Jerrot's Temperance Pledge — A Poem
by H. E. Underwood
The sun that shines so brightly down
Rock River courses in beauty there
Thus, scarcely had the white man come.
Nachusa sternly shook his head,
Nachusa saw and quickly then,
And always did the white man tell
Some time had passed when Jarro went
Two days' and nights' carousal high.
"Why was he angry? it was not he
The warrior stopped and looking sad
Eleven days after, in the light
Nachusa told inquirers then,
Nachusa smoked the pipe of peace
The Captain laughed, sarcastic peals
And turning to the sutler's store;
Old Jarro thanked him kindly then,
The Captain for the Fort had left.
Old Jarro raised himself upright
For Winnebago lives in name;
H. E. UNDERWOOD.1
NOTES FROM MR. DIXON.
"full moon" — The full moon was the Indians time of reckoning.
"Old Wolfs Den" — When the Central railroad was built in Dixon they cut away the old wolf's den for the north end of the railroad bridge. It used to be a large cave, and beyond the portion you could enter, a narrow passage led to the den the resort for many wolves.
"Winnebago Fort" — Winnebago Fort was on the peninsula between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers and about a mile from either.
|John Dixon (Nącúsą)|
Commentary. "Nachusa" — the Hocąk is Nącú-są, "Pale Hair." Whitney's note nicely sums up his life:
John Dixon (1784-1876) came to the Sangamon country in 1820 from New York in the hope that the climate of the West would restore his health. Not only did he recover from the "pulmonary disease" that had seemed imminent when he gave up his clothing business in New York, but he outlived all of his twelve children as well. From Sangamon County, Dixon and his family moved on to Peoria in 1825. There he held numerous county positions — recorder of deeds, circuit clerk, clerk of the county commissioners' court, and justice of the peace. Three years later he moved still farther north to Boyd's Grove in Bureau County, and from Bureau County he went to Ogee's Ferry in 1830. A post office had been established at that place in 1829, and Dixon obtained the position as postmaster soon after his arrival. During his residence in Bureau County, Dixon subcontracted for portions of mail routes and was proprietor of the Galena-Springfield mail stage. In the BHW [Black Hawk War], Dixon served as an assistant to Q. M. [Quartermaster] Enoch C. March and accompanied the 3d Army through part of its expedition across Wisconsin to the Mississippi. After the war he expanded his trading operations and was active in the development of Dixon, which was named in his honor. In 1838 he was elected by the legislature to the state board of public works. Largely through his influence, the U.S. Land Office was moved to Dixon from Galena in 1840. Dixon retired from business some thirty years before his death, but he remained active in civic affairs throughout his life.2
John Dixon died in 1876 at the age of 92, an age seldom attained by anyone of his historical period.
"Owanica" — Jarro's Hocąk name, here given as Owanico, is probably Howánika, "He Seizes," from howáni, "to take."
"Jarro" — the proper form of his name is Jarrot, having acquired this nickname in an unusual way (see "Jarrot Gets His Name."). The name Jarrot would be transliterated in Hocąk as Žaro[ga]. Whitney's note on Jarrot sums up much of what is known about him:
Jarrot was a Winnebago Indian, perhaps a minor chief, whose village was on the Rock River north of Dixon (Gratiot Journal, April 22, 23, 1832). His Indian name was Owanico, but he was usually called Jarrot or one of its variants — Jahro, Jarot, Jarro, Jerro, Sharro, Zharro. He was given this name for preventing the murder of trader Nicholas Jarrot by a group of unfriendly Indians at a camp near Prairie du Chien just before the outbreak of the War of 1812. The Winnebago Jarrot signed the 1829 treaty.3
|Captain Gideon Lowe|
"Captain Lowe" — a Captain in the 5th Infantry Regiment whose Company D garrisoned Ft. Winnebago beginning in 1838.4 "Capt. Gideon Lowe left the army in 1839, and settled on the Portage, where he kept a public house a number of years."5
"fire" — a reference to the fact that most Indians referred to whiskey as "fire water," as in the Hocąk pejᵋnį, from pec, "fire"; and nį, "water."
Stories: about Chief Jarrot: Jarrot's Aborted Raid, Jarrot and His Friends Saved from Starvation, How Jarrot Got His Name; mentioning drunkeness: The Drunkard's Self-Reflections, Chief Wave and the Big Drunk, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Chief Wave Tries to Take the Whiskey, The Brawl in Omro, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara, Version 1, Little Fox and the Ghost, Version 1, Migistéga's Death, Version 1, The Spanish Fight, Snowshoe Strings; about famous Hocąk warriors and warleaders: How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, The Masaxe War (Hogimasąga), Wazųka, Great Walker's Warpath (Great Walker), Great Walker's Medicine (Great Walker, Smoke Walker, Dog Head, Small Snake), Šųgepaga (Dog Head), The Warbundle Maker (Dog Head), Black Otter's Warpath (Dog Head, Black Otter), The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara (Smoke Walker, Dog Head, Small Snake), Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath (Big Thunder, Cap’ósgaga), The Osage Massacre (Big Thunder, Cap’ósgaga), The Fox-Hocąk War (Cap’ósgaga), The Origin of Big Canoe's Name, White Thunder's Warpath, Four Legs, The Man who Fought against Forty (Mącosepka), Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, The Hills of La Crosse (Yellow Thunder), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Fighting Retreat, Mitchell Red Cloud, jr. Wins the Medal of Honor (Mitchell Red Cloud, jr.), How Jarrot Got His Name, Jarrot's Aborted Raid, Jarrot and His Friends Saved from Starvation, They Owe a Bullet (Pawnee Shooter); occurring in Illinois: The Waterspirit of Rock River, Jarrot's Aborted Raid, Jarrot and His Friends Saved from Starvation, The Shrewd Winnebagoes of Dixon’s Crossing, Xųnųnį́ka, First Contact (v. 2), How Jarrot Got His Name, Witches; set at Rock River: The Waterspirit of Rock River, Xųnųnį́ka, The Shrewd Winnebagoes of Dixon’s Crossing, Witches.
1 Recollections of the Pioneers of Lee County (Dixon, IL: Inez A. Kennedy, 1893) 263.
2 The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832: v. II, Letters and Papers; Part I, April 30, 1831-June 23, 1832. Ed. Ellen M. Whitney (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1973) 60-61 note. Whitney also cites the following: William D. Barge, Early Lee County, Being Some Chapters in the History of the Early Days in Lee County, Illinois (Chicago: Barnard and Miller, Printers, 1918), passim; History of Lee County, Dr. Cochran (Chicago: H. H. Hill, 1881), 150-158; Lee County (1914), I: 237-60; Newton Bateman, Paul Selby, Ezra Morton Prince, John H. Burnham, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois (Chicago: Munsell Pub. Co., 1908) I:134.
3 The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832: Vol. II, Letters and Papers; Part I, April 30, 1831-June 23, 1832. Ed. Ellen M. Whitney (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1973) 60-61 note. Whitney also cites the following: William D. Barge, Early Lee County, Being Some Chapters in the History of the Early Days in Lee County, Illinois (Chicago: Barnard and Miller, Printers, 1918) 73, 74, 76-77; History of Lee County, Dr. Cochran (Chicago: H. H. Hill, 1881) 154; Recollections of the Pioneers of Lee County (Dixon, IL: Inez A. Kennedy, 1893) 262-267; Nehemiah Matson, Memories of Shaubena. Incidents Relating to the Early Settlement of the West (Chicago: D. B. Cook and Co., 1878) 235-237; Nehemiah Matson, Reminiscences of Bureau County (Princeton, IL: Republican Book and Job Office, 1872) 308-9; Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, Vol. II, Treaties. Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1904) 302.
4 George Croghan, Army Life on the Western Frontier: Selections from the Official Reports Made Between 1826 and 1845 (Noman: University of Oklahoma Press, Apr 14, 2014) 25.
5 Satterlee Clark, "Early Times at Fort Winnebago," Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, VIII (1879): 309-321 .