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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

Arrival at Rock Island

Editor's Note:

Sixty-four miles from Rock Island: perhaps near Illinois' Mississippi Palisades State Park (see previous entry).

Rock Island: This island at the mouth of the Rock River was the natural center of early 19th-c. economic and military life in the Upper Mississippi, since it commanded access to the fertile Rock River Valley in Illinois and Wisconsin, the rich lead region up the Galena, and the Mississippi's fur trade watershed north through Wisconsin and Minnesota. Black Hawk's village of Saukenauk had been located at the mouth of the Rock River nearby. Pictures of Rock Island can be seen on the U.S. Army's site devoted to the history of Fort Armstrong. Map.

The "settlement 25 miles from Rock Island" has not been identified.

Mr. Davenport, U.S. Indian agent: There were three men named Davenport residing at Rock Island at this time (see subsequent entries for the other two). The Indian agent at whose home Marsh stayed the first night was Marmaduke S. Davenport. He was a judge and member of the Illinois Territorial Council who came west to Rock Island as Indian agent during the Black Hawk War, in August of 1832, and died across the river in Iowa in 1852 [Whitney, Black Hawk War, 2:237 & 947].

28th [June 1834]

Sixty-four miles from Rock Island. About half past seven we set out and contrary to our expectations we had a good day for running. About four o'clock we arrived at the commencement of a settlement 25 miles from Rock Island. After taking some little refreshment, we set out with the view of reaching the place and arrived about sunset.

After some time had elapsed we got a lodging place at Mr. Davenport's, the U.S. Indian Agent for the Sacs and Foxes. It was a back-kitchen, having hewed slabs for a floor and greatly infested with pests. Here much fatigued I lay down upon my portable bed, but did not rest very well during the night. Still I felt grateful for so comfortable a resting place, for we had anticipated having to camp out on the bank in a tent.

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