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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

Visit to The Winnebago Prophet

Editor's Note:

The Winnebago Prophet was Ho-Chunk leader White Cloud ("Wabokieshiek"), whose village had been near that of Black Hawk on the Rock River. In 1832 he encouraged and harbored the dispossessed Sauk villagers but failed to join their military campaign. A sketch of him appears at Wisconsin Historical Collections 12:224. He died in 1840 or 1841 among the expatriated Ho-Chunk.


Sept. 1st 1834


At sun about an hour high set out in company with two Indns, one the old man who had so kindly entertained me. After riding a short distance came to a small Winnebago village containing about six lodges. This is the residence of the prophet who dreamed so fatally in 1832 for Black Hawk and his band. Here he lives in obscurity richly merited, and is remembered only for his past misdeeds.


As I approached he came out to met me and shake hands, and when I reminded him of having seen him before he assented with a half suppressed smile, indicating that the recollection of the past was to him unwelcome. There was a peculiarly melancholy air resting upon his countenance and his long beard now turning grey and his blanket thrown over his left shoulder, leaving the right arm and shoulder naked, and covering most of his body, gave him a truly mawkish appearance and his whole demeanor seemed to show that there was lurking in his bosom a mingled feeling of humbled pride and disappointed hope.


The next thing which particularly attracted my attention was a woman dressing some graves newly made in which were buried some children (5 in no.) which had died the week before probably of the dysentary. She was clearing away the grass and putting sticks around in order to secure them from the depredation of wild animals.


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