Black and white sketch image of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. Photo Credit: © Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Haiti – Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, Founder of Chicago

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable was born in 1745 in Haiti to a French mariner father and a Black mother. As a young man, he migrated to Louisiana and later to the Northwest, where he became a fur trapper. An explorer, he later settled with his friend Jacques Clamorgan, near the land of the Peorias on the left bank of the Mississippi River near Spanish-ruled St. Louis.

More sympathetic with the French, Point du Sable left Clamorgan in St. Louis and settled in the Great Lakes area, moving amongst the Potawatomi, a Native American Tribe. In 1771, he married a Potawatomi woman named Catherine and had two children: a son, Jean, and a daughter, Suzanne. During the 1770s, he set up the first permanent non-indigenous settlement in the area now known as Chicago, Illinois. Point du Sable was recognized as the Founder of Chicago by both the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago on October 26, 1968.


  • Davey, M. 2003. “Tribute to Chicago Icon and Enigma.” New York Times.
  • Andreas, A. T. 1884. “History of Chicago. From the earliest period to the present time, volume 1. A. T. Andreas.” Hathi Trust Digital Library.