web Robert DEROME

"There is no picture of John Kinzie. His family said that he looked so much like George Canning (1770-1827), British Prime Minister in 1827, that after Kinzie's death they kept a picture of Canning around, to remind them of their late relative (Collaboration from Ulrich Danckers, January 25, 2002)."

LEFT — Charles Turner, after Sir Thomas Lawrence, Portrait of George Canning (detail), 1827, mezzotint, paper size 11 1/4 in. x 8 1/8 in. (286 mm x 206 mm), Given by Henry Witte Martin, 1861, London, National Portrait Gallery D1208.

RIGHT — William Holt, after Thomas Stewardson, Portrait of George Canning (detail), 1830-1834, engraving. Source: William Jerdan, The National Portrait Gallery of Illustrious and Eminent Personages of the Nineteenth Century, London, Fisher, Son & Jackson, 1830-1834, Vol. 2.

Birth and his mother Emily Tyne, an army woman.

| Birth and his mother Emily Tyne, an army woman | Surgeon John McKenzie | Chaplain William Halyburton | Soldier William Forsyth |

When giving a date deduced from John Kinzie's age, or vice-versa,
we will use the approximate date of birth June 1759 - October 1761,
as deduced from these sources and discussions.

John Kinzie's biography is well known after 1804 when he played a role in the early history of the town of Chicago. But his carrer as a youth, when he was trained as a silversmith, is still obscure. It is said the he was born in Quebec City at the time of the Conquest of the town and of the Nouvelle-France by the British Empire.

Richard Short, gravé par Pierre Charles Canot, Vue générale de Québec prise de la Pointe Lévy (détail),
dans Twelve views of the principal buildings in Quebec, Londres, Thomas Jefferys, 1761,
Gravure, Québec, Musée de la civilisation, 1993.15813, photo Pierre Soulard. Source.

Authors, quoted in chronological order, do not agree on his birth date.

1856 — "He [John Kinzie] was born in Quebec (L. C.) in 1763. His mother had been previously married to a gentleman of the name of Haliburton. The only daughter of this marriage was the mother of Gen. Fleming and Nicholas Low, Esq., of New York. She is described as a lady of remarkable beauty and accomplishments. Mr. Kinzie was the only child of the second marriage. His father died in his infancy, and his mother married a third time a Mr. Forsyth, after which they removed to the city of New York [see more below from Kinzie 1856, p. 191-196]."

1869 — "John Kinzie [...] was born in Quebec, in 1763, and was the only offspring of his mother's second marriage. His father died while he was an infant, and his mother married a third time [Lossing 1869-web, chapter XV, note 23]".

1910 "John McKenzie was the son of Surgeon John McMenzie of the 60th or Royal American Regiment of Foot, and of Anne Haleyburton, the widow of Chaplain Wm. Haleyburton of the First or Royal American Regiment of Foot. Mrs. Haleyburton had one child by Maj. Haleyburton, a dauthter named Alice, born January 22nd, 1758. This event took place just before the regiment embarked from Ireland for America, and the Haleyburtons were consequently delayed for several weeks before rejoining the command in Quebec. Major Haleyburton died soon after their arrival in America, and his widow a couple of years later married Surgeon John McKenzie. Their son "John" [Collaboration from Theresa Mumaugh: "I've wondered why his grand-daughter would put his name in quotations. Is John Kinzie his real name?"] was born in Quebec, December 3rd, 1763. Major McKenzie survived the birth of his son but a few months and his widow took for her third husband Mr. William Forsyth, of New York City [Gordon 1910, p. 3]."

1940-1960 — "Né à Québec le 27 septembre 1763, fils de John McKenzie, chirurgien dans l'armée anglaise, et de Anne Halliburton [Carrier-Quaife see pdf]."

1969 — "John Kinzie was born in Quebec to John McKinzie and Anne Halibutron December 23, 1763; soon after this his father died and his mother married William Forsyth (Simmons 1969, p. 53)."

1994 — "Born December 27, 1763, John Mackinzie, later shortened his name to Kinzie [Green 1994, p. 24]."

2000 — "Kinzie, John [...] born a British subject in Quebec, Dec. 27, 1763 [...] was born Kenzie but changed spelling to Kinzie. His father, John Kenzie or MacKenzie, was a Scottish surgeon in the British army and died about 1763. His mother, Emily or Anne Tyne, had been first married to British army chaplain William Halliburton and then, in 1761, to Kenzie; was widowed twice; about 1764 she married William Forsyth, member of a prominent trading family. Forsyth became Kinzie's stepfather, and his five sons, from this and a previous marriage, became John's stepbrothers [Danckers 2000, p. 220]."

John Kinzie's grave in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago IL. The original vertical tombstone's lettering is mostly illegible. A bronze medal of the 1812 war is identified to John Kinzie. The recent horizontal flat stone gives the dates of "December 23, 1763" and "June 6, 1828". Sources: Wikipedia - Early Chicago - Find a grave.

"The Chicago Fire of October 1871 destroyed the county's vital records. There are no death certificates available before that date (source)."

« De ce que j'en sais, aucun registre canadien ne peut avoir consigné sa naissance à cette époque. Si enregistrement il y eut, ce serait par un chapelain militaire ayant un registre "itinérant" déposé plus tard auprès des autorités religieuses. Bref, je crois qu'il faudrait orienter vos efforts vers le ministre du culte de son régiment, peut-être via d'autres membres connus qui auraient fait l'objet de recherches. Avez-vous contacté la «Quebec Family History Society»? Ils en connaissent sûrement plus que moi sur les sources concernant les militaires de la guerre de Sept ans... [collaboration de Bertrand Desjardins]. »

TRANSLATION - "As far as I know, no Canadian registry would have recorded this birth at that time. If there had been any registration, it would be by a military chaplain with a "roving" register later deposited with religious authorities. In short, I think that you should direct your efforts towards the minister of the cult of his regiment, perhaps via other known members who have been researched. Have you contacted the "Quebec Family History Society"? They certainly know more than I do about the sources concerning the soldiers of the Seven Years War... [collaboration from Bertrand Desjardins]."

Further researches must be made on John Kinzie's birth, maybe through his mother's biography, Emily or Anne Tyne, which remains nebulous. From popular genealogy websites (web or pdf), we get unverified informations which all need to be corroborated with primary sources. As well as her marriages with surgeon John McKenzie, chaplain William Halyburton and a third with soldier William Forsyth.


| Birth and his mother Emily Tyne, an army woman | Surgeon John McKenzie | Chaplain William Halyburton | Soldier William Forsyth |

Surgeon John McKenzie (appointed 1756, deceased 1762).

None of the above quoted secondary sources refers to an original document for the birth of John Kinzie which remains uncertain. The best source about the death of his alledged father John McKenzie comes from the Database of the 1759-1760 soldiers, by The National Battlefields Commission, Plains of Abraham. We may assume the credibility of their informations, since they used several primary sources under the supervision of trustworthy specialists (genealogist Marcel Fournier, historians Stephen Brumwell and John Houlding).

"A number of primary sources were used in piecing together the British Forces, most of which were located in The National Archives’ War Office Collection in London. Sources included Muster Rolls (WO 12), Description and Succession Books (WO 25/435), Proceedings of Courts Martial (WO 71), Royal Hospital, Kilmainham: Pension Admission Books (WO 118), Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Regimental Registers of Pensioners (WO 120), and Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners (WO 121)."

A search on John McKenzie gives several results from which one refers to the surgeon identified as the father of John Kinzie.

Lastname McKenzie. Firstname John. Army British. Death Date 1762-04-16. Assignments: Grade Surgeon Mate, Date 1756-02-02. Regiment 3rd Battalion, 62nd Regiment of Royal Americans. Grade Surgeon ( (web or pdf or right image).

The above entry gives the "62nd Regiment of Royal Americans" and the database list of regiments the "60th Regiment of Foot (right image)".

"60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot, later the King's Royal Rifle Corps, raised in 1755 as the 62nd and renumbered as the 60th in 1756 (source)."

If, according to this source, John McKenzie died on 1762-04-16, his son John Kinzie could not possibly have been born after January, 1763, unless his father was someone else...! John Kinzie was therefore born earlier, thus explaining that in the events described by his biographers relating to his youth, Kinzie seems to be younger than he actually was. According to family tradition, he could have been born before his father's death: "His father died in his infancy"; "Major McKenzie survived the birth of his son but a few months".

Collaboration from John Houlding, military historian of the 18th century British army.

From a database including all of the commissioned officers in the regular army from 1725 to 1793, but not common soldiers.

John McKenzie's appointment as Surgeon on 2.2.1756 to the new-raising 3rd Battalion of the 62nd Foot (renumbered 60th in 1757), or Royal American Regt, appears in the War Office's commission registers in a Class of documents at the PRO called "Succession Books", specifically in WO.25/209, 60th Ft. He's described as a regimental Surgeon's Mate, on appointment (on which see below). He served as Surgeon to the 3/60th until his death, when he was succeeded by John Storey on 16.4.62 (and Storey died soon after, to be succeeded on 8.11.1762 by Alex. Potts). The date of Storey's appointment will be either the date of McKenzie's death, or very shortly after it. The 3/60th had sailed from Staten Island with Moncton's army, bound for Martinique, on 20 Nov 1761, and sailed from there on 16 May 1762 for Havana. From the date of his succession it appears that McKenzie died in Martinique, tropical diesease killing a great many soldiers on the 1762 operations in the Caribbean. Storey's succession, like McKenzie's appointment, is recorded in the same WO.25/209, 60th Ft.

In a brief note sent me by Paul Kopperman, who researches army medicine in 18th-C America, I find that McKenzie passed the Royal College of Surgeons exam on 15.4.1756 and was made Surgeon's Mate (no date) in the 30th Foot "(probably briefly) until becoming Regimental Surgeon" in the 3/60th as above, a commission therefore backdated somewhat, for reasons unknown. Kopperman gives the same death date, 16.4.1762.

According to military sources, and contrary to accepted historiography, Emily Tyne's first husband has to be John McKenzie and William Halyburton his second.

When and where did Emily Tyne married John McKenzie? In England before his departure with his regiment?

To pinpoint John Kinzie's birth, stations of his alledged father's battalion are crucial.

Stations of 3rd/60th

1756 Forts Pitt, Lancaster, William Henry and on the Lakes.
1757 Albany, Forts William Henry, Hunter, Edward's.
1758 Albany, New York, Boston, Halifax, Louisbourg.
1759 Louisbourg, Camp at Orleans Island, Quebec.
1760 Quebec.
1761 Quebec, New York, Barbadoes.
1762 Barbadoes, Martinique, Havannah, Pensacola.

Source: Celer 1905, p. 22. See also: Marston 1997.03.

According to traditional historiography, John Kinzie is reputed to have been born in Quebec. His alledged father was effectively stationed there from June 1759 until about October 1761 : in 1759 for Summer Siege, Plains of Abraham battle and capitulation in September; battle of Sainte-Foy, April 1760, capitulation of Montreal 8 September 1760, and until about October of 1761.

Richard Short, three of his engraved views of Quebec published in 1761: Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church at Place Royale Lower Town,
Archbishop Palace at top of Mountain Street, Treasury and Jesuits College with Notre-Dame Church Upper Town.

We first thought that his wife, Emily Tyne, may have joined him in this city, coming there with a civilian ship. But that hypothesis presented several difficulties about her travelling in war period and did not explain how she was able to contact and marry so easily soldiers from diverse regiments one after the other in such a short period of war time.

We then thought that Emily Tyne might have been travelling with her husband, explaining how she was able to meet and marry these soldiers in such different locations as far fetched one from the other. British army mobility was its strength, and would be the best thread and advantage explaining Emily's biography and the birth of her children.

"Whilst on campaign, the army would gather a large group of followers ranging from sutlers, who would sell commodities to the soldiers, to the wives and women who chose to follow their men into war. Only 6 women per 100 men on service were allowed to follow a regiment, but they were expected to work and carry out any of the services required by the soldiers: cooking and washing were common domestic duties but these women often doubled up as nurses and carers. Receiving a wage from the army meant that they could earn a decent living as a camp follower. [...] There were many complaints about the presence of women and children in camp who distracted the men from their duties or made a general nuisance of themselves ("British soldiers in the eighteenth century, Camp followers", Wikipedia or pdf)."

The Women of the British Army in America.

Brief summary and selected excerpts (without original sources and references) from Hagist 1994-1995 or pdf.

This presicely documented study on Long Island (New York) based British regiments (17th LD, 22nd, 23rd, 33rd, 37th, 38th, 42nd, 43rd, 43rd, 71st, Guards), in 1779-1780, gives astosnishing global results as compiled from its figure 1 (see excel spreadsheet): a ratio of 15% of women compared to soldiers (1/6), and 13% of children (1/8).

Personnel counts demonstrate that, on average, between one-eighth and one-quarter of the people who were considered a part of a regiment were women and children. This may strike us as a large proportion but, for the time period, it was typical. A document prepared for the planning of campaigns in America indicates that an army of 30,000 men could expect to have the "number of attendants, women and children generally equal to the number of troops."

General orders usually specified that three to six women per company were allowed to join a regiment on campaign, but victualing returns show that higher numbers were commonly maintained. Eight women per company of fifty men was a typical ratio, although numbers varied widely. In addition, a similar number of children were victualed.

The number of women and children with the regiments generally exceeded that allowed in the embarkation orders. No official returns are known to exist which list the women of a regiment by name, but there is some material which provides information at this level of detail.

Women were not considered a burden; instead they were an integral part of the workings of a regiment. Although some commanders-in-chief complained about the numbers of women with the army, none ever prohibited their presence.

Some soldiers certainly married during their time in service. A woman's connection to a regiment was through marriage. When a married soldier died, his widow and their children, as well as orphans, were provided with passage back to the British Isles. Widows were not abandoned or forced to remarry; instead, they were provided with some financial or material compensation, and given passage home.

Since a soldier's marital status could have an effect on his ability to serve, and since his wife could become a part of the regiment, it follows that the soldier's commanders would have some say over whether or not he should be allowed to marry. Bennett Cuthbertson, author of a popular military textbook, devoted several paragraphs to the subject. For a soldier to be allowed to marry, it was expected that his future wife would be someone who could "earn her bread."

Many, if not most, women were gainfully employed. In fact, employment was necessary for subsistence, and often was a condition of being allowed to accompany the army. Many employment options were open to a soldier's wife: laundresses, seamstresses, nurses, hay making, hand turf, more rarely sutler or shopkeeper, and we must suppose that some wives sought employment outside of the army. If a woman was arrested for plundering, she was subject to the same system of justice as a man, namely, trial by court martial.

Most of the British army's time in America was spent in garrison. Usually, the regiments spent winters in barracks or quarters, and summers in long-term encampments within or adjacent to towns. During these times it was not necessary for the wives to "follow" their regiments, since the regiments were not going anywhere. This is significant because it made it possible for women to find long-term housing in the towns. When a regiment was in garrison, there was no need for the wives to stay in the encampments, even if it was allowed. For this reason, we must consider habitation not in terms of barracks and encampments, but in terms of garrisons and campaigns.

Army wives sometimes had their own lodgings when regiments remained in one location for long periods. Some remained in garrison towns when their regiments went on campaign. Those who did follow the army on campaign were faced with the similar dangers and hardships as were experienced by the soldiers.

We can assume that only a portion of the women went into the field with the regiments, while the rest remained in the garrisons. When a regiment left its huts or barracks and moved to an encampment, and especially if it went on campaign, accommodations had to be found for the women who were not able to accompany it. When they were on campaign, we naturally assume that the women of the regiment simply shared tenting with their husbands and whomever else was assigned to that tent. When regiments were disembarked from transports, it was often several days before the women were allowed to come ashore, after the situation of the army was firmly established.

Armies on campaign could, of course, find themselves in combat. Common sense dictated that everything of value be kept together: baggage, stores, horses, wagons, and all non­combatants including wounded and invalid soldiers, wives, and children. Following the army in any capacity always entailed the possibility of being exposed to battle. Although the women were protected along with the other “assets” of the army, they were nevertheless at some degree of risk whenever there was combat.

The topic of combat begs the question of whether women ever disguised themselves as men and joined the British army. This subject has much allure and has drawn much attention, but documented cases throughout the entirety of the 18th Century are few. One book devoted to the subject suggests that there are only sixteen known instances throughout more than two centuries, and provides only three examples of women soldiers and four of women sailors for the entire 18th Century. We know of no cases of women serving as soldiers in British regiments in the American Revolution. Even at the time, however, the possibility was considered intriguing. Although they did not fight as soldiers, a few British army women certainly did fight. Life with the army, of course, entailed many other hazards.

Two inventories of army women’s clothing are known to exist. Ann Miller was the wife of a soldier of the 7th Regiment of Foot captured at La Prarie in Canada in 1775. Accompanying her husband, she made a claim to the Continental Congress for clothing that she had lost during their captivity. Her claim, valued in pounds, shillings and pence, is dated February 13, 1776 at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As we might expect, army women often possessed some items of soldiers' clothing. In some cases, the army issued clothing and equipment directly to army women and children.

Army children were exposed to many of the same hazards as were faced by the women when in encampments, garrisons, and on board ship. Some were exposed to domestic distress as well. Concurrently, however, they were also able to enjoy the pleasures of childhood. Archaeological excavations of British hut sites in the New York City area recovered a number of playthings: “buzzers” made from lead discs with serrated edges and holes for string through their centers; miniature pewter plates, cups, and platters; a doll; a tiny thimble; and a miniature pewter broom. And, the army made an effort to educate the children.

It seems appropriate to think that Emily Tyne may well have been one of these army women living as described from the above study. That means that she had to be married before embarking to America. If not married with another soldier before John McKenzie, she then would have departed with his 3rd/60th regiment in 1756. Their son John Kinzie, according to historiography, could then have been born while they were stationed in Quebec from June 1759 until about October 1761. The baby would then have followed the regiment to New York when it sailed to Martinique, 20 November 1761, and where his father died 16 April 1762. The widowed mother then had numerous oppotunities to meet potential new husbands from the same regiment, or from others stationed along the same path followed by the on-going army.

Collaboration from Theresa Mumaugh.

I was very pleased to see your updates on the website about John Kinzie. John Kinzie is my 5th great grandfather and I have been trying to further my research for years. I too have found the date conflict with John MacKenzie's death and the birth on John Kinzie. I have information from early settler obits from that would seem to give John a death date of January 6, 1828 aged 65 years 14 days, hence giving him a birth date of December 23, 1762.

"Kinzie, John (Sha-ne-au-ke) Indian agent and trader, first white American settler at Chicago, 1803; died Jan. 6, 1828, a. 65-0-14 [Fergus 1896, p. 114 (thanks to the collaboration of Kim Torp for this source)]".

I will continue my research to try and gain concrete information and continue to watch your progress. I wanted to express my gratitude for the work you are doing and that it has helped me tremendously. Especially with the difference in dates which other researchers seem to dismiss.

But my biggest point of confusion is a will I have for John MacKenzie a British Surgeon with the Royal American Regiment that was written January 10, 1762 and probated April 10, 1764 making no mention of anyone other than a brother George and a sister Jannet.

Surgeon John MacKenzie's Last Will and Testament.

London, National Archives, Public Record Office, B11/899, f° 283v°-284v°.

[Your collaboration is welcome to fill in remaining gaps in this transcription...]

John MacKenzie [added by another hand in the margin]

Dear Sir

I beg this as a favor of you that
you will be so kind and good to take the trouble to secure what
Little Effects I may have and Collect any Debts that may be owing
me and after paying my Debts in the Regiment and also what
which I may Say and but very few you’ll please remit all the
remaining part together
with my Arrears which [are due me]
since the Rising of the Regiment to my Sister Jannet annexed
hereto you’ll find a list of what is owing [me] and what is not
excuse this trouble and oblige [__?__] your most affectionnate and
very humble Servant, John MacKenzie Surgeon to the 60th or Royal
American Regiment
Signed off point Diamond on the Island of

Martinique January the 10th, 1762


New York April 10th, 1764

We do hereby Certify that the above is a true and just Copy
of a Letter directed to Captain William Baillie [web or pdf] of the 60th Regiment
and found among the papers of late John MacKenzie Surgeon
to said [Regiment] Robt. Campbell [web or pdf] Capt. [Golbeg]: David Berry [web or pdf]
[St.] 60th Regt:

To Captain William Baillie of the 3d. Battalion Royal American
Regt. or the Commanding Officer of the Batallion Surviving


New York April 10: 1764

The Battallions being ordered for Florida and but lately [reserved]
prevents my returning your letter of 17th May 1763 till after weeks
ago in Answer to which I must acquaint you I have made all the
Enquiry possible here but find no Effects of your late Brothers except
an old [Woodened] Chest of no Value [The Month I wrote] to you in my
last owing by Col Young [web or pdf] has been [reserved] --- by Lieutenant
Desbarres [web or pdf and DBC] as you’ll See credited in his Amount which [omit] lost
you the Balance due him I Suppose It will apply to the
Arrears for: I send also an attested Copy of John's Will which
I Suppose may be requisite in administring if any wise -
--- in my Power to be of further service I beg you may --
freely Command me I am sir your most humble [servant] Robt. Campbell

Geo MacKenze of Allan [Grange] Esquire.

To Mr. Alexander MacKenzie at the Stamp Office London


June 1st: 1764

Appeared personally Alexander MacKenzie of the Stamp
office London Gentleman and being Sworn on the Holy Evangelists
of Almighty God [hast] Oath That [It] did on or [about the Sixteenth] -
day of May in the present year of our Lord One thousand seven -
hundred and Sixty four [reserve] by the the general post by [Downsyouth]
of the New york parquett [the] Copy of the last Will and Testament of John
MacKenzie late Surgeon of his Majesties Sixtieth Regiment of
Foot at this Island of Martinique in the West Indies deceased hereunto
annexed [__?__] in a Letter the [Outsort Favor whereof directed] to
him this [deponant] at the -- Stamp Office London also therein
inclosed a Letter dated New York 10th. April 1764 from Robert Campbell
Esquire Captain in his Majesties said Sixth Regiment of foot [directed]
to George MacKenzie of Allan Grange Esquire which said George
MacKenzie is brother to the said deceased
and which said Cover
and Letter is also respectively hereunto annexed and [hd the]
[deponant] further made Oath that he sworn by believes the same to

be a true Copy of the Original Last Will and Testament of this said
deceased which was at the time of Sending the said Letter and now is
remaining in the Custody and possession of the Said Robert Campbell
Esquire or in the Custody of possession of the Commanding Officer
of his Majesties said Sixtieth Regiment of Foot now on [Duty in]
America and that it is [necessary] -------- to
have an Administration with the Copy of the Said Will annexed
forthwith granted by Reason the Estate and Effects of the said
Deceased will Suffer and be prejudiced in their Value before the
Original Will of the said deceased or an Authorised Copy thereof
[may be] transmitted from America. Alex Mackenzie. The Same day
the said Alexander Mackenzie was duly Sworn to the truth of
this affidavit. before me [Geo] Harris Surrogate present John
Smart [Exp.]

On the first day of June in the year of our Lord One thousand
Seven hundred and Sixty four Administration with a Copy of the
Will annexed of all and Singular the Goods Chattels and Credits
of John Mackenzie late a Surgeon of his Majesties Sixtieth ---
Regiment of Foot at the Island of Martinique in the West Indies
deceased was granted to Alexander Mackenzie the lawful attorney
of Jannet Mackenzie Spinster the natural and lawful Sister of
the said deceased and Universal Legatee named in the the said Will
for the rest and benefit of the Said Jannet Mackenzie now residing
in the Parish of [Killmuir] in the County of Ross in North ---
until the Original Will of the Said deceased or an --
Authentified Copy thereof shall be brought into and left in the --
Registry of the prerogative Court of Canterbury [he] having been
first Sworn duly to administer for that William Baillie Esquire
the Executor named in the said Will according to the Tenor thereof
dyed withoug having upon him the execution thereof.


Surgeon John MacKenzie wrote his testament in Martinique 10 January 1762. Was he already ill or wounded? He probably died there, before his fellow officers of the same regiment had time to sail to New York where a copy was certified 10 April 1764.

There is no evidence that Surgeon John MacKenzie was married since no wife nor child is mentioned in his testament. He made his sister Jannet MacKenzie, spinster, his universal legatee, through the help of his brother George MacKenzie Esquire of Allan Grange. She was living in the Parish of Kilmuir in the County of Ross in Scotland.

Identification of John Kinzie's father rest mainly upon secondary sources of family tradition which are not always fully reliable.

Since John McKenzie is a fairly frequent name, we will never be sure that the surgeon of the "60th or Royal American Regiment of Foot" really was his father, until it is corroborated by primary sources.

Since John McKenzie's above testament mentions no wife nor child, could John Kinzie have been an "illegitimate" child, thus explaining that his name is different from his alledged father's...!?

See discussion about Alice Haliburton birth date.

Or, the father could be another John McKenzie, as listed below in the British army in the Quebec's battles of 1759-1760...

John Mckenzie. Lastname : Mckenzie. Firstname : John. Army : British. Birth City : Ross-shire. Country / colony : Écosse. Engagement Date : 1756-02-19. City : Uxbridge. Country / colony : England. Occupation before : Tailor. Demobilization Date : 1760-10-24. Assignments Regiment : 58th Regiment of Foot Company : John Nuttall's Company. Grade : Private. Company : John Nuttall's Company. Hospitalisation Date : 1760-12-23. Place : Royal Hospital Chelsea City : Chelsea. Country / colony : England. Motif : Blessure et épuisement, à l'âge de 60 ans, 40 ans de service (web or pdf).

John Mckenzie. Lastname : Mckenzie. Firstname : John. Army : British. Assignment Regiment : 78th Regiment of Foot. Company : Archibald Roy Campbell's Company. Grade : Private (web or pdf).

John Mckenzie. Lastname : Mckenzie. Firstname : John. Army : British. Assignment Regiment : 78th Regiment of Foot Company : John Campbell's Company. Grade : Private (web or pdf).

John Mckenzie. Lastname : Mckenzie. Firstname : John. Army : British. Assignment Regiment : 78th Regiment of Foot. Company : Hugh Fraser's Company. Grade : Private (web or pdf).

John Mckenzie. Lastname : Mckenzie. Firstname : John. Army : British. Assignment Regiment : 78th Regiment of Foot. Company : John Fraser's Company. Grade : Private (web or pdf).

John Mckenzie. Lastname : Mckenzie. Firstname : John. Army : British. Assignment Regiment : 78th Regiment of Foot. Company : John Fraser's Company. Grade : Private (web or pdf).


| Birth and his mother Emily Tyne, an army woman | Surgeon John McKenzie | Chaplain William Halyburton | Soldier William Forsyth |

Chaplain William Halyburton (appointed 1747, retired 1765).

Collaboration from John Houlding, military historian of the 18th century British army.

From a database including all of the commissioned officers in the regular army from 1725 to 1793, but not common soldiers.

Chaplain William Halyburton (as his name is spelled in the War Office's commission registers), wasn't in the 60th Foot, Royal American Regt, but rather in the 1st Foot, the Royal Regt. The 1st Foot was made up of two battalions, which served separately; William was with the 2nd Battalion (thus 2/1st Foot) throughout his service. "The Royals", as the 1st Foot was generally known, was recruited heavily from Scots; and William had just been appointed (on 22.5.1747 OS) to the chaplaincy of the 2nd Bn, then in Scotland, when it embarked at Leith on 24 May 1747 (OS) to join the army in Flanders. At the peace time reductions he was put on the semi-retired Half Pay List on 1.12.1748 (OS), but was reappointed to the 2nd Bn, by now in Ireland, on 25.12.1750 (OS). The 2nd Bn remained in Ireland until Spring 1757, when it embarked for Nova Scotia. He retained the chaplaincy until 27.3.1765, when he retired.

Halyburton's commission history is in WO.64/11 and in WO.25/210, 1st Ft. When reappointed on 25.12.1750 it was in the date of his original chaplain's commission (on which PRONI, T.470, f.405), but I don't know why.

An 18th-century army chaplain often didn't actually serve with his regiment, but rather paid a deputy to serve in his place -- usually a young priest who hadn't found a regular living. Historians of the old army have written very, very little, on its chaplains. To find out if Halyburton went with the 2/1st one would need to look through a regimental history of the 1st Foot, or in secondary sources on the Seven Years' War in the Americas where the 2/1st may be mentioned.

Since Surgeon McKenzie died in 1762 but Chaplain Halyburton was still alive in 1765 it could be that Emily married the latter after the former.

Paul Goodman, an expert on the 18th-C British Army, has sent the excerpt below. I'd asked him if he'd encountered Chaplain Halyburton of the 2/1st, Royal Regt in North America during the Seven Years' War.

« The chaplain of 2/1st Foot does not turn up in any of the regimental histories of the Royals. However, I located a possible reference to the chaplain of the Royals at Ticonderoga in 1759.

"Ticonderoga, 28 July, 1759: “Forbes Regt to face to the Right and join the Royall Brigade, and with that Brigade are to have the service done by the Chaplin of the Royall.” A footnote by the editor in 1857 notes Rev. William Halliburton as the Chaplain. So presumably he was present with the battalion in America (Commissary Wilson’s Orderly Book… Expedition… under… Amherst… 1759, Albany, NY, 1857, p. 103)." »

Whether the 1857 editor simply looked up the published lists of the army or actually knew that Halyburton was there, of course, is a question. In America, Halyburton would have followed his battalion stationed in these places (as from personal notes, documented from several publications, excerpt and summary by RD)...

The 2/1st Foot battalion embarked at Cork in Apr '57, arrived Halifax (Nova Scotia) 9 July, where it wintered. Arrived Louisbourg June '58, which felled 27 July. Sailed 30 August '58, camped Boston Common 14-16 September. Wintered '58-'59 with 9 companies at Albany, 1 at Stillwater. Part of Amherst's '59 Lake Champlain army, Lake George 21 July, Fort Ticonderoga by end July '59. Wintered '59-'60 in New Jersey with 4 companies at Amboy, 4 at Brunswick, 2 at Trenton.

The individual Companies of the 2/1st -- there were ten Companies in the 2/1st at this time, two of which were "flank" Companies, that is Grenadiers and Light Infantry -- were split up in 1760-62 between South Carolina, the northern colonies, and the West Indies, which makes it difficult to sort out the battalion during those years. The chaplain (or his substitute) will likely have been with the battalion's headquarters, itself with the largest group of Companies.

The two flank companies embarked Charleston (South Carolina) to rejoin the 4 companies left at New York which had moved up to Crown Point and gone with Haviland to Montreal. Lying in January '61 with 6 companies in Nova Scotia and 4 in Carolina.

The 4 New York companies, leaving the 2 flank companies behind in garnison at Montreal, had (presumably early '61) marched from Montreal to New York City where they embarked for Guadeloupe in April '61. Sailed on 4 June to Dominica. Barbadoes end of '61. Martinique January '62. Barbadoes May '62 and Havana June.

The flank companies from Montreal went to recapture Newfounland where they arrived 13 September '62 and which fell on 17.

Embarked at Halifax for England autumn '63. In Scotland April '64.

The standard regimental history of the 1st Foot is J.C. Leask & H.M. McCance, Regimental Records of the Royal Scots (1915). There is also Robert H. Paterson, Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard: A History of the First or the Royal Regiment of Foot (2001), in 2 vols., but as I've never used it I don't know if its any good.

Where did Emily Tyne met and married William Halyburton and when was born their child Alice?

According to family tradition, William Halyburton was Emily Tyne's first husband and their only child Alice (right portrait) was born "January 22nd, 1758 [Gordon 1910, p. 3]". Was Alice born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Halyburton wintered? How did Emily came to Quebec to give birth to John Kinzie (June 1759 - October 1761) when, at the same period, Halyburton was in several locations of the Unites States? Did Emily divorced Halyburton and lived with Surgeon John McKenzie from whom was born their illegitimate child John Kinzie?

If Halyburton was Emily Tyne's second husband, it has to be after the death of Surgeon John McKenzie (Martinique April 16, 1762) who gives no mention in his will about a wife and child! Some companies of Halyburton's battalion were precisely stationed in Martinique January-May 1762. The date birth of Alice could then be in 1763, at the earliest, and at the latest according to her marriage with Sampson Fleming.

Did Emily followed Halyburton to Halifax when his regiment came back to England (1763) and Scotland (1764)? Or, according to practices relating to widowed army women, did she came back "home" and met him there or on the way? Did she stayed with him after he retired from chaplaincy on March 27, 1765 and until he died?

They probably both stayed in the United States where, afterwards, the again widowed mother and her offsprings, John Kinzie and Alice Haliburton, spent their lifes. New York would seem the best place as being a major nodal point in the web of garrisons coming back and forth. New York is also where Emily Tyne first lives with her next husband, William Forsyth.

Anonymous, Alledged portrait of Alice Haliburton Fleming, source.


| Birth and his mother Emily Tyne, an army woman | Surgeon John McKenzie | Chaplain William Halyburton | Soldier William Forsyth |

Soldier William Forsyth and Emily Tyne's third marriage.

Collaboration from John Houlding, military historian of the 18th century British army.

From a database including all of the commissioned officers in the regular army from 1725 to 1793, but not common soldiers.

As to a William Forsyth, there was only one officer in the 18th-C regular army with that name and he was doubtless too young to have married Emily; he was first commissioned on 12.3.1782 as an Ensign in the 83rd Foot, then serving in the Channel Islands. He was reduced onto the Half Pay List on 8.5.1783 and was still on half pay in 1793, where my research stops. There were three other Forsyths in the 18th-C army -- Robert (first comm. 1782), David (first comm. 1779), and Hugh (b.1728, served 1748-69 in the 49th Foot, in Jamaica until 1764).

Its extremely unlikely that an ex-officer of the regular army would have opened a tavern, as it would have been déclassé. William Forsyth's biography states that, "Based on his military service, he petitioned the governor for lands along the River Thames in 1791". If that petition can be located it would, most likely, summarise his military career. It sounds like he was a common soldier.

There is at the PRO a class of documents called six-monthly "Muster Rolls", which exist for most of the regiments from the 1750s onwards; but their survival is incomplete, and one would have to consult the PRO index for what survives for the regiment -- the 60th in this case it seems. The "Muster Rolls" include the names of the common soldiers, and if the researcher is lucky in the survival rate of these documents for the regiment that concerns him then the career of an individual soldier can be followed from one roll to the next.

Emily's Forsyth could have been an officer of American Provincials, or of Militia, and so wouldn't appear in the War Office's commission registers.

On sources for the British Army in the 7 Years' War in the Americas, Stephen Brumwell's Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763 (2001), is a very good account, while a useful overall history of the war in America is Fred Anderson's Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (2000).

Scholarly work on American Provincials has been spotty, and I'm not a Colonial specialist. Might I suggest Fred Anderson's A People's Army, Massachusetts Soldiers & Society in the Seven Years' War (1996). I believe that there has been something similar on Connecticut troops...

MacLeod, D. Peter, Backs to the Wall: The Battle of Sainte-Foy and the Conquest of Canada, Douglas & McIntyre, 2016, 272 p.

William Forsyth's biography.

Source: Early Chicago or jpg.

Forsyth, William, Sr. stepfather of John Kinzie; innkeeper at Detroit; originally of Scottish descent, he immigrated to New York c.1750 from Blackwater, Ireland; served in the 60th Regiment of Foot, fought under General Wolfe at the capture of Quebec in 1759 and was severely wounded (his wounds may have been tended by Surgeon John McKenzie [father of John Kinzie], who served in the same regiment, possibly both in the same 2nd Battalion [John McKinzie was in 3/60th]. Last stationed in Detroit, he retired there after serving 14 years in the British army; purchased the principal inn/tavern in 1772 (recorded date is June 15, 1772), located near the foot of the royal wharf [see Views of Detroit]; built a bowling alley by his tavern which was torn down by the commandant, for which he asked compensation. Based on his military service, he petitioned the governor for lands along the River Thames in 1791; first wife Isabel (née Martin) died in 1764; the sons he had with Isabel became half brothers [stepbrothers in fact] to John Kinzie when he married Kinzie`s widowed mother Emily in 1765; William, Sr. died in Detroit, c.1791. His sons were George (1761-1775), William, Jr. (1762-1843), Philip (1763-) and Robert (1763-c.1818), and [after he married Emily Tyne Halliburton McKenzie] James (1769-1835) and Thomas (1771-1833). William, Jr., married Margaret Lytle, the younger sister of Kinzie`s second wife Eleanor Lytle McKillip. [95a, 255, 649] [12]

12  Andreas, Alfred Theodore. History of Chicago. From the Earliest Period to the Present Time. 3 vols. Chicago, 1884-1888. [lists of early settlers, Vol. 3, pp. 394-97]. According to this source, Williams's son Thomas was born in Detroit, December 5, 1771.

95a  Burnett, William. Daybook, 1800.

255  Forsyth, Thomas. Thomas Forsyth Papers. Wisconsin State Historical Society; "Journal of a Voyage From St. Louis to the Falls of St. Anthony, in 1819." · "Maj. Thomas Forsyth to Gov. Wm. Clark." Wisconsin Historical Collections VI: 189-219, 1872.

649  Swenson. John F. Personal communication with author.

William Forsyth in Burton 1922, excerpts ordered chronologically.

[About his tavern bought June 15, 1772, p. 283] There were several taverns in the village. As there was very little travel, it must be understood that the greatest uses to which a tavern could be put was to take in boarders and sell rum. They were rum holes of the worst kind. William Forsyth was among the tavern keepers and he probably had the largest place in town, located upon the site where the Michigan Exchange was afterwards built [see Views of Detroit].

[1774, April 14, p. 191-193] PROHIBITION FOR INDIANS resulting from the sale of rum. Signed 14 April 1774 in presence of 20 merchants including Wm. Forsyth. The agreement was dissolved June 12, 1775.

[1780, September 20, p. 201] William Forsyth, the step-father of John Kinzie of Chicago, obtained a deed to 2,000 acres on the St. Clair River September 20, 1780.

[1789, August 2, p. 178-170] PLEA FOR DAMAGES While upon the subject of the stockade and barracks, an interesting circumstance is disclosed b a paper on file in the Dominion archives at Ottawa. It relates to William Forsyth, who was a tavern-keeper at the time noted. His wife's name was Ann. She had been married twice before becoming the wife of Forsyth. Her first husband was a Mr. Haliburton, chaplain in the first regiment, and her daughter, Alice, the only child of the marriage, married first to Sampson Fleming and secondly to Nicholas Low of New York. Ann's second husband was a Mr. Kinzie, or McKinzie, and the only issue of this marriage was John Kinzie, the first white man in Chicago. By her third marriage, with William Forsyth, she had six sons, who became heads of families important in the annals of Detroit and in military affaires of our government. The paper referred to reads as follows:

"The Humble Petition and Memorial of William Forsyth, Tavern Keeper at Detroit.


That your petitioner has served his Majesty fourteen years in the Sixtyeth Regiment of Foot, and in several campaigns along with your Excellency until the Reduction of Canada took place, where he was wounded in three places, which rendered him unfit for future service, but was long confined by sickness, and a great expense in his recovery of the said wounds, and being unable to gain his livelihood by hard labor, he built a Ball Alley in this town, in the year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-six, with the sanction and permission of Major Averum, then commandant of this post, which cost three hundred and eighty-one pounds of New York currency.

That when Captain Mann arrived here it was thought to obstruct the fortifications and was of consequence ordered to pe pulled down without allowing any consideration and the loss it became to your petitioner, who has now a large family to support and which reduces his circumstances.

Wherefore, your petitioner humbly prays that your excellency taking the merits of his service, his loss and the situation of his family unto consideration, will be pleased to order that your petitioner may in some nanner be reimbursed for the said loss of Three Hundred and Eighty-one pounds or such part as to your Escellency may seem meet.

And your petitioner will ever pray,


Detroit, 2nd August, 1789."

The citadel referred to, and for the enlargement of which the ball alley was pulled down, was erected just to the west of the old picket line of the post [see Smith's map of 1790]. The first portion of it was built by Israel Putnam in 1764. It extended from the present Jefferson Avenue in a northerly direction a considerable distance. It was nearly triangular in shape, surrounded by high pickets and the easterly side was the picket line of the village. It held all the troops until after Fort Lernoult was completed in 1779. During the Revolution it was used as a prison or detention room for prisoners of war brought here from the Ohio region.

[1791, September 14, p. 220] Report of the chimneys in the Town of Detroit, agreeable to the survey made September 14, 1791, by Perot, Wheaton, Fraro and Coeilliard, by proffession, masons and carpenters. [...] Wiliam Forsyth (proprietor) kitchen fireplace wants repair.

[1792, p. 215] There can be no doubt that Mr. Askin exerted himself to the utmost in favor of his friend, but Mr. Smith was not exceedingly sanguine of success in the coming election [in 1792]. A few days later there was another letter in which he wrote: "Have proper booths erected for my friends at the hustings, employ Forsyth to make large plum cakes, with plenty of fruit, etc., and be sure let the wine be good and plenty. Let the peasants have a fiddle, some beverage and beef. If my absence merely should be mentioned as a bar to my election, you may assure the world that if there is time between the returns being made and the meeting of the assembly, I will come up to take the sentiments of the county, and I will annually pay Detroit a visit before I go to meet the assembly."

[1796-97, p. 275] BRITISH CITIZENS IN DETROIT The declarations of the inhabitants to remain British subjects, made in 1796-7, already referred to, contain many names in addition to those of French derivation. These are as follows: [...] William Forsyth

FEW TRANSFERS IN 1796 [...] The sons of William Forsyth were already here when the Americans came. They were William, James, John, George, Thomas and Robert A. Forsyth, and their half-brother was John Kinzie, “the first white man in Chicago except a darkie.” There was also a half sister Alice Haliburton who married Sampson Fleming [Burton 1917, p. 21].


Thanks to the collaboration of Don N. Hagist who provided this source: Jeffries 1920, p. 51-52.

William Forsyth, a British officer, came to Quebec, Canada, in 1760. He was a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, and was a member of the first lodge of Masons formed by the British officers of Quebec. His family have the gold medal made to commemorate the capture of Quebec with the name of William Forsyth on it. He resided afterward for a time in New York City, but eventually settled in Detroit, then a part of Canada. He had considerable silver plate, some pieces of which are yet in his family. He married a Mrs. Kenzie. Their children were as follows:

I. William, whose son was Major-General James W. Forsyth, U. S. A.

II. James, whose son was Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis Carr Forsyth, U. S. A., who was born in Detroit.

III. John, who went to Montreal about 1780. He was one of the founders of the Northwest Fur Company. Either he or his brother was father of Major-General George A. Forsyth, U.S.A., who was born in 1771.

IV. Thomas was Indian agent and justice in the territory of Illinois in 1793, and during the war of 1812 against Canada and Great Britain. His sympathies were with his royalist brothers in arms. Later he was colonel com- manding the district near Chicago, and it was here that he and his half-brother, Kenzie, saved the population from the planned massacre by the Indian chief, Black Partridge. He and his half-brother Kenzie also established the beginning of Chicago. He married Miss Maillot of Hagerstown, Maryland, and settled in Peoria, Illinois, in 1806, but later moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he died in 1832.

Collaboration from Don N. Hagist.

The 60th Regiment is one of the few for which I do not have copies of the muster rolls. The David Library of the American Revolution holds microfilm copies of the rolls for the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the 60th, but from the information you've provided I suspect it is the 1st or 2nd Battalion that is of interest.

For an army wife in Canada in the early 1770s, there are a few other possibilities - the 8th, 10th and 52nd Regiments. There are, unfortunately, no surviving muster rolls for these regiments during the time they were in Canada; the rolls for the 10th and 52nd Regiments begin when they arrived in Boston in late 1774, and those for the 8th are not extant for any time the regiment was in North America.

I did find the passage below by doing a search on "William Forsyth" "60th Regiment"...

"FORSYTHS OF ONTARIO A royalist family that played a very prominent part in the early history of that section, was the Forsyths, who were among those who stood for unity of empire in North America before the treaty of 1783, and whose names were put on the honor list by order of the council, with the idea that their posterity might be distinguished from other settlers. These Forsyths were James Forsyth, Niagara stamp book government provision list, Kingston, 1786. He had a crown patent for lands including Diamond Hill at Niagara in 1798. George Forsyth from Schenectady Province, New York, James Forsyth, non-commissioned officer King's Royal Rangers of New York, provision list, Kingston, 1786 ; also William Forsyth of the 60th Regiment, and his sons, James, Thomas and Robert. James and Thomas are mentioned as Lieutenants, James in 2nd Regiment in 1838, and Thomas in the 32nd [Jeffries 1920, p. 52-53]."

Looking at the data you've provided, and the passage above, it's completely plausible that Forsyth was a non-commissioned officer in the 60th Regiment; this would be consistent with his marrying someone like Emily, who had been married to low-ranking officers, and having sons who became commissioned officers. But it would require a look at the muster rolls to confirm this.

It is in New York, before moving to Detroit, that Emily Tyne dwelt after her third marriage with William Forsyth, widowed in 1764, from whom she later gave birth to James (1769-1835) and Thomas (1771-1833). If William Forsyth was a common soldier in the same 60th as John McKenzie, as an army woman Emily Tyne could easily have met, married and followed him where he was stationed. And even have taken a residence on Long-Island New York, as reported by family tradition, which is precisely the base of an important garrison's site chosen for the study on The Women of the British Army in America...! According to his biography, William Forsyth served 14 years with the 60th; since it departed in 1756, he thus terminated his commission circa 1770, in Detroit, where his regiment may have had a detachment from his station in Niagara. Young John Kinzie followed his mother along this adventurous woman's army trail where he would have gained resourcefulness and interpersonal skills.

Stations of 60th where William Forsyth and Emily Tyne may have served after William Halyburton's death.
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th Depot
1762 Pittsburg. Detachments on the Ohio, Philadelphia, and on Lakes Michigan and Superior. Quebec and Pittsburg. Barbadoes, Martinique, Havannah, Pensacola. Montreal, and Detachments. America.
1763 Pittsburg. Forts Littleton, Bedford, Presq'ile, and Niagara. Quebec, Detroit, Pittsburg, Niagara, New York, and Detachments Pensacola and New York. Montreal, and Detachments. D. Isle of Wight.
1764 Fort Pitt, New York, Expedition to Lakes of Forts Ontario, Lancaster and to Detroit, and Detachments. Quebec, and Detachments. New York. D.   Isle of Wight.
1765 Pittsburg. Forts Stanwix, Fort George, Albany, New York. Quebec, Montreal, New York.     Isle of Wight.
1766 New York, Quebec, Jamaica. New York, and Detachments.     Isle of Wight.
1767 Jamaica, Three Companies in South Carolina. New York, Niagara, and Detachments.     Isle of Wight.
1768-1771 Jamaica. New York, Niagara, and Detachments.     Isle of Wight.
Source: Celer 1905, p. 22. See also: Marston 1997.03.

Too often, in history, womens' lifes hide in the shadows of their husbands. Emily Tyne's adventurous strength is not only the ray that throws light on her military husbands, but also a powerful legacy to her children and grand-children. The capital she may have inherited, from her two deceased officers, could also have been a significant asset to help her family invest in Detroit's principal inn-tavern to insure their survival in these rought pioneer times.


Family tradition narrating his youth and early career.

This section was a base of interpretation in the first version of this website as first published since 2002. Further researches and collaborations, early 2017, gave unexpectedly rich historical returns, far more detailed and precise with primary sources discussed in the previous section. Since we had found answers to many questions, we had to revise commentaries we had made in this section. We were then very critical on several discrepancies within these stories orally transmitted through family tradition, as well as their litterary and fictitious caracter, amplified through Kinzie's heroization. Nevertheless, some basic informations remain important and historically believable. This is why we maintain this section as an illustration of the importance of a critical approach towards these kind of writings. Since in these books general historical background is not always very accurate, it is important to understand the evolution of the territory during Kinzies' life.

In the 1700's, the Nouvelle-France covered a very large territory in North America, west of New England. In 1763, the whole eastern part of North America was under British Rule, the Province of Quebec as well as the 13 American Colonies. It changed in 1774 by the Act of Quebec, at the time of the American Revolutionary War, when several Loyalists fled the American Colonies for the new extended Province of Quebec under British Rule.

Images: Jacques Leclerc, collaborateur à la CEFAN, L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde.

By the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which ended the American War of Independence, the Province of Quebec territory shrinked in favor of the United States. Detroit, where Kinzie lived at that time, was "officially" no more under the British Rule; but it became really part of the United States only in 1796 with the Jay Treaty. In 1791, by the Constitutional Act, Canada was divided in two territories: Lower Canada (Québec) and Upper Canada (Ontario). The 1812 War, in which Kinzie took part, did not change theses divisions which lasted until 1840.

Critical analysis of two old books reporting family tradition.

LEFT COLUMN — Source: Kinzie 1856, p. 191-196, and Kinzie 1857-web, chapter XVII.

RIGHT COLUMN — In parallel, other version of the same family story from Gordon 1910.

[Our comments added in red between brackets. Several illustrations added from other indicated sources.]

He [John Kinzie] was born in Quebec (L. C.) in 1763. His mother had been previously married to a gentleman of the name of Haliburton. The only daughter of this marriage was the mother of Gen. Fleming and Nicholas Low, Esq., of New York. She is described as a lady of remarkable beauty and accomplishments. Mr. Kinzie was the only child of the second marriage. His father died in his infancy, and his mother married a third time a Mr. Forsyth, after which they removed to the city of New York. John McKenzie was the son of Surgeon John McKenzie of the 60th or Royal American Regiment of Foot, and of Anne Haleyburton, the widow of Chaplain Wm. Haleyburton of the First or Royal American Regiment of Foot. Mrs. Haleyburton had one child by Maj. Haleyburton, a dauthter named Alice, born January 22nd, 1758. This event took place just before the regiment embarked from Ireland for America, and the Haleyburtons were consequently delayed for several weeks before rejoining the command in Quebec. Major Haleyburton died soon after their arrival in America, and his widow a couple of years later married Surgeon John McKenzie. Their son "John" was born in Quebec, December 3rd, 1763. Major McKenzie survived the birth of his son but a few months and his widow took for her third husband Mr. William Forsyth, of New York City. Mr. and Mrs. Forsyth had five sons, William, George, James, Thomas, and Robert Allan.

[According to previous discussion about his birth, John Kinzie was born 1759-1761.

The term "Lower Canada", abreviated as L. C., was used from the 1791 Constitutionnal Act dividing the territory in Lower and Upper Canada, and only until the Union of Canada in 1840.

See discussion about Alice Haliburton birth date.

At the age of ten or eleven years he was placed at school with two of his half-brothers at Williamsburg, L. I.. A negro servant was sent from the city every Saturday, to bring the children home, to remain until the following Monday morning. Upon one occasion, when the messenger arrived at the school he found all things in commotion. Johnny Kinzie was missing! Search was made in all directions; every place was ransacked. It was all in vain; no Johnny Kinzie could be found. The heavy tidings were carried home to his mother. By some it was supposed the lad was drowned; by others that he had strayed away, and would return. Weeks passed by, and months, and he was at length given up and mourned as lost.

Young John grew up under the care and supervision of his step-father, Mr. Forsyth, until at the age of ten he began his adventurous career by running away. He and his two half brothers attended a school at Williamsburg, L. I., escorted there every Monday by a servant, who came to bring them home every Friday. One fine afternoon when the servant came to take the boys home Master Johnny was missing. An immediate search was made, but not a trace of him could be found. His mother was almost frantic. The mysterious disappearance of her bright, handsome boy was a fearful blow. Days passed without tidings of the lost one, and hope fled. The only solution suggested was, that he might have been accidently drowned, and his body swept out to sea.

[If John Kinzie was 10-11 years old, the dates would be 1769-1772 according to his approximate birth in 1759-1761. As seen above, William Forsyth and Emily Tyne retired from army circa 1770 and established in Detroit where they bought the principal inn-tavern June 15, 1772.

Williamsburg is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

L.I. stands for Long Island New York.

Would it be possible that John Kinzie did not like the school, or the teacher, or the new life with his stepfamily? And that he prefered to learn a trade instead of studying at school by living on his own?

Would this "litterary" story may also be a way to silence the fact that the family was loyalist and decided to migrate to the territory of Quebec still under the British Rule.]


In the meantime the boy was fulfilling a determination he had long formed, to visit his native city of Quebec, and make his way in life for himself. Meantime Master John was very much alive. He had determined to go to Quebec to try, as he afterwards explained, to discover some of his father's relations.

[John Kinzie was a baby when he left Quebec City. He could not therefore have had memories of this city. But curiosity is something else! Accordingly, he may have been dreaming visiting Quebec City where he was born.]

He had by some means succeeded in crossing from Williamsburg to the city of New York, and finding at one of the docks on the North River a sloop bound for Albany, he took passage on board of her. He had managed to find a sloop which was just going up the Hudson, and with the confidence and audacity of a child he stepped gaily on board and set forth on his travels.

[Albany was an obligatory stop since it was the terminal of the sloop. In these streets, at this period, one could surely see there silversmiths shops.]

Anonymous, A view of houses in the city of Albany, Etching, in The Columbian magazine, or, Monthly miscellany, Philadelphia, Printed for Seddon, Spotswood, Cist, and Trenchard, December 1789, frontispiece. Library of Congress, Illus. in AP2.A2 U6 [Rare Book RR].

While on his way up the river, he was noticed by a gentleman, who, taking an interest in the little lonely passenger, questioned him about his business. "He was going to Quebec, where he had some friends." "Had he the means to carry him there?" "Not much, but he thought he could get along."

Most fortunately for him he attracted the notice of a passenger on the vessel who was going to Quebec, and who began to question the lonely little lad. He became so interested in the boy that he took him in charge, paid his fare and landed him safely in his native city.

[Kinzie could not remember friends from Quebec, a town he left when he was a baby.

Since Kinzie lived his infancy following her woman army mother, her surely had several reminiscences from those frequent migrations that could be the base of this fictitious getaway.

Kinzie 1856 says that "he was going" to Quebec, she does not say that "he went" there. But Gordon 1910 sends him to his "native city" of Quebec City.]

It happened, fortunately, that the gentleman himself was going to Quebec. He took the boy under his care, paid his expenses the whole distance, and finally parted with him in the streets of the city, where he was, in truth, a stranger. But here, alas. Master Johnnie soon found himself stranded. Very cold, very hungry and very miserable, he was wandering down one of the streets of Quebec when his attention was attracted by a glittering array of watches and silver in a shop window, where a man was sitting repairing a clock.

[These texts state "Quebec" and not "Quebec city"! Detroit was already related to Quebec under the French Regime. It became officially part of the Province of Quebec with the Act of Quebec in 1774.

It was easy to go to Albany from New York on the Hudson River. From Albany, one could easily go north to Quebec or Montreal; or west, via Mohawk River, to the Great Lakes.

Since Kinzie's family was already living in Detroit by 1770, oral transmission may have distorted the real story of his moving with his mother in the army from New York to Detroit.]

Guy Johnson, Map of the Country of the VI Nations (detail of Mohawk River from Albany to Lake Ontario), 1771.
Bilharz 2009.02 and Allegany County Historical Society.

He wandered about for a time, looking into various "stores" and workshops. At length, on entering the shop of a silversmith, he was satisfied with the expression he read in the countenance of the master, and he inquired if he wanted an apprentice. "What, you, my little fellow! What can you do?" "Anything you can teach me." "Well, we will make a trial and see." The trial was satisfactory. He remained in the family of his kind friend for more than three years, when his parents, who, in removing to Detroit, had necessarily returned to Canada, discovered his place of abode, and he was restored to them.

Johnny stood gazing wistfully in; his yellow curls, blue eyes, and pathetic little face appealed to the kind silversmith, who beckoned him into the shop and soon learned his story. 'And what are you going to do now?" asked the man. "I am going to work" replied "ten-yearold" valiantly. "Why, what could you do?" laughed the man. "I could do anything you told me to do, if you just showed me how to do it," said John- The result was that John got the job. The silversmith had no children, and as the months rolled on he grew more and more fond of John. He taught him as much of his trade as the lad could acquire in the three years of his stay in Quebec.

[No name of silversmith is mentionned. If the 10-11 years old boy remained apprenticed for 3 years, that would be until he was 13-14 years old in 1772-1775. This passage of Kinzie 1856 inclines us to think that Kinzie was found, after his flee, in Detroit where they actually lived since 1770, then part of the Province of Quebec, and not in Quebec City! And what was that "necessity" that forced the family to return to Canada? And to go to Detroit? Was it related to Loyalty to the British Empire?]

[No equivalent in Kinzie 1856.]

These happy and useful years drew to a close. As John was one day walking down the street, a gentlemen from New York stopped him and said: "Are you not Johnny Kinzie?" John admitted that he was — and the gentleman armed with the astonishing news and the boy's address, promptly communicated with Mr. Forsyth, who at once came to Quebec and took the runaway home. I dare say his rejoicing mother saved him from the sound thrashing he richly deserved at the hands of his step-father.

[Gordon 1910 is adding from his own to the original story, caracteristic of the on going chain of the same story repeated in historiography with new addings. The make belief of this theatrical story of Forsyth's tale trip to "Quebec" is obvious when compared to the following transcription from the family Bible which confirms that Forsyth and his family were already living in Detroit before August 6, 1775, thus in the "Province of Quebec" as illustrated above.]

There were five younger half-brothers of the name of Forsyth. In the old family Bible, we find the following touching record of an event that occurred after the family had removed to Detroit. "George Forsyth was lost in the woods 6th August, 1775, when Henry Hays and Mark Stirling ran away and left him. The remains of George Forsyth were found by an Indian the 2d of October, 1776, close by the Prairie Ronde."

In the old family Bible is the following touching record of an event that occurred after the family had removed from New York to Detroit: "George Forsyth was lost in the woods 6th of Aug., 1775, when Henry Hays and Mark Stirling ran away and left him. The remains of Geo. Forsyth were found by an Indian the 2nd of Oct., 1776, close by the Prairie Ronde." In this same old Bible the "Mc" is dropped in recording the birth of "John Kinsey" (so spelled), thus indicating that he was known as John Kinsey, (or, as he himself spelled it, "Kinzie") from early childhood.

[This source of information is believable and authentic: the text is in between quotation marks and has been copied directly from the family Bible. The original text is hand written in the family Bible, thus not far from faith in the afterdeath to console from the sorrows of a lost child. It is very precise in its details, dates and names of the two boys that accompanied George. It was probably written in this Bible as a record of this important event to be remembered within the family history. I would bet that this Bible printing date was well before George's death in 1775! Would it still be preserved somewhere to check on which page and context this inscription was placed?

From this authentic and precise document we may conclude that the Forsyth family was thus living in Detroit before August 1775! Would there be somewhere an original record of George Forsyth's death (register or tombstone) that could corroborate this dating and story?

This historic information is thus to be confronted with some incoherence within the story, stated above, about the alledged trip of the family to Detroit in 1772-1775 when they found John.

The conclusions of our reseach about William Forsyth and Emily Tyne confirms they were living in Detroit as early as 1770 with their family.]

It seems a singular fatality that the unhappy mother should have been twice called to suffer a similar affliction -- the loss of a child in a manner worse than death, inasmuch as it left room for all the horrors that imagination can suggest. The particulars of the loss of this little brother were these. As he came from school one evening, he met the colored servant boy on horseback, going to the common for the cows. The school-house stood quite near the old fort, and all beyond that, all that now lies west of Fort street, was a wild, uncultivated tract called "The Common." [No equivalent in  Gordon 1910.]

Nicolas Bellin, La Riviere du Detroit depuis le Lac Sainte Claire jusqu'au Lac Erie(detail of Fort's surroundings),
dans Abbé Antoine François Prévost, Histoire générale des Voyages, Paris, 1746-1759, 15 vol., Columbia University.

The child begged of the servant to take him up and give him a ride, but the other refused, bidding him return home at once. He was accompanied by two other boys, somewhat older, and together they followed the negro for some distance, hoping to prevail upon him to give them a ride. As it grew dark, the two older boys turned back, but the other kept on. When the negro returned he had not again seen the child, nor were any tidings ever received of him, notwithstanding the diligent search made by the whole little community, until, as related in the record, his remains were found the following year by an Indian. [No equivalent in  Gordon 1910.]
There was nothing to identify them, except the auburn curls of his hair, and the little boots he had worn. There was nothing to identify the child except the auburn curls of his hair and the little boots he had worn.
He must have perished very shortly after having lost his way, for the Prairie Ronde was too near the settlement to have prevented his hearing the calls and sounding horns of those in search of him. [No equivalent in  Gordon 1910.]

Detroit River and vicinity [in 1812] (detail), Lossing 1869-web, chapter XIII.

Mr. Kinzie's enterprising and adventurous disposition led him, as he grew older, to live much on the frontier. He early entered into The Indian trade, and had establishments at Sandusky and Maumee, and afterwards pushed further west, about the year 1800, to St. Joseph's. In this year he married Mrs. McKillip, the widow of a British officer, and in 1804 came to make his home at Chicago. It was in this year that the first fort was built.

By degrees more remote trading-posts were established by him, all contributing to the parent one at Chicago; at Milwaukie with the Meenomonees; at Rock River with the Winnebagoes and the Pottowattamies; on the Illinois River and Kankakee with the Pottowattamies of the Prairies, and with the Kickapoos in what was called "Le Large," being the widely extended district afterwards erected into Sangamon County.

Each trading-post had its superintendent, and its complement of engagés -- its train of pack-horses and its equipment of boats and canoes. From most of the stations the "furs and peltries" were brought to Chicago on pack-horses, and the goods necessary for the trade were transported in return by the same method.

The vessels which came in the spring and fall (seldom more than two or three annually), to bring the supplies and goods for the trade, took the furs that were already collected to Mackinac, the depôt of the South-West and American Fur Companies. At other seasons they were sent to that place in boats, coasting around the lake.

John had had enough of running away, and was now content to stay at home and buckle down to his books. The few letters of his which remain and are preserved in the Chicago Historical Society show the results of an excellent education. The roving spirit was still alive in him, however. Mr. Forsyth had moved West and settled in Detroit, and when John was about eighteen years old [1777-1779 according to his estimated date of birth] he persuaded his step-father to fit him out as an Indian trader. This venture proved a great success. Before he was one and twenty, young Kinzie had established two trading posts, — one at Sandusky and one at Maumee, and was pushing towards the West, where he later started a depot at St. Joseph, Michigan.

This knowledge was of great value to him when later on in his life it enabled him to secure the friendship and assistance of the Indians by fashioning various ornaments and "tokens" for them from the silver money paid to them as annuities by the United States Government. The Indians gave him the name of "Shaw-neeaw-kee" or the Silver Man, and by that name he was known among all the tribes of the Northwest.

In all of his new and arduous career he was greatly aided and protected by John Harris, the famous Indian Scout and trader mentioned by Irving in his Life of "Washington (Volume 1, Chapter XII.) In grateful appreciation of these kindnesses he named his son "John Harris" for this valued friend.

John Kinzie's success as an Indian trader was almost phenomenal. He acquired their language with great facility; he respected their customs, and they soon found that his "word was as good as his bond." He was a keen trader, not allowing himself to be cheated, nor attempting to cheat them. He quickly gained the confidence and esteem of the various tribes with which he dealt, and the personal friendship of many of their most powerful chiefs, who showed themselves ready to shield him in danger, and to rescue him from harm at the risk of their lives.

An event in the life of John Kinzie may be here stated, and the romantic and sensational tales concerning it, as put forth by some historians, corrected. In the year 1775, the two little girls of a Mr. Isaac McKenzie were stolen from their home in Giles County Virginia, near the Kanawha River, by a party of Shawnee Indians. Margaret was ten years old, and Elizabeth was two years younger. They had been captives among these savages for ten years [thus in 1785], when a trader named John Clark, and John Kinzie [24-26 years old in 1785 according to his estimated date of birth] heard of them, and that there was a plan on foot to compel these young women to marry certain men of the tribe. Kinzie and Clark determined to rescue them. By means of a liberal expenditure of guns, ammunition, blankets, etc., they succeeded in ransoming the two young women. Margaret took up her abode with Kinzie, and Elizabeth with Clark. When, several years later, Isaac McKenzie learned of his daughters' safety he came West to claim them. By this time Margaret had three children, James, William and Elizabeth. In spite of Mr. Kinzie's offer to marry her Margaret refused to remain with him, but taking her children went back to Virginia with her father, where she promptly asserted her freedom from any legal ties elsewhere by marrying a man named Benjamin Hall.

[Gordon 1910 is clearly making a heroe of John Kinzie! Which confirms the tale telling character of his story as stated above.]

Attributed to Juliette Augusta Magill (1806-1870) wife of John H. Kinzie (1803-1865), Chicago in 1812, Engraving, Kinzie 1844, facing title p.

Juliette Augusta Magill (1806-1870) wife of John H. Kinzie (1803-1865), Residence of John Kinzie Esq. (The first house built in Chicago),
Engraving, Mrs J. A. Kinzie del., Lith. of Sarony & Co. New York, Kinzie 1856, facing title p.

Juliette Augusta Magill (1806-1870) wife of John H. Kinzie (1803-1865), Chicago in 1831,
Engraving, Mrs J. A. Kinzie del., Lith. of Sarony & Co. New York, Kinzie 1856, facing p. 183.

This family tradition, first published in the mid 1850s, refers to events dating back from eight decades, thus explaining some inaccuraries or discrepancies. Moreover, these publications participate to the process of heroization of John Kinzie, the so-called "father of Chicago" at this period. It would have been unauspicious to present his family as a Loyalist one! Therefore, the whole story of John Kinzie's flee from New-York, seems to be a made-up myth to hide this disgrace that could have discredited, in that period of nationalism growth and Manifest Destiny, the ascribed "founder" of this major city in the U.S.A.!



The family tradition states that John Kinzie fled home at the age of 10 or 11 to become an apprentice to a silversmith with whom he stayed for more than 3 years. The name of the silversmith and his town of residence is not mentioned. Detroit, at this time part of the Province of Quebec, appears as the obvious choice, interpretation which discredits the family story that it could have been in Quebec City! This apprenticeship would then have been initiated in 1769-1772 and have lasted, at least, until 1772-1775.

As discussed about Emily Tyne's husbands, John Kinzie was born in 1759-1761. According to William Forsyth's biography, John Kinzie certainly lived with his stepfather, stepbrothers from his first mariage, mother Emily Tyne, half-sister Alice Haliburton, and half-brothers, in Detroit, as early as 1770, where he bought the principal inn-tarvern in 1772 and where George Forsyth tragically died in 1775.

Censuses discredit interpretation that the Forsyth family might have moved to Detroit in 1765 (Carrier-Quaife see pdf).

"The tradition that the five Forsyth sons were born in Detroit is inconsistent with the censuses of 1762, 1765, and 1768, in which no Forsyths are recorded [Danckers 2000, p. 220]."

It would be of interest to know about sources used in this interpretation about the Forsyth family living in Detroit as early as 1766 or 1768...

"John Kinzie Timeline [...] 1766 Family in Detroit (Keating 2012, p. vii)"

"By 1768, however, the family had moved to Detroit, where William Forsyth purchased a tavern next to the fort and set up a thriving business selling liquor and other goods to the hundred-odd British soldiers stationed there. Forsyth and his sons constructed a ball field adjacent to thir inn to draw even more business (Keating 2012, p. 21)."

If, according to family tradition, John Kinzie had fled from New York three years before he was retrieved by his family, he would then have come alone to Detroit in 1768 at the impossible young age of 7-9 years old! Such a long journey, as New York - Detroit, is almost unbelievable for a young lonely child! Especially in such a troubled period as the one preceeding the Independance of the United States of America and their attack upon the British Colonies of Quebec...!

A witted young man of this age, strong willed and minded, may have had a strong need of independance. Did he have imperative reasons to quit his family? Was he unconfortable with his step family, forcing him to flee from his mother and stepfather? Was this story made up and arranged, by him and/or his family, and later used by Lossing 1869-web as a mythical act of bravado? (Collaboration from John Forbes Swenson, telephone call on January 26, 2002, with references to Forsyth family tradition related in Kinzie 1856, see also Kinzie 1857-web second edition published on the web, excerpt from chapter XVII.)

Could he have been an apprentice at the age of 7-9 years old? An apprenticeship at such an early age is not impossible in regard of statistics, but highly improbable that such a boy could have fled his family so young! The average beginning for silvesmithing apprenticeship was usually between 12 and 16 years of age in the Province of Quebec at the end of the 18th century.

Statistics from 77 apprenticeship indentures in the English Regime in the Province of Quebec, from 1760 to 1840, reveal that only two apprentices began at such an early age, that is between 7 and 11 years old; 5 began at the age of 12, and 52% at the age of 13 to 15. The average age to begin a silversmith apprenticeship in the Province of Quebec was 14.8 years old, and the average age of completion was at 20.8 years old. Most terminated their apprenticeship at the age of 21 (55%) and only 29% before that age (Derome 1993, tableau 7 here reproduced).

We must then conclude that the family story is distorting these informations: the 3 years period between his flee from New York and his retrieval by his family in Detroit; his approximate age of "10 or 11" when he fled from New York!

Lossing 1869-web testimony is a quick resumee of this family tradition as discussed above but with some distortions in interpretations.

"[John Kinzie's mother] with her husband (Mr. Forsythe) removed to the city of New York. At the age of ten years young Kinzie was placed in a school in Williamsburg, near Long Island. One day he made his way to the North River, got on board of an Albany sloop, and started for Quebec. Fortunately for him, he found a passenger who was on his way to that city, who took charge of him. At Quebec the boy apprenticed himself to a silversmith. Three years afterward, his family, having returned to Canada for the purpose of moving to Detroit, discovered him. They had supposed him lost forever [Lossing 1869-web, chapter XV, note 23]."

Silversmiths' historians do not give much detail on his training as a silversmith.

"KENZIE, JOHN (-1800-1820-) Montreal, Que. Received his training as a silversmith in Montreal. Made Indian trade silver [Langdon 1966, p. 90]."

Our long experience with Langdon's books (Langdon 1966, p. 90) and archives (TUT-LP), reveals that he very often made educated assumptions that proved to be false! And sometimes he had sources that cannot be found elsewhere! A double check of these archives would thus be needed to determine the source of this information on the issue of the hypothetical training of Kinzie as a silversmith in Montreal!

Green 1994 gives these informations about Kinzie's apprenticeship as a silversmith.

"Born on December 27, 1763, John Mackenzie later shortened his name to Kinzie. At age 10, Kinzie indentured himself as apprentice with Quebec silversmith George Farnham, Ltd. In 1777, he moved to Detroit and worked for William Burnett's business in the Indian trade. Kinzie worked both in Detroit, as well as at a trading post in the Potawatomi village of Chief Topenebe on the St. Joseph of the Lake river. Apparently, Kinzie was respected by the Indians as a fair trader and accomplished silversmith. His given Indian name was Shawneeawkee 'The Silver Man' [Green 1994, p. 24-25, refering to Eckert 1983, Griswold 1917 and Howe 1888]."

The name of George Farnham as a silversmith is unknown in canadian (Langdon 1966, Traquair 1940) and american publications we have consulted, as well as in our own extended archives on Quebec Province silversmiths. But in Boston one may find several Farnam silversmiths as well as their marks. Wyler 1937 (p. 288), gives marks by Farnam silversmiths in Boston Massachusetts: R & H, 1807; Rufus, 1796; Thomas, 1836; Farnam & Ward, 1810; Farnam & Owen, 1810. Buhler 1970 (p. 325, no. 321 and 303) gives a mark "FARNAM" and another one "R. FARNAM" for Rufus. Buhler 1972 (vol. 2, p. 533) gives Rufus (born 1769) and Henry (born 1773) Farnam, sometimes spelt "Farnham". Since they were active only after 1796 they cannot have trained John Kinzie. Could they have had a relative named George that was active by 1773-1777 when John Kinzie was trained as a silversmith? On other hand, Jackson 1964 gives several references to "GF" marks from English Goldsmiths, but none refers to a "George Farnham"! This George Farnham seems to be a very elusive person. Further research is needed to document his career. Or could we right now discredit this information as non valid? Especially if John Kinzie might never have returned to Quebec City?

"Much of the information regarding Kinzie's background was gathered from a book by Allan Eckert Gateway to Empire [Eckert 1983 to be checked] that utilized and cited the Draper Manuscripts [Harper 1983 to be checked] at the University of Wisconsin [State Historical Society of Wisconsin]. While this is an historical narrative, we did attempt to verify the Draper citings for all the material we used in the book. I believe you'll find George Farnham in the Draper papers. The touchmark was identified in a book by George Ira Quimby entitled: Indian Culture and European Trade Goods [Quimby 1966]. I personally excavated this piece and if my memory serves me correctly it was between 25-30 cm deep near the base of the subsoil. I can unequivocally state that this one is indeed authentic; that is unless someone was counterfeiting these during the turn of the 18th and 19th century [Collaboration from Rich Green, January 23, 2002]."

"Eckert's book Gateway to Empire... [Eckert 1983 to be checked] may disappoint you, much of it is fiction. John Forbes Swenson uses the word mendacious to describe it [Collaboration from Ulrich Danckers and John Forbes Swenson, January 25, 2002]."

If John Kinzie was apprenticed to a silversmith in the Province of Quebec, it would be one from the following list. Several were very active in fur trade silversmithing and many moved from Quebec City to Montreal in this period.

Active Silversmiths in Quebec Province between 1770 and 1784
that might have trained John Kinzie as an apprentice.

Compiled from Robert Derome archives and databases.

Sorted by their "beginning of activity" date.

Sorted by their "end of activity" date.


Detroit silversmiths.

Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry, Plan du Fort du Détroit (détail avec légende changée de place), 20 août 1749,
Dessin à la plume aquarellé sur papier, 38,9 x 25,3 cm, France, Archives nationales d'outre-mer, Bibliothèque et archives Canada, 40554.

"By the middle years of the eighteenth century we have our first mention of silversmiths in Detroit. Such were Jean Baptiste Baudry dit des Buttes dit St. Martin of Three Rivers, Quebec, trader, interpreter and silversmith in Detroit where he died in 1755, and Charles Barthe whom Major Henry Gladwin paid for services as armorer and silversmith [Robinson 1952.10, p. 5-6]."

More recent sources are less affirmative about silversmithing practices of these two gunsmiths long before John Kinzie's arrival in Detroit, as well as many other "smiths" active in Detroit.

Active Silversmiths in Detroit until 1784 when Kinzie is recorded as silversmith.

Compiled from Robert Derome archives and databases.

Sorted by their "beginning of activity" date.

Sorted by their "end of activity" date.

Not active in Detroit Guillaume Baudry dit Des Buttes (1656-1732) was born in Quebec City in 1656. In 1679 he lives in Trois-Rivières when his father gives him a land. Several sources document his life in Trois-Rivières where he marries in 1682 (to Marie-Jeanne Soulard, from the family dynasty of arquebusiers, armurier and orfèvres) and dies in 1732. He is said "arquebusier" and "armurier" from 1689 and "orfevre" in 1712 (Derome 1974b, p. 17-20).

Active in Detroit from 1746 to 1755Jean-Baptiste Baudry dit Des Buttes dit Saint-Martin (1684-1755) probably learnt his trade from his father Guillaume. He was born in Trois-Rivières and married in Québec (1721) where 7 children were born from 1722 to 1733 (Bouchard 1978, p. 46). He is living in Detroit by August 15, 1743, where he dies in 1755, mainly called armorer and blacksmith, two decades before the arrival of John Kinzie. (Simmons 1969, p. 23-24).

Active in Detroit from 1746 to 1786Charles Andre Barthe (1722-1786) was born in Montreal on February 22, 1722 to Theophile Barthe, armurier du roi, and Marguerite Charlotte Alavoine. He is living in Detroit by October 4, 1746, where he had 12 children born (1748-1765) and died March 14, 1786. He was merchant, gunsmith and armorer. No specific information has been found that he worked in silver, but his training would have enabled him to do so (Simmons 1969, p. 25-28), but it would be very unlikely that he might have trained Kinzie to silversmithing.

Active in Detroit from 1755 to 1763Pierre Barthe (-1755-1763-), younger brother of Charles Andre, whose birth date is unkown may also have been trained by his father as an armorer. Pierre was in Detroit by March 26, 1755, where he married Marie-Charlotte Chapoton in 1760 and was still living in 1763. It is not known where he went afterwards (Simmons 1969, p. 28-31). Thus, they could not have trained John Kinzie.

Active in Detroit from 1764 to 1801Théophile Le May (1735-1801) was born in Montreal in 1735. He was in Detroit by November 24, 1764, where he married Marie des Anges Pelletier on June 3, 1765, and Marie-Louise Courtois January 2, 1798. He lives on St. Jacques Street as early as 1766. He died on September 12, 1801, in Detroit. This "armurier du roi" was a close friend of silversmith François-Paul Malcher and knew charles-André Barthe, but there is no certain knowledge that he worked in silver (Simmons 1969, p. 31-32). It is not likely that he could have trained John Kinzie to silversmithing.

Active in Detroit from after 1767 to 1802Jacob Harsen (1738-1802) was born in Albany, New York, in February 1738 from Bernardus and Catharina Pruyn Harsen. In Albany, he married Alida Groesbeck, daughter of William June 4, 1764, and gave birth to their daughter Mary on May 13, 1765. On April 24, 1766, William Johnson of Albany gave Harsen a letter of introduction when he went to the Niagara Falls area to work as a "smith" (Simmons 1969, p. 33-34). "In 1767, he was listed on the Albany assessment roll under his mother's second ward home [CASHP on web or pdf]." It is said that he arrived in Detroit "in the 1760's" (Robinson 1952.10, p. 6; Rice 1964, p. 11; Simmons 1969, p. 33-34). "The Harsen claim to the Island stems from a deed of gift granted by four Chippewa headman to Jacob Harsen's children, Barnardus, James and William, dated May 1, 1783 (Isaacs 1998)." Jacob Harsen died on Harsen's Island in the spring of 1802 (CASHP on web or pdf). He is recorded as a silversmith and gunsmith, but his mark is not known (Simmons 1969, p. 33-34).

Harsen House. Web. Pdf. Map.

Active in Detroit from 1769 to 1790Gerrit Greverat (1745-1790-) has a name with numerous spellings: Greveraat, Greveraud, Grevenraad, Grevenraadt, Greverard, Greveraart, Grevaad (Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Albany, Holland Society, New York, 1906, Part 3, 1725–1749, Preface to the index). Born in April 1745, he was the last of eleven children born to the marriage of Isaac Greverat and Alida Gerritsen. He was living in Albany in 1766 (CASHP on web or pdf). On April 14, 1769, he purchased land on St. Anne's street in Detroit. On October 27, 1772, he took 14 years old Israel Ruland as an apprentice. He married Sara, silversmith Jacob Harsen's oldest daughter, in about 1780 (Isaacs 1998). He was a trader in partnership with Colin Andrews and silversmith John Visger. On October 9, 1789, Jacob Harsen gave a plot of land on Harsen's Island to his grand-daughter Mary whose parents were Gerrit Greverat, "silversmith", and Sara Harsen. He probably died shortly after moving to Harsen's Island where the family went about 1790 (Simmons 1969, p. 36-38).

Active in Detroit from 1772 to 1798Israel Ruland (1758-1817) was born on Long Island, New York, May 2 1758, and was in Detroit by October 27, 1772 when he became apprentice, at the age of 14, to silversmith Gerrit Greverat. He was an Indian trader in partnership with John Askin and an active silversmith of Detroit in the 1780's and 1790's. On March 29, 1798, he sold his house and land to silversmith Antoine Oneille (-1797-1827-), but not his silversmith tools. He had a son with Mary Ann Christle baptised in Detroit December 2, 1798. He then moved to Rasin River where he officiates in court and justice in 1805 and 1810. He died before June 18, 1817 when his son Israel was in Detroit settling his estate (Simmons 1969, p. 46-50).

Active in Detroit from 1775 to 1776Joseph (Jonas) Schindler (-1763-1792) and his apprentice Michel Forton both left Quebec City for Michillimakinac (Mackinaw City, Michigan) at the end of April 1775 in association with a "marchand-voyageur" of Montreal called Monforton. In 1776 Schindler was trialed in Detroit for having made lesser quality silver goods. "Drummed out" of the city, Schindler is in Montreal by 1777 but he continues to work with several of Detroit's merchants (Derome 1980d). It is thus highly improbable that John Kinzie could not have been an apprentice to Schindler in Detroit!

Active in Detroit from 1776 to 1799John Visger (1751-1799-) is named in the record of the trial of Joseph Schindler, in 1776, as a silversmith competent to judge the quality of a given silver object. He was born as Johannes Visscher May 26, 1751, to Harmen Visscher and Hester Van Iveren in Schenectady, 20 miles from Albany where Jacob Harsen and Gerrit Greverat came from. He was an Indian trader associated, for many years, with Greverat and Colin Andrews. Since he was in bad health and poor, in September 1799, he probably died soon after [Simmons 1969, p. 42-44].

Active in Detroit from 1780 to 1808Amable Mailloux (1739-1808) was born in Quebec July 10, 1730. He was apprenticed to silversmith Louis-Alexandre Picard December 29, 1756, who produced mainly trade silver. He married twice: Magdelaine, the sister of silversmith Dominique Rousseau, in Quebec January 7, 1767; Isabelle-Casse Saint-Aubin in Detroit October 12, 1781 where he is called as silversmith beginning in 1780, to late to have trained John Kinzie to this trade. He was buried in Detroit January 22, 1808 (Simmons 1969, p. 34-35). Mailloux would have be a good master to train Kinzie in trade silver, but his late arrival in Detroit makes it unprobable. Same remark applys to Julien Freton (1760-1820) active in Detroit trade silver beginning in 1779, John Kirby (active 1783-1789) and Mion (active in 1783) (Simmons 1969).

As discussed about Emily Tyne's husbands, John Kinzie was born in 1759-1761. He was living in Detroit as early as 1770 (9-11 years old) as discussed relating to his apprenticeship based on family tradition. It is more than likely that the young man was placed as an apprentice in a silversmith workshop in Detroit. Gerrit Greverat silversmith's workshop seems an appropiate place. May John Kinzie have been trained with Long Island native Israel Ruland? Ruland later worked for the Indian Department and became an interpreter. Kinzie's further career will also have a lot to do with the Indians.

The 1779 census of Detroit [MHC 1874-, 1888, vol. 10, p. 316-317] shows that William Forsyth is living there with his family. In this census, is John Kinzie to be included as one of the numbered children of the Forsyth family or with the "engagés" of the silversmith Greverat household? Forsyth lives inside the Fort on "rue Saint Louis". Furthermore, in 1781 existed a trading firm by the name of Greverat & Forsyth. Kinzie's stepfather William Forsyth was thus in business with the silversmith Gerrit Greverat, a very good reason to think that John Kinzie was placed with Greverat as an apprentice silversmith. Greverat owned a prosperous silversmithing business: in 1779 he had 2 "engagés" and in 1782 he had 6. (Collaboration from John Forbes Swenson, telephone call on January 26, 2002, with references to Haldimand Papers, Roger Clarks Papers, Thomas Dalton's correspondance.) See related discussion and map in Indenture.

"Kinzie started in the Indian fur trade about 1780 under William Burnett and was long associated with this wealthy merchant, who had been financing his operations as late as 1801. As a trader and silversmith, Kinzie did business at the Miamis Town (Fort Wayne, IN) in 1789 [Danckers 2000, p. 220]."

"By age 17, in 1780 [he was then aged 19-21 according to his estimated date of birth], John Kinzie was an Indian Trader on his own. Two posts were established on the Maumee river. The first was near the principal village of the Miami tribe, Kekionga, also called Miamitown, encompassed by present Ft. Wayne, Indiana (Griswold 1917). At this post, he traded primarily with Miamis, Potawatomis, Shawnees and Ottawas. The second maumee river post was located at the mouth of the Auglaize river near current Defiance, Ohio (Howe 1888). Most trading at this post was with Shawnees and Ottawas [Green 1994, p. 25]."

Born in 1759-1761, according to his estimated date of birth, Kinzie was about 19-21 in 1780. According to his alledged birth date of December 1763, he would have then been only 16 years old, which seems very young to be in such business! This story sounds more like romance and myth (or hypothetical educated guesses) than reality! His trading with Indians seems to be real, but probably needs to be dated a little later in his life, more likely in 1784, aged 23-25, when we have solid documented proof that he is a newly established silvermith in Detroit City. A document found at the Archives nationales du Québec à Montréal, testifies that John Kinzie is now a new and well established silversmith in Detroit by April 5, 1784.

"April 5, 1784. Deposit of a sale of a messuage [alteration of old french word "mesnage"; means "premise", that is a building or part of a building usually with its appurtenances as grounds] situated in the town of Detroit, on St Ann Street, by William Groesbeck, merchant, of Detroit, to John Kinzie, silversmith, of Detroit. Witnessed by notary Thomas Williams [Montréal, Archives nationales du Québec, base de données Parchemin, reference to Fonds Drouin, microfilm 3316, registre anglais n° 2, folio 430]."

William Groesbeck is the father of Alida, the wife of silversmith Harsen whose daughter, Sara, is the wife of silversmith Greverat. These relations increase possibilities that Kinzie was trained as silversmith in their group of trade.

Notaires de Détroit 1737-1780, Archives publiques, Canada, MG 18 I 5.

Source: Montréal, Archives nationales du Québec, microfilms 3545 et 3546.


Tome 1, 1737-1780. "Copie des Premiers Registres du Detroit en français." Transcriptions, 1092 pages. This is not our reference since on pages 429-431 we find an act by Philippe Dejean, adjudication to Jean Askin of a land of "dix arpents de front que quarante de profondeur située à la grosse pointe sur le Bord du Lac St Clair". Minutes of Thomas Williams are found on pages "983 à 989, 991, 995 à 1092". We found nothing on John Kinzie in these documents dated before 1784.

Tome 2, 1780-1784, transcriptions, 422 pages. Registre du notaire Thomas Williams en français. Documents of 1784 begins on page 296.

Tome 3, 1786-1784, Notaire Montforton originaux, 541 pages.


Tome 4, 1790-1796, transcriptions, 133 pages. "Registres 4me Français 1790-1796." On page 49 : "No 1 Registres 4me Anglais".

Tome 5, 1766-1780, transcriptions, 352 pages. "Registre N°1 Anglais 1766-1780.

Tome 6, 1776-1784, transcriptions, 460 pages. "Registre N°2 Français Anglais". On pages 430-432 we find the actual transcription from the original minute of Notary Thomas Williams pertaining to John Kinzie. Would the original document have been preserved in Detroit or elsewhere? Here is a transcript of this document as well as scanned images taken from xerox copies of this microfilm.

April 5, 1784,
Sale by William Groesbeck to John Kinzie silversmith
of a Messuage on St Ann Street in Detroit
Before Thomas Williams Notary of Detroit

John Kinzie

Known all men by these presents that I William Groesbeck of Detroit, Merchant, for and in consideration of the Sum of Three Hundred and forty pounds New York Currency, to one in hand paid by John Kinzie of Detroit aforesaid Silver Smith, the receipt whereof I do hereby confess and acknowledge. Have bargained granted, Sold, alienated and confirmed and by these presents do bargain, grant, sell, alien and confirm unto the said John Kinzie his heirs and assigns forever. All that Messuage or tenement and Lot of Ground situated and lying in the town of Detroit, aforesaid. containing Thirty three feet four inces front and rear. and Twenty two feet six inches in depth - bounded in the front by St Ann's Street in the rear by Thomas McCrais Lot on the West-South-West by Catharine Grills Lot and on the -East-North-East by the said William Groesbeck's Lot, with all and singular the appurtenances unto the said Messuage or tenement and Lot of Ground belonging or in anywise appertaining and also all the Estate, Right, Little, Interest, Claim or Demand, of me the said William Groesbeck of, in and to, the said Messuage tenement and Lot of Ground and of in and to every part and parcel thereof. To have and to hold the said Messuage, tenement and Lot of Ground, with all and singular the appurtenance there-unto belonging unto the said John Kinzie his heirs and assigns for the only proper use and behoof of the said John Kinzie his heirs and assigns for Ever. And I the said William Groesbeck for myself my heirs and assigns against myself my heirs and assigns and against all and every other person and persons whatsoever. the said Messuage tenement and Lot of Ground and every part and parcel thereof I shall and will warrant and for ever defend by virtue of these presents. In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal at Detroit aforesaid the fifth day of April in the year of our Lord one Thousand seven hundred and eighty four - 1784 -

[signed] Wm Groesbeck

signed and sealed in the presence of

John Casety

T Williams Noty Pubc

Nicolas Bellin, La Riviere du Detroit depuis le Lac Sainte Claire jusqu'au Lac Erie(detail of streets with their names), dans Abbé Antoine François Prévost, Histoire générale des Voyages, Paris, 1746-1759, 15 vol., Columbia University.

Captain David William Smith, Rough sketch of the King's Domain at Detroit (detail of streets), September 1790, Detroit, William L. Clements Library.

Silas Farmer (1839-1902) after Jacob Kingsbury (1756–1837), Part of St. Anne's Street (now Jefferson Avenue) in 1800, 1880, Engraving,
Signed bottom left "Copyright 1880 by Silas Farmer", bottom right "Farmer del.t", Farmer 1884, p. 368.

The house Kinzie bought in Detroit April 5, 1784, was located on same St. Anne street as illustrated above in 1880 by Silas Farmer from Jacob Kingsbury's 1800 sketch still to be retrieved. See related discussion and other map in Indenture.

"Some accounts state that at the time the Americans took possession [in 1796], Detroit had three hundred houses. This number evidently included those outside the stockade, as in 1805 there were only about two hundred inside of the pickets. The accompanying engraving of a street in 1800 is thoroughly characteristic. The original sketch was made by Lieutenant Jacob Kingsbury, and is said to represent a part of St. Anne Street. The large house on the right was occupied by one of the officers [Farmer 1884, p. 367]."

We now know that in 1784 John Kinzie is buying a house in Detroit on St. Ann Street and that he records himself as a silversmith. It might be valuable documenting his new neighbours: William Groesbeck, Thomas McCrais and Catharine Grills. William Groesbeck was also a neighbour of the silversmith Gerrit Greverat, where John Kinzie might have been working as an apprentice. (Collaboration from John Forbes Swenson, telephone call on January 26, 2002.) See related discussion and map in Indenture.

On April 5, 1784, Kinzie is now 23-25 years old according to his estimated date of birth. This is over the average age of 20.8 old for an apprentice to become a master and to establish a business (Derome 1993). But, what is the reason why he does not sign at the bottom of the sale document? The cosignee and witness is not his mother, Emily or Anne Tyne, nor his stepfather William Forsyth, but "John Casety".

"By 1785 Kinzie was practicing his art in Detroit - I have his invoice to James Casety, a wealthy habitant, for sale of various items of trade silver. By 1787 he was active in Anglican Church at Detroit, subscribing to the support of a clergyman there with many prominent men". (Collaboration from John Forbes Swenson, January 2002, references to Burton Historical Collection, genealogy files on Kinzie and Forsyth, as well as papers of notary Thomas Williams.)

John Casety thus seems to have played an important role in the early career of John Kinzie, since he witnessed the acquisition of his house in Detroit. May he have helped financing it? It might be possible since they are in business by 1785. We need to futher document this John Casety who happens to have an homonym in Virgina at the same period. (Source 1: Virginia Cassidy Lines. Source 2: Augusta County, VA - Will Book 6, Abstracts from "Chalkley's Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish in Virginia".)

In Detroit, Kinzie had three children with his first wife Margaret McKenzie from whom he divorced (Danckers 2000, p. 220-225). He worked as a silversmith for William Macomb (1786-1787), John Asking (1794), James May (1794-1795), probably at Miamistown near present day Fort Wayne Indiana (1788-1789), and in Fort Defiance Ohio (1789-1792). He came back to Detroit in 1793 where he married Eleanor Lytle in 1798 and purchased a house on St. Louis Street. From this date he was mainly known as a trader and merchant, silversmithing playing a small part in his life (Simmons 1969, p. 53-56). He was associated with wealthy merchant William Burnett as late as 1801. He had an establishment on St. Joseph River, near present South Bend, IN, from 1796 to early 1804. In Chicago (1804-1828) he was a farmer, merchant, sutler and Indian trader (Danckers 2000, p. 220-225).



Thanks to the collaboration of Maurice Meslans, this document was made known to us ; his preliminary transcription was also helpful. Thanks to the collaboration of Elis Ing and Christopher Lyons, Rare Books and Special Collections McGill University Library where it was recently acquired, for facilitating its study in these difficult times of pandemia. If this document had been preserved in notarial archives since the end of the 18th century, its content would immediately be considered as authentic. But, its recent appearance on the market raises several questions which, we hope, will eventually find their answers.

This website was created in 2002. Its goal was to shed light on Kinzie's early life as a silversmith which was, then, still very sketchy, if not obscure. In its 2017 major update, the hypothesis of John Kinzie's apprenticeship with Gerrit Greverat was further discussed and documented with a proposed date of 1779. Furthermore, the end of this five years apprenticeship indenture project exactly corresponds with our publication of the purchase of a house, in 1784, by the now established Kinzie as silversmith. Afterwards, this document suddenly appears, confirming, very exactly, the results of our investigations. Is it to nice to be true? Where does it come from? Can we follow its provenance, since 1779, with related people involved in its content? Since the document is not signed by silversmith Gerrit Greverat, we ought to consider it only as a draught project, with no legal value, proposed and signed only by John Kinzie, William Forsyth and Sampson Fleming (McGill's record gives "John Fleming", but it is "Sam" for Sampson).

Project of apprenticeship indenture, John Kinzie to silversmith Gerrit Greverat, January 12, 1779.

McGill University LIbrary, Rare Books, Special Collections, MSG1280.
1 sheet : 37 x 46 cm folded to 37 x 23 cm.
Purchased from Alexander Books, November 2019.

This Indenture Witnesseth, that John —
Kenzi Hath put himself and by these presents, doth
Volontary, and of his own free will and accord, put himself
Apprentice to Geret Greverat to Learn the Art, Trade and
Mystery of Silver Smith and after the manner of an
Apprentice, to serve from the Day, of the Date hereof, for
and during, and until the full end and Term of five —
years next ensuing; during all which time, the said —
Apprentice his said Master faithfully shall serve, his —
Secrets Keep, his lawfull Commands every where readily
Obey: he shall do no Damage to his said Master, nor see
it be done by others, without Letting or Giving notice
thereof to his said Master; he shall not waste his said —
Master good’s, nor lend them unlawfully to any: At
Cards, Dice, or any other unlawful game; he shall not
play, whereby his said Master may have any Damage,
with his own goods, nor the goods of others, without —
Licence from his said Master, he shall neither buy
nor sell: he shall not absent himself day or night from
his said Master’s service, without his Leave; nor haunt
Ale houses Taverns, or Play houses; but in all Things —
behave himself as a faithful apprentice ought to do
during the said term. and the said Master shall use the
utmost of his Endeavour to teach, or cause to be taught,
or instructed, the said apprentice, in the Trade or Mystery
of Silver Smith and procure and provide for him —
Sufficient Meat, Drink apparel lodging and Washing
fitting for an apprentice, during the said term of
five years and at the expiration, one suit of Good broad
Cloath Close; and for the true performance of all and
Singular the Covenants and agreements aforesaid —
the said parties bind themselves each unto the other firmly
by these presents, In the penal Sum of two hundred —
pounds New York Currency to be paid by the party failing
to the party performing or willing to perform his —


part of these agreement; In Witness whereof the said
parties have interchangeably set their Hands and seals —
hereunto Dated the Twelve day of January in the —
Nineteenth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord —
George the third, King of Great Britain Ih.c [*] Anno —
Domini, One Thousand seven hundred and seventy nine 1779

Sealed and delivered in
the Presence of                                           Will.m Forsith
                                                                 John Kinzie
Sam Fleming


[*] Contraction of In hoc Anno Domini, which means : in this actual year of Our Lord Jesus Christ, currently abreviated AD (Wikipedia).

Several questions need to be investigated to authenticate this document (your collaboration is welcomed by email).

• Its provenance and chain of proprietors since 1779, namely linked with involved parties.

• The paper and watermark, described by the archivist, need to be further documented with photographs and references in related sources, books and studies : "one leaf of a folded sheet of laid paper watermarked with a vase with the initials GR below and countermarked IV". As well as the source and commerce of paper in Detroit in that period.

• What was that seal? Do similar examples exist for Detroit legal documents of this period? The piece of paper was folded in three parts vertically, horizontally and another time which made a middle vertical mark : could this seal acted as in a posted document by mail?

• Why is there no signature by the silversmith Gerrit Greverat? There is no delegation of his consent, responsibility or power to sign to anyone else! Is the document legal since he is one of the two principal parties?

• Usually, in an apprentice indenture, the age of the apprentice is given. Why is it absent for this one?

• In such a legal document, the town location where it is signed is always mentioned. Why is it absent here?

• Since the script differs from the three signatures, who wrote the document? Could it be a clerk in a legal office? Could it be a modern forgery? Comparison with signatures of same persons in authenticated documents would be advisable.

• Text and writing are sophisticated. Who, in Detroit at that time, had the legal knowledge to write such a text? Usually, the notary or lawyer signs. Instead, we find the signature of Sampson Fleming (Burton 1922 : 1789, August 2, p. 178-170), first husband of Alice Haliburton, Kinzie's half sister.

Sampson Fleming's signature is crucial in this document and his life needs to be further documented. He already was in Detroit in 1764 as founder of the masonic lodge n° 1.

« Within four years after Detroit was surrendered to the English in 1760 a lodge of Masons was organized. George Harrison, grand master of the province of New York, issued the warrant April 27, 1764, which authorized "Lodge of Masons, No. 1, to be held at Detroit under whatever name the said Master and his officers shall please to distinguish it." Lieut. John Christie, of the 60th Regiment, was chosen master, Sampson Fleming senior warden and Josiah Harper, junior warden [Burton 1922, vol. 2, p. 1538] »

Quebec merchant John Lees left a journal of his voyage to Detroit, arriving August 15, 1768. He "messed" with local people, including "Mr. Fleming, the Commissary of Provisions, for that fort". Annotation by "Miss M. Agnes Burton [Lees 1911, p. 3]", identifies him as follow.

"71 Sampson Fleming, Deputy Commissary at Detroit June 17, 1768, married Alice Haliburton, half sister of John Kinzie. They moved to New York and had several children. After Fleming's death his wife married Nicholas Low of New York. Many of their descendants are prominent in that city." (Lees 1911, p. 37, note 71.)

This annotation dates from 1911, introducing anachronical uncorroborated informations. If Alice Haliburton was born "January 22nd, 1758 [Gordon 1910, p. 3]", Halyburton was Emily Tyne's first husband, John Kinzie was therefore an illegitimate chifld of Surgeon John McKenzie and Alice only 10 years old at her marriage "June 17, 1768". But, if Halyburton was Emily's second husband, the earliest and latest Alice's date of birth would be 1763 and she could not have been married at five years old "June 17, 1768"! This marriage therefore took place later.

The "Mr. Fleming" met by John Lees is identified as "Commissary of Provisions, for that fort", information consistent with his duty, in September 1778, as "Sam. Fleming, Deputy Commissary of Stores & Provisions [MHC 1874-, 1888, vol. 10, p. 292]", as well as in 1779 census.

"Survey of the settlement of Detroit taken 31st March 1779 — This survey was taken by order of the Command'g officer & each inhabitant put upon oath in presence of Mr. Thos Williams acting Justice of the Peace Capt. McGregor of the Town Militia & Mr. Sampson Fleming D. C. provision as witness my hand R. B. Lernoult, Captain Command'g [MHC 1874-, 1888, vol. 10, p. 311]".

In this census, a "Mrs Fleming" is recorded with 1 boy, 1 girl, 1 male slave, 4 cows, 1 horse (MHC 1874-, 1888, vol. 10, p. 316-317). She probably is Alice Haliburton, married to Sampson Fleming. In 1779, Alice would rather be 21 years old (if born in 1758) or no more than 16 (if born in 1763), married for at least two years (since she is with two children), with a well established and much older man of some few decades! Sampson Fleming is not registered among the surveyed, since he was part of those who made it, the military administration.

« Détroit comptait donc un total de 1,468 âmes, dont 272 hommes, 231 femmes, 454 garçons, 374 filles, 60 esclaves hommes, 77 esclaves femmes. [...] Cela ne comprend pas les soldats de la garnison ni les approvisionnements militaires [Brault 1952.03, p. 585]. »

« [Fort Lernoult] housed close to 400 men [web or pdf] »

By his position, Sampson Fleming could easily have had this apprenticeship indenture draughted by one the clerks in his office. He certainly was a sophisticated man with wealth, power and relations.

« John Askin, [1739]-1815, was a well-known eighteenth-century fur trader in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. He and his family possessed a library [...] In 1758 or 1759, when he was nineteen or twenty years old, he immigrated to British North America. [...] When Askin came to Detroit in 1763 he was the commissary in charge of supplying the British army during Pontiac's War. After the war he moved to the Straits of Mackinac, where he farmed at the old Jesuit mission at L'Arbre Croche. In addition, he was a trader and supplied the British army post at Fort Mchilimackinac. [...] From the Askin correspondence we know that [...] They borrowed a country-dance book from Sampson Fleming of Detroit (11 John Askin to Sampson Fleming, April 28, 1778). [...] Fleming was John's superior when John was the commissary for Fort Michilimackinac [Widder 2007.03, passim]. »

History of Detroit, 1780 to 1850, financial and commercial (Burton 1917).

The earliest record we have of a local boom in real estate was in the year 1780. The war of the American revolution was in progress. Detroit was the distributing point for the goods to the Indians in the west. Here, at that time, was a large garrison in the new fort. The fort was built partly to protect Detroit from an anticipated American invasion from the south, and partly to care for the great number of prisoners brought up from the Ohio and Pennsylvania regions. The British government was sending here great quantities of goods and money to maintain the place and keep the Indians friendly, and that money was flowing into the hands of our merchants. The more important firms were James Abbott & Co. ; Thomas Finchley ; Graverat & Visger; Macomb, Edgar & Macomb; Thomas Williams; John Askin; Alexander Dyce; Sampson Fleming; James Sterling, and William Sterling. Some of these men became quite wealthy [p. 7-8].

It would be too long a record to include a description of all of the lands that were bought in 1780, and the name of the purchasers only will be given [...] Sampson Fleming, married Alice Haliburton, halfsister of John Kinzie (many of their descendants became prominent in New York City) [p. 15-16]

The numbers refer to the numbers on the map [p. 168s].

16. Jean Baptiste Duberger dit Sanschagrin, a baker. His wife was Marie Courtois. James Campau and his wife Catherine Menard; James Cassety; Lansing and Graverat; Hyacinth Reaume; James Gordon and Alexander Macomb, east 21 feet. The size of the lot is variously estimated. One deed gives it 42 feet wide and another 30 by 34 feet.

20. George Meldrum; Chapman Abraham; Graverat and Visger.

22. Lot 31 by 24 feet. Thomas McKee; Alexander and William Macomb; Teller and Groesbeck.

[SEE : April 5, 1784, Sale by William Groesbeck to John Kinzie silversmith.]

24. Apparently the lot was at one time divided into three parcels owned as follows: West part, Alexander Grant; middle part, Thomas Cox; east part, Duperon Baby; other owners were: Pierre Barrois, Joseph Cabaccier, 96 feet wide, extending to the picket line; Joseph Yissiere; William Forsyth. There was a mortgage at one time on the entire parcel held by McTavish and Bannerman. Forsyth was a tavern keeper and had a famous tavern on the land. His stepson was John Kinzie of Chicago. Thomas Cox was also an inn keeper and preceded Forsyth in that business.

26. Picote de Belestre, the last French commandant (1760), sold to Nicolas Vermette. Belestre purchased back from Vermette and then sold to Henry Van Schaack and Sampson Fleming in 1767. Fleming purchased the interest of Van Schaack March 8, 1768. The size of the lot is given as 30 by 54 feet.

50. The title to this lot passed through many hands, and it was divided into various parcels. The names of the various owners were: Nicolas Perrot; Abraham Chapman; Jean Pillett (or La Barge) north part; Boutin; Pierre Descompte Labadie and Angelique Laselle his wife; J. La Salle, Jr. (1760); Simon Gendron, east part; Etienne Languedoc, tailor; Nicolas Vermette and Bourgongnon; Joseph Bondy, east part; Henry Van Schaack and Sampson Fleming; Laurent Parent, west part; Jeanne Cardinal was his widow; Pierre St. Cosme (1765); Philip Dejean, the notorious justice of the peace; Thomas Robinson; Edward Mumford; John Wetherhead.
51. Picote de Belestre, the Commandant, occupied this as the Indian store; James, or John, Witherhead in 1774; Henry Van Schaack and Sampson Fleming.

By the year 1783 the times had fallen on evil ways. The end of the war came. Great Britain ceased to send money or goods here for the Indians. The garrison was reduced. The fort was allowed to fall into ruins. Public property was not maintained or repaired. The palisade around the village had become so dilapidated that the Indians could push the pickets apart and squeeze between them and so enter the town. Those citizens who favored the new government, like the Flemings, Sterlings, Edgars and Scheffelins, left for New York or remained here only in anticipation of the coming of the Americans. England refused to give up the post to the Americans and everybody — both American and British adherents — were uneasy and disappointed. The times got worse and worse [p. 18].


Views of Detroit.

Silas Farmer (1839-1902) after Jean-Jacques-Anatole Bouquet de la Grye (1827-1909) and Georges-Henri-Victor Collot (1750-1805), View of Detroit in 1796, from the original painting in Paris (detail), 1880, Engraving, Signed bottom left "S. Farmer [...]", bottom right "Copyright 1880 by Silas Farmer" and illegible engraver's name, Farmer 1884, p. 367.

« The appearance of the river front of the town in 1796 is shown in a painting occupying one corner of a large chart in the Department of Marine in Paris. The chart is entitled "Topographical plan of Detroit and of the Waters which form the junction of Lake Erie with Lake St. Clair. Prepared to illustrate the travels by General Collot in this part of the continent in 1796." The picture is of special interest because it marks the year when Detroit came into possession of the United States. It was made by a French spy [Farmer 1884, p. 367]. »

The source of Farmer's 1880 engraving was prepared under the supervision of Georges-Henri-Victor Collot (1750-1805) after his 1796 trip from March to October.

« Plan topographique du Détroit... (CHAN [Centre historique des archives nationales à Paris], CP [cartes et plans] Marine, 6JJ 611 39 [web ou pdf]) : la dernière carte manuscrite est conservée aux Archives nationales à Paris. Elle provient du Service hydrographique de la Marine, comme celle du Mississippi conservée à Vincennes. Cette carte, ornée de deux cartons, montre le nord de l'Illinois et le Détroit (Détroit), village fondé sur le plan d'une bastide par Antoine de La Mothe-Cadillac en 1701, entre les lacs Saint-Clair et Érié, et qui est devenu une petite ville.

II apparaît ainsi qu'à partir des cartes originales dressées par Joseph Warin, une petite équipe de dessinateurs est venue soit orner, soit achever, soit dessiner presque entièrement le corpus ayant servi de base à la réalisation de l'atlas gravé. Boudier et Mouchet ne nous sont pas connus ; il s'agit probablement de simples exécutants, ornementistes ou dessinateurs de lettrages. En revanche, selon une notice de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, l'officier du Génie Georges Maillard de Bois Saint-Lys, né en 1766, serait allé à Saint-Domingue en 1789 comme dessinateur, y aurait acheté une plantation et ne serait revenu en France qu'en 1802, date à laquelle il pourrait avoir été engagé par le général Collot pour ce travail cartographique dont il est le principal ouvrier avec le graveur Pierre Alexandre Tardieu, dit Tardieu l'aîné (1756-1844). [...]

L'atlas, gravé par Tardieu l'aîné en langue anglaise, est imprimé aux soins du libraire, et l'ensemble paraît en 1826. II contient 36 planches, dont les grandes cartes à déplier, des cartes et plans de détail et des vues gravées. Par rapport à nos documents originaux, l'absence du Plan topographique du Détroit... surprend, puisqu'elle avait été préparée pour cette édition. Sans doute la mort aura-t-elle surpris Victor Collot avant l'achèvement de la préparation de cet atlas [Langlois 2006.03, p. 42-45]. »

Georges-Henri-Victor Collot (1750-1805), assisté de Joseph Warin (17..-1796), Georges Maillard de Bois Saint-Lys (1766-1805-), J.-J. Boudier et J. Mouchet, Plan Topographique du Détroit et des Eaux qui forment la jonction du Lac Erié avec le lac St. Clair... (vue d'ensemble et détail), 1796, Paris, Archives nationales, MAP/6JJ/611/39, web ou pdf.

Langlois 2006.03 above excerpt explains why this plate is not included in Collot 1826, neither in Collot 1826 atlas. Silas Farmer quite probably used its copy at the Burton Historical Collection which is signed by Jean-Jacques-Anatole Bouquet de la Grye (1827-1909), from which another copy was made.

Jean-Jacques-Anatole Bouquet de la Grye (1827-1909) after Georges-Henri-Victor Collot (1750-1805), Plan topographique du Détroit et des Eaux qui forment la jonction du Lac Erié avec le Lac St. Clair, Dressé pour l'intelligence des Voyages du G.al Collot dans cette partie du Continent en 1796, [one illegible lige unerneath title, and four other right bottom including a signature], probably before 1880, 21.5 x 16.5 in., Detroit, Burton Historical Collection, 977.4D45 1796 C698.

F. Leesemann & M. A. Heinze, Draftsmen, U.S. Engineer Office, Detroit, Mich., Drawn from a Copy in the "Burton Collection" at Detroit, Michigan, Plan Topographique du Détroit et des Eaux qui forment la jonction du Lac Erié avec le lac St. Clair. Dressé pour l'intelligence des Voyages du Gal Collot dans cette partie du Continent en 1796, Les chiffres de Sondes sont exprimés en Pieds, Date unknown, Signed bottom right « Pour copie conforme L'Ingenieur hydrographe en chef de la Marine A Bouquet de la Grye » that is Jean-Jacques-Anatole Bouquet de la Grye (1827-1909), 27.0 x 38.0, Collection NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Historical Map & Chart Collection. Other sources : Maritime History of the Great Lakes and University of Michigan.

1 - Record 002750920

2 - Record 013490813

3 -Record 004674969

4 - Record 004674971

5 - Record 004674997

Bentley Historical M 3312 D4 1796 L41 Outsize

Hatcher Graduate Clark Library Rare Cases - Ask at Clark Library - 2nd floor S G 4114 .D4 1796 .L4 1965

Copy-Specific Note: Accession no. 126815

William L. Clements Library information
Note: Facsimile.
Maps 5-M-1796 Pl
Atl 1926 Ka (f) v. 9

Copy-Specific Note: ACQ: From Frontier metropolis project, 2000.

William L. Clements Library
Maps 5-M-1796 Pl

Copy-Specific Note: ACQ: M-1453, Wheat 75.1.

William L. Clements Library
Maps 5-M-1796 Pl

Copy-Specific Note: ACQ: M-142.

Format: Map
Language: English
Published 1965
[Detroit : U.S. Lake Survey.
Format: Map
Language: French
Published 1965
[Detroit] : [publisher not identified] ;
Format: Map Manuscript
Language: French
Published 1798
[ca. 1798-1805]
Format: Map Manuscript
Language: French
Published 1890s (exact date unknown)
Format: Map Manuscript
Language: French
Published 1881
Paris :
Plan topographique du Détroit et des eaux qui forment la jonction du lac Erié avec le lac St. Clair dressée pour l'intelligence des voyages du Gal. Collot dans cette partie du continent en 1796. Plan topographique du Detroit et des eaux qui forment la jonction du Lac Erie avec le Lac St Clair : dresse pour l'intelligence des voyages du General Callot dans cette partie du continent en 1796.

Plan topographique du Détroit et des eaux qui forment la jonction du Lac Erié avec le Lac Saint Clair : Dressée pour l'intelligence des voyages du Gal. Collot dans cette partie du continent en 1796.

Other Titles: Inset title: Vue de la ville et fort du Détroit
Inset title: Vue du Fort Erié

Plan topographique du Détroit et des eux qui forment la jonction du Lac Erié avec le Lac St Clair : Dressée pour l'intelligence des voyages du Gal Collot dans cette partie du continent en 1796.

Other Titles: Inset title: Vue du la ville et fort du Détroit
Inset title: Vue du Fort Erié

Plan topographique du Détroit et des eux qui forment la jonction du Lac Erié avec le Lac St. Clair : Dressée pour l'intelligence des voyages du Gal. Collot dans cette partie du continent en 1796.

Unlike other copies of this map, the inset views of Detroit and Fort Erie are lacking.

1- Main Author: Leeseman, F. 3- Leeseman, F., draftsman.      
2- Contributors: L'Etombe, Philip Joseph. 1- Main Author: L'Etombe, Philip Joseph, creator.      
3- Collot, Georges-Henri-Victor, 1750-1805. 4- Collot, Georges-Henri-Victor, 1750-1805, patron.      
4- Heinze, M. A.
U.S. Lake Survey.
2- Contributors: Heinze, M. A, draftsman.      
    1- Contributors: Volney, C.-F. (Constantin-François), 1757-1820. 2-Volney, C.-F. (Constantin-François), 1757-1820. 1- Contributors: Volney, C.-F. (Constantin-François), 1757-1820.
    2- McNiff, Patrick. 3- McNiff, Patrick. 2- McNiff, Patrick.
    3- Gordon, Harry, fl. 1766. 4- Gordon, Harry, fl. 1766. 3- Gordon, Harry, fl. 1766.
    4- De Berniere, Henry. 5- De Berniere, Henry.  
      1- Contributors: Bouquet de la Grye, Amédée, 1825-1905.  
Drawn from a copy in the "Burton Collection" at Detroit, Michigan, by F. Leeseman & M. A. Heinze. Burton, Clarence Monroe, 1853-1932, original owner.   Photostat from Burton Historical Collection.  

References: Dunnigan, Brian Leigh. Frontier metropolis, fig. 4.10.

References: Dunnigan, Brian Leigh. Frontier metropolis, pp. 60-63. References: Dunnigan, Brian Leigh. Frontier metropolis, pp. 60-63.

Note: Facsimile completely redrawn from a copy of ms. no. L.I.D. 7B61 in Archives du Ministerè de la Guerre, Paris. (cf. Koerner. Detroit and vicinity before 1900. Washington, D.C. 1968, item 21).

Original map by Philip Joseph L'Etombe.

Relief shown by hachures. Depths shown by soundings.
Includes descriptive text, "Vue de la ville et fort du Détroit," and "Vue du Fort Erié."

Note: Includes list of property owners in Detroit and over the Canadian border, views from river of Fort du Detroit and Fore Erie, and a descriptive text by C.M. Burton.

"Drawn from a Copy in the "Burton Collection" at Detroit, Michigan."

Note: Color photograph of original in Service historique de l'armée de terre, no. 7-B-61.

Map of length of Detroit River with individual land holdings identified and keyed to three charts giving names of owners.

View of Detroit probably reflects appearance of town in 1769-1782.

Map probably reflects the appearance of the Detroit settlement as it was in 1765 when surveyed by Captain Harry Gordon with later copies made by Patrick McNiff and probably collected by Constantin Volney.

View of Fort Erie reflects appearance of place in 1773 based on work of Henry De Berniere.

Copy 2 (ACQ: Karpinski no. 445) is uncolored photostat from same source.

Note: Photostat from Burton Historical Collection, probably of the copy of the original manuscript made in the Ministry of War, Paris, for Clarence M. Burton in the 1890s.

Signed at lower right: Pour copie conforme l'ingénieur hydrographe en chef de la marine A Bouquet de la Grye.

Burton copy has many differences in lettering and placement of inset views and tables of landowners.

Map shows length of Detroit River with individual land holdings identified and keyed to three charts giving names of owners.

Map probably reflects the appearance of the Detroit settlement as it was in 1765 when surveyed by Captain Harry Gordon with later copies made by Patrick McNiff and probably collected by Constantin Volney.

View of Fort Erie, and possibly Detroit, based on the work of Henry De Berniere.

Note: Photostat of manuscript copy of original Collot map done in Paris in 1881.

Bears stamp of Depot General des Cartes et Plans de la Marine with notation: Photographie d'un plan existant aux Archives du Depot des Cartes et Plans de la Marine (Enregistré: Portfeuille no. 61, piece 39), Paris le 14 Mai 1881.

Map shows length of Detroit River with individual land holdings identified and keyed to three charts giving names of owners.

Map probably reflects the appearance of the Detroit settlement as it was in 1765 when surveyed by Captain Harry Gordon with later copies made by Patrick McNiff.

Physical Description: 1 map ; 95 x 68 cm Physical Description: 1 map ; 95 x 68 cm Physical Description: 1 facs. ms. map : col. ; 103.2 x 78.1 cm Physical Description: 1 facs. ms. map ; 95.5 x 68.6 cm. Physical Description: 1 facs. ms. map ; 39.6 x 32.5 cm.

Teasdale 2009 raises questions about Collot's presence in Detroit in 1796.

Ces colons souhaitaient simplement reproduire à Détroit le mode d’organisation du territoire qui prédominait à cette époque dans la vallée du Saint-Laurent (Harris 1984 [1966] : 121 ; Dechêne 1988 [1974] : 263). De plus, il aurait été surprenant qu’ils adhèrent à l’idée de vivre dans un village compact alors que plusieurs fermes avaient déjà été construites le long de la rivière Détroit. Ce développement mena à l’apparition de quatre regroupements de terres appelés « côtes » sur les bords de la rivière Détroit (voir fig. 2 [6]).

Figure 2. Plan topographique de la rivière Détroit. BHL 1965. BHL (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan), 1965 : « Plan topographique du Détroit et des eaux qui forment la jonction du lac Erié avec le lac St. Clair : dressée pour l’intelligence des voyages du Gal. Collot dans cette partie du continent en 1796 ; drawn from a copy in the Burton Historical Collection at Detroit, Michigan, by F. Leeseman & M. A. Heinze ; Facsimile completely redrawn from a copy of ms. no. L.I.D. 7B61 in Archives du Ministère de la Guerre, Paris ». M 3312.D4 1796 L41. [See above illustration.]

[6]Tel qu’inscrit sur la carte par Clarence M. Burton, celle-ci fut dessinée par l’officier français Georges-Henri-Victor Collot, qui avait pour mission de renseigner son gouvernement sur la présence française en sol américain. Burton affirme que Collot n’a jamais visité Détroit. En effet, selon ses propres écrits, Collot ne semble pas avoir mis les pieds dans la colonie du détroit du lac Érié (Collot 1826). Ce détail explique pourquoi sa carte ne correspond pas à l’état du développement agricole de la colonie française en 1798, mais est en tout point identique à la carte dessinée par l’ingénieur Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry fils en 1752 (voir Toupin 1996 : 24).

COLLOT, Georges-Henri-Victor, 1826 : Voyage dans l’Amérique septentrionale, 2 tomes. Chez Arthus Bertrand libraire, Paris.

DECHÊNE, Louise, 1988 [1974] : Habitants et marchands de Montréal au XVIIe siècle. Boréal, Montréal.

HARRIS, Richard C., 1984 [1966] : The Seigneurial System in Early Canada. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montréal et Kingston.

TOUPIN, Robert, 1996 : Les Écrits de Pierre Potier. Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa, Ottawa.

According to Teasdale 2009, Collot may not have visited Detroit in 1796. His argument rests on these three aspects...

1. Collot's map of Detroit reproduces the same land arrangement as the one drawn on Chaussegros de Léry map of 1752. 44 years later, this land arrangement should have been different.

2. Burton's typed comment on the Leesemann & Heinze copy states that Collot did not go to Detroit.

3. This passage of Collot 1826 (Survey, Chapter XIX, vol. 2, p. 2-3): "I had determined, therefore, to return by the river of the Illinois, to cross the lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie, and descend the Mohawk and the Northern River to New York; but having calculated with my Canadians the time necessary to make this tour, we found that the season was already too far advanced, it being the month of September, and that I should be forced to winter in the lakes, either at Michilimackinac or at Detroit. By following this route, I might not only fall into the hands of the English, but Mr. Mackintosh, also, a trader, who had just come from Detroit, informed me, that I should certainly be arrested at the American posts, since my expedition, having already made a considerable noise, might be interpreted in different manners. Thus in both cases I had to run the risk of losing not only the fruit of my labors, but also my liberty. To return by the same road I had taken, appeared to me weak and dishonorable, and which would not preserve me from any of the dangers with which I was menaced. After maturely reflecting on every circumstance, I determined to follow my first plan, and to proceed at all events on my journey, as I had at first purposed; that is, to go down the river, and examine the various streams that flow into it from the West, as far as should be in my power, without tormenting myself about the dangers or persecutions which attended me in the Spanish possessions, or heeding the frigates or English privateers which were cruising in the Bahama Straits, and which interrupt the traveller from New Orleans to Philadelphia. These motives, however powerful, did not alone fix my decision : I was anxious to avoid the ridicule which usually attends those who, in similar cases, after much trouble and expence, return with excuses for their failure. I was not less apprehensive of those inexorable judges, who, seated tranquilly by their firesides, pronounce dogmatically on matters of which they are most profoundly ignorant ; who injure by perfidious suggestions, prejudice the public, and are themselves the harbingers of such injustice that they force their victim, however innocent, to become, as it were, criminal. I made, therefore, all my preparations; I exchanged my great barge against a pirogue made of the trunk of a single tree, much more light and easy to be steered, which were qualities very essential for going up the different rivers which I had to explore, or to descend the Mississipi, which, on account of its rapidity and the numerous obstacles which are every moment to be surmounted, required a slight vehicle, the motions of which should be quick and precise. I dismissed, therefore, a part of my attendants, keeping only four Canadians, a Spaniard, and my hunter; my boat being able to contain only this number of men, together with Mr. Warin and myself. I made a second journal, which I took care to fill with praises respecting the administration of the Baron de Carondelet, with the intention of leaving it open to the curiosity of all who chose to inspect it, whilst the true journal was carefully concealed. This little stratagem will readily be forgiven me, since it saved me the disagreeableness of being sent to the Havannah, where I should probably have been detained a long time."

Burton's comment contains some inaccuraries (1798 instead of 1796, Warren for Warin) and gives no proof that Collot did not go to Detroit. Collot's report is not absolutely clear whether he went or not to Detroit, but considering his September questionnings, he did not have much time since his expedition ended following month, 27 October 1796, in New Orleans. This lack of terrain exploration explains why he made his assistants copy Chaussegros de Léry's map.

But how did he get this view of Detroit? Was it made on the spot or later "fabricated"? Did he sent someone from his team to Detroit to bring back some informations and drawings? Did he get it from someone else who had been there? Like Mackintosh (Angus Mackintosh?), or one of the Canadians he met? Who could sketch this view, or give an oral description registered in drawing and later incorporated in the map by Collot's assistants! Could Collot have commissionned this View of Detroit from some other artist who went there between 1796 and his death in 1805?

Collot and assistants.

A better image will be welcome if you have one...!

Bouquet de la Grye after Collot.
Leesemann & Heinze after Bouquet de la Grye.
1880 Farmer after Bouquet de la Grye.

If Collot did not went to Detroit, could we consider that his view of the town is a "fabricated" one? This option has to be dismissed, considering its precision in details (better shown in its above copies) and similarities with later views by other artists which show a coherent urbanization change from the same point of view.

Alexander Macomb (1782-1841), Detroit as Seen from the Canadian Shore in 1821 (detail), 1821, Watercolor, 4 x 6 1/4 in. (cm. 10.2 x 15.9), Detroit Institute of Arts, Gift of Ernest Newman Stanton, Mrs. Kenneth Taylor White and the Burton Historical Collection in memory of Mrs. Robert Lee Stanton, 60.151. Source: SIRIS and DIA.

Sumner after General Macomb, Detroit in 1826 (detail), Date unknown, Engraving, "Sumner del. from old drawing", Burton 1922, p. 183.

Caleb F. Davis artist (fl. ca. 1834-1870), Anthony Fleetwood lithographer (b. ca. 1800), Monson Bancroft printer, View of the city of Detroit, M.T. [Michigan Territory](detail), circa 1834 or after, New York Public Library, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art Prints and Photographs, I. N. Phelps Stokes Collection of American Historical Prints.


House in Chicago.

John Whistler (1756–1829), Plan of Fort Dearborn (detail), 1808,
"A true copy of the original on file in the War Department. Daniel O. [Dunnan], Agent, Chicago Historical Society".
Source: Wikipedia.

This is the only contemporary drawing of Kinzie House when it existed in Chicago,
since all its other engravings on this site are dated after it was abandoned in 1834 and ruined.

SIRIS (Smithsonian Institution Research Information System)
gives access to several illustrations of Fort Dearborn and Kinzie House,
but most of them are not reproduced in photography!

See also works by Juliette Augusta Magill (1806-1870)
wife of John H. Kinzie (1803-1865).

Anonymous, John Kinzie house c. 1804, near the mouth of the Chicago River, built by Jean Baptiste Point du Sable,
Engraving in "History of Chicago: Part 1 - Antecedent", Chicago Magazine, 1 (1) 28, March 1857, John Gager & Company. Source: Wikipedia.

Kinzie mansion and Fort Dearbon [Chicago], engraving in Lossing 1868, chapter XV, p. 303.

Donald Schlickan architect,
The second fort Dearborn in 1832,
Jacket cover from Danckers 2000.

As for the remaining aspects of John Kinzie's career and life, loyalty to the British, the 1812 War and attitude towards the Americans, refer to the study made by John F. Sweenson in Danckers 2000 (p. 220-225).

See also Early Chicago.

Site of the first house in Chicago, bronze plaque, unveiled July 11, 1913, on the James S. Kirk and Company building at 401 N. Michigan Avenue Chicago. Source: Early Chicago.


Mark and archaeology.

Archaeological digs by Historic Archaeological Research at Prophetstown Greene Ville Ohio (Green 1994) revealed on November 23, 1993, the findings of a silver brooch with a mark ascribed to John Kinzie. The makers punch mark is worn on the right side of the "K"; its initials "JK" show similarities and differences with others ascribed to Kinzie; the square cartouche is quite different from other marks. Are all these marks by the same silversmith?

Brooch, diameter approximately 7 cm, and its punch mark, found in Prophetstown Greene Ville Ohio. Green 1994, p. cover, title, 12 and 23-27.

Three punch marks ascribed to John Kinzie by Langdon 1966, p. 90. Verifications and discussions would need to be made to check out these attributions.

"Marks of siversmiths stamped on silver ornaments made for the fur trade in the Late Historic Period, 1760-1820. Courtesy of Chicago Natural History Museum. [...] O, John Kinzie [...] (Not all identifications are positive.) [Quimby 1966, p. 98-99, fig. 21, letter "O"]"

Another silversmith of the same period, active in Montreal, shared the same "JK" initials. Some of these punch marks have to be his. Especially the scripted ones that were used among collaborators of the great silversmith Robert Cruickshank like Narsise Roy to which Kennedy was closely related (Derome 1996). Was the above brooch found at Prophetstown made by John Kinzie or by Joseph Kennedy? Joseph Kennedy was active about 1793-1834! He also was acquainted with the Pierre Huguet dit Latour workshop, which punch mark letters were rather square. All these Montreal silversmiths were very active making trade silver for "les Pays d'en haut", the region around the Great Lakes especially from Detroit to Saint-Louis. Here is an unpublished french study we made about Joseph Kennedy's career from our archives.

Another silversmith with a "JK" punch mark Joseph KENNEDY (-1793-1834-)

Orfèvre, fils de Josette Dupré et de Daniel Kennedy. Se déclare marchand orfèvre, le 15 septembre 1793, lors de son mariage avec Angélique Leheup; l'orfèvre Narsise (Narcis, Narcisse, Narsis, Narsisse) Roy* et son épouse assistent à la signature du contrat de mariage en tant qu'amis des futurs époux. Propriétaire d'une maison sise au Coteau Saint-Louis Kennedy vend celle-ci, le 25 août 1794, à l'orfèvre Joseph Ferquel*. Il est prévu au contrat que 350# des 1302# dues seront payées en orfèvrerie de traite. L'orfèvre Pierre Huguet dit Latour* se porte garant de Ferquel pour le paiement des 350# en pendants d'oreilles. Deux jours après cette transaction, Kennedy achète un emplacement situé sur la rue Saint-Urbain à Montréal. Le 18 février 1797, à la demande de l'orfèvre Christian Grothé* son cousin par alliance, il nomme, avec entre autres Nathan Starns*, un subrogé tuteur aux enfants de Grothé. C'est le 20 novembre de cette année que Kennedy engage, pour six ans, le seul apprenti qui lui soit connu: Jean-Baptiste Baillard*. Il signe, le 11 décembre 1798, une obligation de 900# envers Simon Cavilhe négoçiant. Présent à l'inventaire après décès de Louis-Alexandre Picard*, il se contente d'acheter deux petits lots de pierreries. Ayant enrichi son emplacement de la rue Saint-Urbain d'une maison de bois et de bâtiments, il réalise un profit de 2520# en le vendant le 17 septembre 1799. Judicieux en affaires il exige des intérêts de 5% sur les sommes dues à la vente de sa maison, mais il se négociera des paiements sans intérêts pour l'achat d'une nouvelle résidence encore située dans le faubourg Saint-Laurent. Il sera moins chanceux deux ans plus tard, lorsqu'il se verra obligé de payer des intérêts de 6% pour une dette de 600# contractée envers Antoine Mallard. Si l'on perd un peu de vue Kennedy durant quelques années, on peut tout de même mentionner que l'engagement de son apprenti a pris fin en 1803. De plus son épouse décède vu que celui-ci convole en seconde noces avec Marianne Doig le 8 janvier 1810; on note la présence de Pierre Huguet dit Latour* au mariage. Malgré son remariage, Kennedy attendra six ans pour procéder au partage de la communauté de biens existant entre lui et sa première femme. Pour parvenir à verser les legs, de la mère à ses trois enfants, il vend sa maison du faubourg Saint-Laurent le 1er octobre 1816; après avoir demandé l'autorisation au conseil de famille auquel participent Christian Grothé et Nathan Starns. Devant se reloger il loue au village de l'Assomption, pour quatre années à compter de la saint Michel 1816, un terrain avec deux maisons érigées dessus. On retrouve Kennedy à quelques reprises jusqu'en 1834 alors qu'il effectue des transactions immobilières ou financières parfois difficiles à attribuer au père ou à son fils homonyme.

BIBLIO: I-MANQ, L. Chaboillez 1793/9/15 #885, 1798/12/11 #3300, 1799/9/17 #3679, 1800/4/23 #4061, 1802/7/13 #5350. Gr. J.B. Desève 1794/8/25 #939, 1794/8/27 #940, 1797/11/20 #1358. Gr. L. Huguet Latour 1816/5/20 #1231, 1232, 1816/5/30 #1234, 1816/10/1 #1269, 1816/10/4 #1272, 1818/1/2 #1400, 1401, 1818/8/20 #1457, 1824/1/8 #1827, 1830/3/15 #2493. Gr. J.M. Mondelet 1830/3/22 #5141, 1834/5/23 #5793. Gr. L. Raymond 1827/9/18. Gr. P. Lukin 1799/6/6 #1475. AJ 1797/2/18. JANQ, Gr. Barthelemy 1817/3/17. EC MND, 1810/1/8. III-Langdon 1966. IV-Traquair 1973.


Chronology of John Kinzie's early career.

Sources: see discussions and documents upwards.

1758, January 22nd (about 1-3 years before birth) — Alice Haliburton's alledged date of birth if William Halyburton was Emily Tyne's first husband ; consequently, John Kinzie would be an illegitimate child of Surgeon John McKenzie.

June 1759 - October 1761 (approximate date of birth) — See discussion about his birth in Quebec City.

1762, April 16 (about 6 months to 3 years old) — Death of his alledged father John McKenzie in Martinique. "His father died in his infancy." "Major McKenzie survived the birth of his son but a few months."

1763 — Probable birth date of Alice Haliburton if William Halyburton was Emily Tyne's second husband.

1765-1769 (about 4-10 years old)— After the unknown date of death of William Halyburton, his mother Emily Tyne marries William Forsyth, of New York, before the birth of his half-brothers James (1769-1835) and Thomas (1771-1833); John Kinzie shares family with his half-sister Alice Haliburton and his stepbrothers from William Forsyth's first marriage.

About 10-11 years old (1769-1772) Family tradition reports that he became apprentice to a silversmith at the age of 10-11, what would effectily happen in Detroit.

1770 (about 9-11 years old) — Approximate date when his stepfatther William Forsyth resigned his commission with the army in Detroit where he was last stationed, as well as his mother Emily Tyne as an army woman.

1772, June 15 (about 11-13 years old) — Shares family in Detroit with his stepfather William Forsyth where he buys principal inn-tavern, a fact that discredits family tradition that the young boy might have fled from Williamsburg (Long Island near New York) to Albany.

1772 (about 11-13 years old) — Israel Ruland (14 years old born in Long Island) becomes apprentice to silversmith Gerrit Greverat. Did John Kinzie became apprentice to Greverat as well at this early date?

1775 (about 14-16 years old) — John Kinzie's stepbrother George Forsyth is lost in the woods on August 6 and dies in "The Common" or "Prairie Ronde" west of the Fort.

1776 (about 14-17 years old) — The remains of George Forsyth are found by an Indian close by the Prairie Ronde on October 2.

1779 (about 18-20 years old) — The William Forsyth family is registered in Detroit census. Gerrit Greverat's silversmith worshop shows that he has 2 "engagés", one of which might be John Kinzie: project of apprenticeship indenture.

1781 (about 20-22 years old) — Activities of the trading firm by the name of Greverat & Forsyth in Detroit: silversmith Gerrit Greverat and John Kinzie's stepfather William Forsyth.

1782 (about 21-23 years old) — Gerrit Greverat's silversmith worshop prospers with 6 "engagés", one of which might be John Kinzie.

1784, April 5 (about 23-25 years old) — John Kinzie buys a house on Saint Ann Street in Detroit from William Groesbeck. This house is located close to the one of silversmith Gerrit Greverat. There is thus enough work for silversmiths in Detroit to establish this new workshop of John Kinzie. John Casety witnesses this sale and signs at the bottom of the document. John Casety thus seems to have played an important role in the early career of John Kinzie. May he have helped financing the buying of his house?

1785 (about 24-26 years old) — John Kinzie sends an invoice to James Casety, a wealthy habitant, for sale of various items of trade silver. He is now well established as a silversmith in Detroit.



My deepest thanks to John Forbes Swenson who, in 2002, prompted the research process for this study by the generous gift of his book on Early Chicago (Danckers 2000) and his collaborator Ulrich Danckers who relayed our numerous emails.

• DANCKERS Ulrich, author of a major book on the history of Chicago (Danckers 2000). See also this website: Early Chicago.

• SWENSON John Forbes, 1339 Swainwood Drive, Glenview Illinois, 60025-2841 USA. Fax 847-729-5113. Tel. 847-729-4823.

The new version of this website, January-April 2017, owes a lot to military historians who radically changed the interpretation of John Kinzie's youth and birth date, especially John Houlding's very important collaboration from primary sources which considerably enriched informations and interpretations. I am also very grateful to Stephen Brumwell, Paul Goodman and Don N. Hagist.

• BRUMWELL Stephen, Historian, as collaborator to the Database of the 1759-1760 soldiers, by The National Battlefields Commission, Plains of Abraham, and contact with John Houlding.

• GOODMAN Paul, expert on the 18th-C British Army, Ile-Perrot Qc, for sources on William Halyburton.

• HAGIST Don N., historian of the American Revolution focusing on the British soldiers who served in America, for informations on Emily Tyne and William Forsyth.

• HOULDING John, military historian, for sources on Emily Tyne's husbands (John McKenzie, William Halyburton and William Forsyth) and contact with Paul Goodman.

In 2020, very special attention was provided for the discovery and study of the Indenture document.

• ING Elis, Liaison Librarian, Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University Library.

• LYONS Christopher, Head Librarian, Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University Library.

• MESLANS Maurice, silver collector.

Thank you for all these collaborations without which this website would not be the same.

• DESJARDINS Bertrand, Généalogiste émérite, PRDH-IGD.

• GREEN Rich, 4338 Hadley Court, West Lafayette, IN 47906.

• ​KEATING Ann Durkin, Dr. C. Frederick Toenniges Professor of History, HST, North Central College, Naperville IL 60540, for the generous gift of her book Rising up from Indian Country, The battle of Fort Dearbron and the birth of Chicago (Keating 2012).

• MUMAUGH Theresa, Seward, Nebraska. My connection to the Kinzie is mother being the daughter of Edward Kinzie, son of William Tildon Kinzie, son of David Hall Kinzie, son of William Kinzie, son of John Kinzie.

• SHRAKE Peter, Archivist, Circus World, 415 Lynn St. Baraboo, WI 53913, pshrake@circusworldbaraboo.org, phone 608-356-8341 ext 3283, for references and sending of his book The Silver Man, The Life and Times of Indian Agent John Kinzie (Shrake 2016).

• TORP Kim, Genealogy Trails History Group.



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2020.07.23-30 Indenture — New section added. Improved questions and comments. Corrected McGill transcription of "John Fleming" signature to "Sam", for Sampson Fleming which has been documented with implications on Alice Haliburton date of birth.
2020.07.09 Improvements to the menu at the top of this website.
2020.07.08 Major attention given to divide more clearly the Birth section and subdivisions for Emily Tyne's three husbands. Informations added on the six other soldiers by the name of John McKenzie. Corrections and layouts in Family tradition. New colored subdivisions for each major section. Added this updates section.
2020.07.06 Collaboration of Maurice Meslans, reference to the Indenture document. Acces to document, as well as its provenance and study of authenticity, has been asked from proper authorities.
2017.01-04 Major update with several new collaborations.
2002.01.23 Created with two dedicated collaborations.
web Robert DEROME