Looking back over the hundred or more years of Indian History connected with our
country, even the most casual observer is struck with the injustice which appears to have been meted out to the
Red Man. Possessors of the land by right of birth and occupancy, these savages of the New World have been gradually
forced further and further towards the setting sun until now but few are left to hold what the paternal government
allots to them. Yet in rendering such judgment there is something more which must not be overlooked and that is
the conditions which existed when the government was forced to take vigorous action with regard to the Indians.
From the beginning of the world there has always been a struggle between the weak and the strong, with the most
fit surviving, and unless a Utopian state of affairs comes in tbe future, this mighty conflict will continue until
the end of time. The Caucasian race has always been the dominant one and forces the others from the field. As its
representatives have been the only ones to achieve any real measure of advancement in civilization that has bettered
the world, perhaps it is as well that this is true, at any rate these conditions prevail.
With the coming of the white men, the knell of the Indian was sounded. Those who were the forerunners of white
supremacy were no doubt extremely brutal in their dealings with the Red Men, but theirs was a cruel age. Little
or no quarter was shown to the weak anywhere, and as those brave enough to risk the dangers of an ocean trip in
those early days had to be men of strength and hardened experience, doubtless but little mercy was shown the real
Americans from the beginning. Injustice breeds retaliation in kind, and the savage was not slow to strike back.
Within a short time the two races were ranged against each other in a warfare which could only end one way, with
the utter subjugation of the weaker foe. What happened is a matter of history known to every school child in the
country. The conditions were similar in every community during the very early periods, and to go back too far in
the history of the Indians of Rock Island county would be but to repeat something that has already been handled
skillfully in every school history. However, owing to the fact that within the small territory embraced by the
confines of Rock Island county centered the domains of the mighty Indian warrior who was important enough to have
a war named for him, makes Indian history here during the earlier part of the nineteenth century very interesting.
The population of the Sacs and Foxes at the time of the Black Hawk war aggregated about 2,000 men, women and children.
Over these primitive people were Black Hawk and Keokuk, chiefs of the Sacs. The former was an unusual character.
Born in 1707, he was in the very prime of life when the war that has come down in history bearing his name, occurred.
Unlike his associates. Black Hawk had but one wife and was a man of high moral character who had the good of his
people at heart. His position had come through his ability, and was not an hereditary honor. Had his skin been
as white as his soul, this Indian warrior would have risen high in the service of his country. As it is although
for years history has done him a great wrong, those of the present generation are beginning to see through the
haze of prejudice and discern the noble traits of character which belonged to him.
Passing over therefore all Indian history antedating the opening of the nineteenth century, the year 1804 marks
the beginning of matters of interest for Rock Island people. In that year William Henry Harrison, later to become
president of the United States, but then governor of Indian territory, received orders from President Jefferson
to begin negotiating with the Sacs and Foxes to buy their lands from them. Of the former, four chiefs, and two
representing the Foxes, went to St. Louis to treat with the government representatives. During these negotiations,
50,000,000 acres were granted to the government, the Indians receiving $2,234.50 worth of goods, and a guarantee
of $600 per year thereafter to be paid to the Sacs, and $400 per year to the Foxes, together with the "friendship
and protection" of the Government.
REAL CAUSE OF THE BLACK HAWK WAR
The core of the trouble which later arose between these really helpless Indians and the Government which made many
promises lay in what is known as Article 7 of the treaty of 1804:
"As long as the lands which are now ceded to the United States remain their property, the Indians belonging
to the said tribes shall enjoy the privilege of living and hunting upon them."
Black Hawk repudiated this treaty, declaring that it was unjust and illegal, but the Gov-ernment held his people
to it, and the old Indian chief was overruled.
THE TERRITORY INCLUDED IN THIS TREATY
embraced the eastern third of what is now eastern Missouri and the land lying between the Wisconsin river on the
north, the Fox river of Illinois on the east, the Illinois river on the southeast and the Mississippi river on
the west, so that it is easily seen that all of Rock Island county was included in this mighty tract. Many of the
Indians held to the view that the annual payments made by the Government were presents, and declared that they
had never sold their lands. It is claimed that the Red Men were introduced to the white men's "fire water"
upon the occasion of their visit to St. Louis and that when they signed the important treaty they did not know
what they were doing. This same excuse has often been given since for equally foolish deeds by those who ought
to have known of the potency of strong drink.
VARIOUS DISTURBANCES RESULT IN NEW TREATY
After many dissensions and discussions, in 1816, the chiefs of the Sacs of Rock river again assembled at St. Louis,
and on May 13th ratified the treaty of 1804, as well as all other contracts made with the Government. One important
proviso of the new treaty was the relieving of the Government of one responsibility it had incurred under the terms
of the 1804 treaty to establish a trading house or factory for the Indians to protect them from the abuses of private
traders. The Government paid the Indians $1,000 to be released from this promise. Black Hawk signed this treaty
although he always claimed it was the first to which he had ever set his signature. Another treaty was signed in
1824, by the Sacs and Foxes confirming all others, and each time one was made, the Sacs and Foxes came away with
less land and fewer rights. An end of intertribal wars was effected by the treaty of July 15, 1831, and by it the
Government secured a large tract of land, forty miles wide, which was ceded as neutral ground for the Sioux, Sacs
and Foxes to use as a hunting and fishing ground.
BLACK HAWK OR SAC VILLAGE
was built in 1730, and was on the north bank of Rock river, extending from the Watch Tower west towards the mouth
of Rock river. This was not a small community, for at times as many as 3,000 gathered here, and this was a large
village for the nomadic Indians. Probably it was one of the largest, and certainly was the oldest on the whole
continent, and naturally the Indians were very proud of it. One of the chief attractions of the place was the tribal
burying ground of the Sacs, where for a century the bones of the dead had been deposited. The old Indian village
was called Saukenuk by some, and Saug-e-nug by others, although the early settlers named it the Sac Village or
Black Hawk's Village. Major Morrill Marston, who was at Fort Armstrong from August, 1819, to June, 1821, speaks
of it as Senisepo Kebesaukee, which in English means Rock River peninsula.
THE FIRST WHITE EXPLORERS
With the arrival of the white men came the beginning of Indian disturbances as a matter of course. The natural
beauty and desirability of the land chosen by the Sacs for their largest village, appealed to the whites as well
as the Indians, and the former determined to wrest it from the latter. The first white men in this locality were
without doubt Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette, but these priests brought nothing but peace and religion
in their wake. It was not until 1828 that definite settlement was made within the present confines of Rock Island
county. In that year Captain B. W. Clark, a Mr. Haney, Judge Pence, John Kinney, Thomas Kinney, George Harlan,
Conrad Leek and Archibald Allen arrived here.
In the meanwhile the Indians were not disposed to allow any interference with their plans without demonstrating
that they intended to defend what they believed were their rights. The Battle of Campbell's Island is recorded
in history as one of these instances. It occurred July 19, 1814, between Black Hawk and his warriors and three
barges manned by thirty-three regular soldiers and sixty-five rangers, commanded by Lieutenant Campbell who was
coming to reinforce Fort Shelby. Lieutenant Campbell's boat went ashore on an island six miles east of the present
city of Moline, which still bears the name of the gallant officer, being known as Campbell's Island. The Indians
attacked the little party "within half an hour of landing, and the loss was ten regulars, one woman and one
child in Campbell's boat; one ranger on Rector's boat which came to the rescue, and three rangers on Riggs' boat,
the third of the expedition which also came to the assistance of the first when its need was realized. Lieutenant
Campbell was seriously wounded, as were twenty others, and although the engagement was short and rapid, a retreat
was effected with honor. The Indians attacking numbered at least 400. The boat of Lieutenant Campbell lay partially
submerged for years, but finally, in 1829, two men by the name of Smith rescued the hull and used it to floor their
cabin which occupied the present location of Walker's Station two miles east of the present postoffice in Moline.
The state of Illinois has erected a monument upon the battle-field on Campbell's Island to commemorate the event.
On August 21, 1814, in an engagement known as Major Taylor's battle in which the Indians and British defeated the
American forces, Black Hawk always claimed that the fighting was all done by his men as he was aided by but three
soldiers and a big gun. At any rate these hostilities did not aid in friendly intercourse between the whites and
OTHER EARLY SETTLERS
In 1829 Judge John W. Spencer, Louden Case, Sr., and his three sons, Jonah, Louden, Jr., and Charles, Rinah Wells
and his four sons, Rinah, Jr., Lucius, John and Samuel, Joel Wells, Sr., Levi and Huntington W'ells, Joseph Danforth,
Michael Bartlett, George Goble, Benjamin Goble, William Brasher, Joshua Vandruff, who, with his sons settled Vandruff's
Island, Charles H. Case and Benjamin F. Pike were among the settlers. During 1828 and 1829, George Davenport and
Russell Farnham secured the lands upon which later were built the old fair grounds. William T. Brasher entered
land, a portion of which is now included in Chippianock cemetery.
All of these settlements were contrary to the spirit of the treaty of 1804, which definitely stipulated that the
Indians were to have free access to these same lands as hunting and fishing grounds. The authorities at Washington,
desiring to evade what time had made an irksome condition, disposed of a few quarter sections of land at the mouth
of the Rock river, including the land on which was built the Indian village. As Article 7 stipulated that as long
as the land remained in possession of the Government, the Indians were to have their rights, the Govern-ment could
only evade its responsibility by transferring its ownership to private individuals.
ORGANIZATION OF ROCK ISLAND COUNTY
Further steps were taken to dispossess the Indians by Act of Legislature under date of February 9, 1831, which
created Rock Island county, but it was not organized until July 5, 1833, owing to the troubles arising from the
Black Hawk war. At the time of the establishment of the county there were but 350 inhabitants within the proposed
confines, but the Government recognized that as soon as the embargo was removed, colonists would flock in to claim
the rich lands of the Sacs which had long attracted the eyes of the white men. The county was properly organized
on the last mentioned date at the house of John Barrel by sixty-five legal voters who elected county officers.
This was the beginning of the end. When the Indian chief and his warriors returned in the spring from their winter's
hunting they found that their village was not ready for their occupancy, but that the hated whites had crept in
and taken possession of their most desirable homes. This was bad enough, but when they discovered that the white
man's plow had upturned the bones of their ancestors, their rage was overpowering. It is difficult for Christian
people to comprehend the reverence other religions have for the remains of those gone before. The Chinese have
that same worship of ancestors, and regard as sacrilege any disturbance of their dead. Doubtless had conditions
been reversed, the white settlers would have angrily resented the Indians plowing up the graves of their dead.
It is not remarkable that the Indian chief, Black Hawk, did what any leader would have done under the circumstances,
served notice on the settlers that they must move, either go south of Rock river or above Pleasant Valley. The
white settlers who had come into a new country, enduring many hardships by the way, were unwilling to relinquish
the land they felt they had obtained fairly and squarely, and not knowing which way to turn, sent a petition to
the Governor of Illinois, under the date of April 30, 1831, which was as follows:
THE ROCK ISLAND PETITION
"We, the undersigned, being citizens of Rock river and its vicinity, beg leave to state to your honor the
grievances which we labor under and pray your protection against the Sac and Fox tribes who have again taken possession
of our lands near the mouth of Rock river and its vicinity. They have, and now are, burning our fences, destroying
our crops of wheat now growing by turning in all their horses. They also threaten our lives if we attempt to plant
corn, and say they will cut it up; that we have stolen their lands from them, and they are determined to exterminate
us, provided we don't leave the country. Your honor, no doubt, is aware of the outrages that were committed by
said Indians heretofore. Particularly last fall they almost destroyed all our crops, and made several attempts
on the owners' lives when they attempted to prevent their depredations, and actually wounded one man by stabbing
him in several places. This spring they act in a much more outrageous and menacing manner so that we consider ourselves
compelled to beg protection of you, which the agent and garrison on Rock Island refuse to give, inasmuch as they
say they have no orders from government; therefore, should we not receive adequate aid from your honor, we shall
be compelled to abandon our settlement, and the lands which we have purchased of the Government. Therefore we have
no doubt but your honor will better anticipate our condition than it is represented, and grant us immediate relief
in the manner that to you may seem most likely to produce the desired effect. The number of Indians now among us,
is about six or seven hundred. They say there are more coming, and that the Pottawottomies and some of the Winnebagoes
will help them in case of an eruption with the whites.
"The warriors now here are the Black Hawk's party, with other chiefs, the names of whom we are not acquainted
with. Therefore, looking up to you for protection, we beg leave to remain, yours, etc."
The names signed to this petition were as follows:
John Wells, B. F. Pike, H. McNeil, Albert Wells, Griffith Ausbury, Thomas Gardner, J. Vandruff, S. Vandruff, Huntington
Wells, John L. Bain, Horace Cook, David B. Hail, John Barrel, William Henry, Erastus Kent, Levi Wells, Joel Wells,
Michael Bartlet, Thomas Davis, Thomas Lovitt, William Heans, Charles French, M. S. Hulls, Eli Wells, Asaph Wells,
G. V. Miller, Edward Burner, Joel Thompson, Joseph Danforth, Samuel Wells, Joel Wells, Jr., William Brazher, Charles
French, J. W. Spencer, Jonah II. Case, Benjamin Goble, Gentry McCall.
In the face of this strong appeal, the settlers were greatly disappointed in not receiving a reply from Governor
Reynolds, and the Indian agent, Felix St. Vrain, wrote to General William Clark at St. Louis, stating the facts,
and beseeching him to act accordingly. A second petition was sent to the Governor, following the destruction of
some whisky which a settler was trading to Indians for their furs and game, having his tavern on Vandruft"s
Island. This second petition bore the date of May 10, 1831, and was signed by practically the same men who attached
their signatures to the first. This was taken to the Governor by Benjamin F. Pike, who afterwards became the first
sheriff of Rock Island county. In addition to the petition, he secured several affidavits, and his papers, together
with his personal representations, so impressed the Governor that he issued a call that same day for 700 mounted
militia to move the Indians west of the Mississippi river. In addition he sent word to General Clark at St. Louis
advising him of his action, and asking him to cooperate with him in the matter of securing the expulsion of the
Indians from the state. In the meanwhile, Felix St. Vrain, the Indian agent, went to St. Louis, setting forth the
situation in a letter to General Clark under date of May 28, 1831.
GENERAL CLARK ACTS
With promptitude General Clark sent a letter to General Edward P. Gaines under date of May 28, 1831, in which he
states what he believes to be the conditions and declaring that he fears the trouble is the result of advice received
from Canadians with whom the Black Hawk party had been associated during the War of 1812. On the same date General
Clark wrote Governor Reynolds acquainting him with his willingness to lend him every assistance in his power.
GOVERNOR REYNOLDS ACTIVE
Governor Reynolds, once he woke up to the seriousness of the situation, advised General Gaines of the necessity
for action, and the latter returned the information that he had detailed six companies of regular troops from Jefferson
Barracks, and would send four more companies if necessary. The secretary of war, Hon. John H. Eaton, was notified
on May 30, 1831, by General Clark of the action taken, and General Gaines went to Fort Armstrong. The Governor
of Illinois and the commanding general united in preparing their defense, and testimony was taken from various
settlers relative to Indian interference.
THE ROCK ISLAND RANGERS
The sturdy settlers of Rock Island, however, were not at all willing to let the full burden of defense rest upon
outsiders. As far as lay in their power, they were ready, anxious and willing to do their full share, and acting
under the advice of General Gaines, they formed themselves into a company, named the Rock River Rangers, comprised
of the following fifty-eight men, and mustered them into the service. The roster is as follows:
Captain: Benjamin F. Pike. First Lieutenant : John W. Spencer. Second Lieutenant: Griffith Ausbury. Sergeants:
James Haskill. Leonard Bryant, Edward Corbin. Corporals: Charles French, Benjamin Goble, Charles Case. Henry Benson,
Archibald Allen. William T. Brashar, John Bane, Michael Bartlett. Joseph Been. Jonah H. Case, Joseph Danforth.
Thomas David. Russell Dance, Isaiah Frith, Thomas Gardner, George W. Harlan, Uriah S. Hultz. Thomas Hubbard, Goodridge
Hubbard, Cyrus Henderson, Moses Johnson, John W. Kinney, Samuel Kinney, Conrad Leek, Thomas Levitt. Henry McNeil,
George Miller, Gentry McGee, Amos C. Noble, Thomas Syms, Robert Syms, William F. Sams, Martin W. Smith. Sevier
Stringfield, Joel Thompson, Joshua Vandruff. Henry Vandruff. Samuel Vandruff, Benjamin Vanetta, Gorham Vanetta,
Edward Varner, Levi Wells, George Wells, Joel Wells, Sr. Joel Wells. Jr., Huntington Wells. John Wells, Samuel
Wells, Rinnah Wells, Asaph Wells, Eri Wells, Ira Wells.
Although this was a very busy time for Illinois farmers, 1600 of them responded to the Governor's call for militiamen,
meeting him at Beardstown about June 10, 1831, armed with muskets, shotguns and other equipments, and all were
mounted, glad to take action against the Indians who had joined the British in their fight against the United States.
Joseph Duncan was appointed by the Governor as brigadier general, and Samuel Whiteside as major. This army left
for Rock Island June 15. 1831, and camped at what is now Andalusia, being supplied with provisions by Fort Armstrong.
Hoping to awe the Indians, General Gaines sent a steamboat from Fort Armstrong on June 18th, but the braves and
their families showed little or no curiosity, and the boat steamed up the Rock river and back again. When General
Duncan arrived to a position opposite the Sac village on June 20th, preparations were made to attack. General Gaines
left the fort on the Enterprise
and joined General Duncan's forces. The nine other companies of regulars with the Rock River Rangers under command
of Captain John Bliss marched to the Indian town. Black Hawk's watch tower was used as a vantage ground for the
cannon used in shelling Vandruff's Island, and the Enterprise attacked from the river. The spy battalion under Major Whiteside swept the island and
discovered that there were no Indians on it. When the Indian village was entered it was found that the enemy had
crept out in the night and encamped some distance below Rock Island. Although the Indians had escaped, their village
was not spared but was burned to ashes.
PRESENT SITE OF ROCK ISLAND CAMP OF GENERAL DUNCAN
On June 26, General Duncan marched to the present site of the city of Rock Island and located his camp which extended
from the present Rock Island freight depot to the ferry dock. The 1600 horses were pastured in the bend of the
river below, and strongly guarded, but a steamboat whistle frightened the animals to such an extent that they escaped
and were recovered only after several days, a few being lost.
BLACK HAWK BROUGHT TO TIME
On June 27, General Gaines sent word to Black Hawk to come to him and sign a new treaty, but at first the old warrior
would not respond, but eventually he did so, and on June 30, a new treaty was signed, in which it was agreed that
the Sacs should remain on the west shore of the Mississippi and never again cross it except by permission of the
President of the United States. The army was disbanded on July 2, not a single man having been either killed or
injured, and none ever applied for a pension. It was a bloodless campaign.
THE BLACK HAWK WAR
However, the Indians were not conquered, only subdued. The feeling against the Government was high, and Black Hawk
and his tribe in their new homes near the mouth of the Des Moines river, brooded over their wrongs. Neapope, second
in command of the Sacs, went to Malden, Canada, and upon his return in the fall of 1831, stated that the Indians
in case of war would receive assistance from the British. The Prophet, an important Indian chief and counsellor,
whose headquarters were on the present site of Prophetstown, Illinois, sent word to Black Hawk that he would receive
assistance from the Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawatomies and Winnebagoes. While the Indian chiefs were thus laying
their plans, spies were at work among them, and Fort Armstrong received word as early as the beginning of April
that Black Hawk purposed re-occupying his old village. Word was sent to the settlers in the contested regions to
seek shelter at Fort Armstrong, or in the stockade which had been built about the trading store of Davenport and
Farn-ham. They flocked to these safety points, and many thrilling and amusing incidents are related of that time,
although when they occurred doubtless the humorous points entirely escaped the participants.
BLACK HAWK BEGINS HIS MARCH
On April 6, 1832, Black Hawk with 1,000 Indians, which included warriors, women and children, with all their possessions,
crossed the Mississippi, violating the terms of his last treaty, at Yellow Banks (Oquaka), and marched up to Rock
river and thence to the site opposite to that of his old village. The following morning he started for the Prophet's
village. Afterwards the chief declared that he had had no intention of making war upon the whites, merely desiring
to leave his women and children with the Prophet while he and his men raised a crop of corn. In times of warfare,
however, the opposing side cannot afford to take good intentions for granted, and the Government did not purpose
mincing matters with people who failed to hold a treaty sacred. On June 30, 1831, one hundred Sacs and Foxes had
attacked a camp of Menominees and twenty-five were killed and this had made a feud between the Indians which might
work out to the disadvantage of the whites. Everything was in a disordered condition, and the Government resolved
GENERAL ATKINSON SENT TO FORT ARMSTRONG
On April 1,1832, General Henry Atkinson was sent from St. Louis, arriving on April 12, at Fort Armstrong. When
Black Hawk passed his old village, General Atkinson sent Captain Phil Kearney after him ordering him to recross
the Mississippi, but the Indian chief refused to do so. The news of the invasion of Black Hawk sent terror throughout
the state and the Governor was besought to take an active part in quelling the trouble. Hence, on April l6th, Governor
Reynolds once more called upon the people of Illinois, and again they left their farm work to respond to his proclamation,
and they were mustered into service by General Atkinson on May 7th. In the meanwhile a Rock Island company was
formed, and received into the United States service. The company was added to Colonel Moore's regiment, and marched
up the river to Dixon, where it was assigned to a mounted battalion commanded by Major Samuel Bogart, and ordered
to do frontier duty. This company was mustered out at Macomb, Illinois, September 4, 1832. Another company was
that officered by Captain Seth Pratt, which did garrison duty at Fort Armstrong from April 21 to June 3, 1832,
when it was mustered out. It was composed of men from Rock Island county and adjacent counties.
At the commencement of hostilities, Governor Reynolds advanced one of his quartermasters, George Davenport, the
Indian trader at Rock Island, to the rank of colonel, a title he retained the remainder of his life. The volunteer
army reached Dixon on May 10th, ahead of the regulars. Black Hawk and his Indians had reached the Prophet's village
and sent for the Pottawattomies asking for a council on Sycamore Creek, since called Stillman's Run. The Pottawattomies
were divided, Shabbona favoring the whites, but Big Foot and Mike Girty were for war. When Major Whiteside arrived
at Dixon, he found two independent battalions, in all 341 men, commanded by Major Stillman and Major Bailey. They
were sent upon a scouting expedition, and partially from lack of experience, acted dishonorably, as they fired
upon a party sent out by Black Hawk bearing a flag of truce. A second
Indian truce party following the first, were also fired upon, and the Indians retaliated by firing upon the whites.
The second scouting party was put to rout, leaving their supplies, behind. These gave Black Hawk needed provisions
and enabled him to continue his campaign.
ACTIVE PREPARATIONS FOR WAR
Black Hawk sent his women and children by way of the Kishwaukee to the swamps of Lake Koshkonong on Rock river,
the Winnebagos acting as guides. Here Black Hawk's party was recruited by the Winnebagoes and Pottawattomies. Upon
receiving news of Stillman's defeat, General Whiteside with 1,400 men hastened to bury the dead, and a monument
erected by the State of Illinois, now marks the spot. On May 19th, General Atkinson and the entire army moved up
the Rock river, but later returned to Dixon, leaving General Whiteside to follow Black Hawk. On May 22, thirty
Pottawattomies and three Sacs, under Girty, killed fifteen men, women and children at the David farm on Indian
creek, north of Ottawa. Sylvia and Rachel, daughters of William Hall, were taken captive and carried to Lake Koshkonong,
but eventually the girls were restored to their relatives. While troops were being mustered in from Rock Island
and vicinity, General Winfield Scott started from Fortress Monroe on the sea with 1,000 men. In the meanwhile 300
mounted volunteers under Colonels Frye and Henry agreed to remain in the field and protect the frontier. Among
this number was one named Abraham Lincoln, a private. On June 14th, eleven Sacs killed five white men at Spafford
farm on the Pecatonica river. They were followed by Colonel Dodge with twenty-nine men who exterminated them although
he lost three men and had one wounded in so doing. On June 24th, Black Hawk in command of a party of braves attacked
Apple River Fort, fourteen miles east of Galena, but after an hour's siege the Indians withdrew, burning the neighboring
cabins. On June 25th. the same party attacked Major Dements' spy battalion, 150 strong, at Kellogg's Grove, but
General Posey arrived in time with volunteers, the Indian loss being fifteen, and the whites five. Skirmishes took
place at Plum River Fort, Burr Oak Grove, Sinsiniwa Mound and Blue Mounds.
In the meanwhile on June 15th, the new troops met at Fort Wilburn, Peru, to the number of 3,020 men, making the
entire army in the field about 4,000 effective men. The command was centered in General Atkinson who marched up
the east bank of Rock river. White Crow offered to conduct the army of Black Hawk and with customary deceit did
just the opposite. Black Hawk started westward to the Wisconsin river, but was overtaken on July 21st, on the bluffs,
and a decisive battle was fought, in which General Henry commanded the white forces. This was the first important
victory. In the morning it was learned that the Indians had left for the Mississippi, leaving 168 dead on the field
and twenty-five more by the way. General Henry lost but one man and only eight were wounded. On August 2d, the
army reached the bluffs of the Mississippi at the mouth of the Bad Axe and were making preparations to cross, when
Captain Throckmorton, commanding the Warrior,
arrived. The Indians displayed a white flag, and were ordered to come on board. When they did not do this, owing
to the fact they had no boats Throckmorton fired into them killing twenty-five women and children. General Atkinson
coming up from the rear attacked and completely routed the Indians, killing 150 of them, and wounding others, while
a number were drowned while trying to cross. The American loss was but seventeen. General Atkinson went with fifty
prisoners to Prairie du Chien, and there on August 7, General Scott with nine companies arrived and assumed command,
and the volunteers were discharged. Black Hawk was captured by some treacherous Winnebagoes
and delivered on August 27th. During that winter he was kept as a prisoner at Jefferson Barracks at St. Louis,
and then sent to Fortress Monroe, where he was confined until June 4, 1833, when he was discharged. He returned
west and locating on a small reservation in Davis county, Iowa, lived there until his death, October 3, 1838.
THE FINAL TREATY
The final treaty was concluded September 21, 1832. This treaty says:
"Concluded at Fort Armstrong," but in consequence of cholera then raging at the fort, the treaty was
held on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi river, now the city of Davenport in the State of Iowa. Out of a band
of nearly 1,000 Indians who crossed at Yellow Banks in April, not more than 150 lived to tell the story. The white
loss was about 250. The financial cost to the Government and the State of Illinois was nearly $2,000,000.
The Indians opposed the building of the fort from the beginning, and tried to destroy it upon several occasions.
It is claimed that Black Hawk set a fuse to blow it up on the night of April 12, 1832, when he crossed the river.
If he did, the attempt was not successful. The Prophet tried to enter the fort upon several occasions, but was
kept out by Major Bliss. This old fort stood for thirty-nine years as constructed, although used from 1830 as a
warehouse. It was set on fire on October 7, 1855, and burned in spite of the efforts of J. B. Danforth, Jr., agent
of the quartermaster's department. When the United States Government commenced the construction of Rock Island
Arsenal in 1863, all traces of Fort Armstrong were removed, the first building standing on practically the old
site, while its window frames in the basement were taken from the old fort.
It is interesting to note that in the over eighty years which have elapsed since Black Hawk and his warriors sought
to retain their old homes, more has been accomplished than in all the ages that the Indians had ownership of the
contested land. Had they been left in possession of it, there would be no stately cities overlooking the broad
Mississippi. From the Watch Tower the eye would fall upon nothing more impressive than a few straggling Indian
huts, or tethered ponies. The wave of progress was bound to sweep the Red Man before it and lose him in the boundless
ocean of civilization. In spite of the terrors of Indian warfare, this region continued to grow, and in 1832, just
prior to the outbreak of hostilities, the list of settlers was as follows, and probably there were more who left
soon thereafter so there was no permanent record of their names. Griffith Aubury, Archibald Allen, John L. Bain,
John Barrel, Michael Bartlett, Edward Burner, William T. Brasher, Henry Benson, Joseph Been, Leonard Bryant, Jonah
H. Case, Louden Case, Sr., Louden Case, Jr., Charles H. Case, Horace Cook, B. W. Clark, Edward Corbin, William
Carr, Martin Culver, Manly Danforth, Joseph Danforth, Thomas Davis, Russel Dance, George Davenport, Thomas Davidson,
Isaiah Frith, Charles French, Russel Farnham, Thomas Gardiner, Benjamin Goble. Antoine Gouquy, John Graft. James
Haskill, George W. Harlan, Uriah S. Hultz. Thomas Hubbard. Goodridge Hubbard, Cyrus Henderson. David B. Hail, William
Henry, William Heans, M. S. Hulls, ---- Haney, Moses Johnson. John W. Kinney. Samuel Kinney, Thomas Kinney. Erastus
Kent. Thomas Lovitt. Joseph McCoy, Henry McNeil. George V. Miller, Gentry McGee. Neel McNeil, James Maskal, Ames
C. Noble. Judge Pence. Benjamin Pike, John Reddish. Thomas Syins, Robert Syms. William F. Syms, Martin W. Swith,
Sevier Springfield. Josiah Smart. H. Sampson. John W. Spencer. Roswell H. Spencer. William Thompson, Joel Thompson.
Luther Tunnell, William Tunnell, Joshua Vandruff. Samuel Vandruff. Benjamin Vanetta, Gorham Vanetta. Edward Vorner,
Levi Wells, George Wells. Joel Wells. Sr., Joel Wells, Jr.. Huntington Wells, John Wells. Samuel Wells, Rinnah
Wells. Asaph Wells. Eri Wells, Ira Wells, Nelson Wells. Lucius Wells.
It seems strange at this date to learn that there was slavery in Rock Island county, and yet the records show that
in May, 1829, a man named Stephens from St. Louis, settled on the Mississippi on the present site of Walker Station,
two miles east of the postoffice in Moline, bringing with him twenty black slaves. In October, 1829, Joseph Danforth
went to Galena to the nearest justice of the peace and swore out a warrant for Stephens' arrest for holding slaves.
George Goble warned Stephens, who immediately started south with his slaves. This was the only attempt to hold
slaves in Rock Island county, although a few of the officials at Fort Armstrong had Negro servants, but they were
generally indentured blacks. It is a matter of interest that Dred Scott was brought to Fort Armstrong by Dr. John
Emerson in 1834, and remained there until May, 1836, when he went with Dr. Emerson to Fort Snelling, now in Minnesota,
where he married Harriet, a slave of his master, by whom he had two children. Slavery was illegal in both places.
It was this same Dred Scott whose case became one of national importance. In the final decision relative to it
occurs this paragraph, which is of interest to Rock Island county people:
"Scott was not made free by being taken to Rock Island in the State of Illinois. As Scott was a slave when
taken to Fort Armstrong into the State of Illinois by his owner and was then held as such, and brought back into
Missouri in that character, his status, as free or slave, depended upon the laws of Missouri and not of Illinois.
He and his family were not free, but were, by the laws of Missouri, the property of the defendant."
This Dred Scott Decision was one of the more remote causes of the Civil war.
END CHAPTER ONE