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Kinzie, John H.

Born: 1803-07-07 Sandwich, Upper Canada

Died: 1865-06-21 Pennsylvania

Born during a visit to Upper Canada, John H. Kinzie was soon transported back to his family home in Bartrand, Michigan. In 1804, they moved to what would become Chicago, Illinois. They spent some time in Detroit, Michigan, due to disruptions caused by the War of 1812 but returned to Chicago after the conflict. In 1818, Kinzie began an apprenticeship in the American Fur Company and increasingly became involved in the local trade with Native Americans. In 1829, he was appointed Indian agent for the Winnebagos and permanently settled in Chicago in 1834. He won election as president of the village of Chicago and became the toll collector for the Illinois and Michigan Canal. He unsuccessfully ran to be the first mayor in 1837 but lost to William B. Ogden. William Henry Harrison appointed Kinzie registrar of public lands in 1841, but John Tyler removed him from that post when he assumed the presidency. In 1849, Zachary Taylor appointed Kinzie receiver of Chicago branch of the General Land Office, a position he held until 1853. In 1860, he was still working as a toll collector and owned real estate valued at $100,000 and had a personal estate of $8,000. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln appointed him an Army paymaster.

Gravestone, GDNSe-A Plot 367 Space 1, Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, IL; A. T. Andreas, History of Chicago, 3 vols (Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1884), 1:97-99, 177-78; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1849 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1849), 137;Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1851 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1851), 141; Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1853 (Washington, DC: Robert Armstrong, 1853), 139; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 9, Chicago, Cook County, IL, 19; Josiah Seymour Currey, Chicago: Its History and its Builders: A Century of Marvelous Growth (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1912), 5:674-80.