52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 19: Jacques Campeau

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

My next two ancestors share a common theme: they helped settle and develop a major city in the USA – Detroit. They were among the very first settlers to the area.

Jacques Campeau was born in May 1677 at Montreal, son of French immigrant and mason Etienne Campeau, Campau or Campo and Catherine Paulo or Polo. He was baptized at the church of Notre Dame de Montreal on May 31, 1677. He married Jeanne Cecile Catin on November 30, 1699 at Montreal, and shortly after in 1703-1704 with the Compagnie de la Colonie he travelled to the area that would become known as Detroit and Fort Pontchartrain.

In 1708 he brought the rest of his family to Detroit on the invitation of Antoine de le Mothe Cadillac, the commandant of Fort Pontchartrain who was looking to settle a colony there. His older brother Michel, who is also my ancestor had also brought his family in 1707. Jacques was a blacksmith and in addition participated in trading, mostly of furs. He and Cecile had 8 children in total.

In 1734 he was granted a piece of land 4 by 40 arpents just east of Fort Pontchartrain and he started a merchant store, buying and selling goods such as furs, corn, wheat, etc. He became ill in 1750 and passed away 8 May 1751. He is buried in Detroit’s Mount Elliott Cemetery.

An interesting point on Jacques, is like many other Detroit area residents of French background, he also began to be known by a more anglicized version of his name – James – as did his wife “Cecilia”.

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