JULY 17, 1859


Born circa 1775, grandnephew of Pontiac, Shabbona’s name meant “Built Like A Bear.”  Around 1800, he married the daughter of a Pottawatomi chief and, upon the chief’s death, Shabbona succeeded him as chief.  In the War of 1812, he was with Tecumseh when the great chief died at the Battle of the Thames.  His war experiences convinced him of the futility of armed resistance to white encroachments.  In 1832, Black Hawk tried to persuade Shabbona to join him in waging war.  While Black Hawk compared their combined forces to the trees in the forest, Shabbona compared whites to the leaves on the trees.  He protected white settlers, but with disastrous consequences.  The Sac and Fox made attempts on his life and did kill his son and nephew.  Despite his peaceful efforts, all tribes were removed from Illinois after the war.  The Pottawatomi were marched to Nebraska and Kansas in the “Pottawatomi Trail of Death.”  The town of Ottawa later bought Shabbona land near Seneca where he stayed until his death.   

Source:  “The Saga of Chief Shabbona,” Pekin Daily Times, 9/7/2017.  Retrieved 7/6/2019, http://www.pekintimes.com/article/20120907/ENTERTAINMENTLIFE/120909730
Photo:  Author Unknown.  Date:  Pre-1908.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Likely Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.

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