The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines settler as, “a person who goes to live in a new place where usually there are few or no people”. Native Americans have lived in the greater Chicago area for approximately 10,000 years dating back to the last ice age. Dependent on long lost oral histories we have no clear records of the future city’s earliest peoples, though archeological efforts and early French documents seem to indicate no native villages existed within today’s Chicago city limits. There have been significant native villages in the suburbs surrounding Chicago, but no evidence of native settlement on the Chicago River has ever come to light.

The last seven episodes of the Windy City Historians Podcast has attempted to relate the first hundred plus years of Chicago’s earliest recorded history from the first westerners to pass through the area; be it Nicolet somewhere between 1628 and 1634 or Jolliet and Marquette in 1673. We now unveil this story of Chicago’s very first settler connecting us to the permanent and continuous settlement of the City of Chicago.

This man, a man of color, and his family has long been swept under the rug while the trader and opportunist John Kinzie was held up as the town’s founder, a man we can best describe as Chicago’s first scoundrel. We hope you will enjoy this in depth conversation with historians John Swenson and professor Courtney Pierre Joseph Ph.D. relating the life, times, and impact the very first settler made on the site and city that would follow in his footsteps. This is the story of the trader, gentleman farmer, and Chicago’s founder — Jean Baptiste Point de Sable. Mr. Point de Sable, and yes, that is the proper French spelling of his full surname, is a fascinating character we hope you will enjoy learning about as much as we have.

Links to Research and History Documents

5 comments on Episode 8 : The First Settler

  1. David Gudewicz says:

    Well done! I especially enjoyed the comments of Courtney Joseph from Lake Forest College.

    1. Patrick says:

      Thanks Dave,
      So glad you enjoyed this episode and the podcast! Thanks for letting us know as we put this stuff out there and folks are so busy honest feedback can be scarce…


  2. Bart Casper says:

    Esteemed gentleman,
    I’m posting this here because it is at this point in my listening that I have come to truly appreciate what are are doing. It was amazing from the first minutes of episode 1, and I have been delighted by, been inspired to look deeper by and been so happily surprised by all of the passion and life for locale history that this series has brought forth; thank you. This work is art at the deepest level. Bravo for the concept of this podcast, bravo for the approach and format and bravo for the engaging subject matter.

  3. Laura Kroncke says:

    Hi, I teach a Chicago History class at a CPS high school. I am very glad I found this website! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  4. dick murphy says:

    good shit!!!!!!

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