Pioneer Account Mention of James Noyes in the Blackhawk War

This article was provided courtesy of Nancy Benton and transcribed by me. It is a pioneer account with a mention of James Noyes in the Blackhawk War.

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Pioneer and Historical Collections

Vol. XXX 1903-1904
Autobiographical Notes concerning E. Lakin Brown who went to Kalamazoo Co. in 1829

Page 454-455.

In the spring of 1832 occurred the Black Hawk war. One night in April, after all were abed, a loud rap was heard at the door, which proved to be by an expressman from White Pigeon, bearing orders for the militia of the county to be called out; the Indians in Illinois had risen and were slaughtering the inhabitants. They had taken some military posts in Chicago, and the whole country was in danger. A gathering was held as soon as possible in the unfinished hotel, and the people from Virginia Corners, and elsewhere in the neighborhood, assembled. Dr. David E. Brown was Colonel of militia, Hosea Huston at Bronson was Major, and Isaac Branes of Gull Prairie was Lieutenant Colonel. The first thing was to send a messenger with the express to Bronson and Gull Prairie. A volunteer was called for to go. As no one else offered, I volunteered. Mr. Elijah Fletcher had a big black stallion which was kept in our barn. I saddled and mountd him and started about midnight, very dark, rode to Bronson, and in front of the store hailed Huston, crying, “The Indians are upon us!” Huston came o the window half dazed. I explained matters to him and went on to Gull Prairie, getting there just at daylight. I left the express with Colonel Barnes, got some breakfast and started home. When I arrived, all the settlers in the neighborhood were collected at Schoolcraft. Addison Smith had been having a pow-wow with old Sagamaw, chief of the Potawatomies in the neighborhood, as it was feared that these Indians might become hostile. I received the formal thanks of Colonel Brown. The men liable to duty were dismissed, with orders to hold themselves in readiness for duty on call. A few days passed and orders came for the Kalamazoo regiment to march at once for Niles. It met at Schoolcraft, organized and started. Captain James Noyes of Gourd neck Prairie and Ephraim Harrison of Prairie Ronde, were captains of the Prairie troops, and there were perhaps two other companies from the north part of the county. Thaddeus Smith went as fifer. Addison Smith had just been appointed postmaster in place of Col. Fellows, so he was exempt. Peter Kniss and I occupied the same tent. One Thomas W. Merrill had been occupying a room in our garret, and had a rifle there. He was away, and I took the rifle, went to the blacksmith’s shop and cast two or three pounds of bullets and was ready for Black Hawk. We went on and reached Niles the second day, and there received notice that the army, under General Jacob Brown, was about to start and had no provisions to spare, and that we were not needed; and we were ordered to return home.

For this experience in war, beside a month’s pay, I afterward received bounty warrants, first for forty acres of land and then for 120 more. The last I exchanged for a gold watch; thus sacrificing to the sentimental what might have been a very pretty property. In coming home I rode part of the way in the baggage-wagon, driven by Mr. John Howard of Dry Prairie, who drove an ox-team to haul cannon balls for Washington’s army at the capture of Cornwallis.

Transcribed by JMK

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