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Historic Diaries: Rev. Cutting Marsh, 1834

In the summer of 1834, Rev. Cutting Marsh (1800-1873) visited the Sauk and Fox Indians to see whether they wanted a missionary to live among them (they didn't). His daily diary entries show what happened when a pious clergyman with strong opinions encountered Indian elders, riverboat gamblers, drunken traders, greedy politicians, and other frontier characters. It includes transcriptions of two interviews with the great Sauk war chief Black Hawk, in which he discusses the war of 1832 and the composition of his famous autobiography. Click the bold headlines below to read each day's entry and its commentary by Society staff. Use the syndication link on the left to have each day's installment delivered to your Web page.

  • Metoxen's Conversation with Black Hawk
    Oct. 13th [1834] Interview with Mr. Metoxen. Mr. M. stated that on his return from Ke-o-kucks village upon the Iowa he met Black Hawk and his band at a trading house, about 30 m. below Rock Island, and that B....

  • Home Again
    [Fri] Sept. 19th After supper we lay down to rest, although the night was rather cold, still I rested comfortably, until between 3 and 4 o'clock in the A.M. when my company, Majors Rees and Bushnell, arose and prepared some...

  • East from Portage Across the Prairies
    Thurs. [Sept] 18th Rose early in the morn. It was remarkably clear and pleasant, the storm had passed over, the air was much cooler and there was a delightful calm. After a season of devotion I went out and had...

  • Fort Winnebago, Portage
    Wed. [Sept] 17th Rainy most of the day. Passed the time mostly with Dr. McDougall, a very fine man and a christian. Towards night it cleared off and was pleasant. Passed the night at Col. C's....

  • A Trader's Morality
    Tues. [Sept] 16th Early in the morn[ing] set out in company with the mail carrier, a Mr. Smith - a dutchman, and Mr. R., for the Portage. Most of our way was through Prairies, some of them very fine, and...

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