Episode 1: Who Was First?
Released Friday, March 29, 2019 – On the 344 Anniversary of Father Marquette getting flooded out of his winter camp in 1675, at the place the Indians called Chicaogua.
In real estate it’s all about “Location, Location, Location.” So what happens if our Chicago isn’t really in Chicago? Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet explored a land that Native Americans called “Chicagoua” in 1673 and left clues to where this place can be found. It took historian John Swenson over three decades to unravel the mystery of the location of Chicago, and the evidence he found – remarkably – calls into question the story told by most 19th century historians.
This first episode chronicles a brand new history for Chicago as co-hosts Chris Lynch and Patrick McBriarty talk with John Swenson sharing a new spin on the European discovery of the Windy City. You will hear his story of digging into original French manuscripts, early maps, and travel accounts to determine Marquette and Jolliet were not the first western Europeans to the Chicago area. It is the first of a new and fascinating origin story of this place we call Chicago, in two parts.
“Cheagoumema” or “False-Chicago”
The map to the left illustrates the Northern Chicago Portage Route from Lake Michigan to the Chicago River to Mud Lake and portage to the easterly bend in the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers. This is “Cheagoumema.”
“Makarigemou” or Crooked River and the “River Chekago”
The map at right illustrates the Southern Chicago Portage Route from Lake Michigan to the Calumet and Little Calumet Rivers to Butterfield Creek and portage to Hickory Creek to the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers. This is what early French explorers referred to as the Chicago River.
Links to Research & History Documents
In this first Episode – Who Was First? John Swenson makes reference to a variety of historic documents and sources and we offer links below in the order in which they are mentioned. Please note in 17th Century French the “t” is pronounced as with “Jolliet” and “Nicolet,” while French pronunciations today the “t” is not usually enunciated.
- The Taunton Map of Nouvelle France
- The 1632 Maps of Samuel Champlain (1567 – 1635)
- Henri Joutel (c. 1643 – c. 1745) accounts from the La Salle Expedition of 1684-1688:
- A Journal of the Last Voyage Preform’d by Monfr. de la Salle, written in French by Monsieur Joutel, translated by Melville B. Anderson, 1896, “visits Chicago,” p. 178-79.
- Murder of “La Salle” or Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle near Nacogdoches, Texas in Joutel’s journal of La Salle’s last voyage, 1684-1687, Appleton P.C. Griffin (1906) p. 150.
- Isosavage or Ramps or as the French called it “wild-garlic”
- John Swenson’s article on the etymology of Chicago
- Jean Baptiste Point de Sable, Chicago’s first non-native settler
- Taunton Map of c. 1640
- Robert Hall citation only:
- “Rethinking Jean Nicolet’s Route to the Ho-Chunks in 1634,” by Robert Hall in Theory, Method, and Practice in Modern Archaeology, edited by Robert J. Jeske and Douglas K. Charles, Praeger (2003), Westport, Connecticut, pp. 238-251.
- Index to Jesuit Relations