Date: c. 1940
Description: This is a photograph of a cabin that is thought to have belonged to Theophile Bruguier, one of Siouxland’s earliest settlers. He came to the area in 1849 and settled near the mouth of the Big Sioux. He was a French-Canadian fur trader employed by the American Fur Co. and he originally came here to take full advantage of the lucrative fur trade business of this area. He soon tired of the nomadic life of fur trading and built his log cabin at the mouth of the Big Sioux to try a sedentary lifestyle of farming. He was well-known friend of the local Native American tribes and had close relations with War Eagle. He could speak Lakota and was a key factor in easing tensions between white settlers and the tribes, even forming a key part of the negotiations in an 1858 treaty that ceded much of what is now South Dakota to the U. S. government.
In 1852, Bruguier sold much of his land to Joseph Leonais and was paid $100 for it, or about $3,000 in modern currency. This seems impressive, but Leonais turned around and sold the land to Dr. Cook and the Sioux City Townsite Co. for a whopping $3,000, almost $100,000 today. This cabin, thought to be Bruguier’s, was found near Riverside Park in the 1930s. It stands today in the park as a memorial to this early settler.
Donor: Barbara Zediker