William Burnett, an American patriot from New Jersey, established a trading post on the banks of the St. Joseph River immediately west of this point between 1775 and 1782. He was the first permanent white resident of this area. He married Kakima, daughter of Chief Aniquiba and sister of Topenebee, principal chief of the Potawatomi nation. Burnett built a warehouse at the mouth of the St. Joseph on the site of old Fort Miami, another at the site of Chicago, and a third on the Kankakee River. In 1785, the British charged Burnett with "exciting sedition" among the Indians. He was sent to Montreal and Quebec, but not under guard, and at last released without trial. During the War of 1812 he disappeared, but his son, James, continued to manage the post until 1833.