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.”
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.
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,
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
Jean Baptiste Sylvestre was born in 1813 at Mackinaw, son of a fur trader and half breed. His narrative details his life while living at Penetanguishene.
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,
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
The records from the register at Michilimackinac are here provided as they were translated by Edward O. Brown back in 1889. His translation came from a transcript of the original, which latter is kept in the parish church of Ste. Anne, at Mackinac. Annotated throughout are Mr. Brown’s biographical knowledge of the events of Michilimackinac and the people within. Don’t pass over the footnotes for the record, you may find a biographical reference hidden there!
No more colorful settlement existed in the Middle West than the mission and fort at the Straits of Mackinac, for the French early realized its importance and directed their westward explorations from this base. The concentration point for the fur trade of the Middle West, Mackinac held an important place for many years, both during the British and American regimes.
The register of interments was evidently not as carefully kept as those of marriages and baptisms. The following first four entries have been abstracted from the baptismal register, being entered after the records of baptisms on the death of the child previously baptized. The record kept by Father Le Franc, beginning in 1754 and continuing