Events at Prairie du Chien Previous to American Occupation, 1814
by Alfred Edward Bulger
(9) On finding the old trading post to be in an almost ruined condition, the Americans, on taking possession of Prairie du Chien, erected a new fort on a mound in the rear of the village, which they called Fort Shelby,1 after the celebrated American general of that name.
The Indians living in the neighborhood were not accorded the same considerate treatment as the resident whites, for there is what appears to be an authentic account of an attack and deliberate murder of seven men of the Winnebagoes, a chosen body of whom had endeavored to prevent the Americans from ascending the rapids. On taking possession of Prairie du Chien the Americans are reported to have captured eight of these Indians. At first they were treated with affected kindness, and food given to them, and while in the act of eating they were most treacherously attacked and murdered in cold blood, one only effecting his escape.2 This act of cruelty is said to have been followed by another against the same nation. Four of these Indians who had not heard of the sad fate of their comrades, were enticed by acts of seeming friendship to visit the post. When they arrived they were shut up in a log hut, and were afterwards killed by firing at them through the openings between the logs.
|Lyman C. Draper|
Notes to the Text
1 Named after Isaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky, and one of the heroes of the battle of Point Pleasant, in Lord Dunmore's War, 1774. Governor Clark's brother, the celebrated George Rogers Clark, was a prominent Kentucky pioneer. Lieutenant Perkins, whom Clark left in charge of Fort Shelby, was from Mississippi Territory. — Ed. [Lyman Draper]
2 See McDouall's letters to Drummond, Wis. Hist. Colls. xi, p. 260, in which the same charge is made. — Ed. [Lyman Draper]
|Prairie du Chien in 1870|
Commentary. "Prairie du Chien" — French for "Prairie of the Dog," a reference to the Fox Dog Band whose village near the Turkey River was at the foot of this prairie. The site was of strategic importance, and became a trade center and meeting place for the Indian nations of the region.1 In time, it was economically eclipsed by Minneapolis.
Notes to the Commentary
1 Alfred Edward Bulger, "Events at Prairie du Chien Previous to American Occupation, 1814," Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 13 (1895): 1-9 [1-2].
Alfred Edward Bulger, "Events at Prairie du Chien Previous to American Occupation, 1814," Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 13 (1895): 1-9 .