Hawk - A famous chief of the Sauk and Fox Indians and leader
in the Black Hawk War of 1832. He was known to his tribesmen as "Black-Big-Chest."
Black Hawk was one of several Indian medicine men who rose to be great
Black Hawk was born in 1767 in the Sauk
village at the mouth of the Rock River in Illinois. At the age of
fifteen he was a warrior and took his first scalp before he was seventeen.
In an early raid on the Cherokee his father, keeper of the tribal medicine,
was killed and Black Hawk did not go to war for five years, spending his
time fitting himself to become a medicine man.
In the war of 1812 the Sauk and Fox split,
Black Hawk and his Sauk followers joining the English, while Keokuk and
his tribe went with the Americans. Despite a treaty made in 1802
providing that the Indians would remove to the side of the Mississippi,
Black Hawk would not go, claiming that his people had been deceived.
This led to trouble, which reached a climax
in the Black Hawk War. Abraham lincoln was a captain in this war.
The Indians were defeated in the summer of 1832 and Black Hawk fled to
the north, but was later captured and confined for a time in a Virginia
prison. After his release he lived in an Indian village on the Des
Moines River, where he died October 3, 1838. his body was buried
Indian fashion on the surface of the gourd. He was dressed in a uniform
given him by General jackson. later the body was stolen and carried
to St. Louis, but subsequently was sent to Quincy, Illinois, where the
bones were made into a skeleton. Black Hawk's son protested, and
the bones were sent to Iowa where they remained in the Burlington Geographical
and historical Society Museum until they were destroyed in 1855 when the
building burned down.
A noble statue of Black Hawk, made by Loredo
Taft, stands today on the east bank of the Rock River at Oregon, Illinois.
With folded arms, the great chief majestically and eternally surveys part
of the domain over which he once ruled.
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