The next settlement, Valley Home, was reached at 6 PM. Here, the long wave of the ocean land broke into shorter seas and for the first time that day we saw stones, locally called rocks (a Western term embracing every thing between a pebble and a boulder), the produce of nullahs and ravines. A well 10 to 12 feet deep supplied excellent water. The ground was in places so far reclaimed as to be divided off by posts and rails, the scanty crops of corn (Indian corn), however were wilted and withered by the drought, which this year had been unusually long. Without changing mules we advanced to Kennekuk, where we halted for an hour's supper under the auspices of Major Baldwin, whilom Indian agent; the place was clean, and contained at least one charming face.
Kennekuk derives its name from a chief of the Kickapoos, in whose reservation we now are. This tribe, in the days of the Baron la Hontan (1689), a great traveler but “aiblins,” as Sir Walter Scott said of his grandmither, “a prodigious story teller,” then lived on the Rivière des Puants, or Fox River, upon the brink of a little lake supposed to be the Winnebago ,near the Sakis (Osaki, Sawkis, Sauks, or Sacs), and the Pouteoustamies (Potawottomis). They are still in the neighborhood of their dreaded foes, the Sacs and Foxes, who are described as stalwart and handsome bands, and they have been accompanied in their southern migration from the waters westward of the Mississippi, through Illinois, to their present southern seats by other allies of the Winnebagos, the Iowas, Nez Percés, Ottos, Omahas, Kansas, and Osages. Like the great nations of the Indian Territory, the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, they form intermediate social links in the chain of civilization between the outer white settlements and the wild nomadic tribes to the west, the Dakotas and Arapahos, the Snakes and Cheyennes. They cultivate the soil, and rarely spend the winter in hunting buffalo upon the plains. Their reservation is twelve miles by twenty-four; as usual with land set apart for the savages, it is well watered and timbered, rich and fertile: it lies across the path and in the vicinity of civilization; consequently the people are greatly demoralized. The men are addicted to intoxication, and the women to unchastity; both sexes and all ages are inveterate beggars, whose principal industry is horse-stealing. Those Scottish clans were the most savage that vexed the Lowlands; it is the case here: the tribes nearest the settlers are best described by Colonel B-’, s phrase “great liars and dirty dogs.” They have well nigh cast off the Indian attire, and rejoice in the splendors of boiled and ruffled shirts, after the fashion of the whites. According to our host, a stalwart son of that soil which for generations has sent out her best blood westward, Kain-tuk-ee, the Land of the Cane, the Kickapoos number about 300 souls, of whom one-fifth are braves. He quoted a specimen of their facetiousness: when they first saw a crinoline, they pointed to the wearer and cried, “There walks a wigwam.” Our “vertugardin” of the 19th century has run the gauntlet of the world’s jests, from the refined impertinence of Mr Punch to the rude grumble of the American Indian and the Kaffir of the Cape.