Reminiscences of Bureau County : in two parts.
Matson, N.. Princeton, Ill.. Republican Book and Job Office. 1872.

Online Version Transcribed By Nancy Piper


Chapter XXI

Scott's Army Passes Through Bureau County

Page 195-197

On the 8th of July, 1832, Gen. Scott, with about one thousand soldiers of the regular army, arrived at Fort Dearborn, (now Chicago). The two steamboats that brought this army, werwe the first that ever plowed the waves of Lake Michigan, and their arrival at Fort Dearborn, was herald by newspapers throughout the United States. With Scott's army were six companies from Fortress Monroe, who suffered severely from cholera, which broke out among them while on the lakes. Out of four hundred young men, who left the fort in health and vigor, only eighty lived to return again to their old quarters. Among these soldiers who survived the ravages of the cholera, was Lewis Cobb, (now a resident of Wyanet), to whom the writer is indebted for these facts.

Scott's army remained at Fort Dearborn about three weeks, waiting for transportation, and during that time a large portion of the soldiers died with the cholera. With the army was Gen. Twiggs, then a colonel and the rebel Gen. Joe Johnston, at that time a lieutenant, with many other officers who have acquired notoriety in the late rebellion. Among the troops was the noted surgeon, Beaumont, accompanied by his more noted servant, who had a wound in his stomach. This remarkable man, received sometime previous, a gunshot wound, which opened a cavity in his stomach that never healed. Into this cavity the doctor had placed a glass tube, so he could watch the progress of digestion. By experimenting with this man's stomach, it had been ascertained the length of time required to digest different articles of diet, an account of which has been published in different medical works of the day. The soldiers, by way of derision, would frequently inquire of this man how much he would ask for a peep into his stomach.

About the first of August, the army left Fort Dearborn for Rock Island, one hundred and seventy miles distant, and each day, while on the road, some of the soldiers died with the cholera. Accompanying the troops, were many baggage wagons, and a large drove of cattle, for army supplies. There was no road across the country at that time, and the course of the army was shaped by the compass. Not a dwelling of a white man, nor one mark of civilization, was seen on the entire route. Many of the streams and groves had not yet been named, so that the exact route taken by the army is not known.

Greenberry Hall, who lived for a number of years in the town of Dover, said the next spring after the passage of Scott's army, their trail was plainly to be seen between Perkins' and Paw Paw Grove. This being the case, makes it quite probable that the army passed through the northern part of Bureau county, and on this probability we give it a place in our story.


Page 197-199

The Captives Return - Retribution

Soon after the killing of Phillips, the Indians left Bureau, to join Black Hawk's band, which, at that time, was fleeing before Gen. Atkinson's army. While on their way thither, and in the vicinity of Galena, they killed a number of persons, and attacked a block house on Apple river, which contained a few families of miners. After joining Black Hawk's forces, they participated in the battle of Bad Axe, where many of them were killed, and others drowned while attempting to swim the Mississippi river.

When the war was over, many of the Indians returned to Bureau, and among them were the squaw and papooses of Girty. But Girty himself did not return and his fate, at that time, was unknown, but it was generally believed that he was killed in battle.

A few years after the Black Hawk war, the writer, in company with Dad Joe, found a lone Indian in the woods, near where the Dixon road crosses Bureau creek.

This Indian was sitting by a small camp fire, where he had spent the night, his head bowed down, and his blankets wrapped closely around his shoulders. He had a violent cough, was pale and emaciated, evidently in the last stages of consumption. Dad Joe addressed him in the Pottawatamie tongue, but he replied in good English and made to us the following statement. His home, he said, was at Indiantown, where he was then going, and had fought at the battle of Bad Axe, and was there taken prisoner. Having on his person at the time the badge of a chief, caused him to be placed on board of the steamer Warrior, and carried down to Prairie du Chien, where he was confined in the barracks. A few days after his arrival in the fort, while in a drunken spree, he killed one of the guards, and for this offense was sentenced to imprisonment for life. With a ball and chain around his leg, he was for four long years compelled to do the drudgery work of the garrison, but when his health failed, and could be of no further service, he was set at liberty. Here he showed us a silver medal, which he wore on his breast, suspended from his neck by a large buckskin cord. On this medal were engraved the following words: "A Token of Friendship, Lewis Cass, U. S. I. A." For nine years this talisman had been suspended from his neck, and after his death, when his body was partly devoured by wolves, it was found attached to the remains.

In conversation with this Indian, he said that he had a squaw and five papooses living at Indiantown, and was in hopes that his strength would hold out until he reached them; then said he, "I will die contented." Dad Joe told him that no Indians were then living at Indiantown, as they had a short time before gone west of the Mississippi. At this announcement, tears fell from his eyes, and bowing his head between his knees, he repeated a short prayer in his native tongue. After remaining in prayer a few moments, he raised to his feet with a loud groan, while despair was pictured in his emaciated face, he made preparations to continue his journey. His camp kit consisted of two blankets, a small copper kettle, a pot, a gun, a tomahawk, a large knife and a piece of venison. With our assistance, these things were gathered up and placed on his back, while reeling to and fro from weakness, and without saying another word, he continued his journey.

This Indian, as the reader may have already conjectured, was no other than Mike Girty, the outlaw, and the retribution which followed his crimes is one of the most remarkable incidents connected with the early settlement of this county.

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