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disappearance from our midst, giving place to ceded the tract, expecting it would inure to the a more heartless and speculative generation benefit of St. Mary's Catholic church, of Monroe, that succeeds them. We look upon and think but by some mistake it was ceded to St. Anne's of the noble and generous with admiration, church of Detroit. This tract was for many but seldom to emulate; yielding rather to the years known as the Macon Reservation, and corrupting influence of the busy throng that was subsequently sold by St. Anne's church of surrounds us.
Detroit to the Hon. Isaac P. Christiancy, who opened and developed the stone quarry thereon
of a very superior quality for building purposes; JOSEPH BISSONETTE,
he also built a two-story stone dwelling and
mills thereon. A Canadian, first settled in Detroit. About the Gabriel Bissonette, the son of Joseph Bisso. year 1800 he removed to the River Raisin, and nette, was born in the year 1810, on the homesettled upon the farm on the south side of the stead farm; was very well acquainted with Major river, containing about two hundred acres, the Caldwell, from whom he learned his catechism. front of which farm is now owned and occupied Major Caldwell was a member of the Protestant by Mr. Kline. Joseph married Eunice Robert. Episcopal church prior to coming to Michigan, The children of this marriage were Joseph, but became here a member of the Catholic Alexander, Gabriel, David and Antoine; Mary, church, to which he adhered the rest of his
married Peter Vallequet; Pelisha, who married in the British army at the time of the massacre Alexis Nadeau; Julia, who married William at the River Raisin; was from a wealthy and Brown; and Victorie, who married Richard influential family in Montreal, at which place Mettez.
he made the acquaintance of Miss Lasselle, who Joseph Bissonette lired on this farm during subsequently became his wife. She survived the War of 1812, but sent his family for safety the Major a number of years, and died at the to Detroit. He was a great favorite with the residence of her daughter in Monroe in 1885. Indians by whom he was surrounded, and quite Major Caldwell during life received a pension intimately acquainted with Shawenaw-Bab, from the British Government, and was in Wassagan and Ponette, the chiefs of three of sympathy with the British Government and the tribes, through whose influence he was regarded by the American citizens for some protected from depredations of the savages. time after the war with suspicion. Gabriel, one of the sons, then a little boy, was To return to Gabriel Bissonette from this adopted by one of the chiefs, Shawenaw-Bah. digression. He was married to Mary Davis, to The child was a source of amusement to the whom were born Charles and Daniel, now chiefs, who enjoyed making him dance. The living in Grand Rapids ; John, now living at chiets ceded his father for the benefit of Stillwater, Minnesota; Martha, married Mr. Gabriel one-balf section of land on the Macon, Beach, living at Midland ; Mary, married John all signing a parchment conveying the tract. Golden, who resides at Bay City, a justice of But Joseph, the father, then owned two large the peace. By his second marriage to Bridget farms, and as land was at that time considered Navy, were born James and Joseph, who reside of little value, the gift was not appreciated. at Grand Rapids; Louis Napoleon, lives at Bay At this time Father Richard, when in this City; and Richard, now living with his parents ; vicinity in discharge of his duties as a priest the daughter, Margarette, was married to of the Catholic church, generally made it his Thomas Adams, Esq., an attorney and counhome with Mr. Joseph Bissonette, and usually selor-at-law in Monroe ; Annie Victorie, marhad the services of Mr. Bissonette, who was ried William Fisher, now resides in Bay City ; familiar with the Indian trails as guide to the and Emily, now single. Mr. Gabriel Bissonette various tribes of Indians. Father Richard at the age of forty removed to Ionia, in Michi. suggested to Mr. Bissonette a gift of this tract gan, and remained there eighteen years, then on the Macon to the Catholic church, as he then returned to Monroe county and purchased of had more than he and his family could cultivate. Elleroy Cicott, one of the sons of John Bt. He readily complied with the suggestion, and Cicott, the farm on the north side of the river
about one and one-half miles west of Monroe, certain as to duty. The period after Hull's generally known as the Cicott farm.
surrender, when the country was in the possesThe houses on the Lasselle farms (afterwards sion of the British, was a time of especial peril. Caldwell farms), as well as those on the river, Mr. Tibbetts' experience with a half-breed were one story and a half log-houses, with a Indian boy, the son of a British officer, nearly chimney built of clay. A very capacious fire- resulted in his capture and death. He acciplace was at one end of the building, a gable dentally shot an arrow which bit the boy over window at the other end, accessible by a rough the eye, making a black and blue spot. The ladder from the outside; a front door with a boy went to bis mother with the grievance, window on each side, and opposite it a looking- and she, a fierce squaw, took an older son glass, with a fiddle on one side and a crucifix and a large rope and immediately started on on the other.
the war-path to revenge the insult. The Mr. Gabriel Bissonette still lives with us in grandmother of Benjamin saw her coming and good health, with the manners of a Parisian hid him between two feather beds. A six-acre gentleman, one of the most intelligent of the field of oats opposite their house was trodden French citizens, highly esteemed, and a very down and served as an encampment for about exemplary and devoted member of the Catholic fifty Indians. Benjamin's mother fled to seek church.
the protection of the British officer command
ing. He did not choose or dare to cross as a BENJAMIN TIBBETTS
rule the inclinations of the Indians, but in this
case told her if she would hide the boy near a Was born at Frenchtown, November 9, 1804. high board fence which separated their yard His parents were natives of Rhode Island. His from the street, that he would ride by on horsefather was a sea-captain before his removal to back; to be on the lookout for him, and if the boy the then far West. He was in command of a could be on the fence at the moment he rode vessel at the time of his death, which was acci. by he would take him on his borse to the fort, dental, the result of falling through an open as he could not protect him elsewhere. In an hatchway in the darkness at the dock at De- opportune moment his mother removed him troit. The mother of Benjamin Tibbetts re- from the house to the shelter of some large curmoved immediately after her husband's death rant bushes in the garden. While waiting to Frenchtown, three months prior to the birth there for the noise of approaching hoofs, the Inof Benjamin. Benjamin, though a youth at dians passed within six feet of them. At a that time, remembers distinctly the burning of signal given by his mother he mounted the the buildings in which the Kentuckians were fence, so high that the feat at any other time confined, and from his home could hear the seemed impossible. The officer took him shrieks of the doomed men. He frequently to the fort, where he remained until Detroit accompanied his mother on her errands of was again in the possession of the American mercy to relieve the wants and provide for the forces and the Ironsides family were back in comfort of the imprisoned captives, which Canada. While in the fort the soldiers amused gave the family a deep personal interest in their themselves by trying to bire him to become a welfare. The succeeding horrors made a per- British boy, but the inducements were indigmanent impression on the mind of the youth- nantly repelled. ful Benjamin. A full and connected account of his child life would exceed in interest and
HENRY DISBROW hairbreadth escapes many works of fiction. His life and the lives of the family were in Was born in Trenton, New Jersey, July 9, many instances saved by their ability in speak- 1773. He married Sarah Anderson at Trenton, ing the French language. The Indians in a May 30, 1794; she was born August 30, 1775, number of instances lifted him up by his light and died at Monroe December 7, 1859, aged hair, and flourishing their scalping knives eighty-four. They bad one son and four asked him whether he was French or Yankee. daughters: Henry V. Disbrow was born in His fluent French with his blue eyes and fair Dayton, Kentucky, November 1, 1798; married complexion puzzled them, and they were un- Harriet Cummings, of Detroit, where he was
a merchant for many years, then removed to was released, but Kenzie was placed in irons Galesburg, Illinois, where he died July 7,1851. and sent to Montreal. Achsah was born in Trenton, New Jersey, When Henry Disbrow removed his family February 16, 1795 ; married Colonel Green of to the River Raisin, they came in a schooner Kentucky. Elizabeth was born in Kentucky from Sandusky and landed in front of the December 16, 1796 ; married Oliver Johnson at farm he subsequently bought of Menard. Disthe River Raisin July 23, 1818; they had one brow afterwards sold the farm to Charles J. son, Charles G. Johnson, now residing in Mon- Lanman, and Lanman to Stuart, who platted roe, and one daughter, Elizabeth, who married it as a subdivision known as Stuart Plat. After Talcott E. Wing, of Monroe, and died Septem- selling the farm Mr. Disbrow removed to Deber 26, 1857. Mary was born at Dayton, Ohio, troit, remained there two years, then returned February 13, 1809; married to Thomas G. to Monroe. He purchased in an unfinished Cole, a merchant of Monroe, January 27, 1828; condition the McComb Street House, of Mr. Thomas G. was born February 24, 1806, and Taylor, a lawyer. died at Detroit January 25, 1862.
Mr. Disbrow was by profession a surveyor, The children of Thomas G. and Mary but for a number of years both before and after (Disbrow) Cole were as follows: Sarah E., the War of 1812 he was engaged as a merchant, born October 22, 1828, who married James A. transporting goods from Dayton and disposRayner at Monroe October 19, 1853; died in ing of them at River Raisin and Detroit. At New York January 21, 1885, leaving two one time he had a store on Front street, Mondaughters - Anna, who married Mr. Wells, of roe, opposite the grocery of James Nadeau. New York, and Lizzie, wlio married Mr. Bush, While occupying this place one Tebo, a Frenchof New York, now deceased. James Luther, man, burglarized the store. The thief was deborn August 25, 1830; died April 25, 1880. tected and punished on the public square at Eliza was born August 9, 1832 ; married George the whipping-post with fifty lashes save one on W. Armitage December 7, 1853; had one son, iis bare back, administered by John Mulhollen Thomas, and two daughters, Harriet and Mary; and Miles Thorp. Well do I remember seeing Mary was married to Nelson Phinney, a lawyer, and hearing the blows of the rawhide, which who resides in Kansas. Henry T., born Decem- drew blood at nearly every stroke, and how ber 9, 1834; married Emily Paulding, daughter shocking it was to my feelings in common with of Morrison Paulding, of Monroe; bad three those of the bystanders. sons, William, Thomas and Morrison, all resid. Mr. Disbrow was a gentleman of great ing in Monroe; married for his second wife Mary strength and force of character, highly esKendall, daughter of Nathan N. Kendall, of teemed as a citizen, and was at the time of his Monroe. Daniel T., born January 19, 1837; death and for many years previous an elder now residing in Monroe. Harriet Francis, in the First Presbyterian church of Monroe. born February 8, 1839; married Frank Tryon, a merchant of New York, July 25, 1865; had two daughters, Sarah and Anna. Mary Dis
ALEXIS SOLEAU, brow, born February 17, 1846; married John M. Bulkley June 22, 1865, merchant of Monroe; The grandfather of Touissant Soleau and has one son, Henry Conant Bulkley, and one Frank X. Solean, at present merchants of this daughter, Mary, living.
city, came from France at a very early day, Henry Disbrow was in Detroit at the time and was among the first settlers on the River war was declared with Great Britain ; be had Raisin. He purchased a farm on his arrival at gone there with a load of provisions, and did Detroit, in Springwells, now West Detroit, and not return to his family for about two years. subsequently exchanged his farm in SpringHe was made a prisoner of war while visiting wells for the Doctor Clark farm, now owned his wife in Sandwich, Canada, at the residence and occupied in part by Mr. Andrew Beier as a of Major Caldwell. Mr. Kenzie was captured residence, and a large portion by I. E. Ilgianat the same time and was with Mr. Disbrow fritz as a nursery. He exchanged the Clark placed under a guard of Indians. Mr. Disbrow farm for a farm on Sandy Creek, three miles
north of Monroe; was in sympathy with the Adrian was killed in the War of the RebelAmericans, and took an active part in the War lion at Pulaski. of 1812, and was, with his son Touissant, taken H enry acted as sutler during the War of the prisoner by the British at Sandy Creek and Rebellion. confined at Malden until both were exchanged, Frank X. Soleau, son of Touissant Soleau, soon after the battle of Brownstown. Was sr., nor a merchant on West Monroe street, present at Detroit at the surrender of General served with a very creditable record through Hull, and witnessed the indignation of the the whole War of the Rebellion, and was comAmerican army when the white flag was run missioned as captain of a company. up over the fort; saw General Cass in anger Of the four daughters of Touissant Soleau, thereat break his sword over one of the cannon, sr., Roselle married Eli Sancraint; Adaline declaring the surrender a national disgrace. married Joseph Hyatt; Zoe married Mr. Du
Alexis was a millwright and carpenter, and boy, now deceased; and Mary was a music
subsequently owned by Doctor Clark, near and and as a Sister died in the State of New York. below the point where the dam crossed the river. He also built the mill at Stony Creek where Brest is now located, both of which mills
LOUIS LAFONTAIN, SR., were burned and destroyed by the British in the War of 1812.
Father of Louis Lafontain, jr., a resident of He purchased a farm on Stony Creek, west this city, was for many years an Indian trader, of the Lake Shore railroad, which Touissant, with headquarters at Fort Wayne, Indiana. sr., his son, cleared and resided on the remain- In the year 1804 he made a trip to Montreal, der of his life, dying August 3, 1870; was buried Canada, for the purpose of purchasing goods ; at Newport. Touissant Soleau, sr., was mar- there he made the acquaintance of Laurent ried to Genevieve Burke, at Frenchtown; had Durocher in the office of a notary public in
which he was a clerk, and induced bim to re- . Touissant Soleau, jr., the eldest, was born turn with him. Pleased with the beautiful October 1, 1820; married November 25, 1847, banks of the River Raisin, lined on either side Phoebe Boardman; is now a merchant in Mon- with vines loaded with clusters of grapes, Mr. roe, copartner of James Robert, on West Durocher determined to locate here, and sub Front street. He has two sons and two daugh- sequently became quite prominent among the ters: William T., an attorney. practicing in early settlers on the River Raisin, a particular Monroe, who was elected clerk of the city for sketch of whose life will be found elsewhere in two terms, also one of the Circuit Court com. this volume. missioners at this time; his second son, Milton Louis Lafontain, sr., purchased the farm on B., now resides at Monroe, clerk in a store; his the bank of Detroit River, now constituting a elder daughter, Ada, married James I. Robert, part of the city of Detroit, and known as the his present copartner; the younger daughter “Lafontain farm.” The farm adjoining was married Charles Golden, a lawyer in Monroe purchased and occupied by Mr. Schoebert, and at present the prosecuting attorney of the whose four daughters married John Bougrand, county.
Joseph Loranger, Nathan Hubble, and Louis The second son of Touissant Soleau, sr., Lafontain, sr , all of whom moved to and were David A. Soleau, died early, in the State of identified with the early settlement of FrenchVirginia.
town on the River Raisin. The third son, Alexis, resides on his farm Julia, one of the daughters of Louis Lafonon Stony Creek.
tain, jr., married Major James W. Spalding, of The fourth son, Oliver, studied for the priest. Monroe, and after his death she married Charles hood, and in crossing the ocean on his way to Ross, of Detroit. A second daughter married St. Thomas was lost at sea.
Theodore Ilgianfritz, one of the proprietors of James enlisted in the War of the Rebellion, the extensive nurseries in this city. and died from disease contracted in the army. Louis Lafontain, sr., with Laurent Durocher',