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Hawksnest (The 1800's)

Another Cicely Web Page!


Woof, welcome to another Cicely website. This page is a compiled history of the Hawksnest Hills, also known as Huyawayapaahdi, Hechaote, Great Coteau, Chief Hill, Pilot Knob. If you can't snif out what your looking for, e-mail me at and we will do our best to dig up what your looking for. Have a site that should be in the bone pile, send it. Thanks for stoping by and please place your paw print in our guest book!
Walking Paws

By 1800 the fur traders from Canada were frequent visitors to this region and a trade route had been established between posts near Lake Winnipeg and the Missouri River Indian villages. The Prairies had numerous buffalo paths worn deep and wide leading to the watering places or salt licks.
Explorer Alexander Henry traveled in the region in 1800 and described buffalo herds in great numbers about the Turtle, Park, Goose and Sheyenne rivers.  In places small timber had been destroyed and great piles of wool lay at the foot of the trees, where the buffalo had rubbed against them.

An expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark entered North Dakota in 1804 and wintered near the present town of Washburn on its way to the Pacific Coast. This temporary post, Fort Mandan, was frequently visited by nearby Indians. The Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806 returned down the river on its way back to St. Louis.
By 1812 an agricultural colony was established near Pembina by settlers from Canada under the authority of a royal grant to Lord Selkirk.
The Yellowstone, the first steamboat on the upper Missouri, reached Fort Union in 1832.

With several notable exceptions, contact between the Native peoples and American traders, explorers, and military personnel in the Northern Plains remained peaceful during the early 19th Century. Indians became instrumental in the fur trade; major trading posts at Fort Union and Fort Clark, and others of lesser significance, catered mainly to Native trappers and hunters. In exchange for their meat and furs, the Indians received guns, metal tools, cloth and beads, and other trade goods. This exchange forever altered Indian cultures, and it often brought dangers; in 1837, for example, smallpox virtually wiped out the Mandan people at Fort Clark.

Around this time, as ledgend has told there was a large band of Dakota Souix camped at the Hawksnest. Huyawayapaahdi (huya-waya-pa-a-hdhi) the Dakota Indian name for the Hawksnest. Interpeted this means "where the eagle brings something in its beak." With displacement of the indian came compition between tribes. The Dakota suspecting that a camp of Chippewas was nearby. Souix scouts were about searching for the compeating tribe with no sign of them. Then they saw an eagle fly into the trees with something peculiar in it beak and which they soon after discovered to be a piece of buffalo meat which had been cut off with a knife. On further inquiry with their scouts they were able to indicate from what direction the eagle had come. The warriors went out and located the enemy camp and chased them off their hunting grounds.

In 1863, Dakota Territory was opened for homesteading. Campaigns intended to punish Santee Sioux who participated in the Minnesota Uprising pushed through northern Dakota and were led by General Henry H. Sibley and General Alfred H. Sully. On September 3, Sully's forces attacked a peaceful hunting camp of Yanktonai Sioux at Whitestone Hill; this was the last major battle of the Indian Wars period to be fought east of the Missouri.

Camp Kimball located just N.E. of the Hawksnest on the Pipestem River. This was one of the stops made by General Sibley July 22, 1863. In Longview township there were found the remains of breastworks. These trenches were thrown up and shallow holes dug to prepare for an attack by Indians. Pickets were posted every night. This plot of ground has been purchased by the State Historical Society and the D.A.R. of Carrington and they have placed a marker on the area. Indians would cross near this same spot on their way to the Hawksnest.

From Mr. Brackett's diary, one of Genral Sibley soldiers. "We crossed the James River and its branch now known as the Pipestem. Very little water in either stream. Mail today with St. Paul papers to July 11, but there was no word of the great victories won at Gettysburg and Vicksburg some days before." While at Camp Kimball the Indian scout with Sibley got extremely nervous, sensing the nearness of the Sioux although the Indians had not seen any of the Sioux warriors. It turned out that the Sioux were camped just south of Pettibone. It was while they were at this camp that some wagons were sent to the Hawksnest for wood for cooking purposes. The cooks did not like using the buffalo chips if at all possible. The teamsters were badly deceived as to the distance and found it nearer five miles than two which they had estimated it to be. There is in Carrington an old cavalry saber which was found a short distance north of this camp site and which was probably lost by one of these cavalry men.'

(Independent, April 2;1925) John G. Grems of Maryville, Mo. who was a member of the Sibley expedition met F.M. Trullinger of Carrington at a Masonic Lodge meeting. When he found out Mr. Trullinger was from North Dakota they began talking about his experiences while with Sibley. Mr. Trullinger told him about the sword that was dug up on the Kallberg land by John Imler, who was breaking up the land, in 1902. Mr. Grems believed that the sword once belonged to Lt. Beaver. The true story of the sword has never been known but it laid on the prairie probably 40 or more years and it was over a year after it was found before soaking in kerosene permitted removing the sword from the scabbard. Mr. Trullinger had described the sword as best he could and the old veteran of the expedition felt confident that it was the extra fine sword that had been carried by Lieut. Beaver. (The sword is now in the museum of the Masonic temple at Fargo.) Beaver was ambushed near Apple Creek by the Indians and riddled with arrows. His fine horse was also killed. Captain William H. Kimball, whose name was used on the camp was assistant quartermaster for Sibley. He had charge of the pontoon train, which was equipped to lay temporary bridges over streams. They had little to do that dry summer. Little is known of the officer's personal history. That camp now has a marker stating that it is a Historic Site.

1864 a second military expedition led by Sully battled Sioux at Killdeer Mountain and in the Badlands. This diminished Dakota resistance, forcing many onto reservations to avoid starvation.

A chain of military outposts, beginning with Fort Abercrombie in 1857, continually increased Federal power, and the great slaughter of the northern bison herds after 1870 eventually caused the nomadic tribes to submit. Some bands of Dakota resisted into the 1880s, but their old way of life on the plains was lost.

Seventh Cavalry, Company C., of Fort Totten, with Captain Tom Custer as commander, following the long established trail from Devils Lake, up over Hawksnest and to Fort Lincoln. That Company C was made up of young farmers eager for patriotic duty. They continued on with General George Custer and his company on to the Little Big Horn massacre. 

Every year the Indians travled between Standing Rock Reservation and Fort Totten. Their travel was as near a bee line as possibble, especially southwest of the Hawksnest. The trail came right over the Hawksnest hills out of the southwest, then circled over to a line which is about the Wells-Foster county line. Then they continued almost due north , angling a little east to reach Fort Totten. The Indians traveled with travois, and later wagons. Their ponies were piebald or calico type. They carried a full cargo of entrails, tainted meats, green or untanned skins and dried roots. They often stopped to dig brown cat-tails and other roots, pick buffalo peas, indian beans, berries, wild mustard, and many other plant specimens for dyeing clothing, medicinal purposes and feathering the nests of their papooses. They traveled with many dogs.

In 1873 the Hawksnest was named by John H. Porter. A survey team from the rail road near present day Melville, needing more wood for stakes, sent a party of men to the wooded hill in the west. Upon there return the men said the hills were invested with hawks, it's a reaglar Hawksnest. Other names include "Chief Hill," "Great Coteau," and "Pilot Knob"

During the summer of 1883 or 1884 the railroad tracks were laid as far as Sykeston 12 miles to the west.  Settlement of the land in that area had begun through the promotions of the Richard Sykes Land Company.  Already there were enough settlers and homesteaders on hand to petition for the organization of another county.  Dispute over the location of the county line arose from the rivalry of the Carrington and Casey Land Company and the Sykes interests farther west.

In 1890 according to government figures there were 8,174 Indians living in North Dakota.  By the same year, the number of white men had swelled to 191,000.  There was a leap of more than 1,000 percent from 1878 when there were only 16,000.  In 1873, the William Larrabee family settled near Lake Juanita, becoming the first permanent white family in Foster County.  In that year, there was more than one soldier for every adult Indian male in the state. The Indian way of life was already a part of the past when the white settlers began breaking up the sod here.  The buffalo had disappeared? none of the pioneers in this area saw a wild bison although the prairie was littered with buffalo bones.  The picture of the proud Sioux warrior was almost as much a memory for the pioneer generation as it is for us. The Indians who journeyed across the prairie in wagon trains were a conquered people. 

The Story Links

Hawksnest History Home

Hawksnest the early years

Hawksnest the 1800's

Hawksnest the Bufflo's Stories

Hawksnest the Settler's Stories

Hawksnest the 1900's