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Black HawkBlack 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 chiefs.

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.

Related Information within this Site
[ Burial ][ Keokuk ][ Kickapoo ][ King Philip ][ Medicine Man ]
[ Sauk and Fox ][ Shabonee ][ Winnebago]