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Bourbonnais is a village in Kankakee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,256 in the 2000 census, but had grown to 18,631 in the 2010 census. It is part of the Kankakee-Bourbonnais-Bradley Metropolitan Statistical Area.HistoryThe village is named after François Bourbonnais, Sr., a fur trapper, hunter and agent of the American Fur Company, who had married a Native American woman and arrived in the area near the fork of two major Indian trails and the Kankakee River circa 1830. John Jacob Astor had founded the company in 1808, and when the United States banned foreign (i.e. British and Canadian companies such as the Hudson's Bay Company) from competing in the country after the War of 1812, it grew. By 1830, it had a near monopoly of fur trading in the midwest, but the number of local trappable wild animals had declined.In 1832, Noël LeVasseur arrived as the firm's local agent, established a trading post, and became the area's first permanent non-Native American settler. He married Watseka, niece of a Potawatomi chieftain, and after the Potawatomi were relocated to Iowa, recruited French-Canadians to settle around his store. The Potawatomi were forced to move westward by a series of treaties culminating in the Treaty of Tippecanoe, which Congress ratified in 1833. The treaty reserved two sections for Potawanomi chief Me-she-ke-te-no, and one section each for Catish (Mrs. Bourbonnais, Sr.) and Manteno (daughter of Francois Bourbonnais, Jr.). LeVasseur received considerable land through a series of shrewd trades, and eventually divorced Watseka and married a Canadian woman named Ruth. After establishment of the new Catholic diocese of Chicago missionary Fr. Stephen Badin briefly settled in Bourbonnais Grove in 1846, before retiring further south.Plan your holiday in Bourbonnais and other destinations, from the rural, to the urban, and everything in between, using our United States trip website.
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