Reminiscences of Early Peoria
by Odillon B. Slane
Shabbona page 42
SHABBONA --- "FRIEND OF THE WHITE MAN"
HE was Shabbona, "friend of the white man." He was particularly friendly with the Louis Bailey family, Pioneers of Stark County, Shabbona used to walk across the wide prairie from Peoria to the Bailey home in Stark County and stay with them several days, sleeping always on the floor at night, rolled up in his blanket, feet to the fire.
When news came that Black Hawk was getting ready to make war on the whites, he sent for Shabbona to sit around the Council fires with him. Black Hawk wanted Shabbona to help in gathering together the tribes. He said to Shabbona, "If you will gather together the tribes in the South, we will have an army like the trees of the forest and we can easily drive the pale faces from the Country." Shabbona slowly shook his head and replied, "Yes, Black Hawk, but the pale faces will raise an army like the leaves of the trees of the forest, and drive the Indians to the setting sun." Finding it was useless to argue with Black Hawk, Shabbona withdrew from the Council fires, mounted his pony and rode in haste to warn the scattered white settlers. His son, Pypegee, and his nephew, Pypt, also took their ponies and rode night and day to warn the people.
Some came to Peoria for protection, others went to Fort Dearborn, now Chicago. Some who did not heed their warning were massacred.
It is said that there are seventeen ways of spelling this chief's name. The three ways, however, used most are: --- Shaubena, Shabbona, and Shabbonee.
The National Masonic Research Society has published in its magazine, "The Builder," a statement that Shabbona was a Freemason. I verily believe this is true, and because of the fact that many of the pioneers of Illinois were Masons, the fraternal spirit had much to do in making Shabbona the friend that he was to the whites. He died July 17, 1859, aged eighty-four years. He is buried on lot 59, block 7, in the Morris Cemetery.
Chapter 20 Chapter 22
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Updated September 20, 2005