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1914 County History
Aboriginal Inhabitants

Who were the first human beings to inhabit the region now included in the State of Iowa? The question is more easily asked than answered. The first white settlements along the Atlantic coast were made early in the seventeenth century. More than a century elapsed after these settlements were established before evidences were discovered to show that the interior had once been peopled by a peculiar race.. These evidences were found in the numerous mounds and earthworks. Says one of the reports of the United States Bureau of Ethnology:"During a period beginning some time after the close of the Ice Age and ending with the coming of the white man — or only a few generations before — the central part of North America was inhabited by a people who had emerged to some extent from the darkness of savagery, had acquired certain domestic arts, and practiced some well-defined lines of industry. The location and boundaries inhabited by them are fairly well marked by the mounds and earthworks they erected."

The center of this ancient civilization — if such it may be called — appears to have been in the present State of Ohio. Iowa may be regarded as its western frontier. From the relics left the people have been given the name of "Mound Builders" by archaeologists. Most of the mounds discovered are conical in shape and when explored generally are found to contain skeletons. They have been designated as burial mounds. Others are in the form of truncated pyramids — that is, square or rectangular at the base and flat on the top. The mounds of this class are usually higher than the burial mounds and are supposed to have been lookouts or signal stations. Here and there are to be seen well-defined lines of earthworks, indicating that they had been used as a means of defense against invading enemies. In a few instances, the discovery of a large mound, surrounded by an embankment, outside of which are a number of smaller mounds, has given rise to the theory that such places were centers of religious worship or sacrifice. Cyrus Thomas, of the United States Bureau of Ethnology, has divided the region inhabited by the Mound Builders into eight districts, in each of which there are certain characteristics not common to the others. These districts are as follows:

i. The Dakotah District, which includes North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the northeastern corner of Iowa. The distinguishing features of this district are the effigy mounds, which are constructed in the form of some bird or animal. They are believed to have represented the totem of a tribe, or some living creature that was an object of veneration. The burial mounds in this district are comparatively small. In some places are mounds with an outline of stone, which is filled in with earth.

2. The Huron-Iroquois District, which embraces the country once inhabited by the Huron and Iroquois Indians. It includes the lower peninsula of Michigan, a strip across Northern Ohio, the greater part of New York, and extends northward into Canada. Burial mounds are numerous throughout this district, a few fortifications have been noted, and hut rings, or foundations of ancient dwellings, are plentiful.

3. The Illinois District, embracing the middle and eastern portions of Iowa, Northeastern Missouri, the northern part of Illinois and the western half of Indiana. Along the western side of the Mississippi the burial mounds in this district gradually grow smaller as one travels toward the south. When representatives of the Bureau of Ethnology explored this district they discovered that: "Upon the bluffs near the junction of the Des Moines River with the Mississippi were many circular mounds, most of which have been opened and numerous articles, mostly of intrusive burials, obtained there- from. Several were opened by the bureau agent, but nothing was found in them save decayed human bones, fragments of pottery and stone chips." The mounds thus referred to are in Lee County.

4. The Ohio District, which takes in the eastern half of Indiana, all of Ohio, except the strip above referred to as belonging to the Huron-Iroquois District, and the southwestern part of West Vir- ginia. In this district both the burial mounds and the fortifications are numerous, and the former are larger than the burial grounds found elsewhere, frequently having a diameter of one hundred feet or more and rising to a height of eighty feet. More than ten thousand mounds have been explored in the State of Ohio alone. The Great Serpent, a fortification in the form of a snake, situated on a bluff in Adams County, Ohio, is one of the most perfect specimens of this class of mounds so far discovered, and the Grave Creek Mound, in West Virginia, is one of the greatest lookout or signal station mounds. There are also a number of sacrificial mounds, surrounded by embankments.

5. The Appalachian District, which includes the mountainous regions of Eastern Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Southwestern Virginia and the northern portion of Georgia. Throughout this district have been found abundant evidences that the tribe inhabiting it was different in many respects from the people of the other districts. The mounds are of a different construction, stone graves are numerous, and among the relics discovered are a number of more or less ornamental tobacco pipes and utensils of copper.

6. The Tennessee District, embracing Middle and Western Tennessee, Southern Illinois, nearly all of Kentucky, a strip through the central part of Georgia and a small section of Northern Alabama. Here pottery is plentiful, especially the long-necked water jar. The fortifications of this district are distinguished by covered ways leading to the streams, indicating that they were constructed with a view to withstanding a siege. Several stone images, believed to have been used as idols, have also been found in the mounds of this district.

7. The Arkansas District, including the entire State of Arkansas, part of Northern Louisiana and the southeastern corner of Missouri. Pottery has been found in abundance in this district, hut rings and village sites have been discovered, though the burial mounds are small and few in number.

8. The Gulf District, which, as its name indicates, includes the region along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In this district are a number of fine truncated pyramids, some of them with terraces; skeletons buried in bark coffins have been found; other skeletons have been found in caves, and the entire district is rich in pottery, polished stones, weapons of obsidian, etc.

Who were the Mound Builders? Various authors have written upon the subject and nearly everyone has a theory as to their origin. Some maintain that they first established their civilization in the Ohio Valley, whence they worked their way gradually southward into Mexico and Central America, where the white man found their descendants in the Aztec Indians. Others, with arguments equally as plausible and logical, contend that the Mound Builders originated in the South and migrated northward to the region of the Great Lakes, where their progress was checked by hostile tribes. Practically all the early writers were agreed upon one thing, and that was that the Mound Builders were a very ancient race. The principal reasons for this view were that the Indians had no traditions concerning many of the relics, and upon the mounds and earthworks discovered were trees of several feet diameter, indicating that the works were of great antiquity.

Among the earliest writers on the subject were Squier and Davis, who about the middle of the nineteenth century published a work entitled "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley." Between the years 1845 and 1848 these two investigators opened over two hundred mounds, the description of which was published by the Smithsonian Institution. Following the lead of Squier and Davis, other investigators claimed the Mound Builders, who once inhabited the Ohio and Mississippi valleys at a period more or less remote, were of a different race from the Indians found here by the white man. In more recent years archaeologists, who have made extensive research among the mounds, and those who have given the ancient relics the closest study in connection with the Bureau of Ethnology, are practically a unit in the conclusion that the Mound Builder was nothing more than the ancestor of the Indian.

Early French and Spanish explorers in the southern part of the United States found that among the Natchez Indians the house of the chief was always built upon an artificial mound. Says Margry: "When the chief dies they demolish his cabin and then raise a new mound, on which they build the cabin of the chief who is to replace the one deceased in this dignity, for the chief never lodges in the house of his predecessor."

How long this custom had prevailed no one knows, but it might be the reason for a large number of artificial mounds in the country once inhabited by the Natchez and their ancestors. The Yamasees of Georgia built mounds over those killed in battle, and Charlevoix found among the Canadian tribes earthworks resembling those of the Huron-Iroquois District of Thomas' Division. In the early exploration of the mounds, some surprise was manifested at the presence of charcoal and burnt or baked clay. Subsequent investigations have disclosed the fact that among certain tribes, particularly in the lower Mississippi country, the family hut was built upon an artificial mound, usually of small dimensions. The house was constructed of poles and plastered with mud. Upon the death of the head of the family, the body was buried under the center of the house, which was then burned. This custom, practiced perhaps for many generations, would account for the great number of small mounds, each containing a single skeleton. Again, among some of the southwestern tribes, white men have found pottery very similar in texture and design to that found in some of the ancient mounds. In the light of these discoveries it is not surprising that the Indian ancestry theory has made great headway within the last few years, and that a majority of the leading archaeologists of the country advocate that theory. Says Thomas: "The hope of ultimately solving the great problems is perhaps as lively today as in former years. But with the vast increase of knowledge in recent years, a modification of the hope entertained has taken place."

While much of this general history and description of the Mound Builders is not directly applicable to Lee County, it is hoped that the reader will find it of interest, inasmuch as it throws some light upon the people who formerly inhabited this section of the country and enables one to understand better the character of the mounds found in the county.

Several interesting mounds have been opened and explored in Iowa. In one in Marion County was found a number of pieces of pottery, some of them of graceful outline, and a copper spear head about five inches in length. A large mound in Boone County — oval in form and 90 by no feet at the base — was investigated in 1908. About four thousand pieces of pottery, some of them indicating that the vessels were three feet in diameter, were found in the center of the mound, with a collection of shells, four or five human skulls, a few bones and a large pile of ashes and charcoal. Upon the summit of this mound were two oak trees two feet in diameter. Some years ago Justus M. T. Myers wrote the following concerning the mounds of Lee County: "As far as I know, there are some fifteen or twenty mounds on my father's farm, in Green Bay Township, and several others on adjoining farms, all of which are of oval formation, from two to seven feet in height and from twelve to thirty feet in diameter. I have drifted into some of these mounds and found pieces of flint, pottery, and bones, both human and animal. Some of the bones were burnt or charred, as if the occupants of the country at that period of time cremated their dead, or sacrificed them as burnt offerings. In one of the mounds I found thirty-two human skeletons, that had evidently been left there at the time of sepulture in a sitting position, but had fallen over with the lapse of time, until their heads were drooping down between their legs when I uncovered them. The skeletons were incased in limestone vaults that had been made by setting broad stones on their edges, and covered over with broad, flat stones. Some of these stones would weigh as much as two hundred and fifty or two hundred and seventy-five pounds."

As the nearest known limestone beds are fully a mile and a half from the location of this mound, it would be interesting to know the mode of conveyance used by the Mound Builders in transporting these heavy stones.

Several small mounds have been discovered near Wever, and those farther down the Mississippi have already been mentioned in connection with Thomas' District No. 3. There are also some small mounds in other parts of the county, but none of historic importance.

The Indians

When the first white men came from Europe they found the continent of North America inhabited by a race of copper colored people, to whom they gave the name of Indians. This race was divided into several groups of families, each of which was distinguished by certain physical and linguistic characteristics. In the extreme north were the Eskimo, a tribe that has never played any conspicuous part in history. The great Algonquian family inhabited a large triangle, roughly bounded by a line drawn from the most eastern point of Labrador in a southwesterly direction to the western end of Lake Superior; another line from that point to the Atlantic coast near Cape Hatteras, and the coast line from there to the place of beginning. In the heart of the Algonquian country, along the shores of Lake Ontario, were the Iroquoian tribes — the Senecas, Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas and Cayugas — known as the "Five Nations." South of the Algonquian family, in the southeastern part of the United States, lay the country occupied by the Muskhogean group, the principal tribes of which were the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek and Chickasaw. To the northwest, about the source of the Mississippi River, were the brave and warlike Siouan tribes, while the country farther west was inhabited by the fierce Comanche, Apache and other tribes, closely allied to the Sioux in appearance, habits and dialect.

Among the Algonquian tribes the Illinois — or Illini, as they were at first known — were probably the first tribe to inhabit the region now included in Lee County. In the latter part of the seventeenth century, according to their traditions, they were once a powerful nation, consisting of five subordinate tribes, viz.: The Kaskaskia, Peoria, Tamaroa, Michigani and Cahokia. Besides their country east of the Mississippi, they occupied a large district between that river and the Des Moines, in what is now the southeastern part of Iowa. Here a band of them were met by Marquette and Joliet on their voyage down the Mississippi in 1673. The tribal traditions also relate that they once lived farther eastward, but were driven back by the warlike Iroquois. The Ottawa chief, Pontiac, who led the uprising against the white settlements and posts in 1763, was assassinated by some of the Illini in 1769, whereupon the Sacs and Foxes, allies of Pontiac, declared war against the Illini and in time almost exterminated the tribe.

The Iowa Indians (Sleepy Ones), the tribe from which the state takes its name, were one of the southern Siouan tribes, included by Dorsey with the Otoes and Missouris in his Chiwere group. According to their traditions, they once formed part of the Winnebago nation, with which they lived north of the Great Lakes. On the shores of Lake Michigan they separated from the Winnebago and received the name of "Gray Snow." They were first noticed by white men in 1690, when they were living in the vicinity of Lake Michigan under a chief named Man-haw-gaw. The first stopping place of the tribe, after separating from the Winnebago, was on the Rock River, in Illinois, a short distance above its mouth. School- craft says this tribe migrated no less than fifteen times. In 1700 Le Sueur found some of them near the present town of Red Earth, Minnesota, where they were engaged in tilling the soil, and three- quarters of a century later a small band of them was living near Peoria, Illinois. In 1848 one of the tribe prepared a map showing the movements of the Iowas from the time they settled on the Rock River. The tradition accompanying the map says: "The tribe separated from the Sacs and Foxes and wandered off westward in search of a new home. Crossing the Mississippi River, they turned southward and reached a high bluff near the mouth of the Iowa River. Looking off over the beautiful valley spread out before them, they halted, exclaiming, 'Ioway!' signifying in their language 'This is the place!' "

The territory thus appropriated by the Iowas included the present County of Lee, though the tribe afterward established its head- quarters in what is now Mahaska County, which bears the name of a noted Iowa chief. Lewis and Clark met some of this tribe in their expedition up the Missouri in 1804 and refer to them in the journal as the "Ayouways," though the name is generally written "Iowa" or "Ioway" by historians. The tribe has long since disappeared, but the name remains to designate one of the great states of the Mississippi Valley.

The Sacs and Foxes, the principal Indians in Iowa history, are always spoken of as one people, though originally they were two separate and distinct tribes of the great Algonquian family. Evidence, traditionary and otherwise, shows that the Foxes, in the early part of the seventeenth century, lived on the Atlantic Coast, in the vicinity of Rhode Island. Their Indian name was Mesh-kwa-ke-hug (nearly always written Musquakies), signifying "red earth people. 1 ' The name Fox originated with the French, who called these Indians Reynors. In 1634 Jean Nicollet found some of them near Green Bay, in what is now the State of Wisconsin. Three years later Claude Allouez, a Jesuit missionary, visited a Musquakie village on Wolf River, in Wisconsin, which had a population of about five thousand.

The Sacs — also called Sauks or Saukies — were called the "people of the outlet" and were first encountered by white men in Eastern Michigan, about Saginaw Bay, where they were allied with the Ottawa and Pottawatomi tribes. Subsequently they removed to the neighborhood of Green Bay, Wisconsin. According to Dorsey, the tribe was divided into fourteen gentes, viz. : Trout, Sturgeon, Bass, Great Lynx, Sea, Fox, Wolf, Bear, Potato, Elk, Swan, Grouse, Eagle and Thunder.

In 1712 the Foxes joined in the attack on the French post at Detroit and were defeated with heavy loss. They then located on the Fox River, not far from Green Bay, where Nicollet had found some of the tribe three-quarters of a century before. A few years later the Dutch and English traders operating in Wisconsin and Northern Michigan formed an alliance with the Musquakies for the purpose of driving out the French. As a measure of defense, the French traders enlisted the cooperation of the Ottawa, Pottawatomi, Huron and some minor tribes. In the war which ensued the Musquakies were defeated and found a refuge among the Sacs. De Villiers, a French officer, with a force of French soldiers and Indian allies, marched to the Sac village and demanded the surrender of the refugees. The demand was refused and a battle occurred which lasted for several hours, the Indians finally meeting defeat, but the refugees were not surrendered to the victors.

The Sacs and Foxes then formed an alliance and moved west-ward, but were soon afterward driven from their new territory by the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, allies of the French. About 1780 they crossed the Mississippi near Prairie du Chien and established themselves in Iowa, about where the City of Dubuque now stands. Before that time some of the Sacs had dwelt on the Rock River, in Illinois, where they had a village called Sau-ke-nuk. According to the chief, Black Hawk, this village was established about 1731 . In the early part of the nineteenth century there were about eight thou- sand Sacs and Foxes still living in that locality. In 1788 those who had crossed over into Iowa sold part of their lands to Julien Dubuque, who was the first white man to establish himself permanently in Iowa. When Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike went up the Mississippi in 1805, ne visited the Sac and Fox villages at the mouth of the Rock River and in Northern Iowa.

Although the Sacs and Foxes are commonly regarded as one people, their alliance was more in the nature of a confederacy, each tribe maintaining its identity, though one chief ruled over both. Two of the greatest chiefs in the history of the North American Indians belonged to these allied tribes. They were Black Hawk and Keokuk, both born of Sac parents yet acknowledged chiefs by the Foxes. The former was a warrior and the latter a diplomat.

Black Hawk, whose Indian name was Ma-ka-ta-wi-mesha-ka-ka, was born at the Sac Village on the Rock River in 1767, a son of Py-e-sa, who was a direct descendant of Nan-a-ma-kee (Thunder) , to whom the great medicine bag of the Sac nation was entrusted by the Great Spirit. Black Hawk was trained in the arts of war by his father and established his prowess in battle before he was nineteen years of age. About that time his father was mortally wounded in an encounter with the Cherokees and upon his death the medicine bag passed to the custody of Black Hawk. This medicine bag represented the soul of the Sac nation and had never been disgraced. To prepare himself for preserving it unsullied, Black Hawk took no part in war for five years after the death of his father, praying to the Great Spirit for strength and wisdom to discharge his onerous duty. During that period he would frequently go to the promontory near his home on the Rock River, where he would spend hours in smoking and thinking. This headland has been named "Black Hawk's Watch Tower."

Black Hawk was dissatisfied with the terms of the treaty of 1804, an account of which is given in another chapter, and when the relations between the United States and Great Britain became strained in 1812, the British Government took advantage of his dissatisfaction and secured his cooperation. Colonel Dixon, the English officer in command at Green Bay, sent two large pirogues loaded with goods to the Sac Village on the Rock River, and then went in person to superintend the distribution of the goods among the inhabitants. No better man could have been selected by the British authorities. Dixon was naturally crafty and thoroughly understood the Indian character. When he took the hand of Black Hawk he said: "You will now hold us fast by the hand. Your English father has found that the Americans want to take your country from you and has sent me and my braves to drive them back to their own country."

This speech won Black Hawk, who joined the British and was with the Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, when the latter fell in the Battle of the Thames. The British were defeated in the War of 1812 and the United States proceeded to enforce the provisions of the Treaty of 1804, by ordering the Sacs and Foxes to remove to new territory west of the Mississippi River. While part of the Indians acquiesced, Black Hawk and his followers remained obstinate. Their discontent finally culminated in the "Black Hawk war," an account of which will be found in Chapter IV, in connection with the history of the treaty that led up to it.

At the close of the Black Hawk war the Federal Government recognized Keokuk as the principal chief of the Sacs and Foxes. It is said that when the announcement of this recognition was made in open council, Black Hawk became so angry that he jerked off his loin cloth and slapped Keokuk in the face with it. A writer in one of the reports of the United States Bureau of Ethnology says: "The act of creating Keokuk chief of the Sacs has always been regarded with ridicule by both the Sacs and the Foxes, for the reason that he was not of the ruling clan." After being deposed as chief, Black Hawk retired to the banks of the Des Moines River, near Iowaville, where he passed his declining years in peace. His last public utterance was on July 4, 1838, when he was a guest at a celebration at Fort Madison. In response to the toast: "Our illustrious guest — Black Hawk," he said

"It has pleased the Great Spirit that I am here today. I have eaten with my white friends. It is good. A few summers ago I was fighting you. I may have done wrong. But that is past. Let it be forgotten. Rock River Valley was my beautiful country. I loved my villages, my cornfields and the home of my people. I fought for them. They are now yours. I was once a great warrior. Now I am old and poor. Keokuk has been the cause of my downfall. I have looked upon the Mississippi since I was a child. I love the great river. I have dwelt upon its banks from the time I was an infant.

Chief Keokuk

Chief Keokuk

Photographed from an original daguerreotype. This daguerreotype was procured by a Mr. Rentgen, a commission merchant, who induced Keokuk to sit for the picture in the latter '30s.

I look upon it now and I am sad. I shake hands with you. As it is my wish, I hope we are now friends. I may not see you again. Farewell."

The last words of this speech appear to have been prophetic, as the old chief died on October 3, 1838, at the age of seventy-one years. About a year later it was learned that his bones had been taken from the grave, but they were subsequently recovered through the efforts of Governor Lucas and sent to St. Louis, where they were cleaned and wired together. The skeleton was then returned to the governor's office and Black Hawk's sons were content to let it remain there. It was afterward given to the Burlington Geological and Historical Society and was among the collections that were destroyed by fire in 1855.

Black Hawk has been described as five feet ten inches in height, with broad shoulders and of commanding appearance. As a warrior and chief he had a wide reputation among his own and the neighboring tribes. A writer who knew him says: "He was inflexible in matters relating to right and wrong, and never consulted expediency. He never made war through malice or to gratify a personal grievance, but to protect his people from the encroachments of the white man.  He loved his country and was a patriot."

Keokuk (the Watchful Fox) was born near Rock Island, Illinois, in 1788. It is said that his mother was a French half-breed. He was therefore not a chief by heredity, but arose to that position through his diplomacy. When a young man he was admitted to the Sac Council as a member and subsequently was made the tribal guest keeper. One of his biographers says : "He was ambitious and while always involved in intrigue never exposed himself to his enemies, but cunningly played one faction against the other for his personal advantage."

At the time of the Black Hawk war he was the leader of the peace party and managed to convert a majority of the men of the tribe to his view, leaving Black Hawk with a force entirely too small to hope for success. While the war was in progress some of Keokuk's warriors became dissatisfied with the peace policy and began making preparations to take the field. A war dance was held, in which Keokuk took part, apparently moved with the spirit of discontent that pervaded the tribe. At the conclusion of the dance a council was held to make preparations for war. Keokuk addressed that council as follows:

"Warriors: I am your chief. It is my duty to lead you to war if you are determined to go. But, remember, the United States is a great nation. Unless we conquer them we must perish. I will lead you to war against the white men on one condition. That is we shall first put all our old men, our women and children to death, to save them from a lingering death by starvation, and then resolve that when we cross the Mississippi we will never retreat, but perish among the graves of our fathers, rather than yield to the white men."

This speech checked the warlike sentiment among the Indians and the expedition some of them had been planning was abandoned. It was characteristic of Keokuk's methods in dealing with weighty problems. In the negotiations growing out of the Black Hawk war he played so deftly into the hands of the Government officials that he was declared by the United States to be the head chief of the Sac and Fox allied tribes.

Keokuk was fond of debate, in which he was always cool, deliberate and logical, sometimes growing intense and energetic in his earnestness. In the negotiations at Washington, D. C, he won the regard of the Sacs, Foxes and white men alike, when in a debate he vanquished the Sioux and other northern tribes and established the claim of the Sacs and Foxes to the territory now comprising the State of Iowa. He was a man of far more than ordinary ability, and though he disliked the Foxes he managed to retain his power as chief until after the removal of the Indians to Kansas in 1845. His death occurred in Kansas in the spring of 1848, and there is a rumor that he was poisoned by a member of the tribe, because he was charged with dishonestly appropriating money received from the Government for the Indians. In 1883 his remains were brought to Keokuk, Iowa, and interred in Rand Park. A monument was erected over his grave by the Keokuk Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the inscriptions on this monument practically tell the story of his life. The monument is a handsome bronze statue of the old chief, mounted upon a pedestal of limestone and facing the river. On the east side of the pedestal is a marble slab that was taken from his grave in Kansas, bearing the inscription: "Sacred to the memory of Keokuch a distinguished Sac Chief Born at Rock Island in 1788 Died in April 1848."

On the west side of the pedestal is another marble slab which bears the following inscription: "This monument is erected by popular subscription in memory of the SAC CHIEF, KEOKUK, for whom the city is named. In 1883 ms remains, together with the marble slab on the reverse side of this die, were brought from Franklin County, Kansas, where he died and was buried. His grave was located about three and one-half miles southeast of the Village of Pomona, Franklin County, Kansas, on the S. E. y 4 of the N. W. y A of section 16, township 17, range 18, east of the 6th principal meridian and was covered by the slab above mentioned. His remains with other matter of historical value are deposited in the base of this structure."

The tablets on the north and south sides are of bronze. On the north side the inscription reads as follows:

To the Memory of the Pioneers who entered Iowa by Keokuk the Gate City and either settling in our State or passing farther west travelled over the well-worn road known as the Mormon Trail. With this tablet the Daughters of the American Revolution of Iowa officially open the marking of that early and important Pioneer Highway. They crossed the prairies as of old the Pilgrims crossed the sea; To make the West as they the East The homestead of the free. Erected October, twenty-second Nineteen Hundred and Thirteen."

The inscription on the south tablet is of a historic nature and refers to an incident in the life of Keokuk. It is as follows:

"Keokuk's Speech in 1812 which made him a war chief: 'I have heard with sorrow that you have determined to leave our village and cross the Mississippi, merely because you have been told that the Americans were coming in this direction. Would you leave •our village, desert our homes and fly before an enemy approaches? Would you leave all, even the graves of our fathers, to the mercy of an enemy, without trying to defend them? Give me charge of your warriors and I will defend the village while you sleep.'

"This bronze statue of Keokuk was erected by popular subscription, through the efforts of the Keokuk Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Unveiled October 22, 19 1 3.


Susie Smythe Collier, Chm.
Jane Ewing Blood
Anne B. Davis
Lorene Curtis Diver
Lida Hiller Lapsley
Winona Evans Reeves
Minnie Beardsley Newcomb
Marcia Jenkins Sawyer."

There was one chief of the Sacs and Foxes, who although he never lived in Lee County, is deserving of notice. That was Matanequa, the last war chief of the allied tribes. He was born at Dubuque in 1810 and was a typical Indian, both in intellect and physique. Like Keokuk, he was not a chief by heredity, but won that distinction by his bravery and executive ability. He was one of the five sent out in 1857 to find a place in Iowa for his band. In July of that year he and his four associates purchased eighty acres of land from a Tama County pioneer, to which they removed their men, women and children. From time to time other purchases were made until the band owned about three thousand acres. Matanequa was the last survivor •of the five who selected the location. His death occurred on October 4, 1897, and he was held in such high esteem by the white people of Tama County that many men closed their places of business to attend the funeral. He was known as the "Warwick of the Musquakies," from the fact that while he made chiefs he was never king himself.

Monument to Chief Keokuk
Chief Keokuk Monument in the town of Keokuk

In this chapter the object has been to give the history in brief of the principal tribes that once inhabited Southeastern Iowa, as well as character sketches of their principal chiefs. In another chapter will be found an account of the treaties by which the white man gained possession of the territory.

Source:  History of Lee County, Iowa, by Dr. S. W. Moorhead and Nelson C. Roberts, 1914

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