Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indian tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. When French explorers and missionaries arrived in the 1670s in what was then the Illinois Country of New France (Canada), they named the waterway La Rivière des Plaines ("River of the Plane Tree") as they felt that trees on the river resembled the European plane trees.
|The Des Plaines River.|
|Excerpt from a map of the Counties of Cook and DuPage, the east part of Kane and Kendall, the north part of Will, state of Illinois, published in 1851.|
This plat was acknowledged September 5, 1857, by Henry Smith, trustee of the Illinois & Wisconsin Land Company, proprietors of said lands, also as attorney in fact for said company, and also by John Irel ton and Reuben E. Demmon, trustees of said company. It was recorded September 7, 1857.
The name of the town was changed to Des Plaines by act of the Legislature, approved April 15, 1869.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.
 Socrates Rand was a pioneer who arrived from Massachusetts in 1835, was one of the first to settle along the river north of what is now Dempster Street. Quite a string of "firsts" are associated with Rand. As the area's first justice of the peace, he performed the first wedding in 1836. He hosted many early Episcopalian and Methodist services in his home, and his cheese room became the first schoolroom--for 15 pupils--in 1838. Rand helped organize Maine Township and was chairman of the first meeting in 1850.