Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chief Black Hawk's Hat in Exchange for Food

Sauk and Fox Chief Black Hawk continues to be studied here in the Midwest. Long after the 1832 Black Hawk War, his arrest near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and later death in 1838, he remains a strong influence on the region and in American lore. At the Des Moines County Historical Museum in Burlington, Iowa situated in the heart of Sauk and Fox country the chief's hat and autobiography were on display earlier. The revolving exhibit may have closed by now.

A nearby sign near the chief's hat reads that Mrs. Evan Evans received this beaded hat from Black Hawk in exchange for food. Mrs. Evans' great, great granddaughter donated the hat to the Burlington Free Public Library in 1965.

Following his death, Black Hawk's Iowaville grave was dug up and his bones removed. His remains were to have resided in an office in Burlington shortly after their removal. That office was destroyed by fire and presumably his bones were lost too. But there is growing speculation that Black Hawk's bones may have been stored in an office across the street and therefore survived the fire. The physical trail ends there at the moment but his legacy lives on.

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