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.”
Topic: Fur Trade
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.
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.
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
As the ten-year period of joint occupation drew to a close, new commissioners were appointed by the two governments to effect a settlement of title to the disputed territory, but after much discussion they were unable to agree upon a boundary line, and, in 1827, a new treaty was signed extending the period of joint occupation indefinitely, to be terminated by either party upon giving one year’s notice. Thus, again, the settlement of the question was left to time and chance. In the meantime the British government, through the agency of the Hudson’s Bay Company, had gained a tangible foot
The American government made no effort to retake the captured fort until the close of the war of 1812, when, under the treaty of Ghent, which stipulated that “all territory, places and possessions, whatsoever, taken by either party from the other during the war, or which may be taken after the signing of the treaty, shall be re-stored without delay.” Mr. Astor applied to the government for the restitution of his property, since he wished to resume operations on the Columbia River and carry out the plan of American occupation which had been so well begun. In July, 1815, notice