Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick


According to Mrs. Fordyce, old Chief Blackhawk stopped by one day on his way to Keokuk. Accompanied by several other Indians, he came to the back door of the Fordyce home and asked for a drink. Mrs. Fordyce gave all of the Indians a drink of water, gave him some food, and had the opportunity to talk and visit with the chief for some time.

Seth’s father Jarius Fordyce settled in the area during the winter of 1839. At this time, a band of some 40 Indians were encamped along the bluff overlooking the small creek that ran through the Fordyce land (a branch of Little Lick Creek.)

During the winter, one of the Indian girls died and was buried according to Indian traditions, on top of the cliff, although the grave has never been found as it was not marked. The group was a fading remnant of the Sac and Fox nation, and were not exactly peaceful as they would constantly interfere with the progress of the whites even though they were being driven into new territory. Finally, they left during the summer of 1840 and never returned.

A man, his wife, and nine children were traveling westward. The parents had become ill and when they reached the tavern, begged to be taken in. Seth and his brother-in-law cared for these people even after discovering that they were victims of the dreaded cholera plague. Valiant efforts could not save the couple, and so they were buried on the Fordyce farm near the grave of Seth’s father Jarius.

Word was sent back to Pennsylvania that the couple had died while Mr. and Mrs. Fordyce along with several neighbors cared for the nine children until their uncle arrived for them and took them back to their roots.

(from an article in the Fairfield Daily Ledger dated March 13, 1929.)

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick