Black Hawk Forced to Sign the Treaty

Black Hawk Forced to Sign the Treaty

General Gaines on the 27th sent a notice to Black Hawk that if he did not come to Fort Armstrong he would come after him with his army, a few of the Indians appeared but not Black Hawk. Gaines then sent a peremptory order to the chief and in a few days Black Hawk and his chiefs and head men to the number of twenty-eight appeared at Fort Armstrong, and on June 30th, 1831, a new treaty was signed by which the British band of Sacs again agreed to make their homes on the west side of the Mississippi and never to cross such river, except with the consent of the President of the United States or of the Governor of Illinois. Black Hawk signed this treaty and then for the first time ratified, against his will, the treaty of 1804. This treaty was signed by General Gaines and Governor Reynolds for the United States, and by Black Hawk and twenty-seven chiefs and warriors for the Sacs and Foxes. The volunteer army was not satisfied with the result of this campaign and called the treaty a “Corn Treaty” because General Gaines had given to the destitute Indians corn to keep them from starving. The army was disbanded on July 2d, and the men returned to their homes. Not a man was injured or killed, either by accident or by the Indians; nor did any die of disease, and strange to say none ever applied for a pension. This ended the first Black Hawk campaign.

See: Sac and Fox Treaties

For a long time after the signing of this treaty there was considerable discussion and much feeling over the question whether Generals Gaines and Duncan knew that Black Hawk and his Indians had deserted their village on the night of the 19th of June. Thomas Ford, afterwards Governor of Illinois, who was a militia volunteer and marched ahead with the spies, said: “Gaines and Duncan had reason to believe before the commencement of the march from the camp on the Mississippi, that the Indians had departed from their village; that measures had been taken to ascertain the fact before the volunteers crossed to Vandruff’s Island; General Duncan, in company with the advanced guard, ‘following the spies, preceded the main army in crossing, and that this will account for the want of order and confusion in the march of the troops.” When the militia arrived opposite the Sac village the greatest confusion reigned in their midst. George S. Miller, a resident of this county, acted as guide, and when it became known that the Indians were not in the village, General Duncan began to reprimand Miller for not letting him know that the main river was on the north side of Vandruff’s Island. Miller cursed him to his face at the head of his troops for refusing his services as a guide when offered the night before, and also censured him for not giving information which had been offered him, which inclines me to the belief that both Generals Gaines and Duncan knew that the Indians had departed. As witnesses to this treaty we find the names of two Rock Island settlers, Joseph Danforth and Benjamin F. Pike.


Indian Wars 


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

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