Chief Keokuk

The monument to Chief Keokuk, "The Watchful Fox," was erected at Keokuk, Iowa, in 1886. Subsequent to the Black Hawk War, Keokuk removed with his tribe from Iowa to the Territory of Kansas, where he died in 1848. Over his grave was placed a marble slab which marked his place of burial until 1883, when the remains were exhumed and taken to Keokuk and interred in the city park, where a durable monument was erected by public-spirited citizens to designate the final resting-place of the noted chieftain. Later a bronze bust of Keokuk was placed in the marble room of the United States Senate at Washington.

[Excerpt from Monuments Erected by the "White" to Commemorate Famous Chiefs By Will M. Clemens; "New York Tribune Sunday Magazine" for August 27, 1905 Transcribed for Genealogy Trails by Richard Ramos]

The Keokuk Monument

Of the Famous Sac Chieftain

There can be nothing but satisfaction in the minds of any who love our State, her art, her literature and all her influences for culture, in knowing that Iowa has been distinguished by having another of the noted American Indians connected with her history appropriately commemorated in sculpture. The first was the Iowa Mahaska, whose statue by Frye was presented to the city of Oskaloosa by Mr. James D. Edmundson of Des Moines.

Through provisions of the Keokuk Chapter, Iowa Daughters of the American Revolution, there was unveiled on October 22,1913, a statue of Keokuk, modeled by Miss Nellie V. Walker of Chicago, a native Iowa woman. This beautiful bronze piece, upon the site where now rest the bones of the famous Sac chieftain, overlooks the Mississippi river at one of the notable scenic points along that stream.

By a courteous interchange with the Iowa Daughters of the American Revolution, the monument also notes that locality as being the starting point of a most interesting overland travel in the pioneer period of Iowa history. An early allusion to this travel in what is now Appanoose County is found in the notes and map of the Red Rock Survey of 1842 as "Bee hunters trace from the mouth of the Des Moines River". A tablet upon the base of the monument bears this inscription:

To The Memory Of
The Pioneers
Who Entered Iowa By Keokuk

The Gate City
And Either Settling In Our State Or
Passing Farther West
Traveled 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.

Statue by Miss Nellie V. Walker. Erected by Keokuk Chapter D. A. R. The pedestal formerly supported a shaft above the bones of the noted Sac chief. The Statue is located in Rand Park, Keokuk, Iowa

Annals of Iowa, Volume 11, 1915
Submitted by Cathy Danielson

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