Name of the Village Saukenuk

Name of the Village Saukenuk

The old Indian town has by some been called “Saukenuk.” How this name originated is not known. The first to use it was Armstrong in his “Sauks and the Black Hawk War,” published in 1887. Catlin refers to it in 1837 as “Saug-e-nug,” yet none of our pioneer settlers mention it except as the “Sac Village,” or “Black Hawk’s Village.” Judge Spencer in his “Reminiscences,” in speaking of the year 1829, says: “We were here but a few days when two Indians came, the first we had seen. One of them commenced talking in a loud voice in the Indian language of which we could not understand a word. By pointing to the wigwam, saying, `Saukie Wigeop,’ then pointing to the ground saying, `Saukie-Aukie,’ and repeating this many times we understood he claimed the land and the wigwam belonged to the Indians.” Caleb Atwater, who was the commissioner employed by the United States to negotiate with the Indians of the upper Mississippi for the purchase of their mineral lands in 1829, was unable to learn the name of the Sac town whether because it had none or because the Indians did not care to name it, is not known. Major Morrill Marston who was stationed at Ft. Armstrong from August 1819 to June 1821, in a letter dated November 1820, in speaking of the Sac village said they call it Sen-i-se-po Ke-be-sau-Kee (Rock River peninsula). When the Major spoke to one of the chiefs about removing his people west of the Mississippi, the Indian replied, that his people were not willing to leave Ke-be-sau-Kee because their chiefs and friends were buried there.

The Sac and Fox Indians of Illinois 


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

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