View Full Version : Using whiskey to stir up Indian trouble...

09-05-2008, 20:48

"..... After the Clark’s had settled in, Col Davenport sent for Mr Clark and hired him to cut wild hay for the livestock at Ft Armstrong. Mr Clark completed the job and then proceeded to cut hay for his own use, determined to raise his own cattle. Davenport ordered him to stop but Clark paid no attention. Davenport became very angry because he didn’t want white settlers here. It would interfere with and possibly eventually stop his enormously profitable trade with the Indians. He did everything possible to discourage the Clarks from living there. He refused to sell them any clothing or provisions and with winter coming prospects looked dreary.

The family was saved by an unlikely set of circumstances. The captain of the steamboat that had brought them had left a barrel of whiskey with the Clarks to keep until he returned in the spring. Somehow, the soldiers at Ft Armstrong found out about this whiskey. There was a strict guard maintained to prevent any interaction with the lone family on the mainland. American soldiers can be very resourceful when confronted with this kind of problem. There was a cave under the Fort which provided access to the other shore and was unknown to the officers. The soldiers would steal out in pairs by night, go to the Clark cabin and exchange coffee, sugar, salt, flour, meat, and shoes for whiskey. Since this foiled Davenport’s plan to starve them out he had to resort to other tactics. He bribed the Indians from his large stock of trinkets to harass the Clark family

One afternoon while Mr Clark was away from the house, four half-drunk Indians riding two each on ponies, came to the cabin, entered, sat down on the floor and demanded food. Mrs Clark had little choice but to obey, but in the middle of the feast, Mr Clark returned unexpectedly. He commanded the Indians to ‘puk-a-chee’—go away. The Indians resisted the command but when Clark stepped out the door they followed. The door was one log high and as the half-drunk Indians came out, they stumbled over the sill. Mr Clark seized a pole he used for driving cattle and used it on the Indians, one after another, until they begged for mercy. He marched them to the river where they washed their bruises, and then mounted their ponies to ride away. At this point one of them raised a war club to throw at Clark but Clark picked up a fish gig and ran toward the Indian. This frightened him and all rode away as fast as they could for Saukenauk, their village.

The next day the family was surprised by a visit from Chief Black Hawk himself. After ascertaining the facts of the situation, Black Hawk filled his pipe, lit it, and after taking a few whiffs, handed it to Mr Clark who smoked it in his turn. The Chief hated the incursion of his land by the whites but he was a fair and just man. The incident did not totally stop Indian trouble because Davenport continued to stir it up, but it improved and the Indians were not so ready to harass the Clarks after knowing Black Hawk had smoked the pipe with Mr Clark."

09-05-2008, 20:55
And from Oklahoma....early western army dragoons and whiskey = trouble


"... Although settlers were permitted to sell liquor in United States garrisons, the trade was restricted and the punishments soldiers received for drunkenness would probably be called cruel and unusual in these days of scientific criminology.

"... “Charged with Drunkennefs while on Sick Report. Plea Guilty. The Court confirm the plea of the Prisoner and sentence him to 10 days confinement in the Cells on Bread & Water and to forfeit one month’s pay.”

"...The Court find the Prisoner Guilty as charged, and sentence him to stand in front of the Guard Room with an empty bottle in his hand from reveille to retreat, on a barrel, for 6 days and to forfeit $2 of his pay.”

"...“to be confined in charge of the Guard, for ten days, during that period to walk in front of the Guardhouse, every alternate two hours, between reveille and retreat, with a pack of stone weighing fifty pounds upon his back; and a stoppage of Two dollars of his pay.”

"...“fifteen days hard labor breaking stone in charge of the guard, and to a stoppage of Five dollars of his pay; and during his confinement to forfeit his ration of Sugar & Coffee, and make good any days lost by sicknefs.”

09-05-2008, 21:15
One of my ancestors was likely one of the first European settlers officially authorized to sell "wine of any sort, and strong liquors, to the Indians." William Cowdery was so authorized by the General Court of Massachusetts in 1654.

His remit gave him almost unlimited authority with one caveat, that he "shall not sell or deliver more than one pint to any one Indian at any one time upon any pretence whatever."

09-06-2008, 06:57
Chuck...alcohol indeed runs in your DNA!