The Rock River Village

The chief Sac village was located on the north bank of Rock River about two miles from its mouth. It was built about 1730, west of where the Rock Island and Peoria Railway crosses the river, and it extended down along the bank in a straggling form. It was one of the largest Indian towns on the continent, the oldest and longest inhabited, and had a population often as high as three thousand. It was the summer home of the Sacs. Here was located the tribal burying ground, a spot more revered by an Indian than anything else on earth. Here reposed the bones of a century of the Sac warriors, their wives and children, and here each Sac came once each year to commune with his friends and family who had departed to the “happy hunting grounds.” On these occasions all vegetation was removed from the mound and the mourner addressed words of endearment to the dead, inquiring how they fared in the land of spirits, and placed food upon the graves. The Sacs were particular in their demonstrations of grief. They darkened their faces with charcoal, fasted and abstained from the use of vermilion and ornaments of dress. Black Hawk said: “With us it is a custom to visit the graves of our friends and keep them in repair for many years. The mother will go alone to weep over the grave of her child. After he has been successful in war, the brave, with pleasure, visits the grave of his father, and repaints the post that marks where he lies. There is no place like that where the bones of our forefathers lie to go to when in grief. Here, prostrate by the tombs of our forefathers, will the Great Spirit take pity on us.”

The Sac and Fox Indians of Illinois 

 

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