|Julie Sisco||2009-06-22 15:45:32|
|AN INTIMATE VIEW OF BLACK HAWK|
Iowa Old Press
Register and Leader
Des Moines, Polk Co. Iowa
March 10, 1907
AN INTIMATE VIEW OF BLACK HAWK
Pioneer Iowan Gives Personal Recollections of the Notable Indian Chief.
Elder W.C. Reed of Marion county, who has been a resident of Iowa for seventy-two years, and of Marion county for sixty-one years, has the unique distinction to have been a close friend and neighbor of Black Hawk, when that great warrior chief of the Sac and Fox Indians lived on the banks of Devil's creek, in Lee county. Mr. Reed often visited in Black Hawk's cabin, knew his wife, daughter and one of his two sons; was personally acquainted with Keokuk, Wapello and Hardfish, and saw Black Hawk's remains in their grave three months after interment and before vandals had stolen them for exibition purposes.
So far as can be ascertained, Mr. Reed is the only man now living who knew Black Hawk personally, entertained him in his home, was entertained by him and is personally cognizant of the historic and picturesque closing acts of this most famous chieftain of the once great tribe which dominated the upper Mississippi valley three-quarters of a century ago.
Mr. Reed recently celebrated his ninety-first birthday, and notwithstanding his extreme age and the fact that the wife of sixty-six years' companship (sic) died three years ago, he is still in good health, with a remarkably active brain. In most of the vital particulars Mr. Reed's reminiscences agree with the standard works on the Indians of Wisconsin and Iowa territory -- such, for instance, as Fulton's "Red Men of Iowa." Mr. Reed's story, however, has the added merit of adding little details of conversation, personal appearance and customs of the early settlers which are entirely missing in the works of history. Mr. Reed's story, as taken down in the home which he now occupies within a half mile of the site of his first Marion county home of sixty-one years ago, is as follows:
I was born in Polk county, Ill., three miles from Golconda, on Jan. 3, 1816, and came to Iowa on May 25, 1835, at the age of 19. I have lived in this state continuously ever since. Before coming to Iowa I had traveled up and down the Ohio and lower Mississippi rivers considerable, going back and forth to and from New Orleans several times. In 1835 the western fever seized me and I made the journey to the Mississippi river overland, driving three yoke of oxen. We were twenty days on the road.
Crossing the Mississippi river, but three years after the end of the Black Hawk war, and when but few white men were to be found in what is today the state of Iowa, I settled at Fort Madison, about midway between Keokuk and Burlington. There was not much of a settlement there when I arrived. John and Nathaniel Knapp were there when I came, Nathaniel having already brought his family, although John Knapp did not move his family across the river until two or three years later. Nathaniel Knapp and his family occupied the trading cabin which had been erected a few years before that. Then there was John Box, who had moved over from Illinois, andhad erected a shanty; my future father-in-law, Daniel Thompson, who had moved over, in 1834, from what was then known as Commerce, but which later became Nauvoo, the town made famous by the Mormons. Aside from these few families there were some young men and that was all.
There was a larger settlement up at Burlington. I was never down to Keokuk in those days, but I knew that a trading station had been established there and there was quite a little colony. The garrison was then occupied at Montrose, three companies of dragoons being located there when I arrived. These were practically all the white folks in the southeastern part of what is today the state of Iowa. But we had plenty of Indians; Indians all around us, most of them of the Sac and Fox tribe.
I first met Black Hawk in the fall of 1837, five years after the battle of Bad Ax had ended the rebellion and after he had been taken on a tour of the eastern cities, to be impressed by the greatness of the country, after which he told his people that the white folks were as numerous as the leaves of the trees.
I remember very well the second time I ever saw Black Hawk. He was going to Fort Madison from his wick-a-up on Devil creek, about a mile from where my log cabin was. He was going for whiskey.
Later in the day I saw him returning home, and although I knew he had been drinking practically all the day, he was walking as straight as a bee flies. He could drink an awful lot of whisky and never show any effects of it. When he came up opposite my cabin he crossed over and came in, saying he wanted to warm his moccasins. He was dressed peculiarly but rather customarily for him, wearing a fine broadcloth suit and a high silk hat. but he always wore moccasins; he has frequently told me that he could never stand the touch of hard leather on his feet, so he went everwhere in moccasins. It was to warm his moccasins that he stopped to see me that day. After he had been made comfortable my wife gave hiim a half of a mince pie and some coffee and he ate this with relish. When he was through he got ready to go on, after having thanked her for the food and complimenting it by saying "heap good." He said that his squaw would be waiting and watching for him and so he set off. Black Hawk was always a good man to his family.
After that we saw Black Hawk and his family very much. We were neighbors, only a mile distance between my cabin and his wick-a-up. I must say, too, that Black Hawk and his family were good neighbors. We didn't think anything of associating with Indians in those days; there were so many of them, they were as common as white folks today. We were not a bit afraid of them, either; we accepted them as a matter of course and got along fine. The fact that Black Hawk had been a great warrior and had gone on the warpath never bothered us. I don't recollect now that we ever thought much about it. Black Hawk was meek and peaceable in those days when I knew him.
When the government deposed him from being chief, after the war, and put Keokuk in his stead, Black Hawk's spirit was broken. There was no danger from him any more. He became meek and mild, living out his remaining days as quietly as possible.
I can recall very well how the chief looked in those days. He was rather small in stature and very slight when I knew him, not weighing much over 125 pounds. He was bald and kind of dried up or shriveled, as though the sorrows and troubles he had had withered him like an old leaf. Around his own wick-a-up he always wore a blanket and moccasins, but when he went out he usually wore either a uniform or broadcloth suit and silk hat. He always wore moccasins.
While the chief himself was a slight, frail, old man, his son, Nes-se-as-kuk, was as fine a specimen of manhood as I ever saw, with splendid physique, and broad chested, standing five feet, eleven inches high, and weighing fully 190 pounds.
Madam Black Hawk was a very fine looking woman, much lighter in color than most Indians. I always had the idea that she was part French, to judge from her appearance.
Black Hawk had another son, the settlers called him Tom Black Hawk. He was a bad Indian and hated the whites bitterly.
Aside from the old chief, interest in those days in the family centered in the daughter, Nauasia, the prettiest Indian girl I ever saw in my life, a girl of such striking beauty that she would attract attention anywhere. Nauasia was the belle of the settlements those days. The white folks said her name was an Indian corruption of Nancy.
After a year or two of living in Fort Madision a couple of hotels were built, and it was our custom to have frequent balls. Nauasia was the belle every time. Not a young white fellow but would give almost anything he had for the honor of a dance with Nauasia. And what a dancer! She was as spry and agile as a fawn. I never saw a girl lighter on her feet than Nauasia. The young fellows would stand around and look eagerly until they mustered up courage to ask her for a dance, and then everybody envied them. Nauasia was a mighty graceful dancer. She would leap high in the air and whirl around and cut fancy capers until she had beaten every other dancer in the settlement. There was quite a romance in Nauasia's life. Some young fellow came out from New York and fell desperately in love with her. Nauasia loved him, too, and they were to be married. But the young man's folks back east heard of it and ordered him home at once. I suppose they thought she was just a common Indian squaw. But she was not, by any means. And the desertion of her lover pretty near broke Nauasia's heart.
It might be added here that Mr. Reed's story of Black Hawk's daughter differs slightly from the historical accounts, which say the lover was a young man named Walsh, from Baltimore. Walsh and Nauasia were engaged to be married, when Walsh's cousin arrived in Fort Madison, and even after seeing the beautiful girl, told Walsh the folks back east would look at the couple and say, "There goes Walsh and his squaw." The ridicule was too much, and Walsh fled the country.
Continuing, Mr. Reed said:
I have several times been a guest in the Black Hawk wick-a-up. It was quite a large wick-a-up, with space for the entire family and one room which was given over entirely to Black Hawk's relics and possessions. I have counted no less than twelve large leather trunks which Black Hawk had after his trip through the east. I never saw into these trunks, but there was good reason for me to believe that they were filled with mementoes of his trip.
The Black Hawks usually spent the winter in Lee county, and just as soon as sugar making was over in the spring they would pull up and go somewhere else. I remember being in the Black Hawk home one time when Madame Black Hawk was making sugar and she gave me a large mould of sugar to take home with me.
As I said before, there was not much thought in those days of the war Black Hawk had headed. He had been defeated and deposed and his spirit had been so broken that he was looked on as a harmless old man.
As to the war itself, the prime cause was the plowing up of the Indian's corn fields and graveyards in their big village up at Rock Island. An Indians' burial ground is sacred to them, and when the whites came in and plowed up their bones and planted corn in their graves they were furious. Then the whites plainly violated the terms of the treaties and took land that wasn't theirs. The war was really forced on the Indians. I never thought they were very much to blame. The war had a disastrous termination. At the battle of Bad Ax, men and women and little children were fired on and brutally murdered. The spirit of the Indians was forever crushed after that.
While Mr. Reed was best acquainted with Black Hawk by reason of having been a near neighbor, he was also familiar with the other noted Indians of the time, notably Keokuk and Wapello. In regard to these chiefs he said:
Keokuk, Wapello and Hardfish were made chiefs of the tribe by the government after Black Hawk had been deposed. I saw them all, Keokuk several times. Keokuk was the only blue-eyed Indian I ever saw. He was a much larger man than Black Hawk, rather fat and pompous. He was nothing much but a gambler and a horse racer. Those were the only things he cared for. He was a hard drinker, but I want to say right here that neither Keokuk or Black Hawk were drunkards.
Keokuk had four wives and Black Hawk only one. When Black Hawk was in Washington he said he had four wives, but he had but the one that I ever heard of. Keokuk was very friendly to the whites, Dr. Isaac Galland, one of the earliest settlers at Montrose, was one of Keokuk's friends. Wapello and General Street, the Indian agent were such great friends that we used to call them David and Jonathan. When Keokuk died he requested that his body be buried right alongside General Street's and this was done.
When Keokkuk became chief in place of Black Hawk the majority of the tribe followed him. But until the day of his death Black Hawk had a large following which was faithful to him and still regarded him as the chief.
Black Hawk was not living at his wick-a-up in Lee county when he died, but higher up, near Iowayville. I had not seen him for several months before his death, but three months after he died I saw his body where it had been placed in a shack or grave at the upper end of the prairie near Iowayville, in Davis county. The body had been placed in the shack or pen which was about 18X15 feet in size. At his side was placed the cane which Henry Clay had given him. A number of his relics were also placed near him. Outside the pen was a post, about fifteen feet high, on which was painted in red paint the pictures of the animals Black Hawk had killed in his lifetime.
Three months after the burial I went to the pen and lifting up a board at the corner looked in, saw the chief, the cane and the things that were buried with him. A few months later somebody in Cincinnati stole the body, to exhibit it, I guess, and the Indians raised an awful fuss. The government took the matter in charge and finally brought a skeleton and put it in the pen where Black Hawk had been buried. The Indians were pacified, but I have always felt sure that the body reburied was not the body of Black Hawk at all.
Fulton, in "The Red Men of Iowa," gives more particulars of the burial of Black Hawk than does Mr. Read. Fulton's account is extremely interesting:
The body was placed on the surface of the ground in a sitting posture, with the face toward the southeast, and the body supported in that position by a wooden slab or puncheon. On his left side was placed a cane given him by Henry Clay, with his right hand resting upon it. He was dressed in a full military suit, which had been presented to him by President Jackson. Three silver medals hung upon his breast, all of which had been presented to him by distinguished persons during his visits to Washington. There were also placed in the grave two swords, an extra pair of moccasins, and some other articles of Indian costume, with a sufficient supply of provisions to last him three days on the journey to the spirit land. Around the body and the articles buried with it were two large blankets closely wrapped. Two wooden forks were then firmly driven in the ground, and a pole placed upon them extending over the body. The whole was then covered with sod to the depth of about one foot. At his feet, a flagstaff was placed, floating a beautiful silk American flag, which had been presented to him. The flag remained over his grave until the winds tore it to pieces and long after the body had disappeared. A post was planted by the grave, on which was inscribed, or painted, some figures commemorative of his deeds. Subsequently his relatives and friends enclosed the grave with a rude picket fence, and fondly hoped that the remains of the great was chief were at rest.
Fulton continues by giving the details of the theft and replacement of the Black Hawk body:
One morning about July 1, 1839, Black Hawk's bereaved widow returned from her accustomed visit to his grave bitterly weeping. Calling on Mr. Jordan, she informed him that some one had opened the grave and taken away the head of her husband. Mr. Jordan promised to do all that he could to find out who had taken it. The next winter the rest of the skeleton disappeared. It afterward transpired that one Dr. Turner, who lived at Lexinton, a little village at that time situated just above the present town of Bonaparte, in Van Buren county, was the man who had committed the deed. He came in the night and attempted to seize the body, but being frightened only succeeded in getting the head, which he carried away in his saddlebags. The next winter he came again and carried off the rest of the skeleton. They were conveyed to Quncy, Ill., where the different parts were united with wire. Black Hawk's relatives complained bitterly at the outrage. Finally the man in Quincy to whom Dr. Turner had delivered the remains, informed Governor Lucas of Iowa that he would hold them subject to his order. The governor directed that they be forwarded to his office in Burlington and on the receipt of them informed Black Hawk's relatives of the fact. His two sons immediately proceeded to Burlington, where they saw the skeleton in the executive office. They were afraid, however, that if they brought it home with them, it might again be stolen and concluding that the governor's office was the safest and best place for it they left it there. At the expiration of his official term, Governor Lucas delivered the skeleton over to his successor, Governor Chambers. It was finally placed in a museum which was established in Burlington and some years after, with many other valuable and curious relics which had been collected, was consumed by fire.
Mr. Reed -- his full name is William Carroll Reed, the second name being in honor of General Carroll, who was chief of staff of General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans -- removed from Lee county to Van Buren county in 1840 and then to Marion county in 1846. He now resides within sight of the place where he first located in that county, sixty-one years ago. He was married to Susan Thompson in 1837, his wife dying on Dec. 29, 1903. The couple had twelve children, ten sons and two daughters. It is a popular joke of the old man to bewilder visitors by saying that he had "ten sons and each son had two sister," thus giving many the impression that he had no less than thirty children. Five of his sons died in infancy, two were wounded in the civil war. Elder Reed now lives with his son John, who served five years in the regular army, and his daughter Jessy Reed, who was named in honor of Jessy Fremont. Another daughter, Mrs. Mary Cowan, resides in New Mexico.
[transcribed by S.F., Sept. 2004]
Iowa Old Press
|Julie Sisco||2009-06-22 17:42:58|
|PIONEERING AT BONAPARTE AND NEAR PELLA|
(Caution, not for the sensitive.)
See link for entire article.
"Iowa History Project
Annals of Iowa
PIONEERING AT BONAPARTE AND NEAR PELLA 1
BY MRS. SARAH WELCH NOSSAMAN
As I am well aware that time is not long for me even if I should live to be very old, as I am now almost to my seventieth milestone, I will try to leave for my children a record of some of my "ups and downs" in life that may be of interest for them to look over after I have crossed over to the other shore.
I was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, February 26, 1825. When I was about six years old my father emigrated to Richmond, Indiana. We lived there one year. My father bought property in Richmond, but when the Black Hawk or Mackinaw purchase was thrown open for settlement he sold it for half he gave for it for the sake of going to the new purchase. We left Richmond in May, 1831. As it was before days of railroading we moved by horse power, camping out at nights. When we got to the new purchase, the land of milk and honey, we were disappointed and homesick, but we were there and had to make the best of it. My father and mother went to work with a will to put some corn and potatoes in the ground that we might have something to live on the following winter, but it was so late in the season that our corn did not mature and we could not have it ground. It was badly frostbitten, so we had to live on frostbitten roasting ears for six weeks. I can't tell you just how good they were, for you must taste to know. By this time my father and mother were both down sick with billious fever. I was the oldest child and I was expected to cook the corn and the best I could do was to wrap the husk close around the ear and cover it in hot ashes, and heap coals of fire on it till it was done, and when done I would take the tongs and take the corn out and let it cool and take the husks off and it was ready for eating. I can't describe the smell of it, but I will just say codfish is sweet by the side of a frostbitten roasting ear. But they sustained life and that was about all. About the time our corn was gone, and a few potatoes was all used up (I said a few potatoes, as best I could do in digging I could find only a few bucketfuls) my father got well enough to work on Johnny Hittles' mill, which was two miles from where we lived on the Mackinaw River. There he got a sack of corn meal, but not bolted meal as we now use—bran and all together—and we had bread made of it as it was ground, for we could not afford to lose the bran, and after father got the second sack of meal he went hunting and killed a wild pig and a deer, so we feasted for a while. Perhaps you will wonder why our neighbors did not help us. I will just say our neighbors were in the same fix we were, and they were few and far between.
On the following April the Black Hawk War broke out, and some of our neighbors were killed near us, but we were providentially spared. While the war was raging at its hottest my mother urged my father to go to Jacksonville, the county seat of Morgan County, Illinois, and get his brother, which is old Uncle Johnny Welch of this place, to come and take us down to Jacksonville where he lived. We lived near Jacksonville one year, and after that we moved to Alton, Illinois. In 1835 my father moved to what is now Iowa, but at that time it was part of Wisconsin Territory. We settled one mile below where Bonaparte now is, in Van Buren County. We had but few neighbors, among them being old Uncle Sammy Reed and his brother Isaac, and an Indian trader by the name of Jordan. I think Uncle Jimmy Jordan was known to most of the old settlers of the eastern part of this state. He was my father's nearest neighbor. It was here we had for neighbors Black Hawk, Keokuk, Wapello, Hard Fish, Kishkakosh, Naseaskuk and a score of others of the Sac and Fox Indians. Here we had hard times and often went hungry. We lived there five years, one mile above where Bonaparte now is. The town of New Lexington 2 was laid out, so we had a post office, but if a letter had come for us we could not have taken it out of the office. Letters were not prepaid with a two-cent stamp as they are now, but the one that received the letter had to pay twenty-five cents before he could take it out of the office. While we lived there Black Hawk and his son were frequent visitors and often partook of my father's hospitality.
In 1837 or 1838,3 I don't remember which, Black Hawk died of malaria fever. One of our neighbors, Dr. James Turner, thought if he could only steal Black Hawk's head he could make a fortune out of it by taking it east and putting it on exhibition. After two weeks' watching he succeeded in getting it. Black Hawk's burial place was near old Iowaville, on the north side of the Des Moines River, under a big sugar tree. It was there Dr. Turner severed the head from the body. At the time it was done I was taking care of his sick sister-in-law, Mrs. William Turner. The doctor made his home with his brother. We knew the evening he went to steal the head and sat up to await his coming. He got in with it at four o'clock in the morning and hid it till the afternoon of the same day, when he cooked the flesh off the skull. So I can say that I am the only one now living that witnessed that sight, for it was surely a sight for me. If the rest of Black Hawk's bones were ever removed it was a good many years after his head was stolen. The second morning after their ruler's head was stolen ten of the best Indian warriors came to William Turner's and asked for his brother, the Doctor. They were painted war style. He told them he did not know where his brother was. They told him they would give him ten days to find his brother, and if he did not find him in that time he would pay the penalty for his brother's crime. But he knew where his brother was. He was at the home of a neighbor named Robb, Uncle Tommy Robb as he was called by everyone, on the south side of the Des Moines River. But he did not want to find his brother and sent a boy to tell him to fly for Missouri, which he did. The Indians returned to Iowaville to hold council and conclude what to do, and while they were holding council William Turner and his wife made their escape in a canoe down the river. William Turner kept a little store in New Lexington. He got his neighbors to pack and send his goods after him.
But the Indians demanded their ruler's head, and for three weeks we expected an outbreak every day, but through the influence of their agent and the citizens together they gave up hostilities for a time. The whites told them they would bring Turner to justice if he could be found. The sheriff chased Turner around for awhile, which only gave him the more time to get out of the way. The Turner family finally all went to St. Louis where the Doctor was found again, and to keep the Indians quiet the sheriff went to St. Louis in search of him, but he did not find him. He did not want to find him. But Turner got frightened and took Black Hawk's skull to Quincy, Illinois, and put it in the care of a doctor there for safe-keeping (I forget the doctor's name) till the Indians would get settled down, and then he intended to take it east. But when he got ready to go east with it the doctor in Quincy refused to give it up, and he did not dare to go to law about it, so after all his trouble and excitement he lost Black Hawk's skull, and not only made Turners endless trouble, but put the lives of all settlers in jeopardy for months. We lived principally on excitement and that was a poor living. But they finally got over it till all was peace and then we were happy. The doctor that had the head took it to Burlington and sold it to a museum and the museum was burned down, so Black Hawk's skull is not now in existence. The Turner family were warm friends of my father's family. They stayed in St. Louis two or three years, I don't remember just how long, and they all three died with the cholera. So I am left alone to tell the story......"
|Julie Sisco||2009-06-22 16:12:06|
Van Buren County, Iowa
Uploaded on 12/14/02
The original grave site of Black Hawk. The exact date of Black Hawk's death is not clear....some sources give the
date as September 15, 1838 while his grave marker says October 4. His grave was later robbed and his body stolen. The body was later recovered, and shipped to Burlington, Iowa, where it was put on display in a museum. In 1855, the museum burned to the ground, and the body was destroyed.
Related GenWeb Links
- IAGenWeb Home
- Van Buren County GenWeb
|Julie Sisco||2009-06-22 21:40:34|
|William Clark And The Black Hawk War|
William Clark And The Black Hawk War
Looking back to the Black Hawk War produces a vision that is horrifying. A baby found floating on the Mississippi on top of a bark raft is executed by soldier muttering, "Kill the nits, and you'll have no lice". Another baby riding in his mother's papoose is shot at point blank range. Hundreds of women, children and invalids shot or bayoneted to death after they attempted to surrender on the banks of the Mississippi River at the "Battle of Bad Axe" . These atrocities could have been avoided had cool minds prevailed. Unfortunately William Clark, then Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and a man celebrated as "the friend of the Indian" has been accused of being "directly responsible for the war" according to Thomas Forsyth, a former U.S. government agent to the Sauk-Fox. Was Forsyth simply a disgruntled former government employee or was there some justification for the accusation ?
In 1832 Black Hawk's band (about 1,000 men, women and children). of the Sauk tribe crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois to occupy their former homes along the Rock River. (Black Hawk's band contended that the land north of the Rock River remained Sauk property and that his people were tricked in signing both the 1804 and 1816 treaties). The Governor of Illinois regarded the entry of Black Hawk's band into the State as a military invasion. Experts on Indian warfare, know that "...No Indian in history had ever gone on the warpath taking, women, children, and old people, with them." That fact saved the Lewis and Clark expedition from being annihilated during their 1804 exploration of the West. The presence of Sacagawea with her baby, "Pomp" are credited with providing the trans-tribal message that the expedition was not a war party but one of peace. Clark should have known that.
But Clark makes no distinction regarding Black Hawk's band. In fact on June 8, 1832 Clark sent an "extermination" order to the Secretary of War. Clark wrote that Black Hawk's band "have afforded sufficient evidence not only of their entire disregard of treaties, but also of their deep-rooted hostility in shedding the blood of our women and children, a War of extermination should be waged against them." [italics are Clark's]. As result of the extermination policy, only 39 mostly women and children were captured alive by the U.S. forces. The Sioux, operating under the request of the government, intercepted any survivors escaped back across the Mississippi. These were almost all unarmed Sauks so exhausted and starved they could offer no resistance. The Sioux executed 68 as evident by the number of scalps they collected and only spared 22 women and children. It was a massacre on both sides of the river. Black Hawk's retreat from Saukenuk (Rock Island, Illinois) to Bad Axe, Wisconsin left a trail of hundreds of starved bodies on a forced retreat. If they did not die from hunger they were executed where they were found. In most cases no quarter for mercy was given even after the victim begged with little English they could vocalize.
Although Clark should be held responsible for this great travesty that he allowed to unfold, he was not the only one to hold the blame. Black Hawk's own advisors lied to him regarding the British and other tribes that would come to there rescue if they were attacked. Black Hawk never would have attempted to return to Illinois had these safeguards not have been guaranteed from the people he trusted ("White Cloud", the "Prophet" and Neopope).
** NOTE: It should be noted that the only whites Black Hawk's men killed were soldiers that attacked them as they tried to negotiate or surrender. They demonstrated extreme tolerance to the white squatters that occupied their land and to other non-combatants along their retreat. The white civilians (including women and children) killed at the Massacre of Indian Creek (May 20, 1832) were killed not by Sauk but by Potawatomi. Furthermore, the May 24, 1832 murder of the Sauk agent, Felix St. Vrain, also was not committed by the Sauk but by Winnebago Indians.
Summary History of Sauk-U.S. Relations Prior to the Black Hawk War
The United States had a long history of poor relations when dealing with the Sauk-Fox Indians. First going back to 1804, when a delegation of Sauks came to St. Louis to resolve a murder case in which members of their tribe killed three Americans on the Cuivre River. This delegation was authorized by the tribal council to make a payment to the relatives of the deceased, whom they admitted were wrongly murdered. This group of Sauks had absolutely no power to cede away tribal land but this is exactly how the United States took advantage of the situation. It is a ridiculous claim that there could be considered any legitimacy to such a signing away of land especially on the grand scale this treaty encompassed. It allegedly sold all tribal land east of the Mississippi and a portion west of the Mississippi. Of course, the signers did not know what they were doing by making their mark and the tribe did not recognize the sale.
During the War of 1812, the tribe sided with the British. Clark was Governor of Louisiana Territory at the time. In 1814 Clark led a military operation that resulted in a military campaign in which the United States lost all its territory in the Mississippi valley north of the Des Moines. At the end of the war, the victorious Sauks lost the war because of the British capitulation in the Treaty of Ghent. In May of 1816 the Sauks sign what they believe was simply a peace treaty but instead included a reiteration of land cessation of the 1804 treaty. According to treaty, Sauks don't have to vacate land until the land is surveyed and sold by the government. The main Sauk settlement east of the Mississippi is Saukenuk on the Rock River. Sauk remain at peace even though white squatters appear on their lands. By fall of 1829 Saukenuk is sold, but the Sauk living there had left for their winter hunt west of the Mississippi. Thomas Forsyth (the Sauk-Fox agent) tells the Sauk they can not return in the Spring of 1830
Clark and Forsyth are both aware that the key to keeping the Sauk west of the Mississippi is to prevent attacks on them by the Sioux. In May 1830 a group of Fox Indians, who are allies of the Sauk, was ambushed by Sioux on their way to a pre-scheduled council at Prairie du Chien. Forsyth prevents a tribal war by granting the Fox a future visit to St. Louis to discuss their concerns with Clark. They expressed their willingness to meet with their enemies at Rock Island but not Prairie du Chien were they felt vulnerable to attack. Clark refused to consider their request and proceeded with the July 1830 council at Prairie du Chien. Clark had put together an impromptu group of seventy Sauk-Fox to sign away more land and to make peace with enemy Siouan tribes. Of course the treaty only angered and divided the Sauk-Fox even more. To make matters worse, on the eve of the Black Hawk war, Clark fires his experienced Sauk agent Thomas Forsyth and replaces him with Felix St. Vrain who had no experience at all.
By Spring of 1831 the Sauk had returned to Saukenuk on the Rock River. The U.S. government called for negotiations at nearby Ft. Armstrong. Since it was a rehash of the1830 treaty, Black Hawk remained silent while those who considered it suicide to oppose the U.S. Government signed the treaty of 1831. At this time Black Hawk is fed lies from the Prophet "White Cloud" and his own "principal lieutenant", Neopope, an overeager young Sauk warrior. He is told that if the Sauk are attacked by U.S. forces, not only the British will come to their rescue but also the Winnebago, Potawatomis, Chippewas, and Ottawas tribes agreed to aid them. So on April 3, 1832 Black Hawk's band crossed the Mississippi into Illinois not to make war but to occupy that which they considered their home.
--Scott K. Williams, Florissant, Missouri
|Julie Sisco||2009-06-22 21:57:56|
|HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY IOWA 1880|
SKETCHES OF BLACK HAWK AND OTHER CHIEFS
Black Hawk - Treaty of 1804 - Black Hawk's account of the Treaty - Lieut.
Pike - Ft. Edwards - Ft. Madison - Black Hawk and the British - Keokuk
recognized as Chief - Ft. Armstrong - Sac and Fox Villages - Black Hawk's "Britsh
Band" - Black Hawk War - Black Hawk's old age - His death in Iowa - His remains
carried away, but recovered - Keokuk - Appanoose - Wapello - Poweshiek -
Si-dom-i-na-do-tah—Henry Lott - A Tragedy in Humboldt County
Ink-pa-du-tah—Spirit Lake Massacre - Expedition from Ft. Dodge - Death of
Capt. Johnston and William Burkholder
THIS renowned chief, the "noblest Roman of them all," was born at the Sac village on Rock river, about the year 1767. His first introduction to the notice of the whites seems to have been in 1804, when William Henry Harrison; then the Governor of Indiana Territory, concluded his treaty with the Sac and Fox nation for the lands bordering on Rock river. Black Hawk was then simply a chief, though not by election or inheritance, of his own band of Sac warriors, but from that time he was the most prominent man in the Sac and Fox nation. He considered the action of the four chiefs who represented the Indians in making this treaty as unjust and refused to consider it binding. The territory ceded embraced over fifty-one millions of acres, extending almost from opposite St. Louis to the Wisconsin river. He claimed that the chiefs or braves who made the treaty had no authority to make it, and that they had been sent to St. Louis, where the treaty was negotiated, for quite a different purpose, namely: to procure the release of one of their people who was held there as a prisoner: on charge of killing a white man. The United States regarded this treaty as a bona fide transaction, claiming that the lands were sold by responsible men of the tribes, and that it was further ratified by a part of the tribes with Gov. Edwards and
Auguste Choteau, in September, 1815, and again with the same commissioners in 1816. They claimed that the Indians were only to occupy the lands at the Sac village on Rock river until they were surveyed and sold by, the government, when they were to vacate them. The treaty of St. Louis was signed by five chiefs instead of four, although Black Hawk claimed that the latter number only were sent to St. Louis for a different purpose. One of these was Pash-e-pa-ho, a head chief among the Sacs. Black Hawk himself thus describes the return of the chiefs to Rock Island after the treaty:
"Quash-qua-me and party remained a long time absent. They at length returned, and encamped a short distance below the village, but did not come up that day, nor did any person approach their camp. They appeared to be dressed in fine coats, and had medals. From these circumstances we were in hopes that they had brought good news. Early the next morning the council lodge was crowded. Quash-qua-me came up and said that on their arrival in St. Louis, they met their American father, and explained to him their business, and urged the release of their friend. The American chief told them he wanted land, and that they had agreed to give him some on the west side of the Mississippi, and some on the Illinois side, opposite the Jeffreon; that when the business was all arranged, they expected their friend released to come home with them. But about the time they were ready to start, their friend was let out of' prison, who ran a short distance, and was shot dead! This was all myself or nation knew of the treaty of 1804. It has been explained to me since. I find, by that treaty, that all our country east of the Mississippi, and south of the Jeffreon, was ceded to the United States for one thousand dollars a year!"
The treaty was doubtless made in good faith on the part of the commissioners, and with the full conviction that .it was by authority of the tribes. From this time forward Black Hawk seems to have entertained a distrust of the Americans. Although Spain had ceded the country west of the Mississippi to France in 1801, the former power still held possession until its transfer to the United States by France. Black Hawk and his band were at St. Louis at this time, and he was invited to be present at the ceremonies connected with the change of authorities. He refused the invitation; and in giving an account of the transaction, said:
"I found many sad and gloomy faces, because the United States were about to take possession of the town and country. Soon after the Americans came, I took my band and went to take leave of our Spanish father. The Americans came to see him also. Seeing them approach, we passed out of one door as they entered another, and immediately started in our canoes for our village on Rock river, not liking the change any more than our friends appeared to at St. Louis. On arriving at our village, we gave the news that strange people had arrived at St. Louis, and that we should never see our Spanish father again. The information made all our people sorry."
In August, 1805, Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike ascended the river from St. Louis, for the purpose of holding councils with the Indians, and selecting sites for military posts within the country recently acquired from France. At the mouth of Rock river he had a personal interview with Black Hawk, the latter being favorably impressed with the young lieutenant. Speaking of this interview, Black Hawk himself said:
"A boat came up the river with a young American chief, and a small party .of soldiers. We heard of them soon after they passed Salt river.
Some of our young braves watched them every day, to see what sort of people he had on board. The boat at length arrived at Rock Island, and the young chief came on shore with his interpreter, and made a speech, and gave us some presents. We, in turn, presented them with meat and such other provisions as we had to spare. We were well pleased with the young chief. He gave us good advice, and said our American father would treat us well."
Lieut. Pike's expedition was soon followed by the erection of Fort Edwards and Fort Madison, the former on the site of the present town of Warsaw, Illinois, and the latter on the site of the present town of Fort Madison, Iowa. When these forts were being erected, the Indians sent down delegations, headed by some of their chiefs, to have an- interview with the Americans. Those who visited Fort Edwards returned apparently satisfied with what was being done. The erection of Fort Madison they claimed was a violation of the treaty of 1804. In that treaty the United States agreed that if "any white persons should form a settlement on their lands, such intruders should forthwith be removed." Fort Madison was erected within the territory reserved for the Indians, and this they considered an intrusion. Some time afterward a party under the leadership of Black Hawk and Pash-e-pa-ho attempted its destruction. They sent spies to watch the movements of the garrison. Five soldiers who came out were fired upon by the Indians, and two of the soldiers were killed. They kept up the attack for several days. Their efforts to destroy .the fort being unsuccessful, they returned to Rock river.
When the war of 1812 broke out, Black Hawk and. his band allied themselves with the British, which was the origin of his party, at a later date, being known as the "British Band." In narrating the circumstances which induced him to join the British, he says:
"Several of the chiefs and head men of the Sacs and Foxes were called upon to go to Washington to see the Great Father. On their return they related what had been said and done. They said the Great Father wished them, in the event of war taking place with England, not to interfere on either side, but to remain neutral. He did not want our help, but wished us to hunt and support our families and live in peace. He said that British traders would not be permitted to come on the Mississippi to furnish us with goods, but that we should be supplied by an American trader. Our chiefs then told him that the British traders always gave them credit in the fall for guns, powder and goods to enable us to hunt and clothe our families. He replied that the trader at Fort Madison would have plenty of goods; that we should go there in the fall, and he would supply us on credit, as the British traders had done."
According to Black Hawk, this proposition pleased his people, and they went to Fort Madison to receive their promised outfit for the winter's hunt, but notwithstanding the promise of the Great Father, at Washington, the trader would not give them credit. In reference to their disappointment, Black Hawk says:
"Few of us slept that night; all was gloom and discontent. In the morning a canoe was seen descending the river; it soon arrived, bearing an express, who brought intelligence that a British trader had landed at Rock Island, with two boats loaded with goods, and requested us to come up immediately, because he had good news for us, and a variety of presents. The express presented us with tobacco, pipes and wampum. The news ran
through our camp like fire on a prairie. Our lodges were soon taken down, and all started for Rock Island. Here ended all hopes of our remaining at peace, having been forced into the war by being deceived."
Black Hawk and his band then espoused the cause of the British, who, as in the case of Tecumseh, gave him the title of "Gen. Black Hawk" But a large portion of the Sacs and Foxes, at the head of whom was Keokuk, chose to remain neutral, as well as to abide by the treaty of 1804. Of this party Keokuk was the recognized chief. The nation was divided into the "war party" and" peace party." Black Hawk maintained his fidelity to the British until the end of the war, and was the intimate friend and supporter of Tecumseh, until the death of the latter at the battle of the Thames.
At the close of the war of 1812, Black Hawk returned to his village on Rock river, to find Keokuk still the friend of the Americans, and the recognized war chief of that portion of the Sac and Fox nation which had remained neutral. As stated elsewhere, a new treaty was concluded in' September, 1815, in which, among other matters, the treaty of St. Louis was ratified. This treaty was not signed by Black Hawk, or anyone representing his band, but was signed by chiefs of both the Sacs and Foxes, who were fully authorized to do so. This treaty was held at Portage des Sioux,and was a result of the war of 1812, with England. In May, 1816, another treaty was held at St. Louis, in which the St. Louis treaty of 1804 was recognized. This treaty was signed by Black Hawk and twenty other chiefs and braves. The same year Fort Armstrong was erected upon Rock Island, a proceeding very distasteful to the Indians. Of this Black Hawk says:
"We did not, however, object to their building the fort on the island, but we were very sorry, as this was the best island on the Mississippi, and had long been the resort of our young people during the summer. It was our garden, like the white people have near their big vi1lages, which supplied us with strawberries, blackberries, plums, apples and nuts of various kinds; and its waters supplied us with pure fish, being situated in the rapids of the river. In my early life, I spent many happy days on this island. A good spirit had care of it, who lived in a cave in the rocks, immediately under the place where the fort now stands, and has often been seen by our people. He was white, with large wings like a swan's, but ten times larger. We were particular not to make much noise in that part of the island which he inhabited, for fear of disturbing him. But the noise of the fort has since driven him awav, and no doubt a bad spirit has since taken his place."
The expedition which was sent up the river to erect a fort at or near Rock Island, consisted at first of the Eighth United States Infantry, and started from St. Louis in September, 1815, .under the command Col. R. C. Nichols. They reached the mouth of the Des Moines, where they wintered. In April, 1816, Gen. Thomas A. Smith arrived and took command of the expedition. They reached Rock Island on the 10th of May, and, after a careful examination, the site for the fort was selected. The regiment being left under the command of Col. Lawrence, the work on the fort immediately commenced. It was named in honor of John Armstrong of New York, who had recently been Secretary of War.
After the establishment of the fort and garrison at Rock Island settlements began to be made at and near the mouth of Rock river, on the east side of the Mississippi. Keokuk, as the head chief of the Foxes, with his tribe, in accordance with the treaties they had made with the United States, left in 1828 and established themselves on Iowa river, but Black Hawk and his "British
Band" of about 500 warriors remained in their village and persistently refused to leave. The settlers began to complain of frequent depredations at the hands of Black Hawk's people, and feared that the neighboring tribes of Kickapoos, Pottawattamies, and Winnebagoes, might be induced to join Black Hawk in a war of extermination. Finally, in the spring of 1831, Black Hawk warned the settlers to leave. These troubles culminated in the "Black Hawk War," and the final capture of the chief and some of his principal men, as related elsewhere. The Black Hawk War ended hostilities with the Indians at or near Rock Island. A garrison, however, was maintained there until 1836, when the troops were sent to Fort Snelling. The fort was left in charge of Lieut. John Beach, with a few men to take care of the property.
After his capture, Black Hawk and several of his principal men were taken to Jefferson Barracks where they were kept until the spring of 1833. They were then sent to Washington, where they arrived on the 22d of April, and on the 26th were confined in Fortress Monroe. On the 4th of June, 1833, they were set at liberty by order of the government and permitted to return to their own country.
In the fall of 1837 Black Hawk, accompanied by Keokuk, Wapello, Poweshiek, and some forty of the principal chiefs and braves of the Sac and Fox nations, again visited Washington, in charge of Co1. George Davenport, who by his influence with the Indians assisted the government in making another large purchase of territory in Iowa. This tract adjoined the "Black Hawk Purchase," and embraced 1,250,000 acres.
After Black Hawk's release from captivity in 1833, he seemed unwilling to reside in any of the villages of the tribe. His band was broken up and dispersed, as stipulated in the treaty of peace, and he seemed to seek seclusion from his people. While the garrison remained at Rock Island, he usually lived near it, and often put up his wigwam close to the fort, where his vision could take in the beautiful country on the east bank of the Mississippi, which had been his home for more than half a century. But the time came when he must go with his people to the new reservation on the banks of the Des Moines. He was then in the waning years of his life and the other chiefs of the nation seemed disposed to pay him but little attention. His family consisted of his wife, two sons and one daughter. He established his lodge on the east bank of the Des Moines, about three miles below the site of the present town of Eldon. Gen. Street presented the family with a cow, which was a piece of property which exacted much solicitude and care at the hands of Madame Black Hawk. His lodge was near the trading post of Wharton McPherson; and James Jordan, who was also at that time connected with the post, had his cabin within a few rods of Black Hawk's lodge. This was in the summer of 1838, and the old chief who had defied the power of the United States and caused the expenditure of millions of treasure to subdue him, was nearing his departure for a final remove beyond the power of earthly governments. Near his lodge, on the bank of the river, stood a large elm tree, with its spreading branches overhanging the stream and flowing from its roots was a crystal spring of pure water. Here during the sultry summer days of that year Black Hawk was wont to repose and dream over the years of his former greatness and the wrongs that his people had suffered. At last, on the 3d of October, 1838, death came to his relief, and, according to the Indian idea, his spirit passed away to the happy hunt ing grounds.
The rernains of Black Hawk were interred by, his family and friends near his cabin on the prairie, a short distance above the old town of Iowaville. The body was placed on a board, or slab, set up in an inclining position, with the feet extending into the ground some fifteen inches and the head elevated above the surface some three feet or more. This was enclosed by placing slabs around it with the ends resting on the ground and meeting at the top, forming a kind of vault. The whole was then covered with dirt and neatly sodded. At, the head of the grave was placed a flag-staff thirty feet, high, from which floated the American flag until it was worn out by the wind. Interred with the body were a number of his prized and long-treasured relics, including a military suit presented by Jackson's Cabinet; a sword presented by Jackson himself; a cane presented by Henry Clay, and another by a British officer; and three silver medals-one presented by Jackson, and by John Quincy Adams, and the other by citizens of Boston. Near the grave a large post was set in the ground, on which were inscribed in Indian characters, emblems commemorating many of his heroic deeds. The grave and flag staff were enclosed by a rude picket fence in circular .form. Here the body, remained until July, 1839, when it disappeared. On complaint being made by Black Hawk's family, the matter was investigated, and it was finally traced to one Dr. Turner, who then resided at a place called Lexington, in Van Buren county. The remains had been taken to Illinois, but at the earnest request of Black Hawk's relatives, Gov. Lucas interposed and had them sent to Burlington. The sons were informed that the remains were in Burlington and went to that place to obtain them. While there it was suggested to them that if taken away they would only be stolen again, and they concluded to leave them where they thought they might be more safely preserved. They were finally placed in a museum in that city and years after, with a large collection of other valuable relics, were destroyed by the burning of the building. In the meantime the relatives of the renowned chief removed westward with the rest of the tribe, and were finally lost to all knowledge of the white man.....
|Julie Sisco||2009-06-22 22:01:46|
|Autobiography of Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, or Black Hawk by Black Hawk|
Sorry, too long to post the entire thing. See at: