IOWA'S EARLIEST LIVING RESIDENT.
Capt. Warner L. Clark and his varied experiences - Acquainted with many men of prominence - Has remarkable memory - Pioneer customs - Capt. Clark's home town the first to be platted in Scott county - Description of the pioneer cabin - Indian neighbors - Incidents of Indian life - Why Buffalo fell behind in the race.
(Pictures included with this chapter are: W. L. Clark - Teddy and Carrie, the Cinnamon Bears at Fejervary Park.)
On the morning of a beautiful sunshiny day in the early part of March, 1910, the writer and an expert stenographer reached the quiet little village of Buffalo and upon inquiry, learned the location of Captain Clark's home, which proved to be quite a half mile distant from the depot and commanding a prominent and most desirable position overlooking the "fater of waters." The visitors were early ones, it being but a few minutes past 8 o'clock, yet when ushered into the cottage, which was built in 1845 but is in a splendid state of preservation, they found the old pioneer in his sitting room, ready to receive his callers. Captain Clark was soon in possession of the reason for being called on to entertain strangers and soon the reminiscent muse impelled him to gratify the desire to obtain, at first had, his recollections of the primitive times, scenes and people of this locality. We were told by him that his memory, although almost eighty-eight years had passed over his head, was practically as good as when he was in his prime, and he made the statement an emphatic one when he said he never permitted himself to assert the truth or falsity of a thing unless he knew he was right. His rule of action has probably been that attributed to Davy Crockett - "Be sure you're right, then go ahead." And the kindly, interesting old gentleman opened up his Pandora's box of precious tales of the early days in Scott county and after handing over the copy of an article he had written for another publication, he let his memory carry him hither and yon, first on this subject and then on that, always, let it be understood, keeping in view the main object - the past and its relation to Scott county.
Captain Warner Lewis Clark will be eighty-eight years old in November and is now living on the claim taken up for him by his father seventy-seven years ago. Today he is the oldest living pioneer and settler not only of Scott county but also of the state of Iowa. The relation of early times and events in this locality herein recorded is from the lips and pen of Captain Clark and is of much importance as a part of this work.
From 1847 until 1859, Captain Clark made his home in Davenport, but in the latter year returned to Buffalo, where for the past half century he has resided. Fifty years ago he put on the river a packet line, to connect with the railroad, and during the twelve years he resided in Davenport, his main business was that of steamboating. While retired from active business pursuits, he is still able to keep an eye on whatever concerns his financial affairs. The following incident relates to his remarkable talent for remembering things: He was walking past the Democrat office one day when David N. Richardson (Dick) espied him and called him into the editorial den. "Dick" Richardson, thinking he had the captain on the hip and that the latter would have to step down from his pedestal of infallibility in the correctness of his historic data, opened up on the patriarch by asking him: "Captain, who was the first postmaster of Davenport and of Buffalo?" "Why," immediately answered the captain, "my father was the first postmaster of Buffalo and Antoine LeClaire was the first one of Davenport. I have told you that before." "I must confess to you, Captain Clark," returned the editor, "that in this you are wrong, and it is the first time in our long acquaintance that I have ever found you making a mistake of that kind. Now, to prove to you that you did make a mistake as to these postmasters, here is a letter from the postoffice department in Washington, in which it is stated positively that Duncan C. Eldridge was Davenport's first postmaster and the first in Buffalo to handle the mails was M. N. Bosworth. I am sorry, captain, but you'll have to admit your mistake in this instance," concluded Mr. Richardson. But Captain Clark stood his ground and reinstated himself on his pedestal. He proved to the satisfaction of Editor "Dick" Richardson that notwithstanding the postal officials in Washington had given Eldridge and Bosworth a place in Scott county history, that might have tickled the vanity of those gentlemen and given the postoffice historian at Washington an abnormal assurance of his importance as a collector of statistics, still, he, Captain Clark, knew that Eldridge and Bosworth were not in Scott county for a year or more subsequent to the appointment of his father and Antoine LeClaire. And Mr. Clark was right.
KNEW ANTOINE LECLAIRE
"I knew Antoine LeClaire very well," said Mr. Clark. "When I first met him, a young man, he was then five feet, seven inches in height, and weighed about 175 pounds. He was a compactly, well built man, and filled out later in life until he weighed over 300 pounds. I remember him well as a fiddler, and he was a good one, too! He would often be found at country dances, playing his fiddle to the delight of all in the merry crowd. He was also fond of dancing and was very spry on his feet. He was considered a good dancer and never wanted for a partner. He was a simple-minded man, a good neighbor and kind to everybody. He was clever, but you could not say he was a good business man. Notwithstanding he met with budiness reverses, yet at his death he left a large property to be distributed among the claimants to his estate."
Captain Clark casually remarked that he could talk "Indian" and that when a child he had Indians for his playmates. He knew the noted Chief Keokuk very well, who was also one of his playmates, and a number of years after Keokuk had acquired wealth and joined the Methodist church he invited the chief to attend a meeting of the Scott County Old Settlers' association, which Keokuk accepted but for some reason never put in an appearance. Captain Clark also said: "Father had the first ferry on the Mississippi and the most noted above St. Louis. He established the ferry to reach the mining country in those days. He could have claimed his land in Davenport, below Harrison street, just as well as in Buffalo, but if he had gone to Davenport he would have had the two branches of the Rock river to ferry, as we didn't think of bridging rivers in those days. This (Buffalo) was far the prettier place. We had every advantage here and were ahead in everything.
KNEW STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS
Continuing in a desultory way, Captain Clark told of having lived under every president from James Monroe to William Howard Taft, and that he joined the Old Settlers' association when it was organized in 1858, and had never missed but two or three of its meetings. "I knew quite a good deal of 'Abe' Lincoln, but never met him. Stephen A Douglas I had met on more than one occasion. He was a brilliant man. I have no picture of my father - we didn't know much about pictures in those days - but my old acquaintances said that my father and Douglas were as nearly alike in appearance as two brothers could be. I was running the Jennie Lind, one of my packet boats, and went to Burlington one time when a convention was to be held there. On board my boat en route to the convention were John Wentworth, 'Long John,' of Chicago, Stephen A. Douglas, Congressman Richards from Adams county General Jones and General A. C. Dodge. I took them all down in my boat and they had a rally at Burlington the next night. Here I might add that it was not a common thing to lay over with a steamboat twelve hours to pick up noted men."
WRITTEN BY CAPTAIN W. L. CLARK
Benjamin W. Clark was born in Wyth county, Virginia, and came to Black Hawk's Purchase in June, 1833, where he took up claims and bought others two and one-fourth miles in length on the Mississippi river, above and below where the town of Buffalo is now situated. He built a log cabin at the lower end of W. L. Clark's present property, one near where the Dorman store and postoffice now stands, one at what is now the upper end of town and one on the river bank above where the public highway crosses the Rock Island railroad, on the Dodge farm, all embracing what are now the W. L. Clark, Springmeir, Kautz, Zerker, Erie Dodge, Henry Alford, and the south part of the Harsch, Stickleberger and Dodge farms, or about 2,000 acres. In the spring of 1833 he planted corn, potatoes and a vegetable garden where Buffalo now stands. These were the first crops in the county. His nearest neighbor north, on the river, was at Dubuque, 135 miles. The nearest one south was at Flint Hills, now Burlington (Shacacon, the Indian name), ninety miles distant, and not a house to the Pacific coast.
The spot chosen by him was one of the most beautiful on the great river between St. Louis and St. Paul. Here were low lying hills, set well back from the river and covered with a fine growth of valuable timber, with building stone and coal cropping out of the sides of many of the creeks, fine sulphur springs of clear, delicious, healthful water, and besides all these natural advantages that of being on a direct line between Monmouth, Illinois, forty miles south, and Dubuque by airline seventy-four miles north to the lead mines. The river here had beautiful pebble, rocky shores, and here he established Clark's ferry, which, after emigration set in, became the most noted in the Black Hawk Purchase. It was the only ferry between Burlington and Dubuque; in other words, we were the first. Here it was the first house was built, the first ferry established, the first plowing done, the first crop planted, the first brickyard, the first blacksmith shop, where the mill-irons for the Green grist mill at Rochester, also the irons for the Whittlesy mill, both in Cedar county, were made; the first town between Flint Hill and Dubuque, the first barn, thirty by forty feet, now standing, the first coal mine opened, and the first white child born, David H. Clark, April 21, 1834; the second in schools - for Pleasant Valley was the first there. We were first and foremost in everything else, for we were here first and went to work with a will. The first girl born here was Harriet Mounts (Fridley) on September 2, 1835.
During the winter of 1833-34, Captain Benjamin W. Clark had several men making rails to fence four of his farms on the river.
Having raised a crop of sod corn, in 1834, the manufacture of breadstuff became a vital subject. Wheaten flour was out of the question for daily use. Some means had to be provided for the making of corn meal, and this is the way we did it. We sawed off from a log thirty inches in diameter a piece three and one-half feet long, setting it on one end. With our crude tools we cut and burned out a hollow mortar to hold a peck or more of corn; then with two poles and a prop against a tree (not unlike the old well sweep) we rigged our mill. The end coming straight down had a hole bored in it, a pin driven through leaving an end on each side long enough for a man to take hold of. The lower end forming a pestle had a ring around it an iron wedge driven in. Two men would then take hold and soon pound sufficient meal for the day. These articles were in use in the year 1834. Two years later, 1835-6, Messrs. Davis and Haskel built a little mill on Crow creek, and J. H. Sullivan and H. C. Morehead built a steam mill at Rockingham, which did away with the pestle and mortar and supplied not only the residents of the community but furnished breadstuffs to ship away.
CUSTOMS OF THE PIONEERS
For the first horseshoeing, done early in December, 1833, the writer went a long distance. He rode one horse and led another. The first day he made Monmouth, Illinois, forty miles; the next day, reached Macomb, Illinois, forty miles further; the third day, by noon, twenty miles further; in all, 100 miles to Crooked Creek, where lived and worked one Elijah Bristow, a blacksmith. Bristow himself made all shoes and nails used by him, as all the smiths did at that time. The calks were of cast steel, the hind calks were made square where they joined the shoe, then drawn to a point. The smith must have been an unusually efficient workman, or took extra pains with my horses, since every shoe remained firm until the following spring. On the return trip I procured a wagon and harness and drove back, bringing with me John Bristow, Michael Shelly, William Shelly, Orian Moss and W. H. Gabbert to split rails for my father. Three of these men took up claims and settled near us, one taking the now H. C. Morehead farm, one the now Theodore Kautz farm and one the upper end of the now Miller farm.
BUFFALO FIRST TOWN PLATTED
Buffalo was the first town platted in what is now Scott county, and was laid out in May, 1836, by Captain Benjamin W. Clark, Captain E. A. Mix and Dr. Pillsbury, of Buffalo, New York, and named in honor of the latter place. At the time of laying out it had the widely known Clark ferry which enjoyed the trade of a large extent of territory, being in a direct line with southern Illinois and Dubuque and the lead regions. Here all the first settlers with teams crossed the river into Black Hawk's Purchase, and on their way to Muscatine, Linn, Cedar and all the western portion of Scott county, Buffalo, being situated in a fine timbered section of country with coal creeping out of almost every creek, a flouring mill in process of erection (by Benjamin Nye), good roads to Moscow and Rochester, also to the groves, namely, Center, Hickory, Allen's Big and Little Walnut, Poston's, Red Oak, Stuart Mason, and all the Cedar river valley, the whole western country was brought tributary to Buffalo, which was having a fine trade with all these western settlers.
Davenport was laid out later, also Rockingham, Montevideo, Iowa, Montpelier, Salem, Wyoming, Geneva, and Bloomington, being ten towns in twenty-nine miles, each clamoring for supremacy over the other. This was then Michigan territory; our first delegates met at Detroit. The central position of Buffalo gave us advantages over all the other places, and how it override our natural advantages and give supremacy to some on of the rival towns, was the seemingly untiring object of our rivals. We had the most beautiful locality in the Black Hawk purchase, where the river front was of gravel and stone with a gradual rise for 100 to 300 rods to every gently rising hills; on the second level was most fertile farm land, covered with a heavy growth of timber, white oaks predominating; coal underlying the whole country for many miles; fine springs and creeks with great quantities of limestone and fire clay gives ony a partial description of Buffalo in 1836.
BUFFALO'S FIRST POSTMASTER
The first postmaster of Buffalo was Captain Benjamin W. Clark, in 1836-7. The office was kept in his residence; mail was carried on a line of hacks which ran from Dubuque to Burlington once a week. The contractor was Ansel Briggs, afterward the first governor of Iowa. Postage stamps were not then in use. The postmaster had to collect on each letter, prices varying. Less than three hundred miles the postage was twenty-five cents. No envelopes being in use, there was wrapped around each letter a printed slip containing address and price. To save postage and paper, it was the custom to write both ways on a page. Letters were infrequent and precious. A jubilee occurred when one was received in a family. Often a letter would remain in the office a long time, waiting for the recipient to raise enough money to pay the postage.
A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY
Everywhere near streams forest trees abounded, intermixed with crab-apple and plum trees, vines, berry and hazlenut bushes. Walnut and hickory trees were numerous, also many large pecan trees which yielded hundreds of bushels of nuts, of which the Indians were very found and which they traded or sold to the whites. These latter trees grew mostly upon the islands. The sloughs also produced an abundance of wild rice, which, when gathered by squaws (of course) and properly threshed and cleaned, made a palatable dish for them as well as for the whites. Without doubt many of the large forest trees could now be found growing from the corn hills described in another place. The large elms were utilized by the Indians in this way: the squaws in the springtime would cut through the bark to the wood, above and below, strip it off and use for siding and roofing their summer homes, at the town of Sau-ke-nuk.
The river abounded in fish; we white people would eat only pike, pickerel, bass, salmon, sunfish or, if hard pushed, the bluecat of six or eight pounds. In my younger days it was our custom to cross the Mississippi to Rock river, where we easily caught in a short time all the fish we could use.
A PIONEER CABIN
My readers may wish to know how the pioneer homes or cabins were built. They were of logs cut about sixteen feet in length and of almost even size, then hauled to the number of eight or ten, to a side of the space where the building was to stand. Then the neighbors came to the "house raising," as it was called; four good choppers, with axes, would each take a corner where a log was rolled up, would cut a notch to fit the "saddle" previously cut, then two men would fit the saddle and notch together, continuing this until the walls were high enough; then put the next log in three feet, then another end log, running each in three feet until the ends were topped off; this leaves it ready to cover with clapboards, which are four feet long and made by cutting down a large straight grained tree, sawing in four-foot lengths, then split these logs into "bolts," take the heart out, then with a "frow" and mallet drive them into boards a half inch thick and ten inches wide, laying them on the cross logs above described, breaking joints until a course is laid; over these lay a small log or pole to hold the boars firmly down; continuing this until the roof is completed. These roofs were fairly good for turning rain, but many a time when sleeping in the loft, as the upper floor was called, we would feel the snow blowing between the boards of the roof. We boys would cover our heads and sleep soundly, but in the morning our beds would be covered with snow. The stairs were pins of wood driven into the logs which we ascended through a hole cut in the floor. Talk of hardships - we did not consider them so; it was real fun for the youngsters.
The doors were made of clapboards fastened to a frame with wooded pins. The hinges were made of wood, the latch and fixtures of wood, a strong buckskin string was fastened to the latch, then passed up through a hole in the door, to open which one pulled the string, which was seldom done; hence the saying "the latch string is always out to you." Genuine hospitality was the order of the day. The windows were made by cutting out half of two logs, and putting in small sticks which were covered with oiled paper; this was before glass could be obtained, which was not until as late as 1834 - and about the same time we were able to procure nails, both brought from St. Louis, the nearest shipping point of any importance. The inside finish of these houses was called "chinking and daubing." The chinking was done by driving cordwood sticks in the spaces left by the round of the logs; the daubing was made of clay, wet to proper consistency and put on as nearly like plaster now is as the rough surface would permit. This combination made a house warm in winter and cool in summer. To beautify we whitewashed inside and outside with a pipe clay, such as Indians used to make their pipes; this added greatly to the neatness and beauty of the building. The chimney was an opening of about eight feet wide on one side of the log house, walled part way with stone and mud, then topped out with split sticks like laths, only thicker; these were laid up with mud and thoroughly plastered inside with the mud, using the hands, thus preventing the danger of fire inside. A hearth was laid with stone, if possible, if not, it was filled in with clay well pounded down. All cooking was done in these "fireplaces." The floor was made by hewing one side of small straight grained logs six to eight feet long, hewed with a broad ax as smooth as possible, straight with ax and chalk line, then laid down; this made a very solid floor. No cellars were used. In the place of these we used "root houses," which were made by digging into the side of a bank, covering with poles, then with coarse slough grass, then dirt on top of that, when it was ready for use. We had no matches this early, but later were able to buy Lucifer matches. We started fires with a flint and steel, holding a piece of "punk," a tough kind of rotten wood, or else we rubbed tow (refuse flax) thoroughly with gun power, then primed a flint lock musket and got a flash of powder in the pan, which would ignite the powder and tow, which put to dry hay, would soon be a flame. At night we carefully arranged the fire to keep until morning, by raking together and covering with ashes. It was not uncommon to go half a mile to a neighbor's to "borrow fire."
After establishing a ferry at Buffalo, Captain Clark laid out a road to Dubuque, seventy-four miles due north from Buffalo; also to Monmouth, forty miles due south. He had a man, named John Shook, take a claim on the Wapsie, and sent Wallace and Solomon Pence to establish a ferry on the Maquoketa river. Shook built a little log cabin in the fall of 1834, then came home for supplies, leaving his traps, flour and tobacco in the cabin. After cold weather set in he took his winter supplies and the writer, an energetic, twelve year old boy, went with him, taking two horses and two dogs with our packs. We reached what is now Allen's Grove at night; the creek was frozen over so smooth that the barefooted horses could not cross the ice, so we turned them loose to go back home. I had to arrange for camping while Shook sat down and fell asleep. I found a large red oak tree that had fallen north and south; with the bark taken from the tree, after raking away the snow I soon made a fire on the west side, so the smoke and heat would blow over the log; and then cut the limbs from the little trees that had leaves on to make our beds. Next I broiled some meat over the fire and peeled a large onion, then waked Shook to eat supper. He had but one chew of tobacco (a very much used article in those days), which he took from his mouth, turned his hat upside down and placed the quid upon it while eating. We spread our blankets and I, having one dog at my feet and one at my side, slept nicely in spite of the cold and snow. The next morning we started to make the four miles remaining to the cabin. Shook was anxious for his tabacco. When we reached there the door was open and his first words were: "The Indians have been here and I fear my tabacco is gone," and so it was, as well as the flour, traps and all; but the tobacco was the greatest loss to him. Like any boy, I was glad when he decided that we must go back home; we traped about six miles, and camped for the night, again eating fat broiled meat and frozen onion for supper. The next day we took the fourteen miles throught the snow, over the open prairie, for eleven miles without a horse, until we struck the river. Sometimes Shook would sit down and go quickly and soundly to sleep. I would arouse him, making him believe he had slept a long time. As we reached a place where we could see the river timber, when not blinded by snow, I began to be frightened, knowing people often perished in snow storms. Soon we came to a ravine running toward the timber and I proposed to follow it. Shook consented; it struck other and larger ravines until it became a branch, then a creek, then the river at the upper end of where Montpelier now is situated. We found there a cabin which John Richie had closed while he went to be married to Frances Pace. In the cabin he had left an earthen jar of honey, and as we had eaten nothing for twelve hours, and only broiled pork and frozen onion within forty-eight hours, the thought of that honey was very tempting. I climbed up and opened the clapboard roof, went down inside and with a splinter from the logs took out the honey, which was candied, or hardened, and pushed it through the openings between the logs to Shook, but of course not forgetting myself. We continued until we had eaten all that was safe for us, or in fact, too much for our own good. We then turned up the river for our home, five miles distant, and the only house between there and Dubuque. You may rest assured that my boyish, adventurous spirit was satisfied by that time by that hard, lonely, bitter tramp through unbroken blinding snow. Shortly afterward father sent Shook alone with an outfit for his winter support. It proved a very severe, cold winter; ice on the Mississippi being twenty-four inches thick. One night about four weeks later the door opened and in walked Shook. All were glad to see him, and father asked if he were not frozen; he answered, "No." After eating supper and chatting awhile he showed signs of pain in his feet; people were too hardy for small complainings in those days, and like the Indians, would scorn them; but we could see he was suffering. Upon trying to remove his boots we found them frozen to his feet, so they had to be cut off. The toes on one foot were as hard as ice; in, it was a very bad case. All possible was done by poulticing and such simple remedies as we possessed to relieve him, but without success. I took a sleigh and drove him up to Fort Armstrong to see Dr. Emerson, who was stationed there, but the doctor had gone to St. Louis, so we had to bring Shook back home. We prepared a room in one of the claim cabins, where he lay on his back on the floor for weeks. I went out and hunted for the swelling buds of the linwood tree to use for poultices, which brought the left foot out all right, but the flesh of the toes on the right foot dropped off, leaving the bone exposed. There was no doctor nearer than Galena, Illinois, 107 miles distant (even that was doubtful). My father had a man working for him, named Smith Mounts, who told Snook he could take off the blackened ends of the toes. It was arranged for him to do so. Mount sharpened a carpenter's chisel, and we moved Shook so that the foot would be at the end of a smooth log that formed the fireplace, Shook lying on his back on the floor while we held the foot steady to the timber. Mounts with his sharp chisel and mallet would adjust the chisel, then hit it a strong blow, when the toe would fly off. Poor Shook groaned, but put his foot up again, another blow, another toe off; comtinuing until in due time all were removed. Shook recovered except for a halt in his walk. This, we believe, was the first surgical operation in Scott county, if not in the state - crude, unscientific, without anesthetics, but effective.
The Doctor Emerson, mentioned in the above, was the owner of Dred Scott, a slave whom the doctor brought to Fort Armstrong as a servant, and whom the writer often saw there. This negro brought about the famous "Dred Scott Decision," in the Supreme court of the United States, by Roger B. Taney, who was chief justice. Said decision was the starting point of the Civil war, many years later.
The following the writer personally witnessed: The Indians made a ring half as large as a circus ring by beating down the grass. The crowd assembled, the braves outside, the squaws and papooses inside the ring; the latter carrying switches and sticks. The two culprits (Winnebagoes) were led almost nude, into the ring and turned loose and compelled to run in a circle, the squaws and papooses prodding and switching as they ran, while the warriors sung or chanted "ha-wa-we, ha-wa-we," keeping up a continuous jumping, mostly in a stooping posture. When the prisoners were tired out, an opening was made, a line formed on either side of squaws and papooses with switches, each anxious to administer the hardest blow, and bring blood if possible. After they had run this last gauntlet, they were told that if they were ever again caught stealing horses the certain penalty would be death. This was done under the command of Chief Black Hawk, he being present. At night the entire tribe had a dog feast, the animals having been killed and hung up long enough to be nicely tainted and tender. A squaw will steal a fat puppy rather than anything else on earth. To revert to the whipping; an Indian can be subjected to no greater degradation than to be switched by a squaw, and greatly prefers death by shooting if dealt by a warrior. Hence, this mode of punishment was administered for appropriating their most valued possession, horses.
HIDING WINTER SUPPLIES OF CORN
The Sacs and Foxes, to hide their corn and other food, after selecting a suitable spot, usually among old fallen tree-tops, dug holes, lining them with leaves and dry bush, placed sacks made from linn or basswood bark, holding one and one-half bushels, containing corn and beans, covering the place with brush, then dirt at the top, over all placing brush again to hide the fresh earth from the thieving Winnebagos, and frequently has the writer seen them with long muskrat spears prodding around to strike the soft spot and once saw them find it and carry away its contents in triumph over the absent foe.
TELEPHONING THE NEWS
During the summer of 1828 a company of Sacs and Foxes went in their canoes to where Jackson and Clinton counties were eleven years later laid out, on a summer hunt. A number of their most bitter enemies, the Sioux, killed two of their warriors. The remainder of the party entered their canoes for home. It was a beautiful, clear afternoon, so it happened the trail was well filled with Indians, consequently the new had preceded the returning party. As it had been halloed first down the river before they landed, to the Indians at the trading post, these passed it in the same manner along the island to the fort, then across the slough, next down the trail to the village, all within th espace of a very few minutes. At once about two hundred of the warriors armed themselves, taking their canoes, paddled down the Sinnisippi or Rock river to the Mississippi, up the latter to Rock island (the island, for of course there was no city). These warriors were upon the war path to avenge their fallen comrades. The Sioux had, however, fled toward their own country, so were not caught and punished.
It is difficult for the writer to separate the different parts of his narrative, this section belonging not to the Iowa but to the Rock Island side of his life history. All farm work was done by the squaws. In fact, they did all work including packing the ponies; also, when stopping at night, they cut the poles and made the wiccaups which were just the shape of the upper half of a palm leaf fan. In 1827 there was a brush fence running from the foot of the bluff, south of where the Rock Island station now is (in Rock Island) down to Rock river (Sinnisippi) west of what is now Black Hawk's tower. This fence was built by setting posts in the ground, then lashing poles with withes to these posts and weaving in brush, perhaps four feet high. This was done to keep out the Indian ponies. The ground was dug up with a heavy hoe, worked into large round hills, similar to the southern sweet potato hills, which were planted with corn. beans, potatoes and squashes. The corn was called squaw corn. It had small ears, grains short and flat intermixed with blue and white, soft and easily cooked, a little sweetish to the taste and readily dried. The same hills were used year after year, with little additional work.
Before starting on the winter hunt the Sacs and Foxes would bring their canoes around from the village, which was situated near where Milan now is, paddling down Sinnisippi or Rock river to its mouth, then turn up the Mississippi until they reached the shore near where our family lived, and where the Rock Island railroad bridge now crosses the river. They would place sufficient rock in their canoes to sink and hold them under water until their return in the spring. They marked the spot by sighting from a large boulder or certain tree. The Indians chose this particular place, because in low water, after disposing of their boats, they could readily ford the slough to the government island and Fort Armstrong.
MODE OF BURIAL
For the squaws and papooses, shallowholes were dug, the bodies wrapped in mats made of woven flags or rushes fastened together, with cords made of lint of nettles, then after being covered with earth the graves were surrounded with split or round pickets. The chiefs were set upright, lashed firmly to stakes with their war implements around them; slabs of wood were put in and usually a pole was set up with a flag on it. The braves were well cared for, and in two instances that the writer knows of, a hollow tree was split to form a trough or coffin shape, the remains put in with guns, bows, arrows and other accoutrements. After arranging these the whole was raised several feet from the ground and suspended by strong lassoes made from rawhide, to the limbs of the trees. The flags mentioned above were of red or any other dark shade of cotton cloth, usually calico. The writer has also seen dishes or bowls placed about the graves and containing remnants of food which was supposed to sustain them through the journey to the spirit land.
HOW THE INDIANS WERE SWINDLED BY TRADERS
Bejamin Pike, afterward the first sheriff of Rock Island county, told the writer that while in the employ of the Indian trader who, finding that Phelps, of the lower Yellow Banks (now Oquawka) - a branch of the American Fur Company, was intending to send men up Rock river to where the Indians were on their winter hunt, gave Pike an outfit which consisted of a ten gallon keg of whiskey and little else. When he reached Prophetstown Pike put up his tent for trade, but would not sell anything until night. The Indian custom is that when going into a drunken spree, they set apart a certain number to keep sober, and to these they give in charge the knives, guns and weapons to keep during the carousal. An Indian drunk is a fighting maniac, and will froth at the mouth like a mad dog. When all was ready Pike opened the keg of whiskey, drew a bottle full (all trade was by bottles containing three half pints) exchanged it for a four dollar otter skin. Pike had pails of water in his tent out of which he filled his keg as emptied, still exchanging the watered whiskey for a deer skin or a lot of skins worth several dollars. Pike had also brought a lot of bright tin brooches, costing about ten cents a dozen, also brass rings; one of each of these he traded for a beaver or otter skin to these drunken Indians. Pike's whiskey at first made them all drunk, but by the filling process the water sobered them again, until by morning he had many hundreds of dollars woth of skins while the poor Indians had not a dollar to show and all sober. Was it any wonder that Davenport did not want the white people to come to this country?
WHY BUFFALO FELL BEHIND
When Buffalo was so prosperous, Black Hawk's Purchase had but two counties, Dubuque and Des Moines. The territorial legislature, during the winter of 1837, subdivided the two counties into many others and in the assembly Dr. Eli Reynolds, of Geneva, (four miles above Bloomington, now Muscatine) wanted to make his town as near central as possible, while Alex McGregor, of Davenport, also a member, wanted to kill Buffalo, as we had the most thriving town between Burlington and Dubuque. The two men then joined forces and ran Muscatine county up to its present boundary on the river and McGregor gave Montpelier township to Muscatine county, so as to throw Buffalo near the lower end of Scott county, thus rendering it impossible for Buffalo to become the county seat; and this is the reason Buffalo dropped behind in the race for the seat of government. Had Scott county been extended down to Salem, (now Fairport) Buffalo would have been the county seat and the largest town in Scott county.