Essays

WHERE WAS THE DU SABLE FARM OF 1790

By Philip E. Vierling; published in Chicago Portage Ledger; Vol. 13, No. 2 May/August 2012. The first book reporting the early history of Chicago was Juliette Kinzie`s "Wau-Ban, The `Early Day` In The North-West" which was published in 1856. On page 221 in the Lakeside Press edition of this book there is the following entry [...]

LIFE IN CHICAGO SEVENTY YEARS AGO · September 20, 1903

By Mrs. Charles A. Taylor, Daughter of Mrs. Almira Willcox of Detroit, Mich., in 1832-`33-`34. Compiled from Her Diary by Mrs. Julia Willcox Tenney. In May, 1832, we started for Chicago, the new frontier town. Mr. Taylor wanted to make a home in the west, and thought Chicago would become a city in time. He [...]

FRENCH PEORIA: a New Inquiry

By John F. Swenson, © 2011, all rights reserved. Peoria, a city on the Illinois River, is the seat of Peoria County. Its name was originally Pimiteoui, an Illinois word referring to the abundance of fat (pimi) wild game there, particularly at the shallow south end of Peoria Lake. The name Peoria, from the Peouareoua [...]

JEAN BAPTISTE POINT DE SABLE · THE FOUNDER OF MODERN CHICAGO

By John F. Swenson, © 1999, all rights reserved. [This essay is currently undergoing revision based on new information and documents found since 1999.] Jean Baptiste Point de Sable was the founder of modern Chicago and its first black resident. Point de Sable was his chosen legal name; he was never called Du Sable during [...]

A TRIP FROM BELLEVILLE TO CHICAGO IN 1836

By an excerpt from the Memories of Gustave Koerner 1809-1896. Soon after my recovery I was charged with procuring the correction of some deeds for valuable farm-property, the title of which without this correction might become doubtful. As the parties who were to make the title perfect resided near Chicago, it was decided best that [...]

FRENCH CHICAGO DURING THE 18TH CENTURY

By Ulrich Danckers; published in Baybury Review, 1997. Americans tend to attribute their national heritage to the thirteen British colonies established in the 17th and 18th centuries along the Eastern seaboard, and show little awareness of the simultaneous colonization of North America, especially in the Great Lakes region, by the French. As a consequence, remarkably [...]

TRIBAL MIXTURES IN CHICAGO AREA INDIAN VILLAGES

By Helen H. Tanner; published in Indians of the Chicago Area, 1990. Indian villages are always composed of people from more than one tribe. This mixture of tribal people in Indian communities was characteristic of the region around the base of Lake Michigan, including the Chicago area, as well as other parts of the country. [...]

CHICAGO: MEANING OF THE NAME AND LOCATION OF PRE-1800 EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS

By John F. Swenson; adapted from "Chicagoua/Chicago: The Origin, Meaning, and Etymology of a place name"; Illinois Historic Journal 84, winter 1991. The name Chicago is derived from the local Indian word chicagoua for the native garlic plant (not onion) Allium tricoccum. This garlic (in French: ail sauvage) grew in abundance on the south end [...]