Billy Caldwell on the Plains
Who was Billy Caldwell and how did he come to have his own personal reservation?
He was a chief of the Potawatomi tribe who lived in this area; his people called him Chief Sauganash. Billy Caldwell often acted as a mediator between the Indians and the U.S. Government; he received the reservation as a reward for mediation activities as well as for saving the Kinzie family and other prominent Chicago families during the Fort Dearborn massacre. The Treaty of Chicago, signed in 1833 after the Blackhawk War, ceded all Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottowa Indian land east of the Mississippi to the U.S. Government in return for a 5 million acre reservation further west and $100,000 in cash and goods. As a part of this treaty, Billy Caldwell, along with several other influential chiefs, received land tracts, reservations.
Why are we called Billy Caldwell Post?
Our American Legion Post was originally within Billy Caldwell's reservation, near the intersection of Peterson and Cicero. If you traveled back in time about 165 years ago, you would find that Edgebrook School and its attendance area was within the boundaries of the Billy Caldwell Indian Reservation. The boundaries of Billy Caldwell's Reservation extended from Peterson Avenue at Sauganash, up Sauganash Avenue to Touhy Avenue, over to the Forest Preserve, and back down to Rogers Avenue, which used to be known as Indian Boundary Road. The current Caldwell Avenue runs on a diagonal northwest smack through the middle of the reservation and all the streets around it, like Hiawatha, are either parallel or perpendicular to Caldwell and are therefore also on a diagonal. You can still see the outline of the reservation on a street map today.