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History of American Towns- Prophetstown, Illinois

Updated on November 17, 2015

White Cloud

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public domain

The Prophet

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.

VW Camper

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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    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      You are definitely in Blackhawk country.There is a lot around there that you should find interesting. Having spent most of my life in the Midwest I sort of take a certain amount of Indian presence for granted.The town I wrote about here i a pleasant little place but not very big.

      Thanks for commenting.

      By the way, I just finished reading a book titled "Wicked River the Mississippi" I forgot the name of the author but it is choke full of river history and lore.

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors

      Here it is! I just met Roger Pavey, an author who has published a novel based on the events of the Blackhawk war. Catlin's oil painting at Wickenburg, Arizona references these events also. Fascinating stuff. It is amazing that these industrial river cities have so much native american lore. (Well, not really surprising, but difficult to envision). We may have to take an excursion to Prophetstown. So interesting in light of the other "prophetstown" down river, don't you think?

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for the compliment and comment. I do think we have to learn from history.

    • mquee profile image

      mquee 7 years ago from Columbia, SC

      Very good hub on one of my favorite topics. Native American history and history in general is so interesting and informative. Thanks for an exceptional hub.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for reading it and commenting.

      I learn more about them when I research, also.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      Good article. I like reading on the history of the American Indian. I enjoyed reading your article.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I liked the town when we were there.I seem to have inadvertently got a string of hubs somehow related. The Davenport one for example as well as Fort Armstrong.I think I'll do Buffalo Bill next as he originally came from Le Claire, Iowa not far from the Quad Cities. There is a Buffalo Bill homestead near Scott County Park.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I also like the continuation of the Indian theme. It sounds like a beautiful area.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids


      I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for reading it and commenting.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Great research I enjoyed the continuation of Black Hawk's history here.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Tom Whitworth,

      Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you liked it.This hub is kind of a spin off from the one on Black Hawk, although I didn't realize it until I started researching.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 7 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Great research and great hub. I'm very interested in Native Americans and their history!!!!!!!!!