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Old Indian Trail in Richland Township

There was an old Indian trail from Bradford to Fort Atkinson, running diagonally through Richland Township. This trail was worn down to the depth of about six inches by the constant travel of Indians, and the trail remained distinctly marked until the ground was broken and converted into cultivated fields.

Not far from the residence of Judge Bailey was an oak tree which was used by the Indians as a look-out. They had a place of observation in the top of this tree and reached the place by means of a ladder made of forked sticks. It is noted that the trail referred to followed the level country, avoiding the hills as a measure of safety.

Ref: History of Chickasaw and Howard Co. (1919) Vol 1, Chapter 12, pages 262 and 265. Transcribed by Leonard Granger

Tradition of An Indian Massacre

This gruesome story written by I. A. Sawin, in 1859, relating the tradition of an Indian massacre in this [Deerfield] Township, before the coming of white settlers, will be of interest:

"The southwest quarter of section 3 abounds with the remains of human skeletons, and on the surrounding prairie, for the distance of two miles, they are occasionally found. When the first settlers came upon the ground in 1854, the stench arising from this slaughter ground was yet quite strong. I have not yet been able to obtain a very clear or authentic account of the massacre, by which several hundred human beings must have lost their lives. But the following, obtained at second hand two years ago from a Winnebago Indian is submitted in the hope that inquiry may be stimulated, and more information procured:

"About twelve years ago, or say in 1847, a party of Sioux warriors left their old men, women and children, to the number of three hundred or more here and proceeded to Prairie du Chien. A party of Winnebago warriors found the camp in this unprotected condition and murdered every soul. They then took the road to the Mississippi, and meeting the returning Sioux warriors, settled the affair by paying them fifty ponies as an indemnity.The skeletons, many of which were those of infants, corroborate the main facts of this account; but the time does not agree with the statements of the first settlers, or the well known condition of the skeletons in 1856, many of which were entire at that time. I think the date of the massacre must be later than that given in the above account."

Ref: History of Chickasaw and Howard Counties (1919) Vol. 1, Chapter 13, Page 271.
Transcribed by Leonard Granger


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