How Chicago Got its Name

Doing a little research today I came across this tiny tidbit of historical minutia about the source of the name Chicago. I referred to The Chicago History Journal...

...The origin of the name Chicago is a subject of discussion, some of the Indians deriving it from the fitch or polecat, others from the wild onion with which the woods formerly abounded; but all agree that the place received its name from an old chief who was drowned in the stream in former times. That this event, although so carefully preserved by tradition, must have occurred in a very remote period, is evident from an old French manuscript brought by General Cass from France.

In this paper, which purports to be a letter from M. de Ligney, at Green Bay, to M. de Siette, among the Illinois, dated as early as 1726, the place is designated as "Chica-goux." This orthography is also found in old family letters of the beginning of the present century...

I suppose I like the French version the best, although wild onions do grow everywhere. Standing near the Tribune Tower I have looked across the Chicago River at the site of Fort Dearborne, and wondered what Chicago looked like with trees and natural vegetation.


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