Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 1.djvu/133
taken his one young wife to his cabin and lived faithful to her all the years of his life. Here for half a century he had led his warriors to scores of victories. He was returning a prisoner shorn of his power, to be humiliated before his hated rival, Keokuk.
Upon landing at Fort Armstrong, Keokuk was seen gayly decorated as the chief of the Sacs and Foxes, surrounded by his chosen band of personal attendants. Black Hawk was required to make a formal surrender of his authority as chief of his nation, to his triumphant rival and enemy. It was the bitterest moment of his life and he only bowed to the humiliation at the command of his conquerors, when powerless to resist. He retired with his faithful wife, two sons and a beautiful daughter to the banks of the Des Moines River near Iowaville. There he lived a quiet life, furnishing his home in the style of white people. He cultivated a small farm, raising corn and vegetables for his family. His cabin stood near the banks of the river shaded by two majestic trees. He saw his once proud and warlike nation dwindling away year by year. Under his despised rival they were selling their lands to the whites and spending the money in drunkenness and degradation.
Here on the old battle field, where years before he had wrested the country from the powerful Iowas, the proud Sac chieftain now brooded over his fallen fortunes. His last appearance in public was at a celebration at Fort Madison, on the 4th of July, 1838, where the following toast was given in his honor: “OUR ILLUSTRIOUS GUEST, BLACK HAWK—May his declining years be as calm and serene as his previous life has been boisterous and warlike.” In responding the old chief said:
“It has pleased the Great Spirit that I am here to-day. I have eaten with my white friends. It is good. A few summers ago I was fighting you. I may have done wrong. But that is past. Let it be forgotten Rock River Valley was a beautiful country. I loved my villages, my corn fields and my people. I fought for them. They are now yours. I was once a