Young Folks Library of Choice Literature
MARA L. PRATT, M. D.C^
EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
NEW YORK CHICAGO SAN FRANCISCO
Ky EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY,
THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO
THE COMING OF THE FRENCH .
LA SALLE .....
Foi/r DEARBORN, 1803 .
STORY OF JOHN KLNZIE
FIRST INDIAN ATTACK .
FORT WAYNE AND FORT HARRISON
A THIRD CAMPAIGN ...
CHICAGO AGA N .
THE INDIAN TREATY .
BLACK HAWK WAR ..
THE WINNEBAGO SCARE
THE LAST OF THE POTTAWATOMIES
THE GREAT FIRE
THE WORLD'S FAIR YEAR
UNIVERSITY of ILLIKOIS
STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
THOUSANDS OF YEARS AUG.
By thy rivers gently
o'er thy prairies verdant growing,
Comes an echo on the breeze,
Hustling through the leafy trees,
And its mellow tones are these,
And its mellow tones are these,
A <-rand old state is Illinois! A wonderful city is
' They have grown up within one century,"
people proudly say.
Yes, the part we se<- to-day has ^rown up within
But there was glorious history here centuries and
centuries before white men had ever set foot on
& STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
How do we know? Oh, but there are signs of it
We are sure that our grand old Lake Michigan
was once very much higher than it is now.
We are sure that once Lakes Superior, Huron, and
Michigan all three poured their waters down
through our own Illinois River to the Mississippi,
then through the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
It does seem almost unbelievable. But wait!
Have you ever noticed those long, long bluffs on
either side of the Illinois River? They are a great
distance from the present banks of the river, to be
sure a whole mile apart we are told.
And, really, now that you come to look at them,
they do look for all the world as if they were water
worn, do they not? See the long horizontal lines,
the stained rock, the worn ridges.
Haven't you seen river banks, when the water was
low because of a long dry season, that looked like
And when you saw them, you said, " How low the
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. ' 9
water is! See the banks! See where the river has
been ! "
But I'm sure you have already guessed the secret.
Yes, those old bluffs a mile apart are the banks
of the Illinois River of long ago. Of course they
look as if they were water worn; for that is just
what happened to them.
And all this was thousands of years ago. This
was when the great phain of -lakes poured its waters
into the Illinois. No wonder its banks were a mile
apart. Surely a river would need to be a mile wide
to take care of such a flood of water as that must
But why has the river grown so narrow? For the
very same reason that the little streams you have
noticed sink sometimes to w low- water mark," leav-
ing their banks deserted. For we may be sure all
rivers obey the same laws. It is simply that for
some reason the water supply has been cut oif or
The Niagara River, always rapid because of the
10 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
slope of the land in that region, must, from its v.ry
beginning, have been a noisy, rushing stream; while
the great western river must at the same time have
rolled on its way, always slow and dignified. As
a natural consequence of these conditions, while the
slow western stream would tend rather to build up
land, the tearing, rushing Niagara would be steadily
and surely wearing it down.
Why, even within the memory of man the Niagara
Falls have worn back in their solid rock several
inches! And wise men say that some time, if nothing
happens to change the action of Niagara, Lake Erie
itself will tumble over the falls, leaving the lake-
ports of Cleveland and Sandusky high and dry.
Then you can see, I am sure, how it was that the
Niagara, always digging deeper and deeper, wearing-
its way backward, and driving the soil before it,
made the descent more and more marked, and so
filially began to draw^ off the water from Lakes
Superior, Michigan, and Huron, and to turn their
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. H
Then Lake Michigan receded, and we had what?
Just this: miles and. miles of the rich lake bed soil
that makes onr state of Illinois the grand agricul-
tural section that it is, and the Illinois River
still holding its course steadily seaward, gathering
up the waters of the many smaller rivers, and so
serving the state grandly for drainage and irrigation.
Ft was long after these marvellous changes of
land and river making had taken place that man
came to make his home on these rich prairies.
Xo one knows who the first people were, whence
they came, or whither they went. But here and
there, up and down the country and along the lakes,
are signs that in very early times people were here,
and that they were people of semi-civilization at
On Lake Superior are mines which they left -
copper mines in which we know they must have
worked for years and years. Remains of machinery
have been found there; but what the people did
with the copper, why they mined it. or why they left
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 13
the mines at last their wealth by no means ex-
hausted that, no one knows.
After these mysterious people, came that savage
race which we call the American Indian.
All over the continent, within latitude of possible
dwelling;, these red men spread themselves; and in
our own state, chief among others, were the Illinois,
the Pottawottamies, the Ottawas, the Chippewas,
and the Ivickapoos. .That these tribes found even
in their day a commercial centre at Chicago we
know; for from no spot were there so many well-
worn trails extending in all directions, as from this
Chicago portage, even in the earliest times.
The savages came overland, and down the river
also, to Chicago portage; for from there, then as
now, the route out into the lake and thence on from
lake to lake, was clear and direct. It was their
route by which to carry to each other either war or
trade. It was the great route which served their
national interests, such as they were, even as to-day
it is ours.
But while all this was happening on the western
prairie, while the savages were roaming up and
down the Illinois, wonderful things were taking
place on the eastern continent.
It is hard, to realize, in these days of locomotives
and telegraphs, that there ever was a time when the
two continents did not know of each other's
But we all know now there was such a time; and
that it was in 14:92 that the first discovery was made.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 15
How the news spread up and down all Europe I
A new land found! Out across the waters of the
sea! Due west it lay! And with people of a kind
never before seen by European eyes !
It was not very long before England, Holland,
France, Spain, Portugal each bent upon posses-
sion, began to .send out their explorers to learn
more about this new country.
It was De Soto, we know, who first touched upon
the Florida shore ; Cortez who inarched into Mexico ;
Raleigh who reached the Virginia shore; Hudson
who pushed up the great river of New York.
But none of these explorers pushed on towards
the Northwest. None of them ever dreamed of our
marvelous country inland.
For the French this honor and glory was reserved.
In 1534, Jacques Cartier, finding the outlet of the
noble St. Lawrence, sailed up to Quebec, then
hurried home to tell of the wonderful - f wedge-
shaped " river he had found a river ninety miles
wide at its outlet, and more miles long than even
16 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
an imaginative Frenchman could picture to his
With delight the French people received news of
their success in the new world; and as soon as their
own national troubles could be adjusted, Champlain
.was sent out to see what use could be made of the
river, and what manner of country and people were
to be found along its shores.
Settlements were made at Montreal and Quebec;
trading stations were pushed into the interior; and
the French and Northwest Indians became friendly
through their mutual trade interests. But the
French were not content with mere discovery and
trade. They were a zealous, religious people; and
when French monks came to know that here in the
new w r orld, there were thousands and thousands of
untrained, untaught savages, their zealous hearts
burned with the desire to go among them, to set up
the Cross, and teach them the religion of the civilized
And so, as we shall see, it was through these
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 17
people first of all that it came about that Illinois was
explored, the Illinois chief, Chicago, counseled with
by white men, and the Chicago portage discovered
and located by white men.
THE COMING OF THE FRENCH.
From the first coming of the French into the St.
Lawrence, their ambitions were turned towards the
Northwest, from which quarter most enticing stories
of fur trade possibilities were poured into their ears
by the Indians. But it was only eighteen days after
the discovery of the lake by Champlain that the
first battle for conquest took place.
Champlain himself, in his own quaint way, wrote
the story of that first battle :
" As we began to approach," he says, ' ? the abode
of the Iroquois, we advanced only at night, resting
during the day. . . . .
f When it was evening we embarked in our canoes
to continue our course, and as we advanced very
quietly, we met the foe on the 29th of July at about
ten o'clock in the evening, at the extremity of a cape
that extends into the lake.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 19
f The Iroquois had come to fight. We both began
to utter bitter cries, all getting in readiness for
battle. We withdrew out into the water; the
Iroquois went on shore. They drew their canoes
up close together, and began to fell trees with poor
axes. Thus they barricaded themselves very well.
" Our forces also passed the entire night, their
canoes being drawn up close to each other and
fastened to poles that they might not get separated,
and might be in readiness to fight. We were upon
the water within narrow range of the barricades.
f When the Iroquois were armed and in array,
they dispatched two canoes by themselves to the
enemy to inquire if they wished to fight, to which
the latter replied that they wished for nothing else ;
but that at the present there was not much light and
that it would be necessary to wait for daylight.
As soon as the sun rose they would offer battle.
r To this we agreed. Meantime the entire night
was spent in dancing on both sides, with endless
insults and other talk as to how little courage we
20 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
had, how feeble a resistance we could make against
their arms, and that when day came we should
realize our ruin.
" Ours also were not slow to retort, telling them
that they would see such an execution of arms as
never before, together with an abundance of such as
is not unusual in the siege of a town.
"After this singing, dancing, and bandying of
words on both sides to the fill, when day came, my
companions and myself continued under cover for
fear the enemy would see us.
? We arranged our arms in the best way possible,
being, however, separated each in one of the canoes
of the savage Montagnais.
f? After arming ourselves in light armor, we each
took an arquebuse and went on shore. I saw the
enemy go out of their barricade, two hundred in
number, stout and rugged of appearance. They
came at a slow pace towards us, three chiefs at
their head. Our men also advanced in the same
order, telling me that those with three large plumes
STOJUES OF ILLINOIS. 21
were the chiefs, that they had only these three, and
that they could be distinguished by the plumes,
which were much larger than those of their compan-
ions, and that I should do what I could to kill them.
"I promised to do all in my power, and said I was
very sorry that they could not understand me, so
that I might give order and shape to their mode of
attacking their enemies, as then we should without
doubt defeat them all. But since this could not be
obviated, I should be very glad to show my courage
when we should engage in fight.
' r As soon as we had landed they began to run for
some two hundred paces towards their enemies, who
stood firmly, not having as yet noticed my com-
panions who had gone into the woods with some
"Our men began to call me with loud cries; and
in order to give me passage way they opened in two
parts and put me at their head, where T marched
some twenty paces in advance of the rest. When I
was within thirty paces of the enemy they at once
THE ENTIRE XIGHT WAS SPENT IN PANOINT
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 23
noticed me and, halting, gazed at me as I did also at
"When I saw them make a move to fire at us, I
rested my musket against my cheek, and aimed
directly at one of the chiefs. With the same shot
two fell to the ground ; one so wounded that he died
"I had loaded my musket with four balls. When
our side saw the shot so favorable to themselves,
they raised so loud cries that one could not have
heard it thunder.
fr Meantime the arrows Hew on both sides. The
Iroquois were greatly astonished that two men had
been killed so quickly, although they were equipped
for battle with armor made from cotton cloth with
wood which was proof against arrows. This caused
great alarm among them.
"As I was' loading again, one of my companions
tired a shot from the woods that so astonished them
anew that, seeing their chief dead, they lost courage
and took to flight, abandoning their camp and
24 STORIES OF ILLINOIS
fort, and fleeing into the woods, whither I pursued,
them, killing still more of them and taking ten or
twelve prisoners. The remainder escaped with the
"After gaining this battle our men amused them-
selves with taking a quantity of corn and meal from
our enemies, also their arrows, which they had left
behind that they might run better. After feasting,
dancing, and singing, we returned three hours after
with our prisoners."
Such reports as this, together with most vivid
drawings, at which Champlain was a genius, fired
the ambition of the French people to push on into
the new country, which was inhabited by such
strange simple people as these Indians seemed to be.
? These people are heathens," said the zealous
monks ; " we must go to them and teach them the
:? There are vast fields for fur trading farther
west," said the more secular minded; "these people
are hunters and can help us to gather skins,"
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 25
And so both priests and traders pushed on from
the Great Lakes into the territory of the Northwest.
It was not very long before the Falls of St. Mary
had been reached and a brisk trade with the red
men established at the outlet of Lake Superior.
These traders were kind and fair in their dealings
with the Indian, and it was fortunate they were;
otherwise, when eighteen years later good Fathers
Marquette, Hennipin, and Joliet pushed their canoes
down the lake again, their welcome might not have
been so cordial.
But as it w r as, the red men, remembering the first
visit of the French, received Marquette and Joliet,
his companion, gladly. They made huts for them;
they brought them food and bear skins, and made
them warm and comfortable the whole long winter.
' It was in 1661 that Marquette had left his home
in France to come to this new country ; for news of
the new discoveries and the strange heathen people
had reached him even in his quiet monastery. "I
must go to these people," he said at once; and from
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 27
that time forth no other desire had Marquette in his
heart than to reach these red men.
The red men from the beginning felt Marquette's
love for them; for from the very day of his coming
among them they lived together in peace, and it was
not very long before they loved and trusted him, and
were eager to learn all that he was so eager to teach
For three happy years Marquette dwelt among
the red men; and during that time he heard much
of a great river the Father of Waters, the Indians
called it somewhat farther west. f There are wild
men living along the banks of the river," the Indians
said; "they fight every tribe that approaches
them; and they scalp and burn their captives."
But Marquette longed to reach these wild men
and to teach them better ways of living. The more
he heard of them the more he was convinced that he
ought to go to them and carry the gospel of loving
brotherhood. So after a long time Marquette, with
Joliet and a few companions, set out from their safe
28 STORIES OF IT/MKOTS.
home at Green Bay Mission, and journeyed down
rivers and across country to the Mississippi. It
was a wonderful journey, and strange and wild
indeed were the people they found up and down the
hanks of the Mississippi. So wild and warlike were
they, indeed, that Marquette, even when near the
mouth of the Mississippi, turned back rather than
have the records of the journey lost. And it was on
his return that he heard of the Illinois River. r? It
is a large river; and it will make your journey
shorter," the friendly natives of the upper Mississippi
told the explorers ; .and glad of any route that woutd
shorten the journey, they paddled up the Illinois,
and so discovered it for the French.
? Truly," Joliet wrote, " we have seen nothing
like the fertility of this river valley. As far as
we can see, lie green fields, level, and rich in soil.
The forests are dense; wild birds and cattle roam
up and down the prairies; and wild deer and water
birds rest upon the river banks."
At Green Bay, Marquette, ill from long exposure
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 29
to all kinds of weather, sank exhausted. He could
go no farther; but he begged Joliet to push forward
to Quebec and tell them there what a wonderful
country they had found. Joliet did push on,
though the way was full of danger. At one time
his canoe was overturned in the treacherous rapids
of the St. Lawrence and many valuable records of
the journey were lost; but Quebec was reached at
last, and the wonderful story told.
Then there was great rejoicing among the French
people. The Cathedral was thrown open, and
services of praise and thanksgiving were held.
Bells were rung, flags were floated, and peals of
cannon rolled out across the great St. Lawrence.
It was nearly a year before Marqnette grew strong
and well enough to come out from his cabin again;
but as soon as he could even walk about the little
village he said to his people, w There are red men on
the Illinois that need me and I told them I would
come back to them. I would not like to deceive
this simple people; so let us go back to them at
30 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
once." " But, good Father, you are not yet able,"
his friends pleaded. ff lf I am to he well again, I
shall grow well there, if I am not to be well again,
then let me hasten that I may reach there before I
die. These Illinois red men must not think we
would deceive them/' And so the zealous monk
set forth again. Two companions he took with him;
and together they dragged their canoe across the
country. Il was November when at last they
reached the lake, and the winds were blowing across
it cold and biting, then as now.
Already there was ice upon the lake and the
foaming waters were lashing themselves against the
shores. Still the little canoe pushed on till the
Chicago River was reached. Here Marquette again
sank exhausted; and the little party was unable to
move farther. The red men, seeing the white men,
went down to the river; and with the help of
Marquette's companions, they made for the sick man
a rough little cabin and laid him upon a bed of moss
and dried leaves. All winter long Marquette lay
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. ;!)
there, sick and suffering. f? Let them come in," he
would say to his companions, when the red men
would come to the cabin to bring his food. And so
when he could, he talked with the red men and told
them why he had come. He taught them his own
religion and pleaded with them to be kind and
loving Avith each other; to cease, from bloodshed,
and to live together in peace and brotherly love.
How these simple red men loved the good
Marquette! How they watched over him and cared
for him! 'They brought me back to life," Mar-
quette used to say. And, indeed, it would seem as
if they did; for in the spring time the dying man
rallied, and again the little party pushed on towards
those Indian camps which Marquette had visited as
he came up the Illinois.
At the Kankekee dwelt a tribe of Indians, three
thousand strong; and it was to this camp that
Marquette and his companions came. The red men
had not forgotten him; but like trustful children hac(
watched and waited all winter long. And when
.32 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
now he had come, they fell at his feet, so great was
their joy to see him. They brought him food and
prepared a cabin for him. They seated themselves
in a great circle around him and listened to his
words of love and wisdom.
For a few months Marquette lived here with the
red men, teaching them. But as the summer died
away, again his strength failed. Even the red men
could see the pale-face had not long to live; and so
when he asked them to take him back to Green Bay
to die, they w^ent to work to make his canoe ready,
They lined it with soft skins and spread a canopy
over it; then, silent and sad, the chiefs went with
him down the river, back to the lake, and on
towards Green Bay. It was a very slow journey;
for often Marquette was forced to rest for days upon
Then the faithful red men would build great fires
for warmth, and wrapping the sick man in skins and
blankets, would lay him upon a bed of leaves and
moss before the fires, that he might grow warm and
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 35
gather strength. So they carried him on until
Green Bay at last was reached. Then the faithful
Indians left him with his companions; and, still
silent and sad, turned back to their homes.
There was but a short distance farther to go; but
Marquette's life was fading fast. >f I am afraid we
shall not reach the Mission," he said; ff I wish it
might have been." One evening, just as the sun
was sinking below the water's edge, Marquette's
companions lifted him once more, and for the last-
time, from the canoe. For that night Marquette
died; and they buried him upon the sunny hillside,
wrapped close in his priestly robes, as he had asked
them to bury him; and over his grave they read the
burial service and tolled the Mission bell Marquette
carried always with him.
fr He is dead," the companions said, when they
reached the Mission ; rf and we buried him upon the
"Let us go and bring him home," the red men
said simply. And at once thirty canoes were made
34 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
ready to go back down the lake to the burial
place. And so the body of Marquette was brought
to the Green Bay Mission and was buried again,
this time beneath the little chapel which he himself
At the time the news of Marquette's great
discovery was brought to Quebec, there was in
Canada an enthusiastic, energetic young man named
La Salle, who had come over from France fired with
ambition to explore this new country across the
tf Let us establish trading posts up and down this
great river," La Salle said at once, when he heard
the story Joliet had to fell.
"It might be well," said the cautious Governor-
General. " Will you go back to France, report to
the King, and ask for assistance to carry out these
36 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
' P I will," was La Salle's hearty answer; and away
he went to France to tell his story.
And he must have told it well ; for the King not
only gave him the assistance he asked, but gave him
permission to rebuild Fort Frontenac, and also hon-
ored him with the title, Chevalier.
And so Chevalier Robert La Salle came back to
Canada. He rebuilt the fort, held it for two years,
then went again to France. On this second visit,
he was received with honor; more titles were
showered upon him, and more extended privileges
in the new country were given him.
Again he came to Canada, bringing with him his
faithful Tonti, and at once set to work building a
fort above the falls of Niagara, which falls he him-
self had discovered not very long before. Not one
hour did the energetic La Salle waste; for before he
had been a week at work on the foil, he had begun
the building of a vessel that should carry him west-
ward, up the lakes toward the region of the Illinois.
Now the coat of arms of the La Salle family in
STOKIES OF ILLINOIS. ;}7
Prance was a griffin; and for this reason La Salle
named his new boat The Griffin. In due time it
was sailing westward, bearing upon its deck the
daring Chevalier, his faithful Tonti and many other
Very slowly and carefully they made their way
along the lakes; for no one knew their depths and
shallows, since never before had their waters been
stirred by other vessels than the tiny canoes of the
red men. By and by these brave navigators came
upon an island. Red men lived there; and when
they saw the white men coming, they ran down to
the shore to welcome them. " Marquette! Mar-
quette ! " they shouted ; and from this La Salle knew
that Marquette must some time have visited the
" See to it," La Salle said to his companions, " that
we do not disappoint these simple people. Do them
no harm. Be kind to them even as Marquette has
been." So the boat drew near and anchored; small
boats were lowered, and the Frenchmen went ashore.
STATUE OF LA S.VLLE, ERECTED IX LINCOLN PARK, CHICAGO.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 39
The natives received them warmly, bringing food
and furs for them. The Frenchmen, too, were
cordial and generous. They heaped presents upon
the red men knives and beads and colored cloths,
such as the red men loved.
Then trade was opened with these red men, and
the boat was loaded with furs and sent back to the
fort, while La Salle and a few companions went on
in canoes farther up the lakes.
"Unload the cargo and come back to overtake
us," had been La Salle's command when the boat
left the island and turned back.
But now whole weeks had gone by. Xo boat had
returned. Winter was coming on, and already La
Salle and his men had tasted the bitterness of the
winter winds upon the lakes. Once, driven upon
the shore by the storms, the men had lived four
days without food; and already many of them were
rebellious. How they watched the east for the coin-
ing of The Griffin these suifering, starving heroes!
But alas! The Griffin did not come. Xor did it
40 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
ever come; and to this day no trace of it has ever-
been found. It never reached the fort and no man
ever knew its fate.
? We must stay here," said La Salle, "until spring
opens;" and so the men set to work to build a fort,
and the little band crept within its shelter now
their only hope. But La Salle himself was not con-
tent to waste even the winter time; so with a few
faithful ones he pushed on in his canoe to Lake
Peoria. w Here," La Salle said, " we saw an excel-
lent site for a trading post ; and though we had little
heart to begin, we set to work to build another fort
for shelter; and we named-it Fort Crevecceur, which
means broken-hearted, for indeed we were broken-
hearted, one and all."
But no sooner had this fort been completed and
the men safely garrisoned, than La Salle, with only
five men, turned back, meaning to make his way
to Fort Frontenac for food and supplies.
"I shall build another vessel," this unflinching
hero said to his men, "and come back to you.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 41
While I am gone, go on westward. Search for the
great river. Should you find it, we will build a
great vessel and follow it to its outlet. Who knows
but it may prove to be the Northwest Passage! "
And so La Salle left his men and turned back.
Xow, among La Salle's companions was good Father
Hennepin, one of those who had accompanied Mar-
quette on his voyage up and down the Mississippi;
and it was to Father Hennepiivs care and wisdom
that La Salle entrusted the expedition in search of
the Northwest Passage.
'' I shall know that all that can be done will be
done," were La Salle's parting words; "and when
by and by I shall return with more men and
supplies, let me be greeted with news of a great
discovery. Such news would indeed pay me a
thousand times over for all the suffering and disap-
pointments of the past."
So La Salle set out; and hardly was he out of
sight before the faithful Father Hennepin began
his preparations for pushing westward. Only two
42 STORIES OF I
companions did he take with him; but their canoe
was well stored, their hearts were brave, and the sun
shone down brightly upon them the morning they
set sail, as if to give them God-speed.
They had sailed but a little way when they met
canoes filled with Illinois Indians. The white men
were received by these most cordially, and for a few
miles the canoes glided on, side by side.
" Oh, good Father," begged the friendly chiefs, do
not go on into these unknown waters. Dread
dangers await you dangers such as white men
know not of. There are terrible birds, with poison-
ous claws, which watch to swoop down upon the
canoes of the children of the Great Spirit. There
are rabbits with talons like eagles; and there are
winged buffaloes waiting to fly with their prey
across the plains; and in the water, too, there are
terrible creatures with sharp teeth and tusks that
will shatter the sides of the canoes. Whirlpools,
too, there are, and rapids, and on the banks live
tribes who kill and eat each other. Pray do not go!
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 43
Stay here and dwell in our wigwams and eat of our
But Father Hennepin had heard all this before;
he had heard it when, with Marquette, he had set
forth down the Mississippi; and although his heart
beat warmly towards the friendly Illinois, he knew
full \vell how mistaken they were. Other dangers
awaited him that he knew but not these. And
so, bidding his dusky advisers good-bye, he pushed
on with his men, in search of the Northwest
In due time they reached the Mississippi and
just in time to witness the breaking up of the vast
sheets of ice on the river. Down they came huge
blocks crushing and grinding, heaping themselves
upon each other, sliding and falling. It was a
wonderful sight. f We stood," Father Hennepin
wrote, pf awestruck before the mighty mass. Xor
could I have believed such sheets of ice could have
formed except in the frozen waters of a northern
44 STORIES ()F ILLINOIS.
Around the tree-covered islands at the mouth of
the Illinois River, were drifted masses of wood and
moss and trunks of trees heaps on heaps
brought down by the mighty current.
Here the brave little band waited until the river
was clear; then they set out up the Mississippi.
For several days the little boats passed on
unmolested. But one day there came gliding
around a sudden bend in the river a tribe of Indiars
in war paint and feathers. Thirty canoes full there
were; and at sight of the three lone Frenchmen,
they bore down upon them, yelling and howling and
waving their tomahawks.
Escape was impossible. Resistance was worse
than useless. Father Hennepin rose in his canoe
and extended the calumet. That was the only
hope; but the calumet was tossed aside, the canoe
dragged ashore, its contents overhauled by the red
men, the gifts of beads and bright colored cloth
confiscated, and Father Hennepin and his compan-
ions were led away into captivity.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 45
For several days the chiefs of the tribes coun-
selled whether to tomahawk, burn, or shoot their
captives; and the three white men knew full well
their peril. Still they flinched not. Indeed, Father
Hennepin, to convince his captors of his bravery,
himself placed a tomahawk in the hands of the
chief, and bowed his head before it.
Most pleasing was this to the Chiefs crude idea
of bravery; then, too, if a captive was so willing to
die, there was far less pleasure and excitement in
killing him; at least so the red men may have
reasoned; for in a few days the Chief smoked the
pipe of peace with his captives, and then, together,
the white men and the red men started up the river.
To the white men it was a wonderful journey.
Some days the warriors were kind to their captives,
some days cruel. Some days they would feed them
and pet them like favored children; some days they
would starve and neglect them.
After a journey of many days, the whole tribe
landed at a dreary little village encampment, where
46 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
they left their canoes and proceeded on foot still
The three Frenchmen had already been appor-
tioned, one to each of the three chiefs; and now,
loaded down with baggage, they were driven on
like cattle before the tribe. Over hill and through
forest, across rivers and into swamps, the tribe
pressed on through the heavy snows, into the teeth
of the biting wind.
r Often," so Father Hennepin wrote, '' 1 was so
benumbed with cold that I could not push my way;
and so exhausted that I could not stand. At one
time I fell beside the river bank, hoping to die there
rather than to struggle on. But even this was not
allowed me. One Indian came towards me, frowned
down upon me, then quietly and without a word,
set the grass on all sides of me on fire. f Now,'
said the savage, ' follow us or burn/
' f It seemed an endless journey ; but at last we
reached the home of our captors. It was not a
successful returning of these warriors, for they
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 47
brought no scalps, no prisoners only three help-
less canoe-men who had never harmed them, never
resisted them, and who had come into their country
loaded with presents, and intending nothing but to
explore the rivers and peacefully return to their own
f The Indians seemed to feel that tl ey had little
to boast of; and therefore determined to make as
grand a parade of us as could be made. They
dressed us in feathers and war paints, placed gourds
in our hands, and bade us dance and sing.
ff And as we neared the village, though they
could not make their ? scalp-haloo ', nor give the
yell that would indicate to the women in the village
that stakes should be built and fires made ready,
they yelled and shouted, making the forests and the
hills to echo and re-echo with their brutal whoops.
f And now, alas ! came a sorrow, harder for us to
bear than either cold or starvation. On reaching
the village, our band of warriors broke up, and the
chiefs with their followers went away, each to his
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 49
own village; then it was we learned that henceforth
we were to be separated, each one of us to be
carried away to the village of the chief to whom we
had been given.
'There was no escape; hardly were we permitted
to say farewell to each other; but were hurried off
across marshes, over hills, and through forests, to
our various villages, each several miles from the
" So, for man}' long months I dwelt here in this
little village, often wondering if ever a way should
be made for me to escape; or, if it was indeed to be
my lot to live out my days among these people. '
rf One day a messenger came from the other vil-
lages. We were bidden to embark and sail farther
south in search of newer hunting grounds. Gladly
did I prepare for this departure, hoping that at last
we should be allowed to return to our own people.
" Our journey down the river was indeed hard to
bear. I, with one of my former companions, was
often in our canoe alone; yet we were forced on to
50 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
keep pace with the rapidly moving canoes of the
Indians, with their ten and twelve paddles for each
>f I hardly know how it came about; but my chief
had grown to believe whatever I promised him.
Therefore one day I said to him, f Good friend, yon
have been very kind to me. I have been happy and
contented among you for all these months. Now I
wish to go back to my country with these five
Frenchmen. I will come back again. And I will
come with rich presents for your tribe.'
"I dared hardly hope for the ready permission
the chief gave to my request. It was, I fear, the
hope of presents rather than any better motive that
induced him to allow me to depart. But, be that as
it might, I was once more a free man; and most joy-
ously did I start forth with my companions down
the Mississippi to the Wisconsin, thence across the
country, down the lakes to Montreal.
' ? The governor, who had believed me long since
dead, stood thunderstruck. He took me with him to
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 51
his own home; and their I gave him a full account
of my adventures, and proved to him the advantages
of our discoveries."
But all this time, what was happening at Fort
Crevecoeur? La Salle had left there, with the
other men, his own faithful Tonti, and also two
missionaries who should work among the Indians
For some time all went well. The Indians
seemed friendly, there was food in plenty, and the
men were well sheltered. But one day an Indian
lad came running into the village round about the
fort, yelling and jumping high in the air. ' The
Frenchmen are upon us! The Iroquois! La
And, impulsive, excitable creatures as they were,
they were in a moment up and in arms. They
yelled and howled and flourished their tomahawks.
" r On to the fort! " they cried.
The white men heard the uproar, and all too soon
learned the occasion. Without a word, Tonti
52 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
rushed out from the fort into the midst of the
' The enemy! The enemy! " he shouted, " Where
are they? tell us! we will join you! "
The Indians were struck dumb. ' You join us?
Why, but you are the enemy! " they, cried. ''You
-led by La Salie! "
? We ! La Salle ! " Tonti cried, pretending amaze-
ment, too ; " La Salle is hundreds of miles away ! "
But meantime the real enemy was close at hand.
The hostile tribe was encamped only a short distance
from the fort. w I will go to them," Tonti said.
It was a perilous thing to do; for the young
warriors of the tribe were blood-thirsty, and were
bent on massacre. No peace was possible; and
Tonti and his men were soon glad to escape up the
river, leaving the fort to the mercy of the savage
foe. It was a terrible journey that followed. The
wind was biting cold, the way unknown; and to
complete the danger and discomfort, the little canoe
failed them in their hour of need, so that they were
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 53
forced to leave it and make their way as best they
could along the bank, carrying the little boat with
them till they should reach a place where they
dared stop to repair it.
For fourteen long days the little band pushed on
through the wilderness, often losing their way and
retracing it for miles, hungry, discouraged, and
At last the little mission at Green Bay was
reached, and the worn-out men sank down, glad
indeed once more to feel the warmth of fire and
taste the savor of food. For weeks they rested
here, gathering up their strength and courage, that
they might be ready again to set out when La Salle
should bid them.
With the first signs of spring they pushed on
towards Fort Mackinaw. La Salle was there; but he
had already made his way to Fort Crevecoeur, and
was now returning, sad at heart; for he knew not
what had become of the brave men he had left there.
Tonti told his sad story of their winter to La
54 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Salle; and La Salle told the story of his own weary
journeying back and forth from Frontenac. Still
neither La Salle nor his men seemed to have lost
heart ; and when La Salle stretching his right hand
westward cried, "On! on to the Mississippi! " every
man answered heartily and with a great shout of
joy. "On! on to the Mississippi!"
That La Salle and his men did push on down the
Father of Waters, we all know. And a grand suc-
cess the voyage proved to be ; for La Salle planted
the French banner, and buried a leaden plate, upon
which were engraved these words :
rf Louis the Great Reigns. Robert, Cavalier,
with Lord Tonti, Ambassador, Lenobia Membrc,
Ecclesiastic, and twenty Frenchmen first navigated
this river from the country of the Illinois and passed
through this mouth on the 9th of April, 1682."
From this time on, the great tract of land up and
down the Mississippi was the noble property of the
French. As Parkman has so strongly put it: "On
that day the realm of France received a splendid
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 55
acquisition. The fertile plains of Texas; the vast
basin of the Mississippi from its frozen northern
springs to the sultry borders of the gulf from the
woody ridges of the Alleghanies to the bare peaks
of the Rocky Mountains a region of savannahs
and forests, sun cracked deserts and grassy prairies,
watered by a thousand rivers, ranged by a thousand
warlike tribes, passed beneath the sceptre of the
Sultan of Versailles."
Such, and a great deal more that we cannot here
take time to touch upon, were the sufferings and the
heroism that led to a knowledge of the rivers and
the lands of this unknown country, of which our
Illinois is now so nearly the centre. Such were the
first means through which it came about in time that
trading posts werje established up and down the
rivers; that both the English and the French began
to look with deep commercial interest upon the
section; and that in time the Chicago Portage, as
we shall learn later, became the one central point of
" O, city by the inland sea,
Grand monument of industry,
Gath'ring gladly from all lands,
For the love of thee,
" O, city by the inland sea.
Columbia has chosen thee
To proudly say, " I WILL,"
And all prophecy fulfill,
Mighty city by the inland sea."
Did you ever see the Rush Street Bridge in
Chicago at the foot of Wabash Avenue? There is
nothing remarkable about it, you will say. No;
there are other bridges quite as good in and about
And still, there was a time, only a few years ago,
when every stranger coming to the city paid a visit
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 57
to the Rush Street Bridge. He would not be eon-
tent to leave Chicago until he had visited that
Sometimes strangers go there now. There seems
little to see; still the visitors look and look.
And this is what they say: f * So this is Chicago's
oldest historical site!'- Or, r? So this is where
Chicago began! Well, well, well!"
There is one old Chicagoan who still lives not
very far from this bridge. He knew Chicago when
it was only a town; and he is very proud of the
''You see," he says, "the city and I grew up
together. That makes me love it.
" Right here, where this south abutment of the
bridge now is, the old light-house keeper's little
hoirip ^tood.- Just beyond, was the tall, white light-
h( rf *e tower. And just across a little road from
th.it stood the old Fort."
Old Fort Dearborn! Yes, that is why strangers
even now go down to the Rush Street Bridge; for
58 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
that spot has had a noble history; and there was a
time when no fort in the land meant so much to the
country as did old Fort Dearborn.
It is hard to believe, as we stand on the Rush
Street Bridge to-day, that only a few years ago
there were prairies and trees and green fields as far
as the eye could see; that the air was clear and
sweet, and that the only smoke was that from the
Indian camps, scattered here and there up and down
the prairie. But so it was; and so it might be now
who knows? had it not been for the Chicago
River. Flowing as it does into the lake, the site
was early discovered and appreciated even by the
Indians themselves. The French and the English
fur traders, too, were quick to see the convenience
and usefulness of the river; so that from the very
beginning the Chicago Portage was important.
And when, later, the Mississippi valley became out
property of our people, the government, recognizn.
the value of this portage, sent men to build a fort
there. "" For," said they, " the Chicago Portage will
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 59
some time, as our country grows westward, come to
be a commercial centre.''.
No Chicago boy or girl needs now to be told that
these early prophecies were wise ones. We only
wonder if these early prophets knew how wise they
At the beginning of the nineteenth century there
were no white people living farther west than
Detroit; but the government had bought from the
Indians a piece of land six miles long on the western
shore of the lake, near its southern end; and it was
there the fort was to be built.
There were Indians in the forest round about ;
and one day these red men were surprised to see a
great white schooner coming down the lake. They
all ran down to the shore, staring in grim wonder.
'" Big bird! " said one Indian.
"Canoe with wings," grunted another; and not
until the men began to land with guns and the boats
had been loaded with the schooner's cargo, did the
red men creep back to their own camps. Then the
60 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
schooner sailed back to Detroit, and the history of
Chicago had began.
The little band of men set at once to work. First,
a block-house must be built, and the grounds must
be enclosed by palisades high and strong.
So they chose a site for the fort, and set to work
hauling the logs and driving the stakes.
They had neither horses nor cattle to help them;
had they, the hauling of logs would have been quite
easy and they might have built their fort with
But when the men had to w play horse " as the
children say, fasten the ropes around their own
waists, and drag the logs themselves, it was not
quite so easy building forts as we might think The
men were brave and plucky, however, and often
their shouts and laughter rang out over the lake,
as they dragged the big logs along. All the
summer and all the fall they worked, day in and day
out, never forgetting, day or night, to keep a watch
upon the savages lurking in the forests round about;
STORIKS OF ILLINOIS. 61
for the red men did not love the white men over
much, you know, and did not always favor their
presence on the western prairies.
But when the first frosts came, the fort was
finished, and the men were in comfortable quarters.
Very wise had those men been in the choice of
the site for their fort. On one side of the palisades
lay a branch of the Chicago River; on another lay a
broad swamp; on another were treacherous sands
beneath which the waters of the river made their
These three sides of the fort were not, then,
easily approached by an attacking enemy; and
besides all this, the men had built a sallyport, as
they called it that is, an underground passage
from the block-house down to the river.
Thus protected, the little garrison settled into its
new quarters for the winter.
Fort Dearborn was now the farthest settlement
in this ]^orth West; and people spoke of it as
w away out west." Wonderful stories were told
62 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
of it, and adventurous men from here and there
began to gather around the fort. By and by, a
little village was formed, and already the settlers
began to speak of their new home by its Indian
The first man settler to come to Chicago was
John Kinzie. Now, John Kinzie had led an adven-
turous life, even from boyhood; and when he came
out here into the wilderness, he came, no doubt, from
love of adventure. But he proved himself a brave
and sturdy man, not afraid to work for his new
home; and Chicago's historians are proud now to
speak of him as the first citizen of Chicago.
64 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
John Kinzie was born in Quebec; but when only
five years old went with his mother to live in New
York. New York, in those days, was little
more than a town, and John's adventurous soul
longed for greater freedom; so. one day he boarded
a vessel bound for Albany, and from there made his
way back to Quebec.
He was a little fellow; and many a time -so he
used to say afterwards he would have been glad
to creep into his own bed at home and be sure of a
warm breakfast in the morning. But he was a
plucky lad; and having reached Quebec, he was
bound to stay.
It was not very long before he found work with a
silversmith; and there, hard at work, he lived in
Quebec until he was a young man.
Now, during all these years the fur traders were
making stations here and there west of the Allegha-
nies, where the Indians might come to sell the skins
their hunters had prepared.
Wonderful Indian stories these fur traders had to
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 60
tell of their life at the stations; and whenever one of
them came to Quebec, every man, woman, and child
were eager to hear about the red men and the
marvelous adventures of the white men among
All this was sweet music to John Kinzie's restless
soul; and away he went to Detroit then a little
village the most western of the fur-trading
This life was more to his taste than that of a
silversmith had been; and he soon made friends
with all the Indian traders round about. He went
hunting with them; he gave them tobacco and
bright colored beads; he invited them to the camp;
and soon the Indians became the best of friends
with the " white brave " as they called him.
One day there came into the camp an old chief
from Chillicothe. With him were two maidens
sunburnt, weather-beaten and dressed in Indian
squaw fashion, to be sure; but still very beautiful
white maidens for all that.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 67
c They are beautiful," said John Kinzie. w It is
wrong for them to be brought up like Indian
squaws;" and the man's generous, honest heart was
filled with pity for them.
With John Kinzie was a young Scotchman
James Clark; and these two brave hearted lads had
many a long talk over the beautiful maidens.
r They should be rescued," John would say.
'They should," James would say.
Pr Margaret is very beautiful," John would say.
'Yes, but Elizabeth is more beautiful," James
would answer again.
'You and I have been adventurers long enough/'
said John at last; " and for my part I should like a
"Well, nobody quite knows all these two men said;
but in the end this is what happened. The old Chief
went back to his home alone; James and John built
two snug little cabins, and Margaret and Elizabeth
took their respective places in them, the proudest of
home-makers and housewives.
68 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
For five happy years these four people lived on in
their little log houses. Then one clay there came
into the village an old man. He was bent, and
gray, and feeble. f They tell me," he said, ff that
my two children my Margaret and Elizabeth
are living here in Detroit ; and I have come all the
way from Virginia to see if it be. true."
Now Margaret and Elizabeth as you have,
perhaps, already guessed had been stolen from
their home long before when they were little
children. In vain had the father tried all these
years to find them; they had been carried beyond
the Alleghanies into the tribe of the Shawanese,
and he could get no trace of them.
The Shawanese chief had been kind to them
always; but the little girls had never forgotten their
old home, and had often wondered, as they grew
up, if they should ever know where this home
had been, or should see their father and mother
There was then great joy in the two little cabins,
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 69
ivhen the old father came to Margaret and Eliza-
jeth; and for a long time he dwelt among the simple
3eople of Detroit. Each morning he would say, " I
mist go back to Virginia ; " but the next morning
*till found him in the home of his children.
At last, one morning he said " Each day for
kveeks I have meant to go back to my home. But
t will be very lonely there. For twenty years I
searched formy children.
' f Never an Indian entered my village, that I
lid not say to him, " Do you know of two little
^irls, taken captive in the Dunmore war ? Are they
still alive? Do they live among your people? Are
they being brought up as slaves; or has some
generous chief taken them to his wigwam, where
they are treated kindly and protected from the
cruelty of the tribe? But no one could tell me, and
for many years I mourned them as dead,
" I am very old. I have not long to live. I wish
it might be that my sons and daughters and those
little grand-children would go home with me.
70 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Virginia is a country of fine farms; the soil is rich,
the climate is mild, and farms are plentiful."
But this picture of quiet comfort was not to the
taste of John Kinzie and James Clark. Into the
hearts of Margaret and Elizabeth, however, there
came a great longing to see the old home they still
remembered, and the friends who would greet them
so warmly. The old father, too, they had grown to
love ; and when he spoke to them of his old age and
his loneliness, their hearts filled with sorrow.
"Let us go home with him," they said to John
and James; our hearts long to see the old home and
our people, whom we have never known."
So it came about that the two daughters, with
their children, went away with the old father, back
to their home in Virginia.
N"ow, to go on a journey in those days was a
great event. There were no railroads; the country
was unexplored; the Indians lay in wait to spring
upon the white people, as they traveled through the
forests and over the mountains.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 71
Margaret and Elizabeth, however, were used to
danger and hardship; so, when they rode out from
Detroit, their hearts were brave. rf Good-bv! " they
said, to their husbands and all the friends who
watched them setting forth upon the journey,
"good-by! We shall come back again. Have no
fear for us! "
NYnv, all this time, the Chicago Portage was
coming more and more to be talked of among the
Detroit traders. The Fort had stood now for many
years, and the fur trade had prospered.
History does not tell us why; but it happened
that Margaret and Elizabeth never returned from
their visit to Virginia. Although the old father
died, they seemed to prefer the peace and civiliza-
tion of a settled country rather than a frontier life
of hardship and danger.
And so it was that Kinzie, again alone and free
to wander at his pleasure, left Detroit and went to
St. Joseph's. There he married again, and when
the success of the Chicago Portage was assured,
72 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
and the Indians had proven their friendliness so that
it seemed safe to build homes outside the fort, John
Kinzie set forth with his wife and baby boy for the
It was a long, hard journey. All such household
goods as were portable were heaped upon the backs
of horses. Mr. and Mrs. Kinzie each had a horse;
and in a big bag, hung on the horn of Mr. Kinzie's
saddle, the baby was placed. In this odd fashion,
camping at night, the family made their way across
the wild prairie, along the Indian trail, to their
new home at Fort Dearborn. John Kinzie was an
energetic man. In a very few days a cabin was
built, and the Kinzie family the first residents of
Chicago were settled in their new home.
From a French trader, Kinzie bought a trading
station, and began at once a brisk business with the
Indians. Very soon he won their confidence,
so upright were his dealings with them, and before
very long John Kinzie began to be spoken of as a
man of wealtlu
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 73
Every year he improved his home. First it was
only a little cabin with one room; then another room
was added, and then another. Windows and real
doors with hinges were added, the walls were made
close and warm, by and by a frame building was
made; till at last there stood upon the north bank
of the river, opposite the fort, and facing the sunny
south, a pretty little home the first real American
dwelling house ever built in the city of Chicago.
Tecmnseh was a Shawanese chief. For a long
time he had watched the advance of the white
people into the territory of the Red Men.
Very willing were the tribes to sell an acre of
their land from time to time, and to keep peace with
the white men who were settled upon it. They
gave no thought to the future; but were content
with the tobacco and bright colored trifles which the
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 75
white men were always ready to give in exchange
either for furs or for land.
But Tecnmseh had more foresight than others of
the simple red men of the western tribes. Every
sale of land he regarded with disfavor; every new
village that sprang up he watched with fierce hate
f We shall have no land left," he would say to his
people. '' Do you not see that every year these
white men are pushing farther and farther west?"
Now Tecumseh had learned to read and write and
count; and not a settlement was there through the
entire North West that he did not know. He knew
the traders far and near; he knew the number of
people in each village. Most carefully he watched
the increase in population; and when, in 1810, there
were already more than twenty-four thousand white
people w r here only a few years before there had
been only a vast wilderness, his angry soul could
endure no more.
And so Tecnmseh set forth. Up and down
76 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
the country, from tribe to tribe, he rushed like a
madman. Councils were held with chiefs, and mul-
titudes of red men were called together to listen to
the torrent of eloquence Tecumseh was ever ready
to pour out upon them.
With Tecumseh was a brother, Avise and cunning.
He claimed for himself wonderful powers. He
could see spirits and hear spirit voices. By the
spirits he was warned of the danger in store for the
red men. He could read the future; and he urged
the people to rise, even as Tecumseh should bid
them, and go forth, thousands strong, to overcome
and drive back the intruding white men.
^ Rise, rise ! '' he said to one reluctant tribe ;
ff else to-morrow, in the midst of the daylight, the
sun will hide its face, and there will fall a deep
shadow upon the earth."
The red men sneered and went back to their wig-
wams. The next day dawned bright and clear.
Higher and higher, brighter and brighter, climbed
the sun up the eastern sky.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 77
T We see no shadow,'' the red men said; and they
laughed to think how wise they had been, and how
foolish were those tribes who had been frightened
by the prophet's words.
Hut even as they spoke, a strange light began to
creep over the land. They looked up to the sun
there was a shadow upon it! Darker and darker
grew r that shadow! The yellow noon-day light
changed to a dark gray twilight! There were
strange shadows everywhere!
'' It is as the great prophet said! " they whispered.
' The Great Spirit is angry with us ! " And, tremb-
ling with fear, the chiefs hurried to Tecumseh and
pledged themselves to join the federation to
carry war against the white men.
?r ^ow the shadow will be lifted," said the prophet .
And the shadow was lifted; and from that day
the prophet's authority over the red men was estab-
lished. Such was the advantage that a wise ma a
had always, even from the beginning, over the simple-
hearted, superstitious red men.
78 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
It was in the spring of 1808 that these two Indian
leaders set up their tents on the Tippecanoe, not far
from the Wabash.
Here the prophet made his abode, and chiefs for
hundreds and hundreds of miles around came to him
for advice. From this station Tecumseh journeyed
north, south, east, and west, stirring up the tribes,
and planning the great war of the red men against
the white men.
All this the white men, everywhere through the
west, watched with no little dread. Tecumseh had
great influence among his people, the white men
well knew; and an Indian war was a thing to be
dreaded, even by the bravest.
For a long time there was no outbreak, even upon
the frontiers. Tecumseh was hard at work, night
and day; but the time had not yet come.
Once, when Governor Harrison sent a message to
the Shawanese, it was received with bitterness and
the messengers sneered at as dogs.
All this showed that trouble was brewing, and
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 70
that plans for vengeance were in the hearts of the
Again messengers were sent. ' r How dare you,"
thundered one of the chiefs of the red men, f? come
into our presence! You are spies! Right here is
your grave ! Look at it ! "
But just then Tecumseh himself came forward,
saying to the messengers, rf Fear not; my people
shall not harm you here. Go back to Governor
Harrison and tell him that I shall come to talk with
him at Fort Vincennes."
In a few days Tecumseh, with seventy-five of
his bravest warriors, did come into the presence of
Governor Harrison. For more than a week the
red men dwelt in the camp among the white men,
and during all that time Tecumseh stalked among
them, stern and solemn.
^N~ot once did he allow himself to talk with the
white men; not once did he forget" his dignity as
one aggrieved. At last he spoke to the white men
assembled before the Governor.
80 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
'Years ago, v said he, ff you white men made a
peace with us. But since then you have killed
many of the Shawanese, and yon have taken our
lands. How can we, then, keep peace with the
white men? You force us to do you injury. You
do not want us to band together against you. You
try to set our tribes one against the other. You
would make us fight each other. We red men
never do that to your people.
'You are driving us west. You would drive us
into the lake. We are forbidding the chiefs of our
tribe to sell you any more land. You must not try
to buy it. If you do, we shall make war upon you.
We cannot give our land to you; for then there
would be no home for the red men."
Poor Tecumseh! He could not understand. He
could only see that there was danger ahead for his
Then Governor Harrison tried to talk with him.
' Think," said he, " how the cruel Spaniards treated
you in the past. And the French ! How little have
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 81
they cared for your rights or for your comfort.
Compare our treatment of your people with that
of these other nations."
But Tecumseh was only maddened by these
words. He sprang to his feet with a true savage
yell, and seized his tomahawk. His companions
sprang to his side, their knives glittering.
Quickly Governor Harrison drew his sword, and
his soldiers rushed upon the scene with sabres
drawn. "Shame upon you, Tecumseh!" thundered
the Governor, ff to behave like a savage who knows
nothing but savagery ! "
Then Tecumseh and his men crept away, their
faces black and revengeful.
" I forgot myself," said Tecumseh the next day.
? 'I should not have grown angry; but there can be
no peace. The chief* of your people may sit in his
great wigwam and drink his wine; but you and I,
Governor Harrison, out here on the western fron-
tiers, must fight it out."
Nor did Tecumseh, even for a moment, swerve
* The President.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 83
from his purpose. Already thousands of red men
had pledged to join against the white men, and
the times were full of danger.
About this time, too, a war broke out between the
English and the Americans the "War of 1812,
and Tecumseh, his confederacy now organized, joined
forces with the British against the Americans. All
the frontier forts were reinforced, Fort Dearborn
among the rest, and war was threatened every-
During John Kinzie's eight years at Fort Dear-
born, he had won the love and confidence of the
Indian tribes for miles about; still, under the excite-
ment of war and spurred on by Tecumseh, no one
could tell what even these friendly Indians might
There were many families in the village of
Chicago now, and all looked to Kinzie for advice
At the risk of his own life, Kinzie set off among
the neighboring tribes to strengthen, if possible, their
84 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
loyalty; or, at least, to find what the people at
the fort might expect from them. Even those
tribes who had been most friendly had little to say;
and when Kinzie spoke to them of the war and of
themselves, they sat in sullen silence.
f We cannot depend upon these red men," was all
Kinzie could say when he came back to the Fort.
One day an Indian came into the Fort upon some
errand. As he looked at the women and children,
he said, w In a few days these women will be hoeing*
in our corn fields; and the children will be our
captives." This certainly was not encouraging; and
close watch from that time on was kept upon the
UNIVERSITV of ILLINOIS
8ti 8IATUE COMMEMORATING THE MASSACEK AT KOKT DEA.RBO.V,
ERECTED IN CHICAGO.
Among the tribes that fell in all too readily with
the scheme of Tecumseh were the Winnebagoes on
the Rock River. For a long time they lurked in the
forests round about, watching their chance for an
attack upon Fort Dearborn. It was their plan to
surround the settlement, attack first the outlying
houses, then sweep in upon the others, destroying
them all, even to the very palisades.
It was one afternoon, just at dusk, that twelve
88 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Indians came across the prairie, entered the house of
a white man named Lee, and sat down in solemn
silence. This, of itself, was nothing, for the Indians
often came into the houses like this. And, although
their manners were not quite like those of white
people when making calls, the settlers understood
and received them always with hospitality.
But on this occasion there was something unusual
in the behavior of the red men. They said nothing,
but sat in grim silence; and in their eyes was a fire
that boded evil to the settlement. At least, so two
women of the Lee family thought, who, pretending
to leave the house to feed the cattle, ferried them-
selves across the river and hurried to the Fort. On
their way, the two women called to every household,
"To the Fort! To the Fort! The Indians! The
In one house a woman lay weak and sick. Beside
her sat Mrs. Kinzie, when the terrible news reached
their ears. Fleeing to her own house, with speed
born of the moment of terror, Mrs. Kinzie rushed in
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 89
upon her household, gasping, "The Indians! The
Indians are coming! "
John Kinzie sat playing with his children about
him. Seizing his gun, he rushed out Into the town.
Who should go to the rescue of the sick woman and
her children !
"I will go! " shouted Ensign Konan, "I will go,
while you, Kinzie, hurry your people into the Fort
and give the signal to all on the outskirts ! "
Leaping into a boat, with six brave soldiers,
Konan rowed up the river, and even under the very
eyes of the red men rescued the poor helpless
woman and her children, and brought them safely
back to the Fort.
Now the gun was fired the danger signal
from the Fort, and every settler on the outskirts,
understanding well what it meant, hurried with his
family to the Fort.
The Indians, finding their plot discovered, fell
upon the Lee household with most brutal fury.
When morning dawned, there lay the ruins of the
90 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
little home; and beside it the dead bodies of two
' This is but the beginning," the people said; and
every preparation was made for a siege.
Already the Fort was well supplied with food and
ammunition. Orders were issued that no citizen or
soldier should leave without a guard, and a line of
sentinels was stationed up and down outside the
A few nights later, the Indians again crept into
the settlement. The signal was given, and a volley
of shot was poured upon them from the sentinels
at the block-house. With a yell of fury, one Indian
hurled his battle-axe towards one of the sentinels,
then turned and fled; but in the morning the stains
of blood upon the grass showed that the shots had
not been fired in vain, though no Indian had fallen
dead beneath them.
Weeks passed by, and no other attack was
attempted. Scouts were sent out, but there seemed
to be no further sign of trouble. The 'Indians were
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 91
busy with their farming and their hunting; and once
more the settlers ^ent back to their little homes.
The Indians came and went as of old, the white men
visited their camps, trade was renewed, and peace
seemed to have again settled upon the community.
But there was trouble now at Detroit. General
Hull, w^ho was in charge of the American army
there, had grave fears for the future. " Go," said
he to Winnemac, a friendly Pottawatomie chief, " to
Fort Dearborn, and warn Captain Heald of possible
danger. Unless his forces and provisions are such
that he can stand alone against attack, advise him to
retreat to Fort Wayne at once."
Winnemac set forth, and for days and nights
traveled on through the unbroken wilderness.
It was a most exciting announcement he brought
from the east; and all the people from far and near
flocked to the block-house to hear.
War had been declared against England!
Another war! And the country had hardly recov-
ered from the last. Already Michilimackinac had
o-2 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
fallen! The Indians were allying themselves by
thousands to the English! Detroit itself was hard
Serious, indeed, was all this to the little Chicago
settlement; for what could so few men, however
brave, do, if left without hope of reinforcement !
ff If the Fort must be evacuated," said Kinzie, pf let
it be done at once, before the report of HnlFs
condition reaches the Indians round about us."
rf General Hull sends orders that all property in
the Fort be distributed among the Indians," Avas
Captain Heald's evasive answer.
"Leave all the goods and let the Indians distribute
for themselves," said Winnemac. Pf But first take
your people to Fort Wayne."
'That is right," said Ensign Konan, for this
fierce, fiery young officer often disapproved of
Captain Heald, and seldom failed to express it.
But to all this Captain Heald made no reply. He
sat in sullen silence.
On the next morning, at roll-call, lie quietly
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. <..;
announced that the plan of delay, as previously
stated by himself, would be carried out.
r The fool!" growled the impatient Konan.
' ? Does he not know that he is imperiling* the lives
of every man of us ! "
ff Our hold on Indian friendship is too frail for
any such c-onfidence in them," said another.
"Let us go and tell them we are at their mercy,"
"I will distribute the goods and offer rewards to
our Indian neighbors to escort us in safety to Fort
Wayne," was Heald ? s only reply to these
remonstrances from his officers.
"Better stay and risk attack than do that," said
one office r bitterly.
Pf I could not do that, even if it seemed best," said
Captain Heald; "for we have no provisions."
" But, Captain, you have cattle enough to last
six months, " cried Kinzie.
r We have no salt to preserve the meat with,"
U4 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
"Jerk it, then, as the Indians do their venison,"
cried one soldier angrily.
But Captain Heald was unmoved, and the
precious hours for escape flew by. Hardly had the
sun risen again before the savages began to show
signs of insolence. Even the squaws looked in at
the gate- ways and sneered.
It was three days after Winnemac's arrival before
Captain Heald made ready a council with the
Indians. The council was held outside the fort
upon the parade ground, all the officers being
" If we are not all massacred on the spot, we may
count ourselves fortunate," said Ronan ; and indeed
a massacre was not improbable, should opportunity
occur. The cannons were loaded and turned upon
the parade ground ready for use in case of trouble;
sentinels were placed on watch ; signals were agreed
upon, and Heald and his officers went forth to meet
"It seems best," said Captain Heald to the red
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 95
men, " to leave this fort and go to Fort Wayne.
We want your escort from fort to fort. 'Not only
shall you divide among" yourselves all the goods, both
in the fort and in the agency house, but on reaching
Fort Wayne, you shall receive still greater reward."
To all this the Indians listened with stolid faces.
What they thought no man could tell. But they
promised all that Captain Heald asked of them, then
went silently back to their own camp.
"What have you done, Captain, in giving these
savages even the ammunition from the agency
house ! " cried Kinzie, as soon as the Indians were
beyond hearing. f What if they should hear of the
fall of Michilimackinac! What if Tecumseh should
send messages to them! Do you not see that this
ammunition would then be in their hands to use
At this Captain Heald seemed to awaken to a
sense of possible danger. Ff Perhaps you are right,
Kinzie," he, said.
"Right! too right, I fear!" answered Kinzie.
96 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
r Then we must destroy the ammunition; that is
the best we can do now," was all Heald could say.
The next day the Indians were called together
and the goods from the fort distributed. "Come
again to-morrow," said Captain Heald, " and yon
shall have whatever there is in the agency house."
'To-day! let ns have it to-day!" clamored the
Cf Xot to-day;" and Heald sent them away angry
and discontented. For the Indians were suspicious.
They felt that, in sending them away, the white men
meant to deprive them of the contents of the ageney
' \\ e will watch," said they; and so, as soon as
darkness fell, they crept back to the fort. They lay
down flat in the grass and squirmed and crawled,
serpent-like, close up to the fort. The garrison,
too, were very still as still as the Indians them-
selves andy they worked in the dark. The
Indians, lyink" there in the grass, watched and
listened. Thi\ white men weie destroying the
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. U7
muskets ! And see ! The ammunition ! They were
throwing it in the well! The Indians grew wild
with anger. Their fierce eyes shone like fire.
They clutched at the tall grass and hissed liked
But the white 'men were busy and saw nothing.
They rolled the casks of fire water out from the
store house. Very carefully they rolled them down
to the river, and poured the contents over the hank.
The fumes of fire water filled the air. It reached
the Indians lying in the grass. It was to them like
the smell of powder to a war horse. It aroused
them to redoubled fury. They hissed and writhed;
they muttered and growled and showered curses
upon the treacherous white men, who not only were
thus attempting to deceive them, but were wasting in
the river current cask on cask of precious fire-w r ater.
They wriggled through the grass up to the river
bank. They lapped the soil over which the fire-
water had poured; they drank the waters of the
river, laden as they were with it. Infuriated, maddened
1)8 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
by the taste of the fire water, these spies crept back
to their camp. Half drunk, they staggered into the
presence of their chief and told him what they had
^ow, as we know, the Pottawatomies had been
true to their peace compact with the white men, and
even now their chief had hoped to hold back the
young warriors of the tribe, who longed for
vengeance upon one and all. But when the spies
came into the camp smelling of fire-water and telling
their tale of treachery, the young warriors would
not be held back. They tightened their war belts,
seized their tomahawks, and filled the air with
Early in the morning Black Partridge, one of the
braves of the Pottawatomie chiefs, came into the
presence of Captain Heald.
' f l come," he said, r to bring you this medal.
You gave it to me, and I have worn it as a pledge
of friendship to your people. But now my warriors
are angry with you. You have deceived them. I
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 99
cannot restrain them. The tribe vows vengeance
upon you; therefore I return the medal."
Black Partridge laid down the medal, and
silently turned and went out from the Fort.
Xot a man in the Fort spoke. Captain Heald
bowed his head in sorrow. What should they do?
Only one box of cartridges and twenty-five rounds
of ammunition had been reserved from the general
destruction, and little would this avail against an
attack from the Pottawatomies.
But already, though the garrison knew it not, aid
was near at hand. In the family of Captain Heald
was a white man who had been brought up among
the Indians. He had been captured by them when
a lad of thirteen years, and had been adopted into
the family of Little Turtle, a chief of character as
true and noble as that of Black Partridge.
Little Turtle loved the white boy; and while he
taught him to live the life of an Indian warrior, he
taught him to despise meanness and cowardice and
100 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Now Little Turtle was a brave and daring chief;
and when the boy watched him, foremost always in
honorable battle, straightforward, upright, kindly in
his dealings with both friend and foe, he learned
many a lesson of truest heroism from his half-savage
friend and foster-father.
In that battle in which St. Clair fell, this man -
William Wayne Wells stood and fought with his
red men his adopted people in the foremost
ranks, till the dead bodies of the American artillery-
men lay heaped around him like a barricade, shield-
ing him from the bullets that poured in upon his
people. No man, red or white, ever fought more
valiantly, more bravely, more desperately for the
cause he thought to be right.
But when this battle was over, and Wells lay in
his wigwam alone and thought upon the great con-
flict between the white men and the red, he foresaw
what the end must be. He realized the superiority
of the white men; he knew their cause must win;
and he knew, too, that it was right and best both
STORIES OF ILLINOIS, 101
for the country and all mankind that it should win.
So he went to Little Turtle and tolct him all that
he thought; for to desert his adopted people
unfairly and without the full consent of Little
Turtle, his straightforward soul would never have
permitted him to do. All night long Little Turtle
and his adopted son talked of- their past and their
possible future. All that was in his heart to tell,
Wells told to his good friend.
And in the end, Little Turtle grasped the young
man's hand and said; '' Go, my son, and do whatever
the Good Spirit bids yon; for it is He that speaks
to us and tells us what is right for each of us to do."
And so it was that Wells, who had lived so many
years with the Indians, and who loved his adopted
people as his own, went out from the camp of Little
Turtle and joined himself with the white forces
under the command of General Wayne. This was
during the revolution in 1794; and in the battles that
followed his bravery made for himself a name that
America will never forget.
102 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
But now again the Indian war whoop was ringing
through the forest; again the white men and the red
men were at war. From Fort Wayne news reached
Wells of the danger at Fort Dearborn.
' The Healds are of my own family," he said to
himself; "and even if they were not, I would go to
their rescue in a time like this."
With fifteen Miamis he hastened to relieve the
Never was reinforcement more welcome. For
despair had settled down upon the little garrison,
brave as it was. It was, of course, too late to
defend the Fort. There was nothing for them to do
but march out from it, assuming a courage that they
had not, and, in the face of the Pottawatomies, angry
and revengeful as they were, make a bold retreat
toward Fort Wayne.
''First of all, go to sleep," said Wells to the worn-
out garrison; "I will keep watch. You will need
your strength, may be, to-morrow."
Early in the morning, August 15, 1812, the troops
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 103
were ready. At nine o'clock they were to march
out. At daybreak a friendly Indian came rushing
into the Fort. ff Mr. Kinzie," he whispered, ff The
Pottawatonries are ready for an attack. Conic with
me you and your family and I will carry yon to
Fort Wayne by boat."
f Go, v said Kinzie to his wife and children;
ff but I will inarch. The Pottawatomies have been
friendly with me; it may be I can hold them, even
now, in check/'
But hardly had the boat reached the mouth of the
river, when another messenger came running.
* f Stay here! Stay here!'' he shouted to the boat-
man; then ran back toward the Fort.
There, at the mouth of the river, Mrs. Kinzie,
claspinp- both her frightened children in her arms,
waited. Out from the Fort the troops inarched
before the wagons containing the women and
children. The mournful notes of the Dead March
floated down the waters. Wells, his face blackened,
as was the custom of his adopted tribe, marched
104 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
along at the head of his little band of Miamis,
followed by the escort of about five hundred
Pottawatomies, their faces set, but with no sign thus
far of evil design.
All together they marched along the shore, until
they came to a line of sand dunes stretching
between the beach and the prairie. Here the com-
pany separated; for the Pottawatomies now turned
towards the prairie, instead of keeping along the
shore line with the troops and Miamis. '
r What does that mean?*' said Kinzie quicklv.
? We may be sure these red men do nothing without
Meantime, Wells, riding ahead, was watching
closely. Suddenly, with a whoop, he turned his
horse back upon the troops.
''The attack! the attack !" he shouted. " They
are ready! Charge upon them! Charge!"
And almost before the words were said, out there
burst from the sand hills a volley of shot.
Another instant, and the troops charged upon
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 105
the bank and poured a deadly volley upon the
At the sound of the first shot, Wells' fifteen
Mianiis, panic stricken, fled. Straight up into the
face of the chief of the Pottawatomies, Wells rod<\
brandishing his tomahawk and shouting in tones
that rolled like thunder above the noise of battle:
-You are cowards! You have played a trick
upon us! But I will come back! I will punish yon
for your treachery, even as the Great Spirit
always punishes cowards and unfair warriors!"
And before even a rifle could be raised against
him, Wells turned and galloped across the prairie
in pursuit of his Mianiis.
Hand to hand, man to man, the savages and the
troops fought, drawing each other back and forth
across the dunes. Five hundred savages, and a
mere handful of troops to hold them back!
Ensign Ronan, one of the first to fall, staggered
foward and fought till exhausted. Then the red
men pressed through and fell upon the wagons.
BLACK PARTRIDGE SAVES MUS. HELM.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 107
One savage, with a howl like that of a beast, seized
the wife of Helm and dragged her to the ground. She
wrenched herself from his grasp, but his tomahawk
fell upon her shoulder. Springing to her feet,
strong in her agony of pain, she seized the Indian
by the arm and hurled the scalping knife from his
Just then, another savage seized upon her; and,
dragging her to the lake, plunged her into the water
and held her there.
rf lt is you! You! Black Partridge!" gasped Mrs.
Helm; for indeed it was Black Partridge, and it
was in this way that he had rescued her from the
tomahawk of the enraged Indian.
It was a brief, hard struggle; bravely though the
white men fought, with five hundred desperate,
maddened savages against them, there could be but
one end. By twos and threes, the white men fell
beneath the tomahawks and scalping knives of the
Hardly a third of the little band was now alive;
108 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
and these, knowing" the hopelessness of their
struggle, surrendered on condition that the women
and children, such as were not already slain, should
"When the firing ceased, Black Partridge dragged
Mrs. Helm forth from the water, and placing her
upon a horse, led her away captive. By her side
walked a savage, from whose belt hung the scalp of
the brave Wells, who had fallen fighting most
Fainting, the captive woman sank upon the
ground before the wigwam of the chief, Wau-bee-
But already the plunder of the Fort had begun.
The cattle had been shot down, and now lay dead
and dying upon the ground among the men who
had fought so desperately. And, although the
savages had promised to spare the women and
children and also the few remaining troops, they
seemed to think their promise did not include those
already wounded. These they seized upon as if
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 109
to vent their fury; nor did they cense until every
man, woman and child lay dead before them.
All this time the family of Mr. Kinzie sat in the
boat at the mouth of the river, unharmed.
"Harm not the wife of the Shaw-nee-aw-kee,"
Black Partridge had commanded before the battle
had begun; and this command the savages had not
forgotten, even in the fiercest of the fight.
In the boat, terribly wounded, covered with a
great robe of buffalo, lay the wife of Captain Heald,
who had been rescued by the boatman and hidden
By and by, there was once more quiet upon the
prairie. The savages had wreaked their vengeance;
and there was no further horror left for them to do.
The Kinzie family was carried back to the old
Kinzie home, while the other captives lay bound in
the wigwams of the red men. Here the Kin/ies
remained, guarded by a few friendly Indians, who
meant to escort them back to Detroit.
Black Partridge himself stood guard over the
110 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
cottage; and it was well, perhaps, that lie did so, for
the next morning there came hurrying in upon the
scene more Indians, and from another and fiercer
tribe. These, hearing of the intended attack, had
come from the Wabash simply to take their part in a
possible battle against white men, whom, one and
all, they hated.
Thirsting for bloodshed, they rushed in upon the
scene, only to find themselves too late. The battle
w T as over, the spoils divided, and the scalps all
taken. Only the Kinzie family seemed to them
available, and these they reckoned at once as their
prey. And so, blackening their faces, they crept
toward the little cottage. Entering, they seated
themselves upon the floor in sullen silence. Even
Black Partridge felt there was little hope; for he
well understood the meaning of the savages.
Just then a friendly whoop was heard outside.
f 'Who are you?" shouted Black Partridge; for
canoes were moored to the river bank and red men
were landing just outside.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. Ill
" I am a man," answered the leader among them.
r? A man like yourself."
"But who are you?" shouted Black Partridge,
meaning and the man upon the bank understood
whose friend are you?
"I am the Sau-ga-nash ! " answered the man from
'Then come quick! your friend is in danger!"
for he was a half breed; and when he said, "I am
the Sau-ga-nash," he meant, " I am an English-
man." Had he said, "I am a Pottawatomie," no
one would have known better than Black Partridge
himself that all hope of saving the Kinzies was at
With all speed the Sau-ga-nash hurried up to the
cottage. In an instant he took in the situation.
"Well, well, good friends!" he said to the
savages, "glad am I to see you. They told me
there were enemies here! Strange! and your faces
blackened! Why is that? Ah, but T know. It is
that you mourn for friends that have fallen in battle.
TAISLKT TO ( OilMKMOUATK FUKT DEABOUN MAS^ACRK,
J'l.ACKD 0V I'.ril ]>IN<. IN CHICAfJO OV T1IK SITK OF O1,l FORT DF.AIiOUN'.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. M :]
"Or, perhaps, you are hungry. If yon are, ask
for food from Mr. Kinzie. He is the Indian's friend.
Never yet did an Indian go away from his door
By this time the savages were confused and
ashamed. They dared not tell why they had come;
and so, to save themselves, they said; ff Tt is as you
say, we mourn the death of friends; we come to
ask for white cotton in which to roll them for
'You shall rme it," said Kinzie; and loading
them down with all the house could afford, he sent
them away crestfallen, but not suspecting that they
had been outwitted by the Sau-ga-nash.
On the third day, the Kinzie family was con-
ducted to St. Joseph, and a few months later they
returned to Detroit.
Sick and wounded, Captain and Mrs. lleald had
already been sent to St. Joseph as prisoners of war.
Mrs. Helm, too, was finally sent to Canada as
prisoner of war.
114 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
The soldiers and their families, the few who had
survived the cruel slaughter, were scattered up and
down the country among the different villages of the
Pottawatomies; but, after a time, all these were
taken to Detroit and ransomed.
So fell Fort Dearborn; and for a time it seemed,
indeed, as if the end of the story of Chicago had
come. For who then could see into the future?
AVho then could prophesy that from these ruins the
city should rise again rise, and grow, and become,
as it already has become, the foremost city in the
FORT WAYNE AND FORT HARRISON.
Meantime the forts at Michilimackinac and at
Detroit had fallen into the hands of the British and
their Indian allies. Not for one day had Tecumseh
rested ; not one opportunity had he lost to spur his
people on and to turn them against the settlers.
The British general, Brock, looked upon Tecum-
seh as the hero of the hour. He knew full well, and
readily acknowledged it, that very much of the
British success was due to this chiefs tireless
energy and unceasing labor among his own people.
116 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Teeumseh had accomplished all that he meant
to do; the three stations were destroyed, and the
future of the Northwest seemed hopeless. It seemed
as if once more the territory must fall back into the
possession of the savages.
Teeumseh was jubilant. British honors were
showered upon him. Still he cared little for that ;
for, be it said to this chiefs credit, he did what lie
did from honest love of his own people and for the
protection of what he truly believed to be their
With the fall of Michilimackinac, Detroit, and
Dearborn, his spirits rose, his courage increased.
Surely the Great Spirit was with him; the good
manittos were helping; else such grand success
could never have been his.
All this the prophet told the red men; and
spurred on by success and the assurance of the
Great Spirit's approval, they rose again at
Tecumseh's call and gathered their forces for
STOKIKS OF ILLIN10S. 117
It was the plan of General Brock this time to
carry war into the heart of the "Northwest.
There were still Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison;
and these must be taken. " We must destroy these
as we destroyed Fort Dearborn/' General Brock
said; and Tecnmseh was ready with his help and
This was not altogether an easy task; for the
British, strangers as they were in the territory,
knew nothing of distance. The rivers were all un-
known to them; and without the guidance of the
savages, an attempt to attack these forts would have
been most perilous.
Tecumseh knew the country well; and was ready
to map out, in his own crude way, the rivers and the
With this as a guide, General Brock laid out his
plan, and at once the campaign was opened.
Fort Wayne was to be attacked first. There was
no time to be lost, lest the Americans should
re-enforce the place, knowing as they must that
113 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Fort Wayne and Harrison would not long be left
unmolested by the British.
The savages then were sent ahead, since they
could march more rapidly, with directions to sur-
round the fort and see that re-enforcements were
not received; neither was the garrison to be allowed
opportunity for escape.
Of the several tribes who joined in this enterprise,
none were more eager than the Pottawatomies.
Little had they ever suffered from the settlers; and
until the coming of Tecumseh, none had been more
friendly to the white men or more contented with
But now the savage in them was aroused ; their
success at Fort Dearborn had whetted their savage
appetites and made them impatient for more blood-
Upon their eagerness General Brock looked with
satisfaction. He could afford to be generous. So
he said to their chief, ' If you succeed in this, the
entire contents of the fort shall be vours."
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 119
At this the tribe rang out a chorus of approving"
whoops, flourished their tomahawks, and made ready
for the onslaught.
In only a few days the Shawanese, the Miamis,
and the Pottawatomies appeared .before the fort.
It was never the Indian custom to make a bold
and open attack; and so, true to their tribal tradi-
tions, they scattered themselves in the forests round
about, hid themselves in the grasses, and watched
their chances for catching sentinels off guard or for
sneaking in unseen through gates.
While these tribes lay in wait at Foil Wayne,
another band of savages fell upon Fort Harrison.
First a little settlement outside the fort was
attacked, and twenty people slain. Then, with
twenty scalps dangling from their belts, the savages
pressed on close up to the fort.
Young Captain Taylor, afterward President of
the United States, was in command, with a little
garrison of only eighteen men.
All day and all night the little band lay in dread
ATTACKING KOIM II A UK ISO v
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 121
suspense, for the forests were alive with savages.
Towards morning, the report of a rifle brought
every man to the barricades. The foe were skulk-
ing outside, and a few shots had already entered the
fort. Then the blockhouse was fired; and at the
same time, so that the attention of the little garrison
should be distracted, shots poured in thick and fast.
ff Oft with the roof! " shouted Captain Taylor.
" Off with the roof! "
At this, two men, panic stricken, jumped the walls
and fled to the forest; thus the little garrison was
reduced' to only sixteen.
ff Each man must be as brave as ten ! " said Taylor.
' There are women here, and children, who need
Above the din of battle the captain's voice rang
out; and every man heard and obeyed.
Quick and fast these sixteen, men loaded and re-
loaded, and the savages were kept at bay. When the
sun rose, they withdrew; and, although another
attack was sure to come, the brave garrison
122 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
was given time to rest and prepare for stronger
In the midst of all this a messenger crept through
the Indian lines and made his way to General
Harrison. Without a moment's waiting, Colonel
Hopkins, at the General's command, started out at
the head of twelve hundred volunteers for Fort
Harrison. Never was help more welcome. A hard,
quick march was made, the Indians dispersed, and
the army marched in upon the brave sixteen, w r ho
welcomed them with as joyous cheers as sixteen
men so worn and exhausted could raise.
But all this time the savages about Fort Wayne
were busy. They made no direct attack, for they
waited the arrival of other tribes. They even made
pretense now and then at friendship. Old Chief
Winnemac, once the white man's friend, was now
the leading spirit in the treachery.
It was their plan to gain admittance a few of
them to the fort, overpower the sentinels, open
the gates, raise a whoop, and thus signal the tribes
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 123
outside. These, listening and ready, were then to
rush in, and so the fort was to be captured.
Once Winnemac, under a white flag, was admitted
with a band of comrades. But he found the guard
drawn up inside, rifles in hand, and ready to charge.
He saw that his trick was understood. Then,
making some excuse, which no one failed to inter-
pret, he crept out from the fort, unharmed, because
protected by the flag under which he himself had
proved such a traitor.
For two days more the siege went on. Messages
had been sent to General Harrison; but no one
within the fort could know whether or not the
messengers had succeeded in passing alive beyond
the Indian lines.
That the savages were expecting reinforcements,
was evident; and so both waited the besieged and
One morning, a shout of triumph and a thunder-
ing at the great gateway brought the little garrison
of eighty men to their feet.
1-24 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Had help come? They looked out. No army
was in sight!
w Who is it?" the sentinel called.
"Open! It is I! Oliver."
Then the gate, was drawn back, and William
Oliver, the garrison's old sutler, accompanied by
three friendly Indians, rode in.
rp Harrison is on his way!" he cried, as soon as
the gate was closed. rf I was at Cincinnati when
your messenger came in. We hurried ahead to tell
yon that help is coming!"
Brave William Oliver! For it had been no simple
risk to dash in through the horde of savages that
lay outside !
ff Harrison is on his way!" This was welcome
news; and every one of the eighty felt his courage
rise. rf Even though the savage reinforcements
arrive, we can hold out twelve hours," they
thought. And surely Harrison will reach the fort
in that time.
On the next day Harrison did arrive, with two
STOUIES OF ILLINOIS. 125
thousand Kentucky troops and seven hundred Ohio
volunteers! And at sight of him the savages, with-
out a single attempt at battle, fled to the forest.
For miles they ran, pursued by a few of Harrison's
horsemen. Not once did they turn or attempt to
give battle. On, on, like the cowards they were,
they ran, scattering in all directions.
So the siege of Fort Wayne was lifted; and once
more the little garrison was safe.
Far less successful had this eain])aign been thai
the first, in which Detroit, Michilimackinac, anc
Dearborn had fallen.
Still the British were not discouraged. On the
contrary, with greater vigor than before, the)
planned a third campaign.
Even yet Tecumseh hoped to establish a boundary
between his own and the white men's countries, one
over which the whites should pledge themselves
never to encroach.
In Tecumseh the British still hoped. The\
looked upon him as their strong ally --the one red
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 127
man who had power to sway his people and bring
them into co-operation with the British.
It was to Harrison, however, that the Americans
turned their faces. On his way to Fort Wayne,
messengers had overtaken him, bringing him his
appointment of Commander-in-chief of all the forces
in the Northwest.
With a force of ten thousand men Harrison set at
once to work. First of all he meant to provide
protection for the frontier. Next, he prepared to
march in and recapture Detroit, and so reclaim
Michigan. Nor was this all. Detroit retaken, he
then proposed to invade Canada.
A magnificent plan! Yes, and western heroism
and patriotism were fired. Volunteers were impa-
tient to join the army, for Harrison was a born
All this meant endless labor, untiring zeal. First,
there was the soil rich, black, oozing, then as now.
But with no roads, and in a vast uncultivated region,
it was a terror to the army with its heavy machinery
128 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Still, at Harrison's call, the divisions came, wading
often through the black marshes, knee-deep in mud,
mid often sinking in the treacherous swamps.
First of all came the terrible defeat and massacre
on the River Raisin. Then Harrison built Fort
Meigs, where, hemmed in by mud blockades, he
remained even until the British General Proctor,
with Tecumseh himself as aid, took up his position
before the fort and opened fire.
As we have read in our histories, this was a hard
battle; but in the end Harrison was victorious and
Proctor withdrew, although he had with him
eighteen hundred Indians more than Tecumseh
had before commanded at any one time.
Following close upon this, came the siege of Fort
Stephenson, in which the Americans were again
Then the cry, ff On to Maiden! " the grand battle
on the lakes, Perry's victory, and finally the battle
of the Thames, in which Tecumseh himself fell, and
the war of 1812 came virtually to an end.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 129
During all this time the Kinzies were living in
Detroit held by the British and watched, as a man
so patriotic had need to be watched, by his British
One day General Proctor became suspicions that
Kinzie might be in correspondence with Harrison.
f We must shut the man up," said Proctor to
So Watson went to Kinzie, telling him that Proc-
tor wished to see him on the opposite side of the river.
Kinzie, suspecting nothing, crossed the river;
only to find himself a prisoner and under guard.
Hours passed, and Kinzie did not return. ?f Some-
thing is wrong," said Mrs. Kinzie; and she called a
friendly Indian chief one who, in all the changes
of conditions, had remained true to Kinzie and
told him her fears.
rr We will see," said the chief. And, with a little
band of friends, he set out for the house of the
To avoid trouble Kinzie was released, and his
KKNZIK SKK.S THE BATTUE*
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 131
Indian friends, carried him back to his old station in
triumph. But in a day or two Proctor sent
dragoons and they arrested him again.
r Where is Shaw-nee-aw-kee?." again the Indians
f There ! " said Mrs. Kinzie, r ' taken prisoner by
the Red Coats!"
Without one word, the Indians ran down the
river, seized their canoes, and rowed across.
It is not recorded what they said; but again
Proctor released Kinzie and the Indians carried him
back a second time to Mrs. Kinzie.
A few days later he was again seized upon, and
this time was carried to the prison at Fort Maiden,
at the mouth of the river. Here he was a prisoner,
when Perry's victory took place.
He was out in the^ prison court when the first
sound of cannon rolled down across the waters.
What could it mean! Soon the battle was on, and
both Kinzie and his prison keeper watched with
132 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
ff It is time for you to go back to your cell, sir,"
said an officer.
rt Never mind! Wait! Let me see how the battle
goes ! " cried Kinzie.
Just then a sloop rounded the point. Pressing-
close upon her were two gun boats.
"What is that! She runs! The British colors!
See! she is lowering them! Hurrah! Yes, Sir
Officer, I am ready to go back to my cell. I have
seen how the battle has gone ! "
For the sloop was the " Little Belt " the very
last one of the British squadron that fell that day
before the gallant Perry.
And now the war was over, the English were
driven out, and the Indian confederations broken.
The attention of American people was again turned
towards the Northwest as a future home for the
rapidly growing nation.
During the war much had been learned of its rich
soil, its vast prairies, its timber lands, and its
navigation resources, that might not have been
134 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
revealed in a century to' come had not attention
been forced upon it.
All these glorious conditions began now to be
talked about. The government was roused to
interest; families began to migrate by tens and
hundreds. The pioneer spirit was awake.
The chain of Great Lakes grew rapidly in the
people's recognition of their importance. The Ohio,
until now the only westward commercial route, found
itself challenged by a rival.
And with all this renewal of interest, we may be
sure the "Portage of Chicago " was not forgotten.
Indeed, towards this were all eyes turned; in it was
recognized the future centre of the western home
life and commerce.
As early as 1814, President Madison, in his
message to Congress, recommended that it give due
attention to the importance of a ship canal connect-
ing Lake Michigan with the Illinois by way of
Chicago. This good advice the War Department
readily recognized, and Captain Hezekiah Bradley
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 135
was sent to rebuild and re-establish Fort Dear-
With two companies of men he set out and, as it
happened, again on J'uly 4, just thirteen years from
the day Captain Whistler had sailed with his ^ great
white bird" up to the portage, this man landed to
rebuild the old fort.
Great changes had taken place since that sunny
day thirteen years before, when Whistler arrived
and the natives hurried down, amazed and pleased,
to see the white men and the white bird.
Here stood the little Kinzie house, almost
unharmed, and near it lay the ruins of the old fort;
and there, a little way up the river, in the stubble
and bunch grass, lay the whitened and weather-
beaten bones of the brave martyrs, slaughtered that
day when the savages fell upon the little band they
had promised to protect.
Captain Bradley and his men thought of all these
things when again they landed upon the spot that
had seen such suffering a few years since.
136 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Bat these men were brave and energetic, too; and
they set to work at once to build a new fort
upon the site of the old one. This new fort
consisted of a strong block-house and barracks for
the soldiers the whole enclosed, as before, in
strong high palisades.
Hardly was the fort finished and the place
protected, when John Kinzie came back with his
family again to make himself Chicago's first
citizen. He had been told that, out of love for him
the Indians had allowed his home to stand, but
even he hardly expected to find it in so good a
But there it stood even the vines about the
porch still climbing roofward just as it had been
in those other days when these same people dwelt
there so happily and peacefully.
"People said we were foolhardy to come back,"
Kinzie used to say; "and perhaps we were. But
we loved our little home on the river, and we wanted
to get back to it; so we came."
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 137
But Northwest history was making rapidly in these
days; and in this very year a treaty was made with
the Ottawas, Cbippewas, and Pottawatomies. This
treaty all the chiefs and warriors signed, Black
Partridge's name leading all the rest.
It was most necessary that this strip of land
be secured for a future military road, when the
time should come for the building of the ship canal.
But the surveying was not done exactly as we
might, perhaps, wish. Lines did not always meet,
and so we have in our maps of Illinois even to this
day a monument to the Indian Treaty, in the
diagonal offsets and the triangular wedges that are
to be seen along the lines that bound and separate
our beautiful townships and counties.
The new colony at Fort Dearborn prospered, how-
ever; encouraged by the Kinzie family's bravery,
people began to come again; the block-house itself
was rebuilt; a large parade ground was laid out; a
magazine was constructed; and a great field planted
with corn and other vegetables.
13 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Communications were opened with the several
little settlements in southern Illinois, and boats ran
up and down the south branch of the Chicago River,
Mud Lake, the Desplaines, and Illinois, bringing
supplies to the fort.
Pioneers were coming fast; and in the very next
year 1818 the territory sent its first delegate to
Congress, and Nathaniel Pope applied for and was
granted the admission of the territory as a state
the State of Illinois !
There were very few settlements in the northern
part of the state at that time; but Congressman
Pope was far sighted and most wise.
The northern boundary line was due west from
the southern point of Lake Michigan.
This, of course, did not include the portage of
' We must have Chicago in Illinois," Pope firmly
declared. "It will be a great centre by and by.
Why should not Illinois have the glory? "
And so he set to work to have the boundary
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. i 3<)
changed. He wrote his reasons most clearly and
laid them before Congress.
Congress accepted the change; and there has not
been an epoch in our history since but has shown
how wise and far-sighted an act this was on the part
of Illinois' first Congressman.
The Northwest was rapidly becoming populated.
Wars were over; our territory was secure; the East
was becoming crowded; rumors of the wonderful
country and its great advantages were spreading
, up and down the Atlantic coast, and not only men
for business purposes alone, but whole families -
sometimes whole neighborhoods were coming out
across the prairies.
STORIES OF ILLINIOS. 141
The country along the eastern coast of Lake
Michigan still belonged to the Pottawatomies, the
Ottawa*, and the Chippewas. The white people
were, however, crowding close upon them, and the
time came when both Indians and white men were
glad to make a treaty that should make them both
feel more secure.
It was in 1821 and at Chicago that this treaty
was made. Lewis Cass, the Governor -of Michigan
represented the white men, and Metea, a Potta-
watomie Chief, represented the red men.
One of our greatest authorities on Ihdian affairs
was Henry Schoolcraft. He had travelled among the
Indians, had studied them, learned their Languages,
their legends, their manners and customs. At the
time of this treaty Henry Schoolcraft was the Indian
Agent for the United States and was located in this
section. He was present at the treaty gathering,
and because he wrote it out as no one else could
write it so vigorously, so truthfully, so intelligently
why may we not read the story in his own words?
142 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
f To accommodate the numerous delegation which
gathered at Chicago at this council, great prepara-
tions had to be made at the expense of the
government. Rations must be issued, not only to
the chiefs who took part in the deliberations, but to
all who came' as spectators to grunt out gutteral
approbation to the various speeches to be made.
'These numbered over three thousand; they had
wearily toiled around the southern extremity of
Lake Michigan, and reached Chicago with a keen
relish for the 'mess of pottage' for which their
birthright was to be sold, and he who would deny
this poor pittance to them ought to be branded with
anathema. The northern bank of the river immedi-
ately opposite the fort was the spot selected for the
council, within range of its , guns perhaps as a
measure of caution. In the centre of the grounds
an open bower was erected, with rustic seats for the
chiefs. Two or three days were taken up in
formalities essential to the etiquette of Indian
customs in all important negotiations, and the
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 143
council was opened by a speech from Governor
Cass, setting forth the objects of the convention, in
which the politic orator emphasized his words
describing the benefits resulting to the Indians
through the money and goods they were to get for
Iheir lands, and, after reminding them that their
country was now nearly destitute of game, formally
proposed to buy it, generously offering to let them
still retain portions of it till wanted for settle-
ments, although they were receiving annuities for
"A short pause ensued after the respectful atten-
tion which the Indians had given to this speech, and
then after two days' consideration, Metea replied to
it in his happiest vein of oratory. The following
are extracts from it.
' ' My Father, our country was given to us by the
Great Spirit, who gave it to us to hunt upon, to
make our corn fields upon, and to live upon, and to
make our beds upon when we die; and he would
never forgive us should we now bargain it away.
144 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
When you first spoke to us of the lands of the St.
Marys, we said we had a little, and agreed to sell
you a piece of it; but we told you we could spare
no more. Now you ask us again. You 'a re never
satisfied! We have sold you a great tract of land
already; but it is not enough! We sold it to you
for the benefit of your children, to farm and to live
upon. We shall want it all for ourselves. We
know not how long we may live, and we wish to
leave some lands for our children to hunt upon.
You are gradually taking away our hunting grounds.
We are growing uneasy. What lands you have
you may retain, but we shall sell no more. You
think perhaps I speak in passion, but my heart is
good towards you. AVe have now told you what we
had to say. It is what was determined on in a
council among ourselves; and what I have spoken
is the voice of my nation. But do not think we
have a bad opinion of you. We speak to you with
a good heart, and the feelings of a friend.'
"Governor Cass replied to this speech, indulging
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. Ho
in soft words not unjustly applied, as due in the
main to the honor and good faith of the Indians, to
which various Indian chiefs replied in the usual
style of Indian oratory. John Kinzie also made a
speech, in which he refuted a charge of non-fulfill-
ment of treaty obligations on the part of the United
States. These deliberations lasted till the 23rd,
pending which no one doubted, either white or
Indians, that the latter would come to the terms
required of them and sell their lands, but no signs
of yielding were yet manifest in the impenetrable
countenances of the chiefs, as the council was closed
on this day by one of the chiefs, who said :
f My Father, it is late; I shall do no more to-day;
but to-morrow you shall hear our final council.
You are hungry by this time. You white men eat
at certain fixed hours; we Indians do what we have
to do and eat when it is convenient. '
" The deliberations lasted till the 29th, when the
treaty was signed by both parties.
w The Indians made a cession of their land in
146 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Michigan, amounting to over five million acres, for
which the Pottawatomies were to receive an annuity
of five thousand dollars per annum for twenty years,
in specie, and the sum of one thousand dollars
expended annually among them during the time to
support a blacksmith and a teacher. The right to
immediately construct roads through the territory
ceded, connecting Detroit, Fort Wayne, and
Chicago, was also guaranteed.
f The Ottawas were to receive a perpetual annuity
of one thousand dollars, and for ten years the sum
of fifteen hundred dollars expended annually to
furnish them a blacksmith and a teacher."
This was, of course, a great gain, both in territory
and in security to the white people, and it gave, too,
a great impetus to immigration. Still we must
remember life was very crude and simple here, even
then, in 1821.
The garrison and the few citizens of the place
amused themselves with hunting and fishing. Sup-
plies were obtained from Detroit by a sailing vessel
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 147
in her annual trip, or from Southern Illinois, up the
Illinois and Desplaines rivers, to this then obscure
port, environed as it was by a hundred miles of
Colonel Childs, of La Crosses once wrote of the
country at this time: -
" In 1821, I made a trip to St. Louis in a bark
canoe up Fox River, across the Portage, and down
the Wisconsin to Prairie clu Chien, and thence down
the Mississippi. I was sixteen days on my journey,
and saw but seven white men in the whole distance,
outside the forts. I met one keel-boat on the Mis-
sissippi bound for Fort Armstrong at Rock Island.
There was a small garrison opposite the mouth of
the Des Moines River. There were but few
Americans and few Spaniards at St. Louis; the
inhabitants were mostly French. There was but
one brick building in the place, and no buildings
were located on Front Street, or where the levee
now is. I remained two weeks, when I was advised
to return by way of the Illinois River.
H8 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
"I started by that route, and the next day was
taken down with the ague and fever, and the day
following one of my men was taken with the same
complaint, which left me with one Frenchmen and
one Indian to paddle my canoe. I did not provide
a sufficiently large stock of provisions when I left
St. Louis, presuming that I could get plenty on the
Illinois. But all I was able to obtain was one ham
full of maggots, and one peck of Indian meal. I
saw but one house from the mouth of the Illinois to
Fort Clark, where Peoria now is, at which latter-
place one French trader resided. When we reached
there I was completely exhausted, and remained a
few days to recruit ;; little.
We continued up the Illinois to the junction of
the Kankakee and Eau Plaine, and thence up the
Eau Plaine to where I supposed we had to make a
portage to Chicago River; but 1 could not see any
signs of the portage. There had been heavy rains
for several days, which had so raised the streams
that they overflowed their banks. I concluded that
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 149
I had gone far enough for the portage, so I left
the Eau Plaine and took a northeast direction.
After traveling a few miles, I found the current of
the Chicago River. The whole country was inun-
dated; I found not less than two feet of water all
the way across the portage.
T That night I arrived at Chicago, pitched my tent
on the bank of the lake, and went to the fort for
provisions. I was not, however, able to obtain any;
the commissary informing me- that the public stores
were so reduced that the garrison were subsisting
on half rations, and he knew not when they would
get any more. I went to Colonel Beaubien, who
furnished me with a small supply. I found two
traders here from Mackinaw; and as my men were
all sick, I exchanged my tent and canoe for a horse,
and took passage on the Mackinaw boat for
Manitowoc. One of our party had to go by land
on horse back. There were at this time but two
families residing outside of the fort at Chicago,
those of Mr. Kinzie and of Colonel Beaubien."
BLACK HAWK WAR
But, although a treaty had been made, and
although for a time there was peace and comparative
safety in these little western settlements, cessation
of all Indian troubles had not yet come.
There was Black Hawk, in whom the spirit of
Tecumseh still lived; and there were, alas! white
men who were ready to push the savages, fairly or
unfairly, let but the opportunity arise.
Now, it was on the 15th day of July, 1822, that
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 151
Keokuk, the chief of the Sacs and Foxes, ceded
to the United States all the territory owned by his
tribe east of the Mississippi, and agreed to with-
draw across the river during the following year.
' This is not fair! " Black Hawk thundered when
he heard of the action of Keokuk; and at once
this warrior arrayed himself against the chief and
against the white people.
Keokuk, true to his agreements, crossed the river,
taking with him the greater part of his tribe. But
Black Hawk refused to move a step. pf I shall stay
here upon my own territory," he said. ' The treaty
is not fair, and the white men know it was made
by only four of our chiefs, and that, too, after the
white men had first made them drunk."
" Tell me," said Black Hawk to the Indian Agent ;
"is this treaty fair?"
-You can do nothing," said the Indian Agent;
w the land was sold to the government, and already
the government has sold it to individuals who will
soon claim their portions."
152 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
"It is a lie! " Black Hawk growled; and away he
went to his old British allies at Maiden.
w lf you have not sold your home it is certainly
yours," said the British, ready, of course, to
sympathize with Black Hawk, more especially now
that he was arrayed against the Government of the
? Then I shall defend my home ! " was the old
chiefs tragic answer; and away he hurried to the
chiefs of the different tribes, bent, as Tecumseh had
been before him, on stirring up a war.
Not for one moment was this fierce determination
absent from his thoughts. He talked of it by day and
he dreamed of it by night; and when, on his return
from a hunting expedition, he found his own village
already taken possession of by the white men, and
active preparations in force for cultivating the
rich seven hundred acres on which, for so many
years, Black Hawk's people had raised their crops of
corn, his fury burst forth.
Now, whether or not the original treaty had been
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 153
fair, this last act even the white men knew full well
was an unwarrantable proceeding. The frontier
settlements were fifty miles away; and there was no
reason, other than deliberate design, why this little
spot should have been seized upon just now by
Black Hawk's fury knew no bounds. Even
Keokuk, under this insult, could not hold back his
warriors. With Black Hawk at their head, they
fell upon the little white settlement and took
possession of the field.
But even now a compromise was made; the white
men should cultivate one half the seven hundred
acres, and the squaws the other half. Pressed by
necessity, both red men and white men agreed to
this. But little advantage was the arrangement
to either side. The white men plowed up the corn
the squaws had planted, and the squaws, in re-
venge, drove their cows into the fields of -the white
The latter called for military assistance, and
154 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
General Games, at once advancing to Rock Island,
summoned a council.
"Who is this Black Hawk?" he asked with a
sneer. Black Hawk trembled with fury. >r You ask
who is Black Hawk; and why does he sit among
the chiefs? I will tell you who I am! I am a Sac!
My father was a warrior! Ask these braves who
have followed me to battle! They will tell you who
I am! Provoke our people to war, and you yourself
will learn who Black Hawk is! v
'You will leave this territory and cross the Mis-
sissippi," was General Games' peremptory reply to
this outburst of simple eloquence.
rf l will not!" Black Hawk answered; and so the
But Black Hawk knew full well he could not,
with his little band, stand against the militia of the
United States. Accordingly he withdrew across
the river, * and General Gaines counted the Black
Hawk insurrection at an end.
Black Hawk however, was no such warrior. He
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 155
could wait; but surrender his purpose he would not.
At once he set to work. He sent emissaries to all
the tribes, calling upon them to band with him
against this common foe.
The emissaries came back pretending to have
secured promises of aid from the Chippewas, the
Pottawatomies, the Ottawas and the Winnebagos.
In this faith Black Hawk assembled his people.
They crossed the river, landing near the fort at the
mouth of Rock River.
f We are going to our friends, the Winnebagos, r
Black Hawk answered, when messengers were sent
after him. T We go to plant corn in the territory of
the Winnebagos! "
But the white men had good reason to doubt the
truth of the savage chief's word just here; and a
force of militia followed close upon Black Hawk's
A skirmish followed in which Black Hawk's
warriors were victorious; and Black Hawk, excited
by his success, sent runners to every Indian tribe,
156 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
urging them, with yells and war whoops, to join
forces and push the war forward.
On towards l^aperville the savages came and a
terrible slaughter took place.
Naperville was the settlement nearest Chicago,
and now the people of Chicago began to realize the
danger close at hand. The outlying families hurried
in to the city, as they had some years before, to
place themselves under the protection of old Fort
One man, writing of this time, said;
r The inhabitants came flying from Fox River,
through fear of their dreaded enemy. They came
with their cattle and horses, some bareheaded, and
others barefooted, crying ? The Indians! The
Indians ! ' Those that were able hurried on with all
speed for Danville.
" Some found their way to Danville in advance of
the rest, and told their fearful stories how the
Indians were killing and burning all before them,
while at this time it is presumed that there was not
STORIES OF ILLINIOS. 157
a hostile Indian south of the Desplaines river. At
Plainfield, however, the alarm was so great that it
was thought best to make all possible efforts for
defense, in case of an attack. My house was con-
sidered the most secure place. I had two long pens
built, one of which served for a barn and the other
for a shed. These were torn down, and the logs used
to build up a breastwork around the house. Ail
the people living on Fox river, who could not get
farther away, made my home a place of shelter.
There were one hundred and twenty-five, old and
>f We had four guns, some useless. Ammunition
was scarce. All our pewter spoons, basins, and plat-
ters were soon moulded by the women into bullets.
As a next best means of defense, we got a good
supply of axes, hoes, forks, sharp sticks and clubs.
Here we intended to stay till some relief could be
obtained. This was on Thursday, and we remained
here till the next Sabbath, when the people of
Chicago, hearing of our distress, raised a company
158 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
of twenty-five white men and as many Indians, who
came to our aid."
Ottawa, Danville, and Chicago became places of
refuge for all frontier settlers. Rough forts were
hastily thrown up here and there; and the frontier
men, having sent their wives and children away in
safety to the fort, made brave efforts to save
their little homes.
General Scott, with nine companies, was sent
from Washington; and glad indeed were the people
crowded into the little fort, when one morning a
cannon boomed out across the waters, a vessel sailed
up to the mouth of the Chicago River, and a troop
of soldiers landed.
A week later General Scott himself arrived; but,
alas, for the white men, that dire disease cholera
had broken out among his forces, and men were
dying hourly. Terror now fell upon the people.
Black Hawk outside the Fort! Cholera within!
Which was the more terrible? The poor people
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. Io9
But fortunately there were detachments out upon
the trail of Black Hawk, and, although the spirit of
the savage was as fierce as ever, he now held hack
from the active onslaught he longed to make.
At Stephenson, however, another small victory
was scored for the savage leader. Encouraged by
this, Black Hawk passed on to Apple River Fort,
where Captain Stone, with his plucky garrison of
only twenty-five, held the little wooden stockade for
a refuge to the mining camp that was clustered
Stealthily Black Hawk and his warriors crept
toward the fort and concealed themselves in a
thicket. From this ambush it was the savage's
intention to burst upon the fort when darkness came
on; and very successful, no doubt, their plan might
have been, had not one of the warriors, with more
zeal than discretion, shot at a body of white men
who chanced to be passing the ambush.
One white man fell wounded and the others,
quickly turning their guns towards the concealed
160 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Indians, retreated slowly towards the fort, giving
the alarm as they approached.
Black Hawk, foiled in his purpose but spurred on
by desperation, burst upon the fort, and for ten long
hours kept up a w r ild attack upon the little band. But
the garrison dealt their shot wisely; there was no ex-
citement, aim was steady, and many a red man fell be-
fore the bullets that the white men poured upon them.
The Indians, finding they could make no gain
upon the fort, turned upon the little village, de-
stroyed the buildings, burned the cornfields, and
then, with whoops and yells of defiance, retreated.
The white men followed Black Hawk's warriors
in quick pursuit. Other skirmishes took place; but
finally the savages, fleeing as rapidly as their scanty
means of transportation would allow, were overtaken
by General Henry, on the southern bank of the
Wisconsin. It was a quick battle, and disastrous to
the red men. Fifty braves were killed and many
Still Black Hawk fled before the pursuing white
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 161
men. During the night he succeeded in hurry-
ing his pool- fugitives across the Wisconsin,
whence they could fly towards the Mississippi.
General Atkinson in hot pursuit of the Sacs soon
arrived at Helena, joined Colonel Dodge and, cross-
ing over to the north side, soon struck the trail of
the fated Black Hawk.
On the second day of August the advance guard,
under Colonel Dodge and Colonel Taylor, overtook
them. The main army, however, under General
Atkinson, pressed on, thinking the main body of the
Sacs was in front.
In this they were outwitted by Black Hawk, who,
that he might escape with the main forces while the
white men should be engaged with the little detach-
ment, had sent them on to the mouth of the Bad
Axe River. General Henry, who was in the rear,
suspected this and, waiting not for conference or
instructions, dashed forward and fell upon the
Indians, huddled there together awaiting further
162 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
With hardly a moment's warning, General Henry
burst upon them, a quick panic followed, the red
men were hemmed in, and a fierce, hot battle took
With a yell Black Hawk turned and fled, his few
remaining warriors with him. On, on, to Prairie La
Crosse they fled; and then Black Hawk, helpless,
trapped, knowing that his cause was a lost one,
surrendered himself. Fifty of the warriors were
taken prisoners, a few escaping to the Winnebagoes,
where they hoped to find shelter and protection; but
alas! here the Sioux, old enemies of theirs, fell upon
the outcasts, and all were slain by their savage foe.
In September, the prisoners, Black Hawk among
them, were sent to St. Louis, and the Black Hawk
war was at an end.
A little later, Black Hawk was allowed to return
to his people; and on the Des Moines River in Iowa
the old chief spent the last five years of his life in
peace and quiet. Near the present site of Iowa
City the old chief lies buried. Over his dead body
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 163
was raised a mound the last honor his simple
countrymen . could pay to Black Hawk, the last
native defender of the soil of the Northwest!
And this was the last of organized Indian trouble
for Chicago or for Illinois. From this time on
civilization rapidly increased; the city grew, com-
mercial interests were enlarged, newspapers were
established, organizations of all kinds were formed,
until croakers began to say; "The city is growing
too fast. It will go down! Up like a rocket, down
like a stone ! "
But all these gloomy predictions have failed.
Chicago has grown bravely and steadily.
THE WEO'EBAGO SCARE.
Although Chicago had now been surveyed and
laid out, although its name had now appeared on the
maps in the geographies which the school children
of the United States were using, it was not, even
yet, much of a town only a very stammering
prophecy of what so soon it was to be.
Indian scares, even, were not yet at an end; and
when, in 1827, the Winnebagoes threatened the
village, the Kinzies, the Helms, and. others who had
lived through the attack of 1812, had good reason to
fear a repetition of the same barbarous cruelty.
Let us read the account, as one of the villagers then
told it :
"At the breaking out of the Winnebago war,
early in July, 1827, Fort Dearborn was without
"Doctor Alexander Wolcott, Indian Agent, had
charge of the Fort, living in the brick building, just
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 165
within the north stockade previously occupied by
the commanding officers.
f The old officers' quarters, built of logs, on the
west, and within the pickets, were occupied by
Russell E. Heacock, and one other American family;
others dwelt with their families in the soldiers'
quarters, on the east side of the enclosure. The
store-house and guard-house were on either side of
the southern gate; the sutler's store was east of the
north gate, and north of the soldiers' barracks; the
block-house was located at the southwest and the
bastion at the northwest corners of the fort; and the
magazine of brick was situated about half-way,
between the west end of the guard and block-houses.
'The annual payment of the Pottawatomie
Indians occurred in September of the year 1828. A
large body of them had assembled, according to
custom, to receive their annuity. These left after
the payment for their respective villages, except a
portion of Big Foot's band.
' The night following the payment, there was a
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 167
dance in the soldiers' barracks, during the progress
of which a violent storm of wind and rain arose; and
about midnight these quarters were struck by light-
ning and totally consumed, together with the store-
house and a portion of the block-house.
".The sleeping inmates of Mr. Kinzies's house, on
the opposite bank of the river, were aroused by the
cry of ? Fire' from Mrs. Helm, one of their
number, who from her window had seen the flames.
On hearing the alarm, I, with Robert Kinzie, late
Paymaster of the United States' Army, hastily arose
and, only partially dressed, ran to the river. To our
dismay, we found the canoe, which was used for
crossing the river, filled with water; it had been
partially drawn up on the beach and had been filled
by the dashing waves. Not being able to turn it
over, and having nothing with which to bail it out,
we lost no time, but swam the stream. Entering by
the north gate we saw at a glance the situation.
- The barracks and store-house being wrapped in
flames, we directed our energies to the saving of the
168 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
guard-house, the east end of which was on fire.
Mr. Kinzie, rolling himself in a wet blanket, got
upon the roof. The men and women, about forty in
number, formed a line to the river, and with buckets,
tubs and every available utensil, passed the water to
him; this was kept up till daylight before the flames
were subdued, Mr. Kinzie maintaining his dangerous
position with great fortitude, though his hands, face,
and portions of his body were severely burned. His
father, mother and sister, Mrs. Helm, had mean-
while freed the canoe from water, and crossing in it,
fell into line with those carrying water.
" Some of the Big Foot band of Indians were
present at the fire, but merely as spectators, and
could not be prevailed upon to assist; they all left
the next day for their homes. The strangeness of
their behavior was the subject of discussion among us.
rf Six or eight days after this event, while at
breakfast in Mr. Kinzie's house, we heard singing,
faintly at first, gradually growing louder as the
singers approached. Mr. Kinzie recognized the
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 169
voice as that of Bob Forsyth, and left the table for
the piazza of the house, whither we all followed.
About where Wells street now crosses the river, in
plain sight from where we stood, was a light birch
canoe, manned with thirteen men, rapidly approach-
ing, the men keeping time with their paddles to one
of the Canadian boat songs; it proved to be
Governor Cass and his secretary, Robert Forsyth,
and they landed and soon joined us.
r? From them we first learned of the breaking out of
the Winnebago war, and the massacre on the upper
Mississippi. Governor Cass was at Green Bay by
appointment, to hold a treaty with the Winnebagoes
and Menomonee tribes, who, however, did not appear
to meet him in council. News of hostilities reach-
ing the Governor there, he immediately procured a
light birch-bark canoe, purposely made for speed,
manned it with twelve men at the paddles and a
steersman, and started up the river, making a port-
age into the Wisconsin, then down that river and
the Mississippi to Jefferson Barracks, below St. Louis,
170 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
" Here he persuaded the commanding officer to
charter a steamer and, embarking troops on it,
ascended the Mississippi in search of the hostile
Indians, and to give aid to the troops at Fort
Snelling. On reaching the mouth of the Illinois
River, the Governor (his men and canoe having
been brought so far on the steamer), ascended that
stream and the Des Plaines, and passing through
Mud Lake into the south branch of the Chicago
River, reached Chicago. This trip from Green
Bay was performed in about thirteen days, the
Governor's party sleeping only five to seven hours,
and averaging sixty to seventy miles travel each day.
' f On the Wisconsin River they passed Winnebago
encampments without molestation. They did not
stop to parley, passing rapidly by, singing their
boat songs; the Indians were so taken by surprise
that, before they recovered from their astonishment,
the canoe was out of danger. Governor Cass
remained at Chicago but a few hours, coasting Lake
Michigan back to Green Bay. As soon as he left,
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 171
the inhabitants of Chicago assembled for consulta-
tion. Big Foot was suspected of acting in concert
with the Winnebagoes, as he was known to be
friendly to them, and many of his band had inter-
married with that tribe.
ff Shab-o-nee was not here at the payment, his
money having been drawn for him by his friend,
Billy Caldwell. The evening before Governor
Case's visit, however, he was in Chicago, and then
the guest of Caldwell. At my suggestion, he and
Caldwell were engaged to visit Big Foot's village
(Geneva Lake), and get what information they-
could of the plans of the Winnebagoes; and also
learn what action Big Foot's band intended taking.
They left immediately, and on Hearing Geneva Lake
arranged that Shab-o-nee should enter the village
alone, Caldwell remaining hidden.
"Upon entering the village, Shab-o-nee was made
a prisoner, and accused of being a friend of the
Americans and a spy. He affected great indigna-
tion at these charges and said to Big Foot: " I was
172 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
not at the payment, but was told by my braves that
yon desired ns to join the Winnebagoes and make
war on the Americans. I think the AVinnebagoes
have been foolish; alone they cannot succeed. So
I have come to council with yon, hear what you
have to say, when I will return to my people and
report all yon tell me; if they shall th'jn say, we
will join you, I will consent/
w After talking nearly all night they agreed
to let him go, provided he was accompanied
by one of their own number; to this proposal
Shab-o-nee readily consented, though it placed
him in a dangerous position. His friend Cald-
well was waiting for him in the outskirts of
the village, and his presence must not be known,
as it would endanger both of their lives. Shab-o-
nee was equal to the emergency. After leaving in
company with one of Big Foot's braves, as the
place of CaldwelPs concealment was neared, he
commenced complaining in a loud voice of being
suspected and made a prisoner, and when quite near,
STORIES OF ILLINIOS. 173
said, ' We must have no one with us in going to
Chicago. Should we meet any one of your band
or any one else, we must tell them to go away; we
must go by ourselves, and get to Chicago by noon
to-morrow. Kinzie will give us something to eat,
and we can go on next day.'
rr Caldwell heard and understood the meaning of
this, and started alone on another route. Strategy
was still to be used, as Shab-o-nee desired to report,
so on nearing Chicago, he said to his companion,
f If Kinzie sees you, he will ask why your band did
not assist in putting out the fire. Maybe he has
heard news of the war and is angry with Big Foot;
let us camp here, for our horses are very tired.'
This they did, and after a little, the Big Foot brave
suggested that Shab-o-nee should go to the Fort for
food and information. This was what he wanted to
do, and he lost no time in reporting the result of his
expedition, and procuring food, returned to his camp.
w He started the next morning with his companion
for his own village; on reaching it he called a council
174 CALDWKLL HKA1II> AND VNDKIISTOOI. T1IK MKANING OF THIS.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 175
of his Indians, who were addressed by Big Foot's
emissary, but they declined to take part with the
Winnebagoes, advising Big Foot to remain neutral.
" On receiving Shab-o-nee's report, the inhabit-
ants of Chicago were greatly excited; fearing an
attack, we assembled for consultation, when I
suggested sending to the "Wabash for assistance,
and tendered my services as messenger. This was
at first objected to, on the ground that a majority of
the men at the Fort were in my employ, and in case
of an attack, no one could manage them or enforce
their aid but myself. It was, however, decided that
I should go, as I knew the route and all the settlers.
An attack would probably not be made until Big
Foot's ambassador had returned with his report;
this would give at least two weeks' security, and in
that time I could, if successful, make the trip and
" I started between four and five P. M., reach-
ing my trading house on the Iroquois River by
midnight, where I changed my horse and went on.
176 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
It was a dark, rainy night. On reaching Sugar
Creek, I found the stream swollen out of its banks,
and my horse refusing to cross, I was obliged to
wait till daylight, when I discovered that a large
tree had fallen across the trail, making the ford
impassable. I swam the stream and went on,
reaching my friend Mr. Spencer's house at noon,
tired out. Mr. Spencer started immediately to give
the alarm, asking for volunteers to meet at Danville
the next evening, with five days' rations.
" By the day following, at the hour appointed, one
hundred men were organized into a company, and
appointing a Mr. Morgan, an old frontier fighter, as
their captain, we immediately started for Chicago,
camping that night on the north fork of the Vermil-
lion River. It rained continually, the trail was very
muddy, and we were obliged to swim most of the
streams and many of the large sloughs, but we still
pushed on, reaching Fort Dearborn the seventh day
after my departure, to the great joy of the waiting
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 177
' We reached Chicago about four o'clock in the
evening of the fourth day, in the midst of one of the
most severe rainstorms I ever experienced, accom-
panied by thunder and vicious lightening. The rain
we did not mind; we were without tents and were
used to wetting/ The water we took within us hurt
ns more than that which fell upon us, as drinking it
made many of us sick.
f The people of Chicago were very glad to see us.
They were expecting an attack every hour since
Colonel Hubbard had left them, and as we
approached they did not know whether we were
enemies or friends, and when they learned that we
were friends they gave us a shout of welcome.
" We kept guard day and night for some eight or
ten days, when a runner came I think from Green
Bay bringing word that General Cass had con-
cluded a treaty with the Winnebagoes and that we
might now disband and go home."
And thus, with little real suffering, did the Win-
nebago scare of 1827 come to its end.
THE LAST OF THE POTTAWATOMIES.
When the white men came here, they found the
country round about Chicago occupied, as we know,
by the Pottawatomies. These were their hunting
grounds; and here their tents were pitched, their
wigwams and villages built.
They were an intelligent tribe, even from the
beginning, and were possessed of no little informa-
tion, as the result of their quick observation and
ready conclusions regarding what they saw.
The white men had little difficulty in making
friends with them; and from the beginning the white
men and the red men hunted and fished, ate and
drank together around their hospitable camp fires.
The Illinois Indians, who dwelt up and down
this Northwest Territory from the Wabash to
the Mississippi, and from the Ohio to the Great
Lakes had their central village in northern
Illinois where Utica now is.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 179
Then, as now, it was a beautiful location, nestled
in the valley, and these Indians were not lacking in
appreciation of its beauty when they chose it for
It was not long- after the discovery of this section
by La Salle, that the Iroquois burst upon these
peace-abiding Illinois, laid waste their city, and
scattered them up and down the plain.
Until this time they too had been a powerful
tribe, and had their share in the glories of Indian
warfare. But from this blow they never recovered.
For three generations they struggled on, though
with little success, against foe after foe.
Close by their city, a part of what was once the
bank of the great Illinois River in those days of long
ago, stands a great water-worn rock.
This rock the Illinois Indians often looked upon
as their natural fortress, should ever attack come to
them; and, indeed, had it been planned and built for
a fortress, it could not have been made more secure
from attack, so high and steep is its craggy front.
180 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Now, the Pottawatouaies and the Ottawas were
most friendly. Indeed, Pontiac, the old Ottawa
chief, the idol of his -tribe, was obeyed and
reverenced hardly less by the Pottawatomies than
by his own people.
It was but natural, then, when this old chief fell,
slain, as the Pottawatomies believed, by the Illinois,
that they should join forces with the Ottawas and
swear eternal enmity to the offending tribe.
Accordingly, war was waged upon the Illinois,
already broken in spirit; and at last so few of them
remained that they fled to Starved Rock, so long
looked upon as their natural fortress. There,
besieged by their enemy, unable to obtain food or
water though the river ran at their feet they
starved on until, in desperation, knowing that death
was theirs if they remained upon the rock no less
than if they left it, they rushed down into the
valley to fight for their lives.
'Very softly, and in the dead of night, they crept
down the stone stairway, only to meet there at the
STOKIKS OF ILLINOIS. 181
foot a great army of Pottawatomies and Ottawas
waiting and ready for the slaughter.
A terrible scene followed. War whoops filled the
air; and with the fury of wild beasts the Poltawato-
inies and Ottawas fell upon the little band of hall'
starved Illinois. The women and children mere
skeletons, so reduced were they by starvation fell
easy victims to the foe, who slew them with no less
satisfaction than they did the warriors of the
The conflict lasted but a short time; for the weak,
starved Illinois had little courage or endurance to
do battle, and in an hour the ground was covered
with the dead bodies of the Illinois.
Eleven only escaped. These eleven, strengthened
by desperation, broke through the ranks of the
enemy, and in the darkness and confusion, seized
some canoes that were anchored there and made
their way to St. Louis.
Here they were protected by the people in the
fort, given food and allowed to rest, until at last,
"STARVED ROCK, 1
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 183
broken in spirit, not even longer claiming 1 the name
Illinois, they crept away to friendly tribes farther
south, whoever would hear their piteous tale and
accept them into their tribe.
So perished the Illinois at the hands of the Potta-
It was this extermination of the Illinois that
secured to the Pottawatomies the country up and
down this section.
Chicago had always been a favorite hunting
ground for the Pottawatomies. Around it they
liked to set up their wigwams; here they were
accustomed to hold their great councils; and here it
was that they finally made their last treaty with our
In this treaty they agreed to move to a certain
locality west of the Missouri ; and gradually they
went away, leaving only a few of their number, who
still lingered about the growing city, trading a little,
working a little, but in no way molesting the
184 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
In 1835, the Pottawatomies assembled for the last
time in Chicago to receive their annuity from the
Most amazed did they seem to find houses and
business blocks already erected upon the very places
where, in their day, the tall, rank grass had grown.
To some of them the realization seemed to come
that their country was gone, that they were
exiles, and that a greater people had indeed taken
possession of their lands.
There were five thousand Pottawatomies assem-
bled in the city on this day in 1835; and as they
realized that never again would they come together
on their native soil, the old spirit of savagery seemed
to leap up in them and a desire once more to
express themselves in old time Avar dance took
possession of them.
Accordingly, without warning to the white men,
'they assembled at the Council House, near the
present Lake House.
They wore only a strip of cloth around their loins,
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 185
and they had painted their bodies in a great variety
of most brilliant colors.
On their faces, certainly, they had allowed their
most savage artistic instincts full play; for never
were faces made more hideous!
Their long, coarse, black hair they had gathered
in old time scalp locks, and among the hair were
feathers and plumes, strung together so that
in some cases they hung down behind and even
Kach Indian was armed with tomahawk and war
club, and the leaders beat upon hollow pans, making
a noise deafening and horrible.
Up and down the north side of the river they
marched, stopping at each house to whoop and yell
and flourish their tomahawks.
Over the old bridge they marched, on across the
South Branch, up to the Sauganash Hotel.
It was a hot close morning in August; the per-
spiration poured down their faces, their tongues
rolled out, and their eyes were wild and bloodshot.
16 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
Their faces were fierce and cruel and their strong-
muscles were drawn up in great knots so strained
and tense were they.
They danced and leaped at every step, and
brandished their Avar clubs with constant whoops
Surrounding the hotel, they leered in at the
windows and shook their tomahawks at the women,
yelling and howling and threatening.
More than one brave heart beat high; for even
the bravest of the men knew that at any moment the
savages, excited and wrought up as they were,
might turn this sham war dance into actual warfare 1 ,
lose control of themselves and burst in upon the
people, helpless as they were before them.
Fortunately this did not happen, and the Indians
marched on to Fort Dearborn, where, before the
assembled officers, they finished their exhibition,
with louder yells, higher leaps and greater
Then, at the word of command, they ceased,
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 187
wiped their perspiring faces, and dispersed to their
lodging places, content now to leave their old hunt-
ing grounds and go back to their home beyond the
Xo less glad were the people of Chicago to see
them go; for, tragic though their exile was, the
white man knew full well that their sham war dance
might have proved a real one, that many a white
village had witnessed it as real, and that for the
safety and peace of mind of the growing city it was
best that the Pottawatomies appear never again
within its limits.
THE GREAT FIEE.
41 O city by the inland sea,
The whole world's heart in sympathy,
Throbbed for thee in thy distress,
But thon'rt risen now to bl ss
All who call on thce.
It had been a most unusually dry summer. Since
July there had been only two and one-fourth inches
of rainfall in the prairie section of the country less
than one-fourth the average amount.
It was on October 7th, 1871, that the first fire in
Chicago broke out, and the four blocks included by
Adams, Clinton, A T an Buren Streets and the South
Branch, were destroyed.
This of itself was no small fire. Dry as the build-
ings were, and with a south wind blowing, it was
only by the most energetic labor that even this fire
was brought under control and the city saved.
But hardly had the firemen recovered from the
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 189
exhaustion of this night's work, when on Sunday
evening- out ran^ another- alarm of fire this time
from l)e Koven Street locality.
The southwest wind was now blowing a gale.
The watchmen on the Court House misjudged the
locality, and the nearest engine reached the scene
only to find the fire already beyond control.
The wind rose higher and higher; the dry roofs
snapped and crackled. Great tongues of fire were
whirled high in the air; pieces of burning timber
were blown hundreds of feet to the northeast,
dropping here and there and everywhere upon the
dry roofs of buildings. The fire was everywhere!
The fifteen engines were but toys, in their power to
stav the flames!
Already the old Judge Caton place one of
Chicago's earliest landmarks was in flames. The
beautiful forest around about it hissed and crackled
like fire-works; and in a lew moments, little else
than the twelve old chimneys were left to mark the
ruin of the grand old mansion house.
190 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
On, on the fire rushed, towards the district
burned the night before. ff ~ But it must stop then ! "
the people said; and in their despair, they even
watched, with relief, the destruction of the blocks up
to that charred and empty square.
Certainly this seemed probable; and under any
ordinary conditions it must have been so. But the
city seemed fated.
At half past twelve, with a howl, as if exulting in
the dire destruction, the wind swept up with a fear-
ful gust, siezed a brand of fire, hurled it high in the
air, and sent it with the speed of a rocket across the
river, down upon the roof of a miserable little
tenement house built of wood.
One second, and the roof was in a blaze; five
minutes, and the whole wooden section was one
sheet of flames.
On the roof of the Court House the watchmen
fought the falling embers, and rang the great bell.
At last the wooden cupola caught,, and the watch-
men were driven below. The bell rang on and on,
STORIES OF ILLINIOS. 191
until it fell with a great crash into the meltrng
caldron of flames below.
In the jail basement, the prisoners shrieked and
howled and shook their iron doors.
"Let them go!" came the command from Captain
Hickey; and out they rushed, blinded and half
suffocated, into the street below the only beings
in the whole doomed city to whom the fire was not a
sorrow and a terror!
Here and there, powder was used and buildings
blown np, that great gaps might be made, which,
it was hoped, might stop the onward rush of fire.
But even this was of little avail; for hardly had the
first great black chasm been made, where the
business palace of the Merchants' Insurance Com-
pany stood, when the flames, with superhuman
power, leaped the chasm and fell with redoubled
fury upon the roof beyond.
And now the fire crossed the main river! It was
half past two, when a car-load of keros.ene, standing
on the N. "W. K. K., caught; and from that the fire
192 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
fiend rushed straight on towards the dwelling houses
of that section of the city.
An hour later, and the City Water Works were
attacked. This building was of stone and the roof
slated over. But the fire seemed no respector of
material. The flames fell upon this slated roof,
which ignited and sent a blaze down in upon the
Most courageously the engineer and his force
held theit* post and fought the flames, till the very
roof fell in, when flight was all that was left to them.
N~ow, with the pumping' engines themselves
destroyed, the fire had no obstruction. On, on it
sped, even up to the very limits of Lincoln Park;
nor did it stop until the last house upon the limit
For twenty-five long hours had the fire raged,
and over a distance of four miles it swept in dire
destruction. Thousands of people were driven into
the streets, homeless and penniless, and hundreds lay
dead beneath the ruins of fallen buildings. ]S"o
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 103
whole volume could tell the story of this fire, the
misery of the people, the destruction of the city.
What now would be the future of this ruined
city? Would it, could it recover? That was the
question asked by the people of Chicago and of all
other cities of the country.
On the morning after the fire was over, one man
was seen looking at the ruins of his business block,
and turning over the bricks here and there.
? What are you doing?" a neighbor asked.
" Seeing how soon these bricks will be cool
enough to build again ! " was the laconic answer.
And that answer seemed the prophecy of the
"Ruined!" exclaimed the editor of the Tribune;
"Never! Our city will boast a population of one
million in twenty years;" and his prophecy was
Such has been, and such is, the spirit of the
THE WORLD'S FAIR YEAR.
" () city by the inland sea,
Whose institutions grand and free,
Give instruction and delight.
Making darkened pathways bright,
"A burden of honor!" Yes, and how grandly
our brave city bore the burden!
When the idea of celebrating the four hundreth
anniversary of the coining of Columbus sprang into
the minds of the people, the next question was.
Where should we hold the celebration ? At the
196 STORIES OF ILLINOIS.
West Indies, where first the caravels landed?
Columbus' tomb was there; that made it fitting.
In Boston, because it was historic? In New
York, because it was New York? In Philadelphia,
because the Centennial was held there?
No none of these! But in our own Chicago!
Because Chicago was large and central the City
of the Future; and above all, because the people
of Chicago dared.
And it was, indeed, no little undertaking, no little
risk and burden. But Chicago knew its resources
and its citizens knew its brave men and women
their intelligence, their energy, their patriotism and
their unfailing capacity for successful enterprise.
And so it came about that it was Chicago who
entertained the guests for the World's Fair a fail-
greater than which no country of the world has ever
seen. But it will be most superfluous to talk
T World's Fair " to Illinois boys and girls ! It is all
too fresh in our minds; and we know, as no one can
tell us, how grand and beautiful it was.
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 19?
Indeed, Illinois boys and girls have a right to be
proud of that part of the exhibition which they
themselves provided their educational exhibit. If
it were not already conceded by the thousands of
educational men and women who were there, that no
exhibit from any other state excelled our own, we
should not claim it ourselves. But they said it
they said it at the time, and they say it still; and so
they will not count it ill taste in us if we trust their
judgment and take deserved comfort to ourselves,
that we contributed acceptably in this, as in other
lines, to the World's Exposition of 1893.
The first definite movement towards the celebra-
tion of the discovery of America was the forming
of a corporation in 1889 under the laws of Illinois.
The next, was the passing of an act in Congress,
in the preamble of which we find these words :
>f Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of
Representatives of the United States of America in
Congress assembled; that an exhibition of arts,
industries, manufactures, and products of the soil,
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 199
mine, and sea, shall be inaugurated in the year 1892,
in the city of Chicago in the state of Illinois, as
But the corporation must first have ready
$5,000,000, to begin the work, and 5,000,000 more
to bring forward on demand during the exposition.
This did not appall the Illinois spirit. The five
million was raised by popular subscription, all gladly
contributing, from the millionaire to the day laborer,
according to their means.
And it was because this first sum was so gener-
ously contributed, that the second five million was
raised by issue of city bonds.
So the preliminary work went on. A greater
undertaking our country never saw; but that it was
wisely and successfully carried forward, we had our
proof when the Fair was thrown open to the public.
It was on the 12th of October, 1892 the
anniversary of the landing of Columbus that the
dedication took place. And what a day that was,
not only in Chicago, but throughout the country!
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 201
Columbus day! Celebrated by the school boys
and girls in every city and town and borough!
MiisiQ, processions and flags! And in the evening,
patriotic songs, fireworks, speeches and cheers for
the land of Columbus! We remember it still.
And we are proud to-day, as we then were, that we
are Americans, ready now and forever to hail
Columbia our ow r n, our native land.
And upon our Chicago, the burden of all this fell
It is over now; and has passed into the history of
our city. It was great; it was established on a
mighty scale; it was carried on with energy and
enthusiasm, and it w^as a success. Each state and
territory in the Union helped, and had its represent-
atives in delegates and officers. All worked in
harmony. Great dreams of achievement were ful-
filled. And in all this Chicago failed not in any
respect to support and carry on, with glory to her-
self and comfort to her guests, her f ' great burden of
honor," The Columbian Exposition.
And now, Chicago's future !
202 STORIES Of ILLINOIS,
What shall it be? Who shall tell?
But of one thing we may be sure the same
brave spirit of enthusiasm that has pervaded the
hearts of the present and past generations, will per-
vade the hearts of those yet to come. Love for the
city by its citizens is, to us and to it, a tower of
strength. We are proud of our city; and we are
proud that we are proud.
No city on earth has a record like it. Fifty years
ago a prairie to-day a city of more than a million
inhabitants, representing every interest commer-
cial, industrial, educational and artistic known to
any section in our broad land. Of our city in its
earlier days, one old man, still hearty and strong,
says with glowing pride;
" I was born in 1822 in a little house at the foot
of Washington Street, four blocks from old Fort
Dearborn. The house was one that had been used
as a trading post. Afterward, about 1834, when the
pier was built at the mouth of the river, the course
of the river was changed, and the foundations of the
STORIES OF ILLINOIS. 203
old house were so undermined that it had to be
rc I can recollect the time when I could g-o to
the fort and count only twenty-five buildings out-
side the garrison, and these were mostly log houses.
f This part of the city was then a forest. The
trees were as thick as they could be down to
Chicago Avenue. In this very place we could sit
and shoot deer; and there were wood wolves, which
were larger and darker than the ordinary prairie
"Prairie wolves, by the way, were exceedingly
numerous all around Harrison and Vali Buren
Streets. From Randolph Street, running south,
there was a strip of forest to Sixteenth Street, and
between Fifth Avenue and the lake. This was
heavy timber, and once in a while a bear or a lynx
would get in there."
And another no less proud of the wonderful
change in his own life-time, says:
pf l was born in one of the old Fort Dearborn
204 STORIES 01 s ILLINOIS.
houses, and I have played over the ground time and
time again as a boy.
? There is one point in connection with old Fort
Dearborn that I should like to have corrected, and
that is the statement that it was surrounded by a
solid plank fence. Instead of this it was surrounded
by five rows of sharp pickets, each about fifteen feet
Other cities have gone through the same process
of change and growth, to be sure; but not in half a
century. And it is because of this proud past that
we hope so much for the future. Great schemes and
great interests even now are pending; and in them
Chicago will not fail. Pride of citizenship will pre-
serve and push forward our city in the years to come,
even as it has done in the few short years that have
passed; and we shall sing as proudly then as now:
^ O, city by the inland sea,
Columbia has chosen thee
To proudly say, < I Will,'
And all prophecy fulfill,
Mighty city by the inland sea."
HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY.
H E. MACOMBER.
,llus. Price, Bds., 30 cts.
Cloth, 40 cts.
Daniel Boone Lewis
and Clark Fremont
Illus. Boards, 30 cents;
Cloth, 40 cents.
Edison, with graphic
stories of their wonderful
discoveries and inventions.
Stories of the Red Children.
By DOROTHY BROOKS. Large type. Illus.
Price, Boards, 30 cents; Cloth, 40 cents.
It is both natural and fitting that the boys and girls of
America should be interested and familiar with the legends
that have woven so much of poetry and romance about the
life of the Red men. And \\hen these fanciful talcs are
presented as a part of the life-his'ory of the little Red chil-
dren they touch tl e kindred love of the ma velous in the
civilized children of to-day with a pecu'iar closeness. All
barriers of race and centuries of time fa e away and the red
and white children clasp hands in joy and delight in their
mutual love of Nature's wonder-tales. The author's well-
known charm in story telling has never shown bett< r than
in this little book. The style is smooth, flowing and beauti-
ful. Wind, stars, rain, snow, rainbows and the \\hole phe-
nome 1 a of nature are woven into charnrng stories which
will feed the imagination without injuring the children.
The book is illustrated by twenty-three striking pictures
vivid with Indian life and activities.
HISTORY AND PATRIOTISM.
American History Stories.
By MARA L. PRATT, Author of Young Folk's Library of
American History, etc. Vols. I., II., III., IV.
Price, Boards, 36 cents each; Cloth, 50 cents.
USED IN THE SCHOOLS OF NEW YORK, BOSTON, BROOKLYN, P1TTSBURG,
MINNEAPOLIS, ST. PAUL, MILWAUKEE, NEW HAVEN, HARTFORD, ETC.
(For ^rd, ^.th and ^th Years.}
Your American History Stories are, in my opinion among
the most valuable aids to the work of introducing History in
the lower grades. We are using a quantity of them in Grades
III. and IV. Reading and language are best developed in
connection with what is intensely interesting, and I predict a
*arge demand for books of this sort.
S. T. BUTTON, Supt. of Schools, Brookline, Mass.