Favor of God's Peace in Indian History
Not much is written on Indian history in Muscatine. The city was a site of an early trading post and there was a small village on the south side of Muscatine. The early Indians were of the Fox and Sac tribes and it is written that the majority of them were peaceful.
There is at least one event that stands out in the history of Indians in Muscatine. This episode occurred in 1837-1838. A small band of Indians were living near Moscow, Iowa. A few of the Indians would go to Rochester to drink at the grocery store owned by a man named Mr. Ross. One night, Ross and his friends tried to throw out the drunken Indians. Little Bear, the chief’s younger brother, was knocked unconscious by Ross and then beaten to death. The other Indians fled and Ross was arrested. By morning he was released on a technicality and quietly disappeared. It has been recorded in the writings of early settlers that the Indians met at the Muscatine Fairgrounds (west hill) for a week long funeral and meeting about the murder of Little Bear. This happened just after the Black Hawk Wars. Therefore, no one wanted to go to war again, and it was decided in favor of peace.
Unfortunately, the story does not end here. Some of Little Bear’s friends were angry and swore revenge on all white men. Around this time, a man named Reynolds, a Methodist minister from Rochester, had gone to Iowa City to minister to the trappers. On his journey home, Little Bear’s friends found him alone and scalped him. No writings on Indian history tell what happened to Mr. Reynolds’ wife and children or the Indians that killed him. Thank You Father God that the people of Muscatine chose Peace, not war, not strife, nor abuse, but Peace. Due to this decision, the Peace of God is upon this city.
Muscatine Indian Artifacts taken by Debra Kerr
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