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The Mound Builders, it appears, were an agricultural or shepherd race, rather than hunters, hence, during their occupation of this territory, game became very plentiful. The Indians who relied on the chase of a livelihood, upon learning of this delightful hunting ground began to press upon them from the north and west.

On the Atlantic coast lived the Algonquins. This had been their ancient home for generations. The Norsemen found them here in the year looo. The prospect of better hunting grounds caused them to push westward by way of the St. Lawrence river and the Great Lakes, overflowing the countrv to the south and into the Mississippi valley. These Algonquins embraced the Delawares (sometimes called Lenni Lenapi), the Chippewas, Shawnees, Ottawas, Potta- wattamies, Narragansetts, Illinois, Powhatans (a confederacy of thirty-three tribes), Sac and Fox and other Indian tribes to the number of thirty or forty. All of these spoke dialects of the same language.

From the Rocky Mountain region and the Northwest came the savage horde known as the Sioux or Dakota, including the Dakotas proper, the Assiniboian, the Winnebagoes who were the parent stock of the lowas, Kansas, Ouappas, Omahas, Osages and other tribes of the lower Missouri district and others.

These two great streams of savages first came against each other in the valley of the upper Mississippi and then turned southward. The Algonquins from the east seem to have outflanked the Sioux, and began to occupy that part of Iowa that lies south of a line extending from the mouth of the Big Sioux near Sioux City, and the Sioux occupied the territory north of this line and in Minnesota besides penetrating into Wisconsin.

The first Indians seen in what is now Iowa by a white man, were of the Illini or Illinois tribe. When the French explorers, Marquette and Joliet, in 1673, coming down the Mississippi, landed in southeastern Iowa, they encountered Indians, who called themselves Illini, meaning "men." This apparently meant


30                                                                                  HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY

they were very brave and superior to all other people. This name seemed to have embraced five sub-tribes, Peorias, Cahokias, Kaskaskias, Michigamies and Tamaroas. These being of the Algonquin race were hereditary enemies of the warlike Iroquois, or Six Nations, whose seat of government was in the Mohawk valley in New York. During the generations through which their wars had extended the Illinois had been gradually driven into the region between Lake Michigan and the Wabash river, and extending thence west across the Missis- sippi river. More than two hundred years ago, when visited by Marquette, they had become greatly reduced in numbers and strength from wars with the Iroquois on the east and the Chickasaws on the south. When Iowa was next visited by white men the once powerful Illinois Indians had been nearly extermi- nated by the Sacs and Foxes.


The records of Father Allouez, written in 1670, mention a tribe called Mas- cout-ines, who had migrated from the Wisconsin river valley into Iowa. These Indians were on friendly terms with the Illinois and occupied a portion of Iowa west of Muscatine island. The Algonquin word "Mascoutenck" means a "place having no woods," or "prairie." The Mascoutines built a village on the island of that name, which was a level prairie embracing about twenty thousand acres.

Fierce, cruel and treacherous, the Mascoutines were, and generally at war with some other nation. They were bitter enemies of the Sacs and Foxes, whom they defeated in a great conflict near the mouth of the Iowa river.

When La Salle descended the Mississippi valley in 1680, he found this tribe still in that vicinity. The Mascoutines, displeased with the advent of the white men, sent emissaries to the Illinois to influence them to join in resistance. Ninety- eight years later they are mentioned as attending a council, when Colonel George Rogers Clark led a party into that region. Little more is known of them in later times, except that they lived near where Muscatine now stands, and that the city derives its name from them.


In the midst of the Algonquins, dwelt for many years, a Dakota tribe, the lowas. who under their noted chief Man-haw-gaw, migrated westward from the vicinity of the Great Lakes. They crossed the Mississippi and occupied the ter- ritory about the lower valley of the Iowa river, giving to that stream its present name, although it was for a long time called the Ayouas by the earliest French •explorers. Early records show this name spelled in various ways, Ayouas, Ayouways, Ayoas and Aiouex. Lewis and Clark, in the journal of their explora- tions in 1804, refer to this tribe as the Ayouways. In later years the spelling became changed to loway and finally the y was dropped, and we have the name Iowa, with the accent on the I.

A half-breed of French and Indian parentage, Antoine Le Claire, who was familiar with several of the Indian languages, defines the word Iowa as "This is the place." Theodore S. Parvin, a high authority, relates an Indian legend as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Thissell

HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY                                                                                   31

''This tribe separated from the Sacs and Foxes and wandered off westward in search of a new home. Crossing the Mississippi river, they turned southward, reaching a high bkiff near the mouth of the Iowa river. Looking off over the beautiful valley spread out before them they halted, exclaiming Toway !' or 'This is the place !' "

The lowas were worshipers of a Great Spirit, the creator and ruler of the universe. They had a tradition that a very long time ago a month's rain came, drowning all living animals and people, excepting a few, who escaped in a great canoe. The Great Spirit then made from red clay another man and woman and from them all Indians descended. They regarded rattlesnakes and a certain species of hawks with veneration.

Among themselves the lowas were called Pa-hu-cha, which in English means "dusty nose." Their tradition is that they once dwelt on a sandbar from which dust and sand were blown into their faces, giving them dusty noses, and hence their name Pa-hu-chas. Their language was that of the Dakota group of which they were a part. They were, however, enemies of the other Dakotas, because an Iowa chief had been treacherously slain by a band of Sioux. They were divided into eight clans, designated as Eagle, Wolf, Bear, Pigeon, Elk, Beaver, Buffalo and Snake; each clan having a totem of the bird or animal they repre- sented. These clans were also distinguished, one from another, by the fashion in which the hair was cut.

During the Civil war, the lowas were loyal to the Union, many of them enlisting in the northern army, and making good soldiers. The name of the greatest of the Iowa war chiefs, ^Mahaska, has been given to one of the counties in the Des Moines valley, embracing a portion of our state over which this once powerful tribe held domain.

This tribe was so reduced by pestilence and war that it ceased to play an important part in the state's history after 1823.


The Sacs and Foxes, who probably held the most prominent place in the story of the Algonquin family in Iowa, had migrated from the country along the Atlantic coast now embraced in the state of Rhode Island. They moved along the valley of the St. Lawrence river and thence to the vicinity of Green bay, where they were found by Jean Nicollet in 1634. It is reported, that in 1667, Claude Allouez, a French Jesuit, found on the Wolf river in Wisconsin, a village of ^lusquakies, as the Sacs and Foxes were sometimes called, which contained a thousand warriors and nearly five thousand persons.

These Indians appeared to realize that the invasion of French trappers and missionaries threatened the eventual occupation of their lands by the whites, and from the first they waged war against the intruders, and were nearly the only tribe with whom the French could not live in peace.

About 1,712 the Sacs and the Foxes became close allies. Each tribe, however, reserved the right to make war or peace, without the consent of the other. The Foxes had villages on the west side of the Mississippi, while the Sacs remained on the east side. The Sacs could muster about three hundred warriors, and the Foxes about three hundred and twenty. The Sacs had long before occupied the

32                                                                                  HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY

region about Saginaw, in Michigan, calling it Sauk-i-nong. They called them- selves Saukies, meaning "man-with-a-red-badge." Red was the favorite color used by them in personal adornment, and it is said that the Sac covered his head with red clay when he mourned. The Indian name of the Foxes was Mus-qua-kies, signifying "man-with-a-yellow-badge." The French gave to this tribe the name Reynors or Foxes because of their thieving habits. The river in Wisconsin, along which these Indians had their home, was called by the French ''Rio Reynor." When the English obtained the country from France, they gave the river its English translation Fox.

The Sac village on Rock river was one of the oldest in the upper Mississippi valley. Black Hawk, in his autobiography, says it was built in 1731. It was named Saukenuk. This was for fifty years the largest village of the Sacs, and contained in 1825 a population of about eight thousand. The houses were sub- stantially built, and were made with a frame of poles covered with sheathing of elm bark, fastened on with thongs of buckskin. Half a mile east of the town is a bold promontory rising two hundred feet from the bed of Rock river. This was known as "Black Hawk's Watch Tower," and was a favorite resort of that great Sac chieftain. Here he would sit smoking his pipe and enjoying the grand scenery spread out before him, the land which he clung to and fought so desperately to hold.


The Winnebagoes, too, belonged to the Dakota group ; and are mentioned by the French writers as early as 1669. Early in the seventeenth century the tribes of the Northwest formed an alliance against the Winnebagoes, and in a battle five hundred of the latter were slain. It is thought that they and the lowas were the only Dakotas that migrated to the east. After meeting the Algonquin tribes of Pottawattamies, Chippewas, Sacs, Foxes, Mascoutines and Ottawas, they finally formed an alliance, which lasted for more than one hun- dred and fifty years. They were reluctant to come under English rule, after the French were expelled ; but finally became reconciled, and fought with the British through the American Revolution. In 1816, they entered into a treaty of peace with the United States; but in 1832 they joined Black Hawk in his war; and at its termination were required to relinquish their lands in Wisconsin in exchange for a tract in Iowa known as the "Neutral Ground." They were not, however, compelled to remove to their new home until 1841. By the terms of the treaty the Winnebagoes were to be paid $10,000 annually for twenty-seven years, beginning in 1833. The government agreed also to supply them with certain farm implements and teams, to establish schools for the Indian children and to maintain these schools for twenty-seven years. The Winnebagoes dis- liked to go to the "Neutral Ground," because on the south were the Sacs and Foxes, and on the north were the hostile Sioux. However, they grew to love the Iowa reservation; and after they had removed to Minnesota in 1846, they often returned to hunt and fish along the Iowa rivers.

Mr. & Mrs. Schaffner

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THE SIOUX Of the three great Indian nations, occupying the upper Mississippi valley in the sixteenth century, the most powerful and populous was the Dakota nation. They were nomadic, wandering northward to latitude 55 degrees in the Rocky mountains, and eastward to the shores of Green bay. Thus it will be seen that this great Indian nation early in the sixteenth century occupied a large portion of British America, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, more than half of Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska, the greater part of Minnesota, and the north half of Wisconsin. The Sioux, who belonged to the Dakota nation, were first known to the French in 1640. In 1680, w^hen Hennepin was sent to explore the valley of the upper Mississippi and was encamped with his party on the bank of one of the tributaries of the river, he was captured by a band of Sioux. They took him with them in their wanderings over Minnesota, from April until September, when he and his companions were rescued by Greysolon Du Luth.

When the French took possession of that country in 1685, the Dakotas were divided into seven eastern and nine western tribes. During the wars be- tween the French and the Indians, the Sioux were forced southward into north- ern Iowa about the head waters of the Des Moines river and Okoboji and Spirit lakes.

When in 1804, Lewis and Clark explored along the Missouri valley, the Yankton division of the Sioux occupied the country along the .upper Des Moines and Little Sioux valleys and about the group of lakes in northern low^a and southern ^Minnesota. While roaming about in these regions they had named the rivers and lakes. Their principal villages were along the shores of Okoboji and Spirit Lake. Their name for the latter was Minne-Mecoehe-Waukon, mean- ing "Lake of the Spirits." It was so named according to a tradition among the Sioux, because a very long time ago there was an island in the lake, that the first Indians who sailed to it in their canoes, were seized and drowned by demons. No Indian again ventured near its shores and it finally disappeared beneath the waters. Lizard creek they called, "Was-sa-ka-pom-pa," the river with lizards. The propriety of this name appears at once, when one views the many wind- ings' of the little stream, like the tortuous trail of a lizard. The Des Moines river was originally named "Moingonan" by the Algonquins, "Moingona" by Charlevoix, and "Eah-sha-wa-pa-ta" or "Red Stone" river by the Sioux,

In 1805, Lieutenant Pike estimated the number of Sioux at more than twenty-one thousand. One of their most noted chiefs in the first half of the nineteenth century was Wa-na-ta of the Yanktons. When but eighteen years old, he distinguished himself in the War of 1812, fighting with his tribe for the British at the battle of Sandusky. He was instrumental in organizing a union of all of the Sioux tribes and became the chief ot the confederacy of Sioux, often leading them in battle against the lowas and Chippewas. The Sioux were always more or less hostile to the Americans, and were only re- strained from open hostilities by the fear of troops stationed in the frontier forts. They were enemies of the Sac and Fox tribes.

"Si-dom-i-na-do-tah," or "Two Fingers" was the head of a band of renegade

34         &nbs34                                                                                  HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY

Sioux, that hunted and fished along the upper Des Aloines valley. He belonged to the Sisseton tribe or clan. He was short of stature and of a squatty build, while his features were coarse and irregular. His name was due to the fact that on one hand he had but two fingers. Through petty thieving and plunder he and his band caused the early settlers of Webster county much annoyance. His first followers were four or five desperadoes who had been exiled from their own people. Then other joined them, until the party contained five hundred. Major Williams, in his reminscences of pioneer days, mentions the fact, that with Sidominadotah's band there was a very stout negro, who was always reported as the most insolent and daring of the band. He also says, "Every efifort was made to catch him, but he always managed to keep out of the way. Whenever any outrage was committed, we could always hear of him, but could never catch him. He still remains one of the mysteries of the pioneer days of northern Iowa." This band of Sioux increased their number very much by gathering in renegades and allies from other bands of Sioux to aid them in fighting and pillaging their common enemies, the Sacs and Foxes and Pottawat- tamies.

The Sioux Indians would make expeditions, and invade the territory of the Pottawattamies, who inhabited the southern part of the state, and in turn the Pottawattamies would attack the Sioux. These two tribes fought two desperate battles in the vicinity of Fort Dodge. One was fought near Twin Lakes in Cal- houn county and the other on the South Lizard, near McLaughlin's Grove in Webster county. The Sioux were victorious in both. These were the last Indian battles in Iowa, as the various tribes soon after left for their western reservations. The Sioux were the most warlike and treacherous of all the tribes, which at any time had homes in Iowa. It was a band of this tribe, who massacred nearly the entire settlement at Spirit Lake and Okoboji in March, 1857; and in 1862, murdered nearly two thousand people in Minnesota.

One of the two Indian names, retained in Webster county, is that of Wah- konsa. It is the name of a township and of various societies and organizations. The pioneer inn bore this name, as does also the present fine hotel. One of the early societies, the "Wahkonsa Library Club," organized in 1859, bore this name. Mr. George W. Brizee, at one time editor of the Fort Dodge Sentinel, says that Major Williams told him that Wahkonsa was the son of Umpashota (Smoky Day), that he was very intelligent and useful to the first settlers; that he would map out the whole country northwest of the fort, in the sand or dirt, with a stick. Those who best knew Ink-a-pa-do-ta, say he had but one son, - a short stout Indian, who was presumed to be above twenty-two years old at the time of the massacre at Spirit Lake. His name was Com-a-do-ca, and he was killed near Fort Ridgley, Minnesota, during the summer of 1857. He died fighting. When the massacre at Spirit Lake occurred, Wahkonsa went to Fort Ridgley and delivered himself up, a thing very unlikely for him to do if he had been Ink-a-pa-do-ta's son. Mrs. Marble, in an interview with Mr. Brizee, soon after her release from captivity, declared most emphatically, that Ink-a-pa-do-ta had but one son in the band, and that son was Com-a-do-ca. During the winter of 1854-55, Wahkonsa and his sister accompanied by others of their tribe visited Fort Dodge and at night slept on the ground floor of the old hotel, which bore

HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY       HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY                                                                                   85

the name of the young chief. In the morning, Cyrus C. Carpenter, than a young surveyor and school teacher came into the office, and immediately the Indian belle broke out into laughter. Those present tried to ascertain the cause of her mirth. For answer, she pointed at the head of Iowa's future governor, and exclaimed: "Hedgehog! Hedgehog!" Mr. Carpenter at the time wore his hair quite short, and it stood pompadour over the entire top of his head. It was this that had provoked her laughter and caused the not entirely compli- mentary comparison. Governor Carpenter enjoyed the laugh, however, with the rest of the crowd. Wahkonsa was a handsome and attractive young Indian, and was always 'kindly disposed towards the whites. He was a very close friend of Mr. Tames B. Williams, who was of about same age. Mr. Williams is quoted as saying, that the name Wahkonsa meant "fleet-of-foot." Fulton in his "Red Men of Iowa" however, gives the meaning as "One-Who-Will-Be-Heard- From." HOW THE INDIANS LOST IOWA

For many years the flood of immigrants that followed the Ohio valley were prevented from occupying Iowa soil because of the reverence of the Indians for the "Father of Waters." As early as 1804 the. Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States their land east of the Mississippi, but it was not until after the defeat of Black Hawk in 1832, that the most desirable portion of Iowa came into the possession of the United States. After the Black Hawk Purchase was acquired by the government, for use by the settlers, not many years passed before the Indians had lost every acre of the woodlands, hills and prairies they had once owned.

The transfers of land were made through treaties, agreed upon at council meetings, at which were representatives of the United States and of the Indian tribes interested. The government paid for the territory, and the amount and all other details were put in writing.

It is likely that in many cases the promises made by the whites were not carried out and the redmen were defrauded as a result of the shrewdness of the whites. The Indians were partly to blame for any cheating, however, because whisky proved too fascinating, and the price of many an acre of land was paid in this commodity.

The exact amount paid the Indians for the lands of Iowa cannot be deter- mined. The treaties state the purchase price in terms of money, annuities, mer- chandise and domestic animals. Upon the merchandise it is impossible to fix a value at the present time. Sometimes the government promised to lay out farms, establish shops, and bear the expenses of removal to new reservations. Another element of uncertainty lies in the overlapping areas of some of the cessions and the extension of several tracts beyond the present confines of the state.

Owing to the murderous warfare kept up between the Sac and Fox tribes and the Sioux, the government interfered in 1825, and arranged for a confer- ence at Prairie du Chien. Here the chiefs representing their respective tribes assembled, all arrayed in paint and feathers and each trying to outdo the others. A boundary line, to which all agreed, was fixed. The hunting grounds of the

36                           HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY

Sioux were to be north of a line passing from the mouth of the upper Iowa river through the upper fork of the Des Moines river to the fork of the Big Sioux and down the Big Sioux to the Missouri. The Sacs and Foxes were to hunt south of this Hne. Permission was given to*the lowas and the Otoes, both of the Dakota family to live in this territory with them.

The Indians did not, however, recognize these boundary lines, w'hen send- ing out hunting parties, and in 1830 the United States government established the so-called Neutral Strip. At the same time, the tribes of the Sacs and Foxes, ceded to the United States that portion of the territory lying west of the water- shed dividing the Missouri and Des Moines rivers, eastward to the Neutral Strip, northward to the present state of Minnesota, and westward to the Alis- souri river, with the exception of a portion of Lyon county which the Sioux were to possess. This vast tract of land was granted with the understanding, that it should be used for Indian purposes. The Neutral Strip might be hunted upon by either of the tribal parties, and the United States was at liberty to settle, upon any of the lands acquired at this date, such other tribes as it might see fit. In accordance with this, the Winnebagoes, after selling their land east of the Mississippi, were settled upon that portion of the Neutral Strip to the east of the Cedar river in its course through Butler and Floyd counties, and the Pottawattamies, were given 5,000,000 acres in the southwestern part of Iowa.

Then followed the Black Hawk Purchase, which went into effect June i, 1833. The noted warrior Black Hawk had vigorously refused to recognize the treaty of 1804, and although in 1816 he "touched the goose quill," as he expressed it, to the instrument affirming the treaty, his reluctance to give up the land in question led to the conflict of 1832. He was. however, defeated and compelled to sell the land now known as the Black Hawk Purchase. This was a tract about fifty miles in width, extending along the Mississippi river from the Neu- tral Strip to the Missouri line, w^ith the exception of the Keokuk Reserve of four hundred square miles along the Iowa river in Louisa county. Thus the government secured the eastern portion of the state, with the exception of a small tract lying between the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers and south of a line drawn west from Fort Madison, reserved under the treaty of 1825, for the half breeds of the Sacs and Foxes of ^Missouri and known as the Half Breed Tract. As a result of the Black Hawk Purchase, immigration to Iowa was greatly increased. The fame of her beautiful valleys, groves and rivers, her fertile prairies and rich soil had reached the distant east. Thousands of people were impatiently waiting for the removal of the red men from such a land of promise. White top emigrant wagons quickly sought the paths, and homeseekers soon crowded in searching for the best timber and farm locations.

In 1836 the four hundred square acres reserved for the Sacs and Foxes was secured by the whites; and by a treaty made in October, 1837, the two tribes were induced to part with a tract adjoining the Black Hawk Purchase on the west. Still the whites wanted more land, and finally in 1842, the confederated tribes of the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States all other land east of the Missouri. They fiu-ther agreed to move west of the Missouri, wnthin three years from the ratification of the treaty. The remaining rights of the Indians to the state were relinquished, when the Winnebagoes in 1846, ceded their in-

HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY                                                                                  37

terest in the Neutral Strip; and the Sioux, in 1851, gave up the northern portion of the state.

It is estimated that the state of Iowa cost the United States government to extinguish the Indian title approximately $2,377,547.87, a little over eight cents an acre.

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