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.”
Collection: Drummond Island to Penetanguishene
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, 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
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
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, 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
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
Lewis Solomon was the youngest son of William Solomon, 1Ezekiel Solomon, the grandfather of Lewis, was a civilian trader at Michilimackinac when the massacre of June 4th, 1763, took place. (See Alex. Henry’s Journal.) He was taken prisoner, but was rescued by Ottawa Indians, and later on was ransomed at Montreal. 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