Rock River was a beautiful country; I loved my towns, my cornfields, and the home of my people. I fought for it. -- Black HawkI came across this scene yesterday while looking for something else. It's just off the Rock River, near the intersection of Highways 26 and 106. The Rock River is a 285-mile tributary of the Mississippi River that flows through southwest Wisconsin into Illinois on its way to the Mississippi, draining the Yahara River that connects Madison's lakes along the way. It runs through some of the richest agricultural land in the world, and as the quote reminds us, European settlers were not the first people to farm here or to fall in love with the beauty of the land. I've written earlier about the tragic and misnamed Black Hawk War -- misnamed because it was less a war than a flight and a pursuit ending in a massacre -- that settled these competing claims once and for all 175 years ago this year. This is the most recent post and links to others.
History is often written with a pen dipped in bitter irony, and there's no better example than the fact that today the legacy of Black Hawk lives on in place names and the names of organizations and country clubs throughout his people's former territory.