NARRATIVE OF THE MASSACRE
THE morning of the 15th arrived. All things were in readiness, and nine o'clock was the hour named for starting.
Mr. Kinzie had volunteered to accompany the troops in their march, and had entrusted his family to the care of some friendly Indians, who had promised to convey them in a boat around the head of Lake Michigan to a point1 on the St. Joseph's river; there to be joined by the troops, should the prosecution of their march be permitted them.
Early in the morning Mr. Kinzie received a message from To-pee-nee-bee, a chief of the St. Joseph's band, informing him that mischief was intended by the Pottowattamies who had engaged to escort the detachment; and urging him to relinquish his design of accompanying the troops by land, promising him that the boat containing himself and family should be permitted to pass in safety to St. Joseph's.
Mr. Kinzie declined according to this proposal, as he believed that his presence might operate as a restraint upon the fury of the savages, so warmly were the greater part of them attached to himself and his family.
The party in the boat consisted of Mrs. Kinzie and her four younger children, their nurse Grutte,2 a clerk of Mr. Kinzie's, two servants and the boatmen, besides the two Indians who acted as their protectors. The boat started, but had scarcely reached the mouth of the river, which, it will be recollected was here half a mile below the fort, when another messenger from To-pee-nee-bee arrived to detain them where they were.
In breathless expectation sat the wife and mother. She was a woman of uncommon energy and strength of character, yet her heart died within her as she folded her arms around her helpless infants, and gazed upon the march of her husband and eldest child to certain destruction.
As the the troops left the fort, the band struck up the Dead March. On they came in military array, but with solemn mien. Captain Wells took the lead at the head of his little band of Miamis. He had blackened his face before leave the garrison, in token of his impending fate. They took their route along the lake shore. When they reached the point where commenced a range of sand hills intervening between the prairie and the beach, the escort of Pottowattamies, in number about five hundred, kept the level of the prairie, instead of continuing along the beach with the Americans and Miamis.
They had marched perhaps a mile and a half; when Captain Wells, who had kept somewhat in advance with his Miamis, came riding furiously back.
"They are about to attack us," shouted he; "form, instantly, and charge upon them."
Scarcely were the words uttered, when a volley was showered from among the sand-hills. The troops were hastily brought into line, and charged up the bank. One man, a veteran of seventy winters, fell as they ascended. The remainder of the scene is best described in the words of an eye-witness and participator in the tragedy, Mrs. Helm, the wife of Captain (then Lieutenant) Helm, and step-daughter of Mr. Kinzie.
"After we had left the bank the firing became general. The Miamis fled at the outset. Their chief rode up to the Pottowattamies and said:
"You have deceived the Americans and us. You have done a bad action, and (brandishing his tomahawk) I will be the first to head a party of Americans to return and punish your treachery." So saying, he galloped after his companions, who were now scouring across the prairies.
"The troops behaved most gallantly. They were but a handful, but they seemed resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible. Our horses pranced and bounded, and could hardly be restrained as the balls whistled among them. I drew off a little, and gazed upon my husband and father, who were yet unharmed. I felt that my hour was come, and endeavored to forget those I loved, and prepare myself for my approaching fate.
"While I was thus engaged, the surgeon, Dr. Van Voorhees, came up. He was badly wounded. His horse had been shot under him, and he had received a ball in his leg. Every muscle of his face was quivering with the agony of terror. He said to me -- 'Do you think they will take our lives? I am badly wounded, but I think not mortally. Perhaps we might purchase our lives by promising them a large reward. Do you think there is any chance?'
"'Dr. Van Voorhees,' said I, 'do not let us waste the few moments that yet remain to us in such vain hopes. Our fate is inevitable. In a few moments we must appear before the bar of God. Let us make what preparation is yet in our power.'
"'Oh! I cannot die,' exclaimed he, 'I am not fit to die -- if I had but a short time to prepare -- death is awful!'
"I pointed to Ensign Ronan, who though mortally wounded and nearly down, was still fighting with desperation on one knee."'Look at that man,' said I, 'at least he dies like a soldier.'
"'Yes,' replied the unfortunate man, with a convulsive gasp, 'but he has no terrors of the future -- he is an unbeliever!'
"At this moment a young Indian raised his tomahawk at me. By springing aside, I avoided the blow which was intended for my skull, but which alighted on my shoulder. I seized him around the neck, and while exerting my utmost efforts to get possession of his scalping-knife, which hung in a scabbard over his breast, I was dragged from his grasp by another and an older Indian.
"The latter bore me struggling and resisting towards the lake. Notwithstanding the rapidity with which I was hurried along, I recognized as I passed them the lifeless remains of the unfortunate surgeon. Some murderous tomahawk had stretched him upon the very spot where I had last seen him."I was immediately plunged into the water and held there with a forcible hand, notwithstanding my resistance. I soon perceived, however, that the object of my captor was not to drown me, for he held me firmly in such a position as to place my head above water. This reassured me, and regarding him attentively, I soon recognized, in spite of the paint with which he was disguised, The Black Partridge.
"When the firing had nearly subsided, my preserver bore me from the water and conducted me up the sandbanks. It was a burning August morning, and walking through the sand in my drenched condition was inexpressibly painful and fatiguing. I stooped and took off my shoes to free them from the sand with which they were nearly filled, when a squaw seized and carried them off; and I was obliged to proceed without them.
"When we had gained the prairie, I was met by my father, who told me that my husband was safe and but slightly wounded. They led me gently back towards the Chicago River, along the southern bank of which was the Pottowattamie encampment. At one time I was placed upon a horse without a saddle, but finding the motion insupportable, I sprang off. Supported partly by my kind conductor, Black Partridge, and partly by another Indian, Pee-so-tum, who held dangling in his hand a scalp, which by the black ribbon around the queue I recognized as that of Capt. Wells, I dragged my fainting steps to one of the wigwams.
"The wife of Wau-bee-nee-mah, a chief from the Illinois River was standing near, and seeing my exhausted condition she seized a kettle, dipped up some water from a stream that flowed near,3 threw into it some maple sugar, and stirring it up with her hand gave it me to drink. This act of kindness, in the midst of so many horrors, touched me most sensibly, but my attention was soon diverted to other objects.
"The fort had become a scene of plunder to such as remained after the troops marched out. The cattle had been shot down as they ran at large, and lay dead or dying around. This work of butchery had commenced just as we were leaving the fort. I well rememembered a remark of Ensign Ronan, as the firing went on. 'Such,' turning to me, 'is to be our fate -- to be shot down like brutes!'
" 'Well sir,' said the Commanding Officer who overheard him,' are you afraid?'
"'No,' replied the high spirited young man, 'I can march up to the enemy where you dare not show your face;' and his subsequent gallant behaviour showed this to be no idle boast.
"As the noise of the firing grew gradually less and the stragglers from the victorious party came dropping in, I received confirmation of what my father had hurriedly communicated in our rencontre on the lake shore; namely, that the whites had surrendered after the loss of about two-thirds of their number. They had stipulated, through the interpreter, Peresh Leclere, for the preservation of their lives, and those of the remaining women and children, and for their delivery at some of the British posts, unless ransomed by traders in the Indian country. It appears that the wounded prisoners were not considered as included in the stipulation, and a horrible scene ensued upon their being brought into camp.
"An old squaw infuriated by the loss of friends, or excited by the sanguinary scenes around her, seemed possessed by a demoniac ferocity. She seized a stablefork and assaulted one miserable victim, who lay groaning and writhing in the agony of his wounds, aggravated by the scorching beams of the sun. With a delicacy of feeling scarcely to have been expected under such circumstances, Wau-bee-nee-mah stretched a mat across two poles, between me and this dreadful scene. I was thus spared in some degree a view of its horrors, although I could not entirely close my ears to the cries of the sufferer. The following night five more of the wounded prisoners were tomahawked.
"The Americans after their first attack by the Indians charged upon those who had concealed themselves ia a sort of ravine, intervening between the sand banks and the prairie. The latter gathered themselves into a body, and after some hard fighting, in which the number of whites had become reduced to twenty-eight, this little band succeeded in breaking through the enemy, and gaining a rising ground, not far from the Oak Woods. The contest now seemed hopeless, and Lt. Helm sent Peresh Leclere, a half-breed boy in the service of Mr. Kinzie, who had accompanied the detachment and fought manfully on their side, to propose terms of capitulation. It was stipulated that the lives of all the survivors should be spared, and a ransom permitted as soon as practicable.
"But, in the mean time, a horrible scene had been enacted. One young savage, climbing into the baggage-wagon containing the children of the white families, twelve in number, tomahawked the children of the entire group. This was during the engagement near the Sand-hills. When Captain Wells, who was fighting near, beheld it, he exclaimed:
"'Is that their game, butchering the women and children? Then I will kill too!'
"So saying, he turned his horses head, and started for the Indian camp, near the fort, where had been left their squaws and children.
"Several Indians pursued him as he galloped along. He laid himself flat on the neck of his horse, loading and firing in that position, as he would occasionally turn on his pursuers. At length their balls took effect, killing his horse, and severely wounding himself. At this moment he was met by Winnemeg and Wau-ban-see, who endeavored to save him from the savages who had now overtaken him. As they supported him along, after having disengaged him from his horse, he received his death-blow from another Indian, Pee-so-tum who stabbed him in the back.
"The heroic resolution of one of the soldier's wives deserves to be recorded. She was a Mrs. Corbin, and had, from the first, expressed the determination never to fall into the hands of the savages, believing that their prisoners were always subjected to tortures worse than death.
"When, therefore, a party came upon her, to make her a prisoner, she fought with desperation, refusing to surrender, although assured, by signs, of safety and kind treatment, and literally suffered herself to be cut to pieces, rather than become their captive.
"There was a Sergeant Holt, who, early in the engagement, received a ball in the neck. Finding himself badiy wounded, he gave his sword to his wife, who was on horseback near him, telling her to defend herself -- he then made for the lake, to keep out of the way of the balls. Mrs. Holt rode a very fine horse, which the Indians were desirous of possessing, and they therefore attacked her, in hopes of dismounting her.
"They fought only with the butt-ends of their guns, for their object was not to kill her. She hacked and hewed at their pieces as they were thrust against her, now on this side, now on that. Finally, she broke loose from them, and dashed out into the prairie. The Indians pursued her, shouting and laughing, and now and then calling out:
"'The brave woman! do not hurt her!'
"At length they overtook her again, and while she was engaged with two or three in front, one succeeded in seizing her by the neck behind, and dragging her, although a large and powerful woman, from her horse. Notwithstanding that their guns had been so hacked and injured, and even themselves cut severely, they seemed to regard her only with admiration. They took her to a trader on the Illinois River, by whom she was restored to her friends, after having received every kindness during her captivity.4
"Those of the family of Mr. Kinzie, who had remained in the boat, near the mouth of the river, were carefully guarded by Kee-po-tah and another Indian. They had seen the smoke -- then the blaze -- and immediately after the report of the first tremendous discharge sounded in their ears. Then all was confusion. They realized nothing until they saw an Indian come towards them from the battle-ground, leading a horse on which sat a lady, apparently wounded.
"'That is Mrs. Heald,' cried Mrs. Kinzie. 'That Indian will kill her. Run, Chandonnai,' to one of Mr. Kinzie's clerks, take the mule that is tied there, and offer it to him to release her.'
"Her captor, by this time, was in the act of disingaging her bonnet from her head, in order to scalp her. Chandonnai ran up, offered the mule as a ransom, with the promise of ten bottles of whiskey, as soon as they should reach his village. The latter was a strong temptation.
"'But,' said the Indian, 'she is badly wounded -- she will die. Will you give me the whiskey, at all events?'
"Chandonnai promised that he would, and the bargain was concluded. The savage placed the lady's bonnet on his own head, and after an ineffectual effort on the part of some squaws to rob her of her shoes and stockings, she was brought on board the boat, where she lay moaning with pain from the many bullet wounds she had received in both arms.
"The horse she had ridden was a fine spirited animal, and, being desirous of possessing themselves of it uninjured, the Indians had aimed their shots so as to disable the rider, without injuring her steed.
"She had not lain long in the boat, when a young Indian of savage aspect was seen approaching. A buffalo robe was hastily drawn over Mrs. Heald, and she was admonished to suppress all sound of complaint, as she valued her life.
"The heroic woman remained perfectly silent, while the savage drew near. He had a pistol in his hand, which he rested on the side of the boat, while, with a fearful scowl, he looked pryingly around. Black Jim, one of the servants who stood in the bow of the boat, seized an axe that lay near, and signed to him that if he shot, he would cleave his skull; telling him that the boat contained only the family of Shaw-nee-aw-kee. Upon this, the Indian retired. It afterward appeared that the object of his search was Mr. Burnett, a trader from St. Joseph's, with whom he had some account to settle.
"When the boat was at length permitted to return to the mansion of Mr. Kinzie, and Mrs. Heald was removed to the house, it became necessary to dress her wounds.
"Mr. K. applied to an old chief who stood by, and who, like most of his tribe, possessed some skill in surgery, to extract a ball from the arm of the sufferer.
"'No, father,' replied he. 'I cannot do it -- it makes me sick here' -- (placing his hand on his heart).
"Mr. Kinzie then performed the operation himself with his penknife.
"At their own mansion the family of Mr. Kinzie were closely guarded by their Indian friends, whose intention it was, to carry them to Detroit for security. The rest of the prisoners remained at the wigwams of their captors.
"The following morning, the work of plunder being completed, the Indians set fire to the fort. A very equitable distribution of the finery appeared to have been made, and shawls, ribbons, and feathers fluttered about in all directions. The ludicrous appearance of one young fellow who had arrayed himself in a muslin gown, and the bonnet of one of the ladies, would, under other circumstances, have afforded matter of amusement.
" Black Partridge, Wau-ban-see, and Kee-po-tah, with two other Indians, having established themselves in the porch of the building as sentinels, to protect the family from any evil that the young men might be excited to commit, all remained tranquil for a short space after the conflagration.
"Very soon, however, a party of Indians from the Wabash made their appearance. These were, decidedly, the most hostile and implacable of all the tribes of the Pottowattamies.
"Being more remote, they had shared less than some of their brethren in the kindness of Mr. Kinzie and his family, and consequently their sentiments of regard for them were less powerful.
"Runners had been sent to the villages to apprize them of the intended evacuation of the post, as well as of the plan of the Indians assembled to attack the troops.
"Thirsting to participate in such a scene they hurried on, and great was their mortification on arriving at the river Aux Plaines, to meet with a party of their friends having with them their chief Nee-scot-nee-meg, badly wounded, and to learn that the battle was over, the spoils divided, and the scalps all taken.
"On arriving at Chicago they blackened their faces, and proceeded towards the dwelling of Mr. Kinzie.
"From his station on the piazza Black Partridge had watched their approach, and his fears were particularly awakened for the safety of Mrs. Helm (Mr. Kinzie's step-daughter), who had recently come to the post, and was personally unknown to the more remote Indians. By his advice she was made to assume the ordinary dress of a French woman of the country; namely, a short gown and petticoat, with a blue cotton handkerchief wrapped around her head. In this disguise she was conducted by Black Partridge himself to the house of Ouilmette, a Frenchman with a half-breed wife, who formed a part of the establishment of Mr. Kinzie, and whose dwelling was close at hand.
"It so happened that the Indians came first to this house, in their search for prisoners. As they approached, the inmates, fearful that the fair complexion and general appearance of Mrs. Helm might betray her for an American, raised a large feather-bed and placed her under the edge of it, upon the bedstead, with her face to the wall. Mrs. Bisson, the sister of Ouilmette's wife, then seated herself with her sewing upon the front of the bed.
"It was a hot day in August, and the feverish excitement of fear and agitation, together with her position, which was nearly suffocating, became so intolerable, that Mrs. Helm at length entreated to be released and given up to the Indians.
"'I can but die,' said she; 'let them put an end to my misery at once.'
"Mrs. Bisson replied, 'Your death would be the destruction of us all, for Black Partridge has resolved that if one drop of the blood of your family is spilled, he will take the lives of all concerned in it, even his nearest friends, and if once the work of murder commences, there will be no end of it, so long as there remains one white person, or half breed, in the country.'
"This expostulation nerved Mrs. Helm with fresh resolution.
"The Indians entered, and she could occasionally see them from her hiding-place, gliding about, and stealthily inspecting every part of the room, though without making any ostensible search, until apparently satisfied that there was no one concealed, they left the house.
"All this time Mrs. Bisson had kept her seat upon the side of the bed, calmly sorting and arranging the patchwork of the quilt on which she was engaged, and preserving an appearance of the utmost tranquillity, although she knew not but that the next moment she might receive a tomahawk in her brain. Her self-command unquestionably saved the lives of all present.
"From Ouilmette's house the party of Indians proceeded to the dwelling of Mr. Kinzie. They entered the parlor in which the family were assembled with their faithful protectors, and seated themselves upon the floor in silence.
"Black Partridge perceived from their moody and revengeful looks what was passing in their minds, but he dared not remonstrate with them. He only observed in a low tone to Wau-ban-see --
"'We have endeavored to save our friends, but it is in vain -- nothing will save them now.'
"At this moment a friendly whoop was heard from a party of new comers on the opposite bank of the river. Black Partridge sprang to meet their leader, as the canoes in which they had hastily embarked touched the bank near the house.
"'Who are you?' demanded he.
"'A man -- who are you?'
"'A man like yourself but tell me who you are meaning, tell me your disposition, and which side you are for.'
"'I am the Sau-ga-nash!'
"'Then make all speed to the house -- your friend is in danger, and you alone can save him.'
"Billy Caldwell,5 for it was he, entered the parlor with a calm step, and without a trace of agitation in his manner. He deliberately took off his accoutrements and placed them with his rifle behind the door; then saluted the hostile savages.
"'How now, my friends! A good day to you. I was told there were enemies here, but I am glad to find only friends. Why have you blackened your faces? Is it that you are mourning for the friends you have lost in battle?' (purposely misunderstanding this token of evil designs). 'Or is it that you are fasting? If so, ask our friend here, and he will give you to eat. He is the Indian's friend, and never yet refused them what they had need of.'
"Thus taken by surprise, the savages were ashamed to acknowledge their bloody purpose. They, therefore, said modestly that they came to beg of their friends some white cotton in which to wrap their dead, before interring them. This was given to them with some other presents, and they took their departure peaceably from the premises.
"Along with Mr. Kinzie's party was a non-commissioned officer who had made his escape in a singular manner. As the troops were about leaving the fort it was found that the baggage-horses of the surgeon had strayed off. The quarter-master-sergeant, Griffith, was sent to collect them and bring them on, it being absolutely necessary to recover them, since their packs contained part of the surgeon's apparatus, and the medicines for the march.
"This man had been for a long time on the sick report, and for this reason was given the charge of the baggage, instead of being placed with the troops. His efforts to recover the horses being unsuccessful, he was hastening to rejoin his party; alarmed at some appearances of disorder and hostile indications among the Indians, when he was met and made prisoner by To-pee-nee-bee.
"Having taken from him his arms and accoutrements, the chief put him into a canoe and paddled him across the river, bidding him make for the woods and secrete himself. This he did, and the following day, in the afternoon, seeing from his lurking-place that all appeared quiet, he ventured to steal cautiously into the garden of Ouilmette, where he concealed himself for a time behind some currant-bushes.
"At length he determined to enter the house, and accordingly climbed up through a small back window, into the room where the family were. This was just as the Wabash Indians left the house of Ouilmette for that of Mr. Kinzie. The danger of the sergeant was now imminent. The family stripped him of his uniform and arrayed him in a suit of deer-skin, with belt, moccasins, and pipe, like a French engagé. His dark complexion and large black whiskers favored the disguise. The family were all ordered to address him in French, and although utterly ignorant of the language he continued to pass for a Weem-tee-gosh,6 and as such to accompany Mr. Kinzie and his family, undetected by his enemies until they reached a place of safety.
"On the third day after the battle, the family of Mr. Kinzie, with the clerks of the establishment, were put into a boat, under the care of François, a half-breed interpreter, and conveyed to St. Joseph's where they remained until the following November, under the protection of To-pee-nee-bee's band. They were then conducted to Detroit, under the escort of Chandonnai and their trusty Indian friend, Ke-po-tah, and delivered up as prisoners of war, to Col. McKee the British Indian Agent.
"Mr. Kinzie was not allowed to leave St. Joseph's with his family, his Indian friends insisting on his remaining and endeavoring to secure some remnant of his scattered property. During his excursions with them for that purpose, he wore the costume and paint of the tribe, in order to escape capture and perhaps death at the hands of those who were still thirsting for blood. In time, however, his anxiety for his family induced him to follow them to Detroit, where, in the month of January, he was received and paroled by Gen. Proctor.
"Capt. and Mrs. Heald had been sent across the lake to St. Joseph's the day after the battle. The former had received two wounds, the latter seven in the engagement.
"Lieut. Helm, who was likewise wounded, was carried by some friendly Indians to their village on the Au Sable, and thence to Peoria, where he was liberated by the intervention of Mr. Thomas Forsyth, the half-brother of Mr. Kinzie. Mrs. Helm had accompanied her parents to St. Joseph, where they resided in the family of Alexander Robinson,7 receiving from them all possible kindness and hospitality for several months.
"After their arrival in Detroit, Mrs. Helm was joined by her husband, when they were both arrested by order of the British commander, and sent on horseback, in the dead of winter, through Canada to Fort George on the Niagara frontier. When they arrived at that post, there seemed no official appointed to receive them, and notwithstanding their long and fatiguing journey, in weather the most cold and inclement, Mrs. H., a delicate woman of seventeen years, was permitted to sit waiting in her saddle without the gate for more than an hour, before the refreshment of fire or food, or even the shelter of a roof, was offered them. When Col. Sheaffe, who had been absent at the time, was informed of this brutal inhospitality, he expressed the greatest indignation. He waited on Mrs. Helm immediately, apologized in the most courteous manner, and treated both her and Lieut. H. with the most considerate kindness, until, by an exchange of prisoners, they were liberated, and found means to reach their friends in Steuben County, N. Y.
"Capt. Heald had been taken prisoner by an Indian from the Kankakee, who had a strong personal regard for him, and who, when he saw the wounded and enfeebled state of Mrs. H. released her husband that he might accompany his wife to St. Joseph's. To the latter place they were accordingly carried, as has been related, by Chandonnai and his party. In the mean time, the Indian who had so nobly released his prisoner returned to his village on the Kankakee, where he had the mortification of finding that his conduct had excited great dissatisfaction among his band. So great was the displeasure manifested, that he resolved to make a journey to St. Joseph's and reclaim his prisoner.
"News of his intention being brought to To-pee-nee-bee and Kee-po-tah under whose care the prisoners were, they held a private council with Chandonnai, Mr. Kinzie, and the principal men of the village, the result of which was, a determination to send Capt. and Mrs. Heald to the island of Mackinac, and deliver them up to the British.
"They were accordingly put in a bark canoe, and paddled by Robinson and his wife a distance of three hundred miles along the coast of Michigan, and surrendered as prisoners of war to the Commanding Officer at Mackinac.
"As an instance of the procrastinating spirit of Capt. Heald it may be mentioned that even after he had received certain intelligence that his Indian captor was on his way from the Kankakee to St. Joseph's to retake him, he would still have delayed another day at that place, to make preparation for a more comfortable journey to Mackinac.
"The soldiers, with their wives and surviving children, were dispersed among the different villages of the Pottawattamies upon the Illinois, Wabash, Rock River, and at Milwaukie, until the following spring, when they were, for the most part, carried to Detroit, and ransomed.
"Mrs. Burns, with her infant, became the prisoners of a chief; who carried her to his village and treated her with great kindness. His wife, from jealousy of the favor shown to "the white woman" and her child, always treated them with great hostility. On one occasion she struck the infant with a tomahawk, and narrowly missed her aim of putting an end to it altogether.8 They were not left long in the power of the old hag, after this demonstration, but on the first opportunity carried to a place of safety.
"The family of Mr. Lee had resided in a house on the Lake shore, not far from the fort. Mr. Lee was the owner of Lee's Place, which he cultivated as a farm. It was his son who ran down with the discharged soldier to give the alarm of "Indians" at the fort on the afternoon of the 7th of April. The father, the son, and all the other members of the family had fallen victims on the 15th of August, except Mrs. Lee and her young infant. These were claimed by Black Partridge, and carried to his village on the Au Sable. He had been particularly attached to a little giri of Mrs. Lee's, about twelve years of age. This child had been placed on horseback for the march, and as she was unaccustomed to the exercise, she was tied fast to the saddle, lest by any accident she should slip off or be thrown.
"She was within reach of the balls at the commencement of the engagement, and was severely wounded. The horse set off on a full gallop, which partly threw her, but she was held fast by the bands which confined her, and hung dangling as the animal ran violently about. In this state she was met by Black Partridge, who caught the horse and disengaged her from the saddle. Finding her so much wounded that she could not recover, and that she was suffering great agony, he put the finishing stroke to her at once with his tomahawk. He afterward said that this was the hardest thing he ever tried to do, but he did it because he could not bear to see her suffer.
"He took the mother and her infant to his village, where he became warmly attached to the former -- so much so, that he wished to marry her, but, as she very naturally objected, he treated her with the greatest respect and consideration He was in no hurry to release her, for he was in hopes of prevailing on her to become his wife. In the course of the winter her child fell ill. Finding that none of the remedies within their reach were effectual, Black Partridge proposed to take the little one to Chicago, where there was now a French trader living in the mansion of Mr. Kinzie, and procure some medical aid from him. Wrapping up his charge with the greatest care, he sat out on his journey.
"When he arrived at the residence of M. Du Pin, he entered the room where he was, and carefully placed his burthen on the floor.
"'What have you there?' asked M. Du Pin.
"'A young racoon, which I have brought you as a present,' was the reply, and opening the pack, he showed the little sick infant.
"When the trader had prescribed for its complaint, and Black Partridge was about to return to his home, he told his friend his proposal to Mrs. Lee to become his wife and the manner in which it had been received.
"M. Du Pin entertained some fears that the chief's honorable resolution might not hold out, to leave it to the lady herself whether to accept his addresses or not, so he entered at once into a negociation for her ransom, and so effectually wrought upon the good feelings of Black Partridge that he consented to bring his fair prisoner at once to Chicago, that she might be restored to her friends.
"Whether the kind trader had at the outset, any other feeling in the matter than sympathy and brotherly kindness we cannot say -- we only know that, in process of time Mrs. Lee became Madame Du Pin, and that they lived together in great happiness for many years after.
"The fate of Nau-non-gee, one of the chiefs of the Calumet village, and who is mentioned in the early part of the narrative, deserves to be recorded.
"During the battle of the 15th of August, the chief object of his attack was one Sergeant Hays, a man from whom he had received many acts of kindness.
"After Hays had received a ball through the body, this Indian ran up to him to tomahawk him, when the Sergeant, collecting his remaining strength, pierced him through the body with his bayonet. They fell together. Other Indians running up soon dispatched Hays, and it was not until then, that his bayonet was extracted from the body of his adversary.
"The wounded chief was carried after the battle to his village on the Calumet, where he survived for several days. Finding his end approaching, he called together his young men, and enjoined them in the most solemn manner, to regard the safety of their prisoners after his death, and to take the lives of none of them from respect to his memory, as he deserved his fate from the hands of those whose kindness he had so ill-requited."
1 The spot now called Bertrand, then known as Parc aux Vaches, from its having been a pasture ground to an old French fort in the neighborhood.
2 Afterwards Mrs. Jean Baptiste Braubien.
3 Just by the present State street Market.
4 Mrs. Holt is believed to be still living in the State of Ohio.
5 Billy Caldwell was a half-breed, and a chief of the nation. In his reply, "I am a Sau-ga-nash," or Englishman, he designed to convey, "I am a white man." Had he said, "I am a Pattowattamie," it would have been interpreted to mean, "I belong to my nation, and am prepared to go all lengths with them."
7 The Pottowattamie chief, so well known to many of the citizens of Chicago, now residing at the Aux Plaines.
8 Twenty-two years after this, as I was on a journey to Chicago in the steamer Uncle Sam, a young woman, hearing my name, introduced herself to me, and raising the hair from her forehead, showed me the mark of the tomahawk which had so nearly been fatal to her.
Mrs. John H. Kenzie, Wau-Bun, the "Early Day" in the Northwest. Chicago : D. B. Cooke & Co., 1857. p. 222-247.
From the Memorial Library Department of Special Collections, University of Wisconsin-Madison.