The Davenport Democrat and Leader--New
Home Edition, July 17, 1924, page 15.
AN INDIAN EPIC, THE ROMANCE OF
Most Powerful of Indian Chiefs
of His Day Made War on United States
-- Became Warrior at 16 Years
-- Ruled Nation at Twenty
An Indian statesman intimately
connected with the early history of Davenport;
illustrious chief of the Sacs at a time when our pioneers were
raising the landmarks of civilization; a warrior better known
than Tecumseh, or Philip of New England--such is the famous
Black hawk, 'whose name is a synonym for romance with every
school child of the city.
Black Hawk's Indian name was a
He was the most celebrated brave of his nation.
He had been in the service of England in 1813; had been
an intimate friend of Tecumseh; was ranked among the braves at
the early age of 16, and at the age of 20 succeeded his father
as chief, the father having been killed in a bloody battle
with the Cherokees.
The Indians that the first white
settles of Davenport found on the site of their "dream city"
were farmers, who down to the time of the Black Hawk War, had
approximately 1,000 acres in cultivation in this vicinity.
They made annual hunting trips and journeys to secure
sugar and lead, but for the greater part of the year they
resided in this choice spot upon the Father of the Waters
where they found life so pleasant.
In 1804 the Sauks, Sankees or Sacs and
Musquakees or Foxes ceded to the United States, thru General
Harrison. all their lands lying on Rock River, and much
principle Sac village was at the point of land between the
junction of the Mississippi and Rock Rivers--a point just
below the present site of Davenport , on the Illinois side.
There, according to tradition, had been
a village for 150 years.
The entire country belonging to the tribes, bordered on
the Mississippi and extended about 700 miles down the river
from the mouth of the Wisconsin, reaching very nearly to the
In 1820, they numbered about 2,000 persons in all, of whom,
perhaps, 600 were warriors.
Headed Sac Village.
Black Hawk was the "mayor" of the Sac
Musquakees or Foxes liver farther north and had, near the lead
mines, their principal village.
Notwithstanding the separation of the Sacs and Foxes,
they were in reality but one tribe, since they hunted
together, had similar customs, and so far as unity of purpose
was concerned in their enmity to the Sioux, and to other
hostile nations, they were indissoluble.
The most interesting biography of Black
Hawk was that dictated by the chief himself to Antoine
LeClaire, the founder of Davenport.
During the latter years of Mr. LeClaire's life, large
parties of Indians were wont to come to Davenport and camp
near his handsome home, which crowned the central bluff and
commanded the finest panoramic view in all Davenport.
Here they would stay and make him a visit somewhat
longer than would be sanctioned by prevailing notions of
etiquette, but never too long for this best and most
hospitable friend of the red man.
When the news of the murder of Col. Davenport reached
the Sacs and the Foxes in their Western home, these Indians,
alarmed for the safety of Mr. LeClaire, sent a large party to
Davenport, and these friends, encamping near, guarded the
LeClarie home day and night with deep solicitude and
unremitting care, that no evil might befall this family so
much beloved by them.
"Our village was situated on the north
side of Rock River, at the foot of the rapids, on the point of
land between Rock River and the Mississippi.
In front, a prairie extended to the Mississippi, and in
the rear a continued bluff gently ascended from the prairie,"
says Black Hawk in referring to his life before the coming of
The Watch Tower.
"On its highest peak our watch tower was situated, from
which we had a fine view for many miles up and down Rock
River, and in every direction."
On the side of this bluff we had our corn fields,
extending about two miles up parallel with the larger river,
where they adjoined those of the Foxes, whose village was on
the same stream, opposite the lower end of Rock Island, and
three miles distant from ours.
We had 500 acres in cultivation, including what we held
on the islands in Rock River.
In 1837 the small settlement of
Davenport received news of an impending descent by a war party
of hostile Sioux.
It was at a time when a party of the Sacs and Foxes had
gathered here to receive an annuity from the government.
When the Sacs and foxes, learned that their enemies,
the Sioux, were camped in the timber where Oakdale Cemetery is
now located, war paint was hastily streaked upon enraged
countenances and every warrior saddled his pony and started
after Sioux scalps.
But alas for those Davenporters, who followed hurriedly
to enjoy a bit if genuine frontier warfare the Sioux had taken
alarm and had departed with their scalps, still serving to
enhance their own peculiar beauty.
Black Hawk's chief objection to Fort
Armstrong, built on Rock Island in 1816, was the fact that the
noise of the guns would frighten away the presiding spirit of
"We did not object to building the fort
on the island, " are Black Hawk's own words, "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.
It supplied us with strawberries, blackberries, plums,
apples and nuts of various kinds; and its' waters yielded us
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 that 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 taken his place.
In 1828, by the advice of the agent at
Fort Armstrong, the larger portion of the Sac and Fox headed
by Keokuk, removed across the Mississippi.
That portion of the Sac, which, under the leadership of
Black Hawk, had by their fidelity to the British in 1812,
gained the appellation "British Band" steadily refused to
vacate the Sac village at Rock River.
It has been It has been ascribed to a
spirit of rivalry--this difference between Keokuk and Black
Hawk which prevented the later from adopting the expedient
operation of the former by moving across the Mississippi.
By the terms of the treaty with the
United States, the Indians were to retain possession of their
land until they were sold to actual settlers.
Some white families, however, considered an Indian's
title to life and property as merely minimal, moved on to the
Sac village. Not
content with actually stealing the land, they took advantage
of Black Hawk's absence on a hunting expedition not only to
fence in the Indian's corn fields, but to take possession of
Black Hawk's lodge.
The Davenport Democrat and Leader--New
Home Edition, July 17, 1924, page 15.
The Life History of the King
of the Sac Tribe
One of Most Romantic in Border
Wars Between Redskins and White;
Summer Home on Rock Island.
These whites had established themselves
in direct violation of the treaty of 1804.
continued their aggressions, destroyed the Indians' corn,
killed their domestic animals, and whipped their wives and
against the wishes of Black Hawk, they introduced a traffic in
liquor, and made drunkenness and debauchery common.
The remonstrates of Black Hawk and other chiefs were
None of the lands upon Rock River were
brought into market until1829, and consequently the Indians,
prior to this time, had as much right to them as if they held
them in fee simple.
At this time, the lands purchased in the treaty of 1804
were not offered for sale within 60 miles of this point; yet,
for the purpose of getting rid of the Indians on Rock River,
the lands upon which the Sac village stood were thrown into
Notified to Vacate.
In the spring of 1830, when Black Hawk
and party returned from their winter's hunt, and commenced
preparations for planting, they were notified that the land
was sold, and that they must remove west of the Mississippi.
Unwilling, however, to remove, Black Hawk visited
Maiden to consult his "British Father" and returned by way of
Detroit to see General Cass.
Both advised him if he has not sold his land to remain
quietly upon it, and he could not be disturbed.
He returned late in the fall, and found his band absent
upon their winter hunt.
Keokuk exerted himself strongly this winter to induce
Black Hawk's followers to desert him, and to remove across the
was in vain.
Their attachment to their village was stronger than any threat
of danger, and accordingly, in the spring of 1831, they all
agent at Rock Island immediately notified them to remove, to
troops would be sent to drive them off.
In the meantime, the squaws had
commenced planting their corn, which the whites plowed up.
This enraged Black Hawk; and he threatened to remove he
whites by force if they persisted in such proceedings.
The whites became alarmed, a starting memorial was
drawn up, concluding, after
enumerating a long list of outrages, with the
astounding outrage of the "Indians going to a house, rolling
out a barrel of whiskey, and knocking in its head!"
Terrifying rumors were circulated of border
depredations committed by "General Black Hawk."
The executive of Illinois, promptly ordered out 700
militia to meet this "invasion."
A treaty was finally concluded, wherein Black Hawk
agreed not to cross the river without permission.
In the spring of 1832, Black Hawk
received information that only the British, but several tribes
of Indians would assist him in recovering his lands.
After vainly endeavoring to persuade Keokuk to join
him, he started in April' for his rendezvous--in Fort Madison,
and proceeded to ascend the Tock River.
This was in violation of the treaty,
and precipitated the famous battle of "Stillman's Run" and the
bloody frontier war which ensued.
Black Hawk was captured and was
delivered to General Street at Prairie Du Chein.
He was sent in a few days to Rock Island, where a new
treaty was concluded between the whites and the Indians.
It was at this treaty that Keokuk made
a reserve of a section of land which was made over to the wife
of Antoine LeClaire, on the single condition that the latter
should build his house upon the spot of ground occupied by the
marquee of General Scott during the treaty.
The result of the treaty was that the United States
acquired from the Sacs and Foxes six millions of acres lying
west of the Mississippi, which acquisition was known as the
"Black Hawk Purchase' and subsequently as the "Iowa District."
Black Hawk was taken by his captors to
Washington in 1833, and when presented to General Jackson, he
stood unmoved before the president, remarking, "I am a man,
you are only another."
He then addressed the president as follows:
Talks to President.
"We did not expect to conquer
They had too many men.
I took up the hatchet to avenge injuries my
people could no longer endure.
Had I borne them longer without striking my
people would have said Black Hawk is a squaw; he is
too old to be our chief; he is no Sac.
These reflections caused me to raise the war
The result is known to you.
I say no more."
The prisoners were taken to Fortress
Monroe, where they were kept until June 4, when they were
released by order of the president.
They were then conducted thru several of the large
cities to have impressed upon them the great power of the
nation. Crowds of
people gathered to see the famous Sac.
Here the article repeats several paragraphs from the
above article which will not be repeated here as it appears it
might have been a mistake.
The rest of this article can't be found.)