Pierre Navarre is also credited as the first white settler in present-day St. Joseph County. Having trapped animals and traded with the Native American in the area, he decided to open a standing trading post as an agent of the American Fur Company in 1820. Mr. Navarre was of French descent and well educated.
Pierre married a Potawatomi woman named Keshewaquay, or Angelique in English, and had ten children. Pierre and his new family built a log home, the first home to be erected in the county, on the east side of the St. Joseph River in South Bend. Mr. Navarre located his home on a trail by which Native Americans traveled every spring and fall on their way to the other posts along the river and down to Lake Michigan. As a result, Pierre accumulated huge amounts of furs, maple sugar, baskets, and other articles.
Pierre was well respected by and fiercely loyal to the Potawatomi tribe. In fact, when they were forcibly removed from the Michiana area he traveled west with the tribe but afterwards returned home.
Navarre’s original cabin has been preserved. It was moved a short distance from its original location to make way for construction of Memorial Hospital. You may visit the cabin in Leeper Park East in downtown South Bend.