From Indian Creek to the Bad Axe River, a story is told about 16 settlers who were massacred during a much larger event: the Black Hawk War. In order to understand what led to this massacre, it is important to trace the history of the events that led to the Black Hawk War and the suspicions that developed between the Indians and the demands of the white settlers for their lands. What happened at Indian Creek really had very little to do with what Black Hawk and his band of Sauk and Fox Indians wanted, which was to live in peace alongside the white settlers. The events at Indian Creek focused on the arrival of settlers looking to start a new life, wanting to increase their wealth by developing farms. The return of Black Hawk to Illinois and his successful victory over the militia north of Fort Dixon on the Rock River inspired these local Potawatomie Indians to take hostile action towards these settlers along Indian Creek. The problems that arose from conflicts between the U.S. Army and the local militias culminated with the pursuit of Black Hawk and his people as they tried to move in peace to find a new home in Wisconsin. Indian Creek today provides a peaceful area for family outings, but the monuments that reflect these events still ring out with the cries of so many settlers who were killed on that warm May afternoon in 1832.
About the Author
Heinz Suppan a Springfield, Illinois native, received his Associate of Arts Degree at Springfield Junior College, a Bachelor’s Degree in German and History at Illinois College in Jacksonville Illinois and a Master of Arts Degree at the University of Illinois in Springfield. Suppan has lived in Ottawa for the past 32 years and from 1983 to present has taught German and various history classes at Marquette Academy in Ottawa. From 1989 to 2001 Suppan taught German and several history courses at Sauk Valley College in Dixon, Illinois From 2001 to present Suppan is an adjunct professor of history at Joliet Junior College. At Marquette Academy the author established a one semester class in State and Local History and in this endeavor he developed a deep interest in the events that took place in May of 1832 at Indian Creek, 11 miles north of Ottawa. In September of 2013 Suppan was a featured presenter in Springfield at the Conference on Illinois History, where he discussed the coincidence of the Black Hawk War and the Indian Creek Massacre happening at the same time. In 2014, he will be a featured presenter again and his topic will be: “Pana; the Crossroads of Crisis” This topic deals with the coal mining community of Pana and the infant United Mine Workers union. This collision course took place when blacks from the South were brought to Pana under fraudulent circumstances to break a strike, leading to violence and several deaths. The Tanner Law was adopted by the Illinois General Assembly prohibiting such actions of recruiting people outside of the State under false pretenses Suppan continues to teach at Marquette Academy and Joliet Junior College. He resides with his wife Leslie and their two cats in Ottawa.