History of the Butterfly, Part 87: Leading up to the War

After the War of 1812, the United States government continued to initiate treaties that promoted continued peace and friendship, (at least that is what they said they were for) but that also affirmed the boundaries of the treaty of 1804.

Armstrong quotes from a manuscript found in the papers of Thomas Forsyth after he had died that went as follows:

“…When the annuities were delivered to the Sauk and Fox Nation of Indians, according to the treaty above referred to (amounting to $1,000 per annum) the Indians always thought they were presents, (as the annuities for the past twenty years was always paid in goods, sent on from Georgetown, District of Columbia, and poor articles of merchandise they were—very often damaged and not suitable for Indians) until I, as their agent, convinced them of the contrary in the summer of 1818.  When the Indians heard that the goods delivered to them were annuities for land sold by them to the United States, they were astonished, and refused to accept the goods, denying that they ever sold the lands, as stated by me, their agent.  The Black Hawk in particular, who was present at the time, made a great noise about this land, and would never receive any part of the annuities from that time forward.  He always denied the authority of Quashquamme and others to sell any part of these lands, and told the Indians not to receive any presents or annuities from any American—otherwise their lands would be claimed at some future day.  As the United States do insist and retain the lands according to the treaty of Nov. 3, 1804, why do they not fulfill their part of that treaty as equity demands?  The Sauk and Fox Nations are allowed, according to this treaty, ‘to live and hunt on the lands ceded, as long as the aforesaid lands belong to the United States.’

In the spring of the year 1827, about twelve or fifteen families of squatters arrived and took possession of the Sauk village, near the mouth of the Rock river.  They immediately commenced destroying the Indian bark boats.  Some were burned, others were torn to pieces; and when the Indians arrived at the village and found fault with the destruction of their property, they were beaten and abused by the squatter.  The Indians made complaint to me as their agent.  I wrote to Gen. Clark, (Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis,) stating to him from time to time what happened, and giving a minute detail of every thing that passed between the whites (squatters) and the Indians. The squatters insisted that the Indians should be removed from their village, saying that as soon as the land was brought into market they (the squatters) would buy it.  It became needless for me to show them the treaty and the right the Indians had to remain on these lands.  They tried every method to annoy the Indians, by shooting their dogs, claiming their horses, complaining that the Indians’ horses broke into their cornfields, selling them whisky for the most trifling articles, contrary to the wishes of the chiefs, particularly, the Black Hawk, who both solicited and threatened them on the subject, but all to no purpose.”

from Armstrong, 1887.
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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in American Indians, Black Hawk, Iowa History, The History of the Butterfly and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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