Monday, November 18, 2019

The Chronology of the Kinzie House, Chicago.

In the spring of 1782, possibly earlier, Jean Baptiste Point de Sable (the "du" of Point du Sable is a misnomer. It is an American corruption of "de" as pronounced in French. "Jean Baptiste Point du Sable" first appears long after his death) settled at Chicago to farm and trade with the Indians, building a rude log cabin on the north bank of the river where it turned 'S' to meet the lake.
Point du Sable's 1788 farm is recognized as the first settlement he called “Eschikagou " (on the north branch of the Chicago River) that continued on and ultimately grew to become the city of Chicago.
By the time he sold the property in 1800 for $1,200 ($17,900 today), he had developed the property into a commodious, well-furnished French-style house with numerous outbuildings. 

Successive owners and occupants include:
  • Pointe de Sable: A fur trader and farmer, moved from his 1784 farm on the Guarie (Gary) River [1] (north branch of the Chicago River at Wolf Point). He Departs Chicago in 1800.
The Wayne County Register of Deeds in Detroit—Chicago was part of that county during Northwest Territory days—debunks many of the Kinzies’ claims. Their records show Jean Lalime, not Joseph Le Mai, bought De Sable’s trading post in 1800, bankrolled by Lalime and Kinzie’s mutual boss, fur trader William Burnett. There COULD NOT have been confusion because  Kinzie signed the deed as a witness.
    • Jean Lalime/William Burnett: 1800-1803, owner {{a careful reading of the Pointe de Sable-Lalime sales contract indicates that William Burnett was not just signing as a witness, but also financing the transaction, therefore controlling ownership}}
    • John Kinzie's Family: 1804-1828 (except during 1812-1816).
    • Widow Leigh & Mr. Des Pins: 1812-1816.
    • John Kinzie's Family: 1817-1829.
    • Anson Taylor: 1829-1831 (residence and store).
    • Dr. E.D. Harmon: 1831 (resident & medical practice).
    • Jonathan N. Bailey: 1831 (resident and post office).
    • Mark Noble, Sr.: 1831-1832.
    • Judge Richard Young: 1832 (circuit court).
    • Unoccupied and decaying beginning in 1832.
    • Nonexistent by 1835.
    Jean Baptiste Point du Sable built a cabin at the mouth of the Chicago River in 1779 (approximately where the Tribune Tower is today) where he established a trading post. (falsely claimed to be the first house build in Chicago). The house of Antoine Ouilmette is seen in the background. Illustration from 1827.
    John Kinzie Mansion and Fort Dearborn.
    Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

    [1] Guarie River: The first non-indigenous settler at Wolf Point may have been a trader named Guarie. Writing in 1880, Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard, who first arrived in Chicago on October 1, 1818, stated that he had been told of Guarie by Antoine De Champs, the man in charge of the “Illinois Brigade” of the American Fur Company, and Antoine Beson, who had been traversing the Chicago Portage annually since about 1778. Hubbard wrote that De Champs had shown him evidence of a trading house and the remains of a cornfield supposed to have belonged to Guarie. The cornfield was located on the west bank of the North Branch of the Chicago River, a short distance from the forks at what is now Fulton Street; early settlers named the North Branch of the Chicago River the Guarie River, or Gary's River.

    “The Autobiography of Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard" (in pdf), by Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard, published 1911.

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