William Herzkey Tombow
William Herzkey Tombow
My Family Tree, by Patrick Tombeau, PhD White Feather
White Feather

Francois LaVoy, II

Male 1776 - 1852  (75 years)


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  • Name Francois LaVoy 
    Suffix II 
    Born 30 Oct 1776  St-Philippe-de-la-Prairie Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 13 Sep 1852  Erie, MI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I00027  Tombeau Family Tree
    Last Modified 24 Feb 2007 

    Father Etienne LaVoy,   b. 21 Sep 1750, Petite Riviere, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1808, St-Philippe-de-la-Prairie Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 59 years) 
    Mother Marie Amable or Louise Laroche,   b. 4 Sep 1758, St-Philippe-de-la-Prairie Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1808, St-Philippe-de-la-Prairie Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 51 years) 
    Married 30 Jul 1776  St-Philippe-de-la-Prairie Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F0044  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Marie ("White Feather") Gouin,   b. 8 Feb 1790, Detroit, MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Sep 1852, Erie, MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Married 5 Jul 1808  Detroit, MI (St. Anne Church) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. Charles LaVoy, Sr.,   b. 10 Aug 1809, Detroit, Mi Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Sep 1858, Erie Twp, MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 49 years)
    +2. Mary ("Sophia") LaVoy,   b. 31 Aug 1811, Detroit, MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1852, Erie, MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 40 years)
     3. Infant LaVoy,   b. 4 Nov 1813,   d. 1813
    +4. Lambert LaVoy, I,   b. 1 Mar 1815, Detroit, MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1855, Bedford Twp., MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 39 years)
    +5. Francis LaVoy, III,   b. 7 Dec 1817, Detroit, MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Jul 1869, Erie, MI (St. Joseph Cemetery, large stone Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 51 years)
    +6. David LaVoy,   b. 7 Jul 1821, Maumee River, OH Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Sep 1852, Erie Township, MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 31 years)
    +7. Fabian LaVoy,   b. 6 Apr 1823, Detroit, MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Nov 1909, Erie, MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years)
    +8. Paul LaVoy,   b. 28 Feb 1825, Erie Twp., MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Aug 1871, Erie, MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 46 years)
     9. Esther LaVoy,   b. 1832,   d. Abt 1851  (Age 19 years)
    Family ID F0041  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Tombstone of modern day descendants of Francois LaVoy II.
    Tombstone of modern day descendants of Francois LaVoy II.
    St. Joseph Sur La Baie Historical Marker
    St. Joseph Sur La Baie Historical Marker
    St. Joseph's Church, Erie, MI
    St. Joseph's Church, Erie, MI

    Documents
    Map of Windmill Point, former property of Francois LaVoy II
    Map of Windmill Point, former property of Francois LaVoy II
    Map of Sainte-Philippe-de-La-Praire, birthplace of Francois LaVoy, II
    Map of Sainte-Philippe-de-La-Praire, birthplace of Francois LaVoy, II
    Children Francois LaVoy, II and Mary Gouin Article
    Children Francois LaVoy, II and Mary Gouin Article
    Certificate of Baptism for Francois LaVoy, II.
    Certificate of Baptism for Francois LaVoy, II.

  • Notes 
    • Francois LaVoy II: Founding Ancestor of the Monroe County, MI, LaVoys

      The first of the Monroe County LaVoy Family to settle in America was Francois LaVoy, born 30 October 1776 in Saint-Philippe-de-la-Prairie. P.Q., Canada. He was the son of Etienne LaVoy (or LaVoie) and Marie-Amable (or Louise) Laroche and the great-great-grandson of the immigrant ancestor, Rene de la Voye, Jr.

      Francois LaVoy came to the United States some time after 1800 as he is not noted in the 1800 Census for Michigan. He married Marie Gouin in Ste. Anne's Church in Detroit, the mother parish of Detroit Catholics. This parish still exists in its eighth church as St. Anne de Detroit, 1000 St. Anne Street, near the Ambassador Bridge in the Mexican area of Detroit. The first church was a rude log structure completed two days after the founding of Detroit by Antoine Cadillac. The date it was completed as Detroit's first building was July 26, 1701, the feast of Ste. Anne, patron saint of travelers.

      Francois and Marie Gouin were married on 5 July 1808. Marie was the daughter of an important French pioneer, Charles Gouin, as the result of a liaison with a Potawatomi Indian woman, named Little Snipe, while Charles was married to his wife Suzanne Boyer.

      Marie was born 8 February 1790 and was apparently raised as a Potawatomi Indian, as family tradition, passed on to this writer by Esther LaVoy Templin, indicates that she bore the name of White Feather until she was baptized as Marie Gouin at Ste. Anne's on 20 July 1801 at the age of 11. (The writer holds a picture of Marie passed on to him by Wendy DuVall-Angelocci of Novi, a descendant of Mary LaVoy and Joseph DuVall.)

      A recently discovered news article originally published in the Monroe Evening News around 1954, courtesy of Lynne LaVoy Warren of Temperance, MI, shows off the exquisite handiwork of our ancestress. It is a papoose-carrier made by her for a granddaughter. The news article is found elsewhere in this history. The papoose-carrier decorations in the picture demonstrate classical Potawatomi designs and materials. The carrier, along with other family heirlooms of Indian heritage, were donated to the Monroe Historical Society by a great-great-grand- daughter of Marie Gouin-White Feather.

      Charles Gouin at the time of his liason was living on a ribbon farm on the east side of Detroit. The Potawatomi village was located just west of the Fort. The writer's great uncle Frederick LaVoy passed on an oral tradition that Susanne Boyer, Charles Gouin's wife, had a son by another man in retaliation. The Denissen genealogies of Detroit area French-Canadian Families do confirm two sons born to Suzanne Boyer after the birth of Marie Gouin/White Feather.

      The ribbon farm, or strip farm, on which Charles Gouin lived was typical of the French-Canandians at Detroit. It was a long narrow stip of land, perhaps 200-400 feet wide and stretching a mile deep into the forest from the river front to about where Harper Avenue is today. The cabins, then later the Cape Cod style homes, were built in front of the strip, stretching along what is now Jefferson Avenue. Jefferson Avenue had been at one time an old Indian Trail before the founding of Detroit. The trail meandered along the shores of the Great Lakes and the Detroit River down into Monroe County. Another trail started at this point for what is now the Chicago area. Michigan Avenue begins in Detroit and ends in Chicago following the route of this old Indian trail.

      The ribbon farm pattern of real estate allowed all settlers access to the Detroit River as its main purpose. Waterways at this period of history in North America's settlement were the main thoroughfares. In addition it allowed the diet of subsistence farming to be augmented by what could be fished out of the river.

      Not only fish were caught, but the infamous muskrat, or "mushrat", as the Frenchies called them, could be found in the shallow waters and reeds of the slow moving river. To this day muskrat dinners in Monroe County continue the tradition among those of French-Canadian descent and their guests. Many modern muskrat eaters may be unaware of the great theological controversy caused among devoutly Catholic French-Canadians when the Bishop of Detroit declared the animal was meat and not fish, and so forbidden for Friday meals.

      Access to the river allowed each farmer an unusual waste disposal system as well: in early Spring, not knowing the value of his farm animals' manure for farming, the French Canadian "habitant" dragged the winter's supply out on the ice to disappear in the river during Spring thaw.

      During the winter the frozen waterways continued their usefulness not only as highways for horse-driven sleighs but for winter sports including races and skating. Travel between Monroe County, Detroit, and Canada was linked by the all important Detroit River and Lake system.

      Finally, such a real estate plan allowed the very gregarious French close contact with each other. In time of need such as fires, Indian uprisings, and so forth, such an arrangement made it easier to band together and assist each other.

      Today the remnants of this system can be seen in the street names on the east side of Detroit commemorating the Frenchmen who last owned the farms before the city platted the streets that run along their boundaries: Beaubien, Campau, Chene, and even one to commemorate Charles Gouin mispelled at Guoin.

      Charles Gouin, Marie's father, wrote a famous account of the Pontiac Conspiracy to take over the Fort at Detroit which Charles witnessed when he was 11 years old. It is found elsewhere in this history. It is also found in the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collection edited by Clarence M. Burton.

      As to Marie Gouin's Indian name of White Feather, the Potawatomi Indian custom for naming their children is essentially the same as the traditional European custom: names are passed down in families and tribes. The Indian custom is, however, not to use the name immediately after the death of its previous owner.

      The Indian ancestry of the LaVoy Family has been the one oral tradition passed down in all branches of the LaVoy Family. Mrs. Templin's family , descended from Francois' son, Fabian LaVoy, appears to be the only branch of the family to have passed down the particulars of this ancestry.

      This may be due in part to the fact that many people in Monroe County referred to the LaVoys as the "savages" because of their distinctly Indian features carried down faithfully in some members of the LaVoy Family to this day.

      The writer's brother, Jerry, and his great-grandfather, Moses LaVoy, Sr., clearly have the high cheek bones characteristic of Indians.

      Francois LaVoy and his new bride first settled on a piece of land, now known as Windmill Point in Grosse Pointe, MI. The land was so named after a jut of land that separates Lake St. Clair from the mouth of the Detroit River on which in French times could be found a windmill for grinding grains. The position of this windmill took advantage of the winds blowing off the broad expanse of the "Sixth Great Lake".

      This land was rented to them by Francois' father-in-law, Charles Gouin. It was fairly swampy and a tradition handed down by Mrs. Templin is that the couple could not do much with the land. Indeed early maps of Detroit call this area "Grand Marais", which is French for the Great Swamp.

      It is tempting to speculate how well off we might have been if Francois had held on to his great swamp in what is now Grosse Pointe, MI.

      The couple is noted in the 1810 Census as on the Windmill Point farm, but in 1820 they are now in Monroe County, although they still have some interest in the land as they bought it outright from Charles Gouin in 1822 and then sold it to Louis Beaufait a year later. The land contained 207.03 acres. Francois bought it for $382.08 from his father-in-law and sold it for $429.62.

      At the time of the sale Francois was said to be living in Monroe County. It seems likely that somewhere shortly before 1820 the LaVoy Family began to live in Monroe County, most likely in Erie Township near the Ohio border.

      However, the baptisms of their children still continued at Detroit or Assumption, Canada, despite the founding of St. Joseph's Church in 1819.

      The exact location of Francois and Marie's property in Monroe County is subject to further reserach in the Land Records. An obituary in the Toledo Blade, dated November 10, 1909, that of Tobias LaVoy, (most likely Fabian LaVoy) states that the house he was born and died in was the house his father built in 1810. This house was located in a village that no longer exists, called Dean's Corners, 10 miles north of Toledo, Ohio. (The site of this village was probably at the intersection of Dean Rd. and Dixie highway.)

      Mrs. Esther LaVoy Templin is aware of the site of another home, built in the Cape Cod style of 18th Century French homes in Detroit which appears to have been the home of Francois and Marie's first child, Charles LaVoy. Regrettably the home was torn down in the 1970's after a tornado struck it. Today the property can be located at 8720 Suder Road in Erie Township. It is owned by Rick Murbach who by an extraordinary coincidence remodeled the home he bought with Cape Cod dormers. His home approximates the size and appearance of the original home on the property.

      Francois LaVoy was a farmer like most of the early settlers of Monroe County. Those who preferred city life had ample opportunity to live and prosper in a trade at Detroit.

      The 1850 Federal Census for Erie Twp., Monroe Co., MI confirms his residence and occupation as well as the presence of a daughter, Esther, who apparently died in young adulthood, shortly after this Census; and the presence of a grandchild, David Duvall, age 11, by his daughter Mary LaVoy and her husband, Joseph Duvall. The entry is dated November 20, 1850 and appears on page 309-309R, dwelling 51.

      Francis Lavoix, age 70, farmer, unable to read or write.
      Mary Lavoix, age 64, cannot read or write.
      Esther Lavoix, age 18
      David Duvall, age 11

      (Actually, Francis was age 74 and his wife 60 in this Census.)

      Probate Records of Monroe County indicate that Francois and Marie died within four days of of each other, an oral tradition still carried on by Mrs. Esther LaVoy Templin's branch of the Family.

      Marie Gouin died September 9, 1852 followed by Francois on September 13,
      1852. He was nearly 76. She was 62.

      Francois LaVoy and Marie Gouin had nine known children: I. Charles LaVoy, Sr.; II. Mary LaVoy; III. Infant LaVoy; IV. Lambert LaVoy; V. Francois LaVoy III; VI. David LaVoy; VII. Fabian LaVoy; VIII. Paul LaVoy; and IX. Esther LaVoy.