Biography of Francis Xavier Paquet
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FRANCIS X. PAQUET. – Francis Xavier Paquet, son of Joseph Paquet and Marie Madaline Godant, was born in the parish of Saint John, about thirty miles west of Quebec, at the junction of the Jacquarka river with the St. Lawrence. Joseph Paquet was a stonemason by trade, but lived on a farm and took jobs of stonework. He was the father of eighteen children, nine boys and nine girls. F.X. Paquet, the sixteenth child in order, was born on the fifteenth day of January, 1811. He learned the trade of shipbuilding at Quebec, being apprenticed to Peter Labbe when not quite fourteen years of age.
When seventeen years of age, he emigrated to the Untied States, engaging himself to the American Fur Company, to go to Mackinaw and construct a schooner for said company. After the schooner was completed he took charge of her and engaged in boating wood from Linwood Island and Round Island, and also made a trip to Chicago to get oak timber for staves and for building small boats called Mackinaw boats. This schooner was named Eliza Stewart, after the wife of Robert Stewart, who was the head man of the American Fur Company at Mackinaw at that time. That was in 1828. Old man Beaubien was then head man at what was afterwards Chicago, and which then consisted of three or four small log houses, one being a storehouse, and another being occupied by men who were employed getting out staves and making lumber with ship-saws. These staves were for making five-gallon kegs to hold and transport alcohol, out of which whisky was made by adding sixteen gallons of water to each gallon of alcohol.
In the fall of 1828 he left Mackinaw and came to Prairie du Chien. The route taken by the traders in these journeys, which were made regularly every year, was by way of Green Bay, thence up Fox river to Fort Winnebago, then making a portage to the Wisconsin, river, down the Wisconsin to the Mississippi, and up the Mississippi to Prairie du Chien. It was a long, tedious journey, beset with dangers, and required about three months’ time. There were generally about seven or eight bateaux with seven or eight men to each boat; and at the great falls of Fox river they were obliged to transport both boats and goods overland for some distance. F.X. Paquet spent the winter of 1828 at Prairie du Chien, building boats and repairing wagons, and other work about the trading post. Joseph Roullette was head man at Prairie du Chien, which was a principal trading station, and around which some fifteen or twenty French settlers had made their homes.
During the summer of 1829 he made a trip to Mackinaw with furs, and continued in the employ of the fur company, making these yearly excursions from Mackinaw to Prairie du Chien, until the spring of 1832, when he left Prairie du Chien, and the employ of the American Fur Company, and went to Galena to work in the lead mines. He worked in the lead mines of Galena and Dubuque until 1835, a part of the time being manager of furnaces for Langweather Bros., and also for Major Roundtree. In May, 1832, the Black Hawk war broke out, about sixty families being massacred on Rock river. Volunteers were called for to suppress the Indians, and he joined Company A, the first company organized, and which was under the command of David G. Bates. Company A followed the Indians to Fort Lake, and from there to Pictollick, thence to Blue river, where there was an engagement, and from there to Bad Ax, where the Indians were surrounded. Black Hawk and about twenty warriors made their escape, crossing the Mississippi river; but they were afterwards captured by a band of Sioux Indians and brought back and taken to Galena.
It was during the Black Hawk war that the subject of this sketch had one of the most thrilling experiences of his life. It was necessary to send dispatches from Galena, where General Dodge was in charge of the volunteers, to General Scott, who had arrived at Rock Island. To F.X. Paquet was intrusted this responsible duty. To travel on horseback a distance of two hundred miles alone, without roads, with rivers to cross, through a country where might be met bands of hostile savages on the warpath, is certainly no everyday experience; and it required a man of more than ordinary nerve to undertake the journey. It was successfully accomplished however; and so pleased was General Scott with young Paquet that, after a day’s rest, he intrusted him with dispatches to General Dodge to return, not, however, until he had praised him for his skill and bravery, and had made him a present of a brace of army pistols as a reward for his fidelity, and to show his appreciation of the service performed.
In September, 1835, he left the lead mines and went to St. Louis, and followed his trade of boatbuilding and contracting. From 1846 to 1848 he was superintendent of construction of water works. On the 12th day of January, 1836, he was married to Marie Louise Lannadier de Langdeau. On the 1st day of May, 1852, he left St. Louis with his wife for Oregon. He went up to St. Joseph by steamboat, being eight days on the trip. He stayed at St. Joseph three or four days, and then started with four ox-teams and some loose cattle. He arrived at The Dalles on the 22d day of September. After stopping at The Dalles about a week he started down the Columbia in boats made of wagon-beds, and came as far as the Cascades. He then took passage on the steamer Multnomah, arriving at Portland on the 10th day of October, 1852, and found that Jupiter Pluvius had gone into the mist business for the winter.
About the 1st of May, 1853, he moved to Canemah. In August or September, 1854, he moved onto the Paquet Donation claim. In the spring of 1863 he move back to Canemah, in 1865 to Stringtown, and in 1876 to Oak Grove in Wasco county, where he now resides. Marie Louise Paquet, wife of F.X. Paquet, was the daughter of Lawrence Lannadier De Langdeau and Theotiste de Tugas de la Violet, and was born in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, July 7, 1818. Mr. and Mrs. Paquet are the heads of one of the most extensive and best-known families in the state and besides their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, they are loved, honored and respected by a large number of friends and acquaintances scattered over the state.
The following is a list of the twelve children, and the present residence of those living: Mary Delema (Mrs. J.K. Bingman), deceased; Peter, Oregon City; Joseph, East Portland; John F., deceased; Louis, East Portland; Louise Elizabeth, deceased; Emma Adaline ( Mrs. G.G. Smith), East Portland; George W., deceased; Francis X., deceased; Edward, deceased; Oliver L., Wapinitia; Ida (Mrs. J.W. Dozier), deceased. In addition to the children, the family consists of the following connections, all living in Oregon. Three sons-in-law, all living, eight grandsons, nine grand-daughters, four great-grandsons, and two great-grand-daughters.