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Rock Island, United States Garrison

1835-1836 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 5/8 x 27 5/8 in. (49.7 x 70.2 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.328 Not currently on view


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Rock Island was included in lands ceded by Sac and Fox Indians to the federal government in a treaty signed in 1804. After the War of 1812, the United States Army built a small fort called Fort Armstrong near the western tip of the island; the intent was to keep the Mississippi River open to traffic and to protect the settlers soon to be arriving from the east. After witnessing a treaty there in 1835, George Catlin discussed some of its provisions: “The Sacs and Foxes are already drawing an annuity of 27,000 dollars, for thirty years to come, in cash; and by the present Treaty just concluded that amount will be enlarged to 37,000 dollars per annum. This Treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, held at Rock Island, was for the purchase of a tract of land of 256,000 acres, lying on the Ioway river, West of the Mississippi, a reserve which was made in the tract of land conveyed to the Government by Treaty after the Sac war, and known as the ‘Black Hawk purchase.’ The Treaty has been completed by Governor Dodge, by stipulating on the part of Government to pay them seventy-five cents per acre for the reserve, (amounting to 192,000 dollars).” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 56, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - domestic - house

Architecture Exterior - military - fort

Landscape - Illinois - Rock Island

Landscape - island - Rock Island

Landscape - river

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added