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Jean Baptiste Point du Sable
Black and white sketch of the bust of a man.  His features are darkly shaded.  He has dark curly hair and a goatee.
There are no known portraits of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable made during his lifetime. This depiction is taken from A.T. Andreas' book History of Chicago (1884).
Born 1740s?
Died August 28, 1818(1818-08-28)
Occupation Trader
Known for "Founder of Chicago"
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable signature

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (or Point de Sable, Point au Sable, Point Sable, Pointe DuSable) (before 1750 – August 28, 1818) is regarded as the first permanent resident of what later became Chicago, Illinois, and is recognized as the "Founder of Chicago". A school, museum, harbor, park, and bridge have been named in his honor. The site where he settled near the mouth of the Chicago River around the 1780s is identified as a National Historic Landmark, now located in Pioneer Court.

Point du Sable was of African descent, traditionally stated to be Haitian, from the French colony of Saint-Domingue but little else is known of his life prior to the 1770s. During his career, the areas where he settled and traded around the Great Lakes and in the Illinois Country changed hands several times among France, Britain, Spain and the new United States.

Described as handsome and well educated, Point du Sable married a Native American woman, Kitiwaha, and they had two children. In 1779, during the American Revolutionary War, he was living on the site of present-day Michigan City, Indiana, when he was arrested by the British military on suspicion of being an American sympathizer. In the early 1780s he worked for the British lieutenant-governor of Michilimackinac on an estate at what is now the city of St. Clair, Michigan.

Point du Sable is first recorded as living at the mouth of the Chicago River in a trader's journal of early 1790, having settled there sometime earlier. He established an extensive and prosperous trading settlement in what would become the city of Chicago. He sold his Chicago River property in 1800 and moved to St. Charles, now in Missouri, where he was licensed to run a Missouri River ferry. Point du Sable's successful role in developing the Chicago River settlement was little recognized until the mid-20th century. Point du Sable died on August 18, 1818 in St. Charles, Missouri.

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