Black Partridge (chief)
Sculpture from the Fort Dearborn Massacre Monument by Carl Rohl-Smith (1893). The sculpture portrays the rescue of Margaret Helm by Potawatomi chief Black Partridge.
Peoria Lake, Illinois
|Other names||Black Pheasant, Mucketeypokee, Mucktypoke, Mka-da-puk-ke, Muccutay Penay, Makadebakii, Mkadébki, Assikinack|
|Known for||Potawatomi chieftain during the Peoria War; rescued victims of the Fort Dearborn Massacre with his brother Waubonsie.|
|Parents||Wabb-shkum and Mah-jues|
Black Partridge or Black Pheasant (Potawatomi: Mucketeypokee, Mucktypoke, Mka-da-puk-ke, Muccutay Penay, Makadebakii, Mkadébki) (fl. 1795-1816) was a 19th-century Peoria Lake Potawatomi chieftain. Although a participant in the Northwest Indian War and the Peoria War, he was considered very friendly to early American settlers and was a longtime advocate of peaceful relations with the United States. He and his brother Waubonsie both attempted to protect settlers during the Fort Dearborn Massacre when they were unsuccessful in preventing the attack.
A memorial at the site of the massacre in present-day Chicago, Illinois includes a statue of Black Partridge preventing a tomahawk from hitting a Mrs. Margaret Helm, the wife of one of the defenders at Fort Dearborn. Black Partridge Woods, a state park in Cook County, Illinois, as well as Partridge Township in Woodford County, Illinois are also named in his honor.
Black Partridge is first recorded during the Northwest Indian War as a war chief under Matchekewis at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. He was later awarded a silver medal, with an engraving of President George Washington, from General "Mad" Anthony Wayne at the signing of the Treaty of Greenville on August 3, 1795; another account claims the medal was presented to him by General William Henry Harrison at the Treaty of Fort Wayne on September 30, 1809 and had the engraving of President James Madison. He wore the medal for several years afterwards to symbolize the Potawatomi's friendship with American settlers. One of the Potawatomi chieftains wishing to remain neutral during Tecumseh's War, he and Gomo refused to ally with Shawnee chieftain Tecumseh when approached by him during the summer of 1810. Black Partridge said to Tecumseh,
|“||I cannot join you. This token was given to me at Greenville by the great chief [Wayne]. On it you see the face of our father at Washington. As long as this hangs on my neck I can never raise my tomahawk against the whites.||”|
Although he was a strong supporter of peace, he was unable to control the younger tribal members and warriors eager to join Tecumseh's fight. He unsuccessfully tried to dissuade the Potawatomi from joining the attack at Fort Dearborn and, on the evening of August 14, 1812, he rode ahead of the main force arriving at Dearborn to return the medal to the fort commandant, Captain Nathan Heald.
|“||Father, I come to deliver up to you the medal I wear. It was given to me by the Americans, and I have long worn it in token of our mutual friendship. Our young men are resolved to imbue their hands in the blood of the whites. I cannot restrain them, and I will not wear a token of peace while I am compelled to act as an enemy.||”|
During the ensuing Fort Dearborn Massacre, he and his brother Waubonsie tried to protect the settlers from the atrocities being carried out by the attackers. Black Partridge apparently saved the life of a Mrs. Margaret Helm, the wife of Lieutenant Lenai T. Helm and stepdaughter of Indian trader John Kinzie, by holding her underwater under the appearance of drowning her in Lake Michigan. He later had her taken to a nearby Indian camp where her wounds were dressed. Black Partridge also helped free her husband who was being held captive by the Red Head Chief at Kankakee. Delivering the ransom on behalf on U.S. Indian Agent Thomas Forsyth, he voluntarily offered his pony, rifle and a gold ring along with the original written order for $100 signed by General George Rodgers Clark.
Returning to his village on Peoria Lake however, he found his village had been burned by the Illinois Rangers from Edwardsville under orders from Governor Ninian Edwards. Among the massacred villages included his daughter and his grandchild. Taking 200 warriors from nearby villages, as well as 100 from Shequenebec and another 100 from Mittitass, he joined in the attack against Fort Clark on September 19, 1813 although this attack was repulsed by the fort's defenders. Black Hawk, then a young warrior, was also present at the attack. Black Partridge and his band eventually surrendered after being driven back to Fort Clark by General Henry Dodge and Major Zachary Taylor He was one of the 13 chieftains escorted by Colonel George Davenport to St. Louis where peace was signed between the Potawatomi and the United States. He was a later signatory of several treaties between the Potawatomi and the United States government.
In popular culture
- Myrtle Reed's The Shadow of Victory: A Romance of Fort Dearborn (1903)
- Randall Parrish's When Wilderness was King: A Tale of the Illinois Country (1904)
- H.R. Gordon's Black Partridge, or the Fall of Fort Dearborn (1906)
- Julia Cooley Altrocchi's Wolves Against the Moon (1957)
- Jerry Crimmins's Fort Dearborn: A Novel (2006)
- Quaifo, Milo M. Chicago's Highways, Old and New: From Indian Trail to Motor Road. Chicago: D.F. Keller & Company, 1923. (pg. 243)
- Wolfe, Gerard R. Chicago: In and Around the Loop : Walking Tours of Architecture and History. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996. (336, 339) ISBN 0-07-071390-1
- Vogel, Virgil J. "Indian Place Names in Illinois Part II". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. Vol. LV. No. 2. (Summer 1962): 55, 386.
- Dye, Eva Emery. The Conquest: The True Story of Lewis and Clark. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Company, 1902. (pg. 104)
- Hamilton, James Cleveland. The Georgian Bay: An Account of Its Position, Inhabitants, Mineral Interests, Fish, Timber and Other Resources. Toronto: James Bain & Son, 1893.(pg. 74-76)
- Dye, Eva Emery. The Conquest: The True Story of Lewis and Clark. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Company, 1902. (pg. 355)
- Dye, Eva Emery. The Conquest: The True Story of Lewis and Clark. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Company, 1902. (pg. 358)
- Parrish, Randall. When Wilderness was King: A Tale of the Illinois Country. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1904. (pg. 186)
- Dye, Eva Emery. The Conquest: The True Story of Lewis and Clark. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Company, 1902. (pg. 367-368)
- Federal Writers' Project. Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1939. (pg. 360)
- Dodge, Robert. Tristram Dodge and His Descendants in America. new York: J.J. Little & Co., 1886. (pg. 147)
- Watson, Nehemiah. Pioneers of Illinois: Containing a Series of Sketches Relating to Events that Occurred Previous to 1813. Chicago: Knight & Leonard Printers, 1882. (pg. 291)
- Watson, Nehemiah, Watson. French and Indians of Illinois River. Princeton, Illinois: Republican Job Printing Establishment, 1874. (pg. 248)
- Peters, Richard. The Statutes at Large and Treaties of the United States of America from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845. Vol. VII. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1846. (pg. 123, 147-148)