As a child my great grandma Williamson Beebe
played with Indian children from a tribe that lived nearby on the
high banks of the Mississippi River. She never said, that I can
recall, what kind of Indians they were, but an educated guess is
that they were either Illini or Ioway Indians.
state of Illinois just across the river was named after the Illini tribe. The Ioway tribes
were kin to the famous Sioux who lived further west, but
didn't get along with their non farming cousins very well. Although
Illini and Ioway are best guesses because both lived on Mississippi in Iowa, there are other possibilities
hundred years earlier the English built strings of forts across the
trade routes to the great lakes and in the Ohio Valley. Military pressure was applied to the
local Indians to increasingly move ever westward. Among Indian tribes
forced by the English westward to Iowa were the Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo and
Ojibwa, but that list isn't exhaustive.
Additional stress upon the hunting grounds
resulted from new tribes taking up residence and caused wars among
the various resident Indian tribes. So it appears that the new tribes
moved to different areas across the State of Iowa and separated behind
more or less defendable
Before 1833 Indian tribes dominated what would later become Des Moines County. In 1834 there
were only two counties in all of Iowa, Des Moines and Dubuque. In
1836 Des Moines County was divided up into seven counties, Des
Moines, Lee, Van Buren, Henry, Louisa, Muscatine and Cook.
to great grandma was like getting live news from Iowa of the
mid 1800's. Born in 1864, she remembered nothing about the
civil war, but she remembered stories of soldiers removing Indians from their homes in Illinois. She remembered
the Battle of The Little Bighorn. She knew people who survived the battle.
As a child I imagined that grandma had
actually experienced the events of which she told, but as an adult
my perception tells me that grandma wasnt that
old. With pride I relate the stories I heard, with
head-hanging apologies for any lapses or omissions of in memory.
Ancient Legend - Where We Came From
legend told of ancient ones who lived by a green river at a place
called, "White Water That Does Not Flow."
believed that their land was formed by a great white snake that
came down from the north and burrowed out the canyons
and lakes of their homeland.
When the snake
went away back to the north, it left behind trails of large bones of
strange animals it had eaten.
To the right find a depiction of a giant sloth that once
roamed what is now Iowa.
Old Ones believed the moon was their mother and the
sun was their father; that their forbears descended
from animals and lived underground. Since they
emerged from underground as people, they have since believed that their
spirits, both good and evil, have continued to live in the animals
and as a tribe they are one with the animals and nature.