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Autobiography of Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, or Black Hawk by Black Hawk

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and observed the Iowas coming out of their lodges with spears and war
clubs. We took the backward trail and travelled until dark--then
encamped and made a fire. We had not been there long before we heard
the sound of homes coming toward us. We seized our arms, but instead
of an enemy it was our young brave with two horses. He told me that
after we had left him, they menaced him with death for some time--then
gave him something to eat--smoked the pipe with him and made him a
present of the two horses and some goods, and started him after us.
When we arrived at on, village our people were much pleased, and for
their noble and generous conduct on this occasion, not one of the Iowa
people has been killed since by our nation.

That fall I visited Malden with several of my band, and was well
treated by the agent of our British Father, who gave us a variety of
presents. He also gave me a medal, and told me there never would be
war between England and America again; but for my fidelity to the
British, during the war that had terminated some time before,
requested me to come with my band and get presents every year, as
Colonel Dixon had promised me.

I returned and hunted that winter on the Two Rivers. The whites were
now settling the country fast. I was out one day hunting in a bottom,
and met three white men. They accused me of killing their hogs. I
denied it, but they would not listen to me. One of them took my gun
out of my hand and fired it off--then took out the flint, gave it back
to me and commenced beating me with sticks, ordering me at the same
time to be off. I was so much bruised that I could not sleep for
several nights.

Some time after this occurrence, one of my camp cut a bee tree and
carried the honey to his lodge. A party of white men soon followed
him, and told him the bee tree was theirs, and that he had no right to
cut it. He pointed to the honey and told them to take it. They were
not satisfied with this, but took all the packs of skins that he had
collected during the winter, to pay his trader and clothe his family
with in the spring, and carried them off.

How could we like a people who treated us so unjustly? We determined
to break up our camp for fear they would do worse, and when we joined
our people in the spring a great many of them complained of similar

This summer our agent came to live at Rock Island. He treated us well
and gave us good advice. I visited him and the trader very often
during the summer, and for the first time heard talk of our having to
leave our village. The trader, Colonel George Davenport, who spoke
our language, explained to me the terms of the treaty that had been
made, and said we would be obliged to leave the Illinois side of the
Mississippi, and advised us to select a good place for our village and
remove to it in the spring. He pointed out the difficulties we would
have to encounter if we remained at our village on Rock river. He had
great influence with the principal Fox chief, his adopted brother,
Keokuk. He persuaded him to leave his village, go to the west side of
the Mississippi and build another, which he did the spring following.
Nothing was talked of but leaving our village. Keokuk had been
persuaded to consent to go, and was using all his influence, backed by
the war chief at Fort Armstrong and our agent and trader at Rock
Island, to induce others to go with him. He sent the crier through
our village, to inform our people that it was the wish of our Great
Father that we should remove to the west side of the Mississippi, and
recommended the Iowa river as a good place for the new village. He
wished his party to make such arrangements, before they started on
their winter's hunt, an to preclude the necessity of their returning
to the village in the spring.

The party opposed to removing called on me for my opinion. I gave it
freely, and after questioning Quashquame about the sale of our lands,
he assured me that he "never had consented to the sale of our
village." I now promised this party to be the leader, and raised the
standard of opposition to Keokuk, with a full determination not to
leave our village. I had an interview with Keokuk, to see if this
difficulty could not be settled with our Great Father, and told him to
propose to give any other land that our Great Father might choose,
even our lead mines, to be peaceably permitted to keep the small point
of land on which our village was situated. I was of the opinion that
the white people had plenty of land and would never take our village
from us. Keokuk promised to make an exchange if possible, and applied
to our agent, and the great chief at St. Louis, who had charge of all
the agents, for permission to go to Washington for that purpose.

This satisfied us for a time. We started to our hunting grounds with
good hopes that something would be done for us. Doing the winter I
received information that three families of whites had come to our
village and destroyed some of our lodges, were making fences and
dividing our cornfields for their own use. They were quarreling among
themselves about their lines of division. I started immediately for
Rock river, a distance of ten days' travel, and on my arrival found
the report true. I went to my lodge and saw a family occupying it. I
wished to talk to them but they could not understand me. I then went
to Rock Island; the agent being absent, I told the interpreter what I
wanted to say to these people, viz: "Not to settle on our lands, nor
trouble our fences, that there was plenty of land in the country for
them to settle upon, and that they must leave our village, as we were
coming back to it in the spring." The interpreter wrote me a paper, I
went back to the village and showed it to the intruders, but could not
understand their reply. I presumed, however, that they would remove
as I expected them to. I returned to Rock Island, passed the night
there and had a long conversation with the trader. He advised me to
give up and make my village with Keokuk on the Iowa river. I told him
that I would not. The next morning I crossed the Mississippi on very
bad ice, but the Great Spirit had made it strong, that I might pass
over safe. I traveled three days farther to see the Winnebago sub-
agent and converse with him about our difficulties. He gave no better
news than the trader had done. I then started by way of Rock river,
to see the Prophet, believing that he as a man of great knowledge.
When we met, I explained to him everything as it was. He at once
agreed that I was right, and advised me never to give up our village,
for the whites to plow up the bones of our people. He said, that if
we remained at our village, the whites would not trouble us, and
advised me to get Keokuk, and the party that consented to go with him
to the Iowa in the spring, to return and remain at our village.

I returned to my hunting ground, after an absence of one moon, and
related what I had done. In a short time we came up to our village,
and found that the whites had not left it, but that others had come,
and that the greater part of our cornfields had been enclosed. When
we landed the whites appeared displeased because we came back. We
repaired the lodges that hid been left standing and built others.
Keokuk came to the village, but his object was to persuade others to
follow him to the Iowa. He had accomplished nothing towards making
arrangements for us to remain, or to exchange other lands for our
village. There was no more friendship existing between us. I looked
upon him as a coward and no brave, to abandon his village to be
occupied by strangers. What right had these people to our village,
and our fields, which the Great Spirit had given us to live upon?

My reason teaches me that land cannot be sold. The Great Spirit gave
it to his children to live upon and cultivate as far as necessary for
their subsistence, and so long as they occupy and cultivate it they
have the right to the soil, but if they voluntarily leave it, then any
other people have a right to settle on it. Nothing can be sold but
such things as can be carried away.

In consequence of the improvements of the intruders on our fields, we
found considerable difficulty to get ground to plant a little corn.
Some of the whites permitted us to plant small patches in the fields
they had fenced, keeping all the best ground for themselves. Our
women had great difficulty in climbing their fences, being
unaccustomed to the kind, and were ill treated if they left a rail

One of my old friends thought he was safe. His cornfield was on a
small island in Rock river. He planted his corn, it came up well, but
the white man saw it; he wanted it, and took his teams over, ploughed
up the crop and replanted it for himself. The old man shed tears, not
for himself but on account of the distress his family would be in if
they raised no corn. The white people brought whisky to our village,
made our people drink, and cheated them out of their homes, guns and
traps. This fraudulent system was carried to such an extent that I
apprehended serious difficulties might occur, unless a stop was put to
it. Consequently I visited all the whites and begged them not to sell
my people whisky. One of them continued the practice openly; I took a
party of my young men, went to his house, took out his barrel, broke
in the head and poured out the whisky. I did this for fear some of
'the whites might get killed by my people when they were drunk.

Our people were treated very badly by the whites on many occasions.
At one time a white man beat one of our women cruelly, for pulling a
few suckers of corn out of his field to suck when she was hungry. At
another time one of our young men was beat with clubs by two white
men, for opening a fence which crossed our road to take his horse
through. His shoulder blade was broken and his body badly braised,
from the effects of which be soon after died.

Bad and cruel as our people were treated by the whites, not one of
them was hurt or molested by our band. I hope this will prove that we
are a peaceable people--having permitted ten men to take possession of
our corn fields, prevent us from planting corn, burn our lodges, ill-
treat our women, and beat to death our men without offering resistance
to their barbarous cruelties. This is a lesson worthy for the white
man to learn: to use forebearance when injured.

We acquainted our agent daily with our situation, and through him the
great chief at St. Louis, and hoped that something would be done for
us. The whites were complaining at the same time that we were
intruding upon their rights. They made it appear that they were the
injured party, and we the intruders. They called loudly to the great
war chief to protect their property.

How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make
right look like wrong, and wrong like right.

During this summer I happened at Rock Island, when a great chief
arrived, whom I had known as the great chief of Illinois, (Governor
Cole) in company with another chief who I have been told is a great
writer (judge James Hall.) I called upon them and begged to explain
the grievances to them, under which my people and I were laboring,
hoping that they could do something for us. The great chief however,
did not seem disposed to council with, me. He said he was no longer
the chief of Illinois; that his children had selected another father
in his stead, and that he now only ranked as they did. I was
surprised at this talk, as I had always heard that he was a good brave
and great chief. But the white people appear to never be satisfied.
When they get a good father, they hold councils at the suggestion of
some bad, ambitious man, who wants the place himself, and conclude
among themselves that this man, a, some other equally ambitious, would
make a better father than they have, and nine times out of ten they
don't get as good a one again.

I insisted on explaining to these chiefs the true situation of my
people. They gave their assent. I rose and made a speech, in which I
explained to them the treaty made by Quashquame, and three of our
braves, according to the manner the trader and others had explained it
to me. I then told them that Quashquame and his party positively
denied having ever sold my village, and that as I had never known them
to lie, I was determined to keep it in possession.

I told them that the white people had already entered our village,
burned our lodges, destroyed on, fences, ploughed up our corn and beat
our people. They had brought whisky into our country, made our people
drunk, and taken from them their homes, guns and traps, and that I had
borne all this injury, without suffering any of my braves to raise a
hand against the whites.

My object in holding this council was to get the opinion of these two
chiefs as to the best course for me to pursue. I had appealed in
vain, time after time to our agent, who regularly represented our
situation to the chief at St. Louis, whose duty it was to call upon
the Great Father to have justice done to us, but instead of this we
are told that the white people wanted our county and we must leave it
for them!

I did not think it possible that our Great Father wished us to leave
our village where we had lived so long, and where the bones of so many
of our people had been laid. The great chief said that as he no
longer had any authority he could do nothing for us, and felt sorry
that it was not in his power to aid us, nor did he know how to advise
us. Neither of them could do anything for us, but both evidently were
very sorry. It would give e great pleasure at ail times to take these
two chiefs by the hand.

That fall I paid a visit to the agent before we started to our hunting
grounds, to hear if he had any good news for me. He had news. He
said that the land on which our village now stood was ordered to be
sold to individuals, and that when sold our right to remain by treaty
would be at an end, and that if we returned next spring we would be
forced to remove.

We learned during the winter, that part of the land where our village
stood had been sold to individuals, and that the trader at Rock
Island, Colonel Davenport, had bought the greater part that had been
sold. The reason was now plain to me why he urged us to remove. His
object, we thought, was to get our lands. We held several councils
that winter to determine what we should do. We resolved in one of
them, to return to our village as usual in the spring. We concluded
that if we were removed by force, that the trader, agent and others
must be the cause, and that if they were found guilty of having driven
us from our village they should be killed. The trader stood foremost
on this list. He had purchased the land on which my lodge stood, and
that of our graveyard also. We therefore proposed to kill him and the
agent, the interpreter, the great chief at St. Louis, the war chiefs
at Forts Amstrong, Rock Island and Keokuk, these being the principal
persons to blame for endeavoring to remove us. Our women received bad
accounts from the women who had been raising corn at the new village,
of the difficulty of breaking the new prairie with hoes, and the small
quantity of corn raised. We were nearly in the same condition with
regard to the latter, it being the first time I ever knew our people
to be in want of provisions.

I prevailed upon some of Keokuk's band to return this spring to the
Rock river village, but Keokuk himself would not come. I hoped that
he would get permission to go to Washington to settle our affairs with
our Great Father. I visited the agent at Rock Island. He was
displeased because we had returned to our village, and told me that we
must remove to the west of the Mississippi. I told him plainly that
we would not. I visited the interpreter at his house, who advised me
to do as the agent had directed me. I then went to see the trader and
upbraided him for buying our lands. He said that if he had not
purchased them some person else would, and that if our Great Father
would make an exchange with us, he would willingly give up the land he
had purchased to the government. This I thought was fair, and began
to think that he had not acted so badly as I had suspected. We again
repaired our lodges and built others, as most of our village had been
burnt and destroyed. Our women selected small patches to plant corn,
where the whites had not taken them in their fences, and worked hard
to raise something for our children to subsist upon.

I was told that according to the treaty, we had no right to remain on
the lands sold, and that the government would force us to leave them.
There was but a small portion however that had been sold, the balance
remaining in the hands of the government. We claimed the right, if we
had no other, to "live and hunt upon it as long as it remained the
property of the government," by a stipulation in the treaty that
required us to evacuate it after it had been sold. This was the land
that we wished to inhabit and thought we had a right to occupy.

I heard that there was a great chief on the Wabash, and sent a party
to get his advice. They informed him that we had not sold our
village. He assured them then, that if we had not sold the land on
which our village stood, our Great Father would not take it from us.

I started early to Malden to see the chief of my British Father, and
told him my story. He gave the same reply that the chief on the
Wabash had given, and in justice to him I must say he never gave me
any bad advice, but advised me to apply to our American Father, who,
he said, would do us justice. I next called on the great chief at
Detroit and made the same statement to him that I had made to the
chief of our British Father. He gave me the same reply. He said if
we had not sold our lands, and would remain peaceably on them, that we
would not be disturbed. This assured me that I was right, and
determined me to hold out as I had promised my people. I returned
from Malden late in the fall. My people were gone to their hunting
ground, whither I followed. Here I learned that they had been badly
treated all summer by the whites, and that a treaty had been held at
Prairie du Chien. Keokuk and some of our people attended it, and
found that our Great Father had exchanged a small strip of the land
that had been ceded by Quashquame and his party, with the
Pottowattomies for a portion of their lead near Chicago. That the
object of this treaty was to get it back again, and that the United
States had agreed to give them sixteen thousand dollars a year,
forever for this small strip of land, it being less than a twentieth
part of that taken from our nation for one thousand dollars a year.
This bears evidence of something I cannot explain. This land they say
belonged to the United States. What reason then, could have induced
them to exchange it with the Pottowattomies if it was so valuable?
Why not keep it? Or if they found they had made a bad bargain with
the Pottowattomies, why not take back their land at a fair proportion
of what they gave our nation for it! If this small portion of the
land that they took from us for one thousand dollars a year, be worth
sixteen thousand dollars a year forever to the Pottowattomies, then
the whole tract of country taken from us ought to be worth, to our
nation, twenty times as much a this small fraction.

Here I was again puzzled to find out how the white people reasoned,
and began to doubt whether they had any standard of right and wrong.

Communication was kept up between myself and the Prophet. Runners
were sent to the Arkansas, Red river and Texas, not on the subject of
our lands, but on a secret mission, which I am not at present
permitted to explain.

It was related to me that the chiefs and head men of the Foxes had
been invited to Prairie du Chien, to hold a Council for the purpose of
settling the difficulties existing between them and the Sioux.

The chiefs and head men, amounting to nine, started for the place
designated, taking with them one woman, and were met by the Menonomees
and Sioux, near the Wisconsin and killed, all except one man. Having
understood that the whole matter was published shortly after it
occurred, and is known to the white people, I will say no more about

I would here remark, that our pastimes and sports had been laid aside
for two years. We were a divided people, forming two parties. Keokuk
being at the head of one, willing to barter our rights merely for the
good opinion of the whites, and cowardly enough to desert our village
to them. I was at the head of the other division, and was determined
to hold on to my village, although I had been ordered to leave it.
But, I considered, as myself and band had no agency in selling our
county, and that, as provision had been made in the treaty, for us all
to remain on it as long as it belonged to the United States, that we
could not be forced away. I refused therefore to quit my village. It
was here that I was born, and here lie the bones of many friends and
relations. For this spot I felt a sacred reverence, and never could
consent to leave it without being forced therefrom.

When I called to mind the scenes of my youth and those of later days,
when I reflected that the theatre on which these were acted, had been
so long the home of my fathers, who now slept on the hills around it,
I could not bring my mind to consent to leave this country to the
whites for any earthly consideration.

The winter passed off in gloom. We made a bad hunt for want of guns,
traps and other necessaries which the whites had taken from our people
for whisky. The prospect before me was a bad one. I fasted and
called upon the Great Spirit to direct my steps to the right path. I
was in great sorrow because all the whites with whom I was acquainted
and had been on terms of intimacy, advised me contrary to my wishes,
that I began to doubt whether I had a friend among them.

Keokuk, who has a smooth tongue, and is a great speaker, was busy in
persuading my band that I was wrong, and thereby making many of them
dissatisfied with me. I had one consolation, for all the women were
on my side on account of their cornfields.

On my arrival again at my village, with my band increased, I found it
worse than before. I visited Rock Island and the agent again ordered
me to quit my village. He said that if we did not, troops would be
sent to drive us off. He reasoned with me and told me it would be
better for us to be with the rest of our people, so that we might
avoid difficulty and live in peace. The interpreter joined him and
gave me so many good reasons that I almost wished I had not undertaken
the difficult task I had pledged myself to my brave band to perform.
In this mood I called upon the trader, who is fond of talking, and had
long been my friend, but now amongst those who advised me to give up
my village. He received me very friendly and went on to defend Keokuk
in what he had done, endeavoring to show me that I was bringing
distress on our women and children. He inquired if some terms could
not be made that would be honorable to me and satisfactory to my
braves, for us to remove to the west side of the Mississippi. I
replied that if our Great Father could do us justice and make the
proposition, I could then give up honorably. He asked me "if the
great chief at St. Louis would give us six thousand dollars to
purchase provisions and other articles, if I would give up peaceably
and remove to the west side of the Mississippi?" After thinking some
time I agreed that I could honorably give up, being paid for it,
according to our customs, but told hij that I could not make the
proposal myself, even if I wished, because it would be dishonorable in
me to do so. He said that he would do it by sending word to the great
chief at St. Louis that he could remove us peaceably for the amount
stated, to the west side of the Mississippi. A steamboat arrived at
the island during my stay. After its departure the trader told me
that he had requested a war chief, who was stationed at Galena, and
was on board the steamboat, to make the offer to the great chief at
St. Louis, and that he would soon be back and bring his answer. I did
not let my people know what had taken place for fear they would be
displeased. I did not much like what had been done myself, and tried
to banish it from my mind.

After a few days had passed the war chief returned and brought an
answer that "the great chief at St. Louis would give us nothing, and
that if we did not remove immediately we would be driven off."

I was not much displeased with the answer they brought me, because I
would rather have laid my bones with those of my forefathers than
remove for any consideration. Yet if a friendly offer had been made
as I expected, I would, for the sake of our women and children have
removed peaceably.

I now resolved to remain in my village, and make no resistance if the
military came, but submit to my fate. I impressed the importance of
this course on all my band, and directed them in case the military
came not to raise an arm against them.

About this time our agent was put out of office, for what reason I
could never ascertain. I then thought it was for wanting to make us
leave our village and if so it was right, because I was tired of
hearing him talk about it. The interpreter, who had been equally as
bad in trying to persuade us to leave our village was retained in
office, and the young man who took the place of our agent, told the
same old story over about removing us. I was then satisfied that this
could not have been the cause.

Our women had planted a few patches of corn which was growing finely,
and promised a subsistence for our children, but the white people
again commenced ploughing it up. I now determined to put a stop to it
by clearing our county of the intruders. I went to their principal
men and told them that they should and must leave our country, giving
them until the middle of the next day to remove. The worst left within
the time appointed, but the one who remained, represented that his
family, which was large, would be in a starving condition, if he went
and left his crop. He promised to behave well, if I would consent to
let him remain until fall, in order to secure his crop. He spoke
reasonably and I consented.

We now resumed some of our games and pastimes, having been assured by
the prophet that we would not be removed. But in a little while it
was ascertained that a great war chief, General Gaines, was on his way
to Rock river with a great number of soldiers. I again called upon
the prophet, who requested a little time to see into the matter.
Early next morning he came to me and said he had been dreaming; that
he saw nothing bad in this great war chief, General Gaines, who was
now near Rock river. That his object was merely to frighten us from
our village, that the white people might get our land for nothing. He
assured us that this great war chief dare not, and would not, hurt any
of us. That the Americans were at peace with the British, and when
they made peace, the British required, and the Americans agreed to it,
that they should never interrupt any nation of Indians that was at
peace, and that all we had to do to retain our village was to refuse
any and every offer that might be made by this war chief.

The war chief arrived and convened a council at the agency. Keokuk
and Wapello were sent for, and with a number of their band were

The council house was opened and all were admitted, and myself and
band were sent for to attend. When we arrived at the door singing a
war song, and armed with lances, spears, war clubs, bows and arrows,
as if going to battle, I halted and refused to enter, as I could see
no necessity or propriety in having the room crowded with those who
were already there. If the council was convened for us, why then have
others in our room. The war chief having sent all out except Keokuk,
Wapello and a few of their chiefs and braves, we entered the council
in this warlike appearance, being desirous of showing the war chief
that we were not afraid. He then rose and made a speech. He said:

"The president is very sorry to be put to the trouble and expense of
sending so large a body of soldiers here to remove you from the lands
you have long since ceded to the United States. Your Great Father has
already warned you repeatedly, through your agent, to leave the
country, and he is very sorry to find that you have disobeyed his
orders. Your Great Father wishes you well, and asks nothing from you
but what is reasonable and right. I hope you will consult your own
interests, and leave the country you are occupying, and go to the
other side of the Mississippi."

I replied:

"We have never sold our country. We never received any annuities
from our American father, and we are determined to hold on to our

The war chief, apparently angry, rose and said

"Who is _Black Hawk_? Who is _Black Hawk_?"

I replied:

"I am a _Sac_! My forefather was a SAC! I and all the nations call
me a SAC!!"

The war chief said:

"I came here neither to beg nor hire you to leave your village. My
business is to remove you, peaceably if I can, forcibly if I must! I
will now give you two days in which to remove, and if you do not cross
the Mississippi by that time, I will adopt measures to force you

I told him that I never would consent to leave my village and was
determined not to leave it.

The council broke up and the war chief retired to his fort. I
consulted the prophet again. He said he had been dreaming, and that
the Great Spirit had directed that a woman, the daughter of Mattatas,
the old chief of the village, should take a stick in her hand and go
before the war chief, and tell him that she is the daughter of
Mattatas, and that he had always been the white man's friend. That he
had fought their battles, been wounded in their service and had always
spoken well of them, and she had never heard him say that he had sold
their village. The whites are numerous, and can take it from us if
they choose, but she hoped they would not be so unfriendly. If they
were, he had one favor to ask; she wished her people to be allowed to
remain long enough to gather their provisions now growing in their
fields; that she was a woman and had worked hard to raise something to
support her children. And now, if we are driven from our village
without being allowed to save our corn, many of our little children
must perish with hunger.

Accordingly Mattatas' daughter was sent to the fort, accompanied by
several of our young men and was admitted. She went before the war
chief and told the story of the prophet. The war chief said that the
president did not send him here to make treaties with the women, nor
to hold council with them. That our young men most leave the fort, but
she might remain if she wished.

All our plans were defeated. We must cross the river, or return to
our village and await the coming of the war chief with his soldiers.
We determined on the latter, but finding that our agent, interpreter,
trader and Keokuk, were determined on breaking my ranks, and had
induced several of my warriors to cross the Mississippi, I sent a
deputation to the agent, at the request of my band, pledging myself to
leave the county in the fall, provided permission was given us to
remain, and secure our crop of corn then growing, as we would be in a
starving situation if we were driven off without the means of

The deputation returned with an answer from the war chief, "That no
further time would be given than that specified, and if we were not
then gone he would remove us."

I directed my village crier to proclaim that my orders were, in the
event of the war chief coming to our village to remove us, that not a
gun should be fired or any resistance offered. . That if he determined
to fight, for them to remain quietly in their lodges, and let him kill
them if he chose.

I felt conscious that this great war chief would not hurt our people,
and my object was not war. Had it been, we would have attacked and
killed the war chief and his braves, when in council with us, as they
were then completely in our power. But his manly conduct and
soldierly deportment, his mild yet energetic manner, which proved his
bravery, forbade it.

Some of our young men who had been out as spies came in and reported
that they had discovered a large body of mounted men coming toward our
village, who looked like a war party. They arrived and took a
position below Rock river, for their place of encampment. The great
war chief, General Gaines, entered Rock river in a steamboat, with his
soldiers and one big gun. They passed and returned close by our
village, but excited no alarm among my braves. No attention was paid
to the boat; even our little children who were playing on the bank of
the river, as usual, continued their amusement. The water being
shallow, the boat got aground, which gave the whites some trouble. If
they had asked for assistance, there was not a brave in my band who
would not willingly have aided them. Their people were permitted to
pass and repass through our village, and were treated with friendship
by our people.

The war chief appointed the next day to remove us. I would have
remained and been taken prisoner by the regulars, but was afraid of
the multitude of pale faced militia, who were on horse back, as they
were under no restraint of their chiefs.

We crossed the river during the night, and encamped some distance
below Rock Island. The great war chief convened another council, for
the purpose of making a treaty with as. In this treaty he agreed to
give us corn in place of that we had left growing in our fields. I
touched the goose quill to this treaty, and was determined to live in

The corn that had been given us was soon found to be inadequate to our
wants, when loud lamentations were heard in the camp by the women and
children, for their roasting ears, beans and squashes. To satisfy
them, a small party of braves went over in the night to take corn from
their own fields. They were discovered by the whites and fired upon.
Complaints were again made of the depredations committed by some of my
people, on their own corn fields.

I understood from our agent, that there had been a provision made in
one of our treaties for assistance in agriculture, and that we could
have our fields plowed if we required it. I therefore called upon
him, and requested him to have a small log home built for me, and a
field plowed that fall, as I wished to live retired. He promised to
have it done. I then went to the trader, Colonel Davenport, and asked
for permission to be buried in the graveyard at our village, among my
old friends and warriors, which he gave cheerfully. I then returned
to my people satisfied.

A short time after this, a party of Foxes went up to Prairie du Chien
to avenge the murder of their chiefs and relations, which had been
committed the summer previous, by the Menomonees and Sioux. When they
arrived in the vicinity of the encampment of the Menomonees, they met
with a Winnebago, and inquired for the Menomonee camp. They requested
him to go on before them and see if there were any Winnebagoes in it,
and if so, to tell them that they had better return to their own camp.
He went and gave the information, not only to the Winnebagoes, but to
the Menomonees, that they might be prepared. The party soon followed,
killed twenty-eight Menomonees, and made their escape.

This retaliation which with us is considered lawful and right, created
considerable excitement among the whites. A demand was made for the
Foxes to be surrendered to, and tried by, the white people. The
principal men came to me during the fall and asked my advice. I
conceived that they had done right, and that our Great Father acted
very unjustly in demanding them, when he had suffered all their chiefs
to be decoyed away, and murdered by the Menomonees, without ever
having made a similar demand of them. If he had no right in the first
instance he had none now, and for my part, I conceived the right very
questionable, if not an act of usurpation in any case, where a
difference exists between two nations, for him to interfere. The
Foxes joined my band with the intention to go out with them on the
fall hunt.

About this time, Neapope, who started to Malden when it was
ascertained that the great war chief, General Gaines, was coming to
remove us, returned. He said he had seen the chief of our British
Father, and asked him if the Americans could force us to leave our
village. He said: "If you had not sold your land the Americans could
not take your village from you. That the right being vested in you
only, could be transferred by the voice and will of the whole nation,
and that as you have never given your consent to the sale of your
country, it yet remains your exclusive property, from which the
American government never could force you away, and that in the event
of war, you should have nothing to fear, as we would stand by and
assist you."

He said that he had called at the prophet's lodge on his way down, and
there had learned for the first time, that we had left our village.
He informed me privately, that the prophet was anxious to see me, as
he had much good news to tell me, and that I would hear good news in
the spring from our British Father. "The prophet requested me to give
you all the particulars, but I would much rather you would see him
yourself and learn all from him. But I will tell you that he has
received expresses from our British Father, who says that he is going
to send us guns, ammunition, provisions and clothing early in the
spring. The vessels that bring them will come by way of Milwaukee.
The prophet has likewise received wampum and tobacco from the
different nations on the lakes, Ottawas, Chippewas, and
Pottowattomies, and as to the Winnebagoes he has them all at his
command. We are going to be happy once more."

I told him I was pleased that our British Father intended to see us
righted. That we had been driven from our lands without receiving
anything for them, and I now began to hope from his talk, that my
people would once more be happy. If I could accomplish this I would
be satisfied. I am now growing old and could spend the remnant of my
time anywhere. But I wish first to see my people happy. I can then
leave them cheerfully. This has always been my constant aim, and I
now begin to hope that our sky will soon be clear.

Neapope said:

"The prophet told me that all the tribes mentioned would fight for us
if necessary, and the British father will support us. If we should be
whipped, which is hardly possible, we will still be safe, the prophet
having received a friendly talk from the chief of Wassicummico, at
Selkirk's settlement, telling him, that if we were not happy in our
own country, to let him know and he would make us happy. He had
received information from our British father that we had been badly
treated by the Americans. We must go and see the prophet. I will go
first; you had better remain and get as many of your people to join
you as you can. You know everything that we have done. We leave the
matter with you to arrange among your people as you please. I will
return to the prophet's village to-morrow. You can in the meantime
make up your mind an to the course you will take and send word to the
prophet by me, as he is anxious to assist us, and wishes to know
whether you will join us, and assist to make your people happy."

During the night I thought over everything that Neapope had told me,
and was pleased to think that by a little exertion on my part, I could
accomplish the object of all my wishes. I determined to follow the
advice of the prophet, and sent word by Neapope, that I would get all
my braves together, explain everything that I had heard to them, and
recruit as many as I could from the different villages.

Accordingly I sent word to Keokuk's band and the Fox tribe, explaining
to them all the good news I had heard. They would not hear. Keokuk
said that I had been imposed upon by liars, and had much better remain
where I was and keep quiet. When he found that I was determined to
make an attempt to recover my village, fearing that some difficulty
would arise, he made application to the agent and great chief at St.
Louis, asking permission for the chiefs of our nation to go to
Washington to see our Great Father, that we might have our
difficulties settled amicably. Keokuk also requested the trader,
Colonel Davenport, who was going to Washington, to call on our Great
Father and explain everything to him, and ask permission for us to
come on and see him.

Having heard nothing favorable from the great chief at St. Louis, I
concluded that I had better keep my band together, and recruit as many
as possible, so that I would be prepared to make the attempt to rescue
my village in the spring, provided our Great Father did not send word
for us to go to Washington. The trader returned. He said he had
called on our Great Father and made a full statement to him in
relation to our difficulties, and had asked leave for us to go to
Washington, but had received no answer.

I had determined to listen to the advice of my friends, and if
permitted to go to see our Great Father, to abide by his counsel,
whatever it might be. Every overture was made by Keokuk to prevent
difficulty, and I anxiously hoped that something would be done for my
people that it might be avoided. But there was bad management
somewhere, or the difficulty that has taken place would have been

When it was ascertained that we would not be permitted to go to
Washington, I resolved upon my course, and again tied to recruit some
braves from Keookuk's band, to accompany me, but could not.

Conceiving that the peaceable disposition of Keokuk and his people had
been in a great measure the cause of our having been driven from our
village, I ascribed their present feelings to the same cause, and
immediately went to work to recruit all my own band, and making
preparations to ascend Rock river, I made my encampment on the
Mississippi, where Fort Madison had stood. I requested my people to
rendezvous at that place, sending out soldiers to bring in the
warriors, and stationed my sentinels in a position to prevent any from
moving off until all were ready.

My party having all come in and got ready, we commenced our march up
the Mississippi; our women and children in canoes, carrying such
provisions as we had, camp equipage, &c. My braves and warriors were
on horseback, armed and equipped for defence. The prophet came down
and joining us below Rock river, having called at Rock Island on his
way down, to consult the war chief, agent and trader; who, he said,
used many arguments to dissuade him from going with us, requesting him
to come and meet us and turn us back. They told him also there was a
war chief on his way to Rock Island with a large body of soldiers.

The prophet said he would not listen to this talk, because no war
chief would dare molest us so long as we were at peace. That we had a
right to go where we pleased peaceably, and advised me to say nothing
to my braves and warriors until we encamped that night. We moved
onward until we arrived at the place where General Gaines had made his
encampment the year before, and encamped for the night. The prophet
then addressed my braves and warriors. He told them to "follow us and
act like braves, and we have nothing to fear and much to gain. The
American war chief may come, but will not, nor dare not interfere with
us so long as we act peaceably. We are not yet ready to act
otherwise. We must wait until we ascend Rock river and receive our
reinforcements, and we will then be able to withstand any army."

That night the White Beaver, General Atkinson, with a party of
soldiers passed up in a steamboat. Our party became alarmed,
expecting to meet the soldiers at Rock river, to prevent us going up.
On our arrival at its mouth, we discovered that the steamboat had
passed on.

I was fearful that the war chief had stationed his men on some high
bluff, or in some ravine, that we might be taken by surprise.
Consequently, on entering Rock river we commenced beating our drums
and singing, to show the Americans that we were not afraid.

Having met with no opposition, we moved up Rock river leisurely for
some distance, when we were overtaken by an express from White Beaver,
with an order for me to return with my band and recross the
Mississippi again. I sent him word that I would not, not recognizing
his right to make such a demand, is I was acting peaceably, and
intended to go to the prophet's village at his request, to make corn.

The express returned. We moved on and encamped some distance below
the prophet's village. Here another express came from the White
Beaver, threatening to pursue us and drive us back, if we did not
return peaceably. This message roused the spirit of my band, and all
were determined to remain with me and contest the ground with the war
chief, should he come and attempt to drive us. We therefore directed
the express to say to the war chief "if he wished to fight us he might
come on." We were determined never to be driven, and equally so, not
to make the first attack, our object being to act only on the
defensive. This we conceived to be our right.

Soon after the express returned, Mr. Gratiot, sub-agent for the
Winnebagoes, came to our encampment. He had no interpreter, and was
compelled to talk through his chiefs. They said the object of his
mission was to persuade us to return. But they advised us to go on--
assuring us that the further we went up Rock river the more friends we
would meet, and our situation would be bettered. They were on our
side and all of their people were our friends. We must not give up,
but continue to ascend Rock river, on which, in a short time, we would
receive reinforcements sufficiently strong to repulse any enemy. They
said they would go down with their agent, to ascertain the strength of
the enemy, and then return and give us the news. They had to use some
stratagem to deceive their agent in order to help us.

During this council several of my braves hoisted the British flag,
mounted their horses and surrounded the council lodge. I discovered
that the agent was very much frightened. I told one of his chiefs to
tell him that he need not be alarmed, and then went out and directed
my braves to desist. Every warrior immediately dismounted and
returned to his lodge. After the council adjourned I placed a
sentinel at the agent's lodge to guard him, fearing that some of my
warriors might again frighten him. I had always thought he was a good
man and was determined that he should not be hurt. He started with
his chiefs to Rock Island.

Having ascertained that White Beaver would not permit us to remain
where we were, I began to consider what was best to be done, and
concluded to keep on up the river, see the Pottowattomies and have a
talk with them. Several Winnebago chiefs were present, whom I advised
of my intentions, as they did not seem disposed to render us any
assistance. I asked them if they had not sent us wampum during the
winter, and requested us to come and join their people and enjoy all
the rights and privileges of their country. They did not deny this;
and said if the white people did not interfere, they had no objection
to our making corn this year, with our friend the prophet, but did not
wish us to go any further up.

The next day I started with my party to Kishwacokee. That night I
encamped a short distance above the prophet's village. After all was
quiet in our camp I sent for my chiefs, and told them that we had been
deceived. That all the fair promises that had been held out to us
through Neapope were false. But it would not do to let our party know
it. We must keep it secret among ourselves, move on to Kishwacokee,
as if all was right, and say something on the way to encourage our
people. I will then call on the Pottowattomies, hear what they say,
and see what they will do.

We started the next morning, after telling our people that news had
just come from Milwaukee that a chief of our British Father would be
there in a few days. Finding that all our plans were defeated, I told
the prophet that he must go with me, and we would see what could be
done with the Pottowattomies. On our arrival at Kishwacokee an
express was sent to the Pottowattomie villages. The next day a
deputation arrived. I inquired if they had corn in their villages.
They said they had a very little and could not spare any. I asked
them different questions and received very unsatisfactory answers.
This talk was in the presence of all my people. I afterwards spoke to
them privately, and requested them to come to my lodge after my people
had gone to sleep. They came and took seats. I asked them if they
had received any news from the British on the lake. They said no. I
inquired if they had heard that a chief of our British Father was
coming to Milwaukee to bring us guns, ammunition, goods and
provisions. They said no. I told them what news had been brought to
me, and requested them to return to their village and tell the chiefs
that I wished to see them and have a talk with them.

After this deputation started, I concluded to tell my people that if
White Beaver came after us, we would go back, as it was useless to
think of stopping or going on without more provisions and ammunition.
I discovered that the Winnebagoes and Pottowattomies were not disposed
to render us any assistance. The next day the Pottowattomie chiefs
arrived in my camp. I had a dog killed, and made a feast. When it
was ready, I spread my medicine bags, and the chiefs began to eat.
When the ceremony was about ending, I received news that three or four
hundred white men on horse-back had been seen about eight miles off.
I immediately started three young men with a white flag to meet them
and conduct them to our camp, that we might hold a council with them
and descend Rock river again. I also directed them, in case the
whites had encamped, to return, and I would go and see them. After
this party had started I sent five young men to see what might take
place. The first party went to the camp of the whites, and were taken
prisoners. The last party had not proceeded far before they saw about
twenty men coming toward them at full gallop. They stopped, and,
finding that the whites were coming toward them in such a warlike
attitude, they turned and retreated, but were pursued, and two of them
overtaken and killed. The others then made their escape. When they
came in with the news, I was preparing my flags to meet the war chief.
The alarm was given. Nearly all my young men were absent ten miles
away. I started with what I had left, about forty, and had proceeded
but a short distance, before we saw a part of the army approaching. I
raised a yell, saying to y braves, "Some of our people have been
killed. Wantonly and cruelly murdered! We must avenge their death!"

In a little while we discovered the whole army coming towards us at a
full gallop. We were now confident that our first party had been
killed. I immediately placed my men behind a cluster of bushes, that
we might have the first fire when they had approached close enough.
They made a halt some distance from us. I gave another yell, and
ordered my brave warriors to charge upon them, expecting that they
would all be killed. They did charge. Every man rushed towards the
enemy and fired, and they retreated in the utmost confusion and
consternation before my little but brave band of warriors.

After following the enemy for some distance, I found it useless to
pursue them further, as they rode so fast, and returned to the
encampment with a few braves, as about twenty-five of them continued
in pursuit of the flying enemy. I lighted my pipe and sat down to
thank the Great Spirit for what he had done. I had not been
meditating long, when two of the three young men I had seat with the
flag to meet the American war chief, entered. My astonishment was not
greater than my joy to see them living and well. I eagerly listened
to their story, which was as follows:

"When we arrived near the encampment of the whites, a number of them
rushed out to meet us, bringing their guns with them. They took us
into their camp, where an American who spoke the Sac language a little
told us that his chief wanted to know how we were, where we were
going, where our camp was, and where was Black Hawk? We told him that
we had come to see his chief, that our chief had directed us to
conduct him to our camp, in case he had not encamped, and in that
event to tell him that he, Black Hawk, would come to see him; he
wished to hold a council with him, as he had given up all intention of
going to war."

This man had once been a member of our tribe, having been adopted by
me many years before and treated with the same kindness as was shown
to our young men, but like the caged bird of the woods, he yearned for
freedom, and after a few years residence with us an opportunity for
escape came and he left us. On this occasion he would have respected
our flag and carried back the message I had sent to his chief, had he
not been taken prisoner, with a comrade, by some of my braves who did
not recognize him, and brought him into camp. They were securely tied
with cords to trees and left to meditate, but were occasionally
buffeted by my young men when passing near them. When I passed by him
there was a recognition on the part of us both, but on account of
former friendship I concluded to let him go, and some little time
before the sun went down I released him from his captivity by untying
the cords that bound him and accompanied him outside of our lines so
that he could escape safely. His companion had previously made a
desperate effort to escape from his guards and was killed by them.

They continued their story:

"At the conclusion of this talk a party of white men came in on
horseback. We saw by their countenances that something had happened.
A general tumult arose. They looked at us with indignation, talked
among themselves for a moment, when several of them cocked their guns
and fired at us in the crowd. Our companion fell dead. We rushed
through the crowd and made our escape. We remained in ambush but a
short time, before we heard yelling like Indians running an enemy. In
a little while we saw some of the whites in full speed. One of them
came near us. I threw my tomahawk and struck him on the head which
brought him to the ground; I ran to him and with his own knife took
off his scalp. I took his gun, mounted his horse, and brought my
friend here behind me. We turned to follow our braves, who were
chasing the enemy, and had not gone far before we overtook a white
man, whose horse had mired in a swamp. My friend alighted and
tomahawked the man, who was apparently fast under his horse. He took
his scalp, horse and gun. By this time our party was some distance
ahead. We followed on and saw several white men lying dead on the
way. After riding about six miles we met our party returning. We
asked them how many of our men had been killed. . They said none after
the Americans had retreated. We inquired how many whites had been
killed. They replied that they did not know, but said we will soon
ascertain, as we must scalp them as we go back. On our return we
found ten men, besides the two we had killed before we joined our
friends. Seeing that they did not yet recognize us, it being dark, we
again asked how many of our braves had been killed? They said five.
We asked who they were? They replied that the first party of three
who went out to meet the American war chief, had all been taken
prisoners and killed in the encampment, and that out of a party of
five, who followed to see the meeting of the first party with the
whites, two had been killed. We were now certain that they did not
recognize us, nor did we tell who we were until we arrived at our
camp. The news of our death had reached it some time before, and all
were surprised to see us again."

The next morning I told the crier of my village to give notice that we
must go and bury our dead. In a little while all were ready. A small
deputation was sent for our absent warriors, and the remainder started
to bury the dead. We first disposed of them and then commenced an
examination in the enemy's deserted encampment for plunder. We found
arms and ammunition and provisions, all of which we were sadly in want
of, particularly the latter, as we were entirely without. We found
also a variety of saddle bags, which I distributed among my braves, a
small quantity of whisky and some little barrels that had contained
this bad medicine, but they were empty. I was surprised to find that
the whites carried whisky with them, as I had understood that all the
pale faces, when acting is soldiers in the field, were strictly

The enemy's encampment was in a skirt of woods near a run, about half
a day's travel from Dixon's ferry. We attacked them in the prairie,
with a few bushes between us, about sundown, and I expected that my
whole party would be killed. I never was so much surprised in all the
fighting I have seen, knowing, too, that the Americans generally shoot
well, as I was to see this army of several hundreds retreating,
without showing fight, and passing immediately through their
encampment, I did think they intended to halt there, as the situation
would have forbidden attack by my party if their number had not
exceeded half of mine, as we would have been compelled to take the
open prairie whilst they could have picked trees to shield themselves
from our fire.

I was never so much surprised in my life as I was in this attack. An
army of three or four hundred men, after having learned that we were
sueing for peace, to attempt to kill the flag bearers that had gone
unarmed to ask for a meeting of the war chiefs of the two contending
parties to hold a council, that I might return to the west side of the
Mississippi, to come forward with a full determination to demolish the
few braves I had with me, to retreat when they had ten to one, was
unaccountable to me. It proved a different spirit from any I had ever
before seen among the pale faces. I expected to see them fight as the
Americans did with the British during the last war, but they had no
such braves among them. At our feast with the Pottowattomies I was
convinced that we had been imposed upon by those who had brought in
reports of large re-enforcements to my band and resolved not to strike
a blow; and in order to get permission from White Beaver to return and
re-cross the Mississippi, I sent a flag of peace to the American war
chief, who was reported to be close by with his army, expecting that
he would convene a council and listen to what we had to say. But this
chief, instead of pursuing that honorable and chivalric course, such
as I have always practiced, shot down our flag-bearer and thus forced
us into war with less than five hundred warriors to contend against
three or four thousand soldiers.

The supplies that Neapope and the prophet told us about, and the
reinforcements we were to have, were never more heard of, and it is
but justice to our British Father to say were never promised, his
chief being sent word in lieu of the lies that were brought to me,
"for us to remain at peace as we could accomplish nothing but our own
ruin by going to war."

What was now to be done? It was worse than folly to turn back and
meet an enemy where the odds were so much against us and thereby
sacrifice ourselves, our wives and children to the fury of an enemy
who had murdered some of our brave and unarmed warriors when they were
on a mission to sue for peace.

Having returned to our encampment, and found that all our young men
had come in, I sent out spies to watch the movements of the army, and
commenced moving up Kishwacokee with the balance of my people. I did
not know where to go to find a place of safety for my women and
children, but expected to find a good harbor about the head of Rock
river. I concluded to go there, and thought my best route would be to
go round the head of Kishwacokee, so that the Americans would have
some difficulty if they attempted to follow us.

On arriving at the head of Kishwacokee, I was met by a party of
Winnebagoes, who seemed to rejoice at our success. They said they had
come to offer their services, and were anxious to join an. I asked
them if they knew where there was a safe place for our women and
children. They told us that they would send two old men with us to
guide us to a good safe place.

I arranged war parties to send out in different directions, before I
proceeded further. The Winnebagoes went alone. The war parties having
all been fitted out and started, we commenced moving to the Four
Lakes, the place where our guides were to conduct us. We had not gone
far before six Winnebagoes came in with one scalp. They said they had
killed a man at a grove, on the road from Dixon's to the lead mines.
Four days after, the party of Winnebagoes who had gone out from the
head of Kishwacokee, overtook us, and told me that they had killed
four men and taken their scalps: and that one of them was Keokuk's
father, (the agent). They proposed to have a dance over their scalps.
I told them that I could have no dancing in my camp, in consequence of
my having lost three young braves; but they might dance in their own
camp, which they did. Two days after, we arrived in safety at the
place where the Winnebagoes had directed us. In a few days a great
number of our warriors came in. I called them all around me, and
addressed them. I told them: "Now is the time, if any of you wish to
come into distinction, and be honored with the medicine bag! Now is
the time to show you, courage and bravery, and avenge the murder of
our three braves !"

Several small parties went out, and returned again in a few days, with
success--bringing in provisions for our people. In the mean time,
some spies came in, and reported that the army had fallen back to
Dixon's ferry; and others brought news that the horsemen had broken up
their camp, disbanded, and returned home.

Finding that all was safe, I made a dog feast, preparatory to leaving
my camp with a large party, (as the enemy were stationed so far off).
Before my braves commenced feasting, I took my medicine bags, and
addressed them in the following language:

"BRAVES AND WARRIORS: These are the medicine bags of our forefather,
Mukataquet, who was the father of the Sac nation. They were handed
down to the great war chief of our nation, Nanamakee, who has been at
war with all the nations of the plains, and have never yet been
disgraced! I expect you all to protect them!"

After the ceremony was over and our feasting done I started, with
about two hundred warriors following my great medicine bags. I
directed my, course toward sunset and dreamed, the second night after
we started, that there would be a great feast prepared for us after
one day's travel. I told my warriors my dream in the morning and we
started for Moscohocoynak, (Apple river). When we arrived in the
vicinity of a fort the white people had built there we saw four men on
horseback. One of my braves fired and wounded a man when the others
set up a yell as if a large force were near and ready to come against
us. We concealed ourselves and remained in this position for some
time watching to see the enemy approach, but none came. The four men,
in the mean time, ran to the fort and gave the alarm. We followed
them and attacked their fort. One of their braves, who seemed more
valiant than the rest, raised his head above the picketing to fire at
us when one of my braves, with a well-directed shot, put an end to his
bravery. Finding that these people could not be killed without
setting fire to their houses and fort I thought it more prudent to be
content with what flour, provisions, cattle and horses we could find
than to set fire to their buildings, as the light would be seen at a
distance and the army might suppose we were in the neighborhood and
come upon us with a strong force. Accordingly we opened a house and
filled our bags with flour and provisions, took several horses and
drove off some of their cattle.

We started in a direction toward sunrise. After marching a
considerable time I discovered some white men coming towards us. I
told my braves that we would go into the woods and kill them when they
approached. We concealed ourselves until they came near enough and
then commenced yelling and firing and made a rush upon them. About
this time their chief, with a party of men, rushed up to rescue the
men we had fired upon. In a little while they commenced retreating
and left their chief and a few braves who seemed willing and anxious
to fight. They acted like men, but were forced to give way when I
rushed upon them with my braves. In a short time the chief returned
with a lager party. He seemed determined to fight, and anxious for a
battle. When he came near enough I raised the yell and firing
commenced from both sides. The chief, who seemed to be a small man,
addressed his warriors in a loud voice, but they soon retreated,
leaving him and a few braves on the battle field. A great number of
my warriors pursued the retreating party and killed a number of their
horses as they ran.

The chief and his few braves were unwilling to leave the field. I
ordered my braves to rush upon them, and had the mortification of
seeing two of my chiefs killed before the enemy retreated.

This young chief deserves great praise for his courage and bravery,
but fortunately for us, his army was not all composed of such brave

During this attack we killed several men and about forty horses and
lost two young chiefs and seven warriors. My braves were anxious to
pursue them to the fort, attack and burn it, but I told them it was
useless to waste our powder as there was no possible chance of success
if we did attack them, and that as we had ran the bear into his hole
we would there leave him and return to our camp.

On arriving at our encampment we found that several of our spies had
returned, bringing intelligence that the army had commenced moving.
Another party of five came in and said they had been pursued for
several hours, and were attacked by twenty-five or thirty whites in
the woods; that the whites rushed in upon them as they lay concealed
and received their fire without seeing them. They immediately
retreated whilst we reloaded. They entered the thicket again and as
soon as they came near enough we fired. Again they retreated and
again they rushed into the thicket and fired. We returned their fire
and a skirmish ensued between two of their men and one of ours, who
was killed by having his throat cut. This was the only man we lost,
the enemy having had three killed; they again retreated.

Another party of three Sacs had come in and brought two young white
squaws, whom they had given to the Winnebagoes to take to the whites.
They said they had joined a party of Pottowattomies and went with them
as a war party against the settlers of Illinois.

The leader of this party, a Pottowattomie, had been severely whipped
by this settler, some time before, and was anxious to avenge the
insult and injury. While the party was preparing to start, a young
Pottowattomie went to the settler's house and told him to leave it,
that a war party was coming to murder them. They started, but soon
returned again, as it appeared that they were all there when the war
party arrived. The Pottowattomies killed the whole family, except two
young squaws, whom the Sacs took up on their horses and carried off,
to save their lives. They were brought to our encampment, and a
messenger sent to the Winnebagoes, as they were friendly on both
sides, to come and get them, and carry them to the whites. If these
young men, belonging to my band, had not gone with the Pottowittomies,
the two young squaws would have shared the same fate as their friends.

During our encampment at the Four Lakes we were hard pressed to obtain
enough to eat to support nature. Situated in a swampy, marshy
country, (which had been selected in consequence of the great
difficulty required to gain access thereto,) there was but little game
of any sort to be found, and fish were equally scarce. The great
distance to any settlement, and the impossibility of bringing supplies
therefrom, if any could have been obtained, deterred our young men
from making further attempts. We were forced to dig roots and bark
trees, to obtain something to satisfy hunger and keep us alive.
Several of our old people became so reduced, as to actually die with
hunger! Learning that the army had commenced moving, and fearing that
they might come upon and surround our encampment, I concluded to
remove our women and children across the Mississippi, that they might
return to the Sac nation again. Accordingly, on the next day we
commenced moving, with five Winnebagoes acting as our guides,
intending to descend the Wisconsin.

Neapope, with a party of twenty, remained in our rear, to watch for
the enemy, whilst we were proceeding to the Wisconsin, with our women
and children. We arrived, and had commenced crossing over to an
island, when we discovered a large body of the enemy coming towards
us. We were now compelled to fight, or sacrifice our wives and
children to the fury of the whites. I met them with fifty warriors,
(having left the balance to assist our women and children in crossing)
about a mile from the river, When an attack immediately commenced, I
was mounted on a fine horse, and was pleased to see my warriors so
brave. I addressed them in a load voice, telling them to stand their
ground and never yield it to the enemy. At this time I was on the
rise of a hill, where I wished to form my warriors, that we might have
some advantage over the whites. But the enemy succeeded in gaining
this point, which compelled us to fall into a deep ravine, from which
we continued firing at them and they at us, until it began to grow
dark. My horse having been wounded twice during this engagement, and
fearing from his loss of blood that he would soon give out, and
finding that the enemy would not come near enough to receive our fire,
in the dusk of the evening, and knowing that our women and children
had had sufficient time to reach the island in the Wisconsin, I
ordered my warriors to return, by different routes, and meet me at the
Wisconsin, and was astonished to find that the enemy were not disposed
to pursue us.

In this skirmish with fifty braves, I defended and accomplished my
passage over the Wisconsin, with a loss of only six men, though
opposed by a host of mounted militia. I would not have fought there,
but to gain time for our women and children to cross to an island. A
warrior will duly appreciate the embarrassments I labored under--and
whatever may be the sentiments of the white people in relation to this
battle, my nation, though fallen, will award to me the reputation of a
great brave in conducting it.

The loss of the enemy could not be ascertained by our party; but I am
of the opinion that it was much greater, in proportion, than mine. We
returned to the Wisconsin and crossed over to our people.

Here some of my people left me, and descended the Wisconsin, hoping to
escape to the west side of the Mississippi, that they might return
home. I had no objection to their leaving me, as my people were all
in a desperate condition, being worn out with traveling and starving
with hunger. Our only hope to save ourselves was to get across the
Mississippi. But few of this party escaped. Unfortunately for them, a
party of soldiers from Prairie du Chien were stationed on the
Wisconsin, a short distance from its mouth, who fired upon our
distressed people. Some were killed, others drowned, several taken
prisoners, and the balance escaped to the woods and perished with
hunger. Among this party were a great many women and children.

I was astonished to find that Neapope and his party of spies had not
yet come in, they having been left in my rear to bring the news, if
the enemy were discovered. It appeared, however, that the whites had
come in a different direction and intercepted our trail but a short
distance from the place where we first saw them, leaving our spies
considerably in the rear. Neapope and one other retired to the
Winnebago village, and there remained during the war. The balance of
his party, being brave men, and considering our interests as their
own, returned, and joined our ranks.

Myself and band having no means to descend the Wisconsin, I started
over a rugged country, to go to the Mississippi, intending to cross it
and return to my nation. Many of our people were compelled to go on
foot, for want of horses, which, in consequence of their having had
nothing to eat for a long time, caused our march to be very slow. At
length we arrived at the Mississippi, having lost some of our old men
and little children, who perished on the way with hunger.

We had been here but a little while before we saw a steamboat (the
"Warrior,") coming. I told my braves not to shoot, as I intended
going on board, so that we might save our women and children. I knew
the captain (Throckmorton) and was determined to give myself up to
him. I then sent for my white flag. While the messenger was gone, I
took a small piece of white cotton and put it on a pole, and called to
the captain of the boat, and told him to send his little canoe ashore
and let me come aboard. The people on board asked whether we were
Sacs or Winnebagoes. I told a Winnebago to tell them that we were
Sacs, and wanted to give ourselves up! A Winnebago on the boat called
out to us "to run and hide, that the whites were going to shoot!"
About this time one of my braves had jumped into the river, bearing a
white flag to the boat, when another sprang in after him and brought
him to the shore. The firing then commenced from the boat, which was
returned by my braves and continued for some time. Very few of my
people were hurt after the first fire, having succeeded in getting
behind old logs and trees, which shielded them from the enemy's fire.

The Winnebago on the steamboat must either have misunderstood what was
told, or did not tell it to the captain correctly; because I am
confident he would not have allowed the soldiers to fire upon us if he
had known my wishes. I have always considered him a good man, and too
great a brave to fire upon an enemy when sueing for quarters.

After the boat left us, I told my people to cross if they could, and
wished; that I intended going into the Chippewa country. Some
commenced crossing, and such as had determined to follow them,
remained; only three lodges going with me. Next morning, at daybreak,
a young man overtook me, and said that all my party had determined to
cross the Mississippi--that a number had already got over safely and
that he had heard the white army last night within a few miles of
them. I now began to fear that the whites would come up with my
people and kill them before they could get across. I had determined
to go and join the Chippewas; but reflecting that by this I could only
save myself, I concluded to return, and die with my people, if the
Great Spirit would not give us another victory. During our stay in
the thicket, a party of whites came close by us, but passed on without
discovering us.

Early in the morning a party of whites being in advance of the army,
came upon our people, who were attempting to cross the Mississippi.
They tried to give themselves up; the whites paid no attention to
their entreaties, but commenced slaughtering them. In a little while
the whole army arrived. Our braves, but few in umber, finding that
the enemy paid no regard to age or sex, and seeing that they were
murdering helpless women and little children, determined to fight
until they were killed. As many women as could, commenced swimming
the Mississippi, with their children on their backs. A number of them
were drowned, and some shot before they could reach the opposite

One of my braves, who gave me this information, piled up some saddles
before him, (when the fight commenced), to shield himself from the
enemy's fire, and killed three white men. But seeing that the whites
were coming too close to him, he crawled to the bank of the without
being perceived, and hid himself under the bank until the enemy
retired. He then came to me and told me what had been done. After
hearing this sorrowful news, I started with my little party to the
Winnebago village at Prairie La Cross. On my arrival there I entered
the lodge of one of the chiefs, and told him that I wished him to go
with me to his father, that I intended giving myself up to the
American war chief and die, if the Great Spirit saw proper. He said
he would go with me. I then took my medicine bag and addressed the
chief. I told him that it was "the soul of the Sac nation--that it
never had been dishonored in any battle, take it, it is my life--
dearer than life--and give it to the American chief!" He said he
would keep it, and take care of it, and if I was suffered to live, he
would send it to me.

During my stay at the village, the squaws made me a white dress of
deer skin. I then started with several Winnebagoes, and went to their
agent, at Prairie du Chien, and gave myself up.

On my arrival there, I found to my sorrow, that a large body of Sioux
had pursued and killed a number of our women and children, who had got
safely across the Mississippi. The whites ought not to have permitted
such conduct, and none but cowards would ever have been guilty of such
cruelty, a habit which had always been practiced on our nation by the

The massacre, which terminated the war, lasted about two hours. Our
loss in killed was about sixty, besides a number that was drowned.
The loss of the enemy could not be ascertained by my braves, exactly;
but they think that they killed about sixteen during the action.

I was now given up by the agent to the commanding officer at Fort
Crawford, the White Beaver having gone down the river. We remained
here a short time, and then started for Jefferson Barracks, in a steam
boat, under the charge of a young war chief, (Lieut. Jefferson Davis)
who treated us all with much kindness. He is a good and brave young
chief, with whose conduct I was much pleased. On our way down we
called at Galena and remained a short time. The people crowded to the
boat to see us: but the war chief would not permit them to enter the
apartment where we were--knowing, from what his feelings would have
been if he had been placed in a similar situation, that we did not
wish to have a gaping crowd around us.

We passed Rock Island without stopping. The great war chief, Gen.
Scott, who was then at Fort Armstrong, came out in a small boat to see
us, but the captain of the steamboat would not allow anybody from the
fort to come on board his boat, in consequence of the cholera raging
among the soldiers. I did think that the captain ought to have
permitted the war chief to come on board to see me, because I could
see no danger to be apprehended by it. The war chief looked well, and
I have since heard was constantly among his soldiers, who were sick
and dying, administering to their wants, and had not caught the
disease from them and I thought it absurd to think that any of the
people on the steamboat could be afraid of catching the disease from a
well man. But these people are not brave like war chiefs, who never
fear anything.

On our way down, I surveyed the country that had cost us so much
trouble, anxiety and blood, and that now caused me to be a prisoner of
war. I reflected upon the ingratitude of the whites when I saw their
fine houses, rich harvests and everything desirable around them; and
recollected that all this land had been ours, for which I and my
people had never received a dollar, and that the whites were not
satisfied until they took our village and our graveyards from us and
removed us across the Mississippi.

On our arrival at Jefferson Barracks we met the great war chief, White
Beaver, who had commanded the American army against my little band. I
felt the humiliation of my situation; a little while before I had been
leader of my braves, now I was a prisoner of war, but had surrendered
myself. He received us kindly and treated us well.

We were now confined to the barracks and forced to wear the ball and
chain. This was extremely mortifying and altogether useless. Was the
White Beaver afraid I would break out of his barracks and run away?
Or was he ordered to inflict this punishment upon me? If I had taken
him prisoner on the field of battle I would not have wounded his
feelings so much by such treatment, knowing that a brave war chief
would prefer death to dishonor. But I do not blame the White Beaver
for the course he pursued, as it is the custom among the white
soldiers, and I suppose was a part of his duty.

The time dragged heavily and gloomily along throughout the winter,
although the White Beaver did everything is his power to render us
comfortable. Having been accustomed, throughout a long life, to roam
the forests o'er, to go and come at liberty, confinement, and under
such circumstances, could not be less than torture.

We passed away the time making pipes until spring, when we were
visited by the agent, trader and interpreter, from Rock Island, Keokuk
and several chiefs and braves of our nation, and my wife and daughter.
I was rejoiced to see the two latter and spent my time very agreeably
with them and my people as long as they remained.

The trader, Sagenash, (Col. Davenport) presented me with some dried
venison, which had been killed and cured by some of my friends. This
was a valuable present, and although he had given me many before, none
ever pleased me so much. This was the first meat I had eaten for a
long time that reminded me of the former pleasures of my own wigwam,
which had always been stored with plenty.

Keokuk and his chiefs, during their stay at the barracks, petitioned
our Great Father, the president, to release us, and pledged themselves
for our good conduct. I now began to hope I would soon be restored to
liberty and the enjoyment of my family and friends, having heard that
Keokuk stood high in the estimation of our Great Father, because he
did not join me in the war, but I was soon disappointed in my hopes.
An order came from our Great Father to the White Beaver to send us on
to Washington.

In a little while all were ready and left Jefferson Barracks on board
of a steamboat, under charge of a young war chief and one soldier,
whom the White Beaver sent along as a guide to Washington. We were
accompanied by Keokuk, wife and son, Appanooce, Wapello, Poweshiek,
Pashippaho, Nashashuk, Saukee, Musquaukee, and our interpreter. Our
principal traders, Col. Geo. Davenport, of Rock Island, and S. S.
Phelps and clerk, William Cousland, of the Yellow Banks, also
accompanied us. On our way up the Ohio we passed several large
villages, the names of which were explained to me. The first is
called Louisville, and is a very petty village, situated on the bank
of the Ohio River. The next is Cincinnati, which stands on the bank
of the same river. This is a large and beautiful village and seemed
to be in a thriving condition. The people gathered on the bank as we
passed, in great crowds, apparently anxious to see us.

On our arrival at Wheeling the streets and river banks were crowded
with people, who flocked from every direction to see us. While we
remained here many called upon us and treated us with kindness, no one
offering to molest or misuse us. This village is not so large as
either of those before mentioned, but is quite a pretty one.

We left the steamboat then, having traveled a long distance on the
prettiest river I ever saw (except our Mississippi) and took the
stage. Being unaccustomed to this mode of traveling, we soon got
tired and wished ourselves seated in a canoe on one of our own rivers,
that we might return to our friends. We had traveled but a short
distance before our carriage turned over, from which I received a
slight injury, and the soldier had one arm broken. I was sorry for
this accident, as the young man had behaved well.

We had a rough and mountainous country for several days, but had a
good trail for our carriage. It is astonishing what labor and pains
the white people have had to make this road, as it passes over several
mountains, which are generally covered with rocks and timber, yet it
has been made smooth and easy to travel upon.

Rough and mountainous as this country is there are many wigwams and
small villages standing on the roadside. I could see nothing in the
country to induce the people to live in it, and was astonished to find
so many whites living on the hills.

I have often thought of them since my return to my own people, and am
happy to think that they prefer living in their own country to coming
out to ours and driving us from it, as many of the whites have already
done. I think with them, that wherever the Great Spirit places his
people they ought to be satisfied to remain, and be thankful for what
He has given them, and not drive others from the country He has given
them because it happens to be better then theirs. This is contrary to
our way of thinking, and from my intercourse with the whites, I have
learned that one great principle of their religion is "to do unto
others as you wish them to do unto you." Those people in the
mountains seem to act upon this principle, but the settlers on our
frontiers and on our lands seem never to think of it, if we are to
judge by their actions.

The first village of importance that we came to, after leaving the
mountains, is called Hagerstown. It is a large village to be so far
from a river and is very pretty. The people appear to live well and
enjoy themselves much.

We passed through several small villages on the way to Fredericktown,
but I have forgotten their names. This last is a large and beautiful
village. The people treated us well, as they did at all other
villages where we stopped,

Here we came to another road much more wonderful than that through the
mountains. They call it a railroad, (the Baltimore and Ohio). I
examined it carefully, but need not describe it, as the whites know
all about it. It is the most astonishing sight I ever saw. The great
road over the mountains will bear no comparison to it, although it has
given the white people much trouble to make. I was surprised to see so
much money and labor expended to make a good road for easy traveling.
I prefer riding horse back, however, to any other way, but suppose
these people would not have gone to so much trouble and expense to
make a road if they did not prefer riding in their new fashioned
carriages, which seem to run without any trouble, being propelled by
steam on the same principle that boats are on the river. They
certainly deserve great praise for their industry.

On our arrival at Washington, we called to see our Great Father, the
President. He looks as if he had seen as many winters as I have, and
seems to be a great brave. I had very little talk with him, as he
appeared to be busy and did not seem to be much disposed to talk. I
think he is a good man; and although he talked but little, he treated
us very well. His wigwam is well furnished with every thing good and
pretty, and is very strongly built.

He said he wished to know the cause of my going to war against his
white children. I thought he ought to have known this before; and
consequently said but little to him about it, as I expected he knew as
well as I cold tell him.

He said he wanted us to go to Fortress Monroe and stay awhile with the
war chief who commanded it. But having been so long from my people, I
told him that I would rather return to my nation; that Keokuk had come
here once on a visit to him, as we had done, and he had let him return
again, as soon as he wished, and that I expected to be treated in the
same manner. He insisted, however, on our going to Fortress Monroe;
and as the interpreter then present could not understand enough of our
language to interpret a speech, I concluded it was best to obey our
Great Father, and say nothing contrary to his wishes.

During our stay at the city, we were called upon by many of the
people, who treated us well, particularly the squaws; we visited the
great council home of the Americans; the place where they keep their
big guns; and all the public buildings, and then started for Fortress
Monroe. The war chief met us on our arrival, and shook hands, and
appeared glad to see me. He treated us with great friendship, and
talked to me frequently. Previous to our leaving this fort, he made
us a feast, and gave us some presents, which I intend to keep for his
sake. He is a very good man and a great brave. I was sorry to leave
him, although I was going to return to my people, because he had
treated me like a brother, during all the time I remained with him.

Having got a new guide, a war chief (Maj. Garland), we started for our
own country, taking a circuitous route. Our Great Father being about
to pay a visit to his children in the big towns towards sunrise, and
being desirous that we should have an opportunity of seeing them, had
directed our guide to take us through.

On our arrival at Baltimore, we were much astonished to see so large a
village; but the war chief told us we would soon see a larger one.
This surprised us more. During our stay here, we visited all the
public buildings and places of amusement, saw much to admire, and were
well entertained by the people who crowded to see us. Our Great
Father was there at the same time, and seemed to be much liked by his
white children, who flocked around him, (as they had around us) to
shake him by the hand. He did not remain long, having left the city
before us. In an interview, while here, the President said:

"When I saw you in Washington, I told you that you had behaved very
badly in going to war against the whites. Your conduct then compelled
me to send my warriors against you, and your people were defeated with
great loss, and several of you surrendered, to be kept until I should
be satisfied that you would not try to do any more injury. I told
you, too, that I would inquire whether your people wished you to
return, and whether, if you did return, there would be any danger to
the frontier. Gen. Clark and Gen. Atkinson, whom you know, have
informed me that your principal chief and the rest of your people are
anxious you should return, and Keokuk has asked me to send you back.
Your chiefs have pledged themselves for your good conduct, and I have
given directions that you should be taken to your own country.

"Major Garland, who is with you, will conduct you through some of our
towns. You will see the strength of the white people. You will see
that our young men are as numerous as the leaves in the woods. What
can you do against us? You may kill a few women and children, but
such a force would seen be sent against you as would destroy your
whole tribe. Let the red men hunt and take care of their families. I
hope they will not again raise the tomahawk against their white
brethren. We do not wish to injure you. We desire your prosperity
and improvement. But if you again make war against our people, I
shall send a force which will severely punish you. When you go back,
listen to the councils of Keokuk and the other friendly chiefs; bury
the tomahawk and live in peace with the people on the frontier. And I
pray the Great Spirit to give you a smooth path and a fair sky to

I was pleased with our Great Father's talk and thanked him. Told him
that the tomahawk had been buried so deep that it would never be
resurrected, and that my remaining days would be spent in peace with
all my white brethren.

We left Baltimore in a steamboat, and traveled in this way to the big
village, where they make medals and money, (Philadelphia.) We again
expressed surprise at finding this village so much larger than the one
we had left; but the war chief again told us we would see another much
larger than this. I had no idea that the white people had such large
villages, and so many people. They were very kind to us, showed us
all their great public works, their ships and steamboats. We visited
the place where they make money, (the mint) and saw the men engaged at
it. They presented each of us with a number of pieces of the coin as
they fell from the mint, which are very handsome.

I witnessed a militia training in this city, in which were performed a
number of singular military feats. The chiefs and men were all well
dressed, and exhibited quite a warlike appearance. I think our system
of military parade far better than that of the whites, but as I am now
done going to war I will not describe it, or say anything more about
war, or the preparations necessary for it.

We next started for New York, and on our arrival near the wharf, saw a
large collection of people gathered at Castle Garden. We had seen
many wonderful sights in our way--large villages, the great national
road over the mountains, the railroad, steam carriages, ships,
steamboat, and many other things; but we were now about to witness a
sight more surprising than any of these. We were told that a man was
going up in the air in a balloon. We watched with anxiety to see if
this could be true; and to our utter astonishment, saw him ascend in
the air until the eye could no longer perceive him. Our people were
all surprised and one of our young men asked the Prophet if he was
going up to see the Great Spirit?

After the ascension of the balloon, we landed and got into a carriage
to go to the house that had been provided for our reception. We had
proceeded but a short distance before the street was so crowded that
it was impossible for the carriage to pass. The war chief then
directed the coachman to take another street, and stop at a different
house from the one we had intended. On our arrival here we were
waited upon by a number of gentlemen, who seemed much pleased to see
us. We were furnished with good rooms, good provisions, and
everything necessary for our comfort.

The chiefs of this big village, being desirous that all their people
should have an opportunity to see us, fitted up their great council
home for this purpose, where we saw an immense number of people; all
of whom treated us with great friendship, and many with great
generosity. One of their great chiefs, John A. Graham, waited upon us
and made a very pretty talk, which appeared in the village papers, one
of which I now hand you.


"BROTHERS: Open your ears. You are brave men. You have fought like
tigers, but in a bad cause. We have conquered you. We were sorry
last year that you raised the tomahawk against us; but we believe you
did not know us then as you do now. We think, in time to come, you
will be wise, and that we shall be friends forever. You see that we
are a great people, numerous as the flowers of the field, as the
shells on the sea shore, or the fishes in the sea, We put one hand on
the eastern, and at the same time the other on the western ocean. We
all act together. If some time our great men talk long and loud at
our council fires, but shed one drop of white men's blood, our young
warriors, as thick as the stars of the night, will leap aboard of our
great boats, which fly on the waves and over the lakes--swift as the
eagle in the air--then penetrate the woods, make the big guns thunder,
and the whole heavens red with the flames of the dwellings of their
enemies. Brothers, the President has made you a great talk. He has
but one mouth. That one has sounded the sentiments of all the people.
Listen to what he has said to you. Write it on your memories, it is
good, very good.

"Black Hawk, take these jewels, a pair of topaz earrings, beautifully
set in gold, for your wife or daughter, as a token of friendship,
keeping always in mind, that women and children are the favorites of
the Great Spirit. These jewels are from an old man, whose head is
whitened with the snows of seventy winters, an old man who has thrown
down his bow, put off his sword, and now stands leaning on his staff,
waiting the commands of the Great Spirit. Look around you, see all
this mighty people, then go to your homes, open your arms to receive
your families. Tell them to buy the hatchet, to make bright the chain
of friendship, to love the white men, and to live in peace with them,
as long as the rivers run into the sea, and the sun rises and sets.
If you do so, you will be happy. You will then insure the prosperity
of unborn generations of your tribes, who will go hand in hand with
the sons of the white men, and all shall be blessed by the Great
Spirit. Peace and happiness by the blessing of the Great Spirit
attend you. Farewell."

In reply to this fine talk, I said, "Brother: We like your talk. We
like the white people. They are very kind to us. We shall not forget
it. Your council is good. We shall attend to it. Your valuable
present shall go to my squaw. We shall always be friends."

The chiefs were particular in showing us everything that they thought
would be pleasing or gratifying to us. We went with them to Castle
Garden to see the fire-works, which was quite an agreeable
entertainment, but to the whites who witnessed it, less magnificent
than would have been the sight of one of our large prairies when on

We visited all the public buildings and places of amusement, which, to
us, were truly astonishing yet very gratifying.

Everybody treated us with friendship, and many with great liberality.
The squaws presented us many handsome little presents that are said to
be valuable. They were very kind, very good, and very pretty--for

Among the men, who treated us with marked friendship, by the
presentation of many valuable presents, I cannot omit to mention the
name of my old friend Crooks, of the American Fur Company. I have
known him long, and have always found him to be a good chief, one who
gives good advice, and treats our people right. I shall always be
proud to recognize him as a friend, and glad to shake him by the hand.

Being anxious to return to our people, our guide started with us for
our own country. On arriving at Albany, the people were so anxious to
see us, that they crowded the streets and wharfs, where the steamboats
landed, so much, that it was almost impossible for us to pass to the
hotel which had been provided for our reception. We remained here but
a short time, it being a comparatively small village, with only a few
large public buildings. The great council home of the state is
located here, and the big chief (the governor) resides here, in an old
mansion. From here we went to Buffalo, thence to Detroit, where I had
spent many pleasant days, and anticipated, on my arrival, to meet many
of my old friends, but in this I was disappointed. What could be the
cause of this? Are they all dead? Or what has become of them? I did
not see our old father them, who had always given me good advice and
treated me with great friendship.

After leaving Detroit it was but a few days before we landed at
Prairie du Chien. The war chief at the fort treated us very kindly,
as did the people generally. I called on the agent of the
Winnebagoes, (Gen. J. M. Street), to whom I had surrendered myself
after the battle at Bad Axe, who received me very friendly. I told
him that I had left my great medicine bag with his chiefs before I
gave myself up; and now, that I was to enjoy my liberty again, I was
anxious to get it, that I might head it down to my nation unsullied.

He said it was safe; he had heard his chiefs speak of it, and would
get it and send it to me. I hope he will not forget his promise, as
the whites generally do, because I have always heard that he was a
good man, and a good father, and made no promise that he did not

Passing down the Mississippi, I discovered a large collection of
people in the mining country, on the west side of the river, and on
the ground that we had given to our relation, DUBUQUE, a long time
ago. I was surprised at this, As I had understood from our Great
Father that the Mississippi was to be the dividing line between his
red and white children, and he did not wish either to cross it. I was
much pleased with this talk, and I knew it would be much better for
both parties. I have since found the country much settled by the
whites further down, and near to our people, on the west side of the
river. I am very much afraid that in a few years they will begin to
drive and abuse our people, as they have fomerly done. I may not live
to see it, but I feel certain the day is not far distant.

When we arrived at Rock Island, Keokuk and the other chiefs were sent
for. They arrived the next day with a great number of their young
men, and came over to see me. I was pleased to see them, and they all
appeared glad to see me. Among them were some who had lost relations
the year before. When we met, I perceived the tear of sorrow gush
from their eyes at the recollection of their loss, yet they exhibited
a smiling countenance, from the joy they felt at seeing me alive and

The next morning, the war chief, our guide, convened a council at Fort
Armstrong. Keokuk and his party went to the fort; but, in consequence
of the war chief not having called for me to accompany him, I
concluded that I would wait until I was sent for. Conseqently, the
interpreter came and said, "they were ready, and had been waiting for
me to come to the fort." I told him I was ready and would accompany
him. On our arrival there the council commenced. The war chief said
that the object of this council was to deliver me up to Keokuk. He
then read a paper, and directed me to follow Keokuk's advice, and be
governed by his counsel in all things! In this speech he said much
that was mortifying to my feelings, and I made an indignant reply.

I do not know what object the war chief had in making such a speech;
or whether he intended what he said; but I do know that it was
uncalled for, and did not become him. I have addressed many war
chiefs and listened to their speeches with pleasure, but never had my
feelings of pride and honor insulted on any other occasion. But I am
sorry I was so hasty in reply to this chief, because I said that which
I did not intend.

In this council I met my old friend (Col. Wm. Davenport,) whom I had
known about eighteen years. He is a good and brave chief. He always
treated me well, and gave me good advice. He made me a speech on this
occasion, very different from that of the other chief. It sounded
like coming from a brave. He said he had known me a long time, that
we had been good friends during that acquaintance, and, although he
had fought against my braves, in our late war, he still extended the
hand of friendship to me, and hoped that I was now satisfied, from
what I had seen in my travels, that it was folly to think of going to
war against the whites, and would ever remain at peace. He said he
would be glad to see me at all times, and on all occasions would be
happy to give me good advice.

If our Great Father were to make such men our agents he would much
better subserve the interests of our people, as well as his own, than
in any other way. The war chiefs all know our people, and are
respected by them. If the war chiefs at the different military posts
on the frontier were made agents, they could always prevent
difficulties from arising among the Indians and whites; and I have no
doubt, had the war chief above alluded to been our agent, we would
never have had the difficulties with the whites we have had. Our
agents ought always to be braves. I would, therefore, recommend to
our Great Father the propriety of breaking up the present Indian
establishment, and creating a new one, and make the commanding
officers at the different frontier posts the agents of the Government
for the different nations of Indians.

I have a good opinion of the American war chiefs generally with whom I
am acquainted, and my people, who had an opportunity of seeing and
becoming well acquainted with the great war chief (Gen. Winfield
Scott), who made the last treaty with them, in conjunction with the
great chief of Illinois (Governor Reynolds), all tell me that he is
the greatest brave they ever saw, and a good man--one who fulfills his
premises. Our braves spoke more highly of him than of any chief that
had ever been among us, or made treaties with us. Whatever he says
may be depended upon. If he had been our Great Father we never would
have been compelled to join the British in the last war with America,
and I have thought that as our Great Father is changed every few
years, that his children would do well to put this great war chief in
his place, for they cannot find a better chief for a Great Father

I would be glad if the village criers (editors), in all the villages I
passed through, would let their people know my wishes and opinions
about this great war chief.

During my travels my opinions were asked for on different subjects,
but for want of a good interpreter (our regular interpreter having
gone home on a different route), were seldom given. Presuming that
they would be equally acceptable now, I have thought it a part of my
duty to lay the most important before the public.

The subject of colonizing the negroes was introduced and my opinion
asked as to the best method of getting clear of these people. I was
not fully prepared at that time to answer, as I knew but little about
their situation. I have since made many inquiries on the subject, and
find that a number of States admit no slaves, whilst the balance hold
these negroes as slaves, and are anxious, but do not know how to get
clear of them. I will now give my plan, which, when understood, I hope
will be adopted.

Let the free States remove all the male negroes within their limits to
the slave States; then let our Great Father buy all the female negroes
in the slave States between the ages of twelve and twenty, and sell
them to the people of the free States, for a term of years, say those
under fifteen until they are twenty-one, and those of and over
fifteen, for five years, and continue to buy all the females in the slave
States as soon as they arrive at the age of twelve, and take them to
the free States and dispose of them in the same way as the first, and
it will not be long before the country is clear of the black-skins,
about which I am told they have been talking for a long time, and for
which they have expended a large amount of money.

I have no doubt but our Great Father would willingly do his part in
accomplishing this object for his children, as he could not lose much
by it, and would make them all happy. If the free States did not want
them all for servants, we would take the balance in our nation to help
our women make corn.

I have not time now, or is it necessary to enter more into detail
about my travels through the United States. The white people know all
about them, and my people have started to their hunting grounds and I
am anxious to follow them.

Before I take leave of the public, I must contradict the story of some
of the village criers, who, I have been told, accuse me of having
murdered women ad children among the whites. This assertion is false!
I never did, nor have I any knowledge that any of my nation ever
killed a white woman or child. I make this statement of truth to
satisfy the white people among whom I have been traveling, and by whom
I have been treated with great kindness, that, when they shook me by
the hand so cordially, they did not shake the hand that had ever been
raised against any but warriors.

It has always been our custom to receive all strangers that come to
our village or camps in time of peace on terms of friendship, to share
with them the best provisions we have, and give them all the
assistance in our power. If on a journey or lost, to put them on the
right trail, and if in want of moccasins, to supply them. I feel
grateful to the whites for the kind manner they treated me and my
party whilst traveling among them, and from my heart I assure them
that the white man will always be welcome in our village or camps, as
a brother. The tomahawk is buried forever! We will forget what has
passed, and may the watchword between the Americans and he Sacs and
Foxes ever be--FRIENDSHIP.

I am done now. A few more moons and I must follow my fathers to the
shades. May the Great Spirit keep our people and the whites always at
peace, is the sincere wish of


After we had finished his autobiography the interpreter read it over
to him carefully, and explained it thoroughly, so that he might make
any needed corrections, by adding to, or taking from the narrations;
but he did not desire to change it in any material matter. He said,
"It contained nothing but the truth, and that it was his desire that
the white people in the big villages he had visited should know how
badly he had been treated, and the reason that had impelled him to act
as he had done." Arrangements having been completed for moving to
his new home, he left Rock Island on the 10th of October with his
family and a small portion of his band, for his old hunting grounds on
Skunk river, on the west side of the Mississippi river below Shokokon.
Here he had a comfortable dwelling erected, and settled down with the
expectation of making it his permanent home, thus spending the evening
of his days in peace and quietude.

Our next meeting with the Chief was in the Autumn Of 1834 while on our
way to the trading house of Captain William Phelps (now of Lewistown,
Ills.), at Sweet Home, located on the bank of the Des Moines river.
This was soon after the payment of the annuities at Rock Island, where
the chiefs and head men had been assembled and received the money and
divided it among their people by such rule as they saw fit to adopt;
but this mode of distribution had proved very unsatisfactory to a
large number of Indians who felt that they had been sorely wronged.
The Sacs held a convocation at Phelps' trading house soon after our
arrival, and petitioned their Great Father to change the mode of
payment of their annuities. Black Hawk was a leading spirit in this
movement, but thought best not to be present at the meeting. The
writer of this drew up a petition in advance of the assembling of the
meeting, in accordance with the views of the Messrs. Phelps, and after
a short council, in which the Indians generally participated, the
interpreter read and explained to them the petition, which was a
simple prayer to their Great Father, to charge the mode of payment so
that each head of a family should receive and receipt for his
proportion of the annuity. They were all satisfied and the entire
party "touched the goose quill," and their names were thus duly
attached to this important document.

The Secretary of War had long favored this mode of payment of the
annuities to the Indians, and at a meeting of the Cabinet to consider
this petition the prayer of the Indians was granted, and in due time
the Indian department received instructions, so that upon the payment
of 1835 this rule was adopted. On his return from Rock Island, Black
Hawk, with a number of his band, called on his old friend
Wahwashenequa (Hawkeye), Mr. Stephen S. Phelps, to buy their necessary
supplies for making a fall hunt, and to learn at what points trading
houses would be established for the winter trade. During their stay
the old chief had frequent interviews with the writer (his former
amanuensis). He said he had a very comfortable home, a good corn
field, and plenty of game, and had been well treated by the few whites
who had settled in his neighborhood. He spent several days with us
and then left for home with a good winter outfit.

The change in the manner of payment of annuities would have been
opposed by Keokuk and his head men, had they been let into the secret,
as the annuity money when paid over was principally controlled by him,
and always to the detriment of the Sacs' traders who were in
opposition to the American Fur Company, the former having to rely
almost entirely upon the fall and winter trade in furs and peltries to
pay the credits given the Indians before leaving for their hunts.


To Yellow Banks was in the fall of 1836, after the town of Oquawka had
been laid out, and when told that the town had taken the Indian name,
instead of its English interpretation, he was very much gratified, as
he had known it as Oquawka ever since his earliest recollection and
had always made it a stopping place when going out to their winter
camps. He said the Skunk river country was dotted over with Cabins
all the way down to the Des Moines river, and was filling up very fast
by white people. A new village had been started at Shokokon (Flint
Hills) by the whites, and some of its people have already built good
houses, but the greater number are still living in log cabins. They
should have retained its Indian name, Shokokon, as our people have
spent many happy days in this village. Here too, we had our council
house in which the braves of the Sac nation have many times assembled
to listen to my words of counsel. It was situated in a secluded but
romantic spot in the midst of the bluffs, not far from the river, and
on frequent occasions, when it became necessary to send out parties to
make war on the Sioux to redress our grievances, I have assembled my
braves here to give them counsel before starting on he war-path. And
here, too, we have often met when starting out in the fall for our
fall and winter's hunt, to counsel in regard to our several locations
for the winter. In those days the Fur Company had a trading house
here and their only neighbors were the resident Indians of Tama's
town, located a few miles above on the river.

The Burlington _Hawk-Eye_, of a late date, in reference to this
council house, says:

"A little distance above the water works, and further around the turn
of the bluff is a natural amphitheater, formed by the action of the
little stream that for ages has dripped and gurgled down its deep and
narrow channel to the river. It is a straight, clear cut opening in
the hill side, slightly rising till at a distance of seventy-five or
one hundred yards from the face of the bluff it terminates as suddenly
and sharply as do the steeply sloping sides.

"Well back in this grassy retreat, upon a little projection of earth
that elevates it above the surrounding surface, lies a huge granite
boulder. In connection with the surroundings it gives to the place
the appearance of a work of man, everything is so admirably arranged
for a council chamber. Here, it is rumored by tradition, the dusky
warriors of the Sacs gathered to listen in attentive silence to the
words of their leader, Black Hawk, who from his rocky rostrum
addressed the motionless groups that strewed the hill sides;
motionless under his addresses and by them aroused to deeds of
darkness and crafty daring that made the name of their chief a synonym
with all things terrible.

"Whatever of truth this story may contain we cannot say, and it may be
no one knows. Certain it is, however, that Black Hawk's early history
is intimately linked and interwoven with that of our city, and in
justice to a brave man and a soldier, as well as a 'first settler' and

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