Théophile Bruguier

Last updated
Theophile Bruguier, c. 1870 Bruguier.JPG
Theophile Bruguier, c. 1870

Theophile Bruguier (August 31, 1813 February 18, 1896) was a French-Canadian fur trader with the American Fur Company. Bruguier is credited as being the first white settler of what would become Sioux City, Iowa.


Early life

Bruguier was born at L'Assomption near Montreal, Canada on August 31, 1813. [1] [2] His parents were Elizabeth Kipp from England and French-Canadian Jean Bruguier. [3] He studied law and began to practice as an attorney. He soon became engaged, but his fiancée died from cholera, and Bruguier then left Quebec [1] on October 12, 1835. [2]

Fur trader

Fort Pierre during the 1830s Bodmer5455.jpg
Fort Pierre during the 1830s

Bruguier arrived in St. Louis on November 15, 1836. [2] He spoke French and English and became an interpreter and fur trader with the American Fur Company, working in the Missouri River area. [1] On January 13, 1836, he arrived for his next assignment for the fur company at Fort Pierre, Dakota Territory, where he learned the Dakota language of the Sioux Indians. He befriended Yankton Sioux Chief War Eagle. [1] [2] [lower-alpha 1] Bruguier became an independent fur trader and helped to settle tensions between white settlers and Native Americans. [1]

Settlement in Iowa

Theophile Bruguier Cabin, listed on the National Register of Historic Places Theophile Bruguier cabin from NE 1.JPG
Theophile Bruguier Cabin, listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Bruguier established a farm and trading post in 1849 at the confluence of the Big Sioux River and Missouri River, along with War Eagle and his family members. [1] His original homestead claim extended from the Big Sioux to the Floyd River, land that became the original town of Sioux City, a French settlement, about 1852. [1] [2] Bruguier continued in the trade business, and was a wagon freighter and an Indian commissioner. In August 1853, he was one of 17 people to vote in the first election in Woodbury County. [1]

Personal life

He married two daughters of War Eagle, Dawn and Flaming Cloud. He fathered thirteen children with them. [1] By the late 1850s, both of his wives had died. He met a widow, Victoria Turnott, during a visit to St. Louis. They married and she returned with him to Sioux City. In the 1860s, they settled on a 500-acre (2.0 km2) farm in the Salix, Iowa area. On February 18, 1896, Bruguier died from pneumonia. He was interred at the Catholic cemetery near Salix. In 1926, he was re-buried near the grave of his first two wives and War Eagle. [1]


  1. One source states that he arrived at Fort Pierre on January 1, 1836. [1]

Related Research Articles

Crow people Indigenous ethnic group in North America

The Crow, whose autonym is Apsáalooke, also spelled Absaroka, are Native Americans living primarily in southern Montana. Today, the Crow people have a federally recognized tribe, the Crow Tribe of Montana, with an Indian reservation located in the south-central part of the state.

Arapaho Native American tribe

The Arapaho are a tribe of Native Americans historically living on the plains of Colorado and Wyoming. They were close allies of the Cheyenne tribe and loosely aligned with the Lakota and Dakota.

Lakota people Indigenous people of the Great Plains

The Lakota are a Native American tribe. Also known as the Teton Sioux, they are one of the three main subcultures of the Sioux people. Their current lands are in North and South Dakota. They speak Lakȟótiyapi—the Lakota language, the westernmost of three closely related languages that belong to the Siouan language family.

Sioux Native American and First Nations people in North America

The Sioux or Oceti Sakowin are groups of Native American tribes and First Nations peoples in North America. The modern Sioux consist of two major divisions based on language divisions: the Dakota and Lakota; collectively they are known as the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. The term "Sioux" is an exonym created from a French transcription of the Ojibwe term "Nadouessioux", and can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or to any of the nation's many language dialects.

Manuel Lisa American fur trader

Manuel Lisa, also known as Manuel de Lisa, was a Spanish citizen and later, became an American citizen who, while living on the western frontier, became a land owner, merchant, fur trader, United States Indian agent, and explorer. Lisa was among the founders, in St. Louis, of the Missouri Fur Company, an early fur trading company. Manuel Lisa gained respect through his trading among Native American tribes of the upper Missouri River region, such as the Teton Sioux, Omaha and Ponca.

Arikara War 1823 war between the US and Arikara natives

The Arikara War was an armed conflict between the United States, their allies from the Sioux tribe and Arikara Native Americans that took place in the summer of 1823, along the Missouri River in present-day South Dakota. It was the first Indian war west of the Missouri fought by the U.S. Army and its only conflict ever with the Arikara. The war came as a response to an Arikara attack on trappers, called "the worst disaster in the history of the Western fur trade".

Arikara ethnic group

Arikara, also known as Sahnish, Arikaree, Ree, or Hundi, are a tribe of Native Americans in North Dakota. Today, they are enrolled with the Mandan and the Hidatsa as the federally recognized tribe known as the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation.


Siouxland is a vernacular region that encompasses the entire Big Sioux River drainage basin in the U.S. states of South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. The demonym for a resident of Siouxland is Siouxlander.

Ramsay Crooks Canadian fur trader

Ramsay Crooks was an American fur trader that immigrated to Canada from Greenock in Scotland. He was the father of American Civil War Colonel William Crooks who served in the 6th Minnesota Regiment. In 1803 Ramsay worked in a trading post on the Great Lakes. He helped W. Price Hunt to organize and lead an overland trip to Astoria in the Oregon Country for John Jacob Astor in 1809 through 1813, as a partner in the Pacific Fur Company. He became general manager of the American Fur Company in 1817 and was president of the company from 1834–1839. While traveling for the fur trade company he dealt with many Native American tribes. He married Abanokue, the daughter of an Ojibwa Chieftain. They had a daughter together, Hester Crooks. Abanokue died around 1825. Crooks then married Emilie Pratte and had nine children. He spent his final days in New York.

War Eagle (Dakota Leader) Sioux chief

War Eagle was born in Minnesota or Wisconsin around 1785. He had left his own tribe, the Santee, to avoid bloodshed in a fight as to who would be chief.

Iron Shell Native American chief

Iron Shell (1816–1896) was a Brulé Sioux chief. He initially became prominent after an 1843 raid on the Pawnee, and became sub-chief of the Brulé under Little Thunder. He became chief of the Brulé Orphan Band during the Powder River War of 1866-1868.

Dakota War of 1862 armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux

The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising, the Dakota Uprising, the Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 or Little Crow's War, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of Dakota. It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota, four years after its admission as a state. Throughout the late 1850s in the lead-up to the war, treaty violations by the United States and late annuity payments by Indian agents caused increasing hunger and hardship among the Dakota. During the war, the Dakota made extensive attacks on hundreds of settlers and immigrants, which resulted in settler deaths, and caused many to flee the area. This ended with soldiers capturing hundreds of Dakota men and interning their families. A military tribunal quickly tried the men, sentencing 303 to death for their crimes. President Lincoln would later commute the sentence of 264 of them. The mass hanging of 38 Dakota men was conducted on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota; it was the largest mass execution in United States history.

Dakota people Native American people in the mid northern U.S. and mid southern Canada

The Dakota are a Native American tribe and First Nations band government in North America. They compose two of the three main subcultures of the Sioux people, and are typically divided into the Eastern Dakota and the Western Dakota.

Touch the Clouds Minneconjou headman

Touch the Clouds was a chief of the Minneconjou Teton Lakota known for his bravery and skill in battle, physical strength and diplomacy in counsel. The youngest son of Lone Horn, he was brother to Spotted Elk, Frog, and Hook Nose. There is evidence suggesting that he was a cousin to Crazy Horse.

History of South Dakota history of the US state of South Dakota

The history of South Dakota describes the history of the U.S. state of South Dakota over the course of several millennia, from its first inhabitants to the recent issues facing the state.

Spotted Elk Native American leader (1826 - 1890)

Spotted Elk, was the name of a chief of the Miniconjou, Lakota Sioux. He was a son of Miniconjou chief Lone Horn and became a chief upon his father's death. He was a highly renowned chief with skills in war and negotiations. A United States Army soldier, at Fort Bennett, coined the nickname Big Foot – not to be confused with Oglala Big Foot.

Lame Deer (1821-1877) was Miniconjou Lakota and vice chief of the Wakpokinyan band. He was the second signatory of the 1865 Treaty with the Minneconjon Indians at Fort Sully, Dakota Territory : "Tah-ke-chah-hoosh-tay, The Lame Deer, 1st chief of the Minneconjon band of Dakota or Sioux Indians". This group of Lakota were opposed to the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which required the Lakota to cede much of their territory to the United States. Lame Deer was present at the 1876 Battle of the Greasy Grass, also known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where the combined Lakota and allied forces dealt an overwhelming defeat to United States forces.

This timeline of South Dakota is a list of events in the history of South Dakota by year.

Theophile Bruguier Cabin United States historic place

The Theophile Bruguier Cabin is a historic building located in Sioux City, Iowa, United States. Bruguier was a Quebec native who was a trader with the American Fur Company. He was the first Caucasian settler in what would become Sioux City. He settled at the confluence of the Missouri and the Big Sioux Rivers in 1849. With him were his two wives, Dawn and Blazing Cloud, and his father-in-law War Eagle, a chief of Yankton tribe, and extended family. He built a number of log structures on his 560-acre (230 ha) claim. Bruguier took up farming and set up his own fur-trading company. War Eagle and his two daughters, Bruguier's wives, died in the 1850s. Bruguier sold a tract of land to Joseph Leonnais in 1855, and it became the original townsite for Sioux City. He built this single-room cabin for his home about 1860, and married Victoria Brunette in 1862. Bruguier and his wife moved to a farm near Salix, Iowa, where he died in 1895.

Eagle Woman American peace activist (born 1820, near Big Bend of the Missouri River [in what is now South Dakota], U.S.—died December 18, 1888, Miles City , Montana)

Eagle Woman That All Look At was a Lakota activist, diplomat, trader, and translator, who was known for her efforts mediating the conflicts between white settlers, the United States government, and the Sioux. She is credited with being the only woman recognized as a chief among the Sioux.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Bruguier, Theophile". Sioux City History. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Josephine Waggoner (November 1, 2013). Witness: A Hunkpapha Historian's Strong-Heart Song of the Lakotas. University of Nebraska Press. p. 120. ISBN   978-0-8032-4564-8.
  3. Josephine Waggoner (November 1, 2013). Witness: A Hunkpapha Historian's Strong-Heart Song of the Lakotas. University of Nebraska Press. p. 610. ISBN   978-0-8032-4564-8.

Further reading