WBEZ | early settlers http://www.wbez.org/tags/early-settlers Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 200 years ago: The Fort Dearborn Massacre? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/200-years-ago-fort-dearborn-massacre-101503 <p><p>On August 15, 1812 &mdash; exactly 200 years ago today &mdash; the event traditionally called the Fort Dearborn Massacre took place. &nbsp;</p><p>Before there was Chicago, there was Fort Dearborn. In 1803 the U.S. Army built a stockade at the mouth of the Chicago River, near what is now Michigan and Wacker. Over the next several years, a small settlement grew up around it.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08-15--from%20%27The%20Story%20of%20Old%20Fort%20Dearborn%27.jpg" title="Fort Dearborn, 1812 (Seymour, 'The Story of Old Fort Dearborn')" /></div><p>By 1812 the U.S. and Britain were drifting toward war. The Potawatomi and some of the other local tribes saw war as a chance to get rid of the Americans who&rsquo;d moved into the area &mdash; an idea the British encouraged. Tensions rose. A few settlers were killed.</p><p>The War of 1812 began in June. In August Captain Nathan Heald of Fort Dearborn received orders to evacuate. Shortly afterward, the scout William Wells arrived with 30 Miami warriors to escort the garrison.</p><p>Heald met with Potawatomi chiefs on August 13. He told them that the fort was being abandoned, and that he would leave behind a store of supplies. In return, the Potawatomi would let his party leave in peace. There seemed to be an agreement.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08-15--William Wells.jpg" title="William Wells (Wikipedia Commons)" /></div></div><p>At 9 a.m. on August 15 the garrison left the fort and headed south. The party included 93 people &mdash; 54 regulars, 12 militia, nine women and 18 children &mdash; plus Wells and the 30 Miami.</p><p>One of the Potawatomi had warned Heald that the young men of the tribe were looking to fight. About a mile and a half out, Wells spotted a large group of Potawatomi massed behind some sand dunes, lurking in ambush. Captain Heald ordered his men to charge them. The battle was on.</p><p>The Potawatomi overwhelmed the evacuees in 15 minutes. Wells was killed, as were 26 regulars, all 12 militia, two women and 12 children. Captain Heald was forced to surrender and the survivors were taken prisoner. Most were later ransomed, though some died in captivity.</p><p>The Potawatomi then burned the fort. About 500 of them had taken part in the fight, with 15 killed. Accounts vary as to what the Miami escort did during the battle.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Daily%20News%2C%201903.jpg" title="Painting of the battle, 1903 (Library of Congress/Chicago Daily News)" /></div><p><em>Accounts vary</em> . . .</p><p>That&rsquo;s the thing about history. More information is always turning up, or new insights are being offered. Often it depends on whose account you read. There are plenty.</p><p>For instance &mdash; why did the Potawatomi prepare an ambush after giving the garrison a safe conduct?</p><p>The old version of the story claims they were just nasty people looking for a chance to spring on their enemies. But others say that Heald had double-crossed the Potawatomi &mdash; he&rsquo;d left the promised supplies, but had destroyed the ammunition and whiskey.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08-15.JPG" title="The Battle of Fort Dearborn Park (WBEZ/John R. Schmidt)" /></div><p>Even the site of the incident is debated. Tradition says it was near 18<sup>th</sup> and Calumet, where the city has dedicated The Battle of Fort Dearborn Park. Recent historians have concluded it probably happened further north, near Roosevelt and Michigan.</p><p>I could go on, but you get the idea. Read the various accounts and draw your own conclusions.</p><p>What was once a simple, straight-forward narrative in primary colors has become more complicated. In that way, Fort Dearborn has become Chicago&rsquo;s Alamo. &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 15 Aug 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/200-years-ago-fort-dearborn-massacre-101503 The Marquette monument http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-03-12/marquette-monument-97115 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-12/marquette statue_Schmidt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-09/03-12--Marquette.jpg" style="width: 490px; height: 487px;" title=""></p><p>The statues stand at one of the corners of the Emerald Necklace, where Marshall Boulevard swings east into 24th. Three men of the 17th Century are sculpted in bronze--an Algonquin man, a Catholic priest and a French soldier.</p><p>Father Jacques Marquette is the man in the middle, and the monument is officially dedicated to him. Chicago also remembers the Jesuit with two streets, a major park, a public school, a Southwest Side neighborhood, a downtown office building and at onetime, a police district.</p><p>Marquette was born in France in 1637. He was ordained at 28 and came to French North America as a missionary. Most of his early work was in the lands that are now Ontario and Michigan.</p><p>In 1673 Marquette was part of an expedition sent to explore the Mississippi River. On the return trip he became friendly with the Illini tribe. Marquette was heading back toward Lake Michigan, so the Illini told him about a shortcut.</p><p>This was the Chicago portage. The expedition took the Illini's route and found out it worked fine. Just a short hop between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system--hey, this might be a good place for a city someday!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-09/03-12--2701 S Damen Ave.JPG" title="Marquette 'residence' marker: 2635 S. Damen Ave." height="367" width="490"></p><p>The Illini had asked Marquette to return, and tell them more about his religion. During the later part of 1674 he set out for their settlement near Starved Rock. The weather turned bad and Marquette came down with dysentery, so he spent the winter on the portage. This gives him the distinction of being Chicago's first European resident.</p><p>In the spring Marquette reached the Illini. But his health was getting worse, and he soon decided to return to the French settlements. He never made it. Jacques Marquette died at what is now Ludington, Mich. on May 18, 1675.</p><p>The Marquette Monument was designed by Hermon Atkins MacNeill and dedicated in 1926. Over 15,000 school children had signed a petition asking for a statue of the missionary-explorer. The French soldier is Louis Jolliet, who traveled with Marquette. The Algonquin is representative of the many friends Marquette made among the native peoples.</p><p>Nobody is sure exactly where Marquette lived on the Chicago portage. The traditional site is near 2635 S. Damen Avenue, and a marker was erected there in 1930.</p></p> Mon, 12 Mar 2012 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-03-12/marquette-monument-97115