« PreviousContinue »
To explain the reason for this treaty, it may not be amiss to look back a little at some matters of diplomacy connected with the natives. Some time between the years 1814 and 1818, (we hare not the documents at band,) some tribe ceded the lead region to the United States. As the real owners refused to be bound by it, Governor EDWARDS, of Illinois, as Indian Agent, was directed to cede it back again. In doing this, he reserved three leagues at Prairie du Chien, together with such otber tracts as the President might select, not in all exceeding five leagues. This is the substance of it as we gather from report, not having time to hunt up the treaty; but under at the War Department allowed locations in tracts of 200 yards square, and if the miner found no mineral within his stakes, he pulled them up and and set them down again at such places, and as often, as be pleased. The effect thus was, that the whites took possession of pretty much the whole mining region. It was in consequence of complaints growing out of this construction of the treaty, that the council was held, and the new boundary agreed upon.
In 1832 the Black Hawk war broke out. The Winnebagoes were professedly friendly, but it was evidently a kind of friendship not to be relied upon in case of a reverse to the whites. To guard against surprise, Mr. B. and bis neighbors built'a block house in a very commanding position on the prairie near the Mounds, called "Blue Mounds Fort.” Into this the following persons withdrew and kept up a regular guard day and night, about three months, to wit: Ebenezer Brigbam, Thomas McCraney, Esau Johnson, John C. Kellogg, Jeremiah Lycan, George Force, Emmerson Green, William Auberry, Jonathan Ferrall, John Sherman, Hugh Bowen, Jacob Keith, Alfred Houghton, --- Houghton, John Dalliy, James Collins, William Cullins, Moses Collins, Harvey Brock and French Lake.
After STILLMAN's defeat in May, the Sauks spread rapidly over northern Illinois, for purposes of massacre and plunder. The murder of the families of Messrs. PETTIGREW, Davis, and part of that of Mr. Hall, in La Salle county, is generally known, and of no far.
ther importance here, than is connected with the givi g up of the two captives, (Miss Halls. *) It seems that the murderers immediately fled northward, following up Rock river a number of miles, and finally put their captives into the hands of the Winnebagoes, it is believed, for safe keeping, for the purpose of securing better terms of peace with the whites. News of the event was expressed to the Mound, and a reward of $2000 offered for the two captives. Word was sent to WHITE Crow, who with his band was encamped somewhere about the First Lake. The result was, that next day the Indians came to the Fort and gave them up--and they were returned to their surviving friends—the reward, doubtless, in the estimation of the Indians, outweighing the obligations of friendship
A day or two after the departure of these captives, WILLIAM AUBERRY was murdered at a spring near Mr. Brigham's present residence, by the Winnebagoes. He was shot from his horse, and such valuables as he had about him were carried off. The assassins escaped punishment.
About twenty days after, George FORCE and EMMERSON GREEN, while out on a scout, were set upon by a party of sixty or seventy Sauk warriors, in view of the fort, and both killed.+ Had the Indians not stopped about half an hour to dance around and mangle the bodies of their victims, the little garrison must have been destroyed, as, owing to a feeling of security, only six were left in the
• The nurrative of these captives is one of the most harrowing incidents of the war. On the 21st of May, 1832, the families of Messrs. Hall and PETTIGREW were assembled at the house of WILLIAN DAVIS, in Indian Creek ettlement. The first intimation they had of danger was the sudden appearance at the gate of some seventy savages, who rushed into the house and butchered all its inmates, me', women, and children, to the number of fifteen--sparing only these two sisters, who were taken captives, and delivered up as above stated. They were well treated. aside from the hardships of their rapid journey. It seems scarcely possible at this day, that such tragedies were enacted in this country only about seventeen years ago.
| AUBREY was killed June 6th, and Force and Green on the 20th of that month. See Smith's Hist. W1s., i. 272, 276.
Block House at the time. The delay enabled them to get ready for a desperate resistance, and the warriors, after capturing the horses of the slain, made off, without daring to assault the fort.
To follow up the events of this war : The army had moved up as far as Fort Atkinson. Getting short of provisions, Col. DODGE, with several companies, was sent to Fort Winnebago for supp ies. On his return, he struck off towards the Rock river rapids, in order, if possible, to get scent of the Indians. He struck on their trail east of the Crawfish, and immediately gave chase. He fol. lowed directly west, crossing the Catfish near where the present bridge stands, on the eastern confines of Madison, thence over the bill, and across the ground now occupied by the capitol and public square. At the head of Fourth Lake he found an encamp. ment they had left not many hours previous. Pushing on some eight or ten miles, they overtook and killed an Indian,* and at the crossing a little below Sauk Prairie, they came up with the main body. A battle immediately took place, in which fifteen Indians and one white man were killed, and numbers on both sides wounded. The battle of Bad Axe and surrender of Black Hawk, soon after closed the war.
In these details we have confined ourselves as nearly as possible to occurrences within the limits of Dane county. Our friend BRIGHAM claims nothing on the score of military service, although taking an active part in the “rough and tumble” of the times. In 1836 the territory of Wisconsin was organized, embracing the present State of Iowa, and the north-west territory. He was
* WILLIAM Forox, one of the garrison who was massacred, had a heavy gold watch, by which the hours of standing guard were regulated. At the time he was killed it was in his pocket, and was taken--his body and limbs being chopped in pieces, and scattered about on the prairie. A short time after the fight at the ferry, Wallis Rowan, who was a trader residing at the head of Fourth Lake, was out on the trail, and picked up five or six Indian suddles, the horses having given out in the retreat. On coming up to the body of this savage, he found the prairie fire had passed over it, consuming his pack and clothing. The watch of Force was found in the ashes, and identified by Mr. Brigham a day or two after. Rowan kept the watch over ten years before finally parting with it.
elected a member of the flrst council--the session being first held at Belmont, and the second one at Burlington, Iowa. The district at that time consisted of the territory embraced in the preBent counties of Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Green, and part of Dane. He was re-elected to the same office in '38, and held four years. The district then consisted of the counties of Dane, Green, Jefferson, Dodge and Sauk. His last election to the legislature, was at the first session under the state constitution--the district being some dozen or sixteen towns.
In the twenty odd years of Mr. B.'s residence in this region, what wonderful changes have passed before him! For several years after his coming, the savages were sole lords of the soil. A large Indian village stood near the mouth of Token Creek; another stood on the ridge between the Second and Third Lake, in plain view of our present location; and their wigwams were scattered all along the streams, the remains of their gardens, &c. being still visible. Then there was not a civilized village in the state, of any considerable size. When the capitol was located here, he was the nearest settler to it-twenty-four miles distant! He stood on this ground before its selection as the seat of government was thought of, and from the enchanting beauty of the spot predicted that a village would be built here. Fort Winnebago was commenced in 1828, under the superintendence of Maj. Twiggs and Col. Harney, and the protection it afforded greatly promoted and extended immigration. The in-rolling flood has now reached 300,000 -hundreds of villages have sprung up-and every thing has changed. From being himself the sole population of Dane, he now counts but one in 16,000. Nothing remains of the Indians but their graves. He has seen a savage people pass off the stage, and a civilized one come upon it—and all with a rapidity which must appear to him like a dream.
We have thus imperfectly sketched some of the incidents in the life of the first settler in Dane, with a brief statement of some of the leading events which have passed in review before him. Although gray hairs cover his head, he still enjoys robust health,
and his straight form and elastic step show that age as bely upon him. We are inclined to attribute bis esemption from the common ills of life to the fact, that he never sought an cive, or sent a hurgry man from his door without food. He tas a large fund of valuable local history, with anecdotes of warg syre” worthy of being preserved for future times. Altogeiber be is a noble specimen of the gentleman of the olden time, with a reputation as favorably as it is widely known. The people of this county without distinction of party, we know will all unite with us in wishing him many years yet of health, prosperity, and happiness.
Madison, Nov. 20, 1849.