Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable – Father of Chicago

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable is regarded as the first permanent resident of Chicago. Jean Baptiste’s French father married a black woman in St. Marc Sainte Domingue. She gave birth to Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable around 1750.

For formal education, his father took him to France. Later, Jean Baptiste worked on his father’s ships as a mariner.

Jean Baptiste traveled to America in 1770s, and he headed north to explore the region near the shores of the Great Lakes. He settled on the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Chicago River.

He recognized its potential as a settlement and built the city’s first permanent home, where the Tribune Tower now stands.

The Indians called this land  ‘Eschikagou’, the place of bad smells due to the odor of the swampland  Since Jean Baptiste was a fur trader, it served as a trading post. He sold his own milk, cheese, beef, and corn throughout the region, eventually reaching markets as far as Louisiana and Quebec.

His trading post became the main supply station for trappers and traders en route to the west.

After a few years, Jean Baptiste also supplied destalked food items to trading posts in Canada and Detroit.

Jean Baptiste became well known for trading goods throughout the Midwest. As a result he became very wealthy.

In 1814, Jean Baptiste filed for bankruptcy and he died, penniless, on August 29, 1818.
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable – Father of Chicago

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