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death, which occurred September 14, 1827, at Colonel Lacroix - a stately and beautiful lady. the age of forty-eight years, enjoying the fullest At the time of the massacre on the River Raisin confidence of his fellow-citizens.
this portrait was suspended on the parlor walls. At the organization of the militia by Colonel The Indians believing the French were conJohn Anderson, he was the first man to enlist cealing and hiding the Kentuckians, seeking as a private soldier. He was unanimously prisoners and scalps, ransacked the house chosen captain of the company in which he from cellar to garret, and finding no prisoners enlisted, in which capacity he continued until concealed at last came to the parlor; finding the commencement of the War of 1812. At none there they wreaked their vengeance and the surrender of Detroit by General Hull, disappointment by thrusting sabres through Captain Lacroix was taken prisoner by the the left breast of the portrait, which still reBritish and for some time kept on board a tains the marks of violence, and without the prison-ship at Malden, and with others destined slightest alteration or change since the inci. to Quebec. Mr. Bongrand, an Indian trader dent occurred. who resided at Sandusky, was intimately acquainted with Tecumseh, and being in Detroit at the time, with his wife he called on the In
JOHN WOOD, dian chief Tecumseh to ask him to intercede One of the survivors of the War of 1812, was with General Brock for the release of her a young and industrious farmer in Bracken father. By the persistent and determined county, Kentucky, with a wife and two chilefforts of the Indian chief he was released and dren, when the gallant Captain Butler, who returned to the River Raisin.
afterwards fell at the capture of the British At the battle of River Raisin his residence batteries at Fort Meigs, raised his flag and and most of his property fell a prey to the solicited the hardy Kentuckians of Bracken devouring element. He subsequently built on county to enroll themselves among the defendthe site of the old home, the two-story brick ers of their country. John Wood was one of the now standing on the north bank of the River number. He suffered all the privations to Raisin, now owned by Louis Lafontain. His which the chivalric army of the Northwest claims for destruction and loss of property were was exposed during the disastrous campaign recognized by Congress, and he was remuner. which resulted in the defeat of General Winated for a portion thereof.
chester at the River Raisin. By good fortune When the county of Monroe was organized he escaped the tomahawk of the savage allies of Captain Lacroix was appointed a colonel in the Great Britain and was sent a prisoner of war the militia and sheriff of the county. He was to Quebec. He was next, with other American twice elected by his fellow-citizens a member prisoners, dispatched in a transport to Plyof the legislative council, and in returning at mouth, in England. From Plymouth, accomthe close of the last session walked from De- panied by a crowd of fellow-prisoners, he was troit, and by exposure contracted a severe about to be transferred to Dartmoor - that cold. After lingering a few months he ex- well-remembered scene of British crueltypired.
when he found an opportunity to elude his Colonel Lacroix had two daughters. The guard and make his escape. He wandered elder married one of our most prosperous and through the country, stealing through by-ways enterprising farmers, Antoine F. Robert, now until he found himself at Bristol. Hunger residing in the town of Frenchtown. The compelled him to enter a grocery, the headyounger, the only surviving daughter, is the quarters of a British press-gang. Here he was widow of James Navarre, now residing on the pressed, and despite his protestations that he homestead farm on Plumb Creek Bay. She was a citizen of the United States and a fuginow has in her possession a very fine minia- tive prisoner of war, he was hurried on ture, painted on ivory in Montreal, of Colonel board his Majesty's frigate Sea Horse, then Lacroix - a remarkably stylish and soldier- the flag-ship of the celebrated Sir Peter Parker, like looking officer, dressed in full uniform. and compelled to bear arms against his own She also exhibited to me a full-length portrait, countrymen. On board the Sea Horse were painted in oil in Montreal, of the mother of several Americans, who, like Wood, bad fallen
victims to the British system of impressment.
JAMES KNAGGS, They determined on desertion, and when lying Captain of the spies and scouts under General in the port of St. John's they succeeded in Harrison in the War of 1812, was born at Rushsecuring a boat during an extremely dark taboo, about twelve miles above South Tonight. They were instantly pursued, and ledo, Ohio, on the River Maumee, about the obliged to desert this boat on the shore of New year 1780. From early life he was familiar Brunswick and seek safety in the woods. After with the forests in the West, as well as the wandering about two days, exhausted with cold habits, customs and mode of warfare of the Inand hunger and fatigue, they were appre- dian tribes. His mother's maiden name was
transferred to the Sea Horse. The punishment at Maumee a number of years. He first settled that followed was inflicted with all that ingen- on the north bank of the River Raisin, about ious refinement of cruelty for which the British one mile west of the city of Monroe. In the navy is so celebrated. The Sea Horse, attacked year 1811 he established a regular ferry at the by the squadron under Admiral Cockburn, was River Huron, on the main road from the River shortly after ordered into the Chesapeake, and Raisin to Detroit, with only Indians for neightook an active part in robbing, burning and bors, who were excited by British emissaries, murdering the defenseless inhabitants of the hostile to all Americans, and were very troublecoast. Mr. Wood and the other American some. Captain Knaggs bad frequent and desprisoners were never permitted to leave the parate conflicts with them. On one occasion vessel. A few days after Sir Peter Parker he had a severe encounter with one of the Inmet his fate, Mr. Wood, with seven impressed dians for some misconduct, and when a brother Americans, attempted to escape in broad day of the vanquished Indian came at midnight to light by jumping into a boat alongside and avenge his brother, a struggle ensued which pulling rapidly for the shore. One of the num resulted in his breaking every bone in the body ber was shot by the sentinel on duty, the rest of the Indian by means of a club. During the reached the beach, but were apprehended im- War of 1812 he rendered the Government immediately. By order of Admiral Cockburn portant aid, and performed a great many patthey were sent in irons to Nova Scotia, and riotic deeds as a spy, scout, ranger and general after undergoing the formality of a mock trial Indian fighter, and with Medard Labadie and were sentenced to be shot. This sentence was James Bentley captured a British officer, Major commuted to service for life in his Britannic McGregor, whom they compelled to ride horse. Majesty's army in the East Indies. They were back on a pony with his legs tied, to Governor accordingly shipped to England and thence Hull's camp at Detroit, McCulloch subsedispatched to Calcutta. For twenty-five years quently offered a reward of $500 for his head. Mr. Wood served as a private soldier in the A British officer with a squad of men some time East India service, and when broken down in after came to the River Raisin to secure this spirit and constitution, he was permitted to reward, and landed on the north side of the leave the army and sail for England. Desti- river near the present site of the residence of tute and heart-broken he reached London, Louis Lafontain, where Knaggs was unloading stated bis case to the United States consul a boat. They were also seeking for Stephen and by him was furnished with the means of Downing, James Bentley, Medard Labadie and reaching New York, from thence wended his one other American soldier, for whose heads a weary pilgrimage towards the home of his large reward had been offered. On inquiring childhood. After an absence of twenty-six for Knaggs they were shrewdly thrown off their years from his wife and children in Kentucky, guard by being informed that Knagys, Bentley, and without hearing one word with reference to Downing and Labadie had gone but a few days
tucky, the home of his youth. A thousand ican army. overpowering emotions rushed upon the oid M r. James Knaggs owned and was living on man's heart as he approached the spot that was the farm about seven and a half miles west of once his home. The recognition and welcome Monroe, on the north side of the River Raisin, must be left to the imagination of the reader. now owned and occupied by Leonard Stadler.
While Mr. Knaggs was busy drawing in wheat red demons had been but a few moments bewith his little chestnut pony hitched to a cart, fore, leaving as trophies of their barbarities news was brought to the settlement that 1,500 whole families tomahawked and mutilated in Indians were in the region of the Macon and all conceivable ways - the scalps of each indiwere preparing to make an attack on the set- vidual taken, little children cut to pieces, their tlers. Immediate action was necessary. Mr. hearts taken out and rubbed against the lookKnaggs planned the movements, and after bid- ing-glasses and window panes. This was a ding his family good-by, perhaps forever, en common way of showing their cruelty. treated them to use all dexterity in reaching Mr. Knaggs was a leading man among the Mr. Robert's farm (the father of Mrs. Polly “ Raisin men,” who were called by General Knaggs), now known as the Pegler farm and Harrison “the best troops in the world,” and occupied by him, a little west of Monroe, on the with them was engaged in the various battles south side of the river. He soon ascertained at Fort Meigs, Brownstown, in many conflicts that his scalp was in great demand. The Eng- in the vicinity of Detroit, and under Colonel lish, through McGregor, had made a standing Richard M. Johnson was present at the battle offer of $500 for it, which prompted the In- of the Thames, and was the man who identidians to do their best for the red-skin who fied the body of Tecumseh, with whom he had could, in a hand to hand fight, encounter and been well acquainted. take such a scalp. Knaggs was well known to James Knaggs was the youngest of five the Indians as a great warrior and a great brothers, all of whom were active in the milbrave. Mr. Knaggs, after several fearful en- itary service. One of them was killed at counters and fights with the red men, con. Chicago, another captured and carried to Halicluded to visit his family at the Pegler farm. fax. The mother of James was in the vicinity He found on arriving that three British officers at the time of the massacre, and one of those were after bim and on horseback, and arriving specially designated by Colonel Proctor to be in front of the house dismounted and gave ordered away from the river. Although in her chase. Mr. Knaggs, having no time to go to eightieth year, robbed of everything and nearly the door, jumped through the window and all her clothing, she almost perished in escapsoon gained a cornfield near by -- the officers ing in an open French train through the woods, nearly up with him, but by good dodging and but reached Detroit in safety. When asked hard running kept out of their reach. He how it happened that she did not perish, she made several attempts to get one of their replied, “My spunk kept me warm.” horses, but could not succeed. Finding they Mr. Knaggs married for his second wife the were no match for him on foot, they concluded widow of John Bt. Couture. He sold his farm to run him down with horses, which they came on the River Raisin, and purchased the house very near doing, and would have been success and lot next south of the Presbyterian church, ful had it not been for an old French man liv. where he died in 1859, aged eighty-four. The ing where old man Hivon lived, adjoining the house has given place to the present residence old Catholic church, on the north side of the of Doctor P. S. Root. River Raisin. This Frenchman befriended In those early days, when banks and safes him by giving him a hoe for a weapon and were unknown in the West, it was customary opening the trap door of his cellar, where Mr. to conceal money in the earth in the vicinity Knaggs lost no time in hiding. The English of their houses ; and when Mr. Knaggs lived officers came up in hot pursuit, and, on asking on his farm in Raisinville he was known to for Mr. Knaggs, were told that he had just have had hiding places for his money. At the crossed the river, thereby throwing them off time of his death it was generally supposed he his track. Mr. Knaggs, a few days after, was had considerable money. Knowing his forappointed a spy, and was also deputized to mer habits, it was believed by the heirs that he carry the mail, a task many a brave man had continued the practice, and a very diligent shrank from, and at which many a one lost bis search was made. The whole lot in rear of the scalp. Mr. Knaggs often, on his mission with church was spaded over a number of times in the mail, came upon scenes that would nearly hopes of finding buried treasure, but without paralyze him, seeing many times where the success.
The oldest daughter of James and Polly ening the destruction of the established order Knaggs was born August 26, 1811, on the farm both in church and state. Owing to the unknown now as the Stadler farm, seven and a settled state of things in France, the superior half miles above Monroe. She was married general of the Sulpicians determined with the three times: first, to William Street, who was approbation of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Carroll, Bishop the father of Job Street, of Caro, Michigan; of Baltimore, to send some members of his second, to John Pegler; and last to Joseph G. society to the United States for the purpose of Navarre, of the town of Monroe. She died conducting an ecclesiastical seminary. In acFebruary 27, 1886, after a lingering illness of cordance with this arrangement several priests
George Knaggs, in Raisin ville. She was a more in the year 1791, and were followed in Christian in work and deeds, and in full com- successive years by other members of the same munion and faith of the Roman Catholic church, society. Among them was the subject of this leaving to mourn her loss one child, Job F. sketch, who arrived Jine 24, 1792, in company Street - George, James, John and Robert with Rev. Messrs. Coquard, Matigon and Knaggs, her brothers, and her only sister, Mrs. Marechal, whose names are entitled to honorRebecca Rogers, all of whom have resided in able mention in the history of the Catholic Monroe county the most of their lives. The church of this country. funeral services were held at St. Mary's church As St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore was in Monroe.
not in such efficient operation as to require a
numerous corps of professors, Father Richard REVEREND FATHER GABRIEL RICHARD.
and others of St. Sulpice willingly acceded to
the request of Bishop Carroll to aid in supplyThe early pioneer in a new country is always ing the wants of the Catholic population scatan object of interest, especially to the incoming tered throughout his extensive diocese, reachgeneration ; and for the reason that the Rev. ing at that time from Maine to Tennessee and erend Father Gabriel Richard for nearly a from the Mississippi to the Atlantic Ocean. quarter of a century, from 1805 to 1827, was With this view he accepted the pastoral charge the most prominent and influential citizen in of the Catholics in Illinois, that is, at Prairie the county of Monroe, I feel assured that an ex- de Roche, and in the neighboring country, tended sketch of his labors will be well re- consisting chiefly of French Canadians. ceived by many of our older citizens, who re- In 1797 Father Richard visited the congremember him with great pleasure and affection. gation of a tribe of Indians named the Cahokias,
Gabriel Richard was born at Saintes, in the which numbered about three hundred souls, department of Charente-Inferieur, France, on and who possessed a handsome church erected the 15th of October, 1764, and was descended by the Rev. Mr. Leradoux, his predecessor. on the side of his mother from the illustrious These missions had been established more than
divines of France, who lived during the reign Jesuit Fathers, who were afterward aided by of Louis XIV. Having been placed at college priests from the Seminary of Foreign Missions when quite young, and having finished his clas- at Paris; but the supply of missionaries, espesical education and feeling himself called to the cially after the recall of the Jesuit Fathers, was
gers,where he prosecuted bis theological studies Catholic population. Father Richard applied with great success. He subsequently repaired himself in this distant and neglected field with to Losy, near Paris, in order to qualify himself all the zeal and prudence which characterize for admission into the Society of St. Sulpice, a the true missionary, and he had the pleasure congregation of secular priests, devoted to the of seeing his active efforts crowned with suceducation of young men for the ministry. At cess. He was, therefore, invited by Bishop the time of his elevation to the priesthood, in Carroll to be the assistant of Mr. Leradoux, for the year 1791, his native country was violently the important services he had rendered to reagitated by the revolutionary spirit, which was ligion. He was inspired by the hope that he daily increasing in madness and in fury, threat would be equally successful in a more respons
ible situation at Detroit, where the wants of whose vernacular tongue was the English lanthe people loudly called for additional aid. guage, but there were very few among them
Thus after having devoted six long years of who were Catholics. his ministry in Illinois, from December 14, About a year after his arrival in Detroit, he 1792, up to the 22d of March, 1798, he left for visited the Catholic congregation on the Island Detroit, where the presence of a permanent of Mackinaw and Point St. Ignace, where the pastor was much needed. He arrived in June, early Jesuit Fathers had established a mission on the feast of Corpus Christi, accompanied by more than one hundred years before. At these the Rev. John Dilhet, also a Sulpician mis- stations and the fur-trading stations on Lakes sionary. Rev. Mr. Leradoux, who had been Superior and Huron the Great Northwest stationed at Detroit for several years, was alone Company of Montreal employed annually 1,700 in the discharge of his clerical duties, was men, almost all Canadians. Grand Portage quite advanced in years, and had sought relief was then a trading-post, where nearly 1,000 from his bishop for the purpose of returning to men assembled in the summer time, and after a his native land. As soon as Father Richard short stay dispersed to their winter quarters. arrived, he immediately entered upon bis Father Richard found such an urgent demand duties as pastor, and soon won the confidence at Mackinaw for the instruction of youth and of those under his spiritual charge. At this the correction of the habits of those more adperiod the town of Detroit and vicinity con- vanced in years, that he was disposed to retained some 1,800 Catholics, mostly of French main there during the winter, having been origin, with a large number scattered along the very urgently invited to do so by the inhabitborder of our lakes and rivers and far into the ants of the place. His services, however, were northern regions of Michigan. " The French," too much needed at Detroit to admit of so long says Archbishop Spalding, “seem to have an absence. He therefore returned to Detroit visited Michigan as early as the year 1610, and in October, after having touched at St. Joseph's missionaries went thither occasionally soon Island and Sault Ste. Marie. One of the first after, but no priest appears to have been sta- objects which secured immediate attention tioned at Detroit before 1701.".
was to repair and enlarge the church in the old Hardly had Father Richard been installed town, which was too small for the congregapastor than he commenced to provide his tion. This he accomplished at an expense of flock with all the elements of religion and ed- some $3,000, notwithstanding the low state of ucation. Education at this period was at a very his finances. Unfortunately on the 11th of low ebb, and bis great aim was to stimulate his June, in the year 1805, a most disastrous conparishioners with a love of learning. Here and flagration occurred, commencing at nine o'clock there, as occasion required, he established in the morning and lasting until noon, when schools for their benefit. He was indefatigable every house was destroyed, together with his litin the discharge of the duties of his ministry; tle church, built by Father Bocque, a Franciscan very austere in his habits and mode of living, missionary, in the year 1750. for his meals were composed of food of the In 1805 Father Gabriel Richard visited the simplest and coarsest kind; his bed was of the church then located two miles above the pressimplest material, and hardly comfortable ; his ent St. Mary's church, on the north side of the dress was of the coarsest and cheapest of cloth; River Raisin, on the farm formerly known as yet he was courteous and affable to every one the Momonie farm.” From that time to the who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. He year 1827 he was energetic not only in miniscommanded the highest respect, both from tering to the church, but was very successful Catholics and Protestants. He was a profound in giving aid to, and obtaining aid from the theologian, a good speaker, a good mathema- Government of the United States, for those who tician, and eloquently thundered forth bis had been rendered poor by the desolations of the anathemas against the terrible vice of intem. war. Though he received aid and 'assistance perance and the use of tobacco. The Catholics from time to time from other priests, he had of Detroit and vicinity consisted almost ex- supervision of this church until 1827. clusively of French Canadians; the remaining As an indication of the esteem and respect. inhabitants of the town were mostly persons in which he was held by his Protestant fellow