The American Revolution was fought in Illinois. We don't hear about this much. Kids don't learn about it in school, at least not before college. A battle even took place in what is now St. Louis, Missouri.
The Mississippi River was important for both trade and transportation. Both the United States and Great Britain wanted control, and the citizens of Kaskaskia had front-row seats.
Louis Brazeau, my 4th great grandfather, was an interesting character. Nicknamed "Caiou," an Illinoisan word for "brave one," he was born a citizen of France. Without relocating, he became a British subject, then an American citizen. He became frustrated with the American leadership and moved his family to St. Louis, which, although the people considered themselves French, was ruled by Spain. By the time of his death in 1828, Louis was again an American.
I should note that the translation of Caioua is family lore, and the subject of a future post.