In the late 1760's Jean
Baptiste Dessables, a descendant of a Haitian pirate, was captured by
Indians and taken to Pontiac, an Ottawa chief. He became a member of
Pontiac's tribe and married the chief's daughter, Kittihava. In 1778
he is supposed to have build a cabin at the mouth of the Chicago River
and was the first non-Indian to settle in the place. He set up a
trading post on the shore of Lake Michigan where Chicago now stands,
and amassed a small fortune before he died in 1813.
In 1791 Daniel Friedrich Sotzmann, a German
cartographer and maker of terrestrial globes, drafted a map based on
the second edition of Aaron Arrowsmith's larger Mercator map, Karte
des norlichsten America, nach der zweiten Ausgabe von Arrowsmith's
grosser Mercator-Karte in act Blatt gezeichnet von D.C. Sotzman 1791. At the
time the site of present-day Chicago was occupied by Indian villages
and trading posts. The name Chicago does not appear on
Sotzmann's map, Mississippe is misspelled, and the river is
moved a bit to the west. Iowa City appears in the original as
Jewa Stadt and represents a number of Iowa Indian villages.
This is the map used on the stamps.
The stamps were issued in 1959 to commemorate the Third
Pan American Games held in Chicago, and recognizes the Haitian
Dessables' connection with the American city.