SEPTEMBER 28, 1841

POTAWATOMI TRADER DIPLOMAT SAUGANASH (BILLY CALDWELL) DIED

Born on March 17, 1780, near Fort Niagara in what is now New York State, Caldwell’s father had him educated by Jesuits in Detroit where he learned both English and French.  Earning his living as a fur trader, he served as an interpreter for Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee.  Both were aligned with the British and fought in the Battle of Thames where Tecumseh was killed.  Seeing that the only path was negotiation, he arrived in Chicago by 1816 and helped negotiate several treaties between 1820 and 1833—one of which was the 1833 Treaty of Chicago whereby the Potawatomi ceded all the land west of the Great Lakes along with what became Illinois.  Caldwell, who had been appointed a chief by the Americans with tribal approval, was rewarded for his negotiations with about 1,600 acres along the Chicago River.  Caldwell, however, sold his land in Chicago and moved west with the Potawatomi tribe.  Caldwell died of cholera along the edge of the Missouri River.

Source:  Mark Lawton, “Lake Forest retraces history to follow Chief Sauganash,” Chicago Tribune, 3/3/2016.  Retrieved 7/17/2020,  https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-forest/ct-lfr-sauganash-tl-0303-20160303-story.html
Photo:  Drsclaud, 9/19/2016.  Permissive Use. 

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