History of the Black Hawk War and the Kendall Men who served

Military Records / Thursday, April 18th, 2019

In 1832, General Scott and a small army of approximately 850 men left Buffalo, New York, to protect the settlers from Black Hawk’s warriors. They made their way to Fort Dearborn on the present site of Chicago where they encountered a cholera outbreak.

As General Scott’s force moved west, Black Hawk and his warriors moved farther west. By July 29, 1832, the cholera epidemic had been sufficiently checked to permit General Scott and company to pursue Black Hawk. By the time they started for Dixon’s Ferry in Lee County, Scott’s command had been reduced to about 200 men fit for duty.

General Scott, with four staff officers, went ahead of the main body to Prairie du Chien. They followed the route subsequently adopted as the mail route from Galena to Chicago. They traveled via Fort Payne, Naperville, and Aurora, through what became DeKalb County and across Lee County to Dixon’s Ferry. They arrived there August 2 and reported to the residents that the troops under Colonel Eustis were en route to Dixon.On leaving Chicago, General Scott had left orders for Colonel Eustis to follow his general route to Fort Crawford with all the troops that had arrived in Chicago by August 3. It was during this campaign that General Scott’s army passed through the northern part of Kendall County. At that time, the three northern townships of Kendall were part of Kane County. The little army crossed the Fox River near present day Montgomery where Daniel D. Gray subsequently built his bridge. After crossing the river, they traveled in a westerly direction across Kendall County. On the second night of their journey, they stopped near Little Rock.

Reverend E. W. Hick’s wrote the following on page 96 of his History of Kendall County published in 1877. “The War being closed, Scott’s troops were not needed. About August 1, the remnant of the little army, with baggage, wagons and a drove of cattle for supplies marched through the northern part of Kendall County on their way to Rock Island. Fresh deaths occurred every day. Nearly every camp was marked by its graves. The second night out they camped near Little Rock. The three soldiers graves left behind were seen for years by the early settlers.”

When Colonel Eustis and his command arrived at Dixon’s Ferry on the 17th of August, a message from General Scott informed him that the war was over. General Scott ordered Eustis and his command to report to Fort Armstrong on Rock Island. Colonel Eustis and his men remained at Dixon’s Ferry until August 22 and then moved on to Fort Armstrong.

One of the soldiers in Scott’s army was from North Carolina. After his discharge and return to North Carolina he induced one of his neighbors, David Evans, to visit Illinois. Evans visited Illinois the following year. From the soldiers’ description and map he located what became the Evans farm near Plano, Illinois.

George Hollenback – Soldier In the Black Hawk War

George Hollenback was one of the Kendall County men who served in the Black Hawk War. His son, George M. Hollenback, wrote the following to the editor of one of the Aurora papers. The letter was published May 24, 1909. “The father of the writer of this was a (Second) Lieutenant in Captain James Walker’s company, from Cook County. This company was organized first at Plainfield. Afterwards, it was reorganized at Fort Dearborn. Father remained at Fort Dearborn with his family until the 10th of July. On the arrival of General Scott’s command, this company was mustered in on June 25th, 1832. It was discharged on August 12th of the same year. During most of his service he was employed as a scout. His service was most arduous. He frequently said that for six weeks, one time, he never removed his clothes. His service began May 17th and ended when his company was discharged August 12th. He received $120 for his three months service, and long afterward a warrant for 80 acres of land.

On one occasion he was dispatched from Chicago to the Fox River with ten or twelve friendly Pottawatomi Indians. Moccasin tracks were discovered near where Riverside (an early day park) now is and were followed to the Fox River on the site of the present City of Aurora. At this point the tracks entered the river. Hollenback and the Pottawatomi searched the islands, now Stolp’s and Hurd’s but found no Indians. They crossed to the west side of the river, but no moccasin tracks could be found. It was supposed the tracks found were made by hostile Indians who, knowing they were being pursued had hidden themselves among the dense growth of willows at the water’s edge on one of the islands.

Kendall County Men Who Served During the Black Hawk War

Extracted from the book Records of the Services of Illinois Soldiers of the Black Hawk War, 1831-31 and in The Mexican War, 1846-8, by Issac H. Elliott, Springfield IL, 1882. Compiled by Elmer Dickson.

Source: Record of the services of Illinois in the Black Hawk war, 1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-48, containing a complete roster of commissioned officers and enlisted men of both wars, taken from the official rolls on file in the War Department, Washington, D.C. With an appendix, giving record of the services of the Illinois militia, rangers and riflemen, in protecting the frontier from the ravages of the Indians from 1810 to 1813 (1902)

The Illinois State Archives, Black Hawk War Records. Ca. 1832-1891

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