The Red Men of Iowa - 1882 - O

The Red Men of Iowa ... 
By A. R. Fulton. Des Moines: Mills & Company, 1882.


ONE-EYED DECORAH submitted by Dick Barton

The younger Decorah, distinguished by the epithet "One-Eyed Decorah," was the son of Waukon-Decorah. While young he had the misfortune to lose his right eye. Probably the most notable act of his life was the assistance he rendered in 1832, in the capture of the fallen chief Black Hawk, and the Prophet. He was one of the two Winnebagoes, who, on the 27th of August, delivered the fugitives to the agent, General Street, at Prairie du Chien, on which occasion "One-Eyed Decorah" made the following speech:

"My father, I now stand before you. When we parted I told you I would return soon, but I could not come any sooner. We had to go a great distance. You see we have done what you sent us to do. These (pointing to the prisoners) are the two you told us to get. We have done what you told us to do. We always do what you tell us, because we know it is for our good. Father, you told us to get these men, and it would be the cause of much good to the Winnebagoes. We have brought them but it has been very hard for us to do so. That one (Black Hawk) was a great way off. You told us to bring them to you alive; we have done so. If you had told us to bring their heads alone, we would have done so, and it would have been less difficult than what we have done. Father, we deliver them now into your hands. We would not deliver them even to our brother, the chief of the warriors, but to you, because we know you, and we believe you are our friend. We want you to keep them safe; if they are to be hurt we do not wish to see it. Wait until we are gone before it is done. Father, many little birds have been flying about our ears of late, and we thought they whispered to us that there was evil intended for us; but now we hope these evil birds will let our ears alone. We know you are our friend because you took our part, and that is the reason we do what you tell us to do. You say you love your red children; we think we love you as much, if not more, than you love us. We have confidence in you and you may rely on us. We have been promised a great deal if we would take these men - that it would do much good to our people. We now hope to see what will be done for us. We have come in haste; we are tired and hungry. We now put these men into your hands. We have done all that you told us to do."

We know but little more of the career of "One-Eyed Decorah" that is worthy of being related. His participation in the capture of Black Hawk and the Prophet will hardly be considered as reflecting much credit upon his character. He contracted an inordinate fondness for strong drink, and became, indeed, "a degenerate son of a noble sire."