By Juliette Augusta Magill Kinzie

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As I have given throughout the Narrative of the Sauk War the impressions we received from our own observation, or from information furnished us at the time, I think it but justice to Black Hawk and his party to insert, by way of Appendix, the following account, preserved among the manuscript records of the late Thomas Forsyth, Esq., of St. Louis, who, after residing among the Indians many years as a trader, was, until the year 1830, the Agent of the Sauks and Foxes. The manuscript was written in 1832, while Black Hawk and his compatriots were in prison at Jefferson Barracks.

“The United States troops under the command of Major Stoddard arrived here[58] and took possession of this country in the month of February, 1804. In the spring of that year, a white person (a man or boy) was killed in Cuivre Settlement, by a Sauk Indian Some time in the summer following, a party of United States troops were sent up to the Sauk village on Rocky Biver, and a demand made of the Sauk chiefs for the murderer. The Sauk chiefs did not hesitate a moment, but delivered him up to the commander of the troops, who brought him down and delivered him over to the civil authority in this place (St. Louis).

“Some time in the ensuing autumn some Sauk and Fox Indians came to this place, and had a conversation with General Harrison (then Governor of Indiana Territory, and acting Governor of this State, then Territory of Louisiana) on the subject of liberating their relative, then in prison at this place for the above-mentioned murder.

“Quash-quame, a Sauk chief, who was the head man of this party, has repeatedly said, ’Mr. Pierre Chouteau, Sen., came several times to my camp, offering that if I would sell the lands on the east side of the Mississippi River, Governor Harrison would liberate my relation (meaning the Sauk Indian then in prison as above related), to which I at last agreed, and sold the lands from the mouth of the Illinois River up the Mississippi River as high as the mouth of Rocky River (now Rock River), and east to the ridge that divides the waters of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers; but I never sold any more lands.’ Quash-quame also said to Governor Edwards, Governor Clarke, and Mr. Auguste Chouteau, Commissioners appointed to treat with the Chippewas, Ottawas, and Pottowattamies of Illinois River, in the summer of 1816, for lands on the west side of Illinois River,–

“’You white men may put on paper what you please, but again I tell you, I never sold any lands higher up the Mississippi than the mouth of Rocky River.’

“In the treaty first mentioned, the line commences opposite to the mouth of Gasconade River, and running in a direct line to the head-waters of Jefferson[59] River, thence down that river to the Mississippi River–thence up the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Ouisconsin River–thence up that river thirty-six miles–thence in a direct line to a little lake in Fox River of Illinois, down Fox River to Illinois River, down Illinois River to its mouth–thence down the Mississippi River to the mouth of Missouri River–thence up that river to the place of beginning. See treaty dated at St. Louis, 4th November, 1804.

“The Sauk and Fox nations were never consulted, nor had any hand in this treaty, nor knew anything about it. It was made and signed by two Sauk chiefs, one Fox chief and one warrior.

“When the annuities were delivered to the Sauk and Fox nations of Indians, according to the treaty above referred to (amounting to $1000 per annum), the Indians always thought they were presents (as the annuity for the first twenty years was always paid in goods, sent on from Georgetown, District of Columbia, and poor articles of merchandise they were, very often damaged and not suitable for Indians), until I, as their Agent, convinced them of the contrary, in the summer of 1818. When the Indians heard that the goods delivered to them were annuities for land sold by them to the United States, they were astonished, and refused to accept of the goods, denying that they ever sold the lands as stated by me, their Agent. The Black Hawk in particular, who was present at the time, made a great noise about this land, and would never receive any part of the annuities from that time forward. He always denied the authority of Quash-quame and others to sell any part of their lands, and told the Indians not to receive any presents or annuities from any American–otherwise their lands would be claimed at some future day.

“As the United States do insist, and retain the lands according to the treaty of November 4, 1804, why do they not fulfil their part of that treaty as equity demands?

“The Sauk and Fox nations are allowed, according to that treaty, ’to live and hunt on the lands so ceded, as long as the aforesaid lands belong to the United States.’ In the spring of the year 1827, about twelve or fifteen families of squatters arrived and took possession of the Sauk village, near the mouth of the Rocky River. They immediately commenced destroying the Indians’ bark boats. Some were burned, others were torn to pieces, and when the Indians arrived at the village, and found fault with the destruction of their property, they were beaten and abused by the squatters.

“The Indians made complaint to me, as their Agent. I wrote to General Clarke,[60] stating to him from time to time what happened, and giving a minute detail of everything that passed between the whites (squatters) and the Indians.

“The squatters insisted that the Indians should be removed from their village, saying that as soon as the land was brought into market they (the squatters) would buy it all. It became needless for me to show them the treaty, and the right the Indians had to remain on their lands. They tried every method to annoy the Indians, by shooting their dogs, claiming their horses, complaining that the Indians’ horses broke into their corn-fields–selling them whiskey for the most trifling articles, contrary to the wishes and request of the chiefs, particularly the Black Hawk, who both solicited and threatened them on the subject, but all to no purpose.

“The President directed those lands to be sold at the Land Office, in Springfield, Illinois. Accordingly, when the time came that they were to be offered for sale (in the autumn of 1828), there were about twenty families of squatters at, and in the vicinity of, the old Sauk village, most of whom attended the sale, and but one of them could purchase a quarter-section (if we except George Davenport, a trader who resides in Rocky Island). Therefore, all the land not sold, still belonged to the United States, and the Indians had still a right, by treaty, to hunt and live on those lands. This right, however, was not allowed them–they must move off.

“In 1830, the principal chiefs, and others of the Sauk and Fox Indians who resided at the old village, near Rocky River, acquainted me that they would remove to their village on Ihoway River. These chiefs advised me to write to General Clarke, Superintendent of Indian Affairs at this place (St. Louis), to send up a few militia–that the Black Hawk and his followers would then see that everything was in earnest, and they would remove to the west side of the Mississippi, to their own lands.

“The letter, as requested by the chiefs, was written and sent by me to General Clarke, but he did not think proper to answer it–therefore everything remained as formerly, and, as a matter of course, the Black Hawk and his party thought the whole matter of removing from the old village had blown over.

“In the spring of 1831, the Black Hawk and his party were augmented by many Indians from Ihoway River. This augmentation of forces made the Black Hawk very proud, and he supposed nothing would be done about removing him and his party.

“General Gaines visited the Black Hawk and his party this season, with a force of regulars and militia, and compelled them to remove to the west side of the Mississippi River, on their own lands.

“When the Black Hawk and party recrossed to the east side of the Mississippi River in 1832, they numbered three hundred and sixty-eight men. They were hampered with many women and children, and had no intention to make war. When attacked by General Stillman’s detachment, they defended themselves like men; and I would ask, who would not do so, likewise? Thus the war commenced.


“The Indians had been defeated, dispersed, and some of the principal chiefs are now in prison and in chains, at Jefferson Barracks....

“It is very well known, by all who know the Black Hawk, that he has always been considered a friend to the whites. Often has he taken into his lodge the wearied white man, given him good food to eat, and a good blanket to sleep on before the fire. Many a good meal has the Prophetgiven to people travelling past his village, and very many stray horses has he recovered from the Indians and restored to their rightful owners, without asking any recompense whatever....

“What right have we to tell any people, ’You shall not cross the Mississippi River on any pretext whatever’? When the Sauk and Fox Indians wish to cross the Mississippi, to visit their relations among the Pottowattamies of Fox River, Illinois, they are prevented by us, because we have the power!”

I omit the old gentleman’s occasional comments upon the powers that dictated, and the forces which carried on, the warfare of this unhappy summer. There is every reason to believe that had his suggestions been listened to, and had he continued the Agent of the Sauks and Foxes, a sad record might have been spared,–we should assuredly not have been called to chronicle the untimely fate of his successor, the unfortunate M. St. Vrain, who, a comparative stranger to his people, was murdered by them, in their exasperated fury, at Kellogg’s Grove, soon after the commencement of the campaign.


It seems appropriate to notice in this place the subsequent appearance before the public of one of the personages casually mentioned in the foregoing narrative.

In the autumn of 1864 we saw advertised for exhibition at Wood’s Museum, Chicago, “The most remarkable instance of longevity on record–the venerable Joseph Crély, born on the 13th of September, 1726, and having consequently reached, at this date, the age of ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-NINE YEARS!” Sundry particulars followed of his life and history, and, above all, of his recollections.

“Well done for old Crély!” said my husband, when he had gone through the long array. “Come, let us go over to Wood’s Museum and renew our acquaintance with the venerable gentleman.”

I did not need a second invitation, for I was curious to witness the wonders which the whirligig of time had wrought with our old employé.

We chose an early hour for our visit, that we might pay our respects to both him and the granddaughter who had him in charge, unembarrassed by the presence of strangers.

In a large room on the second floor of the building, among cages of birds and animals, some stuffed, others still living, we perceived, seated by a window, a figure clad in bright cashmere dressing-gown and gay tasselled cap, tranquilly smoking a tah-nee-hoo-rah, or long Indian pipe. His form was upright, his face florid, and less changed than might have been expected by the thirty-one years that had elapsed since we had last seen him. He was alone, and my husband addressed him at first in English:–

“Good-morning, M. Crély. Do you remember me?”

He shook his head emphatically. “Je ne comprends pas. Je ne me ressouviens de rien–je suis vieux, vieux–le treize Septembre, mil sept cent vingt-six, je suis né. Non, non,” with a few gentle shakes of the head, “je ne puis rappeler rien–je suis vieux, vieux."[61]

My husband changed his inquiries to the patois which Crély could not feign not to comprehend.

“Where is your granddaughter? I am acquainted with her, and would like to speak with her.”

The old man sprang up with the greatest alacrity, and, running to a door in the wooden partition which cut off a corner of the room and thus furnished an apartment for the ancient phenomenon, he rapped vigorously, and called, in accents quite unlike his former feeble, drawling tones,–

“Thérèse, Thérèse–il y a icite un monsieur qui voudrait vous voir."[62]

The granddaughter presently made her appearance. She looked shyly at my husband from under her brows.

“Do you know me, Thérèse?” he asked.

“Yes, sir. It is Mr. Kinzie.”

“And do you know me also?” I said, approaching. She looked at me and shook her head.

“No, I do not,” she replied.

“What, Thérèse! Have you forgotten Madame John, who taught you to read–you and all the little girls at the Portage?”

“Oh, my heavens, Mrs. Kinzie!–but you have changed so!”

“Yes, Thérèse, I have grown old in all these years; but I have not grown old quite so fast as your grandpapa here.”

There was a flash in her eye that told she felt my meaning. She hung her head without speaking, while the color deepened over her countenance.

“Now,” said I, in French, to the grandfather, “you remember me–”

He interrupted me with a protest, “Non, non–je ne puis rappeler rien–je suis vieux, vieux–le treize Septembre, mil sept cent vingt-six, je suis né à Detroit.”

“And you recollect,” I went on, not heeding his formula, “how I came to the Portage a bride, and lived in the old cabins that the soldiers had occupied–”

“Eh b’an! oui–oui–”

“And how you helped make the garden for me–and how Plante and Manaigre finished the new house so nicely while Monsieur John was away for the silver–and how there was a feast after it was completed–”

“Ah! oui, oui–pour le sûr.”

“And where are all our people now?” I asked, turning to Thérèse. “Louis Frum dit Manaigre–is he living?”

“Oh, Madame Kinzie! You remember that–Manaigre having two names?”

“Yes, Thérèse–I remember everything connected with those old times at the Portage. Who among our people there are living?”

“Only Manaigre is left,” she said.

“Mais, mais, Thérèse,” interposed the old man, “Manaigre’s daughter Geneviève is living.” It was a comfort to find our visit of such miraculous benefit to his memory.

“And the Puans–are any of them left?” I asked.

“Not more than ten or twelve, I think–” Again her grandfather promptly contradicted her:–

“Mais, mais, je compte b’an qu’il y en a quinze ou seize, Thérèse;” and he went quite glibly over the names of such of his red friends as still hovered around their old home in that vicinity.

He was in the full tide of gay reminiscence, touching upon experiences and adventures of long ago, and recalling Indian and half-breed acquaintances of former days, when footsteps approached, and the entrance of eager, curious visitors suddenly reminded him of his appointed rôle. It was marvellous how instantaneously he subsided into the superannuated driveller who was to bear away the bell from Old Parr and all the Emperor Alexander’s far-sought fossils.

“Je suis vieux, vieux–l’an mil sept cent vingt-six–le treize Septembre, à Detroit–- je ne puis rappeler rien.”

Not another phrase could “all the King’s armies, or all the King’s men," have extorted from him.

So we left him to the admiring comments of the new-comers. I think it should be added, in extenuation of what would otherwise seem a gross imposture, that his granddaughter was really ignorant of Crély’s exact age–that he, being ever a gasconading fellow, was quite ready to personate that certain Joseph Crély whose name appears on the baptismal records of the Church in Detroit of the year 1726. He was, moreover, pleased with the idea of being gaily dressed and going on a tour to see the world, and doubtless rejoiced, also, in the prospect of relieving his poor granddaughter of a part of the burden of his maintenance. He was probably at this time about ninety-five years of age. There are those that knew him from 1830, who maintain that his age was a few years less; but I take the estimate of Mr. Kinzie and H.L. Dousman, of Prairie du Chien, who set him down, in 1864, at about the age I have assigned to him.


[Footnote 1: Corn which has been parboiled, shelled from the cob, and dried in the sun.]

[Footnote 2: Literally, crazy oats. It is the French name for the Menomonees.]

[Footnote 3: Le Forgeron, or Blacksmith, a Menomonee chief.]

[Footnote 4: A niece of James Fenimore Cooper.]

[Footnote 5: Master–or, to use the emphatic Yankee term, boss.]

[Footnote 6: Michaud climbed into a plum-tree, to gather plums. The branch broke. Michaud fell! Where is he? He is down on the ground. No, he is up in the tree.]

[Footnote 7: The supposed Dauphin of France.]

[Footnote 8: The site of the town of Nee-nah.]

[Footnote 9: The bark of the red willow, scraped fine, which is preferred by the Indians to tobacco.]

[Footnote 10: General Cass was then Governor of Michigan, and Superintendent of the Northwestern Indians.]

[Footnote 11: In the year 1714.]

[Footnote 12: Father! How do you do?]

[Footnote 13: Only look! what inventions! what wonders!]

[Footnote 14: Between two of these lakes is now situated the town of Madison–the capital of the State of Wisconsin.]

[Footnote 15: I speak, it will be understood, of things as they existed a quarter of a century ago.]

[Footnote 16: It was at this spot that the unfortunate St. Vrain lost his life, during the Sauk war, in 1832.]

[Footnote 17: Probably at what is now Oswego. The name of a portion of the wood is since corrupted into Specie’s Grove.]

[Footnote 18: The honey-bee is not known in the perfectly wild countries of North America. It is ever the pioneer of civilization, and the Indians call it ’the white man’s bird."]

[Footnote 19: It was near this spot that the brother of Mr. Hawley, a Methodist preacher, was killed by the Sauks, in 1832, after having been tortured by them with the most wanton barbarity.]

[Footnote 20: Rivière Aux Plaines was the original French designation, now changed to Desplaines, pronounced as in English.]

[Footnote 21: 1855.]

[Footnote 22: See Frontispiece.]

[Footnote 23: Since called N. State Street (1870).]

[Footnote 24: I can recall a petition that was circulated at the garrison about this period, for “building a brigg over Michigan City." By altering the orthography, it was found to mean, not the stupendous undertaking it would seem to imply, but simply “building a bridge” over at Michigan City,–an accommodation much needed by travellers at that day.]

[Footnote 25: The proper orthography of this word is undoubtedly slough, as it invariably indicates something like that which Christian fell into in flying from the City of Destruction. I spell it, however, as it is pronounced.]

[Footnote 26: A gentleman who visited Chicago at that day, thus speaks of it: “I passed over the ground from the fort to the Point, on horseback. I was up to my stirrups in water the whole distance. I would not have given sixpence an acre for the whole of it."]

[Footnote 27: See Narrative of the Massacre, p. 159.]

[Footnote 28: Mr. Cat.]

[Footnote 29: This Narrative, first published in pamphlet form in 1836, was transferred, with little variation, to Brown’s “History of Illinois,” and to a work called “Western Annals.” It was likewise made, by Major Richardson, the basis of his two tales, “Hardscrabble,” and “Wau-nan-gee."]

[Footnote 30: Burns’s house stood near the spot where the Agency Building, or “Cobweb Castle,” was afterwards erected, at the foot of N. State Street.]

[Footnote 31: This is done by cutting the meat in thin slices, placing it upon a scaffold, and making a fire under it, which dries it and smokes it at the same time.]

[Footnote 32: A trading-establishment–now Ypsilanti.]

[Footnote 33: Captain Wells, when a boy, was stolen, by the Miami Indians, from the family of Hon. Nathaniel Pope, in Kentucky. Although recovered by them, he preferred to return and live among his new friends. He married a Miami woman, and became a chief of the nation. He was the father of the late Mrs. Judge Wolcott, of Maumee, Ohio.]

[Footnote 34: The spot now called Bertrand, then known as Parc aux Vaches, from its having been a favorite “stamping-ground” of the buffalo which then abounded in the country.]

[Footnote 35: The exact spot of this encounter was about where 21st Street crosses Indiana Avenue.]

[Footnote 36: Along the present State Street.]

[Footnote 37: Mrs. Holt is believed to be still living, in the State of Ohio.]

[Footnote 38: Billy Caldwell was a half-breed, and a chief of the nation. In his reply, ’I am a Sau-ga-nash,” or Englishman, he designed to convey, “I am a white man.” Had he said, ’I am a Pottowattamie," it would have been interpreted to mean, “I belong to my nation, and am prepared to go all lengths with them."]

[Footnote 39: Frenchman.]

[Footnote 40: The Pottowattamie chief, so well known to many of the citizens of Chicago, now (1870) residing at the Aux Plaines.]

[Footnote 41: Twenty-two years after this, as I was on a journey to Chicago in the steamer Uncle Sam, a young woman, hearing my name, introduced herself to me, and, raising the hair from her forehead, showed me the mark of the tomahawk which had so nearly been fatal to her.]

[Footnote 42: Although this is the name our mother preserved of her benefactor, it seems evident that this chief was in fact Corn-Planter, a personage well known in the history of the times. There could hardly have been two such prominent chiefs in the same village.]

[Footnote 43: From the French–Tranche, a deep cut.]

[Footnote 44: It is a singular fact that all the martins, of which there were great numbers occupying the little houses constructed for them by the soldiers, were observed to have disappeared from their homes on the morning following the embarkation of the troops. After an absence of five days they returned. They had perhaps taken a fancy to accompany their old friends, but, finding they were not Mother Carey’s chickens, deemed it most prudent to return and reoccupy their old dwellings.]

[Footnote 45: It is now known as Dunkley’s Grove.]

[Footnote 46: How the woods talk!]

[Footnote 47: It will be remembered that these were the arguments used at a period when the Indians possessed most of the broad lands on the Upper Mississippi and its tributaries–when they were still allowed some share of the blessings of life.]

[Footnote 48: The Indians, in relating a story like this, apologize for alluding to a revolting subject. “You will think this unpleasant," they say.]

[Footnote 49: Come in, my daughter.]

[Footnote 50: The Indians sing these words to an air peculiar to themselves.]

[Footnote 51: Three streams or water courses of that region.]

[Footnote 52: See Appendix.]

[Footnote 53: As “the venerable Joseph Crély” has become historic from his claim to have reached the age of one hundred and thirty-nine years, I will state that at this period (1832) he was a hale, hearty man of sixty years or less.]

[Footnote 54: The Indians who had “been at Washington” were very fond of calling their Father thus. Black Wolf’s son would go further, and vociferate “K’hizzie,” to show his familiarity.]

[Footnote 55: Fisher’s Hornpipe.]

[Footnote 56: General Atkinson.]

[Footnote 57: A belt of land termed the Neutral Ground of the different opposing nations.]

[Footnote 58: St. Louis, Mo.]

[Footnote 59: There is no such river in this country, therefore this treaty is null and void–of no effect in law or equity. Such was the opinion of the late Governor Howard. (T.F.)]

[Footnote 60: Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis.]

[Footnote 61: I do not understand. I remember nothing. I am very, very old–the thirteenth of September, 1726, I was born. No, no–I can recollect nothing. I am old, old.]

[Footnote 62: Thérèse, there is a gentleman here who wishes to see you.]


Cover  •  Preface  •  Chapter I. Departure From Detroit  •  Chapter II: Michilimackinac  •  Chapter III: Green Bay  •  Chapter IV: Voyage Up Fox River  •  Chapter V: Winnebago Lake–Miss Four-Legs  •  Chapter VI: Breakfast At Betty More’s  •  Chapter VII: Butte Des Morts–Lake Puckaway  •  Chapter VIII: Fort Winnebago  •  Chapter IX: Housekeeping  •  Chapter X: Indian Payment–Mrs. Washington  •  Chapter XI: Louisa–Day-Kau-Ray On Education  •  Chapter XII: Preparations For a Journey  •  Chapter XIII: Departure From Fort Winnebago  •  Chapter XIV: William S. Hamilton–Kellogg’s Grove  •  Chapter XV: Rock River–Hours of Trouble  •  Chapter XVI: Relief  •  Chapter XVII: Chicago in 1831  •  Chapter XVIII: Massacre At Chicago  •  Chapter XIX: Narrative of the Massacre, Continued  •  Chapter XX: Captivity of J. Kinzie, Sen.–An Amusing Mistake  •  Chapter XXI: A Sermon  •  Chapter XXII: The Captives  •  Chapter XXIII: Second-Sight–Hickory Creek  •  Chapter XXIV: Return to Fort Winnebago  •  Chapter XXV: Return Journey, Continued  •  Chapter XXVI: Four-Legs, the Dandy  •  Chapter XXVII: The Cut-Nose  •  Chapter XXVIII: Indian Customs and Dances  •  Chapter XXIX: Story of the Red Fox  •  Chapter XXX: Story of Shee-Shee-Banze  •  Chapter XXXI: A Visit to Green Bay–Ma-Zhee-Gaw-Gaw Swamp  •  Chapter XXXII: Commencement of the Sauk War  •  Chapter XXXIII: Fleeing From the Indians  •  Chapter XXXIV: Fort Howard–Our Return Home  •  Chapter XXXV: Surrender of Winnebago Prisoners  •  Chapter XXXVI: Escape of the Prisoners  •  Chapter XXXVII: Agathe–Tomah  •  Chapter XXXVIII: Conclusion  •  Appendix  •