Kinzie's Long Road to Town

As a loyal British subject Kinzie was driven from Kekionga by the advance of the US Army under General Harmar in 1790.  Harmer burned 300 houses and 20,000 bushels of corn  and Kinzie lost his home.  He moved down the Maumee River near the safety of the British Army Fort Miami nearby a place where a tornado had left a swath of fallen trees.

Three years later Gen. Anthony Wayne attacked Miami villages in the Maumee valley ending the campaign with his victory over combined Indian forces at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.  Kinzie again lost his home and had to flee the advancing Americans. He moved back to the safety of Detroit.  During this time he became a U.S. citizen by default, by simply not declaring his loyalty to his King.  And he got married for a second time, incredibly to woman who had lived part of her life as a slave captured by Indians, just like his first wife!

He began working for the fur trader William Burnett around 1800.  Burnett was a successful trader Kinzie met in Detroit who had a post near the mouth of the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan (today’s Benton Harbor).  Burnett supplied Point De Sable at his post in Chicago and employed Jean Lalime who became the interpreter for Ft. Dearborn.  When Du Sable left Chicago, Burnett bankrolled Lalime’s purchase of the property.  In 1803, shortly after the construction of the first Fort Dearborn, John Kinzie moved to Chicago and bought the property from Lalime.

Next page: James Strode Swearingen