The Black Hawk War was one of the few wars that took place primarily in
Wisconsin. It is the most important though, because it was the Indians
last stand against the white man in Wisconsin. The Black Hawk War has
been described as shameful butchery, and one of the most shameful
episodes in the white man's dealings with the Indians.
When Black Hawk was kicked off his land by white settlers, he was bitter but left peacefully. He came back after a harsh winter, so he could farm, hunt, and live in peace. The white settlers were still frightened by Black Hawk, even though he just wanted to live in peace. When Black Hawk sent three men out with white flags, Major Tillmen, and his men, who were half drunk at the time, killed the three Sauk Indians because they felt threatened, and didn't understand the Indians language. Black Hawk only had forty men with him, but after a battle with the white men, he was said to have 2,000 blood thirsty warriors.
Chief Keokuk had not opposed the advance of the white men, and Keokuk and his followers eventually moved west of the Mississippi River. Although a four hundred square mile strip surrounding his village was exempted from the 1832 Black Hawk Purchase, he and his people were eventually moved further, to a reservation in Kansas, where Keokuk died in 1848. In 1883 his remains were moved back to the town named after him and a monument by Nellie Walker erected there in 1913.
The Chief Keokuk Statue stands today in Rand Park, Keokuk, Iowa, erected by the Keokuk chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution
This is Keokuk, the Indian leader who sold Black Hawk's land
Many times Black Hawk tied to surrender, but each time they were fired upon because the white men didn't understand them, and felt frightened by them. Black Hawk had no way of communicating with the white men because he didn't talk English. He was captured for a final time in August 1832 and placed in a prison until he signed a peace treaty. Black Hawk was then placed on an Iowa Reservation.
Compiled by: Glenn Welker
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