Davenport Before the Forty-eighters

Map showing the lands assigned to emigrant Indians west of Arkansas and Missouri.

A map detailing Native American tribal lands at the time of the settlement in the city of Davenport, Iowa.

Before settlement of what would become the city of Davenport, the region was inhabited by many different Native American tribes. While the tribal territories shifted between a number of different tribes such as the Winnebago, Iowa, and Sioux, the Sauk and Meskwaki tribes controlled the area immediately before pioneer settlement.

Meskwaki and Sauk Migration

Map depicting the migration of the Sauk and Meskwaki tribes.

The Sauk and Meskwaki tribes both had migrated into the Iowa, Illinois, Missouri region in the early 1700's. The tribes had originated from areas far away and moved into the region after a lengthy history of migration due to outside pressure. These people had hoped to make this new land their permenant home. Many were eventually relocated to reservations in Kansas and Oklahoma, but a number reside today on the Federally recognized Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. 

Mac-cut-i-mish-e-ca-cu-cac or Black Hawk, a celebrated Sac chief / painted from life by J.O. Lewis at Detroit, 1833 ; Lehman & Duval lithrs.

Sauk Chief Black Hawk

In 1832 Chief Black Hawk along with member of the Sauk, Meskwaki, and Kickapoo tribes waged war against the United States of America over territorial disputes. The brief war that lasted less than a year resulted in the loss of lands for the Sac and Fox in the area surrounding where the Rock River flows into the Mississippi River. It was at this intersection of rivers on the west bank of the Mississippi River where the town of Davenport would be created.

Colonel George Davenport<br />
(from An Illustrated History of the State of<br />
Iowa, by Charles Richard Tuttle. 1876)

Colonel George Davenport c.1830

This sketch portrait resembles the namesake fo the city of Davenport, Col. George Davenport. An early settler of the area and soldier, he lived on Rock Island in Fort Armstrong. 

The City of Davenport, Iowa was established by Antoine Le Claire in the year 1836. Originally a pioneering farm town on the west bank of the Mississippi River, it served as a stopping point for boats passing through the rapids located before and after the area of the Mississippi River in which the city sits upon.

Antoine Le Claire

Antoine Le Claire c. 1830

One of the principle founders of the city of Davenport. His wife Marguritte was granted lands from Sac Chief Keokuk as part of a peace agreement between the Native Tribes and the United States Government in ending the Blackhawk War.

Davenport Before the Forty-eighters