This is a transcription of the book, of the above title, written and edited by Robert B. Ross, and published, by Clarence M. Burton of Detroit in 1902.
I have tried not to make any spelling or grammar "corrections" but, as I am English, I may have done so unconsciously - it has not been spell-checked.
As it was typed on a UK keyboard, some symbols may look wrong on your screen. For instance, £ is a pound sterling, $ is a dollar.
The views expressed are those of the author, not of the transcriber.
As this transcription is rather long, and is a single HTML document, I recommend that it is read offline.
The work is not copyright and you may copy it, print it, redistribute it or whatever.
The record of the Knaggs family of Ohio and Michigan is a part of the history of the northwest. Springing from English and Dutch forbears, its descendants represent the best traits of both races, and as patriots in war and good citizens in peace they are the peers of any contemporary family in these states. The Knaggs are a virile race, and although they are now found in every grade of society, their distinguishing characteristics - courage, perserverance and integrity - are as pronounced today as in the perilous times of the Indian wars and the war of 1812. The following record is historical, biographical and genealogical, commencing with the progenitors and aiming to include the youngest descendants. Every care has been take to insure correctness, but in such works there are very few which are absolutely perfect. Much of the genealogy could not be obtained from records, and if errors are found they can hardly be blamed on the compiler.
The genesis of the Knaggs family of Michigan and Ohio was in the Maumee valley and on the river of the same name, near the site of Fort Miami, which is about nine miles from the new courthouse of Toledo. This region was probably never inhabited before 1760. A few years ago a retired journalist, named Knapp, published a history of the Maumee valley, in which it was asserted that a French trading post had been established above Toledo as early as 1684, and that a fort had been erected there which was garrisoned by a small force of French soldiers. This statement created considerable interest in Toledo among students of the history of the northwest, as the authorities he adduced were at least plausible. But research developed no Corroborative facts. It is now believed that this statement is a mere invention, and that there was no white settlement there before the fall of Quebec. The valley was the scene of armed strife in the Indian wars that succeeded the revolution, and also in the war of 1812-15, and the members of the family during those periods were in the very center of war's alarms. It was here that the progenitor of the family, George Knaggs, an Englishman of good family, brought his wife in 1760. He was born in England, of English parents, his mother being a native of Wales. Tradition says that he was originally a sea-faring man, though in what capacity is not stated; also that he was a friend and protoge of Sir William Johnson, and that he was an officer in the British army. No proofs or records, however, can be found to support these two latter statements. He married Rachel Sly in Philadelhpia. She was of Holland Dutch extraction, and was a native of the Mohawk valley in New York state. The date of their marriage is not known, but it was probably in the same year (1760) that they came to the Maumee valley.
Quebec was captured during the previous year and the sovereignity of the northwest had passed under British rule. Detroit, which had been under French rule since 1701, surrendered to a British force in 1760, the year following the fall of Quebec. These events brought many people into what had previously been French territory.
At that time the only gainful occupation in the west was the Indian trade, and in this George Knaggs and his wife engaged. The country was a wilderness and they were surrounded by Indians, who, however, were generally friendly. The Indian trade was all barter, there being little money in circulation. The goods sold to the Indians, namesy, muskets, powder, balls, blankets, kettles, fire-water, knives, beads, trinkets, silver ornaments, etc., which had previously been procured by the French traders from Quebec and Montreal, were now mostly procured from Fort Orange, now Albany, N. Y., which became the great center of the Indian trade of the west. The goods offered for exchange by the Indians were invariably furs, although occaisionally maple sugar in the form of mococks was offered.
In 1768 George Knaggs was in Detroit, and evidently was one of a syndicate composed of himself, Robert Henry, John Farrel and James Abbott. The four bought a lot 45 x 42 feet on St. Anne street, on the corner of Campau alley. St. Anne street was then 20 feet wide, and ran between what is now Wayne street to Griswold street, and was all on what is now Jefferson avenue, 200 feet west of Griswold street. Of course it was purchased to erect a building for store purposes, but no record of this venture exists. He probably returned to Maumee soon after, as his wife and children were there until 1794.
Nothing is know of George Knaggs or his wife during the revolutionary war or during the conspiracy of Pontiac. Eight children were born to them between 1763 and 1784, and it is almost certain that George and his wife simply continued their occupation and made money. Had the head of the family been engaged in the revolutionary war it is more than likely that the fact would have been known by his descendants or recorded in history. The tradition of the family is that he was quite aristocratic in his ideas and objected to his daughters doing any houshold work. "There are servants for such things." he is credited with saying. His wife, however, was a prudent, careful manager, with great force of character, and was the business head of the matrimonial firm. She was also educated and was even versed in Latin, an uncommon accomplishment for ladies in those or any other days. Her first child, Whitmore Knaggs, born in 1763, first went to school in his own home and was taught Latin and Dutch by her, as well as the elementary branches of education.
The eight children of George Knaggs and Rachel Sly were all born on the Maureem river, or Miami as it was called.
Most of them were baptized at the Huron Jesuit mission at Sandwich, Ont., but of some there are no records oither of birth or death.
George Knaggs was probably either a protestant or an indifferentist, but his wife was a strict catholic, and the children were all reared in that belief in childhood.
Some of them, however, became protestants in after years.
In regard to the word Miami, it may be explained that the Indians always pronounced it Maumee.
There were three rivers of that name - the Great Miami and the Little Miami, both of which flow into the Ohio river and the Miami of the Lakes, which flows into Lake erie.
The name of the Miami of the Lakes was afterwards changed to Maumee and it was on its shore that the Knaggs family had its origin.
As the family is now numerous and widespread it may be well to set down the names of the first generation in paragraphs as follows:
(1) WHITMORE KNAGGS, born 1763
(2) GEORGE KNAGGS, born about 1765
(3) ELIZABETH KNAGGS, born Jan. 11, 1772
(4) ANNE KNAGGS, born Jan. 11, 1777
(5) REBECCA KNAGGS, born Feb. 28, 1778
(6) JAMES KNAGGS, born about 1780
(7) THOMAS KNAGGS, Nov. 1, 1782
(8) WILLIAM KNAGGS, born about 1784
The above dates will no doubt surprise some of the members of the family, who have always believed that James Knaggs, the Indian fighter, was the youngets child, but the records show that this belief is unfounded.
the dates of many of the births, deaths and marriages in this series of articles have been copied by Rev. Christian Denissen of Detroit from the catholic church records at Monroe, Sandwich and detroit. Fr. Denissen is a genealogist of skill and resource, and has continued the records of Fr. Tanguay, the great French genealogist, down to the present day. The Knaggs records, and also other facts presented in the series, have also been revised by Clarence M. Burton, who is an authority on the history of Detroit and the northwest.
In 1893 the late James W. Knaggs, a native of Detroit, and residing there in that year, told the writer of this article that his father, Whitmore Knaggs, was appointed a United States Indian agent when he was 18 years of age. If this is correct, Whitmore held that position in 1781. Mrs Keyson, the widow of George B. Knaggs, son of Whitmore Knaggs, says that his first appointment was made by President Washington. There is no doubt that Whitmore, who was adopted by the Ottawa Indians as a member of their nation, was held in high esteem by the Indians of the Maumee region, and an official appointment of this kind would make him more influential than ever. This state of affairs led to a most important event in the history of the Knaggs family. In July, 1784, the headmen of the Ottawa nation, in consideration of love and affection, deeded him a tract of land on the Maumee, on part of which Fort Miami was afterward built. The tract fronted 40 arpents on the river by 100 arpents in depth. The description read as follows: "Bounded by two trees standing on the plains and by another tree standing on the hill." This deed was lost, but it was renewed by six Ottawa chiefs, 13 years later, on May 12 1797. The description was followed in regard to the two trees standing on the plain, but it was explained that they "have since fallen down, but where a bush now remains." In regard to the "other tree standing on the hill" it was stated to be "near the spot where the dwelling house of said Whitmore Knaggs was built immediately after we gave him the said tract of land, and where his father planted an orchard." It was also stated that "the house had been pulled down under the command of Gen. Wayne in 1794."
The latter deed, thus confirming the first, was signed in the presence of James May, as one of the judges of the court of common pleas. Judge May of Detroit was the husband of Margaret Labadie, whose sister, Josette, married Whitmore Knaggs in 1797.
This tract of 4,000 arpents, equivalent to 3,684 American acres, was the first land acquired by the Knaggs family, and some of the descendants live on it today. Progenitor George Knaggs was not desirous of owning real property, and no deeds or conveyances have been found, except the one in 1768, above mentioned, that show he acquired any portion of Mother Earth.
It is almost certain that the elder Knaggs sympathised with the British rather than the colonists in the struggle of the latter for independence, but the feeling was not shared in by Whitmore, his eldest son. It is probable that his influence kept Whitmore from joining the colonial forces, but as time went on he was unable to control him. During the Indian wars which succeeded the revolution Whitmore was an avowed friend of the struggling Americans on the border, and finally became attached to Mad Anthony Wayne's army as a scout, spy and official interpreter of the Indian tongues.
The Maumee valley, just above toledo, is famous as the theater of armed strife in the Indian wars alluded to and also in the war of 1812-15. After the treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States in 1782, the former country, incited mainly by the wealthy fir trading companies, disregarded the terms of the treaty surrendering the northwest territory, of which Detroit and the Maumee valley were parts, and secretly encouraged the Indians to attack the white settlers on the border. President Washington sent several forces to subdue these Indians, but they were all unsuccessful. Gen. Arthur St. Clair's reverse in 1791 was most humiliating. He met a strong Indian force near the head waters of the Wabash, near Fort Wayne, Ind., on Nov. 4 of that year, and his entire force of 1,400 troops was ignominiously defeated by Little Turtle's warriors. Several attempts were afterward made to patch up a peace, the last one in 1793, but the indians, secretly encouraged by the British, refused to agree to any other boundary than the Ohio. Finally President Washington placed Maj.-Gen. Anthony Wayne in command in 1792, and the latter at once commenced a series of operations, which resulted in an honorable peace.
After Wayne's army was organized Gen. Simcoe of Canada selected the site of a fort on the Maumee above Toledo, on Whitmore Knaggs' tract, as a strategic point to foil Wayne's movements. It was built in the spring of 1794, and named Fort Miami. This made the trading posts in the neighborhood more profitable than ever. To this region came Alexander McKee, afterward a British colonel in the war of 1812, and established a trading post, erected storehouses and dwellings, and did a large business. His descendants nearly all live in windsor, Sandwich town and township, opposite detroit. Of course he was a business rival of George Knaggs, but there seemed to be plenty of trade for both. Three companies of British soldiers, under command of Capt. Caldwell, were sent from detroit to defend the new fort, which, with insolent bad faith, was built in territory guaranteed by the treaty to be in the united States. The fort was close to the place where George Knaggs and Rachel Sly had settled in 1760.
Near Fort Miami was fought the battle of Fallen Timbers on Aug 20, 1794, between Gen. Wayne and a force of Canadian Militia and Indians under Little Turtle. (See map.) Wayne's army interpreter was Whitmore Knaggs, who also acted as scout and spy during this campaign , and his younger brother, James Knaggs, only 14 years of age, was also a scout, spy and soldier. Both fought in this engagement. Col. John Francis Hamtramck, afterward the first United States cammondant of Detroit in 1796, commanded a wing of Wayne's army, and the plan of battle was conceeived by Lieut. William Henry Harrison, afterward a military hero in the war of 1812, and elected president of the United States in 1840.
The opposing army was so completely routed that the Indians lost heart. They took refuge in and around Fort Miami, and could not be forced to come out in the field again. The trading posts of George Knaggs and Col. McKee were destroyed by Wayne's troops, and they also took refuge in the fort. The Indians were persued to within a pistol shot of the fort, whereupon Maj. Wm. Campbell, who had succeeded Capt. Caldwell as commandant, sent a peppery protest to Wayne, who retorted in kind. The paper warfare is amusing reading at this day. Wayne had orders to capture and demolish Fort Miami, but it was too stronh for his force, and he prudently forebore. The defeat, however, had completely demoralised the Indians, and the surrender of detroit was practically insured. Gov. Simcoe, hoping against hope, had a fleet of gunboats built at Chatham, and strengthened the fort at Detroit, but it was labor lost. Finally Fort Miami, on the Maumee, and Fort Lernoult, at Detroit, were evacuated by the British, and were occupied by American troops under the command of Col. John Francis Hamtramck, on the same day, July 11 1796. Col. Hamtramck left Maumee, and arrived in Detroit on the 13th.
Whitmore Knaggs' feelings were most likely somewhat hurt when his father's store was destroyed by the American troops, as he probably had a large interest in the goods and property, but he considered it as the fortune of war. In all probability his father was a British sympathiser, and the destruction of his property was an act of reprisal which his son could not resent. It was plain, however, to both father and son, that the Maumee valley was ruined for business purposes for some time. So the elder Knaggs removed to Detroit and started in business there. He had be preceded to the same place by his son George, but whether they became partners in business is not known. George had been there for several years, and stood so well with the authorities that he had been appointed magistrate, and had married into an old French family in 1795. The elder Knaggs did not profit by the change. He bought his goods from long established firms, but did not succeed in getting trade. He was over 60, and had not the vogor to achieve success in a new field, and he finally lost health, and died, perhaps in 1797, one year after the American occupation. The word "perhaps" is used in speaking of the timeof his death, as Mrs May Stocking Knaggs, of Bay City, states in a paper published in the Michigan Historical and Pioneer Collection of 1890, that the first Knaggs left his family some time prior to 1812, went to the seabord and shipped on a whaling voyage, from which he never returned. Mrs Keysor, of Maumee, O., who is the widow of George B. Knaggs, grandson of George Knaggs, 1st, isputes this, however, and states her belief that he died at the old home of the family on the Maumee.
As a matter of fact, however, the time of his death is attested by a document in the Wayne county probate court, in which it is recorded that John Askin, administrator of the estate of George Knaggs, Sr., gave a bond of $500 to Probate Judge George McDougall, on Aug. 23 1797. Another document shows that the "produce" of the estate, which was returned to the same tribunal on Feb 21 1798, was valued at £104 4s 7d. being all personal property. The creditors were George Meldrum, George Sharp, Meldrum & Park and John Askin, all Detroit merchants, and the money owing to them aggregated £1,644 19s 8d. leaving a net loss of £1,540 15s 1d, of which John Askin's individual loss was over £1,200. The £104 and small change was of course divided amongst the creditors, who thus secured an Irish dividend.
But the above documents do not conclusively prove that the progenitor of the family died in Detroit. At that time Wayne county included all of what is now the state of Michigan, and also parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. The Maumee valley was then in Wayne county. The probate court records do not state that he died at Detroit. So that he may have died at his old home, or in what is now Monroe county, or he might have gone on the whaling voyage and never returned, and his estate could have been administored after a certain number of years had elapsed. It is probably that the exact truth will never be known.
There is no doubt that Progenitor George Knaggs' wife also came to Detroit before the British evacuation of 1796. Jame W. Knaggs told the writer of this article in 1893 that the store and dwelling of his grandparents were within the stockade of this city. But it is certain that they came after their store and buildings on the Maumee were destroyed by Wayne's troops in 1794. Between that date and the appointment of John Askin as administrator of the estate of George Knaggs Sr., in 1797, only three short years had elapsed, and it is almost certain that their commercial career in Detroit was during that time. The American State Papers show that Rachel Knaggs, in 1808, preferred her claim before the United States land board, as owner of 275 arpents, being 2 3/4 x 100 arpents fronting on the Raisin, in rear by unlocated lands, above by lands of Giles Barnes and below by lands of Thomas Knaggs, her son. A reliable witness swore that, previous to July 1, 1793, he saw her in possession of the premises, house, store, stables etc., and about 12 arpents cultivated. The United States land board thereupon allowed the claim, and issued to her certificate 516 on Dec. 16 1808. The above showed that she had put an anchor to windward before her husband went into trade elsewhere, and proves the statement that she was a prudent, level-headed business woman. The records also state that she was a taxpayer on the Raisin in 1802. Events show that her husband was not possessed of these desirable qualities. Mrs May Stocking Knaggs, of Bay City, whose husband is a great-grandson of George Knaggs and Rachel Sly, has in her possession a parchment bearing the signatures of James Madison, president, and James Monroe, secretary of state, dated May 30 1811, granting to Rachel Knaggs 259 acres on the north side of the Raisin. This is probably a petent of the same property, as 275 arpents are about equl to 259 acres.
Before she died she went through a harrowing experience at Frenchtown. After the battle of the Raisin, on Jan 22 1813, in which Proctor defeated the American force under General Winchester, and permitted the Indians to massacre the Kentucky and other troops who had been taken prisoners, she showed her humanity by hiding a citizen under a hogshead from the Indians, who were seeking to kill him. Gen. Proctor heard of her and ordered her to leave town. It was a bitter cold day and she was 80 years of age. The British general knew that she was the mother of several sons who were enemies of Great Britain, and with unmanly spite he commanded her to go to Detroit. Lossing, the historian, tells of her journey as follows: "Thinly clad, having been robbed by the Indians, she proceeded to Detroit in an open traineau, where she found several friends and relatives. Her daughter Elizabeth, wife of John Anderson, of Monroe, also went to Detroit with her three children, believing it was safer there than at Monroe. When Mrs Rachel Knaggs was asked how it happened that she did not freeze, she replied 'My spunk kept me warm'."
She subsequently returned to her home in Frenchtown, but afterward removed to her farm on the Raisin, some seven miles above Monroe. For several years she had a store at Green Bay. Wis., to which place she paid periodical visits. She dealt in furs principally, and was also a large dealer in bears' oil, which was much in demand in those days for dressing the hair. By her will, written in French, and dated Dec 4 1813, she gave adjoining farms, each fronting three arpents on the River Raisin, to her sons, Thomas and william Knaggs, with a condition that they pay five dollars each to her daughters, Elizabeth Knaggs Anderson and Rebecca Knaggs, her son, Whitmore Knaggs, and the children of her deceased son, George Knaggs, who died in Detroit in 1809. The balance of her estate was willed to be divided between her sons, William and James. She appointed Gilbert Lacroix as executor. It is certain that she died in 1815, as the will was admitted, and letters of administration issued on July 1 of that year by George McDougall, of Detroit, register. The records do not show where she died, but Mrs Keysor, widow of George Knaggs, of Maumee, says that she died at Green Bay, then in the territory of Michigan, but now in Wisconsin.
Whitmore Knaggs, the most prominent member of the Knaggs family, was a striking and picturesque figure in Detroit at the beginning of the last century. He was a man of magnificent physique, six feet in height, and weighed about 180 pounds, well proportionedm with dark hazel eyes, sandy complexion, and a handsome face, expressive of courage, intellect and audacity. He was always well dressed in civil life, being generally arrayed in a blue coat with brass buttons, a buff-colored vest, a high beaver hat, ruffled shirt, and a black silk handkerchief, a yard square, folded and tied around his kneck.
As already stated, he was the oldest son of George Knaggs and Rachel Sly, and was born at Maumee in 1763. Much of his early history has been related in the general history of the family, including the fact that he received in 1784 an Indian grant of 4,000 arpents of land on the Maumee, and that he was official interpreter for the United States army, under "Mad" Anthony Wayne, and was present at the battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. He came to Detroit just after it was evacuated by the British in 1796, and was probably holding the same position of United States interpreter which he had held for some 15 years, and also Indian agent. At that time he was 33 years of age and unmarried. He evidently felt at that time that it was not good for a man to be alone, and becoming acquanted with the family of Pierre Descomptes Labadie at their home, which is still standing at the foot of Twenty-fourth street, in Detroit, he fell in love with Josette, one of the comely daughters. They were married at the home of the bride in 1797. The first of the Labadie family, Francois Labadie, came from France to Canada, and married Jeanne hebert in 1671. Mrs Hamlin, the author of "Legends of Le Detroit", says "there was a title of LeCompte in the hebert branch of the family, from which perhaps comes the Des Comptes in the Labadies".
In 1803 he purchased the homestead and farm of Joseph Gaubeille, fronting on the Detroit river, at the mouth of Knaggs creek, for £560 13s 4d or about $2,800. The house was probably built by the first proprietor of the farm, Pierre Drouillard, who purchased the land for £400 in 1783. Drouillard sold it to Joseph Gaubeille in 1803, who sold it to Whitmore Knaggs later in the same year. It fronted 3 1/2 acres on the river, with a deptch of sixty acres, and contained 180.59 acres. It was bounded on the east by the farm of Alexis Campau, and on the west, or lower side, by the farm of Parrish Campau. The title of the land was confirmed by the United States land board in 1807, and is numbered private claim 77. In 1817 he entered the tract in rear of his farm containing 70.36 acres and it was also patented to him and his holding then contained 250.95 acres. In the house on the farm his youngest son, James W. Knaggs was born in 1804, and also his child, Elizabeth, who was born eight years later in 1812. The elder children were Peter Whitmore Knaggs, George B. Knaggs and John Knaggs - five in all. His house was about a quarter of a mile below the Labadie homestead, which is one of the historical houses of detroit. The farm and homestead was subsequently owned by the late bela Hubbard, and is now a part of the estate, except those portions which have been sold.
The mouth of Knaggs creek, which at that time was about 300 feet wide, came up within a few yards of the house. At the mouth there was about three acres of wild oats growing in the water, which attracted multitudes of wild ducks and millions of blackbirds. James W. Knaggs once said that he shot hundreds of these blackbirds in one day when he was a little boy. Every year, according to his accounts, colonies of muskrats would establish their habitations in the same place, so that there was abundance of sport for the family at their own door.
Knaggs creek, like the Savoyard and May's creek, does not exist any more. It rose a little north of what is now West Fort street, west of McKinstry avenue, and ran in a southeasterly direction, across Fort street and Clark avenue, crossing the Wabash railroad tracks at Swain avenue, and emptying into the Detroit river about 150 feet east of the foot of Swain avenue. The mouth of the creek was still there in 1897, and it was spanned by a bridge. The Swain avenue sewer was constructed in that year and was built on a pile foundation under the Wabash tracks, and ran down Swain avenue to the river. The bed and mouth of the river were then filled in, and the bridge removed, and Knaggs creek became one of the lost waters of Detroit. The Knaggs homestead was on what is now the northwest corner of Swain avenue and River street. The cellar of the house was filled in with lime and building refuse, which did not encourage the growth of vegetation, and the ground plan of the historic habitation is still (1901) to be seen.
A sketch of the Knaggs house appears on page 8. A description of it was read before the Michigan Historical and Pioneer society by Bela Hubbard in 1872 as follows: "The Knaggs house was for several years my own residence. It consisted of two parts - one a low structure of a single story, with an attic, and containing two rooms and a pantry. It is of unknown age, and like the Cass house, bears marks of Indian outrages. The other portion is of comparatively modern date, and consists of three considerable rooms, separated by a central hall. It has a second half story, with dormer windows, and also windows in the gable, and is throughout well furnished. The front door is umbraged by a square portico, which had seats and commanded a delightful lookout upon the river on its immediate front. Both parts of the mansion are built of squared pine timber, clapboarded. The newer portion had, when I took possession, a coat of paint, white in front, red in rear. If there had ever been paint on the older portion it had long disappeared. The panes of glass throughout all the windows were a curiosity, being of a size entirely disused, and no longer sold by dealers - six and a half by seven and a half inches."
About 1815, just after the close of the war, Whitmore Knaggs built a windmill in front of his farm. on a point or small cape that projected a short distance into the Detroit river. The miller was a Frenchman named Soica who was kept pretty busy grinding the corn, wheat, buckwheat and other grain of the neighboring farmers. The mill was torn down in 1858. There were about a dozen other windmills on both side of the river, forming picturesque features in the landscape, but the gradual introduction of steam drove them all out of existence before the war of the rebellion.
Between 1803 and 1812, in summer time, dozens of elm bark Indian canoes could be seen lying on the beach in front of the house, while their owners would be talking with Whitmore Knaggs. Although the revolutionary war resulted in placing the Indians under two flags, a large majority of them clung to the British government. The general reason for this state of affairs was twofold. One was that the British did not disturb the Indians in their lands, but left them alone to catch fur animals, which were purchased from them and sold at big profits, and the other was that the British were quite liberal in giving them presents. The Americans with whom they mostly were in contact were cultivators of land, and their increasing number circumscribed the extent of the Indian hunting grounds, while neither the new government nor its citizens could afford to give the Indians expensive presents. The Ottawas and Chippewas, who resided in Michigan, and the Pottawatomies and Wabash Indians, who lived beyond the Mississippi, came twice a year to Fort Malden, at Amherstburg, 17 miles below, on the opposite of the Detroit river, to receive blankets, brass kettles, rifles, tomahawks, beads, powder, shot, calicoes, and other presents from Col. Matthew Elliot, the British Indian agent. Nearly every canoe load of Indians going down the river to Amherstburg on these occaisions would call on Whitmore Knaggs and shake his hand. His Indian name was Debendon, of which the meaning will be described further on. Knaggs could converse with everybody he met. If a priest or learned man called, he could speak in Latin. He also spoke English, French and Dutch, and could talk the Indian dialects of the Shawnees, Wyandottes, delawares, Ottawas, Chippewas and Pottawatomies. His duties besides interpreter included the supervision of supplies, rations and arms for the Indians from the Government store. This position he held up to the war of 1812.
The western Indians who came by canoe and portage on the streams that traverse Michigan, would abandon their canoes when they left for home, so that anybody on the river could get a canoe for nothing. After getting their resents at Amherstburg the Indians would call into Whitmore's house again to make their further wants known. He would be in attendance at the government store in Detroit nearly every day, and would deal out presents, which however, were not so numerous or valuable as those given by the British.
Gov. William Hull, who lived in Detroit from 1805 until he surrendered it to the British in 1812, was a frequent visitor at the Knaggs house. At one visit he came with Mrs Hull and stayed for three days. The rooms for guests which Hull and his wife occupied, were on the left of the door, which can be seen in the picture of the house. He was subject to sick headache and weak eyes, for which his physicians had prescribed bleeding. Hearing that there were plenty of leaches in the shallow gulleys in the upper part of Knaggs creek, he requested the boys to get him some. James W. said that he and his brothers got him about a dozen in a tin kettle, and Hull applied them to his head with his own hands. Gov. Lewis Cass and William Woodbridge, his secretary, afterward governor and United States senator, would also frequently call at the house. Tecumesh and his brother, the Prophet, also called several times, and Whitmore Knaggs was well acquanited with them both, as well as other distinguished Indians.
Knaggs's Indian name, Debendon, was bestowed on account of an incident. The Indians were not very scrupulous about appropriating things within their reach, and had a decided penchant for horseflesh. When Knaggs would see an Indian mounted on a horse that was not an Indian pony, it was prima facia evidence that it had been stolen. He would go up to the savage, lay his hand on the horse and say: "De bend on." ("That is mine.") He would then put the horse in his stable or in safe keeping until he found the owner. A repetition of the incident earned him his Indian nickname. Like all strong men he had many bitter enemies as well as warm friends, among both the white and red men.
When Michigan was organised into a separate territory in 1805, congress provided that the rulers should consist of a governer and three judges. The governer appointed was William Hull, and the judges were Augustus B. Woodward, John Griffin and Fred Bates. Bates was succeded by several persons, but Woodward, as chief justice, and Griffin, as associate judge, held their positions until 1823. Hull had been an officer in the war of the revolution, and was generaly considered as a brave soldier, but had never held a separate command. The judges were three needy lawyers who were appointed by President Jefferson. The four comprised the executive, legislative and judicial government of the territory, and the legislature was allowed to adopt any law in force in any of the states of the Union. The judges, sitting as a court, would sometimes discover that no lawhad been passed which would be applicable to the case in hand. They would then adjourn as a court, convene as a legislature, pass a law to suit the emergency, and adjourn; reassemble as a court and render verdicts accordingly. They were always quarreling among themselves, and their decisions and action as a court, legislature and land board were frequently outrageous travesties of justice. The virtual ruler of the territory was Woodward, who was an able lawyer, but eccentric and placidly arrogant to an incredible degree.
One of the first actions of Gov. Hull was to organise the militia of the territory into two regiments and a legionary corps. Judge Woodward, although he had no military training, was appointed colonel of the First regiment, and one of the captains was Whitmore Knaggs. The second regiment was commanded by Col. John Anderson of Frenchtown (Monroe), who was the husband of Whitmore's sister Elizabeth; one of the Lieutenants was Thos. Knaggs, and one of the ensigns James Knaggs, both brothers of Whitmore. Hull was a thrifty individual who would be called a boodler at the present day. He issued orders prescribing expensive uniforms, and bought the cloth, trimmings, etc., to sell to the officers and men at a profit to himself. Some of the officers bought the uniforms at Hull's figures, but the privates were too poor, and they would not. But Hull persisted and threatened punishments to everybody who would not get the uniform, and in 1806, the grand jury protested against his conduct in this particular. The militia could not buy the prescribed uniforms, and their Saturday drills were a ludicrous farce.
Whitmore Knaggs had seen too much actual warfare to care about playing soldiers in such puerile style, and he only obeyed orders in a perfunctory manner. He had good business sagacity, and when it had become apparent that Great Britain would be dispossessed of her western territory, had been for years acquiring land for himself and his brothers and sisters, as well as his immediate family.
The records show that in 1808 he secured for his younger brother William three pieces of land, 320, 600 and 360 arpents respectively, on the River Raisin, the titles of which were confirmed by the United States land court in that year. Also 380 arpents on the Raisin for his brother Thomas; 100 arpents on the Raisin for his brother James, and several tracts for himself, one of which was 800 acres, on the same stream. Some of the above tracts were grants from the Indians. In the same year he sold 600 arpents of his 4,000 arpents on the Maumee for $1,000. He also sold an extensive tract of land near what is now Fort Wayne, Ins., to Robert M Eberts, of Detroit, father of the Eberts brothers, and also managed several other deals for himself and his immediate family, which will hereafter be related.
In 1811 he had a difficulty with Judge Woodward, the chief justice, which was probably caused by some absurd, outrageous or tyrannical decision of the latter, and he proceeded to pummel the judge in the public streets, thus going one better that Abraham Lincoln in attacking the judiciary. The records show that Augustus B. Woodward made formal complaint to himself "that Whitmore Knaggs, one of the interpreters for the United States for one of the tribes of savages commonly called Cheboys or Chippeways, in custody of a plea for trespass, for that the said defendent, on the 10th day of June, 1811, at Detroit, with force of arms, to wit: with clubs, etc., assaulted said plaintiff and did then and there strike and wound and other enormities commit against the peace and dignity of the United States of America, and to the damage of said plaintiff twenty thousand dollars, whereof he brings suit." Following this came a formal order for the arrest of Whitmore, issued by Judge Griffin, who was Woodward's henchman and tool, and directed to the United States marshal of the territory, John Anderson. Whitmore was accordingly arrested, and Woodward actually tried him himself and made him give bonds to keep the peace.
This decision excited universal indignation in the little town, and was made a part of the charge of the grand jury of the territory in the following september. The foreman of the jury was Dr. Stephen Henry, a leading physician, and the other jurors were George Cotterall, James Conner, George McDougall, J. Farrell, Jacob Visger, John Anderson, J. B. Beaugrand, David Beard, T. Eastman, Henry Berthlet, Chabert De Joncaire, John Dodomead, Samuel T. Dyson, M. Seinger and Josiah Brady. The panel, like many of its predecessors and successors during the reign of the governor and judges, were no respecters of persons. One part of its charge was a virtual indictment of Judge Woodward himself. It alleged that he had Whitmore Knaggs arrested and brought before him on a charge of assault and battery on himself, when there were two other judges of the supreme court who might have been called in to try the case. Also that he had called up the case in court without giving notice to Knaggs and adjudged that he should give $1,500 bonds to keep the prace. This was done without acquainting Knaggs or his attorney of the hearing of the case. For these and other reasons the jury conceived that the conduct of Judge Woodward was "unprecedented, unwarrantable, arbitrary and tyrannical, and tending to prostrate the sacred barriers which the wisdom of our laws have erected against encroachments on the liberty of the citizen".
Against this fulmination Judge Woodward interposed an ingenious plea, in which he admitted the facts of his action, and then proceeded to argue that "a judge was a conservator of the public peace, and always in the execution of his office, and the law arms him with power for the protection of others and also himself. Even words of threatening and abuse toward him in relation to his public duties are regarded in the same light as an assault". He contended that the proceedings were public, but that the parties did not wish to be present, and he did not deem it proper to coerce them. "Therefore an act of benevolence is not to be construed as an act of oppression" He also cited a similar assault committed upon him by Capt. John Whipple, for which the latter was fined by the supreme court, but did not add that Gov. Hull had remitted the fine, probably because the jurymen and everybody in town knew it.
From his intimate knowledge of the Indian temper and modes of thought,as well as the exasperation caused by the British insistence of the right to search of United States vessels for deserters, it is not surprising that Whitmore Knaggs foresaw the war between the two countries in 1812-15, and that the conflict would extend over the region in which he was born and reared. He learned enough of Tecumesh's plans and intrigues to know that the red men would aid Great Britain in the bloody fratricidal strife, and being a husband and father, as well as a man of property, he foresaw and dreaded the horrors that would attend a warfare in which Indians were a part of the British army. He also realised the immense influence that Tecumesh wielded over his fellow savages. In the minds of the red men that chieftain was a Moses who would yet give them the promised land - the hunting grounds of their fathers. To the Indians the comet of 1811 which traversed the midnight sky, and left behind a fiery blood red track, was Tecumesh's right arm, stretched forth to protect his race and punish their enemies. The earthquakes of the same year in the valleys of the Missouri and the Mississippi were the tread of the great Shawnee's foot on his way to the Detroit.
Whitmore Knaggs knew all these things, and he frequently warned Gov. Hull and other prominent citizens of what he saw in the future. At one time, when Hull was on a visit to his home and friends in Masachusetts, Knaggs wrote him a letter, in which he expressed these forebodings. Gov. Hull's answer was from Newton, Mass., at which place he died in 1825, and was dated Dec. 17, 1811, eight months before the surrender of Detroit:
"Dear Sir - It is now a little month since we finished our long journey and arrived at this, our old mansion. Our journey was pleasant, and we are in good health. I am not without concern on account of your situation. I regret now, under the existing circumstances, that I am not with you. If you are to have difficulties, I could wish to share them with you. I fear two circumstances will render the Indians troublesome. One is what has taken place on the Wabash,with Gov. Harrison, and the Prophet; the other is the prospect of war with England. I hope, however, for the best, and know that the secretary, with your aid and assistance, will do all in his power to preserve peace and tranquility. God grant you success. What the state of things will be, or how soon or when I shall be with you, I know not, at present. My heart is certainly with you, and you have my best prayers for your safety and happiness.
"Congress has now taken the most decided ground. The question is now brought to a point. England must do us justice or war will follow. Remember me with affection to all of my friends, and assure them of my constant solicitude for their safety, and that I have, and shall continue to do, all in my power to promote it.
"I am very sincerely, your friend and most obedient servant.
Of the shameful surrender of Detroit by Gen. Hull, it is unnecessary to speak. Whitmore Knaggs was present at the engagement at Monguagon, just below Detroit, before the surrender. He was a brave man, and like all the American officers, looked with contempt on Hull on the day of surrender. The latter, who chewed tobacco, was rushing about the fort, with his ruffled shirt front and white cravat besmeared with tobacco spittle in his excitement and fright.
The British policy was to deport the American citizens and sympathisers, and allow the French inhabitants to remain in the city and prosecute their business or avocations. Capt. Antoine Dequindre of Detroit, who led a company of French inhabitants at the battle of Monguagon, below Detroit, just before the surrender, and helped to defeat a body of British and Indians under Maj. Muir and Tecumesh, was even allowed to attend to his store on Jefferson avenue, and the members of his company were all permitted to return to their homes. Whitmore Knaggs, who had married a French wife, was included in the same category, but was confined for a short time, and was then set at liberty. He was then allowed by Proctor to leave Detroit, on his representation that he had official business at Washington, where money was due him. He then departed, taking with him his eldest son, Peter Whitmore Knaggs, 14 years of age.
Just before the surrender his wife and children went through exciting scenes near their home, down the river. Whitmore had removed his silverware and valuable furniture and effects to the home of Reuben Attwater, secretary of the territory, in Detroit, and Mrs Knaggs, after securing a number of blankets and other articles of immediate necessity, removed with the younger children to the residence of Fr. Gabriel Richard, pastor of Ste. Anne's church, which was three quarters of a mile up the river, and nearer Detroit. As the church had been removed to a new location, which has escaped the notice of the general historian, it may well be described at this point.
In 1812 Ste. Anne's church was located near the Knaggs farm. The church and its pastor had led a migratory existance, after the former was burned on Jefferson avenue in the great fire of 1805. Farmer's history of Detroit says that after the fire services were held for a short time in a tent pitched on the commons. Services were held for four years afterward in Meldrum warehouse on the dock. As early as Jan. 1 1809, the services were held on the Spring Hill farm, now known as private claim 30, in Springwells township, on the river road, about half a mile above the present grounds of Fort Wayne. The farm had been taken by the government on a debt, due from a defaulting official, and Fr. Richard paid the rent. He was sued for a portion of the rent in 1811, and petitioned the president to remit it, and was successful. A letter from the comptroller's office in the United States treasury department at Washington, signed by G. Duvall, addressed to Reuben Attwater, collector of the port of Detroit, and dated July 24, 1811, is as follows:
"Sir - A letter from the Rev. Gabriel Richard to the president of the United States, has been submitted to this department. You are to credit Mr. Richard for improvements and repairs on the Spring Hill farm, sometimes called the Ernest Farm, to the amount of the rent due from him for the occupation of the farm. The secretary of the treasury informs me that this is consistent with the promise made him by the late president and secretary of war, and that, in fact, it is founded on justrice."
But later in the same year he removed his church to a point nearer the city. The new location, described by Richard R. Elliott of Detroit, was on the front of the Stanton farm, on the river road, between Seventeenth and Eighteenth streets, if those thoroughfares were extended to the river. It was on or near the site of the lower grain elevator of the Michigan Central railroad, opposite the foot of Stanton street, and a mile and three-quarters below the foot of Woodward avenue. On the property was a large frame warehouse, probably used for storing furs and Indian supplie, and also several smaller buildings, which Fr. Richard remodelled for church and school use. The warehouse was fitted up as a church, and surmounted by a cross. Other buildings were the priest's residence; an academy for young ladies, which was provided with the chemical apparatus available at that time for teaching chemistry; a school for young men and one for primary education, which were probably under one roof; and a technical school for the education of Indian girls on housework, spinning and sewing. In the latter were a dozen or more spinning wheels. In the church was a good organ, which Fr. Richard had imported from France a few months before, together with a competent musician, who played at all religious ceremonies up to the time of tha capture of Detroit.
It is almost certain that Fr. Richard's printing press, the first ever brought to Detroit, was also on the church premises at this time. It printed at least one edition og the first newspaper in Detroit, the "Michigan Essay or Impartial Observer", on Aug 31 1809, and was to be published every Thursday. When Detroit was captured by the British in 1812, the articals of capitulation were printed on the press. There did not seem to be enough type of the font used to set up that document and Gen. Brock's name was spelled "Broke".
The organ was afterward repaired and used at the new Ste. Anne's church, on Larned street, near Bates street, until 1834, at which time it was superseded by a new one, which was built by Schwab of Cincinnati, who was brought to Detroit by Bishop Rese for that purpose. The old organ was presented to Trinity church, then at the northwest corner of Bates street and Cadillac square, in the spring of 1835, and was used there until that church was removed to the corner of Porter and Sixth streets in 1849. It was then probably presented to some rural catholic church.
The main body of the British troops crossed the river at Springwells, and marched up the river on the American side on the morning of Aug 16, 1812, the day of the surrender, while another body lay at what is now Windsor, on the Canadian side of the Detroit river, opposite Detroit.
Gen. Brock was on the American side at the head of his troops. Proctor followed with his commands, which included Techumesh's Indian contingent. The latter plundered every farm house on the river as they passed. The Knaggs house was broken open, the windows smashed, the interior of the rooms and furniture hacked with tomohawks, and the cattle and horses driven away. At Ste. Anne's church they broke into the edifice and finding nothing to rob, pulled down the wooden pipes of the organ and tooted on them to their heart's content.
Fr. Richard stood in the roadway as Gen. Proctor rode up, and the latter said to him:
"Leave your doors and windows open. You need not fear; you will not be disturbed."
At this moment Mrs Knaggs was hidden under a bed in the school room, which Fr. Richard had fitted up for the use of the refugees. Mrs Knaggs held her youngest child, Elizabeth, in her arms. Mary, her colored slave, was in the room, and so were a good many other children, and also the preceptress, Sister Lickette Campau, sister of Alexis Campau, who owned the farm adjoining the Knaggs farm on the east. The Knaggs children - George, aged 12; John, aged 10; and James W., aged 8 - and some other children were upstairs in a room, which was locked. Sister Campau, hearing some of them crying, went up, knocked on the door, and said: "Keep quiet, children." Several Indians came upstairs and looked out of the windows to see if any American soldiers were in sight on the commons. They were assured by the sister that none were there, and they went down again.
Some old French farmers came to the church, and one named Roulo was very much excited. He said to Fr. Richard: "My God, the country is sold." The priest raised his hand and said: "Shut your mouth, Roulo, or you will make trouble."
A few cannon shots were fired into the town from Windsor about this time, but the siege ended by the brother of Hull displaying a white flag from the ramparts, which was done by order of Gen. Hull. He had been drinking and was quite tipsy at the time. He asked an American officer to aid him in puting up the flag, but the latter refused, saying: "I wouldn't touch that rag." The British army, which was then close to Detroit, went inside the palisades without opposition and captured the town.
The tradition of the family is that Mrs Knaggs was annoyed by the Indians afterwards and on applying to Proctor for protection, was allowed a block house for temporary quarters. She then removed with her four children to the house of her father, Pierre Descomptes Labadie, where she was married 13 years before, and where she remained until her husband's return. At first, dreading the Indians, who often murdered infants and children in warfare, she thought to lessen the danger by dressing her sons, George and John, in girsl' clothing. Both were deeply incensed at this and George said he wouldn't stand for it; that he would rather die, so Josette took off the petticoats and gave them short pantaloons again.
According to Whitmore Knaggs's Written account, he went to Washington to get money due him and settle his accounts with the government. He then returned, and was on his way home, when he came up to Gen. Winchester's army at Frenchtown, now a part of Monroe. Frenchtown was then a flourishing settlement of about 150 souls. Each house was surrounded by gardens or orchards, which were enclosed by heavy pickets, called puncheons, made of saplings, split in two. It was occupied by a force of 200 Canadian militia and 400 Indians under Col. Matthew Elliott, since Aug 18, 1812, two days after the surrender of Detroit. The Indians plundered and maltreated the inhabitants, and they implored Gen. Winchester, then at Defiance, O., to aid them. He sent Col. Lewis with 700 men, who attacked Elliott's command on Jan 18, 1813, and drove them away northward to Brownstown. The American loss was 12 killed and 55 wounded; the British loss was fully double.
Gen. Winchester arrived the next day and took command. As Amherstburg was only 18 miles away, on the other side of the Detroit river, it behooved him to be cautious, and he consulted a French resident named Jacques La Salle. The latter was the husband of an Indian woman and had at least two children. His daughter, a beautiful girl, had married an English officer named Colwel, and his son, by the same squaw, was Blue Jacket, a Shawnee chief. La Salle, of course was devoted to the British cause, and he assured Winchester that Proctor would not dare to attack him. Winchester, nevertheless, sent Peter Navarre, one of Harrison's scouts, to reconnoitre the enemy. Navarre discovered that Proctor was preparing to return soon, snd so informed Winchester. But La Salle told Winchester that it was not so, and then, it is said, dispatched an Indian to Amherstburg with a message to Proctor, telling him that Winchester could be easily defeated. Winchester unfortunately believed La Salle.
Gen. Winchester was a revolutionary soldier, a Kentuckian, old, fat, fussy, aristocratic and opionated. He took no particular pains and did not prepare for any attempted surprise. His soldiers, largely Kentuckians, and wearing the attractive uniform of that state - hunting shirts with red belts, blue pantaloons with red facings and coonskin caps - were quartered in tents; the officers were quartered at the houses of the inhabitants, and Gen. Winchester's headquarters were at the house of Francis Navarre, an American officer. Whitmore Knaggs put up at the residence of his brother, James, whose house was on the Raisin, above Monroe.
Two days after the British repulse, Proctor crossed from Amherstburg on the ice, which was four feet thick, joined the troops that were driven out of Frenchtown and moved down on the American force with 500 white soldiers, 600 Indians under Tecumesh, and four cannon. At 4 o'clock on the morning of Jan 22, he bombarded the American camp, taking Gen. Winchester by surprise. There is no necessity for describing the battle, as it belongs to history. The American force was cut to pieces. It was not a battle but a massacre. Proctor allowed the Indians to scalp and kill the prisoners, and all the bodies were stripped, robbed and mutilated. The news created intense excitement all through the Union, especially in Kentucky, and the war cry of the soldiers from that state afterward was "Remember the Raisin!" When the remaining prisoners reached Amherstburg, the Indians commenced to kill them too, but were stopped bu Tecumesh. They were confined in a stockade, and the great Shawnee walked 'round the enclosure all night, smoking his pipe-tomahawk, and prevented any more murders.
Gen. Winchester and Whitmore Knaggs escaped, together for a time. Whitmore was afoot, but Winchester insisted that he should get up behind him on his horse. The two rode down the Raisin on the ice toward the bay at its mouth. While on their way a party of seven mounted Indians intercepted them.
"What shall we do?" said Winchester.
"What can we do but surrender." said Knaggs.
As they approached Knaggs recognised among them Jack Brandy, a Wyandotte chief, and George Blue Jacket, a Shawnee chief. The latter, as stated before, was a brother-in-law of Colwell, the British officer.
My friend Knaggs, you are my prisoner." said Brandy, with an oath.
At the same time Gen. Winchester drew his sword and handed it to Blue Jacket, saying: "I make you a present of my sword."
Winchester also handed over to him his pair of pistols. Blue Jacket afterward presented them to Capt. William Caldwell of Amherstburg, Ont., and they are now in the possession of his grandson, of the same name, at Amherstburg. They have wooden stocks extending to the muzzle, and are of London make.
They were taken back toward Proctor's headquarters. Knaggs had befriended Blue Jacket in former years and the latter was much attached to him. On the way they were stopped by Indians who had a grudge against Knaggs, and seemed determined to kill him, but Brandy interposed and told them to desist. Judge B. F. H. Witherell tells the story of this incident as follows: "They pressed on, however, and, as a last resort, the brave fellow siezed Knaggs around the waist, kept his own body between him and the enemy, and kept whirling around, and so prevented the oft-repeated blows of the tomahawk and war club from taking effect on the victim's head, until he succeded in getting him to the midst of a number of horses that were harnessed together. Here the bloodthirsty savages struck at Knaggs's legs; he however, avoided the blows until a British officer interposed and saved him."
James W. Knaggs, son of Whitmore Knaggs, tells the same story, but adds that "Blue Jacket became provoked and shot the Indian, who fell a corpse on the ice."
Taken before Gen. Proctor, the latter treated him with much discourtesy. He knew Knaggs by reputation, and he had him handcuffed and taken on a traineau, or little sleigh, to Amherstburg, where he was lodged in jail. Francois Baby was at that time a man of station and consequence on the Canadian side of the river, and was a great friend of Knaggs. When Baby heard that he was a prisoner he went to Proctor and procured his release on parole, and Knaggs stayed three days at his house as a guest. Proctor, however, took the precaution of stationing a squad of soldiers at the house. Blue Jacket had his young son taken to his mother at Detroit.
Of course, Mrs Knaggs was speedily informed by her husband of his situation and she immediately sent a letter to judge Woodward to come and see her that evening, which was Jan 24, 1813. He came, and not withstanding his difficulty with Whitmore in June 1811, he promised to do all he could to aid her, and he kept his word. The judge, accompanied by Mrs Knaggs and her children, went down to Amherstburg in a sleigh, and she saw her husband in Baby's house. It was an affecting meeting, as there was a question whether Whitmore, after he left Detroit, had broken his parole not to fight against the British. If it could be proved that he had broken it, he would certainly be hanged. When this was learned, Mrs Knaggs and Mrs Baby and the children all wept in agony and distress.
Knaggs traced the statement that he had broke his parole to Col. Francis Navarre, who, it is said, informed Proctor that he had fought against the British at the raisin. He was taken with Winchester and other persons to Montreal, and finally to Quebec, where he lay in jail for 10 months. He wrote a letter from his prison addressed to Sir George Prevost, the general commanding the British forces, under date of May 24, 1813, which commenced: "May it please your excellency."
He stated that he was a captain of militia under Col. Brush, and also superintendant of Indian affairs, and that when Gen. Hull surrendered Detroit, the Indians considerably destroyed his house and plundered him of personal property to upwards of $12,000. "Even then they sought after me and my family to put us to death." he said. He then got permission from Commandant Proctor to leave Detroit, and with others chartered a vessel and sailed to Presque Isle (near Erie, Pa.). Then he went from there to Washington to receive monies due, but was disappointed. Returning home with his little son Peter Whitmore Knaggs, then 15 years of age, he reached his birthplace and former home, below the Maumee rapids, and found that settlement all destroyed and no friends nearer than the Raisin (Frenchtown), where his mother and sister lived. While passing there he fell in with Gen. Winchester and his army, not knowing it was there, on its way to Frenchtown. He then proceeded to the home of his brother (James) who lived a mile higher up the river from where the advance of the army then lay. Being on his way to his home, wife and children, he never thought of joining the army, but next morning early Winchester's troops were attacked and beaten by Gen. Proctor. After the defeat he was taken prisoner, "although I had no concern whatever with the army, nor in any way connected or employed by it." Since that time, he said he had been kept a close prisoner, and removed from Montreal to the Quebec prison, where he was accused of having broken his parole. This accusation he strenuously denied, and asked that Gen. Winchester and some of his officers, then also prisoners, should be allowed to prove his innocence. He also asked that he "be set free from his painful disgrace and confinement, and that he be permitted to return home to his afflicted wife and unfortunate children."
Gen. Sir George Prevost allowed Gen. Winchester to testify in Knaggs's behalf, and two days afterward he received a certificate from Winchester to the effect that "Whitmore Knaggs, captured at the River Raisin on the 22nd day of January, 1813, did not belong to the United States army, and was not under any command or control."
But Winchester's certificate did not procure the release of Whitmore Knaggs. Proctor, who had been promoted to brigadier-general, sent a letter, dated at Sandwich, July 13, 1813, to Col. Brenton, for the information of Sir George Prevost, in which he stated that Knaggs left Detroit as a prisoner under parole (as those taken under the command of Gen. Hull had done), and "notwithstanding the certificate of Brig.-Gen. Winchester, he came in arms with the American forces to Frenchtown, and was taken prisoner near the scene of action, from which he had run off on the defeat of his people in January last. "The effrontory of these people equal their want of principle. We have just discovered a deep and well-laid scheme to effect the defection of the Indians. The prisoner, Knaggs, is a violent dangerous man. He twice attempted assasination. I propose sending the particulars for the consideration of his excellency, of the before-mentioned treachery."
Judge Woodward also made a strong and successful effort to save Whitmore Knaggs's life. C. M. Burton, in a paper on Woodward, published in the volume of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collection for 1901, says: "Several defenses were set up by the judge; that Knaggs was ignorant of the meaning of his parole; that if he joined Winchester's army he was induced to violate his parole by those generals; and, finally, that Knaggs was not in arms at the time of his second capture, but a visitor among friends at the River Raison (Frenchtown). He pleaded long and earnestly for the life of a man who, he said, was an ignorant and turbulent man, brought up among savages, among whom he was made a prisoner in early life. Judge Woodward had not forgotten that Knaggs had assaulted him two years before, and that he was tried and fined by the court for the assault, and he related these facts to Proctor in petitioning for his release."
There is no record of any letter sent by Proctor in which he revealed the "particulars" mentioned, and it is possible that he never did. But Woodward's plea, and perhaps some other considerations, saved Whitmore's life. Neither is there any record of his having "twice attempted assasination." or that he was made a prisoner by the savages in early life. In regard to Woodward's plea it is certian that he knew that Knaggs was very far from being an ignorant and turbulent man, or that he was ignorant of the meaning of his parole. He simply used a lawyer's priviledge of making the strongest defence he could, without being troubled about his facts, and he was perfectly successful. Although Whitmore's life was saved, he was kept in the Quebec jail until a general exchange of prisoners of war, late in 1814, and he then returned home.
When Whitmore Knaggs was taken away in 1813 from Amherstburg, with other prisoners, his faithful wife accompanied him. The party proceeded to Fort George, which was built by the British in 1779, and repaired by them in the war of 1812. This fort was situated on the Penobscot bay, in Maine, on the Atlantic coast. Here the prisoners remained for a time, and were then shipped by water to Quebec, and afterwards taken to Halifax.
Mrs Knaggs was allowed the favor of accompanying her husband to Fort George, but not beyond, and she then returned to Detroit. Whether she took her infant child Elizabeth with her on this journey is not known.
The period of 13½ months that Detroit was under British rule, in 1812-13, was a perfect reign of terror. Every prominent man known to be a sympathiser with the Americans was compelled to leave town, with the exception of the municipal and legal officials, who were continued in office by order of Gen. Brock, and the French residents. One of these was Judge Woodward, who deserved praise for opposing Proctor in some of his illegal and inconsistent actions. One of Woodward's objections was that the British commandant violated the treaty of capitulation, by deporting citizens. Proctor's cruel and brutal nature would have led him to deport many more than he did were it not for Woodward's opposition. Proctor, however, winked at the depradations and outrages committed by the Indians in and around Detroit, and these offences ranged from petty thefts to murder. During Whitmore Knaggs's absence, very many persons, soldiers and citizens, women and children, were brought in by the Indians from the frontiers of Ohio. "Poor creatures were they," says Judge Witherell, "some wounded, many sickly, and all nearly naked, bareheaded and barefooted, having been robbed by the Indians. They were the personification of misery and want, compelled to follow their savage captors around the streets in the hope of ransom, and sleeping on the bare ground, in smoky or filthy tents, or under the open sky. The compassion of our citizens was deeply excited, and every effort was made in the power of the plundered and impoverished people to ransom the suffering captives. Mrs Knaggs, among others, parted with blankets and nearly everything that had been saved from the village of her home, to buy the freedom of the prisoners."
Whitmore Knaggs was right in saying that his old home on the Maumee had been desolated by the ravages of war, but the settlement was destined to endure other and bitterer experiences that year. Flushed with the capture of Detroitand his barbarious victory at the Raisin, Proctor now undertook the capture of the Maumee valley. Meanwhile Gov. Meigs, of Ohio, had built a fortified camp on the river about two miles above the site of the old British Fort Miami, and on the opposite bank of the river. It was afterward considerably strengthened and named Fort Meigs, and Gen. Harrison was placed in command. Proctor landed at the site of Fort Miami on April 28, 1813, with a force of about 2,000 Canadian militia and Indians, under Tecumesh. Gen. Clay, of Kentucky, was approaching Fort Meigs with reinforcements and Capt. Leslie Coombs came down the river with a party in a canoe to warn Gen. Harrison. At the point marked on the map, they saw the stars and stripes waving over the fort, but at the same moment a body of Indians fired at them, and they sought safety in flight. Two of Coombs's party were wounded, one mortally, and he returned to Defiance, up the river.
Meanwhile Proctor had commenced to bombard Fort Meigs from the opposite side of the river. The British artillery were very effective, but Harrison neutralised it by erecting large earthworks. Then Proctor got a battery and supporting force across the river, and attacked Fort Meigs on the side and rear. "I will soon smoke the Yankees out of there." he boasted.
Harrison learned that Gen. Clay and Gen. Dudley were coming down the river to his relief, and he ordered them to divide their forces about half a mile above Fort Meigs. One detachment was to cross the river there, and, moving down the bank, attack and capture the British batteries, opposite Fort Meigs, spike the cannon and retreat to the fort. The other was to land on the Fort Meigs side of the river, and fight their way to the fort through the Indians, and capture the cannon. While these attacks were in progress Harrison intended a sally of his own, to disperse or capture the British force on the other side of the river. Clay executed his orders on the early morning of May 4, fighting his way to the fort. Dudley also moved down on the other side of the river, where Maumee City is now situated, and spiked 11 guns without losing a man. Harrison signaled to him from Fort Meigs to come across the river, But Dudley was flushed with his success and pressed on. As he neared Fort Miami the wily Tecumesh saw his opportunity. He sent a body of Indians around to the rear of Dudley's forces, and the successful attack was converted into a terrible defeat. Dudley was killed, Capt. Coombs and his scouts were made prisoners, and of the 800 men in Dudley's command, only 170 escaped across the river to Fort Meigs.
Harrison was indignant at Dudlet for having disobeyed his orders, but how could he censure a man dead? His force in the fort charged the Indians, in the rear, and dispersed them, but Harrison soon saw that their retreat was one of Tecumesh's snares, and he recalled his troops. He then made another sortie with 350 men from Fort Meigs on the enemy's batteries on the same side of the river, drove them away, although 850 strong, spiked their guns, and returned with 43 prisoners.
Proctor was dismayed by these fierce onslaughts, although against one of them he was victorious, and when he learmed that Fort George, on the Niagra river had been captured by the Americans, on May 5, he virtually abandoned the siege of Fort Meigs. After the surrender of Dudley's command, the prisoners were marched down to Fort Miami, and he allowed his officers and the Indians to murder more than 20 of them. Tecumesh, however, stopped the massacre.
Proctor then retreated to Amherstburg, disbanded the Canadian militia, and ordered the Indians to encamp on Caldwell's farm, below the town. He then sent out emissaries, including Simon Girty, to enlist the Indians od the northwest. He was determined he would make no failure the next time he moved on the Maumee valley.
While waiting for the savages to assemble, Tecumesh said to him one day:
"Why not make another try to capture Fort Meigs?"
"We need more troops." said Proctor "You saw what happened last time."
"But I have a plan whereby we could take Fort Meigs easily, even with what men we have now."
How would you manage it?" said the British general.
"This way," said Tecumesh. "I will take my young men down there below the fort, march to the road in the rear, and there make a big fight."
What would that accomplish?" inquired Proctor.
Why, Gen. Harrison would think that one part of our forces were Lonh Knives coming to the fort, and that they were being attacked by my Indians. Then he would come out to help what he thought were his friends. Then we could get between him and the fort, capture him, and take the fort."
Proctor was struck by the ingenuity of the plan, and fitted out another expedition at Amherstburg. He again appeared before Fort Meigs, and on the afternoon of July 25, 1813, the British formed an ambuscade in the ravine, just just below the fort. (See map.)
The Indians then commenced a sham fight behind the fort about sunset. Gen. Clay was then in command. The American officers thought one of the parties was Harrison with reinforcements, who was being attacked by the British, and were anxious to go out to their aid. But Clay was a wary old soldier, and was not deceived. A few cannon balls fell among the sham combatants and the mock battle ended. Proctor and tecumesh were bitterly mortified by the failure of their ruse.
Proctor then made an attack on Fort Stevenson (Sandusky), but was repulsed by Col. Croghan. Beaten and dispirited he returned to Amherstburg on Aug 13, 1813.
But the British were just as determined as ever that they would hold Detroit, and again bring the whole northwest under their dominion. A fleet of war vessels was ordered built at Amherstburg, but another fleet to oppose it was also built by Oliver H Perry at Erie, Pa.
Then came the naval battle of Putin-Bay, on Lake Erie, on Sept 10, 1813, in which for the first time in the world a British fleet was defeated and every ship and man captured. Harrison then landed an army about a mile below Amherstburg and with three of Perry's victorious ships sailing abreast of his army on the Detroit river, marched up to Detroit on the Canadian side. Proctor meanwhile had evacuated Detroit and marched up the Thames. He was followed by Harrison, who defeated him at Moravian town on Oct 5, 1813.
It was on Sept 29, 1813, that an event occurred which made the Labadie homestead famous in the history of Detroit. The house is one of the few existing landmarks in Detroit, and is situated at the northwest corner of River and Twenty-fourth streets, overlooking the Detroit river. Whitmore Knaggs was still in captivity at Quebec, and his half-ruined house at the mouth of Knaggs creek, about a quarter of a mile below the Labadie house, was still untenanted. The latter house, built by Pierre Descomptes Labadie when he purchased the farm in 1781, is constructed of logs, and is about 40 feet wide, with spacious rooms and kitchen. In the steep roof is another habitable story, lighted by dormer windows, and above this is a loft, under the centre of which a man can stand upright, and which is lighted by windows in each gable. Maj. De Payster was the British commandant at the time the house was built, and the young officers of the fort were fond of visiting Labadie, not for himself, but because he had some charming daughters. These visits continued until the British evacuation of Detroit, on June 11, 1796. But the daughters of Pierre did not take to the British gallants, and preferred Americans or those who sympathised with that side. Josette Labadie married Whitmore Knaggs; Marguerite, her twin sister, married James May, judge and merchant, and Monique married Antoin Beaubien, of old family.
But the famous incident connected with the house occurred, as stated, on the day thet Detroit was recaptured. About 2 p.m. on that day, Pierre Decomptes Labadie, with the children and grandchildren of the Knaggs family, were on the lawn in front of the house, gazing at the spectacle. Around them was a band of British Indians, about 300 in number, composed of Pottowattomies, Chippewas and Otawas, who had come out of the forest and were also taking in the sight. Across the river, in full view, they could see the American troops, their bayonets and accoutrements glittering in the sun, marching up the opposite bank to Sandwich. Just then the three American vessels of Perry's fleet hove into view.
Labadie and Mrs Knaggs and her children were standing in front og the Indians, when the former noticed a movement on the foremost vessel. He called out in French (he could not speak English):
"Here, you all get to the back of the house."
They all went back and he further commanded, "Get down on your stomachs." which was obeyed. A puff of smoke came out of the side of the leading vessel, then a loud report, and the scream of iron grape shot. Another gun was discharged, two or three seconds later, and another scream of grape shot. The house was struck at the west side, and two or three balls imbedded in the logs. The Indians immediately broke and ran across the farm to the woods, but they were evidently not much scared, for that very band managed to cross the river, and join the British troops, and were participants in the battle of the Thames, where Proctor was defeated and Tecumesh slain.
Next day the commander of the vessel which had fired the shots came down the river, and spoke to old Labadie. He said he had fired at the Indians, whom he knew to be hostile to the Americans, but had been told afterward that there were white people there. He appeared to be much gratified that no white people had been hurt by the grape shot.
The house afterward became the property of Josiah Dorr, a Detroit business man, who covered the logs with clapboards, and fitted up the interior in elegant style. He sold the farm and house to Mary A. Armstrong in 1848. The farm was then divided, and subsequently the homestead passed through several hands to a gentleman named Bacon. It was subsequently sold to John Newell, who was president of the Michigan Central railroad, for some 14 years. Ira D. Bush, , wife and family, also lived in one half of it, and Mrs Bush attended to the wants of Mr Newell, who was a bachelor. When he died he left his estate to five persons, one of whom was Mrs Bush, who receives the income of one third of it during her lifetime. John A. Bissell is the trustee. The house is now occupied by two families, each of whom pays $5 per month to the estate.
During 1814, although there were no British troops in the vicinity of Detroit, the place was terrorised by prowling Indians, who sometimes drove off the cattle of the settlers. One day in September, Ananias McMillan, with his little son Archie, went out on the commons, where Capitol square is now, to drive home the family cow. He was waylaid and killed by some Indians, who took his scalp. The little boy ran towards home. An Indian mounted on horseback pursued him. The little fellow struck at the horse and the animal swerved. This manouver was repeated several times, and finally the Indian dismounted, seized him and took him away. Gen. Cass called volunteers and 24 leading armed citizens turned out one morning and scoured the surrounding country. They killed several Indians, broke up a camp of the savages on the River Rouge, and returned the same evening. Gen. Cass then wrote to Gen. McArthur in Ohio, and called for aid, and he sent a force of mounted men.
Shortly after the McMillan murder there was a general exchange of prisoners, and Whitmore Knaggs was exchanged and returned home to Detroit. His house was still dismantled, and he stopped for a short time at the Labadie homestead with his wife and family. He was given a royal welcome home, thousands of friends calling at the house to congratulate him and his family. He heard of the killing of McMillan, and immediately took steps to have little Archie, who was held by the Indians for ransom, returned to his home. Other settlers also aided. James Knaggs, his brother, who had been in the vicinity of Detroit for some time, even before the British evacuated the town, discovered the tribe which held Archie in captivity, and captured three of its members and brought them to Detroit as hostages. One of the noted Riley brothers of Detroit, then effected an exchange, and Archie was finally released on Jan 12, 1815. He was then returned to his mother. Several of his descendants live in Detroit at the present time.
The following letter, written by Whitmore Knaggs to William Woodbridge, secretary of Michigan territory, shows that the British, even after peace had been declared between Great Britain and the United States, were still encouraging the Indians to believe that the former intended to subjugate the young republic and recover the north west territory.
Detroit, May 6, 1815
The Hon, Wm. Woodbridge, secretary of Michigan:
Sir - By all the information that I can receive from the Indians, they tell me that the Chippewas and Pottawatomies are going daily to the British. The British have told them that peace is to last but for a short time, perhaps for one winter and summer, and tells them to hold one another fast by the hand, and always keep themselves in readiness. In the month of April the British have been sending belts of wampum among these different nations. Principally the Chippewa nation seem indisposed to take their American fathers by the hand. The friendly Indians are of the opinion that the Indians will commit hostilities to the Americans. They also spread notice that they are very fearful that when the Americans go to take possession of Michillmackinac that they may meet with some difficulties from the Indians at that place, and therefore would advise them to be on their guard, as they may try to lay a trap for them. They observe that peace is made bewteen England and America, but not with us (the Indians). They are likewise fearful that they will make an attack on Fort Meigs. I have this dayreceived information from Cososg or Hog, that after his departure from this place he met with Francois Cadot, a Britisg agent, which information he received from him, which was about 20th of April. He (Cadot) told him that peace was not made, and that he "would convince him about the middle of summer, which you will see, and at that time I will have the pleasure of laughing at you. Do you recollect being at Michillmackinac? Yes? Did you not see that fort that we built? Yes. There is not the bigness of a nail all around that fort but is undermined. Therefore the Americans will never be able to land on the island without being destroyed." Thus the Indians who were with Cadot went to Michillmackinac. With him are Jaco-Macatawacha, or Black Skin, and several young men, who observed that the Americans should never put their foot on the island of Michillmackinac. I am, sir, your obedient, humble servant.
W. KNAGGS, Indian Agent
After Whitmore Knaggs repaired his own house he resumed his duties as interpreter and Indian agent, and accompanied Gen. Cass to several places in the northwest, where he made important treaties with the Indians. Accompanied generally by by his young sons he went to Vincennes, Chicago, Saginaw and other places, where important treaties were made with the Indians. In record in connection with these treaties can be found in the United States statutes at large, vol 7; Richard Peters editor. Whitmore Knaggs, either as sworn interpreter, agent, sub-agent or witness, was present at the following Indian treaties, at the places and dates named: At Detroit, Nov 17, 1807; at Brownstown, Michigan territory, Nov 25, 1808; at foot of the Maumee rapids, Sep 29, 1817; at St. Mary's, O., Sep 17, 1818; at Saginaw, Sept 24, 1819, and at Chicago, Aug 29, 1821. The name of Whitmore Knaggs also appears as interpreter at a treaty made at Springwells, just below Detroit, on Sept 8, 1815. At the great Indian treaty of Saginaw in 1819, his son, George B. Knaggs, was made chief of a tribe of Indians, and was given a grant of 3,000 acres. This will be related hereafter in the history of his son, George Knaggs.
In his later years he made out a claim for damages to his household property by the British and Indians, and it was audited by United States Commissioner Lee, of Detroit, at $8,964. It was presented to congress and Lesis Cass indorsed the claim as just, and testified to that effect before the court of claims. The policy of the government at that time, however, was against granting any war claims where only partial damages were sustained by the enemy's occupation, and the claim was shelved.
About 1819 he gave his sons, George B. and John, a start in life. To George B. he conveyed a farm on the Maumee river, just below the site of old Fort Miami, which was a part of the 4,000 arpents granted him by the Ottawa Indians in 1784; and to his son John he gave a farm on the Raisin river. John, however, wanted to be near his brother, and reconveyed this farm to his father, who gave him in exchange a fram on the Maumee, below that of George B.
On May 3, 1827, being then at the point of death, he made his will, which was drawn by Charles Larned. He bequeathed to his eldest son, Peter Whitmore Knaggs and Catherine Visger, his wife, three tracts of land, said to have aggregated 179 acres, situated "near and in the rear of Prairie Ronde, in Wayne county." These lands are about 4 miles from the Detroit city hall, in the township of Springwells. To his son James W. Knaggs he gave a farm on the Maumee, adjoining that given to George B. To his daughter Elizabeth, then 15 years of age, he gave the farm on the Raisin, formerly owned by his son John. He willed the entire Knaggs farm of 250.95 acres and all his personal property "to his wife, Josette Knaggs, her heirs and assigns, for ever, to be disposed of as she may deem expedient." His sons George and John were mentioned as having been already bequeathed farms. His colored servant, Mary, was left a legacy of $150. His wife was designated as executrix.
He died two days afterward, on May 5, 1827. His obsequies were very largely attended, many of the spectators being Indians. The services were held in Ste. Anne's church, and Fr. Richard preached the funeral sermon. His remains were deposited in the burial ground on the side of the church, which was then at the corner of Larned and Bates street.
The will was probated on June 4, 1827. From an examination of the papers filed it is evident that several are missing, but those remaining are as follows:
One of the first bills against the estate was that of Fr, Gabriel Richard, parish priest of Ste. Anne's, for interment and funeral expenses, £15, which was paid. David Cooper, Joseph Visger and James May were appointed appraisers. An examination of the affairs of the estate showed that money was needed, and on June 13, 1827, Mrs Knaggs signed a conditional Quit-claim deed, conveying the farm to James W. Knaggs, her son. The conditions were that she and her daughter Elizabeth and her servant Mary should be supported during her (Josette's) natural life. If Josette chose to live by herself, with her daughter and servant, then she was to be paid $250 annually. After Josette's death, if Elizabeth wanted to live separately from James W., with Mary, then $125 annually should be paid. In default of these provisions the deed was to be null and void. On July 30, 1827, Josette petitioned to be relieved from the duties of executrix on account of ill-health, and that her son, James W. Knaggs, be appointed administrator with the will annexed. This was signed in the presence of James May, husband of her sister Margueritte. The court complied with her petition, which made considerable dissatisfaction in the family. George B. Knaggs, her son, on Aug 6, 1827, applied for a commission of lunacy to determine the sanity of his mother, Josette Knaggs. On Aug 20 following, Josette petitioned the probate court to rescind the appointment of James W. as administrator, on the ground that her health was better. Peter W. and George B. Knaggs argued before the court that they were older than James W., and as such more entitled to be designated as administrator. But the argument of A. D. Frazer of behalf of James W., holding that primogeniture gave no rights to letters of administration, that James was the legal assignee, and had an exclusive interest in the estate, was adopted by the probate court and a decision given to that effect. James W. Knaggs filed his bond in $5,000 as administrator, with Hugh McVey, Alexis Campau and Edward Brooks as securities. On Aug 27, 1827, the appraisers of the estate reported that the personality was valued at $7,269. On Dec 17, 1827, James W. Knaggs filed a statement that according to his belief the estate could not pay its debts,and prayed that commissioners be appointed to receive and audit the claims against it. On the same date the inventory of the estate in Monroe county was filed, showing that it owned a certain farm on the north side of the river Raisin, containing 260 acres, with buildings thereon, at that time in possession of Theophile Metty, and it was valued at $900, and a mare valued at $30.
The next paper filed in chronological order was the report of the commission appointed to inquire into Josette Knaggs's mental health. It reported in August 1828, that she was a lunatic.
James W. Knaggs was cited to appear before Probate Judge Torry on Feb 15, 1830, and exhibit his accounts. He did so, and reported that he had expended $245.30 to date, leaving a balance of $1,897.32 of personal estate as valued by the appraisers. His accounts showed that an aggregate of $70.75 had been paid for board of his mother and sister.
The following record shows the passing of the estate out of the family. B. F. H. Witherell in his reminiscences, said that Peter J. Desnoyer, whose son married Elizabeth Knaggs, had a claim of $1,500 against it, and that doubtless hastened its disposal. On June 30, 1832, Mrs Knaggs signed a deed conveying the farm, which contained 250.95 acres, to her son, James W., without any conditions except the nominal consideration of £1, and on the same date it was conveyed to the heirs of John W. Strong by warranty deed for £3,600. It was subsequently sold to Thomas H. Hubbard in 1834, who sold it by quit-claim deed in 1835 to Bela W. Hubbard for £1,000. The farm, with the exception of the lots sold since that time, belongs to the Bela Hubbard estate.
But there was more litigation in after years. On June 3, 1857, George B. Knaggs, brother of James W., petitioned Probate Judge E. Hawley Jr., at Detroit, to remove James W. as administrator, because he had not finished the duties of that position; that a claim for damages against the United States was not adjusted and remained unpaid; that it was necessary to appoint another administrator, and that he (George B.) be appointed to administer the personal property and credits of the estate. At this time George B. was living at Maumee and James W. at Toledo, some nine miles distant. On this showing George B. Knaggs was appointed administrator and his bond was approved June 28, 1857. James W. Knaggs, answering during the same year, appears in almost undecipherable writing of the late Levi Bishop, of Detroit. It asserts that he had paid all the debts against the personal property of the estate; that the claim against the United States had been presented and once defeated, but that he would try it again; that, being the assignee of his mother, he was the sole person charged with presenting the claims of the estate against the United States or any other party, and that his brother George B., or any other next of kin, had no interest in the estate whatever. The matter was tried in the probate court and decided in favor of James W. Knaggs, and he was reinstated as administrator and his bond approved on Nov 19, 1857.
This ended all the litigation, and James W. Knaggs remained administrator until his death. He revived the claim against the United States in 1891 or 1892, which, with principal and interest, had amounted to some $60,000. It was presented by Senator James McMillan in the senate and by Rep. Byron M. Cutcheon in the house. It now reposes in some pigeon-hole in a committee room, and will never be allowed.
Mrs Josette Labadie Knaggs, after the sale of the Knaggs farm to the heirs of Eliza Strong in 1832, lived with her sister Monique, who was married to Antoine Beaubien in 1829. Beaubien was a man of weak intellect and Monique managed his large estate. She donated the site of St Mary's catholic church, on the south east corner of St Antoine street and Monroe avenue, and also the bells in the steeple of that edifice. She also donated the site of St Mary's hospital, and the site of the convent of the Sacred Heart, on Jefferson avenue, between Beaubien and St Antoine streets, Detroit. Mrs Beaubien died in 1851, and her husband married again. Mrs Josette Knaggs then went to live in the hospital with the sisters of charity. Her mind had been deranged for years, and she died in that building about 1853. Samuel May, her nephew, son of James May, told the writer recently that that she was insane at the time of her death.
Whitmore Knaggs and Josette Labadie had five children - Peter Whitmore Knaggs, George Brown Knaggs, John Knaggs, James Whitmore Knaggs and Elizabeth Knaggs.
Peter Whitmore Knaggs, generaly styled Whitmore Knaggs, Jr., eldest son of Whitmore Knaggs, and grandson of George Knaggs 1st, was born in Detroit in 1798, one year after the marriage of his parents. In 1819, after he had attained man's estate, he married in Detroit Catherine Visger, daughter of Jacobus Visger, and grand aunt of the late James A. Visger. She was born in 1795. Old citizens say that she was an estimable young lady, beautiful of form and feature, and was greatly loved and admired in the little community of Detroit.
In 1827 Peter Whitmore Knaggs inherited, under the will of his father, Whitmore Knaggs, considerable land in the vicinity of Detroit. The land consisted of three parcels of land which Whitmore Knaggs had purchased from Leon Beauseau, Jacob Dix and Francis Renard, all described as being situated "near and in rear of Prairie Ronde, in Wayne county." The three parcels, it is said, aggregated a little less than 179 acres. The records of the property purchased from Jacob Dix and Francis Renard cannot be found in the office of the Wayne county register of deeds, but that purchased from Leon Beauseau is described as 80 acres, being the east half of the southeast quarter, section 5, town 2, south of range 11 east, of which the consideration was $180. This was purchased on April 23, 1826, one year before the death of Whitmore Knaggs, and the other two parcels which were situated near by, were purchased several years before that time. The Beayseau 80 acres are situated on Warren avenue, about a mile and a half west of Livernois avenue, in Springwells township, immediately adjoining McDonald's brick yard. The 179 acres changed hands several times. It went to Mrs Woods in 1822, and was deeded back to Peter Whitmore Knaggs the same year. Then the latter deeded it to Joseph Campau, the largest land owner in Detroit, for $1,422. On Feb 9, 1835, A. D. Frazer, guardian of the children of Peter Whitmore Knaggs, conveyed the 80 acre lot, first described, to Peter J. Desnoyers. From several facts related by old citizens it would appear that Peter was a man of liberal habits, and was not a careful manager.
In 1820, just after he had attained manhood, he engaged in business as an Indian trader. At the treaty of Sept 24, 1819, Gen Cass concluded a treaty with the Chippewa Indians, whereby the Shiawassee bands of that nation had reserved from the lands ceded to the government 3,000 acres, composed of what is now Burns, Vernon, Shiawassee and Antrim townships in Shiawassee county. This tract was known as the Kechewandangoning reservation, and was not opened for white settlers until 1850. In 1820 Peter Whitmore Knaggs opened a trading post on the Shiawassee river in the reservation. He did not make a success, and left there about seven years later, probably at the time of his father's death in 1827, at which time, as above related, he inherited considerable land near Detroit. From the fact that he was always known as Whitmore Knaggs Jr., old records at Shiawassee county would make it appear that it was his father that conducted the business there, as Peter did not use the "Jr." after his name.
Peter Whitmore Knaggs claimed to have been granted certain lands by the Indians at the treaty of Saginaw in 1819, and made several misdirected efforts to obtain possession of them. On Feb 23, 1836, the United States senate committee on Indian affairs reported on the petition of Nondasheman, alias Peter W. Knaggs, who claimed that he was granted 640 acres at the grand traverse of the Flint river, at the treaty of Saginaw; that he was unable to cultivate the same, and asked that he be allowed to sell the land. The Committee reported that it had examined the treaty and found that his name was among the persons to whom said lands had been reserved. As there was no restriction to the sale of these lands, the committee considered that the petitioner might sell the lands without any act of congress.
On Jan 3 1849, in the United States senate, the report of the committee on public lands, Senator Felch, of Michigan, chairman, on the petition of Peter Whitmore Knaggs, was submitted. The petitioner claimed that at the treaty of Saginaw a section of land, reserved to Non-dar-he-man, was intended for and reserved to him, but that the land had subsequently been reserved to Maria G. Smith, and he now asked to locate a like quantity of land in its place. The committee found that by the act of congress of June 23, 1836, the patents for this land was issued to Non-dar-he-man, or Maria G. Smith, a daughter of Jacob Smith, an Indian trader, deceased. The committee said that the grant to Maria G. Smith must stand unless the petitioner can submit convincing proof that he was the person interested, but he had not submitted such proof.
Peter Whitmore Knaggs, in the same petition, claimed that he had been granted a section of land on the Shiawassee river, at a place called Ketch-e-nam-gen-ink, but the committee said that such grants did not appear in the treaty, and resolved not to grant the petition. At this time (1849) Peter Whitmore Knaggs was dead.
Mrs Catherine Knaggs died in 1835, aged 40 years, at her husband's trading post in Shiawassee county, and her remains were brought to Detroit and interred in the cemetery of St Anne's church, on Larned street. Her husband died in 1848, at Toledo, while on a visit to relatives there. The Family separated after the death of the parents. From Ste Anne's church records and other sources the following facts about the children, six in number, are gathered:
(1) Catherine Ann Knaggs, born at Detroit in 1821, married John C. Miller at Miami, Ohio, on Nov 25, 1844. At the time of the marriage he was a dry goods merchant at Monroe, Mich. The family afterward removed from Monroe to Hillsdale about 1848. Mr Miller died at Barnesville, Minn., on March 12, 1881, and his wife died at Frankfort, Ind., on July 21, 1896, at the home of her daughter, Amelia. The had seven children, three boys and four girls, as follows: (1) Amelia Miller, born at Monrow, Mich., Sept 10, 1845; married J. J. Downer, railroad conductor; resides at Frankfort, Ind.; no children. (2) Caroline Augusta Miller, born at Monroe, Dec 24, 1847; resides at Crookston, Minn.; unmarried. (3) James Henry Miller, born at Hillsdale, Mich., on Nov 15, 1849; chief engineer of propeller S. C. Reynolds; resides at 850 Colifax street, Toledo, O.; married Clara T. Hammond, of Buffalo, N. Y. Four living children, Hebbard Miller, Kate Miller, Donald Miller and Garth Miller. Another died in infancy. (4) Charles Edward Miller, born at Hillsdale on Dec 26, 1851; died at same place Feb 14, 1858. (5) William Waldron Miller, Born at Hillsdale April 10, 1854; general salesman for H. B. Claflin Co's wholesale house in New York city. (6) Catherine Ann Miller, born at Hillsdale, May 19, 1856; married F. D. Bell; died at Barnesville, Minn., Feb 16, 1894; her husband is station agent and expressman at Barnesville. (7) Mary Elizabeth ("Mate") Miller, youngest child, born at Hillsdale, March 10, 1859; married W. F. bath, farmer, Frankfort, InD.
(2) Elizabeth Knaggs, born in detroit in 1824. She died before 1857.
(3) James Whitmore Knaggs was born in Detroit about 1826, and died unmarried in California about 1852.
(4) Francis Edward Knaggs, born in Detroit in 1829, when last heard from was living at Dubuque, Ia.
(5) Wm. Alexander Knaggs was born in Detroit in 1831, spent his youth in Toledo, and left that city in 1856. He settled first in Shawneetown, Kas., where he engaged in trade with the Shawnee Indians. In 1862 he removed to Kansas City, where he was in the mercantile business until 1871. He then returned to Shawneetown and remained there until 1899. He now lives in Nowato, Cherokee nation, in the Indian territory, and is a member of that tribe by adoption. He married Susan Keeler at Shawneetown, Kas., and became the father of three children as follows: (1) Arthur Hamilton Knaggs, born at Shawneetown, Kas, Aug 22, 1863; died in the same place on Sept 18, 1870. (2) Edith Louise Knaggs, born in Kansas City, Mo., Sept 23, 1864, married Wm. Edgar Moak, livery stable keeper, July 8, 1895. No children. (3) Abby Corinne Knaggs, born in Shawneetown, Kas., Oct 6, 1867; died Nov 16, 1869.
(6) Charles Peter Frederick Knaggs, born in detroit in 1834. He was a volunteer in a Kansas regiment, and was mortally wounded at trhe battle of Bull Run, on July 21, 1861, and died in hospital soon after; unmarried.
George B. Knaggs, son of Whitmore Knaggs, and grandson of George Knaggs 1st, was a leading resident of Toledo and the Maumee valley, where he spent the latter half of his life. He was a man of fine physique, six feet in hight, well proportioned, and weighed about 180 pounds, with small, well-shaped hands and feet. His complexion was light and ruddy with pink cheeks, dark expressive hazel eyes, and black curly hair. His oil portrait at the old home in Maumee City shows that he was a handsome man of distinguished appearance. He was quick and graceful in his motions and was an educated
punctillious in social etiquette, being a perfect critic in that respect, and incapable of actions or conduct contrary to his ideas of politeness and refinement. He was a natural linguist, speaking English, French and several tongues of the Indian languages. His dress, home and surroundings were all in keeping with his personality and character. His house at Maumee, built in 1825, and in which his wife and daughter still live, is a fine old-fashioned place, and he kept the grounds in perfect taste, with beautiful flowers and aaashrubbery and choice fruit trees, and was never happier than when entertaining his friends, among whom were the most distinguished persons in the land. In disposition he was kind and charitable, and of unquestioned honour and integrity, never trespassing on the rights of others and never allowing others to trespass upon him. In those early days in the Maumee valley he was ever looking after the interests of newcomers in that locality, and in aiding them in settling there with their families.
George Brown Knaggs was born in Detroit at his father's house on January 4, 1800. Being reared among war's alarms, with a father and uncles of military tastes, he was induced at the early age of 12 years to enter into a plot to kill that exalted but hated personnage, Gen. Henry Proctor, the British commander who ruled Detroit for 13 months after its surrender in Aug 16, 1812. When the post was surrendered at rthe latter date, his father, Whitmore Knaggs, who was a captain of the territorial militia, became a prisoner of war, and his home was despoiled by the Indiand and British troops while on their way to the city. Mrs Knaggs first removed her family to the house of Fr. Gabriel Richard, on the Detroit river about where the foot of Eighteenth street would be if extended to the river. Here also was Ste Anne's church convent and school, which had been removed to this place after three buildings were burned in the great fire of 1805. After staying there a short time Mrs Knaggs removed her family to the home of her father, Pierre Descomptes Labadie, which is still standing on the river at the foot of Twenty-fourth street, one quarter of a mile above the family home, which stood at the northwest corner of Swain avenue and River street, st the mouth of Knaggs creek.
George had a natural hatred of the British, and it was suggested that he slay the British general by shooting him as he passed along the road in front of the house. He was a good shot with a rifle, and with a boy's logic identified Proctor with the imprisonment of his father, and the damaging of the family home. Gen. Proctor had headquarters both at Fort Lernoult, afterward Fort Shelby, in Detroit, and Fort Malden, at Amherstburg, Canada, 18 miles beloe on the opposite side of the Detroit river, and visited both fortresses frequently. Sometimes ge was accompanied by mounted officers of his staff, and at other times he rode quite alone from Detroit to a point in Springwells township, where there was a ferry boat on which he crossed the river. Whether George originated the idea or adopted the suggestion of French farmers living near by, is not known, but he took steps to carry it out. He erected a barricade of boards and fence rails on the side of the road, and practised shooting therefrom at a mark for several days. Some of the neighbouring boys became curious over his actions, and he imparted his plan to them with juvenile frankness. The news was carried to his mother, who summoned him before her fortwith, and sternly commanded him to desist.
"Do you know what will happen if you shoot Proctor?" she demanded.
"Oh, yes," said george, eagerly. "Mr --- and Mr --- and Mr --- (mentioning the names of several French farmers nearby) told me that it would be a fine thing to do, as proctor is a bad, cruel man, who keeps my father in prison, and they all said that when I shot him the would carry me to Gen. Harrison's army, where the Britishers couldn't catch me."
"My son," said his mother, "if you shoot Proctor, they will shoot your father, and they would put us all in prison. Don't you do it, my boy."
"All right, I won't," said George, "but, mother," he added, regretfully, "I could have popped him ever so easy."
Mrs Knaggs, like many French matrons, had an ambition to be the mother of a priest, and George was early designed for the ministry. He was sent to St Thomas college, a catholic institution at Bardstown, Ky. While he was studying there he became convinced that he had no vocation for the priesthood, and after he had so informed his ecclesiastical superiors he took the first opportunity to leave for home. At that time the parish of Ste Anne's, which extended from the river Raisin to Sault Ste Marie, was under the spiritual jurisdiction of Benedict Joseph Flaget, bishop of Bardstown. The marguilleries of the Cote du Nord church, which was situated on the Church farm, Hamtramck, where Beller's hotel now stands, were in rebellion against the spriritual authority of Fr Richard. They pretened to be the original incorporators of Ste Anne's church, which had been burned in the great fire of 1805, and that the temporary church and school at the foot of Eighteenth street, Detroit, presided over by Fr Richard, was not the rightful successor of Ste Anne's. This dispute was referred to Bishop Flaget, who upheld Fr Richard. The marguilliers rebelled against his pastoral, and he then interdicted the church of Cote du Nord and excommunicated the marguilliers. To heal the unhappy schism Bishop Flaget left Bardstown on May 15, 1818, and travelled through the wilderness to Detroit, a distance of about 1,000 miles, on horseback. He was accompanied by Fr Bertrand and Janvier and by George Knaggs and another young man named Godfrey. The bishop, at the head of a grand procession started from Ste Anne's at the foot of Eighteenth street, on the river road, with the military band of the fort in front. As it passed the fort it was saluted by a salvo of artillery. Arrived at the Cote du Nord est church, an affecting scene ensued. the rebellious margguilleries knelt before the bishop and kissed the episcopal ring on his hand, and a perfect submission and reconcilliation took place. On returning to Detroit the bishop laid the corner-stone of the fifth church of Ste Anne at the northeast corner of Bates and Larned streets.
George B Knaggs then expressed a desire to enter the military service and his father's influence with Gen. Cass easily procurred his admission to the United States military academy at West Point, where he remained for some time, but did not graduate. His father became ill, and requested him to resign and come back to help him in his official duties. He did so, and when he returned he became an assistant to his father, who was Indian agent and interpreter, and accompanied him to Vincennes, Chicago, Saginaw and other places, where important treaties were negotiated with the Indians, at which his father was the official interpreter. George, like his father and brothers, was proficient in several Indian dialects, and was generally liked by the red men. At Vincennes his father took with him the young son of an Indian chief, and the two boys became great friends. The young Indian, however, was shot and killed at Mackinac by a drunken Indian. His father adopted George as his son and died soon after.
At the great Indian treaty at Saginaw in 1819, george and his brother, James Whitmore Knaggs, accompanied their father.
The tribe of Indians which had lost their chief and also his son offered to make George Knaggs their chief. They could not agree on any other member of the tribe, and it was necessary for the chief to sign the treaty. George refused the honor at first, but subsequently, at the solicitation of his father, and the advice of Lewis Cass, accepted it, and became the head of the tribe. The head men then made him a gift of a large tract of land, said to contain 3,000 acres, in the vicinity of Orchard lake, near Pontiac. The country at that time was wild and population scarce, although the prospects of Pontiac, a few miles distant, seemed exceptionally favorable. In that year (1819) heydraulic works, flouring and saw mills and other big improvements had been instituted at Pontiac by a party of detroit's most prominent capitalists including Judge A. B. Woodward, Stephen Mack, Shubael Conant, Henry Jackson Hunt and others, and it was prophesied that the new city would eclipse Detroit in a very short time. Indians could not convey their lands to the whites, as such, but when whites were adopted by Indians they acquired equal priviledges with the red men.
But George did not think enough of the gift to reside on the land for the time specified by the law, and although his father built him a house there he did not live in it. It subsequently became the property of Lewis Cass, who traded it with the Indians for lands in St Joseph county.
George B. Knaggs, after being elected an Indian chief, became a clerk to Henry Jackson Hunt, a leading merchant of Detroit, who succeeded Angus McIntosh in business, and occupied his store on the river, in rear Dwyer and Vhay's store, at the south east corner of Jefferson avenue and Cass street, in Detroit. The connection was brief, but resulted in considerable benefit to Hunt, as young Knaggs attracted a large Indian trade in the store. One day during his employer's absence he captured the season's trade of an entire tribe, to the extent of over $1,000 in gold and silver. When Hunt returned and was shown the money, he said: "I ought to have had you here years ago." Henry Jackson Hunt signed his middle name with the initial "I" because he did not carry the curve of the "J" below the line of the other letters. Old residents of detroit still refer to him as Henry I. hunt on account of this peculiarity. He was the second mayor of Detroit in 1826, and died in the same year.
George Knaggs then went into partnership with his brother John as Indian traders, at Rockbar, which is opposite to, and named after, a rock in the Maumee river, near Fort Miami, where his father was born. This was on the large tract of land given by the Indians to his father in 1784. Trade becoming dull he became a clerk at Maumee for John Elliott Hunt, brother of Henry Jackson Hunt, and father of Mrs E. A. Brush of Detroit. In 1825 he built a house on the Maumee on his father's land, which is still occupied by his widow and daughter. His farm had about 300 acres; that of his brother, James W., adjoined it, and was of the same size; and the farm of his brother John was about 600 acres.
In 1828 he married Matilda Lee, of Penn Yan, N.Y., in Detroit. She was an estimable lady of a fine appearance, and was in every way a true and beautiful woman, beloved by all who knew her. They had one child, a boy, who died when he was about 3 years old. Mrs Knaggs died in 1847, leaving no children. His second wife, who still survives, was Miss Laura Bosley, of Bosley's Mills, Geneseo, Livingston county, N.Y., whom he married in 1849 at Sandusky, O. She was an acknowledged belle, and considered one of the most beautiful young ladies in the Maumee valley.
While on a visit to his relatives in Detroit in 1845, with the intention of proceeding from there to New York city, he met Gen. Lewis Cass, who said: "You are the very man I wanted to see." He went to the Cass residence, where he was introduced to the Duke de Joinville and the Duke d'Aumale, sons of King Louise Phillippe of France, who with their suite had just returned from Green Bay, Wis. Their suite consisted of Marshal Bertrand, Count Montholon, Viscount Montesquieu and several servants. It appears that Louise Phillippe had heard that a man named Rev Eleazar Williams, an Indian missionary in the episcopal church of the United States, claimed that he was the son of louis XVI, and Queen Antoinette, who had been beheaded, and was consequently the daufin and entitled to the throne of France. To ascertain whether his story was true the young princes came to the United States, chartered the steamer Columbus at Buffalo and proceeded to Green Bay, where Williams was preaching to a crowd of Indians. When they saw and spoke to him, however, they became convinced that he was either a willful imposter or a person deceived by foolish stories. Williams was well known in Detroit. When the first St Paul's church, on the east side of Woodward avenue between Larned and Congress streets, was consecrated - on Aug 24, 1827 - he read the consecration service, and he was frequently in the city afterward. He died in Hoganstown, N.Y., in 1858.
When the two princes were on their way back they stopped at Detroit and were entertained by Gen. Cass. They had great curiosity to know the situation in the surrounding country, which was once under French rule. Cass was much gratified on being able to furnish a historian on those subjects like George Knaggs, who was gentlemanly, finely educated and spoke French like a native. George accompanied the princes on their steamboat trip to Buffalo, where he bade them farewell, and went to New York via Lake Champlain.
Prince de Joinville came to the United States again in 1861, accompanied by his nephew, the Count de Paris and the Duke de Chartres. They joined the staff of Gen. McClellan and took an active part in the Chickahominy campaign.
Among the many distinguished persons who were George B. Knaggs's friends and guests at his Maumee home were: Gen. William henry Harrison, who was entertained there during his successful campaign for the presidency in 1840; Richard M. Johnson, vice-president under President Van-Buren; Gov. Lewis Cass, Mrs Cass and their daughter Belle, afterward Baroness von Limburg; Mrs Gen. Geo. B. McClellan; Gov. Lucas of Ohio, at the time of the Toledo war; Gov. Hull of Michigan and his nephew Isaac Hull. Isaac lived at Maumee and was also the nephew of Commodore Isaac hull, who commanded the frigate Constitution when she defeated the British frigate Guerriere in 1812. Other prominent people were: Gen. george Croghan, the hero of Fort Stevenson at Sandusky, who defeated Gen. Proctor; Gen. James B. McPherson, who was killed at Atlanta in 1864, and who visited the Knaggs home in company with his sister, Mrs Frederick Vandercook; Chief Justice Warner Wing of Michigan and wife, the latter being a daughter of Col. John Anderson of Monroe, and Elizabeth Knaggs, who was daughter of George Knaggs, the progenitor of the Knaggs family of Ohio and Michigan; Morrison R. Waite, chief justice of the United States supreme court; Mrs Betsie Forsyth Nelson, who married a descendant of Lord nelson; Gen. John Elliott Hunt and family, which included Mrs Eliza Hunt Brush of Detroit; Mrs Sophia Hunt Smith, wife od Denison B. Smith of Toledo, and many other prominent persons.
Their only child, Antoinette Knaggs, is a very superior lady and also a fine business woman. After her father's death, she was educated at the Ursuline convent, in Toledo. She manages an extensive dairy on the farm, the product of which is sold to wholesale dealers in Toledo. When the electric line from Toledo, which passes the farm, was organized several years ago, she secured three miles of the right of way for the company. She also served as school director for the third ward of Maumee six years, being elected by the largest majorities ever given a candidate in that town.
Although George Knaggs never had any serious financial difficulties, he experienced several ups and downs in his business life. In 1836, when the western land boom attained its largest dimensions, he sold his farm, with the exception of a homestead of seven and one-half acres, and invested in Toledo property. He purchased a large tract of Collingwood and ashland avenues, Toledo, now fine residence streets, and his brothers, John and james W., also invested in the same localities. Besides this purchase he bought 900 acres at the mouth of the Maumee, at localities now knows as Presque Isle and Ironville. From these investments he cleared about $30,000. But he suffered considerable losses as stockholder and director of the Maumee City Insurance bank.
He died on Oct 23, 1865, in his sixtyfifth year. He was buried with his first wife and child, on the farm, in a private burial ground, about 50 yards from his home. Two years after his death his widow married Chauncey C. Keysor, a coal dealer and vessel owner of Toledo. Mr Keysor owned the George B. Knaggs farm, and sold 110 acres of it to Miss Antoinette Knaggs, his wife's only child, so that the property all came back into the family. He died on Aug 3, 1888, leaving all his property to the widow. The widow and daughter live in the old homestead, on the Knaggs farm, which is on the Maumee river, about nine miles above Toledo.
George Knaggs, of Walpole Island, forwards a statement of his membership of the Knaggs family, and also his descendants as follows: "I was born at Maumee, O., between Christmas and New Year's, in 1821. My father was George B. Knaggs and my mother was an Indian woman named Kah-ba-yan-ban-no-qua. Since I remember my father used to live in maumee, O. Some time in 1826, when I was a little boy, my father, george B. Knaggs, used to give me some clothing and provisions. I was married when I was about 20 years of age. My first wife's name was Mow-quash-kum-mo-qua. I now give a list of my sons and daughters and their children:
(1) John Knaggs, my eldest son, was born at Maumee, O., in 1844, and died in 1883. He married on Walpole island, Mah-nee, and she died about 1887. Two children (1) Wilson Knaggs married Bebe but he had no children. Both live on Walpole Island. (2) Charlotte knaggs married Peter Willis, on Walpole Island. Charlotte died about seven years ago. Two children living.
(2) Eliza Knaggs married John Manoaqudoo. Two children: (1) JennieManoaqudoo, married Moses Sagatchewan. Two children. (2) Another daughter died unmarried in 1901.
My second wife, Ke-wa-tin, I married on Walpole Island, and she bore me three children, and died about 1892.
(3) Louisa Knaggs, married an Indian named James Elgin. Five children. (1) Eliza Elgin, born July 10, 1868. Her child, Stafford Thomas, was born on Sept 18, 1894. (2) Augustus Elgin, born Dec 7, 1870, married and has one child, Pearl Elgin. His wife died and he married Amelia Thomas. No children. (3) Rachel Elgin, born March 24, 1873, married Richard George. two children: Nancy george and Philip George. (4) Josephine Elgin, born Oct 20, 1884; unmarried. (5) Lizzie Elgin, born Oct 21, 1887; unmarried.
(4) Elizabeth Knaggs married Willian Nahdee. She died in 1884. Four children: (1) Albert Nahdee, married in 1901, no children. (2) Bella Nahdee, married She-baw-gin. two children. (3) William Nahdee; unmarried. (4) Martha Nahdee, unmarried.
(5) Henry Knaggs, farmer and trader, was born on Walpole Island in 1858. He married Wa-say-au-bin (English name Jane). Nine children: (1) Annie Knaggs, married Albert Saugutch. schoolmaster; one child. (2) Beatrice Knaggs married Edward Wrightman. No Children. (3) Elizabeth Knaggs; unmarried. (4) Alexander Knaggs, died while attending the Canadian Indian school at Sault Ste. Marie, in 1899, aged 14 years. (5) George Knaggs. (6) Samuel Knaggs. (7) Rebecca Knaggs. (8) Jessie Knaggs, and (9) Paul Knaggs are attending school on Walpole Island.
John Knaggs, son of Whitmore Knaggs, and grandson of George Knagsg 1st, was born at Detroit in 1802. In his prime he was a man of striking, and even distinguished appearance, like his brothers, george and James W. He was very tall, being about sic feet three inches in height, and weighed about two hundred and forty pounds, well proportioned and very strong, with a fair complexion and brown hair and eyes. Both in speech and motion he possessed the faculty of a happy medium, being neither too deliberate on the one hand nor too quick on the other. In disposition he was open and frank, telling what was his honest belief on all subjects, without being brusque or discourteous, and was scrupulously honorable in all his dealings.
He was always attired in the best dress of his day, like other gentlemen of social consideration, and was a well-educated man, although the family do not remember the place or manner of its acquirement. He early showed the family bent in the direction of trading with the Indians, and he could converse in several aboriginal languages as well as French and English.
In 1819, when he was 17 years of age, he was appointed lietenant of Michigan militia by Governor Lewis Cass. His first occupation in life was as an Indian trader, in partnership with his brother George, at a point on the Maumee river, a short distance below the site of old Fort Miami. The latter place is now a part of Maumee City, nine miles above Toledo. the brothers boarded for a time at the house of Elisha Gunn, a farmer, nearby, and there John fell in love with Malinda Elizabeth Gunn, the youngest daughter. Her mother was a member of the noted Carver family, being a lineal descendant of John Carver, one of the party of Englishmen who left their country for the sake of religion, proceeded to Leyden, subsequently emigrated to America on the Mayflower in 1620, and was the first governor of Plymouth colony. The nearest catholic church was on the Raisin, at Monroe, and they were married there on February 10, 1823, when he was 21 years of age. The youthful pair first lived in a frame house on the Maumee, and about six miles south of Toledo. After the partnership was dissolved by the falling off of the Indian trade, John cultivated his farm, which was named Rockbar, so called from a large rock in the Maumee opposite his holding. This was the thitd farm north of the 300 acre farm of his brother George, and consisted of about 600 acres.
When the western fever commenced about 1830, there was a great demand for farming lands on the Maumee, as well as on other streams in the Michigan territory, with a consequent appreciation of land values. In 1836 he sold his farm advantageously and moved into Toledo, and his example was followed by his brothers, James W. and George B. In that city John Knaggs purchased a large tract of land on what is now Collingwood avenue, now a fine residence district. He then sold the land at a fine profit, and purchased a tract of 200 acres in West Toledo, where Denks's wine press now stands, and which contains one of the largest wine cellars in the country. Here he died in 1846, aged 44 years. His wife died in Toledo on Sept 20, 1885. They had ten children. Owing to the burning of a bible which contained the family records, the following dates are given from memory, but are approximately correct:
(1) Eliza Knaggs, born at Miami Dec 20, 1823, married Timothy O'Connell, commission merchant, Toledo, in 1845, and died in 1848. No children.
(2) John W. Knaggs, farmer, was born at Miami, on the Maumee river, on Jan 7, 1825. He removed to Toledo with the rest of the family in 1836, when his father sold his farm. He married Wealthy S. Gunn, daughter of Willard Gunn, on April 23, 1846. Willard Gunn, like his distant relative, Elisha Gunn, was one of the early settlers of north western Ohio, and resided three quarters of a mile north of the village of Waterville. They first lived on a farm belonging to John Knaggs for three years. Then with his brother, Worlington Knaggs, he opened a hotel in the Knaggs homestead at West Toledo, where the famous lenks wine cellars now stand. Here they remained two years and then sold out to W. H. Fyfe. John W. Knaggs then moved on to his own farm, five miles south of Waterville, where the family lived for 19 years and where he kept a general store on the bank of the Miami & Erie canal, which runs through the farm, and sold supplies to the boats plying between Toledo and Cincinnati. He also owned a boat on the canal and a stone quarry on the Maumee river opposite the farm. John W. Knaggs died suddenly on Oct 2, 1891, of heart disease while on a trip to Toledo. His wife, now 75 years of age, lives in the Willard Gunn homestead, where the family has lived since 1870, Mrs Knaggs having inherited a portion of it from her father. They had eight children, of whom three survive: (1) Elizabeth M. Knaggs, born May 14, 1847, died March 19, 1852. (2) Wealthy L. Knaggs, born Oct 4, 1850, died March 6, 1852, two weeks before the death of her sister Elizabeth. (3) Wallace M. Knaggs, born March 7, 1853, died Sept 19, 1870. (4) Marie L Knaggs, born Feb 19, 1855, unmarried, lived with her mother in Willard Gunn homestead. (5) John W, Knaggs, born May 26, 1857, died April 26, 1858. (6) Emma H. Knaggs, born Sept 3, 1861, married Torrence Isham June 26, 1892. Two children - (1) Wealthy may Isham, born July 1, 1893, and (2) Marie Isham, born July 14, 1895, died Feb 14, 1894. They live in the old Isham homestead. (7) Eva W. Knaggs, twin sister of Emma H., died Oct 12, 1863. (8) Della May Knaggs, born Sept 15, 1868, married Arthur H. Ray, farmer, on March 6, 1885. They live on a part of the Knaggs farm, which he manages. Three children - (1) Della Iris Ray, born Oct 20, 1886: (2) Philip Rolland Ray, born Nov 30, 1888; and (3) an infant daughter, born May 2, 1893, died in seven hours after birth.
(3) Maria Knaggs, born at Miami; died at five years of age.
(4) Adeline Josette Knaggs, born at Miami in 1829; married Dr William W. Jones of Toledo on Feb 15, 1851. Her husband was a prominent physician and a public-spirited citizen. He was president of the Toledo common council in 1857, and was elected mayor of that city in 1871, 1873 and 1877, serving six years. He died on May 30, 1892. Children: Wm. M. Jones, cashier of Finlay Brewing Co., Toledo: Ada M. Jones, wife of Fred J. Blakely, formerly of Detroit, manager of Miami Stone Co., Toledo: John K. Jones, commercial traveler, toledo; Dr Grace Jones, M/D., who is a graduate of the Toledo Medical college, Toledo; and Frank H. Jones, bookkeeper, Detroit.
(5) Capt. Worlington Knaggs, born at West Toledo, in 1831, is now an oil dealer in Portage, O. He married Cynthia Haskins at Portage. Children: Worlington Knaggs, Jr., farmer, Portage; Mrs Lottie Knaggs Carlin, Portage; Mortimer Knaggs, first lieutenant 6th Ohio regiment, who died in Cuba in 1899, and is buried in the National cemetery at Washington; Forrest Knaggs, farmer, Portage; Mrs Iva Knaggs Vandenberg, Findlay, O.
(6) Henry G. Knaggs, born at West Toledo in 1834, was a furniture dealer in Springfield, Mass., ut is now in bad health. He married May Eddy, of Springfield, Mass. Two living daughters - Leona S Knaggs was born in Waterville, O., March 16 1877, Adeline M Knaggs was born in Spencer, Mass., Nov 26 1880. Another child, born in Springfield, Mass, died on Feb 20, 1880.
(7) Maria Knaggs, born at West Toledo in 1836. She was married four times, her husbands being named Leavitt, Whittlesey, Sheldan and Valentine, respectively. The first two husbands died of consumption, the third under an operation, and the fourth is now living in New York city. She died in Portland, Ore., in 1899. She left three sons, Frederick Whittlesey, unmarried, born in 1855, is a painter and decorator, and is now in Mexico. Granville Whittlesey, unmarried, born in 1862, is practising medicine in St Louis, Mo.; Claude S Whittlesey, born April 1, 1864, married Cora Lumpkin at Guthrie, Ok., Feb 14 1892; three children, Harry Ray Whittlesey, born 1893; Cora Marie Whittlesey, born 1895, and Webb F Whittlesey, born 1901.
(8) Mortimer Knaggs, born at West Toledo; died at 10 years of age of scarlet fever.
(9) Sophia Josephine Knaggs, born at West Toledo; married Henry J Hitchcock, civil engineer, Toledo. He died in arizona in 1883. One child, Charles Henry Hitchcock, who died in 1891, aged 26 years. Mrs Hitchcock lives with her sister Mrs Adeline Josette Knaggs Jones in Toledo.
(10) Virginia Knaggs, born at West Toledo; died in infancy.
James Whitmore Knaggs, youngest son of Whitmore Knaggs and grandson of George Knaggs 1st, was born in his father's house, at the mouth of Knaggs creek, Detroit, on March 17, 1804. He was a studious youth, and like his father, uncles and brothers, was a good linguist, being proficient in speaking and writing English, French and Latin, and could also converse in several Indian tongues. In manhood he was a handsome specimen of the genus homo, being six foot three inches in hight and weighing about 190 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair, which he wore long, and a bright ruddy complexion. He was a man of integrity and high sense of honor, and a true gentleman of the old school, being generous, courteous and obliging to all with whom he came into contact. He was not ambitious for social or political station, but in business he was active and perserving, and had a world of experience with all classes of humanity. In politics he was a democrat.
His first occupation was as a clerk for the late David Cooper, whose store was on the west side of Woodward avenue, between Jefferson and Woodbridge street. The connection of the family led him into the business of trading with the red men, and in 1821, at 17 years of age, he went into that business at Chicago. Here he remained for six years. In 1825, while engaged in this business he was commissioned as colonel of militia on the staff of Gov. Cass. At this time Chicago was just outside of Michigan territory, but Gov. Cass thought a great deal of him, and also of his father, and a little thing such as lack of jurisdiction did not trouble statesmen in those days.
When his father, Whitmore Knaggs, died in 1827, he came back to Detroit and was appointed administrator of the estate, and subsequently owned it by quit-claim from his mother. In 1828 he presented at Washington claims against the United States for damages to his father's property by the enemy during the war of 1812 but it was rejected. On May 12 1828 he married, in Detroit, Therese Campau, daughter of Bernard Campau and Veronique Bondy. After setting up the estate, with the exception of the claim against the United States, he removed in 1831 to Maumee, O. His new location was some 10 miles above Toledo, on the Maumee river, where he cultivated a farm given him by his father. His brothers, George B Knaggs and John Knaggs, also cultivated farms adjoining him on either side. He afterward sold his farm, as did both his brothers, during the land boom before the panic in 1837, and removed in 1840 to Port Lurens (now Toledo), where he engaged in a real estate business until about 1865. In that year he removed to Chicago, and subsequently lived in Cincinnati, and continued in the same avocation until 1884. He then came back to Detroit, where he remained until 1893. His principal business in Detroit during that time was in prosecuting the claim for damages, alluded to above, but in this he was again unsucessful. In 1893 he removed to Cincinnati, where he lived with his daughter, Mrs Charles O'Hara, and died there on May 26, 1896, aged 92 years.
Mrs Knaggs, who accompanied him in his various removals, died in Cincinnati in October 1868. They had two daughters, who are both living (1901). Elizabeth Matilda Knaggs, married Charles O'Hara, commision merchant, of Cincinnati, who died on Jan 1 1875. Mrs O'Hara resides in Cincinnati. Her children are: C J O'Hara, secretary and treasurer of the C C Wormer Machinery Co., Detroit, who has one daughter, Jeanette Howland O'Hara; Elizabeth W O'Hara, wife of Joseph B Moore, insurance and real estate, Detroit; Mary T O'Hara, wife of A Lake, Chicago, who has one daughter, Elizabeth Lake; Helen T O'Hara, wife of S S Winn, attorney, Kansas City, Mo.; James S O'Hara, with Joseph B Moore, Detroit; Stephen J O'Hara, Cincinatti, and Eva O'Hara, Cincinnati.
The second daughter of James W Knaggs is Mary Octavia Knaggs, born Nov 3 1831, who married Gen. Stephen J McGroarty, lawyer, of Cincinnati. He was United States collector of internal revenue in the Cincinnati district at the time of his death on Jan 2 1870. Mrs McGroaty resides at College Hill, a suburb of Cincinnati, with her only child, Catherine McGroarty, wife of Robert Usher, spice manufacturer, Cincinnati. Mrs Usher has three children, Stephen, James and Helen Usher.
Mary Knaggs was a slave in Whitmore Knaggs's household, and was bought by him when she was a mere child. She was half negro and half Indian. A tradition of the family is that when Gen. Proctor passed Ste. Anne's Church in 1812 and spoke to Fr. Richard, Mary was in the roadway and had Whitmore Knaggs's youngest daughter, Elizabeth, in her arms. This, however, is not a fact, as James W Knaggs has told that at that time Elizabeth was in the arms of her mother and both were hiding under a bed in the school building. Mary was a faithful and devoted servant, and received her first communion at Ste Anne's at the same time as George and John Knaggs, on July 13 1814. She was a nurse for the five children, and was beloved by all, but had a stronger affection for James W Knaggs than any of the other children. Spencer French was also a slave in Whitmore's household, and he and Mary were married at Ste Anne's Church on Feb 16 1830 by Fr Richard. James W Knaggs was a witness at the ceremony. They removed soon after to Chatham, Ont. After James W Knaggs married at Detroit, he removed to his farm at Maumee in 1831. He sent for the Frenches and their three children, and they came there and were happy. But two of the children died, and they then returned to Chatham. Then Preston French died soon afterward. He was a strict baptist, and his wife and children were devout catholics. Subsequentl the remaining child died, and poor Mary, bereft of all, returned to James's farm. But she could not be contented, and returned to Canada, where she died, over 100 years of age. The above story is told by Mrs O'Hara, daughter of James W Knaggs.
Elizabeth Knaggs, born in 1812, youngest child of Whitmore Knaggs, and granddaughter of george Knaggs 1st, was an infant when Detroit was surrendered to the British. In 1834, when she was 22 years of age, she married Charles Robert Desnoyers, son of Peter J. Desnoyers, in Ste. Anne's church, Detroit. She was then a handsome young lady, with auburn hairm hazel eyes and a beautiful complexion.
Gov. George B. porter was one of the guests at the wedding, and he presented the bride with an elegant present. She was an accomplished lady, having been educated at the convent of the Claire Sisters. She died in 1843.
Charles Robert Desnoyers was over six feet in height, and of slender build, weighing not over 170 pounds, wirh light hair and complexion. His constitution was not strong, owing to severe illness in youth, and he was inclined to stoop, and was a well-dressed man, and of gentlemanly appearance, courteous manners, and genial disposition. At one time he was foreman of No 1 fire engine company, whose house was at the northwest corner of Larned and Bates streets. He was a democrat in politics, and was alderman of the old second ward in 1845-6, one of his colleagues during that time being Ben Woodworth, landlord of the Steamboat hotel, on the northwest corner of Woodbridge and Bates streets. In 1833 he went into partnership with Shadrach Gillett in the commission and forwarding business on the dock, the name of the firm being Gillett and Desnoyers, and this connection was continued until he died in 1846.
The warehouse, the only one of the old-time forwarding buildings remaining in the city, still stands on Wapping alley, below Atwater street, and is about 150 feet east of Wayne street. The old warehouse was afterward occupied by Ives and Black, then Black and Young, and is now used by the Detroit & Cleveland Steam Navigation Co. as a storehouse. The property originally belonged to Peter J Desnoyers, father of Charles Robert, and was inherited by the latter. When the estate was divided it came into the possession of Louis P. and Francis H. sons of Charles Robert, and was by them sold to ex-Mayor Alex Lewis, whose holdings at that place extend to the river on the south and to woodbridge street on the north.
Charles Robert desnoyers and Elizabeth Knaggs had five children, all sons, who were all born in a frame house on the south side of Fort street east, between the Hammond block and G & R McMillan's store.
(1) Charles Augustine Desnoyers was born in Detroit in 1834. He was educated at Notre Dame college, South Bend, Ind., where he remained until he was 21. He was a member of Eagle fire engine company No 2, of the old fire department, and was also a member of the Detroit Light Guard. In 1855 he was a clerk in the store of John Webster, hardware merchant, at No 113 Woodward Avenue. In 1857 the directory tells he he had an office in the Desnoyer block. In 1859 he married Adeline Caswell, and they lived at No. 116 Russell street for about 10 years. She died on Nov. 6, 1871.
When the war of the rebellion commenced in 1861, he served a three-months' term of enlistment under President Lincon's first call for troops with the Light Guard, in the First Michigan infantry, and then returned with his company to Detroit. He subsequently enlisted in another regiment. He afterward kept a cigar and tobacco store in Windsor, Ont., opposite Detroit.
In 1862 the city directory said he was a "Federal Coffee Manufacturer" at 135 Woodward avenue, and lived on the northeast corner of Jefferson avenue and Bates street. The Desnoyer block, which was built by his grandfather in 1836, still stands on the northwest corner of the above streets. After he returned from the war he took a more serious view of life and became a religious devotee, being a constant worshiper st At. Anne's, and greatly interested in church work. His mind became affected by this and other causes and he became an inmate of the Pontiac asylum about 1885, but was subsequently cured and discharged.
He afterward lived at the Soldiers' home, at Grand Rapids, for several years. His malady returning, he was taken to the Kalamazoo asylum, where he is at present. His ailment cannot be called insanity, but it unfits him for the active duties of life. Supt. Dr. Wm. M. edwards will shortly discharge him from the institution.
Charles Augustine Desnoyers and Adeline Caswell had three children, all sons: Charles Robert Desnoyers, S.J., is a lay brother of the Jesuit order at the St Louis university, St. Louis, Mo., and is now secretary of the provincial general. Frank M Desnoyers is unmarried and is a commercial traveller for a Chicago firm. He enlisted in Co. G. First regiment of the Illinois national guard, and was present at the battle of Santiago. When he was honorably discharged he returned home and travelled for the firm of which his brother is a partner. Louis A Desnoyers is a partner of the wholesale firm of J S Perkins and Co., Lake street, Chicago. He is married and has two children, James and Edna. All the three sons of Charles Augustine were educated at Notre Dame college.
(2) Francis Henry Desnoyers, born in Detroit in 1837, was educated at Notre Dame college. He learned the trade of machinist under Supt. Newhall in the Michigan Central machine shops, which were then located in the depot near the foot of Third street. He left the shop and enlisted in the Eighth Michigan cavalry in 1862, and served three years in the war of the rebellion. When he returned home he was in bad health, which was caused by the hardships and exposures of army life. He then proceeded to Waterville, O., and purchased a quarry there, and operated it for two years. Through the efforts of Congressman John Logan Chipman he procured a small pension. He was never married. At present he lives with relatives at Maumee and Toledo, and also with friends in this city, and occasionally sojourns with an old friend named Joseph Stellet, in Greenfield township, this county, who served in his late father's house.
(3) Louis Philip Desnoyers, born in Detroit in 1839, was edicated at a catholic college in Cincinnati, where he remained until he was 21. He was a clerk under Postmaster Thornton T Brodhead, in 1853-7. He was elected collector of the old second ward in 1875 and held the office until 1879, when the law was changed so as to allow the city treasurer and receiver of taxes to appoint their own collectors. He ever engaged in any business after that time, and, being a bachelor, with a small income from the remainder of his grandfather's estate, passed his letter days quietly. He was always a friend of the late A T Campau, son pf Joseph Campau, and during the latter '70s and early '80s they were inseperable comrades. They met every morning near Mr Campau's residence on Howard street, and strolled leisurely through the business district all day, calling on old friends and occasionally pausing at respectable saloons for refreshments, until dusk, when they repaired for their respective abodes. Both were quiet and genial citizens, incapable of any impropriety, and never showing any sign of over-stimulation. Louis's mind finally gave way, and he was taken to the Pontiac asylum, where he died on July 22, 1888. His remains were interred in Mt Elliott cemetery, Detroit.
(4) Samuel Desnoyers, born in Detroit in 1841, died young.
(5) James Alexander Desnoyers, born in Detroit in 1843, died young.
An incomplete deed in the office of the Wayne county register of deeds shows that George Knaggs sold to Israel ruland by warranty deed, on July 18 1797, "land fronting four and a quarter arpents on the south side of the River Raisin, by a depth of 120 arpents, together with all improved and other things, for £30 New York currency". The description reads "bounded by -- and --", the boundry lines being left blank. The deed is witnessed by Charles Chene, his brother in law.
An entry in the books of the Wayne county probate office on July 18 1809, shows that John askin, a leading merchant, was appointed administrator of the estate of George Knaggs on that date. This shows that he departed this life shortly before that time. His wife was buried on the Church farm on June 2 1813. The fact that her last child, Alexis, was born on the Raisin in 1802, makes it probable that the family moved there from Detroit, but it is purely a conjecture without corroboration. Not one of his descendants have given any information about him, but the records show that he left four children - Louis Knaggs, Peter William Knaggs (who changed his name to William G Knaggs), Anne Knaggs and Alexis Knaggs.
Louis Whitmore Knaggs, the first child of George Knaggs and Elizabeth Chene Lyons, was born in Detroit, Oct 16 1796. He married Monique Sequin dit Laderoute, widow of Henry Campau, on July 17 1824. He died before 1833. They had three children, all born in Detroit. (1) Ann Knaggs, born on Aug 3 1826; lived 15 days. (2) Louis, and (3) Joseph Knaggs, twins, born Jan 1 1829. Nothing is known about the after life of these twins.
William G Knaggs, born in Detroit on sept 19 1798, was the second child of George Knaggs and Elizabeth Chene Lyons, and the grandson of George Knaggs 1st. He was baptised in Ste Anne's church as Peter Knaggs, but in boyhood added William to his name. He appeared before the Wayne probate ourt in 1815, and chose a guardian. The record in liber 1 of Wills A shows that on June 14 1815, "Peter William Knaggs, son of George Knaggs, late of Detroit, deceased, a minor under 14, in the presence of George Chene, his uncle and godfather, and with his approbation, then and there and now chooseth John Anderson, of said territory, esq., to be his guardian". Probate Judge George McDougall granted the petition. The manner in which some legal papers were drawn up in those days is well illustrated in this document. He was not "under 14" but was then over 16 years of age, and Judge McDougall was inexcusably careless in thus mistaking the age of the young man.
Peter W. was reared at Monroe in the family of his guardian, Col. John Anderson, whose wife, Elizabeth, was the sister of his father. Among other things which he learned in early manhood was the art of surveying. Old members of the Knaggs family remember him as "Billy" Knaggs, and say he was a general favorite. He subsequently changed his name to William George Knaggs. The reason for this is not known, but it was probably because his cousin, Peter Whitmore Knaggs, had the same initials as himself, and he added the George, which was his father's given name.
About 1827 he married at Monroe, in the presbyterian church, Maria Reid Clark, daughter of Dr robert Clark of Monroe, and his wife Catherine reid, who was a half sister of Col. John Anderson. As remembered by his children he was a tall, handsome man, six feet in height, and weighed 180 pounds, with light complexion, gray eyes, dark hair, straight as an Indian, and lithe and active as a cat. He was proud of his appearance, and very particular in his deportment, and was an all round man, fond of all kinds of sport; of moral habits, did not drink or gamble, and was a good conversationalist. He spoke French when with French people, and always chose them as his associates.
A few years after the marriage, William G Knaggs and his family removed to White Pigeon, Mich., where he took up land two miles south of that place, and lived in a log house. Here his youngest child, Maria Knaggs, died, and his wife followed her to the grave shortly afterward in 1839. This broke up the family, and the other children went to live in different places. He went to California, where he stayed one year and then returned east. He was engaged in surveying at Martinsfield, Ill., where he met Miss Laura Ann Letter, an estimable young lady. The acquaintance ripened into love, and they were married. She bore him one child.
In 1852 he was apparently in good health and spirits, and started for California again, as pilot for an emigrant party. But on the way he became ill, and died at Fort Laramie, Wyo., in the same year, aged about 54 years.
Wm. G. Knaggs and his wife, Maria R. Clark, had four children, Charles Knaggs, George H Knaggs, robert C Knaggs and Maria Knaggs. By his second wife he had one child named Willis Knaggs.
(1) Charles Knaggs, the eldest child, was born at Monroe, about 1828, and died at the same place, aged 18 years.
(2) George H knaggs, the second child, was born at Monroe in 1830. He accompanied his family to White pigeon, and remained there until his mother died, in 1839. His father then took him to the home of John A Clark, brother of his wife, at Freeport, Ill., where he attended school. When he was twelve years of age he went to Martinsfield and lived with his father, who had married there a second wife. He then was sent to Quincy, Ill., where he attended school for two years. Then to Keokuk, Ia., where he commenced the battle of life as a freight clerk for the Keokuk Steamship Co., when he was 18 years of age. Afterward he was successively a clerk in a store in St Louis, Mo., and a clerk on a Mississippi river steamboat. In 1852 he travelled across the plains to Oregon, and engaged in steamboating there until 1888. He was then elected county clerk of Wasco county, Ore., and served two years, and was afterward elected city recorder and school clerk of Dailes City, Ore., serving eight years. At present he is employed in the United States customs house at portland, Ore. He is now 71 years of age, hale and hearty, and believes the world has treated him very well. In 1852 he married Juliet Caldwell at Francesville, Mo. She was the daughter of the late Dr. Caldwell, of St Louis, Mo. Two children: (1) Leslie Knaggs, born at Dalles City, Ore., in 1863, died unmarried in British Columbia in 1899, aged 36 years. (2) Florence Knaggs, married David Vance, apinter and merchant, of Dalles, Ore. She had two children. Marmaduke Vance and Naomi Vance, both unmarried.
(3) Robert Clark Knaggs, third child of William G Knaggs and Maria Reid Clark, was born in a log house on Indian prairie, two miles south of White Pigeon, Mich., in 1837. He knew very little about his father. When his mother died in 1839 he was 2 years of age, and was taken by his mother's sister, Mrs Ann Eliza Kellogg, at White Pigeon, and reared there until he was 15. He became a railroad man in 1852, commencing as a brakeman and rising to conductor on the Terre Haut & Alton railroad in 1857. Went to Texas and was with the Overland Mail Co. in that state until the fall of 1860. Came back to Michigan and enlisted in 1861 as private in Co. D. 7th Michigan infantry. Promoted to sergeanr-major, second and first lieutenant; taken prisoner on the first day's fight at Gettysburg in 1863 and confined in Libby prison until released on March 7 1864. He then returned to the army, veteranised, was brevetted captain on March 13 1865 for gallant services and was honorably discharged on Sept 16 1865. He went to Chicago and engaged with Grey, Clarke & Engle., wholesale leather dealers, Chicago. After the big fire in 1871, he removed to Terre Haute, Ind., then to Chicago. St. Paul, Chicago again, and Sheboygan, Wis., and then retrned to Chicago. Became manager of the Libby prison war museum until 1892. During the World's fair in 1893 he managed two hotels in Chicago. His last occupation was with the Hartford Life Insurance Co., and he is a special agent of that company at the present time. His home is at Evanston, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. He married Miss Laura Stone, of Chicago, on Jan 18 1871 and they had three children as follows: (1) Geo. B Knaggs, born in Terre Haut. (2) Laura M Knaggs, born on Cheboygan, unmarried; lives with her parents. (3) Robin B Knaggs, born in Chicago, in 1886; lives with his parents.
(4) Maria Knaggs, the fourth child of William G knaggs, was born about 1839, at White Pigeon, Mich., and died the same year.
(5) Willis Knaggs, son of his second wife, Laura Ann Letter, died unmarried during the war of the rebellion aged about 22 years.
Anne Knaggs, third child of George Knaggs and Elizabeth Chene Lyons, was born at Detroit in 1800: married Louis Campau in 1818, in St Anne's church. Louis was a son of Louis Campau and There Mora. Anne dies on April 10 1824, aged about 24 years. No Children. Her husband married Sophie Marsac 16 months after her death on Aug 9 1825.
Alexis Knaggs, who was the ypungest child of George Knaggs and Elizabeth Chene Lyons, and grandson of george Knaggs 1st, was born at River Raisin (Monroe), in 1802. His first avocation was that of an Indian trader, and he worked as a clerk for one of his uncles. In Detroit he became acquainted with Archange Morin, daughter of Isidore Morin and Archange Meloche, who lived on what is now known as the Church farm. Morin was a tanner, and his residence and tannery was on land which fronted on the Detroit river, a short distance above Beller's hotel, on Jefferson avenue, where the shops of the detroit Yacht and Power Co.'s works are now situated. Alexis married Archange Morin in ste Anne's church, in 1825, and their first children were twins, who were born on Sept 6 1825 at the Morin dwelling on the river.
When very young the twins were left in the care of Elizabeth Lyons, daughter of George Lyons, an Englishman, and a merchant in Detroit, and Elizabeth Chene. The latter, after the death of George Lyon, married George Knaggs.
Elizabeth Lyons was a maiden lady of a serious turn of mind, who took great interest in church work and education. She taught in the Ste Anne church school, on the River road, near the foot of Eighteenth street, detroit, and was there at the time of the surrender of detroit in 1812. She subscribed more than she could afford for the erection of Ste Anne's church, at the corner of Bates and Larned streets, and even scaled fish at the river fisheries, to earn more money for that purpose. Being a half-sister of Alexis Knaggs, she adopted his twin children, Elizabeth and Archange Knaggs, and they lived with her until they were grown up. Elizabeth Lyons, with Miss Elizabeth Williams, sister of John B Williams, and Miss Monique Labadie, who afterward married Antoine Beaubien, conducted a school which stood on the east side of Randolph street, between Larned and Congress streets, where Chope's carriage factory and a laundry are now situated. She lived with her twin nieces in the same building.
She afterward removed to a house on the south side of Jefferson avenue, where the Biddle house now stands, the second house east of Randolph street, and here her neice, Archange, was married to Henry Berthelet, in 1844. Miss Lyons afterward went to live with Mrs Antoine Beaubien, whose house stood on Jefferson avenue, where the Sacred Heart convent now stands, and there her neice, Elizabeth Knaggs, was married in 1850 to Charles J Trombly, the nephew of Antoine Beaubien and the business manager of his estate.
Alexis Knaggs settled on a farm in Erie township, Monroe county, and also owned a 120-acre farm in redford township, Wayne county. Little is remembered of his personality. Peter Trabbic, Erie township, an octogenarian, who is his son-in-law, says that during the flush times that preceded the panic of 1837, Alexis purchased an island, which is still called Knaggs's island, in Erie township, on the shore of Lake Erie, and afterward sold it for a profit of some $5,000. The island contains about 70 acres of good land. Alexis Knaggs died in 1855, on his farm in Erie township. He and Archange Morin had 11 children as follows:
(1) Elizabeth Knaggs, born on Sept 6 1825, married Charles J Trombly, May 13 1850, and died Feb 27 1901. Seven children- (1) Charles Knaggs Trombly, ex-receiver of taxes, Detroit, married Mary Wren. Three children, Charles J Trombly, Adele Trombly and Maxim Trombly, of whom only Charles J survives. (2) Eliza Antoinette Trombly, married Peter Chene, Detroit. Three children, Charles Chene, Ella Chene and Clyde Chene. The last named died in infancy. (3) Maxin Alexander Trombly, photographer, Detroit, married Della M Todd, of Detroit. Five children- Marie Trombly, Harry Trombly, Florence Trombly, Aldine Trombly and Pearl Trombly. The last named died in infancy. (4) May Helena Trombly, died July 10 1865, aged eight months. (5) Theodore Sylvester Trombly, (6) Albert Trombly, and (7) Ella Archange Trombly, live with their father. All Elizabeth Knaggs Trombly's children live in Detroit, and her husband still survives.
(2) Archange Knaggs, twin sister of Elizabeth, married Henry Berthelet, grandson of Peter Berthelet, who built a market in the southwest corner of Atwater and Randolph Streets, Detroit, in 1823. They both reside in Detroit. Their only child, Charles A Berthelet, died in Milwaukee in 1898, aged 51 years, and was buried in Mt Elliott cemetery in Detroit.
(3) Timothy Knaggs, farmer, Erie township, Monroe county, married Jeanette Rau, and had eight children as follows; Elizabeth Knaggs, married Eli Jacobs, farmer, Erie township, eight children; a twin sister of Jeanette died in infancy; Esther Knaggs, married David Grodi, blacksmith, Whiteford township, Monroe county, eight childen; Archange Knaggs, married Peter Peet, farmer, Erie township, no children; Louis Knaggs, laundry proprieter, Cleveland, O., married Stella Cousino, one child; Alexander Knaggs, machinist, West Toledo, married Celia Montri, nine children; Alice Knaggs, married Peter Nelson, painter, Ironville, O., two children; John Knaggs, section boss, Toledo & Monroe railway, married Ella Weissinger, three children; Adeline Knaggs, married Frank Perry, farmer, Erie township, six chldren; Annie Knaggs, married Rossie Cousino, clerk, Toledo. Mrs Jeanette Rau Knaggs died in 1873. Timothy Knaggs married a second wife, Virginia Dusault, and had two more children, Addie Knaggs, who married Samuel Crummit, farmer, Whiteford township, one child, Pearl Cummit. Her husband died and she married Flaget Rousseau, one child, Loretta Rousseau. Clyde Knaggs, the second child by the second marriage, is a school boy in Whiteford Center.
(4) Isadore Knaggs, farmer, Erie township, was born on Feb 15 1829, and died on June 27 1887, in his 59th year. He married Angeline Cousino on Nov 28 1851 and to them were born 13 children of whom nine survive, as follows; (1) Robert Knaggs, died in infancy. (2) Sarah Knaggs, married Moses Lavoy, farmer, Bedford township, Monroe county; 10 children - Guy Lavoy, Louis Lavoy, George Lavoy, Adeline Lavoy, Charles Lavoy, Harry Lavoy, Gertrude Lavoy, Julia Lavoy, Eurdie Lavoy; the first five died of diphtheria in 1892. (3) Alexis B Knaggs, Toledo, married Alice Reau; five children - Joseph Knaggs, Ida Knaggs, Leo Knaggs, Samuel Knaggs and Victor Knaggs. (4) Maxim Knaggs, teamster, Erie township, Monroe county, married Millie Suller; eight children, of whom five died in infancy, and the survivors are Louis Knaggs, Raymond Knaggs and Lucy Knaggs. (5) Victor Knaggs, section man on Ann Arbor railroad, unmarried. (6) Dennis Knaggs, farmer, Erie township, married Josephine Perry; six children - Isidore Knaggs, Mabel Knaggs, Lottie Knaggs, Walter Knaggs, Clarie Knaggs, Mercedes Knaggs. (7) Ellen Knaggs, married Benjamin Robideau, farmer, Erie township; nine children - Lettie Robideau, Vida Robideau, Isidore Robideau, Blanche Robideau, Elsie Robideau, Annetta Robideau, Eva Robideau, Bernard Robideau, Linus Robideau. The third child, Isidore, died in infancy. (8) Millie Knaggs, died in infancy. (9) Annie Knaggs, married William Sussior, workman in oil refinery at East Toledo. (10) Joseph Knaggs, died in infancy. (11) Lorenzo Knaggs, teamster, Erie township, married Lillian Angel; five children - Irene Knaggs, Earl Knaggs, Harel Knaggs, Flossy Knaggs and Louisa Knaggs. (12) Riggie Knaggs, died, aged 2 years. (13) Julia Knaggs, unmarried. Mrs Isadore Knaggs still survives and lives with her son Victor and daughter Julia.
(5) Peter Knaggs, farmer, erie township, was born about 1831, and died of dyspepsia, Sept 7 1900, in his sixty-ninth year. He married Mary Labadie in 1864. Nine children, of whom eight survive as follows; (1) Noah Knaggs, corn and hay buyer for the L. S. Dillenback Co. Erie, Monroe county, unmarried. (2) Abraham Knaggs, blacksmith, Erie, unmarried. (3) Annie Knaggs, died, aged 2 years. (4) Salestine Knaggs, works in Erie, unmarried. (5) Ezbedia (Zebediah?) Knaggs, farmer, Erie township, unmarried. (6) John Knaggs, farmer, Erie, unmarried. (7) Pauline Knaggs married Henry Lapointe; three children - Birdene Lapointe and Earl Lapointe. Ben died aged 2 years. (8) Mary Knaggs, unmarried. (9) Elizabeth Knaggs, unmarried. Mrs Peter Knaggs still survives, and resides in her home in Erie with her son Abraham, and her daughters Mary and Elizabeth.
(6) Richard Knaggs, farmer, Erie township, married Julia Perry, and had 10 children, of whom eight survive. (1) Christopher J Knaggs, Michigan Central railroad engineer, Detroit, married Cordelia Lemary, 12 children of whom 11 survive - Elizabeth Knaggs, Leo Knaggs, Cornelius Knaggs, Loretta Knaggs, Clayton Knaggs, Beulah Knaggs, Aloysius Knaggs, Rowland Knaggs, Gilbert Knaggs, Elwood Knaggs and Durward Knaggs. The third child, Cornelius Knaggs, graduated on June 21, 1901, at St Joseph's Commercial College and has since joined the Order of Christian Brothers. He is now at Amawalk, N.Y. The other 10 children live with their parents. Clyde Knaggs died in 1890 in his third year. (2) Agnes Knaggs married George Archer, Battle Creek, one child - a boy. Both her husband and child died, and her present residence is unnown. (3) Lambert Knaggs, Wabash railroad engineer, married Christina Dickson. One child, Lambert Knaggs. (4) James Knaggs, farmer, Bedford township, Monroe county, married Carrie Currn. No children. (5) Adolph Knaggs, farmer, Bedford township, unmarried. (6) Charles Knaggs, farmer, La Salle township, married twice. His first wife was Ellen Leonard. Twi children - William Knaggs and Marie Knaggs. His second wife was Mary Londrow. No children. (7) Madore Knaggs, married Bazile Cousino, farmer, Deerfield, Mich. Four children - Ruth Cousino, Gertrude Cousino, Della Cousino, and Lynn Cousino. (8) Addie Knaggs, married Hector De Grasse, toledo, O. Two children - Harry De Grasse and Clara De Grasse.
(7) Caroline Knaggs married Peter Trabbic, farmer, Erie township, on Sept 27 1845, and died on Oct 22 1880. Peter Trabbic is a native of Italy, and is one of the most prominent farmers in Monroe county. He is the owner of over 700 acres of Michigan's best soil, all located in Erie and Bedford townships, in that county. To the above union 11 children were born as follows: (1) Samuel Trabbic, farmer, Bedford township, married Sarah Morin. Five children - Dooley Trabbic, Carrie Trabbic, Obed Trabbic, Guy Trabbic and Millie Trabbic. (2) Elizabeth Trabbic married James Morin, farmer, Erie township. Twelve children - Tobias Morin, Sarah Morin, Arthur Morin, Blendena Morin, Lot Morin, Bernardetta Morin, Leo Morin, Mabel Morin, Joan Morin, Adelmer Morin and one child who died in infancy. Tobias, the eldest son, is a graduate of the University of Ottawa, Canada, of the class of 1901. Both he and his brother Arthur, the third child, are studying for the preiesthood at Montreal, Que. (3) William Trabbic, farmer, Erie township, married Susan Robideau. Six children - Gertie Trabbic, Guy Trabbic, Edith Trabbic, Ruby Trabbic, May Trabbic and Winnifred Trabbic. William Trabbic died on March 4 1888. (4) John B Trabbic, farmer, Erie township, married Lulu Moross. Five children - Dean Trabbic, Mabel Trabbic, Grace Trabbic, James Trabbic and Hazel Trabbic. (5) Matilda Trabbic married Jerome Cousino, farmer, Berlin township. Twelve chidren - Eliza E Cousino, Isadore G Cousino, Joseph G Cousino, Mary S Cousino, Linus P Cousino, Clara M Cousino, Arthur I Cousino, Elman L Cousino, Valerie V Cousino, Pascal T Cousino, Tresley E Cousino and Leo O Cousino. (6) Agnes Trabbic married Samuel Carron, farmer, Erie township. Seven children - Clelus Carron, Linos Carron, Loretta Carron, Clifford Carron, Elwood Carron and Walter Carron. Linos was a twin brother of Clelus, and died aged 8 months. (7) Victor M Trabbic, farmer, Erie township, married Adeline Lapointe. Six children - Ralston Trabbic, Pearl Trabbic, Marie Trabbic, Ashton Trabbic, Ilene Trabbic and Orlando Trabbic. Ralston died aged 2 years. (8) James Trabbic died at St Vincent Hospital at Toldeo O., aged 7 years. (9) Flaget Henry Trabbic, farmer, Erie township, is a prominent politician, and was chairman of the Monroe county board of supervisors at the age of 29. He married Martha A Lehr. One child - Gladys Trabbic. (10) Albert Trabbic died in infancy. (11) Israel Joseph Trabbic, farmer, Erie township, married Josie Reau. Three children - Alta Trabbic, Ruth Trabbic and Ollie Trabbic. All Peter Trabbic's children are farmers and reside in Monroe county. Four of the above-mentioned grand-children of Caroline Knaggs Trabbic: Nillie, daughter of Samuel Trabbic; Pearl, daughter of Victor M Trabbic, and Grace and Hazel, daughters of John B Trabbic, are pupils at St Mary's academy, Monroe, Mich.
(8) Mary Knaggs married Gilbert Cousino, farmer, Bedford township. Nine children: (1) Alexis Cousino, farmer, Bedford township, married Ann Deshelter, four children. (2) Elizabeth Cousino, married Daniel Lapointe, seven children. (3) Jerome Cousino, farmer, Bedford township, unmarried. (4) Annie Cousino, married John Lapointe, farmer, Bedford township, five children. (5) Richard Cousino died unmarried in 1896 aged 30 years. (6) Thomas Cousino, accidentally drowned at Toledo, in June 1900, unmarried. (7) Flaget Cousino, farmer, Jackson county, Michigan, married and has one child. (8) Adolph Cousino, farmer, Bedford township, unmarried. (9) Rose Cousino, unmarried.
(9) Zoe Knaggs married Isaac Benore, farmer, Bedford township. Five children: (1) Alexis Benore, farmer near St Louis, Mo., married; number of children unknown. (2) Lucy Benore, married Gilbert Lewis, farmer, North Dakota, seven children. (3) Estelle Benore, died unmarried, of typhoid fever in 1895. (4) Peter Benore, killed by a runaway accident about 1882, unmarried. (5) Henry Benore, died young. Isaac Benore died in 1887 and his wife afterward married Isaac Londreau, teamster, Pamperville, near Toledo. Two children: (6) Isaac Londreau, married Mary Deschetler, and died in 1899; no children. (7) Clarissa Londreau, married Al Orcutt, hotelkeeper, Toledo; no children.
(10) Eliza Knaggs married Benjamin Suller, farmer, Bedford township, in 1846. She died on April 19 1872. Eight children. One child had died before that time, and within 14 months and little boy and a girl 15 years old followed their mother to the grave. In June 1874, the father also died. The five surviving children are Archange Suller, Pauline Suller, Emma Suller, David Suller and Benjamin Suller. When Benjamin Suller Sr. was on his death-bed he requested his parents to take care of his children, and they granted his wish, and reared them until they reached maturity. (1) Archange Suller, the oldest, married David Anteou, of Toledo, eight children, all of whom died but two, James Anteou and Thos Anteou. (2) Pauline Suller married Dennis Duval, farmer, erie township, who afterward became a locomotive engineer and went to New Mexico, but returned, and is now a farmer at Deerfield. Six children: Effie Duval and Elnora Duval died in infancy; Heuston Duval, Lerot Duval, May Duval and Ethel Duval. (3) Emma Suller married Jas Cartwright, barber, Toledo O. Her husband died, leaving one child, Bertha Cartwright, who also died when she was 14 years old, on April 23 1900. The widow lives in Toledo, O. (4) David Suller, engineer on the Santa Fe railroad, New Mexico, married Libby Duval, sister of Dennis Duval. Five children: Leo Suller, who died aged 18 months; Lolesious Suller, Carnot Suller and David Suller. (5) Benjamin Suller, engineer on the Santa Fe railroad, New Mexico, married Sadie Cook; three children, one of whom died.
(11) Nancy Knaggs was born at Erie, Monroe county, in 1833, and in 1850, at the age of 17, married John Desheter at the same place. She was married but a few months when her husband died. No children came from their union. She them married Alexis Duquett, carpenter and cabinet maker, who belonged to one of the best known French families of Wood county, Ohio. The moved to Mud Creek, O., near Fremont, where they lived for many years. Her husband served as a private in the civil war, and was honourably discharged at its close. Seven children - (1) Alexis Duquett, Jr., died when he was 4 years of age. (2) Richard Duquett, a successful farmer, Bowling Green, O., married Lydia Ann Leaver, of german descent, of Wood county, O. Nine children - William Duquett, Daniel Duquett, James Duquett, Della Duquett, Celesta Duquett, Floyd Duquett, Noah Duquett, Clara Duquett and Minnie Duquett. The two latter are now being educated at St Mary's academy in Monroe, Michigan. (3) Ellen Duquett married Alcinus Mercer, a wealthy farmer and oil speculator, of Digby, Wood county, O. Four children - Rose May Mercer, who married Harry Garber and had two children; Libbie Mercer, Norma Mercer and Lloyd Mercer. (4) Werhe Duquett, died of sunstroke, aged 6 years. (5) Maxim A Duquett, portrait and animal painter, Monroe, Mich., married Clara B Rousello, of French descent, at Monroe. Three children - Fern Duquett, Nonia Duquett and Waldon Max Duquett. (6) William Duquett, builder and contractor, Deshler, Wood county, Ohio, married Libbie Adele King. Seven children - Lulu Pear Duquett, Ivro Dezvan Duquett, Clara Ethel Duquett, Alva J Duquett, Bertha Ellen Duquett, Ralph N Duquett and Laura May Duquett. (7) Elizabeth Duquett, died in infancy.
Elizabeth Knaggs, daughter of George Knaggs 1st and Rachel Sly, was born at Miami on Jan 4, 1772, and was baptised at L'Assumption church (Huron mission) in Sandwich, opposite Detroit, on the 26th of the same month. The places of her birth and baptism were in British territory, until 1796, as was also the place on the Maumee river, where her parents lived for many years. She was married at Miami to John Anderson, of Scotland.
She is remembered as being a tall, handsome woman when in her prime, with a fair complexion and dark, auburn hair. The color of her hair was hardly changed by advanced age, and when she died was only slightly mixed with silver.
John Anderson, her husband, who afterward became a prominent citizen og Monroe and Michigan, was born in a village near Glasgow, Scotland, on August 20 1771, and while a young boy came with his parents to America, settling first in Montreal. About 1800 he came to Maumee to trade with the Indians, and was successful in business. The first child was born at the foot of the Maumee rapids in 1802.
About 1807 the family removed to Frenchtown, now Monroe, on the river Raisin, and John Anderson was engaged in business there except during two years of the war of 1812-15, until the day he died in 1840.
In 1807 he applied to the supreme court of the territory to be made a citizen of the United States, and was admitted to citizenship on Sept 26.
Col. Anderson was about six feet in hight, with a strong muscular frame, and weighed about 200 pounds. He had a very slight Scottish accent, and was of medium complexion, clean shaven, well dressed, frank and outspoken in conversation, was a very pleasant man, courteous, obliging and public spirited character, and a stout whig. He took considerable interest in military affairs, and in 1805 he was appointed by Governor Hall as colonel of the second regiment of territorial militia, several companies of which were raised at Monroe and the surrounding country. One of the lieutenants in his regiment was Thomas Knaggs, and one of his ensigns was James Knaggs. In the First regiment, raised principally at Detroit and the territory north of that place, Whitmore Knaggs was one of the lieutenants. All these three were the brothers of his wife. He was United States marshal of the territory of Michigan in 1811 and 1812.
After the surrender of Detroit on Aug. 16 1812, the prominence of Col. Anderson marked him for vengeance. The British Indians, of whom Tecumesh was the leader, sought to secure the reward offered for his apprehension, and he was finally captured, but escaped, and made his way to Dayton, O., where he engaged in business. There he learned next year that his wife and three children had been butchered at the time of the massacre of the Kentucky troops at the Raisin.
Meanwhile his family, at Monroe, went through some harrowing experiences. At the massacre of the Raisin on January 22 1813, his wife and children were in their own house. Mrs Anderson sat on a chest, which contained some $800 or $900 in gold and silver, and this she determined to defend, and not even the prescence of the bloodthirsty red men would induce her to seek safety in flight. Her son, alexander Duncan Anderson, then about three years of age, sat in her lap. Several Indians came into the store, and one upraised his tomahawk and bade her rise.
"I won't" said the plucky lady.
"If you don't get up I kill you" said the Indian.
He then put his hand on her head, and drew a circular line around it, to show where he would scalp her, and flourished his tomahawk with deadly significance. But the Knaggs blood showed itself in Mrs Anderson.
"If you are a brave Indian, you can tomahawk me now" she said, sarcastically and defiantly, opening her dress in front to receive the threatened blow.
The red man apprecietes and admires courage even in his bitterest enemy, and the defiance of the white woman filled this savage with admiration. He put up his tomahawk, caught her by the hand, and said:
"You brave squaw; me not kill you."
The Indians left the house, and as speedily as possible she procured a horse and traineau, or sleigh, and loaded the money and other valuables on it, and on her person. Then, accompanied by her three little children - two sons and a daughter, she drove to Detroit. Here she rented a house, kept boarders for a time, and supported her family. Only military correspondence was allowed to pass the lines in detroit, and she did not learn of her husband's whereabouts for some time, but when she did she proceeded with her children to Dayton, where he welcomed her as one from the dead.
Her experience in leaving Monroe and going to Detroit was similar to that of her mother. Elizabeth, however, left of her own will, while her mother was ordered away by Gen. Proctor.
When the war ended Anderson and his family returned to Monroe. He found his property destroyed and his store burned to the ground, and he had to commence life again. He had numerous friends, and being of an energetic nature, he was soon on his feet again. He was a natural linguist and was able to converse in no less than 11 Indian dialects, and familiar with the habits and ways of the aborigines. He was quite popular also with them, and obtained a large share of their trade, which was quite profitable. They came to him for counsel and advice in their dealings with the government, and he protected their interests by his influence. He also went to Washington at his own expense and enlisted government aid for orphans and others whose property had been destroyed by the war. A few years after 1815, he received a request from detroit to further the work of disinterring the remains of Kentucky soldiers who had massacred at the battle of the Raisin. He took charge of the affair and the bodies were removed to Detroit, where they were reburied in the soldiers' cemetery, part of which is now covered by the Moffat building on Griswold street. In November 1817, these remains were taken to Kentucky and again buried by the government of that state, with appropriate ceremonies.
Col. Anderson got into trouble at Washington in 1818. The first mention of the case appears in the National Intelligencer in february of that year. He wrote to Lewis Williams, a congressman for North Carolina, that he had claims against the United States for damages done to property at the River Raisin by the British and Indians in the war of 1812-15, and that if he (Williams) would push the claim he would give him $500. Williams laid the letter before the house of representatives. Anderson was then arrested and was confined for several days. He prepared a well-written defence, relating the horrible massacre at Frenchtown, the distress and poverty of the citizens, and the fact that he represented them in his application for relief. In the newspaper account the character of the man, his withered cheeks, gray hair and his record as a soldier in the defence of his adopted country, were referred to. The house saw it was not a case of bribery, but simply ignorance of the law, that actuated the colonel, so he was only reprimanded and discharged.
The latter portion of Col. Anderson's life was peaceful and prosperous. Held in high esteem by his fellow citizens, he was chosen to fill several offices of honour and trust, which he administered with capability and integrity. He was one of the share-holders of the Bank of Michigan in 1818, and 1821 was appointed by Gov. Cass one of the 20 trustees of the University of Michigan, then located in Detroit. He served several years on the bench of Monroe, and was chief justice of that county in 1827.
On June 11 1840, a great whig mass meeting was held at Gen. William Henry Harrison's old battleground at Fort Meigs. The general himself, then a candidate for the presidency, was present. The attendance was very large, and embraced whigs from nearly every state in the union. Five steamboats, with 2,000 persons on board, left Detroit on the previous day, and these were in attendance, and the crowd to hear the speeches numbered fully 20,000. Of course, Gen. Anderson was present, and the exposure, notwithstanding the mildness of the weather, shortened his life. He contracted a severe cold, and this ended in his death, on July 3, 1840.
Col. John Anderson and Elizabeth Knaggs had three children, John Washington Anderson, Alexander Duncan Anderson and Eliza Anderson.
John Washington Anderson was born at the Maumee Rapids on May 29 1802 and was 2 years of age when the family moved to Frenchtown, now Monroe. When he grew up he went into business with his father in Monroe. In 1826 he was married to Jane Stewart Clark at Monroe on June 15 1826 by Jabez Chickering, a justice of the peace, there being no protestant clergyman nearer than Detroit at that time. His wife, who is still living (Jan 1902), in her 91st year, at her residence in Monroe, is the daughter of the late Dr Robert Clark and his wife, Catherine Reid of Monroe. The latter was a half sister of Col. John Anderson. Mrs Jane Stewart Clark Anderson was born at Stamford, Delaware county, N.Y., and was then a beautiful young lady of 15 years of age, with a rosy complexion, black hair and bright blue eyes. She was popular in society, being amiable, cheerful and vivacious, with marked decision of character, and had the rare merit of making and keeping firm friends. Both husband and wife were true christians and members of the presbyterian church.
In 1837 the family moved to White Pigeon, Mich., where he took up land and cultivated a farm, and was the first county clerk of St Joseph county. He was in a fair way of becoming a prosperous man, but was persuaded by his parents to return to Monroe. In the latter place he followed several vocations of a clerical character and also followed the mercantile business, by which he accumulated a modest competence. But in an unlucky hour he signed a note for a friend and became his surety. The friend failed to pay; in paying the surety he lost his all. This so depressed him in mind and spirits that he never succeeded in regaining the lost ground. His last situation was as a confidential clerk for Wm H Boyd, who was proprietor of a large hardware store in Monroe, and while serving him he died in 1855. In speaking of him after his death, Mr Boyd said he was a true and faithful man, who, he thought, had not an enemy in the world.
John Washington Anderson was of medium hight and slight build, with blue eyes and curly auburn hair, fair complexion, and very fine teeth, and was genial, sympathetic and obliging, fond of company and of hunting and of aquatic sports; spoke French fluently and could converse in Indian dialects. All the French people of Monroe thought no one was so fine as "m'sieur Johnny" as they called him. He was kind and generous to the poor and unfortunate, and there are some living today who owe to him all that they are and have. He was a man of integrity and was also a mechanical genius.
(1) Edwin Ruthven Anderson, the oldest child of John Washington Anderson, was born at Monroe on April 12 1827. He learned the molders' trade in Monroe and Detroit. He married Isabel Caswel in Detroit, but left her there to work at his trade in Mexico, where he died. They had one child, Frederick Anderson, but it is not known where his wife or child are at present or whether they are living.
(2) Catherine Elizabeth Anderson was born at White Pigeon, Mich., in 1830. She married Thomas a Sayre, merchant, of South Lyon, Mich. No children. She lives with her husband at South Lyon.
(3) Leslie Telfare Anderson was born at White Pigeon, Mich., on July 26 1832. He was for a long time a railroad express messenger. He never married, and now lives with his mother at Monroe.
(4) Jane Estelle Anderson was born at Monroe on March 7 1838, and married Wm H mitchell, merchant, of Freeport, Ill. Mr Mitchell was subsequently a banker in the same place; chief deputy U S marshal at Chicago for four years during the Cleveland administration, and was chief clerk in the office of the secretary of state at Springfield, Ill. He is now again a merchant at Freeport, Ill. Two children: Wm Thornton Mitchell, married, who died in 1887, aged 26, leaving one son James B Mitchell; and Robert Bruce Mitchell, lawyer, at present attorney of Freeport, Ill., in second term, and who has one child, Bruce Mitchell.
(5) John Clark Anderson was born at Monroe on Dec 11 1842. He enlisted in the Seventh Michigan infantry, served in the war of the rebellion until 1865, and was honorably discharged as liutenant. He never married, and died at Monroe of sickness caused by exposure and other hardships of army life.
(6) William Ernest Anderson was born at Monroe on Sept 8 1845. In 1861 he enlisted in the Fifteenth Michigan infantry, was present at the battle of Shilohand other engagements, and was promoted to corporal. He died of broken health at Monroe in 1862 in his seventeenth year.
(7) Mary Emma Anderson was born at Monroe on Aug 29 1849. She never married, and lives with her mother at Monroe.
(8) Charles Burton Anderson was born at Monroe on June 25 1852. He was a painter. He visited Wisconsin, where he contracted consumption and came home to Monroe. He afterward went to the house of his sister, Mrs Sayre, at South Lyon, and died there in 1885. He never married.
Alexander Duncan Anderson was born at Monroe on Jan 4 1810 and was baptised at St Anne's church, Detroit, on Oct 21 1812. He was in delicate health all his life, being afflicted with spinal disease, but had a brilliant mind and fine intellectual attainments. He studied law and became an excellent lawyer, and served as justice of the peace and judge of probate of Monroe county. He married Eliza Phillips at Monroe and they had one child, a son, named Wing Anderson, who died in infancy. Alexander died at Monroe on Dec 20 1869, in his sixtieth year, and his wife died about 1877.
Eliza Anderson was born at Frenchtown (Monroe) on Dec 17 1808. She married Warner Wing in Monroe in 1831, The Wing family, with which the Knaggs family became connected, is one of the most distinguished in southern Michigan. Warner Wing was the younger brother of Austin E Wing, a native of Massachusetts, who came to Detroit in 1814; entered the law office of Gov. Woodbridge; sheriff of Wayne county, from 1816 to 1825; delegate in congress from Michigan in 1825-9, and in 1831-3; two terms regent of the university and held several other offices of trust and honor. Talcott Wing, son of Austin E., was a leading attotney in Monroe county, and his sons Charles R wing and Austin E wing, are prominent bankers in Monroe and Detroit respectively.
Warner Wing, who married Eliza Anderson, daughter of Elizabeth Knaggs Anderson, was a native of Marietta, O., where he was born in 1805. He went to Detroit in 1817, where his brother was sheriff of Wayne county, and remained there several years. He studied for the bar in the office of William woodford, in Detroit, and in a law school in Northampton, Mass. In 1828 he removed to Monroe, and remained there until he died. In 1840 he went into partnership with ex-Gov. Robert McClelland, and the connection until he went upon the bench of the circuit court. He was circuit court judge from 1845 to 1851, and chief justice of the Michigan supreme court in 1852-4.
Mrs Eliza Anderson Wing died at Monroe, on Dec 16 1854. She had ten children as follows:
(1) Mary Wing, born at Monroe, Mich., May 9 1832. She resided at Monroe until her father's death, and is now employed in one of the government departments at Washington, D.C. Unmarried
(2) Elizabeth Wing, born at Monroe Sept 7 1833; married April 18 1855, to Geo. B Dickinson, druggist, of Detroit, afterward a grain commission merchant of Chicago, and who died on Aug 15 1901. Six children - (1) Warner Dickinson, born Aug 18 1857, agent of Aetna Life Insurance Co., Chicago. (2) Burt Dickinson, born Feb 10 1859, died Jan 6 1861. (3) Helen Boardman Dickinson, born Oct 11 1860, died March 16 1861. (4) Kate Wing Dickinson, born April 6 1861; married Dr A C Haven, Lake Forest, Ill., Sept 17 1884; children - Elizabeth Wing Haven, born Oct 10 1885, Erastus Otis Haven, born Dec 22 1889, Alfred Coled Haven, born Feb 19 1886. (5) Mary Dickinson, born Nov 23 1862; died Feb 14 1885. (6) Aurelia Dickinson, born May 11 1866; died Nov 29 1882.
(3) Catherine wing, born at Monroe, Sept 6 1834; married Joseph H Hunter, attorney, Washington, D.C. and now resides there. No children.
(4) Helen Wing, born at Monroe, Oct 5 1835; married Nov 3 1864, George B Boardman, son of Rev George Boardman, of Syracuse N.Y. Lives at Evanston, Ill. Two daughters - Sarah Drayton Boardman, born Apr 11 1866, who married Rev Wm. Gardiner of Windsor, Wis., Sept 1890, and Belle Wing Boardman, born May 12 1876.
(5) Francis Wing, born at Monroe, March 13 1838; died April 23 1839.
(6) Anderson Wing, born at Monroe, July 14 1843; practiced law in that city and died there in January 1880. Unmarried.
(7) Warner Wing, born at Monroe, Oct 8 1844; died April 9 1845.
(8) Belle Wing, born at Monroe, Jan 31, 1851. Married Charles Cushman Lake, grain commission merchant, Chicago, Ill. Formerly resided at Evanston, Ill., but now resides at Colorado Springs, Col. Children - Anita Wing Lake, born at Evanston Jan 2 1878; Lois Mabel Lake, born at Denver, Colo., March 7 1879, died Sept 9 1879; Carl Wing Lake, born at Denver, June 4 1881, died May 25 1882. Mrs Belle wing Lake is employed at rescue work.
(9 and 10) Two other children died young.
Anne Knaggs was the fourth child of George Knaggs 1st and Rachel Sly; was born at Maumee on Jan 11 1777, and was baptised at Sandwich. In the birth record, which may be read in the Church of the Assumption, it is set down that she came from the "legitimate marriage of George Knaggs and Rachel Sly." In the birth record of Elizabeth Knaggs, her older sister, it is noted that she was the child "of her father and mother in illegitimate marriage." This of course means that Rachel Knaggs had married a protestant, but that after the birth of Elizabeth and before the birth of Anne, the father had joined the catholic church. No record except that of her birth can be found, and she probably died young.
Rebecca Knaggs, fifth child of george Knaggs 1st and Rachel Sly, was baptised at Sandwich, in the church of L'Assumption, in 1778. She was born on the Maumee river, some eight miles above Toledo. As remembered by Samuel May, son of James May, now in his eighty-third year, she was a large, good-looking young woman of athletic tastes, and a good swimmer. She had light, sandy hair, and a blond complexion, with a friendly, hearty manner, and was quite frank and outspoken. The date of her marriage to Capt. Joseph May, brother of James May, has not been ascertained, but it must have been about the beginning of 1816. At that time Angus MacIntosh was a member of the Northwestern Fur Co.and one of its warehouses was on the Detroit river, in what is now the city of Windsor and close to the town of Walkerville. MacIntosh had built there a mansion, which is still standing, which, like all the old fur traders' houses, was a center of lavish hospitality. In front was a dock, distillery, grist windmill, warehouses and a shipyard. In the latter two two-masted schooners were built. Judge James May was interested with him in these ventures. A skipper being needed for one of the boats, James May wrote to his old home in Warwickshire, England, and invited his brother, Joseph, to come to Detroit and be its captain. Joseph, who was a seafaring man, crossed the ocean and came to Detroit. He found his brother James married to Marguerite Labadie, twin sister of Josette Labadie, who was the wife of Whitmore Knaggs. He thus became acquainted with Rebecca, the sister of Whitmore, and married her, after a short acquaintance. Meanwhile, the two boats were being finished and fitted out. At her last visit to the boat of which her husband was to command, Rebecca's nose began to bleed.
"You might as well give up Capt. May," she said to her husband, as she held a bloody handkerchief to her face. "This is the third time I have come on board your boat, and each time have got the nose bleed. Don't you go out on her, for you'll never come home alive."
This, of course, was said in a spirit of fun, and her husband laughed. Strange to say, her prophecy came true. Both boats left at the same time with cargoes of skins and other merchandise. After reaching Buff?alo they unloaded and took on cargoes of supplies for the return trip. Both kept company on Lake erie coming back North of Sandusky, O., and in ptoximity to each other, are three islands named Middle Sister, West Sister and East Sister respectively. A hurricane came up and both boats were wrecked on one of these islands. The captain and crew of the other boat were saved, but Capt. May and his crew all found watery graves. He and his mate were the only white men on board, the crew being all colored men.
When the sad news reached Rebecca she was prostrated with grief, but quickly recovering, she determined to find the remains of her husband. She procured a big yawl boat and a crew, and coasted around the scene of the wreck for some time, but her melancholy task was unsuccessful. the body of Capt. Joseph May was never found.
She afterward married an Indian trader named Frazer, and travelled with him extensively. They would go up north to Green Bay, Wis., and also the head waters of the Missouri, and buy furs, take them to Quebec, sell them at a large profit, buy their supplies there to trade with the Indians, and return north to buy more furs. At one time, probably after the death of her husband, she became stranded in Vermont, probably by illness, and she was brought back to Monroe county by her brother James Knaggs. She owned a farm on the River Raisin about seven miles above Monroe, which was part of the farm of her mother Rachel Sly Knaggs. Her last husband was William Clover. She died there in 1852 or 1853, when she was about 75 years of age. It is not known that she ever had any children.
James Knaggs was a man of more than medium size, about six feet in hight and weighed about 180 pounds. He was a very Hercules for his size, of great strength, lithe and active as a wildcat, and as upright as a dart. His hair was brown, and his dark blue eyes were instinct with intelligence and mental force. His teeth were a curiosity, being all double, and after losing his first teeth in boyhood, he never lost another during his life. He was a swift and untiring runner and walker, a champion wrestler, and an expert in woodcraft, excelling the brightest Indian in that accomplishment. In war he was crafty, acute, courageous, resourceful and audacious, and in civil life he was a man of untiring energy and industry. In manner he was kind, courteous, frank and outspoken, and was fond of humerous sayings and anecdotes. In politics he was a democrat, and in religion a presbyterian. He was an outspoken patriot, and had nothing but contempt for some of his neighbors who were strongly suspected of favoring the British, if not consorting with them and their Indian allies. When the occaision arose he did not hesitate at open accusation. A neighboring farmer was one of the supposed culprits, and James was frank in accusing him of disloyalty. Lasalle declared that his adhesion to the enemy was only feigned in order to protect his family, but James would not admit the justice of his plea. They both met some timeafter the massacre of the Raisin, and Lassalle offered his hand. "No, sir" said James, scornfully, "I don't shake hands with traitors."
In 1806 he left his farm and operated a ferry over the Huron river, on the road to Detroit, and about twelve miles to the north of Monroe. He lived in a region which was full of Indians, who at that time were very troublesome, being incited against the American settlers by the British, and also by Tecumesh, the great Shawnee chief, who had more influence over the red men than any other man of his race. He also kept a wayside inn, near the ferry, which was under the charge of his second wife, Pelagia ("Polly") Roberts, who was a daughter of Anthony Roberts and Teresa Drounlard. One day, while working in the field near the house, five Indians came to the door. They demanded whisky or rum. "I will not give it to you." said Mrs Knaggs. They drew near and brandished their tomahawks, in order to scare her, but Mrs Knaggs was not frightened. She even disdained to call out for her husband. The Liquor was stored in the attic, and she retreated upstairs to protect it. They followed her upstairs, and then tried another scheme to intimidate her. Each of the five emptied part of their powder horns on the floor, making a pilf of gunpowder. Then they threatened to explode the powder and blow up the house, and everybody in it, including themselves. Get out of here." said the undaunted woman. She took up a hickory splint broom, scattered the powder, and belabored the Indians, driving them out of the house. The red man might have maltreated any other woman, but they knew better than to molest the wife of James Knaggs.
James had several other encounters with the savages before the commencement of the war of 1812, but of these only a few scattered facts are remembered in the family. In narrating the authentic accounts of some of his doings the writer has made use of the paper of Mrs May Stocking Knaggs, of Bay City, which was published in the Michigan Pioneer Collections in 1890; the History of Monroe County, by Talcott Wing; the remininces of Judge B F H Witherell; the memories of Mrs Keysor, of Maumee, widow of George B Knaggs; her daughter, Miss Antoinette Knaggs, and also of several of his grandsons. Some of these have not been published before, particularly an experience where he escaped being burned at the stake. Altogether they form a history of striking and romantic adventure, recalling some of the thrilling episodes of Leather Stocking and other heroes of the western backwoods.
While operating the ferry a squaw who had been befriended by his wife told him that a certain Indian, whom he knew, would come to the ferry and ask to be taken across the Huron, and would attack him while in the canoe. He thanked her and waited. The Indian came, according to the warning, and he noted others hanging back in the woods. The Indian got into the canoe, and it was pushed off the bank. When the Indian stealthily drew a knife, James struck him with his paddle, and he fell into the water. Then he seized him by the scalp lock, grasped the hand which held the knife, and plunged him under the water and held him down until he was half drowned. When the Indians who had been watching the pair came forward, he lifted the insensible man out of the water, and they resuscitated him on the bank. The defeated red man was so grateful that he was not killed, that he afterward presented James with a bright colored handkerchief.
One day an Indian on foot and a squaw mounted on a pony passed by. The squaw carried a gun across her lap. James went out of the house and said "Let me see that gun." The squaw seemed disposed to disregard the order, but slowly handed over the gun for James to examine. He recognised the weapon as the property of a white neighbor, and said so, but the Indian said he had bought it. James gave back the gun and went on with his work about the house. A little while afterward the Indian came back, tomahawk in hand, and striking the gate with it, shouted "Come out here." James saw there was only one to contend with, and he went out and picked up a bean pole. The Indian advanced to strike him, but James struck him first with the pole, and broke his wrist, and the tomahawk fell to the ground. The Indian picked it up with his other hand and and went away quietly. Some time afterward James accompanied by his eldest son, George, then a little boy, went on a hunting expedition. After a long tramp they came to an Indian wigwam, and asked shelter, which was granted. After supper the head of the family held up his wrist, which was misshapen and said "You did that." James then recognised him as the Indian whom he had fought with the bean pole.
"What did you come at me with your tomahawk for?" inquired James.
"Oh, the squaw heap mad when you made her show the gun." he answered.
"You might have killed me if you had thrown your tomahawk." said James.
"I might," rejoined the Indian, "but I might have been killed myself. Let me tell you a little story. A white man was once taken by my tribe, and we sentenced him to run the gaunltet. He was allowed to take off his shoes and to tie his handkerchief tightly around his head. Then he started down the line, and although he was struck several times, he got away at the end. We followed him, but he was swift and strong, and he tired us all out, one by one, until there was only three left. He kept running, but slower, and the foremost Indian gained on him, and taking a good aim, threw his tomahawk at his head. But the white man was cunning, stooped down, and it passed over his head and fell to the ground. Then he seized it, turned on the Indian, who was too tired to run, and brained him. The he attacked the scond Indian and killed him too. I was the third Indian. I did not follow any more. I turned and ran back. Since then I don't throw my tomahawk."
He had several renconters with the Indians before the war of 1812 commenced, but of these only a few scattered facts are remembered in the family traditions. But one of these happened in 1808, when he kept the ferry across the Huron river. A brief account of this episode is preserved in the British archives. In the diary of Col. Wm. Claus of the British army, then stationed in Fort Malden, in Amherstburg, an entry made on May 16 1808 says: "An old Misquakee and a pock-marked Huron chief have been to see Gen. Hull at Detroit, where they complained of two Delawares having been killed by Naggs, who kept a ferry at the River Huron; that on a former occasion he had acted improperly, and asked that he be removed. Hull answered that the next time that Naggs behaved improperly that he would be removed."
A full account of the same incident is as follows: While operating the ferry he antagonised two young Delaware Indians, one of whom was a chief's son. They both threatened to kill him and they tried to keep their word. One morning they knocked at the door of his log store. Not suspecting danger at that time, he opened it, when they both fired their guns at him. Although the guns were discharged at a distance of not more than six feet, both bullets missed striking his body and traversed his clothing on either side. He promptly shut the door and barred it before they could rush in, and in a twinkling, got out of a window in the rear. The two Indians came there with tomahawks in their hands, and chased him around the house. He had left a hoe at the side of the house, but had to pass by it twice, as he had no time to snatch it. But the third time he grabbed the hoe, and immediately assumed the offensive, turning on the chief's son he drove the hoe into his skull, killing him instantly. The other Indian sought safety in flight, but he was doomed. James was fleeter of foot than any Indian in the northwest, and he easily overtook him and killed him with the same weapon. The news soon reached the tribe and several Indians came to his house, and after viewing the body and hearing James's story, took them away. The tribe took no action, the red men either holding the opinion that the two homicides were justifiable, or afraid that any revenge would bring punishment upon them by the American authorities.
Next fall, James was laying a rail fence, when the old chief, father of one of the young Indians, rode up to the cabin. He was in his war paint and held a gun in his hand.
"You killed my son." he said.
James was unarmed, and he saw in an instant that he was in imminent danger. He assumed a friendly manner and said in the Delaware tongue: "Yes chief, I killed your son. He came to kill m, and I killed him. It was either my life or his. Now, if you had been in my place what would you have done?"
The chief was old, and the address seemed to affect him. As James spoke he came slowly forward to the chief, and a few more words passed between them, when he suddenly sprung forward like a panther, and before the chief could raise his gun he was seized, dragged off his horse and the gun taken from him. Several other Indians then came, and the chief went away with them.
A sequel to this incident is related by Mrs Keysor, of Maumee, widow of George B Knaggs: When Harrison's army was in Fort Meigs, in 1813, James was a scout and spy in the American service. One day he and Capt. John, an Indian chief who was friendly to the American cause, and a white man whose name is not remembered, set out on a scouting expedition. Although all three were used to Indian ways and warfare, they fell into an Indian trap and were fired at. the white man was killed, Capt. John escaped, and James was taken prisoner, and his legs and arms tied. He was taken into an Indian village and laid tied in a tepee, while the head men of the tribe proceeded to try him. The members of this aboriginal tribunal, seated themselves in a circle, and among them was the old chief whose son he had killed. The conference was quite short. His captors all knew James's record and he was soon condemned to death. Another discussion followed as to how he should be put out of the world, and it was decided that he should endure the worst punishment an Indian could inflict, namely,
As he lay bound in the tepee he was watched by Indians all night, and when they grey dawn appeared he was carried to the foot of a tall tree. He was told to stand up, and he did so, and surveyed his captors with a haughty, defiant air, as they bound his to the trunk of the tree and piled resinous wood around him. One of the squaws, an old woman, drew near, and looked at him earnestly, and with a pitying expression. She was a partner of the old chief, and the mother of the young man he had killed. Then an Indian drew near with a blazing torch of light wood, when the old squaw pushed him aside, held up a belt of wampum in her hand, put it around James's knwck, and with a caress, said "You are my son."
Stolid and unimpressionable as are the Indians generally, the scene betrayed them into unwonted emotion. The old chief and several others were enraged, but the majority, including the squaws, seemed to approve the old mother's action, which was equivalent to an adoption, and among the Indians always saved a victim's life. The vengeance of the father was balked, and after a brief conference, James was given a horse, saddle and bridle and set free.
Another Indian of great size and strength watched him for several days from the woods in the neighborhood of his house. He saw James come with his axe to the woods near where he was secreted, and crept close to where he was, thinking he would catch him unawares, and finally sprang up near him, tomahawk in hand. But James heard a slight motion in his rear, evaded the tomahawk, and brained the Indian with his axe. Then James did some rapid thinking. There were hundreds of Indians in the neighborhood, and he knew the dead man would soon be missed, and a search instituted. The problem was perplexing, but while he was in doubt, he shouldered the corpse and trudged through the woods looking for a favorable place to dispose of the body. He came upon a large tree that had recently been blown down by the wind, and its roots were raised above the ground, leaving a hole. Taking some of the loose earth out of the hole with his hands, he laid the body in it. Then he cut the tree off near the stump, and the stump fell back into the hole, completely covering up the dead Indian. A white neighbor passed along, to whom he explained the incident, adding: I'm satisfied they will never find him." And they never did.
In 1812 he gave up the ferry business and lived on his farm, which was on the Raisin, a mile above Frenchtown. As a spy and dispatch carrier during the first part of the war, he was in constant danger of his life. He travelled mostly through the woods at night, rarely going on the roads or trails, and many times witnessed scenes of barbarous murders committed by Indians only a short time before. Among such atrocities were the killing, scalping and mutilating grown men and women, and little children cut to pieces, and their hearts taken out and rubbed against looking glasses and window panes. He afterward enlisted in a mounted company of scouts and spies under Capt. Isaac Lee.
When Hull's troops were quartered at Sandwich, across the Detroit river, opposite Detroit, James Knaggs and Medard Labadie, a relative by marriage, accompanied a small scouting expedition into Canada into the vicinity of the Thames river, near Chatham. Halting at a log house they were told by a woman that there was a strong force of British not far ahead. James counseled caution, but one of the company made a sneering remark, ehich reflected on his courage. James was stung to the quick. He sprang into his saddle with an oath, and challenged his critic to follow. They reached the British camp and were fired on an pursued. Three of their companions were shot down and captured, but Knaggs and Labadie escaped unhurt. They were pursued for several miles, but their horses were good, and their pursuers dropped off one by one. Looking back they saw only one pursuer left, who with his horse was floundering in a quagmire. Knaggs wheeled about and going to the man, compelled him to surrender. The prisoner, who seemed to have more zeal and courage than discretion, proved to be a Col. McGregor, a British officer and a choleric Scotchman. He made so many violent objections that Knaggs tied his legs below his horse's belly, and in that condition brought him into camp. But Hull's surrender gave McGregor his liberty again, and one of his first acts was to offer a reward of $500 for the capture of Knaggs dead or alive.
Just before the surrender of Detroit Gov. Meigs, of Ohio, responding to a call for provisions for the Ohio troops, then defending Detroit, sent a small force of Ohio militia, under Capt. Henry Brush, as a convoy to some 30 wagonloads of provisions. Brush arrived at Frenchtown, but the scouts warned him that the British and Indians were between him and Detroit. He accordingly sent James Knaggs with a letter to Hull, asking for a force of troops strong enough to force their way through with the provisions. Brush had meanwhile been joined by Capt. Tom Rowland, afterward a prominent citizen of Detroit. Roland was captain of a militia company from New Lisbon, O. Hull sent Maj. Van Horn with 200 men, but this small force was routed at Brownstown by Tecumesh's Indians and the British troops. When Hull learned of this defeat he was on the Canada side of the Detroit river, and he then brought his troops over again to Detroit. He then ordered Lieut. Col. Miller to head 600 men and force a way to the Raisin. Miller fought with the enemy at a point below Monguagon, but failed to effect a passage. Then Hull, with his usual fatuity, sent 350 troops under Cols. McArthur and Cass, but two days afterward sent a courier ordering them to return. Before they returned, however, Hull had surrendered Detroit, and when they arrived they were made prisoners of war. Gen. Brock then sent Capt. Matthew Elliott, a British officer, with a flag of truce, to Frenchtown to inform Brush that his force had also been surrendered. When Rowland heard what Elliott said, he shouted "Treason!" Elliott was made a prisoner, and the provisions were distributed among the inhabitants. Then the Ohio force retreated swiftly to that state. When this was learned in Detroit Tecumesh followed the retreating Ohioans with a force of mounted Indians, but did not capture them. James Knaggs remained behind in the woods with his brothers Thomas and William. Tecumesh's Indians, in revenge, plundered the little settlement and all the horses and cattle were driven away. James was in need of a horse, and he bought one that had been secreted in a cellar by its owner, a tailor. He paid for it with his silver watch and a coat. The brothers then proceded to Urbano, O., where they joined Harrison's force.
His duty called him elsewhere, and he was not with Gen. Winchester when he was defeated by Proctor at the battle of the Raisin on Jan 22 1813. When Winchester's troops arrived at Frenchtown James's wife and his little son George went to the house of La Salle, where george was hidden in the chimney during the terrible day and night of the massacre.
While the British were in possession of Detroit, in 1812-13, he frequently ventured near the city in order to deliver to the loyal Americans missives from Gen. Harrison and his subordinates, and also to receive from them reports as to the military strength of the garrison and other matters. At the time of the battle of Put-In-Bay he was in hiding on the opposite side of the river, in quest of information to convey to the American general. The late Aura P Stewart, of St Clair, Mich., related the following incident with which he was connected at that time:
"While the British held Detroit, the citizens were virtually held in confinement, and were not allowed to leave the town. A merchant, however, by special favor, was allowed to go to Amherstburg, 18 miles distant, at the mouth of the Detroit river, to settle some business, and while he was there, on the 10th of September, 1813, the naval battle of Put-In-Bay took place. The merchant had a telescope and mounted to the top of a house, and from there saw that the British fleet was defeated. He retreated to Detroit on a swift horse, but the officer in command at Detroit got the news before him, and preparations for flight had begun. The officer held the news secret, and the merchant did the same, because they were both afraid that the 600 Indians in camp at Ecorse might break loose and proceed to rob and murder the inhabitants. The mechant called a secret meeting of anti-British friends, and eight persons were selected to go in a big canoe and carry a message to Commodore Perry. The names of the eight were James Knaggs, William Macomb, William Connor, Henry Graverat, Charles Stewart and three others. Each had a paddle, and they propelled the canoe down the river at a high rate of speed on the night of Sept 27. Arrived at the mouth of the river they saw no ships, but heard the sound of guns. They hailed: "Boat, ahoy!" The answer was: "Ariel; what boat is that?" "A canoe from Detroit with a message to Commodore Perry." was the reply. The officer in charge of Ariel's boat took the canoe in tow and brought it to the commodore's ship. The eight went on board and saw Perry, and told him that the people of Detroit wanted him to come there as soon as possible.
"I will bring my ships, if the Lord permits, by 9 o'clock tomorrow" said Perry.
He then employed the eight to pilot his ships up the River Thames. This course had been determined upon, but he did not ascend the Thames for five or six days afterward.
During the war he made frequent visits to his home on the Raisin to see his family. The $500 offered by Col. McGregor for his apprehension, dead or alive, caused him a great deal of trouble, and he literaly took his life in his hand every time he went home.
One day while sitting at dinner in his home he heard the souns od horses' hooves. Looking out he saw three British officers, who got off their horses in his dooryard. He jumped out of a window and reached a cornfield, with the officers and some Indians in hot pursuit. Reaching the old catholic mission church on the north side of the Raisin he ran into the enclosure, and was befriended by an old Frenchman named Hivon, who lived next to the church. Hivon hid him in the cellar. The British oficers arrived a few moments later and inquired about the fugitive. "Oh" said Hivon, "he has crossed the river." The oficers gave up the chase and went away.
While on a short visit home afterward, he undertook to split some rails, and while thus engaged three armed Indians came suddenly upon him. They were evidently bent on catching him, and seemed to have made uptheir minds to make sure of it, by shooting him. So he said in the Indian tongue:
"You have caught me, and I give up. You can take me; I will go along with you. But here, now, I want to split that log, and I want your help. You can have to say that you split a log for me. Now this log is hard to split, you see. Lots of knots there. Now if you hold it open there where it is split, I can drive in another wedge."
The Indians consented. They laid down their guns at their feet, and put their fingers in the split. James then took the wooden maul and struck the log close to the wedge. It popped out, as he intended it should, and the fingers of the three Indians were caught in the split.
In after years when he told the story, the usual question was: "What did you do with the Indians?" and he always said: "Oh, they went to sleep."
The same story has been told about him, with five Indians instead of three, but the latter seems somewhat improbablr.
In the campaign that commenced with the retreat of Proctor from Amherstburg and Detroit, to the Thames, and ended with his defeat by Harrison at Moraviantown, James Knaggs was always in front, as a mounted scout and spy, and he was accompanied by his kinsman, Medard Labadie. They were both under the command of Col. Richard M johnson, afterward vice-president of the United States. In the battle mentioned, which took place on Oct 5 1813, Tecumesh was killed. The story of his killing is excellently told by James Knaggs, in his affidavit, which he swore to at Monroe, on Sept 22, 1853, before B F H Witherell, the maternal uncle of Ex-Senator Thomas W Palmer, of Detroit, as follows:
"I was attached to a company of mounted men, called Rangers, at the battle of the Thames, in Upper Canada, in the year 1813. During the battle we charged into a swamp, where several of our horses mired down, and an order was given to retire to the hard ground in our rearm which we did. The Indians in front of us, believing we were retreating, immediately advanced upon us, with Tecumesh at their head. I distinctly heard his voice, with which I was perfectly familiar. He yelled like a tiger, and urged his braves to the attack. We were then but a few yards apart. We halted on the hard ground, and continued our fire. After a few minutes of very severe firing, I discovered Col. Richard M Johnson lying on the ground, with one leg pinioned by the body of his white mare, which had been killed. My friend, M Labadie, was with me. We went up to the colonel, with whom we were previously acquainted, and found him badly wounded, lying on his side, with one of his pistols lying in his hand. I saw Tecumesh at the same time, lying on his face, dead, and about 15 or 20 feet from the colonel. He was stretched at full length, and was shot through the body, I think, near the heart. The ball went through his back. He held his tomahawk in his right hand (it had a brass pipe at the head of it); his arm was extended as if striking and the edge of the tomahawk was stuck in the ground. Tecumesh was dressed in red speckled leggings, and a fringed hunting shirt; he lay stretched towards Col. Johnson. When we went to the colonel, we offered to help him. He replied with animation: "Knaggs, let me lay here and push on and take Proctor." However, we liberated him from his dead horse, took his blanket from his saddle, placed him on it, and bore him off the field. I had known Tecumesh from my boyhood - we were boys together. There was no other Indian immediately around where Tecumesh and Col. Johnson lay, though there were many near the small creek a few rods back of the place where Tecumesh fell. I had no doubt then and have none now that Tecumesh fell by the hand of Col. Johnson."
In the political campaign of 1840, when the democratic hosts were led by Martin Van Buren and Ricjard M Johnson, for a second term, and were defeated by the whigs under Harrison and Tyler, James Knaggs and Medard Labadie were political quantities. When Lewis Cass stumped the state of Michigan for Van Buren and Johnson, he was accompanied by these two good soldiers and stout democrats. They were always seated on the speaker's platform, and were introduced to the audiences as the brave men who carried Col. Johnson off the field of battle. The democrats always claimed that Johnson slew Tecumesh, and the whigs, as a matter of course, said it was not so, and the matter will never be determined. There were many that believed that James Knaggs was the man, but he always denied it.
In his latter days he removed from his farm to the city of Monroe, formerly Frenchtown, and lived there until his death. In those days money was seldom deposited in banks, and was generally hidden in the earth near dwelling places. James Knaggs was known to have a good store of coin, but when he died, his heirs could find nothing in the house. Then they commenced to dig up the lot, until it resembled the excavation for a railroad. It was never known whether any money was found, but two persons became tolerably well off after his death. James died on friday, Dec. 23, 1860, aged 80 years.
James Knaggs was married three times. As before stated his first wife was Jemima Griffin, whom he married in 1805, and their first child, Geo. Knaggs, was born on Nov. 27, 1806. His wife died before 1811, and he afterward married Pelagia ("Polly") Roberts, daughter of Anthony Roberts and Teresa Drouillard. By his second wife he had eight children: James, Jemina, Eliza, Johnson, Rebecca, Caroline, Robert and Whitmore. The last named died in infancy. Mrs Pelagia Knaggs died in 1859. Shortly afterward, on Nov 6 1859, he married Mrs Alice Couture, widow of Medard Couture, whose maiden name was Benson. Her first name was sometimes called Elise. Her first husband was a well educated man, and was intended for the priesthood. He had several public offices in Monrow county. There were no children by the third marriage.
George Knaggs, son of James Knaggs, and grandson of George Knaggs 1st, was born on Nov 25 1806, in that part of Frenchtown which is now the fourth ward of the city of Monroe, on the farm now owned by Joseph Huber. He was the oldest child of James Knaggs and was the last of his children to die, living to the ripe age of 94 years and 2 months.
He lived all his life in Monroe county, and, with the exception of a two year's residence in Summerfield township, in the same county, he was always a farmer in Raisinville township and made it his home. As a husbandman he had few superiors. A sketch which appeared in a Detroit newspaper in 1900 said: "Mr Knaggs owns a farm near Maybee of 100 acres, most of it under a good state of cultivation, and the work done on the farm, with the exception of a month or so during harvest time, is done by Mr Knaggs. He is an early riser. At the present writing he is plowing a field of 15 acres preparatory to planting a crop of oats. A younger man might look with envious eyes at the amount of land turned over by Mr Knaggs in one day, as that amount runs from an acre and a half to two acres. He can mount a horse from the ground without any assistance whatever, and with more ease than many men half his age, and not long ago he conceived the idea that he would like to learn to ride a bicycle. However, he has not tried the feat, but is liable to at any time.
"He remembers well the encounters of the Indians and the whites along the River Raisin and when a boy was hid by his father some time from the Indians in a friends house.
"He was married twice, and is the father of 13 children. He is well known to all the residents of Monroe, Maybee and all surrounding towns and is a general favorite. He is of unusually cheerful disposition and is always willing to help those in distress. He is also noted for unusual strength of body, and at the age of 75 years was almost equal to a Sandow. At 93 he still retains an unusual amount of physical power."
He died at his home in Raisinville township on Jan 4 1901.
His first wife was Nancy Lampkin, whom he married on Jan 12 1828. Nine children were born to them, two of whom survive.
(1) Eunice Knaggs, died at the age of 2½ years by being accidentally scalded.
(2) Whitmore Knaggs died in infancy.
(3) Maria Knaggs died at rthe age of 7 years.
(4) James G. Knaggs, born in Summerfield township, in 1834. Married Adelaide Moses, daughter of a Raisinville township farmer. He died on Oct 14 1900. Six children - (1) Frank Knaggs, Toledo, married Mary Sullivan. One child - William Knaggs. His wife died and he married her sister, Agnes. One child - Lydia Knaggs. (2) Susan Knaggs married Mr J Davis, carpenter, Chicago. Two children - Frederick Davis died young, and Thurlow Davis lives with his parents. (3) Frederick Knaggs, farmer, Milan, Mich., married Addie Redmond. One child, a daughter, Goldie Knaggs. (4) Charles Knaggs, farmer and mechanic, Milan, Mich., married Lella Ash. Two children - Thurlow Knaggs and Willis Knaggs. (5) George T. Knaggs, contracting carpenter, No. 1836 Detroit Avenue, Toledo, O., married Gertrude Libby, of Milan, Mich., on Feb 24 1892. Two children, both born in Milan, Beulah Knaggs, born 1893, and James G. Knaggs, born 1894. (6) Ada Knaggs, married Arthur Bradley, at Milan. They separated - no children. She now lives in Toledo.
(5) Alvira Knaggs, born 1839, married Corydon Gibson, farmer, of Monroe, in 1858. They now live at Dundee, Mich. One child, Clara Gibson, who married Seth P. Tinsman, livery stable keeper. They had one child who died in infancy.
(6) Harriet Knaggs, born in 1841, married in 1858 Wellington Ellis, surveyor, Detroit. Two children - one died in infancy; the other, Perry Ellis, lives in Detroit.
(7) Lucinda Knaggs, born in 1843, married in 1861, Francis Cropsey, farmer, Raisinville township. Three children - (1) Frank Cropsey, Troy, N.Y., married and has nine children. (2) Child who died in infancy. (3) Charles E. cropsey, telephone agent, Dundee, Mich., married, no children.
(8) Helen Knaggs, born 1845, married James M. Lawrence, carpenter, Milan, Mich. She died at Saginaw, Mich., in 1873. Two children - Charles Lawrence, lived at Elk Station, Mich., unmarried. The other child died in infancy.
(9) The ninth child died in infancy.
In 1860 George Knaggs married Margaret E. Morris, who still survives at the old homestead. Four more children resulted from this union as follows:
(10) Eliza V. Knaggs, married Henry Householder, cooper, Maybee village, Exeter township. Two children - George Householder and Nellie Householder. Nellie died in infancy. Eliza's first husband died and she married Alonzo Collins, farmer, Exeter township. Four children - Harry Collins, died in infancy; Irene Collins, Bertha Collins and Margaret Collins.
(11) Mary Knaggs, unmarried, lives with her mother.
(12) Nellie Knaggs, died unmarried, aged 17 years.
(13) Ida Knaggs, married John Taylor, farmer, Britton, Lenawee county. Two children - George Taylor and James Taylor.
Jemima Knaggs, daughter of James Knaggs, and granddaughter of George Knaggs 1st, was born on August 26 1811, on her father's farm, near Raisin, seven and a half miles above Monroe. She was married three times. Her first husband was William Street, farmer of Rsisinville, Monroe county, by whom she had one son, Job Street, of Caro, Mich. Job Street married Isabel Brown, of Moonroe, and they had one child, William Frank Street, bank cashier, St. Louis, Mo. Jemima Knaggs's second husband was John Pegler, farmer, Raisinville township; no children. Her third husband was Joseph G Navarre, farmer, of Monroe, whose farm was just outside the southern limits of that city. No children. She died at the residence of her brother, george Knaggs, in Raisinville township, Monroe county, Mich., on Feb 27 1886 in her 75th year.
Eliza Knaggs daughter of James Knaggs, and granddaughter of George Knaggs 1st, was born on her father's farm, in Raisinville township, Monroe county, on July 8 1814. She married Aaron B Palmer, farmer, Canton township, Wayne county, who was born in 1813. He died Dec 12 1882, and she died on March 27 1878. They had nine children as follows:
(1) Mary Palmer married William Suggitt, Canton township, Wayme county. She died in 1867; her husband still survives, and has married again. Three children, of whom Annie Suggitt, wife of M Smith, and Alida Suggitt, wife of Hugh Kerne, sutvive.
(2) George W Palmer, farmer, Canton township, Wayne county, married Maria Suggitt. Seven children - (1) Sarah Palmer, married George Paget, farmer, Canton township, Wayne county, six children - Roulpoh Paget, Frank Paget, Susan Paget, Elizabeth Paget, Emma Paget and Clarence Paget. (2) Alice Palmer married Lee Newton, farmer, Canton township, six children - Henry Newton, Arnold Newton, Sybil Newton, Agnes Newton, a boy, not named, who died, and a girl baby. (3) Mary Palmer married Albert Newton, five children - Owen Newton died young; Hazen Newton, Alger Newton, Mildred Newton and Baby Newton. (4) Frank Palmer, farmer, Plymouth township, married Caroline Francisco, two children - Floyd Palmer and Mariah Palmer. (5) Estelle Palmer, unmarried. (6) Frederick Palmer married Odella Kraus, one child - Herbert Palmer. (7) Florence Palmer, unmarried.
(3) Emily Palmer was accidentally burned and died of her injuries at 5 years of age.
(4) James K Palmer, farmer, London township, Monroe county, married Nancy Lampkin, four children - Aaron Charles Palmer, farmer, Sand Point, Idaho, unmarried: William Palmer, farmer, Exeter township, Monroe county, married Myrtle Blouch: two children - Muriel Palmer and Layola Palmer. Minnie Palmer married Eli Collins, farmer, Exeter township, Monroe county: four children - Neafle Collins, James Collins, Hattie Collins and Trynche Collins. Goldie Palmer, unmarried, school teacher, lives with her father.
(5) Maria Palmer married Elisha Kelly, farmer, Plymouth township, Wayne county. She died in 1880. One child, Albert Kelly, musician, Kalamazoo, who married Mrs Sarah Palmer, and has one child, Roy Kelly.
(6) Jeremiah Palmer, twin brother of Maria, faremer, Sumter township, Monroe county, married twice. His first wife was Alice Beaman. Three children - (1) Nellie Ida Palmer, school teacher, Wayne county. (2) C Elizabeth Palmer, married Ernest C Vealey, farmer, Romulus township, Sept 25 1897, and died Dec 18 1899 - one child, Richard B Vealey, born July 28 1898, lives with his father in Romulus township. (3) Myrtle Jean Palmer lives at Wayne. His second wife was Catherine Mory. Six children - Archibald Palmer, Lewis Palmer, George Palmer, Eliza Palmer. Two other children, Ann Palmer and Aaron Palmer, died in infancy.
(7) Aaron B Plamer ("Joppa"), farmer, Canton township, Wayne county, married Sarah Conkling. No children. Aaron died in 1889.
(8) Eliza Palmer married Thomas Hanning, clerk for Gregory, Mayer and thom Co., Detroit. Nine living children. (1) Thomas William Hanning, teamster, Detroit, married Johanna Whittenburg, two children, Fern Hanning and Aaron Hanning. (2) George A Hanning, laundryman, Detroit, unmarried. (3) Maude Isabella Hanning, married P C McGloin, fireman, Detroit; one child, Grace McGloin. (4) Edith Agnes Hanning, married M J McAlpine, sailor, Detroit, two children, gertrude Helen McAlpine and Marion Edith McAlpine. (5) Grace Jemima Hanning, Detroit, unmarried. (6) Harry Palmer Hanning, Detroit, schoolboy. (7) Austin Marvin Hanning, Detroit, schoolboy. (8) Sarah Cornelia Hanning, Detroit, schoolgirl. (9) Payson Hutchins Hanning, Detroit, schoolboy.
(9) Jemima Palmer, married Austin Kanouse, farmer, of Superior township, Washtenaw county. No children.
Johnson Knaggs, son of James Knaggs, and grandson of George Knaggs 1st, was born in Raisinville township, on his father's farm, in 1816. The farm is situated on the River Raisin, seven miles west of the city of Monroe. A number of Indians lived in that region, and when a boy he played with their children and learned to speak their language. He was fairly well educated for those days, and always lived and worked on the farm. He was one of the first to make lime in Monroe county, and furnished it in large quantities to the builders of Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and other cities. In his later years he attendd his farm exclusively, and accumulated a handsome competence. He was a cheerful, clean-cut gentleman, with a sunny disposition, always looked on the bright side of things, and was capable and clear headed to the end of his eighty-fourth year.
He was christened Johnson, but was always known as John Knaggs, and outside of his familymight not be recognised as Johnson. He was named after Richard M Johnson, the reputed slayer of Tecumesh, who was vice-president of the United States under Martin Van Buren, and colonel of a regiment in which his father served in the war of 1812, at the battle of the Thames. There was a warm friendship between Maj. James Knaggs and Col. Johnson. Johnson Knaggs married Sarah Louisa Woods, of Rushford, Allegheny county, N.Y., in 1838. His wife, it is said, was visiting relatives in Monroe county when they became first acquainted. She died in 1889, and he followed her to the grave in 1900.
They had 10 children, as follows:
(1) John Wesley Knaggs, born in 1839, is now (June 1902) the oldest living son of Johnson Knaggs, and the oldest living grandson of James Knaggs, the Indian fighter. He was a graduate of Albion college, Albion, Mich., and was among the first to enlist in the war of the rebellion. He refused a commission in Co. A. fourth Michigan infantry; was wounded at Malvern hill, where he lost his left arm and was taken prisoner the same day. Confined in Libby prison one month, and was then exchanged. He was one of a company of six capitalists who started the first beet sugar factory at Bay City, of which place he has been a resident since 1866. He is in the fire insurance business. He married in 1869, Miss May Stocking, of Spring Lake, N.Y. His wife is at present one of the guardians of the Michigan Industrial Home for Girls at Adrian, and ex-president of the State Equal Suffrage association. They have four children - Walter Wesley Knaggs, Detroit, travelling agent of National Cycle Manufacturing Co.; Roy Stocking Knaggs, stationer and printer, New York city; Dimies Camilla Knaggs, married to Dr Henry Etherington McLennan, of Bay Mills, Mich.; Mary Stocking Knaggs, unmarried.
(2)Lucia Cornelia Knaggs was a student of the State Normal school of Ypsalanti, and was a successful teacher for four years in the schools of Monroe, Wayne and Washtenaw counties. She married George Younglove, Raisinville township. Seven children: (1) Grace Younglove, married Wm. Bradford, commercial agent; one son, Russell Bradford. They live in Cincinatto, O.; (2) Lee Younglove; (3) Tracy J Younglove; (4) Stacey T Younglove; (5) Bernardean Younglove, married Robert Herkimer, farmer, Exeter township, Monroe county; (6) Pearl Younglove, died in infancy; (7) Wilber Younglove, farmer. Mrs Lucia Knaggs died on Feb 18 1901.
(3) Daniel Asbury Knaggs enlisted in the 18th Michigan infantry, and was with Sherman in the famous 2march to the sea", was a butcher and stock buyer for 27 years, now a veterinary surgeon and farmer, and resides in Maybee village, Monroe county. He is a genial citizen, with many friends, and has held township offices for several years. He married Louisa Waite, who has since died. Four children - Sarah Adeline Knaggs, Blanche Agatha Knaggs, Daniel Knaggs and Carl Knaggs. The last named died young.
(4) Myra Ann Knaggs inherited a farm in Grape, Monroe county, from her father, and never married. She lives with her brother, Bryant Elliott Knaggs, who owns an adjoining farm. These farms are said to be the finest in that section of the country.
(5) Freedom W. Knaggs was a student at the State Normal school in Ypsilanti. He was a lumber inspector for 14 years, and is now a farmer in Schofield township, Monroe county. He married Belle Grace Crosbie of Bay City, on July 6 1881. Five children - Nathan Knaggs, Earl Knaggs, Hazel Knaggs, William Wesley Knaggs and Dorcas Belle Knaggs.
(6) Milton Woods Knaggs, a promising young man, and a machinist by trade, died unmarried at Bay City, on Dec 5 1879, aged 24 years.
(7) Winfield S. Knaggs died in infancy on Sept 29 1855.
(8) Caroline Louisa Knaggs, a bright, pretty girl, died on Dec 5 1865, aged 14 years.
(9) Bryant Elliott Knaggs, farmer, married Nellie Davis in 1888. They were divorced in 1890. Their only child, Myra Knaggs, lives with her mother. Bryant, who is a successful farmer, and trusty gentleman, lives at the parental homestead at Grape, Raisinville township, Monroe county.
Rebecca Knaggs, daughter of James Knaggs and Pelagia Roberts, and granddaughter of George Knaggs 1st, was born on her father's farm, on the River Raisin, on April 10 1818, and was married at her father's house to Reuben H. Rogers, farmer, on June 9 1829.
Thet removed to Dundee, Mich., and resided on a 40-acre farm near that village, which had been given to her by her father. Mr Rogers was fairly well educated for those days, when schools were scarce. She could converse in English, French and indian languages, and her memory of events was excellent up to her last days. She was a pious and careful mother, ever solicitous for the comfort and interests of her children, and was very charitable, never turning the weary and hungry from her door. Her husband was a carpenter and joiner by trade, and was afterward a farmer. He died on May 24 1894. Rebecca died on Feb 8 1896. They had six children as follows;
(1) The first child was a daughter, who died in infancy.
(2) Lorenzo S. Rogers was born in Dundee township, Monroe county, in 1841. He followed the business of optician, and was a soldier in the war of the rebellion, serving in Co. E Two Hundred and Sixteenth Pennsylvania infantry. He married Salvira J Frost, of Hudson, Mich., on Sept 10 1879, and died on March 7 1900. No children.
(3) Adaline S. Rogers married Rev. Edward Matthews, of England, on Dec 15 1870. He is a free Methodist clergyman, and is now engaged in mission work in Nebraska. Three children - (1) Bertha Matthews, teacher in one of Chicago's high schools. (2) Maybell Matthews, married John Watson, machinist, Benton Harbour, Mich., on June 1 1899. One child - Maybell Watson. (3) Edward L. Matthews, unmarried, attending school in Chicago.
(4) Emeline S. Rogers married Clark Jones, teacher, on jan 1 1873. She died at union City, Mich., March 15 1897. Three children: (1) Lena Jones, hospital nurse, Chicago, unmarried. (2) Loren Jones, attending school at Ann Arbor, Mich. (3) Olive Jones, attending school at Beloit, Wis.
(5) Edwin A Rogers, Dundee, farmer and proprietor of a noted collie kennel; married Carrey C. Clark, of Raisinville. Four children: (1) Burton Rogers, graduate of Dundee high school. (2) Belle Rogers. (3) Hazel Rogers, and (4) Harry Rogers, attending school at Dundee. Hazel and Harry are twins.
(6) Ruth M. Rogers married Wellington Postal, of Bay City, on July 8 1878. Five children: (1) Will T. Postal, clerk and telephone operator in Co. J. Eighth United States infantry, now in the Phillippines. (2) Fred V. Postal, United States reveune steamer Wabash, now at navy yard, Boston, Mass. (3) Frank F. Postal, (4) Guy E. Postal and (5) Hazel D. Postal live at their home in Dundee.
Mary Caroline Knaggs, daughter of James Knaggs, the Indian fighter, and granddaughter of George Knaggs 1st, was born on her father's farm on the River Raisin in 1819. In 1837 she married Seralpha Buck, and removed with him to what was then the wilds of Allegan county, Michigan. They were among the first pioneers of Hopkins township in that county. They lived there until their seven children grew up and then removed to James township, Kent county, Mich. Mr Buck was first a Methodist minister, and afterward a United Brethren clergyman. She died in April 1878, and he departed in February 1896. They are both buried in Gaines.
(1) George W. Buck at last accounts was keeping a hotel at a summer resort in Wisconsin. He married Almena Norton. Three living children - Fayette Buck, Roy Buck and Nina Buck.
(2) Mary Elizabeth Buck married Benjamin Franklin, farmer of Hopkins, Allegan county, Mich., who died in 1883. One living child - Mrs florence Sessions, Bradley, Mich. After Mr Franklin's death she married Henry Toonder, and they live on a farm near Manton, Mich. No children.
(3) David Seeley Buck of Le Ponto, Ark. has been twice married. His first wife was Hattie Richmond of hopkins, Allegan county, Mich., who bore him six children, as follows - Willia Buck, Daisy Buck, Lillie Buck, Frank Buck, Fred Buck and Hattie Buck. The addresses of the last two named are, Fred Buck, Muskegon, and Mrs Hattie Bancroft, Alto, Mich.
(4) Abel Buck is in the lumbering business at Snomohish, Wash. He married Adeline Ritchie, and has five children - Ulyses Buck, Alpheus Buck, Almond Buck, Wallace Buck and Mary Buck.
(5) Harriet Buck married George Noggle, farmer, Tustin, Mich., and has four daughters - Ms Ethel Noggie Dean, Springville, Mich; Ellen A. Noggie and Lois E. Noggie, Tustin, Mich.
(6) Esther Ann Buck married George Bowles. Two children - (1) Jessie May Bowles, who married Harley Griffin of Elm Hall, Mich., and died leaving two boys - Merle Griffin, aged 7, and Jessie Griffin, aged 10 yesrs. (2) Vernon L. Bowles lives with his mother at Wyandotte, Mich., where she now manages a prosperous photograph business.
(7) E. Willis Buck has been married three times. By his first wife, Mary Latimer, he had two children - (1) Cora Buck married Ephraim Lutz, farmer, Middleville, Mich., and has two children - Vera Lutz and earl Lutz. (2) Mary Buck died when two years old. E. Willis Buck's second wife was Ida Peck, by whom he had two children - (3) Rena Belle Buck, and (4) Forrest Buck. His third wife is sarah Bowen. He is now engaged in the lumbering business at Alberta, Northwestern canada.
Robert W. Knaggs, son of James Knaggs, the Indian fighter, and grandson of George Knaggs 1st, was born in Raisinville township on his father's farm, on Feb 22 1822. The farm is situated on the River Raisin, about seven miles above the city of Monroe. The only neighbours of the family in the '20s were French and Indians, and when Robert was 12 years of age he could speak but very little English, but conversed readily in the French and Indian languages. He received a fair education for those days, and lived on his father's farm until he was 20 years of age. He then went to school at Bath, Steuben county, N.Y., where he remained one year. There he met his fate in the person of Eliza Ann Buck, of that place, to whom he was married on May 28 1843.
He brought his bride by boat to the city of Monroe 11 days later, and there started a meat market, and continued in that business for 16 years. In 1854 he removed to his father's second farm, which was located one mile east of the city of Monroe, where he lived with his father in his old age. After his father died, in 1860, he removed to Toledo, O., where he lived two years; then to Raisinville township, Monroe county, for a year, and afterward settled at Traverse City, on May 10 1867. There he was employed by the Hannah-Lay Co., lumbermen, for eight years. His last location was at Walton, in Grand Traverse county, where he started a hotel. He continued in the business for 16 years, and up to the time of his death on June 5 1891, aged 69 years, 3 months and 14 days.
He was married three times, his first wife, as before stated, being Eliza Ann Buck, who died at Monroe on March 13 1848, aged nearly 20 years. His second wife was Lasira A. Howe, of Monroe City, whom he married on Feb 3 1849. She died on Feb 4 1854, aged 21 years. His third wife was Harriet R. Cone, of Monroe City, whom he married on Nov 22 1854. He was the father of 3 children, 25 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Mrs Harriet R. Knaggs died on March 2 1902.
(1) Charles Knaggs, born in 1845, son of his first wife, Eliza Ann Buck; died on the same day as his mother, on March 13 1848, aged 2½ years.
(2) Charles W. Knaggs, son of second wife, Larisa A. Howe, born at Monroe City Jan 5 1850. Married Sarah Violette Sea, of Traverse City, Mich. One son died at birth, in 1876. Charles W. Knaggs died at Walton, Mich., aged 27 years.
(3) Nellie L. Knaggs, daughter of second wife, Lasira A. Howe, born Dec 1 1851, in Toledo. Married George A. Lancaster, carpenter, of Traverse City. Ten children: (1) Glen Ario Lancaster, carpenter, Mancelona, Mich.; married Minnie Rhewald, of Alen, Mich; one daughter, aged 1 year. (2) Charles M. Lancaster, postoffice clerk, Traverse City; married Maimie Oviatte, of Traverse City; no children. (3) Walter Laverne Lancaster. (4) Robert Harry Lancaster, died aged 2 years. (5) Myrtle Alta Lancaster. (6) One daughter died in infancy. (7) Clarabelle Lancaster. (8) Willie Perry Lancaster. (9) George Henry Lancaster. (10) Joseph Aaron Lancaster, all of Traverse City, Mich.
His children by his third wife, Harriet R Cone, are as follows:
(4) Emma J. Knaggs, born March 21 1856, at Monroe City. Married Geo. Simpson, blacksmith, of Traverse City; moved on a farm six miles south of Traverse City, where he died on Dec 20 1898. Five children: (1) Hattie H. Simpson, born Dec 13 1874; married Joseph Tomlinson, telegraph operator, of Leroy, Mich., now living at Petoskey, Mich.; one child, Leslie A. Tomlinson. (2) William H. Simpson, born 1876, died Nov 16 1961, aged nearly 5 years. (3) Arthur A. Simpson, farmer, born April 9 1878, unmarried; lives with his mother. (4) A son, born in 1881, died in infancy. (5) Carrie M. Simpson, born in 1883, died in infancy.
(5) Alla Robert Knaggs, marine engineer, born March 22 1858, at Monroe city; married twice. His first wife was Jennie Fish, of Traverse City, whom he married in 1877. She died in 1883. two children: (1) Wm. R. Knaggs, machinist, born Feb 22 1878, at Walton; died, unmarried, Aug 26 1899, at Chicago, aged 21 years. (2) Mabel Knaggs, born Feb 14 1880; married William Muldoon, machinist, Chicago - one child, a daughter, born Oct 12 1901, died next day. Alla Robert Knaggs's second wife was Mary L. Christopher, of Old Mission, Grand Traverse county, Mich.; no children. They lived in Chicago, where his avocation called him, until his health failed, and he with his wife now live at Walton, Mich.
(6) Hattie Mary Knaggs, born at Monroe city, July 13 1861; married twice. Her first husband was James Kennedy, to whom she was married on Jan 20 1878. Three children: The first was a son, and the second a daughter, who both died in infancy. The third, Myrtle May kennedy, was born March 29 1885, at Walton. Mich. Divorced from her first husband in 1871, Hattie Mary Knaggs married Garrie Bodine, of St Louis, Mo., on Feb 22 1891; no children. She now lives at Shreveport, La., where she carries on the business of dressmaking. Her husband is a contractor and builder.
(7) Willis Bradley Knaggs, born June 28 1863, at Monroe city; married Carrie Holbrook, of Bronson, Mich., on July 4 1883. Four children: (1) Lloyd Knaggs, born March 24 1885. (2) Murell Knaggs, born in November 1887. (3) Vera Knaggs, born in February 1893. (4) A daughter, born Oct 20 1901. Willis Bradley Knaggs was a conductor on the Grand Rapids and Indiana railroad for a number of years. He retired a few years ago, and lives on his farm, eight miles south of Traverse City.
(8) Perry Newton Knaggs, born May 5 1865, at Toledo; married Jennie C. Rickley, of South Haven, Mich., Oct 1 1887. One son, Perry Rickley Knaggs, born Sept 15 1894. He has been chief engineer of the Williams Transportation Co for the past 10 years, and lives at South Haven. The company recently purchased the steamer Easton, at Baltimore, Md. and Perry Knaggs, as engineer, took charge of her, and she was brought via the St Lawrence river, canals and lakes to Milwaukee.
Whitmore Knaggs, youngest son of James Knaggs, and grandson of George Knaggs 1st was born in Raisinville township, on his father's farm, in 1824, and died in 1826, aged about 2½ years.
Thomas was a lieutenant in a company of the Second regiment of Michigan militia, which was raised in 1805 by order of Gov. Hull. The regiment, which was raised in the southern part of the territory, was commanded by his sister's husband, Col. John Anderson of Monroe. His brother, James Knaggs, afterward a noted Indian fighter, scout and spy on the American side, was an ensign in the same regiment. His elder brother, Whitmore Knaggs, was a lieutenant, afterward captain in the First regiment. Lossing, the historian, in the "pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812" tells of an interview with James Knaggs, the youngest of the family, and says of him that "he was the youngest of five brothers, all of whom were active in military service". But there are no particulars obtainable of Thomas's military service, except that he was a spy with Capt. Wells, who was killed at the Chicago massacre on Aug 15 1812.
Thomas Knaggs and Catherine Pouget had at least six children. Thomas died about 1831, and his wife in 1846 or 1847, at Monroe. She is buried in the Catholic cemetery on Anderson street in that city. The six children were Rachel, Thomas, Susan, Elizabeth, Nancy and David.
(1) Rachel Knaggs married Thomas Digue (pronounced Deeay), parochial school teacher, who was the first teacher of St Mary's church school in Monroe. He died in 1848, and she afterward married Richard Metty, farmer, Sandy Creek, Monroe county. She died in 1890, aged 80 years. There were no children by the second marriage. The children of Rachel Knaggs and Thomas Digue were (1) Thomas A. Digue, retired school teacher, who lives at Monroe. Thomas A. Digue married Marry Gereu, and has four living children, all married, named respectively Rachel Digue, wife of Peter Manor, farmer, Erie township; Josephine Digue, wife of Adolphus Grodie, farmer, 10 miles north of Toledo; Selima Digue, wife of John Mominee, farmer, erie township; Thomas C Digue, street car conductor, Toledo. (2) Phillis Digue, married Frank Metty, lives at River Rouge. Four children: Joseph T Metty, River Rouge village, married Virginia Bondy, sept 29 1885, at South Rockwood, Mich. No children. Zella Metty, married Moses Campau, June 28 1885, at South Rockwood, Mich. Seven children - Lester Campau, 13; Agnes Campau, 11; Ascher Campau, 9; Frank Campau, 7; Harvey Campau, 5; Marie Campau, 3, and Mary E Campau, 1. Serena Metty married Daniel Roberts Nov 24 1891, at River Rouge village, Mich. Three children - Frank Roberts, 8; Leo Roberts, 6, and Lucille Roberts, 1. Philip P Metty married Libbie Vermette, of South Rockwood June 12 1892. Four children - Viola Metty, 7; Earl Metty, 6; Daisy Metty, 3, and Ernest Metty. The last named died on Sept 22 1901, aged 11 months. (3) Noah Digue, farmer, South Rockwood, married Mary Bondy of the same place. Six children - Susan Digue, Emma Digue, Josephine Digue, Peter Digue, Libbie Digue and John Digue. Susan married Frank Lorrie, farmer. Emma married John Vosanova, farmer. Josephine, now deceased, married John Beaudry. Peter married Louise Labo. Libbie died unmarried. John is unmarried. (4) Joseph Digue died unmarried in 1864, aged 22 years. (5) David A Digue, the youngest child, was born in 1847, married Mary Labeau, and lives at Rockwood, Monroe county, 10 children, four girls and six boys; three of the girls married.
(2) Thomas Knaggs married an Irish girl named Margaret Wall, daughter of Joseph Wall and Pauline Bissonet.
Shortly after the marriage he left Monroe and never returned.
His whereabouts is not known, and he is now probably dead.
(This is George Brown Knaggs - Ed)
(3) Elizabeth Knaggs married Joseph Marontate, farmer, South Colchester township, Essex county, Ont., but they removed about 40 years ago to Malden township, about 8 miles southeast of Amherstburg. She died in February 1884, and he died in June 1885. They had two children, Thomas and Elizabeth Marontate. (1) Thomas Marontate, farmer, who inherited his father's farm, married Olive Deneau of Malden township. Nine children, four boys and five girls, as follows: Mary Marontate, married Thomas Beaudoin, sailor, no children. Norman Marontate died unmarried in 1895, when he was about 28 years old. John Marontate lives on the farm, unmarried. Amelia Marontate married Thos. Bondy, farmer, South Colchester township, Ont., two children - one died in infancy, the other, a girl, lives with her parents. Thomas E Marontate, merchant, Amherstburg, Ont., married Margaret Lawlor of Amherstburg; no children. Alzora Marontate died unmarried in 1894, aged 19. Alma Marontate died unmarried in 1880, aged about 11. Lena Marontate lives with her parents. Roy Marontate lives at home. Thomas Marontate died about 1879, and his widow lives on the farm with her children - John, Lena and Roy. (2) Eliza Marontate, daughter of Elizabeth Knaggs and Joseph Marontate, married James Bratt, farmer, South Colchester township, and afterward a hotelkeeper in Harrow, same township. Nine children, all married, except a boy and a girl, as follows: William Joseph Bratt, farmer, now in Wayne county, N.Y., married Rachel Brush on April 6 1887. Two children - William Stephen Bratt and Ruby Acenath Bratt, who live with their mother in Malden township. Thomas Edmund Bratt, farmer, South Colchester township, married Susan Balley, of Malden township. Three children - Lottie Almire Bratt, died on April 2 1894; Leroy Thomas Bratt, died on March 11 1895; Ethel Bratt lives at home. Lucinda Bratt married Sherman Collison, farmer, Malden township. Five children - Pearl Collison, Arthur Collison, Rose Collison, Grace Collison and Lina Collison. Nellie Matilda Bratt married Ernest Pastorius, farmer, South Colchester township. One child - Walter Ernest Pastorius. Edwin James Bratt, foreman William Borraman's farm in Malden township, married Zela Wright, of South Colchester. Four children - Ellis Edwin Bratt, Earl James Bratt and Ena Bratt. Gordon Bratt died on April 27 1895. Judson Albert Bratt, farmer, South Colchester township, married Jessie Sellars, of Malden, who died on May 27 1901. Two children - Laura and Jospeh Bratt, who live with their grandparents in Malden. Ernest Effort Bratt, mason, unmarried, lives Sault Ste Marie, Ont. Agnes Alma Bratt, unmarried, lives with her brother Thomas at East Harrow. Lilla Elizabeth Bratt married Elson Pastorius, farmer, Harrow, South Colchester township. No children.
(4) Susan Knaggs lived in Monroe with her mother, and died in 1844, aged 17. She never married.
(5) David Knaggs never married, and lived in Monroe until about 1896. He was a farm hand. He removed to Detroit and became an inmate of the Home of the Aged Poor, where he died in 1899, in his eightieth year.
(6) Nancy Knaggs married Joseph Graveline, carpenter, at Amherstburg and subsequently removed to Detroit. From Detroit they went south before the war, and when the war commenced he joined the rebel army and was a scout and spy. They had one child named Charles Graveline. The mother removed to Centreville, Ill., and married a Mr Semack.
John Knaggs, son of Thomas Knaggs and grandson of George Knaggs 1st, was born in what is now Monroe county, in St Anthony's parish, about 1804. Nothing is known of his early life, except that he came to Detroit and cultivated some land on part of the Brevoort farm. His place was on Fort street west, on the River Rouge, and his home stood on or near the site of the present mansion of Henry Brevoort, on the west side of the Rouge. John Knaggs was married at St Anne's church on Aug 23 1825, by Fr Garbiel Richard, to Archange Lorin, sometimes called Lorain, who was the daughter of Joseph Lorin and Mary D'Agensais. When parties are married in the Catholic church the officiating clergyman always asks for and records the names of the parents of the groom and bride. In this case, John Knaggs gave the name of his father, but probably did not know the name of his mother, and her name was not recorded. The witnesses of the marriage were James Kanggs, J Bte Lorin and Amabile Lorin. Two children were born of this marriage, and his wife died some time before 1832.
John Knaggs then married again, his second wife being Felicity Desmarchais dlt Parisien, daughter of Anthony Desmarchais dlt Parisien and Helena Marsac, and the ceremony took place in Ste Anne's church, Detroit, on March 5 1832.
Besides being a farmer, he had some experience in Indian trading, and he afterward removed to Chippewa reservation, in Shiawassee county, and started a store at the same place where his cousin, Whitmore Knaggs, had previously done business for several years.
The name of the reservation was Ke-che-wan-dor-goming (Big Salt Lick). His store was on the Shiawassee river, in the township of Burns, and its location is known to this day as Knaggs place. John also built a rude bridge over the river near his store, and although it has passed away many years ago, its successor is still known as Knaggs's bridge.
While John Knaggs kept this store there came to the reservation a tribe of Pottowatomies to receive their pay from the government.
One night a son of the Pottowatomie chief and the son of the chief of the Chippewas, fell in love with a handsome young Chippewa squaw, and as a result quarreled and fought.
The young squaw ran to John's house, rapped at the window and exclaimed, "They are going to kill me!"
John arose from his bed, let her in and she went to sleep with his wife, while he rolled himself in a blanket on the floor.
In a short time another knock came, and he answered by asking "What do you want?"
"I want that squaw" was the reply of the Chippewa chief's son.
"You cannot have her" said John.
"Then you and me fight tomorrow" said the Indian.
"All right" said John.
In the morning a ring was formed in John's barnyard, and the Indians gathered to see the fight. John was naturally apprehensive of the result as there were only Indians in the neighborhood, so he called his hired man, gave him two loaded revolvers, and said "Keep your eye peeled, and if you see any foul play, shoot."
He then entered the ring, and his bearing was so bright and confident that his Indian opponent weakened.
He walked up to John and extending his hand said:
You are a brave man; let us be friends."
John became quite an influential man on the reservation, and at one time accompanied a delegation of the tribes to Washington, where he acted as their interpreter and counsel in urging some claim which they preferred against the government. When the delegates reached Detroit en route to Washington, they were quartered in a barn over night, and during John's absence some of the members quarrelled and fought, but John stopped the quarrel and restored peace, by the agency of a black snake whip. For these and other services, he was granted, it is said, a tract of land a mile square by Chief Nottaway, or Notway, and Under Chief Gchinessing, of the Chippewas. Before his death he had a man named Daniel Hubbard appointed as guardian of his son James. Hubbard, who lived on Woodward avenue, in Oakland county, near the village of Birmingham, did not, it is claimed, keep James informed about his inherited land, and when James found it out in after years he was told that his claim had been outlawed and he never succeeded in getting possession.
In the reminiscences of the late B. O. Williams, published first on the Owosso weekly Press, in May 1872, and afterward in the Michigan Pioneer Collections in the volume for 1877-8, he says: "During the summer of 1835 Mr Banks Vary, Philip van Auken and John Knaggs, a half-breed of French descent, settled in Shiawassee county, mostly along the Grand River road." He also chronicles the fact that "Aaron Swain and his wife came at an early day to Shiawassee county, and their daughter, Julia, the first white child born in the county, was born in 1833 or 1834."
John Knaggs died in Shiawassee county in 1841, and was buried at Corunna. His second wife died in Detroit on Sept 22 1890, aged 76 years. He had six children, as follows:
(1) John Knaggs, the eldest child by his first wife, was born on the farm on Fort street, in Springwells township, on May 26 1826. With his father, stepmother and the rest of the family, he went to Shiawassee county and lived there for several years after his father's death. He then came to Detroit, and started a grocery store on the north side of Michigan avenue, opposite the present site of the city hall, in a frame store, which stood in the rear portion of the present Majestic building. His business prospered, and he went back to Shiawassee county, married Mary Davis, a school teacher, and brought her to Detroit. He managed the store until 1848, when he contracted the gold fever and removed to California. He kept a hotel in Sacramento for a number of years, and was at one time a wealthy man. His one child, a boy, and also his wife, died in that city. After these bereavements his good fortune forsook him, and he had some reverses in business. He emigrated to Australia and had fair success for a while, but finally lost all his wealth. He then returned to San Francisco, and at last accounts in 1899 was still living there.
(2) Thomas Knaggs was born in Springwells township on July 15 1829, and died in infancy.
By his second wife John Knaggs had four children, as follows:
(3) Isabella Knaggs was born in Springwells township on Oct 6 1832, and her first name was afterward changed to Elizabeth. She never married and lived with her mother until she died in Detroit, at 160 Maple street, about 1879.
(4) Mary Knaggs, twin sister of Elizabeth, was born on the same day in 1832, and died in the following November.
(5) Helena Knaggs, born on March 8 1834, died young.
(6) James Kacket Knaggs was born on the Indian reservation, and was baptized at the Church of the Holy Cross, in the Dix settlement, near Detroit, on Oct 11 1836. He was a year old when he was brought to Detroit to be baptized, there being no Catholic church nearer. He was brought to Detroit at the same time that the remains of Peter Whitmore Knaggs's wife were brought here for burial, she having died at John Knaggs's trading post and tavern on the Shiawassee river. In youth he was adopted by the Chippewas, who gave him his middle name, Kacket, and he was the first white male child born in Shiawassee county. He came to Detroit with his mother and sister Elizabeth when he was about 5 years old, and lived with her until he married his first wife. His first occupation was as cabin boy on the steamer Red Jacket, Capt. Abbott, which plyed between Detroit and Port Huron. He was afterward a steward on several lake steamers and sailing vessels until 1892. In 1892 he enlisted in the Fifteenth Michigan infantry, Co. G, under Capt. james Cocotte, and was present at the battles of Pittsburg Landing and Corinth, as well as in several minor engagements. In 1892 he relinquished his occupation as steward, and took up the occupation of house painter, and has also been a peddler. His first wife was Mary Felter, of Detroit, whom he married in 1884. She died two years later. In 1898 he married his present wife, Mrs Ollie Felter Fisher, a widow, who is the sister of his first wife. He never had any children, and is now 66 years of age.
The above is a picture of an old English gallipot, which once held some kind of ointment. It was used by Thomas Knaggs, son of Progenitor Knaggs, as a shaving cup. It was also used for the same purpose by Thomas Digue, his son-in-law; then by David Knaggs, his son; and is now used by Joseph Metty, great-grandson of Thomas Knaggs, who is a constable in River Rouge village. On the side of the cup is the lettering "Prepared at the laboratory of Mander Weaver and Co., Wolverhampton. Established 1773" The cup has been in the Knaggs family for over 100 years.
William was probably a scout and spy in the war of 1812, but is never mentioned in that capacity alone, but always with his brothers, and there is no record that he performed a single individual deed in that war. By his mother's will he inherited a farm fronting three arpents on the River Raisin, adjoining that of his brother Thomas. Like his father, George Knaggs, he was unfortunate in business. He kept a store and Indian trading post, probably at Monroe, and married Margaret Wilson before a justice at that place. Two children were born, but the first, who was named Amelia, died in infancy. The second child, Elizabeth Knaggs, was born at the Raisin. He died of consumption in 1817, and Alexander D. Frazer, of Detroit, one of his creditors, filed a petition in that year which showed that the deceased had left an insolvent estate, and prayed for an administration of the same.
In the list of Indian treaties his name appears as interpreter at the treaty of Springwells, between the United States government and the Chippewas, Ottawas, Pottawatomies and certain bands of the Wyandots, Senecas, Shawnees and Miamis, on Sept 8 1815.
Mrs Margaret Willson Knaggs subsequently came to Detroit, and became the housekeeper of Oliver Newberry's mansion, still standing at the northeast corner of Fort and Shelby streets. Newberry was one of the leading men in the western states, and his fleet of steamers and sailing vessels was the largest on the chain of lakes. He was a bachelor and was generally styled "Admiral" Newberry. Her daughter, Elizabeth, lived with her in the Newberry mansion until she married, and she then resigned as housekeeper and lived with the newly married pair. When they removed to Marine City she accompanied them, and died in that city on Oct 24 1881, aged over 80 years. She was buried in the family lot in the St Clair, Mich. cemetery. She was reared among all the horrors of war, and having a retentive memory, often related interesting incidents of the war of 1812-15 and the massacre of the Raisin to her children and grandchildren. Her husband like all her brothers, was proficient in the Indian tongue, and was an interpreter, and, like his brother James, at one time carried the mail between Monroe and Detroit.
Elizabeth Knaggs, daughter of William Knaggs and Margaret Willson and granddaughter of George Knaggs 1st, was born at the Raisin (Monroe), on March 2 1816. As above related, her father died in the following year, and she afterward removed to Detroit with her mother. She was an inmate of Commodore Newberry's house while her mother was housekeeper, and when she reached maturity, worked in Zachariah Chandler's shirt factory, which was over hos store on Jefferson avenue. She became acquainted with Nelson Woodworth, a handsome young man, who was a mate of one of Oliver Newberry's steamers, and the son of Josiah Woodworth, a farmer in Greenfield township, near Detroit. Josiah Woodworth was a cousin of Ben Woodworth, of Detroit, the landlord of the famous Steamboat hotel, and of Samuel Woodworth, the noted poet, who was author of "The Old Oaken Bucket" Nelson brought his sweetheart out to the township, and married her on Dec 25 1841, before Justice John Burbank, who lived near his father's house and was a good friend of the family. Elizabeth at that time was 25 years of age, and her husband was two years younger. They first lived at 19 Seventh street and subsequently at 309 Howard street, and all their children were born in Detroit. Elizabeth's mother lived with the pair, and Oliver Newberry was a frequent visitor at the house. About 1866 the family removed to Marine City and lived there until Elizabeth and her husband died. Mrs Elizabeth Woodworth was was quiet, ladylike and somewhat aristocratic in her ways, devoted to her family and home, and was kind, lovable and obliging. In her later years she was striken with paralysis, and was an invalid for some time before her death, which occured on Oct 4 1887, aged 71 years. She was buried in the family lot in the St Clair cemetery. Her husband was a mate on the steamer Mayflower, the first vessel built for the Michigan Central railroad, which was launched in 1848, and made its first trip on April 10 1849. She was lost in 1851. He was a capable mariner and was afterward captain of the propeller Missouri and other steamers. He died at Marine City on Jan 12 1890.
Nelson Woodworth and Elizabeth had six children, as follows:
(1) Mary Elizabeth Woodworth, born Oct 19 1842, married John C. Young, marine engineer, Marine City, Michigan. John C. Young was accidentally killed by falling into the hatchway of the steamer Masaba at Milwaukee, on Dec 22 1901. His widow lives at Marine City. They had five children - (1) Katherine E Young, born March 10 1876, Marine City; teacher in Marine City public school. (2) Sadia M Young, born Oct 5 1879, Marine City. Clark in postoffice, Marine City. (3) Genevieve A Young, born July 4 1881, Marine City. In High School. (4) Helem N Young, born Nov 18 1883, and (5) Van B Young, born Aug 17 1886, both attending Marine City hish school.
(2) Louisa Woodworth, born Oct 19 1844, married in Detroit, John E Martin, bookbinder. Mr Martin served in the civil war as a soldier, and was wounded in the head at the battle of Knoxville. The wound affected his brain and he subsequently became an inmate of the Pontiac asylum and died there. His wife and family removed from Detroit to Pontiac, to be near him, and he died on Oct 24 1893. Four children - (1) Nelson Martin, born July 22 1866, died Sept 26 1866. (2) Louisa E Martin, born Feb 8 1868; died Oct 9 1879. (3) John E Martin, born Jan 18 1870; married Mitty Stroud at Pontiac, Sept 11 1890; one child, Ethel Martin, born Sept 18 1891. (4) Joseph H Martin, born Sept 28 1873. John E and Joseph H are both foremen in separate departments of a large carriage factory at Pontiac.
(3) Catherine Woodworth, born on Aug 4 1847; married Morton Potter, Marine City. No children. She died on March 2 1892.
(4) Nelson Woodworth, born on Oct 25 1859; died Feb 12 1866, at Marine City, aged 17 years.
(5) Chester Woodworth, born Nov 29 1852, married Ella Schaeffer at Marine City in December 1870. She die in March 1894. four children - (1) Nelson Woodworth, employed on lake steamers. The other three children, who are named Lyda, Roy and Charles, are dead.
(6) Margaret Amelia Woodworth, born Dec 1 1855; married Henry Donaldson, lake captain, Marine City, on Feb 4 1873. eight children, all born in Marine City - (1) Joseph Henry Donaldson, wheelman on lake steamers, born Aug 16 1875; died March 13 1900. (2) Mabel Amelia Donaldson, born Sept 29 1880; lives at home. (3) Lyda Sophia Donaldson, born July 31 1882; died July 3 1883. (4) Robert Bruce Donaldson, born Oct 15 1884; watchman on lake steamers. (5) Lotta Belle Donaldson, born Nov 21 1866; attending high school. (6) Mary Madeline Donaldson, born Nov 30 1890; died Dec Dec 2 1870. (7) Marguerite Manola Donaldson, born July 31 1892, died Feb 10 1896. (8) Dillion Proser Donaldson, born Feb 27 1895; died May 11 1895.