William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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about nineteen warriors. He next attacked
the Cherokees for a similar cause. In a
severe battle with them, near the present
City of St. Louis, his father was slain, and
Black Hawk, taking possession of the
" Medicine Bag," at once announced him-
self chief of the Sac nation. He had now
conquered the Cherokees, and about the
year 1800, at the liead of five Inindred Sacs
and Foxes, and a hundred lowas, he waged
war against the Osage nation and subdued
it. For two years he battled successfully
with other Indian tribes, all of wliom he
conquered.

Black Hawk does not at any time seem
to have been friendly to the Americans.
When on a visit to St. Louis to see his
" Spanish Father," he declined to see any



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



41



of the Americans, alleging as a reason, lie
did not want two fathers.

The treaty at St. Louis was consummated
in 1804. The next year the United States
Government erected a fort near the head of
the Des Moines Rapids, called Fort Ed-
wards. This seemed to enrage Black Hawk,
who at once determined to capture Fort
Madison, standing on the west side of the
Mississippi above the mouth of the Des
JMoines Eiver. The fort was garrisoned by
ahout fifty men. Here lie was defeated.
The difficulties with the British Govern-
ment arose about this time, and the War
of 1812 followed. That government, ex-
tending aid to the AVestern Indians, by
giving them arms and ammunition, in-
duced them to remain hostile to the Amer-
icans. In August, 1S12, Black Hawk, at
the head of about five hundred braves,
started to join the British forces at Detroit,
passing on his way the site of Chicago,
where the famous Fort Dearborn Massacre
liad a few days before occurred. Of his con-
nection with the British Government but
little is known. In 1813, he with his little
band descended the Mississippi, and attack-
ing some United States troops at Fort
Howard, was defeated.

In the early part of 1815, the Indian
tribes west of the Mississippi were notified
that peace had been declared between the
United States and England, and nearly all
hostilities had ceased. Black Hawk did
not sign any treaty, however, until May of
the following year. He then recognized
the validity of the treaty at St. Louis in
1804. From the time of signing this treaty
in 1816, until the 1 reaking out of the war
in 1832, he and his band passed their time
in the common pursuits of Indian life.



Ten years before the commencement of
this war, the Sac and Fox Indians were
urged to join the lowas on the west bank
of the Father of Waters. All were agreed,
save the band known as the British Band,
of which Black Hawk was leader. He
strenuously objected to the removal, and
was induced to comply only after being
threatened with the power of the Govern-
ment. This and various actions on the
part of the white settlers provoked Black
Hawk and his band to attempt the cap-
ture of his native village now occupied by
the whites. The war followed. He and
his actions were undoubtedly misunder-
stood, and had his wishes been acquiesced
in at the beginning of the struggle, much
bloodshed would have been prevented.

Black Hawk was chief now of the Sac
and Fox nations, and a noted warrior. He
and his tribe inhabited a village on Rock
River, nearly three miles above its conflu-
ence with the Mississippi, where the tribe
had lived many generations. When that
portion of Illinois was reserved to them,
they remained in peaceable possession of
their reservation, spending their time in the
eni'oyment of Indian life. Tlie tine situa-
tion of their village and the quality of their
lands incited the more lawless white set-
tlers, who from time to time began to
encroach upon the red men's domain.
From one pretext to another, and from one
step to another, the crafty white men
gained a foothold, until through whisky
and artifice they obtained deeds from many
of the Indians for their possessions. The
Indians were finally induced to cross over
the Father of Waters and locate among
the lowas. Black Hawk was strenuously
opposed to all this, but as the authorities



42



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



of Illinois and the United States tlionght
this the best move, he was forced to comply.
Moreover other tribes joined the whites
and ui'ged the removal. Black Hawk
would not agree to the terms of the treaty
made with his nation for their lands, and
as soon as the military, called to enforce
his removal, had retired, he returned to
the Illinois side of the river. A large force
was at once raised and marched against
him. On the evening of May 14, 1832,
the first engagement occurred between a
band from this army and Black Hawk's
biuid, in which the former were defeated.

This attack and its result aroused the
whites. A large force of men was raised,
and Gen. Scott hastened from the seaboard,
by way of the lakes, with United States
troops and artillery to aid in the subjuga-
tion of the Indians. On the 24th of June,
Black Hawk, with 200 warriors, was re-
pulsed by Major Dcniont between Kock
River and Galena. The American army
continued to move up Rock River toward
tlie main body of the Indians, and on the
21st of July came upon Black Hawk and
his band, and defeated them near the Blue
Mounds.

Before this action. Gen, Henry, in com-
mand, sent word to the main army by
whom he was immediately rejoined, and
the whole crossed the Wisconsin in pursuit
of Black Hawk and his band who were
fleeing to the Mississippi. They were
overtaken on the 2d of August, and in the
battle which followed the power of the
Indian chief was completeh' broken. He
fled, but was seized by the Winnebagoes
and delivered to the whites.

On the 21st of September, 1832, Gen.
Scott and Gov. Reynolds concluded a treaty



with the Winnebagoes, Sacs and Foxes, by
which they ceded to the United States a
vast tract of country, and agreed to remain
peaceable with the whites. For the faith-
ful performance of the provisions of this
treaty on the part of the Indians, it was
stipulated that Black Hawk, his two sons,
the prophet Wabokieshiek, and six other
chiefs of the hostile bands should be re-
tained as hostages during the pleasure of
the President. They were confined at Fort
Barracks and put in irons.

The next spring, by order of the Secre-
tary of War, they were taken to Washing-
ton. From there they were removed to
Fortress Monroe, " there to remain until
the conduct of their nation was such as to
justify their being set at liberty." They
were retained here until the 4th of June,
when the authorities directed them to be
taken to the principal cities so that they
might see the folly of contending against
the white people. Everywhere they were
observed by thousands, the name of the
old chief being extensively known. By the
middle of August they reached Fort Arm-
strong on Rock Island, where Black Hawk
was soon after released to go to his country-
men. As he passed the site of his birth-
place, now the home of the white man, he
was deeply moved. His village where he
M-as born, where he had so happily lived,
and where he had hoped to die, was now
another's dwelling place, and he was a
wanderer.

On the next day after his release, he
went at once to his tribe and his lodge.
His wife was yet living, and with her he
passed the remainder of his days. To his
credit it may be said that Black Hawk
always remained true to his wife, and



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



43



served her with a devotion uncommon
among the Indians, living with her upward
of forty years.

Black Hawk now passed his time hunt-
ing and fishing. A deep melancholy hail
settled over him from which he could not
be freed. At all times when he visited the
whites he was received with marked atten-
tion. He was an honored guest at the old
settlers' reunion in Lee County, Illinois, at
some of their meetings, and received many
tokens of esteem. In September, 18 3S,
while on iiis way to Rock Island to receive
his annuity from the Government, he con-
tracted a severe cold which resulted in a
fatal attack of bilious fever which termina-
ted his life on October 3d. His faithful
wife, who was devotedly attached to him,
mourned deeply during his sickness.
After his death he was dressed in the uni-
form presented to him by the President
while in Washington. He was buried in
a grave six feet in depth, situated upon a
beautiful eminence. " The body was placed
in the middle of the grave, in a sitting
posture, upon a seat constructed for the
purpose. On his left side, the cane, given
him by Henry Clay, was placed upright,
with his right hand resting upon it. Many
of the old warrior's trophies were placed in
the grave, and some Indian garments, to-
gether with his favorite weapons.

No sooner was the Black Hawk war con-
cluded than settlers began rapidly to
pour into the northern parts of Illinois, and
into Wisconsin, now free from Indian
depredations. Chicago, from a trading
post, had grown to a commercial center,
and was rapidly coming into prominence.
In 1835, the formation of a State Govern-
ment in Michigan was discussed, but did



not take acti ve form until two years later,
when the State became a part of the Federal
Union.

The main attraction to that portion of
the Northwest lying west of Lake Michi-
gan, now included in the State of Wiscon-
sin, was its alluvial wealth. Copper ore
was found about Lake Superior. For some
time this region was attached to Michigan
for judiciary purposes, but in 1836 was
made a Territory, then including Minnesota
and Iowa. The latter State was detaihed
two years later. In 1848, Wisconsin was
admitted as a State, Madison being made
the capital. We have now traced the vari-
ous divisions of the Northwest Territory
(save a little in Minnesota) from the time
it was a unit comprising this vast territory,
until circumstances compelled its present
division.

OTHEE INDIAN TROUBLES.

Before leaving this part of the narrative,
we will narrate briefly the Indian troubles
in Minnesota and elsewhere by the Sioux
Indians.

In August, 1862, the Sioux Indians liv-
ing on the western borders of Minnesota
fell upon the unsuspecting settlers, and in
a few hours massacred ten or twelve hun-
dred persons. A distressful panic was
the immediate result, full}' thirty thou-
sand persons fleeing from their homes to
districts supposed to be better protected.
The military authorities at once took active
measures to punisli the savages, and a large
number were killed and captured. About
a year after. Little Crow, the chief, was
killed by a Mr. Lampson near Scattered
Lake. Of those captured thirty were hung
at Mankato, and the remainder, through



44



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



fears of inob violence, were removed to
Camp McClellan, on the outskirts of the
City of Davenport. It was here that Big
Eaijle came into prominence and secured
his release by the following order:

" Special Order, No. 430. "War Department,
"Adjutant Gener.^l's Office,

" WAsniNGTON, Deo. 3, 1864.
" Big- Eagle, an Indian now in confinement at
Davenport, Iowa, will, upon the receipt of this order,
be immediately released from confinement and set at
liberty.

" By order of the President of the United States.
" Official: " E. D. Townsend,

Ass't Adj't Gen.
" Capt. James Vanderventer,

Coin'i/ Sub. Vols.
"Through Com'g Gen'l, Washington, D. C."

Another Indian who figures more promi-
nently than Big Eagle, and wiio was more
cowardly in his nature, with his band of
Modoc Indians, is noted in the annals of
the New T^orthwest: we refer to Captain
Jack. This distinguished Indian, noted for
his cowardly murder of Gen. Canby, was a
cliief of a Modoc tribe of Indians inhabiting
the border lands between California and
Oregon. This region of country comprises
what is known as the " Lava Beds," a tract
of land described as utterly impenetrable,
save by those savages who had made it
their home.

The Modocs are known as an exceedingly
f erce and treacherous race. Tliey had, ac-
cording to their own traditions, resided
here for many generations, and at one time
were exceedingly numerous and powerful.
A famine carried off nearly half their num-
bers, and disease, indolence and the vices
of the white man have reduced them to a
poor, weak and insignificant tribe.

Soon after the settlement of California
and Oregon, complaints began to be heard



of massacres of emigrant trains passing
through the Modoc country'. In ISiT, an
emigrant train, comprising eighteen souls,
was entirely destroyed at a place since
known as " Bloody Point." These occur-
rences caused the United States Govern-
ment to appoint a peace commission, who,
after repeated attempts, in 1864, made a
treaty with the Modocs, Snakes and Kla-
maths, in which it was agreed on their part
to remove to a reservation set apart for
them in the southern part of Oregon.

With the exception of Captain Jack and
a band of his followers, who remained at
Clear Lake, about six miles from Klamath,
all the Indians complied. The Modocs
who went to the reservation were under
chief Schonchin. Captain Jack remained
at the lake without disturbance until 1S69,
when he was also induced to remove to the
reservation. The Modocs and the Klamaths
soon became involved in a quarrel, and
Captain Jack and his band returned to the
Lava Beds.

Several attempts were made by the In-
dian Commissioners to induce them to re-
turn to the reservation, and finally becom-
ing involved in a difiicultj' with the com-
missioner and his tnilitary escort, a fight
ensued, in which the chief and his band
were routed. They were greatly enraged
and on their retreat, before the day closed,
killed eleven inofiTensive whites.

The nation was aroused and immediate
action demanded. A commission was at
once appointed by the Government to see
what could be done. It comprised the fol-
lowing persons: Gen. E. K. S. Canby,
Rev. Dr. E. Thomas, a leading Methodist
divine of California; Mr. A. B. Meachain,
Judge Rosborough, of California, and a Mr.



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



45



Dyer, of Oregon. After several interviews,
in which the savages were always aggres-
sive, often appearing with scalps in their
belts, Bogus Charley came to the commis-
sion on the evening of April 10, 1873, and
informed them that Capt. Jack and his
band would have a " talk " to-morrow at a
place near Clear Lake, about three miles
distant. Here the Commissioners, accom-
panied by Charley, Riddle, the interpreter,
and Boston Charley, repaired. After the
usual greeting the council proceedings com-
menced. On behalf of the Indians there
were present: Capt. Jack, Black Jim, Schac
Nasty Jim, Ellen's Man, and Hooker Jim.
They had no guns, but carried pistols.
After short speeches by Mr. Meacham, Gen.
Canby and Dr. Thomas, Chief Schonchin
arose to speak. He had scarcely proceeded
when, as if by a preconcerted arrangement,
Capt. Jack drew his pistol and shot Gen.
Canby dead. In less than a minute a dozen
shots were fired by the savages, and the
massacre completed. Mr. Meacham was
shot by Schonchin, and Dr. Thomas by
Boston Charley. Mr. Dyer barely escaped,
being fired at twice. Riddle, the interpre-
ter, and his squaw escaped. The troops
rushed to the spot where they found Gen.
Canby and Dr. Thomas dead, and Mr.
Meacham badly wounded. The savages
had escaped to their impenetrable fastnesses
and could not be pursued.

The whole country was aroused by this
brutal massacre; but it was not until the
following May that the murderers were
brought to justice. At that time Boston
Charley gave himself up, and oft'ered to
guide the troops to Capt. Jack's stronghold.
This led to the capture of his entire gang,
a number of whom were murdered by Ore-



gon volunteers while on their way to trial.
The remaining Indians were held as pris-
oners until July, when their trial occurred,
which led to the conviction of Capt. Jack,
Schonchin, Boston Charley, Hooker Jim,
Broncho, alias One- Eyed Jim, and Slotuck,
who were sentenced to be hanged. These
sentences were approved by the President,
save in the case of Slotuck and Broncho
whose sentences were commuted to impris-
onment for life. The others were executed
at Fort Klamath, October 3, 1873.

These closed the Indian troubles for a
time in the Northwest, and for several years
the borders of civilization remained in peace.
Thej' were again involved in a conflict with
the savages about the country of the Black
Hills, in which war the gallant Gen. Custer
lost his life. Just now the borders of Ore-
gon and California are again in fear of hos-
tilities; but as the Government has learned
how to deal with the Indians, they will be
of short duration. The red man is fast
passing away before the march of the white
man, and a few more generations will read
of the Indians as one of the nations of the
past.

The Northwest abounds in memorable
places. We have generally noticed them
in the narrative, but our space forbids
their description in detail, save of the most
important places. Detroit, Cincinnati,
Vincennes, Kaskaskia and their kindred
towns have all been described. But ere
we leave the narrative we will present our
readers with an account of the Kinzie
house, the old landmark of Chicago, and
the discovery of the source of the Missis-
sippi River, each of which may well find a
place in the annals of the Northwest.

Mr. John Kinzie, of the Kinzie house,



4('



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



established a trading house at Fort Dear-
born in 1804. Tiie stockade had been
erected the year previous, and named Fort
Dearborn in honor of the Secretary of War.
It had a block house at each of the two
angles, on the southern side a sallyport, a
covered way on the north side, that led
down to the river, for the double purpose
of providing means of escape, and of pro-
curing water in the event of a siege.

Fort Dearborn stood on the south bank
of the Chicago Eiver, about half a mile
from its mouth. Wiien Major Whistler
built it, his soldiers hauled all the timber,
for he had no oxen, and so economically
did he work that tiie fort cost the Govern-
ment only fifty dollars. For a while the
garrison could get no grain, and Whistler
and his men subsisted on acorns. Now
Chicago is the greatest grain center in the
world.

Mr. Kinzie bought the hut of the first
settler, Jean Baptiste Point au Sable, on
the site of whicli he erected his mansion.
Within an inclosure in front he planted
some Lombardy poplars, and in the rear he
soon had a fine garden and growing orchard.

In 1812 the Kinzie house and its sur-
roundings became the theater of stirring
events. The garrison of Fort Dearborn
consisted of fifty-four men, under the
charge of Capt. Nathan Heald, assisted by
Lieutenant Lenai T. Helm (son-in-law to
Mrs. Kinzie), and ensign Ronan. The sur-
geon was Dr. Voorhees. Tlie only resi-
dents at the post at that time were the
wives of Capt. Heald and Lieutenant Helm
and a few of the soldiers, Mr. Kinzie and
his family, and a few Canadian voyageurs
with their wives and children. The sol-
diers and Mr. Kinzie were on the most



friendly terms with the Pottawatoraies and
the Winnebagoes, the principal tribes
around them, but they could not win them
from their attachment to the British.

After the battle of Tippecanoe it was
observed that some of the leading cliiefs
became sullen, for some of their people
had perished in that conflict with Ameri-
can troops.

One evening in April 1812, Mr. Kinzie
sat playing his violin and his children
were dancing to the music, when Mrs.
Kinzie came rushing into the house pale
with terror, exclaiming, "The Indians! the
Indians!" "What?' Where?" eagerly
inquired Mr. Kinzie. "Up at Lee's, kill-
ing and scalping," answered the frightened
mother, who, when the alarm was given,
was attending Mrs. Burns, a newly-made
mother, living not far ofl". Mr. Kinzie
and his family crossed the river in boats,
and took refuge in the fort, to which place
Mrs. Burns and her infant, not a day old,
were conveyed in safety to the shelter of
the guns of Fort Dearborn, and tiie rest of
the white inhabitants fled. The Indians were
a scalping party of Winnebagoes, who hov-
ered around the fort some days, when they
disappeared, and for several weeks the in-
habitants were not disturbed by alarms.

Chicago was then so deep in the wilder-
ness, that the news of the declaration of
war against Great Britain, made on the
19th of June, 1812, did not reach the com-
mander of the garrison at Fort Dearborn
till the 7th of August. Now the last mail
train will carry a man from New York to
Chicago in twenty-seven hours, and huch a
declaration might be sent, every word, by
the telegraph in less than the same number
of minutes.



THE XOKXHWEST TEURITORY.



47



PEESENT CONDITION OF THE NORTHWEST.

Preceding chapters have brought us to
the close of the Black Hawk war, and we
now turn to the contemplation of the growth
and prosperity' of the northwest under the
smile of peace and the blessings of our
civilization. The pioneers of this region
date events back to the deep snow of 1831,
no one arriving here since that date taking
first honors. Tiie inciting cause of the
immigration which overflowed the prairies
early in the '30s was the reports of the
marvelous beauty and fertility of the re-
gion distributed through the East by those
who had participated in the Black Hawk
campaign with Gen. Scott. Chicago and
Milwaukee then had a few hundred inhab-
itants, and Gurdon S. Hubbard's trail from
the former city to Kaskaskia led almost
through a wilderness. Vegetables and
clothing were largely distributed through
the regions adjoining the lakes by steam-
ers from the Ohio towns. There are men
now living in Illinois who came to the
State when barely an acre was in cultiva-
tion, and a man now prominent in tlie bus-
iness circles of Chicago looked over the
swampy, cheerless site of that metropolis in
1818 and went southward into civilization.
Emigrants from Pennsylvania in 1830
left behind them but one small railway in
the coal regions thirty miles in length,
and made their way to the Northwest
mostly with ox teams, finding in Northern
Illinois petty settlements scores of miles
apart, although the southern portion of
the state was fairly dotted with farms. The
water courses of the lakes and rivers fur-
nished transportation to the second great
army of immigrants, and about 1850 rail-
roads were pushed to that extent that the



crisis of 1837 was precipitated upon us, from
the efiects of which the Western country
had not fully recovered at the outbreak of
the war. Hostilities found the colonists
of the prairies fully alive to the demands
of tlie occasion, and the honor of recruit-
ing the vast armies of the Union fell largely
to Gov. Yates, of Illinois, and Gov. i\Ior-
ton, of Indiana. To recount the share of
the glories of the campaign won by our
Western troops is a needless task, e.xcept
to mention the fact that Illinois gave to
the nation the President who saved it, and
sent out at the head of one of its resfimeuts
the general who led its armies to the final
victory at Appomattox. Tiie struggle, on
the whole, had a marked effect for the bet-
ter on the new Northwest, jjivino; it an im-
petns which twenty years of peace would
not have produced. In a large degree this
prosperity was an inflated one, aud with
the rest of the Union we have since been
compelled to atone therefor. Agriculture,
still the leading feature in our industries,
has been quite prosperous through all these
years, and the farmers have cleared away
many incumbrances resting over them from
the period of fictitious values. The pop-
ulation has steadily increased, the arts and
sciences are gaining a stronger foothold,
tiie trade area of the rej^iou is becoming
daily more extended, and we have been
largely e.xerapt from the financial calam-
ities.

At the present period there are no great
schemes broached for the Northwest, no
propositions for government subsidies or
national works of improvement, but the
capital of the world is attracted hither for
the purchase of our products or the expan-
sion of our capacity for serving the nation



48



THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY.



at large. A new era i8 dawning as to
transportation, and we bid fair to deal al-
most exclusively with the increasing and
expanding lines of steel rail running
through every few miles of territory on the
prairies. The lake marine will no doubt
continue to be useful in the warmer season,
and to serve as a regulator of freight rates;
but experienced navigators forecast tlie



Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 7 of 76)