Black Hawk Celebrates

Black Hawk Celebrates

After Riggs’ boat had gone, Black Hawk’s warriors began to plunder Campbell’s boat. The first thing that the chief did was to knock the head in of several barrels of whiskey, which he termed, “bad medicine” and emptied their contents on the ground. He says, “I next found a box full of small bottles and packages, which appeared to be bad medicine also: such as the medicine men kill the white people with when they get sick, this I threw into the river.” The rest of the plunder, which consisted of guns, clothing, provisions, powder, etc., was loaded into their canoes and taken to the Fox village opposite the lower end of Rock Island, where Davenport now is. Before leaving, the Indians took the scalp from Campbell’s five dead regulars, and as Black Hawk said when he got to the Fox village, “We commenced dancing over the scalps we had taken.” Black Hawk’s opinion of whiskey as a medicine must have changed over night, because he does not complain at the soldiers giving his men whiskey the evening before, yet the next day he thought it “bad medicine.” While Black Hawk and his Indians were dancing over their scalps, several boats passed down the river, among them a large boat, “carrying big guns.” These boats were the “Governor Clark” and the contractor’s and sutler’s barges from Prairie du Chien, which garrison Campbell’s expedition was intending to strengthen, but which had been attacked by the British under Colonel McKay, on the seventeenth, two days previous. Captain Yeizer and his gunboats leaving Prairie du Chien during the afternoon on the first day of the attack and started for St. Louis, leaving Lieutenant Perkins and his command, which consisted of sixty men, together with two women and one child, to hold the fort which surrendered July 19th, after a three day’s siege. Lieutenant Campbell’s boat lay for many years on the north shore of Campbell’s Island, where the State Monument now stands. Benjamin Goble, an old settler often told of seeing the hull imbedded in sand. He says: “Soon after Stephens left, two men named Smith, took possession of his claim, there were two cabins on it, but neither had a floor. The river was low, so that the hull of the barge burned by the Indians at the time of Camp-bell’s defeat in 1812, (a mistake, it was 1814) was plainly visible. The Smiths got the hull ashore, found the planks in a good state of preservation and floored their cabins with them.” This was in 1829. The Stephens whom he mentions was a planter from the south, who located where Walker Station, two miles east of Moline, now is.”


Early Settlements of Rock County 


Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908

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