Fred. (Frederick) Carlisle.

Chronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County online

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panied DoUier and Galinee in their first journey to the Detroit river in
1669. His son, Francois, inarried Madeline Monisseau, by whom he had
ten children. His son Francois Jean married Marie Robert at Detroit,
and on his death at the end of a year she married Louis Campau. The
daughter was godmother to Cadillac's child, Therese. She married
Volante St. Cloude. Jean Francois married Catherine Amand.
Cadillac had much trouble with her subsequently. Her family being
somewhat powerful with the court authorities at Quebec originated a
conspiracy against him. The branch of the famih' most particularly
connected with Detroit was that of Francois, whose son, Jean Bapti,
born August 15th, 1691, married Marie Louis Robert at Detroit, in
1718. The granddaughter, Archange, born in 1782, married Major
John Whipple in 1800. He was of Massachusetts origin. This mar-
riage united the blood of the Puritans with that of the volatile French,
and brought forth a race of men and women which since have been
eminent for their learning and enterprise in the social and political
world. The children from the union of John Whipple and Archange
Pelletier were Eunice Fairchild, died in infancy ; James Burbick, mar-
ried, in 181 2, Sophia Godfrey, daughter of Col. Gabriel ; Charles W.
Whipple, known as the Chief Justice of Michigan, married Marguerite
Anna Brooks, daughter of Col. Edward Brooks ; Anna Hunt, the
seventh child, married Peter Desnoyers ; Henry Earned married Caro-
line Buckley, of Monroe. She subsequently married Henry Mixer, of
Detroit. William Lecuyer married Louise Fairchild. He died from
wounds received in the late civil war, leaving only one child, Maria
Louise, who married, in 1882, Edgar, a son of Alexander Lewis. She
died soon after. Catherine Sophia, the fourteenth child, married
Edwin Skinner. Their children were : Henry Whipple Skinner,
married Mamie Av^ry ; Edwin, Archange, Bernard, Catherine. The
other descendants of Francois Pelletier by Jean Baptiste (his grand-
son) and Louise Robert, are mentioned elsewhere.

— 35 —


The first of this name in Detroit was Rene, born in 1643, at
Rochelle, France. He came to Quebec in 1664 and there married
Marie Chevreau in 1665. Robert, a son born in 1668, at Quebec, mar-
ried, in 1696, Elizabeth Burnet. The two sons of this marriage came
to Detroit in 1730 : Hyacinth, born in 1704, and Pierre, born in 1709.
In 1733 Hyacinth married Agathe Lacelle. He died in 1778, leaving
Jacques, born in 1737; Joseph, born in 1739. The latter married
Marianne Robert in 1787, and Jean Baptiste, born 1741, who married,
in 1763, Agathe Lothman Barrois. There were also a number of
daughters. Agathe, who, in 1769, married Joseph Poupart ; Cather-
ine, born in 1745 ; Julia, born in 1748, married Lieut. -Governor John
Hay. She died in 1794, leaving three sons and one daughter. Two
of her sons were officers in the English army. The daughter married.
Agathe married Pierre Montigny, and died in France. Of the other
children of Hyacinth, Charles never married, Marianne married Peter
Barrois in 1765, Claude married Genevieve Jarcnisse. Their children
were Jean Baptiste, born in 1768; Agathe, born in 1767, and Charlotte,
who in 1795 married Jacques Francheville Gode Marantette.

Pierre, the youngest son of Robert Reaum and Elizabeth Brunet,
married twice. His first wife's name is unknown. She died soon after
the marriage. He married, the second time, Susanne Hubert LaCroix,
by whom he had four children. Charlotte, born in 1738, married, in
1760, Lieut. Charles Denian de May, the son of the commandent of
Fort Pontchartrain (Nicholas). Susanne married Duperon Baby in
1760. Bonaventure married twice: first, Jeanne Destres, in 1766,
and second in 1793, Josette Gatinon Fenton. His descendants are
numerous and embracing among them many noted for enterprise and
business sagacity.

There was stationed at Detroit, in 1780, an officer of the English
army named Louis Reaum, who was related to this family. He mar-
ried Marie Charlotte Barthe 1780, daughter of Peter and Charlotte
Chapoton. He was killed two weeks after, leaving her a widow at the
age of 17. She married, second, Louis Descomptes Labadie (Badi-
chon), a sketch of whose descendants will be found elsewhere.


Ambroise Riopelle, the immediate founder of this family in Detroit,
was the son of Pierre, bom in 1691, and Marie Anne Mahew Mer-
chant, who were married in 17 18.

Ambroise came to Detroit about 1760. He married, in 1766,
Therese Campau, daughter of Antoine and AngeHque Pelletier. They

— 36 —

had nine children, of whom Dominique, the youngest son, was born 1787
and married Collette (or Clotilde) Gouin, daughter of Nicholas and
Archange Boyer, and the widow of Antoine St. Bernard. A son,
Dofuinique, married Elizabeth Gouin, who was the father of the Hon.
Claude Riopelle, a genial, courteous and respected member of the
Detroit bar. He was a member of the Michigan legislature, and is a
worthy representative of the name he bears. Dominique and Elizabeth
(Gouin) Riopelle also had three daughters. Edessa married Michael
G. Payment, Nancy became a nun, Angelique married Fabien


This name appears among those of the contemporaries of Cadillac,
for we find that among the witnesses of the marriage of Francois
Fafard-dit Delorme, the interpreter, Francoise Rivard was one, and
this marriage occurred October 30th, 1713. The founder of the family
in America is said to have been Nicolas Rivard, born in 1624, who
married at Batiscan in 1652. The descendants were Jean Baptiste,
born 1763, married 1786, Irene, daughter of Judge Lewis Beaufait-
Therese de Marsac. They had five children. Joseph, born 1772, mar-
ried Agnes Chauvin; Francois, 1773, married Isabella, daughter of
Jean Baptiste Chapoton and Felice Cecyre. He, it will be remem-
bered, was an ensign in the first regiment of militia organized in the
Territory of Michigan, from whom are descended the present family
of that name in Detroit.


This is one of the oldest names which appears on the records as
associated in the preservation of the early history of Detroit. The fam-
ily name was originally known in history as " Casse." Jean Casse-dit St.
Aubin came to Detroit in 17 10. He brought with him his wife, whose
maiden name was Louise Galtier, whom he married at Quebec in 1707.
Their eldest son, Jean Bapt., Jr., born in 1708, married in 1731 Mad-
eline Primeau, daughter of Jean and Susanna Bellanger, of Quebec.
He died in 1733. Charles married in 1741 Therese Estene, daughter of
Pierre and Madeline Frappier, she dying in 1748. He married the sec-
ond time Marie Methe. Pierre Casse St. Aubin, a son of the latter,
married Marguerite Brin d' Armor. His son Louis married in 1775
Angelique Chevalier, daughter of Jean Baptiste Francoise Lavoine, of
Mackinaw, and their son, Francois^ born in 1775, was well known by
the older residents 6f Detroit as identified with its early history, and
to whom the present generation are indebted for the preservation of
many valuable incidents of that day, through the late Judge Witherell,

— 87 —

to whom they were related. He ow^ned and resided on the tract
known to-day as the St. Aubin farm. He married Baseline Campau,
born in 1774. She survived him forty years, dying at the age of
eighty-four. Nine children were born to Francois and Baseline (Cam-
pau) St. Aubin, Louis, who married, first, Therese Chapoton, second?
Madeline Cottrell; Francois W. married Virginia Moran. The daugh-
ters were, Mrs. Louis Grosebeck, Mrs. Pierre Provincal, Mrs. Eugene
W. Watson, Mrs. Richard Conners, Mrs. John Godfrey, of Grand
Rapids, Mrs. Henry Beaubien and Mrs. Antoine Morass.


Antoine Laferte served in Subercasse's regiment, and was sta-
tioned at Fort Ponchartrain as early as 17 10. He married at Montreal
Michelle Fortin, whose mother, Louise Sommillard, was a sister of
Soeur Bourgeois, foundress of Notre Dame, at Montreal. The chil-
dren by this marriage were, Marianne, born 1712, Joseph, born 1724.
The present Clement Laferte was the grandson of the latter. His
father's name was also Joseph, who married Mile Goyeur, from w'hom
the Laferte farm takes its name.


Born in Detroit in 1784, was the son of Antoine Dequindre, the
first male child born in Detroit. The house where the major was
born stood near where the Detroit Dry Dock is located, opposite
where the old hydraulic water tow^er stood. He spent his boyhood
days on the farm of his father, now embraced in the Seventh Ward,
It was cultivated at that period as far back from the river as what is
now Adams Avenue East; beyond, was a dense wilderness.

At a suitable age he was apprenticed to the firm of Grant & Duff,
prominent merchants at Maiden, Canada.

After serving his time, he obtained a clerkship with Conrad Ten
Eyck, and in 18 10, having accumulated the means, he opened a store
for himself in a small wooden building, occupying the present site of
the store of ex-Mayor M. H. Chamberlain. At the breaking out of
the war between the United States and England, Major Dequindre
raised a company of riflemen composed entirely of Frenchmen, and
equipped them at his own expense, relying upon the government to
reimburse him. His company were assigned an honorable position in
the army, and when the British crossed over from Maiden and landed
some six hundred men at Monguagon creek, Capt. Dequindre's com-
pany was the first to attack and enter their breastworks. This act
inspired such confidence that Col. Miller directed him to the right flank

— 38 —

to oppose the Indians, who were speedih' put to flight, and in the
meantime the British had taken refuge in their boats, while the Indians
dispersed to the woods. For his gallant conduct in the battle of Mon-
guagon, he was tendered a major commission in the regular service,
which he declined, but he has ever since been known as Major Dequin-
dre, a title which he deservedlv earned. On the i6th of August, 1812
(a few days after the battle of Monguagon), Hull surrendered. None
shared more deeply in the feeling of sorrow and indignation at this
inglorious event than Major Dequindre.

The prominent part taken by Major Dequindre made him the sub-
ject of hatred to the British and Indians, and had it not been for the
noble action of Col. McGee, then the British Indian agent, all his mer-
chandise would have been destroyed. He soon resumed business,
which he continued for many years, and by industr}?^ and prudence
acquired what was deemed a handsome property.

As a merchant Major Dequindre was respected. He was exact in
his dealings, warm hearted and generous, a pleasant and genial com-

Some years prior to his death he was induced to give a letter to a
friend at Green Bay, which proved disastrous to him, as he ultimately
became responsible for the sum of $24,000, which compelled him to
make an assignment. This was a heavy blow to a proud and honor-
able man, and seriously affected him. He in 1848 literally, it is said,
died of a broken heart. He had been stripped of his property with
a family dependent upon him. From the beginning of his career he
had aimed to do his duty in all the relations of life, as a neighbor, friend
and patriot. His remains were followed to the grave by a large con-
course of citizens, who deeply deplored his death.

From the wreck of his fortune there was some real estate, which,
under the sagacious management of the Hon. Charles Moran, his
adminstrator, realized sufficient to keep his family from want.

He left seven children at his death, of whom we are informed the
following are living: Mrs. Beaubien and Mrs. Cobb, at Detroit ; Anto-
ine, at Green Bay ; Alexander, who served in the late civil war, and
Theodore, who resides in Ohio.

Major Dequindre was a brother of the late Mrs. Joseph Campau.


There are few of the older residents of Detroit that do not remem-
ber the vivacious, witty and practical good sense, which were some of
the characteristics of the subject of this sketch.

Peter J. Desnoyers was the son of Charles Roquilet Desnoyers,
of Paris, France, who married Mile. Charlotte Mallet, of the same

— 39 —

place. He was a silversmith and a man of extensive intiuence. Peter
J. was born in Paris on the ist of August, 1772. Me served his father
until 1790? when a land compan\' having been formed in America,
known as the Scioto Land Company, opened an agency in Paris and
offered eligible lots of land for sale on a large stream, "La Belle River"
(now known as the Ohio), and induced the father to purchase a number
for Peter, who, together with a large number of others, embarked in
an emigrant vessel and after a voyage of sixty days retyched Havre de
Grace, Maryland, and thence proceeded to Gallipolis, Ohio, when, on
investigation, they found their title deeds worthless, and themselves at
the mercy of hostile savages, exposed to all manner of hardships, and
destitute of the means, or sulllcient knowledge of the country, to extri-
cate themselves. A companion of Peter, a Mr. Malchen, was for a
long time missing, and it was thought had been killed by the Indians,
until several years after, when Mr. Desnoyers met him at the house of
a Springwells farmer. Mr. JNL^lchen had been captured by the Indians,
who held him until purchased by some of the Canadian French on the
Detroit frontier. After a short struggle at Gallipolis, Mr. Desnoyers
went to Pittsburg, from whence, in company with Michael Douseman,
afterwards a well known merchant at Mackinac, he accompanied
Wayne's army, then on its way to the northwest territory, and arrived
in Detroit in June, 1796. He was then 24 years of age and was at
once commissioned by Col. Hamtramck as armorer. August 30, 1798,
he married Maria Louise Gobaille, daughter of Jean Francis and
Marie Rose Gobaille, of Quebec. He served as armorer until 1803,
when he formed a co-partnership with J. B. Piquette, father of the late
John and Charles Piquette, and first husband of Mrs. P. Sheldon.
The firm of Piquette & Desnoyers did a successful business until the
fire of 1805, which occasioned the loss of most of their entire stock, and
the firm dissolved. By this fire Mr. D. lost nearly all his nine years'

As the fire of 1805 completely destroyed all the buildings, it
occasioned confusion as to locality and gave rise to conflicting claims
to sites. Congress passed an act granting certain land for the benefit
of sufferers, and authorized the Governor to lay out a new plat, based
upon which sales of lots were commenced. The highest price paid
for the most eligible lots at this period was seven cents per square
foot, the average being about four cents per square foot, at which price
Mr. Desnoyers purchased the lot on the corner of Bates street and
Jefferson avenue, now occupied by the Desnoyer Block, where he
erected a small building, one story high, with two wings, in one of
which, until 1834, ^^ kept a general store, and in the other he carried
on his business as silversmith. The latter business he carried on until
1822, when he turned his whole attention to mercantile business, which

—■40 —

he continued until 1834, when he purchased the fine brick mansion on
the corner of Larned and Griswold, (now occupied by the postoffice)
built by Francis P. Browning, well known as a merchant and as a
radical abolitionist. He died insolvent in 1834.

Mr. D., who held a commission as lieutenant in Captain Sibley's com-
pany at the time of Hull's surrender, and was taken prisoner (but
paroled subsequently), Proctor decided to send to Quebec, and would
have done so had not just then Perry's victory changed the complexion
of matters, and started Proctor for Canada without any prisoners.

During the war the citizens purchased such of the prisoners as
could be obtained, to save them from the savages. Mr. Desnoyers in
this way bought a number. Proctor, while in command, sent them to
Quebec notwithstanding. As these prisoners were purchased from
humane motives, the government, a few years afterwards, reimbursed
the purchasers for their outlay.

Mr. Desnoyers held a number of public offices, among them, as
one of the first trustees of the University of Michigan, alderman for a
number of terms. He was a director in the Bank of Michigan for a
number of years, and in 1824 was chosen president. As a merchant he
was noted for keeping on hand such a variety of articles, that when
a citizen failed to find an article elsewhere it could be obtained at
Desnoyers. It is related that on one occasion a gentleman made a
wager with another that he could name an article that Desnoyer
could not furnish. It was agreed. They entered the store and the
gentleman offering the wager, enquired of the clerk if he had any
goose yokes? " Oui, Monsieur," was the reply, and he produced them.
Numerous anecdotes illustrating his characteristics are related by Hon.
G. L. Whitney in his reminiscences of the old merchants of Detroit,
from which we have taken the foregoing.

Mr. Desnoyers died suddenly at his residence on Griswold street
June 3d, 1846. He left a large estate. He had eleven children.
Among them the following will be remembered : Peter, the eldest son ;
Francois, who went to Green Bay ; Mrs. Elizabeth Van Dyke, Jose-
phine, wife of Hon. Henry Barnard, of Hartford, Connecticut ; Victor,
wife of Henry Cole, who was the eldest daughter.


By Wm. C. Hoyt.

I first saw the city of Detroit in the summer of 1835, when it was
comparatively a small town. I tarried here a few days and then went
on my journey westward. I improved the time when here by wander-
ing around and walking over ground, then open fields; now covered
with palatial residences and other magnificent edifices.

— 41 —

There were then four leading languages spoken here by four races
of men, French, English, Scotch and Indian, the former largely pre-
dominating. The place then appeared to me like an old French town,
I saw this city again in 1841 and came to Michigan to reside in 1842.
In 1853 I became a permanent resident of this large, flourishing and
beautiful City of the Straits.

During my sojourn here I formed the acquaintance of that Gallic
race, many of whose ancestors settled here one hundred and eighty-
seven years ago, leaving the land of the Rhine and its cheerful sunny
clime in middle Europe.

I could when on my first visit here more easily discern the differ-
ence between the Saxon and the Gaul than at the present day. The
races are now more intermixed than they were then. The distinguish-
ing characteristics between the two was in affability. The real French-
man had, and has, more of that suavity or natural inbred politeness than
the Saxon. The latter possessed, and still possesses, a rougher exterior
and interior that he inherits from a ruder ancestry, and he could be
easily picked out. Why, when walking along on the narrow plank
sidewalks, the Frenchman, drunk or sober, would politely turn out and
give me one-half of the way, while an Englishman, Scotchman, Yankee
or Indian would often compel me to give him the entire walk. No
wonder that I Hked, and do like, the Frenchman.

The French people, like all others who live on the planet, were
divided into the rich and the poor. There lived here the wealthy
French landholders — that is, wealthy inland — who owned large and long
farms that fronted on the river and who retained them much to the
damage or growth of the city. The poor were probably naturally im-
provident, but had the nack of getting a living some way and at the same
time enjoying themselves. They lived in rude one-story cottages,
scattered here and there over the city, many of which they did not
own, but paid a small rent to the merciful landlord. I understand that
evictions for non-payment of rent were not as common as now.

All these people then seemed to enjoy life. They had cheap
amusements (a poor Frenchman could not afford much for sport), such
as dancing, playing cards, horse racing (in the winter on the ice), cock
fighting, fishing, hunting, catching muskrats and pugilistic performances
among the men and occasionally among the women. Dog fights fre-
quently occurred. These entertainments seemed to keep up a spirit of
hilarity and well entertained these volatile people.

On my first visit here I witnessed a dance in an out-of-the-way
locality, attended by a few of the lower order of French. The building
was a one-story hut. The main room was occupied as a saloon, where
whisky was dealt out for three cents a glass. Here were lively and
supple dancers, male and female, enjoying themselves to their hearts'

— 42 —

content by "tripping the light, fantastic toe," while a gentleman of color,
adorned with a light tall stovepipe hat, a thin bad-fitting coat, a shirt col-
lar that hid or came in close proximity to his ears, and pants strapped
under and held down (the style then) by a huge pair of brogans, was
sawing away on his old fiddle and keeping time with his feet and parts
of his body. Oh, that was a lively dance! Up here! down there!
cross over! all hands around! while the whisky-pickled colored musi-
cian was rasping his feline strings and smiling all over his charcoal

The city was then largely populated with a rarity of dogs, "mon-
grel, whelp, hounds and curs of low degree." Every Frenchman had
one or two, sometimes a half a dozen of these whelps, who barked and
chased a stranger as he went along the way. Many were Indian, or of
Indian descent. A pure-blooded one was a mean, sneaking looking
thing who was seen following close by the heels of an aborigene. One
night I was kept awake nearl}?^ all the sleeping hours by the barks,
snarls and fights of these miserable animals. I was so excited and un-
nerved one night, that I would have thrown a dynamite bomb among
them and created a small earthquake, if I could. ,

The French pony and cart, seen bobbing and moving all over
the city, were used by all classes and served a good purpose in their
day. Ladies dressed in the hight of fashion went to church in these
carts and were conveyed to the residences of their aristocratic friends
sitting on the bottoms of these vehicles. The Campaus had large
droves of small, tough ponies that grazed and picked up their living on
the banks of the Detroit river. They cost nothing to keep and were
sold for ten, twenty or forty dollars a head.

Windmills were very common when I first saw the city. They
were scattered all along the river banks. In these were ground the
corn and other grains of the inhabitants.

These have all disappeared, as well as the pony, cart, Indian and
dog of lower caste. The whipping post is out of the way ; the Frank-
lin printing press moved with a hand lever would be a curiosity now ;
scrub pony races are not now seen ; the French dancing parties have
fallen through the trap door ; you hear no more the voice of the Mons
Crapo who swore at and whacked his pony along the streets and by-
ways. These old things and odd old sights have disappeared. A
more advanced people, possessing a higher degree of civilization, have
trodden down and swept away these rude things and substituted instead
the fleet, beautiful horse and stout percheron, the convenient and use-
ful wagon and splendid carriage, that move on well paved streets, the
pure-blooded hound,' mastiff and St. Bernard; the steam printing press
that throws out into the reading world its tens of thousands of sheets
every hour, courts of justice where corporal punishment is not meted

— 43 —

out to criminals, the electric telegraph that conveys ones thoughts
around the world in the twinkling of an eye, the railroad car drawn by
a steam engine, the sewing machine that makes a pair of pants in ten
minutes; public schools where all children, white and black, can go
together and receive a good education free of expense, and splendid
church edifices which all people can attend and hear the gospel
preached, without being questioned or sneered at on account of their

The French then as now are Catholics ; very seldom could be seen
a protestant Frenchman. The mode of worship and Catholic creed
have not varied much for ages. Perhaps they were a little more in-
tolerant then than now. These people strictly adhered to their faith
and were more faithful in attending church. They lived Catholics,
went to prison Catholics, died Catholics and seldom were expelled from
their church.

These old French settlers have about all disappeared. They

Online LibraryFred. (Frederick) CarlisleChronography of notable events in the history of the Northwest territory and Wayne County → online text (page 4 of 51)