Saturday, October 3, 2015

It was a Time of Dread

In 1832 fighting had erupted between members of the Fox and Sauk tribes and the Illinois and Michigan territorial militia in what would become known as the Blackhawk war. Pioneer families living in remote homesteads fled their lands leaving behind their personal property and livestock.

Two weeks after fleeing, several men decided to go back to their homes to reclaim what they could. One of these men was a young private in the militia, Elijah Phillips. On June the 18th, as the men saw to their property a band of 30 Native Americans crept into hidden positions around the cabins....and waited.

Philips and another man, Sylvester Brigham, walked out onto the porch of one of the cabins and spoke for a few minutes before Brigham returned inside. When he did the Indians opened fire. Philips was struck down by two shots and the band of natives swarmed upon him with their tomahawks.

To mark this event a memorial boulder and plaque was erected on the site of the killing in 1932. The plaque reads "To Commemorate the One Hundredth anniversary of the death of Elijah Phillips who came from New Hampshire to Illinois, in 1831,in his 21st year and was killed by Indians,June 18th,1832 during the Blackhawk war. Of such Stern Fabric was Woven the History of Bureau County."

A big shout out and Thank You to Scott Mecum and Sleek Images Photography for helping me locate the spot and joining me on the photo shoot.

It lies just a mile and a half off route 34 north of Dover. And as you can see from the photo's it's well looked after. If you're ever out that way, stop for a moment and pay homage to one of the early pioneers of our great land.


  1. Lived in the area for 74 years and this is the first I've heard of this. 6 miles from home; who'd a thunk?

    1. There's history all around us. All we have to do is Look for it.


If you have a comment or know of a place that would make for a great future article drop me a line. Thanks!