The Homes of the Sacs

The Sacs’ house or wigwam was made by setting posts in the ground and siding it with bark. On top of the posts small poles were laid for rafters upon which strips of bark were laid. These wigwams were about eighteen feet wide and from twenty to sixty feet long. West of the Rock River village the Indians cultivated about one thousand acres, raising corn, beans, squashes and melons. The Sacs and Foxes planted their corn in the same hill year after year. They would dig up the hill each year and plant the corn in the middle, cultivating it with a primitive hoe and hoeing it three or four times during a season. These corn hills were quite large, many of them being still visible a few years ago. The farming was done principally by the women assisted by the old men and children. From the years 1780 to about 1820, the traders at Prairie du Chien (See: History of Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin) came to the Sac village for all the corn they used. After the crops were harvested, the Sacs would prepare to leave for their winter hunt. Before going they would dig a round hole in the ground about eighteen inches in diameter. Carefully removing the sod and digging five or six feet they would enlarge it so that it would hold many bushels. These holes they would line with bark and dry grass and then fill up with their grains and vegetables. When full they would re-place the sod and remove all traces of earth, often building a fire over it so that no enemy could find the place and steal the supply they had laid up for the next spring and summer. When this was done the Sacs and Foxes would go off into Iowa and Missouri where they would hunt. In the winter their houses were made by sticking poles in the ground and bending them over so as to form a half circle about twelve feet in diameter. These were covered with rugs woven of grass and with hides.

The Sac and Fox Indians of Illinois 

 

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