Obrázky stránek

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 had 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 tlie 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 a 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 any one 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 villages, 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 away. 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, 1516, 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 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 per initted 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 Col. 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 seclu sion 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 hunting grounds.


The remains 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 sented by Jackson himself; a cane presented by Henry Clay, and another by a British officer; and three silver medals-one presented by Jackson, one 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.


Keokuk (Watchful Fox) belonged to the Sac branch of the nation, and was born on Rock river, in 1780. He was an orator, but was also entitled to rank as a warrior, for he possessed courage and energy, but at the same time a cool judgment. He had an intelligent appreciation of the power and greatness of the United States, and saw the futility of Black Hawk's hope to contend successfully against the government. In his first battle, while young, he had killed a Sioux, and for this he was honored with a feast by his tribe.

At the beginning of the Black Hawk War an affair transpired which was dignified by the name of the "Battle of Stillman's Run," in which some three hundred volunteers under Maj. Stillman took prisoners five of Black Hawk's men who were approaching with a flag of truce. One of the prisoners was shot by Stillman's men. Black Hawk had also sent five other men to follow the bearers of the flag. The troops came upon these and killed two of them. The other three reached their camp and gave the alarm. Black Hawk's warriors then charged upon Stillman's advancing troops and completely routed them. This failure to respect the flag of truce so exasperated the Indians that it was with great difficulty that Keokuk could restrain his warriors from espousing the cause of Black Hawk. Stillman's defeat was fol

lowed by a war-dance, in which Keokuk took part. After the dance he called a council of war, and made a speech in which he admitted the justice of their complaints. The blood of their brethren slain by the white men, while bearing a flag of truce, called loudly for vengeance. Said he:

"I am your chief, and it is my duty to lead you to battle, if, after fully considering the matter, you are determined to go. But before you decide on taking this important step, it is wise to inquire into the chances of success. But if you do determine to go upon the war path, I will agree to lead you on one condition, viz.: that before we go we will kill all our old men and our wives and our children, to save them from a lingering death of starvation, and that every one of us determine to leave our homes on the other side of the Mississippi."

Keokuk so forcibly portrayed in other parts of this speech the great power of the United States, and of the hopeless prospect before them, that his warriors at once abandoned all thought of joining Black Hawk.

The name Keokuk signified Watchful Fox. As we have seen, he eventually superseded Black Hawk, and was recognized by the United States as the principal chief of the Sac and Fox nation, which, indeed, had much to do in stinging the pride of the imperious Black Hawk. In person he was strong, graceful and commanding, with fine features and an intelligent countenance. He excelled in horsemanship, dancing, and all athletic exercises. He was courageous and skillful in war, but mild and politic in peace. He had a son, a fine featured, promising boy, who died at Keokuk's village on the Des Moines. Keokuk himself became somewhat dissipated during the later years of his life in Iowa. It was reported that after his removal with his people to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi, he died of delirium tremens. Iowa has honored his memory in the name of one of her counties, and one of her principal cities.


His name,

Appanoose was a chief who presided over a band of the Sacs. in the language of that tribe, signified "A Chief When a Child," indicating that he inherited his position. It was said he was equal in rank with Keokuk, but he did not possess the influence of the latter. He was one of the "peace chiefs" during the Black Hawk War. During the last occupation of Iowa soil by the Sacs and Foxes, Appanoose had his village near the site of the present city of Ottumwa. His people cultivated a portion of the ground on which that city is located. He was one of the delegation sent to Washington in 1837, at which time he visited with the other chiefs the city of Boston, where they were invited to a meeting in Fanueil Hall. On that occasion he made the most animated speech, both in manner and matter, that was delivered by the chiefs. After Keokuk had spoken, Appanoose arose and said: "You have heard just now what my chief has to say. All our chiefs and warriors are very much gratified by our visit to this town. Last Saturday they were invited to a great house, and now they are in the great councilhouse. They are very much pleased with so much attention. This we cannot reward you for now, but shall not forget it, and hope the Great Spirit will reward you for it. This is the place which our forefathers once inliabi


I have often heard my father and grandfather say they lived near the sea-coast where the white man first came. I am glad to hear all this from I suppose it is put in a book, where you learn all these things. far as I can understand the language of the white people, it appears to me



« PředchozíPokračovat »