The Piquettes and their Bad Decade

The Piquette family was having a bad decade, or so it seems.  In the 1836 Halfbreed Chippewa and Ottawa census, there were several people enumerated by the last name of Piquette.  Several had unusual situations which tell us something of their history.

Several families were admitted onto the roll to receive funds, but one wife, Lisette, told the enumerator that her family was from the Fon du Lac region, which is in Wisconsin.  That family was denied, and I bet she was one very unpopular lady.

Three children were noted as being children of Francis P. (Piquette) “of the old stock.”  I’m sure there is some meaning there that has been lost to us today, but I’d surely like to know what is meant by the “old stock.”  These are the only entries that refer to the old stock.

Poor Mary, age 4, was noted as being the child of Madaline P. (Piquette), “a bad woman.”  I want to know, bad in just what kind of way???

Louisa Piquette, age 14, has the note by her name that her father is a drunkard and her mother is dead.  I wonder what happened to Louisa.

The next entry is for Francis Piquette, Sr., age 80, “a drunkard and improvident”, that followed by “pay him one tenth.”  Francis is half Chippewa.  This could well be the Francis of the “old stock” as there is another Francis, age 36 on the roll as well.

A third Francis, age 7, has been abandoned by his parents.

Three Piquette children, ages 9, 12 and 14, are noted as being the children of Angelique Ojibway and a Canadian who ran away.

Two conditions that are seen fairly often in these records are orphans and notes that young children are “bound to the mission.”  Some of those “bound children” are orphans, but many have nothing noted to indicate why.  There is more abandonment than I would expect to see.  I think of Native children living in a protected family group, meaning the tribe or band, and abandonment is not a term I generally see in connection with Native children.  Either it was more prevalent than I’m aware of, is perhaps perceived differently by Native people and Europeans, or there is some cultural or social force at work here that sets this group apart from the southeastern tribes I’m more familiar with.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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