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Keith Dotson | Catching Shadows

THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHER KEITH DOTSON

The Story Behind the Photograph: Site of the Burnt Village

The Story Behind the Photograph: Site of the Burnt Village

This photo was made on the location of a former Native American village of the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribe in southern Wisconsin. They lived in this beautiful place, near the river, from the 1700s until 1832, when the village was burned in an intra-tribal attack, associated with the Black Hawk war. The name “Burnt Village” was ascribed to the location by the U.S. Army, which camped here afterwards in pursuit of the warrior Black Hawk.

Site of the Burnt Village, black and white photograph by Keith Dotson. Looking at this placid scene blanketed in snow, it's hard to imagine it was once a battlefield. Click to buy a print.
Site of the Burnt Village, black and white photograph by Keith Dotson. Looking at this placid scene blanketed in snow, it’s hard to imagine it was once a battlefield. Click to buy a print.

The site is identified only by a historical marker sign nearby. In trying to frame the shot, I needed to walk down a small slope to get closer to the riverbank, which introduced two hazards I hadn’t anticipated: 1) the snow on the slope was deeper than it appeared — almost hip deep, and 2) it was difficult to recognize exactly where the shoreline ended and the river’s edge began. Luckily, I didn’t fall into the black, freezing Bark River and I’m still here to recount the story of this beautiful place to you.

Buy a fine art print of Site of the Burnt Village here.

The Wisconsin historical marker identifying the site of the former Ho-Chunk village, which was destroyed nearly 200 years ago.
The Wisconsin historical marker identifying the site of the former Ho-Chunk village, which was destroyed nearly 200 years ago.

Burnt Village historical marker

The site of the Burnt Village is identified by a Wisconsin State historical marker, which reads:

“A large Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) Village dating from the 1700s once stood in this vicinity. Just before the 1832 Black Hawk War, the village was burned during an intra-tribal battle. On July 6th and 8th, the United States Military camped at this site in their pursuit of Black Hawk and named this place Burnt Village.”

The Burnt Village site is located on County Rd N near Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Click the map below to go to a Google map of the location.

map to location of Burnt Village Wisconsin
Google map to location of Burnt Village, Wisconsin

Thanks for reading!

Be sure to visit me on FacebookGoogle+ or Pinterest, or on my website at keithdotson.com.

~ Keith

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