In the spring of 1832, Callaway county was called on by the Governor of Missouri to furnish two companies of mounted riflemen , for the purpose of protecting our northern boundary during the Black Hawk War. The county at that time, contained a population of something over four thousand whites. Fulton was a small village of seven years growth, built up mostly of log cabins, but notwithstanding the sparse population, the citizens turned out with great alacrity and promptly filled up the two companies required.
The Black Hawk War was the most important event that marked
the two decades. After the close of the war of 1815, a
misunderstanding in relations to the stipulations of a treaty
entered into by the contracting chiefs of the Sach and Fox
Indians and the commissioners on the part of the Government,
culminated in open hostilities. Of the cause of the war, however,
I shall have something to say before I close.
When the war become imminent, the settlers along the northern boundaries, near the Des Moines river, owing to their close proximity to the Indians, were apprehensive that hostile and marauding bands would be turned loose on their defenseless settlements to penetrate their peculiar and savage mode of warfare. At an informal meeting of these pioneers, a request was forwarded to Gov. Miller to send troops t protect them from the anticipated invasion. The Governor cheerfully compiling with their request, ordered Captain Mace, of the volunteer rangers, to repair to the frontier and remain until am organization of the militia could be effected. In the meantime, a requisition was made on Gen. Richard Gentry's to raise six companies of mounted riflemen, from the counties of Callaway, Pike and Ralls - two companies each from the first two and one from each of the other. Some time during the month of June, the citizens of Callaway met at Fulton for the purpose of responding to Gen. Gentry's requisition; the officers elected were Captain John Jameson and Patrick Ewing.
The writer of this sketch was a member of Capt. Jameson's company, the subordinate officer of which were Robert Reed, 1st Lieutenant and John Gibson, 2nd Lieutenant, Hawkly Wilkerson, Orderly Sergeant. Maj. Reef had served with distinction in the war of 1812 - 15 and participated in the battle of New Orleans. Lieutenant Gibson was an early pioneer in north central Missouri and had seen service in nearly all the ranging parties in the first settlements in Montgomery and adjoining counties. The other counties embraced in Gen. Gentry's orders, acting promptly, furnishing their full quota. The whole forming a battalion, commanded by Maj. Conyers of Boone county, a very popular and efficient officer. The entire force of 450 men was formed into three divisions, of two companies each, to serve alternately for the term of thirty days, during the continuance of hostilities. The first division was composed of the two companies from Pike and Ralls , commanded , respectfully, by Captains A. B. Chambers and Matson. The second, of one company, from Callaway, Captain Jameson, and one from Boone, Captain David M. Hickman. The first, of the two companies from Callaway and Boone, commanded by Captain Ewing and Kirtley. About the first of June, the first division was ordered to relieve Captain Mace, who had occupied the post since early in April. Situated about twelve miles above the mouth of the Des Moines and Keokuk, Captain Mace had built a very substantial fort, which, in honor of his adopted country, he named Fort Pike. The fort eligibly situated, immediately on the banks of the Des Moines river, protected on the north by the river, while around on wither side was an open space of sufficient extent to prevent an ambuscade within rifle shot. As area of one half acre was enclosed with strong oak pickets, with a log block house in the northeast angle. This was used as a depot for commissary stores.
On the evening of the first of July, 1832, Capt. Jameson's company left Fulton, en route for Fort Pike. We encamped the first night at Miller's Creek, moving on to Columbia the next day, where we arrived about 12 o'clock. Here we remained until having been joined by Capt. D. M. Hickman's company and mustered into the service by the late Gen. Richard Gentry. The expedition left for the frontier, via Palmyra, which at that early period in the history of the State, we found a prosperous village of some 400 inhabitants. Surrounded by a fine body of arable land, its great fertility, had attracted many wealthy families, most from Kentucky, to settle in the vicinity of LaGrange, a short distance from Plmyra, had recently been laid of in lots. when we were there, When we were there, only one cabin gave evidence of a town, and that was in an unfinished condition. A dense growth of timber and underbrush covered the lots on which were subsequently built elegant residences and substantial business houses. Six miles above we passed through Canton; a few log cabins formed the nucleus of the present flourishing town.
On July the 10th, we arrived at the fort. On the following morning, the company of Captains Chambers and Matson took up the line of march for home. No incident worthy of note occurred on our trip. J. S. H.
As an episode in these reminiscences, I will mention a fact in regard to Capt. Jameson. When he was chosen to command the Company, he was one of the Democratic candidates for the Legislature.
The biennial election was to be
held in August, and in accepting the position of a soldier, he
not only risked is own chance of being made a legislator, but
also seriously jeopardized the election of the other candidates
associated with him on the ticket. The two political parties were
pretty equally divided - the predominance being somewhat in favor
of the Democrats. Capt. Jameson's Company was composed in great
part of his political friends - their term of service expiring on
the 10th of august, and as the election was to be held on the
first Monday of that month, which on this occasion was on the
second day, they would necessarily be absent from the polls.
The loss of this vote would be sufficient to turn the
political scales in favor of the Whigs. It was not anticipated
that Capt. Ewing's Company would be called on to proceed to the
frontier until after the election, as they would have ample time
after that event to reach the fort on or before the 10th, but
Governor Miller in his wisdom, came to the rescue of this party.
Capt. Ewing's Company was nearly all Whigs, and just on the eve
of the election they were ordered to march for the frontier,
leaving the political parties about on their original footing, as
to their comparative strength. The Whig candidates up to this
time, had been confident of success, but were now decidedly
chop-fallen. - They vented their spleen upon the Gov. In no
measured terms, accused him in the premature order, of acting in
collusion with some of the leading Democrats. If this was the
case, However, their names never came to the light - The Governor
being made the scapegoat to bear the sins of others, probably
The result was the election of the Democratic candidates, Capt. John Jameson and Judge Peter G. Glover, by a small majority. At the following session of the Legislature, Capt. Jameson was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. As the was came on in the midst of the political canvas and Capt. Jameson was an able and popular debater, his political friends died not look very favorably on the course he saw proper to take in accepting the command of the Company. It will be recollected that the campaign of 1832 was one of great excitement and bitterness. Gen. Jackson's first presidential term was drawing to a close, and both parties were busy in marshaling their forces for the approaching election. The antagonism engendered by the federal contest was accompanied with great personal bitterness, which was fully infused into the local election. At the following session of the Legislature, Capt. Jameson was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. As the was came on in the midst of the political canvas and Capt. Jameson was an able and popular debater, his political friends died not look very favorably on the course he saw proper to take in accepting the command of the Company.
In defense the frontier settlements, Maj. Conyers kept a scouting party constantly on the alert, leaving a force only sufficient to garrison the fort. This plan met with the approbation of the settlers, as it gave a good opportunity to intercept any hostile bands in the vicinity of the settlements. The plan was also popular with the Company. as it relieved them of the dull monotonous routine of camp life. These random trips extended some twenty of thirty miles from the fort, along the tributary streams of the Mississippi and Des Moines river, in the western part of Clark county, and in the northeast part of the present limits of Scotland. The western part of Clark and all of what is now Scotland county was at that time unsettled. It had long been a favorite hunting ground of the Sac and Fox Indians. From this cause, game was comparatively scarce, deer and some elk were found. The buffalo had crossed the Des Moines, but were quite plentiful in the western part of Iowa. The honey bee was found in all this unsettled part of the State - like Palestine is a land flowing with honey - it was not necessary to resort to the method adopted by bee hunters - that of "cousing" them from bait, or from the watering places - to obtain a supply of their rich stores. All that was needed to make and expert hunter, was to find the trees sufficient for bees to lodge in. The Indians, although fond of honey, did not put themselves to much trouble to accrue it. The bee moth was, at that time, not found west of the Missouri river. The prairie affords a profusion of flowers, and along the water courses were the linden, maple, and other honey producing trees, making this a paradise for bees.
Like Alexander Selkirk, the was
"monarch of all he surveyed," but when rumors of war
became rife on the border, unlike him, "rather than dwell in
the midst of alarms," he conducted to reign in another
place; for the better protection of his scalp, he removed to the
vicinity of the fort. Shortly after our return, Rutherford put in
an appearance and was clamorous for pay for the depredations on
his potato patch. He made a very earnest, if not logical appeal
to the officers in his own behalf, in which he recounted the
hardship of making a settlement in the wilderness and his
dependence on his potatoes for bread and on his rifle fro meat.
Maj. Conyer, although willing to repay him fully for the loss he
had sustained, could no forego the pleasure the opportunity
presented to have a little quiet amusement at the settler's
expense. A group of men had collected at head quarters, all
equally anxious for something to turn up. It is said:A little
nonsense now and then, Is relished by the wise men."
This adage is applicable to, and well illustrated in camp
life, the dullness of which is sought to be relievable by every
favorable incident and woe to the unlucky wight who is made the
butt of ridicule, or being less fortunate is placed under the ban
of his comrades.
Maj. Conyer in response to the pioneer reminded him that he
was there for the protection of his person and property, and as a
consideration for these emanate services/ The claimant ought
willingly to contribute something to the comfort and
substentatious of the army and particularly in an emergency like
that which head overtaken us at his potato patch; but the pioneer
was unable to comprehend the force and application of the terse
reasoning. The argument did not weigh a feather in his
estimation. He planted himself on his reserved rights as he
understood them. and was willing to "fight it out on the
line." "Let any man," said he, "or set of men
interfere with my inborn rights, or my plantation ) of the latter
(he held the fee simple title of a squatter,) and my rifle will
settle the dispute."Maj. Conyer was not disposed further to
excite his belligerent propensities and frankly informed him that
he would be fully remunerated for his potatoes. Those
declarations put him in the best possible humor with himself and
the rest of mankind, and after supplying the inner man with a
ration of whiskey he went on his was rejoicing.
Rutherford better known by the sobriquet of Long Tom was a
large athletic man, six feet two inches in height, endowed by
nature as by inclination to grapple with the hardship of frontier
life, and though somewhat irascible and passionate, was kind,
humane, and generous. He was a good representative of a class of
men now nearly extinct, in the Western States, the pioneers of
western civilization. Like Mike Fink and his boatmen when their
occupation ceased with the settlement of the western country, and
did Mike's with the introduction of steam on the Ohio and
Mississippi, they turned their daces toward the setting sun, some
attached themselves to the American Fur Company, others became
allies to Indian tribes, or followed hunting and trapping on
their own account. Their nomadic and exclusive course of life had
unfitted them for the pursuit of civilization. (To Be Continued)
History of the Campaign, Hospitality- Tern of Service - Return Home - Popularity of the Officers - The Old Fort - Early Settlers - The Indian Tribes - Accession Of Territory - Black Hawk Never Gave His Consent, & c.
A predominant trait of character in the border communities was
hospitality, and the stranger was always welcome to the
protection of the homes, and to partake of their plain and
substantial fare, as long as he chose to remain. Hunting and
trapping was their occupation, and it may be noted, as
illustrative of how much men are influenced in their mode of
existence, manners, and conditions, by surrounding circumstances,
and such is the adaptation of human nature that what is practical
from necessity, becomes, by the forces of habit, a pleasure.
These pioneers would not change conditions with any other people.
Free as the wild deer they chase over the prairies and valley,
they know no luxury higher than their favorite pursuit . and sigh
for no distinction but that of excelling in these and their
Our term of service on the frontier expired on the 10th of
August, and being promised relief by Capt. Ewing and Kirtley, we
returned to our respective homes in Callaway and Boone counties.
Captain Jameson returned , as he started with the confidence and
respect of the entire command; and in his social and official
intercourse with his company, he well exemplified suaveter in
mode forte ter in re: To the younger portions of his company,
there being several under twenty-one years of age, he was kind,
constant, and assiduous in his attentions - giving then the
necessary instructions and affording them the protection that
their age and inexperience required. - Capt. Hickman, also, was
deservedly popular. Here, as at home, he was beloved and
respected for the many noble traits which adorned his character.
Before the expiration of the term of Capt. Ewing and Kirtley,
the war had closed, Fort Pike was abandoned and the town of St.
Francisville was laid off and now occupied the site of the old
At the beginning of the war Black Hawk, with a part of the Sac and Fox Indians, resided at the mouth of the Rock river, in Illinois, the largest part, however, had their permanent home on the Iowa river. These two tribes speak the same language and are perfectly consolidated by intermarriage and other ties. They formerly owned the northern part of Illinois and the northwest part of Missouri, above the lands of the Missouri Indians. From the time they were first seen by the early French settlers on the Mississippi they were the steady and sincerely friends of the whites; this friendship was first seriously interrupted in 1832. The early settlers on theborders of their dominion mentioned with feelings of gratitude, the respectful treatment they received while they made their settlements on the lonely frontier, but while they were friendly toward the whites, but few tribes have shown such implacable hatred of the surrounding Indians nations. Several of the neighboring tribes greatly by their indomitable military power. Among these may be mentioned the Missouri and Illinois nations, the latter when first seen by the Jesuits missionaries, two hundred years, ago, was the largest tribes between the Mississippi and the lakes. They were unfortunately situated between the Sac and Foxes, their invertate foes. on the one side, and the Pottawatonies, who were no less hostile, on the other , after being greatly reduced by the former, were entirely destroyed by the latter. The Missouri, after their reduction by this tribe, were nearly destroyed by small-pox. I was informed by Major Nathanial Boone that the remainder of their village could be seen in 1834, situated just below the moth of the Grand river. Their territory extended some distance above their village, thence down the Missouri river to the mouth of the Osage; thence north to the Mississippi. Their extensive domain included the best portion of North Central Missouri. After their removal from the State, they confederated with their descendants the Otocs and are now known by that name.
As mentioned in the beginning of this articles, a treaty had been made between the Sac and Fox Indians and the commissioners representing the United States among the stipulations of this treaty, the most objectionable to the Sac and Fox Indians, was the transfer to the United States Government of the lands above the mouth of the Rock river in Illinois .These green valleys and flowering plains were rendered sacred to them by the legends of the past. They were loath to leave their villages and the burial places of their fathers. The chiefs increased the dissatisfaction of their people by denying the validity of the treaty. A very intelligent Indian trader, residing at the Indian trading post at Keokuk, who had long been familiar with the Sac and Fox Indians, informed Capt. Jameson that Black Hawk had frequently denied to him ever having given his consent to the sale; that the whites had written and the clauses or stipulations in reference to the transfer of their lands, was and interpolations on the part of the commissioners, this however was probably a ruse on the part of the wily chieftain to united his Indians in defense of their homes.
Sac and Fox Indians - Their Numbers at the Commencement of the
War - They are Fast Dwindling - Black Hawk Dies in 1838 - Capt.
Jameson's Company, & c.
The Sac and Fox Indians numbered at the beginning of the war,
twelve thousand four hundred souls, they have been removed from
their late reservation in Kansas, and are now living west of the
Creek ands north of the Seminoes, a small band of three hundred
and thirty eight still remain in Iowa. Their annuities from the
Government affording them a convertible subsistence, they have
made but little progress in education and the mechanical arts;
enfeebled and reduced to a state of dependence by disease; and
the crowding hosts of civilized men, unwilling to adopt the
characters of another race and a preference of assimilation to
the abandonment of their former course of life. They are fast
dwindling to their graves, the tide of civilization has drifted
them to the confines of the great prairies wilderness, which is
destined to be their tomb. the music of its resign winds will be
I saw Black Hawk shortly after the war, he was en route for
the Middle and eastern States, traveling under the protection and
at the expense of the Government. I know not what the object of
the Government was in thus showing him around the circle. But
suppose it was not so much to exhibit him as a trophy of military
prowess, as to show to him the power and resources of the country
against which he had recently raised the tomahawk and scalping
knife, and by their silent but potent argument to convince him of
the futility of any further hostile demonstrations. Black Hawk
was apparently about forty years of age, being in the prime of
original manhood, his features were of the strongly marked Indian
type, he manifested that marked trait in the Indian character, a
stoical indifference to sorrowing phenomenal. He was accompanied
by his son, a good looking Indian, of about twenty years of age.
Shortly after his return to his tribe his health failed, and
after lingering, defected and broken in spirit, he was gathered
to his fathers. He died October 3d, 1838.
Who of Captain Jameson's company that left Fulton forty-three
years ago are now living? In this interval which embraces nearly
half a century, many have gone to that home whence no traveler
returns. In making a comparative estimate, I wills take that the
mess to which the writer was attached contained six members, five
of them were young men under twenty-one years of age, four of the
six have since died, this as a criteria or base upon which to
found an opinion, would indicated a loss of two-thirds of the
company, I am aware that this is not a correct rule, or mode of
arriving at the facts as they exist; but from my personal
knowledge of the surviving members, I believe the estimate will
be found approximately correct. Captain Ewing and Lieutenant F.
G. Nichols are I believe, the only surviving commissioned
officers engaged in the expedition. J. S. H.