Sag Bridge
Indian village No. 17

The lower Sag valley, from Sec 14 & 24, west to the Desplaines river is entirely distinct from the marshy upper section belonging to the Mississippi valley and has the characteristics and high bluffs of the Desplaines river. This part of the valley is about one mile wide having an ancient and flat bottomed river-bed. The canal feeder built in the early days from the Calumet river at Blue Island through here to Sag Bridge, now carries all the surplus water. Bordering this part of the valley on the north is an Island like flatiron shaped mount forming a bluff, the lower shelving of which, about fifteen feet above low water, was admirably adapted for the fire-sides of our Indian predecessors.

The trail from Worth and the southeast quarter Sec 13, crossing the north arm of the Sag, lands on the opposite side at an Indian camp located on the lower shelving of the bluff facing the marsh, in the northwest quarter Sec 14 town Palos. On the Smith farm, it strikes a veritable chain of Indian camps and minor Indian villages coming down from the north and extending west in the valley for six miles to Sag Bridge, probably constituting one large village.

The Indian camp in the southeast quarter Sec 11 town Palos was on the rising bluff, where just north of the Gessner farm house there is a very large limestone boulder, to the south of which there is today what may be termed a sacred fire-place, a concave mound, the length of a mans body. The view here, comparing to that on the opposite side of the Sag, being to three points of the compass. This being the eastern end of the flatiron shaped mount. Again half a mile north of the large boulder, in the southeast quarter Sec 2 town Palos, on the farm of one of our German pioneers, Mr Winkler, is to be found the remains of what was probably an additional signal camp.

About three quarters of a mile southwest of the Smith farm mentioned above and immediately east of the main road running south with the Saugaunash trail, on the lower shelving of the bluff, twenty five feet above low water, on what is here dubbed the "Sullivan gravel pit," in the southeast quarter Sec 15 there was a minor Indian village. One of a series of four, in rotation, each one distinctly located in the adjoining quarter sections, viz: the southern half of sections 15 & 16 town Palos. Thus forming the main part of Indian village No. 17 of Sag Bridge.

Here the ground widening or opening of the Sag valley to the east, is seen to best advantage, the view is magnificent and inspiring, from this, the eastern end of the Indian village of the Sag. Where the Sauguanash trail from north to south crossed the canoe path and its accompanying shore trail from lake Michigan to the Desplaines, east and west. Here, in the heart of the Sag region, on this clean bank of red torpedo gravel, our canoe-man found his main camping ground.

On the Theodore Lucas farm in the southwest quarter Sec 15 we find the refuse of the second minor Indian village which is bowed more to the south and the bluff itself, here, only forty feet higher, making a bold front. On this jutting of the bluff stands the latest acquisition of the Lucas family, the house of Charles Bush. Here is where Thos. Kelley of Sec 18 town Palos dug up Indian relics and a powder horn (Andreas Hist Cook - Palos p. 824). Alexander Reid of Sag Bridge in 1845 also found a cache, of one bushel flint arrowheads and sixty or seventy five stone axes of all sizes, several rods south of the Sag (Andreas Hist Chicago p. 60).

The third minor Indian village was located in the southeast quarter Sec 16, and the fourth minor Indian village in the southwest quarter Sec 16, on the farm of Mr Laatz. thus we have the Indian village of the Sag, strung out in its valley four or five miles. Of the third village Mr Laatz says: "when my neighbor moved to Minnesota he took with him a whole pail of flint, spears and arrowheads. On my farm we have found flint points by the hundred, the ground even now is covered with chips." The slope to the Sag here is very gentle there being no bluff, only sandy knolls.

The Sauguanash, the main and only branch of the Archer Ave trail passing thorugh this village in the west half of Sec 15 on the Theodore Lucas farm, running south, after crossing Sag creek defiled up the valley of Paddock creek passing the old McCloughry farm and Orland, took its course southwest to Hadley, meeting the Archer Ave trail again at Indian village No. 18 in Joliet. Taking the east half of Sec 21 town Palos south of Sag creek, close to the bluff, we find a small Indian camp which could overlook the whole Indian village on the opposite side.

One mile west of this camp, in the valley, south of the main village and the Sag, the refuse of a minor Indian village has been found on the farm of one of our first German settlers who came here in 1854, Mr Preller, in Sec 20 town Palos. Mr Preller says: "People have been coming here all the time hunting flints, some even come in carriages. When I first came here, the water of the Sag in time of freshets would rise to the lower shelving of the bluff and when it disappeared a growth of very tall weeds would spring up, making that part of my ground perfectly useless, of course the higher ground where the house is never was touched by high water, that is where in the first plowing, my plow was thrown out by an obstruction under the ground, which proved to be a complete circular wall of stones, four feet in diameter. Clearing away only enough to let the plow pass I drove on, but was soon checked by another circle of stones, being a complete wall similar to the first one. The stones were the small symmetrical waterworn boulder to a length of five inches with enough flatness to hold them in a wall."

"The stones were not destroyed by fire and if there was any ashes in the bottom it must be there now. Since the people have been coming here to look for such stones I got interested enough to re-examine the place but could not locate the exact spot having failed to mark it." The ground occupied by this Indian village is a similar shelving of the south bluff, ensconsed at the mouth of a ravine and semi-encircled by a brook, covers not more than five acres.

We can say of this minor Indian village that it was an observation camp, located on the canoe path entering the Sag from the Desplaines river. Its location giving it a good view of the paralleling trail on the north. On the south it was only one mile away from the trail following the bluff. Besides that it lay midway between the great Sauguanash and Archer Ave trails. Communication could be had here with the Indian village on the opposite bluff, at the Herzog farm, in Sec 18 town Palos, where the Archer Ave trail passed.

The Indian village on the south bank of the Desplaines river, in the northwest quarter Sec 7 town Palos, may also have belonged to the Sag villages, from here communication was had across the canoe path in the Desplaines river to the village up Flagg creek and Santa Fe Park which is only one mile north. Thus completing the chain of Indian villages and camps around the ancient "Mount Forest Island" (Saulisbury & Alden Geography Chicago).

About half way up the south bluff of the Desplaines river at the Indian village in Sec 7 there is a pit of very coarse gravel, where four years ago the bones of several Indians were found (public print). The erosion of the bluff is noticeable here in many places. One mile directly west from here, there was a ford over the Desplaines river, coming out on the opposite side, a quarter of a mile east of what is Brynville today, Sec 12 town Lemont.