Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable

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Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (or Point de Sable, Point au Sable, Point Sable;[n 1] before 1750[n 2] – August 28, 1818) is widely regarded as the first permanent resident of Chicago, Illinois. Little is known of his life prior to the 1770s. In 1779, he was living on the site of present-day Michigan City, Indiana when he was arrested by the British on suspicion of being an American sympathizer. In the early 1780s he worked for the British on an estate at what is now the city of St. Clair, Michigan before moving to settle at the mouth of the Chicago River. He is first recorded living in Chicago in early 1790. He sold his property in Chicago in 1800 and moved to St. Charles, Missouri, where he died on August 28, 1818. He has become known as the "Father of Chicago" and the place where he settled at the mouth of the Chicago River in the 1780s is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, now located in Pioneer Court.

Contents

Biography

There is no known record of Point du Sable's life prior to the 1770s; his birth year, place of birth, and parents are unknown.[4] Juliette Kinzie, in her 1856 memoir, stated that he was a native of Saint-Domingue,[5] and this has become generally accepted as his place of birth.[6] Historian Milo Milton Quaife, however, states that Kinzie's account of Point du Sable should be "regarded as largely fictitious and wholly unauthenticated".[7] Quaife later put forward a theory that he was of French-Canadian origin.[8] Point du Sable described himself as "a free mulatto man."[9] He was married to a Potawatomi woman named Catherine some time in the 1770s. They had a son named Jean and a daughter named Susanne.[10]

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