Born on Christmas Day 1799 in St. Michel de Yamaska, province of Quebec, Canada, Noel LeVasseur arrived in Iroquois County in 1823. He was employed by the American Fur Company and became Gurdon S. Hubbard's partner as they expanded fur-trading in northeastern and central Illinois.
In 1832, LeVasseur and his Potawatomi wife, Wa-che-ke, established a trading post at a place in Bourbonnais Grove called La Pointe, a "point" of timber that grew along a branch of Bourbonnais Creek and was a landmark for travelers along the Danville-Chicago road (Route 102).
After establishing himself in Bourbonnais Grove, LeVasseur returned to his native Quebec to recruit French Canadians to settle here. His promises of cheap, fertile ground along the beautiful Kankakee River enticed many French Canadian families to make the arduous journey down the St. Lawrence valley and through the Great Lakes region to make Bourbonnais their home.
LeVasseur also hoped to find a wife in Quebec befitting a man of his increasing wealth and stature. He divorced his wife Wa-che-ke in the Potawatomi tradition, with a simple declaration that the marriage was over.
On February 19, 1838, a thirty-eight-year-old Noel LeVasseur married Ruth Russell Bull, twenty, in Joliet Illinois. Miss Bull, educated, sophisticated and pretty, came west from Middletown, Connecticut. She was the niece of Samuel Russell, another early settler of Bourbonnais Grove.
Active in local politics and business the remainder of his life, Noel LeVasseur died in 1879 at the age of 80 years. He is buried in Maternity BVM cemetery on River Street in Bourbonnais.
A young Noel LeVasseur, French Canadian fur trader, as depicted by local historian Vic Johnson.
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