John Kinzie (1763 - January 6, 1828) was Chicago's first permanent white settler. Born in Quebec, he became an Indian trader in Detroit, later arriving in Chicago in 1804. He purchased the house of Jean Baptiste Pont Du Sable, who had departed for Peoria. Fort Dearborn was soon established at the mouth of the river, and Kinzie's influence in the area grew as he traded with the soldiers at the fort and the natives.
On August 15, 1812, an attack by Pottawatomie Indians left about forty dead, in what is known as the "Fort Dearborn Massacre". Kinzie had been with the soldiers but escaped unharmed; his family had already gone into hiding. They fled by boat to Detroit.
Four years after the Massacre, John Kinzie returned to Chicago, remaining here until his death in 1828.
Kinzie had originally been buried in the Fort Dearborn cemetery, then moved to the original north side City Cemetery, and again to the new City Cemetery in what is now Lincoln Park. Finally, when City Cemetery was closed in the early 1860s, his remains and tombstone were moved to their current location in Graceland.
In front of Kinzie's original limestone marker is a simple granite headstone, placed there in this century.
[Sawyers 1991] [Lanctot 1988]