Thompson's plat of Chicago
Thompson's plat of Chicago

James Thompson (1789–1872) was an American surveyor who created the first plat of Chicago (pictured) , completing it on August 4, 1830. Born in South Carolina , Thompson moved to Kaskaskia in southern Illinois as a young man and lived in the area for the rest of his life. He was hired to plat settlements at both ends of the proposed Illinois and Michigan Canal in northern Illinois, including Chicago at the eastern end. Before Thompson's plat fixed its location, the word "Chicago" had been used for various places around the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan . The plat named the streets in the area and allowed its residents to obtain legal title to their property. Chicago incorporated as a town in 1833 and as a city in 1837. In addition to his surveying work, Thompson served as a probate judge, county commissioner, and officer in the Illinois militia during the Black Hawk War . His grave, which was originally unmarked, was given a monument by the city in 1917 . ( Full article... )


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