The Mission de l`Ange Gardien des Miamis à Chicagoua

The next Frenchmen that called Chicagou home lived here for years.  Father Pierre François Pinet was a Jesuit priest arrived in New France in 1692.  After spending two years at Mission de Saint-Ignace (founded by Marquette) he and Père Julien Bineteau were sent to open the Mission de l`Ange Gardien des Miami à Chicagoua (Mission of the Guardian Angel of the Miamis at Chicago) in 1696.

While in Chicagou, Pinet wrote the first French-Miami dictionary.  It was only recently (1999) discovered at the Jesuit archive in St. Jérôme, Québec.  Its authorship was verified by exhaustive handwriting analysis.  It was the first book written in Chicago.

Father Pinet was ordered to close the mission in 1697, but returned to reopen it the following year.  In October 1699 Abbe St. Cosme visited Fathers Pinet and Bineteau in the company of two other missionaries. They were on their way to the Tamaroa Indians on the east bank of the Mississippi, just downstream from the entry of the Missouri. Cosme wrote in his journal:

“(We) went by land to the house of the Reverend Jesuit Fathers, the Mission of the Guardian Angel, found there the Reverend Father Pinet and the Reverent Father Bineteau, recently arrived from the Illinois country, slightly ill. Their house is built on the bank of a small river, with the lake on one side and a vast prairie on the other. The village of savages contains over a hundred and fifty cabins, and a league up the river is still another village, almost as large. They are all Miamis.”

The mission finally closed in 1702 as the Fox Wars began and the less protected French settlements withdrew to the safety of Canada.

Next page: The Fox Wars and the Chicago Portage

Contemporary Kaskaskia jesuit mission - image from IL State Museum website