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Houses of the Sauk and Fox Tribes

It is not the purpose of the present sketch to trace the early migrations of the Sauk and Fox tribes, or to refer to their connection, linguistically or socially. However, it is evident their villages were similar in appearance, and both had two distinct forms of habitations which were occupied during different seasons of the year. The summer villages of both tribes consisted of bark houses, and near by were gardens in which they raised corn, squashes, beans, and some tobacco, but with the coming of autumn the families scattered and sought the more protected localities where game was to be secured, and there erected the dome-shaped, mat-covered lodge, resembling the structures of other tribes of the region. The middle of the eighteenth century found the two tribes established in villages near the mouth of Rock River, on the left bank of the Mississippi, in the present Rock Island County, Illinois. Here they were visited by Long and his small party August 1, 1817, at which time the Fox settlement “containing about thirty cabins, with two fires each;” stood on the left bank of Rock River, at its junction with the Mississippi. The Sauk village was 2 miles up Rock River and consisted “of about one hundred cabins, of two, three, and in some instances, four fires each,” and it was, so Long wrote, “by far the largest Indian village situated in the neighborhood of the Mississippi between St. Louis and the Falls of St. Anthony.”1 This was the birthplace, in the year 1767, of the great Sank leader Black Hawk. At the time of Long’s visit the people of...

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