Abbildungen der Seite


citizens, will state that in 1807 the Governor of devastating policy of the war was seen in the the Territory and other Protestant gentlemen extreme dearth of food, bordering on a famine, invited him to preach to them in the English to which his people were reduced. He purchased language. He accordingly held his English a large quantity of provisions and distributed meetings at noon every Sunday in the council them gratuitously to all who were in need, room, where he delivered instructions on the and as long as scarcity lasted so long did his general principles of the Christian religion. untiring charity continue to the destitute.

Father Richard’s zeal for his flock inspired Though a European by birth he was an him with the idea of establishing a printing American in feeling, always evincing a firm press and commencing the publication of a attachment to American institutions and reFrench paper and books. For this purpose he publican principles, and the influence he exsent to Baltimore for the type and press in erted and the part which he took in the War 1809, and the material in due course of time of 1812 evinced in an eminent degree the excame by land over mountainous roads, accom- tent of his patriotism and the value he placed panied by Mr. James M. Miller, the first printer on American liberty. in Detroit. August 31, 1809, the first number of Father Richard petitioned the governor and a small sheet, entitled in French “Essai du judges at a session held in October, 1806, and Michigan," made its appearance, and was con- upon his application they granted the land in tinued for a time; but in those days the dis- the “ little military square," where the church tance which separated the people of the Terri- of St. Anne now stands, and where the govtory, and the irregularity of the mails, led to ernor and judges designated that it should be the discontinuance of his journal. His press, built. It had long been a cherished object of however, which was the first introduced into Father Richard to lay the corner-stone upon the northwestern portion of the United States, the anniversary of the destruction of the and was for several years the only printing church in the old town, and for this purpose apparatus in Michigan, did useful service under he bad waited the arrival of his bishop for the his direction. He also had a bindery attached imposing ceremony,which took place with much to his printing office. The press was useful in pomp on the 11th day of June, 1818, just twelve printing deeds and conveyances for the gov- years after the destruction of the old church. ernor and judges of the Territory, and when He continued the work upon St. Anne's church the English took possession of Detroit in 1812, until his means were entirely exhausted, and General Brock's proclamation was printed on then his fertile imagination conceived the idea it. The office, in consequence of the destruc- of issuing due bills to the amount of several tion of the old town, was for a long time located hundred dollars, payable upon presentation, at Springwells, in the house of Jacques Lasselle. the highest amount being one dollar, in order One part of the building served as a dwelling, tbat the work upon his church might progress another part for his chapel, another for his with more rapidity. These due bills were printing office, and another for a school. The taken both by contractors and workmen. But ophilus Mettez, a native of Detroit, the ancestor be, like all other men, was destined to meet of a number of that name in our county, was with some trials and drawbacks in his underthe first Michigan printer boy.

taking. One of his contractors, by the name Father Richard, by his fearless advocacy of of Young, got hold in some mysterious way of American principles and denunciations of the Father Richard's blank due bills and forged tyranny of England, had made himself obnox- bis name to them to the amount of $700 or ious to the British, who in the War of 1812 $800, which he freely circulated among the violently seized and carried him a prisoner to people. Father Richard did not discover the Sandwich. During his captivity; by his elo forgery until too late, when he had honestly quence and influence 'over the barbarous In- redeemed the whole amount. The rascality dians, he persuaded many from torturing and villainy of this contractor contributed American prisoners who unfortunately fell greatly in retarding the progress of this ediinto the hands of the British under the dis- fice, which was the first one erected since the graceful surrender of General Hull. Upon fire of 1805. On this account the work upon bis return to Detroit, the consequence of the St. Anne's became suspended for a time for the

want of funds. He resorted to another expe- Williams and Major John Biddle. It was with dient. He now conceived the idea of con- the hope of being useful to his fellow-citizens, structing fishing seines, for the purpose of and of liquidating debts incurred in building catching fish from the Detroit River, in order his church, that he had consented to become a to raise the necessary funds to continue the candidate for congressional honors. But the work upon his church. Good fortune attended seat was contested by Major Biddle, upon the his enterprise, and the consequence iras that a ground that he was not a citizen of the United large quantity was salted and packed and sent States, as not having gone through the formula forward to the eastern markets, and there of naturalization. A committee of the House found immediate sale, which enabled him to of Representatives was appointed to investicontinue bis labors on the church. The pro- gate the case, and reported that it was not, in ceeds of the sale of bis fish, and what contri-' his case, necessary. His demeanor in the butions his poor congregation were enabled to House commanded great respect; he spoke but give from time to time, soon enabled him little, that little wisely, and accomplished to complete the basement so as to be used as a much for his constituents. The appropriations chapel, and the services were held there for for roads made at his instance, and other acts, several years after, until the upper part was attest the efficiency of his services in the finished. The mason-work was done by the national legislature, especially his exertions in day, under his immediate superintendence. behalf of the Indian tribes who belonged to The present bell in the eastern tower was his flock, who had made him the bearer of saved from the steeple of the old church in the many petitions to the President of the United old town; also the present pulpit, and two of States. the side altars.

After serving a term in Congress with honor To Father Richard belongs the credit of im- to himself and credit to his constituents, he was porting from France the first organ and the again nominated and put forward by his first piano used in this part of the country. friends against the late Austin E. Wing. The The little organ was used for a time by him, contest was quite warm and animated, but this and given to the Trinity Church (Irish) after time he was defeated, when six more votes his death. It is now used, I understand, in would have elected him. Some of our French St. Joseph's church (German), on the corner Catholic citizens would not support him, for of Orleans and Gratiot streets, in Detroit. the reason they thought that a priest had no

In the year 1821 Father Richard had been business in legislative halls. His salary for invited to assist at the conclusion of the treaty the term he did serve was used by him in by the Pottawatomie Indians between them liquidating the debts he had incurred in buildand the governor of the Northwest, which was ing St. Anne's church. The Rev. Father Gatto take place at Chicago. He hoped to assist ilzin, a distinguished missionary of that period, them in their petition to have a missionary remarked to him, “When I heard of your elec. stationed among them. From thence he pro. tion to Congress I disapproved of it at once; ceeded by land to Cincinnati, and was present but I have the honor to inform you that if you at the ordination of the Rev. Vincent Badin, can manage to have a scat in Congress all your who, a few days after, accompanied him to life, you will do more good for religion with Detroit as an assistant missionary. In Decem- your influence and salary than many other ber, 1822, there were only five churches, or missionaries with all their zoal and preaching." chapels, in Michigan and the Northwest, with Mr. Leri E. Dolsen relates the following: a Catholic population of about 6,000 whites, and “When Daniel Webster was in Detroit in a number among the different savage tribes of 1836, he made a speech in the old Cass orchard, that region. For the service of this immense about where James F. Joy's house now stands. district of country at that time, Father Richard After the speech, I remember, in speaking to had no assistance but that of Reverend Father me of our representative in Congress at that Badin.

time, the Rev. Gabriel Richard, be paid Mr. In the year 1823 he was elected a delegate Richard the high compliment of saying that to represent the interests of Micbigan in Con- he was the smartest foreigner he had ever gress. His competitors were General John R. known.

“There was an interesting incident con- Father, Hail Mary, the Apostles Creed, and the nected with the election of Richard to Con. Ten Commandments, without the slightest gress. He was a Catholic priest, and came of mistake. Father Richard was deeply affected the best blood of France. When the revolu- by this address, and by the means which had tion was beheading all the nobility, the Rev. been placed in his bands by the “ Association Richard was nearly caught by Robespierre. for the Propagation of the Faith,” he was enHe jumped from a window, and a woman abled to provide more effectually for the wants threw a teapot and cut an ugly gash in his of the district under his charge. He had the cheek, the scar of which was in plain view to pleasure of seeing churches erected in different the end of his life. After living for several places, and scbools established at Green Bay, days in the sewers of Paris he escaped, and Arbecrocke and St. Joseph's; and instead of reached Baltimore in 1796. Two years later, one priest to assist him in his labors, ho now in 1798, he reached Detroit. His statue is one had eight devoting themselves with zeal to the of the four on the city hall. In 1823, just about missionary work. the time the reverend gentleman was elected In the year 1832 that scourge of nations, the to Congress, a man named Labadie deserted Asiatic cholera, smote the people of Detroit his wife in Montreal, came to Detroit, married and laid prostrate many of its inhabitants. again, and engaged in the mercantile business. Detroit, at this season, presented the spectacle He was excommunicated from the church by of a deserted city, with nearly one-half of its the Rev. Father Richard, and the French inbabitants either dead or dying, and the rest people, who had been his principal patrons, had taken flight to other parts through fear. stopped trading with him. Labadie procured In the midst of this awful epidemic, Gabriel the arrest of the priest for slander, and he was Richard was at his post, faithful and true to bis confined in jail. When the time came for him flock. Amidst the dying and the dead he was to go to Congress, the turnkey entered the administering the consolations of religion, day corridor one morning, when the priest ap- and night; and though afflicted himself with proached him with majestic mien, and a lofty symptoms of the prevailing epidemic for nearly wave of the band, and said:

three months, and most of the time greatly de“Stand aside, I am on my way to Con bilitated, he never ceased discharging the gress.'

duties of his office with his accustomed zeal, “The turnkey was so overwhelmed with the until he was completely overpowered by dismajestic bearing of the man that he offered no ease. When, a few days after the attack, ho opposition, and Father Richard took his seat was informed that he could not survive it, he on time. Labadie afterward sued him and got received the last sacrament of the church, and a judgment of $1,100, but never collected a calmly expired with the words of the holy cent."

Simeon on his lips : “Now, O Lord, let thy Among the Pottawatomies, he, with Father servant depart in peace, according to thy Stephen Badin, labored with great success. word.” Thus, after exercising his ministry Nothing can be more affecting or more edify- nearly alone for the space of twenty-four ing than the interview which took place in years, and after a residence in the city of July, 1830, between the chief of this tribe, Detroit of thirty-four years and six months, he Pokegon, and Father Richard, to wliom he departed this life on the 13th day of Septemhad applied for a resident missionary. After .ber, A. D. 1832, at the age of sixty-seven supplicating the Father in the most earnest years, eleven months and two days. manner to send a priest to the Pottawatomies, Bishop Fenwick, in speaking of him, said: be observed to him that they prayed every " He was the oldest, the most respectable, and morning and evening, men, women and chil- the most meritorious missionary in Michigan." dren, and fasted two days before Sunday, With this distinguished appreciation of Father according to the traditions of their ancestors. Richard's worth as an apostle, he had no hesi. “ There,' said ho, “are the prayers we have tation in recommending him, some years belearned; see if I know the properly.” Then fore his death, as a priest eminently qualified falling upon his knees and making the sign of by his zeal, learning and piety, to be appointed the cross with great respect, he recited the Our the first Bishop of Detroit.

His mortal remains now lie entombed in his He had then attained his twenty-first year, and own beloved St. Anne's church, and his immor. was living with his father; he was awakened tal spirit has ascended to the God who gave it. before daybreak on the morning of the defeat He lives in the best affections of his people who of General Winchester by his father's arousing yet survive him, and is engraven on their General Winchester and his officers, who were memories.

somewhat bewildered at hearing from the battle ground the booming of cannon, the sharp

crack of the rifle and report of musketry. ISADORE NAVARRE,

Robert Navarre, with Platte Navarre, his Brother of Colonel Francis Navarre, came cousin, who, for many years, and until bis from Detroit some three years after his brother. death, resided in the rear of the church farm, He settled on the farm east of his brother and so called, about one and a half miles north of west of the Lake Shore railroad, on the south the River Raisin on the road to Flat Rock, bank of the River Raisin. He was born in both of whom were enlisted in the cavalry 1768, at Detroit, and married in 1795 the (now well remembered by our citizens), with daughter of Francois Descompte Labadie. others that were pressed into the service, were, Their eldest son, Isadore, born in 1796, though with their ponies and French trains, used in a mere stripling, served in the war of 1812. transporting the wounded American prisoners He married Marie, daughter of Louis and Marie that had escaped the tomahawk and scalping Josette Lebeau. Monique, bis daughter, mar. knife, from Frenchtown to Malden. His family ried John Askin, eldest son of Colonel James reside in this vicinity. Askin, of Sandwich. His eldest daughter, Agathe, was married to Lambert Conchois, who was then a clerk in the dry goods store of the

JOSEPH ROBERT. late Hon. Daniel B. Miller. At the old Catholic church, two miles above the then village of The representations of Colonel Francis NaMonroe, Mr. Miller and Hon. Harry Conant, varre on his return to Detroit gave a glowing with their wives, attended the ceremony and description to the French Canadians of Detroit wedding, and the eldest daughter of Daniel B. and those residing opposite Detroit on the Miller, Agathe, now Mrs Zabriskee, was christ. Canadian side of the river. He told of the ened, and took her name from Mrs. Conchois. banks on either side of the River Raisin, with Lambert Conchois' daughter married H. Du vines laden with clusters of wild grapes; the rell; Mrs. Durell inherited the two-story brick rich soil, admirably adapted for farming purhouse and extensive grounds on Front street poses, with prairie and heavily timbered land; the former residence of her father.

with a river abounding in whitefish, sturgeon, pickerel and bass, with fine opportunities for

trapping. By his representations he induced ROBERT NAVARRE,

about one hundred families, in the years 1783

and 1784, to emigrate and settle on the River The oldest son of Colonel Francis Navarre, Raisin. Joseph Robert, the subject of this was the first white male child born in the sketch, and his brothers Isadore and Francis county of Monroe, and lived until the day of were of the number, all of whom purchased his death in Monroe, on the rear of the home- farms on the south side of the river. Joseph stead farm originally ceded to his father. He purchased the right, title and interest acquired remained, until within a few days of his death, by possession of one Labrush, a Yankee who at the age of ninety years, in the full posses- had married a squaw. This farm, before platsion of all his faculties, and at that late day ting into city lots, was known as the Suzor has described to me with wonderful animation farm, the front part of which is now owned by and through tears, the cruelties and atrocious the heirs of Peter Tatro and George W. Strong barbarities of the Indians under Colonel Proc- and the rear by the new Monroe County Agritor at the massacre of the noble sons of Ken- cultural Society and the Agricultural and Live tucky, very passionately describing them, and Stock Improvement Company. The site of as vividly as though occurring before bim. the log house built by Joseph Robert was upon


the rise of ground back from the river, and be slaughtered for harboring a Yankee, or Big was the same as the present site of the two. Knife, as they were termed by the Indians.. story frame building owned by the heirs of Prior to the second battle, Messrs. MulTatro. It had a commanding view of the hollen, Egnew and Hunter drove and left with British forces and their operations at the time Mr. Robert a large number of live stock, beof the massacre of 1813. Joseph Robert was lieving they would be safe with him, and fled the father of eight sons and four daughters. for Ohio. Mr. Robert subsequently received a Stephen, the eldest, is now eighty-five years letter from an official of the British ariny at of age, and remarkably well preserved; he Malden, requesting him to come to Malden. was born on the homestead farm ; now resides He complied with the request and returned in the third ward of the city of Monroe. His with over a bushel of silver coin, all in quarter sister Monique married John Lemerand, the of a dollar pieces, authorized to compensate father of Eli Lemerand, for two years the Mulbollen, Egnew and Hunter for the stock supervisor of the fourth ward in the city of seized from Robert. On the morning after the Monroe, now deceased. Mary Ann married defeat of General Winchester's army, one Stephen Reaume, who owned and occupied the Indian chief with eleven followers came into

composing a part of the homestead farm now wounded American soldiers, threw them down owned and occupied by Mr. Dubois. Clara on the middle of the floor, and required the married a brother of John Lemerand, and women to tear from all tbe windows the calico Mary married Lyman McQuillen; Joseph curtains and the bed curtains; they then appromarried Miss Latone; Hubert married Miss priated them for wrapping and tying up the Reaume; and Alexis married Miss Geshon -- scalps. Soon thereafter Joseph Robert reall residents of Monroe county.

moved his family for safety to Detroit, and did The French settlers were, with few excep- not return bome until the following October. tions, in full sympathy with the Americans, Francis Robert, brother of Joseph, and and hostile in feeling to the British and their father of our highly esteemed citizen, Antoine allies. They were regarded by the Indians as F. Robert, owned and occupied until the specuentitled to their protection, and were seldom lating days of 1835, the eastern farm on the by them molested, while the Indians associated south side of the River Raisin, the front of with the British army seldom lost an opportu- which is occupied by warehouses and docks, nity of killing, scalping and tomahawking the and now owned by our fellow-citizen, the Hon. Americans. Mr. Joseph Robert very distinctly Joseph M. Sterling. remembers, though but a lad at the time, the scenes at the homestead on the morning of the second battle The floor, and in fact all of the

JAMES MULHOLLEN, available room, was occupied with contractors and those in various ways connected with the A boy seven years of age, with his father's American army. They were all aroused by a family emigrated from Ireland, and first setcannon ball, which carried away one end of tled in Steuben county, in the State of New the gable roof of the house. Immediately York. At the age of twenty-one he married thereafter the bullets were flying thick. The Sarah Egnew, the daughter of Samuel Egnew, blinds were closed as soon as possible, and the and in the year 1806 with a family of five family sought refuge in the cellar, while the children, Polly, Eliza, John, James and Jane, men were advised to and did flee by the marsh sought a home in the western wilderness. With and Plaisance Bay on the ice, as the forests in Samuel Egnew he purchased at six dollars per the rear and south were swarming with hostile acre the tract now constituting part of the first Indians. One Henderson lingered on account ward of the city of Monroe, fronting upon the of his children, who had with him fled to south side of the River Raisin, bounded on the Robert's for safety, whom he reluctantly left east by the United States turnpike, and on the with Mr. Robert and fled for Ohio, Mr. Robert west by the western boundary of the German assuring him that if he remained he would not Lutheran church, extending south from the only be killed, but his (Robert's) family would river to Plumb Creek. The west half of the

« ZurückWeiter »