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Black Hawk
1828:  Troubles
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Black Hawk
The treaty of 1804
The Context
War of 1812
Further troubles
The Black Hawk War
Black Hawk in Captivity
Black Hawk's Last Days
Mistreatment continues
Black Hawk References
Troubles which had been brewing under the surface showed themselves openly starting in the winter of 1828.  Although the United States government argued that the Sauks had sold the land where Saukenuk was located, there had been no attempt to sell the land or to encourage settlers to move there.
In the winter of 1828 about twenty families of squatters moved on to the land near Saukenuk and built cabins and fences on the traditionally tilled fields.  Black Hawk visited the temporarily abandoned village in the winter, and threatened the squatters, suggesting they move on.
When the Sauk reoccupied their village in the summer of 1829 the settlers were still there.  Some of the lodges were damaged or destroyed, and some of the corn fields were enclosed by the fences of the settlers. That summer was a time of not-quite peaceful co-existence between the Indians and the settlers. 
There were several thousand Sauk, some led by Black Hawk and some led by Keokuk.  They expected to plant their crops of corn, beans, and pumpkins.   That they did, but the livestock of the settlers got loose in the cultivated fields of the Indians.  There were frequent arguments and some minor violence, but Keokuk, Blackhawk, and the other chiefs were able to prevent escalation of individual events.  By the end of the summer, Keokuk had made an agreement with the Indian agent that the Sauks would not return in the winter.
To the north of Saukenuk, the Potawatomi had some violent disputes with the new settlers, and the Governor of Illinois, Ninian Edwards, asked William Clark to have federal troops remove them.  And he put the land in and around Saukenuk up for sale by auction.
In 1830 a party of Sauks, led by Black Hawk, returned to Saukenuk after a fairly poor winter hunt.  The Sauks were divided, however, with a larger party remaining on the western side of the Mississippi with Keokuk.  There were even more settlers and more trouble.  Black Hawk had about three hundred warriors and probably double that number of women, children, and old men.
Summer was a time of planting crops and recreation, but this summer was full of conflicts with the settlers and aggressive posturing from both sides.  The Sauk left in the fall, which was their custom, but were suffering from the lack of necessities.
Black Hawk returned in 1831, and was met with similar resistance on the part of the settlers.  However, the federal government brought a number of well-trained soldiers which made their presence known.  The governor of Illinois called up a militia, which was more than a thousand strong, but which were less organized and disciplined than the federal troups.  The soldiers paraded openly and on June 26 they attacked Saukenuk, accompanied by gunfire from a steamboat.  Black Hawk and the warriors, women, and children who were with them had known they were coming and avoided conflict by leaving before they arrived.  On June 30, after some negotiations, Black Hawk and his party were coerced into signing a treaty titled "Articles of Agreement and Capitulation."  Black Hawk agreed , among other things, never to go to Saukenuk without permission, and to submit to Keokuk's authority. Since a certain amount of grain was promised along with the treaty, it became known as "The Corn Treaty."
A description of the signing (Hagen, 1958) is as follows: 

"Following the reading of the articles the Indians advanced one by one to the table bearing the document and affixed their X's.  After Quashquame had signed, Black Hawk was summoned.  Silence fell over the room as the old warrior, his face marked by grief and humiliation, 'strode majestically forward.'  When he reached the table, the aid handed him the pen and indicated where the X should go.  While the spectators waited with bated breath, Black Hawk took the pen and deliberately drew 'a large bold cross with a force which rendered that pen forever unfit for further use.'  Then, politely returning it, he resumed his seat with the same measured stride.  'I touched the goose quill to this treaty, and was determined to live in peace' related Black Hawk"