With all these facts in view, therefore, their Father felt that the utmost watchfulness was necessary, and that the strongest arguments must be brought forward, to preserve the young men of the Winnebagoes in their allegiance to the Americans. Of the older members he felt quite sure. About fifty lodges had come at the commencement of the disturbances and encamped around our dwelling, saying that if the Sauks attacked us it must be after killing them; and, knowing them well, we had perfect confidence in their assurances.
But their vicinity, while it gave us a feeling of protection, likewise furnished us with a channel of the most exciting and agitating daily communications. As the theatre of operations approached nearer and nearer, intelligence was brought in by their runners—now, that “Captain Barney’s head had been recognized in the Sauk camp, where it had been brought the day previous,” next, that “the Sauks were carrying Lieutenant Beall’s head on a pole in front of them as they marched to meet the whites.” Sometimes it was a story which we afterwards found to be unhappily true, as that of the murder of their Agent, M. St Vrain, at Kellogg’s Grove, by the Sauks themselves, who ought to have protected him.
It was after the news of this last occurrence that the appointed council with the Winnebagoes was to be held at the Four Lakes, thirty-five miles distant from Fort Winnebago.
In vain we pleaded and remonstrated against such an exposure. “It was his duty to assemble his people and talk to them,” my husband said, “and he must run the risk, if there were any. He had perfect confidence in the Winnebagoes. The enemy, by all he could learn, were now far distant from the Four Lakes—probably at Kosh-ko-nong. He would set off early in the morning with Paquette, bold his council, and return to us the same evening.”
It were useless to attempt to describe our feelings during that long and dreary day. When night arrived, the cry of a drunken Indian, or even the barking of a dog, would fill our hearts with terror.
As we sat, at a late hour, at the open window, listening to every sound, with what joy did we at length distinguish the tramp of horses! We knew it to be Griffin and Jerry ascending the hill, and a cheerful shout soon announced that all was well. My husband and his interpreter had ridden seventy miles that day, besides holding a long “talk” with the Indians.