Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 1.djvu/194

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126 HISTORY

The next morning the chief men of the Sac village assembled and Lieutenant Pike explained to them the object of his expedition. The country here is described as hilly on both sides of the rapids, the soil fertile. On Thursday, August 22d, a number of islands were passed; the river was wide and full of sandbars. After ascending twenty-eight miles, Lieutenant Pike thus describes the country on the western shore:

“The channel of the river passes under a hill which rises up perpendicularly to a height of about sixty feet. On the summit is a level platform of about four hundred yards. In the rear of a small prairie of about eight or ten acres suitable for gardens. This would be a very good place for a garrison. Directly under the rocks is a limestone spring, which would supply a regiment of men with water. The landing is bold and safe, and a road could easily be made up the hill for teams. Black and white oak timber are here found in abundance. The hill continues for two miles, and gives rise to five springs in that distance. The view from this hill across the river east is very beautiful, showing broad prairies as far as the eye can reach, occasionally interrupted by groves of trees.* We remained here nine hours and saw traces of Indians. We learned that the largest Sac village was about two and a half miles eastward on the prairie, and that this point was about half way between St. Louis and Prairie du Chien.”

On the 25th, the explorers landed on a prairie from which Lieutenant Pike writes: “There is a beautiful view for at least forty miles down the river, bearing S. E.” The next day they passed the mouth of the Iowa River and camped at night on Grant's Prairie. Pike thus describes the river and vicinity:

“The Iowa River bears from the Mississippi S. W., and is one hundred and fifty yards wide at its mouth. In ascending the Iowa thirty-six miles you come to a fork. The right branch is called the Red Cedar from the great quantity of that wood found on its banks. It is navigable for bateaux nearly three hundred miles. It then branches into three forks called the 'Turkey Foot.' Ten miles up the Iowa from its mouth is a village of the Iowa Indians. From the Iowa to Rock River we generally found beautiful prairies on the west side, and in some places very rich


* From the general description, distance from the rapids, and other circumstances, it is believed that the spot here described is what was known in early days as the “Flint Hills,” where the city of Burlington now stands.