BLACK HAWK (1767-3 Oct. 1838) was an American Indian chief of the Sauk, and leader of the Black Hawk War against the U.S. in 1832. Born in a Sauk village on Rock River, Ill., near the present day city of Rock Island, Ill., he came to Cleveland in 1833 to visit his mother's grave on the CUYAHOGA RIVER. Although some men from Cleveland served in the Black Hawk War, the village was unaffected directly by the war, although indirectly 50 Clevelanders died from an epidemic of cholera brought by a troop boat returning from the war. The boat had been denied docking in Detroit, but after consultation was allowed to stop in Cleveland, where the epidemic spread.
After the war, Black Hawk was taken into custody by the U.S. government and brought east to meet with President Andrew Jackson. Returning westward, he asked to stop in Cleveland for a day — purportedly in order to visit his mother's grave. Stories written long after the visit noted that while in Cleveland, Black Hawk was given a canoe or boat, and he paddled up the river alone to a bluff overlooking the valley (possibly from the southeast corner of RIVERSIDE CEMETERY). He remained there for a short time, and upon returning, he reportedly had tears in his eyes. After stopping in Cleveland, Black Hawk was brought west to the Sauk reservation in Iowa where he was buried. His body was stolen in 1839, mutilated, and burned in a fire at the Historical Society of Burlington, Iowa where it had been placed after it had been recovered.
Black Hawk (M.M. Quaife, ed.). Life of Black Hawk (1832).