Blue Island
Indian Village No. 15

The old Rexford Tavern (1835) stood upon the southern point of the Blue Isle ridge near the northwest corner of the block bounded by Western Ave, Grove, Wexford and James Sts as pointed out by N. B. Rexford still living in Blue Isle. Mr Rexford also speaks of Indian mounds that were to be seen in the early days at the southwest corner of Grove & Ann Sts.

A. I. Mathieson a civil engineer while camping here with a working party in 1837 waiting for supplies, locates the same Indian mounds "a short distance west of the old Rexford Tavern." Mr. Mathieson says "From these mounds were taken the bones of a "giant" exceeding in height the statue of the late Hon. John Wentworth; and were accompanied as mortuary offerings by an Egyptian vase, about fourteen inches in highth, flanged, having two handles on the sides and decorated, also an Egyptian red clay pipe.

The corner of Grove & Ann St where the mounds were located is on the brow of the ridge right where the trail descended. Half way down is a living spring. At the foot of the ridge the low gravely ford of Stoney Creek, where the trails crossed, which has been the delight of the Blue Isle youth, among them Mr Doolittle, who used it as a bathing beach.

One of the German pioneers of Blue Island is Mr Christ Krueger who in the early days saw Indians encamped on the bluff at what is now the public school yard corner of Vermont and Ann Sts, in his boyhood days and also on the north bank of Stoney creek at its mouth where there was an encampment he saw them in piroques in the Calumet river. Mr Krueger also says that in 1858 Blue Island was called "Rexford," but its Post Office "Portland."

Another mound, found 1855, and at that time mentioned in the public print, was in the grading of Summit St. Mr Charles Bestgen who lives at No. 60 Rexford St who was employed here at the time says a gravel ridge forming the north bank of Stoney Creek extended from Vermont and Wabash Sts to Western Ave and James Sts. This ridge was then known as the Indian cemetery. Mr Bestgen, Mr John Bauer and Mr Jacob Fisher when they reached Gregory Street, which is opposite the present Rock Island depot, took out the bones of five Indians; one of the skulls given to Mr Fisher had a bullet hole over the right ear and the bullet remaining in the skull. Right here Mr Kich of Western Ave says that some of the first white settlers were interred upon the same ridge. Other Indian burials where found by Phillip Stellwagen near the corner of Fulton and Rexford Sts. Conrad Kich and Mr Bauer saw one taken out on Henry south of Grove St.

On the Lindeman property just south of Blue Island, Sec 6, town of Thornton, which is south of the creek flowing east into the Calumet, at the head of trail R and trail M the Vincennes, there was an extensive camping ground for Indians. One of those camps where journeys are ended or preparations for new one made. Quantities of flint pieces and some pottery having been found here. But the large number of minor Indian burials thrown out by the plow would make this either a place where tribes had fought in battle or a depository for those who had died while sojourning. This as already stated being a great meeting point of trails by land and water.

A very large Indian mound, now destroyed, was located on the Vincennes trail here, right opposite the Lindeman house near the west side of the road, was well known to early settlers among them Mr Jacob Fisher who saw it opened.

One mile east of here is the junction of Stoney Creek with the Calumet river and known as Fays point. Here were two camps one south and one north of the river and a visible trail of chips along the edge of the little bluffs especially south of the Calumet. About where Robey St would strike Stoney creek some pottery and war points were found. Other camps were along the west side of the Blue Isle ridge as far north as 115 St. The north end of the Blue Isle ridge (6 miles) where the old toll gate used to be was a good point observation, not many chips found here.