History of Jean Baptiste Drouillard

DROUILLARD, Jean Baptiste, born 1707, son of Simon Drouillard dit Argentcourt and his first wife, Margaret Ferret, was 26 when he was married at Lachine to Elizabeth Rapin, born 1712, daughter of John Baptiste Rapin and Catherine Janson dit Lapalme. Lachine was a settlement just below Montreal at Lake St. Louis.

John Baptiste was in the military service under Marin who was a French officer that was involved in Wisconsin and Illinois. Jean and his family, during this period, moved from one army post (or fort) to another, and this fact alone, may explain the reason why some of the birthplaces of his children are unknown. After he left the army, during peacetime around 1744, he engaged in managing canoe trains from Montreal to Detroit. The route of these canoe trains is really an amazing feat. To avoid the Iroquois, the canoes started from Montreal up the Ottawa River to Lake Nipissing then down the French River to Georgian Bay. Entering Lake Huron they drifted past Cape Kurd following the coast line of Lake Huron down to Port Huron. They were in large groups of 100 or more. It was the only way Detroit received the supplies and the mail.

In 1749 a determined effort was made to increase the population of Detroit. The following proclamation from Governor Galissonniere was read in every parish along the St. Lawrence.

"Every man who will go to settle in Detroit shall receive gratuitously, one spade, one axe, one ploughshare, one large and one small wagon. We will make an advance of other tools to be paid for in two years only. He will be given a Cow, of which he shall return the increase, also a Sow. Seed will be advanced the first year, to be returned at the third harvest. The women and children will be supported one year. Those will be deprived of the liberality of the king, who shall give themselves up to trade in place of agriculture." (Pare, George: The Catholic Church of Detroit, 1701-1888, p.178-179) Quoted from “Farmers History of Detroit”

From his page in the Cicotte Ledger we find exactly what was given to him:
Joseph Louis Drouillard
"Jean Baptiste Drouillard was sent from Montreal and arrived at Detroit
on 26 July 1749, with his wife, five sons and 3
daughters to take up the land 3 arpents (acres) wide
situated on the south side, abutting on the north-east is Pierre
Dinan, and on the south-east the lands not yet granted.
He received as a donation: 10 rations for 10 persons from July 26, 1749, to January 26, 1751.
"(Lajeunesse, Ernest J., The Windsor Border Region p.50)"
2 pickaxes Had delivered to him to be paid back:
1 hatchet 3 coverings (blanket, rug) 2 ½ yards
1 scythe 6 yards of (?)
1 sickle 5 yards of mountain serge
1 plough 5 yards of sheep wool
2 augers 22 measures of peas
1 sow 1 cow returned July 7
7 fowls 1 steer returned July 10, 1755
6 lbs. powder 1 bull
12 lbs. nails 1 ½ measures of Indian corn
  2 measures of wheat

Many of the entries state that land is granted on the "south side" (Canadian). All through the French period there was no distinction made between what we know as the American and Canadian side of the river. It was all Detroit. The voyageurs called the connection between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie not a river, but a strait, Le De-troit.

Because the river was necessary to each settler as a means of communication and as a source of food the grants were laid out into farms of narrow fronts of 3 arpents along the river and running back 40 arpents or more. The houses fronting on the river, separated from it by a narrow road which ran along the edge of the water, formed what was called in Canadian language a cote. Petit Cote was the name applied to this settlement. The site must have been selected because of its sandy beach presenting an easy approach without much concern about the fertility of the soil. In most of the section between the Stream of the Old Queen and Turkey Creek, the soil is a light yellow sand with a very thin cover of loam. It was not long before the locality was named "Cote de Misere" (Misery Settlement). Those who wanted to cultivate land moved farther south below Turkey Creek or later above the Ottawa towards Lake St. Clair. (Lajeunesse, op.cit p. lxxi)

John Baptiste went back into the array as a Major in the Canadian militia. He left Fort Pontchartrain with about 100 Canadians and several hundred Indians under Beaujeu, their leader, to reinforce the garrison at Fort Duquesne. He never returned. Beaujeu was killed in the summer of 1755. John Baptiste Drouillard could have been with him or killed in the heavy fighting around the fort area. The exact facts of his death are not known. His widow remarried in the Catholic Church six months later. She was buried May 8, 1757 at the Church of the Huron, Sandwich.

Taken from "Genealogie des Drouillards" by Hazel M. (Lauzon) Delorme, available at the Société Franco-Ontarienne Library in Belle River, Ontario

The children mentioned in the Cicotte Ledger were:
Jean Baptiste Amable3 was born in Sts. Anges, Lachine, Quebec in 1731.
Simon Amable3 was born in Ste. Anne, Bout de L’Ile Jesus, Montreal, Quebec in 1734.
Francois3 was born in St Joseph, Riviere des Prairies, Quebec in 1741.
Joseph3 was born in Des Cedres, Quebec between in 1740 and 1742.
Pierre3 was born in Sts. Anges, Lachine, Quebec in 1731.

Marie Elisabeth was born about 1735.
Marie Catherine was born in St. Joseph, Riviere des Prairies, Quebec in 1744.

It is unknown who the third girl was.

Marie Francoise was born and baptized at Ste. Anne, Detroit in 1750.
Pierre was born and baptized at Ste. Anne, Detroit in 1751.
Antoine was born and baptized at Ste. Anne, Detroit in 1753.

More information about Jean Baptiste's family can be found here: Jean Baptiste2 Drouillard