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Local History

     The Kickapoo, Illini, Iroquois, Mascouten and Potawatomi Indians were inhabitants of the land before Francois Bourbonnais, Sr. came in 1832.  Noel LeVasseur, a French Canadian trader, found Francois Bourbonnais living in what would be known as Bourbonnais Grove.  LeVasseur bought a tract of land from Me-she-ke-ten-o.  He brought his Indian wife Watch-e-kee (Watseka) and he established a trading post in what would later be known as the village of Bourbonnais. LeVasseur began recruiting French Canadians from Quebec in the 1830’s and 1840’s and forever impacted the Kankakee County area.  Noel LeVasseur who arrived in 1832 is credited as being the first permanent settler in Bourbonnais (Grove).

Noel LeVasseur

The Noel LeVasseur memorial was dedicated in 1979, the 100th anniversary of his death.  The memorial is located at the southwestern corner of routes 102 and 45 in Bourbonnais.

Noel LeVasseur's home was built in 1837.  Conrad Shreffler illustrated this drawing based on a description from memory by Alfred H. Senesac.