Thomas Jefferson Vance Owen (April 5, 1801 – October 15, 1835) was an American settler who was the first president of the Town of Chicago. He was born in Kentucky and emigrated to Kaskaskia, Illinois, with his father in 1809.He had served several offices in Randolph County, Illinois, during the 1820s. He was elected to serve in the 7th Illinois General Assembly for Randolph County in August 1830 and took office on December 6 in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Alexander Wolcott Jr., the Indian agent at Chicago, died in October 1830. Owen was appointed to take his place by the United States Senate on February 4, 1831, being chosen over local residents Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard and John H. Kinzie.Owen arrived in Chicago without having a house; the building intended to house the agent had become the property of Kinzie after Wolcott's death for having been included in James Thompson's plat of Chicago and Wolcott's subsequent inaction to stop it from falling into private hands. When Cook County was established in 1831, Owen served as its first school commissioner.
Chicago officially voted to incorporate as a town on August 5, 1833, with 12 votes for and one against, the lone dissenter living outside of Chicago.The Town of Chicago held the first election of its Board of Trustees on August 10. Those elected were Owen, George W. Dole, Madore B. Beaubien, John Miller, and E. S. Kimberly. The Trustees first met on August 12, where Owen was selected as the president of the Board.
Owen died on October 15, 1835, at his home in Chicago from a pulmonary illness he had been suffering since May.His health at that time had been compromised due to efforts of expelling Potawatomi Indians west of the Mississippi River per the Treaty of Chicago. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.
Grand Avenue is so called due to a quote of Owen's referring to Chicago as "a grand place to live".Owen Avenue is named for Owen directly. The historian James Ryan Haydon claimed in 1934 that Owen's contributions to Chicago were deliberately downplayed by later historians so as not to drown out the stories of Chicago's other pioneers, what he called the "Kinzie mythology".
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable is regarded as the first permanent non-Indigenous settler of what would later become 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.
The Battle of Fort Dearborn was an engagement between United States troops and Potawatomi Native Americans that occurred on August 15, 1812, near Fort Dearborn in what is now Chicago, Illinois. The battle, which occurred during the War of 1812, followed the evacuation of the fort as ordered by the commander of the United States Army of the Northwest, William Hull. The battle lasted about 15 minutes and resulted in a complete victory for the Native Americans. After the battle, Fort Dearborn was burned down. Some of the soldiers and settlers who had been taken captive were later ransomed.
Fort Dearborn was a United States fort built in 1803 beside the Chicago River, in what is now Chicago, Illinois. It was constructed by troops under Captain John Whistler and named in honor of Henry Dearborn, then United States Secretary of War. The original fort was destroyed following the Battle of Fort Dearborn during the War of 1812, and a second fort was reconstructed on the same site in 1816. By 1837, the fort had been de-commissioned. Parts of the fort were lost to both the widening of the Chicago River in 1855, and a fire in 1857. The last vestiges of Fort Dearborn were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The site of the fort is now a Chicago Landmark, located in the Michigan–Wacker Historic District.
James Curtiss was an American politician who twice served as Mayor of Chicago, Illinois for the Democratic Party.
John Harris Kinzie was a prominent figure in Chicago politics during the 19th century. He served as president of Chicago when it was still a town and thrice unsuccessfully ran for Chicago's mayoralty once it was incorporated as a city.
Juliette Augusta Magill Kinzie was an American historian, writer and pioneer of the American Midwest.
John Biddle was an American military officer, politician, and businessman. He served as a delegate to the United States Congress from the Michigan Territory, as the speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, and as mayor of Detroit.
The Randolph family is a prominent Virginia political family, whose members contributed to the politics of Colonial Virginia and Virginia after it gained its statehood. They are descended from the Randolphs of Morton Morrell, Warwickshire, England. The first Randolph to come to America was Henry Randolph in 1643. His nephew, William Randolph, later came to Virginia as an orphan in 1669. He made his home at Turkey Island along the James River. Because of their numerous progeny, William Randolph and his wife, Mary Isham Randolph, have been referred to as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia." The Randolph family was the wealthiest and most powerful family in 18th-century Virginia.
Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard was an American fur trader, insurance underwriter, and land speculator. He was influential in the development of the city of Chicago and responsible for its growth during the 19th century. First arriving in Chicago in 1818, he settled in the area in the late 1820s. He became one of the most prominent residents of the town and was one of its first trustees in 1833. He went on to build Chicago's first stockyard and help foment a land boom for Chicago in the East.
Sauganash Hotel is a former hotel; regarded as the first hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Built in 1831, it was located at Wolf Point in the present day Loop community area at the intersection of the north, south and main branches of the Chicago River. The location at West Lake Street and North Wacker Drive was designated a Chicago Landmark on November 6, 2002. The hotel changed proprietors often in its twenty-year existence and briefly served as Chicago's first theater. It was named after Sauganash, an interpreter in the British Indian Department.
Grand Avenue is a major east-west street in the city of Chicago and nearby DuPage County, although it deviates somewhat from Chicago's grid system, as it is diagonal west of Western Avenue. The street runs from the Kingery Highway in Addison, east through the western suburbs, and then east-southeast into Chicago, through the Magnificent Mile shopping area, and continuing out to Navy Pier, where it ends. This is a distance of about 19 miles (31 km).
Elias K. Owen was a United States Navy officer.
Over the years Chicago has been called home by many immigrant groups and cultures, the Welsh included.
Colonel Edmund Dick Taylor was an American businessman, politician, and soldier from Illinois. He is remembered as the first person to suggest that the United States should issue paper currency ("greenbacks") during the American Civil War.
Wilcox v. Jackson, 38 U.S. 498 (1839), sometimes nicknamed the "Beaubien Land Case" was a legal action decided by the United States Supreme Court concerning the land under Fort Dearborn shortly after incorporation of Chicago as a town in Cook County, Illinois.
Wolf Point is the location at the confluence of the North, South and Main Branches of the Chicago River in the present day Near North Side, Loop, and Near West Side community areas of Chicago. This fork in the river is historically important in the development of early Chicago. This was the location of Chicago's first three taverns, its first hotel, Sauganash Hotel, its first ferry, its first drug store, its first church, its first theater company, and the first bridges across the Chicago River. The name is said to possibly derive from a Native American Chief whose name translated to wolf, but alternate theories exist.
Jean Baptiste Beaubien, a multi-lingual fur-trader born in Detroit, Michigan, became an early resident of what became Chicago, Illinois, as well as an early civic and militia leader in Cook County, Illinois during the Black Hawk War, before moving to Du Page County, Illinois in his final years.
Thomas Jefferson Coolidge was a leading Boston businessman.
Alexander Robinson, was a British-Ottawa chief born on Mackinac Island who became a fur trader and ultimately settled near what later became Chicago. Multilingual in Odawa, Potawatomi, Ojibwa, English and French, Robinson also helped evacuate survivors of the Fort Dearborn Massacre in 1812. In 1816, Robinson was a translator for native peoples during the Treaty of St. Louis. He became a Potawatomi chief in 1829 and in that year and in 1833, he and fellow Metis Billy Caldwell negotiated treaties on behalf of the United Nations of Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi with the United States. Although Robinson helped lead native Americans across the Mississippi River in 1835, unlike Caldwell, Robinson returned to the Chicago area by 1840 and lived as a respected citizen in western Cook County until his death decades later.
James Thompson was an American surveyor based in Kaskaskia, Illinois, who created the first plat of Chicago on August 4, 1830.
| President of the Town of Chicago|
August 12, 1833 – 1834
John H. Kinzie