A Time-Line of French, French-Canadians, Illinois, Bourbonnais, Kankakee, and the World
Area History is in Italics
1653 French nuns led by Sister Marguerite Bourgeoys (founder of the Congregation de Notre Dame--the order of nuns who later came to Bourbonnais Grove in 1860) arrived in Canada
1663 Louis the XIV revoked the Compagnie des Cent'sroyal charter, converting New France (Canada) into a royal colony.
Fur trader Louis Jolliet and missionary Jacques Marquette
entered the Illinois villages and established French
claims of the Illinois country (Pays des Illinois).
Canadian Governor Frontenac granted La Salle the right to
settle the Illinois country.
de la Salle paddled his birch canoe down the Kankakee
River in an attempt to explore and discover the outlet of
the Mississippi River.
King William's War (War of the Rhenish Palatinate, or
League of Augsburg) officially commenced in Europe, but
in America the war began with the Iroquois attacks into
the Illinois country as early as 1680. Control of the
beaver trade motivated the Iroquois to foray against the
French and the Illinois tribes.
XIV's edict abolished the Indian trade (fur trade),
western travel, and settlement, consequently stranding
many Canadian Coureur de Bois in the Illinois country.
First Illinois mission established at Cahokia.
Unauthorized French settlers established six villages
down river from present day St. Louis.
Queen Anne's War (War of the Spanish Succession) produced
a new strategy for New France: detach the Iroquois from
English influence. Consequently, New England felt
the burden of Indian attacks and the Illinois country
received a period of peace and growth.
Louis the XIV dies and the 1696 edict allowed to lapse.
The French of Illinois established the first European
republic west of the Allegheny Mountains.
The French crown detached the Illinois country from
Canada and placed Illinois under the Louisiana colony's
For twenty years, intermittent raids and warfare raged
upon the Louisiana and Illinois colonies from the
The War of Jenkin's Ear furnished the spark, which
created King George's War (War of Austrian Succession).
During the war George Groghan captured the Ohio Valley
fur trade from the French. After the war, Illinois fur
traders exchanged peltry for English trade goods.
Fort de Chartres recruits 300 Illinois warriors to fight
George Washington at Fort Necessity.
Fort Massac constructed near present day Metropolis,
1763 The French and Indian War (The Seven Years War) officially ends in French defeat. The Treaty of Paris cedes all land east of the Mississippi to the English.
French garrisons evacuate the Illinois country. Pontiac
foments Indian unrest in the Illinois country against the
English. The Chickasaws burn the evacuated Fort Massac
Laclede opens a trading post opposite Cahokia.
July 4, 1776
US constitution goes into effect
Congress passes an act stating that the Northern
Territory will be divided into two parts called the Ohio
and Indiana Territory.
The territory of Illinois was organized. It included
Wisconsin and Peninsular Michigan.
1818 Illinois becomes the 21st state admitted
into the union.
Gordon Hubbard marries Watch-e-kee (Watseka), chief
Tamin's niece, to seal ties between the trader and a band
of Pottawatomi with whom he had been trading with. They
mutually dissolved the union nearly two years later.
Francois Bourbonnais Sr. arrives on the Kankakee
River. He was a fur trapper and hunter hired by the
American Fur Co. to deal with the Indian trappers in the
Noel LeVasseur is the first white settler in
The Treaty of Tippecanoe was formed between the United
States government and the Indians. It stated that if the
Indians refrained from interfering with the settlers, the
land would be bought from them with the stipulation that
certain tracts of land would be set-aside for them as
Settlers started to settle in Aroma Park, Momence,
Exline, Limestone, and Rockville areas.
The majority of the Indians had left the area by this
First school opened in Kankakee County near Aroma
Park. The first teacher was Miss Stella Ann Johnson.
A public school system is established.
June 1837 Father Lalumiere performs the first baptism for Andre Bray.
1840 Father St. Palais, later bishop of
Vincinnes, performs the first marriage for Mary Marcotte
and John Flageole.
The first chapel was built and named St. Leo's log
cabin church. Services--had previously been held in the
1849 A new frame is built over the log cabin
church and is dedicated Maternity of the Blessed Virgin
1842 Father Dunn performs the first funeral
for Pierre Lami.
The California gold rush begins.
1853 Kankakee County was formed.
July 4, 1853
The Illinois Central Railroad brings "the iron
horse" to Kankakee. At the time, Bourbonnais
Grove didn't want anything to do with it. Kankakee only
had one cabin that had been built 20 years earlier for
Francois Bourbonnais Jr., but contractors felt that the
Kankakee area would boom due to its location.
The first newspaper was printed in Kankakee County.
Augustin Chester was the first editor.
1853 Maternity Church is consumed in flames.
The fire could be seen for miles. The priest in
residence, Rev. Charles Chiniquy, moved to St. Anne
shortly after, which led the people of Bourbonnais to
believe him guilty of arson. He retained Abe Lincoln as
his defense attorney, but both trials resulted in hung
First county courthouse was erected.
Population of Kankakee is almost 5,000 people.
Maternity BVM was rebuilt.
The Civil War began.
1862 The boarding school Notre Dame Academy
in Bourbonnais is founded.
22, 1862 The Emancipation Proclamation is
July 1, 1863
The Battle of Gettysburg took place
St. Viator's College founded in Bourbonnais.
1867 A large bell is installed and dedicated in the belfry of Maternity church.
The county courthouse started on fire. The records
were safely removed.
1873 New courthouse built in the same location as the first one.
North Kankakee Electric Light and Railway Co. sets up
business in the community. Electricity and electric
streetcars appear. A nominal fee of five cents was
charged to the passengers. It was common for the students
of St. Viator College to try the patience and play pranks
on the motorman. After the four-wheel cars were
introduced, the students found that they could make the
cars jump off their tracks.
William McKinley defeats William Jennings Bryan for the
St. Viator College built a long needed gymnasium.
Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company
Oliver Marcotte's home was consumed in flames. It was
one of the first homes built in the area.
First Olympics held in the US was to be held in St.Louis.
1906 St. Viators College Church is engulfed
in flames. The fire was rumored to have begun in a
student's dorm room and caused by a spilt oil lamp.
Model T was introduced.
269 coal miners died in an explosion in Cherry, IL
Boy Scouts of America was founded.
Present Kankakee County courthouse was finished.
Girl Scouts of the United States of America was founded
1915 The first public sewer is built.
The German Navy sank the
Lusitania, a Cunard liner. 1198
lives were lost, including 128 American passengers.
The United States National Park Service is established
Woodrow Wilson is reelected
The first "big city" crime hit the area. A
man only known as "Clark" was found stabbed to
death at the wheel of his Model-T Ford taxicab near
Maternity BVM Cemetery.
US enters WWI.
Puerto Rico became US territory.
An influenza epidemic sweeps across the nation and claims
Treaty of Versailles is sign ending World War I.
Congress overrides presidential veto and passes the
National Prohibition Law.
1920 Warren G. Harding becomes president.
Lincoln Memorial was dedicated.
1922 Mrs. Helen Rivard's house explodes due
to an oil spill. She later died due to injuries sustained
in the blast.
1923 President Harding dies of food poisoning
and Vice President Calvin Coolidge takes the presidency.
Calvin Coolidge was elected president.
689 people died because of a mile wide tornado that
ripped through Illinois.
150 anniversary of the US (Sesquicentennial).
1927 Mount Rushmore was dedicated.
Amelia Eahrhart becomes the first woman to cross Atlantic
Ocean in a plane.
10, 1928 Billy Ranieri, a ten-year-old boy
from Chicago was abducted on his way home from school. A
ransom of $60,000 was demanded. The boy was found days
later in a Joliet gas station. Several men were later
charged after the boy was released, one even being the
boy's godfather. All of them appeared to be associated
with the Sicilian mafia. The house the boy was held in
was later identified as a two-story farmhouse on River
Road (now River Street). As the story became more
widespread, the area gained much popularity. The town was
swarmed with gawkers and souvenir hunters.
1929 Black Tuesday, 16 million shares were lost.
1929 The New York Stock Exchange value had
dropped by over 26 billion dollars, the Great Depression
Chicago gangster Al Capone convicted of Tax Evasion and
sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected in a landslide over
The National Prohibition Laws were repealed from the
Bad crop year in Midwest, record colds in February and
record heat in the summer.
First chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous was created in NY
city, less than 2 years after the Prohibition Laws were
FDR was reelected.
The Hindenburg explodes.
Self-propelled combine was introduced.
An outdoor theater was opened during the summer at
town hall. St. Viator College was closed at the end of
1939 Germany invades Poland, three days later
France and Great Britain declares war on Germany,
FDR was elected to his 3rd term in office.
Joe Dimaggio sets a record for the longest hitting streak
in baseball with a 56 game hitting streak. The record
still stands today.
1941 The Japanese bombs Pearl Harbor and World
War II ensues.
1941 US declares war on Japan.
Rationing was put into effect to conserve war materials.
DDT was developed as a lice remover.
June 6,1944 D-Day, invasion of Normandy.
World War II ends.
1945 Japanese surrendered on the U.S.S.
UFO trends starts up and Roswell Crash happened.
Harry Truman elected president.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded.
Notre Dame Academy closed because of a lack of
enrollment. The convent continues to occupy the premises
Illinois Bell Telephone Co. began a village wide
project to install dial phones throughout the community.
The Korean War begins.
H. Truman authorizes continuation of the development of
the hydrogen bomb.
Flood damages exceed 1 billion dollars when the Missouri
River flooded Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Eisenhower gets elected as president.
Eisenhower is reelected over Illinoisan Adlai Stevenson.
Russia launched first satellite, Sputnik.
1957 Eleven inches of rain fell throughout
the night and flooded the area.
Alaska and Hawaii becomes US states, numbers 49 and 50.
John F. Kennedy becomes president over Richard Nixon.
JFK established the Peace Corps.
Garbage pickup is offered to residents by ABC Company
for a nominal fee of ninety-five cents a month. The Dutch
elm disease destroyed nearly all of the elm trees in the
village. They were replaced with soft maple trees.
A disastrous tornado sweeps through the Bourbonnais
area. It destroys the village hall, the remains of Notre
Dame Academy that remained on ONC's campus, Burke
Administration Hall (part of the old St. Viator College),
shattered Maternity Church's imported stained glass
windows, rips through many homes, and takes several
lives. The twister continued to rip through the state and
didn't stop until it was past the Indiana state line. The
college's repairs were estimated at one million dollars.
1963 JFK was assassinated and Lyndon B. Johnson
was swore in just hours later.
President Johnson signs the civil rights act.
America commits to the first space walk.
The Reed Planetarium at Olivet Nazarene College was
built. It was, and still is, the only facility of its
kind in the area.
A campus radio station (WKOC) is begun and directed by
Professor Ray Moore.
A string of tornadoes ripped through IL killing 36 and
injuring over 1,000 people.
1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated.
1968 Apollo 8 was a success in test landing.
Apollo 11 made a flight to and around the moon.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldridge becomes the first men
ever to walk on the moon.
The population of Bourbonnais is at 5888 people.
Voting age reduced to 18.
US, North and South Vietnam, and Vietcong sign a peace
agreement in Paris ending the war.
The Bank of Bourbonnais and Kankakee Federal Savings
and Loan Association were both founded.
Hank Aaron hits home runs number 715 surpassing Babe Ruth
for the all time lead in home runs.
America celebrates its Bicentennial.
1978 Senate voted to turn the Panama Canal over
Three Mile Island incident happened.
1979 American Embassy seized by Iranians, 52
people were held hostage.
Population of Kankakee County is over 102,296.
Ronald Reagan elected president.
George Bush elected president.
1991 Cease-fire signed between United Nations
Cold war ends between Russia and US.
Bill Clinton elected president.
Oklahoma City bombing.
1998 Bill Clinton becomes the 2nd president to be impeached.
November 2000 After a contested election, George W. Bush is elected president.
September 11, 2001 Terrorists hijack and fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
November 2001 US Marines land in Afghanistan.