“We started at dawn”.
It was after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 when the aging Hubbard began to re-write his autobiography for a second time…his first manuscript was lost in the fire! More than fifty years later Hubbard remembered the first day he entered at Chicago in the fall of 1818 in detail:
“Arriving at Douglas Grove where the prairie could be seen through the oak woods, I landed, and climbing a tree, I gazed in admiration on the first prairie I had ever seen. The waving grass, intermingled with a rich profusion of wild flowers, was the most beautiful sight I had ever gazed upon. In the distance the grove of Blue Island loomed up, beyond it the timber on the Desplaines River, while to give animation to the scene, a herd of wild deer appeared, and a pair of red foxes emerged from the grass within gunshot of me. “
“Looking north, I saw the whitewashed buildings of Fort Dearborn sparkling in the sunshine, our boats with flags flying, and oars keeping time to the cheering boat song. I was spell-bound and amazed at the beautiful scene before me. I took the trail leading to the fort, and, on my arrival, found our party camped on the north side of the river, near what is now State Street. A soldier ferried me across the river in a canoe, and thus I made my first entry into Chicago, October 1, 1818.”
Next page: Crossing the Chicago Portage