« ZurückWeiter »
country. The family household goods, with naught remaining but the log house, which
July 3, 1805, Governor Hull, by proclamation,
sociate Judge; George McDougall, Clerk; SoloWhen rowing along the border of the lake mon Sibley, Elijah Brush, attorneys and counopposite Sandusky, Mrs. Mulhollen with a selors, at the house of Jean Baptiste Jereaume, young child (Samuel, now living in Toledo) on the north bank of the River Raisin, below was nearly exhausted from exposure, and called where the Canada Southern Railroad crosses the attention to some burning embers on shore, river in the eastern part of the present city of and in compliance with her request they rowed Monroe. The Grand Jury called at that session ashore that she might, by the fire, make a cup consisted of John Anderson, Francis Navarre, of tea. She had but stirred up the fire and Israel Ruland, Ethan Baldwin, Alexander placed the teapot on the embers when they Ewing, Isidore Navarre, Jacques Navarre, were amazed by the sight a few feet from the Joseph Francis Mouton, Robert Navarre, Joseph fire, of some ribbons which they recognized as Dazette, Joseph Jobin, John B. Lasselle, Bar
American scalps were then valuable to Indians, uel Egnew and Joseph Pouget. Well do I re-
Monroe, excepting a tract of three miles square on the south side of the river, the present site known as the “Macon Reserve," which was of the city of Monroe. subsequently ceded by the Indians to the It was during the three years that Daniel Catholic Church of St. Ann, Detroit, the title Mulhollen, Samuel Egnew, General Levi S. to which was subsequently acquired by the Humphrey, Lorin Marsh, Daniel S. Bacon, Col. Hon. Isaac P. Christiancy, and called the Oliver Johnson, Samuel Felt, Almon Chase, Christiancy tract.
Alcott Chapman, Thomas Wilson, Luther When war was declared, June 18, 1812, it Harvey, Henry Disbrow, Dr. Harry Conant, was impossible for Americans to remain with Walcott Lawrence, Seneca Allen, Robert Clark, any degree of safety, and for six weeks there. Col. Taylor and Col. Charles Lanman, names after it was necessary for the wives and chil. now familiar to our older citizens, came as the dren of the American settlers to spend their pioneers of Southern Michigan. time in the stockade or fort, on the premises In 1816 Dr. Horatio Conant (uncle of exnow.occupied and owned by Major Edward C. Secretary of State Harry A. Conant) settled at Chapman on Elm Avenue, So intolerable was Maumee, and was appointed by Governor Cass the annoyance and danger, the Americans with Justice of the Peace. In 1819 Seneca Allen held their families filed to Obio and Kentucky, the a commission from the Governor of Ohio as JusFrench to Detroit and Canada, and for the fol- tice of the Peace, with jurisdiction over the dislowing three years this portion of the State puted territory, and notified Dr. Conant that he was deserted. Immediately after their flight must not attempt to do any business under his Col. Proctor ordered the stockade burned and commission from the Governor of Michigan. destroyed, through fear it might fall into the But Allen, in December, 1819, had an engagebands of the American forces.
ment to marry a couple on the north side of During the next three years mails, however, the Maumee river. The river was high, full of were regularly carried from Detroit to San- running ice, and very unsafe to cross. Conant dusky, by the Indian trails, weekly, and three lived near the bank of the river on the Mauyears after tri-weekly, by Francis Cousino, of mee side, Allen near the bank on the PerrysErie, and Mr. Barron, of LaSalle, contractors, burg side and nearly opposite. Allen, finding on French ponies, who performed their trips it impracticable to cross to fill his engagement, with great regularity and speed when we con- called to Dr. Conant across the river and resider there were no roads or bridges across the quested him to marry the couple. The doctor streams. Their approach to each postoffice on reminded him (Allen) of his former prohibition the route was announced by blowing the old to act under his commission, but Allen insisted, fashioned tin horn. Persons traveling then to on the ground that “necessity knows no law.” or from Michigan timed their departure by these Dr. Conant married the couple, and received mail carriers, whom they followed as guides for his marriage fee a jackknife.
One after another of the families who had July 14,1817, Monroe county was established, fled before the war of 1812, returned during then including all of Lenawee and a portion of the years 1816, 1817 and 1818 to Frenchtown, the present counties of Wayne and Washtenaw, the principal settlement on the north side and the county court was' required to be held of the River Raisin. All of the stores and at such place not exceeding two miles from the trading-posts were on the north bank of the house of Francois Lasalle, on the bank of the river, on the front of the Campau, Godfroy River Raisin (the site being the present resiand Lacroix farms, now occupied by residences dence of Peter Melosh), as the court might of Louis Lafontain and E. B. Lewis, and the designate. September 4, 1817, the town of flourishing nurseries of Messrs. Reynolds, Monroe was established and made the countyLewis and Ilgianfritz. A strife then arose for seat of Monroe county. In December of the the location of the county-seat on the site of same year, provision was made for the conFrenchtown on the north side of the river, but struction of the first court house, on the the proposition of Joseph Loranger to locate in southwest quarter of the public square, a little town of Monroe in consideration of his grant- in front of the present site of the First Presbying public grounds, with streets and alleys, was terian Church. The second story of the court accepted, and the county-seat was established house was used for the court, while the east part of the first story served as the residence of the jailer, and the west part for the jail, and it
from the effects, must have been faithful shepherds of their flocks. Kind and obliging to all,
stockade that served as a yard for prisoners. days their standard of morality and integrity It was in front of this building the whipping was as high as among any people, crime being post was located where criminals were senten- almost unknown among them. ced to be lashed — the same mode of punish. The following is an extract from a letter ment now retained and practiced in the State written at River Raisin, March 8, 1808, by of New Jersey. One result of this mode of Judge A. B. Woodward : punishment was that such a degree of mortifica
The French inhabitants, though they may sometion and disgrace on the part of the criminal times be uninformed, are not generally ill-disposed. followed that he was never the second time In a Catholic country, where there is not one Protthus punished for a like offense. This old yel- estant minister,or one Protestant religious society low court house was the only public building in of any denomination, a Protestant minister, particuthe county for the following fifteen years, and larly of eastern manners, even though his character the second story the only room used for public
was adorned with all the virtues appropriate to his
profession, is not naturally the most acceptable. assemblies for either religious, political or secu
Indeed, to the people of this country, as well others lar purposes.
as the French, the eastern habits are the least reJune 1, 1819, John Anderson, Oliver Johnson spected. The British gentlemen have always indulged and twelve others were authorized to build and a sort of contemptuous and unjustifiable hatred of maintain for twenty-five years, a toll-bridge them; and when displeased,the term “Yankee" is one across the River Raisin, which eventually gave
of the most virulent epithets which they conceive they place to the present Monroe street bridge.
can apply. The French do not use this term, though
they entertain the same idea and perhaps with still The French inhabitants of Monroe county
greater force. They have another term which anwere nearly all farmers, and lived by the culti swers them the same purpose. It is the term “Bos
tonnois,” which they pronounce “Bastonnois." large farmers, but generally they cultivated “Sacre Bastonnois,” or “Sacre cochon de Basmuch less ground than the same number of
tonnois," is their most virulent term of abuse when
they are displeased with an American, or with a American farmers under like circumstances.
person from the Eastern States particularly. Until 1828 and 1830 they had no market for a surplus except the small local demand among The first French settlers that located on the themselves, and by habit had quite generally River Raisin were the direct descendants from come to think there was no great object in the old French pioneers of Detroit. Few raising a crop much beyond the necessary an- among the French farmers had much of the nual supply for their own families. And this education to be derived from books, yet there habit continued to a considerable extent, but was quite a number of intelligent, strong gradually wore away. They were unambi- thinkers, men of sound judgment, who well detious, limiting their wants to the real necessa- served their reputations for integrity and upries of life, which were easily supplied; indus- rightness. Though all are able to speak the trious so far as they felt labor to be necessary, French language, the English language is but with none of that disposition to excessive spoken by a very large proportion of them exertion for the sake of gain or the rapid accu- now. mulation of wealth wbich generally distin- The old French pioneer clung with great guished the American of New England or New tenacity to the traditions and customs of France; York descent. They did not see the wisdom of they were the links connecting him with the over-exertion, nor believe that happiness con- shores of his sunny clime. The French lansisted in the constant over-exercise of the guage was spoken with all the purity and mental or physical powers for accumulation of elegance of the time of Louis XIV. After the wealth. They were simple and inexpensive in conquest it lost much of its purity by the their habits, and content with little. All devoted mingling of the two languages. It was the Catholics, they scrupulously observed all the polite language of the upper class, English fete days of the church, and followed implicitly officers and their wives always speaking it the instructions of their clergy, who, judging fluently. No people piqued themselves more
in pride of ancestry. Many of the first ted to the house and all repaired to the spacolonists belonged to the ancient nobles of cious kitchen. The large open fire-place with France, retired officers and soldiers. Several of its huge hickory logs brilliantly illuminated their descendants still preserve their name and the room. Each guest in turn would tradition. The commandants at Fort Pontchai. take hold of the pan with its long bandle, train at Detroit all belonged to distinguished while some one would pour in the thin batter, families, and many bore historic names. We barely enough to cover the bottom of the pan. find in every branch of the Navarres, whether The art consisted in trying to turn by tossing in Florida, Canada, New York or Michigan, it as high as possible and bringing it down the tradition of a descent from the King of without injuring the perfection of its shape. France. These old traditions were handed Many were the ringing peals of laughter that down from generation to generation, and can greeted a failure. The cakes were piled up in still be found in the remotest branches.
pyramid shape, butter and maple sugar placed Glimpses of their domestic life become more between each layer, and formed the central valuable, as our knowledge of their manners dish in the substantial supper which took place and customs is very limited.
later. After supper dancing commenced and On New Year's eve a number of young men, at the first stroke of twelve all saluted the host masked, went from house to house singing a and hostess and took farewell of pleasure until peculiar song, suitable for the occasion; the Easter, Lent being rigidly observed. The feshost and hostess brought out bundles of cloth. tivities of a wedding lasted for several days. ing, provisions and sometimes money, and fill. The marriage bans were published for three ed the carts of the minstrels. These contribu- successive Sundays in church, and formed the tions were afterwards distributed among the all-absorbing topic of conversation. Marriage poor.
was then a serious undertaking. Divorces were On New Year's day the exchanging of pres- unknown among them. ents was very universally followed; also the At the betrothal the marriage contract was making of calls. The fair hostess always pre- signed by both parties, their relations and sented her rosy cheek to be saluted by the friends. The health of the newly married callers. The right of precedence was strictly couple was drunk in many a bumper. This observed, the oldest persons always being signing of names and stating professions or ocfirst and the officers according to rank. The cupations on the marriage certificate and wives of the English officers at first objected to church register was a usual custom. As soon the custom of being thus saluted, but soon as the marriage ceremony was over each one adopted the style, though in trying to improve got into his cariole, calash or cart, according to it, rather vulgarized it by kissing on the lips. the season, and headed by the newly wedded
New Year's morning every child knelt to re- pair, formed a procession, and passed along the ceive its parents' blessing, and even when principal streets, then racing; if roads were married hastened with busband and little ones suitable. Dancing and the great supper took to receive this coveted benediction. The chil- place at the home of the bride. The bride dren were all sent this day to visit all their opened the ball with the most distinguished relatives. On entering a room “ Bon jour, guest — the stately minuets and graceful cotilMonsieur," " Bon jour, Madame," was the usual lions, French four, with fisher's hornpipe and greeting of every French child to its parents. the reel, concluding by filing into the supperChildren, constantly seeing the respect and room by twos. Knives and forks were brought deference their parents paid to their elders, by each guest - often a spring-knife that soon acquired that graceful courtesy and affa- would close and be carried in the pocket, or a bility of nianners which is so distinguishing a dagger-knife suspended from the neck in a trait of the old French habitant.
sheath, Mardi Gras evening was one of unusual Adjoining the kitchen was the bake house. mirth and enjoyment with the easy-going, fun- The oven, built of brick, was generally plastered loving inbabitants. “Vives les crepes," the toss- over with mortar. In the center was a wooden ing of pancakes, was an old custom handed trough, in which the bread was kneaded. The down. A large number of guests were invi- front door always opened into the parlor. The
latch was raised by means of a long strip of of justice for Lenawee county was established buckskin hanging outside. Whenever the in- at Tecumseh, but the county was not fully mates were out no one, not even an Indian, organized until November 26, 1826. All suits would enter, to do so being considered a breach then pending before the Monroe county court of hospitality. The clothes were taken to the were to be considered before that court. river bank to be beaten with a mallet, the use April 19, 1825, Laplaisance Bay Harbor of pounding barrels and clothes wringers being Company was organized by Colonel John Anthen unknown. The spinning-wheel was con- derson and seven others, and was the harbor stantly used by the women; they made a sort for Southern Michigan until the completion of of linsey Woolsey which was the principal the Government canal in 1842. cloth used. The making of straw hats was December 25, 1826, our delegate in Congress the principal occupation of the children and was instructed to protest against any change maidens during the winter evenings.
of the southern boundary of the county-a The borses used were better known as Cana- premonitory symptom of the Toledo war. dian ponies. The French were passionately As before stated, about 100 French fami. fond of racing on the ice in the winter, and lies settled on the River Raisin in 1784, and Saturday afternoons in the summer months in from that time settlements spread with confair weather large numbers met for what we siderable rapidity to Otter Creek, about five would now term scrub races - commencing at miles south, and to Stony Creek, about four the residence of E. P. Campbell and running to miles north, and Swan Creek, nine miles northMacomb street, on the river road on the south east. So that, as appears by the subsequent side of the River Raisin. This was the resort grants of donated tracts to these settlers under for many years Saturday afternoons for fun and the act of Congress, March 3, 1807, which confrolic. When horses of greater pretensions for fined the right to such grants to lands occuspeed and bottom, and for racing greater dis- pied and in part improved prior to July 1, 1796, tances, came from Detroit, the Rouge or Mau- these settlements must, prior to the last named mee, the race grounds in front of the Jean date, have extended all along both sides of the Bt. Cecott (now Bisonette farm), one and one. River Raisin almost continuously for eight or half miles above Monroe, on the north side of nine miles, and a few isolated tracts a little the River Raisin, were resorted to, affording a further up and along both sides of Otter Creek, mile of track well adapted for racing.
from near the lake to some four miles into the The whipping post was common in Michigan. interior and along Stony Creek. These early The post in Monroe was on the public square settlers, for the sake of security and protection in front of the First Presbyterian Church, and from the Indians, had settled very near each many now living remember the scenes there other along the River Raisin and other streams enacted. Colonel Peter P. Ferry as justice of the mentioned, clearing only a small portion of peace often sentenced offenders to the post, and land in front along the stream. But as the John Mulhollen and Miles Thorp applied the act of Congress confined each claimant to the lash. The thrashing was generally effectual, lands the front of which he improved, and aland in most cases, those punished felt the dis- lowed him any quantity up to 640 acres, regrace of being publicly whipped on the bare quiring him to pay the government surveyor back so keenly that they generally left for for surveying his tract, several remarkable reparts unknown, glad to escape from Monroe. sults followed: First, to get any considerable
The facts in relation to the early settlement quantity of land each would be compelled to of the River Raisin are every day becoming take a narrow tract, thus making up the quanmore and more difficult to obtain, and after the tity by extending a greater or less distance back older residents now living are gone and they from the river or stream. This resulted in are rapidly passing away, the difficulty will be making the tract of each a narrow, ribbongreatly increased.
like piece of land, fronting on the stream. September 10, 1822, Monroe county was es- Second, as the claimant had to pay the govtablished as it now is, including the “disputed ernment surveyor for surveying his claim, and territory," but attached to it was the present most of the settlers, in the honest simplicity county of Lenawee. June 30, 1824, the seat of those days, could see no use in extending