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For the Chicago neighborhood, see Forest Glen.

Sauganash (c. 1780 – September 28, 1841), a.k.a. Chief Sauganash or Billy Caldwell, was a Potawatomi leader, born of a Mohawk mother, near Fort Niagara.[1] His father was William Caldwell, an Irish immigrant and British soldier.

Pierre-Jean De Smet's map of the Council Bluffs, Iowa area, 1839. The area labeled 'Caldwell's Camp' was a Potawatomi village led by Sauganash, this was at or near the later town of Kanesville, the precursor of Council Bluffs.[2]

Sauganash fought in the War of 1812 as a captain of Indian forces aligned with the British. During the war he was a close friend and advisor to Tecumseh and acquaintance of Black Hawk. Although supporting the British, Sauganash won the admiration of Americans when he saved the lives of U.S. captives taken from Fort Dearborn in Chicago.[2]

He settled near Chicago in about 1820. As a result of an 1830 treaty with the U.S. government, he was granted a land tract of about 1,600 acres (6.5 km²) north of Chicago, where he lived with a band of Potawatomi. Sauganash later was made a Justice of the Peace. According to Fulton (1882), Sauganash was a local celebrity who was frequently seen at hotels and restaurants in early Chicago, especially a hotel owned by his half brother.[3] Sauganash eventually sold the land and moved to Iowa where he led a Potawatomi band of ca. 2000 individuals, their main village called "Caldwell's Camp", located in modern Council Bluffs, Iowa. From 1838 to 1839 his people were ministered to by the famed missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet, De Smet was appalled at the violence and desperation that overtook the Potawatomi in their new home.[4][5][6]

Most of the Sauganash land eventually was annexed by the city of Chicago in 1889. The Chicago neighborhood Sauganash is today located on a portion of the Sauganash land. In the Potawatomi language, the name "Sauganash" (Zhagenash) is said to mean "Englishman."

The Sauganash treaty was signed under the Old Treaty Elm, which stood until 1933. The approximate location of the Old Treaty Elm in the Sauganash neighborhood of Chicago is today marked with a historical marker.

The Sauganash neighborhood is located on the northwest side of Chicago and is bordered by Devon Ave. to the north, Bryn Mawr Ave. to the south, and Cicero Ave. to the west. The eastern boundary was an unused railroad spur. Recently, the City of Chicago converted the railroad spur into a bicycle trail.

Sauganash died in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on September 28, 1841.


  1. ^ "Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online". Retrieved 2008-12-17.  
  2. ^ a b Whittaker (2008): Pierre-Jean De Smet’s Remarkable Map of the Missouri River Valley, 1839: What Did He See in Iowa? Journal of the Iowa Archeological Society 55:1-13.
  3. ^ A.R. Fulton (1882) The Red Men of Iowa p. 166-167.
  4. ^ Mullen, Frank (1925) Father De Smet and the Pottawattamie Indian Mission. Iowa Journal of History and Politics 23:192-216.
  5. ^ Wilson and Fiske (1888) Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, p. 403.
  6. ^ Fulton (1882).

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