Category Archives: Nadeau

SAMUEL GOULET (1816-1906) and MARCELLISSE (DUVAL) GOULET (1822-1911): French-Canadian Pioneers in Michigan and Oregon

Marcellisse (Duval) Goulet (1822-1911)

Marcellisse (Duval) Goulet (1822-1911)

Samuel Antoine Goulet (1816-1906)

Samuel Antoine Goulet (1816-1906)

Our French-Canadian ancestors were adventurous travelers. Their journeys across North America were dangerous and difficult. Yet, they were also a quiet, self-effacing people who have left little personal record of their lives, and they have faded into history, largely forgotten. In this they resemble the narrative of French-Canadians generally in this country. French-Canadians were French speaking Catholics, and were among the first Europeans to explore widely the vast wilderness of North America.   Although farming was always a component of French-Canadian life, as “voyageurs” they also traveled the rivers and Native American trails in pursuit of beaver and other animal skins for the lucrative European fur trade. They trapped and also traded extensively with Native Americans, then sold the furs to European companies. As the fur trade declined in the 19th century, French-Canadians gradually settled down to farming and businesses, and before long they had blended in with their American neighbors. Today, French-Canadian heritage societies and the many French place names across the country remind us of the important French-Canadian influence on the early history of this country.


The Duvals and Nadeaus

Our family’s French-Canadian story starts with the 17th century migration of French peasants from the Paris area and other parts of France, to the lands bordering both sides of the St. Lawrence River in what is now Quebec, Canada. Our ancestors the Goulet, Nadeau and Duval families were among these immigrants to the New World.

Map showing the water route of migration from Montreal to Detroit

Map showing the water route of migration from Montreal to Detroit (Google Images)

After several generations of farming and trapping in Quebec,  the Nadeaus and Duvals joined the stream of French-Canadian migrants who traveled down the St. Lawrence River, through Lakes Ontario and Lake Erie, and up the Detroit River to Detroit. The French government had established Fort Detroit in the early 1700s to solidify the French claim to the Great Lakes area and to counteract British encroachment there. They offered free land and farming supplies to French-Canadians willing to come. At the time the Duvals and Nadeaus arrived, in the 1780s, the city was officially part of the United States, but the population of Detroit was still predominantly French (DuLong, 2001).

Riviere aux Raisins

Map of Monroe, MI ribbon farms, including those of Marcellisse's grandparents. The upper black arrow shows Antoine Nadeau's 539 acre farm; the lower black arrow shows Ignace Tuot Duval Sr.'s 346 acre farm. Original map located at the Monroe Historical Society.

Map of Monroe, MI ribbon farms, including those of Marcellisse’s grandparents. The upper black arrow shows Antoine Nadeau’s 539 acre farm; the lower black arrow shows Ignace Tuot Duval Sr.’s 346 acre farm. Original map located at the Monroe Historical Society.

The French Canadian immigrants settled all along the Detroit River, and the Duval and Nadeau families soon moved south from Detroit to the Riviere aux Raisins (named for the wild grapes on its banks), an area then called Frenchtown, now Monroe, Michigan.  Like their fellow immigrants, they established “ribbon farms,” a settlement pattern in which homesteads had a narrow frontage on a river and then, in a long, narrow ribbon, went inland until they ended in an indefinite border in the wilderness. This pattern allowed the settlers to use the river for transportation, fur trapping, and a source of food to supplement the produce from their farms. During these early years of the 19th century, the French were the predominant ethnic group in this area. They trapped, traded, and farmed, maintained good relations with their Native American neighbors and fur trading partners, and tried to stay out of the conflicts among Britain, the United States and Native American confederations over control of the Great Lakes territory. (For more on the War of 1812 in Monroe, Michigan, and the role of French-Canadians living there, click here.)

Marcellisse (Duval) Goulet (1822-1911)

Marcellisse Duval Goulet in younger years. (from Munnick, St. Louis Church Records, vol. II, courtesy Louise Manning Giles)

Marcellisse Duval Goulet in younger years. (from Munnick, St. Louis Church Records, vol. II, courtesy Louise Manning Giles)

Our ancestor Marcellisse Duval was born on such a farm in 1822, to Michael and Agatha (Nadeau) Duval, and was baptized in the Catholic Church. French-Canadians tended to have very large families, and Marcellisse was the third of ten children.   She grew up to marry a new-comer to the French-Canadian settlement in Frenchtown, Samuel Goulet. He and Marcellisse led remarkable lives, but left no personal records. In recounting their stories, I have relied on their Obituaries, written by close relatives,  public records, and the memories of their great grand daughter, who was my mother.  These  sources are listed at the end of this essay.

Samuel Antoine Goulet (1816-1906)

Samuel Goulet was born in Montreal, Canada in 1816 to Pierre and Marie Goulet (Munnick, 1981).   He received a good education there, and then, when he was about 17 years old, he migrated to Monroe, Michigan. He probably traveled the usual route of French-Canadians, down the St. Lawrence River and through Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. At the time he arrived, Monroe was a growing agricultural center. It was a hub for newcomers from the East arriving in Michigan territory via the Erie Canal, and heading to the interior to homestead.   A few years after Samuel arrived, in 1837, Michigan became a State. Samuel, a carpenter by trade, also worked on the newly developing local railroad system. In 1842, at about age 26, he married Marcellisse, then age 20, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Monroe.

California Gold Mines

Map of the trails to California during the Gold Rush.

Map of the trails to California during the Gold Rush (Google images).

In 1852, after living in Monroe for 19 years, Samuel and two of his brothers headed west to California, lured by stories of the Gold Rush. Marcellisse remained in Monroe and worked as a school teacher to support the couple’s three children. The Goulet brothers took a cross country route with a contingent of horses they planned to sell to the gold miners. Samuel is listed in the 1852 California Census as a resident of Calaveras County, where gold had been discovered in 1848.

“Land-Looking” in Oregon

He remained there only briefly; by April of 1853 he was in Marion County, Oregon, registering a land claim. It is likely that getting a foothold in the fertile Willamette Valley of Oregon, recently opened for homesteading by the territorial Oregon government, had been the plan all along.  Samuel remained in Marion County, Oregon for two years and was on the tax rolls there. We don’t know why he stayed so long.  One source says he spent his time in the west mining and “land-looking.” Perhaps he needed to build a house or make other improvements in order to validate a successful claim. He may also have been working to save money for the return trip home.


Sailing Around the Horn

The clipper ship Northern Light

The clipper ship Northern Light  on which Samuel Goulet traveled around Cape Horn in 1855 (Google images)

Samuel left the West coast sometime in mid 1855. He made the return journey coming around Cape Horn, at the southern tip of South America, on the clipper ship Northern Light, made famous by sailing from San Francisco to Boston in a record-setting 78 days in 1853. A passenger list shows him as boarding the Northern Light in Punta Arenas, Chile, with the point of origin of his trip being the U.S.A. This suggests that he took a different ship from San Francisco to Chile, then transferred. He arrived in New York on January 14, 1856.  By the time Samuel returned home in early 1856, he had been away for four years.


Map of frequently travelled routes to California gold fields (Google images)

Map of frequently traveled routes to California gold fields (Google images)

In the 19th Century, ships sailing around Cape Horn carried world trade from Australia to Europe, and also passenger and trade goods between the coasts of the United States.   It was a recognized route for those going to the California gold fields.  Though popular, the route was also extremely hazardous, and many ships foundered.


Wagon Train to Oregon

The Oregon Trail (Google Images, Microsoft Maps)

The Oregon Trail (Google Images, Microsoft Maps)

In 1859, Samuel and Marcellisse left their home in Monroe, Michigan for Oregon, which became a State that same year. Samuel organized and led a wagon train consisting of French-Canadians and other Monroe families, Samuel’s two younger brothers who had accompanied him on the first trip west, and “many sturdy young men, from Monroe and vicinity who were anxious to seek their fortunes in the promised land.” (The Monroe Democrat, 1912). The three Goulet children accompanied them: Phillip, age about 14, Fred, age about 10, and Mary Ellen, age 8. We don’t know what route the wagon train took, but probably they crossed through Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois on established routes, and joined the Oregon Trail in Iowa or Nebraska. They were on the trail for six months.

Giving Birth on the Trail

Still shot from the 1923 movie "The Covered Wagon"

Still shot from the 1923 movie “The Covered Wagon”

Marcellisse must have been as brave and adventurous as her husband. She was pregnant when the pioneer caravan left Monroe, and gave birth, as she must have known she would, on the trail, somewhere in Iowa. The new baby, named William Henry Goulet, was our direct ancestor and my mother’s grandfather. The circumstances of his birth must have been harrowing. According to the story told to my mother,

“The wagon train stopped only a few days for the birth. My great-grandmother lay in the wagon with her arms stretched out grasping the sides, to steady herself from the jolting wagon, so she wouldn’t inadvertently crush her baby lying beside her. The baby was very small at birth, and the Indians followed the wagon train for several days trying to trade for the baby, whom they thought was special because of his extremely small size.” (Alvis Whitelaw oral history, 1992).

French Prairie

Frency Praire Map (Munnick, frontispiece)

Frency Praire Map (Munnick, frontispiece)

The pioneers settled on homesteads in an area near Salem, Oregon, just east of the Willamette River, called French Prairie. The area got its name from the French-Canadian trappers who had worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company in earlier years and had now retired to farms there. Samuel and Marcellisse had one more child, Minnie, born in 1862, and remained on their homestead near Gervais for the rest of their lives. They were considered to be ethical, upright people by their neighbors. Samuel’s Obituary says that he was

“a man of strict probity, of quiet disposition and a determined will, always busy at something and never satisfied until he had finished that which he had begun. He was a good neighbor, generous to a fault, and delighted in shouldering the burdens of others. He was a great mathematician, had a remarkable memory and had good presence of mind just prior to passing away. He built a number of houses in this section and was conscientious in the performance of duty.”


Mathias Goulet (1827-1903). He accompanied his brother Samuel on all of his travels and settled nearby in French Prairie, Oregon.

Mathias Goulet (1827-1903). He accompanied his brother Samuel on all of his travels and settled nearby in French Prairie, Oregon.

Samuel Goulet and his younger brothers, Mathias and Peter, uniquely among our ancestors, traveled throughout the entire Western Hemisphere. They journeyed by boat, horseback, and wagon train over vast distances from Quebec to the tip of South America, and from the West to the East coast of North America. In spite of these achievements, Samuel was a quiet, hard-working, thoughtful man; his brave and adventuresome explorations of the New World sat modestly on his shoulders.


William Henry Goulet (1859-1924)

Alvis Love with her grandparents Florence Beach and William Henry Goulet, Woodburn, 1916.

Alvis Love with her grandparents Florence Beach and William Henry Goulet, Woodburn, 1916.

William Henry, born on the wagon train, was the fourth of five children of Samuel and Marcellisse. He is my great-grandfather. Unlike his parents, he lived his entire life within a few miles of the family home, mainly in Woodburn. He was known for his élan and for his dedication to horses.  He had a livery stable in town for many years, which was a hub for Woodburn transportation. He raced teams of horses at the county fair. He was the trusted town veterinarian, and was called “doctor”, though he had no formal medical training, and he was a Marion County Commissioner for many years.


His mother never learned to speak English, so French was the main language of his parents’ home, and he spoke it well. He converted to Protestantism at the time of his marriage to Florence Beach, a woman of British background. In this he had the acceptance of his parents, who were always kind and welcoming to his bride. He and Florence spoke only English in their own home, and he did not teach his children French. However, he did not change the spelling or pronunciation of his name, although his older brother attempted to Anglicize his name to Gouley.

Mary Ellen Manning (1851-1937), daughter of Samuel and Marcellisse Goulet, and a favorite great-aunt of my mother, Alvis Love Whitelaw.

Mary Ellen Manning (1851-1937), daughter of Samuel and Marcellisse Goulet, and a favorite great-aunt of my mother, Alvis Love Whitelaw.

William apparently identified with his French-Canadian background but did not feel that he had to maintain the language or culture. General assimilation was common in 19th century small town America, and the Goulets, like other French Canadians who settled in the Woodburn area, seem to have left behind much of their cultural heritage within a generation or two. Today educational displays at Champoeg State Park in the Willamette Valley preserve some of the cultural heritage of the French-Canadians who were among the first homesteaders there.  (For more on William’s wife, Florence Beach Goulet,  click here.  For more on his daughter, Mabel Goulet Love, click here.)

How You Are Related to the Goulets, Duvals and Nadeaus

Go to your personal fan chart, and go back from Alvis Whitelaw.


Susan, Nancy and John Whitelaw at the gravestone of Michael Duval, the father of Marcellisse Duval Goulet. St. Antoine Old Burying Ground, Monroe, MI. 2011.

Susan, Nancy and John Whitelaw at the gravestone of Michael Duval, the father of Marcellisse Duval Goulet. St. Antoine Old Burying Ground, Monroe, MI. 2011.

Bartolo, Ghislaine Pieters, and Reaume, Lynn Waybright (1988).  The Cross Leads Generations On:  A Bicentennial Retrospect of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception formerly known as St. Antoine at the Raisin River.   “Remaining Tombstones in Old St. Antoine/St. Mary Burial Ground on North Monroe Street”   (Tappan, NY:  Custombook Publ.).  p. 96-98.

California Census, 1852.  Calaveras County.

Death of Samuel A. Goulet (Jan. 11, 1906).  Woodburn, OR:  The Woodburn Independent, p. 1.

Denissen, Christien (1912, revised 1987)  Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region 1701-1936.  (Detroit, MI:  Detroit Society for Genealogical Research). Vol. I.

Dr. W.H. Goulet called by death (Oct. 1924)  Woodburn, OR:  The Woodburn Independent, p. 1.

DuLong, John P. (2001)  French Canadians in Michigan.  (East Lansing, MI:  Michigan State University Press.)

Hines, George H.  (1919)  Death List of Oregon Pioneers, “Gouly, P.P.”  (Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 20, April-May).

The Late Samuel A. Goulet. (1906)  The Oregonian, Jan. 11.  p. 6.

Marriages Paroisse L’Assomption de Windsor, Ontario 1700-1985.  Societe Franco-Ontariene d’Hubire et de Genealogie.  Ottawa, Canada.  No date.

Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections.  (Lansing, MI)  Vol. 10, p. 536-537 and p. 601-613.

Mortuary, Mrs. Antoine Goulet (Jan. 12, 1912).  The Monroe Democrat, Monroe, MI, p. 12.

Munnick, Harriet Duncan (1981).  Catholic Church Records of the Pacific Northwest. (Portland, OR:  Binford and Mort, publisher.)

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line].  Ancestry. com, Provo, UT.  2010

Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR,Index Collection:  Territorial and Provisional Government Papers Index.  retrieved from Goulet, Samuel A., tax assessmet roll, Marion County, 1854, 1855.

Oregon State Archives and Records Center.  Oregon Death Index 1903-1998.  database:

Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley (1903). “Phillip Peter Gouley” (Chicago,Ill:  The Chapman Publishing Co.) p.985.

Pioneer Woman Passes Away at Gervais (Dec. 26, 1911).  The Oregonian, p. 6.

Rejected Applications, Oregon City Land Office.  Genealogical Material in Oregon Donation Land Claims, abstracted from Rejected Applications Vol. 4, 1967, (Portland:  Genealogical Forum of Portland) p. 25.

Russell, Donna Valley (1982).  Michigan Census 1710-1830.  (Detroit, MI:  Detroit Society for Genealogical Research),  p. 51 (Michigan Census, 1782),  p. 66 (1796 census of Wayne County, MI) p. 76 ( 1802 Tax List),  p. 80 (1802 Tax List for Wayne County) and p. 175 (1830 Michigan Census).

U.S. Census, 1840.  Frenchtown Township, Monroe County, MI.  Martin Nadeau; Michael Duvall.

U.S. Census, 1850.  Monroe Township, Monroe County.  Michael Duvall; Antoine Goulard.

U.S. Census.  1860.  Fairfield, Marion, OR.  S.A. Goulet.

U.S. Census.  1870.  Marion County, OR.  S.A. Goulet.

U.S. Census.  1880.  Woodburn, Marion, Oregon.  Samuel Goulett.

U.S. Land Office (1936)  Monroe Harbor, Mich.  Map Prior to 1820.  (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers).  Map rev. by Michael M. Dushane, April, 2012 and retitled “The First Land Claim Owners Along the River Raisin.”   Dushane states that “Most owners possessed the claim prior to July, 1796.”  The original map is at the Monroe Historical Society, Monroe, MI.

Williams, E.Gray and Ethel W.(1963).  First Landowners of Monroe County, MI.  (Kalamazoo).


2012 was the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and the commemorations brought a revival of interest in this historical event. The War was the occasion for Francis Scott Key’s writing of the Star Spangled Banner, and for Dolly Madison’s rescue of an important portrait of George Washington as she fled the White House hours before the invading British Army sacked it. The Battle of New Orleans, which inspired a famous country-western song, was also a part of this war.   Other than these events, however, most people don’t know why or where it was fought or even whom we were fighting against. It is often called the “forgotten war.”

The War of 1812, between the United States and Great Britain, was fought to resolve issues left unsettled by the Revolutionary War, which took place 35 years earlier. Some issues were specific, such as whether British ships could “impress” (take as forced labor) captured American seamen. A major, more general issue was how the lands to the west of the original colonies were going to be settled and who was in charge of this process.   The British wanted to claim ownership of some western lands, particularly those adjoining Canada. Native Americans also wanted ownership of some of these lands. Tecumseh, a Native American leader, and his tribal confederation, sided with British in the War because the British promised them a homeland west of the settled areas of the United States. The British, the Canadians, and many Indians wanted to curb what they saw as aggressive American expansionism westward.

The Great Lakes region, on the border between Canada and the U.S. and newly opened for settlement by the American government, was a major theater of the War. Our ancestors of the Waldo, Love, Duval, and Nadeau families had migrated to territories along the Great Lakes after the Revolutionary War as these areas became available for homesteading.    These ancestors were involved in the War as combatants or as civilians in a war zone. The map below shows the major battles of the great lakes region, including those in which our ancestors were engaged. Ephraim Waldo at the Battle of Queenston Heights, Canada (on the Niagara River between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario); Robert and Levi Love at the Battle at Sacket’s Harbor, New York (on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario); and our Duval and Nadeau ancestors at the Battles of the Raisin River, Frenchtown, Michigan Territory (south of Detroit).

War of 1812 Battle Sites in the Great Lakes region

War of 1812 Battle Sites in the Great Lakes region


Ephraim Waldo, born in 1764 on a farm in Connecticut, came from a long line of New Englanders. His father, Jesse Waldo, had been a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. Ephraim married Eunice Dimmock and in 1789 they became pioneer settlers in the wilderness of western New York, settling in Bridgewater, Oneida County, where they started a store and raised a family. Ephraim also worked as a blacksmith.   When war was declared in 1812, the family had moved to Niagara County, New York. Ephraim, then 48 years old, enlisted in the military, and travelled about forty miles west from his home to join the War at the Canadian American border on the Niagara River.

The Americans planned to invade Canada early in the War at various points, expecting an easy victory over the unprepared British. One invasion took place on the Niagara River, where the American army and local militia assembled in Lewiston, on the American side (shown at left in picture), and crossed the River to attack Queenston Heights, Canada (shown at right in picture). Unfortunately for the Americans, they had difficulty in getting their soldiers across the river, giving British reinforcements time to arrive and aid in the defense of Queenston Heights. The British repelled the invasion, which ended in a chaotic American retreat back across the river.

Battle of Queenston Heights

Battle of Queenston Heights

Ephraim Waldo died in this battle. Waldo family historian Lincoln Waldo, in interviews with Ephraim’s descendants about ninety years later, recorded family memories of Ephraim’s death:

“He [Ephraim Waldo] . . . was present and took part in the Battle of Queenston Heights, Oct. 13, 1812, and was never heard of afterwards. It is a tradition in the family that, while the American army was retreating or being driven towards the river, Ephraim was seen by a cousin or an uncle, who was in the ranks with him, to fall – whether from a stumble or a wound is unknown – and his comrade, looking back, saw him leaning on his sword as if wounded, and the Indians coming up behind him. His fate is unknown. After the surrender of the Americans, he was looked for among the dead, wounded and prisoners, but was not found, hence it is supposed that he succeeded in reaching the Heights, attempted to swim the river and was drowned in the attempt, like many others. He was a good swimmer, and, if not wounded, perhaps would have escaped. It is related of him, that, having been captured by a press gang and placed on board a man-of-war, off Quebec, he jumped overboard in the night and swam ashore, a distance of three miles. (Lincoln Waldo, Genealogy of the Waldo Family from 1647 to 1900, Worcester, Mass.: Press of Charles Hamilton, 1900, pp. 326-328).

At the time of his death, he left four children by his first wife, Eunice (Dimmock), including our ancestor, Eunice Waldo, and several children by his second wife.

How you are related to Ephraim Waldo 

On your personal Ancestor Fan Chart, trace your lineage from your name, in the center of the fan, to Eunice Waldo, on the outermost rim. Then, open the attached Eunice Waldo Ancestor Fan Chart. Her name is at the center, and her father is Ephraim.


Robert Love, the grandson of Scotch-Irish immigrants, Adam and Mary Love, was born in 1767 in Rhode Island. In later years he recounted that while working on the farm as a boy, he saw a cavalcade of Revolutionary War officers pass by on their way westward. Their leader was George Washington.   His father, Sergeant Robert Love, served more than three years in the Revolutionary army, and was perhaps in service at the time that young Robert saw the officers. (William DeLoss Love, Love Family History, unpublished ms. New Haven, CT, 1918, pp. 36-39).

As a young man Robert moved first to Connecticut and there married Susanna Austin. Together they took the pioneer journey to the western wilderness of New York State, where they made a clearing in the forest in Oneida County, and with a few other families, established the settlement of Bridgewater. Among their neighbors were Ephraim and Eunice Waldo, whose involvement in the War of 1812 is discussed above. Ephraim and Eunice’s daughter, Eunice, grew up to marry her childhood friend in Bridgewater, Levi Love, son of Robert and Susanna Love.   In this way the Loves and Waldos became in-laws and the ancestors of all of us who descend from Levi and Eunice Love.

Robert and Susan Love tombstones, with medallion for service in War of 1812.  Fairview Cemetery, Bridgewater, NY.  Photo by  Judylove1157 at

Robert and Susan Love tombstones, with medallion for service in War of 1812. Fairview Cemetery, Bridgewater, NY. Photo by Judylove1157 at

At the time of the War, Robert was 45 and had several grown children.. Robert and three of his sons, including our ancestor Levi, enlisted in the militia.   They were called upon to do guard duty at Sacket’s Harbor, about 100 miles north of their home. Sacket’s Harbor, located on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario, was a major U.S. Naval base. In July, 1812, a fleet of British ships sailed toward the base, intending to capture it. The American military successfully deployed cannon and artillery, located on shore, to disable the British ships. The British fleet retreated, and the Americans claimed victory. The militia, including our ancestors, mainly stood guard and did not have a role in the fight, since the British did not land.

Sackets harbour

Pictured: a reenactment of the Battle, showing the central role of cannon in the American victory.

Eighty years later, Levi’s son, Lorenzo, wrote his memories of what his father told him about this episode.

“During the War of 1812 between England and the United States, grandfather [Robert] with my father [Levi], George and William, father’s brothers, were called out to defend Sacket’s Harbor on the water. The fleet was called the Royal George. The British on the water and the Americans on the land fought with cannon all day Sunday and at evening [the British] sailed away. That ended the war in that quarter and father and all came home.” (Lorenzo Love, letter to Charley love, Berrien Springs, Michigan, Feb. 10, 1895. The letter was reproduced in Love Family Quarterly, St. Petersburg, FL, Vol. IIl, Oct. 1955, pp. 5-6).)

Charley Love, Levi’s grandson, had these recollections.

“The last time I saw my grandfather Love to talk with him he said he had the papers to fill out for a pension in the War of 1812 but because he was only out a few days at Sacket’s Harbor, he did not feel that he ought to apply for a pension. Said he would liked to have done more for his country than he did, but his family was young and he was poor and he was needed at home and his colonel gave him leave of absence as soon as he felt he could spare him.” (Charley Love, Note to letter from Lorenzo Love, 1895. Reproduced in Love Family Quarterly, published in St. Petersburg, FL, Vol. IIl, Oct. 1955, pp. 5-6)

How you are related to Robert and Levi Love

On your personal Ancestor Fan Chart, follow your lineage out to Levi Love, on the outermost rim.   Then open the attached Levi Love Ancestor Fan Chart. His name is in the center, and his father is Robert Love.


 The recent creation of the Raisin River National Battlefield Park in Monroe, Michigan, has highlighted the strategic role played by that community in the War of 1812. Known as Frenchtown because of the large number of French Canadians who immigrated from Canada and settled along the banks of the Raisin River after the American Revolution, at the time of the War it had grown to become the second largest settlement in Michigan Territory.

For the French living in the Raisin River area, the War initially created a conflict of loyalties. They wanted to get along with the new American government and to be cooperative citizens of Michigan Territory. Yet they also had ties to the opposing side. Many owed possession of their farms to the negotiations they had made with local Native American leaders. Native Americans, who feared the loss of their land to the encroaching American settlers, chose to ally themselves with the British-Canadian side in the War.

Immigrants from Canada themselves, the French also had family and business ties to that Untitledcountry. At the time of the War, Frenchtown was surrounded to the North, East, and West by British-Canadian military and their Native American allies. The American military was far to the south at Fort Meigs, Ohio, separated from Frenchtown by an almost impassable geographical barrier, the Great Black Swamp.

Our own French Canadian ancestors, the Duval and Nadeau families, had immigrated from Canada to the Detroit region in the 1780s, and owned farms in the Frenchtown area. Records are scarce concerning the specific actions of local civilians during the War, but it is reasonable to assume that historical information on the French Canadian community includes the involvement of our specific ancestors.

From the beginning of the War in July, 1812 until the decisive American victories in late 1813, which effectively ended the War in the area, Frenchtown was the site of repeated invasions and occupations by the opposing armies. Its civilian inhabitants, both French and other American settlers, suffered as the battles were fought directly on their homes and farms.

The Habitants

Raisin River re-enactment

Pictured: a Raisin River Battle re-enactor, dressed as an habitant.

The French Canadian settlers, known as habitants, aided the American side as scouts, suppliers and transporters of provisions, blacksmiths, and as members of the militia. During periods of British occupation, they had to find a way to co-exist with the occupiers. In one story, the habitants were charged with obtaining and escorting a large herd of cattle to provision the British army. As word came that an American army was working its way northward, the habitants sequestered the cattle in the woods. Later on, some of the cattle found their way to the American side, and the habitants may have purloined the rest.

In spite of their conflicts of loyalties, the habitants contributed greatly to the war effort. It is estimated that about 83 percent of the men eligible for service fought for the American side. One Kentucky soldier who fought in the decisive 1813 battle wrote: “”Our situation at present is an enviable one, compared to our past. Plenty of apples, cider, butter, etc. in abundance. The inhabitants [habitants] are numerous and very friendly. Several took arms and fought valiantly at our sides.”


Tecumseh was a Native American leader who formed a confederation of tribes to try to negotiate Untitledwith the American government to establish a Native American homeland in Indiana and other Midwestern regions.   When the War of 1812 broke out, he led his confederation into an alliance with the British, who promised his confederation a large homeland in the U.S. following victory in the War.

Tecumseh was a well-known figure in Frenchtown and was frequently in the area during the War. It is very likely that our ancestors there knew him personally, and, like other civilians there, had cause to be grateful to him. He had enlightened and humanitarian values, which he practiced even in the difficult circumstances of War. The rangers at the Raisin River National Battlefield Park tell visitors that on one occasion, he intervened when a band of Native Americans menaced the unprotected women and children in Frenchtown. In spite of the great injustices he and his people endured, he did not retaliate against innocent individuals. Today monuments and other commemorations in the U.S. and Canada acknowledge his vision for a peaceful co-existence between Native Americans and European settlers in America.   A town near Frenchtown is named Tecumseh, in his memory, and the Civil War General, William Tecumseh Sherman, bore his name.

Remember the Raisin!

In January, 1813, in the farm settlement of Frenchtown, the British-Canadian forces and their UntitledNative American allies won the Battle of Raisin River, which was the bloodiest fight of the entire War.   The aftermath of this battle was horrendous. The victorious British abandoned a large number of wounded American soldiers who were their prisoners of war. The next day, a Native American raiding party arrived and massacred them all, an event now known as the Raisin River Massacre. In this time of terror, about half of the local population fled to other cities, where their fate depended on whether or not they had family or friends to harbor them. Those who remained experienced near starvation and survived on a diet of wild grapes from the banks of the Raisin River, boiled hay, and muskrat, a rodent found abundantly in the River.  Today descendants of these early French Canadians still serve muskrat dishes at festivals, as part of their heritage.

The massacre of American prisoners of war galvanized American public opinion to the cause. “Remember the Raisin” became a rallying cry for the war effort. Commodore Perry destroyed the British fleet on Lake Erie in September, 1813, and after that the tide of War turned in favor of the Americans. In the Battle of the Thames, at Ahmetsburg, Canada in October, 1813, (see map, above) the American army defeated the British and Native Americans and forced the retreat of British troops from Michigan territory, including Frenchtown.   Tecumseh was killed in that battle, and with him, any realistic prospect of realizing the dream of aNative American homeland in the northern Midwest. After this decisive battle, the habitants and other residents of Frenchtown were able to begin the work of restoring their homes and farms. Within a few years the region was peaceful and prosperous once again.

How you are related to the Duvals and the Nadeaus

Go to your personal Ancestral Fan Chart and find the lineage that ends with Michael Thuot Duval and the lineage that ends with Agatha Nadeau. Then open the attached Ancestral Fan Charts for Michael Thuot Duval and here for Agatha Nadeau.

References for the Battle of Raisin River

Naveaux, Ralph. Monroe in the War of 1812. Available online at:

Essay in Wikipedia. U. S. Park Service River Raisin Battlefield National Park