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date: 01 March 2021

Black Hawklocked

(1767–03 October 1838)
  • Nancy Oestreich Lurie


Black Hawk (1767–03 October 1838), Sauk war leader, was born at the village of Saukenuk, the present site of Rock Island, Illinois. He grew up hating the American invaders of his homeland, and during the War of 1812 he fought among Tecumseh’s warriors on the British side. However, Black Hawk’s fame rests primarily on the war bearing his name that was carried out during the spring and summer of 1832 in northwestern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin. It ended in a bloody encounter near the confluence of the Bad Axe and Mississippi rivers north of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. The war had its genesis in a treaty signed by a delegation of Sauk and Fox Indians in 1804 at St. Louis. The signers thought the treaty was to establish peace after some settlers had been killed, but it really called for the tribes to cede a vast tract extending from southern Wisconsin through western Illinois and a strip along the Mississippi River in Missouri. The treaty allowed the Indians to occupy the land until it was opened for sale to whites, so the Indians did not realize they had signed away territory until settlers began buying up the land in the 1820s....

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