Warren County Circuit Court

William Martin was shot and scalped by two Indians, near Little York, Warren county, August 9th, 1832. In their report at the October term of the Warren Circuit Court, the Grand jurors say:

“Six or seven Indians of Keokuk’s band of Sac and Fox Indians who were not included in the war path under Black Hawk and other chiefs of the Sac and Fox, nation, came over from the western bank of the Mississippi river to the inhabited parts of Warren county, in said State. and unlawfully and feloniously murdered the said William Martin in the most barbarous manner. That the names of the said Indians are unknown to the Grand Jury. That two of the said Indians have been heretofore given up by the chiefs of said Indians, that they were confined in the Fort at Rock Island for some time but have made their escape, and are now at large in their own country. That the Grand jury cannot now find an indictment because the names of the said Indiana are unknown to said jury. But they recommend that the Governor of the State be furnished with a copy of this presentment, and that he be desired to request of the President of the United States that the whole of the said Indians concerned in the said murder may be demanded of the said Sac and Fox nation that they may be indicted and punished for murder under the authority of the laws of this State.”

In compliance with the demand of the President, the chiefs surrendered four Indians, namely, with their Interpretations; Sa-sa-pi-ma (he that troubleth). Ka-ke-mo (he that speaks with something in his mouth). I-o-nah (stay here). Wa-pa-sha-kon (the white string).

Concerning which, the Grand jury at the June term 1833 say:

“From an examination made by this Grand Jury they we now able to state that the four Indians lately surrendered by the chiefs at the request of the President of the United States, are not the real murderers of Martin. The chiefs represent that at the time the demand was made the real offenders had escaped from the territory and power of their nation. That the prisoners now in custody volunteered themselves to be surrendered in place of those who escaped, and that from custom amongst Indians, they supposed this would be a sufficient compliance with the requisition of the President. The Grand jury will not positively say that the chiefs have prevaricated, but they do say that the demand already made has been eluded.”

By a writ of habeas corpus, the four Indians above named were brought before the judge, presiding, Hon. Richard M. Young, June 14th, 1833, and released.

Indictment was returned against the real murderers, Shash-quo-washi, Muck-que-che-qua, Muck-qua-pal-ashah, and Was-a-wau-a-quot, who, “not having the fear of God before their eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigations of the devil,” killed Wm. Martin. The indictment was drawn by Thomas Ford, States Attorney, and recites that William Martin was shot a little below the shoulder blade. Among the witnesses named were Keokuk and Stabbing Chief. The guilty parties were never arrested, and a “nolle prosequi” was entered at the October term at court, 1835.


Martin, Young,

Black Hawk, Patterson, J. B., editor, Leclair, Atoine, interpreter  Autobiography of Black Hawk or Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak, Self Published by J. B. Patterson, 1882.

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