Chief Shabbona was living in this area when the first settlers came. The Native Americans tried to drive out the white invaders several times. But Shabbona realized that was impossible. During the Black Hawk War of 1832, he rode thru the countryside to warn the white settlements that the Natives were coming to attach.

His own people considered him a traitor, calling him “the White Man’s Friend.” They wanted to kill him.

He was given 1,280 acres at Paw Paw Grove by the grateful residents of DeKalb County. But, Shabbona repeatedly left to visit his people on their reservation west of the Mississippi. In 1849 while he was away, the commissioners decided that he had forfeited his right to the land by leaving it, so they sold it.

At the age of 75, Shabbona was without a home. He managed to survive by hunting and sponging off his white friends.

Finally in 1857 a group of concerned citizens raised enough money to buy him a 20 acre reservation in Grundy County—on the Illinois River near Dunn Road in Seneca. They built him a house and tried to provide for him. He died there on July 27, 1859 at the age of 84.

He’s buried in Evergreen Cemetery. Shabbona did not want a monument. He believed the life he led should be his only monument. But again the white interfered. In 1875 a group decided to raise $3,000 for the impressive marble monument you see on this certificate. If you donated enough money you got one of these certificates. That amount of money was never raised.

Instead the Wainwright family donated a granite boulder from their farm.

The picture was taken in August of 1898.

Perry Armstrong, long-time friend of Shabbona, wanted to give Shabbona’s daughter the opportunity to visit her father’s grave. So, he paid their train fare from Kansas and planned a special celebration at the Courthouse square. Here you see his granddaughter (Martha), her husband, Chief Cack Cack, and their daughter (Ruth). They stayed 5 days.

In the case is Shabbona’s pistol and a butter paddle he carved. The wood chopping or mixing bowl is carved from bird’s eye maple and the original owners, the Kennedys, once served food and drink in them to Shabbona.

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