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History of American Towns- Prophetstown, Illinois
Prophetstown is named for Wabokieshiek (White Cloud) a medicine man known as “the Prophet.” And also friend and adviser to Chief Black Hawk. Born in 1794 he presided over the village known as “prophet’s village” on the Rock River. He was half Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) and half Sauk and had great influence over both tribes.
When Black Hawk’s lieutenant, Neopope, went to Canada to consult with the British authorities in regard to retaining the land on the Rock River, he stopped at the Prophet’s village on his return. He stayed the winter and told White Cloud of his mission. White Cloud was known for his cruelty and hostility to Americans and he it saw as an opportunity to make trouble for the White man. It is said that he performed incantations, had several visions and prophesied that Black Hawk should move against the whites he would be joined by the “Great Spirit” and a large Amy would enable hin to overcome the whites,
These reports added to Neopope’s false reports from the British and induced Black Hawk to start the war that bears his name. Keokuk one of the S auk leaders is said to have blamed the Prophet for all the trouble. After the war White Cloud was captured along with Black Hawk and lived in obscurity afterward.
The town has stuck in my mind because the old VW Camper we had was having engine problems. We were offered help by several people including the local police officer. The trouble with these old VW’s is that so many people think they know about them but usually don’t. However, they did help us find an accommodating motel. We had a German Shepherd/border collie mix dog and not all motels are ready to accommodate them.
Since we were really not too far from home a neighbor came out to get us and I had the VW towed to a Volkswagen garage in Rock Island.
The name of the town stuck in my mind. Who was the prophet?
The city, located in Whiteside County, IL. has a population of about 2000. Prophetstown State Park is on the northeast edge of the city along the south bank of the Rock River in Whiteside County. The area is used for camping, nature trails picnicking, fishing and hunting. At one time 14 Indian villages were there.
The downtown features a series of historical murals and Eclipse Square Park has a selection of interesting stores and dining possibilities.
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