November 07, 2013

On this day...November 4, 1770

On this day...
On November 4, 1770 Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable established the first permanent settlement in present day Chicago and lived at that site for at least twenty years. DuSable was born in St.Marc, Ha...iti (or St. Domingue as Haiti was known then) around 1745 of a French father and a Black African Slave mother. There is a paucity of information in the historical record as pertains to DuSable’s life in Haiti prior to his migration to New Orleans around 1765. Located on the north bank of the Chicago River at its junction with Lake Michigan, DuSable’s estate of approximately 30 acres consisted of a modest sized home, a horse mill, a bake house, a dairy, a smokehouse, a poultry house, a workshop, a stable, and a barn. He maintained excellent relations with Native Americans and lived among indigenous tribes where he married Catherine, the daughter of Potawatomie Chief Pokagon in a tribal ceremony. This common law marriage was solemnized in a Catholic church in Cahokia, Illinois in 1778. Jean-Baptiste and Catherine had two children, Jean-Baptiste Jr. and Suzanne. The location of this settlement was at a natural crossroad for both Native Americans and Europeans seeking access to the Mississippi River. Many explorers and pioneers had come in passing prior to this settlement however none had stayed. He set up a trading post, which flourished supplying customers with flour, meat and bread in exchange for cash and durable goods. DuSable had established a good reputation with trading relations as far as Detroit, Green Bay, Mackinac and St. Joseph.

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