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On this day in 1750

Nov. 4, 1750

A painting of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable by Thomas Blackshear II. Credit: National Postal Museum

Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, the “Father of Chicago,” was born. 

A man of African descent, he became the first known settler in the area that became the city of Chicago. He married a Potawatomi woman, Kitiwaha (Catherine), and they had two children. 

According to records, the property included a log cabin with two barns, a horse-drawn mill, a bakehouse, a poultry house, a dairy, a smokehouse, a fenced garden and an orchard. At his trading post, DuSable served Native Americans, British and French explorers and spoke a number of languages. 

“He was actually arrested by the British for being thought of as an American Patriot sympathizer,” Julius Jones, curator at the Chicago History Museum told WLS, but DuSable beat those charges. 

In Chicago today, a school, street, museum, harbor, park and bridge bear his name. The place where he settled near the mouth of the Chicago River is now a National Historic Landmark, part of the city’s Pioneer Court.



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