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The Black Hawk War

At St. Louis in 1804, future president William Henry Harrison negotiated a treaty with two representatives of the Sauk nation who had come to the city on other business. When it was over, the government believed it had secured the right to open all Sauk lands east of the Mississippi to settlement, for a mere $2,500. Sauk chiefs back home in Illinois and Wisconsin, however, believed that the two negotiators had never possessed the authority to speak for the whole nation and that the treaty was therefore invalid. The Indians continued to inhabit their village of Saukenuk near the mouth... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: A trader relates his family history and personal adventures, 1745-1857.  A trader relates his family history and personal adventures, 1745-1857.
Link to article: Ho-Chunk chief Spoon Decorah looks back over a long life.  Ho-Chunk chief Spoon Decorah looks back over a long life.
Link to article: Indian Versions of Some Early Wisconsin Events  Indian Versions of Some Early Wisconsin Events
Link to article: The Sauk and Fox shortly before the Black Hawk War  The Sauk and Fox shortly before the Black Hawk War
Link to article: A Wisconsin soldier describes the massacre at Bad Axe, 1832  A Wisconsin soldier describes the massacre at Bad Axe, 1832
Link to article: Black Hawk, remembered by those who knew him  Black Hawk, remembered by those who knew him
Link to article: Eastern newspapers report on Black Hawk's 1833 tour  Eastern newspapers report on Black Hawk's 1833 tour
Link to article: Gen. Joseph Street, Indian agent to the Ho-Chunk, Sauk and Fox.  Gen. Joseph Street, Indian agent to the Ho-Chunk, Sauk and Fox.
Link to article: Recollections of a young mother in the Lead Region, 1826-1841  Recollections of a young mother in the Lead Region, 1826-1841
Link to article: The founding of Fort Winnebago and the career of trader Pierre Paquette  The founding of Fort Winnebago and the career of trader Pierre Paquette
Link to article: John Shaw recalls Tomah, Black Hawk, Keokuk, and other Indian leaders.  John Shaw recalls Tomah, Black Hawk, Keokuk, and other Indian leaders.
Link to article: Walking Cloud recounts episodes of the Black Hawk War.  Walking Cloud recounts episodes of the Black Hawk War.
Link to artifacts: A powder horn carried during the Black Hawk War  A powder horn carried during the Black Hawk War
Link to book: A description of the Battle of Bad Axe, 1832  A description of the Battle of Bad Axe, 1832
Link to book: Black Hawk's Route through Wisconsin in 1832  Black Hawk's Route through Wisconsin in 1832
Link to images: Wisconsin's first Territorial Governor, Henry Dodge  Wisconsin's first Territorial Governor, Henry Dodge
Link to images: Portrait of Black Hawk in 1833  Portrait of Black Hawk in 1833
Link to images: Menominee Chief Oshkosh in 1858  Menominee Chief Oshkosh in 1858
Link to images: Prairie du Chien merchant and judge James H. Lockwood, 1856.  Prairie du Chien merchant and judge James H. Lockwood, 1856.
Link to images: View of the Pecatonica battlefield (1857)  View of the Pecatonica battlefield (1857)
Link to images: View of the Bad Axe battleground (1856)  View of the Bad Axe battleground (1856)
Link to images: View of the Wisconsin Heights battlefield (1856)  View of the Wisconsin Heights battlefield (1856)
Link to images: Pictures of the Sauk Indians during the 1830's  Pictures of the Sauk Indians during the 1830's
Link to manuscript: Wisconsin soldiers who served in the Winnebago War (1827)  Wisconsin soldiers who served in the Winnebago War (1827)
Link to manuscript: The new Indian agent describes tensions in the Lead Region in 1827.  The new Indian agent describes tensions in the Lead Region in 1827.
Link to manuscript: A woman describes her fears during the Black Hawk War, 1832  A woman describes her fears during the Black Hawk War, 1832
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin soldier looks back on his role in the hostilities of 1832.  A Wisconsin soldier looks back on his role in the hostilities of 1832.
Link to manuscript: One-Eyed Decorah relates how he helped Black Hawk surrender.  One-Eyed Decorah relates how he helped Black Hawk surrender.
Link to manuscript: Diary of a Visit to the Sauk and Fox after the Black Hawk War  Diary of a Visit to the Sauk and Fox after the Black Hawk War
Link to manuscript: Wisconsin soldiers who served in the Black Hawk War (1832)  Wisconsin soldiers who served in the Black Hawk War (1832)

Primary Sources Available Elsewhere

Link to book: A historical, documentary, and descriptive history of Wisconsin to 1854  A historical, documentary, and descriptive history of Wisconsin to 1854
Link to book: Collected historical documents from the Wisconsin Historical Society  Collected historical documents from the Wisconsin Historical Society
Link to book: An 1823 interview with a Sauk warrior  An 1823 interview with a Sauk warrior
Link to book: Black Hawk's autobiography (electronic text from Project Gutenberg)  Black Hawk's autobiography (electronic text from Project Gutenberg)
Link to book: The Life of Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, or Black Hawk, 1833 (page images)  The Life of Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, or Black Hawk, 1833 (page images)

Related Links

Visit the Web site of the Ho-chunk Nation
Visit the Web site of the Sac and Fox Nation
Discover the standard book about Wisconsin Indians, by Patty Loew
Discover classroom resources available from our Office of School Services
Search our catalogs for materials on this topic that aren't yet available online.
Borrow books about this topic through our interlibrary loan service
Borrow manuscripts about this topic through our Area Research Center network.
Learn about other topics from our new book, Wisconsin History Highlights

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