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Detroit’s Original Colonists

On the accompanying map I have placed numbers on the various lots to conform to the report made by Cadillac. They do not agree with the order of alienation, but all the transfers were made between 1707 and 1710. The names of the purchasers, arranged according to the numbers on the map, are also given, with the consideration for each parcel. The names are sometimes indefinite, for these Frenchmen had curious habits of changing their name, passing by different names at different times, and even in the little village Cadillac did not seem to know the first names of all his people, as frequent references are made such as “a man named Rencontre,” “a man named Beauregard.” Generally, when a parcel of land was conveyed, there were two items in the consideration required. First, a fixed rental, payable every year and probably accepted in lieu of all taxes, except the tithes for maintaining the church, and second, a certain sum which Cadillac required for privileges extended to the purchaser, as for instance, suppose the purchaser was a blacksmith, Cadillac having the exclusive right of trading at the post, would grant this purchaser the right of black-smithing to the exclusion of all others, and would receive an extra compensation for this privilege. The ownership of the land remained in Cadillac, and no man was entitled to his lot unless he took and maintained actual possession of it. If he abandoned it, it reverted to Cadillac, and he sold it to some other person. From references in some of the conveyances, it appears that there were transfers made to parties not...

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