or any part of them have purloined or stolen from citizens 
of the United States, on or before July 1, 1816, in default of which 
they should be punished, by cutting off their annuities, under the 
so-called treaty of St. Louis, of November 3, 1804. 

This instrument in writing was the only one to which the signa- 
ture of Black Hawk was obtained prior to 1831. Since none of these 
Indians could speak, much less write, our language, their signa- 
tures were attached with a mark, and Black Hawk says : "I 
touched the goosequill to the treaty, not knowing, however, that 
by that act I consented to give away my village. Had that been 
explained to me 1 should have opposed it, and never would have 
signed their treaty, as my recent conduct will clearly prove. What 
do we know of the manners, the laws and the customs of the white 
people ? They might buy our bodies for dissection and we touch 
the goosequill to confirm it, and not know what we were doing." 
None of these Indians could write, read or speak our language, 
hence every business transaction was effected through a white 
interpreter, who, as a general rule, was not above suspicion in 
point of integrity and fidelity, and not infrequently did they fail 
to fully explain to the Indians the full and true meaning of the 
instruments in writing to which their names were written by the 
white mens' clerk, and the Indian required to touch the pen or 


make his mark. So often and so grievous were they deceived 
by these treacherous or careless interpreters, that they named all 
written documents ''the white man's lying paper." While it is 
true, as a rule, a written contract contains all the conditions and 
agreements between the parties, and therefore explains itself and 
cannot be altered, amended, or even explained by parol testimony 
or extraneous matters, yet there are several exceptions to this 
rule, among which are fraud and collusion in procuring the 
making, undue influence, ambiguity and uncertainty of descrip- 
tion, and when executed by an agent or attorney, the nature and 
extent of the powers delegated by the principal to the agent, be- 
come subjects of investigation under parol proofs and antecedent 
circumstances ; and in order to bind the principal the agent's 
authority must be clearly established as a condition precedent to 
the admission of the written contract. Should the agent tran- 
scend the power and authority delegated, his acts will not bind 
his principal. 

The Quashquamme treaty of 1804, if it be entitled to that dig- 
nified title, was obnoxious to each and every one of the above 
enumerated exceptions. Conceived in avarice, the off -spring of 
deception, ill-shapen and deformed at its birth, ushered into the 
world without organs of real life, nursed and nutured by fraud, it 
never saw the full light of day. For a full quarter of a century 
after its accouchment, this monstrosity was maintained by Fed- 
eral bayonets to the ruination and almost total annihilation of a 
powerful, intelligent and humane nation. Void from its begin- 
ning, because it originated in crime, a compromise of a felony, 
had no boundaries, covered hundreds of thousands of acres which 
never belonged to the Sauks and Foxes, or either of them, Quash- 
quamme and his associates claiming to act for the Sauk and 
Fox Nations, without any power or authority from them, or either 
of them, to make such a treaty, sale or cession of lands ; and 
barred by limitation of over twenty-one years, and, lastly, under 
section 7 thereof, these Indians reserved to themselves the right 
to live and hunt upon the lands until they were sold to individ- 
uals, and up to the time of their expulsion, June 26, 1831, less 
than three thousand acres of the fifty odd millions had even been 
surveyed and sold, as will be shown in a subsequent chapter. 
Nor were they sold until the fall of 1829, and then, chiefly, to Col. 
George Davenport and his partner, Russell Farnham. This so- 
called treaty of November 3, 1804, having no vitality, the so-called 


treaties of 1815-1816, by these peace commissioners, Clark, Ed- 
wards and Choteau, who, as we have already clearly shown, had 
no power or authority delegated them under their appointment 
by the United States government, to do or perform any act or 
thing, by virtue of their appointment, other than that contained 
in the 9th article of the treaty of Ghent, which was to officially 
notify the Indians lately participating in the war between the 
United States and Great Britain that peace had been concluded 
between these nations, and that they were included in the terms 
of said treaty, and thereby "restored to all their possessions, 
rights and privileges which they may have enjoyed or been enti- 
tled to in 1811." Thus have we found where truth was hidden, 
even in the center of the mountain of misrepresentation and con- 



A few Cobwebs Brushed Aside and Errors Corrected The Wood-Sawing Gover- 
nor and his Economy Saves the State from Repudiation. 

- We find but few historians of all ages who have been diligent enough in their 
search for truth. It is their common method to take on trust what they distribute 
to the public ; by which means a falsehood once received from a famed writer be- 
came traditional to posterity. COTTON. 

A history which is based on prejudice instead of truth is far 
more pernicious and baleful than fiction. We have clearly shown 
in the foregoing chapter that Gov. Edwards was in error when 
he published to the world that the so-called treaty of 1804 
had been confirmed by the Sauks in subsequent treaties, yet 
all subsequent writers on this subject have taken Governor 
Edwards' statement as a fixed and unquestioned truth, and 
therefore copied his views, without stopping to investigate for 
themselves, hence this fallacy has pervaded through every 
history upon the so-called Black Hawk war. Another error 
of fact is the assertion that "the purchasers from the govern- 
ment moved on to their lands, built homes, made fences and 
fields, and thus took possession of the ancient metropolis of 
the Indian nation." 

True, that some three thousand acres of land, lying upon 
the peninsula, were surveyed at the special instance and re- 
quest of Col. George Davenport, in 1829, and offered for sale 
at Springfield, October 19, 1829. Why Col. Davenport de- 
sired this to be done appears in Chapter IX. He and his part- 
ner, Kussell Farnham, became the purchasers of about 2,400 
acres of it. Col. Davenport, however, purchased a considerable 
portion of these 2,400 acres in his own name. These purchases 
were strung out from October 19, 1829, to November 21, 1830. In 
addition to these purchasers, W. T. Brasher purchased 320 acres, 
William Carr, 106, and Henry Robley, 80 acres total, 2,906 acres. 
Davenport & Farnham were merchants, or as then termed, trad- 
ers, doing business and residing on Rock Island, and neither 
Brasher, Carr, nor Robley lived on the lands they had purchased. 


Nor bad they made any improvements thereon prior to the diffi- 
culty of 1831, between Joshua Vandruff and Black Hawk, which 
precipitated the so-called Black Hawk war of 1831, as will be 
shown in a subsequent chapter. The ownership of the land had 
nothing whatever to do with the causes, leading up to June 26, 
1831, when Black Hawk and his band fled before the armies of 
Generals Gaines and Duncan. 

Section 14, and the south half of section 11, in township 17, 
range 2, on which Saukenuk was built, were entered by Col. 
George Davenport, except the south half of section 14, which was. 
entered by Col. Davenport and Eussell Farnham, his partner, 
who were Indian traders and members of the American Fur 
Company. Hence, the Indians, who had occupied these lands 
for a century before, were the tenants of Davenport & Farnham. 
Of these men, whom Col. Forsyth calls "squatters," who crowded 
themselves into the hodenosotes of the Indians, and took forcible 
possession of a part of their farm-lands in 1830 and 1832, which 
indirectly led to all the difficulty and trouble in 1831, not one of 
them was the owner of a foot of land in that territory ; nor were 
they even tenants by agreement with the owners of the fee, yet 
they tore down and changed the fences of the Indians to suit their 
will and caprice. 

The next error is that " Black Hawk was firmly attached to the 
British and cordially hated the Americans, and had never joined 
in making peace with the United States after the close of the 
war of 1812, but he and his band still kept up their connection 
with Canada, and were ready for war with our people." That, 
after tendering his services with his band to the United States, 
in the war of 1812, and being refused, and after applying to the 
government trader, at Fort Madison, for guns, ammunition and 
blankets, 'in the fall of ,1812, to enable him to go to the huntiog- 
grounds of his nation, in Missouri, and, being refused because he 
wanted them on credit, as he had formerly done, to be paid for 
in furs and peltries in , the following spring, on his return to 
Saukenuk, he applied to the French trader, La Gutrie, who was 
an English subject, and received what he needed on credit, and 
by whom he was persuaded to join the British, who certainly had 
befriended him, ho did take some two hundred picked braves and 
lead them to Green Bay, and was assigned to duty with the rank 
of Colonel under the English Colonel Dixon, is true. One of 
the inducements offered by the British was in the language of 


Colonel Dixon : " You will now have to hold us fast by the hand. 
Your English father has found out that the Americans want to 
take your country from you, and has sent me and my braves to 
drive them back to their own country. He has likewise sent a 
large quantity of arms and ammunition, and we want all your 
warriors to join us." This was irre si stable. Colonel Dixon, 
with his Indian allies, went to Detroit via Chicago, after its mas- 
sacre and evacuation. Black Hawk and his band participated 
in two or three engagements, in each of which, except one, the 
British and their allies were defeated, when, to use his own 
words : "I was now tired of being with them, our success being 
bad, and, having got no plunder, I determined on leaving them 
and returning to Eock river. That night I took about twenty of 
my braves and left the British camp for home." 

"Th very head and front of my offending 
Hath this extent, no more." 

This short campaign was the only one in which either he or his 
band were ever engaged against the people of the United States 
prior to 182. Upon his return to Saukenuk, in 1813, he found 
Keokuk had supplanted him as war chief of his nation, who 
continued as such absolutely until 1830, when the question of 
surrendering up their village and farm lands, adjacent thereto, 
came up, and Keokuk, with fully two-thirds of the nation, deter- 
mined to surrender up their lands in Illinois, and make their 
home on the Iowa river. From the time of Black Hawk's return 
from the British army, in 1813 to 1830, he was but a subaltern 
chief, though treated and acknowledged as the war chief by his own 
gentes and some others. Keokuk was, in fact, the head Chief of 
the nation, and Black Hawk, like a loyal Indian, acquiesced and 
spent much of his time in religious services, withdrawing from 
Saukenuk and erecting his lodge upon an eminence in a cornfield 
where he cultivated corn, beans and squashes, taking no active 
part in the affairs of his tribe. Having lost his oldest son and 
youngest daughter by death, he blackened his face and lived on 
one meal a day, of boiled corn, for about two years, as penance 
for his sins. But, when in the spring of 1830, Keokuk determined 
to surrender up all the lands of the nation in Illinois, and remove 
to Iowa, he was again elected war Chief by those who, like him, 
had always denied the validity of the Qushquamme treaty. 

Thus it is clear that he neither made or attempted to make war 
on the American people between the years 1813 and 1830. Always 


courteous and kind-hearted, no white man ever went away from 
his lodge hungry, that too, without questioning him to ascertain 
if he was an American or Englishman. But say these three ex- 
Governors, " He and his band still kept up their connection with 
Canada." What connection do they mean? Would they have 
their readers understand that during all these long years, from 
1812 to 1831, a war was carried on between Canada and the 
United States? With the ratification of the treaty of Ghent, in 
1814, all hostilities between the United States and Great Britain, 
including her dependencies, ceased, and as we have reason to 
hope and believe, forever. 

Between the people of the United States and those of our near 
neighbor, Canada, perfect peace and good will prevailed. Their 
people and our people kept up a close connection, which was 
strengthened and cemented by numerous intermarriages and 
solidified by intimate commercial relations. Their people spoke 
the same language and worshipped the same God that ours did. 
Canada was to the Sauks what Prussia is to the Germans, a 
fatherland. Was it a crime, or even an offense, against the peo- 
ple or Government of the United States, for these Indians to 
make pilgrimages to their mecca or fatherland, and perform their 
simple, yet devout, religious services at the graves of their ances- 

Governor Ford, though as a general rule copied the views ex- 
pressed by Governor Edwards with regard to the history of the 
Black Hawk war, could not quite believe that " Black Hawk was 
known to be still* under pay of the British Government as a spy." 
Among the most foolish, unreasonable and nonsensical assertions 
to be found in any history, this stands pre-eminently at the head 
and front. That during nearly a score of years of profound peace 
and good will between the mother country, England and her de- 
pendencies, and her daughter, America, the aged mother was so 
strongly under the potent influences of the "green-eyed monster, 
jealousy," of the charms and wiles of her daughter, that she was 
impelled to keep a hired spy upon the actions of her daughter. 
And such a spy and such a place, an untutored, half-naked son 
of the forest, who neither could read, write or speak the English 
language ; the place, beyond civilization on the west line of the 
then territory of Illinois, at a distance of thousands of miles from 
the seat of Government of either nation, and without means of 

*In 1831. 


sending news, if he had any to send. A safe spy and in a safe 
place to the American Government. "In ways that are dark and 
tricks that are vain," these early historians were peculiar. 

In making .this statement, the dignified Governor Edwards 
suffered his prejudice to control his language without reflection. 
Governor Ford's fierce onslaught' upon Black Hawk's Autobiog- 
raphy is as unjust as it is inconsiderate. Had he even stopped 
to read it over before in print, he never would have suffered the 
following sentence to have been sent forth for the world's inspec- 
tion, viz : "Black Hawk knew but little, if anything, about it. In 
point of fact, it was got up from the statement of Antoine Le Clare 
and Colonel Davenport, and was written by a printer," etc. If 
there ever lived a human being who had reason and opportunity 
to know, and did know, about the causes which led to the Black 
Hawk war, that human being's name was Black Hawk, and next 
to him the late Col. George Davenport knew and understood the 
matter better than any other. While Black Hawk's story of this 
matter is rambling and disjointed, and gives his side without 
being qualified and toned down by the other, we may safely 
challenge a contradiction of any of his material statements. 
That there are inaccuracies in it, is true, but a misstatement of 
any material matter cannot be found. Truth with him was a 
cardinal virtue, and no man can truthfully say Black Hawk was 
a liar, although he witheld some facts that were essential. Gov. 
Ford's next error is in asserting that "these border white people 
had bought and paid for these lands, and were quietly living on 
them when the Indians tried to dispossess them." We give a 
statement from the land records, in another chapter, which 
proves conclusively that the assertion of Gov. Ford is erroneous. 
On the contrary, not one of the white settlers at or near Sauke- 
nuk, prior to June, 1831, except Brasher, was the owner in fee of 
the land they occupied. They were simply trespassers upon the 
possessions of these Indians, or, as termed here in an earlier day, 
"claim jumpers." The two most obnoxious of these were 
Joshua Vandruff and Rinnah Wells. Each of them had a large 
amily, and engaged in that soul-damning trade of selling, bar- 
tering and giving away liquid sure-pop on Indians, which will be 
more fully stated hereafter. 

The next error is "that in the spring of 1831, Black Hawk, 
with his women and children, and three hundred warriors of the 
British band, together with some allies from the Pottawattamies 


and Kickapoos, recrossed the Mississippi, to establish himself 
upon his ancient hunting grounds and in the principal vallage of 
his nation." There can be no excuse for this baseless assertion, 
which was copied by Gov. Ford from Governors Edwards and 

Keokuk, at the head of abouf two-thirds of the Sauk Nation, 
left Saukenuk in the spring of 1830, and made their principal 
village on the Iowa river, but Black Hawk, with the remainder 
of the nation, declined to leave, or surrender to the white settlers 
their villages and farm-lands on the peninsula. This action 
eventuated in an absolute division of the Sauk Nation into two 
separate, distinct bands. The one known as the Keokuk, the 
other the Black Hawk band, each having a full set of chiefs of 
their own, Keokuk being at the head of the former, and Black 
Hawk, the latter. This division has been kept up to the present 
day. Black Hawk had been recognized as the war chief since 
his return from the British service, in 1813, by only a segment of 
the tribe. Keokuk being in reality such, but when the question 
of surrendering up Saukenuk and their farms came up in 130, 
Black Hawk opposed the surrender, and was elected head chief 
of those who determined to remain there. These facts were so 
patent that the assertion that he and his band recrossed the Miss- 
issippi, in 1831, is inexcusable and positively untrue, for they had 
not gone to the west side of that river, except to hunt, as usual. 
Keokuk was always the friend of the white people, and so highly 
esteemed by the government officials that he procured a large 
tract of land, to be broken up for him and his band at their new 
village on the Iowa river, by the United States, free of expense to 
him and his band. 

The statement that Black Hawk had as allies, on his return 
from the west of the Mississippi, some of the Pottawattamies and 
Kickapoos is doubly contradicted by the facts. Besides being un- 
true, because he had never gone west of the Mississippi, the terri- 
tory of the Pottawattamies at that time was along the Illinois river 
extending from Peoria to Chicago, while that of the Kickapoos 
laid south of the territory of the Pottawattamies ; hence there 
were none of these tribes west of the Mississippi to have accom- 
panied him, if the other part of the statement were true. 

Another gross error is that of charging that the Sauks and 
Foxes were united together. Even the so-called treaty of 1804 
contradicts the assertion of its preamble by dividing the one 


thousand dollars annuity, between these Indians, as separate and 
distinct nations |_by providing to pay to the Sauks six hundred 
dollars and the Foxes four hundred dollars thereof. They 
were friends and sometimes allies, but united under the same 
government, or even confederated together as Sauks and 
Foxes, they never were. And the latter as a tribe or nation 
had nothing to do with and took no lot or part in the Black 
Hawk war of 1831-2, whatever. The charge by Governor 
Ford and his predecessors that the Sauks "threw down the 
fences, unroofed the houses, cut up the grain, drove off and killed 
their cattle and threatened the lives of the white settlers if they 
remained," is as groundless as a morning dream, while the proofs 
to support it are as silent as the tomb. They simply "put the 
shoe on the wrong foot." It was the white settlers who were the 
aggressors, and pulled down the fences, unroofed the bark houses, 
and turned loose their breachy horses and cattle to forage on the 
growing corn of the Indians who had no rights which they were 
willing to respect. Nor was this all they did to these peace- 
ably inclined and kindly-hearted people. They shamefully beat 
and otherwise maltreated their squaws and papooses for the most 
trivial offences, committed or imagined, and frequently threatened 
to take their lives. They even cruelly beat the aged Black Hawk 
with a rod, and that, too, without the the least cause, whatever. 
Even the horses and cattle of these white settlers seemed to 
imbibe the spirit of their owners, and held the miserable fences 
of the Indians in as much contempt as their owners held the 
Indians, and manifested as strong a passion for their succulent 
growing crops as their owners did for the lands whereon they were 
growing. It was a clear case of love at sight and contempt from 
the lay-off love for the lands and growing corn, contempt for 
the Indians and their fences and a strong argument in favor of 
the adage, " like master, like man" modified to like master, like 

These three early historians of Illinois agree substantially on 
the above enumerated outrages as having been perpetrated by 
these Indians upon the early white settlers of Eock river, near 
Rock Island, and the action thereon taken by Governor Rey- 
nolds, with this exception, Governor Reynolds admits that he 
called out the seven hundred mounted militia of his own volition 
before he informed either General Gaines, then in command of 
he western army of the United States, with headquarters at 


Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, or Governor Clark, Superin- 
tendent of Indian Affairs, with his office at St. Louis. This he 
could not deny, because his official correspondence with these 
officials, at the time, is preserved. His call for the seven hun- 
dred mounted volunteers was issued on the 27th of May, 1831, 
and on that day he wrote Governor Clark as follows: "I have 
called out seven hundred militia to protect the citizens near 
Eock Island from Indian depredations. I consider it due to the 
general Government, to state that in about fifteen days a sufficient 
force will appear before the hostile Indians to remove them, dead 
or alive, west of the Mississippi ; but, perhaps, a request from 
you would induce them to leave without the necessity of resorting 
to arms." From this self-sufficient, pompous document the old 
Hanger shows that in dealing with Indians he had but a word and 
a blow but the blow came first. On the following day, May 28, 
1831, he wrote General Gaines, at Jefferson Barracks, as follows : 
"I have received undoubted information that the section of the 
State near Rock Island is actually invaded by hostile bands of 
Indians, headed by Black Hawk, and in order to repel the inva- 
sion and protect the citizens of the State, I have, under the pro- 
visions of the Constitution of the United States and the laws of 
this State, called out the militia to the number of seven hundred 
men, who will be mounted and ready for service in a very short 
time. I consider it my duty to lay before you the above informa- 
tion, that you may adopt such measures as you deem just and 
proper." Thus it is shown that Governor Reynolds took the 
entire responsibility of "removing these Indians across the Mis- 
sissippi, dead or alive," without consulting the Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs, or as much as saying " by your leave " to the 
General Government of the United States, and certainly without 
asking their aid and assistance in the performance. It is self- 
evident that Joshua Vandruff, whose exploits are given in Chapter 
X, had succeeded "in getting his work in " on the old ranger. 

General Gaines was in almost daily communication with Major 
Bliss' commandant at Fort Armstrong, on iiock Island, and had 
heard nothing of Indian depredations or hostile invasions in that 
locality, and had but little faith in the ill-timed prudence of 
Governor Reynolds. Neither did Governor Clark believe there 
were any causes of alarm in connection with these Indians. But 
General Gaines determined to go in person up to Rock Island and 
investigate the matter, and on the second of June, 1831, he wrote 


Governor Reynolds that be had ordered ten companies of United 
States regulars to Rock Island, and would go with them to inves- 
tigate the matter, and that this force was all he should need to 
crush Black Hawk and his band. That if, after looking over the 
situation of affairs in that locality, he should deem it best to have 
a stronger force than was already under his command, he would 
call upon his Excellency for his mounted volunteers. Thus is the 
whole statement of Governors Edwards and Ford proven to be 
erroneous and false, almost in toto. As to that part of their state- 
ment that General Gaines made a requisition on Governor 
Reynolds for 7CO mounted volunteers there is no truth in what- 
ever. Nor had it a shadow of foundation in truth. That errors, 
mistakes of fact, repetitions and false coloring, as well as omis- 
sions of important facts and circumstansces, will, and of neces- 
sity do, creep into and form a part of every history to a greater 
or lesser degree, we know is true, be the writer ever so fair and 
painstaking. Governor Ninian Edwards was a native of the dark 
and bloody ground of Boone, and by nature a nobleman, but a 
hard and persistent hater of the Indians as a rule, and in all 
matters with which they were concerned he took it for granted 
they were wrong without investigation. From his great dignity 
of character and splendid abilities, both legal and scholastic, he 
was the foremost man of Illinois during his time, and undoubt- 
edly he did not intend to misrepresent these affairs. His state- 
ments were given under several misapprehensions as to the facts 
and surrounding circumstances, and decidedly exparte, he there- 
fore mislead those who followed him in writing up the Black 
Hawk War. 

From Governor Reynolds, who was illiterate and vain as a pea- 
cock, we, of course, should not expect much else than ebullitions 
of prejudice and error. But when we find that to this rule of 
errors and mistakes the high-toned, noble-hearted Governor Ford 
was no exception, and that so many errors should be crowded 
into BO small a space as to time and matter as appear in his 
history of these transactions, we are surprised, for his very soul 
revolted at any and everything that even squinted at duplicity, 
dishonesty, deceit, prevarication, falsehood, fraud or oppression. 
An able and just judge, he was one of the finest Governors the 
noble State of Illinois ever had. Indeed, we may say, and truth- 
fully, too, he left the imprint of his pure character and honesty 
upon our present proud escutcheon. For by his strict integrity 


of character and conduct, economy of living and personal in- 
dustry, together with his masterly familiarity with the financial 
condition of our then debt-burdened young giant State, handi- 
capped and groaning under an indebtedness of fourteen millions 
through foolish legislation, did he save us from hopeless bank- 
ruptcy and black repudiation. Without solicitation on his part, 
upon the death of Colonel Adam W. Snyder, the Democratic 
nominee for Governor, he was placed upon the ticket by the State 
Central Committee to fill the vacancy. At that time he was one 
of the Judges of the Circuit Court, and living in Northern Illinois. 
He was elected Governor in August, 1842, by a large majority. 
When called to the helm of the ship of State he found it tossed 
upon the waves of insolvency, beating its way slowly along 
between the Scylla of bankruptcy and Charybdis of repudiation, 
rushing headlong direct for Hell-Gate. Laying a firm hand upon 
the tiller ; fixing his eye upon the beacon light of honor, big with 
hope, he shifted her course from the southwest of extravagance 
to the northeast of economy and landed her in the haven of 
financial confidence. With the expense of the Mormon war of 
1846, Governor Ford reduced the State's indebtedness during his 
four years' administration about three hundred thousand dollars. 
When he was inaugurated, auditor's warrants were worth but 
fifty cents to the dollar; when he retired from the office, they 
were worth ninety cents. 

In 1844, the non-resident and foreign bondholders, who held a 
large amount of our State bonds, became uneasy over their in- 
vestments, because neither principal nor interest were being paid, 
employed U. S. Senator John Davis, of Massachusetts, to visit 
Illinois and investigate the matter, and report to them the true 
financial condition of the Sfate, and ascertain the pulse of public 
feeling upon a rumor that there was a growing feeling among the 
people of Illinois in favor of repudiating the State debt. But, be 
it said to the credit of our people, repudiation never had "a hab- 
itation or a home" among them. He proceeded to Springfield, 
and the Executive office in the old State House, but found it 
closed. A small card hung on tbe door with these words: "At 
my residence Thomas Ford." Only this and nothing more. 

Mr. Davis made inquiry for the Executive residence and was 
directed to proceed east so many blocks, then south so many 
blocks, and the first house on his left was the place he sought. 
Following the directions to the letter he brought up in front of a 


email story and a half wood-colored frame house with a kitchen 
thereto. The door was closed, and neither name, number or 
door- bell were in sight. Supposing he had gone wrong, never 
for a moment thinking that miserable little hovel of a house 
could be the residence and home of a Governor, he approached 
the front door and gently rapped thereon. In a moment the door 
was opened by a fine-looking, matronly lady, dressed in a plain 
but neatly fitting calico dress, wearing a checkered apron, with 
her hair combed back and secured by a plain, old-fashioned horn 
tuck comb, to whom this United States Senator and ex-Governor 
bowed gracefully, and in very respectful language asked if she 
"would be kind enough to direct him to the residence of Governor 
Ford." Imagine his surprise when told, "this is his home ;" 
to which he replied, ''is the Governor in?" "No, sir, he is back 
of the kitchen sawing wood." Was he sleeping or waking, or did 
he rightly hear, the Governor sawing his own wood ! Mrs. Ford, 
for the lady was none other than Mrs. Ford, wife of the noblest 
little man ever in the Executive Chair of our State, said : "Please 
walk in and be seated, and I will call the Governor in." Desir- 
ous of seeing the novel sight of a wood-sawing Executive he 
replied: "I will step out myself and see the Governor." Suiting 
the action to the words he immediately proceeded to the rear of 
the kitchen, where he beheld the small-framed, large-headed 
Governor in his shirt sleeves running a buck-saw across a well- 
seasoned shell-bark hickory stick. His saw was dull and required 
a good deal of hard work to make it do its duty. So busily 
engaged was he that he did not observe the approach of Senator 
Davis, and the latter awaited with curiosity and pleasure until 
the stick was in two, when the Governor looked up in a kind of 
half-surprised and half-bewildered way, to be addressed: "This 
is Governor Ford, is it not ?" Being answered in the affirmative, 
Mr. Davis extended his hand, saying: "My name is Davis, my 
home is in Massachusetts, and my object in visiting you is to make 
some inquirie's relative to the financial condition of your State in 
the interest of the holders of a large amount of your State 
bonds." The Governor dropped his buck-saw, picked up and put 
on his coat, saying : "I will take pleasure in giving you all the in- 
formation within my reach. Please accompany me to my office." 
Side by side walked these two of tbe noblest works of God two 
honest men. Both were giants in intellect. Davis was very tall, 
Ford very short. Davis was richly, though plainly, attired. 


Ford wore his inevitable Kentucky blue jeans suit, coat, vest 
and pants. The contrast in the personnel and dress was great, 
but in integrity and intellect they were nearly identical. By his 
sterling integrity Davis was known as "honest John Davis." On 
reaching the Governor's office, the little Governor, who acted as 
his own private secretary, opened a large, well-bound record book 
and turned to a number of entries thereon, made in his own hand 
writing, handing Mr. Davis a pencil and paper, desired him to 
note down items as he should read them from his record book 
before him. He then gave the total amount of liabilities of the 
State and how witnessed, with the amount of interest-bearing 
bonds, the amount of annual interest, when and where payable, 
and when the bonds would mature, respectively, the amount of 
money then in the State Treasury, etc. He then gave the total 
number of acres of taxable land and lots in the State as returned 
by the assessors, and the aggregate valuation thereof ; the rate 
of State taxes levied for that year, which he said amounted to 
such a sum, from which he deducted such a per cent for collec- 
tions, forfeitures and erroneous descriptions, realizing so much 
net revenue from the lands. He then gave the number of horses, 
cattle, sheep, hogs, and their value, as returned by the assessors, 
together with moneys, stocks and unenumerated property, as 
returned, and casting the ratio of State tax thereon amounting to 
so much, then deducting for commissioners, insolvencies and re- 
movals such a percent, would realize so much net revenue, which, 
added to the net tax on the lands and lots, would realize so much. 
He then gave an estimate of the necessary expenses of the State 
government, which, deducted from the net revenue of the State, 
would leave so much, showing a sufficient sum to pay all the 
interest and create quite a sinking fund to apply towards paying 
the principal indebtedness of the State. 

To say that Governor Davis was pleased with this exhibit 
would be like Pecksniff "putting it too mild." He was de- 
lighted. He then said: "Permit me, Governor, to ask you if 
there is any talk among your people of repudiation?" at which 
the little Governor burst out in a good hearty laugh, and said : 
"Bless you, no. There is not, so far as I have been able to ascer- 
tain, a solitary public newspaper published within the length and 
breadth of the State of Illinois, which dares to even hint at so 
disgraceful and dastardly a thing. No, Mr. Davis, the people of 
the State of Illinois are honest, and will pay every dollar of their 


State debt with interest, and would laugh to scorn him who would 
even suggest the bear thought of repudiation." Mr. Davis left 
Springfield fully assured that the State of Illinois would not only 
pay her interest-bearing bonds, dollar for dollar and cent for cent, 
but all her other financial obligations, and in his report to his 
employers he said : "Any State whose people have the good sense 
to elect such a man as Thomas Ford Governor, a man whose 
character is an example of simplicity and economy of living, 
who resides in a small frame house, devoid of all the luxuries of 
life, and saws his own wood, will pay their debts in full with 
interest, and this you can depend upon. As to repudiation, I am 
happy to report no such feeling exists among the press or the 
people of Illinois." 

It is useless for us to say this was the turning point in our finan- 
cial history. From that day our credit grew, our bonds appre- 
ciated, and to-day, notwithstanding that white elephant the new 
State House, costing over three millions our noble State is out of 
debt, our State taxes light, and our people justly proud. In 1848, 
by a Constitutional provision, a two-mill tax was established, the 
proceeds of which were set apart for the payment of our State 
debt. This was continued in force until the adoption of the pres- 
ent State Constitution in 1870, at which time the debt was paid. 
Although a fine financier in the management of State affairs, 
Governor Ford was a poor manager of his private finances, and 
died poor, very poor. Indeed, he would have suffered for the 
ordinary comforts of life had it not been for the kindness of per- 
sonal friends, who had to contribute their donations to his wife, 
who never advised him of the fact. His proud spirit could never 
brook the idea of receiving donations. He would rather have 
starved than to be considered a beggar. Dire consumption slowly 
but surely sapped the foundations of life. He lingered along from 
month to month and year to year, before the "golden bowl was 
broken and the silver chord was loosened." He left only his 
widow to mourn his loss. While erecting monuments to the 
memory of her truly great men, let not the State of Illinois forget 
the deeds of her noblest Governor, Thomas Ford, wLo spent the 
greater portion 'of his life in her active service for a paltry and 
inadequate salary, and died poor, because he was honest and 
never concerned in any official speculations or peculations. A 
rare example that should be honored. 



The Lands at and adjacent to Saukenuk were Surveyed and brought into Market in 
1829, at the special instance of Colonel George Davenport, for the sole purpose 
of Securing a Home for the Sauk Nation. 

"Around this ancient Indian village 
In artless form was Indian tillage, 
Whore in their season might be seen 
Vhe corn, the vine, the squash and bean. 
And here laborious bending low, 
Was gentler sex with rustic hoe ; 
Nor haughty brave from cabin phade. 
Would condesend to lend his aid." BISHOP. 

In May, 1816, Colonel William Lawrence, with the Eighth Regi- 
ment of rifles of the regular army of the United States, reached 
the island of Bock Island, for the purpose of building a fort. 
With him came Colonel George Davenport*, who had served ten 
years in the regular army and fought beside Old Hickory at the 
battle of New Orleans. He now held the position of Commissary 
to Colonel Lawrence's command. At that time there were no 
white settlers anywhere near Rock Island. The whole country in 
that vicinity was full of Indians. Saukenuk contained over ten 
thousand souls, while Musqawkenuk or Musquawketon, where 
Davenport stands, was quite a large Indian village. The Foxes 
or Musquawkies had also a smaller village where Moline is now 

When Colonel Lawrence came to Rock Island and began the 
erection of Fort Armstrong, May 12, 1816, not only the Sauks, 
as shown by Black Hawk's statement in the former chapter, but 
all the Indian tribes of that vicinity were alarmed at the action of 
our Government in thus building a fort on Bock Island, and were 
ready to resent this action. The feeling of reverence for the Good 
Spirit, which Black Hawk says inhabited the cave under Fort 
Armstrong, which "was white, with long wings like a swan's, but 
ten times larger," extended alike to the Foxes, Pottawattamies and 
\Vinnebagoes. Following the ancient Israelites, of whom these 
Indians were a prototype, this cave was holy ground, whereon 

*See biographical sketch, post. 


they dare not tread with shodden feet, nor approach in unclean 
garments. To their untutored minds this Spirit of the Cave was 
more than a mere gibbering, chattering, sightless ghost. It had 
a real, corporeal, tangible existence. Hence, they were very 
indignant at what they deemed a species of sacrilege manifested 
by the whites in building their fort over the cave. To the Sauks 
it was the more surprising because work thereon had been com- 
menced while their chiefs were at St. Louis executing the so-called 
treaty of peace and friendship of May 13, 1816. Under this con- 
dition of affairs it is manifest that there could have existed, 
between the soldiers of Colonel Lawrence and these Indians, but 
little intercourse or friendly feeling, but on the contrary their 
intercouse was of that restrained character which may be pre- 
sumed to exist between the victim and his robber, restrained 
from throttling the villain by the cold steel bar with a hole in it, 
in his hands, pointed at the victim's head. The well-armed, 
strong body of soldiers alone prevented the Indians from tearing 
down at night what the soldiers had built up each day. To avoid 
collision between his men and these Indians, Colonel Lawrence 
was compelled to be ever on his guard. He fully appreciated 
the trying and dangerous position he occupied, with all its re- 
sponsibilities. Surrounded by hordes of suspicious and vengeful 
barbarians, (for these Indians had passed from savagery to 
barbarism, in its third stage, and were upon the verge of civiliza- 
tion) the greatest care was required to allay their suspicions of 
double-dealing on his part, and gain their confidence and respect. 
To that end he bent his fine ability and energy, answering all 
their questions carefully and intelligently, always shaking hands 
with them, purchasing from them whatever they offered to sell, 
and paying fair prices therefor. In this way he slowly but surely 
won their good will, and finally their confidence and respect, and 
succeeded in prosecuting his work to completion. This fort was 
located at the lower end of the island, immediately over the cave 
mentioned by Black Hawk, and was four hundred feet square. 
The lower part, or foundation, was constructed of stone, the rest 
of huge hewed logs. (A more full description of Fort Armstrong 
will be given hereafter.) That no murders were committed, or 
serious collisions occurred between Colonel Lawrence and these 
wildly incensed Indians, is a wonder, and reflects much credit to 
both parties. 

Col. Davenport was the right man in the right place, to mate- 
rially aid and assist Col, Lawrence in pacifying these Indians. 


Firm and talented, courteous and affable, he was a born leader 
of men, without seeming to desire it. Possessed of a command- 
ing presence, fair education and intuitive knowledge of men and 
measures, coupled with great physical strength, all under perfect 
subjection to his wonderful will-power, he was in every respect a 
powerful man, and as kindly-hearted as he was strong. He 
erected a log house on the island some half a mile northeast of 
where the fort was located, for a trading house. Here he opened 
a large trade with the Indians, selling them such articles as they 
needed, taking furs and peltries in exchange. Dealing with these 
Indians fairly, he soon won their confidence and respect. 

The confidence of an Indian, like that of a child, is easily won 
by kindness. Col. Davenport did not get his house ready for 
occupancy by his family until about the ides of August. When 
they arrived the season was too late to raise vegetables, but owing 
to the kindly relations already established between him and these 
Indians, he was supplied daily, and rather mysteriously, with 
roasting ears, beans and squashes in abundance by his Indian 
friends ; that, too, in strict accordance with the Divine commands 
"but when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy 
ri ht hand doeth;" and "see that ye have and give alms, pro- 
vide yourselves bags which wax not old." At about 10 A. M. as 
regular as the day -came, an Indian with a bag, well filled with 
green corn, beans and squashes, on his shoulder, walked into the 
house and deposited them on the floor in the center of the room, 
and without uttering a word, stalked out, returned to his canoe 
and paddled over to the Illinois side of the Mississippi. To all 
questions he appeared deaf, and such was the fact, he was a 
deaf mute, and purposely selected by Che-chau-quose, the Little 
Crane, so that his alms might be given in secret, so secretly, 
that not until late that fall did Col. Davenport learn the name of 
his benefactor. 

In a very short time Colonel Davenport was on terms of warm 
personal friendship with the chiefs, and, indeed, the entire Sauk 
Nation, each of whom seemed to vie with each other in their 
manifestations of personal regard to him. Did they kill a fine 
buffalo, elk, moose, or deer, a choice part thereof was reserved 
for and sent to adorn his table. If a bee-tree was cut, he was re- 
membered. Indeed, all their delicacies paid tribute to the table 
of Colonel Davenport. From him they purchased their blankets 
and other goods, including hunting apparatus and fishing tackle, 


for many consecutive years, and sold him all their furs, peltries 
and large quantities of corn, without having the least misunder- 
standing or disagreement. 'Their winters, however, were spent 
on their hunting grounds in Missouri, generally making their 
winter homes in the dense forests on the Two Eivers, returning in 
the spring to Saukenuk, in time to prepare and plant their sum- 
mer crops. Before leaving Saukenuk in the fall, they cached or 
deposited in the ground whatever of corn or other provisions they 
did not need for winter use, or could not conveniently carry with 
them. These caches were generally dug in the side of a hill, and 
their deposits were snugly wrapped in skins, so as to protect them 
from damp or other injury. Guns, traps, knives, spears, ammu- 
nition, and blankets were needed before going to their hunting 
grounds, but they had neither money, furs, or peltries to give in 
exchange for them. But Colonel Davenport having unbounded 
confidence in their honesty and integrity, furnished them all these 
things on credit, to be paid for, on their return from their winter's 
hunt, in furs and peltries. Thus matters stood from 1816 to 1824, 
when Kussell Farnham entered into copartnership with the 
Colonel in the Indian trade, under the firm name of Davenport & 
Farnham, who continued to sell them goods on the same terms 
and conditions that Colonel Davenport had when alone in busi- 
ness. Not infrequently did this firm purchase as high as three 
thousand fur- bearing skins from these Indians at a single bargain. 
Dealing with the Indians on the square, they soon had what 
would be called now-a-days "a corner on the trade "with the 
Indians. They purchased from the Sauks and Foxes and sold to 
the American Fur Company so many elegant furs that it attracted 
the attention and aroused the cupidity of that great financial 
concern, with John Jacob Astor at its head, when Davenport & 
Farnham were taken into membership in that most gigantic com- 

The trade carried on by Davenport & Farnham with these 
Indians, whose hunting grounds in Missouri abounded in buffalo, 
elk, moose, deer, fox, otter, beaver, wild-cat or lynx, cata- 
mount, mink, coon, etc., was both large and remunerative to 
the purchaser, and too highly appreciated by them to part with. 
The trade they carried on with the Indians was not confined to 
these two nations, but extended to the Pottawattamies, Winneba- 
goes and other Indians of the surrounding country. Thus mat- 
ters passed along smoothly until the Spring of 1S29, when pioneer 


white people began to wend their way to that locality and trench 
upon the farm-lands of these Indians. Colonel Davenport 
readily foresaw that the irrepressible white man would soon take 
possession of the splendid lands upon the peninsula and crowd 
the Indians across the Mississippi; that, too, whether the Quash- 
quamme treaty of 1804, and the second treaty of St. Louis of 
May 13, 1816, were valid or not. In the meantime, as shown in 
chapter VI, Governor Edwards, immediately upon his inaugura- 
tion as Governor of the State of Illinois, bent his energies towards 
the removal of these Indians from the State of Illinois. In re- 
sponse to these urgent appeals of Governor Edwards, the Secre- 
tary of War referred the matter to General Lewis Cass, then 
Governor of the Territory of Michigan. This was in 1827. . Gen- 
eral Cass conferred by letter with the military commander of 
Fort Armstrong, whom he knew must be familiar with the 
facts, since he was in that immediate locality and must have 
known what was transpiring within three miles of his fort. In 
this letter General Cass sent a copy of Governor Edwards' 
charges, as set forth in chapter VI. In answer to this letter he 
was informed that the Governor was clearly mistaken as to the 
true condition of the affairs at and near Saukenuk ; that there 
were no white settlers within many leagues of that place. Hence, 
these Indians could not possibly have committed the depreda- 
tions complained of, or any other; and that these Indians were 
on terms of perfect peace and good-will with the officers and 
men at Fort Armstrong and with Messrs. Davenport and Farn- 
ham, who were the only white people in that locality. On 
receipt of this information Governor Cass communicated its con- 
tents to the War Department, where the matter rested until 1828, 
when Governor Edwards wrote to Governor William Clark, again 
demanding their removal, as shown in the preceding chapter, 
and by persistent effort Governor Edwards succeeded in obtain- 
ing an order from President Jackson for their removal across the 
Mississippi, in 1829. 

To be summarily driven from their homes and growing crops 
would have been a great hardship, indeed, an outrage upon these 
poor unfortunate people. Col. Davenport fully appreciating the 
great injustice of such an arbitrary and oppressive act, and be- 
lieving the Quashqmimme treaty of Ib04 was void, and being ap- 
pealed to by Black Hawk, at his own expense went to Washing- 
ton City to lay the matter before his late commander and com- 
panion in arms, General Jackson, who had but recently been 


inaugurated President of the United States. On his arrival there 
he called first upon the Secretary of War, and then upon the 
Secretary of State, both of whom accorded him a respectful hear- 
ing, and to both of them he gave his reasons why the treaty of 
1804 was void, relying chiefly upon the absolute want of power 
and authority on the part of Quashquamme and his four associ- 
ates to make such treaty in behalf of their nation. Both of these 
officers seemed to be deeply impressed with his arguments, and 
expressed themselves as being favorably inclided to carry out his 
views upon that subject. He left these officers big with hope in 
the success of his trip, and had but little doubt of being entirely 
successful at the Executive office. Thus far he had gottten along 
nicely and felt quite sure that President Jackson, with whom he 
was intimately acquainted, would not refuse to give him a hear- 
ing, and grant his request. But on reaching the Executive office 
his hopes met with "a chilling frost, and were nipped in the bud.'' 
The President, while listening to his entire statement with re- 
spectful attention, seemed to be on the rampage against the whole 
Indian race, and the British band of the Sauks in particular, and 
claimed that the Quashquamme treaty of 1804 was perfectly 
regular, and had been confirmed by the Sauk Nation in the sec- 
ond treaty of St. Louis, of May 13, 1816, under and by virtue of 
which that nation had ceded to the United States all the lands 
lying below Fox river of Illinois, and between the Illinois 
and Mississippi rivers. It was in vain that Col. Davenport 
endeavored to convince him that the Sauks and Foxes combined 
never owned, or claimed to own, all of those lands, and that by 
that boundary line the entire possessions of the Pottawattamies 
and a large portion of the lands of the Winnebagoes were in- 
cluded, and that the United States had in and by several treaties 
with the latter Indians, after the execution of the Quashquamme 
treaty, acknowledged this to be true, notably, that of the 24th of 
August, 1816, with the Pottawattamies, under and by virtue of 
which, they ceded to the United States all the land contained in 
the cession of the Sauks and Foxes of Nov. 3, 1804, which lies 
south of a due west line from the southern extremity of Lake 
Michigan to the Mississippi river. 

Again in the treaty of Prairie Du Chien with the same tribe, 
they ceded to the United States, beginning at the Winnebago 
village on Bock river, forty miles from its mouth, running down 
Rock river to a line which runs due west from the most southerly 


bend of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi, and then with that 
line to the Mississippi opposite Eock Island ; then up that river 
to the United States reservation at the mouth of the Wisconsin ; 
then with the south and east lines of said reservation to the Wis- 
consin river ; thence southerly, passing the heads of the small 
streams emptying into the Mississippi, to Kock river at the place 
of beginning. Also beginning on the western shore of Lake Michi- 
gan at the northeast corner of the field of Antoine Ouilmette,* 
near Gross Point, twelve miles north of Chicago ; thence west to 
Rock river ; thence down that river to where a line drawn due west 
from the most southern bend of Lake Michigan crosses said river ; 
thence east along said line to Fox river of Illinois ; thence along 
the northwestern boundary line of the cession of 1816 to Lake 
Michigan ; thence northwesterly along the western shore of said 
lake to the place of beginning. This line struck the Mississippi 
where the city of Moline now stands, while that under the treaty 
of 1815 struck it below, where the city of Eock Island now stands. 
The consideration paid by the United States for the cession of 
1829 was sixteen thousand dollars per year for ever, and for that 
in the cession of 1816 one thousand dollars per year for twenty 
years. Thus the United States repurchased from the Potta- 
wattamies, Chippawas and Ottawas a considerable portion of the 
lands contained ,in the Quashquamme treaty of 1804, and paid 
sixteen times as much for this strip of land as they paid the 
Sauks and Foxes for fifty million acres. Besides these lands con- 
tained in the Quashquamme treaty, the Winnebagoes owned a con- 
siderable portion, thereof, and their claim and ownership was ad- 
mitted and recognized by the United States under the treaty of 
Prairie Du Chien, of Aug. 16, 1825, as follows : Bounded, southeast- 
erly by the Eock river from its source near Winnebago Lake to the 
Winnebago village, about fifty miles above the mouth of Eock 
river, westerly by the east line of the tract lying upon the Missis- 
sippi herein secured to the Ottawas, Chippewas and Pottawatta- 
mies," meaning the boundary line fixed in the treaty of 1829. 
By these treaties it will be seen that all that portion of country 
lying north of a straight line from the southern bend of Lake 
Michigan to Eock Island, embraced in the Quashquamme treaty, 
was subsequently purchased by the United States from other 
Indian tribes, which would seem to say, the United States had 
but little faith in the Quashquamme humbug of 1804. It mattered 

'Pronounced Wilmett. 


not that Col. Davenport presented all these things to "Old 
Hickory." He could only remember the stubborn fact that Black 
Hawk and his band fought with the British in the late war, and 
thereby, in his opinion, "they had no standing in court." Turn- 
ing his sharp eyes upon Col. Davenport, Gen. Jackson said : "If 
I remember aright this Indian Chief, Black Hawk, and his band 
fought against us in the late war. Am I correct?" On being 
answered in the affirmative, he then said, rising from his seat to 
give emphasis to his words, "by the Eternal, every last one of 
them shall cross the Mississippi, or be killed." Explanations of 
the causes which led Black Hawk into the British army were out 
of the question. The naked fact still remained, and by that act 
he had forfeited all rights, in the opinion of the hero of New 

Though defeated, Colonel Davenport was not cast down. He 
was in real earnest in securing to these Indians their lands on the 
peninsula. Black Hawk and his tribe had won his confidence and 
respect by their honesty, kindness and sterling integrity, and he 
in turn had secured their confidence by fair dealing and strict 
integrity. This friendship, therefore, was of that generous kind 
which abolished distrust and established entire confidence. While 
this friendship was neither of the Pythias and Damon, nor yet the 
Jonathan and David character, it was that kind of confidence 
and respect which always exists between honest men, whose souls 
revolt at any evidence of double-dealing, trickery or chicanery. 

Though defeated in the main object, Colonel Davenport did not 
despair of being able to do something for the relief of these 
Indians. He appealed to the good, sound, practical sense of the 
President, whether it would be right, just or humane to drive these 
poor people from their homes and growing crops, to suffer 
from hunger a whole year before they could raise another crop. 
This was more than General Jackson could stand, and thereupon 
he modified the order for their removal to take effect on or before 
April 1, 1830. At this action of the President, in extending the 
time of their removal, Governor Edwards was intensely indignant, 
and threatened to remove them upon his own responsibility as 
Governor of Illinois. Bat fortunately he restrained his hot Ken- 
tucky blood, and permitted them to remain undisturbed the re- 
mainder of his Gubernatorial term. Having obtained this modi- 
fication of the order of removal, Colonel Davenport did not stop 
contented. Besides being a man of decided ability, he possessed 


a large amout of resources and expedients. If he could not 
accomplish his ends by direction, he resorted to indirection, pro- 
vided he saw his way clearly without compromising his honor. 

Aside from the desirability of having these Indians remain at 
Saukenuk for their trade, and the firm belief he entertained in 
the abosolute invalidity of the two so-called treaties of St. Louis, 
on November 3, 1804, and May 13, 1816, he was impelled to do all 
within his power for these Indians, from what may be termed 
family relations not of kinship, but neighborly intercourse. 
From August, 1816, to the spring of 1829, his was the only white 
family on the island or in its vicinity. It was no unusual thing 
for his two sons, George L. and Bailey, to spend days and weeks 
at Saukenuk, or at the farm lodges of some of these Indians. 
The young Indians were their daily companions and only play- 
mates. With them they spent the greater portion of their time, 
the white mother entertaining no fears for the safety or contam- 
ination of her sons, on account of their absence from home or 
their association with these dusky children of the forest. Thus 
were the sons of the wealtby white merchant raised on terms of 
perfect equality with the Indian children. Together were the 
offspring of the white and the red men reared, and, we may say, 
educated, not in book-learning, but in its broader sense, a 
knowledge of the world and animal nature, for the adult Indians 
were unwearied and incessant in their efforts to instruct these 
white children in all their knowledge of woodcraft, hunting, fish- 
ing, trapping, etc. The amusements of these cbildren were the 
same as those of the Indian youth with whom they played. No 
feelings of superiority or jealousy were for a moment entertained. 
A rivalry, however, existed, but it was that laudable rivalry to 
excel in whatever they attempted to do. Much of their time was 
spent in shooting at pennies placed in a split stick in the ground 
with the bow and arrow, piddling the light canoe, fishing, hunt- 
ing and trapping. From the warm personal attachments thus 
formed by their children, the parents naturally were drawn 
together in the bonds of mutual regard and genuine friendship. 
These considerations, together with the certain fact that the mag- 
nificent lands upon which Saukenuk and the Indian farms were 
located would some day be valuable, and their purchase would be 
a safe investment at a dollar and a quarter per acre, induced 
Colonel Davenport to make one more desperate effort to place 
them under the absolute use of these Indians. His plan was as 


bold as it was gigantic for a single individual to attempt to 
accomplish. It was no less than the purchase of the lands on the 
peninsula, embracing all the cultivated lands of the Sauks, 
together with the site of Saukenuk itself. Before this could be 
done, however, they must first be surveyed and platted. He 
therefore obtained an order for their immediate survey, which 
being accomplished, he asked that they should be brought into 
market. This request was also granted, and a public sale thereof 
was held at the land office at Springfield, 111., Oct. 19, 1829. This 
sale he attended, and on the first day thereof he purchased, in 
his own name, and the firm name of Davenport & Farnham, a 
large portion of these Indian lands, and on the 6th of November, 
1830, Colonel Davenport purchased in his own name about one 
thousand acres more, for the sole purpose of preserving the site of 
Saukenuk, Black Hawk's Watch Tower and the improved farms of 
the Sank Nation to their use. His intention was to say nothing to 
these Indians about it, but hold the title himself and let them 
have its use free of rent. By doing this he expected to retain 
their trade, which would be -equal to a large rent, and at the same 
time make not only a safe, but, really, a very profitable in- 
vestment of his money. But "there is~a divinity which shapes 
our ends, roughly hugh them as we may." 

The knowledge of the sale of their lands, and that Col. Daven- 
port had become the purchaser of the site of Saukenuk, came to 
Black Hawk and his tribe, when he and they became highly in- 
censed against their best friend, and threatened his life, as shown 
in Chapter V, Black Hawk's statement, ante. 

After the interview between Black Hawk and Col. Davenport 
relative to the sale of the lands on the peninsula by the United 
States to Davenport & Farnham, and learning the real object 
Col. Davenport had in view in these transactions, and being 
assured that he would make an exchange of these lands for other 
government lands if the Indians desired, which proposition Black 
Hawk thought was fair, made him think Col. Davenport had 
not acted as badly as he had suspected. This proposition was 
accepted by Black Hawk, approved by Keoknk, endorsed by the 
Council of Chiefs, and Keokuk was appointed in behalf of the 
Sauk Nation, with full power to make an exchange of lands with 
the United States government, even to the extent of ceding their 
lead mines in lieu of their farm lands on the peninsula, includ- 
ing their village site. Application was at once made to Gov. 


Clark, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, for permission for Keo- 
kuk to go to Washington City as an envoy, or commissioner 
plenipotentiary from the Sauks for the purpose of making the 
exchange. Gov. Clark granted him the request, and gave him a 
letter of introduction to the President, stating the object in view, 
and strongly recommended that his proposition be favorably con- 
sidered and petition granted, to the end that the Sauks might 
retain the lands lying on the peninsula near the mouth of Eock 

Col. Davenport embodied his proposition to exchange his pur- 
chase of these lands for other government lands, so that these 
Indians might remain east of the Mississippi river, even offering 
to withdraw his entry money and cancel the sale, in order that 
the exchange might be made. With these two letters, accom- 
panied by Le Clair as interpreter, Keokuk went to Washington 
and found no difficulty in obtaining a personal interview with 
President Jackson and his cabinet, who, after reading his letters 
from the General Superintendent of Indian Affairs and Col. Dav- 
enport, respectfully listened to the arguments and reasons 
assigned by the Cicero of his race in behalf of the object of his 
mission, refused to make the exchange of lands prayed for, or to 
make any further modification of the order for the removal of 
these Indians across the Mississippi, but on the contrary assured 
him in the most positive terms that all the lands embodied in the 
treaty of 1804 must be surrendered up to the United States on or 
before April 1, 1830, and if not done by that time they would be 
driven thence at the point of the bayonet. With a heavy heart 
and dejected air over the utter failure of his mission, the no- 
ble Keokuk returned to Saukenuk to report the sad news that all 
further hope of being permitted to remain at their village had 
ceased, and advised the speedy abandonment of their lands and 
the location of their principal village on the Iowa river, and when 
the entire nation went to their winter quarters in Missouri that 
fall, Keokuk and his band left Saukenuk forever. In the spring 
of 1830. Keokuk with his band, comprising aboult two-thirds of 
the entire nation, instead of returning to Saukenuk, located on 
the Iowa river, west of the Mississippi, but Black Hawk, with the 
remainder of the Sauk Nation, returned to Saukenuk and pro- 
ceeded to plant their corn crop, as usual. But from that time 
forth the presence of these Indians on the peninsula was con- 
sidered by the white people of that locality, and more especially 


by those who had located upon what then appeared to be the 
abandoned farm lands of the Sauks, an intrusion indeed, a 
trespass. The fact that Keokuk had fully recognized and, by hia 
abandonment, reaffirmed the validity of the Quashquamme treaty 
of 1804, strengthened the claims of the white pioneers to their 
lands, and subjected Black Hawk with his small band of only 
aboit 1,500 souls to all kinds of petty annoyances and oppres- 
sions from the covetous white settlers of that locality. Badgered 
and b.iiled on all sides, Black Hawk then offered to accept sii 
thousand dollars cash, with which to purchase provisions to tide 
him and his band over the first year in a new country, while 
breaking the raw prairie and putting the virgin soil in cultivation 
to a crop, and peaceably give up all claim or demand on 
the lands embodied in the so-called treaty of November 3, 
1804. But even this most reasonable and just proposition was 

We say reasonable request, and say it with earnestness, for the 
first season on raw prairie land no crop could be raised, and with- 
out means of support other than the fish and small game to be 
found in that locality, hunger and famine would of necessity have 
ensued. Had this paltry sum of six thousand dollars been paid, 
or if too penurious to make what the Government might have 
termed a donation to these Indians of that sum, or if they had 
have been paid six years' annuities in advance, to enable them to 
improve new farms in Iowa, the Black Hawk war would never 
had an existence. This was the most striking illustration of the 
" penny-wise and pound foolish " action on record. The answer 
returned to this proposition was that the Government would give 
them nothing, and that if the Indians did not remove immedi- 
ately they would be driven off by the military force of the United 
States. It will be observed that a most an imolous condition of 
affairs existed at that time. Colonel George Davenport in person, 
and Davenport and Farnham, were the owners of all the ti le 
which the United States had derived to the lands on the penin- 
sula through the Quashquamme treaty, except about five hundred 
cares divided between three other persons, Brasher, Eobley and 
Carr, by purchase at the Springfield land sales, and had pur- 
chased it for the sole and express put pose of protecting the sum- 
mer homes of these Indians against the aggiessions of the white 
settlers, and that neither of the other three purchasers of land in 
that locality, except Brasher, were then living upon their pur- 
chases and took no lot or part in trying to drive these Indians 


away, outside pressure was being brought to bear upon these 
poor Indians to drive them away. They were the tenants of 
Davenport & Farnham, who owned every foot of the lands they 
were occupying, when Uncle Sam steps in to say: "Messrs. 
Davenport & Farnham, your tenants are Indians, and therefore 
obnoxious to the white people and must, like ' Poor little Joe, 
move on. They were called "the British band," which grated 
upon the ever too sensitive ear, and no matter whether friendly 
and peaceable, they had a hard name and must go. But not 
from indisposition on the part of the United States Government 
to remove the Indians, did it wait, but other causes supervened 
and brought on the crisis. Whiskey put in its gorgon head, 
backed by an avaricious little Pennsylvania Dutchman induc- 
ing Governor Reynolds to inaugurate the war, and thereby re- 
lieve the General Government of the responsibility. 



Whiskey the Ultimate as well as the Primary Cause of the co-called Black Hawk 
War of 1831 In Saukeniik was >eard a voice of Lamentation and Woe Jo-hua 
weeping for his liquors, he would not be comforted, for they were not, Black 
Hawk had destroyed them. 

"They were red-hot with drinking, 
So full of valor that they smote the air: 
For breathing in their faces, beat ihe ground 
For kissing of their feet." SHAKSPEAKE. 

In March, 1829, Joshua Vandruff , a short, staunchly built Penn- 
sylvania Dutchman, with his family, consisting of wife, five sons 
and five daughters, located fit Saukenuk during the winter absence 
of the Sauks to their hunting grounds in Missouri, Mr. Vandruff 
was a shrewd, energetic and thrifty man. Finding the Indians 
absent, he took possession of the best hodenosote, or long-house, 
he could find, which happened to be that of the old Chief, Black 
Hawk. Of this he took peaceable and full possession, and 
commenced tearing down the Indian post and pole fences and 
subdividing the common field into smaller lots, and was actually 
engaged at this kind of pleasant amusement when the Indians 
returned to their summer homes that Spring. A man of great 
versatility and tact, he soon succeeded in obtaining the consent 
of the old Chief, who was mourning the recent death of his eldest 
son and youngest daughter, to remain in possession of the long- 
house, and the latter built a new lodge on a mound in his corn- 
field. Before the completion of his new lodge, the two families 
occupied the old lodge conjointly. Thus did the children of 
Japheth dwell in the tents of Shem. Having a Lirge family and 
being financially poor and a smooth talker, these Indians permit- 
ted himself and family to remain among them and cultivate a 
portion of their improved farm lands. The north branch of Rock 
river being deep at that point, the shrewd little Dutchman saw 
the utility and financial advantage of constructing a flat-boat and 
operating a ferry, located just below the lower end of the promon- 
tory at the upper end of baukenuk, at the point where the horse- 
railway, leading from the city of Rock Island to the village of 


Milan, now crosses that stream. This north branch is about three 
hundred feet wide. There are three branches of Eock river at 
this point, as thown by figure 3. The most northern branch, 

Figure 3. 


upon whose north bank Saukenuk stood, is the principal and 
much the deeper. The middle branch is a mere bayou or slough, 
while the south one is shallow. Mr. Vandruff and family con- 
tinned to occupy the hodenosote of Black Hawk until the Fall of 
1829, when he erected a cabin near the upper end of Saukenuk, 
into which ho moved his family, and procured a hand-mill for 
grinding corn. His wife being a most excellent cook, and having 
five handsome and marriageable daughters, this log cabin home 
of the Vanclruffs was headquarters for the young people of that 
locality, where dancing parties were of frequent occurrence. Here 
the love-sick swain could "dance all night 'till broad daylight," 
even though he might not " go home with the girls in the morn- 
ing," for white girls outside the Vandruff cabin were few and 
far between. 

To add to the enjoyability of such occasions, Joshua furnished 
his residence with a little "corn juice," which was decidedly a 
"drawing card." With an eye to business, it was Vandruff's 
wont to call his sleepy guests at the peep o'day and put them at 
work on the sweeps of his hand-mill to give them an appetite 
lor their breakfast ; and some there were so uncharitable as to 


intimate that Mother Vandruff and her fair daughters were de- 
cidedly " backward in coming forward" with their breakfasts, 
while the mill ran glibly. In the mean time Mr. Vandruff 
enlarged his whisky facilities and began the retail of "liquid 
damnation" to the Indians as well as the whites, so that during 
the summer and fall of 1830, drunkeness among the Indians be- 
came a crying evil, of daily occurrence. As Black Hawk says : 
"The white people brought whiskey to our village, made our 
people drunk, and cheated them out of their horses, guns and 
traps. This fraudulent system was carried to such an extent 
that I apprehended serious difficulties might occur unless a stop 
was put to it. Consequently I visited all the whites and begged 
them not to sell my people whiskey. * * * I used all my in- 
fluence to prevent drunkenness, but to no effect." 

The old chief personally called on all those engaged in the 
whiskey traffic, and selling to the Indians at Saukenuk, and or- 
dered them to quit selling or leave the place at once. They all 
agreed that they would stop selling liquors to the Indians, except 
Mr. Vandruff. The first island south of Saukenuk was a beauti- 
ful plateau containing about 200 acres, and Mr. Vandruff saw 
that by removing his whisky mill thither he would be out of Sau- 
kenuk, but sufficiently near thereto to carry on his traffic in souls 
with these fire-water loving creatures successfully and still run 
his ferry, hence he erected a log cabin on this island, imme- 
diately opposite the upper end of Saukenuk, and within sight and 
hailing distance of Black Hawk's lodge, and moved his family 
and "wet grocery store" to the island, which then assumed his 
name, and retains it still. His first invoice embraced ten barrels 
of spirituous liquors at his new hell-hole on this ill-fated little 
island. In boldness of conception and and impudence of execution 
the plan of Mr. Vandruff was worthy a better cause. In partial 
obedience to the expressed wish of the old chieftain, he left Sau- 
kennk for this little level island and erected his building imme- 
diately opposite to that of Black Hawk's, and opened up his 
nefarious trade with the Indians, who have a special wild desire 
for this greatest curse on earth the white man's fire-water 
and thither they nocked like carrion crows around a dead 
animal. And there they remained from morn till night pour- 
ing down liquid poison, until their fiery eyes and seething 
brains were like burning, hissing volcanoes, and their tottering 
limbs refused to longer bear their weight. Then seeking some 


unoccupied place, they fell prone to earth, there to sleep off Ihe 
effects of their long debauch, only to awaken and feel ten thous- 
and little devils gnawing at their stomachs, crying for more, more, 

Thus, like a blind horse on the ceaseless evoluting tread-mill, 
they ran the endless circle over and over again, day after day, 
and week after week, until their poor human endurance gave way, 
and then with sad hearts their ever faithful and loving squaws 
tenderly, though sorrowfully, bore them home, nursed and cared 
for them until recovered, when, like the "sow to her wallow," they 
returned to the hell-hole on the island, where maudlin shouts and 
incessant broils rendered the days dismal and the nights hideous. 
This change of base was effected by Mr. Vandruff in the winter of 
1830-1, and his establishment was in fine running order when 
the Indians returned to their farms and homes in the spring of 
1831. Keenly avaricious and always ready for a trade, no matter 
what kind of commodity was offered, he was ever willing to barter 
whiskey for it. Often receiving in exchange the most trivial 
and worthless trinket for his "sod-corn juice," the most worth- 
less brute of an Indian was enabled to obtain whiskey at 
this rustic bar. Against this shameful conduct and practice, 
Black Hawk, who was himself strictly temperate at that time, 
and touched not, tasted not, handled not, the accursed stuff, 
used every argument at his command in the vain effort of pre- 
venting the members of his band from going to the island, but 
with indifferent success. He then tried to pursuade Mr. Van- 
druff to quit selling, bartering and giving whiskey to the Indians, 
or at least to certain Indians whose names he gave him, being 
habitual drunkards. He begged and coaxed, then endeavored to 
hire him to desist. This failing, he offered to purchase his en- 
tire stock, that he might turn the liquors into the river. To all 
of which Mr. Vandruff turned a deaf ear. He was obdurate, ob- 
stinate, saucy. This roused the just indignation of the old chief, 
who then told him that unless he quit selling ardent spirits to 
those Indians, whose names he had given him as confirmed 
drunkards, he would take forcible possession of his liquors and 
empty them on the ground or ppur them in the river. Even this 
threat was disregarded by Mr. Vandruff, who kept steadily on 
in making worse than useless brutes of these unfortunate drunken 
Indians, by selling, bartering and giving them the villainous com- 
pound known as Ohio whiskey for the most trifling trinket, if he 


could do no better, converting them (for it has the same effect 
upon the Indian that it has upon the white man) from reason- 
able creatures into useless sots, worthless brutes, and howling 
devils. It has both the power and the will to turn a saint into a 
fiend, and then load him down with hissing, crawling, squirming 

The result and effect of this conduct of Mr. Vandruff was that 
drunkenness increased among these Indians from day to day, 
until further "forbearance ceased to be a virtue" on the part of 
the old chief, who was now 64 years of age. Calling to assist him 
about a half dozen trusty warriors, he entered his canoe and 
paddled across to the island, where, without saying a word, he 
entered the cabin of Mr. Vandruff, and rolled or carried out every 
barrel, keg and demijohn containing ardent spirits, and with his 
trusty tomahawk drove in the heads of the barrels and kegs, and 
broke off the necks of the demijohns, and emptied their contents 
upon the ground, and without comment returned to his lodge. 
In the light of the present day we cannot but commend the firm 
stand and daring deed of this grand old chief. But unfortunately, 
the morals of the white pioneers of that locality and time were 
not up to the present standards. They all sympathized with Mr. 
Vandruff in the loss of property, and but too readily signed their 
names to a statement of his grievances, to which one Benja- 
min F. Pike (who was the bar tender of Vandruff) made and 
subscribed an affidavit that the statement was true. To this 
statement were attached the signatures of forty persons, real or 
simulated. Mr. Vandruff had been running his soul-trap in this 
locality nearly two years, during which time he had learned the 
character of Black ,Hawk thoroughly, and knew he was desper- 
ately in earnest about putting an end to the sale of liquor to the 
Indians of his band. Hence, he dare not further "beard the lion 
in his den the Douglas in his hold" by renewing his stock and 
re-commencing the sale to the Indians. He well knew that his 
occupation of.whisky selling to the Sauk Indians was among the 
things that had passed and forever gone. The contemplation of 
this certain fact roused all the devil in his nature into full force 
and fury. Vengeance now was his sole and only thought. That 
a Vandruff from the noble old State of Pennsylvania should be 
driven from his God-given right of selling what he pleased, when 
he pleased, where he pleased, to whom he pleased, and for what 
he pleased, ^by^an untutored old Indian, was too grievous to be 


borne. He evolved the problem as to how he could get even with 
Black Hawk, and as the devil always favors evil, "he held up the 
hands" of this Joshua at this critical moment, whispering in his 
ear, "get up other charges against these Indians so that the 
Government will drive them across the Mississippi. They do 
not stand very well with Old Hickory or the Old Banger, because 
they fought with the British in the late war." Charges were 
formulated against these Indians for committing nearly all the 
crimes known to the criminal code, among which were horse- 
stealing, hog-stealing, tearing down houses, fences, etc., closing 
with the charge of threatened and attempted murder. These 
charges were incorporated into a preamble, followed by a petition 
to the Governor, praying for the immediate forcible removal of 
these Indians from the State. The prejudice of Governor Eey- 
nolds against Indians in general, and those who had joined the 
British in the war of 1812 in particular, was known all over the 
State, since it had entered largely in the gubernatorial contest 
when he was elected. 

Mr. Vandruff was an extremely shrewd man, and well knew 
that his declaration of grievances would receive no indorsement 
at Fort Armstrong, because the commandant, Major Bliss, knew 
all the facts, and that the statements contained in the petition 
were untrue. Hence he appealed to the Governor, armed with 
this formidable document, and chuckled with delight over the 
thought that he had the documents with which to construct a 
petard to blow old Black Hawk and his band across the Missis- 
sippi, and thereby teach the old chitf such a lesson as he would 
never forget for his interference with his right to sell liquor to the 
Indians. In addition to the satisfaction of outgeneraling Black 
Hawk on the whisky question, Mr. Vandruff desired a slice of the 
farm lands of these Indians, which would naturally fall into 
the hands of the whites on the removal of the Indians across the 
Mississippi. As the possessions of the "Hittites, the Amorites, 
and the Canaanites," of the scriptures, fell into the hands of that 
other Joshua for division, so that he might have "a city to dwell 
in, with the suburbs thereof for his cattle," so thought this latter 
Joshua of the possessions of the Sauks and Foxes. Hence he 
had a double inducement urging him on, revenge and greed, 
both powerful engines in the journey of life. 

Full of confidence in the complete success of his scheme, and 
big with expectation of seeing the haughty old Black Hawk hum- 
bled at his feet, together with the unquestioned right having 


awarded him the first choice and a b : g slice of the fine cultivated 
lands of these Indians, Mr. Vandiuff* filled his old-fashioned 
leather saddle-bags with provisions to last him on his contem- 
plated journey through the then almost trackless wilderness 
lying between Eock Island and Belleville, where the Governor 
resided, mounted his gray mare and starte 1 on his long and 
dangerous journey to personally see and urge Governor Eeynolds 
to remove these Indians from Illinois. He probably left Eock 
Island about the 19, h of May, 1831. The exact date of his de- 
parture we have not been able to ascertain, but he reached his 
destination, as we are informed by Governor Eeynolds, on the 
25th of May, 1831. He says : "The first petition I received April 
30, Ib31, stating among many other things, that last fall the 
Black Hawk band of Indians almost destroyed all our crops, and 
made several attempts at the owners' lives when they attempted 
to prevent their depredations, and actually wounded one man by 
stabbing him in several places." But this petition fails to state 
whose crops were destroyed, or that the stabbing affray took 
place in Vandruff's whiskey hell as the result of a drunken quar- 
rel, in which a worthless white man undertook the gratuitous feat 
of "clearing the shanty of every lazy lout of an Indian," and got 
hurt in his efforts. The Governor further says, "the petition 
further states that there are six or seven hundred Indians among 
them, and they report more are coming. The Indians stated 
that the Winnebagoes and Pottawattamies are to join them if 
necessary." He further says that "on the 18th of May, of the 
same year, another petition was sent stating substantially the 
same outrages committed by the Indians as above mentioned, 
and that if relief did not soon arrive that the inhabitants would 
be compelled to abandon their crops and homes." The peti- 
titioners state in the second petition that, "the Indians pasture 
their horses in our wheat fields, shoot our cows and cattle, and 
threaten to burn our homes over our heads if we do not leave." 
Now, since there were but barely three white families at that 
time living at or near Saukenuk, and they were all intruders, 
trespassers and squatters, without title or claim of right to the 
lands they were occupying, the impudence of their statements is 
very striking. 

*It is but fair to say that Mrs. Benjamin Goble, of Milan, a very estimable 
woman, who is a daughter of Mr. Vandruff, is quite sure her father did not go in 
person to see Gov. Reynolds, but from other sources the weight of testimony is, we 
think, conclusive that he did. 


In the matter of pasturing their horses in the wheat-fields of 
these white squatters they reversed the situation, unless the 
leaving down of the bars by the Indians, leading to Einnah 
Wells' corn-field, whereby his own stock got into his field, after 
refusing to keep them up at night, be termed a breach, there 
was littJe foundation in the whole story gotten up by Mr. Van- 
drulf, and sent by mail to the Governor. Soon after sending 
this second petition, which reached the Governor May 18, 1831, 
Mr. Vandruff reached Bellville with a duplicate petition, sworn 
to by B. F. Pike. The Governor further adds: "Several depo- 
sitions (he evidently meant affidavits) sworn to were presented 
to me. B. F. Pike states on oath that the number of warriors is 
about three hundred. That the Indians have in various instances 
done much damage to the said white people by throwing down 
their fences, destroying their fall grain, pulling off the roofs of 
houses, and persistently asserting, if they did not go away, the 
warriors would kill them." This statement, it will be perceived, 
gives no names of persons injured by the Indians, and was abso- 
lutely untrue. Had this affiant stated that the Indians had 
destroyed Vandruff's whisky, it would have contained at least 
one element of truth. But this it did not assert, and the whole 
story was false. 

The Old Banger adds: "This information placed me in great 
responsibility. If I did not act, and the inhabitants were mur- 
dered, after being informed of the situation, I would be con- 
demned 'from Dan to Bersheba,' and if I levied war by raising 
troops when there was no necessity for it, I would also be respon- 
sible. I had just been elected Governor, and my friends had 
pledged myself and themselves that I would act rightly and 
honorably in all my official duties. This made me feel, if possi- 
ble, more responsibility to friends than to myself. I passed a 
few weeks of intense feeling in relation to my duty, having before 
me a vast amount of information, all tending to establish the 
following facts : That about three hundred warriors, headed by a 
hostile war chief, Black Hawk, were in possession with the citi- 
zens of the old Sac village near Kock Island ; that the Indians 
were determined to retain possession of the country by force, and 
that they had already done mischief to the citizens. I knew also 
that the citizens had applied to the Indian Agent and the military 
officers of the United States, and had obtained no relief. I was 
well aware that in this kind of a war there was but one step be- 
tween the sublime and the ridiculous, and that I was incurring a 


great responsibility. On mature deliberation I considered it my 
duty to call on the volunteers to move the Indians to the west 
side of the Mississippi, according to the treaty made by the Gen- 
eral Government with them. Accordingly, on the 26th of May, 
1831, without any requisition from the United States, I made a call 
on the Militia for seven hundred mounted men." 

The Governor tacitly admits that his action in the premises 
were taken from the fact that his "friends had pledged myself 
and themselves" during the election, that he would act rightly 
and honestly in his official duties, leaving the inference that the 
official position he held and his oath of office were secondary con- 
siderations in the performance of his gubernatorial duties. He 
does not pretend that there was any hostile invasion of the State 
by an armed foe, and admits that he was advised of the fact that 
these self-same, would-be martyrs had applied for relief and pro- 
tection to Governor Clark, the Superintendent of Indian affairs, 
and Major Bliss, in command of Fort Armstrong, located upon the 
very site of the alleged grievances, and that both of these Federal 
officers had refused to interfere, and that he took the entire respon- 
sibility of calling out the militia, without requisition from the 
general government, or military head thereof, and that while doing 
so he fully appreciated the fact "that there is but one step 
between the sublime and the rediculous." But he, true to 
his blundering nature, could not do less than to take the 
rediculous side. He must have known that Fort Armstrong 
had been built fifteen years before that time, and was sup- 
plied with a large garrison, and that the officer in command 
there was in position to fully understand the matters tran- 
spiring within the short distance of three miles. He makes no 
claim of justification whatever for his calling out volunteers 
under the Constitutional provision in case of invasion, in this 
statement, but did in his letter to Gen. Gaines, given in a former 
chapter. This statement was written many years after the occur- 
rences narrated by him, during which time the Constitutional 
defense had been squeezed out of him, as untenable and inde- 
fensible under the existing facts. 

Messrs. Davenport & Farnham were the owers in fee of these 
lands, including those occupied by the white settlers of Saukenuk. 
But as they desired the good will of these Indians they kept the 
matter a secret, so that no one in that locality, except themselves, 
were aware of the fact at that time. They were well aware 


that considerable ill-feeling had already sprung up between 
the white settlers and the Indians, and should they side with 
either party, or proclaim to the world that they sided with the 
Innians, and had purchased their lands for the sole or chief pur- 
pose of keeping them for the use of the Indians, the white people 
would become highly exasperated, and more than likely do them 
personal harm. Should they side with the white settlers, then 
they would lose their Indian trade, and place their lives in great 
danger from the fury of these ever-suspicious, unreasoning 
Indians. Hence their lips were sealed upon the purchase of their 
lands. In active prej udices, fixed opinions and strong convictions, 
few men ever excelled Governor Reynolds, or in genuine, pure, 
unadulterated hate of the British Nation and entire Indian race; 
and when the latter was combined with the former as allies, his 
indignation passed all boundaries. His strongest conviction was 
that every Indian should be killed, as shown by his letter of May 
27, 1831, to Governor Clark, in which he said: "I consider it 
due the general government to state that in about fifteen days 
a sufficient force will appear before the hostile Indians, to 
remove them, dead or alive, west of the Mississippi." 

He would not remove them alive first, but dead, and we may 
logically conclude, from the wording of this letter, that he in- 
tended to kill all he could of these poor Indians, and scare the 
remainder into flight across the big river; then take the bodies of 
the slain to the other side for burial, that the soil of Illinois 
should not be contaminated with their decaying bodies. Second, 
only, to his fixed conviction that all Indians should be killed, was 
his belief that the sale of whisky should be free as air or water, 
free from license, tax, restriction or limitation. With these con- 
victions predominating and controlling his actions, it were useless 
to say Joshua Vandruff, on his arrival at the Executive office, in 
Belleville, 111., on the 25th of May, 1831, found His Excellency, 
the Governor, in a melting mood, and ready to yield an attentive 
ear and willing assent to the prayer of his petition, backed by 
the aforesaid "several depositions sworn to." 

What kind of a deposition would it have been if not sworn 
to? The Governor, "like Barkis, was willin' " and waiting 
ready; aye, eager, to give credence to, and place confidence 
in, whatever this self-constituted courier, with his own specially- 
prepared dispatches, might present. Whether Mr. Vandrufif rep- 
resented to him that the British band of Sauks had just returned 


to Saukenuk, from west of the Mississippi, or not, is a mooted 
question; but there can be but little doubt that he did, for there 
should be no doubt about the Governor's understanding that these 
Indians had voluntarily surrendered up their possessions at 
Saukenuk, the year before, and then had returned with force and 
arms to retake possession, as this is the ouly feature of the case 
that could possibly justify him in calling out the militia to repel 
an armed invasion of tbe State. If this assumption be eliminated, 
then was the action of Governor Reynolds, in calling out the 
militia, the most flagrant assumption of authority to be found in 
the annals of history. It is, therefore, charitable to his memory 
to assume that Vandrutf told him that these Indians had returned 
to Illinois and claimed their homes and farm lands at Saukenuk, 
after having formally abandoned and surrendered them to the 
white settlers. But, from the Governor's own statement of this 
matter, such an assumption is unwarranted, except in his letter 
of May 28, 1831, to Major-General Gaiues. The only provision 
of law, fundamental or statutory, under which Governor Rey- 
nolds could justify himself in calling out the militia, is section 
2 of article 10 of the Federal Constitution, which prohibits every 
State from engaging in war unless actually invaded, etc., without 
consent of Congress. 

Since there was no invasion of the State, there was no authority 
for the call. When upon the bench he construed the legal term, 
caveat emptor, to mean "beware of the wrath to come," and, in 
this case, he construed the living of these Indians, in their own 
hodeuosotes, and quietly cultivating their farms, which had be- 
longed to them and their ancestors for many generations, as a 
hostile invasion of the territory and juribdiction of the State of 

The true meaning of the word invasion, as defined by all lexi- 
cographers, is, "Entered by an army with a hostile design 
attacked, assaulted." Certainly no one has yet been found with 
the effrontery to allege that these Indians had levied war against 
the white settlers or people, at that time, or that they were armed. 
Evtn B. F. Pike, (Captain of the Rock River Rangers, an organ- 
ization of every white man then living in what is now Rock Island 
county, in June, 1831, \\hich included Joshua Vandruff and two 
sons, and con ained fifty-six members, rank and file), who made 
"the deposition sworn to," did not pretend that the Indians were 
armed, or that they had attacked any one with war-like intent. 


Granting that every charge made in Vandruff's petition, and 
Pike's affidavit, were true, the offenses were but misdemeanors 
which were cognizable and punishable by the civil law; and, 
with the exception of the charge of stabbing a white mnn, (which 
was an act of self-defense) not one of the charges, if proved, 
would have submitted the offenders to prison, much less capital 
punishment or confinement in a penitentiary. There is no claim 
or pretense that these Indians had defied or resisted the civil law 
or its enforcement. Even in the Cuvier murder case, before given, 
they promptly surrendered up the accused on demand. These 
things being true, there was neither authority nor legal power 
vested in the Governor, by law or usage, for his action in calling 
out the militia in 1831, and his action in the premises was a 
simple, clear and inexcusable usurpation of authority, without 
warrant of law or reason, and was hard, oppressive and cruel 
upon an unoffending people. That the Indians were opposed to 
war, and determined to keep peace with the white people, is 
vouched for by General Gaines after his arrival at Saukenuk, on 
the 9th of June, which will be more fully shown in the next 

Among the charges preferred by Mr. Vandruff, we do not find 
that of spilling his whiskey, as shown by Governor Eeynolds, yet 
this was the 

" Priest all shavn and shorn, 
That married the maiden all forlorn," 

which induced the little Dutchman to ride forth, like John Gilpin, 
on his solitary pilgrimage of several hundred miles to lay his 
grievance before the Governor. The destruction of his liquors by 
Black Hawk was the gravamen of his complain^, though, for pru- 
dential reasons, the Governor did not mention it among the al- 
leged outrages committed by the Indians on the white settlers. 
The arrival of Mr. Vandruff at the Executive office in Belleville, 
on the 25th of May, 1831, with a duplicate copy of the charges re- 
ceived by the Governor on the 18th of that month, verified by the 
affidavit of Captain Pike, was the electrical spark which fired off 
the executive magazine, already charged to spontaneous combus- 
tion by the so-called petitions before then received by him, and 
over which he says : " I passed a few weeks of intense feeling in 
relation to my duty." (Under the Constitution of 1818, by which 
Illinois was admitted to the Union as a State, the Governor was 
not required to reside at the State Capital, hence the Executive 


office was located at the Governor's home.) Since Vandrnff ar- 
rived at Belleville, on the 25th, and the Governor's call for "seven 
hundred mounted volunteers, for the purpose of repelling the in- 
vasion by Black's band of Indians, who are plundering and rob- 
bing the white settlers on llock river, and threatening their lives," 
(as he says in his call) was issued on the 26th of May, lc.31, he 
had just one night for the " mature leflection " he mentions in 
his history of " My Own Times." His Excellency immediately 
went from one county-seat to another making speeches to en- 
courage enlistments, in which he made the blood-curdling declar- 
ation that Black Hawk was a British ally, and was urged on to 
war against the people of the United Sta'es by the British, who 
were supplying him with guns, ammunition and camp supplies. 
This was enough to nie the wes'ern heart to white heat, while his 
coadjutor, Joshua Vandruff, for whose special benefit the show 
was being prepared and gotten up, accompanied him and related 
his story of the pretendtd outrages committed by these poor 
devils, who wanted nothing but their birthright and peace. Thus 
did the Old Banger and his henchman fire the public heart for 
vengeance on the British band of the Sauks. 

Old Banger a^ ted Eoderic Dhu, 
While Viindruff was his henchman true: 

Their (Ire-brand imrt rallying cry, 
"Death to the British Indian spy!" 

Volunteers poured into the little burgh of Beardstown by the 
thousand ere the 10th of June, the day fixed for the rendezvous, 
so that the town was overflowing, and when this John of Gaunt 
( Gov. Beynolds was long and gaunt, and also brave) arrived he 
was received with much enthusiasm, so that he was induced to 
say: "It is astonishing, the war spirit the Western people pos- 
sess. As soon as I decided to march against the Indians at Eock 
Island, the whole country throughout the northwest of the State 
resounded with the war clamor. Everything was in a bustle and 
uproar. It was then eighteen or twenty years since the war with 
Great Britain and these same Indians: and the old citizens in- 
flamed the young men to appear in the tented field against 
the old enemy." Here again do we see the Governor's pre- 
judice. This war was to be against these British allies, 
hence the wild enthusinsm. Like the charge agninst the 
modern Jew of crucifying our Savior, " if he didn't do it, his 
ancestors did." No matter if Black Hawk \yas the only Indian 
among them who fought on the Biitish side in 1812-14, the an- 
cestors of the others, or at least some of them, had done so. The 


volunteers so flooded the little village that accommodations 
and rations could not be procured, hence they were forced to 
move over the Illinois river to Eushville, county seat of Schuyler 
county, where fully 1,600 volunteers assembled, ready for the 
fray. And notwithstanding Maj. Gen. Edmund P. Gaines, mili- 
tary commander of the northwest, had written to Gov. Eeynolds, 
on the 3d of June, that he had all the military force he should 
need, without accepting volunteers from Illinois, Gov. Eeynolds 
accepted all who offered their services, and on the 19th of that 
month this vast army was organized into two regiments, an odd 
battalion, and a spy battalion, as named by the Old Ranger. 
The officers of these regiments were James D. Henry, of Sangamon 
county, colonel, Jacob Fry, of Green county, lieutenant-colonel, 
and John T. Stuart (who died in 1886), major of the first, and Daniel 
Lieb, of Morgan county, colonel, A. B. De Witt, of the same county, 
lieutenant-colonel of the other regiment. Nathaniel Buckmaster, 
of Madison county, commanded the odd battalion, while Sam- 
uel Whiteside commanded the spy battalion. In the latter bat- 
talion Gov. Thomas Ford was a private, while Gov. Stinson H. 
Anderson was a private in the odd battalion. Congressman 
Joseph Duncan was appointed by Gov. Eeynolds to command the 
entire force, with rank of Brigadier- General of the Militia of the 

Gov. Eeynolds accompanied the expedition, but seems to have 
waived his right as commander-in-chief of the Militia by being 

It is a singular fact that Governor Ford, who accompanied this 
Eeynoldsian expedition as a member of Whiteside's spy battallion, 
never mentioned the name of the Governor in his history of Illi- 
nois, though he (under Section 10 of Articles of the State Constitu- 
tion of 1818 then in force), was "Commander-in-Chief of the army 
and navy of this State, and of the militia, except when they shall 
be called into the service of the United States," except in con- 
nection with the so-called treaty of June 30, 1831 ; from the time 
they left Eushville until they were disbanded. That the brilliant 
Governor of the small frame and large brain always entertained 
a most contemptible opinion of the Old Eanger, is a well estab- 
lished fact, but that he should treat his commander-in-chief, 
during an entire campaign, with absolute silence in writing up 

*Col. E. D. Taylor, who is still living, was his adjutant. Gen. J. J. Hardin. 
who was killed at Buena Vista, was also on his staff. 


the history of that campaign shows a studied effort in that direc- 
tion. Yet there is an excuse for this silence in Gov. Ford's his- 
tory of these transactions, which is the fact that his Excellency- 
seems to have completely abdicated his authority under the Con- 
stitution in favor of Gen. Duncan, his appointee as Brigadier 
General of the militia. Always a kind of an off ox, Governor 
Eeynolds exhibits a large degree of that same peculiarity in this 
matter. When his volunteers assembled June 10, 1831, he found 
nearly as many office-seekers among them as privates. In his 
own language : "Moreover, many citizens appeared for office. 
Many of these individuals had standing, and their wishes were 
not to be disregarded. I appointed the Hon. Joseph Duncan 
Brigadier General to take command. * * * The troops came 
flocking in until the number swelled to near three fold seven hun- 
dred, the force first called for. It would not do to turn these 
good men, the supernumerary, back home. They had made 
arrangements to leave home, and to send them back, their whole 
arrangements would be frustrated. I took the responsibility and 
organized almost three fold the number called for." 

From this statement it is shown that he accepted all who were 
willing to go. Only those who would not go without office were 
left out. Had the entire militia of the State tendered their ser- 
vices he would have accepted them for the purpose of murdering 
these three hundred Indian warriors and their families, who were 
quietly living beneath their "own vine and fig tree," where their 
forefathers had lived, loved, labored and died for many genera- 
tions before them. The distance from Eushville to Eock Island 
is about 130 miles, through a then unsettled country. Governor 
Ford says the army made the passage or trip in four days, which 
would not be a quick one. Gen. Elliott, in his recent compilation 
of the "Eecord of the services of Illinois soldiers in the Black 
Hawk War of 1831-32," says this army started from Eushville 
June 15, and reached Eockport on the 25th. In this he must be 
mistaken, because it was not organized into regiments and bat- 
talions until the 19th, and certainly they did not leave Eushville 
before they were organized. They started on the 22d of June, 
1831, and reached Eockport the 25th. Governor Eeynolds ac- 
companied the expedition, but seems to have taken no active part 
in their movements. 

Their route lay through a wilderness of prairie, with occasional 
small strips of timber, without roads or human habitations. 


except Indians, who were friendly with the white people. Yet 
whenever these volunteers got sight of an Indian they gave chase 
and scared them half to death, and probably killed some of them. 
"Although not highly disciplined," says Governor Ford, "it was 
the largest military force that had ever assembled in the State, 
and made a very imposing appearance in its march over the 
then broad expanse of prairie wilderness. Eager for a fray with 
the Indians, the utmost vigilance was required on the part of the 
officers to keep the men from indiscriminately killing every 
straggling savage they encountered in their pleasant journey of 
four days to the Mississippi." That this large body of horsemen 
presented an imposing appearance by their numbers is doubtless 
true, but they hardly presented a soldierly one. Hailing from 
nearly every State in the Union, each furnishing his own horse, 
accoutrements and clothing, and few of them having ever been 
drilled to the service, the dissimilarity must have been great. 
Indeed, to such a degree of divergence were their persons, cloth- 
ing, horses, saddles, guns and general appearance that they may 
have been not inaptly compared to the troops of Falstaff, whom 
he refused to march through Coventry. 

But they were by no means ragamuffins or loafers. On the 
contrary, they were composed of the sturdy yeomen of Illinois, 
with hearts and souls true and pure, but lacked discipline and 
drill. Here was the long, lank Tennesseean, in butternut brown, 
"bearded as the pard," and as sallow and tough as sole-leather; 
there the sharp-eyed, active and resolute Kentuckian, in his native 
bluejeans, slouched hat and resolute air, mounted on a long, 
hungry-looking descendant of Tiger Whip or Bertrand, with head 
erect, wicked eye and elastic step, stamping, champing and fiet- 
ting, like a lost spirit, rider and horse ever on the alert for a race 
or an Indian scalp-lock ; there a direct descendent of one of the 
first families from that State which gave birth to so many Presi- 
dents, and never had a second family, straddling a well-fed, 
vicious-looking mule, ready to kick the spots from the moon, upon 
the least provocation. If the rider had a will and a mission, the 
mule had a will and a resolution, which not infrequently antag- 
onized the wishes of his rider, resulting in many disagreements, 
with occasional compromises. The rider was proud and resolute, 
the mule, vicious and stubborn, if the rider insisted upon style 
and order, the mule created confusion and disorder. When the 
rider desired to march face forward, the mule went tail-first, and, 


when seriously belabored over head and ears, he compromised 
the matter by going sideways. Though rider and mule kept up a 
constant kind of guerrilla skirmishing, they were fast friends as a 
rule ; here was the sleekly- dressed, smooth-shaven Yankee, from 
away down in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, garrullous, 
inquisitive and cute, with a penchant for interviewing everything 
betwixt the earth and sky, with his "dew-tell-me" and "is he 
smart," mounted upon his bob-tailed old plow-horse, carrying huge 
old horse-pistols, which they claimed were the identical ones used 
l>y "Old Put" in the Kevolution ; there the Buckeye, tall, strong and 
awkward, who was too modest to seek an office, (for who ever 
heard of a politician in Ohio*?) dressed in homespun from tip to 
toe, including red "warmus ;" here the hero from the old Empire 
State, full of conceit and ambition, and close by his side was the 
son of the Keystone State, upon his Connistoga draft-horse, with 
the activity of the elephant or bear ; there the long, lank tobacco 
chewer from Indiana, with legs several inches too long for his 
pants, without boots, shoes or stockings, with bis squirrel gun on 
his shoulder, ever on the look-out for his favorite game squirrel 
accompanied by a few native Suckers or Illinoisans. 

Their arms and acoutrements were quite as dissimilar as their 
mounts and apparel. Every kind of fire-arms then to be had 
were scattered through these sixteen hundred mounted volun- 
teers. Courage they had, and ability of the highest order, if 
under proper restraint and direction. Colonel James D. Henry 
was the only man among them who pretended to have had a mil- 
itary education or training. But he was merely a plebian and 
disciple of St. Crispin, and would never do to command or even 
drill Gubernatorial or Congressional material, and therefore Dun- 
can, who was one of the three members of Congress, although 
making no pretense of having a military training or experience, 
was selected to command the column. The strong probability is 
that Mr. Duncan had less military knowledge than the Governor, 
for he had been out on several Indian excursions in the days 
when premiums were paid from the territorial treasury for Indian 
scalps, like bounties on wolf scalps, for it is a fact, disgraceful 
though it be to our noble State, that on the 24th day of December, 
1814, being the very day the treaty of Ghent was concluded, our 
territorial Legislature, then in session at Kaskaskia, passed an act 
which was approved by Ninian Edwards, the territorial Governor, 
and became the law, entitled "An act to promote retaliation upon 
hostile Indians, and to encourage the bravery and enterprise of 
our fellow citizens." 


Section 1 provided : " That when in such incursions into the 
settlements, the commission of murder or other depredations by 
Indians, citizens, rangers, or other persons who shall make pris- 
oners of, or kill such Indians, shall receive a reward for each 
Indian taken or killed, of fifty dollars, if done by rangers or 
others enlisted in the defence of the country, twenty-five dollars 

"Section 2. That any person, having obtained permission from 
a commanding officer on the frontier to go into the territory of 
hostile Indians, who shall kill a warrior, or take prisoner a squaw 
or a child, is entitled to a reward of $100 for each warrior killed, 
or squaw or child taken prisoner. 

"Section 3. That any party of rangers, not exceeding fifteen, 
who, on leave granted, make incursions into the country of hostile 
Indians, shall receive a reward of $50 for each warrior killed, or 
squaw or child taken prisoner." 

In point of being infamously proscriptive and unjustly discrim- 
inating, this law upon our statute stood at the head. It offered a 
premium for murder and a reward for crime, and discriminated 
between the murderers as well as the victims. Under the first 
section a private citizen was entitled to receive double the premium 
for killing an Indian that a ranger or enlisted soldier did for a like 
deed. Under section 2, any person who wanted to earn a hundred 
dollars, and at the same time wreak his spite on some poor Indian, 
by obtaining permission from a commanding officer on the frontier 
some one-horse Captain or Lieutenant could first kill his 
Indian and then get the permission to do the deed. He must kill 
the Indian or get no pay. They wanted no Indian warriors for 
prisoners. For a squaw or pappoose prisoner he got his blood 
money without spilling blood, but for the Indian not a cent, 
unless dead. 

Section 3 offers a fifty dollar reward to each gang of less than 
fifteen rangers for each warrior killed, or squaw or pappoose 
captured. The Indians had to be killed or else they got no pay. 
The word hostile had no significance whatever. Every Indian 
was at that time treated as hostile. We have not had at our 
command the facilities of learning how long this infamous act 
stood upon the statute as the law, but presume it was repealed 
soon after the adoption of the Constitution of 1818, under which 
we were admitted as a State of the Union. With such a state of 
feeling existing as this law naturally inculcated and built up, are 


we enabled to understand the deep feelings called to the sur- 
face by Governor Keynolds' circular letters and proclamation, 
that the hostile Indians, with Black Hawk, the British spy, at 
their head, were threatening the lives of the white pioneers of the 
Bock river country, near Bock Island, and sixteen hundred volun- 
teers responded to the call for but seven hundred mounted 

At the time of the passage of this act the war between the 
United States and Great Britain had just closed, but the fact 
had probably not reached Kaskaskia, and Black Hawk and his 
band were substantially the only Indians within the borders of 
the then territory of Illinois, who had openly espoused the 
British side of the fight, hence the passage of this law was 
aimed and directed at the British band of Sauks, and was 
simply a bounty on Sauk scalps, like a State bounty on wolf 
scalps. Had Black Hawk, by way of retaliation, offered a reward 
of two ponies for each short-haired Schemokeman's scalp, and a 
like reward for each white woman or child captured by his braves, 
what a wail of righteous indignation would have welled forth 
from the "public criers," newspapers, pulpits and political 
meetings, all over the territory, making "Borne howl" again, and 
red-skined men would have been found lying around on the flat 
of their backs "as thick as blackberries." The reward of $100 in 
those days was equal to $1,000 now, to gain which Indians were 
slain in rapid succession, to avenge which the Indians became 
aggressive, and lextalionis was the rule until the ratification of the 
treaty of Ghent was notified to the Indians, in 1815. In extenua- 
tion of the ill-judged haste of Governor Beynolds, in his calling 
out 700 and accepting 1,600, these facts should be considered. 



<}en. Gaines holds a Council with Black Hawk, Keokuk and Wapello at. Fort Arm- 
strong, and visits Saukenuk. and declares that the Sauks are Peaceably inclined 
and would only flght in self-defence Treaties of September 3,' 1822, August 4 and 

" I directed my village crier to proclaim that my orders were in the event of the 
war chief coming to our village to remove us that not a gun should b flred or any 
resistance offered. That if he determined to flght, for them to remain in their lodges 
and let him kill them if he chose." BLACK HAWK. 

Immediately after the receipt of Gov. Reynolds' letter of May 
"28, 1831, Gen. Gaines answered it, as before shown, June 8, in- 
forming him that he had all the forces he should need for the 
protection of the frontiers on Eock river, and dispatched an order 
on the commandant at Prairie Du Chien for four companies of 
United States regulars to report to him for duty at Fort 
Armstrong. Then chartering the steamboat Enterprise, he 
started from Jefferson Barracks, below St. Louis, with six com- 
panies of United States troops, for Rock Island, and reached 
Fort Armstrong about the 6th of June, where he was met by the 
four companies from Prairie Du Chien, which, united with his 
fiix companies from the Barracks, and the garrison under Major 
Bliss at Fort Armstrong, formed an army of fully one thousand 
regulars, under command of such subaltern officers as Zachry 
Taylor, W. S. Harney, A. Sidney Johnson, Phillip Kearney, Rob- 
ert Anderson, Jefferson Davis, and others, whose subsequent 
military fame place their names among the ablest captains of 
their age. This was the finest army that had ever been organized 
in the then far west. Well armed and thoroughly drilled, they 
were invincible as against the Indians, even though five-fold their 
number. But he found no hostile Indians there, and could hear 
of no hostilities having been committed in that locality. The 
larger portion of the Sauks under Keokuk, and all the Foxes, had 
moved west of the Mississippi the previous spring, while the re- 
mainder of the Sauks, under Black Hawk, were cultivating their 
lands and quietly pursuing peaceful habits and pursuits. Having 
ome so far and made such preparations for war, Gen. Gaines 


determined to cause the immediate removal of the Black Hawk 
band from the Illinois side of the Mississippi, not like Gov. Bey- 
nolds, "dead or alive," giving the preference to dead, but as he 
said, "peaceably if he could, forcibly if he must." 

In pursuance of this determination, his first step was to try 
persuasion, and to that end invited the Head-men and Chiefs of 
the two nations, Sauks and Foxes, to meet him in conference at 
Fort Armstrong, on the 7th of June, 1831. Why he should have 
extended his request to Keokuk and Wapello, the former being 
head Chief of the Peace band of the Sauks, and the latter of the 
Foxes, whose bands were already west of the Mississippi, and had 
been for more than a year before that time, we are unable to fully 
explain, unless, perhaps, he desired their influence in persuading 
Black Hawk's band to follow them to their new homes on the 
Iowa river. Be this as it may, he did invite them and they were 
present at the conference, and their presence gave deep offense 
to Black Hawk and induced him to make a complete fool of 
himself and band. Keokuk and Black Hawk had been sharp- 
rivals for nearly a score of years, which had culminated in a bitter 
enmity at that time, and Black Hawk, who had neither dissimu- 
lation or policy in his composition, had openly accused Keokuk 
with treachery to his race and nation, and arrant cowardice in 
trying to surrender the lands and village of the tribe to the United 
States under the Quashquamme treaty of 1804. Keokuk was the 
avowed and active friend of the white people, and therefore the 
old Chief looked upon him with about the same favor we look 
upon Benedict Arnold. Were we an Indian we would, doubtless, 
call Keokuk an out-and-out traitor; hence, from the Indian's 
standpoint, Black Hawk was perfectly right in his estimate of his 
rival, who was greatly his superior in diplomacy and cunning. 
Not comprehending or perceiving any reason for the presence of 
Keokuk or Wapello at the conference, at the fort, Black Hawk 
refused to enter it while they and their subaltern Chiefs were 
there. Naturally suspicious of these Chiefs he instinctively feared 
treachery. His conduct, however, on that occasion was anything 
but what it should have been. Instead of stating to General 
Gaines he did not desire to meet Keokuk or Wapello in council, 
because they had no interest in the matter in hand, and were his 
enemies, with whom he could not hold a council without doing 
violence to his feelings, he gathered together a large number of 
his braves and warriors, put them in war-paint, and armed them 


with lances, spears, war-clubs, bows and arrows, and at their head, 
singing war- songs, led them to the door of the fort and there 
demanded that Keokuk and Wapello, with their followers, should 
withdraw from the fort ere he would enter. This demand, strange 
to say, was acceded to, in part, by sending out the followers of 
the two hated Chiefs, but the Chiefs themselves were permitted 
to remain. When Black Hawk, with his blustering followers, had 
been admitted and seated, General Gaines said to them, accord- 
ing to Black Hawk's statement of the transaction as set forth in 
chapter V, that he had been sent there by the President to remove 
them from the lands they had ceded under the Quashquamme 
treaty ; that they had been several times notified to leave, but to 
no avail ; that the President wished them well and asked nothing 
unreasonable from them, closing with the hope that the Indians 
would peaceably remove across the Mississippi. Black Hawk 
immediately replied to General Gaines, denying the sale of these 
lands, or the receipt of the annuities provided for in the treaty of 
1804, and closed his speech with the words : " We are determined 
to hold on to our village." 

These bold and defiant words aroused the General to something 
like displeasure or irritation, and having learned that the fiery- 
spirited old Indian who had uttered them was Black Hawk, 
whose personal acquaintance he had never made and whose name 
was unfamiliar to his ear, since Black Hawk had been peaceable 
and quiet for nearly twenty years, he sprang to his feet and 
asked, "who is Black Hawk?" The latter promptly replied, 
"I am a Sauk and my forefathers were Sauks, and all Indian 
nations call me a Sauk." General Gaines then told these 
Indians that he had not come there to beg or hire them to leave 
their village, but to remove them, and gave them two days in 
which to cross the Mississippi, assuring them that if within that 
time they did not go, he would adopt measures to force them 
away. That an old and remarkably intelligent Chief, like Black 
Hawk, should have acted in the foolishly offensive manner he 
did, before entering the fort to confer with General Gaines, is one 
of the inscrutable acts of this entire drama. To us, at this late 
day, it looks like the sheerest and most hollow braggadocio with- 
out the least excuse. 

But Black Hawk did many things different from other mortals. 
He well knew that General Gaines not only had a sufficient mili- 
tary force to crush him and his band in a few moments, and that 


at any moment he could capture him and his band and hold him 
and his entire followers prisoners, without firing a gun or using a 
bayonet. General Gaines showed more of the man in forbearing 
to resent this open insult than usually falls to the lot of human 
nature, and for once in his life he is entitled to great credit in 
refusing to do what almost any other commander would have 
done, under the circumstances, scattered them with a charge 
of grape and cannister, or at least taken them all prisoners. He 
seemed to take no notice of it whatever, but proceeded with the 
business in hand, as though nothing unpleasant had happened, 
unless in the length of time he gave these Indians to move across 
the river. If he had not been irritated, it is fair to assume he 
would have given them a month, at least, to collect their band 
together, pack and move. Two days was an unreasonably short 
space of time for fifteen hundred people to get ready and move to 
another locality. Indeed, General Gaines cast a stigma not only 
upon his own good name, but upon the American people, in giv- 
ing this unreasonably hard and oppressive order ; but, fortunately, 
he did not try to enforce it, and probably never would have 
removed these poor, oppressed, robbed, and outraged people, 
largely composed of women and children, had it not been for the 
arrival, on the 25th, of Governor Eeynolds' sixteen hundred 
mounted volunteers. 

On the 9th of June, General Gaines, with a considerable force, 
"went aboard the steamboat Enterprise and steamed down the 
Mississippi from Eock Island to the mouth of Eock river, and up 
that river to Saukenuk, having on board cannon and abundant 
ammunition. The two days time he had given the Indians to 
move west of the Mississippi were up, and he went prepared to 
enforce his order. Saukenuk, as shown by plate 3, was located 
along the north bank of Eock river, in the shape of a right-angled 
triangle, (f") the shorter limb running down along the Eock river 
bank and the longer extending north towards Eock Island. The 
buildings were constructed of bark and their palisades of brush ; 
hence, they would have been about as effective against cannon- 
balls as a June frost against a July sun. General Gaines passed 
along up Eock river, above Saukenuk without meeting the least re- 
sistance or hostile demonstration. Indeed, his appearance there, 
with his large military force and steamboat, failed to attract any 
special attention. Even the Indian children, who were playing 
along the river bank, were not driven from their trivial plays by 


this strange sight. This stoicism is explained by the language at 
the head of this chapter. Black Hawk, under the advice of Win- 
nesheik, the Prophet, had fully determined to play the part of 
injured innocence, so as to arouse the public sympathy of the 
American people* ; fully comprehending that th6 murder of a few 
Indian women and children would produce a storm of indigna- 
tion throughout the entire country, he issued strict orders that 
under no condition of facts or circumstances should a gun be 
fired or resistance offered to the military force of the United 
States, even though they should be attacked by the soldiers. 
The coming of General Gaines to Saukenuk was by no means a 
surprise to these Indians, who had their sentinels and runners so 
stationed as to be posted in every move made by him, and his 
intention to ascend Bock river was doubtless signaled and 
heralded soon after he left the fort. Having met no resistance 
and seeing no armed Indians either on his route to or at Saukenuk, 
General Gaines ran by the village, on up the river, to a point near 
Black Hawk's watch tower, where his boat struck bottom and 
hung fast. Here he was detained for an hour or more and had to 
lighten up by his soldiers taking to the water and applying their 
shoulders to the gunwales ere the boat swung clear of the rapids. 

In the mean time many of the soldiers went ashore, passed and 
repassed through Saukenuk without molestation or insult, but 
on the contrary were received with a hearty welcome, invited into 
the hodenosotes, and food and drink set before them. Having 
spent the greater portion of the day at and near Saukenuk, Gen. 
Gaines and his force returned to the fort by the route they had 
gone, and in his official dispatch to the Secretary of War, he 
said : " I was confirmed in the opinion that whatever might have 
been their hostile feelings, they were resolved to abstain from the 
use of their tomahawks and fire-arms, except in self-defence. 
Their village is immediately on Bock river, and so situated that 
I could from the steamboat destroy all their bark houses ( the 
only kind of house they have ) in a few minutes with the force 
now with me, probably without the loss of a man. But I am re- 
solved to abstain from firing a shot without some bloodshed or 
some manifest attempt to shed blood on the part of the Indians." 
In a later communication he says: "I have already induced 
nearly one-third of them to cross the Mississippi to their own 
land. The residue, however, say, as the friendly chiefs report, 
that they never will move, and what is very uncommon, the 


women urge their hostile husbands to fight rather than to move, 
and thus abandon their homes." Why Gen. Gaines should use 
the words " hostile husbands " in this dispatch, after stating that 
he was confirmed in the opinion that they would not use a toma- 
hawk or gun, except in self-defence, we cannot clearly under- 
stand.* From this dispatch it appears that he had succeeded in 
coaxing nearly one third of these Indians to move over the Mis- 
sissippi, and had he have further stated that the greatest of all 
reasons for their desire to be permitted to remain that season 
was to cultivate and garner their growing crops, we should be 
able to see clearly that to avoid the dread calamities of war with 
the United States they would have yielded up the possession of 
everything near and dear, save life, if permitted to remain long 
enough for their growing crops to mature. They clearly saw 
that to be forced into a new country at that time of the year 
must result in hunger, starvation and death. 

This was by no means a pleasing picture for the contemplative 
mind of the old General, of whom Black Hawk said : "I felt 
conscious that this great War Chief would not hurt our people. 
* * * His manly conduct and soldierly deportment, his mild 
yet energetic manner, which proved his bravery, forbade it.' 
General Gaines was a thoroughbred soldier, and like all truly 
brave men had a kindly heart and active sympathy for suffering 
and misery ; and had he not been led on by the Old Ranger, who 
seems to have been born, to make mischief and trouble, the strong 
probability is that all the difficulties between these unfortunate 
and shamefully treated Indians and the United States would have 
been peacefully and amicably adjusted, and the full possession of 
their lands east of the Mississippi surrendered up without blood- 
shed within a few short months, if Governor Reynolds could only 
have been muzzled or spanceled, so as to have kept him from 
"sloshing 'round" generally, without the least provocation or 

He boastingly says, in "My Own Times": "I was well 
acquainted with the people, and knew, I thought, the manner in 
which to approach them. If I made the call on the volunteers 
and none turned out, I was a disgraced Governor. In order to 
effect the speedy assemblage of the troops, I called on none south 
of St. Glair or east of Sangamon Counties, taking those nearest 
the place of rendezvous. I had printed extracts from the petitions 

*He probably used the word hostile for obstinate. 


sent me, and depositions circulated throughout the country, show- 
ng the situation of affairs at the Sac village. Moreover, I made 
private and public speeches to the masses, showing the necessity 
for the call on the troops, and urging the people and my friends 
to turn out for the defense of the frontier. The ivarm feelings of 
the late election for Governor had not yet died away, and my elec- 
tioneering friends converted their electioneering fever into the mili- 
tary, which was a powerful lever in the crusade for Eock Island. 
When a call is made on the militia the number that will volunteer 
cannot be exactly ascertained before meeting at the place of ren- 
dezvous. * * * Another great responsibility forced itself on 
me, which was to procure military stores and provisions for that 
army, the number of which could not be ascertained at the com- 
mencement. This expedition, thus far, was on my own responsi- 
bility, and perhaps the general Government would not approve of 
it." He then states that he wrote General Clark and General 
Gaines, etc., and continues: "I stated, further, that I would 
move against said tribe of Indians, and as Executive of the State, 
respectfully requested his co-operation in this business. General 
Gaines was then at Jefferson Barracks, below St. Louis, and on 
the 29th inst. answered my letter, by saying: 'I do not deem it 
. necessary or proper to require militia or any other description of 
force other than the regular army at -this place and Prairie Du 
Chien to protect the frontiers.' Both General Gaines and Governor 
Clark disapproved of my raising troops to move the hostile Indians 
over the river. * * * I urged on the levying of the troops." 
Belleville, the residence of Gov. Eeynolds, lies but a few miles 
from Jefferson Barracks and St. Louis, on the east side of the 
Mississippi. Gov. Eeynolds could have personally called on both 
Gen. Gaines and Gov. Clark, leaving home in the morning and 
returning in the evening of the same day. Gen. Gaines was the 
commander of all the United States troops of the Mississippi 
Valley, while Gov. Clark was 1 the General Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs of the United States. These facts being known to 
Gov. Eeynolds, and that he did so understand, is admitted by 
him, or he would not have written them as such to one on the 
27th and the other on the 28th of May is it not a little singular, 
if not suspicious, that during the few weeks he says he passed of 
intense feeling in relation to his duty, that he did not personally 
see one or both of these high Government officials, of correspond 
with them on the subject of his intense feeling. The presump- 
tion is very strong that he did not desire to know the true condi- 
tion of affairs on Eock river, but was thirsting for an opportunity 


to manifest his declared intention of removing the Indians dead 
or alive across the Mississippi, and determined that he would not 
allow the glory of that achievement to be divided with anybody. 
So fixed and resolute was he in his determination to accomplish 
his end that he disregarded the opinions of Gen. Gaines and 
Gov. Clark, or, in a word, he set at defiance the United States Gov- 
ernment, and waged an unjust and unjustifiable war against an 
unoffending people upon their own lands, while living on and 
peaceably tilling them; by which act, Dogberry-like, he wrote 
himself down "an ass," and a vicious one at that. 

He. further says, in justification of his usurpation of power, 
"Black Hawk and his band were not in fear of the regular soldiers. 
The regular army could not move with enough celerity to strike 
terror into the hearts of the Indians. Moreover, the Indians 
dreaded he tbackwoods white men. They knew the volunteers 
were their natural enemies, and would destroy them on all occa- 
sions." That raw militia are preferable to regular soldiers is 
simply a Eeynoldsism, and shows his bitter feeling towards the 
Indian race, and that he considered they were entitled to no better 
standing than wolves or rabid dogs, to be shot on sight. Had they 
been entitled to vote he doubtless would have been willing to per- 
mit them to remain forever if they would vote for Jackson and 
Reynolds. On the subject of voting he was extremely careful to 
keep on the popular side. But let it not be inferred that Gov. 
Reynolds had no redeeming traits in his character. On the con- 
trary, he had many, among which were fidelity to his friends, 
strict integrity, energy and a genial disposition. He was a warm 
friend, good citizen, and kind to the poor. 

The object of Joshua Vandruff, in going to see Governor 
Reynolds at his home in Belleville, was, of course, known to all 
those who had united in bis petition for the immediate removal 
of the Black Hawk band from their homes and farms, and they 
also fully appreciated the fact that they needed stronger and more 
clearly defined acts of hostility, or so-called outrages, on the part 
of these Indians to justify the charges as set forth in their peti- 
tions. Hence they were resolved to be equal to the occasion, and 
therefore organized themselves into a company under the leader- 
ship of B. F. Pike, as before stated. Since this company did not 
report to General Gaines or Governor Reynolds for duty, and took 
no part in the expulsion of these Indians June 26, 1831, the strong 


probability is that the sole object and aim in their inception was 
to make such a concerted effort to annoy and irritate these 
Indians as would force them to the committal of some overt act 
of hostility by way of retaliation. Be this as it may, the aggres- 
sions on the rights and property of the Indians by the white 
settlers at Saukenuk, after the departure of Mr. Vandruff, on his 
mission of vengeance, were ten times more^aggravated than ever 
before. They took possession of the cultivated lands of the 
Sauks everywhere even the patches which their squaws had 
planted^ and had come up and were growing nicely, they took 
by force, and plowed up, their growing corn and planted it over in 
a different way, burning down their bark houses, tearing down 
and changing their fences, beating their squaws and papooses for 
the most trivial, and frequently imaginary, offences. To such 
an extent did they plan and execute petty and serious outrages 
against the Indians that they aroused the old Chief almost to 
fury. Fortunately, however, he did not resort to the tomahawk 
and scalping-knife, but personally called on the' principal white 
men and told them that such treatment could no longer be 
endured by his people, and to avoid serious difficulty he could see 
no other way than for the white people to leave Saukenuk and 
the improved lands of the Sauks at once, and therefore ordered 
them to leave by the middle of the next day. 

The white people now seeing that Black Hawk had been badg- 
ered until he had become dangerous, all left except Einnah 
Wells, whose family was large and he was very poor. Mr. 
Wells appealed to the magnanimity of the old Chief not in 
vain, for Black Hawk was brave and therofore humane, since the 
latter follows the former as surely as spring follows winter. Mr. 
Wells was permitted to remain and cultivate his crops then grow- 
ing. This notification was given by Black Hawk but a few days 
before the arrival at the fort of General Gaines with his ten com- 
panies of United States troops ; hence the white settlers had a 
first outrage to harp upon that they had just been driven away 
from their homes and growing crops by this "old British spy" 
Black Hawk. That the fiery Black Hawk could and did not only 
restrain his own passions, under the terrible strain brought to 
bear on them by these outrages, but also hold in check the natur- 
ally revengeful feelings, of his entire band so as to avoid actual 
collision and murder, was a marvel. In long suffering and heroic 
forbearance it challenges a parallel in the history of the world. 


How and by what means he did this noble work is an absolute 
wonder. But that he did it is an undisputed fact, and shows the 
almost absolute power and influence he held and exercised over 
the will-power and passions of his band. Though robbed of their 
land, beaten and oppressed in a multitude of ways, they were 
held under such complete subjection as to stay their hands from 
the tomahawk, spear or scalping-kife. In no solitary case did an 
Indian make an assault upon a white aggressor, or defend himself 
when attacked by the whites by the use of a weapon ; not even 
the white man's natural ones his fists since the Indian never 
learned the manly art of self-defense, or to defend or attack with 
his clenched hands or fists. But in accomplishing this great end 
Black Hawk had a deep plan which had, doubtless, been seconded, 
if not suggested, by the shrewd, cunning and very intelligent 
Winnesheik or White Cloud, better known as the Prophet, who 
was the confidential adviser and intimate friend of the old Chief, 
who says that during these troubles constant communication was 
kept up between them, and there can be no doubt but Black Hawk 
relied more upon the Prophet for counsel and advice during 
all his difficulties with the white people than all other sources 
combined. He, though living at his village, some thirty-three 
miles up Eock river from Saukenuk, was consulted before any 
important step was taken. 

Before examining the character and counsel of Winnesheik, we 
would clear up and remove a little rubbish placed in our path, 
by the earlier writers upon our subject, viz. : the so-called treaties 
of affirmance of the Quashquamme treaty of 1804 by that of 
September 3, 1822, which was simply a modification of article 9 
of the treaty of November 3, 1804, accepting one thousand dollars 
in goods in place of establishing a Government trading-house, 
and is signed by Thomas Forsythe, on the part of the United 
States, and Keokuk, Quashquamme, Pashapaho and Themue, on 
the part of the Sauks, and by Mucketenanamake, Wesawakee, 
Wapello and Nolo, on the part of the Foxes. This may be con- 
sidered as a quasi reaffirmation of the Qushquamme treaty, but 
it is executed by but seven Indians, five of whom only were 
Chiefs, and fails to assert that these Chiefs were authorized or 
empowered by their respective nations to make such change, com- 
pact or agreement. The second is that of August 4, 1825. Omit- 
ting the preamble, this treaty is as follows : 

"Article 1. The Sack and Fox tribes, or nations of Indians, 
by their deputations in counsel assembled, do hereby agree, in 


consideration of certain sums of money, etc., to be paid to the 
said Sock and Fox tribes by the Government of the United States? 
as hereinafter stipulated, to cede and forever quit-claim, and do, 
in behalf of these said tribes or nations, hereby cede, relinquish 
and forever quit-claim unto the United States all right, title, 
interest and claim to the lands which the said Sock and Fox 
tribes have or claim within the limits of the State of Missouri, 
which are situated, lying and being between the Mississippi and 
Missouri rivers, and a line running from the Mississippi, at the 
entrance of Kansas river, north one hundred miles to the north- 
west corner of the State of Missouri, and from thence east to the 

" Article 2. The Chiefs and Head-men, who sign this conven- 
tion for themselves and in behalf of their tribes, do acknowledge 
the lands east and south of the line described in the first article, 
so far as the Indians claimed the same, to belong to the United 
States, and that none of these tribes shall be permitted to settle 
or hunt upon any part of it after the first day of January, 1826, 
without special permission from the Superintendent of Indian 

" Article 3. It is hereby stipulated and agreed on the part of 
the United States, as a full consideration for the claims and lands 
ceded by the Sock and Fox tribes, in the first article, there shall 
be paid to the Sock and Fox nations, within the present year, one 
thousand dollars in cash or merchandize, and, in addition to the 
annuities stipulated to be paid to the Sock and Fox tribes by a 
former treaty, (November 3, 1804) the United States do agree to 
pay to said Sock tribe five hundred dollars, and to the Fox tribe 
five hundred dollars annually, for the term of ten succeeding 
years, and to pay to Morice Blandeau five hundred dollars, it 
being a debt due by the said Fox nation to him for property taken 
from him during the late war." 

(Signed) " WILLIAM CLARK. 

" PASHA-PA- HO, or stabber, 
KAH-KA-CHAI, all fish 
WAH-KU-CHAI, crouching eagle, 
KEE-O-KUK, watchful fox, 
KAH-KU-KAI-MAIK, alwas fish, 
SAH-CAL-O-QUAIT, rising cloud, 

on behalf of the Sauks, and by 

"KAI-MAH, the bear, 
. KU-PAL-E-QUA, white-nosed fox, 
PEE-A-MUSH-KA, the fox winding his horn, 
KEE-SHE-O-WA, the sun." 


Thus it will be seen that there is no kind of reaffirmation of the 
Quashquamme treaty of 1804. It is alluded to simply to dis- 
tinguish the newly-provided annuities for the new purchase. But 
there is another treaty of Prairie du Chien of August 19, 1825, to 
which the earlier writers refer as a reaffirmation of the Qush- 
quamme treaty of 1804. 

This was a treaty, as stated in the preamble, to fix the boudary 
lines between the Sioux and Chippewas, Sauks and Foxes, Menon- 
inees, loways, Sioux, Winnebagoes, and a portion of the Ottawa, 
Chippewa and Pottawatomie tribes, William Clark and General 
Cass representing the United States as Commissioners Plenipo- 
tentiary, etc. 

" Article 1. There shall be a firm and perpetual peace between 
the Sioux and Chippewas, between the Sioux and confederated 
tribes of Socs and Foxes and between the loways and Sioux. 

"Article 2. It is agreed between the confederated tribes of the 
Socs and ]*oxes and the Sioux that the line between their 
respective countries shall be as follows: Commencing at the 
mouth of the upper Iowa river, on the west bank of the Missis- 
sippi and ascending the said Iowa river to its left fork ; thence up 
that fork to its source ; thence crossing the fork of Eed Cedar 
river in a direct line to the second or upper fork of the Des Moines 
river, and thence in a direct line to the lower fork of the Calumet 
river, and down that river to its junction with the Mississippi 

"Article 3. The loways accede to the arrangement between 
the Socs and Foxes and the Sioux, but it is agreed between the 
loways and confederated tribes of the Socs and Foxes that the 
loways have a just claim to a portion of the country between the 
boundary lines described in the next preceding article, and the 
Missouri and Mississippi, and that the said loways and Socs and 
Foxes shall peaceably occupy the same until some satisfactory 
arrangement can be made between them for a division of their 
respective claims to the country." 

The interest of the Sauks is not touched again until the 7th 
article, which is : 

"Article 7. It is agreed between the Winnebagoes and the 
Sioux, Socs and Foxes, Chippewas and Ottawas, Chippewas and 
Pottawattamies, of the the Illinois, that the Winnebagoes' country 
shall be bounded as follows : Southeasterly by Rock river, from 
its source near the Winnebago lake, to the Winnebago village, 


about fifty miles above its mouth ; westerly by the east line of 
the tract lying upon the Mississippi, herein secured to the Ottawa, 
Chippewa and Pottawattamie Indians ; and also by the high bluff 
described in the Sioux boundary, and running north of Black 
river ; from this point to the Winnebagoes' claim ; up Black river 
to a point due west from the source of the left fork of the Ouis- 
consin ; thence to the source of said fork and down the same to 
the Ouisconsin ; thence down the Ouisconsin to the Portage, and 
across the Portage to Fox river ; thence down Fox river to Win- 
nebago lake and to the grand Kankolin, including in the claim 
the whole of Winnebago lake. * * * 

"Article 9. The country of the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potta- 
wattamie tribes of Indians is bounded as follows : Beginning at 
the Winnebago village, on Rock river, forty miles from its mouth, 
and running thence down Rock river to a line which runs from 
Lake Michigan to the Mississippi, and with that line to the Mis- 
sissippi, opposite Rock Island ; thence up that river to the United 
States reservation at the mouth of the Ouisconsin ; thence with 
the south and east lines of said reservation to the Ouisconsin ; 
thence southerly, passing the heads of the small streams empty- 
ing into the Mississippi to Rock river at the Winnebago village. 
The Illinois Indians also have a just claim to a portion of the 
country, bounded 'south by the Indian boundry line aforesaid, 
running from the south extreme of Lake Michigan east, by Lake 
Michigan, north by the Menominee country, and northeast by 
Rock river. This claim is recognized in the treaty concluded 
with the said Illinois tribes, at St. Louis, August 24, 1816 ; but, as 
the Milwaukee and Manitauwalk bands are not represented at 
this council, it cannot be adjudged. 

" Article 10. All the aforesaid tribes acknowledge the general 
controlling-power of the United States, and disclaim all depend- 
ence upon, and connection with, any other power; and the United 
States agree to, and recognize the preceding boundaries, subject 
to limitations and restrictions before provided." 

There are five more articles fixing the manner of settling sub- 
sequent disputed boundary lines, etc. 



WABASHA, or the leaf, and twenty-five other Sioux Chiefs; CORI- 
MINE, or the turtle that walks, and other Winuebago Chiefs ; MA- 
CAN-META, or medicine bear, and nine other Menominee Chiefs ; 


SHA-A-TA, and forty-two other Chippewa Chiefs; CHABONEZ, 01 
CHAMBLY, and SHAU-FAU-WICK, or the mink, Ottawa Chiefs ; IGNOCE 
KEO-KUK, CHE-CHAU-QUOSE, or the little crane, and TAW-WA-NO-NEE, 
or the trader, Pottawattamie Chiefs ; and on behalf of the Sauks, 
NO-O-TUK, the stabbing chief ; PISHKU-AU-NEE, or all fish ; POKO-NAU- 
JQUA, or broken arm ; WAU-CAU-CHE, or eagle nose ; QUASH-KAUME, 
or jumping fish ; O-CHO-ACK, or the fisher ; KEOKUK, or the watch- 
ful fox ; SKIN-GWIN-EE-SEE, or the rattler ; WAS-OR-WIS-KEE-NO, 01 
the yellow bird ; PAU-KO-TUK, or the open sky ; AU-KOAK-WAN-E-SUK. 
or he that vaults on the earth ; MUK-EE-TOOK- WAN-WET and Mis- 
KEE-BEE, or the standing hair. 

Foxes. "WAUBELAW, the playing fox; TI-A-MAH, the bear thai 
makes the rocks shake ; PEE-OR-MAS-KEE, the jumping sturgeon ; 
SHOG-WA-WATEK-WISA, the thunder that is heard all over the world ; 
MIS-O-WIN, moose deer horn ; NO-KO-WAT, the down of fur ; NAU- 
SA-WA-QUET, the bear that sleeps on the forks ; SHIN-QUEN-IS, the 
rattler ; O-TO-PU-AU or MACHI-PAHATO, the bear ; Kus.s, the sun ; 
NO-WAUK, he that gives too little; KUN-KA-MATE, NEE-WAN, KA- 
TUCK-E-KUN-K*, the fox with a spotted breast; MOCK-TO-BAC-TA- 
GUN, black tobacco and WES-KESA, the bear family." 

lowas. "ME-HAS-KA, the white cloud; WA-HOO-GA, the owl," 
and six others. 

Thus does it appear that, instead of these Indians reaffirming 
or ratifying the Quashquamme treaty of 1804, the United States, 
by this treaty, not only acknowledge that the territory occupied by 
them on the 19th of August, 1825, lying east of the Mississippi 
and below the Winnebago village, forty miles up Eock river, 
belonged to the Sauk and Fox tribes, but agree to protect and 
defend them in their possession thereof. Under the 7th and 9th 
articles of this treaty the boundary lines of the Sauks and Foxes, 
and the Winnebagoes, Chippewas, Ottawas and Pottawattamies, 
are clearly established as claimed by Black Hawk and his band, and 
it further shows that in defining the boundary lines between the 
Indians named therein, the United States paid no attention, what, 
ever, to the boundary lines contained in the Quashquamme treaty of 
November 3, 1804; but, on the contrary, they utterly ignored that 
treaty and tore it " limb from gudgeon." The treaty of 1804 pre- 
tended to cede all Illinois between the Illinois and Mississippi 
rivers below the mouth of the Wisconsin river, on the north, and 
. Fox river of the Illinois, and by this treaty oj August 19, 1825, the 
United States, by implication at least, confess that of 1804 ivas a fraud. 




Winnesheik, or White Cloud and his dreams of Peace Mattatas' Daughter and her 
Mission Black Hawk's last Hope departs, and with it he and his Band hastily 
prepare to leave Saukenuk. 

Though dark the day and dismal be the night, 
Though friends forsake and fortune take her flight,, 
Though disappointments come like showering hail, 
Though hunger pinch, and racking pains assail. 
The' Angel Hope, still nestles in the breast, 
Whispering, hope on, e'n yet you may be blessed, 

LIKE the Israelites of old, these 
Indians had their Elijahs, Eli- 
shas and Daniels in whom they 
placed implicit confidence as 
prophets and foretellers of com- 
ing events. Winneshiek, their 
then Prophet, was a love-child 
and son of a Sank chief, by a 
beautiful Winnebago squaw. 
Born in the Winnebago village, 
on Rock river, in 1490, and some- 
times known by the names Wa- 
bo-ke-shiek, and Opee-ke-shiek ; 
he was acknowledged and recog- 
nized as a Prophet by all the 
surrounding Indian tribes, and universally respected by them. 
In compliance with tribal laws, unqualified by other circum- 
stances, he was a Winnebago Indian because his mother was 
such, and the gens always ran in the female line to the extent of 
expatriating the husband from his tribe, in the event of marry- 
ing a squaw of another tribe. But in the case of Winnesheik's 
parents there was no pretense of a marriage, even a morganic 
or left-handed one, his birth being the offspring of an amour. 
Following the Indian law, which is in many respects a good 
one, as soon as young Winneshiek was old enough to wean, his 



mother took him to Saukenuk and left him at the lodge of his 
grandmother on the father's side. The father being unmarried, 
his mother became at once the natural guardian of, and was 
bound for the support and education of her son's illegitimate 
child. We say education, with a full understanding of the 
meaning of that word, in its most comprehensive sense, exclud- 
ing book learning only. Possessed of robust health and phenom- 
enal intelligence, Winnesheik was a universal favorite among his 
father's nation. His youthful, vigorous mind seemed to compre- 
hend everything he either saw or heard, even to the most occult- 
Unlike the youth of his own age, he cared little or nothing about 
woodcraft or trailing, hunting or fishing, but when in the com- 
pany of the sooth-sayers, big medicines and orators, he never 

He had no youthful companions, for his tastes and pursuits 
were far above those of his age. He was a student of nature in 
its higher plane, and grew apace to great eminence for his wis- 
dom. Kindly-hearted, courteous, generous and noble in his 
nature, he spent his time and talent in deeds of charity. On 
reaching his majority he located where Prophetstown, Whiteside 
county, now stands, being in the Sauk country, but near the divid- 
ing line between the territories of the Sauks and Winnebagoes, 
where he soon collected around him quite a following of Sauks 
and Winnebagoes, and formed a kind of religious village, known 
then, as now, as Prophetstown. By nature dignified and reserved, 
he inspired men of less ability than he, with a kind of awe, mixed 
with admiration and veneration. Though of faultless form and 
figure, he was decidedly coarse-featured and homely. His mouth 
was very large, lips thick, nose short, eyes full and protruding, 
and heavy head of hair. 

Like all homely men and pretty women, he was ornate 
in dress and profuse in personal adornments. His hair hung 
down over his shoulders and back several feet long. On certain 
occasions he had it done up in a kind of white turban. His 
hunting-shirt and leggings were of spotless white dressed deer- 
skins, ornately trimmed and fringed. He was an incessant smoker, 
in which pernicious habit he was the champion of his age, not- 
withstanding the fact that he never tasted the fragrant aroma o* 
a fine Spanish cigar before he " swung 'round the circle," as a 
prisoner with Black Hawk, in 1833, but was perfectly contented 
with killickinick and his enormous pipe, whose, stem was fully 


three feet long, ornamented with the beautiful feathers from the 
neck of the Mallard drake, with a fan made of eagle's feathers 
near the middle of the stem, and the whole stem was literally 
encased in highly-colored assorted beads of various hues. 

What Elskwa-ta-wa, Olli-way-shila, or Olee-way-cha-ca for 
the Shawnee Prophet bore all these names was to Tecumseh, or 
couchant tiger, and the Shawnees, Winnesheik, Wabo-ke-sheik, 
Opee-sheik, or white cloud, was to Black Hawk and his band of 
Sauks their evil genius though unintentionally so, from errors 
in judgment. Nearly, if not quite, every writer upon this subject, 
has fallen into an error, and charged the whole difficulty to the 
Prophet's bad advice and vicious action. After th^ most careful 
examination of all the advice and every act of Winnesheik, we 
fail to find any tangible proof that he was the instigator, aider or 
abettor of any act of hostility, on the part of Black Hawk or his 
band ; but, on the contrary, he urged and insisted that under no 
provocation should the Indians become the aggressors. He seems 
to have erroneously relied upon the justice of the Indian cause 
being so apparent, that the great mass of the white people of the 
United States could not and would not fail to see and duly appre- 
ciate it, and, by force of public opinion, right the Indians' wrongs. 
Having studied human nature in its native state, as he found it 
among the Indian races, he estimated the white man's nature by 
the same rules he used for the red man's, little comprehending 
that superior intelligence, unless very superior, was no assu- 
rance of liberality or equity, that the human heart, under a 
white skin, may contain more genuine cussedness, than an 
Indian's. In assuming the character of a prophet, Winne- 
sheik, like all other humbugs, put on a large amount of dig- 
nity and pomposity, mingled with mysterious action and 
conduct; for there is a certain degree of charm in every secret 
act, and the Indian, like his white brother, takes kindly to 
humbug they love it and, when coupled with the mysterious, 
they flock to it like the ignorant white people to the fortune-teller, 
for that is what is meant by the word prophet among the Indians. 
He was a mere fortune-teller or sooth-sayer, whose person and 
movements were surrounded with a kind of halo of mystery. 
This drew to him quite a following of what might be classified 
under the name of religious enthusiasts or apostles. 

He never went upon the war-path nor chase ; yet he was ever 
busy, concocting some new theory, humbug, or scheme, to in- 
crease his reputation and power, and when matured, he enforced 


it alike by his rhetorical powers, which were superior, and his 
dignified manner and deportment. By such means united with a 
large outlay of cheap kinds of charity, he gained a wonderful hold 
upon the confidence and respect, yes, admiration, of the Indians, 
including the old chief, Black Hawk, who was a firm believer in 
spiritual communications with the Great Spirit through the in- 
strumentality of dreams, and visions. Winnesheik had his en- 
tire confidence, and to a large extent, dictated and controlled his 
thoughts and actions, from the fall of 1830, to the close of the- 
war in 1832. 

When General Gaines came from Jefferson Barracks, in the 
early part of June, 1831, to Fort Armstrong, Black Hawk, upon 
receiving the information of his being en route thither, called upon 
the Prophet, with the news, and solicited his advice in the prem- 
ises. Winnesheik, like the humbug trance mediums of the 
present time, told him that he could not advise him what would 
be best for him to do, until he had consulted the Great Spirit ; 
that he should come back to his lodge the next morning, and in 
the meantime, he would commune with the spirit land, and be 
prepared by that time to tell him what course he should pursue. 
Having first feasted upon a choice piece of a well fattened dog r 
without which no Indian prophet could expect to effect a spirit- 
ual communication, he retired to his bed, where he doubtless 
cogitated the matter over and over, and viewed the fact of the 
coming to Eock Island of a large military force, in all its bear- 
ings, and was ready with his pretended divine instruction when 
the anxious old chief put in his appearance the next morning. 
On his entering the holy sanctum of the Prophet, he was told by 
this nuncio of the mysterious one that he had been dreaming 
and saw nothing bad in the coming of the Great War Chief, 
General Gaines, who was then near Rock Island. That his ob- 
ject was merely to frighten the Indians from their village and 
farm lands, so the white people might get them for nothing, and 
assured him that General Gaines would not, and dare not, hurt 
any of the Indians, because the United States were then at peace 
with the British, and when that peace was concluded, the British 
had demanded that the United States should not interfere with, 
or molest, any Indian Nation while they were peaceably inclined 
to the government and people of the United States, and that the 
United States Government had agreed to this, and that said 
agreement became, and was, a part of the treaty between the 


United States and Great Britain. That being so, he told Black 
Hawk that all he and his band had to do, in order to retain their 
farms and village site, was to positively refuse any and every offer 
General Gaines might submit to him, relative to the surrender of 
their lands to the white people. 

In view of all the facts and circumstances connected with this 
entire subject, as set -forth in the preceding chapters, to use a 
trite Hoosier expression, " there was a heap of good horse-sense" 
in this dream. It struck the nail square on the head. Fortified 
by this, to him, divine advice, Black Hawk returned to Saukenuk, 
to find that General Gaines, with his large army, had reached 
Fort Armstrong, and had summoned him to a council to be held 
at the Indian Agency, on Eock Island, the next day. 

The result of this council is given in the last chapter, General 
Gaines knew nothing of the feelings existing between Black Hawk 
and Keokuk before the assembling of "this council, and the won- 
der is that he did not put Black Hawk and his blustering 
graves and warriors under arrest. But he forbore, and by doing 
so, showed that he was a man of dignity and even temper. Black 
Hawk, however, was but following the advice of the Prophet, 
except in going to the council with a strong escort in war-paint 
and partially armed, in refusing to surrender up the lands of his 
nation, and immediately moving across the Mississippi. Keturn- 
ing to Saukenuk, Black Hawk again repaired to the Prophet's 
town to report the results of the council, and seek further light 
and advice from his oracle, the Prophet, and informed him of all 
that had transpired at the council, together with General Gaines' 
order for them to move across the Mississippi in two days, or he 
would adopt measures to force them away. Thereupon Winne- 
sheik informed him " that he had again been dreaming, and the 
Great Spirit had directed that a woman, the daughter of Matta- 
tas, the old Chief of the village,* should take a stick in her hand 
and go before the war chief, t and tell him that she was the 
daughter of Mattatas, and that he had always been the white 
man's friend ; that he had fought their battles, been wounded in 
their service, and had always spoken well of them, and she had 
never heard him say that he had sold their village ; the whites 
are numerous and can take it from us if they choose, but she hoped 

'Alcalde, or Mayor. 
tGeneral Gaines. 


they would not be so unfriendly ; if they were, she had one favor 
to ask, she wished her people to be allowed to remain long enough 
to gather their provisions now growing in their fields ; that she 
was a woman and had worked hard to raise something to support 
her children ; and now if they were driven from their village with- 
out being allowed to save their corn, many of their little children 
would perish with hunger." 

If this looks like advising hostility and war, we may well ask 
what stronger argument for peace could have been made. In 
beauty of conception and delicacy of presenting this appeal to the 
American people to remember the noble deeds done by Mattatas 
in their behalf, and the nobler feelings of -the human heart, and 
sympathy for suffering, helpless innocence, women and children, 
we know of no finer act and deed, if indeed, a parallel. 

The daughter of Mattatas, we are assured by persons still living 
who knew her intimately and well, was the most beautiful and 
highly respected of her sex in the entire nation. She accepted 
the mission as a duty, though a severe one. Putting on her sim- 
ple but best attire, with a smooth, white rod in her hand, accom- 
panied by a few young Indians, she went to the Fort and readily 
gained an audience with Gen. Gaines, to whom she made her ap- 
peal as directed by the Prophet. When she spoke of the hard- 
ship and labor performed by the Indian women in preparing the 
soil, planting and cultivating their corn, she placed her hand on 
the small of her back accompanying the act, with the remark that 
such hard labor made their poor backs ache. Having first ap- 
pealed to the gratitude due her aged father from the white people 
for his devotion to them, and of the wounds he had received and 
blood he had shed in fighting their battles, she flattered the Gen- 
eral by admitting that he had the power to drive her band away, 
and take their lands if he so desired ; she then made a most pow- 
erful appeal to his nobler feelings of humanity and pity, for the 
helpless women and children, in view of their inevitable suffering 
from hunger if their growing crops were taken from them, wind- 
ing up with the request that if they must go from their lands and 
homes, they might have a few months' time for their crops to 
mature and be gathered. How easy to grant, and how important 
to these poor Indians ! How General Gaines could have steeled 
his heart against this fervid appeal, is a mystery. Unavailing 
were all her appeals. Even that she was a mother, and had 


labored with her own hands to the full extent of her strength, 
until her back was nearly broken, to raise corn, beans and 
squases for the support of her children, who would perish from 
hunger if she did not realize from the crop she had planted. 
"Niobe, all in tears," begging for her children, and like Mark An- 
thony "pointing to the wounds of the dead Caesar," she pointed to 
the wounds of her sire, the Head-man of her people, eloquently 
appealing for sympathy, or at least a short forbearance in the 
execution of his threat. But all in vain. 

Gen. Gaines was a soldier who knew no duty beyond obeying 
the orders of his superiors in rank, without asking the whys or 
wherefores. While listening to her fervent appeals courteously, 
he declined to grant her request or to give her the least ground 
to hope for relief. He told her " that he had not been sent there 
by the President to make treaties, or hold councils with women." 
He offered her and her children a home and food at the fort, and 
assured her that as the representative of the people of the United 
States, he was grateful to her father for the services he had ren- 
dered and the blood he had shed in their behalf, bat his duty was 
clear, and left him no choice to exercise. That duty was to remove 
the Black Hawk band to the west side of the Mississippi. It were 
a vain task on her part to represent to him that she was no De- 
lilah, sent by her tribe to the fort of this Samson, to discover 
the secrets of his strength for the purpose of his destruction, but 
on the contrary, her mission was that of " mercy whose quality is 
not strained, but droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven." Had 
even her last request been granted, which was simply permission 
to the Sauks to remain long enough say four or five months 
to mature and garner their growing crops, the strong probability 
is that Black Hawk and his band would have quietly removed 
from Saukenuk, and made their homes threafter west of the Mis- 
sissippi, and thereby avoided the war, with all its losses and 
horrors. But such was not to be the case. Black Hawk says, 
upon the failure of this mission: "All our plans were defeated. 
We must cross the river, or return to our village, and await the 
coming of the war chief with his soldiers. We determined on the 
latter, but finding that our agent, interpreter, trader, and Keokuk 
were determined on breaking my ranks, and had induced several 
of my warriors to cross the Mississippi, I sent a deputation to the 
agent, at the request of my band, pledging myself to leave the 
country in the fall, provided permission was given us to remain 


and secure our crop of corn, then growing, as we would be in a 
starving situation if we were driven off without means of subsis- 
tence. The deputation returned, with an answer from the war 
chief, that no further time would be given than that specified, and 
that if we were not then gone, he would remove us." A most 
reasonable request, and easily granted, that, too, withoiit injury 
to a living soul ; and had not the really evil genius of all this 
trouble Gov. Keynolds put in an appearance on the immedi- 
ate scene of action, it probably would have been granted by Gen. 
Gaines, despite what he had said about his orders from the 
President. The old chief adds : "I now resolved to remain in my 
village and make no resistence, if the military came, but submit 
to my fate. I impressed the importance of this course upon all 
my band, and directed them, in case the military oame, not to 
raise an arm against them." 

Thus it is clearly established that no matter what may have 
been the advice of Winnesheik, Black Hawk was for peace, and 
willing to compromise all difficulties as best he could, and, at all 
hazzards, avoid war, which he well knew would prove fatal to the 
Indians. Yet he felt yea, knew that the United States had no 
legal right to the lands of his tribe, and certainly no equitable 
right or title therein. In view of these facts, let no one say Black 
Hawk sought to levy war against the United States in 1831. 
What he did in 1832, will hereafter appear in its proper place. 
Thus failed this last effort at a peaceful and amicable settlement 
of the difficulties. To these poor and frightened Indians every 
hope was gone, while everything around them was draped in dark 
foreboding colors. Even the bright-winged angel, Hope, for a time 
deserted them, and the dark mantle of despair "encompassed 
them round about." They must either peaceably leave their homes 
and crops and at once cross the Mississippi, or wait and be re- 
moved at the point of federal bayonets. The former seemed 
an impossibility, while the latter was to be dreaded like certain 
death. 'Twould be difficult to place 1,500 people in a more dread- 
ful condition than were these Indians, composed of men, women 
and children, on that occasion, and all this without any intended 
wrong on their part. Armed resistence, if ever thought of by 
them, was simply out of the question, for they had neither men, 
arms, ammunition or supplies. Even though they had been armed 
and equipped for war, their number of braves and warriors were 
but a mere bagatelle as compared or pitted against fully one 


thousand of as fine troops as ever met on a battlefield. Gen. 
Gaines could have crushed them out of existence without losing a 
man. A few discharges of grape and cannister from his heavy 
guns would have swept their brush pallisades and bark houses to 
the four winds. This Black Hawk fully comprehended. Hence, 
armed resistence was not for a moment entertained by him. He 
was every inch a soldier and commander, Indian though he was, 
as well as a fine judge of human nature, and having seen and 
conversed with Gen. Gaines, he saw at a glance that he was brave, 
and therefore merciful. 

The shrewd cunning and fine judgment of the Prophet, under 
the guise of spiritual communications with the Great Spirit, 
through the medium of dreams, attract our special attention and 
challenge our admiration. Discarding any and all belief in spirit- 
ual communications, though in so doing we may be termed an 
unbeliever or misbeliever of the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, 
we find in this so-called Indian Prophet great ability united with 
a fine knowledge of human nature, coupled with reasoning powers 
worthy of a Plato. In his first dream he investigated the legal 
force and effect of, together with the logical conclusions deducible 
from, the so-called Treaty of May 13, 1816, by the Commissioners 
appointed by the President to carry into full force and effect the 
9th Article of the Treaty of Ghent, whose powers were clearly 
limited, under their appointment, to the re-establishment of the 
relations of peace between the United States and the Indian allies 
of the British in the late war with Great Britain. That being the 
only object of the appointment of the Commissioners, they had no 
power or authority to do or perform any other act or thing. As- 
suming that by this treaty they had notified these Indians of the 
conclusion of peace between the late belligerents, their functions 
ceased, and knowing that the Sauks, as a nation, had com- 
mitted no act of hostility against the United States, or her 
people, since the conclusion of said treaty of Ghent, any act of 
hostility which Gen. Gaines might then make against these Indi- 
ans would be in direct contravention of said treaty ; he rationally 
concluded that Gen. Gaines would not and dare not attack them 
without fresh cause. But little did he know what Joshua Van- 
druff and Gov. Reynolds were then doing towards pressing false 
charges against these Indians, or that they were organizing a 
powerful army at that moment for their destruction. 


In his second dream he showed his intimate acquaintance with 
the services old Mattatas had rendered to the white people, the 
wounds he had received in fighting their battles, and his keen ap- 
preciation of the amount of influence a handsome, weeping 
woman can, and always does, exert upon a brave and gallant man, 
and of the natural sympathy all true men have for the weak and 
oppressed, more especially for helpless little children. He who 
lives in glass houses should be careful about throwing stones, and 
since all men and some women are a little inclined to superstition, 
we should not be over severe in criticising what we term the 
superstition of our fellow-men. That superstition is more general 
among the uneducated than the learned, is true, and it is equally 
true that it forms a part of an Indian's very being. Black Hawk, 
with all his wisdom and experience, was the very embodiment of 
superstition all his long lifetime, as shown in his autobiography. 
He was as devoted to his belief in spiritual communications as 
the most zealous spiritualist of to-day. But not through spirit- 
rappings, living mediums or dancing chairs and tables, but, like 
the ancient Israelites, who were the archetype of the North 
American Indians, through direct communication with the Great 
Spirit by the medium of dreams and visions. 

Before seeking such communications, instead of resorting to 
purification, humility and prayer, they had a feast of their holy 
dish stewed dog the fragrance of which they believed ascended 
to the spirit-land as an ever acceptable offering and sweet incense. 
We read in the book of Kings that "In Gibeon the Lord appeared 
to Solomon in a dream by night. Ask what I shall give thee. And 
Solomon said : * * * Give, therefore, thy servant an under- 
standing heart to judge thy people, that I may discover between 
good and bad. * * * And God said unto him * * * lo ! 
I have given thee a wise and understanding heart ; so that there 
was none like thee before thee ; neither after thee shall any arise 
like unto thee. And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a 
dream." Yet not only Solomon, but the entire Christian world, 
have believed this dream was a direct communication from 
Jehovah, conveying to this sinful world the information that he 
was the wisest man who ever had lived or should live. Com- 
ing down to a later period, we read in the gospel, as recorded by 
St. Matthew, that the wise men from the East, who visited Jeru- 
salem to worship the infant Savior, "being warned of God, in a 
dream, that they should not return to Herod, they departed into 


their own country another way. And when they were departed, 
behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, say- 
ing, arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into 
Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word, for Herod 
will seek the young child to destroy him." After Herod's death, 
Joseph again had a dream, announcing that fact when he re- 
turned to Jerusalem. Indeed, the scriptures are full of spiritual 
communications through dreams, believe what we may of the 
perversity of dreams, now-a-days going by contraries. 

"Winnesheik, whether himself a believer in such communica- 
tions or not, certainly practiced the deception successfully. But 
with the failure of his second dream the Prophet's dreams for ex- 
tricating these Indians from their dread dilemma ceased. His last 
resource was exhausted, and so was one of the two days given 
them by GeneraF Gaines to cross the Mississippi, and one day 
only remained. 

The band were not all at Saukenuk. Some were off fishing, 
hunting and trapping ; others were living on cultivated patches 
along the two rivers, while others were thirty-five miles up Eock 
river at the Prophet's town. The latter, however, were not 
included in the notice to leave, as the white settlers had not then 
laid their longing eyes and covetous hearts upon the village and 
corn-fields of the Prophet. Ten day's notice to quit and surren- 
der up possession of a tenement is deemed a short notice to an 
individual ; then what should be said of but two day's notice to a 
multitude including all ages, sexes and conditions ? But General 
Gaines took no steps for their forcible removal until the 26th of 
June, thus really giving them about fifteen day's time to get ready 
and move, during all of which time there seems to have been no 
conferences or communications between General Gaines and the 
Black Hawk band, and matters moved as usual, the white settlers 
at and near Saukenuk remaining there and cultivating their crops 
without molestation from the Indians. All was peace and quiet 
until the arrival of Governor Eeynolds and General Duncan and 
their sixteen hundred volunteers at Kockport, now Andalusia, 
some eight miles down the Mississippi, and on its south bank, (as 
this river's course at this point is nearly east and west). Here 
there had been erected a small fort or stockade which, however, 
was untenanted at that time. Being advised by courier that this 
large body of mounted militia were en route for Bock river, 
General Gaines had stocked this stockade with provisions for the 


men, and provender for the horses, so that a hearty welcome Was 
awaiting their arrival, and the earnest little Vandruff, doubtless, 
escorted this large body of so-called soldiers thither. Unfortu- 
nately, as before stated, whiskey is the close follower of civiliza- 
tion, if not its precursor, and in those days it was dealt out to 
the soldier as a part of his rations. During their four day's 
march across the prairie wilderness, between Eushville and Eock- 
porfc, these mounted volunteers were without this kind of rations, 
and were decidedly thirsty. But General Gaines had provided a 
plentiful supply of wet rations against their arrival, and it is 
needless for us to say very little of it was thrown over their shoul- 
ders, for, as a general rule, the Illinois militiaman of that period 
was opposed to spilling his whiskey; yet, inebriation was not 

Mr. Vandruff had probably so often, and pathetically, spoken 
of his little island home, where his earthly paradise and posses- 
sions were, that the Old Ranger lost sight of everything else ex- 
cept this little island in Eock river, upon which the savage Black 
Hawk would not permit his friend to sell whiskey. Thither he 
was bound to go and teach old Black Hawk such a lesson as 
should for the future deter him from spilling precious distilled 
whisky, instead of drinking it. For what was it made, if not to 
drink ? Two powerful elements or agencies were urging Governor 
Eeynolds and his mounted volunteers on. First, hatred of Indi- 
ans in general, and of the British band of Sauks in particular, 
because they wore red-blankets and had fought with the British 
some twenty years previous to that time ; and, second, to punish 
them for their audacity in attempting to suppress the sale of 
whisky and destroying the liquors of their guide and companion, 
Vandruff. On the side of these Indians, everything held dear 
by savage or civilized man was at stake, home, country, prop- 
erty and life. Pen cannot depict the anxiety, hope and fear, of 
these poor Indians at that particular time. Although there were 
no reasonable grounds for hope, they clung to its delusion all the 
more tenaciously, until its last glimmering light was suppressed 
and excluded by the arrival of these forces at Eockport. Up to 
that time these Indians relied upon the justice of their cause and 
the honor of General Gaines, and remained quietly and peaceably 
at their homes, hoping that upon due consideration of all the 
facts and circumstances then in his possession, he would call a 
halt and lay the whole matter before the President, and at least 


give them permission to remain until their crops were matured 
and gathered. But when " the multitude of pale-faced militia " 
put in their appearance on the scene of action, Black Hawk's last 
hope fled, because " they were under no restraint of their chiefs." 
He saw very clearly the black-winged messengers of death, like 
the ominous buzzard and crow, sweeping over his devoted village, 
boding the indiscriminate murder of men, women and children. 
An avalanche was pending, had started to move, and flight quick 
and swift, alone could escape it. In order to flee, these people 
were compelled to descend Rock river in their canoes to reach the 
Mississippi. In doing this they were forced to go directly towards 
danger. How early a start the soldiers might make that eventful 
morning of June 26, 1831, they knew not. Their bivouac was but 
about six miles below the mouth of Rock river, whither they must 
go, and might meet the enemy on their way. But this was their 
only, way of immediate escape from Saukenuk. 




The War of 1831 was, as Told by the Labels on Patent Medicines. "Easy to Take 
and Sure to Cure" Though pretty rough on the Briars and Brush Ion VandrufFs 
Island still Nobody was Hurt. 

" Who would set the briars and thorns against me in battle I would go through 
them: I would burn them together." Isiah xxvn: 4. 

These doughty generals set a trap 
To capture Black Hawk, like a rat. 
The valliant Gaines took steamboat flne. 
And followed up the river's line; 
And as he to the island came. 
Whereon he thought to flnd his game. 
Large guns he fired in the brush 
To scare the Indians, or the thrush: 
While Duncan, with two thousand men. 
Marched o'er the slough, and back again. 
Brave Whiteside, with his spy brigade. 
Swept through the thicket and the shade, 
Close followed by three columns more 
With Leib and Henry, fierce for gore. 
They searched the island everywhere, 
But did not flnd an Indian there. 
Their cards were dealt with care and skill, 
But when they drew they failed to fill. 
At once into a rage they flew, 
Because a bob-tail flush they drew. 
In dissapointment, glum and sore, 
They hastened to the northern shore. 
Where, finding a deserted town, 
They burned its buildings to the ground 
For Black Hawk had, some hours before, 
I Securely reached the northern shore 

With all his band, as well as goods, 
Where nicely sheltered by the woods, 
He sent a flag of truce, to know 
What bothered Gaines and Duncan so. 

The Illinois volunteers under Gen. Joseph Duncan reached 
Rockport, now Andalusia, without mishap, on the early evening 
of June 25, 1831, where they found everything they could reason- 
ably expect to make them comfortable, in readiness. Provisions 
for themselves and food for their horses were in abundance, while 
Gen. Gaines, on board the steamboat Enterprise, was a most capi- 
tal entertainer and good feeder. Intimate relations were at once 


established between Gaines, Duncan and Reynolds. Gov. Rey- 
nolds was quite a diplomat in his way, and much pleased at 
meeting so distinguished a military man as Gen. Gaines, nor was 
the latter free from the almost universal weakness of all great 
military commanders, vanity and love of praise, which Gov. 
Reynolds heaped upon him in large quantities, but carefully threw 
into the admixture lumps of hatred of all Indians, as a rule, 
and execrations of the "British band of Sauks " in particular. 

In this way was Gen. Gaines literally, though imperceptibly, 
carried away from all pacific thoughts of a peaceable removal of 
the Sauks from Illinois. He at once accepted these 1,600 mounted 
Illinois volunteers, and swore them into the military service of 
the United States, by which act he wrote himself down in history, 
a vacilator, if nothing worse. Being near to or among these Indi- 
ans nearly a month, he was assured they were not hostile, and 
would not fight unless in self-defense, and had so reported to the 
War Department. He had also written to Gov. Reynolds that 
he had all the military force he needed without calling on him 
for volunteers, that with the regulars under his immediate com- 
mand he could annihilate the Indians without loss on his side, 
and had induced fully one-third of them to leave Saukenuk and 
move over the Mississippi. Yet he accepted these volunteers after 
all this protestation, and assumed the responsibilities of whatever 
might follow or eventuate from that act. Not only this, but by 
so doing he relieved Gov. Reynolds of the responsibility, and, to 
some extent, censure. With these 1,600 volunteers and the reg- 
ulars under his command, Gen. Gaines had an army of nearly 
3,000 men, several pieces of heavy artillery, ammunition and 
provisions sufficient for a campaign. It was a formidable army 
to remove or crush 200 Indian warriors and braves, who were 
practically unarmed and peaceably inclined. The entire number 
of Sauks then east of the Mississippi was but about 1,500, of all 
ages and sexes, with certainly less than 300 braves and warriors. 
They had neither arms, ammunition or provisions, hence they 
could not have resisted if they would. 

Gen. Gaines had been in the immediate vicinity long enough 
to become familiar with the acts and intentions of these Indians. 
Assuming this to be true for ignorance of these facts, after 
about four weeks' investigation by him, would prove him an 
imbecile his conduct, as given by Gov. Ford, who was a mem- 
ber of the spy battalion under Major Whiteside, and partici- 
pated in the matter, was such as to disgrace not only himself 


but all who were under his command, and the entire American 
people. In order to more clearly understand the locations of 
Saukenuk, Hock Island, Vandruif's and Big Islands, we call atten- 
tion to the plat, figure 3, chapter X., with explanations therein 
given. Gen. Gaines stationed a park of artillery on Black 
Hawk's Watch Tower, which commanded a fall view of Vandruff's 
Island, but owing to the heavy timber along the promontory 
between the Watch Tower and Saukenuk, the latter could not be 
seen from the tower. Quoting from Gov. Ford's history, 
(p.p. 112 to 116): " The army proceeded in four days to the Mis- 
sissippi, where it met Gen. Gaines, on a steamboat, with a 
supply of provisions. Here it encamped for one night, and here 
the two Generals concerted a plan of operations. Gen. Gaines 
had been in the vicinity of the Indian town for about a month, 
during which time, it might be supposed, that he had made 
himself thoroughly acquainted with the localities and topography 
of the country. The next morning the volunteers marched for- 
ward with a regular soldier for a guide 

"The steamboat with Gen. Gaines ascended the river. A battle 
was expected to be fought that day on Vandruff's Island, oppo- 
site the Indian town. The plan was for the volunteers to cross a 
slough on the island, give battle to the enemy, if found there, and 
then to ford the main river into the town, where they were to be 
met by the regular force coming down from the fort. The island 
was covered with bushes and vines, so as to be impenetrable to 
the sight at the distance of twenty feet. Gen. Gaines ran his 
steamboat up to the point of the island and fired several rounds 
of grape and cannister shot into it to test the presence of an 
enemy. The spy battalion formed in line of battle and swept the 
island, but it was soon ascertained that the ground ran so high 
within a short distance of the bank that Gen. Games' shot could 
not have taken effect one hundred yards from the shore. The 
main body of volunteers in three columns came following after 
the spies, but before they had got to the northern side of the 
island they were so jamed up and mixed together, officers and 
men, that no man knew his own company, or regiment, or scarcely 

"Gen. Gaines had ordered the artillery of the regular army to be 
stationed on a high bluff which looked down upon the contem- 
plated battlefield, a half mile distant, from whence, in case of 
battle with the indians in the tangled thickets of the island, their 


shot were likely to kill more of their friends than their enemies. 
It would have been impossible for the artillerists to distinguish 
one from the other." Since Rockport was on the south bank of 
the Mississippi some six miles below the mouth of Eock river, 
which enters the former on that side, it is difficult to fully see 
the necessity of taking "a regular soldier for a guide" to follow 
the bank of a river (which was nearly a mile wide) only six miles 
to the mouth of Rock river, and up the south bank of that stream 
two miles to the Sauk village. A child, or blind man, could have 
performed that duty as well as "a regular soldier." Full of ex- 
pedients and ever ready for an emergency, Black Hawk, to gain 
time in which to flee across the Mississippi, made Gen. Gaines 
believe he was going to risk a general battle on Vandruffs Island 
by sending a deputation down to Rockport the evening of June 
25th, ostensibly to gain permission to retire to some place of 
safety, but really to mislead Gaines and make him believe he was 
going on to the island to try conclusions in a pitched battle. 

He never thought of going onto this little island, within a hun- 
dred and fifty yards of his village, paddling his men over in their 
canoes in the face of an overwhelming force, and giving battle, 
where he must have known that he would have been completely 
surrounded and every avenue of escape cut off, while the guns 
on board the steamer Enterprise could, and would, have raked 
the little island from stem to stern, leaving not even a bird living. 

" The plan was for the volunteers to cross a slough, onto the 
island, give battle to the enemy, if found there, and then to ford 
the main river into the town, where they, were to be met by the 
regular force coming down from the fort." The fort alluded to 
was Fort Armstrong, some four miles directly north and upon 
the island of Rock Island in the Mississippi. The qualification, 
"if found there," was well put, for nobody of common sense would 
even condescend to dream, much less think, that any person with 
the ability to command a squad of laborers, to say nothing of be- 
ing the leader of a nation, would select such a place for a battle. 
But why did Gen. Gaines station a park of his artillery on Black 
Hawk's Watch Tower, and order the garrison from Fort Arm- 
strong |o attack Saukenuk from the north, while he approached 
from the west, and ordered Duncan to make an attack from the 
south? Did he not know Black Hawk, with his band, had es- 
caped to the other side of the Mississippi ? If he did, what was 
his object in all these military movements? Were they for 


practice and drill, or did he desire to test the mettle of the Illinois 
volunteers ? In passing up to the foot of the island, Gen. Gaines 
passed along immediately by the lower end of Saukenuk, and 
must have known there were no Indians there that they had 
deserted and fled. Was it because he found no Indians there 
to slaughter that he vented his spleen upon the "brush and vines" 
of this poor little island ? Nor was he content with this slaughter 
inflicted by his cannon, but hurled Gen. Duncan's command onto 
the " brush and vines " in three columns, preceded by Whiteside's 
Spy Battalion. But the "brush and vines" proved too much for 
their assailants, and "jammed and mixed them together until 
no man knew his own company or regiment, or scarcely him- 
self." Had the invincible spirit of the still anything to do with this 
wild confusion ? Was it this spirit which made the level surface 
of this island "rise up abruptly?" We have known men while 
under its influence to declare that the ordinarily staid and well- 
behaved house floor rose up and hit them in the face. Or were 
they panic strc ken, or cowards? Gov. Ford was mistaken in 
many of his statements in relation to what transpired on this 
island that day. Should we give his description full credence, 
then, indeed, if half a dozen war-painted Indians had suddenly 
risen in the brush, and given their wild, weird war-whoop, a 
swift, if not graceful, race would have taken place ; but whether 
for the steamer Enterprise, Fort Armstrong, or back to their 
cabin homes, it were har4 to tell, but a panic, followed by a 
stampede, would have been inevitable. 

The statement thai; Gen. Gaines had stationed the artillery 
on a high bluff, half a mile off, so that in case of a battle with the 
Indians his guns would have killed more friends than enemies, 
shows great kinkness on the part of the General towards the 
Indians, but is a little rough on his own men. If he did this on 
purpose to "help the bear against the husband," he should have 
been at once cashiered and dismissed from the service ; if from 
want of military skill, he was alike culpable. Major M. A. Scott, 
who was an aid-de-camp to Gen. Gaines on this expedition, 
while attending a ball at Galena a few days after, told his lady 
partner that "the plan laid to capture the Indians was one of the 
most masterly strokes of military strategy of the age, and was 
devised by Gen. Gaines. Gen. Duncan with his 1,600 mounted 
volunteers were to approach from the south, crossing the 
slough on to Vandruff s Island. Gen. Gaines, with a portion of 


the regulars, on board the steamboat Enterprise, with several 
cannon, were to approach from the west, so as to preclude any 
possibility of their escape down the river ; a park of United States 
artillery was posted on a commanding eminence within easy 
range to the east, while six companies of regulars were to ap- 
proach from Fort Armstrong on the north, thus completely hem- 
ming them in so that escape was impossible. But when our lines 
were closed in, not an Indian could be found. They had es- 
caped early that morning and crossed the Mississippi." "Dun- 
can's army had to wait on the island, as he had no means of 
transportation" says Gov. Ford "then ready to ferry them 
over. Here they were in sight of the Indian town with a narrow, 
but deep river running between, and here the principal part of 
them remained until scows could be brought to ferry them across 
ifc. When the volunteers reached the town they found no enemy 

"The Indians had quietly departed the same morning, in their 
canoes, for the western side of the Mississippi. Whilst in camp, 
eight miles below, the evening before, a canoe load of Indians 
came down with a white flag, to tell the General that they were 
peaceable Indians ; that they expected a great battle to come off 
next day; that they desired to remain neutral, and wanted to 
retire with their families to some place of safety, and they asked 
to know where that place would be. Gen. Gaines answered 
them very abruptly, and told them to be off, and go to the other 
side of the Mississippi. That night they returned to their town, 
and the next morning, early, the whole band of hostile Indians 
recrosed the river, and thus entitled themselves to protection." 
The Governor predicated this statement on false suppositions, 
Jirst, that these Indians were hostile; second, that they had 
crossed from the west to the east side of the Mississippi. That 
the first supposition was erroneous we have the testimony of 
Black Hawk, corroborated by Gen. Gaines, who, only a few 
days before this event took place, said in a letter to the Secretary 
of War, that they were peaceably inclined and would not fight. 
That the second supposition was incorrect we have before shown, 
beyond question. Keokuk, with about two-thirds of the entire Sauk 
tribe, went to the west side of the ^Mississippi, but Black Hawk, 
with the remainder, had never left Saukenuk ; i. e. they had never 
left it with the intention of making a permanent home elsewhere, 
though they always spent the winters in Missouri, on their hunt- 
ing grounds. These Indians who visited the camp of Generals 


Gaines and Duncan at Bockport, were doubtless sent by Black 
Hawk for the double purpose of ascertaining the intention of the 
army of invasion and leading them estray to Vandruff s Island . 
When they returned and reported that there were "a multitude 
of pale-faced militia on horse-back," and that they were without 
discipline or order, then, and not till then, did he determine to 
leave Saukenuk and seek protection under the sheltering woods of 
Iowa for the aged and infirm, and the women and children of his 
tribe. This insubordination of the militia meant death, indis- 
criminate death, to all ages, sexes and conditions of his tribe, 
from which the only escape was by flight, and there was no time 
for indecision or delay. If he would save himself and tribe from 
annihilation he must flee across the mighty Mississipi and this 
he did. 

Gov. Ford continuing, says : "It has been stated to me by 
Judge William Thomas*, of Jacksonville, who acted as quarter- 
master of the brigade of volunteers, that Gaines and Duncan had 
reason to believe, before the commencement of the march from 
the camp on the Mississippi, that the Indians had departed from 
their village; that steps had been taken to ascertain the fact 
before the volunteers reached Vandruff s Island ; that Gen. 
Duncan, in company with the advanced guard following the 
spies, preceded the main army in crossing, and that this will 
account for the want of order and confusion in the march of 
the troops. I was myself in company with the spies. I arrived 
at the river a mile in advance of the army. I saw Gen. Gaines. 
ascend with his boat to the point of the island ; was within one 
hundred yards of him when he fired into the island to test the 
presence of the Indians ; I marched ahead with the spies across 
the island, saw with my own eyes the elevation of the land near 
the shore, which would have prevented camion shot taking effect 
more than one hundred yards. I also know the condition of the 
island as to bushes and vines, and saw the artillery force from 
the fort stationed on the high bluff on the opposite side of the 
river. I was on the bank of the main river when Gen. Duncan 
came up, followed soon after by his brigade in the utmost con- 
fusion, and heard him reprimand John S. Miller, a substantial 
and worthy citizen of Kock Island, for not letting him know that 
the main river was on the north side of the island ; and I heard 
Miller curse him to his face at the head of his troops for refusing 

*Judge Thomas still survives, and is a citizen of Jacksonville, 111., where he 
has lived over fifty years continuously. (See his biography.) 


his services as guide when offered the evening before, and then 
censuring him for not giving information which he had refused to 
receive. I give the facts as I personally know them to be true, 
and leave it to others to judge whether the two Generals knew the 
departure of the Indians, had taken proper measures to ascertain 
the presence of an enemy, or had made the best disposition for a 
battle if the Indians had been found either at their village or on 
the island." It matters little whether they knew of the Indian's 
departure or not, as in either case the conduct of these Generals 
is indefensible. If they did not know the Indians were gone, is 
was their duty to have known it. Continuing, Gov. Ford says : 
"Much credit is undoubtedly due to Gov. Reynolds and Gen. 
Duncan for the unprecedented quickness with which the brigade 
was called out and organized, and marched to the seat of war, 
and neither of them are justly responsible for what was ar- 
ranged for them by Gen. Gaines. 

"The enemy having escaped, the volunteers were determined to 
be avenged upon something. The rain descended in torrents, and 
the Indian wigwams would have furnished a comfortable shelter ; 
but, notwithstanding the rain, the whole town was wrapped in 
flames, and thus perished an ancient village which ,had once been 
the delightful home of six or seven thousand Indians; where 
generation after generation had been born, had died and been 
buried ; where the old men had taught wisdom to the young ; 
whence the Indian youth had often gone out in parties to hunt, 
or to war, and returned in triumph to dance around the spoils 
of the forest, or the scalps of their enemies ; and where the dark- 
eyed Indian maidens, by their presence and charms, had made it 
a source of delightful enchantment to many an admiring warrior." 
For these deeds, which were then in full accord with public senti- 
ment, but would now be deemed deeds of vandalism and out- 
rage, worthy alone of the dark ages, Gen. Duncan was elected 
Governor of Illinois, in 1834, by a vote of 17,33C to 10,224 
for his Democratic competitor, although the State was largely 
Democratic. His praises were sounded all over the State for 
deeds of heroism for driving the redoutable Black Hawk west of 
the Mississippi, and burning his village to the ground; and, 
after the election, it was said he could outrun the then cele- 
brated Kentucky race-horse, Bertrand. Several of the northern 
counties went for him "by a unanimous majority;" and this, 
too, for the dangers he had encountered on Vandruff's Island, 
fighting the brush and vines. 


There were those who held his war record in contempt, and 
charged him with wanton destruction of property, in the burning 
of Saukenuk. But the object for which his army were called out 
had been accomplished, and that, too, without shedding human 
blood or the loss of a man, by casualty or otherwise, for which he 
was justly entitled to much credit ; nor has it been established 
that Gen. Duncan gave any order for the burning down of this 
Indian village. It being built of bark, which had become dry as 
tinder, and the houses standing close tagether, the torch, once 
applied, the flames would spread like a prairie tire, and could not 
have been checked, much less extinguished, until it had consumed 
every building in the village. Thus was Saukenuk, the largest 
and most ancient Sauk village and at one time the most pop- ' 
ulous city of the United States west of the Alleghenies destroyed 
June 26, 1832. Had it have been the happy home of American 
citizens, and a band of Indians, out of pure diabolism, have 
burned it to the ground, what a wail of indignation and condem- 
nation would have welled out from every American heart from 
Maine to Oregon, But it was our bull which gored the Indian ox. 
This made the case different very since the Indian had no 
rights of property which white men were required, much less 
bound, to respect. In those days, when dealing with the Indians, 
the white man's rule seemed to be two wrongs or more, on the 
white man's side, always make a right. They little heeded or 
comprehended the noble sentiment of the poet : 

" That mercy I to others show, 
That mercy show to me." 

Gov. Ford says : "The volunteers marched to Rock Island 
next morning, and here they encamped for several days precisely 
where the town of Rock Island* now stands. It was then in a 
complete state of nature a romantic wilderness. Fort Arm- 
strong was built upon a rocky cliff, on the lower part of an island, 
near the center of the river, a little way above the shores, on 
each side formed of gentle slopes of prairie, extending back to 
bluffs of considerable height, made it one of the most picturesque 
scenes in the Western country. The river here is a beautiful 
sheet of water, clear and swiftly running, about three-quarters of 
a mile wide. Its banks on both sides were uninhabited except by 
Indians, from the lower rapids to the fort. And the voyage up 
stream, after several days' solitary progress through a wilderness 

*Rock Island now contains fully 12,000 people. 


country, on its borders, came suddenly in sight of the .white- 
washed walls and towers of the fort, perched upon a rock sur- 
rounded by the grandeur and beauty of nature which, at a dis- 
tance, gave it the appearance of one of those enchanted castles 
in an uninhabited country so well described in the 'Arabian 
Nights Entertainments. " : 

The Governor again suffers his imagination, united with a 
defective memory, to lead him into error. The land where the 
beautiful city of Eock Island stands had been under cultivation 
by the Sauks and Foxes for at least a century before the time he 
speaks of, and had been the immediate location of the Santeaux 
for perhaps several centuries before the Sauks took possession of 
it. As to the Indians occupying the shores of the Mississippi at 
that time, it is only necessary to say that the Foxes had left the 
east, or at this point the south, bank of that river in 1830, and 
Gaines and Duncan had driven the Sauks across the Mississippi, 
so there could have been but few Indians on the Illinois side at 
the time he speaks of. As to Fort Armstrong being built on a 
rocky cliff, near the center of the Mississippi, the Governor was, 
as the saying is, "a little off." There is quite a respectable slough* 
on the south side of the island, but not much river. The white- 
washed walls and towers of the fort, which gave it the appearance 
of one of the enchanted castles described in the "Arabian Nights 
Entertainments" were highly colored. The fort was simply a huge 
log pen 400 feet squaret the logs were hewed and laid close 
together, and would have offered about as much resistance to a 
cannon ball as a sheep skin would to a minnie bullet. Its being 
"perched upon a rock" is also imaginary, if by that expression is 
meant elevated. True, it was on a rock that is, a limestone 
rock underlies the ground where it stood ; but it was but a few feet 
above the river. His general description of this lovely country, 
however, is good, and not overdrawn. 

"Gen. Gaines determined to pursue the Indians across the 
river, which brought Black Hawk and the chiefs and braves of the 
hostile band to the front to sue for peace." Whether these threats 
were communicated to Black Hawk in English, French, German 
or Algonquin, we have not ascertained, but we are assured that 
they understood them, and that they were the means of bringing 
Black Hawk with his chiefs to the fort to sue for peace, but how 

*Now called sylvan water. 

tits foundation was laid of stone and mortar the walls were of wood. 


these threats reached the Indians on the other side of the Missis- 
sippi, Gov. Ford and all other writers on the subject are as 
silent as the grave. But certain it is, a conference was held 
between Gen. Gaines and Gov. Eeynolds on the one side, and 
Black Hawk and his subaltern chiefs on the other, which eventu- 
ated in a so-called treaty, bearing date June 30, 1831, which will be 
found in the next chapter. By the precipitate flight of Black 
Hawk and his band, the well-laid plans of Generals Gaines and 
Duncan to surround and capture these Indians were frustrated, 
but only "by the skin of the teeth," as it were. Had Black Hawk 
been an hour later in reaching the Mississippi, his flight across 
that river would have been intercepted by Gen. Gaines with his 
steamer, and the Indians probably blown to "kingdom come" 
by his heavy guns. But escape he did, and in safety, so when the 
trap was sprung the rat was gone. 

Gov. Ford further says : " The enemy having escaped, the 
volunteers determined to be avenged upon something." It was, 
therefore, the foolish act of escaping that constituted the special 
grievance for which vengeance should be meted out for nothing 
which had occurred antecedent. Even the rain, which he says 
was descending in torrents, had no effect upon their fierce venge- 
ance, the whole town was soon wrapped in flames. Gov. Ford 
seems to have had enough of this vandalism in describing the 
destruction of the town of Saukenuk, and makes no mention of 
the volunteers using the dry fences of the Indians for their fuel, 
or of turning their horses into the cornfields of the unfortunate 
and shamefully persecuted people, when it was about knee-high. 
Not satisfied with the destruction of Saukenuk, the burning of 
their fences, and pasturing their horses in their growing corn- 
fields, they determined to punish them for escaping the trap set 
for their capture on Vandruff's Island, driving them from their 
ancient homes, never again to return. Like the punishment of 
Moses for disobedience, they might seek the mountainous bluffs 
on the north side of the Mississippi and cast wishful eyes over 
to their late Canaan, but never again enter therein without 
first obtaining the permission of the President of the United 
States, or the Governor of the "State of Illinois, Old Hickory 
or the Old Eanger, the former at Washington City, the latter at 
Belleville, 111. Since these Indians could not write or speak in 
the English language, and telegraphs nor even railroads had any 
v existence at that time, it is not made very clear how they were to 


obtain such permission. None of them dare cross the Mississippi, 
and it was too long to be gotten around at either end to any ad- 
vantage. In pure unadulterated cussedness of conception and 
spiteful nonsense of construction, this so-called treaty is a model. 
No wonder that Gen. Gaines never reported it to the War Depart- 
ment or the President, and that it never found its way to the 
U. S. Senate for ratification. 

The wanton destruction of the buildings, fences and growing 
crops of these Indians by the volunteers under Gen. Duncan, 
roused the sympathy of Gen. Gaines, who, of his own volition, 
selected John W. Spencer, Einnah Wells, and a third man whose 
name has escaped our memory, to estimate the number of bushels 
the undestroyed growing crops of corn of these Indians would re- 
alize or produce. Their estimate was 3,000 bushels, which he, as 
the military officer of the Division of the West, paid these poor In- 
dians. When we take into consideration that these 3,000 bushels 
of corn were to supply 1,500 persons, to say nothing of their 
ponies, for fourteen months (the season was too late to plant 
when these Indians crossed the Mississippi, June 26, and only 
under the most favorable conditions could they expect anything 
to grow and mature before August or September of the next year, 
for their crops were corn, beans and pumpkins), it was less than 
two bushels of corn per capita per annum. Was it from this trans- 
action the poet derived the foundation for his beautiful epic, "Give 
me three grains of corn, mother." Who could subsist 420 days on 
eight pecks of dry corn ? Only a few grains to the meal. No allow- 
ance was made for their beans, pumpkins and squashes. Upon 
the flight of these Indians across the river the occupation of 
Gen. Duncan's volunteers was gone, and they had nothing to 
do but to "fold their tents and silently" return home. Thus ended 
the so-called Black Hawk War of 1831. It has been aptly said 
that "it became one of the things that were," but it should be said 
that it was one of the things which never should and never would 
have been but for the meddlesome disposition of a few white set- 
tlers near Rock Island, and the over-officious disposition of Gov. 
Reynolds, to punish Indians who dare to wear red blankets. It 
were a misnomer to call it a war. 



The Exodus of Black Hawk and his Band across the Mississippi to Escape the Vol- 
unteers under Gen. Duncan, and the singular Compact mis-called the Treaty 
of Fort Armstrong, of June 30, 1831. 

Like deer upon the mountain's crest 

At sight of panther run, 
Or wild duck from the river's breast, 

Flee at the sound of gun, 
Or sheep from out the shepherd's fold 

Chased by a mastiff, flee, 
So fled these Indians, young and old, 

1 rom village farm and lea; 
Thoir frail canoes were auickly filled. 

And on the river's tide, 
With rapid strokes their paddles wield. 

And reached the other side. 
Half dead from fright, fatigue and care. 

All dripping from the flood. 
They sadly sought protection there 

Beneath the sheltering wood. 

When Black Hawk was advised of the approach of the mounted 
volunteers under Gen. Duncan, he abandoned his intention of 
remaining impassive, and letting Gen. Gaines remove him and 
his band by force, if he so desired. Upon the arrival of these vol- 
unteers, whom he knew, as well as Gov. Reynolds did, "were the 
natural enemies of the Indians, and would destroy them on all oc- 
casions," Black Hawk felt assured that his remaining at Saukenuk 
would be courting death and indiscriminate murder of all ages and 
sexes. They had already reached the Mississippi, and were within 
eight miles of Saukenuk on the evening of the 25th. Both resist- 
ance and remaining in their lodges meant death, and but one ave- 
nue of escape was open to them. That was immediate flight to the 
other side of the Mississippi. How soon these mounted volunteers, 
in overwhelming numbers, might reach Saukenuk, Black Hawk 
did not know, but expected their arrival during the next day. For 
the Indians to flee in the night was not to be thought of. They 
are too superstitious and cowardly to face unseen dangers, besides 
believing that the bad spirit governs the night, and that he is the 
natural enemy of the Indians. Orders were given, through the 


village crier, on the evening of the 25th, for all to be ready to 
embark in their canoes at early dawn on the 26th. Some were 
away on hunting, trapping or fishing excursions, and had to be 
signaled home. Their ponies were running loose on the great 
pasture upon the tongue of the peninsula, and had to be collect- 
ed together and arranged for the morning's march. Their simple, 
yet to them valuable, farming implements, must be brought from 
the fields. The old and infirm, as well as the sick, had to be 
prepared for this sudden exodus. - We can better imagine than 
describe the busy scenes and great anxieties of these people dur- 
ing this eventful night. Suffice it to say that with the coming of 
the morniDg sun, on the 26th of June, 1831, the entire Black Hawk 
band of Sauks were crossing the Mississippi with their ponies, 
dogs, and other worldly goods. 

By lashing several canoes together, and placing thereon long, 
straight poles side by side, they had constructed rafts upon which 
their household goods and people were safely ferried over the 
Mississippi, near the mouth of Eock river, at a point where it is 
over a mile wide. Their horses were compelled to swim after 
their canoes and rafts, lead by hair or bark halters. Their only 
means of propelling their raft-canoes was the Indian paddle. 
With such inadequate means, they succeeded in reaching the 
other shore, over a current that flowed at the rate of four miles 
to the hour. How these Indians accomplished this miraculous 
flight, on such short notice and preparation, is the wonder of the 
whole transaction, and may well be compared to the celebrated 
retreat of Xenophon and his ten thousand Greeks. Black Hawk 
says they succeeded in reaching the other side of the Mississippi 
without interruption or accident. It is, of course, neither probable 
or possible that they were able to gather together, and take with 
them, all their goods and chattels, and all they left were con- 
sumed by the fire kindled by the militia, under Duncan, In a few 
short hours after it was left. How many heart-broken mothers 
spent the greater part of that eventful, tedious, rainy night, (for 
the rain began to fall copiously early on the night of the 25th and 
continued through the 26th) at their chippionoc, or silent city 
of the dead, on the western brow of the promontory, by the 
graves of their departed dear ones, can never be told. The 
devotion of the Indian to the graves of their dead is phenomenal. 
Thither they go and fall prostrate on the little mound and offer 
up their simple, heart-felt orisons to the Great Spirit, fervently 


imploring for mercy and guidance. To tear themselves away 
from that their most holy ground, was like tearing their hearts 
from their bodies. What prayers and invocations were offered 
to the Great Sowana Great God over all are known only to 
Him who can alone answer prayer and grant relief. Their 
poignant woes and sorrows will never be described by mortal 
man or pen. Yet, we devoutly hope a full record of them was 
made by the Sorrowing Angel on high, whose painful duty is to 
write in characters of fire man's oppression of his fellow man, 
which makes the seraphs weep. Each of the prime leaders and 
plotters in this vandalism a.nd outrage, like Judas, ''has gone to 
his reward," and heard that record read, and by it has been 
judged. A few a passing few of the aiders and abettors still 
linger this side ; none of them justify the action of their leaders ; 
all frankly admit the whole matter was an outrage a great 
injustice and oppression. Repentance can do almost miracles, 
but cannot undo this terrible outrage. 

Black Hawk says : " The whites may do wrong all their lives, 
and then, if they are sorry for it when about to die, all is well : 
but with us it is different. We must continue to do good through- 
out our lives." Who will dare say the Indian does not excel the 
Christian in this beautiful faith. The entire band, on reaching 
the other shore of the Mississippi, wet, weary and hungry, en- 
camped on the bank of that river, in a strip of sheltering timber, 
where they erected wigwams, built fires and prepared their simple 
food of boiled corn and jerked venison, and set about drying their 
wet clothing. Here they remained some four days, each day 
receiving one or more threatening messages from Gen. Gaines, 
who, all of a sudden, had become wonderfully inflated with his 
own greatness, and, fearing that he might put his threats into ex- 
ecution and turn loose "the multitude of pale faces on horseback," 
to hunt him and his feeble, frightened band to death, Black 
Hawk and his Chiefs and Head-men, on the 30th of June, met 
Gen. Gaines and Gov. Reynolds at Fort Armstrong, and made 
their respective marks to the following nondescript called a 
"treaty, or articles of agreement and capitulation," by Gov. 
Reynolds : 

" Articles of agreement and capitulation, made and concluded 
this 30th day of June, 1831, between E. P. Gaines, Major General 
of the United States Army, on the part of the United States ; 
John Reynolds, Governor of Illinois, on the part of the State of 


Illinois ; and the chiefs and braves of the Sac Indians, usually 
called the British band of Eock river, with their old allies of the 
Pottawattamies, Winnebagoes and Kickapoo Nations, witnesseth : 
that, whereas, the said British band of Sac Indians have, in vio- 
lation of the several treaties entered into between the United 
States and the Sac and Fox Nations, in the years 1804, 1816 and 
1825, continued to remain upon and to cultivate the lands on 
Rock river, ceded to the United States by the said treaties, after 
the said lands had been sold by the United States to individual 
citizens of Illinois and other States ; and, 

" WHEREAS, The said British band of Sac Indians, in order to 
sustain their pretentious to continue on the said Rock river lands, 
have assumed the attitude of actual hostility toward the United 
States, and have had the audacity to drive citizens of the State 
of Illinois from their homes, destroy their corn, and invite many 
of their old friends of the Pottawattamies, Winnebagoes and 
Kickapoos to unite with them, the said British band of Sacs, in 
war, to prevent their removal from said lands ; and, 

" WHEREAS, Many of the most disorderly of these several tribes 
of Indians did actually join the said British band of Sac Indians, 
prepared for war against the United States, and more particularly 
against the State of Illinois, from which purpose they confess 
that nothing could have restrained them but the appearance of 
forces exceeding the combined strength of the said British band 
of Sac Indians, with such of the aforesaid allies as had actually 
joined them; but being now convinced that such a war would 
tend speedily to annihilate them, they have voluntarily aban- 
doned their hostile attitude and sued for peace. Peace is therefore 
granted them upon the following conditions, to which the said 
British band of Sac Indians, with their aforesaid allies, agree, and 
for the faithful execution of which the undersigned chiefs and 
braves of the said band and their allies mutually bind themselves, 
their lives and assigns forever : 

" 1. The British band of Sac Indians are required peaceably 
to submit to the authority of the friendly chiefs and braves of 
the united Sac and Fox Nations, and at all times hereafter to re- 
side and hunt with their own bands west of the Mississippi river, 
and be obedient to their laws and treaties, and no one or more 
of the said band shall ever be permitted to recross said river to 
the place of their usual residence, nor to any part of their old 


hunting grounds east of the Mississippi, without permission of 
the President of the United States or the Governor of the State 
of Illinois. 

"2. The United States will guarantee to the united Sac and 
Fox Nations, including the said British band of Sac Indians, the 
integiity of all the lands claimed by them west of the Mississippi 
river, pursuant to the tieaties of the years 1825 and 1830. 

" 3. The United States require the united Sac and Fox Na- 
tions, including the aforesaid British band, to abandon all com- 
munication and cease to hold any intercourse with any British 
fort, garrison or town, and never again to admit among them any 
agent or trader who has not derived his authority to hold com- 
merce or other intercourse with them from the President of the 
United States or his authorized agent. 

"4. The United States demand an acknowledgement of their 
right to establish military posts and roads within the limits of 
the said country guaranteed by the second article of this agree- 
ment and capitulation, for the protection of the frontier inhab- 

"5. It is further agreed by the United States, that the prin- 
cipal friendly Chiefs and Head-men of the Sac and Fox Nations, 
bind themselves to enforce, as far as may be in their power, the 
strict observance of each and every article of this agreement and 
capitulation, and at any time they find themselves unable to 
restrain their allies, the Pottawattamies, Kickapoos or Winne- 
bagoes, to give immediate information thereof to the nearest 
military post. 

''6. And it is finally agreed by the contracting parties that 
henceforth permanent peace and friendship be established between 
the Uunited States and the aforesaid band of Indians." 

(Signed.) "EDMUND P. GAINES, 

Major-General by Brevet Com. 

Governor of the State of Illinois." 

Gov. Reynolds says Black Hawk and twenty-four other 
chiefs, braves and warriors of the British band of the Sauk 
Nation, signed this instrument, but does not give their names. 
As before stated, this document, if reported to President Jackson, 
was pigeon-hokd or burnt by him, and never reported to the 
United States Senate for confirmation, hence it does not appear 
of record among the treaties of the United States, and we have 


not been able to find it, except in Gov. Reynold's history of 
Illinois, entitled "My Own Times." Congress adjourned March 
3, 1831, and convened again December 6, 1831, when the Presi- 
dent submitted a lengthy message, in which he refers to the fed- 
eral relations with the Chickasaws and Choctaws, Cherokees, 
then in Ohio, concluding his remarks on the Indian subject : 
"Treaties, either absolute or confidential, have been made, extin- 
guishing the whole Indian title to the reservation in that State, 
and the time is not distant, it is hoped, when Ohio will be no 
longer embarrassed with the Indian population. The same 
measures will be extended to Indiana, as soon as there is reason 
to anticipate success. It is confidently believed that perseverance 
for a few years in the present policy of the Government, will 
extinguish the Indian title to all lands lying within the States 
comprising our Federal Union, and remove beyond their limits 
every Indian who is not willing to submit to their laws. Thus 
will all conflicting claims to jurisdiction between the States and 
the Indian tribes be put to rest. It is a pleasing reflection that 
the results so beneficial, not only to the States immediately con- 
cerned, but to the harmony of the Union, will have been accom- 
plished by measures equally advantages to the Indians. 

"What the native savages become when surrounded by a dense 
population, and by mixing with the whites, may be seen in the 
miserable remnants of a few Eastern tribes, deprived of political 
and civil rights, forbidden to make contracts, and subjected to 
guardians, dragging out a wretched existence, without excitement, 
without hope, and almost without thought." Not one word is to 
be found in this message relating to the Sauks or Foxes, or of there 
having been the least difficulty or misunderstanding between the 
Unittd States and any tribe of Indians in Illinois or west of 
Indi ma, from the adjournment of Congress in March, to its reas- 
sembling in December, 1831. 

This fact proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the President 
either knew nothing officially about this document, or considered 
the matter of too little significance to report to Congress the action 
of Gen. Gaines in connection with his raid upon the?e peace- 
able Indians, or his so-called "Agreement and Capitulation," and 
throws the entire responsibility of the shameful and oppressive 
transaction upon Gov. Reynolds, not only for the calling out 
of his 1,600 mounted volunteers to "remove these Indians, dead 
or alive, across the Mississippi," but in causing Gen. Gaines, 


with ten companies of the regular army of the United States, to- 
join him in his raid upon these poor Indians, who were quietly 
living at their homes, which were theirs, and had been the home 
of their ancestors for a century before, and all this to gratify the 
spite of the little whiskey-vendor against them for the offense 
committed by the old chief, Black Hawk, in entering his hell-hole 
on the ill-fated little island, and turning his liquid damnation into 
Eock river, after having begged, coaxed, and tried to hire him to 
cease selling or giving it away to the habitual drunkards of his 
band. For this act of daring justice the name of Black Hawk 
should stand at the head of the column of temperance reformers. 
That this singular document eminated in the brain of Gov. 
Reynolds, and was either w r ritten or dictated by him, is self- 
evident from its unmistakable ear-marks ; but why a Major Gen- 
eral of the United States army could have been induced to sign 
and publish to the world such a written instrument, is not easily 
accounted for. His conduct from the very inception of this mat- 
ter up to the time he met the Old Eanger at Rockport, on the 25th 
of June, was masterly and noble. But, from that time on to the 
conclusion of this singular so-called treaty, his action forms a 
comedy of errors, inconsistencies and imbecilities. "When Gov.. 
Reynolds notified him that he had called for 700 volunteers 
to protect the frontiers on Rock river, he answered him promptly 
that he would attend to that matter, and needed no help from 
him or anybody else. He then proceeded to Rock Island, to find 
that Gov. Reynolds had been hoaxed, that there really was 
no difficulty existing between the white settlers and Indians in 
that locality. Having been led on a fool's errand thus far, he 
concluded while there to induce the Indians to leave the Illinois 
side of the Mississippi by persuasion, and by his own statement, 
he was succeeding finely in his effort, For in less than twenty 
days he says nearly one-third of them crossed over to their lands 
west of the Mississippi, and. moreover, he had been confirmed in 
his opinion that the remainder were not hostile, and under no- 
circumstances would they use their tomahawks or guns, except in 
self-defence. But the moment he came in contact with Gov* 
Reynolds and his volunteers, like a lot of well-tamed wild hogs r 
when a single wild one gets among them, all become wild, so 
Gen. Gaines became wild and fierce for the destruction of these 
Indians, so fierce that he committed more blunders in one day 
than an ordinary man could in a life-time, as shown in the pre- 
ceding chapter. 


This so-called treaty is probably the first, as well as the last, in 
which the United States unite with a State authority in a com- 
pact with a third party. It starts out in the preamble with false- 
hoods and unwarranted statements. It calls these Sauk Indians 
the British band, when in truth and in fact the war of 1812 had 
ceased nearly twenty years before, and there were probably not a 
baker's dozen of these Indians who had taken any part therein. 
It assumes that the Pottawattamies, Winnebagoes and Kicka- 
poos were the allies of the Sauks, and, therefore, parties to the 
compact, when there was no kind of foundation for such asser- 
tion, and neither a Pottawattamie, Winnebago or Kickapoo Indian 
was present, or signed this suigeneris document; and it had, if 
otherwise legal and formal, no more binding force upon these 
three nations, who are charged as being the allies of the Sauks, 
than on the man in the moon, because they were neither parties 
or privies thereto. It then charges the British band of Sauks 
with violating the treaties of 1804, 1816 and 1825, between the 
Sac and Fox Nations and the United States. 

As shown before, there never was but one so-called treaty ex- 
ecuted between the Sauk and Fox Nations and the United States, 
which was the bogus Quashquamme treaty of November 3, 1804. 
That of 1816 means that of May 13, 1816, at St. Louis, between 
the Sauks and the Peace Commissioners, appointed under the 9th 
article of the Treaty of Ghent, and that of 1825 was the treaty of 
Prairie du Chien, of August 19, fixing the boundary lines be- 
tween various Indian tribes, and acknowledging the Sauk's right 
to the lands below Prophetstown, to the mouth of the Eock river 
below Saukenuk. It then asserts that the lands occupied and 
cultivated by these Indians had been " sold by the United States 
to individual citizens of Illinois and other States." As shown 
from the records in Chapter IX, about 3,000 acres of this land 
had been surveyed and sold to five individuals, two of whom 
George Davenport and Russell Farnham had purchased about 
2,400 acres of these 3,000, for the sole purpose of keeping squat- 
ters from trespassing on the lands and homes of these Indians, 
and to preserve them for their use, they being members of the 
American Fur Company, and desiring to retain their lucrative 
trade with the Sauks, and that their purchases of land embraced 
the site of Saukenuk, Black Hawk's Watch Tower, and nearly all 
their farm lands. The other three purchasers were W. T. Bra- 
sher, 320 acres ; Henry Eobly, 80 acres, and William Carr, 160 


acres, neither of whom signed the Vandruff petition, while Eobly 
and Carr do not seem to have been citizens of that locality in 
1831. This preamble next asserts that these Indians " have as- 
sumed the attitude of actual hostility towards the United States, 
and have had the audacity to drive citizens of the State of Illinois 
from their homes, destroying their corn, and invite many of their 
old friends of the Pottawattamies, Winnebagoes and Kickapoosto 
unite with them, the said British band of Sacs in war, to prevent 
their removal from said lands." 

For cool, clear and unadulterated falsehood, this long-winded 
sentence is peculiar. In what act or deed did they assume the 
attitude of actual hostility to the United States? They had 
neither brandished a tomahawk nor fired a gun at a white pio- 

Their " audacity in driving citizens from their homes" consist- 
ed in ordering the families of white squatters, who neither 
owned nor pretended to own a foot of land, but had thrust them- 
selves into Saukenuk, and taken possession of the Indians' bark 
houses, and were demoralizing the Indians by the sale of liquor 
to them. The charge that the Indians were destroying the corn 
of the white settlers is explained in a previous chapter, and was- 
the case of Rinnah Wells, who refused to keep his stock up of nighs 
to prevent their foraging on the Indians' growing corn, when on a 
certain night his own corn-field was exposed to the greedy stom- 
achs of his own horses and cattle, the bars leading to his corn- 
field, from some unexplained cause, were left down, and he charged 
the Indians with purposely turning the stock into his field. It 
was his horses and cattle which destroyed his corn, and not those 
of the Indians. The next charge, that of inviting their old 
friends Pottawattamies, etc., to unite with them, was without 
foundation at that time. Had it have been made a year later it 
would have been true. 

The next charge, that many of these several tribes actually 
joined "the British band of Sacs prepared for war against the 
United States," is purely imaginary the outgrowth of an over- 
heated brain, or indigestion. But the veriest rant and misrepre- 
sentation of the whole thing is, "they confess that nothing could 
have restrained them but the appearance of a force far exceed- 
ing the combined strength of the said British band of Sac In- 
dians, with such of their aforesaid allies as had actually joined 
them." There has never been any claim or pretense that there 


were any allies of the Sauks, at or near Saukenuk in 1831, or 
that any body but Black Hawk and his band fled from there 
June 26, of that year. This preamble further adds that "be- 
ing now convinced that such a war would tend speedily to 
annihilate them, they voluntarily abandoned their hostile atti- 
tude and sue for peace." How did His Excellency learn of 
their sudden conversion from the attitude of hostility to that of 
supplication ? 

Gov. Ford says : "General Gaines threatened to pursue the 
Indians across the river, which brought Black Hawk and the 
chiefs and braves of the hostile band to the front to sue for 
peace." Was it these threats that brought Blagk Hawk and his 
chiefs and braves to the fort to sue for peace ? Or did they, of 
their own free will and accord, repent of their evil ways and 
approach the fort, "clothed in sack-cloth and ashes," with .bowed 
heads and down-cast eyes, imploring mercy and forgiveness for 
past offenses before the august presence of the Old Hanger and 
the grim hero who had so terribly punished the brush and vines 
on poor little Vandruffs Island a few days before, with his can- 
nister and grape? "Peace is therefore granted them upon the 
following conditions, to which the said British band of the Sac 
Indians, with their aforesaid allies, agree." Why not add, the 
"Heathen Chinees" and the "King of the Cannibal Islands" also 
agree. He evidently means the Pottawattamies, Winnebagoes 
and Kickapoos, when there probably was not a solitary Indian of 
either of these nations within forty miles of Fort Armstrong at 
that time. "And for the faithful execution of which the under- 
signed chiefs and braves of the said band, and their allies, 
mutually bind themselves, th/ir lives and assigns." If this is 
not a Reynoldsism, what is it ? Who but Gov. Reynolds could 
have invented such a sentence, "bind their lives and assigns?" 
Who can he have meant by the assigns? True, he had forced 
them into bankruptcy, but did he intend to become their 
assignee? What were their assets ? Some fifteen hundred starv- 
ing, half-naked men, women and children, with a few dogs and 
ponies. This anomalous document then binds these Indians "to 
submit to the authority of the friendly chiefs." He evidently 
means Keokuk and his subaltern chiefs, but he qualifies it by say- 
ing "of the united Sac and Fox Nations." But these two nations 
were never 'united as a nation. 


It further requires them to be obedient to their laws and treaties, 
and then inhibits one or more of these Indians from ever recross- 
ing the Mississippi to their old homes without first obtaining per- 
mission from the President of the United States, or the Governor 
of Illinois. Under the 3d Article he pitches into Great Britain 
rough-shod, and makes it an offense for any of the "united 
Sac and Fox Nations to hold any communication or intercourse 
with any British post, garrison or town, and never again to admit 
any agent or trader among them without they held a permit, or 
authority to hold commerce or other intercourse with them, from 
the President of the United States, or his authorized agent." 
This was hard upon the French, and death to the Jewish ped- 
dlers. Under the 5th Article, "the principal friendly Chiefs and 
Head-men of the Sac and Fox Nation" are bound to enforce the 
strict observance of this anomalous instrument. But what bind- 
ing force it could have on them when they were not a party to it, 
the Governor never attempted to explain. Such are some of the 
leading features of this peculiar compact, which was not worth 
the paper it was written upon. It will be observed that not one 
word relative to the corn, which some historians mention as hav- 
ing been given these Indians in lieu of their then growing crops, 
appears on the face of this document. Nevertheless, Gen. Gaines, 
had a lucid spell, and seeing that he had doomed an entire band to 
certain starvation, attempted to right this wrong by appraising 
their growing corn, as before stated, and gave orders for the 
monthly delivery of the amount appraised to be given them by 
the Commissary of Subsistence, Col. Davenport, at Fort Arm- 
strong, which was done, and this was the only humane act of the 
whole transaction. 

Gov. Reynolds says : " Their distressed condition made a 
strong impression on Gen. Gaines and myself. We gave them 
more provisions than they would have raised on the fields they 
had left, and had it delivered to them at certain periods. Our 
treaty was ridiculed by the volunteers. It was called a corn- 
treaty." The word corn does not appear in the whole docu- 
ment. "It was said we gave them food instead of lead." 
This shows about what chance of escape these Indians would 
have had if they had not put the broad Mississippi between 
them and the volunteers. He then says: "The army was 
disbanded and returned home in good order." He, of course, 


means the volunteers. "Not a man was killed by accident or 
-died of disease." They could not have been killed in battle, 
unless they had been peppered by some of the grape or cannister 
fired by Gen. Gaines into the brush on Vandruff s Island, for 
not a Sauk was seen by them, or a gun fired at, or by, an Indian, 
"while in the vicinity of Eock Island. "All returned home in 
good order, with the best spirits, knowing we had done our duty," 
is Gov. Eeynold's concluding sentence in his account of these 
transactions, misnamed Black Hawk war of 1831. 

The statement of Gov. Eeynolds that "the corn given to 
these Indians was more than they would have raised on their 
fields," should be taken in homoeopathic doses. But the serious 
difficulty in their case was the loss of their roasting-ears, 
squashes and pumpkins, which were their chief food in the latter 
part of the summer and fall. The season was too far spent 
when they left Saukenuk to plant a crop ; nor had they either 
broken ground, or seed to plant it if they had. The following 
winter was an unusually severe one. The whole band suffered 
for adequate food and clothing to such an extent that starvation 
stared them full in the face. Hunger and cold were their insep- 
erable companions. All this suffering, pain, anguish and woe 
were the direct result of the fire-water alias hell fire, manufac- 
tured and sold to them by the white people. An aggravated case 
of selling a poor devil whiskey until he cannot stand, then kick- 
ing him into the street, accompanying the act with the consoling 
words, " go and sleep where you got your whiskey." For it is a 
singular whim, fancy or fatuity with all whiskey venders that they 
never seem to think or comprehend that their decoctions could 
make a brute out of a stroiij, vigorous man, and in case he 
becomes really too drunk to stand, and crouches down on his 
chin and goes to sleep, they insist upon it that he must have 
obtained the effective dose somewhere else. But it will bring 
them to that condition, water the whiskey ever so much, if the 
drinker be cursed with the rascally virtue in so bad a cause, called 
continuance. Notwithstanding the real antecedent and collateral 
causes which produced and brought about the difficulties of 1831, 
between the white people and these Indians, are now for the first 
time made public, there were a few individuals of the time brave 
enough and clear-sighted enough to see the whole thing was a 
collossal fraud and unmitigated outrage upon the latter, and 


denounced it in unmeasured terms, although they had heard but 
the white man's side, and that, too, very highly colored to his 
advantage. There were also here and there an editor who had 
the moral courage to show the matter up so far as he was able to 
gather the real facts, in its true light. In referring to the issue of 
the Georgetown (Ohio) Castigator of date August 2, 1831, we find 
the following from the pen of the late M. L. Arnmen, father of 
Commodore Ammen, of the United States navy. 

" The prints in Illinois and Missouri corroborate that the In- 
dian war is over, at least for the present. Generals Gaines and 
Atkinson, commanding the regular troops, and Governor Eey- 
nolds, of Illinois, with fifteen hundred mounted men, scared the 
far-famed Sac Chief, Black Hawk, and his wretched adherents, 
into submission without firing a gun. A treaty was, of course, 
the consequence. The Illinois troops manifested as much im- 
portance, or rather coxcombical parade, at meeting a few hundred 
Indians, as if they had intended to give battle to a well disciplined 
army, commanded by Bonaparte himself in person." But had 
he really known that there were less than three hundred Indian 
warriors without arms, ammunition, or intention to fight ; that 
they were quietly living upon their own lands and in their own 
homes, cultivating their crops in the peace of the whole world, 
when all of a sudden three thousand armed soldiers approached 
their peaceful dwellings, causing them to flee for their lives ; 
how vastly more pungent would have been his editorial. The 
long, weary months of winter were eked out by these poor, half- 
starved, half-clad and disheartened people. The three thousand 
bushels of soft, dry corn awarded them by Gen. Gaines in 
payment for their growing crops, had long since disappeared. 
There were fifteen hundred hungry stomachs for its consumption. 
Two bushels of corn per capita per annum was only a drop in the 
bucket, or snow-flake in the river. They were fearfully deficient in 
guns, traps, and ammunition. These they had purchased each fall 
from Messrs. Davenport and Farnham for many preceding years 
on credit, on starting to their winter's hunting grounds in Mis- 
souri. But now they were at bitter enmity with these traders, 
because the knowledge that they had purchased the lands 
where Saukenuk stood and nearly all their farm-lands ; and, as 
before shown, they had determined to kill Colonel Davenport, the 
senior member of the firm, which threat, as will be hereafter 
shown, they attempted to carry into execution, but was frustrated 


by his cool courage. Considering the Colonel alone responsible 
for the purchase of these lands from the United States, they held 
him responsible therefor. 

With this state of feeling against Colonel Davenport, they would 
perish of hunger and cold rather than apply to him or his house 
for a favor, or the purchase of these goods on credit, even thougn 
they needed them ever so badly. They had gained a bad name 
among the white people, and could get no credit, and had neither 
money, peltries or furs to barter for them. Thus situated they 
could not go to their winter hunting-grounds in Missouri, properly 
prepared to hunt, and since they had incurred the ill will of Keokuk 
and his band, they seemed to have become a band of Ishmailites, 
against whom everybody's hand was uplifted to smite them. 
Hence they were relegated to, and entirely dependent on, their 
primitive implements, the bow and arrow and their traps, to obtain 
meat for subsistence, which, added to a few fish caught with 
hook and line, in the air holes upon the Iowa river, where they 
wintered, and a few nuts and acorns, furnished their entire food 
that winter. To add to their anxiety, Black Hawk and Neapope, 
their principal chiefs, were away in Canada, endeavoring to 
arouse the British to espouse their cause. The knowledge that 
his people must be suffering for blankets and food drove the old 
chief nearly frantic, but he was powerless to relieve them. Win- 
nesheik and his village of Prophetstown, thirty-three miles up 
Rock river from Saukenuk, were not 'disturbed by Generals 
Gaines and Duncan. It had no whisky mill or Vannruff to ex- 
cite their special indignation against the Indians. He, like Black 
Hawk, not only believed but knew the Quashquamme treaty 
of 1804 was not valid, and kr,d not been bettered by the so-called 
treaty of May 13, 1816, or subsequent efforts to bolster it up. In 
his admitted character of Prophet his influence over Black Hawk 
and his band was almost absolute. Moreover, his half-brother, 
Neapope,* or Broth, was second in command in the Black Hawk 
band. He was at that time in the prime of life, and presented a 
magnificent physical form, great strength, fine forensic talents, 
and was a bold, cunning, shrewd, talkative, revengeful and 
treacherous Indian, an inordinate boaster and first class liar. 
In short, he embodied all the elements which enter into the char- 
acter of a bold, bad Indian, with but few redeeming characteris- 
tics. He was with Black Hawk in the war of 1812, and like him, 

* Pronounced Ma-pope. 


became discouraged at their defeat by Major Crogan at Lower 
Sandusky, and immediately returned with him to Saukenuk. 
These three Indians, Black Hawk, Winnesheik and Neapope, 
were very intimate, and conferred together on all matters of im- 
portance to the Black Hawk band. Both Winnesheik and Nea- 
pope urged the old chief and his band, in 1831, never to abandon 
and surrender up their homes and lands to the whites. Imme- 
diately after the failure of Mattatas' daughter's mission, Neapope 
was sent to Fort Maiden, Canada, to confer with Gen. Dixon 
on the question of the claimed right of the American people to 
the possession of these lands. That officer assured him that 
the alliance of the Indians with the British in the late war in no 
way affected their rights to their territory. 

That special provision was made in the Treaty of Ghent to 
place them on the same footing they occupied before that war, 
and if the Sauks as a nation had never sold their lands, the 
United States could not and would not take them, therefore Gen. 
Gaines dare not make war against them, or attempt their forci- 
ble removal. This opinion was speedily sent to Winnesheik, 
and by him delivered to Black Hawk, and formed the basis of 
Black Hawk's passive or non-resistance plan, when he ordered all 
his braves and warriors to desist from fighting Gen. Gaines, 
and to remain in their lodges and suffer him to kill them if he 
chose, but under no circumstances should they use their toma- 
hawks, guns or spears against the soldiers of the General. One 
more cause of special irritation to these Indians grew out of some 
of the squaws, while encamped on the Iowa side of the Missis- 
sippi, believing that they had a right to the corn they themselves 
had planted and cultivated up to the time of their flight, and 
being afraid to go to the fields in daylight, when it was in roasting 
ear, crossed over in the night to gather a few ears to appease their 
hunger and that of their children, but were caught in the act of 
pulling off the corn, and were severely beaten with heavy sticks, 
and guns were fired, not at them, probably, but merely to scare 
them off. This treatment of these poor squaws exasperated 
old Black Hawk and his braves and warriors almost to fury. To 
be beaten with rods is the most degrading of all punishments to 
the Indian, an offense that can only be atoned in blood. 



Great Expectations Holiday Friends Spring up like Mushrooms Promises as 
Thick as Hops and Pulse as Water. 

" And be these jiiggling fiends no more believed, 
That palter with us in a double sense; 
That keep the word of promise to our ear,. 
And break it to our hope," SHAKSPSABE. 

That Black Hawk received a multitude of fair promises of ma- 
terial aid and assistance in his contemplated attempt to recross 
the Mississippi and regain his ancient city and farms in Illinois 
from the Pottawattamies, Ottawas, Chippewas, Winnebagoes and 
Kickapoos, there can be no doubt. But they, like his own gallant 
little band of Sauks, were sadly deficient in guns, ammunition, 
clothing and food, to enable them to go upon the war-path with 
any hope of being effective. The same condition of things he 
well knew would be true as applied to the other Indian tribes of 
the Mississippi valley, whom he hoped and expected would unite 
with him in the formation of his contemplated great Indian Con- 
federacy. He had neither money, furs, peltries or credit ; but of 
his ability to overcome this difficulty, he had not the least doubt, 
because he, with the flower of his band of braves, had fought in the 
war of 1812-14, under the British flag against the United States, 
he felt that he had the riglifc to expect even demand aid and 
assistance from the British in righting what he not only felt, but 
knew, were his wrongs at the hands of the pale-faced pioneers and 
the United States troops. In his expectation of assistance from 
Great Britain he largely relied upon his understanding of human 
nature in the savage State, that once an enemy always an 
enemy. He knew nothing of christianized civilization, under 
whose influence nations, like lawyers, may quarrel and fight to 
the bitter end, as it were, and then immediately shake hands and 
laugh over the causes of their late contentions and become friends 

For the purpose of enlisting the sympathies and arousing the 
animosities which he had no doubt still existed betwen the 


United States and Great Britain, he visited Canada in the fall of 
1831, and spent several months on his mission. While he found 
a considerable amount of bad feeling existed among the common 
English people against the people and Government of the United 
States, the officials, both civil and military, were friendly to the 
Americans. Gen. Dixon, as stated by Black Hawk, told him 
" there never will be another war between Great Britain and the 
United States," and since over seventy years of peace and good- 
will have passed since the utterance of this opinion, Gen. 
Dixon's language seems prophetic. This gallant British officer, 
whom Black Hawk supposed was among his warmest friends, and 
with whom he served with the rank of Colonel of cavalry in the 
British army in the war of 1812-14, advised him to abandon his 
entire scheme of war and return to his people and present his 
grievances to the President of the United States, who would lay 
the matter before the Congress, and that he could implicitly rely 
upon the ultimate justice of the American people in doing him 
and his people what was right in the premises. Though sur- 
prised and deeply disappointed at the utterances of these senti- 
ments by Gen. Dixon, and his reception by the Canadian 
officials, he was not prepared or willing to abandon his great hope 
and expectation of yet receiving active and material aid and 
assistance in his contemplated war, from the British, either as a 
Government, or from individuals. His great scheme of forming 
an Indian Confederacy was too dear to his heart to permit even 
a serious doubt of its ultimate complete success. 

He had already received tidings from his emissaries, whom he 
had sent down the Mississippi, of the most nattering nature, 
while his assurances from the Indian tribes, inhabiting the valley 
of the upper Mississippi, of co-operation and assistance, were 
entirely satisfactory. Everything seemed prosperous and favor- 
able to his enterprise, notwithstanding his unexpected rebuffal 
by the Canadian officials, except a want of arms, ammunition 
and supplies. He resolved to make a desperate effort to obtain 
these from the British, and to that end he traveled all over 
Canada, not only from city to city, town to town and village to 
village, but from hamlet to hamlet, and home to home, with an 
interpreter, urging his claims alike upon the high and the low, 
officers and citizens, dwelling upon his military aid to them in 
risking his life and the loss of his braves upon the tented fields, 
in their cause, and appealing to their love of even-handed justice 


and respect of common humanity. Next to the incomparable 
Keokuk, he was the ablest orator his tribe ever produced, and 
now brought into active use all his wonderful ability as such in 
showing that the so-called Qushquamme treaty of November 3, 
1604, under and by virtue of which the United States Govern- 
ment claimed title to the lands of his tribe, lying in Illinois, was 
not only voidable but void abinitio under tribal laws of the Sauks, 
which vested the title in the nation as a tribe, from which they 
could not be divested except in the manner defined in chapter II, 
viz. : by recommendation of their council and vote of their 
assembly, neither of which had ever been done in that case, of 
which fact the United States Government ha$ been informed. 
That for this reason the United States had procured no title to 
the lands in question or to any part or portion thereof, and if it 
did he asserted that the United States had abandoned all right 
through the universal law of limitations, since not only twenty- 
one years but over twenty- five years had elapsed between the date 
of the treaty and the time when the United States demanded pos- 
session. He then pictured in fervid language the oiitrages and 
oppressions the pale-faced pioneers had heaped upon his tribe ; 
of their final expulsion from their homes and growing crops, and 
the destruction of their city by the Illinois volunteers, a short time 
prior to his visit to Canada. But the dignified British officials, 
while admitting that he and his tribe had been shamefully treated, 
advised him that if the Sauk tribe had not authorized Quash- 
quamme ard his few associates to sell and cede their lands, the 
United States could not legally take them. Yet they told him 
plainly that their Government were on terms of peace and accord 
with the Government of the United States, and therefore, while 
keenly sympathizing with him and his tribe in their misfortunes, 
they could not, and dare not, give him any material aid or assist- 
ance, or even a hope, thereof. 

He appealed to their sense of gratitude for the dangers 
he and his band had gone through in their cause in the war of 
1812-14, but to no purpose. Yet, so strong was his faith in the 
justice of his claim and the success of his plans, that heremained- 
in Canada, engaged in his efforts, un+il late in January, 1832. 
Shortly after his departure for Canada, Neapope, who had re- 
turned from his first trip to Canada, followed him thither on the 
same mission. Though working for the accomplishment of the 
same object, they did not work together, or on the same line. 


While Black Hawk presented the martial or heroic side of the 
question, Neapope worked up what we may term the religious 
side. From being the half-brother of the Prophet, and living in 
his village, he was acknowledged to be his representative and 
mouth- piece, and as such he was received with great favor by the 
Canadian Indians and half-breeds, and mingled with the lower 
strata of the British subjects. Unscrupulous and eloquent, he 
was an able ally of Black Hawk in building up sympathy in be- 
half of the Sauks, as well as real friends to their scheme of an 
Indian confederacy. As there existed among the masses of the 
Canadian people but little love or respect for the American people 
or Government, Neapope became much elated with what he con- 
sidered absolute promises of aid from the British in Canada. 
Whether he met Black Hawk while there or not we are unable to 
determine from either of their statements, but both of them kept 
up communications with the Prophet, and through this means 
were reasonably well posted upon all the moves upon the checker 
board of operations. Winneshiek was really the motor power and 
prime mover of the whole affair, notwithstanding he remained 
closely at his village on the dividing line between the lands of the 
ISauks and Winnebagoes. In his lodge at Prophetstown, on Rock 
river, Illinois, he directed every move through his swift-footed and 
trusty messengers and signal fires. 

On Black Hawk's return from Canada, early in February, 1832, 
to the place where Saukenuk had stood, he found three white 
families had settled there, and (using his own words) "were mak- 
ing fences and dividing our cornfields for their own use. They 
were quarrelling among themselves about their lines of division. 
I went to my lodge (in the field which had escaped the fire when the 
village was burned by the Illinois Volunteers the preceding June) 
and saw a family occupying it. I wished to talk with them, but 
they could not understand me. I then went to Eock Island, the 
agent being absent, I told the interpreter (Antoine LeClair) what 
I wanted to say to these people, viz : Not to settle on our lands 
nor trouble our fences ; that there was plenty of land in the coun- 
try for them to settle upon, and that they must leave our village, 
as we were coming back to it in the spring. The interpreter wrote 
me a paper. I went back and showed it to the intruders, but 
could not understand their reply. I presumed, however, that 
they would remove, as I expected them to. I returned to Ptock 
Island, passed the night there, and had a long conversation with 


the trader (Col. Davenport). He advised me to give up and 
make my village with Keokuk on the Iowa river. I told him I 
would not. The next morning I crossed the Mississippi on very 
bad ice, but the Great Spirit had made it strong that I might 
pass over safe. I traveled three days further to see the Winne- 
bago sub-agent and converse with him about our difficulties. He 
gave no "better news than the trader had done. I then started 
by way of Eock Island to see the Prophet, believing that he was 
a man of great knowledge. When we met I explained to him 
everything as it was. He at once agreed that I was right, and 
advised me never to give up our village for the whites to plow up 
the bones of our people. He said that if we remained at our vil- 
lage the whites would not trouble us, and advised me to get Keo- 
kuk and the party that consented to go with him to Iowa in the 
spring to return and remain at our v.illage." 

Inasmuch as Black Hawk's and Winneshiek's plan of opera- 
tions were not yet matured, the strong probability is that his ex- 
cuse for going on to Eock Island to see the interpreter to notify 
the squatters off the Sauk lands, was a mere subterfuge to gain 
admission to the fort to ascertain the strength of its garrison, and 
take in its topography with the most assailable points of attack. 
Having failed to gain admission to Fort Armstrong the first day, 
he returned and spent the night there in hopes of familiarizing 
himself with the fort and all its surroundings. He made several 
attempts to gain admission to the fort, but Major Bliss, then in 
command, met each and every attempt with a courteous but firm 
refusal. He was too experienced a fighter to unmask his batteries 
before the hour for action came. Black Hawk's expression of his 
faith and confidence in the protecting hand of Deity is beautifully 
expressed, "I crossed the Mississippi on very bad ice, but the 
Great Spirit had made it strong that I might pass over safe." 
How similar in thought to that of Moses : "And the Lord caused 
the sea to go back, and made the sea dry land, and the Children 
of Israel went in the midst of the sea upon dry ground." Black 
Hawk makes no mention of his attempt to gain admission to the 
fort on these visits, but admits that Col. Davenport advised 
him to remain at his new village on the Iowa river. Failing in 
obtaining admission to the fort, he crossed over to the south 
side and went up to the principal village of the Winnebagos, near 
where Belvidere now stands, and conferred with M. Gratiot, their 


Sub-agent, who gave him good advice, although unsavory to 
him. He again went back to Eock Island, where he met St. 
Vrain, the newly appointed sub-agent to the Sauks and Foxes, 
who gave him similar advice to that he had already received from 
Colonel Davenport and Mr. Gratiot, all of which was like worm- 
wood and gaul to his feelings. 

He again went to Fort Armstrong, under pretense of making a, 
friendly call upon Major Bliss and the gallant Captain Phillip 
Kearney, (afterwards General Kearney) but was not admitted to 
the fort. Failing in this he left for Prophetstown, to confer with 
the Prophet, who advised him we should have said ordered 
him to return with his entire band to Saukenuk, and retake 
possession of the lands of his tribe, peaceably, and under no 
circumstances or provocation should he allow or permit his 
braves to commence hostilities against the white settlers, or com- 
mit any act of aggression towards the whites, or their property, 
assuring him that the United States would not molest him or his 
people in the quiet enjoyment and possession of their homes and 
farm-lands at Saukenuk. Highly pleased with this advise, as 
being the starting point in his fondly cherished scheme of an 
Indian Confederacy, knowing full well that the moment he should 
attempt the reoccupation of Saukennk and its adjacent fields the 
white settlers then in possession would precipitate a collision, 
which would eventuate in the forcible removal of his tribe, leav- 
ing him on the defensive side of the question, the sympathies of 
the Indian tribes surrounding would be at once aroused in his 
behalf, he returned to his new village on the Iowa river, and com- 
menced preparations with a view of recrossing the Mississippi 
early in the spring. Shortly after his return home, that arrant 
braggart and monstrous liar Neapope returned from his pil- 
grimage in Canada to Prophetstown, where, after a short stay, he 
wended his way over to Black Hawk's new village. As stated by 
himself, "The Prophet sent me across the Mississippi to Black 
Hawk with a message to tell him and his band to cross back to 
his village, and make corn. That if the Americans came and 
told them to move again, they would shake hands with them." 
But, as stated by the old chief, Neapope assured him that the 
British commander at Fort Maiden, in Canada, had assured him 
that "in the event of the Sauks taking up arms and making war 
with the United States, to regain these lands and the ancient vil- 
lage of Saukenuk, the British Government would stand by and 


assist them." But instead of this advice, Neapope was told, as 
Black Hawk had been but a short time before, that the British 
would not, and dare not, assist him in levying war upon the 
United States, and that by going to war these Indians could do 
no good, and must utterly fail ; and would be annihilated by the 
military force of the United States. 

That Gen. Dixon told him that if the Sauk tribe had not 
sold their lands to the United States, the latter could not right- 
fully take them, and as the legal titles were vested in the whole 
tribe, it could not be divested, except in the form prescribed and 
practised by and under tribal laws, and that not being the case 
in the treaty of 1804, no title passed under that treaty from the 
Sauk Nation to the United States, is doubtless true, as stated by 
him. As a matter of law both Indian and whiteman's this 
was sound doctrine and good law. But with the white pioneer 
there is a higher law pertaining to the ownership and possession 
of Indian lands, whenever they take a fancy to them, which may 
be termed Morman law, or the law of necessity, the Morman 
rule, as expounded by Joseph Smith, the prophet, applied to 
lands he coveted, as set forth in a former chapter. In this 
respect the pioneers along the border of the Indians' lands are 
natural born Mormans, and prolific in visions commanding them 
to take the Indians' lands. Boundary lines in Indian treaties 
have no significance to them. Might is all the right they con- 
sider. If the Indians dare make resistance to their encroach- 
ments, skirmishes ensue, when somebody is killed. 

This is what they most desire, provided that they are not that 
somebody. Then follows an Indian war, which drives them 
back, then a treaty, and the Indians foot the bill by a cession of 
the very lands the pioneers were after when they inaugurated the 
war. Every skirmish with the whitemen cuts off another slice of 
the Indians' lands, until it is absorbed, and is always a God- 
send to the advancing pioneer, who escapes from the skirmish 
with his scalp on, for it affords him the opportunity to gobble up, 
pre-empt and sell to the actual settler a farm, and then, like the 
buffalo, migrate farther west, in search of another like adven- 
ture. Even the federal bayonets are no protection against their 
penchant for Indian lands, as evidenced by the numerous raids 
into the present Indian territory. Neapope, besides being the 
champion liar, was the lago, Pecksniff and Uriah Heap of his 
tribe, combined in one. " He proceeded to inform me privately," 


says the old chief, "that the Prophet wanted to see me, as he had 
good news to tell me, and that I would hear good news in the 
spring from the British. That the Prophet requested him to give 
me all the particulars, but he would much prefer that I should 
see the Prophet myself, and learn directly from him. 'But,' said 
he, 'the Prophet had received expresses from the British General, 
who says he will send us guns, ammunition, provisions and cloth- 
ing in the spring. The vessels that bring them will come by the 
way of Milwaukee. The prophet has likewise received wampum 
and tobacco from the different nations on the lakes, Ottawas, 
Chippewas and Pottawattamies, and as to the Winnebagoes, he 
has them all at command. We are going to be happy once more. 
The prophet told me that all the tribes mentioned would fight for 
us if necessary, and the British father will support us if we should 
be whipped, which is hardly possible. We will still be safe, the 
prophet having received a friendly talk from the chief of Wassi- 
cummico at Selkirk's settlement, telling him that if we were not 
happy in our own country to let him know and he would make 
us happy. He had received information from the British father 
that we had been badly treated by the Americans. We must go 
and see the prophet. I will go first. You had better remain and 
get as many of your people to join you as you can. You know 
everything that we have done. We leave the matter with you to 
arrange among your people as you please. I will return to the 
prophet's village to-morrow. You can, in the mean time, 
make up your mind as to the course you will pursue, and send 
word to the prophet by me, as he is anxious to assist us, and 
wishes to know whether you will join us and assist to make your 
people happy.' " 

Oh, the circumstantial villain ! In downright duplicity and 
devil-like villainy, Neapope out-Iagoed lago himself. " The 
Prophet requested me to give you all the particulars privately, 
but I would much rather you would see him yourself and learn 
all from him." Thus having excited his curiosity upon the most 
intensely interesting subject, he leads his victim on. " But I will 
tell you," etc., and details a batch of bewitching falsehoods to the 
over- attentive ear of the old chieftain. Every word was taken as 
true, and Black Hawk transported to the seventh heaven. 

The British father had at last agreed to furnish arms, ammuni- 
tion, food and clothing, and stand by him and his war to regain 


the graves of his sires. It was almost too good to be true. Know- 
ing that he had cruelly deceived his chief, and fearful that he 
might nee to the Prophet with his thanks and learn that all his 
statements were false, this arrant liar and knave fortified by say- 
ing he would go back to the Prophet, while Black Hawk had 
better stay with his people and collect them together and prepare 
for the fruition of the promised good time coming. Had some 
guardian angel whispered in his ear, 

"O, (Black Hawk) beware of yonder dog, 

Look where he fawns, he bites, and where he JDites 

His venom tooth rankles to the death ; 

Have naught to do with him, beware of him, 

Sin, death, and hell, have set their mark on him" 

how much anguish, woe and blood-shed would have been averted. 
No living soul did so much, yet so adroitly in leading the old 
chief to adopt the course he did as Ne'apope. Having thus 
wrought his victim up to the highest pitch of expectation, he left 
him and returned to Prophetstown to enlist all the braves for the 
rebellion among the immediate retainers or followers of the 
Prophet he could. Another factor now entered into the conspir- 
acy, which was the squaws of Black Hawk's band. If, as Gen. 
Gaines said, they were bitterly opposed to losing their homes 
and farms at Saukenuk in 1831, their privations and hardships in 
the wilds of Iowa rendered them furious to return in 1832. They 
were "more boisterous than a parrot against rain" for their old 
homes and cornfields. Black Hawk says, that "during the night 
I thought over everything Neapope told me, and was pleased to 
think that by a little exertion on my part I could accomplish the 
object of all my wishes, and determined to follow the advice of 
the Prophet, and sent word to him by Neapope that I would get 
all my braves together and explain to them all the Prophet, 
through Neapope, had sent to me, and recruit as many as I could 
from the different villages. I sent the glad tidings to Keokuk's 
band of the Sauks, also to the Fox tribe. But Keokuk returned 
to me for answer: "You have been imposed upon by liars, and 
had much better remain where you are and keep quiet." A wet 
blanket this, but wholesome advice. Black Hawk attributed 
Keokuk's feelings and answer to his personal feelings against 
himself, as they had been rivals for nearly twenty years. 

Keokuk's band, together with the Foxes, it should be remem- 
bered, had then been west of the Mississippi two years, and had 
become comfortably established in their new homes, and were 


happy and contented. The United States Government having 
furnished teams and breaking-plows, they had their corn-lands 
in good condition, and were too wary to play the part of the fly 
to Black Hawk's spider in Uncle Sam's kitchen. With the ex- 
ception of Powesheik,* or round bear, not one of the Foxes of 
note had anything to do with the Black Hawk war. He had been 
adopted and raised by Neapope and was drawn into the difficulties 
by him. He was a prominent young Chief of the Fox band, but 
Wapello, the Prince, or he that was painted white better known 
among the white people of Eock Island as the 30-bottle Chief, 
for he got away with thirty bottles of champagne at one sittingt 
was then their principal or head Chief. He, like Keokuk, was 
the firm, unflinching friend of the white people who, in turn, held 
him in high esteem for his many good qualities of thought and 
action. Generous, liberal, kind and noble alike in bearing and 
behavior he was a universal favorite among the pioneers of the 
then west, whose latch-strings were always hanging out for him to 
enter their cabins and receive a right cordial welcome. Neither 
he nor his tribe had any immediate cause of grievance against 
the white people, and were, therefore, kindly disposed to them and 
decidedly averse to making war against them. For these reasons 
Black Hawk met with a cold reception when he attempted to 
recruit warriors from or elicit sympathy in this band for his mad 
enterprise. Wapello and Keokuk were flaming swords in his path- 
way, whom he could neither intimidate or bribe. 

Every overture and advance made by Black Hawk to enlist 
soldiers for his mad scheme of a great Indian Confederacy having 

'*8ee biographical sketch. 

tin 1829 Colonel Davenport gave a large dinner-party to Major Bliss. Captain 
Kearney and other officers in command of Fort Armstrong, together with the prin- 
cipal Chiefs, Black Hawk, Keokuk, Wapello, Powesheik, etc. The Colonel's cellars 
ware well-filled with choice wines, and the finest brands of champagne were 
brought out to complete the feast. As the freed corks went bounding against the 
ceiling, each accompanied by a loud report, and followed by the effervescent liquid, 
boiling and hissing, the Indians were f tightened indeed, terrified. For in this they 
saw the palpable existence of the Bad Spirit, and were in the act of fleeing for their 
lives. The Colonel had marked their fright, and at once assured them that there 
was no harm in the bottles; that, on the contrary, it was "big medicine," and pro- 
ceeded to swallow down a bumper, followed by the other white men at the table. 
After watching these white men, who had swallowed the champagne, a few moments, 
doubtless expecting to see the tops of their heads blown off; but, as no harm seemed 
to happen, Wapello inclined his head back, opened his mouth, beckoned a waiter to 
pour some of the liquor into it, interlocked his fingers, with both hands over his 
head to catch and save his scalp-lock, he swallowed one draught, when, dropping 
his hands from his head, he gave a loud whoop, seized the glass and swallowed its 
contents. He kept repeating until he had emptied thirty bottles ere he left the table 


failed, he determined to adopt the suggestion of Gen. Dixon, 
and present the whole matter to the President and Cabinet. But, 
uuder the compact of June 30, 1831, he nor any of his subaltern 
chiefs, braves or warriors could cross to the east side of the Mis- 
sissippi without permission from the President, or Governor of 
Illinois; hence, he applied through Keokuk to Gov. Clark 
for permission for himself and subaltern chiefs to visit Washing- 
ton City for the purpose of laying his grievances before the Presi- 
dent in person. Keokuk immediately made application for such 
permit, but did not succeed. 

Indeed, that officer did not even deign a reply. Had this rea- 
sonable request of Keokuk, who had all his life been the white 
man's friend, been acceded to, and a personal interview had 
"with the President by Black Hawk and his subaltern chiefs, the 
strong probabilities are, the war would have been averted by an 
amicable adjustment of the whole matter in dispute, for Black 
Hawk says : " I had determined to listen to the advice of my 
friends, and if permitted to see our Great Father, to abide by his 
counsel, whatever it might be. Every overture was made by 
Keokuk to prevent difficulty, and I anxiously hoped that some- 
thing would be done for my people that it might be avoided. But 
there was bad management somewhere, or the difficulty which 
has taken place would have been avoided. When it was ascer- 
tained that we would not be permitted to go to Washington, I 
resolved upon my course and again tried to recruit some braves 
from Keokuk's band to accompany me, but to no purpose." Had 
Black Hawk gone to Washington City at that time he would have 
seen the utter impossibility of his raising an army of sufficient 
size to contend against the United States, and would have real- 
ized the fact that war on his part would result in the utter anni- 
hilation of his band. The kindly interference of Keokuk in inter- 
ceding for Black Hawk and obtaining for him and his subaltern 
chiefs permission to visit Washington City having failed, only 
increased the latter's distrust and hatred towards the former, and 
made the old Chief all the more fierce for war against the white 

Another circumstance occurred about this time, which added 
fuel to the flame of hatred between these Indians and the United 
States. The Menpminees and Sioux killed several Foxes, who 
were the natural allies of the Sauks. To avenge this outrage, 
a strong force of the Foxes went up the Mississippi river to 
Prairie du Chien. On arriving at the vicinity of the encamp- 
ment of the Menominees they met a Winnebago and asked him 


to go on before them and ascertain if there were any Winne- 
bagoes in the Menominee camp, as they did not desire to kill any 
of the Winnebagoes. The Winnebago not only warned those of 
his own tribe, but also the Menominees. The Foxes made a sud- 
den charge on the camp and killed about thirty of their enemies, 
and then made their escape. 

Under article 14 of the treaty of Prairie du Chien, of August 19, 
1825, the United States assumed the position of arbitrator, in 
settling and adjusting all matters of disagreement or dispute 
between the several Indian tribes of the Upper Mississippi, em- 
bracing the Sioux, Chippewas, Sauks, Foxes, loways, Menomi- 
nees, Winnebagoes, Ottawas, and Pottawattamies, and in pursu- 
ance of said treaty, the United States demanded from the Fox: 
chiefs the surrender of the members of their tribe who committed 
or participated in this attack upon and slaughter of the Menomi- 
nees, that they might be tried by the civil authorities of the 
United States for murder. Inasmuch as the United States had 
made no similar demand on the Chiefs of the Menominees and 
Sioux for the surrender of the murderers of the Foxes, the latter 
refused to accede to or recognize this demand until they had con- 
ferred with and consulted Black Hawk, in whose wisdom and 
experience they placed great confidence. He, without the least 
hesitation, said that a rule which worked one way only, was a 
bad one. The Menominees and Sioux having committed the 
first murders, should be first tried, and until the United States 
took steps for the surrender and trial of these murderers, the Fox: 
Chiefs should not surrender up the avengers, who retaliated by 
killing a few of their enemies in return for the dastardly decoy- 
ing into ambush and brutally killing and scalping of the Foxes. 
This fact becoming known to the officers in charge at Prairie du 
Chien and Fort Armstrong, and through them to the Department 
at Washington, naturally intensified the already bad impression 
they entertained for the wiley old Sauk Chief, who already had 
the reputation of being a scheming diplomat and chronic treaty- 
breaker, with the skill and cunning to overreach all the United 
States Commissioners who had attempted to make treaties with 

But it is safe to say his great, unpardonable sin consisted in 
the fact that he fought under the British flag against the United 
States some twenty years prior, and not only he, but his entire 
band, were therefore considered British allies, and he a British 
spy. But for what purpose he was so engaged nobody ever 


attempted to explain so far as we have been able to ascertain. 
Some writers assert that he paid annual visits to Canada to re- 
ceive his pay in British gold for his services as a British spy in 
the wilds of Illinois. If this be true, the British were very dis- 
courteous to him in not sending him the price of his labor to the 
place of his service, instead of compelling him to make such long 
annual pilgrimages to obtain it, besides being absent from his 
post of duty a large portion of his time in going to and returning 
from Canada. This story that Black Hawk was a British spy has 
been asserted and reiterated by three grave Governors of the State 
of Illinois, Edwards, Reynolds and Ford, and is about as reason- 
able as the old woman's belief that "the moon Wis made of green 
cheese." It is too silly to be treated even as good nonsense. 

Our Government had been on terms of peace and accord with 
Great Britain for nearly twenty years, and no cause existed for em- 
ploying an Indian as a spy, or anybody else, even at Washington 
City, much less in the western wilderness. All efforts at an ami- 
cable adjustment of the difficulties had failed, urged on alike 
by the squaws of his tribe, who were bitterly opposed to remain- 
ing in their new homes, and fortified by the false reports he had 
received from his emissaries from the lower Mississippi and the 
liar, Neapope, Black Hawk now bent every energy toward raising 
as large a force as possible to recross the Mississippi, and regain 
their possessions with force and arms. His runners, whom he 
had sent down the Mississippi, now began to return, and reported 
that all the Indian tribes below the'mouth of the Illinois to the 
Gulf of Mexico were eager and ready to dig up the tomahawk and 
unite with the Sauks in a general massacre of the pioneer whites 
all along the valley of the Mississippi, and were now listening 
with open ears to catch the sound of Black Hawk's war whoop > 
and send it on down the river from lip to ear until its echo should 
strike the broad bosom of the Gulf and be lost on its surface. 
His emissaries among the tribes east of the Mississippi away up 
beyond Prairie du Chien made similar reports, so that, with all 
his caution, the old chief was completely carried away into the 
regions, not only of hope, but belief, that the great wrongs of the 
pale-faces upon his band would soon be avenged, and that he 
should be the instrument in the hands of his Manitou in accom- 
plishing it. Barbarian though he was, yet he was a firm believer 
in the existence of an all-wise and governing being to whom he 
offered up his simple orisons not only daily, but almost hourly. 
In order to fully understand matters leading up to the crisis, we 
go back to see what was going on at Fort Armstrong. 



An Early Winter and a Late Spring A Weak Fort and Feeble Garrison, on Half Ra- 
tions Visited by Sickness Great Solicitude and Painful Anxiety among the 
Officers in Command as to its Fate Josiah Smart goes to Prairie du Chien and 
Sergeant Colter to Jefferson Barracks for Provisions and Be- enforcements 
Keokuk's Message and Bequest The Turkey Scare and Tale of a Teapot. 

I find the people strangely fantasied, 

Posessed with rumors, full of idle dreams, 

Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear. SHAKSPEAKE. 

The winter of 1831-2, though not nearly as severe as the pre- 
ceding one, was nevertheless a long and cold one. The Missis- 
sippi was frozen over in November, and continued so until the 
latter part of March following. Unfortunately for the garrison at 
Fort Armstrong, a sufficient supply of provisions had not been 
forwarded them before the close of navigation, and as that river 
was their only highway or means of transportation, they were 
unable to obtain any after the river was frozen over. This was 
before the era of railroads or other public means of transporta- 
tion. Nor were there any w^hite settlements in that vicinity from 
whom they could obtain provisions of any kind in sufficient quan- 
tities to be of material service to them. Fortunately in one res- 
pect, at last, the garrison had been reduced to only 150 men, 
rank and file, so there were fewer stomachs to supply, yet few as 
there were, they were compelled to subsist on short rations all 
winter, and for several weeks prior to the first of April, on half 
rations. As a natural result many were taken sick, while all 
were emaciated, disheartened and discouraged. A portion of the 
soldiers were old, and should have been placed on the retired list. 
What from sickness and infirmity, there were not to exceed one 
hundred men in the garrison able to perform military duty of 
any kind, and not one fit for hard service. The fort itself, 
was a mere old wooden shell, built of hewed logs, four hun- 
dred feet square and, therefore, a mere excuse. Standing near 
the foot of Eock Island, exposed to the rains and snows of six- 
teen winters, and the fogs and damp 'atmospheres of a like 


number of springs, summers and autumns; honey-combed by 
worms and dry as tinder, Fort Armstrong was less secure 
than a common stockade at that time. Composed of dry logs, 
a few well-directed fire shafts from the Indians' bows must 
have created such a fire as to consume the entire structure in a 
very short space of time, as the garrison had no effective means 
wherewith to contend against that dread element. They neither 
had a fire engine, Babcock extinguisher, or hook and ladder 
company, for it was before their day. Whilst Rock Island is 
virtually a dead level, it rises abruptly up many feet above the 
river, and at its lower end where the fort stood, its embankments 
are magnesian lime stone rock, thus forming, as it were, a break- 
water, and creating a perfect protection to the marauder who 
should hug close to this wall right under the guns of the fort, for 
they could not be brought to bear upon this point. Hence, the 
officers in command at the fort fully understood their weak and 
defenseless condition. Surrounded on all sides by Indians, some 
of whom were known to be anything but friendly to the whites, 
and the fidelity of all surrounding tribes distrusted, the very air 
was full of the most startling rumors of Indian infidelity and 
preparations for war. Major Bliss and his feeble garrison were 
filled with the gravest misgivings, not only for the safety of the 
pioneers of the border, but of the fort itself and its comparatively 
helpless inmates. Day by day their provisions were nearing their 
end, and still the merciless ice blockaded the only highway over 
which provisions and reinforcements could be obtained. 

Frequent conferences were held between the commander of the 
fort and Col. Davenport, whose residence and trading-house 
were situated on the island, about a half-mile northeast of the 
fort. The Colonel had lived and done business there during the 
sixteen years preceeding, and therefore was well posted on all 
Indian affairs, together with their language, customs, habits and 
intentions, and was fully impressed with the belief that a general 
uprising of all the Indian tribes of Illinois, as well as the Sauks 
and Foxes west of the Mississippi, was imminent. That Black 
Hawk, Neapope, and the so-called Prophet, Winnesheik, were 
plotting, scheming and planning an indiscriminate massacre of 
the pioneer whites of Illinois he had the most indubitable evi- 
dence. Yet he had implicit confidence in the good faith and 
fidelity of Keokuk and Wapello, with whom he was in almost daily 
communication, through his most able, faithful and diligent spy, 


Josiah Smart, a white man of liberal education, who, several years 
prior to that date, had immured himself in the wilds of the then 
far West, and married a Fox squaw, with whom he was living 
very pleasantly. When among the Indians he wore their garb, 
when among the white people he dressed as they did. He well 
understood, and perfectly spoke, the Indian language. Bold, 
brave, shrewd, and withal prudent, he was alike cautious, when 
that quality was in demand. Besides possessing these qualities, 
he was a thoroughbred hunter and well skilled in wood-craft, 
hence his services at this critical time were greatly needed, and 
right willingly were they granted. Major Bliss wanted a mes- 
senger to send up the Mississippi to Fort Crawford, at Prairie du 
Chien, to urge the commandant at that point to send supplies 
and reinforcements to Fort Armstrong. The task was a danger- 
ous as well as difficult one, as he would be compelled to pass 
through the Indian country nearly the entire distance. Joe 
Smart, upon the recommendation of Col. Davenport, was 
selected for the mission. 

Donning his Indian suit, with a pair of skates well secured to 
his feet, he started upon his perilous journey about the first of 
March, upon the smooth ice of the Mississippi, and reached the 
point of his destination without much difficulty or delay. While 
the commandant of Fort Crawford keenly sympathized with the 
garrison at Fort Armstrong, and was willing and anxious to afford 
all the relief in his power, he, too, was short of soldiers to properly 
man the fort and afford security and protection to the white 
pioneers in the vicinity of Prairie du Chien, for the Indian tribes 
of that region were also giving evident manifestations of ill-will 
against the whites, and assuming an attitude of defiance and 

Black Hawk's emissaries had traversed the whole country, 
spreading the contagion of insurrection and war in every tribe 
along the upper Mississippi, who were excited, restless and inso- 
lent, if not openly hostile to the white people. All the latent 
devil of these naturally revengeful and brutal natives came to 
the surface, threatening calamity and death to the pioneers. 
Hence the commander dare not send any portion of his already 
too weak garrison to reinforce Fort Armstrong. But provisions 
he had so that he could spare a sufficient amount to supply the 
immediate wants of Major Bliss ; but how could they be trans- 
ported Was the serious question to be solved, as the river was 


still locked up by the ice, and there was no other means of trans- 
portation. Hoping, and daily expecting the ice would thaw out, 
he proceeded to prepare and load with provisions a couple of 
barges or scows, and hired a few French and half-breed French 
and Indian roust-abouts, and placed Josiah Smart in charge of 
men and boats, ready to start with the ice the moment a space 
of water was cleared, down the Mississippi. The ice began to 
move in a few days, when Josiah Smart and his fleet, and motley 
crew, started with the current, for Eock Island. Although fre- 
quently caught in ice gorges, and therefore delayed somewhat, 
Smart and his barges, loaded with supplies, reached their desti- 
nation the latter part of March, to the joy of fhe half starved 
garrison and people. But prior to the arrival of Joe. Smart 
and his barges, not hearing from him or getting any tidings 
from Fort Crawford, Major Bliss dispatched Sergeant Colter 
with two privates, in a skiff, down the Mississippi to Jefferson 
Barracks, below St. Louis, with dispatches to Gen. Henry Atkin- 
son, then in command of the army of the west, detailing the con- 
dition of the fort and garrison on Rock Island, together with the 
imimnent peril the white people at and near there were then in 
from the threatened hostile movements of Black Hawk. 

In the meantime, Keokuk, the Saugenash, or whiteman's friend, 
kept a close watch upon every move made by Black Hawk, in 
whose village he kept his spies continuously, was advised that 
the latter had fully determined to recross the Mississippi that 
spring, with as large a force of hostiles as he could possibly 
obtain, and for that purpose would go to Keokuk's village, on the 
Iowa river, a short distance above its confluence with the Mis- 
sissippi, and erect his war-post and hold his war-dance, hoping 
thereby to enlist a large number, if not all the braves, of Keokuk's 
band of the Sauks under his banner. 

The noble Keokuk had previously pledged his life to protect 
Col. Davenport and family, together with the white settlers 
near Eock Island, and for the double purpose of advising the 
white settlers, near Eock Island, of their danger, and assuring 
them of his fidelity, he sent a trusty Indian to the Island to inform 
Col. Davenport what was going on at Black Hawk's village, 
and of his intentions to make war on the whites, coupled with the 
request that some trusty white man should be immediately sent 
to his village to learn all that was transpiring, and bear witness 
to his own integrity of purpose and active agency in preventing 


the organization of any considerable number of braves, as an 
army of invasion. While not for a moment doubting the fidelity 
of Keokuk, after consulting with Major Bliss, who now acted in 
concert with Col. Davenprrt, they decided it advisable to have 
a true and tried friend at, or as near, the enemy's camp as prac- 
ticable. Although Josiah Smart had but just returned from his 
wearisome journey to Prairie du Chien, he was selected for this 
hazardous and perilous duty, and at once made his preparation 
for starting. Painting his face as a Sauk brave, clothed as an 
Indian, and accompanied by two real Indians, in an Indian canoe, 
he struck out from Eock Island, down the Mississippi to the 
mouth of the Iowa, then up that river to Keokuk's village, where 
they arrived safely in the afternoon of the evening Black Hawk 
and his braves were expected to hold their war-dance there. He 
was very cordially welcomed by Keokuk. But, as he was as 
readily recognized by the Indians when playing Indian as when 
playing white man, his presence at Keokuk's village dare not 
reach the sight or hearing of Black Hawk, for, if it did, he would 
have been killed at once as a spy. To avoid this, Keokuk took him 
to his own lodge and concealed him under a pile of saddles, 
kettles, etc., and covered the whole with blankets. Here poor 
Jo had to remain seventy-two hours before he dare leave his 
place of concealment, half-starved and nearly smothered. While 
these things were transpiring, word was sent to all the white 
people of the frontier of Black Hawk's hostile intention, with 
advice for their taking immediate refuge and shelter in Fort 
Armstrong or a stockade. 

Foreseeing that the fort could not afford shelter to all the pio- 
neers with their families, Col. Davenport proceeded to erect a 
substantial stockade around his dwelling and trading house. 
This stockade was constructed of hewed logs, set on end in a 
trench running around his buildings, furnished with loop holes, 
etc. Bat unfortunately he made the serious mistake of leaving 
his well outside the stood ade, which in case of a seige or an at- 
tempt at firing the buildings, by means of shooting burning 
arrows into the roof, would have been a serious matter for want 
of water to put it out. While in the midst of this wild excitement 
on and near Eock Island, Winnesheik left his village of Proph- 
etstown, now in Whiteside county, Illinois, and went down to 
Eock Island, ostensibly to make a friendly call upon Major 
Bliss, in command at Fort Armstrong, Col. Davenport and St. 


Vrain, the Indian Agent to the Sauks and Foxes. Upon repre- 
sentations made by a few of the settlers in the vicinity that Col. 
Thomas Forsythe, who had been the agent to these Indians for 
many years, was in sympathy with Black Hawk and his band, he 
was removed in the fall or winter of 1830, and a Frenchman, Mr. 
Felix St. Vrain, had succeeded him. This was an unwise, ill- 
advised action, for he was an entire stranger in that locality, and 
had no kind of acquaintance with them, hence no sort of influ- 
ence over these Indians ; while Colonel Forsythe, on the other 
hand, was well acquainted, alike with the white as well as the red 
people at and near Rock Island, and well understood all matters 
in controversy between the Indians and white settlers adjacent. 
To the Indians this change of agents was very obnoxious. Black 
Hawk says : " About this time our agent was put out of office, for 
what reason I could never ascertain. I thought it was for want- 
ing to make us leave our village, and if so, it was right, because I 
was tired of hearing him talk about it. The interpreter,* who 
had been equally as bad in trying to persuade us to leave our vil- 
lage, was retained in office, and the young man who took the 
place of our agent, told the same old story over again about re- 
moving us. I was then satisfied that this could not have been 
the case." 

The truth of the matter is, that the real objects of this visit of 
"Winnesheik to the island, were to ascertain the strength of the 
garrison, condition of the fort, and feelings of the newly appointed 
Indian agent, Col. Davenport and Major Bliss upon the sub- 
ject of the return of Black Hawk with his band to Saukenuk, or 
rather to the place where it stood when destroyed by Gen. 
Gaines and the Illinois volunteers, in 1831. Cunning and shrewd, 
Winneshiek, like Joe Bagstock, was "devilish sly," He possessed 
a thorough knowledge of human nature in all its varieties, from 
the lowest to the highest grades, as evidenced by his advice to 
Black Hawk in a preceding chapter. How like Valeria, the illus- 
trious sister of Publicola, when Eome was besieged by the Vol- 
scians over two thousand years ago, under the command of Cori- 
olanus, whom the Romans had doomed to perpetual banishment 
upon simulated and utterly false charges, when all hope deserted 
the Senate and its armies, and the "Eternal City" seemed to be 
doomed to certain and inevitable ruin, advised that Volumnia, 
the mother, and Virginia, the wife, together with their children, 

* Le Glair. 


be sent to the Volscian camp to intercede with Coriolanus, the 
son, husband and father, to spare Eome and the lives of his 
nation, did Winnesheik advise Black Hawk and his band when 
Saukenuk, their Eome, was besieged by Gen. Gaines, in 1831, 
to send the daughter of the old village chief, or Mayor of Sauk- 
enuk, clothed in the habiliments of mourning, to Fort Armstrong 
to intercede with the General for the homes and cornfields of the 
Sauks. Unless handed down by tradition, Winnesheik could not 
have obtained this thought from Eoman history, because he could 
neither speak or read any written language. Yet how very simi- 
lar the thought. The mother, wife and children of Coriolanus 
pucceeded in saving Eome from destruction by their intercession, 
at the cost of his life, for being suspected of treachery to the Vol- 
scians, they brutally assassinated him. But the daughter of 
Mattatas entirely failed in her mission to save Saukenuk from 
destruction at the hands of the Illinois Volunteers. Gen. 
Gaines adhered to his duty and lived. Since he was the husband 
of Myra, who has been persistently endeavoring to capture a 
large portion of the city of New Orleans for nearly half a century, 
it is reasonable to presume that he was too familiar with the 
persistence of a woman with a mission, to be seriously affected 
by either the tears or supplications of this olive-colored beauty. 
Be this as it may, he courteously, but emphatically refused to 
grant her petition, as shown in a preceding chapter. Black Hawk 
says, "The Prophet came down and joined us below Eock river, 
having called at Eock Island on his way down to consult the War 
Chief, agent and trader, who, he said, used many arguments to 
dissuade him from going with us, requesting him to come and 
meet us and turn us back." It is very clear from the entire con- 
duct of the so-called Prophet, that he fully believed that the 
Quasquamme treaty and cession was absolutely void, and would 
be so held even by the great mass of the white people, when fully 
understood by and explained to them. 

In this belief he showed himself to be quite a statesman, for he 
appealed to the innate honesty of the American people, with a 
full reliance upon their ultimately doing full and complete jus- 
tice to these indians. He knew that, as a whole, the whites were 
fair-minded and upright, more especially so, the educated. That 
there were good and bad among all nations and peoples, with a 
decided preponderance of the good among Christianized people ; 


that among and with the pioneer whites there were greater temp- 
tations to commit wrongs upon the Indians than in the cities, or 
on the farms of the permanently located American citizen ; that 
prompted by greed and cupidity, the pioneers were impelled, step 
by step, to encroach upon the territory of the red man. Yet, 
when the people of the United Slates should become fully advised 
of the rights of the Indians, public sentiment and love of even- 
handed justice would rise up in their majesty and power and 
demand their wrongs should be righted. But to the end that it 
should not appear that these Indians tamely submitted to their 
wrongs, and knowing that whatsoever in life is desirable, cotts 
labor, and when once attained, should not be yielded up for light 
or trivial causes, that whatever is worth the having is worth 
contending for, he was decidedly opposed to the steps taken by 
Black Hawk in fleeing from Saukenuk before the approaching 
soldiers under Generals Gaines and Duncan, the preceding spring, 
and now advised him to return with his entire band, old and 
young, with all their personal effects, and quietly rebuild their 
hodenosotes and plant their corn as they previously had done, 
thus ignoring alike the treaty of 1804 and the singular compact 
or nondescript which Gen. Gaines and Gov. Keynolds had torced 
Black Hawk, for his band, to enter into at Fort Armstrong the 
preceding June, in and by which he and his tribe were inhib- 
ited from crossing to the east side of the Mississippi under any 
pretense, or for any purpose whatever without first obtaining per- 
mission from Old Hickory, or the Old Hanger President Jackson 
and Gov. Reynolds. 

In what way these Indians were to obtain this permission from 
either of these magnates, since to reach their august presence the 
petitioner must cross that, to them, river Styx, in order to pre- 
sent their application, is not explained. Winnesheik, it will be 
remembered, had strongly urged Black Hawk and his band in 
1831 when Gen. Gaines ordered them to cross over to the 
west side of the Mississippi to remain in their lodges and let the 
General remove them by force, and under no circumstances or 
provocations should they offer any kind of hostile resistance to 
the military force of the United States, (as told by his brother, 
Neapope, in a former chapter) from which it is clear that Winne- 
sheik's great controlling idea seems to have been a peaceable 
recrossing of the Mississippi, and a quiet re-entry upon their 


ancient lands and homes. In furtherance of this course of pro- 
cedure, Winnesheik first called on St. Vrain and held a long con- 
ference with him, urging, with all his eloquence, his peculiar views 
on the questions then of such absorbing interest to the Sauk 
band, known as the Black Hawk or British band. But, while giv- 
ing this able Indian a courteous and patient hearing, St. Vrain 
assured him that his theory was impracticable and fallacious ; 
that his instructions were clear and specific ; that these Indians- 
must remain west of the Mississippi, and should they violate the 
so-called treaty of Fort Armstrong by recrossing to the east side 
of the river, that act would be held and construed as an open 
declaration of a hostile intention, no matter howsoever pacific 
their conduct and bearing might be toward the white settlers in 
the vicinity of their old homes, and begged him to use all the 
influence he could possibly bring to bear on Black Hawk and his 
band to abandon all thought of recrossing the Mississippi. 

The Prophet left St. Vrain with feelings of deep chagrin and 
disappointment, wending his way to the office of Colonel Daven- 
port, with whom he held a similar conference with like result. 
He next presented himself at the door of the fort, and asked per- 
mission to enter it, as he said, " to pay a friendly visit to his old 
friend, the War Chief." But the gallant old Major Bliss sus- 
pected his real mission and refused him admission. He, how- 
ever, entered into a lengthy consultation with the Prophet in 
which the latter developed his pet theory of a peaceable return 
of Black Hawk and his band to their old homes at Saukenuk. 
After patiently listening to the oily-tongued and wily Winnesheik; 
Major Bliss told him that such a procedure on the part of Black 
Hawk could not and would not be permitted ; that his instruc- 
tions upon that point from the Secretary of War, were clear, 
specific and mandatory, and if these Indians recrossed the river 
for any purpose, without permission from the President, it would 
be his imperative duty to use not only the military force of the 
United States under his command, in driving them back, but 
also to demand a sufficient force of soldiers from Prairie Du Chien 
and Jefferson Barracks to enable him to annihilate Black Hawk 
and his band, if necessary, to enforce his orders from the Presi- 
dent, through the War Department, and urged him, as St. Vrain 
and Colonel Davenport had previously done, to go down the Mis- 
sissippi to Black Hawk's camp and induce him to return to his 
village on the Iowa river. Winnesheik then returned to the store 


of Davenport & Farnham, where he met Colonel Davenport and 
St. Vrain together, who united in their entreaties to him to pre- 
vent Black Hawk and his band from recrossing the Mississippi. 
He finally promised them that he would go and do all in his 
power to prevent the Sauks from making war against the white 
people, but did not agree to dissuade them from a peaceable 
re-entering upon their old homes at Saukenuk. 

It seems that this cunning Indian was so wedded to his plan that 
neither coaxing or threatening could turn him from at least the 
experiment of trying it. He had observed everything going on 
outside the fort, and was well satisfied that Black Hawk could not 
catch the officers of the fort or Colonel Davenport napping. 

The stockade around the trading-house and dwelling of Colonel 
Davenport was nearing completion, and would be, indeed, very 
strong, as it was being built, or constructed, of green hard-wood 
timber, while substantial corrals for the protection of the stock 
of the white settlers of that locality, were also constructed near 
the fort. This beautiful islet lies due east and west, and embraces 
an area of nine hundred and seventy acres. Its length is nearly 
three miles, and its width from a fourth to three-fourihs of a mile. 
The north, or Iowa channel, is the main one, and is deep and 
rapid, while the south, or Illinois channel, though wide, is shal- 
low, and affords several good fording places in ordinary stages of 
water. We shall not attempt to give anything like a detailed 
description of this most lovely island in this chapter. It was 
originally nearly all studded with giant forest trees, comprising 
the varieties peculiar to this climate, but chiefly of oak, ash, elm, 
hickory and walnut. At the time of which we are writing some 
portions of this island were thickly set with plum, crab-apple and 
other trees and shrubs of low growth, forming almost impenetra- 
ble thickets, which afforded places of concealment and security 
for the skulking Indian spies, and were alike places of distrust 
and dread to the white people, the bravest of whom felt cold chills 
racing over their spinal columns as they passed and repassed 
these thickets, with an eye ever on the alert to catch a glimpse of 
a painted face or deadly arrow. The safest and by far the best 
ford at that time, was near the upper end of the island, where the 
city of Moline the Birmingham of the West now stands. But 
from the building of dams, and other changes, this ford is among 
the things that were. Winnesheik, after making another fruitless 
effort to gain admission to the fort, took his departure down the 


Mississippi, ifi his canoe, to Black Hawk's camp. That he left 
the island fully impressed with the assurance that Major Bliss 
and Colonel Davenport were advised of the hostile intentions of 
the British band of the Sauks, and were fully prepared "to wel- 
come them with bloody hands to hospitable graves," is unques- 
tionably true, and was confirmed by his advice to Black Hawk 
upon reaching his camp, as will be further proven in a subsequent 

The noble Keokuk, through his spies in Black Hawk's village, 
was posted as to every movement, and kept up daily communica- 
tions between his camp and the fort. Thus were Major Bliss and 
Col. Davenport well advised as to the movements of Black Hawk 
and his band of would-be hostiles. In the meantime messengers 
were sent from the island to warn the frontiersmen up Eock river 
and the surrounding country of their danger, and advising them 
to lose no time in seeking shelter and protection either in tbe fort 
or stockade on the island. The most daring and persevering of 
these messengers was the late Hon. John W. Spencer, whose 
widow now resides in the city of Eock Island, and whose sons are 
among the foremost business men of that city. He travelled on 
foot, solitary and alone, away up Eock river to Dixon, going from 
cabin to cabin with his startling news, that Black Hawk was upon 
the war-path with the avowed purpose of murdering all the white 
settlers of the frontier. He urged them if, indeed, his news was 
insufficient to cause them to fly without being urged to flee for 
their lives to shelters with their worldly goods and live stock, 
especially their horses and cattle, informing them of the erection 
of a substantial corral near the fort for the safety and accommo- 
dation of their stock. No pen can do justice in describing the 
wild excitement and dread despair of these poor pioneers, few of 
whom had suitable means at hand to enable them to make so 
sudden a move. Idle lamentations and useless tears were things 
unknown to these sturdy men and women. They were made of 
sterner material. With them thought and action were synonymous 
words, with a preference for the latter. Used as they were to toil 
and privation, danger was an old and intimate acquaintance of 
theirs. They had been schooled to act and do their thinking when 
they had more leisure. Since "necessity knows no law," and "is the 
mother of invention," it booted not that they had neither horses, 
harness or wagons wherewith to move. Few of the pioneers had 
horses, and little use did they make of those they had. Oxen 


were far cheaper and much preferable for the uses and ends of 
these early settlers. It cost nothing to feed them, since God's 
great pasture the grand prairies furnished all the food they 
required, and their harness was cheap. Any man with the bare 
knowledge of the use of an ax, augur and drawing knife, could 
make an ox yoke in short meter. Moreover, it required a strong 
team to draw the ponderous wooden mould-boarded prairie plow 
of those days. Though slow, an ox team is a remarkably sure 
one. They are far better in muddy roads and treacherous 
sloughs than horses. If the pioneer had neither horses or wagon, 
he had oxen and a sled with which to move his family and effects 
to the island. 

True, there was no snow, hence his sled dragged heavily along, 
but he managed to move on until he reached the river bank, where 
his family and goods were either transferred to a wagon furnished 
by some more fortunate settler, or ferried over upon a flat-boat. 
Some there were who did not have even a yoke of oxen, or sled, 
and carried on their shoulders and inthiir hands their house- 
hold goods, while others loaded down their, perhaps, only horse 
with their goods, and one of the family lead him, while the 
others, each carrying some cherished article, followed in the 
trail. Many who resided along the banks of the Rock and Missis- 
sippi rivers loaded their household goods upon canoes or skiffs 
and reached their destination by water, driving their stock over- 
land. In one way or another they reached the island and took 
shelter either in the port or stockade. By far the greater portion 
of white settlers were located on the deserted Indian farm-lands 
which extended from the foot of Rock Island south to Rock river. 
These lands, as before stated, were of the richest quality and 
under cultivation and enclosure, embracing an area of fully three 
thousand acres ; hence, they offered special inducements to the 
pioneers after their abandonment the year previous by the In- 
dians. In addition to being under cultivation, they were in crop. 
No wonder they were in demand, and a regular hegira set in from 
the surrounding country to this mecca. 

The fort and stockade were overcrowded, and as the farthest 
cabin on these lands was within three miles of the fort, Major 
Bliss yielded to the importunities of these settlers and let them 
return to their homes to plant their corn. But before they left 
the Island he arranged with them a signal of alarm, in case they 
or any of them should be attacked, or were in imminent danger 


of an attack, which was that they should fire off a gun. This 
was to be the signal of danger. That upon hearing a gun tired 
each and every one should flee for the Island. He also impressed 
upon them the danger and evil consequence which must follow 
the giving of a false alarm, and cautioned them against shooting 
at anything or for any purpose, except as the signal of danger. 
Notwithstanding all this caution, Joshua Vandruff and his boon 
companion, Hackley Samms, while crossing Vandruff's Island, 
April 7, 1882, saw 


and could not resist the temptation of firing at them, scare or no 
scare. They did not stop to think of the orders of Major Bliss 
about signal guns or of the mischief the firing of their rifles would 
of necessity create. They saw the turkeys and only thought about 
killing some of them. Taking their guns, they carefully crept 
within easy range, when each selected his bird and killed it. 

But those two rifle shots did vastly more than the killing of a 
couple of wild turkey gobblers, for with their vibrations over and 
around the promontory, over the plain and river, and reverbera- 
tions back from the high bluffs north of the Mississippi went ter- 
ror and consternation to the hearts of hundreds of people. Not 
only did these gunshots fill the hearts of the settlers with fear, 
but it alarmed those at the fort and stockade. Mr. Vandruff was 
not long in realizing the mischief he had unwittingly committed, 
by seeing his wife and ten children making for the fort, without 
sun-bonnets, shoes, stockings, hats or boots, at a 2 :40 gait. This 
being the danger signal, no one waited to gather up even their 
most precious keep-sakes. Mothers caught up their babes, and 
fled, bareheaded and illy clad, like race- horses, for the fort. Hor- 
ses were speedily taken from the plow, the harness stripped off and 
left upon the ground, the owners mounting in hot haste, started 
at a John Gilpin speed for the fort. It may well be called a kind 
of " devil take the hindermost " race for safety. In certain in- 
stances, be it said, in sorrow, some there were, who wore the garb 
of manhood, fled, leaving their families to shift for themselves. 
Indeed, they forgot, in their terror-stricken condition, that they 
even had a wife or children, and never thought of them until 
their own cowardly bodies were safe within the fort or stockade, 
and then wondered why their families were not there. Such in- 
stances, however, were few. So impetuous and clamorous were 



these fugitives to cross the south branch of the Mississippi,* that 
each boat was crowded so as to endanger the lives of all on 
board. Hearing these rifle-shots, Major Bliss naturally supposed 
them to be danger signals, and at the head of a company of regu- 
lars, leaving the gallant Phil. Kearney in command of the fort, 
sallied forth on the double-quick to the rescue. He met the ter- 
rified settlers on the way to the fort, but no one could enlighten 
him as to the cause, further than as to their hearing the guns, 
but by whom fired they knew not. None had seen or heard of 
any Indians in the vicinity. The major and his men pressed on 
towards rock river, until they saw Vandruff and Samms running 
after the fleeing settlers, and shouting as they ran that it was a 
false alarm. But the mischief was done, and the terribly fright- 
ened people kept on to the island of Eock Island. Upon meeting 
Major Bliss, they explained the cause of the alarm, and expressed 
great sorrow over their foolish act and its consequences. The 
gallant old major was not only mad, but furious, and fairly made 
the air in that immediate locality assume a brimstone kind of 
odor. Many comical, ludicrous and amusing incidents occurred 
and grew out of this so-called " Turkey Scare," one of which we 
give on account of its singular and historic surroundings, and 
which we may well call 


Col. Davenport was a warm personal, as well as political, 
friend of Gen. Andrew Jackson, under whom he served in 
many a hard fought battle, and was much pleased with the elec- 
tion of the hero of New Orleans to the Presidency in 1828. A 
short time prior to the time for his inauguration (March 4, 1829), 
he wrote the President elect a congratulatory letter with a 
request that, as he passed through Virginia, en route from Ten- 
nessee to Washington City, he would make it convenient to call 
upon a sister-in-law of Col. Davenport's, who resided near Arling- 
ton Heights upon the regularly traveled route over which he would 
pass. This he did, and received a most cordial welcome and kindly 
entertainment. On leaving the hospitable roof the old General ex- 
acted a promise from his hostess to visit the White House at her 
earliest convenience, but owing to inclement weather and bad 
roads, she did not go to Washington City until about the 1st of 
June following, when she was driven by her coachman directly 
io the Executive Mansion, and warmly received by the President. 

* Now called Sylvan Water. 



Upon taking possession of the White House, Old Hickory ordered, 
through an importing house of Baltimore, a full tea set of China- 
ware, or porcelain, from Paris, which had arrived on the day of 
her'visit, and were placed upon the table for the first time that 
evening. This tea set was of the most exquisite pattern and 
masterly workmanship, and probably was by far the finest in 
quality and style ever imported prior to that time. This good lady 
was a great admirer of the beautiful and a connoiseur of art and 
skill, and was delighted with this State tea set, and rather extrav- 
agant in her terms of commendation, winding up by saying that 
had she such a beautiful set of ware she would feel happy all the 
days of her life. Little did she think of the effect of her praise. 
Without the least apparent special attention to what she had 
said, the old hero immediately ordered a duplicate set through and 
from the same source, and upon its arrival forwarded it to her by 
special messenger accompanied with a card on which were written 
in his own hand- write : "With the compliments and best wishes of 
your friend, Andrew Jackson." Coming from the President of 
the United States, and being a duplicate of the State Chinaware, 
it was not only highly prized but almost worshipped by her, and 
soon became the wonder of the whole surrounding country. 

Time brings many sudden changes. This good lady came to- 
Illinois in 1831, to be near her relatives, bringing her porcelain 
tea-set with her, and located on the Illinois side of the Missis- 
sippi, where the city of Bock Island now stands. Here phe had a 
log cabin erected with puncheon floor and door, for sawed lum- 
ber was almost unattainable, and was living there when 
she heard the false signals of Vandruff and Samms. In the 
moment of alarm, her first and all powerful thought was, how 
could she save her precious tea-set, which she held above all 
other worldly possessions, next to life itself, the most dear. The 
teapot being the most valuable article, she seized it and rushed 
to the door. To lift up the end of the puncheon at the thresh- 
old, and slip the teapot under the door- sill, was but the work of 
a second. At that moment her nephew, now Hon. Bailey Dav- 
enport, came running in to help her move to his father's stock- 
ade, on the island of Piock Island. The remainder of her precious 
tea service was safely packed and carried to the canoe at the 
river's edge, and thence paddled across to the island, and then 
carried to the stockade, where it all arrived safely, but when the 
old lady unpacked them the tea-pot was of course missing. She 


having entirely forgotten where she put it, she burst into tears 
over her loss. Master Bailey, then not quite nine years old, was 
a very sanguine and self-reliant boy. Going up to his aunt he 
took hold of her hand, and in a very firm and assuring voice 
and manner, bid her quit crying, saying he would find it ; that 
he had been raised among Black Hawk's Indians and knew all 
of them ; that he was not afraid of them, and knew they would 
not harm him ; that he would go right back to the cabin, and 
would surely find it. With heart and heel as light as the gazelle, 
he darted off for the spot where he had left his canoe, and 
although the shades of night were already settling over river and 
forest, he pushed his canoe from its moorings, seized his paddle, 
and drove its sharp prow spinning through the sylvan waters to 
the south shore. Springing out, he fastened his canoe to a twig, 
and sped to the deserted cabin, and searched every nook and 
corner, but failed to find it. He then searched the path they had 
followed to the river, and marched up and down the river bank, 
but received no reward for his labor. It was then too dark to 
make further search, and he returned, disappointed but not de- 
jected. He had promised his aunt that he would find her tea- 
pot, and that promise he then considered inviolable, and has 
ever since acted on that principle. " Never break your promise," 
is indeed his life motto. With the coming sun of the morrow he 
was searching the island and the shore for the lost treasure, 
and kept up the search for days, weeks and years, until he 
succeeded. But forty eventful years come and went ere he found 

In the meantime, the old lady had gone to her rest and the old 
log cabin had decayed and tumbled down. Desiring to erect a 
corn-crib on the site where it stood, on the 7th of April, 1872, just 
forty years to a day after the loss, he directed his foreman to re- 
move the debris, and gave him Special orders to look for a China 
teapot, telling him that his aunt had lost one while living in said 
cabin, and as the log lying under the door-step was rolled over, a 
crash as of breaking glass was heard, and upon examination the 
long lost, highly prized and assiduously looked for tea-pot was 
found/shivered to atoms by the weight of the old log. Thus, after 
a search of forty long years, was this treasure found, but ruined 
by the act. Mr. Davenport assures us that scarcely a day passed 
during these many years without his thinking of his promise to 
his aunt, and was overjoyed by his final success, even though the 


tea-pot were broken in a thousand pieces when found, for he had 
fulfilled his promise, although it had taken forty years to do it. 
\Vhile wild excitement and consternation ran riot at and near 
Eock Island, Black Hawk and his band were not idle or inactive, ' 
but, on the contrary, were scheming and plotting to raise a strong 
army of invasion of Illinois; and Keokuk was watching his 
every move and taking steps to frustrate his bold and daring 
designs. Their villages were on the Iowa river, Black Hawk's 
lying above Keokuk's, Nor was all serene at Jefferson Barracks, 
for Sergeant Colter had arrived with his startling dispatches from 
Fort Armstrong calling for provisions and reinforcements, which 
produced deep and well-founded solicitude for the safety not only 
of the white pioneers of Northern Illinois, but for the fort and its 
feeble garrison. General Atkinson determined to lead the relief 
in person, and chartered two steamboats, loaded them with pro- 
visions and three companies of regulars and started for Fort 
Armstrong with all possible speed. 



Full of Hope and Confidence in the Success of his Proposed Indian Confederacy, 
Extending alone: the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien to the Gulf of Mexico. 
Black Hawk and his entire Band of Braves, in full War Panoply, march down 
the Iowa Kiver to Eeokuk's Village, and hold a War-dance to enlist Warriors fo r 
his Army Whiskey again Plays an Important Part Wild Excitement Jo.-iah 
Smart in Decidedly Close Quarters Stirring Appeals by Black Hawk and 

The aged Black Hawk first appears, 
Bowed down with care and weight of years : 
In burning words repeats bis woes, 
And calls for vengeance on his foes. 
Neapope, his many stories tell, 
Of promised aid their ranks to swell; 
Each chief and warr'or solemn swears 
To right their wrongs of former years; 
While Wlnnesheik, the Prophet, boasts 
Success must crown the Indian hosts. 

From the moment when Black Hawk's band fled from their 
homes before the combined forces of Generals Gaines and Duncan, 
June 26, 1831, he began to plot and scheme some plan by which, 
at the head of a powerful army, he could recross the Mississippi 
and drive the white settlers before him like autumn leaves before 
a whirlwind. Having up to that time never lost a battle, he 
believed himself invincible. So vain was he of his reputation as 
a warrior, that, like Glendower, who said, "I can call spirits 
from the vastly deep," so he believed that his single war-whoop 
would call forth every dusky brave from the hills and valleys of 
the Mississippi to join his banner. Having returned to his new 
village on the Iowa river, to receive the reports from his runners or 
emissaries whom he had sent up and down the river to rouse the 
various Indian tribes to a general uprising, and drive the white 
settlers back east of the Wabash, and having received from them 
the most extravagant stories of enthusiastic feelings existing 
in his favor among the tribes they had visited, especially those 
down the Mississippi, he was led to the belief that the moment he 
should recross the river, and rekindle his signal fires upon the 
Watch Tower at Saukenuk, and utter his war-whoop, its echoes 
would be wafted on from lip to ear until its refrain should be heard 


far out over woods and prairies. To say that he was pleased and 
happy over the reports he received would be putting it quite too 
mildly. In imagination he saw himself the acknowledged War 
Chief of the most powerful Indian army ever organized upon this 
Continent. Always bold and aggressive, no General better knew 
the advantage of a bold stroke or startling deed of daring than he, 
and his fertile brain was not long in devising such a startlingly 
bold and daring act as would not only give a grand send-off to his 
confederacy, but at the same time remove from his path the most 
serious obstacle. This scheme was to capture Fort Armstrong, 
with its garrison, and appropriate to the use of his army their 
arms, ammunition and supplies. And to this end did he visit the 
fort several times in February and March of that year, but as 
before shown, failed to gain admission. For the same purpose 
did the Prophet visit the Island in the early part of April, 1832, 
with like result. But from the discovery after the close of the 
war of 1832, of a diabolical scheme 


it is evident that either Black Hawk or Winnesheik were busy dur- 
ing their visits to the island. This island extends almost in a direct 
east and west course ; the lower end or tip of its tongue is pointed ( 
west. Immediately under this tip is a large cavern, worn by the 
ever-busy current of the Mississippi in the comparatively soft, 
yellowish magnesian lime-stone, forming the substrata of the 
island. This cavern is quite large end deep, so that small-sized 
row boats can run under for a distance of a hundred feet. 
This is the cave mentioned by Black Hawk as being the abode 
of the Good Spirit who had charge of the island. Slightly 
above this cave, on the north side of the island, there are two 
smaller caverns, worn and cut into the rock. The upper one is 
above high- water mark, with a small out- side opening, but en- 
larged as it extended south, and passed immediately under the east 
gate of the old fort. The fort was located near the very tip of 
the tongue of the island, and therefore immediately over the 
lower cave, to which an excavation had been made from the fort 
and a stair-way constructed, so as to reach the water from the 
fort, in case of a siege. The east cave not only extended to the 
east gate, but beyond it, and under the guard-house in the fort. 
Certain prisoners were confined in this guard-house, in the fall of 
1832, who, by digging their way out under the east wall, struck 


robe dry cave and made their escape. On examining the cave, 
rafter the escape, three kegs of powier were found deposited 
jwithin two feet of, and immediately under, the eastern gate of the 
port, with a distinct trail of powder extending therefrom north to 
tts exterior orifice. The banks of the island, at this point, rise 
kbruptly up some fifteen feet, forming a perfect shield or pro- 
jtection against discovery of a canoe, passing along, hugging the 
(shore. Indeed, a whole fleet of canoes could pass and repass 
[without danger of discovery from the fort. Thus everything was 
on readiness to blow up the main entrance to the fort at any 
pnornent the old Chief should order. Where, how or when this 
rpowder was obtained, is a sealed mystery which will, in, all human 
probability, remain so until the end of time. Any one familiar 
with the locality could readily see how easily this powder could 
have been placed there without causing the least noise or danger 
of detection, and, when this circumstance is taken in connection 
with Black Hawk's subsequent action, there can be no reasonable 
I doubt that it was done by him or under his direction. 

Having his plans all laid, and everything in readiness to attack, 
blow up, and take the old wooden fort, and being determined to 
do so, he only needed a few more warriors in order to make it an 
[entire success. His motto was to "steal upon his enemies, taking 
every advantage possible to kill them, and save the lives of his 
braves, instead of marching out in open daylight and fighting 
regardless of the number of warriors they may lose, and after the 
battle is over retire to a feast and drink wine as if nothing had 
happened, after which they make a statement in writing of 
what they have done, each party claiming the victory, and neither 
giving an account of half the number that have been killed on 
their own side," as he says the Americans and British did in the 
war of 1812-14. Believing his plans were complete, about the 
first of April, 1832, he gave the order for all his braves and war- 
riors to return to camp and prepare for the war-path to regain 
his late home in Illinois. All their arms and implements of war 
were collected and put in the best condition for use their knowl- 
edge and skill afforded. Jerked venison and parched corn were 
prepared by the willing hands of the squaws, who were more 
clamorous for war to regain their cornfields at Saukenuk than 
were the braves. Every lodge in the entire village was the scene 
of commotion and excitement, where preparation for the intended 
conflict were being made. War and slaughter were the sole themes 


of conversation and thought. Anxious to inaugurate his cam- 
paign with a dashing force, Black Hawk determined to hold his 
war-dance at Keokuk's village, a few miles down the Iowa river 
from his own, it. being the universal rule among all the Indians 
of the Northwest to hold a war-dance before going upon the war- 
path, for indeed their mode of enlistment is by striking the war 
post with tomahawk or spear. The old chief was fully aware of 
the fact that his rival, for rivals they had been for nearly twenty 
years continuously, subsequent to the division of the great Sauk* 
Nation into three parts by the war of 1812, and the selection of 
Keokuk as War Chief of the Peace band,* was opposed to war 
with the white people, and expected no assistance from him per- 
sonally, but did expect recruits from his band, as the feud between 
himself and Keokuk was a kind of family quarrel, in which the 
braves and squaws took sides and ranged themselves as the advo- 
cates of their respective choice. 

The two bands were on terms of intimacy and accord upon all 
questions, except what may well be termed politics. One faction 
preferred Black Hawk, the other Keokuk for President. They 
lived in the same city Saukenuk until the spring of 1830, as 
one nation, but practically divided into two bands, the one known 
as the Black Hawk, or British band, the other as the Keokuk, or 
Peace band, and so far as the masses of the people were con- 
cerned, we may call the one Democratic and the other Kepubli- 
can, with the Quashquamme party as Greenbackers. Aside from 
their choice of leaders and war policy they were one and the same 
nation. .Not ignorant of the influence of the females upon the 
sterner sex, and aware of the enthusiasm which prevailed among 
the squaws of his band to return to Saukenuk, Black Hawk de- 
termined to take his entire band with him to Keokuk's village, to 
be present at and encourage the braves and warriors of both 
bands to enlist as soldiers for the war, to regain the possession of 
his ancient home on Rock river by force and arms. Through the 
village crier an order was issued for immediate preparation for 
the march of the entire band back to Saukenuk. To the squaws 
and pappooses this was joyous news, and received prompt atten- 
tion and obedience. Wigwams, household goods and implements 
were hastily packed and loaded away in their canoes lying cloae 
by in the Iowa river. 

By some means, not clearly known, several kegs of whisky were 
procured and loaded in these canoes for the special purpose of the 

*The third band was under Quashquamme, and known as the Missouri band. 


war-dance. When the order to march was given, the old and infirm, 
women and children, were placed in canoes in charge of their 
personal effects, while the chiefs, head-men, braves and warriors, 
mounted upon their ponies, with the aged Black Hawk in front 
and Neapope to bring up the rear. Both Black Hawk and Nea- 
pope were accoutered in the uniforms of British soldiers, armed 
with ponderous cavalry swords, and carried a British flag at the 
head of their column, while subaltern chiefs, head-men, braves 
and warriors were in full war-paint and armed with such imple- 
ments as they could obtain, singing their most exciting war-songs, 
and beating of their tom-toms, they bid farewell to their new vil- 
lage and started for the village of Keokuk, upon reaching which 
they disembarked and dismounted. Then bringing forward 


they proceeded to a level plot of land, near the very lodge which 
was concealing the white spy, Josiah Smart, and placed it in the 
ground. This war-post had seen service before. It was con- 
structed from the body of a small bass-wood or linden tree, and 
was about ten inches in diameter and seven feet in length. The 
bark had been stripped off and its surface covered with rude 
paintings in red, representing Indian braves going into battle. 
One end being sharpened it was driven down into the earth with 
a huge maul, specially provided for that purpose. Thus, when in 
position, it was by no means a bad representation of an Indian 
brave. Immediately upon its erection, Black Hawk drew his 
tomahawk, stepped back a few rods from the post, uttered his 
terrific war-whoop, and sent the tomahawk hurling through the 
air towards the post, cleaving the imaged skull upon its surface, 
burying the implement in the soft wood post up to its handle. 
Scarcely was his weapon embedded in the post ere the tomahawk 
of Neapope, his second in command, went flying through the air 
into the post close beside that of his Chief. Then followed in the 
order of their rank in quick succession the subordinate chiefs, 
each hurling his tomahawk into the post, accompanied with ter- 
rific shouts of defiant hate, filling the post with tomahawks until 
it resembled "the ever fretful porcupine," and left no unoccupied 
space for the braves to embed their weapons. The chiefs then 
withdrew several paces to make room for the braves to form in a 
large circle around the war-post, who, joining hands, rapidly 
moved from left to right, in imitation of the course of the sun, all 


uniting in a hideous attempt to sing their war-song, and trying to 
keep time with the motions of their bodies instead of their feet, 
accompanied by the beating of the tom-toms, or Indian drums. 

Faster and faster sounded the drums, faster and faster circled 
around the braves until their line was broken by centrifugal force. 
Then each brave, with loud yells, rushed to the post, striking it 
with the poll of his tomahawk, and thereby pledged his life to 
join the expedition and go upon the war-path. This was their 
mode of enlistment under the banner of their Chief. When an 
Indian brave once strikes the war-post of his tribe, nothing save 
physical impossibili'y can prevent or hinder him from joining 
the war-party. Indeed, no other excuse will be accepted by his 
Chief. Should he fail to respond, that failure would be attributed 
to rank cowardice, which, with the Indian, is an unpardonable 
sin. We have never been present at a genuine war-dance, but, 
from representations seen and heard, we infer that the Indian 
suffers himself to be wrought up to the highest pitch of excite- 
ment. In many respects the Indian war-dance and the old- 
fashioned Methodist camp-meeting revival have a striking re- 
semblance. If the war-dance is more potent in obtaining recruits 
for war, than the revival meetings have in gaining what are called 
converts, then all we have to say in favor of the Indian who 
does not wish to go to war is, God hlp him. 

Eeader, did you ever attend a real old-fashioned camp-meeting 
revival in a leafy grove upon a dark night, when all the light was 
emitted from the sickly rays from tallow candles through the in- 
terstices of tin lanterns suspended from the lower limbs of the 
adjacent trees? If you did, then will you remember how, as the 
minister, with a grave-yard visage and decidedly " hark, from 
the tombs, a doleful sound " voice, rendered all the more doleful 
by the dismal lights and dreary surrounding, exhorted the already 
excited, anxious, heterogenious crowd, and you especially, to 
"repent and come to Jesus," urging in eloquent language the 
uncertainty of life and the certainty of death, and after death, the 
judgment, picturing and actually describing that mysterious lake 
of burning brimstone, where Satan, with his three-tined fork, kept 
himself busy stirring up the molten fire and tumbling the sinners 
over and over to keep them hot, until the very atmosphere sur- 
rounding your then immediate locality became too scorchingly 
hot for comfort. How you imagined that the slender rays of 


light straggling through the perforated tin lanterns were tinged 
with blue and the air itself was steeped in sulphur. How the 
brethren and sisters, too, sang in mournful accents : 

" Jesus sought me when a stranger, 
Wandering from the fold of God," 

and other equally popular revival hymns, while the minister with 
solemn step and reverential air descended from the pulpit to the 
mourners bench, accompanying his act with " Oh, come to Jesus ; 
now is the accepted time ; come forward and kneel at the mercy 
seat." How, as one after another of your boon companions went 
forward to the anxious seat and were greeted with "thank God, 
another sinner is saved." How that busy little devil, called con- 
science, kept tugging away at your heart-strings, until your heart 
beat the devil's tat-too to the danger of your ribs, urging you to 
go forward to the mourners bench. How your mother, sister, or, 
more potent still, your sweet-heart, urged and entreated you 
to enlist in the gospel army as a volunteer on "the side of the 
Lord against the mighty," while the good sisters and brothers 
shouted, and even fainted with joy over the glorious conversions. 
If you remember all these things, then you may have some feeble 
idea of the resistless force and power of the war-dance in procur- 
ing volunteers or enlistments of Indian braves and warriors. 

To fully comprehend and understand the Indian war-dance, it 
must be witnessed, for no two are alike, or at least they are dis- 
similar in many essentials, because each brave attempts to illus- 
trate, by his gyrations and manners, his intended mode of 
vengeance, or in describing the manner in which he had killed 
his enemy. The more extravagant and unreal the representation 
the more applause is elicited from the wildly excited crowd. In 
a word, the Indian war-dance is a theater of heavy tragedy, where 
deeds of heroism are portrayed. The late Levi Bishop's descrip- 
tion of the Indian war-dance is as follows : 

' 'Round the post 
An ample ring the warriors form: 
A maddened mass a mighty host 
Dread tokens of a thunder storm; 
Both bands of (Saukies) all were there, 
Each warrior in his rightful place; 
In hideous paint beyond compare, 
A demon gleams in every face. 
Aloud is heard the Indian drum, 
With vocal music hoarse and deep; 
The crowd respond in buzzing hum, 
While feet and hands the cadence keep. 
Excitement rises; war-like yell" 



Awakes the midnight's dreary spell; 

The heavy masses plainly tell 

Of ocean swelling from afar, 

A chieftain leaps within the ring; 

The (aged Black Hawk) leader, king. 

He fiercely yells at every spring; 

And chants the song of coming war. 

Successive chiefs the dance supply. 

The heavy war club swings on high; 

The scalp-knife flashes to the sky; 

Tho tomahawk its terror lends; 

Each brave recites his wor'hy deeds. 

And long ancestral honors heeds; 

In every whoop a foeman bleeds. 

Around the post the war impends, 

In every attitude of fight, 

The paiu ted (Black Hawk) frightful gleams; 

Applauses echo far and wide; 

Excitement swells from side to side, 

Each vows the war-path to abide; 

Though worthy blood a torrent streams, 

They mingle now, they whirl and leap: 

Mad voices wildest cadence keep, 

As 'round the victim post they sweep, 

And each a victory obtains. 

Upon the square the thunders dwell, 

And fiercer battle storms foretell; 

The distant shore hurls back the swell, 

The forest roars a funeral knell 

And universal frenzy reigns." 

After striking the war-post a vicious stroke the braves resumed 
their places in the dance without joining hands, but vaulted in 
the air, bent over, squat down or skulked behind an imaginary 
tree, trying to draw the fire of his enemy. Thus each brave, act- 
ing upon his own impulse, endeavors to exhibit some war feat 
performed or intended, and no two of them acting in concert, the 
action of the mass is ludicrous in the extreme, but owing to the 
great earnestness of the performers it has an overwhelming 
influence upon the Indians and litterally carries them into the 
vortex of excitement. Anon, as their physical strength began to 
fail, whisky was passed around in abundance, under the influ- 
ence of which their most savage natures were brought to the sur- 
face in hideous form. When the venerable Black Hawk, the 
patriarch of his nation, whose hair was frosted with the snows 
of sixty-five winters, with majestic mien and step, entered the 
ring, within the circle of dancing braves, and approached the 
war post, as if to defend it from further assaults, the tom-toms, 
other music and dancing ceased. The panting dancers endeav- 
ored to hold their breaths and stifle their beating hearts, eager 
to catch every sentence, word and syllable he might utter. As 


he stood erect beside the war-post, cheers and shouts made the 
welkin ring. Never had he received a hearty, and to him, a 
more acceptable ovation. Waving his bony right arm in token 
of his intention to speak, the host of excited human beings 
were silent in a moment, ready and anxious to hear him speak. 
We regret that we can give no correct, or even approximate de- 
scription of his speech on this occasion. Jo. Smart was the only 
white man who heard it, and from his description of the topics 
handled, and the order in which they were considered, we give 
the following as the substance of his powerful speech : 

" Head-men, Chiefs, Braves and Warriors of the Sauks : For 
more than a hundred winters our nation was a poweriul, happy 
and united people. The Great Spirit gave to us a territory, seven 
hundred miles in length, along the Mississippi, reaching from 
Prairie du Chien to the mouth of the Illinois river. This vast 
territory was composed of the finest and best land for the home 
and use of the Indian ever found in this country. The woods 
and prairies teemed with buffalo, moose, elk, bear and deer, with 
other game suitable to our enjoyment, while its lakes, rivers, 
creeks and ponds were alive with the very best kinds of flsh, for 
our food. The islands in the Mississippi were our gardens, where 
the Great Spirit caused berries, plums and other fruits to grow in 
great abundance, while the soil, when cultivated, produced corn, 
beans, pumpkins and squash of the finest quality and largest 
quantities. Our children were never known to cry of hunger, and 
no stranger, red or white, was permitted to enter our lodges with- 
out finding food and rest. Our nation was respected by all who 
came in contact with it, for we had the ability as well as the 
courage to defend and maintain our rights of territory, person 
and property against the world. Then, indeed, was it an honor 
to be called a Sauk, for that name was a passport to our people 
traveling in other territories and among other nations. But an 
evil day befel us when we became a divided nation, and with that 
division our glory deserted us, leaving us with the hearts and heels 
of the rabbit in place of the courage and strength of the bear. 

"All this was brought about by the long guns, who now claim 
all our territory east of the Mississippi, including Saukenuk, our 
ancient village, where all of us were born, raised, lived, hunted, 
fished and loved, and near which are our corn lands, which have 
yielded abundant harvests for an hundred winters, and where 


sleep the bones of our sacred dead, and around which cluster our 
fondest recollections of heroism and noble deeds of charity done 
by our fathers, who were Sauks, not only in name, but in cour- 
age and action. I thank the Great Spirit for making me a Sauk, 
and the son of a great Sauk chief, and a lineal descendant of 
Nanamakee, the founder of our nation. 

"The Great Spirit is the friend and protector of the Sauks, and 
has accompanied me as your War Chief upon the war-path 
against our enemies, and has given me skill to direct and you the 
courage to achieve an hundred victories over our enemies upon 
the war-path. All this occurred before we became a divided 
nation. We then had the courage and strength of the bear, but 
since the division our hearts and heels are like those of the rabbit 
and fawn. We have neither courage or confidence in our leaders 
or ourselves, and have fallen a prey to internal jealousies and 
petty strifes until we are no longer worthy of the illustrious name 
we bear. In a word, we have become subjects of ridicule and 
bandinage, 'there goes a cowardly Sauk.' All this has resulted 
from the white man's accursed fire-water united with our own 
tribal quarrels and personal jealousies. The Great Spirit created 
this country for the use and benefit of his red children, and placed 
them in full possession of it, and we were happy and contented. 
Why did he send the palefaces across the great ocean to take it 
from us ? When they landed on our territory they were received 
as long-absent brothers whom the Great Spirit had returned to 
us. Food and rest were freely given them by our fathers, who 
treated them all the more kindly on account of their weak and 
helpless condition. Had our fathers the desire, they could have 
crushed the intruders out of existence with the same ease we kill 
the blood-sucking mosquitoes. Little did our fathers then think 
they were taking to their bosoms, and warming them into life and 
vigor, a lot of torpid, half-frozen and starving vipers, which in a 
few winters would fix their deadly fangs upon the very bosoms 
that had nursed and cared for them when they needed help. 

"From the day when the palefaces landed upon our shores, they 
have been robbing us of our inheritance, and slowly, but surely, 
driving us back, back, back towards the setting sun, burning our 
villages, destroying our growing crops, ravishing our wives and 
daughters, beating our pappooses with cruel sticks, and brutally 
murdering our people upon the most flimsy pretenses and trivial 
causes. Upon our return to Saukenuk from our winter hunting 


grounds last spring, we found the palefaces in our lodges, and that 
they had torn down our fences and were plowing our corn lands 
and getting ready to plant their corn upon the lands which the 
Sauks have owned and cultivated for so many winters that our 
memory cannot go back to them. Nor is this all. They claim to 
own our lands and lodges by right of purchase from the cowardly 
and treacherous Quashquamme, nearly thirty winters ago, and 
drive us away from our lodges and fields with kicks of their cruel 
boots, accompanied with vile cursing and beating with sticks. 
When returning from an ill-fated day's hunt, wearied and hungry, 
with my feet stumbling with the weight of sixty-four winters, I 
was basely charged by two palefaces of killing their hogs, which 
I indignantly denied because the charge was false, but they told 
mellied,andthenthey took my gun, powder-horn and bullet-pouch 
from me by violence, and beat me with a hickory stick until the 
blood ran down my back like drops of falling rain, and my body 
was so lame and sore for a moon that I could not hunt or fish. 
They brought their accursed fire-water to our village, making 
wolves of our braves and warriors, and then when we protested 
against the sale and destroyed their bad spirits, they came with 
a multitude on horseback, compelling us to flee across the Miss- 
issippi for our lives, and then they burned down our ancient vil- 
lage and turned their horses into our growing corn. 

"They are now running their plows through our graveyards, 
turning up the bones and ashes of our sacred dead, whose spirits 
are calling to us from the land of dreams for vengeance on the 
despoilers. Will the descendents of Nanamakee and our other 
illustrious dead stand idly by and suffer this sacrilege to be con- 
tinued? Have they lost their strength and courage, and become 
squaws and pappooses. The Great Spirit whispers in my ear, no ! 
Then let us be again united as a nation and at once cross the 
Mississippi, rekindle our watch-fires upon our ancient watch- 
tower, and send forth the war-whoop of the again united Sauks, 
and our cousins, the Masquawkees, Pottawattamies, Ottawas, 
Chippewas, Winnebagoes and Kickapoos, will unite with us in 
avenging our wrongs upon the white pioneers of Illinois. When 
we recross the Mississippi with a strong army, the British Father 
will send us not only guns, tomahawks, spears, knives and ammu- 
nition in abundance, but he will also send us British soldiers to 
fight our battles for us. Then will the deadly arrow and fatal 
tomahawk hurtle through the air at the hearts and heads of the 


pale faced invaders, sending their guilty spirits to the white man's 
place of endless punishment, and should we, while on the war- 
path, meet the Pauguk, our departing spirits will be led along that 
path which is strewn with beautiful flowers, laden with the fra- 
grance of patriotism and heroism, which leads to the land of 
dreams, whence the spirit of our fathers are beckoning us on, to 
avenge their wrongs." 

What between the effects of this speech, united with the large 
quantities of "fire-water" they had imbibed, together with the 
war-dance, the entire encampment was a seething cauldron of 
wild war excitement. The aged Black H iwk closed his speech 
with a glowing picture of a great Indian confederation, extending 
from Prairie du Chien to the Gulf of Mexico, which would sweep 
the palefaces back to the Atlantic ocean. The effect of these 
appeals was indescribable. Even the dignified Keokuk could not 
resist heartily applauding. When Black Hawk finished his im- 
passioned appeal and took his seat on the ground, loud calls were 
made for Neapope, the half-brother of their Prophet, and there- 
fore his oracle. He was in form and features a noble specimen 
of the sons of the forest, and in the very prime of life some 
35 years old. He, too, was an able orator, but rather inclined to 
bombast, hence his name, Neapope, or Broth. Very fond of whisky, 
he was fully "three sheets in the wind with the fourth shaking." 
He commenced by advising all present to take another drink 
of fire-water, saying that it was big medicine at a war dance, as 
it made the warriors brave. Waiting a few moments for order to 
be restored, he began his speech by magnifying the wisdom of the 
Prophet, and then related his batch of falsehoods substantially as 
he had delivered them to Black Hawk, adding that the Prophet 
had assured him of the entire success of Black Hawk in driving 
the white people from the Sauk lands by force of arms, as he 
would not only have the united support of the Winnebagoes, Pot- 
tawattamies, Ottawas, Chippewas, Kickapoos and Foxes, but that 
of all the Indian tribes of the Mississippi valley from Prairie du 
Chien to the Gulf of Mexico, united in a great Indian confed- 
eration, forming an army like the trees of the forest, under whose 
tread the very earth would tremble, adding that he had visited the 
English general in command in Canada, and had received the 
promise from him of all the guns and ammunition they might 
need. He again had the audacity to name the vessel which was to 
bring to them these British supplies, and to say that this vessel 


would unload their supplies at Milwaukee, and closed his har- 
angue by alluding to the long line of defenseless cabins of the 
white pioneers, the scalp-locks of whose occupants were ripe for 
the tomahawk and scalping-knife of the Indians. 

By this time every Indian capable of bearing arms, in both 
bands, except the noble Keokuk, was a howling, screeching 
demon. There was no distinction between Black Hawk's 
and Keokuk's bands. So fierce and strong had the tide of grim, 
visaged war set in, that nothing short of a miracle could check or 
turn it aside. This was the happiest moment of Black Hawk's 
long exciting life ; for he now felt assured of the entire success of 
his scheme, to the accomplishment of which he had bent the en- 
ergies of his great intellect, unremittingly, for nearly an entire 
year. Little did he then think that his grandly constructed plans 
could be defeated in a few moments' time, and he, like Lucifer and 
Cardinal Woolsey, would be hurled from the very fruition of success 
into the abyss of black despair, never to rise again. Yet such 
was his fate, and from that evening up to the time of his death, 
his course was downward, and after death his bones were 
mounted and exhibited as a curiosity to be gaped at by the curi- 
ous. When Neapope closed his stirring but visionary speech, 
Keokuk's subaltern chiefs, head-men and braves demanded him 
to lead them immediately forth upon the war-path, against the 
palefaces, to avenge their wrongs. 

The firm, unflinching friend of the white people, Keokuk had 
pledged his life to save the lives of Col. Davenport and family, on 
Eock Island, and well he knew that the white settlers near the 
fort would seek shelter there, or within the stockade around the 
house of Col. Davenport. What he promised, that he would 
do, if within the range of possibility. He was never known to 
forget, or break his word, even in the slightest degree. Yet he. 
knew and felt that he had never been placed in such a critical 
and dangerous position then. An open, bold opposition to the 
war under the surrounding circumstances and terrible excite- 
ment, he knew would be worse than suicide, and there was 
neither time nor place to try expedients. Whatsoever he did, 
must be done quickly. Should he commence his reply to the 
demand of his tribe to be led upon the war-path, by even suggest- 
ing a delay, or the bare expression of a doubt of its practicability, 
or feasibility, his life were not worth a pin's fee. He would have 


been brained ere he had uttered ten words. This he fully appre- 
ciated, yet he had a mission to fulfill, for the performance of 
which he had pledged his life. That mission was to prevent the 
formation of a great Indian confederacy for the massacre of the 
white people of Northern Illinois, and that "God, who hath made 
and preserved us a nation," raised him up and endowed him with 
the special qualities required in its accomplishment, courage, 
cunning, skill, and matchless eloquence. With a watchful eye 
from which peculiarity he derived his name, Keokuk or the Watch- 
ful Fox, he observed everything which was transpiring around him, 
while his sharp ear detected every sound and move of passion ex- 
pressed, so that when the excitement culminated in the demand 
on him to lead his band to war against those whom he was deter- 
mined to spare, he had made up his mind as to what course he 
would pursue, and was ready for the ordeal, from which the es- 
cape seemed as desperate as that of running the gauntlet. Sur- 
rounded and literally hemmed in on all sides by drunken, 
armed savages, crazed from the combined influences of hatred 
to the whites, whisky and lust for revenge, all worked up into 
a frenzy of fury by the terrific appeals of Black Hawk and Nea- 
pope to their baser passions, who less than a God dare face that 
crowd of howling demons, and raise his voice in defense of the 
white people, and attempt to stem the tide of passion and hate, 
or to turn it aside ? Could mortal man be found so reckless of 
his life as to make the effort solitary and alone ? Aye, and 
that man was Keokuk. He not only had the courage to make 
the attempt, but the ability to successfully accomplish the act. 



Black Bawk's Fond Scheme of an Indian Confederacy, Extending from Prairie du 
Chien to the Gulf of Mexico, Annihilated by a Thunder-bolt of Eloquence from 
Keokuk. who, at the same time, Overawes and Silences the Conspirators 
Josiah Smart's Critical Condition. 

Down sat Black Hawk, down sat Neapope; 

Up rose Keokuk, the grand. 
Words of wisdom by him spoken 

Sobered up the drunken band. 
Thoughts of vengeance were forgqtten 

Thoughts which had their souls possessed, 
Love of wife and helpless children 

Filled each warrior's throbbing breast. 

"When the demand was made upon Keokuk to be led forth upon 
the war-path by his head-men, chiefs, braves and warriors, he was 
standing, a silent listener, near his own lodge. Without a mo- 
ment's delay or hesitation, with a firm, determined step and air, 
he strode directly towards the war-post of Black Hawk. The 
wearied, but still wildly excited dancers in the ring, opened a gap 
for his entry. Walking up to the post he laid his left hand* upon 
its top. This was erroneously construed by the entire assembled 
horde to be an enlistment for the intended war, and a tremend- 
ous shout of joy welled out upon the midnight air. Standing 
beside the war-post a few moments for the shouting to subside, 
he waved his right arm in token of his intention to speak. In a 
moment all were still, craning their necks to hear what this Cicero 
of his race had to say to them. In that full, rich and highly 
cultivated voice, for which he was noted and admired by all who 
knew him and had heard him speak, he said : 

" Head-men, Chiefs, Braves and Warriors of the Sauks : I have 
heard and considered your demand to be led forth upon the war- 
path against the palefaces, to avenge the many wrongs, persecu- 
tions, outrages and murders committed by them upon our people. 
I deeply sympathise with you in your sense and construction of 
these terrible wrongs. Few, indeed, are our people who do not 

He did not strike the war-post, hence he did not enlist. 


mourn the death of some near and loved one at the hands of the 
Long Guns,* who are becoming very numerous. Their cabins are 
as plenty as the trees in the forest, and their soldiers are spring- 
ing up like grass on the prairies. They have the talking thunder, t 
which carries death a long way off, with long gruns and short 
ones, I long knives and short ones, ammunition and provisions in 
abundance, with powerful war horses for their soldiers to ride. In 
a contest where our numbers are so unequal to theirs we must 
ultimately fail. All we can reasonably expect or hope is to wreak 
the utmost of our vengeance upon their hated heads, and fall, 
when fall we must, with our faces to the enemy. Great is the un- 
dertaking, and desperate must be our exertions. Every brave and 
warrior able to throw a tomahawk or wield a war-club must go with 
us. Once across the Mississippi, let no one think of returning while 
there is a foe to strike or a scalp to take, and when we fall if our 
strength permit let us drag our feeble, bleeding bodies to the 
graves of our ancestors, and there die, that our ashes may com- 
mingle with theirs, while our departing spirits shall follow the 
long trail made by them in their passage to the land of spirits. 

"It is my duty as your Chief to be your father while in the 
paths of peace, and your leader and champion while on the war- 
path. You have decided to follow the path of war. and I will 
leacf you forth to victory if the Good Spirit prevails.* If not, and 
the Bad Spirit rules, then will I perish at my post of duty. But 
what shall we do with our old and infirm, our women and chil- 
dren? We cannot take them with us upon the war-path, for 
they would hamper us in our movements and defeat us of our 
vengeance. We dare not leave them behind us, doomed to perish 
of hunger or fall captive to the palefaces, who would murder the 
old and the young, but reserve our wives and daughters for a fate 
worse than death itself. 

" I will lead you forth upon the war-path, but upon this con- 
dition: That we first put our wives and children, our aged and 
infirm, gently to sleep in that slumber which knows no waking 
this side the spirit land, and then carefully and tenderly lay their 
bodies away by the side of our sacred dead, from whence their 
freed spirits shall depart on the long journey to the happy 

Pioneers. t Gannon. t Kifles, muskets and pistols. 

Swords and bowie knives, or dirks. 

*These Indians believed there were two gods one good, the other bad. The 
good was their friend, the bad, their enemy, and stronger than the good. 


home in the land of dreams beneath, beyond, the Evening Star.* 
For we go upon the long trail which has no turn, from which, in 
a few short moons, we shall follow them, but they must not follow 
us. This sacrifice is demanded of us by the very love we bear those 
dear ones. Our every feeling of humanity tells us we cannot 
take them with us, and dare not leave them behind us." (Then 
turning to Black Hawk, who stood trembling like an aspen leaf 
and a picture of despair, he said) : " To you, venerable Chief, do 
I appeal for an answer to what I have said. Your long expe- 
rience upon the war-path tells you I have spoken the truth ; yet, 
with all your wonderful eloquence, you have urged us to this ter- 
rible sacrifice. Brooding over the oft-repeated wrongs committed 
by the palefaces upon you and your people, your mind has 
grown weak, until you have lent a willing ear to the whisperings 
of evil counselors, who cannot speak the truth, because their 
tongues are forked, like the viper's. 

" They came to you under the guise and pretense of friendship, 
and by the use of base flattery and hypocrisy gained your 
confidence, only to lead you into the crooked path of ruin and 
destruction. They are enemies of yours and your band, instead 
of friends. They first told you the British Father has promised 
you aid and assistance, in warriors as well as guns, tomahawks, 
spears, knives, ammunition and provisions, as soon as you should 
recross the Mississippi at the head of a hostile army. Why has 
he not furnished you these things, to enable you to raise, arm and 
equip your army, ready for war? This fact proves the whole 
story a lie, prepared no doubt by Neapope or his cunning brother, 
Winnesheik, for the sole purpose of deceiving and misleading you 
and your band. The British Father is at peace with our Great 
Father at Washington, and neither knows of or cares for you or 
your grievances. The same evil counselors have told you that 
the moment you shall sound your war-whoop east of the Missis- 
sippi all the Indian tribes between that and the Illinois river will 
rise up as a single warrior and unite with you, and under your 
banner, to avenge their wrongs upon the white pioneers. What 
wrongs have they to avenge ? They are on terms of peace and 
good-will with these white settlers, and have no cause of com- 
plaint or grievance whatever. Yet they have told you that these 
Indians across the river were not only ready but eager to join 
you in a general massacre of the frontier inhabitants of Northern 

*Their Paradise was located beneath the Evening Star, in the West. 


Illinois, and are now only waiting your signal fires to be rekindled 
upon the watch-tower at Saukenuk to begin the slaughter. If 
this be true, why are not their great war-chiefs here to-night? 
Where are Wauponsee, The Eed Devil, Big Thunder Shaata and 
Meachelle? Why are they not here in person, or by their repre- 
sentatives, if it be true they are anxious to go upon the war-path 
with you? Their absence is proof conclusive that they have no 
intention or desire to join you in this suicidal undertaking. You 
have been deceived aye, cruelly deceived by these counselors 
with a forked tongue, who are leading you into the crooked path 
of the Bad Spirit, and have no love for you or respect for your 
gray hairs or good name. I beseech you, by the noble character 
you have always borne, by the honors and trophies you have won 
upon the war-path, by the love vou bear your gallant little band, 
by everything you hold sacred and dear, abandon this wild, 
visionary and desperate undertaking, and return to your village. 
Seed time is here, but your grounds have not been prepared for 
the planting. Go back and plant the summer's crop. Arise to the 
dignity and grandeur of your honored position as the father of 
your gallaut little band ; shake off the base fetters of the Bad 
Spirit which bind you hand and foot, and turn your feet from the 
crooked war-path into the path that leads to peace. In this way 
only can you save your true and trusty band from certain defeat, if 
not utter annihilation. If you still persist in going upon the war- 
path against the white people, then indeed may we bid farewell to 
Black Hawk, whose protecting spirit has forsaken him in his old 
age, and suffered his star of success which has led him in 
triumph to an hundred victories on the war-path to go down 
behind a cloud, never to rise again ; and when the Pauguk comes, 
his lofty spirit will depart, groping its way doubtingly along the 
dark and crooked path to the land of dreams, unhonored, unla- 
mented and unwept." 

Thus did this intellectual Samson of the red man, armed with 
that harmless yet most powerful weapon, love and affection, en- 
counter, overcome and subdue the hate-maddened, whisky-in- 
flamed, vengeful Philistines of his nation, in doing which, he 
manifested a courage and ability which challenge the admira- 
tion of the great and the good, and around which memory de- 
lights to linger a deed never excelled in real life, and seldom 
paralleled in fiction. 


Forgotten then were the fiery appeals of Black Hawk and Nea- 
pope for vengeance on the palefaces. The prophetic voice of 
Keokuk still rang through their suddenly sobered brains. They 
could hear or comprehend no other sound than "I will lead you 
forth upon the war-path upon condition that we first put our wives 
and children, our old and infirm, gently to sleep in that slum- 
ber which knows no waking this side the spirit land, and then, 
carefully and tenderly lay their bodies away by the side of our 
sacred dead." etc. A solemn stillness settled over the entire vil- 
lage. So still had the howling, drunken crowd become that the 
silence was absolutely painful. 

Even their wolfish dogs felt the sudden change, and stole 
crouchingly around the now silent wigwams in search of the 
cause, while the dusky mo' her pressed her child to her breast, 
and with bated breath and wildly throbbing heart, listened with 
eager ear to catch each whisper, tremblingly listened, in dread 
of some dire calamity. The wild, weird war-dance ceased, and 
silent were their tom-toms and war-songs. All thoughts of war 
were banished from their suddenly sobered brains. From howl- 
ing demons they were converted to reasonable, thinking beings, 
under the magic influence of the great magician Keokuk who 
held them like putty in his hands, with the ability to mould and 
form them into loving husbands and peaceably inclined human 
beings. Even the aged and eloquent Black Hawk was completely 
overwhelmed and crushed by this unexpected and sudden ava- 
lanche of eloquence which submerged all opposition. Indeed he 
made no sort of effort to check its influence or divert its effect. 

Fully three hundred braves and warriors accompanied him 
thither, he withdrew from the war-dance without obtaining a 
a solitary brave or warrior from Keokuk's band, and when he re- 
crossed the Mississippi a few days later, he could only muster 
two hundred men. Thus, instead of increasing his army by hold- 
ing his war-dance at Keokuk's village, he lost fully one third of 
his own braves and warriors through the influence of this won- 
derful speech of Keokuk's. He came to Keokuk's village "to 
gather wool, but went away shorn." 

It is a loss to the literature of the world that this speech could 
not have been preserved as delivered. No white man, except 
Josiah Smart, heard it, and he was so situated that he could not 
take down in writing even the headings, for he was literally buried 


beneath Indian saddles, blankets, etc., in Keokuk's lodge, where 
he dare not move, or scarcely breathe, lest he should be discovered 
by some of Black Hawk's band, and his life taken as the penalty 
of a spy. Fortunately, however, he was a man of considerable 
education and good memory, which enabled him to give a fair 
synopsis of it. Black Hawk's statement of this affair is meagre 
and evasive. He says, "I sent word to Keokuk's band, and the 
Fox tribe, explaining to them all the good news I had heard. 
They would not hear. Keokuk said that I had been imposed 
upon by liars, and had better remain where I was and keep quiet. 

* * * I resolved upon my course, and again tried to recruit 
some braves from Keokuk's band to accompany me, but I could 
not. Conceiving that the peaceable disposition of Keokuk and his 
people had been in a great measure the cause of our having been 
driven from our village, I ascribed their present feelings to the 
same cause, and immediately went to work to recruit all my own 
band, and making preparations to ascend Eock river. 1 made my 
encampment on the Mississippi, where Fort Madison had stood. 
I required my people to rendezvous at that place, sending out sol- 
diers to bring in the warriors, and stationed my sentinels in a- 
position to prevent any from moving off until all were ready." 
He does not say anything about the loss of a portion of his own 
band through the eloquence of Keokuk, but tacitly admits it by 
saying he sent out soldiers to bring in the warriors, and sta- 
tioned sentinels to prevent their escape. 

Had not Keokuk been able to restrain his braves from uniting 
with those of Black Hawk, the entire Fox tribe would doubtless 
have joined in the confederation, which would have created a 
decidedly formidable army of invasion. Once across the Misis- 
sippi with such a force, under the leadership and command of 
Black Hawk, who was the Julius Caesar of the red-men, no power 
on earth could have prevented the Pottawattamies, Ottawas, 
Chippewas, Winnebagos and Kickapoos all of whom belonged 
to the once powerful Peuotomies, and were at least cousins to 
the Sauks and Foxes from a general uprising and indiscriminate 
murder of the white settlers living between the Illinois and Misis- 
sippi rivers, before a sufficient army could have been raised and 
sent to their relief. Under such able Indian Generals as Black 
Hawk, Wapello, Wauponsee, Big Thunder, The lied Devil, 
Shaata and Meachelle, the slaughter must have been such as to 
make us shudder at the bare thought of it. Black Hawk would 


doubtless have been the controlling spirit. He was brave, cau- 
tious and prudent, though not wanting in dash and daring when 
the circumstances demanded these qualities. Quick to observe 
and prompt to take advantage of the least error of his opponent, 
no General excelled him in repelling a Sudden or unexpected 
attack. With such an army as the combined forces of these 
seven nations, Sauks, Foxes, Pottawattamies, Ottawas, Ghippe- 
was, Winnebagos, to say nothing of the other powerful tribes 
down the Mississippi, he said wisely to Shaubenee : 

" If you will permit your braves to unite with mine, I will have 
an army like the trees in the forest, and will drive the palefaces 
before me like leaves before the autumn wind/' 

But, thanks to that Deity who has in special charge the destiny 
of our noble Prairie State, and sent us a George Kogers Clark to 
wrest our fair territory from the British in 1778, a Gov. Ford to 
save us from the foul stain of repudiation in 1842, and a Keokuk 
to defeat this intended Indian confederacy in 1832, the lives of 
our pioneers were spared. An untutored child of the forest, but, 
all things considered, one of the most powerful orators the world 
ever produced, and as brave as he was eloquent, nature endowed 
him with every needed attribute for the accomplishment of his 
great mission, and right gallantly did he perform it. Possessed 
of courage, confidence in himself, and tact, of the highest order, 
Keokuk was prudent, and well considered everything he did before 
acting. His special study from infancy was human nature. Each 
secret spring and hidden well of the human heart, in its native 
state, was with him an old and familiar acquaintance. Indeed, 
we may say, his musical instruments were human passions, upon 
which -he played at will, to suit his pleasure. To soften and to 
soothe the troubled soul, he gently elicited the sweet music of 
the mellow chords of brotherly love and human kindness, to 
rouse it into rage and fury, he thrummed the naked chords of hate, 
jeakmsy and revenge. In a word, he was a master of the human 
nature with which he was surrounded. For the purpose of being 
heard at Black Hawk's war-dance, he applauded the most in- 
flammatory appeals made by Black Hawk and Neapope. To 
disarm them of suspicion, he drank with them. To put himself 
en rapport with the crowd of infuriated beings, he first uttered 
sentiments in full accord with their feelings. This done, he rap- 
idly sounded the tocsin of caution, by his allusion to the power 
and numbers of the white people; and then, without a moment's 


warning, hurled forth his thunderbolt of human kindness and 
love of family among them with such force and precision as to 
fairly bewilder them for several seconds ; and when they recov- 
ered from the first shock they were powerless of speech, and 
made no effort whatever to avoid its force or counteract its in- 
fluence. Keokuk had touched the most sensitive chords of 
human nature civilized or savage love and parental affection, 
and instantaneously there welled up in their hearts the sweet 
music of the home circle, usurping and displacing all vengeful 
feelings, transforming the hate-maddened demons into loving 
husbands and indulgent fathers. Thus did this noble chieftain 
fulfill his heaven-born mission without the shedding of one drop 
of precious human blood. 

King Solomon, by appealing to the innermost heart, was en- 
abled to determine the real mother of the child, claimed also by 
the harlot. By the same test did Keokuk defeat the formation of 
a great Indian confederacy, and thereby save the lives of thous- 
ands of white people of all ages, sexes and conditions. For this 
manifestation of wisdom by Solomon he has been canonized for 
many centuries, while the wisdom of this poor savage though 
he, like Solomon, was a king has never been mentioned, much 
less canonized. Yet in its effects it was a thousand times more 
beneficial, besides requiring courage of the most heroic character. 
In the action and decision of Solomon there was neither haste nor 
personal danger, while in that of Keokuk both these elements were 
active factors. Solomon was the son of the Hebrew king, raised 
and educated in all the wisdom of the East. Keokuk was a child 
of the forest, self-made, without hereditary title, position or for- 
tune, and raised in the wilderness. Springing from a tribe just 
passing from savagry to barbarism, he was the architect of his 
own fortune. Without books, charts, or means of learning other 
than the traditions of his nation, and absorbtion from nature, 
he conceived and executed, without a moment's time to think, 
a deed that entirely eclipses any act of King Solomon. We 
would not pluck a single feather from the plume of Solomon, 
appeal to the thinking reader for approval when we say the 
conception and execution of Keokuk overshadows and casts into 
the shade the greatest conception or execution of King Solomon. 
Then, while honoring the wisdom of the Hebrew king, let us not 
forget Keokuk, king of the Sauks, a greater than he. It cannot 
be truthfully said that Keokuk copied from Solomon, for he could 


neither speak, read or understand any written language, and had 
never heard of King Solomon or his wisdom. When Keokuk finished 
Iris speech he retired to his lodge, and his own band of braves acd 
warriors were so much mortified at their foolish action in demand- 
ing to be led upon the war-path that they slunk away like whipped 
curs to their kennels, and Black Hawk with his band proceeded 
to pitch their wigwams near by and retire to rest, and dream 
over the terrible picture drawn by. Keokuk. In the mean time, 
Joe. Smart hastily penned a line containing an account of what 
had taken place, and Keokuk sent a swift footed Sauk to bear it 
safely to the fort. On the day following the war-dance, Black 
Hawk's band moved down the Towa river to the Mississippi, but the 
wiley old chief left a cordon of lynx-eyed Indian spies to watch 
Keokuk and his lodge, so that Jo. Smart did not deem it safe to 
attempt to return until the third night, when he made his escape 
from his close quarters, and returned to the island, a distance of 
fifty-five miles. So utterly crushed was Black Hawk by the sud- 
den turn his affairs had taken that he was uunerved and inca- 
pacitated for the intelligent performance of any great undertak- 
ing. With the sudden and complete collapse of his fondly 
cherished air-castle of a great Indian confederacy, his good genius 
deserted him never to return, and from that moment he ceased to 
be an Indian patriot, and became a mere puppet in the hands of 
Winnesheik and the villainous Neapope. With the commencement 
of Keokuk's great speech Black Hawk's manhood and good for- 
tune began to wane and ebb, leaving him stranded high up on the 
ragged cliffs of irresolution, indicision, vacillation and doubt, 
from whence he rushed into inexcusable and inexplicable blunders, 
errors and mistakes, which landed him in absolute imbecillity, 
whence he drifted before the winds of adversity, without sail, rud- 
der or compass. He was powerless to change his course or escape 
the storm which was fast approaching and full soon overtook and 
crushed him. 

Fixed or definite plans or purposes he did not have. Like a 
dismantled ship, his life upon the ocean of time, without anchor 
or stays, was a mere cockle-shell, tossed hither and thither by 
every wave and undercurrent in his path. His brilliant star of 
success for he had never lost a battle had surely gone down 
beneath a cloud, while his frail life-boat was rapidly sinking under 
the force of the storm he himself had raised and called into be- 
ing, but could not govern, direct or control. It is a melancholy 


task to follow the misfortunes of this hitherto patriarch of his 
nation whose war-whoop or battle-cry had filled the surrounding 
nations for nearly a half century with fear and trembling down 
through the remainder of his days, to his ignominious ending and 
burials, for he was buried twice and then cremated. So suddenly 
and overwhelmingly had Keokuk's speech demolished his confeder- 
acy scheme that he was overwhelmed, and never rallied. As he had 
staked all his hopes upon this single cast of a die, and lost, his last 
card was played and his resources gone. With this, his last hope, 
he realized but too clearly that he had ventured his all upon thin 
ice, which had broken through, and escape was out of the question, 
save by a miracle. He had wrought up his own gallant little band 
to such a pitch of hope and confidence in the success of his con- 
federacy scheme that he had not the moral courage to tell them 
frankly that it was an utter failure. He dare not do so because 
he had broken up camp at his villiage on the Iowa with the as- 
surance that he would never return to it, but was going back to 
Saukenuk, which filled his band, especially the squaws, with 
delight and great expectations. To now abandon this enterprise 
and return to their Iowa village without making any effort to re- 
gain Saukenuk and their farm lands, or firing a gun, was too 
humiliating. Indeed, he was too proud of spirit to seriously 
think of doing so. The ridicule to which he would have been 
subjected would have driven him crazy ; hence he determined to 
go forward and take the consequences, be they what they might. 
Defeated in obtaining recruits from Keokuk's band, and deserted 
by a third of his own, still his lofty spirit, though bowed down, 
was not broken. Still the roseate-winged angel, Hope, lured him 
on, on, on to destruction. 



Black Hawk Ee-crosses the Mississippi April 6, 1832, with 200 Mounted Braves and 
Warriors and Leisurely Marches up the Illinois Side, accompanied by his Sauaws 
and Pappooses, Old and Infirm, with all their Worldly Goods and Effects in Ca- 
noes, to Mill Creek, near Ancient Saukenuk, where they Arrive April 11 On that 
evening, at the head of his Braves and Warriors, Mounted, Armed and in War 
Paint, he Fords the South Branch of the Mississippi where the City of Moline 
now stands, to the Island of Rock Island, to a Grove qf Timber, near Fort Arm- 
strong, where they Dismount to pass the Night besiue their Ponies A Dark 
Night, filled with Terror and Despair Heroic Josequa and Brave Goka 
" Wattair he be bettair to Fight ze Indian zan ze Prayer." Keokuk to the Res- 
cue, and Black Hawk withdraws from the Island and is Forced on up Rock 

The fatal die is cast, the Mississippi passed; 
Wild rumors fill the air; with terror and despair 
White pioneers for miles, like bees from out their hives, 
With children and their wives, are fleeing for their lives. 

Strikingly analogous is the life of a nation to that of man. It 
has its birth, infancy, youth, manhood, followed by age, decrep- 
itude and death ; and like man, it has its cares, troubles, anxie- 
ties, joys, sorrows and misfortunes, commingled with exultations 
and despondencies ; and sooner or later, despite all the care and 
caution it can command, it commits many foolish acts and inex- 
cusable blunders. Having committed one blunder, they follow it 
up with others, greater than the first, in rapid succession. To 
this rule Black Hawk and his band were no exception. Inordin- 
ately vain, proud and haughty, Black Hawk was the most suscep- 
tible to the blandishments of flattery of any man of his age; 
hence, a very little soft soap was sufficient to lather him all over 
with bubbles of self -laudation. All that was required to make 
him strut like a turkey gobbler was to speak of his hundred vic- 
tories upon the war-path. This being his character and his weak- 
ness, it is easily seen how completely he was led astray by the 
fulsome flatteries and monstrous lies of that champion liar 

So fully was he impressed by the false reports of promised aid 
and assistance from the British government and the surrounding 
Indian tribes, that he staked everything upon the single cast of 


the die, and lost. That die was the enlistment of warriors from 
Keokuk's band. Having promised his women and children to 
lead them back to Saukenuk before leaving his new village on the 
Iowa, he lacked the moral courage to lead them back to the start- 
ing point after his terrible defeat at Keokuk's village. Instead 
of following the advice of the noble Keokuk, and returning to his 
village on the Iowa, and abandoning all thoughts of going to war 
with the United States, and preparing his grounds for planting 
his summer's crop, Black Hawk seems to have been in a coma- 
tose mental condition, without the reasoning power to determine 
which course he should pursue, or the will-power to execute the 
policy he should select. He was irresolute and indecisive. On 
the one side were arrayed his pride and vanity ; on the other, his 
poverty and weakness. Pride and vanity urged him on to ruin, 
while reason and humanity whispered in his ear : " Sell not 
eternity for a toy." He had left his Iowa village big with hope 
and full of expectation, but a few short days before, with the 
avowed intention of never returning. His hope and expectation 
had been mortally wounded by his lifelong rival Keokuk and 
fully one third of his gallant little band had deserted him "at the 
time of his sorest need." Never had the old Chief been placed in 
so critical and trying a position. Like the boy who held the wolf by 
the ears, he could neither hold on with safety or let go. Danger 
and annihilation lay directly in his path, if he should go forward, 
humiliation and dishonorjay behind him if he should return to 
his village. But these were by no means the only troubles beset- 
ting and surrounding the old Chief. He was only able to induce 
two hundred braves and warriors to accompany him in his pro- 
posed hostile invasion of Illinois. Of these but very few were 
armed with guns of any kind, and were out of ammunition. Nor 
had he the means or power of procuring either arms, ammunition, 
provisions or clothing, all of which he must have in order to be 
able to do anything. His greatest immediate difficulty was lack of 
provisions. His band fled from Saukenuk, June 26, 1831, hence 
they had raised no crop that year, and the winter's hunt had been 
a poor one. 

Thus handicapped and environed, did Black Hawk find him- 
self and band on the west bank of the Mississippi, April 6, 1832. 
While halting between crossing the river and taking the chances, 
on the one side, and going back to his Iowa village, on the other, 
the squaws determined him to risk the chances of war, and 


"cross the Rubicon," as they were unanimously in favor of re- 
turning to Saukenuk. Weighed down with the cares and per- 
plexities of his situation, can it be wondered that Black Hawk 
should have committed inexcusable blunders and errors. Yet 
when analyzed, his actions are more consistent than would be 

On the 6th or 7th of April, 1832, he, at the head of about two 
hundred mounted and partially armed braves and warriors, 
crossed the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Iowa, some fifty- 
five miles below Rock Island, to the Illinois side, and marched 
up the river by easy marches to Rock Island, reaching Mill 
creek, south of Rock river, and above Saukenuk, on the after- 
noon of the llth of April, in full war paint, singing their war- 
songs and beating their tom-toms. They were accompanied 
up the river by the women and children, old and infirm, to- 
gether with all the worldly goods and effects of the band in 
canoes ; the braves marching along the shore as an escort or con- 
voy to the little fleet of canoes, all camping together at night on 
the Illinois shore. On the evening of the tenth they reached 
Rockport, now Andalusia, wnere Gen. Gaines had met the army of 
Gen. Duncan the year before, and encamped for the night. Here 
they were met by Winnesheik, the Prophet, who had just left the 
Island where he had held several conferences with St. Vrain the 
Indian Agent, Col. Davenport and Maj. Bliss, commandant 
of the fort, to whom he had promised that he would go down the 
river and meet Black Hawk, and dissuade him from making 
war against the white people, as before stated. 

In making this promise, this crafty Indian was guided by policy. 
He desired above all things else to gain admission to the fort, for 
the purpose of familiarizing himself with the location of the pow- 
der magazine, armory and sutler's stores, and make a careful 
examination of the fort, to locate its weak points, and ascertain the 
number, location and condition of the large guns and their bear- 
ings, hence he assumed the character and garb of friendship to 
cover his real desings, and readily assented to any proposition 
made to him, although in doing so he well knew he was playing 
the part of the hypocrite, and arrant dissembler. That he visited 
the island with not only the knowledge of Black Hawk, but at his 
request, or, rather, in furtherance of their concerted plan, there 
can be no reasonable doubt. But with all his protestations of 
friendship for the whites he failed in gaining admission to the 


fort. Yet ho succeeded in gaining much information that was 
valuable to Black Hawk. He learned that no reinforcements had 
arrived, and that Jo. Smart had brought down in his barges 
from Prairie du Chien quite a quantity of provisions ; and more 
important still, that neither Maj. Bliss, nor any of his command, 
had any knowledge of this tunnel to the east gate of the fort and 
the gun-powder plot, and doubtless renewed the trail of powder 
leading from the cave to the three kegs of powder, placed imme- 
diately under the gate. He was told that Gen. Atkinson, with a 
large force of soldiers, was supposed to be on his way to 
the fort from Jefferson Barracks. From this he knew 
that no reinforcements had reached the island, and there 
can be but little doubt that he was well posted as to the 
number and physical condition of the garrison. Hence he had 
much valuable information to communicate to Black Hawk at 
their conference that night. Here he addressed the Sauk braves 
and warriors, exhorting them to follow their chief, and act like 
braves and warriors, and all would be well. Much difficulty has 
been encountered at this point in the history of these transac- 
tions, in reconciling the action of Black Hawk in taking with him 
the women and children of his band, together with all their goods 
and effects, when ostensibly he was going on the war-path. The 
appearance of the braves and warriors in war-paint, armed and 
mounted, singing war songs, accompanied by the beating tom- 
toms, meant stern, unrelenting war ; while the presence of their 
wives and children, old and feeble, together with their wigwams, 
cooking utensils and worldly goods, meant peace, clearly and 
and unmistakably. No Indian war-chief was ever known to go 
upon the war-path accompanied and encumbered by the families 
of his warriors. Cruel, revengeful and heartless as he is repre- 
sented to be, and is, be it said, and truthfully said, to his credit, 
that the Indian is an affectionate husband and indulgent father, 
and always careful of the lives and comfort of his family. He 
never submits them to danger if he can avoid it. That general 
of a civilized nation who should permit the wives and children of 
his soldiers to accompany them into battle, would forfeit the 
respect and invoke the condemnation and execration of every en- 
lightened nation. In this respect the Indians' sense of humanity 
is quite as clearly denned and active as with the most Christian- 
ized nations of the world. 


That this is true, no person in the least familiar with the In- 
dian character and history will attempt to deny. Then why did 
Black Hawk take with him on his return from Iowa to Illinois 
the families and worldly goods of his band, while he and his 
braves were in full panoply and paraphernalia of war ? Why did 
he assume this dual attitude of war and peace at one and the same 
time, and by the same act ? This anomalous action has present- 
ed such a stumbling-block in the path of the historian that he has 
passed by, over, or around it, without stopping to remove, or even 
examine and anyalize it, hence the problem has never been solved. 
Every problem, even the most difficult, may be solved when we 
know how to do it, and this is no exception to the general rule. 
In the solution of this anomalous problem there are but two 
questions or elements to be considered the one being a question 
of fact, the other of intent, as the latter always qualifies the for- 
mer. That Black Hawk did cross the Mississippi with his war- 
riors, in war-paint, and follow up the Illinois side to Eock Island, 
is undisputed, while the women and children passed up that river 
with their worldly goods in canoes is equally true, and still his 
intention was to retake and hold by force the peninsula between 
Bock island and Bock river, embracing the site of Saukenuk and 
the Sauk farm lands. In doing this he was simply changing his 
village from the Iowa back to Bock river, preparatory to going on 
the war-path against the white people. From what he saw and 
heard while at Keokuk's village a few days before, he was satis- 
fied that Keokuk was the firm friend of the white people, and as 
his village and lands were between Black Hawk's Iowa village and 
Bock Island, his objective point, he dare not leave his families 
behind him, thus completely isolated and cut off from communi- 
cation. Besides, they had not been at their Iowa village long 
enough to prepare any of their lands for corn planting or the 
raising of any kind of crops, while there were near Saukenuk, 
their old home on Bock river, nearly 3,000 acres of cultivated 
land, and the time of preparing the ground for the planting was 
then at hand. Moreover, Saukenuk was a naturally fortified 
location, and near Bock Island, which he proposed to make his 
stronghold and central point for his intended military operations. 
There were no white soldiers within hundreds of miles, except at 
Fort Armstrong, and none could reach that point except by water 
transportation up the Mississippi. This was Black Hawk's only 
fear. He had been informed that the fort expected reinforce- 
ments from Jefferson Barracks, hence his strong desire to reach 


the island, fire the powder trail leading from the cave near the 
foot of the island to the three kegs of powder deposited under the 
east gate of the fort, as before described, blow it up and rush 
in, overpower the garrison, and seize the guns, ammunition and 
provisions before reinforcements arrived. 

With this explanation of fact and intent, the problem is fully 
solved. He had not the least thought of taking the women and 
children of his band with him on the war-path, but was simply 
moving" his village and changing base as preparatory steps to 
begin the war. That this is the rational and logical solution of 
this problem, is fully established by his actions immediately fol- 
lowing. Having safely conducted the women and children, old 
and young, of his band, with all their goods and effects, back 
near their late home, where Saukenuk had so recently stood, he 
left them there, clearly intending to make that their home*- 
where after capturing the fort and taking full possession of its 
guns, stores, ammunition and supplies he intended to rebuild a 
sufficient number of hodenosotes for the accommodation of the 
families of his band, and plant the coming season's crops upon 
the cultivated lands adjacent thereto. He and his band, with all 
their effects, passed up Eock river to Mill Creek, southeast of Sauk- 
enuk, in the afternoon of the memorable llth of April, 1832,, 
where Black Hawk, with his two hundred mounted, armed and 
war-painted braves and warriors left the non-combatants and 
marched north some four miles, and drew up on the south 
bank of the south branch of the Mississippi, near the lower 
end of the island of Eock Island, immediately opposite old Fort 
Armstrong, at about five p. m. Here they remained in full view 
of the terrified white people, who had sought refuge and safety 
behind the walls of the fort, or within the stockade around the 
trading house and dwelling of Col. Davenport, until after sunset. 
The south branch of the Mississippi at Eock Island, though 
nearly half a mile wide, is not doep, and at that time there were 
three points at which it could be safely forded at ordinary stages 
of water. Of these, the middle ford, located about a mile and a 
half above the foot of the island, was much the best of the three. 
At the point where Black Hawk formed his mounted, armed and 
war-painted braves in line along the bank facing the fort, the 
river was too deep to ford, hence the object he had in view in form- 
ing his line there, and holding it from five p. m. until dusk is dif- 


ficult to determine. He made no other demonstration or menace 
of any kind beyond that already stated. Not a gun was fired by 
his band or a war-whoop uttered. They simply remained in line, 
mounted upon their ponies, as staid and immovable as statues. 
Painfully beautiful to the terrified white ,' people on the island 
were the reflected rays of the declining sun upon the gawdy tinsel 
and trappings, guns, tomahawks and scalping knives of these In- 
dians on this memorable afternoon. 

Here the dusky horde remained until the sun withdrew his face 
from earth, and then silently marched up to the ford, crossed 
over to the island, and wended their way without noise to a 
thickly wooded grove on the east side, and near by the fort, to 
be in easy striking distance at the coming of the morning's 
dawn, their favorite hour of attack, when Black Hawk's inten- 
tion undoubtedly was to send an Indian along under the steep 
bank, in his canoe, to the cave near the foot of the island, which 
extended to and under the fort, to apply a brand to the powder 
trail leading to the three kegs of powder deposited immediately 
under the east gate thereof, as described in a former chapter. 
By the explosion of this mine, he fully expected this gate would 
be blown from its fastenings, which would enable him and his 
braves to rush in, overcome and subdue the feeble garrison, and 
capture the fort with all its guns, ammunition and supplies, the 
need of which he sorely felt. 

That the plans of Black Hawk, for the capture of the fort and 
possession of the island, were shrewdly and carefully laid, must 
be admitted, and that they were not successfully executed, seems 
almost a miracle. But "man proposes, God disposes," and his 
plans were defeated, and the fort as well as the stockade, with 
their stores of precious blood and treasure, escaped unscathed. 
No one better understood the adage, that "nothing is so success- 
ful as success," than did Black Hawk, and that once in posses- 
sion of the fort and island, the surrounding Indian tribes would 
immediately rush to his banner, when a general and indiscrimi- 
nate slaughter of the white people of Northern Illinois would 
have ensued. 

As stated in a former chapter, the turkey scare occurred about 
the 7th of April, when all the white people residing near Bock 
Island sought shelter and safety, either behind the walls of the 
old fort or in the stockade. Soon after that, a swift-footed mes- 
senger arrived at the island, from Keokuk, to warn them of Black 


Hawk's re-crossing the Mississippi with his braves, in full panoply 
of war, and that he was marching up the Illinois side of the river 
towards Eock Island. To the already terrified settlers, especially 
the women and children, this news was absolutely paralyzing. 
Even the roseate Angel of Hope seemed to have deserted them. 
All the pioneer settlers within a radius of forty miles had been 
advised of their danger, as before stated, and were already in the 
fort or stockade, or had fled the country ere Black Hawk with his 
band reached that locality. 

Thus on the memorable llth of April, 1832, both the fort and 
Davenport stockade were teeming full of what may be termed ref- 
ugees, the larger portion of whom were women and children, 
whose safety hinged or seemed to hinge upon the strong arms of 
husbands, fathers and brothers, who were brave enough for in- 
dividual heroes, but poorly armed and without disipline or organ- 
ization. The long and painful sight presented to their view by 
Black Hawk and his mounted braves and warriors in their men- 
acing attitude on the south bank of the river, had a decidedly bad 
effect upon the nerves of the bra vest of the pioneers on the island, 
and when, in the gloaming of the evening, the red sun went 
down beneath a fiery red cloud, they bid farewell to hope. Capt. 
B. F. Pike and two companions, for the purpose of ascertaining 
Black Hawk's movements, went up the island so as to command 
a view of the middle ford, and concealed themselves in a safe 
covert whence they could see all that took place at the ford. 
Shortly after they arrived there, Black Hawk with his band of 
mounted, armed and painted braves came down the south bank 
in single file at a respectable distance from each other, entering 
the river and starting across to the island. It is a singular fact 
that in the twilight, especially upon the smooth surface of a bed 
of water, there exists a kind of mirage which makes every nat- 
ural object loom up to double its natural size, and by a strange 
freak, reflects bodies on the waters surface so as to double them 
up in a sort of mysterious way. To the already badly frightened 
Pike and companions, each dusky Indian was a giant and each 
little pony an elephant or at least a powerful war-horse, while 
their numbers were miraculous. The sight was too terrible for 
their sensitive nerves. They had already seen too much. Though 
their hearts were brave, their legs were cowardly and bore their 
trembling bodies at a break-neck speed back to the stockade, 
where they arrived pale and breathless, to report that the 


terrible Black Hawk with at least one thousand armed savages 
were already on the island and marching for the fort and stock- 
ade. The terror and fright which immediately followed this an- 
nouncement can only be imagined never described. Amid the 
most piteous wailings, fond mothers clasped their helpless infants 
to their breasts, accompanying the act with farewell kisses upon 
their pouting little lips. Brave Col. Davenport and his faithful 
French servitor Antoine Gouquy* were about the only two per- 
sons at the stockade who were cool and collected. What they 
most dreaded from an attack from the savage horde was fire. As 
shown before, the well from which they obtained all their water 
was, from an oversight, not enclosed in the stockade. For the 
purpose of guarding against a siege, and to provide the means of 
quenching incipient fires which might be kindled in the shingled 
roofs of the building within the enclosure, from the Indian fire 
arrows that might be shot into it, the first and most important 
thought was to fill every barrel, tub, pail, churn and kettle in the 
stockade. The brave and faithful Gouquy managed the sweep 
and well pail, while the other men, boys and women lent a wil- 
ling hand in carying the water into the stockade and depositing it. 

While this sturdy Frenchman was thus engaged, his faithful 
and equally brave squaw wife, Josequa, the medicine woman 
took her position outside the stockade to watch and listen for the 
approach of the enemy, determined to save the lives of those 
within the stockade, even at the cost of her own. Before going 
to her self-selected post of danger, she informed Col. Davenport 
of what she intended to do, with the assurance that she would at 
least effect a'parley with the Indians before any attack was made 
upon the stockade. Her keen sense of hearing soon detected the 
notes of the Whippoorwill, and her knowledge of the habits of 
that harmless little bird told her that these notes were simulated 
by the Indians, and had been determined on by Black Hawk as 
signal notes. Of this she was the more assured from the fact that 
these sweet songsters go south of winters and do not return north 
as far as this locality before about the ides of May. Just what 
these signal notes meant she could not determine, but felt quite 
sure they boded no good to the beleaguered stockade, and reported 

There was an old swivel at the stockade which Sergt. Haskill 
"loaded to the brim, knowing it would scatter like thunder," and 

*Pronounced Goka. 


with torch in hand, stood by its side ready to fire the "infernal 
machine" whenever the Indians came within sight or range- 
Some were engaged in- prayer, and nearly all in lamentations. 
The night wore on apace dark, gloomy and dismal, accom- 
panied by sharp lightning, heavy thunder, and terriffic rain and 
hail. 'Twas such a night 

"That e'n a chiel might understand 
The deil ha' business on his hand." 

At her self-selected post of danger the heroic squaw-wife 
Josequa, stood reckless alike of the 'pouring frain and driving 
sleet amid the terriffic cannonade of heavens artillery, until after 
midnight, a silent but ever- attentive listener to catch the sight or 
sound that might bode danger to the life of her white husband 
and his friends in the stockade. To her there came no relief of 
guard, for a kingdom could not have hired any white man to 
take her place and stand as she did between the stockade and 
the grove where Black Hawk and his band were concealed, thus 
placing himself directly between the two belligerent parties, as a 
target for both. Her love of husband and children impelled her 
to turn her back upon her own people and risk her life in the de- 
fense of their enemies. In point of conjugal affection and heroism 
Josequa, the squaw-wife, stands second to none of her sex. 
To better explain the woof and web of these exciting times, we 
return to the village of the noble Keokuk on the Iowa river, and 
note the events and incidents which followed the withdrawal of 
Black Hawk and his band after his ill-fated war-dance. While 
Keokuk had fondly hoped and believed that Black Hawk had en- 
tirely abandoned his wild scheme of war, yet he kept a sharp 
watch over his every act and move, and, notwithstanding he took 
with him on his ascent of the river his women and children with 
all their goods and effects, Keokuk was not deceived by this 
movement. He clearly saw through its specious covering, grim 
visaged war against the white pioners of northern Illinois. 
His first act was to send word to the island of their danger. 
Learning that no re-enforcements had passed up to the fort, he 
at once proceeded to arm and equip about two hundred of his 
own braves and warriors for the purpose of defeating the objects 
of Black Hawk, and saving the stockade and fort from savage 

Black Hawk had several days the start of Keokuk, and march- 
ing on the east side of the Mississippi he had a shorter and less 


difficult route than Keokuk, who passed up on the Iowa side, and 
found his course impeded by swollen streams and heavy roads. 
Bj; forced marches he hoped to reach the island before Black 
Hawk, but had only reached a point some twenty mile below the 
fort on the evening of the memorable llth, when he was, with 
great reluctance, compelled to camp for the night on account of 
the intense darkness and heavy storm. Here, fretting like a caged 
lion, the gallant Keokuk was compelled to remain. No thought 
of sleep entered his distracted brain. Wrapping his blanket 
around his broad shoulders and breast he took his station be- 
neath the sheltering boughs of a giant old elm tree, with his 
eagle eye piercing the darkness in all directions, keeping watch 
and ward over his thoroughly tired and sleeping braves and 
warriors. About the "noon of night" his keen eye caught the re- 
flection from the head-lights of the steamers Enterpise and Chief- 
tain, bearing Gen. Atkinson and his reinforcements and supplies 
for Fort Armstrong, shining out like a good deed in the surround- 
ing darkness. Hastily wakening Josiah Smart who had returned 
to his village after making his report of Black Hawk's war-dance 
to Maj. Bliss, and then joined Keokuk's expedition and kindling 
a torch, these two men ran down the river bank to meet the up- 
coming steamer, and when in hailing-distance, Jo. Smart ex- 
plained to the General the situation of affairs, and desired him to 
land and take Keokuk and his braves on board, but Gen. Atkin- 
son, always too cautious for an officer, fearing a decoy, declined 
to land until assured by Sergt. Colter, who was on board, that 
Keokuk and Josiah Smart could be implicitly relied upon. After 
some hesitation the steamer Chieftain was run near the shore, 
fastened to adjacent trees, gang-planks run out, and Keokuk, 
with his two hundred braves and warriors, taken on board, load- 
ing the steamer down, almost to the sinking-point. 

At about two o'clock A. M., of the 12th of April, the steamer 
came in sight of the fort, and fired their signal-gun^ to which the 
anxious garrison responded with a ringing salute, accompanied 
with loud cheers of joy, for now they were assured of safety 
and reinforcements. But the people of the stockade had not and 
did not see the lights of the approaching steamboats nor recognize 
the firing ot either the signal-gun or salute, but on hearing the 
loud shouts of the garrison above the rain and confusion of the 
war of the elements, misconstrued them into shouts of triumph 
by the Indians, over what they supposed was the capture of 


the fort by Black Hawk. Hence all hope to the people of the 
stockake seemed to perish, and Elder Kinney, of Port Byron, Illi- 
nois, a zealous worker in the Presbyterian church, being among 
those at the stockade, advised them all to unite in an appeal to 
God as their only hope of safety, but Old Gowky, who had 
worked like a beaver all night long, now here, then there, like 
the Will-o'-the-wisp, said in his broken Engtish,- " Ze prayer he 
be good for ze vimmin an' ze childer, but he be not wort one cent 
to fight ze Injins. Wattair, he be bettair zan ze prayer." But on 
seeing the arrival of reinforcements, together with Keokuk and 
his warriors, Black Hawk and his braves mounted their horses, 
and "like the Arabs, silently stole away" at break of day, re- 
crossed the ford to the Illinois side so quietly that no one on th e 
island knew of their withdrawal, and were it not for the testimony 
of Capt. Pike and his two companions, who saw them crossing to 
the island the evening before, and the simulated notes of the 
Whippoorwill, detected by the daring Josequa, and the litter made 
by their ponies during the night, in the grove, no one on the is- 
land would have known they were there. Maj. Bliss had not the 
least suspicion of the existence of the mine under his fort, with 
enough powder to blow him and his fort skyward, 

How Black Hawk conceived this idea of blowing up the east 
gate of the fort, we think, can be explained by referring back 
to the war with Great Britain, of 1812-14, when he served 
on the staff of the English General, Dixon, from whom he 
probably learned of the Guy Fawks plot to blow up the House of 
Parliament ; but how, or where, he procured the tools or imple- 
ments wherewith to perfect this mine, and the powder to charge 
it, is a mystery. The cave approached from the north, and ex- 
tended almost to the gate, so but little digging was required to 
reach the desired spot. We can only give the fact of its construc- 
tion, and from being found there after the war was over, coupled 
with the fact of Black Hawk's going upon the island in such a secret 
manner, and remaining in the grove, so near the fort, during that 
night, with his equally silent withdrawal from the island imme- 
diately upon the arrival of the steamers with re-enforcements for 
the garrison, we have drawn and submitted our conclusions as to 
the aims and objects he had in view. Black Hawk does not 
mention or allude to this powder plot, or of his crossing over to 
to the island with his mounted braves, or drawing them up along 
the south bank of the Mississippi on the afternoon of April llth, 


n his own history of this period. Possibly, he was too much 
mortified at the defeat of his plans to give it publicity. He spent 
but little time explaining his defeats, for he had but few ; hence, 
his historical effort was to praise Caesar, not to bury him. 

While the braves and warriors withstood the drifting rain and 
pelting hail, sheltered only by the leafless boughs of the forest 
trees upon the island, their women, spent the night among 
the graves of their loved dead, near Saukenuk. If the women 
and children of the white settlers in the stockade were nearly 
frantic with affright, those of the red men were agonized be- 
tween grief and hope, grief over the graves of their loved 
ones, the destruction of their homes and loss of their corn lands ; 
hope in the efforts of their husbands, fathers and brothers, to 
regain their lost possessions. What, between the darkness of the 
night, the rain, hail, lightning and thunder, the gnawings of hun- 
ger, the bitter pangs of sorrow, commingled with the conflicting 
emotions of hope, and the misgivings of black despair, these sim- 
ple, half-clad daughters of Shem passed a far more torturing 
night than did their more favored sisters, daughters of Japheth, 
beneath the sheltering cover of the buildings behind the protect- 
ing walls of the fort and stockade on the island. We cannot por- 
tray the tumultuous emotions which crowded through the hearts 
and trooped through the brains of the women and children of 
these Indians, upon their return to the place of their birth, after 
an absence of ten months in the wilderness at their late homes 
on the Iowa, to find the buildings in which they were born, and 
where they had lived all their lives, and where their ancestors, 
for generation after generation, had been born, lived, loved and 
died, all burned up; the fences around their cornfields pulled 
down, and the posts and rails of which they were constructed 
used by the white people to build their fires ; their fields changed 
and divided up between the aggressive palefaces, whose ruthless 
plow-shares had been drawn through the sod that covered the 
bones of their sacred dead. The Sauks were among the foremost 
people of the earth in their devotion to the memory of their 
deceased. At the head of each grave they planted a substantial 
wooden post. If the deceased were a Chief, Head-man or Brave, 
cabalistic characters were painted thereon, commemorative of 
his deeds and virtues. Though of wood, and therefore perishable, 
these post monuments were not suffered to fall to decay ; but on 
the contrary, they were kept in constant repair, by repainting 


and renewing, from time to time, and generation after generation. 
As soon would an Indian permit "his right hand to forget its cun- 
ning" as suffer the graves of his ancestors to tumble down for 
want of care. These simple wooden monuments, though inex- 
pensive and unpretentious, were as significant to the living of the 
end of time and the beginning of eternity as monuments of mar- 
ble or brass. In like manner were the unpainted posts, which 
marked the graves of the women and children, kept in repair by 
the naturally affectionate squaws. No weeds were permitted to 
grow upon the grave. And when flowers could be procured they 
were decorated with artistically-constructed bouquets of the 
sweetest-scented wild flowers. The first and most sacred duty of 
the chief, brave or warrior upon his return from the warpath, 
whether successful or defeated, is to visit and see to the repairing 
of the greve of his nearest deceased ancestor. When that has 
been accomplished, he throws his body prone upon his face upon 
the grave, and if his campaign on the war-path has been success- 
ful, he returns thanks through the spirit of his ancestor (which 
he believes to be ever present at the grave and a willing messen- 
ger between the earth and the spirit land) to the Great Spirit for 
aiding him in achieving victory. If, however, he returns from 
defeat, through the same medium he implores the Great Spirit for 
forgiveness of his transgressions, blacks his face in token of hu- 
mility, pledges burnt offerings and prays for divine aid and assist- 
ance when next he shall meet the enemy. 

Black Hawk says, page 58 of his autobiography : " With us it 
is a custom to visit the graves of our friends and keep them in re- 
pair for many years. The mother will go alone to weep over the 
grave of her child. The brave with pleasure visits the grave of 
his father, after he has been successful in war, and repaints the 
post that marks where he lies. There is no place like that where 
the bones of our forefathers lie, to go to when in grief. Here, 
prostrate by the tombs of our fathers, the great spirit will take 
pity on us." These poor simple hearted mothers had been sepa- 
rated from the graves of their loved and lost ones for nearly a 
whole year, and now, on their return, they sought their graves, 
and there poured out their heart's overwhelmed weight in appeal- 
ing to the spirit of the departed to bear their messages to the 
Great Spirit, that the palefaces would retire from their lands 
and homes, and permit them to return to their village and again 
live near the village of their lost loved ones. As Jacob wrestled 


with the angel, so wrestled they with the Great Spirit all through 
that dreadful night. Little did they reck the war of the elements 
then in full fury. The storm of grief, hope and anxiety rag- 
ing within their own souls was superior to the darkness of the 
night, the rainfall, hail-storm and thunder. Many and fervent 
were the appeals to the Great Spirit sent up by these dusky 
mothers for His intercession in behalf of the great enterprise of 
their chief on Rock Island. 

Thus passed the long dreary hours, during which no sleep 
visited the eyes of these devotees, who spent the entire night 
in prayer and supplication to the Good Spirit, and were still 
at their orisons when the crushing news came to them from 
the island that Black Howk's last scheme had failed, and 
they must at once flee for their lives. They fully realized and 
comprehended this sad blow. Black dispair now usurped the 
place of hope as they contemplated their utterly helpless condi- 
tion, while striking their wigwams and packing them again in their 
canoes to leave, and forever, the place of their birth, childhood 
and womanhood, where they had lived, loved and labored all 
their lives, and the only spot on earth hallowed and sacred to 
their feelings and memories. We can only imagine the fond rec- 
ollections of happy days spent by them there before the hunters 
of men scattered them away like a flock of deer at the sound of 
their rifles. That such recollections they had, and around these 
recollections their sorely tried hearts fondly lingered, there can be 

no doubt. 

But ten short months before had they been forced to leave their 
homes, lands and crops, and flee across the Mississippi for their 
lives, and now, after spending but one night at the graves of their 
dead (for their homes had been destroyed by the Illinois volun- 
teers), were they again forced to flee from the army under Gen. 
Atkinson. But whither can they now flee ? Their only means 
of leaving where they are is by water in their canoes, for they are 
encumbered with their sick, their old and feeble, and all their 
worldly effects. They must either go back down the Mississippi 
and up the Iowa to their late Iowa home, or else on up Bock 
river to Prophetstown. Death and destruction lurked beside either 
way. If they attempted to go down the Mississippi Gen. Atkin- 
son's steamboats could run them down and slaughter or capture 
them at will, without the loss of a single soldier. Even though 


he should permit them to pass down the Mississippi unmolested, 
they would be compelled to run the gauntlet, as it were, in pass- 
ing Keokuk's village, whom they then felt assured was their open 
enemy, as he had joined the force under Gen. Atkinson, and come 
to Rock Island to make war against them ; hence they dare not 
go back. Winnesheik's village of Prophetstown was located up 
Rock river, some thirty-three miles above Saukenuk, and con- 
tained some 1,000 souls, a portion of whom were Sauks, and was 
the home of Neapope, second war chief of the Black Hawk band. 
Both Wmnesheik and Neapope were with Black Hawk and urged 
him and his band to go forward to Prophetstown, pleading among 
other reasons, that the people of Winnesheik's village, though a 
portion of them belonged to the Black Hawk band, had not been 
molested by either Gen. Gaines or Duncan the year before, and 
had remained on terms of peace and good will with the white 
people since. There was little time for deliberation, as an at- 
tacking party from the fort was momentarily expected. One- 
thing was very certain, and that was, Saukenuk was located too 
near Rock Islank to be a healthy location for Black Hawk's band 
at that time, hence he made his camp up Rock river a short dis- 
tance further, on the afternoon of the 12th of April, 1832. At this- 
place the gallant Capt. Phillip Kearney, afterwards a noted In- 
dian fighter, and gallant Union general in the war of the re- 
bellion, and killed at Chantilly, Virginia, visited Black Hawk's- 
camp, and held quite an extended conference with him. He had 
been stationed so long on the frontier that he spoke the Algon- 
quin or Sauk language fluently. Brave as Hannibal, Capt. 
Kearney went to the camp without escort or companion. He 
told these Indians that he was sent to them by Gen. Atkinson to 
tell them to return to their Iowa homes at once. That unless they 
did so Gen. Atkinson would lead an overwhelming force of United 
States soldiers against them and drive them back. 

In reply, Black Hawk denied any design on his part to make 
war against the white people, or to disturb any of the white set- 
tlers in the possession of their claims, but portrayed in pitiful 
terms the sufferings of his people for want of food, and set forth 
their poverty in respect to clothing, blankets, firearms, ammuni- 
tion and all other things necessary to their comfort how they were 
even then half famished for want of food how they had suffered 
during the severe winter just passed, and the improbability of 
their raising a crop that year upon the raw prairies of Iowa, and 


concluded by saying his heart was too soft to resist the appeals of 
the starving squaws and pappooses of his band, crying to be per- 
mitted to return to their homes at Saukenuk, which were still 
theirs, as they had never sold their lands to the United States. 
He further said that he wanted no war, and if the White Beaver 
Gen. Atkinson would not allow them to stay at Saukenuk 
and peaceably cultivate such parts of their farm lands there as 
the white settlers had not yet claimed, he would go on up Eock 
river and rent lands from their cousins the Pottawattamies so 
they might raise a crop that year. Capt. Kearney told him that 
neither of his suggested plans could be permitted, and the only 
way he could expect to escape punishment for his violation of the 
treaty of Fort Armstrong with Gen. Gaines ind Gov. Reynolds 
the year before was an immediate return to the west side of the 
Mississippi, and warned him against going any further up Rock 
river, with the assurance that if he did he would do so at his 
peril, and that such act would be held and deemed an act of war 
on his part, and that he would be followed by Gen. Atkinson 
and forcibly driven back to the other side of the Mississipi. Here 
the conference ended. 

The crafty Winnesheik put in his say, urging that so long as 
Black Hawk and his band were peaceable and respected the rights 
and property of the white people they had the right to go where 
they pleased, when they pleased, and in whatever numbers they 
pleased, and that under such circumstances no American General 
dared molest or interfere with them. This was rather more 
diplomacy than Capt. Kearney had expected, and more than he 
was prepared to refute by argument, so he made no attempt 
thereat, but left the camp withont changing his advice, and re- 
turned to the fort and made his report to Gen. Atkinson, who at 
once began preparations to follow Black Hawk and drive him back 
across the Mississippi. About the 14th of April Gen. Atkinson, 
at the head of a good-sized force of regulars, crossed over to the 
Illinois side and started up Rock river in pursuit of the Indians, 
who had their spies so stationed that they could signal Black 
Hawk all that was transpiring at the fort ; hence, Black Hawk 
and band skipped away from Mill Creek and up Rock river. Gen. 
Atkinson followed up the river some 18 miles, but found the 
streams so swollen by the recent heavy rains that he was forced 
to abandon the pursuit and return to the fort and wait for the 
floods to subside. 



Black Hawk's Band quietly pass on up Eoek river to the Prophet's town, where 
they Receive a Cordial Welcome and Remain Several Weeks to Rest and Tlecu- 
perate In the meantime they Attempt to lease Corn Lands from the Potta- 
wattamies and Make Preparations to Plant the Season's Crops, but Gov 
Reynolds again Calls for Volunteers, and 1.935 Respond and are Accepted. 

" We come not on the wild foray, 

Nor in the war-path roam 
We come as friends from lar away, 
As to an ancient home. 

" As these fair shores in glory shine, 

As constant flows this river, 
So may our friendship ne'r decline, 
So live and bloom forever." LETI BISHOP. 

Black Hawk's last hope of capturing the fort and island went 
out into space with the echoes of the signal guns, through the 
darkness and gloom of that early morn on the 12th of April, and 
with it all thought of waging war against the white people of the 
United States. He had played a desperate game, on which he 
risked everything on earth and lost, and then, like the gambler, 
lured on by the ignus fatuus, hope, he dallied with the fickle 
jade, fortune, too long, and suddenly "awoke to the sad reality 
that everything save life itself was dissipated and gone, while 
even that was in the most imminent peril. With his miserable 
failure to capture Fort Armstrong, without even being allowed to 
strike a single blow, the lofty spirit of the old chieftain was 
humbled in the dust, and he, the hero of one hundred battles, 
was transformed from an arrogant and imperious commander to 
an humble supplicant, if not an arrant coward. From being the 
leader of a brave and aggressive nation, he became the nominal 
head of a band of frightened fugitives, fleeing for their lives, with- 
out knowing whither to flee or what to do. Dreading "an enemy 
in every bush," and from behind each tree, if he advanced up 
Kock river, and fearing utter annihilation if he attempted to re- 
turn to his Iowa home, Black Hawk suffered himself to be led by 


the Prophet and Neapope on up the river towards the Prophet's 
town. Being entirely out of provisions and half famished for 
food, his march, as a matter of necessity, was slow indeed. Fear- 
ful that the discharge of firearms by his braves would be the 
cause of attracting the attention and increasing the already wide- 
spread excitement among the pioneer white people, on account of 
his return across the Mississippi, he strictly forbid the firing of a 
gun under any circumstance ; hence they were compelled to de- 
pend upon the hook and line, spear, roots, bow and arrow for 
their means of subsistence on their march up Rock river. Along 
their route were many deserted as well as tenanted log cabins of 
the white settlers, and although greatly in want of provisions, 
not a cow, steer, hog, or even a chicken, was killed or molested 
by these Indians. The orders of their chief were so specific and 
positive against committing any kind of depredations upon the 
property or person of any white settler or his family, that no one 
of his band dare violate them. 

The late Judge James Hall, in his most estimable work on the 
Indian Tribes of North America, published in 1842, on page 40, 
in speaking of that march up Rock river, says : " The Sauks, af- 
ter resting a few days at their village ( Saukenuk ), pursued their 
march toward the country of the Pottawattamies, without con- 
cealment or violence. Notwithstanding their merciless rule of 
warfare, which spares no foe which may fall into their hands, 
however helpless, they passed by isolated cabins in the wilderness 
without offering the slightest outrage to the defenseless inhabi- 
tants. The property of the settlers residing on the lands of these 
very Indians remained untouched. Travelers between St. Louis 
and Galena proceeded singly or in small parties through a wild 
region, now the reported seat of war, without molestation, while 
an army was on its march to the frontier, and the newspapers 
were filled with the reports of an Indian war in all its pomp and 
circumstance." No effort was made by the soldiery or citizens to 
hinder or impede their march up the river, and they reached the 
Prophet's town without mishap or incident of moment, in a few 
days after they left their camp at Mill Creek. 

The inhabitants of Prophetstown being nearly all Sauks and 
members of the British band, received the worn and weary trav- 
elers in a right cordial manner. Food, raiment and rest were 
freely supplied, all of which were needed, especially so by the 
aged and infirm, and the overtaxed women, who had charge of 


the canoes and personal effects of the band. Here they remained 
for several days visiting, resting and feasting, and in telling over 
their sad experiences since their expulsion from their village and 
farm lands the preceding year. They had molested no white man 
or his family or property, since crossing the Mississippi, nor had 
they been molested by the white people, or visited by any, except 
Capt. Kearney, while at their encampment at Mill Creek, near 
Kock Island, and he simply ordered them to return to Iowa. 
In the mean time negotiations were entered into between them 
and their cousins, the Pottawattamies, for the leasing of a por- 
tion of their corn lands, to plant and raise their season's crop. 
The spring of 1832 was backward and extremely wet. The rain 
storms setting in on the night of the eleventh of April, continued 
unremittingly for several days and nights, hence all of the small 
streams as well as some, at least, of the larger ones were swollen 
to overflowing. This fact accounts in part for the delay of 
Gen. Atkinson in following these Indians up Eock river. This 
being before the age of telegraphs, telephones, railroads, canals, 
stages, or even steamboats, to any extent, our methods of com- 
municating news were slow and tedious. And since bad news rode 
upon the back of a race-horse, while good news went with a pack- 
train, the tidings of Black Hawk's return to Illinois spread like 
wild-fire. Strange to say, no word was received by the outside 
world from Fort Armstrong or Gen. Atkinson. In the meantime 
the most unreasonable rumors were circulated and believed all 
over the country that the fort had been captured by the terrible 
Black Hawk, who had in cold blood massacred the entire garri- 
son, Gen. Atkinson, Col. Taylor, Maj. Bliss, Capt. Kearney and 
Jefferson Davis. 

Like the pebble cast into the water, these rumors spread and 
increased in volume, magnitude and color as they passed from 
lip to ear, creating the wildest alarm and consternation, from one 
settlement to another, from county to county, and State to State, 
throughout the Northwest. Upon the receipt of the news of Black 
Hawk's return to Illinois, at Bock Island, a messenger was at 
once dispatched on horse-back across the country to the residence 
of Gov. Reynolds, at Belleville, St. Clair county, Illinois, to in- 
form him of the fact. This messenger having told the story over 
and over so many times while en route, and each time improved 
and embellished it, that by the time he reached his destination 
he had such a " talo to unfold as would cause each particular hair 


to stand on end." Instead of Black Hawk at the bead of t\v 
hundred armed warriors and braves, he was reported to have i 
least ten times that number, not omitting the fact that he carrie 
the British flag and wore the uniform of a British officer. Alwaj 
an able-bodied hater of Indians in general, and of Black Hawk i 
particular, Gov. Reynolds was ready at a moment's warning t 
pick up the gauntlet. He had, as shown in a former chapte: 
always believed Black Hawk was a British subject and spy, an 
on being informed by this messenger that he carried a British fla 
and wore their uniform, his suspicions were confirmed as clearl 
as if from "holy writ." He at once issues a call for 1,000 volunteei 
to meet at Beardstown, Illinois, on the 22d of April. This ca 
was issued April 16th, thus giving his volunteers but six days i 
which to arrange their business affairs and reach their rendej 
vous. We have not been able to find a copy of this call. Th 
governor omits it from " The History of My Own Times," writte 
by him. Nor can we find it in any history of these times. Oi 
own recollection of its wording is that it charged Black Haw 
was backed and supported by the British government. On tt 
same day he issued a circular letter as follows : 

" Fellow citizens : Your country requires your service. Th 
Indians have assumed a hostile attitude and invaded the State i 
violation of the treaty of last summer.* The British band of Saci 
and other hostile Indians, are in possession of the country o 
Eock river, to the great terror of the frontier inhabitants, and 
-consider the settlers in imminent danger. Under these circun 
stances I have not hesitated what course I should pursue. IS 
citizen ought to remain inactive when his country is invaded an 
the helpless part of the community is in danger. I have called 01 
a strong detachment of militia to rendezvous at Beardstown on tl 
22d inst. Provisions for the men and food for the horses will 1 
furnished in abundance. I hope my countrymen will realize m 
expectations, and offer their services as heretofore, with prompt 
tude and cheerfulness, in defense of their country." 

This circular letter was sent out through central Illinois I 
special couriers. The real cause for issuing this circular lett< 
after he had issued his call* for 1,000 volunteers was probab] 
this : In the call he omitted to state whether he wanted vo 
unteers for infantry or cavalry. Too stubborn to admit that 1 
had made the mistake, he attempted its correction by his circuh 

* See Chapter XIV for this anomalous compact. 


letter, by using the words "provisions for the men and food for 
the horses will be furnished in abundance." Under the Gover- 
nor's call for volunteers, Maj. Long, of Sangamon county, with 
two hundred infantry volunteers, put in their appearance at 
Beardstown, on the 22d, and were accepted by the Governor, not- 
withstanding they had no horses. They had been enrolled in 
accordance with the Governor's call, unexplained by his subse- 
quent circular letter, hence he dare not decline to accept them 
into the service as volunteers under the call. 

The most singular feature of Black Hawk's return to the east 
side of the Mississippi, and his march up along the shore to Sau- 
kenuk, and thence to Prophetbtown, the entire distance of about 
one hundred miles, through a country partially settled by white- 
people who, as a general rule, had fled to the forts and stockadea 
at his approach, leaving their cabins open, and chickens, ducks, 
geese, turkeys, hogs and cattle behind, and in many instances a. 
part of their household goods, is that not a thing was taken or 
touched by the Indians, notwithstanding they were nearly fam- 
ishing of hunger, thus clearly showing the wonderful, yea, ab- 
solute control which Black Hawk held over his band. 

As before shown, travel between Galena and St. Louis by over- 
land was not in the least interfered with or stopped. Not a soli- 
tary traveler was molested. Thus the country which the Governor 
by his manifesto said " was in possession of hostile Indians, to the 
great terror of the frontier inhabitants, and in imminent danger," 
was the only portion of the State where the people were free from 
terror. They had their periodical scare, but that had passed 
with Black Hawk's peaceable advance up Rock river. 

In the meantime prominent citizens of Galena, among whom 
were the late Eichard M. Young, then one of the Circuit Court- 
Judges, and afterwards Commissioner of the General Land 
Office, James M. Strode, whom we believe is still living in Port- 
land, Oregon, then Prosecutiug Attorney for all the territory 
north and west of Peoria county, Benjamin Mills, Esq., a promi- 
nent politician, Dr. A. K. Philleo, editor of the Galencan, the only 
newspaper then published along the Mississippi above Alton, 
kept pouring in letters to the Governor, urging the speedy pro- 
tection of the frontier, alleging that the Pottawattamies and Win- 
nebagoes had joined Black Hawk, and hence the inhabitants were 
in great danger. Under such conditions of supposed facts, can it 
be wondered that the naturally excitable old Ranger became badly 
rattled ? 


The apparent boldness of the act of Black Hawk in recrossing 
the Mississippi with his entire band, and then, after being ordered 
to return, going on up Rock river to the territory of the Winne- 
bagoes and Pottawattamies, seemed proof conclusive of an alli- 
ance between those three tribes, at least. Little did the white 
people know of the real cause which impelled Black Hawk to 
adopt this course. Admitting his hostile intention when he re- 
crossed the Mississippi, and even up to the 12th of April, when 
his gun powder plot failed with that failure all thoughts of 
hostility vanished from the old chief, while starvation and famine 
stared him and his band full in the face. Never had he been 
placed in such a dangerously critical position. He had barely 
two hundred men capable of bearing arms. Less than half of 
them had fire arms of any kind, while those who had were prac- 
tically without ammunition. Hampered and tied down with the 
old and infirm, women and children, of his band, and all their 
goods and effects, with no means of transportation for the fam- 
ilies and their goods save the Indian canoes, the poor squaws 
worn out and disheartened by the long and severe labor they had 
performed, in propelling their canoes against the rapid current of 
the Mississippi; the papooses crying for food, while all were 
emaciated for want of proper provisions, Black Hawk was in no 
condition to levy war, or even defend himself, against an attack, 
be it ever so feeble. Above everything he dreaded, in his then 
condition, was war. A half dozen boys with toy pistols could have 
put his whole band to flight, for they were but a lot of half- 
famished fugitives, fleeing like a flock of deer from the hunter, 
tremblingly fleeing, and seeking safety withersoever they might 
find a shelter, not daring to take or touch anything they might 
find in the way of food belonging to the white people, lest such 
act would precipitate a collision ; afraid to fire a gun, even to slay 
a deer in their path, lest it would increase, the already wide- 
spread alarm among the white settlers of that locality. 

Such, in brief, was the pitiable condition of these half-starved, 
half-naked, terribly frightened fugitives, fleeing for the second 
time within ten months from their homes, lands and country, 
before the approaching army of the United States. Had the 
Good Spirit, as in the case of Job, determined to afflict them, 
and for that purpose placed them in the hands of the Bad Spirit. 
If so, had he coupled the delivery with the qualification, "but 


save his life." Already had he, in the language of Jeremiah, 
brought "a nation upon them from afar; it is a mighty nation, it 
is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest 
not, neither understandest what they say. Their quiver is as an 
open sepulchre, they are all almighty men, and they shall eat up 
thy harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and daughters should 
eat, they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees, they shall im- 
poverish thy fenced cities." Was this a prophecy of their con- 
dition? Notwithstanding Gen. Atkinson had under his com- 
mand, including the garrison at Fort Armstrong, a force of at 
least tripple that of Black Hawk, of well-drilled soldiers, together 
with several pieces of heavy artillery, the ever meddlesome, over- 
officious Gov. Reynolds was again indulging his favorite amuse- 
ment, fomenting Indian troubles. 

On page 223 of "My Own Times" he says : "But the danger of 
the frontiers was so pressing that I decided, on the 16th of April, 
to call out a large number of volunteers. I did this on my own 
responsibility, as I had not then received any requisition from 
Gen. Atkinson, who commanded the regular force at Eock Island." 
This statement was written many years after the transactions he 
describes had occurred, hence he is partially excusable for the 
errors, in fact, contained therein. Maj. Gen. E. P. Gaines had 
been transferred to the Military Department of the Gulf, with 
headquarters at New Orleans, in the fall of 1881, and Brig. Gen. 
Henry Atkinson had succeeded him in command of the Depart- 
ment of the West, with headquarters at Jefferson Barracks, which 
were built under his supervision some years prior, while Maj. 
John Bliss was the officer in command at Fort Armstrong, and 
had been during some years preceding the war of 1882. Jeffer- 
son Barracks, and Belleville, 111., the home of Gov. Reynolds, 
were but a few miles apart. Had he so desired, he could have 
sent and received several messages daily, to and from Gen. At- 
kinson, at Jefferson Barracks. But this he did not do. Perhaps 
he was fearful the General would inform him, as Gen. Gaines did 
the year before, that he had all the troops he needed to protect 
Fort Armstrong, since that seemed to be the only "frontier in 
danger." To further fortify or justify his course, Gov. Reynolds 
gives what purport to be two letters, one from Andrew S. 
Hughes, assuming that he was the Indian Agent at Rock Island, 
the other from Col. George Davenport, whom he calls a merchant 
of Rock Island, to Gen. Atkinson, both of which are simulated. 


Felix St. Vrain, as before stated, succeeded Col. Forsyth as In- 
dian Agent, and was at that time living with his family on Rock 
Island, and at his post of duty, while no person of the name of 
Hughes held at that time any official position at that point. 

Two sentences are sufficient to trace the paternity of the so- 
called Hughes letter. "That these Indians are hostile to the 
whites there is no doubt. That they have invaded the State of 
Illinois to the great injury of the citizens, is equally true." We 
fail to find a pretense that the Indians had molested any white 
settler or his property on their return to Illinois, in 1832. They 
did not even camp on the Peninsula, but passed up on the south 
side of Rock river. With the exception of the mounted warriors 
under Black Hawk, on the llth of April, riding over to the south 
bank of the Mississippi, and remaining in view at that point for 
a short time, and then fording the south branch of the Mississ- 
ippi to the Island, and there remaining until about daylight the 
next morning, and then returning as silently as they came, no 
Indians were seen by the white people on the peninsula. It is 
probable, however, that their women spent the greater portion of 
that night communing with the spirits of their loved dead at the 
Chippionnock, on the north bank of Rock river, but disturbed not 
any white persons, for there were none there to disturb. By refer- 
ring to the language used by his excellency in his circular letter 
given on a preceding page, it will he found that it so clearly cor- 
responds with this purported Hughes letter, that we are forced to 
say they sprung from the same parent, Gov. Reynolds. And the 
same may be said of the so-called Davenpoit letter. It was 
neither written or dictated by him, nor ever seen or heard of by 
him, or his children, until published in "My Own Times," long 
after Col. Davenport's death. No early writer on the Black Hawk 
war makes any allusion thereto, nor did they ever have a legiti- 
mate existence, nor could they, because they contravene the 
clearly established facts in the case, as herein before given. If 
they did not originate in the brain of the Old Ranger, they were 
cleverly imposed on him, and aided materially in softening the 
asperity which naturally attached to his calling out nearly 8,000 
volunteers to aid the United States in putting down 368 poorly 
armed, half starved Indians. Gov. Ford, whose history was in 
print long before this of Gov. Reynolds, makes no mention of any 
correspondence between Gen. Atkinson and any citizen of Rock 


In speaking of Black Hawk's return to Illinois, in 1832, he says, 
page 116. "Black Hawk had with him the chivalry of his nation, 
with which he recrossed the Mississippi in the spring of 1832. 
He directed his march to the Kock river country, and this time 
aimed, by marching up the river into the countries of the Potta- 
wattamies and Winnebagoes, to make them his allies. Gov. Rey- 
nolds, upon being informed of the facts, made another call for 
volunteers. In a few days eighteen hundred men rallied under 
his banner at Beardstown." This is all he says upon the subject 
of the return. 

Gen. Elliott says, page 15 of Black Hawk and Mexican War 
Records : "Notwithstanding the treaty, (June 30, 1831,) the 
trouble was not yet ended. In the spring of 1832 Black Hawk 
recrossed the Mississippi, April 6th, and commenced his march 
up Rock river valley, accompanied by about five hundred* war- 
riors on horseback, while his women and children went up the 
river in their canoes. Gen. Atkinson, then stationed at Fort 
Armstrong, (this is erroneous Maj. Bliss was in command of 
the Fort,) warned him against this aggression and ordered 
him to return, but this they refused to do, and went forward 
to the country of the Winnebagoes, with whom Black Hawk 
made arrangements to make a crop of corn! which reason he 
alleged to be the cause of the expedition. The Winnebagoes 
and Pottawattamies, however, both refused to yield to his solicit- 
ations to join him in a war against the whites. On being 
informed of the movements of Black Hawk, Gov. Reynolds 
(April 16th) called for a thousand mounted volunteers from the 
central and southern parts of the State to rendezvous at Beards- 
town, on the 22d of the same month. Daily accounts of the oper- 
ations of the Indians were received. Judge Young, Col. Strode 
and Benjamin Mills wrote the Governor, urging speedy protection 
of the frontiers, as the inhabitants were in great danger. On re- 
ceipt of this intelligence, two hundred men under Maj. Stillman, 
were ordered to guard the frontier near the Mississippi, and two 
hundred under Maj. Bailey, the frontier between the Mississippi 
and the settlements on the Illinois." 

In what manner Gov. Reynolds communicated his orders of 
April 16, to Majors Stillman and Bailey, to each take two hun- 

*There were about two hundred only. 

t'J'he Winnebagoes refused to rent him corn ground and he was negotiating 
with the Pottawattamies when attacked by Maj. Stillman, May 14, 1832. 


dred men to guard the frontier, as he says he did ; when each of 
them lived about two hundred miles from Belleville, where the 
order must have been issued, or where, or how they were to pro- 
cure these men, arm and equip them for the service, he fails to 
inform the public. But from the .Record prepared by Gen. 
Elliott,* we find that Stillman's command was composed of Capt. 
Abner Eads' company, from Peoria county, Capt. David W. 
Barnes' company, from Fulton county, and Capt. Ashel F. Ball's 
company, from Fulton county, aggregating one hundred and 
forty -five men, including officers; while the command of Maj. 
Bailey was one hundred and ninety-seven strong, j-ank and file, 
and was composed of the companies of Captains Covill and Mc- 
Clure, from McLean, Pugh,t from Macon, and Adams from x 
Tazewell counties. 

From the fact that these two Majors gained an unenviable 
notoriety by their inglorious and shameful defeat, at what has 
been known as Stillman's run, we have endeavored to investi- 
gate their respective military records. In Gardner's Military 
Dictionary we find the following: "David Bailey, appointed 
from Illinois Territory, ensign of Bangers, 19 July, 1813, Third 
Lieutenant February, and First Lieutenant July, 1814, disbanded 
June, 1815, Major Fifth Begiment, Illlinois mounted volunteers, 
27 April to 16 June, 1832. Josiah Stillman, appointed from Illi- * 
nois, Major and Lieutenant Colonel Fifth regiment, mounted 
Illinois voluuteers, 16 April to 25 June, 1832, in Black Hawk 
war, defeated by the Rock river Indians at Kishwaukee Syca- 
more, 15 May, 1832." While failing to show that either of these 
men had any experience in military matters, Mr. Gardner was 
in error as to dates, since all of the volunteers under the call of 
April 16, 1832, were mustered out of the service at Ottawa, from 
the 25th to the 28th of May, 1832, they did not remain in the 
service to either Jnne 16, or June 25, 1832. From and Jafter 
May 14, for that was the day of Stillman's defeat instead of May 
15, as stated in this dictionary, neither of these Majors appear to 
have taken any part in the military affairs of the State or Nation. 
Even Gov. Reynolds dropped them with a passing remark, with- 
out a formal farewell, "Mr. Stillman was the General of all 
that part of the State west of the Illinois river, and I thought he 

*See appendix for the muster rolls of these and all other companies of Illinois 
militia or volunteers. 

tServed with rank of Brigadier General in the war of the rebellion with dis- 


was a good man," is all he says of them. At that time the State 
of Illinois had a very peculiar militia law, which contained the 
following provisions : 

"All free, white male inhabitants, resident in this State, who 
are or shall be of the age of eighteen, and under the age of forty- 
five years, except as hereinafter excepted, shall severally and res- 
pectively be enrolled in the militia by the Captain, or command- 
ing officer of the company within whose bounds such citizen shall 
reside, within ten days after he shall be informed of such resi- 
dence, and also, those who may from time to time arrive at the 
age of eighteen, who shall reside in the county of his company ; 
and shall without delay notify such person by an officer or non- 
commissioned officer of the company ; and every such person so 
notified shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with 
a good musket, fuzee or rifle, with proper accoutrements. The 
field officers ranking as commissioned officers shall be armed 
with a sword and pair of pistols, and the company officers with a 
sword ; and every person, as aforesaid, shall hold the same, ex- 
empt from execution, distress, or for tax." 

The author of this law must have been neither a soldier nor a 
legislator. Under this law the State was divided into five grand 
divisions, which were subdivided into brigades. Each division 
was commanded by a Major-General, and each brigade by .a 
Brigadier-General, while each regiment had a Colonel, but no 
Lieutenant-Colonel, but had from one to three Majors, the senior 
one acting as Lieutenant-Colonel, with a regimental staff. Each 
odd battalion, not forming a part of a regiment, was commanded 
by a Major. All commanding officers were elected by the enrolled 
militia of the district, division, or those composing his command. 
All that portion of the State lying between the Illinois and Miss- 
issippi rivers, and then composed of the counties of Calhoun, 
Pike, Adams, Schuyler, McDonough, Hancock, Warren, Mercer, 
Fulton, Knox, Peoria, Henry, Putnam, Rock Island, Jo Daviess, 
Cook and LaSalle but seventeen counties then, thirty-six coun- 
ties now, and embraces about one-half the population and wealth 
of the State constituted the fifth military division, with Josiah 
Stillman, of Fulton county, in command, with rank of a Major- 
General ; while the counties of Sangamon, Tazewell, McLean, 
Fayette, Champaign, Shelby and Vermilion, embracing all the 
territory lying in the northeastern part of the State then but 
seven, now nineteen counties constituted the fourth military 


division, with Daniel Bailey, of Tazewell county, in command, 
with like rank with General Stillman, but having but a small 
force under their command at Dixon, they ranked as Majors. 
By a reference to the muster-rolls, given in the appendix, it will 
be seen that Capt. McClure's company was not enlisted until the 
4th day of May, and could not, therefore, have reached Dixon 
before the 7th or 8th of that month. 

Gov. Reynolds says : "Majors Stillman and Bailey, who had 
previously been ordered to protect the frontier, were at Dixon 
when the army arrived there. Having done but little service, 
they besought the privilege of reconnoitering the country, and 
reporting the situation of the enemy." 

From the nature of events, neither Bailey nor Stillman could 
have had but a few days' time to enlist and equip for the field. 
The Governor's call was issued the 16th of April, at Belleville, in 
Southern Illinois. Gen. Bailey lived at Pekin, Stillman at Lew- 
iston both being about two hundred miles distant from the 
executive office. We then had neither railroads nor telegraphs, 
nor even stage coaches, hence the Governor's orders had to be 
conveyed either by mail or special messenger. If by mail, it re- 
quired about a week to reach them, nor could a special messenger 
travel the distance, as the roads and country then were, in much 
less time, which would bring the time down to April 23, which 
was really the date when they received this order, and on the fol- 
lowing day the greater portion of their respective commands were 
enrolled. For the promptitude with which Majors Bailey and 
Stillman responded to this order, and in making the necessary 
preparations to start to the places the*y were ordered without 
military stores, transportation, ammunition or provisions, these 
officers are entitled to the highest praise. Indeed, their perform- 
ances in that regard are almost unparalleled, and had they have 
had a better understanding between themselves, and time to drill 
and properly instruct their men, Stillman's defeat would never 
have occurred. But, as a matter of fact, what more service had 
the army under His Excellency and Gen. Whiteside seen, as will 
be shown hereafter ? 

The Governor's call was for 1,000 mounted volunteers, to drive 
Black Hawk's British band of Indians back to the west side of the 
Mississippi, but when the 22d arrived, there were fully 2,000 
present, and 1,935 men, rank and file, were actually accepted and 
mustered into the military service of the United States. These, 


with the battalions of Majors Bailey and Stillman, made 2,277 
men, or mounted Illinois volunteers, in the first army called out 
by His Excellency, the Governor, to drive Black Hawk and his 
little band back to the other side of the Mississippi, besides the 
ten companies of United States soldiers under Gen. Atkinson. 
Those assembled at Beardstown, on the 22d, were organized into 
four regiments, an odd battalion and a spy battalion, April 
28, 1832, by the selection of Captain John Thomas,* of St. Clair 
county, Joseph Fry,t of Greene county, AbramB. Dewitt, of Mor- 
gan county, and Samuel M. Thompson, of Macon county, who was 
First Lieutenant in Capt. Abraham Lincoln's company, to the 
Colonelcies, in the order named. It is a notable circumstance, 
that a man of the great intellect and ability of President Lincoln 
should have been jumped by his First Lieutenant, but Mr. Lincoln 
was then but a tall, awkward boy, and it was some five years be- 
fore he was admitted to the bar. James D. Henry, of Sangamon 
county, who commanded the first regiment under Gen. Duncan the 
year prior, was placed in command of the spy battalion, with rank 
as Major, and Capt. Thomas James, of Monroe county, com- 
manded the odd battalion, with like rank, and Maj. Samuel White- 
side, of St. Clair county, who commanded the spy battalion the 
year before, was appointed by Gov. Eeynolds to the command of 
the entire brigade, with the rank of Brigadier-General, which 
placed him second in command to the Governor, who was com- 
mander-in-chief of the militia by virtue of his office of Governor. 
Although Gov. Eeynolds accompanied the army from Beards- 
town to Oquawka, and thence up to Dixon, he seems to have ab- 
dicated his authority or delegated it to Gen. Whiteside. Colonels 
March and Christie were appointed Commissaries of Subsistence, 
and Judge William Thomas, of Jacksonville, Quartermaster; 
James Turney, Paymaster, and Vital Jarratt, Adjutant-General 
and Ordnance Officer. The Governor also appointed James B. 
Stapp and Joseph M. Chadwick members of his staff. They were 
without arsenals, armories or provision stores ; and if they 
had these necessaries, they neither had, nor could obtain, army 
wagons or other means of conveying their supplies from Beards- 
town to the mississippi, through the then unbroken and almost 
untraversed wilderness. Ox teems and schooner-shaped wagons 
were the only means obtainable, but they would move too slowly 

*Col. Thomas Is still living. See his biography and engraving. 
+See biographical sketch and engraving. 


to keep pace with the mounted volunteers, rit would require 
weeks to procure them, and an equal length of time for them to 
make the journey. At this day and age of the world, these diffi- 
culties would be considered insurmountable ; but the men of those 
times were used to privations, toils and dangers, and were not to 
be discouraged. Purchasing such arms as were to be found at 
the little village of Beardstown, and filling their saddle-bags with 
whatever they could obtain that would sustain life, they broke 
camp on the 29th of April, and struck off through the prairie wil- 
derness for Yellow Banks, now Oquawka, (which is the Indian 
name for Yellow Banks) some fifty miles below Bock Island. 
Why Gov. Beynolds and Gen. Whiteside should have gone down 
the Mississippi below Fort Armstrong, where Gen. Atkinson was 
then in command with about 1,000 regulars, instead of going 
to Dixon, or some point farther up Bock river, when it was well 
known that Black Hawk with his band had gone up that river, 
is one of the mysteries of this whole affair. If the object of 
raising this large army was to drive the Indians back across the 
Mississippi, why was the army thrown over a hundred miles 
from where the Indians were known to be, and between them and 
the Mississippi? It made neary two hundred miles of extra 
travel, if Black Hawk's camp were the objective point. Were 
they afraid of even going straight to Fort Armstrong, where 
they knew they would find army stores and provisions lest the 
terrible Black Hawk with his band of two hundred braves and 
warriors should swoop down upon his two thousand innocents 
and gobble them up? Neither Gov. Beynolds nor any other 
writer on this subject has offered any excuse or explanation of 
this singular, if not anomalous, action. The only excuse we 
can offer is, that the ways of the Old Banger were mysterious, 
many, and hard to explain or find out. 

Before breaking camp at Beardstown and starting for Oquawka, 
Col. March was dispatched to St. Louis for supplies, to be 
shipped by steamer up the Mississippi to that point. Gov. Bey- 
nolds says that on the day after the departure of Col. March for 
St. Louis, he received a message from Gen. Atkinson, informing 
him that Black Hawk had gone up Bock river to the Prophet's 
town, and that if he had received this news a day earlier he 
would have probably ordered the upplies shipped to Peoria in- 
stead of Oquawka, which would have been more accessible to 
the point of operation. This, if intended as an excuse for his 


leading his army to Oquawka, is a lame and impotent one. It 
were an easy matter to send an order by a special messenger to 
Col. March to change his shipment. If he designed to operate 
on Eock river, why not ship his supplies to the nearest point, 
Hennepin, Can it be presumed that his Excellency did not know 
that Black Hawk had gone up Eock river on the 12th of April. 
Seventeen days had elapsed since the gallant Phil. Kearney had 
followed them up to Mill Creek, and ordered the Indians to re- 
turn to their homes on the Iowa river. This pretended excuse 
is clearly an afterthought of the Governor's. Be this as it may, 
instead of attempting to drive Black Hawk down, he, by his act 
of going behind him, drove him up Eock river. 

On reaching the Mississippi, their supply of food was about 
exhausted, and no tidings from Col. March or his mission had 
reached Oquawka. Their trip to that point, on account of ex- 
cessive rain-falls, was both slow and very laborious, if not dan- 
gerous. Seldom, indeed, have we had so wet a spring in this 
State as that of 1832. The smaller creeks they had to saim, as 
well as the larger. Ordinary sloughs had become bayous, through 
which they floundered along as best they could. But they suc- 
ceeded in reaching Oquawka in about five days, to meet their first 
real disappointment. They were already short of provisions and 
forage. The latter could be overcome by letting their horses feed 
upon the rich prairie grass, but food for themselves they must 
have, and that, too, in large quantities. Two thousand hearty 
men require a large amount of food. They had but barely five 
days' rations left when they reached Oquawka, and had not only 
expected, but relied upon, the arrival of Col. March with supplies 
at that place before they should reach the Mississippi, but no 
tidings from him or the anxiously expected supplies had preceded 
them. Many an eager, hopeful eye was cast down the Missis- 
sippi, in the hope of detecting the approach of a steamer, but 
in vain, until the morning of the sixth day after their arrival at 
that point. In the meantime their supplies, although husbanded 
with care, gave out on the fifth day. Unused to hunger, the men 
soon began to murmur and complain, and became mutinous, 
charging their officers with criminal negligence and utter incom- 
petency, in thus leading a Iffrge host into a wilderness which was 
supposed to be swarming with hostile savages, without supplies 
or the means of obtaining them, and where they must perish of 
hunger, or disband, and each man shift for himself. Keenly 


awake to the danger surrounding him, Gov. Reynolds sent three 
brave and trusty men, on the 5th of May, with a dispatch to 
Gen. Atkinson, at Fort Armstrong, fifty miles up the Mississippi, 
informing him of his straightened condition for want of food, 
and urging immediate relief. These couriers reached their des- 
tination without encountering an Indian or meeting with any 

Gen. Atkinson at once sent the steamer Chieftain, loaded with 
supplies, to Oquawka, where she arrived on the 6th, and on the 
following day, Col. March, on board the steamer William Wallace, 
laden with supplies, arrived from St. Louis, when the hungry 
volunteers had more provisions than they could comfortably 

After the bountiful distribution of rations, the army was or- 
dered to strike tents and prepare for an immediate march up the 
Mississippi, to Bock river. Such baggage wagons as they had 
were loaded, and preparations made to move up to the mouth 
of Rock river, and thence up that river to Dixon, near which 
place Black Hawk and his band were supposed to be. Recon- 
noitering parties had been sent out by Gov. Reynolds up Rock 
river, who reported at Fort Armstrong to Gen. Atkinson, instead 
of to the Governor, and did not return to Oquawka until the 
steamboat Chieftain brought down the supplies on the 6th of 
May. In truth, they had simply gone to the fort, and there re- 
mained. They were strangers to that of part of the country, and 
desirous of preserving their scalp-locks. Gen. Atkinson, with a 
force of more than treble that of Black Hawk, composed of the 
flower of the regular army, putting it mildly, was too timid for a 
soldier, much less a commander. He was a tine Engineer, and 
graduated at West Point as a cadet from North Carolina, and had 
charge of the construction of nearly all the United States' forts of 
that period in the Northwest, including Jefferson Barracks. He 
remained immured within the walls of Fort Armstrong for four 
weeks, without taking any steps farther than to command Black 
Hawk to return west of the Mississippi, during that long period. 
He actually knew nothing about Black Hawk's strength, move- 
ments or intentions when the Illinois volunteers arrived, and sent 
them word, just at the time they were about starting for Dixon, 
that the Indians had descended Rock river, with an order 
for Gov. Reynolds and command to come at once to Fort Arm- 
strong. Whether Gen. Atkinson was more fearful that the Indian 


wolf Black Hawk would devour the American ram Eeynolds, 
and his herd of innocents than of being himself surrounded in 
his fort by these howling wolves, seeking the blood of his own 
lambs, who were snugly ensconced behind the walls of old Fort 
Armstrong, is a problem for the reader to solve. This message 
had scarcely been delivered ere another one came, contradicting 
the former, leaving the matter still in doubt 

" If the snake that made the track, 
Were going south or coming back." 

This second courier from Gen. Atkinson ordered the Illinois 
volunteers to the mouth of Eock river, where they were met by 
Gen. Atkinson, and by him sworn into the military service of the 
United States.* This act placed them under his immediate com- 
mand. He, however, made no changes in the officers, except to 
assign Lieut. Robert Anderson (of Fort Sumpter fame) Inspector- 
General of the Illinois volunteers. Preparations were then rapidly 
made to ascend Eock river. The Illinois mounted volunteers, 
about 1,600 strong, under Gen. Whiteside, accompanied by Gov. 
Reynolds, passed up on their horses, with orders to go as far as the 
Prophet's town, which is about midway between Eock Island and 
Dixon, and there await the arrival of the Commander-in-Chief, 
Gen. Atkinson, who, with about 400 regular and 300 volunteer 
infantry, together with provisions and camp equipments, started 
up in barges or keel-boats. As before shown, the streams were 
all swollen by the recent heavy rains, so that both armies were 
compelled to advance but slowly. The small streams' leading into 
Rock river were too deep to ford, and had to be crossed on rafts 
or swum, while the swift current of Rock river, accelerated by 
the increased volume of water, impeded the upward passage of 
the barges. But the mounted men made much faster time up Eock 
river than the infantry on the broad, cumbersome, flat-bottomed 
barges. As the command of Gen. Whiteside advanced up Rock 
river, they found several places where the Indians had encamped 
on their passage up, some four weeks before, and were horrified at 
finding the scorched and putrid bodies of dogs suspended by their 
heels, under which fires had been kindled, or, as Gov. Eeynolds 
expresses it, " dogs immolated to appease the Great Spirit, at 
various Indian encampments. This relic of barbarism and su- 
perstition, common among Oriental nations of antiquity, was 

Lieutenants Robert Anderson and Jefferson Davis did the mustoring in of the 
Illinois mounted volunteers. 


employed by these Indians when the nation was threatened with 
great calamity." When they reached Prophetstown they found 
it deserted, and at once applied the torch to the bark houses, and 
reduced them to ashes. 

After committing this dastardly act of burning down every 
building in this peaceful village, whose inhabitants were non- 
combatants and had fled at the approach of this army of white 
men, Gen. Whiteside's army moved on up Kock river. Whether 
that little monitor, conscience, kept tugging at their heart strings 
and upbraiding them for their shameful act, or whether they im- 
agined that they saw the ghosts of those "immolated dogs" flit- 
ting through the air as thick as fire flies of a dark summer's 
night, and like the ghost of Ban quo, would not down at their 
bidding, is problematic. Be the cause whatever it may, that 
locality became uncomfortable to them, so decidedly so that 
they no longer could endure it and away they fled, despite 
the positive order of Gen. Atkinson. On they rushed for Dixon 
without even reporting to their Commander-in-Chief. But before 
reaching that point they became so thoroughly demoralized that 
they abandoned their baggage, wagons, provisions and camp 
equipments on the prairie, and made a rush as if the very Old 
Nick was after them, and reached that place on the 12th of May. 
They called it a forced march, a polite name for a stampede or 
panic. Gov. Ford's description of this march is as follows: 
"And for the relief of their horses, the men left large quantities 
of provisions behind and the Wagons." He certainly could not 
have intended to be understood as saying that these mounted 
volunteers, sixteen hundred strong, left their horses, and took it on 
foot to Dixon, on their forced march. He evidently means to 
say they left their provisions and baggage so as to relieve their 
horses of the extra weight, to enable them to run a swift race in 
their John Gilpin ride. That these volunteers who owned their 
mounts should abandon them to the ghosts of immolated dogs is 
too unreasonable, quite. Who ever heard of a white man 
attempting to run a ten mile race on foot, when he could just as 
well ride ! Be this as it may, they did leave their baggage- 
wagons with all their provisions and camp equipments, behind, 
and rushed into Dixon, on the 12th of May, like a flock of stam- 
peded Texas steers, and were thoroughly demoralized, tired, and 
haggard in appearance. 



Whisky puts in another Appearance, causing deep Humiliation and Disgrace, and 
the Sacrifice of Eleven Precious Lives Majors Stillman and Bailey, with about 
275 Mounted Illinois Militia.* go into the Territory of the Pottawattamies to 
Capture Black Hawk and his band, but run into a hornet's nest, and scatter to 
the four winds Col. Strode, on a Borrowed Horse, wins a Thirty- Mile Race by 
several lengths, and is the first to tell the Dismal Tale in glowing terms. 

Two yoke of oxen, slowly dragging 

Two barrels of whisky in a wagon; 

Three hundred men, with throats a-parching, 

Through the woods and prairies marching: 

The wagon in the quick-sand sinking, 

The whisky must be saved by drinking. 

We now come to the most humiliating, and, to the Illinois 
militia, disgraceful, transaction thus far presented "Stillman's 
Run" so called on account of the speed with which some 275 
militia, under Maj. Stillman, retreated from Black Hawk, at the 
head of about forty Indians. 

Majors Stillman and Bailey, with their respective battalions, 
had been ordered by the Governor to the frontier between the 
Illinois and Mississippi. Bailey was the Major-General of the 
Fourth, and Stillman of the Fifth Grand Military Divisions 
of the State, under the military law then in force. They 
seem to have misconstrued the Governor's order, and guarded 
themselves instead of the frontier, since they repaired to Dixon, 
about midway between the Illinois and Mississippi, and re- 
mained there inactive until the arrival at that point (May 12) of 
Gen. Whiteside and Gov. Reynolds, on their "forced march" 
from burning down the Prophet's village, where Prophetstown 
now, stands. How many days they had been waiting there 
before the command of Gen. Whiteside arrived, we have not 
been able to ascertain, but from the fact that some of their 
companies were not organized until the 4th of that month, they 

*These men had not yet been mustered into the military service of the United 
States, hence they were militia only. 


ould not have been there but a short time. Both of these men 
were good talkers, but Stillman excelled, and soon completely 
captivated the Old Banger, and held him. Nevertheless, Bailey's 
military training, knowledge and experience were far superior to 
Stillman's. Each assured the Governor that he was an old and 
experienced Indian fighter, and familiar with the Indian modes 
of warfare, and desired, above all things, an opportunity to go 
out, capture, and bring Black Hawk and his band into Dixon at 
the ends of their halter-straps, fastened to their saddle-girths. 
To say that Gov. Beynolds was delighted with the picture they 
had drawn, would be "putting it too mildly." He was in ecstacy, 
for he imagined that in these two "mighty men of valor" he be- 
held the men who would put an end to the Sauk difficulty before 
Gen. Atkinson reached the scene of action. 

By the acceptance and mustering into the military service of 
the United States the mounted militia, led by Gov. Beynolds and 
Gen. Whiteside from Beardstown to the mouth of Bock river, 
they ceased to be Illinois militia, and became mounted volunteers 
in the service of the United States, and were under the command 
of Gen. Atkinson. Hence Gov. Beynolds had no command until 
he reached Dixon, where the two battalions under Majors Bailey 
and Stillman were. They had not yet been mustered into the 
military service of the United States, consequently they were 
but Illinois militiamen, of whom the Governor, by virtue of his 
office, was the Commander-in-Chief. Both of these modern Hec- 
tors begged to be put upon some dangerous service, in which they 
could distinguish themselves. Their men had not been treated 
to a sight of "immolated dogs," nor disgraced by the burning of 
a deserted village of peaceable Indians, whose only crime or 
offense to Gov. Beynolds was the unpardonable sin of being born 
with a red skin instead of a white one. These battalions had 
neither seen an Indian, or any sign of one. Hence they had not 
yet been stampeded like Whiteside's command. 

The Governor, like Caesar, was ambitious, and had already cast 
an anxious eye upon the Presidential chair and the White House. 
If, by the aid of Majors Stillman and Bailey, with their bat- 
talions, he should succeed in capturing Black Hawk and his band 
before Gen. Atkinson's arrival, he clearly foresaw that he would 
have a fine start on his Presidential trail. Already the Nation's 
capital assumed a familiar air to his heated imagination. The 
vision was a pleasing one, and the bait was tempting. Like a 


hungry bass he swallowed it blindly, as he afterwards frankly 
admitted. In Maj. Stillman he put his trust as the Moses of his 
deliverance, and on Saturday evening, May 12, 1832, he issued 
the following order : 

"Maj. Stillman: You will cause the troops under your imme- 
diate command, and the battalion under Maj. Bailey, to proceed 
without delay to the head of Old Man's Creek, where it is sup- 
posed there are some hostile Indians, and coerce them into 

It appears from the muster-rolls of these two battalions that 
Maj. Bailey's was much the larger. It contained 197 men, while 
Maj. Stillman's contained but 145. But from the fact that Capt. 
McClure's company does not appear to have taken any part in 
the disgraceful campaign known as Stillman's Run, the two bat- 
talions were about equal in numbers, Bailey's 151, Stillman's 
145, which make 296 men. But 64 men are marked "Absent on 
leave" in Bailey's battalion, leaving but 232 in the two combined. 
These were increased by other volunteers to 275 men, including 

With commendable promptitude, Major Stillman (who by the 
Governor's order was the commanding officer much to the morti- 
fication of Maj. Bailey) began his arrangements for his expedi- 
tion, and bent his energies to start on the next day, Sunday 
though it was. He succeeded in obtaining an ox team and wagon 
to transport his supplies and camp equipments. Among other 
supplies he provided two barrels of whiskey, at that time con- 
sidered indispensable. These were loaded with rations for a 
five days campaign on an old fashioned schooner-shaped, stiff - 
tongued Pennsylvania wagon, with two yoke of oxen attached 
as the motor power. 

The apparent dash and boldness of the expedition attracted the 
attention and co-operation of several daring spirits, who did not 
belong to either of the battalions, among whom were Col. James 
M. Strode, a noted character of the time, and prosecuting attor- 
ney for all the counties in northwestern Illinois. An inveterate 
talker, he possessed a fine flow of language and considerable 
talent. Galena was his home, but he was then oh his way home 
from attending court at Peoria. Lawyers, like Methodist preach- 
ers, were circuit riders in those days, and carried their libraries 
with them in their saddle-bags. He had raised a company of 


mounted volunteers in the Winnebago war of 1827, and was then 
Colonel of what was known as the twenty-seventh regiment of 
Illinois militia, or as stated by Gov. Reynolds, "he was the Colonel 
of Jo Daviess county," and served from May I9th, to September 
6th, 1832, but seems to have steered clear of the Indians after 
Stillman's defeat. There were many others who accompanied 
this ill-fated expedition from the promptings of idle curiosity, or 
love of adventure, both of which were more than gratified, as the 
sequel proved. From the very start there was a plentiful supply 
of jealousy existing between Majors Stillman and Bailey, so 
there was no concert of action or unity of design in the expedi- 
tion. The latter held himself aloof from the former, and mechan- 
ically, yet sullenly if not murmeringly, obeyed orders, claiming 
that he was the ranking officer by seniority of service. Hence the 
whole troop were a mere aggregation of men under no kind of 
discipline or restraint of their officers. They straggled along 
more like a band of hunters than soldiers. 

A start was made on Sunday towards Old Man's Creek, moving 
up along the south bank of Rock river. Without seeing or hear- 
ing of an Indian or meeting with any mishap, they reached the 
end of their first day's journey, and encamped for the night near 
the dividing line between what are now Lee and Ogle counties. 
Between story telling, song-singing, and a good time generally, 
they retired late and slept late the next morning, and therefore 
were late in starting the next day. Start they did, but ere they 
reached what was then called Hickory Creek, (miscalled Syca- 
more by some writers) but now called Stillman's Run, they 
struck swampy land, of that decidedly treacherous character 
known as quick sand, where their supply-wagon sank down to 
the axles, and there it persisted in remaining. They were in a 
decidedly bad box. Their provisions they could carry, but their 
precious whiskey they could not, and it must not be left to tickle 
the thirsty throats of the savages. Canteens or other conven- 
iences for carrying it with them they had not. Some of them 
had tin cups which afforded goblets to drink from, but they could 
not carry the liquor in these. Ever equal to the emergency, 
these mounted volunteers determined to save their liquor, and 
at the same time preserve their spirits by turning spirits down, 
and therefore proceeded to carry their whiskey in their stomachs. 
In this way they emptied the barrels and filled their stomachs 
with the vile stuff, which maddened their brains and robbed them 


of their reason and prudence. There were, of course, many ex- 
ceptions to this general condition. Some there were among them 
who neither touched, tasted or handled the soul-damning stuff. 
A considerable number, however, were decidedly demoralized, if 
not shamefully drunk, and alike reckless of what they did or 
said. Having disposed of the whiskey, they proceeded on their 
march up Eock river in a wriggling kind of serpentine line, until 
they arrived at a small run or creek taking its rise in White Kock 
township, in Ogle county, running thence north about ten miles, 
thence east to Eock river, slightly above the present village of 
Byron. Beaching this small creek about sun-set, Maj. Stillman, 
finding wood, water and grass, pitched his camp on the small 
strip of bottom land on its north bank. Both sides of this creek 
were lined and studded with small trees and hazel brush, with 
larger trees on the bottom land. Here these raw militia fastened 
their horses to stumps, stubs, and trees, and commenced to kin- 
dle camp fires to cook their suppers, unmindful that they were in 
danger of an attack from the ever watchful Black Hawk, whom 
they were seeking, and to their sorrow found. 

The main body of Black Hawk's band were encamped ten 
or twelve miles further up Eock river on the Kishwaukee, he 
and Neapope having gone down that river to endeavor to make 
some kind of an arrangement with the Pottawatomies, who occu- 
pied the lands in that vicinity (and for several miles on the east, 
west and south), to lease a small portion of their cultivated or 
broke lands for the purpose of planting a crop of corn, notwith- 
standing the lateness of the season. They had erected their 
wigwams about six miles distant from the place where Maj. 
Stillman's camp was pitched, and invited the Pottawatamie chiefs 
to a Dog Feast, and were in conference with them when one of 
Black Hawk's spies or, as he called him, runner came to their 
camp, with the information that a large force of white soldiers 
were marching in that direction ; whereupon the old chief impro- 
vised a white flag, and fastening it to a rod, dispatched three of 
his young warriors to bear it to Stillman's command and ascer- 
tain the object of the invasion, with instructions to invite the 
white commander, or such delegation as he might select, to come 
to the Indian camp, and make known the object of his invasion 
upon neutral ground, both he and the white soldiers being within 
the Pottawattamie territory. After starting these three with their 
flag of truce or emblem of peace, who were unarmed and on foot, 


he dispatched five other young warriors, on horseback, to follow 
the flag-bearers, and note what kind of a reception they received 
at the hands of the white soldiers. 

When Maj. Stillman's battalion was first seen by the Indian 
spy, it was marching across the prairies, but had gone into camp 
when the flag-bearers arrived, and were preparing their suppers. 
On seeing these three Indians approaching, a large number 
of the volunteers, without orders, dashed wildly towards them, 
regardless alike that they were unarmed and protected by 
the sacredness of a white flag, rushed upon, surrounded and cap- 
tured all of them and led them into camp, where, through one* 
of their number, who had, some years before, lived with Black 
Hawk and learned to speak their language, they interrogated 
these prisoners as to where the chief then was, and the strength 
of his army, etc. While putting these three Indians through the 
pumping process, the five mounted Indians were seen drawn up 
on the bluff, about a mile off, when Capt. Eades, with his en- 
tire company, mounted their horses and dashed away towards 
them, followed by a disorderly mob of undrilled, would-be 
soldiers. These Indians remained until fired upon by the on- 
coming militia, when they gave way, and started at the top of 
their ponies' speed for Black Hawk's camp, hotly pursued by the 
wildly- excited militia, whose horses were longer winded than the 
fleet little ponies of the Indians, and soon began to gain on 
them. Two of the five Indians were overtaken and killed before 
they reached the skirt of timber near Black Hawk's camp. The 
foremost of the pursuing volunteers halted as they came to the 
edge of the timber, as if irresolute, and waited for the stragglers 
to come up, thus giving the three fleeing Indians time to reach 
their camp and report the facts. 

The infamy of the white soldiers in capturing the unarmed 
bearers of a white flag, coupled with the belief that they had all 
been brutally murdered at Stillman's camp, aroused all the savage 
devil of the old chieftain's nature. In a few moments he was 
leading all the warriors he had with him to repel the attack. On 
reaching a point near the prairie, he saw by the moonlight that 
the volunteers were determined to follow on into the woods in 
pursuit of the three Indians who had escaped. Taking shelter 
behind a clump of small trees and hazel brush, Black Hawk, 
with about forty braves and warriors, sank down among the brush 

*Elijah Kilbourn. See life of Black Hawk, post. 


until the head of the pursuing column came near their place of 
concealment, when, with the blood-curdling war-whoop of the 
Sauk nation, he and his handful of braves arose from their re- 
cumbent positions and simultaneously discharged their guns ; but 
whether they took aim at the pursuing volunteers or purposely 
fired over their heads, is difficult to determine. Be this as it 
may, "nobody was hurt" by this volley. Its effect, however, was 
magical. It not only brought these fiery, aggressive militia to a 
sudden halt, but prralyzed them with affright to such a degree 
that they fell into the wildest kind of a stampede, which soon, 
ran into a panic. Like a wheel on a pivot they turned square 
about-face, and fled back towards Stillman's camp some six 
miles off as if the Old Harry was after them. 

Nothing is so contagious to an army as a panic. Once fairly 
started, it sweeps on like an avalanche, crushing every object in 
its path, and overpowering all opposition. When those of Still- 
man's command still in camp caught the sound of the wild, weird 
screeches of their terrified companions, as they came thundering 
on over the prairie, and saw them, through the glittering moon- 
beams, rushing madly on to their camp with the rapidity of elec- 
tricity, they caught the infection, when, as it were, in the twinkling 
of an eye, the entire camp became a pandemonium, and without 
order, system or thought, each ran for his horse, intent upon in- 
stant flight. As they were hastening on, some of them observed 
their three Indian prisoners, the flag-bearers sent with the white 
flag of peace by Black Hawk, and with wanton cruelty fired at 
them. Fortunately for these captives, their aim was too hasty 
and unsteady to prove fatal to but one, the other two escaped 
in safety. One, however, was shot down like a dog, and left where 
he fell. In the terrible confusion at camp, one white man was 
killed by the accidental discharge of some one's gun, or probably 
tomahawked by one of the indian flag- bearers, as he claimed to 
have killed him, certainly not by an Indian's bullet, for Black 
Hawk's men could not have secured and mounted their ponies 
and reached Stillman's camp at that time. Hearing the 
frenzied howls, and seeing the disorderly flight of their com- 
panions, Stillman's command at his camp, took it for granted 
that the terrible Black Hawk, at the head of a legion of half- 
naked, howling demons, mounted upon fiery steeds, were pur- 
suing and cutting down their fleeing companions. They did 
not know the real facts of the case, that Black Hawk had 
but about forty braves and warriors with him, all told, for 


it will be remembered that he and his few followers had been 
partaking of a Dog Feast, given to a few visiting Pottawat- 
tamies, at the time his three surviving spies came thundering 
up to his lodge, at the end of their six miles' race for life, and 
reported the dastardly action of Stillman's men, and that their 
pursuers were close at their heels. Hence the old chief had no 
time to collect his ponies together; but on the contrary, they 
seized their guns and rushed out to repel the assailants on foot. 

At the time of Black Hawk's successful ambuscade near his 
lodge there were two white scouts in advance of the pursu- 
ing column, whose retreat was completely cut off by the rush of 
the Indians between them and their frierds. They were taken 
prisoners. One of them was no less a personage than Elijah 
Kilbourn, who had followed Black Hawk from Lower Sandusky, 
in the State of Ohio, clear to Bock river Illinois, in 1813, and at- 
tempted to shoot the old Chief while drinking at a spring on Bock 
river, but his gun flint broke into atoms without discharging his 
gun, and he was taken prisoner by Black Hawk and by him adopted 
as a son, and whose life was again spared by the old Chief, who 
conducted him in person to a place of safety and sent him back 
to Gen. Atkinson with a most wonderful message, set forth in 
chapter XXXII. The other was Gideon Munson, who broke away 
from his captors and attempted to escape by flight, but was shot 
down as he ran. At Stillmans camp confusion worse confounded 
reigiiedand ran riot. For of all animate nature,, a body of soldiers 
under the all-powerful influence of a panic have the least reason- 
ing power, sense, method or dignity. The jolly song and exciting 
story were changed to wild shouts in a trice. All discipline and 
order ceased. Each and every one did as he pleased and acted 
upon his own impulses. 

The great pervading thought was to get away from that local- 
ity, and that too immediately. From an orderly kind of a go- 
easy set of men "out on a lark," they became a terrified mob 
with but one thought escape, an ungoverned and ungovern- 
able crowd of men, who were a hundred fold worse to control than 
a stampeded herd of cattle or wild buffalo. Like them they 
rushed blindly on in the course their faces were turned when they 
started and turned not aside for obstacles in their path, plung- 
ing into sloughs, creeks, ponds, rivers, and bayous, on through 
the woods, brush, thickets, and prairies, over chasms and prec- 
ipices, howling and shrieking as they fled like demons from 
hades or lost souls. If there be a stronger type of "Hell on 


Earth" than a lot of soldiers in a panic, we have no conception 
of its horrors. In this case the panic was of the most aggravated 
character, and extended alike to officers and men. 

Whatever of jealousy or rivalry had existed between Majors 
Bailey and Stillman was merged into a rivalry as to which of 
them should put the greater number of miles between him and 
that terror-stricken locality in the shortest possible period of 

It has been said that on leaving his camp, Maj. Stillman issued 
an order for his men to retreat across the marsh to a more ele- 
vated position on the prairie, and there form in line of battle to 
await the approach of Black Hawk. The first part of this or- 
der, if such an order were issued was entirely unnecessary, 
since they were already performing that part, with alacrity, and 
retreating with a vengeance, with Maj. Stillman well in the van, 
pressing on after Col. Strode, whose borrowed horse seemed to 
out run Tenbroek. They were of course in search of that "more 
elevated land on the prairie," where they intended to order a halt 
and form in line of battle, they did not find it, however, that 
evening, nor call a halt until they reached Dixon, some thirty 
miles away. 

If the reader ever came suddenly upon a wild turkey hen with 
her brood, or a quail with her little ones, and endeavored to keep 
track of them as they seemed to dissolve into thin air and disap- 
pear, as if swallowed up in the earth, he can have some little 
idea of the sudden escape of Maj. Stillman and his mounted Illi- 
nois militia from their camp, on that memorable evening of May 
14, 1832, when two hundred and seventy- five armed white men 
were stampeded by forty Indians. They rushed for their horses, 
mounted and started, they knew not whither, nor stopped to 
think. In some instances, as in case of their chief surgeon, they 
mounted their horses before loosening them from their fasten- 
ings. He had secured his fine horse to a burnt stump, which 
stood about six feet high, and the bark of which had been burned 
off by prairie fires. When the wild, weird war-whoop resounded 
through the camp, he ran for his horse and mounted without un- 
tying him. As soon as he was mounted, he set his spurs into 
the horse's sides, causing him to spring forward to the length of 
his tether, but no farther. The worthy doctor caught a glimpse 
of the dark stump, which well might be taken for a dusky In- 
dian, and readily supposing that it was an Indian who had 


seized hold of the halter-strap and held his horse, he turned its 
head in the opposite direction, and essayed to send his horse for- 
ward with such speed as to break the Indian's hold or pull him 
down ; sending his spurs into his sides to the hilt, and the horse 
_shot out like a catapult, but the halter was too strong to be sun- 
dered in that way. The horse had to stop, while his rider went 
head foremost over his head, upon the ground, with such force as 
to knock his breath from his body. Recovering his feet, the doctor 
drew his sword from its scabbard, seized hold of the blade, and 
with some degree of style, presented its hilt to the stump, accom- 
the act with the words : "Mr. Indian, I surronder ; please accept 
my sword." On making the happy discovery that he was not a 
prisoner, he cut the halter from the stump with a dash of his 
sword, and followed his fleeing companions. This, although per- 
haps a strong case, is illustrative of the utter confnsion of the 
militiamen, and by no means an exceptional one. It was "every 
one for himself, and the devil take the hindmost." No such thing 
as order or system was attempted or even thought of. Every 
energy and effort was directed and utilized in trying to get away. 
They stood not upon the order of their leaving, but left quickly, 
without intention to return. If the panic and stampede at Bull 
Eun was large, that at Stillman's Run was fierce. The little 
stream where this occurred bears the appropriate name (Still- 
man's Run) to this day. 

The night had well set in when these frightened milit?a broke 
camp so suddenly, and started on their inglorious and shameful 
flight. It is believed that those in front, hearing the hoof-strokes 
of their followers, and supposing they were being pursued by 
mounted Indians, fired upon those behind them, in which way 
several, if not all the white soldiers, were killed by their own 
friends and companions in arms, The total loss in Stillman's 
brigade was eleven killed and two wounded. Those killed were 
Capt, John G. Adams of Tazewell county, and privates David 
Kreeps, Zadok Mendenall and Isaac Perkins, all of Tazewell 
county, Joseph Draper of McLean county, James Milton of Macon 
county, Sergt. John Walters, Corp. Bird W. Ellfs, and privates 
Tyues M. Childs and Joseph B. Farris of Fulton county, and 
Gideon Munson, a scout. The wounded were Sergeants Reding 
Putnam of Fulton, and Jesse Dickey of Macon county, while the 
Indians lost but three killed, the two spies before mentioned, and 
one of the three flag bearers. 


When all the circumstances are taken into consideration, the 
fatality was surprisingly small on both sides. Everything was 
abandonded and left at the camp by Stillman's command, sup- 
plies, tents, cooking utensils and baggage, which fell into the 
hands of the Indians the next morning. More considerate and 
less destructive than the whites had been towards them, the In- 
dians did not burn down their tents or destroy their property. 
They, however, appropriated to their own use all the provisions 
left by the fleeing cohorts of Maj. Stillman. The greater portion 
of the fugitives from Stillman's camp made for Dixon, some for 
Fort Armstrong, others for Ottawa, or scattered promiscuously. 
The wild stories of the dangers they had passed, and the hair- 
breadth escapes they had made, were ingenious, and ludicrous 
in the extreme. Upon two points they were generally agreed, 
that the Indians were very numerous at Stillman's Bun, and that 
each man as he reached a place of safety, was the last survivor 
of a terrible Indian massacre. Ifc required fully a month to as- 
certain the accurate number of lives lost in this shameful fiasco. 
Many of these terribly frightened militia never stopped running 
until they reached their cabin-homes, where they were not re- 
quired to answer roll-call. Some were reported killed who were 
safe at home, or in fort or stockade miles away from the horrid 
scene. No two could agree upon the number of Black Hawk's 
warriors, and no one placed it less than seven hundred, while 
many asserted that it ran way up in the thousands. Col. Stroke's 
statement suggests that there was scarcely a limit to the numbers 
of mounted Indians or "soldiers without hats." Whether Black 
Hawk, after giving the fleeing whites their fright some six miles 
from Stillman's camp, caused his braves and warriors to mount 
their ponies, and pursue the flying, demoralized militia, or whether 
they followed on foot, is not fully settled, but the strong probability 
is, that they were mounted immediately after the ambuscade, and 
only about twenty-five of them followed the fleeing white men as 
far as where Oapt. Adams was killed. Stillman's men asserted 
that they were mounted. If so, they must have been delayed some 
time after the ambuscade in the timber, to catch and mount their 
ponies. Black Hawk says the militia rode so fast that his men 
could not keep up, and he and a part of his warriors returned, 
while about twenty-five of them pursued the fleeing white men. 
Darkness had then set in, so that the terrified, panic-stricken 
militia may, and more than probably were, mistaken, and that 
those in the van mistook those in the rear for Indians, and fired 
at them as they w r ere riding at John Gilpin speed. 


The death of Capt. Adams was especially sad. He was brave 
as Julius Caesar, and lost his life in a vain attempt to check the 
panic and snatch victory from defeat. Possibly he may have 
been run down by the fleeing, panic-stricken militia of his own 
command. The dead body of Gideon Munson, the scout, was the 
only white man's found at the place of ambuscade, and no other 
was found until they reached Stillman's camp, where the dead 
body of Isaac Perkins was found. The other nine killed were 
found at the creek, where Capt. Adams, Maj. Hackleton and 
others endeavored to stop the fleeing troops, but in vain. While 
we do not say that the unfortunate ten white men whose lives 
were lost that night at and near Stillman's camp were killed by 
their friends and companions in arms by mistake, yet we 
do say that all the probabilities are that such is the real 
fact. Yet it is barely possible that the Indians may have 
killed them. Capt. Adams' death was very generally mourned 
over the country. Col. James M. Strode was the first to 
reach Dixon. It is an old saying, "a borrowed horse never 
tires," and in his case this was true. Uur olden-time friend, Jon- 
athan F. Wilson, who is still living, and a leading farmer of the 
town of Vienna, Grundy county, Illinois, was then the owner of 
a hardy, small-sized, dark cream-colored gelding called " Pone," 
which Col. Strode had borrowed or impressed into the service, 
and notwithstanding the Colonel weighed nearly or quite 200 
pounds, and Pone was rather below the ordinary size, he carried 
his rider over the prairies, through, the woods, creeks and ponds, 
and landed him safely at Dixon far in advance of all others to 
hear the sad news of Stillman's defeat. 

Strode was a regular "Bombastes Furiosus." As garrulous as a 
fish-monger, and a thorough coxcomb, he doubtless had arranged 
in his mind a set speech descriptive of what he had seen and 
passed through, which he proceeded to deliver to Gen. Whiteside 
and the wildly anxious and excited volunteers under his com- 
mand. As soon as he could gather enough breath to speak, he 
said : * 

" Sirs,* our detachment was encamped amongst some scatter- 
ing timber on the north side of Old Man's creek, with the prairie 
from the north gently sloping down to our encampment. It was 
just after twilight, in the gloaming of the evening, when we discov- 

*Ford's History, p. 119. 



ered Black Hawk's army coming down upon us in solid column. 
They deployed in the form of a crescent upon the brow of the prai- 
rie, and such accuracy and precision of military movements were 
never witnessed by man. They were equal to the best troops of 
Wellington in Spain. I have said that the Indians came down 
in solid column and deployed in the form of a crescent, and what 
was most wonderful, there were large squares of cavalry resting 
upon the points of the curves, which squares were supported 
again by other columns, fifteen deep, extending back through the 
woods, and over a swamp three-quarters of a mile, which again 
rested upon the main body of Black Hawk's army, bivouacked 
upon the banks of the Kishwaukee. 

" It was a terrible and glorious sight to see the tawny warriors- 
as they rode along our flanks, attempting to outflank us, with the 
glittering moonbeams glistening from their polished blades and 
burnished spears. It was a sight well calculated to strike con- 
sternation into the stoutest and noblest heart, and accordingly 
our men soon began to break, in small squads, for tall timber. 
In a very little time the rout became general. The Indians were 
upon our flanks, and threatened the destruction of the entire de- 
tachment. About this time Maj. Stillinan, Col. Stephenson, Maj. 
Perkins, Capt. Adams, Mr. Hackleton and myself, with some 
others, threw ourselves into the rear, to rally the fugitives and 
protect the retreat. But in a short time all my companions fell, 
bravely fighting hand-to-hand with the savage enemy, and I alone 
was left upon the field of battle. About this time I discovered, 
not far to the left, a corps of horsemen which seemed to ba in 
tolerable order. I immediately deployed to the left, when, lean- 
ing down and placing my body in a recumbent posture upon the 
mane of my horse, so as to bring the heads of the horsemen be- 
tween my eye and the horizon, I discovered by the light of the 
moon that they were gentlemen who did not wear hats, by which 
token I knew they were no friends of mine. I therefore made a 
retrograde movement and recovered my former position, where I 
remained some time, meditating what further I could- do in the 
service of my country, when a random ball came whistling by my 
ear, and plainly said to me, ' Stranger, you have no further busi- 
ness here.' Upon hearing this, I followed the example of my 
companions in arms and broke for tall timber, and the way I run 
was not a little and quit." 


Under Strode's estimate, Black Hawk's army must have reached 
away up towards hundreds of thousands. He speaks of "squares" 
of cavalry resting upon the points of the curve, which squares 
were supported again by other columns fifteen deep, three- quar- 
ters of a mile through, and this was only his skirmish line, his 
main army being bivouacked on the banks of the Kishwaukee, 
some ten miles away. 

We can only judge of the effect this wonderful statement had 
upon these mounted volunteers, who, but a few days before, 
abandoned their camp equipments, wagons and provisions and 
made a forced march to the stockade at Dixon, after burning up 
a deserted Indian village, which a child could have done, and they 
did no less. No wonder that Gen. Whiteside ordered his trumpet 
sounded for his officers to assemble at once for a council of war. 

Gen. Atkinson, with his regulars and supplies, had not yet 
reached Dixon, and Whiteside's men had left their baggage wag- 
ons and provisions between Prophetstown and Dixon when they 
concluded to skip out of the locality of their vandalism, and were 
out of provisions, and had been living on parched corn and coffee 
for a couple of days. Judge Thomas,* their Quartermaster or 
Commissary of Subsistence, made an arrangement with old 
Nachusa, or John Dixon, the only white man living in that lo- 
cality, for cattle and hogs sufficient for their immediate wants ; 
but having no bread or flour, they were compelled to feast on fresh 
beef and pork without condiment or bread. Having partaken of 
this food, they took up their march for the late scene of action, 
some thirty miles away. During this march, many of the volun- 
teers deserted. Before leaving Dixon (May 16) the demoralized 
battalions of Majors Stillman and Bailey were united as the Fifth 
regiment, and sworn into the military service of the United 
States, and Capt. James Johnson, of Macon county, was placed 
in command of it, with the rank of Colonel. On reaching Still- 
man's Run, no Indians were to be found. They had removed 
their dead and withdrawn from the locality. Having buried their 
dead, the army returned to Dixon. 

Gov. Eeynolds' account of the Stillman defeat is as follows, 
(p. 231 of "My Own Times"): "Maj. Stillman was, at the time 
he commanded the battalion, a general of the militia north of 
the Illinois river, and was a military man in good standing. I 
knew many prominent men in his corps, Colonels Stephen son 

* Sec engraving and biography. 


and Strode, etc. The officers had some misunderstanding be- 
tween them as to the command of the battalion. Fifty-two of 
Maj. Stillinan's men had not reached camp on the 15th of May. 
While one man was lamenting the destruction of his comrade, 
that person himself would appear, and contradict it. Stillman 
had marched twenty-live miles up Eock river in the wrong direc- 
tion from my order. * * * The major had omitted to have 
either spies or sentinels out at this important crisis. Three un- 
armed Indians, with a white flag, made their appearance near 
the encampment. These Indians gave themselves up, and were 
taken into custody as hostages, by order of the officers. Then 
six Indians appeared on horseback, on a hill three-quarters of a 
mile distant. Without orders, a few soldiers and some officers 
commenced an irregular chase of these Indians, and pursued 
them four or five miles. During the race in the prairie, a great 
portion of the troops mounted their horses, and joined, without 
orders, in the disorderly chase of the Indians. They overtook and 
killed two Indians. Maj. Hackleton, of Fulton county, was dis- 
mounted, and had a personal combat with an Indian, also dis- 
mounted. By assistance from the whites, the major killed his 
tawny antagonist. * * * I empowered Col. Strode, who was 
present, and the colonel of Jo Daviess county, to organize the 
militia of his county, and defend it with them. I gave him great 
power, and he acted well." 

It is a little cruel in the governor to rob even Maj . Hackleton of 
the credit of having killed an Indian, without the assistance of 
other white men, while the great power he gave to the "colonel of 
Jo Daviess county" is striking. 

Black Hawk's version of this whole transaction is as follows, 
(pp. 93 to 103 of his autobiography) : 

"Having met with no opposition, we moved up Eock river leisure- 
ly, for some distance, when we were overtaken by an express from 
White Beaver (Gen. Atkinson) with an order for me to return with 
my band, and recross the Mississippi again. I sent him word 
that I would not, not recognizing his right to make such a de- 
mand, as I was acting peaceably, and intended to go to the Pro- 
phet's village, at his request, to make corn. The express returned. 
We moved on, and encamped some distance below the Prophet's 
village. Here, another express came from White Beaver, threat- 
ening to pursue us, and drive us back if we did not return peace- 


"This message roused the spirit of my band, and all were deter- 
mined to remain with me and contest the ground with the war 
chief, should he come and attempt to drive us. We thereupon 
directed the express to say to the war chief, 'if he wished to fight 
us, he might come on.' We were determined never to be driven, 
and equally so not to make the first attack, our object being to 
act only on the defensive. This we considered to be right. Soon 
after, the express returned. Mr. Gratiot, sub-agent of the Win- 
nebagoes, came to our camp. He had no interpreter, and was 
compelled to talk through his chiefs. They said the object of his 
mission was to persuade us to return, but they advised us to go 
on, assuring us that the farther we went up Reek river, the more 
friends we would meet, and our situation would be bettered. They 
were on our side., and all of their people were our friends. We 
must not give up, but continue to ascend Eock river, on which, in 
a short time, we would receive reinforcements sufficiently strong 
to repulse any enemy. They said they would go down with their 
agent to ascertain the strength of the enemy, and then return and 
give us the news. They had to use some stratagem to deceive 
their agent, in order to help us. * * * 

"Having ascertained that the White Beaver would not permit 
us to remain where we were, I began to consider what was best to 
be done, and concluded to keep on up the river, see the Pottawat- 
tamies, and have a talk with them. Several Winnebago chiefs 
were present, whom I advised of my intentions, as they did not 
seem disposed to render us any assistance. I askecl them if they 
had not sent us wampum during the winter, and requested us to 
come and join their people, and enjoy all the rights and privileges 
of their country. They did not deny this, and said, if the white 
people did not interfere, they had no objection to our making 
corn this year with our friend, the prophet, but did not wish us 
to go any further up. 

" The next day I started with my party to Kishawacakee. That 
night I encamped a short distance above the Prophet's village. 
After all was quiet in our camp I sent for my chiefs and told them 
that we had been deceived ; that all the fair promises that had 
been held out to us through Neapope were false ; but it would 
not do to let our party know it ; we must keep it secret among 
ourselves, and move on to Kishawacakee as if all was right, and 
say something on the way to encourage our people. I will then 
call on the Pottawattamies, hear what they say, and see what 
they will do. 


"We started the next morning after telling our people that 
news had just come from Milwaukee, that a chief of our British 
Father would be there in a few days. Finding that all our plans 
were defeated, I told the Prophet that he must go with me, and 
we would see what could be done with the Pottawattamies. On 
our arrival at Kishawacakee, an express was sent to the Potta- 
wattamie villages. The next day a deputation arrived. I in- 
quired if they had corn in their villages. They said they had a 
very little and could not spare any. I asked them different ques- 
tions, and received very unsatisfactory answers. This talk was 
in the presence of all my people. I afterwards spoke to them 
privately, and requested them to come to my lodge after my 
people had gone to sleep. They came and took seats. I 
asked them if they had received any news from the British on 
the lake ; they said no. I inquired if they had heard that a chief 
of oar British Father was coming to Milwaukee to bring guns, 
ammunition, goods and provisions ; they said no. I told them 
what news had been brought to me, and requested them to return 
to their village and tell the Chiefs that I wished to see them, 
and have a talk with them. 

"After this deputation started, I concluded to tell my people 
that if White Beaver came after us, we would go back, as it was 
useless to think of stopping or going on without more provisions 
and ammunition. I discovered that the Winnebagoes and Potta- 
wattamies were not disposed to render us assistance. The next 
day the Pottawattamies arrived in my camp. I had a dog killed 
and made a feast. When it was ready, I spread my medicine 
bags, and the Chiefs began to eat. When the ceremony was 
about ending, I received news that about three or four hundred 
white men, on horse-back, had been seen about eight miles off. 
I immediately started three young men, with a white flag, to 
meet them, and conduct them to our camp, that we might hold 
a council with them. I also directed them, in case the whites 
had encamped, to return, and I would go and see them. After 
this party had started, I sent five young men to see what might 
take place. The first party went to the camp of the whites, and 
were taken prisoners ; the last party had not proceeded far be- 
fore they saw about twonty men coming toward them at full 
gallop. They stopped, and finding that the whites were coming 
toward them in such a war-like attitude, they turned and re- 
treated, but were pursued and two of them overtaken and killed. 


The others made their escape. When they came in with the 
news, I was preparing my nags to meet the War Chief. The 
alarm was given. Nearly all my young men were absent, ten 
miles away. I started with what I had left (about forty), and 
had proceeded but a short distance before we saw a part of the 
army approaching. I raised a yell, saying to my braves, ' Some 
of our people have been killed, wantonly and cruelly murdered. 
We must avenge their death.' In a little while we discovered the 
whole army coming towards us at a full gallop. W T e were now 
confident that our first party had been killed. I immediately 
placed my men behind a cluster of bushes, that we might have 
the first fire when they approached close enough. They made a 
halt some distance from us. I gave another yell, and ordered my 
brave warriors to charge upon them, expecting that they would 
all be killed. They did charge. Every man rushed toward the 
enemy, and fired, and they retreated in the utmost confusion and 
consternation before my little, but brave, band of warriors. 

"After following the enemy for some distance, I found it use- 
less to pursue them further as they rode so fast, and returned to 
the encampment with a few braves, as about twenty-five of them 
continued in pursuit of the flying enemy. I lighted my pipe and 
sat down to thank the Great Spirit for what he had done. I 
had not been meditating long when two of the three young men 
I had sent with the flag to meet the American War Chief en- 
tered. My astonishment was not greater than my joy to see 
them living and well. I eagerly listened to their story, which was 
as follows : 'When we arrived near the encampment of the 
whites, a number of them rushed out to meet us, bringing their 
guns with them. They took us into their camp, when an Ameri- 
can,* who spoke the Sac language a little, told us that his chief 
wanted to know who we were, where we were going, where our 
camp was, and where was Black Hawk ? We told him that we 
had came to see his chief, that our chief had directed us to con- 
duct him to our camp in case he had not encamped, and in that 
event, to tell him that Black Hawk would come to see him ; he 
wished to hold a council with him as he had given up all inten- 
tion of going to war. * * * At the conclusion of this talk a 
party of white men came in on horseback. We saw by their 
countenances that something had happened. A general tumult 



arose ; they looked at us with indignation, talked among them- 
selves for a moment, when several of them cocked their guns and 
fired at us in the crowd. Onr companion fell dead. We rushed 
through the crowd and made our escape. We remained in am- 
bush but a short time before we heard yelling like Indians 
running an enemy. In a little while we saw some of the whites 
in full speed. One of them came near us. I threw my toma- 
hawk and struck him on the head, which brought him to the 
ground. I ran to him, and with his own knife took his scalp.* I 
took his gun, mounted his horse, and brought my friend here 
behind me.' The next morning I told the crier of my village to 
give notice that we must go and bury our dead. In a little while 
all were ready. A small deputation was sent for our absent war- 
riors, and the remainder started to bury the dead. We first dis- 
posed of them, and then commenced an examination in the 
enemy's encampment for plunder. We found arms and ammu- 
nition, and provisions, all of which we was sadly in want of, 
particularly the latter, as we were entirely without food. We 
also found a variety of saddle-bags which I distributed among my 
braves, a small quantity of whisky, and some little barrels that 
had contained this bad medicine, but they were empty. I was sur- 
prised to find that the whites carried whisky with them, as I had 
understood that all the palefaces, when acting as soldiers in the field, 
were strictly temperate. * * * We attacked them in the prairie 
with a few bushes between us. * * * I never was so much 
surprised in all the fighting I have seen, knowing too, that the 
Americans generally shoot well as I was to see this army of 
several hundred retreating without showing fight. * * * An 
army of three or four hundred men, after having learned that we 
were seeking for peace, to attempt to kill the flag bearers that had 
gone to them unarmed to ask for a meeting of the war chiefs of 
the two contending parties, to hold a council that I might return 
to the west side of the Mississippi, to come forward with a full 
determination to demolish the few braves I had with me, to re- 
treat when they had ten to one, was unaccountable to me. It 
proved a different spirit from any I had ever seen before among 
the palefaces. I expected to see them fight as the Americans did 
with the British during the last war, but they had no such braves 
among them." 

Among the saddle-bags found in Stillman's deserted camp, 
were those of Col. Strode, containing a ruffle-bosomed shirt, and 

* This was probably Isaac Perkins, whose dead body was found at or near Still- 
man's camp. 


Chitty's Pleadings, in two volumes. We have frequently heard 
the Colonel assert that "Black Hawk appropriated these to his 
own use, wearing the ruffle- bosomed shirt over his buckskin 
hunting shirt, and tucking sC volume of Chitty under each arm, 
he strutted around like an old turkey gobbler." Probably he was 
trying to ape the pomposity of the braggadocio, James M. 



The Doleful News from Stillman's Ill-fated Expedition Spreads with the Eapidity of 
the Wind, creating an Aftermath of Terror and Dismay Gov. Reynolds utters 
a Midnight Wail for Help Two Thousand Additional Volunteers Called Out- 
June 10th the time and Hennepin the Place of Rendezvous What the Public 
Press had to say about it A Brave Woman and a Cool-headed Man Capt. Hoge 
brings Order and Confidence out of Chaos and Despair. 

"Loud Rumor speaks: 
I, from the Orient to the drooping West, 
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold 
The acts commenced on this ball of earth. 
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports." SHAKSPEAKE. 

As each survivor from Stillman's Bun came dashing into the 
stockade at Dixon, weary and worn by his long ride and terrible 
scare, to relate, with pallid lips and trembling limbs, that he was 
the last survivor of a terrible Indian massacre, his eager listeners 
were filled with consternation and alarm. To no living soul was 
this news so dreadful as to Gov. Keynolds. But two short days 
had passed since this expedition, bearing alike the hopes and 
political fortunes of His Excellency, had left Dixon. He was 
ambitious, and fondly hoped, and was even led to expect, the 
capture of Black Hawk and his entire band through this expedi- 
tion, which would end all further difficulty with these Indians 
before the arrival of Gen. Atkinson and his command of about 
four hundred regulars and a like force of Illinois infantry volun- 
teers, who were stemming the swift current of Rock river on keel- 
boats and barges. Should Maj. Stillman be successful, all the 
credit of putting an end to the anticipated war would be given to 
Gov. Reynolds and his Illinois militia, which would give him an 
enviable military renown as a fine strategist and celebrated Indian 
fighter, and bring him prominently before the American people 
as a Presidential candidate. But now, alas ! this crushing defeat 
of Maj. Stillman carried with it the utter dissipation of his Presi- 
dential hopes. Nor that alone, for with the exaggerated stories 
told by the demoralized Stillman and his men, Black Hawk had a 


powerful army of well armed and disciplined savages, flushed with 
an easy victory, and liable to swoop down upon Dixon without a 
moment's warning, and kill or capture the entire force under 
Gen. Whiteside. That he devoutly prayed for the arrival of Gen. 
Atkinson is established by the fact that he dispatched no less than 
three messages to that officer, within so many hours, urging him 
to come to Dixon at once. Not hearing from Gen. Atkinson, 
early on Tuesday morning, May 15, he issued another call for 
mounted volunteers to the number of 2,000 men, to rendezvous 
at Hennepin, Putnam county, on the 10th of June, again upon 
his own responsibility. But the circumstances in which he was 
then placed, fully justified this act. 

Gen. Atkinson, with his keel-boats and provisions, reached Dixon 
on the 17th, and immediately erected breastworks at that point 
for the protection of his military stores. In the meantime the 
news of Stillman's defeat spread like a prairie fire from settle- 
ment to settlement, county to county, and State to State, growing 
in magnitude and horror as it went. 

As an illustration of what the public press had to say on this 
subject, we copy from The Castigator, a country newspaper pub- 
lished at Georgetown, Brown county, Ohio. In its issue of June 
5, 1832, copied from the Louisville (Ky.) Journal of May 23, is the 
following : 


"The steamboat Herald (74 hours from St. Louis) brings a 
proclamation from the Governor of Illinois to the citizens of the 
State, from which it appears that a bloody, successful attack has 
been made by the hostile Indians upon a detachment of mounted 
volunteers. A private letter states that fifty-two of the volunteers 
were killed, among whom were Col. Crane,* Col. Thomas, t Major 
Morgan I and Capt. Bailey. At the date of the last accounts, 
Gen. Atkinson, commander of the United States forces, was in a 
perilous situation. Several expresses had been sent out for sup- 
plies, and every man had been cut off. The keel-boats and 
barges, with Gen. Atkinson and about four hundred regulars and 
some three hundred infantry volunteers, destined with supplies 
for the part above the rapids, had not been heard of, and it was 
supposed that they had been captured and their crews destroyed. 
We subjoin Gov. Eeynolds' proclamation: 

* No such man in the battalion, t Hon. John Thomas, of St. Clair county. See 
biography. He was not with Stillman. J A myth. A mistake. 


" To the Militia of Illinois It becomes my duty again to call on 
you for your services in defense of your country. The State is 
not only invaded by hostile Indians, but many of your citizens 
have been slain in battle. A detachment of two hundred and 
seventy-five mounted volunteers, commanded by Maj. Stillman, 
were overpowered by hostile Indians, on Sycamore creek, distant 
from this place about thirty miles, and a considerable number of 
them killed. I am of the opinion that the Pottawattamies and 
Winnebagoes have joined the Sacs and Foxes, and all may be 
considered as waging war against the United States. To subdue 
these Indians, and drive them out of the State, will require a 
force of at least 2,000 mounted volunteers more, in addition to 
the troops already in the field. I have made requisitions on the 
proper officers for the above number of mounted men, and have 
no doubt the citizen soldiers of the State will obey the call of 
their country. They will meet at Hennepin, on the Illinois river, 
in companies of fifty men each, on the 10th of June next, to be 
organized into a brigade. 

"May 15, 1832. Commander-in Chief." 

In the issue of the Missouri Republican of May 22, 1832, we find 
the following: "From another source, on which reliance can be 
placed, we have learned the following particulars : The detach- 
ment concerned in the engagement (about two hundred and sev- 
enty-five men) had been encamped at Dixon's Ferry for several 
days before the arrival of the main body of Gen Whiteside. Im- 
mediately, therefore, a request was preferred by Maj. Stillman, 
who commanded the detachment, to be allowed to go out upon a 
scouting expedition, which was granted by Gen. Whiteside. On 
Monday, the 14th, the detachment met a small party of Indians, 
and killed two and made two others prisoners. They continued 
their route, and encamped for the night, in an advantageous posi- 
tion, a dense wood surrounded by prairie. Almost as soon as they 
dismounted, turned their horses loose, and commenced prepara- 
tions for supper, a small party of Indians were discovered in the 
neighborhood of the encampment, bearing with them a white nag. 
Capt. Eads, with a few men, was sent out to meet them, when 
the Indfans commenced a precipitate retreat. This officer, being 
acquainted with the Indian mode of warfare, and suspecting an 
ambnsh, followed them as far as he deemed prudent, and then 
ordered his men to fall back upon the main party. Although it 


was nearly dark, the whole detachment had been ordered to re- 
mount, and were met upon the route by the men who were return- 
ing. The pursuit was conducted without any regard to discipline, 
and had continued for several miles, the Indians receding as the 
troops advanced, until they had decoyed them across Sycamore 
creek, as it is called in the proclamation. This they did in dis- 
order, and as each man successively reached it. Being thus de- 
coyed into the midst of the main body of the Indians, and without 
being allowed time to form, hostilities were commenced, the In- 
dians showing themselves in every quarter, mounted and armed. 
They commenced the attack with their guns, and, after firing 
them, resorted to the use of tomahawks and knives. As soon as 
their desperate situation was known, Maj, Stillman ordered a re- 
treat across the creek, after an ineffectual fire at the enemy. The 
savages followed close upon them. No time was allowed for them 
to form on the opposite bank of the creek. 

"A company under the command of Capt. Adams of Tazewell 
county, who were in the rear, endeavored to make a stand against 
them, and fought with desperation. About half of the missing 
are thought to have belonged to his company. The battle was 
fought by moonlight, in an open prairie, and the pursuit was kept 
up for ten or twelve miles. The survivors began to arrive at 
Dixon's Ferry about one o'clock in the morning; and, after a 
sufficient time had elapsed, the next day, for them all to have 
come in, the roll was called and fifty-two were found to be miss- 
ing. A few of those who escaped were wounded, and many had 
their hats and clothes perforated with bullet holes. Some of the 
savages were killed, but the number could not be ascertained. 
Various estimates are given of the strength of the Indians. The 
number is probably between 1,200 and 1,500 warriors. By this 
victory they obtained possession of the horses of the slain, and 
of the camp equipage, blankets, ammunition and provisions of 
the routed militia, and are moreover encouraged to further hos- 
tilities by the propitious omen of a first victory. On Tuesday 
last the militia at Dixon's Ferry, amounting to 1,200 men, were 
paraded to bury their deceased comrades. 

"When our informant left them, an immediate pursuit and 
attack of the Indians was anticipated, but we hope wiser counsels 
may have prevailed, as a defeat would be almost certain to follow 
such a course. The militia are exasperated beyond all bounds at 
the death of their countrymen, and a cruel and exterminating war 


must be the consequence. On the other hand, the Indians have 
the advantage of a perfect knowledge of the country, and inured 
to fatigue and privations of every kind, and can at any time seek 
refuge in the swamps which abound in that quarter. Fears are 
entertained at headquarters for the safety of two or three small 
parties of men successively sent with dispatches to Gen. Atkin- 
son. Nothing had been heard from any of them, nor indeed was 
it known in what situation Gen. Atkinson was when our inform- 
ant left. 

"Prior to the engagement, the regular army and the militia had 
formed a junction at Rock Island, and Gen. Atkinson was invested 
with the entire command. The militia under Gen. Whiteside 
being mostly mounted men, proceeded to Dixon's Ferry by land. 
Gen. Atkinson, with three hundred regulars and three hundred 
militia, ascended to the rapids of Eock river in boats, and infor- 
mation received here from him, states that he had effected a 
passage over the rapids. He must, at that time, have been about 
thirty miles from Dixon's Ferry. 

"It is said that orders have been transmitted from the War 
Department to the commanding officer of the expedition to pros- 
ecute the war in the most energetic manner, and no longer 
listen to the Talks of the Indians, as has been too often done 
already. The perilous state of our fellow-citizens of Illinois, and 
the prospect of a continuance of the war for some months, sug- 
gest the propriety of assistance from this State. Having no 
organized militia, the only means left is the formation of volun- 
teer companies. Arms and ammunition and means of transport- 
ation to the scene of action will, we have no doubt, be furnished 
by the Government officers. By timely aid a like calamity on our 
own borders may be prevented, for it is easy to foresee that if these 
Indians are not effectually quelled, the same hostile spirit will 
soon be infused into all the border tribes." 

Both of these articles were copied in The Castigator, in its 
issue of June 5, 1832. 

In its next issue, we find the following: "The late hostile 
attitude of the Northwestern Indians has caused much alarm 
throughout the country. Volunteer companies are forming in 
different parts to assist in putting a stop to their hostilities. At 
Cincinnati, several companies have been raised. In addition to 
the calamities already suffered by the incursion of the Indians, 
there is one still more alarming. Provisions are unusually scarce. 


From eighty to one hundred men are frequently thrown together 
without having ten days' provisions. It would not be a bad plan 
for those who do go, to provide themselves well on this score." 
Also the following : 


"At a meeting of a number of citizens of this place, on Satur- 
day last, Col. James Ferrier was called to the Chair, and David 
Johnson, Esq., appointed secretary, when, on motion of Thomas 
L. Hosmer, Esq., the following resolutions were adopted : 

"Resolved, That in the present perilous condition of our western 
frontier, it is expedient to raise a company of mounted volunteers 
in this vicinity, to march to the relief of our brethren in Illinois ; 
that we recommend to all who are willing, to unite in raising a 
company for the above purpose, to meet at the court house in 
Georgetown, on Wednesday, the 13th inst., at 12 o'clock M., to 
consult upon and adopt such means as may be thought necessary 
to effect the desired object." 

Also the following : 


"From authentic accounts it appears that the Indians on our 
western borders have embodied themselves to the number of sev- 
eral thousands, and are committing depredations upon the fron- 
tiers. Many individuals have been slain, whole families have 
been murdered, and several nourishing little towns laid in ashes. 
The probability is that this state of hostility will continue until 
winter. The militia of Illinois have been called out by the Gov- 
ernor of the State, to aid the regular troops. The citizens of 
Indiana are forming volunteer companies, and marching to the 
relief of their brethren, and an express has been sent on to Wash- 
ington City, to require assistance from the General Government. 
Under these circumstances, it is very possible that there may be 
a general call for volunteers perhaps a draft in the, Ohio militia. 
The citizens of Cincinnati have come forward magnanimously, 
and raised several companies of volunteers, who hold themselves 
in readiness to march at a moment's warning. This is an ex- 
ample worthy of imitation. It manifests a spirit of patriotism 
which should ever distinguish a free people. We are the sons of 
men who risked ' their lives, their fortunes and their sacred 
honor' to achieve the liberty we enjoy, and we should deserve 
the most abject slavery if we disgrace or dishonor their memory. 


Can nothing be done in Brown county ? Let us think upon this 
subject. Let us place ourselves (in imagination) at Lafayette, 
and see the savages within a few miles of our wives, children and 
property, thirsting for human blood, and able, by their numbers, 
to break down all opposition. Should we not expect our friends 
in the interior to rally to our assistance? Unquestionably we 
would. Let us do, then, as we would be done by. If we hold 
ourselves in readiness to obey a call for volunteers, and there 
should be no such call, there is no harm done. On the contrary, 
should there be a demand for our services, we will not be taken 
by surprise. Those of us who belong to independent companies 
can be brought into the field upon a short notice ; and such as do 
not, might form one or more companies of mounted riflemen, 
elect officers, and provide themselves with such necessaries as 
would be requisite in a summer campaign." 

In the Missouri Republican of May 28, 1832, we find the fol- 
lowing: "Disastrous accounts are brought by every arrival 
from above, of the massacre of families residing near the scene 
of the Indian hostilities. We fear that these barbarities are to 
be continued for a long time ; indeed, from the complexion of our 
accounts, nothing but the most energetic measures and daring 
bravery will be able to restore peace to that section of the 
country. We learn from a letter dated on board the steamboat 
Caroline, Hennepin, Illinois river, May 21st, that a party had 
just come into that place from Indian Creek, where they buried 
fifteen men, women and children, whom the Indians had killed 
the day previous, and cut, mangled and mutilated in their usual 
savage manner. Two young women about 17 years old were 
taken prisoners ; the father and mother had been previously 
murdered. The party it is said was about thirty strong, and lit- 
tle doubt is entertained that they belonged to the Pottawatta- 
mie tribe. It is also said that the Indians were spreading 
devastation in every direction, and for that purpose had sepa- 
rated into small parties. Gen. Atkinson had joined Gen. White- 
side at Dixon's Ferry. On the 22d, Gen. Whiteside's brigade, 
amounting to 1,400 men, was dispatched up Sycamore Creek to 
pursue the trail of the Indians, and to compel them into sub- 
mission, if practicable. Gen. Atkinson had determined to main- 
tain his present position to prevent the falling back of the Sauks. 
Should it be necessary on further information for him to cross 
Fox river and operate against the Sauks, it was his design 


promptly to do so. Forty or fifty miles would bring him into 
their neighborhood. The citizens of Pekin it is said are much 
alarmed in consequence of a band of two hundred Kickapoos be- 
ing seen at the head of the Mackinaw, many of whom were 
strangers. While these dangers are staring the frontier citizens 
in the face, another equally alarming has come upon them. 
The distress already felt for want of provisions is represented as 
being very great and must hourly increase. A letter before us 
says : "1 forgot to mention the distressing situation of the in- 
habitants in this region, owing to the scarcity, I might almost 
say total absence, of provisions of any kind. The most intelli- 
gent of the citizens assert that there is not in the country at 
large, sufficient provisions, owing to the failure of the crops and 
the destruction by the Indians, to subsist the population, sparse 
as it is. for ten days, and at many points there is not even one 
day's provisions, where there is something like fifty or sixty peo- 
ple to feed. They cannot fish for the want of arms and men to 
protect them ; otherwise they might do something to prevent 
themselves from actual starvation, which, if they remained in the 
country, must ensue, unless relief was afforded them. In this 
emergency, we understand that the acting commissioners of the 
regular and State troops have, with praiseworthy humanity, re- 
solved to afford relief as far as in their power. Gen. Atkinson 
and the Governor are together, and moving on the Indians, who 
have, thus far, escaped, burning and destroying property of all 
kinds, in their retreat. It is not known whether the main body 
of the enemy is yet on Eock river, or whether it has crossed over 
to Fox river of the Illinois, and is ascending that towards the 

The French, as a nation, are said to be the most excitable 
people on earth, but this we deny, and place the American people 
in the lead ot all nationalities, especially if there be Indians in 
the contest. Neither Stilltnan nor his command were natural 
cowards. Indeed, his command embraced many of the very best 
and bravest men of the State. It was not what they saw but 
what they felt that did the mischief. Had they but left 
the whisky in the barrels instead of putting it in their stom- 
achs, the strong probability is there would have been no cause 
for the widespread fear and terror which followed their shameful 
conduct, and brought on the war. Black Hawk had already 


discovered that he had been deceived by Neapope, and that 
neither the Winnebagoes nor Pottawattainies would join him in 
making war against the white people, nor give him provision or 
let him plant corn in their respective territories, without permis- 
sion from the white people. 

Before starting for Kishwaukee, and while near the Phrophet's 
village, he held a council with his chiefs, and told them that they 
had been deceived, and all the fair promises which had been held 
out to the Sauks, through Neapope, were false, and enjoined 
secrecy on them to keep this fact from the band until they reached 
the Kishwaukee, and conferred with the Pottawattamies. On 
starting from the Prophet's village, Black Hawk insisted that 
Winnesheik should go with him to visit the Pottawattamies. On 
arriving at the Kishwaukee, he sent an express to the nearest 
Pottawattamie village, requesting a conference with them, which 
was granted, and a small deputation of the latter went to his en- 
campment. The old chief asked them for corn, to which they 
replied that they had but very little, and could not spare any. 
After this deputation departed, Black Hawk made up his mind 
that he would return to his Iowa home, if Gen. Atkinson would 
permit him, as he was powerless to either stay where he was or 
go on up Eock river without provisions or ammunition, for he had 
discovered that neither the Winnebagoes nor the Pottawattamies 
would render his band any assistance. Threatened by the great 
monster, Famine, he applied to the Pottawattamies for land to 
plant corn, and was actually engaged in negotiating with a few of 
their chiefs when the ill-starred Stillman and his command 
put in their appearance ; and had no more thought of making war 
against the white people than he had of committing suicide. In 
the condition he and his band were then in, war was simply out 
of the question. He had neither arms, ammunition nor provi- 
sion, besides being encumbered with the women and children, 
old and infirm, together with all his personal effects, and had no 
means of transportation, except canoes, and could only move up 
or down Eock river with them. 

The lands lying upon the peninsula near Eock Island, were the 
bone of contention. To avoid any offense, or giving even a shadow 
thereof, his people did not even encamp on these lands on their 
passage up by Saukenuk, and with the exception of April 11, no 
Sank Indian was seen upon the peninsula, much less was any- 
body or anything disturbed who resided there, or anywhere else,. 


for that matter ; for up to May 14, although his entire band had 
been in Illinois, and in a starving condition, they never molested 
the white settlers or their property not even to beg for a crust of 
bread or cup of water during more than a full month, and were, 
at the time of the brutal attack of Capt. Eads and his men, within 
the territory of the Pottawattamies, and had scarcely encamped 
for a single day within the boundary claimed by the United States 
as having been ceded under the Quashquamme treaty of 1804. 
Hence there can be no kind of excuse for this outrageous conduct 
of the militia, under Stillman, wpon this little band of fugitives, 
who were striving to live without doing harm to any living soul, 
and were the guests of a friendly nation, and within their territory. 
When informed of the approach of Stillman to his camp, Black 
Hawk immediately sent three of his braves, unarmed, bearing a 
white flag, to meet and conduct him and his men to the 
camp of Black Hawk, to learn what was his object. If Hostile to 
his band, and they wished them to leave the Illinois side of the 
river, Black Hawk with his band would descend Eock river and 
recross the Mississippi. He further instructed his flag-bearers 
to say to the commander of the white soldiers, in case they had 
gone into camp, that he would go in person to their camp to con- 
fer with them. What could he have done or said more concilia- 
tory than this ? Ever cautious, the old chief sent five other braves 
to watch what took place at the reception of his flag of truce, who 
took their station upon a hill overlooking Stillman's camp. Having 
rushed pell-mell upon the bearers of the white flag and captured 
them, and taken them into the camp "as hostages," they saw 
the other Indians on the hill, when away went these lusty 
militia after them. These Indians remained at their place of 
observation until actually fired upon, when they fled and were 
followed in "an irregular chase," as Gov. Reynolds calls it, until 
they reached a strip of timber, where they ran into the ambuscade 
of Black Hawk, which stopped their pursuit, but they had killed 
two out of the five Indians. 

Neapope, in a conversation held with Gen. Scott after the 
war was over, said : "We met some Pottawattamies, and made a 
feast for them. At that time we heard there were some Ameri- 
cans near us. We prepared a white flag to go and see them, and 
sent two or three young men on a hill, to see what they were 
doing. Before the feast was finished we heard our young men 
were killed. This was at sunset. Some of our voung men ran 


out, two were killed, and the Americans were seen rushing on to 
our camp. Our young men fired a few guns, and the Americans 
ran off." 

After the inglorious defeat and stampede of Stillman's battal- 
ion, Gov. Eeynolds asserted that he had disobeyed orders in going 
beyond Old Man's creek and in attacking the Indians, when he 
was sent only on a reconnoitering expedition; but his order "to 
coerce these Indians into submission," gives this statement a very 
black eye. Every writer on this subject concurs in the assertion 
that Majors Stillman and Bailey sought permission "to go upon 
some dangerous service." Yet after the miscarriage of this expe- 
dition, the Governor claims that he only authorized Maj. Stillman 
to reconnoitre on Old Man's creek, some twelve miles up Eock 
river from Dixon, and that, in going beyond that, the Major 
transcended his authority. Yet he gives a copy of his order to 
Major Stillman, which is set forth in the preceding chapter, in 
which the word reconnoitre does not appear. The order was for 
him "to proceed without delay to the head of Old Man's creek, 
where it is supposed there are some hostile Indians, and coerce 
them into subjection." Coerce them without fighting or even find- 
ing them, is as inconsistent and illogical as an insensible pain 
or pleasant, jumping toothache. No Indians, hostile or friendly, 
were found on Old Man's creek, but Stillman had started for fame 
on the march of death. A funeral he must have, with the Indians 
for mourners. To accomplish his mission of coercing the Indians, 
he must first find them. Hence he moved on up Eock river until 
the Indians found him, and sent him and his force howling back 
to Dixon with numerous hornets' nests around their heads and 
ears. The eleven white men who lost their lives in this unfortu- 
nate expedition were among the bravest and best, whose lives were 
sacrificed, no doubt, in the vain endeavor to check the stampede, 
and their valor should be commemorated in a fine monument, 
since they were buried in one and the same common grave, 
whose immediate locality, we fear is, like that of Moses, unknown 
to the present day. For this purpose the Thirty-third General 
Assembly of the State of Illinois made an appropriaion of the 
paltry sum of $500, which is alike disgraceful to the great State 
of Illinois and the memory of the citizen-soldiers who lost their 
lives in the defense of the women and children of the frontier 
from the murderous tomahawks and scalping-knives of the ruth- 
less savage. This appropriation should have been fifty fold 


greater. The stampede of Stillman's forces had many comical 
features connected therewith. Some of them fled for Fort Arm- 
strong, on Eock Island, and reached the south hank of the Mis- 
sissippi, where the city of Eock Island now stands, at about three 
o'clock next morning, and commenced hallooing for a boat to ferry 
them over to the Island. But fearing a ruse or decoy, no boat 
was sent them until after daybreak, leaving them upon the banks 
of the river several hours, half dead with fear and fatigue from 
their long ride on an empty stomach ; for they had not partaken 
of their suppers when the stampede began, the previous evening. 
It booted not to them that they told a piteous tale of the fatigues 
they had borne, and the dangers they had e&caped. The very 
extravagance of the stories they howled across the river, of the 
utter destruction of Stillman's battalion, tended to strengthen 
the belief of those on the island that it was a decoy, with the in- 
tent to capture the boat, and ferry the Indian troops to the island. 
The fact that the conversation was in the English language, was 
no assurance that the applicants had white skins or hearts ; for 
the notorious son of Simon Gerty, the scourge of his race, was 
known to be among the Pottawattamies, and was always known 
to be hatching some hellish plot against his own race. 

Others struck the Illinois river at Ottawa and points below, 
each party asserting most positively that they were the only sur- 
vivors of the terrible defeat. 

Considering the fact that our means of communication in those 
days were so imperfect and slow, it is absolutely wonderful how 
rapidly the bad news spread throughout the entire surrounding 
country. Messages were sent by "word of mouth," on horseback. 
The swiftest-running horses were selected, and a light rider pre- 
ferred. When away went the rider and horse with the speed of 
the wind, from house to house, settlement to settlement, the 
number of couriers increasing, and different routes taken. When 
a noble horse gave out, another took his place. In this way the 
whole country were notified, and every family within a radius of 
fifty miles were en route for some place of supposed safety, within 
twenty-four hours after the Stillman fiasco. Well do we remem- 
ber the 22d of May of that year, the day after the Indian 
creek massacre, although we had seen but nine summers. Our 
home was some eight miles west of Ottawa, on the south side of 
the Illinois river. We were living upon a farm, and the family 
was composed of our widowed mother and eight sons, we being 


the seventh. The oldest, John S., was then on a visit in 
Ohio. Our oldest brother then at home (Hon. Geo. W. Arm- 
strong of LaSalle county), was sowing oats, and we were endeav- 
oring to scratch it into the newly- broken sod, with what we then 
termed a "wooden-toothed harrow." (Iron-teeth drags or har- 
rows were not to be had for love or money ; for there was no iron 
in the country.) When we beheld Joseph Cloud, then clerk of 
the circuit court of LaSalle county, mounted upon a fine bay 
horse whose sides were literally covered with white foam and 
froth, coming down the Ottawa road, as fast as his horse could 
possibly run, shouting as he came, ".The Indians are killing every 
body across the river ; get away, for your lives." The seed bag 
was dropped in the field, the harrow left on the spot where it 
stood when the news reached our ear. With fluttering heart and 
trembling limbs, we dismounted from our perch on the back of 
the "near horse," and, with the assistance of our brother "Wash," 
the traces were unhitched, and, together, we hurried home where 
our brother "Bill," who was always first in a fight, had already 
mounted his swift-running horse, "Dan," to carry the news on 
down the river, while Mr. Cloud returned to Ottawa (then all on 
the south side of the river) to assist his family and neighbors to 
a place of safety. No time was suffered to escape unimproved in 
placing the schooner-shaped wagon-box on the running gear of 
the stiff-tongued Ohio wagon, and tumbling in the household 
goods in a promiscuous kind of way, and the family oh top, 
when, with four heavy old farm horses, all, save Wash, started 
across the prairie, for the residence of our maternal uncle, Jere-i 
miah Strawn, late deceased, in Putnam county, some seven miles 
south of Hennepin, Illinois, taking with us only our four horses 
and one cow, in the way of stock, leaving several yoke of work 
oxen, young cattle, hogs, chickens, etc., to the mercy of the In- 
dians, who vere too merciful to come within fifty miles of that 
locality. We mean no hostile Indians came within that distance. 
Pottawattamies and a few Kickapoos and Chippewas were on 
that side of the river, and in that immediate neighborhood, but 
they were freindly to the whites, and even true Indians, by which 
expression we would convey the idea that a true Indian would 
neither steal nor lie. Hence our property was quite as safe from 
theft as if left surrounded by the best white men. The family 
were absent nearly three months, during which time nothing was 
molested, touched or taken by Indians or white men. After see- 


ing the family fairly started, brother "Wash" returned to the field, 
and finished sowing his oats, and then yoking up a couple of yoke 
of oxen, he finished the -dragging of them in, so that on our re- 
turn home, we had a very heavy crop of oats to harvest. Having 
completed this, he set about arming himself for war. A smooth- 
tore rifle was among the family possessions, which had been left 
in the cabin for his use. He found a little powder in the powder- 
horn, but never a bullet in the pouch, nor could he find an ounce 
of lead, high or low. A gun without ammunition, like a church 
without a minister, is a poor investment. He finally stumbled 
upon an old pewter plate which had been placed in a hen coop 
to water an old hen and her brood. This he ai, once proceeded to 
utilize, by running it into bullets. Though of less specific gravity, 
it was a pretty good substitute for lead. Thus armed with his 
gun and pewter bullets, he started on foot, and alone, for Ottawa, 
to stand guard, or perform such other duty in the protection of 
the people there, as might be deemed advisable. 

The greater portion of the settlers in the vicinity of Ottawa, 
assembled at the double cabin of the widow Pembroke, situated 
upon the high bluff on the south side of the Illinois river, about a 
mile below South Ottawa, and the Hon. William Stadden, de- 
ceased, was selected as their leader or captain. He dispatched 
"Wash" Armstrong and Ezekiel Warren to guard what is known 
as Brown's Ford, crossing the river a couple of miles above 
Ottawa, with instructions to fire on any body who should attempt 
to cross over at that point during the night. A small guard and 
a foolish order. But, as it turned out, no harm came of it ; for 
nobody, white or red, crossed, or attempted to cross, during that 
night. This was the night of the 22d. On the succeeding night, 
guards were placed around the residence of Mrs. Pembroke, with 
instructions to fire upon every body who approached, in case they 
did not halt or answer when challenged. The news of Stillman's 
-defeat, and Indian creek massacre, had been fully confirmed, and 
their details had been materially enlarged and magnified, so that 
terror ran riot through the already half-frantic people. During 
that night, one of the guards, a Mr. S., now deceased, a first- 
class citizen, thought he saw an Indian, and hailed him, but 
received no reply, whereupon he banged away at him, and ran to 
the house. A scene followed, in which Mrs. Sheldon Barthola- 
mew showed more courage than Capt. Stadden and all his com- 
mand. Seizing a rifle, and examining the flint and priming, this 


brave lady declared she was good for the first Indian who should 
show himself, and advised the men to stand at their posts. In 
this way she inspired, not only courage, but confidence and a 
feeling of comparative security. The Indian shot at proved to be- 
a bunch of tall weeds, which, under the influence of the wind, 
kept up a kind of undulating or bowing motion. 

In the midst of this wild excitment, Capt. Solomon Hoge, now 
one of Grundy county's prominent citizens, put in his appearance. 
He is a man of cool courage, fine presence, and a born leader of 
men, who had been captain in the Virginia militia. His quiet 
demeanor, and sensible questions as to the cause of the alarm, 
were such as to gain the confidence of all. Capt. Stadden at 
once resigned all kind of leadership to Capt. Hoge, who, as if by 
magic, brought order out of chaos, confidence out of doubt, and 
security out of fear. First viewing his surroundings, he selected 
his guards, went with them to their places, told them what to do, 
and how to do, assured them that they were in no present danger, 
and that they would be relieved, at such an hour, by others. In 
this way, he restored confidence to the wavering, and converted 
cowards into good soldiers, that, too, in a few minutes' time. 
But all this precaution and excitement were without cause ; for 
there were no hostile Indians near Ottawa. After Capt. Hoge took 
command of these settlers, no further alarms occurred, and the 
people felt perfectly secure. Such is the influence that one cool- 
headed, brave man can exert over an excited and badly fright- 
ened community. 

If the news of Stillman's defeat spread rapidly among the white 
people, it fairly flew among the Indians. Gov. Eeynolds dis- 
patched a messenger bearing this news to the Des Moines Eapids, 
but a swift-footed Sauk runner, sent by Black Hawk, had reached 
that point fully twenty- four hours in his advance, while by means 
of signal fires and smoke, the Pottawattamies, Kickapoos and Win- 
nebagoes were advised of the transaction almost immediately, 
and great danger existed of a union of these tribes with Black 
Hawk, which would have resulted seriously to the white pioneers 
between the Illinois and Mississippi. The wildest excitement 
prevailed among the Indians, as well as whites. The statements 
found in the public press of that date were highly colored, and in 
many respects utterly untrue, especially those which set forth a 
total absence of provisions among the white pioneers, and a fail- 
ure of crops throughout the country. On the contrary, the crops 


of that year, throughout the entire northwestern part of the 
State, were never better. Forty bushels to the acre of the finest 
of wheat, was by no means unusual in 1832, while all the other 
cereals raised in this climate were abundant and cheap. Starva- 
tion was never thought of among us. Such statements were 
groundless and silly, and without any foundation in fact. 

Many foolish assertions crept into the newspapers. Take that 
which said: "Gen. Atkinson had determined to maintain his po- 
sition, to prevent the falling back of the Sauks." By this the 
writer evidently intended to convey the idea that Gen. Atkinson's 
position was being assailed by the Indians; or, mother words, he 
was besieged and environed round about by the hostile Indians* 
and that he had determined to withstand a siege and "hold the 
fort." When we consider that Gen. Atkinson had under his 
immediate command nearly or quite 2,500 men, with arms, am- 
munition and provisions in abundance, and had thrown up 
breastworks surrounded with trenches, the fallacy of this state- 
ment is apparent. Yet, as an Indian fighter, Gen. Atkinson was 
a failure. As an organizer and fort builder he had no superior. 
In fact, he did just what the public press said he would, main- 
tained his position at Dixon behind his entrenchments, from 
whence he carried on his warfare against the Sauks by messengers, 
but made not the least move to capture Black Hawk, for about 
two months, carrying on a campaign of masterly inactivity which 
bordered upon abject cowardice or imbecility. He overestimated 
his enemy's strength, and took no steps to ascertain Black Hawk's 
strength or intentions. 



Elated with his Unparalleled Victory over Maj. Stillman, Black Hawk made another 
Effort to Enlist the Pottawattamies, and for that purpose held a War-dance at 
8haub-e-nee's Village, and was Defeated by the Noble old Head-Chief, who not 
only refused to unite with him in war upon the White Pioneers, but warned them 
of their Danger The Pottawattamies commit the Indian Creek Massacre for 
Cause Manuscript Statements of this Terrible Tragedy, as remembered by the 
Captive Hall girls and their brother, John W. 

These Indians swept down like a hawk on his prey, 
Their faces all painted all armed for the fray ; 
As still as the breeze, but as fierce as the storm, 
Without the least signal or note of alarm, 
'Till the Angel of Death, with fingers so cold, 
Touched the lips of the young and the cheeks of the old; 
Then leaving the cabin alone with its dead. 
They took their two captives and rapidly fled. 

At the approach of Gen. Whiteside, Black Hawk passed on up 
Eock river, reaching Dixon but a few days in advance of Gen. 
Whitesides. At Dixon he was invited by Mr. Dixon to dinner, 
and accepted the invitation. As stated by a daughter of Mr. 
Dixon, the old chief, Black Hawk, was much pleased because Mrs. 
Dixon sat down at the table and ate her dinner with him and her 
husband. Mr. Dixon had lived among the Pottawattamies so long, 
that he spoke their language fluently. The old chief talked quite 
freely about the sufferings of his band during the previous year, 
after their flight from Saukenuk, and of his intentions in coming 
back to Illinois and being ordered away from their homes at Sauk- 
enuk, and that he was going up Eock river to rent corn lands from 
the Pottawattamies or Winnebagoes. 

After the dastardly assault committed by Maj. Stillman's men 
upon the three unarmed Indians, who should have been pro- 
tected under their flag of peace, and the inglorious flight of 
nearly three hundred armed and mounted militia, before a hand- 
ful of half-armed Indians, Black Hawk became wonderfully elated 
as well as exasperated. He well knew, however, that other and 
better troops would soon be on his track, and hence he had not a 


moment to be lost in getting ready to repel the impending attack. 
It will be remembered that the Pottavvattamie Chiefs were par- 
taking of a dog feast* at Black Hawk's wigwam, when the news 
of the approach of Stilhnan's battalion was brought to him. 
Hence they were advised of the barbarous action of Maj. Still- 
man, in violating all military rules by his disregard of the func- 
tions of a white flag, in first capturing the three Indians whom 
Black Hawk had sent to his camp bearing a flag of peace, and then 
while they were held as prisoners of war and not attempting to 
escape, fired upon them, killing one of them dead in the midst of 
his camp. This, within and of itself was a sufficient cause to 
arouse the Pottawattamies to join Black Havrk in war upon the 
perpetrators of this unsoldierly and inhuman act. But in addi- 
tion to this is the fact that this outrage was committed, not only 
within the borders of their territory, but upon their race, country- 
men, kindred and guests. Nor were these the only causes of 
grievance had by the Pottawattamies against the white pioneers 
of thai locality. They had many other just causes of complaint, 
one of the most serious ones was the building by the white people 
of dams across the larger creeks for the erection of mills. These 
dams effectually prevented the fish from ascending these 
creeks to the riffles to deposit their spawn or eggs, as was their 
wont in the springtime, when and where the Indians caught 
them with their hands, and dried them for their summer's food, 
the loss of which was not only an annoyance, but serious injury 
to them in their means of support. Another was the taking 
possession of their reserved lands by the white settlers without 
leave or license. Of their reserved lands under the treaty of 
Prairie du Chien, of July 29, 1829, there were many thousand 
acres scattered through the country from lake Michigan to Eock 
Island. Others felt aggrieved for insults offered .their wives and 
daughters, by worthless white men, while some there were who 
had been beaten with a stick for trivial causes. 

An Indian has a long memory for injuries and insults, with an 
itching disposition to, sooner or later, get even with those who 
have misused him, and glories in taking the scalp of his enemy. 
With all these grievances, and bitterness of feeling towards the 
white settlers, on the part of the Pottawattamies, coupled with 
the knowledge that their cousins, the Sauks, were making war 
against the white people, it required more than human power 

*This IB a species of religious observance among Indians. 


and skill to keep them in the strict path of peace. Absolute con- 
trol of them was an impossibility. Of this under-current of feel- 
ing among the Pottawattamies, Black Hawk was fully advised, 
and relying upon it, he determined to kindle these smouldering 
embers of hatred into a blazing, burning fire of vengeance, upon 
the white settlers living between the Illinois and Mississippi 
rivers, and for this purpose he, with his entire army of braves 
and warriors, proceeded to Shaubenee's villiage (As-sin-eh-kun),* 
at Paw-paw grove, near the head of Indian creek, then in 
LaSalle, but now in DeKalb, county, on the evening of May 
17th. Wildly excited over their easy victory over Maj. Stillman, 
the subaltern chiefs, braves and warriors of the Sauks clamored 
for a scalp-dance, which Black Hawk was too humane to allow. 
Besides being brutal and savage in the extreme, the exercises are 
very exhaustive of physical strength and endurance, none of 
which could the Sauks at that time afford to waste or fritter 
away. The news of Stillman's defeat had coursed like a race- 
horse throughout the entire Pottawattamie territory, carrying 
joy and exultation to nearly every dusky bosom. Eunners were 
dispatched to every Pottawattamie village by Black Hawk, with 
an urgent appeal for the attendance of every Pottawattamie 
chief, brave and warrior, at the Sauk war-dance, and when the 
time fixed for the war-dance came, Black Hawk, mounted upon 
his favorite milk-white poney, clad in the red coat and epaulets 
of a colonel of British cavalry, with ponderous sword and belt, 
came trooping into the village, followed by Neapope, Pashepaho, 
and other Sauk chiefs, at the head of the entire band of braves 
and warriors, accompanied by the beating of tom-toms and sing- 
ing of their war-songs. Approaching the lodge of Shaubenee, 
the war-post was set in the ground, ready for the dance. But, to 
the old chief's consternation, Shaubenee, Wauponsee, Shemenon, 
Shaata, Meaumese, Sushshauquash, and other Pottawattamie 
chiefs, met him coldly, while the younger Pottawattamies seemed 
to be under restraint, and when the Sauks commenced circling 
around the war-post, few Pottawattamies joined them. Hence 
the war-dance lagged, and was soon practically abandoned, and 
Black Hawk essayed to rouse them by his wonderful eloquence. 
Naturally of a devotional or pious disposition, he began his ad- 
dress by returning thanks to the Great Spirit for giving him such 
an easy victory over the white soldiers under Maj. Stillman, com- 
paring the panic and flight of the whites to a flock of deer, 

* Meaning grove of paw-paws. 


fleeing before the hungry wolf. Then, recounting the causes of 
grievance the Sauks had against the white people, he made a 
strong personal appeal to Shaubenee, closing by saying, "Shaub- 
enee, if you will permit your young men to unite with mine, I 
will have an army like the trees in the forrest, and will drive the 
palefaces like autumn leaves before au angry wind." "Aye," 
replied Shaubenee, laying his hand heavily down on Black 
Hawk's shoulder, "but the palefaces will soon bring an army 
whose numbers are like the leaves on the trees, and will sweep 
you and your army into the great ocean beneath the setting 

Shaubene was, at that time, the Head-man of the Ottawas 
and Chippewas, as well as Pottawattamies, and had seen enough 
of the world to know that the Indian could not then successfully 
cope with the white man, and that any and all attempts in that 
direction would only result in ruin to the Indian, hence he flatly 
refused to unite with Black Hawk, or permit any of his tribe or 
tribes to do so. By the side of Tecumseh, or Couchant Tiger, at 
the battle of the Thames, and second in command to that great 
chief when Tecumseh fell., he succeeded to the command of the In- 
dians, and ordered a retreat. At that time Shaubenee.became satis- 
fied that white men were equally as brave as Indians, and greatly 
their superior in the implements and arts of war, and then and 
there made a vow to the Great Spirit that if his life was spared in 
that battle, he never again would go upon the war-path against the 
palefaces. This vow he most religiously kept the remainder of his 
long, eventful life. His aversion to war soon led to the selection 
of Wauponsee as the War Chief of the Pottawattamies, which po- 
sition he held in 1832. He also fought the white people under 
Tecumseh, and was in the battle of the Thames, where he received 
a musket ball in his right breast, which passed through his body. 
His recovery from this desperate wound these Indians construed 
as an omen from their Manitou that he should be their War 
Chief. In the same battle he received a severe gash in the face 
from a sabre stroke, which left a long, large scar in healing up. 
Though as fond of war as Napoleon, Wauponsee, or Waubanse 
(which means a little light in the sky), had no desire to again go 
upon the war-path against the American soldiers, hence he stood 
by Shaubenee in refusing to espouse Black Hawk's cause, and be 
drawn into the vortex of war against the people of the United 


Again was Black Hawk terribly disappointed, and his situation 
worse than ever before. The war had been inaugurated, and es- 
cape from it was impossible. Return to his Iowa home he could 
not, hampered as he was with the women and children, old and 
infirm, of his band. His only means of transportation being by 
canoes down Rock river, he must pass through Dixon, and thence 
down to the Mississippi, through a country literally swarming- 
with armed white aoldiers. Hence escape in that direction he 
could not. Moreover, he and his band were out of provisions, 
and without means of procuring them. Grim-visaged starvation 
was chattering his ghastly teeth in his face. He could not fly, 
and dare not stay, nor could he see any possible way of escape. 
Already were his women and children subsisting on the succulent 
bark of red elm trees, roots and fresh-water clams. Some were 
virtually perishing of hunger. Thus was the lofty spirit of the 
hero of an hundred battles badgered and crushed by the piteous 
wailings of his helpless ones for food, without the ability to ren- 
der them relief, or even a reasonable hope for the better. Induced 
to leave his Iowa home by false hopes, and promises of aid and 
assistance from the Pottawattamies and Winnebagoes, through 
the fulsome Winnesheik and lying Neapope, Black Hawk came 
among his own race and people big with hope and expectation ; 
but instead of receiving a hearty welcome and active co-operation, 
he and his band were suffered to shift for themselves and suffer 
of hunger aye, starve for want of food. 

By the exercise of his great influence, Shaubenee had succeeded 
in restraining his nation from joining Black Hawk in the war 
which was then inevitable and was actually inaugurated. Yet 
he was conscious of the individual grievances of some of his 
tribe against the pioneer settlers, and felt well assured that 
they were burning for an opportunity to wreak their vengeance 
upon the unfortunate white men who had offended them, and 
would take advantage of the war between the Sauks and trie 
whites to satiate their thirst for vengeance on their enemies, 
when no matter how many murders they might commit their 
deeds of atrocity would be laid to the charge of the Sauks. And 
in other cases, the malcontents of his tribe would unite with the 
Sauks, and lend them material and substantial aid and assistance. 
To circumvent and prevent these, Shaubenee determined to warn 
the pioneer settlers, who were scattered along on the skirts of the 
small streams flowing into the Illinois river from the north, ex- 
tending from Bureau Creek, on the west, to the Du Page, on the 


east, a distance of nearly one hundred miles in a straight line; 
but as the settlers were scattered in zig-zag lines, to visit and 
warn all of them would require the messenger to travel three 
times that distance. This the humane old chief, Shaubenee, and 
his son, Pyps, or Pepper, not only attempted to do, but did. 
Having done all he could, by way of argument, to dissuade Black 
Hawk and the evil-minded of his own tribe from murdering and 
torturing the innocent women and children of the pioneers, and 
seeing in the near future that the red dogs of war would be un- 
leashed that the blood-stained tomahawk was already hurtling 
through the air Shaubenee placed his life in the scales "live 
or die, sink or swim, survive or perish" the lives of the women 
and children of the pioneer settlers should be saved, if within his 
power. Time was precious, since the danger was pressing. The 
thunderbolt was already charged, and ready to burst forth with- 
out a moment's warning, when the red fiends should be dancing 
around and gloating over the ruin they had committed laughing 
at the shrieks of the women and children under the dread toma- 
hawk and scalping-knife. Death was hanging like a pall over the 
pioneers, yet they knew it not. Could he, with safety to himself, 
warn them of their impending fate? He was an Indian, and 
personally known to but few of the white settlers, and could 
neither speak or understand their language. Nor were these the 
only difficulties he had to encounter in his perilous undertaking. 
When his final answer was given to Black Hawk, that under no 
circumstances would he permit his braves and warriors to unite 
with those of the Sauks in a war against the white settlers of the 
frontier, he withdrew from the war-dance, and by that act he 
made an inplacable enemy of the Sauk chief, who dispatched 
swift-footed spies to follow him and report his subsequent actions. 
Nor were these all the obstacles he was doomed to encounter. 
Smooth-tongued orators were sent out by Black Hawk to visit 
every village of the Pottawattamies, and poison their minds 
against the white pioneers, and urge them to deeds of vengeance 
o right their wrongs. He was not even advised as to the extent 
of the war feeling of his own tribe, and stopped not to ascertain. 
On the one hand he beheld a long line of defenseless cabins, sur- 
rounded and enveloped in a halo of peaceful moonlight, whose 
inhabitants were dreaming of peace and prosperity. On the 
other, he saw the bloody tomahawk and scalping-knive thirsting 
for the blood of the white pioneers, regardless of age or sex. 


Black Hawk's war-dance was scarcely ended, when Shaubenee 
silently left it, with a fixed determination to warn the white set- 
tlers of their danger, or perish in the effort. He was then well 
advanced in years, and fleshy, but still a splendid horseman. 
Mounting his favorite pony, he took his bearings from the Indian 
geography, the stars, and struck out on his long and perilous 
journey, riding slowly until out of ear-shot of Black Hawk's 
camp, when he urged his horse to a sharp lope. Then on went 
the rider and horse, over hill and vale, creek and rivulet, pursued 
by Sauk spies with the scent of the sleuth-hound. With the last 
blood-curdling sound which reached his ears after starting, rider 
and horse caught new inspiration, which sent them onward and 
onward with their message of life to the peacefully slumbering 
pioneers, who were all unconscious of their impending doom. 
Turning his back upon his race and people, he sped on to warn 
the enemies of his race of their danger. Led onward to imperil, 
not only his good standing with his race and tribe, but to en- 
danger his life by a generous and genuine humanity, by which 
act he voluntarily made a martyr of himself, and suffered "the 
tortures of the damned, but bore them with the magnanimity of 
a god." By this act he showed a bravery and devotion to 
humanity which well might challenge imitation by angels as well 
as men. History furnishes no finer type of heaven-born human- 
ity than this of Shaubenee. 

Unfortunately, some of the white settlers would not listen to 
his statements of danger. In some instances they ordered him 
off, and loaded him down with abusive epithets, and even threat- 
ened him with physical chastisement. Yet he "failed not, fal- 
tered not, wearied not" in performing his heaven-born mission. 
Though driven away from the residence of Mr. William Davis, 
on Indian creek, in LaSalle county, with violence, after going 
some distance, he returned and renewed his entreaties with 
Mr. Davis, whom he knew to be in special danger, because he 
had built a dam across Indian creek, to run a saw mill, which 
had given great offence to the Pottawattamies, because it de- 
stroyed their fish riffle above. Shaubenee could only communi- 
cate with Mr. Davis through signs, and endeavored to induce 
him to send his wife and children to some place of safety, if he 
would not go himself. So persistent was the old chief in urging 
Mr. Davis to send away his family to a place of security, that he 
actually shed tears, but to no avail. Mr. Davis had fled, a 


year previous, from the Black Hawk scare, and been called a. 
coward for so doing. He was determine 1 this time to remain on 
his farm until he saw there was actual danger. While Shaube- 
nee was busy on his mission, his son was equally so. Between 
them, every inhabited cabin was visited, and its inhabitants 
warned along the entire frontier, from Princeton to Plainfield, or 
Bureau to DuPage, that, too, within 24 hours after leaving Black 
Hawk's war-dance. Their's was no Sheridan's Piide of twenty 
miles over a turnpike road. It was a Shaubenee's Eide of over a 
hundred miles through a trackless prairie, threaded with deep, 
unbridged streams, and almost impassable swamps and sloughs. 
Familiar with the country, they divided their routes so that they 
did not conflict. The spirited little pony, unable longer to bear 
the great weight of Shaubenee, dropped dead in his tracks. 
Taking the bridle and saddle from his dead pony, he pressed 
forward, on foot, to the residence of his friend, George Hollen- 
beck, at Hollenbeck's Grove, in Kendall county, where he re- 
ceived a hearty welcome, a good meal, and the loan of a swift 
horse to prosecute his self-assumed, herculean and dangerous 
mission. Already had this old chief been about thirty hours in 
the saddle, without food or sleep, and completely worn out. 
But his mission was then about fulfilled, and right nobly, too. 
Had all those whom he warned of their danger heeded his advice, 
a score of precious lives would have been spared. On the day 
following Black Hawk's war-dance, Snaubenee's family were 
taken to where Plainfield now stands. 


In the fall of 1830, William Davis, with his wife and seven 
children, came from Kentucky, and located upon the north bank 
of Indian creek, a small stream flowing from the northwest, into 
Fox river, in LaSalle county, Illinois. He was a large-sized, 
iron-willed, energetic man, possessed of more courage than pru- 
dence. Piaised among a people who were taught to despise the 
Indian race, he let no opportunity escape unimproved in showing 
his true feelings in that regard. Surrounded by the Pottawatta- 
mies, at his Indian creek home, he never treated them as human 
beings entitled to respect, or as having any rights whatever, but, 
on the contrary, spurned them from his presence as he would a 
snarling cur. There was a mill-seat on his farm, which he pro- 
ceeded to utilize, or improve, in 1831, and had constructed a 


dam across the creek, and commenced building a saw-mill. 
This dam was made of brush, timber and earth, which effectually 
barred the fish from passing up beyond it to the riffles, as had 
been their wont, to spawn in the spring, when these Indians 
caught them in great numbers with their naked hands, throwing 
them on shore to be dressed and smoked by the squaws for sum- 
mer, fall, and winter use. Hence the Indians were highly in- 
censed, and demanded its removal. But Mr. Davis, not only 
refused to remove it, but drove them from his presence with 
kicks and blows. Thus matters stood until about the middle of 
May, 1832, when a few Indians attempted to tear away a portion 
of the dam, but were caught by Mr. Davis, in the act. They fled 
at his approach, but he succeeded in capturing Kee-was-see, 
one of them, whom he beat with a large-sized hickory switch or 
gad, very severely, and by that act, sealed his own fate. To 
be beaten with a stick, like a dog, means death to the offender, 
with the Indians. From thenceforward, Kee-was-see bent every 
thought and energy to the accomplishment of his solemn vow, to 
kill and scalp the man who had degraded him by whipping him 
with a switch. He watched and waited his opportunity to strike 
the fatal blow, nor was it long in coming. 

In addition to the family of Mr. Davis, there were three other 
families of white people residing on Indian creek, near the Davis 
residence. They were William Hall and Mary R., his wife, 
and six children, and William Pettigrew, who had a wife and two 
children. These two families were from Kentucky, and John H. 
Henderson and wife, from Tennessee. The cabins of these four 
pioneers were located within a radius of a few miles. They had 
all been notified of their danger by Shaubenee and his son on the 
18th, and had they given proper heed to this timely warning, their 
lives would have been spared. The facts, as we understood them 
at the time, are these : Mr. Davis made light of Shaubenee's warn- 
ing, and refused to move his family away, or take any precaution 
to prevent their impending doom, but the other three families 
immediately sought safety by flight, and proceeded to South 
Ottawa, where many families had congregated for safety, and 
where Fort Johnson was soon afterwards built. But Mr. Davis 
with his family remained at their home on Indian creek until the 
20th of May. On the 19th of that month Shaubenee sent him 
word again that he was in danger, and begged him to send his 
wife and children to some place of safety if he was still deter- 
mined, as he had said he was, to remain on his claim and defend 


his family and property against Indian depredations, This sec- 
ond warning was so earnest that it put even the brave and fear- 
less Davis to thinking over the isolated condition of his dear 
ones full fifteen miles away from any white family. 

The more he thought the matter over the less confidence did he 
feel in the resolution he had taken in remaining there. Hence, 
early on Sunday morning, May 20th, he mounted a horse and 
scoured the country immediately surrounding his home without 
striking Indian signs, and then struck off at a rapid lope to Ot- 
tawa, for the purpose of inducing his neighbors and special friends 
Messrs. Hall, Pettigrew and Henderson, to return to Indian 
creek with their families, and as his cabin was large, he would 
advise them all to congregate there, which would make quite a 
little party for defense in case of an attack. His three older sons 
and two hired men, with himself, made a half dozen to start 
with, and there were four good men in Mr. Hall's family, which, 
with Mr. Henderson, Mr. Howard and son, would make thirteen 
brave men for defense. On his way to Ottawa he met a party of 
volunteers going towards Indian creek on a scouting expedition 
to ascertain the locality and intention of the Indians, with whom 
he conversed, and from whom he exacted a promise that if they 
discovered anything leading to danger from the Indians they 
would call at his house on their return and let him know all about 
the matter. Armed with this assurance, and feeling confident 
there was no immediate danger, he proceeded to South Ottawa 
and urged his neighhbors to return to Indian creek. They were 
in the midst of corn-planting when they left their homes a few 
days before, and were very anxious to finish, as the season was 
then well advanced, hence they were readily persuaded to return, 
except Mr. John H. Henderson.* He had scarcely begun plant- 
ing when he left, but did not deem it prudent to take his wife into 
what he considered imminent and unnecessary danger, and urged 
that the women and children should be left at Ottawa, while the 
men went back. This Mr. Davis opposed, asserting that there 
was no danger whatever. Unfortunately his advice prevailed, 
and the families of Mesrs. Hall and Pettigrew, with their house- 
hold goods, were soon on their way back to death Messrs. Hen- 
derson, Howard and son, Eobert Norris and Emory George ac- 
companying them. This was on Sunday, the 20th. They all 
reached the home of Mr. Davis safely that afternoon, and passed 
the night there without molestation or alarm of any kind. 

*Uncle to Gen. T. J. Henderson, of Princeton, 111. 


On Monday, the 21st of May, Mr. Henderson, with Edward, 
and Greenbury Hall, Mr. Howard and son, and two sons of Mr.. 
Davis, were planting corn on his claim, on section 11, township 
35, range 3, which he located in the fall of 1830. Mr. DaviV 
claim was on section 2, adjoining that of Mr, Henderson, and 
immediately north of it. Mr. Davis and Robert Norris were at 
work in his blacksmith ehop, Emory George and William Davis,. 
Jr., were at work repairing the rent made in the dam by the In- 
dians a few days previous. Mr. Hall and John W. his oldest 
son, were repairing some farm implements in a shed adjoining 
the blacksmith shop, and Mr. Pettigrew had been over to hia 
claim, returning a little before 4, p. TM, and had gone into the 
cabin, where the women and children were, when all of a sudden 
some thirty armed and hideously war-painted Indians rushed 
into the house and commenced the massacre, killing all in the 
house except Sylvia, aged 17, and Rachel, aged 15 years, daugh- 
ters of Mr. and Mrs. Hall, whom they took as prisoners and held 
in captivity some eleven days, taking them up into Wisconsin 
and delivering them to the Winnebagoes who sent them to their 
friends. Having brutally killed Mr. and Mrs. Hall and daughter 
Elizabeth, aged 8 years, Mr. and Mrs. Pettigrew, and two- 
children, taking the younger by the ankles and beating its 
brains out against a stump, Mrs. Davis and her five younger 
children, they then pursued those who were at the shop, killing 
all of them except John W. Hall, who miraculously escaped 
by jumping down a steep bank and running down around a sudden 
bend of the creek, where they lost sight of him. Robert Norris 
and Emory George, who ran in the same direction and but a 
short distance in advance of him, were shot down. Mr. Hall fell 
pierced by an Indian bullet before he had ran many rods, while 
Mr. Davis seems to have had a desperate struggle for life. When 
his body was found, it was most barbarously mutilated, the stock 
of his gun gone, and the barrel badly bent. Whether he killed 
any Indian or Indians, is not known. If he did, the surviving 
Indians bore them off. But since the captive girls neither saw 
nor heard of any dead or wounded Indians, the strong probability 
is that there were none. Mr. Henderson and his assistants in 
the cornfield were in plain view of the Davis house, but no at- 
tempt to molest them was made. On hearing the gunshots at 
the Davis house, they all started for shelter, and escaped un- 
scathed. Those only who were at the house and shop were 


killed. But that was sufficient to appall and paralyze the strong- 
est nerves. Sixteen bright, happy and intelligent people swept 
from existence in a holocaust of slaughter.. That the blow was 
intended for Mr. Davis and family alone, there can be no doubt, 
and that the slaughter of the others was attributable to the mere 
accident of their being there at the unfortunate moment, follows 
as a sequence. The attack was directed and conducted by Kee- 
was-see, whom Mr. Davis had beaten with a stick, and the entire 
party, except three, were Pottawattamies. 
Black Hawk's statement of the affair is as follows : 
"Another party of three Sacs had come in tend brought two 
young white squaws, whom they had given to the Winnebagoes to 
take to the whites. They said they had joined a party of Pottawat- 
tamies, and went with them as a war- party, against the settlers 
of Illinois. The leader of this party (a Pottawattamie) had been 
severely whipped by this settler some time before, and was 
anxious to avenge the insult and injury. While the party was 
preparing to start, a young Pottawattamie went to the settler's 
home, and told him to leave it, that a war party was coming to 
murder them. They started, but soon returned again, as it ap- 
peared that they were all there when the war party arrived. 
The Pottawattamies killed the whole family, except two young 
squaws whom the Sacs took up on their horses and carried off 
to save their lives. They were brought to our encampment, and 
a messenger sent to the Winnebagoes, (as they were friendly on 
both sides,) to come and get them, and carry them to the whites. 
If these young men belonging to my band had no't gone with the 
Pottawattamies, the two young squaws would have shared the 
same fate as their friends." 

This bloody massacre was laid to the charge of the Sauks, as 
it was expected and intended by its perpetrators, who took ad- 
vantage of the state of hostilities existing between the Sauks and 
the whites, to commit this outrage, knowing it would be charged 
to the Sauks. Whether it be true that the three solitary Sauks 
in this murderous raid saved the lives of Sylvia and Eachel Hall 
or not, but we have no doubt about its truth, because the Sauks 
were naturally humane and had been brought in immediate con- 
tact with civilization much more than their cousins, the Pottawat- 
tamies, the plan of Kewassee, their leader, was nicely arranged. 
He dare not hold these girls captives, because his nation were on 
terms of peace with the white people ; nor dare he return them 


direct to their friends ; but by delivering them to the Sauks, he 
throwed all the responsibility of the massacre on them ; and 
when Black Hawk was advised of their captivity, he ordered 
their enfranchisement, and caused their delivery to the Winne- 
bagoes, who were at peace, and friendly alike to the Sauks and 
whites, and who in turn took them to the nearest fort (Blue 
Mounds), and delivered them to their friends. Sylvia became 
the wife of Eev. W. S. Horn, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
and is now living in the city of Lawrence, in the State of Kansas, 
a most estimable Christain woman, and happy mother and 

Eachel married William Munson, who was a prominent citizen 
and wealthy farmer of the town of Freedom, in LaSalle county, 
where the massacre occurred, and died there May, 1870, leaving 
surviving her, husband, three sons and four daughters, and a 
number of grandchildren. Mr. Munson has since joined the in- 
numerable host on the other side. From their daughter Miranda, 
wife of Samuel Dunnaven, Esq., of the town of Adams, LaSalle 
county, we received the following manuscript statements of 
John W. Hall, and her mother and aunt Horn, giving their re- 
collections of this massacre, thirty-five years after its occurrence. 
They will also be found in the admirable history of LaSalle 
county, by our old friend Hon. Elmer Baldwin, published io 
1877. There are some errors, notably that of date, and some 
antecedent circumstances, since they all agree upon May 20 as 
the date of the massacre, which was Sunday, and the massacre 
occurred on Monday, the 21st, just one week after Stillman's 
fiasco ; and John W. Hall is in error as to Mr. Davis meeting 
his father's family between Indian creek and Ottawa, and turn- 
ing them back. Hon. Geo. W. Armstrong, and others still living, 
state positively that these three families (Hall, Pettigrew and 
Henderson) were at South Ottawa for several days prior to that 
time, and that the families of Messrs. Hall and Pettigrew left 
there on Sunday. 

John W. Hall's statement is as follows : 

"NEMEHA COUNTY, NEB., September, 1867. 
"The lapse of thirty-five years has made my memory 
rather dim, but there are some things which I will relate which I 
remember most distinctly, and I shall as long a^ have a being. 
It was in 1832, and, as near as I can recollect, about the 15fch or 
16th of May that old Shaubenee, chief of the Pottawattamies, 


notified iny father and others that the Sac and Fox Indians would 
probably make a raid on the settlements where we were living, 
and murder us and destroy our property, and advised us to leave 
that part of the country for a place of safety. But Indian rumors 
were so common that some of our neighbors did not sufficiently 
credit the old Indian, and we were advised to collect as many to- 
gether as possible, and stand our ground and defend ourselves 
against the Indians. So, after hiding all our heavy property, and 
loading the remainder and the family on the wagons, we started for 
Ottawa, meeting Mr. Davis, who had been at Ottawa the day be- 
fore, and had learned that a company had gone out in a northerly di- 
rection to learn of the Indians' movements, and would report on 
their return in case of danger. My father was prevailed on by 
Davis to abandon his retreat and stop at Davis' house, where Mr. 
Pettigrew and family, Mr. Howard and son, John H. Henderson 
and Emury George were all stopping. On the 20th of May, my- 
self and dear father were at work under a shed adjoining a black- 
smith shop on the west side, next to the dwelling house ; Mr. 
Davis and Norris were at work in tha shop; Emory George and 
William Davis, jr., were at work on the mill-dam, a little south of 
the shop. It being a very warm day, in the afternoon some one 
brought a bucket of water from the spring to the shop, and we all 
went into the shop to rest a few minutes and quench our thirst. 
At this time John H. Henderson, Edward and Greenbury Hall, 
Mr. Howard and son, and two of Davis' sons, were in the field, 
on the south side of the creek, in full view, and about half a mile 
from the house, planting corn; and while we were resting in the 
shop, we heard a scream in the house. I said, ' There are the 
Indians now,' and jumped out of the door, it being on the oppo- 
site side from the house, and the others followed as fast as they 
could, and as we turned the corner of the shop, we discovered the 
door-yard full of Indians. I next saw the Indians jerk Mr. Petti- 
grew's child, four or five years old, taking it by the feet and dash- 
ing its head against a stump. I saw Mr. Pettigrew, arid heard 
two guns, seemingly in the house, and then the towahawk soon 
ended the cries of those in the house, and immediately they fired 
about twenty shots at our party of five, but neither of us was 
hurt that I know of. 

"Their next motion was to pour some powder down their guns 
and drop a bullet out of their mouths, and raise their guns and 
fire. This time I heard a short sentence of prayer to my right? 


and a little behind. On turning that way I saw niy dear father 
on the ground, shot in the left breast and dying, and on looking 
around, I saw the last of the company was gone, or were going. 
The Indians had jumped the fence, and were making towards me. 
Mr. Davis was running in a northeast direction, towards the tim- 
ber. He looked back and said, ' Take care ! ' He had his gun in 
his hand. I, at this time, discovered quite a number of the In- 
dians on horseback in the edge of the woods, as though they were 
guarding the house to prevent any escape. Then it flashed into 
my mind that I would try to save myself. I think there were 
sixty to eighty Indians. I immediately turned toward the creek, 
which was fifteen or twenty steps from where I stood. The In- 
dians were, at this time, within a few paces of me, with their 
guns in hand, under full charge. I jumped down the bank of the 
creek, about twelve feet high, which considerably stunned me. 
At this moment the third volley was fired, the balls passing over 
my head, killing Norris and George, who were ahead of me, and 
who had crossed the creek to the opposite shore. One fell in the 
water, the other on the opposite bank. I then passed as swiftly 
as possible down the stream, on the side next the Indians, the 
bank hiding me from their view. I passed down about two 
miles, when I crossed and started for Ottawa through the prairie, 
and overtook Mr. Henderson, who started ahead of me, and we 
went together till we got within four miles of Ottawa, where we 
fell in with Mr. Howard and son, three sons of Mr. Davis, and 
my two brothers, all of whom were in the field referred to except 
one of Mr. Davis' sons, who was with us in the shop when the 
alarm was given, and who immediately left when he heard the 
cry of Indians. We all went to Ottawa together and gave the 

"During the night we raised a company, and with them 
started in the morning for the dreadful scene of slaughter. On 
the way we met some of Stiliman's defeated troops, they having 
camped within four miles of where the Indians passed the 
night, after killing my dear friends. They refused to go back with 
us and help bury the dead, but passed on to Ottawa. We 
went on to the place where the massacre took place,' and oh ! 
what a sight presented itself. 

"There were some with their hearts cut out, and others cut and 
lacerated in too shocking a minner to mention, or behold, with- 
out shuddering. We buriei them all in great haste, in one grave, 


without coffins or anything of the kind, there to remain till 
Gabriel's trumpet shall call to life the sleeping dead. We then 
returned to Ottawa, and organized a company out of a few 
citizens and Stillman's defeated troops, into which company I 
enlisted, and the next day were on the line of march, in pursuit 
of the savages, and if possible, to get possession of my two eldest 
sisters, who were missing, and who, we were satisfied, were car- 
ried away by the Indians, from signs found on their trail. We 
went as far as Kock river, when our provisions failed, and we 
returned to Ottawa for, and laid in, provisions for a second trip. 
I found that Gen. Atkinson had made propositions to the Winne- 
bago Indians, through the agent, Mr. Gratiot, to purchase rny 
sisters, as we were fearful that if we approached the Indians, they 
would kill them to prevent their capture. We then started the 
second time, and proceeded to Bock river, where we fell in with a 
company of volunteers, under Gen. Dodge, when we learned that 
the friendly Indians had succeeded in obtaining my sisters, and 
that they were at White Oak Springs. I went with a company of 
regulars to Galena, and obtaining a furlough, went to White Oak 
Springs, where I found my sisters, and returned with them to 


J. W. HALL." 


" In the afternoon of the 20th of May, 1832, we were alarmed 
by the Indians rushing suddenly into the room where we were 
staying. The house was situated on the north bank of Indian 
creek. Here lived our father, William Hall, aged 45 years, our 
ihother, aged 45, and six children, John W., aged 23, Edward 
H., aged 21, Greenbury, aged 19, Sylvia, aged 17, Eachael, aged 
15, and Elizabeth aged 8. The house belonged to William Davis, 
whose family consisted of nine in all ; Mr. Pettigrew, wife and two 
children. These families were staying together for the better 
protection of each other from the Indians. John H. Henderson, 
Emory George and Koberfc Norris, were also stopping at the same 
house. Henderson, Alexander, and Wm. Davis, Jr., Edward and 
Greenbury Hall, and Allen Howard, were in the field, about one 
hundred rods from the house. Wm. Hall, Wm. Davis, John W. 
Hall, Norris and George were in the blacksmith shop, sixty or 
eighty steps from the house, down the creek, near the bank, and 
near the north end of the mill dam, which was being built. Petti- 
grew, who was in the house, with a child in his arms, when the 


Indians came to the door, sprang to shut the door, but failed to 
do it. He was shot, and fell in the house. Mrs. Pettigrew had 
her arms around Rachael when she was shot, the powder flying 
in Kachael's face. We were trying to hide, but could find no place 
to get to. We were under the bed when the Indians caught us, 
took us out into the yard, and taking us by the arms, hurried us 
away as fast as possible, and while going we saw an Indian take 
Pettigrew's child by the feet, and dash its head against a stump, 
and Davis' little boy was shot by an Indian, two other Indians 
holding the boy by each hand. We passed on to the creek, about 
eighty steps, when they dragged Rachael into the creek, and half 
way across, when they came back ; then they got u.s together and 
hurried us up the creek, on the north side, being the same side 
the house was on, to where the Indians had left their horses, 
about one and one half miles from the house. Here we found 
the Indians had father's horses, and some belonging to the neigh- 
bor's, tied up with their ponies. We were mounted each on a 
pony, with an Indian saddle, and placed near the center of the 
procession, each of our ponies being led, and receiving occasion- 
ally a lash of the whip from some one behind. We supposed 
there were about forty warriors, there being no squaws, in this 

"We traveled till late in the night, when the party halted 
about t\vo hours. The Indians danced a little, holding their 
ponies by the bridle. We rested on some blankets, and were per- 
mitted to sit together. Then we were remounted, and traveled 
in the same order until one or two o'clock the next day, when 
they halted again near some bushes not far from a grove of 
timber on our right. Before we stopped, Piachael made signs 
that she was tired, and they took her off, and let her walk, and 
while walking, they forced her to wade a stream about three feet 
deep. Here we rested about two hours', while the ponies picked 
a little grass, and some beans were scalded by the Indians, and 
some acorns roasted. The Indians ate heartily, and we tried, 
but could not, as we expected to fare as our friends had, or 
worse. After resting, we were packed up as usual, and traveled 
awhile, when some of the Indians left us for some time. When 
they returned, we were hurried on at a rapid rate for some five 
miles, while the Indians that were following had their spears 
drawn, and we supposed the party, when absent, had seen some 
whites, and that if we were overtaken, they would destroy us. 


After about an hour, they slackened, and rode on as usual till 
near sundown, when the whole party halted for the night, and, 
having built a fire, they required us to burn some tobacco and 
corn meal that was placed in our hands, which we did, not 
knowing why we did so, except to obey them. We supposed it 
was to show that they were successful in their undertaking. They 
then prepared supper, consisting of dressed meat sliced, coffee 
boiled in a copper kettle, corn pounded and made into a kind of 
soup. They gave us some in wooden bowls, with wooden ladles. 
We took some, but did not relish it. After supper, they held a 
dance, and after that, we were conducted to a tent or wigwam, 
and a squaw placed on each side of us, where we remained during 
the night, sleeping what we could, which was very little. The 
Indians kept stirring all night. In the morning, breakfast the 
same as supper. That over, they cleared a piece of ground, 
about ninety feet in circumference, and placed a pole twenty feet 
high in the centre, and fifteen or twenty spears set up around the 
pole. On the top of the spears were placed the scalps of our 
murdered friends. Father's, mother's and Mrs. Pettigrew's were 
recognized by us. There were also two or three hearts placed on 
separate spears. The squaws, under the direction of the warriors, 
as we supposed from their jabbering, painted one side of our 
faces black, and the other red, and seated us on our" blankets, 
near the pole, just leaving room for the Indians to pass between 
us and the pole. Then the warriors commenced to dance around 
us, with their spears in their hands, and occasionally sticking 
them in the ground ; and now, at every round/ we expected the 
spears would be thrust through us, aud our troubles brought to 
an end. But no hostile demonstration was made toward us, and 
after they had continued their dance about half an hour or more, 
two old squaws led us away to one of the wigwams, and washed 
the paint off our faces as best they could. 

"Then the whole camp struck tents, and started north, while 
the whole earth seemed to be alive with Indians. This being the 
third clay of our suffering, we were very much exhausted, and 
still we must obey our savage masters, and now, while traveling, 
we were separated from each other during traveling hours, under 
charge of two squaws to each of us, being permitted to stay to- 
gether when not on the march, under the direction of our four 
squaws. We now traveled slowly over rough, barren prairies, 
until nearly sundown, when we camped again, being left with our 


four squaws, with whom we were always in company, day or 
night, they sleeping on each side of us during the night. The 
warriors held another dance, but not around us. Here we had 
all the maple sugar we desired, and the Indians made as good 
accommodations for us as they could. 

"About this time, our dresses were changed. The one fur- 
nished Eachael was red and white calico, raffled around the bot- 
tom. Sylvia's was blue. They tried to get us to throw away our 
shoes, and put on moccasins, which we would not do. They also 
threw away Eachael's comb, and she went and got it again, and 
kept it. We then traveled and camped, about as usual, till the 
seventh day, when the Indians came and took Sylvia to the side 
of a hill, about forty rods away, where they seemed to be holding 
a council. One of the Indians said that Sylvia must go with an 
old Indian, who we afterwards learned was the chief of the Win- 
nebagoes, and was called White Crow, and was blind in one eye ; 
and that Rachael must remain with the Indians she had been 
with. Sylvia said she could not go unless Eachael went too. 
White Crow then got up and made a long and loud speech, and 
seemed very much in earnest. After he had concluded, an In- 
dian, who called himself Whirling Thunder, went and brought 
Eachael to where Sylvia was, and the chiefs shook hands to- 
gether, and horses were brought, and switches cut to whip them 
with, and we were both mounted, when one of the Sauk Indians 
stepped up to Eachael, and, with a large knife, cut a lock of 
hair off her head over the right ear, and another from off the 
back of her head, and told White Crow he would have her back 
in three or four days. Another one cut a lock of hair from the 
front part of Sylvia's head. Then we started, and rode at a 
rapid rate until nest morning, near daylight, when we halted at 
the encampment of the Winnebagoes. A bed was prepared on 
a low scaffold, with blankets and furs, and we lay down till after 
daylight. After breakfast, the whole encampment packed up, 
and placed us with themselves in canoes, and we traveled all day 
till nearly sundown, by water, and camped on the bank of the 
stream, the name of which we never knew; neither can we tell 
whether we traveled up or down. On the morning of the ninth 
day, we had breakfast very early, after which White Crow went 
around to each wigwam, as far as we could see, and stood at the 
opening, holding a gourd with pebbles in it, shaking it, and oc- 
casionally talking as if lecturing, then went off, and was gone all 


"He came back at night, and, for the first time, spoke to us in 
English, and asked if father or mother were alive, and whether 
we had any brothers or sisters. We told him we thought not, for 
we supposed they were all killed. When he heard this, he looked 
very sorry, and shook his head, and then informed us that he was 
going to take us home in the morning. Next morning, being the 
tenth day, White Crow went through the same performance as on 
the previous morning. Then twenty-six of the Winnebagoes went 
with us in canoes, and crossed over the stream, swimming their 
horses by the side of the canoes. On the other shore all were 
mounted on the ponies, and traveled all day through wet land, 
sloughs and brush. At night we came to where there were two or 
three families encamped. They expressed great joy at seeing us. 
Here we encamped for the night White Crow and Whirling 
Thunder with us. We had pickled pork, potatoes, coffee and 
bread, for us and the two chiefs, which we relished better than 
anything we had had since our captivity. We lay down on the 
bed prepared for us, and White Crow came and sat down by our 
bed and commenced smoking, and continued there smoking his 
pipe most of the time till morning, never going to sleep, as we be- 
lieve. Next morning we had breakfast same as supper ; the Indian 
families bade us good bye, and the same company of twenty-six 
Indians, as the day before, started with us, and we traveled over 
land that seemed higher than that traveled the day before. About 
10 A. M., we came to some old tracks of a wagon, -and here for 
the first time we began to have some hopes that the Indians were 
going to convey us home, as they said they would do ; and as we 
passed on we began to see more and more signs of civilization. 
About 3 o'clock we stopped and had some dinner broiled venison 
and boiled duck's eggs, and if they had not been boiled so soon 
the young ducks would have made their appearance. But the 
Indians would never starve if they could get young ducks boiled 
in the shell. We then traveled on till near the fort, at the Blue 
Mounds. White Crow then took Eachael's white handkerchief, 
or that had been white once, and raised it for a flag, on a pole, 
rode on about half a mile, and halted, and the Indians formed a 
ring around us, and White Crow went on and met the agent for 
the Winnebagoes, Mr. Henry Gratiot, with a company of volun- 
teers, and returned to where we were. White Crow then delivered 
us over to the care of the agent, and we went with him and the 
soldiers of the fort. To our great joy, we found two of our uncles, 


Edward Hall and Bezin Hall, in the company. We remained 
here one day and two nights, and were supplied with a change of 
clothing. It was now about the first of June. We started, in 
company with the same twenty-six Indians, and a company of 
soldiers, with the Indian agent, Mr. Gratiot, for Gratiot's Grove, 
where we remained over night. Next morning, White Crow made 
a speech, in which he referred to the incidents of our rescue ; he 
also proposed to give us each a Sauk squaw, for a servant, during 
life, which we declined, telling him we did not desire to wrong the 
squaws. Here we parted with the Indians, who bid final adieu, 
and with the troops went on to White Oak Springs. Here we re- 
mained three or four days, and here our dear brother, J. W. 
Hall, whom we supposed murdered, met us. We remained here 
two or three weeks, and the merchants and others, who seemed 
to take a great interest in us, furnished the material for some 
clothing, which we made up, preparatory to passing decently 
through the country, and we regret not being able to recollect the 
names of those kind friends, as a testimony of their kindness in 
our distressed condition. May the blessings of Heaven rest upon 
them all. From this place we went with John W., and uncle, 
Edward Hall, to Galena; here we stayed some days, at the house 
of Mr. Bells, with whom we had some acquaintance. While 
here, we received rations from the army. We also found kind 
friends in abundance, and donations in clothing, and other 
things, and needed nothing to make us comfortable as possible 
under such circumstances. All those friends have our thanks. 

"We went by boat from Galena to St. Louis, where we stopped 
with Gov. Clark, and received every attention and kindness from 
him and his family. Here we received many presents, and 
through the influence of Gov. Clark, four hundred and seventy 
dollars were raised for our benefit, to be laid out in land, and en- 
trusted to the care of Eev. E. Horn, of Cass county, Illinois, which 
was done at our request. We also received smaller amounts to 
pay our expenses up the river, homeward. We can only express 
our thanks to these kind friends for their generosity. 

" In company with our brother, John W., and uncle Edward 
Hall, who had been with us since we left the Blue Mounds, we 
took a boat up the Illinois river to Beardstown, and out five miles 
east, to our uncle Eobert Scott, where we remained about two 
months, when brother John W. Hall took us to Brown county, 
where we remained till March, 1833, when Eachael was married 


to William Munson, and settled near the scene of her parents' 
tragic fate, in LaSalle county; and in May, 1833, Sylvia was 
married to William S. Horn, and removed to Cass county, 111. 

" This statement is made at the home of Sylvia, in Nebraska, 
where Eachael and her husband are visiting, and committed to 
writing by Mr. Horn, Sylvia's husband, this 7th day of Septem- 
ber, 1867. SYLVIA HORN, 


They were not bound or fastened together, and were treated 
with marked respect, and within three days after their capture 
they were delivered to the Winnebagoes, to be returned to their 
friends. The very best food within their possession was given 
them ; they were not separated, and not the least indignity or in- 
sult was offered them. Their captivity lasted but about eleven 
days. Besides the large and valuable presents given them at St. 
Louis and elsewhere, the State of Illinois gave each eighty acres 
of land. 

The land voted them by the Legislature of the State was taken 
from the Canal lands, donated to the State for the construction 
of the Illinois and Michigan Canal under the act of Congress, 
and was located where the city of Joliet now stands. They 
were elephants in the hands of the Pottawattamies, because 
their possession was damning proof of their guilt of the mas- 
sacre. The Sauks wanted no prisoners, for they could not 
keep them, hence they were delivered to the Winnebagoes, 
to be returned to their friends. The story of paying forty 
ponies for their ransom, by the Winnebagoes, was not true, 
they simply swindled the whites out of that much property. 

Upon the return of the captive Hall girls to LaSalle county, in 
March, 1833, they stated that they were quite sure that Kee-was- 
see, Ta-qua-wee and Co-mee, three young Pottawattamie braves, 
were active participants in the Indian creek massacre. Where- 
upon a complaint was filed before a Justice of the Peace of 
LaSalle county, charging them with the murder of William Hall 
and others, May 21, 1832, upon which a warrant was issued to 
the sheriff of said county for their arrest. The warrant was 
promptly executed by the late George E. Walker, who was then 
sheriff of that county, by arresting them and taking them before 
the court, where they had a preliminary examination, which re- 
sulted in their being held under one thousand dollars bond each, 



to await the action of the grand jury, which would meet the fol- 
lowing month. They were not incarcerated, nor indeed could 
they have been, for want of a jail, but gave bonds for their ap- 
pearance before the circuit court, to await the action of the grand 
jury. They offered as their bondsmen Shaub-e-nee, Shem-e-non, 
Snach-wine,* Shaa-te Me-au-mese and Sash-shan-quash, whom 
the sheriff accepted, knowing them to be the leading chiefs of the 
Pottawattamies, Chippewas and Ottawas. 

At that time these three nations were united together under 
Shaubenee as Head-man or Great Commercial Chief. Judge 
Eichard M. Young, author of the Illinois Book of Forms, under 
the nom de plume of James Jones, afterwards Commissioner of 
the General Land Office, held the April term of the Circuit Court 
of LaSalle county, in 1833, and the court docket, record "A,'* 
page 50, shows the following historic entry, viz : 

'TUESDAY, April 20, 1833. 



On bond for the appearance of 
three Indian persona charged 
with the crime of murder. 

AND SASH-AU-QUASH, Head-men and 
Chiefs of the Pottaivattamie Nation. 

" This day came the People, by Thomas Ford,t their attorney, 
and defendants, by Hamilton! & Bigelow, their attorneys; and 
the said defendants, by their said attorneys, moved the court to 
quash the said bond, and to discharge the said defendants from 
all liability thereon ; also to discharge the three Indian prisoners, 
Kee-was-see, Ta-qua-nee and Co-mee, from the custody of the 
sheriff of said county of LaSalle, which motion, after argument, 
was overruled by the court. Whereupon, at the request of the 
State's Attorney, the said defendants were ordered to be called, 
as well as the said three prisoners, when Shaubenee, one of the 
defendants, appeared and answered to his name." 

The Grand Jury failed to furl an indictment against the pris- 
oners at this term. Ke-was-see had a peculiar scar on his face, 
but when brought before the Hall girls his face was so besmeared 
and daubed with paint, that they could not identify him with 

*8e-noge-wone is the proper orthography, and means Eocks in the Water. 
planned and executed the Chicago massacre in 1812. 

tGov. Ford. t Richard J. Hamilton, of Chicago. 



any degree of positiveness, and the Grand Jury took no final 
action in the case, at this term of court. The next term of said 
court was held in May, 1834, Judge Young presiding, and Gov. 
Ford was still the State's attorney. The court record shows the 
following proceedings in this case : 

"WEDNESDAY, May 21, 1834. 

(Title of the case as before given.) 

"This day came the People, by Ford, their State's Attorney, and 
the defendants, by Hamilton, Bigelow & Strode,* their attorneys ; 
and the defendants' counsel moved the court to discharge the 
said obligees, as cognizors, from all further responsibility on ac- 
count of their undertaking as bail, or sureties for the appearance 
of three Pottawattamie Indians, named Kee-was-see, Ta-qua-nee 
and Co-mee, charged with the crime of murder, for the reason 
that no indictment was preferred against the said prisoners by 
the Grand Jury, after a full investigation of the facts alleged 
against them, and for the further reason that the legislature had 
no power to authorize the sheriff of LaSalle county to impose 
such obligations upon them, as chiefs and Head-men of the Pot- 
tawattamie nation of Indians, etc., which motion, after argu- 
ment on both sides, was overruled by the court. Whereupon, on 
motion by State's Attorney, the said prisoners, and the said 
cognizors or sureties, were ordered to be called, when the said 
cognizors or sureties severally made their appearance in open 
court, with two of the said prisoners, to-wit, Ta-qua-nee and Co- 
mee, but the other prisoner (Kee-was-see), although three times 
called, came not, but made default, and the said cognizors or 
obligors, being required to produce the body of the said Kee-was- 
see, also made default by failing so to do. Tbere having been no 
indictment found against the said Ta-qua-nee and Co-mee, they 
were, on motion of their said attorneys, ordered to be discharged, 
and their sureties released from all obligations for their further 
appearance ; and it was further ordered by the court, that time 
be given said sureties to produce the body of said Kee-was-see to 
answer to the charge of murder aforesaid, until which time the 
further proceedings in this matter is continued." 

At the October term, 1834, of said court, Kee-was-see, was 
present, and, on motion of his attorneys, he was discharged 
for want of an indictment. As a matter of fact, the Hall 
girls failed to identify these Indians as part of those who 

* Of Stillman's defeat notoriety. 



committed the massacre, with any degree of positiveness ; hence 
the Grand Jury deemed it prudent to fail in finding an indict- 
ment, but subsequent confessions leave no doubt but Kee-was-see 
was the leader of the assassins, while Ta-qua-nee and Co-mee 
were active participants therein. We had intended to insert here 
the recollection of these events, as set forth in a letter from 
Hon. Thomas J. Henderson, of Princeton, Illinois, whose rela- 
tions were neighbors to Mr. Davis, and escaped the massacre 
through the sagacity and experience of John Henderson, the 
grandfather of Thomas J., who was educated in Indian craft 
under Gen. Wayne. In the main, Mr. Henderson's statemen 
of these events are as given hereinbefore, differing in no material 
part, but giving the matter in more extended detail. But this 
chapter is already too long ; hence we omit this very interesting 
letter, dated in the House of Representatives, Washington, D. C., 
January 22, 1886. 



Thoroughly Demoralized, Gen. Whiteside's Brigade Demand their Discharge from, 
the Service, and are Marched to Ottawa and Mustered Out Thrilling Scene 
between Major Henry and Gen. Whiteside Autograph Letter from Gen. Robert 
Anderson Press Comments, and Col. Strode's Peculiar Proclamation. 

" So bees with smoke, and doves with noisome stench, 
Are from their hives, and homes driven away 
They called us for our fierceness, English dogs 
How like to whelps, we crying run away. ishakspeare. 

With the burial of the dead of Stillman's defeat, without cof- 
fins or shrouds, in the same common grave, the so-called first 
campaign of the Black Hawk war of 1832, came to a sudden, and 
inglorious end. The terrible Indian creek massacre, following 
upon the heels of the Stillman fiasco, was more than these 
already badly-rattled, arid thoroughly demoralized, volunteers 
were able to stand. Although no time was fixed by their enlist- 
ments, they, with regular unanimity, claimed that they only 
enlisted for thirty days, and that their home duties demanded their 
immediate presence ; that while willing to serve their country, 
their families demanded their first duty. 

We do not wish to call these 1,800 volunteers cowards, since 
it is not safe to call any man a coward, because many of 
the bravest men of earth have at some one time exhibited the 
basest kind of cowardice, and afterwards shown an utter contempt 
of physical danger. Even the great Tecumseh, the bravest of the 
brave, showed absolute cowardice in his first battle against the 
white soldiers at Mad river, with some Kentuckians, leaving a 
wounded brother on the field to shift for himself, he ran like a 
deer, and never stopped until he had put miles and miles between 
him and the scene of action. History is full of similar cases. 

The great difficulty with these Illinois volunteers was, the 
want of confidence in their officers, from Grov. Eeynolds all the 
way down. They were virtually a disorganized mob, governed 
by no fixed rules of action, and entirely without discipline, 


system or order. While there were as fine material in this com- 
mand, if properly disciplined and handled, as any in the world, 
they seemed to have become shaky from the time they burnt the 
Prophet's town, and panicky as they approached Dixon, when 
they left nearly everything behind, and made their forced march, 
or stampede, on to that place. And when they went out to bury 
the mutilated dead, at Stillman's Bun, all the courage they ever 
had seemed, like that of Bob Akers, to have "oozed out at their 
fingers and toes." The hair upon their heads rested uneasily, 
as if they thought the brutal savages were already sharpen- 
ing their scalping knives for the sacrifice. Already had they 
seen enough of grim-visaged war to fully satisfy their curiosity 
in that direction. Indeed, they had seen and heard too much. 
The sickening details of Stillman's defeat, as related by those 
who ran away, made them heart-sick, and they wanted to go 
home to see their wives and children anything to get away. 
Many of them had business to attend to, that would brook no 
delay, and could not be attended to by any body else. Hence 
they asked to be discharged from the service. But when the 
news reached them of the Indian creek massacre, they became 
wild with the desire to once more behold their loved ones at 
home, and burst over all restraint, speedily declaring they were 
going home. All discipline was gone, never to return to those 
1,800 volunteers. The imbecile Gen. Atkinson yielded to their 
demand, and sent them to Ottawa, on the Illinois river, where 
they were mustered out of service, May 25th to May 28th, 1832, 
by Lieut. Eobert Anderson, of Fort Sumpter fame. Through 
the kindness of Hon. E. B. Washburn, we are permitted to pub- 
lish the following autograph letter on this subject : 

" TOURS, FRANCE, May 10th, 1870. 

"To E. B. WASHBURNE, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Pleni- 
potentiary of the United States of America, Paris, France : 
"My DEAR SIR: After our recent conversation about the Black 
Hawk war, you asked me to put my recollections of some of the 
incidents connected therewith in writing; and you were kind 
enough to suggest that my reminiscences would be of much in- 
terest to many of the old settlers of your adopted State. I should 
state, however, that my memory has been a great deal impaired, 
and that, therefore, many allowances must be made. When the 
Indian disturbances, under Black Hawk, broke out, in the spring 
of 1832, I was on duty at the St. Louis Arsenal, which was then 


under command of Lieut. Eichard Bland Lee. I may here say 
that I had graduated at the West Point Military Academy, in 
1825. When the hostilities commenced, Gen. Atkinson was in 
command at Jefferson Barracks, and was put in command of the 
expedition to suppress them. He proceeded at once to Fort 
Armstrong, on Eock Island. Having obtained the consent of my 
commanding officer, I volunteered to join his expedition, which I 
did, at Eock Island. He immediately assigned me to duty as 
Assistant Inspector General on his staff. Many volunteers had 
gathered at Eock Island. Governor John Eeynolds, of Illinois, 
soon arrived and took up his quarters with Gen. Atkinson, and 
remained with us nearly all the time till the close of the war. 
After considerable augmentation of the troops at Eock Island, we 
marched our forces up Eock river, in keel boats, as far as Dixon's 
Ferry, so called after Capt. Dixon, the first settler there. We 
made that place the neral rendezvous of all the troops com- 
ing in. 

" The cavalry had a camp on the south side of the river, and 
the infantry were in an entrenched camp on the north side. The 
officers in command of the Illinois troops were Gen. Henry and 
"Gen. Posey,* and another General whose name at this moment 
has escaped me (Gen. Alexander), but Gen. Atkinson was in com- 
mand of the expedition. The force remained at Dixon's Ferry 
some two or three months, drilling and making small expeditions. 
We had a force of some fifteen hundred cavalry, the finest troops 
I ever saw.t While at Dixon's Ferry we were joined by a body 
of friendly Indians, headed by the chief Chebaunset.t (I may 
not spell the name correctly.) It was during this time that I went 
on an expeditioon to Ottawa with Gen. Atkinson. It was then a 
small trading post, with only a few houses. We found one com- 
pany of troops there whose term of service had expired. I mustered 
them out of the service, but most of them immediately re-en- 
listed, and I had the satisfaction of mustering them in again. 
Henry Dodge, afterwards so well known and so much distinguished 
as Colonel of a regiment of Eangers authorized to be raised by 
Congress, was with us, and also Boone and Ford, as Captains in 
the same regiment. Boone was a son of the celebrated Daniel 
Boone. I also mustered Abraham Lincoln twice into the service. 
He was a member of two of the Illinois independent companies 

* This refers to the second call for militia. 
t The second enlistment. J Wanponsee. 
IThere were thirty-seven companies of them. 


which were not brigaded. The first time I mustered him into the 
service was at the mouth of Fox river, May 29, 1832, in Capt. 
.Elijah lies' company. The Lieutenants in the company were J. 
M. Henderson and H. B. Eoberts. The value of his arms was 
fifty dollars, and his horse and equipments one hundred and 
twenty dollars. I mustered him out of the service at the rapids 
of the Illinois, June 16, 1832, and in four days afterwards, at the 
same place, I mustered him into the service again in Capt. Jacob 
Barley's company. The Lieutenants in this last company were 
G. W. Glasscock and B. D. Rusk. Of course, I had no recollec- 
tion of Mr. Lincoln, but when President he reminded me of the 
fact. I might mention that, previous to this time, Gov. Reynolds 
gave me a commission of Inspector-General in the Illinois volun- 
teer service, with the rank of Colonel. I now have in my posses- 
sion, at home, that commission as an officer in the service of that 
State, now become so great and powerful. I recollect the fight at 
Stillman's Run, some twenty miles above Dixon's Ferry, in which 
Col. Strode, of one of the Illinois regiments, figured quite con- 

"Among the officers who were with us at Dixon's Ferry, there 
were several who afterwards became distinguished. There was 
Captain (afterwards General) Reilley, distinguished in Mexico and 
California, and Lieutenant Albert Sidney Johnston, Aid and As- 
sistant Adjutant-General on Gen. Atkinson's staff, afterwards so 
well known ?is a General in the rebel service, and killed at Shiloh. 
He was a cool, clear-headed man an excellent officer. Indeed, I 
have always considered him the ablest officer the rebels ever had 
in their seivice. Capt. William S. Harney* (now Gen. Harney) of 
the First Infantry, was also with us a bold, dashing officer, and 
indefatigable in duty. So was also Capt. William Graham, of the 
regular army, afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel, and killed at the 
battle of Molino del Rey. 

"The names of the members of Gen. Atkinson's staff, as nearly 
as I can now recall them, were : Lieut, A. S. Johnston, A. D. C. r 
Assistant Adjutant-General ; Lieut. M. L. Clark (son of Gen. 
Clark, Governor of Missouri, who went with Lewis to explore 
the Rocky Mountains), A. D. C. ; Lieut. Robert Anderson, Ass't 
Inspector-General; Lieut. W. Wheel) ight, Ordnance Officer; 
Lieut. W. J. Eaton, Chief Commissary Department ; Col. Enoch 
March, Quartermaster-General. 

"The last-named gentleman was, I think, the Quartermaster 
of the State of Illinois, and an extraordinary man. Fertile in 

* Died in 1886. 


resources, prompt in deciding as well as acting. He was of 
inestimable service to us during the campaign. Gov. Eeynolds 
was accompanied, if my memory serves me, by the Adjutant- 
General of his State, Gen. Turney. In each brigade there was 
a Spy Battalion. Capt. Early was, in addition to those I named 
to you, captain of one of those companies. William S. Hamilton, 
the son of Alexander Hamilton, joined us at Dixon's Ferry with 
a small party of friendly Indians. He was of much use to us, 
from his knowledge of the Indian character and of the country. 
The first movement of our troops was up Rock river, with a view 
of finding the Indians and giving them battle. My duty was to 
be in advance and select camping grounds for the troops. I was 
a great deal with the Spy Battalion commanded by Maj. W. L. D. 
Ewing,* of Vandalia, a brave and efficient officer. Jacob Fry 
was Colonel of one of the regiments in Henry's Brigade, an 
excellent officer and an honest man. Sidney Breese, since so 
much distinguished in your State, was one of the Lieut. -Colonels. 
The country through which we passed, it was in July, was 
beautiful beyond description, surpassing anything I have ever 
seen in our own country, in Mexico or in Europe. 

"The Indians constantly retreated as we advanced. Finally, 
they struck west, to cross the Missippi river. We overtook them 
at Bad Ax, on the bank of the river, on the 2d of August, 1832, 
just as they were making arrangements to cross, and there was 
fought the Battle of Bad Ax, which ended in the complete route 
of the Indians. It was a fight in the ravines, on the bottom 
lands, and among logs, trees and underbrush. Black Hawk 
escaped, but was captured and taken to Fort Crawford, and 
surrendered to Col. Zachary Taylor, who was then in command 
of that Post. The battle of Bad Ax having eventually ended the 
war, the troops were moved back to Dixon's Ferry and Bock 
Island, at which places I mustered them out of service. Gen. 
Scott was sent out to supersede Gen. Atkinson, and take com- 
mand of the expedition, but he did not reach the theatre of oper- 
ations before the close of the war. He got as far as Galena, and 
from there he went down to Fort Armstrong and established his 
headquarters. From Dixon's Ferry I was sent by Gen. Atkinson 
with dispatches for Gen. Scott, at Rock Island, and to report to 
him for duty. He at once assigned me to duty, placing me in 
charge of the Indian prisoners. I have also among my papers in 

* For many years. Auditor of Public Accounts. 


New York, all the original muster rolls of the Illinois troops, and 
will take great pleasure in putting them at your disposal, to be 
placed, at your discretion, among the archives of the State or of 
some historical society in the State. This should be with the 
approbation of the War Department. Gen. Scott having received 
information from Col. Taylor of the capture of Black Hawk and 
a few chiefs, he detailed me, with a guard, to go to Fort Crawford 
for them, and bring them to Fort Armstrong. We took, for that 
purpose, the Steamboat "Warrior," Capt. Throckmorton. We 
left Rock Island early in the day, and before night there were 
indications of the cholera among the soldiers on board the boat. 
"There was no surgeon on board, and I did the best I could for 
them. When we arrived at the mouth of Fever river, I had the 
boat tied up, and took a skiff and went up to Galena, in search of 
a doctor. I there found Dr. Adison Philleo, who had been with 
us in the campaign, and he cheerfully returned with me to the 
steamboat, and took charge of my sick. We then continued our 
trip to Fort Crawford, where I delivered my orders to Col. Taylor. 
By that time I had the cholera myself, and was scarcely fit for 
duty. Col. Taylor thereupon assigned to me, for my assistance 
in returning the Indians to Fort Armstrong, his adjutant, Lieut. 
Jefferson Davis. We took with us Black Hawk, his two sons, the 
Prophet, and some other chiefs. On reaching Fort Armstrong, 
the cholera was raging so violently in camp that Gen. Scott 
ordered the steamer to go immediately to Jefferson Barracks. 
I there turned my prisoners over to Gen. Atkinson who had re- 
sumed command of the post. I then resumed my original posi- 
tion at the St. Louis Arsenal, the company command of which 
post devolved on me some months afterwards. Such, my dear 
sir, are the sum of my recollections of the Black Hawk War 
which created a great deal of excitement in the Northwest, and 
was a great evil in its day. It was my first service in the field, 
and I entered it with all the zeal of a young officer who loved his 
profession, and desired faithfully to serve his country. I have 
retained many pleasant memories of the officers and soldiers 
with whom I was associated. There were never finer troops than 
the Illinois volunteer soldiers that we had with us. They were 
brave, intelligent and sober men, and always yielded a ready 
obedience to the command of their officers. Many of them, both 
officers and privates, have since reached high positions in public 
life, and have reflected great credit, not only upon the State, but 
upon the nation. I have the honor to be 

Yery Truly, Your Obedient Servant, 



The memory of the hero of Fort Sumpter, of these transac- 
tions, which occurred thirty-eight years before the date of his 
letter, is wonderful. He gives names, dates, and circumstances, 
with almost absolute accuracy. President Lincoln, however, was 
a member of three companies, instead of but two. He raised 
a company, seventy-two strong, enrolled at Beardstown, April 21, 
1832, of which Samuel M. Thompson was First Lieutenant, 
and elected Colonel of the Third Kegiment jumping squarely 
over the future President. This company, with thirty-six others, 
composed Gen. Whiteside's brigade, of about 1,800 mounted 
volunteers, who were mustered into the United States by Gen. 
Atkinson, at the mouth of Rock river, May 10, 1852, and marched 
thence up Bock river to Dixon, and out to Stillman's Run to 
bury the dead, May 16 ; thence to Ottawa, to be mustered out of 
the service, May 27, when Mr. Lincoln immediately enrolled, as 
a private, in Capt. lies' Co., to assist in protecting the frontiers, 
until the new levies, which were called to meet at Hennepin, 
June 10th, could be put in the field. This enlistment was for 
twenty days, and expired June 16th, when he again enlisted as a 
private in Capt. Barley's company, for twenty-five days. He 
gives the names of the officers correctly. By his statement, it is 
apparent that he was at Ottawa in May, and again in June of 
that year. But either from a desire to say nothing of the demor- 
alized volunteers, whom he mustered out at Ottawa, in May, 
1832, or from a slip of memory, he fails to state, that beginning 
Friday, the 25th, and ending Monday, the 28th of May, Gen. 
Whiteside's entire command, of thirty-seven companies, aggre- 
gating about 1,800, Mounted Illinois Volunteers, were mustered 
out of the service by him, by order of Gen. Atkinson, or that im- 
mediately after the Indian creek massacre, these volunteers, or, 
as a matter of fact, only about half of them, commenced clamor- 
ing to be mustered out, and that finding this feeling extended to 
each and every company, Gen. Atkinson deemed it best to 
muster out the entire command. The full muster rolls of these 
volunteers will be found in the appendix. 

The Indian word Lenneway, or Illini, from which is derived the 
word Illinois, signifies, when translated into English, " We are 
men, not dogs or cowards." But the base cowardice manifested 
by about half of these 1,800 mounted volunteers gave the lie to 
the very name of our noble State, and cast upon the courage of 


her soldiers the foulest stain it ever received. If the ill-timed pru- 
dence and foolish stampede of Major Stillman, with his battalion 
of 275 mounted men before forty Indians, was censurable aud des- 
picable, the sudden desertion (for that is what it was) of the 1,800 
mounted volunteers without firing a gun or even seeing an enemy, 
at the time and under the circumstance they did leaving the Illi- 
nois river frontier exposed to the tomahawk and scalping-knife of 
the Indians, who were then on the rampage was simply pure, un- 
adulterated, aye, damnable, cowardice. Well do we remember the 
general feelings expressed at the time by the pioneer settlers, when 
such exclamations as, " Oh, the arrant cowards ; we hope their 
wives and children will meet and attack them with broomsticks 
and squirt-guns and drive them back ; they are too cowardly to 
live ; it is a pity the Indians had not taken their scalps," etc,, 
etc. To more fully understand the location of what was termed 
the frontier of that time, if the reader will refer to the map of 
Illinois, he will see that the Mississippi and Illinois rivers run 
nearly parallel for fully two hundred miles. The early settlers 
naturally followed these two rivers, and located either near them 
or on the small streams leading to the one or the other of these 
rivers. Timber being then erroneously considered indispensable 
to habitation, hence there were two frontiers in 1832, which may 
be termed that of the Illinois and that of the Mississippi rivers. 
The discovery of lead ore at and near Galena, on Fever river, a 
tributary of the Mississippi, at an early day, attracted emigration 
thither, so that Jo Daviess county had quite a population at that 
date. It had a white population of 820 white people in 1820, and 
1,584 in 1830. Whiteside, Lee, Ogle and Eock Island counties 
had not yet been created. There was considerable overland 
travel between Galena and Central arid Southern Illinois, the 
road crossing Eock river where Dixon now stands. Capt. Dixon 
located at an early day at that point, and established a ferry to 
accommodate travelers and make money. He cultivated the 
friendship of the Indians, who called him Nachusa, signifying 
the Indian's friend. Dixon stands about midway between the 
Illinois and Mississippi rivers. 

After Black Hawk had passed up through the Mississippi fron- 
tier without molesting the person or property of the white settlers, 
no fears were entertained by the pioneers of that line of his at- 
tacking them, and, as a rule, those who had left their cabin homes 
at the Indians' approach, had now returned to their homes. But 


with the Illinois frontier line, things were very different. The 
terrible Indian creek massacre, followed by the Payne, Hazelton, 
Schemmerhorn, Phillips and Beresford murders, had filled them 
with the wildest terror and alarm. It was at this juncture when 
this large force of Illinois volunteers were skipping away home* 
and leaving the women and children of this frontier to the mercy 
of the savage. Hence the indignation of these pioneers was 
wrought up to a terrible pitch over what they could only term 
arrant cowardice. The place selected to muster these volunteers 
out of service was on the east side of Fox river, about a half mile 
above its confluence with the Illinois. If our memory be correct, 
Gen. Whiteside's tent stood where the present fine residence of 
Mr. Gary now stands, while that of Maj. Henry stood a little west 
of the small ravine a little to the southwest of Mr. Gary's house. 
The mustering officer was the then Lieut. Anderson. During 
Sunday afternoon, as company after company were drawn up and 
mustered out, Gov. Eeynolds, who, \\ith all his faults, had many 
virtues, for he was truly a noble-hearted man, mounted an empty 
whisky barrel and appealed to these men by the love they bore 
their wives and children by their humanity, honor and patriot- 
ism in behalf of the women and children of the frontier to re- 
enlist for twenty days for their protection, until the new recruits 
under his second call (May 15) for 2,000 men, should relieve them. 
The command of Maj. James D. Henry was located around on 
the other side of the strip of timber, hence the Governor inad- 
vertently did not, in terms at least, appeal to them to re-enlist. 
Henry was very sensitive and easily excited, and ever seemed to be 
looking for a slight, yet he had more military ability than any 
other volunteer officer in the command. On this occasion he 
mounted the barrel as the Governor left it, and poured out a reg- 
ular tirade of abuse upon His Excellency, calling him an old, in- 
competent ninnycompoop, and other hard names. Gov. Reynolds 
apologized for the oversight, saying it was an oversight and inad- 
vertency, but the Major would not accept the amende, and declared 
that it was a cold and premeditated insult to him and his men. 
At that moment Gen. Whiteside came stepping up, dressed in 
home-made copperas and white, with a chip hat, plain sword and 
leather scabbard. Maj. Henry turned his face toward him, and 
said: "Pray, sir, what part or lot have you played in 'this con- 
temptible drama ?" Gen. Whiteside's little form straightened up. 
Every nerve seemed called into action, his face assumed a defiant 


look. Drawing his sword and bringing it up to a present with a 
peculiarly offensive and threatening motion, which seemed to 
say, "I will fight you to the death," said: "I am the Brigadier- 
General, second in command to His Excellency, the Governor, 
and your ranking officer, and will not suffer my motives or actions 
to be censured or questioned by my subalterns." Then tapping 
the hilfc of his sword with his left hand, he added: "-Bat, if you so 
desire, I will waive my rank, and meet you, now or hereafter, at 
such time and place and with such arms as may be agreed upon." 

So intense was the excitement created by this action that every 
one present held their breath, while cold chills run riot up their 
spinal columns. Maj. Henry in form, dress and bearing was a 
modern Hector, as compared with Gen. Whiteside. But to the 
great relief as well as surprise of all present the Major treated 
this bt)ld deft as a jest. Bursting into a kind of incredulous guf- 
faw, he sprang down from the barrel and returned to his tent, 
and was among the first to re-enlist as a private along with Capt. 
Abraham Lincoln in Capt. lies' company, while Gen. Whiteside 
was enrolled and served as a private in Capt. Snyder's company 
for twenty days, until the second army should be in the field. 

Eight gallantly was the Governor's appeal for re-enlistments 
for twenty days responded to, and a small regiment was formed, 
composed of five companies, commanded by Captains A. W. 
Snyder, Samuel Smith, W. C. Kails, Benj. James, and Elijah 
lies. Of this regiment Privates Jacob Fry was elected Colonel, 
James D. Henry Lieutenant -Colonel, and John Thomas Major. 
(See muster-rolls in Appendix.) This regiment, with the Fourth 
Brigade of Illinois Militia, commanded by Col. John Strawn*, 
consisting of the companies of Captains Robert Barnes, William 
Hawes, William M. Stewart and George B. Willis, all from what 
was then Putnam county, aggregating 195 men, rank and file 
(See Appendix, for muster-rolls), and a regiment from Vermilion 
county, under command of Col. Isaac R. Moore, with the late 
Col. G. S. Hubbard, Lieutenant Colonel, embracing the compa- 
nies of Captains Ashton, Bailey, Gillespie, Gregory, Hutt, Palmer, 
Payne and Thomas, aggregating 350 rank and file (see Appendix), 
together with the independent companies of Captains Matthews 
from Morgan, McFadden from LaSalle, Stennet of Schuyler, 
Covill of McLean, Wilbourn of LaSalle, Armstrong of Madison 
counties, did the guard work from May 28 to June 19, when the 
second army was organized and ready for the field. 

*See biography and engraving, post. 


But old Grannie Atkinson was trembling in every limb, for 
fear Black Hawk, with his reported thousands* of well-armed, 
and admirably-drilled, dusky warriors, would swoop down some 
day like a hawk upon a brood of chickens, and by mistake, take 
the old Booster, Atkinson, right out from among his 400 regu- 
lars entrenched behind the strong walls of his fort, at Dixon's 
Ferry, and required a strong force of Mounted Illinois Volunteers 
to keep scouting arouni always near his post, and never beyond 
signal distance, lest the In lians should steal a march on thorn, 
and scale his breast-works, to either kill or capture the Com- 
mander-in-Chief. Here he remained alternating, between shaking 
and sweating, full six weeks, during all of which time he knew no 
more about the strength, movements, or intentions of Black 
Hawk, than he did of the "Man in tbe Moon." After the ascent 
of Hock river, by Black Hawk and band, the Mississippi frontiers 
neither had, or required, any soldiers to guard, or protect them. 
So far as known to the outside world, Major Bliss felt compara- 
tively safe behind the walls of old Fort Armstrong, while Black 
Hawk, with his fiery band, were up Eock river a hundred miles 
or more, but he took no steps whatever to ascertain where these 
Indians had gone. With plenty of provisions, military stores, 
and heavy artillery, he spent his time pleasantly, but for the 
mosquitoes, which were plentiful that year. After the arrival of 
Gen. Atkinson, he abdicated all interest in these affairs, to him, 
as ranking officer. But Gen. Atkinson seemed to have been solicit- 
ous of the entire safety of his friend, Maj. Bliss, and Fort 
Armstrong, since he kept quite a little force of Illinois Volunteers 
scouting around Bock Island, to prevent the capture of the old 
worm-eaten fort, for such would seem to be the case, since there 
certainly can be no good reason assigned for the conduct of the 
General in command, in keeping volunteer-soldiers between these 
forts and the outside world, Indians not excepted. There was 
neither sense, or reason, for keeping volunteer soldiers near Fort 
Armstrong, or Fort Dixon, while the action of Gov. Reynolds in 
ordering Capt. Warnick, 'of Decatur, to raise a company "of 
Mounted Volunteer Bangers, for the protection of Macon county, 
Illinois," nearly 200 miles from the Indian locality, or Capt. Dor- 
sey's company, " to range on that portion of Tazewell county, 
and prevent the settlers from leaving their homes," as stated by 
himself, was not only a farce but a disgrace. 

* He probably had 350 men, all told. 


In the The Castigator, (published at Brown county,) Ohio, of 
Jane 19th, 1832, we find the following: 



"We understand from volunteers who lately belonged to the 
army, that the mounted troops and foot volunteers were marched 
to the mouth of Fox river, and discharged, on Sunday last. A 
call was then made upon the discharged troops, for volunteers, 
to remain and guard the frontiers until the new levies should ar- 
rive. The call was answered by between two and three hundred. 
The foot volunteers were to return by steamboat to Beardstown. 
The regular troops returned down Bock river, it was supposed, to 
Fort Armstrong. The army suffered much for the want of pro- 
visions. The Indians were pursued until it was deemed useless 
to follow them further. It was understood in the army that Gen. 
Atkinson had received orders from the War Department to call 
for a sufficient number of mounted volunteers from this and the 
neighboring States, to expel the Indians from our territory. Of 
the cause for discharging the volunteer force, we have one gen- 
eral statement that it was badly organized, and that under its 
late organization, no good could be expected from it. We hope 
that an investigation of this matter will take place. It is due to 
our citizens. Twenty-eight persons have lost their lives in con- 
sequence of the advance of our troops into the Indian country 
and we are yet to learn that a particle of benefit has resulted 
from the expedition. A new system of measures for the expulsion 
of Black Hawk's band; will unquestionably be adopted. A large 
military force will be called out, and the ranging system followed 
as the only one at present likely to result in success. The 
extensive woods and swamps of the country furnish great facili- 
ties to the Indians for keeping up a predatory warfare. A fort 
was building at the mouth of Fox river, and it was understood 
that another would be established at Dixon's Ferry, on Bock 
river. Of this latter, however, we have no certain intelligence." 

In the same issue is the following : 

"INDIANAPOLIS, 1st June, 1832. 

" On Monday morning last, an express arrived at this place 
from Brig.-Gen. Walker, of the 21st Brigade, and the field officers 
of the 62d regiment, of Indiana militia, accompanied with a letter, 


dated the 25th ult., addressed to the citizens of Lafayette, from 
W. W. Newell, asking aid against the hostile Indians, on the 
Northwestern frontier of Indiana. The emergency would not per- 
mit Gov. Noble to wait the tardy n>ode of drafting troops for the 
expedition, as required by our militia law, and he therefore sanc- 
tioned the application of Gen. Walker, and the officers of the 
62d regiment, to march two hundred men already raised by them 
in anticipation of orders from him, and ordered them by the re- 
turn express to march to the relief of the frontier." 

Thus it appears that the widespread fear and alarm prevailing 
in Illinois, reached our sister State, and called out soldiers to 
defend its northwestern frontier, but the same article admits that 
Gov. Noble had been informed that there was no immediate 
danger to their frontier, and countermanded his above stated 

The article then proceeds: "The white inhabitants in the 
neighborhood of Cnicago, except those who have fled to the -east 
of the Wabash river, have taken refuge in Fort Clarke at that 
point. The account of the battle on Hickory creek was incorrectly 
stated by Mr. Maxwell, and also in Gov. Reynolds' proclamation. 
There were eleven whites killed, including Maj. Still well and 

Capt. , and three wounded. Black Hawk, who is a War 

Chief of the Sacs, is said to be at the mouth of a creek, on Bock 
river, about sixty miles from Chicago, at the head of warriors 
variously estimated at from 1,000 to 5,000. It is said that Black 
Hawk intends to go to Canada with his forces, for what purpose 
is unknown. He is, however, evidently determined to wage war 
with the whites. The cause of discontent is not certainly known, 
though it is supposed they are unwilling to leave their former 
homes and lands. Gen. Atkinson, of the United States Army, 
with six companies of regulars, are supposed to be at Hennepin, 
at the foot of the rapids on the Illinois river, where a force of 
about 4,000 militia from Illinois are to join him on the 10th of 
this month." 

In view of the fact that at the very time Black Hawk had less 
than four hundred men capable of bearing arms ; that he was 
practically without arms, ammunition, clothing or food, and was 
incumbered in his movements by the women and children, old 
and infirm, of his entire band, with all their worldly goods ; that 
he was fleeing, like a frightened deer from a pack of hounds, 
seeking covert and refuge behind every shelter he could find ; 


that he would have gladly retraced his steps down Eock river, to 
the Mississippi, thence back to his Iowa home, if he could, but 
could not, because his only mode of transportation was his canoes, 
and the forces under Gen. Atkinson were entrenched at Dixon, to 
prevent his escape, the ignorance of this Hoosier editor, and 
the scare of the northwestern frontier of Indiana, are ludicrous 
in the extreme. 

In the same issue of The Castigator is the following roorback: 
"From The Louisville Advertiser, June 2, we were favored last 
evening with the following statement, in the shape of a hand-bill. 
It is without date, but we believe it was issued from one of the 
St. Louis Presses : 


Two Young Ladies taken by the Savages. 

'Authentic information has been received from the Illinois 
frontiers, informing of the murder of fifteen defenceless inhabi- 
tants of the frontier, most inhumanly butchered, and the women, 
in a most shocking manner, mangled and exposed. Two highly 
respectable young women of sixteen and eighteen years are in 
the hands of the Indians, and if not already murdered, are per- 
haps reserved for a more cruel and savage fate. Whole families 
are driven from their homes, actually starving, and without a 
day's provisions before them. The men of the country are 
under arms. No corn is planted, and, as if nature herself had 
leagued with these ruthless murderers against them, the last 
inclement season has destroyed all the farmer's sod corn. Shall 
we, fellow citizens, quietly look upon these transactions ? Can 
we look upon them without feelings of revenge without knowing 
that our assistance is necessary? How soon may it be before 
our own frontiers are, in the same way, invaded? Shall we 
allow these brutes to dull their tomahawks on the brows of our 
friends, in order that they may sharpen them for our relatives? 
Allow these murderers further success, and they will be joined by 
bands from every quarter, and their border warfare will be terri- 
ble. Rise, fellow citizens of this city and county ! Let us no 
longer delay ; talk no more, but act. Unloose the spirit of re- 
venge. Each one raise a horse, gun and a few days' rations, and 


put himself under the guidance of some reputable member of the 
community, one of experience and well acquainted with the 
Indian character and their mode of warfare, resolved to revenge, 
or die in defence of his relatives and friends. Let us convince 
our brethren of the neighbor State that we are willing and able 
to assist them; and in assisting them, to protect ourselves. Let 
us, as has already been suggested, meet at 5 o'clock this after- 
noon ; form ourselves, on the spot, into companies of fifty men 
each, and, as the St. Louis Corps, march to the seat of war.' " 
In the same issue of this paper is the following : 

TFrom the Indiana Statesman, June 8J 

"Mr. John H. Thompson, has just returned from Bloomington. 
He says it is reported at Bloomington, and generally believed ? 
that an engagement took place between the whites and Indians, 
on the 29th ult, in which the whites lost 110, and the Indians up- 
wards of 300. The fifty-two men who were said to have been 
killed in the first engagement, have since all returned, with the 
exception of between nine and eleven, who are still missing. The 
inhabitants of the frontier part of this State, and Illinois, are 
leaving their dwellings in great numbers, and much distress will 
be experienced by thousands, as the season of the year and the 
scarcity of grain render their situation desperate. An express 
arrived at Indianapolis on last Monday week, making a requisi- 
tion on the Governor of this State for assistance, representing 
that the Indians had several companies of well-mounted horse- 
men, equipped with holsters and pistols," etc. 

It would seem that Gov. Reynolds forgot to mention that Black 
Hawk was also armed with Col. Strode's ruined shirt and Chitty's 
Pleadings, confiscated at the same time he got possession of the 
holsters and pistols. The State of Illinois at that time contained 
a white population of about 160,000, and was abundantly able to 
crush out, a hundred times over, the force of Black Hawk. Of 
course there was no truth in the statement of a requisition being 
made by Gov. Reynolds, on Gov. Noble, of Indiana, for troops, or 
assistance. We give one more quotation from the same paper 
and issue. It will be remembered that Gov. Reynolds said he had 
appointed Col. Strode to organize the militia of Jo Daviess county, 
and had given him great power. This was immediately after 
Stillman's defeat. It appears that Col. Strode proceeded at once 


to Galena, and entered upon the duties of " Colonel of the 
County," as the Governor called him, and the following proclam- 
ation was issued by him: 


" To the Citizens of Galena, Illinois! 

"The force of uncontrollable circumstances, added to the appro- 
bation of the public will, openly expressed, has induced me to 
declare, for the time being, military rule. I am aware that it is 
an expedient seldom ventured upon, and the greatest danger 
from it is, its too long continuance. Therefore, we must improve 
the brief time given ourselves to accomplish a large undertaking. 
To-day every man who cannot produce a certificate of exemp- 
tion from the Surgeon of the 27th Eegiment of Illinois Militia is 
to labor from 9 o'clock A. M. to 6 o'clock P. M., on the stockade 
now erecting for the safety of our fellow citizens ; and those 
who disobey this necessary injunction shall be punished with 
the utmost severity. 

"And further, all and every person whatsoever, who shall sell 
or give to any person spirituous liquors until 7 o'clock p. 
M., shall be punised as a court martial shall determine. And all 
persons who shall fire guns without positive orders, unless while 
standing guard to give alarm, shall stand one hour on a pivot, 
supported by bayonets. And all persons who disobey the com- 
mands of those whose charge it is to erect block-houses, batteries 
and stockade work now in progress, shall be dealt with in the 
same manner. 

" Done at my headquarters in Galena, this 21st day of May, 
1832. J. M. STRODE, 

"Colonel Comd'g 27th III. Militia." 

And yet this illogical, bombastic ignoramus was at that time 
the leading criminal lawyer of Northern Illinois, and subsequenty 
represented his district : in the State Senate. A favorite expres- 
sion with him was in'response to the common salutation, "How 
are you, Colonel," "Oh, I thank you, I am very well, indeed, and 
my bowels yearn to praise God for his manifold blessings to 
me-ward ;" hence he was very generally known as "Old Praise God 
Bowels." A man of fine personal appearance, full of good humor 
and practical jokes, he was immensely popular with all classes of 
people, and went current at a far greater v;ilue than he was intrin- 
sically worth. In^his first race for legislative honors he was 


defeated, because, as he said, he was accused of stealing hogs, 
which he indignantly denied, but they proved him guilty by de- 
feating him. The next time he was accused of robbing a hen 
roost, to which charge he plead guilty, but the people thought he 
lied in his plea, and elected him by a handsome majority. In 
his proclamation he limits the drinking of whisky between the 
hours of 7 P. M., and 9 A. M. The general impression then was 
that the time for Indian attack was during the free whisky hours. 
They might drink during the night and to 9 A. M., but not be- 
tween 9 A. M., and 7 P. M. 

In the meantime how fared the Indians ? Black Hawk says : 
"At our feast with the Pottawattamies, I was convinced that we 
had been imposed upon by those who had brought in reports of 
large reinforcements to my band, and resolved never to strike a 
blow; and, in order to get permission from White Beaver to 
return and recross the Mississippi, I sent a flag of peace to the 
American War Chief, who was reported to be close by with his 
army, expecting that he would convene a council, and listen to 
what we had to say. But this chief, instead of pursuing this 
honorable and chivalric course, such as I have always practiced, 
shot down our flag-bearer, and thus forced us into" war, with less 
than five hundred warriors to contend against 3,000 or 4,000 
soldiers. The supplies that Neapope and the Prophet told us 
about, and the reinforcements we were to have, were never more 
heard of, and it is but justice to our British Father to say they 
were never promised, his chief having sent word, in lieu of the 
lies that were brought to me, for us to remain at peace, as we 
could accomplish nothing but our own ruin by going to war. 

"What was now to be done? It was worse than folly to turn 
back and meet the enemy, where the odds were so much against 
us, and thereby sacrifice ourselves, our wives, and children, to 
the fury of an enemy who had murdered some of our braves and 
unarmed warriors when they were on a mission of peace. Hav- 
ing returned to our encampment, and found that all our young 
men had come in, I sent out spies to watch the movements of 
the army, and commenced moving up the Kishwaukee with the bal- 
ance of my people. I did not know where to go to find a place of 
safety for my women and children, but expected to find a good 
harbor about the head of Eock river. I concluded to go there, 
and thought my best route would be to go round the head of the 
Kishwaukee so the Americans would have some difficulty if they 
attempted to follow us." 


Thus do we find Black Hawk fleeing north with his utmost 
speed, encumbered with the women and children, old and sick, 
to escape from Whiteside's brigade, while the latter's command 
are hurying south with might and main to get away from Black 
Hawk. From a military standpoint, the advantage being all on 
the side of the Indians, whose retreat was conducted in the 
highest military order. Spies being constantly thrown out to 
watch the movements of the whites, while the entire band, in a 
compact and orderly manner, advanced up Eock river, keeping 
up a regular picket line with sentinels ever posted, while on the 
other side there was a disorderly scramble to see which should 
be first discharged from the service. In the meantime, maraud- 
ing parties of the Pottawattamies settle a few personal grieYances 
against individual white persons, and charge their murders to 
the account of the retreating Sauks. 



The Second Army of Illinois Mounted Volunteers Organized at Fort Wilbourn into 
Three Brigades, with Spy Battalions, and Independent Companies, June 17th, 
1832, and Elect their own Officers, including Three Brigadier-Generals, Alexander 
Posey, Milton K. Alexander, and James D. Henry Battle of Burr Oak Grove 
The Schemmerhorn, Hazelton, Beresford, Phillips, Sample, and Payne Murders 
by the Pottawattamies, and the Cause thereof. 

The night hawk's notes the signals were 

Of danger close impending, 
That stealthy Sauks and Foxes were 

Around our cabins wending ; 
Quiek to his gun, the settler sprang, 

Determined on repelling 
The treacherous foe, and sneaking gang, 

Or perish while defending. 


The men who re-enlisted at Ottawa, in May, for twenty days, 
to guard the Illinois frontier line, were under the command of 
officers of their own selection, and in whom they had confidence 
besides, being the flower of Whiteside's army, and contained the 
leading men of the State. It was a splendid regiment, and 
thoroughly reliable. Confidence was re-established at once, and 
a comparative sense of safety took the place of fear and inse- 
curity. The several companies were distributed along what was 
deemed the most expossd frontier, and with the exception of tha