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The Negro in IllinoisThe WPA Papers$
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Brian Dolinar

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037696

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037696.001.0001

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First, the French

First, the French

(p.1) 1. First, the French
The Negro in Illinois
Arna Bontemps
University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on the early French in Illinois and tells the story of the state's first black settler, Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable. The scant documentary records of colonial Illinois include the report of a crude census conducted in 1732. Negroes at that time numbered 69 men, 33 women, and 64 children, as compared with 159 white men, 39 women, and an uncertain number of children. The chapter considers a number of factors that connect Jean Baptiste De Saible and the ancient Du Sable family of French ancestry, and suggests that his patronage may be accounted for by a custom of the times: Negro and Indian slavery. It then turns to Du Sable, who spent the years from 1805 to 1814 in and about St. Charles, Missouri. In June 1813, Point Du Sable transferred a house, lot and other property in St. Charles to Eulalie Barode, his grand-daughter, wife of Michael Derais. On October 10, 1814, Du Sable “applied for the benefit of the law relative to insolvents.” He died soon thereafter.

Keywords:   slavery, French, Illinois, Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable, Negroes, Jean Baptiste De Saible, Du Sable family, Indian slavery, Missouri, Eulalie Barode

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