Black Hawk

Jim Schaap

There’s some debate about exactly why Chief Black Hawk left Iowa in 1832 and crossed the mighty Mississippi. He claimed that he and his band had been robbed of their homeland, and all he ever wanted was to return to the land where his ancestors were buried.

That claim may have been deceptive. Some historians believe he wanted to build a Native Confederacy. More and more white faces were showing up on land that once belonged to the tribes who trapped and hunted the lush woodlands along the Rock, the Pecatonica, and the mighty Mississipi.

Arnz and Company [Public domain]

There's a town there, a small one that likely grows a bit during summer vacation. It’s right on the river, Wisconsin side, just across the mighty Mississippi, which is not channeled right there at all and therefore, even today, streaked with cottonwood islands.