Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

The Migration of Voyageurs from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene in 1828

The story of the transfer of the British garrison from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene in 1828 and the migration of voyageurs connected with the post has never been told in print. In the following notes Mr. Osborne has endeavored to gather this story from the lips of the few survivors who migrated at that time. Descendants of French-Canadians largely predominated in this movement, but we also get glimpses of what a strange and heterogeneous people once gathered around Mackinaw and Drummond Island, especially about the time of the coalition of the two fur companies in 1821. The migrant voyageurs settled principally near Penetanguishene, in the township of Tiny, Simcoe County. Offshoots of the band settled at Old Fort Ste. Marie, at Fesserton and Coldwater, and another south of Lake Simcoe, near Pefferlaw, York County. These notes will form a useful supplement to Joseph Taase’s “Les Canadiens de l’Ouest.”

List of the Drummond Island Voyageurs

In 1828 the transfer of the British garrison from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene commenced. A list of voyageurs who resided on Drummond Island at the time of the transfer. In many cases a brief biographical sketch is contained which may provide clues to their ethnicity, family relationships, and the location where they or their ancestors settled.

Narrative of Angelique Langlade

The concluding narrative of these personal recollections is that of Angelique Langlade, still living in Penetanguishene at an advanced age, and the last survivor but one of a somewhat noted family. Her command of English is very limited, but her mixed dialect so picturesque and pointed, that I am constrained to present it almost verbatim, in her own simple but expressive style, with apologies to several writers of dialect literature. Ma name, Angelique Langlade; born Drummon Islan; me Chippawa half-breed; ma mudder, Josephine Ah-quah-dah, Chippawa squaw, Yankee tribe; ma fadder, Charles Langlade, French half-breed, hees born Mackinaw, an move Drummon Islan wid Breeteesh. I no spik good Eengleesh ver well. I not know how old I be – ha-a – I no chicken – me. I tink bout seven, ten, mebbe tirteen year ole when we come Pentang. Mebbe some day God tell me how ole I be when I die. Ma fadder, mudder, Charlie, Louie, Pierre, two Marguerites, Angelique, dats me, an Delede, all come in big bateau from Nort shore. Priess mak mistak an baptise two Marguerites. Katrine born Pentang. All dead but two, Delede (Mrs. Precourt) an me – dat’s Angelique. We come Gordon’s pinte; mak wigwam cedar bark, stay dare leetle tam; wait for land, den come ware McAvela’s place on de hill, an leeve dare lang, lang tam.1 Soldiers come nex year after we come Gordon’s pinte. Ma granfadder Capn. Charles Langlade.2 Good French, come Montreal; work for Hudson Bay Coy., marry Chippawa squaw – big, big soldier in Breeteesh army – he fight fer Mackinaw 1812 – much good, loyal to Eengleesh – had...

Narrative of Antoine Labatte

I was born on Drummond Island, 16th September, 1824. We left the Island in 1827. My father’s name was Louis George Labatte, a soldier in the British Army, and a blacksmith by trade. He was at the capture of Mackinaw, and fought in the war of 1812. He was born in Lower Canada, and went up with the North-West Company, and after three years in the British service at Mackinaw, returned to Drummond Island with the soldiers and stayed there eleven years. He then moved to Holland Landing, stayed there two years, then to Penetanguishene, and lastly to Thunder Bay (Tiny), where he died in 1872. My mother died in 1863, and both are buried at Lafontaine. Her maiden name was Julia Frances Grouette, a half-breed. I am three-quarters French and one-quarter Indian blood. We left Drummond Island in August, in a bateau, towed by the schooner Alice, Captain Hackett commander. The vessel was subsequently wrecked on Horse Island. We came by the outer channel, past Tobermory, and landed at Cedar Point in Tiny the same month. Eighteen persons came in the bateau, besides provisions and household effects. There were six of the Labatte family, four of the Grouette family, Antoine Recollet and child, Francois Recollet and child, Jessie Solomon, and an Indian named Jacobe. Captain Hackett had suffered shipwreck on the sea. His vessel was burned and he saved his life by clinging to a small piece of the burning wreck till he was rescued. Captain Hackett was badly burned on one side of his face and neck, so that the cords were drawn down, causing a peculiar...

Narrative of Rosette Larammee

My maiden name was Rosette Larammee, born on Drummond Island December 12th, 1815, the year after the war. My husband was Jean Baptiste Boucher, also a native of Drummond Island. My father’s name was Jacques Adam Larammee, born in Lower Canada. He hired with the North-West Company and went up to Lake Superior, came back, and went to New Zealand (?),where he caught the fever. On recovering, he came home and went up to Mackinaw with the British soldiers, where he afterwards married Rosette Cloutier, a half-breed woman; then moved with the forces to Drummond Island. We left Drummond Island in April, 1828, and were in the sugar camp when some of the others started. The Labattes left before the soldiers. We came in a large bateau with two other families and a span of horses. Our family consisted of father, mother, four children: Julien, Zoa, James, and myself. James was only two years old. I was about thirteen. There were with us Louis Lepine, wife, and one child, Frances, who afterwards became the wife of William Rawson, of Coldwater. Pierre Lepine, who with his wife and child were wrecked with the soldiers, was Louis’s brother. Antoine Fortin, wife, and three children, were also with us. We came by the North Shore, and were one month on the way. We camped at Mississaga Point, McBean’s Post,1 La Cloche, She-bon-an-ning, Moose Point and Minniekaignashene, the last camping-place before reaching Penetanguishene. Belval, Quebec, and Rondeau all came from Drummond Island and settled at old Fort Ste. Marie. Pierre Rondeau, while planting potatoes, found a root of la carotte à moureau, and his...

Narrative of Michael Labatte

Michael Labatte, a typical French-Canadian voyageur, lives on an island in Victoria Harbor (Hogg Bay). His family history and descent is an interesting one. He claims over one quarter Indian blood, but the aboriginal element in his nature is most unmistakably marked. His father went up to the North-West in the closing years of the last century, and probably accompanied the British army in their first move to “Sault Ste. Marie” and St. Joseph Island, on the first transfer of Mackinaw to the Americans in 1796. He also formed one of the contingent of one hundred and sixty French-Canadian voyageurs accompanying Mr. Pothier, under Captain Roberts, at the capture of Mackinaw by the British in July, 1812, and three years later he moved to Drummond Island with the British forces on the second transfer of Mackinaw to the Americans, and finally to Penetanguishene. For a man of his years (over 85) Michael is vigorous and alert, and his memory is apparently intact. Narrative of Michael Labatte I was born at Sault Ste. Marie (on the American side) in 1814, the last year of the war, my mother being there on a visit to friends at the time, though our home was on Drummond Island. My father was Louis George Labatte, a blacksmith by trade, who was born in Lower Canada. He was a soldier in the British Army, and was at the capture of Mackinaw in 1812. He went up from Montreal with the North-West Company, and moved from Mackinaw with the British soldiers to Drummond Island. My mother’s name was Louisa Cadotte, a Chippewa, from whom I learned...

Narrative of Lewis Solomon

Lewis Solomon was the youngest son of William Solomon,1 who was born in the closing years of the last century, of Jewish and Indian extraction. This William Solomon lived for a time in Montreal, but entered the service of the North-West Company and drifted to the “Sault’, and Mackinaw. Having become expert in the use of the Indian tongue, he was engaged by the British Government as Indian interpreter at the latter post during the War of 1812. During his sojourn at Mackinaw he married a half-breed woman named Miss Johnston,2 the union resulting in a family of ten children, of whom, at the first writing of these notes, Lewis was the sole survivor, but joined the majority March 9th, 1900. Lewis very humorously claimed that in his person no less than five nationalities are represented, though he fails to tell us how. As the Indian nature appeared to predominate, and since his father was partly German, his mother must have been of very mixed nationality. When the British forces were transferred to Drummond Island, Interpreter Solomon and his family accompanied them thither; and later, when it was decided that Drummond Island was in U.S. territory, he followed the British forces to Penetanguishene in 1828, where he subsequently died, and where he and his wife and the majority of his family lie buried. It was the fond hope of the family that Louie would succeed his father in the Government service as Indian interpreter. In pursuance of this plan, his father sent him to a French school at L’Assomption;3 to the Indian schools at Cobourg and Cornwall; also, for...

Pin It on Pinterest