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Native Americans in Black Hawk County

Page history last edited by tim 5 years, 5 months ago

Native Americans in Black Hawk County


This early Waterloo map prepared by John Hartman, a former publisher of the Waterloo Courier, shows the locations of two old Sauk and Fox villages. Excavations reveal an Upper Village (present Cattle Congress grounds and McElroy Auditorium) and a smaller, Lower Village at the John Deere Component Works.

The x’s and +’s on the map, scattered over a three mile radius indicate existing and obliterated Indian burial mounds. East Waterloo’s first settler, James Virden, in 1849, was witness to a sitting position on the ground, a blanket around him, his gun crossing his knees. Around the body, his cohorts built a small palisade of hickory slabs, to keep wild animals at bay, and, finally, dirt was thrown over top until a large mound was raised.”


Map and Text Source: Waterloo: A Pictorial History by Margaret Corwin and Helen Hoy, page 15







Map Source: Iowa Stories (Book 2)by Clarence Ray Aurner, page 163







The Indian title to the territory in Iowa west of the Black Hawk Purchase and south of the neutral ground at Winnebago Reserve was not extinguished until 1837, and the beautiful valley of the Red Cedar portion of which is now embraced in the limits of Black Hawk County, was the favorite hunting-ground of the Sacs and Foxes. Nor did they relinquish it entirely when they ceded “the Beautiful land” to the United States. For many years wandering bands roved through this region, and were occasionally very troublesome to the few white settlers who ventured to establish homes in the smiling wilderness.

The first ‘pale-face’ to enter the domain of the Sacs and Foxes, in that portion of the valley of the Cedar now embraced within the limits of Black Hawk County, was G. Paul Somaneux, a Frenchman, who located at the falls of the Cedar in the spring or early summer of 1837, and commenced trafficking with the natives.”


Text Source: Historical and Biographical Record of Black Hawk County, page 499






“Mr. (James) Virden recalls that the early settlers, while they often looked and longed for a familiar white face, were not lacking in abundance of company. He says the wondering Indian tribes, the Pottawattomies, Winnebagoes and Musquakies, were almost constant neighbors of himself. They seemed peaceably inclined as a general thing and he visited them and received them at his cabin.”


Text Source: History of Black Hawk County, Iowa, and Its People (Volume 1),edited by John C. Hartman, page 105







Resources for more information:


----. Historical and Biographical Record of Black Hawk County, Iowa. Chicago: The Inter-State Publishing Company, 1886


Aurner, Clarence Ray. Iowa Stories (Book 2). Iowa City: Clio Press, 1918


Corwin, Margaret and Hoy, Helen. Waterloo: A Pictorial History. Rock Island, IL: Quest Publishing, 1994 (second printing)


Hagan, William T. The Sac and Fox Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980, c 1958


Hartman, John C., ed., History of Black Hawk County, Iowa, and Its People (Volume 1). Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1915


Ricky, Donald B., ed.Encyclopedia of Iowa Indians: Tribes, Nations and People of the Woodlands Areas (Volume 1). St. Clair Shores: Somerset Publisher, c 1998

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