Fort Crawford, Prairie de Chien, Wi. June 30, 1835. p., on a quarto sheet. Original mailing folds, mild toning, minor edge wear. Very good. Item #WRCAM55929
A rare frontier communication from future president Zachary Taylor during his time as an Indian Agent in Wisconsin Territory. Here, Taylor approves $54.50 for services rendered by William Yoakum "as labourer or agriculturist in the Winnebago Indian farm on Yellow River on the west side of the Mississippi near Prairie du Chien under the 5th Article of the Treaty of Fort Armstrong Rock Island Illinois of 15th Sept., 1832 for three months & nineteen days...." Taylor's authorization states that Yoakum's account is "just & true" and that Yoakum's services were "faithfully rendered for the benefit of the Indians...." Yoakum acknowledges receipt of the wages from J.B.W. Stockton, "Military disbursing Agent for the Indian Department," in a short signed note below Taylor's authorization. Zachary Taylor previously commanded Fort Crawford from 1829 until the Black Hawk War broke out in 1832, at which time he led forces against Chief Black Hawk in Illinois and Wisconsin. In August 1832, after the Battle of Bad Axe, Chief Black Hawk surrendered to Taylor at Fort Crawford. Before he was ordered to Florida to take command of U.S. forces during the Second Seminole War in 1837, Taylor worked as an Indian Agent along the upper Mississippi River, and served again as commandant at Fort Crawford, where he supervised the final stages of construction for the Indian Mission School referenced in the current document. William Yoakum's work was quite possibly of an educational nature at the Yellow River Indian Mission School, which was established about ten miles from Fort Crawford, at Allamakee, Iowa, and opened in the spring of 1835. Taylor's document is dated just a couple of months later, at the end of June, 1835. As Bruce E. Mahan writes in "The School on the Yellow River" (1924), agriculture was one of the stated educational purposes at the mission school (his text also echoes some of the language in Taylor's authorization): "By the terms of the treaty of 1832, made and signed at Rock Island by the United States of America on the one hand and the Winnebago tribe of Indians on the other, the former agreed to erect a suitable building, or buildings, with a garden and a field attached, somewhere near Fort Crawford, and to establish and maintain therein, for a term of twenty-seven years, a boarding school for the education of such Winnebago children as might be sent to it. The school was to be conducted by two or more teachers, male and female, and the children were to be taught, according to their age and sex, reading, writing, arithmetic, gardening, AGRICULTURE [emphasis ours], carding, spinning, weaving, sewing, and such other branches of useful knowledge as the President of the United States might prescribe." A rare original document from Zachary Taylor's tenure as commander of Fort Crawford, with content related to Native American education. Bruce E. Mahan: "The School on the Yellow River" in THE PALIMPSEST, Vol. 5 (1924), pp.446-52.