The Republican Centennial Edition, Wapello, Louisa County, Iowa
Thursday, July 12, 1956, Section Three, Page 40

Transcribed by Lynn McCleary, July 4, 2019


    The infamous “Blackhawk War” originated on a farm site located in Louisa County. The property, which is located on the site of the extinct town of Florence is owned by Mrs. Ed Austin who has lived in the one remaining house the greater part of her life, having moved into the home as a bride, 54 years ago.

    Mrs. Austin and her husband the late Ed Austin, remodeled the old house before moving in.

    This is the only building, outside of the old warehouse, that is still standing on the location of the extinct town of Florence, Iowa which was just a short distance northwest of Oakville.

    Mrs. Austin stated that the shed showing on the right side of the picture was built by them out of lumber which they salvaged from the old warehouse which they tore down when they purchased this site. She still has the large bell that hung in the tower of the old warehouse.

    A study of the town of Florence has great historical value as this exact location was designated as the principal village of the traitorous half-breed Indian chief, Keokuk, in the treaty of 1832. Also, the great Sauk and Fox Indian chief, Blackhawk, spent much time there when it was an Indian village and it was from this site that all of the loyal followers of Blackhawk rallied at the start of the military farce which was known as the “Blackhawk War” in which the Indians attempted to protect themselves and avenge the great wrongs and ruthless murder of the redmen, their women and children by the “civilized” white men.

    To inspire this murderous drunken spree, the governor of Illinois, Ninian Edwards, formed these frontier rowdies into an army and offered to pay a cash reward for every Indian man, woman, and child murdered by this army. This was the war in which Abraham Lincoln volunteered and was voted a captain by his followers from his own neighborhood. He was later officially made a captain by regular army officers.

    At the conclusion of the Blackhawk war in 1836, the town of Florence was laid out and prospered for the next ten years. After that time it gradually gave way to the more settled towns and today there is nothing to show except the location and the fine old home of Mrs. Austin and it is known only as he “Austin Farm” in the records and its history lies buried deep with the secrets of the past.

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