pub Chas. C. Chapman & Co..

History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws online

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Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 22 of 79)
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pursuit of him another treaty could be made ; he might assist in
making terms and get his pay out of the payments the Govern-
ment would make, and all would be well. Mr. Amos Farrar, who
was Davenport's partner for some years, and who died in Galena
during the war, is said to have declared while on his death-bed,
that the " Indians were not to be blamed, that if they had been let
alone there would have been no trouble вАФ that the band was owing
Mr. Davenport and he M'anted to get his pay and would, if another
treaty had been made. "

Although Black Hawk's movement across the Mississippi was at
once construed as a hostile demonstration, and Davenport skillfully
cultivated the idea, he was accompanied by his old men, women and
children. No Indian Avarrior ever went on the war-path incum-
bered in that way. More than this, it does not appear, from the
6th of April until the battle of Stillman's Run on the 12th of
May, that a single settler was murdered, or suffered any material
injury at the hands of Black Hawk or his band. In truth, Hon.
H. S. Townsend, of Warren, Jo Daviess county, states that in one
instance, at least, when they took corn from a settler they paid him
for it. Capt. W. B. Green, of Chicago, writes : " I never heard
of Black Hawk's band, while passing up Rock river, committing
any depredations whatever, not even petty theft." Frederick
Stahl, Esq., of Galena, states that he was informed by the veteran
John Dixon that " when Black Hawk's band passed his post, before
the arrival of the troops, they were at his house. Ne-o-pope had
the young braves well in hand, and informed him that they
intended to commit no depredations, and should not fight unless
they were attacked. " W. S. Rankin, of Pekin, who was in the
northern part of the State at the breaking out of the war, and par-
ticipated in it, says he has no idea that Black Hawk Avould have
molested the whites had the military not attacked them ; that his
coming was purely peaceable.

We do not wish to uphold Black Hawk in the depredations he
committed upon the whites. We do, however, desire to record
events impartially. We believe Black Hawk's motives were
greatly misunderstood, and it is due him and due to posterity to
record the facts of this war as nearly impartial as it is in our power
to do. Whatever his motives might have been, it is the unanimous
testimony of the survivors now residing on the old battle-fields of


that day, that except the violation of treaty stipulations and an
arrogance of manner natural to the Indian who wanted to make a
new trade with the " Great Father, " the Sacs and Foxes at first
committed no serious acts of hostility, and intended none, until the
alternative of war or extermination was presented to them by the


In the meantime the settlers all along the frontier had been
making active preparations to defend themselves. Forts and
stockades were built in every settlement. At Pekin, around the
court-house, or the Snell school-house, in June, a picket fort was
built. This was called Fort Doolittle. A singular oversight in
the construction of this stockade, and one that caused a great deal
of merriment when the danger was over was, that Fort Doolittle
was so constructed that in case of a siege the occupants would
have been entirely destitute of water. A fort or rather a palisade
was constructed around Perkins' mill, near Circleville. A fort was
also constructed at Washington. Happily, however, none of these
were ever besieged by the Indians. Often the settlers would
receive a big scare and they would all seek protection yet no
depredations were committed here.


No sooner had volunteers been called for than recruiting began
in Tazewell county. Capt. Adams began to muster his men
at Pekin and ere long was oiF to the seat of war with a company.
Capt. Adams was in command with Lieutenants B. Briggs and
Alexander McNaughton, and J. M. Roberts, musician. They were
accompanied by Col. Daniel Bailey and Major Isaac Perkins. Col.
Bailey induced men to go that the full quota might be raised, which
was 75, by promising those who had no horses to press into service
horses for them. One volunteer after being out a few days began
to grow timid, and soon became so badly scared at the prospects of
meeting the Indians that he went to Capt. Adams and told him he
must go home as he was so badly frightened that he could do
nothing but run if they got ii^to a battle. The Captain told him
he was glad he had thus informed him, for if they had got into
a fight he might have stampeded all his men. He got permission
to go home. He had a good horse and there was a volunteer who


had none, so the soldiers took his horse from him and gave it to the
other man, and sent the timid ranger home afoot, and it is said the
way he come was a caution. He came nearly running himself
to death, coming almost all the way back .to Tazewell county
on the run.

They soon joined companies from McLean, Peoria and Fulton
counties. There was a question now who should have command of
these battalions, Col. Bailey or Major kStillman. Col. Bailey
claimed it on the ground of seniority, but as they were old friends
this contention did not last long. It was agreed that both should
command, take turn about. On reaching Dixon Gen. Gaines found
them both jolly good fellows, and the men all liked them, so decided
that they should hold equal rank and both command.

Col. Bailey lived at Pekin and died several years ago in that
city. Major Isaiah Stillman, afterwards pi'omoted to General, died
at Kingston, Peoria county, Monday, April 15th, 1861, in about
the 67th year of his age. He was one of the early settlers of the
State and for a number of years resided in this county.

We have made the greatest endeavor to get the names of
Tazewell county volunteers but have failed. We have made
inquiries from everybody who was supposed to know and even
made a trip to Springfield, thinking to find them on the records in
the Adjutant-General's office, but all in vain.

stillman's defeat.

Dixon was the point where the regular and volunteer troops were
to meet. Major Stillman with his men reached Dixon, May 10th.
The steady, careful movements of the regulars made the volunteers
very impatient, and the latter were also exceedingly anxious to ob-
tain the laurels to be won. The men under command of Major
Stillman were particularly anxious to "ketch the Indians" before
the latter could get away. They said the regulars would come
crawling along stuffing themselves with beef, and the Indians would
never be "ketched." The officers yielded to the impatience and
jealousy of the men and requested Governor Reynolds to let them
go out and reconnoitre the country and find the Indians. Captain
Eads, from Peoria, insisted very strongly that they should be allowed
to go. The other captains all volunteered for they did not wish to
be termed cowards. The question Avith them was not whether the
matter was prudent and necessary, but whether they dared to go.


Major Stillman consented to go against his better judgment. He
asked Mr. John Dixon's opinion, and the latter told him very de-
cidedly that the business of " ketching the Indians " would prove
very disastrous for a little force of less than three hundred men.
Major Stillman then said that as all of his officers and men were
determined to go, he must lead them if it cost him his life. Still-
man's force started, and just before night on the 12th of May, 1832,
they encamped at White Rock Grove, in the eastern part of Marion
township. Ogle county, near what is now called Stillman's creek.
He was in close proximity to Black Hawk's encampment, but did
not know it. Soon after becoming aware of the immediate presence
of an armed force Black Hawk sent a small party of his braves to
Stillman's camp with a flag of truce. On their approach they were
soon discovered by some of the men, who, without reporting to
their commander, and without orders, hastily mounted and dashed
down upon the approaching Indians. These not understanding this
sudden movement and apparently suspicious, all, save two who
claimed to be Pottawatomies, retreated toward the camp of their
chief. The whites killed two as they further pursued the retreating
Indians. The two Indians who refused to run were brought into
camp. They said : " Me good Pottawatomie," but pointed over the
hill and said, " Heap of Sac." John W. Caldwell claimed that they
were spies from the Sacs and Foxes. Mr. Caldwell and Joseph
Landes of Groveland township, J. M. Roberts of Morton and El-
more Shumaker of Washington, are the only Black Hawk M^ar
soldiers who went from this county now living. W. S. Rankin of
Pekin was in the war but he did not enlist from this county, al-
though his home was here. The two captured Indians proposed to
trade for a gun belonging to David Alexander, of Pekin. While
they were poking their fingers into the barrel, some of the men who
chased the retreating foe returned and said: "Parade, parade."
They declared the Indians were thick over the hill. When Black
Hawk and his war chief, Ne-o-pope, saw the volunteers dashing
down upon their camp, their flag of truce disregarded, and believing
their overtures for peace had been rejected, they raised the terri-
ble war-whoop and prepared for the fray.

At this juncture the volunteers formed and moved forward. Be-
fore going far an Indian prisoner was brought into the camp and
sent to the rear. The men moved on and made a halt near a slough.
Here the officers went ahead and some kind of a parley was held


with the Indians. The latter swung a red flag in defiance. Orders
were then given to march forward, when Capt. Eads of Peoria came
riding back, and said he was not easily fooled, and that there was
not less than a thousand Indians coming. The men were then
marched back in some confusion across the slough to high ground.
There they formed, or tried to form, but were in bad order. The
Indians then poured out of the timber, to the front, right and left,
and both parties commenced firing. But the whites were in such
bad order that those in the rear were in danger of shooting those in
front. The Indians came on whooping, yelling and firing, and en-
circled around on both sides. Major Stillman ordered his men to
mount and retreat and form a line across the creek, and also ordered
them to break the line of the Indians on the left. Here was confu-
sion, and one veteran says they did not go to the right or to the left
but right straight for home. When they arrived at the creek great
effort was made by the officers to halt their men and fight. The
brave Capt. Adams cried out to his men " Come back, you cowards,
and we will whip them." With eight men he made a stand and
repulsed a squad of Indians each time, who made eight separate and
distinct charges upon them. At last, seeing that with that little
force he could do nothing, he told his men they would have to look
out for themselves. Elmore Shumaker and Jonathan Haines were
with him at this time and soon saw him fall. He sold his life dearly
though. He had his horse shot from under him when the re-
treat began. He bore a deadly hatred towards the Indians as they
had killed many of his relations. Major Perkins was overtaken and
killed about a mile and a half from the creek, and his body terribly
mangled. The loss at this disastrous engagement fell most heavily
upon this county. Of thirteen sturdy pioneers who fell at this, the
battle of the Sycamore, nine were from Tazewell county.

The main force scampered off to Dixon as fast as they could.
David Wright, in speaking of the hardships incident to this retreat
would often say, he " was three days and nights in the howling wil-
derness with nothing to eat and nothing to cook it in."


After the fatal engagement which has since been known as
" Stillman's defeat " or " Stillman's run," the Indians began to com-
mit great depredations upon the whites. Among other fiendish and
murderous raids was one made upon a little settlement on Indian


creek. Three families by the names of Davis, Hall and Pettigrew
lived there. The Indians appeared in the day-time and massacred
them in cold blood, taking a savage delight in their infernal deeds.
Some of the inmates were immediately shot down, olhers were pierced
through with spears or dispatched with the tomahawk. The Indians
afterwards related with an infernal glee, how the women had squeaked
like geese when they were run through the body with spears, or felt
the tomahawk entering their heads. All the victims were carefully
scalped; the children were chopped to pieces with axes; and the
women were tied up by the heels to the walls of the house. There
were two young ladies, daughters of Mr. Hall who formerly lived in
this county, who tried to conceal themselves by crawling into bed.
They were discovered by two young braves who determined to have
them for wives. Their names were Rachel and Silvia Hall, aged
fifteen and seventeen. They were hurried by forced marches beyond
pursuit. After a long and fatiguing journey with their captors,
through a wilderness country, with but little to eat, and being sub-
jected to a variety of fortune, they were at last rescued, $2,000 being
given as a ransom. It is said that the Indians exacted by far the
largest ransom for the elder sister, as she was more quiet and gave
less trouble, but they let the younger sister go pretty cheap, as she
was so saucy and impudent that she made her captors much trouble.
The women are still living and have relations in this county. Mrs.
Ellen Studyvin, of Dillon township, whose husband was in the Black
Hawk war, tells us she very distinctly remembers this massacre.
Many of the troops as they were passing stopped at her house for
water. The Misses Hall just after their release took dinner with
her. They related very fully all the details of the horrible murder
of their father, mother and little sister, and their neighbors. They
said they could see the scalp of their little sister every day in the
wigwam. Each of these young ladies were given a section of land,
after their rescue from the Indians, by the United States. W. S.
Rankin, of Pekin, who was in the Black Hawk war, was well ac-
quainted with the two Indians that found these girls and took them
from their captors. They were White Crow and Little Priest, Win-
nebagoes ; both smart, well-behaved Indians. The former had great
love for Mr. Rankin, who lived at the Galena lead mines before the
war. White Crow heard that he had been killed and mourned
greatly, but when he saw him unharmed he threw his arms around
him and came near hugging him to death for joy.



The war went on resulting in the defeat of the Indians and the
capture of their leader. The rangers came home and were dismiss-
ed from service. They received therefor the remunerative sura of
86 cents per day for self and horse. Afterwards the General Gov-
renment was kind enough to give each participant 80 acres of land.


Joseph Landes, of Groveland township, who was in the Black
Hawk war, participated in the engagement at Old Man's Creek, or
since known as Stillman's creek, and the battle is known as Still-
man's defeat. Mr. Landes said they made the Indians run at this
battle, but the whites led them in the race towards Dixon, most of
their company making the best time. The horse Mr. Landes rode
never forgot this race and the firing in the rear. Always afterward
when "hog-killing" time came and the first hog was shot, "Old
Mike" would start oif as though another race with the Indians was
to be had. Mr. Landes' boys often joke their father about making
the Indians run.

The war did not .extend to this county, but a man by the name of
Johnson was greatly frightened and fortified his house. He was
easily scared, and one of his neighbors who was fond of a good joke
told him one day that the Indians were coming. Johnson ran to
his cabin, bolted the door and stood ready with his gun for any
emergency, and not a hostile Indian withing fifty miles of him.


We cannot close this sketch until we speak of that true and
generous hearted chief, Shaubena, and the part he took in the con-
flict. At the time the war broke out he, with his band of Pottawat-
omies, had their wigwams and camps on the Illinois within the pres-
ent limits of the city of Pekin. Shaubena was a friend of the white
man, and living in this county during those perilous times, and-
known by so many of the early settlers, that we think he deserves
more than a passing mention. Although not so conspicuous as
Tecumseh or Black Hawk, yet in point of merit he was superior to
either of them. Shaubena was born at an Indian village on the
Kankakee river, now in \Yill county, about the year 1775. While
young he was made chief of the band, and went to Shaubena Grove
(now in De Kalb county), where they were found in the early set-
tlement of that section. In the war of 1812 Shaubena, with his


warriors, joined Tecuraseh, was aid to that great chief, and stood by
his side when he fell at the battle of the Thames. At the time of
the Winnebago war, in 1827, he visited almost everj" village among
the Pottawatomies, and by his persuasive arguments prevented them
from taking part in the war. By request of the citizens of Chicago,
Shaubcna, accompanied by Billy Caldwell (Sauganash), visited Big
Foot's village at Geneva Lake, in order to pacify the warriors, as
fears were entertained that they were about to raise the tomahawk
against the whites. Here Shaubena was taken prisoner by Big
Foot, and his life threatened, but on the following day was set at
liberty. From that time the Indians (through reproach) styled him
the "white man's friend," and many times his life was endangered.

Before the Black Hawk war Shaubena met with his men in coun-
cil at two different times, and by his influence prevented his people
from taking part with the Sacs and Foxes. After the death of Black
Partridge and Senachwine, no chief among the Pottawatomies exert-
ed so much influence as Shaubena. Black Hawk, aware of this
influence, visited him at two difl^erent times, in order to enlist him
in his cause, but was unsuccessful. On one, of these occasions
when Black Hawk was trying to induce him and his band to join
them and together make war upon the whites, when with their
forces combined they would be an army that would outnumber the
trees in the forest, Shaubena wisely replied " Aye ; but the army of
the palefaces would outnumber the leaves upon the trees in the
forest," While Black Hawk was a prisoner at Jeiferson Barracks
he said, had it not been for Shaubena the whole Pottawatomie nation
would have joined his standard, and he could have continued the
war for years.

To Shaubena many of the early settlers of this county owe the
preservation of their lives, for he was ever on the alert to save the

Shaubena, by saving the lives of the whites endangered his own,
for the Sacs and Foxes threatened to kill him, and made two
attempts to execute their threats. They killed Pypeogee, his son,
and Pyps, his nephew, and hunted him down as though he was a
wild beast.

Shaubena had a reservation of two sections of land at his grove,
but by leaving it and going west for a short time the Government
declared the reservation forfeited, and sold it the same as other
vacant land. Shaubena finding on his return his possessions gone.


was very sad and broken down in spirit, and left the grove for ever.
The citizens of Ottawa raised money and bought him a tract of
land on the Illinois river above Seneca, in Grundy county, on
which they built a house and supplied him with means to live on.
He lived here until his death, which occurred on the 17th of July,
1859, in the 84th year of his age. He was buried with great pomp
in the cemetery at Morris. His squaw Pokanoka was drowned in
Mazen creek, Grundy county, on the 30th of November, 1864,
and was buried by his side. In 1861 subscriptions were taken up
in many of the river towns to erect a monument over the remains
of Shaubena, but, the war breaking out, the enterprise was aban-
doned. Only a plain marble slab marks the resting-place of this
friend of the white man.


The Pottawatomies who lived here were afterwards given a reser-
vation thirty miles square near Topeka, Kansas, where many of the
same families who lived here are living and tilling the soil. J. C.
Thompson and his brother William, who lived in Tazewell county
and were accounted fine, bright young men, went among these In-
dians in 1854, and each of them married a squaw. J. C. died there
three years ago, and in 1878, while Mr. W. S. Rankin was in Kan-
sas, he saw William who still had his Indian wife.


Mr. Joshua Wagenseller tells us an amusing story connected with
the Indians who camped on Dillon creek. An Indian, familiar to
many of the early settlers, by name of Chief Walker, often came to
Pekin. On one occasion he offered a barrel full of dollars to any
young white man who would marry his daughter. Six young men,
from Pekin, thought they would go out and see the young Indian
and perchance could strike a bargain with Chief Walker, A barrel
of Nsilver dollars was an inducement to take most anything in the
shape of a woman for a wife. The boys all posted off to Chief
Walker's wigwam. On arriving the old chief met them and led
them into his cabin to see the daughter. The boys filed in, took
seats around the room and saw the object of their visit sitting
silently therein. The boys sat and gazed upon the maiden for a few
moments, not a word was spoken, supreme silence reigned. The
situation began to grow more embarrassing, the boys looked at one



another, at the Chief and then at the girl. Soon one of them
sneaked out, another followed, and one by one they all slipped away,
leaving the Chief and his loved daughter alone. Each one of the
wife hunters told the others, " any of you can have her and the dol-
lars, I don't want her." So Chief Walker failed to marry oif his
daughter, and none of the boys got the proffered barrel of dollars.



TAZEWELL county comprises an area of about six hundred
and thirty-five square miles, and is bounded on the north by
Woodford county, on the east by McLean and Woodford, on the
south by Logan and Mason, and on the west by the Illinois river.


The surface of the country, over a large portion of this county,
is a high, undulating prairie, with here and there groves and belts
of timber. The soil is generally a rich brown mold, varying some-
what in different localities, in the proportion of clay, etc., which
it contains, some portions being more argillaceous than others. In
the timber, however, which occupies not more than one-fifth of the
entire surface, and in the broken country along the Illinois river,
the soil is of a somewhat different character, the lighter colored and
more argillaceous subsoil appearing at or near the surface.

The principal streams which drain this county are the Illinois
and Mackinaw rivers. Along the Illinois river we find, in some
places rather extensive sandy tracts of river formation, and the bald
bluffs of the Loess, are in some localities conspicuous features in the
general landscape.

The principal kind of timber found in the upland wooded tracts
of this county are, the several varieties of oak and hickory, black
walnut, butternut, maple, bass-wood, red-bud, sassafras, etc. On
the river bottoms, and in low damp lands generally, the sycamore,
buckeye, black ash, elm, etc., are abundant. The sandy ridges are
generally covered with a growth of scrubby oak, and black jack,
with a thin admixture of other species.

The geological formation appearing at the surface in this county,
consists almost entirely of the Drift, and later formations, the older
rocks outcropping only at a comparitively few localities. The
underlying rocks, however, as far as can be ascertained from these
outcrops, consists entirely of the Coal Measure series.


In the western portion of the county, in the ravines and broken
country along the Illinois river, we observe, in a number of places

Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 22 of 79)